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

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

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

Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 21.13.32

 

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.

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

p1000622
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.
===========

p1000589-copy
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

 

32265691802_84fdc195e6_z

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

Innovative ways of coping up with climate change

 

Photo credit: SciDevNet: Farm Africa/ Tara Carey

Smallholders team up to confront climate change impacts

by Baraka Rateng’

Farmers in Mwingi, a remote, arid and impoverished region of Kitui County of Kenya have been experiencing unreliable rain patterns and problems associated with droughts.

Smallholder farmers have been losing up to about 80 per cent of their recent harvest, many water sources have dried up and some are having to travel up to 20 kilometres to collect water. Much of the water that is available is of poor quality, with some containing a high salt content, making it unsuitable for drinking or agricultural use.

But thanks to formation of a community-based organisations (CBOs) such as Kitum Community-based Organisation, with 176 members, the farmers are now devising innovative ways of coping up with climate change-related impacts that inflict untold sufferings upon them.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Each time the World gets in problems, Victory Gardens (allotments) get back in the picture

 

Photo credit: Foodtank

Twelve Organizations Promoting Urban Agriculture around the World

https://foodtank.com/news/2016/12/twelve-organizations-promoting-urban-agriculture-around-world/

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)defines urban agriculture as “the growing of plants and the raising of animals within and around cities” to provide fresh food, generate employment, recycle waste, and strengthen cities’ resilience to climate change.

As the rate of urbanization increases rapidly, urban poverty and urban food insecurity are increasing as well. The Resource Center on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF) Foundation expects that by 2020, 85 percent of the poor in Latin America, and about 40 to 45 percent of the poor in Africa and Asia will be concentrated in towns and cities. Urban agriculture reduces the poverty and food insecurity resulting from urbanization, while also improving the health of city residents and preserving the environment.

Colin McCrate, the founder of the Seattle Urban Farm Company, emphasized the importance of urban agriculture in a recent interview.  “It is imperative that we begin to focus on sustainable farming practices,” he said. “The reality is that the industrial food system in its current incarnation is not designed to grow food for everyone on the planet, but instead to maximize profits for a few large corporations. I believe that urban food production can be a part of a better functioning food supply system…as a tool for expanding and informing dialogue about our food system.”

Read the full article: Foodtank

 

One in three people suffers some form of malnutrition – Enormous economic burden

 

Photo credit: FAO

A farming family in Kyrgyzstan takes a break from the day’s work to share a meal.

Malnutrition in the crosshairs

One in three people suffers some form of malnutrition – Enormous economic burden – International meeting searches for ways to improve diets and food systems

Responding to the mounting impacts of malnutrition on public health and economic development — estimated to cost $3.5 trillion per year — via a shift to healthier diets and food systems will be the subject of a high-level symposium kicking off here today.

The International Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition (1-2 December) will look at country-level challenges and successes to shed light on effective approaches to reshaping food production, processing, marketing and retail systems to better tackle the problem of malnutrition, which blights the lives of billions of individuals and can trap generations in a vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition.

Lamenting the fact that one in three people on the planet suffers from some form of malnutrition — either undernutrition or overweight and obesity — FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said that “no country is immune” from the problem whose “human, social, environmental and economic costs are overwhelming” during his opening remarks at the event co-organized by FAO and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Graziano da Silva pledged FAO’s support to help countries “adopt a food systems approach to address all states of the food chain: from production and processing to marketing and consumption.”

“Nutrition must be considered a public issue, a State responsibility,” he said, adding that “consumers must be empowered to choose healthy food and diets” through nutrition-sensitive social protection, nutrition education, and effective and accurate labelling and advertising.

Governments should encourage diversification of agriculture, improved post-harvest management, facilitate market access for poor family farmers and guarantee food-safety, he added.

Read the full article: FAO

 

To target 10 million farmers practicing climate-smart agriculture in the next five to seven years.

 

Photo credit: CIMMYT

A new stress-tolerant maize variety compared in Zimbabwe. CIMMYT/Johnson Siamachira

Target for 10 million more climate-smart farmers in southern Africa amid rising cost of El Niño

El Niño may have passed, but food security in southern Africa will continue to deteriorate until next year, as farmers struggle to find the resources to rebuild their livelihoods. Currently, around 30 million people in southern Africa require food aid, expected to rise to 50 million people by the end of February 2017.

Two Zimbabwe-based scientists from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) highlighted predictions that El Niño will become more frequent and severe under climate change, and that heat stress will reduce maize yields in southern Africa by 2050. Research centers, development agencies and governments must work together to respond to climate predictions before food crises develop, they said.

sam-drought-southern-africa-2015-2016-1-300x258
Drought in southern Africa during El Niño. CIMMYT/GIS Lab – http://www.cimmyt.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/sam-drought-southern-africa-2015-2016-1-300×258.png

Q: What do climate predictions say and how do they inform CIMMYT’s work?
We identified that heat stress is going to become a more important issue for maize in southern Zimbabwe, and southern Africa generally.Jill Cairns: Using climate projections we identified what future maize growing environments are going to be like, what traits will be needed for these environments and where the hotspots of vulnerability will be in terms of maize production.

Previously we had no heat screening in the whole of Africa for maize breeding, and four years ago we set up heat screening networks. Through that we are starting to get maize varieties that do well under heat and drought.

Read the full article: CIMMYT

A low technology drip irrigation system to water seedlings.

 

kabore_drip_irrigation
Mr Harouna Kaboré, a Mossi farmer from the village Manefyam in the province of Kourwéogo, Burkina Faso

Small is beautiful: Restoring degraded lands, one parcel at a time

The Aichi Biodiversity Targets agreed in Nagoya in 2012 included restoring 15% of the world’s degraded ecosystems by 2020 (Target 15). Subsequent assessments have led to estimates that for terrestrial ecosystems, this 15% means restoring a staggering 350 million hectares – and requires billions of tons of tree seed and trillions of seedlings. 

In the third blog in the CBD COP13 Forest and Landscape Restoration Blog Series, Bioversity International partner, Mr Harouna Kaboré, a Mossi farmer from the village Manefyam in the province of Kourwéogo, Burkina Faso, talks about his experience restoring three hectares of his household’s degraded lands in the context of a newly launched research initiative on nutrition-sensitive forest restoration.

By Marlène Elias and Barbara Vinceti

Mr Kaboré is a 38-year-old farmer and father of seven. In his fields in Manefyam, he displays his skills and experience restoring three hectares of degraded lands through fencing to protect the natural regeneration of trees, selectively tilling, and sowing or selectively planting trees. A self-motivated man, he has planted 2800 trees of value for medicine, nutrition and income over a 10 year period on land that was previously degraded. Due to natural mortality, many of the trees have not survived, but his efforts are relentless. With the support of the burkinabé association tiipaalga, he has also learned about the uses of many species previously unknown to him that now grow in his protected fields; and many species that were previously only encountered in distant areas have also populated these lands. Some came on their own and he no longer has to purchase their goods on the market.

According to Mr Kaboré, in this fenced area, plants grow taller and faster because they are protected from animals. He finds that the high mix of species is beneficial for his trees, and also for the crops growing around the protected area, as the bees living in the cavities of large trees pollinate his crops.

An innovator, Mr Kaboré has devised a low technology drip irrigation system to water his seedlings. Every week, this system slowly but steadily delivers his prized seedlings with 20 liters of water, one drop at a time.

%d bloggers like this: