The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded CNFA (a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to stimulating economic growth and improving rural livelihoods by empowering the private sector) a contract to implement the Agricultural Growth Program-Livestock Growth Project (AGP-LGP) over the course of five years. As part of USAID’s Feed the Future Initiative, AGP-LGP will foster growth, create jobs for rural households, and reduce hunger and malnutrition through increased competitiveness of selected livestock value chains in meat and dairy. The project is a key USAID contribution to the Government of Ethiopia’s Agricultural Growth Program (AGP), whose objective is to increase agricultural productivity and market access for key crop and livestock products in targeted woredas with increased participation of women and youth.
August 7, 2012
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May 7, 2012
“The ‘Second Phase’ of the SLP crop residue project has begun in Ethiopia and Bangladesh and will continue in Zimbabwe and Niger shortly. In this phase of the project, a participatory and collaborative approach is being taken in order to understand constraints faced by farmers and other stakeholders, and to generate knowledge that can inform future action.
The work, led by Dr Beth Cullen (ILRI) in collaboration with other researchers from ILRI, ICRISAT, IITA, CIMMYT and local partner institutions, has consisted of presenting highlights from survey work to farmers from selected villages in each of the sites of the SLP crop residue project. Basic graphs were prepared to help farmers visualize the results and these acted as a starting point for further discussion. Topics covered included: cropping patterns, crop residue use and competition, feeding strategies and livestock productivity, impact of technologies such as fertilizer, improved seed, herbicide and pesticides, income sources, mulching and soil fertility, access to information and extension services. Discussions with farmers helped to probe these subjects in more depth in order to better understand dynamics of crop residue use and decision making processes at farm level. This process has generated important qualitative information which will be used to fill gaps in the quantitative data collected so far.
Dr Elahi Baksh from CIMMYT discussing survey results with farmers in Bangladesh (photo: Beth Cullen).
After in-depth conversations with researchers about the results, farmers were asked to think about their plans and visions for the future. They were presented with four options: intensification, diversification, specialization and out of farming. Farmers voted for their preferred future option and were asked to explain the reasons for their choice. Choices were influenced by factors such as livestock numbers, land size, access to markets and roads. Farmers were then asked to brainstorm the main constraints they face, to prioritize these constraints, identify root causes and potential solutions. Challenges varied from village to village, but consistent themes also emerged. At the end of the exercise farmers expressed thanks to researchers for feeding back the survey results and for involving them in further discussion.
After working at village level a stakeholder workshop was arranged to bring together experts including crop and livestock experts from local agricultural bureaus, extension coordinators, local extension agents, staff from national research centers, researchers from local universities and NGO representatives. Farmers from selected villages were invited to join the discussions, they valued being part of the process from start to finish as well as the opportunity to engage in dialogue with other stakeholders. Results from the survey and farmers feedback were synthesized and presented to stakeholders for their comments. Stakeholders were then invited to consider three key challenges and identify technical, institutional and policy options for improving livelihoods and ensuring longer term system sustainability.
A group of stakeholders working together to identify ‘TIPs’ in Ethiopia (photo: Beth Cullen).
The combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches and exchanges between researchers, farmers and other stakeholders has yielded valuable results. These results will be communicated in a series of reports and briefs to policy makers, researchers and the various partners and stakeholders involved in the research. SLP researchers will also consider how the collaborative research process and the findings could help to inform and be integrated into ingoing research, particularly the new CGIAR Consortium Research Programs (CRP’s)”.
By Dr. Beth Cullen
April 26, 2012
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AFRICA RISING Program (Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation) is part of the Feed the Future Initiative of USAID. This initiative is funding three projects in West Africa, Ethiopian Highlands, and East and Southern Africa. The project in the Ethiopian Highlands is ‘Sustainable intensification of crop-livestock systems to improve food security and farm income diversification in the Ethiopian highlands’, led by ILRI.
ILRI seeks to recruit a Project Coordinator to coordinate and manage the project (about 40% time) and provide scientific input into project implementation (about 60% time). The deadline for applications is the 18th May 2012.
January 29, 2012
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Last couple of years the Livestock Policy Initiative of IGAD (IGAD-LPI) in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of Ethiopia (MoFED), has revisited estimates of livestock’s contribution to the Ethiopian economy, through three studies, which conclude that the contribution of livestock in the Ethiopian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and to the wider economy is much higher than previous estimates.
October 21, 2011
Intensification of crop-livestock farming systems in East Africa: A comparison of 3 sites in the highlands of Ethiopia and KenyaPosted by Diego Valbuena under Animal Feeding, Conference, Crop Residues, Crop-Livestock, East Africa, Ethiopia, ILRI, Intensification, Kenya, Survey
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SLP East Africa team continues presenting preliminary results of the project on crop residue trade-offs. This time Kindu Mekonnen (ILRI-Ethiopia) will present a poster at the CIALCA International Conference held next week in Rwanda. The presented study concludes that “the three study sites in east Africa are found at different crop-livestock intensification level because of variability in rainfall, adoption of crop and livestock technologies, and access to input/output markets. Dealing with some of the constraints that affect crop and livestock production could lead to a more sustainable intensification of crop-livestock farming in the East African highlands”.
September 22, 2011
SLP has now formally released the sub-Saharan Africa Feeds database – a user friendly searchable database containing information on the nutritive values of 20,913 samples of 566 of the major feeds used in 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The database is available both on the web or on CD. This is the first time that such large amount of data on common feeds has been made publically available in this way. The purpose of putting both the database and the software to access it in the public domain is to enable extension, development and research agents to design scientifically-based and best-cost rations for meat, dairy and draught animals of small-scale African farmers. As their livestock assets are healthier and better nourished, these farmers become more food-secure and are able to increase their income from animal products.
This useful information tool was created as a joint effort of the SLP, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and the Ethiopian Sanitary & Phytosanitary Standards and Livestock & Meat Marketing Program (SPS-LMM) with funding from USAID. The information can now be used to improve the feed analytical capacity to support livestock development in Ethiopia and throughout SSA. A poster has also been compiled on the nutritive values of the most commonly used feeds in Ethiopia to disseminate the information widely in Ethiopia.
The SSA Feeds database was described by Dr Alan Duncan as ‘a valuable resource for livestock research and development professionals in Ethiopia and beyond. It makes available a wealth of information about the nutritive value of feeds commonly used in Ethiopia. This will help in designing feeding strategies for livestock that are based on sound scientific principles. This is important as livestock production moves from subsistence to a more market-oriented mode of operation in certain areas.’ Developing “SSA Feeds” and making it available to the general public, its target users and ultimately, to its beneficiaries -small-scale farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa- is the result of the combined efforts of many individuals. The project was coordinated by Dr Salvador Fernandez-Rivera, whose dedication to feeds research in sub-Saharan Africa resulted in the development and design of this searchable web-published database. Since 2009 the project has been coordinated by Dr Bruno Gerard with support on animal nutrition and data quality from Dr Alan Duncan. Scientists and staff working over the years at the Animal Nutrition/Analytical Services Laboratories of ILRI in Addis Ababa and the feed labs of EIAR in Holetta, Ethiopia, provided and analyzed thousands of samples of feedstuffs and provided the basic data for the tool. David O. Anindo, Abdullah N. Said, A. Lahlou-Kassi, Jean Hanson, Markos Tibbo, Abate Tedla and Asebe Abdena contributed scientific expertise, Ephrem Getahun developed the computer programme and the ILRI web and graphics teams designed and manage the website.
September 20, 2011
Competing uses, dynamics, and production and utilization constraints of crop residues in East Africa: Implications for CAPosted by Diego Valbuena under Conference, Conservation Agriculture, Crop Residues, Crop-Livestock, Crop-Livestock, East Africa, Ethiopia, ILRI, Intensification, Kenya
Kindu Mekonnen, SLP associate researcher of the East Africa team writes:
“Biomass is a crucial resource for smallholder farmers. Crop residues form an important source of biomass but there are competing demands for its use. The key trade-off is between use of crop residue for feeding of livestock and retaining residues on the field to sustain soil fertility. This issue has formed the basis of a global research project on trade-offs in residue use in smallholder systems. In East Africa, the research has focused on two sites in Ethiopia and one in Kenya.
As part of this research a village survey was conducted each site with the objective understanding diversified and competing uses of crop residues; analyze past trends of uses of crop residues; and identify production and utilization constraints of crop residues. A total of 8 villages per site were surveyed in two sites in Ethiopia (Kobo and Nekemte) and one site in western Kenya (Kakamega).
The most important findings from the research so far are (1) The use of crop residues for animal feed (stall feeding and direct grazing) surpassed the other competing uses in all the sites; (2) The practice of mulching crop fields using crop residues has declined in the last 10 years in the three sites because of competing use of the resources for various services and products; (3) Soil/land related problems, weed, insect and pests, high input/low output prices, poor distribution of rainfall/drought and lack of information/services are some of the constraints associated with low crop productivity and production of crop residues; and (4) Lack of modern crop residue processing technologies limited the efficient utilization of crop residues in the three sites.
The pressure on residue use and the decline in its use as a mulch raise serious concerns for system sustainability. Our next task will be to look at policy, institutional and technical options for reducing pressure on biomass in smallholder systems for the long term benefit of poor smallholders.
We will present this work at the International Congress: Water 2011– Integrated water resources management in tropical and subtropical dry-lands. The congress will be held from 19 to 26 September 2011 in Mekele, Ethiopia. The title of our presentation is “Competing uses, dynamics, and production and utilization constraints of crop residues in East Africa: Implications for conservation agriculture”.