Archive for category What’s happening

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 (

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

For more details of Forest Day 4, see

For details of the first Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD 2009) held at COP15, see

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Mapping Agriculture Research Projects: The Redesigned CGIAR Ongoing Research Now Online

CGIAR Ongoing Research ( has been redesigned. The Research Map now has over 400 on-going research projects of the CGIAR and makes research information accessible, facilitates information and knowledge sharing and collaboration.

The redesign has been mainly influenced by feedback from users, who are at the centre of the Map, as well as by our own quality improvement goals. The Research Map now includes features that encourage re-usability and better searchability of information. Among the features that you will find in the map: RSS feeds, Embed maps, downloadable project reports, Ongoing Research News, “Ask a question” dialogue box for more interaction with the people responsible for the projects.

From covering research work in various African countries, the map has now been expanded to include projects in other regions where there is a CG presence: information from these areas is in the process of being updated.

5 key ways of using the map

1.   Map projects by research area, lead Center or time
Build a map with projects in a given research area ranging from climate change, market access to crops and livestock or led by a specific Center. Fine tune your search to cover a specific time period. Click the ‘View as list’ option and zero in on the projects in a specific country.

2.     Find project details
Informative yet compact factsheets provide you with the names of people involved in the various projects: principal investigator, scientists and partners. Related links to Medium Term Plan projects in CGMap and other online information enable you to learn more about the projects.

3.     Want to know more? Click, search and interact
The map’s clickable keywords enable you to access a list of related projects. Interested in more projects on a particular field or carried out by a specific scientist? Click on the linked words in the factsheet to view similar information in the Ongoing Research projects. Interested in more details? Use the ‘Ask a question’ box on the project factsheet.

4.     Reuse information
Customize and build a map for your own website or other application that reflects your selection and choice of information, simply by using the HTML code generated via the ‘Embed this Map’ option. Download and save in excel project factsheets for further analysis and review. The RSS feeds can be used to import and aggregate project information in Intranets, systems and websites.

5.     Always stay updated
Subscribe today to the RSS feeds and keep up to date with the latest research work.

For more information review the Frequently Asked Questions

To contribute project information and any other feedback send a message to Evelyn Katingi (

For technical support, contact

CGIAR Ongoing Research is the result of a collaborative effort between Collective Action in Eastern and Southern Africa and the ICT-KM Program of the CGIAR.

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The premier focal persons workshop for the CGIAR Ongoing Research Map

The CGIAR Ongoing Research in Africa Map whose beta version was re-launched in February 2010 has recorded tremendous growth in the number of projects entered as well as the number of users. Currently there are 387 projects registered in the map.

A lot of feedback on the need to reuse the information and more interactive features in the map has been received over the months and this led the entire team which is the CG Collective Action Program in Eastern and Southern Africa and the ICT-KM Program of the CGIAR to review the system and later decided to migrate the website’s content and functionality to a Content Management System (CMS) from the current development framework that will see the incorporation of features that will facilitate the reuse of information and increase sustainability in terms of system maintenance and future extension as well as new look and features on the front end.

Why the focal persons meeting?
One of the key attributes of a successful project is the participation from stakeholders in the planning and development of the project, the Ongoing Research Map is built and designed for the users whose need are at the forefront of our development. To this end, we decided to hold a workshop for the various Ongoing Research Map focal persons in the CG Centers who contribute project information from their various CG Centers and who work closely with scientists in their respective Centers to make sure that the information in the map is accurate and up-to-date.

In the collective spirit of learning and sharing knowledge, the AgKnowledge Africa Share Fair at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Ethiopia held on 18-21 October, couldn’t provide a better set up for the two days workshop.

The broad aims of this meeting was to incorporate this particular group of end users at the development phase for a critical user review, evaluation and training of the system, to engage in participative planning in matters related to research information in our centers and of course meet face to face for the first time after months and years of online interaction!

What did we achieve?
After a successful two days workshop we were able to collect a broad range of feedback, both positive and negative, on the system being implemented which will play an important role in the current development phase to ensure that the new look Ongoing Research Map is user friendly, informative and makes browsing and updating research project information the coolest thing to do! The entire team was better equipped with the necessary skills and strength to facilitate information and knowledge dissemination, bonds were strengthened and new ones developed, great ideas on how to plan for the launch generated and overall plenty of learning from one another and knowledge sharing.

The passionate team behind the Map who were present for the workshop.

Ongoing Research Map Workshop Participants

From left to right, standing: Evelyn Katingi (CGIAR Collective Action), Katarlah Taylor (IFPRI), Tiberious Brian Etyang (CIAT), Wubelem Dejene (ILRI), Lucy Gacheru (ILRI), Tezira Lore (ILRI), Anne Munene (ICRAF), Chanchala Kariyawasam (IWMI), Sarah Kibera (CIMMYT)

Seated: Antonella Pastore (CGIAR ICT-KM), Li Ping Ng (CIFOR)

Read related post by Antonella Pastore here and stay tuned for the new look CGIAR Ongoing Research Map!

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Feedback from updates on CGMap Ongoing Research in Africa

One of the challenges in the Ongoing Research map has been convincing scientists on the advantages of updating and sharing information in the map. I recently sent out an update on: awareness creation, database growth, information contribution as well as future development plans, here is some of the feedback received from the map contributors;

• This is very nice indeed. I had not visited the site for some time and am surprised how much it has evolved. Henry Neufeldt, ICRAF

• Just checked out the site and it really is a wealth of information well put together. Andrew Mude, ILRI

• Congratulation for the great job you are doing and for your contribution in bringing together so many different experiences. Carlo Fadda, Bioversity

• Thanks very much. This is useful. James Sackey, IFPRI

• It is indeed a relevant site and well organized with huge information. Negussie Zenna, AfricaRice

• The CG requests more and more work from each project leader but do not provide funds to cover the time necessary to deliver these requests. Christophe Bene, WorldFish

• Thanks for the update. Is it possible to get information on the projects working on ag and health? Delia Grace, ILRI

• Thanks for the update which I find important in keeping me informed on the dynamics of the CGIAR.  Jeremias Mowo, ICRAF

While the challenge still exists, there has been positive feedback on the usability and functions of the map including specific information being sought for.

To go to the Map click here

To read more of the database growth click here

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Collective Action on a higher notch!

With our common goal of fighting poverty and making concrete efforts to synergise and work more closely together, this year’s 5th Agriculture Science Week and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) General Assembly saw the CGIAR Centers collectively come together and showcase their work under one large CGIAR booth. Approximately 40 exhibitors participated in the marketplace from July 19-24, 2010, and the CGIAR stood out not only as a successful one-but as a successful collective!

How was this possible? An initial call from the CGIAR Fund Office was made to all Centers informing them of the idea of having one grand stand as opposed to different Centers having separate stands at the event and collectively displaying our work. CGIAR Centers responded enthusiastically to this call and organized their materials to be sent to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso where the event was held.

Danielle Lucca (CGIAR Fund Office) and Muthoni Njiru (ILRI/Nairobi) worked together to develop a series of large bilingual posters containing impact stories of CGIAR work in Africa. Text was prepared by Nathan Russell (CGIAR Fund Office/CIMMYT). Once the text was final it was translated into French and photos were chosen to illustrate the 12 stories. All text and photos were sent to ILRI for desktopping. ILRI staff then developed attractive large-scale artwork and printed the panels in-house for shipping to Ouagadougou.

After flying in to Ouagadougou from various parts of the world, our “booth babes” Danielle, Nadia Manning-Thomas (ICT-KM) and myself -Evelyn Katingi- set up the booth with the panels and Centers’ publications. An extra large monitor played videos from Centers and also displayed web-based programs such as Ongoing Research in Africa.  On July 19th the show was ready to roll thanks to our super crew.

Many visitors stopped by the booth to pick up information from the Centers’ publications collections and to play the “Name that Grain” game, a popular crowed-gatherer.  The games requires that players correctly identify 12 grains and cereals on a display board. If all responses are correct, the prize is a CGIAR cap.  Some of those who visited the stand included Dennis Garrity and Carlos Sere the DG’s of World Agroforestry and ILRI respectively, scientists from ICRISAT, IITA, AfricaRice, ILRI, CGIAR Fund Council Executive Director and representatives from other African organizations and local Burkina Faso agencies.  Being a common booth under the CGIAR name, Centres made use of it for promoting their work, an example being CIP’s Lieven Claessen who made use of the booth and its equipment to show visitors CIP’s video “The Orange Revolution” on the orange fleshed sweet potato in Mozambique on the large monitor screen.  The screen was also used to demonstrate CGMap Ongoing Research in Africa.

The common booth was also useful in showing what the CGIAR is all about. It was able to reflect the overarching system, but also the diversity of research efforts being carried out by the individual Centres. We noted that there was a large demand for more CGIAR publications to be available in French.

As the printers quieten and everyone returns to their work stations, we reflect on some of the achievements that can be gained by working together, including more effective utilisation of resources, formation of partnerships, enhancement of team work and more cohesion.

An applaudable effort by the CGIAR Centers!

By Danielle Lucaa, Nadia Manning-Thomas and Evelyn Katingi