In this video 21-year old Olais Lukumay shares why he opted not to seek formal employment unlike most of his age mates. This is the story of youth engagement and technology transfer from one generation to the next within the Africa RISING project.
Million Getnet Gebreyes works at ILRI as a consultant. He is the National Learning facilitator for SAIRLA- NLA in Ethiopia and Innovation Platform facilitator for Africa RISING project in the Ethiopian highlands. Recently (June 30- July 8, 2018), he was at Haramaya University to teach a course for the Africa Centre of Excellence on Climate Smart Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation for masters’ students. The program is a World Bank supported international program that is training PhD and masters students on climate smart agriculture and biodiversity conservation. He was invited to teach a course on Agricultural Extension and Participatory Approaches. This blog reflects his stay at the University with the university community.
In its second phase, Africa RISING targeted to reach 0.7 million direct beneficiary households and 3.4 million indirect potential beneficiary households. Parallelly, the project continues to conduct action research that will explore further generic issues and facilitate scaling of the innovations validated during the first phase. Over the course of the second year of the second phase (01 April–30 September 2018), the project managed to reach more than 70,712 households and covered 48,661 ha of land during the cropping season (June–September 2018). Africa RISING supported research and capacity development activities but a large share of investment in the scaling process came from development partners.
The seventh edition of the Forages for the Future newsletter published in June 2018 recognized the contributions of Africa RISING program in promoting Desho grass as a source of good-quality forage for cut-and-carry 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.
Africa RISING is implementing action research with farmers in Babati District, Tanzania to validate several technologies that are set to significantly improve farmer livelihoods. Here is a look at summaries of some of these technologies and how they work.
In the past few decades, apple farming in the Tigray highlands has expanded significantly since the introduction of apple trees to the region’s woredas by the Tigray regional Office of Agriculture and non-governmental organizations. The fruit trees were introduced to diversify the nutrition and income sources of the region’s smallholder farmers.
The first phase (2012-2016), the Africa RISING program focused more on innovations/technologies validation through action research approaches. In its second phase (Oct 2017–2021) the program is mainly focusing on backstopping research to facilitate development partnership and scaling initiatives.
The Africa RISING-NAFAKA partnership project has benefited over 50,000 rural smallholder households in Tanzania with integrated packages of improved agricultural technologies. A further 58,000 hectares of farm land has been put under the improved technologies or management practices promoted by project. In both cases the intervention has exceeded the targets that were set when it was unveiled in 2014!
As the curtain falls on 2017; here at Africa RISING we can only look back and say, “what a a great year”! Sure it was one heck of a roller coaster, but we enjoyed the ride. You our dear online followers, the global knowledge community that we are a part of and endeavor to always serve made the year fabulous through constant engagement with the numerous material we published on our platforms. Some of these materials really seemed to have resonated quite positively with you. That is if the numbers of hits to the website, downloads and page views are to be believed.
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.
The sustainable intensification assessment framework is an initiative of the Africa-RISING project which develops and recommends metrics and indicators for measuring sustainable intensification under five critical determinants of project sustainability —productivity, economic, environment, human condition and social domains.
Agricultural research in Africa suffers from trends and fashions that often distract from the central goal of enhancing the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Farming systems research (FSR) played a central role in the late 1980s in revealing the constraints faced by farmers in implementing technologies such as alley cropping.
During its first phase (2012-2016), the Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) project in the Ethiopian highlands implemented various action-based on-farm research activities that align with the Ethiopian government priorities. A total of 22 action-related protocols alongside 11 explanatory protocols were identified and grouped under seven thematic areas. Feed and …
The Africa RISING project in collaboration with the Capacity Development Unit of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), has developed a scaling strategy and capacity development toolkits that will synthesize and integrate the project’s thinking and approaches to enhance the scaling up the capacity of its partners.
Since 2013, Africa RISING has been working with over 6,000 smallholder farmers in seven districts across Tanzania to promote and mainstream vegetable production as a complementary agricultural production activity in the largely maize-dominated farming systems. The results of this work are now manifest as more farmers are turning to vegetable production for better nutrition and as a viable agri-business alternative with great potential for income generation.
How do gender dynamics influence adoption of agricultural innovations? A new Africa RISING report shares findings from an exploration of this and other questions with smallholder farmers in central Malawi.
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.
On behalf of the Africa RISING project here in the Ethiopian highlands, we wish all Ethiopians and friends of Ethiopia a blessed and Prosperous New Year 2010.
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.
Since 2009, the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) have partnered for the identification and development of new durum wheat varieties capable of withstanding the harsh environmental conditions of Ethiopia.
In Babati District, northern Tanzania, a popular but misleading myth persists. That use of inorganic fertilizer ‘kills’ the soil. For several years, majority of farmers in the district have desisted from use of fertilizer to replenish depleted soil nutrients. Africa RISING researchers have for the past five years, invested significant resources and effort to dispel this myth.
Through its research-in-development work on legume–cereal rotations in Tanzania and Malawi, Africa RISING has established that these rotations work better for larger farms, while intercropping targeted at smaller farms ensures crop diversity, while giving an opportunity for legumes to be grown, thereby bringing associated nitrogen-fixation ecological benefits.
In 2015, livestock scientists implementing Africa RISING research-in-development activities (R-in-D) introduced forage chopper machines in seven villages in Babati District, northern Tanzania. One year later (in 2016), social scientists evaluated the gender implications of the new processing practices among farmers’ groups.
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.
Tree lucerne is a key supplementary feed for ruminant animals and is an important source of protein for animal fattening and milk production and can be mixed with other livestock feeds including those based on crop residues or hay.
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.
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.
Farmers in southern Africa plant maize extensively on large areas, harvest less than 2 t/ha on average, extracting already depleted nutrients from the soil while trying to become food secure and escape from poverty―an impossible task! In Eastern Province of Zambia, farmers are being offered a range of solutions by Africa RISING that provide a way out of this poverty trap. These technologies, options, and approaches include drought- and stress-tolerant maize germplasm, conservation agriculture (CA), improved rotation and intercropping with grain legumes, agroforestry, and green manure cover crops.
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.
This study report provides interesting insights into the gender implications of Africa RISING’s agricultural intensification practices in target communities in northern Ghana.
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.
Insights from an economic evaluation of Africa RISING post-harvest technology (Purdue Improved Crop Storage bags) in Tanzania reveal how much farmers are benefitting by adopting the improved storage bags over the conventional storage options.
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.
In 2014, Africa RISING partnered with the USAID-funded NAFAKA project in Tanzania to scale-out best-bet technologies among smallholder farmers. Currently in its third year, the project, which also incorporates several community-based actors, has achieved great success. This poster provides an inside look at what it takes to make these kind of partnerships tick and the key lessons learnt from this nascent project.
Insights from the results of an evaluation of different Africa RISING technology packages per farm type and per region in Northern Ghana.
A geospatial framework for delineating recommendation domains for crop varieties which are part of the Africa RISING technology packages.
How switching to improved agricultural technologies like hybrid maize varieties and application of bladed fertilizers catalyzed a young female farmer’s dramatic rise from an off-season casual laborer to a champion farmer in rural Tanzania.
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.
Two posters on scaling techniques applied by the Africa RISING project in Tanzania were recently ranked 2nd and 3rd at a poster competition featuring over 50 entries in Ibadan, Nigeria.
The Africa RISING project in Ethiopia has been promoting improved high-value fruit trees, such as improved avocado and apple varieties. Take up has been good, but is constrained by technical issues as well as limited local seedling supplies. Farmers have adopted the new varieties; some are also innovating themselves to address some of the challenges they encountered.
The Africa RISING project in Tanzania recently got merited recognition by the Kongwa District Council as a project that provides farmers with practical improved agricultural technologies that can be applied to fight hunger in the District.
As I write this piece to share the progress of high value trees research protocol, several circumstances, mostly the first Africa RISING project inception meeting in 2012, crosses my mind. I joined the meeting representing my organization, the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF). I was delighted because the theme was on sustainable intensification where trees could play a central role.
This annotated bibliography of gender learning resources will ensure that project partners can at a glance find information and links to selected open access documents addressing particular topics of interest to them on gender in agriculture.
Poor diets, inappropriate feeding practices and disease are primary causes of maternal and child under-nutrition. Dietary diversity is an important element of dietary quality, a strong predictor of micronutrient adequacy and overall nutrition status.
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.