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Collective Action News: Past Issues

With the last issue vol. 26 of the Newsletter released this month, below is a list of all past issues that the programme has published.

Issue 26:  Regional Collective Action Wraps Up

Issue 25: Agriculture and Rural Development Day at the Cancún Climate Change Conference

Issue 24: Hope For the Future: Sowing the Seeds for Agricultural Research in Somalia

Issue 23: Rwanda launches Irrigation Master Plan

Issue 22:  South Africa to Burkina Faso: African Agricultural Innovation in a Changing Global Environment

Issue 21: Developing Africa’s Agricultural Markets 

Issue 20: 2010 International Day of Biodiversity celebrations

Issue 19: Highlights from GCARD

Issue 18: Regional Partnerships to Strengthen the Seed Industry

Issue 17: CGMap Ongoing Research in Africa: Empowering, Informative, Exciting

Issue 16: Regional Collective Action: Achievements to Date

Issue 15: Agriculture and Rural Development in the Copenhagen Climate Change Talks

Issue 14: Update on the CGIAR Reform Process

Issue 13: Disaster Risk Reduction: Addressing the longer term issues

Issue 12: Online Consultations to Enhance Agricultural Research for Development

Issue 11: Rising Food Prices in Eastern and Southern Africa Revisited: Lifting Trade Barriers Is Still the Answer

Issue 10: Managing the Fertility of Africa’s Soils: The Case for Collective Action

Issue 9: Biotechnology, Bioinformatics and Food Security: Hype or hope?

Issue 8: Priority Actions on Agricultural Markets? Not Easy At a Market of Ideas!

Issue 7: Climate and agriculture in East Africa: The future is mixed – April Collective Action News

Issue 6: Food Price Rises: Global Smiles, Regional Frowns?

Issue 5: Connecting the Dots: Online Maps for Improved Access to Information on Agricultural Research Projects

Issue 4: Could 150 Million Thirsty Livestock Be Efficient Water Harvesters? Nile Basin Studies Show How

Issue 3: Lessons from Kampala: Will Urban Farming Make a Difference?

Issue 2: Where Science and Emergencies Meet: As Crises Become More Frequent, Agricultural Research Finds a Big New Role

Issue 1: Food Price Rises: Is Regional Trade the Answer?

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Regional Collective Action Wraps Up

After four years, the Regional Collective Action Programme has come to an end. In this final issue of Collective Action News, we report on how Regional Collective Action activities have supported the work of the Consortium and the CRPs.

The Regional Collective Action Programme has been described by Carlos Seré, Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), which has hosted the Programme since its inception in 2007, as ‘a bold experiment that achieved considerable success in promoting collaborative action in eastern and southern Africa that has now been overtaken by the process of CGIAR reform’. Many of the activities started under the Programme have now been incorporated into the CGIAR Consortium and the CGIAR Research Programmes (CRPs).

A key output of the Programme has been the CGIAR Ongoing Research Map. The Map makes CGIAR research information publicly accessible, facilitating information sharing and promoting partnership opportunities. The Research Map is now maintained and managed by the various focal persons in most of the CGIAR Centres who work closely with scientists and take a leading role in ensuring that projects within their Centres are up-to-date. Future administration of the Map will be subject to the outcome of a proposal presented to the Consortium Office to take it up as part of the system wide initiatives. The Research Map, which now has over 530 projects, can be accessed from the home page of the CGIAR Consortium website.

The four Flagship research programmes have been incorporated into various CRPs: Flagship Programmes 1 (Integrated natural resource management) and 2 (Policies, institutions and information for achieving impact at scale) have become part of CRP5 (Durable solutions for water scarcity and land degradation) and CRP2 (Policies, institutions, and markets to strengthen assets and agricultural incomes for the poor). Some aspects of Flagship Programme 4 (Improving impact of emergency response on agricultural livelihoods in highly stressed and unstable systems) have been incporporated into CRP7 (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, CCAFS). Flagship 3 (Conservation and enhancement of agricultural biodiversity for improved agricultural production) held two regional workshops on food-feed crops in Nairobi and Bulawayo in February and March 2011 to further understand and evaluate the potential, challenges and opportunities of crop residues to address food and fodder challenges in eastern and southern Africa. Participants included representatives from ILRI, ICRISAT, CIMMYT and CIP, as well as private sector, national and regional partners. A full proposal around this issue is now being drafted which will link into the CRPs on grains, roots and tubers, and livestock. Further details of all the CRPs can be found here.

The Regional Collective Action Programme also recently supported a detailed review of inter-Centre CGIAR capacity development. A desk study, an e-consultation and two regional workshops held in Nairobi and Maputo in April, 2011, were coordinated by ILRI in collaboration with other CGIAR Centres as well as various other international, regional and national institutions with an interest in capacity development. The review found that, despite various past inter-Centre capacity development projects and numerous discussions over the years highlighting the need for enhanced collaboration, there has been limited action or follow-up. Those consulted by the review were critical of the proposed ‘dedicated informal network’ approach to collective capacity development as outlined in the CGIAR Strategy and Results Framework (SRF). Instead, it has been suggested that a more formal mechanism such as a special unit or platform should be established to serve as a think-tank on CGIAR capacity development and collaboration to add value to all Centres and CRPs. The review recommended that a scoping study on the subject should be undertaken by a high level capacity development specialist in close collaboration with the capacity development staff of the CGIAR Centres and the CRP Leaders.If you need further information or details about this project, please contact Dr. Purvi Mehta (P.mehta(at)cgiar.org) head of capacity development, ILRI and Jan Beniest (jan.beniest(at)gmail.com).

Click here to down the newsletter

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From Informing To Engaging: What Users of CGIAR Research Information Are Asking

Ask A Question Dialogue Box

As you know, the CGIAR Research Map (http://ongoing-research.cgiar.org/) provides information about research projects that are carried out by the 15 CGIAR Centers in order to enhance information and knowledge sharing while significantly reducing the time taken to search for project information across the various Centers.

Through the ‘Ask a Question’ dialogue box found at the bottom of each project fact sheet in the Research Map, the Map has moved beyond informing users of agriculture information of what is happening ‘where, when and with whom’ to engaging them.  Users can send messages to project scientists and make comments about the research projects through this dialogue box.

This new feature in the Research Map, designed to increase the level of interaction and collaboration among users of agriculture information has seen over 50 inquiries being sent to various projects. From technical support, project reports, internship opportunities for students, various scientists details requests to conversations leading to developing new partnerships, the ‘Ask a Question’ box has vast advantages and shows the enthusiasm of CGIAR scientists to share their information and knowledge, collaborate and even learn from others partners.

Below are some of the inquiries and the various responses by the scientists

Project Title:Promotion of Exports of Organic Bananas in Ethiopia and Sudan (Bioversity) 
Qn: We are a tissue culture firm based in India, and have been approached several times from private buyers in Sudan for tissue culture banana varieties of elite clones such as Grand Naine and Robista. We would like information on the banana market, import regulation and the growers in Sudan. Is it possible for CGIAR to share information with us?

Ans: The project in Sudan is being implemented with the Horticulture Sector Administration of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Khartoum and I am copying this reply to the National Project Manager, Dr. Salah Bakhiet (salba54@yahoo.com). Please follow up with him for more specific information, but I can inform you that this project has previously purchased tissue culture plants from Du Roi in South Africa and the import process is relatively straightforward. The local market is dominated by Dwarf Cavendish, produced on relatively small holdings, by traditional means, but there are a number of investors interested in expanding banana plantations for export, so I think there is growing demand for good quality planting material. I understand that there are also some start-up tissue culture labs in the country looking to produce seedlings; it is possible that they would be interested in collaborating with you.

Michael Bolton (m.bolton@cgiar.org)

Read the rest of this entry »

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Frequently Asked Questions on Food-Feed Crops

Collective Action supported a Food-Feed Crops in Eastern and Southern Africa proposal development workshop held on the 24-25 of February. This workshop was attended by various scientists from different CGIAR Centers including: CIP, ICRISAT, ILRI, CIMMYT who shared their interest, experiences and perspective in food-feed crop.

The below Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) gives an overview on these important crops.

1. What are food-feed crops?
Food-feed crops are crops that provide grain for human nutrition and fodder for livestock from the crop residues such as the straws, stover and haulms. A name often used synonymously is dual-purpose crops.

2. What is the importance of the crops in agriculture?
Food-feed/dual purpose crops play a key role in small holder crop-livestock systems since they provide food for humans and fodder for livestock at the same time. So no additional land and water are required for fodder production since these needed to be allocated anyhow for the primary product, the grains. Food-feed/dual purpose crops are therefore highly resource use efficient. Crop residues provide the major feed resources for small holders.

3. Who can grow these crops?
Essentially every farmer but they are particularly important for resource poor small holders

4. Who are the potential beneficiaries of these crops?
Basically everybody starting from the farmer and livestock producer to fodder traders and feed processors

5. Examples of food-feed crops?
Maize, rice, wheat, sorghum, millets, groundnut, cowpea etc.

6. Where can I find more information and research about food-feed crops?
For more information on food-feed crops and the workshop as well, contact Michael Blummel (m.blummel@CGIAR.ORG) a scientist at ILRI.

A food-feed crops search in Ongoing Research, the CGIAR Research Map will list some of the projects working on this area of agriculture.


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What Kind of CGIAR Research is in Northern Africa?

International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas, ICARDA recently updated the Research Map with 52 research projects in the Ongoing Research. ICARDA is one of the 15 CG Centers whose main areas of research is North Africa (CWANA) region, with research in countries like Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco as well as areas in Central and West Asia including Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and others.

ICARDA has a global mandate for the improvement of barley, lentil and faba bean and serves the non-tropical dry areas for the improvement of on-farm water-use efficiency, rangeland and small-ruminant production (http://www.icarda.cgiar.org/Mission.htm).

Among the research areas that the projects work in include, Agrobiodivesity, Water Management, Policy & Institutions, Crops, Climate Change and others. Search projects by ICARDA from the custom map below to find out more information about this Centers work and also what other CGIAR Centers are doing in similar regions in the Ongoing Research.


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Agriculture and Rural Development Day at the Cancún Climate Change Conference

Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) was held for the second time during the Sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP16) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which took place earlier this month at Cancún, Mexico. The day-long event, which drew hundreds of participants including policy makers, farmers, scientists and journalists, aimed to put agriculture on this year’s climate change agenda. In her opening speech, Inger Andersen, CGIAR Fund Council Chair and Vice President of Sustainable development, World Bank talked about the intersection of agricultural development, food security and climate. She proposed agriculture as a solution that was a triple win of increased food security, resilience and reduction of emissions. The success of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in promoting the spread of Evergreen Agriculture in Africa was cited as an example of a climate-smart agricultural technique that can both increase crop yields and help to reduce carbon emissions.

In support of such initiatives, the organizers of ARDD 2010 called for much more local action to help the rural poor adapt to climate change impacts and the use of climate finance to realize agriculture’s substantial potential for capturing carbon and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In presenting the official summary of the day, Lindiwe Sibanda, Chief Executive Officer of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network, appealed to climate change negotiators to recognize explicitly the critical links between agriculture and forestry and to create an agricultural work program under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) as a first step toward meaningful inclusion of food security in any post-2012 agreement.

By the end of COP16, the collective push for including agriculture in a climate change deal had achieved small but important successes. The Cancún Agreements recognize agriculture and food security as areas deserving priority consideration in a footnote to the ‘Outcome of the Work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention’. Unfortunately there was no decision on a work program on agriculture on the SBSTA, proving correct fears that it would be held hostage by the uncertain state of broader negotiations and by a number of small technicalities at the 11th hour.
The Cancún Agreements did, however, call for a SBSTA work program on REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) that addresses drivers and methodologies, as well as exploration of REDD+ financing options under the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action. The links between agriculture and deforestation are such that this decision ensures some support for continued work on agriculture in the climate change context. Indeed, participants at Forest Day 4 (FD4), proposed several options to increase agricultural intensification whilst reducing net annual rates of deforestation including: increasing production efficiencies; promoting multifunctional landscapes; directing REDD+ financing to increase efficiencies in agronomic practices; and shifting extensive production systems to low carbon landscapes.

The thorny issue of agricultural intensification and its effect on deforestation was addressed at an official COP16 side event held jointly by the organizers of ARDD 2010 together with those of FD4. It was concluded that efforts to produce more food from less land must form part of an integrated package of interventions (including practices such as conservation agriculture, agroforestry and integrated pest management) aimed at achieving multiple benefits in rural landscapes. To pursue such an approach in spirit and in practice, it was suggested that the forestry and agriculture sectors should perhaps organize a ‘Landscape Weekend’ rather than two separate events at COP17 in South Africa.

For more details of ARDD 2010, see http://www.agricultureday.org/

For more details of Forest Day 4, see http://www.forestsclimatechange.org

For details of the first Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD 2009) held at COP15, see http://bit.ly/hAon9J

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