Executive summary

Phase II (2016–2021) of the Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation (Africa RISING) program aims to scale up the innovations validated in Phase I (2011–2016) to at least 1.1 million households, and to implement further research-in-development activities. This report provides some highlights from the third year of Phase II: October 2018 to September 2019.


Deploying improved varieties

Deploying improved varieties for enhanced farm production, resilience and sustainability involves a number of stages, including variety evaluation and selection, seed production, dissemination or scaling, and ensuring farmers use best practices in growing the new varieties. In 2018–2019, at various sites across the six program countries, Africa RISING evaluated a wide range of crops that have a critical role in sustainably intensifying smallholder agricultural production systems.

Manipulating crop ecology to get more from limited resources

In 2018 – 2019, Africa RISING scientists and partners continued to work with farmers in validating and scaling technologies that provide maximum outputs through inexpensive and uncomplicated adjustments to the biotic and abiotic crop ecologies.

Applying integrated soil fertility management

Agricultural intensification requires efficient use of resources, especially by resource constrained farmers in developing countries. In Malawi, Ethiopia and Ghana, Africa RISING partners continued to provide farmers with technology options that enhance agronomic efficiency.

Enhancing livestock productivity

Farm animals are an ancient, vital and renewable natural resource. Throughout the developing world, they are a means for hundreds of millions of people to escape absolute poverty. Livestock sustain most forms of agricultural intensification. Africa RISING is implementing various integrated crop-livestock activities ranging from feeding and forage to improved husbandry and health.

Reducing soil loss and enhancing water utilization

Soil and water are two of the most important resources on any farm. Empowering farmers with the skills and technologies for effectively managing these twin indispensable resources is a primary concern for the Africa RISING program and its partners.

Improving household nutrition

Access to nutrient-rich foods is an important component of combating malnutrition – and promoting healthy eating is important for healthy outcomes for all ages, especially for pregnant women, children, and adolescents. Africa RISING implemented nutrition sensitive interventions in Tanzania, Malawi, Ethiopia and Ghana.

Improving food safety and reducing food waste

Food safety and food waste are global issues that require local solutions. In sub-Saharan Africa, postharvest processing and storage are major sources of food losses, both quantitative and qualitative. In this section, we highlight the value of using crop residues and ‘waste’ as animal feed, and work related to improving storage.


By introducing locally adapted mechanization technologies to smallholders, the Africa RISING program is helping farmers to raise incomes and nutritional security, reduce drudgery and empower women and youth, thereby fast-tracking their pathways to sustainably intensified agriculture.

Developing and deploying ICTs, including decision-support tools

ICTs are invaluable in modern agriculture. Africa RISING partners validated various tools that will enable researchers and extension workers to predict how a crop is going to perform under certain conditions, and to predict the best management practices as the cropping season unfolds.

Program monitoring, evaluation and learning agenda

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and more general learning, are key elements of adaptive research for development. Africa RISING program implemented elaborate activities that are helping keep track of the targets and progress towards achieving them as well as documenting the key lessons learned for further internal program enhancements.


While Africa RISING is a program managed by three CGIAR Centers and supported by USAID, the work on the ground would be impossible without the collaboration of research and implementation partners. These include donors, international research and development organizations, international and national NGOs, the private sector, governmental agencies, and civil society organizations – some of which are highlighted in this section.



  • Total 5,015 beneficiaries (2,841 women) of short training and field days (farmers, extension workers, IOP staff, councilors, Strengthening Agricultural and Nutrition Extension), plus around 800 farmers at seed and trade fair.
  • 1 PhD, 4 Master’s, 1 BSc


  • Total 1,248 beneficiaries (over 450 women) of short training and meetings (farmers, extension, assembly men, chiefs)
  • 8 PhD, 10 Master’s, 2 BSc


  • Total 5,309 beneficiaries (all types)
  • 6 PhD, 2 Master’s


East and Southern Africa Project

West Africa Project

Ethiopian Highlands Project

  • 12 web pieces
  • 4 journal articles
  • 4 theses
  • 20 posters
  • 1 brief
  • 1 conference paper
  • 9 presentations
  • 1 report
  • 1 video



Compilation and production coordination: Jonathan Odhong’ (IITA)

Co-writing, editing and layout: Green Ink, www.greenink.co.uk

Photos: Apollo Habtamu (ILRI), Wilhelmina Ofori-Duah (IITA), Jonathan Odhong’ (IITA), Christian Thierfelder (CIMMYT), Stephanie Malyon (CIAT), Jim Richards, Kindu Mekonnen (ILRI), Petra Schmitter (IWMI), Eveline Massam (IITA), Zelalem Lema (ILRI), Bevin Bhoke (IITA), Frédéric Baudron (CIMMYT), Neha Paliwal (IFPRI), Simret Yasabu (ILRI)