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From gender analysis to transforming gender norms: Using empowerment pathways to enhance gender equity and food security in Tanzania

Our latest outputs -

From gender analysis to transforming gender norms: Using empowerment pathways to enhance gender equity and food security in Tanzania Galiè, A.; Kantor, P. Drawing on studies from Africa, Asia and South America, this book provides empirical evidence and conceptual explorations of the gendered dimensions of food security. It investigates how food security and gender inequity are conceptualized within interventions, assesses the impacts and outcomes of gender-responsive programs on food security and gender equity and addresses diverse approaches to gender research and practice that range from descriptive and analytical to strategic and transformative. The chapters draw on diverse theoretical perspectives, including transformative learning, feminist theory, deliberative democracy and technology adoption. As a result, they add important conceptual and empirical material to a growing literature on the challenges of gender equity in agricultural production.

Long-term assessment of soil and water conservation measures (Fanya-juu terraces) on soil organic matter in South Eastern Kenya

Our latest outputs -

Long-term assessment of soil and water conservation measures (Fanya-juu terraces) on soil organic matter in South Eastern Kenya Saiz, G.; Wandera, F.M.; Pelster, D.E.; Ngetich, W.; Okalebo, J.R.; Rufino, M.C.; Butterbach-Bahl, K. A comprehensive assessment of soil organic matter (SOM) dynamics in semi-arid agrosystems implementing soil and water conservation (SWC) measures is still lacking despite their extent, ecological and economic significance. Therefore, we assessed the long-term impact of a commonly used SWC technique (Fanya-juu terracing) on SOM-related properties in South Eastern Kenya. A soil sampling campaign was conducted in a replicated stratified random manner on three land uses that had been continuously managed for over 30 years. Samples were analyzed for organic carbon and nitrogen contents, δ13C, δ15N, pH and texture. Compared to sites implementing conventional agriculture, the establishment of SWC structures in this erosion-prone landscape resulted in the recovery of SOM levels comparable to those observed in neighboring semi-natural ecosystems. Sites under conventional agriculture practices contained 20 Mg C ha− 1 (0.85 m), while sites with SWC measures and those hosting semi-natural vegetation stored above a third more. There were significant differences in soil C/N ratios as well as in δ13C and δ15N values between SWC cultivation practices classified according to the presence or absence of trees. The presence of woody vegetation in sites with SWC structures had a strong impact on the spatial variability of SOM-related properties. There was also a significant negative relationship between δ15N values and C/N ratios across the different land uses. Our findings indicate the existence of contrasting SOM dynamics caused by vegetation-related effects, and provide suggestions for enhancing SOM storage in agricultural sites implementing SWC measures.

MERS-CoV antibodies in humans, Africa, 2013–2014

Our latest outputs -

MERS-CoV antibodies in humans, Africa, 2013–2014 Liljander, A.; Meyer, B.; Jores, J.; Müller, M.A.; Lattwein, E.; Njeru, I.; Bett, B.; Drosten, C.; Corman, V.M. Dromedaries in Africa and elsewhere carry the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). To search for evidence of autochthonous MERS-CoV infection in humans, we tested archived serum from livestock handlers in Kenya for MERS-CoV antibodies. Serologic evidence of infection was confirmed for 2 persons sampled in 2013 and 2014.

Meat and milk production scenarios and the associated land footprint in Kenya

Our latest outputs -

Meat and milk production scenarios and the associated land footprint in Kenya Bosire, C.K.; Krol, M.S.; Mekonnen, M.M.; Ogutu, J.O.; Leeuw, J. de; Lannerstad, M.; Hoekstra, A.Y. Increasing demands for meat and milk in developing countries and the associated production growth are driving the expansion of agriculture at the expense of environmental conservation and other land uses. While considerable attention has been directed at improving crop yields to alleviate the pressure on land, there has been far less attention on the implications of the expected intensification of livestock production. Here, we present and analyse the land availability and land footprints of livestock intensification for five scenarios representing various degrees of intensification of meat and milk production by cattle, sheep, goats and camels in arid, semi-arid and humid production systems in Kenya. The first three scenarios are defined by increasing levels of input and management, ranging from low (scenario S1), intermediate (S2) to high (S3) input feed crop cultivation and livestock production. Reference scenario S1 has production practices and output of meat and milk similar to current production practices. In scenarios S2 and S3, the total land used for livestock production remains the same as in S1. Two additional scenarios, S4 and S5, explore opportunities for lessening environmental pressure through reduction of the land footprint of meat and milk production. For each scenario, we quantify the potential availability of grassland and cropland for meat and milk production by cattle, sheep, goats and camel in the arid, semi-arid and humid production systems. A resource use indicator, land footprint (ha), is used to assess changes in land use associated with livestock production. We estimate that the potential increase in production due to intensification from scenario S1 to S2 is 51% for milk and 71% for meat. The potential increase due to improving production from scenario S1 to S3 is 80% for milk and 113% for meat. The area of grazing land, as a percentage of the total potentially available grazing land, decreases from 10% to 6% as productivity increases from scenario S1 to S5. Cropland usage increases from 4% in scenario S1 to 11% in scenario S5. Reduced land demand in scenarios S4 and S5 indicates the possibility that intensification may help reduce the pressure on land and hence promote environmental conservation. Overall, the results suggest that it is possible to increase production to meet increasing demands for meat and milk while also gaining land for environmental conservation through intensification. Realizing the potential presented by the intensification scenarios will be contingent upon successfully establishing and operationalizing enabling policies, institutional arrangements and markets and ensuring that relevant information, services, inputs, and other essential requirements are available, accessible and affordable to herders and farmers.

How well can we assess impacts of agricultural land management changes on the total greenhouse gas balance (CO2, CH4 and N2O) of tropical rice-cropping systems with a biogeochemical model?

Our latest outputs -

How well can we assess impacts of agricultural land management changes on the total greenhouse gas balance (CO2, CH4 and N2O) of tropical rice-cropping systems with a biogeochemical model? Kraus, D.; Weller, S.; Klatt, S.; Santabárbara, I.; Haas, E.; Wassmann R, /; Werner, C.; Kiese, R.; Butterbach-Bahl, K. Paddy rice is the main cropping system in Southeast Asia. However, water scarcity arising from competition from other sectors, rainfall variability and climate change increasingly challenges global rice production. One option to adapt to lower water availability is switching from paddy rice to less irrigation intensive upland cropping systems. Such land management change (LMC) is likely to significantly affect ecosystem carbon and nitrogen cycling and its greenhouse gas (GHG) balance. This study evaluates how well the ecosystem model LandscapeDNDC is able to simulate observed emissions of methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2) from different tropical cropping rotations, i.e., double- and triple-cropped paddy rice, aerobic rice–paddy rice and maize–paddy rice (rice: O. sativa, maize: Zea mays) and how management changes to rice dominated lowland systems will affect the GHG balance on short (a few years) and long (several decades) time scales.

New Program Director Appointed for WLE

CRP 5: Program news -

Izabella Koziell has been appointed as the next Program Director of WLE, announced Jeremy Bird, Director General of the International Water Management Institute today.

Koziell joins WLE from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), where she has led the Asia Regional Climate and Environment Unit. She has also held positions within DFID’s Research and Evidence and the Policy Divisions and DFID Kenya. She has led several large complex multi-country research and development programs in Africa and Asia during this time, on climate, environment and natural resources. 

“Finding solutions to increasing climate variability, resource degradation and water scarcity is becoming increasingly urgent  if we are to feed the world and manage our natural capital effectively,” Bird highlighted. “WLE provides the evidence base and solutions to help decision makers scale up sustainable land, water and ecosystem management innovations that reduce risks and increase resilience of women and men in developing countries. Izabella brings a wealth of experience around WLE’s core areas of work and new pathways for accelerating impact as we start WLE’s second phase.”

Koziell has participated in a number of advisory groups and represented the UK in international negotiations on biodiversity and desertification.  Prior to DFID, she worked with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED, London) and the Lutheran World Service (LWS) in Tanzania. 

Koziell said, “It’s great to join WLE at this time. We are uniquely positioned within the CGIAR to bring in sustainability dimensions in to complement research on specific commodities and value chains. Alongside our breadth of local and global partnerships, and our focus on practical solutions and innovations, we have an unprecedented opportunity to address the challenge of sustainable agricultural intensification from a truly global perspective.  I look forward to taking up this exciting role”

Johan Rockström, WLE’s Steering Committee Chair said, “The newly agreed Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Change agreement represent a historic opportunity for us to focus on the sustainable intensification of agriculture as a major pathway to achieving the underlying development challenges. Izabella has the right mix of science and policy experience to ensure the program is aligned and contributing to these global imperatives.”

Koziell holds an MSc in Land and Water Management from Cranfield University,  a BA in Geography from the Nottingham University in the UK and is affiliated as a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. She has lived and worked across all of WLE regions, and also speaks Polish, French and Swahili.

WLE’s vision is for a world in which agriculture thrives alongside and within the vibrant ecosystems that support it, while delivering enduring prosperity for farming communities. Led by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), WLE combines the resources of 10 CGIAR Centers, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and hundreds of research and uptake partners based around the world.

Koziell will take up her role based in Colombo in late October 2016.

Nutritional value and seasonal availability of feed ingredients for pigs in Uganda

Enhancing Livelihoods of Poor Livestock Keepers through Increased Use of Fodder: Project news -

In this study, the nutritional values and seasonal availability of 43 local feed ingredients for pigs in Uganda, were estimated based on nutrient analyses and literature values, information needed to develop low-cost balanced rations for pigs on smallholder farms.

Parameters considered were: concentration of ash, neutral detergent fibre (NDF), crude protein (CP), calcium (Ca), phosphorous (P), ether extract (EE), total lysine (Lys), standardized ileal digestible (SID) Lys, standardized total tract digestible (STTD) P (all as % of dry matter [DM]); digestible energy (DE), (kcal kg−1 of DM); and DM concentration.

Banana peel, maize bran, and sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) were ranked highest; and commercially-prepared ration, and kale/collard greens (Brassica oleracea var. acephala), were ranked lowest as potential feed ingredients. Ingredients with nutritional profiles suitable for pigs are available but some only in certain seasons. Estimated nutritional values may assist in ration formulation.

View the open access article:

Carter, N., Dewey, C., Lukuyu, B., Grace, D. and Lange, C. de. 2015. Nutritional value and seasonal availability of feed ingredients for pigs in Uganda. Agricultura Tropica et Subtropica 48(3-4):91-104.

ILRI Addis generator preventive maintenance work

Latest ILRI announcements -

ILRI Addis E & FU team has planned to conduct preventive maintenance work on backup generator sets on Saturday May 7th 2016 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

During this time, if the main power is disconnected from EEPCO, the generator wouldn’t be used as a backup power supply.

Apologies for any inconvenience this might cause to you.





Soil Organic Carbon App

CRP 5: Program news -

The Soil Organic Carbon App is an online tool that can help users calculate soil’s capacity for sequestering, or containing, organic carbon.

Georgina Smith/CIAT. A community leader in Debre Berhan, central Ethiopia, explains that growing nitrogen-fixing trees along ridges can stop soil erosion. The community has restored a previously degraded area though installation of check dams and other techniques. Photo Credit: Georgina Smith/CIAT.

Binding organic carbon in soils is increasingly considered to have significant potential for mitigating climate change: a recently launched initiative has set out to foster a 0.4% carbon sequestration rate per year, which is the amount required to offset carbon emissions and effectively mitigate climate change. Organic carbon sequestration can be fostered through land restoration practices, such as no-till agriculture or improving foraging practices in degraded areas.

The Soil Organic Carbon App calculates a soil profile’s amount of sequestered organic carbon (t/ha), based on soil organic carbon concentration (g/kg), as well as the quantitative impact of soil conservation practices on sequestration over time and at different scales. Therefore, investors and other decision makers can use the app to assess to which degree planned efforts to restore degraded land will bind organic carbon in soil and mitigate climate change.

The tool is open access and available for use by governments, non-government organizations, researchers, communities, and others. It was developed by researchers from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).


Go to the Soil Organic Carbon App


Read more:

Contact for more information: Rolf Sommer Rolf Sommer


Dr Rolf Sommer has joined the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, CIAT, in January 2013. He is working in the field of soil health/fertility, soil nutrition and crop modeling, and is CIAT’s CCAFS focal point for soil related research under CRP7. [read more]

The view from Iain’s office – April 2016

Latest ILRI announcements -

In my January blog I described the initiative launched by the President of the Africa Development Bank to leverage the expertise in the CGIAR to support a major investment program in African agriculture. Planning for the ‘Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation’ initiative is now well underway.  Steve Staal, Iddo Dror and I were at IITA, Ibadan, Nigeria for a three day workshop to discuss and advance the planning of this initiative. Although it was described as a ‘workshop’ it was more of a conference with over 200 people attending from the African Development Bank, CGIAR Centres and the private sector. Given the number of delegates the progress achieved was limited but since then we have been working hard to shape the initiative – and of course trying to achieve a proper share of the resources for livestock development.

My visit to Nigeria prevented me from attending the ISPC Science Forum in Addis, but I heard very positive comments about it. In particular the Knowledge Share Fair/marketplace at the ILRI Campus was a great success.  Congratulations to all those in Addis who worked so hard to support the Science Forum and to organize the Knowledge Share Fair (photos from the event and the marketplace) .

April was a busy month for everyone in Addis. No sooner was the ISPC Science Forum over (see blogposts by ILRI staff) than the ILRI Board Meeting started. Thanks to all those in Addis who made our Board Members feel so welcome.  I and the rest of IMC received many comments from the Board on how well they were looked after and how welcome they felt. It was gratifying to see all the activities on the campus – the new genebank being built, the new gym (officially opened by our Board Chair), the refurbishment of hostel rooms, the plans for new office accommodation, the masterplan for the development of the campus.  And most importantly the exciting research being undertaken without which none of the investments could be justified.

This month we had a visit from Dr Ray Smith, University of Kentucky, in his capacity as Chair of the Continuing Committee of the International Grassland Congress (IGC).  At the last IGC in Delhi in November 2015 an application from KALRO to the next ICG in Nairobi was accepted. This will be the first time the IGC will be held in Africa. KALRO is also bidding to host the International Rangeland Congress in Nairobi as a joint congress with the IGC.  The two Congresses were held jointly in Hohot, China in 2008.  The decision on the location of the next IRC will be taken at the IRC in Saskatoon, Canada in July.  ILRI is fully supportive of the joint congress being held in Nairobi in 2020 and I have offered KALRO and the organizing committee all the assistance we can offer.  It will be a great opportunity for up to 1500 delegates from around the world to meet in Nairobi to discuss the future of grasslands, rangelands and the communities who depend on them.  Kenya also offers a fantastic range of grasslands and research and development organisations for delegates to visit during the congress and of course the opportunity to enjoy Kenya and the region in a pre- or post-congress vacation.

A delegation from the Government of Ethiopia, Ministry of Science and Technology visited Nairobi on 27-27 April.  Until recently we have had little interaction with this Ministry but we had very constructive discussions on how we could work with a number of organization that fall under the Ministry’s responsibility.  We agreed to work together to assess the scale of the risk to public health of aflatoxins and other contaminants in food and to help build the capacity of the Ministry and its constituent organisations across a range of activities and topics. These include training in specific laboratory techniques, laboratory management and exploring opportunities to link to two science and technology universities in Ethiopia.

Photo of the Board and IMC members in Addis:


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