Agriculture in eastern Africa is predominantly rainfed and maize is a major food crop, primarily produced for home consumption and the market by small-scale family farms. The study characterized farm households in the drought prone maize growing areas of eastern Africa synthesizing data from parallel household surveys in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The study provides a comparative analysis of the farm households’ assets, livelihood strategies and crop management practices, with an emphasis on maize and maize seed. This illustrates how farmers in a similar agro-ecological environment but with different socio-economic and institutional settings have variously adapted to living with drought and how the inherent weather risk co-determines the livelihood portfolio, agricultural intensification incentives and system development pathways. The study thereby illustrates the challenges for agricultural intensification in such drought prone environments and the scope for drought tolerant maize varieties and explores the research and development implications.
Integrated crop livestock production systems are among the principal modes of livelihood in rural Zimbabwe. Nonetheless, the dynamics in each of the different components in such systems and the potential impact of technologies that enhance integration of these components at household level is hardly known. Concomitantly, CIMMYT, ICRISAT, ILRI and the government of Zimbabwe have designed and started to implement a project entitled “Integrating crops and livestock for improved food security and livelihoods in rural Zimbabwe”. The project is funded by the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and aims at increasing agricultural production through better integration of crop and livestock production and improved market functioning that will contribute to enhanced resilience of communities most vulnerable to food insecurity in rural Zimbabwe. This survey is designed to generate baseline information that will establish references for different measurements to be done in order to develop household typologies and quantify impact of the interventions to be made by or due to the project.