Taking resilient food security to scale means supporting innovation among millions of farmers over millions of hectares

 

Photo credit: Agroforestry World

Panelists representing participating organisations. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/ Susan Onyango

GEF-funded program on resilient food security targets smallholder farmers in 12 African countries

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

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A smallholder farmer with his fruit tree seedlings. Photo: World Agroforestry Centre/Ake Mamo – http://blog.worldagroforestry.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/26515855316_89953d50d5_o-768×510.jpg

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

Investment in Small-Scale Agriculture

 

AGRICULTURE

Report Encourages Investment in Small-Scale Agriculture

The More and Better Network recently published a report, Investments in Small-Scale Sustainable Agriculture, shedding light on the lack of financial investment plans available to small-scale food producers across the globe. The More and Better Network is an international network for support of food, agriculture, and rural development to eradicate hunger and poverty, and this report emphasizes the major challenges small-scale food producers face in maintaining their businesses and enhancing food security, as well as the importance of community organization.

According to the United Nations Global Compact, small-scale agriculture provides food for approximately 70 percent of the world’s population. Additionally, there are approximately 2 billion people living in poverty in developing countries that depend on some form of agriculture for their livelihoods, according to the Initiative for Smallholder Finance. While small-scale producers are shown here to play a major role in global food systems, The More and Better Network highlights that global investments in small-scale agriculture constitute a small share of governmental budgets and investments in developing countries, which results in a decline in food security and an increase in overall hunger and poverty levels.

To illustrate this, the report draws on statistics published by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which states that, globally, governments have allocated less than two percent of central government expenditures to small-scale agricultural development between 2001 and 2015; and, that Official Development Assistance (ODA) —which refers to the flow of international financial aid for developing countries— for agriculture declined by 50 percent globally by 2004.

Read the full article: Food Tank

Smallholder irrigation

 

http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/2017/06/iwmi-working-paper-174-smallholder-irrigation-schemes-in-the-limpopo-province-south-africa/

IWMI Working Paper – 174: Smallholder irrigation schemes in the Limpopo Province, South Africa.

A survey of 76 public smallholder irrigation schemes in the Limpopo Province was jointly conducted by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), South Africa, and the Limpopo Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (LDARD), as part of the ‘Revitalization of Smallholder Irrigation in South Africa’ project. About one-third of those schemes was fully utilized; one-third partially utilized; and one-third not utilized in the winter of 2015; however, no single socioeconomic, physical, agronomic and marketing variable could explain these differences in utilization. Sale, mostly for informal markets, appeared the most important goal. Dilapidated infrastructure was the most important constraint cited by the farmers. The study recommends ways to overcome the build-neglect-rebuild syndrome, and to learn lessons from informal irrigation, which covers an area three to four times as large as public irrigation schemes in the province.

 

van Koppen, Barbara; Nhamo, Luxon; Cai, Xueliang; Gabriel, M. J.; Sekgala, M.; Shikwambana, S.; Tshikolomo, K.; Nevhutanda, S.; Matlala, B.; Manyama, D. 2017. Smallholder irrigation schemes in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute (IWMI) 36p. (IWMI

The burden of malnutrition in all its forms is shifting from rural areas to cities

csm_African_Leafy_Veg_seedlings_211a0a88e4
http://www.bioversityinternational.org/fileadmin/_processed_/csm_African_Leafy_Veg_seedlings_211a0a88e4.jpg

 

Food and nutrition are moving to the city

For too long, we have traded off calories for nutrition in our quest to end world hunger. While the numbers of people with caloric deficits is falling, the number with micronutrient deficiencies is stubbornly high – an estimated 2 billion people – and the number suffering from over-nutrition is rising distressingly fast.

The impact of these nutrition challenges on people’s quality of life and their productivity is devastating, and the impact on public sector budgets will continue to increase unless we find a way to achieve food security and improve nutrition. Sustainable Development Goal 2 — End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture — requires no less. That will be challenging enough.

In addition, for too long, most efforts by the agricultural development community to reduce hunger have only focused on rural areas. But already 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas and by 2050, more than two-thirds of those people are going to be in cities. This poses a new set of challenges.

The Global Food Policy Report 2017, published today by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), one of our CGIAR research partners, makes that clear.

James Garrett, Bioversity International Senior Research Fellow who contributed to the book, explains that one in three stunted children now lives in a city. That proportion is likely to increase. In addition, overweight and obesity are also concentrated in urban areas. As the report notes, the burden of malnutrition in all its forms is shifting from rural areas to cities, and so we need to ensure that our efforts now and in the future respond to this new reality.

Read the full article: Bioversity International

Innovative technologies for young agricultural entrepreneurs

 

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Turning the youth into agricultural entrepreneurs

Equipping the youth with innovative technologies could expand their business opportunities in agricultural value chain and turn many into entrepreneurs in Southern Africa.

This was one of the major impressions I got from Canadian Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund (CultiAF) entrepreneurship and innovation training last month (21-24 February) in Lilongwe, Malawi, where I also learnt that youth in agriculture face limited access to natural and financial resources, inadequate opportunities for upward mobility skills and experience to run successful business.

This necessitated call of interest from youths on fish value chain to generate and test novel, creative and bold models that increase the participation of youth in fish industry in Malawi and Zambia and maize post-harvest agribusiness sector in Zimbabwe.

YAAD is of the view that the presence of the food science department within the campus will help them raise the bar in terms of standards, nutrient identification but also quality before marketing.

Priscilla Nsandu, YAAD

I gathered from the meeting that the review process was initially developed around five core evaluation criterion: product understanding, strategies for capturing the market, business vision, management and financial discipline.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Emergent and small-scale farmers face constraints that limit their profitability

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Small-scale soya farming can outperform large-scale agricultural investments

Read the full article: IIED

Agriculture is an important engine for economic growth in Africa, but effective agricultural strategies to support rural development and poverty alleviation are scarce. State investment in the small-scale farming sector is minimal and the entrepreneurial family farm sector remains underrepresented. Meanwhile, large-scale land investments are advocated as means to bring capital to rural areas and stimulate development. However, the investigation of soya production in Central Mozambique presented here suggests small-scale farming can produce similar profits to large-scale operations and better social outcomes. Concentrating only on large-scale investments can mean forgoing opportunities for rural development and poverty reduction. With the right support, poorer households can develop market-oriented farming that contributes to local value chains at many levels.

Strengthening women’s participation

DinaNajar
The work was led by Dina Najjar, Social and Gender Specialist, Social, Economics and Policy Research Theme, Sustainable Intensification and Resilient Production Systems Program (SIRPS), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Amman, Jordan. (Photo: ICARDA) – http://wheat.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2017/03/DinaNajar.jpg

 

Strengthening African women’s participation in wheat farming

Gender inequality is a recurring feature of many agricultural production systems across the wheat-growing regions of Africa, and women farmers often lack access to credit, land, and other inputs. The result: limited adoption of new innovations, low productivity and income, and a missed opportunity to enhance household food security and prosperity.

In contrast, enhancing women’s involvement in agricultural development generates positive impacts beyond the lives of individual women – with benefits felt across entire communities and nations.

Identifying and challenging obstacles

Challenging the obstacles that rural women face is a key priority of a wheat initiative managed by ICARDA and supported by the African Development Bank and the CGIAR Research Program on Wheat.

Action research to integrate women beneficiaries into the SARD-SC project in Sudan, Nigeria, and Ethiopia has helped identify actions and approaches that can be applied more widely to enhance women’s integration within diverse wheat production systems.

The main objectives were: increasing women’s income generation and contributions to food security, while addressing structural inequalities in access to inputs and services such as information, training, and microcredit.

Context-specific interventions

Our project employed context-specific interventions for growing grain, demonstrating technologies, adding value, and facilitating access to microcredit. Women’s involvement (65% in Sudan, 32% in Ethiopia and 12% in Nigeria) was often facilitated by gaining the trust and approval of male kin and support at the institutional levels – for example, recruiting women beneficiaries through the inclusion of female field staff: 4 in Nigeria, 4 in Sudan, and 6 in Ethiopia, all trained on gender integration.

Read the full article: CGIAR

Did we forget the “VICTORY GARDENS” to alleviate malnutrition and hunger ?

 

Photo credit: Willy GOETHALS DSC01702.JPG

Allotment gardens in Indonesia are successful initiatives for local communities (optimal survival gardens)

SURVIVAL GARDENS OR VICTORY GARDENS

By Prof. Dr. Willem VAN COTTHEM
Ghent University, Belgium
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2007 – One of the many family gardens of the UNICEF-project in the refugee camps in S.W. Algeria (Photo WVC P1000622.jpg)
In 2012 I read an article, published by Dean FOSDICK in The Seattle Times, entitled:

‘Survival gardens’ can help save cash

Patches deliver high yields from small spaces and produce wholesome foods that store well
—————-
I took note of the following important parts in this interesting article:
(1) Many cash-strapped families are turning to “survival gardens” to help dig out from the
recession.
(2) ‘They were called ‘victory gardens’ during the world wars because they helped ease
shortages, ‘…… ‘We call them ‘survival gardens’ now because they help families cut spending.’
(3) The term is part of a larger do-it-yourself trend toward growing more backyard veggies andeating locally grown food.
(4) Survival gardens are used mainly to raise the kind of produce that you can grow for less thanwhat you would pay at a grocery store – …………..
(5) People new to gardening can get help from county extension offices, churches and
community groups. Some offer training, others provide growing sites and a few distribute
supplies — all for little or no charge.
(6) Survival gardens can do more than put fresh, nutritious food on the table, ……….‘Families have told us they sell some of their overage (from the starter kits) to pay bills and get medicines,’ ……….
(7) …………sells ‘survival seed’ packets, and said their sales have more than doubled in the past year. Each package contains 16 easy-to-grow heirloom vegetables, from beets to pole beans, cabbage to sweet corn. They come triple-wrapped in watertight plastic, designed to increase storage life.
(8) ………… gardening with seed is one way to save on food dollars, particularly if it’s the right kind of seed.
===========
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2007 – Victory garden for survival in the Sahara desert – UNICEF project in S.W. Algeria – Photo WVC P 1000589 copy
The fact that more than 800 million people on this world are hungry or malnourished is generally attributed by the international media to the economic crisis (the food crisis), all those poor people supposed to be unable to afford the expensive food at the market. That’s probably why nowadays “Many cash-strapped families are turning to “survival gardens” to help dig out from the recession”.

From survival to victory !. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309591961_From_survival_to_victory?focusedCommentId=58b75ee282999cd4be08f447 [accessed Mar 2, 2017].

Smallholder farming largely remains a low technology, subsistence activity

 

PHOTO CREDIT: CGIAR

Despite its large-scale impact across Africa, smallholder farming largely remains a low technology, subsistence activity.

by

Ongoing land insecurity is a structural cause of food insecurity in Tanzania, particularly for pastoralists, agro-pastoralists, and small-scale crop farmers. In recent years there has been an increasing number of conflicts between these groups, many turning violent. It has been reported that in Kiteto District alone, more than 34 people were killed between 2013 and 2015 as a result of these conflicts. With expanding competition for land and without steps taken to secure the rights of those with entitlements to land and resources, such conflicts are likely to increase.

Land tenure security can be improved through village land use planning and land certification, which involves the issuing of certificates of customary rights of occupancy (CCROs) as facilitated by land policy and legislation in Tanzania. The process provides opportunities for bringing different stakeholders together, to negotiate and agree on land use, and to resolve land use conflicts.

In situations where villages share resources such as grazing areas and water, joint village land use planning and the provision of group CCROs are more appropriate than individual ones. Due to a lack of resources and capacity, the implementation of joint village land use planning has been limited and particularly in ‘difficult’ areas where land use conflicts occur. Indeed, in 2015, the Tanzania Ministry of Lands recorded that only about 2.1% of the 60 million hectares of rangelands is protected as grazing land in village land use plans.

STORY: CGIAR

Read the full story on the Livestock Systems and Environment blog (ILRI) >>

https://livestocksystems.ilri.org/2017/02/22/securing-rangelands-resources-for-pastoralists-in-tanzania-through-joint-village-land-use-planning/

A key component of improving agricultural practices is to bolster seed systems

Photo credit: CIMMYT

Despite its large-scale impact across Africa, smallholder farming largely remains a low technology, subsistence activity.

Stronger African seed sector to benefit smallholder farmers and economy

February 23, 2017

Green manure cover crops and agroforestry

 

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COMACO Gliricidia/maize intercropping field. Photo credit: Christian Thierfelder/CIMMYT.

Addressing smallholder farmers’ needs with green manure cover crops and agroforestry in Zambia

 

Read the full story: Africa Rising

A plan of action for family agriculture and rural territorial development

 

Photo credit: UN NEWS CENTRE

Some countries are developing laws on food donations and ways to minimize food losses and waste. Photo: FAO/Rhodri Jones

Latin America and the Caribbean can make hunger history – UN agricultural agency

FAO is developing a plan of action for family agriculture and rural territorial development that promotes sustainable intensification of production, public procurement and food supply systems, rural services and greater opportunities for rural youth.

With continued and strengthened implementation of a regional food security plan, Latin America and the Caribbean could become the first developing region to completely eradicate hunger, the head of United Nations agricultural agency said today.

“This region has all the necessary conditions to achieve this, starting with the great political commitment that sustains the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Food Security, Nutrition and Hunger Eradication Plan,” said the Director-General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva.

Speaking at the Summit of Presidents and Heads of State and Government of CELAC in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic, the FAO chief added: “The Plan represents the crystallization of governments’ political will to eradicate hunger before 2025 (five years ahead the target set in the Sustainable Development Goals).”

Approved by CELAC in 2015, the Plan promotes comprehensive public policies to reduce poverty, improve rural conditions, adapt agriculture to climate change, end food waste and mitigate disaster risks.

A key element of the Plan is that it not only focuses on addressing hunger but also obesity, which affects about 140 million people in the region.

According to the FAO, the Plan is also fully in line level global commitments including the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Strengthening family farming to tackle climate change

Mr. Graziano da Silva also highlighted the threats posed by climate change, which has the potential to reverse the gains made in the fight against hunger and extreme poverty in the region.

“Agriculture is the sector most affected by climate change and its main victims are small family farmers, men and women, many of whom struggle daily for their survival,” he noted.

Together with CELAC, FAO is developing a plan of action for family agriculture and rural territorial development that promotes sustainable intensification of production, public procurement and food supply systems, rural services and greater opportunities for rural youth.

Read the full article: UN NEWS CENTRE