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    By Claire Ferry

    Every month IFAD’s Gender Desk offers home-made cakes and coffee and the chance to learn about new gender-related initiatives and network with colleagues. At this month’s Gender Breakfast, Belen Couto and a team from IFAD’s Language Services presented the newGlossary on gender issues.

    The Glossary contains 130 terms and aims to standardize the use of language related to gender issues in official IFAD documents and publications. Meticulous referenced translation into the four official IFAD languages—Arabic, English, French and Spanish—is a key resource for translators, editors, writers and interpreters. The Glossary is a unique product that will benefit all UN Rome-based agencies and other organizations, and it has been posted on the FAO Term Portal database .

    The glossary does more than just standardize language, though. A flip through its pages offers education on key issues facing women and men in the drive towards gender equality.

    For instance, the term "femicide" was new to me before it caught my attention in the glossary. The entry includes a definition as expected, but it also cites a source—specifically, the new law in Brazil offering greater protection in the face of the deliberate killing of women. The document offers guidelines for usage, highlights topics of importance and supplies a source for more information.

    Importantly, the glossary also clarifies terms that we often take for granted or misuse.

    "Gender equality" and "gender equity" are only a few letters different, but they are not interchangeable. The former refers to equal opportunities among men and women, while the latter addresses measures taken to ensure that equality. As the glossary puts it, "Equity can be understood as the means, where equality is the end." Before we slip one of these terms into our next email or publication, understanding its full meaning is key to communicating effectively.

    Even the concept of marriage is more complex than first appears. I've often heard the term "arranged marriage," but I unknowingly and wrongly equated it with "forced marriage." The Glossary helped clarify the difference, and it also brought other marital gender issues to my attention—namely, child and early marriage. I found that, not only had I been using some terms incorrectly, but I was also unaware of some important related issues.

    A significant amount of work went into providing complete definitions for each term, and their translation into other languages was just as involved. The Language Services team explained the nuances of translating the terms, including the difficulty of maintaining meaning across languages. They also explained the hierarchy of sources used, where international conventions are regarded as top sources.

    With positive responses from IFAD staff and other UN organizations, Language Services is considering creating glossaries on other topics. The creators of the Gender Glossary describe it as a "living document," which will be expanded and revised where necessary. Colleagues wishing to add terms to the Glossary were invited to write to Language Services with their proposals.

    We sometimes pay scant attention to the words we use in everyday language, but perhaps we should be more attentive. As one of the participants at the breakfast said, “Language can be a wall and language can be a window." As IFAD continues its work to empower women, using the right words is an important tool.

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    Par Marie-Clarisse Chanoine Dusingize

    Le lancement des activités financées par le Programme d’adaptation de l’agriculture paysanne (ASAP en anglais) a eu lieu le 14 et 15 mars 2017 à Morondava, à Madagascar. Ce don s'insère dans la phase II du Projet d’Appui au Développement de Menabe et Melaky (AD2M II). L'atelier organisé fut une opportunité pour l'équipe de projet et ses collaborateurs clés (les ONG de terrain et les partenaires nationaux et régionaux) d’apprendre les uns des autres et d’échanger sur le thème de l’adaptation aux changements climatiques dans le secteur agricole.

    L'atelier a débuté par l'organisation d'un jeu de rôle. Cette animation ludique a été menée par l'équipe FIDA pour sensibiliser les participants à l’ampleur des impacts du changement climatique sur la sécurité alimentaire et sur le développement agricole et rural à  Madagascar. Les participants ont donc pu incarner les rôles de responsables institutionnels et d'acteurs locaux en charge de la planification rurale sur une période de 5 ans. Grâce à cette simulation, ils ont ainsi dû décider d’investir soit dans les opérations courantes soit dans l’adoption de mesures innovantes afin de se prémunir contre les effets dévastateurs liés aux changements climatiques tels que les sècheresses et les inondations. Les participants ont pu expérimenter la prise de risque inhérente au statu quo – risque de famine en cas de sécheresse - et les coûts liés à l’adoption de mesures d’adaptation et d’atténuation aux changements climatiques - adoption de techniques et technologies innovantes et plus coûteux. Ce divertissement a suscité des discussions riches sur les enjeux inhérents au développement agricole et rural et les mesures d’adaptation locales.

    L’atelier s’est poursuivi par des présentations courtes sur l’état environnemental et les changements climatiques à Madagascar, et plus particulièrement dans les régions du projet, Menabe et Melaky. Les intervenants ont mis en exergue les déterminants et les contraintes qui exacerbent la vulnérabilité des populations rurales causée par la dégradation environnementale et les changements climatiques. Ils ont ensuite émis des suggestions quant à la bonne mise en œuvre du projet. Pour garantir le succès du projet les participants ont recommandé, sur base de leurs expériences de terrain,, d’accentuer la mise en pratique des approches participatives, le partage et la mutualisation de la prise de risque inhérente à l’adoption d’innovation (partage des coûts), la vulgarisation et la diversification des semences améliorées, la promotion de la production intégrée (végétale, animale et la pêche) et le renforcement des capacités locales et des réseaux d’échanges des savoirs et des expériences.

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    By Messias Alfredo Macuiane, Monitoring and evaluation officer, ProAqua project

    Rita Dickson, a fish farmer from Mucuti, Sussundenda district explaining her vision and how her two children will help her to build a better house through crop production and fish farming. Picture taken by Wendy Lowe.

    ProAqua promotes small scale aquaculture in central Mozambique and is funded by the European Union through IFAD, and by the Government of Mozambique. It is a grant-financed project and has been supporting women and men small-scale fish farmers from Gondola, Sussundenga, Mossurize and Gorongosa districts since 2014.

    ProAqua started work under the EU-funded initiative to accelerate progress towards MDG 1C in the country, to “Halve between 1990 and 2015 the portion of people who suffer from hunger in Mozambique”. Activities have now been aligned with the new 2030 Agenda, in particular SDG2 on Zero Hunger.

    So far, the project has helped over 630 families to build more than 500 new fish ponds. ProAqua considers gender equality as a key requirement for increased fish production and consumption and therefore recommends that 60 per cent of participants should be women.

    In April 2017, ProAqua organized training on the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) in order to introduce the methodology to project extension activities and strengthen equality and empowerment of female fish farmers.

    Sixteen fish farmers from Sussundenga took part in the training, together with 12 extension workers, 2 staff members from the Agency for Manica Development (responsible for the Saving and Credit Groups Development), 1 officer from Initiative for Community Land, 1 officer from Provincial Services for Rural Extension) and 2 staff members from the ProAqua Management Unit.

    After the third day of the training, participants recognized that each tool integrated into GALS unlocks their minds towards gender issues at community and household level, which directly influence the development of aquaculture.

    During the sessions, male and female participants:
    • identified six indicators that hamper development (alcoholism, women’s workload , domestic violence, laziness, lack of access to education, insecure property rights) 
    • identified what should be done to solve each gender-related indicator 
    • assembled an array of appropriate approaches on how to solve each barrier based on available resources.
    After the training, each participant will act as a catalyst to promote GALS through peer learning with individuals, families and groups or associations. The aim is to build gender equality in community development during the remaining period of project implementation and enable participants to adopt aquaculture as an additional income-generating activity.

    GALS starts in the home, and all participants were requested to present their visions for the future during the sixth day. Shared responsibilities among family members, reduction of unnecessary expenditures and open discussions among family members were ranked as key aspects that require immediate actions for the achievement of the vision.

    Rita Dickson, a fish farmer from Mucuti community said that her life will be changed. Her two children are true gifts for her success.

    “I sat down with my children to share GALS and we all agreed to build a better house using our resources,” she said.

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    From plastic bags to proper packaging with labels, Niue’s popular Lupe Niue-brand Maholi banana chips has come a long way, and is now a hit with locals and tourists alike.

    The European Union-funded Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade (IACT) project, implemented by the Pacific Community, with additional support from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), transformed what was once a local savoury into an internationally-marketable product.

    It all started in a Tongan woman’s humble kitchen. The woman was struggling to raise her four children all on her own. Her daughter, Feofaaki Fou, watched her mother fry banana chips and pack them in plastic bags day in and day out. The banana chips, which the woman sold at the local market, were a family lifeline – providing just enough to put food on the table and send Feo and her three siblings to school.

    School was tough on Feo; she shut herself away, willing the school years to fly by, so she could reinvent herself somewhere else and write a new story for her life. The next chapter would not include banana chips – or so she thought.

    For a time Feo worked at Niue’s hospital caring for the elderly, but was unable to make ends meet. ‘I had a connection with my patients and fell in love with my job, but I struggled with the pay’, she said. ‘Mum was getting sickly too, and it struck me right there and then – I could continue what Mum started! I’d watched her many times and all this information was just there at the back of my head where I had pushed it to, in my search for what I thought would be a better job, away from the house.’

    Feo decided to pursue the family business, and though she improved on her mother’s packaging, she continued to fry the chips at home.

    ‘With better packaging I was able to place the chips in supermarkets and the demand grew.’

    To expand her market base, there was a need for proper processing facilities in order to obtain health and safety certifications. Funding from the EU, IFAD, the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and the Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community, allowed Feo to transform her humble start-up into a successful business. With the injection of financial support and her husband’s contractor skills, she was able to build a new kitchen and boost production levels significantly.

    ‘I’ve also been able to expand to the tourist market and in coffee shops around the island’, Feo said. However, with growing demand, the availability of raw materials has increasingly become a challenge. Sixty bags of chips requires ten kilograms of raw banana.

    ‘I used to buy [bananas] at NZD 30 a bundle, but as the chips became popular, my suppliers pushed up their prices to NZD 70,’ she said.

    In response, Feo has started a banana plantation of 300 trees with the hope it will buffer a shortfall in supply from farmers. Feo is keen to see young farmers start up banana plantations, especially through an organic system.

    ‘The first day I went to the market to sell my banana chips, I cried because I was so ashamed; and the way [the other vendors] looked at me – I could feel what they thought of me’, Feo recalls. ‘But that day I went home with NZD 1500 in my hands from selling banana chips and jewellery. … I still felt the same the next time I went to the market, but I started to question my feelings seeing that I made so much money’, she added.

    Feo was 22-years-old then. Now at 27 she is proud to have built a thriving business from farming, and believes other young Niueans can also benefit from working hard and using the fruits of the land.

    ‘It was hard but … the funding support has made all the difference … We had the business ideas but it [took] a bit of capital and support to lift us to the next level … and [now] we want to empower others.’

    This blog was originally posted on POETcom website.

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  • 05/11/17--02:40: Vaiea Little Farmers
  • Nadia with her children in the little farmyard
    ‘Eww! Yucky!’ the kid shrieked, jumping to avoid an earthworm. His friends laughed at him.
    Another shriek erupted from a different corner of the garden when a caterpillar was discovered.
    These were familiar scenes when Nadia Fomai and the children of Vaiea village on Niue Island began setting up the prettiest of backyard gardens, using recycled materials, compost, and fermented fish blood.
    At least three times a week, in the afternoon, they run to the gardens, eager to learn all about plants, the soil and all the creatures that live in it.
    ‘Now they are fighting over earthworms – that’s mine, that going in my garden in my plot!’ Nadia related.
    ‘I think I’ve made a change there – because at first they were screaming like someone hurt someone else or stepped on a nail when it was in fact a little tiny worm. But now no one is scared, as they know the importance of earthworms in keeping the soil healthy and helping their vegetable grow well.
    Cabbages and lettuces bloomed out of pallet slats. Handheld spades carved out of empty bleach bottles were used to dig small holes for planting.
    ‘While they learn about organic gardening and being kind to nature and the soil, they are also taking on recycling ideas,’ she added.
    Nadia shares with them the difference between organic and chemical farming methods.
    “I tell them organic farming is safe because I believe there’s no harmful chemical left in the vegetables at the point of eating,” she said.
    The next step of the project, which has been active since May 2016 (e.d.), is applying organic fertilisers and pest control methods.
    “I’ve been experimenting with fish blood for fertiliser and it has worked perfectly on my flowers, and will too on the vegetables.” “When the men in the community return from fishing, I offer to clean the fish so I can collect the blood.
    “It stinks really badly so I ferment it away from the community. After several days, the smell dies down. It’s worth the effort!”
    Nadia’s garden lessons are supported by IFAD through the Capacity Building for Resilient Agriculture in the Pacific Project under its ‘nutritional gardening for families’ activity.
    The project is implemented by the Niue Organic Farmers Association and POETCom.
    It started with a drab meat dish Nadia was cooking one day.
    “There were no vegetables, no variety that is. We only had ‘bele’ and we were eating it all the time,” she said.
    “It’s quite expensive to purchase vegetables from the shops so I thought we could start planting other types besides the local variety because Niue has a great climate for planting.”
    “I decided to include the little ones so they would know about the importance of having healthy, nutritious meals, and to inspire them to love gardening, getting their hands dirty in growing plants and having a healthy food supply.
    “The vegetables they plant they take home and in this way we help families eat healthy, nutritious food.
    “It is important that we work with younger children if we want to keep them engaged in farming.’
    “My mother taught me to love gardening and I’ve done it all my life. Remember the Bible teaches us to train up a child on the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it!”

    This blog was originally posted on POETcom website.

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    By Vivienne Likhanga and IFAD Sudan Country Office  

    From the design to the implementation of the Innovation Plan presented during the learning route on “Innovative Livestock Marketing from Northern to Eastern Africa”, held in Kenya in March 2012.

    Some of the participants from the LR on Livestock Marketing that was held in Kenya in March 2012
    Five years ago a group of 22 participants from 6 countries (Sudan, Somalia, Madagascar, Ethiopia, the USA and Europe) gathered to learn about access to markets and to identify value chain upgrading opportunities in the livestock sector. They did this through the Learning Route: Innovative Livestock Marketing from Northern to Eastern Africa. The learning route that took place between the 28th of February and 10th of March 2012, was piloted in Kenya with the collaboration of the International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD)’s Near East, North Africa and Europe (NEN) Division and the technical support of the Policy and Technical Advisory Division (PTA) with a view of reducing knowledge gaps on livestock marketing systems and management.

    Innovation Plan follow-up and update

    Five years after the 2012 learning route, its benefit is visible, particularly in one of the IFAD funded project in Sudan: the Butana Integrated Rural Development Project (BIRDP) that now is ready and well prepared to implement the Tamboul Slaughterhouse Innovation Plan as designed by the BIRDP participants who took part in the Learning Route on Livestock Marketing in Kenya (2012). This Innovation Plan was particularly drawn from the best practices at the Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse in Kiserian, Kenya.

    Unfortunately, the implementation of the ambitious slaughterhouse plan as designed by BIRDP participants who participated in the learning route on livestock marketing in Kenya (2012) lagged behind due to difficulties in adequate involvement of the private actors (formal and informal butchers), commitment of the relevant administrative unit not fulfilled and time constraints as effective facilitation requires time, consistency and skills.

    As part of the follow-up activities foreseen in the Learning Route, it was decided to hold a learning activity in Kiserian and Amboseli, Kenya, in which selected participants and key stakeholders of the BIRDP Tamboul Slaughterhouse project would share their opportunities and constraints with implementing their Innovation Plan, as well as get further insights on the improvement and potential partnerships for the implementation of their Innovation Plans. The learning activity was held between the 29th January and 3rd February 2017 in Kenya. 
    Participants begin their learning activity journey at the Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse office in Kiserian, Kenya

    The 10 visiting participants came from different sectors building a team of 3 government officials, 4 staff members of the BIRDP and 3 from the private sector (butchers).

    The specific objectives of the follow up learning activity were as follows:
    1. Reflect on the February 2012 Learning Route visit to Keekonyokie slaughterhouse (achievements, lessons learnt and experiences);
    2. Identify key knowledge needs of the BIRDP team based on the lessons learnt during implementation of the IPs in order to align the learning process with these needs;
    3. Facilitate practical learning sessions using the Keekonyokie and Mbirikani Slaughterhouses to address the knowledge needs; and to
    4. Develop Innovation Plans and practical action plans following the learning.
    A participatory approach in collaboration with IFAD BIRDP project was applied in the planning and implementation of the follow up learning activity with enhanced involvement of the participants. A team of local champions were identified in the two case studies (Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse in Kiserian and the Mbirikani Slaughterhouse in Amboseli) and sensitized on the concept and learning objectives of the activity. In each of the slaughterhouses, selected champions presented different operational areas of a slaughterhouse. Key actors in the meat value chain facilitated discussions between the hosts and the visiting team. A mix of technical experiences and knowledge management practices responded to the knowledge needs of the visiting participants.
    Participants at the livestock market learning about the Livestock value chain
    The learning activity involved two main knowledge approaches: first, a visit to the slaughterhouses to see and learn first-hand about all operational activities from the main actors through step by step guidance. The second approach interactive plenary discussions between the local champions, technical experts and the visiting team, thus a nearly non-stop learning activity with intensive 3 field based learning days and a wrap up meeting on the 4th day.

    On the first two days of the learning activity the participants visited the Keekonyokie slaughterhouse in Kiserian, to observe the practical operations of the slaughterhouse during the peak period of operations. They also studied the physical infrastructure and the drainage system of the slaughterhouse during its off-peak sessions. The participants held interviews with some of the actors in the market system including pastoralists, meat traders, live animal traders, slaughterhouse supervisors and biogas plan operators. Follow up workshops sessions brought together the local champions from Keekonyokie slaughterhouse, the technical experts and the visiting team from Sudan for closing some knowledge gaps in a question and answer session. The participants had an opportunity to elaborate the entire market system and how it operated.

    The Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse is a private company owned by 16 shareholders who elect 7 board members every year. The board members include the chairman, the secretary, treasurer, managing director, supervisor, biogas departmental head and slaughterhouse departmental head. The Company has by laws that are used to govern the company

    The business model applied in the Keekonyokie slaughterhouse involves the provision of a slaughter facility and all the associated slaughter services to traders who supply meat to the Nairobi market and its environs. In addition, it has a live animal market where live animal sellers who bring livestock from the pastoral areas of southern rangelands of Kenya and Northern Tanzania meet meat traders who buy live animals, slaughters and markets meet to end users. Other business lines include packaging of biogas for commercial use which is yet to be marketed after government has formulated a policy to guide biogas marketing in Kenya.

    On The third day of the learning activity the participants visited the Mbirikani Slaughterhouse in Amboseli. The participants had a guided tour of the slaughterhouse and thereafter discussions with the main actors and experts in order to address their question on the Mbirikani Slaughterhouse market system and value chain. 
    Unlike the Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse which is a privately owned company, the Mbirikani slaughterhouse was constructed by the County Government of Kajiado, Kenya and later finished by the African Wildlife Foundation as a support to the Amboseli Livestock Marketing Association (ALMA). ALMA is a community Based Organization that brings together group ranches and women groups in the Amboseli as a structure to enhance market access by the community. The entire facility was set up as a conservation enterprise to help minimize conflicts between wildlife and the pastoralists and develop a sustainable model through which livestock marketing activities are liked to conservation of natural resources. After completion, the slaughterhouse was jointly owned by the community through ALMA and the County Government which necessitated registration of the company called Amboseli Meat Company (AMC) with the county government owning 60% of the shares and ALMA 40%. Through a competitive bidding process, the AMC contracted a private company called Food Tech to manage the company’s operations through a profit sharing arrangement. A comprehensive management contract exists that stipulates the role of each partner in the operations of the business. The profit sharing arrangement involves Food Tech taking 69% of the profit, AMC 30% and 1% of the profit is used for CSR. The company is relatively young and at the start-up phase, hence not much business volumes were reported.

    The company is implementing two business models. In the first model the company buys live animals from the Groups affiliated to ALMA slaughters and markets the meat. In the second model, the company undertakes contract slaughtering i.e. getting a contract to slaughter for a client at a fee of KES 1,100 per cow.

    Key taken-home lessons by the participants

    There were several lessons learnt by the participants among them the following:

    • Private sector players are important anchors in a livestock market system: Public, private, producer / community Partnerships 
    • The informal sector can regulate itself however there is the usefulness of engagement with governments for favourable operating environment 
    • Technology and Innovation in waste management through the production of biogas and fertilizers 
    • The importance of proper sewerage system and an in-house source of constant water supply 
    • Drought mitigation strategies 
    • Gender Inclusion in Livestock marketing 
    • Linking livestock production and marketing with conservation 
    • Proximity to consumer markets 
    • The operational costs and risks of holding Inventory 
    The participants’ main interest of importance in the Mbirikani slaughterhouse case study was the ownership and management structure of the slaughterhouse and the shareholding and the management of contracts.

    The participants observed that the Mbirikani slaughterhouse in Amboseli has a similar background with the Tamboul slaughterhouse where support is coming from the government and a donor. As such the Mbirikani slaughterhouse was a perfect case for the team to learn about private public producer (community) partnership arrangements being used to manage the slaughterhouse, noting that it would be the most appropriate approach that would enhance ownership, sustainability of the Tamboul slaughterhouse while at the same time enhancing livelihoods of different value chain actors. The Mbirikani slaughterhouse also presented knowledge on gender integration in the meat value chain. The slaughterhouse provides opportunities for women by allowing them to use slaughterhouse by-products (bones, hides, skins and horns) to make artefacts for sale, the women are also involved in fodder and fodder seed production and in livestock trade. The ALMA promotes their businesses through market access and they also gave them an opportunity to run a food canteen and money transfer facility at the slaughterhouse which supplements the women’s income and livelihood.

    As a way forward for the Tamboul slaughterhouse, the participants agreed to consult further with the key stakeholders of the Tamboul Slaughterhouse in order to determine what would be the appropriate ownership and management structure. As observed, what drives the business of the Keekonyokie Slaughterhouse though privately owned, is that it is fully owned by the community of pastoralists (live animal traders and meat traders) in Southern Kenya and Northern Kenya. The participants noted that it was important to apply a public-private producer partnership model that would enhance the sustainability of the Tamboul slaughterhouse while at the same time ensuring that mechanisms are put in place for community ownership. 
    Certificate Presentation at the end of the learning activity
    For more information on the innovation plans implemented and the learning materials from the activity, kindly visit Procasur website.

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  • 05/17/17--02:27: The mythical peasant
  • By Tomás Ricardo Rosada Villamar, Regional Economist in the Latina America and the Caribbean Division at IFAD

    A few weeks ago I travelled to Mexico. Before going to the airport to return home, I visited the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) where a good friend and colleague of mine showed me a book he had just received: Peasant poverty and persistence in the 21st century: theories, debates, realities and policies. “Take a look, it's going to interest you, and I'll get you a copy if you would like one,” he said. He actually ended up lending me his copy. I sent him a message on Whatsapp during my layover in Frankfurt and said, “this book is incredible!” We immediately began to organize a discussion with one of the authors, Julio Boltvinik.

    I did not know Mr. Boltvinik personally, but his name and ideas have been familiar to me since 2002 when the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AUSJAL) decided to design and offer the first continental course on poverty. Mr. Boltvinik has a keen mind and is very committed to the subject, which speaks of his passion and sense of urgency.

    In his book, he attempts to answer two questions: why are there still peasants in the world, and why are they poor. In fact, referring to IFAD's Rural Poverty Report 2011 -- which estimates the number of poor people living in rural areas at around one billion -- the author suggests that the methodologies used to measure poverty underestimate the phenomenon.

    I was hooked from that moment and, as I went on, I thought about how important it is for us to talk about poverty and peasants. I was thinking of Latin America, a region that is supposedly mostly urban, with levels of poverty that have stagnated in recent years and with extremely weak institutions serving agriculture and people living in rural areas. I thought of those countries where the word campesino, like “peasant” in English, has been relegated to the list of derogatory and politicized terms that meet with visceral and irrational reactions, if it has not been banned completely.

    How beneficial it could be to reopen that discussion! We should analyse and try to understand the reality of this figure that has been both vilified and mythologized, a figure that has been buried under what we could call the silence of rurality: a narrative silence, because we know full well that the most effective way to downplay something is to ignore it, to stop talking about it, to stop generating statistics or measuring it, and to act as if it does not exist. And then there is the institutional silence, which is the operational equivalent to the narrative silence, a political and social discourse that also ignores it and turns a blind eye.

    The central thesis of this publication centres around the seasonality of agricultural activities and its consequences for peasants’ living conditions; in other words, a crop cycle that only requires work for a part of the year and, thus, forces peasants to look for ways to generate a complementary income in other activities. The strategies used to achieve this provide some explanations of both their poverty and their survival over time. It then becomes a question of understanding and proposing ways to solve the apparent contradiction between the logic of the market, which tends to be organized in homogeneous and continuous forms of production, and the peasant's way of life, which is diverse by nature.

    As described by Armando Bartra, another of the book’s authors “(...) Mesoamericans do not sow corn, we create milpas. These are different things because maize is a plant and the milpa, a lifestyle: the milpa is the matrix of Mesoamerican civilization. Planted alone, maize is monotony, while the milpa is variety: in it, maize, beans, peas, broad beans, squash, chilli, vegetable pears, wild tomatoes, amaranth, fruit trees, nopal, century plants and the varied fauna that accompany them all intermingle. (...) In cold climates they produce their food in homogeneous plantations whereas we, when they allow us to continue our agro-ecological vocation, harvest them in baroque gardens.”

    In times of high climatic and economic volatility, it is very important to regain a perspective on the peasants' understanding, their way of life and their role in development. Failing to do so means continuing to insist on an incomplete narrative that ignores or hides the reality of an important side of Latin America: poor, rural and very unequal. ​

    Follow the book presentation on 1 June from 14:00 to 17:30 (Rome time).

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  • 05/17/17--02:30: El mítico campesino
  • Tomás Ricardo Rosada Villamar 

    Hace unas semanas viajé a México. Antes de ir al aeropuerto para volver a casa pasé por CEPAL y un buen amigo y colega me mostró un libro que recién había recibido: Peasant poverty and persistence in the 21st century: theories, debates, realities and policies. Me dijo “dale una hojeada, te va a interesar”, y si querés te consigo una copia. En realidad terminó prestándome la suya. Haciendo escala en Frankfurt le mando un Whatsapp y le digo “¡este libro es un bombazo!”. De allí en adelante nos dimos a la tarea de organizar un conversatorio con uno de los autores, Julio Boltvinik.

    No conocía personalmente a Boltvinik, pero su nombre y sus ideas me eran familiares desde el año 2002 cuando la red de las universidades jesuitas de América Latina (AUSJAL) decidió diseñar e impartir el primer curso continental sobre pobreza. Mente aguda y muy comprometida con el tema, que habla transmitiendo pasión y sentido de urgencia.

    La publicación trata de dar respuesta a dos preguntas: ¿por qué todavía hay campesinos en el mundo? y ¿por qué son pobres? De hecho, haciendo referencia al Reporte de Pobreza Rural 2011 del FIDA, el cual estima en aproximadamente en mil millones el número de personas pobres que viven en el medio rural, sugiere que las metodologías utilizadas para la medición de la pobreza subestiman el fenómeno.

    Desde allí quedé enganchado y a medida que avanzaba pensaba en la enorme necesidad que tenemos de hablar de pobreza y campesinos. Pensaba en América Latina, región dizque mayoritariamente urbana, con niveles de pobreza que se han estancado en los últimos años, y con grandes, enormes, deficiencias en las instituciones que atienden la agricultura y a las personas que habitan el espacio rural. Pensaba en esos países donde casi se ha maldecido la palabra campesino, y la ha arrinconado en la esquina de términos peyorativos y politizados, que despiertan reacciones tan viscerales como irracionales.

    ¡Bien que nos caería reabrir esa conversación! Darle contenido y tratar de entender a ese sujeto tan vilipendiado como mitificado. Sujeto que ha quedado enterrado bajo eso que podríamos llamar los silencios de la ruralidad: el silencio narrativo, pues sabemos de sobra que la manera más efectiva de restarle importancia a algo es ignorarlo, dejar de hablar de ello, dejar de generar estadísticas y medirlo, hacer como que no existe. Y el silencio institucional, que siempre es el espejo operacional de una narrativa, de un discurso político y social que ignora y mira convenientemente hacia otra parte.

    La tesis central de la publicación gravita alrededor de la estacionalidad agrícola y las consecuencias que tiene sobre las condiciones de vida del campesino. Es decir, el ciclo de un cultivo, que solamente demanda trabajo por una parte del año, obligándolo a buscar formas de generar ingresos complementarios en otras actividades. Y de la manera en que lo logra se derivan explicaciones de su pobreza pero también de su supervivencia a lo largo del tiempo, a lo largo de la historia. Se trata entonces de entender y proponer formas para resolver la aparente contradicción entre la lógica del mercado, que tiende a organizarse en formas de producción homogéneas y continuas, y las formas de vida del campesino, que son diversas por naturaleza.

    Como bien lo describe Armando Bartra, otro de los autores del libro, “(…) los mesoamericanos no sembramos maíz, creamos milpas. Son cosas diferentes. El maíz es una planta y la milpa un estilo de vida. El maíz plantado solo es algo monótono, mientras que la milpa es variedad: en ella, el maíz, los frijoles, los guisantes, las habas, la calabaza, el chile, las peras vegetales, los tomates silvestres, el amaranto, los árboles frutales, el nopal, y la variada fauna que los acompaña, todos se entremezclan. (...) Ellos en climas fríos producen sus alimentos en plantaciones homogéneas mientras que nosotros, cuando nos dejan continuar nuestra vocación agroecológica, lo cosechamos en jardines barrocos.”

    En tiempos de alta volatilidad climática y económica es muy importante recuperar perspectiva en la comprensión del campesino, sus formas de vida y su papel en el desarrollo. No hacerlo es seguir insistiendo en un relato incompleto, que ignora o esconde la realidad de una parte importante de Latinoamericana: pobre, rural, y muy desigual.

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    By Christopher Neglia

    The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is Connecting with Nature. In this context, entomophagy, or the practice of eating insects, is a topic that bears consideration, owing to its prospects for food and nutrition security.

    Entomophagy is well documented in history, and at one time it was extremely widespread. The first reference to entomophagy in Europe was in Greece, when eating cicadas was considered a delicacy. Aristotle wrote in his Historia Animalium “The larva of the cicada on attaining full size in the ground becomes a nymph; then it tastes best, before the husk is broken.”

    For centuries, people have consumed insects. From beetles, to caterpillars, locusts, grasshoppers, termites and dragonflies. Which raises the question: why is the notion of eating insects so taboo in Westernized societies? People in most Western countries have formed a moral judgement against eating insects, which it can be said is perceived with disgust. But it is important to realise that the origins of disgust are rooted in culture. Culture, under the influence of environment, history, community structure and politico-economic systems, define the rules on what is edible and what is not (Mela, 1999).

    A worldwide inventory conducted by Wagenheim University found there are about 1,900 edible insect species, and insects form a large part of everyday diets for more than two billion people around the world. For example, red maguey worms, are a highly nutritious variety of caterpillar considered a delicacy by Mexican farmers. They are generally eaten deep fried or braised, seasoned with spicy sauce and served in a tortilla (Ramos Elorduey et al., 2007). In Cambodia, a species of tarantula, Haplopelma albostriatum, is typically served fried and sold in street stalls (Yen, Hanboonsong and van Huis, 2013). This goes to show that in most countries, insect consumption is a matter of choice, not necessity, and insects are a part of local culture.

    From a nutritional perspective, insects represent a huge untapped source of protein, energy rich fat, fiber and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Edible insects are rich sources of iron and their inclusion in daily diets could improve iron status and help prevent anaemia in developing countries. WHO has flagged iron deficiency as the world’s most common and widespread nutritional disorder (Anaemia is a preventable deficiency but contributes to 20 percent of all maternal deaths).

    Gathering and harvesting insects can offer unique employment and income-earning opportunities in developing countries, particularly for the rural poor. In many cases, insect cultivation can serve as a livelihood diversification strategy. For example, silkworms and bees can be harvested for food and fiber. In Thailand, middlemen buy insects from farmers to sell as food to wholesale buyers, who then distribute the products to street vendors and retailers.

    When you add up all the benefits, it becomes mystifying why insects don’t make up an integral part of our diets. Perhaps it is time to reconsider our culinary customs and try to reconnect with this abundant, yet neglected, food source.

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    By Tiffany Minjauw

    ©Tiffany Minjauw 

    The International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD) East and Southern Africa Division (ESA) , the IFAD funded Smallholder Market-led Project (SMLP), and the Microfinance Unit (MFU) in Swaziland jointly organised and facilitated a sub-regional monitoring and evaluation (M&E) workshop for ongoing IFAD funded projects in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, and Swaziland.

    The workshop brought together staff (mainly M&E officers and Knowledge Management officers) from the Project Implementation Units. The objective of this workshop was to strengthen the planning, monitoring, evaluation and knowledge management functions of IFAD operations in the five countries by strengthening the technical understanding of the key concepts and by sharing experiences (good practices and challenges).

    Held in Manzini from the 17-19 May 2017, the workshop provided theoretical and conceptual guidance, emphasizing real country level good practices. Clarifications were provided on the different monitoring and assessment mechanisms in place for different sources of funding, namely the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
    ©Tiffany Minjauw 

    The interactive nature of the workshop generated rich discussions and insights into methods to overcome challenges and achieve effective monitoring and evaluation.

    By the end of the workshop, the 30 participants had a better understanding of the use of the Log Frame, of the measurement of outputs and impacts, and of the principles of the Results and Impact Management System (RIMS) and how to link it to the project M&E system.

    "This is the first time that we have had specific training on M&E and K&M. Consultants provide support during implementation missions but it is never as in-depth as what we experienced here" - Rural Livelihoods and Economic Enhancement Programme (RLEEP) in Malawi.

    "We like that IFAD, unlike many international organisations, is paying great attention to M&E. We hope that more workshops like this one will be organised periodically in the future" - Smallholder Agriculture Development Project (SADP) in Lesotho.

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    by Marian Amaka Odenigbo & Wanessa Marques Silva

    Participants responding to the nutrition related questions during the round of quiz.

    On 23 May 2017, the IFAD's Nutrition Team organized a breakout session on mainstreaming nutrition in IFAD financed projects. This dedicated session on nutrition took place during the IFAD’s East and Southern Africa (ESA) Regional Implementation Workshop (RIW) in Kampala, Uganda. The RIW presented a great opportunity to reach out and engage with project teams, country office colleagues and other stakeholders on the conversations on nutrition mainstreaming in IFAD operations. The nutrition session was jointly planned with the Rome based Agencies (RBAs) colleagues, and built on several consultative discussions to accelerate nutrition awareness in operations at country level.

    Raising awareness on nutrition

    In setting the scene on nutrition awareness and sensitization, participants had a round of virtual quiz to stimulate the discussion on nutrition mainstreaming. Analysis of the quiz exercise showed that most of the participants are aware of the implications of malnutrition to the wellbeing of people and national economy. Interestingly, this exercise exposed that the relation between gender and nutrition is still blurry to many respondents. This is a subject that should be explored further especially during workshops and trainings on nutrition-sensitive agriculture.

    Experiences on nutrition mainstreaming

    Good practices on nutrition mainstreaming within IFAD-funded operations were presented. Nutrition focal points from IFAD funded projects in Burundi (Aloïs Hakizimana), Malawi (Manuel Mang'anya), Mozambique (Jeronimo Francisco) and Zambia (Martin Lyiwalii) shared their respective country experiences, which consisted of various innovative nutrition activities and different approaches for mainstreaming nutrition. The varied approaches include:
    • Access to microcredit through women groups; 
    • Adoption of local and traditional food to tackle malnutrition; 
    • Promotion of diversified food production and consumption; 
    • Training local promoters on nutrition, food preparation demonstration with active participation of the beneficiaries; 
    • Radio messages, songs and farmers hotline on good nutrition and improved family diet along with income generation of small producers. 
    Taking advantage of the presence of significant members of the IFAD-funded projects teams during this session, the key messages of the ESA study: “Mapping of Nutrition-Sensitive Interventions in East and Southern Africa" was disseminated to participants. This study provided insights on the variety of nutrition-sensitive actions being implemented in ESA's portfolio and identified gaps and opportunities for effective nutrition mainstreaming.

    Dissemination of FAO Toolkits on nutrition-sensitive agriculture

    This session provided the space to learn and disseminate the available resources for agriculture-nutrition projects. Militezegga Mustapha, a colleague from FAO made a presentation that illustrated the need for combined efforts of agriculture, social protection, nutrition education and adequate care practices. She stressed that nutrition is linked to the entire food system including: 1) food production, 2) food handling, storage, 3) food trade and marketing and 4) consumer demand, food preparation and preferences. FAO Toolkit and eLearning modules for nutrition-sensitive programming were discussed and the hard copies of resource materials were distributed to participants. 

    RBAs collaboration for nutrition at country level

    Tantely Randrianasolo, M&E Manager, and Maria Fernanda Arraes De Souza, Programme Coordinator, from Madagascar and Mozambique, respectively, shared their experiences of successful RBAs collaboration on integrating nutrition in agriculture and rural development investments. Tantely narrated how the joint efforts in AINA programme in Madagascar implemented in collaboration with FAO, WFP and IFAD have addressed various elements of the integrated pathway to nutrition (awareness raising, training, tools, storage facilities, scaling up of experiences). The collaboration has brought significant improvements in dietary intake as well as physical infrastructure and social issues such as school attendance.

    On the other hand, Arraes De Souza shared the Mozambique experiences where additional nutrition components were incorporated to the already ongoing projects. The RBAs collaboration in Mozambique is using different entry points i.e. nutrition awareness with leaders, training with women groups in complementing each other’s interventions for optimization of nutrition outcomes.

    Furthermore, this forum provided the opportunity to reach out to the project team on the other RBAs collaboration initiatives on nutrition, such as the Nutrition-Sensitive Value Chains (NSVC) and the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSF) Resource Frameworks.

    Indeed, this dedicated breakout session was well appreciated by participants and was followed up by several group and bilateral conversations on specific needs and way forward to accelerate nutrition mainstreaming at project and country levels. This type of outreach is essential to increase awareness and engage with project teams on nutrition in IFAD operations.

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    Empowering Rural Women in Western Rajasthan, India

    by Vincent Darlong, IFAD India Country Office, New Delhi
    Traditional goat shed. 

    IFAD-funded MPOWER (Mitigating Poverty in Western Rajasthan) project has successfully promoted small ruminants (Sirohi goats) to trigger social and economic empowerment of women farmers. Besides organising the women into Self Help Groups (over 5,000 SHGs with nearly 49,000 memberships) for social and financial inclusion, the goat rearing households (women are the primary stakeholders in goat rearing in rural Western Rajasthan) have been brought under the “Goat Clusters” to provide inclusive technical, extension and market support services through community resource persons (CRPs) called Pashu Sakhi (“friends of livestock”, trained by the Livestock Department, Govt of Rajasthan). MPOWER established 70 goat clusters having over 12,000 memberships, serviced by 527 Pashu Sakhis (all women who are also goat farmers) and constructed goat sheds (over 8,500 units) for the poorest households as prioritized by the cluster members.

    An improved model of goat shed provided by MPOWER. 

    Additionally, the project facilitated in organizing periodic “Pashu Mela” or Bakri Mela (Goat Fairs) to enable goat farmers to sell to the highest paying buyers. Overall outcomes had been significant reduction in mortality rate (35-40% at baseline to 2-5% in 2016), increase in herd sizes per household (average of 7-11 at baseline to 22-26 animals[1] during 2016 assessment), and increased in income (annual average of INR 3,500-5,000 at baseline to INR 15,000-20,000 per households now), along with better pricing following introduction of weighing machine.
    Another model of improved goat shed by MPOWER 
    The Sirohi goats are dual-purpose animals, being reared for both milk and meat. These animals are popular for their weight gain and lactation even under poor quality rearing conditions. The animals are resistant to major diseases and are easily adaptable to different climatic conditions. Lactation last for up to 90 days and the average milk yield is 0.75–0.90 kg/day per goat. Today, the women farmers in this part of the state proudly say that thanks to MPOWER project, the goats are their “Natural Refrigerators” as they can milk and use the milk anytime of the day and in any season (no need to have any refrigerator). They also consider the goats as their “Living ATMs”[2] as anytime they are in need of money (besides borrowing from revolving funds of SHGs), they can sell their goats and meet their requirements. It is worth mentioning that agricultural interventions are judiciously integrated with livestock, mainly with crops that will provide both grains and biomass for livestock fodder. This successful intervention has prompted the government to scale-up in new areas and also developing a new project concept note for scaling-up to larger areas.

    [1] Average of 21-27 goat per household is considered to be manageable herd size for a typical household having marginal integrated agriculture-small ruminants as per experiences of the communities.

    [2] As described by the women from Kerlipura Village under Baytu Block in Barmer distrct in Rajasthan during recent Grant Review Workshop field visit mission to MPOWER led by Mr Malu Ndavi, IFAD, Rome on 16 June 2017. Other mission members were Mariam Awad, Celik Duygu, Claudia Buttafuoco and Subhas Marcus, all from IFAD, Rome; and Dr Pooran Gaur, ICRISAT, Hyderabad and Vincent Darlong, CPO, IFAD India Country Office, New Delhi.

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    By Jana Dietershagen, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA)

    Coconut-based products of the Women in Business Development Inc (WIBDI) at the 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum. Photo source: CTA

    Non-communicable diseases
    (NCDs) are among the leading causes of premature death in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Pacific region. High rates of obesity are linked to diabetes and hypertension. At the same time, vitamin and mineral deficiencies are affecting the health of children and women. The shift from a traditional diet of fresh fish, fruits and vegetables towards the consumption of imported highly processed foods such as sweetened carbonated beverages, tinned fish and fried snacks, though more convenient and lower priced, threaten food and nutrition security (FNS). Furthermore, a decline in crop production, climate change, overfishing, volatility in international commodity prices and limitations in the policy and institutional environment increase the cost of local foods and pose additional pressure on health, incomes and natural resources. While over 20% of the Pacific Islanders already live in hardship, this situation can worsen as the population is expected to double by 2050.

    Pacific islanders are taking matters into their own hands, as shown in recent stories featured by The Guardian and the New York Times . Father Luc Dini - a retired Anglican priest, community leader and head of the local tourism council in the northernmost province of Torba in Vanuatu - has announced that together with other leaders, he aims to preserve the local food production and consumption patterns, grow organic food, and permanently ban the import of junk food by 2020. According to this plan, Torba would become the first province in Vanuatu with the capacity to produce nutritious wholesome food, which traditionally is organic “by default” and increases access to healthier options and agri-business opportunities. Torban tourism bungalows are already solely supplied with locally grown organic products.

    Like Father Luc Dini, many other Pacific Islanders want to take advantage of the full potential of the knowledge and commitment of their communities to promote and increase local food production in a sustainable manner to ‘grow healthy’.

    The most important challenge is: How can successful programs that enhance the production and consumption of more diversified, healthy and nutritious local foods be promoted and scaled up in the Pacific Islands to benefit more farmers, grow agri-businesses and sustain communities?

    The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Grant entitled “Leveraging the development of local food crops and fisheries value chains for improved nutrition and sustainable food systems in the Pacific Islands of Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu”, which is co-funded by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and implemented in partnership with the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO) aims at answering this question. The main goal is to strengthen the capacity of the Pacific Island governments, farmer and private sector organizations, and sub-regional institutions to develop strategies and programs, as well as mobilize financing, that can increase poor rural people’s access to nutritious and healthy food. The joint program, was launched during the 2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum in Samoa in August 2016 and is adopting a three pronged approach (AAA) to: Analyze (build the evidence base), Act (build capacity for change) and Advocate (lobby for policy change and development impact) for value chain and agribusiness development. 
    2nd Pacific Agribusiness Forum. Photo source: CTA

    At the launch, Ron Hartman, IFAD Country Director with responsibility for the Pacific Islands indicated that “this regional grant aims to complement IFAD investments in the Pacific by mainstreaming nutritionally, culturally and environmentally sensitive value chains in Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu. It will also work to improve the policy, regulatory and business environment for value chain development and engagement of the private sector”. CTA Director Michael Hailu added that "the active engagement of the private sector is critical for the transformation of the agrifood sector in the Pacific to address major challenges of food security, nutrition and climate change resilience." PIPSO’s CEO Mereia Volavola acknowledged that "linking agriculture to tourism-related markets is key for agribusiness development in the Pacific region."

    In addition, the Governments of Samoa and Vanuatu - together with CTA, PIPSO and IFAD, and with the support from the Pacific Islands Farmers Organisation Network (PIFON) and the Southern Pacific Community (SPC) – also conducted national policy setting workshops in 2016 to improve the linkages between sustainable agriculture, trade, tourism and health. As a stepping stone, the Government of Vanuatu organised its first Agritourism Festival in Port Vila, in November, and heralded it as an innovative approach to promoting healthy local foods while boosting the local economies. However, Honorable Matai Seremaiah - the Vanuatu Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity (MALFFB) - noted that the linkage between agriculture and tourism has not yet been sufficiently explored in Vanuatu and that such festivals will help in getting locally grown food from farm to fork. The complementary Chefs4Development initiative aims to promote stronger linkages between value chain actors in the culinary and agriculture sectors, with a view to enhancing the inclusion of locally sourced food and agrifood products in menus served in food establishments across the Caribbean, South Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

    In April 2017, the launch of the cookbook “Kana Vinaka” by Chef Colin Chung and Greg Cornwall took place in Suva, Fiji. The book showcases the use of Pacific local ingredients to prepare healthy meals. It complements the Project’s ambitions of promoting Pacific local crops and fisheries value chains.

    IFAD, CTA and PIPSO are continuing to join forces to support Pacific Islanders to realize their ambitions to live a healthy life and increase their incomes by building local capacity to take advantage of sustainable food production and processing, effective policies and regulations and adequate financing mechanisms.

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    Implications on rural household nutrition

    By Marian Amaka Odenigbo and Emelyne Akezamutima 
    Peeling and Washing Cassava on Josma Agro Ind. Ltd. Mampong, Ghana. ©IFAD/Nana Kofi Acquah
    The path to sustainable food and nutrition security connects development workers and researchers to the poor rural households. This was stressed by Périn Saint Ange, Associate Vice President at IFAD during the first session of the Think Nutrition series that took place on 2 June 2017 at IFAD headquarters in Rome. This event showcased the research findings from an IFAD grant project; "Improving quality, nutrition and health impacts of inclusion of cassava flour in bread formulation in West Africa, Nigeria & Ghana".

    Professor Michael Ngadi, the guest speaker of this first session of the Think Nutrition seminars focused his presentation on High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) and the implication of Linamarin on rural household nutrition. Cassava is one of the major staple food crops in the world, particularly in West Africa. It is a starchy food rich in calories, low in fats and protein, and free from gluten. In light of climate issues, cassava is a hardy crop and grows well in poor soils and low rainfall areas. The fact that it is a perennial plant makes it easy to harvest the crop when required and treat it as a food reserve during droughts and famines serving both as a cash and a subsistence crop.

    According to Ngadi, cassava has the potential to contribute to efforts to end poverty, hunger and malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa where there is large production of it. He further narrated the economic move on the use of cassava in the form of HQCF as an increasingly important component of the cassava value chain. The cassava industry has increased rural industrial development in Nigeria, generating new jobs and creating wealth while in Ghana the cassava value chain represents a great part of the agricultural GDP.

    In his presentation, Ngadi underscored the concern on cyanide content in HQCF that needs urgent attention. Cassava contains cyanogenic glycosides such as Linamarin from which hydrogen cyanide may be released by hydrolysis. In April 2014, an IFAD funded project conducted a national survey in Nigeria and Ghana to assess opportunities and challenges associated with HQCF production. The study revealed alarming levels of cyanide which is associated with Linamarin during processing of cassava into HQCF- the fate of Linamarin during the processing stage is closely linked to the safety and nutritional value of the cassava product for consumers.

    Cassava tuber                                            
    HQCF is an emerging cassava flour produced using a non-traditional processing technique. It is a non-fermented, white, smooth and odorless cassava flour processed from freshly harvested roots. Detoxification is primarily achieved through the grating, dewatering, and drying process omitting fermentation completely.

    On the other hand, traditional processing entails prolonged soaking and fermentation of the cassava root in water. When fermentation is done by prolonged soaking, the liberated cyanide will dissolve in the water and evaporate when the fermented cassava is dried. But fermented flour is undesirable because of its color and characteristic odor.

    As the demand for HQCF is increasing every day, there is a need to ensure adequate processing techniques that would produce a safe and high quality flour. Cyanide exposure is associated with development of goiter and tropical ataxic neuropathy while severe cyanide poisoning is associated with outbreaks of an irreversible paralytic disorder called Konzo; in some cases the poisoning can lead to death.

    Cyanide intoxication is a very serious nutritional problem that should engage our attention especially in the African region as we may have high cyanide consumption combined with low consumption of protein and poverty hindering diet diversity and intake of high quality foods.
    High quality cassava flour (HQCF)   
    During the workshop, it was interesting to observe the active engagement of colleagues from the IFAD Programme Management Department, regarding the risk of exposure to high cyanide content in cassava food products.

    The participants were challenged with this reflection: “The path to sustainable food security begins by exploring the challenges of anchoring adequate nutrition, and then developing solutions”.

    The proposed recommendations for developing solution and further research to improve nutrition outcomes in cassava value chain are:
    • Regular training of processors, bakers and farmers on appropriate methods for producing high quality and safe HQCF. 
    • Selection of a variety of cassava containing low levels of Linamarin and promote its cultivation. 
    • Updating cassava flour manufacturers on research findings in order to upgrade the design of machineries used in HQCF processing. 

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    By Hazel Bedford

    IFAD’s Annual Report and Highlights for 2016 have just been published. People from across the organization have contributed and the report contains a wealth of information on the year’s work and results – stories, facts, figures and analysis.

    This short blogpost is a cheat sheet, giving you all the big numbers from the main report, plus some tasters from the stories.

    All the numbers are correct as at 31 December 2016. Here’s a snapshot of the ongoing portfolio and new approvals during the year.

    • 211ongoing programmes and projects funded by IFAD in partnership with 97 governments. 
    • IFAD’s investment in the ongoing portfolio was worth US$6.0 billion. 
    • Domestic contributions and external cofinancing for the ongoing portfolio amounted to US$7.3 billion
    • The total ongoing Programme of Work amounted to US$13.4 billion. 
    • 24new programmes and projects were approved in 2016 funded by loans, DSF grants and ASAP grants worth US$823.2 million 
    • 53new grants were approved in 2016 worth US$56.9 million
    The AR map in the front cover of the main report shows ongoing projects by region and by country. It also shows ICOs – both operational (40) and planned (4) − and proposed subregional hubs (8).

    At the time of publication of AR2016 (June 2017), total IFAD loan and grants approved since 1978 were worth US$18.5 billion and the programmes and projects we support had reached about 464 million people.

    Here are the portfolio management highlight numbers by region (from the Programme of work chapter):

    West and Central Africa
    • 41 ongoing projects in 23 countries 
    • US$1,244.4 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio 
    • New investments of US$76.5 million approved in 2016 for a new project in Mauritania, and additional financing for ongoing projects in Cabo Verde, Niger and Sao Tome and Principe 
    • 1 new results-based country strategic opportunities programme (RB-COSOP) for Nigeria 
    East and Southern Africa
    • 44 ongoing projects in 17 countries 
    • US$1,471.0 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio 
    • New investments of US$232.9 million in 5 new programmes and projects in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and additional financing for 1 ongoing project in Madagascar 
    • 4 new RB-COSOPs for Burundi, Ethiopia, Malawi and Tanzania 
    Asia and the Pacific
    • 61 ongoing projects in 21 countries 
    • US$2,052.5 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio 
    • New investments of US$184.2 million in 5 new programmes and projects in Cambodia, India, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (2 projects) and Viet Nam, and additional financing for ongoing projects in Mongolia and the Philippines 
    • 3 new RB-COSOPs in China, Indonesia and Pakistan 
    Latin America and the Caribbean
    • 31 ongoing projects in 18 countries 
    • US$511.2 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio 
    • New investments of US$142.1 million in 8 new programmes and projects in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Nicaragua and Peru 
    • 3 new RB-COSOPs for Argentina, Brazil and Colombia 
    Near East, North Africa and Europe
    • 34 ongoing projects in 18 countries 
    • US$754.2 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio 
    • New investments of US$139.1 million in 5 new programmes and projects in Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Republic of Moldova and Tunisia, and additional financing for an ongoing project in Sudan 
    • 1 new RB-COSOP for Turkey 
    Not just numbers
    The Annual Report is more than just numbers. Read the stories from the field and hear from some of the rural women and men that IFAD invests in. In Nigeria, young farmer Peter Okonkwo has doubled his yields as a result of the Value Chain Development Programme. In Madagascar, IFAD has enabled rural residents to gain legal rights to their land. A TV soap opera in Laos – My Happy Family– has spread the word about good nutrition for children and adults. In a remote and arid region of Brazil, a cooperative run by women is making money processing wild and native fruits. In the West Bank, a young couple who cultivate strawberries have used a loan to increase greenhouse planting space, enabling them to sell early for the highest prices.

    The Major Initiatives chapter summarizes IFAD’s engagement during the year in policy processes and dialogue on global and regional issues, including the SDGs, climate change, nutrition and more. The chapter also covers our work on impact assessment, knowledge management and significant issues such as SSTC, PARM, country-level policy engagement and indigenous peoples.

    If you're interested in the details of new approvals, all newly approved programmes, projects and large grants are summarized in the Summary of 2016 programmes, projects and grants chapter. This chapter and three others (Organization, Membership and Representation; Publications in 2016; Financial Statements) are available on the USB memory stick included in the back cover of the print report.

    I’d like to close with a BIG THANK YOU to the many people who have contributed to AR2016: the focal points who pull together the information and give guidance during the writing phase, those who write their own sections, the key people who give us the numbers and the directors who give support and clearance. Then from the production phase, the production teams in the four languages, the production coordinator, the editor, the photo editor, the sub-editor, the translators, the in-house and external designers, the editorial assistant and the proofreaders. And last but not least, the COM colleagues who helped with the launch. Everyone has contributed a huge amount and I hope you will all be happy with the end result. Feel free to send suggestions for next year – work starts in September.

    As usual, we’re launching the Annual Report and Highlights on social media. Take a look at our Facebook page, Instagram and join the conversation on Twitter. Use the hashtag #IFADar and tweet your favourite quotes, facts and figures to your followers.

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    By Tomás Ricardo Rosada Villamar, Economista Regional para América Latina y el Caribe, FIDA

    Salimos todavía de noche. Sin comer. Sin siquiera un sorbo de café. Medio dormidos todos llenamos los tres vehículos que nos habían asignado. Comenzó el ascenso a la montaña de ese Estado que hoy es visto como tierra caliente, tierra insegura, tierra de muerte, tierra en guerra.

    Cruzando riachuelos, bamboleando y rebotando dentro de las cabinas a causa de las llagas abiertas que mostraban los caminos; poco a poco adentrándonos y dejándonos tragar por ese verde, en realidad por esos verdes, porque son muchísimas, una explosión más bien, las tonalidades de verde que dan cuenta de una naturaleza poco molestada. Laderas salpicadas de casas de adobe, un campesino arreando cabras cada tanto, de vez en cuando un grupo de mujeres cargando bultos, todos sin prisa pero sin pausa.

    Después de varias horas y ya con el sol encima finalmente llegamos. Combinación de visitantes lejanos con listados de preguntas y guías locales que sabían reconocer los cerros con intuición de guerrillero. Eso sí, todos íbamos llenos de necedad por encontrarnos con el instinto de sobrevivencia y de organización que se supone germinan siempre, aún en las condiciones más agrestes.

    Nos recibe un grupo de pobladores de un caserío pomposamente llamado aldea. Desmontamos y a pie comenzamos a subir a la casa de uno de ellos. Luego a sus huertos, repartidos en el entorno. Nos enseñan sus técnicas, nos platican de sus sueños, nos preguntan qué pensamos y cómo se hace esto en otras partes. Volvemos a la misma casa donde ahora un grupo de mujeres prepara una comida, signo inequívoco del agradecimiento del pobre: compartir fogón y mesa, agasajar al forastero con su mejor alimento.

    Del fondo aparece una anciana. Pequeñita y discreta, con mirada calma y profunda. Ella es doña Carmela, me dijeron. Es la que tiene más años aquí y todavía se mantiene activa. Le gusta ir a todas las cosas y a todos lados. ¡Si pudiera se treparía a los árboles con nosotros!

    Irradiaba un magnetismo que hizo me acercara y arrodillara para poderle hablar pero sobre todo para poderla escuchar. Tomó mi mano y sonrió mostrando sus pocos dientes. Hizo una discreta reverencia con la cabeza, forma de dar las gracias por la visita que les estábamos haciendo. Se agarró del brazo de una muchacha que pudo haber sido ella misma hace setenta años y entró a sentarse en una silla a esperar. Esperar, sí, con esa certeza de quien sabe que tiene que mandar un recado aprovechando el mensajero que anda cerca.

    Llegado el momento habló con ese lenguaje atemporal de Rulfo y su Comala. Refiriéndose de modo respetuoso pero impersonal a esa actitud constante que por años los ha ignorado, todavía hoy en el centenario de aquella Constitución hija de una revolución que con las décadas ha ido perdiendo su mayúscula: el clamor por la tierra y el desarrollo del campesino.

    “A usted que lo oyen en otras partes, dígales que no se olviden de nosotros los pobres”. Le prometo que daré su recado, le dije. Nos volvimos a tomar la mano y nos dijimos adiós, con la certeza, ella, de haber mandado de nuevo su mensaje; con el temor, yo, de que vuelva a caer en tierra estéril y oídos sordos.

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    Dirce Ostroski, Egnaldo Xavier, Carlos Henrique Ramos, Ana Elizabeth Siqueira, Samuler Lyra, Fábio Santiago e Josué Dantas (técnicos del FIDA en Brasil) y Maria Fernanda Arraes (equipo del FIDA en Mozambique)

    Después de muchas horas de vuelo, partiendo desde Brasil, llegamos a Maputo, Mozambique. El cansancio del viaje era visible, pero la voluntad de conocer aquella realidad diferente era aún mayor. Apenas terminamos de acomodarnos en el hotel y ya teníamos planes para aprovechar la tarde libre y recorrer la ciudad. Rápidamente descubrimos algo muy precioso: la continua amabilidad y acogida de las personas por donde sea que pasáramos. La distancia geográfica entre Brasil y Mozambique, quedó enseguida cubierta por la proximidad cultural entre nosotros.

    Al día siguiente, el 16 de mayo, inició el Taller sobre Capitalización de Experiencias para un Mayor Impacto del Desarrollo Rural, organizado por la oficina del FIDA en Mozambique y el Centro Técnico para la Agricultura y la Cooperación Rural (CTA). Del grupo compuesto por 35 participantes, siete éramos brasileños. Los demás eran representantes mozambiqueños de distintas organizaciones y proyectos, la mayoría vinculados a la implementación de los proyectos apoyados por el FIDA. Nos identificamos rápidamente con nuestros colegas, y la alegría, entusiasmo y creatividad se apropió de la oficina, proporcionando una agradable atmósfera para el aprendizaje.

    Nuestro objetivo era conocer una nueva metodología de sistematización de experiencias e iniciativas para el desarrollo rural, para mejorar el análisis, documentación, intercambio y adopción de lecciones y buenas prácticas de los proyectos y organizaciones en las que trabajamos. Fueron cuatro días de continuo aprendizaje y compromiso. La regla era "aprender a hacer haciendo" y sin miedo a equivocarse. Así fuimos, poco a poco, recorriendo el paso a paso metodológico para sistematizar experiencias.

    Durante el tercer día, la visita a una comunidad rural –ubicada en el distrito de Moamba- nos hizo reflexionar sobre cuánto tenemos que aprender y compartir. A pesar de las diferencias en el contexto, los problemas afrontados son similares a los que nos enfrentamos en las comunidades rurales en Brasil.

    Antes de iniciar el regreso, junto al equipo del FIDA en Mozambique, visitamos al Embajador de Brasil en Mozambique, Sr. Rodrigo Baena. En una conversación agradable, nos habló sobre varios aspectos positivos de la cooperación bilateral entre Brasil y Mozambique. Nosotros relatamos las experiencias de los proyectos del FIDA en Brasil, destacando la prioridad en la producción de alimentos saludables y el fortalecimiento de la agricultura familiar. Al final del encuentro, se estableció el compromiso común de apoyar y sustentar la cooperación Sur-Sur, que posibilite el intercambio de experiencias entre las comunidades apoyadas por el FIDA en Brasil y Mozambique.

    Nos despedimos de Maputo llenos de alegría y satisfacción por la experiencia vivida y con el compromiso de regresar en julio, para una segunda etapa de capacitación.

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    By Daniel Simango, Land Tenure Advisor for the Pro-poor Value Chain Development Project (PROSUL), implemented in Mozambique

    From 6 to 16 March 2017, I participated in the Learning Route on Securing Land and Water Rights in Senegal and Mauritania, a training organized by the Procasur team in partnership with IPAR (Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale), and promoted by IFAD.

    Discussion during the plenary work session
    The event had the objective of sharing experiences among specialists from IFAD-funded projects in relation to land tenure and water rights in irrigated land through innovative tools and practical solutions. Fifteen nationalities participated in this Learning Route: Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone.

    During this experience I was able to understand that the people had a strong solidarity. This started for example during meal time, as people share the same plate with many others. The solidarity principle is well associated with justice and trust. It was also an opportunity to discover different cultural habits, ways of eating, dressing and much more.

    Another interesting element that I had the chance to learn during the workshop regarded the creation and adoption of Land Occupation and Use Plans in the community of Diama, which entailed the engagement of the Municipal council in its operationalization. This aspect, in the context of PROSUL, could be adopted and adapted to the Action Plans for the mapping and cadastral surveying of the rehabilitated irrigation schemes of the project, so that all producers can see their rights ensured, as in parallel there would be the creation of an alphanumerical and spatial database with details for each surveyed plot. This would contribute to the reduction of conflicts related to land and water management.

    Sharing my experience with the PROSUL project, specifically in the realm of land tenure. ©D.Simango
    I was also able to learn that the construction of dams along the Senegal river drastically changed the relations in the “Fulani” tribal pastoralists (Mauritania) and the “soninque and wolofs” tribal farmers (Senegal). Historically, Mauritanians of the moor group are traders, with strong decisional power. The measures adopted by the moor in the management of water sources accelerated the degradation of relations amongst pastoralists and farmers, which culminated in the war between the two countries (Senegal and Mauritania) in 1989. The Mauritanian farmers have since had more difficulties in developing irrigated agriculture schemes in virtue of the insufficient water, coupled with the ruining of the water infrastructure. For this reason the Senegalese wolof have been contributing to their food security, exporting agricultural products to Mauritania.
    This is the moment in which I presented my Innovation Plan, with reference to the three sites visited. I would like to engage in implementing cadastral mapping in our irrigation schemes in PROSUL, including the zoning of adjacent areas. This would help the producers to better manage both water and land, and furthermore in the payment of taxes related to their water and energy usage. © D. Simango
    This is the moment in which I presented my Innovation Plan,
    with reference to the three sites visited. I would like to
    engage in implementing cadastral mapping in our irrigation
    schemes in PROSUL, including the zoning of adjacent areas.
    This would help the producers to better manage both water
    and land, and furthermore in the payment of taxes related
    to their water and energy usage. ©D.Simango

    During the Learning Route I was also able to know more about the current state of other IFAD-financed project, such as the Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP), implemented in Nigeria; and the Programme for Rural Irrigation Development (PRIDE), implemented in Malawi. I was particularly interested in the latter, first as Malawi is a neighbouring country for Mozambique and has some climatic similarities with some regions in our country. This project has the objective of strengthening the communities’ management of land and water. Likewise, PROSUL has the strategic goal of guaranteeing the tenure security of its beneficiaries, by supporting the issuing of Land Certificates (Direito de Usos e Aproveitamento da Terra - DUAT).

    Thematic group discussion between Mozambique and Niger,
    facilitated by Elisa Mandelli
    I had the opportunity to share my experience in the PROSUL project, specifically in the domain of land. The participants were very impressed with PROSUL’s approach in the issuing of DUATs to the project beneficiaries in the three value chains: horticulture, cassava and red meat, including the contribution of DUATs in the mobilization of producers to participate in the producer groups and associations.

    During the Learning Route we visited three specific cases. The first was related to the Land Occupation and Use Plans in Diama. Then we visited the case of Maghama, where we saw the mechanisms related to the management of water and land, and last but not least the PRODAM II project case in Senegal related to land regulations and hydro-agricultural development systems.

    Daniel Simango, Mozambique representative was chosen to be
    part of the panel handing out the Certificates to the Matam Association
    Of the three cases visited I particularly think that the lessons of the first case related to Diama would be a good adoption for the area in Mozambique where I work. I am aware that this approach may face challenges in ensuring that all the Government entities at district and central level (i.e. District Services of Economic Affairs (SDAE) and National Irrigation Institute (INIR) understand and actively contribute to the adoption and implementation of the "Land Occupation and Use Plans" instrument. This type of plan, in the context of the PROSUL project, could be called "Water and Land Use and Management Plan in irrigated perimeters". In the same line, we will create a database for each irrigation scheme, with detailed information for each producer’s plot, with maps available in each Association, open to the consultation and knowledge of all individuals. This plan will contribute to reducing land conflicts and will allow all water users to contribute to a correct utilization of the resource, including the maintenance of the infrastructure.

    Read more about PROSUL:

    Portuguese version

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    Daniel Simango, Assessor de Posse de Terras no Projecto de Desenvolvimento de Cadeias de Valor nos corredores de Maputo e Limpopo (PROSUL), implementado em Moçambique.

    De 6 a 16 de março de 2107, participei na Rota de Aprendizagem sobre Proteção de Direitos de Terra e Água no Senegal e na Mauritânia. Este treinamento fue organizado pela equipa do Procasur em parceria com o IPAR (Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale), e promovido pelo FIDA.

    Momento de discussão em plenária após trabalhos em grupos
    O evento tinha como objectivo a troca de experiência dos técnicos dos Projectos financiados pelo FIDA sobre a Segurança dos Direitos da Terra e Água nos perímetros irrigados através de Ferramentas Inovadoras e Soluções Práticas. Nesta Rota de Aprendizagem participaram 15 países, nomeadamente: Algéria, Áustria, Bélgica, Burquina Faso, Gâmbia, Indonésia, Itália, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Mauritânia, Moçambique, Nigéria, Níger, Senegal, Serra Leoa.
    Durante a experiência deu para perceber que a população no geral é muito solidária. O princípio de solidariedade começa na refeição, pois num mesmo prato comem tantas pessoas e compartilham o mesmo pedaço de carne. O princípio de solidariedade associa-se ao de justiça e confiança. Foi também uma oportunidade para descobrir diferentes hábitos culturais, formas de comer, vestir e muito mais.
    Outro aspecto importante é a criação e adopção do POAS (Plano de Ocupação e Afectação do Solo) na comunidade de Diama, incluindo o envolvimento da câmara municipal na sua operacionalização. Este aspecto, no contexto do Projecto PROSUL pode ser adoptado e adaptado através de um Plano de Acção para o mapeamento e inventariação cadastral dos regadios reabilitados pelo Projecto, onde todos produtores poderão ver seus direitos assegurados porque em paralelo ter-se-á uma base de dados alfanumérica e espacial com detalhe de cada parcela cadastrada. Isto vai contribuir na redução de conflitos de terra e gestão da água.
    E tive a oportunidade de compartilhar minha experiência do Projecto PROSUL, na área de terras.© D. Simango
    A construção de barragens ao longo do rio Senegal alterou drasticamente as relações entre pastores de tribos “fulanis” (Mauritânia) e agricultores de tribos “soninquês e wolofs” (Senegal). Historicamente, os Mauritanos da tribo “mouro” são comerciantes e com um poder político decisório. As medidas adoptadas por estes no uso e gestão da água acelerou a degradação das relações entre pastores e agricultores, tendo culminado com a guerra entre os dois países (Mauritânia e Senegal) em 1989. Os agricultores mauritanos têm maiores dificuldades para desenvolver agricultura irrigada devido a insuficiência de água, associado à degradação das infraestruturas hidráulicas. Por isso os agricultores Senegaleses da tribo wolof têm contribuído na segurança alimentar exportando de produtos agrícolas para Mauritânia.
    This is the moment in which I presented my Innovation Plan, with reference to the three sites visited. I would like to engage in implementing cadastral mapping in our irrigation schemes in PROSUL, including the zoning of adjacent areas. This would help the producers to better manage both water and land, and furthermore in the payment of taxes related to their water and energy usage. © D. Simango
    Na imagem, ilustra-se o momento da apresentação do Plano
    de Acção com base nas três experiências visitadas. Eu pretendo fazer o
    mapeamento cadastral nos regadios assistidos pelo Projecto PROSUL,
    incluindo o zoneamento das áreas adjacentes. Isto vai ajudar aos produtores
    na melhor gestão da terra e água e no controlo de pagamento impostos
    pela utilização da água e energia. © D. Simango

    Ainda no âmbito da rota de aprendizagem conheci o ponto de situação de outros Projectos financiados pelo FIDA, como por exemplo o Programa de Desenvolvimento da Cadeia de Valor (VCDP), implementado na Nigeria e o Programa de Desenvolvimento da Irrigação Rural (PRIDE), implementado no Malawi. Fiquei mais interessado nesse último, primeiro porque Malawi é um país vizinho de Moçambique e possui algumas características climatéricas similares ao nosso país em algumas regiões. E o segundo aspecto é que neste Projecto tem como um dos resultados o fortalecimento das comunidades na gestão da terra e água. Igualmente, o Projecto PROSUL tem como acção estratégica assegurar a posse de terra aos beneficiários do Projecto através de atribuição de Direito de Usos e Aproveitamento da Terra (DUAT).
    Discussão temática em grupo entre Mozambique e Algéria com
    assistência da Elisa Mandelli.
    Os participantes ficaram muito impressionados com a abordagem do Projecto PROSUL no processo de atribuição de DUAT’s definitivos aos beneficiários do Projecto nas três cadeias de valor de horticultura, mandioca e carnes vermelhas, incluindo o contributo do DUAT no processo de mobilização de produtores para aderirem aos grupos de produtores ou associações. Assim, compartilhei com o grupo a minha apresentação incluindo alguns relatórios interessantes.
    Durante a rota de aprendizagem visitamos três casos. O primeiro foi a apreciação do (POAS) Plano de Ocupação e Afetação do Solo em Diama. O caso de Maghama, onde vimos os mecanismos de gestão da terra e água e o caso do PRODAM II em Senegal sobre regulamentos fundiários e sistemas de desenvolvimento hidroagrícola.
    Daniel Simango, representante de Moçambique foi indicado para
    fazer a entrega do Certificado a Associação de Matama
    Dos três (3) casos visitados prefiro adoptar os exemplos do primeiro caso relacionado com o POAS em Diama. Estou ciente que terei o desafio de assegurar que as entidades governativas a nível distrital e central (exemplo, Serviços Distritais das Actividades Económicas (SDAE) e Instituto Nacional de Irrigação (INIR)) compreendam e contribuam activamente na adopção e implementação deste instrumento. No meu plano de acção vou adoptar este plano no contexto do Projecto PROSUL com a designação de Plano de Uso e Gestão da Terra e Água nos perímetros irrigados. Igualmente, vamos criar uma base de dados para cada regadio com informação alfanumérico e espacial de cada parcela do produtor, onde os mapas serão afixados nas sedes das associações para consulta e conhecimento de qualquer indivíduo. Este plano vai contribuir na redução de conflitos de terra e será possível assegurar que todos utilizadores da água possam contribuir na sua correcta utilização, incluindo a manutenção das infraestruturas.

    Informçoes adicionais:

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    by Hazel Bedford

    As communicators, when we set out to make a case about inequality, poverty or women’s empowerment we need numbers to make our case. Preferably eye-catching numbers that grab people’s attention and make our message crystal clear.
    Ellen Nkomakoma, a 45-year-old widow and mother of 3 in Malawi,
     is one of millions of women who work in agriculture worldwide:
    “I’m a farmer, I grow maize, beans, peanuts and tobacco ...

     I also keep cattle, goats and chickens.”

    ©IFAD/Marco Salustro

    But it’s often hard to find accurate statistics that reflect reality in the poorest – mostly rural – parts of the world. Where there are few roads and erratic electricity, there are often no reliable censuses either, and statistics that may have been commonly used for years are actually little more than guestimates, or even worse, they are ‘zombie’ statistics with no basis in fact but seemingly indestructible.

    However, things are changing in the data world, especially with the emphasis put on gathering reliable statistics by the 2030 Agenda. The purpose of this blog is to share some sourced big numbers that are particularly relevant to IFAD’s work with poor rural women towards the 3 interconnected strategic objectives in our Gender Policy. Here’s a quick reminder of what they are:  
    • Empower women economically– help rural women acquire more assets, including land and livestock, make more money, learn how to manage it and have more say over how it is spent. 
    • Reduce women’s workload– make labour-saving devices available to women, improve infrastructure to alleviate the burden of daily water and fuel collection for women and girls, and promote the redistribution of domestic chores and onerous care work. 
    • Increase women’s voice and influence– enable them to take part in decision-making inside and outside the home, at the community, local, national and international level.
    I’ve identified a selection of useful facts and figures by objective.

    Economic empowerment

    • Women make up 43% of the global agricultural workforce – this includes farmers, family workers, casual labourers and employees on large plantations (FAO: The role of women in agriculture
    • Globally, the gender wage gap is estimated to be 23% ; in other words, women earn 77% of what men earn (ILO: Women at Work 2016
    • The ILO has noted that, without targeted action, at the current rate, pay equity between women and men will not be achieved before 2086. (ILO: Women at Work 2016
    • Women with children in sub-Saharan Africa earn 69 cents to a man's US$1, and women with children in South Asia earn only 65 cents to a man's $1. (UN Women: Progress of the World's Women 2015-2016
    • The proportion of married women in developing countries with no say in how their own cash earnings are spent ranges from 2% in Cambodia, Colombia and Honduras to over 20% in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Zambia and 42% in Malawi. (United Nations Statistics Division: The World's Women 2015, chapter 8, pg. 194)
    • Only 2 in 3 married women aged 15 to 49 participate in decision-making on major household purchases in developing countries. (UNSD: The World's Women 2015, chapter 8, pg. 195)

    Women’s workload

    • In developing countries, women spend on average 4 hours and 30 minutes per day on unpaid work, while men only spend 1 hour and 20 minutes. (UNSD: The World's Women 2015, chapter 4 pg. 111)
    • The global working-age population is split evenly between men and women, but for every 3 men in wage/salaried work, there are 2 women. For every 4 male employers, there is only 1 female employer. (Overseas Development Institute: Ten Things to Know about the Global Labour Force)
    • 59% of women in Latin America and the Caribbean, 89% of women in Sub-Saharan Africa and 95% of women in South Asia labour in informal work. (UN Women: Progress of the World's Women 2015-2016 chapter 2)
    • 663 million people still use unimproved water sources; 2.4 billion are without improved sanitation (SDGs Report 2016 Goal 6) 
    • 1.1 billion people lacked access to electricity in 2012 (SDGs Report 2016 Goal 7) – the vast majority of them in rural areas 
    • In 2014, about 3 billion people – over 40 per cent of the world’s population, relied on polluting and unhealthy fuels for cooking (SDGs Report 2016 Goal 7)

    Women’s influence

    • In 2016 women held 23 per cent of parliamentary seats worldwide, a proportion that had increased by only 6 per cent over 10 years (SDGs Report 2016 Goal 5)
    • The countries with the highest proportion of women in parliament (lower or single parliamentary house) are Rwanda (61%), Bolivia (53%) and Cuba (49%) (Inter-Parliamentary Union: Women in parliaments)
    • 70 countries (or close to one third of all countries with parliaments) have less than 15% participation of women in the lower or single houses of national parliaments. (The World's Women 2015, chapter 5, page 121)

    Gender-based violence

    Gender-based violence is relevant to all three objectives because it limits women's freedom of movement and action and harms their health.
    • Worldwide, 35% of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence by a non‐partner at some point in their lives. (UN Stats: Violence Against Women)
    • Half of countries in developing regions report a lifetime prevalence of intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence of at least 30%. Its prevalence is highest in Oceania, reaching over 60% in some countries. (UN Stats: Violence Against Women)
    • Research has shown that indigenous girls, adolescents and young women face a higher prevalence of violence, harmful practices, and labour exploitation and harassment than other girls and women. (The World's Women 2015, chapter 6, page 149)

    Some gaps and caveats

    There are no clear and consistent global statistics available on women's land use and ownership. The accuracy of widely quoted figures such as " less than 2 percent of the world’s land is owned by women” or " Women in the developing world are 5 times less likely than men to own land, and their farms are usually smaller and less fertile" have been questioned by different researchers and stakeholders. (See for instance IFPRI, Gender Inequalities in Ownership and Control of Land in Africa, 2013)

    Though the margin of inequalities can vary significantly by country, region, and type of property holding, all available data shows that women are at a disadvantage when it comes to land ownership. (A blogpost on this is due to be published soon – I will add the link when it’s available.)

    Treat with caution any statements along the lines of “women produce xx% of the world’s food” – women and men often contribute labour at different points in the production of a crop and this is difficult to disentangle statistically. Also, as Cheryl Doss says in a recent research article: “no evidence supports the claim that women produce 60-80% of the world’s food. Given women’s responsibilities for household work, it would be surprising if they produced most of the food.” (Women and agricultural productivity: Reframing the Issues)

    The statement “women provide the bulk of labour in African agriculture” has been shown to be false (see Agriculture in Africa: Telling facts from myths)

    It’s useful to remember that reality is varied and complex: like other population groups, rural women’s experiences are affected by many factors, including their location, income, status, age, position in the family, education and ethnicity. It’s true that we need big numbers to grab attention, but our messaging needs to factor in the complexity behind them. In my next blogpost, I’ll be pulling together some messages on rural women and IFAD’s work to empower them.

    Finally, I’d like thank Claire Ferry, who did much of the research to find these numbers.

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