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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

A Double Win for CIAT scientists

CIAT scientists are celebrating a double-win after their new crowdsourcing approach to climate-smart agriculture (CSA) was selected for two ClimateCoLab awards.

Organized by the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, the awards recognize the innovative use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in Climate Change research.

The CIAT system enables farmers and scientists to continuously share their knowledge about climate change, to accelerate the development of best practices, and boost food production. Known as “Seeding Science Knowledge by engaging Local Experts” it received the Judge’s Choice and the Popular Choice Award.

Photocredit: Manon Koningstein (CIAT)

Photocredit: Manon Koningstein (CIAT)

The basic idea of the approach is very simple, which is probably part of the reason for its success as well”, says CIAT’s Anton Eitzinger, who designed the project. It enables farmers and scientists to continuously share their knowledge about climate change. They do this through the use of tools such as mobile phones, online sharing platforms and so-called hotspot mapping: a strategy in which we define sites that require immediate action on climate change. The tools can be linked to any ongoing CSA project, and form an inclusive way to quickly develop and test best practices across sites.”

The CIAT team, together with IFAD and local partners, successfully trialed the system with over 900 farmers in Tanzania recently.

“It’s a great reward for the work we have already been doing”, continues Eitzinger. “I think our strong point is that we combine a bunch of factors: we make use of the scientific evidence through the biophysical modeling skills from the CIAT-DAPA team, mix this with a solid framework for citizen engagement and work with local grassroots organizations and farm communities for CSA prioritization and testing. It’s a Scientist/Local-Expert/Farmer-Partnership and it allows us to inform the policy makers about best practices in a clear and easy way.”

The approach combines different activities, such as

  • The identification of hotspots to target CSA packages;
  • The discussion of these hotspots with stakeholders;
  • Continuously improve the approach based on outputs from workshop and field experiences;
  • Training of local technicians in the mobile-phone technology;
  • Installation of demonstration plots on farms in the study region which will be managed by farmers;
  • A process of engagement between experts and the local implementers;
  • And the documentation of feedback from farmers about CSA packages and showing this to national decision makers through platform reports.

“With the winning of these awards, we can continue developing and scaling up this powerful tool for research that could be of great interest to the private sector, governmental institutions, NGOs, and scientists. Furthermore does it allow us to become more engaged in crowdsourcing applications for agricultural development” mentions Eitzinger.

For the full winning proposal, please click here

For a summary animation on the proposal, please see below.

The ClimateCoLab Conference will take place on October 6th, where this project will be presented. Please follow @CIAT_DAPA on Twitter to receive live updates from the conference.

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