By David Ngome:
The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) team met in Ibadan, Nigeria to discuss approaches, tools and strategies that can support scaling in ACAI. The workshop, held 24-25 April 2017, brought together ACAI and Scaling Readiness teams who both seek to support scaling within the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).
ACAI seeks to promote cassava agronomy at scale, and the Scaling Readiness team seeks to support research for development projects in achieving their scaling objectives. The workshop provided a forum for the Scaling Readiness team to test whether their tools generate useful and meaningful data that could support projects like ACAI in making decisions and investments in their scaling strategy. ACAI has been selected as one of the four projects that the Scaling Readiness team will collaborate with in developing and calibrating the tools.
“Developing scaling readiness tools with ACAI is crucial for ensuring that the data and analysis are meaningful in terms of informing scaling strategies. ACAI is committed to making their products and approaches work for farmers, governments and private sector, and their leadership is very supportive in developing and testing the tools,” says Dr Marc Schut who is co-leading the Scaling Readiness work. Mr Murat Sartas, who has introduced the scaling readiness concept in the agricultural research for development domain, goes even further in mentioning that he expects that, “eventually scaling readiness will be used to monitor and evaluate impact of research for development at project, research program and institute level.”
According to Dr Pieter Pypers, IITA Senior Agronomist with ACAI, the scaling readiness work will help ACAI to identify and overcome scaling challenges that had not been anticipated otherwise as well as expand the thinking about ACAI innovations and their use.
Dr Abdulai Jalloh, Project Leader of ACAI, extols scaling readiness for agricultural innovation as a necessary and timely approach for ACAI that will offer insight in better ways of scaling ACAI innovations and drive the project towards impact.
The Scaling Readiness concept has been spearheaded by Dr Marc Schut, Prof Cees Leeuwis and Murat Sartas who fulfill (joint) positions with IITA and Wageningen University. The Scaling Readiness work is supported through the CGIAR Research Program on Roots Tubers and Bananas (RTB), which seeks to accelerate the scaling of RTB innovations – such as those developed under the ACAI project – to improve livelihoods across the world.
The African Cassava Agronomy Initiative (ACAI) project is a five-year project that is being managed by IITA. The project seeks to increase the availability of appropriate and affordable technologies to sustainably improve short- and long-term agricultural productivity of cassava.