CGIAR / Fish / Livestock

Week 1-Question 4: Other concerns?

The topics for discussion in the next few weeks will focus on (1) how the focus value chains and countries are selected and (2) how to engage with our research and development partners in implementing the Mega Program. In the meantime, do you have any other major concerns about the proposed Mega Program that you feel merits more discussion?

Share your comments below:

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22 thoughts on “Week 1-Question 4: Other concerns?

  1. Apreciados Ruben y Carlos:
    You will be well aware that Centres working together is nothing new – CIAT has examples going back at least 40 years.
    However if we look across the history of the CGIAR my hypothesis is that we will find very cases of truly productive partnerships. There is a good reason for this. The Centres were set up with independent Boards and management. We each competed from a common pool of resorces.Unless a new governance structure is put in place the incentives for true cooperation will be unlikely to exist. Scientists will continue to respond to the Centre that hires and fires them, funders will continue to pick those projects and those Centres that fit their preferences and satisfy their constituencies and Boards will (rightly) continue to advocate for their Centre.
    Hopefully, these issues have been addressed. If not history is doomed to be repeated!!
    Con mis saludos muy cordiales

  2. On my side, the major concern that may require further discussion over the next couple of weeks as per Mega Program implementation strategy could be “how to engage the local administrative structures/ leaders and their critical role in the successful implementation of the program”

  3. Ditch the new acronym – ASFs. The reformed CG must start to communicate in ways that are inclusive and that reveal meaning rather than obscure it. Acronyms alienate — so get rid of them!

  4. My concern is that the plan must be incorporated into the development plans of development countries and also funding and other aspects of the project implementation process must be closely monitored to ensure that the programme is on tract

  5. When working with livestock farmers, especially in smaller-scale mixed production systems, the impact of improved livestock production on the other aspects of the farming system needs to be quantified and monitored. There is a need to develop monitoring systems that are able to disaggregate data of the different aspects of the production system in the smallholding as they contribute to the household income. Emphasis or support for one value chain may positively or negatively influence another one.

  6. The following is one of several comments shared by Jimmy Smith and a group of his colleagues at the World Bank:

    “Overall, the paper is well written, but it reads more as an advocacy paper than as an in-depth analysis of the key needs of the sector, and where the CGIAR has a comparative advantage in addressing them. The latter is important, because it appears that several topics can better be addressed by national research systems (work on crop by-products) or international organizations (maps of diseases and responses). There are others.”

    • 1. In the three weeks we were given to prepare the MP3.7 concept note, we certainly could not attempt an in-depth analysis of the key needs, but there are a number of existing reports defining research priorities (e.g. the one recently commissioned by CORAF). Basically, though, we don’t attempt to address the needs of the livestock development sector as such in the way the Bank does, but focus more on how better to use livestock development for poverty reduction. There are differences of opinion and philosophy as to whether overall development of the livestock sector leads to better general economic growth and long-term poverty reduction than does directly targeted pro-poor interventions, and I think the relevant list of priorities can change depending on where one sits along that continuum. An underlying assumption of the concept note is that the relevant pro-poor priorities will be best defined by applying a pro-poor lens within a value chain framework. We certainly recognize that we have specific comparative advantages and do not intend to do everything. For the examples you cite, the CG does appear to have a role in filling gaps not yet successfully addressed by other actors. ILRI’s work on dual purpose food-feed crops, for example, was not being done by any NARS, but due to our efforts has now been taken up by CG crop centers and partners in India. In the case of bird flu, it is a complicated landscape and it is important for the CGIAR to understand its niche. This will be an important topic in MP4. Basically we are looking at the role that agricultural research can play in providing knowledge and information to the larger system and we need to engage closely with the main international organizations in doing this. Also relative to the pro-poor mandate of the CGIAR, our past work on bird flu has very much focused on the impacts on the poor, which are an important and regularly forgotten issue. There will no doubt be some areas of overlap which will require continued attention in areas such as risk mapping, economic analysis and capacity development. We believe it will be important to have a constructive dialogue across the interface of research and implementation around these issues.

  7. The following is another comment shared by Jimmy Smith and a group of his colleagues at the World Bank:
    “The proposed program focuses almost exclusively on small-scale livestock and its role in poverty reduction, largely neglecting the other global public goods of the environment and public health. The latter two are only briefly mentioned, and then only in relation to small-scale production. However, there is also a broad public research area in the mitigation of the environmental and public health impact of large scale production. Furthermore, a topic, such as Payment for Environmental Services, which can have major relevance for the small scale producer, is not mentioned at all in the document.”

    • There are two issues in this comment. First, the way the mega programs have been defined, we have been encouraged to sharpen our focus in 3.7 on increasing productivity sustainably and avoid duplication of efforts in other MPs. With that in mind, our reasoning has been that environmental and public health issues are being addressed in MP1 (agricultural systems) and MP4 (health and nutrition), and so we have very deliberately played down these. This does not mean that we will ignore these issues – but we will link to these other MPs as needed given the relevant capacity that will be concentrated there. We clearly need to articulate this better in the proposal. The second issue is our focus on small-scale production. On the livestock side, this is clearly our target system; we have made a clear strategic decision that this is where the CG has comparative advantage vis-à-vis its mission of agricultural development for poverty reduction. Issues related to uptake of productivity technologies for large-scale production are better addressed by the international agencies such as the Bank, FAO, and the private sector. On the fish side, WorldFish Center works both at the smallholder and small & medium-scale business enterprise levels. We are trying to articulate better our recognition that agricultural transformation will inevitably lead to larger-scale commercial livestock production and marketing, but that this transition which is happening fairly quickly in parts of Asia will take much longer in other regions, and the challenge is to use this transition as an opportunity for broader-based development, employment, income generation and poverty reduction as rural households become more market oriented and are able to diversify. (Tomich, Kirby and Johnston (1995) Transforming Agrarian Economies makes a strong case for this approach, which is also clearly aligned with the Bank’s WDR 2008.)

  8. The following is one of several comments shared by Jimmy Smith and a group of his colleagues at the World Bank:

    “The proposed program neglects some of the trade-offs between the provision of public goods:

    a. Between pro-poor livestock development and the environment, as small scale farmers as non-point source polluters can cause more pollution than the point-source large scale producers. Small-scale farmers produce more greenhouse gas and use more feed resources per kg meat or milk than large scale producers;

    b. Between pro-poor livestock development, and affordable and safe food for the urban poor, as small scale producers will generally produce at a higher cost/ price and under less hygienic conditions”

    • Again, we understand MP1 to be better placed to address the environmental trade-offs within their systems context, so MP3.7 will link with them on these types of issues; otherwise we risk developing duplicate capacities. Similarly for food safety issues with MP4. We certainly won’t ignore these issues, but will avoid developing duplicate capacity. Note that ILRI’s work on milk safety with collaborators in East Africa and India has found lower cost, informally marketed milk from smallholder systems to have similar contamination levels vis-a-vis the relevant standard as higher priced milk marketed through the industrial processing systems, so the trade-offs may not be as marked as generally assumed.

  9. Another comment from Jimmy Smith and his colleagues at the World Bank:

    “We find the lumping together of fish and all livestock species cumbersome. We fully support combining aquaculture and non-ruminant production, because the scientific needs and tools in breeding, nutrition and health are very similar, but we feel adding also ruminants, with a completely different set of issues, is too much simplification.”

    • We agree that there may be some synergies between aquaculture and non-ruminant livestock, but we feel that other types of synergies exist across to ruminant livestock as well, especially with respect to issues such as the delivery of services, ‘post-harvest’ technologies, institutional issues for marketing, and food safety. Combining livestock and fish was proposed to us by the Consortium Board, and we are excited about exploring these potential synergies.

  10. Also from Jimmy Smith, World Bank:

    “It might be in other mega programs, but there is nothing on the common property dimensions of extensive livestock (rangelands) and capture fisheries, which have major global public good characteristics.”

  11. From Jimmy Smith, World Bank:

    “Some statements in the MP3.7 concept note are not true or only partially true:

    a. Page 4, it links intensification with greenhouse gas emission and overuse of natural resources, whereas from recent work it is quite clear, that intensification generally leads to a reduction of greenhouse gas equivalents and resource use per kg of product.

    b. Same page: “Research successes in the past have only had modest impact in the South”. This is true for cattle only. Research in non-ruminants has been massively transferred to the South.”

    • We agree on (a) that this will often be the case. If you read that section again, we are not claiming that it is the general case – we are simply highlighting that we need to be aware of and assess the risk of such externalities. Yes, intensification should reduce use per kg of product, but increasing the scale of production could possibly be associated with short-term mining of a natural resource. This was the spirit of that statement.

      On (b), we agree that research successes have been transferred to the South, but mostly in commercial/industrial systems; otherwise village poultry, pig, and shoat production systems remain largely no- or minimal-input. Consider the example of the Newcastle Disease thermostable vaccine which has enjoyed very limited uptake.

  12. I particularly agree with the first topic mentioned (selection of the focus value chains and countries). Selection criteria should be developed.

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