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.
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.
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.
Poor diets, inappropriate feeding practices and disease are primary causes of maternal and child under-nutrition. Dietary diversity is an important element of dietary quality, a strong predictor of micronutrient adequacy and overall nutrition status.
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.
ICARDA research in Ethiopia examines whether the adoption of improved food legume varieties increases the technical efficiency of crop production.
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
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.
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).
Bahafta Meresa, a widow, leads a session on growing potato, sharing insights and lessons with many farmers, both male and female. Bahafta works with Africa RISING and is well-known for trying out many varieties of potato.
Mrs Tadelech Lachemo took part in Africa RISING”s potato seed multiplication training in June 2014. She received 7 quintals of the improved (Gudene) potato variety – the variety was selected based on preferences expressed during an Africa RISING field day.
Three Ethiopian MSc. students, who contributed to ICARDA’s research on multidimensional improvement of grain legumes recently graduated from Ethiopian Universities.
Seid Ahmed Kemal is a Legume pathology researcher at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). This is one of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING.
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
Cornel Massawe, nematologist at Tengeru Horticultural and Training Institute (HORTI Tengeru), introduces himself and his work with the Africa RISING – NAFAKA technology scaling project in Tanzania. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING.
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
MacDonald Bright Jumbo, Maize Molecular Breeder at International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) in Nairobi , introduces himself and his work in the Africa RISING program. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING.
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
A recent addition to the Ethiopian diet, the potato—unlike cereals—has a short crop cycle, and, therefore, could substantially improve the incomes and livelihoods of producers, traders and other actors in the potato value chain. However, the value chain is generally underdeveloped.
In Ethiopia, seed systems for potato, wheat and faba beans are dominated by state entities, such as government bureaus and national, regional and locally-based research centres, local farmer cooperatives and cooperative unions. There are also some individual seed producers. An important function of research institutes is to produce and supply pre-basic and basic seeds.
Faba beans are a major pulse crop important in the Ethiopian diet. The bean is a major source of protein for urban and rural dwellers. Various traditional faba bean dishes such as ‘full’ and ‘shuro wot’ are eaten at breakfast and dinner. A common component of family diets, faba bean demand is high, potentially offering farmers a significant source of income.
Low productivity of staple crops is often attributed to the poor management practices of smallholder farmers. ‘Improved’ crop management practices for many staple crops in Ethiopia have been widely promoted.
Ethiopia is the second largest wheat producing country in Africa after South Africa. Wheat is a major grain crop grown for consumption and sale and demand for wheat quality products in Ethiopia is growing, particularly during fasting periods,creating opportunities for increased wheat production.
Enset (Enset ventricosum also known as ‘false banana’) is a source of food, cash, animal feed, medicine, sources of fuel wood and other products and services for smallholder farmers in Ethiopia.
A newly published research brief by Africa RISING offers tips on how farmers can get more yields when they grow groundnuts.
Since 2013, the Africa RISING project in Sinana district (woreda) has engaged local partners in its research for development interventions in two villages (kebeles) to test and evaluate technologies that work best in the local context, identify innovations preferred by farmers and support scaling up within and beyond the woreda.
A newly published brief by Africa RISING explains how the doubled-up legume technology works and how to get optimum yields using the technology.
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 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.
Frédéric Baudron, senior tropical agronomist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Ethiopia, introduces himself and his work with the program.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Small scale farmers are the guardians of 80 per cent of the world’s farmland. If we are to resolve the global soil crisis, they must be at the heart of the solutions.
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.
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.
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, Chiwimbo Gwenambira (Michigan State University) presented a poster explaining a a novel doubled-up legume cropping system in Malawi.
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.
On 13 December 2014, members of the Sinana innovation platform (IP) members and technical group (TG) held a farmers field day that attracted many farmers and others (woreda IP members, private sector workers, media and government decision makers) to see the farmer field interventions.
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.
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.
Africa RISING is creating awareness on available and appropriate labour-saving and efficient weed management practices to boost rice production in Tanzania.
This photofilm explains how a farmer cooperative in Endamehoni woreda (Ethiopia) organized itself to produce and distribute seed potatoes.
In July 2014, research teams visited Lemo and Sinana project woredas (districts) in the Ethiopian Highlands. The visits aimed to update local partners on planting activities in the main rain season as well as on pre- and post-harvest crop management issues.
The strongly held but wrong perception among farmers in Babati District that use of mineral fertilizers destroys the soil is a major cause of the low crop yield in the district.
This photo trip report covers visits by the Africa RISING research teams to Endamehoni woreda in July 2014 and Basona Worena woreda in August 2014. The visits aimed to update local partners on planting activities in the main rain season as well as on pre- and post-harvest crop management issues.
An assessment of post-harvest handling practices and food losses in a maize-based farming system in semi-arid areas of Central and Northern Tanzania was carried out in 2012.
Nearly half of the farmers in the Africa RISING action sites in Tanzania integrate vegetables into their maize-based farming systems as a strategy to increase and diversify their income and diet according to a household socioeconomic characterization survey conducted by Africa RISING.
In this interview, Robert Richardson introduces himself and his work with Africa RISING. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in the project.
Rice yields in Africa are low but this can be reversed with good management practices. For example, the yields can double and even triple when rice is transplanted as opposed to broadcasting. This farmer to farmer video produced by the Africa Rice Center shows farmers how to transplant seeds of lowland rice.
Effective weed management can increase rice yields by more than 50%. This farmer to farmer video shows how to control weeds in lowland rice by using herbicides in a safe and efficient way.
Weeds are important constraints for rice production. Effective weed management can increase yields by more than 50%, but usually takes a lot of time. This farmer to farmer video produced by the Africa Rice Center shows farmers how to control weeds in lowland rice most effectively.
Weeds are important constraints for rice production. Effective weed management can increase yields by more than 50%, but usually takes a lot of time. One such labor-saving method is the use of the rotary weeder. This farmer to farmer video produced by the Africa Rice Center shows farmers how to control weeds in lowland rice most effectively.
Mid July 2013, a team from the Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) program and donor representatives visited project intervention sites in Northern and Upper East Regions of Ghana, to observe and monitor project progress. The team was composed of USAID representatives led by Jerry Glover, senior project advisor; Tracy …
Rural livelihoods in West Africa are mainly agro-based and depend on crop and livestock production, processing, and subsequent marketing. Farmers produce cereals, legumes, vegetables and fruit trees and keep livestock. However, optimal system productivity is limited by socioeconomic, biophysical, institutional, financial, and sometimes, policy constraints. Until recently, development in rural communities entailed extension agents advising …
From 23-25 January 2013, the West Africa project component of the Africa RISING program hosted a number of consultations in Accra, Ghana – a stakeholder meeting on 23 January then a West Africa steering committee meeting on 24 January. Alongside these, the first Program Coordination Committee meeting was held on 25 January. The purpose of …
The Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) program comprises three research-for-development projects supported by the United States Agency for International Development as part of the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative. Through action research and development partnerships, Africa RISING will create opportunities for smallholder farm households to move out of hunger and poverty …
The West Africa project of the Africa RISING program has been bustling with activities: The review and planning meeting for year one was completed in October 2012; a West Africa stakeholder meeting will take place on 23 January 2013 in Accra, Ghana. In addition, the Africa RISING teams from Ghana and Mali have recently been …
While improved varieties can give farmers increased yields, the percentage of small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa growing them is very low, especially for legumes. One reason for this is the unavailability and unaffordability of the seeds. The early win project on ‘Multiplication of breeder and basic seed for Maize and Legumes in Tanzania, Malawi, and …
Weeds are one of the major constraints to rice production in sub-Saharan Africa. Without control, they can cause yield losses ranging from 28% to 89%. One major contributing factor is the lack of knowledge and information on labor-saving weed control and management technologies among farmers and extension workers. This early win project on ‘Building local …
Mycotoxins are deadly chemicals produced by naturally-occurring fungi which contaminate key staples crops while in the field and in storage and adversely affect the health of human and livestock. They thrive when crops suffer drought or insect attack in the field, are harvested when conditions are wet and stored in places that are warm and …
In Morogoro, one of the major rice producing areas in Tanzania, the farmers use residue water from rice irrigation to grow vegetables for additional income and to improve their nutrition. They however face many challenges, which the early win research project on “Enhancing vegetable value chains in rice-based and sole crop production systems to improve …
Various organizations have developed and promoted many practices aimed at improving yields, and managing water and soil at the farm level. Which of these have farmers really adopted and what factors have led to the adoption or non- adoption? Which of these are really effective and can be scaled up in the Africa RISING project? …
Conservation agriculture, which involves minimum tillage of the land and retaining crop residues on the land, has proven useful for increasing yield and at the same time managing soil fertility and increasing farmers resilience to drought and climate variability in Malawi. However, so far the technology has mainly focused on maize. Can the technology be …
Le Mali s’est engagé dans un programme de sécurité alimentaire nationale (PNSA) qui couvre la période 2008 – 2017. Ce programme se justifie par les dernières années qui ont vu les campagnes agricoles devenir très capricieuses et imprévisibles, alternant années excédentaires et années de crises. La sécurité alimentaire est rendue d’autant plus préoccupante à la suite …
The third Africa RISING review and planning workshop took place 23-25 October in Tamale, Ghana. The review of that first year helped develop an agenda for subsequent years. For this meeting, 60 participants gathered at the Modern City Hotel to hear progress about activities in year one and to develop integrated research plans on sustainable intensification for …
The story of Rhoda Mang’Anya, a farmer in Malawi, is one of the best examples of possible pathways to sustainable intensification. Although it is not a story from Africa RISING, it illustrates very well the kind of pathways that Africa RISING would like to enable. Rhoad Mang’Anya acquired her half-hectare plot in the early 1990’s. …
Eva Weltzien works for the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Mali. In Africa RISING, Eva oversees scientific activities in Mali. In this interview ahead of the West Africa review and planning meeting in Tamale, 23-25 October 2012, she shares her views about progress achieved in Mali to date and expectations about …
Mixed-farming smallholder growers in East and Southern Africa are slated to see a boost in their production and productivity resulting from a strategy that will see agricultural experts from different disciplines and farmers working hand-in-hand at the farm and village levels. International and national agricultural researchers converged in Arusha, Tanzania from 1 to 5 October …
Today’s edition of Naturehas an article by Jerry Glover, John Reganold and Cindy Cox in which they explain, with examples from Malawi harmer Rhoda Mang’yana, how planting perennials can help save Africa’s soils. Rhoda’s story: Rhoda Mang’yana’s half-hectare farm in Malawi produces more maize (corn) than her extended family of seven can eat. Some of …
As part of their mission to monitor bilateral and multilateral food security programs in northern Ghana, Janet Stormes, Professional Staff of the US Senate Appropriations Committee, and Dorothy Rayburn of the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, US Department of State, visited the IITA-led ‘Sustainable Intensification of Cereal-based Farming Systems in the Sudano-Sahelian Zone of West Africa’ …
Earlier this year, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Malawi led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). A news story from this project explains how smallholder maize farmers in Malawi are adopting sustainable crop management practices that cut labor and help capture and hold rainfall, salvaging harvests when water is …
On 31 May 2012, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the Sinana Agricultural Research Center (SARC) hosted an inception workshop for the Africa RISING ‘early win’ project on the integration of pulses in crop-livestock production systems in the Bale Highlands of Ethiopia. The project intends to improve cropping system …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Ethiopia led by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). The project aims to improve the productivity of crop-livestock production system in the Bale highlands of Oromiya region of Ethiopia by integrating all important components of pulses in mixed farming systems. …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Ethiopia led by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). The project aims to underpin the Ethiopian Climate Resilient Green Economy Initiative by providing early win tree species and management options for integrating fruit, fodder, fuelwood, fertilizer and timber trees in fields, farms and landscapes. This will …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Ethiopia led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The project aims to promote sustainable intensification of wheat-teff production systems in the Ethiopian Highlands by providing soil series-specific fertilizer recommendations through soil fertility trials based on newly developed soil maps from partner organizations. Currently, …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Malawi led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). The project aims to provide pathways out of hunger and poverty for smallholder families, particularly for women and children, through sustainably intensified farming systems. The outputs will be: Crop yield and biomass production Nutritional output …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). The project aims to increase production of both basic (or breeder) seed and certified seed for six target crops (maize, beans, cowpeas, soybeans, Medium duration pigeonpea and groundnuts) in …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Tanzania led by the Africa Rice Center. The objectives of this quick-win proposal are to train local end-users, craftsmen and private service providers on the use and manufacturing of labor-saving and efficiency-enhancing weed management technologies for rice-based systems in Tanzania and to enhance local R&D …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Morogoro, Tanzania led by the World Vegetable Center – AVRDC. The projects aim to be more productive/intensified and sustainable rice-vegetable production systems along with improved access for smallholder farmers to markets, leading to diversified and increased household income from vegetables and enhanced nutritional security from safer …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in eastern and southern Africa led by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). The objective of the proposed project is to support the development of Africa RISING research-for-development project through building partnerships and mobilizing stakeholders in the short term to conduct value chain analyses. The outputs …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). The project aims to identify and promote sustainable intensification (SI) pathways by evaluating tested crop, soil and water management options for their suitability under varied land (soil health) and socio-economic conditions that prevail …