FOCUS-Africa traveled to Mozambique in what is officially the first field trip for the project. The team working on food security in case study three , led by Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA) in Pisa, Italy, finally met in person in a windy afternoon in Maputo. After more than one year of fruitful discussions via teleconferencing, meeting face to face was a phenomenal experience. Finally, the project participants could greet in person and read in each other’s eyes the excitement and determination for working on this project without the meddling of screens and cameras.
In Mozambique, the SSSA team met researchers from the institute of agronomic research of Mozambique (IIAM) and from the NGO Plan international. The FOCUS-Africa delegation was completed by colleagues from LGI and WMO, who joined the trip with a strong focus on stakeholder engagement, the long-term legacy and impact of the climate services and the socio-economic context in which the services are being co-designed. After meeting and greeting, the research team set to visit key stakeholders in this case study in Mozambique, including the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, the Mozambique National Meteorology Institute (INAM), the IIAM offices and molecular laboratory facilities. The project activities benefitted from great support from national partners, and solid foundations were laid to support forthcoming activities.
After a few days in Maputo, the FOCUS-Africa team travelled to the northern region of the country, where project activities will be implemented. The team reached Nampula, the main town in the homonymous region and gateway for the villages that will be part of the project: Namachepa and Riequa, in the Nametil district. There, the researchers met local authorities, village chiefs and groups of farmers, conducting focus group discussions to capture their traditional knowledge. What are the most critical climate features for their local cropping? Are their local varieties of rice and cowpea adapted to climate change? What would farmers seek in climate services that may be developed in the project?
Now back from the field visit, the information gathered is being used to design weather forecasts tailored to farmers’ needs to be coupled with cowpea and rice varieties with local adaptation traits. “With our work, we aim to design new ways to support smallholder farming in northern Mozambique” says Matteo Dell’Acqua from SSSA, case study leader. “Using a transdisciplinary approach combining climate science, socioeconomics, and crop genomics, we hope to improve the resilience of smallholder rice and cowpea farmers in the Nampula area. In the frame of the FOCUS-Africa project, this case study will lay the basis for a larger and long-term impact on the sustainable improvement of regional agricultural systems regarding climate resilience.”
Article written by Matteo Dell’Acqua, Case study lead