Stories tagged: principle 6

Farming First Session at GCARD 2010: Public-Private Partnerships in Agricultural Research

At the first ever Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) at the end of March, Farming First hosted one of the sessions for delegates from around the world.  The session looked at the role of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in agricultural research and how these will help achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Led by Lindiwe Sibanda of FANRPAN and Joyce Cacho of Novus International, the panel showcased a number of case studies of successful partnerships to an audience representing science, farming, public, private and civil society organisations from all over the world, who later gathered to discuss the ways to strengthen partnerships to help advance agricultural development.

Out of these discussion groups, three main points emerged:FF at GCARD

  • Knowledge needs to be turned into something tangible and the key role of the private sector in delivering these products or services should not be underestimated.
  • The risks and benefits of all partners in a public-private partnership should be identified and agreed upon from the beginning in order to have clear objectives and responsibilities in place.
  • All partners need to think, plan and work on a much more collaborative level than ever before.

The Farming First background paper for the session offers an in-depth look at how partnerships between the public and private sectors can provide the necessary financing, training, monitoring and infrastructure to ensure that agricultural innovation is both adapted to the farmers’ needs and accessible to them. The paper also includes case studies of successful PPPs, exploring why they have worked well, and how their learnings could be shared. 

GCARD provided a crucial occasion for all key players, from farmer to donor, to debate the best ways for advancing agricultural research.  But whilst discussions help us to shape the future path of research, it is essential that these discussions are turned into viable solutions which are delivered to farmers themselves in the fields.  This imperative is clearly illustrated by GCARD author Uma Lele’s closing mantra, “We need action, action, action.” The Montpellier Roadmap marks the first step on that path.

At GCARD, Farming First also spoke with Sir Gordon Conway, an agricultural ecologist and professor of international development at Imperial College, London.  During the interview, which was broadcast by Reuters, Sir Gordon discussed the Green Revolution of the 1960s, looking at the potential for a similar agricultural revolution in Africa. The Guardian Katine site also featured the interview, highlighting the various challenges that Sir Gordon noted, such as a lack of infrastructure and poor soils, meaning that an African ‘green revolution’ would have to be led by local solutions.

Farming First Delegate at One Young World Conference Speaks with BBC ‘Network Africa’

On 8-10 February, young people from around the world took part in a conference in London to discuss the biggest challenges facing the planet.  One of the delegates was 24-year-old Sithembile Ndema, a programme manager at FANRPAN in South Africa, who went to share her thoughts on global food security.

BBC World Service’s Network Africa news programme interviewed Sithembile to hear her thoughts on agriculture in Africa and her hopes for the One Young World conference. 

Prioritising farmer-led research in Africa, Sithembile spoke of the need to empower smallholder farmers by giving them the resources to produce more food and to enter new markets.

At the One Young World conference, Sithembile stated her aim of promoting the importance of agriculture amongst her peers to help build a food-secure Africa in the future.

I’m hoping that from this conference, the youth will start to realise that they too need to take part in agriculture.

Listen to an mp3 audio file of this BBC interview here


The Africa Partnership Forum’s 2010 Strategy Prioritises Food Security and Climate Change

On 25th January, the 13th session of the Africa Partnership Forum (APF) was held in Addis Ababa to discuss the outcomes of the international summits of 2009, and the prospects for economic growth in Africa in 2010.  The APF, whose members consist of African leaders, the G8, the OECD and other development partners, is concerned with strengthening partnerships in favour of Africa’s development. In light of the economic crisis, food security issues and climate change, delegates warned that there is an increased need for action at national, regional and global levels.  In the joint statement, the Forum specified the following as essential incentives to put into action:

Designating food security as one of the top priorities for development aid in 2010, the Forum affirmed their commitment to seeing through the promises made in 2009, including: 

  • The L’Aquila pledge made by G8 leaders of $20 billion to boost food supplies to poorer nations, and help countries develop their own agriculture.
  • Continued support to CAADP, to boost agricultural productivity in Africa, through land and water management, market access, food supply and research. 
  • The Maputo agreement made by African leaders to allocate 10% of their national budgets to agriculture.

Combating climate change, the Forum agreed, was critical to achieving sustainable development and poverty reduction, and in particular for resolving the current food insecurity issues. Looking ahead to 2010, the Forum reiterated the actions agreed upon at Copenhagen, including:

  • A reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 to prevent global temperatures increasing by more than 2 degrees Celsius.
  • Advancements in technological transfers and capacity-building.
  • Immediate disbursement of short-term funding of $30 billion and further work undertaken to secure long-term funding of $100 billion a year.

The Forum also addressed development finance and healthcare in Africa, as key areas that have been greatly affected by the financial crisis.  Advocating for a sustained political effort during 2010, the Forum stressed the need to readdress policies for development finance over the next five years. With regards to healthcare, they proposed an increase in investment in Africa’s health systems. Finally, the Forum finalised the AU/NEPAD Africa Action Plan, which aims to maximise the investment in African development from 2010-2015, in an effort to help Africa get back on track to meeting the Millennium Development Goals.