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If it works, scale it up!

Posted by Roxanna Samii Thursday, February 28, 2013 0 comments

by Rosalie Lehel, IFAD Natural Resource Management Programme Support Officer, East and Southern Africa

Nairobi, Kenya – Sometimes what is important is not only to have a new idea, but to be able to expand what already works.

That was the key message of the first 3 days write-shop on scaling up frameworks that took place in Nairobi, Kenya. Organised by IFAD, the write-shop gathered  together members of the Kenyan Government, representatives of associations and project coordinators to talk about what scaling up means, and how to put it in practice.

Scaling up can be defined as ‘’expanding, replicating, adapting and sustaining successful policies, programs or projects in a given geographic space and over time to reach a greater number of the rural poor’’.
In order to be scaled up, the model needs to have a vision that sets the appropriate ultimate scale along with the timeframe. Next comes the identification of the drivers that are pushing, or are expected to push, the scaling up process and of the spaces that need to be created. Finally, the determination of the pathways that define the way interventions are to be scaled up, and what IFAD can do to promote the process.

After a presentation of the above scaling-up process, the participants had been asked to apply it to the models of intervention they wanted to scale up through a writing exercise: for every model, they had to  identify the vision, the drivers, the spaces, the pathways and IFAD’s role. This was a useful and practical way to check the participants’ understanding of the subject matter. Towards the end of the workshop, each participant had to make a presentation on the scaling up process of their model.

An example is the water resource management model, presented by Maria Notley, technical adviser of the Water Services Trust Fund. The model’s goal is to bring different users together and give them training on integrated water resources management and financial resources for planning and implementation of the water resources management activities. The idea was born in Kenya, where several water resources users’ associations (WRUAs) were formed in the 1980’s around critical water bodies and catchment areas. The first WRUAs were voluntary associations formed in the situations where the resource was either diminishing or deteriorating or upstream and downstream users were in direct conflict over the use of the resource. The vision of the programme is to reach 1200 WRUAs, and the main driver is the motivation of local level water users. Many spaces, such as financial, cultural, institutional, learning, partnership and environmental needed to be created in order to scale up the idea. The pathway of the process has a time frame of the next 5 years, and implies a large scale up with finances generated by water users in order to have multiple impacts such as increased awareness, practical activities in catchment areas, increase flow and better quality of water resources, increased availability of water  for population and production.

But the scaling up doesn’t stop there. The role of knowledge management and community building is fundamental, and has to be implemented in every phase of the process. IFAD will soon launch a platform that will put together the experiences, the lessons learned, and the tools to achieve successful scaled up models.

Even though the scaling up approach is still work in progress, the mind-set is already changing: the projects are now seen as dynamic, and with a wider dimension. The on-going internalization has already started with the integration of the scaling-up process in the project design and more will come. The scaling-up of the scaling up mind-set continues.  

The Learning Route on Pro-Rural Poor Public and Private Partnership in Lao PDR is finally started!!

Participants coming from various regions of Lao PDR are now travelling within the Attapeu Province to analyze and learn from the best practices and successful strategies in the promotion of Pro-Rural Poor Private and Public Partnership, in order to promote  their scaling-up in Lao PDR and especially within IFAD supported projects. The Learning Route focuses on small-scale agriculture and non-agriculture rural businesses developed in Attapeu province as part of the activities promoted by RLIP.  

The learning route bus is now running! It is full of different practitioners, which background, skills and experiences make it a very rich, unique group of learners. Farmers and staff member from SSSJ, RLIP, SNRMPEP already have show their interest.

Questions and discussions in the field will be the basis to open the path for innovation, reaching the communities and organizations they represent. Three organizations will share their knowledge and tips on how to get out from poverty cycle.

1.       Organic Asparagus Producers’ Group, Darkhied village, Sansai district
Successful story of resilience of a group of food-insecure households that have been able to improve their livelihoods by capitalizing on new market opportunities. Today there are 21 families of the village of Darkhied, belonging to Alak ethnic group, involved in the production of Organic Asparagus which are sold directly to SWIFT Co. LdT., one of the most important organic traders in Southeast Asia.
2.       Taliang Natural Dyes Group, Vang Xai village, Sansai district
The Taliang Natural Dyes Group is composed of 10 Taliang women from Vang Xai. Interesting example of how the combination of traditional knowledge with current markets trends can generate new business opportunities for rural people. Moreover, the articulation of women with the public and private sectors is playing a catalyser role in this young experience.
3.       Organic Coffee Producers’ Group, Dakseum village, Sansai district
The Alak community of Dakseum is producing organic coffee since 1994. In 2009, thanks to the establishment of long-term PPP, villagers started producing and selling at larger scale. Their strategy can be considered a learning model in Lao PDR when targeting the poorest of the poor.

Stay tuned for the next updating!!

For more info visit:

by Kevin Cleaver, IFAD Associate Vice-President Programmes

Gordon Conway is coming to Rome to launch his book entitled ONE BILLION HUNGRY;  CAN WE FEED THE WORLD?  (Cornell University, 2012).  It’s a good book, and an important book, well worth the read.  For those of you who are too busy doing other things, I will summarize what I believe are the most important points, and some issues.  After all, 430 pages is a lot of reading.

First Conway argues that the part of the food security debate which has been most ignored is nutrition.  Hunger has traditionally been measured by FAO as caloric intake.  But this is only part of the hunger story;  the quality and content of those calories is critical.  Food security equals access to food, its availability, the way it is utilized and its composition.  This is a more complex definition.  Simple concepts no longer suffice.

Similarly the success of the green revolution is partly questioned.  The evidence, which Conway reviews in great detail, is pretty compelling that the green revolution reduced poverty, at least in those places where it occurred.  It also stabilized rural employment earnings, reduced food prices, and moderated seasonal fluctuations in food availability.  For those of you who forgot what the green revolution was, it was not really very green.  It consisted of the introduction of high yield varieties of some crops, combined with investment in irrigation, fertilizer, a slightly better policy environment for agriculture, and literacy campaigns for farmers.  Good stuff; definitely resulting in production increases.  But, the evidence is also compelling that the impact on the poor was less than expected, rural inequality increased, environmental degradation accelerated, and there are diminishing returns (i.e. the productivity gains now are less than in the past).  These findings incidentally were the basis for my statement in the panel at the Governing Council that the benefits from project introduction of green revolution technology are diminishing, and we need to find (and are in fact finding) new ways to have high impact on small farmer incomes and wellbeing.  Conway goes on to develop the idea, which was originally his, of what he calls a doubly green revolution.  The idea is to pursue productivity gains in agriculture, as the original green revolution did, while conserving natural resources, focusing more on hunger reduction (remember the expanded definition of food security;  it is relevant here), focusing on equality of distribution of benefits, and with techniques and technologies resistant to shocks (climatic, environmental, economic, etc.).  And it needs to be sustainable.  This is a very tall order.  What does Conway suggest as a way of delivering such an ambitious set of objectives?

He has an answer;  you must decide if it is convincing.  First on the large farm small farm debate;  he argues that both are needed.  Small farmers tend to be more efficient per hectare (important as land constraints become more severe, especially for crops which do not require large on-farm investments).  But for crops which work in harmony with capital intensive processing investment (palm oil, rubber, sugar, cut flowers), large farms are generally more appropriate.  And of course the two can work together.  What does this have to do with a doubly green revolution?  I think that this was just the warm up to the meat of it which is that the new agriculture needs to be one which promotes ecological sustainability and social sustainability (sounds like IFAD mantra does it not?).  This means that in thinking about agriculture systems (or projects), the trade-offs between productivity (large farm or small), stability, resilience, and equitability (new word) must be considered.  The green revolution focussed on productivity, but sacrificed sustainability and equality.

What does ecological sustainability look like?  What does it mean?  Conway has specific examples which are interesting;  I will list them in order to save space.  I use buzz words here, but there is a lot of meat behind each:  intercropping, rotations, combine trees and grasslands with cropping, green manuring, conservation tillage, biological control, IPM…   Grainger-Jones;  you will love this stuff.  He argues that new technologies, (ICT, nanotechnology, biotechnology) need embracing (so he is not just an organic green;  he’s a bit of an iconoclast).  He wants a lot more innovation however, including in the public sector, the private sector, and in education.

He does not stop there.  We have learned that institutions and policy matters.  He does a good job at looking at the pros and cons of some of the policy orientations that accompany technology.  Coops for example can be good at enabling small farmers to reach economies of scale, but often leave the poorest farmers out.  Contract farming is great for connecting processors to farmers and ensuring better prices for farmers contracted.  But most farmers are excluded;  contracts go to the best farmers.  Fair trade provides farmers with premium prices, but benefits tiny numbers of farmers.  Food safety is great for consumers, but standards often cause small farmers to be dropped.  Conway states that organic produce is a great niche but organic crop yields are still 30% less than conventional farming yields, important in situations of land scarcity.  Crop insurance is tough to make work because damage is difficult to connect to an event;  risk is not easily quantifiable.  This is why crop insurance schemes, such as that of the USA, are so heavily subsidized by governments.

His chapter on livestock is intriguing.  Livestock are central to mixed farming systems which characterize most small holder farms.  The use of crop waste to feed animals, and animal waste to feed plants, livestock as the engines of early farm mechanization, makes sense.  Livestock provide draft power, generate employment (it is a lot of work to keep livestock), source of wealth, cultural significance, and source of food.  Let’s get one!  But, there are increasing environmental problems, greenhouse gas emissions from livestock are huge, and zoonotic diseases (remember avian flu?), are increasing, not decreasing problems.  No easy fix on this one.  Read the book for answers;  my sense is the livestock raising sends us into the world of the second best.  There is rapidly increasing demand for meat (faster than for crops), and the positives listed above remain, but there are very negative environmental consequences.  How to manage these negatives is the challenge.

I have done a shoddy job of summarizing a long and complicated book in a few words;  let’s jump to the conclusions.  There is a chapter of conclusions, that in a nutshell (really), goes like this:

  • Donors should meet their aid commitments (they rarely do)
  • The Doha round must be successful (freer agricultural trade and fewer subsidies) – fat chance
  • Governments need to have policies which create an enabling environment for private investment in agriculture and agro business (most do not)
  • Institutions need to be supportive (food safety, environmental regulation, etc);  most are not
  • Producers associations should be supported
  • Micro credit works
  • Push for sustainable agriculture technologies (such as those listed above)
  • Expand the technological horizon (including bio technology, nano technology, ICT)
  • Small scale irrigation rather than large government run schemes
  • Adaption to climate change (some good stuff on climate change-  come to his seminar this week at IFAD sponsored by Grainger jones on this)
  • Scale up
  • Private public partnerships
When I read the concluding chapter, I found myself wondering what’s new.  It reads pretty much like our own strategic framework.  Maybe this is why I liked the book so much.  It provides a very well referenced argument for the type of agriculture that I believe that IFAD is promoting.  For this reason, I am an enthusiast.  Despite the common sense nature of the recommendations, few governments actually practice any of it, and most of our societies are not very supportive in deeds.  Conway is an ally.  We don’t have as many allies as you might think;  each is precious.  Come to his lecture.

A dynamic discussion at the Governors’ round table #ifadgc

Posted by Roxanna Samii Tuesday, February 19, 2013 0 comments

By Nicole Carta

In addition to the many successes of last week’s IFAD Governing Council, another highlight was the launch of the Governors’ Round Table – a new forum designed to foster more interaction and exchange among IFAD Governors on strategic issues impacting smallholder farmers.

President Nwanze created the round table in response to direct calls from our Governors for more opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences among each other during the annual meeting. This year the Round Table was moderated by Ambassador Miguel Ruiz Cabañas Izquierdo, Permanent Representative of the United Mexican States to IFAD, and Vice-Chair of the IFAD Governing Council, and focused on Partnerships for Financing Agricultural and Rural Development.

During the two-hour session, Governors and Heads of Delegations from 109 Member States reflected on how to build and finance partnerships that can best support smallholder farmers and their role in transforming agricultural systems and rural economies to achieve greater prosperity, sustainability and equity.  Building upon a Discussion Note that included notable case examples from IFAD-supported programmes, participants underlined the critical role of IFAD in brokering sustainable, productive, profitable and equitable partnerships that centre upon smallholder interests.  Many delegates also highlighted the important role of the public sector in creating enabling environments for new partnerships to thrive.  Further, the need for increased access to finance for smallholders was also a sentiment shared among many.

IFAD was commended by Governors for creating the new forum, and for its role in brokering many of the partnerships discussed in such detail.  IFAD staff who followed the discussion commented that the session was a good learning opportunity to learn more about the existing partnerships and initiatives on which our Member States are working, and were further encouraged to hear that, by in large, IFAD’s work is focusing on the issues and concerns Governor’s raised throughout the event. A key highlight for many were the Quinoa cookies brought all the way from Bolivia that provided a very tasty example of a successful IFAD-supported partnership.

Feedback received from 70 participants was overwhelmingly positive for the Governors’ Round Table, and next year will surely bring an opportunity to further build upon its success.

 Tulio Garcia (2°) Director Ejecutivo de la Cooperativa Agrícola Cuatro Pinos
Apenas concluido el 36º Consejo de Gobernadores del FIDA, podemos ver con cual responsabilidad compartida el FIDA, los Gobiernos de los países y los Pueblos Indígenas deberán enfrentar los grandes retos que implica la lucha contra el hambre y la pobreza para lograr mejorar las condiciones de vida en nuestro subcontinente.


            Los ejemplos de estos países nos presentan un panorama del camino que debe seguirse para lograr objetivos de desarrollo sostenible. En Guatemala, la Cooperativa Cuatro Pinos nos hace constatar un dicho popular: “La unión hace la fuerza”. Para reflejarnos este concepto, el señor Tulio Garcia, Director ejecutivo de la dicha cooperativa, habla en representación de sus 318 socias, y aclara que es un modelo tangible, donde han logrado adquirir un buen nivel de competitividad, lo que permite acceso a los mercados y a la exportación de productos agrícolas. Esto ha llevado a crear empleos e ingresos familiares, permitiendo además la escolaridad infantil en la comunidad y el empoderamiento de las mujeres indígenas. Sobre todo demuestra que la opción de colaborar en grupo es una alternativa válida y viable.

             Asimismo, la colaboración comunitaria facilita el acceso al crédito y evita la concesión de los mismos a tasas de interés altísimas, obstáculo que desalienta a  aquellos que los solicitan individualmente en los bancos. Además trabajar colectivamente facilita a que los pequeños productores se conviertan en pequeños empresarios y sean menos vulnerables.  Otro factor importante es incrementar las inversiones del sector público en las zonas rurales más aisladas y reforzar las infraestructuras: ello llevaría a un gradual mejoramiento de  las condiciones de vida en general. Concluyendo, el señor Garcia manifestó lo siguiente: "necesitamos 4 elementos para fortificarnos: calidad, consistencia, productividad, y mercado".

Pedro Tzerembo, Shuar, Amazonia Ecuador

           Por otra parte, el caso del Ecuador es emblemático: aquí se mezcla el drama del progreso a costo de destruir la selva amazónica con el clamor de las poblaciones indígenas. Por ejemplo, el representante de la etnia Shuar, Pedro Tzerembo, nos manifestó la experiencia y el sentir de los Pueblos Indígenas, que ven amenazado el medio ambiente que ellos han cuidado y conservado por generaciones, e insta a la comunidad internacional y a los organismos especializados  a emprender un rumbo que pueda combinar el desarrollo sostenible con la preservación de los recursos naturales y de la propia cultura e identidad.  
            El FIDA es uno de los medios con los cuales los pueblos indígenas cuentan para difundir su voz a nivel mundial; los paradigmas anteriores son solo una pequeña parte del gran trabajo desempeñado por esta Institución que, junto a los gobiernos y a los directamente interesados,  contribuye con su apoyo financiando proyectos, con el fin de realizar concretamente el compromiso adquirido en el Primer Foro de los Pueblos Indígenas.

By Eduardo Vides y Carla Francescutti

Written by Monica Romano

©IFAD/Flavio Ianniello
It is really the truth that “l’unione fa la forza” (meaning that if we are united, we are stronger), as a traditional saying in the Italian language states. This is what came to my mind during these days by attending the various panels and sessions that took place in conjunction with the Governing Council, all focusing on highlighting the power of partnerships in combating poverty and promoting rural development.

In particular, I “blocked” part of my afternoon at IFAD on Wednesday 13 February to follow carefully a high-level panel in which representatives from the private sector and research, under the facilitation of David Nabarro, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Food Security and Nutrition and coordinator of the UN High Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis hosted by IFAD, and with the participation of Kevin Cleaver, IFAD Associate Vice-President, Programmes. IFAD Governors intervened actively in the discussion, with comments and questions, but also success stories and challenges in building mutually-beneficial partnerships.

It is not so easy to establish successful partnerships. It takes time, requires money, and necessitates building trust among all parties - noted James Mwangi, CEO and Managing Director of Equity Bank in Kenya. Equity Bank offers inclusive, customer-focused financial services that aim to socially and economically empower people who are generally considered “unbankable”. The Bank was founded as Equity Building Society in 1984 and was originally a provider of mortgage financing for the majority of low-income customers. Over time, it was transformed into a microfinance institution and then into a commercial bank, with more than 8 million customers, thus becoming the largest bank in terms of customer base in Africa and having nearly half of bank accounts in Kenya. Mr. Mwangi indicated that partnerships can only succeed when responsibilities, investments, risks, and benefits are shared and when they are established through bottom-up processes. In a global context of limiting economic resources, investing in innovation, entrepreneurial skill development and capacity building – all key to sustainable development - cannot be afforded but through partnerships between different actors. This does not mean that everybody does everything. Each party has a specific role to play building on its comparative advantage: government in policy formulation and as an enabler of the institutional environment; donors in leveraging on their resources. There is need for “transformative” partnerships, echoed IFAD Governor from Nigeria, which could bring about change that individual organizations cannot achieve on their own.

The importance of “specialization” between partners in innovative partnerships for value chain development was highlighted by Estelle Biénable, an Agricultural Economist at the Agricultural Research Centre for International Development – CIRAD. Key factors to successful partnerships are the social capital – that is trained and organized farmers -, business orientation and development motivation, the specialization between different partners within the value chain (production, processing and marketing), and adequate attention to the institutional and organizational dimensions (including traditional institutions and the enabling environment).

The possible tension and the need to reach an equilibrium and foster dialogue between the public sector and the cooperatives were some of the key points raised by Odacir Klein, President of the Brazilian Biodiesel Union – UBRABIO, an association of producers and researchers of biofuels, which was founded in Brasilia in 2007. The issue of the relationship between government and cooperatives raised the interest of the Governors from Angola and Cote d’Ivoire. Mr. Klein noted that cooperatives have collective obligations towards their members, while the state should develop public policies to guarantee infrastructure development and provide stimulus for the cooperatives to represent their members and exercise collective responsibilities. The Governor from South Sudan pointed out that sometimes donors trust and support more the NGOs than the governments, even when these have not the required capacity or expertise to assist small farmers. The governments should have a clear policy to manage their relationship with NGOs.

I have to confess that I was mostly looking forward to hearing from Ingmar Streese, Director of Global Programmes and Partnerships at MARS, a private company doing cocoa production. I had been involved in the Mid-term review mission of the IFAD-supported Rural Empowerment and Agricultural Development (READ) project, which established a PPP linking smallholder farmers with MARS for cocoa production in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia (a story about READ’s experience with this PPP can be found here). Mr. Streese explained that there are estimated 5 million smallholder farmers producing cocoa globally, but they need to become entrepreneurs. Partnering between farmers and MARS has been proving successful in Indonesia. The ingredients for successful partnerships include trust, choice of the right partners, and building on the comparative advantage of each actor. Challenges are also there: working with big organizations is not always speedy and it takes time to find reliable partners. As the Governor from Rwanda stressed, for all actors to work together, there is need for the right institutional framework in place.

After remembering that last year the United Nations launched the International Year of Cooperatives, and summarizing the main points discussed and conclusions drawn - forming partnerships requires finance and time, science has a role to play, certifying the partnerships is needed to make sure that the principles are adhered to, donors organizations need to update their working methods and expertise – the floor was passed on to Mr. Cleaver to bring in IFAD’s perspective.

I liked particularly the first remark made by our Associate Vice-President: farmers cannot be considered any more as recipients. They are partners. Second strong point: IFAD, like many other organizations, has limited finance to have impact and scale. Partnerships are therefore a must. This has direct implications for IFAD’s business model and processes, which are not always suitable to work out optimally certain partnerships, especially with the private sector. In this regards, IFAD Member States can support us. And to say the truth, another key actor in the equation- the public sector – has often problems with the agility, flexibility and speed that private sector requires – Mr. Clever highlighted. Third consideration: there are also bad partnerships, as in some cases it is seen when the so called “land grabbing” occurs. Purchasing land is not bad per se. The question is whether the partnership requiring use of land is equal and the benefits accrue to private sector and governments only, leaving out the farmers. Public policy has a role to play. Donors like IFAD also have a role to play in empowering rural communities so that they can defend their interests and rights as well as in strengthening the capacity of governments to analyze and understand the implications, opportunities and threats of certain situations.

I left the room enriched by the debate. Despite challenges, it is promising that all expressed the desire and understand the need for working more closely together for rural poverty reduction. With farmers as partners, by supporting their organizations, building trust among all parties and leveraging on everybody’s comparative advantage. I guess these would really be transformative partnerships.

What went on behind the scenes of #ifadgc

Posted by Roxanna Samii Thursday, February 14, 2013 0 comments

by Claudio Lanzi

Busy days these days….  All that is before our eyes looks so easy, but the reality is very different. Let’s thank some of the people who made this Governing Council possible.....

To those who work for our safety…

…to who is always ready to run in case of emergency…

…to who keeps our offices clean…

….to who feeds us when we feel down!....

…to those who work around the clock…

… to who is always happy to receive a letter from a Member State…


…and finally to our eyes and voice, the Social Reporting Team,, better known as the dream team!

…and apologies to those many I forgot.

Panel on the secrets of successful partnerships. ©IFAD/Amedeo Paglione
ROME, Italy – If a single thread has run through the discussions at the 36th Session of the IFAD Governing Council, which wraps up in Rome today, it’s this: Effective partnerships between private-sector companies and small-scale farmers and fishers are not social programmes. They are business relationships based on mutual interests and shared benefits.

That point was especially evident at yesterday’s panel on secrets of successful partnerships. Participants in the panel recounted their direct experiences with smallholder producers who have organized themselves into cooperatives, thereby expanding their operations and increasing market access.

Lucian Peppelenbos, Director of Learning and Innovation at the Sustainable Trade Initiative in the Netherlands, noted that smallholders are among the world’s estimated 1.5 billion commodity producers, who are in a position of growing influence. The global pool of 7 billion consumers is edging ever higher, he said, and opportunities beckon along with growing demand.

Peppelenbos and other panellists pointed out, however, that private-sector suppliers need food products that meet standards of quality and consistency in order to sell them internationally – notably in the European Union and other markets with strict food-safety requirements. As a result, smallholder producers must become more technologically proficient. “This is a shared interest of all our partners,” Peppelenbos said.

Economies of scale
In order to achieve quality and consistency, the panellists agreed, it is in the interest of  smallholders to organize themselves into producers’ cooperatives. Tulio Garcia, Executive Director of 4 Pinos, a 3,500-member agricultural cooperative in Guatemala, observed that such associations enable farmers to sell at better prices and take advantage of economies of scale. But they are most viable when they offer farmers training and access to finance, he said, adding: “Cooperatives have to be the best option for their members.”

Tadesse Meskela, General Manager of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union of Ethiopia, suggested that cooperatives can also provide social benefits, including support for education. He said many coffee cooperatives in Ethiopia are doing just that as a long-term investment in the communities where their members live and work.

Salah Hegazy, Chairman of Agrofood, a private company in Egypt that exports fresh produce to supermarkets in Europe, suggested yet another prerequisite for successful partnerships between the private sector and smallholder farmers: They must begin at an early stage to ensure that farm products meet suppliers’ specifications. “Quality starts in the field,” Hegazy asserted. But when quality is assured, he said, partnerships between smallholder cooperatives and companies like Agrofood are “a win-win situation.”

Role of governments
Lest anyone think that the market cures all ills, the panellists were clear about the critical role of governments in establishing a level playing field for smallholders and their private-sector partners.

“There’s only so much that the marketplace can do,” Peppelenbos cautioned. He pointed out that government investments in rural infrastructure such as roads and irrigation systems – as well as policies on farm subsidies, taxes and education – can create an enabling environment for agricultural development. And since it often takes time for private-sector investors to see a significant return from partnerships with smallholders, he said, public-sector funding can provide an important bridge to profitability.

Mylène Kherallah, IFAD’s Senior Technical Advisor on Private Sector Development, concluded the discussion with a brief take on how the Fund itself can support successful partnerships. Among other actions, she said, IFAD can be “an honest broker between small farmers and private businesses,” and an advocate for investments in infrastructure and basic services in rural areas. “Private companies need scale, quality and consistency,” Kherallah added. “It’s a business relationship, not charity.”

Video: Watch the recorded webcast of the panel discussion on secrets of successful partnerships.

Video: Watch the trailer for Black Gold, a documentary about Tadesse Meskela – one of the speakers at the IFAD Governing Council panel on secrets of successful partnerships – and his organization's struggle to protect 74,000 Ethiopian coffee farmers from exploitation. 

Great timing! Just when the Power of Partnerships is at centre stage of the 36th IFAD Governing Council #ifadgc – the Mozambique Country Team - the living proof of just how powerful a partnership can be, is presented the very first Award of Excellence: Working Together in the Field.

Just a little bit of background on how this award came to be. In one of their regular meetings last September, the RBA Heads, José Graziano da Silva  (#FAO), Kanayo Nwanze (#IFAD) and Ertharin Cousin (#WFP) agreed to establish the Award of Excellence: Working Together in the Field to promote field-level collaboration.

Working in the Office of the President and Vice President, I know for a fact that RBA collaboration is a high priority for all three organizations at all levels. And a lot has been done so far (I keep the RBA Action Tracker!) in administrative areas, procurement, audit, security, legal, treasury, ICT, delivering joint messages and speaking with one (more powerful) voice at international summits. RBA staff continue tirelessly to work together on these and many other issues. And it’s not always smooth sailing to coordinate activities for a number of reasons, i.e. conflicting schedules, travel, staff changes, heavy workloads, etc. but in the end we manage because we know that when we work together the results of our actions are much more powerful.

As WFP's Executive Director, Ertharin Cousin said this morning, all the hard work and coordination we do here at HQ must translate in the field where the action takes place to meet the needs of the people we serve.

Today we celebrated our Mozambique Country Team who was unanimously chosen for their close collaboration, number of projects they have worked on together, the impact they have had on beneficiaries and on how innovative they have been in finding solutions.

So what has this Team done?

In 2008 RBA officers working in Mozambique, Lola Castro, WFP Country Director, Julio de Castro, FAO Country Representative and Custodio Mucavele, IFAD Country Programme Officer and Claus Reiner, IFAD Country Programme Manager started with a small pilot programme that aimed to improve production quality and reduce post-harvest losses for smallholder farmers. In three years the programme had reached 17 000 farmers with increases of up to 30% in marketable surplus.

Building on this success, the team is now jointly implementing the Programme for Accelerating Progress towards MDG1c (eradicating hunger) in Mozambique. The programme is being financed with a EUR 67 million grant from the European Union complemented by a contribution of EUR 10 million from the government of Mozambique. The programme operates in the two strategic development corridors of Beira and Nacala, covering one third of the country’s rural districts.

The team designed the programme to tackle the complex issue of food security by contributing what each agency does best. And this is how they put the pieces of the puzzle together: the main areas of intervention are clustered around pro-poor value chains and include access to inputs (mostly FAO and IFAD), good agricultural practices (mostly FAO and IFAD), fishery and aquaculture development (IFAD), rural finance (IFAD), access to markets (all 3 RBAs), reduced post-harvest losses (all 3 RBAs), infrastructure (IFAD), nutrition (all 3 RBAs) and staple food fortification (WFP).

The Mozambique Minister of Minister of Planning and Development H.E. Aiuba Cuereneia also joined us this morning at IFAD HQ in commending the team for their exemplary commitment in improving agricultural development, pro-poor value chains and agricultural markets so that farmers can become more effective and face competition.

Julio de Castro, speaking on behalf of the team inspired us all with his enthusiasm and stories. And is so doing he also revealed to us, in one simple word, the secret to the team’s success: Trust. The team has been able to communicate effectively, they count on each other and working together for them is the “natural” way of doing business.

It is impossible to describe in words the power of this success. But thanks to our colleague Joanne Levitan from IFAD’s COM Broadcast Unit, who put together a 3-minute video (notwithstanding the difficulties due to recent flooding in northern Mozambique), we can really get a sense of what RBA partnership is all about.
See video on youtube: Mozambique RBA Award.

We all congratulate Julio, Lola, Custodio and Claus for their success and wish them all the best in continuing to work together in finding solutions that benefit the people we serve together.
We also recognize that there are many other teams working together with great commitment in other countries and we look forward to knowing who the next winner is!