Photo report of highlights from a recent exchange visit to Africa RISING sites in northern Ghana from 17-21 June 2019.
The SI Toolkit is a dynamic, online platform to help researchers and development workers select appropriate indicators and metrics for their innovations, visualizing tradeoffs and synergies using a Radar Chart Generator.
Africa RISING phase II is working closely with development partners, including offices of agriculture and livestock resources, in scaling tree lucerne fodder in the highland areas of Ethiopia.
The third International Learning Alliance (ILA) for sustainable intensification meeting in Lusaka, Zambia, in July 2018, opened up the space for a multi-stakeholder engagement and process in sustainable agricultural intensification to flourish.
This paper explores the sustainable intensification possibilities facing smallholder farmers in Ethiopia. It examines the internal consistency of jointly achieving “sustainable” “intensification” by exploring the factors that lead to complementarity or tradeoffs in the outcomes.
On 27 June 2018, 55 members of the National Learning Alliance (NLA) of the SAIRLA project in Ethiopia met at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Addis Ababa to discuss ways of enhancing understanding of sustainable agricultural intensification among NLA members in the country.
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.
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.
IIn this video, Peter Thorne, the Africa RISING project coordinator in Ethiopia, and Melkamu Bezabih, a postdoctoral livestock feeds and nutrition researcher, talk about sustainable intensification of mixed farming systems in Ethiopia in the Africa RISING project.
Farming systems in Ethiopia are plagued by soil-related problems which lead to poor productivity, declining soil fertility and soil erosion. Other common farming-related challenges include low fertilizer use and reduced farmlands because of population pressure.
The sixth issue of Forages for the Future newsletter features the Africa RISING project’s efforts in exploring new ways of integrating multi-purpose forages to increase the feed quantity and quality available for livestock in mixed crop-livestock farming systems in Ethiopia.
In 2012, Africa RISING conducted
a participatory community analysis (PCA) as the first phase of a participatory development approach in the Ethiopian highlands.
The project team used the preliminary results of this research to develop guidelines for training farmers on how to manage fodder varieties in order to maximize benefits from them.
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.
A report by the Africa Research In Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) program explains the effects of soil bunds on soil and rainwater conservation in southern Ethiopia.
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.
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.
To expand benefits of solar irrigation pumps to more farmers, ILRI, the Solar Development PLC and partners are working together to accelerate wider adoption of the technology in the second phase of the Africa RISING project.
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.
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.
Failing to take into account gender differences in needs, preferences, roles and responsibilities, access to and control of resources (such as labour, inputs, credit, and land), and power imbalances can limit the reach and scale of Africa RISING technologies.
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.
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.
This literature review employs a community capital’s framework to provide a holistic perspective of the stock and interaction between the capitals required by men and women farmers for effective engagement in agricultural intensification. The review was was validated by male and female farmers in four regions of Ethiopia.
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.
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.
During phase I, the project has learned a number of lessons in Ethiopia that will be key to designing an effective phase II that will generate development impacts at scale. These include issues around partnerships, capacity development, research management, budget utilization and specific approaches to exploratory and action research.
To set plans and priorities for phase 2, in November 2016 the Africa RISING project in the Ethiopian highlands organized a two days review and planning meeting to look back phase I outputs and achievements, provide an overview of the phase II project and approach, review and refine scaling proposals from phase I, and discuss implementation processes for Phase II.
This poster provides a self-reflective look at the key lessons and what it takes to operationalize a robust M&E framework for a complex systems research program like Africa RISING.
Originally published in Forages for the Future Newsletter, issue 3, December 2016 Livestock in Tanzania are largely underfed with farmers meeting only 65% of feed needs in a year, under best conditions. Farm areas with crops range from 0.3 to 0.7 ha, while the area committed to forages is <0.04 ha. Grazing areas are overgrazed …
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.
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.
En Afrique de l’Ouest, comme dans la plupart des pays d’Afrique Sub-Sahélienne, les ressources naturelles constituent la base de la vie quotidienne des hommes, particulièrement pour les pauvres qui dans la majorité des cas vivent dans le milieu rural où leur moyens de subsistances dépendent presque exclusivement des activités agricoles et de l’élevage.
ICARDA research in Ethiopia examines whether the adoption of improved food legume varieties increases the technical efficiency of crop production.
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.
The final innovation platform meetings in all four regions where Africa RISING is present in Ethiopia took place in June and July 2016. These meetings offer a chance to look back at some of the achievements, issues and questions around the project and its upscaling efforts. Experiences from the platform meetings show that promising scaling up activities are taking place with strong support from partners.
Africa RISING and the Innovation Laboratory for Small Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) funded by USAID under FtF, are partnering with the Livestock and Irrigation Value Chain for Ethiopian Smallholders (LIVES) project funded by Global Affairs Canada to evaluate irrigated fodder in Ethiopia.
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.
Developed by the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), the International Potato Center (CIP) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), this manual aims to build the knowledge and skills of health and agriculture workers in nutrition-sensitive agriculture so that they can promote health and agricultural and other related practices that maximize nutritional benefits.
On 15 April, Science Forum 2016 participants visited the Africa RISING research sites in Basona Worena.
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has released household and community data from all five project countries through the Africa RISING Baseline Evaluation Survey (ARBES).
Three Ethiopian MSc. students, who contributed to ICARDA’s research on multidimensional improvement of grain legumes recently graduated from Ethiopian Universities.
A one day national workshop on decision support tools for appropriate fertilizer recommendation in Ethiopia was organized at ILRI campus on 18 December 2015.
Lulseged Desta, landscape ecologist at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), introduces himself and his work with the program. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING.
Since 2012 , Africa RISING project in the Ethiopian highlands engaged quite a number of farmers (men, women and youth) in all the research processes including diagnosis, participation of different on-farm research trials, demonstration and evaluation, decision making and capacity building activities through different approaches.
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.
Annet Mulema, gender specialist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), introduces herself and her work with the program. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING.
Ethiopia is the second largest wheat producing country in Africa after South Africa. Wheat is a major grain crop grown for consumption and sale and demand for wheat quality products in Ethiopia is growing, particularly during fasting periods,creating opportunities for increased wheat production.
Conventional monitoring and evaluation tools set predefined indicators of outcomes. This is usually just a quantitative process. They count measurable at predefined moments in the life of a project.
A newly published research brief by Africa RISING offers tips on how farmers can get more yields when they grow groundnuts.
Addressing the question of how to sustainably intensify farming systems can benefit from collaborative and iterative social learning processes. This post reflects on what Africa RISING is doing and could do to strengthen social learning, based on interviews with program staff.
A newly published brief by Africa RISING explains how the doubled-up legume technology works and how to get optimum yields using the technology.
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.
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.
Frédéric Baudron, senior tropical agronomist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Ethiopia, introduces himself and his work with the program.
Augustine Ayantune, senior animal scientist at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) working in the Africa RISING West Africa project, introduces himself and his work with Africa RISING.
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.
Apurba Shee, economist at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and regional M&E coordinator in the Africa RISING program, introduces himself and his work with the program. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in Africa RISING.
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.
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.
In Ethiopia, the number of women engaged in agriculture is increasing as more men withdraw from farming. Although women play a central role in agriculture and family well-being, their roles remains invisible and women farmers’ participation in agricultural research and extension is still very low. Africa RISING recently carried out a study to better understand these issues.
From 15-19 June 2015, the Livestock and Fish research program and Africa RISING held a training course in Addis Ababa on participatory epidemiology and gender.
Preference for aromatic rice by consumers is an open secret in the rice sector in Tanzania. But this preference for a distinct scent in rice could be a root cause of stagnating rice production in the country. Researchers from AfricaRice (through the Africa RISING project) in partnership with a local NGO, NAFAKA, have been implementing activities to find a middle ground for stakeholders involved in the rice value chain in 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.
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.
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, 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.
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 …
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.
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.
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.
On 13 December 2014, members of the Sinana innovation platform (IP) members and technical group (TG) held a farmers field day that attracted many farmers and others (woreda IP members, private sector workers, media and government decision makers) to see the farmer field interventions.
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 …
This RISING voices article features an interview with Anthony Kimaro, a scientist with Africa RISING and country representative for ICRAF in Tanzania.
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 …
Earlier this year scientists from ICARDA and national partners carried out livestock feed assessments in 12 districts in Ethiopia. The twelve reports are online in the Africa RISING repository.
This photofilm explains how a farmer cooperative in Endamehoni woreda (Ethiopia) organized itself to produce and distribute seed potatoes.
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.
The West Africa component of the Africa RISING program recently underwent an IITA-commissioned external review of its activities in Mali and Ghana.
This week, IFPRI and Africa RISING/ILRI organized a one day training for Africa RISING Ethiopia researchers on a Project Monitoring and Mapping Tool (PMMT).
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.
The Africa RISING-HarvestChoice team at IFPRI has produced three tools to help evaluate the impact of agricultural technology and R&D interventions, in terms of their profitability, benefits, and yield gap closure.
The Africa RISING project in West Africa recently produced reports documenting existing and potential feed resources, their uses and seasonal gaps with respect to livestock production in northern Ghana and southern Mali.
In 2013, the Africa RISING project in Ethiopia initiated a series of participatory assessments to diagnose and characterize the farming systems and communities where the project is working. A series of short briefs explains the different approaches and how they were used
In this interview, Robert Richardson introduces himself and his work with Africa RISING. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in the project.
Recently, several CGIAR staff and national partners from the Africa RISING project and the Humidtropics Program in Ethiopia travelled to Kisumu, Kenya (from 22-27 June 2014) to attend a training organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) on how to set up and operate innovation platforms (IPs).
Dans cet entretien, Clarisse Umutoni retrace les raisons de sa présence dans le projet Africa RISING et les activités qu’elle mène en Afrique de l’Ouest, en rapport avec l’élevage…
Inorganic fertilizers have a bad name in Babati (Tanzania) and are accused of ruining soils. Dispelling this myth and urging farmers to use them to boost their production was one of the key messages at a Farmers’ Field Day held in Babati District, 21 – 22 May 2014.
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.
A multidisciplinary team of researchers from Africa RISING recently visited Malawi as part of a learning exchange visit of project sites and trials. Members of the team came from Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and Ethiopia representing the various CGIAR Centres implementing the project. They visited Africa RISING trial sites in Dedza and Ntcheu districts in Malawi representing the three agroecological zones that the project is working in: the dry and hot lowlands, the moderate temperature mid-altitude zone, and the comparatively cooler high-altitude zone. The researchers visited some of the “Mother-Baby” trials that the project is conducting in these two districts.
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.
In this interview, Beliyou Haile introduces herself and her 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 post was drafted by Terry Clayton based on contributions by Beth Cullen (ILRI) at the Participatory Agricultural Research: Approaches, Design and Evaluation (PARADE) workshop held in Oxford from 9-13 December 2013. In his keynote address at the PARADE workshop, Professor Paul Sillitoe offered insights into how theory informs practice. Beth Cullen’s presentation on day …
Agricultural research is still seen primarily as research in plant, animal and soil science that affects crop production. The social, economic, and political bases of crop production and land management have most often taken a back seat to the design of technical interventions. Participatory research is still seen as an ‘add on’ after the ‘real’ research has been completed. Farming systems research and Robert Chambers’ work on ‘putting farmers first’ created an impact, but participatory approaches are still marginal within agronomic research. How do we change that?
What must we do to gain wider acceptance of participatory agricultural research methods within the mainstream of the CGIAR system and beyond? Professor Paul Sillitoe (Department of Anthropology, Durham University) believes the answer to the question will in no small part depend on addressing some of the deep-seated contradictions within development discourse. In his opening keynote, Professor Sillitoe outlined the deeply entrenched incongruities that PAR practitioners must resolve, or at least acknowledge. The list is long (17 points in all), which underscores how deeply conflicted our discourse is.
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 …
The Africa RISING project in the Ethiopian highlands organized its review and planning meeting in Addis Ababa from 30th October to 1 November 2013. The meeting aimed to review project progress and results, synthesize ongoing diagnostic work and agree outline work plans for 2013-2014 and general responsibilities of partners. Around 45 participants representing government partners …
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 …
Local knowledge is proving a valuable starting point in adapting Ethiopian farming systems to climate change and ensuring greater productivity to combat food insecurity. A new brief by the World Agroforestry Centre analyses what farmers in the highlands of Ethiopia currently know about ecosystem processes and the interactions between trees, crops and livestock. The aim …
Sustainable intensification (SI) is at the core of Africa RISING’s research agenda. It needs to demonstrate that sustainable intensification (SI) is a feasible way forward to achieve Africa’s food security and poverty reduction. However, this quest is imbued with complications, as the very notion of sustainable intensification remains draped with mystery. Questions frequently arise as …
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 …
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 …
As part of the feed and fodder early win project, three reports were recently produced for the Ethiopian Highland project of Africa RISING: Characterization of the livestock production systems and the potential of feed-based interventions for improving livestock productivity in Sinana district, Bale highlands, Ethiopia – read the report Characterization of the farming and livestock …
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? …
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 …
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 …
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 …
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. …
Mixed-farming smallholder growers in East and Southern Africa are slated to see a boost in their production and productivity resulting from a strategy that will see agricultural experts from different disciplines and farmers working hand-in-hand at the farm and village levels. International and national agricultural researchers converged in Arusha, Tanzania from 1 to 5 October …
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 …
The inception phase of Africa RISING is coming to an end on 30 September. All ‘jumpstart activities’ and ‘early win’ projects from this phase have to be completed, and the broad program is coming out of the ground. The first of the three projects to officially wrap up the inception phase and pave the way …
Today’s edition of Naturehas an article by Jerry Glover, John Reganold and Cindy Cox in which they explain, with examples from Malawi harmer Rhoda Mang’yana, how planting perennials can help save Africa’s soils. Rhoda’s story: Rhoda Mang’yana’s half-hectare farm in Malawi produces more maize (corn) than her extended family of seven can eat. Some of …
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 …
From 5 to 7 September 2012, a group of people from the three Africa RISING regions (re-baptized ‘mega sites’, i.e. West Africa, Ethiopian Highlands and East and Southern Africa) met to elaborate monitoring and evaluation (M&E) directions for the program. This workshop was organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). It aimed at …
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 …
From 11 to 22 June 2012, students from Mekelle University visited the field site of Abreha We Atsbeha in a semi-arid area of the Tigray Region, to unpack tree-crop-livestock interactions on farms within the field site, to assess drivers influencing incorporation of trees on farms and constraints and opportunities for increasing tree cover through agroforestry interventions. The ‘Sustainable tree-crop-livestock intensification as …
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 …
Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon, Africa RISING Project Coordinator at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture writes: I would like to give you an update on the status of the USAID funded project on Sustainable Intensification of Key Farming Systems in Eastern and Southern Africa. After the inception workshop in Dar es Salaam in February it was decided …
From May 10-12, a project was launched in Morogoro (Tanzania) to determine the prevalence of harmful vegetable contaminants in Tanzania. For the first time ever, researchers will collect quantitative data on pesticide residues, heavy metals, human diseases, and plant pathogens on samples of tomato and eggplant being sold in markets and from farmers’ fields. Significant …
In June 2012, the ICRAF-led early win project on ‘Sustainable tree-crop-livestock intensification as a pillar for the Ethiopian climate resilient green economy initiative‘ will hold a training workshop on local knowledge acquisition. Part of the project’s ‘output 1’, the training will help ensure that local knowledge about the integration of trees in fields, farms and …
The Quick Water early win project “aims to review, test and provide a package of outputs that together will better define areas of priority where gains in crop and livestock productivity to reduce poverty could be brought about by increased water use efficiency, greater/better use of water storage structures and opportunities and constraints for interventions.” …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Ethiopia led by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). The project aims to support more effective use of feed by crop-livestock farmers (including supply and quality, impacts on livestock production and product appeal …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Ethiopia led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The project aims to review, test and provide a package of outputs that together will better define areas of priority where gains in crop and livestock productivity to reduce poverty could be brought about by increased …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Ethiopia led by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). The project aims to improve the productivity of crop-livestock production system in the Bale highlands of Oromiya region of Ethiopia by integrating all important components of pulses in mixed farming systems. …
In 2012, Africa RISING funded an ‘early win’ project in Ethiopia led by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). The project aims to underpin the Ethiopian Climate Resilient Green Economy Initiative by providing early win tree species and management options for integrating fruit, fodder, fuelwood, fertilizer and timber trees in fields, farms and landscapes. This will …
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 Ethiopia led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). The project aims to promote sustainable intensification of wheat-teff production systems in the Ethiopian Highlands by providing soil series-specific fertilizer recommendations through soil fertility trials based on newly developed soil maps from partner organizations. Currently, …