Moving from priorities such as those developed during step 2 in CSA-Plan ‘targeting and prioritizing’ to on-the-ground implementation requires well-designed and informed programs. Therefore, step 3 in the cycle of CSA Plan, Program Support, concentrates on developing tangible materials and plans to inform, train, and roll-out intended interventions. The principles below aim to deliver tangible co-generated and demand-driven products—training curricula, extension materials, business models, implementation plans, etc.—that enable the development and delivery of information and services. Products created through Program Support describe the ‘how to’ to help actors implement CSA interventions on the ground.
The primary audience for outputs of the Program Support step are persons whom implement projects and deliver information such as extension agents, meteorological services, civil society organization and program planners. The diversity of products, users, and implementation conditions dictates equally diverse materials. For example, an extension agent in Malawi might use a decision tree to help farmers select and implement CSA practices that diversify farm products, while agrovet dealers in Kenya interested in establishing a fertilizer supply chain may require business models including budget implications to secure funding. Program Support activities will, therefore, draw on a range of expertise in response to the priority interventions set in Step 2 of CSA Plan (Prioritization Framework).
Program Support advocates five principles of co-design to ensure credibility, salience, and legitimacy (Cash et al. 2003) of resulting products. The approach loosely follows ideas of human-centred design, where engagement with product users on the front end and rapid prototyping of products to come to a functional solution:
The first principle is to clearly identify the subject matter content and target audience. Content here refers to the types of materials needed to support the intervention of interest that had previously been decided upon during a multi-stakeholder prioritization process (e.g., Step 2) or through other means. Target audience relates to whom the materials are being developed for and might include specific information about level of education and language. This information draws the boundary of the support; the what, who, and how. It is recommended that this step be conducted in a consultative process with end-users.
Once the “what and who” are established, an assessment of existing resources should be conducted. Though CSA is a relatively new concept, development organizations have been creating materials for many of the same interventions (e.g., agroforestry or business cases) for years. A lot of time and energy can be saved with just a bit of detective work. Simple internet searches can uncover many resources that both provide ideas for materials and highlight obstacles to implementation. A reference library results from this effort.
The adapt and innovate phase of Program Support. Here an individual or small team will design and create prototypes of the materials and products. The products might be revisions of existing materials or may be novel contributions. Materials should meet the design criteria set out when defining the context and end users and when possible build on good practice and lessons learned from previous efforts. The materials developed here are typically only preliminary drafts. The team should not aim to create perfect drafts but to create prototypes to work with end-users to refine.
Effective materials cannot be designed or created in a bubble, and frequently not in a single effort. Therefore, we advocate that a process of iterative refinement occur with a group of end users of the materials. This process will help effectively ground truth the materials for their ability to communicate effectively and achieve the intended purpose. These processes might take the form of face-to-face interactions with key informants or focus groups. In some cases, even role-play or games may help to uncover necessary refinements. The point here is really simply to have many pairs of eyes and brains working to improve the materials and highlight nay inconsistencies before the final product is ready.
As previously stated, many organizations have already created a lot of relevant materials. Part of the value addition of CSA is the high degree of coordination taking place among implementing partners. Thus, it is critical that the materials that are created are adequately documented including metadata on who created them, for what purpose, and when. These documents may then allow others to reduce the amount of time to recreate materials that have already been generated leaving more effort for implementers to focus more on innovation and information delivery. Repository for materials including this CSA Guide website and others established by the Global Alliance of Climate-Smart Agriculture are coming online in 2016.
Approaches and tools
In this section, we describe selected approaches that exemplify the process or end products of the Programme support phase of CSA Plan. These can serve as references for ideas to adapt or in some cases may even be able to be applicable off-the-shelf. Some of the examples (e.g., CIAT’s business models) touch on four or five of the principles named above, while others only touch on one or two and represent the end products. In many cases, the available documents are the outgrowth of participatory processes as suggested in Program Support step 2 (e.g., early warning system) or may be synthesis of lessons learned in implementation (e.g., IFAD’s and WFP’s weather-based index insurance).
Linking smallholder farmers to different types of markets provides an opportunity to rapidly reduce poverty, as well as ensure the generation of commercially viable products, all of which will help smallholders to take on board the structural challenges of their environment.
This requires an inclusive business model which aim to aligning the value chain actors: (1) farmers with the ability, capacity and organization necessary to maintain the consistent supply required by a formal market; (2) buyers who are willing to adapt their policies to favor small-scale producers; and (3) an enabling environment with favorable public policy and donors, where these types of business relationships can flourish. The LINK methodology development in 20014 by CRS, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), IIED and the Rainforest Alliance builds bridges between these actors.
The LINK methodology provides a systematic approach based on the application of a participatory toolkit that engages actors from a selected value chain to facilitate discovery of new opportunities for innovative business models.
Use and users
LINK and involves four main components:
- The value chain map (used to understand the macro context of markets and the businesses which link rural producers with buyers).
- The business model canvas (used to understand in more detail each business which links rural producers with buyers).
- The New Business Model principles (used to determine whether each business which links rural producers with buyers is truly smallholder inclusive and climate-smart).
- The prototype cycle (used to continuously improve the inclusivity and climate-smartness of every business which links rural producers with buyers).
The result of using the LINK approach is: (1) an understanding of the relationship between specific business models (buyer and seller) and the overall value chain; (2) identification of critical areas for improvement; (3) a prototype for an innovative business model; and (4) evaluation of the effects of these changes on smallholder farmers and on the business itself. There is a huge opportunity to scale up successful models for using value-chains to bring climate smart agriculture to smallholder farmers.
LINK methodology: A participatory guide to business models that link smallholders to markets: https://cgspace.cgiar.org/handle/10568/49606
Technical and research organizations including National Governments, FARA, CCAFS, and FAO have been developing CSA technical guides to describe CSA options and illustrate implementation in the field. These ‘how-to’ guides target extension agents, development practitioners and others working in the field, directly training farmers and other community members in CSA principles and application. Despite technical guides being developed by multiple organizations, they typically contain the same basics information that describes the management practice, its climate-smartness, where it is appropriate to implement the practice and challenges to implementation. Importantly, the guides vary in two key aspects. One, each guide provides uneven levels of information on how to conduct the practices. Two, the way the technical information is written or illustrated differs between guides. Both of these considerations are significant because the level of detail and way the information is conveyed determine the relevance for a specific audience. These technical guides and others like them provide the fundamental information necessary to implement CSA on a farm. In many cases, they will need to be adapted for local production conditions (e.g., soil conditions and resources available, etc.), and at minimum be translated into local languages.
Currently few of the technical guides are online at the moment. However, they can be received by emailing the group developing them. Below is a list of the technical guides current developed or under development.
- Country CSA Manuals: The FAO is in the process of developing CSA manuals for at least seven countries in Africa. These guides are co-developed between FAO and Ministry of Agriculture experts. Contact: Janie Rioux FAO.
- AU-NEPAD Practical Guide: NEPAD has convened a group of experts from universities, FAO, FARA, COMESA, CSO and CCAFS to write a practical guide that contains elements of risk assessment, techniques and extension approaches. Contact: Todd Rosenstock, ICRAF/CCAFS.
- Ethiopian CSA Manual: The Ministry of Agriculture of Ethiopia has created an extensive implementation guide for CSA practices that include extensive technical information kits clearly describing implementation approaches. Contact: Habtamu Hailu, Ethiopian MoA.
Early warning systems and other climate information services help farmers and government agencies plan farming activities and programming. A variety of organizations have developed guidelines for setting up early warning systems. Here we highlight a checklist that has been developed by the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. This checklist is booken down into four key elements: risk knowledge, monitoring and warning service, dissemination and communicating, and response capability. Program developers can go through the four elements, each consisting of approximate 20 key components. By considering the statements in relation to what is available in the local context, program developers can identify what infrastructure is already in place, what is missing, and what needs to be strengthened. The checklist therefore helps to set the implementation priorities for the program. The checklist here was developed as an outcome of the third international conference on Early Warning held in Bonn, German in 2006. The checklist can be downloaded at http://www.unisdr.org/files/608_10340.pdf
Further reading and links:
- Coffey K, Haile M, Halperin M, Wamukoya G, Hansen J, Kinyangi J, Tesfaye Fantaye K, Dinesh D. 2015. Improving early warning systems for agricultural resilience in Africa. CCAFS Info Note. Copenhagen, Denmark: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). https://cgspace.cgiar.org/rest/bitstreams/55242/retrieve
- Coffey K, Haile M, Halperin M, Wamukoya G, Hansen J, Kinyangi J, Tesfaye Fantaye K. 2015. Expanding the contribution of early warning to climate-resilient agricultural development in Africa. CCAFS Working Paper No. 115. Copenhagen, Denmark: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). https://cgspace.cgiar.org/rest/bitstreams/55092/retrieve
- UNDP - Strengthening Climate Information and Early Warning for Climate Resilient Development. http://www.undp-alm.org/ews-and-climate-resilient-development
IFAD and WFP’s technical guide on weather index-based insurance provides a roadmap for implementing a weather index-based insurance program. It’s intended audience is donors, countries, and other development partners that look to design, pilot or scale up weather index-based risk management schemes. It systematically proceeds through three stages in the process: (1) determining the appropriateness and feasibility of weather index-based insurance, (2) performing a pilot, and (3) scaling up. Importantly, the technical guide provides introductory section of main concepts for those unfamiliar with the topic. The technical guide is derived from lessons learned in from donor and government experience to translate it into practical decision making in this area.
- Cole S, Bastian GG, Vyas S, Wendel C, Stein D. 2012. The effectiveness of index-based micro-insurance in helping smallholders manage weather-related risks. London, United Kingdom: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London. http://r4d.dfid.gov.uk/pdf/outputs/systematicreviews/MicroinsuranceWeather2012ColeReport.pdf
- Greatrex H, Hansen JW, Garvin S, Diro R, Blakeley S, Le Guen M, Rao KN, Osgood DE. 2015. Scaling up index insurance for smallholder farmers: Recent evidence and insights. CCAFS Report No. 14. Copenhagen, Denmark: CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). https://cgspace.cgiar.org/rest/bitstreams/38716/retrieve
- IRI : Weather index insurance educational tool: Assess and manage weather risk in agriculture. http://wiiet.iri.columbia.edu/WIIET/