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Going organic in the Cook Islands

Posted by Beate Stalsett Friday, February 26, 2016 0 comments

Written by: Barbara Bellogini 

Stephen (left) and Nat (right) talk about the plot of land to be used for growing the organic papaya.
©IFAD/B. Bellogini
On a visit to the Cook Islands in October 2015, while in Rarotonga, I had the opportunity to join our colleague Stephen Hazelman, Organic Systems Extension Officer, from The Pacific Organic and Ethical Trade Community (POETCom), and Teava Iro, founder of the Tikitaveka Growers Association, a local NGO implementing the three-year IFAD project, Capacity-Building for Resilient Agriculture in the Pacific. The project focuses on building the capacity of organic associations to support farmers and on developing agricultural resilience. It is helping to address the growing social and economic concerns of rural households who have low incomes and are unable to produce enough food, meaning that they have to rely on cash remittances from family members who have migrated. 

Papaya trees will be
planted on Nat's land.
©IFAD/B. Bellogini
As well as the Cook Islands, two other countries in the Pacific will be benefiting from the Capacity-Building for Resilient Agriculture in the Pacific project – Niue and the Marshall Islands. The project will concentrate on these islands’ young people, who would otherwise migrate to New Zealand or Australia in search of work. During the week before my arrival, a three-day workshop, where the IFAD-funded project was presented, was held at the Papaaroa Community Hall and was attended by 21 farmers. The outcome of the three days was that a participatory guarantee system was developed and a set of rules was established for growing organic crops. Peer reviews will be carried out to ensure that participants comply with the rules that were agreed by all parties.

Stephen (left) and Nat
(right) complete the
©IFAD/B. Bellogini
Teariki "Nat" Unuka, is one of the 21 local farmers in Rarotonga who attended the three-day workshop. He is one of the biggest users of pesticides on the island. During the workshop, he had a chance to talk to other farmers and showed his interest in taking part in the IFAD-funded project. The day we met with Nat, Stephen carried out an interview to find out if the plot of land where he will be growing his organic produce met the specific requirements that allow him to take part in the project. In the past, Nat had grown papaya here. Currently the land is not being used and the only plants growing, wild, are some decorative palms. His plan for the future is to use the land to grow organic papaya and if he is happy with the results, he will move to organic growing on all of the land he owns. In order to proceed, Stephen interviewed Nat to gather information about the plot; when was the last time he had grown crops on it, what had he grown in the past, do his neighbours use pesticides, etc. The outcome of the interview was positive and Nat will be one of ten farmers who will be taking part in the project.

For more information on the work carried out in the Pacific region on organic certification watch:

Increasing yields on existing agricultural land is the future

Posted by Ricci Symons Wednesday, February 24, 2016 0 comments

Speaking at one of IFAD’s Climate and Environment Lectures, Doctor Tim Searchinger focused  his analysis of the livestock industry in developing countries and its potential for sustainable intensification.

Tim Searchinger is a Research Scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, and also a Senior Fellow of the World Resources Institute, where he is the technical director of its World Resources Report on global agriculture.

''In the specific countries we have looked at, there are win-win opportunities to boost the productivity and incomes for small farmers in ways that protect forests and reduce greenhouse gas(GHG) emissions'', Searchinger  said.

Climate smart agriculture (CSA) is an essential part of the work that IFAD is doing in rural areas. But increasing yields in a sustainable way without expanding the amount of farm land or overusing the current land is a tough process. Climate smart agriculture can hold the key.

Searchinger discussed three separate case studies: Vietnam, Colombia and Zambia, and then tied them together to discuss implications at the global level. He stated that with growing populations the agriculture sector will have to expand, but simultaneously must reduce emissions by 70 per cent by 2050.

In Colombia and Vietnam, a detailed analysis of inefficient livestock systems has identified  opportunities for improvements in beef and dairy systems, with associated  consequences for production, income, land use and emissions.

''Colombia has a difference in emissions of a factor of 6 (of CO2e/Kg of meat) from one region to another'', he said. This means the amount of emissions per kilogram of meat or litre of milk are up to six times that of cattle raised using  climate-smart practices.

''So the problem is, we need to produce 70 percent more food. Doing that without increasing emissions at all is going to be very, very hard. Doing that in the developing world without increasing emissions at all is probably impossible. But by being more efficient in our use of land, animals and inputs, we can hold down emissions a lot,''.

Boosting the productivity of livestock is an enormous opportunity to reduce greenhouse gases. Agriculture currently accounts for 13 per cent of all emissions. If CSA can be scaled up, there may still be a rise in net emissions, but it will be a fraction of what emissions would be in a business as usual scenario, and they will be  offset even further by  increased productivity and yields.

Written by Sally Martinelli

Rome, 18 February – After a whirlwind of dynamic speakers, panels and deliberations, IFAD's 39th Governing Council has officially come to a close.

During the last two days development leaders, heads of state and government representatives from all over the world discussed critical issues relating to feed security, nutrition and small farming that hamper growth and prosperity for everyone.

The United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were a major focus on day one, which continued into day two.

Entrepreneur Mo Ibrahim takes the stage 

Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, globally recognized entrepreneur.©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano

Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, globally recognized entrepreneur and founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, was featured in the IFAD Lecture that opened the session.

Through its Index of African Governance, Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, Ibrahim Leadership Fellowships and other initiatives, the foundation promotes and cultivates good governance.

A vibrant orator, Ibrahim did not mince words as he offered his analysis and opinions about the direction African countries need to take in the coming years.

He noted that the continent is full of potential, and that "its richest resource is its people."

However, according to Ibrahim, Africans themselves, and especially their leaders, need to take responsibility for the problems the continent faces and address them quickly. Africa faces poverty, hunger, food insecurity, and a growing population of young people that are leaving agriculture and rural areas behind.

Ibrahim urged African governments to increase their investments in agriculture, noting that easy profits from oil or minerals caused African leaders to neglect the agricultural sector. However, this is not a sustainable practice since "people don't eat oil, they eat food," Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim noted that 80 per cent of countries had not met targets made in the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security of 2003, and that it was crucial that they live up to commitments to invest in agriculture.

Though Ibrahim said there was no "silver bullet" to solve these problems, he focused much of his speech on good governance.

Good governance is crucial for businesses and other organizations to invest in Africa, Ibrahim said. Businesses would not invest in an area that does not obey the rule of law. He listed a range of governance problems from corruption to poor taxation regimes.

Though he conceded that businesses can "misbehave" as well, Ibrahim said that when business is a force for good, it creates jobs, prosperity, and innovation, all of which would transform the African continent.

Building the agriculture of tomorrow 
Innovation is needed more than ever to help make marginal environments agriculturally productive, says Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Director General of the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture.©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano

Ibrahim's speech was followed by a one-on-one session with Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, the Director General of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA).

Elouafi started her speech with a warning: though climate change is now universally recognized, there will be grave consequences if we do not realize how widespread and damaging its impact is.
"We have huge challenges ahead, and we need to act, " said Elouafi.

Elouafi spoke about a broad number of topics, including gender equality and education. Elouafi was optimistic about the future, saying that she believes the SDGs are within reach.

"I am confident that we can achieve the SDGs because the demand is there," said Elouafi. But to get there, much has to be changed.

One of Elouafi's main critiques of how smallholder farming is approached concerned the flaw in research and development. Elouafi said that most research and development is carried out in the West and then applied elsewhere.

She believes that, to produce the best results, development programmes must be devised where the problem is happening. "We need to have much more customized research and solutions for each region," she noted.

Elouafi also spoke about how farmers are leaving agriculture because they are not being given the the opportunity to innovate or expand into new areas.

According to Elouafi, in order to reach "the agriculture of tomorrow," we must continue to innovate.

Innovation investments for rural transformation

A second panel discussion, facilitated by IFAD Associate Vice President Périn Saint Ange, focused on innovative agricultural solutions to many global challenges.©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano

This message was underscored by the next panel, on “Innovation Investments in Rural Development.”

Moderated by Périn Saint-Ange, Associate Vice-President of IFAD's Programme Management Department (PMD), the panel featured IFAD experts discussing innovative investments in four different regions.

Elizabeth Ssendiwala, the Regional Gender Coordinator for the East and Southern Africa Division, described how IFAD is addressing gender equality by looking at the household as a whole. In response to a question posed from the audience, Ssendiwala said: "Gender equality is not about empowering women alone, but rather every member of the household."

Glayson Ferrari Dos Santos, Country Director for El Salvador, Latin America and the Caribbean Division, spoke at length about the youth in Central America and the problems they face.
He believes that rural youth in El Salvador want to help transform the areas they call home, but are not often given the opportunity to do so.

"Young people have to be part of the solution, and not seen as part of the problem," Dos Santos said. Concerning agriculture, Dos Santos said he found that the youth were willing to work in the industry, but they wanted to break away from traditional farming practices.

Ronald Hartman, Country Director of Indonesia, Asia and the Pacific Division, agreed with this idea of doing things differently. He believed that, by incorporating new technologies, farming can be made more attractive, more efficient and less laborious.

Hartman also spoke about working in Indonesia, and how changes in IFAD's structure allowed the conversation to shift from being all about finances to finding out ways to innovate and support the nation’s development strategy.

Jacopo Monzini, the Senior Technical Specialist for the Environment and Climate Division, also discussed innovation, focusing on the ways IFAD is using GIS and earth observation to get a clearer picture of land use and environmental degradation, scaled down to the project area.

After the Chairman read a summary of the discussion in the Governor's  Round Table the previous day, IFAD President Kanayo Nwanze delivered his closing statement.

IFAD President Kanayo F. Nwanze told leaders that “by working together to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – starting with zero poverty and zero hunger – we can break the chain of desperation” that leads to emergencies and humanitarian disaster.©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
Nwanze thanked the governors and delegates for their time and devotion, and summarized the preceding of the last two days.

Nwanze told the room that “by working together to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – starting with zero poverty and zero hunger – we can break the chain of desperation” that leads to emergencies and humanitarian disaster.

Nwanze reminded us all that there was much more work to be done and that we must continue to work together towards long-term solutions.

Or, as Nwanze aptly put it: "Our world is one world."

Written by Christopher Neglia

Innovation is needed more than ever to help make marginal environments agriculturally productive, says Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, ICBA.
Rome, 18 February – At IFAD’s Governing Council, the role of innovation was discussed in the context of rural transformation during a dynamic panel session.

In the first segment of the session, Dr. Ismahane Elouafi, Director General of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, observed the huge impacts of the Green Revolution on Asia’s agricultural productivity in the 1960s.

This was a high-input agriculture that boosted key commodities such as rice, but also left behind marginal landscapes, upon which the majority of smallholder farmers work.

Today, owing to strong population growth and climate change, Dr. Elouafi suggested that we need to mobilize innovation on a similar scale as the Green Revolution, because the alternative: an additional 1.2 billion food insecure people by 2050, is not a choice at all.

Achieving SDG1 (no poverty) and SDG2 (zero hunger) will foremost require Africa to strengthen agricultural productivity and close its yield gap with the rest of the world. This necessarily calls for more public subsidies in the agricultural sector.

But Elouafi also brought up the need for greater investment in upstream research and development.

By testing crops within local agro ecosystems, smallholder farmers can optimize their production. This type of applied research generally comes with additional time and resource costs, but the commercial potential is huge.

A second panel discussion, facilitated by IFAD Associate Vice President Périn Saint Ange, focused on innovative agricultural solutions to many of the global challenges discussed over the two days. ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
In the second segment of the panel, moderator Perin Saint-Ange, Associate Vice-President of IFAD, held a dialogue with Elizabeth Ssendiwala, Gender and Youth Technical Specialist (ESA), Ronald Hartman, Country Director for Indonesia, Glayson Ferrari Dos Santos, El Salvador Portfolio Officer and Jacopo Monzini, Senior Technical Specialist (NEN).

Ssendiwala spoke on the utility of household methodologies as a means of improving intra-household gender relations.

According to Ssendiwala, encouraging women to take up more economic responsibilities in the community can appreciably contribute to development. She also rightly noted the importance of men becoming champions of gender equality.

Ronald Hartman underlined that middle-income countries such as Indonesia should ensure that economic growth is equitable.

As the fiscal position of countries strengthen, IFAD’s role becomes more about facilitating innovation through policy dialogue and piloting new technologies on small farms, thereby contributing to more inclusive growth.

Glayson Ferrari Dos Santos advocated for more democratic participation of young people in economic decision-making. He proposed moving from a project-based approach to an more integrated mode of engagement between political institutions and non-traditional actors in civil society and the private sector.

Finally, Jacopo Monzini provided a review of IFAD’s experiences using GIS and earth observation to get a clearer picture of land use and environmental degradation, scaled down to the project area.

Mapping the spatial data at project design, and going on to collect it during implementation has already led to better beneficiary targeting, and enhanced the capacity of ministries and universities to utilize such data in their own development strategies.

IFAD Governing Council: Day 1

Posted by Simona Siad Thursday, February 18, 2016 0 comments

Written by Sally Martinelli

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were a key focus at this year's Governing Council. ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
Rome, 17 February — A multitude of flags welcomed development leaders, heads of state and government representatives from all over the world to IFAD's 39th Governing Council (GC), where members of IFAD's decision-making body convened.

Rural farmers and representatives from many nations came  together to address the monumental task at hand: achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The GC, which has taken place at IFAD headquarters for the last six years, assembled in a spacious tent.

Delegates representing countries from all over the world were in attendance at this year's GC. ©IFAD/Flavio Ianniello
Before entering the tent, many high-level guests from around the world stopped for photographs in front of an IFAD backdrop. One of these guests was His Excellency Sergio Mattarella, the President of the Italian Republic, who was greeted by IFAD's President, Kanayo Nwanze and a frenzy of photographers.

His Excellency Sergio Mattarella (second from left), the President of the Italian Republic, walks to the stage with IFAD's President, Kanayo Nwanze (right). ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
Once His Excellency was escorted into the tent, he was introduced by Nwanze to give the keynote address. President Mattarella pledged that Italy will play a role in the eradication of hunger and poverty.

He brought attention to the current refugee crises and called leaders of all nations to get involved, saying: "Saving human lives and  reaching out to those fleeing war or misery is a moral duty, a duty for any society that defines itself as free, democratic and authentically respectful of human rights."

Sergio Mattarella, the President of the Italian Republic speaks at the opening of IFAD Governing Council. ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
In regards to the SDGs, His Excellency spoke about the importance of sustainability and the fundamental role agriculture and small farmers play in reaching all seventeen goals.

He commented on the cross-cutting nature of these goals, saying "the issues are not separate chapters, they are many pages of the same book working towards inclusion" and that Italy will play a central role in achieving them for the well-being of future generations.

President Mattarella concluded by saying: "The hunger, poverty and the deprivations chain is strong but it can and it must be broken."

Nwanze followed His Excellency, and gave a statement to close the inaugural ceremony. The President of IFAD opened his address by warning the audience that, without the continued efforts of IFAD and other organizations, it is quite possible that the recent gains made in the fight to end poverty and hunger could be reversed.

The focus must remain on long-term development, specifically achieving the SDGs. According to Nwanze, this feat depends on smallholder farmers and their ability to transform rural areas into being more productive, and IFAD expedites this process by "investing in small farmers so that they can grow their businesses and improve their lives through their own efforts; not through hand outs."

According to IFAD President Nwanze, IFAD has reached 139 million people and saved five million hectares of land through its initiatives between 2010 and 2015.©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano

Nwanze also discussed changes made in the way IFAD conducts its business and how it assesses its own impact. He shared some promising statistics: IFAD has reached 139 million people and saved five million hectares of land through its projects that opened or closed between 2010 and 2015.

Nwanze concluded that "project participants are better off than they would have been in the absence of IFAD." Despite this good news, Nwanze cautioned that there is much more work to be done, citing the refugee crisis. To Nwanze, "it is imperative that we commit to investing in long-term development."

The next person to take the stage was international journalist Babita Sharma, the moderator for the panel on Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals: Galvanizing Private-Sector Action.
Sharma was joined by a diverse range of panelists, which included: Sunny Verghese, Olam International CEO; Jussara Dantas de Souza, the Commercial Manager of Family Agribusiness Cooperatives of Canudos, Uauá and Curaçá, and Brazil; Beatrice Nkatha, the Founder and Managing Director of Sorghum Pioneer Agencies in Kenya; and Victor Rosca, the Director of IFAD Consolidated Programme Implementation Unit in the Republic of Moldova.

A private-sector panel which included Sunny Verghese, Cofounder and Group CEO of Olam International, highlighted the need for bold initiatives to better link smallholder farmers to markets.©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
Each panelist offered a unique insight to the private sector's role in creating a more sustainable society. Nkatha spoke about how she thought it was the responsibility of both the government and the private sector to work with smallholder farms.

She cited specifically how important farmers need the assistance of both to access international markets. Verghese echoed this sentiment, saying: "Everyone has to act … recognizing that there is no way to deal with these problems unless we all come together.”

Verghese also believed that the private sector will have to play an increased role as governments are becoming more burdened with other costs.

When farmers are respected, they produce better and more consistently, says Sunny Verghese – Cofounder and Group CEO of Olam International. ©IFAD/Giulio Napolitano
Rosca similarly described the potential role of the private sector to be "enormous," but said it would not be an easy task to enlist supporters. Citing a project he worked on in Moldova, he described the skepticism financial institutions can have about investing in these kinds of projects.

However, according to Rosca, once the banks saw that their investment paid off, "Their attitude changed. We were able to convince them that it is necessary to invest in agriculture, and they were quick to agree."

Dantas de Souza also spoke about the importance of perspective and motivation. She described the need for private institutions and groups to help educate and motivate small farmers, citing an example in Brazil of Canadian missionaries encouraging local women to take on a larger role within their society to improve their lives.

To Dantas de Souza, "when there is a will, there is a way," and this will must be sparked within rural farmers so they can help themselves. The panel offered fascinating perspectives on the SDGs, and reiterated how important it was that people from each corner of the world work towards these crucial goals.

The Road to COP22: How do we build on the momentum started in Paris?

Posted by Simona Siad Tuesday, February 16, 2016 0 comments

Written by Christopher Neglia
 Briefing by France,Morocco and Peru on the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
©IFAD/Flavio Ianniello

There is no doubt that the recent Paris agreement produced historic results in terms of bringing governments together to act on climate change.

This afternoon’s event at IFAD, Outcomes of COP21 and the Road to COP22, was a forum where presenters and discussants reflected on the process leading up to Paris, and the priority areas for action now that a sustainable framework has been established.

Perin Saint-Ange, Associate Vice-President of IFAD, gave the opening remarks, which considered the role of agriculture in the Paris agreement.

Agriculture is not mentioned explicitly in the Paris agreement, he said, but the preamble emphasizes that actions to address climate change should be undertaken in a manner that is coherent with sustainable development and poverty eradication efforts.

In fact, agriculture features in 80 per cent of countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which is UN-speak for national climate plans.

This sends a positive signal that countries want to take action on adapting agriculture to the effects of climate change, and reducing emissions from unsustainable farming practices, but additional finance and support is needed to help countries implement their INDCs, especially the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Eda Adriana Rivas Franchini, Ambassador of Peru to the UN Rome-based agencies recalled the long journey of the UNFCCC process, which had its origins in the fated Kyoto Protocol, and finally culminated with the ambitious, universal and balanced Paris agreement.

Areas of dispute had to be overcome, compromises made, and longstanding divisions resolved within the principle of shared but differentiated responsibilities.

As host of COP20 in Lima, Peru’s contribution to the final outcome was substantial. At the time, I attended the opening address of Environment Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, which set a political impetus for results at those negotiations.

In Peru the government worked behind the scenes as an impartial broker, and facilitated an environment that led to a number of successes that year, including the adoption of a mechanism to ratchet up country ambition every five years and a target to raise US $10 billion in climate finance by 2020.

Indeed, Peru is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, whose impacts are affecting the Amazon region and the country’s glaciers, which are a crucial supply of fresh water and hydro energy.

'Paris agreement is not a destination but a departure'

Serge Tomasi, Ambassador of France to the UN Rome-based agencies emphasized the universal nature of the Paris agreement. Adopted by 187 countries, it has put the international community on a trajectory to achieve neutral emissions by the latter half of this century.

One of the critical factors that led to the success of COP21 was the high-level diplomacy brought to bear by influential figures like French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who fostered the goodwill of countries and guided the Convention to adopt the final agreement.

In Tomasi’s words, the Paris agreement is not a destination but a departure. It does not impose emission reductions, nor does it contain sanction powers. Rather, the targets each country has voluntarily committed themselves to will be enforced through a stock-taking exercise every five years, compelling governments to act based on a system of peer review.

Lastly, Ambassador Hassan Abouyoub from future COP22 host country Morocco offered his assessment of the climate change agenda. In his remarks, Abouyoub said that Morocco was the first to anticipate climate change on the African continent.

Over the last century, Morocco has experienced huge changes in rainfall patterns, to the extent that droughts now occur one in every  three years. Fisheries have been heavily impacted by the warming of ocean waters and agricultural land faces chronic water shortages.

Sensible policies, such as fish stock regulation and water management have been implemented by the government, but Morocco’s vulnerability to climate change is an alarming indication of more severe impacts to come.

As host to COP22 this year, Abouyoub promised the same spirit of solidarity among Parties to drive enhanced action even before the Paris agreement comes into effect in 2020.

Learn more about how IFAD is helping small farmers adapt to climate change.

Top five reasons why we love small farmers

Posted by Beate Stalsett Friday, February 12, 2016 1 comments

Written by Sally Martinelli, Simona Siad and Katie Taft

As different cultures celebrate Valentine's Day, IFAD reminds the world of the importance of investing in small farmers. 

At IFAD, we love investing in small farmers. Some of our reasons may be obvious – small family farms feed up to 80 per cent of the population in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, manage a large share of the natural resources and ecosystems, and support the livelihoods of more than 2 billion people. 

Other reasons might be surprising – for instance, did you know behind each box of chocolate is the important work done by a small farmer?

There are so many reasons we believe the world should also love and support small farmers, but here are our top five reasons.

1. Small farming provides rural youth with job opportunities 

In the Near East and North Africa region, seventeen million young people – more than 20 per cent of the population – are without work. Since young people face the highest rates of poverty, they often move away from home to seek opportunity elsewhere. However, when young people work in agriculture, they not only can support themselves, but are more likely to adopt new technologies. This creates better yields, which in turn allows farmers to continue feeding the world's growing population. Rural youth are an important factor in eradicating food insecurity internationally.

IFAD supports the ambition young people have to not only find employment, but to act as entrepreneurs within the industry. The IFAD Rural Youth Economic Empowerment Programme (RYEEP) combines IFAD's knowledge of rural development with the expertise of two entrepreneurship-focused social enterprises to create employment opportunities for more than 18,000 rural youth between the ages 15 and 35.

2. Small farmers contribute to climate change mitigation 

Climate change is the biggest threat humanity faces today and small farmers are on the front lines to battle it. Rural farmers are guardians of natural resources, often managing vast areas of land and forest. Improving land management and farming practices and planting forests can help lower greenhouse gas emissions. Small farmers are combating the effects of climate change by implementing new farming techniques.

In pursuing its target to reduce 80 million tons of C02e by 2020, IFAD is supporting small farmers with adaptation projects that could reduce emission by 30 million tons. These initiatives includes planting trees and creating natural barriers against flooding and unpredictable rains, using crops that are adapted to resist climate change, and other solutions to address short-and-long-term problems.

3. Small farmers produce much of the world's cocoa (and chocolate) 

The world spends US$83 billion each year on chocolate. Europeans especially love chocolate, eating one kilogram of it every month. This industry depends on the five million small-scale family farmers who grow 90 per cent of the world's cocoa. IFAD is helping cocoa farmers in 12 countries to overcome problems such as pests, disease and unsustainable production methods that harm the harvest and local environment. In São Tomé, IFAD has formed a relationship with the local farmers to connect their high-quality cocoa with Fair Trade buyers such as Kaoka. These efforts have helped nearly 2,000 farming families in São Tomé to revitalize their cocoa industry and produce 1,200 tons of cocoa in 2014.

Fatima, small farmer from São Tomé 

4. Small farmers contribute to global food security 

The population of the planet is expected to grow to almost 9.5 billion people by 2050. Food production will need to nearly double in developing countries to feed this population and address existing hunger and malnutrition. Since most of the world’s farms are small, investing in them will be the only way to address this growing demand.

In Cuba, an IFAD-funded project has organized 157 farming cooperatives to increase the production and productivity of crops such as maize and beans. The Cooperative Rural Development Project in the Oriental Region (PRODECOR) supports the country — which imports 80 per cent of its basic food requirements — to address food insecurity. The population has been impeded by intense drought due to climate change and limited agricultural machinery. With the use of new technologies and the pooling of knowledge, these cooperatives are expected to benefit over 52,000 people.

5. Small farmers preserve biodiversity 

Biodiversity is an essential part of preserving the planet. Changes to an environment such as the loss of a plant or species has the potential to derail the balance of the whole region. When family farmers take the necessary steps to secure their local environment, they not only ensure that their crops yield bountiful harvests, but that there will be future harvests too.

With the support of IFAD, small farmers in Brazil have implemented new agricultural practices that are more environmentally friendly. Over the course of nine years, the region saw a 69 per cent reduction in land erosion, and carbon sequestration ranging from 15 to 79 per cent. In the 20,000 hectares of saved and preserved land, there has been an increase in diverse species of 11 per cent.

Transforming rural areas in Cameroon: Taking stock and looking forward

Posted by Steven Jonckheere Thursday, February 11, 2016 0 comments

The agricultural sector is vital for Cameroon; it employs around 50 per cent of the economically active population and has been able to support the overall economy in a context of falling oil and industrial revenues. Apart from some agro-industrial plantations and a few large private farms, agriculture is dominated by small family farms. Most of them employ manual methods, often make use of casual labour and use few or no external inputs. In rural areas 50 per cent of the population lives in poverty. Rural youth in Cameroon, faced with a lack of opportunities, skills and resources, are one of the population groups most vulnerable to poverty. IFAD is working with the Government of Cameroon to build the organizational capacity and bargaining power of poor rural people and their organizations and to achieve sustainable improvements in the prospects for income-generating on-farm and off-farm activities of poor rural people, particularly women and you
ng people.

From 9 to 12 February 2016 the Ministry of Economy, Planning and Territorial Development and the IFAD country office in Cameroon have brought together a wide range of stakeholders in Kribi to look at current trends, take stock of what the IFAD-supported projects have achieved so far and to plan ahead for the next four years. Participants include representatives from sectorial ministries, youth groups, producers’ organisations, project management units and the IFAD country team. Emphasis has been put on strengthening linkages between the different IFAD-supported projects, building the capacity to document and share experiences and promoting a management-for-results culture.

Each of the three IFAD-supported projects has worked out a knowledge management strategy. Areas for collaboration between the projects have been identified. In addition, IFAD’s country strategy results framework for Cameroon has been updated, which will support the use of performance information to improve decision-making. Finally, the event has helped to boost team spirit amongst the various stakeholders. All participants re-confirmed their commitment to a common agenda: transforming rural areas in Cameroon.

Philippines Annual country program review : an enriching ACPoR

Posted by Benoit THIERRY Monday, February 8, 2016 0 comments

An enriching Philippines ACPoR- The core of knowledge management 

The 8th Annual Country Programme Review (ACPoR) of IFAD-Philippines has been scheduled to convene the representatives and guests of IFAD-assisted programmes/projects in the country, chaired by Under Secretary Ongkiko, DAR and Palad, DA and Mr. Benoit Thierry-IFAD Country Programme Manager.

The year’s meeting held on 27-2 8 January 2016 in the city of Baguio- the Cordillera of Northern Phillipines.  As in the past 7 editions, the 2015 review recounts the result performance of the IFAD-funded programmes  (both loans and grants funded by IFAD) in the country and assess the contribution of these projects to the objectives of the Philippines-Country Strategic Operations Programme (PH-COSOP) and the Philipines Development Plan (PDP). Not only the meeting was devoted to review implementation activities and share project good practices and experiences; but it also discussed about the hindered challenges/difficulties projects are encountering and realistic gaps they are facing. 
From there, innovative ideas and strategic development plans for future actions were generated among a team of IFAD representatives, projects’officers and partners.  IFAD is well-known to be a learning-based organization and this Philippines ACPoR can be seen as one of the very illustrative example for its strong knowledge management. The participants had a field interaction with Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARMP2) with a purpose of acting to be a venue for knowledge sharing among IFAD projects.  

This AcPoR was also the opportunity to launch the first ever Country Programme Evaluation by IFAD in Philippines, During 2016 and as a preamble to the new COSOP, this CPE will review all IFAD funded activities over the past 10 years in the country.

The first day of AcPoR was dedicated to field visit in Cordiallera, A wide range of activities were running including the visit to the rehabilitated Calasipan-Apanberang-Mongoto farm to market road, the organic garden of the livelihood investment groups, the reforestation and agroforestry site, and the coffee-processing center of the Abiang Community Multi-purpose Cooperative. 

In this case, the following statement of Peter Drucken is possibly used for the roadmap 2016 of Phillippines projects that “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes”.  

Photo Credit: Robert Domogen - CHARMP Project.