Technical Advisory Group (TAG)
The consortium draws upon the expertise of a technical advisory group (TAG) particularly on matters related to agronomy, soil science, communication development, gender and policy.
The current TAG members are drawn from institutions in sub-Saharan Africa such as IFDC, Wageningen University, SOFECSA, CIAT-TSBF, AfricaRice, IPNI, ICRW, Agro-Insight, Michigan State University, Tropical Crops Consultant Ltd, AGRA and CABI. AGRA has a permanent membership as ex-officio members.
The 16 individuals will actively engage in consortium activities for example through recruitment into research and development teams and/or product development teams responsible for producing the knowledge outputs for the consortium. For instance, eight members were selected to be part of the team to develop a handbook on general principles of ISFM. Led by Thomas Fairhurst of Tropical Crops Consultants Ltd who was the technical editor, the group developed the structure of the handbook and held a write-shop in Nairobi in October 2011 to review each other’s manuscripts to improve the quality of the work through rewriting or other changes.
In November 2011 another TAG member, Paul Van Mele (Agro-Insight), visited six countries in West, Central and East Africa to shoot a film (in English, French and Portuguese) that describes the principles of ISFM. He captured different practices in the project’s priority cropping systems: maize/legume, lowland irrigated rice, sorghum/millet/cowpea, coffee/ banana and cassava. He also developed a film aimed at convincing policy makers also available in French, to adopt and support ISFM as a means of improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
Shamie Zingore (IPNI) is developing nutrient deficiency booklets that will enable agricultural practitioners (Bachelors’ degree or other college level education) to identify and correct nutrient deficiencies and other disorders in the farmers’ fields. The cropping systems targeted are cereals (maize, sorghum, millet, rice); legumes crops (groundnuts beans, cowpea, soybean); root crops (cassava, sweet potato, Irish potato, yam); and cash crops (cocoa, oil palm, cotton, coffee, sugarcane, plantain, banana).
George Oduor ASHC Project Manager is also a member of the technical advisory group.
Remit: The role of the technical advisory group is to provide technical oversight and backstopping to the project and contribute to stakeholder engagement. The group will also ensure that ISFM information is captured and well organized.
Membership: Some members are drawn from organizations that are part of research and development teams supporting the on-going initiatives with which the project will engage. Additional individuals will be brought into the TAG as needed – especially those with key relevant expertise in gender, policy processes and development communication. Some members will be contracted as lead authors and will engage with others to consolidate contributions of information and data.
Annual meetings will be the key mechanism to allow the group to meet together, advise on project activities and consider the implications of project outcomes, including using data collected to identify research gaps to be targeted in future funding. The TAG is expected to evolve out of a group of individuals all of whom participated in an expert consultation held during development of the current project.