Seeking to strengthen collaboration with Nicaragua’s National Research for Development (R4D) Platform, Humidtropics conducted a National R4D Platform Meeting on March 4, 2016 in Managua, Nicaragua. Platform members who participated in the event were part of 37 organizations that represent the country’s coffee, cocoa, and mixed staple crop-livestock production sectors, academic and research institutions, public sector, civil society, and farmer associations.
The session was an opportunity to learn and reflect about the achievements of the R4D projects implemented in the Nicanorte Action Site, as well as the development of theories of change in the coffee, cocoa, and mixed production system territories. Finally, the meeting fostered an exchange between national organizations and Humidtropics to identify potential opportunities for the continuation of the initiatives promoted through the Platform beyond 2016, including the CGIAR Site Integration process in Nicaragua.
During the discussion, strategic themes were defined to strengthen links between the priorities of Platform members and the Program’s plans for the region, highlighting the need to create and promote participatory spaces for research, communication, monitoring and evaluation, in order to establish sustainable collaboration mechanisms. National partners expressed high demand for Humidtropics’ knowledge and experiences, with the Program’s leadership in the design, implementation, analysis, and evaluation of ongoing research being sought out by territorial and national partners.
“As local agricultural development organizations, we conduct practical extension work, but we seldom have the necessary resources to explore how our work adapts to different systems,” expressed Orlando Valverde from MAONIC. “We need the support of research institutions to study the variables that can affect our work, and identify new opportunities.”
Responding to the Country’s Needs
One of the proposals made during the meeting was the development of a knowledge and information management system to fulfill the growing demand for information dissemination in order to expand the adoption of new technologies. Special emphasis was placed on adapting the tools generated during the research processes, to make them more accessible for users in rural farming communities. Other areas of focus include responding to the country’s needs as they relate to planning and implementing research projects at a national level; establishing strategic alliances through research activities, sites, and resources; joint production of international public goods; and Humidtropics’ research leadership to achieve collective objectives at national and regional levels.
“Nicaragua is facing a serious crisis due to extreme climate phenomena. Prolonged drought is causing terrible losses in crop harvests,” said Luis Osorio of CONACAFE. “Now, more than ever, we need to conduct integrated research that takes on themes such as agrobiodiversity, soil fertility management, and scaling of agroecological practices, all of which should be aimed towards climate change mitigation and adaptation.”
This constitutes a valuable integration opportunity for Humidtropics to guide its national partners in establishing R4D objectives beyond 2016. The National R4D Platform is an effective mechanism to respond to the country’s most pressing needs and make the most of shared goals and resources. It is an efficient scaling channel to strengthen cross-cutting research themes in the territories, guide the adoption of improved practices and technologies, and lead a knowledge and experience exchange among Nicaragua’s coffee, cocoa, and mixed staple crop-livestock production systems.
Blog and photos by Shadi Azadegan, Communication Specialist, Central America and the Caribbean, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).