The combined meeting of the Management Committee (MC), the Lead Institution, the three Task Forces (TFs), and the Service Providers of Kano-Katsina-Maradi Pilot Learning Sites of the Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Program (SSA-CP) was held in IITA, Kano Station, from 2 to 4 May. The three TFs comprised the northern Guinea savanna, the Sudan savanna, and the Sahel agroecological zones.
The meeting considered the innovation platforms and how they could be operationalized through Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) to improve the livelihoods of African farmers and other stakeholders.
Participants at the SSA-CP meeting.
As this was the first combined meeting, participants addressed crosscutting issues on which similar protocols would be developed for the three TFs to enable them avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts and thereby have a common policy to work with. Prof. Uzo Mokwunye, the Chair of the MC, said these would help harmonize the TFs and exploit their synergies to work together towards achieving the same goal.
The meeting primarily dealt extensively with finding solutions to the repeated constraints faced by African farmers over the years, and the need to do this differently as it was the objective of SSA-CP and the charge by the Science Council of the CGIAR. Imperatively, this would involve partnerships with several actors, including farmers, policymakers, processors and marketing specialists. The goal was to integrate issues related to the biophysical domains with those related to policy and market domains. Such interactions, beginning at the grassroots level, would not only lead to the participatory identification of constraints but would also promote the development of solutions that the entire community can identify with.
A series of presentations explaining the concept of innovation platforms, how the TFs would build and operationalize an effective platform, and how they intended to build efficient and effective partnerships that would achieve scientific delivery of outputs/outcomes with positive impacts on poverty, markets, and policy issues were made by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the three TFs. Discussions focused on the TFs’ methodologies, based on the IAR4D approach to produce scalable outcomes/outputs to ultimately generate International Public Goods.
With FARA as the principal coordinator of CP, the MC was required to work with the TFs to ensure that the CP is well executed and that the goals are met. Consequent upon this, it is hoped that the next phase comprising full implementation of the program in the Pilot Learning Sites would be approved by Science Council, Prof Mokwunye added.
At the end, the three TFs were requested to develop a realistic 3-year MTP following the guidelines of the Science Council within the available fund.