East and Southern Africa

Harvesting season in Nyando climate-smart villages in Kenya.
S.Kilungu (CCAFS)

AICCRA's team in East and Southern Africa works to enhance the resilience of agricultural productivity of smallholder farmers and livestock keepers in the region through climate-smart agriculture and climate information services. 

Agriculture plays a vital role in providing livelihoods, income, and food security in Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA). However, there has been a recent slowdown in productivity growth, with frequent food production failures caused by extreme climatic events and socio-economic disturbances. Therefore, it is crucial to increase agricultural production and strengthen the resilience of rural households in ESA. 

Agricultural production in the region is mainly rain-fed and is highly vulnerable to climate variability and change. This negatively impacts the livelihoods of farmers and livestock keepers, especially women and youth, thereby posing serious threats to crop and livestock productivity while worsening food insecurity in the region.

The AICCRA ESA programme is the regional component of AICCRA in the World Bank's Internationa Development Association (IDA)-eligible countries in East and Southern Africa. AICCRA has been working in three core countries — Ethiopia, Kenya, and Zambia — as well as with neighboring countries through strategic partnerships with regional organizations in what we call a ‘spillover’ impact. 

Specifically, activities focus on three main areas:

  1. Knowledge Generation and Sharing—This involves supporting the co-creation and sharing of knowledge products and decision-support tools to address critical gaps in the provision of climate information services (CIS), climate-smart agriculture (CSA), and climate-informed investment planning while contributing to the design of support policies. The aim is to promote the uptake and use of CSA and CIS approaches, including through spillover effect and South-South learnings.
     
  2. Strengthening Partnerships for Delivery of Climate-Smart Innovations—This involves strengthening the capacity of key national and regional institutions along a research-to-development continuum. The aim is to anticipate climate effects and accelerate the identification, prioritization, and uptake of best-bet adaptive measures.
     
  3. Validating Suitability of CSA Innovations Through Piloting—This involves closing critical gaps in the innovation-to-delivery pipeline, including scaling by larger investments financed by the WB and development partners at the national and regional levels. The aim is to enhance access, uptake, and use of CSA and CIS by beneficiaries and end-users.

A farmer cultivates watermelon from his farm in Uganda.

Highlights

Improving the regional capacity and policy arena of climate-smart agricultural technologies, innovations and management practices

Sound partnerships between the private sector, farmers' organizations, research, and policymaking institutions help in creating an enabling environment for CSA to make a meaningful and lasting impact and enhance the broad-based adoption and scaling of climate-smart innovations more quickly and more effectively. 

In this respect, the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) is implementing various activities of AICCRA-led initiatives in partnership with the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT and partners in the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS).

Through regional, multistakeholder partnerships, AICCRA and ASARECA are co-developing policies, recommendations and programs aimed at deepening cooperation in agricultural research among member countries, facilitating the adoption of improved policies and practices, and promoting cooperation to mobilize and cost-effectively use resources.

The 15-member-state-strong association works with the respective national agricultural research institutes (NARIs), Ministries of Agriculture, Agricultural Research for Development Universities, national agricultural extension services, NGOs, private sector, farmers’ associations, development partners and international agricultural research centers, among others. 

AICCRA is keen to strengthen the human and technical capacity and resources of regional organizations working in CSA and CIS leveraging ASARECA’s successful track record of reaching millions of farmers in Eastern and Central Africa with improved seed varieties and practices in water management, soil fertility, agronomy, storage, marketing, animal husbandry and fisheries management.

The adoption and use of several new agricultural technologies by smallholder farmers remains relatively low in the region resulting in low crop production and yields on farms, poor quality and high postharvest losses. Reducing the yield gap of improved crop varieties, for instance, requires concerted efforts of both the technology innovators and those involved in its dissemination and regulation. Based on the foregoing, ASARECA organized a dialogue on the commercialization of climate-relevant agricultural Technologies, Innovations, and Management Practices (TIMPs) in Eastern and Central Africa for the private sector, climate scientists, research organizations, policymakers, extension workers, and media to discuss commercialization of climate-relevant TIMPs.

In addition, the AICCRA-led initiative on science-policy dialogue has resulted in a forum for sharing evidence and innovations among relevant stakeholders from the private, public, development and civil-society spheres, with a specific focus on climate-smart agriculture to influence gender-responsive policy implementation and reforms across Eastern and Central Africa.

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A farmer selling tomatoes in a market in Zambia.

Strengthening Food Systems Resilience and Agricultural Trade in Southern Africa

Many indicators point to the significant impact role that climate change has on the agricultural sector, spanning from production to the marketing of primary and secondary products. Women and youth comprise most of the rural population in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and are likely to be more affected by the impacts of climate change. Any interventions in the agricultural sector must ensure deliberate efforts to empower these stakeholders to ensure their equitable participation and benefit from development interventions.

The Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA), a key regional partner of AICCRA, is taking steps to raise the region's capacity to adapt to climate change and improve the resilience of its food systems. CCARDESA convened regional forums to consult the region and give stakeholders an opportunity to provide input to its work on cross-border trade, agroecology, and climate-smart agriculture, as well as the involvement of the private sector in promoting CSA.

Through an AICCRA-led partnership, CCARDESA — with its 16 member states — helps in coordinating the implementation of regional climate-smart agricultural activities and research with strong collaboration among stakeholders of the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS). AICCRA works with CCARDESA on harnessing climate-informed digital crop intelligence technologies, which is key to building the resilience of food systems against climate change in the SADC region.

A meteorologist at Ethiopian Meteorological Institute. 

Improving the Climate Information Service Ecosystem and Early Warning Systems in Eastern Africa

In Africa, vulnerable sectors, like agriculture and rural communities, are bearing the brunt of climate change impacts. Having accurate weather forecasts and climate information can help. The frequency and intensity of extreme weather conditions and the changing climate in East and Southern Africa have led to an increase in the demand for reliable climate information and decision-making tools. To meet this demand, National Hydrological and Meteorological Service (NHMS) centers are receiving support from AICCRA to enhance their technical, institutional, and human capacities.

Through AICCRA-led partnership, NHMS centers across the region are also closely working with regional and international organizations like the IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre (ICPAC), the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Regional Office for Africa to improve the availability, access, and use of verified and accurate climate information. By disseminating weather, water, and climate data to farmers and livestock keepers, NHMS play a vital role in providing timely and high-quality climate services, thereby, contributing to early warning and early action planning. 

ICPAC is a climate center accredited by the WMO that provides climate services to 11 East African Countries. AICCRA East and Southern Africa team works closely with ICPAC to generate, disseminate and capacitate NHMS centers for seasonal and sub-seasonal NextGen weather forecasting and flashflood forecasting systems. The engagement mainly targets hydrometeorology professionals from East African countries in the IGAD region. 

Furthermore, the collaboration visibly catalyzes the significant role that national and regional partners play in scaling access, uptake and use of climate information services for early warning and early action systems. 

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Climate Education and Research for a Knowledgeable Future Generation 

AICCRA forged 23 partnerships with universities across Africa with the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) to streamline climate information services (CIS) and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) into the curriculums of the continent's universities. Under RUFORUM, partnering with universities in Eastern and Southern Africa to advance climate research by integrating climate change into academic curricula through diverse approaches, including comprehensive curriculum overhauls, the introduction of new programs, specialized training, and student clubs.

RUFORUM’s contribution to the AICCRA project is focused on mobilising African universities, creating awareness and enhancing the use of CSA and CIS knowledge and products developed by the CGIAR Centres and other research institutions engaged in CSA and CIS.
 

Continental Partners: African Union, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (African Climate Policy Centre) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Regional Office for Africa

In close partnership with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Regional Office for Africa, the African Union, the African Climate Policy Center (ACPC) at the United National Economic Commission for Africa, and the IGAD Climate Application and Prediction Center (ICPAC), AICCRA is contributing to key continental documents.

 

AICCRA is a regional partner of a consortium of organizations led by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). This consortium has been working closely with WMO's regional office for Africa to prepare the content related to Africa in the EW4All Executive Action Plan for the years 2023 to 2027. 

Furthermore, AICCRA and the WMO-Regional Office for Africa teamed up on activities related to disaster risk knowledge generation and management in Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa by facilitating knowledge exchange and climate information-focused capacity-building engagements in collaboration with Centre Régionale AGRHYMET (West Africa) and IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Centre ICPAC (Eastern Africa) as well as national meteorological service providers in over 15 spillover countries across the regions.

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AICCRA East and Southern Africa team

Dawit Solomon

Regional Coordinator, East and Southern Africa and Country Coordinator, Ethiopia International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

Maren Radeny

Science Officer, East and Southern Africa International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)