Taking stock on Sustainable Intensification Research for Impact in Eastern and Southern Africa: Implications and Strategies for Future Work

Johnson Siamachira

The Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Cropping Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa (SIMLESA) will hold a three day high-level meeting on 19-22 June 2017. The meeting will be held in Arusha, Tanzania, and will take stock of the progress made by SIMLESA during the last six years, and inform agendas for future research for development in the region.

Specifically, the conference will discuss achievements and opportunities for transformational changes. The meeting will include four keynote speakers to briefly introduce each individual topic, followed by short discussion fora, and country summary talks. On the second day, small thematic discussion fora will explore the challenges ahead. Additionally, a final plenary session will summarize key messages: What are the new challenges? How a climate smart agriculture framework could address them? There would also be a facilitated field tour to project sites in Arusha, Moshe and the Salian Agricultural Research Institute.

SIMLESA partner's presentations will also address the following questions

  •   What is the evidence for impact in terms of 30% increases in yield and 30% reduction in downside risk?
  •  What is the evidence for increased environmental sustainability?
  •  What are the key messages to farmers, agribusinesses, extension and policy?
  •  What are the gaps and new opportunities to increase food security and mitigate poverty across east and southern Africa?

Main conference discussions and their presenters will be as follows:

    •  A systems approach to increase productivity and food security: Insights from SIMLESA, by Mulugetta Mekuria (SIMLESA program leader), and Daniel Rodriguez (QAAFI)

    •  The Science Agenda for African Agriculture: Role of Sustainable Intensification as a driver for economic growth, by Professor Mandi Rukuni (Independent Consultant)

    •  Strategies to achieve equity, by Dr Maureen Miruka (CARE USA, Director, Agriculture and Markets Systems CARE International, East, Central and Southern Africa Regional Office (ECSARO)

    •  Targets and metrics for environmental sustainability: Experiences and lessons from Africa RISING, by Prof Siege Snapp (Soils and Cropping Systems Ecologist, Centre for Global Change and Earth Observations, Michigan State University)

  •  The Future of Sustainable Intensification and diversification for different rural environments: A global perspective, by Dr John Dixon (ACIAR Principal Advisor and Research Program Manager)

Parallel panel discussions, will have the following format:

    •  Exploiting synergies across Eastern and Southern Africa Research and Development efforts. What have we learned? How can we collaborate better? How do we improve linkages between these efforts? Conference facilitators will steer discussions among representatives from SIMLESA, FACASI, Africa Rising, ZimCLIFS, STMA, TL-3, TAMASA, and N2Africa.

  •  Equitably reaching hundreds of thousands: the role of policy and institutions. A discussion panel with scaling out partners from SIMLESA Competitive Grants grantees AgriMerc, NASFAM, YYTZ Agro-processing Ltd.

Day II will have a thematic session on building the legacy of SIMLESA, and laying the foundations for the future with concurrent facilitated small group discussions:

  •  From fields to communities: Innovations for communities are needed to develop and test scalable innovations that transform value chains and the future of community systems. The conference is proposing for a more integrative approach to innovation that moves away from the simple testing of technologies to the “development of innovations by design using a systems approach that links people with markets, governance and enabling institutions. What have we learnt from the innovation platforms and how do they translate to the community level?

  •  From incremental to transformational: Improvements in agronomy or the introduction of CA or CSA will provide incremental and long-term benefits. In most cases larger transformational processes are required to produce more significant gains. What are the most likely transformational changes that will produce dramatic gains in food and nutritional security? Mechanization is just an example but also highlight irrigation, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Panellists: Esther Muiruri (Equity Bank), Caspar Roxburg (QAAFI), Peter Thorne (ILRI), Leonidas Dusengemungu (RAB)

  •  From commodities to market based agri-food systems: Too many research efforts have focused on addressing single components in complex smallholder systems. Here, it is propose that there is a need to work with rural communities to identify opportunities to enhance and diversify sources livelihoods. This is a fundamental step in addressing the multiple dimensions creating poverty traps in smallholder systems. In this forum we aim to discuss what is a community livelihoods approach? How would an integrated research for development community livelihoods approach would look like? What is the role of innovation systems? Panellists: Patrick Mutuo (formerly, Millennium Villages), Maren Radeny (CCAFS) Bernard Vanlauwe (IITA) and Paul Murphy (Radicle Seeds, Australia.


Funded by

Ethiopia Kenya Malawi Mozambique Tanzania
© Copyright. CIMMYT is supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa (SIMLESA)

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