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A Transdisciplinary Approach for the Development of Sustainable Yam ( Dioscorea sp.) Production in West Africa

Delwendé Innocent Kiba (), Valérie Kouamé Hgaza (), Beatrice Aighewi (), Sévérin Aké (), Dominique Barjolle (), Thomas Bernet (), Lucien N. Diby (), Léa Jeanne Ilboudo (), Gian Nicolay (), Esther Oka (), Florence Y. Ouattara (), Nestor Pouya (), Johan Six () and Emmanuel Frossard ()
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Delwendé Innocent Kiba: Group of Plant Nutrition, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, 8315 Lindau, Switzerland
Valérie Kouamé Hgaza: Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’ivoire, 01 BP 1303 Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Beatrice Aighewi: International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, PMB 82, 901101 Abuja, Nigeria
Sévérin Aké: Laboratoire de Physiologie Végétale, Université Félix Houphouët Boigny, 22 BP 582 Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Thomas Bernet: Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, 5070 Frick, Switzerland
Lucien N. Diby: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Côte d’Ivoire Country Programme, BP 2823 Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Léa Jeanne Ilboudo: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Côte d’Ivoire Country Programme, BP 2823 Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Gian Nicolay: Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, 5070 Frick, Switzerland
Esther Oka: Laboratoire d’Analyse des Dynamiques Sociales et du Développement, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, BP 526 Cotonou, Benin
Florence Y. Ouattara: Laboratoire d’Analyse des Dynamiques Sociales et du Développement, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, BP 526 Cotonou, Benin
Nestor Pouya: Laboratoire de Physiologie Végétale, Université Félix Houphouët Boigny, 22 BP 582 Abidjan, Ivory Coast
Johan Six: Group of Sustainable Agroecosystems, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
Emmanuel Frossard: Group of Plant Nutrition, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, ETH Zurich, 8315 Lindau, Switzerland

Sustainability, 2020, vol. 12, issue 10, 1-15

Abstract: Yam ( Dioscorea sp.) is an understudied tuber crop despite its importance for food security, income generation, culture, and health in West Africa. Traditional yam cropping practices in West Africa deliver low yields and lead to environmental degradation. In the context of a ‘research for development’ project, we developed and implemented a participatory and transdisciplinary research approach as a means to derive more sustainable yam production practices. We identified and studied different soil and plant management technologies adapted to varying biophysical and socio-economic contexts. For this purpose, we established innovation platforms (IPs) in four yam growing regions of West Africa, to validate the new technologies and to promote their adoption. These co-developed technologies were set up and tested first in researcher-managed plots before doing the same in farmer-managed plots. The new technologies resulted in a significant increase in yam productivity compared to conventional practices. The results discussed in the IPs gained interest from regional stakeholders and were shared through the media at local and national levels. Overall, this development-focused research approach showcases the relevance of purposeful stakeholder involvement to improve agricultural research outcomes.

Keywords: yam; innovation platform; co-development of technologies; West Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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