CGIAR / Engagement / Fish / Livestock

Help shape an emerging proposal for a livestock and fish Mega Program: An invitation from ILRI, WorldFish, CIAT and ICARDA

As you may be aware, the CGIAR is currently undergoing a major change process – the largest in its 39 year history. The new model that has been developed emphasizes clear lines of accountability and stronger collaboration and partnership with other research and development actors. This more businesslike structure and its clarified roles, responsibilities and decision-making processes promise to enable the CGIAR to do more in fulfilment of its mandate – in short, to be more impact-oriented.

For a quick overview of the change process see the short video ‘Rising to the challenge of a new CGIAR’.

The new CGIAR approach is being operationalized through a number of Mega Programs, each of which is currently being developed by several Centers working closely together. The shortlist of topics for the initial set of Mega Programs was drawn up by the board of the new Consortium of CGIAR Centers.

One of the first set of Mega Programs is focused on improving the productivity of livestock and farmed fish by and for the poor: this is known as Mega Program 3.7. It has the twin objectives of improving food and nutrition security, and enhancing livelihoods, in carefully selected meat, milk and fish value chains.

A short concept note for the program, developed jointly by ILRI, WorldFish Center, CIAT and ICARDA, has recently been approved by the Consortium Board.

As the four Centers work to develop the concept note into a full proposal by early September, I would greatly appreciate your help to critique and help shape our emerging ideas and plans.

We very much hope you will be able to find the time to take part in this e-consultation.

Thank you for your time – we look forward to seeing your feedback.

Signed Carlos Seré

Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
on behalf of ILRI and the Director Generals of the WorldFish Center, CIAT, and ICARDA

23 thoughts on “Help shape an emerging proposal for a livestock and fish Mega Program: An invitation from ILRI, WorldFish, CIAT and ICARDA

  1. Delighted to see that a megaprogramme will focus on livestock and fish farmed by and for the poor – and hoping that this will be an opportunity for the CGIAR Alliance to show how poor rural and urban WOMEN can be put at the fore in agricultural research in development.

  2. This proposal looks very interesting and I am happy to be involved in the discussions. I have some concern that, as is so often the case, the impression is given that poverty relief is the only justification for promotion of research and development of the livestock sector.

  3. Thank you very much for involving me in this very important process. I promise to be part of this much needed transformation.

  4. I have gone through the concept not it has all the problem areas livestock and fish production of developing world. I recommend that more focous to be given on postharvest and animal health which is still the major problems of our countries.

  5. Developing mega project by combining CGIAR centers seems good. Farmers who is the target beneficiary have cattle buffalo, goat, sheep, poultry, fishes, and other farm activities. Going combining, farmers will get more benefit rather then separately.

  6. Congratulations on integrating efforts into a Megastrategy. My suggestion is to isolate and analyze a key driver of the innovation cycle you wish to improve – intellectual property. Your success is more likely if you integrate best IP management practices into the effort. For example, assessments of technology should certainly include patent landscape activities, in animal genetics, feed, veterinary medicine, environmentally sound animal husbandry, and processing equipment. Also, IP management capacity building activities will be important for the relevant countries, organizations, and agencies. Finally, future scenario planning (What would be the consequences if this or that were to happen?) is a proven approach, and that should be done, and take into consideration variables like strong or weak patent protection in given countries.

  7. please, if you want to invite us to this relexion , you have to translate this web site in others language as french for exemple.

  8. need to see better integration through use of a concept involving duckweed both as a feed for freshwater fish, and as a high protein feed source for livestock, especially poultry, that is the most fundemental livestock for most less developed areas.

    Along the way, use duckweed to treat effluent too!!

  9. A short question:

    Are information systems involved in the proposal at any point or not at all?

    Best regards.
    Nicolas Bailly
    WorldFish Center
    Head of the Aquatic Biodiversity Informatics Office, Philippines.
    FishBase/SeaLifeBase/Catalogue of Life/AquaMaps

  10. Dear Dr. Carlos Sere,
    I’d be glad to participate in this crucial development stage of the next ILRI’s mega progam.

  11. The programme is vivid and huge. I will go through the documents and give the feedback later. Much obliged and thanks.

    • Dear Carlos

      Sorry for the response delay. Thank you very much indeed for giving me this opportunity and to be involved in the discussion on “Help shape an emerging proposal for a livestock and fish Mega Program” the proposed CGIAR mega project which is very important as diagnostic process, and for intervention for each region and country. Although I sent it as requested in step 1. But for confirmation my feedback on the four questions was as follows:

      1. It was well presented that the Mega Program will address complete value chains. The four Centers (ILRI, World Fish, CIAT, and ICARDA) will focus their research capacity in a limited set of high-potential meat, milk and fish value chains in specific countries. It is excellent to focus on fieldwork for impact. But what about lessons to be learned from previous experiences such as the IGAD LPI project in the IGAD member states (2007-2011) – pro-poor policy process and assisting in the PRSPs- and the IFAD/ILRI/ICARDA in the NENA Region (Near East and North African countries; Sudan, Tunisia, Syria, Jordan) (2003-2007) the project was small ruminant’s health and market access for poor farmers. The issue is why projects efforts fade away after the project ending? Sometimes the impact is clear and providing evidence based information such as the efforts and applied research done by ICARDA for Awassi sheep in Syria, increasing productivity of milk and sanitary measures for marketable milk for poor farmers and it was successful and rewarding to poor farmers. Other projects could not have impact such as the IGAD LMI S, The IGAD Livestock Market Information System, which faded away because there was no homogeneity between the data on prices of livestock in the IGAD region; there was no price differentials of the different breeds, e.g. the sheep in Sudan is not the same quality of sheep in other countries in the region etc.. Then the Underway the IGAD LPI (Livestock Policy Initiative, Pro-poor policies) process. The Sudanese SIFSIA (FAO/EC) project linked with (from Ghana) and developing for the Sudan by using SMS cellular telephone messages sending livestock markets price information. It doesn’t have an impact on the trade or for the poor. Then The Turkish experience in benefitting the rural poor by establishing big abattoirs (e.g. Itage)and the communities will participate in production of poultry (for meat) and feed lots operations; calves fattening and they exported the poultry offal’s to China and meat to the EU countries. Would that be of any help to the orientation of the programme? Also more focus could be given to Transboundary Animal Diseases (TAD) which is one of the major shared problems in our countries and the postharvest fish production. One of the possible ways to increase livestock productivity is the disease control (diseases of production) and export diseases for livestock exporting countries.

      2. The value chains for different producers groups such as Pastoralists or producers of livestock: of cattle, sheep, goats, camels, fish and poultry, and others such as pigs. Identification of the target beneficiary could be stated clearly. More focus to be given on cold-chain or/and postharvest fish production and Transboundary Animal Diseases (TAD) which is one of the major shared problems in our countries. Cross cutting issues between countries could be mentioned.

      3. Different countries in the region have different livestock and fisheries problems. Some countries are net exporters of livestock like the Sudan mainly sheep (consumers choice for domestic and export market in the Middle East). While in Uganda goats meat is the first choice for consumers (Dr. Augustus, the NTFP of IGAD LPI in Uganda). The issue of Coping mechanisms in the different countries is different. Vulnerable conditions such as drought, in Kenya could be handled by NGOs specialized in marketing of livestock and can purchase the affected animals at reasonable prices, while in other countries they sell animals – if they cannot move to another place- they let them die or sell their animals at a very low prices. Some countries are advanced in fish industry and aquaculture like Uganda and other countries still underway like the Sudan. Although Fish ponds for aquaculture were established in Khartoum in 1964. There are some similarities between countries in the region, in livestock production and marketing traditional systems under pastoralist’s conditions such as the Sudan and Ethiopia. So the value chain in one country will have similarities with the other country in the region. Also members of regional organizations (e.g. COMESA) or international organizations (e.g. WTO, like Djibouti and Uganda and the impact of the NEMA to the poor – small – fishermen (Non Agricultural Market Access). Also would there be any duplication of the efforts of COMPREHENSIVE AFRICA AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (CAADP) Of the AU/IBAR: Livestock in CAADP pillar Frameworks?

      4. Focusing in a selected value chain in one country – depending on the types or categories of ASFs –might have strong or limited impact in other countries of the region.

      All the best.

      Omer Hassan El Dirani- Sudan.

      The above comments weresent on the 31st July ,2010

  12. Dear Carlos,

    I have taken the liberty to make some changes in the 3.7 draft, in keeping with the M’pellier output, Mark’s interview trailed below,focussing on meeting the AR4D needs of the poor small holder producers and following an integrated process.

    I hope you and your colleagues at the other centres will seriously consider the proposed changes.
    Looking forward to meeting you and visiting your centre in Nairobi early next month.
    Warm regards

    MP3.7 Livestock and Fisheries as a part of the local farming system


    “Malnutrition is the most serious consequence of food and nutrition insecurity.” 1
    1 Bouis & Hunt 1999. Asian Development Review 2 Nutrition security is defined as adequate nutritional status in terms of protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals for all household members at all times.
    Integrating livestock and fisheries with the local sustainable agriculture systems are indispensable in achieving nutrition, health and food security2 and enabling children to develop normally, reaching their full potential as healthy, productive adults. However, productivity of livestock and aquaculture in poor countries lags behind the rest of the world. Consumption rates of ASFs in the poorest countries remain low, exacerbated by recent upward pressure on food prices. Malnutrition therefore remains widespread amongst the poor and is implicated in the deaths of half of all children. Women constitute a disproportionate share of the poor due to lack of access to assets, technologies and resources, and lower economic returns to labour. Moreover, with large percentage of women being vegetarians, gender disparities in intra-household food distribution prioritize men in the consumption of ASFs, depriving women of essential protein, calcium and iron during critical periods such as pregnancy and nursing. Local agriculture systems need to integrate cerials, legumes and horticulture to ensure that women are not deprived of the essential nutrition, calcium and iron needs. Due to their roles in the household, increasing women’s access to knowledge, technologies, assets and services as well as targeting them with specific interventions with funding for the setting up of their producer company (PC) and staffing of professionals, to take over all their risks and responsibilities other than on farm activities, exposure to successful local farming systems for wide replication, assisted by the successful farmers, can have positive consequences for household nutrition, health and food needs and at farm gate prices. There is a now a huge, unprecedented opportunity to integrate and mobilize local agriculture systems with livestock and aquaculture research-for-development (AR4D) to enable the poor to produce adequate supplies of safe, nutritious, healthy food and at affordable prices (farm gate), at the same time increasing net income, purchasing power and poverty and malnutrition reduction by involving the poor, especially women and other marginalized groups, in producing and consuming high-value agriculture and horticulture produce, meat, milk, eggs, fish, etc. Factors converging to create this opportunity include increasing demand among the poor small holder producers for their nutrition and food needs , the large 65% population of the producers and their communities and increased dynamism of markets in developing countries, the recognition that technology development must go hand-in-hand with effective targeting and uptake pathways, recent advances in both the natural and social sciences, and new institutional flexibility provided by the CGIAR change process, mandating the AR4D of local area integrated farming systems to meet the needs of the poor small holder producers. Mega Program 3.7 will therefore test the hypothesis:

    The enduring productivity gap in poor country small-scale livestock and aquaculture systems can be sustainably reduced through following an integrated agriculture system, a new way of working in CGIAR, in which partnerships for ar4d and the local successful farmers, following an integrated farming system (private sector actors), assisted by the PC, stimulate gender-equitable innovation in selected pro-poor areas ; enable uptake of existing knowledge and appropriate technologies; and identify and communicate demand for new small holder farmer friendly priority technologies that exploit scientific advances. Reducing the safety, quality and productivity gap for agriculture, livestock and fish, by enforcing GAP, will lead to increased access to affordable nutritious food by the poor, increased net incomes and purchasing power for the poor small holder producers and their communities , thereby improving nutrition, health and food security and ensuring sustainability.

    Following the Montpellier Road Map

    An interview with Mark Holderness, Executive Secretary of the Global Forum
    on Agricultural Research (GFAR), on the Global Conference on Agricultural
    Research for Development and what’s next

    1) What were the major outcomes from the Global Conference on Agricultural
    Research for Development in Montpellier?

    The major outcome is the “Montpellier Road Map,” which provides a framework
    for linking science and innovation to the needs of farmers and the rural
    poor. The road map is being finalized to take into account the Conference
    outcomes. It shows possible ways forward and offers possible commitments in
    our effort to shift the focus of agricultural research for development
    towards the poor farmer. The road map is open for all to use in collective
    action around themes of interest to specific stakeholder groups and
    regions – for example, the need to make extension systems more effective.

    2) Was the Global Conference successful in providing input into the new
    strategy and results framework for the CGIAR?

    Yes, by all means. The conference provided a unique opportunity to engage
    with a broad cross section of stakeholders, and participants from the CGIAR
    greatly valued the constructive dialogues. There was a consensus that the
    concepts offered by the conference broadly matched those that were put
    forward by the CGIAR throughout its reform process. In following up on the
    conference, we’re talking with the CGIAR Consortium about appropriate
    actions and about the wider picture into which the new Mega Programs will
    fit. We also need to move from the global discussion towards an analysis of
    what the suggested interventions mean for each region and country. This
    means going back to the regional level and letting the regional fora serve
    as the vehicle for further consultation and action. An essential task for
    GFAR is to continue strengthening those fora.

    3) How will the Global Conference process better engage women in the future?

    In many regions, women are the majority of farmers and need to be part of
    the dialogue and action on agricultural research for development. However,
    despite the diversity of stakeholders present, the Global Conference clearly
    showed the gender divide in agricultural research. We are currently in
    dialogue with FAO on how to support the roles of women in agriculture
    through actions driven by the concern of the countries.

    4) What are the next steps? How will the Global Conference process maintain
    the momentum built?

    In the next 2 years, GFAR will focus on two tasks:
    1) supporting the CGIAR as it implements a new research agenda through Mega Programs and
    2) transform the way we do agricultural research, with a sharp focus on
    development needs, more effective extension, and better partnerships, among
    other issues.
    Those efforts will be driven by the regional fora. In this
    regard, we’re particularly lucky to have as the new GFAR Chair Monty Jones,
    who comes from FARA, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, which is
    the region with the strongest development focus. Together, we’ll pay greater
    attention to issues like foresight, capacity strengthening and community
    building in all the regions.

    Implementation Updates

    Strategy and Results Framework and Mega Programs

    The Consortium Board considered an updated draft Strategy and Results
    Framework prepared by the Alliance of the CGIAR Centers that incorporated
    input received at the Global Conference on Agricultural Research for
    Development. The Board accepted the Strategy and Results Framework and will
    submit it to the Funders Forum for its consideration. The Consortium Board
    would like to revisit the Strategy in three years rather than six years as
    originally envisioned to be able to make adjustments in response to global
    developments as needed.

    Mega Programs

    At its May meeting the Consortium Board considered both a set of
    ‘fast-tracked’ Mega Program proposals that detail research programs that can
    be quickly put in place and a set of Mega Program concept notes that outline
    research programs that will be developed into full Mega Program proposals in
    the coming months. The four fast tracked Mega Program proposals relate to:

    climate change,
    • maize,
    • rice and
    • wheat.
    The Board made some preliminary
    comments on the ‘fast tracked’ proposals and shared these with the Centers.
    The Science Task Force of the Board has also reviewed these proposals with
    additional input from external reviews and will prepare a recommendation for
    the full Board. The Board will decide which Mega Programs will go forward
    to the Fund Council for their consideration and possible financing. The
    Board approved 11 Mega Program concept notes, also externally reviewed (see
    box for titles) that will move forward to proposal development for the
    Consortium Board’s consideration at its next meeting in October 2010.

    MP concept note titles:

    * Integrated agricultural production systems for dry areas

    * Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics

    * Harnessing the development potential of aquatic agricultural systems for
    the poor and vulnerable

    * Policies, institutions, and markets to strengthen assets and agricultural
    incomes for the poor

    * Roots, tubers and bananas for Food Security and Income

    * Grain Legumes: enhanced food and feed security, nutritional balance,
    economic growth and soil health for smallholder farmers

    * Dryland cereals: Food Security and Growth for the World’s Most Vulnerable

    * Sustainable staple food productivity increase for global food security:
    Livestock and Fish

    * Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and Health

    * Durable Solutions for Water Scarcity and Land Degradation

    * Forests and Trees: livelihoods, landscapes and governance

  13. In the introductory part, micro nutrints including amino acids balance should be describe, in terms of protein, Asian countries are deficient in quality protein supply for example only plant protein source do not fulfill human requirement which lead to no proper hight of human being compared with developed countries.

    In Theme second; there should be more emphasis in resource supply, for example use of protected areas for forage conservation and control grazing of animals.

  14. I studied your draft proposal. I find it very encouraging that outsiders are given a an opportunity to contribute and I do hope this will not be the only opportunity and that there will be also face to face events organized for the same purpose.

    Important notion in the draft is the needed
    transformation “the way we do agricultural research, with a sharp focus on
    development needs, more effective extension, and better partnerships”
    This should be always kept in the hearts and minds by whoever are drafting development activities. Together with the realization that both problems and solutions are context specific, yet we can learn form the many experiences worldwide available.

    To me that is the major lesson learned after being involved in (smallholder) agriculture development for the last 30 years.

    Willem van Weperen
    Sustainable Agriculture and Extension Advisor

  15. Odunze, Azubuike Chidowe (for The Institute for Agricultural Research [IAR], Ahmadu Bello University Zaria Nigeria) says:

    I have studied your proposal and find that it holds strong promise to impact positively on improved food and nutritional security especially for the less empowered/vulnerable gender in developing countries such as Nigeria.The Institute [IAR]will be glad to partner as a development organization involved with crop residue to benefit livestock farmers and mitigate nutritional deficiencies and poverty situations with enhanced production of ASFs.

  16. Dear Carlos,

    The broad goals of sustainable livelihoods, nutrition and health are admirable but there is little about process. For example, there are many possible ways to increase productivity. How productivity increases will be achieved needs to be debated and what the impact on the survival of small holders, across the value chain for different methods would be needs to be investigated over the longer term. Or to take another example, what kinds of processes will be developed to ensure continuous dialogue amongst small holder/women and their ‘partners’takes place. This is particularly important in making choices about alternatives, in shaping projects and in building flexibility for change into such projects.

    All the best,

  17. Dear Carlos

    I have studied the proposal for the new mega program and find it quite exciting, in particular the anchoring of the program through the case studies. The system-based understanding of the problems of low-input production systems including backward linkages two input markets and forward linkages to product markets is very essential for your strategy and direction of the research and development that will lead to progress in developing countries. One strategy/direction is the new biotechnologies applied on the existing biodiversity. Another strategy/direction which I miss, is research on applied and distributed information and communication technologies, e.g. the use of Internet and mobile technologies for effective dissemination of research results but also dissemination of e.g. information on market conditions may be very useful for local decisions and business development.
    Last but not least, I think that the program opens up for possible collaboration with international agricultural universities, faculties, departments and commercial partners through the Competitive grant mechanism. Although the budget for the new mega-program is significant, the challenges are still enormous. Opening through Competitive grant mechanism may increase the resources and the chances of a large and successful program.

    Svend Christensen
    Professor, Head of Department of Agriculture and Ecology, Copenhagen University, Faculty of Life Sciences

  18. Dear Dr Nils Teufel

    Thank you very much for suggesting me to be a part of this crucial discussion on the proposed CGIAR mega project. In an agriculturally advanced state of Indian Punab, the agriculture development has reached the plateu. The average operational holding as well as income is also getting squeezed. Under the given circumstances, strengthening livestock component of the farmers has become important than ever before in order to enhance/supplement the income as well as the employment opportunities in the rural area. I will thoroughly go through the concept note and thereafter will come with some corrective options, if any.
    I am sure, productive, constructive and revealing ideas will come out of this discussion.

  19. INRA-Morocco (especially the Department of animal production) is very pleased to be involved for such crucial discussion on the proposed CGIAR mega project.
    We studied the present concept note and we found it very huge, ambitions, it concerns all the problem areas of livestock and fish production. It is based on complementary issues, and is it very interesting and well developed. However, nowhere in the NC the food safety have been addressed, to cover the whole sector it will be necessary to include the following two parts : bacteriological and dietetic quality of products. This can generate added values to all products.
    We found the CN very exciting in particular the issue of case studies. We believe that both problems and solutions are context specific.
    We think that the real power of the present mega project is on one side that it combines the CGIAR centers and in the other side it is focussed mainly on the poor small holder producers and following an integrated process.
    Competitive grant mechanism may increase the resources and the chances of a large and successful program.
    Reading the present CN, we have some concern that women and poverty are the strong justification for research and development promotion for the livestock sector.
    Thank you again for involving INRA-Morocco in this process and we promise to be part of it.

  20. Dear Carlos,

    Many thanks for involving me in the discussions on the Mega Program, although we were not able to open the website where the concept note is located []. I and my colleagues at the Institute of Animal Science of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IAS-CAAS) will be pleased to participate in the discussion/review process.

    Please have the website [] checked and fix any problem so that we can log on it from China.

    Best regards,

    Wen Jie
    IAS-CAAS, Beijing

  21. I have had the opportunity to read through the document “The Livestock Mega Programme” and was impressed with the scope of the programme.

    However, I was left wondering about several issues,

    Animal Health, in the area of animal health I had expected to see a reference of some sort to the importance of emerging zoonoses such as Avian Influenza, Swine Flu. He emergence of these diseases have probably done more to secure funding for Animal Health activities/facilities than any other issue in the recent past. Other International Organizations,have already adopted a One World One Health (OWOH) approach to dealing with these problems.

    I would also be interested in learning how the CG group and ILRI in particular sees itself in the production and delivery of Animal Health related technology/advice/interventions. How does it differentiate/collaborate with agencies such as the OIE and FAO.

    Also in the area of animal health. My experience working in the Pacific is that in many cases the poorest livestock owners are unable or access or afford medications, treatments for their animals. I would certainly be interested in the investigation, validation of alternate/traditional medicines/practices. This would be inline with existing commitments to participatory approaches and the inclusion of private sector/development actors.

    Similarly, my experience is that a number of interventions, is that the translation of these into the field is limited by the availability and accessibility inputs.

    In regards to the breeding programme, there is a commitment to characterisation conservation and breed development. The missing component here appears to be inventories. Given the many activities of the FAO in this area, I would be interested to see how this programme links into the proposed FAO network of National and Regional Focal Points and Networks linking to the Global Focal Point with the FAO system.

    I am not sure if this is the area to in which to address the issue of breeders rights. As you are aware, the plant sector has in place strong protections for breeders rights etc. Working with NGOs and other private actors and their genetic resources I would like to see a commitment to Breeders rights and Intellectual Property issues.

    Similarly in the area of the Sustainable production systems I would like to see protections for indigenous resource owners. I am reminded of a story I heard some time ago of European researcher and a bacterium identified and isolated from a traditional milk-holding utensil in Ethiopia

    The European researcher associated with ILRI in Ethiopia, working on a dairy technology research project, identified the bacterium and took some samples of it to Europe without a proper material transfer agreement. In Europe he continued to investigate the attributes of the bacterium and found out that the bacterium was very effective in controlling certain fungi that cause substantial economic loss to the commercial cheese industry in Europe. Recognizing the huge economic benefit associated with this bacterium, he and his colleagues then went ahead to patent it and got the patent registered. This breach of trust came to light after some years.

    The rural communities who have been using the traditional milk-holding utensil and who have the knowledge about maintaining it have certainly been the custodians of this genetic resource, but they were pushed aside when it came to commercializing their custody.

    With regards to the Livestock and Fish Product processing. I would like to see the linkage to the FAO Codex for processing standards and OIE Animal Health codes for international movement of animal products.

    There are a few of the thoughts that have come to mind after a brief reading of the 14 page document. As more come to mind, I will send them through.

    Peter Manueli

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