While the university focus is of extraordinary importance as one important base, the HICD Review astutely notes the need to for extensive US university science and technology capacities to be linked with national systems and local producer and agribusiness services such that this effort could and should also impact upon the national systems.
While under FTF and building from earlier CRSP efforts, a broader range of product-specific science and technology networks have been established; however, as the HICD Review states, these fall short of today's more elevated and severe national needs.
Although the HICD Review highlights many earlier university-led experiences, we also know of many sub-optimal and non-sustainable partnerships due to limited funding, inattention to policy and/or institutional reforms, or changing USAID or country-level priorities.
All profess that the challenges, while formidable, must be confronted but hopefully buttressed by the appropriate knowledge and technical support and related HICD services they currently lack.
This HICD-led reform process is required to reduce farm-level risks and mobilize producer "sweat equity" and agribusiness investments, while at the same time, mobilizing national confidences for the much needed, but usually languishing national support base to invest in agriculture and HICD, to thereby begin to reduce traditional donor dependencies.
A demand-driven, multifaceted HICD service institution is needed
The appropriate meshing of the teaching, research, technical assistance, and planning and special analytical skills and services that the participating countries need and that HICD could provide, must be meshed with actual country needs and market prospects.
Building from the above discussion, HICD program responsiveness to national needs and challenges particularly on the economic and poverty reduction fronts, become critical.
The HICD Review speaks candidly about the considerable erosion of the "Golden Era's Giants.
While some faculty members are excited about the special HICD opportunities being discussed, there is also a keen understanding of many earlier but unrealized efforts which generate some skepticism regarding the viability, sustainability, and vitality of a university career in international agricultural development.
Some possible activities to confront this issue include: 1) Perhaps from the few remaining "giants," mentorship activities, workshops, and sharing of materials; 2) USAID and the USG must work diligently to instill the importance of this historic reset mission to a broad spectrum of the faculty members and graduate students; 3) There will be a need to quickly and aggressively confront a series of important related Recommendation (#5, 6, and 7 for example) identified by the HICD Review which require attention to accomplish this special mission; and 4) Perhaps, conduct an informal survey to ascertain, based on the characteristics and training required, what levels may be mobilized.
The achievement of FTF's objectives requires considerable attention to improve: 1) producer and agribusiness knowledge and skill levels; 2) sector and macro policy complementarities; 3) improved, cost effective public and private support services all tied to the HICD agenda; and 4) mobilizing the highest level support bases.