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A FFRU is conceived as learning space, where research, restoration, innovation, demonstration, SI education, extension and capacity building (workshops, field visits) are realised. Inside the FFRU, researchers, partners and selected stakeholders (farmers, development agents, representatives of farmers’ union, public institutions) exchange inputs, integrate WP-related knowledge, experiment a wide range of issues directly and practically on the field  (i.e. management of soil fertility and water resources, crop variety selection, risk associated with toxic pesticides, etc), in a continuous and mutual exchange between tacit and academic knowledge.


FFRUs promote a virtuous process that includes marginalised and/or abandoned lands and existing agricultural lands into novel best practices aimed to increase yield potential through active participation, collaboration, cooperation between researchers, farmers and stakeholders.


FFRUs are intended to set up a virtuous process of permanent dialogue between stakeholders through the use of virtual and material research/relational platforms. FFRUs aim to find a balance between the needs of communities related to economic support, social fairness and environmental protection through the sustainable use of available resources (natural, human, financial etc.). Permanence beyond the project time as well as identification of FFRUs as a new operating model will be the greatest ambition.

A total of 18 Farmer Field Research Units (FFRUs) have been identified in the six African project countries. 

A participatory field evaluation to identify a series of NUS have been carried out in the FFRUs. 

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Critical issues: water

and soil  management,

high risk of failure due

to climate variability;

post harvest losses due to pests and diseases and delayed harvesting

and poor storage

facilities; weak extension

delivery system:


crop varieties.

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Critical issues:
Variable productivity

and Iow yield of major crops 
and livestock; over-exploitation

of natural resources; inadeguate agronomic management (mono-cropping with Iow external inputs); pre- and post-harvest Iosses;

limited multistakeholder

approach; limited accessibility

to resilient technologies

for climate change; weak

market linkage.

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Critical issues:

low crop and poor

soil fertility; lack of

farm inputs; high incidence

of pre- and post-harvest

Iosses due to inadeguate

pest and diseases management

and inappropriate drying and storage practices;

use of Iow yielding


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Critical issues:

soil fertilty decline due to

acidifcation and nutrients

depletion; Iack or misuse of inputs (fertilizers, herbicides etc.); Ioss of

traditional soil fertility restoration practices (e.g. intercroming cereal with legumes); insufficient involvemelt of farmers in plant breeding; limited crop residues recycling and forage shortage

for livestock

(dry season)

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Critical issues:

very Iow agricultural

productivity, poverty 

and a lack of resilience, poor infrastructures

and market accessibility,

 gender inequality and a Iack of income diversification;

poor use of fertilizers

and low access to

improved seed


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Critical issues:

low crop productivity

and poor soil fertility;

soil erosion and Iand

degradation due to overgrazing

and poor agro-pastoral

and agricultural practices; environmental fluoride

pollution which impacts

on crop production and food safety; high cost of inputs;

inadequate policies

Activities carried out

Promotion of most performing Neglected and Underutilized Species (NUS)


Integrated soil fertility management strategies and land recovery (use of compost; biochar; intercropping cereals and legumes; Conservation agricultural techniques; Technical improvements on traditional water harvesting techniques; Agri-livestock Integration)

Post-harvest management strategies to avoid mycotoxin contamination in stored food and feed

Pre-harvest plant protection traditional knowledge.


Development of Economic models for new technologies and practices


Sustainable Intensification Indicators for agricultural practices promoted within EWA-BELT and tested in the FFRUs


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