The Federation Des Unions De Producteurs De Maradi (FUMA Gaskiya) is a federation of unions of farmers based in the Maradi region of Niger, West Africa. They are one of the first organisations supported by The McKnight Foundation’s CCRP to implement the farmer research network (FRN) approach – engaging large number of farmers in research.
The University of Oxford led a project supporting FUMA Gaskiya’s innovative use of data through digital technologies.
IDEMS’s experience of working with agricultural research projects in Niger, and knowledge of the FRN approach led to its involvement in the project. As part of this project, IDEMS and AMI supported the development of a tailored menu in R-Instat to make it easier for FUMA, and others, to analyse large agriculture research data.
With FUMA Gaskiya, who has been collecting research data with their farmer since 2014, including a trial of 1,500 farmers in 2017 on low cost fertilisers, IDEMS has analysed this data to understand the effectiveness of these fertilisers, with the results soon to be published in research papers.
The project concluded with workshops in two regions of Niger to share the findings from FUMA’s work, the approach they have taken to implementing an FRN and importantly, how they have achieved this through their own digital data collection app.
The workshops were attended by farmer representatives from FUMA, members of agricultural organisations across Niger and representatives from local government with the aim of spreading the idea of FRN as an approach to impact the agriculture and the lives of those who depend on it on a large scale.
Mathematics and statistics students were also invited to special sessions to work with farmers and representatives, using R-Instat to analyse some of FUMA’s large data sets.
As a relatively new approach, pioneered by CCRP, the FRN has the potential to have a great impact throughout the West African region and beyond. IDEMS is excited to be involved at these early stages in the cutting edge of understanding this new research methodology, learning what tools and methods are needed to support this, and ultimately how to achieve impact.