In Ethiopia, the Africa RISING project works in four regions (Amhara, Tigray, Oromia and SNNPR), mobilizing local partners, CGIAR centers and farmers around research directed to the priority issues and concerns of farmers.
Seventeen core action-oriented interventions have been introduced by the project 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.
We learned that, for most farmers, integration of Africa RISING interventions does not happen all at once. Farmers prefer to test one or two technologies at a time to assess their feasibility and the benefits they provide.
Once they become confident with a limited number of interventions / technologies, they often proceed further along the intensification pathway by adopting further complementary interventions. This stepwise approach to intensification and integration appears to be the reality for many farmers.
For example, Alemu Kebede who farms in the Jawe Africa RISING research kebele, has now helped evaluate seven Africa RISING interventions, all of which were broadly complementary. Water harvesting is basic to him as, without it, he could not have made his first steps into intensification; namely producing vegetables, fruit trees, green forage for dry periods and consumption by livestock. His portfolio of Africa RISING innovation over the last three years is illustrated below:
Kebede says “I only farm 0.5 ha but with the rainwater harvesting pond that my family constructed, I can irrigate 2000 square meters. I produced cabbages and carrots from a 100 square meter plot. I sold half of this for ETB 1000 (50 USD) and saved the rest for my family to eat. Using the Africa RISING interventions has taught me how to diversify my income and food sources through intensifying my home garden.” Intensification and diversification appears to be helping Alemu, his wife and his eight children to achieve food security from a small farm.
Story by Kindu Mekonnen,Peter Thorne and Workneh Dubale

Latest Comments

Doug Merrey
December 13, 2016, 4:28 pm
This story is very interesting and reflects the classic model of agricultural innovation. But what evidence do you have that this is happening at a large and increasing scale and what evidence do you have on the sustainable economic impact at household and community scale? Too many projects provide nice stories like this, but too few present hard evidence on the scale and impacts on households and local communities.
Simret Yasabu
December 20, 2016, 3:13 pm
Dear Doug, thank you very much for your reading and comment which is very useful. As you rightly mentioned many do write stories which are sometimes hard to find on the ground. However, in our case the story is developed based on the real experience we have on our project site. Though it is not at a larger scale we are experiencing good progress in our project sites. Africa RISING action research based intervention is in line with sustainable intensification principles that comprised integrated approach of addressing complex issues that smallholder farmers have. Africa RISING is now moving in to its second phase where the focus is more on scaling out and reaching more farmers through our partners. During the first phase our action research covered limited areas which didn't have larger impact however we plan to reach wider communities in the coming five years. Keep yourself posted on the progress we will be making

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