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SIMLESA Program Annual Report January 2010–December 2010

56977.pdfFood security is a major concern in the east and southern Africa region. While the food crisis has receded somewhat at the international level, within the region urban food prices remain relatively high. Among the food crops, maize is the main staple and legumes an important dietary protein source for the rural poor. Legumes are widely used as an intercrop in maize systems, and are also significant source of income for women. Seasonal variability causes wide swings in food crop yields, including maize and legumes. Rain-fed maize-legume cropping systems show considerable promise in boosting productivity and helping reverse the decline in soil fertility that is a fundamental cause of low smallholder productivity in the region.

During July –December 2009 consultations between ACIAR and stakeholders in the region and Australia led to the formulation of the Sustainable Intensification of maize-legume based Farming Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa-SIMLESA program proposal and its approval in March 2010. ACIAR is supporting the A$20 million program for 2010-2013 period which is being managed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. The program is implemented by NARS in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Mozambique in collaboration with many partners. The program aims at increasing farm-level food security and productivity, in the context of climate risk and change, through the development of more resilient, profitable and sustainable farming systems.

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Pathways to sustainable intensification in Eastern and Southern Africa – Ethiopia 2010

A multi-stage sampling was employed to identify households. In the first stage 9 districts (five form Oromyia region, three from SNNP region and one from Benshangul region) were selected purposely. Accordingly, Bako Tibe, Gubuesyo, Shalla, Dudga, Adami Tullu, Mesrak Badawacho, Meskan, Hawassa Zuriya and Pawe selected. As the program focused on maize based farming system, maize production and agro-ecology was used as an important criterion to select districts and villages. Seven districts (Shalla, Dudga, Adami Tullu, Mesrak Badawacho, Meskan, and Hawassa Zuriya) fall under low potential agro-ecology zone characterized by low and erratic rainfall, while the remaining districts fall under high potential zone with adequate rainfall. In the second stage a total sample of 74 Peasant Associations (PAs) as shown in the survey summary document in the main project summary page were selected randomly with probability proportional to household size

SIMLESA Program Annual Report January 2010–June 2010: First

Update and highlights: January-June 2010

Partnership and Linkages

  • Excellent progress has been made notably in terms of workplans and agreements signed with all partners except ASARECA and ARC/South Africa (for whom it is agreed that activities would commence in year 2) and the start up of field activities in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Queensland
  • CIMMYT, as Commissioned Organization executes the program with the NARS of the five principal countries in collaboration with its regional and international partners namely; the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA), the International center for Research for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of South Africa. Collaboration with the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation Queensland and Murdoch.
  • SIMLESA has established linkages with Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa (CIMMYT managed, BMGF funded) and with Tropical Legumes 2 (ICRISAT managed, BMGF funded) for the provision of advanced drought tolerant maize legume lines, respectively. Cooperation on national research teams and exchange of results with another project -N2Africa (Wageningen University, BMGF funded) have been discussed.

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