Sustainable Intensification of Crop - Livestock Farming Systems in the Guinea and Sudano Savannah Zone of West Africa


The project is operating in the Guinea and Sudano−Sahelian zones of northern Ghana and southern Mali. In Phase 1 (2011–2016), research activities aimed at establishing the best-bet technologies that would deliver adoptable development solutions to smallholder farm families were tested and validated through participatory research approaches together with the farming communities. Phase 2 of the project (2016−2021) will combine continuity with evolutionary change to ensure that the technologies identified in Phase 1 drive wider adoption at scale through effective development partnerships. The project envisions that, by 2021, over 100,000 smallholder farm households in Ghana and Mali will benefit from Africa RISING technologies.
Based on the experiences and lessons learned from Phase 1, expected outcomes of the Africa RISING West Africa Project in Phase 2 are:
  • Outcome 1: Farmers and farming communities in the project area are practicing more productive, resilient, profitable, and sustainably intensified crop–livestock systems linked to markets.
  • Outcome 2: More farmers and farm families are adopting technologies and practices to improve nutrition, food and feed safety, postharvest handling, and value addition.
  • Outcome 3: Farmers and other value chain actors have greater and equitable access to production assets and markets (input and output) through enabling institutions and policies.
  • Outcome 4: Effective partnerships are built with farmers, local communities, and research and development partners in the private and public sectors to ensure delivery and uptake at scale of sustainable intensification technologies, innovations, and practices.

Project sites

The project is implemented in a total of 25 communities – the Northern, Upper West and Upper East regions of Ghana. In Mali, activities are implemented in 10 villages in the Bougouni - Yanfolila and Koutiala Districts of the Sikasso Region in southern Mali. From 2015, and for various reasons, Yorobougoula village (in Yanfolila District) will no longer be part of Africa RISING intervention villages thereby reducing the intervention villages to nine.
Africa RISING intervention communities in Ghana.

Mali map action sites.jpg
Africa RISING intervention villages in Mali.

Click on image to enlarge.

Project interventions

Through a participatory and demand-driven approach to research, project partners are implementing adaptive research on various technologies and working with development organizations to get them into the hands of farmers at scale. The activities include testing and disseminating: (i) improved crop varieties (drought and Striga resistant food and feed crops); (ii) appropriate agronomic practices (planting density, cereal−legume rotations and

intercropping, multiple cropping, increasing cropping cycles within a season, efficient use of input resources and agroforestry); (iii) climate-smart land management practices (conservation agriculture, physical barriers to soil and water loss, in-situ water harvesting, and soil cover crops); (iv) improved animal husbandry practices (semi-intensive and intensive management); and (v) technologies for reducing pre- and postharvest losses. The project also facilitates linkages between farmers and input/output markets. The objective is to build well-integrated and productive crop and livestock enterprises that minimize natural resource degradation.

To diversify household nutrition, the project is introducing new nutritious food preparation techniques based on locally available ingredients for household members, particularly children. Nutrition field schools are being used to promote knowledge exchange on best practices for processing and storage of cereals, legumes, and vegetable-based foods.

Group and individual trainings are conducted to strengthen the capacities of all actors (farmers, research and extension staff, input and output dealers, and policy makers). Academic training at the MSc and PhD level is applied to address important knowledge gaps, and to develop the “next” generation of scientists. Information exchange is being promoted through field days, radio programs, exchange visits, and video shows.

The project gives special attention to gender equality and underprivileged groups within the society. Enabling policies and institutions to improve access to input and output markets, formation of effective partnerships, and access to knowledge and information are advocated for, especially through operational level R4D/Innovation platforms.

Technologies validated by the project during Phase 1.

Broad category
Validated flagship technologies
Validation sites
New crops and varieties to overcome existing biotic and abiotic stresses and improve productivity per unit land area
New, high-yielding crop varieties, e.g.:
  • Drought and Striga tolerant, extra-early, and early-maturing maize,
  • Nutrient-efficient rice
  • Aflatoxin resistant groundnut
  • Sorghum hybrids
  • Early-maturing cowpea
  • Dual-purpose cowpea
  • Short-duration soybean
  • Medium soybean
  • High yielding and disease-resistant varieties of vegetables (okra, roselle, tomato, eggplant, and pepper)
Ghana (Northern, Upper West, and Upper East regions) and Mali (Bougouni and Koutiala districts)
Agronomic practices to increase grain and fodder yield and soil nitrogen content
Cereal−legume intercropping
Cereal−legume rotations
Dual-purpose food legumes
Cereal−vegetable intercropping
Ghana (Northern, Upper West, and Upper East regions) and Mali (Bougouni and Koutiala districts)
Integrated soil fertility management as a cost-effective approach to replenish soil fertility
Optimized N and P fertilizer rates
Fertilizer micro-dosing
Livestock corralling for manure/urine
Cereal−legume rotations
Cereal−legume intercropping
Ghana (Northern, Upper West, and Upper East regions) and Mali (Bougouni and Koutiala districts)
Land management technologies to reduce soil loss and enhance water utilization
In-situ water harvesting
Physical barriers to reduce soil erosion
Contour bunding with trees
Ghana (Northern, and Upper East regions) and Mali (Bougouni and Koutiala districts)
Agroforestry technologies to increase fruit, vegetable, and feed production per unit land area and conserve soil and water
New provenances of indigenous trees (Adansonia digitata, Ziziphus mauritania, Tamarindus indica)
Pruning management
Contour bunding with trees
Mali (Bougouni and Koutiala districts)
Improved livestock feed, and feeding, housing, health and breeding management packages
Sheep/goat flock feeding
Sheep/goat health care
Housing for poultry
Guinea fowl brooding management
Stover quality improvement
Ghana (Northern, and Upper East regions)
Pre- and postharvest technologies to reduce food waste and improve food safety
Grain storage in PICS bags and plastic drums
Aflasafe application in maize and groundnut fields
Ghana (Northern, and Upper East regions)

Phase 1 research outputs

The project’s research activities are organized around 3 research outputs set out in the project framework document. Capacity building is a significant component of the project.
1) Research Output 1 (RO1): Situation analysis and program-wide synthesis
  • Baseline surveys
  • Socio-economic studies on sustainable intensification
  • Establish and characterize R4D platforms
  • Surveys of feed markets, feed availability and analysis of livestock value chains in Ghana
2) Research Output 2 (RO2): Integrated Systems Improvement
  • Raising and sustaining productivity in cereal-legume-vegetable cropping systems
  • Testing and disseminating improved cropping systems and practises
  • Biological control of aflatoxins in maize and groundnut with Aflasafe Ghanaian product GH01
  • Intensifying productivity of cereal-legume based crop and crop livestock systems
  • Estimating efficiency of whole farm systems and components for improved profitability
  • Develop agroforestry options for intensive fruit, vegetable and livestock fodder production
  • Intensifying livestock and poultry production
  • Managing natural resources to increase productivity and reduce soil degradation
  • Improving household nutrition through agricultural and behavioral change
  • Data analysis and publication of results from completed experiments
3) Research Output 3 (RO3): Scaling and Delivery
  • Scaling up sustainable cropping systems in Ghana through mother-baby trials and farmer managed large scale demonstration plots
  • Large-Scale Diffusion of Technologies for Sorghum and Millet Systems in Mali (ARDT_SMS)

Phase 1 research plans

Project management



  • Association Malienne d’Eveil et de Developpement Durable (AMEDD),
  • Centre d’Appui a l’Autopromotion pour le Developpement-ci-apresaenommee (CAAD),
  • Compagnie Malienne de Developpement des Textiles (CMDT),
  • Fédération Nationale pour l’Agriculture Biologique et Équitable (FENABE),
  • Group de Recherches d’Action et d’Assistance pour le Developpement Communautaire (GRAADECOM),
  • International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT),
  • the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI),
  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA),
  • Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER),
  • Institut Polytechnique Rural-De Formation et de Recherche Appliquee Katibougou (IPR-IFRA),
  • International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI),
  • Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR),
  • World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and
  • World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg).


  • Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA-Ghana),
  • AMSIG Marketing Company (AMSIG),
  • Animal Research Institute-Ghana (ARI),
  • Agricultural Technology Transfer Project (ATT) ,
  • Association of Church-based Development Non-governmental Organization (ACEDEP),
  • Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC-Ghana),
  • Care Ghana,
  • Catholic Relief Services (CRS),
  • Farm Radio International,
  • IFood Security,
  • International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT),
  • Crops Research Institute (CRI),
  • Food Security through Cooperatives in Northern Ghana (FOSTERING),
  • the Grains and Legumes Development Board (GLDB),
  • Grameen Foundation,
  • International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI),
  • International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA),
  • International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI),
  • International Water Management Institute (IWMI),
  • Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST),
  • Ghana Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA),
  • Ghana Ministry of Health (MoH),
  • Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI),
  • Seed Producers Association of Ghana (SEEDPAG),
  • Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI),
  • Soil Research Institute (SRI),
  • University for Development Studies (UDS),
  • Veterinary Services Division,
  • Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), and
  • World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg).

Partners meetings

*click here to view comprehensive events list



>>>>>>>>>>>+ PPT presentation: Activities at Flola technology park
>>>>>>>>>>>+ PPT presentation: Activities at Koutiala area
>>>>>>>>>>>+ PPT presentation: Africa RISING Mali progress update

  • 15 August - Ghana Upper West Region research team meeting
  • 14 August - Ghana Upper East Region research team meeting
  • 13 August - Ghana Northern Region research team meeting
  • 18 June - Ghana Upper West Region research team meeting
  • 22 April- Ghana research team meeting
  • 21 February- Review Meeting for 2014 Work-Packages

Innovation Platforms/R4D Platforms


  • 18 December 2014 - Bongo District (Upper East Region, Ghana) R4D platform launch
  • 16 December 2014 - Kassena Nankana East District (Upper East Region, Ghana) R4D platform launch

Key Documents

Key contacts

  • Irmgard Hoeschle-Zeledon, Africa RISING Coordinator West, East and Southern Africa - I.Hoeschle-Zeledon(at)
  • Asamoah Larbi, Chief Scientist Africa RISING West Africa – A.Larbi(at)
  • Birhanu Zemadim, Scientist ICRISAT Mali - Z.Birhanu(at)
  • Jonathan Odhong’, Research Communications Specialist – J.Odhong(at)

Mid-Term External Evaluation (2014)

News and Updates

Reports and Documents

Other reports and documents

Posters and presentations

Yorobougoula (in Yanfolila District)