On the donor trail in Southern Africa
As long standing members of the Pan-Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA), CIATs work in Zambia and Zimbabwe has, up until now, mostly focussed on beans.
But a recent trip to meet with donors and national partners in each country revealed strong interests in research into forages, soils and climate change, exposing new and exciting opportunities for future partnerships.
The CIAT delegation, consisting of Robin Buruchara, Boaz Waswa, Rodah Zulu and Rowland Chirwa, met donor representatives from the World Bank, DFID, USAID, AfDB, FAO and IFAD among others.
“Many donors, such as UNFAO and African Development Bank, are developing new strategies for the region and are keen for us to link in,” said Boaz Waswa. “We have a lot we can offer the southern Africa region to support the improvement of agricultural systems.”
Meetings with government officials were equally as fruitful.
In Zimbabwe, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development, Mr. R.J. Chitsiko, was very excited to learn about CIATs work and called for more collaboration in the areas of beans, forages, soils and general productivity increase, saying his office is ready to support our work.
Zambia also showed great interest in our work. Opportunities for collaboration include: working to promote biofortified beans, climbing bean intensification in farming systems, country climate smart agriculture profiles with a focus on three regions within the country and support for soil improving fertility.
In both countries, CIAT and the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) partners agreed to continue to strengthen ongoing project collaboration and explore opportunities for joint projects.