ILSSI held a 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 agriculture 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.
March 11-15, 2019, Abbay Basin Authority, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
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 IDSS is part of the research conducted under this program in Ethiopia in collaboration with Texas A&M University and three CGIAR centers: International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
The training will be conducted by a team of practicing scientists from Texas A&M University. Participants in the training will be graduate students and young scientists with backgrounds in economics, agronomy, water resources, hydrology, and engineering. Trainees will be introduced to three models that make up the IDSS, which are integrated to provide a holistic assessment of the impact of alternative interventions in food and agriculture. The models included in this training are:
- Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender Model (APEX, Apex.tamu.edu) – a farm/field scale model for hydrologists, agronomists, and soil scientists to evaluate crop production and environmental sustainability
- Farm Income Simulator (FARMSIM, https://www.afpc.tamu.edu/) – a socio-economic model for agricultural economists or people seeking an economic understanding
- Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT, swat.tamu.edu) – a watershed scale model for hydrologists, agricultural engineers, and other related water resource professionals.
The training on each model will be conducted in parallel, except on the morning of the 1st and entire 5th day, where all participants will be together to understand the model integration and learn from case studies. Participants have to choose one of the models for detailed training from the afternoon of the 1st day to end of the 4th day.
We hereby invite faculty, graduate students, scientists, technical advisors and others practitioners from universities, ministries, agencies, research institutions, the private sector and other organizations to apply for the training. Applications should be made in writing through an e-mail to Mr. Bewuketu Abebe at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for application is 28th February 2019. Successful applicants will be notified by 5th March 2019. Female researchers and scientists are encouraged to apply. There are limited seats – participants should apply as soon as possible.
For further information, please contact us via email@example.com or call +251 92 051 8058.
Training materials, lunch, and other refreshments will be provided free of charge by training conveners. However, participants are expected to cover their own transport and costs of living in Bahir Dar throughout the training period. In addition, candidates should come with their own laptop computers.
Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation – https://ilssi.tamu.edu/
On January 31st, 2018 The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small-Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) hosted an International Symposium on Irrigation in African Small Holder Farming Systems. Through this symposium, ILSSI brought together experts from around the globe to share new perspectives on the current role and full potential of small-scale irrigation in African farming systems, with a focus on opportunities and constraints for investors. It highlighted emerging irrigation innovations and their application in smallholder systems. The symposium included both presentations highlighting new evidence on the potential and constraints of small-scale irrigation as well as panel discussions focusing on the insights from African policymakers, the private sectors, and donor perspectives.
- The role of water in global food security
Rob Bertram, Chief Scientist, USAID Bureau for Food Security
- The role of irrigation in sustainable intensification
Jerry Glover- Senior Sustainable Agriculture Advisor, USAID Bureau for Food Security
- Supporting inclusive and sustainable farmer-led irrigation: Where are we?
Steven Schonberger, Global Lead for Water in Agriculture, World Bank
- The Impact of research on Irrigation: Results of the Innovation Laboratory for Small-Scale Irrigation (ILSSI)
- OverView of ILSSI – Neville Clarke, Director ILSSI
- Results from the field interventions – Nicole Lefore, IWMI
- Gender, nutrition, and other opportunities – Claudia Ringler, IFPRI, Elizabeth Bryan, IFPRI
- Modeling Small Scale Irrigation impacts: Results from the Integrated Decision Support System (IDSS)
Raghavan “Srini” Srinivasan
- The role of the private sector in supporting small-scale irrigation
Moderator: Phil Riddell, Director, Indo African Agricultural Capital
- Curt Reintsma Food Security Partnership Specialist, USAID Bureau for Food Security
- Nicole Lefore, IWMI
- Linda Kwamboka, Co-founder, M-Farm
- Martin Fisher, Co-Founder &CEO of KickStart International.
- Converting potential to practice for small-scale irrigation in developing countries
Moderator: Timothy O. Williams, Africa Regional Director, IWMI
- Getachew Gebru, President, Ethiopian Society of Animal Production
- Raymond Kayumbe, National Coordinator of the Agricultural Sector Development Program II, Tanzania
- Mbogo Futakamba, Chair National Multi-Sectoral Water Management Committee, Tanzania
- Ben Nyamadi, CEO, Ghana Irrigation Development
- Evelyn Namubiru –Mwaura, Vice President African Association of Agricultural Economists
- Summary and conclusions
Nicole Lefore, IWMI
- The Role of water in Global Food Security
- Agricultural Water Management for Sustainable Intensification of Smallholder Farms
- Impact of research on Irrigation in Smallholder Farming Systems
- Integrated modeling and scaling
- Field Interventions, Gender & Nutrition
For further information, please contact Matt Stellbauer – Matt.Stellbauer@ag.tamu.edu
About 70 faculty members and graduate students from universities across the country gather in a classroom here and split into groups of five. Today they are all students.
The groups race against the clock to plug data into a complex set of numerical equations, or models, that can estimate potential impacts of farm practices and technologies.
The groups’ work with agricultural models is part of a rigorous, one-week training session on three models whose results will comprise part of the Integrated Decision Support System, or IDSS. A numerical simulation comprised of five total models , the IDSS will be used to quantitatively predict overarching impacts of irrigation technologies and practices that will be tested by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation. The research project seeks the most efficient small-scale irrigation systems for battling poverty and nutrition problems in water-scarce Tanzania, Ethiopia and Ghana.
“Training like this will help us as agricultural scientists to help farmers to use the scarce resources (of Tanzania) in a better way,” said Winfrida Mayilla, a Ph.D student at Sokoine.
Data collected over a short time can be plugged into modeling systems that predict long-term effects of specific interventions. This is valuable for farmers in resource-scarce environments and for affecting policy decisions that benefit Tanzanian agriculture, said Sokoine University Assistant Lecturer and IDSS trainee Stanuslaus Terengia Materu.
“We need not to… do field testing for several years to get scenarios for making a decision,” he said. “Rather we need to… do one or two years of testing in the field. Then we put that data into the model to test several scenarios for long-term data… to give to policy makers so they can make very firm decisions.”
As an example scenario a farmer in Tanzania might find great ease in using a gasoline-powered pump to send water into her crop irrigation system from a low-lying river. But how much would the pump and fuel cost and would that amount be offset by better production spurred by installing the pump? Is it environmentally responsible for an entire village to pump water from that river? Is there a high cost to access the type of fuel required by the pump? How will one village pumping from that river affect water resources at the watershed level?
The IDSS would combines the results of five agricultural models, studying all conceivable aspects of implementing such a system, to answer questions like these, helping researchers, farmers, and eventually policy makers to make informed decisions for farm, village, watershed, regional and national scales.
Each of the three training groups at Sokoine University trained to use one model of the IDSS:
The Soil and Water Assessment Tool, or SWAT model, quantifies and predicts impacts of land management practices on water, sediment, and agricultural chemical yields in large complex watersheds with varying soils, land use, and management conditions over long periods of time.
Another model, FARMSIM, is used on farms to predict economic and nutritional impacts of: alternative technologies, farming systems, livestock management programs, marketing arrangements, crop mixes, risk management schemes, and environmental remediation programs.
Meanwhile, the Agricultural Policy/Environmental eXtender model, or APEX, simulates land management and land use impacts for whole farms and small watersheds to evaluate: sustainability, economics, water supply and quality, soil quality, plant competition, weather and pests alongside wind, sheet, and channel erosion.
“It can help to make a decision at the farm level on the different inputs you can use… and what will be the outcomes you can expect so that a farmer can have a rational decision on how to plan for his production,” said Eliaza Mkuna, assistant economics lecturer at Mzumbe University and FARMSIM trainee. “At the macro level, I think it will help the government to set adequate polices that can also help the small-scale farmers.
The three groups converged on the last day of training to practice combining their respective example results for an overarching view of how the interventions they tested would affect farming systems at home.
Reuben Mwamakimbulla, associate professor at Sokoine Agricultural University and a farmer himself discussed the APEX model and the IDSS at large as valuable resources in the face of climate change.
“In this situation where climate change is really affecting farmers, if we get in a position to have better decisions based on these predictions, it should be helpful cumulatively to the country as a whole,” he said.
JUNE 2014, ETHIOPIA — Farmers of Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania are a small step closer to boosted income through research after 65 trainees attended a Texas A&M–led training workshop in June on using the Integrated Decision Support System (IDSS.)
The IDSS is a method for assessing the consequences of adopting new technologies and policies. It identifies constraints that limit adoption and proposes solutions. It estimates effects on many aspects including crop production, the environment and the economy – all the determining factors of improving income and enhancing nutrition for smallholder farmers. These components can be measured using the IDSS at village, watershed and regional levels.
The workshop objective was to train country analysts on the IDSS to be able to apply it to the irrigation needs and opportunities of smallholders – part of ILSSI’s goal of having smallholder farmers make use of new, practical irrigation systems.
Workshop participants included 45 mostly Ethiopian students, including seven females; attendees from government, international centers, and the private sector. The first half day of focused on administrators who will use the results of the IDSS; the remainder of the training was aimed at current and future analysts.
The IDSS system is being used to assess the impact of small scale irrigation innovations for multiple locations in the FtF zones of Ethiopia. Similar studies will be conducted in Tanzania and Ghana. But the assessment method can also be applied to future studies long after ILSSI has concluded.
One analyst of the Ethiopian Ministry of Environment and Forest, for example, has already persuaded his colleagues to use IDSS in assessing new policies for enhancing sustainable use of natural resources in the country.
The ILSSI “research to action” approach in farmer fields uses precision planning to produce relevant results that enhance adoption of outcomes. Implementation involves high participation among stakeholders at varying levels. National stakeholder meetings in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Ghana for example included farmers, university faculty, government officials, private sector industry and USAID Missions.
Engagement with same set of stakeholders from farm level upward to regional and national levels uses the IDSS models to scale up and out to identify areas of geographic equivalence at watershed and larger areas where the IDSS might be applied.
A second round of advanced IDSS training took place February 2015 in Ethiopia and similar workshops will be conducted in Tanzania and Ghana throughout 2015.