How Adaptive Management Became a Seed Bed for Project Improvement
The Upscaling Technologies in Agriculture through Knowledge and Extension (UPTAKE Project) was established under USAID’s New Alliance ICT Extension Challenge Fund to expand Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) enabled extension services in Tanzania, to complement traditional extension services. Between 2016 - 2018, the IFAD funded project employed joint radio and mobile campaigns to improve farm productivity among cassava farmers in the Coastal regions. Focus was on promoting agricultural technologies principally improved varieties of seed and other good agricultural practices (GAP) to increase farm productivity, contribute to food security and improve livelihoods. During the first campaign season, farmer feedback revolved around one issue; where to obtain clean planting materials of the improved varieties that UPTAKE promoted. The demand for clean planting materials rocketed and despite efforts to engage with institutions responsible for catalyzing supply, their effort fell significantly behind demand. The campaign effort was almost in jeopardy with lack of clean planting materials. CABI pro-actively decided to find a solution to the problem. Having learnt of the CLA approach, certain sub components were considered to be extremely relevant to help find a solution. Project staff paused, reflected and saw the importance of applying adaptive management to address the situation. The approach was implemented systematically using available knowledge. The result was two cassava seed pilot farms to contribute to easing the problem of lack of clean planting materials. Establishment of these saw the district agriculture teams gain confidence to scale up similar initiatives while farmer groups gained new knowledge and skills to participate in cassava seed production as a commercial venture to improve their livelihoods and contribute to food security.