The current El Niño event offers an opportunity for repeat study of crop pest issues in the Kenya case, especially given the recognised similarity to the 1997/98 event (NOAA, 2015). This project will also enable comparison with Malawi studies where an ongoing research programme is exploring CA decision-making, use of climate service information and monitoring of crop pests under different land management practices.
Directly comparable integrated participatory and environmental crop pest survey approaches will be adopted in both case study regions. New evidence on crop pests, diseases and land management decisions will be provided by participatory approachegaining farmers' observations about crop pests / diseases and will be cross-validated by sampling of grain stores for pests and diseases in both study areas. The comparative case study approach, and its alignment to the wider meta-analysis study, will allow for improved understanding of what works in terms of land management practices enhancing resilience to extreme climate variability. The project outputs will enable lesson learning across locations with improved understanding of the capabilities and limitations of CA in a contextualised way as required to inform extension messages and to guide future CA project planning and institutional support structures.
The project stems from a series of multi-stakeholder research planning events led from across the project team in both study countries. This co-production or research priorities will enable us to ensure that ACRES outputs are tailored to the needs of major donors (e.g. World Bank, African Development Bank, DFID), Government Departments, NGOs (Christian Aid, Care International, Concern Worldwide, Total Land Care) and to private sector companies (e.g. Ilovo Sugar in southern Malawi). These multiple stakeholder links (at range of governance levels) will ensure that findings and agricultural land management lessons are shared beyond the smallholder farmers who are the focus of the study.