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Articles on this Page
- 10/25/14--02:44: _Organic and fair-tr...
- 11/05/14--06:29: _IPCC Synthesis Repo...
- 11/10/14--08:00: _Ebola and its impac...
- 11/13/14--01:40: _Learning from the I...
- 11/14/14--03:40: _Making our partners...
- 11/18/14--00:25: _Investing in pastor...
- 11/18/14--03:48: _Wafaa El Khoury: In...
- 11/19/14--05:24: _Optimizing farmer’s...
- 11/21/14--00:44: _Uganda launches the...
- 11/24/14--23:41: _This Has to Stop
- 11/26/14--18:50: _Closing Internation...
- 11/28/14--03:24: _Un camino de empode...
- 12/01/14--07:54: _Improving incomes f...
- 12/01/14--08:23: _A path of empowerme...
- 12/01/14--09:41: _Lima day one: #COP2...
- 12/01/14--14:56: _Voices from COP20, ...
- 12/01/14--15:37: _COP20 Officially Be...
- 12/02/14--16:37: _Voces de La Clima E...
- 12/02/14--17:00: _The UN Should Seek ...
- 12/04/14--08:11: _This Is Africa: For...
- 11/10/14--08:00: Ebola and its impact on rural communities
- Impact of infrastructure development in rural areas.
- Public-private-producers partnerships for poverty alleviation and rural development
- Household mentoring approach (+ grants) for social inclusion of poorest households
- Evidence-based policy dialogue – the case of SACCO development and Tier IV Regulation
- 11/18/14--00:25: Investing in pastoralists in Tanzania
- Bonding among small producers at the grassroots level (intragroup relations).
- Building bridges between small-producers’ groups to form apex organizations (intergroup relations).
- Linking small-producers’ groups with apex organizations, public agencies, private-sector businesses and service providers, as well as policymakers (extra-group relations).
- 11/19/14--05:24: Optimizing farmer’s contribution through better health and nutrition
- The fast growth rate affects the ability to create and offer jobs
- Every year, around 1.5million births are added to Uganda’s population, and this needs to be taken into account during planning
- 10 million of the 34.9 million are still children, making the dependent population very high. Harnessing the population dividend is high priority, to reduce the high rate of dependants and grow a self-reliant population
- The constantly declining sex ratio should be investigated
- 11/24/14--23:41: This Has to Stop
- 11/26/14--18:50: Closing International Year of Family Farming - drawing lessons
- 12/01/14--07:54: Improving incomes for rice farmers: a photo blogpost from Cambodia
- 12/01/14--08:23: A path of empowerment and growth for indigenous organizations
- 12/01/14--09:41: Lima day one: #COP20 climate summit kicks off
- 12/01/14--14:56: Voices from COP20, Lima
- 12/01/14--15:37: COP20 Officially Begins in Lima
- 12/02/14--16:37: Voces de La Clima Event at COP20
- 12/02/14--17:00: The UN Should Seek Lessons from its Past at COP20
- 12/04/14--08:11: This Is Africa: For inclusive rural development, farms come first
Today cocoa beans are more than just a form of currency to the world’s six million smallholder farmers who operate in developing countries. For them, the cultivation of cocoa beans is a concrete option to move from mere subsistence farming to farm enterprises which are viable, sustainable and integrated into national and global markets.
EUROCHOCOLATE international summit
On Wednesday 22 October, the international summit on “Development Cooperation in Cocoa-Producing Countries: best practices and perspectives" organized by EUROCHOCOLATE, provided a great opportunity for the public at large to learn how investing in sustainable projects can transform the livelihoods of smallholder cocoa producers.
The summit, moderated by Piersandro Cocconcelli, (Director ExpoLAB – Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore) benefitted from the insights of Luca Maestripieri (General Direction for Development Cooperation, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs) , José Luis Rhi-Sausi, (Istituto Italo Latino Americano - IILA), Juliàn Isaìas Rodrìguez Diaz, (Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Italy), Paolo Pastore (Fairtrade Italia), Miguel Ruiz,( Federación Nacional de Cacaoteros - Fedecacao Colombia), Andrea Serpagli, (International Fund for Agricultural Development - IFAD) Corrado Scropetta (CEFA - Ecuador) and Giampaolo Silvestri (AVSI).
The pathway to transform the livelihoods of smallholder cocoa producers
Improving the quality of the cocoa beans
The IPCC's (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) fifth assessment report is drawing to a close and with it concern is mounting for small scale agriculture and the family farming communities who depend on it.
What: Synthesis report opening ceremony
When: 31 October 2014
IPCC Website: http://www.ipcc.ch/
By Jenny Ferguson
On 14-15 October 2014, IFAD Ethiopia Country Office in cooperation with the project management unit for the Community-based Natural Resource Management Project (CBINReMP) in the Lake Tana region of north western Ethiopia hosted a first quarter review workshop in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. For the first time the different project stakeholders came together to discuss their recent progress and develop a common way forward. The training on new reporting requirements will help the partners to present important project achievements more clearly, identify challenges and meet the project objectives.
Financed by IFAD, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the main goal of CBINReMP is to reduce poverty for about 312000 households in the Lake Tana Watershed. The main activities concentrate on combating land degradation and promoting sustainable land management in order to increase agricultural productivity, household food security, incomes and climate change resilience. Lake Tana is also recognized as a globally important ecosystem hosting a rich diversity of endemic species and providing a habitat to migratory birds. Addressing the needs of the human population while conserving the natural ecosystem is a complex task that can only be successfully managed if the project implementing partners with their different skills join forces and effectively coordinate their work.
|The first joint meeting of the different implementing partners of the CBINReMP |
during the 1st quarter review meeting and reporting workshop in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.
Diverse activities to promote a common goal
Welcomed by Dagmawi Habte-Selassie, IFAD Task Manager for the CBINReMP, and Markos Wondie, head of the CBINReMP project management unit for the local Bureau of Agriculture, the stakeholders took the floor and presented their progress. The Bureau of Environmental Protection, Land Administration and Use (BoEPLAU) shared their experiences in land certification and improving secure land tenure for the farmers of the watershed. By reinforcing a sense of ownership, land holders are encouraged to invest in land rehabilitation and to practice sustainable land management.
Other partners like Bahir Dar University, the Ethiopian Institute of Biodiversity, the Organisation for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara (ORDA) and the National Biogas Programme reported their activities in wetland conservation, in conducting trainings for the creation of employment opportunities through fish farming, seedling production and the planting of fruit trees, the construction of community gene banks and in-situ forest conservation sites, measures to achieve climate change adaptation and mitigation and the introduction of alternative energy systems.
A joint way forward
With an overview of the recent project work, all implementation partners shared their views on key implementation and reporting challenges in a joint discussion. Through this cooperative exercise of problem analysis and the identification of common difficulties the partners recognised the necessity to support each other and to share possible solutions.
|Learning about the IFAD Results and Impact Management System|
This spirit of sharing and cooperation was carried over to the training session on the IFAD Results and Impacts Management System (RIMS). After an introduction to RIMS, the participants were encouraged to evaluate together with the monitoring and evaluation officer which indicators to use in the reporting for CBINReMP and how the indicators should be defined to adequately match project objectives.
By giving all stakeholders a say in shaping the reporting format, by creating an opportunity to voice concerns and propose alternatives, a new culture of open communication and cooperation was initiated. Recognizing a joint interest in coordinating project activities and in tackling common challenges, all project stakeholders including the coordinating staff in the local PMU and the Country Office were able to take home key lessons for their future work.
|Lake Tana is a globally important ecosystem hosting many endemic species and providing a habitat to migratory birds|
|Commissioner for Aid Liaison, Maris Wanyera (right), Ag Director Debt & Cash Mgt, Isaac Mpoza (center), and AfDB country officer, Sebastiam Okeke (left) at the joint IFAD-GoU COSOP/Portfolio review|
What is this COSOP about?The goal of the COSOP is to increase the income, improve the food security and reduce vulnerability of the rural households living in poverty. There are three strategic objectives – to sustainably increase production and productivity, enhance market access, and sustainably increase access to and use of financial services by the rural population.
|A collage of pictures from the different IFAD-supported projects in Uganda|
Working closely with government
|A cross section of some participants at the IFAD-GoU COSOP/Portfolio review|
by Rosalie Lehel
|Pastoralist use their cattle to collect water|
Villages in remote areas are badly connected to the roads, without direct access to basic sanitation systems and for most part of the year they have no access to water. This means the people and livestock living in these areas are prone to diseases.
This adverse situation not only forces pastoralists and their livestock to walk up to six hours a day to get to the first source of drinking water, it also is a source of conflict between pastoralists and farmers who continuously compete for land and water. This situation is often exacerbated by the lack of inclusive village land use and climate change mitigation plans.
The IFAD-funded Water and Health component of Agricultural Sector Development Programme – Livestock (ASDP-L), thanks to the support of government of Tanzania and the Belgian Fund for Food Security (BFFS) is helping to alleviate this challenge by constructing boreholes, shallow wells, rainwater harvesting structures, and other water delivery systems. These systems are providing clean and safe water to communities and livestock. The benefits of having direct access to water allow children to have time to go to school instead of walking kilometres to fetch drinking water. It is allowing pastoralists to improve their health and sanitation systems, thus decreasing the incidence of disease.
|IFAD-funded project provides clean drinking water for the cattle|
in Zanka village
To keep the water source sustainable and to monitor water usage, the villagers have set up water committees. People are charged for water usage and this typically depends on the number of cattle. The community uses the water fees to pay for the maintenance of the pumps and boreholes. Thanks to this model, both the communities and Government not only contribute to the maintenance of the infrastructure, but more importantly this has created a sense of ownership, thus ensuring the sustainability of the project.
The additional funds provided by the BFFS are complementing the sectorial support of the Tanzanian Government and are helping to meet the needs of the beneficiaries, especially the pastoralists who because of their nomadic nature and lack of access to natural resources are vulnerable.
The 2015 country strategy for Tanzania will take into consideration the lessons learnt from this project, and in particular the importance of targeting pastoralists. In December 2014 Tanzania will host the Africa Regional Workshop in preparation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum at IFAD. The objective of the regional workshop is to exchange knowledge and experiences on good practices on indigenous peoples’ food systems and sustainable livelihoods and identify the key challenges and opportunities faced by indigenous peoples’ food systems. The Forum will allow IFAD to consult and have a dialogue with indigenous peoples’ representatives.
In this guest post, Wafaa El Khoury, a Lead Technical Specialist at the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s Policy and Technical Advisory Division, discusses the powerful effect that investing in rural infrastructure and institutions can have on smallholder farmers’ lives.
Smallholder farmers in the developing world face multiple constraints that they must overcome to sustainably increase their productivity, enhance their income, connect with markets and become more resilient. These constraints often involve limited access to advisory services, natural resources and agricultural inputs – including seeds, fertilisers and agro-chemicals – as well as rural finance and markets.
The absence of basic rural infrastructure, especially roads, is another limiting factor. Roads link smallholders in remote areas to supplies and markets. They are central to reducing the transaction costs of input delivery, and to facilitating rural financial systems’ outreach to remote areas.
Beyond building infrastructure, though, one of the most important ways to contribute to smallholder farmers’ productivity is by building strong rural institutions – because stronger human and institutional capacities are critical for sustainable development.
IFAD’s focus on smallholders
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency that sees investing in both rural infrastructure and rural institutions as an important part of its mandate. IFAD finances agricultural development programmes and projects globally, with a focus on smallholder farmers and rural poverty alleviation in developing countries. The aim is to empower rural people to overcome poverty, improve their food and nutrition security, and build resilience.
IFAD operates through a mix of low-interest loans and grants provided to the governments that are responsible for the implementation of these investment projects. Presently, IFAD is operating in nearly 100 countries with around 240 on-going initiatives.
Through its investments, which are often relatively small but carefully targeted, IFAD supports the construction of rural roads linking villages and farms to main roads and markets. It also invests in establishing market infrastructure – including markets, collection centres, drying and storage facilities and service hubs – as well as irrigation systems and soil and water conservation structures at the watershed, landscape and farm levels.
However, building rural institutions, starting with farmer and community groups, is the main entry point to overcome smallholder farmers’ constraints and enhance their food security and income.
Farmer, producer and community organizations
Rural institutions can improve smallholders’ livelihoods – either directly, by increasing their access to resources, services, inputs and markets, or indirectly, by empowering them with a greater voice in policy dialogue.
These institutions can adopt various forms and structures, depending on the objectives of farmers and community members. They can be community development groups and associations, common interest groups, production groups, water users’ associations, social forestry groups, land management groups, savings and credit associations (often composed of women) and labour contracting societies (also commonly composed of women working to upgrade local infrastructure).
Strong rural organizations are able to provide a full range of services to small producers, and hence play a leading role in meeting the growing demand for food on local, national and international markets. At the same time, producers or community members who work together as a group can create a critical mass of demand for agricultural inputs, and for advisory and financial services. Higher demand makes private-sector outreach into rural areas more attractive and cost-effective.
Building capacity at all levels
Still, the sustainability of smallholders’ groups, and their capacity to achieve common objectives, depend on how they develop. To succeed, they must form the following set of interdependent relationships:
Depending on their maturity and level of development, small-producers’ groups may be able to federate into apex organizations, which allow them to become even more effective and independent. Based on solid intergroup relations, such organizations have great potential for providing services to their members, operating and maintaining common infrastructure and equipment, and engaging in policy dialogue.
A basis for empowerment
Smallholders’ groups and apex organizations need support at the various levels of rural institutional development. Small producers’ access to markets, for example, is often facilitated by the establishment of special multi-stakeholder platforms and inter-professional associations.
These groupings bring together producers’ organizations, buyers, extension services, local governments and various other value-chain actors. In the process, they allow smallholders to understand market needs; help buyers and processors understand farmers’ limitations and constraints; and give agricultural extension agents and the public sector information to help focus their interventions.
IFAD and its partners invest in building the capacity of rural institutions at every level. While this is a long process, it is a firm basis for the empowerment of smallholder farmers.
by Iain C. MacGillivray
For many decades the global political and development agendas have failed to give priority to hunger and undernutrition. While increasing and volatile food prices have drawn attention to the world food situation and there have been recent commitments to tackle global undernutrition and promote nutrition-sensitive investments, 805 million people remain hungry today. A further two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiency, or hidden hunger, impacting both individual life opportunities and collective productiveness.
It is a tragedy that one in eight women and men still go hungry, and every day 8,000 children die needlessly from conditions linked to undernutrition—a tragedy that must not be allowed to continue. The international community must ensure that food and nutrition security is at the heart of the new post-2015 sustainable development framework, and must mobilize greater efforts to end poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
In “leaving no one behind”, rural-urban inequalities must be addressed, with particular attention on small-scale agriculture, including women, indigenous peoples and family farmers. This is truly a defining moment for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as these issues reaffirm its mandate and become center stage in the post-2015 universal agenda.
Investing in rural people is IFAD’s business. The women, men and children in developing countries that depend on smallholder agriculture, forestry, livestock and fisheries are the custodians of vital natural resources and biodiversity, and are central to mitigating climate change. They are also central to global food and nutrition security. Smallholder agricultural development and rural transformation need to be an integral part of the post-2015 global development agenda, if that agenda is to succeed. This new agenda is a unique opportunity to refocus policy, investments and partnerships on inclusive and sustainable rural transformation.
If the needs of rural areas are not addressed, rural-urban inequalities may only deepen, which will impact rural and urban populations alike as well as global food security. On the other hand, rural transformation and rural growth have the potential to drive inclusive sustainable development, from economic growth and employment to poverty eradication, from a healthy environment to inclusive societies, from gender equality to food and nutrition security for all.
Today, 500 million smallholder family farms in the developing world support the livelihoods of close to a third of the world’s population and are mostly managed by poor smallholders, nearly half of whom are women. These small family farmers produce 80 per cent of the food in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, and agriculture is the largest provider of employment in many countries and regions. In countries lacking adequate reserves of foreign exchange to import food (a problem exacerbated by the food price spikes of recent years), the contribution of family farming to domestic food supply is even more crucial. Indeed, in the many developing countries that are net food importers, increasing production on smallholder family farms can reduce vulnerability to exchange rate and other trade-related shocks.
It is both unfortunate and ironic that that those who grow the food are often those who go hungry.
Smallholder families suffer from poor quality diets and malnutrition due to inadequate consumption out of their own production. They often do not have the incomes or resources to access other sources of food. Investing in rural people to increase smallholder productivity can help improve nutrition and health in developing countries.
Feeding a world population that will exceed 9 billion by 2050 will require the contribution of smallholder family farms. This will be possible only if there is a more integrated and comprehensive development approach to optimize agriculture’s contribution to good nutrition and make food systems nutrition sensitive. That means making sure nutrition outcomes for rural and urban people are central to planning, design and implementation of agricultural and rural investments.
IFAD is committed to making all of its country programmes and one-third of its projects nutrition sensitive in just four years. This means that IFAD country initiatives will go beyond recognizing that investment can improve nutritional status. They will now explicitly state how they contribute to improving the nutritional status of farm household members and incorporate nutrition objectives, indicators, and actions.
With its understanding of the need to engage with other sectors on nutrition, IFAD will expand and align its efforts on nutrition with existing global and national priorities and initiatives aimed at eliminating malnutrition.
IFAD supports the proposed sustainable development goal of ending hunger, promoting sustainable agriculture, and improving nutrition, as well as the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, which brings together international donors, civil society, private sector and agencies, and more than 50 developing countries, many of which are IFAD partners.
Improving nutrition will require working across many sectors, including health, education, and water and sanitation. It will also require that agricultural investments are designed to empower women and achieve gender equality, allow women time to take care of their children and other family members, and improve their nutritional knowledge and dietary and hygiene behaviours. IFAD aims to provide countries with the financing, technical advice, policy and programme support needed to develop nutrition-sensitive agriculture.
Activities that make investments nutrition sensitive include: production, processing and storage techniques related to more nutrition-oriented value chains, such as those for biofortified nutrient-dense crops; nutrition education; behavioural change communication; homestead production; institutional and community-level capacity strengthening (particularly women’s empowerment); policy engagement (including advocacy and outreach); and analytical work and market studies specific to countries. These efforts can create links between agriculture and nutrition by promoting economic value for producers and traders and encouraging nutritional and health value for consumers.
For IFAD, a future where healthy and well-nourished smallholder family farmers are at the centre of the agricultural, economic, environmental, and social agendas is essential for promoting equitable and sustainable development. The Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) of this November is a chance for world leaders to demonstrate leadership with actions to arrest the scourge of hunger and malnutrition. Smallholders and agriculture cannot be left behind.
Originally published F@rmletter - The E-magazine of the World's Farmers
Open data improves inclusiveness by giving citizens the information they need to participate in public decision-making.
by Jessica Thomas
Can you think of a business that is three times more profitable than Apple? A business that involves 35.8 million people and operates in every single country of the world?
You may not be able to come up with the name because it doesn't have a name, it doesn't have a brand, but it's there and regretfully, it's a huge business…..
I am talking about the business of human trafficking or human slavery, one of the most flourishing and profitable criminal industries in the world.
Last week I was lucky enough to attend the Trust Women Conferencein London. At this two-day event I heard 'There are more slaves today than ever before in history’. When I heard this statement I thought, how can that be, it is definitely wrong. But when I saw the facts and statistics, and heard testimonials from the survivors, I was stunned by the atrocities but heartened that so many people, companies and organizations are giving their time, energy and ideas to stop this silent crime.
Human trafficking is the immoral and illegal buying and selling of human beings as commodities to meet global demands for forced labour or commercial sexual slavery. While women and girls are the most vulnerable and make up 66% of the total annual trafficking, this terrible crime does not spare children and men, who respectively constitute 22% and 12% of the total.
The Trust Women Conference aims to put the rule of law behind women’s rights through concrete action. The annual conference brings together global corporations, lawyers, and pioneers in the field of women's rights to take action and forge tangible commitments to empower women.
Over 500 participants from 55 countries attended the conference and engaged in panel discussions and “action groups" addressing specific issues that disenfranchise women and limit their potential.
The panels ranged from 'Women, economic accelerators of society', highlighting the fact that when a woman has a job, 90% of her income goes toward her family and how providing women with access to education and credit helps to enhance the wellbeing of the household to 'How to make mega-cities women-friendly’. This panel used the data from the recent Reuters poll which examined transportation safety and caught the headlines of mainstream media. Other panels dealt with topics such as 'Access to land, the biggest challenge for women's empowerment' discussing the challenges of property rights and access to credit as an essential tool to eradicate poverty; 'The Human cost of a bargain: Slavery in the modern supply chain' that highlighted corporate accountability, the need for sound monitoring mechanism and introduced the Memex project which counters human trafficking via domain specific indexing (highly specific internet content search); 'I was a slave: real stories of survival', heart breaking stories from the survivors themselves; 'The long road to freedom: the Psychological issues faced by slavery survivors' where survivors and health workers talked about how to deal with survivor’s long term traumatic disorders.
I also heard from Ellie, from Marcela, from Manan and from Evelyn. They did not have honorifics and fancy titles…. they are survivors who only a few years ago were slaves….slaves in the mines, domestic slaves and sex slaves.
The event featured two award ceremonies: The Trust Women Hero award presented to Fazle Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC for his innovative and high impact work that helped women to advance and defend their rights; and Chika Oduah, a Al Jazeera freelance journalist and producer who received the Honorary Journalist Award recognizing her significant contribution to women's rights.
This year’s conference ended with the launch of the End Child Slavery Week campaign. In the coming days, the organizers will announce the conference actions, wills and pledges.
As Kailash Satyarthi said "To stop all forms of slavery, including child slavery we need to build a new culture of partnership and alliances, we need to enforce strong laws and we need to build a sense of urgency so that the world is forced into action".
Let me close this blogpost with one of the most touching sound
bites from one of the many survivors who is on the road of discovery and recovery…….. ’
I am not just a survivor,
I can do what you do, if you train me'…
Evelyn Chumbow, Survivor Advocate
P.S. I was able to attend this amazing conference thanks to my organization's reward and recognition programme.
Family farmer representatives are banking their hopes on the policy engagement opportunity opened during the 8th Knowledge and Learning Market-Policy Engagement of the International Year of Family Farming by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA), and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).
Issues and concerns relating to asset reform: land and water rights, ancestral lands, enterprise development: production enhancement marketing, rural financing, governance, climate resiliency and young farmers were tackled to support and promote the best welfare of family farmers in the Philippines providing them the opportunity to lobby their issues and concerns to the policy makers including the government, local government units, private sectors and other sectors.
This is part of the activity’s objective to generate policy briefs on family farming for legislative and executive action and formulate a Philippine declaration of support and commitment to family farming. This policy engagement holds a major bulk of this year’s KLM that champions family farmers.
By highlighting the need to listen, consider, and respond to the voice of the family farmers, more comprehensive policies are expected to be processed and enacted in time to uphold every farmer families’ welfare and being. Although, policy dialogue during this event is just another starting step toward achieving this endeavor, it serves as a strong foundation to respond to this long cry for justice, support and people empowerment of every family farmer in the country.
Recognition of Outstanding Farm Families :
La Directora de FIMI, Doña Otilia Lux de Coti
|Mujeres indigenas de la etnia mayagna - Nicaragua|
Participantes en el taller de FIMI en Managua|
This is a story of hardship and resilience. It is a story of rice farmers that do not always have enough food to eat. It is a story about people that struggle against chronic poverty and hunger and yet continue to dedicate energy and seize opportunities to improve their lives. It is a story of triumph.
Hun Koen, age 40, cuts rice on her one hectare plot in Krabaov village, Cambodia. Hun belongs to a 200
member rice cooperative. Though her profits have increased, unexpected health costs sent her back into
debt in 2014. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio
papaya, moringa, banana, jack fruit, guava, mung bean and lemons. She belongs to a vegetable growers’ cooperative and leads in testing new crops and sharing her experience with other cooperative members. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio
“model farmer” in her community and trains other farmers in the area. Pom recently won third prize
in a national rice seed competition and is very proud of her accomplishment. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio
old rice farmer who practices modern integrated farming techniques. She raises pigs and uses the manure to
fuel a small biogas digester to generate energy for cooking. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio
women’s group that organises hands-on nutrition awareness training. Mothers learn about the three food
groups; “energy”, “protein” and “vitamins” and prepare nutritious food for their families. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio
By Yohanis Amador, Coordinator of AYNI
AYNI is one IIW’s flagship initiatives. This fund is the only one administered by and for indigenous women. AYNI is a Quechua term that means reciprocity, solidarity and collaboration.
Since 2011, the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (IIWF) is administering the Latin America and the Caribbean chapter of the Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility (IPAF). These three years of hard work have meant to us and to our partner organizations a path of empowerment and growth.
The IPAF, which had already been launched by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in 2007, aims to support small projects that promote development respecting the culture and identity of indigenous communities, in line with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
These projects developed by us indigenous peoples and our organizations seek to improve our food security, strengthen our cultural identity and create space for political and economic participation.
We always design these projects in such a way that they underscore our autonomy, are sustainable and can be scaled up. In that regard, the fact that the IPAF has been decentralized and is currently managed in the Americas by an indigenous organization has great symbolic and practical value. Symbolic because it fully recognises the indigenous peoples and our organizations capacity. Practical because nobody like the indigenous organizations can identify our priorities and needs.
|Ms. Otilia Lux de Coti, IIWF Director|
A key theme throughout our journey has been the sustainability of our projects. We have learnt through experience that this pretty much depends on the degree of community involvement. Again, this goes back to the issue of autonomy.
The autonomy of our peoples and organizations has had its share of sacrifices. However, this process has had positive results as it became evident in the recent Regional Meeting of IPAF-IFAD projects held from 27 to 29 October in Managua, Nicaragua. There, representatives of 10 projects1 met to exchange experiences, share lessons and come up with strategies to overcome challenges.
Such strategies include cultural revitalization programmes – something that is very important to strengthen the identity of indigenous peoples and organizations.
The representatives of the Interdisciplinary Program of Integrated Development of Bolivia told us how ancestral knowledge and practices have been the basis for developing food security policy for present and future generations. The Mozote Indigenous People comrades explained how they promoted and kept alive their identity through food, music, dance and crafts.
Over the last years, indigenous women have gained opportunities for participation in their communities and organizations, as well as in the society in general.
The colleagues of Colombia’s Páez Fund highlighted the role of women as responsible for maintaining family life and underlined the importance for women to make themselves be heard to be respected. The representatives of the Community Inkawasi Awana Association of Peru explained how training has strengthened their knowledge of their rights as indigenous women. Delegates of the Community Development Association of Guatemala stressed the importance of active participation of indigenous women in the economic sphere, showing how their projects delivered significant social and economic advances for women. Today, many women have their own businesses, which enhances their individual and collective leadership.
|Women of Mayagna indigenous people, Nicaragua|
Our journey has not always been easy. We had to overcome many challenges and difficulties, such as the disbursing money to organizations in very isolated and remote areas or to organizations with little banking experience. And often changes in the territorial governments during project implementation added additional complexity to our work.
However, each and every one of these challenges has helped us grow as an organization. IIWF has expanded its experience and strengthened its position as a global network. Among other achievements, we have developed and implemented a monitoring and evaluation strategy adapted to the demands and needs of indigenous peoples and organizations.
The workshop Managua is part of a much larger process. A process of dialogue, learning and sharing that will continue during the regional workshop in Paraguay on 18 and 19 December and at the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum which will be held in Rome in February 2015.
Throughout our journey, we had IFAD's support and commitment to the cause and wellbeing indigenous peoples. This has helped us to be able to participate in decision-making processes at national, regional and international levels. We still have a long way to go, but we are confident that we will continue strengthening our partnership with IFAD so that together we can boost our organisations and empower our people.
|Participants in IIWF's Managua workshop|
|Delegates gather at COP20 UN climate summit in Lima, Peru. ©IFAD|
There was a thrill in the air this morning as thousands of delegates made their way to the United Nations climate summit in Lima. The meeting has an added importance this year, as it is the last ministerial-level gathering before the new climate compact, which is due to be signed in Paris in 2015.
The Lima round of negotiations follows on the publication of the final instalment in the fifth assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Science is more certain than ever before that it is human actions, particularly burning fossil fuels for energy, that have contributed to warming of the earth and the consequent changes in climatic patterns.
There is a level of optimism about the outcome in Lima on account of various developments seen in the past few months – such as the UN Secretary General's Climate Summit, the US-China climate agreement, the European Union's emission reduction targets for 2030, and the pledging of $9.7 billion to the Green Climate Fund.
|Outside the climate summit site in Lima. ©IFAD|
IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme plays a key part in working with smallholder farmers in developing countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
For more information, go to www.ifad.org/climate/asap.
Over the coming ten days, IFAD will be presenting its work with smallholders at a range of events and meetings at the climate summit in Lima. For more information on these events, go to www.ifad.org/climate/cop20.
The writer is Communication and Advocacy Manager in the Environment and Climate Division of IFAD's Programme Management Department.
|An installation made from plastic bottles and other rubbish|
collected from the sea
|A display showing the stories of some Smallholder Farmers|
from around the world.
The following article by IFAD's President was originally published on 1 December in This Is Africa, an online service of The Financial Times.
Thinking about the future of agriculture in Africa fills me with both pride and trepidation. I am proud that Africa is home to some of the world's fastest growing economies, and that the region has seen foreign domestic investment triple over the last decade.
However, I am concerned that agriculture’s potential to drive inclusive development is being forgotten in this story of growth. Agriculture is our number one ally in the fight against poverty and hunger. Its development must be a top priority.
|An infographic developed by IFAD and the Farming First partnership explores the potential of agriculture in Africa.|
More recently, of course, we have seen the tragic Ebola outbreak claim thousands of lives in west Africa. Those population have already suffered decades of civil conflict and failed development. The epidemic may well be compounded by a regional food crisis, as trade is disrupted and fields are abandoned by farmers due to fear of infection - or because there are no farmers left.
Today, two thirds of Africans earn their living from agriculture or fisheries, yet Africa imports $35bn worth of food every year. Why? This is food that can be and should be grown in Africa, by Africans. This is money that should be flowing in to support African businesses, not outwards.
There is no excuse for these contradictions, because Africa's agricultural potential is immense. The continent has the world’s largest share of uncultivated land, where rain fed crops could grow in abundance. More importantly, current farming systems are performing very poorly, well below their potential productivity levels. These could be doubled or quadrupled with help from yield-enhancing inputs and conducive policies – in short, through sustainable intensification. Africa also has the youngest population in the world, with approximately 10 million young adults entering the workforce each year.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), together with Farming First, wants to see Africa's agricultural promise fulfilled. This infographic demonstrates the scale of that potential.
The data we have gathered speaks volumes about why Africa lags behind other regions. For example, only around 5 percent of cultivated land in Africa is irrigated, compared with 41 percent in Asia. At the same time, farmers in Africa apply only 10 to 13kg of fertilizer per hectare of cultivated land. This compares to more than 100kg in South Asia – even though roughly 75 percent of African soils lack the nutrients needed to grow healthy crops.
Irrigation alone could boost the continent's agricultural output by 50 percent, and efficient use of fertilizer has been proven to triple yields. Imagine the future Africa could have if the appropriate investments and policies were in place to realize just these two interventions.
Of course, that would require a colossal commitment on the part of governments to building the appropriate infrastructure. How can we get fertilizer to farmers when just 16 percent of the roads are paved, and more than one third of sub-Saharan Africa's rural population lives five hours from the nearest market town of 5000 people? Upgrading the road systems would cost an estimated $38bn. On the other hand, it would increase yearly trade by as much as $250bn. This is the future that we should make every effort to reach.
In addition, two major sectors of society – women and young people – must be empowered in order for African agriculture to take off.
Given the central role of women in agriculture, as well as in ensuring household nutrition and wellbeing, their empowerment is a vital component of rural transformation. Africa’s overall GDP could grow by an estimated 11 percent if nutrition levels were improved. If women farmers had the same access to training and resources that men currently do, the number of malnourished people could be reduced significantly.
Meanwhile, Africans aged 14 to 25 comprise a vast workforce of 200 million. With youth unemployment and underemployment rates as high as 35 percent, however, much of that capacity to contribute to society is going to waste. Developing the whole agricultural value chain – from production to processing, marketing and consumption – is key to creating jobs, wealth and a hopeful future for this new generation.
To realize Africa’s potential, we need to dramatically change the way we look at agriculture. Smallholder farming is a significant economic activity, a business enterprise that feeds people and generates wealth. It is a dignified profession and needs to be treated as such, and not just as an activity of the rural poor.
We must take collective action to ensure that Africa’s future includes a vibrant and productive rural economy, which begins on the farm. Only then can we hope to see a continent that is prosperous and free of hunger.
Explore the infographic in full: www.farmingfirst.org/africanag