IFAD and CIAT: Taking the fast track to development impact

14 August, 2013 by (comments)

A new chapter in CIAT’s partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has begun, as the result of a visit to Center headquarters in Colombia by IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze, heading a high-level Fund delegation. The visit formed part of a wider mission to Colombia and Peru.

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Coming on the eve of CIAT’s Annual Program Review, the visit began with an overview of the Center’s global research in three main areas – agrobiodiversity, soils, and policy. This prompted questions about the scope and focus of CIAT’s work and an engaging discussion about how research results can translate more directly into development impact.

Center research area directors described new tools and approaches that offer “a fast track to development impact” by generating far more quickly and cheaply key knowledge needed to guide investments and actions aimed at achieving climate-smart agriculture.

“You have a critical role to play by taking the knowledge from your integrated research on crops, production systems, and policies a step further, so that it helps transform subsistence agriculture into a high-performance sector of developing country economies,” said Nwanze.

A self-described “child of the CGIAR,” he has been associated with the centers since the early 1970s, including a decade as director general of the Africa Rice Centre.

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In discussions with CIAT leadership, Josefina Stubbs, director of the Fund’s Latin America and the Caribbean Division, explored options for collaboration, emphasizing the need to leverage knowledge generated by CIAT and other CGIAR centers to address daunting challenges faced by high-priority agricultural sectors (e.g., coffee) and countries, like Haiti.

Nwanze outlined other options for moving forward, including a rigorous multi-institutional assessment of the greening of the West African Sahel; a close look at the potential of improved tropical forages for alleviating animal feed scarcity in Africa and thus unleashing a livestock revolution; and involvement of Center scientists in the design stage of IFAD-supported country programs.

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