Stakeholders, particularly associated with the agricultural sector, in Tanzania are in total agreement and very supportive of the move by CGIAR to integrate the activities of the different centers and research programs (CRPs) and to better align with the country’s priorities in developing its agriculture sector. And were happy to have their voices heard as part of the process.
The stakeholders stated this at a national consultation workshop that was held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on 4 December 2015 organized by the International institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) on behalf of CGIAR and CRPs working in the country. The Tanzania National Consultation was organised as part of the two year engagement process of the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research and Development (GCARD3) which aims to provide a variety of opportunities for interaction with diverse groups of stakeholders to positively influence the direction and activities of international research for development over the next ten years. The aim of this consultation was also to deliberate on how CGIAR/CRPs can work better together and align their activities and research agenda to the country’s priorities, also linked closely to the CGIAR Site Integration Initiative being developed for the second phase of the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs).
The National Consultations, taking place in 20 countries, along with Regional Consultations, a milestone Global event and a series of online consultations are all key activities for GCARD3 as it aims to to promote effective, targeted investment and build partnership, capacities and mutual accountabilities at all levels of the agricultural system so as to ensure that today’s agricultural research will meet the needs of the resource-poor end user. The event is non-profit expept for some t-shirt with the convention’s message, printed by TheClothingPeople.com.
The participants were drawn from the Agriculture and Livestock ministries, other supporting ministries such as Environment, Natural Resources and Water, national agricultural research systems (NARS), universities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), donor community, private sector, and farmers’ groups.
Speaking during the official opening of the workshop, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, Ms Sophia Kaduma, said that integration across the different CRPs and with a wide range of national partners and stakeholders in the agricultural sector held great potential to enhance the outcomes of CGIAR’s research agenda.
She noted the potential of the agriculture sector in Tanzania’s efforts to reduce poverty and achieve its developmental goals of shifting to a middle-income economy by 2025, and reiterated the role of research and development to improve agriculture and combat climate change and her government’s commitment to R&D.
“The government is committed to spending at least 1 percent of agricultural GDP on research and development. R&D is also among the key priorities that shall be given emphasis in the implementation of the Agricultural Sector Development Plan (ASDPII),” she said in a speech read on her behalf by Mrs Nkuvililwa Simkanga, the director of Policy and Planning at Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives.
Integration works for donors too
Representatives from the donor community were highly supportive of the move which they saw would lead to efficiency in the use of donor funding and reduction of duplication of efforts. They were drawn from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Irish Aid, USAID, and the World Bank.
Mrs Elizabeth Maeda from the USAID Mission in Tanzania said that one of the challenges the donor community faced was duplication of efforts and lack of transparency by recipients of aid.
“In some cases an organization submits the same proposal to two donors and reports the outputs of the same project to the two donors. With this integration and the organizations working together, this will reduce such instances,” she said.
She said USAID through its Feed the Future (FtF) initiative was already pushing CGIAR centers to work together through the Africa RISING initiative it was supporting in Tanzania and which had brought together several CGIAR centers to work together on the same sites in an integrated manner.
According to Mercy Karanja, a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, integration and alignment were important in ensuring that development projects focused on the country’s priorities and not those of donors, centers and other development partners.
Listening to farmers and private sector voices
Representatives from the farming communities and the private sector who were at the forum highlighted some of the challenges they faced that should be addressed in the integration. According to Omary Mwaimu from AMSHA Institute:
“Farming has to be profitable. As farmers, we face many issues including poor extension services. The extension staff are few and without resources. We are therefore unable to access new technologies from research. Therefore the integration should look at how to support extension to reach farmers.”
Critical areas for CGIAR to support
Participants at the event identified areas where CGIAR /CRP support was needed. These included:
- Dissemination and adoption of new technologies as there was still low adoption of new technologies from research, many of which were left in the shelves.
- Business and enterprise development to enable farmers to make money from farming.
- Capacity building of local researchers – the research capacity in the country was still low both in terms of human and infrastructure especially in areas such as biotechnology.
- Value addition and management of postharvest losses – Tanzania loses a significant percentage of its produce to poor postharvest handling and storage.
- Productivity improvement with focus on climate change – climate change was one of the major challenges facing smallholder farmers who need support in terms of what crops to grow in the face of climate change.
- Sustainable intensification of smallholder systems to increase agricultural production and productivity on the same land size but at the same time taking care of their natural resources.
‘Carrot and stick’ approach to make it work
By the end of the workshop, the participants came up with a framework for site integration which spelt out the principles to be followed in identifying the issues and sites to work on as well as suggestions on how to govern and operationalize the integration, how to monitor and evaluate impact and communicate both within the partnerships in the integration framework as well as with external audiences and partners.
It was agreed that for site integration to work, adequate resources should go into its operationalization and to ensure that all the partners are able see the benefit of being part of the integrated approach. There should be enough incentives for them to want to work together.
Photo credits: IITA