Climate Smart Knowledge Sharing in Tanzania
Written by: Brigitte Rudram
A team of CIAT DAPA and Soils researchers visited the CCAFS Climate Smart Village in Northern Tanzania to begin work aiming to produce a model for adoption of CSA practices, ultimately scalable across similar agro-ecological areas in the country. Farmer and local expert knowledge will be integral in designing and effectively implementing fully informed, locally appropriate adaptation models to ensure long term, climate smart, sustainable benefits.
These objectives are part of several new projects in the region including;
- IFAD funded research; ‘Increasing Food Security and Farming System Resilience in East Africa through Wide-Scale Adoption of Climate-Smart Agriculture Practices’
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded research; ‘Grand Challenges Explorations Round 12. Less is More: The 5Q Approach’
- OFID funded research; ‘Climate Smart Technologies and Practices: Using Science Knowledge and Expert Feedback to Accelerate Local Adoption’
- CCAFS’s Flagship 4 (FP4) research on ‘Influencing and Linking Policies and Institutions from National to Local Level for the Development and Adoption of Climate-Resilient Food Systems’
Lushoto, in the West Usambara Mountains in Northern Tanzania, has been selected as the location to initiate the work. Researchers visited in June 2014 to begin the process of local knowledge gathering from farmers and experts to create Climate Smart Agriculture packages of practices appropriate for potential demonstration and adoption in Lushoto, alongside exploration of implementation methodology and policy considerations. Data gathered from these workshops build on existing efforts, including the CCAFS Baseline Surveys, IMPACTLite surveys, land and soil health biophysical surveys, as well as previous initiatives, to identify current CSA practices.
New insights into farmers’ perceptions on CSA practices suitable for adoption were gathered through a participatory workshop attended by over thirty men and women farming in the seven CCAFS Lushoto baseline villages. Activities identified farmer-selected, context-specific Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) packages for adoption, building upon past primary research. Stimulation of thought was initiated through participatory mapping of agro-ecological characteristics of Lushoto; displaying variance in temperatures, topography, seasons and agriculture and dividing the area into four zones.
Socio-economic perspectives were discussed utilising a wellbeing ladder with attendees, characterising the most to least well off farmers, to identify differences in ability or desire to adopt CSA. CSA was presented through fifteen Lushoto-appropriate practices, determined by primary research and the in-process compendium, and farmers identified the frequency they were practised in the area. Working in groups, defined by farm location and gender, packages of complementary CSA practices were then created. Discussion of effective implementation and management of potential package demonstration sites followed, with desired locations marked on the participatory map; crucial components in permitting effective adaptation.
Experts participated in a subsequent workshop to share their insights with CIAT researchers. Agricultural and environmental experts, as well as Ministry and District Council were represented, prompting enthusiastic and informed discussions. CSA packages were selected in mixed groups, followed by consideration of locally appropriate demonstration plot types and management. Conducting a baseline survey to investigate the success and failures of current and past demonstrations in the area was identified as a key next step, alongside exploration of best practice methods for ensuring local ownership of initiatives – unanimously agreed to be a crucial aspect to successful implementation.
Researchers also visited farms to record farmer information and GPS location of selected farms within the Lushoto site. Agricultural practices were observed inclusive of both CCAFS and non-CCAFS farms to assess for variance. The data collected and engagement with farmers aims to feed into subsequent work monitoring and evaluating CSA demonstration and uptake; allowing adaptive management of initiatives.
Development of an informed framework will now commence, utilising the knowledge gathered to influence appropriate methodologies and approaches to conduct further research to gather context specific data in a participatory manner to inform design of a scalable CSA model. A qualitative baseline survey will be undertaken to explore current and past CSA related initiatives in the area to guide decision making on project implementation. Innovative integration of contributing components inclusive of local, scientific and climatic information, systemic soil and land health data and crop suitability modelling will be crucial in order to ultimately out-scale appropriate CSA technologies for wide-spread, sustainable, climate smart impacts.