ArticlePDF Available

Use of a warrantage system to face rural poverty and hunger in the semi-arid area of Burkina Faso

  • Institut de l'Environnement et de recherches Agricoles (INERA), Burkina Faso, Kamboinsé
  • Institut de l'Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles, Burkina Faso, Ouagadougou

Abstract and Figures

It is widely believed that limited access of small scale farmers to agricultural credit is one of the key causes of rural poverty and a major constraint to adoption of innovations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since the early 1960s, many strategies to access agricultural credits have been implemented with success. This study assessed the effects of warrantage, a community-based micro credit system, on poor small resource farmers' income and livelihoods of the semi-arid area of Burkina Faso. Two broad socio economic surveys were conducted among 1040 farmers and 440 household heads. Data were collected from 58 inventory credit warehouses and 36 input shops established in the study areas. The results showed that the warrantage system is dominated by women farmers (who produce 60% of the stored harvests) and appears as the main source of agricultural credit. The profit (up to 140%) provided allows farmers to purchase external inputs such as inorganic fertilizers. This resulted in higher crop productivity and a substantial increase of farmers' income which in turn improve farmers' livelihood.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Vol. 10(2), pp. 55-63, February 2018
DOI: 10.5897/JDAE2017.0841
Article Number: 4D5D5CD55565
ISSN 2006-9774
Copyright ©2018
Author(s) retain the copyright of this article
Journal of Development and Agricultural
Full Length Research Paper
Use of a warrantage system to face rural poverty and
hunger in the semi-arid area of Burkina Faso
Badiori Ouattara1*, Sibiri Jean Baptiste Taonda1, Arahama Traoré1, Idriss Sermé1,
François Lompo1, Derek Peak2, Michel P. Sédogo1 and André Bationo3
1Institut de l’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA), Burkina Faso.
2Department of Soil Science, University of Saskatchewan (UofS), Canada.
3Department of Soil Science, International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC), 70,
Rue ESBTAO Hountigomé - BP 4483 Lomé - Togo Lomé, Togo.
Received 9 April, 2017; Accepted 1 August, 2017
It is widely believed that limited access of small scale farmers to agricultural credit is one of the key
causes of rural poverty and a major constraint to adoption of innovations in Sub-Saharan Africa. Since
the early 1960s, many strategies to access agricultural credits have been implemented with success.
This study assessed the effects of warrantage, a community-based micro credit system, on poor small
resource farmers’ income and livelihoods of the semi-arid area of Burkina Faso. Two broad socio
economic surveys were conducted among 1040 farmers and 440 household heads. Data were collected
from 58 inventory credit warehouses and 36 input shops established in the study areas. The results
showed that the warrantage system is dominated by women farmers (who produce 60% of the stored
harvests) and appears as the main source of agricultural credit. The profit (up to 140%) provided allows
farmers to purchase external inputs such as inorganic fertilizers. This resulted in higher crop
productivity and a substantial increase of farmers’ income which in turn improve farmers’ livelihood.
Key words: Inventory credit system, mineral fertilizer, staple crop production, small farmers.
Agriculture is the engine of economic growth in the Semi-
Arid Sudano-Sahelian zone of West Africa. According to
FAO (2012), it is practiced by 80% of the population and
provides 35% of the countries gross domestic product
(GDP). Despite the efforts of the Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs) to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger,
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is still facing a very large food
deficit contributing to hunger, poverty and malnutrition
(FAOSTAT, 2010; Schaffert, 2007). Food production is
becoming insufficient because of the growing population.
According to Adesina (2009) and Bationo and Wasma
(2011), the decrease in agricultural productivity is linked
to poor natural resources, unadaptable socio-economic
and policy environment and to inappropriate climatic
Agricultural soils in the Sahelian zone are characterized
by predominantly sandy texture and low organic matter
which results in very low fertility, particularly with respect
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Author(s) agree that this article remain permanently open access under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution
License 4.0 International License
56 J. Dev. Agric. Econ.
to soil phosphorus and nitrogen (Buerkert et al., 2001;
Van Straaten, 2011). This systemic deficiency drastically
limits crop growth and yield. Furthermore, these poor-
structured soils are prone to runoff and erosion, resulting
in the further depletion of their productive capacity
(Bationo and Waswa, 2011; Sermé et al., 2016).
To address land hunger in the West African Sahel lies
in the intensification of agriculture and in the use of
external inputs (specifically inorganic fertilizers) which
could increase soil productivity (Van Keulen and Breman,
1990; Bationo et al., 2014). Although, integrated soil
fertility management (ISFM) techniques have been
developed by both national agricultural research systems
(NARS) and international research organizations, these
technologies have not been widely adopted by poor
farmers. The reasons lie on the high costs of these
technologies. Moreover, inputs availability is low and
application rates of recommended fertilizers are not
affordable to small farmers (Poulton et al., 2006; Adesina,
Three critical issues have to be addressed for fertilizers
to successfully increase staple food crop productivity in
Africa: fertilizer accessibility must be improved,
affordability must be increased and the use of incentives
must be effective (Poulton et al., 2006; Adesina, 2009;
Sanginga and Woomer, 2009). In this perspective,
important studies have been carried out by international
research institutions and some NARS in West Africa to
develop an effective technique known as fertilizer
microdosing (ICRISAT, 2001; Aune et al., 2007; AGRA,
2014; INERA et al., 2014).
This technique not only makes inorganic fertilizers to be
more affordable to poor small scale farmers but also
increases the efficiency of their use (Buerkert et al., 2001;
Bagayogo et al., 2011). The microdosing technique
consists in applying small doses of fertilizers in the
sowing hills during planting or 10 to 15 days after
planting. Combined to rain water harvesting techniques, it
gives a quick start to young plants and can contribute to
increase crop yield by more than 150%, even in rain
deficit situations (Palé et al., 2009; INERA et al., 2014).
In spite of this significant technological advance,
resource-poor small scale farmers are often unable to
increase their production because of the lack of access to
appropriate credit facilities. In the case of high
production, there is a marketing problem of the extra
production (Poulton et al., 2006). At harvest or
immediately after post-harvest time, the market prices are
low and farmers could not increase their income by
selling their products to satisfy their needs and to
purchase appropriate farm inputs for the coming cropping
Many approaches were developed in African countries
to improve the access of farmers to agricultural credit
(Ouédraogo and Fournier, 1996; Zoundi and Hitimana,
2011; Anang et al., 2015). This was the case of Savings
and Agricultural Credit Unions that appeared before
independences era, first in English speaking African
countries (Ghana, Tanzania) and then in West African
French-speaking countries. The operator mode of these
community-based structures was broadly in line with
Western models (Ouédraogo and Fournier, 1996). They
were particularly characterized by their independence vis-
a-vis the National Administrations and, the access to
credit was reserved only to their members (Mondiale,
2007). Later, these structures were replaced by the
National Agricultural Credit Offices and/or National Banks
for Agricultural Development making more accessible
credit to farmers. However, since 1980, these credit
structures failed and the Popular Offices for agricultural
credit took place in various African countries (Zoundi and
Hitimana, 2011 Anang et al., 2015). These popular
structures offer great support to farmers and to the
informal sector activities (Buckley, 1997).
To address the complex issue of facilitating credit to
poor households, the international research institutions in
collaboration with some West Africa NARS and the Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
developed a community-based micro credit approach
known as Warrantage or inventory credit system
(ICRISAT, 2001; Tabo et al., 2011; Adamu and Chianu,
2011; Sogodogo et al., 2014). The organizations of
farmer in partnership with a lending agency (micro
financial institution, NGO, etc.) store their products at
harvest in the appropriate warehouses and are issued
with cash loans based on the value of their deposit. The
loans enable them to address some urgent household
financial needs and participate in collective fertilizer
purchases. With this credit, farmers are able to carry out
some income-generating activities (fattening of small
ruminants, vegetable gardening and trading) during the
off-season. Then, in agreement with the lending
institution, farmers sell the stored grains at higher prices,
4-5 months after harvest, when the market supply begins
to decline. Through this arrangement, they are able to
earn substantial benefit that allow them to pay back their
loans with interest (Adamu and Chianu, 2011; Tabo et al.,
The warrantage system was implemented in some
West Africa countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger
about ten years ago. It has been recently introduced in
Benin (INERA et al., 2014). The accessibility to
agricultural inputs, and the adoption of technological
innovations could increase rain-fed crop production and
household livelihoods; this rain-fed crop production could
be also reinforced by the warrantage system (Adamu and
Chianu, 2011; Tabo et al., 2011).
This study aims to assess the implementation level of
the warrantage system in Burkina Faso and to identify
how this community-based micro credit system could
influence (i) the attendance of input shops and inorganic
fertilizer purchase, (ii) the adoption of fertilizer micro
dosing technique, (iii) the rain-fed crop production and
(iv) the household livelihood and food security.
Ouattara et al. 57
Figure 1. Location of the experimental sites.
Study area
The study was conducted in two sites (Provinces), respectively
located at the northern limits (Province of Zondoma) and Eastern
Central (Province of Kourittenga) in the North-Sudanian zone of
Burkina Faso (Figure 1). These areas are characterized by a clear
woody Savannah, plagued by a continual environmental
degradation caused by climate change and increasing land
pressures. Soils are mainly sandy, poor-structured and strongly
deficient in phosphorus and nitrogen, resulting in a low productive
Agricultural production is mainly rain-fed and dominated by small-
scale farmers in these sites. This production is subjected to the
perverse induced-effects of climate change and climate variability.
Then, this agricultural production is characterized by a lack of
government support in both input supplies and credit systems.
Data collection
The study was particularly focused on data recorded from 58
warrantage infrastructures and 36 input shops which were
established six years ago to support the dissemination of inorganic
fertilizer microdosing technique. To assess the effects of the
inventory credit system on farmers’ production capacity and
livelihoods, two broad socioeconomic surveys were carried out 3
and 6 years after establishing the warrantage system. 1040 farmers
and 440 household heads were sampled and constituted in a
simple and randomized way in 12 villages in the study areas. An
individual questionnaire was used to collect information on the links
58 J. Dev. Agric. Econ.
Table 1. Sources of credit at farmer level, in Burkina Faso, in 2012.
Validated percentage of involved farmers (%)
Average amount of credit (FCFA)
76 625
92 317
765 000
38 333
214 240
28 179
22 875
45 888
Table 2. Beneficiaries of the warrantage credit according to
between this warrantage system and fertilizer purchase, micro-
dosing technique uptake, farmers’ income and livelihoods.
Method of analysis
Descriptive statistics were performed to calculate the mean values
and the frequencies of the various variables. Therefore, Chi-square
test was used to appreciate the relation between warrantage
system and some variables like input shops visitation and the
adoption of mineral fertilizer microdosing technique. Student's t test
was performed to evaluate the induced-effect of the inventory credit
system implementation on crop yield.
Descriptive statistics on the inventory credit system
In the northern and central eastern part of Burkina Faso,
the survey showed that even if the amount of warrantage
credit is not high, this micro-credit system provides 27%
of farmers with financial resources. The average amount
of inventory credit is 28,179 FCFA per producer and per
year (Table 1). Certainly, the national financial institutions
granted high total credit values, but the number of
beneficiaries was very limited.
A breakdown of the farmer’s population by gender
showed the highest participation of women in this
inventory credit system (57%) as compared to men
(Table 2). Table 3 shows that the speculations involved in
the inventory credit system were commonly rain-fed
crops. The stored quantities vary according to both region
and crop. Groundnuts, cowpea and rice were the most
stored crops. 60% of the stocks were cowpea and
groundnuts mainly from Zondoma.
Cost benefit analysis of the warrantage system
The economic analysis of adopting the warrantage
system in 2012 showed that this system was a very
profitable business. It allowed farmers to generate profits
ranging from 90 to 183% (Table 4). A comparative
analysis of the warrantage system on farmer’s income
revealed that the storage of sorghum and millet is more
profitable than other crops.
Effects of the warrantage system on rain-fed crop
production and community-based livelihood
Relationship between the warrantage system and
input shop attendance and/or input purchase
From the socio economic survey carried out on 1040
households, the results revealed that very few farmers
visited an input shop and/or purchased inorganic fertilizer
(Table 5); only 33% are aware of community based
infrastructure; then 49% are involved in the warrantage
system. The statistical analysis through the determination
of Chi-square showed a significant link between these
two variables. The adoption of the warrantage systems
therefore, positively influences the attendance to inputs
shops and the fertilizer purchase.
Relationship between the warrantage system and the
micro dosing adoption
During the socio economic survey carried out in the 12
villages, it was shown that 32.5% of the villages applied
the inorganic fertilizer microdosing technique. This
proportion of the microdose adoption was increased by
94% when the villages practiced the warrantage system
(Table 6). The Chi square calculation showed a strong
relation between these two variables, indicating that the
warrantage system is a determining factor in micro
Ouattara et al. 59
Table 3. Amount of crop (kg) stored in the warrantage warehouses in two provinces in Burkina Faso in 2012.
Total stocks (%)
Table 4. Case study of the benefit obtained from the Inventory Credit System in 2012.
Stock values
Granted credit
Credit interest
Values at
credit ratio
116 200
8 715 000
6 972 000
836 640
16 268 000
8 459 360
88 547
5 486 000
4 388 800
526 656
12 238 000
7 322 544
14 190
798 000
638 400
76 608
1 881 000
1 165 992
19 052
3 334 100
2 667 280
266 728
5 334 560
2 400 552
18 228
2 096 220
1 676 976
167 697
4 101 300
2 256 627
Table 5. Relationship between the warrantage practice and the visitation of an input shop (number and percentage of
Visit to an input shop
Total (%)
Practice of the
Warrantage system
Yes (%)
114 (49.1)
118 (50.9)
232 (100)
No (%)
233 (28.8)
575 (71.2)
808 (100)
347 (33.4)
693 (66.6)
1040 (100)
Table 6. Relationship between micro dosing and the warrantage practices at the village level (number and percentage of
Practice of Micro dosing technique
Practice of the
warrantage system
16 (94.1)
1 (5.9)
17 (100)
40 (32.5)
83 (67.5)
123 (100)
56 (40.0)
84 (60.0)
140 (100)
dosing technique adoption.
Effects of the warrantage system and the microdosing
adoption by households
The socio economic survey showed that 55% of the
households in the Eastern Central part (Kourittenga) did
not practice the inorganic fertilizer microdosing technique.
Table 7 indicated that only 36% of those who were not
granted with the warrantage credit practiced the micro-
dosing technique. When they were granted credit via the
warrantage system, the proportion of households adopting
this practice significantly increased by about 80%. This
demonstrated the strong contribution of the inventory
credit system to the microdosing technology adoption.
In the same area, the inventory credit system was
practiced by 33% of women cowpea producers. These
women were more likely to adopt the microdose
technology (36.7%) as compared to those who were not
granted with warrantage credit (10%). The influence of
the warrantage system on the decision to adopt
microdose technique is highly significant and positive
(Table 8).
60 J. Dev. Agric. Econ.
Table 7. Influence of the warrantage practice on microdosing technique adoption by households (number and
percentage of adopters).
Microdosing technique
Yes (%)
No (%)
Table 8. Influence of the warrantage practice on microdosing technique adoption among female farmers (number
and percentage of adopters).
Microdosing technique
Warrantage practice
Yes (%)
No (%)
Table 9. Relationship between the warrantage and cowpea yields (kg ha-1) among women farmers.
Average crop yield
Standard deviation
ANOVA (significance)
Non adopters
Relation between the warrantage system and rain fed
crop production
The comparison of crop yield averages indicates that
women cowpea producers who were practicing the
warrantage system obtained significantly higher yields as
compared to those who were not granted credit. Table 9
indicates that this system increased cowpea yields by
about 107%.
Relationship between the warrantage practice and
farmer perception of livelihood
With the interview, summarized in Table 10, 43% of
households noted some progress in their livelihood. It is
the same for 49% of farmers who were granted credit by
the warrantage system. But this increase is not significant
because 41% of those who did not practice any
warrantage system also noted an increase in their
livelihood. Only 10% found their livelihood status is
deteriorating whether or not they practice the warrantage
In the study sites, six years data analysis from 2009 show
that the inventory credit system remains the main source
of funds for the agricultural activities. The warrantage
system appears therefore as a community-based micro
credit scheme which is affordable to poor small scale
households (Adamu and Chianu, 2011; Tabo et al., 2011,
Sogodogo et al., 2014). Among other sources of funds, it
is the most considered by famers (Poulton et al., 2006;
Adesina, 2009; Zoundi and Hitimana, 2011), and more
suited to the socio-economic conditions of poor farmers.
Moreover, it is realized that at all level, (adoption and
stored products) women are the ones practicing this
activity most. Commonly, the stored products are
represented by annual rain-fed crops (cereals, cowpea,
sesame and groundnut). Cowpea and peanut mainly
produced by women represent over 60% of the stocks.
However, the market value of a given product lies on its
social and economic importance at the selling period.
Therefore, sorghum and millet, the main staple foods of
the region, provide higher benefits and ensure food
security at food shortage period (beginning of the wet
season). On average, the benefits due to the crops
storage are close to 140% of the granted credit. These
results express the determining role of this inventory
credit system in the improvement of the socio-economic
conditions of farmers as confirmed by a study of FAO
(2012) in the southwestern part of Burkina Faso and in
Mali (Sogodogo et al., 2014).
Ouattara et al. 61
Table 10. Relationship between the warrantage system and farmers’ perception of livelihood (number and percentage
of farmers involved).
Evolution of livelihood status
Practice of
warrantage system
Yes (%)
No (%)
The study also show that 57% of women actively
participated to this warrantage system. This situation
could be explained by the fact that rural women are
commonly in charge of the household’s management. An
inventory credit system that allows them to support
income-generating activities (fattening of small ruminants,
small trading and vegetable production) is welcomed and
easily accepted. Furthermore, the high participation of
women in that microcredit could be explained by the
value of the deposit (cereal) as a guarantee, which is
more affordable to poor small scale farmers. The
conventional credit systems require more guarantees
(Roesch, 2004; Poulton et al., 2006; Adesina, 2009) that
women are not able to provide due to their precarious
economic situation.
Generally, the warrantage system allows farmers to get
considerable benefits through the increase of the price of
stored products when the market supply begins to
decline. Once the credit is repaid, the producer becomes
owner of the products that he can sell at a better price
according to the market demands. Another source of
benefits got by farmers is the realization of income-
generating activities that are not documented in this
With the goal to support small poor farmers, mainly in
facilitating the access to production inputs, the
warrantage credit system is successful in empowering
farmers to purchase inorganic fertilizer for microdosing
technique. This result is consistent with the theory of
agricultural credit. Daoudi and Wampfler (2010), Beaman
et al. (2014), Banerjee et al. (2015) and Crépon et al.
(2015) showed that the agricultural credit promoted the
adoption of innovations. This micro-credit strongly
influences the attendance to inputs shops and therefore
enables farmers to acquire fertilizer and other agricultural
inputs (Buerkert et al., 2001; Tabo et al., 2011, Sogodogo
et al., 2014).
The study clearly showed that most of the farmers who
carried out the warrantage system also adopted the
inorganic fertilizer microdosing technique. With the
objective to support poor small farmers, the warrantage
system is a potential framework to inform and train cost-
effective agricultural innovations. This positive effect of
the warrantage system on the accessibility to fertilizers
and to efficient fertilizer management technologies,
consequently improves crop yields (Buerkert et al., 2001;
Bagayogo et al., 2011; Tabo et al., 2011). In fact, farmers
involvement in the warrantage system increased
significantly, their income because of the benefits linked
to crop storage and the income-generating activities
(FAO, 2012; Sogodogo et al., 2014). In addition, food
availability at the beginning of wet season (weeding
period) contributes to improve manpower productivity,
and consequently increase future rain-fed crop yields.
The problem of access of small poor farmers to
agricultural credit resulted in a urgent need to find
appropriate solutions to support agricultural production.
From this perspective, this study clearly shows that the
inventory credit system is an appropriate approach to
address farmers’ poverty and food security. It is a
community-based and annual-running tool that is simple
to operate and only requires suitable partnership with
micro financial institutions. Accordingly, it appeared as
the main source of credit in the study area. In addition,
the warrantage system is affordable to poor farmers,
even to disadvantaged groups such as women. Thus this
study showed that inventory credit system is more for
female in Burkina Faso, because of their adhesion to the
warrantage system. This activity enables them to earn
money to conduct income-generating activities and
address their household needs.
The profit obtained from the warrantage system allows
farmers to purchase external inputs such as inorganic
fertilizers. This assertion was confirmed by the strong
relation between this practice and the adoption of
microdosing technique, resulting in higher yields and
substantial increases in farmer income. Most of the
households interviewed realized that their livelihood
increased over a six-year period.
In spite of these advantages, the dissemination of the
inventory credit system also has constraints which need
to be addressed thus: (i) the real problems associated
with access of farmers to agricultural credit cannot be
tackled solely by capital injections but require fundamental
structural changes of socioeconomic conditions that
characterize this activity sector. Specifically, farmers
need to be empowered so that they can establish
themselves in win-win partnerships such as the warrantage
62 J. Dev. Agric. Econ.
system with larger financial institutions; (ii) existence of
adequate warehouses at farmers’ organization level is a
prerequisite to practice the warrantage system. The
quality of products at selling times (and thus profitability)
is strongly correlated with storage conditions; (iii) farmers’
organizations need real assistance from policy makers
who must facilitate warehouse implementation and
encourage win-win partnerships between farmers’
organizations and financial institutions; (iv) future
research activities focused on the monitoring and
evaluation of an inventory credit system must be
intensified to seek more profitable and sustainable
scenarios. After tackling these constraints, the
warrantage system will appear to be a good pathway to
combat both rural poverty and low agricultural
The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.
The authors acknowledge the financial support of the
Canadian International Development
Agency/International Development Research Centre
(CIDA/IDRC) and the Alliance Green Revolution in Africa
foundation (AGRA), through the collaboration of
researchers from the University of Parakou (Benin);
Institut de l’Economie Rurale (Mali); Institut National de
Recherche Agronomique (Niger); the University of
Saskatchewan (Canada) and the International Center for
Tropical Agriculture (Kenya).
Adamu MA, Chianu J (2011). Improving African Agricultural Market and
Rural Livelihood, through Warrantage: case study of Jigawa State,
Nigeria. In: Bationo, A., Waswa, B., Okeyo, J.M., Maina, F., Kihara,
J.M., 2011 (eds) “Innovations as key to the Green revolution in
Africa”, Springer Sciences + Business Media BV 2:1169-1175.
Adesina AA (2009). Africa’s food crisis: conditioning trends and global
development policy. Keynote paper presented at the international
association of agricultural economists conference, Beijing, China, 16
August 2009.
AGRA (2014). Achieving Pro-Poor Green Revolution in Dry lands of
Africa: Linking Fertilizer Micro dosing with Input-Output Markets to
Boost Smallholder Farmers’ Livelihoods in Burkina Faso. Rapport
Final du Projet. 72p.
Anang TB, Sipiläinen TAI, Bäckman ST, Kola JTS (2015). Factors
influencing smallholder farmers' access to agricultural microcredit in
Northern Ghana. Afr. J. Agric. Res. 2460-2469.
Aune JB, Doumbia M, Berthé A (2007). Microfertilizing sorghum and
pearl millet in Mali Agronomic, economic and social feasibility.
Agriculture 36(3):199-203.
Bagayogo M, Maman N, Palé S, Siriti S, Taonda SJB, Traoré S, Mason
SC (2011). Microdose and N and P Fertilizer application rates for
pearl millet in West Africa. Afr. J. Agric. Res. 6(5):1141-1150.
Banerjee A, Karlan D, Zinman J (2015). Six Randomized Evaluations of
Microcredit: Introduction and Further Steps. Am. Econ. J. Appl. Econ.
Mondiale B (2007). Revue du secteur financier au Burkina Faso.
Document Final 145p.
Bationo A, Waswa BS (2011). New Challenges and Opportunities for
Integrated Soil Fertility Management in Africa. Innovations as Key to
the Green Revolution in Africa. pp. 3-17.
Bationo A, Kihara J, Waswa B, Ouattara B, Vanlauwe B (2014). Land
degradation and agriculture in the Sahel of Africa: causes, impacts
and recommendations. J. Agric. Sci. Appl. 3(3):67-73.
Beaman L, Karlan D, Thuysbaert B, Udry C (2014). Self-selection into
credit markets: Evidence from agriculture in Mali. Center Discussion
Paper, Economic Growth Center 1042:38.
Buckley G (1997). Microfinance in Africa: is it either the problem or the
solution? World Dev. 25(7):1081-1093.
Buerkert A, Bationo A, Piepho HP (2001). Efficient phosphorus
application strategies for increased crop production in Sub-Saharan
West Africa. Field Crops Res. 72:1-15.
Crépon B, Devoto F, Duflo E, Parienté W (2015). Estimating the impact
of microcredit on those who take it up: Evidence from a randomized
experiment in Morocco. Am. Econ. J. Appl. Econ. 1:123-150.
Daoudi A, Wampfler B (2010). Le financement informel dans
l’agriculture algérienne: les principales pratiques et leurs
déterminants. Cah. Agric. 19:143-148.
FAO (2012). Le warrantage de la COPSA-C dans le Sud-Ouest du
Burkina Faso.
FAOSTATS (2010). Food balance sheets. Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations.
ICRISAT (2001). ICRISAT Annual Report 2001 'Grey to Green
INERA, IER, INRAN, UP, UofS, CIAT/TSBF (2014). Integrated nutrient
and water management for sustainable food production in the Sahel,
Final technical report of IDRC Project N°106516, INERA
Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. 101p.
Ouédraogo A, Fournier Y (1996). Les coopératives d’épargne et de
crédit en Afrique. Historique et Evolution récentes. Rev. Tiers Monde
Palé S, Mason SC, Taonda SJB (2009). Water and fertilizer influence
on yield of grain sorghum varieties produced in Burkina Faso. S. Afr.
J. Plant Soil 26(2):91-97.
Roesch M (2004). Financement de la culture attelée et stratégies
d’équipement. Rev. Elev. Med. Vét. Pays Trop. 57:191-199.
Sanginga N, Woomer P (2009). Integrated Soil fertility Management in
Africa: Principles, Practices and Developmental Process. Tropical
Soil Biology and Fertility Institute of International Centre for Tropical
Agriculture, Nairobi. 263p.
Schaffert RE (2007). Integrated fertility management for acid Savanna
and other low phosphorus soils in Africa and Brasil. A seminar
presentation at KARI Headquaters, Nairobi, Kenya, February, 2007.
Sermé I, Ouattara K, Ouattara B, Taonda SJB (2016). Short term
impact of tillage and fertility management on Lixisol structural
degradation. Int. J. Agric. Pol. Res. 4(1):1-6.
Sogodogo D, Dembélé O, Konaté S, Koumaré S (2014). Contribution du
warrantage a l’accès des petits producteurs au marché des intrants
et des produits agricoles dans les communes rurales de Klela, Fama
et Zebala dans la région de Sikasso au Mali. Agron. Afr. 26(2):167-
Tabo R, Bationo A, Amadou B, Marchal D, Lompo F, Gandah M,
Hassane O, Diallo MK, Ndjeunga J, Fatondji D, Gerard B, Sogodogo
D, Taonda JBS, Sako K, Boubacar S, Abdou A, Koala S (2011).
Fertilizer Microdosing and "Warrantage" or Inventory Credit System
to Improve Food Security and Farmers' Income in West Africa. (Eds
A. Bationo, B. Waswa, J. M. Okeyo, F. Maina and J. M. Kihara).
Springer Netherlands. Innovations as Key to the Green Revolution in
Africa. pp. 113-121.
Van Keulen H, Breman H (1990). Agricultural development in the West
African Sahelian region: a cure against land hunger? Agric. Ecosyst.
Environ. 32:177-197.
van Straaten P (2011). The geological basis of farming in Africa. In:
Bationo A, Waswa B., Okeyo J.M., Maina F., Kihara J.M., editor.
Innovations as Key to the Green Revolution in Africa: Springer. pp.
Zoundi SJ, Hitimana L (2011). The Challenges Facing West African
Family Farms in Accessing Agricultural Innovations: Institutional and
Political Implications. In Andre Bationo, Boaz Waswa, Jeremiah M.
Okeyo, Fredah Maina, Job Maguta Kihara (2011) (eds). Innovations
as Key to the Green Revolution in Africa. pp. 49-62.
Ouattara et al. 63
... Besides, FECECAM tailored its loan products to the need of its client. For example, the lender offers among its farm loan products, the warrantage and an inventory credit system that remains the main source of funds for agricultural activities in Sub-Saharan countries like Burkina Faso (Ouattara et al., 2018). Studies showed that the warrantage, a community-based microcredit scheme, is suitable and affordable to poor small-scale farmers (Ouattara et al., 2018;Tabo et al., 2011). ...
... For example, the lender offers among its farm loan products, the warrantage and an inventory credit system that remains the main source of funds for agricultural activities in Sub-Saharan countries like Burkina Faso (Ouattara et al., 2018). Studies showed that the warrantage, a community-based microcredit scheme, is suitable and affordable to poor small-scale farmers (Ouattara et al., 2018;Tabo et al., 2011). A study by Ouattara et al. (2018) showed that the warrantage system's use improved farmers' profit by 140%, resulting in higher income, ultimately improving farmers' livelihood. ...
... Studies showed that the warrantage, a community-based microcredit scheme, is suitable and affordable to poor small-scale farmers (Ouattara et al., 2018;Tabo et al., 2011). A study by Ouattara et al. (2018) showed that the warrantage system's use improved farmers' profit by 140%, resulting in higher income, ultimately improving farmers' livelihood. ...
Full-text available
Purpose The purpose of this study is to examine the effect of loans provided by Benin's largest microlender. Design/methodology/approach A pipeline design and matching techniques contribute for identifying the causal effect. The loan treatment considered is loan experience. It includes program entry timing, take-up frequency and the amount obtained over six years. The study uses a cluster analysis to create comparison groups. Findings Experience with agricultural loans has a statistically significantly positive effect on recipients' farm income, food security and women's empowerment. Though unusual, these positive results can be credited to the very low rate of loan repurposing and mostly to the lender's rigorous loan implementation strategy. Practical implications The study results validate the hypothesis underlying development strategies that target women regarding loan programs. The study provides a simple yet valuable lesson for future credit impact evaluations: the context of the loan program as well as the evaluation indicators is essential. Social implications This study’s findings suggest that microcredit, when offered judiciously and with support, can improve farmers' conditions. Originality/value Given the relatively long period studied, the analysis has been innovative in defining loan treatment and creating reliable treatment groups. Also to the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first of its kind in Benin.
... Grâce à ce crédit, les producteurs peuvent rembourser leurs dettes, satisfaire les besoins sociaux (éducation, santé, cérémonies, etc.), développer des activités économiques de contre-saison (maraîchage, embouche, transformation, etc.) leur permettant de générer des revenus complémentaires et/ou choisir d'investir dans des moyens de production plus performants (intrants, matériel agricole, etc.) susceptibles d'améliorer leurs rendements agricoles (Suarez Sanchez, 2018 ;Pala, 2012). Selon Ouattara et al. (2018), les bénéfices obtenus grâce au système de warrantage permettent aux agriculteurs d'acheter des intrants tels que des engrais organiques pour la technique de microdose. L'analyse comparative de rendements obtenus par les bénéficiaires et les nonbénéficiaires du warrantage effectuée par ces auteurs a montré que les productrices de niébé qui pratiquaient le système de warrantage au Burkina-Faso ont obtenu des rendements significativement plus élevés que celles qui n'ont pas obtenu de crédit warrantage. ...
Full-text available
RÉSUMÉ La filière maïs occupe une place de choix dans l'alimentation des populations et dans le développement socio-économique des ménages ruraux au Bénin. Malgré cette importance, les producteurs du maïs font face à plusieurs défis dont le faible accès au crédit agricole et l'accès difficile aux marchés agricoles rémunérateurs. C'est ainsi que le warrantage a été promu pour faciliter l'accès des producteurs au crédit agricole, aux marchés des facteurs de production et de produits agricoles afin d'améliorer leur efficacité technique et par conséquent leurs revenus agricoles. Cette étude a donc été consacrée à l'évaluation de l'impact du warrantage sur l'efficacité technique des producteurs de maïs dans le département du Borgou. Elle a été conduite sur un échantillon aléatoire stratifié de 314 producteurs de maïs dont 157 producteurs participants au warrantage et 157 producteurs non-participants. La méthode d'appariement basée sur les scores de propension a été utilisée parce qu'elle est la méthode quasi-expérimentale qui s'adapte aux conditions de réalisation du warrantage évalué. Les résultats ont montré que la participation des producteurs du maïs au warrantage a amélioré leur niveau d'efficacité technique de 3,4 %. La promotion du warrantage mérite donc d'être renforcée et soutenue pour améliorer le revenu agricole d'un plus grand nombre de producteurs. ABSTRACT The maize sector occupies a prominent place in the diet of populations and in the socioeconomic development of rural households in Benin. Despite this importance, maize producers face several challenges, including poor access to agricultural credit and difficult access to remunerative agricultural markets. This is how warrantage was promoted to facilitate producers' access to agricultural credit, to the markets for production factors and agricultural products in order to improve their technical efficiency and consequently their agricultural income. This study was therefore devoted to the evaluation of the impact of warrantage on the technical efficiency of maize producers in the department of Borgou. It was conducted on a stratified random sample of 314 maize producers, including 157 producers participating in warrantage and 157 non-participating producers. The matching method based on propensity scores was used because it is the quasi-experimental method that adapts to the conditions of realization of warrantage evaluated. The results showed that the participation of maize producers in warrantage improved their level of technical efficiency by 3.4%. The promotion of warrantage therefore deserves to be strengthened and supported to improve the agricultural income of a greater number of producers.
... Yield increases from improved sorghum varieties can also be expected, subject to the use of both micro-dose fertilization and soil and water conservation techniques (e.g. 1400 kg/ha compared to 800 kg/ha for local varieties; Ouattara et al. 2018). ...
This book applies a unique, structured, systems methodology for characterizing and grouping large populations of farm households with broadly similar livelihood, production and consumption patterns, and for whom similar development strategies would be appropriate. As a result African households across the continent are grouped into 15 major farming systems and 58subsystems. The farming systems analysis integrates an extensive range of spatial data, administrative statistics, assessment reports and expert knowledge, in order to update the 2001 FAO/World Bank farming systems analysis. Pattern recognition is key to teasing out the diversity inherent to African agriculture and to understanding common livelihood patterns (derived from crops, trees, livestock, fish and off-farm income), constraints and opportunities which define each farming system. The principle of central tendency is used to identify the core length of growing period and travel time to the nearest market town, which are two key indicators of access to agricultural resources and access to agricultural services, respectively, that shape livelihood patterns in each farming system. The method allows farming system drivers, trends and strategic interventions to be identified for policymakers, investors and research planners, using a synthesis of UN statistics, assessment reports and expert knowledge.
... Secondly, the endogenous treatment equation estimation shows that the distance from farmers' place of residence to input shops influences negatively and significantly the probability of applying fertilizer microdosing to sorghum. This finding is consistent with the results of some previous studies, which highlighted that access to warrantage helps farmers overcome the inputs constraints (Tabo et al., 2007;Ouattara et al., 2018;Pender et al., 2008). Being a member of rural organization can improve positively and significantly the probability of applying fertilizer microdosing to maize and sorghum. ...
Full-text available
Fertilizer microdosing was developed in order to increase farmers' income through improvement of fertilizer use efficiency and investment cost reduction in the drylands of West Africa. The purpose of this study is to identify the determinants of fertilizer microdosing fertilization and to analyze its impact on sorghum and maize yields in Burkina Faso. Using endogenous treatment regression model with data collected on 1057 famers in 2011, the findings reveal that access to warrantage credit, participation in training and labor availability are the main factors in the adoption of fertilizer microdosing. In terms of impact, the study shows that fertilizer microdosing contributed to significantly increase sorghum and maize yields by 55% and 37% respectively. The results of this study challenge us to accelerate the process mechanization of fertilizer microdosing fertilization, the establishment of infrastructures such as warrantage shops and farmers' capacity building.
... Yield increases from improved sorghum varieties can also be expected, subject to the use of both micro-dose fertilization and soil and water conservation techniques (e.g. 1400 kg/ha compared to 800 kg/ha for local varieties; Ouattara et al. 2018). ...
Knowledge of Africa's complex farming systems, set in their socio-economic and environomental context, is an essential ingredient to developing effective strategies for improving food and nutrition security. This book systematically and comprehensively describes the characteristics, trends, drivers of change and strategic prioritiesf or each of Africa's fifteen farming systems and their main subsystems. It shows how a farming systems perspective can be used to identify pathways to household food securiity and poverty reduction, and how strategic interventions may need to differ from one farming system to another. In the analysis, emphasis is placed on understanding farming systems drivers of change, trends and strategic priorities for science and policy. Illustrated with full-colour maps and photographs throughout, the volume provides a comprehensive and insightful analysis of Africa's farming systems and pathways for the future to improve food and nutrition security. The book is an essential follow-up to the seminal work 'Farming Systems and Poverty' by Dixon and colleagues for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the World Bank, published in 2001.
In many African countries, rural households typically sell their crops immediately after the harvest, and then face severe food shortages during the lean season. This paper explores whether alleviating both credit and storage constraints through an inventory credit (or warrantage) program is associated with improvements in household livelihood. We partnered with a rural bank and a nation-wide organization of farmers to evaluate a warrantage program in seventeen villages in Burkina Faso. In randomly chosen treatment villages, households were offered a loan in exchange for storing a portion of their harvest as a physical collateral in one of the newly-built warehouses of the program. We found that the program has, on average, increased cultivated area in treated villages (mainly cotton and maize), fertilizer use, cattle and grain stock at the end of lean season (millet). Although much less robust, the results of the estimations concerning the direct users of the system further suggest that warrantage may have extended the self-subsistence period of about two weeks and increased dietary diversity, with more fruit consumed weekly.
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to study an innovative rice value chain financing system (VCFS) established in Benin, to identify the determinants of producers and processors access to formal credit, both at intensive and extensive margins. It focuses on multi-stakeholder platforms (MSP) which connect producers and processors in need of credit to potential financial lenders. Design/methodology/approach The empirical analysis uses rich cross-sectional survey data collected in Northern Benin in 2018. The sample consists of 215 rice producers and 217 rice processors randomly selected through a multi-stage sampling and interviewed with structured questionnaires. The empirical models analyze the determinants of the likelihood to receive a credit and the amount of credit received. To account for the sample selection and censored nature of the main outcome variable, the study considers a Heckman two-stage model coupled with a Tobit model for robustness checks. Findings The study finds that the MSP are effective in increasing access to formal credit and the amount borrowed. Producers and processors who are members of the MSP are more likely to receive credit and, conditional on being approved for credit borrower, a larger amount. Other key factors that significantly explain access to credit include the use of soft guarantee for securing a loan, the degree of participation in the platform and demographic characteristics. These findings are consistent across the Heckman and Tobit models. Research limitations/implications The study attempts to rigorously analyze the factors explaining producers and processors access to credit using cross-sectional survey data. But it has some limitations. The main limitation is the type of data used. Ideally, one would like to run a randomized control trial (RCT) to randomly assign participation in the MSP to causally estimate its impact of access to credit. The second-best option would be to have a panel data covering the period before and after the establishment of the platform. However, in the absence of an RCT or panel data, the study resorts to cross-sectional data and empirical models that account for sample selection bias and the censored nature of the credit received. Practical implications One of the key findings of the study is that participation in the MSP (through different value chain stages associations) increases access to formal credit. This highlights an important and effective mechanism, a well-coordinated value chains that integrated lenders, that policymakers can leverage to facilitate access to credit in the agricultural sector. Social implications Access to credit is important to boost agricultural productivity and income. Hence, the findings of the study have social implications in terms of poverty reduction in rural areas. Originality/value The study contributes to earlier theories and empirical studies on the demand for credit. It focuses on an innovative VCFS, increasingly adopted in many developing countries, adds originality and value to the understanding of mechanisms to unlock agricultural actors’ access to credit in low-income countries.
Full-text available
L’analyse des conditions favorables au développement de la traction animale et celle des stratégies des agriculteurs permet de caractériser les différents types d’agriculteurs qui adoptent et développent cette technique. Trois grandes catégories apparaissent : (i) les jeunes agriculteurs entreprenants qui cherchent à développer des cultures de rente et compensent leur manque de main d’oeuvre par l’utilisation de la traction bovine ; l’équilibre de l’exploitation reste précaire et le maintien de la culture attelée est conditionné par la propriété d’un capital minimum sous forme de troupeau qui permet de faire face aux années déficitaires et évite de décapitaliser ; (ii) les exploitants confirmés qui ont une maîtrise technique et savent équilibrer leur gestion ; la traction animale leur permet d’être moins soumis aux aléas climatiques et économiques, et de capitaliser sous forme de terre ou d’animaux ; et (iii) les gros exploitants qui possèdent plusieurs attelages et en louent une partie ; ils possèdent un capital terre et bétail accumulé progressivement, en partie grâce à l’utilisation de la culture attelée. Les Etats et les projets dits de développement permettaient à une large palette d’agriculteurs d’avoir accès à la traction animale. Le désengagement des Etats et la disparition des projets a freiné le développement de la traction animale, et ceci même dans les zones où se sont maintenus à la fois des cultures commerciales, une structure financière de crédit et un environnement de services favorable (marché du bétail, forgerons). Les exploitants en mesure de s’équiper et de conserver la traction animale sont aussi ceux qui réussissent à se créer un capital sous forme de bétail ou de terre. A l’heure de l’après-désengagement, la poursuite du développement de cette technique sera conditionnée par l’émergence d’un nouvel environnement de services permettant l’accompagnement de ceux qui veulent l’utiliser.
Full-text available
Soil degradation is recognized as a serious constraint to crop production in sub-Saharan Africa. A study was conducted in Nadion, located in the South Sudan zone of Burkina Faso to assess the impact of no-till, tied ridging; ripping and conventional tillage combined with soil fertility management options on Lixisol structural stability after two years of treatments imposition. The fertility management options were control, 2.5 Mg ha-1 of compost every year, 100 kg ha-1 of NPK + 50 kg ha-1 of Urea, mulching (100 % crop residues applied) and 2.5 Mg ha-1 of compost + 100 kg ha-1 of NPK + 50 kg ha-1 of Urea. The results showed that soil structural stability index (StI) tended to decrease under ripping, tied ridging and conventional tillage practices after two years. The application of organic amendments by improving soil organic carbon storage, tend to improve soil structural stability. Key words: Fertility management, lixisol, structural stability, tillage
Full-text available
The Sahel region is largely dependent on agriculture as the main economic activity, with about 80-90% of the population actively engaged in agriculture. Land degradation is however a major environmental issue affecting the region, with negative consequences on agriculture. Unsustainable agricultural practices in the region in turn promote land degradation. This paper discusses the major environmental issues relating to land degradation and agriculture in the Sahel. It attempts to provide a descriptive report on the interactions between land degradation and agriculture based on a desk review of various scientific journals and reports on agriculture and land degradation in the Sahel region. Land degradation in the Sahel is characterised by soil degradation, mainly due to wind erosion. This is favoured by climatic factors such as drought and diminishing rainfall, compounded by anthropogenic factors, including population growth, agricultural intensification and overgrazing. Climatic and anthropogenic factors may act independently or have effects on each other. These factors result in the reduction of vegetation cover, decrease in fallow periods and a reduction in the balance between fallow areas and cultivated fields, which are vital to maintaining soil fertility and reducing losses from erosion. Agroforestry, integrated farming and practices that promote vegetation cover are proposed as sustainable land practices in the Sahel region. These will provide soil cover to protect soils against agents of erosion, increase agricultural productivity per unit land area and diversify farmers' sources of income, resulting in benefits for agricultural production and addressing land degradation.
Full-text available
This paper explores access to agricultural microcredit in Ghana using household survey data collected for the 2013/2014 farming season. The study approaches the access to microcredit from two angles pertaining to the factors influencing access to loan and when accessed, the determinants of loan size. Since these two choices are related, the Heckman selection model was chosen as the analytical tool for addressing the possible presence of sample selectivity bias in the loan size regression. A multi-stage stratified random sampling technique was used to select 300 smallholder rice farmers from three irrigation schemes in Northern Ghana who were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire. The study revealed that the following factors influence access to agricultural microcredit in Northern Ghana: gender, household income, farm capital, improved technology adoption, contact with extension, the location of the farm, and awarenes s of lending institutions in the area. Gender, household size, farm capital, cattle ownership and improved technology adoption were the significant factors determining loan size. The study recommends the improvement of extension service delivery to smallholder farmers to enable them to access microcredit facilities for agricultural production.
Full-text available
We report results from a randomized evaluation of a microcredit program introduced in rural areas of Morocco in 2006. Thirteen percent of the households in treatment villages took a loan, and none in control villages did. Among households identified as more likely to borrow, microcredit access led to a significant rise in investment in assets used for self-employment activities, and an increase in profit, but also to a reduction in income from casual labor. Overall there was no gain in income or consumption. We find suggestive evidence that these results are mainly driven by effects on borrowers, rather than by externalities.
Full-text available
Grain sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] is the major cereal crop used in the Central Plateau of Burkina Faso to produce the traditional beer called “dolo”. Experiments combining five water management techniques (WMT) and four fertilizer treatments (FT) in a randomized complete block design with a split-plot arrangement of treatments were conducted from 2003 to 2005. Water management techniques were allocated to main plots and FT to subplots. The objective was to determine the best cropping practice to optimize yields for two red grain sorghum varieties, IRAT9 and ICSV1001 (Framida), commonly used for dolo production. Results indicated that water conservation using tied-ridges produced higher grain yields. The highest yield benefit was 241 kg ha−1 for Framida. In the IRAT9 field, the highest yield benefit of 395 kg ha−1occurred in the lowest rainfall year (736 mm) of 2005. In all years, microdose consisting of application of 19 kg N ha−1, 19 kg P ha−1 and 19 kg K ha−1 as complex fertilizer NPK at planting, with addition of 20 kg P ha−1 as triple super phosphate at planting in the planting hole and 30 kg N ha−1 as urea applied 45 days after planting (microdose + 20 kg P ha−1 + 30 kg N ha−1) produced the highest grain yield increases from 420 to 756 kg ha−1 for Framida and from 812 to 1346 kg ha−1 for IRAT9. In the IRAT9 field, microdose + 20 kg P ha−1 + 30 kg N ha−1 produced the highest grain yield in all WM treatments, with yield increases from 518 to 1327 kg ha−1 depending on the WMT. Correlations indicated that the number of panicles harvested ha−1 were associated with grain yield for the two varieties. The best cropping system to optimize grain yield of Framida and IRAT9 was the use of tied-ridges and application of micro-dose + 20 kg P ha−1 + 30 kg N ha−1.
Low agricultural commodity prices are the key causes of poverty in many sub-Saharan African countries. Efforts to improve rural livelihoods must improve agricultural produce marketing. This study was carried out to ascertain how Warrantage (a micro-credit scheme) can be used to improve agricultural marketing and livelihoods in Madana community, Jigawa State, Nigeria. The design was an action research approach, based on supervised enterprise project framework of the Department of Agricultural Extension and Economics of the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Data were collected using questionnaires, interviews and group and personal discussions. Analysis was carried out using qualitative and quantitative methods. Prior to intervention, farmers in the area sold their produce at rock-bottom prices immediately after harvest to meet urgent cash needs, resulting in low returns on investment and limited use of improved inputs. A pilot phase led to the observation that farmers could overcome the above problem if offered the opportunity to hold on to the produce for a few months after harvest to take advantage of high prices during the lean season. Through the Warrantage system, farmers have been able to timely access subsidised farm inputs, increase production, store their produce and sell during the lean period when prices are high. Farmers are increasingly able to meet their cash and other needs. The impact of the project has generated widespread interest among other farmers even outside the Madana community who are adopting the Warrantage as a model for sustainable self-help and a robust means of improving their livelihoods.
Causal evidence on microcredit impacts informs theory, practice, and debates about its effectiveness as a development tool. The six randomized evaluations in this volume use a variety of sampling, data collection, experimental design, and econometric strategies to identify causal effects of expanded access to microcredit on borrowers and/or communities. These methods are deployed across an impressive range of locations-six countries on four continents, urban and rural areas-borrower characteristics, loan characteristics, and lender characteristics. Summarizing and interpreting results across studies, we note a consistent pattern of modestly positive, but not transformative, effects. We also discuss directions for future research.
Comparable data are lacking from the range of environments found in sub-Saharan West Africa to draw more general conclusions about the relative merits of locally available rockphosphate (RockP) in alleviating phosphorus (P) constraints to crop growth. To fill this gap, a multi-factorial field experiment was conducted over 4 years at eight locations in Niger, Burkina Faso and Togo. These ranged in annual rainfall from 510 to 1300 mm. Crops grown were pearl millet (Pennisetum glaucum L.), sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) and maize (Zea mays L.) either continuously or in rotation with cowpea (Vigna unguiculata Walp.) and groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.). Crops were subjected to six P fertiliser treatments comprising RockP and soluble P at different rates and combined with 0 and 60 kg N ha−1. For legumes, time trend analyses showed P-induced total dry matter (TDM) increases between 28 and 72% only with groundnut. Similarly, rotation-induced raises in cereal TDM compared to cereal monoculture were only observed with groundnut. For cereals, at the same rate of application, RockP was comparable to single superphosphate (SSP) only at two millet sites with topsoil pH-KCl<4.2 and annual average rainfall>600 mm. Across the eight sites NPK placement at 0.4 g P per hill raised average cereal yields between 26 and 220%. This was confirmed in 119 on-farm trials revealing P placement as a promising strategy to overcome P deficiency as the regionally most growth limiting nutrient constraint to cereals.