Taking a Big Picture View of Capacity Development

21 May 2013, Mchinji, Malawi- Flora Chimtolo, right, Agnes Chioko, left, Alinafe Mduwa, centre, and girls Brenda Kapeni, near camera, and Regina Bauti, 2nd right, are harvesting groundnuts in Mduwa's field at Mzingo Village, Traditional Authority Mavwere in Mchinji District, central Malawi, May 21, 2013. PHOTO FAO/AMOS GUMULIRAWe who are committed to agricultural innovation, enterprise and societal well-being need to ensure that human, organizational and institutional capacities are developed to meet the needs of today and the aspirations of the future.Over the past several months, CGIAR has been discussing with partners and stakeholders on how the new draft Strategy and Results Framework (SRF) will guide the CGIAR, including its work in capacity development. This consultation forms part of the broader GCARD3 consultative process that will continue through 2015 and into 2016.

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Together, we are shaping the future of agriculture

Together, we are shaping the future of agriculture

The CGIAR’s Strategy and Results Framework (SRF) is an important document for all of us involved with, and committed to, sustainable agricultural development. CGIAR, in developing this framework for its next decade of research, is working through GFAR to reach out to all the Global Forum’s stakeholders, to ensure that the new SRF is robust and reflects the GCARD Road Map that we all developed together through GCARD1, back in 2010. This six-point practical plan for transforming agricultural research for development around the world requires actions from all involved in the generation, access and use of agricultural knowledge.

Continue reading Together, we are shaping the future of agriculture

Territoires et population rurales en période de crise – perspective d’Afrique du Nord

Robin1004ème journée d’étude régionale préparatoire  au Congrès de Milan, Rabat (Maroc), 20 et 21 Avril 2015.
Par Rabii MRAIDI, YPARD membre
La Fondation du Dialogue Sud-nord Méditerranée (Louvain-la-Neuve), l’Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire (IAV) Hassan II (Rabat), le GFAR (Rome), le CIHEAM – IAMM (Montpellier) et la Bibliothèque d’Alexandrie ont organisé, les 20 et 21 avril 2015, à Rabat (Maroc), la quatrième journée d’étude régionale préparatoire au congrès de Milan de 2015 sous le thème « Territoires et population de l’espace rural en période de crise ».
Lors de la première journée, des rapports des journées d’études préparatoires régionales et nationales ont été présenté. Madame Fatima Bensoltane (Fondation du Dialogue Sud-Nord Méditerranée et Méditerravenir) a mis l’accent sur la fragilisation de la femme rurale pendant les périodes de transition, en exposant notamment le cas de la Tunisie. Monsieur Vincent Legrand de l’Université Catholique de Louvain, a évoqué le problème de l’eau en citant l’exemple de la  nouvelle constitution tunisienne qui donne le droit à l’eau. Monsieur Omar Tadjadit, du Réseau Algérie du Dialogue Sud-nord, a quant’ à lui  insisté sur le rôle des jeunes.

Inégalités au niveau national et régional

Au court de la première session sur les inégalités au niveau national et régional, en rapport avec l’exode rural, monsieur Larbi JAIDI économiste à l’IAV, a souligné que la société civile participe à réduire l’impact des inégalités : les inégalités de revenus entre le monde rural et le monde urbain et les inégalités socio-économiques. Le rôle des politiques publiques est de redresser ces inégalités.
Les problèmes des foncières domaniales en Mauritanie et de la faussée territoriale causée par l’exode vers la côte (la rive nord du fleuve du Sénégal) ont été abordés. Monsieur Salah TRIKI du Commissariat Général au Développement Régional a présenté le Programme de Développement Intégré (PDI) mis en place en Tunisie pour réduire les inégalités régionales entre la zone littorale et les arrières pays.

Politiques agricoles, bonne gouvernance, nouvelles populations et développement des mondes ruraux

Une deuxième session portait sur les politiques agricoles, bonne gouvernance, nouvelles populations et développement des mondes ruraux. Les politiques agricoles mises en place par l’Etat ont été vivement critiquées  pour ne pas être des politiques rurales.
La réduction du monde rurale à la sphère productive a été remise en cause, ainsi que les politiques agricoles qualifiées de politiques inefficaces et inefficientes. L’Association Nationale des Femmes et du Développement Rural (Algérie) a présenté le cas de l’expérience algérienne et le passage de l’agriculture vers le développement rural pour arriver au monde rural algérien d’aujourd’hui. Un modèle de collaboration rurale dans la Grande Région (l’Allemagne, la Belgique, la France et le Luxembourg) dans un cadre de politique agricole commune, a été présenté.

Emploi, éducation, renforcement des capacités, services et infrastructures, et investissement rural

Une troisième session focalisait sur l’emploi, l’éducation et le renforcement des capacités, l’accès aux services, les infrastructures et l’investissement rural. Les différences entre l’école rurale et l’école urbaine ont été exposées, ainsi que les défis et problématiques de l’école rurale au Maroc. La problématique des territoires ruraux en méditerranée a été mise en question, notamment les politiques publiques pour accompagner les dynamiques de développement. Les discussions ont aussi porté sur les populations rurales et les problèmes liés aux services sociaux de base et à l’accessibilité.

Utilisation durable des ressources naturelles, biodiversité, sécurité alimentaire, santé et nutrition

La quatrième session était intitulée utilisation durable des ressources naturelles, biodiversité, sécurité alimentaire, santé et nutrition. Madame Hafidha KHADRAOUI, Foundation El Kef Pour le Développement (FEKDR) a présenté son expérience avec les femmes rurales dans la zone de Takrouna au Nord-Ouest de la Tunisie et l’implication de toute la famille dans le développement de la région. Des points forts tels que la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle pour tous, la sécurisation des accès aux ressources naturelles et la reconnaissance de la responsabilité des ruraux dans la gestion durable des territoires, ont été adressés. Un participant a soutenu que la clef pour augmenter les populations rurales est de garantir des conditions environnementales sans contraintes.

Prospectives sur les futurs envisageables pour les jeunes et pour les femmes

Une autre journée était consacrée aux prospectives sur les futurs envisageables pour les jeunes et pour les femmes.  En tant que jeune cadre tunisien et membre de YPARD : « les jeunes professionnels pour le développement agricole, je représentais les perspectives des jeunes sur les prospectives envisageables pour les jeunes. J’ai mentionné comment les produits de terroirs et les signes de qualité contribuent à la création de valeur ajoutée pour les zones rurales. AOC, labels, certifications de conformité ou agriculture biologique sont à la fois des instruments de développement de la production et d’aménagement du territoire :
§  Ils contribuent à accroître la valorisation de la production agricole ; impliquant étroitement les producteurs, ils concourent à une meilleure répartition de la valeur ajoutée ainsi créée et participent à l’amélioration du revenu rural.
§  Ancrés dans les bassins de production, ils renforcent le lien qualité-territoire, répondant ainsi à une demande forte des consommateurs et favorisant le maintien de l’activité économique en zone rurale.
§  Démarche collective, ces “signes officiels de qualité” sont également des outils de la politique de filières. Ils renforcent le dialogue entre tous les opérateurs et contribuent à l’organisation de la production agricole.
Pour les prospectives envisageables pour les femmes, la représentante de la Fondation du dialogue Sud-nord Méditerranée, et Mediterravenir a mis l’accent sur la notion de femmes rurales et non pas une femme rurale et a aussi souligné qu’il faut reconnaître les problématique des femmes rurales pour trouver les solutions.
Il s’agit aussi de penser à une coopération Sud-Sud inexistante jusqu’à maintenant.

Reflections from the new Chair of the Drylands CRP Independent Steering Committee

harry_0By Harry Palmier
I recently attended the meeting of the CGIAR Research Program (CRP) on Drylands Systems held in Hyderabad, India, at the invitation of ICRISAT, and was honoured to be selected as the Chair of the Program’s new Independent Steering Committee (ISC).
I have been participating in meetings of the CGIAR Research Program on Drylands Systems since it was established and I remember at its launch  in May 2013 that I was impressed by how the Program had reached out to so many partners and had in place assets that could really make a difference.  In following the Program since then, I have continued to be gratified by the effective collaborative and partnership-oriented approach the Program has taken. Hence, assuming the Chair of the ISC is not only an honour but a pleasure as well.
To me, the CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems is an example of what the future of international research for development programs could look like. It engages in large-scale action research to identify ‘best-bet’ intervention packages and validates their effectiveness in specific agro-ecosystems, and promotes their scaling up to benefit the poor and highly vulnerable populations of the dry areas.
I take over from Dr. Mahmoud Solh, who has been an excellent Chair and has guided the Program through a number of early challenges including those associated with initiating the revamping of the Program governance. I fully concur with the recommendations of the independent evaluation and feel that the ongoing substantial revamping is necessary to ensure that the Program’s approach and impact is sustained through the CGIAR’s revision of its research portfolio. I feel strongly that drylands will continue to be an important area for future agriculture research for development investment. Preserving a dedicated research program on Dryland Systems will certainly represent a huge asset that cannot be ignored.  I have no doubt that the task ahead is challenging and it will require the full commitment and engagement of ISC members, but it is certainly within our reach.
From my own experience I know how powerful the role of dialogue, partnership and communication can be. I plan to encourage the Program in this direction by ensuring that external research and development partners are included in designing robust impact pathways. In this I find a strong ally in the Program’s Director, Dr. Richard Thomas. We share similar views in building a strong working relationship between the Program’s Research Management Committee (RMC) and the ISC to mobilize support and resources for Dryland Systems.
The RMC has already started to sharpen the focus of the Program by targeting specific grand dryland challenges, identifying specific research themes, strategically reducing the number of research sites and designing integrated system research activities. This should address an important concern raised by some investors in the Program about the need for clearer focus on research that generates demand driven International Public Goods and research outcomes that are responsive to regional and national demands.
The program management recognizes that there is also room for more teamwork and better site and activities integration with other Research Programs and partners. With the CRP Director, the ISC will build on the positive ongoing strategic discussions with the Director Generals of ICRAF, ICRISAT, ILRI and relevant CRPs (Dryland Cereals, Grain Legumes, Livestock and Fish. Dryland Systems has adopted a pragmatic approach and is looking at how best to reorganize around different flagships across existing CRPs and other Centre’s programs active in dryland areas.
A similar discussion is being engaged with national and regional partners operating actively in sub-Saharan Africa with whom the Program’s activities should work, preferably on a contractual basis, to respond to expressed priorities, or at least clearly align with them. I am pleased to announce that the Dryland Systems Program has already brought into the ISC, the CORAF-WECARD Director of Research Dr. Aboubakar Njoya, and is discussing with similar partners at national and regional level, as appropriate, in Central Asia and the Caucasus, North Africa and Near East, the retailoring of flagship projects.
I certainly hope that my long history with the Program will contribute positively to its future. I’m looking forward to my new role and working closely with the ISC members and the Dryland Systems Program Director. I’m sure that together we will contribute to successfully shaping the Program’s future.

Promoting Women’s Enterprise Development in Egypt

egypt_mission_iman_and_village_women_2From Thomas Price, Senior Officer, Agricultural Innovation and Society, and Iman El-Kaffass, Capacity Development Expert, at the Secretariat of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research
In November last year we had the pleasure of participating in a regional workshop held in Alexandria, Egypt entitled, “The Left-behind: Empowering Mediterranean Rural Communities to Face Change“. This was one of a series of workshops hosted by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and the Foundation for South-North Mediterranean Dialogue, which brings together Mediterranean rural communities and the multiple actors in the agriculture sector to address the challenges common to the entire region.
After the workshop GFAR published a story recounting the experiences of Zeinab Seoudi and Mohamed El-Kholy, both farmers, who participated in the Alexandria regional workshop. It is clear from talking to farmers like Zeinab and Mohamed that there is a critical need to strengthen and enhance national agricultural innovation systems. To face this challenge GFAR has been developing an innovative concept for radically increasing the funding available for new forms of agricultural innovation systems: the Investment Facility for Agricultural Innovation and Enterprise. The Investment Facility is a new initiative, aiming to strengthen and enhance national agricultural innovation systems in developing countries by assembling the necessary financial resources, international technical support and service delivery. The Facility will respond directly to country demand and local needs. We’ve been consulting with donors, with partners, and with national systems in building and strengthening the concept.
Due to the very positive experience arising from the Dialogue held in Alexandria in November, we’ve been continuing discussions with the Government of   Egypt. In April, we returned to Egypt at the request of the Ministry of Local Development, to see how national agricultural innovation platform approaches could best underpin the major investments being made by the Government   in creating enterprise opportunities for rural youth and women across Egypt. The resources are aimed at improving the livelihoods and general conditions for the most marginalized in rural areas.
The enthusiasm for engaging in such a project is without question. We canvassed the needs and expectations of different groups in the Luxor region of Upper Egypt, studied and analyzed existing international and local collective actions, and assessed the circumstances of women in the agricultural sector in the villages. Zeina from Toumaswafia village told us “This is the life opportunity that I have been dreaming of.” When we spoke with Aleya from Mersal village she indicated that “As young women we are capable of learning to manage any enterprise, we want to go to new fields such as vegetable oil production.”
This region is a top local and national priority given the lower incomes and social indicators of the rural communities. The mission succeeded in formulating an agreement among the multiple stakeholders on the importance and content of a joint project on rural women’s enterprise development.
Now, with the Egyptian national and local authorities, local NGOs and private sector fostering small business, we are moving forward with developing a pilot project for women in 5 villages of the Luxor Governorate. This number will rise to 15 villages in the following year and will reach 30 villages the year after. The project will scale out at national level and to other countries in the region based on demand. Women will learn how to better run and manage their farm enterprises with support to muster the resources needed to successfully run businesses in dairy production, beekeeping and honey production, vegetable oil and pickled vegetables.
We regard this as a very exciting opportunity for launching the Facility in Egypt, which already has the highest level support from both National and Local Government and from other Organizations working on the ground. Most importantly, the rural women in the villages are mobilized, motivated and enthusiastic about acquiring new skills and raising incomes for themselves and their families. In the words of Hanem from Awlad Hanafi village “I am looking forward to increasing my income and that of my family through having my own small business.” As we move forward we look forward to sharing more details on this innovative and promising initiative.