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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 
Ethiopia people working
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. 
2019 Progress Updates - Project Completed
  • The water survey for both watersheds (Danghista and Robit) revealed that shallow ground water is the main water source for domestic, livestock and irrigation purposes for ILSSI intervention (average 72%) and non-ILSSI intervention households (average 57%) followed by surface water (i.e. river) for non-ILSSI intervention households (average 34%).

  • Anecdotal evidence suggested that when milk production increased, a family of 6 consumed about 4 kg of milk per day. The rest goes for sale. If the production was less than 4 kg/d, all were used for home consumption. These data appear to suggest that adoption of irrigated forage will have substantial direct (via home consumption) or indirect (via sales of milk) effects on nutritional security and quality. 
  • The multiple cropping of maize cultivated after irrigated and fertilized vegetables or fodders increased maize yield substantially compared to baseline condition. This is because of improvement in soil fertility due to residual nutrients from dry season cropping (i.e. vegetables or fodder). However, the highest and most consistently stable maize yield was observed when it was planted after onion and fodder, respectively. 
  • The use of irrigation during the dry season to expand cropping produced additional food and generated income. The increased income as a result of irrigated crops sales, especially fodder and tomatoes, allows the household to purchase additional food items such as animal products (milk, eggs, beef, and chicken) from the markets to complement their nutrition. Production and sale of fodder increased the availability of animal feeds at the market.
  • Multiple cropping of rain fed teff cultivated after irrigated and fertilized vegetables or fodders increased the rain fed teff yield by 15% compared to baseline condition due to improved soil fertility as a result of residual nutrients (nitrogen) from the dry season irrigated crops.