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    By Antonella Piccolella 

    August 28, Apia, Samoa. Today young people from the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific gathered together at the To’oa Salamasina Hall, Sogi, Apia for the second and last day of the Youth Forum as part of the preparatory activities for the Third International Conference for Small Island Developing States.

    The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is committed to enhancing opportunities for rural youth in small island developing states and has supported the participation in the Forum of Aulola Silua Toomeilangi ‘AKE, a young M&E coordinator for the Mainstreaming of Rural Development Innovation (MORDI) project in Tonga.

    Aulola Silua Toomeilangi ‘AKE attending the Youth Forum,
    Apia, Samoa. Photo: IFAD/Antonella Piccolella
    Aulola is enthusiastic about her participation in the Youth Forum. On the first day of the Forum she took part in an advocacy and lobbying workshop where she noted that “rural youth is often left out of the discussion.” She highlighted the importance of context. Rural youth have different needs in comparison to urban youth - due to their remoteness. “Urban and rural youth have different opportunities and different resources. For example, rural youth often do not have access to quality education and this discourages them.” This is the core issue. Aulola believes that “it is not possible to talk about entrepreneurship and employment opportunities without giving access to quality education.”

    Participants at the Youth Forum, Apia, Samoa.
    Photo: IFAD/Antonella Piccolella 
    The MORDI project staff have completed community development plans together with men’s and women’s groups as well as youth groups. In this process Aulola noted that the lack of access to technology (i.e. computers) and ICT skills was a key hurdle for the rural youth in Tonga. The main take away message for Aulola is that “we need to work more with youth and integrate their needs in Tonga, also through the MORDI project that provides a framework for doing so." Because of the way it is structured MORDI offers opportunities for bringing in a bottom-up perspective. Often work on youth-related issues is very top down and the Regional Youth Councils only work with national representatives.

    The thing that Aulola loved the most about taking part in the Youth Forum was the South-South learning experience. She was really interested in an initiative from the AIMS region and she will be in touch via e-mail with the AIMS representative. “The best was that we did not stay within the Pacific circuit but were able to interact with people from the different countries”.

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    By Faumuina Felolini Tafunai

    IFAD’s Sakiusa Tubuna says people need to go back to
     how their forefathers farmed and look at crops that fare
    better with the effects of climate change
    Traditional organic farming promotes soil health allowing farmers to continue using the same area rather than clearing land and contributing to deforestation, according to a top UN agriculturalist.

    Sakiusa Tubuna is the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) sub-regional co-ordinator, based in Suva. He says that traditional farming uses processes like mulching that help maintain healthy soils, which means farmers are less likely to clear additional land for farming.

    “We encourage traditional mixed farming systems instead of mono cropping which can lead to soil erosion. We also encourage the use of technologies and better methods so that farmers can produce smaller volume but high-value crops.”

    Tubuna says people need to go back to how their forefathers farmed and look at crops that fare better with the effects of climate change.

    “Coconut tree varieties like Fiji Tall and Samoa Tall don’t yield as many coconuts as some other varieties but they are able to withstand cyclones much better and cope with sea spray.”

    Tubuna is part of an IFAD contingent participating in the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa.

    IFAD is a specialized agency of the United Nations, established as an international financial institution in 1977.

    Since its creation it has invested a USD476 million in 23 Small Island Developing States. This has benefited over 5 million people living in the Indian Ocean, Caribbean and Pacific region.

    At the conference, IFAD is hosting the ‘More than cocoa and coconuts: investing in rural people developing agriculture ‘side event on 2 September.

    The side event will show how IFAD forges partnership with different groups, including case studies from Cicia Island in Fiji, Sao Tome and Principe, and Grenada.

    The following day it has co-sponsored a Government of Tonga side event that looks at partnerships between civil societies and government, and a Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) side event on food security in the context of climate change. It has also set up a field trip to visit local farms including Women in Business Development demonstration farm at Nu’u and the Samoa Farmers Association Tahitian Lime export process at Atele.

    On September 4, it is co-sponsoring the Organics Islands side event that looks at how organic agriculture can be used as a tool for sustainable agricultural development.

    Related blogpost: Spotting deforestation from the space

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    *Originally published hereon the CCAFS blog

    As year 2015 has been earmarked as the International Year of Soils to highlight the urgent need for better soil management, many are promoting conservation agriculture (CA) as a key solution for African farmers. Yet, a slow adoption in sub Saharan Africa raises questions on the effectiveness of CA and the true value of such cropping practices for smallholder farmers. A new CCAFS report, based on collaboration with IFAD and CIRAD, gives some answers.

    Will CA help respond to the urgent need to preserve our soils?

    Out of over 930 million people living in sub Saharan Africa (SSA), about two thirds depend on rain fed smallholder agriculture for their livelihoods. Fragile soils, growing aridity and unsustainable practices like overgrazing, soil-depleting crop cultivation and firewood collection are rampantly degrading over two thirds of African land [UN Economic Commission for Africa]. Fighting this land degradation has recently yet again been listed in the development prioritiesby representatives of the Least Developed Countries in Cotonou. In SSA countries like Uganda, research shows thatbetter land management practices are linked to reduced rural poverty.

    Conservation agriculture (CA), which was initially developed as a response to the US Dust Bowl in the 1930s, is one of the approaches increasingly promoted on smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to tackle this land degradation and improve soil health. Proof of its popularity, the First African Congress on CA took place in March in Zambia, where CA is already practiced on more than 5% of cultivated lands.

    CA combines three cropping practices to help reduce erosion and water run-off, increase soil fertility and ultimately the crop yields. These consist of minimum or no-tillage to reduce soil disturbance; permanent soil cover, using crop residues as mulch; and crop rotations or intercropping, especially with nitrogen-fixing legumes.

    Many experiments across the globe have shown the very positive impact CA can have on crop yields and livelihoods. In the Kulunda Steppe in Siberia, where half of the 42 million hectares of cropland are degraded, farmers were suffering from decades of declining yields. Scientists in this region began experimenting with CA three years ago and have already seen yields rise by around 20 to 25%. These encouraging results suggest CA could offer a relatively inexpensive solution to prevent the next Dust Bowl in the Russian Steppes.

    But, to what extent could small farmers in SSA benefit from CA, and in which conditions? To help set the story straight, a CCAFS report  has just been published following the analysis of 41 studies identified as comparing CA with conventional tillage based practices in various agro-ecologies and climate conditions of SSA. This meta-analysis of existing data helps us better understand what conditions result in positive crop responses to CA practices as well as identify the factors that limit the adoption and impact of CA and potential solutions to address these.

    Yes, CA can bring long term benefits for farmers if all three components are practiced

    A key finding was that by combining no tillage with mulching, a farmer will yield on average 300 kg more per hectare in the first three years and even more thereafter, compared to conventional practices. However harvests will be lower in the long run if he practices only no tillage without soil cover and crop rotation.

    Another finding is the importance of the use of fertilizer as a condition of success for CA farmers. Farmers yielded about 400 kg more per hectare through practicing CA when nitrogen fertilizer application was higher than 100kg per hectare. Given that the majority of SSA farmers apply much less fertilizer, on average around 8kg per hectare, this calls for the appropriate use of small quantities of fertilizer such as fertilizer microdosing, to benefit fully from CA’s potential.

    CA could improve farmer livelihoods and resilience

    Scientists attribute the positive yield impact (up to 300 kg more per hectare) of the combination of no-tillage, mulch and crop rotation to several benefits of crop rotation such as better soil structure, less pests and the biological nitrogen fixation which occurs when legumes are used as a rotational crop.   

    The impact of CA will vary depending on seasonal rainfall. Overall, the meta-analysis shows greater yield gains in rainfall above 1,000mm than in drier conditions. However, some studies claim the opposite as heavy rains on mulched soils often induce aeration problems and waterlogging.

    CA has been praised as a good climate change mitigation and adaptation technique. In particular, it has beenpromoted as a technology to cope with more erratic rainfall, due to the effects mulching seems to have on soil-water-balance. But this may be overstated.

    “The results of this study do not show clear evidence of this potential,” said Marc Corbeels, a researcher at CIRAD (French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development) who led the study. “On average, yield benefits from CA were relatively low under dry climates in SSA: 140 kg per hectare,” he explained.

    Long-term experiments on no till have shown that up to 10 tons of additional carbon could be sequestered in soil. However a recent CIMMYT study of the carbon sequestration potential of no tillage practices concludes that its impact on mitigation has been overstated.

    Still, CA advocates crop rotation as well as no tillage and the positive impact of crop rotation in climate change adaptation is widely accepted.Many long-term field studies have directly compared continuous maize cultivation with a legume based rotation. A replicated controlled experiment in Canada found legume based rotation provided an additional 20 tons of soil organic carbon per hectare after 35 years. Rotation with legumes also adds organic nitrogen to the soil and breaks the lifecycle of pest and diseases, reducing the need for “carbon costly” chemical fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides, further contributing to climate change mitigation

    Another CA benefit of promoting legumes in crop rotation or intercropping is nutrition. Research in Malawi found that families intercropping pigeonpea in their maize fields were more likely to get enough calories even during dry years than families practicing maize monoculture.

    But CA may not fit for all: understanding adoption constraints

    Despite its success in some regions, CA is not being widely adopted in SSA. Among the adoption issues identified is that the use of crop residues as mulch/soil cover competes directly with other very important uses such as fodder to feed animals in mixed crop-livestock farms. Poor families also often use maize, sorghum or millet stalks as cooking fuel.

    "It is important that the study highlights adoption constraints like these so we can identify potential solutions to ensure CA is being practiced where it is most suitable for the smallholder farmer," adds Stephen Twomlow, a Climate and Environmental Specialist from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) which helped fund the study.

    The greater benefit may vary depending on the farm. A crop residues trade-off analysis in West Africa found that while some farmers may get better returns by using crop residues for fodder, others benefit more from its use for mulching and nutrient recycling.

    Some agronomists point out thatCA may not suit all soils. The analysis suggests that CA works better on loamy soils compared to sandy and clay soils. Poorly drained soils are in general inappropriate as mulch can cause waterlogging and crop diseases.

    Despite crop rotation benefits, farmers resist introducing legume rotation in continuous crop monocropping (eg maize monoculture in Malawi) due to the lack of legume markets for sales. Unless there is a ready market for the grain, smallholder farmers in SSA tend to grow grain legumes on a small proportion of their farm land, just for subsistence, and certainly not enough to provide a rotation across the farm. This highlights the need for policies, infrastructure and new markets to encourage better adoption of legume rotation practices. A successful example of this is in Ethiopia where policies supporting better seed access, training and markets have led farmers to dramatically increase chickpea cultivation alongside teff.

    Sustainable farming practices like CA has a crucial role to play in SSA, where there will be 1.5 billion mouths to feed by 2050, in a drier and more fragile environment with increasingly scarce resources. Providing tailored advice for each region is key and despite evident benefits in many situations, CA may not be the solution for all.

    Download the report

    Meta-analysis of crop responses to conservation agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa by Marc Corbeels (CIRAD), Raymond Kofi Sakyi (Georg-August-Universität), Ronald Franz Kühne (Georg-August-Universität) and Anthony Whitbread (Georg-August-Universität).

    The research was undertaken with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

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    By Susan Beccio

    Isei Namacamaca (right) grows lettuce and other vegetables in the highlands. Bevatu Settlement, Nadrau, Viti Levu, Fiji. 
    ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

    I stopped off in Fiji for a few days last week, before arriving in Samoa for the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States. I wanted to see some of the work that IFAD is doing in the country. Through the Partnership in High Value Agriculture Project (PHVA), farmers are learning to grow a variety of produce and to tap into the high-demand tourism and hospitality market. 

    Sereana Ratu is the leader of the village woman's group, she is receiving citrus plants from the project. The group cultivates fruits and vegetables to improve their family's diet. Leawa village, Viti Levu, Fiji. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

    Poor nutrition and dependancy on food imports is a typical condition on small islands in the Pacific. The project, together with partner NGO's and the Ministry of Agriculture, is addressing these issues by helping smallholder farmers to diversify their crops and become more food sufficient.

    A commercial farm in Sigatoka sells produce directly to buyers from the hospitality industry. Viti Levu, Fiji
    ©IFAD/Susan Beccio
    Migrant farmers come to work on a commercial farm in Sigatoka to learn new farming techniques that they bring back and apply to their own small farms in other parts of the country. The commercial farm sells directly to hotel buyers who have a high demand for a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables year round. PHVA has helped the owner of this farm to set up irrigation systems that use a low amount of water, given the water constraints on the island. 

    Workers at the Manasa Trading company sort long beans and cut off the tips in order to conform to export standards for a New Zealand buyer in Sigatoka, Viti Levu, Fiji   ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

    Monasa Trading is a privately-owned company that was set up in 2010. It buys produce directly from famres in and around Sigatoka and sells the produce to companies in New Zealand and Canada. The project helps Suren Kumar, owner of the company, to meet export standards and to work efficiently with local farmers. He exports 10 - 15 tons of produce per week. 

    Sereana Rakalo is a member of the women's group who grow citrus. Here she is outside her home in Naiyaca Village, Viti Levu, Fiji   ©IFAD/Susan Beccio
    In places like Fiji, a little bit of support and technical guidance can go a long way. Small island states like Fiji deserve our attention, not just as tourists but as development partners as well. 

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    By Susan Beccio and Antonella Piccolella

    This week, a dedicated group of IFAD colleagues and partners participated in the International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Apia, Samoa. It was an action packed week with a number of highlights. The opening of the conference began on Sunday night, with a ceremony and a traditional fire dance.
    Traditional Samoan fire dance, at the opening ceremony of the SIDS conference. 
    ©IFAD/Susan Beccio
    The centrepiece of our participation was the side-event: More than cocoa and coconuts: investing in rural people, developing agriculture. This session presented how IFAD forges partnerships to successfully match smallholders and business opportunities, and generate environmentally-friendly win-win solutions for producers, buyers and consumers in a rural context - and in small island developing states.
    It was a fast-paced session that began with an introduction by  Chase Palmeri, Country Programme Manager for the Pacific Islands (and mastermind of the session) and Périn Saint Ange, Regional Director East and Southern Africa Division, followed by the screening of Small Island Developing States - Partnering for Sustainable Development a video which set the scene for the discussion. 

    Périn Saint Ange opens the side-event. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

    In IFAD we say that working in the field is complex, challenging - and also immensely rewarding. Putting together and running a side-event is no exception. Imagine an open tent, hot and glaring sunshine, the buzz of fans, gusts of trade winds - and yet the show must go on - and it did.

    The "talk show" which followed the screening, was dynamic and interesting. Many of the people that were featured in the video were in the tent, talking about their experience in real time. Our favourite host, Ron Hartman, also Country Programme Manager in the Region, guided the discussion. 

    The keynote speakers were:
    • Adalberto Luis, Responsible for the Cocoa Value Chains at the Cooperative for Export and Market of Quality Cocoa (CECAQ-11), São Tomé and Principe
    • Isikeli Karikarito, Cicia High School Principal, Fiji
    • Byron Campbell, Project Manager ‘’Market Access and Rural Enterprise Development Project  (MAREP)’’, Grenada
    • Andrea Serpagli, Country Programme Manager for São Tomé and Principe

    Participants of the side-event, from left, Ron Hartman, Andrea Serpagli, Adalberto Luis, Byron Campbell, Isikeli Karikarito. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio
    The discussion covered the following areas:

    Partnering with the public sector: Making smallholder farmers voices heard in Grenada.

    IFAD has established strategic partnerships in Grenada with both the public and the private sector to enhance access to markets and entrepreneurship opportunities, particularly for young rural men and women. The Market Access and Rural Enterprise Development Programme (MAREP) provides the Government of Grenada with a unique financial instrument to implement rural policies that benefit the poor. IFAD is playing a bridging role between public sector, smallholder farmers and other rural entrepreneurs by supporting the engagement of its target group in country-driven processes.

    Partnering with civil society: Participatory guarantee scheme in Fiji

    Joining hands with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, IFAD has been supporting farmers in the Pacific through the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom). The POETCom is working with members of the Cicia Rural Development Committee and the community to build farmer capacity to manage certification requirements and meet market demands and standards through a method of organic certification known as a Participatory Guarantee System (PGS). The IFAD-funded initiative has offered a low-cost way to achieve organic certification and develop local market chains.

    Partnering with the private sector: Fairtrade organic cocoa production in São Tome and Principe

    In São Tomé and Principe the end of the cocoa industry seemed inevitable, but IFAD recognised the potential for a high quality cocoa market. It developed key partnerships with the Government, local cooperatives of cocoa producers and private companies operating within the organic and fair trade markets to re-launch the cocoa industry. By combining organic production and fair trade principles cocoa exports have increased 30-fold and 2200 smallholder farmers have seen their incomes raised five-fold. At the same time biodiversity protection and sustainable uses of resources have been promoted.

    We concluded the session with Périn Saint Ange presenting IFAD's Approach to Small Island Developing States and wrapping up. 

    Some of the take-away messages were:
    •      It is key to pick the right partners and build trust. 
    •      Trust needs time to develop.
    •      Good partners are those with a long term development vision.
    Overall the side-event and IFAD's participation at the SIDS conference was a great success. We had the opportunity to share our knowledge and experience and confirm our future commitment to the rural development of small islands states - a large number of nations that share common obstacles and challenges as well as a unique context and set of circumstances.

    Complimentary bottles of virgin coconut oil from Kiribati and copies of our approach paper. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

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    The young lady is holding two or three ears of corn in her hands, which she has chosen from a selection on display on a white cloth spread on the floor, and she is pointing at kernels of different colours, mentally counting them up. “Do you think this one is good enough? Can we win with this one?” – she asks to another girl, who is producing more cobs from a large bag, and adding them to the collection. “Take that one, that one is even better” – is the reply.

    Maize and bean varieties presented by grant
    beneficiaries at the Muyu Raymi seed fair
    I am attending an event called Muyu Raymi, a yearly seed fair held in Cotacachi, in the Imbabura province of Ecuador. Muyu Raymi is an important event for farmers: there they can bring their products, meet other farmers from different communities and exchange what they have brought. In addition to this, there are also competitions, where traditional food is offered for tasting and participants receive prizes. For example, there is a prize for the biggest ear of corn, and one for the ear containing the highest number of varieties.

    This year, the event was organized by the prefecture of Imbabura, the municipality of Cotacachi, and the Union of Peasant and Indigenous Organizations of Cotacachi (UNORCAC), in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (INIAP), Ecuador’s national agri-research institute. Several international development partners contributed to this – IFAD being one of them, through the Bioversity International programme on Improving productivity and resilience or the rural poor through enhanced use of crop varietal diversity in integrated production and pest management. And this is what has brought me there.

    Pests and diseases account for a significant share of harvest losses each year, and in developing countries this can result in diminished food security and deterioration in the livelihoods base for many smallholders. It is intuitive to understand that monocultures are at high risk, as large surfaces planted to the same crop have uniform resistance and can be wiped out in the event of an outbreak. The underlying idea of the programme is that if different varieties of the same crop are planted at the local farm level, this will result in a reduction in pests and diseases and, ultimately, in an increase in productivity. Bioversity International and their partners are working on this concept in four countries (China, Ecuador, Morocco, and Uganda), and for six staple species: banana, barley, common bean, faba bean, maize, and rice. In Ecuador, two areas of work exist: one on banana and platano on the coast, and one in the mountains on maize and common bean. An evaluation of this programme is what brought me to the Muyu Raymi, where maize and bean are being exchanged.

    INIAP is the responsible agency for this part of the programme. Bean and maize varieties are so many in this area that it actually was a problem to have them all identified when the activities started. INIAP had to revise their initial idea of baseline assessment and organized a competition asking school children to spot all the different seeds in their parents' fields, and come back to the programme coordinators with samples and names. Now the programme has a community seed bank in Cotacachi, where crop mixtures are available for farmers to borrow, with the agreement that part of the harvest is returned to the programme, to be then further shared under the same conditions. In the meantime, scientists continue to be at work, to come up with further findings on resistance and productivity.

    So, the young lady mentioned before belongs to one of the households targeted by the programme. In case you were wondering, she did win and was able to walk back home with some new tools that, judging by the look in her eyes, promise to be helpful for her daily work in the fields. Before she started meticulously selecting the ear to present for the competition, I managed to ask the girl if at fairs of this kind she can really find new varieties she had not known of before. “Maybe not totally unknown” - she replied -  “but for sure I was able to find varieties that I remember my grandparents used to harvest when I was little, and then have disappeared from my community. This is a good thing, isn't it?”. 

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  • 09/12/14--05:05: Visita FIDA a Oaxaca
  • Written by Mariana Castro Álvarez

    Kanayo F. Nwanze, el Presidente del FIDA
    ©IFAD/Katie Taft
    Durante el mes de julio, el señor Kanayo F. Nwanze, el Presidente del Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA), y su equipo de dedicados especialistas en temas para América Latina  y el Caribe viajaron a la Ciudad de México.

    La agenda del viaje versó sobre diferentes actividades, sobre las cuales resaltan las reuniones con algunos de los representantes de Alto Nivel del gobierno Mexicano dedicados a la Agricultura, Hacienda, Desarrollo Social y asuntos forestales.

    Además, se presentó un estudio regional sobre la agricultura familiar en América Latina, elaborado conjuntamente entre Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural (RIMISP) y el FIDA.
    Parte de la misión consistió en una visita de campo a Oaxaca, en la que el sr. Nwanze, junto con delegados de la Comisión Nacional Forestal, visitaron un grupo de mujeres que han recibido capacitación en la producción de seda, en la sierra norte de dicho Estado mexicano. "Creemos que la población rural es parte de la solución a los problemas del mundo", mencionó el Presidente del FIDA. "Cuando las inversiones se han dirigido a las zonas rurales, hemos observado una y otra vez que las personas se han visto empoderadas para cultivar más alimentos, poner en marcha sus propios negocios, mejorar la nutrición de sus hijos y enviarlos a la escuela. Hemos visto como mujeres y hombres de las zonas rurales transforman sus comunidades".
    Tejedoras de seda Oaxaca
    ©IFAD/Mariana Castro Álvarez

    Junto al Fondo para el Medio Ambiente Mundial y en asociación con la Comisión Nacional Forestal, FIDA financia en México un proyecto que está creando nuevos sistemas de aprovechamiento forestal sostenible y de fijación de carbono, al tiempo que introduce programas para el fomento de emprendimientos rurales, gracias a los cuales la población de las comunidades Santo Domingo Xagacía y Santa María Yalina se han visto beneficiados.

    El proyecto con las mujeres de Santo Domingo Xagacía, está enfocado principalmente a la capacitación en la producción de seda, un proceso heredado de generación en generación, que además de su potencial para la generación de ingresos, contribuye a preservar la cultura local. A pesar de que esta es una región en la cual la pobreza extrema afecta a más de la mitad de la población, el Presidente del FIDA comentó que "las desigualdades pueden eliminarse si nos damos cuenta hasta qué punto las zonas urbanas y las rurales son interdependientes".

    ©IFAD/Mariana Castro Álvarez
    Por su parte, Josefina Stubbs, Directora de la División de América Latina y el Caribe de FIDA, quien también participó en la visita de campo, hizo énfasis sobre la importancia de  coordinar los diferentes recursos que se destinan a las comunidades, para poder así lograr el mayor impacto posible en el desarrollo rural, en este caso de las mujeres productoras de seda.

    “Hay que ver cuál es la manera de hacer al producto menos costoso y de calidad homogénea, para que pueda tener un mayor mercado (…) y mantener en la mente la importancia de conversar con algunas tiendas en Oaxaca o en la Ciudad de México, para ofrecerles la compra de prendas elaboradas con el mismo trabajo de las mujeres, el cual es de excelente calidad, mencionó Josefina Stubbs. Asismismo, comentó sobre un programa regional de apoyo a emprendimientos de mujeres rurales, el cual es financiado por el FIDA y ejecutado a través de ONU Mujeres.

    ©IFAD/Mariana Castro Álvarez
    Como parte de la agenda de trabajo, el equipo de FIDA visitó también la comunidad de Santa María Yalina, en la que seis jóvenes han puesto en marcha un pequeño negocio de venta de carbón vegetal.
    Ahí se pudo constatar la viabilidad que tienen los negocios rurales liderados por jóvenes, con un enfoque de aprovechamiento sostenible de los recursos naturales. “El éxito de las poblaciones rurales depende de cuán bien estén organizadas. La estructura organizativa es sumamente importante para lograr cohesión, trabajar conjuntamente y diseñar planes de negocios que luego puedan generar mayores ganancias”, comentó el Presidente del FIDA con los jóvenes empresarios.

    Al finalizar la visita, el sr. Nwanze recalcó: "Si las economías rurales no son dinámicas, las personas continuarán migrando hacia las ciudades en busca de trabajo. Necesitamos un mundo en el que la población, el empleo, los servicios y las oportunidades estén distribuidos de forma más equilibrada".

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    Written by Miriam Cherogony

    The 6th China-Mozambique-IFAD South-South Cooperation workshop held in Maputo, Mozambique on 4-8 August 2014 conference focused on three important policy reforms in China that resulted in unblocking agricultural development and the China Africa Development Fund (CADFund).

    The policy reforms focused on Chinese agricultural policy and impacts, agribusiness reform and mechanization, and research and development.  The progress in the Chinese agricultural policy and impacts was presented by Prof Zhang Xiaoshan. Various agricultural policies reforms enabled China to put in place incentives for smallholder farmers. The aim was to increase their participation in the agricultural sector development through improved property rights. The result has been an increase in grain production and incomes for farmers. The paper elicited an interesting discussion on the similarities of the challenges faced by China and Africa in rural urban migration and small parcels of land and property rights. The other was to understand how China has managed to change but Africa has not been able to change. The policies are in place but the difference is in the implementation of these policies in Africa.

    Participants follow Discussions

    The agribusiness reforms and agricultural modernization in China was presented by Prof Zhang Xiaoshan.  Although there existed diversified patterns on achieving China’s agricultural modernization, the policy makers favored the development of specialized households based on family farming and regarded it as mainstream in the agricultural management system. The households were encouraged to form cooperatives or associations. This enabled farmers to enter into secondary and tertiary industry and gain added value through the marketing and processing of their primary products. The mixed and diversified agricultural production system will continue to exist in China’s agriculture these are also inter-connected with China’s urbanization and industrialization process. This will inevitably influence the reform direction of rural land tenure system and rural governance structure. The key issue during this development is how to protect the interests of small farming households and protect the scarce resources of arable land, water and protect the environment. The plenary discussion centered on the weaknesses in the cooperative model on governance and management and this remain a challenge in China as well.

    Investment in agricultural research and development was presented by Dr Chen Qianheng. The paper explained why the public sector is the main financier for R&D. R&D is a public good and returns take a very long time to realize. The investment in agriculture research comprises about 0.5% in China’s GDP, lower than the world’s average level (1%). In china, there are 2 million enterprises but only a few large-scale or technology-oriented enterprises are engaged in agricultural R&D. The future of agriculture technology is in the area of biotechnology, water saving technologies, agricultural mechanization and precision agriculture. In all OECD countries, modern agriculture focus mainly on high efficiency and competitiveness of agriculture, food security and increase in farmer’s incomes. The plenary discussions centered on private sector involvement in R&D; how farmers can participate in R&D and how R&D can be revamped to bolster productivity. The discussions drew on the similarities on R&D and how to make R&D relevant for the stakeholders to invest in it.

    The China Africa Development Fund (CADFund) was presented by Henry Liu. In 2006, at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the President Hu Jintao announced the establishment of CADFund to encourage and support Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa. It has four offices in Africa namely Johannesburg, South Africa; Lusaka, Zambia; Accra, Ghana; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Fund determines investment terms according to the industrial features, return on investment, risks, exit timing and approaches etc. of the projects.  Investment term of the Fund towards a single project is mainly 5 - 8 years, and will not exceed 10 years in principle. On a single project the Fund can invest USD5-50 million. It has 78 projects worth USD2.9 billion with a specific fund for Lusophone countries; Angola, Cape Verde and Mozambique. The CADFund is supporting the Wanbao project through a loan of USD60 million from China Development bank and equity of USD58 million (49%) from CADFund and USD60 million (51%) from Wanbao Enterprise joint venture of USD200 million. The CADFund signed a memorandum of understanding with IFAD in 2007. Now they are working on the modalities to link to the IFAD operating model and develop a CADFund-IFAD partnership.

    The motives for China’s enterprises’ Overseas Foreign Direct Investment (OFDI) in agriculture are very complex. It cannot be attributed to a single factor motive such as land grabbing overseas. The Chinese argued that so far, only a very small part of the agricultural products grown abroad was taken to China. A large portion is sold in the local market or exported to third markets. Therefore, China’s OFDI in agriculture has little impact on guaranteeing China’s food security. Most imported agricultural products from Africa are non-food items, including cotton, hemp, silk, oilseeds and other such products. The Chinese admit that China’s firms compete with local growers and some enterprises do not have a strong awareness of environmental protection and social responsibility but this is not the whole story. It is important to note that China’s enterprises’ agricultural OFDI increased agricultural investment, employment and expanded the supply of agricultural products in the local market of the host country. In the long run, the presence of China’s firms with advanced technology will benefit competition: through the expansion of local supplies while providing cheaper technologies that can be adapted and adopted by local farmers. China’s enterprises’ agricultural OFDI is win-win for the host country and China.

    With the rising demand for food in China and the world, more and more Chinese enterprises will venture out. In order to eliminate anxiety about land grabbing from local farmers, Chinese companies should choose the suitable mode of agricultural OFDI. Deborah and Tang (2009) pointed out: “Any efforts by foreigners to produce on a large scale are likely to continue to be controversial. Systems of outgrowing, where farmers maintain control over their own land but have incentives to produce under contract to a central company, could be a middle ground.” Considering many host countries’ food insecurity, China’s companies can come to some agreement with the host country government on the share of land output. In order to benefit local agricultural firms more, China’s firms can set up co-operative enterprise or joint venture with local company to produce agricultural products. The discussion focused on land grabbing and environmental impact assessment citing the scale of these investments. The win-win strategy at the moment seems to favour China and needs to be revisited in terms of cross cultural issues, value addition of raw products, further technical assistance to improve governance and ownership, and more trade between China and Africa.

    The strategy for agricultural development in Mozambique was presented by Mr Adriano Ubisse. Mozambique has a population of 24 million. Agriculture is fundamental for food security and economic development. The focus is on increasing production and area and improving the genetics. The strategy is linked to CAADP and PRSP to create competitive and sustainable agriculture, access to markets, food security, and ensure social equality. The initiative has four pillars: (i) increasing agricultural productivity and production; (ii) access to markets for improvement; (iii) sustainable natural resource; and (iv) strengthen institutions. The implementation is focusing on three corridors; (i) Nagala corridor in the north (ii) Beira Corridor in the central and (iii) Limpopo corridor in the south. This is coupled with the technical centres in each of these areas to support the development of the corridors. The participants will visit some of these technical centres during the field visits.

    The IFAD Mozambique investment was presented by Mr Cândido Jaque, Directorate of Investment and Cooperation, Mozambique. IFAD began operations in Mozambique in 1983 and has provided more than US$200 million in financing for 12 programmes and projects in the country. Currently there are five on-going projects – PRONEA (supports the government's National Programme for Agricultural Extension); PROSUL (improve the climate-smart livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the Maputo and Limpopo corridors), a small EU project that focus on MDGs; ProPESCA (support to artisanal fisheries), and PROMER (supporting the Markets). The Chinese cooperation is focusing on Maize, Cotton, and Rice as well as development of the research centres.

    The PROMER presentation on the development of markets was done by Ms Carla Honwana.  Agriculture is the main source of income in rural Mozambique. She mentioned that the project is driven by a reference committee in the various regions with representatives of public, private, civil society and farmers. The projects support (i) extension services focused on market access to advise the smallholder farmers to produce according to market demand; (ii) production and quality; (ii) adult education; iii) support to rural traders, access to financial services through savings and association groups; and iv) support market information systems which include prices, products, etc. The programme is supporting knowledge management in its parent ministry, DNPDR to ensure the Ministry has ownership of the lessons learned.

    The Wanbao Project was presented by Mr Armando Ussivane, Chairman of Agriculture Sector Strategic Plan (PEDSA). In Mozambique there is a total of three million hectares of irrigated land. The demand for rice is 550,000 tonnes with only 300,000 tonnes produced locally, leaving a gap of 250,000 tones to meet.  This led to the development of the Wanbao project or PEDSA. It has three objectives namely: (i) increase production and productivity; (ii) access to markets; and (iii) sustainable national resource management. In 2007 there was a twinning arrangement with China for technological transfer, and value addition in storage and processing.

    Before the project, the main problems have been (i) poor land preparation; (ii) use of low branching variety of rice (yield 6 tonnes/ha); (iii) direct planning which uses a lot of seed; and (iv) poor control of water. The technological transfer will address these problems by (i) focusing on land levelling; (ii) use of high branching variety (12 tonnes/ha); (iii) use of pre-germinated seed when planting (35kg/ha) and (iv) regular control of water. The lower Limpopo irrigation project is worth USD250 million with irrigation infrastructure costing USD113 million. The approach is a private public producer partnerships arrangement targeting direct support to small-scale farmers and partial support (50% start-up) to emergent farmers who own 5-10 hectares. The project is on course to achieving the target set on the irrigated area; at the moment it has achieved 8,000ha. There was a number of cross cultural issues and adjustments (Chinese and Mozambican) that needed to be addressed for the project to remain on course.
    Rice Drying Facilities at Wanbao Project

    Discussion on what can be improved on the China-Africa agricultural cooperation:

    • China needs to hear the African voice in terms of ownership of the decision at all levels and demand driven strategies in order to have common understanding on both sides
    • Improve on the cross cultural understanding on win-win and there is need to borrow what works well in both cultures
    • China should set up factories in Africa to produce the technologies in Africa to increase cost effectiveness  
    • China needs to change the mindset on the view of Chinese technologies by providing after sale service and the technologies should be simple, adaptable and affordable to the African farmers 
    • China should provide information on the technologies available and the price ranges of the technologies for different markets
    • The trade imbalance between Africa (Exports 2.8 billion) and China (imports 2.5 billion) should be improved and there is need for preferential trade agreements to increase trade e.g. add value to the technologies in Africa and value addition for the raw materials that China imports
    • China should provide additional technical assistance to support the countries from USD30 million to assist in the development of investment policies to support the cooperation  

    What can Africa do?

    • African countries need to avoid supply driven development through the review of investment policies, identification of financial needs, and allocation of budget to the cooperation 
    • Every country should have a clear entry strategy for the cooperation which highlights what is required to be shared with development partners.This should include land issues, human resource capacities and other gaps that need to be addressed in the cooperation 
    • Improve research extension linkage to enable technological transfer to be speeded up in the host country  
    • Improve Africa's participation and engagement in the cooperation and learn from the Nigerian example of active participation in the cooperation for a common cross cultural understanding on the win-win strategies 
    • More access to information on Chinese technologies provided through Government, set up demonstration of these technologies (include TORs of consultants, specifications, etc.), and strengthen the bureaus of standards to reinforce on standards   
    • There is need for a centralized information on the development partners investment requirements 
    • Government should encourage private sector involvement in the agricultural sector through enabling policies to encourage them into the sector.
    • Understand and improve the quality of agricultural products to meet the requirements for the Chinese markets. 

    The importance of the south-south cooperation to IFAD was explained in the presentation of the scaling up agenda by Mr Cheik Sourang, Strategy and Knowledge Management. This presentation showed south-south triangular cooperation as an entry point for improved efficiency and impact at scale in agriculture and rural development. He mentioned the pathways, drivers and spaces for scaling up. He emphasized on the need for more systematic and proactive approaches, in order to reap the benefits of scale through learning, replication and partnerships. A learning event on the south-south and triangular cooperation will be hosted by IFAD on 12 September 2014 in Rome, Italy.

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    A photo blogpost by Mariajose Silva Vargas

    An ex-combatant waiting to receive inputs for production in Korhogo, Côte d’Ivoire.  © IFAD/Mariajose Silva Vargas
    My name is Mariajose Silva Vargas, I am a Bolivian national currently finishing my internship in the Office of the President and Vice-President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Furthermore, I just graduated from Ghent University in Belgium with an International Master of Science in Rural Development (IMRD) degree.

    In June 2014 I went to four different cities in Côte d’Ivoire to collect data for my master's dissertation and for this reason, I visited the IFAD Projet d'appui à la Production Agricole et à la Commercialisation (PROPACOM). Specifically, I met with a special cluster of the project's beneficiaries: the ex-combatants.

    Indeed, the country’s last civil conflict ended in 2011, and nowadays there are around 74.000 ex-combatants that need to be reintegrated into the socio-economic life. Thus, IFAD is assisting the Authority of Demobilization, Disarmament and Reintegration (ADDR) by forming, supporting and installing 2000 ex-combatants into the agro-pastoral sector.

     “The project's objective is to integrate ex-combatants, because they had nothing after the two crises. After years of fighting they had to go back to their life,”  said Mr Pierre Soro Seydou, coordinator of the PROPACOM team in Bouaké.

    Ex-combatant and his family work in the field near Ferkessédougou, Côte d’Ivoire.   © IFAD/Mariajose Silva Vargas
    During the first days of my visit, I was very nervous: indeed, I wondered how to talk to them or ask them about their life after the war, since inevitably the reintegration of ex-combatants is a very delicate issue. Nevertheless, when I met them, their communities and families, they were all very kind and available to answer all of my questions. Therefore, during our conversations, they explained to me that today they just want to take care of their families, and this is one of the main motives why they want to become farmers.

    The children in an ex-combatant’s community in Ferkessédougou, Côte d’Ivoire.  © IFAD/Mariajose Silva Vargas
    Consequently with the project, the ex-combatants and their communities receive training to start or to return to work in the agricultural sector. In fact, many of them were already farmers before the first crisis in 2002. Indeed, Mr Yefarguia Kone, one of the former fighters said to me:

    “I was born in agriculture, before the war I was also a farmer”

    In any case, with the training they also learn new techniques to increase the production, such as methods to process cassava into manioc, or shea nuts into shea butter. For them, the formation is essential for many reasons, such as to improve the quality of their production or enhance social cohesion with other people.

    Mr Yefarguia Kone explaining facts to me in the field,  Côte d’Ivoire.  © IFAD/Mariajose Silva Vargas
    “ After the formation I have found many things that have helped me to improve my everyday
    life. Really, the formation have donated me many things, especially techniques in the
    agriculture,” said Mr Yefarguia Kone.

    A woman from the community producing shea butter, Côte d’Ivoire.  © IFAD/Mariajose Silva Vargas
    Likewise, with the programme they get inputs to start production and they also receive further assistance to connect their communities to markets. For instance, Mr Nakoudjana Silue, one of the beneficiaries, got a tricycle to transport the food and sell it in town marketplaces. 

    Mr Nakoudjana Silue got a tricycle to transport food to the markets, Côte d’Ivoire.   © IFAD/Mariajose Silva Vargas
     From my point of view, this project is a perfect example of the multi-functionality of agriculture, or in other words, that it can solve many issues in rural areas apart from producing food and fibre: it provides employment; it assures social inclusion of the most vulnerable people; and it can even provide social security and protection.

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    IFAD President  with members of Edget Cooperative a register member of Yetsanet
    Fana Union supported by IFAD supported RUFIP in Butajira, Ethiopia.
    On the heels of the African Green Revolution Forum, the IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze took the opportunity to visit IFAD supported Projects in Southern Ethiopia, traveling to Butajira in the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples region and Arata Chufa in Oromia Region.

    The IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze traveled to Ethiopia to make an inaugural opening speech on 3rd September 2014. During the opening speech he urged for investment in the agricultural sector as a means for economic growth to transform the lives of the rural poor and particularly engaging the youth; “Yes many African economies are growing strongly, but too often this is on the back of extractive industries that do not yield jobs and income for Africa’s poor and hungry,” he said.

    The AGRF brought together 1,000 agriculture officials, farmers, entrepreneurs, scientists, civil society organizations and pioneers in agribusiness representing 60 countries to discuss how the African continent may successfully launch and sustain a Green Revolution. Closing the conference Former President of Ghana concluded that it was time for less talk and more action, “Africa is ready to catch up with the rest of the world,” he said. To pave a way forward H.E. Tumusiime remarked, “Discussions this week at AGRF are an important step towards the actions we must take collectively to accelerate agricultural transformation in Africa.”

    The IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze at the IFAD exhibition stand with IFAD staff 
    who participated in the African Green Revolution Forum.
    Before the opening the President had the opportunity to travel to Butajira and Arata Chufa to meet the beneficiaries of IFAD support supported projects and see first-hand how the Fund’s investments are transforming their livelihoods. In Butajira he interacted with members of Edget Cooperative, which is a registered member of Yetsana Fana Cooperative Union that has received financial management trainings and a credit loan to bolster its services for its 108 cooperative members under the second phase of the Rural Financial Intermediary Programme. Women play a strong leadership role in the 290 members strong Edget Cooperative. Almost half the members are women headed households and all but one of the members of the governing committee are women.

    Kibe Kamere shared her experience of taking of 15,000 Birr (USD 750) and raising 3,000 Birr (USD 150) through her savings to purchase a dairy cow.  “I am not going to borrow in the future without a financial plan,” she told the IFAD President, while sharing her future investment plans.

    Members shared their personal experiences of taking loans to launch small enterprises and to develop their farming activities. Loans have been used to invest in activities such as, rearing small ruminates, to purchase inputs (seeds and fertilizers) for their farms and to launch dairy processing activities. The President commended their efforts, encouraging them to continue to invest with their business plans in mind, ensuring to better the livelihoods of their families.

    The IFAD President also visited Bati Futo marketing group that was established by the Agricultural Marketing Improvement Programme. The project established the 150 member strong marketing group providing them with training on basic marketing. Members have been able to qualify for loans from OMO micro-finance institution (MFI) that is supported by the project credit fund. A majority of members took loans to purchase animal drawn cart or to purchase boxes to transport their produce, tomatoes, fruits and onions to the market. While discussing the challenges the farmers continue to face to access markets, he emphasized that IFAD hopes to focus its future investments in Ethiopia to create better access to markets and the lessons learned while implementing AMIP will contribute to strengthening future efforts.

    Delmanash a member of Bati Futu marketing cooperative explained that since she joined Bati Futo marketing group she is now; aware of market prices in surrounding areas, able to sell her produce when the price is most beneficial and can now easily transport her produce to the market by using wooden boxes and an animal drawn cart that she purchased through a loan funded by the Agricultural Marketing Improvement Programme.
    The IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze addresses Bati Futo marketing cooperative members
    The final visit was to Arata Chufa, where the IFAD President viewed a Participatory Small Scale Irrigation Development Programme scheme. The IFAD President had the opportunity to discuss with farmers how they have managed to successfully market their produce from irrigated small-scale farms. The 100 hectare scheme established 14 years ago under IFAD supported Special Country Programme phase one is managed by a water user association of 324 members. The WUA, which is a registered irrigation cooperative serves as a platform to encourage beneficiaries to collaborate and jointly improve their farming practices, working together to overcome hurdles they face while adapt irrigation technologies.

    IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze is welcomed by the Arata Chufa water user association that manages a 100 hectare irrigation scheme supported by the IFAD supported Participatory Small Scale Irrigation Development Programme in Ethiopia.

    Melake Zige the Chairperson of Arata Chufa water user association (r) discusses their annual work plan and expected profits from the irrigation scheme with the IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze (c)

    Before the Arata Chufa scheme was established Medina Hamzino Hamdinot used to grow wheat in her 0.25 hectare land only enough for her subsistence. She has now introduced sugar cane and potatoes onto her farm enabling her to is gain 20,000 Bir (USD 1000) per harvest.

    Joseph Bayena a model farmer and former chairperson of the Arata Chufa WUA in 2004.  Over ten years he has expanded his 0.25 hectare farm to 10 hectares by investing gains from his harvest of tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and beans.

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  • 09/24/14--05:17: There is no 'Planet B'
  • By: Gernot Laganda

    The eyes of the world are on the UN Secretary General's Climate Summit in New York. Over 120 heads of state are roaming the halls of the UN building, telling the world about their perspectives, actions and intentions on climate change. Although some key players are missing, such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, most commentators have good things to say about this Summit. The strategy of the UN Secretary General to request 'bold and decisive action' has clearly left a mark - the announcements countries have made at this Summit to date have mostly been substantive (overview).

    In the past, most speeches at this kind of event were simply acknowledging climate change as a defining problem of the 21st Century and inferring that some urgent action is needed. This approach may have helped countries to delay several complex and uncomfortable reforms, such as the phasing-out of fossil fuel subsidies or the taxing of carbon pollution, but it has also led to a huge aggregate delay on concrete global climate action. The inconvenient truth about greenhouse gas emissions, however,  is that they do not stop at national boundaries. As more extreme weather events are being recorded in all parts of the world, more and more alarm bells from climate scientists (IPCC AR5), think tanks (WRI's The Climate Change Connection to U.S. Public Health) and civil society groups are starting to ring. The climate march in New York City last Saturday is a good example: Over 400,000 people took to the streets, many with signs saying ‘There is no Planet B’.

    At this week's UN Climate Summit, one cannot help but notice that the tone of some of the country statements has changed. Many countries have had an opportunity to reflect on their own experiences with climate disasters, from floods to droughts to wildfires and tropical storms. US President Obama referred to many recent examples in his statement, concluding that 'we are the first generation who is experiencing the impacts of climate change, and also the last generation that can do anything about it'.  This got amplified by other prominent commentators who shared their frustration about the fact that green technologies are ready to go to scale at affordable prices, but there is still too little political drive and inertia in the status quo to make transformational progress.

    For an organisation such as IFAD, which is championing the cause of smallholder adaptation at this Summit, this event has confirmed that we are among the fastest and most decisive movers on climate action. IFAD’s flagship programme for climate change adaptation is only two years young, but keeps getting recognized by donors and agriculture ministers from around the world as one of the most tangible examples of climate action. In 2015, at the 21st Conference of Parties of the UN Climate Change Convention, we hope to realize that our efforts in the field of climate change adaptation are met by equally decisive actions on emission reductions.  

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    The Agricultural Market Improvement Programme (AMIP) an IFAD supported project implemented since 2006 recently closed in July 2014. The seven year project funded by an IFAD loan contribution of USD 35.1 million and the contribution of USD 7.9 million by the Government of Ethiopia aims to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of agricultural marketing for farmers in Ethiopia. Recently an IFAD supervision team undertook a closing mission for the project, this is a photo blog of activities they viewed.  

    AMIP has developed processing, storage and transport technologies to reduce post-harvest crop losses and increase farmers’ returns, thus empowering 500,000 smallholder farmers to engage in and exploit emerging market opportunities.  he project has trained 412,758 farmers and agro-pastoralist on basic marketing for a range of agricultural products. Strengthening the marketing and post-harvest technology extension support that farmers receive, the project trained 4,003 experts and 8,340 Government development workers and cooperative promotion agents. Establishing and supporting 1,384 marketing groups, the project was able to identify potential markets for these groups consequently supporting them to pursue joint marketing plans. 

    The project also established a credit-line of USD970, 000 disbursed by the Federal Bank of Ethiopia to micro-finance institutions (MFIs). As a result, farmers have been able to apply for loans by using group collateral thus enabling small holder farmers to gain access to post-harvest technologies such as; coffee hand pulpier, fruit & vegetable boxes, processing & packing machines, milk handling and processing technologies amongst many other technologies. This is a photo blog to share the results of the project AMIP.

    AMIP established Bati Futo marketing group, in Butajira woreda in Southern Ethiopia. The group has 150 members who have received training through the project on basic agricultural marketing practices.
    Within Bati Fitu marketing group, 31 members have been able to access  AMIP supported post-harvest loans disbursed by Omo Micro-Finance Institution (MFI). Farmers in Bati Futu  marketing group is beneficial because individuals are then able to qualify for loans through group collateral. They are able to buy animal drawn carts or Garis that cost up to Birr 3000 (USD 150) enabling them to transport good to the market.  

    "Once I took a loan to buy storage crates, I found the boxes very useful to store the produce at home and to transport it, we now have good standards and quantities of tomatoes to sell at the market,"Mussama Jemal, a member of Bati Futo marketing goup told us. Jemal is able to grow at least two crops a year on his small plot of about 30 by 50 meters and he grows tomatoes and onions, harvesting up to 50 creates of tomatoes of 50kg each.

    Providing loans to Cooperatives and Rural Savings and Credit Organizations and their Unions beneficiaries are able to jointly process their goods and sell their products in the market. Individuals are also encouraged to save and make investments to launch enterprises and undertake value addition to gain better prices for their goods.

    Areka primary cooperative with 447 members, of which 175 are female, took an AMIP funded loan of Birr 400,000 (USD 20,000)  from Omo MFI to construct a coffee washing station and to purchase a coffee pulpier that removes pulp and husks of the coffee. With support from government extension workers, the cooperative has received training to license and improve the quality of their jointly washed and dried coffee that is now sold for a better price of 91 Birr/Kg (USD 4.5 per kg) compared to 56 Birr/kg  (USD 2.80 per kg) due to improves handling and processing that adds value to their coffee beans.  

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    Statement by Kanayo F. Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (@knwanze)

    When President Obama and African heads of state and government convene in Washington, DC next week for the first-ever U.S.-African Leaders Summit, they will focus on "investing in the next generation". No theme could be more relevant to the future of sustainable development across the continent.

    Today's generation of young people – not only in Africa but worldwide – is the largest in history. Sheer force of numbers means that we urgently need to harness the power and creativity of youth on every continent, from the Americas to the Middle East and Asia. In Africa, that need arises with particular urgency.

    As I wrote in my open letter to African Union leaders before their summit in June, there sometimes seem to be two Africas: one is a new land of opportunities, the other a poor, hungry and hopeless place. But in fact, Africa is rich in resources, and its people are the greatest resource of all – especially the 200 million Africans between the ages of 15 and 24. Each year at least 10 million young people, more than ever before, enter the labour force on the continent. Yet tens of millions of young Africans remain unemployed. Many who have jobs are trapped in poorly paid or part-time work, leaving their vast potential underutilized and untapped.

    At IFAD, we know from experience that young people are the most precious resource a rural community can have. Today, however, many rural areas in Africa are losing their young people, because there are often so few incentives for them to stay. When young rural women and men cannot get an adequate education, make a living or create a secure home, they move to sprawling cities or to foreign countries that, they believe, offer more hope. Some make good and contribute to their communities by sending money home. Too many others become mired in urban poverty. This is a tremendous loss for their families and their nations.

    So if we are serious about investing in the next generation in this, the AU Year of Agriculture and Food Security, we must recognize that increased support for agricultural and rural development is essential. How could it be otherwise when some 60 per cent of Africa's people depend wholly or partly on agriculture for their livelihoods? As I noted in my letter to the AU, a thriving small-farm sector helps rural areas retain the young people who would otherwise be driven away.

    Targeted investments can make a difference. To start with, support for basic education is critical in rural areas where schools are underfunded and poor children are often taken out of school early and put to work. Young rural people also need vocational training, apprenticeships and further education to give them relevant knowledge and skills.

    An IFAD-funded project in Madagascar, for example, provides apprenticeships and job opportunities for thousands of young rural workers, building a stable, skilled workforce for Malagasy small businesses. In Tanzania, IFAD supports farmer field schools that use experiential learning to help farmers of all ages solve problems and acquire new techniques. Those who apply what they learn are reaping the benefits of higher yields, productivity and profits.

    Meanwhile, in several West and Central African nations, a regional IFAD grant is providing training and business development services for young women and men involved in farming and other rural enterprises. With help from their mentors, these agricultural entrepreneurs – or “agripreneurs” – are starting up new ventures across the value chain. They are demonstrating that agriculture is an exciting, modern profession through which young people can contribute financially to their communities as both producers and consumers.

    But education and training alone are not enough to guarantee sustainable livelihoods. Young adults’ access to finance in rural areas is also vital. In Benin, IFAD supports the establishment and growth of financial service associations − owned by rural people − that offer credit and savings products in more than 190 village banks. Nearly half of all the credit extended by these associations has gone to young women and men.

    When basic education, training and credit are widely available to Africa's young rural people, they seize the opportunity to invest in their own farms and businesses. They are empowered to build their skills and confidence. They participate in community decision-making and assume leadership roles in local organizations.

    On an even more basic level, investing in Africa's next generation means making nutrition-sensitive agriculture a top priority. You can't de-link agriculture and nutrition, since up to 80 per cent of the food consumed in Africa is produced locally. Yet more than 4 in 10 children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa are undernourished. Failure to expand, sharpen and accelerate our efforts on nutrition will impose a heavy cost in opportunities missed and potential unmet.

    One study found that undernutrition in Africa causes economic losses that vary by country from 1.9 to 16.5 per cent of GDP. In addition, governments end up spending billions of dollars on programmes in order to deal with poor nutrition and its effects. Investing in nutrition through agriculture, therefore, is more than a social good. It is sound development policy and good economics. It encompasses partnerships with other sectors, including health, water and sanitation, and education. And it demands careful attention to the social context – notably the status of women – as well as farming practices that protect the environment and foster biodiversity.

    As African leaders gather for the summit in Washington in a spirit of partnership, it is important to remember that they, in particular, must take the initiative in fulfilling the promise of the continent's next generation. More than a decade ago, their governments pledged to allocate at least 10 per cent of their national budgets to agriculture, yet only a handful of countries in Africa have consistently reached that threshold.

    Even as they seek responsible, transparent foreign investment to alleviate poverty and boost food security, it is time for African leaders to deliver on their commitments. The next generation deserves nothing less.

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    By: Marie Clarisse Chanoine

    From July 6th to 14th I took part in the Learning Route on Natural Resources Management and Climate Change Adaptation organised in Kenya by PROCASUR. Through peer to peer learning and exchange of experiences, PROCASUR wishes to scale up home-grown innovative solutions to end rural poverty.

    The Learning Route’s participants. Procasur ©

    Developed in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), CARE- Kenya, CGIAR- Research Programme on Climate Change and Food Security (CCAFS), this route was a great opportunity to gather together seventeen professionals involved in IFAD-funded projects from four different countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho and Rwanda. We all work with smallholder farmers in different projects and different areas, from dairy commercialization to forestry, climate adaptation in value chains, small scale irrigation, and protection and conservation of natural resources. However, we share the same concern for rural communities  impacted by  climate change and we were excited to learn more about Kenyan strategies to increase beneficiaries’ adaptive capacities and resilience.

    On a seven day road trip, we visited three projects that were illustrated to us by the project team and the members of beneficiary communities. We first visited  the Upper Tana Natural resources management project(UTANRMP) - IFAD funded project which employs  an integrated approach that includes: school greening, small scale irrigation , water resources users association, plantation establishment and a livelihoods improvement scheme. Then we saw an intervention of CARE Kenya called the Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP)and the last stop was  the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Programme (CCAFS) pilot project on provision of localized climate information for climate change adaptation strategies.

    The Upper Tana project promotes an integrated approach that aims to improve livelihoods through  effective natural resource management. The project demonstrates that small investments in livelihoods improvement have a significant impact on natural resource management. With the school greening component, for example, we learnt that the establishment of environmental awareness is crucial for Natural Resource Management (NRM), especially during  early  childhood development when it is easier to influence attitudes and mind-set. Indeed, these pupils were ambassadors of natural resource management initiatives at community and household levels.          

    Our journeys on the bus. Procasur ©

    It’s important to note that climate change  does not always affect farmers with the same intensity and duration. In fact, different impacts can be observed within a radius of 5 kilometres. For centuries the population has been coping with local climate variability and have elaborated strategies based on their own traditional weather forecast systems. However, climate change is now worsening  historical climate conditions. This helped me to understand the difference between climate variability, which has always existed, and climate change, which is persistent disruptions in climate characteristics.

    The CARE and  CCAFS projects are interventions that aim at understanding intersections , synergies and trade-offs between climate change, agriculture and pastoralism. By meeting and visiting communities involved in these projects, I understood the need to blend traditional climate knowledge with meteorological weather forecasts. These different forecasts are complementary: While the former gives localized and short term predictions,  the latter  provides long term forecasts that  are based on more complex factors. However, it is important that climate/weather information are shared in formats that smallholders farmers and rural dwellers can understand (in local language and using different media).

    One of the approaches that I found most interesting when dealing with climate change is the use of  “participatory scenario planning”. Climate and weather information have to be localized and data has to be collected regularly at local level (i.e. through rain gauges), then information is exchanged between local weather keepers and meteorological services. While meteorological services receive feedback to improve weather forecast, communities learn to translate scientific weather forecast into practical daily agricultural or livestock management strategies. Thus, the participatory scenario planning is an opportunity for both meteorological service staff and local population to collect precise information and make it useful for the local population through seasonal activities planning.

    Every project visit carried vibrant discussions with beneficiaries’ communities not to mention within our group. Our journey on  the bus from one  project to another was not  restful, but devoted to stimulating question and answer sessions in which everyone was excited to share their own experience and feedback on the projects.

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    The 6th China-Mozambique-IFAD South-South Cooperation workshop has started in earnest with over 100 participants from 28 countries, at VIP, Hotel Maputo Mozambique. The theme of this workshop is “rural development and poverty reduction”.

    At the opening ceremony of the workshop on 4thAugust 2014, Mr Wang Bao’an, Vice Chairman of the Ministry of Finance, China emphasised the importance of south-south cooperation in reducing poverty and speeding the development process.  He said south-south cooperation is a good approach in solving problems faced by developing countries especially those relying on subsistence farming. In 2010-13, China has achieved 10 times growth of food production, achieved universal education, health care and social system and this had reduced poverty significantly. As such China has achieved the MDG 1 goal of reducing poverty. China has also significantly contributed in reducing poverty for 20% of the world population through its cooperation. The field visits will give participants an opportunity to see how south-south can be implemented in Africa. He reiterated that China was willing to share south-south experiences with other countries and explore various cooperation arrangements. Mr Bao’an also highlighted the need to explore China’s investment opportunities and good models for development. He acknowledged IFAD’s implementation capacity of rural development and an added advantage in the IFAD-China cooperation.

    In his opening remarks, Mr John McIntire, Associate Vice President, IFAD said of the 850 million of poor people globally, 25% are in Africa and live in chronic hunger. He said IFAD promotes partnerships to leverage its funding, and emphasized the need to share technological transfers to combat poverty.  Mr McIntire noted China’s success in the development of smallholder farming technologies, adding that in Africa, small-scale farmers are synonymous with poor farmers but experience from other economies such as in Asia had shown that this is not the case. He closed by saying “we need to work together to have a world with reduced poverty and hunger.”

    Mr Aiuba Cuereneia, Minister of Planning and Development in Mozambique, informed the gathering that Mozambique had embarked on a rural development strategy to be achieved by 2025. He said Agriculture presented the biggest opportunity to reduce poverty in Mozambique. The government was supportive with budgets and infrastructure support to improve the business environment, and thus increase production. It is expected that agricultural development would grow significantly by 7%. He said small-scale farmers dominated the rural areas and there was need to invest in science and technology to catalyse development. The government has also adopted experience sharing as the fastest way to learn and develop. He shared that China had supported a cooperation centre for the development of technologies and research that participants will visit.

    The workshop brings together agricultural/rural development and triangular cooperation stakeholders, as well as researchers, and business entrepreneurs to share experiences - technical know-how and policy related - in rural development and poverty reduction.  The main aim is to identify pro-poor agribusiness ideas and joint ventures that can be undertaken between China and Africa.

    IFAD recognizes the various forms of south-south cooperation including knowledge sharing, trade and investment as an effective means to achieve poverty alleviation, and agricultural and rural development. The Chinese government has also been giving increasing emphasis to south-south cooperation with other developing countries. To facilitate the enhanced south-south cooperation between China and other developing countries, IFAD supported the Chinese Ministry of Finance (MoF) with a grant project “Supporting South-South Cooperation with China in Poverty Alleviation through Knowledge Sharing.” The International Poverty Reduction Center in China (IPRCC) was assigned by MoF to execute this project.

    One of the project activities is to organize south-south cooperation workshops to facilitate knowledge exchange and consultation on such cooperation. In the past years, five workshops were held in China, and participants have attended from Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

    A peak into the workshop programme

    Day One – 4 August 2014

    Session 1: Progress of Chinese Agricultural Policy and Impacts and Mozambican Agricultural Development Experience

    Progress of Chinese Agricultural Policy and Impacts by Prof Zhang Xiaoshan– Lifetime academician of Chinese academy of social sciences and councillor of Agricultural Committee, Chinese National people’s Congress

    Mozambican Agricultural Cooperation with China and IFAD

    ·       Mr Adriano Ubisse National Director of Investment and cooperation, Ministry of Planning and Development

    ·       Ms Carla Honwana Project Coordinator, PROMER - Promotion of Rural Markets

    ·       Mr Armando Ussivane, President of Limpopo Irrigation Company

    Session 2: Contributions of Agricultural Scientific Research & development & Technical Extension to Agricultural Modernization

    Mr Chen Qianheng Associate professor of China Agricultural University

    Day Two – 5 August 2014

    Session 3: China-Africa Agricultural Cooperation

    China-Africa Agriculture Cooperation: experience challenges and Best Practices by Mr Chen Qianheng, Associate Professor of China Agricultural University

    Empirical studies on the investment of CAD Fund by Mr Liu Jianguo, CAD Fund

    Session 4: Agribusiness Reforms & Agricultural Modernization in China  

    Prof Zhang Xiaoshan - Lifetime academician of Chinese academy of social sciences and councillor of Agricultural Committee, Chinese National people’s Congress

    Day Three: 6 August 2014

    Session 5: South-South and Triangular Cooperation on Family Farming for Impact at Scale: Concepts, Issues and Partnership Opportunities

    Mr Cheik Sourang, Senior Program Manager Strategy and Knowledge Management Department IFAD

    Field Visit to China-Mozambique Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centre

    Day Four: 7 August 2014

              A. Field Visit to China Wanbao Grain and Oil Farm 
         B. Field visit to Experimental Land and Storage Facilities of China Wanbao Grain and Oil Farm
    Day Five: 8 august 2014

    Closing Ceremony

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    Leigh Winowiecki (Soil Scientist CGIAR)

    Integrative approach in data collection for climate smart agriculture

    CIAT led a Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA), an integrative approach to data collection, in Northern Uganda to guide further research in a bid to improve food security and climate change resilience of small holder farmers; part of a new IFAD funded project*.  

    An interdisciplinary team included CIAT, IITA, IFAD, Gulu University, and NARO members conducted the research in Adjumani, Gulu, Kitgum and Nwoya districts, to begin the process of building a representative picture characterising the physical and socio-economic dimensions shaping the local environment.  As per RRA principles, the nature of the team bolstered differing conceptual perspectives, skill-sets and institutional inputs, resulting in broad-based knowledge outcomes. The essential background gained from the appraisal will enable contextualized thought to support subsequent project objectives.

    Local agricultural conditions were assessed utilizing a combination of communication and learning tools, whilst facilitating local knowledge gathering on priorities and constraints faced by farmers.  Key-informant interviews, participatory workshops, transect walks, resource mapping exercises, village and farm visits, as well as gender-disaggregated methods proved effective in gaining a comprehensive insight.

    Households surveyed averaged ten people each, of which seventy percent were male headed, twenty-five percent female headed and five percent child headed.  Across these households in the four districts, it was found that agricultural labour is largely supplied by the family members, yet farmers felt that this was not adequate for purpose with regards to the amount of labour required.  Gender-disaggregated data revealed further details, showing that the labour itself, regarding both crops and livestock, was pre-determined by gender.  ‘Male crops’ and ‘female crops’ were a generic concept amongst the farming communities with men
    cultivating rice, cassava and maize, primarily grown to sell, whilst women tended to be responsible for vegetables - crops for home-consumption.  Similarly the rearing of livestock had clear gender associations and divisions; in all districts at least 60% of livestock was associated with men only and in one of the districts it was over 85%; generally chickens and ducks were looked after by women where as cattle, goats, fish and bees were reared by men.  Commercial value of livestock, particularly for cattle, and related marketing duties were stated as a reason for male responsibility by some farmers, concurring with the cash based gender divisions seen in cropping.

    Crop association by gender; blue papers indicated men and pink papers indicated women

    Land management practices in the study districts were also explored with reference to Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA). It materialized that the most common ways to prepare fields was through a non-CSA-compliant practice, slash and burn, however the CSA practice of intercropping was commonly used for land management; often intercropping cassava with groundnut, maize or foxtail millet.  Socio-economic determinants were found to influence land-use practices, with for example population increase resulting in the decline of fallowing, where as the longer term limited use of inorganic and organic fertilizer was attributed to financial cost and a perception that the soil is fertile.  Constraints to agricultural productivity in the district prompted numerous ideas including the need to improve seed quality and accessibility; soil and water conservation; crop, land and soil management; road networks; provision of climate information; grain storage; market development and promoting value addition of produce.

    Detailed analysis of the RRA data will now support project objectives of conducting an informed, locally specific, assessment of the current use of agricultural practices in the area that satisfy CSA criteria of sustainably increasing productivity, resilience to climate change and reduction of green house gas emissions.  Subsequent objectives include clarification of on-the-ground potential impacts of these CSA practices, considering scientific data on land health and suitability, and assessment of any associated trade-offs.


    Knowledge acquired will guide selection of locally appropriate CSA practices for implementation at the local level followed by further appraisal supported by local perceptions on benefits and barriers to adoption, with full consideration given to variations between socially differentiated groups.  Integrated data from the participatory research, intra-household gender surveys and biophysical baseline assessments aims to ultimately produce a model set of locally appropriate approaches to CSA to out-scale in East Africa, via work with development institutions such as ‘CSA; Agricultural Research For Development’ (CSA AR4D) and through strategic policy partnerships.Detailed analysis of the RRA data will now support project objectives of conducting an informed, locally specific, assessment of the current use of agricultural practices in the area that satisfy CSA criteria of sustainably increasing productivity, resilience to climate change and reduction of green house gas emissions.  Subsequent objectives include clarification of on-the-ground potential impacts of these CSA practices, considering scientific data on land health and suitability, and assessment of any associated trade-offs.

    *Project title, “Increasing food security and farming system resilience in East Africa through wide-scale adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices” led by CIAT (Soil Research Area and Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA)) in collaboration with IITA, ICRAF as well as local and national NGOs and institutions.

    Dr. Leigh Winowiecki is a Soil Scientist with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in the Soils Research Area. Her research includes soil and landscape health monitoring, employing the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework (LDSF) globally.  Dr. Winowiecki maps and analyzes soil conditions to help provide options for improved soil management and adaptation to climate change.

    Dr. Winowiecki holds a PhD in Soil Science and Tropical Agroforestry. A joint Program between the University of Idaho, Moscow, ID and CATIE.

    Click here for a link to the Report

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    by Kanayo F. Nwanze and M.S. Swaminathan

    At the Global Gathering of Women Pastoralists, women pastoralists from
    India participate in a discussion. 
    ©IFAD/Michael Benanav
    In India and around the world, poverty is predominantly rural. Development agencies often note that 75 per cent of the world’s extremely poor people — those who earn less than $1.25 a day — live in rural areas. New figures from the 2014 Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which measures overlapping dimensions of deprivation, show that rural poverty rates are even higher in some regions. In South Asia, the MPI in rural areas is 86 per cent — the highest for any region in the world.

    These figures underscore the fact that sustainable, inclusive rural transformation is essential to improve the lives of the world’s poorest people. The importance of rural livelihoods is also the focus of the International Year of Family Farming in 2014. The year-long UN observance puts a spotlight on the 2 billion people who live on more than 500 million family farms worldwide, working to ensure food and nutrition security for a growing global population. It reminds us of the cruel irony that the people who produce up to 80 per cent of food in some areas are also the ones who often go hungry.

    The post-2015 development agenda must factor in a further reality: over 70 per cent of poor people now live in middle-income countries. India, for example, is still one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world. Yet according to MPI 2014, it is also home to more than 340 million destitute people — 28.5 per cent of the population — who suffer multiple extreme deprivations. More than half the country’s population is classified as poor.

    The position of women, both in home and society, is another huge challenge. Gender-based violence is endemic in South Asia — as in other parts of the world — drastically limiting women’s freedom to move, work outside home and take advantage of economic opportunities. Eradicating violence against women is fundamental to the eradication of poverty, deprivation and hunger. It is essential in the name of justice, and it allows countries to draw on the strengths and skills of their entire population to make shared prosperity a reality rather than a dream.

    Today, the official statistics show that South Asia has one of the lowest rates of women’s participation in the overall labour force. At the same time, however, International Labour Organisation data suggest the increasing feminisation of agriculture in the region, as measured by the proportion of women whose main source of employment is farming. According to the ILO, 69 per cent of working women in South Asia were employed in agriculture in 2011, compared with 44 per cent of working men.

    In addition, women in the region put in longer hours and earn significantly less than men, often working unpaid on family farms or toiling as day labourers. They typically spend a larger proportion of their meagre incomes on household nutrition, health and education. And with men migrating increasingly to urban areas, they are left behind, struggling to manage family farms and care for dependants young and old.
    In the face of such odds, there is no magic bullet for small farmers, in particular, poor rural women. Existing laws must be enforced, and a raft of new measures taken to secure their entitlements as farmers and equals. In 2011, a Women Farmer’s Entitlement Bill was tabled in the Indian Parliament, but this was not passed. Experience also shows that women themselves hold a key part of the answer if they are given the opportunity, necessary support and access to resources and markets. Among other outcomes, we have seen that women play an important role in conserving agricultural biodiversity, promoting nutrition security and enhancing household incomes.

    In Kolli Hills of Tamil Nadu, for instance, women have joined together to share millet seeds and revive a hardy, highly nutritious staple crop. With assistance from the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, the women have increased yields by 30 per cent and turned their millet into a marketable brand. Now their products are being distributed across the state and the women are earning income to pay for their children’s education and family expenses.

    Elsewhere in India, small self-help groups, set up primarily to allow women to save money and provide loans to members, have been shown time and again to empower women in many ways within the broader community. There have been many heartening examples of women’s groups, often working with men, campaigning on critical social issues such as domestic violence and alcohol abuse. Such achievements, however, are not a signal that women can change their lives acting alone. Both gender empowerment and rural transformation must be at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda.

    As featured in The Asian Age

    Kanayo F. Nwanze is president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development. Dr M.S. Swaminathan is founder and chairman of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation. Mr Nwanze will be speaking about the changing role of women in the economic transformation of family farming at a regional conference organised by MSSRF in Chennai on Friday 8 August 2014.

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    “I thought it was just another workshop,” said Programme Manager Martin Liywalii, “but in three-and-a-half days we actually made a product, which would otherwise have taken us months!”

    IFAD staff and their partners in the field along with farmers from Ethiopia, Swaziland and Zambia have recently taken part in a series of workshops where they produced communications products in the form of articles and short films. Overseen by the Centre for Learning on Sustainable Agriculture (ILEIA), the purpose of the workshops was to distill important lessons from IFAD’s work with poor rural farmers in the East and Southern Africa region.

    The Swaziland team  listed what was, in their opinion, the takeaway messages of the workshops:

    • Family farmers should take the lead in development initiatives on their land
    • Traditional authorities should always be involved
    • Family farmers learn more easily from each other than from outsiders
    • Women are crucial in the sustainability of any initiative
    • Regardless of the benefits, communities will always have their own reasons for participating in a project, or for not doing so
    • Unity in a community is paramount to any success
    • It is possible to learn much more from failure than success

    During the workshops participants  evaluated their own work, highlighting lessons for themselves and others to benefit from. The workshops focused on the  basic steps of the documentation process, which is critical for recording lessons gleaned from a project. These steps include deciding who needs to participate in the workshops, making resources available, setting the boundaries of the experience (what, when, where) and describing the project activities, achievements and unexpected outcomes.
    Finally they proceeded with the most difficult part – the analysis. This was a critical review of their experiences, looking at the practices employed and whether or not the objectives were met. Most importantly it looked at why, or why not objectives had certain outcomes. More often than not, institutions  focus  on what has been achieved, without analysing the factors that helped or impeded the process. There is a tendency to miss important lessons, especially what can be learnt about crucial contributing factors. As mentioned in the Swaziland outcomes, sometimes failure can teach us more than success.

    The team working out of Ethiopia created a booklet entitled “Learning for rural change: 14 stories from Ethiopia”. They described it as 'a kaleidoscopic view of a variety of agricultural initiatives taking place in Ethiopia’ and covers the four main themes of: Pastoralist Communities, Markets, Irrigation and Organisation and Knowledge Sharing.

    The Zambia team created a similar booklet to the Ethiopia team, consisting of eleven articles covering three focal areas:  Spreading Practices, Organising Farmers and Partnership and Participation.

    To see the original story on the ILEIA site please click here

    For the Ethiopia articles please click here

    For the Swaziland articles please click here

    And finally for the articles from Zambia please click here

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    The curtains came down on the Sixth South-South Cooperation Workshop in Maputo Mozambique on 8 August 2014.  

    In his closing remarks on behalf of IFAD, Mr Cheik Sourang - Strategy and Knowledge Management in IFAD, recognised the presence of his IFAD colleagues:  Sun Yinhong - China, Robson Mutandi - Ethiopia, Haingo Rakotondratsima - Madagascar, and Ahmed Subahi - Sudan. He hoped the workshop was a worthwhile experience for all the participants. He mentioned that triangular south-south cooperation involves the government, private sector, and producers in a public private producer partnership which IFAD is championing. He mentioned that the SSC intervention for IFAD is being championed at three levels: (i) at country level, SSC is being linked to the country level engagement and knowledge management; (ii) at corporate level, IFAD is exploring opportunities and additional funding instruments such as trust funds for the south-south agenda to complement the grants and loans programmes; and (iii) at the global level, IFAD has facilitated policy discussion on the scaling up agenda to meet the MDGs, etc. He thanked Mozambique and China for sharing experiences. He indicated that the best of SSC is yet to come. He mentioned that IFAD will undertake a survey to get feedback from participants on ways to improve the SSC. 

    In his closing remarks, Mr Antonio Limbāo - Vice Minister of Agriculture, Mozambique on behalf of Minister of Planning and development, expressed his appreciation by saying,  “as we come to the end of the sixth SSC workshop, it was a pleasure to host you in Mozambique to discuss the SSC experience together”. He believed that the SSC in agricultural development and especially in the rice technology transfer in Mozambique is contributing to poverty reduction and increase of revenue to the farmers. The workshop was an opportunity to share experiences on other Chinese interventions in other African countries and the linkage with IFAD.  In Mozambique the SSC initiatives is linked to the government strategies especially in rural development and poverty reduction. The technological transfer can be of value to African countries to address the challenges facing the small holder farmers. On behalf of the government of Mozambique and Gaza province that facilitated this international workshop he wished the participants safe travel to their respective countries.
    China-Moz SSC eggplant demo at technical centre
    In his closing remarks, Mr Zhang Zhengwei - Representative of China in IFAD Executive Board thanked the co-host Mozambique, IFAD and China Poverty Reduction Centre for organizing this important workshop. He indicated that China will always support SSC. He mentioned that China started SSC though bilateral channels but is now exploring multilateral channels through agencies like IFAD. He agreed with the need to address country’s real demand and therefore ownership is an important ingredient in the success of the SSC.  China will continue to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the SSC. The idea by IFAD to hold the 6thworkshop in Africa was a big step for China, but there is still room for further innovation, for example, combine enterprise promotion and agricultural development. He mentioned that the workshop approach of thematic discussions and field visits was a good approach and will continue to be used. China is willing to share its own experience but as a new developed country it shares similar challenges as developing countries. Therefore there is room to learn from each other. He indicated that IFAD’s uniqueness can play a profound role in promoting SSC. He wished the participants safe return to their countries and declared the Sixth South-South Cooperation workshop officially closed.
    Feedback from Participants

    • Participants were impressed with the rice technology transfer programme as demand driven given the shortfall of the domestic supply of rice. The Chinese in the SSC tried to solve  it by aligning it to  Mozambique existing agricultural policy programme
    • The rice technologies transfer focuses on  food security and inclusiveness in that it involves the young agroprenuers extension workers, and private sector partners
    • The importance of the multiservice extension centre  in training and learning as well as technology demonstration
    • Participants appreciated the SSC practical learning approach rather than theoretical approaches  and felt it   should be replicated in Africa for the benefit of farmers
    • One striking problem rural-urban migration where the young are leaving the old in the rural area to do agriculture. China  addressed these issues through policies
    • Participants highlighted the need to introduce knowledge management into the SSC to enable the documentation and a repository of the knowledge generated which is important for skills transfer for the benefit of the scientist and farmers
    • There is need for a cultural centre to address the cross cultural issues and language barriers for the smooth transfer of the technologies.

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    Simone on assignment in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon, March 2014.
    By James Heer

    ROME – Many of you have probably heard or read about Simone Camilli's tragic death in Gaza on Wednesday. Simone, 35, was working for the Associated Press at the time and was killed when Gaza police engineers attempted to disable an unexploded bomb.

    Although Simone had been working on contracts for AP since 2005, for three to five months each year between 2009 and 2013 he came to Rome and worked as a consultant in the broadcast unit of the IFAD Communications Division. He was a true team player who integrated seamlessly into the division each time he returned to us.

    Simone was a highly skilled editor and cameraman as well as an aspiring documentary filmmaker. He had been based in Jerusalem for several years. Working with IFAD gave him an opportunity to spend more time in his hometown, Rome, but also to explore more of the issues he felt passionately about – namely, telling the stories of those who were less fortunate than he was.

    During the time he worked for IFAD, Simone edited dozens of short documentaries filmed at IFAD project sites around the world. He produced his own video stories as well, travelling to both the Philippines and Sri Lanka to cover issues related to remittance flows in rural areas. Simone also worked on many internal productions, the most legendary being the first 'Men in Black' video for an Asia-Pacific Regional Division staff retreat. The comedic short was a far cry from the PowerPoints and flip charts that usually characterize such meetings, and it reflected Simone's well-honed sense of fun.

    In fact, despite all he accomplished at IFAD, what people who crossed paths with him here are most likely to remember are his smile and good humour. He was quite simply a good and decent human being, a pleasure to be around and a pleasure to work with. In January 2014, Simone, his life partner Ylva and young daughter Nour moved from Jerusalem to Beirut, where he continued to take on assignments for AP. Although he had spent the last few summers back in Rome working at IFAD, this year he decided against it. He said it was just too hard being separated for months at time from his daughter.

    Those of us at IFAD who knew Simone will miss him deeply. Our sincere condolences go to his family and his many friends around the world.

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