News December 21, 2016

Managing the Microclimate

In the last few months, MetaMeta Research has been exploring the science of microclimate, assisted by a quick-win grant of CGIAR’s WLE Program. Last week, we published a video and paper that dissect the different aspects of microclimate, while posing practical actions to manage the microclimate. Through the influencing temperature, moisture and wind, microclimate management offers a pro-active approach to create farms and landscapes that are more resilient to the effects of global climate change.

On December 2nd, a microclimate webinar was also organised by MetaMeta Research, in collaboration with JustDiggIt. This is a Netherlands-based organisation, involved in the creation of hydrological corridors in Africa, with the ambition to cool down the earth!


Bringing in good practices from Bangladesh into the Flood-Based Livelihoods Network

At the end of November, we met with Dr. Parvin Sultana and Dr. Paul Thompson from the Flood Hazard Research Centre (FHRC) Bangladesh. Both our institutions are concerned with the improvement of flood-based livelihoods, by working with farmer communities in floodplains. Currently, an MoU is created to make FHRC Bangladesh the Country Chapter of the Flood-Based Livelihoods Network. Collaboration between FBLN and FHRC will allow us to tap into each other’s knowledge base and exchange good practices more easily.

An interesting practice that FHRC Bangladesh worked on through its Adaptive Learning Network is the improved cultivation and processing of jute; an important fiber crop in Bangladesh. In this video, Dr. Parvin explains what this means!

Spate Irrigation Training Programme in Afghanistan

For representatives of the Afghan Ministries of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock; Water and Energy; and Rural Rehabilitation and Development, a spate irrigation training programme was organised from December 10-15. Different trainers from the Flood-Based Livelihoods Network presented on topics ranging from road water harvesting, managing the microclimate, intensive watershed management, to the benefits of sorghum cultivation. On day six, ministry staff went into the field to meet an Afghan farmer, in the process of building a small reservoir to harvest rainwater. The training was made possible with support from FAO and JICA and was received well by the trainees.

King Capillary

In a recent WaterBlog, we have focused on the intriguing phenomenon of capillary action. This is the rise of groundwater that takes place later in the season. It allows for the cultivation of a second crop, many months after spate floods have been diverted to irrigate the land. Although this phenomenon is little known, it makes a huge difference for farmers in semi-arid spate environments.

Regional course on Flood-based Farming Systems in Ethiopia

From December 7-17, a regional course in Integrated Watershed Management and Flood-based Farming Systems took place at Mekelle University. The programme focused on natural resource management in the arid and semi-arid areas in the Horn of Africa, which are endowed with numerous seasonal rivers that bring short and heavy floods. These floods are often unpredictable and can be destructive if not managed properly, leading to eroded and degraded river valleys, loss of arable land, and depletion of soils.

The 30 participants from Ethiopia (Afar, Amhara, Southern Nations and Oromia regions) as well as Kenya, came together to obtain a comprehensive understanding and technical skills in participatory approaches towards integrated watershed development, and techniques to enable them to better plan, design and manage flood-based farming systems. The participants included technical decision-makers, practitioners and ATVET instructors.