15th of July. Accra, Ghana. Farmer organisations and the private sector have been questioning since long how agricultural research can better benefit their developmental needs.
Since the end of year 2011 the Platform on African European partnerships (PAEPARD) has therefore started a Users’ Led Process (ULP). The Users’ Led Process (ULP) allows users of research to steer research. Regional farmer organisations and private sector actors engage African and European researchers to work on their research priorities.
The well attended side event of PAEPARD triggered a lively debate among the persons who are directly involved in the Users’ Led Process and the wider audience who were wondering how innovative the PAEPARD approach is?
Brokerage is a key concept of PAEPARD: an external broker is to facilitate the multi stakeholder collaboration in selected value chains. But the role of a broker is not evident and creates diverse expectations. In Benin an outside broker was important in a consortium around soja because the different players in the soja value chain were not used to collaborate. In Cameroon a broker limited his role to facilitating a meeting between the different actors, while it was expected he would master very different domains like research, rural development and the logic of donors. The coordinator of a livestock feed production consortium from Nigeria said that there is also a need of brokers who can bring Anglophone and Francophone researchers closer, especially as call for proposals ask for sub-regional collaboration.
A facilitator experienced a conflict between the role of the coordinator of the consortium and her role as a broker of agricultural innovation. A lesson for PAEPARD is the need to better understand the tripartite relationship between the PAEPARD project management, the agricultural innovation facilitator and the consortium coordinator : who is performing which role?
PAEPARD was first a top down process but gradually the cry for genuine demand-led research benefiting the end users got stronger. The East African Farmer Forum (EAFF) identified livestock as being close to the concerns of their constituents. A mix of stakeholders were involved and research issues were clustered in a focused way. After listing up research issues at national level, the EAFF looked at how the organizations and institutes who were involved in the Users’ Led Process could access funding windows. It is obvious that researchers are better in writing research proposals while farmer organisations know how to manage their business. It is therefore important to understand and appreciate the respective capacities: “a farmer is not a scientific researcher and a researcher is not a farmer”.
For the West African Farmer Organisation (ROPPA) the collaboration between researchers and research-users is going beyond creating a joint consortium on a specific research issue. A permanent dialogue is needed for two types of very different actors – with different levels of understanding of the importance of research – to collaborate. ROPPA partnered with the West African research organization (CORAF/WECARD) to organize an annual meeting where research users and researchers agree on common research themes. The purpose is not for a farmer organisation to lead research. But it is essential that researchers answer genuine questions of producers. In the process, ROPPA realized that research is incredibly scattered. The example of the Fond Interprofessionnelle de la Recherche et du Conseil Agricole (FIRCA) of Ivory Coast is therefore very interesting because in this case producers of a specific value chain discuss research priorities and the value chain actors are able to commission research (and finance it with the levies on revenues from their production).
In Zambia and Malawi grass root users were actively involved during a consultation to define research needs in the groundnut value chain. Specific attention was given to the inclusion of women and young farmers. Out of 32 participants 14 represented farmers. They were deliberately involved because of the demographic importance of those groups. This was possible because the national farmer organisations of those countries enjoy the trust of their constituents.
Too much energy of the PAEPARD partners went into agreeing on federating themes while at the end funding is crucial to motivate the consortium members to come and remain together. A fund is needed to kick start the process of consortium creation, including a budget line to invite the European partner.
External donors often trusts you more when you have co-funding capacities or when you can demonstrate that the consortium is accompanied by other initiatives. The soja consortium from Benin managed to collaborate with the 2SCALE project (an agribusiness service provider funded by the Dutch Government in collaboration with the International Fertilizer Development Company – IFDC) because of mentorship through other programs – like PAEPARD.
The final conclusion of the side event was that innovative funding opportunities between traditional (external) donors and funding which involve the producers have to be explored and established. This is to benefit the farmer organisations and the small and medium enterprises (agribusiness SMEs) and guarantee sustainable agricultural research funding.
Presentations made during the PAEPARD side event
- it’s origin in calls for multi stakeholder partnership around innovative ARD
- the current status of the Users’ Led Process
- the PAEPARD advocacy work on innovative funding approaches
- Patrice Sewade, Benin – Appui à la sécurité économique des ménages ruraux par la production, la commercialisation et la transformation du Soja
- Marie Joseph Medzeme Engama, Cameroun – Innover pour l’intensification, la diversification et la transformation de l’agriculture familiale en Afrique Centrale à travers la recherche – action en partenariat
- Prof Charles Okoli, Nigeria – Low cost and high quality livestock feed production knowledge delivery to Nigerian poultry industry
- Prof Charles Mutisi, Zimbabwe – Improving the incomes of smallholder farmers through increased access to livestock markets and through the engagement of the stakeholders in the livestock production to marketing value chain
- Prof Kwame Afreh-Nuamah, Ghana – Improving food security and income for smallholder farmers through improved post harvest technology
- Msekiwa Matsimbe, Malawi – Partnership for Enhanced Aquaculture Innovation in Sub Saharan Africa
- Janet Cox Achora, Uganda – Enhancing soybean and cowpea value chains for increased productivity, incomes and nutritional security of smallholder farmers in East and Central Africa
- Epaphrodite Semyampi, Burundi – Développement participatif des technologies de la culture pomme de terre et promotion des innovations sensibles au genre et à la conservation de l’environnement
- Affo Agoussou, Togo – Caractérisation de deux variétés du piment rouge pour améliorer la mise en marché et transformation semi-industrielle
- Samuel ADJEI-NSIAH, Ghana – Control of Angular leaf spot disease of Citrus
- Is there a role for outside brokerage?
- Can partnerships run without funds or outside support?
- Are funding opportunities too competitive (based on scientific excellence) and research driven/supplied?
- Steve Muchiri (EAFF, Kenya) – Extensive livestock value chains in Eastern Africa with specific focus on Kenya and Uganda
- Marie Joseph Medzeme Engama (PROPAC, Cameroun) – Garden vegetable crops value chains in urban areas with specific focus in Congo Brazzaville, DR Congo and Cameroon
- Andre Tioro (ROPPA, Burkina Faso) – Rice value chain in West-Africa with special focus on Benin, Burkina Faso and Mali
- Sharon Alfred (FANRPAN/SACAU, South Africa) – Groundnut value chains in Zambia and Malawi
- Denis Felicite Zulma (COLEACP, France) – Adding value to mango non-food uses in West Africa (Burkina-Faso, Ivory-cost, Senegal).
- Is there a participation of end-users – at grass root level?
- What is the role of national and regional Agricultural Innovation Facilitators?
- Is the process likely to yield impact?
- What incentive are needed?
- Dr. Adolphe OUYA (FIRCA, Cote d’Ivoire): Le financement national ARD – expérience du FIRCA (Fond Interprofessionnelle de la Recherche et du Conseil Agricole)
- Dr Cheikh Oumar BA (IPAR: Initiative prospective agricole et rurale, Senegal): Le Fonds National de Recherches Agricoles et Agroalimentaires du Sénégal (FNRAA)
- Aldo Stroebel, Executive Director for International Relations and Cooperation at the National Research Foundation in SA : SA strategy for innovative funding + IDRC and Carnegie Foundation study on 20 African innovation funds
- Mariam Kyotalimye (ASARECA, Uganda) Regional Experience: Competitive Grants of ASARECA
- How can we identify innovative research initiatives?
- Which [financial] support is available for multi stakeholder consortia to get organised (identify a value chain based research priority)?
- How can we involve African & European Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)?
Enhancing Food Security in sub-Saharan countries GlobE
Presentation Small and Medium Agribusinesses Development Fund
Delegation of the European Union to Uganda.