finding niches for neglected crops in the semi-arid

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  1. 1. Finding niches for neglected crops in the semi-arid to better manage climate risk under smallholder farm conditions A. Whitbread1,2 *, A. Sennhenn2 , T. Ramilan1 1 International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru 502 324, Telangana, India 2 Georg-August University Goettingen, Crop Production Systems in the Tropics, Germany III. Context of smallholder farming Small-holder farming systems are highly diverse & dynamic and differ in their level of resource endowment & risk aversion Risk management is important! I. Semi-arid tropics - a risky place for agriculture!? Major challenges Seasonal climate variability and change Low technology intervention High population & small farm size Poor infrastructure Poor risk management strategies IV. Steps for integrating new options into established systems: Step 1: Characterize physiological and growth response to management and resources of new germplasm Capture responses into crop growth models II. Chances & challenges for increased diversity The use of agro-biodiversity is an attractive strategy for coping with climatic variability Identifying niches for neglected crop types with promising market opportunities and system benefits represent a wider window of opportunity for smallholder farmers! Poster presented at the Global Science Conference Climate-Smart Agriculture : 16th 18th March 2015, Le Corum, Montpellier, France * Contact: A.Whitbread@cgiar.org Step 3: Validate crop growth model output against independent data and simulate scenarios Utilize whole-farm analytical frameworks in participation with farmers to design more optimal and lower risk whole farm systems. Step 2: Characterize possible response to climate change (temp, water stress) using combinations of analogue, multi-season field experimentation Capture responses into crop growth models V. Conclusion manage climate risk Many semi-arid farming systems are becoming less diverse and consequently less food and nutritionally secure Neglected crop types may create new market opportunities Utilizing multiple crop types/varieties with varying drought/heat response results in higher resilience to shocks Combining field/crop simulation and whole farm analysis is necessary to understand the complexity of G x E x M interactions Fig. 3: Boxplots of simulated grain yields for common bean, cowpea, lablab and maize grown during the period of the short rain and long rain on soils with different plant available water capacity (PAWC) in Katumani, Kenya. Systems have: Structural complexity of components Availability of a variety of natural resources - Land types - Water resources - Common Property Resources (CPRs) Climate, biodiversity Human, social & financial capital Interactions with markets Other drivers of change Source: unpublished training manual Fig. 1: Above-ground biomass accumulation in response to water availability in Katumani, Kenya. Fig. 2: Observed vs. simulated biomass (kg ha-1 ) for common bean (fm: fully irrigated, medium density; pm: partly irr., medium den.; rm: rainfed, medium den.; fl: fully irr., low den.; fh: fully irr., high den.). Fig. 4: Boxplots of simulated grain yields for common bean, cowpea, lablab and maize grown during the period of the short rain and long rain in Katumani, Kenya in response to in-season rainfall (400 mm).