The Capacity building for scaling up of evidence-based practices in agricultural production in Ethiopia (CASCAPE) is a five year project funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and set up and implemented by the Ethiopian government to support component 1.2 (scaling up of best practices) of the Agricultural Growth Program (AGP). CASCAPE aims to support the efforts of the AGP in scaling up and promoting best practices to increase their effectiveness and to evaluate their short and long-term impacts on and offsite.
Initiated in mid-2010 with the intention to further assist the strengthening of the capacity of stakeholders on scaling up of best practices and to introduce newly discovered practices for agricultural production. CASCAPE also provides an evidence base for best practices as well as creating linkages between farmers, NGO’s, the private sector, universities, research institutes and policy makers.
The added value of CASCAPE in relation to the AGP is that we bring in scientific expertise for:
- -Detailed understanding of current farming systems and their effects on various sustainability issues;
- -Verification of best practices, identification of key factors for sustainable increased production and for successful uptake of these practices;
- -Evaluate short term and long term effects of selected practices on sustainability.
To contribute to increased agricultural productivity through uptake of sustainable practices.
The purpose of CASCAPE is to identify drivers for uptake of innovations, test and disseminate these and evaluate their short and long term effects and with this knowledge stimulate scaling up of innovations.
The objective of CASCAPE is to support the Ethiopian Government to increase agricultural productivity in a sustainable way in order to enhance agricultural growth and to achieve food security. The sub-objectives are:
- -To analyze the conditions (socio-economic, biophysical, institutional/policy and technological) under which innovations are successfully implemented at farm & community level;
- -Introduce, test, validate and document innovations and make recommendations for scaling up;
- -To support the development of effective stakeholder and knowledge networks at various levels, to promote scaling up of innovations.
- -To support the Agricultural Growth Program (AGP) and the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) on specific subjects either directly or through related implementing agencies
Projects and Activities
Activities for objective 1: To analyze the conditions (socio-economic, biophysical, institutional and technological) under which innovations are successfully implemented at farm and community level
In the first half of 2012 major progress has been made with regard to the baseline surveys. Data of 448 farms per region are entered for all teams except Jimma, who is about to start data entry. In the second half of 2012 data analysis and reporting will follow. Also, all teams performed a MonQI test with at least 10 farmers. This test made the teams acquainted with the toolbox and they are now ready to use it for quantitative evaluation of on-farm experiments. The results of the test datasets will be evaluated in the second half of 2012 during the backstopping mission in November 2012.
Activities for objective 2: Introduce, test, validate and document innovations and make recommendations for scaling up
Each team has selected and implemented a number of innovations in the field that address the topics identified in the PRA. As the PRA revealed different topics and target groups, the innovation themes as such also show a diversity in approach and organization. E.g. some innovations have an scientific experimental design, whereas others have a demonstration and/or promotion design; some are commodity based and include the value chain, others are targeting natural resources management; most are intended to improve existing practices, other aim at the introduction of new crops. This diversity is a consequence of an earlier decision to address as much as possible local constraints and opportunities.
All teams have started to implement the mentioned innovations. Most of them are in the form of demonstration trials to reach a considerable number of farmers. The Jimma team has started the innovation theme on maize and sorghum varieties and adopted a chronological implementation schedule.
Activities for objective 3: To support the development of effective stakeholder and knowledge networks at various levels, to promote scaling up of innovations
In all regions scoping studies, involving the major stakeholders, were carried out in order to identify constraints and opportunities in agricultural production. Final selection of innovation themes where discussed in regional stakeholder meetings.
All teams have made major efforts to create publicity around CASCAPE by using e.g. leaflets, banners, and field days and participated as well as organized several meetings to mobilize different groups of stakeholders. CASCAPE seems to be well known and appreciated in the regions.
In the first half of 2012 two MSc thesis studies were carried out entitled:
- -Opazo Salazar. Nutrient balances and soil fertility management strategies in smallholder farms in Tigray, Ethiopia. MSc thesis Wageningen University.
- -Corral Nunez. Current and predicted soil organic matter contents in Mekan and Tsga villages, southern Tigray, Ethiopia. Internship report Wageningen university.
These reports revealed that:
- -Model farmers earn about twice as much as non-model farmers in the selected areas in Tigray. This difference is mainly caused by larger farm size, more livestock and access to irrigation. The question now remains by what means they have got access to these better production facilities. The application of best practices appeared to have less impact on the performance.
- -Soil organic matter contents are seriously declining. This trend can be reversed, but only when alternatives are found for using organic matter as fuel for cooking.
Additional activities at the request of EKN
Fast track Small Scale Irrigation
The international small-scale irrigation (SSI) expert, Dr Olaf Verheijen, conducted his first mission for the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN) in Ethiopia from 15 to 29 March 2012 to support the provision of fast-track support to the SSI component of the Agriculture Growth Program (AGP). The second mission of the international SSI expert took place from 18 May until 10 June 2012.
The deliverables of the second mission of the international SSI Expert include:
– Revised proposed format for SSI System Feasibility and Design Report;
– Draft Concept Paper for Small-Scale and Micro Irrigation Support Project;
– Fast-Track Support Implementation Report
Increasingly, the potentials of fruit and vegetable home gardens to contribute to improving food security and nutrition security are recognized in both the policy and scientific debate. Therefore, a dedicated research proposal was developed for a study on home garden vegetable and fruit production in Ethiopia. The aim of the study is to better understand the importance and role of current home garden production for household food and nutrition security in Ethiopia. Results support the identification of best practices in home garden production and locally promising home garden options that may be tested at wider scale. The study consists of a literature review and field survey of farmers in the Meki/Ziway area.
In the period January-June 2012 the following activities have taken place:
- -Formulation of the Terms of Reference for the study in collaboration with local actors in the field of vegetable production and health & nutrition such as EHPEA, UNICEF and the Ripple project. (Jan-Feb).
- -Identification of a local consultant (Ato Lemma Dessalegne) to carry out the study (Mar)
- -Development of work plan by consultant and contractual arrangements with consultant (Apr-May)
- -Signing of contract (June)
- -Start of literature review and field work (June)
Monitoring and evaluation
A strategy for farm selection was prepared and resulted in a stratified sampling strategy of 448 randomly selected farms per region from 2 strata (gender and model/non-model farmer). Additionally, in each region 64 non-project farmers are selected to evaluate project impact. This strategy is discussed with the university team and all baseline surveys have been carried out.
MonQI, a tool for the detailed inventory (bio-physical and socio-economic), analysis and monitoring of the performance of farm households has been tested by all teams. The MonQI software has been adjusted to the projects’ needs and will be used for continuous monitoring of selected farm households.
A monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system for the project as a whole has been developed by Wageningen UR – CDI and is based on the theory of change that has been developed for the project. The M&E system is such that it also contributes to the indicators EKN needs for their reporting on food security to the Netherlands government.
The project website (www.cascape.info) has been developed and is in operation. In the last 3 months of 2011 the on-line learning platform (NING) for all staff and team members of CASCAPE has been developed and is now in operation.
The first CASCAPE newsletter was published in August 2011. In February 2012 and June 2012 the second and third newsletters were published.