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March 29, 2021   •   News

About 85% of Ethiopian population reside in rural regions with their livelihood entirely reliant on rain-fed agriculture and livestock production. Ethiopia has been submitting its greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory and biennial update report to the Conference of the Parties (COP) since 2001.  Of all sectors, the agriculture sector is the largest source of GHG emissions in Ethiopia, contributing 79% (115,466.7 Gg CO2e) of the total national emissions in 2013 using IPCC Tier 1 approach. Livestock production contributes 60% (69,334.5 Gg CO2e) of all agriculture sector emissions, due to enteric fermentation, manure management and emissions from manure deposited onto pasture by grazing livestock.

The recent inventory reports livestock emissions using a Tier 2 approach that better reflects change in both the structure of livestock populations, animal management and performance. The new approach includes emission of GHGs such as CH4 (due to enteric fermentation), CH4 and N2O (due to manure management), and direct/indirect N2O (due to livestock deposit of dung and urine in managed soil) estimated from dairy cattle, other cattle, sheep and goats.

Methane (CH4) emissions due to enteric fermentation increased from 1994 to 2018 because of increase in animal population, animal management and performance. Methane emissions from manure management increased from 1994 to 2018.

Direct and indirect nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions due to manure management increased significantly from 1994 to 2018. Overall, there was a significant increase of GHG emissions from livestock production of Ethiopia due to the increase of animal populations and production.

Thus, the new Tier 2 inventory more effectively captures the variation in livestock population and production which is vital for the future improvement of the national agriculture inventory.

Bethel Geremew

My research aim is to investigate the impact of climate change, land use/land cover change and agricultural management on soil organic carbon stocks and to determine if the Anjeni watershed soils have acted as a net sink or net source for carbon over the past three decades, using the CQSTER and CENTURY models.

My research will consider methane and nitrous oxide emissions due to manure management and livestock dung deposited on pasture in the Anjeni watershed. Further, my research into whether the Anjeni watershed soil is the source of carbon emission due to the land use land cover change, agricultural management and climate changes will provide information valuable for emission analysis for the national livestock emission inventory.

Reference and further reading:

Wilkes A, Wassie SE, Tadesse M, Assefa B, Abu M, Ketema A, Solomon D. 2020. Inventory of greenhouse gas emissions from cattle, sheep and goats in Ethiopia (1994-2018) calculated using the IPCC Tier 2 approach. Environment and Climate Change Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

https://ccafs.cgiar.org/resources/publications/inventory-greenhouse-gas-emissions-cattle-sheep-and-goats-ethiopia-1994

 

March 26, 2021   •   News

In order to explore the potential of circular food systems (CFS) as a way to contribute to food security while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Integrative Research Group (IRG) of the Global Research Alliance (GRA) has taken the lead to setup a global CFS network, where knowledge on CFS can be shared, developed and disseminated. The network aims to mobilise agricultural scientists working at field and farm level to explore circularity within agricultural systems focussing on GHG emissions. The results will provide practitioners, policy makers with the evidence-base of proven methodologies and system designs for climate smart actions.

The CFS network will start with developing an active international network and making an inventory of relevant aspects of circular food systems in divers regions. We therefore launch a kick-off workshop entitled ‘Circular Food Systems: regional opportunities to mitigate GHG’. As the definition and context of circularity and CFS may vary across regions, and different themes within circularity of agri-food systems can be explored, the main objective of the kick-off workshop is to find common ground and objectives from where the network can formulate activities and focus points.

For this, we would like to call upon your collaboration in this development process. The online kick-off workshop on the 22nd and 23rd of June aims to formulate:

  1. A common ground on the definition and diversity of circular food systems
  2. A workplan with (region-specific or thematic) research projects for 2021-2022

The common ground will be discussed and illuminated through presentations at this conference. These presentations will address the broad range of aspects of circular food systems across the globe.

Call for Abstracts

We now invite groups and individuals to submit an abstract about aspects of circular food systems of relevance for their country or region to mitigate GHG (see Annex 1 for background information on circular food systems). These abstracts should be submitted before April 30th 2021.

The organising committee will select 8 to 10 abstracts to invite for elaboration in 15-minute presentations during the kick-off workshop and associated short communications of 2500 words. Information about selection of the abstracts can be expected around May 3rd 2021. The short communications should be complemented with main research questions for developing knowledge on increasing understanding and/or advancing circularity in food systems in a specific global region.

During the kick-off workshop the presentations and short communications will be used as starting point to develop case studies together with interested parties wherein region-specific or thematic research questions and objectives are formulated. This could be short- or long-term studies. Please note that abstracts that were not selected for presentation, could still serve as valuable input for these case studies. In this way, the network is looking for a variety of ideas and regions where CFS research can be addressed.  

The network has funding available to fund part of the case studies that will be developed during the workshop. Preference is given to case studies with co-financing and which have close collaboration with the policy arena.

Abstracts and short communications will be published in an open access publication about circular food systems and GHG mitigation.

Terms of Reference
Abstracts have a maximum of 500 words. Short communications have a maximum of 2500 words.

The abstract of max. 500 words should clearly indicate the region, the food system or elements thereof and the aspect(s) of circularity in the food system(s). Furthermore, it should include what key elements define the circularity of the system and how it contributes to mitigation of GHG emissions in the system. Circularity aspects potentially to be addressed are: closing nutrient cycles within agricultural systems, recycling of nutrients, upgrading by-products, the role of C-sequestration, role of livestock in circular food systems, rice farming, agricultural waste streams in value chains, living labs of circular food systems, crops in circular food systems and silvopastoral systems, circularity in relation to GHG accounting.

The GRA-IRG-CSF network will cover circularity in food systems all across the globe so representatives from all continents are requested to contribute. In this way, the variety of CFSs can be determined during the workshop and common objectives and collaboration between regions in the network’s research activities can be established.

The organising committee will select 8 to 10 presentations making sure that together they are covering all global regions, relevant food systems and circularity aspects. Formats for 15-minute presentations and short communications will be provided to the selected abstracts. See Table 1 for deadlines and activities.

Abstracts should be submitted no later than April 26, 2021, 10:00AM (CET), through: [email protected]

Table 1. Deadlines and activities for the first GRA-IRG-CFS conference

ActivityDescriptionDeadline
Abstract for presentation and associated short communicationAbstract maximum 500 words. Should address relevant Circular Food System and GHG mitigation aspects for a global region or countryApril 26th 2021 By e-mail to: [email protected]
Organising committee will select 8 to 10 abstracts for elaboration into a presentationCFS core group will choose abstracts based on region and  CFS-aspectMay 3rd 2021
Selected short communication to be submittedMaximally 2500 words, no abstract.June 8th 2021
First GRA-IRG-CFS workshopOnline, to be organised by the core group of GRA-IRG-CFSJune 22-23rd 2021


Annex 1: Circular Food Systems background information

Food systems comprise all processes and infrastructure involved in feeding the human population: growing, harvesting, storing, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption and disposal of food and food-related waste streams. Such food system activities are driven by socio-economic and environmental drivers. Outcomes of a food system are food security and socio-economic and environmental outcomes. The interactions between these elements of a food system are depicted in Figure 1.


Figure 1. Drivers, activities and outcomes of food systems (Van Berkum et al. 2018).

Circular food systems are food systems in which waste streams are minimized and inevitable waste is utilized in processes of production of food, energy or non-food products. Such circular food systems apply practices and technologies that minimize the input of finite resources (e.g. phosphate rock, fossil fuel and land), encourage the use of regenerative ones (e.g. wind and solar energy), prevent leakage of natural resources from the food system (e.g. nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P)), and stimulate recycling of inevitable resource losses in a way that adds the highest value to the food system (De Boer and Van Ittersum, 2018; Van Zanten et al., 2019).

An example of how circularity in food systems can be achieved was described by adhering to the following number of principles (De Boer and Van Ittersum, 2018; Van Zanten et al., 2019):

  1. Use arable land and water bodies primarily to produce food for direct human consumption.
  2. Avoid or minimize food losses and wastes.
  3. Recycle by-products (such as crop residues, co-products from processing, manure, excreta) and inevitable food losses and waste streams in the food system.
  4. Use animals for unlocking biomass unsuitable for human consumption into value food, manure and other ecosystem services.

These principles are indicative for strategic developments towards circularity and need operationalisation in local contexts. For instance, with respect to the 3rd principle, biomass in residues and waste streams may be used to improve soil quality or to feed livestock. Organic matter in such plant and animal residues, but also in waste produced further downstream in the food cycle may also be converted to valuable products such as bioplastics, protein, volatile fatty acids or other platform chemicals, or as organic soil amendments or as an energy source. Nutrients (both macro- and micro-nutrients) in the waste streams may be recovered and re-used in food production. De Boer and Van Ittersum (2018) suggested an order of prioritization for the use of biomass streams in circular food systems (i.e. plant production first, followed by soil quality improvement, animal feeding, and use as fertilizer and energy source; see Figure 2).  The order of prioritization, however, depends on local contexts, and on prioritisation of  higher level objectives e.g. greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) vs food security. Also, the scale at which circularity is best operationalized is context specific and depends on objectives. Hence, the nexus of circularity, food security and greenhouse gas emission reduction is a complex playing field and it requires a broad representation of stakeholders to address. Dependent on local conditions and local policies the concept of circular food systems may be differently defined, and practices and outcomes may differ. There is a knowledge gap regarding the variety in concepts and practices that exists, possible synergies and trade-offs within the various concepts, and about strategies how to implement circular food systems.

This implies need for a science-based development of the concept of circularity in a wide variety of food systems across the world, fitting to local environmental and social conditions. But also the need for practical extension of these concepts in living labs as good practice hubs. Hence, global knowledge exchange is key, and collaboration between institutions globally with a focus on sustainable food security is essential to have impact on a larger scale. This requires a good governance, with different stakeholders come together. For it is not just about food, but also about health, ecosystems, international trade regimes, jobs and social security. The Circular Food Systems network within the Integrative Research Group of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases is established to develop knowledge, to facilitate application in living labs, to exchange knowledge and to take up the governance role.

Figure 2. The concept of circularity with priority given to animal feed use of biomass unsuited for direct human consumption, with secondary use for soil improvement and fertilization (Van Zanten et al., 2019).

References

   De Boer, I.J.M. & Van Ittersum, M.K., 2018. Circularity in agricultural production. Mansholt lecture, 19 September 2018, Brussels, Wageningen University & Research, 71 pp. https://www.wur.nl/upload_mm/7/5/5/14119893-7258-45e6-b4d0-e514a8b6316a_Circularity-in-agricultural-production-20122018.pdf

   Springmann, M. et al. 2018. Options for keeping the food system within environmental limits. Nature 562: 519-525

   Van Berkum, S, Dengerink, J. and Ruben, R, 2018. Sustainable solutions for a sufficient supply of healthy food. Wageningen Economic Research, The Netherlands.

   Van Zanten, H.H.E., Van Ittersum, M.K., De Boer, I.J.M., 2019. The role of farm animals in a circular food system. Global Food Security 21, 18-22.

March 16, 2021   •   News

The four ERA-NETs (European-led funding mechanisms) have announced that proposals are now being accepted for the 2021 co-fund in agricultural greenhouse gas research. In particular, the call is for research that aligns with the below brief:

“Circularity in mixed crops and livestock farming systems with emphasis on climate change mitigation and adaptation”.

This call aims to enhance circularity between these systems and thereby improve the sustainability of farms. Also, it is an opportunity for countries to participate within an EU-led initiative. Links to the four ERA-NETS where further information can be found and the form for submissions are located below.

Applications close on the 26th of May 2021, 3PM CEST

https://www.suscrop.eu/2021-joint-call

March 10, 2021   •   News

Established in 2007, the IPCC Scholarship Programme aims to support PhD students from developing countries whose research advances the understanding of the scientific basis of risks of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

Applications are currently being accepted from PhD students that have been enrolled for a year or are undertaking post-doctoral research. Applicants should be from a developing country, and should ideally be conducting research in one of the following topics:

Living soils, biodiversity, regenerative viticulture, agroforestry, water management and terrestrial carbon cycle.

The scholarship award is for a maximum amount of €15,000 per year for up to two years during the period 2021-2023.

Applications close on the 28th of March 2021 at midnight CET. For further information and the application link, click the button below.

March 9, 2021   •   News

Dave Chadwick, Tom Misselbrook and Bob Rees.

In 2010, the UK Government and the Devolved administrations of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales initiated a programme of research that would deliver new country specific emission factors for nitrous oxide (N2O) and the associated activity data to generate a smarter greenhouse gas inventory that better reflected the soils, climate, nutrient management and ruminant systems of the UK.

The InveN2Ory project (AC0116) generated data to contribute to country specific N2O emission factors, filling knowledge gaps for the combinations of soil, nutrient source and climate. UK research groups (ADAS, AFBI, CEH, Rothamsted Research, and SRUC) conducted 37 (365 day) replicated plot-scale field experiments, following common experimental protocols for treatment applications, N2O static chamber deployment and soil, crop and gas sampling and analysis (Fig. 1; Chadwick et al. 2014).

Figure 1 Chamber measurements at an arable site in the East of Scotland

In parallel with the InveN2Ory project, a methane (CH4) project (AC0115) determined ruminant CH4 emissions from commonly used dairy, beef and sheep breeds and from typical diets, using a combination of calorimeter, SF6 and CH4 laser-based approaches, and a Synthesis project (AC0114) was responsible for integrating existing and new GHG emissions and mitigation data with agriculture statistics activity data to ‘drive’ the smart GHG inventory, and develop a robust structure for the smart GHG inventory for reporting and tracking change. All three projects contributed to a programme of work known as the UK’s GHG Platform programme.

Data from the InveN2Ory project was combined with existing (IPCC compliant) emission factor data from other studies and analysed statistically to generate the new country specific N2O EFs for: EF1 ammonium nitrate and urea fertilisers applied to grassland and arable land, EF3PRP urine and dung deposited by grazing livestock to grassland, and EF1 different manure types applied to crops. The resulting UK country specific N2O EFs from most of these N sources are less than those reported in the IPCC 2006 Guidelines, and some of the UKs new EFs, e.g. the EF3PRP, have contributed to the 2019 revisions of the IPCC 2006 Guidelines (Hergoualc’h et al. 2019; IPCC 2006) . Papers have been published synthesising the N2O EFs from the different N sources from the 37 plot-scale experiments (Bell et al. 2015; Cardenas et al. 2019; Chadwick et al. 2018; Thorman et al. 2020), and these data are publicly available from the UK’s AEDA data archive (http://www.environmentdata.org/).

The new analysis demonstrates a non-linear relationship between fertiliser N application rate and rainfall as predictors of N2O emissions (Fig. 2).  This has allowed the new smart inventory to report spatially disaggregated emissions across the UK that reflect the rate and form of N applied and the long term average rainfall.

As a result of the UK GHG Platform projects, the UK now has an inventory for greenhouse gases that better reflects the UK farming systems, soils and climate. The new N2O EFs have resulted in a reduced contribution of this gas to the total CO2e emission from UK agriculture.

Figure 2 The response of the N2O emission factor (EF1) to changing rates of fertiliser N and rainfall as represented in the UK’s smart inventory (Kmietowicz & Thillainathan 2018).

Acknowledgements

Funding for this work was received from the UK Government Department for the Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs and from the Scottish and Welsh Governments, and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in Northern Ireland

References

Bell,M.J., Hinton,N., Cloy,J.M., Topp,C.F.E., Rees,R.M., Cardenas,L., Scott,T., Webster,C., Ashton,R.W., Whitmore,A.P., Williams,J.R., Balshaw,H., Paine,F., Goulding,K.W.T. & Chadwick,D.R. 2015. Nitrous oxide emissions from fertilised UK arable soils: Fluxes, emission factors and mitigation. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 212, 134-147.

Cardenas,L.M., Bhogal,A., Chadwick,D.R., McGeough,K., Misselbrook,T., Rees,R.M., THORMAN,R.E., Watson,C.J., Williams,J.R., Smith,K.A. & Calvet,S. 2019. Nitrogen use efficiency and nitrous oxide emissions from five UK fertilised grasslands. Science of the Total Environment.

Chadwick,D.R., Cardenas,L.M., Dhanoa,M.S., Donovan,N., Misselbrook,T., Williams,J.R., THORMAN,R.E., McGeough,K.L., Watson,C.J., Bell,M., Anthony,S.G. & Rees,R.M. 2018. The contribution of cattle urine and dung to nitrous oxide emissions: Quantification of country specific emission factors and implications for national inventories. Science of The.Total Environment, 635, 607-617.

Chadwick,D.R., Cardenas,L.M., Misselbrook,T.H., Smith,K.A., Rees,R.M., Watson,C.J., Mcgeough,K.L., Williams,J.R., Cloy,J.M., Thorman,R.E. & Dhanoa,M.S. 2014. Optimizing chamber methods for measuring nitrous oxide emissions from plotGÇÉbased agricultural experiments. 65, 295-307.

Hergoualc’h, K., Akiyama, H., Bernoux, M., Chirinda, N., del Prado, A., Kasimir, A., Macdonald, D., Ogle, S., Regina, K., and van der Weerden, T. Chapter 11: N2O emissions from managed soils, and CO2 emissions from lime and urea application

Chapter 11.   2019.  2019 Refinement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories .

Ref Type: Report

IPCC 2006. IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories; Prepared by the National Greenhouse Gas Inventories Programme. IPCC, Japan.

Kmietowicz, E. and Thillainathan, I. Technical Annex: The Smart Agriculture Inventory.  2018.  Committee on Climate Change. 2018 Progress Report to Parliament.

Ref Type: Report

Thorman,R.E., Nicholson,F.A., Topp,C.F.E., Bell,M.J., Cardenas,L.M., Chadwick,D.R., Cloy,J.M., Misselbrook,T.H., Rees,R.M., Watson,C.J. & Williams,J.R. 2020. Towards Country-Specific Nitrous Oxide Emission Factors for Manures Applied to Arable and Grassland Soils in the UK. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, 4, 62.

March 5, 2021   •   News

Alissa Benchimol

The Greenhouse Gas Management Institute (GHGMI) is working with the Government of Fiji in implementing an Initiative for Climate Action Transparency (ICAT) project. ICAT works with countries to provide guidance, capacity building, and knowledge to facilitate a common transparency framework in the assessment of policies and climate actions. The initiative offers a suite of resources and guides that are especially relevant to countries developing and implementing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). GHGMI has been an implementing partner for ICAT since 2020 and currently provides technical support to seven countries, including Fiji.

The Fiji ICAT project is focused on strengthening institutional monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) capacity for estimating agriculture sector GHG emissions and assessing GHG and sustainable development impacts of agriculture sector policies – the country’s second-largest source of emissions (excluding LULUCF). According to Fiji’s Third National Communications (NC3), agriculture emissions account for 21% of Fiji’s inventory (total of 551 Gg of CO2e) with methane emissions accounting for the largest majority (405 Gg of CO2e; 78% from enteric fermentation, 20% from manure management, 2% rice cultivation)[1].

Working with Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Economy, the main goals of the 14-month project are to:

  1. develop the blueprint for an MRV system for the agriculture sector by focusing on emissions from enteric fermentation, manure management, and rice cultivation.
  2. build capacity of national experts to calculate emissions from livestock and rice cultivation using the 2006 IPCC methodology.
  3. apply ICAT tools for policy impact assessment in the agriculture sector.
  4. develop recommendations for including agriculture sector policies in future NDC updates.

The ICAT project supports Fiji in two main ways. First, it provides funding to hire national experts who will carry out the goals of the project. Second, ICAT implementing partner GHGMI provides technical support to the Government of Fiji and national experts on the delivery of project outputs. This approach recognizes the need and opportunity to develop national expertise for agriculture sector MRV with guided support by leading international experts in the field of agriculture sector GHG accounting. To this end, GHGMI and New Zealand and Australian experts from GRA, are developing a series of hands-on trainings to guide Fiji’s national experts in developing: (a) an instruction manual for the calculation of GHG emissions from livestock and rice cultivation in Fiji; (b) a report on estimated GHG and sustainable development impacts of two agriculture sector policies; and (c) a national systems guidelines manual for the agriculture sector. 

The guided training series will develop national experts’ theoretical and practical skills in data processing, national MRV systems, and on fundamental application of the 2006 IPCC guidelines – enabling Fiji to maintain their own agriculture GHG inventory and MRV system in the future. The hands-on trainings will be focused on the estimation of emissions from agriculture key sources (livestock and rice cultivation) using best available data, understanding and applying ICAT guides for assessing GHG and sustainable development impacts of agriculture policies, and developing institutional arrangements, national reporting system design, and Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) plans for the agriculture sector in Fiji. The ICAT impact assessment guides are a series of methodologies and frameworks for assessing the GHG, sustainable development, and transformational change impact of policies. Additionally, by strengthening Fiji’s agriculture MRV and policy assessment capacity, the project aims at identifying ways in which the sector can be included in future NDCs. It will also support the agriculture sector reporting for the next national GHG inventory within Fiji’s First Biennial Report and the Fourth National Communication, and build a solid platform for reporting the agriculture sector under the Paris Agreement.

The project was officially launched at its Inception Workshop in January of 2021 with key stakeholders introducing the project and creating awareness on MRV and GHG Inventory as an important tool in driving policy action for the sector. The topics covered include expectations and project needs for setting up agriculture MRV and conducting policy assessment. A survey of workshop participants indicates the experience improved stakeholders’ understanding of these topics (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Self-reported level of knowledge before (left) and after (right) the inception workshop.

[1] Data collected from Fiji’s Third National Communication (year 2011). Percentages were approximated.

March 3, 2021   •   News

The Department of Agroecology are now accepting applications for three job opportunities, at AU Foulum in Denmark. These roles will start on the first of July. Two of the positions are three-year post doc, with the other being a tenure track position. A brief summary of each position can be found below, with further information linked for each.

Applications close on the 31st of March for all three positions. Follow the hyperlinks in each job title to find out more.

Tenure track position in Grassland based livestock production systems 

You will take the lead of research aiming of integration of grassland in conventional and organic farming system, including both livestock and the emerging green biomass industry, in agriculture system based on  arable crops and grassland in rotation. The research area includes both grassland production and  management as well as grassland in the agricultural system in relation to production, environmental and  economic dimensions of agriculture and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions based on modelling and  experimental work, depending on your profile. Contact: Troels Kristensen ([email protected])

Postdocs in Livestock farming systems for an integrated, resilient and efficient agriculture

You will be an important part of our team working within model development and farming system analysis,  especially livestock based systems, including productivity and the environmental impacts along the whole  production chain. Experience or interest in on-farm research, system development and modelling based on  farm data is part of your profile, as well as good analytical skills in combination with a broad knowledge  about agriculture, especially livestock based.  Contact: Troels Kristensen ([email protected])

Postdocs in Life Cycle Assessment of Food and Agricultural Systems 

The successful candidates will be part of our LCA team to carry out research in this area to improve  sustainability of food and farming systems in a local and global context. In particular, we work on  documentation of effects and development of models and methods within this area, as well as identification  of promising solutions and new production systems.  

Contact: Marie Trydeman Knudsen ([email protected]) or  Lisbeth Mogensen ([email protected])

March 3, 2021   •   News

The December 2020 issue of the CRG Newsletter is now available!

This issue includes:

  • Cropland Research Group GRA Co-Chairs message
  • Integrated silvopastoral systems towards a sustainable management
  • Climate and environmental change in the Mediterranean basin: current situation and risks for the future
  • Pilot study in citrus on the soil and plant improvement from enriched pruning remains to reduce the greenhouse effect (PODA-VAL)
  • Agroecology for Europe (AE4EU)
  • Special issue on climate change impacts, mitigation and adaptation in croplands
  • Upcoming events

The full newsletter is linked below:

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]