February 22, 2021   •   News

Ackim Mwape, PhD

The key role that livestock activity data plays in the development and application of national GHG inventories has been widely recognised and discussed. In order to design and implement Tier 2 MRV methods, appropriate data on the characteristics and performance of different sub-categories of livestock is needed.

Unfortunately, such data are not always available, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where it remains a challenge to collect data, and move countries towards having detailed (at least Tier 2) baselines for livestock emissions estimates to support their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Recognising that the level of availability of livestock sector activity data is currently unknown in most sub-Saharan African countries, New Zealand, through the GRA and in collaboration with regional and international partners, supported the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and University of Pretoria to survey and analyse the availability of activity data (cattle populations) and data required for emission factors (animal performance data).

Livestock sector activity data were collated and collected from 37 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. The data collection exercise, undertaken in 2020, aimed to increase understanding of the currently available and collected in-country livestock activity data for Tier 2 estimates of livestock emissions. 

“The data collection exercise is an important first step in helping African countries improve estimates of national livestock emissions and mitigation at Tier 2 levels and decision-support for achieving NDCs and tracking NDC performance in the livestock sector”, says Hayden Montgomery, GRA Special Representative.

The results of the data collection and analysis suggest high potential to pilot a regional inventory development approach, particularly in southern Africa. For the majority countries, data availability will still be a challenge, and collecting all the missing data may not be feasible in the short run.

A temporary solution could be to systematically group countries with similar production systems, and informed by data where available, develop a regional template for livestock GHG inventories, which can be adapted to national conditions, validated, and adopted by stakeholders in each country. This could support countries to move from Tier 1 MRV methods to Tier 2 methods which are better able to reflect actual production conditions and their impact on GHG emissions.

February 22, 2021   •   News

This first round of RUFORUM awards has been announced and will support participatory action research and training on topics related to the measurement and management of greenhouse gas emissions and removals in pastoral and agro-pastoral ruminant livestock farming systems in Africa.

Eight award recipients from universities in Benin, DR Congo, Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda were announced in November 2020. These awardees are currently working on agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation research projects, specifically on soil organic carbon, methane and nitrous oxide emissions, manure management, livestock fodder value chains and feed balances, modelling of grassland biome, and quantification of above ground and ground biomass.

Each award will support a Principal Investigator (an individual senior lecturer of a RUFORUM member university) and training of at least two Master of Science students (one of whom should be a female) for two years.

Supporting the development of capability in African universities will be crucial to support Africa to respond to the goals established by the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as national and regional priorities of African States.

“Addressing the global challenges of climate change and food security through science, technology and innovation as aspired in the African Union Agenda 2063 requires achieving a critical mass of well-educated citizens with requisite skills to revolutionise production and delivery of goods and services”. Prof Adipala Ekwamu, RUFORUM Executive Secretary

These were the words of Prof Adipala Ekwamu, RUFORUM Executive Secretary, during the launch of the GRA-RUFORUM Graduate Research Grants aimed at providing opportunity for quality research on topical issues while training the next generation of scientists for Africa.

As part of their contribution to addressing the global challenges of climate change, the Governments of New Zealand and the Netherlands have funded eight GRA-Graduate Research Grants through a Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) awards programme.

RUFORUM is a consortium of 129 Universities in 38 African countries with the mission to strengthen the capacities of universities to foster innovations responsive to the demands of small-holder farmers (www.ruforum.org).

For the long-term advancement of the GRA-RUFORM awards programme, it is hoped and indeed necessary that more GRA partner institutions and countries join the Government’s of New Zealand, the Netherlands and RUFORUM to support participatory action research and training in Africa.

For more information on this programme, please contact Dr. Ackim Mwape via email [email protected] or [email protected]

February 22, 2021   •   News

Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Zambia and Senegal have communicated agriculture sector specific mitigation measures in their updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC’s). All five countries have unconditional economy wide emission reduction targets of 29% – 54% in 2030 relative to their BAU (or 2010 base year emissions for Zambia).

Including agriculture specific mitigation measures in the NDC is especially significant given agriculture emissions are key drivers of emissions across the five African countries, albeit responsible for variable proportions of the total emission profile. Implementing these mitigation measures will face different barriers in each country but communicating the intention to mitigate agriculture emissions is the first step.

Key points from each country’s enhanced NDC as they relate to agriculture emissions are summarised here.


  • Kenya’s enhanced NDC communicates an economy wide emission reduction target relative to BAU in 2030 of at least 32%. 
  • Key policies for agriculture emission reductions include the National Livestock Policy 2015, the Agriculture Sector Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) (2019 – 2029), the Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Strategy (2017 – 2028) among others.
  • Mitigation measures for Agriculture Sector emissions will be achieved by Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) in line with Kenya’s CSA Strategy, “with emphasis to efficient livestock management systems”.
  • Kenya’s adaptation measures include using CSA practices to increase livestock system efficiencies and to build resilience of agriculture systems through sustainable land management.


  • The BAU analysis is based on a newly adopted Tier 2 inventory for livestock GHG emissions and livestock are projected to be the biggest single emission source in 2030 in the BAU scenario
  • Ethiopia’s economy wide emissions reduction target relative to BAU in 2030 is 12.4% unconditional and a further 41.1% conditional on international support to a total reduction of 53.5%.
  • Of the total livestock emission reductions will contribute 30.4 MtCO2e or 13.8% of the total 220.59 MtCO2e required by 2030 across all sectors.
  • Mitigation measures will be achieved predominantly as improvements to agriculture production efficiencies and changes to agricultural practices.


Figure 1: Rwanda’s economy wide mitigation contributions in 2030.

  • Rwanda’s economy wide emission reduction target relative to BAU in 2030 is 16% unconditional (1.9 MtCO2e) and a further 22% (2.7 MtCO2e) conditional on international support, to a combined total of 38% as shown in figure 1.
  • Agriculture contributes 55% of Rwanda’s total emissions. The largest sources of emissions are methane from enteric fermentation in cattle systems, N2O emissions from managed soils and emissions from manure management.
  • Rwanda’s agriculture mitigation measures will contribute 2.24 MtCO2e (figure 1) in 2030 and include a number of soil conservation practices, compost production and livestock measures.
  • Adaptation measures for agriculture include developing and promoting climate resilient crops and livestock, adopting best crop management practices and developing sustainable land use management practices.
  • Rwanda’s NDC is aligned with several existing national policies including the Green Growth and Climate Resilient Strategy (GGCRS) (2011).

Figure 2: Rwanda’s agriculture mitigation strategies as a percentage of the total mitigation potential of the agriculture sector. 


  • Zambia’s economy wide emissions reduction target relative to 2010 emission levels is 25% unconditional (20 MtCO2e) and a further 22% conditional on international support to a total reduction of 47% (38 MtCO2e) in 2030.
  • Zambia’s major mitigation measures for agriculture are i) conservation and sustainable agriculture and ii) improving agriculture production efficiencies.


  • Senegal’s economy wide emission reduction target relative to BAU in 2030 is 7% unconditional and a further 22% conditional on international support to a total reduction of 29%. This equates to unconditional emission reductions of 2.66 MtCO2e and a total of 11.2 MtCO2e in the conditional target.
  • Agriculture emissions accounted for about 44% of Senegal’s total emissions in 2010.
  • The emission reduction targets for agriculture are 0.25 MtCO2e in the unconditional and 1.27 MtCO2e in the conditional scenario.
  • Agriculture mitigation measures are aligned with the Program to Relaunch and Accelerate the Cadence of Senegalese Agriculture (PRACAS2, 2019-2023) and the Livestock Development Policy (2017-2021)
  • Mitigation measures include assisted natural regeneration, composting, biogas and implementing the system of rice intensification (SRI)
  • Several adaptation measures are listed, including sustainable land management, agroforestry and use of early warning systems and climate information services.

Country NDC’s:

Kenya: https://www4.unfccc.int/sites/ndcstaging/PublishedDocuments/Kenya%20First/Kenya’s%20First%20%20NDC%20(updated%20version).pdf 

Ethiopia: https://www4.unfccc.int/sites/ndcstaging/PublishedDocuments/Ethiopia%20First/Ethiopia’s%20NDC%20update%20summary%202020.pdf 

Rwanda: https://www4.unfccc.int/sites/ndcstaging/PublishedDocuments/Rwanda%20First/Rwanda_Updated_NDC_May_2020.pdf 

Zambia: https://www4.unfccc.int/sites/ndcstaging/PublishedDocuments/Zambia%20First/Zambia_Provisional_Updated_NDC_2020.pdf 

Senegal (in French): https://www4.unfccc.int/sites/ndcstaging/PublishedDocuments/Senegal%20First/CDNSenegal%20approuv%C3%A9e-pdf-.pdf