InnovAfrica’s project partners met in Mbeya from 11-15th February to review the project’s progress during the first mid-term. At the workshop the results achieved during the first mid-term period, challenges faced, and future plans were discussed.

Presenting a brief overview of the project, including the scientific progress, the Project Coordinator, Dr. Sekhar Nagothu emphasized the importance of effective dissemination of the results to farmers and stakeholders, with a focus on gender and youth.

The meeting was jointly hosted by the Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), NIBIO, the main project coordinator, and BecA-ILRI Hub, the co-coordinator of the project. Over 45 participants representing several organizations from Africa and Europe took part in the meeting. A field visit, to the project villages of Mbeya, was organized on the 13th. The group attending via Skype in Nairobi took a field trip to Kirinyaga county.

Scientific progress

During the first half of the project’s term, (June 2017–Nov 2018), the main activities were focused on developing base line scenarios, actively engaging stakeholders through Multi-Actor Platforms (MAPs) in all the 6 case countries, and conducting farmer led field demonstration of selected Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (SAI) technologies: (maize-legume, millets-legume cropping system, Brachiaria forage systems).

Field trials, Mbeya

The team introduced an IIA (seed delivery system) and selected three innovative Extension and Advisory Services (EASs) that included the introduction of Village Knowledge Centres (VKCs), Integrated Farm Plan (PIP) and Farmer to Farmer (F2F).

Value Chains maps for three agri-food value chains (maize- legume, sorghum/millets-legumes, and Brachiaria forage grass) were developed with the help of MAPs.

Additionally, policy and institutional analysis was done to identify adoption barriers and opportunities for upscaling SAI systems at the smallholders’ level.

Stakeholder briefing to InnovAfrica consortium members in Mbeya, Tanzania, 13th February, 2019.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr. Joseph Nyomboha one of the Tanzania MAP members, accredited the InnovAfrica project for the results achieved on ground. He acknowledged the project for increased awareness and capacity of dairy farmers in in the project sites in Mbeya. Some notable challenges are market penetration and low price markers in the region.

Women sell fruit at a local market in Mbeya

Three project Stakeholder Board members, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director, FARA, Ghana, Dr. Denis Kyetere, Executive Director, AATF, Kenya and Prof. Agnes Mwang’ombe, former Principal of the College of Agriculture and Veterinary Sciences (CAVS), University of Nairobi.  University of Nairobi, Kenya participated through Skype.

SEAB remarks

InnovAfrica members participating from Nairobi
Front left to right: Dr Denis Kyetere, Prof Agnes Mwang’ombe, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo
Back left to right: Mwihaki Mundia, Maina Gichangi, Dr Jacob Mignouna, Laurie Vanreemst, Dr Donald Njarui, Dr Paul Guthiga

The members of the Scientific Expert Advisory Board (SEAB) appraised the progress and the results achieved through the team’s ongoing activities. 

They suggested that the project future reporting should put emphasis on the impacts achieved to benchmark the progress against overall indicators. 

They African agenda, in addition to SDGS, was a suggested reporting language tool to maintain relevance to the continent’s development goals. Identifiable examples include; the Malabo Declaration, Agenda 2063 and Science, Technology and Innovation strategy for Africa (STISA).

They commented on the Work Package reporting, which should highlight uncommon innovative results. The members also suggested that InnovAfrica should directly focus and address the food security issues within the case countries in particular and sub-Saharan Africa in general.