CIAT Annual Report 2018


CIAT Africa Regional Office

A popular African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.” The pillars of innovation and collaboration were critical to the success for CIAT activities in Africa in 2018 and in the implementation of the Africa Roadmap.

In our mission to leverage markets through improved productivity and competitiveness, we developed a partnership with MasterCard to deploy 2Kuze, a digital platform for linking farmers to markets, in the bean value chain in Uganda.

About 17,000 farmers were registered in this platform. The High Iron Bean Compact of the African Agricultural Development Bank-funded Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) was launched in eight countries, with a target of reaching two million households in the next three years. We commenced the registration process for several forage cultivars and hybrids in Kenya, to strengthen forage seed systems in East Africa.

To promote agriculture for improved nutrition and health, the region hosted a Harnessing Food Demand Systems for Nutrition in Africa (HDS) inception workshop – a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation-funded project – in partnership with the University of Georgia and the University of California, Davis, to create tools that support evidence-based policy making to improve nutrition. We supported the launch of two nutrient-dense, multi-composite porridge flours: Toto Tosha flour in Kenya and Super Kawomera in Uganda, in collaboration with research and private sector partners, to provide affordable, nutritious food for pregnant and lactating mothers. 

To fulfil our mandate to transform farms and landscapes for sustainability, we hosted the first East Africa Soil Carbon Workshop on science to review current soil carbon sequestration policies and identify knowledge gaps on soil carbon in Africa. At this gathering, we discussed, with partners, the latest metrics and tools for assessing soil carbon sequestration, and developed recommendations for decision makers on optimal soil carbon investments. 

The team also worked to build partnerships with the public and private sectors, through attending the 4p1000 Africa Symposium in Johannesburg, and the ArGus Value Added Fertilizer Africa Conference. Our engagement focused on strengthening our position as a major player in designing research, generating evidence and supporting solutions on soil health, crop nutrition and macro- and micronutrients in Africa.  

We also supported the capacity building of partners, including the County Government of Makueni in Kenya, and the ongoing USAID-funded Africa RISING project in Ethiopia, where soil scientists and agronomists were trained on data mining approaches. 

Through our support to partners on investment planning for resilient agriculture, we worked to develop Climate-Smart Agricultural Investment Plans (CSAIPs) for Mali and Côte d’Ivoire. This World Bank-funded project, which was presented at a side event at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, will promote and inform evidence-based decision making.  

We have formalized a strategic partnership with the Climate-Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) – a network involving members in 40 countries around the world – which was launched to encourage youth involvement in agriculture and climate resilience. CIAT hosts the Kenya chapter of the CSAYN and will continue to explore opportunities to incorporate the network into our programs across the continent. 


Finally, to fulfil our mission to expand operations further into West Africa, we were successful applicants for the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) funded The Adaptation and Valorization of EntrepreNeurship in IRrigated Agriculture (AVENIR, or Adaptation et Valorisation EntrepreNeuriales en Agriculture IRriguée, in French). This project, awarded to CIAT and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) 2018 will commence operations in June 2019 and will see us establish a firm presence in francophone West Africa.  

We signed an agreement with the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing Scheme for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), to develop six climate-risk profiles, to improve decision making in the public and private sectors and help de-risk lending and investments across key value chains in Nigeria. Our work in Nigeria presents an opportunity to establish a firm foothold in Anglophone West Africa.

We are grateful to all our partners in Africa for their support and collaboration. The journey towards agriculture transformation continues! 

Improved productivity and competitiveness for markets

This year, CIAT completed the selection of Brachiaria and Panicum livestock forages for East Africa. A community-based breeding trial set up for these varieties is ongoing in Western Kenya and trials in Ethiopia and Kenya continue, funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

We initiated the registration process for forage cultivars and hybrids in Kenya to strengthen forage seed systems in East Africa. The team worked with partners including Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and Mexican seed company Papalotla on this initiative.

We posted personnel for the West and Central Africa Bean Research Network (WECABREN) in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. In Nigeria, bean cultivation suitability maps were developed and partners began implementation measures. In Southern Africa, partnerships were established to increase market access for beans in the TAZAMA bean corridor, which includes Tanzania, Zambia and Malawi.

Agriculture for improved nutrition and health

CIAT hosted the first meeting of Harnessing Food Demand Systems for Nutrition in Africa (HDS), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). A joint effort between CIAT, the University of Georgia, and University of California at Davis, the project creates tools for evidence-based policymaking. CIAT supports this goal by leading national policy dialogues on nutrition challenges.

We completed extensive data collection for the Malawi Nutrition, Markets, and Gender (NMG) survey under the Malawi Seed Industry Development Project Phase II (MSIDP II) to generate data and evidence on the link between nutrition and agriculture. This complements NMG work in Rwanda.

In collaboration with research and private sector partners, CIAT Africa launched two multi-composite porridge flours in Kenya, aimed at providing affordable, nutritious food to poor consumers. These products are targeted at children as well as pregnant and lactating mothers, and gender and nutrition trainings were conducted for smallholder farmers and poor urban consumers in Kenya and Uganda.

Transforming farms and landscapes for sustainability

We hosted the first East Africa Soil Carbon Workshop on science to inform policy, with participants from over 18 organizations and universities in Africa, Europe and North America, including four other CGIAR centers. The workshop focused on reviewing current soil carbon sequestration policies, identifying knowledge gaps on soil carbon in Africa, discussing the latest methods, metrics, and tools for assessing soil carbon sequestration, and developing recommendations for decision makers on optimal soil carbon interventions, investments, and policies. The results of the workshop were published in a working paper, and a soil carbon side event was hosted at COP24 in Poland in December.

Our scientists gave presentations at major events including the 4 per 1000 Africa Symposium in Johannesburg, and the ArGus Value Added Fertilizer Africa Conference. These opportunities enabled the team to continue its dialogue with stakeholders in the public and private sector, thereby strengthening the team’s position as a major player in producing research, evidence, and solutions on topics such as soil health, crop nutrition, and secondary macro- and micronutrients in Africa.

We made progress on sustainable intensification, restoration of degraded landscapes and creating climate-smart landscapes, while building capacity of a range of partners. Highlights include ongoing work with the Government of Makueni County in Kenya, in collaboration with partners such as the WLE-RDL and WRI, and projects in five Ethiopian sites through the USAID-funded Africa RISING project, in collaboration with partners such as Inter-Aide France.

We established and began monitoring IFAD-funded trials in Rwanda and Tanzania to promote climate-smart livestock feeding technologies.

We organized a National workshop on Data Access, Data Sharing, and Big Data Analytics to Transform Agriculture in Ethiopia, attended by more than 60 participants from across the country.

Our team conducted a 12-day training and writing workshop in Ethiopia on data mining approaches to build the capacity of soil scientists and agronomists of different research centers. The exercise supported the preparation of about six papers for publication, built the capacity of national scientists and encouraged data sharing.

Investment planning for resilient agriculture

In collaboration with national governments and partners and with funding from the World Bank, we developed Climate-Smart Agricultural Investment Plans (CSAIPs) for Mali and Cote d’Ivoire, which will promote and inform evidence-based decision-making. The project was presented at a COP24 side event.

Our leadership signed a memorandum of understanding with the Nigerian Incentive-Based Risk Sharing Scheme for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), through which six climate-smart profiles will be developed for Nigeria, in order to improve and support the design of climate-smart policies, products, and services.

This formed part of our larger efforts to de-risk agriculture in Africa.

Climate-Smart Agriculture Youth Network in Kenya

We launched the Climate-Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) in Kenya. The team attained NGO status in Kenya and the country coordinator will be hosted at CIAT’s offices in Nairobi. Through the network, the team will be connected to the CSAYN in over 40 countries.

EU-supported consortium in Malawi

CIAT is part of the CGIAR consortium in Malawi, which is implementing research under the support of EU. CIAT leads implementation of technologies and interventions related to ISFM, CA, and CSA at plot level as well as integration of such with SLM options at landscape level. We are also playing key role in capacity development including developing training materials to operationalize different packages.

Climate risk in Rwanda

CIAT supported the Rwanda agricultural Board (RAB) through funding from IFAD to conduct a climate risk assessment study in Rwanda, which aimed to understand and quantify the climate vulnerability of value chains selected by the Climate Resilient Post-harvest Agribusiness Support Project (PASP) for the intervention sites.

Debisi Araba
Regional Director, Africa

CIAT is a CGIAR Research Center

Was edited and compiled by CIAT Partnerships and Communications

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© CIAT 2019