Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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Rodriguez D.,University of Queensland | de Voil P.,University of Queensland | Rufino M.C.,Lancaster University | Odendo M.,Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization KALRO | van Wijk M.T.,ILRI
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2017

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. © 2017 The Authors

Mengesha M.,Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research EIAR | Tamir B.,Addis Ababa Institute of Technology | Dessie T.,ILRI
Livestock Research for Rural Development | Year: 2011

This study was conducted in four Peasant Associations in Jamma district. A total of 120 households from four PAs were involved in the study. Ninety eight percent of farmers were supplementing extra feeds and water for their chickens, with the main proportion of food leftover (26.4%) followed by spoiled grain (25.1%). The proportions of households providing supplementary feeding were: 19.8, 21.5, 37.3 and 21.4% in the morning, at noon, afternoon and evening respectively. Most of the households (77.7%) were not giving feeds separately to the flock compositions. Households were practicing of chicken selection with the main characters of egg productivity (35.4) and body weight (38.4%). Majority of households (78%) were using their living room for birds penning at night and women were more (72%) responsible for flock management. The larger eggs with oval shape and smooth in eggshell were the preferred characters in selection of incubating eggs. Farmers (38%) adapted a practice of mixing local eggs with exotic or crossbred eggs while incubating for better hatchability of exotic or crossbred eggs. Around 73% the respondents reported that the highest mortality of chicks was occurring up to 2 weeks of age. But around 12.6% of the households were treating their sick birds with traditional-treatments. Ninety-one per cent of farmers pointed out that more frequently occurring and devastating disease was Newcastle Disease.

Gebreyesus G.,Jigjiga University | Haile A.,ICARDA | Dessie T.,ILRI
Livestock Research for Rural Development | Year: 2012

Characterization of the Short-eared Somali goat population around Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, was undertaken in a community-based and participatory approach. Range of participatory tools, including Focal Group Discussions, participatory mappings and transect walks, were employed to study the local community's Indigenous knowledge and practices in animal breeding. The breeding objective was defined in a participatory manner through own-flock ranking experiments. Physical description of the goat population was made based on the "key characteristics" concept used by the community to distinguish their goat type among other breeds within their migratory reach. The Issa community maintains a perception of special association towards the Short-eared Somali goat type, claiming a historic role in its development and adaptation. Local myths persistent in the community associate the origin of the Short-eared Somali goat breed with the communal ethno-history. The community generally practices selective pure breeding employing rather complex indigenous knowledge and traditional practices aimed at polishing the gene pool towards the dictates of the environment. Patchy color patterns were generally dominant (59.8%) in the goat population, while 34% of the patched goats had a unique pattern of black spots on the center core of the face and a black stripe across the spine. Goats were kept for multifaceted purposes ranging from products like milk and meat to functions in socio-cultural and financial state of affairs. The production system was characterized with lack of feed supplementation and rangelands provide the only source of feed throughout the year. Although the production environment was characterized with recurrent droughts and high prevalence of goat diseases, goats were found to have significant contributions to the livelihood of the Issa pastoralists in the study area.

Valbuena D.,System Wide Livestock Programme | Valbuena D.,Wageningen University | Tui S.H.K.,ICRISAT | Erenstein O.,CIMMYT | And 7 more authors.
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2015

Crop residues (CR) have become a limited resource in mixed crop-livestock farms. As a result of the increasing demand and low availability of alternative resources, CR became an essential resource for household activities, especially for livestock keeping; a major livelihood element of smallholder farmers in the developing world. Farmers' decisions on CR use are determined by farmers' preferences, total crop production, availability of alternative resources and demand for CR. Interaction of these determinants can result in pressures and trade-offs of CR use. Determinants, pressures and trade-offs are shaped by the specific socio-economic and agro-ecological context of these mixed farms. The objective of this paper is to provide a comparative analysis of the determinants of CR use and to examine some options to cope with pressures and trade-offs in 12 study sites across Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Drawing on socio-economic data at household and village level, we describe how cereal intensification and livestock feed demand influence use, pressures and trade-offs of CR use across study sites, specifically cereal residue. Our results show that in low cereal production and livestock feed demand sites, despite a low demand for CR and availability of alternative biomass, pressures and trade-offs of CR use are common particularly in the dry season. In sites with moderate cereal production, and low-moderate and moderate livestock feed demand, alternative biomass resources are scarce and most residues are fed to livestock or used to cover household needs. Subsequently, pressures and potential trade-offs are stronger. In sites with low cereal production and high livestock feed demand, pressures and trade-offs depend on the availability of better feed resources. Finally, sites with high cereal production and high livestock feed demand have been able to fulfil most of the demand for CR, limiting pressures and trade-offs. These patterns show that agricultural intensification, better management of communal resources and off-farm activities are plausible development pathways to overcome pressures and trade-offs of CR use. Although technologies can largely improve these trends, research and development should revisit past initiatives so as to develop innovative approaches to tackle the well-known problem of low agricultural production in many smallholder mixed systems, creating more sustainable futures. © 2014 The Authors.

PubMed | Bioversity International, ILRI, Stanford University, Kilimo Trust and 9 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Ambio | Year: 2016

There is an ongoing debate on what constitutes sustainable intensification of agriculture (SIA). In this paper, we propose that a paradigm for sustainable intensification can be defined and translated into an operational framework for agricultural development. We argue that this paradigm must now be defined-at all scales-in the context of rapidly rising global environmental changes in the Anthropocene, while focusing on eradicating poverty and hunger and contributing to human wellbeing. The criteria and approach we propose, for a paradigm shift towards sustainable intensification of agriculture, integrates the dual and interdependent goals of using sustainable practices to meet rising human needs while contributing to resilience and sustainability of landscapes, the biosphere, and the Earth system. Both of these, in turn, are required to sustain the future viability of agriculture. This paradigm shift aims at repositioning world agriculture from its current role as the worlds single largest driver of global environmental change, to becoming a key contributor of a global transition to a sustainable world within a safe operating space on Earth.

Valbuena D.,Systemwide Livestock Programme | Erenstein O.,CIMMYT | Homann-Kee Tui S.,ICRISAT | Abdoulaye T.,IITA | And 9 more authors.
Field Crops Research | Year: 2012

Conservation Agriculture (CA) is being advocated to enhance soil health and sustain long term crop productivity in the developing world. One of CA's key principles is the maintenance of soil cover often by retaining a proportion of crop residues on the field as mulch. Yet smallholder crop-livestock systems across Africa and Asia face trade-offs among various options for crop residue use. Knowledge of the potential trade-offs of leaving more residues as mulch is only partial and the objective of this research is to address some of these knowledge gaps by assessing the trade-offs in contrasting settings with mixed crop-livestock systems. The paper draws from village surveys in 12 sites in 9 different countries across Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia. Sites were clustered into 3 groups along the combined population and livestock density gradients to assess current crop residue management practices and explore potential challenges to adopting mulching practices in different circumstances. Results show that although high-density sites face higher potential pressure on resources on an area basis, biomass production tends to be more substantial in these sites covering demands for livestock feed and allowing part of the residues to be used as mulch. In medium-density sites, although population and livestock densities are relatively lower, biomass is scarce and pressure on land and feed are high, increasing the pressure on crop residues and their opportunity cost as mulch. In low-density areas, population and livestock densities are relatively low and communal feed and fuel resources exist, resulting in lower potential pressure on residues on an area basis. Yet, biomass production is low and farmers largely rely on crop residues to feed livestock during the long dry season, implying substantial opportunity costs to their use as mulch. Despite its potential benefit for smallholder farmers across the density gradient, the introduction of CA-based mulching practices appears potentially easier in sites where biomass production is high enough to fulfil existing demands for feed and fuel. In sites with relatively high feed and fuel pressure, the eventual introduction of CA needs complementary research and development efforts to increase biomass production and/or develop alternative sources to alleviate the opportunity costs of leaving some crop residues as mulch. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Tarawali S.,International Livestock Research Institute ILRI | Herrero M.,ILRI | Descheemaeker K.,ILRI and International Water Management Institute IWMI | Grings E.,ILRI | Blummel M.,Indian International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics
Livestock Science | Year: 2011

Mixed crop livestock systems provide the majority of the cereal and livestock domestic products for households in developing countries. We explore the question of whether such systems can respond to increasing demands for livestock products without compromising future livelihoods of the poor or the environment. We consider how the potential of smallholder farmers to address future milk and meat demands as livestock system transition may be impacted by the trajectory of intensification, the type of livestock commodity and the changing economic circumstances. Examples of ruminant feeding and management options with the potential to increase productivity and mitigate negative environmental impacts, notably greenhouse gases and the use of land and water in the context of developing country crop livestock systems are presented. However, such technical dimensions need to be realistically and practically considered in the context of changing market demands. Furthermore, if crop livestock systems in developing countries are to benefit today's smallholder farmers, radically different approaches will be needed. Equal importance will need to be given to technology based production and efficiency enhancing dimensions together with innovative and practical approaches encompassing institutional, policy and market solutions often in a value chain context. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.

News Article | August 30, 2016

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Kenya is on its way to breaking the devastating cycle of drought, poverty and hunger over the next decade, a leading scientist said as he was named winner of a prestigious award. Kenyan scientist Andrew Mude won the 2016 Norman Borlaug Award for Field Research and Application on Tuesday for developing livestock insurance, using state-of-the-art technologies, for herders in East Africa's drylands. "I am confident that with insurance and the related complementary services, the boom and bust cycle will come to an end," said Mude, principal economist at the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). "The boom and bust cycle and particularly its consequence of famine ... is reducing and will reduce relatively rapidly in the course of the coming decade," the 39-year-old told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview. Droughts regularly decimate herds across Africa, forcing destitute families to abandon their nomadic lifestyle and settle in remote, dusty towns where they fall deeper into poverty. Over 16,000 Kenyan households have already benefitted from ILRI's index-based insurance scheme, which provides herders with a payout when rains fail, rather than waiting for animals to die, Mude said. Compensation is calculated using satellite images to compare current forage levels with historical data. "When a drought hits, you minimise the impact," Mude said, likening the scheme to health insurance. "Households can use the indemnities to try and protect livestock from dying." There are more than 50 million herders across Africa and many of them could benefit from the technology, according to a statement by the World Food Prize, which was created by Borlaug - famous for developing wheat varieties that drove the Green Revolution in the last half of the 20th century. Eliminating hunger by 2030 is one of 17 ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed last year by U.N. member states to tackle the world's most troubling problems. Since its launch in Kenya in 2010, livestock insurance has also been rolled out in Ethiopia, with plans to test similar schemes in west and southern Africa, the statement said. Kenya's government lent its support to the project in October, following up on a 2013 election pledge to provide national livestock insurance. From thinking pastoralism was a "dying and inefficient" production system, government now sees it as well suited to the challenges of the arid lands, Mude said. The government is paying premiums of eight percent to 12 percent for 5,000 households in northern Kenya, each with livestock worth around $700, Mude said. Some 1.2 million Kenyans need food aid due to poor spring rains associated with the El Nino weather phenomenon, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) said. The situation is likely to worsen as La Nina is predicted to bring poor October to December rains, it said. El Nino occurs when water in the Pacific Ocean becomes abnormally warm, while La Nina involves unusually cold waters. Almost 300 herders in the drought-hit north received some $120 each in insurance payouts last Wednesday, Mude said. "We're now planning to replicate this novel insurance scheme across all of northern Kenya, where some four million pastoralists depend primarily on livestock," Kenya's cabinet secretary for agriculture, livestock and fisheries, Willy Bett, said in the statement. Households using insurance are less likely to sell off their livestock in distress when prices are low during droughts, or to reduce the nutritional intake of children aged below five, and report a greater sense of wellbeing, Mude said. With improved access to roads, mobile phone networks and banking services, herders are starting to develop businesses to "build themselves out of poverty", he said. The award, named after the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner, recognises science-based achievements in the fight to end global hunger and poverty.

Gebreyesus G.,ILRI | Haile A.,ICARDA | Dessie T.,ILRI
Livestock Research for Rural Development | Year: 2013

This study was conducted in the rural kebeles around Dire Dawa for designing a simple, yet, feasible breeding scheme in the context of community-based management of animal genetic resources. Range of participatory rural appraisal tools, including focal group discussions and participatory mappings, were employed to study the local community's Indigenous knowledge and practices in managing the goat gene pool. The breeding objective and local trait preferences were defined in a participatory manner through own-flock ranking experiments. The community generally practices selective pure breeding where by the own flock and flocks in the neighbourhood were the units of selection for bucks. There are social regulations in the community against sale of breeding does outside the community while encouraging communal use of outstanding breeding males. Goats are kept for multifaceted purposes ranging from products like milk, meat and live-sale to functions in socio-cultural, financial and ritual state of affairs. The breeding objective is to ensure improved milk production, through increased daily yield per doe and increased fertility per flock, and increased net income per flock, through increased number of marketable animals. Traditional criteria such as conformation, behaviour and adaptation were as important as most "production" traits in selecting breeding animals. The breeding goal traits considered were, accordingly, milk production, conformation and reproductive traits. Based on these findings, village breeding schemes, where-by flocks and breeding groups in a village are taken as focal points, is recommended as way forward in genetic improvement. The framework for a feasible implementation of such genetic improvement scheme is outlined based on the rationale of utilizing available social regulations, indigenous knowledge and traditional systems of breeding as well as future market prospects.

Saqalli M.,University of Versailles | Gerard B.,ILRI | Bielders C.L.,Catholic University of Louvain | Defourny P.,Catholic University of Louvain
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2011

The aim of this article is to analyze the impact of development interventions on the population of three Nigerien villages that differ in terms of their agro-ecological, social and economic characteristics. This is performed by simulating the behavior of individuals in an agent-based modeling framework which integrates the village characteristics as well as the family internal rules that condition access to economic and production activities. Villagers are differentiated according to the social and agro-ecological constraints they are subjected to. Two development project interventions are simulated, assuming no land scarcity: increasing the availability of inorganic fertilizers for farmers and an inventory credit technique based on millet grain. Two distinct approaches were used to model the rationale of farmers' decision making: gains or losses in economic value or gains or losses in within-village "reputation" Our results show that village populations do not respond en masse to development interventions. Reputation has little effect on the population behavior and should be considered more as a local proxy for wealth amongst villagers, suggesting the monetization of these societies. Populations involve themselves in the two simulated development interventions only at sites where savings are possible. Some level of household food security and investment capacity is actually required to take part in the development interventions, which are largely conditioned by family manpower and size. As long as uncultivated land remains available in the village territory, support for inorganic fertilizers has little impact in the absence of any intensification process. Inventory credit engages a maximum of 25% of the population at the site with medium agro-ecological conditions. Therefore, both interventions should be viewed as a potential support tool for a limited part of the population capable of going beyond the survival level, but not as a generic poverty-alleviation panacea. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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