Taking Maize Agronomy to Scale in Africa (TAMASA) is a 4-year project (November 2014-October 2018) funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, seeking to improve productivity and profitability for small-scale maize farmers in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Nigeria.
The overall purpose of TAMASA is to use innovative approaches to transform agronomy that:
The core products and services of this project include:
The critical short-term outcomes will be: (i) the use of tools and data by service providers and research organizations; (ii) an increased or more efficient use of appropriate inputs by smallholder farmers; and (iii) a better understanding of how to increase the effectiveness of delivering agronomic advice at scale.
Project funding and management
TAMASA is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and is implemented by CIMMYT and IITA . Key institutional partnerships within TAMASA include the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI; co-development of a site-specific nutrient management decision support tool), the African Soils Information Service (AfSIS ;collaborative access to geospatial data and derived analytical products) and the Universities of Leuven, Reading and Wageningen for PhD capacity development. Key institutional partners within each country include Bayaro University in Kano, Nigeria (BUK), The Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) in Ethiopia, and Selian and Uyole Research institutes in Tanzania.
TAMASA is active in 3 countries: Ethiopia, Tanzania and Nigeria. Within each country, TAMASA’s activities are structured within a nested impact geography, consisting of four stratification levels:
TAMASA’s activities are organized into seven sets of activities, called Workstreams. Workstreams 2 through 5 are focused on the development of decision-support tools.
Workstream 1 addresses core data gaps. There are several components of this work:
Workstream 2 will establish a spatially-explicit framework for ex-ante analysis of alternative targeting of productive investment, e.g. where new fertilizer blends may be more profitable than existing blends.
Workstream 3 will establish working versions of a Nutrient Expert tool which will provide site-specific nutrient management advice to farmers. This work is done in collaboration with IPNI.
Workstream 4 will establish a tool for the selection of maize varieties most appropriate for particular geographic locations and specified trait requirements.
Workstream 5 consists of developing data to support the identification of opportunities for new fertilizer blends. This work is currently being done in Nigeria in collaboration with OCP.
Workstream 6 focuses on evaluating the actual and potential adoption and impact of the tools developed in Workstreams 2-5. Data collected under Workstream 1 (i.e. the agronomic panel survey) will be used to evaluate adoption via experimental methods. Within Workstream 6, there is also space for evaluating complementary agronomic and other interventions.
Workstream 7 consists of project management activities. Within this Workstream are included monitoring, evaluation and learning (ME&L) activities, communication, and collaborative management of training and research conducted by doctoral students who are sponsored by the project and who conduct their coursework at Wageningen University (Netherlands), Leuven University (Belgium) and Reading University (UK).