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4R Nutrient Stewardship

Smallholder women farmers dehusking maize cobs on a brown field day in Kotoya
Credit: Mac-Beth Yakub

Cooperative Development Organisation

Implementing Partners and Organisations

Fertilizer Canada
African Plant Nutrition Institute (APNI)
International Plant Name Index (IPNI)
The Social Enterprise Development Foundation in West Africa (SEND)

Period of Implementation

March 2019 - April 2024

Geographic scope

Africa: Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal


$ 16,925,000
€ 15 565 076


Multilateral Aid: Global Affairs Canada


Agriculture & Fisheries, Climate & Environment, Rural Development


Smallholder farmers worldwide face many challenges, such as limited access to the market, poor post-harvest handling, and limited quality of agriculture production due to depleted soil and unsustainable fertilizer usage. The 4R-Nutrient Stewardship Project (4R-NSP) aims to address these issues, helping increase resilience, incomes, and food security and reducing poverty for men, women, and children.

The 4R Nutrient Stewardship project is a five-year initiative funded by Global Affair Canada (GAC) with a joint contribution from the Co-operative Development of Foundation of Canada (CDF Canada) and Fertilizer Canada (FC). The project’s ultimate goal is to improve the socio-economic well-being and resilience of 80,000 (50% women) smallholder farmers in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Senegal through enhanced agricultural productivity and sustainability.

Project Objectives

Over the five years, the project aims to

  • Enhance sustainable production using climate-smart, best agricultural management practices, and increase value chain access and integration by women and men farmers in the targeted countries.
  • Enhance representation and influence of women in leadership positions and decision-making bodies in farmers’ co-operatives within targeted communities
  • Increase integration of gender-sensitive 4R principles[1] in relevant standards and policies nationally in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Senegal; and globally


[1] The 4Rs are: using the Right Source of nutrients (matching fertilizer types to crop needs), applying at the Right Rate (matching nutrient applications to specific crop and requirements), at the Right Time (matching nutrient application timing with peak period when plants need to take up nutrients), and at the Right Place (placing nutrients at a place in the soil where plant roots can easily take them up).

Impact on SDGs

SDG2 - Zero Hunger
SDG5 - Gender Equality
SDG10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG13 - Climate Action
SDG17 - Partnership for The Goals

Main Indicators

1. Percentage change in poverty level (w/m headed households).
2. Percentage of smallholder farmers (w/m) participating in the project reporting improvements in their livelihood and food security
3. Percentage of total targeted smallholder farmers (w/m) implementing 4R
4. Percentage of trained women elected to leadership positions within the community, disaggregated by position and organization
5. Proportion of decisions (by cooperative/community) driven by women, supported by qualitative evidence

Impact Measurement

1. Household surveys
2. Co-op Development Ladder Assessment
3. Rolling profiles
4. Focus group discussions
5. Key informant interviews

Direct beneficiaries

Individuals: 80000

Key Tags

Education, Environment, Food Security