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Flagship projects focus on regional needs

CTA has a new way of doing business. The organisation is introducing six new flagship projects to increase agricultural productivity, contribute to more-efficient and inclusive agricultural value chains and markets, and promote climate-smart agriculture.

The flagship projects have been developed to complement the Centre’s three strategic priorities: policies, value chains and knowledge management, in addition to youth and women's empowerment. They are integral elements in the regional business plans that have been developed in close consultation with CTA's partners and beneficiaries, a process involving external reviews, rapid scans and scoping and impact studies.

CTA is increasingly focusing its attention on links with the private sector, especially small and medium-sized businesses and their associations that are related to agriculture. This sector is a powerful yet underutilised partner in agricultural and rural development. Climate-smart agriculture continues to be a cornerstone of CTA’s programmes; the Centre has played a significant role in putting agriculture on the climate-change agenda. A continuing focus is on supporting participatory development of policies, strategies and value chains that include a wide range of stakeholders, particularly farmers’ organisations, youth and women’s groups, and research and education institutions.

The projects will improve coordination among programmes, allowing CTA to involve key stakeholders in the development of agricultural value chains, such as those that improve nutritional outcomes. This focus on business development is crucial, giving smallholder farmers the opportunity to escape poverty by becoming the foundation of improved, inclusive markets.

The new projects are tailored to the particular needs of six regions: West Africa, Central Africa, Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. “There are significant differences between regions,” said CTA Director Michael Hailu. “To address these differences, CTA is organising much of its work programme [along] region-specific priorities.”

The flagship project in West Africa looks to enhance intraregional grain value chains, allowing farmers’ organisations as well as private entrepreneurs to actively pursue opportunities in the ECOWAS regional grain trade. In Central Africa, food and nutrition security will be increased with better information and knowledge management, strengthened market institutions and more-effective multistakeholder platforms focusing on roots and tubers, particularly cassava. The Eastern Africa project will help livestock keepers, including pastoralists, to become more resilient as they gain the knowledge and skills they need to earn more from their animals. The Southern African flagship project will empower farmers to use climate-smart agri-food solutions for their cereals and livestock, increase their livelihoods and move out of poverty. In the Caribbean, small-scale producers, women and young entrepreneurs will have better access to intra-regional and international markets, key business development services, such as finance, and increased profits. They will also be able to make better use of natural resources by using climate-smart farming practices. The work of the Pacific flagship project will improve the long-term financial and physical health of poor rural and urban dwellers, especially women and young children, by developing the local food crops and fisheries markets.

Feedback, including results of external reviews and impact studies, has played a central role in guiding CTA as it sets out on its new pathway. The Centre is confident that adopting this approach will help to ensure that its work is even more closely aligned to the needs of its beneficiaries and partners.

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