Systems thinking and crop modeling skills enhanced using APSIM

Staff and Students of Bayero University of Kano during the APSIM course Photo: ICRISAT

Staff and Students of Bayero University of Kano during the APSIM course Photo: ICRISAT

A recent crop modelling workshop titled “Cropping System Analysis of Smallholder Agriculture Using APSIM” is an effort to establish crop modeling skills in the West and Central Africa.

Understanding the context and resource constraints that smallholder farmers face in the region calls for ‘systems thinking’ and analytical tools such as crop and household modelling are key in targeting and understanding the potential impact of interventions in a climatically risky environment. The training was aimed at scientists who are novices, as well as those who are intermediate users of the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM), to advance their crop modeling skills.

The workshop provided participants with the background theory and applied experience to build on the existing cropping systems modeling knowledge and interpretation. Skills learnt will be useful when designing new cropping systems or ex-ante analysis of altering technology on resource constraints and adaptation to changing climate. Understanding and application of crop systems modelling and ability to interpret outputs will be improved which result in more informed decisions on cropping systems responses.

The welcome address was presented by Professor Jibrin M Jibrin, Director, Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA), while Professor Muhammad Yahuza Bello, Vice-chancellor, Bayero University Kano (BUK) presented the opening address during which he noted that crop models are decision support tools for modern agricultural practices. Introductory speeches were by Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, Country Representative Nigeria & Principal Scientist, Agronomy, and Dr John Dimes, Resource Person. Participants received certificates from Dr Anthony Whitbread, Director, ICRISAT Innovation Systems, ICRISAT, at the end of the workshop.

The 5-Day training workshop held from 30 May to 3 June, was organized by the Centre for Dryland Agriculture (CDA), Bayero University Kano (BUK) Nigeria, in collaboration with ICRISAT. A total of 26 trainees participated in the workshop including participants from Niger, Mali and Sierra Leone.

Project: Sustainable Management of Crop-based Production Systems for Raising Agricultural Productivity in Rainfed Asia

Investor: International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Partners: Project activities are implemented by various partners in different countries:

Lao PDR: Sustainable Natural Resource Management and Productivity Enhancement Project (SNRMPEP);

Nepal: Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC);

Vietnam: Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS);

India: Jharkhand Tribal Development Society (JTDS) and Birsa Agricultural University (BAU) in Jharkhand; Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia Krishi Vishwavidyalaya (RVSKVV) in Madhya Pradesh; and

State Project Management Unit of Mitigating Poverty in Western Rajasthan (MPOWER), in Rajasthan.

CGIAR Research Program: Grain Legumes

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