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CIP participates in the regional workshop on Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) technologies in Asia

Jun 29 2015   |   By: angelica-barlis   |   0   |  

The event was organized by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)-CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and sponsored by the UNEP which also hosts the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN). CTCN promotes the accelerated transfer of environmentally sound technologies for low carbon and climate resilient development at the request of developing countries. The network delivers technology solutions, capacity building and advice on policy, legal and regulatory frameworks tailored to the needs of individual countries.

Representatives from the agriculture and environment ministries in 16 participating countries (South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and East Asia), pool of scientists from various CGIAR centers and research programs, financing institutions and regional and national organizations were gathered to discuss opportunities and possible collaboration towards CSA. One of the key outputs of the workshop was to develop concept notes that will underscore the support needed by participating countries in the areas of technical assistance, financing, and support services for upscaling and out-scaling CSA.

The CSA approach, according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) aims at building resilience against climate change and variability through these measures: a) addressing adaptation and climate change mitigation as potential co-benefit; b) being location-specific and knowledge intensive; c) identifying integrated options that create synergies and reduce trade-offs; d) identifying barriers to adoption and providing appropriate solutions; e) strengthening livelihoods by improving access to services, knowledge and resources; and f) integrating climate financing with traditional sources of agricultural investments.

After the CGIAR centers showcased hardcore technologies like weather information and forecasting, alternative wetting and drying (AWD) for rice, and water stress management, among others; each country representative was able to present its initial CSA needs and identify the kind of technical assistance that they will be requesting to the CTCN. A more detailed definition of roles (e.g. national, CGIAR, funding agency), technical needs, geographic focus, etc. are to be specified in the concept note.

On the last day of the workshop, four themes surfaced during the discussion of the CSA needs of each country. Specifically, the participants identified the following: a) issues on the access to specific and needs-based technologies; b) out-scaling and upscaling of CSA technologies; c) policy advice and proper framing of national strategies and mainstreaming mechanisms; and d) crop suitability mapping and modelling.

Dr. Reiner Wassmann, Coordinator for Climate Change Research at IRRI gave his impression that the plans presented are still very broad and scattered. He emphasized the need to focus on the “low-hanging fruits” where there are synergies on development. He also suggested prioritizing the identified common themes with consideration on what is doable on a specific timeframe and what technologies are already proven.

Moreover, Dr. Leocadio Sebastian, Regional Program Leader for CCAFS South East Asia also highlighted that it is essential to support country-specific problems, to produce more localized evidences of learnings and successes and to continue capacity building efforts especially with the national partners.

Everyone in the workshop acknowledged that the detrimental effects brought about by climate change and variability should be addressed in a more “integrated” manner. Hence, there is a strong call to collective action from the government, research institutions and its programs, development organizations and funding agencies to develop a more sustainable climate-smart agriculture.

The 16-country delegation together with representatives and scientists from CGIAR centers, development, regional and national organizations visit IRRI to learn CSA technologies in rice systems. (Photo by: IRRI-CCAFS)

What CIP has to offer?

The International Potato Center (CIP) has an impressive portfolio of technologies and approaches that are integrated with its current programs and projects across the Asia Pacific region.

CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas

CIP works closely with other research centers to ensure that climate-proofing measures are being done across the value chain. CIP leads the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) together with its partners Bioversity International, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD).

The RTB program “breeds for higher nutritional and processing quality and adaptation to stressful environments, facilitates access to improved quality planting materials and provides better management practices that address these challenges. A combination of dynamic conservation and on-farm use of crop genetic diversity can ensure resilient cropping systems and capacity to respond to evolving stresses. Methods to help poor farmers’ access higher value markets for fresh or processed RTB can strengthen capacities, increase incomes and improve livelihoods.”

Farmer Business School (FBS) Approach

In Asia, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-funded program on Food Security Through Asian Roots and Tubers (FoodSTART) was able to adapt the Farmer Business School (FBS) approach from Indonesia to the Cordillera, Philippines. FBS is an action learning approach that supports the farmer groups’ participation in and benefits from agricultural value chains.

The FBS curriculum is guided by value chain framework with activities over a production-marketing cycle while interacting with chain actors and stakeholders. This approach envisages more profitable pro-poor farm businesses through market-oriented innovations that enhance trust and coordination, collaboration between farmers and chain actors while empowering men and women farmers, and thus contributing to sustainable livelihoods of RTC and non-RTC farming households.

Furthermore, the curriculum has evolved from addressing the value chain capacity building needs of an IFAD-supported Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Program (CHARMP2) to a more straightforward “climate-smart” and “gender-responsive” curriculum which targets local communities that are more vulnerable to hazards brought about by climate change.

Experiences in FBS applications across Southeast Asia have increasingly stressed the need to address climate change risks in promoting farmer business development, including: a) local adaptation strategies to ensure sustained crop production for markets, b) targeting of and investment planning for agricultural value chains guided by long-term scenarios for climate change impact; and c) vulnerability analysis as part of business planning among micro- and small agricultural enterprises.

RTC strengthens resilience to food security

Root and tuber crops, with reference to sweetpotato, have proven its nutritional value and resiliency especially for disaster recovery initiatives. In the Philippines, Typhoon “Haiyan”, the strongest tropical cyclone recorded to hit the country left with some 6,300 deaths and around 700 million USD worth of damage to the agriculture sector.

Eastern Visayas, the home of CIP’s national program partner Visayas State University – Philippine Root Crops Research and Training Center (VSU-PhilRootcrops) was heavily stricken. PhilRootcrops led the short-term response activities to those affected communities in the province. Beneath the fallen coconut trees or in open fields and slopes, local farmers noticed that few of the crops that survived the storm include sweetpotatoes. Communities with fresh roots available did not have severe food crises as those without. Sweetpotato served as the local food supply until the relief efforts arrived.

Dr. Bruce Tolentino, Deputy Director General for Communication and Partnerships of IRRI gladly receives the multi-country delegation of the CSA technologies workshop (Photo by: IRRI-CCAFS)

References and Useful links:

Climate Technology Centre & Network:
CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas:
Food Security Through Asian Roots and Tubers Project:
International Potato Center:

For clarification or additional information on this article, kindly send an e-mail to Angelica Barlis, Communication Specialist of CIP-FoodSTART at

Scaling-up utilization of the orange-fleshed sweetpotato: Practitioners discuss how to overcome the obstacles

Jun 25 2015   |   By: christine-bukania   |   0   |  

The obstacles to OFSP scale-up and solutions to these obstacles were discussed at the 2015 Marketing, Processing and Utilization Community of Practice (CoP), which was held on 20 and 21 May in Nairobi.

Increasing private sector involvement

“One of the bottlenecks of OFSP adoption at industrial scale is a prevailing gap between innovators, implementers and policy makers, said Jean Pankuku, the Group Food Technologist at Universal Industries Ltd, Malawi. The company is in the process of researching and developing some OFSP baked products that will contribute significant amount of dietary vitamin A. She suggested that if OFSP research was to translate to adoption, all stakeholders would have to be included in discussions about findings and progress of innovations right from the beginning.

Dr. Sindi Kirimi, the Country Manager of the Scaling up Sweetpotato through Agriculture and Nutrition (SUSTAIN) project in Rwanda, agreed. Emphasizing that the private sector’s priority was commercial viability, he said that for anything to go to scale, some conditions had to be fulfilled. “First, the product must be acceptable to the consumer and be either as good as any other product in the market or even better. Secondly, the product has to be commercially acceptable.” Kirimi called for an increased effort to combine scientific and business skills to develop solutions that were relevant to the market.


Policy matters

When it comes to OFSP, getting the consumer’s acceptance of the product is not as straightforward as one would imagine. “In Rwanda, we worked from the ground up for over four years to ensure that people understood the importance of vitamin A for their health and the role that OFSP could play in nutrition and food security,” Kirimi recalled. He explained that creating awareness about OFSP and educating grassroots populations and policy makers was also essential for successful policy outcomes.

Dr. Robert Ackatia-Armah, who is the Regional Nutritionist at CIP, added that policy makers in Rwanda did not consider OFSP a priority in their food-based approach in combating vitamin A deficiency, because a robust and well-funded supplementation program already existed. “We focused on creating a better understanding of the potential of OFSP as a locally grown, cost-effective and sustainable solution to fight vitamin A deficiency even if external funding dried out,” he said.

These advocacy messages resulted in the inclusion of sweetpotato in general in the bio-fortification initiative in the National Food and Nutrition Policy (NFNP) and National Food and Nutrition Strategic Plan (NFNSP). In addition, OFSP is now considered as a complementary food for growing children.

Contributing to regional nutrition strategies

The developments in Rwanda are indicative of a general trend towards increased support of nutrition interventions in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2014, African Heads of State recommitted to allocate 10% of their budgets to agriculture, and the revised African regional nutrition strategy now looks at both nutrition-centered and nutrition-sensitive interventions.

The Marketing, Processing and Utilization CoP is part of the 10-year Sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative is (SPHI). It brings together professionals working on all levels of the sweetpotato value chain, as well as private sector players who are innovating processing and utilization of OFSP for commercial products. The ultimate goal is to increase consumption through product refinement using vitamin A- rich OFSP to reduce child malnutrition and improve smallholder incomes in 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.


Se aprueban políticas de Estado que contribuirán a mejoras en la seguridad alimentaria y nutricional en forma sostenida

Jun 24 2015   |   By: joel-ranck   |   1   |  

Miguel Ordinola (Coordinador de IssAndes Perú), participó en el proceso representando al CIP en la Comisión Multisectorial de Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutricional y en la Comisión Multisectorial por el Año Internacional de la Agricultura Familiar, instancias integradas por más de 20 instituciones públicas y privadas. Los enfoques de IssAndes se han incluido en las siguientes dimensiones de la seguridad alimentaria: i) Disponibilidad: se plantea lograr un nivel suficiente de investigación y asistencia técnica para asegurar la disponibilidad de alimentos (sistema tecnológico nacional para la producción de alimentos nutricionales) y ii) Utilización: se plantea que la población conozca, decida y consuma alimentos inocuos y nutritivos (población cuenta con educación alimentaria nutricional, las familias han mejorado sus capacidades para un adecuado consumo y preparación de alimentos para su nutrición, y la población utiliza y valora productos locales por su valor nutritivo). Estos espacios permiten dar continuidad a las acciones que se vienen promoviendo en IssAndes y aseguran que a través de políticas públicas de largo plazo puedan contribuir de manera sostenida a las mejoras de la seguridad alimentaria y nutricional. Estos dispositivos brindan un marco para promover la agricultura familiar y los enfoques de seguridad alimentaria nutricional, fundamentales para la reducción de la pobreza.

Minagro Foto_1199

New Study Finds that Orange Sweet Potato Reduces Diarrhea in Children

Jun 15 2015   |   By: admin   |   0   |  

The OSP was conventionally bred to provide more vitamin A in the diet. In Africa, more than 40 percent of children aged under five are estimated to be at risk of vitamin A deficiency. This increases the risk of diseases such as diarrhea, which is one of the leading causes of mortality in children, taking more than 350,000 lives of children under five in Africa every year.

Other studies have shown that vitamin A supplementation reduces diarrhea incidence in children, particularly those who are undernourished or suffering from severe infections. This newly published research is the first to show that an agricultural food-based approach can improve health in young children.

The study found a 42 percent reduction in the likelihood that children under the age of five who ate OSP within the past week would experience diarrhea. For children under three years of age who ate OSP, the likelihood of having diarrhea was reduced by more than half (52 percent). The OSP had an impact not only on reducing the incidence, but also the duration of diarrhea. For children who had diarrhea, eating OSP reduced the duration of the illness by more than 10 percent in children under five, and more than 25 percent in children aged under three. The children had all eaten OSP within the past week.

“The beta-carotene in OSP is converted into vitamin A the same day the OSP is eaten,” says Dr. Erick Boy, the Head of Nutrition at HarvestPlus, a global program to improve nutrition that funded the field research. “This vitamin A is used by the cells lining the gut to help form a barrier to invading germs. These cells are regenerated every few days, so cells that have been weakened due to lack of vitamin A are quickly replaced by healthy cells when there is enough vitamin A. It should be noted that access to clean water and sanitation, targeted immunization, and breastfeeding are also important in helping to prevent diarrhea.”

The study also found that there was greater impact in reducing diarrhea in children with educated mothers, who are likely better able to understand the health benefits of OSP, and also to change children's diets.

“Both vitamin A supplements and vitamin A-rich foods like orange sweet potato can provide sufficient vitamin A. From a public health perspective, they are complementary—neither alone is able to reach every child who needs vitamin A,” says Alan de Brauw, a Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. “But vitamin A supplements can be expensive, as much as $2.71 per dose. Alleviating this deficiency worldwide through supplements alone would cost almost $3 billion per year. Using OSP to provide vitamin A is a fraction of that cost. Given the popularity of OSP—children especially love its taste—we think it’s a sustainable solution to improving nutrition and child health in many countries, complemented, of course, by supplementation where it is cost-effective.”

HarvestPlus’ principal donors are the UK Government; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the U.S. Government's Feed the Future initiative; the European Commission; and donors to the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, of which HarvestPlus is a part.

Press Release Journal Article

Using Agriculture to Improve Child Health: Promoting Orange Sweet Potatoes Reduces Diarrhea

More About HarvestPlus

HarvestPlus leads a global effort to improve vitamin and mineral nutrition and public health by developing and deploying staple food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals. We work with diverse partners in more than 40 countries. HarvestPlus is part of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH). CGIAR is a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Its science is carried out by its 15 research centers in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations. The HarvestPlus program is coordinated by two of these centers: the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

Videos and Photos

Research Results: Orange Sweet Potato Reduces Diarrhea in Young Children
Farmers Speak: Orange Sweet Potato
Rooting Out Hunger
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SUSTAIN Rwanda co-exhibits with Partners in the 10th Kigali Agricultural Show

Jun 09 2015   |   By: aime-ndayisenga   |   0   |  

On the other hand it serves as a good platform for participants to learn how to access finance, showcasing agricultural technologies, and share experiences in a bid to boost agriculture investments.

CIP-Rwanda, under SUSTAIN Project is among the 200 local and international exhibitors present in the Agricultural show. Through its implementation partners like the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) and Imbaraga Organization, CIP is exhibiting the Orange Sweetpotato value chain at Imbaraga Stand where, a range of OFSP based products including the popular OFSP mandazi, biscuits, bread, chips and noodles are being exhibited while on the RAB side, the state scientists exhibit the seed system chain from the in-vitro technology up to the root production.

This agriculture show is an annual platform that brings together farmers, financial institutions, private companies and NGOs among others in a bid to ease linkages between all the Agricultural stakeholders, partners involved in the development of Agriculture and livestock.

This year’s exhibition, took place at MULINDI Agricultural Showground, in Gasabo District, Kigali City. During the weeklong event, farmers’ cooperatives and investors will keep update of recent advances in agricultural technologies available in the country such as irrigation facilities, mechanization, postharvest and handling process, fertilization demonstration methods, different high yield production techniques, agro-processing, to name a few.

RAB staff, exhibiting OFSP varieties introduced in Rwanda by CIP
RAB staff, exhibiting OFSP varieties introduced in Rwanda by CIP. (Credit: Aime N.)

At Imbaraga Stand/CIP mobilizes stand visitors to incorporate their diet with OFSP
At Imbaraga Stand/CIP mobilizes stand visitors to incorporate their diet with OFSP (Credit: Aime N.)

OFSP processing Co-operative exhibiting a range of OFSP based products
OFSP processing Co-operative exhibiting a range of OFSP based products (Credit: Aime N.)