I wish to you inform you that Dr V. Padmakumar (V.Padmakumar) who is based at ILRI’s office in Hyderabad will serve as interim ILRI regional representative, south Asia.
Dr Padma will ensure that any regional enquiries are dealt with by his office, or transmitted to ILRI headquarters. Kindly accord him your cooperation.
Jimmy Smith| Director General
A workshop titled "Innovative methods for measuring adoption of agricultural technologies: Establishing proof of concept and thinking about scaling up" was held on August 3-4 in Boston, USA following the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Agricultural and Applied Economic Association (AAEA). The event was jointly organized by Michigan State University, the Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) of the CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC), and the CGIAR Research Program on Policy, Institutions, and Markets (PIM). 44 participants from 28 public and private institutions showcased results from various pilot studies using new, innovative adoption measuring methods and discussed lessons learned.
The workshop program was designed to focus on technical aspects of the adoption measurement methods and their scaling-up potential in the developing world. Methodologies covered in the workshop sessions ranged from the conventional practice of experts’ opinion elicitation method to DNA fingerprinting, remote sensing, ICT-based rapid survey, and surveys at informal markets. Participants also brainstormed on the most appropriate mechanism for institutionalizing the adoption measurement and the scope of outsourcing. While there was a lot of excitement about using the innovative new methods, participants critically examined each method’s pros and cons and potential caveats to apply those in various commodities and countries. Scaling-up cost of each method was also discussed to ensure the practicality. Overall, participants agreed there isn’t a silver bullet (yet); many more trials are needed for the research community to fully take advantage of these methodological innovations in practice. Another important agreement among participants was that there would be no short-cut. These new measurement method would not diminish the importance of good, reliable sampling frame (which can be certainly assisted by new advances in data science).
During the wrap-up session, many participants (especially those from CGIAR) proposed that SPIA continues convening this type of workshop in the future, possibly piggybacking on the annual AAEA conference. Colleagues were excited about how much they learned from interactions with their peers who work on the same issues but with different approach. All cheered each other to continue developing inspiring case studies and sharing their lessons learned.
The workshop overview is available below:Innovative methods for measuring adoption of agricultural technologies
Related previous blog post: Workshop: Innovative methods for measuring adoption of agricultural technologies
Featured image: Grassroots nutrition education shares good farming and nutrition practice. Photo credit: alina, Flickr
Improved ruminant genetics increase animals’ resilience to climate-related stresses, increases reproductive performance, and – in some countries – could achieve emission reductions of between 11-26% per unit of product, according to a new practice brief written by scientists from the Global Research Alliance’s Livestock Research Group and the CCAFS low emissions agriculture flagship.
Written for policymakers and investors, the authors describe how animal breeding can increase livestock productivity and resilience to climate change, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions intensity. The practice brief focuses on opportunities in developing countries, where the majority of the world’s ruminant populations can be found.Benefits of improved livestock genetics
Farmers breed animals for increased production, disease resistance, successful reproduction, and resilience to climate stresses, most often heat and drought. Highly productive animals use a greater portion of their nutritional intake to produce desired goods such as milk or meat as opposed to simply maintaining their bodies. Increased longevity and reproductive success also means that feed calories are concentrated among most productive, and that a lower number of animals needs to be kept in a herd for replacements.
Animal breeding makes use of the natural variation among animals. It can yield permanent and cumulative improvements in the population because the selected traits are directly transferred from generation to generation.
Genetic recording schemes are already in place in many developed countries. The brief cites research from the United States, where improved dairy cow productivity and associated feed conversion efficiency has decreased methane produced per unit of product by 40%. This indicates the potential for very large reductions in emissions intensity in countries that currently have lower levels of productivity.
The brief identifies rapid pathways for globally improving the genetic performance of ruminants, and associated methane mitigation in tropical, developing countries. Options include genetic improvement programmes within a breed, or crossbreeding to transfer traits of interest from one breed to another.
Figure 1 from the practice brief. Correlation between emissions intensity of all greenhouse gases and milk yield (fat and protein corrected milk, FPCM) per cow shows a large range. The least amount of emissions intensity, shown in the far right, is the goal. The figure demonstrates the vast potential for many countries to decrease emissions intensity.Breeding in action: Galla goats in Kenya
A breeding program that is significantly increasing the productivity of local goat herds is underway in a semi-arid part of Kenya. East African goats are known for surviving heat, drought and disease well, but they are generally small and have low growth rates and milk production. The Galla goat (indigenous to northern Kenya, but not the target region) is fast maturing, has an adult weight nearly double that of the East African goat, produces both milk and meat well, and regains weight quickly after drought seasons.
By crossing these two breeds, farmers are now benefitting from herds with the resilience of the East African goat and the productivity of the Galla goat. More information on the CCAFS climate-smart breeding program in Kenya can be found here and here.
To be successful, breeding programmes need to match the breeding goals of farmers, not of researchers,” says Yvette de Haas, lead author of the practice brief and project leader at Animal Breeding and Genomics Centre of Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands. “Farmers face many challenges as they need to feed the growing global population while also responding to climate change and other environmental pressures. Genetic improvement offers a permanent and cost-effective solution, especially when combined with enhancements to other parts of the livestock system such as feed or animal health."
In some regions in developing countries, livestock serve multiple purposes in addition to producing meat and milk – for example providing sources of draught power, manure, capital, insurance and social status. In these parts of the world, the value placed on targeted breeding for productivity and reduced emissions intensity may also depend on the extent to which improved productivity also serves wider social and environmental objectives. Breeding programmes and incentives will need to work with those other functions where to engage farmers.Next steps
The practice brief looks to the future of genetic improvements, including precision breeding or “introgression”. Introgression involves introducing genetic variants, such as the heat tolerant “slick” gene that produces cattle with shorter, slicker coats, into elite temperate species. Temperate species with slick coats would enable more effective adaptation to the tropics, while accelerating genetic improvements in productivity and fertility traits.
The practice brief also addresses breeding for animals that emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions, a technique that is likely to become commercially available in the next few years.
While the authors acknowledge challenges to adopting improved livestock genetics, for example identifying the long-term nature of breeding programmes, the need for data and record-keeping systems, and the trade-offs in selecting among different traits, they also document how breeding strategies can be optimised to suit the needs of very different production systems and geographic regions.
Scientists found that in smallholder systems in tropical developing countries, very simple genetic selection or crossbreeding programmes requiring relatively low financial input from farmers can successfully increasing animals’ productivity, longevity and reproduction, thus directly supporting food security, increasing resilience to climate change, and decreasing emissions intensity.More information
- Livestock Research Group of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA)
- SAMPLES: a global research program that aims to improve agricultural emissions data around the world, includes measurement methods, emission factors, a selection of tools and recent publications.
- Low emissions agriculture research at CCAFS
- What is Climate-Smart Agriculture?
- Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA)
IFPRI Special Event on September 28 will explore how accountability matters for development, and how public leaders can be made more accountable for delivering upon the SDGs. Stuti Khemani (Senior Economist, World Bank) will present the main messages of the new World Bank policy research report Making Politics Work for Development: Harnessing Transparency and Citizen Engagement, shedding light on how citizen engagement in the selection and sanctioning of public leaders is the key to understanding and solving government failures. Ray Offenheiser (President and CEO, Oxfam America) will reflect on programmatic and policy work, highlighting the on-the-ground difference that a rights-based approach to development makes in the lives of poor women and men. Tewodaj Mogues and Katrina Kosec (Senior Research Fellows, IFPRI) will discuss these insights, drawing upon their own research and experience in this area. Ruth Meinzen-Dick (Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI) will moderate the event.Wednesday, September 28, 2016 12:15 pm to 1:45 pm (EST) IFPRI | 2033 K St, NW | 4th Floor
Washington, DC 20006
A light lunch will be offered beginning at 11:45 am.More information about the event, live webcast and post-event viewing available here.
Research that will be discussed by Tewodaj Mogues and Katrina Kosec includes work undertaken as part of PIM’s Flagship 2 that examines the drivers and determinants of public investment decisions and studies institutional arrangements promoting participation of the poor in decisions on the provision of public goods, among other topics.
Featured image: Panos/Giacomo Pirozzi
Scanning electron micrograph of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria (yellow, round items) killing and escaping from a human white cell (via Flickr/NIAID).
‘An extraordinary gathering at the United Nations on September 21 may have permanently changed how the world deals with antibiotic resistance, which is believed to kill 700,000 people around the world each year.During the UN meeting, the entire assembly signed on to a political declaration that calls antibiotic resistance “the greatest and most urgent global risk.” But it is what they do next that will determine whether the threat can really be contained. And alarming news announced while the meeting was happening made clear how urgent it is that antibiotic resistance be reined in.
‘At a simultaneous meeting in Atlanta, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) disclosed that the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea—which has become steadily more drug-resistant over several years—has taken a dramatic turn toward becoming untreatable.
‘Meanwhile, a multinational research team announced that they have identified a new strain of the drug-resistant staph bacterium MRSA that appears to be traveling on poultry meat.
‘The UN meeting, formally the High Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance, marked only the fourth time that the world body has acted on a health issue. (The last time was the Ebola emergency in 2014.) Leaders signaled right from the start that they considered the day important.
‘“Antimicrobial resistance poses a fundamental long-term threat to human health, sustainable food production, and development,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a speech opening the meeting. “In all parts of the world, in developing and developed countries, in rural and urban areas, in hospitals, on farms, and in communities, we are losing our ability to protect both people and animals from life-threatening infections.”
‘His assessment of the dire situation was backed up by the World Health Organization’s executive director, Margaret Chan. “Antimicrobial resistance poses a fundamental threat to human health, development, and security,” she said as the meeting opened. “The commitments made today must now be translated into swift, effective, lifesaving actions across the human, animal, and environmental health sectors. We are running out of time.”The agreement made by the world governments . . . commits them to creating national plans for combating antibiotic resistance in medicine, agriculture, and the environment, and to reporting back to the General Assembly in 2018 on their progress. It also commits the UN and its partner agencies—World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Organization for Animal Health, known as the OIE—to creating an “ad hoc interagency coordination group” that will be led by David Nabarro, a physician who works within the Secretary-General’s office and has led UN efforts on Ebola, pandemic flu, and the Haitian cholera epidemic. But, in a gesture toward respecting the needs of developing countries that might have further to go to tackle the problem, the declaration did not set hard targets for reducing international antibiotic use.
‘“We got further than I had expected, but not as much as I had hoped for,” Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the nonprofit Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP), said in a conversation while the meeting was going on. Over the summer, Laxminarayan and a group of academics and strategists laid out a menu of issues in a series of articles in medical journals for the UN meeting to consider.
‘“This is day zero, which means we now have to start figuring what happens next: what this coordinating mechanism does, what its mandate is. How does progress get measured?” he said.“This is a multisector problem, which means the UN has to quickly make friends outside of governments. We’ve got to get doctors, the whole medical practice community, the pharmacists, manufacturing, the whole agricultural sector. It’s not amenable to control-type regulation.”
‘As the meeting started, CDDEP and eight other organizations in the United States and Europe announced that they are forming an alliance—the Conscience of Antimicrobial Resistance Accountability (CARA)—to help hold governments, manufacturers, food producers, and health-care organizations to the commitments made at the UN.In its mission statement, the group stressed that the problem of antibiotic resistance has a shadow side, because many low-income societies do not have adequate access to antibiotics. Fighting antibiotic resistance, they said, should not be allowed to deprive people of the drugs they need for treatment of disease.
‘. . . Just before the UN meeting, both the G7 and the G20 groups of governments signed on to supporting action on antibiotic resistance, pointed out Lord Jim O’Neill, a prominent economist who led a two-year independent review that provided much of the agenda for the UN conclave. . . .
‘In truth, not even the most optimistic representative at the UN meeting expects antibiotic resistance to go away entirely. The goal of the declaration that governments agreed to is to slow down resistance by ceasing the misuse and overuse that force bacteria to evolve.
‘Still, as the meeting ended, it was clear that they felt the cause had been handed an extraordinary opportunity that could make a real difference in the health of the world—an opportunity that will occur only once.
‘“We only get one crack at this,” Laxminarayan said. “If we fail to do this, the world will only have checked off a box that says, We have dealt with antimicrobial resistance, it went to the UN, it is done.”’
Read the whole article by Maryn McKenna at National Geographic: How we’ll tackle diseases that are becoming untreatable, 22 Sep 2016.READ MORE The 21 Sep 2016 UN High-Level Meeting on Antimicrobial Resistance
UN High-Level Meeting on Antimicrobials—what do we need?, commentary published in The Lancet by Ramanan Laxminarayan, Carlos Amábile-Cuevas, Otto Cars, Timothy Evans, David Heymann, Steven Hoffman, Alison Holmes, Marc Mendelson, Devi Sridhar, Mark Woolhouse and John-Arne Røttingen, 16 Jul 2016. Excerpt:
‘The UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting of Heads of State will discuss sustainable access to eﬀective antimicrobials in September, 2016. The meeting must develop realistic goals, stimulate political will, mobilise resources, and agree on an accountability mechanism for global collective action on this issue. . . . We believe that the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting should establish a UN High-Level Coordinating Mechanism on Antimicrobial Resistance (HLCM) with four core functions’:
(1) Raise awareness about lack of access to antibiotics and drug resistance
(2) Establish, monitor and report on global and national enforceable targets
(3) Finance implementation of global and national level action plans and a global coordination and monitoring platform
(4) Support member states to pursue national level, multisectoral action for implementation of WHO’s Global Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance alongside national eﬀorts to improve access to eﬀective antimicrobials.
United Nations prepares to tackle antibiotic resistance, commentary by Molly Miller-Petrie published on the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP) blog, 26 Jul 2016. Excerpts:
‘On June 29 , Ambassador Gómez Camacho, Mexican Permanent Representative to the U.N. and lead for the high-level meeting, invited CDDEP to speak to the U.N. Member States as a part of a civil society panel on antimicrobial resistance. . . . Each organization presented their view on what should be included in the final outcome document, after which member states were able to ask questions of the experts directly. A similar panel was conducted with members of industry the following week. As the only participating organization with a major focus on low- and middle-income countries, CDDEP was also invited to speak to the Group of 77 Member States plus China, representing 134 low- and middle-income member countries. On July 18, CDDEP Director Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan and Molly Miller-Petrie met with the group at the U.N. Headquarters to address the particular challenges of combatting resistance in low-resource settings. . . .’
On the ILRI News blog: Apocalyptic numbers: Antibiotic resistance as the classic ‘One Health’ (and classic ‘One World’) planetary issue, 4 Aug 2016.Earlier research on antimicrobial use in food animals
Global trends in antimicrobial use in food animals, by Thomas Van Boeckel (Princeton University), Charles Brower (Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy [CDDEP]), Marius Gilbert (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Bryan Grenfell (Princeton University), Simon Levin (Princeton), Timothy Robinson (ILRI), Aude Teillant (Princeton) and Ramanan Laxminarayan (CDDEP), published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, early edition, 20 Mar 2015. See also a report of this PNAS paper on the ILRI News blog, First global map of the rising use of antimicrobial drugs in farm animals published in PNAS (25 Mar 2016), and also reports published on the ILRI Clippings blog, Reuters: Livestock in poor countries need drugs to stay alive and productive, but how to avoid the rise of ‘super bugs’? (23 Mar 2015) and New publication warns of rising use of antibiotics and other antimicrobial drugs in farm animals (30 Mar 2015).
Animal production and antimicrobial resistance in the clinic, a commentary published in The Lancet, by Timothy Robinson, Heiman Wertheim, Manish Kakkar, Samuel Kariuki, Dengpan Bu and Lance Price, published online 18 Nov 2015, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00730-8. See also a report of this Lancet commentary published on the ILRI News blog, Limiting use of antibiotics in livestock production to stem growing antimicrobial resistance in human pathogens (31 Dec 2015).
Review of evidence on antimicrobial resistance and animal agriculture in developing countries, by ILRI’s Delia Grace, published Jun 2015, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12774/eod_cr.june2015.graced. This 44-page report was produced by ILRI with the assistance of the UK Department for International Development and its ‘Evidence on Demand’ hub. The report identifies key evidence gaps in our knowledge of livestock- and fisheries-linked antimicrobial resistance in the developing world and documents on-going or planned research initiatives on this topic by key stakeholders.
Filed under: Agri-Health, Article, CRP4, Disease Control, Event report, Health (Human) Tagged: AMR, CDDEP, National Geographic, Ramanan Laxminarayan, UN
The session “International value chains in agriculture: challenges and opportunities to address gender inequalities” organized by IFPRI with support from PIM will take place on 29 September as part of the 2016 WTO Public Forum.
- David Laborde, Senior Research Fellow, Markets Trade and Institutions Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
- Bart Minten, Senior Research Fellow, Development Strategy and Governance Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
- Tanguy Bernard, Professor, University of Bordeaux, France / Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute
- Pratap Singh Birthal, Principal Scientist, National Centre for Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NCAP), New Delhi, India
Carin Smaller, Advisor on Agriculture and Investment, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) will chair the session.
This session is directly linked to the issue of globalization and inclusiveness, especially regarding the role of women. The session has three main objectives: (1) summarize the research on gender and trade openness with a focus on agricultural value chains, (2) explore domestic reform that allows to grasp opportunities from trade openness for addressing gender inequalities, and (3) provide examples from the private and public sector about successes and failures in South America, Africa, and South Asia.
Both as producers and consumers, women play a critical role in the food system and addressing specific gender challenges is a necessity to achieve an ambitious and inclusive food security agenda. However, both public and private existing governance structures have poorly addressed this issue in the past. In the last three decades, global and regional agricultural markets have become more integrated, leading to the evolution, expansion or creation of many value chains while their impacts on women welfare have been contrasted. This session will review existing and potential impacts of agricultural liberalization on gender inequalities through global and regional lenses: specific examples will be discussed both in terms of public and private governance (regional focus on Latin America, Africa south of the Sahara, and South Asia). Learning from these experiences, session speakers draw conclusions regarding the right policy mix of border policies and domestic gender‑sensitive interventions to guarantee inclusive international agriculture value chains.
Research that will be discussed during the session is led by IFPRI as part of the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM).
A total of 102 sessions will take place at the 2016 WTO Public Forum on 27-29 September at the WTO’s headquarters in Geneva. Entitled “Inclusive Trade”, the Forum will focus on how to ensure that trade benefits everyone, with a particular emphasis on enabling women, innovative start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to take advantage of the opportunities provided by trade. Find more information about the forum here>>
In July 2015, the Program Management Framework Project was initiated to address challenges and increase efficiency and effectiveness in project delivery through the implementation of consistent management processes at ILRI. The PM Framework Project completed its Program/Project Management workshops in late June 2016 to program leaders, project leaders, program/project management staff, and select support staff to communicate the defined processes to the staff that are responsible for managing our program and projects.
I would like to thank you to all staff who attended and contributed to the Program/Project Management Workshops.
To provide an update on this critical initiative for our organization, we are continuing to move this work forward. In the coming months of October and November 2016, the Program/Project Management Framework team will work with PMOs to ensure program/project alignment to the PMF framework. Furthermore, as the PMF team works to develop the ILRI Communications and Project Work Plan templates, the team members will engage staff for feedback and input. Please engage in these requests so that we can develop templates that will meet the needs of all ILRI programs and projects.
More information on the PM Framework, including the manual can be found at https://www.ilri.org/pmf
If you have any questions regarding the Program/Project Management Framework, please reach out to the PMF team (Assenath Kabugi, Simon Turere, Jasmine Bruno and Nadine Sanginga) at ILRIPMFramework.
Iain A Wright| Deputy Director General – Integrated Sciences