Feed aggregator

Remote sensing monitoring of land restoration interventions in semi-arid environments with a before–after control-impact statistical design

Our latest outputs -

Remote sensing monitoring of land restoration interventions in semi-arid environments with a before–after control-impact statistical design Meroni, M.; Schucknecht, A.; Fasbender, D.; Rembold, F.; Fava, F.; Mauclaire, M.; Goffner, D.; Lucchio, L.M. Di; Leonardi, U. Restoration interventions to combat land degradation are carried out in arid and semi-arid areas to improve vegetation cover and land productivity. Evaluating the success of an intervention over time is challenging due to various constraints (e.g. difficult-to-access areas, lack of long-term records) and the lack of standardised and affordable methodologies. We propose a semi-automatic methodology that uses remote sensing data to provide a rapid, standardised and objective assessment of the biophysical impact, in terms of vegetation cover, of restoration interventions. The Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) is used as a proxy for vegetation cover. Recognising that changes in vegetation cover are naturally due to environmental factors such as seasonality and inter-annual climate variability, conclusions about the success of the intervention cannot be drawn by focussing on the intervention area only. We therefore use a comparative method that analyses the temporal variations (before and after the intervention) of the NDVI of the intervention area with respect to multiple control sites that are automatically and randomly selected from a set of candidates that are similar to the intervention area. Similarity is defined in terms of class composition as derived from an ISODATA classification of the imagery before the intervention. The method provides an estimate of the magnitude and significance of the difference in greenness change between the intervention area and control areas. As a case study, the methodology is applied to 15 restoration interventions carried out in Senegal. The impact of the interventions is analysed using 250-m MODIS and 30-m Landsat data. Results show that a significant improvement in vegetation cover was detectable only in one third of the analysed interventions, which is consistent with independent qualitative assessments based on field observations and visual analysis of high resolution imagery. Rural development agencies may potentially use the proposed method for a first screening of restoration interventions.

When less is more: Innovations for tracking progress toward global targets

Our latest outputs -

When less is more: Innovations for tracking progress toward global targets Rosenstock, Todd S; Lamanna, Christine; Chesterman, Sabrina; Hammond, J.; Kadiyala, Suneetha; Luedeling, Eike; Shepherd, K.; DeRenzi, Brian; Wijk, M.T. van Accountability and adaptive management of recent global agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement, will in part rely on the ability to track progress toward the social and environmental targets they set. Current metrics and monitoring systems, however, are not yet up to the task. We argue that there is an imperative to consider principles of coherence (what to measure), standardization (how to measure) and decision-relevance (why to measure) when designing monitoring schemes if they are to be practical and useful. New approaches that have the potential to match the necessary scale of monitoring, with sufficient accuracy and at reasonable cost, are emerging; although, they represent a significant departure from the historical norm in some cases. Iterative review and adaptation of analytical approaches and available technology will certainly be needed to continuously design ways to best track our progress.

Farm types and farmer motivations to adapt: Implications for design of sustainable agricultural interventions in the rubber plantations of South West China

Our latest outputs -

Farm types and farmer motivations to adapt: Implications for design of sustainable agricultural interventions in the rubber plantations of South West China Hammond, J.; Wijk, Mark T. van; Smajgl, A.; Ward, J.; Pagella, T.; Jianchu Xu; Yufang Su; Zhuangfang Yi; Harrison, R.D. Tropical land use is one of the leading causes of global environmental change. Sustainable agricultural development aims to reduce the negative environmental impacts of tropical land use whilst enhancing the well-being of the smallholder farmers residing in those areas. Interventions with this goal are typically designed by scientists educated in the Western tradition, and often achieve lower than desired uptake by smallholder farmers. We build on work done in farm type classification and studies of factors that influence adaptation, trialling a suite of household survey questions to elucidate the motivational factors that influence a farmer's willingness to adapt to external change. Based on a sample of 1015 households in the rubber growing region of Xishuangbanna, South-west China, we found that farm types based on structural characteristics (e.g. crops, livelihoods) could not be used to accurately predict farmers' motivations to adapt. Amongst all six farm types identified, the full range of motivational typologies was found. We found six motivational types, from most to least likely to adapt, named: Aspirational Innovators, Conscientious, Copy Cats, Incentive-centric, Well Settled, and Change Resistant. These groups roughly corresponded with those identified in literature regarding diffusion of innovations, but such classifications are rarely used in development literature. We predict that only one third of the population would be potentially willing to trial a new intervention, and recommend that those sectors of the population should be identified and preferentially targeted by development programs. Such an approach requires validation that these motivational typologies accurately predict real behaviour – perhaps through a panel survey approach. Dedicated data gathering is required, beyond what is usually carried out for ex-ante farm typologies, but with some refinements of the methodology presented here the process need not be onerous. An improved suite of questions to appraise farmers' motivations might include value orientations, life satisfaction, and responses to various scenarios, all phrased to be locally appropriate, with a scoring system that uses the full range of potential scores and a minimum of follow up and peripheral questions.

To mulch or to munch? Big modelling of big data

Our latest outputs -

To mulch or to munch? Big modelling of big data Rodriguez, D.; Voil, P. de; Rufino, M.C.; Odendo, M.; Wijk M.T. van African farmers are poorly resourced, highly diverse and aground by poverty traps making them rather impervious to change. As a consequence R4D efforts usually result in benefits but also trade-offs that constraint adoption and change. A typical case is the use of crop residues as mulches or as feedstock. Here we linked a database of household surveys with a dynamic whole farm simulation model, to quantify the diversity of trade-offs from the alternative use of crop residues. Simulating all the households in the survey (n = 613) over 99 years of synthetic climate data, showed that benefits and trade-offs from “mulching or munching” differ across agro-ecologies, and within agro-ecologies across typologies of households. Even though trade-offs between household production or income and environmental outcomes could be managed; the magnitude of the simulated benefits from the sustainable intensification of maize-livestock systems were small. Our modelling framework shows the benefits from the integration of socio-economic and biophysical approaches to support the design of development programs. Our results support the argument that a greater focus is required on the development and diversification of farmers' livelihoods within the framework of an improved understanding of the interconnectedness between biophysical, socio-economic and market factors.

Association between agronomic traits and aflatoxin accumulation in diverse maize lines grown under two soil nitrogen levels in Eastern Kenya

Our latest outputs -

Association between agronomic traits and aflatoxin accumulation in diverse maize lines grown under two soil nitrogen levels in Eastern Kenya Mutiga, Samuel; Morales, L.; Angwenyi, Samuel; Wainaina, James; Harvey, J.; Das, Biswanath; Nelsona, R.J. Aflatoxin accumulation in maize is strongly influenced by the environment in which the crop is grown. To gain insights into the ways in which soil fertility influences aflatoxin, we investigated the relationships between agronomic traits and aflatoxin in diverse maize testcrosses that were grown under two nitrogen treatment levels. The experiment was conducted in Eastern Kenya, an aflatoxin-endemic area, with natural Aspergillus flavus inoculum. A panel of 205 maize lines was grown under low soil nitrogen (Nlow = 26 kg/ha applied N) in the long season of 2011 and a subset of the genotypes (n = 123) was grown under high soil nitrogen (Nhigh = 114 kg/ha applied N) in the short season of 2010 and long season of 2011. Kernel traits, grain yield, days to anthesis, ear rot, and aflatoxin were analyzed for the panel. Grain yield, protein, and kernel bulk density were higher in maize grown under Nhigh compared to maize grown under Nlow, with grain yield twice as high under Nhigh. A higher proportion of plots had grain with detectable aflatoxin under Nlow than under the Nhigh. When the maize testcrosses were grouped into three maturity categories based on days to anthesis, aflatoxin accumulation was twice as high in the late-maturing group than in the other two categories under Nlow. The proportion of aflatoxin contamination was higher in dent than in flint maize. However, the extent of aflatoxin accumulation did not differ significantly (P > 0.05) over the entire testcross panel, among maize genotypes within the maturity groups or among kernel texture groups within the maturity groups. Kernel bulk density and protein content were higher in early and intermediate groups than in the late maturity group. Grain yield did not differ among the maturity groups (P > 0.05), but significant positive correlations were observed between the proportion of grain yield reduction due to low soil nitrogen stress and aflatoxin in early and late maturity groups. Kernel bulk density was negatively correlated with aflatoxin in grain. No significant association was observed between aflatoxin and ear rot or kernel size. We conclude that aflatoxin mitigation strategies should include soil nitrogen amendment and breeding approaches that include selection for the correlated agronomic traits.

Association between agronomic traits and aflatoxin accumulation in diverse maize lines grown under two soil nitrogen levels in Eastern Kenya

BecA outputs -

Association between agronomic traits and aflatoxin accumulation in diverse maize lines grown under two soil nitrogen levels in Eastern Kenya Mutiga, Samuel; Morales, L.; Angwenyi, Samuel; Wainaina, James; Harvey, J.; Das, Biswanath; Nelsona, R.J. Aflatoxin accumulation in maize is strongly influenced by the environment in which the crop is grown. To gain insights into the ways in which soil fertility influences aflatoxin, we investigated the relationships between agronomic traits and aflatoxin in diverse maize testcrosses that were grown under two nitrogen treatment levels. The experiment was conducted in Eastern Kenya, an aflatoxin-endemic area, with natural Aspergillus flavus inoculum. A panel of 205 maize lines was grown under low soil nitrogen (Nlow = 26 kg/ha applied N) in the long season of 2011 and a subset of the genotypes (n = 123) was grown under high soil nitrogen (Nhigh = 114 kg/ha applied N) in the short season of 2010 and long season of 2011. Kernel traits, grain yield, days to anthesis, ear rot, and aflatoxin were analyzed for the panel. Grain yield, protein, and kernel bulk density were higher in maize grown under Nhigh compared to maize grown under Nlow, with grain yield twice as high under Nhigh. A higher proportion of plots had grain with detectable aflatoxin under Nlow than under the Nhigh. When the maize testcrosses were grouped into three maturity categories based on days to anthesis, aflatoxin accumulation was twice as high in the late-maturing group than in the other two categories under Nlow. The proportion of aflatoxin contamination was higher in dent than in flint maize. However, the extent of aflatoxin accumulation did not differ significantly (P > 0.05) over the entire testcross panel, among maize genotypes within the maturity groups or among kernel texture groups within the maturity groups. Kernel bulk density and protein content were higher in early and intermediate groups than in the late maturity group. Grain yield did not differ among the maturity groups (P > 0.05), but significant positive correlations were observed between the proportion of grain yield reduction due to low soil nitrogen stress and aflatoxin in early and late maturity groups. Kernel bulk density was negatively correlated with aflatoxin in grain. No significant association was observed between aflatoxin and ear rot or kernel size. We conclude that aflatoxin mitigation strategies should include soil nitrogen amendment and breeding approaches that include selection for the correlated agronomic traits.

Evaluating fire severity in Sudanian ecosystems of Burkina Faso using Landsat 8 satellite images

Our latest outputs -

Evaluating fire severity in Sudanian ecosystems of Burkina Faso using Landsat 8 satellite images Musyimi, Z.; Said, Mohammed Yahya; Zida, D.; Rosenstock, Todd S.; Udelhoven, T.; Savadogo, P.; de Leeuw, Jan; Aynekulu, E. The fire severity of the 2013–2014 fire season within Sudanian ecosystems in Burkina Faso was evaluated from Landsat 8 images using derivatives of the Normalized Burn Ratio algorithm (NBR). The relationship between the image-derived severity and the field observed severity i.e. Composite Burn Index (CBI) was best described by a nonlinear model of the form y = a + b*EXP(CBI *c) (R2 = 0.66). Classification of the image-derived burned area into burn severity classes achieved a classification Kappa accuracy statistic of 0.56. Highly severely burned areas were mapped with the highest accuracy (user's accuracy 77%, producer's accuracy 86%). The severity of the burn varied across phyto-geographical zones, protected status, land cover regimes, and forest management practices. The south Sudanian zone burned with a higher severity (low = 7%, moderate = 16% and high = 13%) than the north Sudanian zone (low = 5%, moderate = 10% and high = 5%). The mean of the highly severely burned areas differed significantly among the forest management practices (P = 0.005). A pair-wise comparison of the severity mean area indicated that the highly burned areas within forests managed for wildlife purposes differed significantly with that of both forests under the joint management (P = 0.006) and those under no management (P = 0.024). Among the management practices, forests jointly managed by the local communities and the government had the highest unburned area and the least highly severely burned areas reflecting the impacts of bottom-up forestry management where the local communities are actively involved in the management.

Exploring impacts of vegetated buffer strips on nitrogen cycling using a spatially explicit hydro-biogeochemical modeling approach

Our latest outputs -

Exploring impacts of vegetated buffer strips on nitrogen cycling using a spatially explicit hydro-biogeochemical modeling approach Klatt, S.; Kraus, D; Kraft, P.; Breuer, L.; Wlotzka, M.; Heuveline, V.; Haas, E.; Kiese, R.; Butterbach-Bahl, Klaus Agriculture has been recognized as a major anthropogenic source of surplus loads of nitrogen in the environment. Losses of nitrate via subsurface pathways are severely threatening groundwater and surface waters. This study explored the capability of a coupled hydro-biogeochemical spatially explicit model, simulating nitrogen cycling in agricultural soils and the associated fate of excess nitrate subjected to vertical and lateral displacement towards water bodies. Different vegetated buffer strips (VBS) were tested for their nitrate retention capability and impacts on N2O and N2 emissions. The effectiveness of a VBS to remove nitrate by denitrification strongly depends on soil characteristics and hydrological flow paths. Simulated N2 emissions from VBS with high soil moisture were up to twenty-fold compared to VBS where groundwater levels were low. Simulated streamwater nitrate concentrations without VBS were 3.7 mg l−1 and showed a decrease to 0.1 mg l−1 for a 20 m VBS.

Electronics ban from hand luggage

Latest ILRI announcements -

You might already have heard about new restrictions on hand luggage on flights to USA and UK,  banning laptops & tablets from flight from certain countries and airlines.

Our travel agents in Nairobi and Addis are aware of the situation and were asked to warn you when booking a flight affected by this.

For those of you who using other agents or just want to know more about this, please see below for more information.

For more information, ask your travel agent when booking and/or follow the links below

Kind regards

Misja Brandenburg | Director Corporate Services
International Livestock Research Institute | ilri.org

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Global Issue: Large electronic items banned from passenger cabin on MENA-US, MENA-UK flights; comply with regulations (Revised)

Level: Notice
Location: United States; United Kingdom; United Arab Emirates (UAE); Egypt; Qatar; Turkey; Saudi Arabia; Kuwait; Morocco; Jordan; Lebanon; Tunisia;
Category: Travel restriction, Transport

Members travelling on non-stop flights to the US and the UK from the Middle East and North Africa should prepare to comply with new regulations issued by both the US and UK authorities, follow all security directives and anticipate possible security delays at affected airports. Passengers travelling on direct flights to the US from ports of departure in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE will be required to place any electronic devices larger than a smartphone in checked baggage prior to boarding US-bound flights. However, electronic medical devices and smartphones will be allowed with carry-on luggage. The UK ban is thus far limited to mobile phones, laptops and tablets above a particular size on direct flights to the UK from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey. The deadline for implementation is 24 March for the US ban and 25 March for the UK ban. It is currently unclear whether airlines may choose to implement the regulation more broadly in an attempt to minimise disruption.

Advice

  • Anticipate possible security delays at pre-departure screening at the affected airports while the new procedures are being implemented. All travellers departing from these airports, regardless of their final destination, should arrive earlier than usual to account for delays caused by screening of US and UK-bound passengers.
  • Comply with all security directives from airport authorities. Those wishing to minimise disruption may wish to consider placing large electronic items in checked luggage in anticipation of the ban’s implementation. If doing so, consider the security of the content of the device itself. Use only Transportation Security Administration (TSA)-approved measures to secure valuable electronics in checked luggage
  • Monitor the US TSA and Department of Homeland Security and UK Department for Transport websites for up-to-date information on changes to regulations.
  • Consult the relevant airport or airline directly for more information on new security screening processes prior to setting out for a US and UK-bound flight from or transiting through an affected airport.
  • Monitor our alerts for further information.

More detail

The US ban prohibits all electronic devices larger than a mobile phone, including laptops, tablets, cameras and e-readers, from the passenger cabin and carry-on luggage on flights to the US from the affected airports until further notice. Such devices will be permitted in checked luggage. Mobile phones and medical devices will be excluded from the ban, subject to additional screening. The ban may also affect flights from these countries to Canada. Given the variety of countries affected, it is unlikely that the ban is a response to a specific threat.

The UK ban is narrower in scope, and only prohibits phones, laptops and tablets larger than 6.2in x 3.6in x .6in (16.0cm x 9.3cm x 1.5cm).

The US order specifically affects the following airports:

  • Abu Dhabi International (AUH, UAE)
  • Cairo International (CAI, Egypt)
  • Dubai International (DXB, UAE)
  • Hamad International (DOH, Doha, Qatar)
  • Istanbul Ataturk (IST, Turkey)
  • King Abdulaziz International ( JED, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
  • King Khalid International (RUH, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
  • Kuwait International (KWI)
  • Mohammed V International (CAS, Casablanca, Morocco)
  • Queen Alia International (AMM, Amman, Jordan).

The UK order exempts flights from Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar and the UAE but also includes all airports with direct flights to the UK from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Turkey.

The Saudi authorities have confirmed that they will implement the ban by 23 March. Statements from officials in the UAE and other countries to the media earlier on 21 March indicated that they would comply with instructions from the US ahead of the implementation deadline.

 

ILRI Ethiopia: Stores Unit Closure for 2017 1st Quarter Stock-take Exercise

Latest ILRI announcements -

ILRI Ethiopia Stores Unit will carry out the 2017 1st Quarter Stock-take exercise from 29th – 31st March 2017. During this period, only emergency requests will be attended. You are therefore kindly requested to submit your warehouse order requests through the OCS by mid-day, Tuesday 28th  March 2017. Normal operations will resume on Monday, 3rd April 2017.

Apologies for any inconveniences this may cause.

Kebede Assefa |Supply Chain |Stores Supervisor

Research to help secure rangelands for users presented at ongoing World Bank Land and Poverty Conference

News from ILRI -

Joint village land-use planning

Pastoralists in Tanzania engaging in participatory mapping of rangeland resources (photo credit: ILRI/Fiona Flintan).

Managing interactions between environmental change and livestock systems through interventions such as sustainable rangeland use and improved land governance is a key focus of the Sustainable Livestock Systems program of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The aim is to develop and promote research-based interventions that will protect and promote rational resource allocation and use, thereby improving livestock keepers’ livelihoods and resilience.

Through the International Land Coalition (ILC) Rangelands Initiative, the global component of which ILRI coordinates and supports, ILRI is taking its research agenda on adaptation and resilience a notch higher at the ongoing Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty conference, the theme of which this year is ‘Responsible Land Governance—Towards an Evidence-Based Approach’. ILRI is one of the major partners supporting this premier global forum on land governance.

Fiona Flintan, a rangelands governance scientist at ILRI, is an author of three presentations at the conference and today, 24 Mar 2017, is leading a masterclass on the following topic: ‘Towards sustainable pastoralism through improving governance of pastoral lands: Implementation of the FAO VGGT Governance of Pastoral Lands’. Also today, Flintan is leading a meeting to deliberate on a call for an ‘International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists’. These deliberations are being done in collaboration with other ILC members and partners including: Coalition of European Lobbies for Eastern African Pastoralism (CELEP), FAO-Pastoralist Knowledge Hub, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)-World Initiative for Sustainable Pastoralism, Rangelands Partnership, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), World Bank and others.

ILRI has made considerable strides in facilitating inclusive participation of stakeholders to achieve sustainable rangeland use and to build rangeland resilience. For example, through the Sustainable Rangeland Management Project in Tanzania, ILRI has assisted nine villages to carry out village land-use planning and successfully pilot implementation of joint village planning across three of these villages, leading to the protection through certification of a shared grazing area called OLENGAPA, found in Kiteto district, Manyara region. Read more about this here.

Among other initiatives, ILRI’s research agenda in this area focuses on pro-poor land policy development and implementation. This includes institutional and governance dimensions for which partnerships with national governments and agencies as well as with non-governmental organizations are fundamental. Most recently, government–government dialogues have been facilitated between Ethiopia and Tanzania to promote and strengthen peer-to-peer sharing and learning among states.

This World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty has provided a much-needed forum to share lessons and identify opportunities for scaling up experiences for extensive adoption. The ILC Rangelands Initiative provided technical and financial support to eight other papers for the conference. ILRI and the World Bank will produce a joint proceedings of the rangeland papers delivered at the conference.

For more information on the Sustainable Rangeland Management Project, contact Fiona Flintan: f.flintan [at] cgiar.org

Download reports from the ILC Rangelands Initiative here


Land use change in the bale mountains eco-region of Ethiopia: Drivers, impacts and future scenarios

Our latest outputs -

Land use change in the bale mountains eco-region of Ethiopia: Drivers, impacts and future scenarios Chibssa, W.; Flintan, Fiona Livestock has been an integral part of the Bale Mountains Eco-Region landscape for many centuries. This paper describes the results of a research study undertaken in the region comparing land use change and livestock movements over a period of eight years from 2008 to 2016. The study provides some insights into the trends of intensification that have taken place, the challenges of this, and indications of who is benefiting from these processes and who is not. In 2008 the majority of the area was predominantly livestock in terms of production systems, with the traditional godantu movement system still functioning well despite challenges. However by 2016 though livestock numbers have not decreased in all areas, poverty levels have grown and access to resources for livestock production have become increasingly difficult for many. Key causes of this is the allocation of land to investors by local governments, trends in privatisation of resources, and a strengthening of the boundaries of the Bale Mountains National Park. The paper concludes by making recommendations for reconciling some of the conflicts arising, particularly over land use, and how land management in the area can be improved.

Pastoral women’s land rights and village land use planning in Tanzania: Experiences from the sustainable rangeland management project

Our latest outputs -

Pastoral women’s land rights and village land use planning in Tanzania: Experiences from the sustainable rangeland management project Kisambu, N.; Flintan, Fiona; Daley, E.; Pallas, S. In pastoral societies women face many challenges. Some describe these as a ‘double burden’ – that is, as pastoralists and as women. However, pastoral women may obtain a significant degree of protection from customary law even if customary institutions are male-dominated. In periods of change (economic, social, political), this protection may be lost, and without protection from statutory laws, women are in danger of “falling between two stools” (Adoko and Levine 2009). A study carried out in four villages in Tanzania, supported by the International Land Coalition, sought to understand the challenges and opportunities facing pastoral women with respect to accessing land and resources, in the context of village land use planning. This research presents empirical data on pastoral women’s land rights, shedding light on some of the detail of these rand their manifestation taking into account the differing contexts, land use patterns, and nature of rights to land. There are some common themes – particularly around the challenges facing women in pastoral communities including lack of space to make their views heard, lack of awareness of their rights, coupled with broader governance challenges. New processes underway such as a government-led review of Tanzania’s land policy provide opportunities to overcome these challenges.

Partnering with national meteorological services to support farmers in Africa

CRP 7 News -

The important contributions of meteorology to public safety and well-being are well recognized. Farmers need information about the timing and duration of rains to make important decisions on when to plant, what to plant, and how to plant. This is especially crucial in the face of climate variability, as changes in rainfall and temperature will have significant effects in Africa, where farmers there depend on rain-fed agriculture for their food and livelihoods.

National meteorological services (NMS) are the main source of information and expertise on weather and climate conditions and the custodians of historical data. Yet NMS are often the neglected and disadvantaged partners in the effort to help smallholder farmers adapt to a variable and changing climate. In the countries where the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) works, NMS are typically supportive of their farming populations but face serious resource constraints and competing demands from different sectors and government ministries.

Gaps in meteorological observation networks have been a major challenge to providing actionable climate information services, at a national scale. Across sub-Saharan Africa, the number of weather stations falls well below World Meteorological Organization (WMO) recommendations. Existing stations, which are concentrated in towns and on highways, are also deteriorating. Crises such as the 1994 Rwanda genocide have decimated observing networks for extended periods. It would take decades for new stations to generate robust information about the local climate.

Several opportunities available to help smallholder farmers adapt to a variable and changing climate depend on climate information. These include weather index insurance, improved methods for communicating using seasonal forecasts, matching crops and farming practices to local climate variability and trends, and crop production forecasts. These interventions have been successful at a pilot scale in locations where long-term weather records are available. But challenges such as data gaps, the cost of processing and analyzing weather station records, and capacity constraints of NMS have made the prospects for scaling up these services unrealistic—until now. 

Through the Enhancing National Climate Services (ENACTS) initiative, CCAFS works with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) and other partners to support NMS in several African countries (Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Ghana, Mali, Madagascar) and the AGRHYMET Regional Center in West Africa, to overcome data gaps and to provide high quality climate information. As a result, it is now feasible to provide climate information services that are actionable at the local scale of agricultural decision-making, at a national scale.

The ENACTS approach overcomes data gaps by blending NMS station data with satellite and other proxy data, to produce moderately high-resolution (roughly 4 km grid) historical gridded data (more than 30 years for rainfall, 50 years for temperature). The quality of these national data sets is substantially better than the best global data products. Access to information is improved through the development of online “Maproom” tools derived from the historic data sets, integrated into the NMS web pages. CCAFS is working with partners to expand the usefulness of ENACTS for agriculture, including reconstructing historic data on a daily time step, and expanding the suite of Maproom products to include new historical information products for agriculture and downscaled seasonal forecasts in a form that supports agricultural decision-making.

Video: ENACTS and climate services for farmers

In Mali, for example, the Joint Agro-Meteorological Services Incubator (JAMSI) is a partnership that aims to build the capacity of Mali’s national meteorological agencies and other intermediaries in interpreting, communicating and activating the use of seasonal climate information for seasonal agricultural decision making. The launch of the ENACTS initiative in Mali compliments this partnership, especially in providing capacity training and easing the implementation of the Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) approach developed by the University of Reading. The merged climate data and products generated through ENACTS are freely accessible via Mali Meteo’s “DATATHÈQUE”.

One year after its launch on World Meteorological Day in 2016, the Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture project, supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), provides a good example of how a NMS (Meteo-Rwanda) can work with agricultural institutions to provide actionable climate services. With CCAFS and IRI support, Meteo-Rwanda is developing a rich set of online Maproom products. The project is training agricultural extension staff and volunteer farmer promoters to use the PICSA approach to deliver relevant climate information to rural communities to help farmers make informed decisions.

In the first season of the four-year project, trained intermediaries from four pilot districts trained 2559 farmers (48% female) in the PICSA process, who in turn shared the information with an estimated 30,000 farmers. In the coming months, ENACTS and PICSA will be integrated, as trained intermediaries will access the graphical climate information that they bring to farming communities through Meteo-Rwanda’s Agriculture and Food Security Maprooms. Through the use of gridded data and online Maprooms, training personnel within the country’s innovative agricultural extension system, and attention to institutional capacity and governance, the project aims to benefit nearly one million farmers by 2019, and transform Rwanda’s farming population and national economy through climate services and improved climate risk management.

Further readings:

Uganda research-for-development work is helping to transform the country’s growing smallholder pig sector

East Africa News -

Above: Pius Kasajja, permanent secretary in the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, makes remarks at a livestock stakeholders’ meeting in Kampala (photo: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Left and  below: Participants at a livestock stakeholder workshop held in Kampala in Mar 2017 (photo: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) last week commended the Kenya-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) for its research to enhance livestock value chains in Uganda. These government remarks were made at a meeting of stakeholders in Uganda’s livestock sector organized by ILRI’s Uganda office on 14 Mar 2017 in the capital, Kampala. Participants at the meeting jointly identified opportunities for further ILRI-supported research in Uganda.

Remarks by Joy Kabatsi, minister of state for animal resources, which were read by Pius Kasajja, permanent secretary in MAAIF, acknowledged that ILRI’s research work fits well with the Uganda government’s broader strategy for its agricultural sector.

‘The focus of the government of Uganda is to transform agriculture from subsistence to commercially oriented systems. The work being done by ILRI resonates with the government’s objectives’, the minister reported.

Kabatsi lauded ILRI for its interventions to help transform Uganda’s smallholder pig value chain and its recent research-for-development efforts in the country’s northeastern semi-arid Karamoja region, where poverty rates are high and a drought is currently ravaging pastoral livelihoods.

In a subsequent address, Jimmy Smith, director general of ILRI, described ILRI’s research work in Uganda, emphasizing the advantages to Uganda of making use of ILRI’s multidisciplinary research staff and global reach.

‘ILRI uses knowledge acquired from working in different parts of the world to help bring about change locally’, Smith said.

Also present at the meeting was Peter Ndemere, representing Elioda Tumwesigye, Uganda’s cabinet minister of science, technology and innovation, who reiterated his government’s commitment to research for development in Uganda.

The meeting’s participants listened to presentations by ILRI’s partners in Uganda, who shared their experiences working with the smallholder pig value chain development projects that ILRI has been implementing in the country since 2011 with funds from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the European Commission (EC) and Irish Aid. The case stories presented included partnership with the local government of Masaka district on biosecurity measures against African swine fever. This district is ambitious to construct a centralized pig abattoir that will serve not only to reduce disease spread but also to catalyze business links between pig producers and marketers, ensuring that the farmers get a better return from their pig production.

Another case presented involved ILRI’s collaboration with PPM Uganda Ltd, a private company providing Uganda’s many small-scale pig farmers with links to markets and business development services using training manuals developed by ILRI. Also highlighted was an ILRI-initiated multi-stakeholder platform for actors all along the pig value chain in Uganda.

The consultative meeting was attended by Ugandan government officials, academics, and representatives of private-sector companies and development agencies. Members of ILRI’s most senior management team, who had travelled to Kampala to hold one of their monthly meetings, as well as several ILRI scientists based in Uganda and Kenya also attended this stakeholder workshop.

Find other resources on ILRI research work in Uganda.


Uganda research-for-development work is helping to transform the country’s growing smallholder pig sector

Spotlight from ILRI news -

Above: Pius Kasajja, permanent secretary in the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, makes remarks at a livestock stakeholders’ meeting in Kampala (photo: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Left and  below: Participants at a livestock stakeholder workshop held in Kampala in Mar 2017 (photo: ILRI/Brian Kawuma).

Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) last week commended the Kenya-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) for its research to enhance livestock value chains in Uganda. These government remarks were made at a meeting of stakeholders in Uganda’s livestock sector organized by ILRI’s Uganda office on 14 Mar 2017 in the capital, Kampala. Participants at the meeting jointly identified opportunities for further ILRI-supported research in Uganda.

Remarks by Joy Kabatsi, minister of state for animal resources, which were read by Pius Kasajja, permanent secretary in MAAIF, acknowledged that ILRI’s research work fits well with the Uganda government’s broader strategy for its agricultural sector.

‘The focus of the government of Uganda is to transform agriculture from subsistence to commercially oriented systems. The work being done by ILRI resonates with the government’s objectives’, the minister reported.

Kabatsi lauded ILRI for its interventions to help transform Uganda’s smallholder pig value chain and its recent research-for-development efforts in the country’s northeastern semi-arid Karamoja region, where poverty rates are high and a drought is currently ravaging pastoral livelihoods.

In a subsequent address, Jimmy Smith, director general of ILRI, described ILRI’s research work in Uganda, emphasizing the advantages to Uganda of making use of ILRI’s multidisciplinary research staff and global reach.

‘ILRI uses knowledge acquired from working in different parts of the world to help bring about change locally’, Smith said.

Also present at the meeting was Peter Ndemere, representing Elioda Tumwesigye, Uganda’s cabinet minister of science, technology and innovation, who reiterated his government’s commitment to research for development in Uganda.

The meeting’s participants listened to presentations by ILRI’s partners in Uganda, who shared their experiences working with the smallholder pig value chain development projects that ILRI has been implementing in the country since 2011 with funds from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the European Commission (EC) and Irish Aid. The case stories presented included partnership with the local government of Masaka district on biosecurity measures against African swine fever. This district is ambitious to construct a centralized pig abattoir that will serve not only to reduce disease spread but also to catalyze business links between pig producers and marketers, ensuring that the farmers get a better return from their pig production.

Another case presented involved ILRI’s collaboration with PPM Uganda Ltd, a private company providing Uganda’s many small-scale pig farmers with links to markets and business development services using training manuals developed by ILRI. Also highlighted was an ILRI-initiated multi-stakeholder platform for actors all along the pig value chain in Uganda.

The consultative meeting was attended by Ugandan government officials, academics, and representatives of private-sector companies and development agencies. Members of ILRI’s most senior management team, who had travelled to Kampala to hold one of their monthly meetings, as well as several ILRI scientists based in Uganda and Kenya also attended this stakeholder workshop.

Find other resources on ILRI research work in Uganda.


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