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Newly released!!! Key success factors in strengthening capacity to manage risks at farm level: emerging lessons learned


Over the last decade, risks related to weather shocks, market uncertainties and policy fragilities have escalated with increasingly negative impacts on farming livelihoods and food security of rural households in developing countries. This call for farmers and farm level actors to change their behaviours by improving farming techniques and strengthening understanding of risks within a holistic management approach that does not further exacerbate or generate new risks.

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This publication explores the top key success factors for capacity development at the farm level. It presents case studies from 11 initiatives, and further elaborate on opportunities and challenges for stakeholders in designing, implementing and enhancing sustainability and adoption of ARM knowledge delivered in CD activities. The publication builds on discussions at the PARM K-sharing event in Lusaka, December 2018.

Key findings

Among the key factors identified and discussed in this publication are the following: i) ensuring CD4ARM implementation within a framework in which holistic ARM is institutionalized in government (including the state or national and local government levels) and at civil society levels; ii) engaging with the private sector; iii) responsive and responsible partnership; and iv) long-term funding for CD activities. Other important factors include the availability of key resource persons required for training farmers, and the need to ensure that the training needs of farmers are properly identified and well-integrated in the design of CD activities.

Building on these key factors, this publication also highlights the role of Government as a focal point of CD4ARM activities. This is because the Government has the ‘operational arm’ and existing network of trained extension officers within its decentralized departments of agriculture and respective public institutions at the local level. However, the Government cannot ensure sustainability and adoption of ARM knowledge alone owing to financial constraints. It is for this reason that, a result-driven policy dialogue with other stakeholder groups such as development agencies and the private sector is essential to mainstream, scale up and scale out CD initiatives for sustainability.

Similarly, the universities/research centres, by virtue of their multidisciplinary expertise from areas of agriculture, market, risks and environment have a great opportunity to fill-in farmers’ knowledge gaps, where necessary. Farmers’ organizations, NGOs and foundations, on the other hand, have excellent proximity, communication channels and resources to reach farm level stakeholders.


This evidence generated is intended to guide policymakers, practitioners and a diverse range of stakeholders on how to better reach farmers with required knowledge and capacities on ARM and to make a more informed decision when investing, designing and implementing CD activities for better impact and sustainability. It will also serve as a reference document for practitioners, providing methodological guidance that can be adapted in developing and delivering their own CD activities.

Please download the paper here.

Read more about PARM Capacity Development Strategy and Capacity Development Learning Resources.