AICCRA’s representatives attending the launch of MITA 2023 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Scaling gender-smart innovations for better nutrition across West Africa

During the Market for Agricultural Innovations and Technologies (MITA 2023) conference organized by West and Central Africa for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF), the AICCRA team showcased the project's role in driving nutrition and gender-sensitive, agricultural innovations across West Africa, with a focus on scaling validated solutions.

Agriculture in West Africa is vulnerable from the interaction of several challenges: climate change, land degradation, insufficient access to technologies, and the difficulties in reaching markets. 

There is therefore, an urgent need to tackle such challenges but also to scale the achieved solutions for the benefit of the West African communities.

The Market for Agricultural Innovations and Technologies (MITA 2023) conference was organised under the theme “Facilitating access to gender- and nutrition-sensitive agricultural technologies and innovations’’ to tackle such issues. 

MITA was launched by the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF), Africa's largest sub-regional research organization, which works with 23 national agricultural research systems in West and Central African countries to facilitates access to and the scaling-up of agricultural technologies and innovations across West and Central Africa. 

MITA builds on CORAF’s work to disseminate technologies and innovations in agricultural value chains, with a view of attracting key players involved in the supply, transfer, and use of agricultural technologies. 

“Innovation platforms are a powerful means of achieving mass adoption of technologies and innovations,” said Dr Lamien Niéyidouba, Programme Manager for Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security, who also served as a program officer for the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Program (WAAPP).

Such testimony during the MITA event that took place in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso reflects the importance of the MITA platform initiated by CORAF for its partners in West and Central Africa. 

Dr Niéyidouba Lamien Programmes Manager and Focal Point, Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security


The Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) project took part in the four days of intensive activities around the MITA event, with representatives from AICCRA’s regional, country, and thematic teams.

MITA was an opportunity for AICCRA to convene partners from across West Africa—with both regional and country focus in Senegal, Mali, and Ghana—to engage in dynamic discussions and showcase AICCRA climate-smart agricultural innovations, that promote nutrition and are inclusive of women. 

To demonstrate these innovations and how they are being scaled in West Africa, a panel was dedicated to the project addressing the theme of Accelerating uptake of gender and nutrition sensitive climate-smart agriculture and climate information services in West Africa.

During the session, selected innovations from Senegal, Ghana and Mali showed how innovations can respond to the challenges of nutrition and gender inclusion, and how they can be scaled up through regional institutions such as CORAF but also the AGRHYMET Regional Centre, a specialized agency of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) and Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). 

AICCRA’s representatives attending the launch of MITA 2023 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

"For AICCRA, MITA is a mechanism to enable us to scale up all the innovations in climate-smart agriculture and climate information services to benefit all countries in the ECOWAS zone."

 Robert Zougmoré, AICCRA West Africa Leader

Unveiling innovation: AICCRA country clusters take the stage

Participants observed that numerous innovations result from the collaborative efforts within AICCRA's focus countries. 

Among others, AICCRA’s team in Ghana presented the ‘smart maize seed’, a pro-vitamin A biofortified variety that is also early maturing and drought resistant, which the team promote together with supporting climate-smart agriculture practices. 

Women farmers much preferred these biofortified maize seeds, as do the local agro-processors of maize. 

Faustina Obeng Adomaa, gender and inclusion focal point for the AICCRA team in Ghana, presenting the innovations developed in country

Regional institutions as catalysts for scaling innovations

The AICCRA team leveraged the MITA event to pave the way for future collaboration with regional organizations responsible for scaling climate-smart innovations in agriculture across West Africa. 

The focus of the discussion hosted by AICCRA was on how to leverage the efforts led by regional organisations to effectively ‘spillover’ and replicate the innovative approaches to in neighbouring countries, that have already been scaled in AICCRA’s West African focus countries. 

AICCRA was joined by representatives from some of the project’s key partners in West Africa: CORAF, CILSS, WASCAL and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). 

They all reaffirmed their commitment to support innovations which can be scaled through various dissemination mechanisms and levers. 

Mariam Maiga, the regional gender advisor to CORAF said: 

"We have learned a lot and these success stories are worth scaling up.” 

She added that: 

“As part of our collaboration, we will look at how we can work to meet the challenges we all face and ensure that we feed people with an agricultural research and development sector that is climate-sensitive, gender-sensitive and nutrition-sensitive."

What's next

After the presentations, participants in AICCRA’s MITA event were surveyed on their understanding of the innovations presented, and whether they intended on adopting any.

Among the most preferred technologies was the ‘Pay-as-you-go solar powered irrigation business models——indicated by 45% of respondents—which allows farmers to pay for the solar irrigation system in instalments, with each payment contributing to the total purchase price of the system.

Further work is underway to identify and better understand the needs and preferences of AICCRA’s potential partners in West Africa in relation to climate-smart innovation for agriculture, a key step towards scaling innovations across more West African countries.


Belmira Moustapha - Communications Officer, AICCRA West Africa - Alliance Bioversity and CIAT

Alcade C. Segnon - Science Officer, AICCRA West Africa - Alliance Bioversity and CIAT