The countries in West Africa sharing Volta and Niger Basins are among the poorest countries in the world. The region is characterized by population migration, political instability and a strong poverty gradient from the south to the north and increasing tensions between crop and livestock farmers/ herders. Climate change poses new challenges to the region as it jeopardizes current practiced agriculture and asks for increasing the resilience and adaptation of systems used by smallholders. The UPSCALER project is, thus, searching for climate-smart, site-specific practices, combining crop and livestock production, which might be suited to cope with predicted environmental changes.
To achieve project goals, UPSCALER implements an Integrated Assessment Modeling approach to assess the potentials and constraints of crop-livestock systems at the farm scale and to identify the most suitable systems depending on biophysical and socio-economic site conditions at the regional scale. Thereby, the project takes into account the perspectives and experiences of local stakeholders and farmers to cope with climate constraints and economic variability. The UPSCALERS project aims to provide options how smallholder farming might need to adapt in order to achieve food security under future conditions.
Major envisaged outputs of the UPSCALERS are feasible strategies for the optimum use of soil water, land, livestock and climate information in smallholder farming systems to increase cereal/legume productions (millet, maize, sorghum, rice, and cowpea) and improve the resilience of smallholder farming systems in view of ongoing environmental changes.
The UPSCALER project is located in the upper Niger basin and northern Volta basin. We envisage to finally contribute with ideas of intensification pathways for small-holders, which are not only beneficial to ensure food security, but also contribute to improved environmental footprints of crop and crop-livestock systems of smallholders under current and future climate conditions.