From June of 2017 through May of 2021, SFHC is partnering with 16 institutions in the ambitious InnovAfrica project that is funded under the European Union (EU) Africa Research and Innovation Partnership. A partnership between EU and the African Union aims at using innovative and integrated approaches to improve food and nutrition security for African smallholders through climate adaptability. The main objective of InnovAfrica is to improve food and nutrition security by integrating sustainable agriculture intensification systems (SAI), innovative institutional approaches with novel extension and advisory services and enhancing smallholder adaptive capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa. InnovAfrica will test, integrate, and disseminate SAI systems suitable to smallholders, institutional approaches e.g. multi-actor platforms (MAPs), seed delivery systems and extension and advisory services e.g. dynamic knowledge platforms supported by smart phones, and Village Knowledge Canters. The main outcomes of InnovAfrica include:
i) Better understanding of the needs and opportunities of SAI systems in Africa.
ii) Improved knowledge and innovation capacity of farmers to implement SAI systems supported by innovative institutional approaches and extension advisory services.
iii) Improved product value chains through viable innovative institutional approaches benefiting women and youth.
iv) Innovative policies, increased knowledge of public private partnerships to strengthen agri- business model in case countries with a view to up-scaling successes in other regions through functional MAPs
v) Wider dissemination of SAI systems to smallholders and women within and outside project areas through effective use of smart phones and social media.
vi) Stronger EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership to achieve food and nutrition security.
In Malawi, the farmers in Kacheche area in Ekwendeni, Mzimba, and Thambolagwa area in Lobi, Dedza, are sharing indigenous knowledge of locally grown crops. Farmers use legume intercrops as a means of crop production intensification, intercropping cereals like maize, sorghum and millet, with legumes like beans, soy bean, ground nuts, pigeon peas and green gram. Farmers report their experience back to the project team.
The SFHC team is also supporting Chipulikano, Kapilimhoto and Chitemwano youth groups as they interact with the InnovAfrica project. In November of 2018, SFHC brought all three youth groups together to provide training on group dynamics and democratic leadership, guiding them to elect a committee to lead future InnovAfrica activities.