This project operates in a relatively isolated region of Bolivia—two municipalities within the Department of Chuquisaca—where many members of farming households have migrated permanently. Farmers produce various crops, including potato, chile, maize, and groundnuts, both for sale and household consumption. Groundnuts are often the only cash crop, and many farmers grow organically specifically for the export market. To date, the project has focused on different themes of interest to these farmers, including organic peanut production (preferred varieties and management of pests and diseases) and an assessment of the agroecological systems functioning in their farms (exploring ecological/productive, economic/participatory, and cultural/organizational dimensions).
FRN–NGO operates in Kenya’s lake zone, one of the most densely settled parts of the country and a region where poverty, natural resource degradation, and food insecurity levels are high. Challenges include scarce land and water resources, declining soil productivity, high pest and disease incidences, changing climatic conditions, and limited access to resources for women, who are the main drivers of agricultural production. People are highly dependent on farming for their livelihoods, and rains are becoming less predictable and crop failures more frequent.
With high population growth, large proportions of rural populations, and high levels of malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies, Mali and the Sahel region in general rank among the lowest on the United Nations Human Development Index. Seed Systems in Mali is a long-term project now led by Baloua Nebie following Eva Weltzien-Rattunde’s retirement from ICRISAT in 2016. It focuses on various aspects of participatory breeding for improving sorghum- and millet-based systems in the Sahel region. The project has from its inception in 2006 worked with a network of large farmer organizations in all three West Africa CoP countries. The research network orientation taken by this project was seen as a promising approach for building capacities for expanding farmers’ seed systems. A key aspect was to expand farmers’ capacities in terms of increasing the crop and varietal diversity in their systems. A network of variety testers, seed producers, and seed marketing specialists was built within these farmer organizations to enhance the reach of the seed.
Productivity on smallholder farms in Malawi is generally very low. Yields of the main subsistence crop, maize, are substantially below what could be achieved with improved crop management. Soil fertility is declining, so the productive capacity of farms is being eroded. Low incomes mean that few farmers can afford to purchase inorganic fertilizer, and the number of them benefitting from government input subsidies has fallen drastically. Individual land holdings are small and, in many areas, only one crop can be grown per year. Erratic rainfall—floods and dry spells—also has an impact on crop production. As a result, a large number of people do not produce enough food to meet their needs. So, too, do they lack diversity in their diets, which adversely affects the health of farm families. The incidence of stunting in children under 5 years of age averages 46 percent.