IFAD grant and investment programme partnership takes root in Asia-Pacific

By Sana Jatta

The IFAD grant funded and CIP (International Potato Centre) implemented program “Root and Tuber Crops (RTCs) Research and Development for Food Security in the Asia-Pacific Region” is working with eight investment programmes across the region for food security targeting, opportunities assessment for RTCs innovations, and research and development actions.

Asia-Pacific produces and consumes over 70% of the world’s RTCs – including potato, sweetpotato, cassava, aroids and yams. Along with their increasing feed and industrial uses, RTCs remain key staple and supplementary food among the poor, especially indigenous peoples and women.

The program seeks to enhance RTCs’ contribution to food security in five countries – Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. Its multi-sectoral partnership brings together agricultural and nutrition research institutes, universities, development NGOs, government agencies for agricultural extension and for trade and investment, and private-sector service providers for business development support.

At its first annual meeting held in Chengdu, China last August 28 -  01 September, the grant programme shared its on-going research and development efforts with investment programmes through collaborative workplans, co-funding and joint implementation.

Examples of partnership with IFAD investment programs during 2011-12 include:

Program Year 1 (2011-12) implementation marked the launching of the programme brandname FoodSTART -- Food Security Through Asian Root and Tuber Crops. Focus-site assessment studies on RTCs-for-household food security were conducted through community PRAs, formal household surveys and individual (adult-child) food intake assessment. Meanwhile, a pilot mapping of RTCs-for-food security was initiated, by overlaying crop production with poverty and nutrition information.

The China meeting convened 35 representatives from collaborating organizations led by Dindo Campilan, FoodSTART coordinator and CIP regional science leader for Asia SP-RTCs. Representing IFAD at the meeting in China were the program task manager Sana F. K. Jatta (Country Program Manager, Asia and the Pacific Division, IFAD) and supervision mission members Anura Herath (Country Program Officer, Sri Lanka and the Maldives) and He Qibin (IFAD consultant). Also during the meeting, the programme steering committee discussed and approved the FoodSTART 2012-13 annual workplan and budget after taking note of the 2011-2012 progress and financial reports.