CCARDESA develops a long term strategy and medium-term operation plan
The centre for coordination of agricultural research and development for southern Africa (CCARDESA), is developing its new long term (10year) strategy and medium term (5 years) operational plan which will guide its technical focus. The new strategy considers CCARDESA’s past performance, regional and global developments, including non-technical success factors and future trends. CCARDESA Board members, agricultural research and development (R&D) actors from SADC member states, cooperating partners including the GIZ-Adaptation to Climate Change in Rural areas (ACCRA) project are among the participants meeting at Birchwood Hotel in Johannesburg (8-10 April 2019, to validate the long-term strategy (LTS) and medium-term operation plan (MTOP).
In her welcoming remarks, the CCARDESA Board Chairperson, Dr Catherine Mungoma, indicated that crafting a 10-year long-term strategy and a 5-year medium term operational Plan (MTOP) is essential and critical given the great responsibility that the organisation has been assigned to ensure that the various stakeholders work collectively to improve the regional food and nutritional security. She advised that it was important for the new strategy to respond to the current important issues in agriculture such as opening opportunities for employment along the various value chains for the youth and contribute to climate change adaptation. Furthermore, the formulation of the CCARDESA strategy provides a good opportunity for the organisation with the input of the stakeholders to refocus its efforts to serve the region better.
To provide a basis for reflection on the organisation, the CCARDESA Research and Advisory Services Coordinator, Dr Podisi shared with the participants the organisation’s achievements and challenges in the past five years. He cited the coordination of large regional programmes such as the Agricultural Productivity Programme for Southen Africa (APPSA) which promoted spillover of technologies across countries and is continuing to expand with new countries. He also indicated that CCARDESA has established a regional agricultural information hub, the Southern Africa Agricultural Information Knowledge System (SAAIKS), as a platform for sharing, dissemination of agricultural information and engagement and interaction among regional stakeholders. CCARDESA has also facilitated capacity building interventions on demand from stakeholders, including beekeeping, social media, climate-smart agriculture, proposal writing, data analysis, and M&E. Inadequate resources were cited as one of the key challenges that affected the implementation of the first MTOP.
It was also reported that the subregional research organisation has forged strategic alliances with several technical partners, including national agricultural research institutions, CGIAR centres, FANRPAN, FAO, FARA, SROs and GIZ, among others, with the region and beyond. As a result, the SRO has established regional networks and co-hosted several conferences and policy dialogues as well as undertaken resource mobilisation with its partners.
CCARDESA has never had a strategic plan to guide the formulation of the medium-term operation plan. Once validated, the strategic plan will act as a reference document in the planning, preparation, and implementation of the medium-term and operation plan.
The strategy was birthed out of an extensive consultative process that included CCARDESA Secretariat staff and representatives of the Board of Governors, member state ministries of agriculture and food security, national agriculture research and extension services, farmer organisations, private sector, civil society, CGIAR centres, sister SROs and international cooperating partners (ICPs). Global, regional SADC frameworks and CCARDESA’s institutional, reports and documents have informed the strategy.
The acting Executive Director of CCARDESA, Dr Simon Mwale expressed optimism that the MTOP, derived from the ten-year strategic plan will help the organisation to meet the SADC agricultural development objectives. The strategy will be used by CCARDESA Secretariat, SADC Secretariat, SADC member states institutions as well as technical and funding partners to point them to the regional agricultural R&D priorities.