NRI is playing a key role in a major new capacity development project that has just been awarded to Agrinatura by the European Commission. Agrinatura is the European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development and comprises over thirty universities and research organisations in Europe. The new global project is entitled Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (CDAIS) and is a partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The project has a budget of 12m euros and will operate over a period of four years.
The project will work with national governments and a range of actors in the agricultural sector in Angola, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Laos, Mali and Rwanda. Claire Coote, NRI Agricultural Economist, will be the Agrinatura focal person for Bangladesh. Hans Dobson, NRI Crop Protection Specialist, has a similar role for Rwanda. Both have considerable experience of working in capacity development. They also have expertise in working with agricultural value chains and strengthening these will be the focus of the project.
The value chains for specific countries will be selected after detailed capacity needs assessments are conducted, using a common framework which is being developed by the project. This is being done under the aegis of the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP), whose Secretariat is hosted by the FAO, and is an initiative of the G20 group of countries. TAP, in which NRI is a partner, aims to facilitate more effective and streamlined capacity development interventions in innovation systems in tropical agriculture in the Least Developed Countries. A portion of TAP’s workplan has been incorporated into the new CDAIS project.
Tim Chancellor, NRI’s Director of Capacity Strengthening and Partnerships, helped to put together the CDAIS proposal. Tim explains that “CDAIS will draw on approaches developed in recent initiatives such as Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research for Development in Africa (SCARDA). NRI helped to design and implement SCARDA and led a follow-on project on Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Innovation (SCAIN). SCAIN developed and piloted methodologies for identifying and addressing capacity needs in agricultural innovation platforms. CDAIS provides an opportunity to build on the experiences gained in these initiatives. It will assist the target countries to strengthen agricultural value chains and lead to better returns for all actors who are involved in them, especially resource-poor farmers”.