Building Impact Pathways for Improving Livelihoods in Musa-based Systems in Central Africa (CIALCA 2-Bioversity F03/F04)

Published on 22 June 2010

Research Areas

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Start Date: 1 September 2005 | End Date: 31 December 2011


In 2005 DGDC Belgium approved 3 proposals: 

  • ‘Sustainable and Profitable Banana-based Systems for the African Great Lakes Region’, led by IITA.
  • ‘Enhancing the resilience of agro-ecosystems in Central Africa: a strategy to revitalize agriculture through the integration of natural resource management coupled to resilient germplasm and marketing approaches’, led by TSBF-CIAT.
  • ‘Building Impact Pathways for Improving Livelihoods in Musa-based Systems in Central Africa’, led by Bioversity International

As the above projects proposed to operate largely in the same parts of Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), with similar national partner institutes, and due to the complimentary nature of the activities proposed, above institutes agreed to operate as a consortium to ensure cooperation and complementarity and avoid technical and financial duplication at the national level. The Consortium for Improving Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Central Africa (CIALCA) brings together national, regional and international partners to focus their resources on improving the livelihoods of people recovering from decades of civil conflicts. CIALCA is implemented by the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) of Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in collaboration with the three CG centres listed above.




In its first phase, CIALCA has succeeded in characterizing the target areas, developing and evaluating technologies for improved productivity of banana- and legume-based systems, in promoting improved nutrition and farmer-market linkages, in building capacity, mainly of national system scientists and farmer groups, and in initiating partnerships to reach scale.


CIALCA 1 focused on:

  • Adopting an Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) approach.
  • Enhancing banana productivity using cultivars displaying tolerance/resistance to pests and diseases, drought and climate variability.
  • Exploiting synergy between bananas and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF).
  • Optimizing banana planting arrangement and management
  • Exploiting the complementarity of intercropped banana and perennial coffee.
  • Using zero-tillage and mulching to help overcome various agronomic constraints.
  • Using soil and water conservation technologies.
  • Mitigating the impact of BBTV and Xanthomonas wilt
  • Banana and plantain germplasm characterisation in eastern DR Congo
  • Training and extension work on banana technologies
  • Exchange visits and field days to promote use of new varieties, fertilizer, crop management issues, and other aspects of CIALCA technologies.
  • Surveys demonstrating links between health, nutrition, and agriculture and the development / distribution of human nutrition training manuals and brochures (English, French and Swahili )
  • Establishing linkages with 20 externally funded ‘projects’.
  • Planning further expansion of CIALCA communication efforts and tools through a Burundi-based Knowledge Resource Centre (support for this confirmed by GTZ CIM programme- to start September 2010).


Currently CIALCA has moved into its second phase (2009-2011). The goal of CIALCA-II is ‘to improve the livelihoods of agriculture-based communities in Central Africa by enhancing their capacity to access and efficiently use the resources needed to improve system productivity, resulting in a better income, nutrition, and environment’. The specific livelihood dimensions targeted by the project are enhanced crop productivity and, directly related with this, improved nutrition, higher income, superior knowledge, and a better production environment.  CIALCA-II aims at achieving impact at scale through activation of impact pathways with partners along the entire value chain.


The project has recently conducted its mid term review




Research Partners


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