AICCRA's 2022 annual report shows how we're scaling CGIAR science and innovation to reach millions of African farmers, building momentum for a climate-smart, resilient future in African agriculture.
In this special feature, we explore the key themes and outcomes of AICCRA's work so far, with stories from some of AICCRA's team leaders and partners.
These stories focus on AICCRA's partnerships with national and regional institutions, how the potential of Africa's entrepreneurs is being unleashed, the role of education and capacity development, the power of farmer voices, and the inclusion of women and youth in community decisions.
Please explore these stories, and the annual report which is available at CGSpace, the knowledge repository of CGIAR.
For five decades, CGIAR has delivered critical science and innovation to help feed the world and end inequality, with a significant legacy in Africa. This has been thanks to the support of many international partners, including the World Bank.
As African agriculture faces ever more complex risk, the ‘OneCGIAR’ transformation is guided by an ambitious 2030 research strategy to transform “the world’s food, land, and water systems in the context of a climate crisis.”
It is under this circumstance that Accelerating Impacts of CGIAR Climate Research for Africa (AICCRA) meets the ambitions of the World Bank to deliver CGIAR innovation at scale, while spearheading new ways of working with partners in Africa that will inspire emerging OneCGIAR initiatives.
By working ‘hand-in-glove' with African partners like AGRHYMET, the Regional Climate Center for West Africa and the Sahel, AICCRA is providing the critical resources and science that’s sustainably building the capacity of institutions, strengthening agricultural research and innovation systems across the continent.
Having reached more than a million beneficiaries, AICCRA is testing the ways in which African governments, regional institutions and the private sector can scale science and technology to reach millions more African farmers, so that they survive and to thrive in a changing climate.
That's why I believe the stories from the AICCRA 2022 Annual Report will inspire action for a ‘Climate-smart Africa’.
AGRHYMET Regional Center
Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS)
The agriculture sector is crucial for strengthening food security and driving inclusive and sustainable growth across the African continent – but its potential remains largely untapped by private investors.
Through a collaborative, multi-stakeholder approach to include the private sector in agriculture, AICCRA is working to change this.
With new CGIAR-backed coalitions driving a new international cooperation for science-based investment targets in climate-smart agriculture, our activities in 2022 also leveraged private-sector investments, supporting entrepreneurs, new digital innovations and tools that are scaling farmers’ resilience across the continent.
The Zambia Accelerator has benefitted 118,000 farmers so far, securing a USD 500,000 commitment from private investors – a 200% return on the original project funding.
In Senegal, six entrepreneurs were awarded grants ranging from 6 to 15 million CFA francs in the a Gender Smart Accelerator Challenge, where shortlisted contestants (drawn from 250 applicants) were coached in business and personal development, financial strategy as well as climate smart agriculture and climate services, participating in networking events that connect them to new partnerships.
In Mali, new business models with private sector partners like ECOTECH are making solar-powered irrigation technologies and digital innovations more accessible to thousands of farmers, increasing farmer incomes over USD 5,000 per hectare.
In Ethiopia, AICCRA’s partnership with the Lersha digital platform (recognized as one of the fastest-growing digital platforms in Africa) is scaling access to vital agro-climate information, for more than 60,000 farmers.
With nearly USD 15 million mobilized from a range of public and private partners by our projects, AICCRA is forging effective new collaborations between both to scale proven innovations.
The private sector is playing a critical role in scaling the future of climate-smart agriculture in Africa. We’re excited to see these outcomes from working closely together and look forward to more.
Inga Jacobs Mata
AICCRA Zambia Leader
National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHS) are critical conduits for channeling weather, water and climate data to farmers and livestock keepers, connected via policymakers who determine how extension services reach communities.AICCRA partnered with them alongside the World Meteorological Organization’s Regional Office in Africa, the African Climate Policy Centre and IGAD’s Climate Prediction and Application Center to adopt the Global Framework for Weather, Water and Climate Services (GFWWCS) in 12 countries across East and Southern Africa, co-developing or strengthening corresponding national frameworks.
These frameworks address gaps in climate services for vulnerable communities through four sectors – agriculture, water, health, and disaster reduction. So AICCRA is mainstreaming science-based climate information into planning, policy and practical decision-making, supporting resilient end users.
And thanks to AICCRA-supported training for 17 NMHS’ and two regional climate centers, a state-of-the-art forecasting system “NextGen” has been adopted across East and West Africa, with regional and national forecasts now better aligned.
“[NextGen] allows you to assemble the forecast very quickly and easily and also assess its skill [quality] easily. With that, we can produce better forecasts.” said Bello Ahmed of the Nigerian Meteorological Agency, who attended an AICCRA training, an example of how AICCRA impact extends beyond its current six focus countries.
A NextGen Agricultural Drought Monitoring and Warning System (NADMWS) helps national and local policymakers in East Africa monitor agricultural hotspots of water stress, while AICCRA adapted open-source flash flood forecasting tools help minimizes their destructive impact through early warning and action.
AICCRA also works with the private sector to integrate digital services. In Ethiopia, a partnership delivered climate advisories to 4,000 development agents and in turn 83,000 smallholder farmers.
AICCRA East Africa Leader
We believe that with better access to innovative technology and advisory services, African farmers are better able to anticipate and respond to climate-related events.
But innovation alone isn’t enough to truly transform agriculture and food systems on the continent. That’s why, together with our network of partners, AICCRA works closely with farmers to understand how innovations can take root and thrive in their communities.
In Zambia, the first 'farmer makeover TV show' of its kind—Munda Makeover—recently premiered on Zambia National Broadcast Corporation (ZNBC). The show helps farmers adapt to climate change, based on CGIAR science and innovation and promotes Zambian agri-business SMEs.
It builds on the success of Shamba Shape Up in Kenya, East Africa’s longest running agricultural television show that reaches an average weekly viewership of 1.9 million people. Through this show AICCRA has scaled climate-smart agriculture in Kenya, where AICCRA also deploys the KAZNET digital platform to source data from pastoralists and feed it back to them with insights on market trends and climate information.
A tool scaled by AICCRA called TILKIT is—for the first time—merging local and indigenous knowledge with empirical observations of climate and weather in relatable ways to generations of experience.
In Ghana, Farmer Field Days are demonstrating to farmers (nearly half of them women) new, climate-smart agriculture practices for the land they farm.
In November, we invited two farmers, Esther Zulu from Zambia and Elizabeth Akaba from Ghana to join the AICCRA team at the UN COP27 summit. The two spoke at several events during the conference, grounding conversations with a first-hand experience of the challenges and opportunities facing smallholder farmers.
Since AICCRA’s beginning, we’ve been able to reach nearly three million African farmers, with tools, knowledge, and innovation to boost resilience and adaptation.
By listening and learning from stakeholders across agriculture’s value chains, we will continue to connect more than 50 years of CGIAR science and research with generations of local, indigenous knowledge to find solutions by African farmers that work for African farmers.
AICCRA Ghana Leader
It’s crucial that women, youth and other vulnerable social groups are included in scaling climate-smart agriculture in Africa. We believe this means pushing beyond being merely sensitive to gender and inclusion, and instead embracing it as the very foundation of transformation.
AICCRA’s Gender and Social Inclusion team made good progress towards system transformation through capacity trainings in 2022, connecting with women extension workers and working with government bodies to inform gender policy.
In Mali, community outreach led by trained women service providers is proving to be a pathway to reach thousands of women farmers and their communities.
Of the 20 participants in the Senegal Gender-smart Accelerator, 17 are women-led and 45 percent of the entrepreneurs are younger than 35 years old.
We know women and marginalized groups are underrepresented in agricultural research and in 2022 published nine papers which included gender and social inclusion dimensions.
AICCRA’s gender-smart agriculture framework to plan, implement and assess gender-responsive has also now been integrated into the World Bank’s programming and monitoring.
We’ve continued to participate to the continent’s conversation on inclusive climate services through regional events such as the Second Scientific Conference on Climate Change in the Sahel; the ESA Gender and CSA Science Policy Dialogue in Kenya and a COP27 event with partner AGRHYMET which explored how our work together is influencing the inclusion of gender in regional climate communications.
AICCRA Gender and Social Inclusion Leader
Generating and sharing knowledge is an AICCRA priority, articulated and tracked through Intermediate Performance Indicators.
In 2022, AICCRA delivered 37 open access journal articles. One of these compelling papers looked at evidence from six African countries to show that the factors which determine the effectiveness, scalability and sustainability of climate services are poorly understood, proposing new approaches that could increase our impact.
In Ghana, a recent AICCRA paper is now underpinning a national climate-smart integrated pest-management strategy, paving the way for the development of an ‘Early Warning and Rapid Response System for Pests and Diseases’ which would disseminate customized advisories to farming communities, encouraging a more sustainable approach to addressing pests and disease.
The 228 AICCRA knowledge briefs produced in 2022 are accompanied by a learning zone filled with 50 open-access tools which make the AICCRA website a gateway for resources that help put climate-smart agriculture into practice, which was visited 53,000 times in 2022.
The Outcome Impact Case Reports found in the Annual Report highlight how such tools are leveraged by AICCRA and partners as part of the outreach of scaling initiatives. For example, national meteorological agencies in AICCRA focus countries have adopted the Automatic Weather Station Data Tool, a new digital innovation harnessing the power of real-time weather data.
Meanwhile, an Adaptation Academy reached more than 200 participants in eight neighboring countries with tools to prioritize options for climate-smart agriculture and foresight methods for long-term policy planning, demonstrating the ‘spillover’ effect of regional AICCRA’s partnerships.
AICCRA ensures that knowledge is disseminated and adopted for positive outcomes through training, which in 2022 benefited nearly 6,000 participants. Meanwhile, AICCRA established 23 new partnerships with African universities who are incorporating climate services and climate risk management practices into curriculums.
Science Officer, AICCRA Program Management Unit
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together, says a well-known African proverb, resonating with AICCRA’s impact in 2022.
Thanks to our ever-growing network of partners, we were able to surpass our targets for making climate-smart services and innovation more accessible for millions of African farmers.
AICCRA, working from established CGIAR centres and their networks in our six focus countries, connects science and innovation to provide a research-driven contribution to critical activities like the World Bank’s Food Systems Resilience Programs and the African Union’s 10-year Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan.
In partnership with RUFORUM—a consortium of 147 universities across Africa—we are supporting new Africa-wide curricula and training materials on climate change, climate services and climate-smart agriculture. Already in East and Southern Africa, AICCRA’s partnership with RUFORUM and others led to 16 universities including these topics in curriculums. In total, AICCRA has forged 23 promising partnerships with universities across Africa so far.
In West Africa, AICCRA has helped CORAF adopt and use foresight analysis and adaptation planning methods so they can be used by ECOWAS as well as members of National Agricultural Research Systems across the region.
We’ve supported AGRHYMET, ICPAC and others to adopt “NextGen” seasonal forecasting - contributing to AGRHYMET’s elevation to a regional climate center (as defined by WMO) and now able to sustainably train national meteorological agencies on how to generate objective forecasting.
In partnership with the African Group of Negotiators Experts Support (AGNES), an AICCRA-supported leadership program trains Africa's climate policymakers on critical climate-related issues in agriculture, strengthening the science that informs their position in UNFCCC negotiations.
“We are greatly indebted for AICCRA’s support to the Leadership Program which has been recognized globally as a very impactful capacity building program and is now listed a Resource by UNFCCC’s Paris Committee on Capacity Building (PCCB). The Program has trained over 600 participants from 52 African countries – a remarkable achievement in less than two years.We further look forward to our continued partnership with AICCRA now and in the coming years.”
George Wamukoya (Ph.D.), Team Leader, Africa Group of Negotiators Experts Support (AGNES)
If we want to transform African food systems, all possible partners need to be included, supported, and collaborated with on a common vision for scaling climate-smart agriculture. AICCRA works to build and deepen these partnerships so that African farmers can better predict and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Through our local, national, and regional partnerships, we’re accessing the right avenues to scale climate-smart innovations, not only in AICCRA’s six focus countries but also beyond to other countries across the continent. Together, we are moving towards a climate-smart Africa.
AICCRA West Africa Leader