The workshop consisted of twenty-six presentations over the space of two days. They dealt with many research topics, brought forward in the past three years by researchers and students from universities in the three countries, working closely with smallholder farmers. The innovative nature of these projects lay in the approach in which small farmers were closely involved in research programs. The farmers had to take responsibility for testing seed varieties and farming techniques in their plots.
Project activities have been guided by ‘participatory vulnerability analysis’ at the village level. A specific tool to conduct this type of analysis has been developed and adopted by research teams in different countries (Participatory Analysis of Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change - APVACC - http://www.worldagroforestry.org/downloads/publications/PDFs/OP17611.PDF), based on which the coping strategies of different gender groups at the village level have been identified.
Several of the studies presented focused on the economic value of Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs), mainly Shea butter, which generates an average turnover of 5 billion FCFA (over 10 million USD) per year in Burkina Faso, but also tamarind and others.
At the conclusion of the workshop, prizes were awarded to researchers for innovation, dissemination of research results, and the development of a methodology for innovative research on carbon sequestration.
The presence of universities at the workshop, and the involvement of students in the research activities, helped create a bridge between research institutes and universities, and hopefully this work will also benefit new generations of students.
Stocktaking for improved portfolio: the role of Country Strategic Opportunities Programme (COSOP) Reviews
by Rosalie Lehel
The portfolio review is held annually and provides an opportunity for IFAD-supported projects and the Government to share and review implementation progress of all projects. Success stories are shared, as well as critical issues deterring project implementation, and how to address them. The COSOP review is an opportunity to ask questions, get answers and share solutions, towards improved project performance. The objective is to improve the projects' alignment with the COSOP strategic objectives and national priorities, overcome implementation bottlenecks and ensure sustainability.
The IFAD Executive Board will visit Tanzania in May 2014. We shared this news with representatives of Government and projects teams, who welcomed the initiative. The Executive Board will undertake its country visit to learn about IFAD's work in the field - the challenges and constraints faced by IFAD- supported operations, and how to improve.
At the workshop we officially welcomed the recently out-posted Country Director, Mr. Francisco Pichon, who is providing precious guidance and direct strategic support to the country portfolio. The annual country programme activity plan was discussed and agreed upon among the projects and ICO.
Flexi-biogas system: an innovative and alternative source of energy reduces deforestation and provides households with cheap clean energy
In December 2012, 10 vulnerable households (seven widowed and one orphan headed households), received flexi-biogas systems which provided them with enough gas to cook the main meal each day and having enough hot water for tea. This was a pilot phase of the IFAD-KWAMP launched in Kirehe district, Eastern Province of Rwanda.
The flexi-biogas digester blows up when full of gas.
This innovative technology requires 20 to 30 kg of dung per day to produce large volumes of biogas. Any household with one cow can establish a flexi-biogas system in one day and can be producing gas to cook within 7 days. Other conventional biogas systems require major excavations and skilled artisans for construction, and take at least four months before becoming operational and require the dung from at least three cows.
|A beneficiary fulfilling the flexi-biogas digester|
using manure mixed with water.
The inventor, Dominic Wanjihia, stresses that the flexi-biogas system is much more than a cooking fuel solution. The excess gas can be used as a fuel source for a growing array of agro-applications, from heating chicken brooders through to generators to power chaff cutters, water pumps, and milk processing machines. Thus, the system allows farmers to improve efficiency, productivity, and quality of their farming products from small-scale farms. This is a crucial aspect considering that energy requirements at the farm level are often related to agricultural production and processing, fish farming, livestock rearing, water pumping or small-scale industries - many requiring small amounts of power (from 100w to 3kw) and yet, existing expenditures on low-quality energy sources (kerosene, firewood, charcoal and other traditional biomass sources) being too high, both in terms of cost, time and labour involved.
|A well-settled flexi-biogas system.|
Shengen Fan, The Director General for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), opened the meeting, providing an overview of how food Security and nutrition have featured prominently within the Global agenda last year. Notably, governments and development partners have finally recognized under-nutrition as a key issue to be tackled. Amongst various efforts, the G8 launched the new alliance for food security and nutrition, and the Scaling up Nutrition program was launched by forty five countries in collaboration with the United Nations. The Millennium Development goals have been broadened to incorporate climate change, urbanization, conflict and sustainable consumption and production patterns into the development framework.
The Director General stressed that action should be taken to prevent the future escalation of food prices by addressing factors that drove the crisis which include; weather shocks, volatile markets and animal related diseases. Despite the stabilization of global food prices - as basic staple foods such as maize, rice and wheat have exhibited minimal volatility - the international community must not remain complacent. ‘It is possible that Hunger and under-nutrition can be eliminated sustainably by 2025 however, governments and donors must devote sufficient resources, take policy action and invest in linking agriculture and nutrition to achieve this end,’ he said. Launching the report in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was significant as the government has successfully pursued policies and wisely invested in agriculture, with the support of development partner to build food security in the country.
Panelist representing the UN Economic Commission for Africa, African Union and ILRI engaged in an intensive discussion on what has featured in consultations to define the development agenda for Africa. African Member states made a commitment to the African Agricultural Development Partnership CAADP, ten years ago, aiming to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty through agriculture, agreeing to invest a minimum of 10% of their budget into the sector and to raise agricultural productivity by at least 6%. Despite these developments, agriculture continues to face significant challenges in spite of home-grown policies to advance predominantly rain-fed smallholder agriculture. In this light, African Union Member states would like to identify drivers for success and lessons learned from countries such as China, India, Brazil and Thailand that have successfully eliminated Hunger.
Boaz Keizire, the AU technical advisor for CAADP highlighted that research on Africa’s agricultural growth trends demonstrates that countries with state driven policies that focused on building infrastructure and enhancing small holders’ access to markets have been remarkably successful. Adama Coulibaly, the Chief of Food Security at the UN Economic Commission for Africa noted that the next agenda for Africa is bound to be different, as exciting socioeconomic transformations are taking place within the continent - the seven fastest growing economies are from the continent. Such positive developments have repositioned Africa as a key player on the World stage, and leaders are seeking ‘new ways to lead to the top of the mountain’ and achieve sustainable development he stated.
Ongoing discussions at the African Union show that African countries are keen to develop their agricultural value chains, to engage in the global agricultural market. However, there are risks - of becoming more vulnerable to volatile global food prices and negatively impacting the livelihoods of small holder farmers if developed supply chains do not meet global demands. Finally Continental discussions have focused on the potential benefit of foreign direct investments in agriculture. However, Governments would like to explore policies and mechanism that can be developed to ensure that it does negatively impact food self-sufficiency.
Robson Mutandi took the opportunity to hold a side-meeting with the Director General of IFPRI and discuss the forthcoming ‘IFPRI 2020 Conference’ to be held in Addis Ababa from 15th -17th May 2014. This side-meeting also briefly covered other areas of possible cooperation at country level between IFAD and IFPRI. The President of IFAD, Kanayo Nwanze, will attend the IFPRI 2020 conference and will make a keynote presentation. IFAD has worked towards reducing the rural poor's vulnerability to climatic shocks by assisting them to diversify livelihoods, improve agricultural techniques and technologies and to strengthen community-based natural resource management preparing them for risks and to cope with disasters.
Download the report.
What impact has Rural Financial Services Programme (RFSP) had on the rural finance sector in Uganda?
In Kampala, Uganda, Friday 4 April was a very brightly sunny morning. IFAD and Government of Uganda, together with key partners and stakeholders have gathered for a workshop to discuss the closure reports of RFSP. The invitations said 8:15 am and the chief guest, the Deputy Secretary to the Treasury in the Ministry of Finance, Mr Patrick Ocailap was at the venue, ready to open the workshop at 8:30am! Invited participants quickly took their seats as they walked in one by one to the rare surprise of a chief guest already in his seat!
The stakeholder workshop is a significant milestone as it is the event where the impact of the years of RFSP implementation, as well as a project completion report, are shared and stakeholders invited to provide feedback. The firm hired to carry out the impact studies and write the completion report made a presentation in which they highlighted the achievements of the project in enhancing the outreach of financial services, usage of financial institutions, and sustainability of the supported Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs).
By Harold Liversage, regional land advisor, and Steven Jonckheere, land and natural resources associate for IFAD in East and Southern Africa
Over 40% of the Mozambican population lives in the coastal zone and are reliant on this zone for their livelihoods. Artisanal fishing is central to the livelihoods of most poor rural coastal communities. Most of these communities are small, isolated, poor and semi-subsistence in nature and generally combine fishing and fish marketing with subsistence agriculture. Some are seasonal, but the majority are permanent communities. Artisanal fishers include both those who mainly fish for subsistence purposes and those who link to markets. Men are mainly involved in fishing and women in gathering molluscs and bivalves but also in crop, mainly subsistence, farming. Both may be involved in the sale of fish but women tend to acquire fish for home consumption. They also provide important support services to fishers.
Overlapping interests and resource uses are often a major source of conflict along the Mozambican coastline. Competition for water, land and other resources used by artisanal fishing communities comes from migrating artisanal fishers, industrial and semi industrial fisheries, mining, gas and oil exploitation, tourism, conservation, large-scale commercial farming and forestry. While various policies and legislation provide for the recognition of artisanal fishing resource rights, in practice recognition is relatively weak. Different issues occur in the north, centre and south of the country.
The majority of conflicts between the artisanal and industrial and semi-industrial fishers are due to the competition for the same fishing grounds or common resources. The three and one mile exclusion zones for industrial and semi-industrial fishers are often not respected and enforcement is not always done effectively. The presence of trawlers close to the shore inevitably leads to conflicts because of the destruction of fishing gear. It has also sometimes harmed the substrate and fish stocks to the detriment of the sustainable use of the resource.
Furthermore, millions of dollars are currently being invested in oil exploration, predominantly along the coastal zones of the north. The development of oil and mineral industry presents both risks and new opportunities for artisanal fishing communities. Already certain large oil companies have indicated their intention to fully comply with international standards for sustainable social, environmental and economic development.
Tourism has also been encouraged by the Government of Mozambique as a means for the rapid development of the economy and marine coastal resources. As part of this process the Government has delegated the management responsibility of certain areas of the coastal zone to private tourism developers. In some instances these developers have tried to exclude artisanal fishers from certain areas but there have also been cases of mutually beneficial partnerships and co-management arrangements being established. Given the importance of coastal and marine environment for the country, several actions are being undertaken to ensure development is sustainable in this region, including the creation and strengthening of coastal and marine conservation areas. Recently there has been a shift away from excluding artisanal fishers from these areas to inclusive co-management.
In addition, Mozambique has experienced, over the past decade or more, a significant increase in investor demand for land. It is estimated that just under half of land granted through concessions (47%) has been allocated to foreign investors. While communities have the right to delimit their lands and the Land Law requires that they are consulted prior to the granting of a land concession, community delimitation is still limited and consultations are often not adequately carried out.
Finally, logging for valuable hardwood species has had a serious impact on Mozambique's forests and local livelihoods. The country’s legal framework supports traditional uses of forest and forest resources, the harvesting of timber and non-timber forest products, and the creation of community-based forest enterprises. However, the regulatory framework tends to favour national and international companies over small and medium businesses, and rural populations tend to operate informal forest-product-based businesses and engage in unsustainable exploitation practices. This includes logging of mangrove forests for construction.
On 31 March the Government of Mozambique and IFAD launched the Strengthening Artisanal Fishers’ Resource Rights Project (Projeto de Reforҫo dos Direitos de Acesso aos Recursos pelos Pescadores Artesanais – PRODIRPA). The overall goal of PRODIRPA is to improve the livelihoods of artisanal fishing communities by strengthening their security over and management of natural resources. Key principles that will inform the project’s interventions are: (i) community empowerment in natural resource management; (ii) linking macro and local level natural management planning processes; and (iii) multi-stakeholder co-management of natural resources. PRODIRPA will complement the IFAD-supported Artisanal Fisheries Promotion Project (ProPESCA). While ProPESCA will focus on the economic development of fishing communities, PRODIRPA will provide support for strengthening artisanal fishers’ resource rights. Improving and securing artisanal fisher’s access to natural resources is central to safeguarding their livelihoods and increasing their food security.