As director of the McKnight Foundation Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP), I have worked closely with people at Cornell and elsewhere to manage a portfolio of 13 large international crop research projects and to initiate new grant-making efforts in the Andes, West Africa, and Eastern and Central Africa.
Global food insecurity is an enormous challenge, with nearly a billion people hungry. Crop research can help improve food production, rural livelihoods, human nutrition, and the sustainability of the natural resources upon with future food security depends. Approaches to crop research should lead to stronger national research and extension programs, and respect and strengthen cultural integrity.
As director of The McKnight Foundation Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP), I manage a portfolio of projects aimed at increasing food security in developing countries. Over the year 2004, I read, critiqued, and approved project reports, budgets and work plans for the 14 large projects the CCRP current funds. I worked with the researchers to develop plans for project renewals. To design new grant programs with greater regional and topical focus, I co-organized a consultation workshop in Niger, involving 92 participants (January proceedings available upon request). We released a request for proposals (RFP) on improving food security in millet- and sorghum-based systems in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger (December). We released an RFP on improving food security in the Andes (January), held a meeting in the Netherlands to select pre-proposals (June), and selected seven projects at a meeting in the Netherlands (November). I visited projects in Peru and Bolivia in December, and made recommendations to the McKnight Board. I co-organized the program's biennial grantee conference, which was held in the Netherlands in November. (120 participants; proceedings available upon request). I have represented the CCRP at international events in Australia and Italy. I have greatly enjoyed working with Cornell graduate students Rachel Bezner Kerr and Mohamed Ag Ayoya in the course of these efforts.
The financial support and networking opportunities provided by the CCRP has enabled the 14 current CCRP grantees to conduct a great deal of research and development work in 13 developing countries. In my role as program director, I have promoted and facilitated efforts to affect direct impacts on farm productivity, livelihoods and nutrition. The grantees have much greater awareness of participatory approaches as a result of formal and informal training provided through the program. As a result, improved agricultural technologies have been developed and provided to resource-poor rural smallholders. For example, improved lines of tef (Ethiopia), fingermillet (India), chickpea (India), wheat (China), sweet potato (Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania), and soybean (China) were made available to farmers with the support of the CCRP. Updates on each of the CCRP-funded projects are available at the end of each CCRP newsletter, produced quarterly by my office (http://mcknight.ccrp.cornell.edu/participants/reports.html).
- Private (e.g., commodity groups, foundations, companies)
- International agriculture
- Staff at The McKnight Foundation (Minneapolis)
- Robert Goodman, Univ. of Wisconsin
- Staff and students at Cornell
- Grantees (see "projects" tab at http://mcknight.ccrp.cornell.edu/ )
- Kelly Lindsay, program assistant, Cornell;
- Rachel Bezner Kerr, research assistant, Cornell University;
- Kathy Rysted, The McKnight Foundation
- Bob Goodman; Department of Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin