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2014: Celebrating agriculture

A message from Michael Hailu

December 19, 2014

This year, CTA has been celebrating 30 years of service to ACP agricultural and rural development, and we have dedicated this milestone to honouring our many local, national, regional and international partners.

CTA215 seasons print art Page 1Championing change through on- and offline activities

As part of a campaign to mark the anniversary, the CTA website has published a selection of stories to highlight initiatives that have had tangible impacts on the lives and incomes of smallholder households.

Programmes of which we are particularly proud include our flagship Spore magazine, technical publications, Web2.0 Learning Opportunities, Brussels Development Briefings, the International Conference series, participatory mapping and the building of knowledge management platforms.

Organising events to highlight challenges facing small-scale farmers – and identifying solutions to address them. That is one of the things that CTA does best, and 2014 was no exception.

Fin4Ag: the largest conference ever held on agricultural finance

In July, the Fin4Ag conference, organised by CTA and partners in Nairobi, Kenya, investigated new ways of boosting finance for smallholder farmers. It was the largest conference ever held on agricultural finance.

CTA is firmly committed to playing a catalytic role in this crucial, but sorely neglected area, and Fin4Ag succeeded beyond our expectations. The event created a dynamic forum to discuss problems in financing agriculture and find workable solutions, especially for small-scale farmers, who are so often bypassed by formal credit systems.

It wasn’t all talk. The Plug and Play Day showcased a wide variety of ICTs and mobile platforms, covering areas such as access to credit, payments, savings, microinsurance and risk management for value chain actors.

Our evolving strategy and working methods

While looking back at past achievements, the future is always fixed firmly in our sights and in my second term as CTA Director, I will be building on our many successes. Our Strategic Plan 2015-2020 will outline evolutions to the previous strategy, rather than any major changes.  

However, there will be some shifts in the way we work. From 2015, we will be adopting a more targeted focus, with regional business plans (RBP) tailored to the six ACP regions. Each RBP will identify actions to address challenges and opportunities specific to that region. But the approach will also seek to build on inter-regional synergies, such as those offered by the Intra-ACP Agricultural Policy Platform, an initiative which the Centre wholeheartedly supports and will continue to do so. 

One of the most telling aspects of the new directions we have planned for 2015 is that many of them are the result of feedback from CTA partners and beneficiaries. We care passionately about what our stakeholders think of the way we work, and you can be sure we will be listening carefully in the coming year.