West, East and South Africa, Andes-South America (Local and National)

Implementing Organisation:

McKnight Foundation


1983 – now

In a nutshell

The Collaborative Crop Research Program (CCRP) funds participatory, collaborative research on agroecological intensification, bringing smallholder farmers, researchers, and development professionals together to create technology to improve nutrition, livelihoods, and productivity for farming communities.

The CCRP provides grants to local and national grantees participating in communities of practice in the following four regions: Andes, Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and West Africa. Those actors bring deep knowledge of the regions in which they work and collaborate among themselves and with other stakeholders on solutions to poverty and food insecurity. CCRP regional teams provide direct support to strengthen their capacity, foster innovation, and explore pathways to take technologies and processes to scale.




The CCRP has been established over 30 years and now works in multiple countries which belong to the poorest and most food insecure in the world (including Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda in Africa and Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru in South America). The program was built in response to concerns that communities in those countries are starving due to a combination of poor crop production, increasing population, political conflict and climate change.


CCRP strives to improve access to local, sustainable, nutritious food using collaborative research and knowledge sharing with smallholder farmers, research institutions, and development organizations.


Farm level:

  • Biological nitrogen fixation with legumes to improve soil fertility and provide a greater diet diversification
  • Conservation of agricultural biodiversity and resilience (to climate change and diseases) through breeding and variety selection
  • Integrated crop and pest management
  • Traditional knowledge as a key to success

Regional/national Level:

  • Seed distribution systems
  • Promoting of farmer-driven innovation and supporting farmer organizations
  • Bring together multiple stakeholders to find collaborative solutions through a Community of Practice rather than top-down implementations

Lessons Learned/challenges

The most crucial point for success in collaborative research is the inclusion of all types of stakeholders by developing a community of practice and building the necessary trust. Especially, integrating smallholder farmers within the research program ensured greater impact. Additionally, it is important to do research on a broad spectrum of disciplines and issues, including agricultural techniques on the farm level, as well as policy and market development on the big scale.

Relevant Links & references