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.
Small scale farmers are the guardians of 80 per cent of the world’s farmland. If we are to resolve the global soil crisis, they must be at the heart of the solutions.
Elda Mmary, a female extension officer talks about her work with smallholder farmers on the Africa RISING project in Babati District, Tanzania.
Scientists involved in the Africa RISING project share three key lessons learnt from a recent cross-learning visit to the Ethiopian highlands on landscape and watershed management.
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.
Farmers and extension agents from Babati District in Tanzania took part in a training, held on 20 April 2015, by Africa RISING scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) as part of activities to integrate improved forages into smallholder crop-livestock systems through capacity building for farmers and extension officers.
In April, twenty five scientists from the different Africa RISING projects visited Ethiopia as part of a learning exchange.
In January and February this year, ICRAF and partners from the Africa RISING Ethiopia project ran training in apple tree management at three sites (Endamehoni, Sinana and Debre Berhan).
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.
It has not easy to measure innovation platforms (IPs) contribution to research and development outcomes. From ILRI’s experience, the complex nature of issues that IPs try to address and the more emphasis given to effective integration of IPs into the research process, rather than evaluating their contribution to intervention outcomes, have contributed to an information gap.
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.
To prepare a household survey on sustainable intensification in Ethiopia, the project held a training workshop for enumerators and supervisors on 2 and 3 April 2015.
It is some time since I have been able to visit our field sites in Ethiopia. The Christmas break and our jaunts in India and California seem to have taken out most of 2015 so far. So, it has been really interesting for me to join our internally-commissioned, external review team during their fact-finding tours of the Lemo and Endamehoni sites.
The Africa RISING project in the Ethiopian Highlands promotes capacity building for human resources development and strengthening local partner organizations in a range of ways, all of which are designed to respond to demand from all of our partners.
The 2nd Lemo woreda Innovation platform (IP) meeting was held on 19th Feb 2015 in Hosanna, the capital of the woreda. The focus of the meeting was to share the findings of the action research the project carried out in 2014 to local partners for potential scaling up.
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 current phase of the Africa RISING project in the Ethiopian Highlands is being implemented over the five years from 2012-2016. To date, the project has implemented a number of activities in order to deliver against the Africa RISING Program Research Framework. These research for development (R4D) activities are now beginning to identify and validate scalable innovation for the project’s target farmers.
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, 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, 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.
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.
Facilitators play key roles in making sure the IPs function well. This manual is prepared for innovation platform facilitators in Africa RISING Ethiopia sites to help them get the basics of facilitating innovation platforms.
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.
Kindu Mekonnen and Peter Thorne from ILRI recently spent a week with colleagues from ther Africa RISING projects visiting the CIMMYT-led CSISA (Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia) project in Eastern India (Bihar and Odisha states) project in India.
IWMI and ILRI are jointly conducting a study on Perceptions of Sustainability across various stakeholders as part of Africa RISING Project.
The Africa RISING project in the Ethiopian highlands aims to establish Innovation platforms(IPs) at different levels to better involve many local stakeholders to address common challenges and opportunities in agricultural sector.
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.
Africa RISING’s Kindu Mekonnen works for the International Livestock Research Institute in Ethiopia as a Crop and Livestock System Scientist. He was recently interviewed by the Ethiopian Herald newspaper on a range of topical issues.
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.
Find out what were the most popular website articles, outputs of all kinds and other statistics about Africa RISING research.
Africa RISING in Ethiopia has started to work with partners and farmers to identify and work on model watersheds in three of its research sites: Lemo, Basona and Abraha Atsbaha, and Maichew.
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.
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 …
Mrs. Ephraim Lukumay, a farmer in Bermi village, Babati District of Tanzania tells of how Amaranth farming has changed her life for the better – thanks to Africa RISING initiative to promote the vegetable in collaboration with AVRDC.
In September 2014, Africa RISING partners in Ethiopia received training on innovation platform (IP) facilitation, coordination and M&E. More than 50 people attended, including partners from CGIAR centres, regional research institutes and centres, universities, woredas and kebeles working with Africa RISING.
The Africa RISING project in Ethiopia organized its annual review and planning meeting in early December 2014. The meeting reviewed project progress, results and plans and identified opportunities to scale Africa RISING’s research findings at both local and higher levels.
On 21 November 2014, the Africa RISING project conducted a one-day training for consultants and International Water Management Institute (IWMI) staff on data collection and technical skills for irrigation potential assessment in the project’s action sites in Amhara, Oromia, SNNPR and Tigray.
A new approach by Africa RISING is getting farmers to think beyond improved yields when assessing improved agronomic technologies and crop varieties.
In this interview, Cleo Roberts (senior research assistant and monitoring and evaluation officer at the International Food Policy Research Institute – IFPRI) explains why gender is an important component for Africa RISING projects.
A legume delight! How Africa RISING is combating malnutrition and food insecurity in Malawi by holding practical nutrition workshops for farming communities.
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
Innovation Platforms (IPs) have been established at Africa RISING research sites to bring together key local stakeholders to support integrated approaches to strengthen farming systems. These platforms help members to jointly conduct participatory research that identifies technologies and management practices that work for farmers.
Survey results, project mapping and monitoring tools main focus during the second Africa RISING program-wide monitoring and evaluation meeting on 13-14 November 2014 in Arusha, Tanzania.
The second Africa RISING program learning event brought together over 65 staff and partners in Arusha, Tanzania, from 11-12 November 2014. They shared lessons and ideas to improve farm typology work, innovation systems and platforms, and dust off the program framework to gear it towards serious scaling up for the remaining two years.
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.
In July 2014, research teams visited Lemo and Sinana project woredas (districts) in the Ethiopian Highlands. The visits aimed to update local partners on planting activities in the main rain season as well as on pre- and post-harvest crop management issues.
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).
In this interview, Mélanie Bacou – agro-economist consultant at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and data management specialist in Africa RISING – introduces herself and her work with Africa RISING. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in the program.
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.
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).
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.
This photo trip report covers visits by the Africa RISING research teams to Endamehoni woreda in July 2014 and Basona Worena woreda in August 2014. The visits aimed to update local partners on planting activities in the main rain season as well as on pre- and post-harvest crop management issues.
An assessment of post-harvest handling practices and food losses in a maize-based farming system in semi-arid areas of Central and Northern Tanzania was carried out in 2012.
How do we know if our interventions are indeed sustainable? Peter Thorne, Africa RISING coordinator in Ethiopia, suggest this is one of the trickiest questions we face in Africa RISING.
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.
Farmers lack of information on fodder, feeds and feeding; inadequate availability of feeds in terms of quantity and quality especially during the dry season; and poor storage, processing and utilization of crop residues in livestock management are the major causes of the low milk production in Babati according to a feed situation analysis carried out by Africa RISING in 2013 in Babati district, Manyara region.
The Africa RISING program, now in its third year, has made significant progress in getting the different researchers from different backgrounds and institutions to work together in a truly integrated way to develop science-based solutions to the challenges faced by smallholder farmers. This in turn has seen impressive increases in the productivity of smallholder farmers involved in the research project across its five districts in East and Southern Africa.
A two week value chain report validation workshop is underway at the ILRI campu in Addis Ababa. The workshop is jointly organized by CIAT and the Africa RISING project in Ethiopia. It aims to validate and finalize the value chain studies that were conducted earlier this year.
Nearly half of the farmers in the Africa RISING action sites in Tanzania integrate vegetables into their maize-based farming systems as a strategy to increase and diversify their income and diet according to a household socioeconomic characterization survey conducted by Africa RISING.
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.
Following the recent workshop on ‘Integrating Gender into Agricultural Programming’, the Africa RISING project in the Ethiopian Highlands has decided to engage ‘gender champions’ to raise gender awareness, cultivate gender equity and ensure sustainability of gender work in the project.
The post-workshop evaluation from the recent Ethiopia workshop on ‘Integrating Gender into Agricultural Programming’ revealed that various participants had greater familiarity and experience with gender especially among the female participants. Both male and female participants clearly needed further support, training, and assistance to translate gender into practical changes in their work.
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.
This photo trip report presents images from a recent field visit (23-25 July 2014) to assess progress with these livestock and irrigation activities conducted together with the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation (ILSSI).
Originally posted on ILRI Clippings:
Workshop participants From 18-20 August, the Africa RISING project in Ethiopia joined forces with the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish to hold a gender training for staff and partners in both projects. The workshop aimed to introduce workshop participants to: Different concepts of gender and the importance of…
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, Festo Salehe Ngulu introduces himself and his work with Africa RISING. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in the project.
In May this year, the Africa RISING team in Tanzania held several field days with farmers in Kongwa district.
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.
In this interview, Per Hillbur introduces himself and his work with Africa RISING. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in the project.
Agroforestry can transform lives and landscapes. Trees and shrubs grown on farms provide fruit, timber, resins, fuelwood and livestock fodder. They also improve soil fertility, regulate water supplies and help farmers adapt to changing climatic conditions. Which begs the question: if agroforestry can bring so many benefits, why don’t we see lots of trees on …
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).
As much as farmers call me a breeder, they are breeders as well, ” said Wills Munthali, from ICRISAT Malawi, during a farmer’s field day in Njoro, in Kiteto district. “Under Africa RISING we are working hand in hand with farmers in the selection of improved varieties. They are breeders as well.
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…
In February 2014 a team of Africa RISING researcher traveled to Basona Worena woreda to establish the woreda as well as kebele-level innovation platforms.
Meet Africa RISING model farmer Andre Mayi from Babati District in Tanzania.
In May this year, CGIAR partners in the Africa RISING Ethiopia project visited Lemo and Basona Worena woredas to meet with nationala nd local partners including universities, extension agencies, agricultural research centres and farmers about the project progress as well as the planned research activities.
L’Association Malienne d’Eveil au Développement Durable (AMEDD) est un partenaire important dans le cadre de la mise en oeuvre des activités sur projet Africa RISING sur le terrain. L’ONG participe activement dans la mise en oeuvre des activités du projet notamment dans la région de Sikasso. Dans le cadre de l’atélier de planification du projet tenu à Bamako du 3 au 5 février 2014, nous avons posé quelques questions à son Directeur.
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.
To this end a field visit was organized in Sinana in June 2014 to identify farmer research groups for crop and livestock related action research protocols. The project team was able to identify farmers that will participate in different research groups.
In this interview, Jawoo Koo introduces himself and his work with Africa RISING.
Rice yields in Africa are low but this can be reversed with good management practices. For example, the yields can double and even triple when rice is transplanted as opposed to broadcasting. This farmer to farmer video produced by the Africa Rice Center shows farmers how to transplant seeds of lowland rice.
In this interview, Eliud Birachi introduces himself and his work with Africa RISING. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in the program.
Effective weed management can increase rice yields by more than 50%. This farmer to farmer video shows how to control weeds in lowland rice by using herbicides in a safe and efficient way.
In April 2014, the Africa RISING project organized a field trip to establish four strategic (woreda level) and eight operational (kebele level) Innovation Platforms (IPs) in its sites (Basona Worena in Amhara, Endamehoni in Tigray, Lemo in SNNPR and Sinana in Oromia).
In this interview, Alan Duncan introduces himself and his work with Africa RISING. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in the project.
Weeds are important constraints for rice production. Effective weed management can increase yields by more than 50%, but usually takes a lot of time. This farmer to farmer video produced by the Africa Rice Center shows farmers how to control weeds in lowland rice most effectively.
In this interview, Aster Gebrekirstos introduces herself and her work with Africa RISING. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in the program.
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.
Weeds are important constraints for rice production. Effective weed management can increase yields by more than 50%, but usually takes a lot of time. One such labor-saving method is the use of the rotary weeder. This farmer to farmer video produced by the Africa Rice Center shows farmers how to control weeds in lowland rice most effectively.
In this interview, Peter Thorne introduces himself and his work with Africa RISING. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in the program.
In the past few months, the Africa RISING project in the Ethiopian highlands has initiated the the establishment of local innovation platforms in each of its four sites. The start-up process has been documented in a series of short photo ‘trip’ reports.
In this interview, Cleo Roberts introduces herself and her work with Africa RISING. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in the program.
A recent study by ICRAF presents information on tree-crop-livestock farming system constraints in the four Africa RISING project sites in Ethiopia. It identifies local innovation platforms as a key mechanism to prioritize and work together on problems and solutions in each site. Specific roles and implementation modalities are set out.
In this interview, Agathe Diama introduces herself and her work with Africa RISING. It is one of a series of portraits of key people in the program.
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.
The partners of the Africa RISING project and the Babati District Council have launched the Babati District Research for Development (R4D) platform to facilitate the uptake of the project’s innovations in the district. Babati District in Northern Tanzania is one of the three district the project is working in in Tanzania. The platform will help in setting priorities for the research and ensure sustainability of the project.
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.
In late April 2014, CIAT and ILRI organized a three day writeshop on value chain development in the Africa RISING sites in Ethiopia.
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.
The 2014 workplan of the Africa RISING project in Ethiopia sets out 7 research for development focus areas.
In March 2014, rhe Africa RISING team visited Sinana woreda aiming at briefing agricultural research, development and other stakeholders about the program’s and the project’s activities, and initiate the establishment of Innovation Platforms (IPs) with key partners.
In this interview, Carlo Azzarri 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, 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.
In February 2014, a meeting was conducted in Maichew woreda, Tigray region, as part of establishing innovation platforms in the Africa RISING project sites in Ethiopia.
In February 2014, the Africa RISING team from Addis Ababa travelled to Lemo woreda with the aim of initiating Innovation platform at different levels.
Feed availability is a major constraint to increasing livestock productivity in Ethiopia. Introducing technologies is one of the most common ways that agricultural research and development organizations can assist the farmers they serve.
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 …
News and updates on Africa RISING projects in East, West and Southern Africa. Download a print version – or sign up to get Matters ARISING in your mailbox. Program news First Africa RISING program learning event On 24 September 2013, the first Africa RISING learning event kicked off at the ILRI campus in Ethiopia. The …
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 …
In 2013, the Africa RISING team in Ethiopia carried out a Participatory Community Analyses (PCA) in all the eight sites. This was the first phase in a participatory research and extension process, including kebele engagement and social mobilization, that provided each kebele some opportunities to analyse their own challenges and opportunities.
In early November, over 400 delegates gathered in Kigali to discuss advances in ICTs for agriculture. The conference had three streams focusing on: emerging innovations in ICTs supporting agricultural development, capacity strengthening and stakeholder empowerment for improved livelihood and engagement in agricultural development processes and enabling environment for the agricultural sector to maximize the benefits …
Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) has so far rather seemed like an add on to the Africa RISING program. Perhaps this was due to its being devolved to another organization – the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) – rather than to the institutes leading the three regional projects (the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture – …
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 …
The recent Africa RISING program learning event (24-26 September 2013) revealed an incredible wealth of tools and approaches used across the program. The list includes: West Africa Tools for collecting data Mother-baby trials (mentioned in this article) Participatory community analysis (PRAE, PRA, RRA) FEAST Impact LITE Biomass assessment tool Focus group discussions Value chain analysis …
On 24 September 2013, the first Africa RISING learning event kicked off at the ILRI campus in Ethiopia. The annual learning event aims to: facilitate learning from ongoing program-wide activities (research framework, M and E, Communications etc.); build on project-specific methods, approaches and problems as well as interesting innovations, approaches; discuss specific sub-themes in more …
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 …
Africa RISING in the Ethiopian highlands in partnership with the International Potato Center (CIP) has been carrying out an on-farm research demonstration in all the eight Kebeles where the project is working. The purpose of this on-farm research is to demonstrate improved crops with improved management practices, and to document lessons and challenges for future …
Africa RISING’s research component (3) focuses on market value chains. The Ethiopia team working on these issues met this week to review the work plan for market and value chains in the project. They also discussed the tools to be used to collect relevant data and information. The team comprises staff from CIAT, ILRI, CIP, …
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 …
In July, an ICRAF team comprising Aster Gebrekirstos (ICRAF scientist), Kiros Hadgu (ICRAF Ethiopia Country Representative) and Anne Kuria (ICRAF researcher) visited Lemu Woreda which contains two of the eight Kebeles of the Africa RISING project in the Ethiopian Highlands. The aim of the visit was to see progress on the local knowledge acquisition field …
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 …
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 …
Climbing beans are turning out to be one of the winning innovations being introduced by Africa RISING in Babati district, Tanzania. The beans have tendrils which coil around supporting stakes or strings and can grow as high as 2 meters tall and produce many pods and leaves. According to Edgar Lyakurwa, an extension officer with …
The project areas in Ghana consist of three administrative regions in the north of the country—the Upper West, the Upper East, and the Northern regions. The whole region is characterized by small land holdings of low input–output farming systems with low yields and household food and nutritional insecurity. Some of the major problems raised by …
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 …