Feed aggregator

Land use and land cover dynamics in Dendi-Jeldu hilly-mountainous areas in the central Ethiopian highlands

Our latest outputs -

Land use and land cover dynamics in Dendi-Jeldu hilly-mountainous areas in the central Ethiopian highlands Minta, M.; Kibret, K.; Thorne, P.J.; Nigussie, T.; Nigatu, L. The central Ethiopian highlands where most human and livestock populations concentrated have experienced a drastic change in land use and land cover (LULC) of the landscapes. This study was aimed to define the rate and pattern of LULC changes in Dendi-Jeldu hilly-mountainous areas in the central Ethiopia. Aerial photographs of years 1957 and 1995, and Landsat images taken at 1995 and 2014 were used to analyze the historical land use and land cover (LULC) changes. The study covered an area of about 438 km2. The analysis extracted from these remote sensing data revealed that, in 1957, the dominant LULCs were pastureland, cultivated land (cropland) and forestland covering 49, 25 and 20% of the total area, respectively. Remarkable LULC change dominated by cultivated land expansion (now covering 68% of the total area), however, claimed vast areas under pastureland (main), forestland and woodland. Deforestation in particular, would have been greater if Chilimo forest (remnant afro-montane forest) was not under state control. Plantation forestry exclusively dominated by eucalyptus species also showed substantial expansion into pastureland in the period between 1957 and 1995, and cultivated land between 1995 and 2014. In the period 1957 to 2014 cultivated land, plantation land and settlement were increased by 170%, 13,674% and 172% respectively, while pastureland, forestland and woodland declined by 67%, 73% and 100%, respectively. Change from natural habitat (pastureland, forestland and woodland) to other land uses (cultivated, plantation and settlement lands) is likely to have a large impact on biodiversity, land degradation and beyond.

Conversion of natural forest results in a significant degradation of soil hydraulic properties in the highlands of Kenya

Our latest outputs -

Conversion of natural forest results in a significant degradation of soil hydraulic properties in the highlands of Kenya Owuor, S.O.; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus; Guzha, A.C.; Jacobs, S.; Merbold, Lutz; Rufino, M.C.; Pelster, David; Díaz-Pinés, E.; Breuer, L. Land use change, especially conversion of native forests can have large impacts on water resources. Large scale conversion of native forests to agricultural land has occurred in the last few decades in the Mau Forest region. To quantify and understand landscape hydrologic responses, this study aimed at evaluating the effects of land use on soil infiltration, saturated hydraulic conductivity, bulk density, sorptivity, and soil moisture retention. A total of 136 plots representing five different land uses (native forest: n = 39, forest plantations: n = 14, tea plantations: n = 24, croplands: n = 23 and pasture: n = 36) were sampled in three catchments with similar parental material in the Mau Forest region, Western Kenya. Native forest topsoils (0–5 cm) had a bulk density of 1.0 ± 0.2 g cm−3 which was similar to values found for topsoils of forest plantations (1.1 ± 0.2 g cm−3), but significantly lower than topsoils from croplands (1.4 ± 0.2 g cm−3), tea plantation (1.3 ± 0.3 g cm−3) and pastures (1.4 ± 0.2 g cm−3). Similarly, soil infiltration rates were higher in native forest (76.1 ± 50 cm h−1) and in forest plantation (60.2 ± 47.9 cm h−1) than in croplands (40.5 ± 21.5 cm h‐1), tea plantations (43.3 ± 29.2 cm h−1) and pastures (13.8 ± 14.6 cm h−1). Native forest had the highest topsoil organic carbon contents (8.11 ± 2.42%) and field capacity (0.62 ±0.12 cm3 cm−3), while the highest permanent wilting point was recorded for pasture soils (mean of 0.41 ± 0.06 cm cm−3). The highest plant available water capacity was recorded for soils in native forest (mean of 0.27 ± 0.14 cm cm−3). Our study indicates that land use changes result in a significant degradation of soil hydraulic properties, which has likely resulted in changes of the regional water balance. Given the magnitude in which managed land use types have changed infiltration rates in our study area, we conclude that changes in land use types occurring in our study region in the last decades have already affected the hydrological regime of the landscapes and the compositions of flow components. The reduction in infiltration and hydraulic conductivity could result in increased surface run-off, erosion and frequency of flooding events.

Climate smart agriculture, farm household typologies and food security An ex-ante assessment from Eastern India

Our latest outputs -

Climate smart agriculture, farm household typologies and food security An ex-ante assessment from Eastern India Lopez-Ridaura, Santiago; Frelat, Romain; Van Wijk, Mark T.; Valbuena, Diego; Krupnik, Timothy J.; Jate, M.L. One of the great challenges in agricultural development and sustainable intensification is the assurance of social equity in food security oriented interventions. Development practitioners, researchers, and policy makers alike could benefit from prior insight into what interventions or environmental shocks might differentially affect farmers' food security status, in order to move towards more informed and equitable development. We examined the food security status and livelihood activities of 269 smallholder farm households (HHs) in Bihar, India. Proceeding with a four-step analysis, we first applied a multivariate statistical methodology to differentiate five primary farming system types. We next applied an indicator of food security in the form of HH potential food availability (PFA), and examined the contribution of crop, livestock, and on- and off-farm income generation to PFA within each farm HH type. Lastly, we applied scenario analysis to examine the potential impact of the adoption of ‘climate smart’ agricultural (CSA) practices in the form of conservation agriculture (CA) and improved livestock husbandry, and environmental shocks on HH PFA. Our results indicate that compared to livestock interventions, CA may hold considerable potential to boost HH PFA, though primarily for wealthier and medium-scale cereal farmers. These farm HH types were however considerably more vulnerable to food insecurity risks resulting from simulated drought, while part-time farmers and resource-poor agricultural laborers generating income from off-farm pursuits were comparatively less vulnerable, due in part to their more diversified income sources and potential to migrate in search of work. Our results underscore the importance of prior planning for development initiatives aimed at increasing smallholder food security while maintaining social equity, while providing a robust methodology to vet the implications of agricultural interventions on an ex ante basis.

Staphylococcus aureus—A foodborne pathogen: Epidemiology, detection, characterization, prevention, and control: An overview

Our latest outputs -

Staphylococcus aureus—A foodborne pathogen: Epidemiology, detection, characterization, prevention, and control: An overview Grace, Delia; Fetsch, A. The genus Staphylococcus currently comprises more than 50 species. These small, hardy bacteria are normal inhabitants of the skin and mucous membrane in many animal species including humans; they are also ubiquitous in the environment. However, Staphylococcus aureus is also an important pathogen of humans and animals. It is a common cause of skin infections and foodborne disease in people, as well as sepsis in hospitals and nurseries. It is also an important cause of mastitis in dairy animals and of bone and joint lesions in poultry (bumblefoot) as well as an occasional cause of skin infections in livestock. Companion animals, such as dogs, cats, and horses, may play a role in S. aureus transmission; they are also vulnerable to S. aureus infections (Bierowiec et al., 2016). This chapter aims to provide a brief introduction of the versatile bacterial organism S. aureus, with special focus on its role as foodborne pathogen both, from the perspective of the industrialized and the developing word. Moreover, this chapter briefly outlines the content of the whole book.

Identification of production challenges and benefits using value chain mapping of egg food systems in Nairobi, Kenya

Our latest outputs -

Identification of production challenges and benefits using value chain mapping of egg food systems in Nairobi, Kenya Onono, J.O.; Alarcon, P.; Karani, M.; Muinde, P.; Akoko, J.M.; Carron, M.; Fèvre, E.M.; Häsler, B.; Rushton, J. Commercial layer and indigenous chicken farming in Nairobi and associated activities in the egg value chains are a source of livelihood for urban families. A value chain mapping framework was used to describe types of inputs and outputs from chicken farms, challenges faced by producers and their disease control strategies. Commercial layer farms were defined as farms keeping exotic breeds of chicken, whereas indigenous chicken farms kept different cross breeds of indigenous chicken. Four focus group discussions were held with producers of these chickens in peri-urban area: Dagoretti, and one informal settlement: Kibera. Qualitative data were collected on interactions between farmers, sources of farm inputs and buyers of poultry products, simple ranking of production challenges, farmers' perception on diseases affecting chicken and strategies for management of sick chicken and waste products. Value chain profiles were drawn showing sources of inputs and channels for distribution of chicken products. Production challenges and chicken disease management strategies were presented as qualitative summaries. Commercial layer farms in Dagoretti kept an average of 250 chickens (range 50–500); while flock sizes in Kibera were 12 chickens (range 5–20). Farms keeping indigenous chicken had an average of 23 chickens (range 8–40) in Dagoretti, and 10 chickens (range 5–16) in Kibera. Commercial layer farms in Dagoretti obtained chicks from distributors of commercial hatcheries, but farms in Kibera obtained chicks from hawkers who in turn sourced them from distributors of commercial hatcheries. Indigenous chicken farms from Dagoretti relied on natural hatching of fertilised eggs, but indigenous chicken farms in Kibera obtained chicks from their social connection with communities living in rural areas. Outlets for eggs from commercial layer farms included local shops, brokers, restaurants and hawkers, while eggs from indigenous chicken farms were sold to neighbours and restaurants. Sieved chicken manure from Dagoretti area was fed to dairy cattle; whereas non-sieved manure was used as fertilizer on crops. Production challenges included poor feed quality, lack of space for expansion, insecurity, occurrence of diseases and lack of sources of information on chicken management. In Kibera, sick and dead chickens were slaughtered and consumed by households; this practice was not reported in Dagoretti. The chicken layer systems contribute to food security of urban households, yet they have vulnerabilities and deficiencies with regard to disease management and food safety that need to be addressed with support on research and extension.

Ethiopian Highlanders unleash traditional practices on a modern land scourge

CRP 5: Program news -

Woman farmer holds onto lambs in the Ethiopian Highlands.

In just a couple of weeks, farmers in the Ethiopian Highlands will have finished their harvest. In January, they will then embark on what could be dubbed ‘the restoration season’. Because the harvest is over, farmers are relatively free during the next few months, which makes it a perfect time for restoring the unique landscapes they depend on for food and income.

Scientists and government officials are collaborating with communities to test out new approaches to reversing land degradation—methods that might have potential to change the status of the entire highlands region from vastly degraded to successfully restored.

Small successes show big potential for Ethiopian Highlands

Land degradation is a pervasive problem in the Ethiopian Highlands. In Amhara Regional State alone, 5.8 million hectares are considered degraded, and it is estimated that well over 300,000 hectares are affected by gullies.

Ethiopia land degradation dash

Gullies are deep and muddy ravines that eat their way through cropland and communal grazing pastures, encroaching on people’s livelihoods. They are caused in part by geophysical factors, such as erratic and severe rainfall, but also by unsustainable overuse by communities and their livestock. It has been estimated that gully erosion account for almost a third of total soil loss in Tigray Regional State, just north of Amhara state.

“We’ve found that the key to stopping gullies from spreading is to take action early, while they are still small,” explains Wolde Mekuria, a land resources management researcher with the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). “If action is taken early, communities themselves can halt gully advancement using materials that they already have on hand—all they have to provide is their labor.”

Scientists from WLE, led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), are collaborating with officials from the Bureau of Agriculture to pilot this new approach to reclaiming gullies.

Woman farmer holds onto lambs in the Ethiopian Highlands. Farmers are treating a gully by filling the gully head with stones.Farmers are treating a gully by filling the gully head with stones.Desalegne Tadesse/IWMI. Woman farmer holds onto lambs in the Ethiopian Highlands.

The pilots have proved that filling the ‘gully heads’ (the uppermost end of the ravines) with stones and enforcing the gully banks by planting fast-growing grasses or fruit trees can successfully halt gully development. This method is up to thirteen times cheaper than the technologies required if a gully is allowed to grow wide and deep.

“The extent of the gully problem is immense, and this has proved to be a fast, cheap and effective way to treat them,” says Gedefaw Beyene, a soil and water conservation expert with the Bureau of Agriculture. “Because we’ve seen unanimously positive results in the pilot sites, we’ve already expanded this approach to two other places in Amhara state—Gomit watershed and Dembiya district—and we plan to use it in several more locations during the next few months.”

Woman farmer holds onto lambs in the Ethiopian Highlands. Vegetation is returning to a previously treated gully.Vegetation is returning to a previously treated gully.Desalegne Tadesse/IWMI. Woman farmer holds onto lambs in the Ethiopian Highlands. Scientists deliver blueprints for community-led restoration

Land restoration efforts have been under way in Ethiopia since the 1970s, and today the country is committed to restoring 15 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.

However, while farmers and government officials have made considerable progress in reversing degradation, there is still room for improvement: Some restoration methods have proved to be disproportionately expensive, and some yield no short-term economic benefits, which critically impedes the support from local communities. 

“The support of the community underpins this approach to gully rehabilitation and a lot of other soil and water restoration approaches,” says Mekuria. “Without their contributions and buy-in, these methods are not viable.”

The results of land restoration efforts are rarely immediate, which poses a conundrum to local communities. They have to give up time and labor—and in some cases even precious land—for a reward that might only come several years down the line.

Therefore Mekuria and colleagues recommend land restoration approaches that also yield immediate benefits for communities. In the case of gully reclamation, this can be achieved by planting grasses that can be used for livestock fodder on the banks of the gully. This way, the community experiences an immediate gain and can afford to invest in the process.

Another approach to restoring degraded land is to establish ‘exclosures’ by temporarily giving designated communal land areas a break from people and livestock. This allows soil and vegetation to recover, but it also robs communities of benefits, such as being able to use the land for livestock grazing.

Excloures dash

Woman farmer holds onto lambs in the Ethiopian Highlands.

To solve this, Mekuria and colleagues have piloted a number of exclosure management options that replace lost opportunities with new ones—such as beekeeping, which can generate additional income. The next step is to develop business models for such management options, making them easier to put into use.

Woman farmer holds onto lambs in the Ethiopian Highlands. Landless youth practice beekeeping near an exclosure area in Gomit watershed.Landless youth practice beekeeping near an exclosure area in Gomit watershed.Desalegne Tadesse/IWMI. Woman farmer holds onto lambs in the Ethiopian Highlands.

“We know that reversing land degradation has been a top priority for the Bureau of Agriculture for a long time,” says Mekuria. “Therefore we focus on providing them with science-based tools and blueprints that can help make land restoration efforts more effective, for example by ensuring that communities have good reasons to participate.”

Treating the whole landscape to achieve wide-ranging benefits

Gullies have proliferated in the highlands as the growing population farm the land and let livestock graze freely. But, soil and water conservation structures themselves can actually also initiate gully formation, a correlation that receives too little attention.

Mekuria: “Gullies typically form in the lower parts of a watershed, and they can be made worse by for example ditches dug higher up on the hills to increase water infiltration and prevent soil erosion.”

In the past, reducing soil erosion on the upper, steeper slopes has been a main priority, while gullies were mostly ignored. Ditches and other physical structures have been put in place to reduce rainwater runoff on the steeper slopes. But, because these interventions are successful in increasing rainwater infiltration—doing what they are supposed to—the soil at the bottom of the hill becomes overly saturated. Oversaturation increases the risk of gullies, and in some areas the success of upstream interventions is ironically becoming the main cause of gully formation.

Woman farmer holds onto lambs in the Ethiopian Highlands. An untreated gully cuts through the landscape.An untreated gully cuts through the landscape.Desalegne Tadesse/IWMI. Woman farmer holds onto lambs in the Ethiopian Highlands.

This highlights the need for integrated approaches to landscape restoration—no single part can be treated in isolation. Recognizing that the whole landscape is connected, Mekuria and colleagues are sharing their tools and insights with stakeholders beyond the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Other key players include the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, which both have an interest because successful land restoration efforts have positive effects on land and water productivity and contribute to climate change mitigation.

It is estimated that the annual cost of land degradation in Ethiopia is about US$4.3 billion—that’s almost 6 percent of the country’s GDP. On the other hand, the cost of reversing or mitigating land degradation, including establishing exclosures or reclaiming gullies, is much lower than the cost of inaction. In fact, every dollar spent on rehabilitating degraded lands returns about US$4.4 over a 30-year horizon.

Before long, highland farmers will be out on the slopes working in tandem with government official and researchers to realize these long-term gains as well as short-term benefits. While they depend on the land, the future of the landscape also depends on them.

Learn more at the Global Landscapes Forum in Bonn this week. WLE, IWMI and CIAT are organizing a discussing forum on Wednesday, December 20, 16:30-18:00 CET, to explore indicators and scalability of successful land restoration initiatives at the watershed scale. Live stream the event here.

Bridging gaps between science and communication

CRP 7 News -

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security South Asia (CCAFS) recently organized a regional media workshop titled ‘Climate Resilience in South Asian Agriculture and Food Security-Media Perspectives' from 11-13 December in Kathmandu, Nepal. The workshop saw participation from media personnel from India, Nepal and Bangladesh, policymakers, NGO partners and other relevant stakeholders, converging on a forum for direct interaction and mutual dialogue. The workshop included keynote addresses, a panel discussion by the media, individual presenter-media interaction and a field visit to two Climate-Smart Villages (CSVs).

On accomplishments and charting new courses for climate action in South Asia

Day one of the workshop consisted of presentations from the CCAFS team, NGO partners and the government of Nepal to the participating journalists during the first half of the day. Pramod Aggarwal, Regional Program Leader of CCAFS South Asia, inaugurated the presentations with an overarching view of climate change and agriculture in the region, specifically directed towards assessing the options that lie with us in addressing the negative impacts of the phenomena especially on food security.

This was followed by the keynote address delivered by Mr. P. Budathoki, member of the Planning Commission of Nepal, who acquainted the gathering with the latest plans and implementation programs of the government of Nepal with regards to adaptation and mitigation in Nepali agriculture.

A more detailed presentation was made by Arun Khatri-Chhetri, CCAFS South Asia Science Officer, on the Climate-Smart Village approach of promoting climate smart agriculture in various locations across India, Nepal and Bangladesh. The composite idea of a CSV Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D) site was effectively, graphically represented and explained to participating journalists for the latter to have an easier comprehension of what the model entails and how it has been successful in helping farmers adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change on their farms.

Damodar Kanel of World Food Programme spoke to the audience regarding food security monitoring in Nepal with the use of the CCAFS Regional Agricultural Forecasting Toolbox (CRAFT), an open source, flexible crop forecasting platform which has been implemented in Nepal to forecasts yields of wheat and paddy, the results of which has been suggesting strong agreements with of the Ministries so far.

The very crucial element of gender and social inclusion in climate-smart agriculture was put forward by Ms. Lakpa Sherpa, of our local partner, the Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD) who pointed out the gender blindness that is still prevalent with regards to policies and decision-making. She highlighted the collaborative efforts being undertaken by CCAFS and LI-BIRD in crafting knowledge awareness and capacity enhancement training for the Nepalese policymakers regarding gender and social inclusion in climate-smart agricultural policy plans.

The importance of designing climate savvy insurance schemes was taken up by Pramod Aggarwal. With reference to India’s existing crop insurance scheme he indicated what is working and not working with regards to crop insurance, the way forward and potential for South-South learning.

Finally, a discussion ensued on the National Adaptation Plan of Bangladesh with a detailed presentation by Md. Motaleb Sarker of the Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services.

The grass on the other side: learning media perspectives

A fascinating exchange of thoughts on science writing, the challenges and successes were discussed through a panel comprising of journalists from the three countries. The discussion was built around the topic of media as a compelling tool for promoting climate justice and food security.

Ankur Pahliwal, an independent science journalist and guest editor of Business Standard, was the moderator of the event who also launched the discussions on telling stories at the intersection of climate science and society. He laid strong emphasis on the need for scientists and communicators to collaborate together to help generate empirical and informative evidence for general audience to undertake climate action.

From the Indian Express, Sowmiya Ashok, through citing her own personal experience, alluded to the challenges that are often confronted by science writers on dispelling myth from reality with regards to climate reporting.

The interesting concept of communication as aid was elaborated upon by Md.Zahid Hassan of BBC Media Action, Bangladesh, who brought forward for the audience his experience in using audio-visuals as a powerful tool to induce behaviour change in people, helping shape their attitudes and action towards climate change.

Finally, Pitamber Sigdel founder of Nature Khabar, Nepal’s first digital platform dedicated solely to environmental causes, spoke of media’s role in shaping policy action in Nepal for climate change. He put forward the real-politik of media reporting and charted out ways through which media can enhance the quality of reporting and coverage of issues relating to climate impacts and food security.

Learning from the source trip to Climate Smart Villages

Day two of the program involved a trip to Nawalparasi which has eight CSVs. A field trip was organized in two of these CSVs, namely, Rajahar and Agyauli. Journalists were given a thorough on-site presentation of the different climate-smart agriculture interventions in these CSVs such as zero-tillage, nutrient management in wheat, solar based irrigation etc. They could also interact individually with members of the solar irrigators cooperative at Rajahar. A further trip to Agyauli provided the participants with the opportunity to visit a community seed bank and enjoy a presentation by members of the local farming community who form part of the management committee of the seed bank. The field exposure allowed the on-site contextualization of the scientific presentations of the previous day that further enriched the overall experience of the program.

The workshop is being lauded for the efforts to engage the scientific community and media/communication professionals in a direct conversation with each other. It has been unanimously recognized that such initiatives should find replication in the near future to continue the flow of information and establish a symbiotic relationship between two communities who are central to the global climate movement.

For more images on the workshop, please see Flickr

Expanding young researchers’ knowledge on options for reducing agricultural emissions

CRP 7 News -

Climate change caused by the increase of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere is a global concern. Over the years, efforts to tackle climate change have brought together delegates from around the world to discuss how to solve the unprecedented problems with global warming that the world is experiencing. Diplomats, scientists and civil society representatives from around the world convened in Bonn, Germany for the 23rd annual Conference of Parties (COP23) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This year, main topics included agriculture, food security and local knowledge.

In line with the goals of the UNFCCC COP23, the Climate, Food and Farming Network (CLIFF) provided grants to support scientific training of PhD students from developing countries. This is a great opportunity for students from developing countries to excel their knowledge and skills towards low emission agriculture. The 2017 CLIFF workshop was held in Cologne, Germany alongside of COP23 for 11 students from five developing countries (Nepal, Vietnam, India, Colombia and Kenya).

CLIFF students present at workshop

CLIFF students conducted research on reducing GHG emissions from maize, rice and rice-based cropping systems using different water and nutrient management options and from livestock using diet management practices. During the workshop, CLIFF students presented their research work, shared their experiences from scientific training visits and received valuable inputs from fellow grantees and scientists. CLIFF students’ presentations are summarized and linked below.

Bandhu Raj Baral, a PhD scholar from Nepal, attended scientific research training at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in New Delhi, India. He presented on the topic of use of empirical tools or calculators to quantify greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural systems.

Kurku Mamatha, a PhD scholar, gained scientific training at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), India. She presented her research on monitoring greenhouse gas emissions in rice-chickpea cropping systems using high frequency automatic sampling system to give precise data with high frequency. 

Tavseef Mairaj Shah, PhD scholar, received his scientific training at CIMMYT in New Delhi, India. He presented on the system of rice intensification with intercropping and its relevance to increase yield potential and decrease greenhouse gas emissions in Kashmir region. 

Trong Nghia Hoang, from Vietnam, presented his research on impacts of alternate wetting and drying on greenhouse gas emissions from paddy fields in Central Vietnam. He focused on how alternate wetting and drying can be an efficient way to reduce methane emissions from paddy rice.

Phan Huu Thanh, a PhD scholar, attended scientific training at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. He presented his research on how drainage of flooded rice soils influences residue carbon contribution in methane emissions.

Jane Gitonga, MSc student, attended scientific training at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Kenya. She presented her research on greenhouse gas emissions from rice production in two types of soils under two water management regimes in central Kenya.

Joseph Macharia, a PhD scholar from Kenya, presented his work on soil greenhouse gas fluxes from maize production under different management practices in semi-arid parts of eastern Kenya. He received research training at ILRI in Kenya.

Sandra Durango Morales, from Colombia, presented her research work on legume inclusion in cattle feed as a strategy to reduce nitrous oxide emissions in low tropical conditions. She received research training at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in Colombia.

Alejandra Marin, a PhD research scholar from Colombia, attended scientific training at University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). She presented her research on intensification of forage-based systems, improved animal production and feed efficiency, and strategies to mitigate enteric methane emissions from dairy cattle.

Isabel Cristina Molina, PhD research scholar from Colombia, attended scientific training at the Autonomous University of Yucatan in Mexico and CIAT in Colombia. She presented research on the potential of the Enterolobium cyclocarpum pod and legume Gliricida sepium for enteric methane mitigation.

Presentations and learning from experts in low emissions agriculture

In addition to CLIFF students’ presentations, a number of experts delivered presentations. Researcher’s interaction and sharing knowledge was a highlight of the workshop for CLIFF students. Meryl Richards, low emissions development Science officer at CCAFS, facilitated the workshop. Anette Friis, Head of partnerships and outreach for CCAFS, outlined a brief history of the global negotiations on climate change, why COP21 in Paris succeeded, and what to expect at COP23.  

Students learned about the use of the CCAFS Mitigation Options Tool (MOT) & Cool Farm Tool (CFT) to quantify greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture during a virtual presentation given by Tek Sapkota, scientist with CIMMYT. Both tools are farmer-focused, excel-based, freely accessible, and open source.

Rosa Roman Cuesta, scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), presented on global hotspots of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. She emphasized that that the agriculture, forestry and other land use (ALOFU) sector is responsible for approximately 10-12 GtCO2eyr-1 of the anthropogenic GHG emissions (Smith et al. 2014). Her session was interactive; students contributed to the discussion by identifying two countries on each continent and their agricultural greenhouse gas emission sources and mitigation potentials.

Todd Rosenstock, scientist with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) gave a very informative presentation on how to write and publish a fantastic research paper. As many young researchers struggle with this, the presentation was very helpful. “Learning to write takes time and practice, if you want to be a scientist, you have to be a good writer,” Rosenstock said. 

Ngonidzashe Chirinda, scientist at CIAT, virtually presented about “How smart is climate-smart agriculture.” He reviewed the goals of climate-smart agriculture: reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, adapt agriculture to climate change, and sustainably increase productivity. Chirinda described three examples of how he has seen climate-smart agriculture used effectively. He found:

  • The practice of alternate wetting and drying (AWD) in rice systems in Colombia reduced methane emissions. He noted that engaging women was important to increase uptake of AWD by farmers.
  • Using cassava leaves for feed reduces enteric methane emissions from livestock.
  • Engaging farmers not as recipients, but as partners in practicing mitigation options, is effective.

Ciniro Costa Jr., a scientist from IMAFLORA presented on various approaches for determining soil carbon storage rates. Jacobo Arango, scientist from CIAT, presented on quantifying mitigation potential in livestock systems, in particularly the RUMINANT model, noting that sustainable livestock production can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by sparing land from deforestation.  

Bringing knowledge back home

The workshop provided opportunities for students to interact and share ideas, learn from each other, and network with experts. Students increased understanding of climate change mitigation in crop and livestock systems globally. They know now that there are low-cost models and tools to study greenhouse gas emissions (Ruminant, CCAFS-MOT, Cool Farm Tool) that can help their countries achieve climate change mitigation in agriculture.  

The CLIFF grant has provided the students the opportunity to be part of ongoing global research to identify climate change mitigation options for agriculture. The new skills and knowledge they gained from the training received at host research centers and the CLIFF workshop 2017 will inform both their studies and their careers.

CLIFF workshop grantees and experts at annual workshop. Photo: Mamatha Kurku

The call for applications for 2018-2019 CLIFF-GRADS students is open until 31 December 2017.

Making the Case for Dual Nutrition and Climate Adaptation Goals

CRP 4 program news -

New report from the International Fund for Agricultural Development draws on CCAFS and A4NH knowledge. Can rural farming households achieve better nutrition without considering the effects of climate change? Can they adequately adapt to climate change if already affected by malnutrition? How do we incorporate nutrition and climate adaptation into building future food systems that >> Read more

Making the case for dual nutrition and climate adaptation goals

CRP 7 News -

Can rural farming households achieve better nutrition without considering the effects of climate change? Can they adequately adapt to climate change if already affected by malnutrition? How do we incorporate nutrition and climate adaptation into building future food systems that are more sustainable and healthier?

A new report by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with contributions from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) concludes that the answer to both of these questions is no. People in households already struggling under the burdens of malnutrition don’t have the resources to become climate-resilient, while those suffering the negative consequences of climate change are at an increased risk of becoming malnourished in the face of degraded land, increased rainfall variability, and other climate change impacts. With so many already grappling with one or the other of these challenges, to truly have an impact, we must look for solutions that will address them both.

The report, ‘The Nutrition Advantage: Harnessing nutrition co-benefits of climate-resilient agriculture’, highlights the ways in which investments can be made for multiple benefits for livelihoods, agriculture, and nutrition. Through collaboration with CCAFS and A4NH, IFAD began incorporating both climate-resilient and nutrition-sensitive aspects into their projects of the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). This USD 300 million programme provides funding to help smallholder farmers adapt to climate change.

Case studies featured in the report show how working toward two different but related goals can help better achieve each. For example, an IFAD project in Bolivia is helping potato farmers use enhanced indigenous adaptation strategies to cope with reduced rainfall and depleted soils. The resulting improved harvests can help reduce malnutrition among vulnerable communities.

Gender is an excellent example of an area where our joint efforts can complement and benefit each other

CCAFS and A4NH recognize the need for collaboration on climate change and nutrition. We might achieve good results working separately, but we could achieve great results by working more closely together. Gender is an excellent example of an area where our joint efforts can complement and benefit each other, enhancing progress towards achieving gender, nutrition, and climate change goals simultaneously. This is a better deal not only for donors, but also for millions of people worldwide, and  the Gender, Climate Change, and Nutrition Integration Initiative led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is exploring how such integration efforts can be delivered.

Achieving multiple goals simultaneously reflects the needs of the communities we aim to serve. People in rural areas in the countries where we work will never name just one aspect of life they want to improve. Their hopes and aspirations span a broad spectrum: better yields, greater capacity to adapt to climate, healthier and well-nourished children, gender equality, and much more.

President Macron stated at the One Planet summit this week: “We’re not moving quick enough. We all need to act.” The new IFAD report can help our programs and others like us identify ways we can all act and achieve more—together. Let's “Make Our Planet Great Again”.

Download the report: The Nutrition Advantage Harnessing nutrition co-benefits of climate-resilient agriculture

Sustainable climate services? Think contract farming, youth employment, phygitalization of agriculture

CRP 7 News -

Many smallholder producers expressed interest in improved response farming, such as altered sowing and fertilization tactics. 97% of them declared changed practices as a result of the Particpatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) interactions. Several others indicated a propensity for more ambitious shifts, such as increased investment in soybean cultivation as an alternative risk management strategy.

The assessment took place under the PICSA initiative carried out by ADRA, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) and Oxfam.   

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Meanwhile, 2,000 km further west in Dakar, the project Capacitating African Smallholders with Climate Advisories and Insurance Development (CASCAID) partners were weighing options to intelligently reduce the fragmentation of research on climate services in a context of declining public funds. CASCAID, a CCAFS implemented project, concurrently with PICSA, holds activities on improved yield forecasting, index insurance, advisory dissemination through IT platforms and rural radios, capacitation of national meteorological services, Enhancing National Climate Services initiative (ENACTS), the CCAFS Regional Agricultural Forecasting Tool (CRAFT), assimilation of Earth Observation data, and more in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, and Senegal.

These two seemingly unrelated developments converged dramatically in November 2017 with the pilot enrollment of thousands of Ghanaian soybean and sorghum farms into agCelerantTM, the phygital value chain orchestration platform deployed by MANOBI to safely connect smallholder producers to agro-industrial processors, service industries, and distant consumer markets. Farmers’ endorsement of soybean, a promising cash crop of dubious superiority for climate risk management nonetheless bears testimony to PICSA’s holistic advantage, which captured farmers’ opportunistic preference for enhanced income in a dynamic context where only one-third of the 150,000+ Mt national demand for soybean is sourced in-country.

Facilitated by specialists from the International Crops Reseach Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) and University of Ghana who trained 18 aspiring agCelerantTM franchisees in the use of fit-for-purpose apps, this incorporation assembled unique, detailed information on umbrella organizations, farmer cooperatives, village contexts, farmer identification and livelihoods, agricultural assets, plot boundaries, management practices, and production infrastructure. After the initial training held in Tamale and neighboring Kpalsugu between 15 and 18 November, selected investigators fanned out to Northern Region’s Kumbungu, Mion, Savelugu, and Tolon districts and to Upper East Region’s Garu-Tempane district to complete the farmers’ enrollment and baseline data collection in a blazing 10 days. Strenuous emphasis was put on data quality, such as accurate plot delineation, which was strictly controlled in near-real time from back-office supervisors in Tamale and Dakar; each investigator’s compensation was performance-based, generating visible enthusiasm in the highest achievers, emulation in the others, and setting an example of how franchised extension services of the future will operate.

Developing inclusive value chains

AgCelerantTM data streams on household livelihoods, plot-level agronomic practices, and recorded yields will not only leverage University of Ghana’s efforts to quantify the climate sensitivity of soybean (missing until now a locally calibrated growth model); they will also catalyze the development of inclusive value chains without which economically viable, self-sustaining smallholder climate services are virtually impossible to establish. Embracing a 360-degree view of the reality of smallholder agricultural production, such service ecosystems cater simultaneously to the needs of farmers and of other value chain stakeholders, for which access to climate information is but one requirement among many. Their more holistic nature allows the distribution of service charges and profits between multiple actors thereby decreasing the unitary cost of individual products.

We need to know more about the situation of growers, their socio-economic conditions, their land, their access to credit, their use of inputs." 

"We need to know more about the situation of growers, their socio-economic conditions, their land, their access to credit, their use of inputs. Without this information it is impossible to organize robust, inclusive value chains in which the cost of climate and other services can be absorbed by the business operations, in lieu of bottom-of-the-pyramid producers," explained Dr. Daniel Annerose, MANOBI’s Chief Executive Officer when introducing the initiative to University of Ghana, the Ghana Agricultural Insurance Program (GAIP) and other national CASCAID partners in Accra on 13 and 14 November. He elaborated further: "today, the phygital combination of mobile platforms, Earth Observation, IoT technologies with locally sourced, human expertise makes it possible to decouple uncontrollable risk (e.g. arising from climatic uncertainty) from suboptimal agronomic practices in ways never before possible. In insurance, for example, this not only allows significant reduction in basis risk and moral hazard, it also makes smallholder indemnity insurance a reality in the short term… with side bonuses called youth employment and emulation of good transactional practice. We know how to accelerate this transition."

AgCelerantTM investigator Mr. M. Wumbei taking the picture of a farmer during enrollment. Photo: A.Nenkam (ICRISAT)

Use of agCelerantTM is being explored with DIAGEO’s Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd. to improve the operational efficiency of its sorghum supply chains, an important goal for this processor aiming to substitute a significant fraction of its barley imports with an estimated annual 25,000 Mt sorghum input. Already used by Senegal’s CNAAS and its authorized agents to manage its portfolio of agricultural insurance products, agCelerantTM also offers an opportunity to rapidly digitalize GAIP’s own operations, currently managed offline using spreadsheet software. The Ghana Meteorological Agency is yet another potential beneficiary of this phygital services ecosystem, for the dissemination of climate advisories generated in its ENACTS maprooms also established thanks to the CASCAID project. MANOBI’s Research & Development Division on Phygital Agriculture undertakes the translation of research innovation into viable smallholder services, under a strategic agreement with ICRISAT triggered in part by CASCAID – a first of the kind between a CGIAR center and the private sector.

Pierre C. Sibiry Traore, CASCAID project leader said: "Developing climate services, or any kind of service for that matter, is not about rushing an extraneous solution (e.g. weather forecast, seed) to meet the putative needs of clients, then it is about building a conducive environment within which the customer will be empowered to make informed decisions. In the rapidly changing context of African smallholder agriculture, this is first and foremost about ensuring smallholders access to the credit, inputs, markets and financial protection without which they will lack the instruments to exploit actionable climate information when it is available. Thus building climate services is first about capacitating users to respond, and then about providing tactical advisories – not the other way around. To achieve impact, research on climate services must adopt a demand-driven paradigm cognizant of the real drivers of agricultural change."

Candidate agCelerantTM franchisees with the trainer (middle), facilitators and Bright S. Freduah of Univ. Ghana. Photo: Mrs. Zenab (ABA G.H.)

A view echoed by local host Dr. Alhassan Abdulai Lansah from Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (CSIR): "this is a laudable initiative; it will safely link farmers to different actors in the value chain for mutual benefit. This is what farmers critically lack today."

For further information, please contact the CASCAID project leader, Pierre Sibiry Traore (ICRISAT), p.s.traore@cgiar.org

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ILRI Consultancy: Establishing the Impact of Nutrition Related Activities (closing date: 19 December 2017)

Jobs -

International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a Consultant to conduct a comprehensive review of the nutrition related results and strategy and make recommendations for future action

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 and country offices and projects in East, South and Southeast Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa. www.ilri.org

Background

The Accelerated Value Chains Development (AVCD) program commenced in October 2015 and is implemented by a consortium of CGIAR centers i.e. the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Areas Tropics (ICRISAT), and the International Potato Center (CIP), under the leadership of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), with financial support from Feed the Future (FtF) of the United State of America International Development (USAID).  AVCD focuses on four value chains: livestock, dairy, staple and root crops. The goal of the FTF-AVCD program is ‘to sustainably reduce poverty and hunger in the Feed the Future Zones of Influence in Kenya’ and the development objectives are ‘Inclusive agricultural sector growth and Improved nutritional status for women and children in the targeted value chains in the Feed the Future zones of influence in Kenya’ targeting a total of 326,000 beneficiaries in 21 counties.

AVCD’s theory of change is based on a two-pronged approach for economic growth, inclusive agricultural growth and improved nutrition for women and children.  The main implementation strategies include: improving access to knowledge tools (technologies and innovations); buying down risk (increasing resilience); improving the nutritional status for the target population; enhancing natural resource management; improving market linkages; re-aligning business regulatory policies; improving access to inputs; strengthening business and financial services; and promoting greater diversification.

The AVCD nutrition impact pathways focus on production, income and women’s empowerment with cross cutting nutrition Social Behavior Change Communication (SBCC) approaches. These SBCC approaches are aimed at influencing dietary practices as well as utilization of health and nutrition services. Appropriate maternal and infant dietary practices measured by dietary diversity scores and improved utilization of maternal and child health and nutrition services are the desired behavioral changes that are expected to improve nutrition outcomes of the beneficiaries.

An internal mid-term review was conducted in May 2017 and made recommendations to re-focus the programme in advance of the final year of implementation. It would be useful at this stage to take stock of the impact of nutrition related activities, and to look strategically at future interventions with a view to increased effectiveness and a focused approach.

Objective of The Assignment

The primary objective of the study is to conduct a comprehensive review of the nutrition related results and strategy and make recommendations for future action. Specific objectives include;

  1. Assessing the progress with the nutrition impact pathways (production, income, women’s empowerment) with reference to the nutrition strategy, objectives and indicators defined by the project document.
  2. Assess the multi-sectoral collaboration including the implementation arrangements, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each sector, and identify major issues that impact on the achievement of project objectives.
  3. Based on the stipulated dietary practices to be changed, establish what has changed and the approach that has been most effective in creating the desired change. The use of proxies to establish this should be taken into consideration.
  4. Assess the different priority nutrition SBCC approaches used by AVCD to improve dietary practices and health/nutrition care of beneficiaries and rank their effectiveness using suitable measurement criteria.
  5. Make recommendations on the most effective nutrition SBCC approaches for improving nutrition amongst the different segment of AVCD’s target population.

Scope of Work

Duties and tasks will include the following:

  • Conduct a review of the activities being undertaken by the value chains aimed at effecting on the nutrition impact pathways
  • Assess the existing nutrition strategy and identify priority areas of engagement, offering recommendations
  • Assess the level of collaboration at national and county levels with the relevant stakeholders in the line sectors including Agriculture, Health, Education and private sector offering recommendations to enhance achievement of program nutrition objectives
  • Check the level of nutrition knowledge and practices amongst government trained trainers and trainees’ community members at household level with reference to the approaches used

Final Products

A final report of the findings and recommendations

Essential Skills and Qualifications Required:

Required qualifications of the team members

  • Advanced degree in Education (pedagogical), Sociology, rural development or related training
  • Over 10 years of experience in monitoring and evaluation with a bias in nutrition in Agriculture
  • Previous experience with agriculture or nutrition implementation in Kenya is a requirement
  • Knowledge of the Kenyan nutrition land scape
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Excellent command of English language

Consultancy Fee: Lump sum

Post location: Home based

Duration: 6 weeks (December 2017 to February 2018)

How to apply:

Applicants should send a cover letter and CV expressing 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 through our recruitment portal http://ilri.simplicant.com/ on or before 19 December 2017.. The position title and reference number REF: C/AVCD/2017 should be clearly marked on the subject line of the cover letter.

We thank all applicants for their interest in working for ILRI. Due to the volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

ILRI does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing or training). ILRI also does not concern itself with information on applicants’ bank accounts.

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.


Cash or food transfers combined with behavior change communication reduce intimate partner violence: evidence from Bangladesh

CRP 2: program news -

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is widespread globally, with estimates showing that nearly 1 in 3 adult women worldwide have experienced some form of IPV. South Asia has among the highest regional rates in the world, with 41 percent prevalence of IPV. In Bangladesh, one survey found that 72.6 percent of married women reported experiencing violence at the hands of their husbands, and another showed that 74 percent of men reported inflicting violence on their wives.

Event: Investing in Research – New Evidence Showing How a Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture Program Improves Children’s Nutritional Status

CRP 4 program news -

Nutrition-sensitive agriculture programs can improve nutrition outcomes for young children, however documentation of the extent of their effectiveness has been limited. On Tuesday, December 12, IFPRI, Helen Keller International (HKI), and A4NH will host a policy seminar to discuss recent evidence from Burkina Faso. This evidence, published by IFPRI and HKI, demonstrated the effectiveness of HKI’s >> Read more

ILRI Vacancy: Research Officer – Socio-economist – Internal Advert (Closing date: 15 December 2017

Jobs -

The Position: The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) ILRI seeks to recruit a Research Officer Socio-Economist to join the African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) team so as to provide technical support to ILRI’s ACGG team. S/he will be responsible for supporting staff and graduate students with high-quality research to move ACGG activities forward. Additionally, this position will play a significant role in the training and organizing of country ACGG teams in Tanzania, Nigeria, and 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.

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 (Mali, Mozambique and Nigeria) and in South Asia (India and Sri Lanka), Southeast Asia (Laos, Thailand and Vietnam) and East Asia (China). www.ilri.org.

Main duties & responsibilities:

  • Leads and/or collaborates in all socio-economic survey of ACGG including preparation of survey instruments, training of enumerators, data analysis and compilation of reports;
  • Coordinates the proper management of data, including proper storage, cleaning and preliminary analysis during and after the survey;
  • Provides technical support in socio-economics and gender to the country teams;
  • Conducts regular field visits to supervise data collection and follows-up with partners in Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia institutions
  • Manages all activities including organizing and hosting workshops, presentations, field trips and meetings with and for relevant stakeholders and project partner;
  • Conducts collection and analysis of secondary data relevant for social, economic and policy research;
  • Conducts econometric analysis of data using STATA or other standard statistical software;
  • Conducts literature reviews and assists in preparing strategy documents, research reports and policy briefs to strengthen research and development;
  • Compiles, summarizes, documents and publishes research data in to reports, briefs, journal articles, periodicals, discussion papers, magazines and newsletters;
  • Participates in the development of communication materials to enhance the impact of strategic social, economic and policy research in Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia;
  • Compiles regular reports from data summaries, workshop and trip reports, and project briefs
  • Builds the capacity of partners in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Nigeria
  • Establishes and maintains contacts with collaborating organizations and partners;
  • Other duties that may be assigned by supervisor.

Education:

  • BSc degree or MSc in Agricultural Applied Economics or related fields from a recognized university

Skills:

  • Practical experience of field surveys in sub-Saharan Africa and analysis of farm household and producer level survey data
  • Practical training and experience of facilitation training in different workshops
  • Strong quantitative skills in econometrics and agricultural research,
  • Good understanding of the poultry sector, markets, value chains and agricultural in the sub-Saharan African countries
  • Ability to prioritize and organize work efficiently and independently,
  • Fluency in written and spoken English,
  • Punctuality, intellectual curiosity, willingness to take initiative, multi-tasking, and willingness to work under pressure to meet deadlines;
  • Excellent skills in using STATA, SPSS and/or any other standard econometric software,
  • Good computer literacy with Microsoft Office applications, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint and/or Access.

Experience:

  • At least 5 years’ experience in agricultural research for BSc degree or 3 years for MSc degree.
  • Field experience in socioeconomic, poultry research and/or development activities in in Sub-Saharan African countries;
  • Familiarity with the activities of ACGG project.

Duty Station: Addis Ababa.

Job level: 3A.

Monthly Base Salary: Birr 30,863 (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: RO/46/17 should be clearly indicated in the subject line of the cover letters. All applications to be submitted online on our recruitment portal: http://ilri.simplicant.com on or before 15 December 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.

More ILRI jobs

Subscribe by email to ILRI jobs alert


IFPRI Vacancy: Research Officer (Closing date: 22 December 2017)

Jobs -

The position: The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) seeks to hire a Research Officer to support IFPRI researchers, continental and regional organizations and other partners in developing policy solutions and using them for communication and advocacy for food and nutrition security, poverty reduction and improved livelihoods for the people of eastern and southern Africa; contributing to research design and empirical analysis of primary and secondary data in IFPRI’s research areas: ensuring sustainable food production; promoting healthy food systems; improving markets and trade; transforming agriculture; building resilience; and strengthening institutions and governance.

General: IFPRI is one of the international agricultural research institutes organized under the CGIAR Consortium. The mandate of IFPRI is to identify and analyze alternative national and international strategies and policies for meeting world food needs in ways that conserve the natural resource base, with emphasis on low income and on the poorer groups in the countries. With a vision for a world free of hunger and malnutrition, IFPRI’s mission is to provide sustainable solutions for ending hunger and reducing poverty.

Main duties & responsibilities:

Facilitation of Research Activities

  • Writing literature review, research reports, and advocacy notes;
  • Collecting and analyzing primary and secondary data using descriptive and advanced multivariate analytical methods;
  • Drafting, editing and/transcribing reports, manuscripts, proposals and other documents;
  • Writing concept notes and funding proposals;
  • Organizing seminars, workshops and other learning events;
  • Assist in the preparation of reports and presentations, ensure timely and accurate dissemination of research findings to the relevant government authorities and donor agency;
  • Assure that reports and other deliverables are submitted as required;
  • Communicate research findings to external audiences as appropriate;
  • Respond to requests for information about research projects, lead the knowledge management practices and real-time, applied and collaborative learning processes;
  • Any other responsibilities that will be assigned by supervisor and or/management;

Minimum Requirements: 

Education:
  • At least BSc degree or Masters’ degree in Agricultural Economics, Economics or related field.

Experience:

  • Minimum of five years for BSc degree or three years of relevant work experience for experience for MSc degree.

Skills:

  • Proficiency in using statistical packages like STATA, SPSS and SAS. In our working environment, Stata is most commonly used.
  • Excellent quantitative analytical skills
  • Thorough knowledge of word processing, spreadsheet, graphics and data management
  • Excellent knowledge of both written and spoken English
  • Familiarity with continental and regional organization such as African Union and regional economic communities

Behavioural Competencies:

  • Honest, above reproach and appropriate in actions / behavior and transparent in conduct.
  • Result Oriented/ Focused: Ability to consistently meet set goals. Focused and goal oriented
  • Ability to direct others to perform set duties (where relevant).
  • Application of ethics, principles, standards and expertise in all areas of work.
  • Working and relating with others in mutual support and respect towards common goals and shared vision. Build and nurtures strong and authentic reciprocal relationships. Non-domineering or patronizing attitude and /or behavior.
  • An ability to work effectively, respectfully and inclusively with people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives is critical for all staff members.
  • Ability to express oneself, share and exchange information clearly and in a timely style.
  • Ability to generate new ideas and ways of working to continuously improve existing work processes, practices, concepts.                            

Duty Station: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 

 

Job level:   3A.

Monthly Base Salary: Birr 30,863 (Negotiable depending on experience, skill and salary history of the candidate)

Terms of appointment: This is a Nationally Recruited Staff (NRS) position and the appointment is for three years. 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.

The ILRI campus is set in a secure, attractive campus in Addis Ababa. Dining and sports facilities are located on site

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: RO/45/17 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 22 December 2017.

To find out more about ILRI visit our website at http://www.ifpri.org

Suitably qualified women are particularly encouraged to apply.

More ILRI jobs

 

Subscribe by email to ILRI jobs alert


The view from Iain’s office–November 2017

Latest ILRI announcements -

Leadership for Agriculture Forum

On 28 November I attended the Leadership for Agriculture Forum at the headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. The forum was established a few years ago to bring together leaders —policymakers, technical experts, private sector actors and community champions from the public and private sectors in agriculture in Africa to tackle the obstacles to Africa’s agriculture transformation. In particular, it involves ministers of finance and agriculture. The event was organized in collaboration with the Initiative for Global Development, Grow Africa and the Rockefeller Foundation. I used the opportunity to remind the participants of the importance of the livestock sector in the economic development of the continent— livestock accounts for, on average, 40% of agricultural GDP, provides employment for millions of people and supplies vital nutrients, especially critical in the first ‘1,000 days’ of life. More information about the forum can be found here.

Stunting and how to reduce it

I found an interesting report from the World Bank on ‘The economic costs of stunting and how to reduce them.’ As the authors state, ‘the undernourishment and disease that cause stunting impair brain development, leading to lower cognitive and socioemotional skills, lower levels of educational attainment, and hence lower incomes. Health problems in terms of non-communicable diseases are more likely in later life, leading to increased health care costs’. They go on to estimate that Africa and South Asia are losing around 9-10% of GDP per capita due to stunting. If we couple this statement with the growing evidence that animal-source foods are critical to prevent stunting (a recent study showed a 47% reduction in stunting when children were given one egg per day) we can conclude that without livestock, developing countries will not be able to achieve their economic potential. And this does not even consider the direct economic value of the livestock sector. Surely a powerful argument for investment in livestock.

Migration and livestock

There were 247 million migrants across the world in 2015 – a three-fold increase from 50 years earlier. Migration is now recognized as one of the big economic and political challenges on the early 21st century. A growing population of young people sees limited opportunity in many areas, especially in rural settings, and so we are witnessing large demographic changes. People are moving from rural to urban areas in search of employment, large numbers are being displaced by conflict, whole families are risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean Sea to seek a better live in Europe. This unprecedented movement of people is placing all sorts of pressures on the towns, cities and countries to which they are moving.

I attended a meeting on 20 November organized by the African Migration and Development Policy Centre (AMADPOC)  who have been working on a project funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) that is looking at ‘The root causes of migration and enhancing the resilience of rural communities’ in Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. We are starting to consider how ILRI’s research might contribute to reducing the need for migration and how the livestock sector could be leveraged to provide greater economic opportunities, employment and livelihoods, especially for young people, not only in livestock keeping but all along the livestock value chains. I have invited the research director of AMADPOC to visit ILRI early next year to explore how we might work together. Of course, not all migration is unwelcome. Migration provides new opportunities for people and movement of people stimulates innovation and economic growth—the political challenge is how to achieve a balance of the positive and negative effects.

President of Ghana’s speech

Finally, I would encourage you to listen to a speech given by President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana during a visit to Ghana by President Macron of France a few days ago. He describes the Africa that I want my eight-week old Kenyan-British twins to grow up in. I hope the political leaders of the continent were listening.

Till next month.

Iain

Award-winning paper establishes links between women’s empowerment and crop seed improvement and governance in pre-war Syria

Spotlight from ILRI news -

On 5 Dec 2017 Alessandra Galiè (centre) received the Elsevier Atlas award for publishing a research paper with outstanding potential for impacting people’s lives. She stands here with Elsevier associate publisher Virginia Prada López and Wageningen crop systems professor Paul Struik, one of Galiè’s co-authors and PhD supervisors (photo credit: CGIAR).

Alessandra Galiè, a social scientist specializing in gender issues in agricultural research who now works in Nairobi, Kenya, at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), conducted her doctoral research in Aleppo, Syria, at ILRI’s sister CGIAR institution, the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). This week Galiè received a prestigious award for an academic paper she published documenting how ICARDA’s participatory barley breeding program in pre-war Syria impacted women’s empowerment. Galiè wrote the paper with her PhD supervisors Janice Jiggins and Paul C. Struik, both at Wageningen University & Research, in the Netherlands; and Stefania Grando and Salvatore Ceccarelli, in Syria.

Each month an external advisory board selects a single Atlas article from research published in more than 2,500 journals to recognize research that could significantly impact people’s lives around the world. The Elsevier Atlas Award was presented to Galiè on 6 Dec 2017 during the annual scientific conference of the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research, being held this week (5–8 Dec 2017) at the KIT Royal Tropical Institute, in Amsterdam.

Extracts from the award-winning paper follow.

From the abstract
‘Building on the empirical findings of a six-year study (2006–2011) undertaken in the context of a participatory barley breeding (PBB) programme in pre-war Syria, this paper establishes the links between women’s empowerment, seed improvement through [participatory plant breeding] and seed governance vis-à-vis household food security. The study shows how the programme enhanced the empowerment of the respondent women and how gender-blind seed governance regimes at national and international levels restricted the empowerment of these women ultimately affecting the pillars of food security.’

From the introduction
‘The study explored in depth the process of empowerment as perceived by twelve Syrian women from ten households in three villages as they became involved in the [participatory plant breeding] programme. Changes in empowerment were monitored on the basis of indicators selected in collaboration with the respondent women.’

Syrian girl in a barley field (photo credit: ICARDA/Alessandra Galiè).

From the conceptual framework

Sen (1990) and Kabeer (1999) see empowerment as a process that can enhance the individuals’ capacity of self-determination—that is their capability of living the lives that they have a reason to value.

‘The empowerment discourse has focused on empowerment as an individual process (see, Eyben and Napier-Moore, 2009), as relational process with changes in power relations (Drydyk, 2013) or as changes in structures or institutions of power (Tsikata and Darkwah, 2014; Kilby, 2006). Kabeer (2012) emphasises that women’s empowerment must entail both institutional and individual change, that is: change in women’s consciousness, in their self-perception and in their relationship with others; change in the norms, conventions and legislation that regulate women’s rights, circumstances and their ability to make choices.’

[This study] adopts three principles of self-determination identified by Santarius and Sachs (2007): ‘recognition’, ‘distribution of resources’, and ‘access to opportunities’.

From the results and discussion

The findings show that irrespective of the gender of the respondent ‘men are considered to be the farmers and to have farming knowledge’, and ‘farming is man’s work’.

‘The respondent women were generally under-valued as farmers by both men and women, at the household and community levels. At the same time the findings reveal more nuanced gender performances between idealised and actual gender roles. The latter were susceptible to changes in daily life, based on household needs and circumstances, idealised gender identities as well as social status considerations. Young women worked as daily labourers both on and off farm; a young woman from Ajaz managed the family farm (i.e., she worked the land, sourced the inputs, sold the produce, and took decisions about the farm management) because her men folk were either too old or abroad. Deviance from behaviours considered appropriate for women was often publicly denied but practically accepted when performed with due respect to the consensus norms. This was the case of the abovementioned young woman from Ajaz who maintained that her farm was managed by her men folk. Similarly, an old woman from Souran attributed the farm management to her sons only when they were present in the room or other men were listening to our discussion. Otherwise, she stated that in her family she was the most knowledgeable about farming and was therefore in charge of it—as she demonstrated on various occasions during this fieldwork. . . .

‘The findings, therefore, show that the potential of [participatory plant breeding] in supplying varieties responding to the needs of both women and men farmers were undermined by the lack of both a release system for varieties selected by farmers in Syria and of a gender-sensitive international legislation protecting farmers’ rights to varieties.

This evidence highlights also how customary rules, coupled with a lack of gender-equal national legislation, can hinder women’s capability to assert their role and knowledge in farming, and to claim new spaces in revenue-generating and decision-making activities such as the sale of barley and variety selection through [participatory plant breeding].

‘The findings showed that a gender-sensitive [participatory plant breeding] provided the participating women farmers with opportunities for empowerment by increasing their recognition of women as farmers, enhancing their contribution to the household economy, supporting their access to information and relevant seed, and impacting on their decision making in agriculture (Galiè, 2013a). . . .

ILRI gender scientist Alessandra Galiè participating in ILRI’s Institutional Planning Meeting in 2016 (photo credit: ILRI/Apollo Habtamu).

‘The study further shows how, by accessing new public spaces and information, and open discussion of women’s roles in farming and [participatory plant breeding], new understanding of empowerment and self-determination arose, that in some cases led to a questioning of traditional gender models.

. . . [G]iven the limited set of life opportunities that the respondents perceived for themselves, it is argued [that this study’s] participatory nature, its activities targeted to empower women, and gender-sensitive methods, rather than seed improvement activities per se—opens up novel opportunities to experience new contexts and conceive different life-paths. . . .

‘Whether this can translate into actual changes in women’s circumstances is a longer term issue that this study did not assess. . . .

‘The study showed that only the intervention of the [participatory plant breeding’s] programme’s managers to rectify gender-discriminating behaviours at both village and programme levels limited the marginalisation of women from benefit sharing. It was this top-down support that transformed gender-discriminatory practices among PPB participants in opportunities for the women farmers to acquire new awareness of unequal treatment and of their right to demand fair rules. Only with the backing of the programme could they voice their demands and fear less for backlashes. . . . [The study] argues for the need to include gender considerations in international legislation regulating access to seed. . . .’

Alessandra Galié with a farmer participating in her research in pre-war Syria (photo credit: ICARDA).

This work was supported by the CGIAR Participatory Research and Gender Analysis Programme and by Wageningen University.

Read the whole award-winning paper: Women’s empowerment through seed improvement and seed governance: Evidence from participatory barley breeding in pre-war Syria, by Alessandra Galiè (ILRI), Janice Jiggins, Paul Struik, Stefania Grando and Salvatore Ceccarelli, Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 81, 2017.

Read about the award and paper: Plant breeding for gender equality: How a plant breeding program empowered women in Syria, by Lucy Goodchild van Hilten, on the Elsevier Atlas site, 6 Dec 2017.

Read about ILRI’s gender research and see ILRI’s Policies, Gender and Impact blog.

Selected related posts on ILRI’s corporate News and Clippings blogs
Capitalizing on women in livestock development—ILRI’s Jimmy Smith and Isabelle Baltenweck speak out, 9 Jul 2017.
Women, livestock ownership and markets: Bridging the gender gap in eastern and southern Africa, 8 Mar 2014.
Women and livestock: Why gender matters are BIG matters, 7 Mar 2014.

 


Award-winning paper establishes links between women’s empowerment and crop seed improvement and governance in pre-war Syria

News from ILRI -

On 5 Dec 2017 Alessandra Galiè (centre) received the Elsevier Atlas award for publishing a research paper with outstanding potential for impacting people’s lives. She stands here with Elsevier associate publisher Virginia Prada López and Wageningen crop systems professor Paul Struik, one of Galiè’s co-authors and PhD supervisors (photo credit: CGIAR).

Alessandra Galiè, a social scientist specializing in gender issues in agricultural research who now works in Nairobi, Kenya, at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), conducted her doctoral research in Aleppo, Syria, at ILRI’s sister CGIAR institution, the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). This week Galiè received a prestigious award for an academic paper she published documenting how ICARDA’s participatory barley breeding program in pre-war Syria impacted women’s empowerment. Galiè wrote the paper with her PhD supervisors Janice Jiggins and Paul C. Struik, both at Wageningen University & Research, in the Netherlands; and Stefania Grando and Salvatore Ceccarelli, in Syria.

Each month an external advisory board selects a single Atlas article from research published in more than 2,500 journals to recognize research that could significantly impact people’s lives around the world. The Elsevier Atlas Award was presented to Galiè on 6 Dec 2017 during the annual scientific conference of the CGIAR Collaborative Platform for Gender Research, being held this week (5–8 Dec 2017) at the KIT Royal Tropical Institute, in Amsterdam.

Extracts from the award-winning paper follow.

From the abstract
‘Building on the empirical findings of a six-year study (2006–2011) undertaken in the context of a participatory barley breeding (PBB) programme in pre-war Syria, this paper establishes the links between women’s empowerment, seed improvement through [participatory plant breeding] and seed governance vis-à-vis household food security. The study shows how the programme enhanced the empowerment of the respondent women and how gender-blind seed governance regimes at national and international levels restricted the empowerment of these women ultimately affecting the pillars of food security.’

From the introduction
‘The study explored in depth the process of empowerment as perceived by twelve Syrian women from ten households in three villages as they became involved in the [participatory plant breeding] programme. Changes in empowerment were monitored on the basis of indicators selected in collaboration with the respondent women.’

Syrian girl in a barley field (photo credit: ICARDA/Alessandra Galiè).

From the conceptual framework

Sen (1990) and Kabeer (1999) see empowerment as a process that can enhance the individuals’ capacity of self-determination—that is their capability of living the lives that they have a reason to value.

‘The empowerment discourse has focused on empowerment as an individual process (see, Eyben and Napier-Moore, 2009), as relational process with changes in power relations (Drydyk, 2013) or as changes in structures or institutions of power (Tsikata and Darkwah, 2014; Kilby, 2006). Kabeer (2012) emphasises that women’s empowerment must entail both institutional and individual change, that is: change in women’s consciousness, in their self-perception and in their relationship with others; change in the norms, conventions and legislation that regulate women’s rights, circumstances and their ability to make choices.’

[This study] adopts three principles of self-determination identified by Santarius and Sachs (2007): ‘recognition’, ‘distribution of resources’, and ‘access to opportunities’.

From the results and discussion

The findings show that irrespective of the gender of the respondent ‘men are considered to be the farmers and to have farming knowledge’, and ‘farming is man’s work’.

‘The respondent women were generally under-valued as farmers by both men and women, at the household and community levels. At the same time the findings reveal more nuanced gender performances between idealised and actual gender roles. The latter were susceptible to changes in daily life, based on household needs and circumstances, idealised gender identities as well as social status considerations. Young women worked as daily labourers both on and off farm; a young woman from Ajaz managed the family farm (i.e., she worked the land, sourced the inputs, sold the produce, and took decisions about the farm management) because her men folk were either too old or abroad. Deviance from behaviours considered appropriate for women was often publicly denied but practically accepted when performed with due respect to the consensus norms. This was the case of the abovementioned young woman from Ajaz who maintained that her farm was managed by her men folk. Similarly, an old woman from Souran attributed the farm management to her sons only when they were present in the room or other men were listening to our discussion. Otherwise, she stated that in her family she was the most knowledgeable about farming and was therefore in charge of it—as she demonstrated on various occasions during this fieldwork. . . .

‘The findings, therefore, show that the potential of [participatory plant breeding] in supplying varieties responding to the needs of both women and men farmers were undermined by the lack of both a release system for varieties selected by farmers in Syria and of a gender-sensitive international legislation protecting farmers’ rights to varieties.

This evidence highlights also how customary rules, coupled with a lack of gender-equal national legislation, can hinder women’s capability to assert their role and knowledge in farming, and to claim new spaces in revenue-generating and decision-making activities such as the sale of barley and variety selection through [participatory plant breeding].

‘The findings showed that a gender-sensitive [participatory plant breeding] provided the participating women farmers with opportunities for empowerment by increasing their recognition of women as farmers, enhancing their contribution to the household economy, supporting their access to information and relevant seed, and impacting on their decision making in agriculture (Galiè, 2013a). . . .

ILRI gender scientist Alessandra Galiè participating in ILRI’s Institutional Planning Meeting in 2016 (photo credit: ILRI/Apollo Habtamu).

‘The study further shows how, by accessing new public spaces and information, and open discussion of women’s roles in farming and [participatory plant breeding], new understanding of empowerment and self-determination arose, that in some cases led to a questioning of traditional gender models.

. . . [G]iven the limited set of life opportunities that the respondents perceived for themselves, it is argued [that this study’s] participatory nature, its activities targeted to empower women, and gender-sensitive methods, rather than seed improvement activities per se—opens up novel opportunities to experience new contexts and conceive different life-paths. . . .

‘Whether this can translate into actual changes in women’s circumstances is a longer term issue that this study did not assess. . . .

‘The study showed that only the intervention of the [participatory plant breeding’s] programme’s managers to rectify gender-discriminating behaviours at both village and programme levels limited the marginalisation of women from benefit sharing. It was this top-down support that transformed gender-discriminatory practices among PPB participants in opportunities for the women farmers to acquire new awareness of unequal treatment and of their right to demand fair rules. Only with the backing of the programme could they voice their demands and fear less for backlashes. . . . [The study] argues for the need to include gender considerations in international legislation regulating access to seed. . . .’

Alessandra Galié with a farmer participating in her research in pre-war Syria (photo credit: ICARDA).

This work was supported by the CGIAR Participatory Research and Gender Analysis Programme and by Wageningen University.

Read the whole award-winning paper: Women’s empowerment through seed improvement and seed governance: Evidence from participatory barley breeding in pre-war Syria, by Alessandra Galiè (ILRI), Janice Jiggins, Paul Struik, Stefania Grando and Salvatore Ceccarelli, Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 81, 2017.

Read about the award and paper: Plant breeding for gender equality: How a plant breeding program empowered women in Syria, by Lucy Goodchild van Hilten, on the Elsevier Atlas site, 6 Dec 2017.

Read about ILRI’s gender research and see ILRI’s Policies, Gender and Impact blog.

Selected related posts on ILRI’s corporate News and Clippings blogs
Capitalizing on women in livestock development—ILRI’s Jimmy Smith and Isabelle Baltenweck speak out, 9 Jul 2017.
Women, livestock ownership and markets: Bridging the gender gap in eastern and southern Africa, 8 Mar 2014.
Women and livestock: Why gender matters are BIG matters, 7 Mar 2014.

 


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