Kansas State University


Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification

Category: August 2018

Appropriate-Scale Mechanization Enables a Chain of Innovations for Smallholder Farmers in Burkina Faso.

The Appropriate Scale Mechanization Consortium (ASMC)-Burkina Faso has great respect for the contribution of farmers and blacksmiths in the process of adapting and promoting mechanization for sustainable agricultural intensification. Farmers understand how mechanization advances their farming system, and work alongside the local blacksmiths who understand their needs and have the skills to repair and build their tools. Long-term impacts will result from nurturing the social process whereby farmers, blacksmiths, and other stakeholders take ownership of their own development. Our partners are developing confidence in identifying and evaluating problems and potential solutions. We are refining the process of experimenting, adopting and disseminating innovations that are useful and appropriate.

On-farm innovations

On-farm innovation is a key component in the process of continuous

Figure 1. Mechanized planting of maize will alleviate the tedious work of hand planting for women and children.

improvement of the farming system. An innovation can be physical, mechanical, biochemical, behavioral or a modification of an existing method or technology–“a new thing or method used in farming” (Nielsen, 2001)–to advance some aspect of the farming system. In Burkina Faso, advances in mechanization facilitated by the ASMC have enabled a chain of innovations in methods, techniques, and inputs for tillage, seed placement, plant population, crop rotations and crop varieties, feed processing and storage adapted to local conditions. See video: On Farm Innovations, Burkina Faso

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Sustaining the Future of Cambodian Agriculture


Engaging young people in agriculture is a crucial priority to maintain the food supply and economy.

We’ve seen the seemingly trend-line here in the United States for the last century: it’s difficult to engage youth on the farm.

Similar challenges also exist in Cambodia. Not only do the young people not want to stay in the countryside on the farm, they often want to move to the larger urban areas. This migration of youth could have dire consequences for the future of agriculture in a country where most of the population is dependent on farming.

The government is addressing the problem by exposing young people to the opportunities in agriculture and making an agriculture education more attractive and affordable.

And a group of USAID-affiliated researchers is doing their part to help.

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