CIIFAD maintains five important programs that support interaction between Cornell students and faculty and the broader community of international agricultural development. For complete information about each, click on a tab below.
CIIFAD's Student Multidisciplinary Applied Research Team (SMART) Program brings together teams of students and faculty from diverse disciplines and pairs them with firms, organizations, or community groups located in developing countries. The teams work on well-defined assignments that challenge students to apply the knowledge and skills learned in the classroom in real world settings. SMART assignments vary from team to team, as does the length of engagement. For example, past teams have assisted promising new companies to develop strategic business plans, worked with an international NGO to pilot IT training in four African countries and collaborated with grassroots development professionals to enhance learning outcomes for farmer groups seeking to increase family food security. Teams work on location with the company or partner group for at least two weeks and sometimes up to eight weeks, depending on the type of engagement planned and the university academic calendar.
The CIIFAD SMART Program is designed to help Cornell's students span the gap between knowing and doing. It facilitates experiential learning opportunities that strengthen students' ability to develop innovative approaches to complex problems surrounding markets, food, agriculture, and development. By learning to collaborate on real-world issues, SMART students gain valuable personal experience, make significant contributions that are valued by the company or organization they partner with and raise Cornell's profile as a University that is strongly committed to global engagement for positive change.
- Engage students in an innovative off-campus "hands on" learning experience in international development
- Challenge students to apply knowledge and skills, learned in the classroom, to real world problems
- Enhance students' understanding of development processes, applications and complexities in developing country and emerging markets contexts
- Collaborate with underserved businesses, development agencies, host-country universities and rural communities and contribute technical assistance and analytical support
- Develop case studies and other learning materials to enrich classroom learning
2011 SMART PROJECTS
Belize (Flower of St. Therese and Mary Open Doors)
Flower of St. Therese is a family-owned cut-flower business in Cayo District. They needed horticultural advice as well as business planning help. Mary Open Doors is a small domestic violence shelter in San Ignacio that is facing a number of challenges related to funding, their board of directors, volunteers, human resources, and general administrative issues.
SMART team: Rebecca Darling (CIPA '12), Megan Kaminska (AEM '11), Pratima Arapakota (CIPA '12), and Tesfai Kendrick-Kande (AEM '12)
Leader: Jennifer Nelson, CIIFAD, and Chris Wien, Department of Horticulture
China (Hebei Qimei Agriculture Science and Technology Co., Ltd)
This is a large organic vegetable farm about 3 hrs outside of Beijing that is looking to expand its markets (both nationally and internationally).
SMART team: Cheryl Thayer (CIPA '11), Eric Reker (CIPA '11), Hiromi Shimizu (CIPA '12), and Luke Pryor (AEM '11)
Leader: Prof. Robin Bellinder, Department of Horticulture
Ghana (Microfinance & Small Loan Center)
This initiative needs assistance with loan loss evaluation. Students with finance or microfinance experience are encouraged to apply.
SMART team: Jessica Pomerantz (CIPA '11), Teleola Akinlawon (CIPA '12), Augustine Otchere (CIPA '11), and Lawrence Smith (MHA '12)
Leader: Prof. Henry Richardson, Department of Architecture, and Prof. Ralph Christy, Department of Applied Economics and Management
Indonesia (System of Rice Intensification)
A small rice exporting business, P.T. BloomAgro, sought advice on marketing organic rice within Indonesia.
SMART team: Hadi Fathallah (CIPA '11), Ben Koffel (CRP '12), Iwan Kurniawon (AEM '12), and Maryse Holly (IARD '11)
Leader: Lucy Fisher, CIIFAD
Malawi (Soils, Food, and Healthy Communities)
A local NGO affiliated with a local hospital is using farmer participatory research & development approaches to explore ‘best bet' legume options for improving soil fertility, food security and child nutrition.
Malawi (Catholic Relief Services and FINCA)
This team will be groundtesting a software ‘Turbo Tax'-like systems for smallholder profitability analyses.
South Africa (Ezulwini Chocolat)
This is a small start-up gourmet chocolate company run by a woman entrepreneur that needs help with a marketing plan, employee training and website development.
SMART team: Imani Grant (MBA '12), Yin Song (CIPA '12), Kelly Tran (AEM '12), and Jipei Zhang (CIPA '11)
Leaders: Krisztina Tihanyi and Ed Mabaya, CIIFAD
South Africa (Defynne Nursery)
This is a new horticultural company that sells ornamental plants and fruit trees and is looking for creative ways to break into this competitive market.
SMART team: Aleks Janjic (CIPA '12), Tamara Struk (CIPA '12), and Toniqua Hay (CIPA '12)
Leaders: Krisztina Tihanyi and Ed Mabaya, CIIFAD
2010 SMART PROJECT CASE STUDIES
A Matter of Jam: Intaba Fruit Processing of South Africa (South Africa)
M'Hudi Wines: A Smal Business with a Big Vision (South Africa)