Answering the CGIAR’s RIO+20 Call to Action: Brokering innovation from the Andes to Africa and Asia

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May 23, 2012 By: cip_admin

For the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) taking place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 the CGIAR has released a Call to Action outlining seven ways agricultural research for development can contribute to a more sustainable, food-secure future

Action 1 calls on global leaders, decisionmakers, and other Rio+20 actors to adopt cross-sectoral approaches and integrated thinking. Here is an example of how to put this recommended action into practice: The successful adaptation and adoption of a model developed in the Andes to promote pro-poor innovations is having positive impacts for small-scale producers in Asia and Africa, too. The model, called Participatory Market Chain Approach (PMCA) was designed to help poor farmers access growing demand for native products, especially in urban markets. headimage PMCA was designed as part of the PapaAndina program of the International Potato Center. It brings together diverse market chain actors, including small farmers, agricultural service providers, private sector companies, and research and development sectors. The goal is to stimulate innovations while building trust, interest, and collaboration among the disparate stakeholders. The innovations may take the form of new products, technological advances, or institutional changes. Application of PMCA for the native potato market in the Andes has spurred successes in all these areas, resulting in improved incomes (30–40 % higher prices for farmers in Bolivia, 20% higher in Peru), higher yields, and better quality products along with increased cultural, social, and personal assets. Following successes in the Andes, PMCA was applied in Uganda to potato, sweetpotato, tomato, and hot pepper value chains. Results included new networks, products, technologies, marketing strategies, and contracts with farmers. Women have been the primary beneficiaries of PMCA innovations, acquiring new skills and productive assets (such as land), higher incomes, and better family health. PMCA is being expanded in Uganda to pineapple, indigenous vegetable, and maize value chains. Likewise, PMCA has led to successes for small-holder potato farmers in Indonesia, particularly from the production of gourmet potato chips, potato bread, and sale of new potato lines (e.g., jumbo or baby-size potatoes). Adapted to fit local needs, PMCA was used as the basis for new Farmer Business Schools. These integrate experiential methods incorporated from farmer field schools, engagement with other market chain stakeholders, and the addition of business components (e.g., market analysis, preparing a business plan). Participants “graduate” with more honed business skills, a new product or strategy, a business plan, and experience implementing their plan. Lessons from the application of PMCA in Latin America, Asia, and Africa continue to fuel the research agenda and evolution of the model itself. Thus they complete the partnership learning cycle, not only among market chain actors, but across South-South borders, as well.  

ladySuccess story

Ida Rosida of West Java, Indonesia, participated in the farmer business school training with the hope of enhancing her meager household income. She is now a full-time potato processing entrepreneur. Her specialized potato chips feature the intact potato skin and come in new varieties, based on consumer and retailer suggestions. They are marketed under the brand, Cumelly, which was an innovation of the farmer business school initiative.