AARINENA Global Post-harvest Initiative

Meeting of the ad hoc Committee for the development of a Global Partnership Programme on the theme of

 Linking Smallholder Farmers to Markets

AlAin-Abu-Dhabi, 22-23 February 2006

The “Strategic Framework for a Global Post-harvest Initiative - Linking Farmers to Markets” was developed following an International Workshop on Post Harvest Systems held in FAO Headquarters in Rome in 2003, jointly organised by FAO/AGS, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and the Post-harvest Global Forum (PhAction). The International Workshop was preceded by regional consultations in Asia-Pacific, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, West Asia and North Africa, and Central Asia and the Caucasus that assessed regional needs of the post harvest sector. Based on the results of the regional consultations, more than 100 participants representing different stakeholder groups participated in the workshop and contributed to the development of an innovative initiative designed to address the complexity of the post-harvest sector and to meet the trade and market access challenges that face farmers and other rural actors in a rapidly changing world.

The Strategic Framework is composed of four interlinked pillars that address policy, institutional R&D capacity, supply chain integration and infrastructure, and inter- and intra- regional learning and information sharing issues. At the GFAR Steering Committee meeting held in Mexico in October 2004, the Regional Forums and other stakeholders identified with the Strategic Framework and recommended that the GFAR Secretariat explore the development of a Global Partnership Programme within the framework of the Global Post-harvest Initiative.

In December 2004 and throughout 2005, the GFAR Secretariat undertook actions to identify areas of convergence and common needs and demands across regions, and also to assess donor interest in supporting a global programme.

Across regions, agricultural R&D and investment is addressing predominantly the needs of those farmers, whether they are large, medium or small, that are capable of articulating their demands and have the resources to access appropriate services. In all developing continents, appropriate technological and organisational options and support services for those poorer farmers that practice subsistence or family agriculture are less well attended to. Two potential common regional cross-cutting areas of interest suggest themselves:

• Support to the transition of smallholder farmers from subsistence to a greater level of commercially oriented production, building their capacity to engage in supply chains linked to growth markets. This meets the needs manifested especially in APAARI, FARA and FORAGRO. It is also a priority for another of GFAR’s stakeholders, the International Federation of Agricultural Producers.
• Commodity differentiation and diversification; differentiation (e.g. organic products) can be an opportunity for farmers to generate higher incomes, while there is a growing demand for higher value agricultural products. This meets the needs of AARINENA in particular, but is also important in the other regions.

With respect to funding opportunities, IFAD, Italy and the Rockefeller Foundation have in the past contributed to activities associated with the Global Post-harvest Initiative. IFAD and the Rockefeller Foundation have manifested the possibility of further support, IFAD related to the organisation of partnerships – among supply chain actors and R&D support services, and the Rockefeller Foundation particularly to activities in Africa. CIDA has indicated interest in supporting activities that engage the private sector. A ‘linking farmers to markets’ programme could provide such an opportunity to engage both private service providers and the private food processing and retail sector. There is therefore potential for obtaining support from the above donors for an inter-regional proposal or proposals that address their interests.

At the GFAR Programme Committee Meeting held in Marrakech, Morocco in December 2005, AARINENA, FARA and APAARI encouraged the GFAR Secretariat to proceed with the elaboration of a Global Partnership Programme along the above lines.

Activities in the Near East and North Africa
In the West Asia and North Africa region, AARINENA played the major convening role for the consultation that was held in Cairo in February 2002. Subsequently AARINENA confirmed the importance of post-harvest, marketing and enterprise related activities and expressed the desire to use the Post-harvest Initiative to strengthen and build on the commodity networks that have been established for cotton, date palm, olive and herbal medicinal plants. In March 2005, a planning meeting was held with the Commodity Network Coordinators, the Post-harvest Working Group Leaders and selected experts from the region with the aim of: a) identifying cross-cutting needs of four commodity networks (olive, date palm, cotton and medicinal plants) in the AARINENA region, in the area of post-harvest handling, processing, and marketing and enterprise development; b) prioritizing three project ideas that would address the identified needs; and c) establish a plan of work for the subsequent development of the ideas into full proposals. The principal output of the meeting was the prioritization of the following three project ideas:

• Market-orientation for the AARINENA networks and their members
• Innovative and effective market-oriented and demand-driven extension services
• Organic production and markets for of olive, cotton, dates and medicinal and herbal plants

For each of the selected idea a draft project profile was developed and these have been subsequently transformed into concept notes that can be used as the basis for further project proposal preparation.

The Abu-Dhabi meeting
The meeting that will be held in Abu-Dhabi on 22-23 February is designed to move the above process forward by convening an ad hoc working group composed of the promoters of the three project ideas mentioned above and selected resource persons from the region. The objectives of the meeting are the following:

(a) To review the three project concept notes and determine the possibility for financing and execution them as stand alone projects within the AARINENA region;
(b) To identify commonalities among the three projects that could form the basis of an inter-regional proposal that will add value to and increase the effectiveness of on-going research and development interventions in the region and in other regions;
(c) To identify candidate on-going R&D interventions that could become an integral part of an inter-regional programme;
(d) To make a preliminary determination of the experience and expertise available in the region, and the demands and needs that might be met by expertise from other regions;
(e) To develop the plan of activities required for preparing the region to participate in a inter-regional project planning meeting to be held in the second semester of 2006.

Tentative Programme
Wednesday, 22 February

09.00 Welcome to the meeting and introduction of participants. Ibrahim Hamdan
09.30 Review of actions taken since the Antalya Meeting at the global level. Rupert Best
10.00 Break for refreshments
10.30 Review of the actions taken and presentations of the three concept notes
• Market-orientation for the Networks and their members. Prof. Abdelouahhab Zaid.
• Innovative and effective market-oriented and demand-driven extension services. Eng. Mohamed El-Kholy.
• Organic production and markets for of olive, cotton, dates and medicinal and herbal plants. Nabeel Abu-Shriha.
12.00 Discussion on advances and perspectives for regional projects and priorities for an inter-regional programme (Global Partnership Programme).
13.00 Lunch
14.00 Definition of common cross-project issues that could form the basis of an inter-regional programme.
15.30 Break for refreshments
16.00 Identification of candidate on-going R&D interventions (countries, locations, and institutions), with an inventory of experience and expertise.

Thursday 23 February
09.00 Development of a plan of activities in preparation for an inter-regional project planning meeting to be held in the second semester of 2006.
13.00 Close of meeting and lunch
14.00 Further conversations on an individual basis as required for follow-up.

Participants in the ad hoc Committee
1. Prof. Abdelouahhab Zaid, Market Orientation Project & DPGN General Coordinator
2. Eng.Mohamed El-Kholy, Extension project &Olive Network Focal Point -Egypt
3. Mr. Nabil Abu-Shriha, Organic production & marketing project and NGO Rep.
4. Dr. Samir Al-Shaker- DPGN Post-Harvest Coordinator
5. Dr. Mohamed Safwat Medicinal &Aromatic plants Network, Chairman of the Board
6. Dr. Saleh Shdeifat Olive Network, Chairman of the Board
7. Dr. Magdi Madkour, ICARDA
8. Rupert Best, GFAR
9. Fawzi Taher , FAO
10. Ibrahim Hamdan, AARINENA