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Livestock value chain strengthening essential for improving production and food security in Niger, say scientists

3 days 21 hours ago

Can Niger claim its rightful place on the food production charts? A group of scientists working with smallholder crop-livestock farmers believe strong market linkages may be the missing ingredient. Researchers from ICRISAT, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) met with a stakeholder group on 12 March to […]

The post Livestock value chain strengthening essential for improving production and food security in Niger, say scientists appeared first on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals.

What’s good for business is good for forests in Indonesia

5 days ago

Scientists in Indonesia are demonstrating how better business opportunities for local communities can help foster and reinforce sustainable forest management. As the world marks International Day of Forests on March 21, the benefits of reforestation and forest restoration are rightly lauded. In success stories of the past, local communities have often been cast as the heroes of sustainable forestry, while […]

The post What’s good for business is good for forests in Indonesia appeared first on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) Aquaculture Compact

2 weeks ago

The Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) program, funded by the African Development Bank, is a knowledge- and innovation-based response to the need to scale up proven technologies across Africa. The aim is to boost productivity and make Africa self-sufficient in key commodities. The program is being implemented in 22 countries. It focuses on nine priority commodity agricultural value chains (maize, wheat, rice, sorghum/millet, cassava, high-iron bean, orange flesh sweet potato, aquaculture and small livestock) with the support of enablers.

Enhancing community resilience through planning for climate-smart agriculture, gender and nutrition

1 month ago

Stimulating the adoption of gender and nutrition sensitive climate-smart agriculture (CSA) requires policy action that aligns national agendas with implementation. The second phase of the Policy Action for Climate Change Adaptation (PACCA) project seeks to link CSA with gender and nutrition to solve challenges to food and nutrition security.

As part of the project, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Mbale District Local Government (MDLG) organized a three-day stakeholder validation workshop in Uganda in January 2019 for researchers, district technocrats and politicians, civil society organization and farmer representatives. The goal was to identify key risks across the four main value chain commodities, relate these risks to underlying vulnerability factors of specific groups of people, and suggest adaptation options that address these vulnerabilities and risks.

Dilemma in prioritizing value chain commodities

Participants mapped the value chain commodities using existing literature and key informant interviews. The initial prioritization of the four key value chain commodities (poultry, onions, cabbage and ground nuts) was based on criteria related to resilience and/or climate stability, population involved (with special focus on women and youth) and whether the commodity was an important source of micronutrients.

However, the process of selecting the value chain commodities was contentious and lively discussions emerged as stakeholders strongly emphasized food security at the expense of resilience. George Wanakina, the District Production and Marketing Officer at MDLG, expressed concerns for the need to engage with value chain commodities that are beneficial socially, politically and economically. “From the four indicators used, which one is beneficial to Mbale?”  Wanakina asked. “If you are talking of food security and you take these priority value chains, you become food insecure.”

Given that prioritization was done to balance both food security and resilience, new commodities, such as bananas, maize and beans made it to the priority list replacing poultry, cabbage and ground nuts respectively. However, some noted that although the priority value chain commodities were resilient and addressed nutrition security, they were not profitable. “Leaving out coffee is bothering my mind,” Bernard Mujasi, the Mbale district Local Council V (LCV) Chairman said. “Coffee has to be there, whether it is resilient or not.”

At the end of the workshop, stakeholders agreed on prioritizing banana, onion, maize and bean value chain commodities.

Participants at the stakeholder validation workshop. Photo: J.F. Okiror (IITA)

Underlying vulnerability factors

Special emphasis was put on identifying who are the most vulnerable to the risks affecting the value chain commodities. In terms of gender, age and economic status, the most affected groups included people living in poverty, youth, children, elderly people, people with disabilities, female-headed households, and households in exposed landscapes.

Workshop participants identified vulnerability factors such as climatic, biophysical, social, economic and institutional factors. Perceived vulnerability factors included the destruction and/or reclamation of water catchments, massive tree cutting for wood products, poor farming techniques, and human activity on steep slopes.

Adaptation methods to manage climate risks

Participants also mapped current adaptation options to manage climate risks and diminish vulnerability. Stakeholders identified value chain-specific on-going and new potential adaptation options to specific risks. Local adaptation and coping strategies included: planting crops like cassava that are not affected by strong winds, applying fertilizers at all stages of production, spraying with pesticides, terracing and purchasing improved seeds. They also added applying fungicides to preserve stored beans and reducing number of meals consumed by households.

The workshop was divided into various sessions. Key activities included the validation of priority value chain commodities and socioeconomic context, the validation of historic climate and future projected changes in climate and related agriculture impacts, as well as the identification of risks and underlying vulnerability factors in each of the four priority value chain commodities, and the assessment of district-level organization capacity to deliver adaptation programs.

The stakeholder validation workshop is one of the activities employed in the climate risk profiling approach developed by CIAT to support the World Bank Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture project. The climate risk profiling employed data collection methods involving literature review, district statistics, development plans, climate analysis, key informant interviews and focus group discussions with district experts and farmer representatives from Lukhonge and Bungokho Mutoto sub-counties of Mbale district.

The evidence generated will be used not only to develop the Mbale district climate risk and nutrition profile, but also for engagement through the climate change and nutrition learning alliance.

Enhancing community resilience through planning for climate-smart agriculture, gender and nutrition

1 month 1 week ago

Stimulating the adoption of gender and nutrition sensitive climate-smart agriculture (CSA) requires policy action that aligns national agendas with implementation. The second phase of the Policy Action for Climate Change Adaptation (PACCA) project seeks to link CSA with gender and nutrition to solve challenges to food and nutrition security.

As part of the project, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Mbale District Local Government (MDLG) organized a three-day stakeholder validation workshop in Uganda in January 2019 for researchers, district technocrats and politicians, civil society organization and farmer representatives. The goal was to identify key risks across the four main value chain commodities, relate these risks to underlying vulnerability factors of specific groups of people, and suggest adaptation options that address these vulnerabilities and risks.

Dilemma in prioritizing value chain commodities

Participants mapped the value chain commodities using existing literature and key informant interviews. The initial prioritization of the four key value chain commodities (poultry, onions, cabbage and ground nuts) was based on criteria related to resilience and/or climate stability, population involved (with special focus on women and youth) and whether the commodity was an important source of micronutrients.

However, the process of selecting the value chain commodities was contentious and lively discussions emerged as stakeholders strongly emphasized food security at the expense of resilience. George Wanakina, the District Production and Marketing Officer at MDLG, expressed concerns for the need to engage with value chain commodities that are beneficial socially, politically and economically. “From the four indicators used, which one is beneficial to Mbale?”  Wanakina asked. “If you are talking of food security and you take these priority value chains, you become food insecure.”

Given that prioritization was done to balance both food security and resilience, new commodities, such as bananas, maize and beans made it to the priority list replacing poultry, cabbage and ground nuts respectively. However, some noted that although the priority value chain commodities were resilient and addressed nutrition security, they were not profitable. “Leaving out coffee is bothering my mind,” Bernard Mujasi, the Mbale district Local Council V (LCV) Chairman said. “Coffee has to be there, whether it is resilient or not.”

At the end of the workshop, stakeholders agreed on prioritizing banana, onion, maize and bean value chain commodities.

Participants at the stakeholder validation workshop. Photo: J.F. Okiror (IITA)

Underlying vulnerability factors

Special emphasis was put on identifying who are the most vulnerable to the risks affecting the value chain commodities. In terms of gender, age and economic status, the most affected groups included people living in poverty, youth, children, elderly people, people with disabilities, female-headed households, and households in exposed landscapes.

Workshop participants identified vulnerability factors such as climatic, biophysical, social, economic and institutional factors. Perceived vulnerability factors included the destruction and/or reclamation of water catchments, massive tree cutting for wood products, poor farming techniques, and human activity on steep slopes.

Adaptation methods to manage climate risks

Participants also mapped current adaptation options to manage climate risks and diminish vulnerability. Stakeholders identified value chain-specific on-going and new potential adaptation options to specific risks. Local adaptation and coping strategies included: planting crops like cassava that are not affected by strong winds, applying fertilizers at all stages of production, spraying with pesticides, terracing and purchasing improved seeds. They also added applying fungicides to preserve stored beans and reducing number of meals consumed by households.

The workshop was divided into various sessions. Key activities included the validation of priority value chain commodities and socioeconomic context, the validation of historic climate and future projected changes in climate and related agriculture impacts, as well as the identification of risks and underlying vulnerability factors in each of the four priority value chain commodities, and the assessment of district-level organization capacity to deliver adaptation programs.

The stakeholder validation workshop is one of the activities employed in the climate risk profiling approach developed by CIAT to support the World Bank Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture project. The climate risk profiling employed data collection methods involving literature review, district statistics, development plans, climate analysis, key informant interviews and focus group discussions with district experts and farmer representatives from Lukhonge and Bungokho Mutoto sub-counties of Mbale district.

The evidence generated will be used not only to develop the Mbale district climate risk and nutrition profile, but also for engagement through the climate change and nutrition learning alliance.

Isabelle Baltenweck: an agricultural economist passionate about making the world a better place for women and men in livestock

1 month 2 weeks ago
The CGIAR Research Program on Livestock recently announced with pleasure the appointment of Dr. Isabelle Baltenweck as its new flagship leader for Livestock, Livelihoods and Agro-food Systems (LLAFS). Originally from France, Isabelle brings to the role close to 20 years of post-doctoral experience in smallholder value chains in Africa, South and South-East Asia, with a … Continue reading →

Climate-Smart Agricultural Value Chains: Risks and Perspectives

2 months 3 weeks ago
Climate-Smart Agricultural Value Chains: Risks and Perspectives Mwongera, Caroline; Nowak, Andreea; Notenbaert, An Maria Omer; Grey, Sebastian; Osiemi, Jamleck; Kinyua, Ivy; Lizarazo, Miguel; Gilvetz, Evan Extreme weather is causing significant problems for smallholder farmers and others who depend on agricultural value chains in developing countries. Although value-chain analysis can help untangle the complex relationships within agricultural systems, it often has failed to take into account the effects of climate change. Climate-change assessments, meanwhile, often focus on the production node while neglecting other components of the value chain. In response to these shortcomings, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), in collaboration with the Government of Kenya, developed the climate risk profiles (CRP) approach. Using a case study from Nyandarua County in Kenya, we illustrate how this approach (i) supports identification of major climate risks and their impacts on the value chain, (ii) identifies adaptation interventions, and (iii) promotes the mainstreaming of climate-change considerations into development planning at the subnational level. Our results show that the magnitude of a climate risk varies across value chains. At the input and production stage, strategies for supporting climate-smart value chains include the following: improving access to input markets, supporting diversification and value addition, provision of climate-smart production technologies, dissemination of climate information services, and making financial and insurance services available. At the harvesting, processing and marketing stages, useful interventions would include strengthening farmer organization, investing in climate-proofed infrastructure including roads and facilities for storage, processing and improving access to output markets. Finally, climate-change adaptation along the value chain would be improved by strengthening existing institutions, exploring public-private partnerships and adopting coherent local policies.

Top of the tree: FTA in 2018

3 months 1 week ago
The year 2018 saw the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA) chalk up some notable achievements in the worlds of sustainable development, food security and addressing climate change. A number of the program’s research findings reverberated throughout the scientific community, impacting discussions at major events and informing work on the ground. Read on to find out which […]

New project will develop aquaculture knowledge and practical skills of students and fish farmers in Zambia

3 months 1 week ago
Posted onDec 17, 2018

WorldFish and its partners have launched a major new project in Zambia. The Aquaculture Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training for Improved Private Sector and Smallholder Skills project aims to increase the human resources in the private sector and the number of smallholder commercial fish farmers with enhanced aquaculture knowledge and up-to-date practical skills.

Zambia has a high rate of unemployment. There are noticeable disparities between men and women in the labor force, especially a lack of women formally working in the fisheries sector who have received fisheries skills training. In addition, the current technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship training (TEVET) system faces challenges, including developing skills that are relevant to the employment market, particularly the private sector. 

Moreover, there are poor linkages between the private sector and smallholder fish farmers, affecting their ability to organize for improved input supply, aggregation and sale of their outputs as well as their greater participation in other aquaculture value chain activities.

Enhancing technical education

The new USD 2.5 million, 3.5-year project is funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. It will be implemented by WorldFish through FISH, in partnership withthe Natural Resources Development College(NRDC), Musika and BluePlanet. It will be carried out in the Zambian capital Lusaka and the Northern and Luapula provinces. 

The project has two components:

  • upgrading the fisheries science curriculum (long- and short-term courses) and training tools, and developing an online training platform and internship program at NRDC with links to other TEVET institutions to scale the upgraded training ‘package’ over the course of the project;
  • enhancing the technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship skills of rural women, men and youth smallholder commercial fish farmers and increasing their linkages to input/output markets and entrepreneurship opportunities via private sector extension support and services delivery.

The project will also contribute to the goals of several government and global initiatives. Among them are the Zambia 7thNational Development Plan, the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project and the UNESCO Strategy for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (2016–2021).

Private sector commitment

The project was launched on 9 November 2018 at NRDC. The launch was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, University of Zambia, Copperbelt University and the German Corporation for International cooperation (GIZ).

Cecilia Kamanga, Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, noted the importance of the fisheries sector to Zambia’s economic development, income generation and contribution to food and nutrition security. 

“I have no doubts that the project being been launched today will complement the vision of the Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project, which was launched by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu in October 2017 and aims at promoting fish production through aquaculture,” she said.

“Aquaculture knowledge and updated practical skills will help to sustainably grow the sector,” added Dr. Sloans Chimatiro, Country Director Zambia and Tanzania, WorldFish. “Our efforts will focus on youth and women, positively impacting their meaningful integration into the aquaculture value chain once they graduate from NRDC and other institutions to which the upgraded curriculum will be scaled.”

The presence of a number of private companies at the launch, including Yalelo, Skretting, Novatek and Great Lake Products, underlined the commitment of the private sector to supporting the project and to the equitable growth of aquaculture more broadly. 

Topics

Standing tall: Bamboo from restoration to economic development

3 months 2 weeks ago
Can grass be used to make tissues, furniture, pipes and even housing? Can it help to improve livelihoods and to mitigate climate change? Think beyond garden lawns and savannah landscapes, to bamboo. “Bamboos, although they look like trees,” said the International Bamboo and Rattan Organisation’s (INBAR) Director General Hans Friederich in opening a recent side event at the Global Landscapes […]

Workshop on social and gender dynamics aims to improve resilience and livelihoods in Ghana

3 months 2 weeks ago
Raising awareness of gender equity and equality is critical for Africa’s future, with workshops like one held recently in Ghana an important contribution. Almost two dozen representatives from Ghanaian development agencies working in partnership with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in northern Ghana gathered in the city of Bolgatanga on Nov. 13, 2018 for a training workshop titled Social and […]
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