Posts Tagged collectiveaction news

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) head of capacity development, ILRI and Jan Beniest (jan.beniest(at)

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Rwanda launches Irrigation Master Plan – September Collective Action News

Rwanda’s economy mainly depends on the agricultural sector, particularly food crop production. Poverty reduction therefore largely depends on efforts made on the modernisation of this sector.

Although Rwanda possesses considerable water resources, they are not evenly distributed. For example, while water is abundant in the marshlands, facilities for storing it elsewhere for irrigation purposes are lacking. Farming during dry seasons is thus limited in most parts of Rwanda. Agriculture and livestock in the eastern parts of Rwanda, where rainfall is lowest, are especially affected. This situation created a need for a full, efficient and sustainable exploitation of water resources that can help to ensure the sustainable production of food, cash, export and industrial crops.

One of the best options of achieving food security and improving people’s living conditions is through the use of modern irrigation technologies. It is from this recognition that the government of Rwanda commissioned Ebony Enterprises Limited, an Israeli firm, for the development of an Irrigation Master Plan (IMP) to facilitate the management of water resources, promote irrigation and improve food security. Ebony subsequently partnered with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) to undertake this task in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and Rwanda Agricultural Development Authority (RADA). The aim of Rwanda’s IMP is to develop and manage water resources to promote intensive and sustainable irrigated agriculture and improve food security in Rwanda. Specifically, the objective of the IMP is to provide Rwanda with a planning tool for rational exploitation of its soil and water resources as represented by the respective domains (see Figure 1) at both national and district levels. This tool is intended to lead to an increase in crop production for local consumption, as well as to promote production of high-value crops.

In order to produce the IMP, ICRAF developed a flow chart matrix that identifies potential irrigation areas and water sources by mapping biophysical and socioeconomic parameters. Details of this work are provided in the IMP document which was launched on the 17th September 2010 in a ceremony graced by the Right Honourable Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda and the Honourable Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr. Agnes Kalibata. In her remarks, Hon. Kalibata, commended ICRAF and Ebony for a job well done. A number of organizations from diplomatic missions, international research institutions, local NGOs and the community were represented during the launch of the IMP.

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Developing Africa’s Agricultural Markets – June Collective Action News

In May 2009, 150 of the world’s leading market experts gathered in Nairobi, Kenya to consider how governments, donors and other stakeholders could improve Africa’s national and regional agricultural markets. Their goal was to identify and recommend priority actions for achieving more efficient and effective markets that would contribute to poverty reduction and economic development throughout the continent.

The Conference, organized by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, (AGRA) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), comprised a wide range of representatives from the African agricultural value chain.

Participants considered interventions that have improved African markets as well as actions and policies that have undermined them. Overall, the experts concurred that no single institution or group of special interest stakeholders could resolve the array of problems afflicting Africa’s agricultural markets. Participants called for a range of efforts that would dramatically scale up proven interventions and test new ideas and approaches that would unleash the capacity of African agriculture to improve livelihoods and drive economic growth.

Among the many recommendations made for priority action was the need to encourage innovations that improve market efficiency and more fully integrate small-scale agro-entrepreneurs into marketing processes. Another recommendation was to support the provision of financial services to small-scale agro-enterprises and smallholder farmers – especially women – and the channeling of “smart subsidies” for farmers and small agro-businesses through private sector input suppliers in order to create market demand.

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2010 International Day of Biodiversity celebrations – May Collective Action News

In collaboration with national and international partners, Bioversity International launched a campaign ‘Diversity for Life’ on 22 May 2008 (the International Day of Biodiversity) leading to and culminating in the International Year of Biodiversity, 2010. The campaign is raising awareness of the role that agricultural biodiversity plays in the lives of people.

To focus the world’s attention on the importance biodiversity plays in sustaining life, the United Nations proclaimed 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). In Africa, where food insecurity threatens the lives of many people in the midst of a large diversity of agricultural biodiversity resources, the year 2010 presents a unique opportunity to highlight the need for the conservation and use of these resources to feed Africa’s populations.

The official celebrations marking the International Day of Biodiversity (IDB),(22nd May,- celebrated worldwide every year) were officiated by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), National Museums of Kenya (NMK), Bioversity International, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture of Kenya. National and international delegates to the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological ADVICE (SBSTTA 141) meeting in Nairobi, researchers, students and the general public attended the event.

As part of the celebrations of the IYB 2010 special events were held at the NMK. These included the Guardians of biodiversity exhibition, a tented exhibition and a lecture. The “Guardians of Biodiversity “ comprises photographs and captions on the work of farmers, communities and researchers who are role models in the conservation of agricultural biodiversity resources. It is jointly organised by the CGIAR and Bioversity International and will run for three months at the Museums hall. A similar exhibition is also on display in Italy. The ‘Guardians’ are people who are dedicated to safeguarding and using agricultural biodiversity to improve their lives and those of others. Their passion for agricultural diversity is helping to create a healthier, more food secure world…Read more

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Update on the CGIAR Reform Process – November Collective Action News

This issue of CAN reports on the on-going CGIAR reform, providing an update from the Executive Council Meeting held 03-04 November in Rome. The meeting was attended by Carlos Seré (Director General, ILRI) and Dennis Garrity (Director General, World Agroforestry Centre) who share their views.

In December 2008, the CGIAR launched its Change Initiative to identify how best to fulfill its role as a provider of science-based solutions for agriculture, natural resource management and rural development. A new system was agreed on and over the past 12 months a series of consultations, reports and meetings have been conducted to flesh out how the components of the new system will operate. The recent Executive Council meeting affirmed that all elements of the new system are coming together and that the new CGIAR is quickly becoming a reality. Informal
meetings between donors and centers, before the Executive Council meeting, paved the way for constructive exchange. The Chair of the CGIAR, Kathy Sierra, led the meeting in a “negotiation” format, which helped resolve contentious issues.

The core elements of the new CGIAR will be the Consortium of the CGIAR Centers and the Fund. The Consortium will unite the Centers under one legal entity and provide a single entry point for the Fund to contract Centers and other partners for research products. A Consortium Constitution has been drafted and revised, and the members of the Consortium Board will be announced by the end of 2009. Once the Board is established, it will recruit the new Consortium chief executive officer and set up the Consortium office in the second half of 2010.

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Disaster Risk Reduction: Addressing the longer term issues – October CAN

CAN OctoberThe Horn of Africa is currently dealing with the aftereffects of one of the worst droughts in a decade. Although the recent onset of the rains has brought respite to many parched areas, food security continues to deteriorate throughout the region. Worse, meteorologists predict a period of intense rainfall due to the El Niño weather phenomenon, which could trigger massive flooding in several countries before year-end. Analysts are concerned that heightened vulnerability levels in many drought-stricken communities will exacerbate the impact of flooding. In this issue of CAN, we report on the ways in which research by CGIAR centres – through Disaster Risk Reduction – is enhancing the ways in which relief and development agencies respond to natural hazards such as drought and floods.

In the Horn of Africa, more and more people are affected each time a drought occurs. Drought is becoming more frequent, allowing less time for recovery in between droughts, and increasing the vulnerability of local populations. Emergency food security interventions implemented in response to drought tend to involve the distribution of seed, water, fodder and veterinary inputs. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that, by the mid-1990s, more than US$10 million per year was being spent on procuring seed for emergency projects in the Greater Horn.

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