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Articles on this Page
- 08/18/14--10:26: _Sustainable livelih...
- 10/02/14--07:10: _Monitoring Increasi...
- 07/31/14--09:34: _El Presidente del F...
- 10/08/14--07:32: _Growing more food a...
- 10/09/14--09:15: _The future is farmi...
- 10/14/14--02:02: _Celebrating Interna...
- 10/15/14--03:13: _Women are leaders i...
- 10/16/14--00:04: _Building strong par...
- 10/16/14--07:41: _Innovative Investme...
- 10/19/14--21:08: _Farmers of Asia and...
- 10/21/14--03:04: _Illegal logging in ...
- 10/21/14--08:30: _MTCP2 Day2- Asia an...
- 10/22/14--01:13: _Where research meet...
- 10/22/14--02:54: _A step toward biodi...
- 10/22/14--07:23: _Indigenous plant pr...
- 10/22/14--11:04: _The marvels of inve...
- 10/23/14--06:03: _Mapping the future ...
- 10/23/14--06:38: _The time poverty tr...
- 10/23/14--23:12: _MTCP2 Hanoi-Day 3 c...
- 10/23/14--23:29: _Nairobi Sharefair c...
- 10/02/14--07:10: Monitoring Increasing Salinity of the Mekong Delta
- 10/09/14--09:15: The future is farming! Integrating rural youth in agriculture
- 10/14/14--02:02: Celebrating International Day of Rural Women
- 10/15/14--03:13: Women are leaders in family farming
- Gender and family farming in Asia and the Pacific
- IFAD social blog: Why we need to look inside the family, in the International Year of Family Farming
- Gender equality and women’s empowerment IFAD’s work and results
- 10/19/14--21:08: Farmers of Asia and Pacific are meeting in Vietnam (18-23 October)
- 10/21/14--03:04: Illegal logging in Peru
- 10/23/14--06:03: Mapping the future for smallholder farmers
- First, we must address labour constraints across the whole livelihoods system at household level, including those in the domestic sphere, rather than just looking to reduce the agricultural workloads.
- Second, we must break down the gender division of labour and achieve equitable workload balance in farming and household tasks. This means we need to go beyond gender mainstreaming and use gender transformative approaches to achieve sustainable changes at the household level for the benefit of all.
- Innovations and technologies benefiting women smallholder farmers– The winner in this category was Wacoco, Paul and Ocheng, Matthew from Makerere University, Uganda for the Portable Electro-Chemical Aflatoxin Testing Kit. The second prize was awarded to Pauline Wanjuki Njeru from Egerton University, Kenya, for the innovative mushroom growing using affordable, readily available materials.
- Communication technologies which promote the dissemination of agricultural innovations– Gladys Mwanga, a student at Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, Tanzania took the award for the Mobile Application for Livestock Production
- Technologies developed in research and/or learning institutions– The winners were Rose P Funja, Grace S Makanyaga, Dickson Msack, and Deogratius Mushi, all students at the University of Bagamoyo, Tanzania. Their technology was the Farmland Ownership Mapping Software.
- The need for upscaling of existing technologies so that they are accessible (& affordable) by the rural women
- The need to look across the labour demands across the whole livelihoods system at household level, including at the domestic sphere
- Recognizing that farmers are part and parcel of research – putting farmers first in research
- Efforts to have women’s voices heard at all levels (at the household level, communities including farmer organizations, boardrooms, national mechanisms)
- Need for a Transformative Agendain order to break down the gender division of labour in farming and household tasks as a critical first step towards improving agricultural productivity
- Taking advantage of policy environment such as the Declaration by African Union of the Year of Women’s Empowerment - 2015
A coastline household in Kurumpanai village, Tamil Nadu, India. This village was hit hard by the tsunami in 2004. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio
Leaders of the Kurumpanai fishermen’s group talk about the tsunami at the fishing society headquarters in Kurumpanai village, Tamil Nadu, India. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio
Women, who buy fish wholesale and sell in the local market, received training on fish handling - though not all of the practises have been easily adopted. Maria Roni, 56, secretary of the Kayakumari fish society explains that though “the women know better, they mix the fresh fish with sand because then people think it is fresh, if they put ice, people think the fish is frozen."
IFAD has initiated a programme to develop a monitoring and early warning system to combat the increasing salinity levels of the Mekong Delta.
Natural ecosystems and human activities are dependent on the salinity balance within the delta. As freshwater is becoming scarce, management of the delta system is focused on protecting freshwater sources through heavy infrastructure. However, this is largely unsustainable and IFAD is attempting to move to an adaptation strategy. Examples include adjusting cropping calendars and introducing saline tolerant rice.
However, the basis for creating a successful adaptation system is reliable knowledge. Farmers need access to accurate information systems to determine when the water will be at its most saline or at its freshest. Also people, such as irrigation system managers, need to know when to open and close floodgates and where and when new infrastructure investments are required. This knowledge is essential to accommodate adaptation needs.
However to put this into practice is quite a challenge. Monitoring salinity is not an easy task in an estuary. The Mekong Delta consists of a variety of different rivers, irrigation systems, drainage canals, dikes and floodgates. Consequently water flow is varied resulting in a patchy distribution of salinity levels. The tidal nature of the delta also increases high variation in readings making interpretation of data extremely difficult.
To make matters worse, there is currently no shared base of knowledge for the various stakeholders. This can lead to a lack of knowledge among people such as smallholder farmers, who usually are the individuals most affected by the increasing salinity.
The Adaptation in the Mekong Delta (AMD) project will develop a joint and open access salinity monitoring and early warning system aimed at all user levels of the Delta. It will be installed in two provinces: Ben Tre and Tra Vinh, with the intention of scaling up to the entire mouth of the Mekong in the future.
The system will make near-real-time information available through a web platform, as well as through a text messaging service (SMS) for farmers. It will use manual data from individual farmers at field-level and automated data from monitoring stations to produce the most accurate results. This system will be fully open access, meaning that everyone can can access the data at no charge. Though the main focus is on salinity information, selected automated stations will also monitor water quality variables to enable improved environmental management.
Achieving consistent, reliable and timely information to relevant stakeholders is the primary objective of the system. The secondary objective is the building up of historical data which can allow researchers to detect trends and make long-term forecasts, which will subsequently feed into the planning process. This data when linked with an upstream river information system can in the future enable real-time short-term (hours to a few days) forecasting.
The key to this operation working successfully is co-operation and communication between the different stakeholders. Therefore they will all be closely involved with the development of the system and their comments and input will be included within the programme design.
Read more about IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme.
by Gretchen Robleto
El Presidente del FIDA explica la
importancia de un almacenamiento y elaboración
adecuados para aumentar el valor de mercado
de la producción en Nicaragua.
En Nicaragua, Nwanze constató los progresos realizados en la esfera del desarrollo rural y reducción de la pobreza. Durante su visita a la zona norte y la Costa Caribe, el Presidente del FIDA se reunió con emprendedores rurales, la mayoría mujeres, a quienes el FIDA ha apoyado mediante proyectos de desarrollo productivo, como estrategia para luchar contra la pobreza. En la visita también participó Josefina Stubbs, Directora del FIDA para América Latina y el Caribe.
El Presidente del FIDA fue acompañado por el Vicecanciller de Nicaragua, Valdrack Jaentschke; la Ministra de Economía Familiar, Comunitaria, Cooperativa y Asociativa, María Antonieta Machado y el Ministro Agropecuario, Edward Centeno.
“Lo he visto en distintas comunidades rurales de todo el mundo, tanto de América Latina como de África y Asia: si queremos comunidades que prosperen, debemos invertir en las mujeres rurales, porque una vez que la mujer rural está empoderada económica y financieramente, hay una inversión en la comunidad y la comunidad se transforma. Las mujeres rurales son mejores administradoras de recursos, tanto financieros como ambientales; ellas reinvierten en sus familias, en la educación de sus hijos y la nutrición. Sus hijos pueden ir a la escuela y su desempeño mejora y la comunidad se desarrolla”, destacó el Presidente del FIDA durante una reunión con mujeres miembros de la cooperativa “Amor y Esperanza”, compuesta por 116 mujeres de Terrabona y Ciudad Darío y la Cooperativa Leila López, formada por 158 mujeres de Sébaco y San Isidro (norte de Nicaragua).
Consuelo Velásquez, Presidenta de la cooperativa “Amor y Esperanza”, dijo a Nwanze: “Antes éramos productoras, ahora decimos que somos empresarias”. Durante un recorrido por la granja porcina de la cooperativa, Velásquez explicó a los medios de comunicación que “el principio de la cooperativa es ser solidarias entre las mujeres, nadie quiere hacerse rico, pero sí salir de la pobreza y ayudar al crecimiento del país”.
Velásquez es madre de 3 hijos. “Mi hija no podía estudiar porque no había posibilidades, los ingresos (los que le generan la granja porcina) me ayudan a que mi hija pueda seguir sus estudios, me beneficia porque estos ingresos ayudan a ser libres, son parte del enfoque de género porque me ayudan a liberarme, no es sólo estar en la casa. Muchas mujeres dicen que no trabajan pero en realidad hacen un montón de trabajo en la casa”, explicó la Presidenta de la cooperativa Amor y Esperanza.
Durante su viaje por el norte de Nicaragua, el Presidente del FIDA visitó una planta procesadora de hortalizas en Sébaco, Matagalpa, donde miembros de la cooperativa COOPRAHORT compartieron sus experiencias. Años atrás sufrían pérdidas económicas debido a la falta de infraestructura adecuada por lo que, al tener urgencia de vender su producción, el intermediario les compraba su producción a precio muy bajo y se quedaba con la mayor parte de la ganancia de la venta. Ahora, en cambio, mediante el equipamiento con el que cuentan los productores, la producción de cebolla tiene 4 meses más de vida útil, y por lo tanto no hay urgencia por vender. Sus ganancias se han incrementado en más del 100%. La cooperativa integra a productores de Terrabona, Ciudad Darío y Sébaco, 251 mujeres y 90 hombres.
“Nada da más satisfacción, señor alcalde, que poder observar experiencias exitosas que están siendo apoyadas por el FIDA”, manifestó el Presidente del FIDA al alcalde de Matagalpa, Sadrach Zeledón.
La misión del FIDA y la delegación gubernamental también visitaron la Cooperativa Solidaridad R.L, en Matagalpa, donde se acopia el café de los socios, quienes cultivan el grano a 1,300 de metros de altura sobre el nivel del mar. Dicha cooperativa produce café gourmet para exportación.
|Lan Cuiren, 71, is a farmer in Huinin County, Gansu Province, China. In this area, plastic mulching has not been used. ©IFAD/Qilai Shen|
Landscape view of terraced hillside where plastic mulching is used, Guanghe County, Gansu Province, China.
The second measure was to establish plastic collection stations that also provided a small reimbursement for the plastic collected. Each village in the county now has one functioning collection station and each township has a larger collection station. After detailed analysis, the county government decided on a standard buy-back price of 1.2 CNY/kg (Approximately US$ .20 per kilo) for the used plastic sheeting. The price was set high enough to motivate farmers to recycle their plastic sheeting without placing too high a financial burden on the county budget.
The third measure included a government-initiated negotiation process with private enterprises to establish a process to recycle used plastics. Lanzhou Golden Land Plastic Products Company Ltd. was identified and invited to enter into a partnership with farmers and the county government. The recycling process requires that at the main collection center soil is removed from the sheets, the material is pressed into bales and transported directly to the company and traded in for new sheeting. The company recycles the used plastics to produce sheeting and other products for agricultural use, significantly increasing the effective use rate of plastics while preserving the soil and landscape.
By Vivienne Likhanga
After eight exciting days in field, the Learning Route: Innovative ideas and approaches to integrate Rural Youth in Agriculture the progress in Kenya came to a close on the 18th of August in Nairobi, Kenya. The Learning Route brought together 22 "ruteros”(route participants), with over one half of them being women, from various IFAD-supported projects, implementing partners and civil society organizations working in different capacities at the local and national governments and non-governmental organizations involved in improving rural livelihoods.We had representations from Haiti, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Swaziland, Mozambique, South Sudan, Kenya and France. The aim of including participants from all over Africa and part of Latin America and the Caribbean, is to foster south to south cooperation and to share the learning as widely as possible and to facilitate relationships between those working in rural youth and gender related projects.
“I’m here to acquire knowledge and skills on how to actively involve the youth in the projects that we are currently implementing and on how to make them enterprise owners. I am very excited as well to see firsthand the Kenyan experience on innovative strategies and approaches to engage rural youth in agriculture, increase employment and reduce poverty” said Linda Magombo-Munthali from the IFAD funded Rural Livelihoods and Economic Enhancement Programme (RLEEP) in Malawi.
Addressing the needs of rural youth is gathering attention with international development agencies, donors and private companies supporting new initiatives by governmental and non-governmental organizations in many parts of the world and in Africa in particular. Issues surrounding rural youths such as limited access to educational services, dependency on mainly unpaid labour in family farms and working in the informal sector as well as the considerable impact of migration on their livelihoods - especially affecting young women- have been widely recognized as significant. There is overall agreement that if youth issues are not addressed high rates of youth unemployment and under-employment will persist and overall development in African countries could be negatively affected.
In this context and in line with its 2011 – 2015 Strategic Framework, the Procasur Corporation in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), organized an eight day Learning Route : Innovative ideas and approaches to integrate Rural Youth in Agriculture. The progress in Kenya., between the 11th to the 18th of August 2014.
“Traditionally agriculture in Africa has been associated with the older generation. We have to find a nice way to package agriculture and make it appealing to the youth by using simple but effective technology and introducing products with a short cycle so that the youth have a quick return on their investments. Getting youths interested in and knowledgeable about farming, while helping them seeing the value of it, will be of great importance for our future food security.” said Ms. Anne Laure Roy the Youth Focal Point, IFAD - Policy and Technical Advisory Division (PTA)in the opening session of the Learning Route.
A Learning Route is a capacity building tool with a proven track record of successfully integrating and promoting local rural development knowledge and experiences that positively includes learning among project staff, grass root organizations, private sector and local champions from the field, on best practices that have scaling-up potential. This will continue after the end of the journey itself, allowing projects to develop the methods and tools to adapt and expand innovations and best solutions for the rural poor communities. The end goal is for the local participants to become more effective and strategic in their own context. The Learning Route encourages each participant to come up with a concrete innovation plan for actions.
Mr. Stephen Jalenga, Directorate of Youth from the Ministry of Devolution and Planning in Kenya stressed on the importance of having such kinds of knowledge sharing forums: “I am quite impressed with the idea of innovation and especially the idea of youth coming together from all over the region, particularly the south to south cooperation, to share and learn from successful experiences and go back to try the same with their families and organizations back at their home countries. This can lead to quite a great change in agriculture globally by revolutionizing the youth’s attitude to it and in turn reducing poverty. I do hope that the Learning Route is replicated throughout the country and the world at large so that participants will be able to get good experiences and new perspectives and solutions to address poverty while improving efficiency and impact of all our projects”.
|Participants all geared up and ready to hit the|
road on the Learning Route bus to visit the four cases
that hosted the Learning Route
One of the four host cases discovered during the Learning Route was the Strengthening Rural Youth Development through Enterprise (STRYDE), TechnoServe. STRYDE is a four year regional youth Enterprise development program implemented in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation. It is designed to enable rural youth aged between 18 and 30 years to have a more successful transition to economically independent adulthood. They do this by increasing their opportunity, ability, and motivation to engage in income generating activities; more particularly in agri-business.
A youth group with impressive farming plans is not something you stumble upon every day, especially when young people are more interested in jobs in the city, than staying on the family farm. But the members of the STRYDE Technoserve in Central Kenya are shaking up their community as they conform to make a livelihood through the unconventional while empowering other young people in the area to embrace a bright future as farmers.
|Meet Denis Kinyua, a 24 year old local |
champion from Cohort 4 of the STRYDE Technoserve
host case study that has successfully used his investments in
Agriculture to further his education and feed his family.
The participants have so many lessons to take home with them from the Learning Route. Top on the list is the realization that the youth have the energy and potential to create and expand enterprises through agribusiness. Indeed with proper guidance this energy can be utilized to alleviate poverty and improve livelihoods through new income generation activities!
During the learning route the participants developed their ideas into a concrete Action Plan, which will outline how they intend to bring new products, services or processes into their projects and organizations and how they can include the youth and address their needs within their activities and strategic framework. Each Action Plan was framed within these on-going projects or programmes, and followed one basic question: how can these projects make use of the lessons learnt and effectively promote the social and economic inclusion of rural youth? They all have a clear objective: as mentioned by the regional Gender and Youth Coordinator, Elizabeth Ssendiwalla: "If we cannot get more people to come to a Learning Route, then we need to be sure we use the lessons learnt in the best way".
The best three Action Plans will be prized with a starting capital of USD 2500.
To follow more details on the learning route: Visit our website and our Facebook pages dedicated to sharing our experiences, stories and photos from the learning route
IFAD is funding Learning Routes across Africa, Asia and Latin America through the international knowledge-broker Procasur. A global catalyst for change and knowledge sharing, Procasur's work positively impacts the lives and livelihoods for rural talents across the globe.
For further information, please feel free to contact:
Ariel Halpern: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +56-02-3416367
ValentinaSauve: email@example.com, phone: +254 (0) 706046742
Vivienne Likhanga: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: +254(020) 2716036
by John McIntire, Associate Vice-President, Programme Management Department
A farmer weighing turnips |
in El-Ferech, Tunisia©IFAD/ Susan Beccio
It is estimated that smallholder family farms are responsible for up to four fifths of food production in the developing world – thus making a significant contribution to global food security. They are also custodians of vital natural resources and biodiversity, and central to climate change adaptation.
Women carry out a substantial and growing part of the work on family farms and represent 43 per cent of the global agricultural workforce. Indeed, in many parts of the world, women are more likely to work in agriculture than in any other sector. Much of this work is unrecorded, undervalued and unpaid. In addition, the challenges that are common to all family farmers are often exacerbated for rural women, impeding their ability to improve their own livelihoods and those of their families.
For example, despite their crucial role, lack of land rights remains a serious challenge for women farmers. The percentage of farm holdings headed by women worldwide is less than 20 per cent. Control over productive assets and income also continue to be unequal. Rural women typically have less access than men to financial services, new technology and information, and improved agricultural inputs, including such basics as good seed.
Women in smallholder family farms also have greater overall burdens of labour, working an average 13 hours a week more than men. Women of all ages manage household responsibilities, care of children and the elderly, and combine these duties with farming and non-farm activities. Customary norms restrict their activities inside and outside the home, limiting their freedom to make decisions and to take advantage of opportunities. In some developing countries, surveys show that women have no say in how their earnings are spent.
Innovative work at household level
|Pacifique Musabyimane stands in front of |
her home in Kirehe district, Rwanda
Household methodologies produce important changes in family life. All members of the household can begin planning together, working towards family goals and holding each other accountable. The benefits include increased productivity, food security and incomes, together with greater happiness and greater resilience to external shocks.
The approach is being widely applied in Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Uganda, where about 50,000 people are participating. IFAD is leading the drive to scale up household mentoring as a methodology and it has been included in the design of new projects in Ghana, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Mozambique.
The road to Beijing+20
For IFAD, the International Day of Rural Women 2014 is also the starting point for a year-long process to prepare for the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+20). This was a landmark agreement and policy framework for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Ndoumbe Mbaye (left), 20, and Faton Fiop, 22, attending |
a literacy class in Thiourour village, Koki zone, Senegal©IFAD/ Susan Beccio
Beijing+20 provides a significant opportunity to focus on the elimination of discrimination against rural women. This must include narrowing the gaps that still exist, in particular with regard to access to education, health care and services, infrastructure, productive resources and assets.
IFAD is planning a series of events at global, national and local level to highlight the importance of economic empowerment for rural women and to showcase the results achieved by IFAD-supported programmes and projects. These events will lead up to the Global Leaders’ Commitment Forum on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, which will take place in September 2015 in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly.
The United Nations declaration of 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) has done much to publicize the role of small family farmers in global food supply. These are people working in any area of agriculture who derive a significant portion of their income from farming, involve members of the family in managing the farm and rely mostly on family labour. Smallholder family farmers are responsible for as much as four fifths of the food produced in the developing world and are major contributors to global food security.
What may be less well known is the key role women play in family farming. Today’s message from IFAD’s Associate Vice-President and Gender Champion underscores their vital contribution.
15 October, marks the International Day of Rural Women, a day that highlights the role of rural women in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty, and throws a spotlight on the many challenges that they face.
|A family traveling along the 2-km werabadiyawa road in Galgamuwa, Sri Lanka.|
This road was constructed with the help of IFAD's Smallholder Plantations
Entrepreneurship Development Programme.
The challenges for rural womenWomen provide a substantial part of the work on family farms. They have greater overall workloads than men, combining household responsibilities (cooking, cleaning, collecting fuelwood and water), care of children and the elderly, farming and non-farm activities. Moreover, rural women have limited access to productive resources, customary norms restrict their role in households and public life, which limit their ability to make decisions and seize opportunities. In many parts of the world, rural women have little decision-making power at the household level, including on the use of their own earnings.
Investment projects and other programmes are needed to enhance women’s economic and social empowerment, and to support them in ensuring their families’ food security and diversifying income sources.
Household methodologies – working with women and menIFAD is developing methodologies for supporting family members in developing their household livelihood strategies. The goal is to work with both women and men to determine common priorities and make joint decisions about what is best for the family and the family business, including the distribution of workloads. Addressing gender inequalities is often part of households’ solutions to these issues. Household methodologies produce critical changes in gender relations within households. These include the ability of household members to make their own decisions regarding use of available resources to improve their livelihoods, planning together as a family, working towards family goals and holding each other accountable, as well as increased farm productivity along with food security and incomes. As a result, families using household methodologies report that their livelihoods are more sustainable and resilient.
In Malawi, household mentoring has been piloted at three irrigation schemes under the IFAD/World Bank-supported Irrigation, Rural Livelihoods and Agricultural Development Project. The methodology was introduced to enable households to identify and address gender inequality and HIV/AIDS-related issues at household level. The approach has had a big impact on participating households, including men:
“I have seen big changes in our household – given our past and current life. We have big things happening! I am a happy man. Initially, I was wasting money but with this programme I am clearer. Now we plan, budget together and implement our vision and goals. I am a changed man, I share care work with my wife such as drawing water and taking care of our children.” (Hamton Mdala, male head of household)
Supporting women’s groupsWomen’s groups, including cooperatives, producers’ organizations and self-help groups have proven to be another effective way of addressing some of the challenges faced by women farmers. These groups can facilitate access to markets and financial services for women, and self-help groups can build women’s confidence, voice and bargaining power.
Kamalbai is a woman farmer who joined a self-help group supported by IFAD’s Tejaswini Rural Women’s Empowerment Programme. Through the self-help group, she obtained access to loans and started activities such as growing vegetables for sale in local markets, livestock raising and kitchen gardening. This increased her income and provided her family with better food. Her participation in the self-help group also revealed Kamalbai’s natural leadership skills. Encouraged by her community, she won elections to become Sarpanch (head of village): “From being extremely shy in even talking to men in my own family, today I have no apprehensions in talking to anyone, from State officials to bank staff or even the Chief Minister.”
The groups also provide a safe environment for women to learn new skills, discuss and design their own solutions, implement joint actions, obtain access to productive resources, and process and market products. In addition, the women’s groups provide a platform where social issues and attitudes at the household level can be addressed and changed, including domestic abuse, alcoholism and malnutrition.
|The innovative Shaurya Dals deal with |
violence against women at the village level
In line with IFAD’s Policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment and the commitment to place family farmers at the forefront of agricultural transformation and sustainable development, IFAD-supported projects and programmes are increasingly addressing women’s role in family farming. Through the use of household methodologies and by involving women farmers in women’s groups, the aim is to strengthen their decision-making power and increase their income earning opportunities for the benefit of the entire family.
Addressing gender inequalities and empowering women are vital to meeting the challenge of improving food and nutrition security, and enabling poor rural people to overcome poverty. (IFAD’s Policy on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment)
by Kanayo F Nwanze
Every night, 842 million women, children and men go to bed hungry. Every day 8,000 children die needlessly from conditions linked to under-nutrition. Globally, 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient malnutrition.
These statistics are well known, but they bear repeating. The burden of under-nutrition is incalculable, and the ramifications for children are particularly severe. When a child is deprived of essential nutrients in the womb and during the first two years of life, the resulting damage to physical and mental development can lead to a lifetime of health problems and unrealised potential.
There is not only a moral and social imperative to address under-nutrition, but an economic one. It is estimated that childhood malnutrition will cost the global economy some $125 billion in lost GDP growth by 2030.
It is one of life’s cruel paradoxes that many smallholder farmers, who do so much to help feed their nations, are too often hungry and malnourished. It is estimated that three-quarters of the world’s hungry people live in rural areas. Investing in nutrition through smallholder agriculture is more than a social good. It is sound development policy and good economics.
For years, many in the agricultural sector thought that under-nutrition could be solved by a simple equation: increase agricultural production and incomes, and better nutrition would automatically follow. After all, if you grow more food and earn more money, you can consume more food and nutrients. We now know that income growth alone does not guarantee good nutrition. Despite better yields, higher revenues and greater access to markets, the rates of under-nutrition and micronutrient deficiency remain unacceptably high in many rural regions.
Over the last few decades, we have learned important lessons that have helped us ensure that agriculture – the biggest employer in most of the regions where IFAD works -- contributes to better nutrition. First, there is compelling evidence that women’s education, health, nutritional status and decision-making power have a significant impact on the health and nutritional status of children. Women are the primary care givers in rural households, and when women earn money, they are more likely than men to spend it on food for the family. More than half of the reduction in malnutrition between 1970 and 1995 is attributable to improvements in women’s status and education. Empowering and educating women must be a principal goal of agricultural development.
We put this knowledge to work in Bangladesh, where we partnered with the government and WorldFish to introduce nutrient-dense small fish to poor communities. As part of the project, families were educated on the importance of nutrition, particularly for pregnant women and young mothers. As a result, malnutrition and stunting have been reduced significantly.
Second, we need to address issues of wastage and post-harvest losses so that farmers can make the most from what they grow and reduce the amount of extra food they need to grow. Today, there is no shortage of food globally — the world grows enough. But in sub-Saharan Africa, between 20 and 40 per cent of crop production is lost because of poor processing and storage. We see similar problems in poor rural communities in every region where we work: Asia, Latin America, North Africa and Central and Eastern Europe.
Investing in modern storage facilities means that farmers can keep their produce safe during harvest seasons so that it can be eaten or sold at a later date. We have seen this in Timor-Leste where two-thirds of the population is considered food insecure. More than 60 per cent of the children where we work are chronically undernourished. Low crop productivity has long been a problem in Timor-Leste, but when farmers were first offered high-yield maize seeds, they hesitated. They were already losing 30 per cent of their stored maize every year to pests.
IFAD joined forces with the Timor-Leste Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Australian government to provide better storage and better seeds, which we expect will increase food availability by 70 per cent. The secure storage also creates an incentive for farmers to adopt higher yielding varieties and should allow them to wait for the off-season when prices are higher. Secure storage also creates an opportunity for farmers to climb the value ladder, moving into alternative income activities, such as producing food for livestock. As this example shows, low production and waste are two parts of a complex, dynamic equilibrium that locks rural people into cycles of poverty. Such complex problems demand systematic solutions and strong partnerships.
Thirdly, we must ensure that knowledge and science serve agriculture. Scientific advances can improve the nutritional value of what we grow. We have seen innovations such as quality protein maize, which offers 90 per cent of the nutritional value of skimmed milk, or the bio-fortification of key crops to address micronutrient deficiencies — such as vitamin A in sweet potato. These are already making a difference to food and security but more needs to be done to help farmers grow and sell a more diverse range of foods. There are more than 50,000 edible plants in the world, but studies show that rice, maize and wheat provide 60 per cent of the world’s energy intake. Several indigenous crops are known to be more nutritious than the ones we eat today, while fruits and vegetables provide micronutrients that are vital for good health. Through science, we can improve the quality of available food, and through education, we can ensure that this translates into better nutrition.
In order to improve dietary quality for people of all ages in a community, behavioural change is necessary. That means there has to be a convergence of efforts and inclusive partnerships so that people have the nutritional knowledge as well as the resources to satisfy it. On a community level, diversified crops, more nutritious varieties and higher incomes may only amount to better harvests in the barn and money in the bank, not better meals on the table and food in children's stomachs. As we have seen, by taking spectrum of actions and increasing knowledge of care and feeding practices, household diets, and the preparation and storage of food, we can turn mere growth into real gain.
In his initial remarks, Choularton proposed that innovation has a lot to do with failure. According to Choularton, previous donor investments secured incremental gains for small farmers, which every few years were wiped away by natural disasters such as droughts or floods. Perceiving the recurrence of these events, WFP developed a micro insurance scheme specifically tailored to improve the climate risk management of people with very few assets. The product is proving to be attractive to small farmers since they have the option to pay for premiums with their own labour. In Senegal and Ethiopia where this programme is active, insured farmers have been able to save more than twice the sum compared to those without any insurance, and they invest more in productive inputs.
The event is divided in 4 phases: field visits with VNFU (Vietnam Farmers Federation Union (http://vnfu.vn/), conclusions of the Supervision and Implementation Support Mission and agreed actions, FOs and partners progress presentations on Tuesday and Steering Committee conclusions on Wednesday. We will bring you daily updates !
Follow us on MTCP2 facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MTCP2 .
Benoit THIERRY, MTCP2 manager, in Hanoi.
Deaths of Campaigners brings illegal logging to lightA quadruple homicide in Peru’s Amazon Ucayali region has brought to light illegal logging activities and speculation regarding the safety of indigenous peoples.
Four Asheninka natives' bodies were found on 1st September while on their way to Apiwtxa, an Ashéninka community across the border in Brazil. They included a prominent anti-logging campaigner, Edwin Chota, who was the leader of Alto Tamaya-Saweto, a community near the Peruvian frontier with Brazil in the upper reaches of Alto Tamaya River. Chota had been leading campaigns for over 10 years striving to gain his people legal titles to their land and to expel illegal loggers from the area.
'Starting in 2002, he delivered over one hundred letters to as many governmental officials as he could demanding birth certificates, a better school, and adequate health facilities for his community. His life project encompassed every aspect needed to build thriving borderland communities'.
Chota's goal was to aid and better his community whilst conserving natural ecosystems and live sustainably. The Huffington Post wrote that 'Chota dreamed of a borderless Amazonian forest with indigenous peoples thriving alongside the region's biodiversity. He envisioned a new generation of indigenous families living in peace while teaching others how to protect and use the forest. In Chota's dream, Saweto would become a model indigenous community leading the way towards a more sustainable Amazon.'
However the land his community lives on is home to mahogany and cedar, both of which are in high demand globally. Insightcrime.org states that 80 percent of Peru's total timber exports are illegal and the money that can be earned is a tempting prospect for many: 'Traffickers can earn US$1,700 for every high-quality mahogany tree sold on the black market, and about US$1,000 for a cedar tree' . However as the illegal timber trade has flourished it has attracted smugglers of other illegal goods such as opium and coca paste.
A question of protection“It was widely known that Edwin Chota and other leaders from the Alto Tamaya-Saweto community were asking for protection from the Peruvian authorities because they were receiving death threats from the illegal loggers operating in their area,” said Julia Urrunaga, director for the Environmental Investigation Agency in Peru, an international conservation group.
In an area where the law is an undefined grey area, the loggers ignore any rights the indigenous peoples may have, be it ownership or humanitarian and work to remove any opposition against their illegal operations.
Without legal protection people such as Chota are in a dangerous position which not only puts their lives, but their environment and communities' livelihoods at risk.
We must support indigenous peoples in gaining rights to their lands. By doing so, we will protect a large share of the world's most biodiverse areas and genetic resources which are found in areas where indigenous peoples live, and where they have been sustainably maintained for millennia. There is a strong need today for global recognition of the critical role that indigenous peoples play in conserving biodiversity.
We need to build and strengthen the capacities of indigenous peoples to protect their land and resource rights. Not only does this hinder illegal loggers, but also promotes food security and sustainable livelihoods. For information about sustainable timber production in South America and what IFAD is doing to help look here.
|Audrey Nepveu and Alain Vidal|
By: Elisa Distefano
|Photo 1: Programme areas|
On 13th October 2014 IFAD's East and Southern Africa Division and Policy and Technical Advisory Division organised a seminar on "Indigenous plant products industry in Africa – the experience of PhytoTrade Africa", which was attended by many colleagues from various divisions. The event was webcast and followed by around 30 participants. The seminar provided PhytoTrade Africa– IFAD grant recipient – the possibility to share with us its experience and explore options for further collaboration.
PhytoTrade AfricaPhytotrade Africa is a non-profit, membership-based trade association established in 2001 for the indigenous plant products industry in Africa, with a current focus on southern Africa. It represents private-sector, NGOs and individuals working in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It has about 70 members and a core staff of about 15. Its purpose is to alleviate poverty and protect biodiversity by developing an industry that is economically successful, ethical and sustainable. It aims to generate additional sources of cash income for poor rural households mainly living in less accessible semi-arid and arid areas, through the commercialization of the natural resources to which they have preferential access.
Over the past 14 years Phytotrade Africa has made great strides in sustainably developing and marketing indigenous plant products to the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries. Currently it supports at least 14,300 harvesters, of which about 9,500 (66%) are women. Gross annual revenues are about USD2.3 million with the cash income for primary producers/harvesters being about USD940,000 p.a. Phytotrade Africa members have added about USD1.47 million of value to the raw materials bought from primary producers/harvesters.
Phytotrade Africa developed a Charter that binds members to sustainable use, equitable benefit sharing, compliance to national and international legislation, fair trade, free, prior and informed consent and respect of existing land and natural resource tenure. It has adopted the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity which was adopted in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan and is a supplementary international agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
Since 2010 it has focused more on business and financial aspects and on broadening market access, adopting a strategy based on the provision of services to members. Through this strategy it intends to broaden the distribution network and localize quality control for the cosmetic ingredients to gain more control and value addition over product positioning, pricing and sales. It is targeting the development of key species that will generate large demand volumes; it aims to increase the inclusion of new harvesters into the supply chain and to focus on the financial capacity and structure of its members to grow to the market demand.
Following requests from SMEs and other stakeholders in the sector, PhytoTrade Africa is preparing to extend this approach to other African countries, such as Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, Cameroun and Senegal.
PhytoTrade Africa and its partnership with IFAD
The long term support provided by IFAD raised the issue of how better document and share the impacts that the grants provided to PhytoTrade Africa have produced over the years on the Fund's target group. In the discussions held during and after the seminar, it was also highlighted the need to better and further link PhytoTrade interventions with IFAD programmes and projects in the field (e.g. on pastoralism or financing mechanisms) and concrete options were explored, as a possible participation of PhytoTrade in the next project design in Cameroon. Some challenges were posed in relation to, for example, the measurement of impact and the anecdotal evidence of such impact (e.g. the impact on the local baobab market in Malawi), the possible tensions between private sector and communities, the endorsement by the states and the implementation of the existing safeguards to avoid abuses and the protection of intellectual property (e.g. the Nagoya Protocol).
These discussions need to linked to a broader reflection that the Fund should have on how IFAD would deal with ethical biotrade and what should or could be its contributions to the development of this sector that, in many cases, is an additional source of income for the poor rural people, with a potential specific role as adaptation measure. PhytoTrade area of interventions has also a strong gender component, demonstrated by the fact that 66% of its harvesters are women and that some activities (e.g. shea butter) are a specific women domain, which may be of relevance for IFAD's interventions in this field.
For further information:
Presentation by Mr Arthur Stevens, IFAD Project Manager and PhytoTrade Supply Chain Manager
Presentation by Ms Audrey Rousson, AFD/FFEM and PhytoTrade Project Manager
In addition to the support being provided by IFAD, AFD and FFEM, Phytotrade Africa has over the years been supported financially or worked with: the Centre for Development of Enterprise (CDE), Comic Relief, Doen Foundation, Ford Foundation, GIZ, HIVOS, ICRAF, IFC, IUCN, MCA, Swiss Economic Cooperation and Development (SECO), UNCTAD and USAID. SECO is presently the largest funder, with IFAD being the second largest and providing about 25% of all funding
The best part of my job is when I get to visit the countries and the people who we work with and serve. This time round, I was fortunate enough to visit my first upper-middle-income country: Azerbaijan.
The World Bank estimates that 86 middle-income countries in the world account for just under half of the world’s population. and they are home to one-third of poor people in the world.
As an upper-middle-income country, Azerbaijan boosts excellent infrastructure, which made my 270 kilometre travel to the IFAD-funded Integrated Rural Development Project in Yevlakh a pleasant “stroll”.
|Mehbara Davudova attending to her crop|
Photo credit: IFAD/R.Samii
The Integrated Rural Development Project is assisting rural people to use available natural resources effectively and efficiently allowing them to increase crop and livestock productivity. Furthermore, it is providing smallholder farmers access to credit so that they can improve the existing irrigation infrastructure.
Before heading off to visit the project site, Samir Nabiyer, the regional coordinator told me that “working together with the Government the project is rehabilitating and reconstructing irrigation canals covering 70,000 hectares.”
“Our goal is for the smallholder farmers to rehabilitate all the irrigation infrastructure, own their equipment, establish water-user associations and embrace good husbandry practices”.
As part of its agriculture and rural development strategy, the government has put in place measures to improve the living conditions of rural people. One of these, was the rehabilitation of the green houses which is a reminiscence from the Soviet era.
Mehbara Davudova, a well-established smallholder lady farmer, is running a thriving farming business on her 0.15 hectare land thanks to an initial credit of 4000 manat (US$5000).
“Thanks to the loan which I was able to repay in two years, I was able to setup five green-houses, where i plant vegetables 12 months a year”, says Davudova.
Davudova’s farming business provides her a secure income of approximately 1500 manat per month. This has allowed her to rehabilitate two irrigation systems on the farm, build a house and send her 16 year daughter and 8 year old son to school.
“I am hoping that with the profit of the next harvest season, I’ll be able to build another house”, says Davudova with a smile.
In the neighbouring farm, Sultekin and Arastun Mammadov are also running a flourishing farming business and are engaged in husbandry and livestock.
Visiting their greenhouse, the Mammadovs told me “In winter, just to make sure that cold weather does not damage the crop, we use heaters”.
When I asked them if they had any fire safety and security measures in place, they did not seem too impressed by my question…..
They were however, intrigued by the proposition of exploiting their livestock further and putting in place biogas digesters to heat the greenhouse. I committed to put the various parties in touch with our colleagues working on the portable biogas project in Kenya.
Who knows, maybe if I get lucky again and have the fortune of visiting them, they will be running highly efficient biogas digesters, providing not only heating for the greenhouse, but also electricity and gas for the kitchen!
Photo credit: IFAD/R.Samii
Building the livestock sector
Before heading back to Baku, we visited Mahir Aliyeb, a herder. Aliyeb was able to buy 40 heads of livestock thanks to a loan of 10,000 manat. He probably is a precursor to the future project beneficiaries of IFAD-funded activities.
Aliyeb renting the land neighbouring his property for grazing purposes. “I pay 2 manat per hectare every year for this grazing land, allowing the cattle to graze on alfa-alfa”, explains Aliyeb.
As an acute businessman, Aliyeb has diversified his source of income. He is making good profit with his daily 25 litres of milk and gets additional income by selling sheep wool and animals to the local abattoirs.
“I know that the people I sell the milk to, make motar cheese and they sell it for 10 manat”, says Aliyeb. “I want to learn how to do this myself, so that I can set up a local business and no longer go through the middleman.”
“I also want to learn how to better take care of my animals, so that they do not get sick and they stay strong. This will allow me to sell not only the animals at higher price, but also to make better and varied dairy products.”
|Mahir Aliyeb's cattle heading off to the grazing area|
Photo credit: IFAD/R.Samii
Hopefully soon, Aliyeb will be able to package his dairy products and not only sell them in supermarkets in Baku and other cities in Azerbaijan, but also start exporting them to neighbouring countries.
Earth Observation is a tool that organisations such as IFAD are adopting to 'support strategic planning and [to] deliver quality solutions' (Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Director, Environment and Climate Division, IFAD )
IFAD and the European Space Agency (ESA) have just launched a report discussing the use of Earth Observation technology (EO) facilitating project design and increased detail in mapping information to aid people experiencing climate challenges.
Earth Observation Support for the International Fund for Agricultural Development highlights the 'first results of the European Space Agency's funded pilot projects with IFAD, which demonstrate how Earth Observation (EO) technology can be put to use in the context of IFAD programmes and projects'.
Projects, Results and the FutureThe report looks at five projects where this technology has been used and expounds on the advantages of having specific detailed geospatial information for these IFAD project areas. Not only does it provide a simple picture from above, it also offers useful insights and specific information for IFAD's work with rural communities'.
IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), the largest climate change adaptation programme for smallholder farmers globally, has benefited considerably from the use of EO information. Especially when used as an input layer for further spatial analysis in a Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This information has helped IFAD 'better understand and monitor landscape use in a changing environment' which in turn informs IFAD's understanding of project design and analysis to create more suitable and sustainable initiatives.
The five projects have demonstrated how reliable EO used with GIS can augment IFAD activities, not just with more incisive programming but also within individual operating countries. It is part of a system to train operatives locally so the information generated can be used to its greatest potential.
We look forward to a continued partnership with the ESA in developing usage of satellite technology 'across an increased number of IFAD projects to eradicate hunger and poverty in rural areas of developing countries', said Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Director, Environment and Climate Division, IFAD.
Ensuring rural women’s access to relevant and affordable technologies is central to the International Year of Family Farming and the African Union’s 2014 push for agricultural productivity and food security. This is coupled with addressing workload distribution at the household level.
New practices can change the labour requirements for crop production. For example, both men and women benefit from minimum tillage and the planting cover crops. Alternatively, services may be hired in – be it labour, draught animals or machines. But even here, women are disadvantaged. Recent work by the World Bank and othersfound that the returns to hired labour are lower when the labourers are hired by women than when hired by men. Various reasons are cited: women may not be able to afford to pay as much as men for effective farm workers; cultural norms may mean that labourers work harder for a male supervisor; and women may not have enough time to supervise their labourers well.
Such gains, reflected in project reports and noted by a supervisory mission in several countries, include greater involvement by farmers and farmer organizations at all levels in agricultural development programs by government and development agencies through expansion and more inclusiveness of farmers’ platforms established at national, regional and international levels.
Market Fair: presentations of farmers videos, newspaper, publications, ...Prize was a travel for 2 farmers representatives to visit one MTCP2 country and their farmers organisations. Laos won the prize with the backpack publications kit.
New website launched : http://www.mtcp2.com/
New name for the project adopted: by voting among 08 other proposals ; MTCP2/Asia Pacific Farmers Organisations Forum .
|Kenya Gospel Music Rapper Juliani performing at the Young Innovators Award ceremony on October 16. Juliani is the Amiran Poverty Eradication Ambassador and has been leading a campaign to spark a youth driven agribusiness revolution in Kenya|