Does conservation agriculture work for smallholder farmers in Africa? New report highlights key points for action
By Faumuina Felolini Tafunai
|IFAD’s Sakiusa Tubuna says people need to go back to|
how their forefathers farmed and look at crops that fare
better with the effects of climate change
Sakiusa Tubuna is the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) sub-regional co-ordinator, based in Suva. He says that traditional farming uses processes like mulching that help maintain healthy soils, which means farmers are less likely to clear additional land for farming.
“We encourage traditional mixed farming systems instead of mono cropping which can lead to soil erosion. We also encourage the use of technologies and better methods so that farmers can produce smaller volume but high-value crops.”
Tubuna says people need to go back to how their forefathers farmed and look at crops that fare better with the effects of climate change.
“Coconut tree varieties like Fiji Tall and Samoa Tall don’t yield as many coconuts as some other varieties but they are able to withstand cyclones much better and cope with sea spray.”
Tubuna is part of an IFAD contingent participating in the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa.
IFAD is a specialized agency of the United Nations, established as an international financial institution in 1977.
Since its creation it has invested a USD476 million in 23 Small Island Developing States. This has benefited over 5 million people living in the Indian Ocean, Caribbean and Pacific region.
At the conference, IFAD is hosting the ‘More than cocoa and coconuts: investing in rural people developing agriculture ‘side event on 2 September.
The side event will show how IFAD forges partnership with different groups, including case studies from Cicia Island in Fiji, Sao Tome and Principe, and Grenada.
The following day it has co-sponsored a Government of Tonga side event that looks at partnerships between civil societies and government, and a Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) side event on food security in the context of climate change. It has also set up a field trip to visit local farms including Women in Business Development demonstration farm at Nu’u and the Samoa Farmers Association Tahitian Lime export process at Atele.
On September 4, it is co-sponsoring the Organics Islands side event that looks at how organic agriculture can be used as a tool for sustainable agricultural development.
Related blogpost: Spotting deforestation from the space
August 28, Apia, Samoa. Today young people from the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific gathered together at the To’oa Salamasina Hall, Sogi, Apia for the second and last day of the Youth Forum as part of the preparatory activities for the Third International Conference for Small Island Developing States.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is committed to enhancing opportunities for rural youth in small island developing states and has supported the participation in the Forum of Aulola Silua Toomeilangi ‘AKE, a young M&E coordinator for the Tonga Rural Innovation Project, implemented by MORDI Tonga Trust.
|Aulola Silua Toomeilangi ‘AKE attending the Youth Forum, |
Apia, Samoa. Photo: IFAD/Antonella Piccolella
|Participants at the Youth Forum, Apia, Samoa. |
Photo: IFAD/Antonella Piccolella
The thing that Aulola loved the most about taking part in the Youth Forum was the South-South learning experience. She was really interested in an initiative from the AIMS region and she will be in touch via e-mail with the AIMS representative. “The best was that we did not stay within the Pacific circuit but were able to interact with people from the different countries”.
What is better than cash you may ask? Electronic payments of course! Easy question, easy answer, anything else you need to know?
Actually, there is a lot more to it than that and that's why the Rural Finance Thematic Group and the Better than Cash Alliance held a seminar at IFAD on 21 August.
"Empowering people through electronic payments" . Tidhar Wald, from BTC walked the participants through an interesting presentation on why the alliance is convincing Governments, the development community and the private sector to shift their payments from cash to electronic – paving the way to expand financial inclusion and help people in poverty grow assets. Digitizing payments can create lasting benefits for people, communities and economies such as: cost savings, transparency, security, financial inclusion and access to new markets. Today, more than half the adult population – 2.5 billion – are excluded from the formal financial sector.
It seems that there is no question as to the efficiency that this shift would lead to, in fact, a stimulating discussion took place on the pros and cons of this shift and how challenging it will really be to replace a cash economy – 'cash is the way people think' …'a cash element will always remain' …'we have a long way to go to make services available to the local people ' these were just some of the comments made.
Andean tribal people, Cusco Region, Peru, beneficiaries of a financial graduation programme by the government.
Although there are challenges, there are benefits too... Governments can save up to 75% when making payments electronically rather than in cash, on what? Corruption, theft, insurance costs, less middlemen – all these and other factors drastically increase savings as the costs incurred with cash no longer exist.
Mainly BTC aims to see donors committing to implement electronic payment solutions instead of cash. Another aim is for improved economic security for millions of low-income and poor people, enabling them to use bank or electronic accounts to build savings and assets via innovative payment technologies.
IFAD has been invited to become a member of the Better than Cash Alliance and the process to reach a decision has started. Current partners of the Alliance are: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, MasterCard, Citi, The Ford Foundation, Omidyar Network, The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Visa Inc., and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) as the Secretariat of the Alliance.
In fact, IFAD is already using electronic payments so what would our actual role be? To showcase IFAD’s leadership in its process to accelerate digitization of payments and jointly promote greater use of secure, sound electronic payments in the world.
Did you know? Another reason not to use cash - cash is unhygenic and 94% of all paper bills are contaminated - with drugs and dangerous germs!
Local Solutions and Best Practices on Natural Resource Management and Climate Change Adaptation in Arid Lands and Affected Territories: A Learning Route in Kenya
A coastline household in Kurumpanai village, Tamil Nadu, India. This village was hit hard by the 2004 tsunami. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio
This week I visited some of the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, India that were heavily effected by the tsunami ten years ago. Although the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is not a relief organisation, through it's work in investing in poor rural communities, the fund provides plenty of relief to poor households. The Post-Tsunami Sustainable Livelihoods Programme for the Coastal Communities of Tamil Nadu (PTSLP) is no exception. The project has been working with people living along the coast and surrounding areas to enhance their livelihoods since 2007.
Leaders of the Kurumpanai fishermen’s group talk about the tsunami at the fishing society headquarters in Kurumpanai village. ©IFAD/Susan Beccio
Women, who buy fish wholesale and sell in the local market, were trained in fish handling - though not all of the practises have been easily adopted. "Though women know better, they still mix fresh fish with sand because then people think it is fresh, if they put ice, people think the fish is frozen," says Maria Roni, 56, secretary of the Kayakumari fish society.