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Douxchamps S.,International Livestock Research Institute ILRI | van Wijk M.T.,Kenya International Livestock Research Institute | Silvestri S.,Kenya International Livestock Research Institute | Moussa A.S.,International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics ICRISAT | And 13 more authors.
Regional Environmental Change | Year: 2015

Adaptation strategies to reduce smallholder farmers’ vulnerability to climate variability and seasonality are needed given the frequency of extreme weather events predicted to increase during the next decades in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in West Africa. We explored the linkages between selected agricultural adaptation strategies (crop diversity, soil and water conservation, trees on farm, small ruminants, improved crop varieties, fertilizers), food security, farm household characteristics and farm productivity in three contrasting agro-ecological sites in West Africa (Burkina Faso, Ghana and Senegal). Differences in land area per capita and land productivity largely explained the variation in food security across sites. Based on land size and market orientation, four household types were distinguished (subsistence, diversified, extensive, intensified), with contrasting levels of food security and agricultural adaptation strategies. Income increased steadily with land size, and both income and land productivity increased with degree of market orientation. The adoption of agricultural adaptation strategies was widespread, although the intensity of practice varied across household types. Adaptation strategies improve the food security status of some households, but not all. Some strategies had a significant positive impact on land productivity, while others reduced vulnerability resulting in a more stable cash flow throughout the year. Our results show that for different household types, different adaptation strategies may be ‘climate-smart’. The typology developed in this study gives a good entry point to analyse which practices should be targeted to which type of smallholder farmers, and quantifies the effect of adaptation options on household food security. Subsequently, it will be crucial to empower farmers to access, test and modify these adaptation options, if they were to achieve higher levels of food security. © 2015 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

Douxchamps S.,International Water Management Institute IWMI | Douxchamps S.,International Livestock Research Institute ILRI | Ayantunde A.,International Livestock Research Institute ILRI | Panyan E.K.,CSIR Animal Research Institute | And 4 more authors.
Water Resources and Rural Development | Year: 2014

With mixed crop-livestock systems projected to be the principal source of food in developing countries in the coming decades, opportunities exist for smallholders to participate and benefit from emerging crop and livestock markets in the Volta Basin. Given the economic, social and environmental vulnerability due to high water scarcity and variability in the basin, improvements in agricultural water management (AWM) are needed to ensure sustainable benefits. A survey was conducted among 326 crop-livestock households in four water scarce sites of the basin in Burkina Faso and Ghana to characterize households in terms of access to water, services and information, AWM intensity and livelihoods, and to explore the linkages between these characteristics.The sources of water were more diverse for study sites in Ghana than in Burkina, allowing different types of AWM strategies. Most of the farmers perceived a strong positive impact of AWM strategies on their livelihoods. Almost 70% of the variation in livelihood assets was explained by variation in AWM intensity, affecting mainly food consumption, sources of income and housing index. With increasing access to water, services and information, AWM intensity significantly increased, as well as labour for water-related activities and food consumption. This increase in AWM was significantly related to an increase in livelihood assets (R2 = 52%). Policies should be developed to improve access to information and services as well as access to market in rural areas of the Volta Basin, to enhance positive impact of AWM strategies on livelihoods of the rural households. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Dufey I.,Catholic University of Leuven | Hiel M.-P.,Catholic University of Leuven | Hakizimana P.,Catholic University of Leuven | Draye X.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 6 more authors.
Crop Science | Year: 2012

Lowland rice (Oryza sativa L.) is often affected by iron toxicity, which may lead to yield losses. One important constraint in the study of the inheritance of resistance strategies to this stress is the inconsistency of gene expression across different environments. This study aimed to determine the stability of quantitative trait loci (QTL) across several environments. Quantitative trait loci mapping for traits related to resistance mechanisms had been previously performed using 164 recombinant inbred lines derived from 'Azucena' and 'IR64' screened in hydroponics in a phytotron. In the present study, this population was tested under excessive ferrous iron conditions in three additional environments: in hydroponics in a greenhouse, on washed sand, and in the field. Altogether, 44 putative QTL were identified in the four single QTL analyses for morphological, physiological, and agronomic traits. From these 44 QTL, 20 were found in overlapping regions for the same or related traits in different environments, identifying six genomic regions of great interest for the inheritance of resistance to iron toxicity. Quantitative trait loci stability across environments was also checked by performing a joint QTL analysis, which confirmed the position of nine QTL previously found in the same or adjacent regions by at least one single analysis. Combining both single and joint analyses helps in separating QTL specific to a particular environment from generally expressed ones thus is more suitable for marker-assisted selection. © Crop Science Society of America.

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