When livestock is fed high-quality fodder, produced with the help of irrigation, they deliver better milk and meat, benefitting the nutritional health of their keepers and consumers. The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) and its partners are investigating best-bet options for where and how to expand the production of irrigated fodder in Ethiopia.
In a recent webinar, scientists presented Ethiopian policymakers and practitioners with promising findings on the potential for irrigated production of livestock fodder, which could help meet important income and nutrition gaps.
“Although irrigation could potentially boost the production of livestock fodder, this practice is not common in Ethiopia. Therefore, we need to integrate fodder production with crop production to improve the livelihoods of the rural poor.”
Solar power has the potential to revolutionize water use in agriculture, providing an attractive means for farmers to irrigate their crops. This is especially the case in sub-Saharan Africa, which has among the lowest electrification access in the world and irrigation potential in dry-land regions of an additional 6-14 million hectares.
Ethiopian women have begun growing irrigated fodder crops to expand their opportunities in the dairy value chain, winning income, nutrition, and climate benefits. Coming up on this year’s International Day of Rural Women, we hear from a couple of these front-runners.
Ensuring that smallholder farmers have access to credit or other financing products is an essential requirement for expanding the use of small scale irrigation. However, lenders are often hesitant to develop products for smallholder farmers, and frontier markets imply risks that make financiers and equipment…
Ten years’ worth of effort to end hunger and eliminate poverty were celebrated when Texas A & M AgriLife hosted a virtual get-together on September 17, 2020.
Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) is partnering with the World Vegetable Center in Mali to develop a more reliable supply of vegetable seeds and promote the use of efficient irrigation methods.
Successfully designing irrigation interventions to support women’s empowerment requires concerted efforts and careful planning.
Scaling up irrigated fodder production in Ethiopia would have great benefits, including improving food security and household nutrition thanks to improved livestock productivity.
This webinar, organized by Agrilinks.org, explored the complex process of market-based scaling of agricultural technology. This event took place on June 10, 2020, and it delved deep into the difficulties of scaling agricultural innovations in fragmented markets.
Farmer-led irrigation means that we start with the farmers and their farming systems, where diverse conditions and resources form a first barrier to scaling,” stated Thai Thi Minh, Senior Researcher for Upscaling Innovations at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
“The Berken plow increases infiltration, boosting the groundwater level and water flowing in streams during the dry season. Increasing the availability of water is very important for smallholder irrigators.”
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), under the sponsorship of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation (ILSSI), has kick-started system-level collaboration, including with the private sector, through multi-stakeholder dialogues in Ethiopia and Ghana to create ‘win-win’ solutions in small scale irrigation.
“Looking at the Berken plow, we first thought it was a simple modification of the Maresha, with little or no impact. However, we found that the Berken affects several hydrological variables in positive ways.”
Today, Bryan is a senior scientist in the Environment and Production Technology Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), where she focuses on water resources management and climate change adaptation and gender.
In Mali, food production is and will continue to be severely limited as long as farmers do not have access to water for irrigation. So far, expansion of new irrigation technologies and practices is slow. One ILSSI researcher went to the field to investigate why.
Groundwater comes from the ground, right? Wrong. In the face of growing water scarcity, scientists, entrepreneurs, and farmers turn the problem on its head and increase groundwater reserves through improved water and soil management.
What will happen to the environment, to farmers’ income, and to families’ nutritional health if small scale irrigation is rolled out across river basins in West Africa and elsewhere on the continent?
Four recent publications from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) investigate how climate change is likely to affect water availability in the future. All four papers present results that suggest needs to put in place measures to adapt to and mitigate risks of plausible climate change.
Coming up on this year’s World Water Day, which is about water and climate change, we are taking a closer look at what it will take for even more farmers to get started with small scale irrigation.
ILSSI has become a global leader in generating evidence that can inform investments in support of the U.S. global food security goals.
Using conservation agriculture practices can increase food production while safeguarding water and soil on farms and across drier, hotter landscapes.
While increasing women’s access to agricultural technology is key to their economic empowerment, there is a real challenge in determining how to better include women in agricultural mechanization from the get-go.
“We found nitrate in the shallow groundwater samples. Having a high concentration of nitrate in groundwater poses a risk to human health, especially if the water is used for drinking.”
New research supported by USAID through the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) is shining the spotlight on a so far under-appreciated avenue for improving nutrition: irrigation.
Yihun Dile, Ph.D., Abeyou Worqlul, Ph.D., and Jean-Claude Bizimana, Ph.D. are recipients of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) 2019 Senior Research Team Award for Scientific Excellence.
The Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation hosted two Net-Map Workshops on 8 and 9 October, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The workshops brought together a cross-section of key stakeholders involved in the small scale irrigation sector The workshops help to map out influence in a network: what actors are involved in the diffusion of SSI technologies, how these actors are linked, and their level of influence on the network. The tool allows participants to explore how things are actually done, not how they should be according to policy.
ILSSI held training in Ghana from 5-10 August on the Integrated Decision Support System, a set of integrated models to enable improved environmental and economic analysis, monitoring and planning, particularly as related to agricultural water management and irrigation development. The training was hosted by the CSIR’s Water Research Institute in Accra, while ILSSI provided the trainers from Texas A & M University. Over 50 participants from universities, public institutions, and research institutions in Ghana participated, including some from USAID supported projects.
On July 15th, 2019 Dr. Seifu Tilahun the Scientific Director and Associate Professor of Hydrology at the Bahir Dar Institute of Technology in Ethiopia, presented to over 30 faculty and staff within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. His lecture, Irrigation and agriculture development in Africa: Impact on water quality and ecosystem health in the Ethiopian highlands, focused on a study being done in collaboration with The Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation.
Actions are needed urgently in Mali – the country is on the front-line of climate change, and expected to experience worsened food insecurity and even food shortages. The people of Mali rely heavily on rainfed agriculture, exposing them to pervasive climate-related shocks. Irrigated agriculture is one high potential pathway to increase resilience and improve food security.
Deputy Administrator Glick visited Texas A&M University, where she met with Ambassador Eric Bost, Deputy Director of the Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture and Development, and representatives from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation and International Wheat Yield Partnership.
Dr. Nicole Lefore has been named director of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation.
“If you don’t work in the irrigated vegetable garden, you will sell the food crops you harvested during the rainy season – and you will be in hunger.”
The Abbay Basin Authority will be hosting an international training workshop on the Integrated Decision Support System (IDSS) from March 11-15, 2019 in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. The training is conducted under the Feed the Future Innovation Laboratory for Small Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) which is led by Texas A&M University.
The Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, part of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, has received an additional $12.5 million from the U.S. Agency for International Development for the Feed the Future Innovation Laboratory for Small-Scale Irrigation.
On January 31, 2018, ILSSI hosted an international symposium on irrigation in African smallholder farming systems.
USAID Administrator Mark Green visited the Texas A&M Borlaug Institute of International Agriculture on October 16, 2017 to learn more about the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation (ILSSI).
Much has been given to agriculture and, under growing water scarcity, variability, pollution, and continued lack of access to this vital resource by many—much will be demanded from agriculture to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6 on Water and SDG2 on Ending Hunger are achieved—and without adversely affecting other water-related targets and goals. Meanwhile, efforts to meet the SDGs must also dovetail with the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Motivated by the fact that control over water is essential, but have limited knowledge about whether women’s water needs are being met..