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‘Leveling’ livestock information: Knowledge management at an ICAR–ILRI communications workshop

Spotlight from ILRI news -

Note: This is the tenth in a series of articles on
‘Curds and goats, lives and livelihoods—
A dozen stories from northern and eastern India’.
PART 10: ‘Leveling’ access to livestock information:
Knowledge management talks at an ICAR–ILRI communications workshop  

By Jules Mateo and Susan MacMillan,
of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

This is the third of three reports on a Mar 2016 ICAR–ILRI communications workshop held at ICAR’s New Delhi research complex.

To share best practices and explore opportunities for collaboration, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) held a joint communications and knowledge management workshop on 4 Mar 2016 at the National Agricultural Science Centre Complex in New Delhi, India.

National Agricultural Science Centre Complex

The one-day communications workshop was held at the National Agricultural Science Centre Complex in New Delhi, India (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

The one-day workshop was co-organized by ILRI’s Communications and Knowledge Management (CKM) team and ICAR’s Directorate of Knowledge Management in Agriculture (DKMA). The workshop brought together 75 officials, scientists and communications experts from both organizations.

Former ICAR director (left) with Jimmy Smith and Alok Jha (right)

Officials and scientists from ILRI and ICAR attended the workshop (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

The workshop was organized around three focus areas: (1) creating impact through communicating research outputs, (2) communicating evidence for wider influence and (3) publishing and accessing research outputs and knowledge.

Workshop focus area 3: Accessing, publishing and disseminating research knowledge, information, data, products and outputs for wide accessibility and use

Focus area 3, the last session of the day, was divided into six 10-minute case studies on data and knowledge management and information dissemination from scientists and communications specialists from ILRI and ICAR, as well as a journalist covering science news in mass media. They shared experiences on how they access, manage and make agricultural information available online and on mobile phones.

ICAR-ILRI Communications Workshop was organized and facilitated by Peter Ballantyne

Peter Ballantyne, head of ILRI Communications and Knowledge Management, presented on open-access approach to livestock information (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

The first case study, on open access/open publishing at ILRI, was presented by Peter Ballantyne, head of ILRI Communications and Knowledge Management. Ballantyne listed the many ways that ILRI is ‘working in the open’. These include open projects, open platforms, open conversations on social media, open (Google) books, open online (DSpace) repositories (CGSpace), open source (Github), open data (portals and datasets), open news, open to re-use (Creative Commons licence) and open for feedback. ILRI’s open-access policy, with 95% of its content open to the public, aims to increase the uptake of research products, make outputs widely available and accessible, generate (borderless) international public goods, and enhance communication and collaboration with the institute’ many partners.

Participants in a group discussion that followed found the principles and practices of open-access policy attractive but mentioned that ICAR would have to also consider the trade-offs of implementing such policies. ICAR now gets some revenue from selling many of its books, journals, magazines, manuals and other materials, albeit at low prices (the government subsidizes this publishing). A completely open-access policy would run counter to their business model. The participants recommended that ICAR find a balance between its open access and commercial interests.

Dinesh Kumar, of ICAR IASRI

Data management expert Dinesh Kumar (right) of ICAR’s Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Dinesh Kumar, from ICAR’s Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI), discussed data management at IASRI, particularly the handling of genomic data. Kumar said his team’s goal is to manage massive and complex data in ways that make that data easier and faster to access online.

His team has been working on managing data on genetic markers, as well as on developing tools to make managing genomic data more efficient and productive. IASRI has already placed a large amount of genetic data in the public domain, Kumar reported. In the group discussion that followed his presentation, Kumar noted other areas that still need improvement, including attracting more users and familiarizing them with the system and establishing networks among data management community, inadequate data, especially on phenomics (measuring physical and biochemical traits of organisms), and financial sustainability. He and the other members of his group recommended holding a bilateral discussion with ILRI on possible areas of collaboration and the co-development of a strategy for better use of genomic data.

WomanAtICAR-ILRIcommsWorkshop_Cropped

Aruna T Kumar, senior editor at ICAR Directorate of Knowledge Management in Agriculture, presents on managing access to research journals (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

The management of research journal publishing was discussed by Aruna T Kumar, a DKMA senior editor. ICAR publishes 26 journals in both print and digital formats. Making journal articles available online has greatly improved the global visibility and international viewership of these articles, she said. And synthesizing and repackaging years of research on given topics has enabled her team to increase the shelf-lives of ICAR’s scientific outputs and also to get them reviewed by international authorities. The primary goal of her team is to get ICAR’s research cited more often and to raise their impact factor.

In the following group discussion, Kumar and her DKMA colleagues said that a separate interactive website for each journal might improve its access and viewership. Regarding possible ICAR–ILRI collaborations, they suggested considering jointly publishing supplementary issues and linking ICAR authors to Research Gate, Mendeley and other academic networks, which would help not only to raise the authors’ profiles but also to increase the readership of ICAR journals. Use of metrics to determine viewership and audience was also recommended.

Group discussion on delivering livestock information through mobile phones

Group discussion on managing livestock content for mobile phones (photo credit: ILRI/Jules Mateo). 

A presentation on ‘Organizing and managing livestock content for mobile dissemination’ was given by Sagarika Gandhi, a consultant scientist for ILRI who worked on a two-year project using mobile technology for disseminating accurate and relevant scientific livestock information in forms readily understandable by farmers. A workflow was followed to identify farmers’ knowledge needs, to organize this knowledge according to ‘knowledge domains’, to develop draft content and to generate final content for mobile dissemination. The project learned the importance of two things, said Ghandi: Good-quality content of practical use by farmers is badly needed but very scarce. Other workshop participants agreed that good-quality content is one of the most important factors. They advised consulting agricultural extension workers and local stakeholders to get the content right. They also recommended that such projects regularly update farmer contacts and add alerts to their services.

A journalist covering agricultural science and technology stories, NB Nair, spoke about the challenges of repackaging ICAR information for use by mass media. He said science remains under-represented in Indian media, with just 0.2% of the country’s news coverage concerning agriculture. He argued that the problem is not that science doesn’t sell but rather that scientists tend to be reticent or shy about sharing their research results with journalists. He said scientists must provide the latest information they have in ways that can be ‘consumed’ by journalists. Popularizing science is ‘all about salesmanship’, Nair said; it must be ‘sold’ to the general public. Science stories for the Indian public should be written in ‘common language’, he added. And with English understood by only 20% of the population, they should also be translated and written in local languages.

The last presentation of the third focus area, and of the workshop, was on ‘Measuring use of knowledge outputs—some work in progress’ by ILRI’s Peter Ballantyne. He described ways he’s trying to assess the impacts of information made available on ILRI’s online knowledge portals. By collecting and collating relevant data, he investigates ‘who is using what materials and over what time periods’. Such assessments, which include the rate at which an individual scientist produces yearly outputs, can help an institute gauge its digital reach as well as its staff and institutional performance. ILRI uses Altmetric Explorer for compiling these kinds of metrics.

EntranceAtICAR0ILRIcommsWorkshop_Cropped

At the lobby of National Agricultural Science Centre (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Read the first and second of three articles reporting on the ICAR–ILRI communications workshop: Getting the (science) word out: ILRI and ICAR share livestock communications and knowledge management practices, 25 May 2016 and Reaching stakeholders, influencing policies: ICAR–ILRI communications workshop, 11 Jul 2016.

Read previous parts in this blog series: Curds and goats, lives and livelihoods—A dozen stories from northern and eastern India

Part 1: Colourful convocation: Jimmy Smith addresses graduates of India’s prestigious National Dairy Research Institute, 30 Mar 2016.
Part 2: Elite buffaloes and other exemplars of advanced Indian dairy science at the National Dairy Research Institute, 31 Mar 2016.
Part 3: Culture of the cow: Curds in the city—Better living through smallholder dairying in northern India, 5 Apr 2016.
Part 4: Building better brands and lives through peri-urban dairying and smart crop-dairy farming, 6 Apr 2015
Part 5: Wonder women of Bhubaneswar, 12 Apr 2016.
Part 6: Odisha Odyssey: The Arcadian landscapes and tribal goat keepers of Mayurbhanj, 9 May 2016.
Part 7: Odisha Odyssey: A look at the emerging dairy value chains in eastern India, 12 May 2016.
Part 8: Getting the (science) word out: ILRI and ICAR share livestock communications and knowledge management practices, 25 May 2016.
Part 9: Reaching stakeholders, influencing policies: ICAR–ILRI communications workshop, 11 Jul 2016.

View the presentation by Sagarika GandhiOrganizing and managing livestock content for mobile dissemination, 4 Mar 2016.
View the presentation by Peter Ballantyne: Open access / open publishing at the International Livestock Research Institute, 4 Mar 2016.
View the presentation by Peter Ballantyne: Measuring use of ILRI’s knowledge outputs–Some work in progress, 4 Mar 2016.

Read an ILRI opinion piece by Susan MacMillan on evidence-based advocacy communications.

View all photographs of the workshop in this ILRI Flickr photo album.


‘Leveling’ livestock information: Knowledge management at an ICAR–ILRI communications workshop

News from ILRI -

Note: This is the tenth in a series of articles on
‘Curds and goats, lives and livelihoods—
A dozen stories from northern and eastern India’.
PART 10: ‘Leveling’ access to livestock information:
Knowledge management talks at an ICAR–ILRI communications workshop  

By Jules Mateo and Susan MacMillan,
of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

This is the third of three reports on a Mar 2016 ICAR–ILRI communications workshop held at ICAR’s New Delhi research complex.

To share best practices and explore opportunities for collaboration, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) held a joint communications and knowledge management workshop on 4 Mar 2016 at the National Agricultural Science Centre Complex in New Delhi, India.

National Agricultural Science Centre Complex

The one-day communications workshop was held at the National Agricultural Science Centre Complex in New Delhi, India (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

The one-day workshop was co-organized by ILRI’s Communications and Knowledge Management (CKM) team and ICAR’s Directorate of Knowledge Management in Agriculture (DKMA). The workshop brought together 75 officials, scientists and communications experts from both organizations.

Former ICAR director (left) with Jimmy Smith and Alok Jha (right)

Officials and scientists from ILRI and ICAR attended the workshop (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

The workshop was organized around three focus areas: (1) creating impact through communicating research outputs, (2) communicating evidence for wider influence and (3) publishing and accessing research outputs and knowledge.

Workshop focus area 3: Accessing, publishing and disseminating research knowledge, information, data, products and outputs for wide accessibility and use

Focus area 3, the last session of the day, was divided into six 10-minute case studies on data and knowledge management and information dissemination from scientists and communications specialists from ILRI and ICAR, as well as a journalist covering science news in mass media. They shared experiences on how they access, manage and make agricultural information available online and on mobile phones.

ICAR-ILRI Communications Workshop was organized and facilitated by Peter Ballantyne

Peter Ballantyne, head of ILRI Communications and Knowledge Management, presented on open-access approach to livestock information (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

The first case study, on open access/open publishing at ILRI, was presented by Peter Ballantyne, head of ILRI Communications and Knowledge Management. Ballantyne listed the many ways that ILRI is ‘working in the open’. These include open projects, open platforms, open conversations on social media, open (Google) books, open online (DSpace) repositories (CGSpace), open source (Github), open data (portals and datasets), open news, open to re-use (Creative Commons licence) and open for feedback. ILRI’s open-access policy, with 95% of its content open to the public, aims to increase the uptake of research products, make outputs widely available and accessible, generate (borderless) international public goods, and enhance communication and collaboration with the institute’ many partners.

Participants in a group discussion that followed found the principles and practices of open-access policy attractive but mentioned that ICAR would have to also consider the trade-offs of implementing such policies. ICAR now gets some revenue from selling many of its books, journals, magazines, manuals and other materials, albeit at low prices (the government subsidizes this publishing). A completely open-access policy would run counter to their business model. The participants recommended that ICAR find a balance between its open access and commercial interests.

Dinesh Kumar, of ICAR IASRI

Data management expert Dinesh Kumar (right) of ICAR’s Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Dinesh Kumar, from ICAR’s Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI), discussed data management at IASRI, particularly the handling of genomic data. Kumar said his team’s goal is to manage massive and complex data in ways that make that data easier and faster to access online.

His team has been working on managing data on genetic markers, as well as on developing tools to make managing genomic data more efficient and productive. IASRI has already placed a large amount of genetic data in the public domain, Kumar reported. In the group discussion that followed his presentation, Kumar noted other areas that still need improvement, including attracting more users and familiarizing them with the system and establishing networks among data management community, inadequate data, especially on phenomics (measuring physical and biochemical traits of organisms), and financial sustainability. He and the other members of his group recommended holding a bilateral discussion with ILRI on possible areas of collaboration and the co-development of a strategy for better use of genomic data.

WomanAtICAR-ILRIcommsWorkshop_Cropped

Aruna T Kumar, senior editor at ICAR Directorate of Knowledge Management in Agriculture, presents on managing access to research journals (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

The management of research journal publishing was discussed by Aruna T Kumar, a DKMA senior editor. ICAR publishes 26 journals in both print and digital formats. Making journal articles available online has greatly improved the global visibility and international viewership of these articles, she said. And synthesizing and repackaging years of research on given topics has enabled her team to increase the shelf-lives of ICAR’s scientific outputs and also to get them reviewed by international authorities. The primary goal of her team is to get ICAR’s research cited more often and to raise their impact factor.

In the following group discussion, Kumar and her DKMA colleagues said that a separate interactive website for each journal might improve its access and viewership. Regarding possible ICAR–ILRI collaborations, they suggested considering jointly publishing supplementary issues and linking ICAR authors to Research Gate, Mendeley and other academic networks, which would help not only to raise the authors’ profiles but also to increase the readership of ICAR journals. Use of metrics to determine viewership and audience was also recommended.

Group discussion on delivering livestock information through mobile phones

Group discussion on managing livestock content for mobile phones (photo credit: ILRI/Jules Mateo). 

A presentation on ‘Organizing and managing livestock content for mobile dissemination’ was given by Sagarika Gandhi, a consultant scientist for ILRI who worked on a two-year project using mobile technology for disseminating accurate and relevant scientific livestock information in forms readily understandable by farmers. A workflow was followed to identify farmers’ knowledge needs, to organize this knowledge according to ‘knowledge domains’, to develop draft content and to generate final content for mobile dissemination. The project learned the importance of two things, said Ghandi: Good-quality content of practical use by farmers is badly needed but very scarce. Other workshop participants agreed that good-quality content is one of the most important factors. They advised consulting agricultural extension workers and local stakeholders to get the content right. They also recommended that such projects regularly update farmer contacts and add alerts to their services.

A journalist covering agricultural science and technology stories, NB Nair, spoke about the challenges of repackaging ICAR information for use by mass media. He said science remains under-represented in Indian media, with just 0.2% of the country’s news coverage concerning agriculture. He argued that the problem is not that science doesn’t sell but rather that scientists tend to be reticent or shy about sharing their research results with journalists. He said scientists must provide the latest information they have in ways that can be ‘consumed’ by journalists. Popularizing science is ‘all about salesmanship’, Nair said; it must be ‘sold’ to the general public. Science stories for the Indian public should be written in ‘common language’, he added. And with English understood by only 20% of the population, they should also be translated and written in local languages.

The last presentation of the third focus area, and of the workshop, was on ‘Measuring use of knowledge outputs—some work in progress’ by ILRI’s Peter Ballantyne. He described ways he’s trying to assess the impacts of information made available on ILRI’s online knowledge portals. By collecting and collating relevant data, he investigates ‘who is using what materials and over what time periods’. Such assessments, which include the rate at which an individual scientist produces yearly outputs, can help an institute gauge its digital reach as well as its staff and institutional performance. ILRI uses Altmetric Explorer for compiling these kinds of metrics.

EntranceAtICAR0ILRIcommsWorkshop_Cropped

At the lobby of National Agricultural Science Centre (photo credit: ILRI/Susan MacMillan).

Read the first and second of three articles reporting on the ICAR–ILRI communications workshop: Getting the (science) word out: ILRI and ICAR share livestock communications and knowledge management practices, 25 May 2016 and Reaching stakeholders, influencing policies: ICAR–ILRI communications workshop, 11 Jul 2016.

Read previous parts in this blog series: Curds and goats, lives and livelihoods—A dozen stories from northern and eastern India

Part 1: Colourful convocation: Jimmy Smith addresses graduates of India’s prestigious National Dairy Research Institute, 30 Mar 2016.
Part 2: Elite buffaloes and other exemplars of advanced Indian dairy science at the National Dairy Research Institute, 31 Mar 2016.
Part 3: Culture of the cow: Curds in the city—Better living through smallholder dairying in northern India, 5 Apr 2016.
Part 4: Building better brands and lives through peri-urban dairying and smart crop-dairy farming, 6 Apr 2015
Part 5: Wonder women of Bhubaneswar, 12 Apr 2016.
Part 6: Odisha Odyssey: The Arcadian landscapes and tribal goat keepers of Mayurbhanj, 9 May 2016.
Part 7: Odisha Odyssey: A look at the emerging dairy value chains in eastern India, 12 May 2016.
Part 8: Getting the (science) word out: ILRI and ICAR share livestock communications and knowledge management practices, 25 May 2016.
Part 9: Reaching stakeholders, influencing policies: ICAR–ILRI communications workshop, 11 Jul 2016.

View the presentation by Sagarika GandhiOrganizing and managing livestock content for mobile dissemination, 4 Mar 2016.
View the presentation by Peter Ballantyne: Open access / open publishing at the International Livestock Research Institute, 4 Mar 2016.
View the presentation by Peter Ballantyne: Measuring use of ILRI’s knowledge outputs–Some work in progress, 4 Mar 2016.

Read an ILRI opinion piece by Susan MacMillan on evidence-based advocacy communications.

View all photographs of the workshop in this ILRI Flickr photo album.


P&OD Re-design exercise communication

POD announcement -

ILRI management realizes the integral part that staff play in the support and furtherance of the science and as such, it became apparent the need for ILRI to adopt a cohesive, integrated and modern approach to Compensation and Benefits to enhance the attraction and retention of a motivated, high caliber workforce, making ILRI a premier research-for-development Institute and in the league of being an Employer of Choice. In that regard, ILRI has contracted Hay Group, a leading Human Resources Management consulting firm of international repute to; review and develop a job evaluation system which is universal in nature; develop a career-pathing framework for non-scientific roles; and lastly to develop competency models that will drive the behaviors required to drive success in the context of ILRI’s 2013 – 2022 strategy.

In light of the above, I am pleased to advise you that the Compensation and Benefits redesign has kicked off and the project will be implemented in two phases:

1. Phase one – June to December 2016

– Development of standard operating procedures / policy related to job evaluation; reviewed, updated and implementation of an online job evaluation system, standardized job descriptions and job families, evaluation of all positions and defined career paths for non-scientific roles. The competency models will also be developed in this phase.

2. Phase two – January to June 2017

– Review of Pay and Benefits (including benchmarking of Pay and Benefits for both local employees and foreign nationals).

– Development of an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) based on other research and available data to date.

Hay Group team will consist of a team of Consultants with a mix of expertise and knowledge and they will be available regularly on site. Gareth Hallet will be the Project Lead and will manage the project deliverables.

In an effort to understand the institute and gather relevant information the consultants will conduct one-on-one interviews, workshops and training with a cross section of staff including visits to our key offices. To support this initiative, different committees will be constituted as key resources in this exercise. Please note that this is an Institute-wide exercise and I wish to echo the importance of this project and to kindly request all those who will be invited to participate to give the project the due priority that it deserves.

You will be provided with more information on the project activities as we proceed.

Thank you all for your expected support and contribution to the successful implementation of this important organizational development initiative.

Best regards,

Jimmy Smith| Director General
.

P&OD Re-design exercise communication

Latest ILRI announcements -

ILRI management realizes the integral part that staff play in the support and furtherance of the science and as such, it became apparent the need for ILRI to adopt a cohesive, integrated and modern approach to Compensation and Benefits to enhance the attraction and retention of a motivated, high caliber workforce, making ILRI a premier research-for-development Institute and in the league of being an Employer of Choice. In that regard, ILRI has contracted Hay Group, a leading Human Resources Management consulting firm of international repute to; review and develop a job evaluation system which is universal in nature; develop a career-pathing framework for non-scientific roles; and lastly to develop competency models that will drive the behaviors required to drive success in the context of ILRI’s 2013 – 2022 strategy.

In light of the above, I am pleased to advise you that the Compensation and Benefits redesign has kicked off and the project will be implemented in two phases:

1. Phase one – June to December 2016

– Development of standard operating procedures / policy related to job evaluation; reviewed, updated and implementation of an online job evaluation system, standardized job descriptions and job families, evaluation of all positions and defined career paths for non-scientific roles. The competency models will also be developed in this phase.

2. Phase two – January to June 2017

– Review of Pay and Benefits (including benchmarking of Pay and Benefits for both local employees and foreign nationals).

– Development of an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) based on other research and available data to date.

Hay Group team will consist of a team of Consultants with a mix of expertise and knowledge and they will be available regularly on site. Gareth Hallet will be the Project Lead and will manage the project deliverables.

In an effort to understand the institute and gather relevant information the consultants will conduct one-on-one interviews, workshops and training with a cross section of staff including visits to our key offices. To support this initiative, different committees will be constituted as key resources in this exercise. Please note that this is an Institute-wide exercise and I wish to echo the importance of this project and to kindly request all those who will be invited to participate to give the project the due priority that it deserves.

You will be provided with more information on the project activities as we proceed.

Thank you all for your expected support and contribution to the successful implementation of this important organizational development initiative.

Best regards,

Jimmy Smith| Director General
.

Photo story: Equipping young people with skills for sustainable development

CRP 7 News -

In 2015 two global policy agreements relating to climate change and sustainable development were made: the 2015 Paris Climate agreement and the 2030 sustainable development agenda (SDGs).

World Youth Skills Day 15 July 2016

To highlight some of the above initiatives (and initiatives by partners) involving youth, we have organised a discussion forum on our network, the Climate and Agriculture Network for Africa (CANA). The topic is Climate-Smart Agriculture and Youth Engagement in the 2030 agenda.

The conversation will continue from 13 - 22 July 2016.

Join the online conversation Now!

If countries are to succeed in achieving the SDGs and addressing the impacts of climate change, governments and development partners must seek out an active and substantive engagement of young women and men from diverse backgrounds in national-level planning, implementation, and monitoring.

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and partners are engaging young men and women in various initiatives in climate-smart villages (CSVs).  These are test sites, high-risk areas suffering most from a changing climate, where researchers are working with farmers and development partners to identify climate-smart technologies and practices that could contribute to food security.

A farmer admires his pigeon pea crop.

A farmer at the Nyando CSV, western Kenya, admires a pigeon pea crop grown in a community demonstration farm. CCAFS and partners are working with farmers in Nyando to test new varieties of drought tolerant crops such as pigeon pea that give good yield with very little water. Photo: S.Kilungu (CCAFS).

Fish farming in Nyando

Lower Kamula youth group leader Jack Onyango, in Nyando CSV, shows off a fish pond management by his group of young farmers. The group received training and support to construct a greenhouse and fish pond as well as skills to manage the two from CCAFS and partners. Photo: C.Schubert (CCAFS). Read more: Grand greenhouse plans keep youths farming for a better future.

Niger

Dr Patrice Savadogo, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)/ World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) joint scientist giving a talk to pupils in Gassayda village in Niger on farmer managed natural regeneration (FMNR) practices. The objective is to sensitize young people to the challenge of climate variability and change and also the need for climate smart agriculture. Photo:  ICRISAT-Niamey, Niger.

Exchange visit in Columbia

CCAFS promoted an exchange between farmers from the north and south of Colombia to share experiences, practices and approaches on climate change adaptation. In the last exchange, a delegation of the climate-smart village of Cauca visited the village of San Joaquín, located in Mahates (Bolivar) including two young farmers; besides, one of them participated as a reporter of the exchange. Photo: JL Urrea (CCAFS).

CCAFS has been focusing efforts to promote the love for their village in children and youth of Cauca CSV, as a bridge to the adaptation to climate variability and change, by linking children and young people through a program of capacity building. This program began with a process of communication for social change; empowerment in using information technology and communications (ICT) for territorial ownership and complemented by leadership processes and agribusiness ventures. In the picture, local youth receive their certificate for finishing the course of photography, script and participatory video, and received a symbolic graduation of ‘little journalists’. Photo: LA Ortega (EcoHabitats).

Infomediary Campaign

Role reversal: Yes they can! Children can be their parents' teachers even on topics as complex as climate change and agriculture. CCAFS in Southeast Asia has been supporting the Infomediary Campaign being implemented by the Philippine Rice Research Institute. The project taps the youth as information sources on various topics around climate change and agriculture. Photo: Infomediary Campaign 2015.

Infomediary project

Experiential learning has been proven to be a very effective learning modality. Hence, participating youth in the Infomediary Campaign learn by doing and experiencing agricultural activities. Photo: Infomediary Campaign 2014. Watch this video for more information on the Infomediary Campaign: How good are our infomediaries?

 

Tanzania livestock development plan to boost dairy farmers’ incomes

CRP 3.7 News -

Selling milk by the road in Tanzania

Small scale milk traders in Tanzania

Contributing nearly 30% of the livestock sector GDP, Tanzania’s dairy industry is one of the most important and fastest growing sectors in the country’s economy and it plays a key role in alleviating poverty and food insecurity.

A recent study analysed how dairy sector players are likely to benefit from interventions proposed in the Tanzania livestock modernization initiative (TLMI). A paper from the study, ‘Production and consumption responses to policy interventions in Tanzania’s dairy industry’, shows that the country’s dairy farmers and their families, consumers and other actors in the milk value chain will get significant economic and nutritional benefits from the implementation of the TLMI.

According to the author, Edgar Twine, a value chain economist working with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Tanzania, the proposed measures will address milk supply constraints and significantly enhance the country’s dairy industry. Milk producers will gain more than one billion shillings (USD 500,000) annually from implementation of three key interventions— improved access to inputs, increase in the national dairy herd and better industry regulation. These measures will lead to an increase in milk supply, better milk prices for farmers and increased consumption of milk across the country.

The Tanzania government launched the livestock modernization initiative in 2015 with support from the Royal Danish Embassy and ILRI. The initiative seeks to harmonize dairy production with other government policies and programs such as the National Livestock Policy to improve the welfare of milk producers, consumers and other agents involved in the dairy value chain. Providing appropriate technologies, institutions and business models that encourage greater investment in the industry are key goals of the plan.

Using a basic partial equilibrium model that was simulated over a 14-year period, the paper provides information to enable setting of appropriate targets for growth of the industry. The author also gives details on how the interventions are expected to increase annual per capita milk consumption from the current 45 to 200 litres to meet the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ recommendation for milk consumption in Tanzania. ‘If the simulated interventions are implemented simultaneously to a reasonable degree, says Twine, ‘per capita milk consumption will rise to the recommended level in about two decades.’

 


Filed under: Animal Products, CRP37, Dairying, East Africa, ILRI, Livestock, PTVC, Report, Research, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains

In Ethiopia, collaboration by CGIAR and national partners is delivering integrated development solutions

Clippings -

Agriculture accounts for an average of 47% of Ethiopia’s GDP over the last decade. It employs approximately 75% of the labour force, and smallholder farmers cultivate 94% of arable land in the country. With population growing by nearly 3% per annum, substantial increases in agricultural production and productivity are needed to feed everyone. Research is a key input to achieve this and it is a key aspect in the country’s transformation goals.

The second phase of multi-partner CGIAR research programs (CRPs) are being developed to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the CGIAR’s three system-level objectives: to reduce poverty, improve food and nutritional security for health, and improve natural resource systems and ecosystem services.

These objectives and goals are well-aligned with the aspirations of Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) II which aims to reduce poverty, achieve food security and contribute to economic growth, exports and attaining climatic sustainability.

With agriculture still performing a central role in Ethiopia’s nation building, with the Ethiopian government committed to developing its agricultural sector, and with 11 CGIAR centres working for a food-secure future in the country, Ethiopia is an ideal environment in which to build highly productive research for development partnerships.

A CGIAR hub in Ethiopia

Within the wider CGIAR phase 2 portfolio development process, ‘site integration’ and country coordination plans are being developed by CGIAR centres and their partners and stakeholders in 20 developing countries. The aim is to ensure that CGIAR efforts contribute to national, as well as international, priorities and goals and ensure that the CGIAR programs and centres coordinate their efforts in each country.

Eleven1 of the 15 CGIAR centres and 12 CRPs2 work in Ethiopia. They have rich and diverse partnerships with national institutions that focus on agricultural research, natural resources management, nutrition, public health, extension, implementation and policy  (see this poster).

National coordination

Under the auspices of the International Livestock Research Institute, the hosting CGIAR institute in Ethiopia, a group of CGIAR centres held regular meetings in 2015 to discuss ways to better cooperate, collaborate and integrate their efforts. This grew out of December 2014 discussions with Ethiopia’s Agricultural Research System when synergies were explored.

With the wider CGIAR process providing an additional boost to these efforts, the agenda of quarterly meetings has been expanded and other steps have been taken, including:

  • Setting up an email group of the heads of CGIAR centres and CRP focal points working in Ethiopia.
  • Creating a collaborative website (wiki) to host reports, plan meetings, and support communication among all CGIAR and national parties.
  • Forming an ad hoc coordination team to drive this process to become a key joint national-CGIAR mechanism to drive country collaboration and site integration.

It is also planned to organize an annual consultation with representatives of the research institutes and governmental agencies, as well as representatives from non-governmental organizations and regional institutions.

Beyond these specific mechanisms, CGIAR representatives contribute to various ‘sharing, learning, planning and implementation’ platforms, most notably the Agriculture Research and Technology Task Force of the Rural Economic Development and Food Security Sector Working Group (RED&FS), a government-donor coordination platform for agriculture, natural resource management and food security. The objective of RED&FS is to review the implementation status of development activities, and coordinate and harmonize the work of key development partners in the country.

Farmers and community representatives engage with researchers and other partners in innovation platforms (Photo: Kindu Mekonnen – ILRI)

Site collaboration

CGIAR centres and CRPs collaborate closely with numerous partners in a wide range of research projects in the field. Two projects illustrate this work:

  1. Africa Research in Sustainable Intensification for the Next Generation project (Africa RISING) in the Ethiopian Highlands
  2. Humidtropics CRP—Western Ethiopia Action Site

These two projects align their ‘research for development’ interventions at their six research sites through local innovation platforms. Both are contributing to increased production and productivity of crops and livestock, and increased incomes of participating smallholder farmers. Nine CGIAR centres in Africa RISING and four CGIAR centres in Humidtropics, as well as numerous partners, work together in the field sites.

Africa RISING

This research for development project, funded by the USAID Feed the Future initiative, operates in eight kebeles (the lowest administrative units in Ethiopia), in four districts in Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples, and Tigray regions.

The eight kebeles were selected using specific criteria, including areas presenting opportunities for sustainable intensification, sites undertaking crop, livestock, tree and NRM activities, and the previous experiences of partners. CGIAR centres are engaged in different research protocols that contribute to sustainable agricultural intensification of mixed crop-livestock systems.

Together with local partners and community members, Africa RISING identified seven thematic research areas based on community research prioritization. The research for development activities or research protocols are undertaken on farmers’ fields by the nine CGIAR centres in collaboration with national partners, including universities, research centres, private companies, farmers and government line ministries.

Innovation platforms have been established and are operating at all the research sites, mainly as a space to bring together CGIAR research centres, farmers and all sorts of local partners. The platforms aim to nurture linkages among farming communities, the Africa RISING research teams, and other public and private actors working in the areas. The platforms operate at three levels in each site:

  • At district (woreda) level, strategic platforms aim to catalyze learning and wider adoption of innovations emerging from action research. They provide technical support to the kebele platforms and farmer research groups.
  • At kebele level, operational platforms oversee local research activities, foster integration among the farmer research groups, and promote alignment of local on-farm research with district priorities.
  • Farmer research groups comprise farmers involved in specific clusters of research, such as forage production, water delivery or varietal improvement. They particularly promote scaling of innovation to wider groups of farmers.

Nationally, the ILRI-led project organizes monthly learning, information exchange and follow up meetings among CGIAR centres. Partners and other key stakeholders also participate in annual review and planning as well as learning events.

Humidtropics Western Ethiopia Action Site

The Humidtropics CRP Western Ethiopia Action Site works through two field sites in Diga and Jeldu districts. These built on already-existing innovation platforms established by the Nile Basin development Challenge project (a third site was adopted by the Water, Land and Ecosystems CRP). A national-level R4D platform was also established to engage with national partners in guiding and scaling up activities at the two field sites.

Under this initiative, IWMI, ILRI, CIP and ICRAF came together and joined the local platforms to integrate NRM interventions under the Humidtropics agenda of sustainable intensification of mixed crop-livestock-tree farming systems. With support and facilitation from CGIAR researchers, the local innovation platform partners identified gaps and designed a four-year sustainable intensification strategic plan. In 2014, new strategic intensification interventions designed to increase the production and productivity of major crops, while sustaining the production system by integrating NRM, were initiated. Clear roles and responsibilities of key partners were identified for each of the activities and for the integration of NRM interventions at innovation platform level.

CGIAR researchers lead the research components and backstop local partners leading the design and implementation of agreed interventions on the farms.

Keeping up the momentum

Discussions to date between CGIAR and its Ethiopian counterparts about site integration planning suggest that CGIAR is well placed to contribute to the country’s national agenda, particularly through enhanced collaboration and coordination together with better understanding of, and alignment with, the national priorities.

Contacts

  • Siboniso Moyo, ILRI representative in Ethiopia
    moyo@cgiar.org
  • Zelalem Lema, ILRI local innovation platforms specialist, Z.lema@cgiar.org

 

Notes

1 Bioversity International; Center for International Forestry Research; International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas; International Center for Tropical Agriculture; International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics; International Food Policy Research Institute; International Livestock Research Institute; International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center; International Potato Center; International Water Management Institute; World Agroforestry Centre.

2 Agriculture for Nutrition and Health; Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security; Dryland Cereals and Legumes; Humidtropics; Forests, Trees and Agroforestry; Livestock and Fish; Managing and Sustaining Crop Collections (Genebanks); Maize; Policies, Institutions and Markets; Roots, Tubers and Bananas; Water, Land and Ecosystems; Wheat.

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Filed under: Africa, ASSP, CGIAR, CRP12, East Africa, Ethiopia, ILRI, Research Tagged: Africa RISING

Myanmar pushes for adaptation in agriculture during climate negotiations

CRP 7 News -

Agriculture contributes 30% to Myanmar’s gross domestic product and provides 60% of the employment opportunities. However, food and nutrition insecurity is still a large problem for communities in the country. To provide for its increasing population and their increasing demand for food, Myanmar needs to also increase its agricultural productivity, even with the threat of climate change.

Aiming for a climate-smart Myanmar

Addressing climate change, the Myanmar government identified adaptation measures, agricultural practices and technologies which would sustainably enhance food security, resilience and productivity in the face of climate change.

Implemented at the policy, planning, investment and institutional levels, adaptation measures are defined as the wider policy measures and institutions that help agricultural systems adapt to climate change. On the other hand, agricultural practices and technologies, which are applied at the field, farm and landscape levels, complement the adaptation measures.

These recommendations were submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) 44th meeting held in May 2016 in Bonn, Germany. Thirteen parties, including the Netherlands on behalf of the European Union, and Vietnam on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, submitted their views and experiences of the current climate challenges they face and best-bet examples in prioritizing adaptation in agriculture during the meeting.

Alternate wetting and drying is one of the priority adaptation practices Myanmar identified in their submission. Collaboration with other international and regional organizations would complement national initiatives in climate change adaptation. Photo: IRRI

Raising the adaptive capacities of agricultural systems

The adaptive measures Myanmar forwarded could be classified under: (1) governance, policy frameworks and country readiness; (2) local planning; (3) strengthening research and extension services; and (4) finance.

The Myanmar government acknowledges that agriculture, early warning systems and forestry should receive top priority in their National Adaptation Programme of Action, as these three sectors are directly affected by climate change. On the community level, the Climate-Smart Village (CSV) approach would be implemented to ensure appropriate practices are introduced to and adopted by the people.

Consistent long-term investment is needed in developing knowledge systems, thus Myanmar will focus on strengthening its National Agricultural Research and Extension System (NARES). Other resource mobilization opportunities, such as international sources, public-private partnerships, community-based initiatives and corporate funding, would be tapped to supplement the public funding allocated for adaptation and mitigation.

Addressing local contexts and diversity of agricultural systems

Similar to other Southeast Asian countries, rice is the main crop cultivated on 50% of the agricultural land in Myanmar. The country however grows more than 60 different crops and also engages in livestock production and fisheries in their various agro-ecological zones. The government is thus developing adaptation strategies tailored to address specific challenges and contexts within different levels.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation of Myanmar is implementing the priority practices and technologies for adaptation in agriculture. As mentioned before, these would enhance productivity, food security and resilience of communities in a sustainable manner. Some of the priority practices and technologies include: cropping system adjustment, use of stress-tolerant crop varieties, crop diversification and intensification, alternate wetting and drying, improved natural resource management and integrated farming systems.

It is not only the technologies and practices that could contribute to initiatives for climate change adaptation in agriculture. Collaboration with other international and regional organizations would also complement national initiatives towards this objective.

SBSTA and other international organizations could support the identified measures and practices through capacity building in all levels, from household to national level. The Myanmar government also recommended integrating and prioritizing gender and social inclusion in future actions of SBSTA. National initiatives in adaptation in agriculture could be supplemented through the technology transfer mechanism and the financial mechanism for resource mobilization of the UNFCC.

One of the documents used as bases for submission was the Myanmar’s Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) Strategy  launched in February 2016. The national consultation and subsequent development of the ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture Strategies in Myanmar’ was facilitated by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in Southeast Asia (CCAFS SEA) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

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