Eastern and Southern Africa

399 million - The number of people living in the region

70% - Percentage that lives in rural areas

85% - The number of extremely poor in the region who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods

ESA - The area most heavily affected by the HIV epidemic

Leading the way to rural development in the Sahel

In the Sahelian countries of Africa, about 80% of the 100 million inhabitants live and work in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Poverty and vulnerability are severe in these areas, and in many cases are worsening for millions of people. Land degradation is one of the major causes of poverty and income inequalities in the Sahel. Other underlying factors are many – harsh climatic conditions, rapidly growing populations, prevalence of diseases and pests, poor development of infrastructure and markets, governance failures, conflicts, and more.

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Regaining ground for Malawi’s groundnut
Three decades of investment in groundnutresearch for development have moved smallholder farmers in Malawi from subsistence to inclusive market-oriented agriculture.
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Just a small dose will do

In Zimbabwe, a bottle cap’s worth of fertilizer applied in the right place at the right me – is leading to dramatic improvements in yields and incomes of smallholder farmers.

Inclusiveness is about bringing life-changing innovations to millions of smallholder farming families who have the biggest needs – techniques that are adapted

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ICRISAT-HOPE sharply increases sorghum yields in Maharashtra, India

HOPE has become reality for 25,000 farmers in dryland Marathwada and Western Maharashtra regions of the state of Maharashtra, known as the ‘Sorghum Bowl of India’. Initial assessments indicate that their grain yields rose by 40% and fodder yields by 20% on average over the past three seasons (2010-2012) due to improved sorghum varieties and crop management practices, along with improved market linkages. About half of these farmers operate on a very small scale, with landholding size of two hectares or less. Net income (the income that farmers retain after their costs of cultivation are paid for) has increased by 50%, to an average of US$78 per hectare of sorghum grown.

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Shelling groundnuts made easier

ICRISAT’s strategy of inclusive market-oriented development (IMOD) was in motion during a recent visit by a team from ICRISAT-Lilongwe and the Eastern Province Farmers’ Cooperative Ltd (EPFC) to Kabunda village to solicit farmers’ opinion on a groundnut shelling machine.


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Pigeonpea in Eastern and Southern Africa

Making markets work for farmers in Eastern Africa
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Crop scientists search for better sorghum variety

Top crop scientists and researchers from Kenya and Tanzania are trying to establish a sustainable sorghum crop capable of multiple uses. The objective is to support the development of new sorghum multi-purpose varieties that are higher yielding and adapted to both biotic and abiotic (insects and diseases) stresses in the arid and semi-arid agro ecologies of eastern Kenya and in the northern and central zones of Tanzania. Researchers from the International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Africa Harvest Biotechnology International Foundation (Africa Harvest) have brought together key collaborators and partners to review the project and plan the way forward.


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William Dar advocates easier access to published research

More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson spoke of “an ardent desire to see knowledge so disseminated through the mass of mankind that it may, at length, reach even the extremes of society: beggars and kings”. He spoke at a time when only a tiny elite had access to education. Yet today, despite the spread of universities, digital libraries and internet access in the developing world, research is not easily available. Among the culprits is academic publishing.

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Eva’s endeavours: a professional path in plant science inspired by Norman Borlaug

Learning about the work of Nobel laureate, Norman Borlaug, in high school inspired Eva Weltzien to become a plant breeder so she too could contribute to improving the living conditions in the developing world. Today, Eva is a Principal Scientist in sorghum breeding and genetic resources at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Mali.

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How to prevent aflatoxin contamination

Aflatoxins are a threat to both human and animal health. And they can result in considerable economic losses. At the CGIAR Science Forum 2013, experts exchanged views on strategies to combat the spread of this fungal poison.

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(Audio) BBC Radio report on Africa Food Security (04:35min)

2014 was declared the African year of Agriculture and Food security. So after the declaration, do you know what your country is doing to keep off hunger? Scientist from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics are already carrying out research to improve the yield and drought resistance in certain crops. The BBC’s Frenny Jowi visited a group of farmers in Busia, Western Kenya who are leading in adopting growing alternative crops such as finger millet, sorghum and cassava to keep their silos and stomachs full all year round.

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