From Monday, April 28 to Saturday, May 3, ten carefully selected master’s level students gathered at CIAT headquarters in Cali, Colombia to begin the process of their roles as field researchers for the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and CIAT’s collaborating project, Proyecto Apoyo a Alianzas Productivas (PAAP for its Spanish acronym).
Members of CIAT staff and field researchers assemble to conduct pilot trials of one of the many surveys they will soon conduct on their own. Here they are pictured working with the Palenque 5 cacao cooperative in Quinamayó. Photo: Jorge Sellare.
Selection of Researchers
The call for applications was initially posted via a blog at the beginning of January and again in March, where the response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. From two rounds of evaluation, we received more than 370 CV’s, of which the Linking Farmers to Markets team painstakingly chose just ten finalists.
The Linking Farmers to Markets program is proud to include among our PAAP team masters-level students and graduates hailing from Barranquilla, Santander de Quilichao, Popayán and Manizales. With case studies across the country, including Arauca, Risaralda, Caqueta, Sucre and Atlántico, diverse regional representation is an important step towards achieving successful results.
Members of the Linking Farmers to Markets team selected these ten cases based on a series of requirements, including the presence of historical socioeconomic data previously gathered by MADR since the program’s 2002 inception. This data will allow us to produce thoughtful commentary by comparing with data collected by our researchers.
Over the course of six days, members from CIAT’s Linking Farmers to Markets and Impact Evaluation joined forces to lead a detailed, structured and interactive agenda with the goal of familiarizing our new researchers with their assigned case study as well as the nuances of conducting surveys in the field.
Diana Lopera and Melisa Pérez, members of the Impact Evaluation team, presented the micro-level household survey, which aims to gauge socioeconomic wellbeing levels. This detailed report will provide us a deeper look into the lives of producers as we attempt to evaluate the effect of participating in a public-private alliance on day-to-day lives. This includes gathering information on themes such as poverty levels (using Grameen Bank’s Progress out of Poverty Index), family structure, food security and financial behavior.
Alexandra Amrein and Jhon Jairo Hurtado from CIAT’s Linking Farmers to Markets team instructed the field researchers on the meso-level framework, based on CIAT’s own LINK Methodology, which was converted into a survey format. Practical exercises allowed researchers to visualize their assigned case study through the lens of a value-chain mapping and business model analysis exercise.
The training workshop included two field pilots in Ginebra and Quinamayó, where the ten new field researchers had the opportunity to practice the application of the surveys.
Field researchers conduct value-chain mapping exercise in a pilot field visit to the Palenque 5 cacao cooperative in Quinamayó. Photo: Jorge Sellare.
CIAT’s Linking Farmers to Markets team also provided instruction on data management and collaboration tools, including Basecamp. Basecamp is a new product currently being piloted by DAPA that aims to mainstream project communication by integrating deadlines, deliverables and to-do lists in a virtual space where team members can easily collaborate and have discussions.
In 2002, the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR for its Spanish acronym) in collaboration with the World Bank launched PAAP as a means to generate income, boost employment and promote social cohesion. PAAP has maintained a focus on poor rural communities by establishing productive alliances between organized groups of smallholder famers and formal markets.
As of 2006, smallholder farmers involved in the project had increased their monthly household earning by more than 30 percent, alongside a 20 percent increase in employment attributable to PAAP. The project has established itself throughout Colombia, working with producers of cacao, coffee, honey, blackberries, fish, vegetables and dairy, just to name a few.
MADR’s collaboration with CIAT aims to gather valuable field data through innovative surveys applied at the household level as well as with producer organizations and buyers. Over the next two months, researchers will conduct the surveys with producers, the producer organization’s management team, and several service providers from the area, attempting to craft an in-depth perspective that will help to answer the following questions:
- How effective is the program in raising farmer’s wellbeing?
- How effective is the program in creating sustained trading relationships between organized smallholders and formal markets?
- What recommendations can be given for the future of the program?
- What recommendations can be given in general for market access programs focusing on post-conflict areas and areas with extremely vulnerable population groups?
The project can have important policy implications for MADR, which is currently confronted with the question of whether to convert PAAP into a permanent policy for the agricultural sector since the World Bank’s support comes to an end in December 2014. For this reason CIAT aims to present preliminary results in July 2014, just in time for the change of governments.
We look forward to providing more updates soon as we check-in with our researchers over the next couple months!
Check out this map to see where our researchers will be working.
Please find the Spanish version of this post here.
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