Scientists implementing activities on landscape and watershed management in the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)-led Africa RISING projects in West, East and Southern Africa recently took part in a cross-learning visit to the Africa RISING Ethiopian highlands project. The visit on 19-24 April 2015 aimed to provide an opportunity for scientists to share experiences with colleagues from Ethiopia on effective establishment of land and watershed management research trials and interventions.
Eleven scientists from CGIAR centres, government directorates and non-governmental organizations involved in Africa RISING from Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Tanzania and Zambia took part in the learning visit. The participants also visited Africa RISING Ethiopia project sites in Warena and Lemo districts. Below are three key lessons learned by some of the scientists who attended the event.
Seeing is believing. ‘Farmers learned much from fellow farmers through exchange visits organized by the Africa RISING Ethiopia project. It is important to let farmers draw from the experiences of fellow farmers so they can compliment their own ingenuity in implementing agricultural interventions.’ Festo Ngulu, consultant agronomist, IITA
Interventions should be demand driven. ‘Farmers expressed interest in the interventions before Africa RISING started supporting them. Demand-driven intervention will ensure that farmers own and share among themselves. This makes up- and out-scaling very easy to achieve within a short span of the project.’ Davie Kadyampakeni, researcher, agriculture water management, International Water Managment Institute (IWMI).
Close collaboration and genuine partnership is critical. ‘The Africa RISING team in Ethiopia enjoys strong and close partnerships with other CGIAR centres, universities, agricultural research institutes, government district and Kebele (village) agricultural officials. This is important in ensuring that the interventions introduced to communities are sustainable in the long-term.’ Kennedy Ng’ang’a, GIS and Remote Sensing Analyst, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).