Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an approach towards sustainable development and food security in the wake of climate change. The main objectives of CSA include increased agricultural productivity, climate change adaptation, and the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. One area that has received increased attention in regards to CSA is mixed crop-livestock systems, or farms that include both crops and livestock, which are featured prominently in developing countries. The ubiquity of such systems makes them an ideal setting for incorporating CSA practices. Despite this, there remains a limited understanding of the costs, benefits, and trade-offs of climate-smart options within mixed systems.
A chapter on mixed livestock-crop systems, featured in a recently published, open-access book, Climate Smart Agriculture: Building Resilience to Climate Change, examines the “climate smartness” of various practices associated with mixed livestock-crop systems. Researchers from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) contributed to the publication in an effort to advance CSA knowledge and goals. The chapter does so through a systematic review of the published literature coupled with expert surveys. The summary points to the benefits, drawbacks, and potential of CSA within mixed systems.
For instance, well-integrated systems tend to be more productive and efficient. The adoption of new and improved crop varieties, including higher yielding and drought- and pest-resistant crops, have improved both crop productivity and food security in developing countries. Livestock options, including cross-breeding and the adoption of new livestock species, can result in more productive animals and reduced methane output.
Crop management techniques, including the timing of when crops are planted and intercropping of complementary species, offer risk mitigation as weather patterns become more unpredictable. Water efficiency is especially important for mixed livestock-crop systems. Benefits of efficient water use include an extended growing season, reduced vulnerability in times of drought, and diminished labor burdens on women and girls, who are often tasked with gathering water.
Another climate-smart option includes the use of crop residues, or the materials left over after a crop has been harvested. The maintenance of crop residues includes mulching, cover cropping, and reduced tillage. The benefits of these practices include reduced soil erosion, water retention, and healthier soils, all of which contribute to the sustainability of mixed livestock-crop systems. The management of nutrient cycles and soils can reduce GHG emissions while improving productivity. Manure management is another sustainable use of livestock byproducts and can reduce costs associated with agriculture inputs.
The drawbacks to climate-smart options within mixed systems are also noted in the new chapter. The benefits to climate-smart practices are not always apparent to farmers, limiting the likelihood of adoption. Cost is a major barrier as well, especially for soil, manure, and grazing management. The initial investment required for cross-breeding or adopting new types of livestock is also considerable. If farmers do make the switch to cross-bred livestock, the need for more water and higher quality feed place significant burdens on smallholder farmers. Larger animals can also be difficult to handle and are more vulnerable to droughts. While the adoption of new crop varieties may not require the same level of initial investment as livestock, the transition is often slow and constrained by the availability of seeds.
Technology access and “technical know-how” can also constrain the adoption of climate-smart techniques. For instance, limited access to weather information can lead farmers to plant too early or late within a season. Increased labor demands for some techniques, such as intercropping, place additional burdens on smallholders, especially women. Finally, information access and cultural acceptability can hinder the adoption of climate-smart options within mixed livestock-crop systems.
After reviewing the benefits and drawbacks of various climate-smart options within mixed livestock-crop systems, the authors of this chapter draw several conclusions. To begin, context matters. Local conditions play a large role in determining whether or not farmers adopt CSA practices. While modeling can be used to better understand the economic and biophysical conditions that play a role in farmer decision making, they cannot always take into account the decisions farmers often make between short term food and livelihood needs, and long term resiliency strategies. Field work will continue to be an essential component of understanding on-the-ground conditions that contribute to adoption decisions. Finally, the authors note areas of promise for the widespread of adoption of climate-smart options. Policy, especially within an innovative and capacity enhanced context, and information and communication technologies, which fosters information sharing, networks, and data collection, can contribute to CSA adoption within mixed systems.
Rice is an essential crop in Vietnam. The country is the world’s second largest rice exporter, and the crop is crucial to the food security and livelihoods of millions of Vietnamese, especially farmers living in the Mekong and Red River Delta. Despite the importance of rice, the sector faces serious issues. Not only do current production methods and a reliance on chemical inputs decrease the quality and sustainability of rice crops, but rice production is also seriously threatened by the effects of climate change.
The promotion of Large Field Models (LFMs) throughout the country may help farmers meet the challenges posed by rice production, while facilitating the adoption of climate-smart agriculture (CSA). A recent study, conducted by researchers at the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (IPSARD) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), examined Vietnam’s LFMs and the potential of CSA. While the main goal of LFMs is to increase the efficiency of rice production and the quality of rice, they also offer an opportunity to apply CSA principles. LFMs offer reduced production costs, the potential for knowledge sharing, and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
CSA addresses the challenges associated with agriculture, food security and climate change. CSA seeks to sustainably and equitably increase agricultural production, while increasing the resiliency of food systems. In Vietnam, a nationally targeted program on climate change adaptation was approved in 2008. Three years later, in 2011, the National Strategy on Climate Change was established. Combined, these decisions require the agriculture sector to reduce its GHG emissions and poverty by 20 percent while increasing gross outputs by 20 percent.
LFMs are production systems based on the establishment of linkages between farmers and enterprises. They typically gather farmers into large, commonly managed production areas to create favourable conditions for the application of improved technologies and standardized practices for economies of scales, and stabilize output markets for farmers. There are several types of LFMs and their functioning can be characterized by the following: (i) produce annual crops; (ii) use a large production area; (iii) have one or more households involved; (iv) produce crops following Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and (v) establish linkages between farmers and enterprises with or without contractual arrangements.
Interest in LFM development programs have grown significantly since 2011. As of 2015, 196,000 hectares in the Mekong River Delta were part of an LFM. Major companies and farmers’ cooperatives have also shown interest in advancing LFMs. This interest in LFMs have led to an increase in technical support to farmers and their profits. Research suggests promising results. Studies indicate LFMs are more efficient than individual small farms and that farmers engaged in LFMs have higher levels of productivity and more profits. While researchers were not able to link LFMs to climate change adaptation and resiliency, findings point towards the environmental benefits of LFMs. GHG emissions are reduced through greater efficiencies and changes in farmers’ behaviors. Farmers involved in large-scale rice production were also more concerned about the environmental impact of agro-chemicals.
Despite the benefits, there are several barriers to implementing CSA strategies within LFMs. The small size of farm plots makes it difficult to convince farmers to buy into the program. It is also challenging to determine “benefit sharing methods” for farmers that do agree to contribute their land. Ensuring a fair process between farmers and enterprises is another barrier. Research indicates legal contracts are not always effective due to high costs. Finally, a lack of appropriate infrastructure is a constraint.
While the challenges to LFMs must be taken into consideration, researchers included a number of recommendations for successful adoption of the model. The tailoring of LFMs to specific regions is important, as is encouraging both farmer and enterprise participation. Agriculture insurance markets and infrastructure investments will also be key to both the success of LFMs and CSA strategies. Finally, as previous research indicates, high costs associated with legal contracts, researchers recommend the use of “community value” as a contractual method.
Download the publication: Thang TC, Khoi DK, Thiep DH, Lan VT, Tinh TV, Pede VO. 2017. Assessing the Potential of Climate Smart Agriculture in Large Rice Field Models in Vietnam. CCAFS Working Paper No. 211. Wageningen, the Netherlands: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).
The Position: The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a support services assistant who will be a member of Communications and Knowledge Management (CKM) team in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
General: The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock. It is the only one of 15 CGIAR research centres dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. Co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia, it has regional or country offices and projects in East, South and Southeast Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa. www.ilri.org.
The position supports CKM management in the efficient delivery of activities and services, and in the operation of the Info-Centre activities.
- Liaises with projects and external partners to ensure all internal recharges, external invoices and payments are processed on behalf of the CKM unit, following up where necessary;
- Liaises with the People and Organizational Development in the preparation of consultancy contracts and ensures all payments are made in a timely manner;
- Liaises with ILRI services units for the arrangement of travel for CKM staff flights, accommodation, visas, etc. and prepares travel and expense reports as needed;
- Ensures Info-Centre clients receive a high-quality service through the identification, registration, display and circulation of relevant materials on campus, issuance of user IDs, and compilation of user statistics;
- Ensures the CKM archive/ stores are kept in good order, monitors office supply levels and status of fixed assets, and procures the new supplies and equipment through the ILRI online system;
- Tracks CKM calendar of travel, leave, absence etc., and compiles attendance records;
- Updates in a consistent manner the salesforce database and the ILRI Addis Ababa events calendar;
- Manages Addis Ababa public and meeting spaces, and provides administrative and logistic support for CKM and project events;
- Contributes to the ILRI-wide CKM community of practice, sharing and communicating work updates and lessons, participates in learning, reviewing and planning activities and ensures that these activities follow ILRI standards and agreed channels;
- Supports and covers for the Nairobi-based Info-Centre and administrative assistant where appropriate and performs any other duties as may be assigned
Academic and professional qualifications:
- BA degree in Business Administration or related field.
- Two years of relevant work experience.
- Good communication and interpersonal skills.
Duty Station: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Minimum Base Salary: Birr 12,536 (Negotiable depending on experience, skill and salary history of the candidate)
Terms of appointment: This is a Nationally Recruited Staff (NRS) position, initial appointment is for three years with the possibility of renewal, contingent upon individual performance and the availability of funding. The ILRI remuneration package for nationally recruited staff in Ethiopia includes very competitive salary and benefits such as life and medical insurance, offshore pension plan, etc.
Applications: Applicants should provide a cover letter and curriculum vitae; names and addresses (including telephone and email) of three referees who are knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience to be included in the curriculum vitae. The position and reference number: REF: CSSA/33/2017 should be clearly indicated in the subject line of the cover letter. All applications to be submitted online on our recruitment portal: http://ilri.simplicant.com/ on or before 25 October 2017.
To find out more about ILRI visit our website at http://www.ilri.org
To find out more about working at ILRI visit our website at http://www.ilri.org/ilricrowd/
Suitably qualified women are particularly encouraged to apply.
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a Consultant within the Accelerated Value Chains Development (AVCD) program to design and adapt AVCD agri-nutrition training materials to be appropriate for training resource people and for use at the community level. Also, develop an AVCD Nutrition Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) Strategy.
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works to improve food and nutrition security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock. It is the only one of 15 CGIAR research centres dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. Co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia, it has regional or country offices and projects in East, South and Southeast Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa. www.ilri.org
The AVCD program focuses on the activities of four value chains, viz: livestock, dairy implemented by ILRI, root crops (orange Fleshed Sweet Potato and Potato) implemented by International Potato Centre (CIP) and drought tolerant crops (ground nuts, sorghum, finger millet, pearl millet, pigeon pea and green gram) implemented by International Crops Research Institute for Arid and semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and their respective commodities, as a means of reducing poverty and improving nutrition of women of reproductive age (15-49 years) and children 0-23 months in 21 counties in Kenya. The nutrition objective is to be achieved along three main pathways; production, income and women’s empowerment with nutrition social behavior change communication (SBCC) integrated within the pathways.
Scope of work
The scope of work includes:
- Facilitate a 2-day workshop with the Value Chain Nutrition Specialists to input their feedback on the flow and content of the draft manual
- Design and illustrate the AVCD Agri-nutrition content into graphics and language that communicates appropriately to the communities
- Participate in pilot testing of the manual and dialogue cards along with the Value Chain Nutrition Specialists
- Translate community Agri-nutrition dialogue cards into Kiswahili
- Revise and finalize the manual and dialogue cards based on feedback from the stakeholders in various sectors-Ministries of Agriculture, Health, Education, Water etc
- Consolidate findings of past nutrition Value chains surveys, review current government materials being used by line ministries and through stakeholder consultations (workshop) develop AVCD Nutrition SBCC Strategy
- Final AVCD Agri-Nutrition Facilitator’s manual
- AVCD Agri-nutrition community and dialogue cards and wheel of dietary diversity
- AVCD Nutrition SBCC Strategy
Payment shall be made upon submission of draft facilitator’s manual, draft dialogue cards and draft SBCC strategy (60%) and on submission of final copies of facilitator’s manual, dialogue cards and SBCC strategy (40%).
Essential Skills and Qualifications Required:
- Advanced degree in sociology, communication, counseling, rural development, nutrition or related training
- Over 15 years of experience in social behavior change communication with a bias in nutrition behavior change communication
- Experience in managing and coordinating actionable SBCC strategies and delivering agreed outputs on time and on budget
- Previous experience with agriculture nutrition behavior change communication in Kenya is a requirement
- Previous experience with USAID in Social Behaviour Change is an asset
- Knowledge of the Kenyan nutrition land scape
- Strong analytical skills
- Excellent command of English land Kiswahili languages and ability to guide discussions in varied audiences
Post location: Home based
Duration: 3 months (maximum number of 54 working days)
Expected places of travel: Nairobi, with travel to AVCD project sites.
How to apply:
Applicants should send both a technical and financial proposal. The technical proposal and work plan should be maximum 5 pages outlining details on how to go about the development of the community level agri-nutrition facilitator’s guide, accompanying dialogue cards and the SBCC Strategy. The financial proposal will contain a breakdown of fees and expected costs, together with a cover letter and CV explaining their interest in the position, what they can bring to the job and the names and addresses (including telephone and email) of three referees who are knowledgeable about the applicant’s professional qualifications and work experience to the Director, People and Organizational Development through our recruitment portal http://ilri.simplicant.com/ on or before 26 October 2017. The position title and reference number SBCC/10/2017 should be clearly marked on the subject line of the online application.
We thank all applicants for their interest in working for ILRI. Due to the volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
To find out more about ILRI visit our website at http://www.ilri.org
To find out more about working at ILRI visit our website at http://www.ilri.org/ilricrowd/
ILRI is an equal opportunity employer.
Graphic by the Global Livestock Alliance.Researchers are on the hunt for a cow that produces less methane, one of the major contributors to climate change. If and when those green genes can be easily isolated, they could be spread throughout global cattle populations.
‘The livestock sector accounts for an estimated 14.5 percent of human-related greenhouse gas emissions globally, with about 44 percent of those emissions in the form of methane, according to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Methane is a byproduct of livestock digestion and manure emissions, among other sources. Cattle account for the majority of the sector’s contributions, adding to about 65 percent of emissions.
‘While methane has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide, it is more effective at trapping radiation. This makes its impact over a 100-year period more than 25 times greater than carbon dioxide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
‘Scientists see urgency in addressing methane emissions now. Rates are slated to rise rapidly as developing economies grow. Lifestyle and diet changes, coupled with population growth, are expected to more than double the demand for animal-based products by 2030, according to the FAO.
‘Changing consumption may prove impossible, so internationally, researchers have been working on changing the cow. A newly created collaboration led by the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases is one of the latest efforts. It will work to study the microbial communities of the stomachs of cattle, hoping to identify those with lower methane emissions. The sampling is expected to take place in countries including Australia, Denmark, Scotland, Uruguay, and Brazil, but the extent of the partnerships has not been finalized. If and when favorable genes can be easily isolated, the long-term aim will be to provide farmers with the tools to integrate this trait into its breeding programs for cattle.“We are in the early days of conceptualizing and doing this research,” said Jimmy Smith, director general of the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute. “Looking for this low-emissions cow is one of the long-term dreams I have.”
‘A climate-friendlier animal may be available to farmers in a few years in developed countries such as New Zealand, but it could be decades before the developing world sees these breeding gains. In the meantime, development agencies, governments, and farmers are pushing to increase the productivity of livestock, which also helps mitigate methane emissions. . . .
‘When the right characteristics are identified, a low methane-emitting cow could potentially be found using a mouth swab — a technique easy enough to be used to identify the large quantities needed to have a successful breeding program. The project aims to develop a tool to identify the lowest emitters in any herd or flock, so that those traits can be prioritized in any breeding effort if desired using existing gene pools. . . .
‘Selecting animals with lower methane byproducts could reduce emissions by up to 5 percent, but this percentage could rise to 10 or 20 percent if it becomes a breeding objective over several decades, according to the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture. . . .
‘If researchers succeed in pinpointing lower-emission cattle, farmers would have the option to purchase the semen of low-emitting cattle. . . .‘A low-emissions cow populating pastures in the developing world in the near future might be a pipe dream, said John Goopy, research scientist in livestock greenhouse gas measurement and mitigation at the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya. Advanced breeding schemes are scarce in the developing world, where breeding is generally more random, he said. . . . Because of this, it is more practical to push to increase the productivity of existing livestock, which in turn will reduce emissions. In the developing world, there are huge gains to be made in increasing productivity in the livestock sector, which is where the research at ILRI focuses. Some 80 percent of farmland in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia is managed by small scale farmers, which tend to operate with lower productivity, meaning fewer liters of milk produced as compared to countries like the United States, said Smith of ILRI. Bringing highly productive breeds of livestock, such as the Holstein Friesian cattle, to developing countries is a tactic that has been used to increase productivity. But these temperate environment animals don’t thrive in the hot, humid tropics, which is where the majority of beef and dairy cattle are located. As a result, the approach by organizations like the ILRI has pivoted to cross-breeding among local genotypes, looking for improved performance.
‘In August for example, a $12.6 million public-private development partnership was announced to improve milk yields per cow by at least 50 percent to 100 percent for 30,000 Kenyan dairy farmers. . . . Part of the program will include training on artificial insemination for cross-breeding local cows with the genes of cows that produce more milk. The project will also use climate-smart forage species for feed, including Brachiaria or “signalgrass,” which is a “carbon sink,” absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.’“If an animal that produces two liters [of milk] now, can produce 10 liters in the future, it means that the emissions per unit of product goes down significantly,” said Smith. When a cow is emitting large quantities of methane just to maintain itself rather than producing milk, it’s comparable to letting a car idle, Goopy said. Fumes are emitted but no distance was traveled. “Ideally, you want to be zooming down the highway,” he said.
Read the whole article by Sara Jerving in Devex: The pursuit of a low-emissions cow, 17 Oct 2017.
Filed under: Animal Breeding, Cattle, Dairying, ILRI, News clipping, Sheep, SLS Tagged: Devex, Greenhouse gas emissions, Jimmy Smith, John Goopy, Mazingira Centre
ILRI’s pig production project in the state of Nagaland, in northeast India (photo credit: ILRI/Ram Deka).
‘With per capita consumption of pork in Nagaland highest in the country, Nagaland Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services department has launched artificial insemination (AI) of pigs in the State on a pilot basis to boost pig production, double farmers’ income as also to eliminate diseases in pigs.The department launched the project in association with International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), ICAR-National Research Centre on Pigs, North East India Development Agency and Tata Trust programme.Speaking on ILRI’s plan for livestock development , Dr H Rahman, regional representative, ILRI-South Asia, said since 80 per cent of pork in India is consumed in Nagaland, the State must build ‘pig villages’ and pig farms to meet the demand and . . . also to increase the income of farmers.
In this regard, he stressed on improvement of indigenous pig breeds and production of pig feeds in NE as the region is a store house of nutritional plants and trees. . . .Dwelling on ‘Plan for piloting AI of pigs in Nagaland’, Ram Deka, scientist, ILRI, said since Nagaland tops all the States in per capita consumption of pork, the State should be made the hub of pig development systems in India. He said, ILRI which assisted the State Government on drafting the Pig Breeding Policy would also assist in follow up AI programmes in the State.
‘. . . Nagaland Parliamentary Secretary for Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services S Chuba Longkumer said the State Government would endeavour to narrow down the import of pigs to zero by 2025, attain self sufficiency in pork production by 2026 and export the surplus by 2030 as outlined in the Government’s vision policy.“It is our vision that by 2030 our State will be tagged as pork production hub of the country,” the Parliamentary Secretary said.
‘Chuba said after framing the State’s Pig Breeding Policy, launching of AI in pigs is another landmark achievement.’
Read the whole article in The Assam Tribune: Scheme launched to promote livestock farming in Nagaland, 15 Oct 2017.
Find out more about ILRI’s research-for-development pig production work in Nagaland State.
Watch the following short ILRI videos about pig keeping in Nagaland.
Filed under: AHH, Animal Breeding, Film and video, ILRI, India, News clipping, Pigs, Pro-Poor Livestock, South Asia Tagged: Habib Rahman, Nagaland, Ram Deka