Exploring ways to enhance integration and cooperation among scientists and across research projects to benefit farmers was the theme of the West and Central Africa (WCA) Regional Planning meet held recently.
During the two-day regional planning meet, scientists:
- Reviewed key research for development (R4D) achievements and lessons learnt in the past 2-3 years;
- Reviewed and discussed detailed plans of experiments, methods and expected outputs of scientists in 2016;
- Discussed mechanisms for promoting collaborations and integrating R4D work among scientists and locations to harness synergies for efficient use of resources;
- Discussed nature and performance of existing partnerships and resource mobilization strategy for WCA region;
- Identified existing gaps across various issues;
- Explored opportunities for integrated resource management and systems design;
- Mapped existing projects and identified synergies across projects;
- Developed impact pathways;
- Developed ideas for policy advocacy, scaling out and impact; and
- Initiated operating protocols for the new Regional Program WCA.
Working groups reported on areas for better integration and efficiency gains (sharing sites, resources, and learning) and identified gaps that can lead to new research initiatives. Gaps identified for the WCA region will be converted into an operational document that will contribute to the country strategies being developed.
The meeting was organized around five technical sessions covering a wide range of issues and topics related to the WCA region.
The first technical session included five presentations on: climate change and adaptation, groundnut improvement and upscaling, progress in sorghum and pearl millet breeding, watershed management and diversifying cropping systems and livelihoods.
Session II focused on issues related to delivery, impacts, markets, communication and public awareness. The third technical session focused on new regional programs and their operating protocols.
Session IV discussed work plans and experimental designs in small groups and Session V was a poster session with 31 posters across different topics.
The participants visited the ICRISAT groundnut and sorghum fields as well as the experimental fields of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC), CGIAR centers hosted by ICRISAT Samanko station. Participants also visited the plant pathology laboratory where work on aflatoxin was discussed. The Regional Planning meet was held at Bamako, Mali, on 23-24 March.