Work Package 4: Strengthening the policy and institutional enabling environment

Contacts: Frank Place and Ruth Meinzen-Dick (IFPRI), Aymen Frija (ICARDA) 

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Building on analyses conducted in 2022, outputs were completed this year in six target countries (publications Webpage). One key finding across countries is that the implementation of conducive policies faces challenges; moreover, co-existing policies contradict agroecology principles. For example, while countries recognize the need to invest in soil health, most of the funding goes to chemical fertilizer without taking care of fertilizer use efficiency, practices to improve soil health indicators, and use of inputs that have fewer negative effects on environment. The exceptions are India and Senegal, where programs have been established or reformed to promote organic or biological inputs. However, agroecology is not about farm inputs only.  Policy fragmentation and inappropriate policy coordination to improve sustainability, resilience and equity thus hinder agroecology in most countries where the Initiative operates.  Work in Kenya is paving the way for better policy harmonization in support of a National Agroecology Strategy.

Forage mixtures cultivated between lines of olive and almond trees. The Initiative participated in policy dialogues around the problem of soil conservation through an enhanced feed and forages strategy.
Credit: Z. Idoudi / ICARDA

The policy tracker was tested in 2023 and subsequently completed. It is designed to help country teams co-develop policy and institutional ambitions as well as progress milestones with stakeholders. A policy stakeholder mapping and engagement tool (link) was also developed, which provides insights that help identify different types of policy stakeholders for engagement in the agroecology transition.

The WP4 team was particularly active in Tunisia, mapping policy actors with different interests and making presentations to research, development and private sector stakeholders, including one on challenges in scaling innovations (fail to scale). The Initiative also participated in policy dialogues around the problem of soil conservation through an enhanced feed and forages strategy. Innovations for managing soils were incorporated into the National Plan for Feed and Forage Investment, which is being finalized.

The 2023 Pause and Reflect meeting highlighted that all target countries share challenges of political economy in advancing agroecology transitions.  In response, a draft overview paper was prepared, and a workshop held to develop a set of common political economy research areas around which recommendations for country teams as well as publications are planned for 2024.

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