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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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    By Inosi Vulawalu, Knowledge Management, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Fiji AgriculturePartnership Project (FAPP)

    The Fiji Agricultural Partnerships Project (FAPP) is the first IFAD in-country loan investment in the country and became effective in December 2015. It has a Project Management Unit (PMU) located within the Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture Headquarters in Suva. The Project is co-funded by the Government of Fiji (GoF) and IFAD and has a four-year timeframe. It will be implemented in one district of Naitasiri province, 2 districts of Ba province and 4 districts of Nadroga/Navosa province. The overall goal of FAPP is reducing hardship in remote rural communities of Fiji. To achieve this goal, the Project endeavours to engage small-scale producers in sustainable farming and establishing business partnerships in remote areas, particularly in the highlands.

    Over the past months, the PMU participated in a number of trainings and learning events that were instrumental in having the team strengthen their skills and experiences, familiarize with IFAD processes and operating modalities, and put in place project implementation arrangements.

    Training in value chain analysis and knowledge management

    Most recently, FAPP’s PMU staff participated in the Value Chain Analysis capacity building training organized by the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Pacific Islands Farmers Organisation Network (PIFON). The workshop was held from 26 to 28 April 2017 and participants included IFAD Sub-regional Coordinator for the Pacific, Sakiusa Tubuna, staff of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) and Tim Martyn from FAO. It was also attended by nine Research and Extension staff of Fiji’s Ministry of Agriculture.

    The training covered topics such as introducing the basic concepts of value chain, key lessons from Pacific value chain studies, and undertaking a value chain analysis for fresh and processed ginger and taro. Field visits were also part of the program. Participants visited some value chain actors who are the leading agricultural exporters in Fiji to-date, such as Ben’s Trading Limited, Kaiming Agro Processing Ltd both situated in Navua and Ranadi’s Plantation. Ben’s Trading Ltd primarily exports root-crops such as taro and cassava, to markets in Australia, NZ and USA. Kaiming Agro Processing Limited exports crystallized and glazed ginger to USA, Australia, NZ, UK and Germany. Ranadi Plantation situated along the Queens Highway in Deuba is about 45minutes drive away from Suva. They are one of the largest organic ginger producers in Fiji and also exports fruits, legumes and spices

    Last year I also had the opportunity to attend a regional workshop on “Developing Knowledge Management Capacity for Improved Agriculture, Information, Research and Policy Banks in the Pacific“. The training was organized by the Pacific Agriculture Policy Project (PAPP) co-funded by the EU, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and took place in Fiji from 31 May to 3 June 2016. The purpose of the workshop was to assist us improve our knowledge sharing environment to disseminate agricultural information and knowledge within our country and amongst other countries. Topics covered were on Knowledge Management (KM) products, tools and understanding the KM tree provided by CTA.

    Another workshop I also attended was on “Development of E-agriculture Strategy for Fiji”. It was organized by the International Telecommunication Unit (specialized agency of the United Nations that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies) and FAO. It took place in Suva and its purpose was to help identify and address challenges in a broad manner and help Fiji leverage the best outcomes from emerging and innovative technologies.

    FAPP also conducted its first ever stakeholder workshop in April 2016. The Permanent Secretary for Agriculture Jitendra Singh officiated the opening and acknowledged the participation of international agencies like IFAD to partner and develop the livelihoods of people residing in rural and vulnerable communities. The workshop, held at the Holiday Inn in Suva, was attended by senior officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and few farmers from the PHVA project in Nadarivatu.

    The team also joined IFAD Indigenous people consultation session held in Deuba on 23 November 2016. Monica Romano, IFAD Project Implementation Specialist, conducted a presentation on the action plan for strengthening KM communication in managing the IFAD Pacific portfolio in the pacific.

    Awareness raising about FAPP

    The PMU has conducted some awareness sessions to the Ministry of Agriculture’s extension officers that will be cooperating with FAPP in the project’s target areas. For example, in October 2016, we paid a visit to the extension officers responsible for target areas in Nadroga/Navosa province and their Principal Agriculture Officer Western. The meeting was held at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Sigatoka Research Station in Nacocolevu, approximately 10km from Sigatoka town. The team also visited three exporters in Bilalevu, which falls in the Waicoba district of Nadroga Province. These exporters procure eggplants, Okra, Moringa (Saijan) leaves mostly from farmers in the upper valley of Sigatoka and exports to New Zealand market and supplies also to local markets.

    Earlier in July 2016, the project team had visited the highlands of Viti Levu and briefed the extension staff as well. The extension officers will be working in cooperation and coordination with project in-field staff, providing support in technology transfer to the communities. That’s why we felt it was important that we established linkages with them early on and we explained the project's focus and implementation structure in the field. The team had also the opportunity to visit some of the Ministry of Agriculture’s projects in Navai and Nadala villages. Navai village falls within Nabobuco district of Naitasiri but is located very closely to Nadala village in the district of Savatu, Ba province and Nadrau in the province of Nadroga/Navosa province. We visited a potato and other assorted vegetable farmer and also witnessed a small mushroom plot managed by a woman. Demand for mushroom in Fiji according to the Ministry of Agriculture Extension officers in Nadarivatu, is huge. The Ministry of Agriculture through promotion and training of local farmers will enable them to sell mushroom in local markets and generate income.

    In addition to these training and visits, the PMU also visited Kaiming Agro Processing Ltd, Ben’s Trading Limited and Joes Farm on 3 March 2017. This enabled us to better understand the operation processes and also to brief them on FAPP’s component on SMEs. Joes Farm exports vegetables to PICs such as Kiribati, Nauru and the Marshall Islands. They also export Dalo, Cassava, Jackfruits, Breadfruits, Yams to Australia and USA.

    Given the vital role the Research Division will also play in the project, the PMU also made a courtesy visit to the Koronivia Research Station (KRS) to brief the Principal Research Officers on FAPP and most importantly the project’s linkages to the Research Division. Principal Research Officer - Agronomy guided the PMU team to the Naduruloulou Research Station where various propagation methods of fruit trees are conducted. Nursery management is also a vital component of the station’s operation

    FAPP team made another visit in April this year to the Extension officers following its meeting with the Assistant Minister for Agriculture to provide an update on FAPP. The meeting also included other government stakeholders from the Ministry of Provincial Development and the Ministry of I’taukei Affairs.

    FAPP team led by the Project Manager Kaliova Nadumu briefed the new Assistant Minister for Agriculture Hon Viam Pillay regarding the project and its core purposes. Hon. Viam Pillay acknowledged the team for the brief. He requested the team to keep extension officers updated on the progress of FAPP.

    IFAD Implementation Support Missions

    In November 2016, a team of international experts from IFAD led by the IFAD Sub Regional Coordinator visited us to undertake an Implementation Support Mission. The team consisted of Ronald Hartman, IFAD Country Director managing the Pacific portfolio; Monica Romano; Ed Angeles (IFAD Finance Specialist); and Finance Trainee, Viliame Mavoa.

    The team reviewed the project’s progress and worked with PMU to advance implementation, identify bottlenecks, and revise the Annual Work Plan and Budget (AWP&B) and Procurement Plan, and define KM activities. They also met various stakeholders to discuss project related issues. Ron Hartman had the opportunity to meet the Assistant Minister for Agriculture, Hon. Joeli Cawaki, and acknowledged the Ministry of Agriculture’s support towards the project.

    Earlier in 2016, IFAD provided implementation support in the areas of project management, with the support of Monica Romano, and financial management and procurement, with the help of Ed Angeles, who revised the Project Implementation Manual (PIM). During a Mission in April 2016, Monica also helped the PMU to prepare KM and M&E action plans, liaising with the M&E office of the Ministry of Agriculture, and drafting the overall project M&E framework, including formats to be used in the field. This work has been further advanced through the assistance of the IFAD M&E Consultant, Fabrizio Vivarini, who was with the team for almost two weeks in December 2016 looking into the RIMS framework, logframe and reporting templates to be used both by PMU and the Lead Implementing Partner (LIP). Therefore, the KM and M&E system is now fully in place.

    The financial management and procurement aspect of the project is also now fully established. The PMU welcomed the project’s Financial Management & Procurement Assistant, Atelena Nauku, at the beginning of 2017. We benefitted a lot from her vast experience and in-depth knowledge of the GoF’s financial management and procurement guidelines. Required office equipment for the PMU and the newly established Agribusiness Development Unit (ADU) is procured with necessary register maintained. The Finance Management and Procurement Officer liaised with the Ministry of Economy and facilitated a refresher on-the-job training on operating the financial management systems. Officers from the Ministry of Economy had conducted two of this type of trainings to the project’s FMPO and his assistant.

    Learning from and experience sharing with other IFAD funded projects

    Early on after its effectiveness, FAPP benefitted from the support from neighbouring IFAD funded projects in the Pacific.. Soane Patolo, Manager of the MORDI Tonga Trust, a NGO implementing the IFAD-supported Tonga Rural Innovation Project (TRIP), was sent to share some valuable experience of project implementation and experiences. The PMU also liaised with the Project Coordinating Unit (PCU) of Kiribati’s Outer Island Food and Water Project (OIFWP) when preparing for the RIMS Baseline Survey for FAPP.

    Looking forward to project implementation in the field

    Project preparation and implementation arrangements are near to completion by now. We are now working on the RIMS baseline survey that will be the basis for our continued project monitoring. We look forward to implementation of in-field activities and to sharing our experience of linking small producers and farmers with markets in Fiji.

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    By Nerina Muzurovic, NEN/IFAD, and Drew Gardiner, ILO

    Rates of female education in the Arab World have increased dramatically—a factor usually leading to higher levels of employment. Why, then, is female labor force participation in the Arab World not only the lowest in the world, but also rising very slowly?

    This was one of the questions addressed at a policy forum on gender and labor markets in the Arab world on 3 July 2017 in Amman, Jordan. Panel members hailed from Jordan’s Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the International Labour Organization (ILO), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation, and the University of Minnesota.

    The forum was part of an executive course on evaluating labour market programmes conducted by ILO, under the IFAD regional grant on gender monitoring and evaluation in the Near East and North Africa (NENA). The IFAD and ILO partnership, also known as the “Taqeem Initiative”, looks to build evidence on “what works” in effective rural labor market strategies for women and young people.

    The five-day course brought together more than 60 participants from 9 NENA countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen. It also included co-financiers, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Centre, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), GIZ and the Economic Research Forum who contributed financial and in-kind support.

    In his opening remarks, the Labour Ministry’s Secretary General Farouq Hadidi highlighted the need for evidence of investments’ impact, when it comes to generating job opportunities. He also noted the importance of supporting positive labor market outcomes in Jordan, as well as drawing from good practices when drawing up policy recommendations.

    The keynote lecture, “Gender and Labor Markets in the Arab World,” was delivered by Ragui Assaad, a professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Professor Assaad discussed what he called “the MENA paradox.”

    "Rural young women are both increasingly educated and increasingly unwilling to engage in traditional agriculture work,” said Assaad. “Thus, because of limited mobility and limited modern employment opportunities in their local labor markets, they are increasingly unemployed or withdrawing from labor force altogether."

    Arguing against the idea that “this is strictly a story about conservative cultural values restricting labor supply,” Professor Assaad introduced the idea of “reservation working conditions”—the minimum working conditions that a woman (and her family) will accept.

    “Educated women in the Arab World are seeking higher rates of market work if such work can meet their ‘reservation working conditions,’” Assaad explained. In countries like Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia, this means work places must do the following: preserve women’s sexual and reputational safety; prevent contact with male clients or owners and bosses in non-public spaces; be geographically accessible without excessive commuting; and be located inside fixed establishments, protected from passers-by. “Generally, this means larger workplaces with many other women present,” said the professor.

    To support his claims, Professor Assaad cited primary data gathered from some 1,000 interviewees as part of a recent ILO report on Jordanian labor market challenges by Susan Razzaz.“As long as I am alive, I will never let my sister work in manufacturing,” said one male Jordanian manufacturing worker. “The employers are very rough. I don’t trust them to not yell at my sister or harass her.” When these conditions are not met, many women stay home.

    Furthermore, safety and harassment were considered common concerns. As one unemployed Jordanian woman said: “I’d be willing to work in a hotel if the job was in reservations, at the front desk, or in food service. Of course, I can’t work in housekeeping or room service because it is near the bedrooms.”

    Long commutes were also a concern: “I wouldn’t want to spend 3 hours a day on the road,” said one female Jordanian worker. “I could barely stand the time spent getting to and from work in Amman, so I wouldn’t work outside of it.”

    However, change is possible: An IFAD-supported initiative under the Agricultural Resource Management Project (ARMPII) in Jordan tapped into the region's traditional knowledge base to initiate 400 small-scale enterprises for women in the southern part of the country. Relying on the sustainable use of local resources, these businesses centered around food processing, dairy and pickle production, and the harvesting of mushrooms.

    Interviews with the women involved showed they felt empowered, managing small-scale income-generating enterprises. They reported increased levels of independence and status, as well as more effective participation in decision-making at both the community and household levels.

    Findings like these indicate that effective policy interventions should look into improving opportunity structures for women. Peter van Rooij, ILO’s Director in Cairo, Egypt agrees, “Women and men need to have equal opportunities in the world of work, especially in the agriculture sector which represents the most important source of employment for women. Achieving gender equality goals under the 2030 Agenda can only be achieved through concerted effort and unique partnership, such as that between the ILO and IFAD in the Near East and North Africa”.

    Indeed, the panel discussion that followed recognized positive trends: factors affecting female labor supply are moving towards increased participation. These factors include educational attainment, later marriages, access to improved infrastructure like water and sanitation, access to household technologies, and access to markets for time-saving goods and services.

    The panel also noted that incentivizing private employers to offer shorter work days, low-cost transportation, telecommuting, and flexible and part-time work opportunities would make a difference. Other important changes would include shifting maternity leave pay to social insurance, specifying a minimum wage on an hourly basis, establishing better public transport systems--where women can feel safe—and taking steps to gradually expand the range of jobs considered acceptable for women in conservative societies.

    Creating a more attractive environment for investors to invest in remote rural areas, as well as making agricultural sector more attractive, should also be considered a priority.

    “With a rising population and growing demand for food, there is an ever greater need to invest in agriculture and rural development. Investment in agriculture is two to four times more effective in reducing poverty than investment in any other sector. The agricultural sector is also a rich source of employment for young people, especially women. Thus, creating job opportunities in this sector will improve the lives of poor farmers, and serve indirectly as a means to combat migration to cities and beyond, ” said Khalida Bouzar, Director of the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, IFAD.

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    By Susan Onyango

    Africa’s population is expected to double from 1.26 billion today to over two and half billion by 2050, little more than 30 years from now. At the same time, land degradation, loss of biodiversity and the effects of climate change pose increasing challenges to the continent’s agriculture sector, particularly smallholder farmers.  If left unchecked, these challenges will threaten the food security of millions of people, particularly in the drylands. Affected countries will require national policies and farmer practices that safeguard food production, as well as frameworks for mutual cooperation across the agricultural and environmental sectors, if they are to ensure the sustainability and resilience required to feed their people.

    In an effort to address these multiple challenges, more than 80 government and development sector experts met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 5 July 2017, to launch the Integrated Approach Programme on Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in sub-Saharan Africa. Financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the 5-year, USD 116 million programme is designed to promote sustainability and resilience among small holder farmers through the sustainable management of natural resources – land, water, soils and genetic resources – that are crucial for food and nutrition security. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is the  lead agency with the Programme Coordination Unit hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) at their headquarters in Nairobi. Bioversity International, UN Environment, UNDP, FAO, World Bank, UNIDO, AGRA and Conservation International are all involved.

    Smallholder farmers, who are responsible for most of the region’s food production, will benefit from practices and policies that will ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of their production systems. Efforts to ensure post-programme sustainability include a particular focus on gender issues at every level of the programme to address policy and culturally-related barriers to gender equity and women’s empowerment in most of the participating countries. The Programme targets almost three million households in 12 countries and will improve the management of 10 million hectares of land.

    “With an explicit focus on smallholder agriculture in the drylands, we have collectively established a framework to underpin the long-term sustainability and resilience of production systems,” said Dr. Mohamed Bakarr, Lead Environment Specialist at the GEF. “The program framework, which is defined by three main components – platforms for multi-stakeholder engagement, acting to scale-up innovations, and systems monitoring and assessment – is informed by sound science and policy, including a theory of change.”

    The Programme includes the increased involvement of the private sector in developing viable value chains for food crops. At the same time, a regional hub that will support, synthesize and promote learning across the network of countries will improve access to knowledge from scientific institutions and help inform policy options and investment opportunities for managing ecosystem services in smallholder agriculture.

    Margarita Astralaga, Director of IFAD’s Environment and Climate Division reiterated the importance of linking food production with ecosystems to protect the environment and to ensure that smallholder farmers reach markets.

    “A key ingredient to the Food Security Integrated Approach Programme is the learning across the twelve country projects as well as its three components on institutional frameworks and policy, scaling-up integrated approaches, and on measuring collective impacts,” she noted.

    To ensure effective implementation of the project, participants called for system-wide stakeholder engagement – from the field to the government – and the mapping of existing and previous projects to enable south-south learning. They also emphasized the need for technical support on improving stakeholder engagement, capacity development, strengthening institutions, monitoring systems, combining research and technology, scaling technologies, and communicating among stakeholders in participating countries and globally.

    “The process has been very engaging, giving us insight for those who haven’t started on implementation (and) alignment with regional programmes, especially indicators and information on national and regional goals,” said Shamiso Nandi Najira of Malawi’s Ministry of Environment. “We look forward to working with the implementation agencies. Learning from others on what they are doing in their countries has been a good eye opener.”

    “Taking resilient food security to scale means supporting innovation among millions of farmers over millions of hectares,” said Fergus Sinclair of the World Agroforestry Centre. “We have to go beyond simply promoting best bets, to supporting farmers as they experiment with new options in their own contexts, and then foster the sharing of that learning about what works where and for whom.”

    The Food Security Integrated Approach Programme is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals and the three Rio Conventions on biological diversity (CBD), to combat desertification (UNCCD) and on climate change (UNFCCC). It will be implemented in 12 countries including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda.

    Other Integrated Approach Programmes of the GEF are on Green Commodities Supply Chains and Sustainable Cities.

    Also see:
    GEF Integrated Approach Pilot: Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa 

    IFAD Director presenting the Integrated Approach Pilot (IAP)

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    By Tomás Ricardo Rosada Villamar,  Country Programme Manager for Mexico

    It was still dark when we left. Without breakfast, without even a sip of coffee. Half asleep, we all piled into the three vehicles that had been assigned to us and began driving up the mountain in a state that is now known for its blistering land and its unsafe territory: a land of death, a land at war.

    We were tossed around inside the cabs of our trucks as we rolled over streams and open wounds in the roads, slowly being engulfed by the depths of green vegetation as we penetrated deeper into the forest. Its shades of green were endless, an explosion of hues that were evidence of nature almost completely undisturbed. Adobe houses adorned the hillsides, and every so often we glimpsed a peasant herding goats or a group of women shouldering bundles, slowly but surely making their way.

    We finally reached our destination several hours later, with the sun high above us. A group of visitors from distant places, with their lists of questions, and local guides who knew their way around the hills with a guerrilla-like intuition. Of course, we all arrived with the stubborn expectation of finding the survival instincts and organization that supposedly always prevail, even in the harshest of conditions.

    We were welcomed by a group of inhabitants of a small settlement that was proudly called a village. We got out and started walking up to one of the villagers’ houses, then to their gardens and orchards, spread out in the surroundings. They showed us their production techniques, talked about their dreams, and asked us what we thought or how this or that was done elsewhere. Then we went back to the first house where a group of women were preparing a meal, an unmistakable sign of poor people's gratitude: sharing their hearth and their table, offering a stranger their best food.

    From the back of the house appeared an old woman. Small and discreet, with a calm and profound look. This is Doña Carmela, they told me. She's the oldest person in the village and she's still as lively as ever. She likes doing everything and going everywhere. She'd even climb the trees with us if she could!

    She exuded such magnetism that I went over and knelt beside her so that I could talk to her, but above all so I could listen to her. She took my hand and gave me a smile that revealed some missing teeth. She bowed her head discreetly, her way of thanking us for our visit. She grabbed the arm of a girl whom she might have resembled seventy years ago and sat down in a chair to wait; to wait with the patient determination of someone who is certain that they must take the opportunity to send a message with an emissary who is finally within reach.

    When the time was right, she spoke in that timeless language of Rulfo and his Comala[i],making reference respectfully and impersonally to forces and attitudes that have ignored them for years on end, even today on the centenary of a Constitution born out of a revolution that over the decades has lost sight of its main goal: satisfying the peasants’ clamour for land and development.

    "You, whose voice can be heard in other places, tell them not to forget about us, the poor." I promise to pass on your message, I told her. We shook hands again and said goodbye: she, feeling certain that she had sent her message again, and I, fearing that it would fall, once again, on deaf ears.

    [i] Translator’s note: A reference to Mexican writer Juan Rulfo and a town mentioned in his novel Pedro Páramo

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    By Elisa Mandelli and Andrea Wyers, with contributions from Everlyne Nairesiae (GLII-GLTN)

    Participants at the GLII Expert Group Meeting on ‘Securing Women’s Land Rights in the SDGs Monitoring Framework’. @Browne 2017

    From 8 to 9 July Elisa Mandelli, representing IFAD, was in New York to participate in the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Securing Women's Land Rights in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The meeting was jointly organized by the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII) in partnership with Landesa, Oxfam, Huairou Commission and UN Women. Over 40 gender and women’s land rights experts participated, including representatives from national statistical offices, Civil Society Organizations CSOs, UN agencies, multilateral agencies and other stakeholders.

    The EGM preceded the United Nations High Level Political Forum held in New York from the 10 to 19 July 2017. The Forum focused on “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world" and on the review of some SDGs, including goals with land-related indicators such as:
    • Goal 1 “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”.
      Indicator 1.4.2 :Proportion of total adult population with secure tenure rights to land, with legally recognized documentation and who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and by type of tenure (disaggregated by sex and type of tenure).
    • Goal 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.
      Indicator 5.a.1(a) Proportion of total agricultural population with ownership or secure rights over agricultural land, by sex; and (b) share of women among owners or rights-bearers of agricultural land, by type of tenure.
      Indicator 5.a.2Proportion of countries where the legal framework (including customary law) guarantees women’s equal rights to land ownership and/or control.
    The inclusion of land indicators that explicitly reflect women’s land rights in the SDGs is a major achievement for the land community and a significant point of departure from the Millennium Development Goals, which did not have these provisions. This achievement is attributed to high level advocacy at national, regional and global levels by the land community including the GLII, the Global Donor Working Group on Land (GDWGL), FAO, UN Women, UN Sustainable Solution Network (UNSDSN) and other networks, CSOs and agencies who have strongly advocated for the inclusion of land indicators in the SDGs.

    The importance of securing women's land rights to eradicate poverty has also been identified by the African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G) as one of the critical areas for advocacy and action of the African member states. As part of this engagement and within the framework of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, the African Land Policy Initiative (LPI) is negotiating member states’ commitment in monitoring the progress of women’s land rights and increasing to a minimum of 30% the amount of land allocated (individually or jointly) to women. The LPI has also played a key role in advocating for the African Union recent endorsement of the Pan African Women’s Charter on Land Rights. The Charter resulted from the Kilimanjaro Initiative, which has mobilized rural women from 22 countries across Africa. The Charter includes 15 specific demands addressing women’s access to use, control, own, inherit and dispose of their land and natural resources with the ultimate aim to help empower women across the continent.

    Thus, the land tenure community can celebrate the progress made in raising awareness on the importance of women’s land rights and the monitoring of progress made, but is now challenged to define the methodology for measuring the progress on these indicators and ensuring that the reporting contributes to the women’s land rights agenda. Land tenure statistics are in fact highly complex and there is a lack of clear and consistent data on land tenure security, particularly when it comes to statistics disaggregated by gender. See also blog on gender equality.

    Within this framework, the purpose of the EGM was to examine land indicators in the SDGs and to promote meaningful and more harmonised approaches to monitoring women’s land rights in a coordinated manner. In particular, participants agreed on the need to promote the harmonization and complementarity of land-related indicators based on a single and integrated narrative of concepts and definitions (i.e. land tenure security, ownership, tenure type, etc.). This includes strengthening the level of robustness of the proposed methodologies using proxies for women specific issues noting that women are not a homogenous group.

    Moreover, participants committed to convey key messages and recommendations on women’s land rights to UN member states during their participation at the High Level Political Forum. Messages included the importance to monitor the progress on women’s secure land rights since not having the data to diagnose and monitor progress made in the context of the SDGs will be a missed opportunity to eradicate poverty and empower women and girls. In order to ensure immediate country data collection and reporting on secure tenure rights (1.4.2., 5.a.1 and 5.a.2), member states have to support the adoption of the proposed methodologies for monitoring the indicators at the 6th Meeting of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDG) to be held in November 2017. Further information on the re-classification of land-related indicators can be found in the blog by Jamal Browne, a participant of the EGM.

    IFAD is looking forward to continuing its engagement with the GLII, the GDWGL and the custodian agencies responsible for the specific land indicators including UN Habitat and World Bank; FAO and other agencies to support the elaboration of the proposed methodology and their successful reclassification by IAEG-SDGs in November 2017. On this subject, IFAD and the Global Land Tool Network Secretariat are collaborating in the co-financed grant “Strengthening capacity for assessing the impact of tenure security measures on IFAD supported and other projects within the SDG framework”. The grant aims at improving the capacity of IFAD-supported projects to assess measure and report their impact on poor rural people’s tenure security, including on women’s land rights.

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    By Francesco Rubino and Elisabeth Steinmayr
    Q&A with participants and World Bank representatives © F. Rubino
    As part of its knowledge generation and sharing activities, in March 2017 a team from the Pro-poor Value Chain Development Project in Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL)* travelled to Washington D.C. to participate in the annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty (20-24 March 2017). The globally re-nowned conference represented the ideal stage to share the preliminary results obtained by the project in securing land tenure rights for smallholder farmers in Mozambique.

    The PROSUL project is an IFAD-supported project working to support the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the Maputo and Limpopo corridors. In doing so, the project works across 19 districts in the In-hamabane, Gaza and Maputo Provinces, focusing on three specific value chains: horticulture, cassava and red meat (i.e. cattle, goats, etc.). Alongside building stronger farmer organizations and improving the agribusiness linkages for farmers, the project strongly focuses on climate smart interventions and land tenure security in the rural communities targeted.

    The paper Mainstreaming Securing Land Rights in Value Chain Development Programmes: The Case of the Pro-poor Value Chain Development Project in Maputo and Limpopo Corridors in Mozambique presented at the World Bank Conference gave insights on PROSUL’s experience in mainstreaming interventions that aim to facilitate land tenure regularization for smallholder farmers in the project provinces.

    PROSUL Project Coordinator Daniel Mate arriving at the
     Conference ©F.Rubino
    In its work under the cassava value chain, PROSUL has managed to secure 4,260 individual land use rights titles (DUATs – Direito de Uso e Aproveitamento de Terra) in the districts of Morrumbene, Massing and Jangamo; and of these approximately 33,5% were attributed to female-headed households, through both individual and co-titling arrangements. This showcases a great result for the project team, as they were able to go beyond their yearly target. In addition to that, almost 161,400 hectares (ha) of land were delimited and provisional land delimitation certificates issued in communities that largely depend on livestock as one of their main sources of income. Within the areas identified, circa 105,400ha were designated as grazing areas, thereby assisting the communities in their desire to reduce the land degradation through a better management of their livestock routes and grazing patterns.

    Beyond the described successes PROSUL also faced a number of challenges, and in presenting the paper to the numerous participants that attended the presentation, the PROSUL Project Coordinator Daniel Mate mentioned the need to continue promoting and increasing the secured access to land for vulnerable groups such as women and youth. An additional point of interest discussed are the Community Based Natural Resource Management Plans, which will be elaborated with and for the communities, in order to strengthen the sustainable use of the natural resources surrounding them.
    The paper prepared by Daniel Mate and the PROSUL Land Tenure Advisor Daniel Simango**
    represents a good example of IFAD-supported projects directly engaging with knowledge creation, thereby attempting to bridge the often large gap between knowledge and practice. Furthermore, it shows PROSUL’s contribution (both theoretical and practical) to the Government of Mozambique’s Terra Segura (Secure Land) program, that seeks to ensure land tenure security regularization across the country.

    Daniel Mate explained how the paper presented this year is just the first of what may well become a number of future participations and publications for the project team. In fact, PROSUL is already working on identifying topics for the 2018 Land and Poverty Conference, hoping to possibly share new experiences, and is on the look-out for other platforms and meetings in which to engage and share with partners on a global scale.

    *The PROSUL project is implemented through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and through the Agrarian Development Fund (FDA).
    ** together with support from the IFAD Country Office

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    Por Salvador S. Merlos

    Árboles frutales enTunga-San Pedro ©Hugo Néstor Villegas
    El 20 de junio de 1698, un terremoto de magnitud 7,3 en la escala de Richter provocó grandes deslizamientos en las laderas altas del volcán Carihuairazo, que acabarían sepultando a la actual ciudad ecuatoriana de Ambato, en la provincia de Tungurahua. Pocos meses después de la catástrofe, pobladores de Santa Rosa, el Obraje de Huachi y el asiento de Ambato construían en esa misma provincia la acequia Toalló. Esta obra abastecería de agua a buena parte de la microcuenca, aunque sería también motivo de disputas a lo largo de los siglos, reflejando así la importancia crucial que el agua ha tenido en esta región desde tiempos inmemoriales.

    Un año después del grave terremoto que en 2016 destruyó los hogares de más de 20.000 habitantes de poblaciones rurales del Ecuador, el Vicepresidente Adjunto del Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA), Périn Saint Ange, visitó el país andino con el mensaje de que, junto a la ayuda humanitaria en casos de desastre, el desarrollo a largo plazo es crucial para reconstruir vidas. Además de reuniones con ministros e instituciones, el Sr. Saint Ange viajó a Tungurahua junto con funcionarios del Ministerio de Agricultura y representantes de la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) para reunirse con pequeños agricultores y jóvenes beneficiarios del proyecto "Buen Vivir". Su propósito era conocer de primera mano la manera en que este proyecto financiado por el FIDA está transformando los medios de vida de las comunidades rurales y especialmente de las mujeres.

    Riego tecnificado en Tunga-San Pedro ©Hugo Néstor Villegas
    En las inmediaciones de la antigua acequia Toalló, el presidente de la Junta de Riego del canal de Mocha-Huachi, Hugo Villegas, recibió calurosamente al Sr. Saint Ange en compañía de un gran número de los 214 beneficiarios de ese proyecto. De ahí partieron al reservorio de agua, cuya capacidad es de 4.200 m3, para comprobar in situ cómo el nuevo sistema de riego de parcelas permite diversificar la producción de papa y alfalfa en las 120 hectáreas de Tunga-San Pedro. Los principales productos que se cultivan son la alfalfa, frutales caducifolios, zanahoria, papa y maíz, mientras que en la parte pecuaria se manejan cuyes.

    La incorporación de riego tecnificado es crucial para una región que se está viendo fuertemente afectada por el cambio climático. El caudal concesionado del río Mocha ha registrado un descenso de alrededor del 40% en el lapso de poco más de 20 años, lo que ha incidido directamente en la disponibilidad de agua para su uso en la acequia Mocha Huachi. "La incorporación de los sistemas presurizados, además de un uso eficiente del recurso, contribuye a empoderar a las mujeres, quienes ganan tiempo y calidad de vida, rompiendo así el circulo de la pobreza y de las desigualdades", afirmó Caroline Bidault, Gerente del Programa del FIDA en el Ecuador. Esto se ha traducido, por ejemplo, en un incremento de los rendimientos de alfalfa de 25.000 kg/ha con riego por inundación a 33.000 kg/ha con riego tecnificado; en cuanto a la papa, se ha pasado de 9.500 kg/ha con riego por inundación a cosechar 16.000 kg/ha con riego tecnificado.

    Narcisa Mayorga frente al reservorio de agua de la acequia Mocha Huachi ©FIDA
    El Gerente del Programa Buen Vivir Rural, Hugo Dután, destacó la importancia de la presencia del Vicepresidente Adjunto del FIDA, "al dar cuenta de iniciativas productivas tradicionales que se mejoran con la incorporación del riego, además del gran impacto territorial generado por la modalidad de intervención mancomunada entre los Gobiernos Autónomos Descentralizados, las organizaciones y el Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería por medio del Programa Buen Vivir rural que se ejecuta mediante el convenio con el FIDA".

    Narcisa Mayorga, una de las agricultoras beneficiarias, destacó que a raíz del proyecto las mujeres disponen de más tiempo para dedicarse también a otros menesteres. "Además del tiempo ganado, ha mejorado la seguridad, pues en el pasado hubo accidentes, algunos de ellos mortales". Narcisa cuida de sus padres y corta a diario la alfalfa de su terreno para alimentar a los cuyes, que vende en una feria cada jueves. "Los nuevos turnos de riego nos han permitido renunciar a las palas, azadones y picos, para incorporarnos con las válvulas. Ya no tenemos que levantarnos de madrugada para pernoctar tempranamente".

    Perin Saint Ange es obsequiado con una muestra de productos de Mocha Quero ©FIDA
    La experiencia de trabajo en el Proyecto ha permitido que los beneficiarios adquieran nuevos conocimientos y desarrollen destrezas técnicas, además de fortalecer la coordinación interinstitucional, el trabajo en equipo, la capacidad de entendimiento entre todos los involucrados y un sinnúmero de aprendizajes que contribuirán al ejercicio de nuevas y mejores prácticas. Alberto Flores, operador del sistema de riego del ingreso del agua al reservorio, es un buen ejemplo de ello. Él se encarga de abrir la válvula, verificar las presiones y dar mantenimiento, al tiempo que cuida de un pequeño terreno en el que cultiva mora. Junto a él, 214 familias del ramal San Pedro han aportado un terreno para la construcción del reservorio, y han excavado más de 9.000 metros de redes secundarias, además de adquirir e instalar equipos en las parcelas.

    Ángel Morales muestra el sistema de riego mientras un familiar da de comer a los peces ©FIDA
    La comitiva prosiguió su visita al Directorio de Aguas de la Acequia Mocha Quero, en el cantón Pelileo, donde la implementación de sistemas de almacenamiento y riego tecnificado ha contribuido a la diversificación de la alfalfa, la mora y el tomate de árbol. Allí, Ángel Morales, uno de los beneficiarios del proyecto, explicó a la delegación del FIDA que el reservorio para regadío de su finca lo utilizan también como piscifactoría. Mientras invitaba a la comitiva a descender por su escarpado terreno para mostrar el sistema de riego ante la vista imponente de los Andes, un familiar daba de comer a los peces, destinados de momento al consumo de cuatro familias. "Este es un sueño que el proyecto del Buen Vivir ha hecho posible", comentó con visible emoción. "Me siento muy orgulloso de ser campesino".

    Ángel Morales muestra el sistema de riego mientras un familiar da de comer a los peces ©FIDA

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    By Vivienne Likhanga, PROCASUR


    In November 2016, the Learning Route (LR): Practical solutions to adapt to climate change in production and post-harvesting sectors: the cases of Mozambique and Rwanda was implemented in several districts of Mozambique and Rwanda by PROCASUR Corporation. The IFAD projects: Pro-poor Value Chain Project in the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL) in Mozambique and Climate Resilient Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP) in Rwanda were selected as one of the best practices in managing climate change and adaptation components under the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) in the East and Southern Africa (ESA) region. The LR was organized and co-funded under the framework of the IFAD-PROCASUR Large Grant Programme “Strengthening Capacities and tools to scale up and disseminate Innovations”.

    The partnership between PROCASUR and the IFAD Projects PROSUL and PASP involved the projects acting both as the LR ‘host cases’ on the one hand and as active ‘participants’ and beneficiaries of the learning activity on the other hand. An agreement between PROCASUR, PASP and PROSUL was signed in August 2016 in order to design and implement the LR activity. PROCASUR, PASP and PROSUL staff worked jointly to identify, select and systematize the good experiences to be visited during the LR. In November 2016 PASP and PROSUL, supported by PROCASUR, successfully hosted 25 participants from 7 different countries and implemented all the learning activities foreseen by the LR in Mozmabique and Rwanda through the valuable effort of many local champions.

    Learning Route Participants from the IFAD Project: Agricultural Support Services Project (ASSP) in Botswana at the experience of the multiplication of climate-resilient varieties of cassava in Manjacaze District, Gaza Province, Mozambique in November 2016

    Two members of the PROSUL project team participated in the whole LR, culminating in the development of an Innovation Plan (IP): “Strengthening Institutional Capacities to Improve the Provision of Climate Information to smallholder farmers in Southern Mozambique”. The IP aims at establishing an effective climate information system for enabling farmers and agricultural stakeholders to make informed decisions with regards to seasonal planning and monitoring. This is a crucial component in many IFAD-supported projects addressing Climate Change Adaptation, and in particular in the ASAP, as an important adaptation measure to increase small-holder farmers’ resilience to climate shocks.

    Technical Exchange: Enhancement of Knowledge Management in the PROSUL project

    Prior investments on climate information in Mozambique had already been made by the PROSUL project with the aim of setting up an effective mechanism for the provision of climate information such as the rehabilitation of two meteorological stations, in Gaza and Inhambane provinces, and the provision of training to meteorological observers. These activities were done under the scope of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Centre for the Promotion of Agriculture (CEPAGRI), the former leading agency of PROSUL, and the National Institute of Meteorology (INAM). As highlighted in the rationale of the IP, both INAM and PROSUL failed to achieve the expected results due to the weak capacities in INAM in developing readily use messages framed to agricultural sector and to the lack of involvement of the Department of Crops and Early Warning (DCAP) within the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA).

    The IP, designed by the LR’s participants from the PROSUL project, integrates the lessons they learnt during the LR from the PASP project in Rwanda, where the provision of climate information to farmers and the relationships among the government institutions involved has achieved positive results.

    Local Champion, Justin Etienne Mpayimana explaining how he uses the climate information provided by the Rwanda Meteorological Agency to plan his farming activities. Justine is a farmer and a businessman running a small shop at the Mutara village in Ngoma District. He is also a member and beneficiary of the KOREMU Cooperative that illustrates the financial mechanism developed by the IFAD Project: Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP) to access to equipment and technology for post harvesting activities under the hub operational model as product and business aggregation points. He is an interesting example of success of usage of climate information that has been adapted in the Innovation Plan of the PROSUL Project in Mozambique.

    From the LR (November 2016 – where the IP idea was born) to date, the IP has been discussed in depth among the PROSUL project management team (PMT), the IFAD country office in Mozambique, the governmental stakeholders involved and with PROCASUR. There has been a renewed commitment from INAM to revisit their objective of increasing small-holder farmers’ resilience to climate shocks. Due to the strong interest and willingness of all the interested stakeholders and the PROSUL PMT to implement the IP, and in line with the recommendations received by IFAD in the mid-term review report, PROSUL expressed the specific request to PROCASUR to facilitate one of the activities foreseen in the IP that will lead to the strengthening of their capacities in collecting and processing climate data and the final and timely dissemination of the climate information to smallholder farmers.

    In this framework, PROCASUR will be organizing a technical – institutional exchange learning activity in Rwanda involving PROSUL, MASA and INAM representatives in order to strengthen their capacities in providing climate information to smallholders and to improve the institutional dialogue by exposing them to the processes and tools used in PASP. This training will be held in September 2017.

    We look forward to updating you on the progress!  Stay tuned for more on the innovation plan implementation and more information on the Learning Initiative on our Website and Facebook Page.