Collaborative initiative to outscale climate-smart agriculture

Written by: Leigh Winowiecki and Caroline Mwongera

Originally published here

“Stakeholders coming together can achieve more impact”

So was the message from 54 participants at a workshop aimed at sharing experiences about different approaches to outscaling climate smart agriculture (CSA) using prioritization tools.

Tor-Gunnar Vågen, ICRAF, explains, an open source platform to target CSA interventions. Credit: S. Malyon/CIAT
“There are a lot of people, national institutes and international organizations working with farmers in Africa. Many of them have developed their own successful tools and methods and all have valuable experiences from which others can learn. We are committed to come together more to share and learn from each other,” said Leigh Winowiecki, CIAT soil scientist and one of the event organizers.

The CSA knowledge sharing workshop took place on May 20 2015 with participants from CGIAR centres, NGOs, private sector and the Kenyan government, all gathered to interactively discuss and share pathways for outscaling CSA.

Collectively they showcased, discussed and shared over 14 CSA Prioritization Tools during a Tools Bazaar. The presentations showed that a diversity of approaches are being applied across a variety of scales.

For example, CARE International has developed a Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP) tool and CIAT has led the development of the climate-smart agriculture rapid appraisal (CSA-RA), both emphasize participatory approaches at community and district levels.

In addition, a Climate-Smart Agriculture Prioritization Framework (CSA-PF) by CIAT guides national and sub-national climate change and agriculture planning, and the developed by ICRAF GeoScience Lab uses advanced statistical mapping techniques on an open source platform to target interventions, for example through the  development of county-specific interactive “dashboards”.

We interviewed Michael Okumu, Kenyan Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, and Maurine Ambani, CARE International, about the tools they presented. Watch them here:

Supported by the CIAT-led, IFAD-funded project, “Increasing food security and farming system resilience in East Africa through wide-scale adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices”, the workshop expanded on the knowledge from the Kenya National Climate-Smart Agriculture Workshop held in Nairobi in 2014.

The objectives of the latest workshop were to:
  • To provide an interactive forum to share methods, tools, and experiences currently being used and developed to prioritize CSA practices in SSA.
  • To share lessons learned from implementing climate-smart/best practices.
  • To explore opportunities for collaboration and funding.
  • To explore better alignment where possible and relevant.

Interactive group sessions focused on what outputs different users would desire from a prioritization tool. For example, what type of information do Kenya County Governments require from a tool compared to what donors, farmers, researchers and National Governments want? The final groups session highlighted challenges and suggestions for outscaling agricultural techniques! The overwhelming suggestion was that collective collaborations across stakeholders is needed in order to achieve impact.

Specific outputs of the workshop include: 1) A better awareness of the current CSA Prioritization Tools and the development of a Tools Matrix; 2) Direct input into the CCAFS CSA initiative, 3) A joint publication on the use of prioritization tools for outscaling CSA in Africa.