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  • FTA event coverage: FTA scientists at CBD COP13 in Mexico

FTA event coverage: FTA scientists at CBD COP13 in Mexico


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Chilli diversity on display during a tasting session for food industry entrepreneurs in Ucayali, Peru. Photo: Bioversity International
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Chilli diversity on display during a tasting session for food industry entrepreneurs in Ucayali, Peru. Photo: Bioversity International
Chilli diversity on display during a tasting session for food industry entrepreneurs in Ucayali, Peru. Photo: Bioversity International

From 4-17 December 2016, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is holding its Thirteenth Conference of Parties (COP13) in Cancun, Mexico. With an emphasis on agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism, the meeting aims to dismantle sectoral silos by bringing together the range of local, public and private stakeholders who play a key role in managing and safeguarding the world’s biodiversity.

During CBD COP13, about 10,000 participants, including state representatives and international organizations, will meet in Cancun to negotiate agreements and commitments for the conservation of biodiversity, and its sustainability into the future.

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is bringing the latest scientific research, insights and experiences to discussions held alongside the negotiations. CIFOR scientists will be attending and presenting important and innovative research regarding landscape restoration, food security, gender in forestry and REDD+.

In parallel, the Rio Conventions Pavilion (RCP), which is hosted by the Secretariats of the Rio Conventions and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), serves as a platform for knowledge sharing about research and practice around biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management.

On 9 December, the RCP will host a Forest and Agriculture Day, organized by the CBD Secretariat in collaboration Bioversity International, CIFOR and ICRAF and various other partners.

Gender will be a cross-cutting theme, with FTA scientists playing a key role in the discussions on gender and forest biodiversity.

Terry Sunderland, Team Leader – Sustainable Landscapes and Food at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) will be delivering a keynote on the “Gender-differentiated Impacts of Forest Tenure Reforms and Implications for Sustainable Forest Management”.

Dietmar Stoian, Director of the Commodity Systems and Genetic Resources programme at Bioversity International will bring a gender perspective to discussion of the agriculture-forest continuum.

On 14 December, the RCP will further host a half-day on Mainstreaming Gender Equality and Social Inclusion. CIFOR scientist Amy Duchelle will present on the opportunities and challenges to reconciling social and environmental outcomes in conservation initiatives.

Keeping gender and social inclusion on the agenda is essential for achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the SDGs and a harmonious human-environment relationship to the benefit of all.

For more information on the sessions visit cifor.org


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  • Robert Nasi: Partnerships make forests, trees and agroforestry program work

Robert Nasi: Partnerships make forests, trees and agroforestry program work


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Robert Nasi. Photo: CIFOR
Robert Nasi. Photo: CIFOR

The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) is entering its next phase in 2017; this is an opportunity to take stock of the partnerships that made this research program a success and to look at the new partners who will come on board. In several upcoming blog posts and interviews, we are showcasing partnerships that can serve as examples, in the knowledge that it took hundreds of partners to make it work: donor agencies, research institutes and universities, government bodies, nongovernmental organizations and farmers on the ground. For our first blog, we asked the previous FTA Director Robert Nasi about the FTA partnership model and what worked well. You can find more stories on partnerships here.

Partnerships are key to the delivery pathways of FTA; also we have many different levels and types of partnerships within the program, spanning research, capacity development, outreach, implementation, and more.

The core management partnership is between the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), Bioversity InternationalTropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center [Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza], (CATIE), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

This partnership has been effective although we had a rather difficult starting point in 2011 when centers were essentially competing for leadership of the different Research Programs.


Also read: CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry has new Director


Developing and implementing FTA research gave us the opportunity to sit and plan together, to exchange knowledge and ideas and to learn to value each other. And now, after five years, we can see an increased level of solidarity between partners in developing and getting over the various hurdles during the joint preparation of the proposal for the next phase.

In South Sulawesi, the two FTA partners CIFOR and ICRAF collaborate in the successful AgFor project. Photo: Tri Saputro/CIFOR
In South Sulawesi, the two FTA partners CIFOR and ICRAF collaborate in the successful AgFor project. Photo: Tri Saputro/CIFOR

We can honestly say that we have moved from a competitive to a more collaborative approach. Of course there still is and will be some level of competition because of the nature of the work and the funding context but we are becoming more and more collaborative in our fundraising efforts.

We now have a mature partnership so we can address hard issues up front and solve them together. For me, this is real success and proof of a real partnership.

New partners joining

The fact that new partners, such as Tropenbos International and the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR) want to join us demonstrates the value and reputation of the FTA as a partnership. They want to come on board as core partners for the new phase because they are interested in the research agenda and because FTA as a program adds value to their work. Partners are interested because of the things we do and because of the added value of being part of an integrated effort more than for the prospect of getting a huge amount of money.

Bigger than the sum of its parts

The Tropical managed Forest Observatory is a product of partnerships within FTA.
The Tropical managed Forest Observatory is a product of partnerships within FTA.

We have developed specific partnerships within FTA that are bigger than the program, for example the Tropical managed Forests Observatory (TmFO), led by CIRAD which has 22 institutions working in it. The Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins (ASB) and the Sentinel Landscapes project are other partnerships within FTA.

Working through the difficulties

During the last 24 months, we have had some issues with commitment to our partners because of unplanned budget cuts but thanks to the maturity of the partnership we have managed to overcome these and keep people on board (even after cutting their budget by more than 50% in some cases).

There is still some room for improvement. It is not always easy for people in one institution to understand what is happening in another in terms of budget management or internal procedures. It is often challenging for non-CGIAR partners to respond to specific CGIAR requests.

This has created some practical issues, but we’ve always managed to sort it out. So, all in all, FTA in a short number of years and in a difficult budget environment, has managed to gather up six competitive organizations at the top of their field in forest, trees, agroforestry and land use research, to work together in a real collaborative way. And the decision by the CGIAR System Council to continue this vast integrated program for another six years confirms that FTA phase 1 was a real success story.

More partnerships stories:

Long-term relationships and mutual trust—partnerships and research on climate change

The best science is nothing without local voices: Partnerships and landscapes

Influence flows both ways: Partnerships are key to research on Livelihood systems

Connecting with countries: Tropenbos International to join CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

Partnership increases number of academically trained foresters in DR Congo from 6 to 160 in just ten years


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  • FTA event coverage: How can we use trees and conserve them, too?

FTA event coverage: How can we use trees and conserve them, too?


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prunus-africana
Prunus Africana bark harvest can kill the trees if not done properly. Credit: T. Geburek

Laura K Snook, Bioversity International, writes about the challenges and opportunities for rural populations in continuing to use the trees they depend on for food and other products while conserving them, too.

Can rural populations in developing countries continue to use the trees they depend on while conserving them, too? As human populations grow in rural areas of the tropics, the populations of wild trees that provide them with food, fuel, medicines and construction materials are diminishing due to overharvesting and forest and woodland degradation and loss. These declines are closing off future options for sustaining or domesticating these valuable resources.

The challenges and opportunities for making conservation compatible with use were showcased at a workshop sponsored by Bioversity International during Tropentag 2016: Solidarity in a competing world — fair use of resources in Vienna, Austria.

The well-attended event explored approaches, tools and arrangements that could promote both conservation of trees and forests and their better use. Four research projects in Africa and Latin America were highlighted, led by Bioversity International and funded by Austrian Development Cooperation and the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

The event, described as a ’highlight‘ of Tropentag, explored approaches, tools and arrangements that could promote both conservation of trees and forests and their better use.

Laura Snook, Leader, Forest Genetic Resources Programme, Bioversity International, gave a keynote address, which was followed by four short presentations from panelists and discussions moderated by Judy Loo of Bioversity International.

Thomas Geburek
Thomas Geburek: Photo: Tropentag

Thomas Geburek of the Austrian Research Center for Forests shared innovative approaches for prioritizing which tree populations to conserve across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Presenting research on African cherry (Prunus Africana), which is threatened due to demand for its medicinal bark, he showed how genetic information and climate change modeling revealed which stands of trees, across multiple countries, should be prioritized, both because they conserved the most unique or diverse populations and because the sites would not become inhospitable for this montane species as a result of projected climate change.

Barbara Vinceti, of Bioversity International, noted how local preferences and understanding of rules for access to trees as well as changing land uses affected options for conserving and enhancing use of the important food tree, Parkia biglobosa, in Burkina Faso.

Dietmar Stoian of Bioversity presented insights into the enabling conditions for community forestry that both conserved forests and CITES-listed mahogany trees (Swietenia macrophylla). In the Maya Biosphere of Guatemala, harvesting and processing timber provides income sufficient to pull participants out of poverty. He contrasted this situation with the constraints that inhibit the development of community forestry in Nicaragua.

Timber harvesting, processing and sale in Guatemala has conserved the forest and mahogany trees of the Maya Biosphere Reserve. Credit: Bioversity International/L. Snook
Timber harvesting, processing and sale in Guatemala has conserved the forest and mahogany trees of the Maya Biosphere Reserve. Credit: Bioversity International/L. Snook

Camila Sousa of IIAM, Mozambique described how relearning traditional harvesting techniques based on the use of repellent plants and tree climbing, in lieu of setting fires and felling hive trees, made wild honey harvesting compatible with conservation in the Niassa Reserve of Mozambique. In contrast, uncontrolled logging had left too few standing trees of commercial species to provide a resource base for the kind of community forestry that has so successfully sustained forests, trees and livelihoods in Guatemala.

A lively discussion ensued among the academics, students, development agency professionals and donors from around the world who attended the event, about ways research could effectively support development.

A synthesis at the end of the event drew out several key points.

1) One was that different kinds of science are complementary: modern genetic tools do not replace, but complement provenance trials and other traditional approaches to biodiversity research. We need to understand the limitations of what we can learn from different research approaches.

For example, while some kinds of genetic variation can be seen (larger or sweeter fruit or faster growth), genetic diversity is invisible; laboratory analysis is needed to be able to set conservation priorities that will ensure that this diversity and its associated adaptive capacity is safeguarded.

Similarly, in landscapes managed by farmers who select and protect certain individuals for their traits, they steer evolution; while this leads to better or more desirable yields, it also reduces diversity. Conservation needs to focus on retaining diversity and reproductive processes to allow for continuing genetic recombination so that trees, which may live for centuries or even thousands of years, can adapt to change throughout their lifetimes, as well as passing on sufficient diversity to their offspring to allow future generations to thrive.

The participants discussed if rural populations in developing countries can continue to use the trees they depend on while conserving them, too. Photo: Tropentag
The participants discussed if rural populations in developing countries can continue to use the trees they depend on while conserving them, too. Photo: Tropentag

2) Another key point was that people are central to both conservation and use. It is crucial to involve them and understand their benefits and incentives to promote the kinds of practices and policies that are needed to make conservation and use compatible.

Using participatory research methods allows local people to learn from researchers and share their own knowledge. This empowers everyone to recognize or develop management choices that benefit both people and their resource base.

Several participants described the benefits of developing monitoring tools that local people could use to evaluate the impacts of their management practices. Another point raised was the value and importance of donors’ contributions, both in supporting research and in creating opportunities for “learning by doing”, such as implementing community forestry or supporting second tier organizations that can in turn support communities.

These transformations take time – support may be needed for decades, not just the three year term of a typical research project. Follow up is needed to ensure that research results reach their full potential through adoption of recommendations and changes in policy.

For more information, please contact l.snook@cgiar.org

This research is also funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  • Negotiating across difference: gendered exclusions and cooperation in the shea value chain

Negotiating across difference: gendered exclusions and cooperation in the shea value chain


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Author: Elias, M.; Arora-Jonsson, S.

Shea butter, derived from the African shea tree, has acquired a pivotal position in global agro-food and cosmetics industries. In Burkina Faso, public and private actors as well as civil society are converging upon the product to boost the incomes of rural female producers. As a result of these trends, the shea value chain is increasingly segmented; shea nuts are sold in a low-return, conventional market and simultaneously enter an alternative, high-value niche market.

In the latter strand of the value chain, some producers are improving their prospects by forming an association. Tracing relationships across the two strands, we demonstrate how ‘horizontal’ relations based on gender, ethnicity, age and geography contribute to shaping participation and benefit capture in the shea value chain. We argue that processes of social inclusion and exclusion operate in parallel, as differentiated actors both cooperate and compete to secure their place within the chain.

While collective organizing brings positive social and economic benefits, we show that producers’ associations need not be empowering for all women. The significance ofcollective enterprises, but also their drawbacks must be considered when valorising pathways to women’s empowerment. Our study reinforces calls for greater integration of horizontal elements in value chain analyses.

Download full text here

Journal or series: Environment and Planning D: Society and Space

 

Publication Year: 2016

Also available at Bioversity International


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  • Piloting gender-responsive research tool 5Capitals-G in three countries

Piloting gender-responsive research tool 5Capitals-G in three countries


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Conducting interviews according to 5Capitals-G training. Photo: Bioversity International
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Adapted from Bioversity International

Gathering Kokum. Photo: Eva Hermanowicz/Bioversity International
Gathering Kokum in India. Photo: Eva Hermanowicz/Bioversity International

A new tool to assess poverty in a gender-responsive way is set to prove its value in a pilot phase, starting mid-2016 in India, Peru and Guatemala. To prepare for the launch of the methodology called 5Capitals-G, field researchers from three parts of India were trained in a workshop in April. The training was co-funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

Over the past decade, value chain development (VCD) involving smallholders has become more and more important for actors who want to reduce rural poverty. Donors, governments and private sector have invested millions of dollars in value chain development, but fairly little is known to what extent such initiatives effectively reduce poverty. This is partially due to the fact that appropriate methodologies and tools for assessing the impacts of value chain development on poverty are not readily available.

Researchers from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Bioversity International, CATIE and multiple partners around the globe addressed this gap by developing the learning tool 5Capitals. It uses an asset-based approach for assessing the poverty impacts of value chain development at the level of both smallholder households and the enterprises that link these farmers with processors and buyers downstream the value chain. The data will be obtained through, for example, key informant interviews, household surveys and analysis of secondary information.

To take into consideration gender in this methodology, Bioversity International and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) are developing 5Capitals-G, which will be piloted mid-2016 in India, Guatemala and Peru.

5Capitals-G assessment methodology.
5Capitals assessment methodology

5Capitals-G looks at the poverty levels of both smallholder households and enterprises, collecting data from both women and men. Researchers assess household and business assets, as described in this table from the 5Capitals handbook.

The training was held in Karnataka, where students from the College of Forestry in Sirsi will be testing the 5Capitals-G tool to study the value chains of three forest fruit species: Garcinia indica (kokum), Mangifera indica (mango), and Garcinia gummi-gutta (brindleberry).

The workshop laid out the conceptual foundation of an asset-based approach to value chain development and the importance of applying a gender lens to identify the access to and control over assets. Access and control differ between women and men.

The participants pre-tested the different elements of the tool for final refinement, visiting the farmers’ cooperative society Kadamba in Sirsi, which has more than 2,000 members from across Karnataka. For many of the participating students, this was a first experience in conducting key informant, household and enterprise interviews.

They interviewed the CEO and several female and male employees and learned that the cooperative provides diverse income-earning opportunities by purchasing close to 30 agricultural and forest products cultivated or collected by their members. One of the products the cooperative buys is kokum, which they process into fresh juices and powered juice crystals.

Leaders of three Village Forest Committees explained how they manage sustainability issues linked with the collection and commercialization of forest products.

For the household assessments, participants asked women and men smallholders in their homes to understand their experiences with marketing kokum and the ways their involvement in the kokum value chain ties in with the many other activities they pursue to make a living.

Conducting interviews according to 5Capitals-G training. Photo: Bioversity International
Conducting interviews according to 5Capitals-G training. Photo: Bioversity International

Participants grouped into mixed teams of men and women interviewers to first interview the male and female households jointly. Then the women interviewers continued with the female respondents and the male interviewers with the male respondents to appreciate differences in the perspectives and realities of women and men. Some of them were surprised to learn how a man and a woman of the same household may differ in their perception of who makes decisions on what.

The main takeaways from the workshop were:

  • It is critical to account for diverse and even conflicting views and needs of women and men in both the households and smallholder enterprises.
  • The design and monitoring of value chain interventions requires specific engagement with men and women to ensure that both benefit form value chain development in an equitable way.

Shambhavi Priyam, a young researcher working with Action for Social Advancement in Madhya Pradesh, reflected that “it was amazing to see the nitty-gritties which have to be considered when designing a tool with gender consideration. There is no ‘one size fits all’ system for social research”.

The introduction of young researchers in India and elsewhere to the concepts of gender-responsive research in relation to value chain development will allow them to increase the depth of their work and their capacity to develop gender-equitable solutions for eliminating poverty.

This blog draws on the experience of

  • Dietmar Stoian, Principal Scientist, Value Chains and Private Sector Engagement,
  • Gennifer Meldrum, Research Fellow, Nutrition and Marketing Diversity
  • Marlène Elias, Gender Specialist, Conservation and Management of Forest Genetic Resources

The training was implemented as part of the project ‘Innovations in Ecosystem Management and Conservation (IEMaC)’ with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM). The IEMaC project is funded by the InFoRM (Innovations in Forest Resource Management) program of USAID, which aims to reduce forest degradation in India, with co-funding from the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA). Participants in the workshop also included partners of the project ‘Linking agrobiodiversity value chains, climate adaptation and nutrition: Empowering the poor to manage risk’ that is supported by IFAD, the European Union and the CGIAR Research Program of Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) promoting value chain development of minor millets.

 

 


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  • Sweeter deals: Prospects for expanding Fairtrade cocoa in Ghana

Sweeter deals: Prospects for expanding Fairtrade cocoa in Ghana


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Photo: Dietmar Stoian/Bioversity International
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Photo: Dietmar Stoian/Bioversity International
All photos: Dietmar Stoian/Bioversity International

An important focus of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) lies on governance, trade and investment in value chains and the effects on smallholders and small-scale rural businesses. A value chain of particular importance to FTA is cocoa, both for its economic implications (roughly US$100 billion annual sales) and relevance for rural livelihoods (about 60 million people derive a significant part of their income from cocoa).

As global chocolate manufacturers increase their commitments to achieve a sustainable cocoa sector in the near future, there is a growing need for third-party evidence of progress towards this goal. Voluntary standards systems, such as Fairtrade, provide such independent testimony, but they themselves require science-based evidence of their contributions to enhanced sustainability.

FTA researchers at World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and Bioversity International have examined the contribution of Fairtrade to support cocoa smallholders in their pursuit of sustainable livelihoods and cocoa cooperatives to develop into viable businesses. This blog presents first findings emerging from a baseline study in Ghana that lays the foundation for assessing the impacts of Fairtrade on cocoa growers and their cooperatives.

Ghana, the world’s second largest cocoa producer, has ratcheted up its contribution of Fairtrade certified cocoa to world supplies within 5 years: production rose from just below 500 tons in 2009 to 54,600 tons in 2014. Around 6.1 percent of the total cocoa production in Ghana now runs under the label Fairtrade (up from less than one percent five years ago). Roughly 5,000 farmers are organized in Fairtrade-certified cocoa cooperatives.

 

Ghana2“From a global perspective the numbers look even more impressive,” says Dietmar Stoian, Principal Scientist at Bioversity International and one of the FTA researchers involved. “In 2014, Ghana contributed 38 percent to global sales of cocoa under Fairtrade terms.”

“Definitions of sustainable cocoa vary though,” knows Divine Foundjem, Scientist at ICRAF who led the fieldwork in Ghana. “Voluntary standards systems, such as Fairtrade, are critically important as they provide third-party evidence of the industry’s move towards sustainability.”

What makes Fairtrade stand out?

The Fairtrade label stands for more equitable business relationships between cocoa growers, their cooperatives and buyers purchasing from them. Special arrangements allow farmers and their cooperatives to reduce price risks and to benefit from premiums that can be used in many ways. For example, Fairtrade guarantees a floor price (of currently US$ 2,000 per metric ton) that kicks in when the world market price falls below that level.

Since December 2007, though, the latter has constantly been above US$2,000/MT (it currently stands at about US$3,100/MT) and, consequently, growers’ monetary benefits have principally materialized in form of the Fairtrade premium (US$200/MT), which is paid directly by international buyers. Cooperatives decide how to use the premium according to Fairtrade regulations. In many cases, they invest part of it in cooperative and community development and use the remainder for topping up the price paid to their members. Fairtrade growers also benefit from technical assistance provided by local Fairtrade staff and NGO partners who build capacities for good production practices and awareness for eliminating the worst forms of child labor.

What are some challenges for cooperatives and farmers?

 

Ghana5The biggest challenge faced by the cooperatives in terms of Fairtrade is the limited volume of certified cocoa that is effectively sold under Fairtrade conditions – a prerequisite for commanding the Fairtrade premium. The current share of a bit less than 50 percent of Fairtrade-certified cocoa effectively sold as such is clearly below expectations.

Given the considerable expense to establish and maintain a well- functioning cooperative it is of high priority for the cocoa cooperatives and Fairtrade to establish reliable market outlets for the whole volume of Fairtrade-certified cocoa, so as to enable the growers to fully benefit from their efforts.

A further challenge for the cooperatives is their high dependence on a limited number of service providers—in most cases, a single NGO. The service offer of any such provider will hardly do justice to the complex and varying service needs of the cooperatives in different stages of their development. Overreliance on a single service provider puts cooperatives in a risky position for developing them into self-sufficient, viable businesses.

“Cooperative development will strongly depend on improving their financial and overall business management,” says Jason Donovan, Leader, Value Chains and Transformational Change at ICRAF who leads the study. “The newly formed cooperatives lack basic infrastructure and business skills, and they rely on the Fairtrade premium as only source for covering their basic operational costs,” he adds.

So far, only one of the 11 Fairtrade-certified cooperatives in Ghana, Kuapa Kokoo, has been authorized to purchase cocoa on behalf of the Ghanaian Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and, thus, cover its costs through commercial activities.

The basic functions of the newly formed cocoa cooperatives include linking their members with buying companies licensed by COCOBOD that can establish links with Fairtrade markets, and with NGOs and others that provide services to cocoa growers. For some, Kuapa Kokoo, which was established in 1993, may serve as an example of how cooperatives can develop into an established licensed cocoa buyer with several thousand members.

 

Ghana3“Such processes often take decades, though, and considerable amounts of resources,” says Foundjem. “It is therefore critical for local stakeholders and Fairtrade to define if future efforts should aim at building cooperative capacity to engage as licensed cocoa buyers, or to keep investments low and aim at building agile organizations that facilitate links with buyers, Fairtrade, NGOs and others, without engaging in the purchase of cocoa,” he adds.

Asked about the outlook for Fairtrade cocoa in Ghana, the scientists express “cautious optimism”. Cautious – because building viable cooperatives implies significant investments of human and financial resources over longer periods of time. Optimism – because the unique institutional setup of Ghana’s cocoa sector could facilitate more coordinated and larger scale interventions in support of poor households who grow cocoa.

A central role accrues to COCOBOD, a government agency that supports farmers with regard to seed production, pest and disease management, quality control, research, and marketing. This extensive service function, supported by NGOs and development projects, would make it possible to establish a relatively simple, low-cost cooperative model focused on facilitating relations with buyers, service providers, and Fairtrade.

“This would require better coordination between governmental and non-governmental service providers,” says Donovan. “A national cocoa roundtable, or similar mechanism, could be the way ahead,” he adds. “We also recommend an innovative system of monitoring, evaluation and learning between cooperatives, Fairtrade and their partners. Such a system would allow joint analysis and reflection among key stakeholders. Our baseline study provides a sound basis for such a system which, in turn, facilitates continuous improvement,” concludes Stoian.

What’s next?

In line with the recommendation to establish an integrated system of monitoring, evaluation and learning, future research can support a process of continuous improvement by answering questions like:

  • How can benefits from Fairtrade be expanded among existing and additional cooperatives and their members?
  • Which collaborative models between Fairtrade and other service providers are most promising towards this end?
  • What additional enabling conditions are needed to address broader challenges faced by cocoa cooperatives and their members, particularly those that impede viable pathways out of poverty?

“Such questions could be addressed in follow-up studies, including impact assessments using the baseline data for comparison, and we are keen to continue this work with Fairtrade International and partners in Africa and beyond,” says Donovan. The ICRAF and Bioversity team is currently finalizing the Ghana report and a similar report on Côte d’Ivoire, and will condense the findings in a journal article that discusses commonalities and differences between these two leading cocoa producers as well as opportunities for scaling the findings beyond West Africa.

This work is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

For more information:

Jason Donovan (ICRAF): J.Donovan@cgiar.org

Divine Foundjem (ICRAF): D.Foundjem@cgiar.org

Dietmar Stoian: (Bioversity International): D.Stoian@cgiar.org

 

 


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  • Beyond Timber: forest management models for transforming conflict into cooperation

Beyond Timber: forest management models for transforming conflict into cooperation


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Author: Ceci P.; Taedoumg H.; Gotor E.; Spedding V.

The competing needs of different groups who depend upon the Congo Basin rainforest can be met if innovative, new research-based models for multiple-use forest management are employed. The models, together with accompanying policy guidance, have been endorsed by the region’s forest administration body COMIFAC and offer the potential to alleviate both the conflict between groups and the pressures on the landscape, allowing livelihoods and forest to flourish. Underpinned by groundbreaking, multi-disciplinary, international research, the models embody combined insights into local people’s needs, the ecological and genetic basis of forest sustainability and regeneration, and the interests of commercial logging outfits.

Published by Bioversity International 2016

Download full brief here


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  • Bioversity International financial statements 2015

Bioversity International financial statements 2015


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Bioversity International’s financial mandate includes maintaining accountability and transparency in its finances, and to evaluate and communicate direct impact from our work to our donors, partners and the wider research and development community. This also reflects Bioversity’s projects under the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA).

Download here

Bioversity International 2016


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  • Discussion on CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry

Discussion on CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry


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To mark International Day of Forests 2016, Peter Holmgren, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Tony Simons, Director General of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for forests and for our planet.

Below is a transcript of Part 3 in our special three-part TV interview series.

This final segment discusses the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), which was started in 2011 and will be entering its second phase in 2017.

The program is being supported by six research centers: CIFOR, ICRAF,Bioversity International, the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and the Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD). With over 230 researchers working in more than 35 countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America, the FTA program responds to the urgent need for a strong and sustained research focus on the management of forests and trees.

Trees on farms and in forests play a crucial role in confronting some of the most important challenges of our time: reducing poverty, improving food security and nutrition, and protecting our environment. They are also important in sustaining ecosystem services like clean water and biodiversity conservation.


A conversation with the Directors General of two CGIAR centers
Part 3: The CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA)

CIFOR and ICRAF are two of the 15 research centers that comprise CGIAR – the only worldwide partnership addressing agricultural research for development whose work contributes to the global effort to tackle poverty, hunger and environmental degradation.

Adinda Hasan, Communications Specialist for Asia, CIFOR

Why did the CGIAR see the need to add a focus on natural resources in the 1980s?

Tony Simons, Director-General, World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF)

The CGIAR was very successful since its establishment in 1971 following a Bellagio meeting around the need to boost the world’s food’s production. We saw through that Green Revolution a lot of emphasis on improved varieties and improved cropping systems, but that was not the full solution. There was a lot of draw-down on natural capital.

So we recorded the revenue from increased cereal production, but not the negative cost to the environment. And that was why it was very important to bring in that environmental dimension and ecosystems services. Probably the biggest win for the world was the establishment of CIFOR in 1993 to help strengthen that within the CGIAR.

Peter Holmgren, Director-General, CIFOR

We live in a transition of times. In the 1970s, food production was the main agenda item for the CGIAR. Since then, we’ve seen the development of the political arena, development of the objectives on all levels. We see a lot more of the social and environmental aspects coming in, just as it does as it does with sustainable development.

Hasan:

So both your centers have played key roles in the program on Trees, Forests and Agroforestry. You’ve just finished your first phase. How did that go? Can you tell us about the key challenges and the main achievements?

Holmgren:

Well, this year is the final year of the first phase. We haven’t quite finished it yet, but CIFOR and ICRAF are the largest contributors to the program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

We’re now moving into a second phase. We are currently working on the planning of that. The new phase of the Forests, Trees and Agroforestry program will start in 2017. We will add new partners. We will develop our work, our agenda, our objectives further. We will streamline and focus on our theory of change to make a difference along the lines that we’ve discussed here today. It’s really about the partnership. It’s really about the interests of stakeholders around the world to invest in this program.

Simons:

It’s a fascinatingly exciting program because it’s been operational for six years. And we’ve achieved more as two centers working together than we have probably in the previous decade.

That has brought excitement to the scientists; it brought operational realities on the ground. It was about co-location, co-design, co-investment and co-attribution and recognition of the outputs of that. To do what? To accelerate impact in those environments in which we work.

Holmgren:

As I see it, and I know we share this view, research capacity development and engagement is integrated in development and our efforts. CIFOR envisions a more equitable world where forests and trees contribute to the livelihoods, to the well-being and to a sustainable environment for all.

Simons:

A great focus in the second round is going to be capitalizing on the gains we made on gender. The Forests, Trees and Agroforestry program had one of the most progressive not only gender strategies, but gender action plans. It was rewarding also to see the high level of attribution of budget towards increasing the role of gender into our programs.

When you ask the question, ‘Are we optimistic’? I think Peter and I share a lot of hope, joy and opportunity around raising the profile of forests and trees in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, in the framework of the Paris Climate Agreement and also in the new CGIAR Forests, Trees and Agroforestry program.Because if these two premier research and development organizations on forests and trees- if we can’t do it, no one else is going to be able to.

This is the final episode of our special three-part video interview series for the International Day of Forests 2016.

Watch Part 1 and Part 2


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  • Conflict in protected areas: who says co-management does not work?

Conflict in protected areas: who says co-management does not work?


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Also published at Bioversity International

Author: De Pourcq, K.; Thomas, E.; Arts, B.; Vranckx, A.; Léon-Sicard, T.; Van Damme, P.

Natural resource-related conflicts can be extremely destructive and undermine environmental protection. Since the 1990s co-management schemes, whereby the management of resources is shared by public and/or private sector stakeholders, have been a main strategy for reducing these conflicts worldwide. Despite initial high hopes, in recent years co-management has been perceived as falling short of expectations. However, systematic assessments of its role in conflict prevention or mitigation are non-existent. Interviews with 584 residents from ten protected areas in Colombia revealed that co-management can be successful in reducing conflict at grassroots level, as long as some critical enabling conditions, such as effective participation in the co-management process, are fulfilled not only on paper but also by praxis. We hope these findings will re-incentivize global efforts to make co-management work in protected areas and other common pool resource contexts, such as fisheries, agriculture, forestry and water management.


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  • Bioversity International's gender research fellowship programme: results and ways forward

Bioversity International’s gender research fellowship programme: results and ways forward


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Also published at Bioversity International

Author: Thull, D.; Elias, M.; Fernandez, M.

The overarching goal of Bioversity International’s Gender Research Fellowship Programme was to strengthen the capacity of researchers to conduct participatory gender-responsive research in the field of forest genetic resource use and management. The knowledge generated was intended to contribute to developing conservation and management guidelines that are more equitable and effective in their outcomes. The success of the Programme was assessed one year after its completion, based on interviews and a focus group discussion with the Fellows. This brief presents the results of the impact assessment, which revealed that this pilot fellowship initiative succeeded in strengthening capacities and helping to fill gaps in knowledge regarding women’s and men’s knowledge, skills, access, management and use of tree and forest genetic resources. The evaluation revealed best practices and ways the Programme could be improved.


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  • Relationships between population density, fine-scale genetic structure, mating system and pollen dispersal in a timber tree from African rainforest

Relationships between population density, fine-scale genetic structure, mating system and pollen dispersal in a timber tree from African rainforest


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Also published at Bioversity International

Authors: Duminil, J.; Dainou, K.; Kaviriri, D.K.; Gillet, P.; Loo, J.; Doucet, J.L.; Hardy, O.J.

The reproductive biology and genetic diversity of trees in the Congo Basin don’t seem to be affected by current logging practices. However, researcher recommend further investigations in low-density populations to evaluate (1) whether pollen limitation may reduce seed production and (2) the regeneration potential of the species.

This is the result from a study of genetic diversity, mating system and gene flow in three Central African populations of the self-compatible legume timber species Erythrophleum suaveolens with contrasting densities (0.11, 0.68 and 1.72 adults per ha).

Comparing reproductive biology processes and genetic diversity of populations at different densities can provide indirect evidence of the potential impacts of logging.

Selective logging could affect the demography, reproductive biology and evolutionary potential of forest trees. This is particularly relevant in tropical forests where natural population densities can be low and isolated trees may be subject to outcross pollen limitation and/or produce low-quality selfed seeds that exhibit inbreeding depression.

Researchers found that inbred individuals are eliminated between seedling and adult stages. Levels of genetic diversity, selfing rates (~16%) and patterns of spatial genetic structure (Sp ~0.006) were similar in all three populations.

However, the extent of gene dispersal differed markedly among populations: the average distance of pollen dispersal increased with decreasing density (from 200 m in the high-density population to 1000 m in the low-density one). In other words, at lower population densities, trees are still connected as a result of larger pollen dispersal distances.

The study was conducted by Bioversity International, the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium; Université de Liège, Gembloux, Belgium; Nature+ asbl, Wavre, Belgium; Université de Kisangani, Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo.


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  • Women and men in tropical dry forests: a preliminary review

Women and men in tropical dry forests: a preliminary review


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by Carol Colfer (CIFOR), Marlene Elias (Bioversity International) and Ramni Jamnadass (ICRAF)

From a broad review of 670 publications on gender and forests, ~130 were found to address the world’s dry forests. These were examined with the intent to extract gendered social, cultural, political and economic patterns of relevance in such forests. Seven interrelated themes recurred in this literature: 1) population pressure, 2) migration, 3) intra-familial and inter-group conflict, 4) hierarchy and significant power differences, 5) strict gender differentiation, 6) commercialization of crops and NTFPs, and 7) fuelwood collection. Based upon these themes, the uniqueness of each situation and the importance of finetuning any approach to local realities to generate outcomes that can benefit women, we propose four promising ways to enhance the prospects for gender equity in dry forest areas: 1) a strengthening of groups and collective action, 2) explicit challenges to traditional gender norms, 3) a focus on products and spaces that interest women, and 4) addressing migration and population issues. (funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry)


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  • Talking science to both genders

Talking science to both genders


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Photo: Bioversity International
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Farmers facing the challenges of climate change need it as much as politicians who make decisions on sustainable development and managing a growing demand for natural resources: research on forests, trees and agroforestry matters for solving problems of all kinds on all kinds of levels. So researchers have to keep in mind whom they are researching for and to whom they have to communicate their results.

A key aspect in research as in communication is gender. To get across a message in a gender-responsive way, keeping in mind whom you are talking to, is a challenge in science communication.

Bioversity International has now taken up this challenge and created a short brief with Practical tips for communicating research findings in a gender-responsive way. Here are a few of the tips that authors Marlène Elias and Ewa Hermanowicz have come up with:


Photo: Bioversity International
Photo: Bioversity International

Identify groups who will be using your findings from the very start of the research process.


Photo: Bioversity International
Photo: Bioversity International

Share your findings with different types of actors including those that are sympathetic to gender issues and work in gender-sensitive ways or whose mandates are supporting women or other targeted social interest groups.


Photo: Bioversity International
Photo: Bioversity International

Unpack, analyse and represent your data according to gender of study participants and to other relevant variables of analysis like age or ethnicity.


Photo: CIFOR
Photo: CIFOR

Be gender-aware in visuals such as photographs, drawings, animations, videos, you use to illustrate your findings.


Photo: Bioversity International
Photo: Bioversity International

Leverage your findings and communication products through seminars, workshops, events and conferences to increase the integration of gender issues in the agenda.


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Photo: Bioversity International

Use appropriate language that is matched to the level of technical understanding of your target audience.


You can read about all of the 12 tips here. The authors also recommend the FAO resource Communicating Gender for Rural Development.

Also see Bioversity International’s new gender and social inclusion strategy


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  • Listening to different voices - revealing local knowledge through research

Listening to different voices – revealing local knowledge through research


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Originally published at Bioversity International

Maria Fernandez, Honorary Research Fellow, Bioversity International, introduces this new video, in which young scientists talk about the challenges they faced doing participatory research and how they worked creatively to overcome them.

Maria Fernandez. Photo: The American University of Rome Graduate School
Maria Fernandez. Photo: The American University of Rome Graduate School

Rural communities manage natural resources under diverse and changing landscape and market conditions throughout the developing world. Over the past 20 years scientists, concerned with the sustainability of smallholder farm and forest resilience have become increasingly aware of the need to link research for development with the needs and experiences of these communities. Our scientists are challenging themselves to find, develop and use gender-responsive participatory research methods and tools to listen to the voices of different groups of actors and generate high quality and useful science.

Participatory research is about providing local people with opportunities to share their knowledge and experience with each other while also sharing it with researchers. It is about tackling problems that are relevant to communities in ways that draw on their own successful experiences and knowledge and integrating them with a conventional scientific perspective. Doing successful participatory research entails acquiring a set of skills.

Bioversity International’s Gender Research Fellowship Programme which ran from 2013-14, provided an opportunity for five Research Fellows affiliated with national partner institutes to take these skills on board and use them to enhance the gender responsiveness of their Bioversity International projects.

The video Revealing farmers’ knowledge through research gives a window into the experiences of these Fellows as they took on the challenge. Two messages are evident in the film. First, participatory research can give a voice to those who are often not heard. Second, the Fellows themselves were surprised and transformed by facilitating this kind of co-learning process.

The video identifies a number of challenges the Fellows faced doing their research and how they worked creatively to overcome them:

It is important to listen to the voices of different groups of actors and generate high quality and useful science. Photo: Imam Basuki/CIFOR
It is important to listen to the voices of different groups of actors and generate high quality and useful science. Photo: Imam Basuki/CIFOR

Researchers need to gain experience with participatory-research tools. Choosing the most appropriate tools is a challenge as there are many to choose between. A good researcher will choose a few tools designed to give a voice to those who don’t know that they have knowledge to share or are not accustomed to being listened to.


Also read the blog: Case studies from around the globe show that gender-responsive participatory research is the way to go


Working with gender-differentiated groups brings out invisible, insider knowledge. Once men and women have worked in separate groups and they come together in plenary to share their results, it most often becomes evident that women and men have been looking at issues differently. This experience enriches and deepens knowledge and often results in concrete actions and changes.
Quantification of information takes creativity and the use of appropriate tools. When qualitative data, such as farmers’ knowledge, is made visible using tools like scoring, it can be put into graphs. In addition to graphs there are a number of tested tools that can help represent qualitative information graphically.

Participatory research processes can increase self-esteem and build confidence when people (especially women) find out they know more than they thought they did, can do things they didn’t think they could do and are being recognized for their knowledge. People who speak only indigenous languages, often women and marginalized groups, tend to be left out of development discussions.

Research processes that give them space to express their knowledge can be empowering, and allow scientists to learn from them.

Increased confidence and empowerment contribute to equality. When men and women from diverse social and ethnic groups are given access to knowledge about each others’ skills, needs and experiences, it increases mutual respect and opens the door for innovation. They learn things about each other that they didn’t know and talk about things they had never talked about. We found this with research in India bringing together diverse social and ethnic groups, and in Malaysia bringing together women and men.
Good gender-responsive participatory research requires a commitment to learning new skills and finding ways to listen to less articulate or more marginalized groups. It is a journey that changes us as professionals and makes our research more relevant to the future we are working towards.

This research was carried out in collaboration with the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, and is part of Bioversity International’s Initiative on Effective Genetic Resources Conservation and Use

 


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