Next week the Second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) will be held in Uruguay. On 27 October, the Livestock and Fish research program hosts a pre-conference session on ‘Mobilizing AR4D partnerships to improve access to critical animal-source foods.’
Animal-source foods, for and by the poor
Farmed animals and fish are an important component of global agriculture, and provide the foundation of our animal-source food systems. In the developing world, many people are involved in small-scale livestock and fish production, processing and retail, mainly in the informal sector. Over time, considerable investment has been made in agricultural research, including in the CGIAR system, to improve productivity in these systems so that they contribute more effectively to poverty reduction, food security and economic growth.
Translating the products of these research efforts into wide-scale development impacts has a mixed scorecard. Improving this has become more urgent given rapid increases in demand for animal-source foods in the developing world—the so-called Livestock and Blue Revolutions—due to population growth and changing diets as a greater share of the population live in urban areas and incomes increase.
In some regions, this increased demand will be met largely by industrial systems, especially for poultry and pork for urban populations. In many places, the poor will continue to rely on traditional food systems to supply the products they prefer and can afford. For these systems to respond to increased demand, producers and policy makers will need to raise the productivity in the systems by adopting appropriate technologies and institutional strategies developed and promoted by a range of research and development actors. In doing so, better-performing small-scale production and marketing systems will help improve food security among the poor and provide livelihoods and employment for the poor who participate in these animal-source food value chains, thereby reducing poverty and enhancing the depth and breadth of rural economic development.
Effective partnership key to impact
The CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish considers partnership between research and development as particularly critical to translating research outputs into wide-scale development outcomes and impacts. It is implementing an approach that immediately engages with development partners to form AR4D alliances within the selected value chains where it works.
Development partners—both local and international—will be engaged to help identify and test pro-poor technologies and strategies that upgrade the value chains. We expect these development partners to also integrate the ‘best bet’ solutions in their interventions and we will work together to attract development investment to implement interventions at a scale meaningful for impact.
Partnerships are thus one of the critical success factors that we must get right for this approach to work! It is particularly challenging given our ambitions to transform whole value chains – which calls on us to work with, and catalyze relations among, a very wide range of actors including farmers, traders, extension, consumers, governments and civil society.
There are many challenges to this. We need to be able to identify the ‘right’ partners for the tasks at hand. We need to align the often differing objectives, timeframes and incentives that drive research and development actors. We may need to overcome differences in organizational cultures and worldviews and we often face issues around power and decision making that colour such relationships.
GCARD pre-conference session
Our 27 October 2012 session at GCARD aims to help us get these partnerships right.
It will map the types of partners and partnerships relevant to the program’s impact pathway from production to consumption, review case studies of recent experiences where research has attempted to play a more direct role in serving as a knowledge partner to development actions, characterize expectations of potential partners if they are to engage with the program, and identify promising partnership arrangements that would enable the mix of partners we need to collectively transform the target value chains. It will contribute to the program’s ongoing strategy development and to the design of other CGIAR research programs.
The heart of the session is a series of intensive focused discussions drawing on the insights of our various development partners. Why and how do they partner with research? How do they bridge research to development gaps? What factors do they think are critical to achieve different types of development outcome?
The mix of people sharing is rich and will hopefully guide the program in working with different types of partners.
- Charles Mutagwaba is from the Tanzania Dairy Board. Charles brings experience dairy farming, research in animal production, dairy policy and regulation and experience of working in partnerships
- Jens Peter Tang Dalsgaard is from the WorldFish Center in Malaysia. Jens Peter brings first-hand experience in working closely with and advising government counterpart institutions, NGOs, and civil society on development projects and programs with research components.
- John Beer is from CATIE – the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center in Costa Rica. CATIE is an international postgraduate University and regional institution that also manages technical assistance projects throughout Latin America. John bring expertise in applied adaptive research, a system focus, and the integration of agricultural and forestry Research and development.
- Nancy Rapando is from Volunteer Efforts for Development Concerns (VEDCO ) in Uganda. Nancy brings expertise is in the development and design of local food and nutrition security interventions for improved livelihoods.
- Narayan Hegde is from the BAIF Development Research Foundation, India. Narayan brings expertise in extension methods for the transfer of technology, assessment of the needs of the community and the development of value chain to support the smooth adaptation of new technologies.
- Richard Hawkins is from the International Centre for development oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA) in the Netherlands. He brings expertise in agricultural research and collective rural innovation processes in Africa, Latin America and Asia, focusing on capacity strengthening of individuals and organizations involved in research, development and education.
- Stuart Worsley is from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) where he is Head of Development Partnership for the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish. He has 25 years experience in the development sector and particular expertise in livestock systems and agricultural value chains.
- Susan Nour is from CARE Egypt’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Program. Susan brings expertise in participatory, bottom-up and poor focused approaches to development that build the capacities of local/community-based institutions.
- Tom Randolph is from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) where he is Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish. He brings research leadership expertise as well as experience working to enhance the competitiveness of smallholder livestock keepers through better access to inputs, services and markets.
We welcome any feedback or suggestions on effective research for development partnerships – click the ‘comment’ option at the bottom of this page