A multidisciplinary team from Madagascar was recently in Niamey, Niger, to join the Sorghum & Millet Innovation Lab (SMIL) West Africa annual review meeting. The meeting organized by SMIL, which is managed at Kansas State University, benefited the Madagascar team with cross-exchange opportunities with National Agricultural Research Systems, farmer associations, small-scale women food processors, seed companies, and the larger SMIL research for the development community.
Those participating in this initial exchange included Dr. Olga Rachel Rakotomanana EP Rakotomahanina, Animal Food and Nutrition Senior Researcher Laboratory Manager Chemistry Nutrition, FOFIFA; Mina Tsiriararijao Randraianarisoa, Agronomy in Agriculture/Teaching Researcher, FOFIFA; Allain Ranivomanana, Agronomy in Agriculture/Researcher, FOFIFA; Josoah Monja, Leader Farmers Cooperatives in the South of Madagascar, Tinone Association; and Stanislas Rakotondramena, Agronomy in the Environment Resource Management and Agriculture/Food Security Lead, CNFA-Madagascar.
The focus of the SMIL annual review meeting was to share progress and opportunities for the future across research and outreach initiatives currently underway in Niger, Senegal and West Africa. In addition to the guests from Madagascar, teams from Niger, Togo, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ethiopia, Haiti, Germany and the U.S. participated in the meeting.
A second focus of the SMIL annual review meeting was interaction with relevant stakeholders and the exchange of ideas along the value chains. The Malagasy team participated in field-level visits, including the sorghum forage program, small and medium-sized enterprises with women food entrepreneurs, boutique and supermarket sales, and meetings with farmer associations from Niger and Senegal.
The SMIL annual review meeting ended with a collaboration meeting between SMIL and the McKnight Foundation to cross-pollinate and build synergies. Opportunities for information, technology exchange, and strengthening farmer research networks were highlights of the meeting.
The SMIL and Madagascar teams are grateful for the support of USAID in this initial exchange visit funded through a USAID Madagascar Mission Buy-In.