Livestock Genetics flagship sets out critical milestones

Blog post

There are two ways to plan your work: look at what you have and plan around it, or look at what you should do, and make sure you are in a good position to do so. The latter is the approach that flagship leader Olivier Hanotte took with his livestock genetics group at the recent planning meeting (5-6 September in Nairobi).

About 20 participants from the flagship – either working for the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) or for the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) came to the two-day meeting.

In the meeting the participants:

  • Reviewed the deliverables planned for 2017 – to assess whether they were delivered already, going to be delivered in 2017 or not in a state to be delivered this year (but perhaps in 2018, or perhaps abandoned).
  • Heard three success stories from three different initiatives in the project (see the success story from the ICARDA team around the small ruminants value chain below).
  • Critiqued the current theory of change and planned the major activities and deliverables for the four clusters of activities contributing to the theory of change of the flagship.
  • Discussed concrete funding opportunities, particularly coming from the three top projects in the flagship: African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG), African Dairy Genetic Gains (ADGG) and the Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health (CTLGH). They also identified other funding opportunities, and discussed ways to deal with the possible budget cuts potentially affecting the CGIAR institutional funding (Window 1) and CGIAR Research Program funding (window 2).
  • Identified important issues to deal with in the future in this flagship, in the near and mid-term future.
  • Fleshed out the bare bones of ak possible communication plan for the flagship
  • Agreed on some key next steps, including the promise to meet face to face in September 2018 but also to meet virtually in December 2017 or January 2018.

Meeting participants kept in focus the need for its projects and initiatives to collectively add value to the overall theory of change. They also recogized that large new projects are very desirable, but need to be combined with some smaller initiatives that provide opportunities to test trends and new ideas.

The flagship has substantial bilateral funding and is in a good position to deliver on its objectives, although as highlighted by some participants in a session fishing for ‘big issues to tackle’ a further ‘big idea’ might become necessary to fund much of the ILRI-ICARDA livestock genetic work from 2019 onwards. And proposals do not fall off the sky. So challenges lie ahead. With its emphasis on genetics however, this flagship group is well placed to ‘breed’ new generations of ideas.

See the notes of the meeting

See outputs of this Flagship on CGSpace