More scaling, less research – Africa RISING project in Ethiopia looks forward to Phase II
In 2016, USAID confirmed a second five-year phase for the Africa RISING project after the successful completion of phase I (2012-2016). 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.
On her welcoming remarks, Siboniso Moyo, ILRI Director General’s Representative in Ethiopia emphasized the importance of this event as a bridge between the two phases. Many successes and achievements have been recorded during the first phase which need to be scaled out to a larger areas in the second phase. To this end, she noted, partner engagement and commitment is vital.
Introducing the aims and objectives of the workshop, Peter Thorne, project coordinator, said that the project has been focusing on four of its project sites in the first phase. More scaling out work will be done in the second phase to reach larger numbers of smallholder households. He added that the project is committed to reach many farmers in the next five years, mainly by engaging more partners and stakeholder at various levels. While the second phase has a strong scaling emphasis, the project will remain a research for development program with important continuing research targets. Outreach will become a more important part of the roles of the project’s site coordinators while capacity development efforts with partners will be stepped up.
The first day was organized around in-depth poster conversations led by the partners. These focused on key results and achievements under the 7 key thematic areas in the first phase, namely: field crops, systems integration, high value trees, feed and forage, gender and nutrition, knowledge management and innovation platforms, and soil and water management. Seven interest groups were set up to challenge the presenters on:
- What scaling has there been to date and with / by whom?
- What are the R4D gaps for future consideration?
- Where is the real potential for scaling and who should the partners be?
- What were the big three achievements under this theme?
- What were the big lessons regarding implementation; CG and non-CG partners, logistical challenges etc?
- How can we better capture successes (M and E, documentation)?
- What CapDev has been done and what is needed as we move to Phase II?
Potential scalable technologies and interventions included:
- Forage crops
- High value fruit trees
- Landscape restoration
- Water harvesting/lifting technologies
- Smallholder plantations
- Improved field crop technologies: varietal selection and scaling
- Appropriate mechanization technologies;
- Decision support for fertilizer recommendations
Lessons learned during implementation included:
- Partnering with many partners is very important
- Demand by communities for new technologies is very high
- Crop diversification is key for sustainability
- Participatory variety election with farmers speeds up technology acquisition
- Government role is critical for faster dissemination
Generally, participants looked towards the second phase implementation of the project. The scaling focus requires a commitment to strengthen partnerships to disseminate the already tested technologies and approaches to reach more farmers across districts, regions and to the national level.
See posters presented at the meeting:
- Decision support tools for fertilizer recommendation
- Cultivated forages for improved livestock productivity in the highlands of Ethiopia
- Enhancing food and nutritional security through introducing high value fruit trees in the highlands of Ethiopia
- Action research in action in the Ethiopian highlands
- Postharvest handling and utilization of crop residues in the highlands of Ethiopia
- Potato technologies for improved food security and better income
- Innovation platforms as institutional innovations for sustainable intensification in Ethiopian highlands
- Pathways to improved nutrition in the Ethiopian Highlands
- Improved agronomy increases wheat yield In Africa RISING action sites
- Intensifying with high value trees in Africa RISING Ethiopia for food and nutrition security, income and climate resilient farming
- Ex-ante assessment of potential market demands and commercial viabilities for private forage seeds production in Ethiopia
- Feeds and forage action research in the Africa RISING sites of the Ethiopian highlands
- Feeding your soil-nurturing the people
- Facilitate improving availability of quality planting material to intensify high value trees
- Giving power to Africa-RISING farmers through small mechanization
- Fodder and fertilizer trees action research in Africa RISING sites
- Water lifting technologies for smallholder farmers provide opportunities for sustainable intensification
- Evidence to enhance resources management planning and decision making
- Impacts of SWC interventions and land use on discharge and sediment yield at plot and watershed scale
- Participatory variety selection and scaling: Small grain cereals
- Participatory variety selection and scaling: Cool-season food legumes
- Promoting landscape restoration and water harvesting at scale: The case of Africa RISING project, Ethiopia