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    ©IFAD/Gerard Planchenault
    Did you know that at the time of the Aztec empire cocoa beans were used as a form of currency? 
    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

    Empowering smallholder cocoa producers
    Panellists agreed that the cocoa sector has a huge potential. The challenge however,  is to empower smallholder cocoa producers by transferring the technical knowledge to improve their  farming practices and  post-harvest activities.

    Improving  the quality of the cocoa beans

    Panellists agreed that investments in traditional agricultural value chains  such as cocoa through the use of organic and Fairtrade certification enables smallholder producers to  overcome insurmountable constraints such as lack of access to inputs, equipment, credit and to remunerative markets.  In other words, compliance with certification standards improves the quality of the final product  thus opening up the possibility to access niche  and more remunerative  markets.  
    Building inclusive partnerships from production to market

    All of this said, smallholder farmers know that high quality may be not enough to have a profitable business. But  high quality coupled with strong partnership with buyers, makes  access to niche markets possible. Panellists agreed that smallholders farmers need brokers who can facilitate forging long-term partnership with local governments and, private sector to develop  the cocoa value chain from production to market. 

    @IFAD/Daniela Cuneo
    IFAD’s experience in Sao Tome and Principe proves that! European niche markets, such as organic and fair-trade, are no longer an unattainable dream for smallholder farmers in developing countries and smallholder farmers can double their income!" said Serpagli. Before the IFAD-funded project activities began in 2003, about 700 smallholder farmers were producing and trading only at local level.  Owing to the partnerships that were developed, nearly 2,200 farmers are now growing cocoa certified as organic or Fairtrade for the international chocolate industry, and due to the average increase in annual income, farmers who were living at 25 per cent below the poverty line are now living at 8 per cent above the poverty line.

    And the good news is that confectionery market leaders  like Ferrero, as mentioned by Fair Trade Italia during the summit,  are interested in buying certified cocoa produced by smallholder producers. 
    Sustainable and certified cocoa production bears many fruits - it is good for the environment, it provides opportunities for national economic growth, it builds strong partnerships and it is good for consumers health. As Piersandro Cocconcelli pointed out, at the summit, chocolate is good for the heart, and no wonder why  EUROCHOCOLATE, takes place in Perugia, the "heart of chocolate”.

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    By: Jess Morgan

    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.

    The forthcoming synthesis report is expected to  put a strong  emphasis on the people most affected by climate change such as smallholder farmers who toil on marginal or rain fed lands. The WGs have previously addressed the position of such people:

    “The IPCC report shows climate change as a reality  that’s not going to go away for poor small farmers in developing countries; they are often the hardest hit with the least capacity to adapt,” says Elwyn Grainger Jones, Director of Environment and Climate Change at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

    The 5th assessment report comprises  3 working group reports (WGs) which were launched in 2013-14. These previous instalments  have highlighted the struggles of 2 billion rural people to cope with a more variable climate and more frequent disasters . The synthesis report (SYR), aims  to integrate and synthesise all data within the WGs to form a comprehensive view of the causes, predictions,  and potential crises of climate change.

    Jones went on to say that “As small farmers in developing countries are among the most affected by climate change the time to adapt cannot be delayed. IFAD’s new Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Program (ASAP) is now the largest global initiative dedicated to supporting smallholder farmers make the investments needed to protect cultivated lands from the impacts of climate change.”

    The SYR will not only increase awareness of emerging threats but hopefully influence practicable action in addressing such issues.  The models outlined in the report are the most detailed analyses that exist on the status of climate change; and its authors express overwhelming consensus  that something needs to be done now rather than at a future date.

    What: Synthesis report opening ceremony

    When: 31 October 2014

    IPCC Website:

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    Since the first officially reported case in Guinea on March 21, the West Africa Ebola outbreak has spread to six countries (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and, most recently Mali). Of the six countries, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been hit the hardest. At the time of writing it is thought to have infected over 13,000 people and killed almost 5,000.

    Governments in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia have all declared states of emergency in order to restrict people's movements from affected areas and limit new infections. This has included the closing of borders, as well as bans on large gatherings such as markets and schools. It is difficult to accurately assess the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak at this early juncture; the Business Monitor believes, however, that the restricted movement of goods, people and money - the lifeblood of a functioning market economy - will inevitably disrupt economic activity within the three countries in question and drag on real GDP growth over the coming quarters. Although the economic impact is expected to be most keenly felt in the above-mentioned three economies , the effects are also likely to be felt across the wider region. Furthermore, trade and commerce within these countries has slowed markedly in recent months. The closure of borders is disrupting supply chains by removing key production inputs as well as weighing on export-derived revenue streams and, by extension, hitting already fast deteriorating government finances. The increased scarcity of essential goods will exert growing pressure on prices and erode purchasing power. Disruptions to the food supply are hard to quantify but pose a growing risk to local communities. Anecdotal evidence suggests that agricultural activity has been significantly impacted as farm workers in affected areas have left their land. The longer the crisis continues (and spreads), the greater threat this poses to food security and inflation in the affected countries. Deutsche Welthungerhilfe recently conducted a rapid assessment of the impacts of Ebola on the livelihoods of rural communities, agricultural production and food security. The study came up with the following key findings: (i) people's income has dropped; (ii) food production is decreasing; (iii)  limited availability and increased costs of food; (iv) access to credits has decreased; (v) volume of traded commodities has dropped significantly.

    IFAD is currently supporting three projects in Guinea. The National Programme to Support Agricultural Value Chain Actors (PNAAFA) is being implemented nation-wide, including the border area with Liberia and Sierra Leone, which is the most affected region in the country. PNAAFA is still operational, but the project staff cannot visit villages that have been affected by Ebola. The crisis is having a serious impact on the farmers involved in IFAD supported projects, also those coming from areas that have not been hit by Ebola. The potato producing region of Fouta Djallon, for example, has not been affected by the virus, but it is nevertheless facing serious problems due to the fact that the farmers cannot export their potatoes to the neighbour countries. As a result, the price of potatoes has dropped from 3,500 to 2,000 Guinean Francs per kilogramme. Moreover, while in August 2013 farmers of Fouta Djallon exported 250 tonnes of potatoes to Senegal, quantities have now dropped to  22 tonnes or less than 10 % of what they were exporting before. It has been estimated that farmers are losing US$6,5 million due to the trade limitations. With their incomes reduced, farmers are experiencing difficulties in paying back the loans they got from the rural banks to purchase seeds and fertilizers. Farmers has asked PNAAFA for support. Some of the project’s grants are therefore now being used by producers’ organisations to allow farmers to purchase seeds and fertilizers for the next planting season.

    In Sierra Leone, all districts have been affected by Ebola. Kenema, Kailahun,Bombali, Moyamba and Port Loko districts have been put under quarantine for more than one month now. IFAD is  currently supporting three programme in the country. By-laws discourage farmers living in the intervention areas from attending to their fields and households struggle to find labourers for their farms. Also due to various government restrictions, access to markets is seriously limited. Food availability has decrease and prices are soaring. Although the rural finance institutions supported by IFAD are open at the moment and still providing financial services, the portfolio at risk has increased significantly. In response, IFAD has provided farmers and projects staff with the protective gear. Communication campaigns are being held in the communities on how to deal with an Ebola breakout. Training is also being given to communities on hygiene in coordination with other UN agencies and the Ministry of Health of Sierra Leone. Finally, IFAD is working with the Ministry of Agriculture to develop a plan to help the agricultural sector recover once the Ebola crisis has passed.

    Liberiaaccounts for more than half of all the official Ebola deaths, with a total of 2,697. There are currently two IFAD supported programmes ongoing in the country. The outbreak of the virus has further evidenced Liberia’s limited institutional capabilities and has resulted in a near collapse of the country’s economy. It also threatens to wipe out all gains made post the civil war. Trade with Liberia is drastically reduced leading to skyrocketing prices and shortages. Farmers are restricted to tend to their crops, savings are being depleted, private operators are reluctant to conduct business with farmers from the affected areas and rural financial institutions are operating at a minimum capacity.  IFAD is working together with other UN agencies to limit the spreading of the disease and protect assets financed with IFAD funds.


    Lastly, IFAD underscores the importance of dealing swiftly with the emergency in West Africa, as well as investing in long-term agricultural development to build resilience in rural areas. It has pledged US$3 million to support the World Food Program in their efforts to address food and nutrition security in rural communities in the worst hit countries.

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    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.
    The idea of the workshop was to support this process of cooperation and to facilitate all partners to monitor their work effectively in order to be able to amend plans if they encountered obstacles, to consult each other’s expertise and promote solutions. IFAD Ethiopia’s monitoring and evaluation officer explained to the stakeholders the twofold gain obtained by reporting: Individual reports for the project components not only serve to support each partner’s own planning process but also provide vital information feeding into higher level reports to funding partners. It is crucial for these reports to align with the requirements of the legally binding funding agreements to ensure that the project can be successfully operated and eventually achieve its goal. Therefore, the workshop was a combination of a 1st quarter review, a training in the Results and Impacts Management System (RIMS) as well as a joint discussion and analysis of challenges in implementation and reporting.

    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

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    In conjunction with the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development (MoFPED), the IFAD Country Office in Uganda held the maiden annual COSOP/Portfolio review. The review meeting took place on 13 November 2014, hosted by the Ministry of Finance and chaired by the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury, Patrick Ocailap.In attendance were representatives from development partners, farmer organisations, CBOs/NGOs, and other government ministries.

    For Uganda, the 2013-18 is the first results-based COSOP. The first annual review is thus an important milestone. The review provided an opportunity to reflect on implementation progress, positive trends, and challenges, and to discuss a way forward with our key partners. The highlight of the meeting was a comment by Isaac Mpoza, Ag Director, Debt and Cash Management in the Ministry of Finance. He said,
    "IFAD projects may appear to be few but the impact is tremendous."

    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  
    The Government appreciates the impact of IFAD-supported projects, specifically in these areas:
    • 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
    Going forward, the pledge by Government and other partners is to continue the good practice of working closely together to identify and address challenges, for an improved portfolio.

    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.

    What is the relationship between the COSOP and Portfolio review?

    A collage of pictures from the different IFAD-supported projects in Uganda
    The Government through Ministry of Finance conducts annual portfolio reviews of all development/donor organisations, to keep track of investments made and how these contribute to the NationalDevelopment Plan and Vision 2040. The IFAD portfolio in Uganda is made up of 2 closing projects, 1 start-up project, 1 project under design, and 3 ongoing projects.

    The COSOP review, for IFAD, is also an annual activity, meant to assess progress in the implementation and achievement of set objectives through the performance of the projects. The review is thus an opportunity to identify what is working, what is not, and why. It is a forum to discuss strategies for enhanced performance in investing in, and bringing rural people out of poverty.

    Working closely with government

    Through consultations and discussions with the Ministry (which also chairs the Uganda COSOP Team – UCT), it was agreed that these two meetings be merged to build on the complementary aspects, and reduce costs in terms of time and other resources.  Due to a positive working relationship with the Ministry, and the fact that they chair the Uganda COSOP Team, this experimental merging has proved effective, efficient and successful.

    The stage is now well set for future reviews, and what better way to do this than by working in close partnership with the government, development partners, farmer organisations, and local CBOs/NGOs?
    A cross section of some participants at the IFAD-GoU COSOP/Portfolio review

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    by Rosalie Lehel

    Pastoralist use their cattle to collect water
    September 29 - Dodoma. During the dry season, we can only expect a period of water scarcity and dry fields. In the Dodoma region of Tanzania the situation is particularly alarming. The arid land is too dry to be cultivated, trees are rare and more importantly, there is not absolutely a drop of water in any of the rivers.

    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.

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    Originally posted by Farming First, a global coalition for sustainable agricultural development.

    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:
    • 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).
    For strong intragroup relations, small producers must take the time to establish their groups from the base upwards, building on trust and common interests or goals. They also need proper capacity development and education in terms of technical issues, financial management, conflict resolution and social cohesion.

    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.

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    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

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    18 November is Africa Statistics Day. The 2014 theme was “Open data for accountability and inclusiveness.” To commemorate the Africa Statistics Day, the Uganda Bureauof Statistics (UBOS), shared provisional results of the 10th National Population and Housing Census, 2014. The report was launched by his Excellency the Prime Minister, Hon. Eriya Kategaya.

    Highlights from Uganda’s 2014 census
    Uganda is now 34.9 million people, up by 10.7 million from the last census in 2002. The population is growing at 3.03%annually, and at this rate, is projected to increase to 35.0 million in 2015. The average household size is 4.9 people in rural areas, and 4.2 people in urban areas. The sex ratio (number of males per 100 females) has been declining throughout the post-independence period and is currently at 94.5 males per 100 females, down from 101.9 in 1969. The intriguing question is “what is happening to the males?” The UBOS Executive Director, Dr. Munghereza, called upon researchers to explore this question.
    What are the implications of the census data?
    Makerere University’s Dr. Ssekamate discussed the census results and pointed out the following:

    • 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

    With the census results, the National Planning Authoritywill now complete and release the second National Development Plan (NDP).

    Open data for accountability and inclusiveness
    A key note address on the day’s theme, delivered by Dr. Ham Mukasa Muliira, special presidential advisor on ICT, stressed the importance of the census in providing demographic, social and economic statistics to enable government plan optimally. Dr. Muliira underscored the importance of technology in creating expediency in handling census results. The art of collection, computing, analysing, processing, storage and dissemination of data is made easier by ICTs.
    “The value of data is in holding governments accountable,” said Muliira.
    Open data can freely be used, reused and redistributed by anyone, subject utmost, to the requirement to attribute and share alike. It is crucial in enhancing inclusiveness. It is characterised by availability and access, reuse and redistribution, and universal participation. Muliira further says that 
    Open data improves inclusiveness by giving citizens the information they need to participate in public decision-making.
    Open data promotes transparency, democratic control, and self-empowerment. It fosters efficiency and effectiveness of government services and enables innovations to thrive. These are some of the reasons why open data should be promoted.

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  • 11/24/14--23:41: This Has to Stop
  • 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.

    Muhammad Yunus - Chairman, Yunus Centre and Founder,Grameen Bank (Bangladesh)

    The conference benefitted from high-profile speakers such as Emma Bonino, former Italian Foreign Minister; Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Laureate; Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi; world renowned artist, Anish Kapoor; and Cyrus Vance Jr., District Attorney, New York County. They spoke with passion and above all spoke less of what is the harsh reality and more of what they are actually doing and what the world needs to do.

    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.

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    With the closing of International Year of Family Farming many events are being organized in Manila. The week started with a Knowledge sharing fair co-organised by IFAD and Farmers Organisations which gathered 367 participants.


    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.
    More information at :

    Recognition of Outstanding Farm Families :

    IYFF KLM-PE Day 1 : Sharing Success Stories
    24 November--The break-out sessions on family farming success stories in reference to Asset Reform (PAKISAMA/ANGOC-lead), Enterprise Development (AgriCord Philippine Synergy Group-lead), Governance (PhilFaFo-lead), Climate Resilience (AsiaDHRRA-lead), and Young Farmers (PAKISAMA-lead), were the highlight of the afternoon programme of the International Year of Family Farming Knowledge Learning Market-Policy Engagem...ent.
    Each group were given two-hour sessions and also as preparation for the policy engagement forum (November 25).The participants of the five groups were convened to share the highlights of their dialogue, including the story of their case studies, success and lessons learned in family farming.
    Mark Langtiwan from the Young Farmers group, especially caught the attention of the audience by telling the ideals of the Young Farmers.
    “We should not instil in the minds our children that becoming a farmer is a punishment if they don’t want to pursue education. Take pride in farming because we are feeding the world. Hindi ‘lang’ ang farming.”
    Sessions’ Synthesis
    Meanwhile, Ms. Lany Rebagay of AFA synthesized the success stories presented into three parts- the measures of success, challenges, success factor, and lessons learned.
    One huge measure of success is sufficient income and organic farming has potential as evident in the case stories presented by the subgroups although further incentive to farmers is recommended.
    Rebagay further distinguished one success factor that is common in the stories of the farmers-- and that is “Madiskarte ang pamilyang magsasaka (Family farmers are innovative and resourceful)”.

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    Por Yohanis Amador, Coordinadora del Fondo de Mujeres AYNI

    El Fondo de Mujeres Indígenas - AYNI es uno de los programas emblemáticos de FIMI. Es el unico Fondo guiado por y para las mujeres indígenas. AYNI significa en quechua reciprocidad, solidaridad y trabajo mancomunado.

    Desde 2011, el Foro Internacional de Mujeres Indígenas (FIMI) somos la organización queadministra en América Latina y el Caribe el Fondo de Apoyo a los Pueblos Indígenas (IPAF, por sus siglas en inglés). Estos tres años de intenso trabajo han supuesto para nosotros y para nuestras organizaciones aliadas un camino de empoderamiento y crecimiento.

    El IPAF, que ya había sido puesto en marcha por el Fondo Internacional para el Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA) en 2007, busca apoyar pequeños  proyectos que promuevan el desarrollo respetando la cultura e identidad de las comunidades indígenas, en línea con la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los derechos de los pueblos indígenas.

    Estos proyectos desarrollados por nosotros los pueblos indígenas y nuestras organizaciones buscan  mejorar nuestra seguridad alimentaria, afianzar nuestra identidad cultural y ganar espacios de participación política y económica.

    La Directora de FIMI, Doña Otilia Lux de Coti
    © FIMI

    Buscamos siempre que sean experiencias autónomas, significativas y replicables. En ese sentido, tiene un gran valor simbólico y práctico el hecho que el Fondo IPAF haya sido descentralizado y sea actualmente administrado por organizaciones indígenas como FIMI en las Américas . Simbólico porque reconoce la capacidad de autonomía que tenemos los pueblos y organizaciones indígenas. Práctico porque nadie cómo las propias organizaciones indígenas pueden identificar las prioridades y necesidades.

    Un tema clave en todo el camino recorrido a lo largo de estos años ha sido la sostenibilidad de los proyectos. La experiencia nos ha demostrado que ésta depende del  grado de involucración de las comunidades. Una vez más, la cuestión de la autonomía.

    Esa autonomía conquistada por nuestros pueblos y organizaciones no sin sacrificios, es una tarea continúa, un proceso cuyos resultados positivos se han hecho evidentes en el reciente Encuentro Regional de Proyectos IPAF-FIDA  desarrollado del 27 al 29 de Octubre en Managua, Nicaragua. Allí, representantes de 10 proyectos 1  se reunieron con el objetivo de intercambiar experiencias, compartir lecciones aprendidas y estrategias para superar los obstáculos enfrentados.

    Entre esas estrategias figuran programas de revitalización cultural, muy importantes para el fortalecimiento de la identidad de pueblos y organizaciones indígenas.

    Los y las representantes del Programa de Desarrollo Integral Interdisciplinario de Bolivia nos contaron cómo los saberes y prácticas ancestrales han sido la base del desarrollo de políticas de seguridad alimentaria para la presente y las futuras generaciones. Los y las compañeras del  Pueblo Indígena de Mozonte explicaron cómo han fomentado su identidad a través de la gastronomía, la música, la danza y la artesanía.

    Las mujeres indígenas han ido ganado con los años espacios de participación en sus pueblos y organizaciones, así como en la sociedad en general.

    Las compañeras del Fondo Páez de Colombia destacaron el rol de la mujer como responsables de mantener la convivencia familiar y la importancia de hacerse escuchar para ser respetadas.  Las representantes de la Asociación Comunal Inkawasi Awana de Perú explicaron cómo pusieron en marcha capacitaciones para fortalecer sus conocimientos sobre los derechos de las mujeres indígenas. Las delegadas de la Asociación Desarrollo Comunitario de Guatemala destacaron la  importancia de la participación activa de las mujeres indígenas en la esfera económica, mostrando cómo a través de sus proyectos las mujeres han avanzado. Muchas tienen hoy sus propios negocios, lo cual potencia su liderazgo individual y colectivo.

    Mujeres indigenas de la etnia mayagna -  Nicaragua
    © FIMI
    Estos son tan solo algunos ejemplos. Desde que FIMI se hizo cargo de la administración de los fondos del IPAF para América Latina, se han concedido 12 donaciones por valor de 467.000dólares a 12 proyectos en 10 países.

    El camino recorrido no ha sido siempre fácil, y hemos encontrado desafíos y dificultades, como el proceso de desembolsos de dinero para los proyectos de organizaciones que se encuentran en zonas muy aisladas y que tenían poca experiencia en el sistema bancario, o el cambio en los gobiernos territoriales durante la ejecución de los proyectos.

    Todos y cada uno de los desafíos nos han hecho crecer como organización. FIMI ha ampliado su experiencia y nos hemos fortalecido como red global. Entre otros logros, hemos  desarrollado e implementado una estrategia de monitoreo y evaluación adaptada a las características, demandas y necesidades de pueblos y organizaciones indígenas.  

    El taller de Managua no es sino parte de un proceso mucho más amplio. Un proceso de diálogo, aprendizaje e intercambio que será continuado en el taller regional de Paraguay los días 18 y 19 de diciembre y en el Foro de los Pueblos Indígenas que se reunirá en Roma en febrero de 2015.

    En todo este camino, el acompañamiento y compromiso del FIDA con los pueblos indígenas y su lucha para una participación plena y efectiva en los procesos de toma de decisión en los niveles nacionales, regionales e internacionales han sido muy importantes. El camino continua y estamos seguros de que seguiremos fortaleciendo nuestra alianza con el FIDA para seguir creciendo.

    Participantes en el taller de FIMI en Managua
    © FIMI

    [1]Organizaciones participantes:Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (Belize); Programa de Desarrollo Integral Interdisciplinario (Bolivia); Comunidad indígena Llaguipulli (Chile); Asociación kwe´s uma kiwe peykajn mjinxisa - Fondo Paez (Colombia); Asociación de Desarrollo Comunitario (Guatemala); Asamblea Mixe para el Desarrollo Sostenible A.C. (México); Gobierno Territorial Indígena Mayangna Sauni As (Nicaragua); Pueblo Indígena de Mozonte (Nicaragua); Asociación Comunal Inkawasi Awana (Perú); Vereniging van Inheemse Dorpshoofden in Suriname (Asociación de Líderes de Poblaciones Indígenas de Suriname).

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    By Susan Beccio

    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

    Cambodia is home to 4.8 million poor people - and 90 per cent of them live in rural areas. Most of them depend on agriculture for their livelihood. About 88% of the rural population owns a small plot of land, often less than 2 hectares.  These small-scale farmers produce food at the subsistence level. Mostly they do not have access to modern farming techniques or equipment.

    I was in the Preah Vihar countryside this week visiting participants from the Rural Livelihoods Improvement Project in Kratie, Preah Vihear and Ratanakiri (RULIP).  Though the grant-funded project was completed in September 2014, many of the activities are still being carried out. 

    The women and men that I met were eager to show me what they had learned and how far they had come.  I think that the pictures speak for themselves.

    Chum Lyvon, 47, (left) is a member of a women’s group in Kampot village, Cambodia.  Group members 
    make fresh egg noodles and sell to farmers in the village. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

    Workers harvest cassava on a test-plot that was part of a farmers’ field school in Morset village, Cambodia. 
    Though cassava is not a common crop, it grows well and serves as an alternative to rice. 
    ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

    Chea Sokray, 33, raises pigs on her small farm in Tnolkorng  village, Cambodia. She is also a rice and 
    cassava farmer but raises pigs to supplement her income and family’s diet. She says that her family is 
    still hungry a few months out of a year. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio

    Farmer grows organic long beans in a small vegetable plot in Kampot village, Cambodia. She also grows 
    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

    Pom Sopbean, 25, raises ducks on her farm in Senmonorom village, Cambodia. She is recognized as a 
    “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

    Kuy Samoerin lights a biogas stove to make tea in her home in Krohorm village, Cambodia. Kuy is a 61-year-
    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

    Uoun Sokry, 23, feeds her two-year-old daughter York Narong in Tek Krohorm village. She belongs to a 
    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

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    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
    © IIWF

    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
    © IIWF
    These are just some examples. Since IIWF took over the administration of the IPAF funds for Latin America, 12 grants have been awarded to 12 projects in 10 countries, for a total of US$ 467,000.

    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

    1 Participant projects: Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (Belize); Programa de Desarrollo Integral Interdisciplinario (Bolivia); Comunidad indígena Llaguipulli (Chile); Asociación kwe´s uma kiwe peykajn mjinxisa - Fondo Paez (Colombia); Asociación de Desarrollo Comunitario (Guatemala); Asamblea Mixe para el Desarrollo Sostenible A.C. (México); Gobierno Territorial Indígena Mayangna Sauni As (Nicaragua); Pueblo Indígena de Mozonte (Nicaragua); Asociación Comunal Inkawasi Awana (Perú); Vereniging van Inheemse Dorpshoofden in Suriname (Asociación de Líderes de Poblaciones Indígenas de Suriname).

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    Delegates gather at COP20 UN climate summit in Lima, Peru. ©IFAD

    By Brian Thomson

    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
    At the same time, there is a quieter push under way to give more of the limelight to ways of adjusting to the unavoidable effects of climate change. These include building more resilient infrastructure, putting in place disaster warning systems and teaching farmers to harvest more rainwater.

    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

    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

    The writer is Communication and Advocacy Manager in the Environment and Climate Division of IFAD's Programme Management Department.

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  • 12/01/14--14:56: Voices from COP20, Lima
  • Written by Jessica Morgan

    Aside from the political dimension, whereby the world’s governments are seeking a binding treaty for cutting greenhouse emissions, the UN climate summit in Lima, COP20, is a place where people from all over the world to meet and talk about climate change. 

    IFAD is in Lima to share its experience on adapting to climate change with smallholder farmers through the Adaptation for Smallholder Farmers Programme (ASAP) and learn from others working in the same area.  

    Smallholder farmers are at the frontline of climate change with their livelihoods and food security at stake. In developing countries, smallholders are the among the people most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

    Following the opening plenary I asked some of the participants what they were hoping to come out of this key meeting in Lima, and more importantly, how the climate summit will relate to smallholder farmers in developing countries.

    A volunteer from the UN’s World Food Programme said that: 

    “Smallholder farmers are the least responsible yet feel the effects of climate change the most. People need to realise that while targets and fixed agreements between developed and less developed countries to reduce emissions are of course essential, the people that are really feeling these effects are those whose voices are not properly heard.” 

    “Hopefully we can begin to see that the issues of smallholder farmers and indigenous peoples need to be addressed, and it’s looking like things could be heading in the right direction at this COP.” 

    Jessica Olson from the Sierra Student Coalition said: 

    “Food is one of the most close relationships we have with the earth so that would be something I would like to see addressed here at COP.”

    “It’s important to look at the science behind this as seen in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report."

    The IPCC report showed us how seriously affected smallholder farmers already are by the negative impacts of global warming.

    “Biodiversity around farms is a highly important element in our food process and is not getting the attention it deserves.” 

    Professor Juan Montes at the International Technical Cooperation and Development Department of the National University of San Martin in Peru said that: 

    In Peru there are many smallholder farmers and hopefully the climate summit is addressing the issues that these people face due to climate change. Smallholder farmer's vulnerability to climate change needs to be addressed along with food security and environmental impact.

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    “The stage has been set, now we must fill it with content,” said Manuel Pulgar Vidal, Peru’s Environment Minister, at the opening of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 20th Conference of Parties (COP20). 

    In the lead up to this event, which is the apex of all international climate fora, the expectations for action on climate change have been high. What a difference a year can make. At COP19 in Warsaw last November, any prospect of advancing an international climate treaty was considered dead on arrival. And while some incremental progress was made on establishing the structures of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the REDD+ mechanism, the Warsaw conference was slow to find a common cause to fight climate change. 

    In contrast, the mood here in Lima is remarkably optimistic that a draft climate deal can be produced ahead of 2015, when countries will be expected to sign up in Paris. This is largely due to what Vidal termed, “positive and diverse” signals in his opening address. By this he referred to the unprecedented announcement a few weeks ago by President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China committing the world’s two largest carbon polluters to emission cuts. The United States has pledged to reduce 30 percent of their emissions by 2025 (based on 2005 levels); while China will begin draw down after 2030. The European Union has gone even further by committing to a 40 percent reduction by 2030 (based on 1990 levels). The momentum this has spurred can not be overstated. For the first time in twenty years, indeed since these negotiations began, the countries most responsible for climate change have come to this process with their own domestic climate change policies in place. 

    In her role as UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres addressed the conference and challenged delegates to raise the level of ambition so that over the long-term the human race might achieve climate neutrality. She alluded to the geoglyphs of the ancient Nazca people of southern Peru. Their mysterious lines, which depict monkeys, spiders, hummingbirds and condors hint at the worldview of a culture that lived in sustainable coexistence with nature. “We must strive to emulate the Nazca people, and carve out our own contours for climate acton,” Figueres said.

    Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, the IPCC chairperson also made a presentation that took on a more sombre tone. Armed with conclusive findings from the IPCC’s recently released climate change synthesis report, his message was clear: the longer we forestall mitigation and adaptation measures, the more intractable our climate problems will become. According to Pachuari, a relatively simple calculation reveals that 65 percent of our carbon budget has already been used if we are to remain below 2 degree celsius warming. The window for climate action is rapidly closing, he warned.

    For IFAD, it is important to recognize that while the energy sector represents 35.6 percent of all carbon emissions, agriculture is the second-largest contributor with 24 percent. Halting the pernicious trend of deforestation for agricultural expansion is one of the best ways of maintaining earth’s vital carbon sinks and conserving biodiversity. 

    Negotiators in Lima expect that by March 2015, governments will make announcements that are aligned with the targets set by the United States and China. But in the meantime, the outcomes of COP20 will provide a decisive indication as to whether country leaders are now ready to exercise the political will that is sorely needed in order to cut their emissions and avoid ruinous climate consequences in our time. 

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    Written by Jessica Morgan

    The Voces de La Clima (Voices for Climate) exhibition opened today as part of the UN’s climate summit in Lima, Peru. Running through till 12 December it aims to educate visitors on the effects of climate change and what people can do to reduce their carbon footprint while conserving biodiversity. 
    An installation made from plastic bottles and other rubbish
    collected from the sea

    The exhibition is divided in to five zones: Forests, Mountains, Water and Oceans, Energy and Sustainable Cities. Through these it highlights initiatives from the Peruvian government, private sector and civil society.

    The Mountain zone focuses on smallholder farmers in Peru. Voces de la Clima wants to address the challenges farmers face due to climate change. Indigenous peoples are a very important part of Peru's culture and the country relies heavily on the products they produce. Crops such as potatoes and maize, which are staple foods in Peru, are mostly grown by small farmers in the Andes. 

    A display showing the stories of some Smallholder Farmers
    from around the world. 
    One of the event organisers, Arasely Rojas, said: “Small farmers are very important in Peru. But there is not enough water, and the mountain lakes are running dry so the crops are not growing properly.” 

    Rojas explained that between 2,500 and 4,000 Peruvian farmers in the Andes are facing food insecurity due to climate change. Water scarcity is the main reason why crop yields are being depleted. IFAD believes that small farmers are key to providing food for our growing population in a sustainable way whilst also conserving biodiversity and promoting gender equality. IFAD's Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Program (ASAP) designs programmes to help smallholder farmers achieve these goals. 

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    As country delegates apply themselves to the herculean task of negotiating a draft climate agreement beginning today at COP20 in Lima, it is worth reflecting on the origins of the United Nations and to consider what purpose this multilateral institution was intended to serve by its founders. I would argue that only by putting the United Nations in its proper historical context, can we fully realize its potential to lead humanity to a more peaceful and prosperous condition. 

    The Declaration by United Nations was initially a pledge of support by 26 nations to the Atlantic Charter, committing them to continue fighting the Axis powers on January 1st, 1942. The institution that later emerged was primarily the initiative of the American president Franklin D. Roosevelt, who believed that only through cooperation between nation states, could humanity avoid another global catastrophe on the scale of the Second World War. 

    So why is this relevant to the current COP20 in Lima? Consider the issues that delegates have been discussing in today’s plenary session. Many developing countries are calling for the developed states to capitalize the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to the tune of 100 billion US dollars per year, starting in 2020. Thus far, developed states have contributed 9.7 billion US dollars to cover the five year interim period (between 2015-2020), before the new climate deal will come into effect. As many delegates aligned with the G77 bloc have noted, it is still unclear how this money will be raised. Climate finance, they argue, is the fundamental building block of any climate deal in 2015, since vulnerable people in developing countries, including smallholder farmers, are already experiencing climate change and urgently need support to help them adapt. The delegate from Nauru, speaking on behalf of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) poignantly asserted that to many, adaptation is a matter of survival. 

    Secondly, most developing countries and the European Union are arguing for universal and legally-binding mitigation targets. However, in the last several months the United States and some others have proposed an alternative modality that would allow countries to determine the scale and pace of their own emission reduction targets, even if this fails to stay within the 2 degrees celsius warming threshold that climate scientists say is the minimum to avoid disastrous climate change in the future. 

    These are two areas that could potentially derail negotiations if sufficient progress is not made before the Paris COP next year; which is why we should feel compelled to look back to the architects of the multilateral regime and seek inspiration from their positive example. How unattainable must the cause of peace have seemed in 1942? Yet Roosevelt, Churchill and their allies were able to mobilize a diverse coalition to end the war, and went on to establish an effective democratic forum that has been of inestimable value to maintaining peace and security, and many other issues of global significance since then. 

    As climate change now threatens the entire human family, we must seek conciliation among diverse groups, as arduous as that task may seem. This is also a decisive moment for the future of the multilateral regime, and the signals that delegates send here can create positive incentives that lead to even greater momentum as we enter the final stretch of negotiations. 

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    By Kanayo F. Nwanze

    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.
    Sadly, levels of hunger and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa remain consistently higher than those in other regions of the developing world. In Latin America, the extreme poverty rate has fallen by 50 percent since 1999. In East Asia, it has dropped by 63 percent. However, overall sub-Saharan Africa’s poverty fate fell by just 17 percent in the same period.

    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:

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