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    IFAD’s President and DR Congo’s President of the
    Chamber of Deputies, Aubin Minaku - ©IFAD/D.Paqui
    IFAD has supported rural development initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) since 1980, although civil conflict interrupted its operations there for more than a decade. From 1980 to 1991, and from 2004 to the present, 476,000 households have benefited from seven IFAD-funded programmes with a total cost of US$263.6 million. In DR Congo aims to reduce food insecurity by contributing to economic development – including the creation of income opportunities for rural women and young people in agriculture and related employment. At the moment two IFAD-financed projects are on-going in DR Congo, whereas one is in the final stage of design (PASA-NK). 

    IFAD’s President and DR Congo’s Minister of Agricuture,
    Livestock and Fishery, Isidore Kabwe Mwehu Longo - ©IFAD/D.Paqui
    From 16 to 20 July 2015, IFAD’s President, Mr. Nwanze, visited DR Congo. The President met with the representatives of the Government, the Parliament and farmers’ organisations. Mr. Nwanze and his interlocutors recognized the importance of family farming in reducing poverty and improving global food security in DR Congo. Strong links to markets for poor rural producers are essential to increasing agricultural production, generating economic growth in rural areas and reducing hunger and poverty. Improving these links creates a virtuous circle by boosting productivity, increasing incomes and strengthening food security. The President stressed the importance of working with poor rural women and men to help them access value chains that offer opportunities for them as producers, non-farm entrepreneurs and wage workers and  supporting them in capturing a larger share of the value added along the chain.
    Vegetable garden in Wungu (Madimba) - ©IFAD/D.Paqui

    Mr. Nwanze highlighted the need to reform the agricultural sector in DR Congo to capitalize on DR Congo’s rich potential. This reform requires leadership, governance and accountability. In a country where food is still a challenge for most citizens, agriculture employs 64% of the working population. The president therefore stressed that agriculture must play the leading role in the development of this country, because no other sector can provide as much manpower today. 

    IFAD President, Kanayo Nwanze with Julienne Mankéla,
    successful farmer in Wungu (Madimba) - ©IFAD/D.Paqui
    After the meetings in Kinshasa, the President travelled to the implementation area of the Kinshasa Food Supply Centres Support Programme (PAPAKIN). The programme aims to improve the productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers in the western part of DR Congo. It is being implemented in the peri-urban area of Kinshasa and 14 targeted sectors of Kwilu district in Bandundu Province. Specifically, the goal of PAPAKIN is to expand the production of vegetable gardens and staple food crops, as well as their supply to urban markets. The programme supports community-based producers' organizations, helping them improve their management and provide their members with technical services for the production, processing and marketing of cassava, grain legume, Tenera palm and garden vegetables. All of these crops have strong potential in terms of both improving productivity and taking advantage of market opportunities.






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    By: Karan Sehgal, Renewable Energy Technologies Portfolio Officer

    I recently returned from a workshop in Florence where participants including academics, scientists and development practitioners discussed biomass conversion technologies and how these can contribute to decarbonising economies. 


    The project BIOSYNG is supported by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MIPAAF). Spearheaded by students from the RE-CORD (a non-profit research institute associated with the Università di Firenze), the project has set-up a non-commercial gasification capable of producing approximately 500 cubic metres of gas per hour, from the gasification of lignocellulose biomass.


    Methane is a crucial and key solution to curbing overall Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions – the key is to promote a bottom-up approach by reducing net emissions of small-medium enterprises. 

    The goal by 2020 is to capitalize on the experimental projects regarding the different applications of biogas in Florence. Addressing the technical aspects and those related to a lack of supporting market infrastructure we can embrace the broader issues on the need for a regulatory and policy framework in a perspective closely related to biomethane.


    For example, harnessing the CO2 derived from methanation (process that transforms biogas into biomethane through thermochemical processes) and from alcohol production (i.e. beer industry). The international objective is to reduce the carbon footprint of the transport and industry sectors through reduction of GHG emissions by harnessing the CO2 which would otherwise escape into the atmosphere.


    Vision for the future: by 2030, the European biogas industry will produce as much ''green gas'' as ''green electricity'' by using the natural gas distribution network[1] to be used for generating electricity, heating and cooling and as a fuel for vehicular application.




    [1] Once biogas is upgraded it has the same properties as natural gas and therefore can be fed directly into the natural gas grid.


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  • 08/06/15--03:04: Flowers and Food Security

  • Do you know what the national flower of Hawaii, Haiti, Malaysia and South Korea is? 

    The delicious tea made from its flowers can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, boost the immune system and help weight loss. In some countries it's used as a vegetable and as a natural food coloring and is used to make paper. Wearing it can also denote if a woman is married or single.



    © Lavanya Kurup
    These are all the various uses of the beautiful and highly versatile hibiscus, which is also one of the crops that is part of the IFAD-supported Agricultural Value Chains Support Projectin Senegal.The project, together with  farmers’ organizations, put in place a financing scheme for agricultural inputs such as certified seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and small tools, farmers also have access to extension services. This has allowed, crop yields to significantly increase in project areas.


    For example, in the last five years, hibiscus yield increased from 200 kilograms per hectare to the current 650 kilograms per hectare. This is an impressive 225% increase!As a result, smallholder farmers have been able to produce enough for their own consumption, as well as for sale on the open market. A number of international tea/herbal companies have expressed interest in the crop which illustrates its potential on a number of fronts.


    One of the main reasons for the success of the Agricultural Value Chains Support Project is  the Market Operators contractual arrangement which has created the necessary  linkages between farmers' organizations and market operators. This arrangement has helped to integrate farmers into the value chain allowing them  to deliver valuable and high quality products and services to the market across the entire value chain, starting with cultivating, processing, packaging.


    The project has set up four value chain fora  for hibiscus, millet/sorghum, cowpea and sesame. The fora are a platform where every value chain actor (producer, transporter, input provider, trader, processor, banker, etc.)  can meet, share information, plan together activities, and mediate among actors (i.e. between producers and buyers).



    The project has had a significant impact on the local economy and has helped to reduce food insecurity, increase incomes and create jobs, especially for women and young people.




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    Asia-Pacific Local Champions Exhibition (10-12 August, Cambodia)

    The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry of Cambodia, the International Fund for Agriculture Development and PROCASUR are pleased to invite you to the first Asia-Pacific Local Champions Exhibition, bringing together local champions with the public sector, universities, NGOs and cooperation agencies. This groundbreaking event will be a unique opportunity to build personal contacts with outstanding rural women and men, promoting innovations in sustainable rural and agricultural development, with special focus on the involvement of rural youth.
    The three-day gathering combines smart networking and learning tools within an interactive framework: Local champions will invite you to visit their Innovation Shops, sales booths to share and explain solutions, best practices and technologies born from endurance; public-private Roundtables will provide space to identify concrete collaboration opportunities between local champions and other rural development practitioners; and a Field training will strengthen the know-how of participants on local knowledge management and on scaling up local solutions.
    The event is open to all kinds of rural development practitioners, including local champions, project directors, knowledge management professionals, civil society and cooperation leaders, and it focuses on four critical areas:
    1. Natural resources management and climate change;
    2. Rural groups for economic and social development: cooperatives, associations, SHGs, enterprises,    indigenous communities;
    3. Agriculture and market: high-value products, organic agriculture, non-farm based businesses
    4. Local knowledge enterprises: community learning centers, farmer field schools, learning routes.
    If you are interested in attending, please register with PROCASUR before the 15th of July. Your delegation may be partially supported with our limited funds, including international tickets, accommodation, meals and local transportation.
    For further information download the Exhibition Booklet and visit www.asia.procasur.org



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    The first Asia-Pacific Local Champions Exhibition opened today at the Royal University of Agriculture of Phnom Penh. The three-day event receives more than a hundred guests from eight countries, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Tonga and Vietnam. The event is a unique opportunity to build personal contacts with outstanding rural women and men, promoting innovations in sustainable rural and agricultural development, with special focus on the involvement of rural youth.
    Local champions and members of the public and private sectors showcases products, knowledge and innovations, best practices and technologies in 18 Innovation Shops.
    In the afternoon, public-private Roundtables provide space to identify concrete collaboration opportunities between local champions, rural youth and other development practitioners.










    The first Asia-Pacific Local Champions Exhibition opened today at the Royal University of Agriculture of Phnom Penh. The three-day event receives more than a hundred guests from eight countries, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Tonga and Vietnam. The event is a unique opportunity to build personal contacts with outstanding rural women and men, promoting innovations in sustainable rural and agricultural development, with special focus on the involvement of rural youth.
    Local champions and members of the public and private sectors showcases products, knowledge and innovations, best practices and technologies in 18 Innovation Shops.
    In the afternoon, public-private Roundtables provide space to identify concrete collaboration opportunities between local champions, rural youth and other development practitioners.






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    Participants of the Local Champions Exhibition are welcomed to  the Healthy Spirit (Mongkol) Communicty Learning Center in Takeo Province on the second day.  The  special Field training offered first-hand experience with highly successful group of Local Champions.  Their training aim to strengthen the know-how of participants on local knowledge management and on scaling up local solutions.




    Visitors participated in one of the following training modules: Production and use of Effective Microorganism (EM), Organic washing liquids, Compost processing, organic pesticides, Rice parachuting and natural hormones.








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    Local radio stations can be a powerful means of communication, particularly to smallholder farmers located in remote rural places. When listening to the radio, they feel connected to the rest of the world and become better informed. In northern Mozambique, the Programme for the Promotion of Rural Markets (Programa de Promoçao de Mercados Rurais-PROMER), supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of Mozambique, is using community radio stations as a creative way to disseminate market price and product information. Timely and reliable information on market prices, quantities available and transport costs is crucial for these farmers to sell at a better price.

    Currently, PROMER is broadcasting through 10 community radio stations based in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Niassa and Zambezia where the programme is being implemented. Most of these radio stations already existed as part of a government’s plan to reach out to the remote rural areas of northern Mozambique. PROMER identified them as a good channel to communicate prices to farmers. A local market bulletin, which include prices for the main markets and availability of produce in the Farmers Asociations supported by the programme, is broadcast several times per week.

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    Written by Emily Nink

    Originally posted here.

    2014 was the hottest year on record, according to both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Rainfall in crucial agricultural zones is diminishing, and small farmers are facing desertification of farmland due to climate change. Everyone must play a role in helping small farmers adapt to climate change, and chefs are uniquely positioned to partner with the farmers who grow the ingredients for their meals. Recipes for Change, a campaign of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), features ingredients that are under threat from climatic changes.
    The campaign focuses on traditional crops and dishes that are under threat from global climate change. Regional celebrity chefs travel to rural areas to work with small farmers and to cook traditional meals with local farmers. A series of videos features stories and recipes from rural communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and also features celebrity chefs from those regions. IFAD, a specialized agency of the United Nations, has partnered with the Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) to produce the videos.
    The project notes that one in three people are dependent on smallholder farms for food security. Furthermore, small farmers often produce food on marginal land and face reduced yields and incomes due to climate change. Therefore, adaptation to climate change is of vital importance to small farmers and rural communities.
    Videos include recipes for sweet and sour catfish soup from Vietnam, bananas with beans and split green peas from Rwanda, and Chairo soup from Bolivia. Other recipes, such as Poulet Yassa from Senegal and Guatemalan rice and beans, are also available; the online recipes explain both regional climate risks and IFAD solutions to problems faced by smallholder farmers.
    In celebration of World Environment Day 2015, Italian celebrity chef Carlo Cracco visited Moroccan farmer Fatima Abed to create a recipe for lamb tagine with Moroccan truffles. Abed is facing desertification and land degradation due to climatic changes. “Coming here is a humbling experience because if you let it, the desert will advance,” said Cracco. “We must help those people who work to recuperate the land, so that there is a change in the way we fight the battle of climate change.”
    Leading up to the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in December of 2015, IFAD will intensify the campaign in hopes of contributing to a worldwide call for an ambitious global deal on climate change. Many other organizations are showing support and solidarity for small farmers adapting to climate change by organizing actions and campaigns worldwide.
    Recipes For Change grew out of IFAD’s existing work with small farmers and adaptation to climate change. IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) channels climate finance to small farmers to build resilience in the face of climate risks. Working in more than 30 developing countries, ASAP is now the largest global financing source related to adaptation to climate change.
    Join the community and discuss ingredients and issues with other changemakers! Follow Recipes for Change on Twitter and Instagram: #RecipesForChange

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    Ethiopia's Rural Financial IntermediationProgramme (RUFIP) supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), enabled more than 3 million poor rural households to get out of poverty by accessing financial services. Now in its second phase, RUFIP-II programme aims to scale up delivery of financial services at national level to reach almost 7 million households by 2019.


    The overall objective of the programme is to provide poor rural people with sustainable access to a range of financial services through a nationwide network of some 30 Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and about 5,500 rural savings and credit cooperatives (RUSACCOs) as well as 100 unions of RUSACCOs. It is supporting these rural financial institutions by developing their institutional capacity to manage credit funds and increasing their professional skills to deliver tailored financial services to their community members. It  is also helping to improve the policy environment as well as  introducing new regulatory and supervisory parameters.

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    Asia-Pacific Local Champions Exhibition goes to Takeo 
    Location: O’saray Commune, Tram Kak District, Takeo Province, Cambodia 




    On August 11, as part of the Asia-Pacific Local Champions Exhibition in Cambodia, delegations of farmers and supporters from nine different countries visited the model farm in Takeo Province. Visitors from Bangladesh, Colombia, Laos, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Tonga and Vietnam came to witness the process of change with the official opening of the first training center for farmers in Takeo: the Mongkol (Healthy Spirit) Community Learning Center. 

    From Phnom Penh City to Takeo Province in the South of Cambodia there is a three and a half hour ride through the hot and dry countryside. It is August, the middle of the rainy season, but rains are scarce as the country continues its second year of drought. Almost half of the rice paddies seen along the way look abandoned or withering. In Cambodia, where 80% of all cultivated land is used for rice farming, economic vulnerability to climate change is evident. 


    Some farms in Takeo, however, enjoy an abundance of water. With integrated farming, a growing number of smallholder farms are becoming more resilient, economic and efficient – especially when compared to monocropping, a popular farming method in rural Cambodia. Here, hand dug reservoirs are used as multipurpose fishponds, basins for organic fertilizer and irrigation holes for off-season rice. 

    As a model, this farm in O’saray Commune was the destination of the Field Training Day at the Local Champions Exhibition, organized and supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Cambodia, IFAD and PROCASUR. 

    Empowered by a series of trainings and Learning Routes, seven Local Champions created a model for community learning. They poured their own time, energy and resources into building a training site, a curriculum and a team for the dissemination of their knowledge. As a result, the Mongkol Community Learning Center became one of the most successful farmer-to-farmer training sites in Cambodia, open for people and innovations. 

    The Magnificent Seven of Takeo, the founders, builders and trainers of the Mongkol (Healthy Spirit) Community Learning Center. From left to right: Daek Dol (Director), Nget Samouen (Deputy Director), Chhin Chhorn (Financial Officer), Toen Toeung, Prom Soeun, Bounna Sun and Paet Savouen (Secretary).


    Nget Samouen, owner of the model farm used as learning site, also participated in the Learning Routes. He is now the Deputy Director and one of the trainers of the Mongkol Community Learning Center. Built on his own land, with his own resources, the Mongkol CLC is the center of knowledge exchange for innovations, and an important channel of communication for the likes of Mr. Samouen to tell their stories. 



    “I want to tell my story to others so they can learn like I have learned. I used to have one fishpond back in 2009. But all my fish died. Then I went to Thailand and learned some very useful methods. Then I came back and restarted my fish farm three years ago. Now I have 17 ponds with lots of fish to eat and sell. Many people come to us for the good fish we have” – Nget Samouen, Deputy Director of the Mongkol CLC.






















    At the opening of the Mongkol CLC, more than a hundred people gathered from the Local Champions Exhibition to hear the welcoming notes of the farmers, their teachers and the organizers. Many praised the successful results of the knowledge exchange programs between farmers, and their self-growing network that made changes possible in poor, rural households. 


    For the Field Training Day, six learning stations were set up by the Local Champions of Takeo to demonstrate innovations they have learned and successfully used in the production and use of EM, organic pesticides, natural hormones, and the parachuting planting method among others. 


    “I am very happy to see all these people from Nepal, Bangladesh, even Tonga, who were interested in what we are doing, and came and asked questions from us. I am proud to be the one giving the answers.”  Daek Dol, Director of the Mongkol CLC. 
    Daek Dol, Director of Mongkol CLC with rice seedling trays for parachuting.

     “Thank you all for your visit. We hope to see you again soon.”

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    Written by Farming First


    This week, Farming First has launched a new online resource that vocalises calls-to-action from farmers around the world on what they hope the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals on 25th-26th September 2015 will do for them, and how they can embrace them with their own actions. 

    The collection of stories “The SDGs and Me” can be viewed in full at: www.farmingfirst.org/sdgs-and-me

    Farmers from Cambodia to Kenya were asked how they hope the government, NGOs and private sector will take action in their local areas.

    “I hope government will consider giving agricultural loans to us
    farmers at low interest rates in order to end poverty.”
    Halima from Uganda

    “I hope the government and private sector will invest in research and
    development of better inputs, for increased productivity that
    will eventually end hunger.”
    Michael from Kenya

    Read their stories, view pictures of their farms and get to know about the projects that are helping them prosper. Find out how their stories and calls-to-action could go beyond the goals to end hunger and poverty, and also made strides on tackling climate change, empowering women and promoting sustainable consumption.

    The International Fund for Agricultural Development has also launched a collection of of rural people from around the world, to amplify rural people’s voices and stories in the lead up to the UN Sustainable Development Summit.


    On 25 September, you can donate your social media feed and help IFAD share these stories.

    We want world leaders gathered at the UN Sustainable Development Summit and the General Assembly to know that achieving the SDGs means investing in rural people and building a better world for us all. Follow the conversations on both campaigns using the hashtags #SDGsandMe and #ItsAboutPeople.

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    Written by Francesca Aloisio for Words in the Bucket

    From September 25 to September 27, more 193 world leaders will gather together at the UN headquarters in New York to attend the UN Sustainable Development Summit to adopt a new sustainable development agenda to implement in the next 15 years. The importance of setting a new agenda, called “Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, had been recognized by all 193 members after succesfully reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) launched back in 2000.

    2015 is therefore an important year since the there will be a major switch from the MDGs, that involved only the developing countries, to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will apply to the entire world, the rich and the poor.

    In order to end extreme poverty, fight inequality & injustice, fix climate change, the new agenda counts 17 goal:


    The United Nations launched several campaigns to raise awareness among people because governments have to act now but to achieve these goals it’s necessary the commitment of all.

    Take action and join the campaign launched by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)#ItsAboutPeople to donate your social media feed and tell world leaders that achieving the sustainable development goals means investing in rural people and building a better world for us all.



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    By Maria Hartl, Senior Technical Specialist - Gender and Social Equity

    EXPO Milan has definitely given us the space to talk – with a calendar of occasions for exchange about topics that often do not make it into the headlines, including for example the core mandates of the Rome-based agencies and their collaboration.

    That was my first thought, when I was invited to speak at a round-table on “Agricultural biodiversity, value chains and women’s empowerment”. The event was organized by Bioversity International and supported by the Italian Development Cooperation. The focus was on the strategic role of women in managing and conserving agricultural biodiversity and the challenges and opportunities they face.

    The round-table was skillfully moderated by Barbara Serra, news presenter and correspondent for Al Jazeera English. It brought together many key players on gender and biodiversity, including representatives from FAO, IFAD, Oxfam Novib, to Slow Food, Fair Trade and the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSFR) in India.

    In fact, to me it felt like the extended IFAD family.  It was certainly not a coincidence that many of the programmes that were presented kicked off with IFAD grant support. It was a great opportunity to learn about long-term results and impact. And it was really gratifying to see that all the programmes integrated a gender perspective and contributed to women’s empowerment, in particular for indigenous women.

    Ann Tutweiler (Director General, Bioversity International) and Stefano Padulosi (Theme Leader, Marketing Diversity, Bioversity International) spoke about the result of years of research on neglected and underutilized species (NUS), which started with IFAD grant support.  They had also invited Sebastiana Choque, a custodian farmer from Bolivia, to give a testimonial about her management of many varieties of native potatoes, cañihua, oca and barley. Choque also spoke about the important work she has been doing in support of the Bolivian National Agricultural and Forestry Research Institute in its cañihua germplasm collection.

    Bioversity’s support of the Andean “lost grains” of Quinoa in Bolivia and Peru led to the development of practical and safe processing machines which combine both traditional and modern technologies and significantly reduce women’s burden of labour. The machines slash the time required to thresh grains from 2 hours to 6 minutes per kilogramme. Another key process, the removal of saponin, the bitter coat around the grains, takes only 1 minute per kilogramme with the new machines, where before it took half an hour – a truly fantastic reduction of drudgery. (Remember that the third strategic objective of IFAD’s gender policy focuses on reducing workload – and that’s because it makes a huge difference to women’s lives.) The programme also facilitated strategic alliances with private companies to develop over 40 new food products, including fortified cookies and dairy substitutes with an Andean grain base which the government is now making available to breastfeeding women.

    Putting Lessons into Practice: Scaling up People’s Biodiversity Management for Food Security” is an Oxfam Novib programme in Peru, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe supported by IFAD.  According to Gigi Manicad (Senior Programme Manager, Oxfam Novib), more than the 60 per cent of the participants were indigenous women who were actively engaged in seed management and in participatory varietal selection and breeding. (To find out more about this, take a look at the women’s video diaries, where indigenous women speak for themselves)

    In 2014, the programme expanded into eight countries, using the innovative Farmer Field Schools method to preserve the seeds of neglected and under-utilised species that are a priority for women and food and nutrition security.

    Oxfam Novib has submitted a report on the programme to the upcoming Sixth Session of the Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture with recommendations on farmers’ rights and inclusion of women.

    Another joint IFAD-Biodiversity International project was introduced by E.D. Israel Oliver King, the principal scientist at the MSSFR (India) and coordinator of a programme strengthening the resilience of poor rural communities in the face of food insecurity, poverty and climate change through on-farm conservation of local agricultural biodiversity.  He was accompanied by Malliga Seerangan, a recognized custodian farmer and Jaya Eswaran, representative of a women’s self-help group, who described their involvement in varietal selection, community seed banks and value addition.

    In my presentation, I put the spotlight on IFAD’s support to indigenous peoples, in particular women and their holistic approach to biodiversity. The link between biodiversity conservation and empowering rural people to improve their lives and strengthen their resilience is a leitmotiv for grant and loan-financed operations, leading to better nutrition and food security, and increased income and economic empowerment. Women are a key link in the chain that starts with seed selection and preservation and ends with putting nutritious food on the table.

    In the discussion that followed, one participant asked about the collaboration between the many organizations present. There are indeed so many ongoing partnerships, often invisible to the public eye.  As Ann Tutweiler (Bioversity International) replied, a diagram showing all the different partnerships and collaborations among the organizations present in the room would consist of hundreds of lines running from one organization to the other.

    The event concluded with a demonstration and tasting of delicious Indian snacks made out of millet and other neglected species, the final statement about women’s important role in the food chain, leading to the kitchen and filling hungry stomachs.

    Related links
    Stewards of biodiversity adapt to a changing climate

    Recordings


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    Makati City, Philippines -12 September 2015 - The European Union (EU) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) are pouring in fresh support to a capacity building programme that is helping improve the livelihoods and food security situation of smallholder farmers and rural producers in ASEAN countries.

    This was announced by Hoonae Kim of IFAD Asia Pacific and Franck Viault of the EU Delegation at the 37th Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) on September 10, 2015 at the Manila Peninsula, Makati City, Philippines following IFAD and EU regional programme joint presentation to the ASEAN Ministers.


    Hoonae Kim, IFAD Director emphasized the success of ASEAN and the current IFAD investments in 8 of the 10 member countries (20 projects amounting to USD 2 billions and dedicated to agriculture development). She indicated that "80% of agriculture investments are done by smallholders who provide 80% of food supply, and they deserve support from Governments and international finance institutions".Ms Kim presented two areas for cooperation with ASEAN: a policy grant support to ASEAN common market integration to ensure smallholders are not left behind; and farmers' organizations support with EU and Swiss Cooperation Agency: https://youtu.be/S2a93Jf0P00




    The ASEAN Farmers' Organizations Support Program (AFOSP) is an EUR 16 million programme of which EUR 15 million are provided by the EU. AFOSP aims at strengthening Farmers' Organisations (FO's) institutional and operational capacities; enable FOs at different levels to have their interests better taken into account in regional, national and provincial policies on smallholder priority subjects; and improve FO's services to their members through entrepreneurial capacities and participation in value chains.
    The program is helping ASEAN FOs to evolve into stable, professional, accountable organisations capable of providing effective and sustainable services to their members and of influencing policy and corporate processes on agriculture and food security issues at local, national, ASEAN regional and global levels.


    AFOSP consists of two highly complementary Components -- (i) support to the Medium Term Cooperation Programme phase II and regional policy dialogue in ASEAN region – MTCP ASEAN and (ii) Farmers Fighting Poverty – Food Security Initiatives of Farmers’ Organisations in a Regional Perspective programme (FFPASEAN). The two components share the same objectives and activities although both the approach and the level of intervention are different but complementary.
    MTCP2 ASEAN will be managed by the consortium of the Asian Farmers' Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and La Via Campesina (LVC), while the FFP ASEAN will be managed by the AgriCord network of agri-agencies.


    Since 2013, MTCP2 operates in Asia Pacific at regional and national levels, supporting FOs platforms at regional, sub-regional and national levels and to create institutional linkages between these platforms and ASEAN Secretariat, while FFP ASEAN mainly involves local FOs and value chains specialised FOs from the local to the national level since 2007. MTCP ASEAN would primarily focus on those activities that can benefit all members’ platforms towards building common agenda for policy dialogue and joint action both for economic and political actions, while FFP ASEAN would tailor its support to the specific needs of individual FOs in terms of organizational strength and inclusiveness, institutional development, business development (economic services), policy elaboration and advocacy.

    Franck Viault, Head of Cooperation EU Jakarta, highlighted the enhanced ASEAN-EU partnership including notably increased EU development assistance to ASEAN both at regional and bilateral level, notably support for agriculture sector in Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar; AFOSP will be fully complementary to these bilateral programs. He also mentioned that "the ASEAN Secretariat, ASEAN Sectoral Bodies and the ASEAN Foundation are the shareholders of AFOSP program and this will ensure the stronger and mutually beneficial links with Farmer Organisations and other stakeholders": https://youtu.be/8tJh4TAPQ5Y



    The feedback from six ASEAN Ministers and their representatives on the presentation and purpose of AFOSP was very positive. They highlighted in particular the diversity of challenges their smallholders farmers are facing, importance of marketing and interaction with the private sector, knowledge dissemination and need for incentives for young generations to stay and succeed in the agriculture sector.

    The program will run for 5 years from June 2015, and its implementation is monitored on www.asiapacificfarmersforum.com





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    Written by Bertrand Reysset 

    Participants at the congress in Milan. Photo credit: Bertrand Reysset
    The VI World Congress of Agronomists, held in the Expo conference room, started on Tuesday 15 September in Milan. 500 agronomists from all around the world were gathered to discuss the connection between food and identity.

    I participated in the opening session together with the president of the World Association of Agronomists, Mrs María Cruz Díaz Álvarez, officials from Italian authorities, agronomists from all over the world, as well as representatives from FAO.

    It was an opportunity to recall IFAD's strong support for rural smallholders for nearly 40 years, and that working with agronomists and using agronomical science is a part of IFAD’s DNA.

    The conference topic, Food and Identity, was also an opportunity to highlight a recent IFAD campaign that celebrates the local recipes of rural people. Local recipes are at the crossroads of nutrition, culture, food systems and climate challenges. Climate change is putting local recipes and products at risk, and this is affecting local identities and tradition. In Lesotho the change in rainfall and snowfall patterns are challenging rangeland management, threatening the future of their traditional mutton stew (Sechu Sa Nku). In Vietnam sea level rise threatens rice paddies and freshwater pond fisheries in coastal areas, lands that yield two staple ingredients that go into sweet and sour catfish soup. In Rwanda and Guatemala, higher temperatures will reduce kidney bean and black bean yields, which are used in traditional sauces. These examples of local recipes threatened by climate change show concretely how our climate affects the future of local and nutritious cuisine, and thus impact not only food security but also cultural assets.

    IFAD invests in building climate resilience for these distinguishing food systems, to sustain rural development and cultural assets even under a changing climate. In Lesotho, an IFAD project to improve rangeland management and quality is being supported. In Vietnam, salt tolerant rice and catfish species are being developed. In Rwanda and Guatemala, climate resilient farming practices help to buffer higher temperatures. We call these actions our "Recipes for Change". All this and much more is made possible through the support of our Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). These concrete investments resonated with the agenda of the World congress of Agronomists, and there is valuable knowledge to draw from this event.

    The event also reflected the orientation towards sustainability taken by the agronomists’ community. After having launched the Green Revolution over 50 years ago, the community is now aware of the challenges ahead to sustain food for an increasing population, while having a lower environmental footprint. The concept of a new green revolution is today gaining currency: agriculture today needs to sustainably intensify production, reduce agrochemical and food waste, and play a multifunctional role (combat climate change, ensure nutrition, landscape management, social support, etc.). The Congress will bring its message to political leaders in all parts of the world.

    This trip to Milan was an excellent opportunity to share views and meet technical experts in the field of agronomy. I had the chance (and the time) to visit the Expo and UN pavilion before leaving and I highly recommend it. The scenery is amazing, our colleague Giacomo is an enthusiastic guide, and the UN team has done an incredible job. If you pass by the Expo, don’t miss this pavilion! And you can even enjoy low carbon transportation: there are direct trains from Rome to the entrance gate of the Expo.


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    Children playing the Sao Tome national
    hymn @IFAD/S. Jonckheere
    São Tomé and Principe is a small country consisting of two islands, located off the western shore of the African continent. Its primary economic activity is agriculture, with cocoa constituting its principal item of exportation. The isolation of Sao Tome and Principe created a biological diversity within the country that is composed of diversified ecosystems, forests, plains, savannah, and fens. The wealth of the biodiversity of the Islands is recognized by scientists worldwide. The sustainable exploitation of the biological diversity of Sao Tome and Principe is directly related to its conservation, so that it can also generate revenue for the local communities and thus reduce poverty.

    Representatives from IFAD-supported project at
    the Sao Tome Pavilion @IFAD/S. Jonckheere
    By participating in the Cocoa Cluster at Expo Milano 2015, Sao Tome and Principe aims to show to the world that it is possible to find a balance between cocoa production and conserving  biodiversity, while at the same time improving the living conditions of local communities. Sao Tome’s experience demonstrates the vast potential of collective action and public/private partnerships to further rural economic development and poverty reduction. Sunday 27 September 2015 was the  São Tome and Principe day at Expo Milano 2015 and a number of events were organised, such as seminars, concerts, plays and food tasting.


    Photo story on the cocoa value chain
    @IFAD/S. Jonckheere
    On Friday 25 September 2015, two seminars were held to present the work the Government has done, with the support of IFAD, on developing innovative and sustainable agricultural value chains and promoting responsible agro-tourism. The Participatory Smallholder Agriculture and Artisanal Fisheries Development Programme (PAPAFPA) has set up partnerships between the São Tomé government, IFAD, the Agence Française de Développement and European companies, aimed at developing entire value chains (from production to final markets) within an ethical framework. These partnerships enhance returns on investments in traditional cocoa, coffee and pepper value chains through the use of organic and Fairtrade certification and by linking to European markets. In addition, geographic indications are currently being piloted for the three commodities. Smallholder families participating in the programme have seen their yearly income increase, on average, from a level of 25 per cent below the poverty line to 8 per cent above it. Many producers have invested in home improvements and items such as bicycles, generators, radios, refrigerators and television sets. Some successful producers have used the profit from organic cocoa production to set up small roadside shops, run by women, generating further profits for families.

    Seminar on sustainable agro-tourism
    in Sao Tome @ICEA/P. Sciurano
    At the same time, PAPAFPA has also supported the development of sustainable agro-tourism. Agro-tourism offers the opportunity for tourists to participate in the process of food production, to learn more about the lives of the rural people, and for local communities to generate additional income generation. The project facilitated the setting up of a platform which brings together a range of public and private stakeholders at national and regional level (tourist operators, eco-lodge and hotel owners, agricultural cooperatives and international certification bodies) and develops common tourist packages. As such, a “cocoa route” has recently been inaugurated, which allows the visitor to familiarize him- or herself with the production and processing of cocoa and to engage with local communities. The work is now being continued under the Smallholder Commercial Agriculture Project.



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    With support from IFAD, the Government of São Tomé & Principe has promoted public/private partnerships to further rural economic development and poverty reduction.  These efforts produced partnerships with four companies: KAOKA (France), which imports organic cocoa; Cafédirect (UK), which imports Fairtrade certified cocoa; Hom&Ter/Agrisud International (France), which imports organic pepper; and Malongo (France), which imports organic coffee. In addition, more than 5,500 smallholders are involved in these partnerships. In this context geographic indications are being set up for cocoa, coffee and pepper. Efforts are also being taken to develop sustainable agro-tourism packages linked to the three value chains.

    Visit to local market in Bedonia @IFAD/S.Jonckheere 
    A selected group of people involved in the Smallholder Commercial Agriculture Project in Sao Tome and Principe, who were in Italy for EXPO Milano 2015, participated in a study tour to learn from Italy’s experiences with organic agriculture, geographic indications and agro-tourism. Italy presents a success story in organic fruit and vegetable production, taking advantage of favourable climate and agronomic conditions and close geographic access to major markets. Organic farming growth in Italy is rapid and the domestic organic market is taking off. The Sao Tome delegation visited an organic horticulture farm and an apricot farm in Bedonia (Emilia Romagna) and exchanged experiences with the producers on issues related to certification and market access. Further, they visited the local market where the organic produce is being sold and learned about local economic development.

    Visit to company making parmigiano reggiano cheese
    @IFAD/S.Jonckheere 
    Geographic Indication (GI) labelling is used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. In order to function as a GI, a label must identify a product as originating from a given place. GIs are typically used for agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirits, handicrafts, and industrial products. Goods carrying the GI designation benefit from special protection rights. A GI right entitles those who possess it to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards. Italy is very much on the forefront of setting up geographic indications. Some of the most famous ones areParmigiano Reggiano cheese and Prosciutto di Parma ham. The Sao Tome delegation visited a company making parmigiano reggiano and another one making prosciutto di Parma and talked about the challenges of effectively managing a GI, the long-term benefits for those directly involved and its impact on the territory it refers to.

    Visit to local mushroom fair @IFAD/S.Jonckheere 
    Agrotourism is the form of tourism which capitalizes on rural culture as a tourist attraction. It is similar to ecotourism except that its primary appeal is not the natural landscape but a cultural landscape. If the attractions on offer to tourists contribute to improving the income of the regional population, agrotourism can promote regional development. To ensure that it also helps to conserve diversity, the rural population itself must have recognized agrobiodiversity as valuable and worthy of protection. Agrotourism is very much rooted in Italy and is formally regulated by state law since 1985. The Sao Tome delegation visited a so-called agriturismo in Bedonia and a local mushroom fair in Borgotaro. They also exchanged with the local tourism office on how to integrate tourism, local identity and local economy.


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    By Ilaria Firmian

    Last week in Addis Ababa IFAD organised together with GEF and partner agencies a 3-day workshop on the Integrated Approach Programme on Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    This is a major programme of $116 million to support twelve countries (Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda) targeting agro-ecological systems where the need to enhance food security is linked directly to opportunities for generating global environmental benefits. The 12 country projects will be supported by a regional ‘umbrella’ project for coordination, capacity building and knowledge services. (see: http://ifad-un.blogspot.it/2015/06/ifad-lead-agency-on-new-gef-programme.html )

    The overall purpose of the meeting was to finalize the results framework for the umbrella project and agree on its functions and its interactions with the country projects.

    The first day of the workshop aimed at building a common understanding on the priorities of the GEF IAP, as well as on the main features of the umbrella project. The three guiding principles of the GEF IAP are Engage, Act and Track (EAT), reflected in the three core components of each of the 12 country projects.


    The presentations shared by the country design teams were very interesting, and despite the distinctness of challenges addressed showed a number of common aspects, such as the focus on up-scaling (providing hierarchical support to institutions, or Engage) and out-scaling (facilitating farmer to farmer knowledge diffusion, or Act)  good practices, the adoption of landscape approaches and the complementarity between value chains approaches (bringing incentives) and landscape approaches (ensuring environmental sustainability) and tools for monitoring and assessment (Track).


    An entire session of the workshop was dedicated to discussing resilience, with presentations from different stakeholders (Bioversity International, GEF-STAP, ICRAF) showing a range of different perspectives, that only partially took on board the social aspects of resilience – still too ecologically focused.


    ‘Resilience is a value-laden concept: each group of stakeholders (environmentalists, climate experts, local households) takes resilience in its own way. Each project will inevitable have a different definition of resilience which is based on project context and actions,’ said Steve Twomlow, Climate Adaptation Specialist. 


    A general agreement was reached on the fact that the IAP needs to provide evidence that sustainable agriculture is good for food production system and the environment, and that this evidence has to reach policy makers.

    In order to do that, many concrete actions have been proposed for  the umbrella project, including:
    • Providing support on knowledge management and cross learning among countries;
    • Building capacity of the country projects on measuring Global Environmental Benefits, including using tracking tools,  earth observation/satellite data and other Monitoring & Assessment (M&A) tools;
    • Managing inter-sectoral engagement  and facilitating policy dialogue to influence policy change
    On the theme of M&A a Share Fair was organised on the afternoon of Day 2 to allow all participants to familiarise with methodologies developed by the  different agencies. Among many others:  the FAO Ex-Ante Carbon-balance Tool to estimate GHG emissions, changes in carbon stocks and enhancement of carbon sequestration; the ICRAF Land Degradation Surveillance Framework to check the Status and trends of ecosystem health; IFAD Multi-Dimensional Poverty Assessment Tool to measure poverty impacts, improvement in farmers’ livelihoods and food and nutrition security; and Bioversity International Diversity Assessment Tool for Agro-biodiversity and Resilience.

    The workshop ended with the official launch of the Programme in the presence of experts from existing dry land and food security initiatives from African Union, European Commission, UNDP, French Embassy, DfID, Great Green Wall initiative, and others. They presented their respective experiences in a panel session and welcomed the IAP coming to join forces with existing efforts. 


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    By Andrea Listanti

    Immortalizing departure for "Terra Madre Youth"
    Photo credit: R. Samii
    On Friday 2 October, 40 young enthusiastic and passionate IFAD colleagues left for “Terra Madre Youth”. They are reporting live so that all of us can follow their extraordinary experience .

    We are proud to be IFAD young delegates, even if our badge just says “participant”. We are bringing our voices to Milan, to “Terra Madre Youth” which is taking place in Milan from 3-6 October. The event, organised by Slow Food and Slow Food Youth Network with the support of IFAD, has brought together 2000 young people from all over the world who are engaged and work in food production industry so that together we can find innovative solutions to address global hunger. 

    Our mantra - “We feed the planet” - is omnipresent. You see it everywhere... It is prominently displayed in the “Superstudio Più” and “Mercato Metropolitano” - the venue for seminars, workshops, public events and shows. We are trying to make the most of all of this, with passion, enthusiasm and the awareness of being part of a present that works for and needs to shape the future.


    Getting up close and personal
    Photo credit: Andrea Listanti
    The first day focused on making connections and meeting people. Everyone was encouraged to connect with other fellow participants and start sharing ideas about sustainable models for future food production systems. IFAD’s fellows, many of whom are interns, had the opportunity to meet young farmers and food producers — our companions - who have benefitted from IFAD-funded projects and programmes in Africa, Asia and Latin America. 

    To get things going and to break the ice, Joris Lohman, representative of Slow Food Youth Network and member of the Executive Committee of Slow Food International, reminded us that we had all gathered at “ Terra Madre Youth” to “find a new vision and new projects to feed the world”.
    We made it..... Registered IFAD delegates
    Photo credit: Andrea Listanti

    During the Europe Meeting in the Red Room (the main hall of Superstudio Più), a fellow participant from Australia stood up and asked him what can we practically do to achieve this while we are here. Considering that all of us can and are reporters, a good starting point is to share our thoughts and listen to those of others. “As reporters  you are collecting bits and pieces from everyone’s experiences to make a story”, Lohman reminded us. This is what we will be doing on a daily basis!

    We took advantage of a break to have a look around. There are people from all over the world, different cultures and traditions, indigenous peoples, farmers and more. Some of them are dressed in their traditional costumes. Their colourful outfits beat Milan’s grey weather and give us a sense of relief and excitement. 

    Food is perhaps one of the best connectors in the world and has the power to bring people together not only in Italy, but globally.  So, at lunch, which was rigorously vegetarian, we had an opportunity to get up close and personal with our companions and “twins”. 

    "We Feed the Planet"
    Photo credit: Andrea Listanti
    We met Gladys, a 26 year old young lady from Tanzania; Solomon from Ghana and Lywa from Senegal. Gladys has beautiful braids and as we engaged in conversation, we shared with her that we’ve heard Tanzania is an enchanting place, she indulged with a smile and confirmed. 

    As Italians we consider Parmigiano cheese as one of the most nutrients foods. But to our biggest surprise and chagrin, we discovered that parmigiano was not as appreciated as we would have expected. Many of our companions did not eat it, even though it was perhaps the most nourishing part of our meal. 

    We got our share of consolation when we saw Solomon and Lywa  appreciating Italian coffee! We took a selfie together. “Post it and tag me on Facebook”, they told me.  To which I replied, “Will do, don’t worry”. 

    Solomon, a member of the IFAD-funded Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) knows a lot about IFAD-funded activities s in Ghana. “IFAD-funded activities are  well designed, the challenge is to engage directly with the beneficiaries, especially young people. A good example is Ghana Agriculture Sector Investment Programme (GASIP), which has a full component on rural young people”, Solomon told us.
    Let's get the show on the road
    Photo credit: Andrea Listanti

    In the afternoon the 'stars' went on stage. The first to speak was Raj Patel. He talked about how the quest to make profits in the food production system has had devastating impact on the environment. “We live in the era of cheap food. Since 1990 food is becoming cheaper, and this food is the industrial food. Food industries make large profits out of it and this has an adverse impact on rural people”. 

    He continued to tell us that the production of cheap food means exploiting the environment. Patel’s crie de coeur was: “There is no way industrial food can be sustainable. We need to change the global food production system, and in order to do that we need to confront capitalism. We are powerful when we address the powerful”.
    After Patel, Carlo Petrini, the Slow Food founder, took the stage. Carlo is an inspiring and passionate speaker . He walked on stage and said : “when I entered this hall and saw all of you, I had the extraordinary feeling that our ideas, our projects and our future is in good hands.” 

    Carlo’s message to us was while Expo is coming to an end, Milan finally is experiencing engagement. If we join forces, we can bring about change and advocate for an alternative and better food culture. 

    Our vegetarian lunch
    Photo credit: Andrea Listanti
    Carlo challenged us and told us: “Our food production system does not work because industrial production asks more than our Mother Land can give. Many people are exploited in order to produce more, and the only people who suffer from the ‘free-market food system’ are smallholder farmers, whose rural communities can no longer sustain themselves. Using the network you care building, YOU must change this productive system”.


    The first day ended at “Mercato Metropolitan” with the Disco Soup, a dancing dinner with leftovers of vegetables that would have been wasted otherwise. Music finished what food had started. As the night came to an end, we took stock of the connections made on our first day. And tomorrow we are looking for more inspirations and new connections so that we can start bringing about change.

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    By Andrea Listanti

    Superstudio Piu
    Photo credit: Andrea Listanti
    The first day at Terra Madre Youth focused on making connections and meeting people. And we succeeded to break the ice!!! The theme of the second day was inspiration!

    We were challenged to  develop innovative solutions to feed the planet, and to do this we had to form our own opinion on food production. The first step was to listen to the others, that is why the halls of Superstudio Più, (each of which has a different colour) were filled with young people eager to attend conferences and participate in discussions. The programme was full of debates on various topics, with many hosts delivering speeches.

    Serge Latouche, partisan of the degrowth theory, was the first to take the stage. His style while different from that of Raj Patel and Carlo Petrini, who spoke took the floor the first day, was equally engaging. He sat down, spoke calmly, taking his time to find the proper words in his almost perfect Italian.

    Inspiring lectures, debates and talks
    Photo credit: Andrea Listanti
    His speech was very inspiring, challenging and thought provoking. “We live in a society of unlimited growth. A society which seeks infinite consumption through an unlimited production which results in unlimited pollution”, said Latouche. According to him, marketing, irresponsible credit lines and producing products that are obsolete overnight are the three “bubbles” of a corrupt economic system which produce unsustainable “growth for the growth”.

    The current system is unsustainable, reminded Latouche. On the one hand from an ecological point of view, the high carbon footprint on the environment has adversely impacted biodiversity, on the other hand from a social point of view, avidity and the limitless desire of consumption has led to an unhappy society which since the financial crisis of 2008 is in constant quest for equality and wellbeing.  If we apply these concepts to food system, we see that an intensive industrial production involves a massive, high mechanized exploitation of land, threatening small-scale farmers and their valuable cultural diversity.

    Serge Latouche
    Photo credit: Andrea Listanti
    Latouche explained his idea of a new, happy society based on subjective well-being, in which sustainable food productions play a pivotal role. “Food is not a commodity, we have to keep food out of the capitalistic idea of market”. A young participant asked how can we practically build a society that is different from what we have. We all felt a sense of déjà-vu: as on the first day we had asked Joris Lohman a similar question.


    “You already have the answer. Joining initiatives such as Slow Food  is a form of resistance to counter bad food culture and a consumer-driven society. Good, clean and fair is also the philosophy of the degrowth. Embrace this… think globally, act locally”, said Latouche.

    A good speaker is not necessarily right, but certainly inspiring. We took Latouche’s inspiring words with us as we joined other sessions and discussions. Superstudio Più  hosted sessions focusing on land grabbing, edible insects and intercultural gastronomy. The debates were not the only attraction. Outside the seminar rooms, people met each other, talked, played and danced. Walking around at "Terra Madre Giovani" is far from being a waste of time, it is a source of inspiration.

    We are activist.......
    Photo credit: Andrea Listanti
    We met Carlos, one of our “twins. Carlos is 27 years old dairy producer from Venezuela. He is not too talkative. He stares at the world with his proud eyes. I asked him whether it was the first time he was traveling outside Venezuela, to which he answered: “It’s the second time, but the first time I come to Europe". We really wanted to know his story and he indulged.

    “I was born in the city, but then moved to the countryside. I've been living in a rural area for the last 13 years”, he told us. “We moved because in the rural area I can do what I like most, I can cultivate my passion for agriculture. When I wake up in the morning I go the fields where I feed and take care of my animals”.

    Carlos has had his share of challenges. For example, the irrigation system of his farm is broken and he cannot buy fertilizer for his crops. Fixing the irrigation system would cost him 180 million Bolivar.

    Our "Twin" Carlos
    Photo credit: Andrea Listanti
    He told us “The broken irrigation system means, not being able to make money and more importantly, it is preventing others from joining my enterprise. Things would be better if I had a business partner, but no irrigation systems means no partners”.

    Recently, Carlos was able to benefit from a IFAD-funded project. Carlos told us that the IFAD-funded intervention helped him and his community a lot. “It helped because funds are being distributed equally among many different small-scale producers”, told us Carlos and we were proud to hear this.

    Then we switched gears and started talking about youth and the land.  We asked him whether he thought other young Venezuelans would be willing to move to rural areas and make agriculture their profession just like he had done. “I don’t know anyone who would do something like that. Most of the young people in Venezuela leave rural areas… They abandon the land. But people around me say that I’m lucky, because I managed to build my own life and I’m doing what I’ve always loved to do”, said Carlos.

    Here in Italy we normally don’t have any relation with the land. We live in our houses in the city and buy food in the shops. But for someone like Carlos things are different. We asked him whether he could conceive of a life without land. And his answer was loud and clear: “No I cannot think of a life without land. Even if my wife left me, I would stay behind. I want to teach my children to love the land. I love agriculture, I love breeding and livestock. When I was a child my parents bought me a bicycle and I sold it to buy hens. So As you can see my passion for land and agriculture dates back to my childhood and is something that has stayed with me…..”.

    Lessons and concrete experience are the two components of knowledge, and we were lucky to have both. Inspiration is part of the learning process, and we learnt a lot and were equally inspired a lot. Now we are ready for the third day, when knowledge and inspiration will be used to create new campaign ideas, business plans and communication strategies through creative sessions and workshops.

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