J I Richards
A F Ward
J R Witcombe
2005 was a year in which many people are talking about how to assist the worlds poor. However, all too often it seems that the poor are taken to be an abstract group, rather than real people. In a refreshingly practical approach, Pathways out of Poverty focused on how researchers are working with the poor.
The conference showed how change has successfully been introduced and promoted, to improve the livelihoods of the poor, through using robust scientific approaches and working in collaborative partnerships including with farmers and the rural and/or urban poor.
Everybody depends upon natural resources and natural resources research, in this arena, is leading to the achievement of Millennium Development Goals. To enhance the momentum of this success it is important to take time out to consider the elements of research and its application that lead to sustained benefits to the poor. This conference drew upon the UK Department for International Developments Renewable Natural Resources Research Strategy to present case studies to draw out key factors of success to stimulate researchers, NGOs, government ministries, development planners, research managers, donors and the private sector.
These Aspects were the result of a conference organised by the Association of Applied Biologists, working together with 3 programmes of the Department for International Development (DFID), through their Renewable Natural Resources Research Strategy. These programmes are independently managed:
The Crop Protection Programme (CPP; http://www.cpp.uk.com) is managed by NR International. The CPP is committed to the development and promotion of socially and environmentally acceptable technologies to reduce crop losses caused by pests. The objectives are:
- decreasing production costs leading to cheaper food
- improving food quality and safety
- improving market opportunities and market access
- decreasing health risks through safer production methods
- reducing drudgery and using labour more efficiently
CPP research projects are largely located in South Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Bolivia. The natural science/ social science Research strategies are planned not just to consider existing pest problems but also to consider the development of new pests and how environmental change will affect pest problems in the future. Social factors and trends are a key component in strategy planning, especially in the planning of research promotion. Environmental, human health, economic and consumer issues are the other key strategic areas considered in planning.
The Plant Sciences Research Programme (PSP; http://www.dfid-psp.org/) is managed by the Centre for Arid Zone Studies at the University of Bangor. It funds research across the whole spectrum, from strategic to adaptive research. PSPs broad spectrum of research encompasses the latest biotechnology techniques for screenings and breeding for drought/ disease tolerance to the development of key technologies simple, low-cost interventions, the impacts of which are large enough to induce farmers to make other, perhaps more risky or more costly, changes in agronomic practices.
The Plant Sciences Research Programme has five research themes:
1. Novel methods of aiding conventional plant breeding to overcome biotic or abiotic constraints
2. Methods to genetically modify crops to overcome biotic or abiotic constraints
3. Methods to improve soil fertility and crop nutrition by biological means
4. Methods to optimise cropping systems by agronomic means developed and tested
5. Participatory methods for varietal selection and breeding.
The Livestock Production Programme (LPP; http://www.lpp.uk.com) is managed by NR International. The programme addresses priority researchable issues of significance at regional, agro-ecological zone levels faced by 5 groups of resource-poor livestock keepers: small-scale milk producers; crop/livestock farmers; small-stock keepers; landless livestock keepers; and pastoralists. It is likely that these issues will have been identified in national and sub-regional agricultural, livestock, poverty reduction and environmental plans; the resolution of the issues should have an impact on the livelihoods of the poor. The LPP actively encourages common ownership of project design and implementation with in-country researchers, farmers and target institutions (such as government extension agents, policy makers, the commercial sector and civil society) to ensure that the research remains focussed. Of particular importance is assuring the demand-led nature of the research and involving all stakeholders in the design, implementation, monitoring and uptake of the activities as well as in disseminating, promoting and up-scaling of project outputs such as policies or technical intervention.
2005 154 pp.
Price £15.00 (AAB Members £8.00)
Plus P&P to be applied on completion of purchase
For the contents list, click here.
For the contents list, click here.
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