MEGHALAYA, June 2016 – Following the scoping study conducted by FoodSTART+, as led by Dr. Anatharaman, late 2015 in Meghalaya, a learning workshop on Value Chain Approach and Farmer Business School was conducted in Don Bosco Pastoral Assembly, Shillong, Meghalaya, India from June 13 to 17, 2016 by IFAD grant project FoodSTART+ to IFAD investment project Megha-LAMP.
The learning workshop aimed to 1) familiarize Megha-LAMP staff with the FoodSTART+ project, and RTC potential for contributing to FoodSTART+ and Megha-LAMP objectives, including resilient livelihoods, nutrition and income, value chain (VC) concepts, methodology and relevant cases, 2) provide some practical experience in VC assessment and analysis, and, 3) plan for VC development in Megha-LAMP (with root and tuber crops focus), including a potato VC study.
The Meghalaya Livelihood and Access to Markets Project (Megha-LAMP) is part of the State Government’s flagship Integrated Basin Development and Livelihoods Programme (IBDLP). The project’s goal is to improve family incomes and quality of life in rural Meghalaya through the development objective of expanded and sustainable livelihood opportunities adapted to the hill environment and to the effects of climate change.
The International Potato Center, specifically the team behind the concluded FoodSTART and ongoing FoodSTART+ project (Food Resilience Through Root and Tuber Crops of Upland and Coastal Communities of the Asia-Pacific), has documented positive results in the adaption of the Value Chain Approach and the Farmer Business School in the Philippines in partnership with the CHARMP2 project which has similar objectives to Megha-LAMP in terms of poverty alleviation through livelihood development. These successes and learnings of CHARMP2 were shared in the plenary during the learning workshop to support and provide appreciation to the concepts that were introduced.
Participants were sent out on a fieldwork to assess value chains of select commodities chosen for the exercise. It was an eye opener for some whose first time it was to conduct fieldwork. It was also highlighted that value chain assessments performed by analysts (a role the participants played in the exercise) must be validated through stakeholders meetings.
For the Farmer Business School, the participants identified three possible areas for implementation with corresponding commodities: potato in East Khasi Hills, and cassava and Colocasia in Asanang, West Garo Hills. It was stressed that the Farmer Business School is highly adapatable and should be modified to fit the situation in Meghalaya.
The learning workshop concluded with positive response from the participants as well as the facilitators, Dr. Christopher Wheatley and Dr. Julieta Roa ofFoodSTART+. Mr. Vijay Kumar Mantri, Executive Director of the MBDA (Meghalaya Basin Development Authority), gave an inspiring presentation on the MBDA Megha-LAMP and CIP FoodSTART+ collaboration.
A workplan has been drafted and the framework for implementation is being set for the adaptation of the Value Chain Approach and the Farmer Business School in Megha-LAMP.