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Workshop report: Strategies for improving livelihoods through RTB postharvest technologies

Dufour D.. 2013. Washington : CGIAR, 45 p..

The need to define more specific plans for achieving the objectives of the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) brought together a broad range of stakeholders from 18-22 February 2013 to attend a workshop at CIAT Headquarters in Cali, Colombia. The workshop, Strategies for improving livelihoods through RTB postharvest technologies, was attended by representatives of the four CGIAR Centers involved in RTB - the International Potato Center (CIP), Bioversity International, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) - as well as university, national and regional research organizations: CIRAD (France), NRI (UK), FONTAGRO (USA) and national partners Univalle, Uniquindio, Fedeplatano and Banur (Colombia), FHIA (Honduras), CLAYUCA Corporation (Colombia) and EMBRAPA (Brazil). Achieving a shared vision and a common understanding of institutional links and partnership opportunities to build on CGIAR work were major goals of the workshop. The first two days of the workshop took an intensive look at issues relevant to post harvest technologies, markets and value chains for RTB. Participants presented their insights and experiences on gender, nutrition and food safety issues; improving RTB quality management and adding value in small and medium enterprises; research oriented toward consumer end user preferences; and strategies to improve livelihoods through improved value chain organization. The workshop was punctuated on the first day by a demonstration - organized by CLAYUCA Corporation - of the different technologies available for the postharvest processing of root crops and on the third day by a field visit to a number of plantain and cassava processing factories in Armenia. The visit gave participants an opportunity to observe the challenges faced by processors and some of the innovative solutions they are using to overcome them. Presentations on communications and impact pathways on the morning of Day Four underlined how critical these tools will be for meeting the objectives of RTB. Communications is essential for ensuring that research builds on a detailed awareness of user needs as well as for developing and maintaining linkages among the broad community of RTB stakeholders. Impact pathways link outputs to the project goal by mapping, in a linear and logical sequence, the actions and relationships needed to achieve that goal. The discussion of impact pathways led directly into the second half of the workshop, which was concerned with the development of actions and tools that promise to deliver important outcomes for RTB. Participants broke into groups to consider flagship products related to postharvest technology and processing; research orientated towards end-user preferences; and systemic value chain development. Proposed products included research on the strengths and weaknesses of current post harvest technologies and an analysis of how these influence markets; new storage and processing technologies that improve efficiency and retain nutritional qualities; a knowledge portal on the nutritional and functional properties and gender differentiated consumer preferences for RTB varieties and processed products; a framework for mapping RTB consumer preferences in the diets of the poor and market scoping for value of quality traits, including case studies; and an asset-based multipurpose approach to livelihoods and value chain development. Participants emphasized the importance of ensuring that all research is gender-responsive, in line with the RTB's gender strategy. The groups identified partners for product development, users, project development teams, next steps and options for funding. Participants agreed to collaborate on preparing 1-2 page concept notes for the flagship products by the end of March, with an eye to finalizing full project proposals by May....

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