The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) confirms closure by end of 2020.
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Unlocking the potential of people and partnerships

Analysis

Cowtribe Agribusiness Ghana

© Cowtribe

As a small institution with an extensive mandate, building smart partnerships has been critical to CTA’s success in bringing about sustainable transformation in the agricultural sector.

Renowned for its rich portfolio of partners, CTA has collaborated with a wide range of ACP institutions and international organisations, including regional farmers’ organisations, government agencies, youth and women’s groups, civil society organisations, academic institutions and – in the last decade – also with the private sector. “We achieve nothing without our partnerships, which have helped us realise the results and impact we desire,” emphasises CTA Director, Michael Hailu.

Building bridges – nurturing networks

“CTA is like that good farmer, who knows they cannot cultivate a yield from a big field alone.” Wellington Ekaya, Head of Capacity Development, International Livestock Research Institute

As a trusted ‘honest broker’, CTA has been respected in bringing people together at community, national, regional and international levels. The nurturing of successful South-South partnerships and networks has resulted from CTA’s focus on promoting experience exchange across ACP regions. For example, CTA used lessons from the Caribbean to champion the founding of the Pacific Week of Agriculture (PWA) to provide a regional platform for agricultural policy dialogue. “It was indeed a privilege for me to be part of the PWA and all the constructive dialogue that took place, which is a testament that the only way we can progress with our development efforts is through partnerships,” stated Hon Lopaoó Natanielu Muá, Samoa’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and Chairman of the PWA Organising Committee.

CTA has had a unique ability to build bridges between governments and local communities by being rooted at ground level as well as being an active player at the policy level. The Centre has also played a vital role in helping to raise the voices of marginalised groups to achieve change. “Partnering with CTA in Participatory 3D Modelling has transformed the work, practice and knowledge of IPACC – the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee,” stressed IPACC Director, Nigel Crawhall. “Our work together touched the lives of people in more than a dozen countries and created advocacy opportunities for indigenous leaders to contribute their knowledge to national climate change debates.” 

Promoting trust and transformation

“I don’t know of any other organisation that has reached the level of mobilisation of partnerships and networking as CTA.” Ousmane Badiane, Director for Africa, International Food Policy Research Institute

“CTA believes in consultation, not dictation, and it’s just one of the things that sets CTA apart,” states Jethro Green who worked with CTA during his time as Chief Coordinator for the Caribbean Farmers Network. He, like others, acknowledged CTA’s critical role in ‘shaping’ activities in a dynamic, co-operative process with partners. In its complex, multi-stakeholder projects, CTA worked with national and regional organisations in order to capitalise on its comparative advantages and ensure sustainability of initiatives, as successfully demonstrated in the Scaling-up Climate-smart Agricultural Solutions for Cereals and Livestock Farmers in Southern Africa and Market-led User-owned ICT4Ag-enabled Information Service projects. 

Sustained support by CTA to ACP partner organisations enabled them to better interact with actors at national and international levels. “CTA empowered us, and put us in a different league,” reflected Theo de Jager when he was President of the Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions (SACAU). He added that SACAU’s collaboration with CTA created a more effective platform for dialogue.

Empowering women

I am a great fan of CTA. For over 30 years, CTA has brought together senior policymakers from all over the world, focusing them on major development issues, emerging problems and solutions. In Africa, CTA has been a very trusted and supportive partner; its work has been fantastic and we hold CTA in a very high regard. Akin Adesina, Minister of Agriculture, Nigeria

The catalytic role of CTA in connecting people has led to the cross-fertilisation of ideas, new partnerships and policy action. The organisation’s efforts in building capacities has been vital in ensuring that all value chain players worked together more effectively to develop and implement innovative approaches for sustainable agricultural transformation. “Today, the way we build capacity comes from how CTA trained and mentored us,” explains Dorothy Okello, Coordinator of the Women of Uganda Network, which works to develop the use of ICTs among women farmers as tools to share information and address issues collectively. “CTA helped us to develop a strong network of women’s organisations who still work with us today,” she adds.

CTA’s VALUE4HER partnership project also brings women traders together by building their technical capacities. The initiative, which is implemented by the African Women Agribusiness Network (AWAN) and the Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum, trains women on how to scale-up their businesses in order to access high-value markets in Eastern, Southern and Western Africa and the Caribbean. The project aims to benefit 10,000 medium-scale women agribusinesses and 50,000 beneficiaries. “VALUE4HER is an excellent initiative by CTA. We have been working together since the very beginning and I am very proud of what we have started. We really like CTA’s approach, which is different to that of many other organisations,” states Beatrice Gakuba, CEO of AWAN.

Strengthening data capacities for agricultural transformation

Data-driven agriculture is bringing about the more economic and efficient use of natural resources, and enabling small-scale farmers to access credit, targeted inputs and advice, logistics and markets. CTA has been leading the way in supporting farmers’ organisations to gather and interpret digital farmer information to facilitate enhanced farm data management and improved market access.

Digital solutions: catalysing change

Support for web applications that allow people to create and share information online (Web 2.0) transformed the way agricultural development stakeholders networked and communicated online. This revolution enabled the spread of information and ideas – as well as shifting the balance of power for enhanced policy dialogue and advocacy.

Agritourism: a trailblazing agenda

Thanks to the ground-breaking efforts of CTA and regional partners, agritourism is now firmly on the policymaking agenda in the Caribbean and Pacific, and is taking off in Africa. Exciting initiatives include the promotion of traditional cuisine by local chefs, which boosts demand for local products and reduces the need for expensive imports.

Mapping for change: the power of participation

Working with local partners, CTA promoted a powerful, pioneering practice known as Participatory 3D Modelling (P3DM) to ACP regions, which has led to better natural resource management, helped local communities become more resilient to climate change and brought about significant changes in the relationship between governments and local communities.

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