Targeting innovations to combat soil degradation and food insecurity in semi-arid Africa. Pablo Tittonell
ABACOAgro-ecology based aggradation-conservation agriculture Targeting innovations to combat soil degradation and food insecurity in semi-arid Africa Pablo Tittonell, Eric Scopel, Gerardo Halsema, Nadine Andrieu, Helena Posthumus, Paul Mapfumo, Rabah Lahmar, Marc Corbeels, Tom Apina, Jacqueline Rakotoarisoa, Florence Mtambanengwe, Barry Pound, Regis Chikowo, Saidi Mkomwa
Problem statement Poor soil fertility and soil degradation limit food security CA may be low-cost investment strategy to increase water productivity andresilience to climate variability, and reverse soil degradation But adoption by smallholders in sub-Saharan Africa seems to be hampered by: Concerns on initial yield decreases Lack of sufficient biomass for effective mulching Increased labour requirements if no access to herbicides Lack of access to and use of external inputs CA has to be tailored to local agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions Adoption of innovations is a non-linear process Sharing knowledge and building capacity through innovation platforms mayenhance adaptation and adoption of CA by smallholders
ABACO projectObjective: reduce vulnerability of smallholderfarmers to climatic variability by building capacitythrough innovation platforms to design, evaluateand implement targeted technological options for,and mechanisms to promote adoption of,conservation agriculture based on agro-ecologicalprinciples to combat land degradation and foodinsecurity in semi-arid sub-Saharan Africa.Specific objectives:1. To target CA to smallholders’ conditions2. To involve farmers and researchers in co- innovation platforms to facilitate adaptation/appropriation3. To assess the social and economic viability and tradeoffs across scales and scenarios4. To promote dissemination of CA alternatives and approaches5. To reinforce existing knowledge networks on CA
ABACO projectProject leader: Saidi Mkomwa – ACTConsortium: ACT, CIRAD, CIRDES, EMBRAPA,FOFIFA, SOFECSA, University of Greenwich(NRI), Wageningen University, Yellow WindowTimeframe: 2011 – 2014Funded by EUSemi-arid areas of East (Kenya, Tanzania), West(Burkina Faso, Mali) and Southern (Zimbabwe,Mozambique, Madagascar) AfricaBuilding on previous projects: KASSA, CA2Africa
Project sitesA focus on dryland areas (400 – 1200 mm) CIRDES ACT SOFECSA FOFIFA
Stepwise ‘aggradation’How fast does this happen?What is the importance tofarmers’ livelihoods?What indicators canbe used formonitoring? Aggradation: slow process of soil formation (borrowed term from geography used for alluvial soils) Rabah Lahmar (2009)
Stepwise ‘aggradation’ ABACO’s approach of aggradation/conservation agriculture consists of: • Implementing measures traditionally promoted as soil and water conservation, water harvesting technologies or (indigenous) agroforestry, during an initial phase of soil restoration or ‘greening’. • Only when a minimum efficiency of nutrient and water capture has been achieved to allow increasing primary productivity, the three principles of CA may become effective: zero tillage, permanent soil cover and crop rotation. • Particularly in dry environments the response of soil productivity to soil restorative measures may exhibit a faceted pattern characterised by an initial response to increased water availability (i.e., the ‘greening’ effect) with a slight loss in water productivity, followed by a response to increased soil fertility once nutrients become available (resulting in greater water productivity).
Stepwise ‘aggradation’ Plant biomass Water productivity (kg ha-1) bi+2 ti+2 availability Increased nutrient bi+1 ti+1 bi ti Increased water availability Transpiration (mm) wi wi+1
Soil rehabilitationThe response of a degraded agro-ecosystem to rehabilitation measures may befast or slow, and exhibit weak or strong hysteresis (i.e., h, h’ or h”). The periods t25%,t50% and t100% represent the delay necessary to achieve 25 to 100% of the originalperformance, efficiency or stock level.The rate of responsiveness depends on:• the indicator chosen to characterize the response (productivity, efficiencies, stocks),• on the type of measure(s) implemented to restore productivity,• on the biophysical properties of the agro-ecosystem, and• on the behaviour of external factors (e.g. rainfall).
Feasibility and tradeoffs gaseous losses harvest Crop fertilizer erosion crop Tree uptake N2 gaseous losses harvest leaching fixation Prunings Crop mulch fertilizerExperimental field erosion competitive tree uptake crop uptake ‘safety-net’ tree uptake On-farm leaching Landscape NPK NPK NPK
Innovation platforms Rural Other community Other stakeholders stakeholders Action Field research schools Co- innovation platform Research for Promotion & development extension Knowledge networks Other stakeholders Based on Learning Centres model, Zimbabwe
The 5 ABACO principles 1. Rehabilitation of degraded soils to restore biomass productivity, in order to secure the various functions of CA that depend on above and belowground plant biomass; 2. Increased water productivity and soil water buffering capacity to face increasing risks associated with climate change, creating more conducive conditions for farmers’ investments; 3. Intensifying agro-ecological functions to capitalise on natural interactions, increase resource use efficiency and reduce dependence on external inputs; 4. Embed these principles in sustainable innovation support systems that recognise the complexity and non-linearity of agricultural innovation processes; 5. Institutionalization of enabling policies and market conditions so as to facilitate uptake and promotion of CA among smallholder farmers.
ABACO activities 1. On-station and on-farm field experimentation 2. Gender-sensitive characterisation of conditions for implementing CA technologies and gender mainstreaming of all activities 3. Action research with rural communities 4. Participatory & model-based scenario analysis and tradeoffs evaluation 5. Training & capacity development 6. Dissemination 7. Policy analysis and recommendations
The ABACO project FP6 CA2Africa FP7 KASSA Existing CA knowledge Best-bets Site charac- Supportive terisation & basic diagnosis Field testing research & niche Project progress targeting Field demonstra- Analysis tool tion, farmer development valuation & Feasibility adaptation Policy and tradeoffs analysis evaluation Policy recommen- Material dations development Dissemina- tion & out- reach Field activities Innovation platforms
Organisational matrix Work packages WP1. Diagnosis, design WP2. Innovation WP3. Feasibility and WP4. Dissemination, Themes and testing support trade-offs evaluation impact and networking Water productivity and Design and testing of Farmer testing & Evaluation of CA Documentation of 4W(*), climatic variability water capture and climate adaptation of water alternatives under climatic adoption and adaptation coping alternatives based capture and climate scenarios, risk and strategies; Mechanisms of I on CA coping alternatives vulnerability dissemination-learning Soil rehabilitation and Design and testing of CA Farmer testing & Evaluation of C and nutrient Documentation of 4W(*), integrated fertility alternatives for soil adaptation of soil flows and tradeoffs for CA adoption and adaptation management rehabilitation and fertility rehabilitation & fertility implementation from field to strategies; Mechanisms of II management management alternatives regional scale dissemination-learning Agroecological functions Diagnosis & identification Farmer testing & Multi-criteria evaluation of Assessment of externalities and environmental of biodiversity-mediated adaptation of biodiversity CA functions & and service provision (e.g. services CA functions, definition of mediated functions, sustainability: tradeoffs from carbon sequestration, III indicators valuation of indicators field to regional scale biodiversity, water saving) Livelihood, gender and Gender-sensitive socio- Innovation systems Evaluation of social & Analysis of adoption, policy evaluation economic diagnosis of support, organisational economic viability of CA; adaptation and learning enabling environments & landscapes, capacity tradeoffs under policy and processes; Policy design & IV local perceptions needs & development market scenarios recommendations Methods and tools Surveying & diagnosis, on- Stakeholder analysis, farmer Dynamic and bio-economic Meta-analysis, stakeholder farm & on-station groups, action research & modeling at different scales, platforms, dissemination experiments, measurements training participatory evaluation events & material (*) the 4W stand for “What Worked, Where and Why?”
WP0: CoordinationFlows WP1: Diagnosis, design and testing WP2: Innovation support WP1-W WP1-E WP1-S WP1-M Supportive Innovation research platforms Field testing Diagnosis & & targeting characterisation WP3: Feasibility and trade-offs evaluation Participatory Model evaluation development Scenario analysis WP4: Dissemination and impact assessment Network reinforcement Policy analysis Training of &design trainers Dissemination & outreach
Concluding remarks • ABACO is a concept relying on 5 principles, borrowing from ISFM, agroecology and innovation systems • We cannot ‘conserve’ what has already been degraded – a stepwise ‘aggradation’ phase is needed • The EU-funded ABACO project targets innovations to combat food insecurity in semiarid areas • Four transversal themes organise the research questions • Four work packages delineate the project activities • We are not starting from zero…
For questions:On water productivity: firstname.lastname@example.orgOn soil fertility: email@example.comOn diagnosis & design: firstname.lastname@example.orgOn feasibility & tradeoffs: email@example.comOn agro-ecological functions: firstname.lastname@example.orgOn innovation platforms, adoption & gender: email@example.comOn ABACO: firstname.lastname@example.org A B A C O THANK YOU!