Also published in TerraViva
- increase income of poor rural households, particularly women in the area through a number of different income generating activities
- improve lives of orphans and provide assistance to poor families who were unable to provide education and sound nutrition for their children
- give one litre of milk a day to the orphanage
- give the calves to other women headed-household and members of the cooperative
- 400-800 litres of milk a day
- 10-20kg of cheese per day
- 50-95 packs of butter per week
- 400-600 packs of yogurt per week
- procure large 50 litre metal containers to store the milk instead of using plastic containers
- avail themselves of technical expertise and training so that their products are of high quality meet regional standards, have bar codes and can compete with Kenyan products
- have access to veterinary service
- have access to East African Community Market and get packaging machinery
- have all the women of the community become members of the cooperative
- become a renown cooperative both inside and outside Tanzania
- providing thorough and in depth training to the machine operators, so that they do not only know how to operate the machine, but also maintain it properly
- understanding the market demand and their potential competitors
- doing a good market search before buying equipment and better understanding what is needed and how a piece of equipment can help them
- needs to be a trusted member of the community
- one who understands the ins and outs of the business and entire process
- one who has knowledge of financial management so that they can play a supervisory role, detect collusion and immediately take corrective actions
- continuous power cuts which lasts days
- lack of access to adequate and state of the art machinery for packaging and conservation so that they are able to compete in the market
- lack of access to technical expertise to take the business to its next level
- lack of local talents and expertise
- lack of access to appropriate equipment for conservation
- high taxation and cumbersome regulations
- competition with Kenyan products
- have all women in the area become members of the cooperative
- give dividends to all the members and not just provide contributions in kind
- create more employment opportunities
- send all children to school
- expand the sunflower pressing business
- innovate and continuously provide new services to the community
- provide capacity building
- build technical and leadership skills and groom local talents
- set up a milk bar so that community members understand that there are other options to drinking alcohol
- do more follow-ups and have a better feel what you can realistically achieve
- develop robust business plans
IFAD’s Emission Reduction Plan, 8 November 2011. Emissions reduction depends on us!We cause them, we can reduce them.
We are all concerned about climate change, and we are all aware of the impact of emissions on climate change. We know that continued emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming of the planet and cause many changes in the global climate system (e.g. increase risk of flooding and drought in certain areas). However, our emissions rather than decreasing are increasing; a trend that needs to be reversed urgently. That is why, the “UN system is collectively developing a climate-neutral approach for its premises and operations. The responsibility for the future lies in our hands. Let change begin at home” (foreword by the UN Secretary-General to “Moving Towards a Climate Neutral UN) and we also committed to play a proactive role in moving towards a climate neutral UN.
The workshop held on 8 November was a great opportunity to:
• be briefed on what we have done thus far to reduce emissions
• understand why we need to develop and implement an IFAD emission reduction plan
• generate ideas that can impact on emissions reduction
• assess the viability of the ideas proposed during the workshop.
The good news is that a number of concrete actions with a view to reduce emissions have already been taken, some examples:
• green building certification award at the Gold level in recognition of IFAD’s state-of-art HQ
• reduction in consumption of electricity from 2009 to 2010
• reduced use of plastic water bottles by installing drinking water fountains
• shuttle bus service from/to metro station to discourage the use of private cars
• reduction in paper consumption by implementing double-sided printing
• implementation of parking fees to encourage the use of public transportation
• video-conference facilities to reduce the number of travels to attend meetings.
Much has been done, but more needs to be done. Elina Virtanen and Pasi Rinne, the experts from Gaia Innovative Solutions for Sustainability, presented the baseline figures for reporting on IFAD’s emissions. Did you know that IFAD total emissions in 2009 were equivalent to 5089 tCO2 ?
Did you know that from 2009 to 2010 IFAD emissions have increased by 10 % and that air travel emissions have increased by 17 %?
Did you know that in 2009 IFAD emissions per staff were equal to 5,7 tCO2 ; far from a sustainable level! Based on IPCC estimates, in 2050 the emissions per person should be 2.8 t CO2.
While it's true that IFAD compared to other UN organizations has lower emissions, numbers still show how far we are from a sustainable emission level for our planet. Figures tell us we have to start planning today to achieve tomorrow’s targets. IFAD’s emission reduction plan is the tool we will be using to:
• define where we are today in terms of emissions caused
• identify the required actions to reduce emissions
• indicate realistic objectives and timeline.
We, as participants of the workshop, had the chance to “scout for ” ideas on how to further reduce emissions in the following areas:
• paper consumption and waste
• ICT (energy efficiency and enabling virtual meetings)
• others (thinking out of the box)
It’s amazing how many ideas were “sticked” in about 30 minutes. I was also impressed by the number of “green” stickers that we used to mark the proposed actions as “realistic” and “viable” , in other words, actions that could be included in IFAD’s emission reduction plan.
The ones I liked the most?
Adopt a sustainable procurement policy that takes into account the environmental impact of products and servicesAll staff teleworking 1 day a week
"Think big" and have a low-carbon cafeteria
Adopt a green travel policy
As Matthias Meyerhans, director ADM, pointed out “we have to change our habits if we intend to seriously pursue climate neutrality …..only if we as staff member and environmental conscious citizens are willing to change, significant emissions reduction can be achieved”
IFAD’s emission reduction plan is about us, about the way we will be working in the coming years. If you did not have the chance to participate in the workshop and are interested in knowing more about the actions proposed, you can still contribute by sharing your ideas through yammer
by Prof. M.S. Swaminathan Member of Parliament of India, Rajya Sabha, and Chairman, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation and Kanayo F. Nwanze, IFAD President
When world leaders sit down again to discuss climate change, we hope that the people who live and work on the world's 500 million small farms will be with them, at least in spirit. Their voice — and the issue of agriculture as a whole — has, for too long, been missing from the conversation. But without increased support to smallholder farmers now, the number of hungry people will grow, and future food security will be placed in jeopardy.
The upcoming 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 — marking the twentieth anniversary of the landmark Earth Summit that produced Agenda 21, “a roadmap” for sustainable development — will both need to ensure that agriculture and the world's smallholder farmers are high on the agenda if we are to overcome the many challenges we face in achieving the Millennium Development Goal 1.
The front line
In the last 20 years the global population has risen from about 5.3 billion to seven billion; the reality of climate change has been accepted beyond doubt; and the number of hungry people in the world has remained stubbornly around the one billion mark. Meanwhile, aid to agriculture has only just recently begun to pick up after decades of stagnation. More needs to be done — a lot more — and supporting smallholder farmers must be at the heart of any agenda.
The rural poor across the world, including India, have contributed little to human-induced climate change, yet they are on the front line in coping with its effects. Farmers can no longer rely on historical averages for rainfall and temperature, and the more frequent and extreme weather events, such as droughts and floods, can spell disaster. And there are new threats, such as sea level rise and the impact of melting glaciers on water supply.
How significant are small farms? As many as two billion people worldwide depend on them for their food and livelihood. Smallholder farmers in India produce 41 per cent of the country's food grains, and other food items that contribute to local and national food security. Small farmers cannot be ignored, and special attention must be given to the most vulnerable groups — particularly women, who make up a large percentage of farmers in the developing world.
Small farms also add up to big business: In the world's 50 least developed countries, agriculture is the backbone of the economy, accounting for 30 to 60 per cent of Gross Domestic Product and employing as much as 70 per cent or more of the workforce. Addressing the plight of smallholders isn't just a matter of equity, it's a necessity if we are going to be able to feed ourselves in the future. Smallholders farm 80 per cent of the total farmland in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. If we don't help them to adapt to climate change, their achievements — feeding a large portion of humanity — will be endangered.
With appropriate support, smallholders can play a key role in protecting our environment, for example through actions that contribute to carbon sequestration and limit carbon emissions (planting and maintaining forests, engaging in agro-forestry activities, managing rangelands and rice lands, and watershed protection that limits deforestation and soil erosion).
To continue farming in a sustainable way in the face of climate change, rural women and men need to be given the resources to cope with the challenges. Smallholder farmers need support such as resilience-building technologies (including drought- and salt-tolerant seed varieties and new methods of rainwater harvesting), and training in sustainable practices of conservation agriculture, such as minimum-till farming to reduce erosion and moisture loss. Investing in adaptation measures now will be far less costly than in the future.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the M.S. Swaminathan Foundation, together with the government of India and other partners, have undertaken a range of projects to do just that.
For example, in Tamil Nadu, we have been supporting rural communities to produce and market nutri-cereals like millet, which can easily grow in dry and arid environments. We worked with smallholder farmers to use simple techniques to increase their yields, while also helping rural women create and market modern recipes — for example, a millet malt drink now being sold in major health food stores in India. The result has been not only increased food for the community, but also increased income and non-farm employment opportunities.
To help farmers adapt to increasingly dry conditions, a programme in Chhattisgarh has expanded cultivation of traditionally produced Niger seed oil, which grows well in areas that receive little rain. Land and forest regeneration were promoted to improve soil structure and moisture levels, and solar energy technology and biogas digesters have been introduced, which reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as the need for fuelwood. Another project in the northeast has helped restore degraded jhumland and has benefited almost 40,000 households in 860 villages.
Climate-resilient sustainable agriculture requires knowledge. Successful projects such as these can provide a model for others to follow. Knowledge transfer that brings the benefits of research from the laboratory to the farm is essential.
Programmes targeted at vulnerable groups such as women and tribal communities are particularly important. IFAD-supported programmes and projects in India promote tribal development by building and strengthening grassroots institutions that enable vulnerable people to plan and manage their own development, negotiate improved entitlements, and broaden their livelihood opportunities. Conferences and talks among world leaders can do many things but they don't feed people. We hope that leaders will keep in mind those who do: the smallholder farmers. Price volatility and the persistence of widespread, endemic and hidden hunger underline the need for urgent attention to enhancing the productivity and profitability of smallholder agriculture in an environmentally sustainable manner. This is the pathway to increasing agriculture's contribution to climate change mitigation as well as to sustainable food security.
Originally published in The Hindu
Once a luxury item, mobile telephony is now a catalyst to bring about economic development and social inclusion in developing countries, especially in Africa. For economist Jeffry Sachs “mobile telephony is the single most transformative technology for development”.
Mobile phone numbers talk for themselves. According to International Telecommunication Union (ITU) the number of mobile phone subscriptions worldwide has reached 4.6 billion. ITU estimates show that in sub-Saharan Africa there is 60% mobile coverage and one-third of the population has a mobile subscription.
Over the last decades we’ve seen the socio-economic benefits of mobile telephony on the lives of many poor rural people. We’ve seen how thanks to mobile phones those who previously were both socially and economically excluded are now actively participating in the economy and are able to connect with their families and friends. We’ve seen how mobile phone supports bottom-up economic development, provides entrepreneurship opportunities and gives voice to poor rural people and the voiceless.
Experts categorize the benefits of the mobile telephony in three categories:
- incremental: improving the speed and efficiency of what people already do
- transformational: offering something new such as comprehensive agricultural services (what to plant when, where to buy inputs, access to price information, potential buyers, transport, pest control and more)
- productive: offering employment and income opportunity
Next time you are in Zambia, ask a smallholder producer, what is your lucky number. And do not be surprised if they say: “ZNFU4455”.
ZNFU4455 is a market information service open to all smallholder producers and traders, a service that encapsulates and touches on all three categories of benefits of mobile phone listed above.
Designed in 2006 with the assistance of IFAD-funded smallholder enterprise marketing programme and in cooperation with the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU), ZNFU4455 provides accurate and up-to-date agriculture and market information covering the entire value chain. It allows smallholder producers to make informed decision about what to grow, volumes required, storage, processing, marketing and investment opportunities.
ZNFU4455’s prime objective is to make markets functional for smallholder producers and traders. The service provides a list of 180 traders - 50% of whom are active - and their offer for 15 commodities. To find the best price on offer, smallholder producers and traders send an SMS message to 4455 containing the first four letters of the commodity and the district or province. They immediately receive a text message listing the best prices and codes designating the buyers offering them. After selecting the buyer that best responds to their needs, farmers send a second SMS with the buyer’s code. A text message is returned with the contact name and phone number. Farmers are then able to phone the buyer and start trading. Each message costs around US$0.15.
This demand-driven service responds to the evolving needs of the Zambia smallholder farmers and traders. It has helped reverse the trend of smallholder producers being exploited and passive players to becoming successful entrepeneurs by addressing challenges such as:
- limited access to credit
- limited access to price information
- limited access to appropriate technology
- limited business and negotiating skills
- weak organizations
- weak bargaining power
- poor access to transport networks
- little or no knowledge of market trends
The success of this service is manifold. To start with, it benefitted from an excellent marketing campaign. It’s business model is based on making revenue through advertisement and sponsorships.
It is one of those few IT applications that has little bells and whistles, it is easy to understand and use. It is a service that provides information upon request, as opposed to indiscriminately pushing content. It does so through different means such as cellphone (SMS), internet and radio. The radio programme is broadcast in seven local languages and in English.
Most importantly, it got the government’s full support and is an integral part of the national agricultural policy. Zambia’s good rural coverage of mobile phones and the fact that it is hosted in a credible institution, such as Zambia National Farmers Union, with a strong management team have contributed to its impressive success.
Between its launch in August 2006 and August 2009, ZNFU4455 managed to improve the bargaining power of smallholder producers, by providing them better access to markets and allowing them to deal with traders on an equal footing. Farmers have managed to reduce their transaction costs, are now producing more high value produces and targeting different markets. Thanks to the weekly updates, they are no longer overproducing, thus eliminating storage challenges.
Policy makers are using ZNFU4455 up-to-date information to identify trends in price fluctuations and to flag emergent and imminent food security challenges.
To date, 90 percent of traders and 60 per cent of the Zambian farmers have benefitted from ZNFU4455. Forty percent have managed to negotiate better prices, 52 per cent have sold their products to different traders and buyers, 23 per cent managed to build new trading relationships, more than 50 per cent increased their income, 15 per cent of initial SMS messages to the system led directly to farmers selling their produce, and over 90 per cent of the calls to buyers led to transactions.
ZNFU4455 and many other similar initiative and services highlight the fact that developing countries see and want mobile phones as the preferred information delivery system. At the same time, there is enough evidence that poor rural people are willing to spend part of their income on such services. The challenge now is to move beyond pilots and make sure that we systematically embed and mainstream ICT4D activities and projects in rural development projects and programmes so that we can have many more successful experiences such as ZNFU4455.
For more information visit http://farmprices.co.zm/