Mushimiyimana and her family are one of the more than 420,000 farming households in Rwanda who cultivate iron-biofortified bean that were developed by HarvestPlus, the Rwanda Agriculture Board, and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and first released in the country in 2012. In just a few years since then, iron bean cultivation has expanded rapidly and currently accounts for 20 percent of all beans grown in Rwanda; more than 1.8 million Rwandans, or about 15 percent of the total population, were estimated to be eating these nutritious beans—and the market continues to grow.
When Simon and Sylvia Kiruja started their farm three years ago, they never imagined it would get so big they would need a bigger plot. Their three cows used to bring them 7 litres of milk a day. Today, their 45 cows deliver more than 250 litres daily, contributing around US$1,700 monthly depending on the season, to the Kiruja’s income.
As Ethiopia approaches 105 million people, the growing demand for food is expanding agriculture into marginal, forest, and natural conservation areas. Human-induced activities include population pressure, agricultural expansion, logging, and development, which have been challenging development and conservation efforts. As cultivation and grazing expand into peripheral and conservation areas, land degradation in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, and nutrient mining as well as conflict between land uses and users accelerate the vulnerability of local farmers to climate change. Despite the environmental, social, and economic benefits of biodiversity and natural ecosystem conservation, the reality is that views that strictly exclude the human element are no longer an option.
The prize intends to award 10 participants from around the globe who have compelling visions of what regenerative and nourishing food environments will look like in 2050. Individuals, organizations, institutions, companies, and other entities across the globe are encouraged to participate.
Throughout his university studies at Africa Nazarene University, where he studied computer science (B.S. degree), Leroy Mwanzia focused on only one thing: software development. So great was his passion that, after graduating, he turned down a computer networking opportunity at East Africa Breweries Limited and instead opted to become a lecturer at an affiliate training center of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), a job that paid much less. Two years later, he went to a different college to teach the UK-based BTEC Higher National Diploma in Computing.
Subnational climate-smart agriculture (CSA) action planning: Lessons learned with Veronica Ndetu, head of the Climate Change Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture
Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is the proposed approach in the face of climate variability. The government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is playing an active role in advocating for the uptake of CSA both nationally and subnationally.
Going forward, the UM6P and the Alliance between Bioversity International and CIAT will work to initiate cooperation in research, education, and outreach with the aim of contributing to the advancement of science to address the challenges of sustainable agricultural intensification globally.
Bridging the gap between CSA knowledge and action: Unlocking opportunities to the implementation gap
Over the years, Kenya has produced many development policies that have created an enabling environment to address poverty, food security, economic, social, and climate change issues. This puts our country among the top with robust policy and legal instruments that support national growth. In particular, recognizing the importance of climate change, Kenya has developed many policies, plans, and strategies, and ratified international conventions, all in an effort to provide a framework for promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA) was awarded the 2019 edition of the US$1 million Al-Sumait Prize for African Development on November 25. PABRA, which is coordinated by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), shared the award with the Africa Rice Center, said the Al Sumait Prize Board of Trustees in a statement after choosing the winners.
PABRA received the award “for serving a dynamic network of scientists and practitioners specializing in improving the productivity, processing, and the value chain of beans throughout Africa,” according to the announcement.
Bernard Gitobu spent most of his life working in bank, but deep down his heart, he knew he would retire into farming. After all, his parents were farmers.
CIAT in Africa
CIAT’s vision of the promise of tropical agriculture is especially relevant to sub-Saharan Africa. Nowhere does the well-being of so many people depend so much on a concerted effort to realize farming’s potential for reducing chronic hunger, opening pathways out of rural poverty, enhancing human nutrition, and improving the management of natural resources. CIAT works especially on the following themes:
- Leveraging markets through improved productivity and competitiveness
- Agriculture for improved nutrition in Africa
- Transforming farms and landscapes for sustainability
- Investment planning for resilient agriculture