Leanna Kelly

Leanna Kelly Researches Climate Smart Agricultural Practices on the Island of Zanzibar

Leanna with a day-old chick at the beginning of the CSA trial.
Leanna with a day-old chick at the beginning of the CSA trial.

Leanna with a day-old chick at the beginning of the CSA trial.

Leanna with a day-old chick at the beginning of the CSA trial.

UC Davis master’s student in Animal Biology and International Agricultural Development, Leanna Kelly, is spending three months this summer researching Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices on the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania. Leanna, along with her host institution, The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), is conducting her research from late-June through late-September. Her collaborative research project will focus on investigating improved farm management practices for Tanzania. Her project will help researchers explore new CSA techniques for livestock farmers and she hopes that it will also help contribute to Tanzanian farmers’ ability to battle the negative consequences of climate change in the region.

With 70% of the population participating in agriculture, Tanzania is a country that is particularly susceptible to the negative impacts of climate change. The Ministry of Agriculture in Tanzania has recently started an Agriculture Climate Resilience Plan to study and implement the use of Climate Smart Agriculture practices, which are alternative farm management techniques that will help reduce the impact of climate change on agriculture while maintaining or improving productivity and resilience. The World Agroforestry Centre is currently creating research programs at four different locations across the country to better understand the benefits and tradeoffs of CSA practices in regional climates and production systems. Leanna’s site in Zanzibar is one of these four locations.

Leanna is spending much of her time collecting data from a 300-bird chicken feeding trial to understand how new CSA techniques could potentially reduce the climate impact of livestock production. The research trial involves evaluting how feed supplements can effect growth rate and New Castle vaccine efficacy in broiler production. Specfic outcomes for her project include documenting the effect of feed supplements, as well the continuation of her project, with indigenous varities of chicken, by her colleagues at the Zanzibar Livestock Research Institute.

Leanna’s interest in international agriculture began at Cornell University, where she studied International Agriculture and Rural Development and Animal Science as an undergraduate student, which eventually lead her to study in Tanzania and complete independent field research. This early introduction to agricultural research inspired her her to continue her passion for international development as a master’s student and complete a professional research project abroad with RIFA.

Since this is Leanna’s second time to Tanzania, she feels prepared and excited to dive deeper into the regional culture. Her long-term goal is to continue working at the intersection of livestock and development, with a particular focus on the area of ruminant nutrition. Leanna’s RIFA project was made possible by generous donations collected during the UC Davis Give Day Challenge, with special contributions by Max and Denise Rothschild who sponsored the challenge and inspired others to give as well.

Profile written by Stephanie Pomales.