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Youth at the national consultations on integrating CGIAR sites in Mali

Female farmer harvests millet in Koutiala Mali

As a member of YPARD and a youth representative in agricultural development, I was invited to take part in the GCARD3 national consultations on integrating CGIAR sites in Mali, on Tuesday March 1, 2016.

The Consortium of Centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is a global partnership of agricultural research that works to reduce poverty, increase food security, and improving health and the people's diet. "Ensuring a more sustainable management of natural resources" is also part of the objectives of the CGIAR.

The meeting took place at the premises of ICRISAT-Mali. ICRISAT is the International Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics - one of the CGIAR centers active in Mali and West Africa.

The impact of CGIAR interventions in Mali

The workshop started in the presence of many rural development professionals including Dr. Ramadjita Tabo, ICRISAT director. It also involved the presence of the scientific director of the Institute of Rural Economy, Ibrahima N'Diaye, and David Yenkel, the representative of USAID.

CGIAR Research conducted as part of the first generation of CGIAR program has resulted in many new technologies and the improvement of agricultural practices, including more productive and resistant varieties. An independent study simulating the impact of CGIAR program painted a counter fact of what the global food system would have been without the CGIAR research: lower world food production by 4 to 5%; food production in developing countries lower by 7 to 8% and global food prices and feed grain higher by 18 to 21%, and between 13 and 15 million children malnourished in the world.

The positive impact of CGIAR is proved, according to Ramadjita Tabo. "But the consortium of centers continues to explore ways to optimize it for the benefit of small farmers around the world. One of the pathways leading to this optimization is the integration of the CGIAR intervention sites, "he said.

In the past, the sites were selected independently by the centers based on the work of their research programs in the country, explained Ramadjita Tabo. The consortium has proposed a comprehensive review and rationalization of the number of locations and the scale of field sites. The CGIAR system would have more impact and become more efficient functioning as a system rather than with 15 separate organizations. A key focus on the increased integration between the CGIAR research programs will improve coordination and collaboration across geographic entities with a clear mechanism to produce results following the country's agricultural development priorities.

A scientific partnership

Twenty countries were identified for the integration of CGIAR sites, with two levels of integration. Mali was identified as one of the priority countries. This integration will channel resources and efforts of the CGIAR within the national priorities.

National consultations on the integration of the CGIAR are part of the launch of the second generation of research of the CRPs, a set of integrated research programs in order to better contribute to the objectives and outcomes set by its strategic results framework . The integration of countries and sites involves developing integration plans including consultations with partners and stakeholders as a fundamental step in this process.

This is a major exercise to determine "how the CGIAR as a consortium can, through a synergy of actors and actions, further contribute to agricultural development with all public and private sector partners, organizations producers, youth organizations, NGOs and others. " These consultations will include the priority needs of domestic users, and understand how integrated efforts of the CGIAR can complement those of other national partners and programs.

The development of a plan for integrating intervention sites of the CGIAR centers and their partners for a better impact in Mali, a plan for monitoring progress and evaluating the impact of integrated implementation of interventions of CGIAR centers are also the objectives of these consultations.

Dr. Tabo Ramadjita mentioned that the development of resources research modalities for the implementation of the integrated plan and development of communication plans and the coordination mechanisms of action research programs of the CGIAR centers are also among the objectives of these national consultations.

Ibrahima N'Diaye stressed that "these consultations are very advantageous for the Rural Economy Institute, insofar as this will contribute to the development of synergies in research actions that we will carry out together. The CGIAR efforts should be complementary to national research institutes, being aware, share, discuss what each structure must do in well-identified sites set to achieve convincing results. It is an initiative that integrates our efforts towards a common goal, that of rural development. The CGIAR centers are in our country in the framework of a scientific partnership. If there is a scientific partnership, we go together, we need to put our efforts and resources together in the implementation of our research activities. That’s the price to pay for achieving more impact by making available to users and farmers the results of our research, efficient and resilient technologies. "

The USAID representative welcomed the efforts of the CGIAR under the leadership of Ramadjita Tabo, among others. According to David Yenkel, "there is now a direct link between research and development. There is a better way to develop centers and research sites and ensure a large-scale dissemination of research on new technologies and with the funding from USAID. "

What about young people?

During these national consultations, we (YPARD-Mali) took part in contributing to the discussions and share our experience, but by making proposals for strengthening youth participation in the plenaries such as working groups. The proposals made by YPARD- Mali included:

  • Supporting young people in agriculture through training on entrepreneurship, access to finance and innovation,
  • Increasing youth involvement in political debates on the future of agriculture and agricultural research for development,
  • Strengthening mechanisms for youth participation in the formulation of policy proposals and agricultural development program, both locally and globally
  • Promoting youth participation in agricultural extension and advisory services, and the use of new technologies ...

We were very pleased to participate in these national consultations to better bring forefront the interests of young people in the agricultural development sector in general and in agricultural research for development in particular. We thank the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) through the International Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) for inviting us to participate in this meeting.

Learn more about other youth involvement in GCARD3 through its national, regional and global consultations.

Picture by ICRISAT HOPE/Peter Casier - Female farmer harvests millet in Koutiala Mali