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Mid-term review process begins …

24 October 2016: At the end of September the partners in the Scaling-up Improved Legume Technologies (SILT)  project met to review their progress and plan for the mid-term review.

Duncan Sones,  from the CABI delivery team,  looks at the progress and challenges that this process uncovered. The idea behind SILT is simple. A consortium of the willing came together and agreed to explore how a campaign-based approach could support farming- families to grow soybean and common bean more effectively. The first step was to hold a consultation about the best advice on agronomy (including weeding and spacing) and the most suitable inputs to recommend (including new seed varieties, fertilizers, seed treatments and inoculants and storage technologies). From this we created a technology brief which is the reference material from which all campaign materials flow.

The partners were aware that dealing with the information flows to farmers would be necessary but not sufficient to create change. In addition strands exploring the policy barriers and efforts to make inputs more widely available were also developed.

Because of the innovative nature of the project the partner decided from the outset that a mid-term review process would ensure that all delivery partners could apply the lessons from SILT in the upcoming campaigns. At our planning meeting we identified 3 themes for close scrutiny in the mid-term review, each of the three partners will be principle investigator one of the themes:

  • Gender (FRI)
  • Scale-up approaches (CABI)
  • In-put availability – seed, inoculant and P-fertilizer (AFAP)

The planning meeting identified some key challenges for the partners, especially in relation to the need for more systematic data collection. The partners also explored in detail how different elements of the campaigns could better support each others. The gender issues are interesting.  We are moving from common bean – a crop that is often considered to be a woman’s crop – to soybean which is a cash crop associated with male farmers. We also identified a significant difference in the way that some men and women grow the crop.  Because women are often growing beans for food security they harvest and eat leaves as well as beans.  We need to look at technical brief for common bean to add advice on how to harvest bean leaves.  This is one of the first times that the gender analysis has driven a change in the technical brief – based on a clearer understanding of how women grow common bean.

The mid-term review will be shared on this web-site in March 2017.