Drought-tolerant cowpea has become an attractive crop among rural Zambian farmers, thanks to USAID’s Feed the Future initiative in Eastern Province. Cowpea is now more frequently used as both a food and cash crop in the Eastern Province, due to its high nutritional value for household consumption and an increase in local market demand. Africa RISING supports this development by promoting crop diversification as part of its broader agricultural technological interventions and as an integral part of conservation agriculture.
Good agriculture practices (GAPs) are the low-hanging fruits for extension of new technologies. They are easily adoptable, give farmers an immediate benefit, and help in the gradual shift from traditional plough or hoe-based systems with maize monocropping to more sustainable and adapted ways of agriculture.It is against this background that the Africa RISING project theme on Sustainable Intensification of low input farming Systems has intensified the out scaling of simple component technologies in a mother-and-baby trial approach in three districts of Eastern Province, namely Sinda, Chipata, and Lundazi.
Remarkable results are emerging from Africa RISING project activities in Eastern Province of Zambia. More than 20,000 farmers have been exposed to CA by SIMLEZA-Africa RISING, the predecessor project of Africa RISING, which continues to sensitize and train more farmers. Farmers benefitted from increased use of CA technologies by gradually increasing crop yields leading to a solid yield benefit of 117% (1942 kg/ha) in a manually direct seeded maize crop following cowpea as compared with the conventional practice in the 2014/2015 cropping season.
In the cropping season of 2015/2016, Africa RISING expanded its work in Zambia under the Sustainable Intensification theme to trials on improved manure handling.
What’s new in Africa RISING? What are the intrinsic changes to the DNA of the program? How will the project achieve these high impact developmental objectives? Does the project completely shift its focus from research to development?
Findings from three districts in Zambia revealed that smallholder farmers use agricultural technology innovations and diversification strategies to manage droughts and enhance their resilience to climate shocks.
Farmers in southern Africa plant maize extensively on large areas, harvest less than 2 t/ha on average, extracting already depleted nutrients from the soil while trying to become food secure and escape from poverty―an impossible task! In Eastern Province of Zambia, farmers are being offered a range of solutions by Africa RISING that provide a way out of this poverty trap. These technologies, options, and approaches include drought- and stress-tolerant maize germplasm, conservation agriculture (CA), improved rotation and intercropping with grain legumes, agroforestry, and green manure cover crops.
This study report provides interesting insights into the gender implications of Africa RISING’s agricultural intensification practices in target communities in northern Ghana.
Insights from an economic evaluation of Africa RISING post-harvest technology (Purdue Improved Crop Storage bags) in Tanzania reveal how much farmers are benefitting by adopting the improved storage bags over the conventional storage options.
This poster provides a self-reflective look at the key lessons and what it takes to operationalize a robust M&E framework for a complex systems research program like Africa RISING.
In 2014, Africa RISING partnered with the USAID-funded NAFAKA project in Tanzania to scale-out best-bet technologies among smallholder farmers. Currently in its third year, the project, which also incorporates several community-based actors, has achieved great success. This poster provides an inside look at what it takes to make these kind of partnerships tick and the key lessons learnt from this nascent project.
Insights from the results of an evaluation of different Africa RISING technology packages per farm type and per region in Northern Ghana.
A geospatial framework for delineating recommendation domains for crop varieties which are part of the Africa RISING technology packages.
Two posters on scaling techniques applied by the Africa RISING project in Tanzania were recently ranked 2nd and 3rd at a poster competition featuring over 50 entries in Ibadan, Nigeria.
The Africa RISING project in Tanzania recently got merited recognition by the Kongwa District Council as a project that provides farmers with practical improved agricultural technologies that can be applied to fight hunger in the District.
This annotated bibliography of gender learning resources will ensure that project partners can at a glance find information and links to selected open access documents addressing particular topics of interest to them on gender in agriculture.
While insecticide spraying offers the most effective management strategy for insect pests in farmers’ fields, most farmers in Ghana spray only once in most cases. The effect of a three spray regime was compared to conventional farmer practice (one spray) on yield and net financial returns of cowpea on-farm.
En Afrique de l’Ouest, comme dans la plupart des pays d’Afrique Sub-Sahélienne, les ressources naturelles constituent la base de la vie quotidienne des hommes, particulièrement pour les pauvres qui dans la majorité des cas vivent dans le milieu rural où leur moyens de subsistances dépendent presque exclusivement des activités agricoles et de l’élevage.
Twenty scientists implementing different Africa RISING interventions in East and Southern Africa took part in a training on farming systems research design from 3-4 October, 2016 in Lilongwe,Malawi. “After this training I think the scientists are now better equipped to make more integrated and participatory systems research designs,” explains Prof. Mateete Bekunda, Chief Scientist, Africa RISING East and Southern Africa Project.
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Food Security in Washington DC has announced funding for a second 5-year phase of the Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) program beginning October 2016.
A recently published case study highlights the success of Africa RISING interventions in improving vegetable varieties and production among smallholder farmers in Kilombero District, Tanzania.
Monica Paschal is a 48-year-old farmer and a mother of five. She has been involved in small-scale farming for 27 years and refers to herself as ‘mkulima wa kujikimu’ (Swahili for smallholder/subsistence farmer).
‘The past three years have been the most satisfying to me as a farmer because I have been able to gradually transform my farming from subsistence to a profitable mini-enterprise which has enabled me to
From East to West Africa,post-graduate students supported by Africa RISING are completing their research studies….and sharing their findings.In this brief,we feature four students who’ve recently defended their research theses – Clarisse Umutoni, Shitindi Mawazo, Daniel Apalibe and Alagma Henry. They are among a cohort of 47 MSc and 15 PhD students supported by the Africa RISING program in West Africa and East/Southern Africa from 2012 – 2016.
On 5th and 6th May 2016, the project’s researchers, fields agents and farmers organized and held had a Farmers’ Field Day event. This gave an opportunity for farmers who are not taking part in the project to learn and share experience with their colleagues who are beneficiaries about Good Agronomic Practices. The farmers also got the chance to visit demo plots for self-observations.
Smallholder farmers in Malawi must cope with small farm size, low soil fertility and production risks associated with rainfed agriculture. Integration of legumes into maize-based cropping systems is advocated as a means to increase production of diverse nutrient-dense grains and improve soil fertility.
A multi-locational study in Zimbabwe aimed to determine the effect of four tillage systems on maize, cowpea and soybean yields, and evaluate the economic performance of the conservation agriculture (CA) systems relative to conventional plowing.
This document is a working guide for the agricultural and health extension workers in Mali. It is meant to help them to improve their knowledge, skills, and nutrition practices to ensure greater returns on investments in agricultural research for nutrition and health impacts.
A higher rate of nitrogen application provides higher economic benefit to farmers compared to the government recommended rate. There are visible differences between six maize varieties commonly grown in northern Ghana (used in this experiment) in terms of performance under higher fertilizer rate.
“I produce vegetables because this is ready cash for me and my family,” says a beaming Hassan Saidi; one of the beneficiary farmers in the activities led by AVRDC under the Africa RISING-NAFAKA and TUBORESHE CHAKULA project for fast tracking delivery and scaling of agricultural technologies in Tanzania.
This newly published infographic which is largely based on Africa RISING program activities in central Malawi helps to visualize what sustainable intensification means in the context of the farming system in the region and how it differs from the typical farmer practice. It also illustrates how the doubled-up legume technology works to ensure a farmer gets “double” legume grain yields and “double” soil fertility benefits from biological nitrogen fixation.
Smallholder farming households in much of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are distinctly diverse within and across communities. This infographic seeks to visually explain the different ‘best bet: best fit’ pathways of intensification for contrasting farm categories (typologies).
In this interview, Mirja Michalscheck of Wageningen University and Sara Signorelli of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) explain the vision behind the typology work in Africa RISING; the insights emerging from the studies and how the typology results can be used by the project team.
Discussions at this year’s Africa RISING West Africa review and planning meeting served up serious dialogue among partners on which improved agricultural technologies that have been tested and refined over the past four years can be scaled to benefit more farmers beyond the current project sites. Animated discourse at the meeting, in Accra, Ghana from …
Africa RISING conducted a gender capacity assessment in 2015, that aims to direct attention to the importance of gender capacities for the project’s success.
Higher incomes for farmers, a new tomato variety for consumers
Through the Africa RISING project, farmers in nine villages located in Manyara and Dodoma regions of Tanzania have been introduced to Amaranth and African nightshade farming.
Since September 2013, the SIMLEZA-Africa RISING project tested a range of improved agricultural technologies in Chipata and Katete districts of Zambia with the aim of sustainably intensifying the productivity of small holder farmers in those parts of the country. How did the project scale-out those technologies to the farmers? What worked and what didn’t?
New postharvest technologies put a smile on the faces of Tanzania’s smallholder farmers
In the second year of practicing conservation agriculture (CA) introduced to him through the SIMLEZA-Africa RISING project; Stephen Nyirenda, a 38 year old farmer from Lundazi District in Zambia has been able to increase the productivity of his farm in ways he never thought possible. In just two seasons he’s been able to buy two cows from the extra proceeds he’s been getting from his farm. Not a mean feat, but which he attributes squarely to this new found way of sustainable land management
Thanks to an emerging breed of bold farmers who have taken to producing legume seeds for cultivation by their colleagues, the challenge of legume seed availability is being met in Eastern Zambia. For the past two years, Tichoke Phiri, a woman farmer from Kawalala camp in Katete district has been growing improved cowpea varieties through the Africa RISING project and selling it at a minimal cost to her fellow farmers in Kawala camp. The returns from her work have been very rewarding
Against the odds stacked against them due to climate change; farmers in Chipata and Katete districts in Zambia where the SIMLEZA-Africa RISING project was being implemented are ramping up their farm productivity using conservation agriculture techniques. Richard Soko, a farmer from Chipata District is one such farmer
The Africa RISING-NAFAKA-TUBORESHE CHAKULA scaling project is working to introduce farmers in Kongwa and Kiteto districts in Tanzania to simple seasonal in-situ water-harvesting innovations
The SIMLEZA – Africa RISING project in Zambia provides support to seed companies in seed business development, including building capacity for training and technical assistance, entrepreneurial skills, varietal release and registration, seed multiplication and commercialization to enhance their ability to produce and market improved seed.
USAID Agrilinks webinar participants impressed by Africa RISING doubled-up legume work in Malawi
Africa RISING project partners from the CGIAR centers, national research systems, and other international research centres recently held a meeting on 6-8 October in Bamako, Mali, to write up the a second phase proposal for the program.
Gundula Fischer, is the Africa RISING Gender Specialist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). She introduces herself and her work within the Africa RISING program. This is one of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING.
Mahama Saaka, is a scientist from the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Ghana. The university (UDS) is one of the Africa RISING implementing partner institutions. In this interview which is part of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING, Mahama introduces himself and his work within the Africa RISING program.
Results from a cost-benefit-analysis of Africa RISING technologies in Tanzania show that almost all of the technologies being tested by the project are better than the base technologies currently used by farmers.
I love the fact that Africa RISING is shifting gears from research into technology transfer to farmers: an interview with Brian Martalus, Feed the Future Coordinator, USAID Zambia
So what factors influence whether farmers will adopt new sustainable intensification practices? And what is their impact ? A recent study by Africa RISING in northern Ghana found that farmers are primarily influenced by seven factors in adopting agricultural technologies.
A newly published research brief by Africa RISING offers tips on how farmers can get more yields when they grow groundnuts.
A newly published brief by Africa RISING explains how the doubled-up legume technology works and how to get optimum yields using the technology.
Results from an indicative cost-benefit-analysis in northern Ghana show that farmers are getting three times more (300%), over and above their total expenditures when using the Africa RISING technologies.
An Africa RISING research brief explains the effect of sheep and goat stocking density (SSD) on grain yield and soil properties in small-scale mixed farming systems.
Researchers from the University for Development Studies and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology conducted a baseline survey to identify key factors that affect pig rearing and prospects for intensification and integration with crop production.
Africa RISING and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) geospatial unit in India have developed land use maps of Africa RISING project intervention sites in southern Mali.
Researchers say they are close to a breakthrough in developing maize lethal necrosis (MLN) tolerant maize varieties, that will help farmers in East Africa successfully fight the disease.
Productivity of hybrid and open-pollinated maize grown in association with erect and spreading cowpea types was evaluated on-farm in Africa RISING intervention communities in northern Ghana.
Farmers know that soil is a precious commodity. But in Babati District, northern Tanzania, a long held belief that mineral fertilizers spoils soils is preventing them from making informed decisions on how best to keep their soils healthy and increase their yields.Researchers from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Selian Agriculture.Research Institute (SARI) are investigating best-bet fertilizer options and agronomic practices for maize in the region as part of the USAID-funded Africa RISING program. Their work is challenging local beliefs and changing attitudes.
The Africa RISING Tanzania last month exhibited various agricultural interventions being implemented by project partners at the nane nane agricultural fair in Arusha, Tanzania. The event gave some of the project partners an opportunity to showcase their interventions and get valuable feedback from farmers and participants taking part in the week-long fair. Over 200 participants, mostly farmers, visited the Africa RISING exhibition stand.
Africa RISING Ghana is gearing up for an adoption monitoring study to establish how and to what extent farmers are using some of the technologies introduced through the project.
Maize is an important cereal crop in Ghana, especially in the northern part where it is replacing sorghum and millet. High yielding, drought and Striga tolerant varieties have recently been released.
Smallholder farmers in northern Ghana face a number of water-related challenges.
Intensive or semi-intensive rearing of improved and unimproved stocks of chickens, guinea fowls, ducks, turkeys and pigeons in relatively small numbers for food (meat, eggs) and cash has potential to reduce poverty, malnutrition and food insecurity among rural and peri-urban farm families.
Tanzania’s smallholder farmers in erosion battered districts of Kongwa and Kiteto are reclaiming their land and in the process building a resilient farming system through agro-forestry interventions introduced courtesy of the Africa RISING project.
Partners implementing activities under the Africa RISING – NAFAKA scaling project held their first annual review and planning meeting recently (8-10 July, 2015) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where they discussed effective ways of scaling up improved crop varieties to Tanzania’s smallholder farmers.
More than 50 scientists from various CGIAR Centres and National Research Systems converged in Mangochi, Malawi on 13–15 July for a review and planning meeting of the Africa RISING East and Southern Africa Project.
Efforts to help farmers with adopt improved crop varieties and agricultural technologies have been launched in Mali. A series of agriculture input fairs were recently held in Bougouni District as part of a wider initiative to bring together input suppliers, distributors and farmers and provide a platform for them to strengthening partnerships.
Assorted feeds from crop residues such as cowpea hay, groundnut haulms, to agro-industrial by-products (bran of maize, rice and sorghum) and fresh grass are fast becoming big business in northern Ghana.
Preference for aromatic rice by consumers is an open secret in the rice sector in Tanzania. But this preference for a distinct scent in rice could be a root cause of stagnating rice production in the country. Researchers from AfricaRice (through the Africa RISING project) in partnership with a local NGO, NAFAKA, have been implementing activities to find a middle ground for stakeholders involved in the rice value chain in Tanzania.
Through the Africa RISING project, ILRI and AMEDD (a local Malian NGO) have worked with the local community in Zanzoni since September 2013 to ensure that they have a more equitable and sustainable management of natural resources in the mixed crop-livestock systems that dominate the region.
Elda Mmary, a female extension officer talks about her work with smallholder farmers on the Africa RISING project in Babati District, Tanzania.
Scientists involved in the Africa RISING project share three key lessons learnt from a recent cross-learning visit to the Ethiopian highlands on landscape and watershed management.
In northern Tanzania, failed rains and drying streams mean the main source of livelihood – agriculture – is under serious threat. In a bid to buffer smallholder farmers from erratic rainfall CIAT, through the Africa RISING project, is carrying out research into sustainable water management in the country.
Farmers and extension agents from Babati District in Tanzania took part in a training, held on 20 April 2015, by Africa RISING scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) as part of activities to integrate improved forages into smallholder crop-livestock systems through capacity building for farmers and extension officers.
In this five-minute video, Bright Jumbo, the Africa RISING research lead on the management of maize lethal necrosis disease, explains the progress made by the team as at March 2015.
Africa RISING is contributing to changing the fates of children in Koutiala city in the Sikasso region of Mali by supporting an initiative to educate young mothers and pregnant women about ways of preparing nutritious meals for their infants using whole grain cereals. The initiative dubbed, the nutrition field schools program is improving child health and freeing up women’s time.So far 290 people have participated in nutrition field schools (94% women) and about 600 households have benefited from collective demonstrations. The consumption of whole grain sorghum increased in six villages.
Souleman Ballo and his fellow farmers in the seed cooperative know only too well how important good seeds are for a farmer’s wealth. To address the challenge of accessing quality seed, their cooperative has been working with researchers at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER) to develop improved varieties of sorghum and millet leading to remarkable yield gains.
The review and planning meeting of the Africa RISING West Africa project ended on 25 March 2015 with partners committing to take integration of research activities a notch higher in 2015.
The IITA commissioned external review of Africa RISING East and Southern Africa project concluded on 16 March after nearly five weeks of literature review, project stakeholder interviews and field visits to project sites in Tanzania and Malawi.
At this week’s international conference on Integrated Systems Research for Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture, Jeroen Groot presented a poster on behalf of IFPRI colleagues on Africa RISING work to characterize the adopters of sustainable intensification innovations in Malawi and Tanzania.
At this week’s international conference on Integrated Systems Research for Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture, Bright Jumbo presented a poster reporting on research in Tanzania to integrate Maize Lethal Necrosis disease management in crop-livestock intensification.
At this week’s international conference on Integrated Systems Research for Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture, Aston Mulwafu presented a poster explaining on different feed options for smallholder dairy farmers to intensify their production systems in Malawi. Dairying in smallholder farming systems can be intensified to improve livelihoods. The biggest constraint faced by resource-constrained …
At this week’s international conference on Integrated Systems Research for Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture, Gregory Sikumba presented a poster on farmer preferences of selected Napier grass accessions in northern Tanzania.
At this week’s international conference on Integrated Systems Research for Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture, Chiwimbo Gwenambira (Michigan State University) presented a poster explaining a a novel doubled-up legume cropping system in Malawi.
Agricultural scientists and researchers from over 30 nations gather today at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria, for the International Conference on Integrated Systems for Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture, which lasts through March 6.
Technical leads of the Africa RISING project in West Africa, East and Southern Africa and Ethiopia took part in a cross learning exchange on sustainable intensification from 28 January to 4 February 2015.
The leadership committee of Tanzania’s Babati District research for development (R4D) platform, JUMBA (Jukwaa la Utafiti kwa Maendeleo wilaya ya Babati) recently held a two-day retreat to refine its constitution, vision and mission and to develop and prioritize JUMBA activities for 2015.
Growing up in the remote village of Itiryo near the Kenya-Tanzania border, Chacha Nyangi could not have imagined his present life as a young Tanzanian scientist who is confronting the challenges facing smallholder farmers in the country and beyond.
At the tail end of 2014, Africa RISING scientists and government extension agents held a series of feedback meetings with farmers in Tanzania’s Babati District. This photo trip report provides a visual overview of the issues encountered and activities undertaken by the project team during the feedback meetings in those areas.
The Africa RISING program in Mali is looking to recruit two MSc Candidates from West Africa to join the team and contribute to ongoing activities. The program is currently working on establishing two research hubs (in Bougouni and Koutiala) in an effort to integrate multiple activities to achieve the overall objectives of the research program. Natural …
Under the SIMLEZA-Africa RISING project, the implementation of conservation agriculture technologies is a key intervention. For just the past 2 years, the project has already seen positive outcomes on the practices and lives of its farmer-beneficiaries in its target communities in the Eastern Province of Zambia. Here we highlight one of our farmer ‘success stories’ who have been practicing CA technologies introduced in the country by the project.
Fertilizer microdosing addresses the problems of low soil fertility, access to fertilizers and difficult climatic conditions. The technology has contributed to increased production, productivity and farm incomes.
Research-for-Development platform by Africa RISING in Babati District, Tanzania is stimulating learning and innovation about productivity, nutrition as well as opening up business possibilities for farmers within the locality.
Livestock are an important component of the farming system in Tanzania’s Babati District. However, recent increases in demand for food within the farming community in the region have led to permanent cultivation of more land to expand crop production. This has led to significant reduction of pastures for livestock, consequently leaving them vulnerable to starvation …
Mrs. Ephraim Lukumay, a farmer in Bermi village, Babati District of Tanzania tells of how Amaranth farming has changed her life for the better – thanks to Africa RISING initiative to promote the vegetable in collaboration with AVRDC.
A new approach by Africa RISING is getting farmers to think beyond improved yields when assessing improved agronomic technologies and crop varieties.
In this interview, Cleo Roberts (senior research assistant and monitoring and evaluation officer at the International Food Policy Research Institute – IFPRI) explains why gender is an important component for Africa RISING projects.
A legume delight! How Africa RISING is combating malnutrition and food insecurity in Malawi by holding practical nutrition workshops for farming communities.
Africa RISING is creating awareness on available and appropriate labour-saving and efficient weed management practices to boost rice production in Tanzania.
Fighting striga weed by holding evening video shows for farming communities in west Africa
Survey results, project mapping and monitoring tools main focus during the second Africa RISING program-wide monitoring and evaluation meeting on 13-14 November 2014 in Arusha, Tanzania.
The second Africa RISING program learning event brought together over 65 staff and partners in Arusha, Tanzania, from 11-12 November 2014. They shared lessons and ideas to improve farm typology work, innovation systems and platforms, and dust off the program framework to gear it towards serious scaling up for the remaining two years.
The West Africa component of the Africa RISING program recently underwent an IITA-commissioned external review of its activities in Mali and Ghana.
Africa RISING partnered with Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to organize a two-week course on experimental design and data analysis for female scientists from 12 research institutions and universities in Ghana.