CGIAR / Fish / Livestock

Week 2: Deciding the focus

As discussed in this e-consultation last week, the four CGIAR Centers involved in the livestock and fish Mega Program are committing to focus their efforts to catalyze development of a few carefully selected value chains in a few countries. This aims at generating direct significant impact in increasing production that can then be scaled out regionally, while providing research results applicable elsewhere.  This week, we would like to discuss how we have decided where to focus our initial efforts, and how we envisage our geographical focus translating into wider benefits.

Deciding the focus

ILRI recently did a study commissioned by a major donor to provide a framework and recommendations for targeting their livestock development investments. As a first step to deciding where we would propose to focus the work of the Mega Program, we used the experience and conclusions drawn from the ILRI study. It served as the basis for identifying candidate animal product value chains by region that offer the potential for significant impact in increasing production and reducing poverty. The study used three main ‘filters’ for identifying these high-impact value chains:

  • Growth and market opportunities: determined by trends in domestic demand, opportunity for import substitution, and trends in regional trade and demand
  • Pro-poor potential: based on numbers of rural poor and how many among them are livestock keepers, and an assessment of the ability of the poor to sustainably participate in future market growth
  • Supply constraints: relates to the degree to which there is an inherent comparative disadvantage due particularly to disease challenge and severe feed resource constraints that limits growth potential

Once the priority high-potential value chains were identified by region, the next step was to narrow down the focus to a country. Again, the criteria noted above were applied to identify countries with particularly high potential for impact, but also taking into consideration:

  • An enabling environment: to what degree would investment in the selected value chain be aligned with current national priorities, and does the institutional and development climate in the country facilitate investment?
  • Existing momentum: where can we hit the ground running, i.e., is there already evidence of stakeholder interest in developing the value chain and ongoing CGIAR partner activities that we can immediately build on?

Based on these criteria, we agreed to explore the feasibility and stakeholder interest in targeting our efforts to catalyze development of value chains associated with:

  • Smallholder pig production and marketing in Vietnam
  • Smallholder aquaculture in Uganda
  • Smallholder dairying in Tanzania and India
  • Small ruminant (sheep and goats) in Mali and Ethiopia

Two additional value chains not covered by the earlier study were proposed if subsequent review could confirm their appropriateness. These are:

  • Smallholder pig production and marketing in Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Dual-purpose cattle production in Nicaragua

As we develop the proposal, we will be reviewing the evidence for these choices to make their case. One of the initial activities of the Targeting Theme within the Mega Programme will be to conduct a more in-depth review of these criteria to challenge or confirm these choices and begin preparing a strategy for targeting the eventual scaling out of the development activities to other countries.

Does this mean no one else will benefit?

Focusing in these specific countries will allow us to demonstrate proof-of-concept that the target animal product value chain can be effectively upgraded at a meaningfully large scale to sustainably increase production and benefit the poor. At the same time we can validate an approach and attract investment for scaling out development of the value chain regionally. Again, one of the criteria for choosing the value chain and country is the ‘spillover’ potential within that region and elsewhere. We anticipate continuing to pursue complementary activities in other countries with bilateral funding outside the Mega Program that will make sure this happens sooner than later.

At the same time, the lessons being learned and technologies being developed in the focal countries will be generating cross-cutting research results relevant more globally. This research will also continue to be made accessible to all of our research and development partners through our established networks and dissemination and capacity building efforts.

In the end, we view our increased commitment to focus actually enhancing our ability to generate widespread impact well beyond the selected countries, rather than compromising it.

Getting your thoughts…

In this second round of input from our partners and stakeholders, we would like to get your reactions to the process, criteria and scaling out approaches described above by answering the following questions.

STEP 1: Please click here to answer three questions about our focus, then come back to this page.

STEP 2: Next, please comment on these questions below.

Week 2- Question 1: Good process for deciding focus? Do you think that the process used for deciding where to focus the Mega Program efforts is sufficiently reasoned and evidence-based (assuming that we now compile the data to support the choices)?  How can the process be improved or further strengthened.

Week 2-Question 2: Relevant criteria for deciding where to focus? Do you think that the criteria used for deciding where to focus the Mega Program are the most essential and relevant? PWhat specific criterion you feel is non-essential or is missing.

Week 2-Question 3: Scaling out impact? Do you think that successful impact from focussing in a selected value chain in one country can be scaled out to spill the impact over into other countries of the region? What would need to be done to enhance spillover impacts.

Week 2-Question 4: Generating results for other countries? Do you think that by addressing the constraints to value chain development in one country there is the ability to generate research results and technologies applicable in other countries? What can be done to strengthen such benefits.

Or let us know any other thoughts or ideas by commenting on this blog post below.

2 thoughts on “Week 2: Deciding the focus

  1. You appear to be taking a rational approach to organising this study. However, the problem of scaling up, from a limited number of case studies, is intractable. The developing world is quite diverse.

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