CIAT / East Africa / Ghana / HUMIDTROPICS / Interview / NRM / Soils / Southern Africa / Tanzania / Water / West Africa

RISING voices: Fred Kizito, senior scientist (CIAT)

Fred Kizito, senior scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), introduces himself and his work with the program. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING.

Fred Kizito, Senior Scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) (photo credit: CIAT)

Fred Kizito, senior scientist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) (photo credit: CIAT)

Tell us about your background

I hold a dual major doctorate degree from Oregon State University, Corvallis, USA in soil science and water resources engineering. I have previously worked on bottom-up approaches that address land degradation, soil fertility decline, water scarcity and loss of ecosystem services in farming communities while looking at several tradeoffs. I have also served as project leader on several multi-country initiatives within IWMI with a focus on sustainable intensification in cereal based systems including participation in the Africa RISING Early-Wins Phase in 2012. I have participated in several multidisciplinary teams on impacts of land use practices on hydrological variations in eastern and southern Africa as well as Sahel farming agro-ecosystems. I also previously (2006-2010) worked for the California Environmental Protection Agency on Total Daily Maximum Loads (TMDLs) that helps produce regulatory guidelines for water quality protection.

What do you do in your current position?

I am currently a senior scientist at CIAT focusing on soils, water and landscapes; my work entails agriculture-livelihoods-environment interactions, restoring degraded landscapes, trade-off analysis in agricultural landscapes and sustainable intensification at multiple scales to address soil erosion, water scarcity and loss of ecosystem services. My main research areas are sustainable land and water resources management; ecosystem services assessments and modeling flows and fluxes within the natural environment.

What are your plans for Africa RISING?

  • Publish pending outputs from phase I
  • Scaling and delivery of effective and attractive technologies
  • Engaging closer with policymakers to strengthen the science-policy interface so that smallholder farmers can benefit in terms of their food and nutritional needs and poverty alleviation;
  • Making field data collection more user friendly and smart with remote access capabilities.

What are the biggest Africa RISING challenges and how do we deal with them?

The translation of research results and outputs into impact based outcomes; the way this is dealt with is by engaging strategic and relevant implementing partners.

What are some of the main achievements of this program?

The ability to work across several institutions towards impact. The program also emphasizes the interests of smallholder farmers while also looking into the science-policy interface.

What gives you hope looking at a possible second phase, based on the first phase?

Functional partnerships. And Phase I has set the stage for realizing and converting some of the research outputs into outcomes for impact. Where success has been recorded, these need to be scaled out and rolled out to wider audiences. As noted earlier, the challenge will be to look into translating research results and outputs into impact-based outcomes with strategic and functional partnerships.

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