Employing videos to connect with stakeholders, the CORAF/WECARD (known in full as the Conseil Ouest et Centre Africain pour la Recherche et le Développement Agricoles/West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development) is becoming a vehicle for West and Central African smallholder farmers to share innovation in agriculture. The organization has produced more than 70 short films (with over 8,100 views on YouTube) featuring farmers who achieve advances in agricultural productivity and sustainability in their communities.
CORAF/WECARD broadcasts videos highlighting the progress and challenges of community and regional agricultural projects, while also helping farmers share research, innovations, and technical practices with other stakeholders. Its videos report on regional agricultural conferences and help give farmers the opportunity to feature the products they grow—such as sweet potatoes (patates douces), dried mango (mangues séchées), and rice (riz).
CORAF/WECARD’s objective is to “improve the efficiency and effectiveness of small-scale producers, and promote the agribusiness sector” by fulfilling on its vision to “contribute to sustainable reduction of poverty and food insecurity in West and Central Africa […] through agricultural[ly-]led economic growth, and improving [the] agricultural research system of the sub-region.”
Formed in 1987, out of a meeting between directors of 15 agricultural research institutions in West and Central Africa, by 1990 the originally francophone alliance chose to expand to welcome English- and Portuguese-speaking African nations as well. Today the organization now known as CORAF/WECARD is comprised of 22 member states from the Sahelian, Coastal, and Central zones of Africa. The member countries that span the West and Central African region are home to about 318 million people, about 70 percent of whom live in rural areas.
In 2007, CORAF/WECARD published its 2007-2016 Strategic Plan, which “puts farmers and users at the centre of innovative practices, but also encourages learning through the interchange of ideas, success, and failures between stakeholders.”
In a 2013 video outlining the Strategic Plan, viewers glimpse moments of some of the 55 projects coordinated through CORAF/WECARD that aim to achieve sustainable improvements in productivity and competitiveness in agricultural markets. The Strategic Plan is aligned with the vision established by the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to achieve an average of six percent annual agricultural growth by 2015.
Since August of 2014, the CORAF/WECARD YouTube channel has gained momentum, producing an average of nine videos a month, all recorded in Western and Central African rural communities.