Turning many into one: CGIAR network restructures

International agricultural research is responding to new challenges: Their advisory group is undergoing a fundamental reform process.

Alhassan Sani teaches participants in rice cultivation in Suru/Nigeria. Photo: GIZ/Thomas Imo
Alhassan Sani teaches participants in rice cultivation in Suru/Nigeria. Photo: GIZ/Thomas Imo

Jan Rübel

Jan Rübel is author at Zeitenspiegel Reportagen, a columnist at Yahoo and writes for national newspapers and magazines. He studied History and Middle Eastern Studies.

 

International agricultural science is facing a new era. The research network CGIAR decided on a fundamental reform in mid-June: The 15 research centers, spread over three continents, will be consolidated. This was announced by Marco Ferroni, Chairman of the System Management Board. "The core of the reform is a systemic approach to all areas," he said at a press briefing. This will include the creation of a superordinate management structure to organize all phases of development more effectively.

 

Founded in 1971, CGIAR is a strategic partnership of 64 members that works with a wide range of government agencies, civil society organizations and the private sector all over the world. CGIAR's members are both 21 developing and 26 industrialized countries, four co-sponsors, as well as thirteen international organizations. Today, more than 8000 scientists and staff are active for CGIAR in over 100 countries. The founding purpose of CGIAR was "to combat food shortages in tropical and subtropical countries through research and investment in new, highly productive plant varieties and improved livestock management".

 

It is essential that technology is not only available to agribusinesses that can afford it, but also to small farmers.

 

Marco Ferroni is Chairman of the CGIAR System Management Board. Photo: CGIAR
Marco Ferroni is Chairman of the CGIAR System Management Board. Photo: CGIAR

In the birth days of CGIAR, the idea of a "Green Revolution" was the guiding principle. "A lot has been achieved here," stated Sebastian Lesch, Head of the Department for Agriculture at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). "But at the same time, we see the limitations." Today, CGIAR, as a driver of innovation, is confronted with the question of what can be achieved against the backdrop of climate change. Its 15 individual centers are to be regarded as capital of the CGIAR system, "but we need objectives that go beyond this system".

 

Ferroni sought a comparison with health research in the discussion. " In the health care sector, nobody questions the need for research," he noted. For CGIAR, on the other hand, the task is urgent: "At what environmental cost will sufficient food be available?"

The BMZ played a major role in initiating the CGIAR reform process in 2018. The Federal Ministry supports the network with 20 million euros annually; this budget has been increased to 35 million euros for the current year.

 

CGIAR's research results are public goods, no private interests are involved. Which makes them even more valuable for the world community. "We have to transfer knowledge and innovations faster to the smallholder farmers", Lesch concluded. Thus, CGIAR now becomes One-CGIAR. Ferroni added that the Corona crisis in particular had shown what system breakdowns are and what they cause. "The pandemic had its origin in the food system. Now value chains are broken." CGIAR is currently carrying out comparative analyses to identify successful responses in agriculture that could be transferred to other countries.

 

Green technology is a huge opportunity for food security.

 

Man cleans solar panel in Senegal. Photo: GIZ/Kamikazz
Man cleans solar panel in Senegal. Photo: GIZ/Kamikazz

But how can research findings be appropriately disseminated? Claudia Makadristo from Seedstars, an incubator cooperating with the BMZ to promote start-ups, joined the press conference. "90 percent of the market for digital services with a focus on small farmers is still untapped," the organization's Africa Regional Director explained. Seedstars brings together corporations and investors with entrepreneurial talent in emerging markets, where start-up capital is usually scarce.

 

Makadristo works as a scout for companies and innovators in the African technology industry. "Green technology is a huge opportunity for food security," she said. The means to achieve this: public research results are implemented by small start-ups. "Tech farming is the future." The African countries are now on the radar of many start-ups outside the continent. "When we started in 2012, very few founders were involved in the agricultural sector. Then in 2016 a boom began. Since then, the number of agricultural start-ups we have supported has risen by 111 percent to 1016". There are still many gaps, "so it is very important that we build as many bridges as possible in the start-up sector".

 

Ferroni supported this approach. "We will cooperate more with start-ups," he declared. It is not only necessary to improve transport structures and good governance in emerging countries. “Solution development must be built into a successful chain." When CGIAR was founded, access to smallholders was not through private markets, but via the state. This is no longer the case. "And who's going to pay for the digitalization?" he asked. It is essential that technology is not only available to agribusinesses that can afford it, but also to small farmers. "To this end, the public authorities are indispensable. Projects based on public-private partnerships can play a future role here."

 

Agricultural research in the laboratory. Photo: GIZ/Klaus Wohlmann
Agricultural research in the laboratory. Photo: GIZ/Klaus Wohlmann

In this context, Lesch from the BMZ referred to the work of the Green Innovation Centres, which the Ministry supports. "We do comparable work to Seedstars, building bridges." These centers also collected innovations and transferred them. CGIAR, in any case, will take the path of bundling. "In the past, problems such as seed improvement were tackled on a sectoral basis," said Ferroni. "Now we are responding to the new challenges and consolidating in the overall picture."

 

 

Further information available at: www.cgiar.org

Go back

Similar articles

"We must mobilise all available resources"

By Ismahane Elouafi (ICBA)

Freshwater deficits are affecting more and more people throughout the world. In order to counter this, our global food system will have to change, our author maintains. A case for more research on alternative crops and smart water solutions.

Read more

Video: 4 Questions to Claudia Makdristo

By Seedstars

Startups are booming in African agriculture. What are the current trend and challenges – and can other regions benefit from innovative approaches? A Video-Interview with Claudia Makadristo, Regional Manager of Seedstars  

Read more

"Pandemic increases violence against women"

Interview with Léa Rouanet

African countries still face huge gender gaps in terms of access to work and capital. What are the consequences of Corona for women in Africa? Jan Rübel interviewed Léa Rouanet on lockdowns and gender-based violence. The economist works at the Africa Gender Innovation Lab of the World Bank.

Read more

ONE WORLD no hunger - Meet the people driving rural transformation

A program by the partners of the special initiative One World no Hunger

The future is rural. On September 24, meet leaders and visionaries from Africa and South Asia who will enter into dialogue with european key actors.

Join uns here to meet the people.

Read more

JOERG BOETHLING / GIZ

Continent in an uptrend

By Dr. Agnes Kalibata

Partnering for Africa’s Century: Innovation and Leadership as Drivers of Growth and Productivity in Rural Areas

Read more

KLAUS WOHLMANN / GIZ

’Farmers are smart’

By Jan Rübel

From the lab to the masses: Maria Andrade bred varieties of biofortified sweet potatoes which are now widely used all over the continent. She sets her hope on the transformation of African agriculture.

Read more

Karel Prinsloo/Arete/Rockefeller Foundation/AGRA

'Nutrition is a human right'

Joe DeVries is a breeder – and Vice President of AGRA. What are the chances and risks of a ’green revolution‘ in Africa? A discourse between Jan Rübel and him about productivity, needs, and paternalism.

Read more

(c) Privat

How much private investment is the agricultural sector able to bear?

By Pedro Morazán

Small farmers in developing countries must modernise their farming methods, but poorly understood reforms could exacerbate poverty instead of alleviating it.

Read more

Uli Reinhardt/Zeitenspiegel

No dirty dealing

Von Marlis Lindecke

Shit Business is Serious Business: A successful cooperation between research and the private sector.

Read more

(c) Kate Holt / Africa Practice

Leveraging investment impacts

By Heike Baumüller, Christine Husmann, Julia Machovsky-Smid, Oliver Kirui, Justice Tambo

Any initiative whose aim is to reduce poverty in Africa should focus first on agriculture. But what kind of investment has the greatest impact? The use of scientific criteria provides some answers.

Read more

(c) Simon Veith

The Big Bang is possible

Interview with Joachim von Braun

Happy youngsters in rural areas, green development and the connection to the digital age – professor Joachim von Braun believes in this future sceneraio for Africa. For three decades the agricultural scienties has been researching how politics can create prosperty on the continent. 

Read more

A new attempt at Africa's industrialization?

By Helmut Asche

Afrika is about ready. There are promising approaches for a sustainable industrialization. However, the path poses challenges to the continent.

Read more

5 Questions for Gunther Beger (BMZ): What must be done?

Interview with Gunther Beger (BMZ)

How much will it cost to sustainably end world hunger by 2030? This question was posed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) that commissioned two research teams with finding an answer. The results of the studies will be presented on October 13 in the run-up to World Food Day.

Read more

'It has never been more possible'

Interview with Carin Smaller (Ceres2030)

Over a period of two years, the Ceres2030 team spent researching answers to the questions of how much it will how much it will cost to realize SDG 2 and where that money should be spent most effectively. IISD Senior Advisor and Ceres2030 Co-director Carin Smaller about small farmers, machine learning and women empowerment.

Read more

Is the international community still on track in the fight against hunger?

Interview with Miriam Wiemers (Welthungerhilfe)

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2020 shows that the world is not on track to meet the international goal of “zero hunger by 2030”. If we continue at our current speed, around 37 countries will not even have reached a low hunger level by 2030.

Read more

5 Questions for Jann Lay: What is Corona doing to the economy?

Interview with Jann Lay (GIGA)

The Corona pandemic is hitting economies around the world very hard - but developments in African countries are quite diverse. There are different speeds, resiliences and vulnerabilities. What are the reasons for this? Apl. Prof. Jann Lay of the GIGA Institute provides answers.

Read more

"Agricultural research unties the Gordian knot"

Interview with World Bank Vice President Voegele

The CGIAR agricultural research organization is systematically repositioning itself. We spoke with Juergen Voegele, Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank, about progress to date - and discuss what needs to be done collectively to stop global hunger in ten years.

Read more

Hunger must not be a consequence of the epidemic!

By Michael Brüntrup (DIE)

Even though COVID-19 poses a threat to the health of humanity, the reaction to the pandemic must not cause more suffering than the disease itself. This is particularly relevant for poor developing countries, where the impact of the corona crisis on food security is even more severe!

 

Read more

Global responsibility: Tackling hunger is the only way forward

By Lisa Hücking (WHH)

Chancellor Merkel has begun an ambitious European political programme: Striving for compromise in budget negotiations, an orderly Brexit as well as an appropriate response to the corona crisis. Unfortunately, one of her positions that she previously held is nowhere to be found: Africa's prosperity is in the interest of Europe. 

Read more

Success story allotment garden: Food supply and women's empowerment

By Nadine Babatounde and Anne Floquet

To prevent malnutrition among young children and strengthen the role of women in their communities, Misereor, together with the local non-governmental organisation CEBEDES, is implementing a programme on integrated home gardens in Benin - a series of pictures.

Read more

© GIZ

Resilient small-scale agriculture: A key in global crises

By Kerstin Weber and Brit Reichelt-Zolho (WWF)

Biodiversity and sustainable agriculture ensure the nutrition of whole societies. But there is more: These two factors also provide better protection against the outbreak of dangerous pandemics. Hence, the question of preserving ecosystems is becoming a global survival issue.

Read more

Developing countries hit doubly hard by coronavirus

By Gunter Beger (BMZ)

In most African countries, the infection COVID-19 is likely to trigger a combined health and food crisis. This means: In order to cope with this unprecedented crisis, consistently aligning our policies to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is more important than ever, our author maintains.

Read more

“Corona exposes the weaknesses of our nutritional systems"

Interview with Arif Husain (WFP)

The United Nations plan a Food Systems Summit - and now the Corona-Virus is dictating the agenda. The Chief Economist of the UN World Food Programme takes stock of the current situation: a conversation with Jan Rübel about pandemics, about the chromosomes of development - and about the conflicts that inhibit them.

Read more

Do we have to dare a new food system?

By Dr. Felix zu Löwenstein (BÖLW)

Lack of seasonal workers and virus explosion in slaughterhouses, rising vegetable prices, climate crisis – all this demonstrates: Our food system is highly productive and (at least for the rich inhabitants of planet earth) guarantees an unprecedented rich and steady food supply - but it is not resilient.

Read more

Video diaries in the days of Corona: Voices from the ground

By Sarah D´haen & Alexander Müller, Louisa Nelle, Bruno St. Jaques, Sarah Kirangu-Wissler and Matteo Lattanzi (TMG)

Young farmers’ insights on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food systems in Sub-Saharan Africa @CovidFoodFuture and video diaries from Nairobi’s informal settlements.

Read more

Double interview: The Forest Maker and his director

By Jan Rübel

Tony Rinaudo uses conventional reforestation methods to plant millions and millions of trees – and Volker Schlöndorff is filming a cinema documentary about the Australian. The outcome so far: An educational film on behalf of the BMZ (Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development).

Read more

A partnership to fight hunger

By GAFSP

The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) was launched by the G20 countries in 2010 in response to the 2008-09 food price crisis to increase both public and private investment in agriculture. An overview of the programme's approach, results and impact.

Read more

(c) Michael Bruentrup/DIE

News from the starting block: Changeover

By Michael Brüntrup

The region of Sub-Saharan Africa is on the decisive verge of a great development boost in farming: it could skip entire generations of technological development. But how?  About possible roles and potentials of digital services.

Read more

(c) Klara Palatova/WFP

A global signpost: What way is the market, please?

By World Food Programme

There is a clear global task: We need to feed nine billion people by 2050. We, the people of Earth, must produce more food and waste less. That is the top priority of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), too - the description of a challenge.

Read more

Building our food systems back better

By Jes Weigelt and Alexander Müller

What is required to make food systems provide sufficient, healthy food while not harming the planet? How should food security be maintained given the threat posed by climate change? Our authors look at some aspects of tomorrow’s food systems against the backdrop of the corona crisis.

Read more

Gender equality: Essential for food and nutrition security

By Carsta Neuenroth (BfdW)

The majority of producers in developing countries are women. Although they contribute significantly to the food security of their families, they remain chronically disadvantaged in male-dominated agriculture in terms of access to land, credit, technology and education.

Read more

© GIZ

Actual Analysis: The locusts came with the crises

By Bettina Rudloff and Annette Weber (SWP)

The Corona-Virus exacerbates existing crises through conflict, climate, hunger and locusts in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. What needs to be done in these regions? To face these challenges for many countries, all of these crises need to be captured in their regional context.

Read more

(c) Welthungerhilfe

5 questions to F. Patterson: Why is there more hunger?

Interview with Fraser Patterson

Every year in October, the "Welthungerhilfe" aid organisation, with the Irish "Concern Worldwide" NGO, publishes the Global Hunger Index, a tool with which the hunger situation is recorded. What are the trends - and what needs to be done?

Read more

Hier steht eine Bildbeschreibung

Statement from GAFSP Co-Chairs: GAFSP and COVID-19 Pandemic

By GAFSP

COVID-19 has unprecedented effects on the world. As always, the most vulnerable are the hardest hit, both at home and - especially - abroad. A joint appeal by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) and the Department for International Development (DFID).

Read more

(c) Welthungerhilfe

5 questions to S. Fan: Where are the new roads?

Interview with Shenggen Fan

Shortly before ending his position as Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPR) Dr. Shenggen Fan talks about the reforms and new modes of operation needed to achieve global food security in the coming decade.

Read more

An investment in Africa's future

By Essa Chanie Mussa

Rural youth need viable livelihood opportunities to escape out of poverty and realize their aspirations. How could they be helped to fully unleash their potential? This is an aloud call that needs novel strategies among governments, policy makers, and international development partners and donors.

Read more

Frank Schultze / Agentur_ZS

Video: Visions in agriculture

By Frank Schultze and Jan Rübel

At the beginning of December 2018, AGRA's board of directors met in Berlin. The "Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa" ​​panel discussed the next steps in their policy of modernizing agriculture. How to go on in the next ten years? One question - many answers from experts.

Read more

"Extreme is the new normal"

By Alexander Müller, and Jes Weigelt

As the climate changes, the population of Africa is growing and fertile land and jobs are becoming scarcer. New ways are currently leading to urbanisation of agriculture and a new mid-sized sector in the countryside

Read more

© GIZ / Angelika Jacob

This is how developing countries can adapt better to droughts

By Michael Brüntrup und Daniel Tsegai

Droughts are the natural disasters with far-reaching negative consequences. While rich countries are still vulnerable to drought, famines are no longer found.

Read more

(c) Christof Krackhardt/Brot für die Welt

Together and resourceful against worldwide hunger

By Brot für die Welt

Climate change disturbs the climate in Ethiopia. The answer from small farmers in the northern region is convincing: diversify!

 

Read more

(c) Christoph Mohr/GIZ

Microinsurance against climate change

By Claudia Voß

Climate change is destroying development progress in many places. The clever interaction of digitalisation and the insurance industry protects affected small farmers.

Read more

(c) Nina Schroeder/World Food Programme

Hunger is caused by people, not the climate

Interview with Jacob Schewe

A study by the World Bank predicts that millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa will have to leave their homelands because of climate change. We have spoken with one of the authors

Read more

(c) Nina Schroeder/World Food Programme

Green from the growth container

By Maria Smentek

If there is a lack of fertile soil and rain, hunger breaks out quickly. Hydroponic-systems can help

Read more

(c) Gudrun Barenbrock/GIZ

Edible bugs - the new beef?

By Marwa Shumo

Insect farming is economical and environmentally sustainable, they are high in protein and they live on agricultural waste. Marwa Abdel Hamid Shumo thinks: They are the best weapon to combat hunger

Read more

(c) Thomas Lohnes / Brot für die Welt

The hype about urban gardening: farmers or hobby gardeners?

By Stig Tanzmann

Urban gardening is becoming increasingly popular in northern metropoles. People who consider themselves part of a green movement are establishing productive gardens in the city, for example on rooftops or in vacant lots. In severely impoverished regions of the global South, urban agriculture is a component of the food strategy.

Read more

Podcast: Fighting world hunger together

Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Podcast of the Federal Government

At the start of World Food Week around World Food Day on 16 October, Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that the fight against global hunger will only be successful with international responsibility and solidarity (german only).

Read more

Small fish with a big potential

By Paul van Zwieten

African inland fisheries are increasingly reliant on the capture of small fish species that are sundried and traded over long distances. They make an important contribution in alleviating “hidden hunger”: consumed whole, small fish are an important source of micronutrients. Only that, unfortunately, politicians haven’t yet realised this.

Read more

© GIZ

Ideas on the ground: Local solutions for global challenges

Interview with Sebastian Lesch (BMZ)

A world without hunger and with sufficient healthy food as well as climate-friendly agriculture can only be achieved if ideas are transformed into innovations and ultimately also applied - a conversation with BMZ Head of Division Sebastian Lesch on the Innovation Challenge programme of the new Agricultural Innovation Fund.

Read more

(c) Joerg Boethling/GIZ

"We are not Uber for tractors"

Interview with Jehiel Oliver

Jehiel Oliver was a successful consultant. One day, he quit his job in investment banking to become a social entrepreneur. His mission: tractors for Africa. Rental tractors. What gave him that idea? Find out in his interview with Jan Rübel.

Read more

Graphics: Africa's digital disruption

What Africa is experiencing in the course of digitisation is a disruption. Here three steps are taken in one, there you remain. In any case, the changes are enormous and bring some surprises. A graphic walk.

Read more

(c) Thomas Trutschel/BMEL/photothek

Rethinking funding

By Anna Sophia Rainer

Peasant farmers tend to fail due to bank credit limits. But investment could help them generate a sustainable income. This has given rise to an intense discussion about potential digital solutions.

Read more

(c) Katapult/GIZ

The digitised farmyard

By Jan Rübel

Lots of apps are entering the market, but what really makes sense? For African agriculture, some of it seems like a gimmick, some like a real step forward. So this is what a smallholder farm in Africa could look like today - with the help of smartphones, internet and electricity. 

Read more

(c) Joerg Boethling/GIZ

What it takes now

By Heike Baumüller

Artificial intelligence, big data and blockchain are the hottest topics of our time. The digital transformation of the African agricultural sector is ready for take-off. What will it take for the future of technology to hit the ground running?

Read more

KLAUS WOHLMANN / GIZ

Wanted: German investment in African agriculture

Stefan Liebing is chairman of the Africa Association of German Business. The manager calls for a better structure of African farms. Jan Rübel asked him about small farmers, the opportunities for German start-ups and a new fund.

Read more

Support for sustainable start-ups

Companies in Africa that need financing between $20,000 and $200,000 find relatively few investors, as this sector is too large for microcredit and too small for institutional investors. This creates a "gap in the middle" where companies have limited options. A project of the World Resource Institute provides a remedy with the Landaccelerator 2020.

A World Resources Institute project

Read more

Africa's rapid economic transformation

By T. S. Jayne, A. Adelaja and R. Mkandawire

Thirty years ago, Africa was synonymous with war, famine and poverty. That narrative is clearly outdated. African living standards are rising remarkably fast. Our authors are convinced that improving education and entrepreneurship will ensure irreversible progress in the region even as it confronts COVID-19.

Read more

Innovations for a secure food supply

By German Agribusiness Alliance

The COVID 19 pandemic is hitting developing and emerging countries and their poorest populations particularly hard. It is important to take countermeasures at an early stage. Companies in the German agricultural sector want to make their contribution to ensuring the availability of urgently needed operating resources.

Read more

(c) Foto Privat

Story: In Blocked Chains We Trust

By Solomon King Benge

It is 2080. We are on a farm somewhere in Africa. Everything is digital. The blockchain is an omnipotent point of reference, and the farm is flourishing. But then, everything goes wrong. A dystopian short story, written exclusively for SEWOH.

Read more

(c) Christoph Pueschner/Zeitenspiegel

Can this end world hunger?

By Stig Tanzmann

Time to dig deeper: We can only benefit from technical progress if we have a solid legal framework for everybody. But so far, none is in sight - in many countries. Instead, international corporations grow ever more powerful.

Read more

Africa's face of agriculture is female

By Beatrice Gakuba

Africa has a huge opportunity to make agriculture its economic driver. However, the potential for this is far from being made exhaustive use of, one reason being that women face considerable difficulties in their economic activities. The organisation AWAN Afrika seeks to change this state of affairs.

Read more

(c) Christoph Pueschner/Zeitenspiegel

From start to finish: a vision of interconnectivity

By Tanja Reith

At the moment, the agricultural industries of African countries exist in relative isolation. Imagine peasant farmers digitally connected to the value chains of the global food industry. How could this happen? A guidebook.

Read more

Answers from the youth: "Leave or stay? That depends on it!"

GIZ study; conducted by Geopoll

Does Africa's youth want to live in the city or in the country? Which career path seems particularly attractive? And how optimistic are the young people about the future? Young adults from rural areas answered these questions by SMS.

Read more

Joerg Boethling/GIZ

‘The Green Revolution reaches its limits’

Stig Tanzmann is a farmer and adviser on agricultural issues at ‘Bread for the World’. Jan Rübel interviewed him about his reservations about AGRA's strategy.

Read more

Frank Schultze / Agentur_ZS

The communicator

By Jan Rübel

What do electrical engineering, telecommunications and agriculture have in common? They arouse the passion of Strive Masiyiwa: Thirty years ago, he started an electrical installation company with $75, later riding the telecommunications wave as a pioneer. Today he is committed to transforming African agriculture.

 

Read more

Uli Reinhardt/Zeitenspiegel

Enough of being poor

By Marcellin Boguy

In western Africa a new middle class is emerging. Their consumer behaviour is determining the demand for products – home-produced and imported goods, on the internet or at the village market. The people of Ivory Coast in particular are looking to the future with optimism.

Read more