I visited Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia this week. In Kenya I attended the IRMA Project Executive Committee (ExCo) meeting. We had interesting and critical negotiations to gain access to a new Bt event from a private company and thus enable the development of a robust insect management strategy for poor farmers based on a humanitarian use exception.
I visited the DGs of the three national agriculture research systems, Executive Secretary of ASARECA, and the Minister of Agriculture of Ethiopia. In addition to appreciating our past and on-going partnerships, I discussed with them ways we could work together on two specific projects—the Global Rust Initiative and Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa. Two multi-million dollar proposals have been requested by donor agencies and if they are accepted, swift implementation based on partnership will be extremely important.
These discussions demonstrated again that CIMMYT’s style of partnership is highly appreciated by our NARS partners. We are their preferred partner because:
- We consult with them (as opposed to deciding unilaterally).
- We give them due credit after working together (as opposed to over-claiming credit).
- We deliver on the ground (as opposed to just talk and meetings).
- We support their capacity building (as opposed to our taking over their role).
- We engage in a continuous professional relationship as colleagues with former trainees (as opposed to one-shot training course).
Those elements are building blocks for long-term relationships based on trust and respect. We will continue to build our future and deliver our mission as the preferred partner. With this trip I was also able to complete my promised series of visits to all CIMMYT’s regional locations.