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Posts Tagged ‘priority setting’

Simulation modeling for foresight analysis and ex-ante impact assessment in potato and sweetpotato

Is it possible to use large scale agricultural simulation models for the analysis of crops like potatoes and sweetpotatoes?

Yes! The Global Futures for Agriculture and Strategic Foresight (GFSF) project, which has the objective of developing and applying an integrated simulation modeling framework for the comprehensive analysis of trends and technology impacts in the CGIAR mandate crops and systems, is doing exactly this. At least the part of this research collaboration of all in all 12 centers of the CGIAR which is taking place at the International Potato Center (CIP), as was explained in a seminar held on 24 April 2014 at the CIP Headquarters in Lima.

The core component of the modeling framework developed in the project is the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT), an economic partial equilibrium model of the world agricultural sector. IMPACT has the capability of generating forward looking global analyses of supply, demand, prices and trade of 56 agricultural commodities in 320 geographic regions, taking into account major drivers like

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Global Banana Expert Workshop starts today

Today (actually, in these minutes) starts the Global Banana Expert Workshop, which for the next four days brings together more than 40 banana experts from advanced research institutions and leading banana producing countries. The experts will work in multidisciplinary groups to work on the priorization of production constraints and options for international research in bananas and plantains. They will estimate yield gaps and estimate parameters for the later use in impact assessment models.

The event is co-hosted by NARO, Bioversity International and IITA. It takes place in Kampala, Uganda and is part of the ongoing priority setting exercise of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (CRP RTB). What makes this event special, is the continued involvement of the online community. Throughout the workshop, outcomes will be posted on an eForum and comments from the community will be fed back into the discussions.

Reaching Out To RTB Experts Around the World

The CRP RTB blog reports about our work in the priority setting exercise, in particular about the global expert surveys on priorities for RTB research we are currently carrying out for that program:

More than 800 experts have already provided input into an ongoing assessment of research priorities for Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB), the results of which will be used to guide RTB research in the coming years.

From potato breeders in Bolivia to plantain pathologists in East Africa, experts on the principal Root, Tuber and Banana crops have filled out surveys on production constraints and the research needs for addressing them. In doing so, they’ve contributed to an ambitious global assessment of research priorities that will help the management of RTB, a CGIAR Research Program, to set goals and allocate resources for improving the food security, diet and incomes of some of the world’s poorest people.

Crop surveys for bananas and plantains, cassava, potatoes, sweetpotatoes and yams can be complete online at the RTB website until February 28. They are part of a dynamic, six-stage process that aims to involve the greatest number of stakeholders possible in a strategic assessment of research priorities. That assessment includes a comprehensive literature review and the creation of an online RTB Atlas, in conjunction with the CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information (CSI). The surveys, however, are especially important, because they allow RTB to get input from an array of stakeholders with diverse backgrounds, such as crop experts at advanced research centers or representatives of government institutions and NGOs.

Guy Hareau, an agricultural economist at the International Potato Center (CIP) who is coordinating the assessment with colleagues from the four CGIAR research centers participating in RTB, said he hopes that more than 1,000 people will complete crop surveys. Hareau and his colleagues in the priority assessment team have compiled lists of experts in the different RTB crops and regions and have contacted them by email requesting that they complete the survey for their crop.

Expert surveys can be completed online in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese or Chinese. They should take no longer than 25 minutes to complete, and the process can be interrupted and resumed at any time.

Hareau and colleagues have also attended various international conferences on RTB crops, where they’ve gotten more than 400 researchers to complete surveys on the spot.

“We introduced the assessment at the Conference of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (held in Kampala, Uganda in June of 2012) and got 200 people to fill out the survey in half an hour. It was our most efficient day yet,” Hareau said.

After the survey process is closed at the end of February, Hareau and colleagues will analyze the results and compile a short list of 6-8 research options for each RTB crop. In addition to global results, they will identify research priorities for specific regions and agroecologies. They will then do impact modeling and economic and other analyses of the shortlisted options, and share their findings online.

“It is important that the stakeholders not only have an opportunity to provide their input, but also that we share the results with them,” Hareau said, adding that RTB will solicit feedback on the assessment’s results, though he isn’t sure exactly how they will go about it.

That process will get a test run in April of 2013 with banana and plantain experts participating in a Global Musa Expert Workshop organized by Biodiversity International in Kampala, Uganda. Those participants who haven’t completed the crop survey will be asked to do so on the first day. The results will then be computed and presented to participants, who will join work groups to discuss them and provide recommendations.

Ulrich Kleinwechter, who is working on the assessment at CIP, noted that in addition to providing quality information for RTB decision makers, it is contributing to a process of cooperation and knowledge sharing that will be key to the research program’s success, since it involves a transparent process of stakeholder consultation.

Kleinwechter observed that the assessment builds on a tradition of priority setting at the four centers, but involves a much larger pool of crops and participants. It is the first time such a study has been conducted simultaneously by four CGIAR Research Centers for so many crops.

In addition to Hareau and Kleinwechter, the assessment team’s members are Tahirou Abdoulaye, Joseph Rusike and Holger Kirscht, at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Bernardo Creamer and Glenn Hyman, at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and Diemuth Pemsl and Charles Staver, at Biodiversity International.

Addressing gender in priority setting for agricultural research

06/12/2012 4 comments

An interesting contribution to the first Global Conference on Agriculture and Rural Development discusses when and how to address gender in agriculture. While it is worthwhile to read the whole paper, in particular the demands towards priority setting for agricultural R&D that are formulated attracted my attention:

  • Where and how are the differential needs, interests, and priorities of women and men reflected? For example, are women farmers’ associations consulted at any point? Do female farmers have a voice in male-dominated farmer associations?
  • Who makes the decisions regarding the kinds of agricultural R&D that will receive investment? This leads to consideration of the representation of women in management at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and national agricultural research centers.
  • Are there mechanisms to take the needs of women and men as both producers and consumers into account? We will address this question in detail in the following section of the paper; however, it is important to note that it relates even to the way “agricultural research” is defined. Conventional definitions have been gender biased, focusing on activities most likely to be dominated by men, such as the production of field crops. Activities of greater salience to women—such as homestead gardens, postharvest processes, supply chains, and nutrition outcomes—have, in comparison, been neglected. Thus, thinking of “agriculture” in terms of “food” is likely to lead to a more gender balanced picture. In addition, research priorities on postharvest processing and the broader food sector—which includes fish, livestock, garden production, water, trees, soils, and natural resources—needs to be conducted not only with the aim of reaching high-value markets, but also to ensure food safety and reduce drudgery (which tends to be borne most often by women).

The first point highlights the importance of getting the voices of women heard. The second point concerns the influence of women in the decision making at the level of the research institutions (good question: how well are women represented at the research management levels of the CGIAR?). The third point asks about the potential impact of the products of agricultural R&D, i.e. how women are affected by a particular output of agricultural research. It also calls for orienting agricultural research towards areas where women can benefit.

With his analysis, the authors certainly hits the mark. At the operational level of priority setting, however, the last point is probably the most challenging. How can we adequately assess the gender impacts of a particular research activity? Taking into account that priority setting often takes place at a relatively aggregate level, how can we deal with the complexity of gender, which very often depends on micro-level factors, such as power relationships within a household?

Comments are highly welcome!

Geographic targeting for the Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) research program

CIAT DAPA writes about the RTB Priority Setting Background Analysis Meeting which took place last week at the CIAT headquarters in Cali, Colombia.

GCARD and the need for foresight

Glad to find this this post on The GCARD Blog: Talking about the need for foresight, GCARD states that

The future of agriculture, the future of rural and global poverty, the future of food and nutrition security and the future of our natural resources, will depend on the decisions we are making today.

These decisions have not only to answer the urgent and burning issues we are currently facing, but have also to integrate the challenges of the future. Research, innovation and policies are expected to provide answers or solutions to current problems where they can. They are also expected to anticipate and prevent future problems.

Forward looking, anticipatory research and analysis are particularly adapted to shed light on this complexity. It is impossible to predict what will happen in the long-term; but it is possible to inform on what could happen.

GCARD adopts the definition of the European Commission of foresight as

a process which combines three fundamental elements: prospective (long-term or forward-looking) approaches, planning -including policy-making and priority-setting- approaches, and participative approaches, engaging stakeholders and knowledge sources.

Given that a substantial part of our work (e.g. the Global Futures Project or priority setting for the CRP-RTB) takes place in precisely that area the corresponding sessions at the GCARD2 conference are highly interesting.