CRP 3.7 News

Sign up for new GIZ e-newsletter on agricultural research

The first issue of a new ‘GIZ developR Newsletter’ was recently released.  The newsletter aims to ‘give fresh impetus to communication, exchange and collaboration between development cooperation and international agricultural research.

‘Every six weeks, developR will provide its readers with the latest news from international agricultural research and international development cooperation, showcasing new tools and technologies and reporting on successful projects and programs from both fields.

Scientists and practitioners will give insights into their work and assess potentials for cooperation. In addition, each issue will feature a regional focus mapping local activities from German development cooperation (GIZ) and international agricultural research, thereby giving colleagues in the field an opportunity to get to know the other sector better and pursue collaborations independently.

To subscribe, visit the GIZ Media Center and select developR (under “Thematic Newsletters”), then provide your e-mail address at the bottom of the page to receive the newsletter.

Read more on the emerging Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program partnership with GIZ

Filed under: CRP37, Partnership

What does it take to make capacity development happen in a research for development program?

The global dominant development issue this year Sustainable Development is front and centre. Though sustainability means different things to different people, one thing becomes clearer: Convergence on the importance of Capacity Development and Partnerships with over ten references made in the UN Sustainable Development Goals document.

2014, my first full year working for ILRI and the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, was a year of “sense-making” and “design” (conducting almost 20 missions, formulating assessment approaches/tools/methodologies, framing intervention activities for the value chain strategic implementation and works plans etc.), and maybe (facilitating) a profound change about capacity development thinking within the program, the true understandings and implications of which are yet to unfold. Our value chain countries are demanding support and change. Change from how things stand. But it’s less clear what change is sometimes envisaged. In the years ahead, capacity development to support (institutional, organizational and individual) change has to become a constant articulation, not elusive.

Things are somewhat in limbo. CGIAR is undergoing a reform process; CRP value chain countries have huge demands and needs but seem, at least on the “development” side of the coin, understaffed and not sufficiently funded and equipped to assess and drive (the different) capacity changes. What will be the implication of this reform for our CRP in 2015? Tere are strong hints that it will require even more focus on our performance.

There is a clear need for greater contextualization about our capacity development approach and it is then also with great pleasure that I can share with you today our video production on capacity development in the program. I hope we can open your curious disposition to learning more about what we do (and admitting that we not having all the answers . . .).

During the last months I have written blog posts on why people and local organizations matter and piecing together the (gender) research for (capacity) development puzzle in which I reflect on work we conduct together with value chain partners to develop (gender) capacity assessment methodologies. In the post on big data for organizational development I emphasized that we need data to convince resource organizations, investors, incubator funds and the likes to expand financial investment for the organizational development of our partners and to design and deliver innovative learning materials and approaches to identify innovations and breakthroughs in (e-)learning approaches (gaming, mobile/ICT etc.).

(Research for) Development programs often position themselves to pilot new approaches and take these to scale. But often, pilot interventions do not reach scale and are not sustainable. In part, this is because the contexts within which pilots operate change in ways that are not understood and lessons learned may not always be documented and applied.

A recent external evaluation of our value chain approach stated: “Training provided to producers had been the main contribution of the program to value chain upgrading.” and  “For the most part, however, the value chain teams appeared to be working on innovations that are not particularly amenable to scaling.

So, when then is scale, change and capacity development likely to take place? To answer this question we at least require detailed insights about who’s is who, and who connects to whom, and how dynamics of interactions between stakeholders play out. Better understanding institutional arrangements (policies and regulatory frameworks), cultural norms, values, power is imperative to understand dynamics, this is often tacit knowledge, invisible to many (scientists?) eyes.

To make capacity development happen a vision needs to be developed, and results to be expected need to be clear. How comprehensive and ambitious can such a vision at CGIAR and CRP levels be? I have argued to the CGIAR office that they should consider adding to its vision the development of resilient organizations and institutions and asked for inclusion of explicit references to three cross cutting topics of global importance namely women and youth, climate change and capacity development.

I am not sure whether our CRP’s capacity development roadmap 2014-2017 suffices to guide and drive large-scale reform or if it just focuses on incremental capacity development. A detailed results framework (as proposed last week by the CGIAR Community of Practice on capacity development) could allow us to be more explicit about tracking against quantitative and qualitative indicators in the new Strategic Results Framework.

I hope you will watch our video. Like the CGIAR Capacity Development (guidelines) Framework it explains ways that CGIAR and its partners can invest and integrate capacity development for both internal and external clients into our CRPs. The framework indicates the key advantages that an integrated approach to capacity development can bring and it outlines the requirement for both an appropriate capacity needs assessment before any strategies can be outlined, as well as comprehensive research, monitoring and evaluation of capacity development throughout the process. At the “heart” of this document are the nine capacity development elements that underpin (agricultural) systems changes.

And then finally the (very small) elephant in the room: Our notion of Sustainable Development may require a complete makeover. Most likely, we will settle for a hybrid as we do in our CRP with Research for Development approaches and investments but I sincerely hope that you will believe that you can be part of creating a new paradigm that has come to be called “Anyway!

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them Anyway If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good Anyway If you are successful you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed Anyway The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good Anyway Honestly and Frankness makes your vulnerable. Be honest and frank Anyway People favor underdogs and follow only top dogs. Fight for some underdogs Anyway If you find serenity and happiness someone may be jealous. Be happy Anyway. What you spend years building up may be destroyed overnight. Build Anyway People really need help but may attack you if you help them. Help people Anyway Give the world the best you have and you will be kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have got. Anyway!

Let me thank you profoundly for your collaboration this year, and wish you good holidays ahead!

Follow me on twitter: @DianaBrandes

Filed under: Capacity Development, Capacity Strengthening, CapDev, CGIAR, CRP37, ILRI, IPP, Research

Livestock and Fish external evaluation update 6 – value chain approach evaluation report available

The finalized Livestock and Fish CRP Commissioned External Evaluation (CCEE) report on the Program’s value chain approach is now publicly available.

The report makes 24 recommendations and 29 suggestions, subdivided according to four main areas of investigation and 12 evaluation questions:

Program design
1) How appropriate are the conceptual framework and theory of change?
2) How appropriate were country and sector selection?

Program management
3) How effective and efficient has been the value chain development coordination and oversight?
4) Have financial and human resources been sufficient?

R4D implementation
5) How appropriate have been the value chain research agendas?
6) How strong are synergies between value chain development and other thematic research?
7) To what extent has there been sufficient and effective multidisciplinarity?
8) How appropriate and effective has been partnership and stakeholder engagement?

Outputs to outcomes
9) What progress has been made in technological and institutional innovation?
10) What progress has been made in value chain upgrading?
11) What are prospects for scaling?
12) What are prospects for achieving progress on the Intermediate development outcomes (IDOs)?

According to the evaluation team,

The main strengths of the value chains approach of the Livestock and Fish Program include: a relatively sound conceptual framework and theory of change, effective and efficient value chain coordination and oversight, mostly appropriate research agendas, sufficient multi-disciplinarity, and appropriate and effective partnerships. Two key areas of concern are the insufficiency and uncertainty of human and financial resources, and relatively weak synergies between the value chains research for development (R4D) and other thematic research.

The finalized report has been sent to:

    1. The program management, including all value chain coordinators and program flagship leaders
    2. Members of the Evaluation Reference Group (ERG), including the Science and Partnership Advisory Committee representative to the group
    3. Senior International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) managers
    4. The head of the CGIAR Independent Evaluation Arrangement (IEA)

Over the next few weeks, the program management is required to respond to each recommendation in the form of an action matrix. The management response will be available by 9 January 2015 and will be posted on this website.

Learn more about the CCEE on the Livestock and Fish external evaluation page or follow my blog posts.

Filed under: CGIAR, CRP37, Fish, ILRI, Impact Assessment, LGI, Livestock, Research, Value Chains

Modeling environmental impacts of forage technologies in crop-livestock systems in Tanzania

Capturing nutrient flows on Tanzanian farms A CIAT-led project ‘Sustainable Intensification of Crop-livestock Systems through Improved Forages’ aims to assess environmental impacts of tropical forage technologies.

Six months after the project’s inception, first steps have been completed towards this goal, with two MSc students (Nairobi University and Sokoine University) having embarked on their respective field work. In Babati (Tanzania), activities are implemented in close collaboration with the Africa RISING program.

Soil and climate data was collected from ILRI-led Africa RISING on-farm trials to initiate Napier grass crop and modeling with the CropSyst model of Washington State University (WSU), which will also elucidate N2O emissions, NO3 leaching and soil organic carbon dynamics. Further, a farming system dataset from Wageningen University is used to calculate nutrient balances and therefore sustainability of farms.

In Lushoto Tanzania), new Napier grass-Desmodium inter-cropping trials under varying input levels were planted on farmers’ fields. A WSU programmer is developing an inter-cropping routine for CropSyst which will be especially relevant for fodder crops which are mostly grown as intercrops.

A crop to farm modeling workshop in April 2015 in Arusha will bring together crop and farm modelers across various CGIAR research programs – Livestock and Fish as well as CCAFS – to review approaches, models, preliminary results and future opportunities for linkages.

This project is supported by USAID as part of the CGIAR-Unites States University Linkages Program designed to support collaborative research between US universities or USDA and CGIAR.

Contact Ms. Birthe Paul ( for more information.

Filed under: Africa, Animal Feeding, CGIAR, CIAT, Crop-Livestock, CRP37, Dairying, Environment, Feeds, Forages, Intensification, Project, Research, Southern Africa, Systems Analysis, Tanzania, Targeting

New feed technology to offer more nutritious and sustainable aquaculture in Vietnam

As the global population grows, so does the demand for fish and the pressure on aquaculture to increase productivity. This is particularly true in Vietnam where the population will increase by 15% to 103 million by 2030. Fish is a staple food throughout the country and an affordable source of micronutrients and essential fatty acids that are vital for good health.

Intensive aquaculture relies heavily on commercially produced fish feeds, which can lead to increased water usage and pollution. To both reduce this environmental impact and improve the nutritional value of farmed fish, the “Nutritious-system feeding concept; nourishing Vietnamese ponds to produce quality seafood” project aims to increase the contribution of naturally occurring food in the diets of farmed fish and shrimp.

Launched on 20 November 2014 in Ho Chi Minh City, the project will work with Vietnamese aquaculture farmers to research an innovative “nutritious-system” concept that involves feeding not only the cultured animals in the pond but the entire pond ecosystem, including algae and bacteria in the water. These microbes in turn produce nutritious, natural food for the fish or crustaceans in the pond.

This system reduces costs for the farmer and may increase the nutritional value of the fish and shrimp – in particular the concentration of Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. In Vietnam, where more than 23% of children are stunted and 12% are underweight, increasing the availability of affordable, nutritious foods, like fish, is essential.

Spanning five years, the project combines research with technological innovation to improve the feeding system, while ensuring that productivity and profitability are retained.

The project will assess which factors contribute to the transfer of essential Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids through the pond’s food chain and determine the ideal ratio of algae and bacteria for optimal water quality and nutritive value for fish and shrimp. These technologies will be translated into new commercial products like improved pond feeds, feed additives and culture protocols. The project will also assess the social and institutional factors affecting the uptake of this feeding system in Vietnam’s aquaculture industry.

Making aquaculture more efficient, reducing costs and lowering environmental impacts with fewer losses due to disease or water quality failure will strengthen the aquaculture industry, benefiting all stakeholders including poor and vulnerable consumers.

Part of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, the project is funded through the Netherlands Organization for Agricultural Research WOTRO Science for Global Development, and is led by Wageningen University in partnership with WorldFish.

Together, WorldFish and Wageningen University will co-fund a Postdoctoral position to facilitate an innovation platform analyzing stakeholders’ positions and perspectives on the “nutritious-system” concept.
The platform will also identify the barriers and enablers for successful implementation and adoption of the technology by fish farmers in Vietnam and potentially other countries in Asia, and perhaps beyond.
To enhance the scaling potential of the technology and support decision-making around it’s uptake, the Postdoctoral researcher will study the likely effects on food and nutrition security and social sustainability, including effects on vulnerable people.

Board members of the project represent academia (Wageningen University Research, Can Tho University), aquaculture industry stakeholders (including Nutreco/Skretting-Vietnam, the world’s largest fish-feed producer), animal health specialists (Vemedim Animal Health), My Thanh Shrimp Association and WorldFish.



About the project: The ‘nutritious-system’ feeding concept; nourishing Vietnamese ponds to produce quality seafood (Short title: nutritious-system pond farming in Vietnam)

The project aims to implement a novel ‘nutritious-system’ concept in aquaculture, using microbial processes for mineralisation of wastes and the production of high quality natural foods. In cooperation with the industry, novel nutritious-system-feeds are developed that are as easy in use as normal feeds, but cheaper, and that target simultaneously natural food production and feed fish and shrimp. Research focuses on generating (1) insight in which factors contribute to the transfer of essential ω3-PUFAs through the pond food web into fish or shrimp, (2) ways to balance the algae (autotrophic):bacteria (heterotrophic) ratio for optimal decomposition, maintenance of water quality and nutritive value of fish or fish shrimp, and (3) analysing and supporting the process of joint design and technology development. Research findings will be communicated and popularized through (peer-reviewed) papers and meetings and will contribute to the development of novel nutritious-system feeds and ingredients.

The goal of the project is to increase the contribution of natural foods to fish or shrimp production in present-day pond systems (range extensive <==> intensive) without a reduction in overall productivity and profitability.

Contact Persons:

Johan Verreth, Wageningen (Project Board Chair):

Marc Verdegem, Wageningen:

Mike Phillips, WorldFish:

Jens Peter Tang Dalsgaard, WorldFish:

Filed under: Animal Feeding, Aquaculture, Asia, CGIAR, CRP37, Feeds, Fish, Project, Research, Southeast Asia, Value Chains, Vietnam, WorldFish

On partnerships, alliances and relationships to achieve impact at scale

Partnerships: “We have many partners”, “We need to invest more in partnerships”. Everyone in research and development talks about partnerships. So much so that partnerships may be considered an empty shell, another convenient catch-all phrase that lost all meaning. Yet everyone agrees that alliances – relationships – are crucial for development to take hold. And to spread at a higher and wider scale.

Making agricultural research for development (R4D) partnerships work at scale’ was one of the sessions that CGIAR ran at the event ‘Celebrating FARA at 15’ on 26 November 2014, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

This session picked up where another similar session left off: at the second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) in 2012, the Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program (CRP) convened a conversation about ‘Mobilizing AR4D partnerships to improve access to critical animal-source foods’. Some critical success factors for partnerships to work were then identified.

At the ‘Celebrating FARA at 15’ event, Livestock and Fish was joined by two other CRPs: Water Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and ‘Integrated Systems for the Humid tropics’ (Humidtropics). These three programs want to leverage more impact at scale, through stronger partnerships that last, among others because they are structured around value chains (Livestock and Fish), a landscape approach (WLE) or R4D systems (Humidtropics).

View the presentation by Stuart Worsley:

After three case presentations from the programs, participants split themselves in groups to explore ‘do’s and don’ts of successful partnerships’ elaborating on the list of critical success factors from the GCARD 2012 meeting, as well as to ponder ‘how to develop and stimulate relationships that impact agricultural systems at scale, over time’.

The participants contributed the following conclusions and recommendations:

  • Partnerships are necessary to achieve outcomes and they should be brokered on firm terms around the value of partners themselves;
  • Getting people to come together on a common agenda takes time because small subsets of the stakeholders start connecting first, then others, then others and eventually you can link together all the nodes – it does not happen all at once and doing a social network analysis can be quite useful in this respect, to assess where crucial linkages need to be built and are likely to evolve more quickly or profoundly;
  • To achieve transformation for greater impact, we are looking for different partners, from different backgrounds. This is complex, requires time, requires good governmental support, trust building (which again takes time), so the participants questioned the time scale of projects that last for only three to five years. We need to allow time for partnerships to develop well beyond these limited time frames.
  • Working from grassroots participation can give rise to cultural change (‘stay in line with the crowd’);
  • What else matters for partnerships to work: a common agenda, quick and visible wins, transparency and trust, a focused agenda, clear roles and responsibilities mapped onto the partners’ strengths, developing partners’ capacities…

In essence, this leads to these recommendations to build the next generation development (research) relationships and alliances:

  • Do not over-design processes that involve partners because you need to co-create the agenda;
  • Research – in its own right – how functional alliances form, grow and deliver;
  • When investing in long term partnerships at scale, assure relevance at different scales and try and connect these different scales better;
  • Change the notion of transaction costs (for building trust and partnerships) into “investments”;
  • Any given that the ‘partnership case’ has dozens of moving parts and issues that can go wrong, we need to zoom in on and address the top three to five issues that are important (and that we can influence).

This side event showed that believing in partnerships does not magically make them simpler. Flexibility is key to nurture relationships that feed development work, and eventually the mouths of the people they aim to serve.

Read notes from the session



Filed under: CRP12, CRP37, CRP5, Event, ILRI, Partnership, Value Chains

Contribute to an e-consultation on the role of livestock in food security and nutrition

At its 41st session in October 2014, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) requested the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) to prepare a study on Sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition, including the role of livestock, to feed into CFS debates at the Plenary session of October 2016.

As part of its report elaboration process, the HLPE is conducting an e-consultation to seek views and comments on the scope and building blocks of the report.

Contribute to the consultation

Filed under: CRP37, Livestock

The value of knowledge in rural development – “I also have a right to decide.”

Increasing the productivity of small-scale production systems to make animal-source foods more readily available to poor consumers is a complex issue which requires a multi-faceted approach. Supporting technical solutions to on-farm problems with knowledge for development initiatives is crucial to ensure rural families can better manage their resources to rise out of poverty.

With this concept in mind, scientists are working alongside territorial alliances to generate knowledge and initiatives to improve resource management through research. An example of this initiative, called the Learning Alliance, is being implemented by the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics (Humidtropics) in Northern Nicaragua, where the Livestock and Fish program also promotes capacity development activities to strengthen the involvement of small farmers in the beef and dairy value chains.

The Learning Alliance brings together local actors who are active in the region to support integrated research for development work that empowers farm families working with coffee, cocoa, and staple crops to increase systems productivity and improve natural resource management as a means to advance human development and increase quality of life.

Margarita Cerrato, Field Technician and Project Coordinator at the Alliance member ADDAC in Rancho Grande, Matagalpa, explains that farm families show great interest in acquiring and exchanging knowledge with institutions and other farmers. “We have seen so much positive change. There are farmers that used to live in plastic shacks, but we have experimented together, and they have seen positive results in their farms and in their family lives. Now they work and their livelihoods have evolved and improved.

The Learning Alliance’s guiding principle is that there are many actors working towards development in the region, and many of these actors focus their work on research. It is therefore important to create platforms where these actors can work together, developing joint initiatives which result in more efficient interventions based on shared regional goals.

In the future, my children will need to build their homes, and wood is expensive“, explains Maria del Carmen Herrera, from Rancho Grande, Matagalpa. “My children’s homes will be built from this land, so we have to care for these resources. We have to teach children that when we harm our resources, we are harming our community. Some people think, ‘This is my farm, I can do whatever I want,’ but this is wrong. You’re not only hurting yourself, you’re hurting the community as well. That attitude is no good in the long run. We have to teach our children to conserve resources for tomorrow, but it is difficult. It is difficult to learn something good.”

Communities have expressed their joy in sharing in participatory learning and trust-building activities, which encourage them to take on leadership roles and manage their community’s resources, particularly in the face of climate change and an evolving economic landscape. Bringing together local organizations, farmers, rural women and youth has been a revealing learning process, highlighting the value communities place on knowledge and information as a key building block for development, translating into improved livelihoods.

Isabel Meza, Project Coordinator for the local organization Fundación Entre Mujeres (FEM) in Estelí, highlights the importance of working in a continuous process of empowerment to build trust with farm families. “Walking side by side with farm families contributes to that element of trust. It is a shared commitment. Farm families must make sacrifices to improve their lives. Rural women must negotiate established gender roles in their families and communities, so we work by their side to understand their needs. Empowerment requires an integrated approach, and we have seen the high level of commitment these women have taken on to improve their lives.”

Gloria Martinez is one of many rural women in Estelí who have experienced firsthand the positive changes brought on through their day-to-day collaboration with the organizations who are part of the Learning Alliance. “I feel happy, because if I wasn’t organized I would not be where I am now. Thanks to these initiatives, I acquired an education and we have learned together.”

My family has changed. I used to stay home and never participate, but now things are different. Domestic chores are shared, and I visit the field, I go to workshops in my community, and this has transformed my life. I have a voice and I have learned many things that I didn’t know before. This helps me because I can share it with my family and my community, and I can make my own choices. I also have a right to decide.”

Filed under: Capacity Development, Capacity Strengthening, Central America, CGIAR, CIAT, Communication, Crop-Livestock, CRP12, Environment, Gender, Innovation Systems, Intensification, Knowledge & Information, Nicaragua, Value Chains, Women

Tanzania Dairy Development Forum improves dairy management by widely sharing information

Despite being relatively new, the Dairy Development Forum (DDF) in Tanzania is already contributing to improvements in Tanzania’s dairy sector, largely by sharing information, especially through membership associations, which in turn is influencing policy changes.

This finding was reported in a study of Tanzania’s Dairy Development Forum presented on 21 Nov 2014 by Kennedy Kago, a graduate fellow at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), in Nairobi. Kago is completing his graduate work at Egerton University Kenya, in pursuit of a MSc degree in Agricultural Economics.

The Tanzania Dairy Development Forum was created in 2013 to bring together, and better coordinate, dairy sector actors the country. Members of the forum include input suppliers, producers and processors who through it are better engaging with development partners, policymakers and researchers.

Kago’s study, titled ‘Influence of information sharing within the Tanzania Dairy Development Forum on nurturing regional platforms’, found that information sharing has improved the running of smaller regional dairy innovation platforms such as the Morogoro Dairy Platform and of working groups formed to work on areas such as dairy breed improvement. The study recommends introduction of information packages at the end of DDF meetings, for example, for those unable to attend, to help both widen and increase the impacts of information sharing. In addition, the study calls for greater and more explicit advocacy work by the forum, which it says can influence the country’s policies for more profitable, sustainable and equitable dairy development.

While presenting his research findings, Kago, who worked at ILRI for six months, including 2 in the field in Tanzania, lauded the graduate fellowship program at ILRI, under the aegis of which he conducted this study. He thanked the colleagues he worked with during his stay at ILRI for their support and said that working in Tanzania had opened up training opportunities for him, enabling him to complete his MSc degree successfully.

‘I would welcome a chance to work in Tanzania again in future’, Kago concluded.

View his presentation:


Watch two short films about dairy platforms in Tanzania:

Living from milk: Transforming dairying in Tanzania

Building a dairy innovation platform: Lessons from Tanzania


Filed under: Africa, Cattle, CRP37, Dairying, ILRI, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains

Barriers to the development of livestock and fish in Bangladesh

The Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) recently published two policy briefs looking at barriers to the development of livestock  and fish sectors in the country. They were carried out under the Policy Research and Strategy Support Program (PRSSP) being implemented by BIDS with support from IFPRI and USAID.

The Livestock and Fish program is also working on value chain transformation in Bangladesh.

On livestock, the authors argue that ‘expanding the productivity of livestock animals and birds needs to concentrate more on the following elements:increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers; expanding commercial production; providing extension treatment and other necessary services to the poor farmers; and ensuring better marketing facilities, especially for smallholders and poor farmers.’ Actions identified include:

  • Ensuring sustainable management of animal genetic resources;
  • Improving diagnostic capacity and veterinary clinical and extension services, and ensuring easy access to these services;
  • Ensuring feed and fodder at affordable prices to smallholders and poor farmers;
  • Providing training to the farmers regarding improved animal farming;
  • Managing the processing and value chain of livestock products efficiently and ensuring better market linkages, especially for smallholders and poor farmers;
  • Providing long-term credit at affordable rates to smallholders and poor farmers;
  • Investing in research and development in the sector and improving the institutional capacities of agencies related to the sector.

On fisheries, the authors explain that ‘aquaculture is now recognized as one of the fastest growing animal food producing sectors in Bangladesh. The country is regarded as one of the most suitable countries in the world for freshwater aquaculture because of its favourable resources and agro-climatic conditions. There are about 371,309 hectares of freshwater ponds in Bangladesh and 3 million farmers are involved in fish farming. Aquaculture plays an important role in the economy of Bangladesh, providing food, nutrition, incomes, livelihoods and export earnings.’

The authors further identify major policy implications, including:

  • Wherever appropriate, community based fisheries management should be pursued;
  • The open access policies in open waters should be abolished and, wherever feasible, they should be brought under community management;
  • A cautious approach needs to be taken in promoting flood plain aquaculture (FPA);
  • Public water bodies suitable for aquaculture should be leased out on the basis of efficiency and growth rather than equity/poverty reduction alone;
  • More resources need to be invested in the development of capture fisheries;
  • The basic technical knowledge of efficient and integrated fish farming should be provided to farmers;
  • A range of public-private partnerships, higher investments, and more effective initiatives are needed to realize the potential of further development of aquaculture;
  • Further research is needed to better understand the environmental impacts on aquaculture and their implications.

Download the policy briefs:

Barriers to the Development of Livestock Sector in Bangladesh

Barriers to Developing the Fisheries Sector in Bangladesh

Filed under: Aquaculture, Asia, Bangladesh, Cattle, Dairying, Fish, Livestock, Report, South Asia, Value Chains

Tropical forage-based systems for climate-smart livestock production in Latin America

Writing in the November 2014 issue of Rural 21, Livestock and Fish researchers from CIAT argue that tropical forage grasses and legumes as key components of sustainable crop-livestock systems in Latin America and the Caribbean have major implications for improving food security, alleviating poverty, restoring degraded lands and mitigating climate change.

Climate-smart tropical forage crops can improve the livestock productivity of smallholder farming systems and break the cycle of poverty and resource degradation. Sustainable intensification of forage-based systems contributes to better human nutrition, increases farm incomes, raises soil carbon accumulation and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

Read the full article

Filed under: Animal Feeding, Central America, CIAT, Crop-Livestock, CRP37, Feeds, Forages, Latin America, Research

What big data for organizational development?

A World That Counts, the report by the UN Secretary General’s Data Revolution Group, was released last week. The report contains much that is important to global development. But what, I have been thinking, might the data revolution mean for organizational and human capability development?

Three ideas occur immediately. But let me first take you a few steps back.

Conducting Research for Development is at the heart of CGIAR’s Research Program on Livestock and Fish (CRP) value chain approach. We research the hypothesis that increased access to animal source foods by the poor, especially women and children, can be achieved at scale by strengthening carefully selected meat, milk and fish value chains in which the poor can capture a significant share of the benefits.

This hypothesis examines a trajectory between the generation of technology, its adaptation to various contexts, its adoption and ultimate scaling. This is termed agricultural research for development (AR4D) and encompasses the complex set of relationships between technology and its engagement in social and economic systems. Here, the traditional domains of researchers and development actors overlap considerably.

Enabling innovations for value chain transformation and scaling

Enabling innovations for value chain transformation and scaling

The approach is to integrate research efforts with development actors in an iterative process that enables both to combine efforts to identify the right issues for research, to adapt technologies so that they become fit-for-purpose in specific value chain sites, and work to take successful innovations to scale in ways that transform value chain systems.

This integrated and focused approach aims to harness, among other things, the growth of the private sector with the main objectives to:

  • Increase productivity in small scale production systems;
  • Increase quantity and improving quality supplied from small scale production and marketing systems;
  • Increase employment and income for low-income actors in targeted value chains, with an increased share of employment for and income controlled by low-income women;
  • Increase consumption of animal source produce to fill a larger share of the nutrient gap for the poor, particularly for nutritionally vulnerable populations (women of reproductive age and young children);
  • Lower environment impacts per unit of commodity produced in the target value chains; and
  • Enable policies (including investments) and development actors to recognize and support the development of small-scale production and marketing systems, and to seek to increase the participation of women within these value chains.

First, and I have written about this before, our program is well aware that for a “World to Count” strong organizations are required.

So, which data do we need to convince resource organizations, investors, incubator funds and the likes to expand financial investment for organizational development of our partners? Still, development resources are mainly invested through channels that are reserved for specific organization types. NGOs and UN organizations are resourced through contracts, grants and mandate agreements. Government agencies are resourced through their parliaments. Profit making development contractors are resourced through competitive bidding. Private sector companies are resourced through profit making business activities. Research organizations are resourced through national and international scientific investment instruments. The confluence between CGIAR research and development may bring you two potential resourcing possibilities:

  1. By aligning existing work towards mutually desired goals, development partners can exploit the benefits of directing research funding – to value chain specific issues – to local organizations for specific and targeted capacity strengthening purposes and;
  2. Research actors can likewise exploit the benefits of allocating development funding to partners based on assessed needs/demands (read more about how we are supporting (gender) capacity assessment work here.

By promoting system wide engagement across value chains, our program facilitates structured engagement across many actors and projects to form multi-stranded movement that make collective sense, and we will inform “investors and governments” soon about our capacity assessment findings (and oh yes, for sure we see this as “Big Data”) so to help push and pull for whole system change across the three regions we work in.

Second, in a more data rich world one could mount a strong argument for the UN index also to include so much more that is important to people: measures of voice, job security, social protection, equality, sustainability, rights and dignity would all help paint a much richer picture. Although data is somewhat available in countries where we work (e.g. we do know what the Uganda smallholder pig value chain sector can contribute to reduce poverty and we initiated work to strengthen individual and organizational capacities, we have assessed market opportunities in the aquaculture sector in Bangladesh and women enterprise investment prospects in Egypt, and in the dairy in India, our contribution to the “Big Data Revolution” has, seemingly, not yet reached policy makers and/or investors to enable – large scale – local rural transformations.

But I am optimistic, we will speed up our conversations about what data we have and we will do that firmly, like we will do coming week for example in Johannesburg at the FARA event. We will engage in dialogues how data can be used so that investment decisions will be directed to scale local level development. The data revolution, our CGIAR policy on open access, and our (organizational) capacity assessment reports have the potential to enrich such conversations enormously.

Third, and most pressingly, the data revolution already has a direct impact on human capability development. Remember that human development has been defined as “expanding the choices of people to lead lives they value”. Access to good information is vital to expand choices. Not only does it enable rural communities to better hold their (village) leaders accountable, but it can help all of us to take better decisions in our day to day lives. But, just as with any valuable resource, access to information is not equally distributed around the world. And even when good data are available, many people lack the basic skills to access or understand it. This has to change.

And that is why our program will continue to seek investments for design and delivery of innovative learning materials and approaches to identify innovations and breakthroughs in (e-)learning approaches (gaming, mobile/ICT etc.). We will do so through adult learning theory, instructional design, content development and delivery of high-quality training packages and collaborations that are aimed specifically for organizational strengthening purposes and which harness technology for capacity development initiatives that are tailored to the cultural, organizational and institutional contexts in which the new agricultural knowledge is to be applied, and to make research outputs more suitable, accessible and appealing to a wider range of users.

And so what is important now, is that the coming revolution (which will be led more and more by youth) leads to the world having (quick) access to the “right” information so to improve rural lives.

Development programs often position themselves to pilot new approaches and take these to scale. But often, pilot interventions do not reach scale and are not sustainable. In part, this is because the contexts within which pilots operate change in ways that are not understood. Innovations fail to adapt to become fit-for-purpose, and do not take hold and persist.

Not understanding how change is happening emanates from the way in which evidence is handled and examined at various stages of intervention evolution. For sure, failure to locally “hit-the-mark” precludes natural growth in scale. Equally, locally successful interventions do not translocate for reasons of contextual difference between locations. Achieving sustainable scale has become elusive and this threatens to compromise confidence in development investment. Engagement with (our) research centres brings a critically important analytical and documenting resource to development programs that seek to enable effect at scale.

We will keep bringing in research capability and approaches, and capacity development services to enable development partners to participate in our work, are you committed to do the same?

Written by Diana Brandes van Dorresteijn, ILRI

Filed under: Capacity Development, CapDev, CRP37, ILRI, IPP, Value Chains

Reviewing the livestock and fish value chain toolkit – Join the online discussion in December 2014

As part of its efforts to transform value chains, staff and partners in the livestock and fish research program have developed a number of value chain assessment and benchmarking tools.

From 1 to 4 December, the program is holding a brief e-discussion to solicit and synthesize experiences and lessons with the development and use of the tools.

The conversation is open to anyone interested in these tools – sign up at

The discussions will be focused and moderated with guiding inputs from:

  • Emily Ouma, Agricultural Economist at ILRI who has helped develop the L&F value chain toolkit;
  • Cheryl Doss, Leader of strategic gender research for the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (and Senior lecturer in Economics and African studies at Yale University) for her expertise on gender analysis of agricultural issues;
  • Girma Tesfahun Kassie, Agricultural Market Economist at ICARDA who has been active in adapting the L&F value chain toolkit to drylands small ruminant value chains;
  • Gethings Chisule, Principal Fisheries Officer, Western Province, Zambia, who has interacted with the L&F research teams using the toolkit for aquacultural value chain development.

The discussion is led by Jo Cadilhon, Senior Agricultural Economist at the International Livestock Research Institute.

The discussion is also supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Sign up to contribute or view experiences.

Filed under: CRP2, CRP37, ILRI, PTVC, Value Chains

Contribute to a consultation to set priorities for international agricultural research for development

The Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR) and the CGIAR Consortium have launched a consultation to get feedback from key partners on the priorities for publicly funded international research on agriculture.

What should be the priorities for agricultural research and innovation? What should be the priorities for publicly funded international research on agriculture in a development context? What should be the priorities for the CGIAR and its partners in research, in development and the private sector? And how do these priorities link back to the Sustainable Development Goals?

The CGIAR is in the process of developing a new strategy that will set such priorities, and will provide a concrete results framework for its work, to enable focused investments that lead to transformative development outcomes.

Please contribute to a global consultation that will lead to the  3rd Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD3).

CONTRIBUTE your ideas

Filed under: CGIAR

New project to examine potential farm to landscape impact and adoption of forage technologies in Tanzania

Maize stover in Tanzania The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has just approved a small grant to the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) for a project entitled the ‘potential farm to landscape impact and adoption of forage technologies in smallholder dairy production systems in Tanzania.’ The project will start in January 2015 and run for two years. It is aligned to the CGIAR research program on livestock and fish.

The overall project goal is to improve the productivity and livelihoods of smallholder dairy farmers with minimum trade-offs for the environment through increased adoption of improved forage technologies. It will raise awareness among stakeholders (development organizations, policy makers, farmers) about potential impacts of forage technologies on productivity, environment, and livelihoods and adoption potential and barriers so that they can better target their interventions.

The first step in the project is to classify the crop-livestock systems with special regard to feeding systems, using existing household datasets, feeding system assessment and newly collected data. The aim is to quantify feeding baskets and feeding gaps, thereby identifying bottlenecks and entry points and providing necessary input data for modeling efforts.

In a second step, environmental effects of forage technologies will be assessed at farm to landscape level. The ‘CropSyst’ model  will be used to simulate the growth and yield of crops in response to soil and climatic conditions under a range of environmental effectsm, including soil C dynamics, N2O emissions, N leaching, soil erosion and soil water dynamics. Methane emissions can be modeled with the Ruminant model of CSIRO Australia. The farm level environmental information will be integrated in whole farm trade-off modeling to assess potential multi-dimensional impacts of forage technologies, e.g. using the whole farm model FarmDESIGN hosted by Wageningen University.  Similar trade-off analysis will be conducted at landscape level using spatial data, GIS software and modeling tools such as LandscapeIMAGE from Wageningen University.

CIAT and partner staff and students will be trained in all modeling approaches. The Tanzanian Livestock Research Institute (TALIRI) will assist in following up and agronomic and soil data collection from forage trials. They will further take the leading role in capacity building of farmers and extension staff in establishment, maintenance, utlization and conservation of improved forages through training and exchange visits.

Moreover, TALIRI will continue to strengthen the already established feed Innovation Platforms (IPs) by actively engaging all stakeholders along the dairy value chain.

The third output will focus on the adoption potential of forage technologies, and will use a qualitative participatory expert-based assessment approach called QAToCA (delivered by ZALF – the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research in Germany). The adapted version of QAToCA for forage technologies will specifically focus on analyzing the influence innovations, stakeholder capacities, institutional conditions, markets and gender on adoption potential of forage technologies.

The project will interact closely with the dairy platforms of the Livestock and Fish program in Tanzania. Livestock and Fish scientists are participating in different dairy development platforms at national, regional and local level and there is active demand from stakeholders for science-supported development interventions.

The project complements ongoing projects, mainly a) the MilkIT project, which ends in December 2014 and has established participatory on-farm trials with farmers in Tanga and Morogoro provinces; b) the CLEANED project, which finishes at the end of 2014 and established a framework for ex-ante environmental impact assessment of smallholder dairy interventions; c) the Sustainable intensification through forages project which started in July 2014, mainly aiming at assessing potential environmental and productivity impacts of forage interventions at plot to farm level; and the d) the MoreMilkiT project which focuses on value chain aspects (commercialization, institutions, business models, and livelihoods of dairy development.

More information from Ms. Birthe Paul (CIAT)

Filed under: Africa, Animal Feeding, Cattle, CIAT, CRP37, Dairying, Feeds, Forages, Project, Research, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Value Chains

Researchers and partners critique framework to assess environmental impacts of livestock

For the past year, researchers from the International Livestock Research Institute, other research institutes and national partners have been working on a framework to carry out a ‘Comprehensive Livestock Environment Assessment for Improved Nutrition, a Secured Environment and Sustainable Development along Livestock Value Chains.’ On 30 and 31 October, the project team met in Kenya to review progress and the state of the framework.

See a presentation introducing the framework:

The framework has been tested in two districts in Tanzania – Morogoro and Lushoto – and local partners from the test sites joined the discussions. Indeed, a presentation of the framework with actual data and results from Lushoto was also presented.

The framework looks at four important dimensions – biodiversity, soil and land, water, and waste – seeking to provide decision support information for people working on dairy development. The idea is that a set of important sentinel data on each dimension can be collated, combined with community insights, and ‘plugged into’ the framework which will then generate a set of insights, reports and a sort of ‘traffic light’ indicators signalling potential danger areas for the environment.

Participants looked at each dimension in detail to suggest improvements; they also looked at the overall project from local and global perspectives, setting out next steps and actions to complete the framework so it can be released for wider testing.

Next steps and actions identified include:

  • Completing the framework (pathways, indicators, waste, visualization of results)
  • Addressing the nutrition dimensions
  • Refining and extending the scenarios (Tanga and Morogoro), with Maziwa Zaidi project
  • Completing the case study (Tanga and Morogoro)
  • Exploring ways to bring back and share the emerging results with Tanzania communities, nationally and locally.

In the longer term, the aim is to transform the  framework into a user-friendly tool; building a community of trainers, devising Tanzania-specific roll-out that builds on the case study and partnerships already built, adapting and applying it in other value chains (aquaculture, pigs …), and extending the work to other countries and networks and partners.

See presentations from the project

See 2 recent posters:

Photos from the project

The project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is implemented by ILRI, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).


Filed under: Africa, Cattle, CRP37, Dairying, Environment, Event, ILRI, Impact Assessment, LSE, Southern Africa, Tanzania, Targeting

Value chain seminar shares lessons, tools, approaches to African dairy development

African Dairy Value Chain Seminar In September 2014, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) organized a dairy value chain seminar with support from the CGIAR Research Programs on Policies, Institutions, and Markets and on Livestock and Fish.

The main topics of discussion were:

  1. African smallholder inclusion into dairy value chains
  2. Private-sector investment into the African dairy industry
  3. Gender roles and empowerment in African dairy value chains

Visit the seminar wiki page to find presentations and posters, notes of the stories shared on dairy value chain development in Africa, and feedback from peers to real-life problems faced by four practitioners or researchers of dairy value chains in Africa.

There are also photos, blogposts and several videos discussing the outcomes of the seminar from the viewpoints of organizers and participants.

Filed under: Africa, Cattle, CGIAR, CRP2, CRP37, Dairying, Event, ILRI, Livestock, PTVC, Value Chains

Independent Evaluation Arrangement evaluation of Livestock and Fish program

The Independent Evaluation Arrangement (IEA) Office of CGIAR is responsible for System-level Independent External Evaluations, through strategic evaluations of CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) and institutional elements of CGIAR.

The evaluation of the CRP on Livestock and Fish (L&F) is one of several CRP evaluations which the IEA is currently conducting. Led by a fully independent evaluation team, with quality assurance and management by IEA, the purpose of the forward-looking evaluation is to inform decision-making by L&F management, funders and partners. It aims to enhance L&F’s performance and likelihood of achieving its program objectives of increasing productivity and performance of small‐scale livestock and fish production systems and related value chains.

The evaluation will cover all L&F research activities, including projects supported by bilateral and unrestricted funding (W1/2). This includes both past transferred research (pre-CRP) that has continued relevance to the outcomes of the program, as well as new “CRP driven” research.

The two main focus areas of the evaluation are:

  • Research/programmatic performance, including the program design and results
  • Organizational performance, covering efficiency and effectiveness related to CRP governance and management structures.

The evaluation is scheduled to take place between October 2014 and December 2015 and will encompass document review, interviews, field visits and surveys. The inception report, scheduled to be completed in February 2015, will present a “road map” for the evaluation and outline the evaluation approach and methods to be used. It will also present a plan for engaging stakeholders and communicating findings and evaluation results.

An Evaluation Reference Group has been set up to engage key stakeholders and to act as a “sounding board” to provide views and inputs at important stages, including the inception report, preliminary findings, and draft report. It includes eight members, representing L&F management, the Science and Partnership Advisory Committee, ILRI Board of Trustees, as well as external partners.

The independent evaluation team is led by Professor Brian Perry, veterinary surgeon by profession and epidemiologist by specialization, with over 44 years’ experience as an international development scientist. He is supported by a team of subject matter experts who will cover the different L&F research themes.

For further information on this evaluation, please contact IEA Evaluation Analyst, Sophie Zimm (

More information, including the TORs, is available on the IEA website

Filed under: CGIAR, CRP37, Impact Assessment

Piecing together the (gender) research for (capacity) development puzzle

Conducting Research for Development is at the heart of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish’s value chain approach.

In this post, Diana Brandes argues that, in a world of complex sustainable development challenges, the solution(s) to ensure program outputs respond to localized demands to facilitate value chain transformation is a puzzle, where any number of rural communities, organizations, institutions may hold different pieces.

In recent months, through UN-facilitated consultation (e.g. the World We Want) 1.75 million people shared their priorities on the post-2015 global development agenda. Globally, people from both developed and developing countries conveyed a clear sense that our world is deeply unfair, and that the dynamics of power and exclusion have left many people, groups, communities, and even whole countries behind. They recognized that without concerted effort, this privilege and disadvantage would continue through generations.

Our challenge is how we can become better in establishing and applying, multidisciplinary collaboration and approaches across themes and countries in our research program. For that to happen CGIAR centres and “flagship specific” scientists need to break away from existing silos of specific expertise and have a more inclusive approach that brings together different disciplines. Of course, such collaboration is already happening at many places but we need to become smarter to seek out and identify potential partners with fresh perspectives that can help us address the challenges we are facing.

The draft report of a recent external evaluation (November 2014) recently stated that: “the value chain transformation theory of the program is not sufficiently clear”:

What happens if local beneficiaries and stakeholders do not sufficiently understand rapidly changing market and sector dynamics to inform sound decision making on value chain transformation strategies? What happens when the combination of partnerships, multi-stakeholder platforms and validation of integrated interventions from the other flagships are not sufficient? For example, what if the primary needs are policy and regulatory changes, small and medium enterprise development, and improvements in processing technologies and logistics? None of the other flagships and few of the most active stakeholders are positioned to generate validated knowledge about the above interventions. Will the value chains work address these types of interventions on its own? Will this only be done through partnerships and platforms? What will be the role of the value chains work in creating enabling policy and investment environments, shown in the program level theory but not under any of the flagship theories of change?”(p. 37).So far, the evidence generated on market channels and constraints has not been new information for policy makers. Policy analysis initiatives are needed to bring in or generate information on new options and opportunities” (p.72).

Let me chime in here. I believe that the questions posed by the evaluators are very valid because yes, we have lots of people working on research and technological solution finding but often they are only looking at one aspect of an (research, development) issue. This happens also because of donor’s impetus.

We really need to go beyond the oft-quoted phrase of we need (more?) “evidence-based research”. We are living through a paradigm shift (yes, trust me you do!). We are constantly connected and we are able communicate to millions of people in an instant through a single tweet; our information is stored in virtual clouds; we are exposed to the 24-hour news cycle.

The challenges of geographical distance have all but disappeared, our connections are virtual and we are all part of networks that generate vast amounts of data. These major shifts in communication and technology are changing the way we develop our own capacities, learn, live and how we perceive our world. Naturally this would also change the way we approach our (research) work, partnerships and relationships. That is, in the way we plan, design initiatives, how we measure their success and failure. The large trove of data we now have access to is not simply gender research data that is made public, but learning from information and experiences that is put on the web by individuals, the private sector, and others.

A thread I’d like to bring in is how our current (gender) research agenda, access to (gender specific) information can make us more attuned to capturing and identifying patterns and predicting future capacities and behavior needed to strengthen (women) capabilities?.

How many of us will read for example the newly published 2014 World Survey on the role of women in development: gender equality and sustainable development? Do we really need to research more ourselves before we are willing to acknowledge – what others already know for a while – that the many challenges we face in rural value chains are these (among others) of the informal rural economy and the vast (growing) gender disparities?

Many of us are familiar by now that most of the world’s poor live in the informal economy, occupying land they do not own, working in small, informal businesses, and relying on friends for loans. They often have limited access to broader economic opportunities and are especially vulnerable to the uncertainties, the corruption and even violence prevalent outside the rule of law and have few means to settle disputes apart from bribery or violence. Without legal rights or protections, they are in a continual state of legal and political vulnerability. Informality, therefore, limits the opportunity for economic and social development for individuals, families, businesses, communities, and entire nations. The thrust of value chain strategies that focus on development should hence emphasize capacity interventions to and for informal business(es), trying to develop resilient, stronger organizations, inputs suppliers, business hubs etc. to increase income and employment.

Our task is to sifting through (already available) data to get a good sense of our purpose for (Gender) Capacity Development interventions, and for many of us this is a real challenge.

Asking the “right” questions, through for example holistically designed capacity assessment guidelines and methodologies, will lead us to the sort of capacities our partners want (and need) to develop for our research to be better designed, delivered and taken up. And different types of data can often serve the same purpose. For example, do we need to simply evaluate our CRP in the traditional sense and try to collect data along those lines or do we use other types of data? Our recently published Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework is quite silent about how we will measure capacity changes which are not linear and sequential, and which may lead us to draw wrong connections and identify false patterns.

The “good news’ is the CGIAR’s Global Community of Practice is currently looking into the design of a capacity development (impact) measurement framework.

To make good use of the data revolution we may need to reframe our development issues and problems based on comprehensive assessment methodologies, and that is exactly what our Capacity Development team is currently working on with ILRI’s gender scientists in 4-6 value chain countries as many partners expressed interest in integrating gender into their programming, but lack the knowledge and understanding of how to do so.

Capacity development is a priority in both the CRPs Capacity Development Road Map 2014-2016 and the Gender Strategy and as part of this priority, a preliminary study was undertaken in May 2014 with partners in targeted value chains (pigs, dairy and/or beef cattle and small ruminants namely sheep and goats) in four countries (Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Nicaragua) to ascertain their gaps in gender capacity related to integrating gender into agricultural programming.

Initial analysis of the results indicated that the assessment tool needed to be further enhanced which we are working on right as I am writing this piece.

I just came back from Ethiopia, where we discussed with national and local government partners, the private sector and key development partners (SNV, GIZ, CIDA, CARE, USAID) about how to improve the tool, not lastly as it is anticipated that the methodology will be used by development partners (as well as other CGIAR and ILRI programs). In Ethiopia, the tool will be implemented at seven project sites in five regions in 2015, which will lead to the design of capacity development strategies and (long term) gender intervention action plans. In December we will pilot the methodology in Tanzania, followed by Uganda and India early 2015.

I have not figured all the pieces of the puzzle yet but I strongly believe that if capacity assessments reveal (and they will!) where concomitant investments are needed, and for what, that many (gender, both internal and external) capacity issues flagged by our external evaluators can and will be addressed.

To you out there then the question is whether you are ready to invest your time, effort and finances (yes, we do need resources!) to work together with our CRP and the Capacity Development team!

Written by Diana Brandes van Dorresteijn, ILRI

Filed under: Capacity Development, CRP37, Gender, Value Chains

Livestock and Fish external evaluation update 5 – Comment on the draft report

The draft report of the CRP-Commissioned External Evaluation of the Program’s Value Chain Approach is now available for comment (more information on this evaluation). Comments are open until 17 November – Download the draft report here.

The value chains work of the Livestock and Fish program is focused on animal-source food value chains in nine countries: smallholder dairy in Tanzania and India; pork in Uganda and Vietnam; small ruminants in Ethiopia and Burkina Faso; aquaculture in Egypt and Bangladesh; and dual purpose dairy-meat in Nicaragua. In each country, research for development (R4D) sites have been established to “serve as laboratories” for characterizing and assessing smallholder value chains, introducing and generating evidence on technological and institutional innovations, mobilizing resources needed to transform the selected value chains, and identifying strategies and mechanisms for scaling up.

The program focus on poor producers in the targeted countries and value chains created an important methodological challenge for the program’s value chains approach since there are weak market drivers, relatively little value addition and, in several locations, poor prospects for private sector investment or services provision. Another methodological challenge was the need to effectively engage wide ranging stakeholders in the process and mobilizes necessary resources for value chain transformation, while at the same demonstrating proof-of-concept for technological and technological innovations. The program had to develop a value chains approach for handling the above and other methodological challenges while piecing together funding from different pools of core and bilateral resources.

Because of the complexity and expectations faced in the development and implementation of the program’s value chains approach, the Program Planning and Management Committee commissioned an External Evaluation (CCEE) on the program’s value chains approach.

The draft evaluation report is now available to all stakeholders. The report was mailed for comment directly to:
1. CRP Management, including all value chain coordinators and program theme leaders,
2. Members of the Evaluation Reference Group (ERG), including the SPAC Representative to the group
3. Senior ILRI Managers
4. The Head of the CGIAR Independent Evaluation Arrangement

At this stage, I would like to invite all other stakeholders to review the document and make any comments that they feel should be communicated to the Evaluation Team in order to help them improve the finalized Evaluation Report, due 24 November, 2014 (see timeline below).  Download the draft report here

Comments and suggestions should sent to the Evaluation Manager, Keith Child ( by 17 November, 2014 at the latest (earlier submissions are both welcomed and encouraged).
Draft Evaluation Report
03 November 2014 — Final Draft is submitted to EM by the Lead Evaluator
04 November 2014 – The Draft is submitted to the CRP Director, the PPMC, the ERG, SPAC and IMC and a written response is solicited from each;
05 November 2014 – The draft is posted to the L&F Wiki and written responses are invited from stakeholders;
17 November 2014 – Deadline to receive all written responses to draft;
Finalized Evaluation Report
18 November 2014 – The EM will aggregate all written responses and submit them to the Lead Evaluator;
18 November 2014 to 23 November 2014 – The Evaluation Team revises the draft report;
24 November 2014 – The Finalized Evaluation Report is submitted to the EM, who immediately forwards it to the CRP Director, PPMC, ERG, ECB, SPAC, IEA and posts it to the L&F Wiki; the IEA will also post it to their website.

Filed under: CRP37, ILRI, Impact Assessment, LGI, Value Chains