USER CASE STUDIES | TRIAS – West Africa.
QualiRiz Project | Burkina-Faso
TRIAS in partnership with the National Research (INERA) has deployed Digital Classroom Systems to rice producing communities to step up the digitalization of agricultural extension support to farmers in the framework of the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)’s funded QualiRiz project.
Use of the DCS kits was preferred due to a combination of factors notably, the spill-over effect from previous cases of successful use of the approach in other projects by organizations affiliated to TRIAS such as the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC); the obvious cost of investment in the traditional method of extension which in any case would be bound to failure due to uncertain rain patterns in the project’s zone of Influence (ZoI); additionally, the arid and remote nature of the said beneficiary communities made it nearly impossible to invest in PA systems which hardly survive the pertaining ambient temperatures as the project officers resorted to moving farmers out of the field to hotels or shaded centers to enhance the brightness of the classic video projectors.
TRIAS developed training videos together with the INERA, Rikolto and a local multimedia firm, training videos in French and local languages. The videos focus primarily on the system for rice intensification (SRI) which encompasses seedling development, plant distancing and the Urea Deep Placement (UDP), a climate-smart technology. The videos were copied onto branded USB drives for use with the DCS kits. Additionally, each team was provided with Access Agriculture’s library of videos. The move targeted primarily an estimated 5,000 lead farmers but ended covering about 12,000 with spill-over effects estimated at 200,000 small-scale farmers in the center-East region of the country.
The DCS kits also became a tool of excellence during the general lockdown following the Covid19 pandemic; the enforcement of social-distancing among other measures made it the best tool extension officers relied upon to showcase technologies to farmers because demonstrations would no longer be setup for that period of time but however video shows were organized and thanks to the cooperation and discipline from farmers, the crop season was salvaged.
Workshops, Rural communities, Irrigation schemes, utilizing both projector and power bank and solar panel due to abundant sunshine
Portability and compactness enable extension officers and the lead farmers to either go out or host durbars with just a DCS kit.
Whereas demonstration plots could not be setup during the covid19 general lockdown to prevent possible contaminations whenever farmers gathered, the DCS proved very beneficial as a tradeoff
Content flexibility: Combining Access Agriculture’s library content and TRIAS’s own videos and upload.
The output quality of the smart projector is very sharp even in the afternoon and in bright daylight. This enhanced the dissemination schedules such that with a minimum shade during the day, sessions are carried out instead of waiting for the evening or conveying farmers to shaded places.
Farmers are able to save a large quantity of rice seeds (no more broadcasting) and fertilizer compared to past campaigns. The yields on the other hand are much higher and the paddy rice is of better quality.
“These trainings are practical and concrete, because we listen, we see the practice and testimonies of peer producers who have already applied on their sites. The video sessions in the evening not only strengthened our knowledge but at the same time solidified our social relations among producers living in the same communities and beyond”
Ibrahim Sawadogo | Lead farmer from Tanga.
“Farmers’ response to this innovation is very positive and somehow beyond our expectations; In fact, farmers became very much receptive and cooperate with all my organization’s activities in the regions because of this innovation and that greatly enhanced our popularity. It’s been a very gratifying experience considering the feedbacks internally, especially at the onset of Covid19 where the DCS was clearly acknowledged as the best investment TRIAS opted for. I feel very proud to be part of this.”
Emmanuel Zombre | Project Coordinator /QualiRiz.