This evidence brief explains how Africa RISING is using an intercropping system known as ‘doubled-up’ legume technology using two complimentary grain legumes. Groundnut–pigeon pea intercropping is the most successful doubled-up system thanks to the two crops’ contrasting structures and maturity dates.
The doubled-up legume system in conservation agriculture is premised on the belief that while farmers will be in a position to get the usual benefits of the doubled-up legumes (‘double’ the grain output per farm, hence more food and also ‘double’ soil fertility through the leafy biomass components of groundnuts and pigeonpea); they will also potentially benefit more from increased moisture retention towards the end of the season as well as reduced labor in land preparation, if the backbreaking conventional tillage practice of ridging can be avoided.
In Babati District, northern Tanzania, a popular but misleading myth persists. That use of inorganic fertilizer ‘kills’ the soil. For several years, majority of farmers in the district have desisted from use of fertilizer to replenish depleted soil nutrients. Africa RISING researchers have for the past five years, invested significant resources and effort to dispel this myth.
Through its research-in-development work on legume–cereal rotations in Tanzania and Malawi, Africa RISING has established that these rotations work better for larger farms, while intercropping targeted at smaller farms ensures crop diversity, while giving an opportunity for legumes to be grown, thereby bringing associated nitrogen-fixation ecological benefits.
In 2015, livestock scientists implementing Africa RISING research-in-development activities (R-in-D) introduced forage chopper machines in seven villages in Babati District, northern Tanzania. One year later (in 2016), social scientists evaluated the gender implications of the new processing practices among farmers’ groups.
Farmers voices from Malawi and Zambia about how different Africa RISING technologies have touched their lives. These feedback from the grassroots were captured during the recent monitoring visit by the leadership team of the IITA-led Africa RISING project in east and southern Africa.
The leadership team of the IITA-led Africa RISING project in east and southern Africa recently concluded monitoring visits to project sites in Malawi, Zambia, and Tanzania to assess the status and progress of implementation of various project activities by partners. These visits took place between 15–22 February 2017 in Malawi and Zambia, and 21–31 March 2017 in Tanzania.
Africa RISING scientists from ICRISAT implemented a small scale pilot study in the semi-arid regions of southern Mali and northern Ghana to evaluate the impacts of climate variability at different scales (farm to watershed), using newly setup hydro-meteorological stations and hydrological modelling tools.
During the first phase of the Africa RISING program (2012-2016) the three projects set up innovation and R4D platforms to support learning, sharing collaboration and joint actions. These experiences were critiqued at the recent program science for impact workshop to guide phase 2 interventions.
Africa RISING West Africa project partners recently took part in the 2017 review and planning meeting, which reviewed phase I outputs, achievements and lessons learnt, discuss phase II proposal and implementation guidelines, and reviewed a pre-developed project log frame
Draft 2017 work plans.
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?
One of the main ‘program-wide’ changes in the second phase of Africa RISING is the institutionalisation of ‘communities of practice’ (CoPs). Five initial pilot CoPs were officially launched at the first science meeting of Africa RISING phase 2, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania between 17 & 19 January 2017.