Changing lives, making an impact
For over 35 years, CTA has effectively demonstrated how agricultural innovation can be documented, shared and scaled up to achieve significant improvements in incomes, productivity and food security. CTA’s lifeblood has been the brokering of successful partnerships to foster sustainable agricultural transformation, in particular for the smallholder farmers that are the backbone of many African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) economies.
CTA’s strong brand and track-record in serving ACP communities to deliver development impact by building the capacity of smallholder farmers, extension workers, researchers, young entrepreneurs, and policymakers is also well acclaimed and appreciated. As a result of CTA’s capacity strengthening, organisations have become more competent, enlightened and empowered, which has consequently contributed to organisational transformation through enhanced institutional growth and increased effectiveness and impact.
A smart approach
As a fairly small organisation, CTA has adapted its strategy over the years to better respond to evolving challenges. It has also kept pace with the changing times by introducing pioneering approaches as demonstrated by the early focus on ICTs and introducing new technologies for providing information (e.g. CD-ROMs), as well as providing valued training in rural radio, Web 2.0 and social media. In recent years, CTA has been a catalyst in the use of digital technologies, which are making agriculture more efficient and climate-smart, and allowing farmers easier access to advisory services and market information.
“The reach and the multiple topics that CTA has dealt with over the years really makes it stand out among a lot of other organisations, in particular regarding its size.” Ousmane Badiane, Director for Africa, International Food Policy Research Institute
Through CTA projects, young women and men with vision and ambition are being attracted into agriculture and are using digital innovations to reach and impact millions of farmers. Since 2016, CTA has supported more than 1,500 young ICT entrepreneurs and helped to digitally profile more than 500,000 smallholders including women and youth. “CTA has been a great advocate of digitalisation by galvanising interest in the sector and demonstrating what is already there,” states Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
With the end of the Cotonou Agreement between the European Union (EU) and the ACP Group of States, the financial and legal framework that supported CTA expires at the end of 2020. As its final focus, CTA created synergies with partners and interested funders to support the continuation of its work. The EU, for example, is one of the major investors in the digitalisation of agriculture. CTA has directly contributed to the EU’s Digital for Development policy, in particular relating to sustainable agriculture and entrepreneurship, and CTA hopes that its work serves as a basis for the EU’s continued focus in this sector.
CTA as an institution may cease to exist but a rich portfolio of valuable assets remains, including knowledge products, databases and extensive networks, and CTA staff and partners can be proud of the impacts achieved in inspiring innovation, nurturing networks, promoting policies and driving digitalisation.
© photo: King Baudouin African Development Prize