Partnerships that drive the Agroecology Initiative impact pathway

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Since the Initiative began two years ago, food system actors in target territories have shown strong commitment to co-development. Partners have helped strengthen farmers’ agency and influence local institutional arrangements, business models, and policies. See our list of partners.

Illustration: Network of main partners by partner type and country.

In 2023, the Initiative forged partnerships with a total of 67 organizations including 8 CGIAR Centers, the 2 international research centers CIRAD and CIFOR-ICRAF, 24 local or national implementing partners, and 18 scaling partners operating in countries. Those partnerships involve 13 NARES, 14 NGOs, 13 government bodies, 5 platforms or agricultural networks, 4 farmer associations, and 4 private companies which collaborate in public-private partnerships on organic cacao production in Peru, supply of forage mixtures for small ruminants in Tunisia, and dual-purpose chicken breed that can be kept for both meat and eggs in Zimbabwe. Outstanding collaboration among 8 CGIAR centers was reinforced by the operationalization of teams based in countries that integrate multiple capacities of different centers with capacities of partners.

The Initiative established alliances based on partners’ demand, capacity to co-design and scale agroecology innovations, and influence on actors expected to change practices. Here we highlight successful partnerships based on the specific agroecological transitions devised by stakeholders in each country.

In most ALLs, the Initiative relies on existing multi-stakeholder platforms – in Senegal, for example, the Initiative works through a national association of civil society organizations (DyTAES), which have joined forces with researchers promoting agroecology through policy advocacy.

Partnerships with farmer-based organizations are key, such as in Kenya with the Dryland Natural Resources Centre (DNRC) and Sustainable Agriculture and Healthy Environmental Program (CSHEP), which both host ALLs. This responds to stakeholders’ request to ensure engagement and ownership by ALL members in Initiative activities. The partnership is supported by Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM Kenya) and the Inter-Sectoral Forum on Agrobiodiversity and Agroecology (ISFAA), which are both experienced in mainstreaming evidence-based approaches co-developed with food system actors participating in the Initiative. As a result, DNRC and CSHEP have adapted their training and outreach programs to incorporate the co-design process and practice which has already benefited 282 farmers. The first tangible gains are increased vegetable productivity in low-input systems.

Collaboration with the government of Ucayali (Goreu) in Peru is leading to a successful outcome. To promote sustainable use of native biodiversity, the government has approved the Regional Strategy for the Promotion of Biotrade with an agroecological approach and 2028 Action Plan, developed with the NGO Terra Nuova through a multi-stakeholder process. The strategy has multiple objectives, such as improving conditions for the supply of biodiversity products.

The Initiative works closely with NARS in almost all countries, and 79 results were co-developed with NARS. An outstanding public-private partnership in Tunisia, involving the private seed society COTUGRAIN and National Agricultural Research Institute of Tunisia (INRAT), has closed major gaps in forage seed supplies for farmers (see Key Results Story).

Active involvement with international fora, such as the Transformative Partnership Platform on Agroecology (TPP) and Agroecology Coalition as well as continuous exchange with GIZ GmbH, Biovision, INTPA and other international organizations that champion agroecology have increased the Initiative’s visibility and stakeholder support. Agroecology TPP was fundamentally important in establishing the Initiative, which is creating synergies with other Agroecology TPP projects. Participation in the Agroecology Coalition led to collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation in a COP 28 side event at the Food Pavilion.

In each country, the Agroecology Initiative concentrates on one or two distinct territories referred to as “agroecological living landscapes” (ALLs), where it engages with food system actors and partners in a vision-to-action process. The identified entry points for the agroecology transitions are tailored to specific ALL contexts which differ markedly in terms of climate, farming systems, soils, and other conditions that rural communities face. In seeking suitable entry points, the Initiative has built on important experience that each country gained previously in applying some of the 13 agroecology principles.

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