Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Building extension and advisory partnerships in Africa

14-15 January 2016. AFAAS, an organisation for strengthening Africa-wide agricultural extension
and advisory services, has recently reviewed its 2015-2017 strategy, and has identified knowledge management (KM) as a key focal area. CTA’s expertise in KM will help support AFAAS in its new strategic direction.

As well as Dr Nahdy, the AFAAS delegation included Dr Dan Kisauzi, AFAAS technical adviser on knowledge management and communication and Max Olupot Olalatau, partnership officer and technical assistant to the executive director. The team had close discussions with CTA’s technical staff, facilitated by Krishan Bheenick, senior programme coordinator for KM and Dr Benjamin Kwasi Addom, ICT4D programme coordinator. Dr Ibrahim Khadar, CTA’s head of the learning monitoring and evaluation unit, presented practical areas where CTA could support AFAAS including on agricultural policies, markets and value chains, and ICTs for agriculture, learning and KM.

As a process with huge potential for impacting farmers in its new strategy, AFAAS made a
presentation on Country Fora (CF), which are ‘communities of practice’ that bring together a wide range of actors and stakeholders involved in - or benefitting from - rural advisory services in a country. Each stakeholder has an interest in extension but are not necessarily extension workers themselves.
“The CF process can make good use of CTA’s wealth of information for innovations and how to reach farmers. Whether it is information on climate-smart agriculture, value chains or the use of certain ICT tools,” said Dr Nahdy. “Working collaboratively with CTA and our networks for short, medium and long-term sustainability in African countries’ extension and advisory services is key for both CTA and AFAAS,” he added.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The EU’s ACP-EU Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) programme

Published on 13 Jan 2016. Trade is an increasingly international business, but not all countries are able fully to take part. Products must meet exacting international standards, which can be a barrier to trade for countries without adequate infrastructure, regulations, quality testing and certification. They are working with the EU to address these issues and help exporters to thrive.

The ACP-EU TBT Programme focusses on three areas:
  • Upgrading and strengthening Quality Infrastructure and related institutions 
  • Empowering economic operators and export sectors to comply with international market requirements 
  • Disseminating results, good practices and experiences 
The Programme is financed by the European Union in partnership with the ACP Secretariat under the 10th European Development Fund (intra-ACP). It is a demand-driven Programme responding to requests for capacity building from ACP countries to ensure full ownership by the ACP beneficiaries.
“When you trade in raw materials, you are selling jobs, actually,” says Nsengimana in below interview. “You are selling your raw materials to people in developed industries to transform your raw materials, because you couldn’t really conform to the standards in the chain, and then the final product comes back to you.”
This is one factor behind high trade deficits in some ACP countries. By reducing the need to import goods which could be manufactured domestically, and allowing ACP manufacturers to sell to global markets, the TBT Programme could be an economic boost: creating new trade opportunities and jobs, while reducing trade deficits.
Although the ‘red tape’ of regulations is often bemoaned, the need for internationally-recognised standards is clear in the case of kava. 
The calm-inducing root, used for thousands of years by Pacific islanders as a ceremonial drink, became a major export to the EU in the 1990s. Islanders set aside land to cultivate kava, and came to depend on its revenues: around $200 million each year. Then in 2002, fears that kava was causing liver damage led Germany to withdraw licenses for kava products. The ban spread to other European countries, Australia and New Zealand. Despite thin medical evidence, trade came to a halt. 
The economic impact on Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, the Solomon Islands and Tonga was severe. After much campaigning, Germany lifted its ban last year. But the islands lacked the capacity to undertake scientific assessments to rehabilitate kava’s reputation, develop safety protocols or propose standards for international trade. This EU’s ACP-EU Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) programme is working at the islands’ request to help establish quality and safety standards. 

Masava: Promoting locally fortified sunflower oil

Through Masava, MEDA is helping oil millers in Tanzania connect to a vitamin A supply chain and fortification technology so they can enhance their oil’s nutrition to meet national and regional standards.

Sokoine University of Agriculture provides training in good manufacturing practices and MEDA links businesses to a network of retailers who can sell the oil to consumers. MEDA’s partners at the University of Waterloo and Sokoine University to measure the impact of the fortification on vitamin A deficiency.

Masava from MEDA on Vimeo.

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.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Policy Brief: Small-scale farmer innovation

Small-scale farmer innovation
Susan H. Bragdon Chelsea Smith
The Quaker UN Office, Geneva and New York
22 pages

December 2015. This policy brief consolidates lessons learned from an in-depth literature review on small-scale farmer (SSF) innovation systems and a two-day expert consultation on the same topic that QUNO hosted in May 2015.

The key message here is that small-scale farmer innovation systems are unique relative to more ‘formal’ agricultural innovation systems. For this reason, the types of policies that are put in place to encourage innovation in agriculture require a fundamental reconsideration.

Small-scale farmer innovation in practice:
1. Technical and institutional innovation.
2. The application of local (traditional) knowledge to changing circumstances.
3. The maintenance, use and development of agrobiodiversity and farm management practices.
4. Adaptation to environmental and socio-economic stresses.
5. The adaptation of ‘modern’ technologies to suit specific local needs
Synergy can be created between the small-scale farmer and ‘formal’ agricultural innovation systems when farmers’ active roles in innovation are recognized and ‘scientific’ and local knowledge systems are bridged. National innovation strategies that reflect the realities of small-scale farmer innovation systems may be more effective in nurturing innovation in agriculture than conventional strategies that focus on encouraging private sector investment.  

Friday, January 22, 2016

Roundtable of aflatoxin experts

25th January 2016. Roundtable of aflatoxin experts on “Building a multi-stakeholder approach to mitigate aflatoxin contamination of food and feed”.

PAEPARD organized with the support of the Directorate General Santé of the European Commission and the East African Farmer Federation (EAFF), and in collaboration with the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) and the African Society of Mycotoxicology (ASM), a roundtable meeting of key aflatoxin experts (not only research experts) on the mitigation of aflatoxin in food and feed in Africa on Monday 25/01/2015 in Brussels (by invitation only).

Strategies to mitigate aflatoxin final250316.pdf
Some 40 experts participated in this meeting originating from (in alphabetic order: Austria, Belgium, Benin, Denmark, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Nigeria, Norway, Serbia, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, United Kingdom , United States, Zimbabwe). The meeting involved private sector actors, non-governmental organisations, research institutes and EC policy makers (DG Sante and DG Agriculture).

The video-on-demand will be available via the same link for 2 years (after which it will be automatically deleted).400 persons followed the web stream. Average watching time 24:21

The pictures of the meeting are available here

The Round Table was a follow up to the PAEPARD policy brief on the aflatoxin contamination of food and feed in Africa presented during the DEVCo Info Lunch conference in Brussels on 26th October 2015.
  • Date: Monday 25th January 2016: 9h30-17h30
  • Venue: Albert Borschette Conference Center
    (36 rue Froissart, Metro station “Schuman” lines 1 and 5)
  • Meeting Room: 5b 
  • Meeting title: Management of Aflatoxin in Africa: working group on aflatoxin
  • Organiser: PAEPARD
The objectives of the Roundtable meeting were:
  • Assessing the real needs of Africa, expressed by various stakeholders.
  • Assessing the current expertise from African and European organisations on aflatoxin issues relevant to Africa, and identify new research and ICT (Information and communication technology) collaboration on aflatoxin mitigation between Africa and Europe and synergies with ongoing or future aflatoxin research in Africa (China, USA, Germany …). 1
  • Linking together the most competent partners around the funding and knowledge bases for implementing aflatoxin contamination mitigation on a large scale in Africa.
The format of this meeting included a morning session with presentations and discussions. The afternoon session will be organized in three consecutive panels on pre-harvest mitigation, post-harvest technologies, and education and awareness creation. The third and last session will discuss upcoming funding opportunities and an action plan for the way forward.

9:30    Welcoming by DG Sante
Frans Verstraete
Welcoming by PAEPARD and EAFF
Stephen Muchiri, EAFF, the Chairperson of the morning session
Remi Kahane, PAEPARD
Keynote speaker
Comments on the PAEPARD policy note: "The role of multi-stakeholder partnerships between Africa and Europe exemplified by the issue of aflatoxin contamination of food and feed"
Dr. Habiba Wassef, Bio-NCP Egypt (H2020 National Contact Point), nutritionist and senior reviewer FP5, FP6, FP7 and Horizon 2020.

           Amare Ayelew , Program Manager, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

10:30  Improving Food Safety in Africa
Brad Flett - Agricultural Research Council - Grain Crops Institute, Potchefstroom, Republic of South Africa
. President of the African Society of Mycotoxicology

Antonio Logrieco, Istituto Scienze delle Produzioni Alimentari (ISPA), Bari, Italy
(coordinator of the Mycokey project under H2020- SFS-13-2015 call on Biological contamination of crops and the food chain: A contribution to a long-term collaboration with China on food safety).

Andrew Emmott, Twin&Twin Trading, Senior Associate (Nuts), London, UK.

12:00  Respondents: Below experts will react to the presentations in a panel discussion. The
PPTs below will not be presented but serve as background for the participants
Sarah De Saeger (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ghent University) The expertise of Mycotox at the laboratory of Food Analysis
Monica Olsen (National Food Agency of Sweden) Risk Benefit Assessment 
Monique Denijs (WUR, The Netherlands) Wageningen ur approach to aflatoxin
Ferenc Bagi, University of Novi Sad, Serbia (member of the MyToolBox project under H2020- SFS-13-2015 call as well). Experiences about aflatoxins in Serbia: what could be relevant for Africa?

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch break and networking (self-service cafeteria, same floor of the building)

Session 2: Actions
14:00  Chair person: Lynn Brown (Global Donor Platform for Rural Development)
Panel discussions: Presentations in 3 consecutive panels (pitching type of panel without slide show).

14:15  Panel discussion on pre-harvest mitigation:

Erastus Kang'ethe (EAFF) on Aflatoxin in milk
15:45  Panel discussion on Education and awareness creation:
Kouadio James (University Félix Houphouet-Boigny, Abidjan - Côte d’Ivoire) Toxicologie et hygiène alimentaire (title tbc)
Daniel Gad (Exporter and entrepreneur in horticulture - Ethiopia) The importance of consumer awareness on the risks of aflatoxin contamination
Hailemichael Desmae Management of aflatoxin contamination in groundnut – ICRISAT Approach (International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics -West & Central Africa, Bamako, Mali)

Session 3: Funding
16:30   Panel discussion on Funding opportunities:
       Marc Duponcel (DG Agriculture H5) H2020 priority setting, themes and the current selection process (cfr. multi stakeholder consortia)
Francois Stepman (PAEPARD) The Swedish Program for ICT in Developing Regions and the Apps4aflatoxin H2020 proposal
Wolfgang Buechs (Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants - Julius-Kuehn-Institute) AflaNET project: Minimization of aflatoxin contamination in the value chain

17:00 Recommendations and action plan: the recommendations and commitments to an action plan from this meeting will be presented during the panel session 3 of the ARCH Pre-event (on 26/01) to the DG-AGRI Agricultural Research and Innovation Conference (on 27-28/01).

17:45 - 18:00       Conclusion and closure of the Roundtable meeting.

PPT business cards
Ida Skaar (Norwegian Veterinary Institute Section of Mycology) NVI`s interests and available expertise
Bruno Schuler (GIZ Germany) Rapid Loss Appraisal Tool (RLAT)
Tina Ajdic and Aida Axelsson-Bakri (ADS Brussels) ADS Insight & aflatoxins
Gennadiy Shulga (Agricultural Services, Global Business Development, SGS Group Management Ltd, Geneva) SGS monitoring program for mycotoxins

Related PAEPARD blog posts on aflatoxin
See: (61 blog posts)

Webinar how better storage can improve household resilience

21 January 2016Webinar Increasing Reslience Through Improved On-Farm Storage. Farm
products that are properly processed and stored can be a lifeline for smallholder farmers who are trying to break out of the feast/famine cycle and normalize household consumption as well as business activity and income flows. Handling and storage is often integrated into projects that focus on strengthening markets and better integrating smallholders into market systems.

For January's ASC, Agrilinks focused on how improved processing and storage can improve the resilience of the entire farm enterprise by improving the market value of crops, allowing farmers to be price makers rather than price takers, improving the variety and quality of food consumed by the farm household, and increasing the year-round availability of food and income.

AgResults, a multi-donor initiative funded by the governments of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is examining the efficacy of using pull mechanisms to promote the uptake of innovative technologies, and the efficacy of results-based economic incentives that contribute to improving smallholder resilience.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Sensors and wireless technologies for development

Harnessing the Internet of Things for Global Development explores how sensors and the connectivity technologies associated with the Internet of Things (IoT), is improving development activities in research, policy formulation, service delivery and monitoring and evaluation across a range of different sectors including agriculture, sanitation, natural resource management, energy, and others.

The report highlights projects currently deploying sensors and connectivity technologies to show how the IoT can be used directly to improve development outcomes. As John Garrity, co-author of the report puts it;
“Much of the impact of the IoT is currently concentrated in developed economies. In this report, we want to focus attention on examples of where development projects in developing countries are already benefiting from the IoT.”
The report details various IoT functionalities (types and costs of sensors and wireless technologies) and introduces over twenty IoT project implementations where low cost sensors and connectivity are improving lives, such as:
  • In healthcare, where cellular enabled thermometers are helping to protect the ‘cold chain’ of critical vaccine delivery to remote and rural areas via real-time monitoring of temperatures in cold storage units;
  • In water delivery, sensors that monitor and water flow are tracking when village hand water pumps break and then alert local authorities, municipal utility providers and donor agencies, helping to reduce the downtime of water pumps providing critical water service; and
  • In densely occupied informal urban settlements, networked smoke and fire sensors placed in homes are able to signal and warn residents, and neighbors, of potential fast moving fires, saving lives and property.
Sensors in development is still at a nascent level and the report acknowledges that there are many obstacles to widespread deployment, from technical challenges (e.g. reliability, power, connectivity) to policy issues (e.g. interoperability, security, privacy). The authors hope however the report broadens the conversation on how ICTs, particularly the IoT, can play a positive role in development.

FHI 360 and Cisco are organizing an event on January 29th in Washington, DC to take a critical look at the role of sensors and other Internet of Things devices and how they can be used to increase development outcomes. This half-day morning event will dive deep into current uses and future applications, with hands-on explorations of potential solutions for your programs.

Pilot test on soybean milk processing and stabilization

19 to 22 January, 2015. Zogbodomey, Benin. In the framework of the project ProSAM, Soybean
Consortium of Benin organized a pilot test on soybean milk processing and stabilization.

This meeting tested with processors technologies that have been developed on station by ProSAM team notably the National Agricultural Research Institute (INRAB). 

Processors will be concomitantly trained on best hygienic practices in order to ensure milk safety. This pilot and training section provided the project team with feedbacks from processors to readjust the technology.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Evidence base of Climate Smart Agriculture practices in Africa

30 November – 11 December 2015. Le Bourget, Paris. Africa CSA Alliance Booth
“Showcasing an evidence base of CSA practices in the African context that have proven to successfully address the effects of climate change on agriculture, nutrition and livelihoods; and provide the basis for successful scaling up of CSA across the continent”
State of knowledge CSA State of knowledge CSA_2 State of knowledge CSA_3
State of knowledge on CSA in Africa: Case studies from Burkina Faso, Senegal and Sierra Leone
State of knowledge on CSA in Africa: Case studies from Nigeria, Cameroon and Democratic Republic of Congo
State of knowledge on CSA in Africa: Case studies from Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia
 State of knowledge CSA_4 State of knowledge CSA_5 Barries to scaling up
State of knowledge on CSA in Africa: Case studies from Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda
State of knowledge on CSA in Africa: Synthesis of Regional Case Studies
Barriers to scaling up/out CSA and strategies to enhance adoption in Africa

Bridge the gap II: Women, Money & Markets

14 January 2015. For its second edition Bridge the Gap combined the power of money and markets, by increasing women’s access to global supply chains and finance.  The organisers invited smart social entrepreneurs, committed NGO´s, break through innovators, worldly corporates, sustainably-minded financials and ambitious impact investors.

Inspirational speakers shared what they have achieved so far and the lessons they learned on the way.

The acceleration of women’s entrepreneurship doesn’t purely depend on financial access, but also on access to markets. Large corporations are powerful players in the global value chains and have the potential to positively impact women as entrepreneurs, employees, decision makers and customers.

TheopistaTheopista Sekitto Ntale, a fervent advocate for an economically independent African Woman, is the African Ambassador for the Global Banking Alliance for Women. She is also the current Head of Uganda Chapter New Faces, New Voices, a program focused on women empowerment and enhancing sustainable development.

Paul Njaga is CEO at Chase Bank Kenya and is a member of the UK Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments and a Certified Public Accountant CPA(K). He directs the development and implementation of the overall strategy of the Bank, which has a developed a separate product lines for its women clients. He has worked across financial institutions both in London and Kenya for over 16 years.
Jero Omare Ogah is the CEO of Fortis Mobile Money Ltd where he is responsible for driving sustainable growth, innovation and corporate strategy. He is a seasoned executive with over 15 years’ experience in Banking Operations, Business Strategy & Development, Financial Inclusion, Digital Payment Solutions, Business Process re-engineering, Organizational Alignment, Project Management as well as Strategic Planning & Execution.
Roselyn Akinyi Walender is Director of Women’s Leadership at Cordaid championing the implementation of UNSCR 1325 and the development of National Action Plans; Women and Leadership, women and political participation, Women’s Cooperatives, women and economic empowerment pulling on her 20 years experience in international development in fragile contexts, conflict and post conflict reconstruction countries. She is a strong advocate for accountable governance and Civil Society Strengthening.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Lessons from forest genetic resources projects

14 January 2016. Bioversity International’s Gender Research Fellowship Programme which ran from 2013-14, provided an opportunity for five Research Fellows affiliated with national partner institutes to take these skills on board and use them to enhance the gender responsiveness of their Bioversity International projects. The video Revealing farmers’ knowledge through research gives a window into the experiences of these Fellows as they took on the challenge. Two messages are evident in the film. First, participatory research can give a voice to those who are often not heard. Second, the Fellows themselves were surprised and transformed by facilitating this kind of co-learning process.

Published on 14 Jan 2016
Four social and natural scientists who used participatory methods to conduct their research as part of Bioversity International projects on forest genetic resources in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, India and Malaysia, reflect on what they learnt and share with other researchers and development professionals the key challenges and benefits of participatory research.

The video identifies a number of challenges the Fellows faced doing their research and how they worked creatively to overcome them:
  • Researchers need to gain experience with participatory-research tools. Choosing the most appropriate tools is a challenge as there are many to choose between. A good researcher will choose a few tools designed to give a voice to those who don't know that they have knowledge to share or are not accustomed to being listened to.
  • Working with gender-differentiated groups brings out invisible, insider knowledge. Once men and women have worked in separate groups and they come together in plenary to share their results, it most often becomes evident that women and men have been looking at issues differently. This experience enriches and deepens knowledge and often results in concrete actions and changes.
  • Quantification of information takes creativity and the use of appropriate tools. When qualitative data, such as farmers’ knowledge, is made visible using tools like scoring, it can be put into graphs. In addition to graphs there are a number of tested tools that can help represent qualitative information graphically.
  • Participatory research processes can increase self-esteem and build confidence when people (especially women) find out they know more than they thought they did, can do things they didn’t think they could do and are being recognized for their knowledge. People who speak only indigenous languages, often women and marginalized groups, tend to be left out of development discussions. Research processes that give them space to express their knowledge can be empowering, as well as allowing scientists to learn from them.
  • Increased confidence and empowerment contribute to equality. When men and women from diverse social and ethnic groups are given access to knowledge about each others’ skills, needs and experiences, it increases mutual respect and opens the door for innovation. They learn things about each other that they didn't know and talk about things they had never talked about. We found this with research in India bringing together diverse social and ethnic groups, and in Malaysia bringing together women and men.
Watch the video: Revealing local knowledge through research
Read the blog: Case studies from around the globe show that gender-responsive participatory research is the way to go
Find out more about how Bioversity International carries out participatory research

Monday, January 11, 2016

CGIAR country consultations

CGIAR country consultations: improving collaboration in agricultural research to support national agricultural development objectives.  CGIAR organised in the past two months national consultations in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.

The consultations launched a process to strengthen collaboration among CGIAR centers towards a more collective support of national agricultural research and development goals. The Abuja, Dar es Salaam, and Addis Ababa venues were full with about 70 participants from CGIAR and a large number of national stakeholders (from government, research, development organizations, civil society, funding agencies, farmer groups, and private sector).

The consultations devoted considerable time to listening to national agricultural development strategies and plans and agricultural research priorities. CGIAR also shared information on current research activities in the countries and future plans. Building on that, participants met in small groups to discuss key elements constituting a country integration plan and then the process for completing the plan.

Some concerns that should be addressed were raised, including the lack of visibility of some of the CGIAR work, insufficient commitment to country priorities, and unclear boundaries among CGIAR centers, between CGIAR and national organizations, and between research and development.

14-15 July 2015. Ouagadougou Burkina Faso national consultation

15 February 2016. Kinshassa DRC National Consultation

5 April, 2016 GCARD3 Global Event
Johannesburg South Africa

The CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) leads action-oriented research to equip decisionmakers with the evidence required to develop food and agricultural policies that better serve the interests of poor producers and consumers, both men and women. PIM combines the resources of CGIAR centers and numerous international, regional, and national partners.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

From Cassava to Beer: Roots to Empowerment

Published on 4 January 2016. This is a 8 minutes summary of the most recent 40 minutes 2SCALE video, that will come out soonest.

This film is about a typical Publc-Private Partnership (PPP), combining a so-called lead firm (Psaltry in Nigeria in this case, an enterprise sourcing cassava from farmers to produce starch for Nigeria breweries/Heineken), and local-level agri-business networks. 

The film makes clear that technical innovations are needed to reduce the costs of production and cassava productivity, but that technical innovations are not enough; there is need for relationship and organisational innovations; the relationship between farmers and transporters is crucial but also farmers are getting organised and become stronger. 

This summary comes with an off-voice and some interviewed key actors; the 40 minutes on the other hand is exclusively constructed around the diverse perceptions and opions of the key actors involved in this PPP.

Published on 6 Jan 2016 This is the 40 minutes educational film based on the Public-Private Partnership set-up between the 2SCALE project, Nigerian Breweries/Heineken and Psaltry, a Nigerian company making starch from cassava roots. The film is an example of inclusive business set-up, and public and private work going hand in hand for the benefit and empowerment of thousands of farmers and other local business actors.