The Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM) and its partners recognized capacity development as one of the key pillars for agricultural risk management and raised the need to meet farmers’ capacity needs through innovative solutions that mitigate, cope and/or transfer risks of all kinds. For this purpose, PARM organized a regional k-sharing and learning event on capacity development at the farm level on December 12, 2018, in Lusaka, Zambia.
Over the last decade, risks relating to weather shocks, market uncertainties, and policy fragilities have escalated with increasingly negative impacts on farming livelihoods and food security of rural households. This calls for the urgency to share knowledge, innovative ideas, and best practices on agricultural risk management (ARM).
As part of the efforts, PARM, the World Bank and other key partners have established the basic methodology for evidence-based agricultural risk assessments and prioritization.
In particular, PARM plays an important role in delivering capacity development (CD) activities in eight sub-Saharan African countries and in organizing global and regional knowledge-sharing events to learn and discuss on ARM related experiences. Outcomes from these engagements suggest the persistence of bottlenecks and low development and take-up of ARM innovations at the farmer level.
As part of the PARM Knowledge Management and Capacity Development plan to facilitate learning and sharing on ARM at the regional level, this event brought stakeholders together to identify and prioritize key factors for successful innovative, farmer-friendly and impact-oriented CD initiatives at the farm level. It was hosted by PARM country partners in Zambia and welcomed about 40 participants from across government agencies, farmers’ organizations, the private sector, civil society groups and many more. Not only from Zambia but also Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
The participants shared and exchanged ideas in panel discussions, showcase and group activities through peer-to-peer, south-south cooperation and partnership building. A total of 12 capacity development initiatives were presented in the showcase session. Among which include the Experience Capitalization Process (from the CTA), AviApp (from Soft Consulting) and the Plant Clinic (from CABI) and Values-Based Approach from (Heifer International).
Outcomes and final report
The stakeholder discussions at the event revealed the top key ingredients/factors for a successful farmer-friendly capacity building as including responsible partnership, integration of farmers into training needs assessment, a long-term funding, well-versed expertise, interactive approach and evidence-based training materials. In the group work exercise, participants shared their experiences on the key opportunities and challenges in formulating/designing, implementing and ensuring the sustainability of CD at the farm-level. The key roles to address the challenges were also identified and discussed.
All the results will be captured into a final event report as well as a technical publication on “Building capacities to empower farmers to manage risks at farm level: lessons from experience” to be published on the PARM Library by early 2019.