Africa


Interesting initiatives of two major donors for agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Last October the Australian Government announced that will provide AUS 36 million to establish a new Australian International Centre for Food Security led by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The centre aims to boost food production in Africa, through the provision of research and technical expertise. The initiative would expand the work of ACIAR, particularly and initially in African countries, but with scope to broaden its geographic reach.

The complete initiative is available from the ACIAR website

Early this month, the Gates Foundation announced a new agricultural policy that will focus on only few countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda) and South Asia (Bangladesh, and Bihar and Orissa States in India). The new strategy will focus not just on technological interventions to reduce productivity gaps in certain crops but also the infrastructures, institutional reforms and policy changes required to improve productivity.

A description of this strategy is available from the SciDev Net website

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Africa Development Indicators (ADI) 2011 is the latest set of data from the World Bank on social and economic conditions across the continent and provides the most detailed collection of data on Africa. It contains macroeconomic, sectoral, and social indicators, covering 53 African countries. The ADI is designed to provide all those interested in Africa with a focused and convenient set of data to monitor development programs and aid flows in the region. It is an invaluable reference tool for analysts and policymakers who want a better understanding of the economic and social developments occurring in Africa.

The complete document is available from the World Bank website

These proceedings are an important source of information for animal and crop scientists working on the challenges of feeding the developing world’s rapidly rising livestock population and improving the productivity of its agriculture. It is hoped that, by collaborating more closely, these scientists will be able to develop the innovative approaches and new technologies needed in the next century

Pdf book available from ICRISAT website

SLP has been strengthening links with different academic institutions. The result of these links has been a small set of internships, BSc or MSc thesis with various universities. Research topics are diverse trying to investigate the complexity of mixed crop-livestock farming systems from different but complementary disciplines, tools and scales. Topics include: biomass production and management; chronosequences, land-use/cover and soils evolution; and remote sensing,  NDVI analyses and R scripting.

Crop residue management and farm productivity in smallholder crop-livestock system of dry land North Wollo, Ethiopia (Hailu Terefe, Wageningen University, The Netherlands).

The objective of this study is to explore and analyze crop residue and manure management practices and their influence on farm productivity. Data collection and analyses include farmer resource allocation and socio-economic by semi-structured questionnaire; biomass production, N content and digestibility of crop residues and soil nutrients; and crop-growth simulations to explore the influence of crop residue management use on farm production. The results show that nutrient contents and physical structures of arable plots are declining. Modelling results suggest that to reverse this situation, farmers should retain about 70% of crop residues in the field; but retention should ensure incorporation into the soil. To achieve this strong interventions are needed.

Pdf document available from ILRI website

Development of an open source tool to analyze Vegetation Index from Remote Sensing data (Romain Frelat, INSA, France).

During this internship, I have developed a free package in R to conduct automated analysis of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) from different optical satellite instruments (AVHRR and Spot Vegetation). Land Surface Phenology metrics can be easily computed from points or polygons generated either in GIS software (shp) or Google Earth (kml). Metrics and vegetation anomaly maps are calculated for every cropping season to support the study vegetation dynamics in agricultural landscapes.

Pdf document available from ILRI website

R package available from CRAN

Evolution de l’occupation des terres en lien avec les caractéristiques physico-chimiques du sol dans un village pres de Nekemte, Ethiopie (Matthieu Crespin, UCL, Belgium).

C’est dans ce but que ce travail, réalisé à l’échelle du village, devrait permettre de quantifier et de comparer la qualité des sols pour des occupations et des situations topographiques différentes : cultures, pâturages, forêts d’une part et vallées, pentes et sommets d’autre part. Il devrait également permettre de tracer l’évolution de la fertilité pour des sols de forêt jusqu’à des sols convertis à la culture et ce pour trois groupes d’âges différents.