Goal 17 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals calls to “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) answered this call to action by recently hosting a collaborative dinner to strengthen ties between the Center, the private sector and government partners in Malawi.
Hosted by CIMMYT Director General Bram Govaerts, the dinner followed a visit by US Special Envoy for Global Food Security Cary Fowler, Dina Esposito, Assistant to the Administrator, USAID Bureau of Resilience and Food Security and other USAID staff to discuss and witness the new Accelerated Innovation for Delivery Initiative (AID-I) in action.
“The challenges of today do not require a single sector approach but a pluralistic one in which partners from the private, public sectors agree to work hand in hand with science for impact organizations like CIMMYT and other CGIAR centers,” said Govaerts in his keynote address at the event. “I am very grateful for your support and your presence today is a testimony or our harmonious solidarity and spirit of collaboration in addressing food and nutrition security.”
The meeting was attended by seed industry players, agricultural input distributors, food processors and Government representatives including Director of Agriculture Research Services Grace Kaudzu, who expressed her appreciation for the gathering.
“As government, our role is to create an enabling environment for the private sector to thrive and progressive development partners are always welcome. Such gatherings enable us to hear the needs of colleagues and partners from other sectors to create this environment,” she said.
Malawi has established an ambitious roadmap where legume exports and maize production are to be significantly scaled up. The AID-I project dovetails with this roadmap as it focuses on strengthening maize and legume seed systems and addressing systemic constraints in both value chains.
The dinner further facilitated private sector players to meet various CIMMYT specialists ranging from seed system experts, soil scientists, breeders and plant physiologists. According to Peter Setimela, a seed system specialist at CIMMYT, such meetings are critical as they enable a diversity of partners to know what the other has to offer.
“CIMMYT has a lot of expertise which these private sector partners can take advantage of,” Setimela said.
The AID-I project seeks to scale up existing and high potential innovations, technologies and business models as opposed to initiating new ones. This only makes sense considering that the implementation period is only two years and scaling up existing innovations give greater prospects for success.
CIMMYT Regional Representative Moses Siambi labelled the event a success citing the huge turnout of the partners.
“The effectiveness of our interventions is dependent on the strength of the relationships we have with our partners. Such a massive attendance is indicative of cordial relations between CIMMYT and the private sector in conjunction with the government,” Siambi said.
Govaerts closed the event by stressing that through harnessing the potential of convening power, the future is bright regardless of the reality of climate change and geopolitical conflicts.