The Africa RISING project is now in full swing in the three regions – West Africa, Ethiopian Highlands and East and Southern Africa (ESA).
In West Africa, a ‘fast track’ implementation work plan has been agreed for the two countries concerned (Mali and Ghana). The implementation team has identified four districts and five communities in Ghana and is identifying the sites in the Malian districts of Koutiala and Bougouni. This site selection is supported by the work of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) team to characterize the sites so as to ensure a good representation of different agro-ecologies and steps on an intensification gradient.
In parallel, in the Ethiopian Highlands and ESA, a series of ‘early win’ projects are also underway, covering a broad range of sustainable intensification issues around value chains, weeds, feeds and seeds, water, livestock and forests. These projects hope to develop interesting early results that will inform future project plans.
From September 2012 onward, these initial activities are coming to an end and will be reported on in a series of review and planning meetings. In September for the Ethiopian Highlands, in October for ESA and in December for West Africa. These workshops will be decisive moments to:
- Take stock of progress so far (outputs, results, insights);
- Inform the next planning phase;
- Share lessons across the countries and project sites
The workshops will also be important milestones to start assessing whether Africa RISING is on the right track and whether its objective (to transform agricultural systems through sustainable intensification) is within any realistic reach.
Alongside these regional events, July saw a small group meet at IITA to finalise the overall research framework that will guide future directions of the projects; September will see the M&E experts in the projects come together to formulate priorities and plans for the coming years.