Project to help mountain farmers in East Africa


A new initiative will focus on implementing research-based interventions to support the food security and reduce the vulnerability of smallholder farming families in Jimma Highlands, Ethiopia, Taita Hills and Murang’a, Kenya and Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Called “Adaptation for Ecosystem Resilience in Africa (AFERIA)”  the two-year initiative has been launched to implement the interventions developed during the Climate Change Impacts of Ecosystem Services and Food Security in Eastern Africa (CHIESA) project. AFERIA is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and will be coordinated by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), who signed an agreement in March 2016.

It was signed by Her Excellency Tarja Fernández, Ambassador of Finland to Kenya and Dr Christopher Prideaux, Director of Research and Partnerships, ICIPE. AFERIA project is a continuation in the partnership of ICIPE and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, who funded the ICIPE-led research project, CHIESA in 2011-2015.

Notable achievements of the CHIESA project, which ended in December 2015, include the research findings, insights and interactions of climate change and food security developed from its research and capacity building activities in Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania between 2011 and 2015.

The AFERIA project will disseminate and communicate research findings, insights and interactions of climate change and food security developed from the CHIESA project. The project will facilitate the implementation of improved technologies and methods for climate change adaptation such as integrated pest management, drip irrigation and conservation agriculture. In addition, the project will focus on building the capacity of national agricultural research and extension services and smallholder farmers to support the implementation of community-based climate change adaptation action plans.

Climate change is an emerging threat to the economic, social and political wellbeing of nations globally. It has brought with it longer dry spells, emergence of pest and disease incidences, scarcity of water and change in the frequency and intensity of rainfall. These climate variations are projected to affect the long-term agricultural productivity; economic development and food security of many communities worldwide. Climate change adaptation technologies are therefore vital especially among smallholder farmers who depend on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihood and are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. .

The AFERIA project will therefore collaborate closely with national and local organizations to reach out to smallholder farmers, especially women and special needs groups. The final beneficiaries are the 11 200 smallholder farmers coping with the impact of climate change in the four target areas of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. The target beneficiaries will be reached through intermediary beneficiaries who include the local organizations and smallholder farmers’ groups, associations and unions that will nominate members to host and manage demonstration sites and farmer field schools to disseminate the technologies. Drip irrigation, roof rain water harvesting, conservation agriculture, farm forestry and insect pest management are among the adaptation technologies that will be transferred to the communities.

In the AFERIA project, icipe harnesses its more than 40 years of expertise in developing and extending environmentally-friendly management tools and strategies for harmful and useful insect species in Africa. Through its activities, AFERIA will support the achievement of the four focal points of Finland’s Development Cooperation Policy of 2016, especially to improve food security, enhance access to water and energy, and to promote the sustainable use of natural resources.

News and photo by ICIPE

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