The Peanut CRSP held a strategic research and planning meeting December 11-15, 2011. Over seventy Peanut CRSP faculty and student researchers and staff members, representing twelve countries outside the U.S., came together in St. Julian’s, Malta to discuss CRSP accomplishments and plan future research directions and applications. The CRSP is awaiting a decision from USAID on an opportunity to submit a proposal for a five-year program for 2012-2017.
Tim Williams, Director of the Peanut CRSP, opened the meeting, noting that the CRSP was coming to the end of its first five years, providing an excellent time to take stock of the current state of peanut research and to define new problems to solve. Peanuts are an important crop for many developing countries. The CRSP has supported three critical parts of the peanut value chain: production, processing, and marketing. Women are the predominant actors in these nodes of the chain and benefit significantly from the work of the CRSP.
John Cherry, Team Leader of the Peanut CRSP External Evaluation Panel (EEP) and former Director, USDA/ARS Eastern Regional Research Center, reported that the EEP found the CRSP research to be high quality, tackling important issues for farmers round the world. After conducting a desktop review of eight CRSP projects the EEP found the CRSP had achieved its stated objectives, having important impacts on national programs, e.g., developing a peanut industry incubator model in Asia that has now been replicated in Africa. The CRSP was also found to have an excellent record of scientific publications.
Over the course of the meetings, the participants explored the themes of:
• Health, Socioeconomics, and Development
• Developing Country Perspectives
• Feed the Future, USAID, and Partner Perspectives
• The Global State of Affairs in Mycotoxin Research
• Gender, Technology, and Innovation in Mycotoxin Management
After setting the stage with the reports on these topics, the group divided into working groups to identify research topics and application opportunitiesin the peanut value chain.
In addition to the formal meetings, there were side events for networking and meetings of the evaluation team, the Peanut CRSP Board, and between the CRSP, USAID, and BIFAD.
Also attending the conference were Jennifer Vern Long, CRSP activity manager at USAID, Jo Luck, member of the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) and former President of Heifer International, Prem Warrior, of the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation, and Victor Nwosu of M&M Mars. Max Rothschild, Professor at Iowa State University, currently serving as a Jefferson Science Fellow in the Bureau for Food Security at USAID was also present, as well as members of two different CRSP evaluation teams.
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