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.
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.
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.
Seventeen core action-oriented interventions have been introduced by the Africa RISING project in Ethiopia and validated under diverse socioeconomic and agro-ecological conditions. Over the years, researchers engaged participating farmers to test options adjusted to the needs of households with differing capacities, approaches to risk and levels of resource endowment. This allowed farmers to select interventions based on their interest and priorities. Between 2012 and 2016, farmers were involved in the selection and validation of the project interventions in a stepwise and iterative manner.
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.
Africa RISING project has been organizing several field days since 2013 for a range of participants at its 4 sites and 8 research kebeles. The project had organized mid-season, end season and larger field days to demonstrate its on-farm research interventions, get feedback from participating and non-participating farmers and other local and CGIAR partners.
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?
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 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.
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
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.
Frédéric Baudron, senior tropical agronomist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Ethiopia, introduces himself and his work with the program.
The Africa RISING project in the Ethiopian highlands recently organized a writeshop (4-7 August 2015) to help researchers document results and findings for wider application.
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.
From 1-5 June, farmers from different Africa RISING sites were trained in using small two-wheel multi-purpose tractors as part of an Africa RISING project led by CIMMYT.
Temam Mama from Ilu-Sanbitu kebele Sinana (in Oromia) was selected by his innovation platform to join the small scale mechanization training in Addis Ababa.
Bedilu Desta from Gudo Beret in Amhara was selected by his innovation platform to join the small scale mechanization training in Addis Ababa.
Learning from the experience of Asian countries such as Bangladesh, CIMMYT (the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre) and its partners are testing small, inexpensive, and easy to maintain two-wheel (single axle) tractors in the Ethiopian Highlands, thanks to the support of the Africa RISING (Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation) project funded by USAID (United States Agency for International Development).
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.
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.
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.
Kindu Mekonnen and Peter Thorne from ILRI recently spent a week with colleagues from ther Africa RISING projects visiting the CIMMYT-led CSISA (Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia) project in Eastern India (Bihar and Odisha states) project in India.
Fighting striga weed by holding evening video shows for farming communities in west Africa
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.
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 …
“I like variety 5. The cob has many rows and the grains have filled the cob well. There are also two cobs on the maize stalk,” Esther Liberati, 43-year-old farmer from Seloto village in Babati district in Tanzania, explains her number one choice from a set of 10 different types of maize being tested for …
This Africa RISING supported project aims to analyze the impact of three agricultural production systems –conservation agriculture, continuous no-till maize and conventional tillage — on food production, soil fertility and quality, human nutrition, resilience to drought and climate variability and change and household income in Malawi. Support from Africa RISING was crucial in sustaining this …
Compared with other Ethiopian Highland early win projects, the ‘Research for Development‘ project focused on the research process so as to propose a flexible and generic approach to implement demand-driven research for development (R4D), while promoting partner-led processes and dissemination. In a recent workshop, some 20 participants analyzed the results of this early win project. The …
Over the last few days, in relation with an upcoming final workshop for the ‘farm scale research design‘ early win project, an interesting e-mail exchange took place between Prof. Ken Giller of Wageningen University and Dr. Jens Andersson on the proposed research for development (R4D) approach for the Africa RISING program in the Ethiopian Highlands. This conversation …
The Africa RISING project is now in full swing in the three regions – West Africa, Ethiopian Highlands and East and Southern Africa (ESA). In West Africa, a ‘fast track’ implementation work plan has been agreed for the two countries concerned (Mali and Ghana). The implementation team has identified four districts and five communities in …
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 …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Ethiopia led by the CGIAR Systemwide Livestock Programme, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT). The project aims to adapt and test the use of system and participatory research (including farmer diversity) in current R4D initiatives on …
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 led by the nternational Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvemnet Center (CIMMYT). The projects aim at identifying best practices and innovative arrangements for increasing agricultural productivity in ways that improve income and nutrition of farm households. The specific objectives are …