Livestock CRP proposal discussed at KIT Amsterdam

Blog post

On February 2 2016, a stakeholder consultation for CRP Livestock was convened at the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), using the powerpoint presentation provided. Fifteen KIT Advisors attended and the session lasted for 1¾ hours. Most KIT Advisors are either social scientists – economists, sociologists, gender scientists – who work in the agricultural sector, or agronomists who focus on seed and agricultural innovation systems and value chains. Some have specific livestock sector experience. After the CRP Livestock presentation, the group split into three smaller groups for discussion on the key questions. These are key points raised in the discussions.

  • Smallholder systems and the 3 scenarios

The case for smallholder is there (all the pieces are there) but the argumentation did not come out strongly.

All three trajectories are important – smallholders should not be looked at in isolation. The scenarios should not be framed as either/or as all are relevant.

The focus seems to be on markets more than livelihoods: producers for markets rather than for themselves.

  • Partnerships

The fragile growth (resilience) focus is convincing, however it is messy and hard to measure. It is important to collaborate with other organizations working on this and link to these other programs.

Smallholders are an important focus, but there is a need to move beyond rhetoric, to the nature of partnerships with smallholder farmers and creating meaningful partnerships.

The partners mentioned in the presentation are primarily the ‘usual suspects’. For new thinking, more social science and local partners would be beneficial.

  • Youth

The category of ‘youth’ needs to be broken down to expose its heterogeneity – which youth? We need to move away from assumptions and perhaps use a ‘life cycle approach’ and intersectionality, which would support the CRP in ‘unpacking’ the youth category. Link the rationale of outreach to youth to the rural-urban shift.

  • Learning Agenda

There is little or no mention of participatory action research (PAR). Instead the learning approach focusses on a higher level, CGIAR-wide learning rather than on-the-ground, local learning and how the CRP will engage with that. For example, when aiming for gender transformative change, PAR helps to take that kind of change forward and this is missed in the presentation. More on methodologies and how they are used locally and in communities would be welcome.

  •  Environment

Having a specific environment flagship is an excellent addition to the portfolio. That said, the issue of the environmental impact and risks related to livestock production – for example, climate change contributions, ecological footprints etc. – are not brought out well. Much more weight needs to be given to the environmental impact and what the CRP will do to explore, analyse and address this. It is a growing concern internationally and response to that discourse comes out too late in the story (presentation narrative).

  • More integrative research

Most of the integrative research appears to be in the LLAFS flagship, but this perspective is needed across the whole CRP e.g. systems research. Leaving it all to one flagship is likely insufficient.

  • Coverage

The CRP Livestock is covering a lot of ground, particularly the social science side. Choices should be made to narrow the focus down and strongly argue for comparative advantage. Go for depth rather than breadth.


  • X-cutting observation

How can the CRP link to other forms of social protection? Especially in the Livelihoods and Environment flagships, this may be relevant.


Notes by Rhiannon Pyburn