Research and Extension Systems

IARBIC won the “International Competition for Best Sustainable Development Practices (BSDPs)” of the EXPO Milano 2015


IARBIC, an FAO supported project to intensify agriculture in Niger, has won the first prize in the competition for the “Best Sustainable Development Practices (BSDPs)” of the EXPO Milano 2015. The ceremony has taken place on July 6, 2015, at the Auditorium in Palazzo Italia with concluding remarks given by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture Maurizio Martina. During the ceremony, a video was projected showcasing IARBIC’s main goals and achievements. The project aimed at increasing agricultural production in Niger by facilitating access to innovative forms of financing and to quality fertilizers.

The "Best Sustainable Development Practices" competition was organized by the Feeding Knowledge platform, an EXPO 2015 initiative that is promoting greater cooperation in research and innovation related to food security, with a focus on policies, technologies, know how and services and products. EXPO's theme this year is "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life".

IARBIC has been a €6 million programme jointly implemented by FAO and the Ministry of Agriculture of Niger between 2008 and 2013. The programme focused on farmer organizations and their federations, with the goal of developing their capacities to manage a vast network of input shops and to organize joint input orders, farmer field schools, income-generating and other activities.

IARBIC was possible due to the financial contributions of the European Union (3, 68 million euro), Luxembourg (1,19 million euro), Belgium (0,66 million dollars), Spain through FAO (0,15 million euro). Niger provided human resources and operational means corresponding to 0,13 million euro. The farmer organizations themselves contributed in-kind about 0,36 million euro.

IARBIC achieved the following results:

  • Established 264 inputs shops and trained the farmer organizations on how to manage them. The total of 783 shops built by IARBIC, previous project phases and partner organizations cover over half of Niger's agricultural villages.
  • Organized 375 farmer field schools and 750 demonstrations reaching almost 7 500 farmers, half of them women, achieving yield increases of up to 100 percent.
  • Built 100 warehouses for warrantage (inventory credit scheme), now available to some 100 000 farmers
  • Establishment of a €653 000 guarantee fund for 8 farmers federations, representing 164 000 farmers, in order to enhance their economic activities.
  • Across Niger, one counts today 785 active input shops which have been installed over the years thanks to the multiple partners which have taken up the approach.