Over the past two years, the Africa RISING program has been working with various partners in southern Mali to introduce high yielding, farmer (and livestock) preferred dual-purpose sorghum varieties.
The Africa RISING program should keep working towards achieving wider impacts and building resilience for larger populations, USAID Bureau for Food Security program leader for sustainable intensification, Jerry Glover, has said.
This video highlights how through Africa RISING program interventions, a group of farmers at Mlali Village in central Tanzania are today making choices that will ensure they improve their livelihoods while conserving the natural resource base for the future generations.
How Neema Hussein, a rice farmer from Mbarali District in the southern highlands of Tanzania improved her rice yields.
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.
Recent field visits in Tanzania shared experiences and strengthened project collaborations across the three Africa RISING projects (Ethiopian Highlands, East and Southern Africa, and West Africa). Kindu Mekonnen, chief scientist in the Africa RISING project in Ethiopia, reflects on the visits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Insights from an economic evaluation of Africa RISING post-harvest technology (Purdue Improved Crop Storage bags) in Tanzania reveal how much farmers are benefitting by adopting the improved storage bags over the conventional storage options.
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.
A geospatial framework for delineating recommendation domains for crop varieties which are part of the Africa RISING technology packages.
How switching to improved agricultural technologies like hybrid maize varieties and application of bladed fertilizers catalyzed a young female farmer’s dramatic rise from an off-season casual laborer to a champion farmer in rural Tanzania.
Two posters on scaling techniques applied by the Africa RISING project in Tanzania were recently ranked 2nd and 3rd at a poster competition featuring over 50 entries in Ibadan, Nigeria.
The Africa RISING project in Tanzania recently got merited recognition by the Kongwa District Council as a project that provides farmers with practical improved agricultural technologies that can be applied to fight hunger in the District.
This annotated bibliography of gender learning resources will ensure that project partners can at a glance find information and links to selected open access documents addressing particular topics of interest to them on gender in agriculture.
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.
Twenty scientists implementing different Africa RISING interventions in East and Southern Africa took part in a training on farming systems research design from 3-4 October, 2016 in Lilongwe,Malawi. “After this training I think the scientists are now better equipped to make more integrated and participatory systems research designs,” explains Prof. Mateete Bekunda, Chief Scientist, Africa RISING East and Southern Africa Project.
The U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Bureau for Food Security in Washington DC has announced funding for a second 5-year phase of the Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) program beginning October 2016.
From East to West Africa,post-graduate students supported by Africa RISING are completing their research studies….and sharing their findings.In this brief,we feature four students who’ve recently defended their research theses – Clarisse Umutoni, Shitindi Mawazo, Daniel Apalibe and Alagma Henry. They are among a cohort of 47 MSc and 15 PhD students supported by the Africa RISING program in West Africa and East/Southern Africa from 2012 – 2016.
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.
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.
In this interview, Mirja Michalscheck of Wageningen University and Sara Signorelli of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) explain the vision behind the typology work in Africa RISING; the insights emerging from the studies and how the typology results can be used by the project team.
Discussions at this year’s Africa RISING West Africa review and planning meeting served up serious dialogue among partners on which improved agricultural technologies that have been tested and refined over the past four years can be scaled to benefit more farmers beyond the current project sites. Animated discourse at the meeting, in Accra, Ghana from …
Africa RISING conducted a gender capacity assessment in 2015, that aims to direct attention to the importance of gender capacities for the project’s success.
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.
Francis Muthoni, geographic information system specialist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Arusha, introduces himself and his work with the program. 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
Haroon Sseguya, technology scaling specialist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), introduces himself and his work with the program. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING.
Africa RISING project partners from the CGIAR centers, national research systems, and other international research centres recently held a meeting on 6-8 October in Bamako, Mali, to write up the a second phase proposal for the program.
Gundula Fischer, is the Africa RISING Gender Specialist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). She introduces herself and her work within the Africa RISING program. This is one of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING.
Mahama Saaka, is a scientist from the University for Development Studies (UDS) in Ghana. The university (UDS) is one of the Africa RISING implementing partner institutions. In this interview which is part of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING, Mahama introduces himself and his work within the Africa RISING program.
Results from a cost-benefit-analysis of Africa RISING technologies in Tanzania show that almost all of the technologies being tested by the project are better than the base technologies currently used by farmers.
Victor Manyong, is the Africa RISING East and Southern Africa Project Steering Committee Chair. He is also the Director for Eastern Africa and Leader of the social science research group at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). In this interview which is part of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING, Dr Manyong introduces himself and his role in Africa RISING.
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
So what factors influence whether farmers will adopt new sustainable intensification practices? And what is their impact ? A recent study by Africa RISING in northern Ghana found that farmers are primarily influenced by seven factors in adopting agricultural technologies.
A newly published research brief by Africa RISING offers tips on how farmers can get more yields when they grow groundnuts.
A newly published brief by Africa RISING explains how the doubled-up legume technology works and how to get optimum yields using the technology.
Results from an indicative cost-benefit-analysis in northern Ghana show that farmers are getting three times more (300%), over and above their total expenditures when using the Africa RISING technologies.
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 from the University for Development Studies and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology conducted a baseline survey to identify key factors that affect pig rearing and prospects for intensification and integration with crop production.
Africa RISING and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT) geospatial unit in India have developed land use maps of Africa RISING project intervention sites in southern Mali.
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.
The Africa RISING Tanzania last month exhibited various agricultural interventions being implemented by project partners at the nane nane agricultural fair in Arusha, Tanzania. The event gave some of the project partners an opportunity to showcase their interventions and get valuable feedback from farmers and participants taking part in the week-long fair. Over 200 participants, mostly farmers, visited the Africa RISING exhibition stand.
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.
Smallholder farmers in northern Ghana face a number of water-related challenges.
Intensive or semi-intensive rearing of improved and unimproved stocks of chickens, guinea fowls, ducks, turkeys and pigeons in relatively small numbers for food (meat, eggs) and cash has potential to reduce poverty, malnutrition and food insecurity among rural and peri-urban farm families.
Tanzania’s smallholder farmers in erosion battered districts of Kongwa and Kiteto are reclaiming their land and in the process building a resilient farming system through agro-forestry interventions introduced courtesy of the Africa RISING project.
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.
The latest technical reports from Africa RISING are available for download.
Assorted feeds from crop residues such as cowpea hay, groundnut haulms, to agro-industrial by-products (bran of maize, rice and sorghum) and fresh grass are fast becoming big business in northern Ghana.
Through the Africa RISING project, ILRI and AMEDD (a local Malian NGO) have worked with the local community in Zanzoni since September 2013 to ensure that they have a more equitable and sustainable management of natural resources in the mixed crop-livestock systems that dominate the region.
Elda Mmary, a female extension officer talks about her work with smallholder farmers on the Africa RISING project in Babati District, Tanzania.
In northern Tanzania, failed rains and drying streams mean the main source of livelihood – agriculture – is under serious threat. In a bid to buffer smallholder farmers from erratic rainfall CIAT, through the Africa RISING project, is carrying out research into sustainable water management in the country.
In April, twenty five scientists from the different Africa RISING projects visited Ethiopia as part of a learning exchange.
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.
Africa RISING is contributing to changing the fates of children in Koutiala city in the Sikasso region of Mali by supporting an initiative to educate young mothers and pregnant women about ways of preparing nutritious meals for their infants using whole grain cereals. The initiative dubbed, the nutrition field schools program is improving child health and freeing up women’s time.So far 290 people have participated in nutrition field schools (94% women) and about 600 households have benefited from collective demonstrations. The consumption of whole grain sorghum increased in six villages.
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.
The review and planning meeting of the Africa RISING West Africa project ended on 25 March 2015 with partners committing to take integration of research activities a notch higher in 2015.
The IITA commissioned external review of Africa RISING East and Southern Africa project concluded on 16 March after nearly five weeks of literature review, project stakeholder interviews and field visits to project sites in Tanzania and Malawi.
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, Gregory Sikumba presented a poster on farmer preferences of selected Napier grass accessions in northern Tanzania.
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.
Agricultural scientists and researchers from over 30 nations gather today at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria, for the International Conference on Integrated Systems for Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture, which lasts through March 6.
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.
In Africa RISING, innovation platforms are one of the mechanisms of ensuring research is put into use and actually contributes to solving real problems that are based on a real demand. Here is an overview of the theory, practice and perspectives around innovation platforms in the program.
The leadership committee of Tanzania’s Babati District research for development (R4D) platform, JUMBA (Jukwaa la Utafiti kwa Maendeleo wilaya ya Babati) recently held a two-day retreat to refine its constitution, vision and mission and to develop and prioritize JUMBA activities for 2015.
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.
At the tail end of 2014, Africa RISING scientists and government extension agents held a series of feedback meetings with farmers in Tanzania’s Babati District. This photo trip report provides a visual overview of the issues encountered and activities undertaken by the project team during the feedback meetings in those areas.
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.
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.
Research-for-Development platform by Africa RISING in Babati District, Tanzania is stimulating learning and innovation about productivity, nutrition as well as opening up business possibilities for farmers within the locality.
Livestock are an important component of the farming system in Tanzania’s Babati District. However, recent increases in demand for food within the farming community in the region have led to permanent cultivation of more land to expand crop production. This has led to significant reduction of pastures for livestock, consequently leaving them vulnerable to starvation …
Africa RISING is creating awareness on available and appropriate labour-saving and efficient weed management practices to boost rice production in Tanzania.
Fighting striga weed by holding evening video shows for farming communities in west Africa
A number of lessons, success stories and even some negative change stories are expected to emerge from Africa RISING research-for-development interventions in the Ethiopian highlands. As part of our approach to monitor and evaluate the impact of Africa RISING innovation platforms, we plan to use the ‘Most Significant Change’ (MSC) technique in our monitoring and evaluation framework.
This RISING voices article features an interview with Mateete Bekunda, chief scientist in the East and Southern Africa (ESA) project of the Africa RISING Program and a farming systems agronomist with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
Africa RISING has received additional support from the USAID mission in Tanzania to scale out appropriate technologies to smallholder farmers in the maize- and rice-farming systems in the country.
The West Africa component of the Africa RISING program recently underwent an IITA-commissioned external review of its activities in Mali and Ghana.
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.
Communities in Tanzania and the region could unknowingly be exposing themselves to potential health problems as a result of consuming foods that are contaminated with high levels of mycotoxins – poisonous chemicals that are produced by certain types of fungi and which are harmful to both humans and livestock.
In May this year, the Africa RISING team in Tanzania held several field days with farmers in Kongwa district.
In far-flung Seloto Village, Babati district, Manyara Region, Northern Tanzania, a trail-blazing farmer participating in the Africa RISING project shows researchers how farming system integration works. Farmer Andrea Mayi is successfully integrating crop, livestock, and tree farming in his 6-acre (4.2 hectares) farm consisting of 1.2 hectares (3 acres) each of crops and livestock farming systems, and a tree farm.
After launching of the Babati District Research for Development (R4D) platform the Africa RISING partners and beneficiaries have high expectations of the the platform and those selected to the Platform’s Committee to represent various stakeholders have very clear ideas on their roles. The platform was well appreciated and many feel it will play a key role in pushing for the adoption of the new innovations and technologies generated by the project’s research.
The USAID Africa Bureau is providing support to Africa RISING (funded by the USAID Bureau for Food Security) for a study that advances the understanding of the landscape-level implications of farm-level sustainable intensification activities in Zambia. It will also inform the design of future integrated projects that address food security, climate change and biodiversity issues.
In this interview, Regis Chikowo introduces himself and his work with Africa RISING. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in the program.
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 …
This short photofilm presents some aspects of the work of Africa RISING in Ghana. It shows how it is helping farmers restore their degraded lands, increase crop and livestock production, and provide them with better incomes. Photos and story by Charlie Pye-Smith. Read three of Charlie’s blog posts from the same journey: Africa RISING in …
Charlie Pye-Smith reports from Ghana for Africa RISING The Africa RISING program seeks to provide pathways out of hunger and poverty for smallholder families, and especially women and children, through the process of sustainable intensification. This involves producing more crops and livestock from the same piece of land, without degrading the natural resource base, thus …
Charlie Pye-Smith reports from Ghana for Africa RISING During the first year of the Africa RISING project, a multidisciplinary team of researchers held discussions with some 4000 people in Northern Ghana. The study provided an overview of existing farming practices and the constraints associated with crop and livestock production. The community analysis, as it is …
Charlie Pye-Smith reports from Ghana for Africa RISING “When I was young, we used to get eight or nine bags of maize per acre,” says Abukari Iddrisu. ”Now, I’m lucky if I get three bags, and this year it will be even less.” Like most farmers in Tibognayali, a community of 1900 people in Ghana’s …
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 …
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 …
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 …
“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 …
Increasing crop production does not always lead to more food and a healthier population. In some cases, the consumption of the crops and their products may instead lead to serious health problems in both human beings and livestock and even death. One such instance is when the crops are contaminated with mycotoxins, poisonous substances produced …
In a recent visit to project communities in northern Ghana, many farmers participating in field trials said that they are “thankful to Africa RISING for the many interventions introduced by the project to help their communities.” One woman farmer leader in Nyangwa, Kassena-Nankan District, Upper Eastern Region, said “I am happy that women are not …
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 …
The need to grow more food without depleting important natural resources makes the intensification of African agriculture essential. The Green Revolution in South Asia and Latin America raised crop productivity through the deployment of improved varieties, water, and fertilizer. However, efforts to achieve similar results in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have largely failed. The sustainable intensification …
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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …
Asamoah Larbi is chief scientist for the Guinea Savannah region of Africa RISING in West Africa. He attended the recent East and Southern Africa review and planning meeting and is now planning for the similar West Africa workshop taking place 19-23 October. Here Asamoah reflects on Africa RISING progress in his region, and particularly Ghana. …
Mateete Bekunda joined Africa RISING in April this year as the Farming Systems Agronomist for the East and Southern Africa region. He kindly accepted to share his views about the recent review and planning meeting which closed on 5 October. A lot of work – and learning – remains, but the path is clearer. What was achieved with this …