Just how wide can GFAR’s mandate spread? This was the central question whose answer was sought through the Constituent Assembly sessions.
The deliberations and discussions focused on the GFAR’s vision and mission. Were they clear among the participants? Had the previous sessions helped in demystifying what GFAR is all about? And what advice do the participants have for GFAR team? These formed part of the interview questions and below are some of the feedbacks.
In an interview with Mr. Joachim Knoth, a Policy expert in rural development, Food security and Nutrition at the European Commission said that though new to the organization, the discussions had educated him a lot on GFAR’s activities and mandate. According to him, GFAR is about influencing joint efforts in agricultural research. It is demand driven from a farmers’ needs perspective and in his opinion, it has a competitive edge over other organizations in the sense that the needs of small scale farmers are what influence its research.
In his advice to GFAR as it reshapes its future, he says it would have a larger impact if it concentrated on small scale farmers as their main clients. The small scale farmers should continue influencing its research agenda. More innovations should therefore come up focusing on small scale farmers.
In another interview with Mr. Mario Ahumada – Veterinarian with Comite para la Soberanía Alimentaria America in the Latin America region, he thinks GFAR’s mandate is very broad making it difficult to integrate all stakeholders and their roles. He believes this assembly is thus well timed and shall help in clarifying all these grey spots.
Mr. Mario was quick to add the previous sessions had already done a good job in explaining what GFAR’s mandate is. ‘Yes, from my understanding, I think GFAR deals mostly with research and provides this information to its stakeholders most of which are farmer groups or working with farmers’ he said.
Looking into the future, He says that GFAR needs to come up with a concrete and a consolidated role that one would easily understand without having to be explained to. This could be corroborated by coming up with more awareness activities.
GFAR was established in 1996 to mobilize key stakeholders involved in agricultural research for development and to support their efforts to alleviate poverty, increase food security, and promote a more sustainable use of natural resources. It therefore provides a forum for research towards transforming agriculture and making it have more global impact.
Blogpost and picture by our social reporter Elicah Barasa (YPARD)
This is a live blog, reporting from the GFAR Constituent Assembly