These unprecedented times are testing the resilience of rural families and the food and market systems they rely on. The work we do has never been more important, and in spite of the challenges we all face, we will continue to make progress in building a more resilient future.
In Kenya, the heavy, extended short rains into 2020 have led to flooding for pastoralists in the north, while further south farmers have struggled with drying their harvest and planting under threat of huge swarms of locusts. Climate adaptation and resilience are critical as extreme weather becomes more common across Eastern Africa.
While bundling drought-tolerant maize with index insurance generated significant drought resilience for small-scale farmers, seed and insurance companies need continued support to scale the product, particularly where farmers have little experience with either improved seeds or insurance.
SimPastoralist is a digital app the MRR Innovation Lab is using in northern Kenya to explain index-based livestock insurance while collecting data that can help design insurance that responds better to women’s needs.
NDVI has been commonly used to build index insurance, a type of insurance that in the past decade has protected tens of thousands of pastoralist families in eastern Africa from drought. Now, a new technology may be on the brink of beating NDVI on predicting forage quality, and it comes from an entirely different field.
By transforming how chickpeas can withstand a complex set of problems, beyond just drought, researchers hope to aid smallholder farmers. But ultimately, getting these improved varieties to farmers in the field is a complex task that requires work beyond just the laboratory.
The MRR Innovation Lab invites researchers at U.S. universities to submit proposals for four-year research projects that develop or test innovative ways to promote food security and resilience worldwide.
Congressman John Garamendi and Patricia Garamendi met with the MRR Innovation Lab at UC Davis in August, 2019 to discuss the new research program and UC Davis and how a technology to manage risk could stabilize communities across Africa’s drought-prone Sahel.