Policies, Markets & ICTs


Policies, Markets and ICTs (PMI)

Programme overview

The Policies, Markets and ICTs (PMI) programme contributes primarily to two of CTA’s strategic goals:

  • Enhanced awareness, knowledge and skills, and access to information for engaging in agriculture and rural development policy processes and in agricultural value chain development, and
  • Enhanced multi-stakeholder participation in agriculture and rural development policy processes and agricultural value chain development.

PMI’s activities are organised under three master projects, namely:

Support to partners is shifting to achieving specific, longer-term outcomes. For example, work to boost the capacity of academic institutions and researchers has been focussed specifically on the topic of food security, strengthening not only the cooperation among these institutions in this area, but also enabling each institution to play a larger role in its country's food security programme. Work to revamp extension and advisory services is directed at strengthening the capacity of the regional networks through their umbrella global network in the areas of evidence-based policy making and efficient advisory services delivery using ICTs. Similarly, work to strengthen the capacity of farmers' organisations for policy formulation is being focussed on main thematic areas, such as youth in agriculture, value chains and climate-smart agriculture. In the area of building capacity for multi-stakeholder policy making, CTA's efforts to strengthen its partners are increasingly focused on assisting them to develop evidence-based policy positions on critical issues such as the agriculture-nutrition nexus, innovation and entrepreneurship in ICT for agriculture, value chain developments for local crops and livestock, etc.

Projects aim to bring together expertise from CTA's various work areas to achieve greater impact for beneficiaries. For example, participatory mapping exercises that empower local communities to map their resources, and thus identify problems, constraints and possible solutions (e.g., agreeing, as a community, that a certain area will henceforward be kept as a nature or fisheries reserve), are being explicitly linked to the policy-discussion and policy-making processes that are supported by CTA. The capacity of youth organisations to work on agriculture and agricultural value chains (including through the use of ICTs) is strengthened, but this process is also used to help generate lessons for policy formation that are being fed into CTA's work on mainstreaming policies for youth in agriculture.

Both the above processes will continue to be strengthened in 2016, with most of CTA's activities in each region to be focused on region-specific needs, in each case with a cross-cutting approach that combines work on policies, value chains, ICTs and knowledge management. CTA will concentrate its resources on action areas where it can play a catalytic role, not only in strengthening its partners in the field, but also bringing several partners together onto a common platform.

For example, an important action area in several regions will be strengthening national and regional supply chains for main food crops and livestock. In many countries, cities are growing fast, and combined with the often rapid income growth in emerging markets, this drives demand for food products. If smallholder farmers are to benefit from these opportunities, well-performing value chains will need to be built linking them to urban demand – which will require enabling policies, strengthened value chain infrastructure (e.g., cold chains), institutions (e.g., for grading and quality control) and mechanisms (e.g., for intra-regional food trade finance), and ICTs that can create efficiencies in value chain operations. By pulling together its resources and networks around one common objective – empower smallholder farmers to supply fast-growing cities in their regions - CTA can ensure a comprehensive response to this set of challenges.

As agricultural operations in smallholder farms in CTA regions are tied to rainfall patterns, climatic-induced risks will increasingly impact on agriculture and food security. CTA will contribute to strengthen adaptation to climate change in strategic food commodity subsectors, and help farmers build resilience to climatic and economic shocks. Another important action area will be the improvement of the interplay between agriculture and nutrition. Currently, the relationship between the two is often dysfunctional: malnutrition exists alongside a growing problem of obesity and nutrition-related health problems, both of which bring significant economic burdens. By bringing together research institutions, farmers' organizations, extension and advisory specialists, and government representatives CTA can help improve the dynamics of the relationship between producers and consumers (including as expressed at the institutional level, e.g., by better cooperation between the Ministries of Agriculture and Health), making it possible to create win-win opportunities. A final example is the interplay between policies and ICTs. CTA has a number of interlinked activities in this area, covering issues such as the importance of ICT if one wishes to attract more youth to agriculture, the incorporation of ICT into national agricultural plans and programmes, and the use of ICTs in value chains.

In all of its work, the PMI Programme will work closely with expert partner organisations to build strong communities of practice – knowledge management is an integral part of the CTA approach. More efforts will be made to incorporate monitoring and evaluation into the various activities in line with CTA's "Monitoring, Evaluation and Organisational Learning Strategy".