Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A strategic approach to EU agricultural research and innovation

26-28/01/2016. Designing the path: a strategic approach to EU agricultural research and innovation

The objectives of the conference were to:
  • present the main elements of a long-term strategy for EU agricultural research and innovation;
  • discuss its content, in particular several dimensions of the manner it could be implemented.
Extract of the programme:
26 January 2016. Brussels. ARCH Pre-event: How to foster the impact of agricultural research and innovation for global challenges. The role of platforms, partnerships and policies
The half-day session (video available here) gathered about 100 professionals with a private, public and/or research background in the field of agriculture and food and nutrition security. 

The Working Group ARCH (Joint EIARD SCAR Strategic Working Group for improved linkages between Agricultural Research and Agricultural Research for Development aims at identifying and working towards ways to increase the contribution of European Agricultural Research investments for solutions to global challenges) and the European Commission organized a pre-event before the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) Conference on Agricultural research and innovation titled, “Designing the path: a strategic approach to EU agricultural research and innovation”

The pre-event addressed the issue of global cooperation and food and nutrition security, one of the main objectives of the two-day conference. Topics focused on key features of research and innovation platforms, partnerships and policies and aimed to provide recommendations for future activities. Discussions at the pre-event were later brought to the main conference by ARCH Co-chair, Patricia Wagenmakers. 

Respective presentations were given by the following experts: Laurens Klerkx, Associate Professor of Knowledge, Technology and Innovation at Wageningen University; Morag Webb, Policy Advisor at COLEACP, an inter-professional network of the private sector promoting sustainable horticultural trade and; Craig Hanson, Global Director of Foods, Forests and Water at the World Resources Institute. Following the presentations, lively debates ensued, including interesting reflections from three different groups of panel members from various continents, plus valuable additions from the audience. From these debates, seven recommendations emerged.

Extract: One of the recommendation was that 
Processes in multi-stakeholder knowledge platforms are very dynamic and that there are many differences in perspectives. Rémi Kahane, the Deputy Manager of the experimental Platform for Africa-Europe partnership in agricultural research for development (PAEPARD), shared that it is not always easy to work with actors from different backgrounds. PAEPARD developed some rules and instruments to help members agree on how to partner in strategic alliances, including the user-led approach. Other partners besides researchers are leading the knowledge processes. Involving all actors inclusively is important, as well as building trust and confidence and developing skills for conflict management.
Research programmes of the European Commission and others should allow for flexibility and engagement of actors of the agri-value chain. Adaptation throughout the innovation process is needed as the business model for platforms considering that many factors for collaboration change over time. Kahane demonstrated two experimental funding instruments of PAEPARD in this regard. The first is Incentive Funding, an instrument to adapt and connect farmers to funding opportunities related to self-chosen priorities. The second is Competitive Research Funding where pilot projects are financed to learn about need for entrepreneurship and the management of multi-stakeholder projects. PAEPARD helps actors in the value chain to work on an enabling environment that helps manage projects more sustainably and develop new proposals. Platform impact should be able to be measured and take particular innovation dynamics into account.
“Well functioning platforms must create economic benefits for all partners”, was stated by Yemi Akinbamijo. The FARA catfish innovation platform in Nigeria, which aims at strengthening the value chain, was mentioned as a good example of a working platform driven by the benefit it has generated. Besides agreeing on economic benefits, platforms should also be profitable for members via other types of benefits, such as access to market information and training.
27 January 2016. Brussels. Adopting a systems approach across farms, value chains and territories
This video will be accessible through this link for two years

Objectives: Illustrate how to embed research activities in systemic approaches, systems being understood at various levels (farms working collectively, landscapes or ecosystems, food systems, territories, circular economy) based on examples referring to strategy priorities.

Chair: Tim Benton, United-Kingdom Global Food Security programme
Rapporteur: Marta Perez Soba, Alterra

  1. Unlocking the agricultural system: the example of agroecological research and innovation systems - Philippe Baret, Université Catholique de Louvain
  2. A systems view on below and above ground interactions in agriculture: small organisms driving big innovations - Katarina Hedlund, Lund University
  3. Agroforestry systems: complexity underpinning multiple benefits from the farm to the landscape – Paul Burgess, Cranfield University (project AGFORWARD)
  4. Putting the farm in the context of its territory and value chain - Hugues Vernier, Biovallée, Contrat de Développement Durable Rhône-Alpes
  5. What role for consumers and consumer involvement in food production? Demand as a driver of sustainable and competitive farming systems and value chains - Moya Kneafsey, Coventry University
Discussion with the audience.

Parallel session 4 - The global dimension: fostering the contribution of EU research and innovation towards global challenges through multi-lateral cooperation

Webstreaming: This video will be accessible through this link for two years

Objectives: Discuss how the external dimension of the agriculture research and innovation strategy can be implemented, for instance how to foster efficiency at global level on the basis of examples of approaches which could be used in future programming, how to integrate global frameworks on development or food security or climate.

Chair: Mark Holderness, Executive Secretary of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR)
Rapporteur: Jimmy Smith, International Livestock Research Institute

  1. What could be the contribution of the Strategy to cooperation with Africa – The point of view of FARA - Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)
  2. Outcome of SCAR ARCH pre-event "Fostering the impact of agricultural research and innovation on global challenges - The role of platforms, partnerships and policies"- Patricia Wagenmakers, Co-chair of SCAR ARCH strategic working group, Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Netherlands
  3. Outcome of FACCE JPI pre-event "International soil research - Opportunities for synergy and cooperation" – Maurice Heral, French National Research Agency
  4. Working in areas of high priority: the example of the international research consortium on animal health - Alex Morrow, DEFRA
Discussion with the audience.

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