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Sustainable intensification of maize-legume cropping systems for food security in eastern and southern Africa II (SIMLESA II)

Project Code: CSE/2013/008
Program: Crops
Research Program Manager: Dr. Eric Huttner
Project Leader: Paswel Marenya - International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
MAY 2014
OCT 2019
Project Status: Legally Committed/Active
Key partners
Agricultural Research and Technical Services
Directorate of Research and Development
Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
Mozambique Institute for Agricultural Research
University of Queensland


The Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Cropping Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa (SIMLESA) program was established in 2010. It aimed to create more productive, resilient, profitable and sustainable maize-legume farming systems that overcome food insecurity and help reverse soil decline, particularly in the context of climate risk and change.

Funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the ultimate goal was to sustainably increase the productivity of selected maize-based farming systems by 30% from the 2009 average by the year 2023 in each target country in eastern and southern Africa, and at the same time reduce seasonal down-side production risks by 30%.

After successful implementation of the first phase (2010-2013), the program was extended for four years (2014-2018) with an increased focus on up-scaling sustainable intensification technologies that the first phase initiated and tested. The second phase also focused on crop livestock interactions for maximum benefit to the farmer.

The SIMLESA project was anchored on five main thematic objectives:

  1. To enhance the understanding of Conservation Agriculture (CA)-based sustainable intensification for maize-legume production systems, value chains and impact pathways.
  2. To test and adapt productive, CA-based intensification options for sustainable smallholder maize-legume production systems.
  3. To increase the range of maize, legume and fodder/forage varieties available to smallholders.
  4. To develop local and regional innovation systems and scaling-out modalities.
  5. Capacity building to increase the efficiency of agricultural research.