October 30, 2012, Punta del Este, Uruguay
Breakout session C1.3 North-South and South-South Collaborative Actions – Speaker Brief – The Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Development (PAEPARD).

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD) through The European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development (AGRINATURA), joined forces in the implementation of the Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Development (PAEPARD), established with funding from the European Union. Among the problems addressed by PAEPARD are:

  • insufficient capacities of African agricultural knowledge organisations, at regional and national levels, on multi-stakeholder partnership for innovation systems; 
  • lack of effective linkages between research, extension and rural development.

Blogpost by Nawsheen Hosenally, one of the GCARD2 Social Reporters.

From pre-conference meetings, to opening ceremony and plenary sessions, it was clear from the speakers and participants at the second Global Conference for Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD2), that partnership is the key if we want to improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers and increase food production by 70% to feed a population of 9 billion in 2050. But what are the partnership models that we have and what can we learn from them?

The conference session on North-South and South-South Collective Actions gave a good overview on how multi-stakeholder partnerships have been done in different regions of the world. Interestingly, partnership in Agricultural Research for Development has existed for a long time. Whether it is African-European partnerships, Latin America-Caribbean-Europe-Africa, or African Partnerships, the focus of these partnerships has been mainly on involving stakeholders who normally do not have a say in traditional research.

For example, in projects and initiatives like PAEPARD, CAADP-CGIAR Alliance and IRD/CIRAD collaborative platforms among others, it is not only scientists who are involved in research, but also other stakeholders along the agriculture value chain: farmers, researchers, extension officers, the private sector, academia, processors, exporters, input suppliers and others.

In doing so, each stakeholder contributes in formulating the research proposal that would benefit each one of them. But as simple as this sounds, it is not the case in reality!

From their presentations, the panelists highlighted that in multi-stakeholder partnerships, TRUST is very important, but is not easy to build as different stakeholders have their own objectives. Making all of them move towards a common goal is a challenge.

To overcome this, the innovation that was brought in the PAEPARD (Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development) project was to introduce Agricultural Innovation Facilitators (brokers), who were independent from the multi-stakeholder consortium and facilitated the process of partnership. According to the panelist from PAEPARD, Mr Sarfatti, facilitators have had an important role in building multi-stakeholder partnerships in the different countries where the project has been funded and implemented.

However, during the discussions, two important points were raised: It was clear that smallholder farmers are involved in these initiatives, but how far are women and youth involved in these multi-stakeholder partnerships?

Regarding the inclusion of women, the representative from the IRD/CIRAD collaborative platforms shared with the audience that in their projects, a gender specialist/consultant was recruited and her role was to ensure that all projects that are selected for funding have women inclusion.

When it comes to youth involvement in these partnerships, it was confessed by the panellist from PAEPARD that to date, there has been no strategy to include the youth in the project, but since PAEPARD is moving to its 3rd phase, the suggestion that youths get into the picture can be considered as they can be facilitators or trainers in the project.

Taking the example from IRD/CIRAD collaborative platforms, whereby a gender specialist has been appointed to ensure that women are included in the projects, can there be a youth specialist to ensure youth inclusion in multi-stakeholder partnerships?

The point to take from the session was that multi-stakeholder partnerships are not as easy as they appear to be, but from the different initiatives taken in different regions we know that we can learn from each other, share our successes and failures so that there is no duplication. We can come up with a strategy that will encourage partnerships so that each stakeholder involved will have equal contribution and benefit from impactful research.

Research is important for food security, but now the time has come to innovate and involve more stakeholders in the process so that the outputs are useful to all of them!


Too much talk so far

October 30, 2012

Rodrigo de Oliveira Andrade
Latin America correspondent, SciDev.Net

On Monday, the session “North-South and South-South Collective Actions” promised to be a great opportunity to put into practice some of the tasks mentioned during GCARD2′s opening ceremony, since the session’s main goal was promoting inter-regional learning and capacities through mobilising and strengthening innovative networks to demonstrate and enhance their impacts on the Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D).

However, after the brief presentation of some collaborative research platforms, such as The Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Development (PEAPARD) and also the Brazil-Africa and Brazil-Caribbean Innovation Marketplace, the institutionalist discourse predominated. Paulo Duarte, from Coordination of Technical Cooperation Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), for example, presented Brazil’s experience in implementing the Platform.

During his talk, Duarte said that this marketplace aims to benefit primarily smallholders with focus on agricultural innovation by the engagement of different actors involved in the generation of agricultural knowledge.

“The technologies developed by EMBRAPA were important for the development of Brazilian agriculture and there is interest from other countries to exchange knowledge with Brazil. The agriculture is vital for the economic and social development of Africa, Brazil and Latin America-Caribbean and EMBRAPA have projects in Africa to stimulating the ethanol producing and five other projects in different Latin American countries, such as Bolivia and Colombia,” he said.

So far, it the GCARD sessions appear to be more interested in sharing knowledge and their own institutional experiences.

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