From its beginning in 2017, the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB) has taken the lead to identify and tackle key global issues for RTB crops. During the past five years, RTB has conducted projects across the globe to develop scalable solutions in the research areas of genetic resources, seed systems, nutritional added value, scaling strategies, among others. Summaries of those projects are now publicly available on the recently launched RTB Project Portfolio website.
During the second phase of the program (2017–2021), RTB teamed up with CGIAR Research Programs on Grain, Legumes and Dry Cereals (GLDC) and Fish (FISH) to develop the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) platform. MEL is an information system that can manage results at the project level and can capture impact pathways and information on technical components, such as outputs, outcomes, impact cases, and cross-cutting issues such as gender, youth, and climate change. The data for MEL is largely compiled from project reports provided by leaders and partner centers’ program management officers. The RTB Project Portfolio draws its information from MEL and presents it in an easy-to-access, searchable medium.
“Through MEL, we have an improved ability to understand the complex program portfolio, and in this way, we can identify essential information on the advancement of objectives and goals of our portfolio,” said Enrico Bonaiuti, monitoring, evaluation, and learning specialist for GLDC.
The new RTB Project Portfolio allows visitors to browse through projects or search for specific ones. Each project page provides the name of the project manager, names of the project team members, a project summary with objectives and goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) contribution, regions or countries involved, research areas, and links to additional resources. For the initial launch, the Project Portfolio highlights projects with more than US$1 million dollars of investment with relevant data collected to show the general overview.
“We are allowing the general public to visualize the global scope of collaborations between partners and the RTB community, and promote a wider use of science-driven solutions to conceive a sustainable management for root, tuber, and banana crops,” said Diego Paredes, a planning and evaluation specialist for RTB. The portfolio not only highlights the diversity of RTB’s work, but also the variability of partners, who have collaborated directly and indirectly in the implementation of the projects and capacity building to address the needs of resource-poor smallholders, rural women and youth, indigenous peoples, and other disadvantaged groups in the Global South.
Data for the website also comes from other external sources. The keyword mapping to identify the type of investment in agriculture was obtained thanks to an evaluation carried out by the Commission of Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (CoSAI) of the CGIAR. It allows mapping of the macro layers related to research, production, and governance factors.
Capturing the experience of RTB in the Project Portfolio will serve to inform future research programs developed as part of One CGIAR. “Although RTB is now winding down and our work in transitioning into One CGIAR, the Project Portfolio will ensure that our legacy lives on for many years to come, providing a valuable resource for fellow scientists, researchers, and practitioners,” concluded Graham Thiele, RTB Director.