Kansas State Universities’ Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (SIIL) kick-off to the World Food Prize, held in Des Moines, Iowa, started Thursday October 11th. A group of international students and researches arrived in Manhattan, Kansas to begin their United States agricultural experience. SIIL is hosting the group of international guests prior to the World Food Prize. These guests come from Cambodia and Senegal, and will be participating on a panel at the World Food Prize on, Thursday October 18, where they will be discussing the role of youth engagement in food production systems and decreasing global hunger.
Dr. Robert Bertram, Chief Scientist, USAID’s Bureau for Food Security and Dr. Vara Prasad, Director of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification & University Distinguished Professor, discuss how Kansas State University is the host to four innovation labs. These labs allow for collaborative research in areas such as developing better sorghum varieties as well as, wheat, and post-harvest loss. Dr. Prasad speaks on the work the labs are doing in Burkino Faso, and how they are meaningful in terms of solving agricultural problems. Long term research trials are looking at how inputs are affecting the sorghum production in Burkina Faso. As the largest producer of sorghum, Kansas produces about 60% of the total U.S sorghum production. Some of the same techniques learned in Burkino Faso can be applied by producers in Kansas. Drought, disease, and insect management are major issues that affect both Kansas and Burkino Faso producers, developing alternative verities would be beneficial for both regions. Dr. Prasad also touches on the role of the wheat genomics lab and the collaborations they have created as well as the significance of post-harvest loss in developed and developing countries.
What is RHOMIS?
There is an urgent need for tools that produce standardised, coherent, cost-effective and decision-relevant information to support efficient and impactful development programming. The Rural Household Multi-Indicator Survey (RHOMIS) framework (www.rhomis.org) does just that, and provides an implementation-ready solution that produces quantitative information for planning and monitoring investments in sustainable intensification across a range of rural contexts.
RHOMIS is a flexible digital platform built on open-source software that can be easily modified to meet a range of needs while collecting a core set of data that feeds into a global discussion on the success of sustainable intensification.
In recent work, supported by the Feed the Future Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab’s Geospatial and Farming Systems Research Consortium (GFC) and AfricaRISING Ethiopia, both part of the USAID funded Feed the Future portfolio, RHOMIS data has been used to better understand and quantify the trade-offs and synergies inherent to households adopting sustainable intensification using the SIIL-developed Sustainable Intensification Indicator Assessment Framework (https://www.k-state.edu/siil/resources/framework/index.html). The data we collect with RHOMIS is also used to track household and landscape-level progress towards achieving several of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger) and 5 (gender equity).
Dr. Vara Prasad, Director of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification & University Distinguished Professor, discusses the importance of collaboration to the SIIL and the process of building the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL) from the ground up. Dr. Prasad mentions the importance of gaining buy in from private industry in order to enhance sustainability of large system wide research. Collaboration between multiple organizations: NARES, CGIAR, private industry, donors, public and academic institutions, have all come together for one very important goal of addressing the needs of smallholder farmers. Through these collaborations, smallholder farmers have been able to greatly benefit from SIIL research activities, demonstration plots, cite specific management recommendations, and trainings.