The Consortium for Improving Agriculture-based Livelihoods in Central Africa (CIALCA) is an innovative research-for-development partnership operating in Burundi, eastern DR Congo and Rwanda, and supported by the Belgian Directorate General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD).

Whats new in CIALCA 2017-2020?

CIALCA is aligned with the Belgian government’s “strategic note on agriculture and food security” and works with government, public and private partners on three cross-cutting themes:

1. Entrepreneurial farming:

CIALCA has embraced the challenge to better understand the pathways for different farmers in stepping-up from ‘subsistence’ (level 4) to ‘faming with commercial potential’ (level 3) and commercial farming’ (level 2). Understanding which innovations (access to fertiliser, credit, knowledge) or conditions (e.g. location, education) enable or constrain farm households can inform government, public and private sector policies that seek to create and enabling environment for entrepreneurial farming. CIALCA invests in developing farm household typologies to understand the different farmers to support gender equality and women’s empowerment.

2. ICT for Agriculture

CIALCA invests heavily in developing smart ICT4Ag decision support tools, and training colleagues, students and decision-makers in using the tools to develop and implement more impactful agricultural development strategies. All CIALCA data is collected using barcode and Open Data Kit (ODK) systems that feed into a centralised database that is freely accessible for our CIALCA network and partners. CIALCA collaborates with other CGIAR big data initiatives such as RHoMIS and African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) to ensure that CIALCA data can be integrated at regional and global level. It allows for the development and implementation of agricultural strategies that respond to the needs of different types of farmers in the Great Lakes Region.

3. Nutrition for integrated agricultural systems

Sustainable development requires attention for food security, income and diet quality. CIALCA has a long tradition of identifying innovations that (i) boost crop productivity, but also take into account (ii) the commercial potential of crops, and (iii) the dietary diversity of rural population. In a transition to a more entrepreneurial farming, the way to ensure or create synergies between stepping up to entrepreneurial farming and achieving nutrition outcomes (diet quality and anthropometric measurements) is critical. Increasing productivity and income alone is not sufficient to improve nutritional outcomes such as diet quality and anthropometric measurements. Together with its partners, CIALCA investigates how stepping up towards entrepreneurial farming can benefit and avoid trade-offs for nutritional outcomes at farm and at regional levels.

More information:

The Belgian government published a press release to announce the CIALCA 2017-2020 phase and its ambitions.