Initial characterization of maize-legume farming systems and selection of thirty research sites/communities. The socioeconomic and agro-ecological profile of the farming system will be developed; market areas, potential agribusiness opportunities, and research sites/communities identified; GIS maps and socioeconomic and biophysical area profiles will be developed and agroecological analogues between Australia and ESA will be identified; farm budget data will be reviewed and collated.
Understanding farmers’ maize and legume production constraints and opportunities, crop and livestock interactions, resource use, technology preferences and market access. Survey data will be collected focusing on specific questions related to maize-legume interfaces and technology and institutional issues that limit farmer incentives for adoption; instruments, tools and protocols for survey data collection will be standardized across countries; research reports documenting constraints and opportunities for five countries will be prepared, completed and shared with all partners and scientists.
Understanding maize and legume input and output markets and value chains. Standardized seed and fertilizer market survey tools will be developed, and input market chain data and maps for seeds, fertilizer and information will be gathered; standardized output market survey tools will be developed, and output market chain data and maps will be developed; constraints and underutilized market opportunities will be identified and shared with research teams and partners to inform targeted interventions.
Farm-household typologies and system options to reduce risks and enhance profitability identified for testing in the research sites/communities. Farm household typologies will be developed and case studies identified based on household survey data and available data from other research sources; existing farmer resource allocation decisions and their consequences for risk-productivity-environment will be quantified; opportunities for improvement will be identified and discussed with program scientists, collaborating farmers, stakeholders, and partners to facilitate program focus on key research questions, best-bet practices and innovations.
Effective adoption and impact pathways assessed for ten maize-legume systems. Evaluation criteria, indicators and monitoring processes with particular reference to productivity and stability will be selected; evaluation criteria and feedback processes on changes in productivity, risk, income, at multiple scales will be implemented; adoption and impact assessments will be conducted through farm household surveys to identify impact pathways and facilitate learning, change and priority setting processes; new opportunities will be identified from linkages with other programs and local, regional activities.