Community management of crop diversity to enhance resilience, yield stability and income generation in changing West African climates

Published on 2 July 2010

Research Areas

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Start Date: 1 May 2008 | End Date: 30 April 2011


The goal of this research-action project is to enhance farm community resilience, production stability and income generation in West Africa under variable and changing climates by enriching agro-biodiversity management across a climatic gradient. Participatory, gender-aware co-learning activities on how to use intra- and inter-specific crop diversity (including dual-purpose, biofuel, vegetable, tree crops) and natural resource management (NRM) will engage farmers, extension personnel and scientists in selected communities at risk in the Sahelian, Sudanian and North Guinean zones of Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Ghana. Detailed environmental data combined with genotype × environment × management (G×E×M) interactions modeling will provide insight into future scenarios and identify best options for crop diversity management under climate change. The project philosophy is to treat environmental variability as an opportunity for production intensification and stabilization, and the project will address the following research questions:

  • Can we improve our understanding of local climate variability and change in a way that would guide (e.g. through better forecast skill, scenarios) the use of existing adaptation traits, such as photoperiod sensitivity, and participatory breeding, e.g. for heat and drought tolerance ? (output 1)
  • Does agro-biodiversity management vary across heterogenous communities and regions, and can we characterize this variability, notably at the village and landscape scales? (output 2)
  • Can a participatory evaluation of existing and new IGNRM options allow for the identification of best bet practices that would be supported by G×E×M interactions analysis, and an estimation of their adaptive advantage under changing climate? (output 3)
  • Can target populations of environments be characterized for new adapted germplasm and NRM options, and varietal performance used to map dynamic adaptation niches under different climate scenario in support of adaptive seed systems on a larger scale? (output 4)
  • Can participatory research methods and modern information technologies be combined to accelerate top-down, transversal, and bottom-up exchange of knowledge in a way that effectively strengthens adaptive capacity in various stakeholders? (output 5)

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