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Strengthening capacity of stakeholders on knowledge and policies for agricultural resilience

June 11, 2014

At a time when agricultural yields in many ACP countries are stagnant or declining, and landscapes are increasingly damaged by unsustainable mining of natural resources, the search for sustainable agricultural production options has become more critical. Where they exist, stakeholders in ACP regions do not have access to information on how to actualize the potentials of such options to improve food security and contribute to resilience of agriculture. 

In response to this, CTA supported organizing a "South-South encounter to build ACP countries' knowledge and policies on agroforestry" by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) during the world congress on agroforestry and facilitate the participation of stakeholders from the ACP region at the Congress that took place in February, 2014. The aim was to equip ACP stakeholders with relevant latest information on agroforestry, its focus on agricultural landscapes as a source of food and its potential for additional and multiple benefits such as ecosystem services (water, carbon capture and biodiversity), and opportunities to increase the resilience of agriculture. This is expected to help strengthen the capacity of ACP stakeholders to articulate informed policy positions on such topics that have critical implications for ARD policies.

CTA facilitated 19 stakeholders from the ACP region to participate in the meeting. The delegates, drawn from 17 countries, made a total of 27 presentations. Lessons in policy processes may be what most delegates take away. The meeting also afforded opportunities for South-South sharing of experience on ARD policy processes. ACP delegates learnt how India became one of the first countries to ever adopt a national policy on agroforestry, and the stages through which the policy went through to pass Parliament and backing of the policy by the President of India.

Testimonials were obtained from CTA-sponsored delegates after the congress. Dennis Chipare from Zimbabwe said, "My expectations were to obtain as much information as possible. I was inspired by ideas from different people and obtained contacts from people from around the continent". Associate professor Dr Adekunle Victor Ajibola Jimoh from Nigeria said, "My expectation was to learn and interact with scientists from other countries. It was fully met. The most important new idea was AF to achieve the millennium development goals". Another CTA sponsored delegate, Vinesh Prasad from Fiji attested that the congress was an eye opener. He said "In the Pacific we do not have lots of activities and need to be exposed to what is being done in other regions".