Value chains Value chains Respective post owners and feed distributors Tue, 27 Nov 2018 14:34:38 +0000 Feed Informer How does the COVID-19 crisis affect Colombia’s livestock systems? CGIAR Climate Blog urn:uuid:fd5f3d86-a5b8-1e0e-d261-c1beca99daf8 Fri, 03 Jul 2020 00:00:00 +0000 <aside> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Read the working paper<a href="" target="_blank">: </a></strong><a href="" style="font-weight: 700; text-align: center;" target="_blank">COVID-19 and the bovine livestock sector in Colombia: Current and potential developments, </a><a href="" style="font-family: inherit; font-weight: 700;" target="_blank">impacts and </a><a href="" style="font-family: inherit; font-weight: 700;" target="_blank">mitigation options</a><span style="font-family: inherit; font-weight: 700;"> </span></p> <p style="font-family: "Open Sans", "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; text-align: center;"><span style="font-weight: 700; line-height: inherit;"><span style="font-family: inherit;">(</span><a href="" style="font-family: inherit;" target="_blank">Spanish version</a>)</span></p> </aside> <p><span style="font-family: inherit;">By now, everybody is aware of the sweeping negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on many sectors of the economy. The beef and dairy (B&D) industry have not been spared. It has not been possible to accurately measure the magnitude of these impacts, whether positive or negative.</span></p> <p>A recently published working paper by researchers from the Alliance of <a href="" target="_blank">Bioversity International </a>and <a href="" target="_blank">CIAT</a> addresses this challenge comprehensively, assessing current and potential impacts of the crisis on the B&D value chain in Colombia.</p> <p>The ongoing crisis will likely cause significant changes in our food systems, which includes a greater response to new demands from consumers, who will be increasingly concerned with where their food comes from, its quality, sustainability and the well-being of animals. Once the crisis eases, more investments will be made to improve value chains, so they are better equipped to respond to new demands.</p> <h4><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/resize/images/CIAT-600x400.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;" width="600" height="400" /></h4> <p><em>A cattle farmer in Patía, Cauca, in the southwestern region of Colombia, where 200 producers have benefited from the work carried out by CIAT's tropical fodder team, the University of Cauca and the Government of Cauca. Photo: (<a href="" target="_blank">CIAT</a></em><em>)</em></p> <h4>Not all bad news for the beef value chain</h4> <p>This study focuses not only on primary production, but on the entire value chain, including direct and indirect actors, and of course, consumers. It also provides specific concepts on the impacts at each link in the chain. It also addresses positive trends, some of which may help producers and input providers to cope with the crisis and even strengthen areas that demanded attention before the current situation.</p> <p>Also addressed in this paper are trends in beef and dairy consumption during and after the pandemic, their possible substitutes, and opportunities to advance the safety and sustainability of bovine livestock production. Trends in consumer behavior, such as how they purchase these products, and how their preferences will be oriented towards better food security, traceability, animal welfare and sustainability, were also examined. An analysis was conducted on variations in prices both nationally and globally.</p> <p>The dollar exchange rate's behavior, an external factor, but directly associated with the pandemic crisis, is addressed in this document. This is due largely to its impact on the trade balance of bovine products and agricultural inputs such as seeds, vaccines, concentrates, supplements, machinery, and others. The study suggests that, once the crisis is over, there could be an opportunity for Colombia to open new export markets for B&D products.</p> <p>Bovine livestock value chains are made of many links, the impacts of which were reviewed in detail, especially in the supply of inputs, labor, access to credit, technical assistance and vaccination cycles. Transportation and processing of both meat and milk in the main producing regions were other links examined by the authors. However, crosscutting aspects, such as agricultural research, platforms, and communication across levels are subject to analysis, and how virtuality and digitization will play a key role.</p> <h4>Inclusion gains rolled back</h4> <p>Livestock activity is not exempt from disruptions in the dynamics of gender, youth and minorities in the rural sector. Advances made towards more inclusion and gender equality in livestock farming are in jeopardy. For instance, gender is a structurally fragile issue, with historical labor divisions based mainly on gender identity. The emerging presence of armed actors in rural areas of the country is putting gains made towards gender equality at risk.</p> <p>The working paper draws attention to rural education, stressing the need to promote better connectivity across the country. It would seem that authorities are accelerating rural connectivity plans and emergency alternatives to continue providing some degree of equality to the always-urgent need for better access to education in rural areas.</p> <h4>Sustainability could have greater attention</h4> <p>Before the pandemic, sustainable intensification was one of the most critical debates in the livestock sector in the country and globally, responding to the need to meet the growing demand for food sustainably. The crisis has affected the continuity of these efforts. Still, sustainability will be an even greater priority when this pandemic is over, requiring mitigation strategies to avoid further setbacks.</p> <p>A matrix summarizes the main impacts of the crisis in the short (during the crisis), medium and long term, and proposes mitigation options for each impact by sector. While much remains to be investigated, adopting rapid mitigation actions could prevent further losses, even when combined with the risk of increasing threats, such as the challenges posed by climate change.</p> <p>Although this study focuses on Colombia, using mainly local sources, the results, impacts and possible mitigation strategies are relevant to other countries with similar practices and current state of the livestock sector; and, more importantly, the mitigation strategies that could be applied. Now is the time to act.</p> <p><i>This blog originally appeared on the <a href="">CGIAR Research Program on Livestock</a> and <a href="">CIAT (Spanish) </a>website. </i></p> <h4>Read more:</h4> <ul> <li>Blog: <a href="" target="_blank">What can COVID-19 teach us about responding to climate change?</a></li> <li>Blog: <a href="" target="_blank">Strengthening climate services for agriculture in Latin America</a></li> <li>Journal article<a href="" target="_blank">:</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Ambition Meets Reality: Achieving GHG Emission Reduction Targets in the Livestock Sector of Latin America</a></li> <li>Working paper<a href="" target="_blank">: </a><a href="" target="_blank">Quantification of climate change mitigation benefits from expansion of silvopastoral systems: An analytical proof of concept for Colombia</a></li> <li>Report<a href="" target="_blank">: </a><a href="" target="_blank">Climate Services for Resilient Development (CSRD) Partnership’s work in Latin America </a></li> </ul><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Does the smallholder farmer have access to quality inputs? Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals urn:uuid:e74cf7ba-e10d-fb4b-4779-00b20f3a4de0 Mon, 22 Jun 2020 12:37:59 +0000 <p>With the onset of kharif (monsoon) in the southern states of India, the majority of farmers have started procurement of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. Amidst COVID-19 induced disruptions in input production and distribution, the state governments are making efforts to ensure timely distribution of inputs to farmers. Based on recent field survey [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Does the smallholder farmer have access to quality inputs?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals</a>.</p> <p><em>With the onset of kharif (monsoon) in the southern states of India, the majority of farmers have started procurement of inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. Amidst COVID-19 induced disruptions in input production and distribution, the state governments are making efforts to ensure timely distribution of inputs to farmers. Based on </em><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em>recent field survey in Warangal rural district</em></a><em> emerging issues around inputs are discussed with some solutions including make input products traceable, changes to India’s APMC and ECA acts and better monitoring of input value chain, among others.</em></p> <p>During the last Kharif season, a smallholder farmer from rural Warangal purchased Maize seeds from a local inputs shop. The dealers’ terms were that, with a receipt the seed would cost Rs.1500, but without a receipt the cost would fall to Rs.1400/-. Thinking that the receipt would be of no use to him, the farmer chose to pay Rs.1400. To his utter dismay, only around 20% of the seeds germinated. Upon reading the cover of the seed pocket, to his shock, he noticed that the seeds were for demonstration purposes and had expired three months ago. He took the empty pack back to the input shop and demanded compensation for loss of crop for that season. But without a receipt as proof of purchase, the farmer was powerless to obtain compensation. He was furious.</p> <p>There are several such anecdotal pieces of evidences of substandard or fake agricultural inputs, but there is hardly any empirical proof of the magnitude of the issue. Through focused group discussions (FGDs) in three villages in Warangal, a rural district of Telangana state, we sought to obtain such evidence.</p> <p>“Every year new kind of pest and diseases are attacking our crops, at the same time soil health is also gradually declining. To manage pests and diseases, we have to spray frequently and apply more fertilizers leading to high cost. But, [the] insecticides and fertilizers we get are very expensive and many times are substandard or fake. Whom should we blame for this?” asks a female farmer from Neerukulla village.</p> <p>Farmers told us that every cropping season there is a dilemma in the village over whether they should buy inputs from a local shop or the nearby town or city. Most farmers, particularly small and marginal farmers, buy the inputs they need – seeds, fertilizers or pesticides – using credit. The majority of the farmers we spoke with, emphasized that close to fifty percent of their total crop production cost goes for inputs. So, the quality of these inputs is very important.</p> <p>To ensure quality inputs, farmers can opt to buy from a retailer in the nearby town. However, they may not be able to obtain inputs on credit without a reference from the market intermediary. Those retailers who do provide inputs on credit to farmers then charge 2-3 percent interest rate per month till the harvest. There is also a requirement to sell the produce through the same trader (though there is no formal agreement). These restrictions and higher costs on purchases in the city, coupled with a one-day wage loss and transport costs for travel to the city (and delivery in the case of fertilizers), force most of the farmers to buy inputs from local (un) authorized village shops.</p> <p>In the absence of insurance, if the crops fail, perhaps due to poor quality inputs, or for any other reason, farmers then get into a vicious circle of debt. One farmer told us:</p> <p>“If inputs are substandard or fake, we have to go through a minimum of two years of suffering due to debt. Therefore, in addition to the good monsoon, the quality of inputs we buy decides our farm income season after season.”</p> <p>Farmers also indicated that they trust inputs, particularly seeds and fertilizers, supplied through the notified state government agencies in subsidized rates. The distribution is made every year through an online Subsidy Seed Distribution System (OSSDM) in Telangana State. However, the supply is very limited, with only a few field crops and chemical fertilizers supplied.</p> <p>“The government should take action on substandard inputs distributors and traders. By using such substandard inputs, we are incurring losses in agriculture. We expect that the Government should supply good quality of inputs at a reasonable price within our vicinity.”</p> <p>For remunerative agriculture, quality, availability, accessibility and affordability of inputs is crucial. Quality inputs are essential for improving productivity and, in turn, incomes. This would make a positive impact through inclusive agricultural and rural development in developing countries like India where the majority of the farmers are small and marginal.</p> <p><strong>Potential interventions to improve the current situation</strong></p> <p><strong>Capacity building of smallholder farmers</strong></p> <p>Information asymmetry is evident among the small and marginal farmers. There is a gap in the skills and knowledge needed to check the quality of inputs, which may result in low productivity. Therefore, strengthening the capacity of farmers about inputs use and quality standards (package and expiry dates, per cent germination and other quality parameters), is critical.</p> <p><strong>Strengthening public-private partnership</strong></p> <p>Currently, there are fewer public extension officers advising farmers than required, yet there are around 2.82 lakhs (282,000) active private agri-input dealers across the country. There is therefore huge potential for a public-private partnership where private agri-input dealers could become extension service providers and provide defined services in association with public agriculture extension officers. Each agri-input dealer, under the supervision of a public extension officer, would then serve a prescribed minimum number of farmers, thereby increasing the support available to farmers in their service area.</p> <p><strong>Strengthening farmer collectives</strong></p> <p>Smallholder farmer’s collective action can create economies of scale to facilitate quality input procurement, extension services, and better bargaining power through setting up collective marketing such as Farmer Producer Organizations or Farmer Producer Companies.</p> <p><strong>Better vigilance over the input value chain</strong></p> <p>Insights from the farmers we spoke with suggest a critical need for better regulatory mechanisms which focus on identifying and rooting out sub-standard agricultural inputs supplied by local retailers. Standards must be enforced whilst making sure affordable quality inputs are available to smallholder farmers at their farm gate.</p> <p><strong>Traceability of products</strong></p> <p>Every packet of inputs that farmers purchase should be traceable, providing details about where it is tested and its efficacy, as well as reviews by other farmers. Essential information about good practices for how to use the product, contact details of local extension officers and GPS details would also be beneficial and provide traceability along the value chain.</p> <p><strong>Reforms to the agricultural market system in response to COVID-19</strong></p> <p>Major reforms to the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) and Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act implemented in response to the current COVID-19 pandemic can go a long way in building efficient value chains and ensuring better returns to farmers. These reforms provide great opportunities for market prices to prevail, which would allow farmers to sell their produce across India and stimulate competition among private companies. At this juncture, the government could make a real difference to farmers by ensuring appropriate models that bring convergence among all value chain actors and in so doing provide quality inputs at affordable prices to make farming more sustainable and competitive.</p> <p><em><strong>About the authors:</strong></em></p> <p><strong>Dr Ravi Nandi, </strong>Associate Scientist (Agricultural Economics)<br /> Innovation Systems for the Drylands Program, ICRISAT</p> <p><strong>Dr S Nedumaran</strong>, Senior Scientist – Economics<br /> Markets, Institutions, Nutrition &amp; Diversity,<br /> Innovation Systems for the Drylands Program, ICRISAT</p> <p><strong>Project: </strong>Transforming India’s Green Revolution by Research and Empowerment for Sustainable food Supplies (TIGR2ESS)</p> <p><strong>Funder: </strong>Global Challenges Research Fund, UK.</p> <p><strong>Partners (In UK and India): </strong>University of Cambridge; University of East Anglia; Rothamsted Research; National Institute of Agricultural Botany; Department of Biotechnology, (Govt. of India); Punjab Agricultural University, MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, National Institute of Plant Genome Research, ICRISAT and others.</p> <p><strong>CGIAR Research Program</strong>: Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC)</p> <p>This work contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal.<br /> <img src="" alt="1-no-poverty" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="2-zero-hunger" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="good-health" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="4-gender-equality" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="7-decent-work" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="9-reduced-inequalities" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="12-responisible-consumtion" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="17-partnerships-goals" width="100" height="103" /></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Does the smallholder farmer have access to quality inputs?</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals</a>.</p> Government and research bodies expand seeds support to over 10,000 Nigerian smallholders to shield agriculture from COVID-19 Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals urn:uuid:8a0e6ab4-219e-ccee-dab3-44a52a719888 Mon, 22 Jun 2020 12:35:27 +0000 <p>Farmers in 13 states of Nigeria will receive improved seeds of sorghum, pearl millet, cowpea and rice as a part of an initiative to cushion the pandemic’s impact on food... </p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Government and research bodies expand seeds support to over 10,000 Nigerian smallholders to shield agriculture from COVID-19</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals</a>.</p> <p>Farmers in 13 states of Nigeria will receive improved seeds of sorghum, pearl millet, cowpea and rice as a part of an initiative to cushion the pandemic’s impact on food systems. A host of agricultural research institutes, led by ICRISAT, and the Nigerian government recently launched the seed support initiative.</p> <p>Flagging-off the initiative on 29 May in Kano, Alhadji Sabo Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria, said, “The pandemic may very likely precipitate a food crises by disrupting our food production systems, thereby posing a great threat to farmers’ livelihoods as well as national food and nutritional security.”</p> <p>The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) estimates that COVID-19 pandemic risks food insecurity and nutrition of 50 million people between June and August 2020. The pandemic adds to other threats including climate change and recurrent drought, Fall armyworm (FAW) and locust infestations in West Africa.</p> <p>“In Nigeria, it becomes more important to provide support to production systems across value chains towards mitigating the impact of this pandemic,” the minister added.</p> <p>The states were selected based on the importance of sorghum and millet as food crops and access of partners to needy smallholder farmers</p> <p>Nigeria had initiated an early coordinated response to minimize impact, Minister Nanono said. He explained that Joint Technical Task Teams (JTTT) at national and state levels developed strategies to facilitate free movement of food and agricultural inputs exempted from lockdown.</p> <p>“The government is also planning ahead with research institutions to produce breeder and foundation seeds for production of high yielding seeds for 2020 wet and dry season as well as 2021 rainy season,” the minister said.</p> <p>Dr Hakeem Ajeigbe, ICRISAT’s Country Representative for Nigeria, said, “The seeds are being provided as a palliative to reduce the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on smallholder farming households and agricultural activities in Nigeria.”</p> <p>Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and Centre for Dryland Agriculture at the Bayero University Kano (CDA-BUK) joined hands with ICRISAT and Syngenta Foundation for the initiative, which will also draw support from the Technology for Africa Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) of the African Development Bank, Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement for Sorghum and Millets (HOPE II), Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa (AVISA) and Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program (ATASP-1) projects.</p> <p><strong>CGIAR Research Program</strong>: Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC)</p> <p>This work contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal.<br /> <img src="" alt="1-no-poverty" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="2-zero-hunger" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="7-decent-work" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="17-partnerships-goals" width="100" height="103" /></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Government and research bodies expand seeds support to over 10,000 Nigerian smallholders to shield agriculture from COVID-19</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals</a>.</p> Strengthening the capacity of agriculture in Rwanda to adapt to a variable and changing climate CGIAR Climate Blog urn:uuid:dc80c754-68d4-5b72-aea7-575dfaa7a8be Fri, 19 Jun 2020 00:00:00 +0000 <p>Driven in large part by its agriculture sector, Rwanda’s recent economic growth has doubled per capita GDP between 2007 and 2018, and greatly reduced poverty and child mortality. Along with its fragile natural environment and the highest population density in sub-Saharan Africa, the risk imposed by a variable and changing climate works against efforts to improve Rwanda’s agricultural economy and the livelihoods of its 2.1 million smallholder farm households.</p> <p>Climate <span style="font-family: inherit;">services that help farmers and other decision-makers de-risk agricultural livelihoods and value chains</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif;">—</span><span style="font-family: inherit;">one of the four priority action areas identified by the </span><a href="" style="font-family: inherit;">Transforming Food Systems Under a Changing Climate</a><span style="font-family: inherit;"> initiative of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in a flagship report due out June 25th</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif;">—</span><span style="font-family: inherit;">is the focus of recent efforts in Rwanda supported by the US and UK governments, and coordinated by CCAFS through the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (</span><a href="" style="font-family: inherit;">CIAT</a><span style="font-family: inherit;">) Rwanda office.</span></p> <p><span style="color: rgb(65, 106, 48); font-size: 18px;">US and UK invest in Rwanda’s climate service capacity</span></p> <p>The "Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture” project was launched on World Meteorological Day in March 2016, to develop climate services for farmers and institutional decision makers across the country’s agriculture sector, and to strengthen the capacity of the national meteorological service, <a href="">Meteo Rwanda</a>, to provide information that enables them to anticipate and manage climate-related risks. This initiative, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (<a href="">USAID</a>) and led by CCAFS, is a partnership of CIAT, Meteo Rwanda, Rwanda Agricultural Board (<a href="">RAB</a>), International Research Institute for Climate and Society (<a href="">IRI</a>), <a href="">University of Reading</a> and <a href="">World Agroforestry Centre</a>.</p> <p>Then in 2018, the Weather and Climate Information Services for Africa (<a href="">WISER</a>) programme, funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development (<a href="">DFID</a>) and managed by the <a href="">Met Office</a> (the UK’s national meteorological service), launched a project in Rwanda designed to enhance and scale up the co-production of climate services for improved climate risk management and to deliver an impact-based early warning system. This partnership between CIAT, the Met Office, IRI and Meteo Rwanda aims to enhance and scale up the co-production of climate services and impact-based early warning for improved climate-risk management in Rwanda.</p> <p>The synergies between these complementary efforts are preparing a legacy of effective climate services and climate risk management. For example, the USAID initiative developed processes to bring climate services to farmers, while the WISER initiative developed mechanisms to bring farmers’ feedback back to the service providers. The USAID project has a strong focus on making climate services work for the country’s farmers, but recognized a gap in the use of climate services by local government for agricultural planning<span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif;">—</span><span style="font-family: inherit;">a gap that the WISER project was able to target. The complementary efforts supported Meteo Rwanda to develop a range of information products</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif;">—</span><span style="font-family: inherit;">high-resolution historical data and analyses, improved downscaled seasonal forecasts, impact-based early warnings</span><span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: arial, sans-serif;">—</span><span style="font-family: inherit;">that the agriculture sector needs to understand, anticipate and manage risks.</span></p> <blockquote> <p>WISER was developed to target specific weather and climate challenges in East Africa, and the Rwanda project is a great example of how the programme has been able to help deliver relevant and accessible climate services. These will continue to have an impact on lives and livelihoods in Rwanda beyond the life of the project, having built capacity in the country”.</p> <p style="text-align: right;">- <strong>Kate Ferguson</strong>, Met Office WISER Programme Manager<br /> June 2020</p> </blockquote> <h4>Rwanda at the cutting edge</h4> <p>Rwanda is gaining a reputation as an innovator. In health, Rwanda pioneered the use of drones to deliver vital medicines and supplies to remote locations, and the use of robots to reduce the risks of spreading COVID-19 as medical staff treat patients. As the two climate service projects draw to a close in 2020 and 2021, it is clear that they have helped position Rwanda at the cutting edge of agricultural climate services:</p> <ul> <li>Face-to-face participatory climate communication and planning processes have been implemented at an unprecedented scale. Working through the <em>Twigire Muhinzi</em> agricultural extension service, 112,000 farmers across all 30 districts were trained and supported to access, understand and incorporate climate information into their planning, using the Participatory Integrated Climate Services for Agriculture (<a href="">PICSA</a>) process.</li> <li>Radio Listener Clubs piloted in Rwanda combine the benefits of participatory, broadcast media and mobile phone communication channels. These clubs meet weekly to listen to climate services broadcasts (accessed by roughly 40% of Rwanda’s farmers), share and record their plans to act on the information, and take turns participating in interactive call-in programs.</li> <li>Rwanda was the first country in Africa to implement an objective seasonal forecast system based on statistical downscaling of output of an ensemble of multiple climate models. </li> <li>In addition to improved future climate analytics, Meteo Rwanda was supported to reconstruct about 15 years of lost climate data and generate historical records for every 4 km across Rwanda.</li> <li>Meteo Rwanda now provides localized climate information at a national scale, through one of the most advanced suites of online climate information available for agricultural decision makers in Africa. Online “Maprooms” developed in Rwanda have since been adopted by the national meteorological services of Ethiopia, Senegal, Bangladesh, Colombia and Guatemala; and by the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (<a href="">ICPAC</a>), the regional climate center for East Africa.</li> <li>Sixteen cooperatives in four districts now have climate risk assessments and adaptation plans for six priority agricultural commodity value chains.</li> <li>An ICT-based “5Q” (<a href="">Five Question</a>) monitoring tool has been introduced to efficiently and continuously capture farmers’ feedback on the services they receive. Seven thousand, five hundred (7,500) farmers trained to use the 5Q tool provide regular feedback, and plans are in place to extend it to 100,000 potential participants.</li> <li>M.Sc. scholarships for seven Meteo Rwanda staff members, and three from RAB, have raised the capacity of these national institutions.</li> </ul> <p>Rwanda’s leadership is gaining international recognition, for example through the inaugural <a href="">Climate Smart Agricultural Project of the Year Award</a>.</p> <blockquote> <p style="font-family: "Open Sans", "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.5; font-style: italic;">A joint initiative … has rebuilt 15 years of lost climate data. The program has also helped our national weather agency build an advanced online climate information system for Rwandan farmers. These results could only have been achieved with sustained partnership over many years.”</p> <p style="font-family: "Open Sans", "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; line-height: 1.5; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"><span style="text-align: right; font-weight: 700; line-height: inherit;">- His Excellency President Paul Kagame</span><br style="text-align: right;" /> <span style="text-align: right;">Columbia University, New York, 26 September 2019</span></p> </blockquote> <h4>Climate services make a difference</h4> <p>Following investment in climate information products and training for local government, district agricultural officers have begun to use the information to improve the services they provide to farmers. For example, in the Western highlands, agronomists used climate information to match crop varieties to local conditions, providing more suitable hybrid maize seeds to 87,872 farmers. While in Bugesera District, authorities used crop water deficit calculations based on climate information to provide supplemental irrigation water, pumped from a lake into a lined reservoir, to enable 188 farmers to cope with prolonged dry spells.</p> <p>Even without improved public sector resource mobilization, participation in PICSA and Radio Listeners Clubs is associated with a substantial increase in the proportion of farmers that report changing  management decisions in response to weather and climate information. Examples include changing what crops and varieties they plant, how they prepare their land and manage crops and livestock, and changing the scale of crop and livestock enterprises. Participation in PICSA is associated with a 24% increase in the value of crop production and a 30% increase in income from crops.  When PICSA was combined with Radio Listeners Club participation, the increase in crop value (47%) and resulting income (56%) was even greater.</p> <blockquote> <p><em>I received training on the use of climate information in agriculture; I since then respect my seasonal calendar which allows me to know practices that I should do during dry or wet days. I now prepare myself on time and wait for the seasonal forecast for me to adjust my plans before planting. This opened my eyes and I now do farming, livestock keeping and my family is wealthy.” </em></p> <p style="text-align: right;">- <strong>Kabarisa Wellars</strong>, a Rwandan farmer,<br /> 2017</p> </blockquote> <h4>What’s next for climate services in Rwanda?</h4> <p>Despite these successes, the work is far from over. Rwanda is preparing for a 1.4<span style="color: rgb(77, 81, 86); font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">–</span><span style="font-family: inherit;">2.3 °C average temperature by 2050, coupled with increased risk from heat waves, dry spells and extreme rainfall. But as a result of USAID and DFID intervention, local systems are in place to anticipate and respond to these climate risks. Building on their increased capacity, Meteo Rwanda’s </span><a href="" style="font-family: inherit;">stated priorities</a><span style="font-family: inherit;"> moving forward are to fully operationalize the National Framework for Climate Services, and to explore the formation of a Rwanda Meteorological Training and Research Centre (RMTRC).</span></p> <table border="0" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" style="width: 600px;"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/resize/images/Icon%20Digital-1000x1000.png" style="height: 1000px; width: 1000px;" width="1000" height="1000" /></td> <td style="text-align: center;"> <p>This blog is part of a series for the <span style="font-weight: 700; line-height: inherit;"><a href="">Transforming Food<br /> Systems Under a Changing Climate</a> initiative</span>. It describes one of the 11 priority actions for transforming food systems outlined in the initiative's <span style="font-weight: 700; line-height: inherit;">flagship report</span>, <span style="font-weight: 700; line-height: inherit;">launching 25 June 2020</span>. We invite you to join us for an <span style="font-weight: 700; line-height: inherit;">around-the-world virtual event </span>to engage on ways to take action together.</p> <p>See details and register <a href="" style="font-weight: 700;">here</a><span style="font-weight: 700; line-height: inherit;">. </span></p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h4> </h4> <h4>Read more:</h4> <ul> <li>Website: <a href="">Transforming Food Systems Under a Changing Climate</a></li> <li>Website: <a href="">Building climate services capacity in Rwanda</a></li> <li>News update: <a href="">New partnerships launched to bolster climate services in Rwanda</a></li> <li>News update: <a href="">Trainings in climate services for agriculture reach all of Rwanda</a></li> <li>Publication<a href="">:</a> <a href="">Rwanda Climate Services for Agriculture: Evaluation of farmers’ awareness, use and impacts</a></li> <li>Publication<a href="">:</a> <a href="">Climate risk assessment for selected value chain commodities in Rwanda</a></li> </ul><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> TAAT Excites Beninese Farmers with Pro Vitamin A Cassava Varieties RTB-CGIAR urn:uuid:7b4cd09e-7a25-69b9-aa02-0170d08e94f1 Thu, 18 Jun 2020 11:56:04 +0000 A staple to about 350 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, cassava, had been declared in 2003 by African Heads of State as a poverty fighter. However, the crop is yet to prove its mettle as millions of growers in sub-Saharan Africa who depend on the crop for their livelihoods still live below the poverty line. [&#8230;] <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="57">A staple to about 350 million people in sub-Saharan Africa, cassava, had been declared in 2003 by African Heads of State as a poverty fighter. However, the crop is yet to prove its mettle as millions of growers in sub-Saharan Africa who depend on the crop for their livelihoods still live below the poverty line.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="31">Some of the reasons adduced for the poor performance of cassava and indeed several other crops include poor productivity, low value-addition, the inability of farmers to access improved varieties and profitable market.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="25">Consequently, Africa&#8217;s cassava productivity per ha is less than 10 tons per hectare compared to Asia where productivity is more than 20 tons per hectare.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="6"><strong>Food insecurity in Benin</strong></p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="62">In the <a class="external external-icon" title="" href="">republic of Benin</a>, over half of the nearly 10 million population rely on subsistence farming for their livelihood and the poor have not benefited from the country&#8217;s legacies as one of Africa&#8217;s largest cotton producers. Cotton is the only cash crop available to small-scale farmers, making up 40 percent of the country&#8217;s GDP and over 80 percent of export revenues.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="21">According to <a class="external external-icon" title="" href="">World Food Programme (WFP)</a>, 3.3 million people, in Benin are considered food insecure, representing 34% of households in the country.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="34">Since the mid-1980s, Benin has increased production of yams, cassava, maize, peanuts and pulses but poor infrastructure, low yields, flooding, which can wipe out harvests and seed stocks, are major challenges Benin farmers face.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="41">To address some of these challenges, the <a class="external external-icon" title="" href="">African Development Bank (AfDB)</a> over a year ago, launched the<a class="external external-icon" title="" href=""> Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation (TAAT)</a> programme, as part of the Bank&#8217;s Feed Africa strategy that is harnessing elite scientific research/technologies and disseminating at scale to African farmers.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="7"><strong>A commitment to agricultural transformation</strong></p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="34">TAAT&#8217;s main objective is to improve the business of agriculture across Africa by raising agricultural productivity, mitigating risks and promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight Priority Intervention Areas (PIA).</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="23">The programme increases agricultural productivity through the deployment of proven and high-performance agricultural technologies at scale along selected value chains which include cassava.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="53">The TAAT Cassava Compact, led by the  <a class="external external-icon" title="" href="" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer">International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) </a>  with presence in 18 African countries, set out to achieve cassava intensification as a priority intervention area, identified poor productivity, low value-addition, and lack of access to improved varieties as some of the key challenges facing cassava production in Benin.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="30">Coordinated by Dr. Adebayo Abass, the compact established partnerships with critical stakeholders in the Beninese agricultural sector led by the government, private sector, farmer cooperatives, academic institutions and civil society.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="44">Some of these partners who keyed into TAAT&#8217;s plan to boost cassava production in the Republic of Benin include <a class="external external-icon" title="" href="">Institut National de Recherches Agricoles au Bénin (INRAB)</a>, <a class="external external-icon" title="" href="">Université d&#8217;Abomey Calavi</a>, Laboratoire de Biotechnologies, Ressources Génétiques et Amélioration des Espèces Animales et Végétales (BIORAVE) amongst others.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="53">An initial step taken by TAAT and partners in Benin was the recognition of the fact that cassava is still largely produced at a subsistent level in the country. This is in spite of the crop&#8217;s high growth potential for contributing to job creation, improved incomes and the living conditions of the people.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="38">In the face of the diversity of products derivable from cassava for industrial applications and export, the processing of cassava in Benin still remains artisanal and traditional cassava products such as fufu, garri, tapioca have limited commercial transactions.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="35">Thus, the decision to introduce technologies for rapid multiplication of planting materials of improved cassava varieties that address the nutritional deficiency and increase cassava yield up to an average of 25 ton/ha became an absolute necessity.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="29">Closely linked to this is the need for these technologies developed by researchers over the years to get into the hands of Beninese farmers and facilitate large scale adoption.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="11"><strong>Deploying Pro Vitamin A Cassava at scale in Benin</strong></p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="36">It would be recalled that over the past 45 years, the  <a class="external external-icon" title="" href="" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer">International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)</a> has played a pivotal role in the genetic improvement of cassava for resource-poor farmers in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="32">With over 400 cassava varieties developed so far, that are not only high yielding but also resistant to diseases and pests, many of these improved varieties have been extensively deployed across Africa.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="46">While almost all cassava in Benin are currently white-fleshed, pro-vitamin A cassava which produces yellow-fleshed roots (popularly referred to as yellow cassava) with nutritionally significant concentrations of carotenoids that produce vitamin A in the human body is yet to be accepted in the country.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="41">This is largely linked to unverified rumors that yellow cassava is not good for the human body, a belief held by many. Beninese farmers, therefore decided to stay away from it for fear of glut due to buyers&#8217; lack of interest.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="41">To address this challenge, a behavioural change communication model involving the transfer of planting materials of provitamin A cassava varieties from IITA Nigeria to Benin and extensive sensitisation campaigns in key villages were adopted by the TAAT Cassava Compact and partners.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="55">The planting materials were multiplied to provide 200,000 cuttings, distributed to seed growers and farmers in selected villages such as  <em>Massi, Akouègba in Glazoué, Houèdo in Abomey-Calavi, and Tatonnoukon in Adjohoun, Allada, Niaouli, Attogon, Lotodonou, Agon, Sakete 1, Sakete 2, Houmbo, Daagbe, Djedje, Chada, Hego, Adodo, Ifangni, Sahorot-Nagot, Adanmanyi, Dagba, Meke, Dagbaou, and Yoko</em>.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="28">Others include <em>Agbanate, Eglime, Massè, Adja-Ouéré, Banigbé, Fouditi, Trobossi, Ikpilè, Oke-Ata, Pobè, Igbo-Itche, Adakplamè, </em><em>Tovlamè (Camp)</em><em>,  </em><em>Agbotolou</em><em>,  </em><em>Kokoua, Dotortanou</em><em>,  </em><em>Zassa</em><em>, and  </em><em>Détékpa </em>.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="48">Funded by TAAT and driven by partners such as INRAB, Université d&#8217;Abomey Calavi, and BIORAVE (with support from the <a class="external external-icon" title="" href="">CGIAR RTB Programme</a>), the sensitization campaigns which held across these locations consecutively in September 2019 had in attendance, men and women farmers including youth and representatives of IITA, RTB and <a class="external external-icon" title="" href="">HarvestPlus</a>.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="61">Addressing the farmers and villagers who thronged to the  Houèdo centre with the help of an interpreter in Fon language, Dr Elizabeth Parkes of HarvestPlus enjoined Beninese farmers to adopt the pro-vitamin A cassava variety as it eliminates the problem of nutritional deficiency which afflicts almost 20% of pregnant women and about 30% of children under the age of five.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="65">&#8220;Vitamin A deficiency results in stunting in children, predisposes them to sicknesses such as diarrhea and measles, and even premature death. In pregnant women, vitamin A deficiency results in night blindness and increases the risk of mortality but with yellow-fleshed cassava, all that will be taken care of as it is biofortified with nutritionally significant concentrations of carotenoids that produce vitamin A,&#8221; Dr. Parkes said.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="61">&#8220;I heard that you are afraid of yellow cassava or yellow garri?  Would you like to taste it just as I am doing now? Yellow cassava is not only harmless but very tasty and good for the body,&#8221; she added, tasting the harvested fresh root of yellow cassava and other by-products of the variety like yellow garri, cassava flakes and crackers.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="30">While engaging farmers and traders at the Akouègba centre in Idacha language, Oluwatoyin Adetunji, Agricultural Transformation Specialist with TAAT harped on the guaranteed return on investment that the variety represents.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="26">&#8220;This set of pro-vitamin A cassava varieties have increased beta-carotene levels as well as matching agronomic characteristics as an incentive for better farmer adoption,&#8221; she added.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="44">TAAT is about boosting the productivity of African farmers in order for Africa to feed itself and through this set of varieties that we are distributing today, you are guaranteed an increased cassava yield up to an average of 25 ton/ha,&#8221; Ms. Adetunji said.</p> <p class="story-body-text" data-para-word-count="38">The appreciative farmers and processors across the 42 villages responded in songs of joy and appreciation, commending the TAAT programme for coming to clear their doubts about yellow cassava as well as making the variety accessible to them.</p> <p data-para-word-count="38">Continue reading on <a href=""></a></p> How dryland crops are helping Telangana’s tribal households meet nutritional requirements during lockdown Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals urn:uuid:f442684a-51ec-67d5-111c-446843e6bdf8 Mon, 08 Jun 2020 03:58:58 +0000 <p>To ensure nutrition sufficiency in children, pregnant women and lactating mothers of tribal communities in Telangana, India, during times of lockdown, ready-to-eat foods containing millets, sorghum and pulses produced by ICRISAT are being provided at their doorstep. “The food products are scientifically formulated to promote dietary diversity and are produced using locally available nutritious millets [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">How dryland crops are helping Telangana’s tribal households meet nutritional requirements during lockdown</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals</a>.</p> <p>To ensure nutrition sufficiency in children, pregnant women and lactating mothers of tribal communities in Telangana, India, during times of lockdown, ready-to-eat foods containing millets, sorghum and pulses produced by ICRISAT are being provided at their doorstep.</p> <p>“The food products are scientifically formulated to promote dietary diversity and are produced using locally available nutritious millets and protein rich pulses. These foods are also rich sources of dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and bioactives beneficial for boosting immunity and keeping the tribal population healthy,” said Dr Saikat Datta Mazumdar, Chief Operating Officer of the NutriPlus Knowledge (NPK) Program at ICRISAT’s Agribusiness Innovation Platform.</p> <p>The foods are distributed under <a href="">Giri Poshana</a>, an initiative in which ICRISAT and Tribal Welfare Department of Telangana State have been collaborating to improve dietary diversity and nutritional status of tribal populations. The initiative targets beneficiaries in three Integrated Tribal Development Agencies (ITDAs) of Utnoor (Adilabad district), Eturnagaram (Jayshankar Bhupalpally district) and Bhadrachalam (Bhadradri Kothagudem district) of Telangana.</p> <p>The local farmers are also benefited as they now have demand for their crops, he added.</p> <p>The initiative, <a href="">which began in 2019</a>, was being implemented through select Anganwadi centers (community centers for education, health and other purposes) in the ITDAs. The beneficiaries were being provided three ready-to-cook and three ready-to-eat products as supplementary food, served as breakfast and evening snack, in addition to the governments ICDS mid-day meals. However, after COVID hit and lockdown was imposed, the Anganwadi centers closed and nutrition of the beneficiaries became a matter of concern until the program team worked to change the <a href="">model of implementation</a>.</p> <p>“The team has explored different ready-to-eat products from dryland crops, which can replace the ready-to-cook products so that the beneficiaries can easily consume at their households without the need for much cooking. While identifying the products, it was ensured that nutritional values of the new food products are similar to the ready-to-cook products, which have been temporarily discontinued during lockdown,” Dr Mazumdar explained.</p> <p>Accordingly, millet flakes mixture, peanut – fried gram <em>chikki</em> (energy bar) and <em>ragi </em>(finger millet)-jaggery cookies were added to three other ready-to-eat foods &#8211; Energy (Peanut) bar, Nutri-Cookies and Jowar bytes. In April and May, 2020, 7421 beneficiaries received Giri Poshana food, which is being distributed by Anganwadi teachers at the doorsteps of beneficiaries.</p> <p>Beneficiaries and the teachers are also being sensitized about nutrition and hygiene through <a href="">instructional videos</a> and <a href="">brochures</a>. “They are eating on time and are eating healthy food. In the lockdown, it was difficult for us to go to the market and buy food. Also, children liked eating this food and as a mother it is assuring,” Ms Sudi Gowthami, a mother of a beneficiary child in Bhadrachalam, said.</p> <p>Further, eight food processing units in ITDA areas managed by tribal women-led Joint Liability Groups (JLGs), will soon become operational to produce nutritious convenience foods using locally grown crops. This move is also set to boost local employment while ensuring healthy food supply. The construction of these units has been nearly completed in all the three ITDA locations and a few of them have commenced dry runs.</p> <p>Pointing to <a href="">capacity building of 75 tribal women</a> to be “Nutrition Entrepreneurs”, Dr Mazumdar argues for urgent evolution of local value chains around local food production, local value addition and local consumption to make vulnerable tribal communities sustainable post-COVID.  Post restrictions when the threat from virus is better manageable, tribal women, with their newly acquired skillsets in the areas of food processing, food safety and business development, would be ready to start their enterprises and promote local dryland crops while contributing to building of healthier tribal communities, he added.</p> <p><strong>Projects</strong>:</p> <ol> <li>Nutritional interventions to improve dietary diversity in the tribal households of Telangana. Also referred to as Giri Poshana.</li> <li>Setting up of eight processing units in ITDAs of Utnoor, Eturnagaram and Bhadrachalam through Joint Liability Groups (JLs) of Telangana.</li> </ol> <p><strong>Partners</strong>: Integrated Tribal Development Agencies, Tribal Women lead-Joint Liability Groups, Girijan Cooperative Society and Anganwadis (Ministry of Women and Child Development)</p> <p><strong>Funders</strong>: Department of Tribal Welfare, Government of Telangana</p> <p><strong>CRP</strong>: Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC)</p> <p>This work contributes to UN Sustainable Development Goal.<br /> <img src="" alt="1-no-poverty" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="2-zero-hunger" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="good-health" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="4-gender-equality" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="7-decent-work" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="8-industry-innovation" width="100" height="103" /> <img src="" alt="12-responisible-consumtion" width="100" height="103" /></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">How dryland crops are helping Telangana’s tribal households meet nutritional requirements during lockdown</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals</a>.</p> Reviving the farm economy Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals urn:uuid:5dee0e90-16f6-acad-929a-137f3b952df4 Mon, 01 Jun 2020 02:49:24 +0000 <p>The return of migrant workers to their villages offers an opportunity to give agribusiness a leg-up. For the first time in years, amidst the Covid-19 crisis, the general population in India seem to have become increasingly aware of the importance of the migrant workforce. As per the 2011 census, there were about 56 million interstate [&#8230;]</p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Reviving the farm economy</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals</a>.</p> <p><strong><em>The return of migrant workers to their villages offers an opportunity to give agribusiness a leg-up.</em></strong></p> <p>For the first time in years, amidst the Covid-19 crisis, the general population in India seem to have become increasingly aware of the importance of the migrant workforce. As per the 2011 census, there were about 56 million interstate migrants in India and a majority of them resided in the big urban centres. If Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh accounted for more than 50% of India’s total interstate migrants, then,  Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana housed 50% of those  interstate migrants. These shares are much higher than the share of these states in India’s total population. Interestingly, Uttar Pradesh figures in both lists—people left the state  for their livelihood as also people who migrated from other states for their livelihood. Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal also account for a large number of interstate migrants.</p> <p>In recent years, there has been an increasing flow of migrants to Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala on account of greater opportunities in the Southern states. Labour migration theorists argue that wage differentials are not the only motivation for migration; there is also collective decision-making at the household level based primarily on their desire to mitigate risk through the migration of certain family members, to ensure income stability through diversification. A sense of ‘relative deprivation’ also acts as a motivation for migration, as households in surrounding communities observe others in their neighbourhoods receiving the economic benefits of remittances.</p> <p><strong>Migration Crisis and its Solutions </strong></p> <p>During the first phase of the lockdown, media reports highlighted the distress and hunger faced by migrant workers. A number of state governments and the Central government announced welfare measures in May to provide free food grains for the next two to three months, workers’ special trains and cash transfers. There have been challenges in mobilising the announced support to the needy migrants. Moreover, most employers and contractors left the workers to their own fate.</p> <p>There has been a severe lack of coordinated efforts  at the workplace, ward and district level to provide migrants sufficient food, shelter and assurance of employment in the near future. This crisis has been compounded by the loss of regular wages and depletion in their meagre savings with no clarity on their future prospects. As a result, some of them seem to have lost their trust and confidence in the State. Therefore, despite transport arrangements by the Centre and respective state governments, however limited, migrants continue to move on foot, bicycle and other limited transport means towards their home states.</p> <p>Limited access to food due to loss of income, disruption in school meal programmes and ICDS are also going to have serious consequences and may lead to a further surge in malnutrition. There is a need to have coherent and coordinated efforts, especially by the concerned state governments, to facilitate migrants to stop wherever they are and arrange temporary shelter and food and subsequently, provide transport to the destination states.</p> <p>There is a need to learn from this crisis and create a safety net for both the semi-skilled and skilled migrant workforce. Creating a national and state-level Aadhar linked database of migrant workers will improve the targeting of support to them during such crises and help in coordinating efforts for their welfare. The implementation of One Nation, One Ration (ONOR) Card which entitles beneficiaries to claim subsidised food irrespective of their place of residence is a very desirable step by the Central government. Continuous capacity building of the workforce and providing migrants reasonable living conditions with provision of housing for minimum number of workers, especially for industries which are essential in nature, will make the system more resilient.</p> <p>After their recent experiences, the migrants may not return for the next couple of months. Indeed, 15–20% of them may not from their home states at all. This presents a major challenge as well as a big opportunity for the local governments. It would pose a serious policy challenge to provide employment to these additional people in the absence of remittances in an already stressed rural economy. Expanded MGNREGS including agriculture and agro-forestry, and free food grains for next few months can provide immediate relief to these returnees.</p> <p>Many of these migrants are well-trained, have been exposed to non-agricultural livelihoods and have higher aspirations. It provides a good opportunity for the respective state governments and industries to utilise this trained human resource in creating and promoting rural-based small and medium businesses, non-farm and agro-based value addition and tertiary service provisioning enterprises. Many of these returnee migrants may also prefer to work in their marginal farms and therefore, it is advisable for states to facilitate such migrant labourers and landless workers to ‘lease in’ lands from those willing to rent out.</p> <p><strong>Utilising Atmanirbhar Bharat</strong></p> <p>Many components of the Union government’s package of INR 20 trillion under the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative presents a good opportunity to promote several non-farm and allied faming enterprises utilising rural people including returnee migrants in boosting the rural economy. Support for formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE) is one example, that could be leveraged in establishing viable enterprises based on nutritious and smart foods like millets, legumes, local fruits and herbs. Post-Covid, there is likely to be greater health consciousness and consequently, a higher demand for such nutritious and healthy foods among people to boost their immune systems. Promoting diversified and nutritious food by strengthening appropriate value chains has to be a priority of the country as malnutrition is one of its biggest national challenges. Enterprises that can add value to healthy local food products with assured quality, connecting rural and urban consumers could also be a good opportunity. Easy access to cheap credit, further needs-based capacity-building and handholding support will be key to harness economic opportunities through livestock and dairy, honeybee-keeping, fisheries and other area specific agro-based enterprises. Agricultural market reforms, deregulation of key agricultural items from the Essential Commodities Act and significant public investments to strengthen agro-infrastructure and logistics  announced by the Central government can help open multiple value addition and agribusiness avenues if appropriately leveraged by the state governments.</p> <p>There is a need to plan and organise promising agricultural value chains and non-farm enterprises and activities at the decentralised level of panchayats, blocks and districts. Appropriate professional teams including consultants, private sector professionals, government research and development institutions, and NGOs may be involved in coordination with governments in mapping area-specific opportunities, availability of skilled and semi-skilled workers and scope for leveraging the Central government’s recent economic package for creating employment and growth. As per government policy, area/district specific products and brands may be promoted with focus on better nutrition, value addition and climate resilience.</p> <p>Finally, building capacity and creating competition for the workforce by involving different states and industries, and eschewing restrictive inspection regime, will be key to improving their condition. This is a good opportunity for the labour supplier states to make it happen.</p> <p>Read more: <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"></a></p> <p><em><strong>About the authors:</strong></em></p> <div class="tshowcase-vcard-left"> <div class="ts-square "> <div><img class="alignleft" src="" width="75" /></div> </div> </div> <div class="tshowcase-vcard-right"> <div class="tshowcase-single-title"> <div><strong>Dr Shalander Kumar</strong></div> </div> <div class="tshowcase-single-position"> <div>Principal Scientist &#8211; Agriculture Economist<br /> Markets, Institutions, Nutrition &amp; Diversity<br /> ICRISAT</div> </div> </div> <div class="tshowcase-vcard-left"> <div class="ts-square "> <div><img class="alignleft" src="" width="75" /></div> </div> </div> <div class="tshowcase-vcard-right"> <div class="tshowcase-single-title"> <div><strong>Dr Arabinda Kumar Padhee</strong></div> </div> <div class="tshowcase-single-position"> <div>Director, Country Relations and Business Affairs &#8211; New Delhi,<br /> ICRISAT</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><strong><img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-211302" src="" alt="" width="75" height="75" /></strong></div> </div> </div> <p><strong>Dr Anjani Kumar<br /> </strong>Research Fellow, South Asia Office,<br /> International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).</p> <p><em>Views from the authors are personal.</em></p> <p>The post <a rel="nofollow" href="">Reviving the farm economy</a> appeared first on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals</a>.</p> Understanding partnership dynamics to facilitate innovation scaling RTB-CGIAR urn:uuid:3553caab-38ca-3fff-b5e5-79e0342f9c89 Thu, 28 May 2020 12:57:59 +0000 Research for development organizations like the International Potato Center (CIP), which develop science-based solutions to the challenges faced by millions of smallholders, introduce and test those innovations with communities before taking them to scale. But taking even the most promising innovation to scale can be a challenge in and of itself, which is why researchers are increasingly [&#8230;] <p><a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-38821 alignright" src="" alt="" width="602" height="659" srcset=" 602w, 274w, 438w, 600w" sizes="(max-width: 602px) 100vw, 602px" /></a></p> <p>Research for development organizations like the <a href="">International Potato Center</a> (CIP), which develop science-based solutions to the challenges faced by millions of smallholders, introduce and test those innovations with communities before taking them to scale. But taking even the most promising innovation to scale can be a challenge in and of itself, which is why researchers are increasingly focusing on approaches to scaling early in the research process.</p> <p>An article by scientists from CIP and partner institutions recently published in the journal <em>Agricultural Systems</em> is an important contribution to this area of research. It offers compelling insight on this enduring challenge through analysis of recent experiences with <a href="">Farmer Business Schools</a>, a complex innovation promoted in several Asian countries.</p> <p>Farmer Business School, a methodology developed by CIP building on the <a href="">Participatory Market Chain Approach</a> for fostering innovations in roots and tubers value chains and integrating elements from the Farmer Field School methodology, comprises a series of group-based, experiential learning activities over the course of 8–10 months that include market assessments, identification of opportunities and product development. The process culminates with participants launching a community enterprise based on adding value to one or more local products.</p> <p>In the framework of the <a href="">CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers and Bananas</a>, CIP collaborated with the <a href="">International Center for Tropical Agriculture</a> to work with an array of partners to implement Farmer Business Schools in Asia under <a href="">FoodSTART+</a>, a research initiative funded by the <a href="">European Union</a> and the <a href="">International Fund for Agricultural Development</a> (IFAD) to introduce innovations and add value to six large IFAD-supported investment projects.</p> <p>Gordon Prain, the lead author of the article in <em>Agricultural Systems</em> and a technical advisor of the FoodSTART+ project, noted that effective partnerships between research institutions and development organizations are key elements for developing demand-led innovations and taking them to scale. He and the other authors consequently studied partnership dynamics in six case studies of FoodSTART+ interventions that included Farmer Business Schools. They examined the stages through which partnerships tend to pass and identified key drivers for a successful research-development partnership, for instance highlighting the importance of the right ‘fit’ between research expertise and development demand.</p> <blockquote><p>“Taking a complex innovation like the Farmer Business School approach to scale demands a systems understanding of innovation and scaling,” Prain observed.</p></blockquote> <p>Diego Naziri, a co-author of the journal article, coordinated FoodSTART+. He explained that around 150 Farmer Business Schools were completed in remote communities of India, Indonesia, and the Philippines between 2011 and 2018. Thousands of farmers and fisherfolk – more than half of them women – completed the schools and developed products for local markets. However, the most important achievement was the adoption of the Farmer Business School approach by partners and, in some cases, the institutionalization into national programs, which should ensure its continued use.</p> <p>“The Farmer Business School has good scaling potential, but it is always a challenge to take an innovation from the protected niche of a research project to a wider scale,” Naziri explained. “In the traditional approach, an innovation is validated at one stage and then handed over to a larger group for potential adoption. However, rather than keeping these two stages distinct, we believe that by establishing a more integrated approach and maintaining strong partnerships during a project, we can increase the likelihood that its innovations will be appropriate to the local conditions and taken to scale.</p> <p>Prain noted that taking a systems approach can improve scientists’ understanding of the scaling process.</p> <blockquote><p>“Our research underlines the importance of looking at innovation and scaling as organically connected processes, of which partnerships are an integral part,” he said. “Understanding the drivers of partnership and the way they are intertwined can greatly enhance the likelihood of establishing and maintaining the kind of effective partnerships that are needed for scaling innovations.”</p></blockquote> <p>A full copy of the article in Agricultural Systems is available <a href="">here.</a></p> <p>This blog was first published on the CIP <a href="">website</a>.</p> Scaling climate-resilient agribusinesses in East Africa CCAFS Research highlights urn:uuid:8c749af1-f745-6176-20ed-daec9d7d3f32 Thu, 05 Mar 2020 00:00:00 +0000 <p style="font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">There are growing private-sector driven efforts to scale up climate-smart agriculture (CSA) interventions in East Africa. These measures are aimed at building resilient farming systems through sustainable intensification across different agroecological zones. The Climate Resilient Agribusiness for Tomorrow (<a href="">CRAFT</a>) project is one such initiative. It supports a market-driven scaling agenda through inclusive business models along selected oilseed, pulse and potato agricultural value chains in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) is one of the partners in the CRAFT project that is implemented by&nbsp;<a href="">SNV Netherlands Development Organization</a>.</p> <p style="font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">Crops that are included in the initiative are potatoes, green grams, common beans and sorghum in Kenya; soybeans, sesame, sunflower and potato in Uganda; and common beans, sunflower, sorghum and potato in Tanzania. These crops were selected based on:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>Sufficient private sector interest and capacity for co-investment;&nbsp;</li> <li>Adequate domestic consumption to drive market development opportunities;&nbsp;</li> <li>Ample evidence of climate change risks projected to impact their value chains.</li> </ul> <p style="font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">SNV has co-partnered with several high-potential small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across these value chains. CCAFS is working with SNV to enhance the capacity of SMEs to increase the availability of improved farm inputs, train farmers in CSA production practices and post-harvest management, and deliver climate information services.</p> <p style="font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">Among these SMEs is Equator Seeds Limited (ESL) in Uganda. ESL handles the production, processing and distribution of improved seeds; provides extension support to out-grower farmers; and operates agricultural equipment hire services. The company will work with SNV to scale up the supply of improved sesame seeds from its current levels of production of about 190 tons per year to 1,000 tons per year. Such seeds will be marketed through agro-dealers to a target population of about 30,000 sesame producers.</p> <h4>Finding the scaling sweet spot</h4> <p style="font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">Reaching large numbers of beneficiaries or clients with a specific technology or practice as described above is how scaling is commonly understood. In the scaling literature, this approach is referred to as&nbsp;<em>horizontal scaling</em>. This type of scaling&nbsp;entails the replication, roll-out or expansion of proven innovations to more people in existing or new markets and contexts. In the vast majority of agricultural development contexts, however, the adoption and continued use of new innovations by small-scale farmers do not happen in isolation. It requires engaging with various complementary non-technological mechanisms (rules, policies, institutions, etc.) to create an enabling environment for innovations to go to scale. This process is usually referred to as&nbsp;<em>vertical scaling&nbsp;</em>and focuses on changing or strengthening existing policies and practices by governments, the public and private institutions.</p> <p style="font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">Successful strategies to scaling tend to combine elements from both horizontal and vertical approaches. This ensures that relevant key actors and multiple levels of governance come together to facilitate the uptake of proven innovations. An innovation may be &ldquo;ready&rdquo; in a technical sense, in that its core components have been successfully tested to meet specific objectives in a specific environment. However, if existing systemic barriers (institutional, structural, policy, etc.) in the intervention context or landscape are not sufficiently understood and adequately addressed, the innovation may fail to go to scale.</p> <p style="font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">Indeed, CRAFT recognizes the important role that public institutions play in facilitating and implementing climate-resilient farming and adaptation to climate change at the national and local levels. Among the project&rsquo;s core objectives is to support policy efforts to address the most significant institutional and socio-economic barriers for large-scale CSA interventions. Given this, the project&rsquo;s scaling activities are guided by a private-sector driven agenda that supports business champions to horizontally scale their innovations. To complement this, CRAFT will engage and collaborate with relevant institutions and actors to harness additional support and resources through vertical approaches.</p> <p style="font-family: &quot;Open Sans&quot;, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">In each implementing context, CRAFT will need to understand well and engage the system dynamics that determine the &lsquo;scalability&rsquo; of innovations. These include incentives, required services, conducive policies and regulations and other relevant characteristics of the sector. For instance, a widespread sale of counterfeit seeds in Uganda&rsquo;s agricultural sector stifles not only yield potential but farmers&rsquo; trust to invest in improved CSA farm inputs. Addressing this problem requires collaborative institutional action to effectively enforce quality standards and regulations in the production, multiplication and distribution of sesame seeds. Overall, developing effective and realistic scaling strategies demands flexibility in project design and implementation. This allows for the delivery of innovations that answer to local conditions and work within the confines of the wider agricultural systems of a particular context.</p> <h4>Read more:</h4> <ul> <li>Brief<a href="">:</a>&nbsp;<a href="">Common Beans Tanzania: Climate change risks and opportunities</a></li> <li>Brief<a href="">:</a>&nbsp;<a href="">Green Grams Kenya: Climate change risks and opportunities</a></li> <li>Brief<a href="">:</a>&nbsp;<a href="">Potato Kenya: Climate change risks and opportunities</a></li> <li>Brief<a href="">:</a>&nbsp;<a href="">Sesame Uganda: Climate change risks and opportunities</a></li> <li>Brief<a href="">:</a>&nbsp;<a href="">Soybean Uganda: Climate change risks and opportunities</a></li> <li>Brief<a href="">:</a>&nbsp;<a href="">Sunflower Tanzania: Climate change risks and opportunities</a></li> </ul><img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/> Next phase of Maziwa Zaidi project in Tanzania to promote agri-entrepreneurship, technology uptake and inclusive dairy development CGIAR Research Program on Livestock urn:uuid:190ae047-af3c-e7c6-aab1-4df5e9bdf927 Mon, 04 Nov 2019 17:59:38 +0000 In June, partners working on the Maziwa Zaidi dairy project in Tanzania agreed key aims and directions for the coming phase of the dairy value chain upgrading project (until the end of 2021). Coordinated by Amos Omore of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRi), the project contributes to an inclusive and sustainable development of the Tanzania dairy value chain. <span class="more-link"><a href="">Continue reading <span class="meta-nav">&#8594;</span></a></span> <p><div data-shortcode="caption" id="attachment_1418" style="width: 3082px" class="wp-caption aligncenter"><a href=""><img aria-describedby="caption-attachment-1418" data-attachment-id="1418" data-permalink="" data-orig-file="" data-orig-size="3072,2304" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{&quot;aperture&quot;:&quot;7.1&quot;,&quot;credit&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;camera&quot;:&quot;DSC-W120&quot;,&quot;caption&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;created_timestamp&quot;:&quot;1241603244&quot;,&quot;copyright&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;focal_length&quot;:&quot;5.35&quot;,&quot;iso&quot;:&quot;125&quot;,&quot;shutter_speed&quot;:&quot;0.00625&quot;,&quot;title&quot;:&quot;&quot;,&quot;orientation&quot;:&quot;1&quot;}" data-image-title="Moving milk by motorbike in Tanzania" data-image-description="" data-medium-file="" data-large-file="" class="wp-image-1418 size-full" src="" alt="" width="3072" height="2304" srcset=" 3072w,;h=113 150w,;h=225 300w,;h=576 768w,;h=768 1024w" sizes="(max-width: 3072px) 100vw, 3072px" /></a><p id="caption-attachment-1418" class="wp-caption-text">Moving milk by motorbike in Tanzania: Adapting dairy market hubs for pro-poor smallholder value chains in Tanzania project (photo credit: ILRI/Ben Lukuyu).</p></div></p> <p>Earlier this year, the CGIAR’s Livestock research program provided additional resources to take forward work in four priority countries – Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam. The aim is to accelerate work on the most promising technologies and innovations identified in previous years, advancing their uptake and use in development.</p> <p>In June, partners working on the <em>Maziwa Zaidi</em> dairy project in Tanzania agreed key aims and directions for the coming phase of the dairy value chain upgrading project (until the end of 2021).</p> <p>Coordinated by Amos Omore of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRi), the project contributes to an inclusive and sustainable development of the Tanzania dairy value chain. Its three goals are: for smallholder women and men farmers to have reliable and consistent access to quality inputs and services that enable them to efficiently achieve high dairy productivity; for smallholder men and women farmers to have access to inclusive, reliable, well-coordinated, and efficient dairy products marketing arrangement that will improve household income and livelihoods; and, for poor consumers to have access to quality, safe, and nutritious dairy products at affordable prices.</p> <p>The business case for research to upgrade Tanzania’s smallholder dairy value chain highlights large milk productivity gaps and ongoing strong demand for milk. The previous phases of <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>Maziwa Zaidi</em></a> (2012-2017) experimented with multi-stakeholder processes involving pre-commercial dairy market hubs (DMHs) and innovation platforms (IPs) as mechanisms to upgrade the smallholder dairy value chain towards more commercial dairying.  We engaged farmer groups as entry points before linking them to other value chain actors for service provision. However, this process was found to be slow and required substantial investment in capacity building for collective action by milk producers. On the other hand, building DMHs around enterprising value chain actors was a more promising entry point to create and grow linkages among value chain actors to improve access to markets, inputs, and services for producers.</p> <p><strong>Focus on agribusinesses</strong></p> <p>This phase will work with agribusinesses in the dairy value chain (including feed and fodder value chains) to promote proven dairy technologies and innovations. It will support agribusiness skills development and embed these proven dairy technologies in the portfolio of products and services that agribusinesses and agri-entrepreneurs deliver, enhancing uptake of dairy technologies and innovations. Women- and youth-led dairy agribusinesses will be targeted with business development services (BDS) and other support services to overcome barriers to entry into lucrative nodes of the dairy value chain.</p> <p>The project will work with partners to capacitate agribusinesses, adopting a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">market systems</a> approach that aims to scale out their business operations. This approach, also referred to as ‘markets for the poor’ (M4P), will help address critical <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">weaknesses in dairy market development</a> by going beyond the traditional value chain model to address the wider context in which value chains operate by emphasizing inclusive and equitable value chain upgrading options for economic growth.</p> <p><strong>Bundles of interventions</strong></p> <p>The project will promote intervention packages that bundle and combine proven genetics, health and feeds technologies within institutional arrangements that allow farmers to utilize and benefit from these bundles. Building on outputs generated from a <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">2017 policy forum</a> and others, the project will test proven technologies and innovations that have the potential to be profitably leveraged by agribusinesses and partners (depending on their demand and interest). A ‘basket’ containing these technologies and innovations will be offered as options to agri-entrepreneurs, who will be encouraged to pick combination(s) of their choice. These combinations are the packages to be piloted.</p> <p>To better identify the potential packages, the project very recently held a joint <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">agribusiness forum</a> with development partners to prioritize the existing best-bet technical and institutional innovations and supporting activities and turn them into integrated ‘packages’. Involving agripreneurs, researchers, innovators, service providers and delivery organizations, a short list of technical products for the delivery packages to be profitably leveraged by agribusiness targeting producers were identified as: Brachiaria grass (or other forage options), manure management, East coast fever vaccine, and artificial insemination. These will be delivered through capacitated agripreneurs and agribusinesses, using digital platforms for farmer profiling and e-extension, and capacity development supporting market access, safer products and effective collective action.</p> <p>To deliver these, the various change agents and partners in the project will provide a custom set of associated enabling packages to the agripreneurs and agribusinesses. These will enable them to provide the services the producers need – combining technical knowhow, clean, green and gendered expertise, as well as business and soft skills necessary to be profitable.</p> <p>Underpinning the packaging and delivery of these technologies and innovations by the agripreneurs and agribusinesses will be delivery/markets/platforms involving ‘agent network’ the ‘dairy farmer assistant’ models. The related approach of dairy market hubs will also be part of the delivery platforms.</p> <p>It is important to emphasize that specific combinations of these ‘priority’ innovations (and others) will be customized following further engagement with the agripreneurs.</p> <p>One of our assumptions is that scaling promising technologies and innovations has been inhibited by the lack of bankable business cases for more public and/or private investments. Thus, we may also evaluate the scale-readiness of some technologies in parallel to the piloting, particularly in relation to institutional and policy barriers.</p> <p>The project will work in four districts in Kilimanjaro and Tanga regions, joining forces with various government, private sector, development and research partners and seeking synergies with their projects.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">See a presentation on the proposed project</a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Read the report of the October 2019 agribusiness forum on identifying profitable dairy innovation packages for Tanzania agri-entrepreneurs</a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Visit the Maziwa Zaidi web site</a></p> <p><a href="">More information on the Program’s work in Tanzania</a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Outputs of our work in Tanzania</a></p>