Institutionalizing Climate Smart Agriculture Research with University Partners
USAID funded Feed the Future Resilient Agricultural Markets Activity – Beira Corridor (RAMA-BC) project, is working with farmers in central Mozambique to adapt to climate change and recover from extreme climate shocks and stressors such as seasonal droughts and cyclones. Whilst farmers struggle to maintain productivity in these harsh contrasting environments, resilience is critical. External inputs like fertilizer are not a sustainable solution, as they are unaffordable for low value staple crops. As soil fertility declines through intensive cultivation along the heavily populated Beira Corridor, the RAMA-BC project is bringing new and innovative low input technologies such as no-till and inter-cropping with soil covering and nitrogen fixing legumes, to smallholder production systems. Behavior change is happening as farmers increasingly adopt these technologies across expanding portions of their farms increasing yields and improving and restoring degraded soils.
University students and interns participate and gain hands on experience in managing trials and demonstration plots. RAMA-BC's objective is to further behavior change not just at the farmer level, but also in policy-making, as an evidence-based scientific approach is used to provide a firm basis for innovation.
To drive this process, the project is collaborating with research, extension, and tertiary education sector actors, so that the learning and adaptation at policy levels accompany the R&D findings emerging from field trials. To ensure learning takes place collaboratively with local universities, the government research agency and universities are involved from the outset in the design of protocols, as well as through the execution and evaluation of field trials.