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Africa's most valuable innovation in agriculture

The Joint Learning in Innovation Systems in African Agriculture (JOLISAA) program, shares recent experiences on innovation processes involving multiple stakeholders and types of knowledge. Innovation Systems (IS) perspective inspires the framework of the JOLISAA research. IS stresses that the flow of technology and information among stakeholders is key to innovative processes. The project uses several avenues (inclusion/exclusion criteria, storyline, common underlying concepts, and iterative processes) to identify relevant innovations for deeper assessment and joint learning. JOLISSA lists selected innovations in three national inventories (Benin, Kenya, and South Africa). Jointly, practitioners and researchers assess 13 cases from the existing national inventories. The key steps in this collaborative case assessments are: i) planning meetings, ii) focus group discussions, iii) multi-stakeholders feedback, and iv) literature review.

Population density and human pressure on forest are not correlated says Mr. Joachim Schmerbeck from Teri University, India

Do not miss: Call for innovative technology in Asia.

The Innovation Network for Food Security and Poverty Reduction(SATNETasia), funded by the European Union, strengthen the south-south dialogue and promotes sustainable agricultural technologies. “SATNETasia is still looking for promising innovations, do not hesitate to contact” says Simone Kriesemer at the oral session titled "knowledge, learning and extension", Tropentag 2012. In this research program, scientists develop a framework to identify agricultural innovations that are sustainable, productivity enhancing, and suitable to the poorest. The research program evaluates technologies based on an analytical hierarchy process. Multiple criteria categorized into environment, economy, society, and technology composes this decision making tool. For assessment of relevant technologies, one indicator, the composite sustainability development index, is calculated out of the evaluated criteria. The index enables selection of best innovation according to the overall objective (i.e. a sustainable technology). Relevant technology are to be promoted by means of fact sheets and creation of a data base.

CIAT celebrates its 45 years anniversary

Tropentag 2012 hosts an oral session dedicated to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). The title of the session from CIAT is “soil and resilience".In the session, five scientists from CIAT presents various aspects of research on soils and resilience. For the one that did not attain the session, the following video is an exclusive interview of Dr. Bossio. For you, she highlights the main message the session tries to convey. To read more on the content of the presentations, click on one of the following title: Domestication of soil variability in Sub-Saharan Africa: Almost there (Job Kihara's presentation) Quesungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System (QSMAS): provider of ecological services (Aracely Castro's presentation) Prevent irreversible degradation of agro-ecoystem in Amazonia now! (Patrick Laville's presentation This year Mrs. Bossio is one of the key note speakers. She conveys an interesting message on soil management practice. For more details and a second interview of her, click on the following link: Soil is back on the agenda.

Domestication of soil variability in Sub-Saharan Africa: Almost there

Job Kihara presents a research, which tries to understand variability in crop response to fertilizer and amendments in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The objectives of the study are to identify i) soil fertility constraints to crop production, ii) the occurrence of responsive and non-responsive fields, iii) key response patterns, and iv) to identify existing links between crop response to nutrient application and soil spectra. The research set up allows scientists to collect data on more than 400 African farms. The researchers analyse crop responses on eight fertilizer treatments. In most sites, results show that the nutrient limitations are in order N>P>K. In acidic soils, K is as limiting as N and P. Results demonstrate a wide existence of non-responsive soils to NPK treatments compared to soil amendments consisting of lime, manure, and multi-nutrients. In his presentation, Job Kihara only shows a tiny part of the research he is involved in. They create an amazing website containing many information on African soils explored with interactive maps. For further informations, have a look at the website of the African Soil Information Service.

The Quesungual Slash and Mulch Agroforestry System (QSMAS): provider of ecological services

The QSMAS presents a sustainable alternative to the traditional practices of central America. Aracely Castro explains that QSMAS can provide Ecosystem Services (ES). Benefits that people get from the nature is the definition of ES. In the sub-humid tropics of central America, traditional agroforestry systems imply slash and burn of plots, followed by 1 to 3 years of cropping. Then, the land needs at least 7 years to regenerate (fallow). In contrast, the QSMAS cycle is made of slash and mulch during nearly 12 years of cropping. Then, the land needs also 7 years to regenerate. This smallholders production system combines basic management principles to improve the use and conservation of vegetation, soil, and water (increase infiltration and decreased runoff). It improves resilience, productivity, and sustainability. It reduces shifting cultivation in drought-prone hillsides of the sub-humid tropics. Last but not least, it acts favourably on the global warming potential (GWP) through improved C accumulation and low methane emission.

Prevent irreversible degradation of agro-ecoystem in Amazonia now!

In this breaking through research, Patrick Lavelle from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) together with a transdisciplinary team figure out the tipping point between landscape intensification and ecoefficiency in the Amazonia . First, the team determines a measure scale to landscape intensification in Amazonia. Degraded pastures are on the extensive extremity of the scale and tropical forest on the intensive extremity. The following indicators measures the change in socio-environmental components and landscape use intensification: i) human development, ii) economical efficiency, iii) biodiversity, and iv) ecosystem services. The sum all four indicators indicates the prevailing ecoefficiency. Two regions composed of six landscape windows, 54 farms and 270 sampling points enables the collection of the data. To study the relationship between ecoefficiency and landscape intensification in Amazonia, the data is plotted together. The resulting curve draw a tipping point. This point represents the optimal ecoefficiency and landscape intensification level. In Amazonia, ecoefficiency is optimal when there is a 50 % level of forest (20% pristine and 30% fallows/tree based systems). According to Dr. Lavelle, to reach a woody cover of 50 %, the actual mainstream agricultural practice need to be stopped in Amazonia. ------------------------------------------------------------------------

Resilience Addressing the Social Aspect of Rural Development

Rural Development is diverse and needs to be approached from many directions. In the session on the art project “Resilience – Touching a Colourful Sky” the social and emotional dimension is addressed by helping people to reflect on and express their feelings in different ways. There was not much debating involved in the session on resilience performed by the students of the program Rural Development and Communication from Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences. Rather taking part meant: “Grab a brush, choose your colours and paint what comes to your mind!” Tropentag 2012 With content smiles on their faces, students and professors alike got down to the artistic business. Within only one hour the participants each produced a painting and a poem dealing with the topics that concerned them the most during the last few days. Various subjects came to the minds of the participants from different disciplines and nations. Tropentag 2012
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