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Harnessing the potential of diverse intensification pathways for Food and NutritionSecurity and Sustainable Agriculture

Harnessining potential from diverse agricultural intensification pathways

Sustainable intensification is generally acknowledged as a major driver for increasing food and nutrition security in Africa. It implies higher agricultural production per unit of resources, labour and/or land. It is not only geared towards increased production of food and biomass, but also towards providing employment and improving livelihoods. Sustainable intensification must play a central role in the management of natural resources such as water, biodiversity, soil nutrients and in the regulation of the carbon cycle. 

Realizing that much is needed and much is possible, the IntensAfrica Consortium emerged in 2012 with the objectives to document the variety of pathways leading to sustainable intensification, and to align efforts in doing so. African and European members of the consortium agreed to jointly engage in the preparation of a new, strategic, long-term and ambitious re-search and innovation partnership between Europe and Africa in the thematic area of sustainable intensification of agri-food systems. A project named PROIntensAfrica was formulated to develop such partnership, and, with funding of the EC, was carried out for two years with active involvement of 23 African and European partners. This report is the final output of this project. 

Gender Mainstreaming for Food Security: Good Practices, Outcomes and Recommendations from SIMLESA Projec

Gender Mainstreaming for Food Security: Good Practices, Outcomes and Recommendations from SIMLESA Projec

Summary: Gender issues in agricultural research occasion dynamic sets of opportunities and constraints that influence research effectiveness. The project “Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume cropping systems for food security in Eastern and Southern Africa (SIMLESA)” was implemented in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique andTanzania to increase farm-level food security and productivity, in the context of climate risk and change. ASARECA led the gender mainstreaming activities in SIMLESA by conducting capacity building and supporting instrumentation, data management and dissemination. 

 

Quality protein maize production and post-harvest handling handbook for East and Central Africa

Quality protein maize production and post-harvest handling handbook for East and Central Africa

Maize will continue to play a very important role in the livelihoods of most of the population in East and Central Africa (ECA) to meet households’ needs for food, feed and income. The development and release of quality protein maize (QPM) varieties, which contain high levels of protein has meant that it can be a substitute for the more costly sources of protein for human food such as meat and for fishmeal or artificial lysine used in the production of feeds for poultry and pig enterprises. The handbook was developed by NARS institutions in Kenya, Tanzania, DR. Congo, Uganda in partnership with the Knowledge Management and Upscaling Programme of ASARECA while promoting scaling out of the QPM technologies in these countries under a project known as “Dissemination of New Agricultural Technologies in Africa (DONATA)”. This handbook is a comprehensive one-stop source of information on how QPM is grown using recommended practices to achieve genetic potential of the varieties. It also contains management options for economically important diseases and insect pests, post-harvest handling and utilization. The practices documented in this manual are based on practical experience of researchers in the region who worked with farmers to identify common problems in production of QPM and to validate the improved practices presented in it.  These can be applied to  other types of maize and areas within the region that broadly fall within the same mega-maize environment.

ASARECA Strategy for Scaling Up Agricultural Technologies and Innovations: 2014–2018

ASARECA Strategy for Scaling Up Agricultural Technologies and Innovations: 2014–2018

From the time the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) was founded 20 years ago, its role has been facilitation, coordination, capacity development and mobilisation of financial and other resources for the sub-region’s agricultural research and development. However, throughout implementation of its first operational plan (2009–2013) under its strategic plan 2008–2018, ASARECA and its national agricultural research system (NARS) stakeholders have been under mounting pressure to achieve greater impact with its research and development effort. Such impact can only be realised through greater efficiency and effectiveness not only of the generation but also of the delivery and utilisation of the research outputs. The strong commitment of ASARECA to improving the delivery, utilisation and impact of science and technology in order to bring about agricultural transformation in the sub-region is evident in its mission. The Association has responded to these concerns in various ways. Among the responses is a study ASARECA conducted in the sub-region to understand the causes of the low adoption, scaling up and impact of proven technologies and innovations. The study provided insights into the root factors that contribute to low adoption and came up with recommendations for improvement. In its second operational plan (2014–2018), ASARECA is focusing more of its interventions in research and development on scaling up. This strategy draws on the insights from the findings of the study on causes of low adoption and borrows experiences and lessons from other regions to provide a holistic way to spur technology uptake and scaling up in ways that will trigger agricultural transformation in sub-Saharan Africa.

Success stores for the Crop-Livestock integration project in Uganda

From 2011 to 2013, ASARECA and the National Livestock Resources Research Institute (NaLIRRI) implemented a project “Harnessing crop-livestock integration to enhance food security and livelihoods resilience to effects of climate change in Eastern and Central Africa”. The aim of the project was to enhance productivity and value of smallholder crop-livestock systems in Uganda. This was done by promoting market-oriented smallholder dairy and vegetable production units, while developing innovations to boost the resilience of these units to the effects of climate change and variability. This document summarizes farmers’ experiences in testing climate smart agriculture technologies and innovations in Masaka and Ngora districts of Uganda.

Integrating Agro-diversity with Conservation to Improve Livelihood in Savannah Ecosystem

Increases in agricultural productivity and development in East and Central Africa (ECA) subregion have come in part at the expense of the natural resource base on which biodiversity and farming systems depend. Protected lands, group ranches and private lands in the Serengeti Mara Ecosystem consisting of Serengeti plains, Serengeti National Park, Maasai Mara National Reserve and the adjoining group ranches (Kenya) and village lands (Tanzania) are undergoing a land-use conversion from natural savannah to agriculture and exurban development. Yet, little is known about the ecological and social economic consequences of this change. Although the savannah cover and wildlife habitat have remained intact to a greater extent than elsewhere in the region, there have been a remarkable disappearance of biodiversity and degradation of wild land in the ecosystem. At the same time, there has also been a remarkable deterioration on the human livelihood (income, food, security, and well being) in the SME. To address these problems, there is need for an integrated agro-biodiversity farming system that has enormous potential for biodiversity conservation and livelihoods development.

ASARECA conducted biodiversity survey and social economic surveys at randomly selected points on each type of land use in the wet and dry sides of the Serengeti Mara Ecosystem between July 2009 and December 2010 in order to: (1) map, document and evaluate existing land use practices, (2) document socio-economic status in the ecosystem, (3) document biodiversity status in the ecosystem, (4) assess nature and dynamics of human-wildlife conflicts and their impact on people’s livelihood and natural resources, (5) select best bet sustainable land use practices with local communities, and (6) review existing policies/cultural/societal norms relevant to improve land use and biodiversity conservation.

Farmers in the Driver's Seat

This publication documents the activities, experiences and lessons learned from the interventions of the ASARECA project, ‘Farmer Empowerment for Innovation in Small-holder Agriculture’. The experiences will shed light on best-bet choices for in- or outsourcing of services by farmer organizations and will facilitate the replication of success factors in other countries in Eastern and Central Africa.

SCARDA in Institutional Development Initiatives in Rwanda and Burundi

Under the SCARDA project, ASARECA, RUFORUM and PICO team have partnered in Capacity Development initiatives in Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan. Recently, design and learning workshops were conducted at ISAR in Rwanda and ISABU in Burundi as part of the capacity building initiative. The learnings from the design workshops helped to focus the program on those leadership and management issues that were of highest priority to the staff and Management and using an approach that allowed dynamic unravelling of issues, open, candid discussions and co-creation of solutions. Some of the areas that dominated the workshops in both FIs were: staff motivation as a performance enhancer; enhancing skills for personal and organizational visioning and strategic thinking; feedback as a means of improving quality of communication and effectiveness of teams (including its application in the context of staff performance management); role of mentoring and coaching in enhancing individual/personal development, performance improvement overall career development and in creating a cadre of next generation leaders and managers; and situational performance management.

SCARDA: Improving capacity for agricultural research

Improving capacity for agricultural research through
SCARDA

Farmer seed initiatives on african indigenous vegetables

CATALOGUING AND EVALUATION OF AVAILABLE COMMUNITY/FARMERS-BASED SEED ENTERPRISES ON AFRICAN INDIGENOUS VEGETABLES FOUR COUNTRIES.The overall objective of this study was to identify available community/farmer-based seed enterprise initiatives that focus on African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs), evaluate the models/approaches used and recommend those that are promising for further development into economical viable models for scaling up. The information from the study will be used to develop project concept notes on scaling up of the viable AIV seed enterprises that integrate participatory variety selection and marketing linkages for both seed and the vegetables.

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