The cluster leverages a wide range of tools and technologies to support our research and implementation efforts. With our extensive experience of 50 years in the semi-arid tropics and strong partnerships, we have developed climate-resilient dryland crops and a pool of climate-smart technologies that form the foundation of our interventions in climate-smart projects.

Our approaches are designed to equip smallholder farmers in the semi-arid tropics with the necessary tools to make agriculture more profitable and sustainable, while also building their resilience to climate change.

The following approaches have been instrumental in our work to build climate-smart villages:

  Watershed Management Approach: This approach focuses on rehabilitating agroecosystems and implementing a range of climate-smart agricultural practices developed by ICRISAT. These practices have proven to increase crop yields and farmer incomes. The success of this approach has gained momentum in India and is favored by companies for their corporate social responsibility activities. Efforts are underway to replicate this approach in sub-Saharan Africa.

  Futuristic Multi-Model Approach: Utilizing computer-simulated scenarios, this approach provides policy makers in Zimbabwe with climate scenarios up to the year 2050. The insights gained from this approach have resulted in renewed support for promoting dryland cereals such as sorghum and millet, as well as greater investment in groundnut value chains. With the support of the Government of Zimbabwe, ICRISAT has imported 20 tons of groundnut seed from Malawi, which was distributed to farmers for seed multiplication and testing.

  Digital Technologies Approach: This approach has been successful in enabling farmers from the Doggoh community in remote Ghana to adopt climate-smart agricultural practices and embrace agroforestry. Even farmers who had never used a phone before are now using mobile devices to access climate information and make informed cropping decisions. Around 90% of the farmers find weather alerts useful, and 64% make use of the helpline when needed.

  Meteorological Advisory and Farm Systems Approach: Demonstrated in Mopti, Mali, and Senegal (Thies, Daga Birame, and Thiel cluster), this approach highlights the achievability of climate change adaptation through the use of eco-friendly methods and climate information. A significant number of stakeholders, including 76,618 women and 95,004 men, involved in the value chain have reported using climate information in their decision-making processes. This approach has also resulted in increased earnings for farmers in the drought-prone district of Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh, India, where farmers who followed crop advisories earned 20% more than those who did not. The success of this pilot project has led to its expansion in other villages of Andhra Pradesh and the neighboring state of Karnataka.

  Climate and Crop Modelling Approach: In Tanzania, we have developed substantial datasets, model parameterization, and conducted an analysis of rainfall variability and trends to enhance climate risk management in major agro-ecological zones. In Malawi, we have applied APSIM (Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator) to identify sites with high climatic risks for piloting climate-smart agriculture technologies and practices, providing evidence for climate-proofing potential solutions.

These approaches, combined with our tools and technologies, enable us to empower farmers, promote climate-smart agriculture, and influence policymakers. Through our work, we strive to create sustainable and climate-resilient agricultural systems in the semi-arid tropics, ensuring a brighter future for smallholder farmers and their communities.