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    by Amathe Pathe Sene, IFAD's Regional Climate and Environment Specialist for West and Central Africa speaking at the 4th German-African Agribusiness Forum in Berlin

    Irrigation in Africa has the potential to boost agricultural productivity by at least 50 percent and combining innovative methods of energy production for food production on the continent is almost crucial.

    Land, water and energy resources are central to agriculture and rural transformation. They are intrinsically linked to current global challenges of food insecurity and poverty, climate change, conflicts and migration as well as the degradation of natural resources.

    In Africa, agriculture continues to be the main source of income for the rural poor which is being eroded because of climate change. Unpredictable rain-fed agricultural systems in drylands combined with unsustainable land and water management practices; lack of access to reliable and affordable renewable energy technologies and limited skills contribute to the low performance and vulnerability of the agricultural sector. This in turn limits investment to modernize the sector.

    Most rainfed areas need to be irrigated to produce the additional food needed to feed 1.5 billion people by 2030 and reduce poverty. At the same time, agriculture must become a more attractive option to more than 330 million young Africans who are entering the labour market by 2025. This is a big challenge but also a great opportunity for all of us.

    Better land use, water management, such as trough irrigation techniques, and access to affordable renewable energy contribute to increased productivity with a longer cropping season. In turn, this reduces the chances of water scarcity or water excess, increasing household incomes, making labour savings and accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy resources.

    So what is IFAD doing?

    IFAD prioritizes the toughest work with the most disadvantaged people, those being poor rural small holder farmers, youth and women.

    IFAD's approach to land, water and energy is an integrated one. It is designed to get more income per drop of water to lift the poor out of poverty; more nutritional value per drop to fight food insecurity while strengthening smallholder farmers resilience to climate shocks.

    The so-called water and energy nexus can contribute to improving agricultural production through pumping water, primary processing, fish farming, livestock rearing, or small-scale industries, to name a few.

    IFAD considers farming at any scale as a business. Smallholders and producers must be treated as entrepreneurs and businesses need clear linkages along the value chain, from production to processing, post-harvest handling, marketing and ultimately to consumption.

    We devote significant efforts in what is commonly known as "the 4Ps" i.e. public-private-producer-partnerships, to de-risk, deliver water, energy, goods and services around the agricultural value chain and food systems.

    With its Smallholder and SME Investment Finance (SIF) Fund; complemented by the Technical Assistance Facility (TAF), IFAD promotes blended finance on water and energy sector services and goods.

    In Madagascar, IFAD is scaling up its micro-irrigation project, supporting more than 10,000 vulnerable smallholder farmers to use micro irrigation systems (MIS) and natural fertilizers to improve their productivity and food security.

    IFAD has almost 40 years of experience in providing loans and grants to support governments on programmes that focus on restoring, managing efficiently and governing natural capital (water/land); promoting crop varieties and cropping techniques to adapt to the variability of rainfall (duration, intensity, timing) and secure food production.

    Through its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), the world's largest adaptation programme for smallholder farmers, IFAD supports poor communities in building water and energy infrastructure within the catchment and agricultural value chains in Cabo Verde, Niger, Ethiopia, Benin, Mauritania.

    In many countries in Africa, we invest in dams, canals and pipe distribution networks, reservoirs, treatment plants, small hydropower installations as well as micro-irrigation schemes such as drip-irrigation for rational use of available surface water and groundwater resources (whether fresh, brackish or saline).

    We support the access and deployment of renewable energy technologies to power the agricultural value chains. In Nigeria and Rwanda, IFAD has introduced energy-efficient processing and storage technologies (e.g. solar heating, cooling, drying and energy-saving appliances), while in Mali, Mozambique and Rwanda, IFAD has enhanced and diversified access to clean energy sources through the promotion of household biogas digesters, solar home systems and solar PV pumping systems.

    With the climate and environmental finance (GCF, GEF, AF), we encourage governments to invest in innovative renewable energy solutions and efficient irrigation technologies to accelerate climate resilient and low carbon agriculture development for food production on the continent.

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    By Karan Sehgal

    On 23 January 2018, IFAD held an in-house seminar that took up the issue of renewable energy and how it is addressed throughout the Fund’s development portfolio. The panel was chaired by Roshan Cooke, Regional Climate and Environment Specialist for the Asia and Pacific (APR) region and Karan Sehgal, Renewable Energy Technologies Specialist.

    While IFAD has made an effort to integrate rural energy solutions into its projects as a means of powering agricultural processing and value-added activities, this has not been conducted systematically from COSOP to project implementation in most cases. Indeed, only 22 projects between 2006-2016 have included renewable energy technologies (RETs). 2014 accelerated the expansion of the renewable energy portfolio with the launch of the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), which has integrated renewable energy into 15 projects.

    The results so far demonstrate a variety of domestic and commercial applications for renewable energy in the agricultural sectors. Country Programme Managers (CPMs) on the panel shared experiences from their respective projects.

    Philippe Remy, Mali CPM showcased the fixed dome biogas systems that have been undertaken by communities as part of the ASAP-supported Fostering Agricultural Productivity Project (PAPAM). By placing the biodigesters at the centre of productive activities, communities achieve upstream benefits by utilizing animal waste as a fuel source and an organic fertilizer (a by-product of the digesters), and downstream benefits that accrue especially to women, who spend much less time cooking and collecting fuelwood. PAPAM has installed more than 500 biodigesters coupled with solar panels. The reported impacts include over 230 ha. of forests saved due to reduced demand for fuelwood, and 2.7 tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided.

    Similarly, the Post-Harvest Agribusiness Project (PASP) in Rwanda has disseminated over 310 flexibiogas systems, which have also generated jobs in installation, repair and maintenance.

    Lakshmi Moola, Nepal/Bhutan CPM spoke about the utility of grants as a tool to level the economic playing field and create incentives for private firms to view rural communities as prospective markets. Here she highlighted the ESCAP grant, which established an 18kw solar-powered system run jointly by the private sector and three communities in Tanahu district, Nepal. This public-private partnership has the advantage of ensuring sustainability of the grid, since both parties have a stake in it. The grant was also instrumental in revising the renewable energy subsidy policy of the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC), a Government of Nepal institution with the objective of developing and promoting RETs in Nepal; and thereby demonstrates how grant resources can influence broader-based policy changes that create an environment conducive to private sector entrepreneurs. As a result of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AEPC, more than 7,500 RET units are scheduled to be installed under IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholders in Hilly Areas (ASHA) project by July 2019.

    As the renewable energy portfolio matures, new opportunities to dovetail with government policies are emerging. For instance, the Jharkhand Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Project (JTELP) in India has partnered with the Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA), a state-owned administrative department, a research institute that has piloted more than 1,000 RETs (solar home systems, solar lanterns and improved cookstoves).

    Currently, access to electricity in rural Jharkhand ranges from 26 - 60 per cent. Through the JTELP programme, IFAD aims to bring its comparative advantage to bear through its presence on the ground and achieve a wide coverage of renewable technologies in tribal areas.

    There are many advantages to working with JREDA: they operate rigorous tendering and a competitive bidding process for installation work, IFAD can ensure its activities are streamlined with government policies, and JREDA maintain accountability for the technologies they install, ensuring the technologies will not fall into disrepair after a few years.

    While the spread of renewable energy has the potential to be transformative, there remain significant policy barriers that are not easily discounted. High fossil-fuel subsidies deter renewable energy technology companies from entering rural markets where transaction costs are high. There is a lack of fiscal incentives for existing renewable energy suppliers to come into rural areas, where market demand may be sporadic, diffuse and disorganized. Finally, knowledge and capacity among local decision-makers is often low, which impedes well-designed policy frameworks.

    Perhaps the greatest challenge are barriers in the legal system, such as lengthy bureaucratic procedures to obtain subsidies for RETs; and on the trade side, high import tariffs that impose barriers on innovative technologies.

    Moving the renewable energy agenda forward, IFAD is in the process of drafting a new renewable energy strategy. The strategy proposes a dedicated financing window in IFAD, housed within the ASAP2 fund, which would help catalyse the design and integration of renewable energy elements in IFAD projects. This would also help to align global operations with the IFAD Strategic Framework, in which it states, “farming at any scale is a business, and smallholders and producers must be treated as entrepreneurs.” We must therefore recognize the role of energy as an essential input for thriving businesses, and do more to augment the supply of rural energy. Critically, the financing window would be able to access funds specifically earmarked by governments for the scaling up of renewable energy. These funds, owing to the conditionality attached to them, are complementary in nature, and would be put toward, supporting technical assistance and diagnostics, streamlining procurement, piloting, and policy dialogue and advocacy.

    To capitalize this financing window, IFAD will seek support from a subset of interested donors that range from bilateral sources (Finnfund, AFD), Intergovernmental Organizations (IRENA), Philanthropic institutions (Global Good), and multilaterals (Green Climate Fund, African Development Bank).

    As IFAD clients diversify their production and aim for higher marginal incomes through value-added activities, there is a rapidly increasing need to address the deficit of rural energy through the Fund’s business model. This year, there will be further opportunities for in-house consultations that will ultimately guide how the new Renewable Energy Strategy is framed. The session last week offered a useful survey of what IFAD has achieved to date, identified entry points for future integration, and mobilized staff to engage with an issue that can spur job creation and economic growth in the agricultural sectors.


    · Roshan Cooke, Regional Climate and Environment Specialist, ECD
    · Karan Sehgal, Renewable Energy Technologies Specialist, ECD
    · Francisco Pichon, CPM Rwanda/Tanzania, ESA
    · Lakshmi Moola, CPM Nepal/Bhutan, APR
    · Philippe Remy, CPM Mali, WCA
    · Antonio Rota, Senior Livestock Specialist, PTA
    · Wafaa El Khoury, Senior Agronomist, PTA
    · Jonathan Ndaa Agwe, Senior Rural Finance Specialist, PTA
    IFAD Toolbox on Renewable EnergyTechnologies Sources

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    A 5-day workshop on the EO4SD Agriculture and Rural Development Cluster was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 5 to 9 February. The workshop was organized under the European Space Agency (ESA) initiative for building capacity among Task Team Leaders (TTL) and implementing teams for increased uptake of Satellite Earth Observation in different stages of project cycles (planning, preparation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation).

    The content of the workshop is composed of three blocks which address:

    • Building basic EO and GIS knowledge (theory and hands on) - 2 days
    • High level introduction of the project and services, emphasizing on their added value for project managers and TTLs - 1 day
    • In depth knowledge and hands on training related to the service generation and uptake - 2 days

    A total of 25 participants attended the workshop, including staff from the Sustainable Land Management Programme, Ethiopian Mapping Agency, Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate Change, and Jimma University; and 15 staff from the Federal and respective four Regional Project Coordination Management Units of the IFAD -financed Participatory Small Scale Irrigation Programme (PASDIP II).

    Day 2- Building basic EO and GIS knowledge (theory and hands on)

    Day 2- Building basic EO and GIS knowledge (theory and hands on)

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    Staff from the IFAD Country Office for Ethiopia welcomed three students from the TERI University in Delhi before their departure to the field. This was an excellent opportunity for IFAD staff to meet the students, learn about their research, and give them a critical overview of IFAD’s interventions in Ethiopia to help them familiarize with the country and shape their study.

    Through the Global Association of Master’s in Development Practice (MDP), students who are citizens of borrowing members of IFAD studying in Global South universities, have the opportunity to undertake their Masters’ programme field practice in IFAD-funded projects. This partnership allows students to gain field experience in development practice while enhancing IFAD’s impact, visibility and quality as learning institution. IFAD partners also benefit from the additional analytical work of enthusiastic students.

    Ethiopia has become a popular destination for students from the MDP programme. In 2018, four students from the TERI University in Delhi, pursuing the M.A. Sustainable Development Practice, chose to undertake their in-the-field practice in Ethiopia. One more student from the University of California, Berkeley, is expected to come to Ethiopia for a three-month field practicum between May and August.

    Endowed with a highly diverse agro-ecological environment, spanning from temperate and moist tropical highlands to hot and arid lowlands, which is matched by a diverse socio-cultural setting, Ethiopia offers a wide range of IFAD-funded interventions for students to choose from. These projects aim to endow smallholder farmers and (agro-)pastoralists with an enabling combination of the critical assets they require to enhance their productivity and resilience, including natural resources, technology, finance, institutional capacity, and access to markets.

    Once IFAD-funded projects submit a list of relevant research topics, these are displayed on the MDP Secretariat’s online platform. Students from MDP can then choose a topic of interest, submit their research application and, supported by the IFAD Country Offices, coordinate with the project staff the research work-plan and their stay in the country.

    The IFAD Country Office in Ethiopia has proactively supported the design of these studies, to ensure they are relevant to strengthening the knowledge base that will feed into lessons and project completion reviews. Particularly the extensive contact time with the projects' client communities is expected to yield important in-depth learning that can meaningfully complement specialized consultancy assignments.

    Suruchi Upadhyay & Nejarat Malikyar (TERI University Students) - middle, with Samir Rayess (KM Consultant), Ulaç Demirag (Country Director), and Frew Behabtu (Country Programme Officer)

    Ms Suruchi Upadhyay, from Nepal and Mr Nejarat Malikyar, from Afghanistan, will undertake their research on the Pastoral Community Development Programme III (PCDP III), focusing on gender and nutrition, respectively. After meeting with their field coordinator and project staff from PCDP III, they arranged the work plan to undertake field research in the area of Awash, in the Afar region.

    Guche Mekene-TERI University student – middle, with Ulaç Demirag (Country Director), Helen Teshome (Rural Finance Specialist), Dagim Kassahun (Country Programme Assistant), and Samir Rayess (KM Consultant)

    Mr Guche Mekene, from Ethiopia, will carry out research on the Rural Financial Intermediation Programme II (RUFIP II), focusing on the socio-economic impacts of the programme. His research will cover districts from the main four regions of the country: Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region.

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    Republished from
    By Margarita Astralaga, Director of the Climate and Environment Division, IFAD

    The mountainous areas of Morocco’s Central Atlas range offer ideal conditions for the cultivation of high-value fruit and nut trees, which can grow in shallow soils, on hills and slopes, and thrive in the harsh climate characteristic to the region. Nevertheless, small-scale farmers typically grow rain-fed cereal crops and legumes for their own subsistence, even though returns are low and increasingly unpredictable as a result of climate change (see figure 1, that illustrates trends of increasing temperature and diminishing rainfall, yet more frequent storms). In support of the Government’s “Plan Maroc Vert”, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is funding the Rural Development in the Mountain Zones Programme (PDRZM) to increase the profitability and resilience of small farm businesses in Sefrou and Azilal provinces and expand tree crop surfaces by more than 2,000 ha, split between apples, plums, walnuts, almonds and carob.

    In each target community, the technical package promoted by PDRZM is identified jointly by local farmers organizations, government extension services and project staff. The project’s “toolbox” contains a mix of adapted technologies. Drip irrigation, for instance, conserves diminishing water resources and is well suited for fruit trees, such as apples and plums, which maintain a high enough economic value to offset the capital costs of the system. The introduction of drip irrigation has the potential to be transformative. Landscapes that predominantly feature grain cultivation and livestock raising, may over time gradually convert to orchards in a more diversified and market-oriented production mix.

    In the Ait Sbaa Cooperative of Sefrou province, a Farmer Field School was established to train apple growers in the use of drip irrigation and rational pest-management techniques. To create additional employment, particularly for women, the project will provide a matching grant for the establishment of a refrigerated storage and fruit transformation unit. Cold storage and fruit drying give rural producers the option to hold onto their production for marketing when the prices are more favourable, which is particularly important for apples, whose farm-gate price is halved at harvest time. In Bougrinia Cooperative, also in Sefrou, an innovative plum dryer powered by crushed olive seeds has been installed, dramatically reducing both the cost of operation and the greenhouse gas emissions of the unit.

    In Sidi Ahmed Ben Driss cooperative in Azilal province, the project trained and equipped a youth group for the production of briquettes using the crushed seed and pulp that is the by-product of olive oil extraction. This simple, easily-replicable unit has created 3 permanent jobs, reduced the amount of waste from oil extraction and provides local schools – and eventually local residents – with an alternative to firewood as a fuel for heating and cooking.

    Where traditional gravity surface irrigation systems exist, the project is investing to reduce losses. In the Slilou watershed for example, nearly 9,000 m of canals are being restored and lined with concrete. To ensure sustainable and equitable management of these irrigation perimeters, the project established a total of 24 Agricultural Water Users Associations (AUEA) and supports them with training to ensure adequate operation and management of the systems.

    The project was also been able to generate “quick wins”, which is a real challenge when working with tree crops that typically require several years before entering production. In Azilal, 16,000 wild male carob trees, with limited productive potential, were grafted with female transplants, allowing for a marked increase in production within one year of the operation. Similarly, 10,000 walnut trees were pruned, fertilized and the ground immediately adjacent profiled to enhance water infiltration. It’s worth noting that the pruning of the walnut trees were initially questioned by some beneficiaries (Won’t a smaller tree give less nuts?). The project thus decided to operate in phases, allowing beneficiaries to see for themselves the benefits of the pruning on a sample of trees before it is generalized.

    By establishing a typology of profitable interventions, such as the ones described above, the project hopes to facilitate the replication of profitable and resource-efficient approaches throughout the “Plan Maroc Vert”.

    Young rural Moroccans interviewed by the Project Mid-Term Review team in November 2017 testified that, if life on the farm is about judicious resource management and business acumen – as opposed to just hard back-breaking work – then they’re ready to embark on such a journey.

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    By Enika Bushi

    The Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (PICSA) is all about giving farmers the information and confidence to make informed decisions. It invites farmers to 'sit at the table' giving them insight, and a wider suite of options to help them, and all of us, succeed in achieving food security. 

    On 20 February 2018, IFAD held an in-house Climate and Environment Lecture on the PICSA approach.

    The lecture was moderated by IFAD's Stephen Twomlow and delivered by Professor Peter Dorward, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading; Roger Stern, Emeritus Professor of Applied Statistics, University of Reading and Graham Clarkson, Senior Research Fellow, School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, with considerable experience of research into agricultural innovation systems in sub Saharan Africa.

    PICSA has been implemented in 14 countries to date, supporting tens of thousands of farmers to make better use of climate adaptive practices and technologies, ultimately leading to increased food security.

    IFAD has, for the first time, integrated PICSA within one of its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) funded projects on wool and mohair promotion in Lesotho (WAMPP). It is also the first time that PICSA will be orientated towards livestock farmers, rather than crop producers.

    How we do it

    PICSA’s success relies on working through extension services and NGOs and placing a particular emphasis on supporting farmers to make their own choices appropriate in their own contexts.

    It does so through the use of a range of participatory decision making tools, together with new and historical information on climate management options. Furthermore, it combines climate, crop, livestock and livelihood information with tools that farmers can use to decide the best option for them by means of new enterprises or by better managing existing enterprises.

    PICSA tries to address the challenge of climate information by focusing on two key elements: historical weather records and climate forecasting. The activities start long before the growing season when farmers are taught by experts to understand historical graphs of their region’s temperature, rainfall, and seasonal cycles.

    The first stage involves working with groups of farmers before the harvest to analyze historical climate information and to develop crop, livestock and livelihood options that suit each farmer best. This is done by using participatory tools such as resource allocation maps.

    The second stage, which takes place just before and during the planting season, involves extension staff and farmers going over the practical implications of weather forecasts on the strategies developed in the first stage. Part of the goal here is to make extension workers more comfortable working with data.

    It is clear to see that farmers are at the heart and the centre of the approach. Climate change is both a challenge and opportunity, and PICSA enables farmers to choose which livelihood options are most appropriate to their personal situation, whatever the weather.

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    By Magali Marguet and Ritik Joshi

    "We are happy now because we have a sustainable income source in the form of our home gardens and now we can afford to send out children to school" are some words from Ms Khoun, a 38 year old woman with a family of six, including three children. Ms Khoun is an active farmer. She owns a farm with three other families in Thetsaban, a village in Samouay district, Laos.

    She has been a farmer for a long time, but she only produced a small number of vegetables, most of which were to feed her family and sometimes generate a small income. Before any of the new plantation techniques were introduced, she used to plant vegetables using the traditional way. Farming rice as a major consumption crop and planting vegetables only in the non-rice planting seasons, following which Ms Khoun had three months of food shortage every year. All family members lived in a small hut and, overall, living conditions were poor.

    Ms Khoun has been a beneficiary of the Southern Laos Food and Nutrition Security and Market Linkages Programme (FNML) since 2015. The FNML operates in five districts across three of Lao's southern provinces: Phouvong and Xansay in Attapeu Province, Ta'Oy and Samuay in Salavan Province and Dakcheung in Sekong province, which stand among the poorest districts of the country.  Development objectives are to ensure sustainable food and nutrition security and income generation for households in the target area.

    The programme will support improved techniques and practices to maximise agricultural output both for food and cash crops, while maintaining soil fertility and reducing negative environmental impact. It will promote farmer-driven innovation, based on an enhanced understanding of agro-ecological systems and of the consequences of agricultural practices and inputs on biological processes and ecosystems. Aside from supporting food security through increased agriculture production and marketing, the programme will promote improved nutrition through a combination of capacity building, development of home gardening, and improved access to water and sanitation.

    FNML's intervention supported the development of smallholder production beyond subsistence farming. Before the programme Ms Khoun's production was not able to meet the household needs all year long, but afterwards she started having a surplus. Her children went around the village to sell her vegetables and they were sold out every time. Adapting to the idea, Ms Khoun started expanding her garden area to produce more vegetables to sell in the district market and to neighbours. Progressively increasing her production allowed her to start selling wholesale at the district market and at the farm gate, catering to the demands of local restaurants and building up return customers.

    The project allowed Ms Khoun to overcome many challenges that she faced in the past when growing vegetables, due to her lack of techniques and instruments. She used to practice slash and burn cultivation, sow her seeds without any seed beds and relied solely on rain for irrigation. Now, after receiving training from field staff on the preparation of plots, developing nurseries, fencing, putting up shade net covers, irrigation system, etc., she and other villagers can use capital and labour efficiently and produce high profits in return.

    Through FNML's support she has now signed contract farming with wholesale traders. While gaining knowledge and experience on various farming models and technology through farmer to farmer study tours. She has also applied for a micro irrigation scheme under one of the programme interventions, which according to her calculations, can increase her income generation by increasing organic vegetable production. With the technical training she received from FNML's field staff on various topics, now her home garden is adapted with integrated and climate resilient crops in order to diversify food security and cater to the demands of different customers. She practices the crop rotation model religiously to maintain soil fertility and avoid erosion.

    Due to the lack of vegetable and crops in the market during the rainy season, Ms Khoun can sell her produce at good prices as she practices home gardening all year round. By selling her vegetables she can now generate around 600,000 Kips or US$ 75 per month, around US$ 900 per year. She invests her income in seeds, meat, fish, cooking ingredients for her family, sending her children to school, clothes, books and saving for emergency or medical needs. 

    Before the programme supported Ms Khoun in 2015, her family had been classified as living under poor conditions by the district authorities. A recent survey by the district authorities has elevated her household to a medium status and she has started building a new permanent house.

    With her diligence in acquiring knowledge and active participation in agricultural activities, she is now considered a "lead farmer" of FNML and trains existing and new farmer groups from her district on growing vegetables for consumption and commercialisation, production of organic fertiliser, compost, time management and collective farming models.

    Because of such perseverance her group members elected her to be the group leader of the agricultural production group (APG) from other villages. As a result, she has become more confident and can now do things independently which she considered impossible before, from operating bank accounts to getting materials for her garden.

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    Rome, 14 February 2018 – On the second day of IFAD's Governing Council 2018, the interactive session "Multilateralism – Opportunities and challenges" reflected on the prospects and role of multilateralism and multilateral institutions in realizing the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda. The session was typified by a dynamic interaction between Governors and panellists, with the use of polling technology for the first time at IFAD's Governing Council enabling the moderator, Johannes Linn, Senior Fellow at Brookings Institute, to pose several salient questions to the audience to gage opinion in the room and feed the debate.

    The panel for the event comprised:
    • Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency,
    • Martha Elena Federica Bárcena Coqui, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to Rome-based United Nations Organizations of the United Mexican States,
    • David Nabarro, Director of 4SD – Skills, Systems and Synergies for Sustainable Development, and
    • Alvaro Lario, Associate Vice-President, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Controller, Financial Operations Department, IFAD.

    The world needs more, not less, multilateralism
    Despite a global context in which, as noted by Linn, "there are plenty of sceptics of multilateralism these days", the audience indicated broad agreement that more multilateral engagement is needed to address global challenges. And the perception that multilateralism generally is in a state of crises was strongly challenged by panellists. "Multilateralism has brought us enormous progress – the 2030 Agenda and the way it was negotiated represents a new paradigm and the Paris Agreement on climate change would have been unthinkable decades ago. We should not be excessively negative on a 'crisis' of the multilateral system," stated Bárcena Coqui, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to Rome-based United Nations Organizations of the United Mexican States, and panellist for the session.

    At the same time, it was acknowledged that challenges such as globalization, inequality and increasing pressures on national budgets were calling for changes in the way the multilateral system and its institutions operate. While creating unprecedented wealth, globalization, for example, is leaving many of the poorest people and countries behind. Several Governors expressed concern that not everyone is benefitting from current multilateral approaches, with many smallholder farmers for example being excluded from opportunities to access finance and export markets.  "Multilateral systems need to be adapted to find solutions," said Mayaki.

    New mindsets and new approaches to multilateralism
    Fresh ways of approaching and finding solutions to problems are needed, emphasizing partnerships and multi-stakeholder approaches. As stressed by Nabarro, this means focusing on challenges rather than the role of individual institutions. And it means prioritizing those at risk of being left behind. "Movements of multiple stakeholders for change is the key term," he suggested.

    Global solutions are needed for global problems. There was wide agreement in the room that this means more partnerships – encompassing a wider range of stakeholders – for food security and nutrition. Smallholders and their organizations must be central to these partnerships, as emphasized by Nigeria. It is crucial that multilateral systems support small farmers and extend systems to enable especially young farmers to access finance and markets.

    In this respect, IFAD is a key part of the multilateral architecture. Equally, the role of national governments is obviously crucial alongside multilateral actions. And national policies and strategies must reflect the success of individual projects from multilateral actors such as IFAD in order to scale up progress towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

    A new vision for IFAD
    As pointed out by Germany, multilateralism is expensive and the ambitions of the SDGs require new financing arrangements in order to be realized. Against a global context of high pressure on national funding, an increasing focus on co-financing and private financing was inevitable, pointed out Lario.

    The question of IFAD prudentially engaging in private capital markets to expand its capacity was put to the audience, with tentatively positive, though mixed responses from the audience. Looking to the future, as well as ensuring value for money, IFAD needs to step up its impact by focusing on key themes such as youth, gender, climate and nutrition, around which mainstreaming commitments have been made during the replenishment consultation for IFAD11. A future vision, against a reformed UN system is for IFAD to have an "more borrowing capacity...[and] a bigger impact," Lario put forward.

    Concluding the session, Linn emphasized the importance of multilateral financing institutions to leverage resources efficiently and prudentially, but also called on countries to support multilateral institutions to avoid a future scenario where the means to deal with global problems will no longer exist. Linn urged multilateral institutions to speak up for themselves and their role in addressing global problems such as hunger, poverty and climate change – a salient message on the day that the IFAD11 Consultation reached its conclusion.

    David Suttie

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    Second International Agro-Industry Investment Forum
    5 to 8 March 2018, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

    IFAD participated in the Forum’s session on Financing opportunities for the business sector, where representatives of multilateral development banks, international financial institutions and national banks highlighted the opportunities and challenges for accessing finance for investment in agro-industries and manufacturing in Ethiopia.

    From left to right: Dr Gebrehiwot Ageba, Faculty of Business and Economics, Addis Ababa University (moderator); Mr Admassu Tadesse, President and Chief Executive Officer, Trade and Development Bank; Mr Getahun Nana, President, Development Bank of Ethiopia; Dr Abdul Kamara, Country Director for Ethiopia, AfDB; Dr Ulac Demirag, Country Director for Ethiopia and South Sudan, IFAD; Dr Yohannes Ayalew, Vice-Governor, National Bank of Ethiopia; and Mr Adamou Labara, Country Manager for Ethiopia, International Finance Corporation.

    Hosted by the Government of Ethiopia and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Second International Agro-Industry Investment Forum is taking place in Addis Ababa on 5-8 March 2018. The Forum is expected to bring together around 2,000 participants from the public and private sectors, including senior officials of the Government of Ethiopia and other partner countries. The aim of the forum is to mobilize private investment in light manufacturing with a particular focus on sectors with high growth potential, namely agro-processing, textiles and garments, and leather and leather products, as well as related sectors such as packaging and renewable energy.
    Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing non-oil producing economies in the world and is increasingly becoming a major investment destination. Foreign Direct Investment rose by 46 per cent to US$3.2 billion from 2015 to 2016, driven by investments in infrastructure and manufacturing. However, the country needs greater investment to unleash the potential of the agricultural sector, which employs about 80 per cent of the population and depends upon fragile natural resources, and to achieve agricultural transformation.

    As part of the Growth and Transformation Plan, the country´s flagship development programme, the government has identified the development of labour-intensive light manufacturing and Agro-industrial Parks (AIPs) as priorities for accelerating industrialization. In this regard, AIPs are being designed as one stop shops that avail "plug and play" infrastructure and related services to national and international investors. Currently, six AIPs have started operation, and seven more are in the pipeline, in addition to five more AIPs developed by private investors. These AIPs are expected to create new opportunities for farmers to access local and international markets with incentives for smallholders to increase their productivity, resulting in incomes and employment creation along rural value chains. They have the potential to become strong drivers for rural and agricultural transformation in Ethiopia. 

    During his intervention, IFAD’s Mr Demirag stressed that the success of investments in the agribusiness sector, will depend on the performance of the respective value chains overall. In this regard, he emphasized the need to support smallholder farmers transform their subsistence low input, low output production system into well-performing business-like productive systems. He highlighted the areas in which governments and development partners should collaborate to strengthen the capacity of the farmers to deliver, including: investment in public goods, such as regulations and infrastructure; technical assistance to support producers to meet the market in terms of productivity and quality and facilitating viable commercial linkages and cooperation between the value chain actors. In addition, he pointed out specific instruments that the public sector and development partners could offer such as partial credit guarantees, insurance and matching grants on capital investments, an instrument that IFAD has piloted successfully in Ghana. Mr Demirag also noted the opportunities to strengthen the supply side, enhancing banks’ understanding of the agribusiness sector and establishing a culture of collaboration among the various actors in the value chains, based on their common and specific interests in order to reduce risks. Finally, he highlighted key policy instruments that could increase access to finance for farmers and investors along the value chains. In concluding, he stressed the need for the Government to strengthen implementation of social and environmental safeguards as to ensure the sustainability for all investments in the sector.

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    A recent studyundertaken by CARE International examines IFAD’s performance fostering gender equality and women’s empowerment, observing a selection of eight projects in the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). The study is a reality-check on how ASAP-supported projects are translating gender mainstreaming commitments into implementation practice.

    The study highlighted a number of projects that offer demonstrable benefits for women. For example, the staff of the Adaptation to Climate Change in the Delta (AMD) project in Vietnam reported that investments in irrigation technologies have enabled women, who formerly spent half a day irrigating their fields, to complete the task in just 15 minutes.

    The Post-Harvest Support Project (PASP) in Rwanda has similarly trained 160 GALS champions (women and men) who have in turn trained another 200 women and 200 men. Participants spoke of the benefits of the experience, including improved relations with their spouse, pooling money for shared benefits within the household, and making joint decisions about household expenses. 

    The main findings and recommendations provide additional insights into how investments, capacities and processes can lead to better outcomes for women in smallholder adaptation projects. Among the findings, the study highlights the need to move beyond tracking women’s participation in project activities, and develop a more thorough understanding of what participation means in these cases. Participation may be important for women’s economic empowerment through increased access to inputs such as land and capital, but the evidence that participation necessarily leads to improved economic outcomes is anecdotal across most projects.

    In addition, the study makes the case for additional investment in staff capacity. IFAD’s Gender Marker System (a method to assess gender sensitivity of IFAD projects) advocates for applied practices such as conducting gender and power analyses to inform project design and implementation. However, gender analyses and action plans need the attention of a dedicated gender focal point on staff whose job it is to ensure that gender mainstreaming is a high priority. The study notes, ‘one danger is that when gender mainstreaming is considered everyone’s responsibility – with no specific budgets, roles, responsibilities and/or plans assigned – it will fall between the cracks of project commitments.’ It goes on to state that the most promising ASAP projects in terms of gender equity are those that have a full-time gender focal point trained in gender transformative methodologies such as Gender Action Learning Systems (GALS).

    Finally, the study points to the necessity of building capacities of local partners and institutions. Since IFAD projects are largely managed by government ministries and departments, and are strongly integrated with government strategies, sustained attention should be given to promoting the skills and capacities within the ministries that would ensure gender issues are sufficiently mainstreamed in programme activities. Critically, supporting local commitments to foster gender equity and women’s empowerment can in turn influence the political will and the overall investment in gender mainstreaming by government ministries and departments.

    All ASAP projects were found to be aware of the different practical needs of women and men. However, the study argues, more needs to be done to understand how project activities foster equitable decision-making within the household.  

    The gender assessment produced by CARE is an important critique and reflection on the organizational processes that are in place to mainstream gender concerns over the project cycle. While notable milestones have been achieved, the literature cautions that much work remains to be done to ensure that, operationally, support for gender transformative activities are embedded in climate change adaptation efforts.

    Related links

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    Innovation in development
    The world we live in today calls for joint efforts to create a more inclusive and sustainable development. We have a global commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Agriculture is at the centre of the SDGs as it is directly linked to SDG1, SDG2, SDG3, SDG5, SDG8, SDG12, SDG13 and SDG15. Farming as business is only possible if smallholder farmers have the opportunity to integrate the latest technology, innovation and outcomes of crosscutting scientific developments in agricultural research: Smart innovative systems which create jobs and income, and contribute to adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts need to bring more science into development to bridge these two gaps. As required by SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals and as the catalyst of agricultural research for development, IFAD organized a workshop in Kenya from 21 to 22 February 2018 and brought together 80 participants from 23 institutions and 16 IFAD-EC jointly funded research projects to provide a platform to demonstrate the achievements of the projects, and to identify, discuss and pave the way forward to respond to issues facing smallholder farming communities and also for the evaluation of the 2013 EC Contribution programme. (The first workshop of these series was held in India, June 2017.

    The workshop was structured around two themes: (i) Putting research into use; application of proven agricultural technologies and innovations developed under the EU 2013 programme to impact positively on the livelihoods, nutrition and, build resilience of famers to climate change and other shocks, and (ii) Collaborative partnerships between CGIAR Centres, IFAD, the EU Delegation and Government of Kenya to catalyse utilization of research outputs for development outcomes and impact.

    Putting research into practice
    IFAD grants are expected to enhance the effectiveness of development investments. To achieve this, grant recipients and agencies implementing IFAD-funded projects need to continuously work together so that the grants can address concrete problems faced by smallholders targeted in the investment projects. 

    The EU is committed to financing agricultural research which contributes directly to development outcomes and impact per se, and enhances development investments. The goal of the EC-funded grants is to put research into use at scale in sustainable agricultural systems with large potential impacts on nutrition and resilience. 

    At the COP22 meeting in 2016, there was a fundamental paradigm shift in the relationship between agriculture and climate change. As a consequence, The European Commission will provide EUR 270 million, over the next three years (2018-2020) to foster a strong climate change focus in agriculture and food systems research for development. Also, the commitment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to match this funding with a US$ 300 million pledge over the same period (2018-2020) will boost climate change related innovations through research in agriculture in most of the developing countries. 

    Given the size of the challenge and the need for urgent action, the European Commission and IFAD have started identifying joint priority investments towards putting research into use, fostering innovation in farming and food systems, and ensuring their climate relevance under the Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D) programme. The AR4D programme is currently under implementation and targets 14 countries, including Kenya, with a total budget of US$12.2 million (IFAD funded) and EUR 30.3 million (EU funded).

    The generation of scientific knowledge and applied innovations encompasses agronomy for primary production, technology for all steps of agro-processing, general organisation along the value chains, and focus on major activities to increase job creation and food security and nutrition. This effort also increases knowledge and evidence needed for policies and investment decisions. 

    Dr Malu Ndavi, IFAD; Mr Bernard Rey, EU

    The EU and IFAD recognise the significant milestones achieved in Kenya through agricultural research, including improved infrastructure for research and development, innovations in the crop, livestock and fisheries sector, natural resources management, human capacity development and institutional strengthening; policy formulation and improved crop management practices. 

    Learning from other countries 
    One of the challenges facing all projects is avoiding costly investments in research which have been successfully conducted elsewhere. EU and IFAD research investments balance upstream discovery research to generate international public goods for adaptation and replication globally. At the same time, context-specific adaptive research should tailor solutions to local farming systems, consumer preferences, and socioeconomic circumstances. Policy-related research can generate evidence to create an enabling environment for agriculture and rural development so that research complements development investments in order to maximise development outcomes and impact. 

    In this context, the Principal Secretary for Agriculture - Indian State of Uttar Pradesh noted that India and Africa have common agenda and share similarities in a number of fields. To this end, he pledged that in the framework of South-South cooperation, for instance India and IRRI will make it possible to share a number of success stories. While noting that the contexts could be different, he urged that SSA can adapt or adopt what works for it in their own specific circumstances and discard what is not relevant and learn from each other. He reiterated that as much as he is perceived to have brought with him a number of technologies, innovations and experiences to share, he has equally learned a lot regarding Africa's circumstances. For instance, he explicitly mentioned that he intends to adopt the sorghum technology that was evidenced by both ICRISAT and KCEP-CRAL video documentary

    Partnerships are key
    What are the main lessons from the workshop? The workshop participants raised a number of critical issues during the workshop and the IFAD's World Café. The World Café session was a dedicated platform for participants especially CGIAR centres to have in-depth interactions with IFAD investments portfolio in Kenya thereby creating opportunity to strengthen partnership. The workshop offered an opportunity to foster and expand South-South collaboration and initiatives between India's research institutions, namely the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and NARES as well as IFAD supported projects in Kenya, for example. Similar partnerships are being explored for instance between IRRI Asia and IRRI-AfricaRice, the emerging partnership model has important implications for IRRI-Africa Rice. 

    • The workshop recommended a follow up of specific initiatives to design workable partnership models; Providing a clear focus on the role of research (science and innovation) on various sectors (food, nutrition, and income security, NRM and environmental resilience, Policy and Institutional innovations, capacity development, among others); 
    • The workshop discussed and made proposals on workable collaborative and strategic partnerships to enhance synergies, complementarities while minimizing duplication of efforts and fostering working relationships between research, extension and private sector (Triangular relationships); 
    • Of significance, the workshop underscored the need to underpin the AR4D with Innovative Institutional, financial and technical strategies and approaches which are critical for the success of the African agricultural sector to come out of its present non-performing status and realize real transformation. For instance, adopting extension system with built incentives for farmers and agricultural sector investors can jump-start agricultural sector GDP growth.
    • Coupled with the above is the application of ICT-driven infrastructure development that would be critical for accelerated transformation; 
    • Capacity development of smallholder farmers, youth and women in agriculture was identified as imperative for investment to enhance capacities and competences of agricultural stakeholders as custodians in the transformation vision; 
    • The workshop noted that any meaningful transformation in the African agricultural sector must be matched by an equal amount of commitment. For instance, the Maputo Declaration by African Governments to allocate 10 per cent of the National Budget for Agricultural spending still remains a pipe dream except for seven countries that have attained this commitment.
    • The workshop recommended strategies to stimulate and strengthen Private sector investment by initiating incentive schemes such as direct benefit transfer (as applicable in India), the e-voucher input subsidy schemes in KCEP-CRAL as well as strengthening Private sector investment in agricultural value chain as a promising way forward.  

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    This post has been reposted from Agroforestry World

    Researchers are co-developing ways of ensuring scientific data and information is useable by the people who need it.

    We all know the basic concept of supply and demand in economics, which makes sense in most settings: the more demand for something, the more supply is needed to meet it. Put the spotlight on scientific research and the relationship between supply and demand becomes a bit skewed. The suppliers (researchers and scientists) are often completely disconnected from the demand side, which can consist of anyone from policy makers to farmers. This means that some of the best available science and evidence often never reaches the people who demand it and, if it does, it’s commonly in a format that is too complex to understand and therefore also often not useful as input into decision-making processes.

    The problem is clear. Now how do we address it? This question guided our team of geospatial (clever mappers and modellers), soil (people who really know about the brown stuff in the ground) and decision scientists (who understand how we humans interact and negotiate) at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in developing the Earth Observation Project for the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

    To boost our ‘supply’ suitcase, ICRAF partnered with the European Space Agency, which has allowed access to some of the best satellite images of the African continent, complementing data and information we collect in the field using a process known as the Land Degradation Surveillance Framework.

    Data is collected from satellite images, ground surveys and mathematical models from lots of sites around the world to better understand the state of the land and how it changes over time. In Sub-Saharan Africa, this is important because over half of the labour force is dependent on farming for their livelihoods. Understanding the ‘health’ of the land is a critical piece of evidence for any donor, project manager or policy maker, and transferring that information in the right form to the primary users of the land: farmers.

    In our case, the aim is to assist IFAD with their projects in East and Southern Africa by using our science on land health, combined with information on agricultural production and incomes, to ensure easy access and, more importantly, the skills and know-how to interpret data and evidence for planning, reporting and targeting where investments should be made.

    So how can we convert scientific, detailed information into the most accessible form for decision makers? And who exactly are they? To address the ‘how’ we aim to make data easy to access and understand through the development of ‘dashboards’. These dashboards are co-developed with end-users and consist of a collection of multiple data sources and tools, where information can be accessed and visualized in a central location (usually online).

    Developing data-access platforms has proven to be a popular and effective way of displaying data. Emerging data principles and data visualization forums stress the importance of designing for the user, ensuring ownership and sustainability. Taking into account these emerging guidelines and lessons, and using a stakeholder-engagement method developed by ICRAF’s SHARED decision hub, we have been working closely over the past six months with IFAD project teams, governments and partner organizations in Uganda and Kenya to develop customized dashboards. SHARED decision scientists introduce approaches often used in the world of marketing in this phase of the work to understand, ‘who is our end user, what do they want, and what catalyses change’?

    Engaging closely with IFAD’s country teams, we began the process of co-developing tools and dashboards for Uganda and Kenya with a ‘co-design’ training workshop at ICRAF’s Nairobi headquarters, 14–15 February 2018, in which 35 people representing IFAD projects in Uganda and Kenya participated.

    They were led through innovation sessions to discover their decision-making and planning cycles, to understand where data access and sharing could assist them in their current work and future planning, and the types of stakeholders they interact with.

    These planning sessions were complemented by a live demonstration in the field on how to collect information on soil and land health using established indicators. Participants were also introduced to IFAD’s approach to collecting information on socioeconomic data, such as education, poverty and income. Interactive sessions were held to explore existing data access dashboards developed by ICRAF.

    We then facilitated a ‘design lab’ session to understand the potential and intended users. Imagining we were in a large IT company’s design lab working on the next mobile phone, participants rolled up their creative sleeves and were taken through a dashboard design session, identifying what kind of data-access system they wanted. Individual designs were presented to country teams to develop a dashboard that would best serve the projects.

    This ‘co-design’ is something we are passionate about and proud of. Drawing on techniques, including user experience and interface designs from the outset of the project, intended end users are defining what they want and how they want to access it. We hope this will ensure that we can provide the best available science, including our niche in Earth observation satellite data and land health (soil and vegetation) information, into the hands of those who make decisions.

    We all left the workshop feeling excited about the way forward, with a clear sense of what capacities we have to build and how we could communicate quickly and effectively as we create prototypes and build our country dashboards and data systems to readily support planning, monitoring and reflection.

    Next month, we head to Southern Africa to meet our co-design teams from Lesotho and Swaziland. So, stay tuned for our next story where we reveal the first look and feel of our evolving dashboards and share key findings from both regions.

    This blog was co-authored by Leigh Winowiecki, Constance Neely, Mieke Bourne and Tor-Gunnar Vagen.

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    By Marian Odenigbo, IFAD Senior Technical Specialist

    Increasingly, development partners and stakeholders are promoting awareness on nutrition mainstreaming. It was so interesting to see enthusiastic workshop participants from IFAD projects in 10 countries in the East and Southern Africa region in a quest for exploring opportunities to accelerate nutrition mainstreaming in development projects. IFAD and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security of Botswana hosted this learning and capacity building workshop in Maun, Botswana from 5-7 March 2018.

    Workshop participants hailed from different types of investment projects, ranging from natural resource management, climate-smart agriculture, irrigation, agricultural production and productivity, fisheries, livestock, agribusiness, value chain and rural finance interventions. The attendees from Botswana, as well, were drawn from various sectors, including health, agriculture and veterinary services. This workshop was a successful, structured, three-day learning event which benefited from the support of FAO and WFP under the auspice of Rome-based food and agriculture agencies (RBA) collaborative initiative.

    The overall goals of the event were to:
    • Promote a better understanding of basic nutrition knowledge and the integration of cross-cutting issues in nutrition mainstreaming in agriculture and rural development projects 
    • Create awareness of existing resources that the project staff can access to support nutrition mainstreaming in their project interventions 
    • Better define the roles and responsibilities of the nutrition focal points at project level.

    Raising awareness on nutrition
    The official opening session saw the Minister of Agriculture, the Hon. Patrick Pule Ralotsia, touching on some of the more pressing factors of nutrition situation. According to Hon. Ralotsia, “What you eat determines how far you can go”. He went further in emphasising the importance of preventing malnutrition instead of treating its consequences by stating that “Any Government that takes nutrition seriously will convert hospitals into schools”. Exponents of the Ministry of Agriculture were all in agreement that thinking in terms of agricultural production alone was not enough to solve the rampant issues of malnutrition, and that nutrition education as well as focusing on expanding dietary diversity were key factors in in solving malnutrition at the country level.

    Opening session of the workshop: Hon. Patrick Pule Ralotsia, Minister of Agriculture (3rd person from right)

    As part of the opening session, one of the project focal points, Mr Jeronimo Francisco (a nutrition expert in PRONEA Support Project, Mozambique) introduced a short video detailing the efforts on raising nutrition awareness and the promotion of nutrition sensitive interventions in Mozambique. Specifically, the video showcased the activities of extension workers on promoting good nutrition through culinary demonstrations units in the communities. 

    The workshop started with an interactive nutrition awareness session facilitated by Boitshepo "Bibi" Giyose, senior Nutrition Officer in FAO/ NEPAD. This session as asked questions about nutrition, "Is boosting agricultural production enough to solve malnutrition?" and "Is macronutrient deficiency more important than micronutrient deficiency?".

    Leveraging Rome-based agency collaboration for nutrition at country level
    The workshop involved training sessions with the support of FAO and WFP colleagues, and IFAD staff from HQ, regional and country offices. Among the topics confronted by the agencies were the multiple burdens of malnutrition at the individual, community and national levels, which was presented by Gertrude Kara, the HIV, Gender and Nutrition Officer, FAO. Mrs Pontsho Sepoloane, WFP nutrition officer, dwelt on the cost of inaction on malnutrition. IFAD’s Isabel de la Peña delved into the role of agriculture in addressing malnutrition, presenting the key features of nutrition sensitive agriculture and rural development investments. Participants were introduced to the Integrated Impact Pathways approach for nutrition mainstreaming, which analyses how project activities contribute to improving household and individual nutrition, at output, outcome and, ultimately, impact level. Emphasis was made on the multidimensional nature of malnutrition and, consequently, the importance of the convergence of interventions in food security, water, sanitation and hygiene, care practices, sustainable and climate-smart agriculture, as well as the targeting of women and female youth for maximized impact on reducing malnutrition.

    Consolidating knowledge on nutrition
    During the first group work exercise, participants identified the underlying factors of malnutrition and emphasized the importance of reducing the impact of the AIDS epidemic and improving water safety. Addressing nutrition education and local ingredient sourcing with cooking demonstrations and utilising local media such as community radio was one of the more important suggestions made. The outcomes of the first group work then fed into the second exercise, during which each of the groups constructed an integrated impact pathway to illustrate how each case study would contribute to improving nutrition among target beneficiaries. Special care was taken by the participants to find linkages with gender, youth and climate issues with the nutrition activities they suggested.

    Learning and experience sharing on nutrition mainstreaming
    In light of IFAD's current mainstreaming approach which promotes horizontal integration of the different cross-cutting themes, a panel discussion was held on issues related to nutrition nexus with climate, environment, gender, women empowerment and youth. Resource persons were drawn from the regional technical experts in gender and climate as well as representatives from an international organization and a local NGO for practical experiences on the integrated approach in project interventions. 

    Marie Clarisse Chanoine, the technical specialist in environmental and climate change adaptation in IFAD projects explained the nutrition co-benefits of climate smart initiatives and how investments in climate change adaptation and mitigation at different scales could impact on nutrition. 

    Elizabeth Ssendiwala, the IFAD Regional Gender and Youth Coordinator for the East and Southern African Region highlighted the issues on women empowerment, targeting vulnerable groups including the youth for improved nutrition. She also emphasised the importance of intersecting the focus on nutrition with that on gender issues, being sure to include nutritionally at risk groups in a multifaceted approach to project interventions. 

    Dr Amegovu Kiri Andrew, the executive director of Andre Foods International (AFI) a local NGO in Uganda shared his experiences on the promotion of good nutrition. 

    Gábor Figeczky the Head of Global Policy at IFOAM - Organics International gave his compelling insights on how the use of innovations and networking are accelerating the work on nutrition.
    The lessons and experience shared on nutrition mainstreaming was backed up by a storytelling session held by four IFAD project coordinators: Kwibisa Liywalii (E-SAPP, Zambia), Martin Liywalii (S3P, Zambia), Rakotonaivo Hary Lala (FORMAPROD, Madagascar) and Dixon Ngwende (RLEEP, Malawi). Key points were raised, such as the importance of having clear nutrition indicators and objectives, and interfacing with existing government infrastructure, including the Universities and district-level officers. Some of the major challenges faced were also pointed out- balancing commercialisation and household consumption in agribusiness, the difficulty of nutrition retrofitting, and issues with coordination among ministries. According to Dixon Ngwende, nutrition retrofitting in an ongoing project should aim at cost-effective activities, as projects were not initially designed to accommodate nutrition activities in their budget. On a complementary note, Kwibisa Liywalii pointed to the importance of running a food and nutrition survey to inform nutrition initiatives. Rakotonaivo Hary Lala and Martin Liywalii pointed to interventions that could be accommodated within such constraints, such as youth vocational training in agriculture and including small livestock production at household-level. In finalizing this session, IFAD's corporate priority on nutrition was reiterated, and an introduction was given on the available resources to foster nutrition-sensitive interventions in on-going projects.

    Learning from the field
    The workshop participants were given the opportunity to visit four sites in Maun in order to observe or explore nutrition-sensitive initiatives. They were tasked to interact with the local farmers about their activities and to apply the knowledge acquired from the workshop for an integrated approach. The participants reconvened after the field visit to brainstorm and identify key ways in which nutrition was or was not being mainstreamed in the sites, and provide suggestions for a better integrated approach for nutrition linkage with gender and climate issues.

    One of the sites showcased the efforts of an independent agribusiness producer, Nonnie Wright, who runs a 120 ha dairy farm employing four women and two men. The participants pointed out the hiring of women, diversification of products and use of hygienic practices following the country's norms and regulations for dairy production as nutrition sensitive factors, but they also identified key issues such as inadequate fodder, lack of access to finance and the poor availability of fresh water. Suggestions were made for these issues, such as rain water harvesting, planting legumes and introducing horticulture, and exploring the possibility of applying for loans from gender empowerment funds to expand the herd and mechanize the farm so as to lower the work time burden and increase productivity. 

    Sereldi Farm field visit site in Maun, Botswana – demonstration of resources on site

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    Secure access to land for poor women and men living on newly created coastal islands – known locally as “chars” – in Bangladesh is one of many benefits resulting from the Char Development and Settlement Project. Over 11,800 families have been granted land titles, and a further 2,200 are in the process of doing so.

    The 143 communities with 29,000 households in the chars are vulnerable to cyclones and storm surges, floods and drainage congestion, droughts and salinity intrusion, erosion and deteriorating ecosystems. The chars are also culturally and socially conservative, leading to profound gender inequalities that affect the well-being of women. Then there is the issue of the illegal nature of land occupation, which results in a high degree of lawlessness and the risks of loss and physical harm for char settlers, especially women.

    The land titles are registered in the names of both wife and husband, with equal ownership shares. And the wife is named first on the title, which means that if she is widowed, divorced or abandoned, the land belongs entirely to her.

    Many beneficiaries have reported that as a result of receiving titles to their land, they feel confident and secure. This security has given many of them the impetus to improve or construct new housing and to increase their livestock, poultry and agricultural activities. The land titles and training provided are strengthening women’s influence in the family and society and giving them a legal role in many decisions. For example, child marriage still takes place, based on security reasons, household poverty and the misbelief that girls who have their first period are physically ready to become a mother. As a result of the social and gender awareness that the project provided, rates of child marriage have fallen – with 93 early marriages prevented between 2012 and 2016. Legal registration of marriage has increased, and violence against women is also less common.

    Through the project support to microcredit groups, women have been able to access credit and acquire machinery, such as small irrigation pumps and rice threshers, that reduces their manual labour. They have also taken training to improve their skills in livestock, fisheries, crop production, post-harvest technology and in other money-making activities, including tailoring. About 28,239 women borrowers have been provided (205 times) with credit and a total balance of saving accumulated is BDT 111 million, with a recovery rate of 98%. Access to water for domestic use has been vastly improved, and the average distance to a safe water source has fallen from 382 to 55 meter, saving women time and energy. All the household have hygienic latrines.

    Without a doubt, land titling has been effective in helping households to escape from insecurity and social marginalization, to form assets and to improve their livelihoods. Women in particular have taken great strides, strengthening their self-confidence and organizational skills and taking on decision-making and leadership roles for the first time. Mr Bazlul Karim, Deputy Team Leader and gender focal point of the project, says, “The government has been very supportive because when landless people started getting the land, their activities started revitalizing the whole area's economy. The land is used for farming and to build houses, and it brings large positive economic consequences.”

    IFAD Gender Awards winner 2017
    The Gender Awards spotlights a programme or project in each of IFAD’s five regions that has taken an innovative, transformative approach to addressing gender inequalities and empowering women. This year’s awards celebrate operations in Bangladesh, Colombia, Mauritania, Morocco and Mozambique.

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    Empowering disadvantaged indigenous and Afro-descendant women and men is essential to lasting peace in Colombia, which is rebuilding following 50 years of conflict. The IFAD-funded programme known as TOP supports efforts to boost the incomes and improve the working conditions of 50,000 rural families living in extreme poverty. In line with Government policy, the programme is using an inclusive strategy to overcome discriminatory practices and include women in all activities.

    “One of the most challenging issues we faced was the complete lack of associations and associative environment,” says: Lida Maria Melo, Programme Representative. “The people we worked with were not used to working together and it was very hard at the beginning, since the programme required at least 15 people per group. Also, working in remote rural areas was challenging because people had lost their trust in public institutions due to corruption and previous unsuccessful interventions from the central government. We managed to recover the credibility of the institutions, and our efforts enabled local people to regain trust in themselves, in their abilities and capacities. They felt empowered and felt the project as their own.”

    Of the 13,300 extremely poor families so far reached by TOP, 57 per cent are headed solely by women. This represents over 60 per cent of the total programme goal, which is to reach 12,500 vulnerable rural households headed by women. Incentives are also being provided for women’s participation within other targeted population groups, including young people and victims of armed conflict.

    With programme support, local associations of indigenous and Afro-descendant women have started a wide range of income-generating and post-conflict reconciliation activities, including eco-tourism, tailoring, agrifood enterprises, environmental rehabilitation and reforestation. In a vital contribution to post-conflict recovery, they are also displacing illicit crops and replacing them with food crops. “One of the success stories that impressed me the most the group El Progreso, a group of women who breed guinea pigs, which is a typical dish in Southern Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru,” says Melo. “Their association has existed for over 30 years, but it was this programme that finally made them visible and recognized publicly. It is incredible to watch them now selling their products in local markets and festivities in the local communities.”

    As participation in activities promoted by the programme increases women’s confidence and skills, they are also becoming active in areas that were previously men’s domain, including livestock raising. A group of women in Cauca Pacífico are now raising and fattening cattle for meat production. TOP has developed a knowledge management and communications strategy to ensure that it gives high visibility to women who take initiatives and drive change in their communities. Melo explains, “A well-organized campaign carried out with all the communication tools available has enabled us to ensure visibility. We engaged with key public and private actors to involve the local community and especially women, to make them visible.”

    IFAD Gender Awards winner 2017

    The Gender Awards spotlights a programme or project in each of IFAD’s five regions that has taken an innovative, transformative approach to addressing gender inequalities and empowering women. This year’s awards celebrate operations in Bangladesh, Colombia, Mauritania, Morocco and Mozambique.

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    Market gardening, harvesting forest products and rearing small livestock are a few of the activities enabling women and young people to earn an income through this IFAD-supported project in Mauritania.

    Among the activities, a total of 88 income-generation micro-projects are benefitting over 1,500 women and 1,000 young people, who make up more than 50 per cent of the project participants. Participants receive training and inputs to enable them to increase the quantity and quality of the goods they produce.

    Ahmed Ould Amar, project coordinator, explains, “Men started migrating to other regions to find a job, and so the area started being populated mainly by women. Women are responsible for many activities inside and outside the household, and we realized that it was crucial to focus on women's main issues: their economic activities and decision-making powers.”

    With support to develop their commercial skills, women have also increased their competitiveness and their ability to negotiate with market traders. Cereal banks have been established so that they can store produce and sell when the price is right.

    In addition to contributing to household income, they are increasing their role in family decision-making. The women have grown in confidence and increased their voice and influence outside their households as well: about 40 per cent of the decision-making roles in the producer organizations are now filled by women. Amar adds, “We have financed 191 projects, and 150 of them are agriculture-related projects in which women hold a central position.”

    “We have developed solutions to allow women to easily access drinking water well inside the villages,” says Amar. Improvements in access to drinking water have made a huge difference in the daily lives of women and girls, saving them an average of five hours per day and freeing their time and energy for education, money-making activities and participation in the community.

    The project has also invested in a wide range of educational activities, including literacy training, and sensitization on gender equality and the distribution of labour.

    IFAD Gender Awards winner 2017
    The Gender Awards spotlights a programme or project in each of IFAD’s five regions that has taken an innovative, transformative approach to addressing gender inequalities and empowering women. This year’s awards celebrate operations in Bangladesh, Colombia, Mauritania, Morocco and Mozambique.

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    Women in remote mountain villages in Morocco are making and managing their own money and gaining skills and independence through this IFAD-supported value chain project. The project started work in 2012, building on a previous project implemented between 2000 and 2011. Of the nearly 28,000 taking part, about 11,000 are women.

    The project has strengthened value chains for the primary products of the area – olives, apples, sheep and wool – enabling small farmers to increase the quantity and quality of their production and to connect with markets. Twelve cooperatives have been set up, allowing members to bulk their produce, and in this way increase their bargaining power and receive agricultural services. Six of these cooperatives are made up exclusively of women.

    The project focuses on mobilizing and training women to encourage them to participate all along the value chains, and not just at the production stage, where less money is made. “We worked with the women on strengthening their administrative and technical capacities through the partnerships that the project has forged, mainly with institutional partners, but also with partners from civil society,” says Bensassi Zaineb, Agrifood Specialist and Gender Focal Point, Provincial Department of Agriculture. “The teams that were set up are now reaping the fruits of their work, through the services they provide to agriculture and through farmer-to-farmer technology transfer, with farmers paying fees for outreach,” they explain. “Production has increased for all three value chains selected by the project: 38 per cent for olives, 28 per cent for apples and 20 per cent for sheep meat.”

    One of the realities of daily life in the mountain zones is that the women of the household always take care of feeding the livestock without benefiting from any profits on the livestock.

    Thus, the “two-sheep initiative” was created. Many of the women started by taking out a small loan through the project to buy two sheep. They then organized themselves together to build up their businesses, selling animals for the Eid Al-Adha religious festival and using the wool to make Berber carpets sold as far away as Marrakesh. Results documented by the project show that the “two-sheep initiative” has increased the incomes of participating households by as much as 60 per cent.

    “As the project went on, women wanted to diversify their income sources, so there was a beekeeping project and then an olive project, says Elmendili Abdellah, Provincial Director of Agriculture, Marrakesh. “Now we are into the environmental conservation system, so that all of the olive by-products that were being thrown away and that posed a threat to the environment are now being recycled to make soap and soft soap.”

    The project has also made an impact on a sphere that is less easy to measure. Women’s activities outside the household and their membership in producers’ associations and cooperatives have enabled them to build networks outside their districts of origin, increasing their independence and freedom of movement. “Women have become more involved in community institutions as elected representatives,” says Zaineb. “They are now present at the regional chamber of agriculture. All of this means that these women have now become part of the territory’s socio-economic fabric and are actively participating in the economic progress of their communities.”

    This is no small feat in a strongly patriarchal society. Says Abdellah, “One of the first things we did was to involve men and sensitize them around the need to have women involved in all tasks, beyond purely household tasks. In doing so, the men agreed to give up ground.”

    IFAD Gender Awards winner 2017
    The Gender Awards spotlights a programme or project in each of IFAD’s five regions that has taken an innovative, transformative approach to addressing gender inequalities and empowering women. This year’s awards celebrate operations in Bangladesh, Colombia, Mauritania, Morocco and Mozambique.

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    Women are increasingly getting their fair share of opportunities and advantages by participating in the Rural Markets Promotion Programme in the northern region of Mozambique, where two-thirds of the rural population is poor. Although this part of the country has good agricultural potential, farms there have some of the lowest yields in southern Africa. “The environment is conducive to high production and productivity, and to a diversity of crops,” says Robson Mutandi, IFAD Country Director. So how can the small-scale farmers in the region unlock this potential to rise out of subsistence farming? The answer is two-fold: producing surpluses, and marketing the surpluses. In other words, thinking of farming as a business and not just as a means for surviving day to day.

    “The programme was designed to promote the access of small-scale farmers to the market,” explains Carla Honwana, Programme Coordinator. “So some of the activities we are doing are building the capacities of farmer organizations, rehabilitating access roads, and improving access to market information and financial services. And fortunately women’s empowerment has featured strongly since the programme was designed.”

    In order to empower smallholders and enable them to connect to markets, the programme supports 500 farmer organizations, with women making up more than 50 per cent of the membership.  Much of the support takes the form of capacity-building and awareness-raising for these farmer organizations. “The really big thing I learned was to think like a businessperson,” says Isaltina Ali Trigo, a farmer. After taking training in literacy and numeracy, Ms Isaltina was able to use her new skills to calculate her food production, cut deals with buyers and seed suppliers, and to see her income grow. “Now I teach literacy to other people in my organization,” she adds.

    The training has also translated into women increasingly taking on leadership roles. In 2012, fewer than half of the organizations had women in leadership positions, and many of the positions were secretary or treasurer, traditional roles for women. By 2016, 75 per cent of the organizations had women leaders, with some holding the role of president.

    Ms Isaltina is not alone. Many women are now able to conduct business, and read and sign contracts, without fear of being cheated by traders or their husbands. And when the women sign marketing contracts, they get benefits that include guaranteed markets, better prices and inputs on credit. In 2012, only 4 per cent of contracts were signed by women, but by 2017 this had risen to 25 per cent and average earnings per contract had increased from US$56 to US$190.

    As with many development initiatives, one of the challenges for the programme is to ensure that women’s high participation in most of the activities translates into lasting empowerment. This is often hindered by cultural traditions having to do with decision-making, power relations, women’s mobility, gender division of labour, and access to and control over assets and benefits. To address this, the programme is using the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) to empower participants to challenge entrenched gender stereotypes and renegotiate domestic chores within their own households. GALS is one the most comprehensive of the Household Methodologies that IFAD has championed to enhance gender equality and women’s empowerment, and there is a pool of trainers on this methodology in the region who are being called upon to ensure that the women can be agents of change in their community as well as within the confines of their home.

    As Ms Honwana says, “Now we not only have participation of women, but we also have women being able, side by side with men, to take decisions about what to produce, what to sell, to whom, and especially what to do with the money. It's a sort of negotiation process at family level where they discuss and decide. Both women and men decide what to do.”

    IFAD Gender Awards winner 2017
    The Gender Awards spotlights a programme or project in each of IFAD’s five regions that has taken an innovative, transformative approach to addressing gender inequalities and empowering women. This year’s awards celebrate operations in Bangladesh, Colombia, Mauritania, Morocco and Mozambique.

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    Last year brought a critical mass of women who refuse to remain silent. The “women’s movement” has been swept into the mainstream and become more diverse. Social media has become increasingly effective at mobilizing younger generations of women and girls. But what about the voices of women living in remote rural areas of developing countries?

    Journalists and development practitioners came together to discuss their roles in amplifying the voices of rural women at an IFAD sponsored panel at the 2018 International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy. The panel included IFAD’s Ilaria Firmian, climate knowledge, environment and capacity development officer; journalist Megan Williams from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; journalist Thin Lei Win from Thomson Reuters Foundation; and Ugandan journalist and farmer, Caroline Namara from Radio Bushyeni.

    Moving beyond victimhood
    A theme throughout the discussion was the responsibility journalists have to find alternative ways to depict rural women. Thin Lei Win stressed how important it is to not fall into the narrative of portraying them as helpless victims of circumstance.

    "Rural women are marginalized, but they are also extremely resilient”. Women have so much more to share than their suffering, and, most often, it is their joys and their new competencies that they want to talk about.

    It is key that journalists rethink their perceptions of rural women and how they feature them. In other words, journalists must acknowledge their own bias and question whether it amplifies or suppresses the women's voices. Williams suggests that journalists use this inevitable subjectivity to their advantage by personalizing the stories in order to emphasize the dignity of rural women. She emphasizes how important it is to include “colour,” or small details that give humanity and personality to the stories of rural women. Even the most simple details can defy the stereotype.

    Shifting the power dynamic
    In addition to acknowledging subjectivity, it is also important that journalists do what they can to address the power dynamic between journalist and subject. It is their job, especially when working with rural women, to lend as much power as they can to interviewees.

    Megan Williams does this in her interviews by "shifting my script to give the women the power to take hold of the narrative and being open enough to let them direct their own story."

    On the development side, IFAD's Ilaria Firmian talks about how, when designing their projects, IFAD sticks to an approach that involves always starting with the voices of women. From planning to implementing to evaluating, the project is always tailored toward what the women thinks needs to be done. Therefore, it is important to give them the tools and resources necessary to speak up about what they want and need.

    Caroline Namara's project, Radio Bushyeni, is a perfect example of this approach. It gives the power directly to women by giving them the training and tools they need to share their knowledge and strengthen one another's voices through radio communication and technology.

    Getting men involved
    A necessary component of all development projects is a gender transformative approach. This requires installing technologies and practices that change the culture of a community in a lasting manner. For a gender-based project to be effective, men must not be excluded from activities intended to empower women.

    Win explains that when we incorporate men into the project design, "they are made to understand that this is not a zero sum game. When women gain, men gain too." Firmian agrees, saying, "there is no such thing as men’s resistance... it is just a lack of awareness.” She argues that men need only be incorporated in and educated by the projects in order to foster and gain their support.

    Namara talks about how to create what she calls "male champions’’. Her project, Radio Bushyeni, invited men to attend a training on the empowerment of women before training the women themselves to work with radio technology. She tells us that her goal was to encourage the men to support their wives and to share what they had learned with other men.

    Win, speaking directly to journalists, asked them to not see women’s stories as the domain of women journalists. Energy must be channeled toward encouraging journalists of all genders to pursue women's stories. Although empowering women is the priority, male journalists that elevate the stories of rural women must be supported as well.

    In a world where women are speaking up more and more, it is imperative that actors from all spheres of life work together to ensure no woman is left without the ability to attain her own empowerment.

    Learn more about IFAD and rural women 

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    Di Andrea Portentoso e Silvia Tallini

    In tutto il mondo, milioni di donne che vivono nelle aree rurali costituiscono il cuore dell’agricoltura e dell’economia. Molte di loro non hanno accesso all'educazione scolastica né all'informazione: ciò impedisce loro di entrare in contatto con il movimento femminista di massa divenuto popolare grazie ai social media.

    Attraverso quali strumenti è possibile dar forza alla voce delle donne che lavorano nelle aree rurali più remote del pianeta?

    Questo è stato il quesito centrale del dibattito organizzato dal Fondo Internazionale per lo Sviluppo Agricolo (IFAD) a Perugia, in occasione della dodicesima edizione del Festival Internazionale del Giornalismo.

    Il potere della tecnologia e dell'informazione può contribuire fortemente alla rottura di schemi prestabiliti - che spesso costringono la donna a farsi carico dei lavori famigliari ed extra famigliari - e al miglioramento della qualità della vita delle donne in agricoltura.

    I mezzi di comunicazione possono amplificare notevolmente la voce delle donne a livello mondiale e contribuire ad una mobilitazione delle nuove generazioni di donne nelle comunità rurali. Radio, telefoni cellulari, giornali e televisione sono strumenti fondamentali per l'acquisizione di una maggiore consapevolezza: "Attraverso uno smartphone, esse ricevono un determinato tipo di educazione a cui non potrebbero accedere altrimenti. Il telefono consente loro di utilizzare i social media per entrare in contatto con altre donne che vivono la loro stessa realtà", spiega Caroline Namara. La giornalista ugandese è autrice del progetto "Radio Bushyeni", realizzato grazie al sostegno finanziario dell'IFAD e con il quale è stato possibile raggiungere sia le comunità agricole prive di telefoni cellulari, sia le persone che non sanno leggere o scrivere.

    Fortunatamente, il cambiamento verso una diffusione della tecnologia tra le donne delle aree rurali è già in atto: “Le donne sono state a lungo private di potere, informazione ed educazione, ma adesso è arrivato il momento di parlare della loro resilienza”, dice Thin Lei Win, giornalista di Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    A tal proposito, Ilaria Firmian, della divisione che si occupa di ambiente e clima all'IFAD, aggiunge che "La tecnologia e il capitale sociale sono la combinazione ottimale per migliorare la realtà che vivono le donne in agricoltura e per creare un sentimento di fiducia e consapevolezza. È una grandiosa opportunità per supportare le donne e le giovani generazioni nell’accesso all’educazione, all’informazione e all’ottenimento di maggior potere”.

    Sono necessari un impegno e una presenza costante delle istituzioni al fine di ottenere buoni risultati in un periodo non eccessivamente lungo, come sostiene anche Megan Williams, giornalista della CBC.

    Infine, aggiunge Thin, in questo processo educativo delle donne all'utilizzo dei nuovi mezzi di comunicazione, è di fondamentale importanza che anche gli uomini siano coinvolti nei corsi di formazione relaizzati dai progetti dell’IFAD per contribuire attivamente al cambiamento.

    Come è emerso dal dibattito di Perugia, sarà proprio la tecnologia il principale strumento attraverso il quale le donne potranno dar voce ai loro bisogni ed acquisire una maggior consapevolezza, consentendo loro di partecipare più attivamente alla vita comunitaria e quindi allo sviluppo del proprio paese.

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    This is an extract of an interview of Mr Matteo Marchisio, Country Representative of IFAD in China, at CGTN America on 8 March 2018.

    1. What policies are in place to reduce poverty in China?

    Poverty reduction in China is the result of a number of successful policies and measures that complemented and supported with each other over the past 40 years. However, if I had to identify the most important, I would name four.

    First, the set-up of an inter-ministerial body (the Leading Group Office on Poverty Alleviation, LGOP) that reports directly to the State Council that oversees and coordinates poverty reduction efforts in the country. Being poverty a multidisciplinary problem, the set-up of an inter-ministerial body allowed the country to develop and implement coordinated multi-sectoral responses to poverty.

    Second, an effort to precise targeting, followed by tailored poverty reduction measures. China significantly invested in understanding and recording who the poor are, where they live, and why they are poor. Once understood who the poor are and the underlying reasons of their status of poverty, China developed specific, tailored measures for poverty reduction which specifically address the identified cause of poverty (i.e. production enhancement/industrialization of rural areas, investments in social welfare, voluntary resettlement programs, ecological compensation for preserving natural resources, provision of vocational training opportunities, etc.).

    Third, the provision of a strong financial support to implement the identified poverty reduction measures. For instance, in 2017 about RMB 200 billion (about USD 30 billion) from the Government budget were allocated to finance poverty reduction programs. In 2018, the allocation for poverty reduction has increased by about 50%, to about RMB 300 billion (about USD 50 billion). This gives the governments at different level the means to implement the identified poverty reduction measures.

    Fourth, understanding that poverty is a multi-disciplinary problem, whose root cases cuts across different sectors, the implementation of an integrated approach to poverty reduction. Such approach combined investments in infrastructure development (roads, railways, irrigation canals, etc.) with investment for social development (i.e. investments in the health and education sector) and economic development (i.e. production enhancement and "industrialization" of the rural areas).

    2. How have these measured worked so far?

    The combined efforts of these policies and measures has certainly been successful, if we consider that 40 years ago, in 1978, when Deng Xiao Ping started his reforms, there were more than 800 million people living in poverty, and today the estimated number of poor range between 32-35 million.

    3. China aims to lift over 10 million people in the rural areas out of poverty within this year. Is it likely that China will achieve this target? What more should the government to do so?

    I am convinced the target is achievable, if we consider that in 2017 about 13 million people were brought out of poverty, and in the five-year period 2013-2017 about 70 million people were brought out of poverty (that is to say about 13-14 million people per year on average).

    Considering that the closer you get to the target (i.e. no extreme poverty in 2020), the harder it becomes to achieve it, I believe a lower than pervious years' figure represents a realistic target.

    4. Which provinces and regions should be given more attention to?

    Historically, the Central and Western provinces were the poorest. Nowadays while this is still - to a certain extent - true, we are now talking more about the "remaining pockets of poverty" within provinces. These are typically remote mountainous areas.

    There are about 600 counties which are classified as "national poverty counties".

    5. What challenges still remain?

    As mentioned earlier, the closer you get to the "zero-poverty" target, the harder it becomes to reach it: the marginal costs, the marginal efforts to bring the remaining poor out of poverty is as a matter of fact increasing.

    The reason is that the remaining poor are spread out in even furtherly remote and marginal areas, with difficult physical access, limited natural or physical assets, and limited development opportunities. In addition, the remaining poor are the most vulnerable segment of society, i.e. the eldest, chronically sick or handicapped people.

    It is thus understandable that the efforts and costs for bringing these poor out of their status of poverty is higher.

    6. China has been a leading force in lifting people out of poverty. What lessons and experience can it lend to the world?

    As mentioned earlier, poverty reduction in China is the results of a number of factors. However, if I have to pick what, in my view, has been the most important factor of success in China, I would say that this was the steady and continuous strong political commitment to poverty eradication, which translated into a long-term vision which has been maintained consistently over four decades by the different leaders, a series of coherent mid-term plans which supported the long-term vision, an adequate allocation of resources to implement the plans, and a clear responsibility and accountability framework at all levels.

    This is probably the lesson that China can lend to the world: with a clear vision and strong political commitment, ending poverty is possible.

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    Par Jonky Tenou

    Le sommet Africain sur 'Climate SMART Agriculture' s'est achevé ce mercredi 16 mai 2018 à Trademark Hotel à Nairobi au Kenya.

    Premier du genre et placé sous le thème : Partenariat, Innovation et Financement pour une agriculture résiliente au climat, ce sommet a réuni plus de quatre cent participants venant de plusieurs pays d'Afrique et issus des administrations publiques, du secteur privé, des universités et centres de recherche, des média, des organisations des jeunes, de la société civiles y compris les ONG et les organisations paysannes. Les partenaires techniques et financiers bilatéraux et multilatéraux comprenant les agences Onusiennes, les institutions financières africaines et internationales y étaient également représentées.

    Pendant deux jours, les participants ont débattu des sujets d'intérêt général visant à promouvoir une agriculture africaine résiliente au climat, capable d'assurer la sécurité alimentaire pour une population africaine de plus en plus croissante. A travers les conférences publiques, les panels de discussion, les tables rondes, les études de cas, les projections vidéos et les expositions, les participants ont analysés les voies et les moyens pour la mise à échelle des innovations technologiques et financières en matière de climat pour la transformation du monde rural depuis les chaînes de production jusqu’à la commercialisation en passant par la transformation.

    Le FIDA était représenté à ce sommet par Margarita Astralaga, Directrice de la Division Environnement, Climat, Genre et Inclusion Sociale (ECG) et Yawo Jonky Tenou, Task Manager du Programme Intégré de renforcement de la durabilité et la résilience pour la sécurité alimentaire en Afrique sub-saharienne (IAP-FS).

    Margarita, paneliste du sommet, est intervenue sur le thème : "Future-proofing African Agriculture : Using climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) and other Technique to Achieve Lasting Transformation"' . Sa communication a mis l'accent sur le rôle incontournable du FIDA dans la transformation du monde rural sur le continent africain en termes de financement et d'accompagnement technique. Ce rôle important a été reconnu par tous les acteurs présents. 

    En présentant le Programme d'Adaptation des Petits Agriculteurs aux Effets des Changements Climatiques (ASAP) touchant au moins 8 millions exploitants dans 41 pays et mobilisant 305 millions de dollars, Margarita a su montrer aux participants comment le FIDA promeut la résilience aux changements climatiques à grande échelle en milieu rural.

    Margarita a également mis en exergue le partenariat entre le FIDA et le Fonds pour l'Environnement Mondial (FEM) avec un portefeuille programmatique de 32 projets dont la lutte contre les changement climatiques pour la résilience des petits producteurs en constitue la colonne vertébral et mobilise environ 161 millions de dollars. L'un des programmes phares de ce partenariat est IAP-FS couvrant 12 pays de l'Afrique Sub-saharienne. Ce programme qui envisage assurer la gestion durable de 10 millions d'hectares, réduire 10 millions de ton d'émissions des gaz à effet de serre et augmenter de 15% la diversité génétique dans le paysage productif, a été perçu comme un modèle d'approche qui intègre le partenariat, l'innovations et la gestion des connaissances.

    Margarita a aussi mis l'accent  sur le partenariat du FIDA avec le Fonds Vert pour le Climat (GCF) comme un mécanisme financier devant soutenir la mise en œuvre du cadre stratégique 2016 – 2025 du FIDA en lien avec l'agenda 2030. Ce cadre vise entre autres le renforcement la durabilité environnementale et la résilience au climat pour la préservation des activités économiques et des moyens d'existence des pauvres en milieu rural.

    Beaucoup de cas pratiques de solutions innovantes des projets du FIDA ont été présentés et fortement appréciés par l'audience. Il s’agit du Biogaz comme source d'énergie à faible cout pour les petits agriculteurs au Mali et au Rwanda; de la maitrise de l'eau aux fins d'irrigation pour 15000 fermiers au Malawi;  du développement des zones montagneuses par la production des arbres fruitiers utilisant la technique d'irrigation goutte à goutte au Maroc; de la restauration des  terres dégradées, et l'amélioration des revenus des petits producteurs suivant une approche intégrée au Nige.,

    Les questions transversales, notamment le rôle de la femme et des jeunes, l'accès aux financements, aux ressources productives et aux marchés et l’inclusion sociale sont des éléments sur lesquelles Ms Astralaga a beaucoup insisté.

    Le sommet a conclu que  la mise à l’échelle des solutions innovantes pour promouvoir une agriculture africaine résiliente au climat ne saurait effective sans l'engagement et le partenariat entre acteurs à toutes les échelles,. Le secteur public devra créer des cadres favorables et incitatifs au développement, déploiement et mise à l’échelle des innovations dans le secteur agricole. Le partenariat public-privé devra être renforcé,. Les fonds multilatéraux et bilatéraux devront servir de catalyseurs car ils ne pourront pas à eux seuls apporter la transformation souhaitée du monde rural sur le continent au regard des multiples défis.

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    By Marian Odenigbo, IFAD Senior Technical Specialist, Nutrition

    Investment projects on agriculture and rural development are increasingly focusing on improving the nutritional status of project beneficiaries. This has led to the project implementation going beyond the context of food security - the access and availability of food commodities to improved diet quality and nutrition outcomes. In IFAD, we have documented reports on influence of project interventions and testimonies on diet quality from farmers and beneficiaries involved in various investment focused-projects (such as natural resource management; crop productivity; livestock; fisheries; rural marketing; value chain; and climate-smart agriculture).

    Mrs Xantonnon, a farmer and beneficiary of Smallholder Productivity Promotion Programme in Zambia, believes her life has been changed significantly since the programme launch. She said “at the start of the project life cycle, we had an unstable market where the food prices were high and unstable, but now we can see more production and market stability thanks to the project. I and other community members can boldly speak about changes in our diet and the reduction of hunger in our households.”

    We are increasingly, supporting projects and programmes in promoting the consumption of quality food and diet for good nutrition. The quality of dietary intake has significant impact on the nutritional status of rural poor farming households.

    Diet quality encompasses the consumption of safe, nutritious and diverse food commodities. In nutrition-sensitive projects, the focus is mainly to contribute and facilitate food safety, production and consumption of nutrient rich food varieties and diversified diets.

    Projects could assess and measure the contribution of nutrition–sensitive interventions on the beneficiaries’ nutrition outcomes with the use of dietary diversity indicators. There is a wide range of different indicators on dietary diversity such as Household Dietary Diversity Score; Minimum Dietary Diversity for women; Minimum Dietary Diversity for Children.

    Priority on dietary diversity for women

    Why should a project assess the dietary diversity of women rather than men?

    • Women and, in particular women of reproductive age (15-49 years) are vulnerable to micronutrient deficiencies due to their physiological higher demand as compared to adult men. 
    • Women can be disadvantaged in intra-household distribution of nutritious foods and diets in the resource-poor settings - the primary targets for IFAD operations. 
    • Dietary diversity will promote micronutrient adequacy before pregnancy and during pregnancy to lactation for improved maternal nutrition and child health predominantly during the critical first 1,000-days of life. 
    • Minimum Dietary Diversity for women (MDD-W) is a diet quality indicator and a global indicator used at individual level and associated with micronutrient adequacy of diets. Whereas, the dietary diversity indicator at household level measures food access and dietary consumption pattern of the entire household members and it is used to represent the household’s socioeconomic level. 
    The IFAD Mapping of Nutrition-Sensitive Interventions in East and Southern Africa (2016) provided an insight on the data collection for dietary diversity at household verses individual levels. The findings of this mapping revealed a higher proportion of women and children groups with poor dietary diversity as compared to the household level.

    Given the IFAD corporate priority on nutrition and in reaching the most vulnerable groups, MMD-W indicator is considered feasible and meaningful for monitoring the impact of IFAD investment projects on nutrition through the impact pathway of increasing food group diversity in family diets and among the nutritionally at risk groups.

    Measuring dietary diversity

    Dietary diversity is a measure of diet quality and a simple indicator that calculates the number of different food groups consumed over a given period. Different lists of food groups are used to compute dietary diversity scores at the household level; for women of reproductive age (15-49 years); and for children (6-23 months).
    • Household Dietary Diversity (HDD) is computed with 12 food groups 
    • Minimum Dietary Diversity for women (MDD-W) is computed with 10 food groups 
    • Minimum Dietary Diversity for Children (MDD-C) is computed with 8 food groups 
    At household level, an intake of less than five food groups out of the 12 groups is classified as a poor HDD. For MDD-W and MDD-C, an intake of at least five groups out of 10 and eight food groups respectively, is rated as good dietary intake.

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    23 - 25 April 2018, Xai-Xai, Mozambique

    Vivienne Likhanga and Laura Fantini

    In late April 2018, the first ever Local Champions Fair in Africa by the PROCASUR Corporation was concluded in Xai-Xai, Mozambique.

    The cross-regional three day Local Champions Fair focused on Innovative solutions for Integrating Local Champions in Agricultural Extension and Advisory Systems. The event was organized and implemented by PROCASUR in collaboration with the Pro-poor Value Chain Development Project in the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL) with the Agricultural Development Fund (FDA), under the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA) of Mozambique. It was co-funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in the frame of the IFAD-PROCASUR Grant Programme "Strengthening Capacities and tools to scale up and disseminate Innovations"

    Participants described the cross regional knowledge-sharing event as a ground-breaking tool for knowledge sharing among peers. The event was attended by 135 persons and brought together over 70 participants - among them 25 were local champions - from 13 different project delegations. In attendance were members of different IFAD co-funded projects and development organisations, such as CARE International, from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Peru. A strong representation of national and local authorities from Mozambique actively attended and contributed to the event.

    A group photo: Opening day ~ A section of the participants of the Local Champions Fair with Mr. Higino Francisco de Marrule, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA) and Ms. Stela Pinto Novo Zeca, the Governor of Gaza Province

    Why a Learning Event on Local Champions and Extension Services?

    Agricultural extension and advisory services play a crucial role in agricultural development and can contribute to improve the welfare of small-holder farmers and people living in rural areas whose livelihoods strongly depend on agriculture. They can be organized and delivered in a variety of forms, but their ultimate aim is to increase farmers’ capacities to overcome poverty in a sustainable way. The effectiveness of the extension system in fostering capacity building, technological adoption and ultimately improved agricultural outcomes depends on many key factors, some of them are strongly contextualized and for this reason, there is not an equal solution to be adopted in all countries around the world. Among those factors, the advisory approaches and methodologies used, the ability of farmers in accessing them and in exercising their voice, and their role in formulating demands, in disseminating knowledge and in transferring technologies play an important role.

    In this framework, the main objective of the Local Champions Fair was to build a cross regional concrete platform of outstanding talents, project directors, decision-makers, technical and extension officers to analyse and to discuss collectively the opportunities to strengthen the advisory models that are based on local champions and on the Farmer-to-Farmer methodologies.

    The project delegations participating in the event shared their experiences, good practices and farmers practical solutions on the assessment, harvesting and integration of knowledge in the rural technical advisory services

    Mr Fabiao Cossa, an animal health officer and Local Champion in the Red Meat Value Chain in Chokwe, Manjague District Mozambique, receiving his certificate of recognition for his exemplary services and leadership

    Farmer to Farmer Exchanges
    The first day of the Local Champions Fair was a unique experience. The official opening session was graced by Mr. Higino Francisco de Marrule, the Minister of agriculture and food security (MASA) and Ms. Stela Pinto Novo Zeca, the Governor of Gaza Province. 

    Afterwards there was a plenary session on the role of Local Champions in extension and advisory services with a focus on existing challenges and opportunities. The panel was chaired by Custodio Mucavel, the IFAD Country Programme Officer in Mozambique and the key speakers were a senior expert, Dario Pulgar, the Director of the National Department for Extension Agriculture in MASA, Ms. Sandra Silver, the Project Director of the Sustainable Territorial Development Project (STDP) an IFAD co-funded project in Peru, Jose Salier Pasco, and the Director for land conservation from the Ministry of Agriculture in Malawi, Kefasi Kamoyo. 

    After lunch, the Fair session was opened. Each country delegation showcased their project experiences on the implementation of farmer-to-farmer rural advisory models. They shared their good practices and the farmers’ practical solutions stimulating discussion around the assessment, harvesting and integration of knowledge in rural technical advisory services. The Local Champions from the different countries participating in the event were the protagonists of the fair session.

    During the second day, the participants were divided into two groups to take part in the field visits. The participants had the opportunity to meet the PROSUL emerging farmers, the farmers promoters and the community in the field in order to learn directly by them about the role plaid of these Local Champions in mobilizing and training other farmers as well as in disseminating knowledge and in transferring technologies. The field visits focused on the interventions under the PROSUL Project whose goal is to establish improved and climate-resilient livelihoods of small farmers involved in the three target value chains (namely the horticulture value chain, the cassava value chain and the red meat value chain) in selected districts of the Maputo and Limpopo corridors in Mozambique.
    Group 1 travelled to Chókwè district at Manjangue to meet the Champions under the red meat value chain and to Gandlaze to a horticulture value chain farmer field school site. Group 2 travelled to Zavala District to see the demonstration on traditional cassava processing as done by the Vuneka Maita women's association and Mandlakazi district to learn about the farmer to farmer exchanges on cassava production and multiplication.

    Local Champions of the Vuneka Maita women's Association in Zavala, showcasing their cassava processing activities

    The exercise created a big interest among the community members and the participants were impressed by the initiatives being carried out under the PROSUL project in particular the integrated approaches on fostering sustainability and resilience that includes the farmers, extension services, IFAD project and the government working together.
    The final day of the Local Champions Fair was dedicated to the collective analysis of the lessons learnt on how to improve the farmer-to-farmer models into the projects and programmes operations. Despite the distinctness of the approaches and challenges addressed by the country/project delegations, they showed a number of common aspects, such as the focus on up-scaling (providing hierarchical support to Local Champions,) and out-scaling (facilitating farmer to farmer knowledge diffusion) good practices and tools for monitoring and assessment. There was a mutual agreement on the need to institutionalize mechanisms that motivate the Local Champions at a community level and project level.

    An entire session of the workshop was dedicated to bilateral and trilateral conversations among the country / project delegations who showed specific commonalities and specific needs to share more in depth. All the delegations strongly committed to follow up and build next steps together, to continue working together and to organize future occasion of knowledge and experience sharing, all in the name of the common aim of improving Local Champions integration into the extension and advisory services. PROCASUR will facilitate this process. 

    Plenary sessions on the lessons learnt to improve farmer to farmer models into project and programme operations
    What came out loud and clear: Highlights
    • “There’s a need of people in the community who are able to help others in terms of understanding the technologies, linking to market and in all those aspects related to the development of rural communities. Local Champions are people that can adopt technologies quicker and better than other farmers and in this way they can be used to help the government extension services in the dissemination of information and technologies thereby bringing a lot more people to benefit from extension services” ~ Custodio Mucavel, IFAD Country Programme Officer, Mozambique 
    • “A Local Champion should be a person who has a good reputation in the community and some abilities, one of them being open to learn. Such a person can be able to disseminate knowledge and transfer technologies to other farmers in the surrounding communities. Extension officers need to work with the champions at local level to replicate good practices.” ~ Daniel Mate, PROSUL Project Director
    • I am an auxiliary veterinary and I have 15 years of experience as a Local Champion specializing in providing technical assistance to community members and farmers organizations in high landscape in Perú. In 2013 my community identified me as a leader. I started off as a promoter within several project and organizations. Today I have a certification as a livestock rural extensionist and I have signed several agreements with municipalities. I thank the organizers of this international event for giving me the opportunity to share my experience with other local champions in order to share with them how we can act to develop our countries more and more. Local Champions need to be the agents of change in our communities” ~ Felicitas Quispe, President of the Asociación kamayoq Toribio Quispe, Local Champion
    • “When the farmers work with the governments, ministries and extension services, there will be conflicting interests and situations because of the presence of extractive industries which have a significant impact on the lives and the way things are done in local communities. There should awareness of the situational context in which communities operate and how they will be changed radically because of the presence of extractive industries. However the issue of the cultural dimension of development should not be ignored because Local Champions should not follow a process of imposing things on different cultures. In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) the issue of indigenous people is a very important question. Extension services and projects should respect the culture of indigenous people. Because the ways and norms in which they live is completely different” ~ Dario Pulgar, Senior expert, Independent Consultant
    • “This Fair opens a space for discussion about new ways of providing agriculture extension and rural services. To have the same producers who tell us what are their capacities and their local knowledge, what are the local articulations through which they can lead the process of change is crucial in order to open new opportunities. The event showed us that rural development and rural areas around the world share common challenges, but also that each region and country has some specificities and for this reason a unique model is not viable everywhere. This event shows how it is possible to start from the local to build development” ~ Mireya Eugenia Valencia Perafan, University of Brasilia.

    Participants: From left to right, A PROSUL Local Champion with Humphrey Kimathi from the IFAD Project, Upper Tana Catchment Natural Resource Management Project (UTaNRMP) in Kenya and Marcília Rodrigues de Souza from the SEMEAR IFAD Project in Brazil, at the "Tree of knowledge"

    We would like to take this opportunity to share with you the following album with the pictures of the event. We strongly invite you to join and contribute with your thoughts and comments in the Facebook Group created for the event in order to network and to follow our discussions on the topic.

    Also visit the dedicated website page, the Procasur Africa Facebook and Twitter page for additional reading and information on the event.

    For any further information on the event you can also write to Laura Fantini (Local Champions Fair Coordinator)

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    By Marian Amaka Odenigbo, Elena Bertusi and Narciso Manhenje

    Producers in Montepuez District, Cabo Delgado Province (northern Mozambique) and members of Wapaja Hiliyale Farmer Field School are expanding their production areas, improving yields, incomes, and ensuring food security all-year-round. Since 2016, the national public extension services through the PSP project are integrating nutrition education within the Farmer Field School Groups (FFS), thus contributing to improved nutritional status of the most vulnerable groups, such as children and pregnant women.

    Mozambique loses around US$1.0 billion dollars annually due to chronic malnutrition – about 11 per cent of national GDP. The prevalence of chronic malnutrition nationally is 43 per cent and in northern provinces almost one in two children under five years of age is stunted.

    Although food production and access to food are not an issue for the northern provinces, chronic malnutrition (above 50 per cent) is prevalent in the area. Most of the population are not aware of the importance of nutrition, food preservation, healthy and nutritious diets or the importance of diversifying food groups in family diets.

    Solution to malnutrition - a simple approach
    The Government of Mozambique is stepping up efforts to address the burden of malnutrition and IFAD is supporting these government efforts through an investment project known as PRONEA Support Project (PSP) in Mozambique, an extension project with nutrition education interventions to facilitate the promotion of healthy eating and improved dietary intake among the rural farming communities and the project beneficiaries.

    Mr Robson Mutandi, IFAD country programme director in Mozambique expressed that, ''the poverty level was not going down as fast as anticipated in these communities due to the malnutrition challenges''. He also mentioned that while these communities are able to produce food, they often do not use it for their own consumption.

    The project integrated nutrition in daily operations with positive results, improving the nutritional status of vulnerable groups. ''I have learnt about nutrition through a training organized by PSP, this was a new topic for me and for the community and we are happy with the results of our actual interventions because malnutrition was a serious issue in our communities'', says the District extension officer Mr Lino Milagre, who has 30 years’ field experience.


    In addressing the malnutrition situation in these farming communities, PSP took a bold step to integrate nutrition initiatives through the existing government agriculture extension services. This approach was adopted to ensure success, continuity and sustainability on nutrition after the end of this investment project.

    The nutrition initiatives included Culinary Demonstration Units which are practical models applied by extension workers to engage farmers in the farmer field schools (FFS) on the preparation of nutritious food for their families, as well as adoption of improved food preservation techniques to avoid seasonal food waste.

    Before the intervention of PSP in this community, women and men were not aware about the best way to cook their own produce and transform it in nutritious food. The impact of the project, and in particular the training through the culinary demonstration unit had on the community, was clearly visible.

    A total of 5,000 beneficiaries are improving their dietary intake in 23 of the 42 districts covered by the project. Evidence from the field confirmed that the children are better nourished and the communities are adopting the best practices.  

    Lucia Lauterio, a farmer and mother of three children, is one of the facilitators in her community. She holds cooking demonstrations and teaches other families how to cook more nutritious and diversified diets. 

    The trained extension officers at district level are currently replicating the training in different communities. It is with a lot of enthusiasm that the rural farmers act as trainers themselves, by sharing their knowledge on nutrition with neighbouring villages and communities. 

    In particular, there was an emphasis on gender and nutrition. ''In some households all members are responsible in taking care of the children. That's why the children are happy and healthy, and we are also happy with the improved status of nutrition at community level'', said Jerónimo Francisco, PSP nutrition focal point.

    IFAD is mainstreaming nutrition in all investment projects in Mozambique because it believes that agriculture should not be dissociated from nutrition. While PSP is coming to an end in June 2018, Mozambique ICO is planning to replicate the same approach to other new projects in the country. The culinary demonstration units, and the training provided by the extension workers could also be included in projects of other countries facing similar challanges.

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