Policymakers and other value chain stakeholders

Photo credit: ILRI

Women pounding grain for the evening meal in Khulungira Village, in central Malawi (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann)

Hard numbers and soft stories: Reaching policymakers and empowering women in Africa’s agrifood value chains

by

By Jo Cadilhon

The fifteen research centres collaborating in the global CGIAR partnership have all embraced gender as a cross-cutting theme for research. Understanding the differentiated social roles of men and women, and the challenges men and women face in accessing resources is key in reducing rural poverty, improving food security, nutrition and health, and sustainably managing natural resources. However, to achieve more gender-equitable goals, our development partners also need to be aware of how undertaking gender-sensitive actions could lead to a more equitable society.

Policymakers are key partners in this process as they can orient government programs and donor projects towards more gender-equitable objectives. Yet, how can we make sure that policymakers become interested gender-equity and recognize its importance?

Established in 2006 under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) supports efforts to promote evidence and outcome-based policy planning and implementation as part of the CAADP agenda.

In East and Central Africa, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) are implementing ReSAKSS activities. These include regular training workshops targeted on statisticians and economists in the statistics departments of African governments in order to help them better collect and analyse official statistical data and make robust interpretations from them to informing policymakers and other value chain stakeholders.

Read the full article

Goats generated enormous benefits for the poorest women

Photo credit: Icarda

The project provided poor rural households, especially women, with the skills, knowledge, and inputs to engage in profitable dairy goat production

Can goats lead to lasting gains for Afghanistan’s women?

Fighting poverty is a constant struggle for rural communities in resource-scarce remote parts of Afghanistan, particularly women. Years of conflict has made it even harder to find a stable source of income. An ICARDA project that promotes the distribution and management of goats has generated enormous benefits for some of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable women, and continues to multiply impacts through its ‘Pass on the gift’ initiative. 
For decades, Afghanistan has been grappling with poverty. Rural women, though largely invisible, are at the forefront of this war with poverty. In remote communities, goat rearing is a major source of livelihood: most Afghan women, in rural areas, have at least some level of experience with goat rearing, even if they do not own one.
With limited or almost no technical expertise, however, they haven’t been able to turn goat rearing into a sustainable livelihood option. Production of goats and products such as meat, milk and cashmere have been severely constrained by a range of factors, including conflict, drought, scarcity of feed and low levels of knowledge in areas such as milk collection and processing, and animal health.
Building resilient livelihoods through livestock 
To enhance the benefits of dairy goat rearing, which is a common source of income for poor families in rural Afghanistan, a project was implemented by the Afghan Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and ICARDA, and funded by the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD). Starting in 2010, this project was primarily geared to provide poor rural households, especially women, with the skills, knowledge, and initial inputs to engage in profitable dairy goat production – to improve their livelihoods, nutrition, and income.

 

Read the full article: Icarda

A self-sustaining value chain

Photo credit: ICARDA

With the help of the project, more efficient processes and higher quality products are generating additional incomes for rural women

Connecting rural women to global markets

In remote regions of Central Asia, where many households depend on goats and sheep for their livelihoods, a harsh climate, poor access to markets, and lack of know-how, limits income-earning opportunities. An ICARDA initiative targeting rural women used a market-driven approach to establish a self-sustaining value chain, from improved breeding and husbandry practices to the production of world-class yarns and appealing products, linked to export markets.
For small producers of sheep and cashmere and angora goats in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, international fiber markets can seem a world away. Local fiber processors – mostly poor rural women – who add value by spinning, weaving, knitting and felting, are equally cut off from these distant markets where handmade, luxury clothing and handicrafts fetch a high price.
Furthermore, the collapse of state-run breeding programs after the breakdown of the Soviet Union has left them without access to new knowledge and training programs to adequately meet market standards.
These conditions pose a serious threat to the sustainability of the yarn sector in a competitive world, and with that, the livelihoods of tens of thousands of families in Central Asia who live in a harsh climate and rely on livestock production as their only source of income.
Breeding animals for higher yields and quality 
In 2009, ICARDA began collaborating with small-scale producers in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to establish new breeding programs, using imported genetics and artificial insemination with frozen semen to improve flock quality and yields.

 

Read the full article: Icarda

 

Ooranies to uplift the economic status of the rural people (SCAD)

Photo credit: Google

Ooranie pond restoration in India, Puliyamarathuarasadi

Fish culture in baby ponds

SCAD’s Newsletter – Vol. 2 – March 2015

Ooranie (Tamil word) = traditional drinking water pond in Tamil Nadu (India)

Fish culture is a profitable venture and in order to uplift the economic status of the rural people of Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts, SCAD advised the villagers to engage themselves in fish culture, especially in their ooranies.

Restoring ooranies in India, Puliyamarathuarasadi - http://blog.jeevika.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/S1030140.jpg
Restoring ooranies in India, Puliyamarathuarasadi – http://blog.jeevika.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/S1030140.jpg

During the rainy season, SCAD had stocked fish fingerlings in ooranies (which are highly expected to attain one kilogram after 7 to 8 months since the date of stock in the ooranie). In 2014, the number of fingerlings that had been stocked in 15 baby ponds was 55,000. The baby ponds have been dug out with a width and length of 50 feet and depth of 5 feet. SCAD supplied fingerlings to the water committee after which the committee initiated to bring the same to the baby ponds. These villages have efficient water committees who actively engage in deepening work and who are capable of maintaining the baby ponds for the future benefits of the community.

Long-term impact & Sustainability:

The ooranies in which the baby ponds are dug out can store water for 10 months of the year. The income generated from fish cultivation, is deposited in the committee’s name and is used for ongoing maintenance of the baby ponds and ooranies. Due to the increased water capacity the villagers will be able to cultivate fish for longer periods and get a better price.

Read the full text in SCAD’s Newsletter

Social Change And Development (SCAD)

105/A1 North By Pass Road, Vannarpettai, Tirunelveli – 627 003, Tamil Nadu, INDIA
Email: scb_scad@yahoo.com / Web: http://www.scad.org.in

SCAD’s home gardens for food security and nutrient deficiencies

Photo credit: Google

Kitchen Garden

An effective tool for household food security

in SCAD Newsletter Vol. 2 March 2015

Kitchen gardens or home gardens have the potential to improve household food security besides serving effectively to alleviate the micro nutrient deficiencies, quite a common phenomenon in rural areas. Raising different vegetables, fruits and medicinal plants on available land in and around the house premises is the easiest way to ensure access to healthy, fresh and poison-free food. This is especially important in rural areas where people have limited income-earning opportunities and the economically poor have less or no access to healthy food markets.

Mal nourishment and nutrition deficiency disorders are common among rural women and children. In order to improve nutrition and enhance household food security, SCAD initiated kitchen garden promotion in a striking manner. This programme encouraged home gardening to provide both food and income besides nutrition education for the families of malnourished children. The kitchen gardens were established with a simple and low-cost approach of providing 8-10 different types of vegetable seed packets. The seeds are carefully selected to yield greens, tubers, fruits and vegetables. It was observed that when the households understood the nutritional and economic benefits of home gardening, the impact of establishing and utilizing productive home gardens was larger. These efforts gave the household members a sense of being involved in the programme and an incentive to improve child feeding practices.

A well-developed home garden has the potential to supply most of the non-staple food that a family needs every day of the year. Keeping this in mind, comprehensive training packages, especially to suit the requirement of the women, have been prepared for people living in Tuticorin and Tirunelveli regions and are widely disseminated. SCAD’s Rural Development Division in conjunction with the SCAD Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) actively collaborate with the agricultural departments to procure quality seeds and train the field level extension staff, farmers, women ́s groups and school teachers in gardening techniques.

Read the full text in SCAD’s Newsletter

Social Change And Development (SCAD)

105/A1 North By Pass Road, Vannarpettai, Tirunelveli – 627 003, Tamil Nadu, INDIA
Email: scb_scad@yahoo.com / Web: http://www.scad.org.in

Sustainable land management

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Image credit: ILRI/Duncan

Partnerships ‘key to sustainable land management’

Lindsay Stringer, University of Leeds. : “Sustainable land management needs all these: traditional knowledge, modern scientific research yielding innovations, and methods for best practices and informing policymaking processes.” 

Speed read

  • Teamwork could prevent competition for resources needed for solving land issues
  • Local and scientific knowledge could be mixed to aid climate change adaptation
  • Scientists should create knowledge to increase drylands values, says an expert

[CANCUN, MEXICO] An integrated approach — involving stakeholders such as researchers, policymakers and local people — for addressing land degradation, climate change and sustainable land management challenges is beneficial than working in silos, says a conference.   According to the 3rd United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Scientific Conference in Mexico this week (9-12 March), an integrated approach to sustainable land management should be promoted.   “There is a need to change institutional arrangements to prevent the danger of duplication and competition for resources by various stakeholders in addressing issues of sustainable land management,” says Lindsay Stringer, a professor of environment and development at the UK-based University of Leeds.   Stringer, who has conducted research in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa such as Botswana and Malawi, says indigenous knowledge among pastoral and farming communities in Africa on coping with challenges such as drought can be added to modern scientific research outcomes to promote good land management and address climate change-related impacts.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Role of science in combating desertification

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Image credit: Flickr/ CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Systems

  • Science ‘has big role in solving desertification issues ’

    William Payne, UNCCD 3rd scientific conference advisory committee : “This scientific conference will consider, in particular, the role of sustainable land management in building resilience and adaptation to climate change.”

    Speed read

    • The conference identified poverty, climate change and desertification linkages
    • It showed how sustainable land management could aid climate change adaptation
    • An expert said local knowledge could be key to sustainable land use systems

    [CANCUN, MEXICO] Science has a major role to play in combating desertification, aiding climate change mitigation and adaptation, and sustainable land management practices, especially in the developing world, a conference has heard.

    During the opening session of the 3rd United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Scientific Conference in Cancun, Mexico, this week (9-12 March), Tarja Halonen, UNCCD’s drylands ambassador and former president of Finland, said poverty, climate change and desertification are closely linked in their causes, impacts and solutions.

    According to Halonen, women, youth and the poor are key when looking for available resources. “Majority of the farmers are women. In Africa, women produce 80 per cent of staple food. In Asia the figure is 60 per cent,” she said. “Scientific works, conclusions and recommendations will play a most important role in advising decision-makers.”

    Read the full article: SciDevNet

A New Green Revolution in Africa ?

 Photo credit: Google

Some argue that the problem is that the USAID plan for agricultural development in the majority of Africa has stressed a “New Green Revolution” involving improved seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. This green revolution, though scientifically proven to be effective and be more advantages to local growers that are attempting to be most efficient, may not be the best solution. http://humanrights4all.blogspot.be/2011/11/famine-in-horn-of-africa-new-green.html

Kenya: Lessons From Green Revolution in Africa

ANALYSIS – By Agnes Kalibata

EXCERPT

For the last eight years, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa has been seeking out public and private sector partners committed to triggering a uniquely African Green Revolution. One that revolves around the smallholder farmers who produce the majority of what Africans eat. As AU leaders sit down to determine how they and partners can achieve their goals, we wanted to share a few of the lessons we have learned in places like Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi, where many are now embracing the potential of agriculture to anchor a new era of sustainable and equitable economic growth.

Policy frameworks for increasing soil fertility in Africa: debating the alternatives - http://www.future-agricultures.org/images/soilfert.jpg
Policy frameworks for increasing soil fertility in Africa: debating the alternatives – http://www.future-agricultures.org/images/soilfert.jpg

1. Double down on creating the conditions for smallholder farmers to adopt new inputs and practices through raising awareness and access to finance.

The only way to sustainably and inclusively raise agricultural productivity is to ensure farmers are aware of the potential of new seeds, fertilizers, and basic agricultural practices that can more than double their yields. AGRA’s partners in national research systems have developed nearly 500 locally adapted crop varieties that are just as competitive as anywhere in the world.

4. Support efforts to match smallholder farmers with large-scale buyers.

Smallholder farmers working land holdings that typically average only a few hectares or less can seem like a poor match for large buyers. Yet, over the last few years, farmer organizations in Ghana, Mali, Tanzania, Mozambique, Kenya, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, and Malawi have established aggregation centres where growers can pool their harvests to meet the demand of large institutional buyers, like the World Food Program. The WFP in some countries has demonstrated that often a market is the missing incentive. In West Africa, a major rice miller and a large brewery have both seamlessly integrated smallholders into their network of suppliers.‎ GrowAfrica and the New Alliance initiative were set up to catalyze agriculture growth through private sector efforts and present a huge opportunity.

5. Support women in agriculture to reap a large dividend.‎

 

Read the full article: allAfrica

Empowering poor rural people in Peru

Photo credit: Rural Poverty Portal

Rural development in Peru (IFAD)

Empowering communities to innovate for rural development

Over the last 15 years, IFAD-funded development projects in the Southern Highlands of Peru have generated considerable knowledge, experience and good practices on empowering poor rural people and their associations. They have raised the interest of other IFAD and external practitioners and a high demand for knowledge sharing. Yet, the processes and methods that made these results possible remain poorly understood.

Peru as a Learning Territory aimed to fill this knowledge gap by creating a space for learning and capacity-building for both national and international rural development practitioners. The project focused on local experiences and knowledge, and gave local leaders and authorities, technicians, and development professionals from the region and beyond the opportunity to learn about IFAD’s most relevant innovations directly from the actors who were instrumental in developing them.

Areas of focus included approaches, mechanisms, strategies, and successes and failures in the implementation of rural development projects in the areas of civic and financial inclusion, territorial development based on cultural identity, and local knowledge management.

The project’s targets were to identify the most successful elements and processes to obtain sustainable results in these areas; disseminate best practices using the Learning Territories approach, where rural development practitioners can learn from the local talents; and form a network of local talents and rural development practitioners to share knowledge and replicate best practices.

70 outstanding African women agricultural scientists

Photo credit: Agro Nigeria

Rising to the Challenge! 2015 AWARD Fellowship Winners Set to Impact Smallholders in the Year of Women’s Empowerment

by Cynthia

EXCERPT

http://spectacles.com.ng/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/African-Women-in-Agricultural-Research-and-Development-AWARD-Call-for-applications-2015-702x272.jpg
http://spectacles.com.ng/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/African-Women-in-Agricultural-Research-and-Development-AWARD-Call-for-applications-2015-702×272.jpg

70 outstanding African women agricultural scientists from 11 countries have been chosen as the winners of the 2015 African Women in Agricultural Research and Development – AWARD fellowship in NAIROBI, Kenya.

Dr. Hawa  Abdi - http://www.bet.com/topics/d/dr-hawa-abdi/_jcr_content/topicintro.topicintro.dimg/101112-shows-bgr-timeline-Dr-Hawa-Abdi.jpg
Dr. Hawa Abdi – http://www.bet.com/topics/d/dr-hawa-abdi/_jcr_content/topicintro.topicintro.dimg/101112-shows-bgr-timeline-Dr-Hawa-Abdi.jpg

“Agricultural research and development in Mozambique is an important tool for increasing production, and consequently reducing household malnutrition and poverty, particularly in children and women,” says Olivia Narciso Pedro, a lecturer and researcher at the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique. “My vision for agriculture-led growth in Mozambique is to design alternatives to mitigate loss of genetic diversity, and ensure conservation of species, while improving household food security.”

2015 AWARD Fellowship Laureates from left: Juliana Mandha (Tanzania), Ifeoluwa Olotu (Nigeria) and Ngozi Edoh (Nigeria), attending the Mentoring Orientation  - http://awakeafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2015-award-fellowship-laureates.jpg
2015 AWARD Fellowship Laureates from left: Juliana Mandha (Tanzania), Ifeoluwa Olotu (Nigeria) and Ngozi Edoh (Nigeria), attending the Mentoring Orientation – http://awakeafrica.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2015-award-fellowship-laureates.jpg

This year’s laureates were selected from among an impressive cadre of 1,109 applicants from 11 African countries. These scientists and researchers, will benefit from AWARD’s two-year career-development program that is focused on accelerating agricultural gains by strengthening their research and leadership skills. AWARD Fellowships are granted on the basis of each scientist’s intellectual merit, leadership capacity, and the potential of her work to improve the livelihoods of African smallholder farmers, most of whom are women.

AWARD Fellows share a common vision: they want to translate their research and knowledge into tangible action, tangible action that will benefit smallholder farmers—especially laudable in 2015, the African Union’s Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063.

Read the full article: Agro Nigeria

 

The critical role of smallholder farmers and rural people

Photo credit: Google

The programme, “Accelerating Progress Toward the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women

IFAD Note Highlights Role of Rural Transformation in Achieving Post-2015 Agenda


Smallholder farmers and rural people can play a critical role in achieving the post-2015 development agenda, according to a concept note by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). ‘Rural transformation: Key to sustainable development’ stresses the role of targeting rural areas and reducing rural-urban inequalities to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty and hunger.

Vietnam - Ha Giang Development Project for Ethnic Minorities -  women comprise more than 40 per cent of the agricultural labour http://www.ifad.org/media/events/2013/images/women_asia.jpg
Vietnam – Ha Giang Development Project for Ethnic Minorities – women comprise more than 40 per cent of the agricultural labour – http://www.ifad.org/media/events/2013/images/women_asia.jpg

IFAD prepared the concept note in preparation for its 38th session of the Governing Council, which will focus on rural transformation as a key to sustainable development.

Rural women can be the drivers within sustainable, community-led development – they are often the ones working the most hard to feed their communities! - https://indievolunteer.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/investing-african-agriculture.jpg
Rural women can be the drivers within sustainable, community-led development – they are often the ones working the most hard to feed their communities! – https://indievolunteer.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/investing-african-agriculture.jpg

Economic diversification, innovations in production, modern technology use and expanded access to modern supply chains are key features of rural transformation, according to the note. It explains that IFAD invests in four key areas to advance inclusive and sustainable rural transformation: promoting diversification and resilience; advancing gender equality and empowering women; building sustainable food systems; and enhancing rural-urban connectivity and linkages. The concept note argues for addressing unequal power relations, social exclusion and access to a range of productive assets as part of strategies to address persistent poverty.


 

Read the full article: IISD

 


 

Livestock to Markets

Photo credit: Treehugger

© Livestock is the primary measure of wealth among herding communities of northern Kenya. CREDIT: Ron Geatz

A key tool in driving the better management of the rangelands is access to markets.

By Charlotte Kaiser, Deputy Managing Director at NatureVest, The Nature Conservancy.

For thousands of years the pastoralist communities of northern Kenya have herded their cattle alongside elephants and zebras, the grass of the rangelands shared between livestock and wildlife in relative balance. In recent decades, climate change, habitat loss, and human population growth have combined to erode that balance, leading to overgrazing and the degradation of the grasslands that both humans and wildlife need to survive.

For over a decade, the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) has worked with the communities of Northern Kenya to develop community conservancies that support better management of cattle and grass. Through rotational grazing, grass banking, and other practices, the NRT Conservancies have seen habitat improve and human-wildlife interactions decrease.

A key tool in driving the better management of the rangelands is access to markets. Historically, the pastoralist communities lacked easy access to a market for their cattle. While cows are capital for these communities, families do need cash for school fees and other expenses, and without access to markets are forced to trek animals long distances to sell them for a poor price to a middleman trader. Without ready access to markets, pastoralists amass overly large herds. During droughts, fear of mass cattle starvation drives pastoralists to sell animals at low prices in a buyers’ market, or risk losing most of their herd to starvation.

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