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Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification

Sustainably Intensified Production Systems Impact on Nutrition (SIPSIN)

Lead Institution: Texas A&M University 
Award Amount: $999,198 
Focus Country: Ethiopia 
Principal Investigator: Neville Clarke - n-clarke@tamu.edu
International Collaborating Institution(s): Bahir Dar University, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Summary: The project will evaluate the implications of sustainable intensification of crop and livestock production systems (SIPS) on human nutrition in northern Ethiopia. The existing infrastructure and ongoing research and development of the Innovation Lab for Small Scale Irrigation (ILSSI) in the Lake Tana basin of Northern Ethiopia will be used as a platform to efficiently conduct research to evaluate SIPS for crop and livestock production and their environmental, economic and nutritional consequences. There are three goals for this project:
  1. To provide an increased and more stable income for smallholder farmers
  2. To improve the capacity for these farmers to improve the status of nutrition, especially for women and children
  3. To increase the sustainable use of natural resources and offer the possibility of enhanced long-term improvement in agroecological health.
In addition to monitoring ongoing ILSSI projects and extending them to SIPSIN products, new projects involving livestock-fodder and kitchen-garden systems will be specifically directed to SIIL objectives.  The results of these interventions will provide input to the Integrated Decision Support System (IDSS), adapting its application from small-scale irrigation to sustainably intensive production system assessment. The IDSS will be used for the systems analysis of the consequence of intensified production systems at the Lake Tana sites and will further develop the modeling framework for future application in other sites in Ethiopia and other SIIL countries. 


2017 Progress Updates
  • Collaborators at the Tufts Medical School and IFPRI completed the baseline household surveys as well as malaria and anemia tests that will add an emphasis on nutrition outcomes to the ILSSI protocol and the Integrated Decision Support System (IDSS).
  • The FARMSIM model is being expanded to have a more robust human nutrition component to better use the new data generated from Achievement (a). FARMSIM will simulate the farm family as a total system for both wet and dry seasons, moving past just irrigation assessment, to evaluate the food available to the household, including the staple crops.
  • Field research on fodder-livestock systems has been expanded to include over 200 participating farmers in FY 2017 (up from less than 50 in FY 2016). The majority of the farmers participating in FY 2016 expanded their area of land allocated to irrigated fodder from 100m2 up to to up to 1000m2. Additionally, approximately 50 commercial home vegetable gardens have been established in collaboration with the ASMC. In Robit, farmers have grown cabbage for three seasons. In the cabbage trials, significantly higher yields, lower irrigation water use, and lower labor inputs have been required under conversation agriculture practices compared to conventional tillage. Data from both trials, fodder-livestock and commercial home gardens, will be incorporated into the APEX and FARMSIM models.
  • Under ILSSI, a dashboard approach is being developed to provide decision makers with a readily useable method of employing the power of the IDSS in a simplified format for decisions at multiple levels of scale.