Stakeholder Survey and Workshop Consultations Report

Report from the Stakeholder Consultations and Survey

For the Roots, Tubers and Bananas for Food Security and Income

Mega Program

 

 

1. Types and breadth of consultation

 

The stakeholder consultation used four different sources of information:

  • Seven regional stakeholder workshops attended by a total of 100 participants from 27 different countries
  • An on-line “regional” survey for national and regional partners (prepared in English, Spanish and French) that was answered by 181 people, of whom 79 had attended a workshop.
  • A shorter on-line survey for “global partners” from advanced research institutions, policy makers, donors, industry, farmer associations, NGOs and other international players that was answered by 47 respondents
  • A total of six one-on-one interviews focused in Indonesia, China and PNG.

 

The information presented here is thus synthesized from a total of 255 stakeholders representing approximately 200 different institutions[1]. The response to the consultation was outstanding considering the short time scale. Stakeholders’ enthusiasm to contribute to the proposal and the CRP itself was shown by attendance at workshops, the survey response rate and the quality of information offered. Open questions received replies from as many as 150 out of 228 survey respondents, many of them extremely detailed, novel and thoughtful; all these enriched the proposal. Such information stretches to more than 100 pages that were supplied to the proposal writers. Of necessity what is presented here is only be a synthesis that highlights the most important ideas and recommendations about the proposal.

 

The number of participants in these consultations is summarized in the two tables below by region of action and by type of institution. Twenty percent of survey respondents (46 out of 228)  were women; ages of all respondents ranged from less than 30 years old, to more than 70, with a median of 40-49.

 

Main geographical area of action

Regional workshop*

(countries represented)

Regional survey

(attended workshop)**

Regional survey (did not attend workshop)

Global partner survey

Interview

Total

West Africa

13 (4)

13

26

1

0

40

East and Central Africa

11 (3)

7

12

0

0

23

Southern Africa

14 (5)

0

2

0

0

16

Total (Africa)

38 (11)

20

40

1

0

79

Total (Latin America & Caribbean)

19 (10)

19

26

2

0

47

South, West & Central Asia

29 (3)

26

3

0

0

32

Southeast & East Asia & Pacific

14 (3)

14

19

1

6

40

Total (Asia)

43 (6)

40

22

1

6

72

Total (SH with global action)

0

0

14

43

0

57

Total stakeholders consulted

100 (27)

79

102

47

6

255

Notes to table: * Counts of workshop attendance do not include staff of the four CGIAR centers that initiated the RTB CRP. One country, Uganda was present at workshops in two different regions.

 ** Not double-counted in total stakeholders consulted

 


 

Type of institution to which respondent belongs

Regional workshop

Regional survey

(did not attend workshop)

Global survey

partner

Interview

Total

NARES (developing country)

65

32

3

6

106

University (developing country)

4

23

1

0

28

Advanced research institution

0

0

24*

0

24

Donor

4

7

8

0

19

Policy/development institution

3

11

3

0

17

Farmer organization

5

9

1

0

15

Commercial input supply, product processing or marketing

6

5

3

0

14

NGO

5

6

2

0

13

Regional research organization

6

3

0

0

9

Other international public organization

1

6

1

0

8

Other CGIAR Centre

1

0

1

0

2

Total

100

102

47

6

255

Note to table: * 12 are universities in the North; 12 are other research institutions in the North

 

The objectives of the consultation were to inform stakeholders about CG reform (if they didn’t already know) and about the RTB CRP and to obtain their “buy-in”. More importantly, to capture their perspectives on the design and implementation of the CRP, including (a) evidence that they support the proposal in general and wish to be a part of it; (b) fresh ideas on how the proposal might be made more convincing, especially in the area of achieving impact; (c) suggestions on how partnerships, gender/youth strategy, communications/information and capacity strengthening can best function in practice and (d) specific indications on how their institution, and others, should be involved. All of these were achieved.

 

In workshops, all of which had a similar design, brief initial presentations familiarized the participants with the CGIAR reform and with the outline plans for CRP3 on RTB. They then discussed whether all themes were relevant, whether others were needed and the principal outputs they expected from each theme. They discussed how to achieve impact and in particular whether and how the four cross-cutting topics (enabling partnerships, gender and youth, communications and information sharing and capacity strengthening) would be useful in that.

 

Results from all the consultation methods are presented here using the outline of the “regional” on-line survey. The global survey was simpler, in recognition of the time limitations of those answering.

 

2. Themes and future agenda

 

Participants considered all themes important. They pointed out that climate change, although recognized in its own separate CRP, was an important part of all themes, especially 1, 2 and 4. RTB crops are adapted to a wide range of agro-ecologies and this is important in the face of climate change. The West African workshop proposed two additional themes to give more emphasis on added value (Theme 6) for small enterprises, including business development, credit and finance, insurance, trend analysis, market information and specialized capacity building. The East African workshop suggested a specific additional theme on capacity building and communication and another on data management and sharing across all themes.

 

The themes – and all other concepts in the surveys - were each scored on a 0 to 5 scale (where 0 meant “not important” and 5 meant “very important”) by respondents in the regional survey (n = 175 to 180) and the global partners survey (n = 39 to 42). All themes ranked as important, but the order of priority was informative. It is possible that in the smaller group of global partners, strong opinions by some respondents, particularly specialists from ARIs, may be reflected in the means.

 

 

Regional

survey

Global

survey

Theme 2: Accelerating the development, delivery and adoption of varieties with stable yields, stress resistance and high nutritional value

4.60

4.55

Theme 6: Enhancing post-harvest technologies and adding value in markets

4.58

4.22

Theme 4: Promoting sustainable systems for clean planting material for farmers

4.51

4.38

Theme 1: Conserving and accessing genetic resources

4.42

3.81

Theme 3: Managing priority pests and diseases and beneficial microbial communities

4.29

4.24

Theme 7: Enhancing impact through partnerships

4.33

4.00

Theme 5: Developing tools for more productive, ecologically robust crops

4.12

4.05

 

The distribution of scores for all survey respondents - that is, combining data from the regional and global surveys - shows the large differences in number of respondents that lie behind these relatively small differences in mean score. Despite that, the themes are clearly all supported by the vast majority of stakeholders since in every theme 78 to 91% award 4 or 5 on a scale where 2.5 is the mean. Even for this type of survey where low scores are unusual, this is a very positive result[2].

 

 

No. of respondents awarding

Mean

score

0

1

2

3

4

5

Theme 2: Accelerating the development, delivery and adoption of varieties with stable yields, stress resistance and high nutritional value (n=220)

0

0

2

18

48

152

4.59

Theme 6: Enhancing post-harvest technologies and adding value in markets (n=219)

0

0

3

18

62

136

4.51

Theme 4: Promoting sustainable systems for clean planting material for farmers (n=219)

0

1

6

18

54

140

4.49

Theme 1: Conserving and accessing genetic resources (n=217)

0

2

11

28

55

121

4.30

Theme 3: Managing priority pests and diseases and beneficial microbial communities (n=220)

0

0

8

26

83

103

4.28

Theme 7: Enhancing impact through partnerships (n=215)

0

0

6

32

74

103

4.27

Theme 5: Developing tools for more productive, ecologically robust crops (n=219)

0

2

9

36

88

84

4.11

 

Several comments reflected that the connection between research and livelihoods was not clear in the theme agenda. Many respondents suggested a stronger production- or livelihood-systems approach, including participatory action research. This is a dilemma for proposal drafting because of the division of labor among CRPs. Other comments showed that respondents had not clearly perceived from the theme titles the inclusion of natural resources management, storage and processing.

 

There were also diverse, detailed suggestions on each theme that focused on sharpening the research agenda and methodologies (see box below), and on a question about innovative, futuristic research. These have been taken into account during redrafting.

 

Examples of suggestions for strengthening specific themes

Theme 1: Gene banks in active interaction with R&D and not as “museums”; reward/fund small farmers for in-situ conservation of genetic diversity

Theme 2: Some support for consideration of GMOs in bio-fortification, pest and disease resistance and other desirable traits; develop information on tagged genes; other methods of molecular science; incorporate banana genes from wild species through cisgenics.

Theme 3: Should be broadened to include other abiotic factors, not just pests and diseases; develop forecasting and decision support systems – maybe web-based where connectivity permits this; partners are very worried about emerging pests and diseases.

Theme 4: Develop protocols for rapid high-volume production of quality planting materials (linking formal and informal systems); primary focus of strengthening farmer-based seed systems; make visible the connection between seed production and climate challenges.

Theme 5: Use of agro-industry residue of RTB crops for soil improvement; consider organic production of RT crops; inter-cropping with legumes for soil fertility improvement; small-scale mechanization for some regions, including Africa; extract best practices and lessons on sustainable/resilient farming systems from previous projects.

Theme 6: Explore wide range of potential products not just from cassava; explore zero-waste post-harvest and processing systems; transformation of RTB crops to drivers of economic development; emphasizing high-quality carbohydrate content of root crops..

 

Several stakeholders suggested ways to increase RTB impact:

  • Accepting “the need for a more holistic program beyond technology development, where other non-traditional (sometimes neglected) partners have a role in its definition.” (Staff member, international public organization)
  • Ensuring that “the program is a single entity not an unconnected group of scientists working on vastly different crops.” (Government research scientist, North America)
  • With a “mechanism to allow donor money to fund CGIAR-NARS-Private Sector partnerships, i.e., some funds must flow through CGIAR to the other partners to create coordinated umbrella programs. Currently ….we are …. concerned that CGIAR will use its 'international public good' rhetoric to shy away from engaging fully with partners for development and deployment of new varieties.” (Representative of a donor organization)
  • “Focus on the things which work and can be delivered and adopted now. Each crop will need a champion to drive the development of these crops in many parts of the world. …If you do not know where you are going you will not get there.” (Leader, Australian University Research)

 

Another question asked how to develop a joint agenda and raise the profile of RTB crops. Answers mentioned needs assessment; strengthening researcher capacities to diagnose and analyze problems; identifying gaps and setting objectives; regular consultation workshops; advocacy at high level policy fora; linking to global platforms; and better highlighting of successful case studies. Representatives of agro-industry asked whether the only targets were poor producers and consumers, or whether new consumer markets and new producers in strategic alliances were also part.

 

3. Cross-cutting topics

 

Respondents were asked to score cross-cutting topics. Capacity strengthening and communication/information attracted higher priority than partnering and comprehensive gender strategies; regional and global respondents agreed on the relative importance of the four topics. Analysis of women’s responses showed that they too tend to place less emphasis on “comprehensive gender strategies” than the other cross-cutting topics. Comments suggest that the lower scores are partly because of concern about creating an isolated gender topic, whereas most stakeholders would like to see mainstreaming of gender concerns.

 

 

Regional:

 All

(n=170-179)

Global:

All

(n=38-42)

Regional: Women

(n=34-37)

Global: Women (n=8-9)

Strengthening people’s capacities in research for development

4.64

4.32

4.70

4.50

Promoting communication & information sharing

4.46

4.15

4.56

4.63

Exploring new ways of partnering

4.13

3.89

4.27

4.22

Comprehensive gender strategies

3.86

3.50

4.08

4.38

 

The following data for regional and global surveys combined show the number of respondents awarding each score. Depending on the topic from 62 to 92% awarded a score of 4 or 5.[3]

 

 

No. of respondents awarding

Mean score

n

0

1

2

3

4

5

Strengthening people’s capacities in research for development

0

0

3

12

56

140

4.58

211

Promoting communication & information sharing

0

0

4

22

75

117

4.40

218

Exploring new ways of partnering

0

4

5

40

86

81

4.09

216

Comprehensive gender strategies

0

4

12

68

79

58

3.79

221

 

Respondents emphasized the importance of capacity building and the need for a clear research- policy connection, including pressure to upgrade government investment in RTB crops as important food sources and opportunities for small-scale value addition; one respondent stated that biophysical issues need to be translated into political ones for policy makers to take them seriously.

 

4. Partnership approach

“The quality of the relationships between partners has to be improved, define rights and responsibilities, improve communication. Partners need to meet, not only rely on internet” (RTB regional workshop, Cali, August 2010)

 

All nine actions included in the proposal for developing effective partnerships were considered important by respondents according to the regional survey and the global survey.[4] Two of the other topics, closely related to partnership building were ranked highest, followed by translating research results into policy advice, development of public-private partnerships (which were rated slightly higher than public-civil society partnerships) and identification of poverty hotspots.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regional survey

(n=166-178)

Global survey

(n=36-41)

Communication and information sharing

4.52

4.20

Capacity strengthening in research-for-development

4.50

4.39

Learning to translate research results into policy advice

4.46

3.94

Develop public-private partnerships

4.46*

3.88

Identification of poverty hotspots where RTB target crops can help with poverty alleviation and income generation

4.45

4.12

Strengthening networks for prioritizing research needs

4.35

4.03

Develop partnerships between public sector and civil society

4.34

3.74

Outcome and impact assessment

4.32

4.10

Building learning alliances using Participatory Impact Pathway Analysis

4.14

3.72

*By error, this question was only asked in French and Spanish translations (n=54)

 

Other suggestions and comments about building strong partnerships for the CRP included:

  • Linking North and South expertise to develop strong partnerships (European university professor)
  • Eliminating duplication and competition between centers (a donor representative)
  • Treating partners as equals, and not as secondary players, especially in delivery of results to poor farmers, where the CGIAR system does not have comparative advantage. (International NGO leader, Africa)
  • Using regional research centers based on NARS for developing locally adapted technology. Less "on station" work, more networking, more participatory research ()
  • Following the CLAYUCA consortium model to create networks of users, producers, industry players with research centers, closely linked to value chains and public policy. (Latin American policy maker)
  • Developing mechanisms to get commitment from local government (Latin American researcher)
  • Inter-regional and inter-continental exchange of technology (European university researcher)

 

One respondent cautioned: “Once the Program is approved, it needs a single organigram of all people involved across all involved CG centers to effectively execute the work, i.e. a new virtual centre, so to facilitate communication. It does not work if we keep on copying all documents to everybody”

 

Respondents in the regional survey also assessed the importance of several methods for building effective partnerships among people and institutions with the following results (n = 164 to 175)

 

More important

 

Involve the right people and organizations

4.68

Transparent decision making and communication

4.64

Agree clear, shared, flexible objectives that reflect stakeholders’ diverse interests and needs

4.54

Share recognition and responsibility for outcomes

4.37

Agree supervision responsibilities across institutional boundaries

4.31

Agree guidelines about how responsibilities are assigned

4.29

Make impact pathways explicit

4.20

Slightly less important

 

Agree team standards for response time, sharing credit and time investment in discussion

4.03

Agree conflict resolution processes

3.98

Allow time for development of trust and a common language

3.97

Give leadership responsibilities to non-CGIAR partners

3.84

Clarify expectations about time investment in decision making

3.88

 

 

5. Gender and youth strategy 

 

To gauge the situation of women and young people, regional survey participants were asked their degree of agreement or disagreement with a series of statements. Respondents saw stronger opportunities for women than for young people in RTB crops. They considered that networking was more likely to help women’s livelihoods in post-harvest technology and market opportunities than in seeds and cropping systems. They did not necessarily agree that women were likely to lose if value chains were developed commercially.

 



 

strongly disagree

(0)

disagree somewhat

(1)

neither agree nor disagree

(2)

agree some-what

(3)

strongly agree

(4)

Mean score and interpretation

1. Rural women in my region have livelihood opportunities in RTB

7

4

8

59

86

3.30 (agree more than somewhat)

2. Young people in my region have livelihood opportunities in RTB

7

12

19

69

54

2.94 (agree somewhat)

3. Strengthening networks for women to share knowledge on seeds will improve livelihoods in my region

3

7

16

55

86

3.28 (agree more than somewhat)

4. Strengthening networks for women to share knowledge on cropping systems will improve livelihoods in my region

2

4

12

67

84

3.34 (agree more than somewhat)

5. Strengthening networks for women to share knowledge on post-harvest technologies will improve livelihoods in my region

4

2

6

52

104

3.49 (agree quite strongly)

6. Strengthening networks for women to share knowledge on market opportunities will improve livelihoods in my region

2

1

10

49

108

3.53 (agree quite strongly)

7. Women’s roles in livelihoods, household and community are at risk of displacement in my region when RTB value chains are developed

44

35

28

32

18

1.65 (disagree a little)

8. In my region, when RTB crops are grown commercially, men dominate decision-making and control of income

16

25

28

49

39

2.45 (agree a little)

 

Methodologically, the wide range of answers, depending on the statement, indicated that respondents’ high scores on other questions in the survey did not represent lack of discrimination among the alternatives, but genuine support.[5]

 

In order to strengthen gender and targeting in the proposal, several open questions were asked about the situation of the poor, and of women and young people, and about using RTB crops to improve that. One donor emphasized focus: “[We need to] create clear criteria for prioritization based on ex-ante assessment of potential benefits to the poor, then apply those criteria to prioritize ruthlessly, concentrating funding and efforts on a smaller number of important projects, resourced to succeed.” The leader of an international NGO in Africa said: “I believe the most urgent action is to develop the seed and agricultural extension systems (through public, civil society and/or private sector approaches) that will effectively deliver technologies to women farmers.”

 

In many root crops, especially in Africa (where yams are the exception as a “men’s crop”), women play a major role in production and commercialization. In general young people do not see opportunities in agriculture; one respondent suggested arranging for both women and young people to receive certification of their abilities and knowledge so as to add status to that. Several respondents in Africa commented that women are more ready to try out new methods, but may be limited in their access to land. In many regions in all continents, women are already the main rural workforce because men and young people have migrated to find work.

 

A common idea in comments is that developing RTB crops in value chains can strengthen livelihood opportunities for the whole family – women, men, older people and possibly young people, reducing migration to cities. This is also seen by some as a way to ensure that well-intentioned but misguided help to some groups, to the exclusion of others, does not result in jealousy and increased domestic violence. Improved post-harvest handling and storage of fresh produce is a way to increase family food security. It should be seen as separate from, although often complementary to, processing; the two need to be viewed and evaluated separately in research for development.

 

Developing opportunities for families requires (to quote one respondent) “work on all levels at the same time - policy, research, capacity building, education, training, extension, etc. Listen to advice from local stakeholder groups and involve local stakeholder groups from the beginning Develop generic methods and tools that can work across crop systems.”

 

Reflecting the wide range of opinion of the last two questions in the table above, the comments on small-scale enterprises for value-addition show an interesting debate between the majority who consider them an important opportunity for women and a minority who are concerned that if these crops become more commercial it will displace women farmers. A North American university professor commented: “I think there is just a need to raise the awareness of development issues in general. From one perspective we are better off not having RTB too high on the radar of the developed world. If they do more to commoditize these crops those who are not powerful in the commodity markets will suffer.”

 

Women and rural youth can be motivated if an agricultural micro-enterprise, preferably owned by them and for which they can receive micro-credit, is economically viable and intellectually satisfying including not just agro-processing but production of quality planting material; production of biocontrol agents and growth-promoting bacteria; vermicomposting; and developing new food products and recipes.

 

Examples where women and young people already take leadership would be worth mentioning in the proposal: In Costa Rica, support to women and young entrepreneurs begins at schools, colleges and universities. Women are recognized as potential leaders; there are National Rural Youth programs that, among their initiatives, produce RTB crops. In the Andean Region, women and young people are leaders in the production of lesser-known Andean root crops (rubas, nabos, ibias and native potato varieties).

 

Other ways suggested to develop the roles include hiring women in management roles for civil society; and offering management responsibilities to young scientists from the South.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participants also scored the importance of a number of actions as part of the gender strategy of the future CRP:

 

Regional: All

(n=146-162)

Global:

All

(n=28-33)

Regional: Women

(n=31-36)

More favoured actions as part of gender strategy

 

 

 

Incorporation of female farmer needs into research priorities

4.28

4.28

4.53

Research grants for addressing the gender dimension of RTB production and post-production

4.15

3.48

4.41

Reduction of drudgery in RTB crop production and processing

4.12

3.67

4.09

Capacity strengthening in gender-responsive research for partner organizations

4.10

3.51

4.31

Understanding gender differences in growing, consumption, preference and use of RTB crops

4.00

4.06

4.43

Less favoured actions as part of gender strategy

 

 

 

Development of a staffing strategy to enable partners to conduct gender-responsive research and development activities

3.97

3.36

4.32

Gender audit (i.e. during design and major project milestones, review which interventions are effective in achieving gender equity and which are failing)

3.83

3.46

4.09

Research awards for women researchers in RTB

3.93

3.46

4.31

Support establishment of gender focal points in partner organizations

3.80

2.96

4.18

Separate monitoring of early adoption by women and men

3.73

3.55

4.23

Gender review panel composed of specialists

3.71

2.76

4.00

Separate focus group discussions in project areas with women, men and young people

3.58

3.21

3.88

 

Women respondents’ priorities, when re-analyzed separately, agreed quite closely with those of the whole on most issues, but they gave more emphasis to separate monitoring of early adoption; staffing strategies to encourage gender-responsive research; research awards for women; and establishment of gender focal points. They gave lower priority, however, to reducing drudgery than men did.

 

One male NGO leader commented: “I have scored several of these lower, not so much because they are bad ideas, but because they can become camouflage for covering gender issues, whereas the objective should be mainstreaming gender issues.

 

6. Communication and information sharing

 

Detailed open and closed questions on communication and information sharing covered content, audiences and methods. With three exceptions in the global partner group, respondents rated all types of information content as very important to the Program.

 

 

Regional

(n=158-163)

Global

(n=35-37)

Research findings

4.67

4.39

Best practices, promising strategies

4.65

4.32

Industry situation in RTB, including trade, value chains, industry players

4.58

3.94

Enhancing capacity development

4.53

4.16

Informing policy makers, development practitioners and farmers

4.46

3.94

Specific program information

4.45

4.05

Scientific content on specific crops

4.43

4.16

Information about partners

4.22

3.56

 

Several respondents noted that it is difficult to generalize about content; what is needed varies hugely by audience, and the specific objectives of the communication.  Other comments emphasized the need to communicate research findings to end users and to communicate clearly the objectives, opportunities for participation and expected benefits to end-users of this new CRP.

 

Suggestions of opportunities for filling gaps included (from a university professor in Nigeria) retrieving “lost” information that is scattered in journals that are not accessible to many workers; and (from a university professor in Bolivia) setting up a virtual library that would, among other opportunities, give incentives for publications relevant to families, women and children – stories, legends and recipes connected to RTB crops.

 

The preferred modes of information exchange (asked only in the regional survey, n=151 to 164) were Email (mean score 4.60 out of a maximum of 5), a website (4.47), face-to-face meetings and training (4.43) and site visits (4.27). Slightly less preferred were regular newsletters and updates (4.17), pamphlets, brochures and written materials (4.13) and low literacy materials (4.06). Blogs and other social media (3.51) and telephone or conference calls (3.38) were much less preferred, especially because of problems of connectivity and cost of services in many countries. Farmer organizations and the private sector rarely see CGIAR websites; if they are to be used, more publicity and linking is needed. Radio was suggested as a medium by many, with a need to take care to simplify technical language and support efforts in local languages. Here as in capacity strengthening (see below) a question arises about how a focused CGIAR program should link to others who work with broader audiences.

 

There was a very wide range of practical suggestions in response to a question about existing communication networks/platforms, audiences, resources, venues or opportunities with which this mega-program should be connected.

 

7. Capacity strengthening in research for development

 

Respondents in the two surveys agreed very closely about the types of institution that most need formal capacity strengthening for their staff in this RTB mega-program.

 

 

Regional

(n=152-161)

Global

(n=33-35)

National research institutions (including universities)

4.65

4.20

Farmer organizations and/or individual farmers

4.37

4.29

National extension institutions

4.32

4.11

Seed growers, product traders and processors

4.29

3.94

National development institutions (including NGOs)

4.07

3.83

International institutions

3.74

3.40

 

The high ranking of need for capacity building of farmers and extensionists presents a dilemma about how far the responsibilities of this CRP should extend.  Several comments highlighted the need for the whole range of partners to be strengthened, but realized the limitations of research investment. As one asked, “is the issue capacity strengthening in implementing the research or in using the outcomes of research efforts?” Other comments on this issue:

  • Developing national capacities seems the most important. Extension services are an absolute “must”, but they are probably too far down the chain to support them strongly through the CGIAR They certainly need support, but not exactly by funding lines for research. (A donor representative)
  • This largely depends where the program wants to situate itself. The weaker the national research institution, the more linkage to other institutions is required. At the same time, I am not sure that it is possible to emphasis so much the capacity training of farmers, for example, without sacrificing the program's own research capacity. This in turn might lead to capacity strengthening using outdated technology, for example” (North American government researcher)
  • "National extension institutions" can too easily be interpreted as just the public sector. It is important to start with an analysis of what institutions can effectively provide services to poor women farmers, and then make decisions about which institutions to support. (African NGO leader)
  • Our focus is on mass production, so the more people who get training the better. (Researcher, Philippines)

 

Suggestions about capacity building of researchers included attracting scientists from the South, who are presently in the North, to key positions in research centers located in developing countries; giving more opportunities for NARI scientists to work in advanced laboratories; and tutoring university professors in RTB issues so that they do a better job of training their students. The Earth University (Costa Rica) enterprenurial development model was suggested as useful; it is not exclusive to RTB.

 

Asked more specifically the areas of expertise in which capacity strengthening is most needed for this RTB mega-program to be effective, regional respondents rated all the following as important; global partners rated some less highly, possibly reflecting the interests of ARIs who form half the group.

 

 

Regional

(n=154-162)

Global

(n=34-35)

Postharvest technology and adding value in markets

4.66

4.26

Sustainable systems for clean planting material for farmers

4.55

4.39

Accelerating the development, delivery and adoption of varieties with stable yields, stress resistance, and high nutritional value

4.54

4.52

Linking RTB research with nutrition programs for delivery

4.48

3.71

Strengthening agriculture extension and seed systems for impact on women farmers

4.46

4.03

Ecologically sound crop management, including response to climate change

4.40

4.18

Managing priority pests and diseases and beneficial microbial communities

4.31

4.34

Conserving and accessing genetic resources

4.27

3.74

Enhancing impact through partnerships

4.25

3.79

 

Asked about capacity strengthening methods for this CRP, respondents from the two surveys agreed quite closely on the order of priorities, with stronger differences visible among global partners.

 

 

Regional survey

(n=151-158)

Global survey

(n=27-35)

Preferred methods

Design and Delivery of Training programs or courses

4.45

4.00

Fellowships for students and professionals

4.44

4.14

A research and learning network (virtual dialogues, conferences, etc)

4.31

3.61

Development or better utilization of learning tools and resources

4.26

4.11

Less preferred methods

In-person network conferences

4.16

3.69

Shared M&E system applied to capacity strengthening

4.10

3.23

Capacities and Needs Assessment Platforms (tools for capacity strengthening professionals)

4.08

3.77

Non-preferred methods (especially by global institutions)

Publications in capacity strengthening

4.03

2.97

Digital Learning Resources Knowledge Bank

3.88

2.90

Online Training Courses

3.58

2.60

 

8. Key quotations

 

Alongside many expression of support for the program in general, a number of comments provided challenges which we share here.

 

There is a need to go back to the future and rediscover the importance of diversity in production systems to secure their resilience, and to work on management practices which meet livelihood and social aspirations. The innovation will come in social and economic sustainability in the system alongside sustainable production practices. (Staff member of an international public organization)

 

Based on the documentation given for this program, it is difficult to see how those themes and the outputs coming from the different themes link to the different livelihood options of the farmers and farming communities it is targeting. Why improve productivity and why should farmers adopt those technologies? (A NARES coordinator, Asia-Pacific region)

 

I am of the view that to make impact on poor producers, the challenge now is making available several already-developed improved varieties to them through a more aggressive technology delivery and extension system as well as market outlet, including upgrading extension and micro-credit and risk mitigation schemes (Leader of a West African NARES)

It is not possible to construct competitiveness without innovation and technology. Information management is indispensable and bets accompanied by an innovative communication system. (President of a Latin American farmer association)

 

RTBs are not usually well positioned within agricultural extension, as decision makers do not have a full appreciation of their true importance. Quality data on true level of production, perhaps through remote-sensing methodologies, is an essential starting point (Leader of an International NGO, Africa)

 

National institutions are very neglected because budgets are low, which is why they often have no capability. (Female researcher in an Andean country)

 

Stimulating and strengthening farming systems seems to be good approach, especially for Africa, where RTB are of very important. If "known" good varieties/crops could be made available to the farmer, if post-harvest losses could be reduced and "best practices" used, poverty could be reduced substantially. (A donor representative)

 

In principal this is a good idea. However the execution of such a program is challenging and takes real leadership to make it happen and close the enormous yield gap which currently exists in these crops. A focused approach is needed, not trying to do too many things in too many parts of the world without making any real difference. A long term strategy is needed: 10-50 years instead of the usual 5 years or so. (University research leader, Australia)



[1] An exact count of institutions, since there was more than one respondent from some institutions, and countries represented among all consultation methods will be possible once a consolidated of all stakeholders has been prepared.

[2] According to the Kruskall-Wallis test, mean scores fall into three groups: Themes 2, 6 and 4; Themes 1, 3 and 7; Theme 5. Mean scores of members of the same group are not significantly different from each other at the 5% level; but are significantly different from those of all members of other groups. In all data in this report, total counts of responses (n) do not include those who gave no opinion.

[3] The four mean scores are all significantly different from each other at the 5% level according to the Kruskall-Wallis test.

[4] Strictly a test of statistical significance would be needed in order to make statements about stakeholders in general rating characteristics in the survey “similarly”, “lower” or “higher”. This was not possible for all data in the time available for this study. The results from those tests that were conducted on themes, topics and statements about gender allow an estimate that differences in mean score greater than 0.5 are likely to be significant at the 5% level for the sample sizes of approximately 160 in the regional survey and that mean score differences greater than 0.9 are likely to be significant for the global survey.

[5] A Kruskall-Wallis test showed that the mean answers for the following groups of statements were not significantly different from each other at the 5% level within each group, but that all other pairs of mean scores were different: statements 6 and 5; statements 5 and 1; statements 1,4 and 3.

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