Report of the
External Evaluation Panel's Field Review of TropSoils in Niger
Report of the
EXTERNAL EVALUATION PANEL'S FIELD
REVIEW OF TROPSOILS IN NIGER
TABLE OF CONTENTS
REPORT OF THE EXTERNAL EVALUATION PANEL
FIELD REVIEW OF TROPSOILIS PROGRAM IN NIGER
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS..................................... 2
MANAGEMENT OF THE PROJECT...................................... 4
THE ROLE OF TAMU/TAES IN BACKSTOPPING THE RESEARCH PROGRAM 5
PLANNING THE FUTURE RESEARCH PROGRAM........................... 6
RELATIONS WITH OTHER INSTITUTIONS.............................. 6
INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT...................................... 7
GRADUATE STUDENT PROGRAMS...................................... 8
RESEARCH PROGRAMS.............................................. 9
Soil Water Management ..........................10
Energy Balance in Bare and Covered Soils................... 11
Tillage Practices to Control Sand Blasting ..................11
Use of Windbreaks.......................................... 11
Soil Variability........................................... 11
Soil Chemistry............................................. 13
Soil Resource Inventory.................................... 13
USER ORIENTED RESEARCH......................................... 14
OUTREACH PROGRAMS IN MALI AND CAMEROON......................... 15
REPORTING OF RESEARCH.......................................... 15
FOLLOW-UP REVIEW............................................... 16
Chronology of Review ..............................17
Persons Contacted in Niger During Review ...................18
TROPSOILS, Reports Provided for Viewing in Niger ............19
REPORT OF THE EXTERNAL EVALUATION PANEL
FIELD REVIEW OF TROPSOILS PROGRAM IN NIGER
The research program in Niger is the major part of the TROPSOILS effort in the Semi-Arid Tropics. It is conducted by Texas A & M University/Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in cooperation with INRAN (the agricultural research organization of Niger) and the Sahelian Center of the International Center for Research in the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Effectively the program has been underway since March, 1983, when Dr. Robert Chase of TAMU/TAES arrived in Niger as the in-country senior scientist on the project. A second senior scientist, Dr Naraine Persaud, arrived in March, 1984. Dr. Chase left the project in 1986 and has not been replaced.
The TAMU/TAES TROPSOILS program has some research underway in Mali and Cameroon also. It is conducted primarily by graduate students and host country scientists. Neither of these sites was visited during this review.
The review in Niger was conducted from 15 to 23 July, 1986.
Dr. ECA Runge, Head of Soil and Crop Sciences Department at TAMU; Dr. Larry Wilding, Professor of Soils, TAMU; Dr. Charles McCants, Director of the Management Entity (ME) of TROPSOILS; Dr John Malcolm, S&T, AID, Washington, D.C.; Dr Robert Chase, formerly senior scientist on the project in Niger; and the members of the External Evaluation Panel (EEP), (Drs. John Coulter, Peter Hildebrand, Marlowe Thorne, and Paul Vlek) travelled to Niger for the review. Dr. Naraine Persaud, TROPSOILS senior scientist in Niger; Mr. John Gardner, TAMU graduate student conducting thesis research in Niger; and a number of INRAN and ICRISAT scientists in Niger also participated in the review.
A document, entitled "Background Information for the Semi-Arid Tropics Program Review" was prepared by TAMU and delivered to the EEP members while enroute to Niger. Other documents, including the 1984-89 TROPSOILS Program Plan, the Triennial Review, the Report of the April, 1986 Review, the Report of the 1984 Review in Niger, and the trip report of Dr. McCants to Niger in 1985 were also utilized for this field review.
The schedule for the review, the list of persons contacted in Niger, and some publications written in Niger which were viewed are given at the end of this report.
SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
The project has made considerable progress since planning began and particularly since the field work started in March, 1983. The strengths and weaknesses of the research program are recorded in later sections of this report. The recommendations, summarized here, reflect the EEP's concerns with improving the future direction and management of the project.
A. Leadership and Administration:
1. Texas A & M University/Texas Agricultural Experiment Station
should designate a leader of the field research program in Niger,
with clearly defined duties.
2. An administrative assistant should be added in Niger also and
the leader should delegate to that person as many of the
administrative duties as possible.
3. TAMU/TAES should appoint a campus-based staff member to
provide leadership and coordination of campus and field
activities. It is preferable that this be a person who is
currently a member of the TAMU/TAES staff.
B Program Planning:
1. The TROPSOILS team of TAMU/TAES should develop a 5 year
program plan, recognizing that changes may be necessary as
funding increases or decreases.
2. The plan should be developed in cooperation with INRAN,
ICRISAT, and USAID.
3. TROPSOILS should assist INRAN in taking the initiative in
discussions with ICRISAT.
3. The plan should be submitted by December, 1986.
D. Training of INRAN staff:
1. TROPSOILS should make every effort to assist well-qualified
INRAN staff members to obtain advanced degree training in subjects
suitable to their responsibilities and interests.
2. TROPSOILS should assist with in-service training of INRAN
E. TAMU graduate students conducting research under TROPSOILS in
1. TAMU should make certain that no student is sent to
cooperating countries in the SAT whose background or training is
inadequate or who is not fully aware of his/her technical and
administrative relationship to the senior scientist in the
2. TAMU should make certain that each graduate student who does research under TROPSOILS writes a report of his findings in both
English and French languages before he/she returns to the U.S.
F. Research Projects:
1. A report should be prepared regarding the work in
agroclimatology and further analyses should not be undertaken
unless important data or measurements that need additional
analyses are found.
2. The soil water management studies should continue, but they
should be linked with the agronomic work so that these parameters
can be related to crop performance.
3. A report which includes the results of the temperature
studies should be prepared as soon as possible and certainly
before the end of 1986.
4. A report which includes the work with the sand fighter
should be prepared by the end of 1986.
5. The measurements in the windbreak study should continue for
one more year.
6. A short-term study should be undertaken by Texas specialists to assess the importance of soil variability in the SAT. Future
work shuld depend upon the outcome of these studies.
7. TROPSOILS should continually assess the restrictions the Shaelian farming systems impose on the recycling of organic matter, and if another program should be initiated, highest
priority should be given to soil chemistry studies.
8. Soil resource inventory investigations should proceed in
Niger to the extent field work can be accomplished by graduate
students and/or short-term visits of TAMU/TAES staff.
9. TROPSOILS should give serious consideration to initiating
user oriented research and explore the possible collaboration of
TROPSOILS with DER and DECOR of INRAN in such studies.
A better structured and more formal reporting procedure should be
organized and followed to provide all interested parties with
appropriate, timely, and well-thought-out reports.
H. Follow-up Review.
The Management Entity should schedule a special evaluation of the TAMU/TAES/Niger program in connection with the next annual review
of TROPSOILS to assess progress in complying with these
recommendations of EEP.
I. MANAGEMENT OF THE PROJECT
A. In Niger:
The exit of Dr. Chase has left Dr. Persaud as the only
senior scientist on the project in Niger. His
responsibilies in regard to the total program have not yet
been clearly defined.
EEP recommends that TAMU/TAES designate a leader of the
field program; his/her duties in designing and reporting the
research program, relationships with INRAN, ICRISAT, and other agencies operating in the same field, oversight of
graduate students and the planning of the outreach program in adjacent countries in the SAT should be clearly defined.
EEP recommends that the field program leader be supplied
with an administrative assistant to whom should be delegated
as many as possible of the administrative duties.
B. In Texas:
The EEP is concerned that the recent changes at the
University have left the project without the leadership
that is necessary within the University and Experiment
Station. The project has reached the stage where major
decisions on direction over the next 3 to 5 years are
needed, where close coordination between the activities at College Station and Lubbock on the one hand and the field program on the other is essential and where assessment of past progress and future priorities is required. Clearly
the achievements of the project over the next 3 to 5 years, in terms of its scientific output and its potential impact
on production at the farmer level, will be critical.
EEP recommends that TAMU/TAES appoint a campus-based staff member who would spend a substantial proportion of his/her
time on the project. It would be preferable if an
appropriate person could be identified within the existing
TAMU/TAES staff. The person would provide overall
direction to the program and maintain proper focus. He/she
should have the respect of the collaborating institutions,
both in Texas and in Niger. He/she should be responsible
for timely reporting of progress to the Management Entity.
I. THE ROLE OF TAMU/TAES IN BACKSTOPPING THE RESEARCH PROGRAM.
These Texas institutions have the capacity to give considerable
help to the program, but such help should be designed with the
Nigerien rather than the home institutions as the priority. The
project has spent $2.5 million to date and is in its fifth
fiscal year (1985-86). During the last full fiscal year
(1984-85), expenses were approximately $1 million, with 56%
being spent in Niger, 36% for research at College Station and
Lubbock, and 7% for coordination costs, including salary of
EEP recommends that, in order to make the research backstopping
from Texas more relevant to in-country needs, the Texas
facilities be utilized to:
A. Provide guidance and backstopping to the soil-water
management program in Niger.
B. Play an active role in inventorization of soil resources,
with emphasis on land capablility and soil fertility. A
soil sampling scheme could be initiated with chemical
analysis performed in Texas or by INRAN. Data
interpretaion (grigging) could be handled in Texas.
C. Undertake a short-term study by Texas specialists to assess
the importance of soil variability in the SAT. Both aerial
survey/ground truth methodologies and anthropological
survey methods should be considered. As indicated later,
soil variability as a problem in Niger deserves further
quantification before additional detailed studies are made
D. Soil physical chemistry studies should be conducted in Texas
laboratories to elucidate the plant nutrient intensity and
capacity factors in the Niger soils and to quantitatively
study the lime and phosphate interactions in the soil.
The presence of a competent soil/plant analysis specialist
within the INRAN/TAMU/TAES system provides an opportunity to further assist-the TROPSOILS project by conducting soil test
calibration studies. This information may improve substantially
the interpretive power of the soil resource inventorization.
III. PLANNING THE FUTURE RESEARCH PROGRAM
The panel recognizes that the initial phase of the program had to be exploratory and that it was necessary to try a wide range of activities; it should now be possible, however, to decide on
those areas of research where the most promising developments
could take place.
EEP recommends that the Tropsoils team develop a 5 year program,
recognizing that changes may be necessary as funding increases
Clearly such a program needs to be developed in full cooperation
with INRAN, with other institutions, e.g. ICRISAT, and with
USAID. INRAN should take the leadership role in indicating its objectives for soil resource management, its priorities, and its
longer term plans for soil research. TROPSOILS could then
decide on its role within this overall framework. In achieving
this objective, INRAN and TROPSOILS would need to work together
bringing in other agencies which are potential contributors to
the overall objectives.
The panel has indicated later in this report those areas which it considers important: these include soil water measurement,
soil variability, soil chemistry, soil resource
inventorization, and user oriented research. Clearly, more
discussion is needed in deciding on the research program to be followed. The program plan should focus on a few well-defined
areas where TROPSOILS has a comparative advantage.
EEP recommends that the program plan should be submitted by
IV. RELATIONS WITH OTHER INSTITUTIONS
EEP congratulates the field team on the good relations it has
developed with the soils group at INRAN and with the USAID
mission. There are other sections of INRAN and other groups with
which collaboration could and should be strengthened. At the personal level, relations with ICRISAT in Niger appear cordial,
but the panel would like to see discussions on closer
collaboration in the future. The degree to which this can be
useful depends on ICRISAT's future plans for research into soil
management. With its regional mandate, ICRISAT can give only
part of its attention to Nigerien problems, but a combined
ICRISAT-INRAN-TROPSOIS effort could be very productive.
EEP recommends that TROPSOILS assist INRAN in taking the
initiative in discussions of collaboration with ICRISAT as part
of the development of soil management research plans.
V. INSTITUTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
One of the objectives of CRSPs is "to improve research
institutional capability in prime and other countries where
research is conducted so that ultimately they can operate
independently and play lead roles in spreading technology in
their respective ecological zones and geographical regions"
INRAN is very short of trained scientists; the few at post are
subject to many calls on their time.
In the past, INRAN has not encouraged additional training out of
country for its staff because of the difficulty of carrying on
the program in Niger while the staff members were away. This is
still a problem, but current INRAN administration appears to
take a more favorable view towards advanced training.
Another important method of improving research institutional
capability is through in-service training of host country
research staff members. This may be done through seminars, workshops, plannning sessions, conferences, etc. TROPSOILS
senior scientists and graduate students have participated in
such activities. Visiting TAMU/TAES faculty members have given seminars at INRAN. This is encouraged and every scientist who
visits under TROPSOILS sponsorship should come prepared to give a
seminar while in Niger.
Participation in seminars and other scientific meetings in the
region can provide valuable training and professional experience
and is encouraged. Occasionally a host-country scientist may
attend a professional society meeting outside the region,
particularly if it can be arranged in connection with other
Need has been expressed for training some member of the soils
laboratory staff in maintenance and repair of laboratory equipment. This becomes particularly important with the
intensification of effort in the laboratory which is resulting
from the adddition of Dr. Manu and the acquisition of additional
facilities and equipment. IFDC has indicated such training
could be provided at no cost if the staff member's
transportation and living expenses were met from other sources.
TROPSOILS should make every effort to help INRAN obtain the funds
needed for such training.
Numerous short courses are available in the US and elsewhere
which would be valuable for some research staff members in
Niger. USDA sponsors a number of short courses each year of
about six weeks duration each. The one in soil fertility should
be particularly appropriate for some INRAN soils staff members.
There is a fee for such courses and funds would have to be
sought to finance such training.
TROPSOILS can support institutional development by aiding INRAN
in its training program, by helping to develop a productive
soil research program through the presence of its field team and
through the backstopping activities and continuing association
with TAMU/TAES scientists.
EEP recommends that TROPSOILS make every effort to assist
well-qualified INRAN staff members to obtain advanced degree
training and/or in-service training in subjects suitable to their
responsibilities and interests.
The development of a continuing long term relationship between
the Texas TROPSOILS scientists and INRAN scientists should
prevent the problems which sometimes develop in technical
assistance programs whereby the program fades away as soon as
the technical assistance team is withdrawn from the host
VI. GRADUATE STUDENT PROGRAMS
Six TAMU students have completed thesis research in the
Semi-Arid Tropics of Africa under the TROPSOILS PROGRAM. One
did research in Niger and one in Cameroon for their PhD
degrees. Four have done MS degree research in Niger. Currently one student is in Niger conducting MS thesis research and one is
in Mali. Another will soon arrive in Niger to start PhD
research under TROPSOILS sponsorship. Two other students will
probably begin thesis research in Niger in the next year or two.
One INRAN staff member has taken course work at TAMU with
financial assistance provided by the Purdue/USAID project in
Niger. He is now back in Niger for the summer of 1986
conducting his MS thesis research in cooperation with TROPSOILS.
20 BS and MS degree programs have been sponsored for Nigerien
scientists under the Purdue project to date and plans are to
sponsor up to 15 more for MS and PhD degree programs.
All TROSPOILS thesis research is contributing to one of the
TROPSOILS projects and is in line with the CRSP objectives. It
provides needed information which is being made available to
TROPSOILS cooperators. Some has been published in journals and reported at scientific meetings in the SAT of Africa and in the
US. It has been reported orally at the annual INRAN conferences
and in the written Proceedings of those conferences.
In the initial stages of the TROPSOILS program in the SAT, some
graduate students doing research in Niger had inadequate
backgrounds in agriculture and had deficiencies in their training
in soil science. Their relationships with the senior scientists
on the program in Niger were not clearly defined and some
confusion resulted. Recently the administrative and technical
responsiblity for the TROPSOILS program at TAMU has been assigned to the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences ind
graduate students who will go to the SAT in the future will be
advised by a member of that Department located either at College
Station or at Lubbock.
EEP recommends that TAMU make certain that no student is sent to cooperating countries in the SAT whose background or training is
inadequate or who is not fully aware of his technical and
administrative relationship to the senior scientist in Niger.
Each student should have completed all or nearly all his/her
course work and have a well developed thesis research project
formulated before the student departs the U.S. The project
proposal should be developed by the student and his/her campus adviser, in cooperation with the Tropsoils senior scientist in
Niger and the cooperator(s) in Niger.
US graduate students conducting research in Niger can be
excellent role-models for their host country counterparts and
colleagues while in Niger. Often they can demonstrate the
scientific method and objectivity of inquiry better than can be taught by a major professor alone. The effectiveness of graduate
students is diminished, however, if they do not report their
research findings orally and in writing before they leave Niger.
EEP recommends that each graduate student leave a report in
Niger in both English and French languages before return to the
VII. RESEARCH PROGRAMS
The TROPSOILS research program in Niger is not only too
broad to be effective, it lacks the necessary coherence for a
multilocational research effort. Initially the program addressed primarily the soil water management component,
as reflected in the appointment of two soil physicists in Niger.
Other areas of research such as agroclimatology, pedology, soil
variability, soil crusting, and agro-forestry were added over
time. Some orientation time and environmental characterization
are understandable in view of the new and harsh environment
encountered by the scientists. It is not entirely clear, however, how the focus of the project became so broad. With current budgetary constraints, and at this phase of the project,the focus must be sharpened.
Studies have been conducted (e.g. modeling, mineralogy) which appear to have no linkage with the needs of the SAT, or at least are presently not being utilized.
A. Aaro-climatol ogy
The project has made considerable progress in analyzing the climatological data base for agriculture in Niger. The statistical analyses of rainfall data will provide good information for crop improvement and agricultural development projects.
EEP recommends that a report of the work in agro-climatology be prepared and that further analyses not be undertaken unless there are found to be important areas that need additional analyses.
B. Soil Water Management
Of the nine research projects included in the propos ed 1986 budget for this program, six include studies dealing with soil water management. Thus, a major portion of the research effort is concentrated in this field, which is obviously related to the work in climatology on the one hand and soil chemistry and fertility on the other.
Work on characterizing the hydrological properties of the soils; studies on gains and losses of soil moisture; rainfall management to increase crop yields; development of low to intermediate input soil, water, or crop management practices to increase and/or stabilize yields of rainfed crops; studies of rooting patterns of millet and cowpeas; studies of water use efficiency and soil fertility relationships; and studies leading to increasing available soil water and crop yields through tillage and fertilization are included in the projects budgeted for continuation. These represent important research efforts which can make contributions to increasing crop production in the region.
EEP recommends that the soil water management studies continue, but that they be linked with the agronomic work so that these parameters can be related to crop performance.
C. Energy Balance in Bare and Covered Soils
A considerable amount of time and money has been invested in this work. Some interesting results on soil temperatures have been obtained. Work on this project has been suspended.
EEP recommends that a report including the results of the energy balance studies, particularly the soil temperature data, be prepared as soon as possible and certainly before the end of 1986.
D. TillaaePractices to Control Sand Blasting
This project has been completed but a report has not yet been written. Though damage to young seedlings by sand is a serious problem which the animal drawn sand fighter appears to reduce, there appears little possibility of practical application. Animal traction is mostly limited in Niger to the very small areas of irrigated rice and adoption on a large scale in the rainfed production areas of the country is not probable. In the few areas of sandy soils where animal or other power isavailable, there are local implements which can be used to combat blowing sand about as effectively. The work with the sand fighter may have hightened interest in the possibility of control and stimulated other adaptive work.
EEP recommends that a report including the work with the sand fighter be prepared by the end of 1986.
E. Use of Windbreaks
The project has been fortunate in being able to use an established windbreak project in the Magia valley to make a series of measurements on millet production. There is substantial interest in the use of windbreaks to improve agricultural production in the Semi-Arid Tropics.
EEP recommends that measurements in the windbreak study continue for one more year.
F. Soil Variability
A systematic survey of the ICRISAT Sahelian Center revealed that the soils on this 500 ha station vary from Ultisol to Alfisol to Entisol, with definite differences in inherent productivity. However, within these soil types, productivity seemed to vary widely over short distances, with "bare" spots appearing periodically.
Soil variability was identified early as a major problem. However, the precise meaning of the term, "major", is yet to be defined. ICRISAT views it as a "major" problem because of its disasterous effects on experimental results. A soil chemist may consider it 'major" because it is striking and interesting. The extent to which farmers in the Sahel, Niger, or Mali consider it a "major" problem has not yet been assessed satisfactorily. No effort to assess the problem on a geographic basis is known. Moreover, there are conflicting opinions regarding the persistence of the problem over time, possibly reflecting varying causes of micro variability.
The TROPSOILS program became involved in research on the "bare" spots without properly addressing its significance. Two graduate students and considerable supervision time of a resident senior scientist were committed to this effort. The first step was, apparently, to select a "bare" spot at ISC and transect it in two directions with soil samples taken from various depths. Samples were also taken from various "good" and "bare" spots of fields surrounding ISC. It appears that the "bare" spots show lower pH (3.5-5.2) than "good" spots (4.5-5.0), and a high (negative) correlation existed between dry matter production and exchangeable Al in this uniformly planted field. Plants grown on bare spot soils in the greenhouse exhibited high contents of Al (2700 ppm;- and Mn (880 ppm), while good soils had about 500-600 ppm Al and 200 ppm Mn. However, total uptake differences were less dramatic due to stunted growth in "bare" soils. It is not clear whether high Al levels were due to stunted growth (possibly resulting from Mn toxicity) or vice versa.
From this point on, the systematic approach in this research appears lost. Al was postulated to be the problem, but liming did not seem to solve the problem. This led to missing element trials to see if nutrient deficiencies might be the cause of "bareness". This hypothesis was discarded again, leading to additional lime trials with and without adequate reaction time. Lime seemed to work if properly reacted, as did phosphate. The Al hypothesis was revived again. A theory was proposed at this time that chlorides could exacerbate the problem. Nobody seems to know why. Although Mn toxicity was at one time considered, this hypothesis seems to have been discarded.
A major issue seems to have become the fact that in pot trials the "bare" soils are not as productive as the fertilized "good" soils, even when measures are taken to correct the "bad" soils. However, in nearly all cases, the good soils controlo" is not subjected to the same treatment (wet/dry, liming, heavy P application), confounding such comparisons. Moreover,.all
inferences are made on the basis of dry matter production without chemical verification.
The issue remains unresolved. Besides, the question remains whether the cause of microvariability around Sadore is the same as elsewhere (e.g., Mali).
The EEP is of the opinion that this study has suffered from a lack of attention by qualified supervising scientists. It is apparently not within the major training of either of the senior scientists in Niger and has not had adequate backstopping from TAMU/TAES scientists on home campuses.
EEP recommends that a short-term study be undertaken by Texas specialists to assess the importance of this problem. Both aerial survey/ground truth methodologies and anthropological survey methods should be considered. Future work should depend on the outcome of these studies.
G. Soil Chemistry
The EEP is of the opinion that, if a secondary in-country research program were to be initiated within TROPSOILS, highest priority should be given to soil chemistry. Numerous topics of soil chemistry were reviewed duing the Niger visit. However, it appears that the area of soil chemistry warranting the greatest attention is the chemistry of organic matter. Not only does the water management research appear to emphasize mulching as a water conservation measure, there also appears to be strong interactions between residue use and fertilizer response. Thus, this type of program would provide ample opportunities for collaboration with existing water-management programs and fertilizer research programs of INRAN, ICRISAT, and IFDC. Topics of relevance might be:
Organic matter accumulation as a function of management,
Nutrient cycling through residues,
Organic matter-fertilizer interactions.
EEP recommends that TROPSOILS continually assess the restrictions the Sahelian farming systems impose on recycling of organic matter and that; if another program should be initiated, highest priority be given to soil chemistry studies.
H. Soil Resource Inventory
A detailed soil survey of the ICRISAT Sahelian Center was made, beginning in 1982, with the report issued in 1984. A reconnaissance survey of major production areas of Niger was made with the conclusion that ICS is typical of large areas of soils.
The similarity is greater in chemical composition of soils than
it is in hydrological properties or erosion characteristics.
This is a valuable effort which should be continued to better
characterize soil resources in Niger. However, it cannot
receive much of the time of the sole senior scientist on the
program in Niger.
EEP recommends that soil resource inventory investigations
proceed in Niger to the extent field work can be accomplished by
graduate students and/or short-term visits of TAMU/TAES staff.
VIII. USER ORIENTED RESEARCH
One of the important objectives of TROPSOILS research in Niger
is to provide technology to improve the productivity of the
resources which most limit the production of millets and
cowpeas, the basic crops. This technology must be appropriate
for and adapted to the highly variable conditions of the farmers throughout the country. In order for the research of INRAN and
TROPSOILS to be efficient in developing usable and effective
technology, the objectives of the individual projects must have
a user orientation. This concept has not been important in
influencing the research program to date.
For example, some very interesting adaptive research and
development has taken place with the west Texas sandfighter.
Animal traction units have been developed which reportedly have
potential for reducing man-days per hectare for planting.
However, animal traction is mostly limited in Niger to the very small areas of irrigated rice and shows little promise of being adopted on a large scale in the rainfed production areas of the
country. Perhaps the best which can be said for this work is
that it may have hightened interest in the possibility of
control and stimulated other adaptive work, as indicated under
For researchers to benefit from user orientation, two actions
are required. One is to gain knowledge of the potential users
through surveys designed to orient research. The other is
on-farm research in which farmers participate in the evaluation
of the technology being tested.
DECOR, one of the departments in INRAN, is equipped for these
activities and has been conducting them for three years. They
would welcome collaboration with the Department of Ecology
Resources (DER) and TROPSOILS. They could provide specific
information which could be used in designing technology and a
means of on-farm evaluation of any technology which is ready for
this procedure. One possibility would be the practice of
removing tillers from millet to reduce evapotranspiration. It
could be anticipated that this practice might be resisted by
Shaelian farmers, but it could be evaluated efficiently by
collaborative research with DECOR.
With approximately 15 trained field agents who live in the
villages where they work and 8 economists and agronomists, DECOR
should be capable of providing the on-farm research support
needed by DER and TROPSOILS.
The Ministry of Agriculture is also moving to strengthen its
extension service with the help of another USAID project and a US contractor, Labat-Anderson. It appears that with a new AID
project which is now in the planning stages, there is to be a
major effort to achieve an integrated applied research and
extension program in Niger. TROPSOILS should make a determined
effort to collaborate in this effort.
Collaboration with DECOR could alleviate the need for the EEP
recommendation made in the report of the annual review in 1986,
that TROPSOILS consider utilizing a knowledgeable anthropologist
to help answer some questions such as farmer practices with
respect to the micro variability in their fields.
EEP recommends that TROPSOILS give serious consideration to
initiating user oriented research and explore the possibility of
collaboration of TROPSOILS, DER, and DECOR in such studies.
IX. OUTREACH PROGRAM IN MALI AND CAMEROON
EEP supports the idea of a network linking research workers in the region. Annual meetings of researchers would be a valuable
adjunct to the program in Niger.
X. REPORTING OF RESEARCH
TROPSOILS personnel have been involved in a large number of
research, management, administrative, and diplomatic activities.
This is particularly true for the senior scientists stationed in
Niger. Partly as a consequence of many necessary non-research activities; partly as a consequence of having a large number of
research projects; and partly as a consequence of not
programming sufficient time for data analysis, interpretation,
and report writing, written reports have been sporadic and
EEP recommends that a better structured and more formal
reporting procedure be organized. When combined with a more
narrow research focus and alleviation of administrative duties by senior field scientists, this should create the opportunity
for providing all interested parties with appropriate, timely,
and well-thought-out reports.
X. FOLLOW-UP REVIEW
The TROPSOILS project in Niger and Texas has had some serious
problems in the past. While the EEP applauds the efforts that have been made to correct some of these, more needs to be done.
These actions should be executed in a timely manner to assure
that the project contributes to the overall CRSP effort to the
extent of its full potential.
EEP recommends that the Management Entity schedule a special
evaluation of the TAMU/TAES/Niger program in connection with the next annual review of TROPSOILS. This special evaluation should
consider the efforts which have been made to correct the
problems reported in this review in order to strengthen the
overall program. If significant progress has not been made, it
will be necessary for the EEP to make a detemination of the advisability of continuing the project in its present form.
Chronologyg of Review
July 15: PM. Arrival in Niamey
July 16: General session at Palais des Congres with U.S. Ambassador, USAID Director, USAID ADO Directors, INRAN Director General, INRAN staff members, TAMU TROPSOILS Staff, TROPSOILS ME Director, USAID/W S & T representative, and EEP members
July 17, AM: Tour of ICRISAT Sahelian Center and conference with ICRISAT staff
PM: Visit to plots of Dr. Persaud and and Mr. Gandah at Undunga Center near Kolo. Evening: Reception at Grand Hotel, hosted by TROPSOILS, for collaborators in Niger.
July 18, Visit to Chical to see sand-filled valley and visit with US PCV and Canadian and Dutch counterparts.
July 19, Conference of EEP, ME Director, and TAMU/TAES TROPSOILS personnel. Discussion of Dr. Persaud's work, especially.
Evening: Dinner at home of Mr. Allele Habibou, Minister of Agriculture, Niger.
July 20, AM: Visit to Guesselbodi Forest to view agroforestry work in cooperation with USAID Forest Land-Use Project. PM: Conference with Dr Chase re his program in Niger.
July 21, AM: Conference at INRAN conference room with TAMU/TAES and INRAN personnel re program. PM: Drs. Coulter, McCants, Runge, and Persaud met with Drs. Gibbons and Renard of ICS to discuss collaborative work
Other members of EEP had discussion and worked on reports.
July 22, AM: Drs. Coulter, McCants, Runge, and Persaud met with Director General, INRAN, to assess his current reactions to the TROPSOILS program and his suggestions for future.
Drs. Hildebrand and Thorne met with Dr. Duesson of the Purdue project to discuss user oriented research and the training program under that project. PM: Meeting at INRAN conference room for EEP to give oral report to INRAN and TAMU/TAES TROPSOILS staff. Midnight: Depart Niger.
Persons Contacted in Niger During TROPSOILS Review
Richard Bogosian, U.S. Ambassador to Niger Peter Benedict, Director, USAID Mission to Niger Lance Jepson, Outgoing ADO Director, USAID/Niamey Earnest Gibson, Incoming ADO Director, USAID/Niamey Quincy Benbow, ADO, USAID/Niamey Lynn Grayball, ADO USAID/Niamey Hanna Diallo, ADO, USAID/Niamey Keith Mullaly, ADO, USAID/Niamey John Clark, Team Leader, Purdue Cereals Project Robert Duesson, Economist, Purdue Cereals Project Indrissa Soumana, Director General, INRAN Mahmodou Ouattara, Head, Department of Ecology Resources (DER), INRAN Mahmadou Gandah, Head, Soil Physics Section, DER, INRAN Issake Mahmane, Head, Soil Lab., DER, INRAN Moussa Oumarou, Biochemist, DER, INRAN Andrew Manu, Soils Laboratory, INRAN (supported by USAID through
Bouzizi, Soil Chemist, FAO Volunteer to DER, INRAN Annou Garba, Head, Cartography Section, DER, INRAN Gaoh Goube, Head, Soil Chemistry/Fertility Section, DER, INRAN Ron Givvons, Director, ICRISAT Sahelian Center (ISC) Charles Renard, Head, Resource Management Group, ISC Phil Serafina, Manager, ISC Naraine Persaud, TAMU/TAES senior scientist, Niamey Robert Chase, TAMU/TAES Chief of Party in Mali; formerly TROPSOILS
senior scientist, Niamey
John Gardner, TAMU graduate student doing thesis research under
TROPSOILS in Niger
Don Beckley, Peace Corps Volunteer, Chical, Niger John DeMarco, Canadian equivalent of Peace Corps, Chical, Niger Ann DeMarco, Canadian equivalent of Peace Corps, Chical, Niger Nick Thyssen, Dutch equivalent of Peace Corps, Chical, Niger
TROPSOILS Reports Provided for Viewing in Niger
1. Influence of a Neem (Azadirachita Judica) windbreak plantation
on millet yields and micro-ckimate in Niger, West Africa. S.
Long, N. Persaud, M. Gandah, and M. Ouattara. Int. Symp. on
2. Analysis of rainfall records and its implications for improving
rain-use efficiency for cereal production in Niger (INRAN).
N. Persaud, N. Ouattara, and I. Alfari.
3. Journees de travail sur l'etude des brise-vent de la Majjia.
4. Interim report: Influence of neem (Az. Ind.) shelterbelts on
microclimatic factors, water use, and yield of intercropped
millet in the Majjia Valley, Niger. 1984 growing season (draft).
S. Long, CARE.
5. Contraintes Liees au sol et a l'eau et adoptions a ces
contraintes par les Poysans locaux de la Production Cerealiere en
culture Pluviala (rather qualitative).
6, L'etude de la collecte des eaux de pluei pour la production
cerealiere au Niger. rapport de campagne. TROPSOILS/INRAN.
N. Persaud and C. Zaongo (excellent example of progress report.
Such reports should be submitted to TROPSOILS ME).
7. Summary of a study on physical and hudrological characteristics
of sandy soils in Niger, West Africa. W. Payne (graduate
student) (qualitative only)
1. Outline of a study on phosphorus and residue management for
2. Outline of a study on biomass control and water, P and N use
efficiency for rainfed millet.
3. Outline of a study on the water relations of selected soils in
4. Outline of a proposed study with DRE and DRA at Tarna.
5. Outline of a proposed study at the CARE shelterbelt site at
Bouze, Maggia Valley.
6. Predicting high-yielding intercrops fronm correlations between
rooting patterns and limiting soil properties.
7. Proposition de Recherche "projet d'etude sur agroclimatologise du
mil au Niger; Handah Mohamadon.