The program is one of 15 CGIAR Research Programs, all designed to contribute towards the CGIAR System Level Outcomes (SLOs) of (i) Reducing rural poverty, (ii) Increasing food security, (iii) Improving nutrition and health, and (iv) Sustainable management of natural resources. Over the next 15 years, Humidtropics will advance the SLOs within the Action Areas by increasing staple food yields by 60%, increasing average farm income by 50%, lifting 25% of poor households above the poverty line, reducing the number of malnourished children by 30% and restoring 40% of these farms to sustainable resource management. In this way, Humidtropics will serve as a model to other agencies seeking to link agricultural systems research to developmental impact. The essential characteristics are that: it is driven by people, livelihoods and living environment. Helping to make the best possible use of he natural and human resources to improve poor people’s lives and their environment; it integrates research outputs of other CGIAR Research Programs that are mostly commodity or technology-specific or driven where applicable; it focuses on the challenges and opportunities the wider system provides the people that depend on it in defined Action Areas. This is grounded in studies related to situation analyses, trade-offs and interaction assessments among multiple objectives and opportunities, identification of research entry points, organizational mapping and establishing participatory and collaborative research ventures – all to unearth the potential inherent in the system; it researches sustainable intensification of rain-fed integrated smallholder farming systems in the humid tropics that leads to place-based Research for Development (R4D); it helps to identify better methods that bring research outputs to scale, so called mainstreaming, is fundamental to the Humidtropics research effort towards impact; and it develops R4D Platforms to build multi-stakeholder partnerships in Action Areas and their Action Sites to help setting priorities and benefit from synergies for better impact.
Humidtropics is guided by a Global Hypothesis “A range of livelihood strategies exists within the humid tropics where poverty reduction, balanced household nutrition, system productivity and natural resource integrity are most effectively achieved and contribute best to human welfare”.
- Holistic systems approach (not only integrated production systems but also the wider systems in which it is embedded)
- Focuses on people’s decision-making processes related to making a living and living their lives
- Research that works on multiple and alternative solutions (interventions and technologies)
- Research includes external environmental, cultural, social, behavioural, political and economical variables; blending biological and social sciences
- Embraces R4D partnerships and improves their management
- Integrated gender focus, the gender perspective in systems depends on how responsibilities are distributed between men and women and on the ownership and decision-making powers both have over specific activities.
- They are representative and capture diversity. Action Areas are selected that are representative for the humid tropics diversity, contain widespread poverty, and poor natural resource integrity.
- Urgent need exists for large-scale impacts. These Action Areas have relatively high population densities where intensification, production systems diversification and integration, and rural transformation are urgently needed and have best potential for massive impact.
- They advance earlier investments and existing and potential partnerships. Earlier research investments in the Action Areas will benefit from planned interventions based on collaboration to generate better synergies between existing expertise of the Centers and their partners and develop new partnerships and expertise to achieve better impact.
An Action Site is simply the location where the actual work takes place, ie where the “action is”. These sites are located in an Action Area and carefully selected following common entry criteria to allow the R4D results to scale out and up.
Strategic Research Themes
The research program is organized into three main Strategic Research Themes (SRTs):
- SRT1 focuses on situation analysis and global synthesis, which involves a more centralized capacity to undertake characterization of Action Areas and their component Action Sites, to coordinate the development of tools such as surveys to monitor agricultural system change, and to provide analytical support in research synthesis at Action Area and program levels.
- SRT2 is an integrated research program organized around institutional and market development, system productivity, and natural resource management.
- SRT3 research is undertaken on scaling up and impacts on rural poverty and gender equity in a manner that raises institutional effectiveness of program partners.
The research framework is a matrix of location-based research in the Action Areas drawing on critical capacities in thematic research groups arrayed across Centers and partner organizations. All the strategic research themes therefore interact and come together at each of the Action Areas and Sites.