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Matters  ARISING is the news update of the Africa RISING program. It brings you news and updates on from our projects in East, West and Southern Africa. Download a print version – or sign up to get Matters ARISING in your mailbox .

Program news

Early win projects completed in 2012
In the first year of the program, to produce some short-term outputs and to provide outputs that support the longer term objectives of the individual projects, Africa RISING decided to fund several ‘quick win’ projects in each of the regions. The approved projects resulted from a call in each region and an assessment of the proposals using criteria developed by IITA, ILRI, and USAID.
Africa RISING program document: The thinking behind the overall approach

Africa RISING research framework
Africa RISING research framework

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. This program document outlines the underlying principles of and implementation plan for the research that will be undertaken by the three Africa RISING projects in West Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa and the Ethiopian highlands.
Africa RISING Program Coordination Team update
The second Africa RISING program coordination team meeting was held virtually on 24 June 2013. Participants reviewing actions points and progress updates from the three Africa RISING projects in East and Southern Africa, West Africa and the Ethiopian highlands, from USAID, Communication activities and from IFPRI on Monitoring and Evaluation.

East and Southern Africa news

Sustainable intensification and diversification of maize-based farming systems in Malawi – early win project report
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.
Boosting the production of quality seeds of improved varieties of maize and legumes in Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia
While improved varieties can give farmers increased yields, the percentage of small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa growing them is very low, especially for legumes. One reason for this is the unavailability and unaffordability of the seeds. The early win project on ‘Multiplication of breeder and basic seed for Maize and Legumes in Tanzania, Malawi, and Zambia’ aimed to speed up the production of breeder and foundation seeds of improved varieties released by researchers to make them available to farmers.
Safe or a deadly poison? Determining the levels of harmful ‘mycotoxins’ in key staples in Tanzania
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. This quick-win project entitled ‘Mycotoxin contamination in Tanzania: quantified the problem in maize and cassava in households and markets’ was the first such comprehensive study ever to determine the prevalence of mycotoxin contamination.
Boosting production of vegetables among rice farmers to diversify their income and nutrition
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 household income and consumption in Morogoro” aimed to identify.
Creating awareness on labor-saving technologies for weed control in rice production: Africa RISING success stories
Weeds are one of the major constraints to rice production in sub-Saharan Africa. Without control, they can cause yield losses ranging from 28% to 89%. This early win project on ‘Building local capacities in weed management for rice-based systems’ led by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice), sought to remedy this by creating awareness on available and appropriate labor-saving and efficient weed management practices to boost the crop’s production.

Ethiopia news

Africa RISING Ethiopia project completes livelihoods survey for eight sites
From 19-25 May 2013, the Africa RISING project in the Ethiopian highlands carried out livelihoods survey in the eight research sites/kebeles in four woredas (Goshe Bado, Gudo Beret, Salka, Ilu-Sanbitu, Jawe, Upper-Gana, Emba-Hazti, Tsibet) in Amhara, Tigray, Oromia and SNNPR regions.
Characterizing farming and livestock production systems in Ethiopia: Assessing the potential for Africa RISING interventions
As part of the feed and fodder early win project, three reports were recently produced for the Ethiopian Highland project of Africa RISING.These reports offer pictures of how the livestock and farming production systems in the three Africa RISING priority districts of Sinana, Horro and Lemu-Bilbilo were characterized using the Feed Assessment Tool (FEAST). FEAST is a systematic and rapid method to assess local feed resource availability and use at site-level. It helps in the design of intervention strategies aiming to optimize feed supply and utilization through technical and organizational interventions.
Africa RISING trainers in Ethiopia learn to use the SLATE sustainable livelihoods asset evaluation toolParticipants of the SLATE training( 1 - 5 April 2013)
In April, the Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next    Generation  (Africa RISING)and Nile Basin Development Challenge (NBDC) jointly   organised Training of Trainers workshop in the use of SLATE: A tool for Sustainable Livelihoods Asset Evaluation.
“I really like to plough, though I get tired afterwards” – Worknesh Gurmesa
This is the story of Worknesh Gurmesa a farmer in Chelanko Kebele. This story  explains the importance of women’s inclusion and how access to markets affects as well as changes lives.

West Africa news

Enabling Ghanaian communities to analyse their own situations to find better solutions
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. This report summarizes the results of discussions with 47 communities and local leaders undertaken by a multidisciplinary facilitation teams in project sites in Ghana.
Africa RISING consultations in Ghana: Getting the plans right and partners engaged
Africa RISING West Africa Stakeholder meeting group (credit: IITA/K. Lopez)
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.
Ghana and Mali bustling as Africa RISING activities take off in West Africa
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; In addition, the Africa RISING teams from Ghana and Mali have recently been reporting about a lot of other activities taking place in the region.
Mali stories of nutrition and health – where the ‘first 1000 days’ fit in the first 300 days of Africa RISING
During the early win phase of the Africa RISING project; nutrition-related activities were conducted in Koutiala in the Sikasso region of Mali from July to October,2012. This document contains a collection of stories from people who have benefited from the nutrition-related activities such as: representatives of participating health centres, trainers, trainees (mostly mothers) and some of their spouses. The majority of the stories are in Bambara (local language), French and English

Other news of note

Identifying scalable agricultural technologies for sustainable intensification
USAID, USDA, CGIAR and other partners are developing ‘inventories’ to help drive widespread adaptation, dissemination, and adoption of critical agricultural technologies. The inventories will provide a technical evidence base to help scale up appropriate technologies to greater numbers of smallholder farmers.
Natural resources management and sustainable intensification research at IITA
The need to grow more food without depleting important natural resources makes the intensification of African agriculture essential. In two short articles in IITA’s R4D Review Bernard Vanlauwe, a a key member of the Africa RISING team. introduces IITA’s NRM research in the new CGIAR ‘Humidtropics‘ research program and elaborates on the use of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) as a framework for raising crop productivity.




  • Peter Thorne, Africa RISING Project Coordinator, ILRI, Ethiopia
  • Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon , Africa RISING Coordinator, IITA, WA and ESA
  • Carlo Azzarri, Research Fellow, IFPRI
  • Katherine Lopez (IITA), Communications, IITA, West Africa
  • Catherine Njuguna (IITA), Communications, IITA, East Africa
  • Jeffrey Oliver (IITA), Communications, IITA, Southern Africa
  • Simret Yasabu (ILRI), Communications, ILRI, Ethiopia

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