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Background

Food systems across the globe stand at a crossroads. Despite major improvements in agricultural productivity over recent decades, 820 million people face hunger today, and 1 in 3 people is malnourished. Progress in productivity has often entailed social and environmental costs, including biodiversity loss and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. As the primary connection between people and the planet, food and agriculture can help achieve multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, this requires that our food systems become more sustainable, equitable, and climate smart.

DeSIRA-LIFT is a service facility supporting DeSIRA, an initiative funded by the European Commission that aims to contribute to climate-relevant, productive, and sustainable transformation of agri-food systems in the global South. DeSIRA supports research and innovation projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and strengthens research capacities and governance involving key actors at the national, regional, and global levels.

DeSIRA-LIFT (June 2021 – May 2025) is the result of close collaboration between Agrinatura (the European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development), the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD), and the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA).

Food systems across the globe stand at a crossroads. Despite major improvements in agricultural productivity over recent decades, 820 million people face hunger today, and 1 in 3 people is malnourished. Progress in productivity has often entailed social and environmental costs, including biodiversity loss and high levels of greenhouse gas emissions. As the primary connection between people and the planet, food and agriculture can help achieve multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, this requires that our food systems become more sustainable, equitable, and climate smart.

DeSIRA-LIFT is a service facility supporting DeSIRA, an initiative funded by the European Commission that aims to contribute to climate-relevant, productive, and sustainable transformation of agri-food systems in the global South. DeSIRA supports research and innovation projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America and strengthens research capacities and governance involving key actors at the national, regional, and global levels.

DeSIRA-LIFT (June 2021 – May 2025) is the result of close collaboration between Agrinatura (the European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development), the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD), and the European Commission’s Directorate General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA).

DeSIRA-LIFT

Leveraging the DeSIRA Initiative for Agri-Food Systems Transformation

DeSIRA

Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture

Objectives

DeSIRA-LIFT supports the current and future activities of the DeSIRA Initiative. It manages and delivers pre-defined services and emerging on-demand services in support of the DeSIRA research and innovation projects, African apex organisations for research on agricultural development, extension and higher education, DG INTPA, relevant European delegations, and stakeholders at large.

Services

DeSIRA-LIFT provides services to DeSIRA Initiative’s implementers under three service areas, aligned with the DeSIRA pillars:

Service Area 1

Support to the country-based DeSIRA projects to enhance their impacts by promoting Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) thinking and the use of developmental evaluation approaches.

Service Area 2

Support African apex organisations for research on agricultural development (CORAFASARECA, CCARDESA and FARA), extension (AFAAS), and higher education (RUFORUM), and add value to global initiatives TAP and GFAR.

Service Area 3

Support the co-creation of knowledge and evidence to feed policy dialogues and programming on agri-food systems in the Global South.

Team

Helena Posthumus

Helena Posthumus (PhD) | Programme Director

Helena is a senior advisor at Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (part of Wageningen University & Research). She bridges the fields of research, policy and practice in the areas of food systems and agricultural innovation systems. She has over 20 years of professional experience as a researcher, consultant, trainer and evaluator, working at various universities and research institutes in the Netherlands and United Kingdom, with regular overseas travel in the global South. Helena is the program director of DeSIRA-LIFT.

Email: helena.posthumus@wur.nl

Organisation: Wageningen University & Research

Keywords: Food systems; agricultural innovation systems; monitoring, evaluation & learning.

Aurelie

Aurélie Toillier (PhD) | Service Area 1

Aurélie is a senior scientist at Cirad. Her research focuses on capacities to innovate in local communities and agricultural systems. She explores learning processes and collective action at different levels (individuals, organisations, networks), with a specific attention to managerial challenges in open innovation settings. She leads the service area 1 of the DeSIRA-LIFT facility.

Email: aurelie.toillier@cirad.fr

Organisation: CIRAD

Keywords: capacity to innovate; innovation facilities; agricultural innovation system.

Margarida

Margarida Lima de Faria (PhD) | Service Area 1

Margarida is a senior researcher at ISA (Institute of Agronomy of the University of Lisbon, Portugal). In the last 25 years she has taken part in several interdisciplinary projects, some of which funded by the EU, focusing on livelihoods sustainability as related to the adoption of climate-resilient crops, sustainable management of forests (deforestation and forest degradation), natural parks’ social and environmental impact assessment, agroecological zoning (in Tanzania, Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, Guinea-Bissau and Angola). She was one of the social analysts of VCA4D project (coffee in Angola and lime and mango in Guinea-Bissau). She has also taken part in the project CDAIS – Capacity Development for Agriculture Innovation Systems (in Angola).

Email: margaridalf@isa.ulisboa.pt

Organisation: ISA – Instituto Superior de Agronomia

Keywords: Socio-economy; livelihood sustainability; social analysis of value-chain actors.

Isolina

Isolina Boto (MA) | Service Area 2

Isolina is a senior executive with more than 25 years of experience in leadership and managerial roles in agriculture and sustainable food systems. She is the head of networks and alliances at COLEAD, a non-profit association of private sector operators in fresh and processed food. She leads service area 2, supporting CAADP-XP4 organisations and partners.

Email: isolina.boto@colead.link

Organisation: COLEAD

Keywords: innovations in agriculture; value-chain and entrepreneurship development; policy dialogue; multistakeholder engagement.

Esther

Esther Koopmanschap (MSc) | Service Area 3

Esther is a senior adviser at Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation (part of Wageningen University & Research). She is a facilitator of participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation processes to support institutional change: from policy to action, from interest to capacity, from action to transformational change. For WCDI she leads the Climate Action Cluster and is especially interested in the governance and planetary-health angle of food systems transformation. She leads Service Area 3.

Email: esther.koopmanschap@wur.nl

Organisation: Wageningen University & Research

Keywords: Transformation and strategy development;  Creating Capacity for Change (at individual, organisational and institutional level); Programme and project coordination and management; Monitoring, Evaluation, Adaptation & Learning; Supporting policy development and governance.

Ioannis

Ioannis Dimitriou (PhD) | Service Area 3

Ioannis is an associate professor and senior research advisor at SLU’s vice chancellor’s office for collaboration with LMICs. His research focuses on designing productive systems with food and biomass crops while having minimal environmental impact, including recycling of different nutrient-rich wastes. He also works with the science-policy interface to support smart innovation in agriculture contributing to the sustainable transformation of food systems.

Email: ioannis.dimitriou@slu.se

Organisation: SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Keywords: Science-policy interface; agricultural innovation in low-middle income countries; biomass production.

Evelyne 2021 website

Evelyne Kort-Nerincx | Project Officer

Evelyne is a French-speaking Belgian from Brussels. Holding a bachelor’s degree Executive Secretary in French (Dutch and English as second and third languages). In 1995, Evelyne left Brussels to move to the Netherlands. In 1997, she started at CTA (Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation) in Wageningen. During a long career of 23 years at CTA, she worked as Project Assistant for the Training Courses and for the Publications Dissemination Service and as Personal Assistant for the Communications and Marketing Coordinator. Evelyne is Project Officer for DeSIRA-LIFT.

Email: evelyne.kort-nerincx@wur.nl

Organisation: Wageningen University & Research

Implementing Partners

DeSIRA-LIFT is implemented by a consortium of Agrinatura and EFARD members: 

Agrinatura members:

Wageningen University & Research (WUR)
Centre for international cooperation research and development in agriculture (CIRAD)
Instituto Superior de Agronomia / University of Lisbon (ISA)
Natural Resources Institute / University of Greenwich (NRI)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)

European Forum for Agricultural Research (EFARD):

COLEAD – Committee Linking Entrepreneurship-Agriculture-Development

AFAAS: African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services

AIS: Agricultural Innovation System

AKIS: Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System

ASARECA: Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa

AU: African Union

CAADP: Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme

CCARDESA: Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa

CIRAD: Centre for international cooperation research and development in agriculture

COLEAD:  Comité de Liaison Entrepreneuriat-Agriculture-Développement

CORAF: Conseil ouest et centre africain pour la recherche et le développement agricoles

DeSIRA: Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture, in short DeSIRA

DeSIRA- LIFT: Leveraging the DeSIRA Initiative for agri-food systems transformation

DG INTPA: Directorate General for International Partnerships

EC: European Commission

EFARD: European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development

EU: European Union

FAO: Food and Agriculture Organization

FARA: Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa

GFAR: Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation

ISA: Instituto Superior de Agronomia

SDGs: Sustainable Development Goals

SLU: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

TAP: Tropical Agricultural Platform

WUR: Wageningen University & Research

Contact

info@desiralift.org

Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation 

P.O. Box 88, 6700 AB Wageningen
the Netherlands

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This website was created and maintained with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of DeSIRA-LIFT and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

© DeSIRA-LIFT 2022