Organized by the Farming First Coalition and chaired by Lindiwe Sibanda of FARNPAN and Joyce Cacho of Novus Int., the session covered a myriad of issues and perspectives, including: clarity in identifying and addressing the problem; careful choice of partners; explanation on how and when the poor will benefit; the importance of indicators; simplicity of the model; transparency of the model so that no one partner uses the other; the necessity of having a market; capacity development; as well as commitment and continuity which engenders trust between partners. The public sector’s role in mitigation of risk was also discussed in conjunction with the need for exit strategies in order to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of a project.
The group also discussed the importance of value chain addition as well as multiplier effects and agriculture as a part of the picture of rural development. “We need to look at agriculture not as an entity unto itself but rather the hub from which many spokes emanate,” said Joyce Cacho.
Three main points emerged from the small group discussion, including: turning public good knowledge into something that the private sector can market; the need to develop methods to transfer knowledge and technology to build sustainability through up-scaling and out-scaling, as well as the fact that all actors of the value chain need to think, plan and work in cycles much longer than they are used to; and finally the risks and benefits of all partners should be identified and agreed upon and aligned from the beginning.
Joyxe Cacho ended the session with a call to action: “The era of feeling comfortable is over. The new normal is feeling uncomfortable. Go ahead and feel uncomfortable and get something done!”