Stories tagged: FANRPAN

MAR202014
#AskAg Twitter Chat: Empowering Women at the Head of Family Farms

#AskAg Farming First

Thursday 20th March, 11am – 12pm EDT on Twitter

Join the conversation!

2014 is the International Year of Family Farming. But who is at the head of these family-farming households? Research from the FAO has found that up to 40% of households are headed by women in Eastern Africa, and across the developing world, women account for 60 to 80% of smallholder farmers.

Yet these women face economic and social constraints. In sub-Saharan Africa, only 15% of landholders are women, and they receive less than 10% of credit and 7% of extension services.

Policies that address gender inequalities could lift 150 million people out of hunger. How can women be empowered to make this estimation a reality?

Join experts from USAID and global agriculture coalition Farming First on Twitter at 11am EDT on Thursday 20th March to debate the issues with our experts:

sylvia-cabus-usaid

Sylvia Cabus is the gender advisor for the Bureau of Food Security at USAID and for the Feed the Future Initiative. She worked for Catholic Relief Services (CRS) in Kenya, Morocco, Mali,and Burkina Faso. In the United States, Sylvia worked as a program officer with Heifer International, Handicap International, and USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.

 

stephanie-hanson-one-acre-fund

Stephanie Hanson is the director of policy and outreach at One Acre Fund, where she manages the government relations and policy team and One Acre Fund’s global policy and advocacy work. From 2006 to 2009, she covered economic and political development in Africa and Latin America for CFR.org, the website of the Council on Foreign Relations. 

 

susan-carlson-wfo

Sue Carlson has been a farmer and family farm advocate much of her life. She currently serves as Facilitator and Chairperson of the World Farmers Organisation Women’s Committee, a GAP Catalyst for the Global Funding and Research Gender in Agricultural Partners, and serves on the Shamba Partnership Board. Over the years she has traveled to nearly 40 different countries advocating for family farmers. 

 

thembi-fanrpan

Sithembile Ndema Mwamakamba is a Project Manager with the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN). She coordinates the FANRPAN Youth and Gender Programme Portfolio, aimed at developing a holistic agriculture policy framework in Africa that will support engagement of youth and women in the agriculture sector. 

 

Questions to be addressed:

  1. What challenges do women in family farming face in the developing world, and what do they need to thrive?
  2. How can we reach more women farmers worldwide with tools and skills they need?
  3. What are the success stories that show the benefits of investing in rural women? How do we measure this success?
  4. How do we identify and empower male allies in the quest to improve women-run family farms?
  5. Women farmers are often both the breadwinners and the bread bakers. How do we improve the nutritional status of family farms?

If you have additional questions you’d like to ask our experts, tweet @Agrilinks or @farmingfirst using the #AskAg hashtag!

Strengthening Evidence-based Climate Change Adaptation Policies

FANRPAN_logo_300dpi

To manage the risk and vulnerability associated with climate change and extreme weather events in Southern Africa evidence-based policies and programmes that are responsive to local realities and priorities are imperative for a pro-poor livelihood-centred approach to adaptation.

Evidence needs to be linked to policy processes and development practice to ensure that future policies reflect the true reality of climate change for farmers around the world.

To generate this evidence, robust tools are required to quantify and evaluate the impacts of climate change and adaptation options. This calls for access to good quality data on agriculture and rural livelihoods that can be used in identifying alternative climate change adaptation options and sustainable climate resilient community-based development.

In 2011, the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)[1] developed a three-year project on Strengthening Evidence-Based Climate Change Adaptation Policies (SECCAP)[2] funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)[3]. SECCAP employs a multidisciplinary approach to climate change research by integrating environmental, social and economic analysis in order to promote the development of evidence-based climate change adaptation policies.

Objectives:

Information generated from this integrated effort will yield evidence-based options for climate change adaptation policy and practices in agriculture. This is being accomplished in three focal countries: Malawi, Lesotho, and Swaziland.

Using state-of-the-art climate downscaling[4] techniques, the SECCAP project addresses gaps in climate knowledge by generating quality climate information for recent past and future scenarios at scales relevant to farming communities.

The SECCAP project also collects social-economic data with climate change and crop productivity data which is used to assess the benefits and costs of adapting to climate change impacts. 

Results:

  • Information, experience and findings generated from the SECCAP project will be shared with policy makers through a number of platforms
  • Results are expected to stimulate interest, and generate demand for policy-relevant research that addresses the challenges faced by vulnerable communities.
  • This is the first time in-depth research of this kind has taken place and the results will offer a unique perspective on how farmers can mitigate and adapt in a cost-effective way

References:

http://fanrpan.org/

http://fanrpan.org/projects/seccap/

http://www.idrc.ca

http://cip.csag.uct.ac.za/webclient/introduction

http://unfccc.int/national_reports/napa/items/2719.php

http://www.fanrpan.org/documents/d00499/



[3] http://www.idrc.ca

[4] http://cip.csag.uct.ac.za/webclient/introduction

How to build the resilience of African smallholder farmers in a changing climate

African smallholder farmers are in the eye of the climate change storm. Increased flooding and droughts have seen crop yields diminish as many farmers struggle to support their own livelihoods. With over 70 percent of the continent’s populations dependent on agriculture, this is a problem which cannot be ignored. While Africa contributes less than 3 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, it stands on the frontline of the economic and social consequences of climate change.

At his keynote presentation on Saturday 3rd December at the third Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD), President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo F. Nwanze urged that “negotiators must recognize the critical importance of enabling smallholder farmers to become more resilient to climate change and to grow more food in environmentally sustainable, climate-smart ways.”

Later in the day, Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda opened up a side event on behalf of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) which focused on how we can build the resilience of African smallholder farmers in a changing climate. The event highlighted the work of smallholder farmers in Swaziland and how they are coping with the impacts of climate change.

Back in 2002, Swaziland was hit hard by drought. Many smallholder farmers in the region saw their crops destroyed and their livelihoods threatened due to changing weather conditions. Happy Shongwe, a mother of two from Maphumulo in the Lubombo district of Swaziland, was on-site at the event to discuss her experiences as a smallholder farmer who watched her food reserves run dry due to the drought and was left impoverished. Shongwe and others in her community were helped with food vouchers and knowledge on how they could best respond to the drought.

Shongwe realised that planting maize and raising broiler chickens were not viable ways of coping with a changing climate and instead she began planting legumes which proved to be drought resistant. Starting with just one hectare of land, she quickly increased yields and was able to plant three hectares the following season.

Since then, her fate has changed. Shongwe has since registered Hlelile Investments (Pty) Ltd, a company that produces and markets seeds and is now a certified seed producer through the Seed Quality Division of the Ministry of Agriculture. “I now have my own business and have been able to afford to buy a tractor – I have come along way over the past ten years”, said Shongwe at the event.

Sibanda highlighted the importance of labelling and certification from the government:

For a region to be food secure, it needs to be seed secure. We believe in our own farmers; if given the necessary knowledge, they can grow more food. However, there is still a great need for research, technology and to mobilise funding for smallholder farmers in Swaziland, and other regions across Africa.

Measuring the vulnerability of rural households to external shocks

Today, few tools exist that can effectively measure the impact of shocks and stressess on the lives of the poor. By intermittently measuring the livelihood assets owned by a household over a period of time, researchers can determine household vulnerability and provide evidence to inform investment decisions around the design of policy responses and programme interventions aimed at strengthening household resilience.

Along with World Vision, FANRPAN has developed the Household Vulnerability Index (HVI) to measure the vulnerability of rural households to external shocks such as disease outbreaks, extreme weather and other stresses such as food insecurity. Through this approach, households are categorized into three levels of vulnerability, namely low, moderate and high vulnerability. Based on this more targeted classification system, development response packages are formulated to assist the most vulnerable households at the root causes of their vulnerability.

Following the successful piloting of the HVI tool in three countries in Southern Africa (Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe), FANRPAN and World Vision have shared their perspectives on the importance on developing and updating livelihood databases to benchmark livelihoods and provide data for modelling projected changes in livelihoods as a result of climate change.

Speaking at the learning event, Dalton Nxumalo, a Knowledge Management Officer with World Vision Swaziland (who provide funding for the project) noted,

This tool is meant to be a community based tool. The HVI assesses a household’s access to five livelihood assets; natural; physical; financial; human; and social assets and a total of 15 variables are then assessed together and a statistical core is calculated for each household.

Read more about the other learning events at Agriculture and Rural Development Day on its blog.

The World Bank Open Forum on Food

At the World Bank Open Forum on Food, an expert panel addressed the issue of how to solve the global food crisis in front of an audience of about 120 guests… and streamed live to hundreds more viewers.

FANRPAN CEO and Farming First spokesperson Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda took part in one of the panel sessions, which included with Calestous Juma, of Harvard University, David Beckman from Bread for the World, World Bank Vice-President Inger Andersen.
Focusing on the solutions to the problem of rising and volatile food prices, the panel discussed the possible paths to relieving poverty and food insecurity.
Dr Sibanda spoke of the role of the private sector in helping to develop local agribusiness. She cited a case where treadle pumps were distributed to farmers, but that there were no local artisans to repair the equipment and make them affordable. The private sector, she said, have the opportunity to get involved to help communities be able to produce tools locally, and offer the services to repair and renew the tools.
On empowering farmers, Calestous Juma said that farmers need two things. Firstly, they need to be encouraged to organise themselves into enterprises, and be supported in this endeavour, and secondly, an expansion in technical training is needed to ensure farmers are up to speed with modern farming techniques.
David Beckmann emphasised that while these types of panel sessions can talk about the technological solutions, we need to make a commitment to get this done. In the US, he said, there are proposals for cuts that would harm the poor all around the world. This is not just technical problem, he said, it is a matter of mobilising commitment.
Much of the online debate accompanying the panel discussion revealed that people’s greatest concerns were with support for smallholder farmers. Dr Sibanda addressed the issues of access and affordability of inputs for smallholders. Malawi, she said, is one example where we saw uptake of hybrid seeds when subsidies were introduced. The subsidies were for 2kg of seed per farmer. Farmers who were producing yields of 500kg per hectare were later seeing yields of 3 tonnes per hectare. Through the introduction of the new seeds, an improved network of suppliers was built up, and on top of their subsidy, farmers then sought to buy additional supplies of seed of their own.
Dr Sibanda’s final plea was to put farmers first in efforts to deal with food crisis. She said that today in Africa, farmers do not have the food to feed themselves let alone their communities. The first port of call is to enable farmers to come out of poverty. Assisting farmers to feed themselves is the first step to the farmers being able to feed others.

FANRPAN CEO and Farming First spokesperson Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda took part in one of the panel sessions, which included with Calestous Juma, of Harvard University, David Beckman from Bread for the World, World Bank Vice-President Inger Andersen.

Focusing on the solutions to the problem of rising and volatile food prices, the panel discussed the possible paths to relieving poverty and food insecurity.

Dr Sibanda spoke of the role of the private sector in helping to develop local agribusiness. She cited a case where treadle pumps were distributed to farmers, but that there were no local artisans to repair the equipment and make them affordable. The private sector, she said, have the opportunity to get involved to help communities be able to produce tools locally, and offer the services to repair and renew the tools.

On empowering farmers, Calestous Juma said that farmers need two things. Firstly, they need to be encouraged to organise themselves into enterprises, and be supported in this endeavour, and secondly, an expansion in technical training is needed to ensure farmers are up to speed with modern farming techniques.

David Beckmann emphasised that while these types of panel sessions can talk about the technological solutions, we need to make a commitment to get this done. In the US, he said, there are proposals for cuts that would harm the poor all around the world. This is not just technical problem, he said, it is a matter of mobilising commitment.

Much of the online debate accompanying the panel discussion revealed that people’s greatest concerns were with support for smallholder farmers. Dr Sibanda addressed the issues of access and affordability of inputs for smallholders. Malawi, she said, is one example where we saw uptake of hybrid seeds when subsidies were introduced. The subsidies were for 2kg of seed per farmer. Farmers who were producing yields of 500kg per hectare were later seeing yields of 3 tonnes per hectare. Through the introduction of the new seeds, an improved network of suppliers was built up, and on top of their subsidy, farmers then sought to buy additional supplies of seed of their own.

Dr Sibanda’s final plea was to put farmers first in efforts to deal with food crisis. She said that today in Africa, farmers do not have the food to feed themselves let alone their communities. The first port of call is to enable farmers to come out of poverty. Assisting farmers to feed themselves is the first step to the farmers being able to feed others.

Raising the Profile of Women Farmers on International Women’s Day

Today’s report from FAO truly shows the huge untapped potential that women farmers hold. In it’s 2010-2011 edition of The State of the Food and Agriculture report, they wrote,

If women in rural areas had the same access to land, technology, financial services, education and markets as men, agricultural production could be increased and the number of hungry people reduced by 100-150 million.

Neil Palmer, CIAT

Globally, the share of women employed in agriculture stands at 35.4 per cent, as compared to 32.2 per cent for men, but this proportion rises to almost half of all female employment, at 48.4 per cent, if the more industrialized regions are excluded. In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia the agricultural sector makes up more than 60 per cent of all female employment.

Generally, women do not access the same resources – inputs, finance, support, land – as men and consequently their productivity is lower. Financial resources are limited for women: they receive 7 per cent of the agricultural extension services and less than 10 per cent of the credit offered to small-scale farmers. Women generally own less land and the land they have is often of lower quality than the land owned by men. According to the International Development Research Centre, women in Africa only own 1 per cent of the land. Just giving women the same access as men to agricultural resources could increase production on women’s farms in developing countries by 20 to 30 percent.

Research shows that if women farmers in Kenya had the same access to farm inputs, education, and experience as their men counterparts, their yields for maize, beans, and cowpeas could increase as much as 22 percent. This would have resulted in a one-time doubling of Kenya’s GDP growth rate in 2004 from 4.3 percent to 8.3 percent (World Bank).

On Reuters Trust website today, FANRPAN’s Lindiwe Majele Sibanda told the story of the “voiceless pillars of African agriculture”: the women farmers. She wrote,

A combination of logistical, cultural, and economic factors, coupled with a lack of gender statistics in the agricultural sector, means that agricultural programs are rarely designed with women’s needs in mind. As a result, African women farmers have no voice in the development of agricultural policies designed to improve their productivity.

However, FANRPAN’s WARM project (Women Accessing Realigned Markets) is helping to address that.

Based on results of a FANRPAN commissioned input subsidy study done in Malawi and Mozambique, FANRPAN has developed a theatre script “The Winds of Change”. The play explores challenges rural women farmers face in accessing agricultural inputs, land, credit and extension services among other things.

Through performance, women are able to voice their concerns, pressures and ideas in front of local leaders and policy makers.

Photo credit: Neil Palmer, CIAT

The Democratic Republic of the Congo: A Potential Breadbasket?

Continuing our video series from the climate negotiations in Cancun last December, Charles Mushizi from the Centre d’Echanges pour des Reformes Juridique et Institutionelle (CERJI) discusses the current situation of the agricultural sector in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

While agriculture in the DRC is underinvested in, Mushizi believes that agriculture has the potential to boost the economic status of the country, and that it could tackle hunger not only in the DRC but in the rest of Africa too. 

Speaking at the COP16 climate negotiations in Cancun, he urges farmers in the DRC to take action, for it is they who must make changes to be able to cope with future changes in the climate.