How to increase agricultural productivity and enhance drought resilience

Photo credit: CCAFS – CGIAR

Exchange meeting with farmers on farmer-managed natural regeneration in Niger. Photo: P. Savadogo
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A real opportunity to scale up Climate-Smart Villages in Niger

In Niger, the World Bank is financing a project inspired by the Climate-Smart Village model of Kampa Zarma.

by Mathieu Ouédraogo (CCAFS West Africa)

In August, the 3N (Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens) facilitated a formulation workshop of a climate-smart agriculture project in Niger. The CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) West Africa programme was among the attendees of the workshop, which was led by the 3N High Commission in partnership with the World Bank.

About the World Bank-funded CSA project in Niger

Led by the 3N High Commission of Niger, it is a seven year-long project (from 2016 to 2023) with a total budget of USD 111 million. The objective is to increase agricultural productivity and enhance drought resilience of agro-pastoral systems in 60 targeted communes in Niger.

Although the project is primarily focused on building resilience, it will attempt to deliver on the triple win of climate-smart agriculture (CSA): improving productivity, building resilience, and reducing emission in selected locations in Niger. This is why the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and CCAFS were invited to participate in the formulation workshop of the Niger CSA project.

A real opportunity to scale up the Climate-Smart Village model across the country

With the Participatory Action Research (PAR) team of INRAN, CCAFS organized a field visit to the Kampa Zarma site to show a concrete CSV to a team of representatives of the World Bank, the HC3N and the project consultancy bureau. This was the first time a delegation of this importance visited a CSV in Niger. During the field visit, participants had discussions with people from Kampa Zampa village and visited various CSA options that are implemented in the individual fields of famers including Farmer Assisted Natural Tree Regeneration, zaï (or tassa) and improved varieties of millet.


About REDD+, or reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation

Photo credit: The World Bank

Actions speak louder than words: Opportunities abound for forests in combating climate change


Over the past several weeks, we have made headway in our efforts to reduce deforestation and promote sustainable land use as part of a broader World Bank Group approach to combat climate change. Partnering with the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), the Democratic Republic of Congo has taken a major step by assessing its readiness for a large-scale initiative in which developing forested countries keep their forests standing and developed countries pay for the carbon that is not released into the atmosphere. Likewise, other countries in the 47-country FCPF partnership are making strides in their efforts to prepare for programs that mitigate greenhouse gas emission and support sustainable forest landscapes.

This approach is also known as REDD+, or reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Active REDD+ programs can help reduce the 20 percent of carbon emissions that come from forest loss and simultaneously provide support to the 60 million people, including indigenous communities, who are wholly dependent on forests.

Through REDD+, not only do developed countries benefit from the opportunity to mitigate climate change, but forested developing countries reap the rewards for their community and ecosystem from standing trees. Working with the FCPF, the World Bank, and other delivery partners, countries at various stages are developing the building blocks for large-scale programs that address the drivers of deforestation – like unsustainable agricultural practices and commodity supply chains.

Read the full article: The World Bank

Land degradation and food production

Photo credit: The World Bank

To fight desertification, let’s manage our land better


Every year, we lose 24 billion tons of fertile soil to erosion and 12 million hectares of land to desertification and drought.  This threatens the lives and livelihoods of 1.5 billion people now.

In the future, desertification could displace up to 135 million people by 2045. Land degradation could also reduce global food production by up to 12% and push world food prices up by 30%. In Egypt, Ghana, Central African Republic, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Paraguay, land degradation could cause an annual GDP loss of up to 7%.

Pressure on land resources is expected to increase as populations grow, socio-economic development happens and the climate changes. A growing population will demand more food, which means that unsuitable or especially biodiverse land will be claimed for farming and be more vulnerable to degradation. Increased fertilizer and pesticide use related to agriculture will increase nutrient loading in soils, causing eutrophication and declines in fertility over time. Climate change will also aggravate land degradation—especially in drylands, which occupy 40% of global land area, and are inhabited by some 2 billion people. Urban areas, which are located in the world’s highly fertile areas, could grow to account for more than 5% of global land by mid-century.

Unless we manage our land better, every person will rely on just .11 hectares of land for their food; down from .45 hectares in 1960.

So how do we manage land better?

It will all come down to what we do with our soil, which is the most significant natural capital for ensuring food, water, and energy security while adapting and building resilience to climate change and shocks. The soil’s nutrient cycling provides the largest contribution (51%) of the total value (USD33 trillion) of all ‘ecosystem services’ provided each year. But soil’s important function is often forgotten as the missing link in our pursuit of sustainable development.

We must invest in applicable solutions that are transformative, and can be scaled up. Climate-smart agriculture is an alternative approach to managing land sustainably whilst increasing agricultural productivity. It includes land management options that sequester carbon and enhance resilience to climate change. Proven climate-smart practices such as agroforestry, integrated soil fertility management, conservation agriculture, and improved irrigation can ensure that land is used optimally, restored and managed in a manner that maximizes ecological, economic and social benefits.

Read the full article: The World Bank

MDG 1 “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger” and its 3 targets


MDG 1: Uneven progress in reducing extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition


This is the first in a series of posts on data related the Millennium Development Goals based on the 2015 Edition of World Development Indicators.

Millennium Development Goal 1 is to “Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger” and is assosciated with three targets to: a) Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day; b) Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all; and to c) Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.

The latest estimates show that the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 43.6 percent in 1990 to 17.0 percent in 2011. Forecasts based on country-specific growth rates in the past 10 years indicate that the extreme poverty rate will fall to 13.4 percent by 2015, a drop of more than two-thirds from the 1990 baseline.

The number of people worldwide living on less than $1.25 a day is also forecast to be halved by 2015 from its 1990 level. Between 1990 and 2011 the number of extremely poor people fell from 1.9 billion to 1 billion, and according to forecasts, another 175 million people will be lifted out of extreme poverty by 2015.

This means that based on current trends, nearly half of developing countries have already achieved the Millennium Development Goal 1 (MDG1) target of halving the proportion of the population in extreme poverty five years ahead of the 2015 deadline.

Read the full article: World Bank

Irreversible groundwater depletion

Photo credit: FAO

A Senegalese farmer transfers well water into a holding container.

Global agencies call for urgent action to avoid irreversible groundwater depletion

New vision and global framework for action on groundwater governance released


FAO, UNESCO, the World Bank, GEF and the International Association of Hydrogeologists have today called for action by the global community to manage the increasingly urgent depletion and degradation of limited groundwater resources.

Groundwater is indispensable to poverty reduction and shared prosperity. It accounts for more than a third of municipal and industrial supply and services some 40 percent of the planet’s irrigated agriculture. Groundwater has the potential to provide an improved source of drinking water for millions of urban and rural poor people. Many poor farmers and their families depend on it to irrigate their crops and sustain their livelihoods.

The 2030 Vision and Framework for Action provides an enabling framework and guiding principles for coordinated action among governments and organizations.

“Sustainable management of groundwater is key to maintaining ecosystems and adapting to climate change,” said Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). “We can no longer take this invisible but vital source for granted; urgent action is needed to ensure its long term availability. We look forward to joining hands with partner agencies and countries to ensure water for drinking, food, cities, energy and industrial uses is available for generations to come.”

In response to the urgency of the situation and a product of four years of consultations with stakeholders from more than 100 countries, these principles focus on legal and institutional frameworks, policies, and plans as well as information and incentive structures for sound and effective groundwater management.

This process signals strengthened collaboration across the international community to understand the barriers to better groundwater governance and address key regional challenges.

Read the full article: FAO

The Great Green Wall Programme imple­mentation Unit (GGW/PIU) in Nigeria

Photo credit:

Prospects of Great Green Wall initiative



Great Green Wall : Workers water the Widu tree nursery in Senegal Louga region in 2012 -
Great Green Wall : Workers water the Widu tree nursery in Senegal Louga region in 2012 ––/q-95/sys-images/Environment/Pix/columnists/2012/7/12/1342102638249/Great-Green-Wall—Worker-008.jpg

In a bid to further improve Agriculture and increase envi­ronmental sustainability, Presi­dent Goodluck Jonathan has ap­proved the upgrade of the Great Green Wall Programme imple­mentation Unit (GGW/PIU) to become an independent agency. The GGW/PIU now known as National Agency on Great Green Wall (NAGGW) was endorsed by the administration to urgently and holistically address the chal­lenges bedevilling desertification in the Northern parts of Nigeria.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Agency, Alhaji Goni Ahmed, who disclosed the new develop­ment, added that the President saw the need to upgrade the unit because of his belief and passion in environmental protection.

Interestingly some develop­ment partners have shown inter­est in the project with World Bank leading the pack. A leader of World Bank team to Nigeria who is also World Bank Senior Social Development specialist on Carbon Finance, Haddy J. Sey, who led a team to the agency said the Bank would collaborate with the agency on an initiative to reducing emis­sion from desertification and for­est degradation (REDD+) in de­veloping countries.

In this vein, the federal gov­ernment has taken the first giant stride in expending resources for the success of the Great Green Wall (GGW) project, aimed at ad­dressing desertification along the 11 northern frontline states.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Laurentia Mallam who has also demonstrated greater com­mitment of the government to the project, has stressed that the project will provide shelter for the communities and also create an ozone-friendly environment in the selected states.

By all accounts, President Goodluck Jonathan appears to have taken the bull by the horns in mustering the political will to formally launch the Nigerian com­ponent of the Great Green Wall (GGW) Programme in states, like Katsina, Kebbi, and also taking the trend towards Borno State.

To further boost the initia­tive, the Federal Government has also approved contract for the procurement of 750,000 units of clean cooking stove, worth N9.2 billion, and 18,000 wonderbags (eco-friendly non-electric por­table slow cookers) for free dis­tribution to rural women nation­wide.

Read the full article: The Sun

Speeding urgently needed seeds of major food crops to communities in West Africa

Photo credit: UN News Centre

Photo: FAO

Ebola: World Bank will provide seeds to farmers in West Africa to ward off hunger


The World Bank Group announced today that it has mobilized some $15 million in emergency financing to provide a record 10,500 tons of maize and rice seed to more than 200,000 farmers in the countries most-affected by the unprecedented Ebola outbreak, in time for the April planting season.

“Agriculture is the lifeline of the economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice-President for Africa. “By speeding supplies of urgently needed seeds of major food crops to communities in West Africa, we are jumpstarting recovery in rural areas and preventing the looming specter of hunger in the countries hardest hit by Ebola.”

According to the World Bank, “more than one million people could go hungry unless they have reliable access to food and emergency measures are taken immediately to safeguard crop and livestock production.”

A recent World Bank Group report shows that the Ebola crisis has taken a heavy toll on the economies in all three countries, and the agriculture and food sectors have been particularly hard hit.

“Reports show that desperate farming families have resorted to eating stored seed originally intended for use in the next cropping cycle. Rural flight has caused harvest-ready crops to wither in the fields,” the World Bank said in its announcement.

Read the full article: UN News Centre


See also:


The post-2015 development agenda and desertification

Photo credit: Huffington Post

Combating Desertification in the Post-2015 Agenda

by Mahmoud Mohieldin


Desertification is one of the concerns in the post-2015 development agenda. The recently released Zero Draft of the UN Open Working Group — proposing goals and targets for the post-2015 development agenda — includes a goal to “Protect and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, halt desertification, land degradation and biodiversity loss.” The goal is accompanied by specific targets which cover issues ranging from desertification and drought to biodiversity and natural resource management.

To address the unique issues faced by the most vulnerable, we must invest in applicable solutions that are transformative, and can be scaled up. For example, as part of the TerrAfrica partnership, we are working in 12 countries to support the Great Green Wall Initiative of African countries to boost resilience. Together with a large number of partners, we are also working on a major study on The Economics of Resilience in the Drylands of Sub-Saharan Africa to determine the interventions needed to reduce the vulnerability and enhance the resilience of people living in drylands.

We must, however, be more ambitious and scale up efforts to support appropriate solutions for better management of land and other natural resources at the farm, community, landscape and national levels. The following are some of the priority areas for action by governments and the international development community, in partnership with the private sector and civil society.

Read the full article: Huffington Post

GGW to deliver dividends to Nigerians

Photo credit: Pixabay

Nigeria: Agency Seeks Support for Great Green Wall Project

Daily Trust (Abuja)
21 JANUARY 2015


The Director General, National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW), Goni Ahmed, has called on stakeholders to support the Great Green Wall Programme so as to deliver dividends to Nigerians.

Goni said this recently when he received representatives of World Bank and REDD+Secretariat.

The Director General said the support and assistance from stakeholders would ensure the desertification threatening the northern region was brought under control.

He was of the view that desertification had drastically affected the quality of life in northern Nigeria, stressing that it had resulted in high levels of migration, instability, damaging the social fabric of the North and confining them to a future of low productivity, limited economic growth and marginalization.

Read the full article: Daily Trust

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