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The UN’s three Rome based agencies (RBA's) have joined together in the ''Kenya Cereal Enhancement Programme- Climate Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods Window (KCEP-CRAL)''. Working together they want to reduce rural poverty and food insecurity among smallholder farmers by developing their economic potential.

The RBA's will be working together, supporting smallholder farmers in specific areas of the country. Through the adoption of value-added agricultural practices they hope to increase productivity and profitability of maize, millet, sorghum and associated pulses.

Step One - from food insecurity to subsistence farming, with good agricultural practices and conservation agriculture

In this first phase, the agencies, will support 60,000 food-insecure farming households to build up their productive assets. They will also build farmers’ capacities to reach subsistence levels of agricultural production, by applying Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Conservation Agriculture (CA).

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will complement the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) technical advice with financing, which will improve extension services in the target counties, focusing on natural resource management (NRM) and adaptation to climate change.

Step two – Graduating to commercial farming with GAP, CA and resilience to climate change

In the second phase, the RBA's will reach out to 100,000 smallholder farmers (including farmers that graduated from the first phase) to advance them to commercial farming. This will be done whilst building their resilience to climate change. Support will target local government/communities for participatory development and implementation of community-based NRM and resilience plans.

Each RBA will have a specific focus

The World Food Programme (WFP) will collaborate on the aspects of the programme that relate to market access. Improving access to markets for smallholders has far reaching implications. It helps alleviate the frequent droughts they experience. It enhances crop and livestock production.

FAO will implement climate smart agriculture. Using GAP and CA they will enable farmers to increase their production and successfully market their surplus harvests.

IFAD will support farmers who have reached household subsistence level to graduate to market-oriented farming for value chains with market potential-retaining diversified livelihoods from WFP's supported strategy.

From its Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), IFAD will finance activities under the KCEP-CRAL that support improved NRM and resilience to climate change at all levels. ASAP promotes soil and water conservation approaches to reduce vulnerability to climate change, that is currently plaguing farmers and putting pressure on natural resources. 

Six surprising benefits of trees

Posted by Beate Stalsett Thursday, April 21, 2016 0 comments

In honour of Earth Day, we compiled six surprising ways that trees are improving the lives of millions of small farmers around the world. 

Written by: Mathilde Zins

Trees protect the earth, feed communities and play multiple essential roles in the livelihoods of rural people living around the world.

Earth Day, celebrated annually on 22 April,  is an occasion to honour the close connection we maintain with Mother Earth.

This year, organizations are raising awareness about the important function of trees in sustaining and protecting our planet.

This is true for small farmers too. Trees play a vital part in their livelihoods and communities, as they nourish the people and help conserve the land that they live on.

Did you know that trees help combat climate change by absorbing excess and harmful CO2 from our atmosphere? In fact, in a single year, an acre of mature trees absorbs the amount of CO2 produced by driving the average car 26,000 miles. That's the same distance as going right around the world at the equator... and a little bit more.

Trees also clean the air we breathe when they absorb odours and pollutant gases  (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulphur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

Trees can help communities achieve long-term economic and environmental sustainability and provide food, energy and income.

This is why IFAD works with small farmers on projects that involve the sustainable management of trees and forests.

How are trees important to the lives of small farmers? Let us count the ways.

Trees help farmers conserve rainwater 

Trees are vital for our water supply. They influence how and where rain falls, they filter and clean our water, and are therefore essential for agricultural practices.

Like thousands of poor farmers living on the eastern slopes of Mount Kenya, Christine Mugure Munene used to depend on seasonal rains to water her crops. Thanks to a pilot project supported by IFAD, more than 7 million seedlings have been planted in the water catchment along the eastern slopes of the mountain and now trees keep water flowing in the region. 

''When you have trees in a water catchment, it helps to ensure that when it rains the water is held into the soil and it joins the river basin slowly. This ensures the sustainability of the flow of the rivers," says Paul Njuguna from the Mount Kenya East Pilot Project.  

Now, farmers in the community are working together to conserve water resources by protecting rivers and planting trees.

Trees help farmers improve soil

Poor soil fertility is one of the main obstacles to improving food production in Africa.
A study carried out by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in 2011 showed that planting trees that improve soil quality can improve soil fertility, reduce erosion and help boost crop yields for African farmers. 

In Niger, an IFAD-supported reforestation project in the Maradi and Zinder Regions has shown successful results. More than five million hectares of trees have been planted, according to Chris P. Reij, Sustainable Land Management specialist and  Senior Fellow of the World Resources Institute, who recently gave a lecture on climate change at IFAD headquarters in Rome. Farmers in the region continue to invest in agroforestry.

During the 2005 famine in Niger, villages that had invested in agroforestry had less infant mortality, because trees could be pruned or cut and sold, which generated cash with which farmers could buy cereals. Trees also produce fruit and leaves with high vitamin content for human consumption. 

Trees help farmers combat climate change 

Did you know that forests cover one third of the Earth's land mass, performing vital functions around the world? Around 1.6 billion people – including the members of more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood. 

IFAD supports the sustainable management of forests, for example through a project in Latin America where forests cover 40 per cent of total land in the region, and numerous rural communities and indigenous peoples live and thrive in them.

The Community-based Forestry Development Project  is being implemented by Mexico’s National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) in cooperation with project participants. It works to strengthen the capacity of communities to better manage their natural resources, adopt conservation practices such as increasing vegetation cover, and establish mechanisms to cope with the impact of climate change.

Trees help farmers increase income and food

Trees can be grown as cash crops and they can be used for carbon trading – both activities help give small farmers a steady income. And with a steady income, small farmers and their families have access to a nutritious and healthy diet.

In Laos, IFAD is working on a project for the preservation of Bong forests, and helping the Pacoh, an ethnic minority group, to secure their land rights and incomes. Bong trees were once abundant in countries like Laos but, in 2008, overexploitation led the Lao government to declare the trees on the verge of extinction. 

Now, the Pacoh have been provided with permanent land certificates where they can grow bong trees as a cash crop – ensuring that they have a steady income and enough food throughout the year.

Trees help farmers avoid desertification 

Desertification is often the result of human activity and can therefore be prevented or controlled by human effort. Planting trees can be part of this. 

In Burkina Faso, farmers have had to cope with less rainfall, loss of soil fertility and loss of trees – all of which could add up to desertification. 

To help farmers manage this threat and adapt to climate change, IFAD has supported a number of projects that work together with farmers to develop soil and water retention techniques. But the biggest payoff come from planting trees. Spreading the cuttings from young Bagana trees, improve the soil nutrients for growing crops. These trees also provide food for animals and people. And even more importantly, a compound released by leaves  into the atmosphere stimulates the formation of clouds and rainfall.

Indeed, up to 300 000 hectares of lands in Burkina Faso have been rehabilitated using this technique. This is not only helping these farmers to adapt to climate change, it has also increased their harvests.

Trees help farmers preserve ecosystems

Forests are among the most important repositories of terrestrial biodiversity. Together, tropical, temperate and boreal forests offer very diverse habitats for plants, animals and micro-organisms .

The island of São Tomé is one of the world's biodiversity hot spots. Every day scientists here discover new things.

''We've been coming now for 13-14 years, every time we come here, we find new species, species that have never been described before, I'm just racing to find out what's here before its gone,'' says Robert C. Drewes, Curator of Herpetology at the California Academy of Sciences.

IFAD is supporting cultivation of organic cocoa beans on the island. This helps farmers increase their incomes and build partnerships with the organic chocolate industry in Europe. With a steady income from cocoa plantations, farmers also have no need to encroach on protected forests.

Join us in celebrating Earth Day – share your stories of #Trees4Earth.

Working together within IFAD to boost rural development

Posted by David Paqui Thursday, April 14, 2016 0 comments

by David F. Paqui and Viateur Karangwa

From righ to left: Adolfo Brizzi, Innocent Musabyimana, Sana Jatta,
Francisco Pichon, Claver Gasirabo and Aimable Ntukanyagwe
A joint mission to Rwanda by two IFAD directors was welcomed by government counterparts and led to a fruitful dialogue on how to take IFAD’s engagement in the country to the next level.

From 21 to 24 March 2016, Sana F.K. Jatta, Director, East and Southern Africa Division and Adolfo Brizzi, Director, Policy and Technical Advisory Division headed an IFAD delegation to visit Rwanda. They were accompanied by Francisco Pichon, IFAD Country Director for Tanzania and Country Programme Manager for Rwanda and Aimable Ntukanyagwe, Country Programme Officer based in IFAD Country in Rwanda. It was the first such joint visit by two IFAD Directors focusing exclusively on the Rwanda country programme.

“This mission was an opportunity to demonstrate IFAD’s strong support and commitment to the Rwandan programme”, Jatta said. “We also reviewed with the government officials the status and possible future directions of IFAD’s engagement in Rwanda,” he added.
One of the working sessions in Kigali with projects staff
In Kigali, the IFAD mission met with Geraldine Mukeshimana, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and her staff, including the Permanent Secretary, directors, the coordinator and senior staff of the Single Project Implementation Unit (SPIU) for IFAD-funded projects in the country. The Rwandan officials were genuinely interested to discuss how to expand the partnership with IFAD, and to capitalize on lessons learned from the current programmes and projects in the country by bringing them to scale.
Francisco Pichon of IFAD delegation visiting the communal
cattle shed 
The intensity of the conversation allowed the IFAD team to have a sense of how results-oriented the Rwandan Government is, with performance targets and indicators set for each political and civil service function within all government ministries. The outcome of various discussions in the capital is that the Government and IFAD fully agree that smallholder agriculture is a business. Both sides also recognize that dairy and livestock development, areas in which IFAD is developing a new programme, offer great opportunities for expansion and income-generation for smallholders.

The delegation jointly headed by Jatta and Brizzi also met the representatives of United Nations
Sana Jatta and Adolfo Brizzi of IFAD exchanging with
Innocent Musabyimana, Permanent Secretary of MINAGRI
agencies and other development partners active in Rwanda. With the African Development Bank, given their emerging renewed focus on agriculture, possible areas of collaboration were identified as opportunities for partnership and cofinancing of projects in Rwanda.

The IFAD mission visited a number of sites where the Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project is working and other activities in the Kirehe district. These included:
  • the Sagatare dam reservoir, which is used to irrigate around 205 hectares, mainly under paddy
  • the Kirehe Rice Plant Ltd, partly co-funded by the World Bank, with a plant capacity of 6 metric tonnes and storage capacity for 3,000 tonnes, operated as a typical public-private-producers-partnership (4P) with IFAD support
Visit of rice milling plant in Kirehe
• the Kagogo communal cowshed used by 30 farmers from surrounding villages as a joint enterprise
  • a young household benefitting from the one cow per poor household programme under the “pass-on the gift” scheme implemented by Heifer International through a contract with KWAMP, combined with a flexi biogas digester that has proved very successful.

The mission also visited a maize warehouse and drying floor funded under Climate Resilient Post Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP). In all these places, the IFAD team met and discussed with project participants, private millers and service providers about their experiences, and witnessed first-hand 4P schemes running successfully.

Brizzi made a presentation on leveraging finance for smallholder agriculture and scaling up results to a large gathering chaired by Innocent Musabyimana, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources. It was followed by a lively discussion. The presentation was attended by the CEO of the National Agriculture Export Board, representatives from the Rwanda Agriculture Board, all IFAD-funded projects teams, business development service providers, the Rwanda Business Development Fund, and others.

The IFAD delegation concluded the visit to Rwanda by meeting Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning and his team. The delegation thanked the Government of Rwanda for their support to the IFAD10 Replenishment and for the strong leadership in the successful implementation of IFAD-supported operations in the country. The implementation of the PASP was discussed and the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning challenged his own team to focus on expediting implementation, with the concerted effort of MINAGRI. This is the only project in the portfolio that has not picked up sufficient speed since its effectiveness in March 2014.

“The very strong interest and attention provided to the IFAD team was another demonstration of the strong interest by the Government of Rwanda to see the partnership with IFAD become even stronger and go to the next level,” Jatta said.
“It is worth noting that a good deal of the discussion as laid out by the Minister himself was a description of IFAD’s approach to leveraging private sector involvement in agriculture and the 4P model,” he added.
IFAD delegation and project staff delegation in the field

“In his view, other donors should provide money to IFAD so that we can expand our scaling up potential especially through the mobilization of private partners, and our financial instruments to foster more inclusive markets,” Jatta concluded.

Since this mission is unusual within IFAD, we approached Périn Saint Ange, Associate Vice President in charge of Programme Management Department to have his view.

“The work in Rwanda is best practice. The joint East and Southern Africa Division and Policy and Technical Advisory Division Directors’ visit supported by Country Director for Tanzania and Country Programme Manager for Rwanda is also a very good way to engage with authorities and key partners at country level,” Saint Ange said.

Perú: La rica cultura popular, base para el desarrollo rural

Posted by cortescarrasbal Friday, April 8, 2016 0 comments

Por Annibale Ferrini

Lima, 8 de abril de 2016 - “La Sierra Norte del Perú guardaba en silencio valiosos tesoros escondidos entre sus tierras, sus aguas y sus bosques. La gente conocía esos recursos por sus ancestros, pero había perdido la confianza en su valor. Ahora, los pobladores de esas regiones han redescubiertos esos tesoros y están dando nueva vida a este territorio”.

Así se expresaba finales de marzo Antonieta Noli, coordinadora del Proyecto Sierra Norte, tras el emocionante acto de clausura de este programa de desarrollo rural financiado por el FIDA e implementado por el Ministerio de Agricultura y Riego del Perú

El programa, que comenzó su andadura a finales del año 2010, ha beneficiado a más de 20 000 familias de las áreas rurales más remotas y pobres de 115 distritos de 12 provincias de los departamentos de Amazonas, Cajamarca, Lambayeque y La Libertad, en el norte del Perú. 

Jesús Quintana, Representante del FIDA en el Perú, comentaba con evidente satisfacción que “Sierra Norte ha representado un camino exitoso de inclusión económica y social a través de la valorización de un patrimonio natural y cultural que los mismos usuarios han redescubierto. Usar la cultura popular como base del desarrollo ha dado lugar a un proceso de empoderamiento y desarrollo de capacidades que ellos mismos han protagonizado”

“Los usuarios han participado en el diseño de las intervenciones, manejado los recursos financieros para llevarlas a cabo, identificado y elegido el tipo de asistencia técnica que necesitaban”, añadía con orgullo bien justificado la coordinadora del Proyecto Sierra Norte. “Este proceso innovador ha logrado un impacto real en sus condiciones de vida y trabajo porque ellos han sido los verdaderos protagonistas del proceso”.

El acto de clausura del Proyecto Sierra Norte, celebrado en la Cámara de Comercio de Lima, sirvió para comprender el complejo e innovador mecanismo de funcionamiento del proyecto, que ha proporcionado a sus usuarios oportunidades de acceso a mercados locales y nacionales, y ha transformado su forma de producir. Ésta es ahora más sostenible, adaptada al cambio climático y, también,  a los rápidos y continuos cambios sociales y económicos.

En el marco de las innovaciones aplicadas con éxito por el proyecto se destacan en particular: los Comités de Asignación de Recursos (CLARS), los mapas parlantes, los talentos rurales, y el enfoque de Desarrollo Territorial con Identidad Cultural.

CLARS. En cada uno de los cuatro departamentos en donde se implementó el proyecto, los CLARs, integrados no sólo por directivos del proyecto, sino también por autoridades municipales y comunales y representantes de organizaciones populares y grupos empresariales, tenían la función de evaluar las propuestas presentadas por las comunidades usuarias del proyecto y asignar recursos a las iniciativas ganadoras. “Dichas propuestas eran, en muchas ocasiones, presentadas en formas de piezas teatrales, danzas y otras formas de expresión socio-cultural en lugar de a través del típico documento de Power Point”, explicaba Noli.

Los mapas parlantes son representaciones de la realidad física, social, económica y cultural de los territorios realizadas por los mismos pobladores. En ellas se evidencia tanto la situación actual como los deseos y aspiraciones para el futuro, los cambios que se quieren impulsar. Son en práctica planes participados de desarrollo territorial en los que todos, hombres, mujeres, jóvenes, adultos mayores aportan con su conocimiento y su visión, al tiempo que afirman su compromiso para el cambio.

Los talentos rurales son personas que poseen conocimientos y experiencias valiosas  que comparten con sus iguales, los cuales pueden replicar estas buenas prácticas. El proyecto implementó una estrategia de gestión del conocimiento a través de la cual 321 talentos rurales se convirtieron en prestadores de servicios de extensión rural, vía capacitaciones, asistencias técnicas, rutas de aprendizaje, pasantías, etc de.  Estos talentos rurales constituyen hoy una “comunidad” capacitada para escalar iniciativas y apoyar nuevos proyectos de desarrollo en la misma área y en otras regiones.

El Enfoque de Desarrollo Territorial con Identidad Cultural (DT-IC) fue experimentado desde 2013 en seis territorios gracias a la colaboración con la Plataforma de Diversidad Biocultural y Territorios constituida por el RIMISP–Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural, PROCASUR, el CET Chiloé, Diversidad y Desarrollo y SLOW FOOD. En poco tiempo ha originado un significativo aumento de la autoestima por parte de los actores, fortaleciendo sus raíces identitarias y la cohesión social. Esto que ha facilitado la integración de innovaciones con saberes locales y prácticas tradicionales en nuevos productos y servicios basados en la identidad cultural y la calidad, lo que ha permitido a los usuarios de Sierra Norte acceder a mercado locales y nacionales en condiciones competitivas.

Los mapas culturales formaron parte de la exposición queacompañó el evento de cierre del Proyecto Sierra Norte en la Cámara de Comercio de Lima ©Annibale Ferreri
Uno de los resultados del proceso de aplicación del enfoque DT-IC ha sido la realización de Mapas de Potencialidades de los Territorios con Identidad Cultural, que se presentaron en el evento de cierre del proyecto en Lima. En ellos se ponen en evidencia los activos físicos, naturales, agroalimentarios y culturales priorizados por las comunidades del proyecto. Esta iniciativa están en línea con el nuevo enfoque del desarrollo rural que el Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas de Perú quiere impulsar. El Ministerio prevé dejar de lado el diseño y utilización de mapas de pobreza y usar en su lugar mapas de potencialidades a partir de las cuales planificar intervenciones en colaboración con los usuarios de las mismas.  

Las experiencias del proyecto, los actores locales empoderados y los procesos de desarrollo encaminados representan un patrimonio que se puede aprovechar en proyección a otros territorios y áreas con muchas potencialidades aún no identificadas pero de seguro valor en la lucha a la pobreza y la desigualdad en Perú así como en América Latina y en el mundo.

Buena parte de dichas experiencias están recogidas en el catálogo de publicaciones del proyecto que se pueden consultar en su página web.