by Harold Liversage, the regional land advisor and Steven Jonckheere, land and natural resources associate for IFAD in East and Southern Africa
Land is fundamental to the lives of poor rural people. It is a source of food, shelter, income and social identity. Secure access to land reduces vulnerability to hunger and poverty. But for many of the world’s poor rural people in developing countries, access is becoming more tenuous than ever. IFAD, FAO, UN-HABITAT, the International Land Coalition Secretariat, the Global Land Tools Network Secretariat and OXFAM co-organised a Workshop on Land Indicators on 21-22 February in Rome. The workshop is part of an on-going consultation to identify a set of indicators to monitor progress in land governance. The event brought together a range of stakeholders from governments, farmers’ organizations, civil society, multilateral organizations and institutions interested in food security and land issues. The need for common land indicators is greater than ever because of the monitoring demands have been, or will be, created by the post-2015 agenda, the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance on Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGTs) and the Framework and Guidelines on land policy in Africa (F&GLPA). There is also demand for common frameworks for project monitoring and evaluation.
Global Land Indicator Initiative
The Global Land Indicator Initiative (GLII) was established in 2012 with the aim to support efforts to harmonize monitoring efforts around land tenure and governance. GLII seeks to derive a list of globally comparable harmonized land indicators, using existing monitoring mechanisms and data collection methods as a foundation. The Initiative is supporting global and regional frameworks such as the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance on Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGTs), agreed by 193 Member States and supported by civil society on the one hand, and the Framework and Guidelines (F&G) on land policy in Africa, a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa on the other. The Initiative intends to foster partnership, inclusiveness, consultation, evidence-based indicators, people–centred approach and sustainability.
In September 2012, UN-Habitat, the World Bank and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), met in Naples, Italy, to discuss how to advance the harmonization of global land indicators through a multi-stakeholder consultative process. Since then two other meetings have been organised on land indicators, one in April 2013 in Washington and another in November 2013 in The Hague, with an increasing number of participating organisations.
Concerns have been raised that the voices of civil society have not been coming out very strongly. This workshop has succeeded in broadening the participation in this initiative with a strong representation from farmers’ associations (such as Asian Farmers’ Association, East African Farmers’ Federation and the Network of Farmers' and Agricultural Producers' Organisations of West Africa), large networks such as the FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN), the International Planning Committee for Food Security (IPC) and Civil Society Mechanism (CSM) of the Committee on Food Security (CFS).
Post-2015 agenda/Sustainable Development Goals
Some of the participants are involved in the wider process of developing and negotiating the post-2015 agenda/Sustainable Development Goals. Indeed, it is important that momentum is maintained to ensure the inclusion of land-related targets and indicators in the final framework. Measurability is one factor that will be taken into account in finalizing the targets and indicators. Going forward, the post-2015 process to agree goals and targets will be mainly focused on intergovernmental negotiations, with the selection of the indicators also being a high-level process in which UN and other multilateral agencies will play a key role. High-level lobbying therefore needs to be taken forward by different stakeholders: intergovernmental partners, civil society organisations and supportive government representatives. Workshop participants agreed to support this process by providing key messages on why the land indicators and the targets they relate to are important, by showing that they enjoy wide support, and by showing that there are feasible mechanisms for assessment. IFAD has assigned strategic priority to participating in the global dialogue on the post-2015 development framework and will focus on four themes: i) Leveraging the rural-urban nexus for development; ii) An empowerment agenda for rural livelihoods; iii) Investing in smallholder family agriculture; and, iv) promoting resilience of poor rural households. Security of rural people’s tenure over land, property and other natural resources is the first cross cutting target area relevant for all the themes.
Harmonizing indicators for regional, national, sub-national and project monitoring
The initiative seeks to address these other harmonization demands in parallel. The VGGT and F&GLPA provide benchmarks and create an opportunity for governments and other actors to track and monitor progress. Indicators are relevant to monitoring and tracking of the VGGT and F&G. Monitoring strategies for the VGGT and F&GLPA need to be developed through a very inclusive process of stakeholder involvement, and for that reason should be seen as a longer-term process. CFS will monitor the implementation of the VGGT and is a globally legitimate arena in which to expand the discussion on indicators. The participation in this workshop of HE Gerda Verburg (Chair of CFS) and HE Robert Saabiti (Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the Rome-based agencies and sitting on the CFS Bureau representing the Africa Region) has therefore been very important.
The harmonization of project monitoring indicators is also something that can be advanced in parallel. A number of different multilateral and bilateral donors support tenure and land governance-related projects and programs and employ indicator frameworks to monitor these. A key concern in such monitoring is to evaluate how projects and programs contribute to the implementation of global and regional goals and guidelines. Project monitoring can contribute to the collection of data on common global indicators so the relevant stakeholders need to be involved in the development of the latter.
There was a general agreement among participants that the post 2015 discussions and the possibility of getting an indicator/set of indicators and possibly even a target on tenure security/access into the SDG framework are a unique opportunity to promote the global land agenda. This can feed into the development of M&E frameworks for tracking progress in implementing the VGGT and F&GLPA. Nevertheless, care must be given to ensure the right indicators and targets are identified which provide an incentive for good land governance. This must be done in a transparent and inclusive manner. All participants committed themselves to contribute to this effort.
Many thanks to everyone involved in making the land indicators workshop a success.
by Harold Liversage, the regional land advisor and Steven Jonckheere, land and natural resources associate for IFAD in East and Southern Africa
“It was interesting to see how scientists started to calculate risks and tried to include complex calculations in their decision making process” adds van Aalst.
At IFAD’s first ever Global Staff Meeting, it was up to our staff to see if they could adapt to climate change and prevent for the impact of disasters.
The game showed in a fun and interactive way that climate change adaptation is full of challenges and uncertainties. Even though the participants all knew that floods may have large impacts on their villages – they wondered why invest in risk reduction, when they did not know if a disaster would actually hit their village. It was therefore quite attractive to spend money on short term benefits: you could only spend your money once.
“Although this game is a simplified version of reality, it sheds light on some of the factors that play out in our real-world project portfolio” said Gernot Laganda, Programme Coordinator for IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP). “Some of our investments are carried away by floods, and project budgets need to be reconfigured to accommodate repair and restoration efforts. Being aware of climate risks before investing allows us to programme more resilient rural development projects.”
“Through ASAP, we introduce disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation measures into IFAD-supported development projects. These measures range from landscape-level interventions, such as watershed afforestation and the restoration of coastal greenbelts, to communal investments in early warning systems, more robust storage infrastructure and salt- or heat-tolerant crop varieties”.
The Red Cross game showed that decision making in relation to climate change and risk management, is quite a difficult task. Even when the will and knowledge to act is there: risks are complex to deal with in a world where money is scarce.
Clare Bishop-Sambrook, Senior Technical Advisor, Policy and Technical Advisory Division, IFAD
Informal viewpoint following participation in a side event on rural women during OWG8 meeting
At the OWG, many speakers affirmed gender equality as an end in itself, and called for a stand-along goal on gender equality as well as cross-cutting targets under other goals . UN Women is calling for a transformative goal, to further drive change and promote and monitor transformation in the structural determinants of gender-based inequality . The three components of the stand-alone goal are: freedom from violence; access to resources, knowledge and health; and voice, leadership and participation.
As we move forward in the SDG debate, it is essential to ensure that the sufficient attention is paid specifically to rural women. A factsheet prepared by UN agencies in 2012 on the progress of rural women against the MDGs - including the stand-alone goal MDG3 on gender equality - had as its main finding that ‘globally, and only with a few exceptions, rural women fare worse than rural men and urban women and men for every MDG indicator for which data are available’.
However, preparing the factsheet was frustrated by the lack of data, not only disaggregated by sex but also by rural-urban location. It also became evident that many of the 60 indicators used to track MDG progress did not resonate with the lives of rural women.
The rural dimension of the SDGs will be crucial for addressing hunger, poverty and environmental concerns. Today, more than 70 per cent of the extreme poor live in rural areas, widespread in low income countries and as pockets of poverty in middle income countries. It is estimated that smallholder farming supports the livelihoods of approximately 2.5 billion people and feeds about 5 billion. The drive to increase productivity will be vital as the urban population continues to grow, with an estimated 70 per cent of the global population living in urban areas by 2050. And in order to realise the potential of the smallholder sector, it will be essential to address gender inequalities which currently hinder production. Women farmers are major producers of food and yet their efforts are hampered by their lack of access to productive resources, inputs, technologies, services and markets. For a useful summary on the challenges facing rural women, watch "Who Feeds Our World?" produced by the Hunger Project.
What stories do we want to be able to tell about the situation of rural women through the SDG indicators?
The three objectives of the IFAD policy on gender equality and women’s empowerment provide a useful framework for identifying indicators relevant to the livelihoods of rural women. A number of indicators identified to track progress are listed below; many have already been noted by UN Women but those marked with an asterisk are new.
But in addition to these output and outcome indicators, it is essential to track whether there is any improvement in the quality of the lives of rural women. The indicators below are targets in their own right but they are also indicative of more profound changes linked to the transformative agenda. For example, if women are able to exercise their reproductive and health rights, or if there is a reduction in harmful traditional practices - such as early marriage or female genital mutilation – or a reduction in the perception that gender-based violence is acceptable behaviour, then these are indications that there has been a significant shift in thinking and behaviour change at the household level. Similarly, improvements in nutrition indicators for women and children demonstrate that women are able to exercise more voice in the allocation of household resources and prioritise nutrition benefits.SDG indicators for rural womenObjective 1: to promote economic empowerment to enable rural women and men to have equal opportunity to participate in, and benefit from, profitable economic activities:
- Access and control over resources: land ownership, property ownership, inheritance, use of financial services, bank accounts, secondary school enrolment and completion rates, literacy rates
- Participation in economic activities: registered businesses *, licensed traders in agricultural inputs/ produce *, female agricultural extension agents *, female veterinary officers *, gender gap in wages in agricultural/fisheries/ forestry sector *, percentage of low pay workers in agricultural / fisheries/ forestry sector *
- Access to and control over benefits: earning and controlling own income, mobile phone ownership, use of internetObjective 2: to enable women and men to have equal voice and influence in rural institutions and organizations:
- Rural producer organizations: membership*, leadership *, leadership of federations *
- Public institutions: seats held in local government (district and regional), national identity documentation, leadership of natural resource/community infrastructure management groups *, membership and leadership of civil society organizations active in rural areas *
- Households: decisions regarding large purchases, decisions regarding women’s health, decisions regarding visiting relatives, important decisions to be made jointlyObjective 3: to achieve a more equitable balance in workloads and in the sharing of economic and social benefits between women and men:
- Access to safe water and sanitation: time spent collecting water, proportion of population using improved source of drinking water, proportion of population use improved sanitation facility
- Access to modern/renewable energy sources: time spent collecting firewood, access to electricity, use of modern/renewable energy sources
Quality of life indicators for rural women
- Nutrition: anaemia in mothers, child stunting
- Health: maternal mortality, adolescent fertility, sexual and reproductive health, HIV prevalence
- Gender-based violence: sexual and/or physical violence, perceptions and attitudes that condone and justify violence against women and girls
- Harmful traditional practices: female genital mutilation, early marriage
Une collaboration efficace entre la Recherche et les projets du FIDA au bénéfice des petits producteurs sahéliens
Le but général du projet était d’améliorer les moyens de subsistance des communautés agricoles et pastorales pauvres vivant dans les zones d’intervention, grâce à la diversification et à la conservation des parcs agroforestiers, ainsi qu’à l’accroissement de la valeur des produits des arbres commercialisés dans le cadre d’associations communautaires.
La présence des universités à l’atelier, et le fait d’avoir travaillé avec des étudiants pour faire un pont entre instituts de recherche et universités, font espérer que ce travail puisse bénéficier à une nouvelle génération d’étudiants.
By: Ilaria Firmian
|Paul Polman and Nisha Pillai (photo by B. Gravelli)|
Burkina Faso: farmers coping with climate change
Haiti: forging strategic partnerships to address capacity issues
Esther Kasalu-Coffin (photo by Suyun Kim)
Haiti is a country where IFAD has operated for over 35 years. Rural poverty reduction in Haiti is a challenge for several reasons, including the fragility of key public institutions. Just imagine: Haiti has experienced 10 extreme natural disasters in the past decade, amongst which the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, which shocked the entire world and devastated the country. Throughout all these hardships, public institutional capacity has suffered. Notwithstanding these difficulties, IFAD funded investment projects have directly benefited more than 500,000 people in the rural areas. Because of the erosion in capacity in public institutions, IFAD and the government of Haiti have resorted to forging strategic partnerships at the national level, for instance with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) to support the process of program management, as well as at the local level, well-established NGOs in the country, such as Welthungerhilfe. IFAD partners with the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, and the European Union, to build the capacity of institutions in the sector, in a comprehensive manner. The out-posting of Esther Kasalu-Coffin herself is another valuable support that IFAD management is providing to the government.
Bangladesh: small fish = big difference
Bangladesh is covered with floodplains and rivers, which represent a rich ecosystems for freshwater fish. The floodplains comprise 80% of the country. Fish is essential in the Bangladeshi diet, constituting the main source of proteins and micro-nutrients in poor rural households. More than 80% of the animal protein in the Bangladeshi diet comes from fish. Yet the capture fishery is often badly managed. Productive water bodies attract the attention of powerful local elites and poor rural people often find themselves excluded and unable to benefit from this essential resource. The leasing system of these water bodies was for 3 years, providing no incentive for these resources to be managed properly. As a result, water bodies were exploited mercilessly. In 2003, the Government of Bangladesh worked with IFAD to change the leasing arrangements from 3 to 10 years and explored ways to ensure that poor fishermen could benefit from the water bodies. User groups with poor fishermen, and including women, were set up and supported to benefit from the new longer leasing arrangements. The results – from the financial, social and environmental perspectives - have been tremendous, as user groups are now investing in improving the fish production habitat of their water bodies. An evaluation of the project, by World Fish Center, noted that biodiversity and fish production increased significantly. The nutritional status of children also increased (with a notable decrease in stunting). This success is now being scaled up, with the involvement of other donors (Spanish Funds and JICA).
Kenya: the poverty reduction business
|Nadine Gbossa (photo by Jean-Philippe Decraene)|
Rugasira, CEO of the Good African Coffee company, was speaking at a panel discussion on private-sector investment in smallholder agriculture. The panel was part of the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s 2014 Governing Council session, a two-day gathering of high-level representatives from IFAD’s member countries.
As the panel’s moderator pointed out, Good African Coffee is the first African packaging and roasting enterprise to export coffee directly to markets in the United Kingdom. And as Rugasira recalled, getting to that point has been a rewarding journey – but not an easy one. What’s more, it is a journey that corresponds with many of the key points covered at this year’s Governing Council, which focused on investing in smallholder family farmers as a vehicle for sustainable rural development.
Transforming rural communities
The journey began a decade ago, when Rugasira and a small team of colleagues travelled to the mountains of western Uganda in search of small-scale growers to supply them with high-quality coffee beans. At first, the team aroused little interest among farmers in the region. “We were meeting with grandmothers and their grandchildren” rather than working farmers, Rugasira said.
|Andrew Rugasira, CEO of Good African Coffee, at Governing Council panel |
on private-sector investment. ©IFAD
At the next meeting called by Rugasira and his team, 300 men and women – all smallholder farmers – turned out. The people at that meeting were among the first to join a network that has since grown to include some 14,000 Ugandan smallholders. Members of the network supply Arabica beans to Good African Coffee’s processing facility in Kampala. Besides providing its suppliers with training in good farming practices, the company has developed 17 savings and credit cooperatives in coffee-growing areas. As a result, noted Rugasira, “we’ve seen the farmers transform their communities.”
For IFAD, the story of the coffee growers in Uganda is further evidence that investing in rural people brings returns that transcend mere economics. Indeed, IFAD is engaged in similar efforts around the world. By providing loans and grants to train and build the capacity of small-scale producers – and to enhance their access to credit and markets – these initiatives generate lasting, positive change for some of the world’s poorest people.
|IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze speaks at the 2014 Governing Council |
meeting. ©IFAD/Flavio Ianniello
It’s hard to argue with such aspirations. The test for IFAD will come in the years ahead, as it invests in new development projects and works to foster constructive policy dialogues with governments and other partners – all in the name of unlocking the vast potential of rural women, men and children.
IFAD has launched a new animated video about the power of investing in rural people. Watch it here.
By Maria Elena Mangiafico
During the rich discussions at the pre-GC event “Achieving a sustainable future for all: Rural transformation and the post-2015 agenda”, like most people who followed, I was trying to visualize what rural people’s lives will look like 20 years from now.
This feeling came on even stronger when Ambassador Gerda Verburg, Chairperson of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) said that Post 2015 goals should tell an ambitious story about where we want to be in 2030.
So what do we want to put in the picture of the rural lives of tomorrow?
Most of the colours we will put in it are shades of what IFAD is already doing and will continue to do more of and better.
Let’s start by adding a more vivid shade for empowered rural people, especially women, whose voices are heard and are part of decision-making processes.
Then go with a decisive green to represent vibrant rural economies where transaction costs are reduced so that smallholder farmers can access larger markets.
We want colours of innovative agricultural solutions and services so that young people actually choose to stay in rural areas and make a decent living for the families. (I was touched by a story told during the Farmers’ Forum about students who were attending a training on organic agriculture in the Himalayas where the teacher asked the young students: who wants to become a doctor and several raised their hands, an engineer? and hands up, a policeman? and hands up, fireman? and hands up, until he asked who wants to be a farmer? and not one hand went up. In the future we want to see hands up.)
How about the colour of resilience of rural households to shocks? In the future they will be able to manage the risks they face and be less exposed and vulnerable.
Of course we need a nice shade of infrastructure as well guaranteeing good roads, hospitals, schools, water and sanitation.
We also need to add some strokes representing access – access to financial services, to assets, to markets, to land, to natural resources, to technologies, to health care, and access to opportunities.
And yes we want to see the grumpy faces in the background of those who thought that rurality was a synonym for backwardness and marginality.
This may seem like a very ambitious painting but after all the changes I’ve seen in my lifetime (and yes - it does span for well over 20 years), there is hope that it could happen.
But it won’t be easy - it will take the most talented artists (not even Picasso could do it alone) to invest and join forces to promote rural transformation.
If the picture doesn’t look nice in the end, it won’t count as a defeat only for rural people but we will all be defeated. Rural areas are the producers of our food, the custodians of our environment and the hope for our future.
|Farmers' Forum participants fill the Italian Conference Room at IFAD headquarters. ©IFAD|
The forum convenes every other year for a global consultation, held in conjunction with the annual Governing Council meeting of IFAD’s member states. This year’s Governing Council begins today with a full roster of official delegations and expert panellists. But in the run-up to that meeting, smallholder farmers, foresters, pastoralists and artisanal fishers held the floor at IFAD, voicing their concerns and sharing their ideas on reducing rural poverty and boosting food security – all from a decidedly grassroots perspective.
This year, the Farmers’ Forum took place in the context of the International Year of Family Farming, declared by the United Nations to call attention to the important role played by smallholder producers in feeding rapidly rising urban and rural populations in developing countries. The forum also coincided with preparations for IFAD’s next replenishment of funding from member states, and with the broader international effort to define a sustainable development agenda for the post-2015 era.
Faced with these milestones, small-scale rural producers’ organizations certainly have their work cut out for them. As IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze put it in his opening statement at the Farmers’ Forum: “We recognize that development is not something that is done to people, but something that is done by people for themselves.”
|Representatives of small-scale producers' organizations at the forum. ©IFAD|
The deliberations concluded with a plenary session on a wide-ranging statement, drafted by Farmers’ Forum participants to convey their ideas and proposals to IFAD and its governing bodies. Noting that the forum was established almost a decade ago, the statement called for a joint effort to seize new opportunities that have emerged during that time. “If we do not seize them our collaboration risks stagnating,” it warned.
“Smallholder family farming should be recognized as a pillar of local, sustainable development and a substantial guarantee for food security and peace and stability in the world,” the statement continued. “This vision has to be conceived at every level and implemented in national actions with positive effects for each community.”
At the plenary, forum participants went on to urge that IFAD devote additional resources, training and capacity-building to support their organizations and accelerate its efforts to:
- Improve the image of small-scale family farming, pastoralism and artisanal fishing as formally recognized professions
- Increase the involvement of smallholder producers’ organizations in IFAD’s country-level programmes and operational activities
- Strengthen interaction between the Farmers’ Forum and IFAD at various levels, to facilitate more effective contributions by farmers’ organizations to IFAD initiatives on a continuing basis
- Enhance collaboration between IFAD and farmers’ organizations in policy forums such as the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) and initiatives such as the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme.
Over the next two days, the recommendations from the forum will inform debates and discussions at the Governing Council, as IFAD maps its course on investing in rural people in the years to come.
2014 started off well with a successful experiment: an IFAD project being designed together with talented local young professionals. In an unprecedented initiative, four young professionals working in Malawi’s water sector participated in the design of a new rural irrigation project. While their intention was to learn, they delivered much more than that, leaving a long-lasting impression on senior government officials and IFAD country director Ms. Abla Benhammouche.
Since June 2012, IFAD's Policy and Technical Advisory Division’s Water Unit has been implementing a small but ambitious pilot project targeting early career professionals from five countries in sub-Saharan Africa: “Filling the Inter-Generational Gap in Knowledge on Agricultural Water Management: Twinning Junior and Senior Experts”, or Jr/Sr Twinning in short. This capacity building exercise under IFAD’s Innovation Mainstreaming Initiative (IMI), was developed to prove the effectiveness of inter-generational cooperation and field-based mentoring to transfer knowledge from Senior to Junior experts, and thus to ensure the continuity and sustainability of water management in agriculture, nurturing a new wave of local experts. The project ended in October 2013, leaving behind the contagious enthusiasm of its first batch of Junior participants and a vibrant interest in the stakeholders arena.
The four young Malawians, Eshiperancar, Marnet, Mphatso and Violet, had just finished working as IFAD junior fellows under the Jr/Sr Twinning project when the opportunity came to participate in the design mission. As such, the four spent three weeks with the mission team, taking part in all the activities on the field and in Lilongwe, working on a specific set of tasks and outputs. Their involvement in the mission was an invaluable opportunity to experience first-hand how the design of large donor funded projects works, and to prove that their contribution can really make the difference.
The article below was written by the four Junior fellows at the end of their mission. It’s their wake up call for additional investments targeting promising young talents from the South, to make youth participation more than just a fashionable buzzword. Now it’s up to IFAD and other development actors to take their message seriously. For more information on the initiative contact Federica Franco.
We guarantee you, invest in the youth and you are investing in the future, for the future
by Kanayo F. Nwanze
It is a cliché of development discourse that it is better to teach people to fish than to give them fish to eat. While there is a core of truth in this statement, the issues have become much more complex than such simple ideas suggest.
Today, as the international community is working to fashion a new sustainable development agenda to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), there are at least 842 million children, women and men suffering from chronic hunger and many more who are poorly nourished. The world population has passed 7 billion. And climate change presents a serious challenge to growing enough food to feed this and future generations.
Today’s world differs greatly from what the architects of the MDGs faced. There is consensus that we need not just a new set of goals, but a new way of reaching them that embraces a comprehensive approach to sustainable development, looking at the economic, social and environmental dimensions. In development parlance, a transformation has to happen.
And that transformation has to happen in rural areas, as well as urban. For one thing, 76 percent of the world’s poorest people live in rural areas. Most of them depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. If development doesn’t reach them, then development fails.
But these rural women and men are also a powerful force: small family farms provide up to 80 percent of the food produced in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia. They are also stewards of natural resources and biodiversity on which the future depends.
And they have the potential to grow more food, feed more people, reduce poverty, create jobs and protect our natural resources – but only if we apply a transformative approach to development. Investing in rural people is essential to that approach.
The idea of transformation is not new. Almost 40 years ago, the Universal Declaration on the Eradication of Hunger and Malnutrition stated that “effective measures of socio-economic transformation” would be needed in order “to remove the obstacles to food production and to provide proper incentives to agricultural producers”.
That declaration was adopted in 1974 by the World Food Conference – the same conference that provided the initial impetus for the creation of the organisation I head, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
IFAD’s experience shows that investing in rural people and in agriculture can ensure a real return on investment in terms of food security and poverty reduction. We know that market-oriented, profitable and environmentally sustainable smallholder agriculture can spur economic growth in developing countries and lift millions out of poverty.
In the world’s 49 least developed countries, agriculture is the backbone of the economy, accounting for 30 to 60 percent of gross domestic product and employing as much as 70 percent or more of the workforce. And smallholders in developing countries play a key role in protecting our environment, providing a wide range of environmental services that contribute to carbon sequestration and limit carbon emissions.
Neither global food security nor poverty eradication can be achieved without rural development. The world is becoming increasingly urban, yet cities are still fed by the people working the land in rural areas. And rural areas are changing, as higher returns from agriculture attract more investment and create new opportunities. If poor farmers and fishers are excluded, they will follow a well-trodden path to over-crowded urban areas and abroad.
More and more, the development community is realising that we cannot move forward if we continue to think of agriculture and rural areas as backward, or marginal. This change in our mindset needs to be embraced by developed and developing countries alike.
To transform rural spaces and lives will require imaginative projects, partnerships and technologies. Yet we must be realistic.
The future we want isn’t free, and it isn’t enough just to want it. It will have to be paid for – not just with greater investment in agriculture and rural development to ensure nutritious food for all, and not just by tearing down the barriers to accessing food, inputs or finances. It will cost us time, and a higher level of care and attention.
Transformation means not just changing the outcome, but changing the context. It must be both ameliorative and preventive at the same time – changing the present, and opening the door to a better and more secure future. It means helping people fish today in a way that will also ensure there are fish to catch tomorrow and long into the future.
IFAD invites you to join Adolfo Brizzi, Director of IFAD’s Policy and Technical Advisory Division, and Gerda Verburg, Chair of the Committee on World Food Security, for a discussion on “Achieving a sustainable future for all: Rural transformation and the post-2015 agenda”.
The event on February 18 starts at 13.30 GMT, and will be webcast at http://webcasting.ifad.org/gc2014 with questions and comments taken live from Twitter with the hashtags: #ifadgc and #post2015
As featured on Thomas Reuters Foundation website
by Daniela Cuneo
Coffee is one of the most widely-consumed drinks around the world: Millions of people (and yes, I am one of those!) just can’ t think of starting their day without a good cup of coffee. Not surprisingly, the word coffee is a word borrowed from the Arabic word “qahwah” which means “power” . Power as energy for coffee drinkers and power as ability for smallholder coffee producers of developing countries to penetrate the markets for certified sustainable products, markets that open up opportunities to produce sustainably, cost-effectively and sell the crop at remunerative prices.
But how can smallholder coffee producers make the most out of their crop if they don’t have a sense of the complexity of these markets?
Too often their hard work does not translate into decent incomes and the reason is very simple; their coffee beans do not meet the standards required by the market therefore they are sold for few pennies or even worst they remain unsold!!
Coffee consumers are not all the same! They have different tastes, they love different blends and they are very demanding!. That’s why, for coffee buyers the big challenge is to find different and special green beans for their coffee blends and for producers is to cultivate the right coffee beans. But what is the relationship between coffee producers and buyers? In most cases none!
Producers don’t know what happens to their harvest once it leaves their countries, buyers don’t know how producers grow and process their coffee beans and they never have the chance to talk to each other.
But this is not what is happening to smallholder coffee producers of developing countries who are participating in an innovative programme funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) known as SAMCERT, Strengthening Smallholders’ Access to Markets for Certified Sustainable Products .
Building bridges along the coffee value chain of IFAD-funded projects: a capacity building initiative.
• Take a close look at Italian roasting companies and coffee retailers
• Experience the magic of the roasting
• Enjoy the true flavour of roasted coffee beans
• Refine their sense of smell to ascertain the properties of the green beans !
• Appreciate the different qualities of the green beans
• Capture the key phases of the roasting process
• Learn how roasting is done
• And actually ……….do it!
• Understand the role that technology plays in the production process
• Exchange coffee beans from IFAD-funded projects with Italian roasters
• Be briefed at ICEA HQ on SAMCERT objectives and the key pillars of the certification process
• Participate in a coffee cupping exercise at IFAD and have their coffee samples assessed by Italian coffee experts from Café Latino!
To my surprise and I guess to the ones of the IFAD project representatives, the coffee beans have a sort of “ DNA“ which unveils , though a number of tests , how the beans are grown and processed so no secrets for the coffee tasting experts! The best beans were the beans from Nicaragua but also the ones from the other countries had lot of strengths. In terms of weaknesses, all of them had a few and the Italian coffee experts offered technical solutions and advice to overcome them .
As Alessio Baschieri ( Associazione Caffè Latino)” said, “there is no such thing as good coffee. There are coffees that consumers choose. The challenge consist in assessing the qualities of our coffee beans and build linkages with the markets that appreciate them. ”
Thanks to this initiative, which was organized by SAMCERT and supported by “Caffe’Terzi” , “ L’albero del caffe’, Caffe’Corsini, Comitato Italiano Caffe’ , “Cooperazione Italiana” , the Istituto Agronomico per l'Oltremare (IAO) and " Associazione Caffè Latino", IFAD project representatives went back to their countries with a clearer understanding of the Italian market requirements, the standards they have to meet in order to penetrate in the market of certified coffee. In few hours some of them will be in Nurnberg to participate in Biofach 2014 and they will get an opportunity to present their beans to coffee buyers from all over the world and as a result truly put their business flair into practice. I wish them the best of success and I’ll be lucky enough to see them in action. So watch this space to find out how well they are doing! To know more follow # BioFachVivaness #ifad
Watch the video
IFAD is a United Nations specialized agency and an international financial institution committed to providing investments that create a route out of poverty for rural people in the developing world, most of whom are involved in agriculture. While our mandate and commitment are unchanged, the context of our work is rapidly evolving, and we are taking steps to adapt. In recent years we have created the Environment and Climate Division, the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) multi-donor trust fund, the Strategy and Knowledge Department, and new policies on gender and other issues. We are serious about tackling the problems that smallholder farmers face, and that necessitates adapting to changes in the development landscape.
As a result, we are increasing our commitment of resources to issues related to nutrition. This may be surprising, since nutrition has been a concern of IFAD from the start and improving nutrition was embodied in the Agreement Establishing IFAD. And much has been achieved nutritionally over the course of IFAD’s existence through focusing on smallholder farmers and on women, who do most of the agricultural labour and are particularly vulnerable.
But in spite of our achievements, we can—and need—to do more. Even small adjustments to IFAD investments to make them more nutrition-sensitive could have an impressive impact on nutrition outcomes. Investments that are nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive can help re-shape agricultural production and the food system as a whole in ways that improve nutrition.
We can categorize some investments as having a primarily nutritional purpose, such as biofortified staple crops or home vegetable gardens. They improve nutrition and dietary intake and quality, though they have other benefits as well--for example, some biofortified crops may command higher prices in the market, or be more disease-resistant or adapted to micronutrient-deficient soils.
But other actions not specifically aimed at nutrition can still affect it. For example, higher productivity and income can increase rural people’s access to a greater variety of foods. Improved marketing and storage infrastructure can lead to lower relative prices for fruits, vegetables, fish and livestock products, making them more affordable. Empowerment of women can improve their and their families’ nutrition.
To eradicate malnutrition, of course, is a complex endeavor. Our work must be complemented with actions in other sectors, particularly health, education, and water and sanitation. But good nutrition still begins with food and agriculture. A food-based approach also ensures a sound foundation for nutrition throughout our life cycle. With adequate resources and knowledge, mothers can often draw on local foods to prepare an adequate diet rich in energy and micronutrients for their young children. And with more nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems, older children and adults will be able to make the choices they need to consume a more nutritious diet – ensuring that the food they eat gives them the whole complex of macro- and micronutrients they need.
.… good nutrition still begins with food and agriculture. A food-based approach also ensures a sound foundation for nutrition throughout our life cycle.The human cost of inaction
Improving nutrition is still a massive, unfinished agenda. In 2011, there were 165 million children with stunted growth, leading to compromised cognitive development and physical abilities. Every day more than 8,000 children die from preventable causes related to undernutrition. We can’t let another generation be scarred by hunger and malnutrition.
IFAD is well-positioned through its presence in countries where its investments can also support efforts to increase agriculture’s contribution to improved nutrition. Many of the countries where we work in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia will not be able to break out of poverty or sustain economic advances when so much of their population is unable to achieve the level of nutrition that is needed for a healthy and productive life. Undernutrition is responsible for the loss of billions of dollars in productivity; it is estimated that an amount equal to 11% of GDP in Africa and Asia is lost to undernutrition every year, with productivity losses to individuals of more than 10% of lifetime earnings. This is a staggering loss – the value of goods and services that countries in Africa and Asia could and should have produced, but didn’t, equals billions of dollars.
More than 4 in 10 children under the age of five are undernourished in south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and about 7-15% of children in those regions are wasted (very thin). Many of these countries have prioritized nutrition and are at the heart of the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement. IFAD can help to deliver progress and action to scale up nutrition in these SUN countries because we are already very active in almost all of them.
Failure to expand, sharpen and accelerate our efforts on nutrition will impose a heavy cost in wasted opportunities.
There is broad agreement that there can be no eradication of poverty without dealing with nutrition. When farm families are malnourished, they are less productive, and the children suffer long-term damage. Improving the nutrition of farming populations not only reduces the number of undernourished people, but also increases agricultural productivity and contributes to a thriving agricultural economy. Thus, nutrition is not a sideshow to our central work of combatting rural hunger and poverty; it is central and even essential to that mission.
….nutrition is not a sideshow to our central work of combatting rural hunger and poverty … it is central and even essential to that mission.
We should focus on actions that will optimize agriculture’s contribution to the nutrition of rural people, especially women and children, while at the same time being sensitive to gender and impacts on environmental sustainability.
If better nutrition is going to be a goal, that goal needs to be measurable. We will be investing in project designs that incorporate nutritional considerations, and following-up with good evaluations and rigorous assessments to gather evidence that our activities are improving nutrition, especially for children under five. IFAD’s overall results measurements framework for 2013-2015 includes chronic child malnutrition (i.e. height for age, or stunting) as one of the two anchor indicators to measure IFAD’s impact on the ground.
IFAD is also collaborating with the CGIAR’s Agriculture for Nutrition and Health Program (A4NH), led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the new Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition to increase knowledge of which agriculture and food systems can in fact accelerate progress and have a substantial effect on nutrition. With the assistance of Canada, we have launched an initiative to mainstream nutrition perspectives into projects and programmes right from the start. More recently, with support from Germany, we are developing nutrition-sensitive value chains for smallholders in middle-income countries. Partnerships and knowledge exchange will continue to be an important part of our future work on nutrition, and I look forward to working with our members and partners to ensure that IFAD-funded programmes contribute to greater access to nutritious foods and high-quality diets for the rural poor, particularly women and children.
As appeared on Impatient Optimist