More than 60 researchers and representatives of donors, seed companies, national agricultural research systems (NARS), and non-governmental organizations from Africa and Australia gathered in Lilongwe, Malawi, during 6-8 April for the sixth SIMLESA annual review and planning meeting. SIMLESA undertook this meeting to discuss the project’s progress and achievements, share the lessons learned during the last six years, and deliberate over better ways to implement phase II activities (2014-2018). “The Program Steering Committee (PSC) recognizes the hard work of all participants and especially the dedicated scientists in the national programs. SIMLESA is on track to deliver significant impacts in the next two years, “said Eric Craswell, PSC co-chair. The Mid-Term Review (MTR) conducted last year was also very favorable: “SIMLESA (I and II) is a complex program with many partner countries, agencies, science disciplines, and objectives. Despite that complexity, the MTR found the program on the whole to be well-managed by CIMMYT, and the NARS partners had a strong sense of ownership of the program. It was very evident that the whole SIMLESA team is determined to meet the objectives of the program, to contribute and to work as a team. Mulugetta Mekuria, SIMLESA project leader, highlighted the 2015 MTR recommendations, which indicate that SIMLESA should rebalance plans and activities of all program objectives and various program-wide themes; ensure that the science which underpins the development of sustainable intensification packages and policy dialogue is completed and published in extension reports and peer-reviewed literature; and refocus its monitoring and evaluation processes, communication plans and gender activities.

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