PROGRESS IN FP3: Integrated Farm and Household Management – 2019

The issue of biotic stresses was addressed through reducing agro-chemical inputs in controlling pests and diseases by tailoring their management options for better efficacy (Table 5). Thus, five strains each of Streptomyces and Bacillus were evaluated as bio-control agents against Fusarium wilt and plant growth promoting agents in chickpea under both glasshouse and field conditions where reduced disease incidences were observed. In addition, the spatial and temporal distribution of emerging diseases of chickpea and pigeonpea in India was assessed and risk areas mapped. In a large-scale experimental application of bio-control agents in Benin and Burkina Faso, adults of Therophilus javanus were recovered from parasitized Maruca vitrata caterpillars collected from cowpea pods after three years of their initial release resulting in a reduction of pod borer population by 86.3%.

For abiotic stresses under the same outcome but looking at achieving efficacy of resource use and validating soil management options, sweet sorghum bagasse was found to decompose fast and its compost prepared with microbes successfully promoted plant growth and significantly enhanced yields. Plant growth promotion products like arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) inoculation proved to be effective on Striga infection and yield of sole-cropped maize and maize-bean intercrops in Uganda. Furthermore, five indigenous Bradyrhizobium strains evaluated on soybean in Mozambique showed promising results with decreased Striga population and increased biomass and grain yields.

Sustainable intensification and diversification in cropping systems have been addressed through developing crop production systems and decision support tools (Table 5). Extensive screening of crop varieties for intercropping was conducted in various agroecologies including 32 of soybean from across Africa evaluated in Mozambique, cowpea evaluated in Malawi, best-fit groundnut and pigeonpea in Malawi and India, and cowpea intercropped with local sorghum in Burkina Faso. To create awareness and promote technologies, 236 soybean and 185 cowpea demonstration plots on varieties and inputs were established on farmers’ fields. Thirty-six percent of the farmers who hosted the soybean demonstration plots were women, whereas 39% of them hosted cowpea demonstration plots. ‘Optimal’ doubled-up legume systems were established to train 98 master trainers (28 women) in Malawi. The tested intercrop options included 2:1 maize-cowpea versus 1:1 in Mozambique, groundnut and pigeonpea in India, and sorghum with native evergreen woody shrubs in Burkina Faso for which production, radiation and WUE (increased by 44%) and farmers’ opinions were evaluated. In total, 2,500 farmers and extension agents (46% women) were trained in Mozambique and Malawi. Extension materials were developed and 110,000 people are benefitting from the doubled-up legume systems in Malawi.

Decision support tools were developed through surveys for farm-household livelihood typologies, innovation adoption, and assessing the impacts of legume-based technological interventions on production and livelihoods in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia. Model specification and data collection have been completed and empirical parameterization is ongoing for agent-based model of community-landscape dynamics. Additionally, nutrient flows are being modelled to generate a ‘map’ to guide stakeholders for effective nutrient cycles.

To capacitate farmers in applying tested, adapted and validated options for sustainable intensification and livelihood diversification, attempts were made to develop a suite of systems modelling tools/framework for co-designing resilient farming systems. Under assessment across scales and dimensions, a comprehensive framework for farming systems’ sustainability with 5 domains and 115 indicators was developed. A multi-dimensional analysis was undertaken to explore the near-future effects of different scenarios on food security dimensions of sustainable intensification in southern Mali. In Senegal, a remote sensing-based model has been calibrated for millet yield estimate allowing to account for parkland effects (R²=0.70).

With a view to evaluating trade-offs and co-designing farming systems for enhanced resilience and income, a range of new methodologies for combining data collected at different scales as well as correcting bias of satellite-derived weather parameters (e.g. CHIRPS) using measured station data; deriving soil parameterization for plot level simulation from landscape datasets (e.g. AfSIS), etc., were developed. The central integrator has been crop-soil-climate models. A large farmers’ field survey assessing the effect of trees at a micro-landscape scale (up to 250 m radius buffer) on the natural regulation of the millet head miner (MHM) was conducted with promising findings. Multi-location trials to design suitable farming systems for increased resilience and nutrition in 14 GLDC crop varieties (sorghum – 4, millets – 4, groundnut – 2 and cowpea – 4) and vegetable crops along with mineral fertilizer were assessed on farmers’ fields in Mali (100) and Burkina Faso (60).

Whole farm models were run successfully for three districts in India and two regions in Niger to support the upscaling of climate resilient agriculture. The cropping system modelling tools are run to help the breeding programs (FPs 4 & 5) with optimization of GxExM. A system dynamics model for sorghum dairy value chain analysis with micro-level data was developed in India (cross-cutting MPAB). Farmers in ESA were found to attribute more value to short-term benefits of legumes, contrary to aid agencies’ and national governments’ long-term views (FP1 priority setting). To target gender and nutrition under GLDC farming systems, gender-oriented adoption studies were conducted in Burkina Faso for cowpea and in Ethiopia for lentil and chickpea varieties. KAP surveys revealed misconceptions that may be the potential barriers to consumption behavior change with regard to nutrition. Therefore, a holistic package on nutrition education was designed to lay the foundation for the right nutritional knowledge and attitudes.

FP3, through intermediate development outcomes on increased incomes and employment, is addressing SLO1 and SGD 1. The flagship also works for increased productivity as well as improved diets for poor and vulnerable people, thus addressing SLO2 and SDG 2, 3, 5 and 10. This flagship is striving for sustainably managed agroecosystems and increased resilience of the poor to climate change and other shocks which cover SLO3 and SDG 13 and 15. All scaling up activities are done through capacitating national partners, thus addressing SDG 17. To create the evidence on these aspects, FP3 will better report on numbers reached in individual activities, conduct specific studies on the impacts of GLDC technologies on NRM using consultants, and consider numbers reached in the mapped bilateral projects. The consultancy work is done in conjunction with FP1.

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