Friday, October 2, 2015

37. Announcing the Africa Great Lakes Coffee project

Oct. 2, 2015

First International Coffee Day appears to have been a good day for announcements of new coffee research projects -- the newest being a unique, three year, $1.8 million collaborative approach from Michigan State University, with support from USAID:  
USAID's announcement - click here.
Michigan State's announcement - click here. 
Daily Coffee News version - click here.

Another program, CRS Coffeelands, introduced a re-shaping and reinvestment of $4.5 million in their work with CIAT. They describe the $4.5 million initiative that will put researchers in Central Africa, Central America, East Africa, South America and the United States.

With a more modest $ scale than CRS, and a regional approach (2 primary countries), the Africa Great Lakes Coffee project is pursuing:

Impact Programming: improvements in coffee agronomy combined with understanding of smallholder decision-making using choice-experiment research. A large household survey of 1024 farmers in each country (total HHs = 2024) will bring data to questions that are currently only understood with anecdotes, especially around awareness of issues with pest management and tree productivity (yield).

Industry Engagement: major private sector actors in Rwanda and Burundi, as well as the in-country association of coffee exporters are engaged.

Policy Engagement: a key goal of the project is policy engagement with field data and discussions with policy stakeholders begin immediately. This component of the project is the key focus and will be monitored and evaluated carefully.

Applied research: the program includes 64 controlled agronomy demonstration plots in each country, each with a lead farmer.  Paralleling the household survey, the focus on the demonstration plots is pest management and productivity. Complimentary capacity building will share results and seek to make farm-level impacts through radio, SMS, and engagement with the in-country universities where extension workers are trained.

The program actually began operating in August 2015. Formal kick-off activities will take place in Kigali in mid-October and the program will run through the end of September 2018.

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