The “Farms of the future" arrives in West Africa

The ‘Farms of the Future’ tool provides a real opportunity for farmers in a given place to consider how their climate and related agricultural system will be in the future. Photo: A. Jarvis (CIAT)

Building adaptive capacity to climate change in West Africa through implementation of ‘Farms of the future’ approach

Variability and climate change represent key threats to agriculture, food security and small-scale subsistence agriculture in West Africa. The so far fragile agricultural production systems are challenged by the impacts of climate changes which, therefore, affect million of population depending on subsistence agriculture.

Those particular farmers use endogenous agricultural practices and apply techniques to respond the situation with the support of technical training agencies (governmental trainers, executives of rural development projects and non-governmental organizations, extension services, executives of farmers’ organizations networks).

Building farmers’ adaptive capacities 

A regional training workshop on climate analogue and ‘farms of the future’ approach focused on tools for building farmers’ adaptive capacity to the impacts of climate change in West Africa was held at the AFRICA HALL conference room in Niamey, Niger from 3rd to 5th October 2013. It was initiated by CCAFS West Africa and the Institute for Sahel (INSAH) and was attended by participants from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Senegal. 

The workshop aimed at building technical stakeholders’ capacity on the use of climate analogue tool and its ‘farms of the future’ approach to improve the adaptive capacity to climate changes.

The « climate analogues » tool was jointly developed under the leadership and with the financial support of Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Walker Institute of the University of Reading (GB), International Center for Tropical Agriculture CIAT (Colombia), and Climate Impacts Group of the University of Leeds (GB).

 The « climate analogues » tool enable to link similar statistically climate sites to provide answer to the following question: Where on the globe can I find a future (or current) climate that can be compared to that of my locality?

The « climate analogues » tool is used by the « farms of the future » approach to identify analogues sites.

The basic assumption is that this tool and its ‘farms of the future’ approach provide an opportunity to farmers of a given place A to consider how their agricultural climate and related systems would be in future, to learn, through inter-farmers exchanges, adaptive practices and technologies applied by farmers in a given place B so that they can later anticipate or implement lessons learned from place B to improve their own adaptive capacity.

Implementation of farms of the future approach:

  • Identification of a model site
  • Identification of analogue sites
  • Train/raise awareness of agents of agricultural innovative systems towards farms of the future approach
  • Define /develop a vision for the perspectives of the community where the model site is established
  • Identify training opportunities for the community where the model site is established
  • Train population (2 men and 2 women) in the use of camera
  • Take records of visits, discussions during trips
  • Prepare trips along with bodies involved in establishment of analogue sites (facilitator)
  • Carry out exchange visits of farmers
  • Report the visit to the community  
  •  Develop an action plan to implement training activities
  • Maintain a large involvement of stakeholders in the process
  • Capitalize the process.

Participants state their appreciations:

Bationo Babou André

Researcher at INERA, Burkina Faso

Coordinator in-charge of the Research- Participative Action of the CCAFS

« The tool that has been introduced to us offers the opportunity to have new ideas, in particular, the concept of climate analogue allows new perspectives. With this tool, farmers can prepare themselves as well as the next generation to respond upcoming situations. Our education systems were focused on moral and behavioural principles. However, basic knowledge of climate changes must be integrated in the systems. »

Diaminatou Sanogo

Researcher at ISRA, Senegal

Focal Point of ENRACCA

« Following this workshop, we will be able to change our former approach into new knowledge that we obtained. It will also offer us the opportunity to provide to our decision makers key information to be considered when they plan national policies and programmes. »




Abass Tougiani

National Coordinator for the activities under CCAFS programmes in Niger

Researcher at ICRAF-Niger 

“ This workshop came at the right moment as it provided us with the capacity to discover that we were using approaches without considering analogue situations. It is true that we organize exchange visits between farmers, but we were not addressing climate change issues. This workshop offered us an opportunity to equip ourselves with knowledge to integrate concepts of climate analogies and farms of the future into the activities we are carrying out.»

For more informations: See publication on Climate Analogues

Organizers: CCAFS West Africa and Institut du Sahel.

Participants came from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Sénégal.

This blog was written by Mathieu Ouédraogo, Visiting Scientist and Sékou Touré, Communication Officer at CCAFS West Africa.

The pictures in the blog were taken by S. Touré (CCAFS WA)