Over the past six years, Sitan Coulibaly has been one of the 114 women farmers involved in validating high-performing, dry season-adapted and farmer-preferred vegetable varieties as a pathway for improved nutrition and income for families in southern Mali. The Rio Grande was one of the tomato varieties introduced by Africa RISING to the farmers for validation with impressive success.
In this blog post, some of the key Africa RISING partners share their views on the value of a farming systems research approach and Africa RISING’s contribution in this regard.
Through the voices of seven Africa RISING implementing partners from Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Tanzania and Zambia; we get insights about what it took to implement Africa RISING phase I in different contexts and countries, what the first phase of the program gave to the farmers and global knowledge community (outputs), and some of the partner’s proudest achievements from working in the project over the years.
The publication ‘Footprints of Africa RISING Phase I (2011-2016)’ tracks back the activities, outputs and outcomes of the first phase of the Africa RISING program.
Photo report of the joint field visit to project sites in Tanzania by Africa RISING and the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (SIIL).
A photo report of activities being implemented by the Africa RISING project in Zambia during the 2017/18 cropping season.
The Africa RISING East and Southern Africa (ESA) project management team led by the project manager, Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon, the ESA project chief scientist, Mateete Bekunda and implementing partners recently visited different project sites in Malawi. The three-day visit reviewed implementation of project activities and assessed how farmers were applying the technologies promoted by Africa RISING. …
Reflections by Francis Muthoni about the highlights moments he experienced recently while participating in the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2018 in Vienna, Austria.
A team of International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) scientists in Mali have found that ‘contour bunding’, a technique that helps retain soil moisture and nutrients while preventing erosion brings as much as a 20% increase in net income.
Africa RISING, Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab and SIMLESA exchange ideas, lessons learnt and set collaboration targets for work in sustainable intensification and farming systems research in agriculture
More than 250 government extension staff and more than 40 lead farmers from Tanzania’s southern highlands have been trained by the Africa RISING – NAFAKA Project on fall armyworm management.
Africa RISING is implementing action research with farmers in Babati District, Tanzania to validate several technologies that are set to significantly improve farmer livelihoods. Here is a look at summaries of some of these technologies and how they work.
In the past few decades, apple farming in the Tigray highlands has expanded significantly since the introduction of apple trees to the region’s woredas by the Tigray regional Office of Agriculture and non-governmental organizations. The fruit trees were introduced to diversify the nutrition and income sources of the region’s smallholder farmers.
The Africa RISING-NAFAKA partnership project has benefited over 50,000 rural smallholder households in Tanzania with integrated packages of improved agricultural technologies. A further 58,000 hectares of farm land has been put under the improved technologies or management practices promoted by project. In both cases the intervention has exceeded the targets that were set when it was unveiled in 2014!
As the curtain falls on 2017; here at Africa RISING we can only look back and say, “what a a great year”! Sure it was one heck of a roller coaster, but we enjoyed the ride. You our dear online followers, the global knowledge community that we are a part of and endeavor to always serve made the year fabulous through constant engagement with the numerous material we published on our platforms. Some of these materials really seemed to have resonated quite positively with you. That is if the numbers of hits to the website, downloads and page views are to be believed.
The sustainable intensification assessment framework is an initiative of the Africa-RISING project which develops and recommends metrics and indicators for measuring sustainable intensification under five critical determinants of project sustainability —productivity, economic, environment, human condition and social domains.
Agricultural research in Africa suffers from trends and fashions that often distract from the central goal of enhancing the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Farming systems research (FSR) played a central role in the late 1980s in revealing the constraints faced by farmers in implementing technologies such as alley cropping.
The Africa RISING project in collaboration with the Capacity Development Unit of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), has developed a scaling strategy and capacity development toolkits that will synthesize and integrate the project’s thinking and approaches to enhance the scaling up the capacity of its partners.
Since 2013, Africa RISING has been working with over 6,000 smallholder farmers in seven districts across Tanzania to promote and mainstream vegetable production as a complementary agricultural production activity in the largely maize-dominated farming systems. The results of this work are now manifest as more farmers are turning to vegetable production for better nutrition and as a viable agri-business alternative with great potential for income generation.
How do gender dynamics influence adoption of agricultural innovations? A new Africa RISING report shares findings from an exploration of this and other questions with smallholder farmers in central Malawi.
Africa RISING has developed guidelines for capturing gender-sensitive stories. The guidelines focus on gender-aware selection of sources, stories and visual material, the elimination of stereotypes and the use of fair language.
A research paper published recently in the July 2017 edition of the Land Use Policy Journal has generated a considerable amount of interest after it showed the potential of geospatial tools in supporting evidence-based scaling of sustainable agricultural intensification technologies in Tanzania through the work of IITA-led Africa RISING̶ NAFAKA project.
Africa RISING in collaboration with the private Faji Apple farm in Debre Birhan organized a series of training sessions on apple production and management for scaling-up partners in North Shewa Zone, Amhara region in July 2017.
Farmer finds a sweet spot producing orange-fleshed sweetpotato vines and roots during the dry season in Zambia.
The Africa RISING project team is taking improved technologies to scale targeting thousands of farmers beyond the communities where the validation was done. This wider focus is changing how the project team is going about the business of agricultural extension.
On 3-4 July 2017, partners involved in the Africa RISING – NAFAKA project implementation came together to review achievements made during a largely successful run of the project’s initial three-year phase.
The 2017 gender action plan for the two International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)-led Africa RISING projects in West Africa and East/Southern Africa is now available.
The Africa RISING-NAFAKA project’s model for scaling and disseminating improved technologies has been lauded as ‘exemplary’ and the kind of approach needed to ensure sustainability of improved agricultural interventions for farmers by Tanzania’s Minister of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, Hon Dr Charles Tizeba.
On 29 – 30 June 2017, Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains (INVC) Bridging Activity Project partners met in Lilongwe to review implementation progress and discuss transition from the Bridging Activity to the Agricultural Diversification for Incomes and Nutrition (ADIN) Project.
In March 2017, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) launched the National Learning Alliance (NLA) for the Sustainable Agricultural Intensification Research Learning Alliance (SAIRLA) project in Ethiopia.
The newly-formed Science Advisory Group (SAG) was formed for the first time in Africa RISING’s phase I at a meeting that brought together SAG members, most of the program coordination team and the people championing four of the Africa RISING communities of practice.
Africa RISING designed experiments and trainings to address some of these knowledge and technical gaps to manage harvest surpluses. We provided information and demonstrations on integrated pest management and good storage operations to reduce on-farm storage losses.
This evidence brief presents findings from a study that investigated whether on-farm diversity and the production of nutrient-rich crops and livestock by-products contribute to improvements in dietary diversity and micronutrient intake in households. It also evaluated the early effects of the Africa RISING project on crop production and dietary diversity of beneficiaries.
A comparison of statistical and participatory typologies from a case study in northern Ghana. Are they complementary? Should you go for one or the other – depending on your purpose? Or are they best applied together?
This evidence brief presents findings from a study that investigated the quasi-exogenous increase in on-farm diversity among Africa RISING beneficiary households in Malawi to examine the link between production and dietary diversity.
With support from the Africa RISING project, a management strategy using biocontrol products containing native atoxigenic A. flavus fungi to reduce crop aflatoxin content has been developed for use in Ghana by IITA and partners. When products are applied at the right crop development stage, the atoxigenic fungi competitively displace aflatoxin-producers residing in treated fields and, in so doing, crop aflatoxin content is reduced.
Over the last four years, Africa RISING has generated a huge amount of data through agronomic trials, household surveys, and focus group discussions. With so much information, it is crucial that data is properly stored and made accessible to researchers and non-researchers alike. In phase I of the program, a web-based Project Mapping and Monitoring Tool (PMMT) was deployed and used by the project team to complement offline monitoring activities. What were the lessons learnt by the team when using this tool?
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.