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Ethiopia's Rural Financial Intermediation Programme (RUFIP) supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), enabled more than 3 million poor rural households to get out of poverty by accessing financial services. Now in its second phase, RUFIP-II programme aims to scale up delivery of financial services at national level to reach almost 7 million households by 2019.

The overall objective of the programme is to provide poor rural people with sustainable access to a range of financial services through a nationwide network of some 30 Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and about 5,500 rural savings and credit cooperatives (RUSACCOs) as well as 100 unions of RUSACCOs. It is supporting these rural financial institutions by developing their institutional capacity to manage credit funds and increasing their professional skills to deliver tailored financial services to their community members. It  is also helping to improve the policy environment as well as  introducing new regulatory and supervisory parameters.

Written by Emily Nink

Originally posted here.

2014 was the hottest year on record, according to both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Rainfall in crucial agricultural zones is diminishing, and small farmers are facing desertification of farmland due to climate change. Everyone must play a role in helping small farmers adapt to climate change, and chefs are uniquely positioned to partner with the farmers who grow the ingredients for their meals. Recipes for Change, a campaign of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), features ingredients that are under threat from climatic changes.

The campaign focuses on traditional crops and dishes that are under threat from global climate change. Regional celebrity chefs travel to rural areas to work with small farmers and to cook traditional meals with local farmers. A series of videos features stories and recipes from rural communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and also features celebrity chefs from those regions. IFAD, a specialized agency of the United Nations, has partnered with the Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS) to produce the videos.

The project notes that one in three people are dependent on smallholder farms for food security. Furthermore, small farmers often produce food on marginal land and face reduced yields and incomes due to climate change. Therefore, adaptation to climate change is of vital importance to small farmers and rural communities.

Videos include recipes for sweet and sour catfish soup from Vietnam, bananas with beans and split green peas from Rwanda, and Chairo soup from Bolivia. Other recipes, such as Poulet Yassa from Senegal and Guatemalan rice and beans, are also available; the online recipes explain both regional climate risks and IFAD solutions to problems faced by smallholder farmers.

In celebration of World Environment Day 2015, Italian celebrity chef Carlo Cracco visited Moroccan farmer Fatima Abed to create a recipe for lamb tagine with Moroccan truffles. Abed is facing desertification and land degradation due to climatic changes. “Coming here is a humbling experience because if you let it, the desert will advance,” said Cracco. “We must help those people who work to recuperate the land, so that there is a change in the way we fight the battle of climate change.”

Leading up to the Conference of the Parties (COP21) in December of 2015, IFAD will intensify the campaign in hopes of contributing to a worldwide call for an ambitious global deal on climate change. Many other organizations are showing support and solidarity for small farmers adapting to climate change by organizing actions and campaigns worldwide.

Recipes For Change grew out of IFAD’s existing work with small farmers and adaptation to climate change. IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) channels climate finance to small farmers to build resilience in the face of climate risks. Working in more than 30 developing countries, ASAP is now the largest global financing source related to adaptation to climate change.

Join the community and discuss ingredients and issues with other changemakers! Follow Recipes for Change on Twitter and Instagram: #RecipesForChange

Community radio reaching out to small scale farmers in Mozambique

Posted by Christopher Neglia Wednesday, August 12, 2015 0 comments

Local radio stations can be a powerful means of communication, particularly to smallholder farmers located in remote rural places. When listening to the radio, they feel connected to the rest of the world and become better informed. In northern Mozambique, the Programme for the Promotion of Rural Markets (Programa de Promoçao de Mercados Rurais-PROMER), supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of Mozambique, is using community radio stations as a creative way to disseminate market price and product information. Timely and reliable information on market prices, quantities available and transport costs is crucial for these farmers to sell at a better price.

Currently, PROMER is broadcasting through 10 community radio stations based in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Nampula, Niassa and Zambezia where the programme is being implemented. Most of these radio stations already existed as part of a government’s plan to reach out to the remote rural areas of northern Mozambique. PROMER identified them as a good channel to communicate prices to farmers. A local market bulletin, which include prices for the main markets and availability of produce in the Farmers Asociations supported by the programme, is broadcast several times per week.

Participants of the Local Champions Exhibition are welcomed to  the Healthy Spirit (Mongkol) Communicty Learning Center in Takeo Province on the second day.  The  special Field training offered first-hand experience with highly successful group of Local Champions.  Their training aim to strengthen the know-how of participants on local knowledge management and on scaling up local solutions.

Visitors participated in one of the following training modules: Production and use of Effective Microorganism (EM), Organic washing liquids, Compost processing, organic pesticides, Rice parachuting and natural hormones.

The first Asia-Pacific Local Champions Exhibition opened today at the Royal University of Agriculture of Phnom Penh. The three-day event receives more than a hundred guests from eight countries, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Tonga and Vietnam. The event is a unique opportunity to build personal contacts with outstanding rural women and men, promoting innovations in sustainable rural and agricultural development, with special focus on the involvement of rural youth.

Local champions and members of the public and private sectors showcases products, knowledge and innovations, best practices and technologies in 18 Innovation Shops.

In the afternoon, public-private Roundtables provide space to identify concrete collaboration opportunities between local champions, rural youth and other development practitioners.

Asia Pacific - Procasur supervision and steering committee

Posted by Benoit THIERRY Tuesday, August 11, 2015 0 comments

Asia-Pacific Local Champions Exhibition (10-12 August, Cambodia)

The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry of Cambodia, the International Fund for Agriculture Development and PROCASUR are pleased to invite you to the first Asia-Pacific Local Champions Exhibition, bringing together local champions with the public sector, universities, NGOs and cooperation agencies. This groundbreaking event will be a unique opportunity to build personal contacts with outstanding rural women and men, promoting innovations in sustainable rural and agricultural development, with special focus on the involvement of rural youth.

The three-day gathering combines smart networking and learning tools within an interactive framework: Local champions will invite you to visit their Innovation Shops, sales booths to share and explain solutions, best practices and technologies born from endurance; public-private Roundtables will provide space to identify concrete collaboration opportunities between local champions and other rural development practitioners; and a Field training will strengthen the know-how of participants on local knowledge management and on scaling up local solutions.

The event is open to all kinds of rural development practitioners, including local champions, project directors, knowledge management professionals, civil society and cooperation leaders, and it focuses on four critical areas:

  1. Natural resources management and climate change;
  2. Rural groups for economic and social development: cooperatives, associations, SHGs, enterprises,    indigenous communities;
  3. Agriculture and market: high-value products, organic agriculture, non-farm based businesses
  4. Local knowledge enterprises: community learning centers, farmer field schools, learning routes.

If you are interested in attending, please register with PROCASUR before the 15th of July. Your delegation may be partially supported with our limited funds, including international tickets, accommodation, meals and local transportation.

For further information download the Exhibition Booklet and visit www.asia.procasur.org

Flowers and Food Security

Posted by Jessica Thomas Thursday, August 6, 2015 0 comments

Do you know what the national flower of Hawaii, Haiti, Malaysia and South Korea is?

The delicious tea made from its flowers can lower blood pressure and cholesterol, boost the immune system and help weight loss. In some countries it's used as a vegetable and as a natural food coloring and is used to make paper. Wearing it can also denote if a woman is married or single.

© Lavanya Kurup

These are all the various uses of the beautiful and highly versatile hibiscus, which is also one of the crops that is part of the IFAD-supported Agricultural Value Chains Support Project in Senegal. The project, together with  farmers’ organizations, put in place a financing scheme for agricultural inputs such as certified seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and small tools, farmers also have access to extension services. This has allowed, crop yields to significantly increase in project areas.

For example, in the last five years, hibiscus yield increased from 200 kilograms per hectare to the current 650 kilograms per hectare. This is an impressive 225% increase! As a result, smallholder farmers have been able to produce enough for their own consumption, as well as for sale on the open market. A number of international tea/herbal companies have expressed interest in the crop which illustrates its potential on a number of fronts.

One of the main reasons for the success of the Agricultural Value Chains Support Project is  the Market Operators contractual arrangement which has created the necessary  linkages between farmers' organizations and market operators. This arrangement has helped to integrate farmers into the value chain allowing them  to deliver valuable and high quality products and services to the market across the entire value chain, starting with cultivating, processing, packaging.

The project has set up four value chain fora  for hibiscus, millet/sorghum, cowpea and sesame. The fora are a platform where every value chain actor (producer, transporter, input provider, trader, processor, banker, etc.)  can meet, share information, plan together activities, and mediate among actors (i.e. between producers and buyers).

The project has had a significant impact on the local economy and has helped to reduce food insecurity, increase incomes and create jobs, especially for women and young people.

By: Karan Sehgal, Renewable Energy Technologies Portfolio Officer

I recently returned from a workshop in Florence where participants including academics, scientists and development practitioners discussed biomass conversion technologies and how these can contribute to decarbonising economies. 

The project BIOSYNG is supported by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MIPAAF). Spearheaded by students from the RE-CORD (a non-profit research institute associated with the Università di Firenze), the project has set-up a non-commercial gasification capable of producing approximately 500 cubic metres of gas per hour, from the gasification of lignocellulose biomass.

Methane is a crucial and key solution to curbing overall Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions – the key is to promote a bottom-up approach by reducing net emissions of small-medium enterprises. 

The goal by 2020 is to capitalize on the experimental projects regarding the different applications of biogas in Florence. Addressing the technical aspects and those related to a lack of supporting market infrastructure we can embrace the broader issues on the need for a regulatory and policy framework in a perspective closely related to biomethane.

For example, harnessing the CO2 derived from methanation (process that transforms biogas into biomethane through thermochemical processes) and from alcohol production (i.e. beer industry). The international objective is to reduce the carbon footprint of the transport and industry sectors through reduction of GHG emissions by harnessing the CO2 which would otherwise escape into the atmosphere.

Vision for the future: by 2030, the European biogas industry will produce as much ''green gas'' as ''green electricity'' by using the natural gas distribution network[1] to be used for generating electricity, heating and cooling and as a fuel for vehicular application.

[1] Once biogas is upgraded it has the same properties as natural gas and therefore can be fed directly into the natural gas grid.

IFAD’s President and DR Congo’s President of the
Chamber of Deputies, Aubin Minaku - ©IFAD/D.Paqui
IFAD has supported rural development initiatives in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) since 1980, although civil conflict interrupted its operations there for more than a decade. From 1980 to 1991, and from 2004 to the present, 476,000 households have benefited from seven IFAD-funded programmes with a total cost of US$263.6 million. In DR Congo aims to reduce food insecurity by contributing to economic development – including the creation of income opportunities for rural women and young people in agriculture and related employment. At the moment two IFAD-financed projects are on-going in DR Congo, whereas one is in the final stage of design (PASA-NK). 

IFAD’s President and DR Congo’s Minister of Agricuture,
Livestock and Fishery, Isidore Kabwe Mwehu Longo - ©IFAD/D.Paqui
From 16 to 20 July 2015, IFAD’s President, Mr. Nwanze, visited DR Congo. The President met with the representatives of the Government, the Parliament and farmers’ organisations. Mr. Nwanze and his interlocutors recognized the importance of family farming in reducing poverty and improving global food security in DR Congo. Strong links to markets for poor rural producers are essential to increasing agricultural production, generating economic growth in rural areas and reducing hunger and poverty. Improving these links creates a virtuous circle by boosting productivity, increasing incomes and strengthening food security. The President stressed the importance of working with poor rural women and men to help them access value chains that offer opportunities for them as producers, non-farm entrepreneurs and wage workers and  supporting them in capturing a larger share of the value added along the chain.
Vegetable garden in Wungu (Madimba) - ©IFAD/D.Paqui

Mr. Nwanze highlighted the need to reform the agricultural sector in DR Congo to capitalize on DR Congo’s rich potential. This reform requires leadership, governance and accountability. In a country where food is still a challenge for most citizens, agriculture employs 64% of the working population. The president therefore stressed that agriculture must play the leading role in the development of this country, because no other sector can provide as much manpower today. 

IFAD President, Kanayo Nwanze with Julienne Mankéla,
successful farmer in Wungu (Madimba) - ©IFAD/D.Paqui
After the meetings in Kinshasa, the President travelled to the implementation area of the Kinshasa Food Supply Centres Support Programme (PAPAKIN). The programme aims to improve the productivity and incomes of smallholder farmers in the western part of DR Congo. It is being implemented in the peri-urban area of Kinshasa and 14 targeted sectors of Kwilu district in Bandundu Province. Specifically, the goal of PAPAKIN is to expand the production of vegetable gardens and staple food crops, as well as their supply to urban markets. The programme supports community-based producers' organizations, helping them improve their management and provide their members with technical services for the production, processing and marketing of cassava, grain legume, Tenera palm and garden vegetables. All of these crops have strong potential in terms of both improving productivity and taking advantage of market opportunities.