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Closing system-wide yield gaps to increase food production and mitigate GHGs among mixed crop–livestock smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa

Our latest outputs -

Closing system-wide yield gaps to increase food production and mitigate GHGs among mixed crop–livestock smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa Henderson, B.; Godde, C.; Medina-Hidalgo, D.; Wijk, M. van; Silvestri, S.; Douxchamps, S.; Stephenson, E.; Power, B.; Rigolot, C.; Cacho, O.; Herrero, M. In this study we estimate yield gaps for mixed crop–livestock smallholder farmers in seven Sub-Saharan African sites covering six countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Senegal and Burkina Faso). We also assess their potential to increase food production and reduce the GHG emission intensity of their products, as a result of closing these yield gaps.We use stochastic frontier analysis to construct separate production frontiers for each site, based on 2012 survey data prepared by the International Livestock Research Institute for the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security program. Instead of relying on theoretically optimal yields—a common approach in yield gap assessments—our yield gaps are based on observed differences in technical efficiency among farms within each site. Sizeable yield gaps were estimated to be present in all of the sites. Expressed as potential percentage increases in outputs, the average site-based yield gaps ranged from 28 to 167% for livestock products and from 16 to 209% for crop products. The emission intensities of both livestock and crop products registered substantial falls as a consequence of closing yield gaps. The relationships between farm attributes and technical efficiency were also assessed to help inform policy makers about where best to target capacity building efforts. We found a strong and statistically significant relationship between market participation and performance across most sites. We also identified an efficiency dividend associated with the closer integration of crop and livestock enterprises. Overall, this study reveals that there are large yield gaps and that substantial benefits for food production and environmental performance are possible through closing these gaps, without the need for new technology.

Early assessment of seasonal forage availability for mitigating the impact of drought on East African pastoralists

Our latest outputs -

Early assessment of seasonal forage availability for mitigating the impact of drought on East African pastoralists Vrieling, A.; Meroni, M.; Mude, A.G.; Chantarat, S.; Ummenhofer, C.C.; Bie, C.A.J.M. de Pastoralist households across East Africa face major livestock losses during drought periods that can cause persistent poverty. For Kenya and southern Ethiopia, an existing index insurance scheme aims to reduce the adverse effects of such losses. The scheme insures individual households through an area-aggregated seasonal forage scarcity index derived from remotely-sensed normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) time series. Until recently, insurance contracts covered animal losses and indemnity payouts were consequently made late in the season, based on a forage scarcity index incorporating both wet and dry season NDVI data. Season timing and duration were fixed for the whole area (March–September for long rains, October–February for short rains). Due to demand for asset protection insurance (pre-loss intervention) our aim was to identify earlier payout options by shortening the temporal integration period of the index. We used 250 m-resolution 10-day NDVI composites for 2001–2014 from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). To better describe the period during which forage develops, we first retrieved per-pixel average season start- and end-dates using a phenological model. These dates were averaged per insurance unit to obtain unit-specific growing period definitions. With these definitions a new forage scarcity index was calculated. We then examined if shortening the temporal period further could effectively predict most (> 90%) of the interannual variability of the new index, and assessed the effects of shortening the period on indemnity payouts. Our analysis shows that insurance payouts could be made one to three months earlier as compared to the current index definition, depending on the insurance unit. This would allow pastoralists to use indemnity payments to protect their livestock through purchase of forage, water, or medicines.

Multi-locus genotyping reveals absence of genetic structure in field populations of the brown ear tick (Rhipicephalus appendiculatus) in Kenya

Our latest outputs -

Multi-locus genotyping reveals absence of genetic structure in field populations of the brown ear tick (Rhipicephalus appendiculatus) in Kenya Kanduma, E.G.; Mwacharo, J. M.; Mwaura, S.; Njuguna, J.N.; Nzuki, I.; Kinyanjui, P.W.; Githaka, N.; Heyne, H.; Hanotte, O.; Skilton, R.A.; Bishop, R.P. Rhipicephalus appendiculatus is an important tick vector of several pathogens and parasitizes domestic and wild animals across eastern and southern Africa. However, its inherent genetic variation and population structure is poorly understood. To investigate whether mammalian host species, geographic separation and resulting reproductive isolation, or a combination of these, define the genetic structure of R. appendiculatus, we analyzed multi-locus genotype data from 392 individuals from 10 geographic locations in Kenya generated in an earlier study. These ticks were associated with three types of mammalian host situations; (1) cattle grazing systems, (2) cattle and wildlife co-grazing systems (3) wildlife grazing systems without livestock. We also analyzed data from 460 individuals from 10 populations maintained as closed laboratory stocks and 117 individuals from five other species in the genus Rhipicephalus. The pattern of genotypes observed indicated low levels of genetic differentiation between the ten field populations (FST = 0.014 ± 0.002) and a lack of genetic divergence corresponding to the degree of separation of the geographic sampling locations. There was also no clear association of particular tick genotypes with specific host species. This is consistent with tick dispersal over large geographic ranges and lack of host specificity. In contrast, the 10 laboratory populations (FST = 0.248 ± 0.015) and the five other species of Rhipicephalus (FST = 0.368 ± 0.032) were strongly differentiated into distinct genetic groups. Some laboratory bred populations diverged markedly from their field counterparts in spite of originally being sampled from the same geographic locations. Our results demonstrate a lack of defined population genetic differentiation in field populations of the generalist R. appendiculatus in Kenya, which may be a result of the frequent anthropogenic movement of livestock and mobility of its several wildlife hosts between different locations.

ILRI vacancy: ICT Customer Services Technician (closing date: 12 February 2016)

Jobs -

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit an ICT Customer Services Technician to provide primary customer interface for ICT Customer Services, the Service desk and technical support. He/she provides support for full use of ICT equipment, applications and other resources on the campuses through the resolution of incidents and passing-on their knowledge and experience.

ILRI works with partners worldwide to enhance the roles that livestock play in food security and poverty alleviation, principally in Africa and Asia. The outcomes of these research partnerships help people in developing countries keep their farm animals’ alive and productive, increase and sustain their livestock and farm productivity, find profitable markets for their animal products, and reduce the risk of livestock-related diseases. www.ilri.org

ILRI is a not-for-profit institution with a staff of about 700 and in 2016, an operating budget of about USD 83 million. A member of the CGIAR Consortium working for a food-secure future, ILRI has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, a principal campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and offices in other countries in East, West and Southern Africa and in South, Southeast and East Asia. www.cgiar.org

Responsibilities

  • Provide 1st level support: Diagnose and resolve service requests and incidents that have been assigned to them as per the SLA. Keep the service desk status up-to-date and communicate regularly with the requester to keep them informed of the status. Close the call as soon as the incident has been resolved to the satisfaction of the customer. Escalate any problems that cannot be resolved to the ICT Customer Services Officers
  • Take part as required in carrying out the service desk functions. This includes logging all ICT service requests, assigning the correct priority level, category, type and the appropriate ICT staff or service provider to carry out the request
  • Use the Service desk reports to identify commonly recurring requests for assistance and provide advice on how these can be prevented or minimised, through training, user awareness or changes in configuration
  • Configuration and roll-out of new equipment and applications to computers on the network
  • Low-level formatting of computers and preparation of equipment for disposal
  • Carry out research into more effective ways of using and configuring applications and equipment that can then be rolled out across the campuses or posted to the intranet and communicated to staff for their use.
  • Keeping the inventory of equipment up-to-date following the written procedures. Maintain the log of equipment and other resources loaned to Staff;
  • Keep the databases that are used to manage the operations of the Department up to date
  • Under the guidance of the ICT Customer Services Team Lead, participate as required in projects that are implemented by the ICT Customer Services team
  • Remote Administration of user AD and email user accounts, antivirus and other applications.
  • Administration of AVAYA telephony system (extension creation and allocations, configurations and call reporting);
  • Manage and provide support for virtual meetings and collaboration spaces support for communication and Collaboration
  • Carry out user awareness trainings and exercises and develop informational docs to raise awareness of staff to new and effective means of working, ICT issues, new tools and information available and other useful ICT information
  • Assist in induction of new staff and training on ICT policies and guidelines.
  • Update ICT portal with information accessible to staff on ICT tips and other issues.

  Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or equivalent.
  • At least 2 years relevant work experience.
  • Ability to work in multi-cultural environment and to foster teamwork.
  • Ability to work with limited supervision and to take initiatives.

Number of Positions:  2

Post location: The position is based in ILRI Nairobi, Kenya.

Terms of Appointment

This is a Nationally Recruited Staff (NRS) position based at ILRI’s Nairobi campus. It is open to Kenyan nationals only. The position is on a 6 Months fixed term.

 Job Level

This position is job level 2B, ILRI offers a competitive salary and benefits package which includes; pension, medical and other insurances for ILRI’s Nationally Recruited Staff.

 How to apply: Applicants should send 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 candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience to the Director, People and Organizational Development. The position title and reference number REF: ICT/CS/02/2016 should be clearly marked on the subject line of the cover letter.

All applications to be submitted online on our recruitment portal: http://ilri.simplicant.com by 12 February 2016.

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 websites 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.

 More ILRI jobs


WLE Synthesis Internship

CRP 5: Program news -

 

WLE is currently seeking an intern to support the synthesis of its Phase 1 (2012-2016) research program.  In preparation for the synthesis, a pre-study was conducted to identify a set of high priority cross-cutting topics for further analysis and synthesis.  The intern will work directly with the Program Director; the Manager of Performance & Evaluation; the Gender Theme Leader; and the Flagship Leaders to review, summarize and synthesize the evidence base, relevant publications and key messages in each of the selected areas.

Illustrative areas of analysis and synthesis include:

  • Land use practices to restore ecosystem services in degraded landscapes.
  • Sustainable and cost-effective options to reduce water related risks to agriculture.
  • Solutions to support equity in natural resources management and agricultural production.

The post is open from 15 April 2016 for a 3-month period, possibly extendable, and will be based in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Read the official advert for more details.

To apply, please send a short letter of motivation and your CV to wle@cgiar.org with the heading “Synthesis Internship” by 1 March 2016.

New RAAIS Toolkit: an Easy Way to Make People Do a Difficult Job!

CRP 1.2: news -

This was how a RAAIS (Rapid Appraisal of Agricultural Innovation Systems) workshop participant in Nigeria described his experience. It reflects the objective that we had in mind when developing RAAIS. We wanted to develop a simple, participatory, diagnostic tool for integrated systems analysis of agricultural problems. RAAIS facilitates the analysis of: Interactions between different dimensions, […]

New RAAIS Toolkit: an Easy Way to Make People Do a Difficult Job!

CRP1.2Program news -

This was how a RAAIS (Rapid Appraisal of Agricultural Innovation Systems) workshop participant in Nigeria described his experience. It reflects the objective that we had in mind when developing RAAIS. We wanted to develop a simple, participatory, diagnostic tool for integrated systems analysis of agricultural problems. RAAIS facilitates the analysis of: Interactions between different dimensions, […]

WLE Analysis Internship

CRP 5: Program news -

WLE is currently seeking an intern to support its Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning functions. The primary task for the individual will be to work on data management, extraction and reporting. The intern will work directly with the Performance & Evaluation Manager, the Gender Core Theme Leader, members of the Operations Team and Flagship Leaders on the WLE Annual Report, Annual 2015 and 2016 mid-year Scorecard, and the WLE Phase II proposal submission, in addition to providing support for the M&E Manager and WLE Operations team with further development of the Planning and Reporting system and other emerging tasks.

The post is open from 15 February 2016 for a 6-month period, possibly extendable, and would be based in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Read the official advert for more details.

To apply, please send a short letter of motivation and your CV to wle@cgiar.org with the heading “Reporting Internship” by 18 February 2016.

IITA seminar on golden bananas for Africa

Latest ILRI announcements -

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is pleased to announce a Seminar by Prof. James Dale from Centre for Tropical Crops and Bio commodities, Queensland University of Technology|Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

D/Prof James Dale, AO FTSE

Bsc Agr (Hons), PhD Syd

Distinguished Professor James Dale is the founder of the Centre for Tropical Crops and Bio commodities (CTCB) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) which incorporates Tropical Crop Biotechnology, and Sugar Bioprocessing. Prof Dale has been involved in biotechnology research for more than 30 years with specific interests in (i) the biofortification of bananas, (ii) molecular farming for high value medical proteins, including vaccines, in tobacco and bioethanol from sugarcane, and (iii) the development of disease resistance in genetically modified bananas, papaya and sugarcane. He has also led research and development programs in Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, India, Tonga, Fiji, PNG and, in Africa, Uganda, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania. Prof Dale has published more than 90 research papers, reviews and book chapters. He an inventor on 9 granted patents or patent applications. Prof Dale is leading two major international projects funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop biofortified and disease resistant bananas for East Africa. The biofortification project was further expanded on 2012 into India through a collaboration with BIRAC. In 2004, Prof Dale was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) for services to agricultural biotechnology. He was the founder of Farmacule Bioindustries which later merger with Aquacarotene to become the ASX listed Leaf Energy (ASX:LER). He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and, in 2015, was made a “Queensland Great”.

Topic: “Golden bananas for Africa”

Date: Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Location: Room 720, ILRI – Nairobi, Kenya

Time : 2:00pm- 300pm

 

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