Reducing poverty

Putul Rani and her husband tend to their vegetable garden near her home, Bangladesh: WorldFish

Innovative approaches in the Great Lakes of Africa

Even when technology exists to solve development challenges, it is critical that it is applied optimally in the practical contexts of people and policies. CGIAR has used and evolved the innovation platform approach to allow a wide range of stakeholders to work together to solve problems. Policymakers in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda are praising the effectiveness of innovation platforms. In Rwanda, the local innovation platform mobilized 1,322 wheat farmers, engaged all the stakeholder groups involved in the supply chain, and convinced a major wheat miller to buy all the wheat produced by members. This will increase farmers’ incomes and reduce the country’s wheat import bill.

High-yielding sorghum and millet help to lift smallholders out of poverty

In other cases, technological advances in agriculture can be critical for moving people out of poverty. Productivity of the resilient and micronutrient-rich dryland cereal crops sorghum and pearl millet has not kept pace with demand. Through the project Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancements, CGIAR has worked with the Rural Economy Institute in Mali to develop and promote new hybrid varieties of both crops, some producing 20–24% higher yields. As a result, the proportion of food-insecure farmers has declined from 24 to 10%. At the same time, pearl millet hybrids developed in India have performed 20%better than local varieties, when tested in Kenya and Tanzania. Smallholder pearl millet and sorghum farmers in these two African countries are now increasing their yields and income.

Improved response to emergencies in Ethiopia

In 2005, the Ethiopian government launched the Productive Safety Net Programme in an effort to reduce reliance on emergency relief. This program offers food and cash transfers to Ethiopia’s poorest and most food-insecure households in exchange for work. The program increased household food security and livelihoods for about 7.8 million individuals in 2013. CGIAR staff have played a key role in measuring the outcomes and impacts of the program, identifying ways to improve its efficiency, and supporting its sustainability. The work has helped to secure additional commitments from the donor community, including a five-year US$2.2 billion pledge from the World Bank and additional funding from the UK Department for International Development.