Reflections on Sustainable Intensification Cross-learning Tour
As part of a multi-institutional group of representatives, Kindu Mekonnen and Peter Thorne from Africa RISING-ILRI, visited CSISA in India on a cross-learning tour. They reflect on the week spent in India and highlight the contrasts between the two projects on sustainable intensification. Read the full blog from Africa RISING here. Please find below some excerpts from their blog.
CSISA started from a higher baseline. The systems in eastern India are already more intensified than those of the Ethiopian Highlands. Our colleagues in India are looking at mechanisation with 4-wheel tractors while in Ethiopia we are considering lower cost approaches to reducing labour demand and drudgery. Africa RISING in the Ethiopian Highlands is taking a more holistic approach to intensification, reflecting perhaps a more integrated nature of the systems in our agro-ecologies. CSISA has a much larger on-station research component than Africa RISING and most activities appear to be under quite strong researcher control. In the short time available, we did not get a clear picture of how the linkages to innovation at the individual farm level were achieved.
CSISA has worked very effectively to stimulate and support local service providers; progressive farmers who are able to deliver specific services (e.g. zero tillage, three times a year cropping, compound feeds) to their neighbours. We felt that this model could potentially be adapted to the situation in the Ethiopian Highlands (e.g. input supply, contract spraying, post harvest facilities) and we will explore this further in our imminent scaling activities.
We saw some very interesting and encouraging activities operating through NGO-supported self-help groups for women. These were operating effectively in parallel with the government delivery system to meet the needs of members more directly. We need to make this kind of activity more visible in the Ethiopian project.
ILRI’s contribution to CSISA in terms of funding received is small but the achievements are significant. We saw real evidence of adoption of ILRI-sponsored innovations around basal diet processing (chopping), compound feed production and mineral supplementation. These are all technologies that are relevant to the Ethiopian highlands and we look forward to further experience sharing with the ILRI team in India.