CIMMYT / Conservation agriculture / Cowpea / DRYLANDS-CRP / Intensification / Research / Southern Africa / Zambia

Diversification with cowpea provides new opportunities for smallholders in Zambia

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. Continue reading

CIMMYT / Conservation agriculture / DRYLANDS-CRP / Extension / Intensification / Maize / Research / Southern Africa / Zambia

Good agriculture practices―low hanging fruits for Zambian farmers

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. Continue reading

CIMMYT / Conservation agriculture / DRYLANDS-CRP / Intensification / Research / Southern Africa / Zambia

Conservation agriculture – a system to adapt to climate variability and declining soil fertility in Zambia

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. Continue reading

CIMMYT / Conservation agriculture / Drylands / DRYLANDS-CRP / Impact Assessment / Intensification / Maize / Research / Southern Africa / Zambia

Sustainable intensification practices―a ray of hope for Zambian farmers facing drought

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. Continue reading

Agroforestry / CIMMYT / Conservation agriculture / DRYLANDS-CRP / Intensification / Maize / Southern Africa / Zambia

Addressing smallholder farmers’ needs with green manure cover crops and agroforestry in Zambia

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. Continue reading

DRYLANDS-CRP / Intensification / Legumes / Malawi / MSU / NRM / Research / Soils / Southern Africa

Doubled-up legume rotations improve soil fertility and maintain productivity under variable conditions in maize-based cropping systems in Malawi

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. Continue reading

CIMMYT / Cowpea / DRYLANDS-CRP / Intensification / Legumes / Maize / Southern Africa / Soybean / Zimbabwe

Are conservation agriculture systems good options for smallholders in Zimbabwe?

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. Continue reading

AVRDC / DRYLANDS-CRP / Mali / Nutrition / Report / West Africa

Guide de nutrition pour travailleurs communautaires / Nutrition guide for community workers in Mali

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. Continue reading

DRYLANDS-CRP / Infographic / Intensification / Legumes / Malawi / MSU / Southern Africa

INFOGRAPHIC: Different strokes for different folks (on farm typologies in Africa RISING)

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). Continue reading

CIMMYT / Cowpea / DRYLANDS-CRP / Gender / IITA / Intensification / Maize / Participation / Scaling / Southern Africa / Zambia

Getting technologies out to farmers using innovative approaches: the Africa RISING – SIMLEZA project

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? Continue reading

CIMMYT / Crop Residues / Crop-Livestock / DRYLANDS-CRP / IITA / Intensification / Livestock / Maize / Southern Africa / Zambia

Expanding beyond demonstration plots brings new cattle to the kraal in Zambia

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 Continue reading

CIMMYT / DRYLANDS-CRP / IITA / Intensification / Maize / Southern Africa / Zambia

Quality cowpea seed production offers Zambian women farmers opportunities for quality lives

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 Continue reading

CIMMYT / Climate change / Cowpea / DRYLANDS-CRP / IITA / Intensification / Maize / Participation / Southern Africa / Zambia

Conservation agriculture for Zambia – A resilient technology in times of climate change

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 Continue reading

CIMMYT / DRYLANDS-CRP / IITA / Intensification / Maize / Scaling / Seeds / Southern Africa / Zambia

Scaling up drought tolerant maize in Zambia

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. Continue reading

Africa / DRYLANDS-CRP / HUMIDTROPICS / IFPRI / Impact Assessment / Intensification / Maize / Malawi / Research / Southern Africa / Tanzania

Characterizing 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, 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. Continue reading

Animal Feeding / Dairying / Drylands / DRYLANDS-CRP / Fodder / Forages / ICRAF / Intensification / Malawi / Research / Southern Africa

Exploring niches for livestock intensification in farming systems in Malawi

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 … Continue reading

Crops / Drylands / DRYLANDS-CRP / IITA / Intensification / Legumes / Malawi / MSU / Pigeonpea / Research / Southern Africa

Increasing pigeonpea productivity in a novel doubled-up legume cropping system in Malawi

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. Continue reading

Africa / Drylands / DRYLANDS-CRP / Fertilizer / Humid Tropics / HUMIDTROPICS / ICRISAT / IITA / Intensification / Mali / NRM / Soils / West Africa

Mechanizing fertilizer microdosing technology: Producers and extension agents trained in Mali (success story)

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. Continue reading

Crop-Livestock / DRYLANDS-CRP / HUMIDTROPICS / IFPRI / Impact Assessment / Intensification / Interview / Staff

RISING voices: Mélanie Bacou, data management specialist (IFPRI)

In this interview, Mélanie Bacou – agro-economist consultant at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and data management specialist in Africa RISING – introduces herself and her work with Africa RISING. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in the program. Continue reading

Crop-Livestock / Drylands / DRYLANDS-CRP / Ghana / Humid Tropics / HUMIDTROPICS / IITA / Intensification / Mali / Research / SLS / West Africa

Africa RISING reviews and plans its work in West Africa

Africa RISING’s 2013-2014 review and planning meeting for the West Africa region took place on 3 and 4 February 2014 in Bamako, Mali. The region’s steering committee also hosted a meeting on 4 February. Over 50 participants attended the meeting representing partners from the country teams of Ghana and Mali as well as observers from … Continue reading

DRYLANDS-CRP / HUMIDTROPICS / IFPRI / Impact Assessment / Intensification

Monitoring and evaluation moved closer to the heart of Africa RISING

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) has so far rather seemed like an add on to the Africa RISING program. Perhaps this was due to its being devolved to another organization – the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) – rather than to the institutes leading the three regional projects (the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture – … Continue reading

Africa / DRYLANDS-CRP / East Africa / HUMIDTROPICS / Intensification / Participation / Southern Africa / West Africa

A wealth of tools and approaches spotted at the Africa RISING learning event

The recent Africa RISING program learning event (24-26 September 2013) revealed an incredible wealth of tools and approaches used across the program. The list includes: West Africa Tools for collecting data Mother-baby trials (mentioned in this article) Participatory community analysis (PRAE, PRA, RRA) FEAST Impact LITE Biomass assessment tool Focus group discussions Value chain analysis … Continue reading

Crop-Livestock / DRYLANDS-CRP / East Africa / HUMIDTROPICS / ICRISAT / IITA / West Africa

Cross-regional perspectives on Africa RISING: West African scientists on progress in East and Southern Africa

During the recent East and Southern Africa review and planning meeting, team members from Africa RISING in West Africa joined the discussions. We asked Asamoah Larbi (IITA Coordinator of Africa RISING for West Africa) and Tom van Mourik (team leader for Mali at ICRISAT) to reflect on the work done by the three site teams … Continue reading

Africa / AVRDC / CIAT / CIMMYT / Crop-Livestock / Drylands / DRYLANDS-CRP / East Africa / Humid Tropics / HUMIDTROPICS / ICRAF / ICRISAT / IFPRI / IITA / ILRI / Intensification / IWMI / Malawi / NRM / Nutrition / Pests / Research / Seeds / SLS / Soils / Southern Africa / Tanzania / Water

Africa RISING East and Southern Africa review and planning 2013 meeting: Integration drives agendas

Even in a program like Africa RISING, where Sustainable Intensification is at the heart of the approach, such key concepts should not be taken for granted. A recent conference about ‘sustainable intensification’ in Accra showed that there are widely different understandings about such complex approaches. The 2013 review and planning meeting of the East and … Continue reading

Africa / DRYLANDS-CRP / HUMIDTROPICS / IFPRI / IITA / ILRI / Intensification / PCT

First Africa RISING Program Coordination Team meeting held in Ghana

Comprising three linked regions projects, Africa RISING has put in place several integration and learning mechanisms at the overall program level. These include a monitoring and evaluation project led by IFPRI and a communication activity led by ILRI. An overall Program Coordination Team (PCT), with representatives from each region, provides advice and coordination across the … Continue reading

AfricaRice / Crop-Livestock / Drylands / DRYLANDS-CRP / Ghana / Humid Tropics / HUMIDTROPICS / ICRISAT / IITA / ILRI / Intensification / Mali / NRM / Nutrition / Pests / Postharvest / Research / Rice / Seeds / Soils / Water / West Africa

Africa RISING consultations in Ghana: Getting the plans right and partners engaged

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 … Continue reading

Africa / AfricaRice / Crop-Livestock / Crops / Drylands / DRYLANDS-CRP / East Africa / Forestry / Humid Tropics / HUMIDTROPICS / IFPRI / IITA / ILRI / Intensification / Research / Southern Africa / West Africa

Africa RISING program document: The thinking behind the overall approach

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 … Continue reading

AfricaRice / AVRDC / Crop-Livestock / Crops / Drylands / DRYLANDS-CRP / Ghana / Humid Tropics / HUMIDTROPICS / ICRISAT / IITA / ILRI / Intensification / Mali / Research / West Africa

Ghana and Mali bustling as Africa RISING activities take off in West Africa

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 … Continue reading

AVRDC / Drylands / DRYLANDS-CRP / Gender / ICRISAT / Intensification / Mali / Nutrition / West Africa

Mali stories of nutrition and health – where the ‘first 1000 days’ fit in the first 300 days of Africa RISING

During the early win phase of the Africa RISING project; nutrition-related activities were conducted in Koutiala in the Sikasso region of Mali from July to October, 2012. A total of 36 villages were selected and grouped into 6 clusters mainly by ‘commune’ with each cluster having 6 villages. The 6 communes were: Medinacoura, Konseguela, Miena, … Continue reading

Agroforestry / CIAT / Crops / DRYLANDS-CRP / East Africa / HUMIDTROPICS / Intensification / Malawi / NRM / Research / Soils / Southern Africa / Tanzania / Water / Zambia

Cataloguing tested crop, soil, and water management options in Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia

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? … Continue reading

AVRDC / Crops / Drylands / DRYLANDS-CRP / ICRISAT / Intensification / Mali / Nutrition / Research / West Africa

Intensification durable de l’agriculture pour l’amélioration de la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle dans le cercle Koutiala, Mali

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 … Continue reading

Crops / Drylands / DRYLANDS-CRP / ICRISAT / Intensification / Mali / Research / West Africa

Africa RISING in Mali: a forward-looking update by Eva Weltzien

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 … Continue reading

DRYLANDS-CRP / HUMIDTROPICS / Intensification

Integration, cross-learning, synergies: Keywords for the next Africa RISING phase in East and Southern Africa

Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon, coordinator of the East and Southern Africa region for Africa RISING, answered some questions following the recently completed annual review and planning meeting for Africa RISING’s East and Southern Africa region and the wider program. She shared her keywords for the next phase and the focus is clearly on the whole project being … Continue reading

Crops / DRYLANDS-CRP / Ghana / IITA / Intensification / West Africa

US Senate, USAID team in monitoring visit to Africa RISING program in Ghana

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’ … Continue reading

Africa / Crops / DRYLANDS-CRP / East Africa / HUMIDTROPICS / ICRISAT / Intensification / Malawi / Research / Southern Africa / Tanzania / Zambia

Multiplication of breeder and basic seed for maize and legumes in Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia

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 … Continue reading

Africa / CIAT / DRYLANDS-CRP / East Africa / Humid Tropics / HUMIDTROPICS / Intensification / Malawi / Research / Southern Africa / Tanzania / Zambia

Accelerating access to quality seed of legumes, maize and forages in Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia

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 Carry out assessment of the representative  of  seed systems models related to production  efficiency, scale  and speed of seed and variety access and information with consideration of the … Continue reading

Africa / Crops / DRYLANDS-CRP / East Africa / HUMIDTROPICS / IITA / Intensification / Malawi / Research / Southern Africa / Tanzania / Zambia

Value chain analysis of grain legumes in East and Southern Africa

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 … Continue reading

Africa / CIAT / Crop-Livestock / Crops / DRYLANDS-CRP / East Africa / HUMIDTROPICS / Intensification / Malawi / NRM / Research / Soils / Southern Africa / Tanzania / Water / Zambia

A catalogue of tested crop, soil, and water management options for Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia

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 … Continue reading

Africa / Crop-Livestock / DRYLANDS-CRP / East Africa / HUMIDTROPICS / Intensification / Research / Southern Africa / West Africa

Sustainably intensifying, sustainably increasing – Africa-RISING to increase the productivity of smallholder farmers in Africa

At a recent workshop discussing the design of a new research project on the sustainable intensification of crop-livestock farming systems in Ethiopia, we asked Jerry Glover from USAID’s Office of Agricultural Research and Policy to tell us more about the project. He explained that the project is intended to intensify some farming systems in Ethiopia, … Continue reading

Africa / DRYLANDS-CRP / East Africa / HUMIDTROPICS / Intensification / Malawi / Southern Africa / Tanzania / Zambia

Sustainable intensification of cereal-based farming systems in East and Southern Africa

Last week, 80 people from Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi met in Dar es Salaam to design a new ‘Feed the Future‘ project (supported by the United States Agency for International Development – USAID) on sustainable intensification of crop and livestock farming systems. The meeting was convened by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). This … Continue reading