Overview Objectives

This project aims to increase agricultural production, improve household food security, alleviate poverty and thereby reduce food-aid dependency in rural Zimbabwe through better integrated crop and livestock production and through men, women and youth participating in the market.
Almost 12% of rural households in Zimbabwe (more than 1 million people) rely directly on food aid. Most rural dwellers in Zimbabwe depend on smallholder crop-livestock farming activities based on producing maize, other cereals and legumes and small and large stock including goats and beef or dairy cattle. Crop yields and livestock off-take rates are declining and, even where production surpluses are available at the farm gate, market value chains do not effectively link smallholders and final consumers.
Food deficits are commonplace and rural areas lack opportunities to generate income. Whilst food aid offers a short term measure of relief against hunger, the Government of Zimbabwe and external donors intend to reduce the chronic problem of food aid-dependency, improve food security, and alleviate poverty.
Research by Australian, international and national institutions strongly suggests that this problem of food-aid dependency can be solved by increasing agricultural production, improving food security, and thus alleviating poverty in rural Zimbabwe.
This AusAID/ACIAR sponsored project will contribute to better integration and intensification of smallholder crop-livestock systems, and help to increase smallholder enterprises to participate in markets by improving links between market chain actors, and helping them to exploit opportunities, reduce wastage and boosts returns.

Progress Reports (Year 1, 2, 3 etc)

Summary
This report focuses on Quarters 3-4 of 2012 and 1-2 of 2013. The Zimbabwe Crop-Livestock Integration for Food Security (ZimCLIFS project was approved by ACIAR on 22 June 2012. A Project Coordinator and three Nationally Recruited Scientists (100% staff time) were all appointed by early November 2012. The Project was formally launched at a workshop held in Harare on 17-18 October 2012, from which a six-month project plan was developed to guide the Project Management Team and collaborating scientists.
Subsequent to the inception workshop, the Project was introduced to Provincial and District Authorities, the Ministry of Agriculture and beneficiary farmers. The project was generally well-received and granted permission to operate in Murehwa, Goromonzi, Nkayi, Gwanda and Matobo districts. Collaborative Research Agreements (CRAs) between ILRI and CIMMYT, ICRISAT and QAAFI (UQ) were developed and approved. In addition, two project vehicles were purchased. During the first half of the reporting period project scientists and stakeholders conducted Participatory Rural Appraisals (PRAs) to identify key crop and livestock production constraints and “best bet” technologies that could be incorporated in the project. The latter were used to develop on-farm demonstration trials on nine different technologies during the 2012/13 wet season. The PRA exercises augmented information to a background report on the assessments of key research findings, priority research gaps and lessons for research in Zimbabwe which was conducted as part of the project formulation exercise. This project will also, in some cases, build on current research by local CG Centers.
Research achievements so far include:-
Involvement of 303 farmers into the project (i.e. 63% achievement - 172 in sub-humid region (SHR) and 131 in semi-arid region (SAR).
Establishment of different types of field crop / forage agronomy trials and demonstrations across the two contrasting agro-ecologies. The trials covered 5 different areas, viz.

Agronomic evaluation of forage cultivars
3
Agronomic evaluation of different cereal-legume intercrops & rotations to enhance grain & fodder production and soil fertility
7
Conservation of forages as hay and silage
2
Development of forage-based supplementary feeding practices (cultivation of fodder)
5
Pasture seed multiplication
4
The total area planted to trials was 59.6 ha (42.6 ha in SHR and 17.0 in SAR). Harvesting of agronomy trials is still in progress and it is expected to be completed by the end of May. Hay-making is also in progress and set to be completed by mid-June.
Innovation platforms (IPs) were established in Feb 2013 in the SAR. Twelve research and eighteen extension staff from both regions (SAR & SHR) were trained by ICRISAT staff to facilitate the establishment processes.
The IPs identified promising value chains viz. goats, beef, groundnuts, sorghum in SAR. Prospective value chains in SHR were maize, dairy, beef and goat.
A combined baseline and producer level value chain survey was initiated in April 2013 (albeit delayed) to benchmark 1400 HHs using a harmonized tool developed by the project team, led by CIMMYT and ICRISAT Data collection and entry is in progress. The survey will be completed by beginning of June 2013.
Harmonization of research approaches between CG institutes is a challenge due to inter-institutional preferences/culture. However, there has been considerable improvement in this area during the past six months.
Australian scientists from CSIRO and QAAFI assisted the Zimbabwe based scientists to calibrate the IAT and APSFARM simulation models to evaluate current SH farmers’ crop and livestock production/marketing systems and to identify suitable winter feeding technologies.
A large number of farmers were willing to be involved in both crop and forage projects but there was insufficient legume seed to distribute. Seed multiplication initiatives have been instituted to resolve this challenge.
Farmers (60% women) and extension staff were trained on crop (cereal and legume) establishment, mechanized CA, principles of hay-making and silage-making. Extension staff from Government and partner organisations also received training on pre-harvesting procedures and data collection.
A flyer and poster for the project were developed. Also an article was published in CIMMYT’s Informer Magazine to raise global awareness on activities of the ZimCLIFS project. The project’s annual planning and review meeting of April 2013 was reported in the ILRI news website page.
Fourteen field tours and field days involving research, extension, farmers and partner organisations took place from mid-March - mid April in all districts/wards. Farmers expressed overwhelming interest in the project and the diversity of innovations, including the growth vigour of Mucuna, sunhemp, cowpeas and Lab-lab.
The ACIAR Project Manager (Dr. John Dixon) visited the project from 26 - 29 January 2013. The Director General of ILRI Dr. Jimmy Smith) also visited the project from 21-22 April 2013.
Integration of the ZimCLIFS project with Phase II of the SIMLESSA project can produce synergies that encourage a proliferation of appropriate crop-livestock technologies that enhance farmer food security and livelihoods. This will out-scale crop-livestock research to the southern African region. The ZimCLIFS team is already contemplating strategies for this coalition.

The project has proceeded with much success and guidance following the 2012/13 Annual Planning and Review Meeting, farmer report-back meetings, Innovation Platform (IP) meetings and wet-season planning meetings which helped to formulate appropriate research activities for 2013/14. There were opportunities to catch up on activities deferred from 2012, such as completing the baseline survey, starting value chain analysis and setting-up (IPs). A lot of resources have gone into training and the production of appropriate tools and dissemination materials.
The project is employing a lead-farmer approach where each core-farmer engages 15-20 follower farmers. Through this approach it is anticipated that the project will exceed the combined target of 4800 follower-farmers by Year 3.
The baseline survey was completed in June 2013. The survey identified groundnut as the second most important crop after maize in both SHR and the SAR. Groundnut is a mandate crop for ICRISAT and the latter hosted a special meeting in November 2013 to explore options for developing the groundnut industry in Zimbabwe, including the SHR where farmers were encouraged to expand groundnut cultivation to optimize grain and stover production.
Baseline survey and other secondary data were used to develop farmer typologies for the different districts. Significant progress was made in simulation modeling to develop farmer typologies and address technological gaps on key commodities. Draft reports were circulated and reviews held with stakeholders to guide the selection of suitable C-L technologies for experimentation in 2013/14.
Agronomy studies in both Regions are targeted at addressing food, feed and soil fertility issues. Observations at field-tours suggest that maize following Mucuna in rotation has higher yields and lower weed and termite infestations compared to maize following maize or even maize-cowpea.
Conservation Agriculture (especially mechanized CA) and herbicide application received a lot of interest from the smallholder farmers in SHR. At the feedback meetings, large numbers of farmers requested for training on the use of “direct seeders” and herbicides and the exact numbers of farmers employing these technologies in each district are still being compiled.
In SHR agronomy studies expanded to cover 223 core-farmers and reached out to >1075 farmers in Goromonzi and Murehwa through field days/ workshops/ trainings. More than 70 % of the farmers are using thatch grass (Hyperrhenia species) as mulch in place of maize stover and at application rates of 3 tons/ha. Most of the maize stover is fed to livestock, suggesting that there is minimal trade-off between feeding it to livestock and providing soil cover. However, application of grass mulch is perceived to be too labour-intensive. There is need to investigate alternative forms of cover.
Feeding trials conducted during the 2013 dry season demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of using home-grown legumes (especially Mucuna-based rations) as substitute to commercial supplements in goat, beef and dairy feeding systems. This generated a lot of interest and many C-L farmers in SHR and SAR have incorporated more pulse / forage legumes into their cropping programmes. For example, the number of farmers adopting new forage varieties increased from 67 (14 ha) in 2012/13 to 189 (85ha) in 2013/14 in the SHR. Cowpea is proving to be most popular in SHR even though in-situ feeding trials showed that Mucuna-based diets are more effective. In the SAR Mucuna is more popular because it is more drought-tolerant and resistant to pests and diseases than Lablab purpureus.
Starting in the 2013/14 wet season, the project is putting a lot of emphasis in assessing the impacts of new technologies on C-L integration on whole-farm productivity and livelihoods, using sample farmers in each region.
The capacity and performance of the two models to be used in the project i.e. IAT/APSIM and APSFarm are now well known. IAT modelling calibration and initial testing were completed for a limited range of household case studies in both Regions. Lack of appropriate APSIM yield data for main food and forage crops in both regions limited progress with scenario modeling in 2013. However, development of the case-study models was achieved using combinations of APSIM simulated data, secondary data and household survey results. The most advanced modelling applies to Nkayi (Matabeleland) and Chikwaka/Murehwa (Mashonaland) where scenarios have been modeled for increased emphasis on cash cropping and livestock activities under an array of market access assumptions.
Networks and structures for capacitating and linking farmers to markets were investigated and technical entry points identified for the key value chains, with an intention to develop and strengthen IPs.
Gender diagnosis on control of major crops-livestock related processes/activities was implemented in Gwanda and will be replicated to other districts.The ZimCLIFS APRM for 2014 was hosted in Harare from 14-16 May 2014. The meeting was attended by 50 delegates and it also ran parallel to the Project’s Mid-term Review (MTR). This was a successful meeting and there were favourable comments from the MTR concerning our progress.

The project has proceeded with much success and guidance following the 2012/13 Annual Planning and Review Meeting, farmer report-back meetings, Innovation Platform (IP) meetings and wet-season planning meetings which helped to formulate appropriate research activities for 2013/14. There were opportunities to catch up on activities deferred from 2012, such as completing the baseline survey, starting value chain analysis and setting-up (IPs). A lot of resources have gone into training and the production of appropriate tools and dissemination materials.
The project is employing a lead-farmer approach where each core-farmer engages 15-20 follower farmers. Through this approach it is anticipated that the project will exceed the combined target of 4800 follower-farmers by Year 3.
The baseline survey was completed in June 2013. The survey identified groundnut as the second most important crop after maize in both SHR and the SAR. Groundnut is a mandate crop for ICRISAT and the latter hosted a special meeting in November 2013 to explore options for developing the groundnut industry in Zimbabwe, including the SHR where farmers were encouraged to expand groundnut cultivation to optimize grain and stover production.
Baseline survey and other secondary data were used to develop farmer typologies for the different districts. Significant progress was made in simulation modeling to develop farmer typologies and address technological gaps on key commodities. Draft reports were circulated and reviews held with stakeholders to guide the selection of suitable C-L technologies for experimentation in 2013/14.
Agronomy studies in both Regions are targeted at addressing food, feed and soil fertility issues. Observations at field-tours suggest that maize following Mucuna in rotation has higher yields and lower weed and termite infestations compared to maize following maize or even maize-cowpea.
Conservation Agriculture (especially mechanized CA) and herbicide application received a lot of interest from the smallholder farmers in SHR. At the feedback meetings, large numbers of farmers requested for training on the use of “direct seeders” and herbicides and the exact numbers of farmers employing these technologies in each district are still being compiled.
In SHR agronomy studies expanded to cover 223 core-farmers and reached out to >1075 farmers in Goromonzi and Murehwa through field days/ workshops/ trainings. More than 70 % of the farmers are using thatch grass (Hyperrhenia species) as mulch in place of maize stover and at application rates of 3 tons/ha. Most of the maize stover is fed to livestock, suggesting that there is minimal trade-off between feeding it to livestock and providing soil cover. However, application of grass mulch is perceived to be too labour-intensive. There is need to investigate alternative forms of cover.
Feeding trials conducted during the 2013 dry season demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of using home-grown legumes (especially Mucuna-based rations) as substitute to commercial supplements in goat, beef and dairy feeding systems. This generated a lot of interest and many C-L farmers in SHR and SAR have incorporated more pulse / forage legumes into their cropping programmes. For example, the number of farmers adopting new forage varieties increased from 67 (14 ha) in 2012/13 to 189 (85ha) in 2013/14 in the SHR. Cowpea is proving to be most popular in SHR even though in-situ feeding trials showed that Mucuna-based diets are more effective. In the SAR Mucuna is more popular because it is more drought-tolerant and resistant to pests and diseases than Lablab purpureus.
Starting in the 2013/14 wet season, the project is putting a lot of emphasis in assessing the impacts of new technologies on C-L integration on whole-farm productivity and livelihoods, using sample farmers in each region.
The capacity and performance of the two models to be used in the project i.e. IAT/APSIM and APSFarm are now well known. IAT modelling calibration and initial testing were completed for a limited range of household case studies in both Regions. Lack of appropriate APSIM yield data for main food and forage crops in both regions limited progress with scenario modeling in 2013. However, development of the case-study models was achieved using combinations of APSIM simulated data, secondary data and household survey results. The most advanced modelling applies to Nkayi (Matabeleland) and Chikwaka/Murehwa (Mashonaland) where scenarios have been modeled for increased emphasis on cash cropping and livestock activities under an array of market access assumptions.
Networks and structures for capacitating and linking farmers to markets were investigated and technical entry points identified for the key value chains, with an intention to develop and strengthen IPs.
Gender diagnosis on control of major crops-livestock related processes/activities was implemented in Gwanda and will be replicated to other districts.The ZimCLIFS APRM for 2014 was hosted in Harare from 14-16 May 2014. The meeting was attended by 50 delegates and it also ran parallel to the Project’s Mid-term Review (MTR). This was a successful meeting and there were favourable comments from the MTR concerning our progress.

 Phase 2 funding was approved on 28 November 2015. Execution of planned activities started in December 2015.
 Scalable innovations involving smallholder Crop-Livestock (C-L) integration and product marketing were identified at the Modelling finishing workshop held in Brisbane during July 2015.
 Farmer mobilization during the inception phase commenced with Village / Ward level Training of Trainer (ToT) courses on scalable C-L interventions that were identified in Phase 1. Up to 164 stakeholders have received ToT training in across the districts.
 Two Non-Governmental Organizations (viz. CADS and CTDO), that have been appointed as ZimCLIFS Implementing Partners in SHR are executing the out-scaling activities in all districts.
 The ZimCLIFS project impacted the smallholder crop-livestock farming systems in the country by expanding the role of grain and forage legumes in these systems. Forage legumes contributed significantly to livestock feed production for subsistence and commercial production, thereby, increasing household nutrition, food security, income generation and improved soil fertility. For example:-The number of farmers practicing commercial feedlotting increased by 48.7% in 2015, from 39 in 2014 in Goromonzi and Murehwa districts. Values calculated in the 2015 dry season indicate that total area sown to these forages during the 2014/15 wet season in the two districts was 46 ha (mean 0.25 ha per farmer).
 These C-L innovations increased the contribution of livestock to household incomes from 29 to 42%. Farmers also engaged in commercial trade of hay and forage seed at village level.
 The Project demonstrated effectively that when crops and livestock are integrated, smallholder households can increase their income and nutritional status on existing land, without need to expand cropping area.
 On-farm decision making scenarios showed that farmers require evidence-based support to help them to adopt drastic measures (or system changes) that will lift people out of poverty.
 ZimCLIFS advanced the use of Mucuna pruriens and Lablab purpureus for fodder production in ley and intercropping systems of both the sub-humid and semi-arid environments in an unprecedented manner. This has resulted in widespread adoption of these legumes by other NGO-funded projects (e.g. Fintrac, CNFA and Help Germany in Matebeleland; Goal, SAT and FAO’s LFSP in Manicaland) which have started implementing forage based pen-finishing systems for beef cattle and goats. The GRM International consultancy firm (now operating as Paladium) also adopted the forage seed production and marketing program to different districts beyond ZimCLIFS. The latter NGO is seeking collaboration with ZimCLIFS, to benefit from the project’s knowledge and experience.
 During the just-ended 2015/16 wet season 250 core & lead farmers from new villages and wards in SHR hosted integrated crop-livestock technology demonstrations (versus a target of 300 farmers). Several “new” farmers in the SAR planted Mucuna and Lablab pastures as autonomous adoption, to feed their livestock during the 2016 dry season.
 The project is engaging effective private sector companies to improve (i) supply of groundnut seed (ii) pasture and forage seed (iii) construction of livestock sale pens (iv) supply of improved bulls (v) beef and goat prices. The project is also engaging the Rural District Councils to establish new cattle and goats sale pens in Nkayi and Goromonzi, where sale-pens never existed before.
 A gender proposal (complete with ToRs) has been developed with a private consultant (Colletah Chitsike) to improve gender main-streaming activities in the Project.
 The Project’s Management M&E Committee created a 7-member M&E committee, led by Dr. Kizito Mazvimavi (ICRISAT Country Director).
 In the period under review, the Project’s knowledge dissemination outputs included 11 information pamphlets (including brochures and factsheets), 10 blogs items and stories of significant change and 14 scientific publications. The project hosted 11 capacity development events. All these articles were shared with the ACIAR Program Manager (Dr. J. Dixon) via drop box in April 2016.
 At part of Lessons Learnt, it was observed that smallholder farmers generally lack information and market intelligence, culminating in them selling produce at low prices. Smallholder farmers respond to market signals. Provision of information is key to achieving economic and livelihood benefits. Private sector engagement through multi-stakeholder innovation platforms, feedback meetings at IPs enhanced market information, knowledge exchange and participatory problem solving.
 It was also observed that creating market demand for agricultural products or other outputs is a critical push factor for technology uptake.
 Due to successful implementation of the Phase I program, ACIAR approved a request by ZimCLIFS to develop a Costed Extension Proposal (Phase II). Therefore, the ZimCLIFS team spent 6 months (June and November 2015) developing the proposal. The Proposal was developed to align with recommendations from the Modelling finishing workshop and the Pengelly Review of the Project - focussing mainly on strategies for out-scaling crop-livestock innovations from Phase I. The Phase II Proposal was approved by ACIAR on 28 November 2015.

Project ID
CSE/2010/022
Project Country
Inactive project countries
Commissioned Organisation
International Livestock Research Institute, Ethiopia
Project Leader
Dr Siboniso Moyo
Email
s.moyo@cgiar.org
Phone
+251 11617 2000
Fax
+251 11 617 2001
Collaborating Institutions
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics, Zimbabwe
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Kenya
CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Australia
University of Queensland, Australia
Protracted Relief Program, Zimbabwe
Community Technology Development Organisation, Zimbabwe
Cluster Agricultural Development Services, Zimbabwe
International Livestock Research Institute, Zimbabwe
Project Budget
$4,485,984.00
Start Date
22/06/2012
Finish Date
21/06/2015
Extension Start Date
22/06/2015
Extension Finish Date
30/11/2017
ACIAR Research Program Manager
Dr John Dixon