ASARECA KNOWLEDGE AND INFORMATION HUB CONCEPT NOTE: ZERO DFAFT 1.

BACKGROUND – TOM ASARECA is establishing a Knowledge and Information Hub (KI-hub) in order to increase the competitiveness of the agricultural sector in the East and Central Africa (ECA) through influencing the uptake and up scaling of agricultural technologies, innovations and management practices (TIMPs); policy and information among stakeholders. ASARECA sees improved delivery and impact of scientific knowledge, policy options and technologies as a powerful instrument to drive the sub-region towards meeting the targets of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme [CAADP], the agricultural agenda of the African Union's, New Economic Partnership for African Development [NEPAD] The ECA sub-region is a huge and ready market for information – 300 million people with a lot of valuable knowledge “sitting” in people’s minds (tacit knowledge) and organizations scattered all over the sub-region. This knowledge needs to be organized and made accessible using a number of various ICT tools, platforms, and methodologies. This will be achieved, inter alia, by sharing information and knowledge including the use of innovative channels of dissemination, partnership models for dissemination, commercialisation, dissemination packages for different locations and tracking dissemination pathways for assessing adoption. Productivity will be increased by enhancing learning through provision of increased access to services for enhancing skills and knowledge. These roles define the proposed knowledge hub function. The KI-hub will make ASARECA become a major information and knowledge hub for subregional stakeholders, and a contact point for those from outside the sub-region, who wish to invest, share or use such information or knowledge. At the national level, ASARECA’s top priority remains transforming agriculture into a viable market-oriented venture by focusing on access to markets for smallholder farmers, the majority of whom are women, and providing them with appropriate information on marketing forces and requirements such as quality, quantity and price. This, it is anticipated, shall succeed in drawing more youth to agriculture. The KI-hub will be a focal point for the generation and exchange of knowledge, networking and development of new ideas. Among other things, it will mainstream new scientific concepts in technology innovation, management practices and policies in the region. It will serve to facilitate learning and increase the capabilities of ASARECAs stakeholders which include farmers, policy makers, national agricultural extension, research and academic

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institutions, relevant government institutions, private sector, NGOs, the CGIAR, RECs and the media amongst others. ASARECA already plays a coordinating and convening role that brings together partners to create and share knowledge, and as such the establishment of the knowledge hub would facilitate this. Internally, the KI-hub will deliver improved communication mechanisms, storage systems and strategies that will ensure the widest possible scale of information and knowledge sharing. Definition of Knowledge Hub (KEN) American Heritage Dictionary defines a hub as a centre of activity or interest or a focal point. Borrowing from that, Association of Progressive Communications (APC, 2006), described a knowledge hub, as a centre or focal point for the exchange of knowledge, support, development and ideas. More precise definition was given by Evers (2008), who defines K-hub as local innovation systems that are nodes in networks of knowledge production and knowledge sharing. In view of ASARECA the KI-hub is a centre for the generation (production, processing, storage) and exchange (retrieval and dissemination) of knowledge, networking and development of new ideas.

2. PROBLEM STATEMENT - KEN The agricultural sector as the mainstay of most African economies accounts for about 60% of the total labour force, 20% of the total exports and 17% of the GDP and provide livelihoods to over 70% of the population which most if them are smallholder farmers. These farmers have poor market infrastructure, inadequate marketing experience, and agricultural inputs. These farmers need to access information about new technologies, innovations and management practices before they can consider adopting them and thus look up to research and extension agents as sources of new technologies. Agricultural information is a key component in improving smallholder agricultural production and linking increased production to remunerative markets, thus leading to improved rural livelihoods, food security and national economies. Knowledge is power and it is recently being recognized as a factor of production.

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Access to appropriate information and knowledge is an overriding factor for successful agricultural production and thus rural development. Agriculture provides the economic foundation of any society early development pathway, which is fundamentally the case for many African societies. The future of transforming livelihoods in Africa lies in the hands of improved agriculture. However, African agriculture is faces with promises and threats, thus knowledge and information on the two can prepare farmers to cope and adapt to the situation. Equipping farmers with agricultural knowledge and information will help them transform into commercial farming thus making agriculture more attractive to other social groups especially youths who seem to have abandon it due to its current unattractive state.

3. RATIONALE – JACKY Why KI-hub? Under OP2 ASARECA will work to transform agriculture into a viable market-oriented venture. The goal of transformation is to move as many farmers from subsistence and semicommercial clusters to commercial levels. This level of commercialization will be possible if agricultural value chain actors are able to learn from, adapt and innovate from existing TIMPs, policies and standards in ECA. ASARECA and her partners1, have over the years generated (and continue to generate) a number of TIMPs and policy options, and standards, which, in totality, have the potential to provide options for various players in the different agricultural value chains to increase the “value/benefits/profits” from the VCs. Unfortunately, knowledge about these TIMPs, polices and standards is available in peoples minds (tacit knowledge) and in organizations scattered all over the ECA sub-region. The challenge of people and organizations within agricultural systems (NARS, CGIAR, UN Bodies, private sector) not sharing information, and learning from each other, has resulted in few clusters of successful commercial smallholder farmers. It has also resulted in duplication, wastage of resources, and inefficiency in agricultural system. There is need for a subregional knowledge and information hub (KI-hub). The KI-hub would be the focal point (or one-stop center) where agricultural stakeholders can converge to deliberate, share knowledge and information and learn from one another. In addition, agricultural knowledge and information, in the ECA, could be organized and made accessible through this KI-hub. The ECA region is a huge and ready market for this knowledge and information – 300 million people. ASARECA has the potential to become the sub-regional hub of knowledge in agriculture because it is among the key institutions where stakeholders seek agricultural information.

NARS (Farmer organizations, extension, research and academic institutions) , policy makers/institutions, CGIAR, NGOs, private sector, development agencies
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ASARECA already plays a convening role that brings together several multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary partners in the sub-region to develop TIMPs and policies, thus creating and sharing knowledge. In addition, the member countries own ASARECA. This makes it easier to engage them and access their multiple stakeholders and their knowledge and information. ASARECA is already playing a bridging role between NARS and CGIAR and is therefore well positioned to integrate the different partners, their knowledge and information systems. 4. BROAD OBJECTIVE. The ASARECA Knowledge and Information Hub will fulfill three major functions: (i) a learning & Innovation center for agricultural research for development (AR4D); (ii) (ii) AR4D Think Tank; (iii) (iii) Platforms for information exchange; 5. CONCEPTUAL MODEL – COPY & PASTE

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6. OUTCOMES - ENOCK& LYDIA The purpose of the KI-Hub is to enhance access to and utilization of agricultural knowledge and information within and beyond the ECA sub-region. This will be manifested through tracking of (i) the number of stakeholders benefiting from the activities of the hub in terms of access to information and knowledge, as well as networking and learning; (ii) level of efficiency of knowledge accessibility and transfers; and (iii) level of stakeholder satisfaction with the hub, including its functionality and service provision. 7. Impact pathway/ chain - – ENOCK & LYDIA As the preferred source of agricultural related knowledge, the KI-hub will facilitate effective gender responsive demand articulation, feedback, information sharing, learning and adaptation in AR4D thereby influence uptake and up-scaling of (TIMPs, policy, information) among stakeholders and in turn contribute to the agricultural transformation in ECA. The impact pathway for the KI-hub shows the key activities that shall be implemented, as well as the expected outputs and outcomes that are anticipated to contribute to the realization of the overall goal of ensuring agricultural transformation in ECA (see figure). Key Outputs (i) Output 1: Learning & Innovation center for gender responsive agricultural research and development (AR&D) established and operationalized Proposed Activities a. Establishment of innovation platforms and communities of practice for promotion of TIMPS b. Conduct process monitoring & evaluation for generation success stories, case studies, and lessons c. Facilitate reflection, adaption and innovation (ii) Output 2: AR4D Think Tank established and operationalized Proposed Activities a. Collection, analysis, synthesis and production of data and information that supports discourse and advocacy for agriculture and related trade policy issues. b. Organize events to influence agricultural related strategies and policies at national, regional and global level working in collaboration with the regional economic communities (EAC, COMESA). (iii) Output 3: Platforms for information exchange established and institutionalized Proposed Activities a. Establish robust gender responsive platforms for information exchange which include e-platforms: Databases, data warehouses, mobile platforms, geospatial

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data, e-repositories, collaboration tools; Physical libraries; Conferences, meetings, workshops, seminars, mass media. b. Establish gender responsive mechanisms that support effective feedback and demand articulation. 8. Stakeholders in the pathway  NARIS  Farmer organizations  Farmers, fisher folks and pastoralists  Private sector  Extension/advisory providers  NGOs  CG centers, advanced research centers  Policy makers  RECS, SROs, FARA, NEPAD  Development partners

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Figure 1: Impact Pathway
ACTIVITIES OUTPUTS OUTCOMES Establishment of innovation platforms and communities of practice for promotion of TIMPS Conduct process monitoring & evaluation for generation success stories, case studies, and lessons Facilitate reflection, adaption and innovation

Learning & Innovation center for gender responsive agricultural research and development (AR&D) established and operationalized

Equitable access & utilization of agricultural knowledge & information within and beyond ECA sub-region Increased stakeholders benefiting from the activities of the hub in terms of access to information and knowledge, as well as networking and learning Enhanced efficiency of knowledge accessibility and transfers Increased stakeholder satisfaction with the hub, including its functionality and service provision.

OVERALL A IMPA

AR&D Think Tank established and operational Collection, analysis, synthesis and production of data and information that supports discourse and advocacy for agriculture and related trade policy issues Organize events to influence agricultural related strategies and policies at national, regional and global level working in collaboration with the regional economic communities (EAC, COMESA)

Platforms for information exchange established and institutionalized

Increased e growth and i livelihoods while enhan quality o environm

Establish robust gender responsive platforms for information exchange which include e-platforms: Databases, data warehouses, mobile platforms, geospatial data, e-repositories, collaboration tools; Physical libraries; Conferences, meetings, workshops, seminars, mass media. Establish gender responsive mechanisms that support effective feedback and demand articulation.

PARTNERS ALONG THE IMPACT PATHWAY NARIS, Farmer organizations, Farmers, fisher folks and pastoralists, Private sector, Extension/advisory providers, NGOs, CG centers, advanced research centers, Policymakers, RECS, SROs, FARA, NEPAD, Development partners

9. IMPLEMENTATION MODALITIES – Brainstorming as a group 10. RESOURCE REQUIREMENTS - indicative  Human  Infrastructure  Budget

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