By Zenebe Adimassu, Degefie Tibebe, Lulseged Tamene and Wuletawu Abera
Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is an approach for transforming and reorienting agricultural systems to increase food security, enhance adaptation and reduce emission under the new realities of climate change. Mainstreaming through training and experience sharing is an effort to strengthen the capacity and capability of stakeholders for the effectiveness of CSA investments at various levels. The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT (The Alliance) in collaboration with Sustainable Land Management Program (SLMP) of the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) organized training on CSA.
The training was on November 20 to 25, 2022 in Adama, Ethiopia. It brought together 29 experts working on Sustainable Land Management and CSA from Bureau of Agriculture of seven regional states of the country including, Amhara, Benishangul Gumuz, Gambella, Oromia, Sidama, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) and Southwestern Ethiopia. Researchers from the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) and PhD students from Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar and Haramaya Universities also joined the training workshop.
The training was facilitated by Dr. Zenebe Adimassu, an independent consultant based in Addis Ababa and assisted by Mr. Girma Kibret from MoA and Mr. Abera Assefa from EIAR, and Dr. Degefie Tibebe (The Alliance). The purpose of the training was to build the capacity of partners on CSA practices that can satisfy smartness in the three pillars of CSA (productivity, adaptation, mitigation), responsive in terms of social gender/youth issues and economically feasible and sharing experience across the seven regions that have implemented CSA packages and practices.
The five-day training featured different modules presented and discussed during the training sessions:
- Concepts and principles in Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)
- Concepts in Weather, Climate, Greenhouse gases, Climate change and the effect of agriculture on climate change
- Creating Multifunctional Climate Smart Landscapes
- Integrating Gender in Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA)
- CSA prioritization using CCAF’s Framework
- The role of Agro-weather advisory and Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) on adaptation to climate Change
- Evidence/research results/ on successful CSA practices/ technologies / approaches
" I appreciate the CSA training; it motivated us to work harder as we learned new things from the training. we should do more in the future but include district experts and development agents if possible. This is a unique opportunity as it has brought together national partners, regional level experts and academia. Finally, the Alliance for the generous support’’ said Mr. Asefa Checkol, watershed management specialist at SNNP region.
“It is the first time we bring together stakeholders from the different places including our future researchers drawn from different universities, and the practitioners in SLM/CSA. The discussions and shared views, will be beneficial in the future’’ said Mr. Asefa Chekol, Watershed specialist and Resilience Landscapes and Livelihoods program, PCU at SNNP region.
"5-day training seemed long, however; the dynamics of the training have proved to be beneficial to us. We have learnt a new module is the CSA prioritization using CCAFS Framework and the importance of prioritizing CSA practices in the region’’ said Mr. Enideg Dires, Regional coordinator of SLM/RLLP in Amhara region.
Cross region lessons
- Competition for the allocation of crop residue as animal feed vs retention as mulch: Crop residue is crop biomasses that remains on the farm after a crop is harvested. It is ready and accessible form of animal feed in most parts of the country. It is also considered as source of soil organic matter and the retention of sufficient crop residue on the soil surface as the major component of conservation agriculture. From the training, increasing animal feed availability through different strategies including planting on degraded lands (e.g. gullies) and physical soil and water conservation structures can reduce the completion for crop residue.
- Free grazing as a challenge to sustain CSA practices: Free grazing of post-harvest crop residues is a common practice which removes all crop residue and vegetative cover which reduces soil organic matter and deplete soil fertility. In addition, this practice increases soil erosion. for example, there is regulation that prohibit free grazing in Amhara region. However, the enforcement of the regulation is very low. There should be alternatives to livestock feed if and when free grazing is restricted. There is also a need to coordinate efforts between sectors to avoid competition and play blame-game that livestock plays destructive role of CSA.
- Acid soil management is key: Soil acidity undermines the effect of CSA practices such as vermicompost, intercropping and use of high yielder crop varieties. The workshop highlighted that large lime quantity required to treat a hectare of land and transportation is cumbersome and costly as lime sources are very far from acid soil areas. an alternative would be to use concentrated lime and establishment of lime factories around acid soil areas. In addition, integration of integrated soil fertility management (ISFM) with liming is recommended to complement the contribution of liming.
- Seed availability: While the access and availability of seed has the potential to greatly improve smallholder productivity, there is currently a substantial gap between the demand and supply of seeds of various crops mainly hybrid maize. In addition to food crops seed, limited availability of forage seed is critical challenge to integrated animal feed in CSA packages. With regards to the ‘supply and demand’ related to seed, there is need to strengthen and apply the tool (http://22.214.171.124/) developed the Alliance in collaboration with different partners including MoA, EIAR, ICARDA, ILRI and Addis Ababa University In addition, awareness creation and promotion of the tool are recommended to facilitate scaling and adoption.
The training offered both experience sharing and awareness related to stocktaking CSA practices, prioritization, and cost-benefit analysis. there is need to ‘walk the talk’ by implementing integrated CSA technologies/practices/strategies.
This capacity building and experience sharing activity on climate-smart agriculture approaches and technologies was supported by Accelerating the Impact of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) Ethiopia Project.
We would like to thank all Funders who support the CGIAR Sustainable Intensification of Mixed Farming Systems (SI-MFS) Initiative.