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    Written by: Barbara Bellogini 

    Stephen (left) and Nat (right) talk about the plot of land to be used for growing the organic papaya.
    ©IFAD/B. Bellogini
    On a visit to the Cook Islands in October 2015, while in Rarotonga, I had the opportunity to join our colleague Stephen Hazelman, Organic Systems Extension Officer, from The Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom), and Teava Iro, founder of the Tikitaveka Growers Association, a local NGO implementing the three-year IFAD project, Capacity-Building for Resilient Agriculture in the Pacific. The project focuses on building the capacity of organic associations to support farmers and on developing agricultural resilience. It is helping to address the growing social and economic concerns of rural households who have low incomes and are unable to produce enough food, meaning that they have to rely on cash remittances from family members who have migrated. 

    Papaya trees will be
    planted on Nat's land.
    ©IFAD/B. Bellogini
    As well as the Cook Islands, two other countries in the Pacific will be benefiting from the Capacity-Building for Resilient Agriculture in the Pacific project – Niue and the Marshall Islands. The project will concentrate on these islands’ young people, who would otherwise migrate to New Zealand or Australia in search of work. During the week before my arrival, a three-day workshop, where the IFAD-funded project was presented, was held at the Papaaroa Community Hall and was attended by 21 farmers. The outcome of the three days was that a participatory guarantee system was developed and a set of rules was established for growing organic crops. Peer reviews will be carried out to ensure that participants comply with the rules that were agreed by all parties.

    Stephen (left) and Nat
    (right) complete the
    questionnaire.
    ©IFAD/B. Bellogini
    Teariki "Nat" Unuka, is one of the 21 local farmers in Rarotonga who attended the three-day workshop. He is one of the biggest users of pesticides on the island. During the workshop, he had a chance to talk to other farmers and showed his interest in taking part in the IFAD-funded project. The day we met with Nat, Stephen carried out an interview to find out if the plot of land where he will be growing his organic produce met the specific requirements that allow him to take part in the project. In the past, Nat had grown papaya here. Currently the land is not being used and the only plants growing, wild, are some decorative palms. His plan for the future is to use the land to grow organic papaya and if he is happy with the results, he will move to organic growing on all of the land he owns. In order to proceed, Stephen interviewed Nat to gather information about the plot; when was the last time he had grown crops on it, what had he grown in the past, do his neighbours use pesticides, etc. The outcome of the interview was positive and Nat will be one of ten farmers who will be taking part in the project.

    For more information on the work carried out in the Pacific region on organic certification watch:





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    Several IFAD-supported projects the potential positive impact family poultry production can have on household food security both in increased dietary intake and in income generation as well on smallholders’ resilience. During IFAD’s Global Staff Meeting a session was held to share the experiences from Senegal, Mauritania and The Gambia with family poultry production.

    The Agricultural Value Chains Development Project (PAFA) in Senegal promotes the use of local products for improved poultry housing and feeding. The farmers use local materials to build small shelters. The hen houses have a separate space to protect chicks from predators. Once the shelter has been built, the project provides the households with local chicken breeds (nine hens and two roosters), which are more adapted to local conditions and free-ranging. The chickens are vaccinated and each family receives a medical kit. The farmers are trained in making the chicken feed themselves, using local ingredients, such as maize, groundnuts, cowpeas, dried fish and crushed bones. The feed ingredients and the food supplements respond to the chickens' nutrition needs, ensuring the producer's self-sufficiency at the same time. The project trained a number of farmers to become “family farm advisors”. The majority are women and about one third are younger than 35 years old. They inform farmers on good practices in family poultry production, especially with regards to housing, feeding and animal health. The farmers are organised in groups and sell chickens collectively. With the project's support, a Service Platform has been established in Thiawandou. Here trainings are given, but it also has the facilities to slaughter, clean and sell poultry meat and eggs.

    The Value Chains Development Programme for Poverty Reduction (ProLPRAF) in Mauritania and the Livestock and Horticulture Development Project (LHDP) in The Gambia are promoting semi-intensive poultry production systems. They support the rearing of “improved” poultry breeds and the utilisation of improved feed. While in Mauritania, the hen houses are designed in a special manner to cope with very high temperatures, in The Gambia the poultry houses consist of costly breezeblock with concrete skim design. LHDP has however also successfully piloted integrated poultry-aquaculture in a number of sites.

    By applying good practices in family poultry production, rural households in the three countries now have access to meat and eggs and sell the surplus. Family poultry development is also having a positive impact on women’s empowerment, by providing them access to training, inputs, technical assistance and markets in a sustainable manner.


    Hen house supported by PAFA in Senegal

    Hen house supported by ProLPRAF in Mauritania

    Hen house supported by LHDP in The Gambia



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    The discussions around aid effectiveness bring a new focus on how to enhance, measure and track sustainable development. With about 75% of the world's poor living in rural areas, one question is: How do we assess and measure rural poverty in order to be more effective at eradicating it?  The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) developed a simple and innovative tool to help answer this question. Just as rural poverty is based on more than one factor, the tool - the Multidimensional Poverty Assessment Tool (MPAT) - combines 10 different indicators to create a “rural poverty dashboard."

    MPAT provides data that can inform all levels of decision making by providing a clearer understanding of rural poverty at the household and village level. As a result, MPAT can significantly strengthen the planning, design, monitoring and evaluation of a project, and thereby contribute to rural poverty reduction.

    MPAT is the result of a collaborative, international initiative begun in 2008 and led by the IFAD. The purpose was to develop, test and pilot a new tool for local-level rural poverty assessment. The tool went through extensive field testing in several countries and independent validation and peer-review. MPAT is relatively easy to use, requires few resources to implement, and provides users with a reliable and comprehensive picture of a community’s poverty situation.

    During IFAD’s Learning Days, a session was organised on the use of MPAT in Mali. This is the first Francophone country where the tool has been tested. Given that the project  supports the adaptation of poor smallholder farmers to climate change, an 11th indicator was developed to capture this dimension.

    Group discussions were held on the use of the tool. The strengths and benefits of MPAT for users and projects are manifold:

    -Developed by an international group of rural development experts
    -Field-tested data collection tool with purpose-built surveys
    -Independently assessed and validated
    -Much of the work is already done for the user (an “off-the-shelf” tool)
    -Field-tested training programmes for enumerators, supervisors and data entry personnel
    -Uses locally collected data based on people’s perceptions
    -Standardized methodology, but also customizable
    -Indicators are automatically calculated and displayed in an easy-to-understand format
    -Designed for organizations of all sizes and budgets

    There are however also some limitations:

    -Attribution is not waterproof
    -Respondents are mainly men
    -Undertaking the surveys and doing the report requires significant time and human resources

    MPAT is complementary to IFAD’s Results and Impact Management System (RIMS). In Mali they have merged the two for the baseline study of the  Rural Youth Vocational Training, Employment and Entrepreneurship Support Project with interesting results. MPAT will be tested in a number of countries in the near future: Mauritania, Kenya, Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland.



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    In recent years, the importance of scaling up innovations for smallholder agricultural development and rural poverty reduction has been recognized as crucial in coping with emerging global challenges. This has motivated a renewed interest in local knowledge and in the development and testing of new learning tools to effectively trigger dissemination and scaling up of innovations.

    It is in this context that the concept of learning from the know-how of others inspired PROCASUR to design "learning routes" and other knowledge management and capacity-building approaches and tools, with the objective of valuing local knowledge and facilitating the development of platforms in which experiences and innovations can be exchanged. This methodology has proved effective in providing peer-to-peer training and technical assistance, and in addressing the needs of vulnerable groups.

    During IFAD’s Learning Days, a session was held on tools and approaches for sharing innovative solutions. Each regional division shared their experiences with a wide variety of innovations and knowledge management approaches. These included the following testimonies from IFAD country teams and technical experts:

    Asia and the Pacific

    -Project-to-project learning as a key for better portfolio performance by Nicolas Syed (CPO Bangladesh), Soulivanh Pattivong (CPO Laos), Aryal Bashu (CPO Nepal) and Tung Nguyen Thanh (CPO Vietnam)
    -Innovation of extension services through the contraction of outstanding farmers/local champions as service providers in Cambodia by Sakphouseth Meng (CPO Cambodia)
    -Good tested tools for knowledge management and policy engagement in the Philippines by Yolando Arban (CPO Philippines)

    Latin America and the Caribbean

    -Public Policy Dialogue for local champion inclusion as services providers for technical assistance and innovation systems: experiences from Peru by Laure Martin (Programme Analyst LAC, Andean Region)
    -Learning Territories as associative tool for local knowledge management and technical assistance markets by local champions: experiences from Colombia by Laure Martin (Programme Analyst LAC, Andean Region)
    -Supporting economic and social inclusion of rural youth in IFAD operations: the experience from El Salvador by Glayson Ferrari Dos Santos (CPM El Salvador)
    -Local Knowledge Management in IFAD projects in Semi-arid Areas: experiences from Brazil by Leonardo Bichara Rocha (CPO Brazil)

    East and Southern Africa


    -Effective partnerships and activities to Secure Land Rights by Harold Liversage (Lead Technical Specialist – Land Tenure, PTA) and Sabine Pallas (Programme Officer, ILC)
    -Building KM skills of IFAD supported projects in Uganda by Ann Turinayo (former Uganda Knowledge Management Officer)



    Near East, North, West and Central Africa



    -The South-South Cooperation and Scaling Up of innovations from ESA countries to Sudan by Ahmed Subahi (CPO Sudan) and Mia Madsen (ICO Sudan)
    -Building the capacities of Farmers Organizations through the Learning Route methodology by Roberto Longo (Senior Technical Specialist - Farmers’ Organisations, PTA)
    -The demand for Knowledge Sharing and documentation of good practices in WCA by Lucia Di Troia (ICO Senegal) and Steven Jonckheere (KM Officer, WCA)
    -Strengthening the capacities of governments and civil society to scale up nutrition. The Scaling Up Nutrition Movement in Senegal by Giulia Pedone (Programme Officer, PROCASUR)

    At the end of the session, participants were informed on future opportunities. The new grant project of IFAD and PROCASUR was officially launched. The new initiative will last three years and involve three regional divisions (LAC, ESA and WCA) and PTA. A strong emphasis will be put on sharing experiences between the different regions. This session was just the beginning of what promises to be a very interesting new journey.


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    Written by Mirna Franic

    The Global Staff Meeting (GSM) provided IFAD staff with a unique opportunity to come together, share views on IFAD's priorities, celebrate achievements, forge relationships, learn from each other and have fun. 
    Rome, February 29 – The multicoloured stripes have returned! Last week IFAD hosted the second edition of its Global Staff Meeting (GSM), a two-day knowledge-sharing event that brought together 593 IFAD staff members from all over the world.

    It was only two short years ago that we were ushered into the Governing Council (GC) tent for the inaugural GSM, not knowing what to expect, only to be met with a burst of colour, music, hidden talent, energy and much, much more. Against this backdrop, GSM 2016 was hotly anticipated and the reverberations from IFAD’s headquarters gave credence that, at least on Bollywood night, these anticipations were met.

    The inspiriting mood was set from the start as Coldplay’s alluring Adventure of a Lifetime song played and our delightful MCs, Kelly Feenan and Mwatima Juma, began the show. This year, the MCs represented the internationality of IFAD and its country offices, dubbed the legs, arms, eyes and ears of our institution.

                    MCs urging us to Innovate, Focus, Act and Dare, this year’s motto for the GSM.            

    Indeed, this GSM celebrated IFAD’s shift to becoming an institution where country offices are on equal footing as the headquarters. IFAD’s President, Kanayo F. Nwanze, then, took to the stage to remind us of our positive results: this year’s GC was a great success, attested by the positive feedback from the governments; the number of staff attending the GSM increased by 8.4 per cent; the IFAD country offices (ICOs) are now 40 and by 2018 IFAD expects to have another 10; and the percentage of Professional category positions held by women is now at 49 per cent (the aim being 51 per cent). With these encouraging remarks, the President proclaimed the GSM officially open.

                                      Group discussion underway. IFAD/Giulio Napolitano                                                   
    Next on the agenda of the opening, was the captivating Raj Patel who gave a touching oration on modern food systems.

    Patel is an award-winning writer, activist and academic with degrees from the University of Oxford, the London School of Economics and Cornell University. His first book was Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System and his latest, The Value of Nothing, is a New York Times best-seller.

    The room was claimed by intrigue as the insightful lecturer, armed with a gratifying sense of humour, dared us to imagine another, more sustainable food system to be achieved only by tackling deep causes and very old patterns.

    “We must celebrate the intelligence and dignity of everyone in the rural community and let them make informed choices,” said Raj Patel, award winning writer, activist and academic.
    The thoughtful talk was followed by a brief, but again not in the least bit dull, presentation by the Staff Association in which they dismantled some common misconceptions.

    The highlight of the morning, however, was most definitely the short comedy sketch in which an exhausted Senior Budget Specialist, Edward Gallagher, falls asleep during one of his countless meetings and wakes up lying on the reception floor of a slightly different IFAD.

    Much of the morning was also dedicated to small group brainstorming and discussion on IFAD’s progress and what we think still remains to be worked on. The GSM offers this unique opportunity for us to put our heads together with colleagues from all over IFAD, including those from country offices, who otherwise we would never encounter. The result is not just an opportunity of meeting new people with a shared vision but an invaluable comprehensive mix of perspective and different ideas.

    The best gift ever: the Career Development Framework!
    Quick coffee break and off we went to attend a session of our choosing. 45 stimulating sessions were held accompanied by 15 informative booths: Marvel superheroes used comics to help make sense out of financial and payment markets, accounting and loan management; experts presented on the importance of and relationships within the water, energy and food security nexus; others talked about the complexities of dealing with middle-income countries; and IFADOPOLY gave insight into the development finance landscape and the IFAD10 replenishment using a life-size game board and chocolate money, just to mention a few.

    The Administrative Services Division tour was a great success. We use the IFAD facilities every day, but as we scurry around the building we pay little mind to all that needs to happen for us to feel comfortable, fed, healthy and simply be able to do our jobs. Here was a rare opportunity to truly visit the building from the underground chambers to, literally, the rooftop.

    Among other things, the tour included the archives (storing not only the history of IFAD but President’s and other personnel files), the Print Shop (operating heavy machinery capable of so much more than simple printing while keeping in mind the environment), the thrilling Security Operation Centre (watchtower of IFAD) and, finally, the rooftop equipped with energy costs-saving solar panels.

    The Administrative Services Division tour was a great success!
    The Budget and Organizational Development Unit’s (BOD) unique hands-on session involved five teams of six, building structures using 54, no less and no more, rectangular wooden blocks.
    Each team was then required to answer questions on how they decided what to build, why they decided to build that structure and who did what.

    The experiences building the structures were analogized (using a great deal of imagination) to the IFAD context as BOD then built its own cardboard structure while explaining their role, the importance of proper planning and the tools they use in their endeavours.

    Another really awesome, fun, educational and just amazing session was the Communications Division’s (COM) Amazing Race (as a COM staff member, I admit to perhaps being just slightly partial).

    Participants from the Amazing Race: Communications Edition pose with IFAD's President. 
    Small teams were formed and had a maximum of 60 minutes to complete all five of COM’s challenges related to key messaging, videography, visual identity, storytelling, media relations, photography, internal communications and social media.

    Whoever found our mystery man and solved his bonus riddle of wisdom, instead, was allowed to skip two of these challenges. The game was not only educational, but also a bucket of laughs as teams raced against the clock, sang IFAD’s key messages to a familiar tune, recorded short interviews and gathered as many likes on a social media post as possible. The idea being to promote best practices when communicating so that all IFAD staff can serve as ambassadors of IFAD’s work around the world effectively.

    The afternoon of the first day was when things then really got animated.

    Sticking to the theme of internationality, we tasted foods from all over the world.  Yet, it was not only the sense of taste that was indulged as our eyes and ears couldn’t help but feel drawn to the mesmerizing lights and live, traditionally-clad Bollywood dancers on stage.

    The music was irresistible and everyone flocked to the stage incapable of keeping their hips from rhythmically bumping. Surprisingly, however, this was not the most colourful performance at the party.

    The Dressing the World fashion show modeled by our very own colleagues took over and probably eclipsed all of the events of the party. Gorgeous clothes worn by IFAD staff undoubtedly stole our attention that evening.

    Traditional clothing from around the world was on full display.
    Shortly after, it was time to award the athletes of IFAD who participated in Sports Day; proof that there still is a life outside of the IFAD building. The array of activities featured at Sports Day included marathon, football, rowing, tennis, total body conditioning, volleyball, table tennis, cycling, chess, yoga, Zumba, darts and fun for children.

    As with all good things, this one too was about to come to an end, and on the afternoon of the second day, everyone was summoned back to the tent where our MCs hosted the closing session of this year’s GSM.

    First item was a precious video of colleagues’ children answering to what their parents do for a living and what can be done to help farmers grow more food. Not unexpectedly, the endearing “awwws” were bountiful as the children on the screen – or, some of them - admired their parents for trying to make the world a better place.

    Back to more serious business, the GSM coordinators reported on the results of our interactive group discussions held on the first morning. IFAD has made several significant strides in terms of advocacy, international presence, decentralization, resources and connectivity with our ICOs. In the context of the financial crisis and unprecedented migration, IFAD continues its work and does so triumphantly.

    But even so, there is room for improvement. The coordinators specified the areas in which IFAD has shown progress but also went on to discuss areas that still require work. For the most part, we seem to be heading in the right direction and just need to continuously dig even deeper.

    GSM performance evaluation by voting. The green (positive votes) were overpowering. 
    The GSM then hosted its own version of the Oscars, i.e. Staff Awards, presented by the  very-well-gender-balanced Staff Awards Committee composed of four females and one very lucky male. The extraordinary work of colleagues in the categories of leadership, innovative projects/extraordinary initiatives, facilitator of change and exemplar of core values was recognized.

    It was then time for the Vice-President to give closing remarks, with which he passionately thanked staff for the positive and constructive spirit and lively participation. A successful GSM is no amateur’s cocktail but the result of long hours put in by dedicated volunteers.

    Accordingly, the Vice-President took the time to call the names of each and every volunteer who worked behind the scenes to make this GSM possible. The audience erupted in applause and performed one last handclap emulation of “African rain”.

    And just before the curtain drop, another video was shown summing up these last two days and slowly ending to the, by now very familiar, melody of Coldplay’s Adventure of a Lifetime (which has been replaying in my head ever since).

    Until next time.

    Want to catch more IFAD GSM highlights? Follow #ifadgsm.


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    IFAD | D. Paqui
    There are three major poverty divides in Ghana: rural-urban, north-south, and between women and men. To meet these challenges, IFAD, the African Development Bank and the Government of Ghana are investing in rural northern Ghana to create viable economic opportunities – particularly for women – while improving market linkages with the south and neighbouring countries. The Northern Rural Growth Programme (NRGP) is spurring agricultural and rural growth and poverty reduction with innovative approaches like District Value Chain Committees (DVCCs). NRGP’s experiences were shared during a parallel session of IFAD’s 39th Governing Council.

    The District Value Chain Committee

    IFAD | D. Paqui
    IFAD-supported NRGP worked in partnership, for example, with the Association of Church Based Development (ACDEP), a local NGO in northern Ghana to establish the DVCCs. Today, DVCCs are a forum for all local actors in the value chain and was designed to ensure that smallholder farmers can secure access to credit and other inputs, and markets (end-buyers). They are responsible for the effective planning, implementation, coordination and monitoring of activities in the maize, soya and sorghum value chains. All value chain actors are represented on the DVCC: farmers’ organisations (including women producers), input dealers, tractor service providers, local aggregators/buyers/off-takers, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (District Development Unit), Department of Cooperatives and participating banks from the RCB network. The DVCC’s Executive Committee has nine elected members who perform their duties on a voluntary basis, and four non-voting members representing the Ministry, the District Development Unit, the Department of Cooperatives, and the RCB network. The Executive Committee manages all DVCC activities, producing annual crop enterprise budgets, reviewing all production loans and endorsing loan applications, and selecting input dealers and tractor service providers under the cashless credit scheme. The DVCC is also the forum for price negotiations with aggregators.

    The cashless credit system

    IFAD | D. Paqui
    The programme uses a financing model that overcomes the problem of smallholder farmers’ limited access to inputs and services. Local rural and community banks (RCBs), owned and governed by rural communities, are at the heart of this model. The DVCC screens farmers’ organisations that want to participate in the programme and, with technical advice from the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, develops annual crop budgets on an acreage basis that form the basis for production loans. The DVCC also determines prices of inputs and services, enabling it to specify how much credit each smallholder farmer can access. On receiving an application for credit from a farmers’ organisation, each bank conducts its own due diligence using the Know Your Client (KYC) mechanism developed by NRGP. If the applicant meets the bank’s requirements, the loan is approved. While the application for the loan is made by the farmers’ organisation, its individual members receive the credit in the form of services and inputs from named service providers or input dealers. When these inputs or services have been provided, the farmers’ organisation issues a voucher to the service provider or input dealer, who presents this to the bank for payment. The loans are then repaid when farmers’ organisations sell their produce either directly, through aggregators, or in some cases by the farmers’ organisation itself if it has sold produce on spot markets.
    IFAD | D. Paqui

    The Ghana Agriculture Sector Investment Programme

    A new programme, the Ghana Agriculture Sector Investment Programme, is currently building on the experience of NRGP with district value chain committees and the cashless credit system and bringing them to scale at national level.

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    Last week IFAD and the Government of the Republic of The Gambia launched the  Strengthening Climate Resilience of the National Agricultural Land and Water Management Development Project (better known as Chosso) and followed with an inception workshop that lasted two days and involved 120 participants. Chossobrings a grant of US$ 5 million from ASAP to complement and optimise the effectiveness the project baseline (known as Nema)  in addressing climate-related threats to smallholder agriculture in the country.
    ©IFAD/Ilaria Firmian

    Both Nema and Chosso have their roots in the needs and local knowledge of smallholders.  During his opening speech, the IFAD Country Programme Manager ,Moses Abukari, thanked the individual farmers who inspired the design teams on the project names. The word Chosso refers to a traditional early warning system used to inform the community members when the quality  of the river water is degraded. Nemarefers to the prosperity that the project interventions intend to bring to rural communities in terms of increasing productivity and value addition of  rice and vegetable cultivation.

    IFAD’s inclusive, consultative and highly participatory approaches, as well as, its resource mobilisation efforts in the country were recognised and celebrated by the Ministries of Agriculture, Finance  and Environment & Climate Change in their speeches. But what made the appreciation to IFAD’s work so tangible, more than ministerial speeches, was the dedication and the attention devoted to the workshop by all participants for the entire two days.

    Chosso will support many different innovative activities, including: community water-harvesting techniques, community agro-forestry,  and climate-proof infrastructure. It will also  scale up best practices in mangrove restoration; community woodlots and smallholder climate information services, in order to improve the productivity of scarce agricultural lands through enhancement of watersheds. It was important during the workshop to go through detailed presentations on these different project aspects, in order to develop a full and common understanding of the project. This will in turn enable the team to plan meaningfully and realistically for effective implementation.

    Climate games– an innovative learning approach – were also employed during the workshop and elicited high enthusiasm among participants. The games are a simulation of reality  where players experience the daily anxiety faced by smallholder farmers in the face of increasing climate-related disasters. Using dice to signify climate threats, and beans to signify currency, participants have to decide what to invest their capital in - ‘normal’ development versus drought or flood protection - within a simulated three decades of farm seasons.

    ©IFAD/Moses Abukari

    The unanimous feedback considered the games a simple yet effective way to help participants understand the impacts of climate change and the importance of making resilient investments.  Many stakeholders also saw the possibility of cascading down the application of the game into local communities in the context of the project.

    ‘This would give women the opportunity to make contributions into the decision-making process’ wrote a participant on her feedback form. 
    IFAD is determined to pursue this road. Meanwhile Chosso is already moving forward in mainstreaming climate risk management at all levels.

    ©IFAD/Ilaria Firmian

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    Written by Sally Martinelli


    In honour of International Women's Day 2016, IFAD is celebrating eight rural women who are transforming their own lives and those of their families and communities. 


    Rome, 8 March– Today is International Women's Day, when the accomplishments and challenges of women from around the world are put in the spotlight.

    The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality. It comes at a critical point in history, as the world begins a concerted drive to achieve 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

    At IFAD, we know that achieving a world without poverty and hunger requires investing in rural women and girls, as they are key agents in achieving the transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development.

    In honour of IWD 2016 and our vision for a better world, we are celebrating eight rural women who are building a better world and inspiring their communities in the process.

    1. Juana Huarachi, a llama farmer revitalizing the llama industry in Bolivia.


    Juana Huarachi is a llama herder and agronomist who lives in western Bolivia.

    In her home town of Curahara de Carangas, Huarachi sells llama meat and sausages, and handicrafts such as hats and scarfs made from llama wool.

    Why #SheIsInspiration: For years, Huarachi had tried to change the public perception of llama meat, which was seen as "food for the poor".

    She and her sister started selling llama meat to hotels and restaurants in the city, but were unable to continue because the meat processing techniques used by their slaughter house partner was not up to standard.

    Huarachi was determined to make the people of Curahuara de Carangas aware of the value of llama meat and of the importance of good production processes and slaughter techniques.

    She and her sister set up the La Llamita cooperative with eight other women to bring about this change. The cooperative was supported by an IFAD-funded project, which helped ensure that the quality of their meat was up to market standards, and enabled members to share knowledge and build capacity.

    Now Huarachi and her cooperative don’t just produce meat but use the wool fibre to create hats, mattresses, and other products.

    Huarachi's perseverance and ability to think outside of the box makes her worthy of praise. Her work to change the narrative of llama meat helped improve food security where she lived, and helped her improve her own life as well by increasing her income.

    2. Annonciata Nsekugabanye, a small farmer from Rwanda who jumpstarted her small farming business with one cow. 



    Annonciata Nsekugabanye is a small farmer in Rwanda. She participated in the IFAD-funded Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project (KWAMP), which provided her family with a cow and taught them good farming practices.

    Why #SheIsInspiration: When Nsekugabanye was a seasonal labourer, her family was extremely poor. She could not afford to buy food, clothes and other essentials for her four children.

    Nsekugabanye and her husband heard about the programme, and decided to take the risk. Nsekugabanye was able to significantly improve her family's diet with the introduction of nutritious milk.

    Her cow also provided organic manure, the perfect fertilizer for a garden in which she  could now grow a variety of vegetables. Nsekugabanye sold the milk and vegetables that she produced at the market, significantly increasing her family's income.

    The family was able to expand their production further thanks to their new knowledge of how to run a business. This earned Nsekugabanye praise and respect from her village and enough money to buy clothes, schooling and healthcare for her children.

    "I am proud of what I've achieved. I'm proud of my children's accomplishments," says Nsekugabanye."I'm also proud of the social status that I managed to build for my family and myself."
    Nsekugabanye was able to increase her income by nearly US$3,000 per year with just one cow.

     Her inventiveness and hard work created a new life for her family, and shows how people in poverty can help themselves if they are given the tools to do so.

    3. Fatima Ait Lhoussine, a sheep farmer from Morocco, who is gaining autonomy and financial independence in her marriage because she is earning an income as a small farmer. 



    Fatima Ait Lhoussine is a sheep farmer in Morocco's Atlas Mountains. With a micro loan from the IFAD-supported Rural Development Project, Ait Lhoussine bought two sheep to contribute to her family's income.

    Why #SheIsInspiration: Before she became a farmer, Ait Lhoussine did not have much independence. She could not manage her money or go out on her own, and she spent her days doing chores or helping her husband in the field.

    With the loan she received, Ait Lhoussine was able to take control of her life. The cooperative she formed with other local women allowed them to work together and pool their resources.

    Over eight years, their sheep population grew tenfold.

    With their money, the women decided to expand into further business ventures such as beekeeping and growing olives for oil. Ait Lhoussine now has the money to buy school bags and medicine for her children, but is also more independent and confident.

    "We women don’t have to ask or beg our husbands for money to be able to buy what we need and want," Fatima said. "Now we are autonomous.”

    Fatima and her community show us how important it is to work toward gender equality. Their ability to transform their lives and earn their own income demonstrates the positive effects of empowering women on the individual and community.

    4. Wafaa Abu Shanab, a fruit farmer from Egypt who is helping to transform her arid desert town into a thriving rural community.


    Wafaa Abu Shanab is a fruit farmer from Egypt. She and her family learned how to make the desert land of West Noubari bountiful and profitable with the help of an IFAD-supported project.

    Why #SheIsInspiration: Abu Shanab and her family took a huge risk in moving out of the city, where they struggled to provide for four children.

    Once they arrived in their new home, they encountered obstacles such as unfertile land and had difficulties obtaining drinking water.

    "I began wondering if I could continue and achieve success, or if I should go back to the city?" Abu Shanab said.

    After some assistance from the IFAD-funded project, she and her neighbours were able to transform not only their land, but their community too. They established clinics, schools and nurseries to improve their quality of life. Abu Shanab also became more involved by becoming the Gender Officer at the Noubaria Farmers Union.

    "I hope my children reach a high level in their education and have a vital role in their community," Abu Shanab said. "Also, I hope that they continue to keep and maintain this land."

    Abu Shanab's decision to seek a better life for her family, and her success in building a thriving farm in the desert with limited resources, is representative of the perseverance and determination of women farmers.

    5.Tohtehah Aziz, a baker from rural China, who is saving for her children to go to college with the income she is making selling naan bread. 



    Tohtehah Aziz lives in the small town of Yanchi, situated in a mountainous region of China. She makes naan bread, a staple in the local diet, and sells it from her home.

    Why #SheIsInspiration: Aziz is a member of the Yanchi Naan Women's Association. This group, formed by an IFAD-funded project, gives Uygur women training and micro loans so they can earn their own income and start businesses baking naan bread.

    When Aziz first saw some of her neighbours participating in the initiative, she wanted to be a part of it. Thanks to her training, Aziz has raised her income by 4000 yuan (US$645) per month. This training has enabled the women to buy essentials such as nutritious food and healthcare, but also has given them less tangible benefits such as confidence, self-respect and status.

    Aziz is not done just yet. "I hope to start my own women's group someday," she says. "I am using the extra income to set aside money to send my two children to college."

    Aziz's investment in her family and in her neighbours shows her commitment to building a better future for her community. She wants to not only change her life and the life of her family, but the lives of other women who are not empowered.

    6. Ana Sofía Amaya, a hardworking mother and vegetable farmer who is building a new life for her children in El Salvador.



    Ana Sofía Amaya is a farmer who helped start a cooperative in south-east El Salvador. With the help of an IFAD-supported project, Amaya and her husband were taught how to develop a viable business and marketing plan and given credit to start their own farm.

    Why #SheIsInspiration: Amaya and her husband used to work long hours as labourers on other farms. Even after all this work, they were still not making enough money to send their two children to school.

    So, they decided to grow their own vegetables and sell them to make ends meet. This led to the creation of a cooperative of local farmers, which was supported by the IFAD-funded Rural Development and Modernization  Project for the Eastern (PRODEMORO).

    PRODEMORO gave Amaya and others the training to negotiate and to secure better land rights, and it helped them gain access to the market.

    Since they joined the cooperative, Amaya and her husband have more than doubled their monthly income, and the cooperative has also grown. It now has a warehouse, a plant nursery and two greenhouses.

    “The Ana Sofía of four years ago is long gone. I am a new person now. I know who I am, what I want and fight for it,” says Amaya.

    Amaya's cooperative shows the power of working together. By pooling their efforts and their produce, they were able to negotiate better prices and work together so everyone could improve their economic situation.

    7. Alima Artur, a young woman from Mozambique who is HIV positive and teaching other families in her community how to fight the disease and stay strong through proper nutrition. 



    Alima Artur is a young woman from Mozambique who is motivated to make a difference in her own life and in the lives of other people in her community. Artur is a member of a volunteer group that teaches people about HIV/AIDS through song.

    Why #SheIsInspiration: When Artur tested positive for HIV, she became extremely depressed. "My life was only about crying and thinking I am going to die," Artur said. With assistance from the Coastal HIV/AIDS Prevention and Nutrition Improvement Project, she learned how to treat her symptoms and was given the support she needed to remain hopeful.

    The IFAD-supported Coastal HIV/Aids Prevention and Nutrition Improvement Project (CHAPANI) disseminates information on HIV prevention, and how living a healthy lifestyle can enrich and lengthen one's life.

    After learning how a diet with vegetables could help keep her haemoglobin levels steady, Artur became healthier and happier. She also formed a network of family members who help her stay on track and optimistic.

    She used her new knowledge to help her community, sharing information through song about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. Artur and more than 6,000 other families in the area are keeping themselves strong and healthy by cultivating gardens, which also is combatting malnutrition in the area.

    "Someone could look at me and never imagine that I have this kind of problem," Artur said. "I am really fine."

    8. Anastasia Gilca, an ambitious nineteen-year-old from the Republic of Moldova who is already making a name for herself in the blackberry industry. 



    Anastasia Gilca is a farmer who owns a profitable blackberry plantation in the Republic of Moldova.

    Why #SheIsInspiration: Gilca is nineteen years old, and started her three-hectare plantation more than two years ago after taking out a loan. She signed up for the Rural Financial Services and Agribusiness Development Project, an initiative supported by IFAD, which teaches business development, financial management and accounting.

    Gilca has become so successful that she not only owns her own tractor, cultivator and cutter, but employs six people. She now wants to expand her farm by planting six more hectares of blackberries, and increase her presence in the marketplace by designing a brand name, logo, and packaging.

    "Anyone who wants to set up a business on their own must be determined," Gilca said. "You must be hard-working, and you cannot allow potential risks or negative responses from people to demoralize you."


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    By Christopher Neglia

    Conservation agriculture (CA) introduces a series of new agricultural practices that enhance biological activities in soil so as to improve its fertility and create favourable conditions in which healthy plants can develop. CA is considered to be a climate smart approach that improves crop yields, reduces the impacts of climate shocks and mitigates the production of green house gases.


    The concept of CA is based on the three principles:  minimum/reduced tillage operations, permanent organic soil cover; and crop rotation. Although CA has been promoted in more than 40 countries, its widespread adoption has been limited to only a few regions. Latin America has had the highest rate of CA adoption, particularly the countries in the Southern Cone of South America, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.


    There has been considerable controversy regarding the potential of CA in Sub Saharan Africa, a region where adoption rates have generally been low. In a seminar held during the IFAD Learning Days, Stephen Twomlow, Regional Climate and Environment Specialist; and Robert Delve, Senior Technical Advisor Agronomy, explained why this is the case.


    First, CA is generally introduced as a complete technological package, without first considering farmers’ primary problems and constraints. Since Sub Saharan Africa is extremely heterogeneous in terms of climate, farming systems and traditions, a “one-size-fits-all” approach is not appropriate.


    Before deciding if CA is an appropriate solution, you have to define the issue you want to address:


    Furthermore, farmers have run into problems with inputs– namely the lack of availability of machines and equipment, such as the direct/jab planter, which is a labour-saving tool used to insert a seed and fertilizer directly into the soil. While these are manufactured and available at relatively low-cost in Brazil, finding one in Africa is extremely rare.


    Meanwhile, minimum tillage comes with a greater weed incidence. Brazilian farmers are among the largest users of herbicides and other agrochemicals to manage weeds, however in most parts of Africa, affordable access to herbicides remains low.


    According to Twomlow and Delve, when promoting CA practices, we should also understand the number of labour hours needed for land preparation, planting, fertilizer application, weeding and harvest. This planning is critical because any increased labour burden is likely to fall on women, who are the main agricultural labourers in Sub Saharan Africa. For farming systems with low mechanization and few inputs, the labour costs associated with CA may simply be too great.


    Currently, IFAD has a portfolio of programmes implementing CA with the support of research centres such as the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD), and NGOs such as Total Land Care (TLC).


    IFAD is also working with the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework (LDSF) to provide biophysical baseline at the landscape level, and a monitoring and evaluation framework for assessing processes of land degradation and the effectiveness of rehabilitation measures (recovery) over time.

    Above all, this work should lead to a more realistic appraisal of CA scenarios. Through timely identification of constraints on the ground, we can propose interventions that are properly adjusted to the local farming system and environmental factors.




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    Debates over the future of smallholders remain central across the developing world, writes Steve Wiggins 

    Finding policies for farmers marginalised either by their lack of land, water and other assets or by their remote locations, remains a pressing need writes Steve Wiggins in his newest paper.©IFAD/Guy Stubbs

    In 2001, Development Policy Review published a special edition edited by Caroline Ashley and Simon Maxwell, that reviewed the state of agricultural and rural development at the turn of the new century.

    The synthesis of the papers, Ashley & Maxwell 2001, was much cited in the ensuing years. It argued, above all, that rural areas were increasingly less agricultural and economically more diverse. Some interpreted it to mean that agriculture could be more or less ignored.

    Times have changed since 2001. So this essay looks at what has changed in the intervening decade-and-a-half and what the policy implication may be. The primary focus is Africa, based on a collection of dozen papers commissioned to review experience in that continent; but has been widened and complemented by reviews of Asia and Latin America — thanks to IFAD’s support.

    The result is this paper, "Agricultural and rural development reconsidered: A guide to issues and debates." It’s a think piece, both selective and wide-ranging, covering many issues. Rather than try and condense 40 pages into four paragraphs, here are points, some surprising, that stand out.

    1. Surprise: since 2000 in Africa broader appreciations of rural development, prevalent at the turn of the century, have been largely supplanted by a narrower focus on agricultural development. 

    Moreover, the spotlight falls on higher productivity, by closing yield gaps, and by promoting more commercial farming. Former interests in livelihoods, poverty and equity, have taken a back seat.

    2. Views over the future of Africa’s smallholders diverge. 

    Some argue that the continent needs to foster larger-scale farming since that will raise output, productivity most effectively and efficiently, thanks in large part to large farm access to capital and know-how. Others, including most development partners, argue that smallholders can invest, innovate and produce efficiently — if given the opportunity. But to realise this promise, failings in rural markets for inputs and finance must be overcome. That may be through direct state action; although collective and private institutional innovations may be cheaper and more sustainable.

    Finding ways to overcome rural market failures will determine, as much as any other single factor, the future of rural Africa. Will agriculture be dominated by large farms with the majority of the population subsisting on micro-holdings — as so often seen in Latin America?

    Or will the land be operated in productive, intensive small family farms — as applies in much of Asia?

    3. Those who focus on low-income countries in Africa risk getting a limited view of rural change across the developing world. 

    Asia and Latin America present very different perspectives. Much of Southeast and East Asia now has falling rural populations, a fact that contributes to rising rural wages. Despite the transformation of economies in both Asia and Latin America from agrarian to urban, the peasantry is remarkably persistent — and especially surprisingly so in the fast-growing economies of Southeast Asia: farm households are simply not leaving the land to the extent that might be expected given urbanisation.

    4. The success of conditional cash transfers in Latin America has been a welcome development in a region where poverty and inequality have for so long seemed intractable problems. 

    They account in no small degree for the surprising, but very welcome falls in income inequality seen since the 1990s.

    To conclude, three issues stand out:

    One, debates over the future of smallholders remain central across the developing world, although with differing emphases. In Africa, the critical point is to relieve the failings of markets for inputs and financial services. Across all regions, differences between smallholders are considerable, if not always fully recognised. Finding policies for farmers marginalised either by their lack of land, water and other assets or by their remote locations, remains a pressing need.

    Two, rural areas are becoming more economically more diverse, while ever more linked to urban economies. Can, and should, governments shape these changes, beyond making sure they supply rural public goods and addressing the failures of rural financial services?

    Just because circumstances are diverse and processes are multiple and complicated, does not — whatever most consultant reports may argue — mean that policy has to be equally diverse and complicated.

    Even if some challenges of agricultural and rural development are complicated and complex, much has been achieved by relatively straightforward and standardised measures such as roads, power, education, primary health care, water and cash transfers.

    Such ‘blunt instruments’ can do much good, including in making progress on more complex matters such as gender equity. We need these straightforward investments and programmes, just as much as we need adaptive learning about complex problems (‘Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation’).

    Three, what of the political economy of agricultural and rural development? In the past, analyses have been gloomy: policy has been biased against farmers and rural areas thanks to the naked self-interest of more powerful urban groups (Bates, Lipton).

    Today, however, new ideas prevail, based on interpretations of the experience of development states of Southeast and East Asia. These stress the importance of building a development consensus among elites, fueled by ideas, rather than self-interest.





    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Steve Wiggins is the Research Fellow, Agricultural Development and Policy, at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Wiggins has been studying and working on agricultural and rural development in Africa and Latin America since 1972.

    ABOUT THE PUBLICATION


    "Agricultural and rural development reconsidered: A guide to issues and debates" is the first paper from a new IFAD research series that aims to spark debate around critical global issues that affect smallholder agriculture and rural development. Learn more here. 


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  • 03/18/16--10:22: In the pursuit of happiness
  • By Sally Martinelli




























    Rome, 18 March– A profound shift in attitudes is underway across the world. People are recognizing that 'progress' is about increasing happiness and well-being, and not only economic growth.

    March 20 marks International Day of Happiness and all 193 United Nations member states have adopted a resolution calling for happiness to be given greater priority.

    At the first high level meeting on happiness and well-being in 2012 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that “social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible. Together they define gross global happiness.”

    The happiness movement is growing. Every year, celebrations cut across countries and cultures: meditation in Bhutan, happy flash mobs in London and laughter yoga in Hong Kong.

    To join in on the fun, IFAD has compiled a list of #happyfacts and stories guaranteed to brighten up your day.

    #Happyfact: Cows have best friends



    Cows have best friends and become stressed if they are separated, according to a scientist in the United Kingdom.

    The research shows cows are very social animals which often form close bonds with friends in their herd.

    Cows are partners — even best friends – in many IFAD-supported projects.

    In Burundi, an IFAD-supported project is providing farmers with cows and livestock training to help combat poverty.

    The programme gives farmers livestock as well as basic veterinary medicines. After one breeding cycle the farmers pass on some of the offspring to other poor rural families.

    This exchange, known as a solidarity chain, is expected to reach 560,000 farmers in seven provinces.

    #Happyfact: Eating dark chocolate can reduce the risk of heart disease by one-third


    As if we needed another excuse to snack on chocolate!

    According to researchers, eating a moderate amount of chocolate a day has been linked to a lowered risk of heart disease and stroke.

    IFAD supports fair trade cocoa producers from areas like Sao Tome and Principe, which not only produce high-quality organic products, but also help families live decent lives and build their communities.

    Thanks to IFAD and its partners, nearly 2,200 farmers are now growing cocoa certified as organic or fair -trade for the international chocolate industry.

    #Happyfact: The word "coffee" comes from the Arabic word for "wine of the bean."


    What would we do without coffee, the third most popular drink in the world?

    Most coffee is grown on small, family farms, and 25 million people in over 50 countries depend on the coffee industry for survival.

    To ensure that smallholder farmers have a stake in the industry, IFAD works to link producers with consumers so they are creating the type of coffee that is in demand.


    #Happyfact: Goats have accents

    Goats develop accents from the social group, or ‘creches’ that they hang out with as a way to better identify their friends, according to a study  published in the journal Animal Behaviour.

    When they aren't being social, goats and other types of livestock are making a big difference in the lives of small farmers around the world.

    Activities related to livestock development – such as the transfer of technology, training, credit for restocking, animal health services delivery, feed and breed improvement – are considered core aspects of many IFAD programmes and projects.

    #Happyfact: There are millions of undiscovered species at the bottom of the ocean



    Since we have only explored less than five per cent of the ocean floor, scientists believe there is a world of undiscovered marine life. 

    A little closer to the surface, artisanal fisheries are catching fish and making waves in Mozambique.

    An IFAD-supported project is helping local fishers by sharing new fishing techniques and working with the government to establish protected fishing areas.

    #Happyfact: Between 1990 and 2010, the number of people in extreme poverty was reduced by almost 1 billion 






    Despite the bleak headlines in the news, the world has made progress in lifting people out of extreme poverty.

    Between 1990 and 2010, the number fell by half as a share of the total population in developing countries, from 43 per cent to 21 per cent—a reduction of almost 1 billion people.

    Since 1978, IFAD has invested more than US$17.6 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects in developing countries, empowering about 456 million people to break out of poverty.


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    Why do we need climate finance?


    A world that is out of balance with atmospheric carbon is a world that must adapt.


    I know what you are thinking – an increase of two degrees – it doesn’t sound like much, right? But two degrees is the average worldwide. It will be higher in some places, and lower in others. Dry places in Africa will get drier. Wet places in Asia will get wetter. A two degrees warmer world is a world with a 50/50 risk that coral reefs will bleach, and fish stock will migrate. For many small island states, this means that they would lose most of their economic revenues from tourism and fisheries. Mountainous countries such as Bhutan, which experience the melting of glaciers, would experience water shortages and severe difficulties with their hydropower production.


    We live in a very uncertain world. A world that needs investment, but in things we haven’t invested in before, or at least never as a priority. Adapting to a world that is two degrees warmer will cost money. Green technologies are expensive.


    ''We don’t know what climate finance is…but we are sure we need a lot of it''.


    So what is climate finance?


    There are three prevailing rationales for providing climate finance:

           Climate justice: Transfer of public resources from north to south to cover the costs of dealing with the long-term impacts of Climate Change.


           UNFCCC: “New and additional financial resources” by developed countries for the “full incremental costs” of climate change in developing ones.


           Broadly: Financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation projects and programmes.


    In 2014, global climate finance amounted to approximately US$391 billion. It is made up of public and private money. The money is split between financial flows to climate change adaptation and climate change mitigation projects. To date, there is far more investment in mitigation (related mostly to energy and transport systems): US$361 billion versus US$25 billion.


    Investing in the climate is fast becoming a popular notion in the private sector. Big businesses like Google and The Rockefeller Foundation are both providing it. But it is by no means mainstreamed. Other foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have thus far stayed out of climate finance.


    IFAD partner countries tap into climate finance from multiple sources. The Fund receives donations from a subset of member states who contribute to the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). There is also the Global Environment Facility, Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) and the Adaptation Fund. IFAD uses this money to ''Climate-proof'' its projects, which effectively means these projects are investing in specific activities to reduce risks from extreme weather events, adopt environmentally sustainable landscape and natural resource management practices, and sequester organic carbon.


    The amount of money pledged by governments has the potential to make an incredible difference. 
    But it needs to be accessed, used judiciously, and replenished.


    How does this help smallholder farmers?


    For IFAD, climate finance is used to analyse new and emerging risks. The current generation of smallholder farmers are facing a level of threats and uncertainties they’ve never experienced before. Understanding the risks that are emerging in a changing climate is the first step towards preparing for, and adapting to it.


    Climate finance can also help to finance new and innovative technologies to manage climate risks, which have not been widely considered in the agricultural sector before. Such technology can take many forms: Solar panels to power lights and heat water; biogas units, that can turn human and animal waste into cooking gas and fertilizer; half-moon- shaped contour bunds that help arrest erosion and turn degraded dry-lands into arable land again; early warning systems, allowing farmers to know when a flood or monsoon is coming; improved storage infrastructure, so that farmers can safely store their harvests before the rains are coming. The list is long, and these are just some of the ways that smallholders can benefit.


    Perhaps the most obvious way that smallholder farmers can benefit is through improved yields. Using techniques such as conservation agriculture and agroforestry, farmland can be made more productive. Such techniques protect the agricultural soils from erosion, whilst intensifying production over a small farm area.


    Take-away messages


    Climate finance is out there. There's a lot of it, and the trend is rising. After Paris's COP21, there is a worldwide commitment to combat climate change and support developing countries in adopting green and resilient development pathways. IFAD is ahead of the curve in making climate finance work for smallholder farmers, but more work is needed. ''Climate finance is most effective when used as an incentive to improve and adjust the approach of other public or private sector investment programmes'', said Gernot Laganda, IFAD's Climate Adaptation Specialist. Basically, you take a rural development project that is under development or already active, and you mould it into a climate-smart programme through the systematic integration of climate finance.


    Climate finance is a new source of financing to do development better. Organisations such as IFAD need to adjust their business processes to use it well.




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  • 03/22/16--10:32: The power of water
  • By Sally Martinelli

    Rome, 22 March– Water is synonymous with life and integral to sustainable development around the world.

    This is why World Water Day (WWD) was established by the United Nations General Assembly, which this year falls on March 22. WWD gives people an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference.

    At IFAD, we have highlighted why water is so important to rural people and small farmers.

    Water means equality


    Searching for water is an strenuous, lengthy, and unpaid responsibility that usually falls to women. Women spend hours every day walking to retrieve water and transporting it back to their homes.

    When water is readily accessible, studies show that school enrollment and attainment improves for girls – much more so than for boys. And in some places, women spend more time in market-related activities when they don’t have to fetch and carry water. This is why water is a crucial step in empowering rural women.

    Women make up the majority of smallholder farmers, yet often are not recognized for their work in the same way than men are. Making water accessible is one way to lessen women's work load and level the playing field. When women have the tools to improve their lives, they show remarkable ingenuity and resistance.

    Water means progress


    The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a diverse list of benchmarks that the United Nations is using to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Goal 6 and 14 of the Sustainable Development goals are linked to water.

    Goal 6 is to ensure the safe access to clean water for everyone by combating food scarcity, protecting water-related ecosystems, and improve water and saline management. IFAD's work with saline water in Viet Nam is just one example of how we work towards clean water for all.

    Goal 14 calls for the conservation and sustainable use of the Earth's oceans, seas, and other bodies of water. This will not only preserve our water's biodiversity and fight pollution, but also addresses the needs of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

    SIDS are susceptible to climate change and over exploitation of natural resources, and often are rural and impoverished. IFAD is currently supporting numerous projects within these regions to help them tap into their potential.

    As a specialized agency of the UN, IFAD is committed to making the SDGs a reality. These goals are an essential component of making the world a better place for everyone, and water is a crucial part of this solution.

    Water means hope


    Climate change is a daunting problem for our planet. Without the environment, we have no future within any industry, most especially agriculture.

    Smallholder farmers have to combat extreme weather conditions such as drought, floods and tropical storms that drastically impact their yields. In addition, hazardous climate conditions affect a farmer's ability to store, process, and sell their product at the market.

    IFAD is working to ensure that the programs it implements gives small farmers the information, tools, and technologies to fight climate change.

    The Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) is the largest global financing source dedicated to building their resilience to climate change by channeling climate finance directly to farmers. One project that IFAD is funding through ASAP is strengthening Mozambique's cassava value chain through the use of drought tolerant, pest resistant and high yielding varieties of the plant.

    Water means jobs


    Young people have big dreams, and often move to pursue them if they think their home does not have the tools to achieve them.

    Impoverished areas without water see their future migrate away and suffer without their ideas and energy that spur development. When water is brought to an area, it is revitalized. Young people will stay and grow with their home as water brings in industry, and with young people comes economic growth, political stability and social harmony.

    The future farmers for the world will have to feed nine billion people. IFAD hopes to draw young people into agriculture by providing the tools and training so they could have great success in this field.

    In the Niger Delta, an IFAD-funded project worked to provide exciting and profitable jobs for young people in fish farming. It helped provide over 20,000 jobs, which prevented their migration or participation in violent activities.

    Water means food


    Water and agriculture depend on one another. Without access to water, farmers will not be able to grow enough food to feed the world's population. 70 per cent of all freshwater withdrawals are used to irrigate farmlands, and this percentage will need to increase by 10 per cent to feed the world in 2050.

    Water is especially important to small farms in sub-Saharan African and parts of Asia, which provide up to 80 per cent of the regions' food.

    As the food industry depends on small farmers, small farmers rely on agriculture. It is the main source of income for many people who live in developing countries.

    If they are unable to work due to restricted access to water, small farmers will not survive. IFAD's mission is rooted in supporting smallholder farmers so they can improve the quality of their lives.

    Working with water, like an IFAD-supported project in Ethiopia that helped farmers feed their families, is a vital part of IFAD's work.


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  • 03/24/16--01:43: IFAD Climate Games
  • ‘Exciting’, ‘responsibility’, ‘anxiety’, ‘concern’, ‘collaboration’, ‘equity’, ‘conservation of resources’, ‘helplessness’

    These are just some of the words used to describe the climate games during the IFAD Global Staff Meeting (GSM). The Environment and Climate Division (ECD), with  help from the Red Cross Climate Center (RCCC), organised two successive days of climate games. The games are normally used to support capacity building at inception workshops of projects for the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). In this case the same games were played at IFAD HQ at the GSM. Climate Games create a simulation of reality whereby the players experience the daily anxiety faced by smallholder farmers because of increasing climate-related disasters. Using dice to signify climate threats, and beans to signify currency, participants have to decide what to invest their capital in - ‘normal’ development versus drought or flood protection. This all happens within one game, which simulates three decades of farming through the seasons.


    The games aim to highlight the similarities with real world climate change: being faced with a situation in which you do not have control and you are not prepared. And being dependant on the unpredictable generates anxiety

    In partnership with RCCC, the games support the inception and capacity building of project implementation units and government officials through innovative learning approaches.Over 20  people attended per session and played a game called 'paying for predictions'. The game, an innovative and fun learning experience was thoroughly enjoyed by participants.  At the end of the session participants were asked to say which kind of emotions did they feel and what were the ‘revelations’ they got in terms of their real life work.


    Throughout the sessions, we saw that people having access to early warning systems (in the form of transparent cups) and disaster risk reduction measures (in the form of green post its) felt much less anxiety.

    These kinds of tools and innovations are happening in the real world – a programme such as IFAD's ASAP helps farmers and communities around the world to get more disaster risk reduction and early warning systems, thus reducing that level of ‘helplessness’ generated by the loss of all resources to be invested in protection from climate related events.





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    ASEAN Learning Route on Agricultural Cooperatives kicks off in Thailand 

    IFAD is deepening his regional engagement with ASEAN. 
    With the recent opening of the Asean Economic Community, second worldwide integrated regional market, a discussion has engaged between Farmers Oganisations and Government: How can smallfarmers benefit of this integration and their efforts sustained ? How legal framework and practices from Government can encourage local initiatives? Are the cooperative movement a solution for farmers to engage in market economy?


    27 March 2016, Bangkok, Thailand — More than thirty delegates from farmer organizations, agricultural cooperatives and government cooperative authorities of eight ASEAN countries gathered in Kasetsart University Thailand for the start of the first ever ASEAN Learning Route on Agricultural Cooperatives, which has the theme “Strengthening the Role of Agricultural Cooperatives to Address the Challenges and Opportunities of the ASEAN Economic Community for the Benefit of the Smallholder Farmers.” #ALRAC #ASEANagricoops

    Opening Program of the ASEAN Learning Route on Agricultural Cooperatives. Welcome remarks from ASWGAC, AF, AFA, LVC, PROCASUR, KU, CLT. Rural peoples are the main actors in development. The learning route provides space to showcase local innovations and learn directly from experiences on the ground. The context of the learning route was discussed - where agricultural cooperatives are critical both as a socio-economic movement and as an ideology for food security and agricultural develoment.

    MTCP2 is a support program to Farmers Organisations in Asia Pacific covering 25 countries and supported by IFAD, Swiss Develo Cooperation and European Union. In Asean, Asean foundation, AFA and LA Via Campesina are leading the efforts of the national platforms. This learning route is co-organised with Procasur Asia.


    Successful first day of the ASEAN Learning Route on Agri Coops, joined by IFAD CPM Benoit Thierry Govt, coops, farmers, academe and private companies exchange experiences and lessons learned in developing, supporting and working with agri coops. The learning route now goes to Chantanaburi to visit Kitchakut Cooperative.

    One existing gap in agri coops in Thailand is that they merely collect and do not process products. The government is helping coops move up the value chain thru processing. Agri coops need to be knowledgeable about quality and standards from the production side. The marketing side is to process and link products for domestic and export markets. Dr Donsumran of Coop League of Thai: "We link different kinds coops & need to improve info about our members produce better."

    Chuchart Insawang of Si Prachan Agri Coop: " For coops to really grow, you need to rely on no one else but yourselves". Arrut Navaraj of Sampran Riverside: "Fair trade business w/ organic farmers in district w/ highest use of pesticides in the past" . Peechai Dejkraisak of Siam Organics: Success as small biz thru value chain approach w/ small farmers
    CPM Benoit Thierry: "IFAD is getting more involved in value chain for small farmers. The ASEAN learning route gives opportunity for ASEAN farmers and governments to cooperate. How can small farmers take the benefits from the ASEAN Economic Community? How to have more refined modalities to give preference to small farmers in market integration process?"

    First Experience Fair on ASEAN Agricultural Cooperatives. Farmer/cooperative leaders and government cooperative counterparts discuss initiatives, challenges and opportunities, and learning objectives, expected improvements, among others, on the first day of the ASEAN Learning Route on Agricultural Cooperatives (27 March 2016, Bangkok, Thailand) 
    Stay tuned! For the coming week, the learning route is now moving to south Thailand and soon after to Philippines to visit the cooperative movement. 


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    Written by Nerina Muzurovic, Audrey Nepveu, Tarek Kotb, Abdelhaq Hanafi, Hani Elsadani and Mohamed Abdelgadir

    “Producing more food with less water and energy” was the topic covered by the well-attended thematic session, held as part of the 2nd IFAD Global Staff Meeting in Rome on 22 February 2016.

    Organized by the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division in collaboration with the Policy and Technical Advisory Division, the thematic session explored the relationships and trade-offs within the water, energy and food security (WEF) nexus.


    Why is the WEF nexus so important?

    Globally, the agrifood sector uses about 80 per cent of the world's freshwater resources, and accounts for some 30 per cent of total energy consumption. In the coming 30 years, global food production is expected to rise by 60 per cent, accompanied by the respective increases in the use of water for irrigation by 10 per cent and in energy consumption by an astounding 80 per cent .

    These statistics are of the utmost relevance to the Near East and North Africa (NENA) region, as this is the most water scarce region in the world. The region is heavily populated (with some 170 million rural people out of a total of 390 million people in 2015), and, with the highest population growth in the world (of an estimated 250 million by 2050, including 40 million rural people ), will experience great increases in demand for water, food and energy.

    By 2050, the per capita share of water as well as crop production in NENA are expected to decrease by 50 per cent, compounded by a rising cost of energy. These trends will affect some 34 per cent of rural people currently making their living from agriculture and livestock.

    Considering the growing challenges in the region, there is an urgent need for innovations to optimize the use of water and energy, and to secure food production.

    How can we produce more food —using less water and less energy? 

    In looking at IFAD's work in the NENA region, the discussion focused on what has proved to work on the ground so far, in terms of boosting agricultural production and productivity while sustainably managing the region's limited natural resources.

    From renewable energies (e.g. solar irrigation pumps with a higher initial investment cost but lower running costs) to non-conventional water resources (grey water treatment, integrated aquaculture systems, hydroponic systems, etc.) to the promotion of smart agriculture and a value chain approach, a vast array of strategies are available to foster agricultural and rural development, starting with a focus on increasing productivity while lowering energy and water use.

    How can we put the nexus approach into practice?


    The session explored additional factors to be considered in a nexus approach.

    Issues like soil quality, which add further complexity to the model, simply cannot be overlooked. This is something we have observed in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Egypt, where salinity increases due to aridity on the one hand and drainage problems on the other, making it difficult to grow any crops.
    Increased income is a key motivation for smallholder farmers to adopt an innovation. For this purpose, it is key for the nexus approach to include an identification of market opportunities. From a project perspective, this translates into the need to improve the economic and financial analysis, in order to be able to clearly demonstrate resource savings and increased benefits both at household level and overall project level.

    However, poor smallholder farmers are risk averse and resist devoting their farming exclusively to cash crops, as such a specialization reduces their resilience to shocks. Hence, the governance dimension, accompanying the innovations to be implemented, becomes essential in providing an enabling framework and institutional environment for smallholder farmers. Capacity building is also required to make new farming technologies adoptable.

    Balancing incentives and trade-offs as a way forward

    The session concluded by recognizing the importance of the WEF nexus approach and by highlighting the next step towards putting it into practice: the need to engage effectively with a wider range of stakeholders than the present practice.

    Mainstreaming the WEF nexus approach will require additional efforts to negotiate trade-offs and bring together differing stakeholder incentives, thereby developing tailored local solutions that address the daily challenges of smallholder farmers.

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    These questions were at the center of discussions at the Regional Implementation Forum for IFAD-supported projects in West and Central Africa. The meeting took place from 14 to 18 March in Abuja, Nigeria and was jointly organised by IFAD and the Government of Nigeria. It brought together more than 300 representatives from IFAD-financed projects, governments and development partners in the region.

    Group Picture © IFAD | D. Paqui
    Young rural people represent a significant portion of the agricultural workforce and they play a major role in the development of rural areas. With their innovative ideas and motivation, young women and men have a great potential to contribute to the well-being of their communities. But young people are increasingly abandoning agriculture and rural areas in search of better livelihood options in cities or abroad. The opportunities available to young women and men in rural areas are often restricted, and unemployment, underemployment, poor working conditions and exploitation are serious concerns. Young rural people are often involved in the informal sector and as unpaid family workers with no social protection and limited opportunities for advancement.

    In addition, a range of access gaps constrain the productive potential of young rural people. Difficulties in accessing land is a major factor inhibiting young people's participation in agricultural activities, and young women in particular, have few opportunities to access land. Constraints in accessing financial services prevents young women and men from investing in land or starting their own businesses in the rural non-farm sector. And limited access to markets and new technology makes it equally difficult for young people to participate in agricultural value chains or set up new businesses.

    Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture and IFAD's President © IFAD | D. Paqui
    IFAD's programme of work is increasingly reflecting the needs and views of young rural people. IFAD-supported projects and activities focus on enabling the transition to employment by involving young rural people in skills and vocational training, supporting an environment that generates decent jobs for young people on and off the farm, and by providing support to young entrepreneurs. They also aim to enable young rural people to gain access to the resources, inputs and services they need to be productive. And through its work, IFAD aims to improve the participation of young rural women and men at all levels of society and facilitate the organization of young people. When young people participate in community decision-making and take management roles in local organizations, they improve their own situations while contributing their energy and creativity to their communities.

    There was a consensus that IFAD’s de facto target group in West and Central Africa are young rural women and men. Youth inclusion will increasingly be mainstreamed in IFAD-funded projects by:

    -Involving youth representatives in design, supervision and evaluation of IFAD-supported projects
    -Building capacities and skills
    -Improving access to assets, inputs, agri-services and finance
    -Promoting youth role models to make agriculture more attractive
    -Facilitating networking between young people

    WCA Director with youth role models © IFAD | D. Paqui
    One full day of the Forum was also dedicated to IFAD’s work on climate and environment in the region. Poor rural people in West and Central Africa face a series of interconnected natural resources management challenges. They are in the front line of climate change impacts; the ecosystems on which they rely are increasingly degraded, their access to suitable agricultural land is declining, their forest resources are increasingly restricted and degraded, many produce on marginal rain fed land, with increased water scarcity; and declining fish and marine resources threaten essential sources of income and nutrition. Participants agreed to mainstreaming environment and climate change action by:

    -Raising awareness and strengthening capacity
    -Dedicating more financial and human resources to ECC
    -Integrating tools for vulnerability analysis
    -Developing simplified M&E systems to enable timely decision-making
    -Enhancing implementation of GEF and ASAP projects

    Finally, discussions were held on how to improve portfolio performance. Effective and efficient project management is key to achieving results and impact. Participants committed to building a management-for-sustainable-results culture by:

    Group discussions © IFAD | D. Paqui
    -Ensuring the selection of competent teams
    -Strengthening leadership skills of project coordinators and fiduciary management
    -Building capacity for strategic planning (including procurement and realistic AWP&B) to ensure sustainability of results
    -Developing simple M&E systems as a management tool for documenting results, learning and timely decision-making
    -Strengthening local institutions
    -Promoting the scaling up of best practices



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    By Marie-Lara Hubert Chartier and Elisabeth Steinmayr

    Ethiopian farmers Mulgeta Amas (left) and his wife Tesfar Kasin (right) show their land certificate for their 0.75
    hector landholding. Listing his wife in the land certificate entitles her to inherit the land and be acknowledged
    as a joint owner for their plot. ©IFAD/Wairimu Mburathi

    Rome, 29 March – Land is fundamental to the lives of poor rural people. There is a growing recognition that secure access to land reduces vulnerability to hunger and poverty.

    However, do we understand why land tenure security is so important? We often hear about buzzwords such as “land grabbing” – but do we know who the world’s main land grabbers are? Women’s role in food systems being crucial to global food security – do we know what percentage of the world’s land is owned by women? To what extent is land claimed and managed by communities? Who are we referring to as the “youth” in IFAD’s projects?

    Harold Liversage and Elisa Mandelli, land tenure experts from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Sabine Pallas and Jan Cherlet from the International Land Coalition Secretariat vividly unpacked global trends on land and gave some answers to the questions above in their joint session Land – Unpacking global trends during the 2016 Global Staff Meeting.

    Participants discuss during the joint session Land – Unpacking global trends during the 2016 Global Staff Meeting.














    Some key messages:

    • Often the main challenges IFAD projects face with regard to land grabbing are grabs within families or communities, the competition between different land users (e.g. pastoralists vs crop farmers) and national and local elites as land speculators.

    • Women's secure land rights contribute to their empowerment, to household welfare and to the improvement of the land and a better environment. To achieve this, it is important on the one hand to help women become aware of their rights and able to claim them, but also on the other hand to create an enabling policy environment to guarantee those rights.

    • Up to 2.5 billion people depend on lands and natural resources that are held, used or managed by indigenous peoples and local communities. They are the best custodians of their land and their existing traditional models of tenure function well if their rights are secure. Communities with secure tenure rights enable sustainable development, foster gender equality, and make the land more productive. Further, community control reduces uncertainty and conflict. A Global Call to Action 
    aims to double the amount of land controlled by indigenous peoples and communities by 2020.

    • There is no cookie-cutter solution for strengthening youth's access to land, as "youth" is a very heterogeneous group. Taking into account their sex, marital status, stage in life cycle, etc., it is necessary to strengthen local institutions and youth organizations, foster off-farm activities, give targeted economic incentives, raise the youth's awareness and support policy dialogue.

    • There is a growing or revived recognition of the importance of tenure security and equitable access to land and natural resources. Good examples therefore are the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance for Tenure or the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa.

    • To address many of the issues above, it is fundamental to strengthen the land rights of poor and vulnerable people, to develop accessible, affordable and transparent land administration systems, to promote sustainable community-investor partnerships and to engage in policy dialogue and M&E.

    Engaging discussions with our colleagues from the field illustrated the wide variety of perceptions and realities in which concepts apply.

    Looking forward, the IFAD land tenure desk aims to create more space for dialogue and sharing experience among peers, so that we can learn from each other.



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    By Viateur Karangwa

    Kigali-Rwanda: From 20thto 23rd March 2016, the Government of  Rwanda, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI), hosted IFAD’s Mr. Adolfo Brizzi, Director of the Policy and Technical Advisory (PTA) Division and Sana Jatta, Director of the East and Southern Africa (ESA) Division.


    The officials were received by the IFAD country office before their meeting with  Rwandan  Government Officials including the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Dr. Geraldine Mukeshimana, and Mr. Innocent Musabyimana, the Permanent Secretary of MINAGRI. Also in the delegation were IFAD country staff, represented by Mr. Francisco Pichon Javier, Senior Country Manager and Aimable Ntukanyagwe, Country Program Officer.


    On 21st March 2016, the IFAD  team held meetings with the Ministry. The discussions were centered around delivering the same level of project support for implementation that IFAD has always provided, said Claver Gasirabo, the IFAD Project Coordinator.


    On 22nd March 2016, the team  conducted field visits to IFAD-supported investments in Ngoma and Kirehe Districts, where the Climate Resilient Post Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP) and Kirehe Community based Watershed Management Project (KWAMP) are intervening respectively.


    These investments include the industrial drying grounds with the capacity to store between 50-100 MT of dried maize throughout the year. The drying grounds are in Murama Sector, Ngoma District, and managed  by  the KOREMU Cooperative, which is working to improve the quality of maize and reduce post-harvest losses.


    In Kirehe, the Directors and the Ministry delegates visited irrigation investments including the Sagatare dam and marshland, with capacity to store 282,000 m3of water, usable to irrigate 205 ha of rice in Sagatare and Rwabutazi. They also met with smallholder farmers receiving support from the KWAMP project in livestock and biogas development. Finally, the team visited one of the five communal cattle sheds built by the KWAMP project to enhance veterinary services, peer learning and collective marketing.


    On 23rd March 2016, the Directors announced IFAD’s renewed commitment to support the Rwandan Government’s initiatives to invest in rural people. 


    Visit of rural investments- Rice milling Plant in Kirehe.



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    By: Hamid Safi, Knowledge Management & Policy Specialist, RMLSP & CLAP

    Representatives from the IFAD-supported Rural Microfinance and Livestock Support Program (RMLSP) and the Community Livestock and Agriculture Project (CLAP) actively participated in the Spring AgFair held in Kabul, Afghanistan on 20 - 23 March 2016. The agricultural fair is organized biannually by the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock.



    The CLAP and RMLSP project staff, in collaboration with implementing partners, set-up an exhibit booth to showcase many of the projects’ activities and achievements in working with poor rural farmers in Afghanistan. A number of government officials, representatives from the donor community, and people working with NGO’s visited and interacted with project staff at the exhibit booth. Curious Afghan citizens from across the country stopped by the booth to gain information and interact with project staff. 






    President Ghani, the third from the right, and Minister Zamir of the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, (left of President), visit the IFAD-supported projects booth

    Most notably, Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan, and his delegates visited the CLAP and RMLSP exhibit booth. The CLAP and RMLSP teams briefed the President on the projects’ activities and stages in the implementation process. President Ghani and his delegates expressed their appreciation of the work and especially of the progress that both projects are making in country. 
     


    Sharifa Mohammadi (center), an extension worker from Bamyan Province, speaks about women’s participation in the projects with a 24 TV Channel reporter
    Among the activities highlighted at the booth were those focusing on women’s empowerment. The booth displayed products and information pertaining to women’s production groups, rural microfinance packages, improved crop seeds, dairy and backyard poultry products, and animal health services. As visitors stopped by the booth, project experts and implementing partner representatives provided extensive information and explanations to address all questions. 

    Emadudin (center), agriculture expert from the First Micro Finance Bank (FMFB), provides information on microfinance packages to visitors
    In Afghanistan, the AgFair provides a good opportunity to share lessons learned, best practices, and implementation successes in the agriculture and rural development sector. It offers participants a platform to share their experience with various stakeholders including representatives from NGOs, the private sector, sectorial ministries, and the general public. Similarly, these participants get to know each other, to network, and to exchange ideas with one another. 

    Visitors gather around the Khatiz Dairy Union booth
    The AgFair is a unique festival where men, women and children can come together to see agricultural products, enjoy live music and entertainment, have a meal and do some shopping. It is hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation Livestock and held twice a year in March and October in Afghanistan. The spring 2016 AgFair welcomed approximately 185,000 visitors over four days.




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