Monday, 17 December 2007

Cake cutting at FARA

It is not an everyday experience at FARA: cutting the cake for a particular celebration.

But at the end of this 2007 year FARA staff rejoiced over the approval of two project proposals of which formulation & negotiation has been going on for several months and required the full energy and attention of the whole FARA office: SSA-CP and SCARDA.


The purpose of the SCARDA programme “to strengthen the institutional and human capacity of African agricultural research and development systems to identify, generate and deliver research outputs that meet the needs of poor people”.

SCARDA will achieve this purpose by working with key research and development institutions in sub-Saharan Africa to help them fulfil their mandates more effectively. These institutions, most of which have been identified in the scoping studies, will be selected through established SRO procedures.

The initial 30-month Implementation Phase of SCARDA will be funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID). Funding will be provided to FARA who will be accountable to DFID for management of resources in accordance with the DFID granting agreement. FARA will have responsibility for coordinating project implementation. In order to meet this responsibility, FARA will appoint a permanent programme coordinator and a programme officer for the duration of the project and provide her/him with the necessary resources to fulfil this role.

The primary activities of SCARDA will be:
  • Short courses; post-training support, including individual mentoring; reflective learning; attachments and exposure visits.
  • Technical areas will be addressed through MSc degrees, short courses, fellowships and a mentoring programme.
  • ‘Tracer’ studies to identify key skills gaps in graduates from agricultural Faculties who are employed in a range of public and private organizations.
  • Learning platforms will be established to document and share experiences and good practice and these will be coordinated through a Learning Alliance approach


The SSA CP is a research programme focussed on delivering international public goods on best practices for multi-stakeholder engagement in the generation and wide-scale adoption of agricultural innovations and on evaluating whether IAR4D works and is more cost/benefit effective relative to conventional approaches. After satisfactorily answering the above research questions, the SSA CP will metamorphose into a clearing house for promoting the adoption of IAR4D by serving as a platform for sharing information and knowledge on agricultural innovation and multi-stakeholder (partnership) engagement in ARD.

FARA has successfully completed the inception phase for this Programme and with the stakeholders, has produced a Medium Term Plan for implemetation covering the period of 2007- 2010. The Science Council of the CGIAR in their meeting in August of 2007 has expressed some concerns on the MTP concerning the methodology describing the proof of concept for the IAR4D concept. This led to futher consultations and a review of the research methodology to ensure a rigorous proof of concept for IAR4D.

At the last AGM meeting in China, the SSA CP was discussed on 07/12/2007 and the CGIAR asked the Programme to continue with the new research methodology which has now cleared all the residual concerns of the Science Council of the CGIAR regarding the proof of concept.

Not only that, some African countries in the CGIAR notably South Africa and Egypt expressed their satisfaction with the SSA CP and their desire to support it and support FARA financially.

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