Building capacity in modelling for robust, resilient crop systems in West Africa

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To enhance skills in modelling of crop systems by the agricultural research community in West Africa, a five-day workshop was recently conducted. The workshop trained researchers in the use of the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM) platform. The workshop was organized by ICRISAT-Nigeria and the Centre for Dryland Agriculture, Bayero University Kano (CDA-BUK), Nigeria, where it was also held.

New and intermediate users to the platform attended the workshop titled “Introduction to APSIM and its applications for climate risk assessment/management in West Africa”. The workshop focused on the concept and analytical capacity of crop modelling through APSIM to determine a plant’s growth considering soil, water and nitrogen balances in environment against the backdrop of challenging climatic conditions. The instructors held topical discussions to demonstrate the workings of the individual components of modelling systems and how they can be linked for the best results.

Participants said that the workshop will help them design new cropping systems or ex-ante analysis of altering technology on resource constraints and adaptation to changing climate. The understanding of crop systems modelling and its applications as well as the ability to interpret outputs will be be improved. Participants added that the knowledge gained will also help them design efficient and effective climate-smart and market-oriented interventions for farmers.

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