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Bangladesh is primarily an agrarian nation. Most of the people of the country directly or indirectly depend on agriculture. Rural people are more involved in this sector compared to urban people. Agriculture is the single largest producing sector of the economy. The performance of this sector has an overwhelming impact on major macroeconomic objectives like employment generation, poverty alleviation, human resources development and food security. The acceleration in economic and agricultural growth has made a positive impact on the diversity of food intake, away from the rice- and vegetable-based diet in favour of quality food. However, nearly 20 per cent of the population is still calorie deficient and the gender disparity in calorie intake still persists. Bangladesh has made significant progress in reducing under nutrition of children. However, progress in reducing stunting, the indicator of chronic malnutrition, shows a less encouraging picture.
The paper examines food price differences across Indian states during 2004-2014 using food consumer prices from household surveys and wholesale/retail prices for selected goods. At the individual product level there are large price differences across states, with prices doubling or trebling across India for a typical case, but with considerable variation across products. Price dispersion is much lower for food on average; measured at this level price dispersion between Indian states is considerably lower than between countries within the same income range, and Indian states are slightly more integrated than countries in Western Europe. At the product level, the most important determinants of price differences across states are limited access to supply from other states, and the extent of own production in the state. Richer states have higher consumer prices, but this income-price link is weaker for wholesale prices. Food price dispersion within India has decreased during the period studied. For policy, the results suggest that India should eliminate obstacles to inter-state trade in order to promote food security and the real income of its citizens. The magnitude and importance of price level differences also suggest that better price level data should be provided in the future, to facilitate further study of India’s regional development.
Researchers, policy makers, entrepreneurs and development practitioners working to improve food security, environmental health and rural livelihoods in the developing world face many uncertainties when exploring the future of food systems. It is difficult to predict what economic, political and social conditions will be like in the next few years and virtually impossible to predict the medium to longer term. Climate change and variability are among the greatest unknowns, and are likely to have far- reaching effects on food security, environments and livelihoods.
This working paper presents four alternative plausible futures, or scenarios, for food security, environments and livelihoods in West Africa. The scenarios are based on different assumptions and pathways of socio-economic and political development. They were developed under the auspices of CGIAR's Research Programme 7: Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). A number of workshops, attended by stakeholders, drawn from governments, civil society, the research community and the media, fed into the development process. The scenarios describe trends and events since 2010 up to 2050. These scenarios were translated to semi-quantitative assessments of a range of drivers and indicators and quantified with two agricultural economic models, IMPACT, developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and GLOBIOM, developed by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). The separate presentation of the semi-quantitative and quantitative results in this report allows the stories to flow and also makes it easier for the reader to compare data between the different scenarios
Numerous reports have linked AIDS’ impacts on young people and their long term food insecurity, through, for instance, orphans’ failure to inherit property and resources; inability to retain rights to land which they are too young or inexperienced to farm; or interruption of intergenerational knowledge transfer following parental deaths. Hitherto, however, reports have only addressed isolated aspects of young people’s livelihood prospects, and most lack substantive evidence. Impacts of AIDS on young people’s attitudes and dispositions remain neglected. responds to the clear need to understand better how AIDS affects young people’s livelihood participation in varying geographical/livelihood contexts.
The research covered in this report aimed to generate new, in- depth understanding of how AIDS, in interaction with other factors, is impacting on the livelihood activities, opportunities and choices of young people in rural southern Africa. This was intended to support the development of policies and interventions that enhance AIDS- affected young people’s prospects of achieving sustainable, food -secure livelihoods throughout the region.
Agriculture is a critical component of national and sub-national economies, yet it is also highly vulnerable to weather extremes and scarce water resources. Climate change is increasing disaster risks in Southern Africa. Despite progress on integrated climate change and disaster risk management frameworks, the 2015/2016 El Niño linked drought severely affected the region. The focus remains on disaster relief rather than on risk reduction and adaptation for longterm resilience. A case study for the Western Cape province of South Africa indicates that improved drought resilience can be observed where sustainable land management practices have been taken up by farmers. Further progress is contingent on strengthened co-operation across all tiers of government and across sectors, adequately resourced relief funds, availability of financial mechanisms for post-drought recovery and the clearing of bureaucratic bottlenecks that hamper adaptive water planning. Local experiences and stakeholder participation are essential for appropriately contextualised adaptation planning.
Afghanistan has already been, and will continue to be, heavily affected by the negative impacts of climate change. And it is the most vulnerable people - particularly subsistence farmers and pastoralists who de-pend on natural resources for their survival – who are suffering most.
This report is structured around the four climate hazards with the largest impact on food security in Afghanistan:
The climate analysis shown so far in this report focuses on under-standing how climate risks have already changed in Afghanistan over the past thirty years. In this section, we turn to potential risks under future climate change. Despite the inherent uncertainties asso-ciated with model-based climate projections, these can be useful to get a sense of how the livelihood impacts already observed might be exacerbated (or alleviated) in the future.
These projections suggest that the main negative impact of climate change in Afghanistan in the future will be increased drought risk—with increased flood risk being of secondary concern. Annual droughts in many parts of the country will likely become the norm by 2030, rather than being a temporary or cyclical event. This will mostly be due to higher temperatures leading to higher evapotranspiration and higher crop and livestock water demand.
Southern Africa is experi-encing the world’s highest HIV prevalence rates alongside recurrent food crises. This has prompted scholars to hypothesise a 'New Variant Famine' in which inability to access food is driven by the ef-fects of AIDS. In line with this, it has been suggested that the impacts of AIDS on young people today is likely to diminish their prospects of food security in adult life. In particular, children whose parents die of AIDS may fail to inherit land or other pro-ductive assets, and trans-mission of knowledge and skills between the genera-tions may be disrupted, leaving young people ill-prepared to build food-secure livelihoods for themselves. However, prior to this research, those propositions were largely untested.
The ‘Averting New Vari-ant Famine’ research pro-ject was therefore under-taken to generate new, in-depth understanding of how AIDS, in interaction with other factors, is im-pacting on the livelihood activities, opportunities and choices of young peo-ple in rural southern Africa.
Research was conducted in two villages in Malawi and Lesotho, two of the worst affected countries, and fieldwork included participatory research with 10-24-year-olds in each community (around half of whom were affected by AIDS) to explore their aspirations, means of accessing livelihood oppor-tunities, obstacles faced and decision-making processes.
This paper synthesizes knowledge within CGIAR and its partners on agricultural practices and technologies to enhance food security, resilience and productivity in a sustainable manner.
A number of agricultural practices and technologies which contribute to these objectives were identified and assessed to generate four key lessons.
Firstly, agricultural practices and technologies do not necessarily have universal applicability, they will have to be selected, tailored and applied as appropriate for the context, including agro-ecological zones, farming systems as well as cultural and socio-economic context.
Secondly, strong mechanisms for capacity enhancement and technology transfer are prerequisites for success of interventions.
Thirdly, suitable sources of funding are required to support implementation and scaling up efforts.
Lastly, many agricultural practices and technologies have the potential to achieve co-benefits for environmental health and climate change mitigation.
In contexts where mitigation is feasible, managing for multiple outcomes can help countries and smallholder farmers adopt low carbon development pathways.
Climate change could pose a major challenge to efforts towards strongly increase food production over the coming decades. However, model simulations of future climate-impacts on crop yields differ substantially in the magnitude and even direction of the projected change. Combining observations of current maximum-attainable yield with climate analogues, we provide a complementary method of assessing the effect of climate change on crop yields. Strong reductions in attainable yields of major cereal crops are found across a large fraction of current cropland by 2050. These areas are vulnerable to climate change and have greatly reduced opportunity for agricultural intensification. However, the total land area, including regions not currently used for crops, climatically suitable for high attainable yields of maize, wheat and rice is similar by 2050 to the present-day. Large shifts in land-use patterns and crop choice will likely be necessary to sustain production growth rates and keep pace with demand.
Pakistan is among the most vulnerable countries in the South Asian region given still overwhelming dependence of its population on agriculture which in turn mainly depends on the Indus Basin River System. The intensity and frequency of extreme climate events have increased in Pakistan during the recent decades.
In rural Pakistan, women and elderly are likely to suffer the most from adverse impacts of climate change as majority of them are engaged in/dependent on agriculture which is highly climate sensitive. Women and children are already an underpaid, overworked and exploited resource‘ and climate change will further increase this workload and accentuate their vulnerability. Yet, the gender vulnerability is one of the most ignored areas in the climate research.
This research explores the impact of climate change and gender differentiated socio-economic factors on household vulnerability. The study is based on the Climate Change Impact Survey (CCIS), 2013 data collected from 3430 farm households located in 16 districts of Pakistan representing all the major cropping systems and various categories of farms by tenancy and size of operational holding.
The results regarding health vulnerability regression model are suggestive that family composition by gender and age as well as literacy among females are important determinants of health vulnerability. It is observed that the households with higher number of younger family members are more health vulnerable. The farm households which have higher female ratio in their families are found to be more health vulnerable; whereas the households with greater ratio of educated females in the family are less health vulnerable. Finally, the results suggest that almost all climatic factors except Rabi season deviation of precipitation are important determinant of the health vulnerability and all the climatic variables enhance household level health vulnerability except the long run norm of the Kharif precipitation and Rabi-temperature which reduces health vulnerability.
The results of binary logit model estimated for food security are suggestive that family size and literacy among female members of the household are important determinants of the food security both affecting it positively and significantly. However, the composition of family by gender (female ratio) is not an important determinant of household food security. Finally, deviation of Rabi temperature from the long run norm and that of Rabi precipitation and Kharif precipitation have statistically significant effect on food security. The deviation in Rabi temperature has the adverse impact on food security as it affects wheat productivity, a staple food in Pakistan. The precipitation deviations in both the seasons have a positive impact on food security.
Climate change has added to the enormity of India's food-security challenges. While the relationship between climate change and food security is complex, most studies focus on one dimension of food security, i.e., food availability.
This paper provides an overview of the impact of climate change on India's food security, keeping in mind three dimensions — availability, access, and absorption. It finds that ensuring food security in the face of climate change will be a formidable challenge and recommends, among others, the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices, greater emphasis on urban food security and public health, provision of livelihood security, and long-term relief measures in the event of natural disasters.
To develop climate-resilient strategies and make adequate policy interventions, there is a need for an integrated assessment of the impact of climate change on India's food security. So far, there are fewer studies on the impact of climate change on other dimensions of food security besides production. Research efforts should be directed towards assessing and quantifying where possible the impact of climate change on undernutrition and food absorption.
Countries of the Asia Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change as indicated by the global assessments by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).
Global food prices rose through much of 2010 and into early 2011. What does that mean for the lives of poor people in developing countries, who spend up to 80 per cent of their household income on food? To find out, IDS research partners and Oxfam went to ask them, returning in March 2011 to eight community ‘listening posts’ in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, and Zambia, that were previously visited in 2009 and 2010. The researchers asked: What has happened to prices and wages since last year? How are people adjusting to these changes? What do people think causes food price volatility, and what do they think should be done about it?
The overall picture that emerges from these eight communities is of a more varied impact than during the 2008 food and fuel price spike. This is partly because food prices have not risen evenly everywhere. Zambia, for instance, has seen prices of maize (its food staple) decline since 2010, whereas in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Kenya, the price of the main staple – rice or maize – is higher than in 2010. In all eight communities, prices of most other foods, including sources of protein (meat, fish, tofu, or lentils), vegetables, and cooking oil, have also risen, as have many non-food essentials, such as cooking fuel, transport, rent, and other items, including fertilizer in Zambia.
The extent of people’s discontent with the situation becomes clearer when asked about their opinions on the causes of food price rises, and what should be done about them. From across the eight sites comes the sense that local food prices depend on harvests and environmental conditions in-country; there was a strong undercurrent of concern over scarcity from the way people spoke about population pressures and shrinking agricultural farmland in some places. Few people think international food prices are an important cause; some even dismiss such factors as merely convenient excuses made by their ineffective governments. But while governments are held responsible for acting to protect their people from price spikes, they are generally seen as having failed to do so effectively. There is a belief that governments can act to keep prices low if they want to; in Zambia, for instance, some people credited the imminent elections with putting political pressure on the government to keep staple prices low.
Poor people’s explanations of why governments have generally failed to act on food price rises revolve around two key perceptions: that governments do not care about poor people’s concerns; and that corruption at different levels of the system ensures that prices cannot be controlled, either because market inspectors can be bought off, national politicians owe big businessmen favours for help with election expenses, or cartels are permitted to operate.
Young urban men appear particularly angry about government failures to act. With ongoing revolutions in the Middle East and other protests against governments in Europe, the stress and discontent fuelled by high food prices merits close attention.
Climate change is likely to have far-reaching consequences for agriculture, natural resources and food security, demanding a response that integrates research, development and policy. Because of the disproportionate impact of climate change on the rural poor, priority investments should be directed towards poor agriculture, fish or forest dependent people whose livelihoods are most at risk.
The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is the Australian Government's specialist agricultural research-for-development agency. Funded through the Australian aid program, ACIAR identifies opportunities and brokers partnerships between Australia and developing countries to undertake international agricultural research and capacity building.
ACIAR's research portfolio covers crops, livestock and fisheries, natural resources and forestry, and economics, policy and social sciences. Projects are designed so that new knowledge and innovative practices underpin development in partner countries and Australian agricultural systems.
ACIAR research partnerships have developed more resilient farming systems in many countries of the Indo Pacific region. Both mitigation and adaptation to climate variability and change are important components of this research for development.
This brief highlights the wide range of ACIAR activities addressing climate variability in the Indo-Pacific region through climate smart practices (CSA).
Demand for animal protein is growing. Global consumption of meat is forecast to increase 76 per cent on recent levels by mid-century. A âprotein transitionâ is playing out across the developing world: as incomes rise, consumption of meat is increasing. In the developed world, per capita demand for meat has reached a plateau, but at excessive levels. Among industrialized countries, the average person consumes around twice as much as experts deem healthy. In the United States, the multiple is nearly three times.
This is not sustainable. A growing global population cannot converge on developed-country levels of meat consumption without huge social and environmental cost. Overconsumption of animal products, in particular processed meat, is associated with obesity and an increased risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, type-2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Livestock production is often a highly inefficient use of scarce land and water. It is a principal driver of deforestation, habitat destruction and species loss.
The evidence in favour of a major transformation of our food systems is now overwhelming. Many influential studies have helped shape our understanding of the perilous situation our food systems are in, from the degradation of ecosystems to the fragility of farmer livelihoods in many parts of the world; from the persistence of hunger and under-nutrition to the rampant growth of obesity and diet-related diseases.
Highlights of this report:
This report provides an overview of the use and impact of the Norwegian aid contribution to the World Food Programme's (WFP) humanitarian activities.
The annual IFPRI Global Food Policy Report provides an in-depth look at major food policy developments and events in the past year, and examines key challenges and opportunities for the coming year. The 2016 report This year’s report draws on the latest research on opportunities and challenges the world will face in achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to food and nutrition security.
The report argues that, if we are to meet SDG targets, we must promote and support a new global food system that is efficient, inclusive, climate-smart, sustainable, nutrition- and health-driven, and business-friendly. It includes chapters on climate change and smallholder farmers, sustainable diets, food loss and waste, and water management as well as regional profiles of the unique challenges facing Africa, Middle East & North Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia, and Latin America & the Caribbean.
This policy brief addresses the knowledge gap that exists about the effectiveness of cash transfer programmes to impact young people’s health, development and well-being. The brief maps out a variety of emotional and physical aspects of young people’s development during their transition to adulthood, with the aim of undertaking a comparative longitudinal study of four countries (Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The main pathways that affect young people’s development that are here considered are education, mental health, poverty and general health and nutrition. Data is being collected directly from young people across in order to provide policymakers with information on whether and through what mechanisms the transition to adulthood can be influenced by social protection programmes.
Adapted from authors' summary.
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2004 the International Year of the Rice (IYR). The IYR is a venue to promote improved production and development of sustainable rice-based systems that will contribute to environmental conservation and a better life for present and future generations. Rice is the country's staple food, the main source of income for millions of farmers, and the flagship industry of an agricultural country like the Philippines. In more ways than one, it is the grain that shaped the cultures, diets, and economies of the Filipinos and the rest of the Asians. One of the Philippine government's answers to the increasing shortage of rice supply in the country is the introduction of hybrid rice. This new breed of rice provides higher yields that would make it possible for Filipino farmers to meet the huge demand for rice. However, while the introduction of hybrid rice seems favorable to our neighboring countries because of low labor costs and highly irrigated areas, the same scenario does not seem applicable to the Philippines. This issue's main article gives the reasons why this is so.
This edition of The State of Food and Agriculture 2015 reviews the effectiveness of social protection interventions in reducing poverty, raising food consumption, relieving household food insecurity and hunger, and promoting longer-term improvements in nutrition. It is argued that social protection programmes are effective at reducing poverty and hunger. This is especially the case when they are gender-sensitive or targeted at women because they enhance child and maternal welfare, which is important for breaking generational poverty.
However, as poor households typically face multiple constraints and risks, the report cautions that social protection, by itself, is not enough to move people out of poverty. The report discusses how social protection and agricultural policies can be interwoven to maximize programme and developmental impacts, and makes the case that social protection measures will help break the cycle of rural poverty and vulnerability, when combined with broader agricultural and rural development measures.
Adapted from available summary.
The quantitative restriction (QR) on rice will last until the end of 2004. The paper employs a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model to analyze the possible poverty and distributional effects of the rem oval of QR and the reduction in tariff on rice imports. Policy experiments indicate that while market reforms in rice lead to a reduction in the overall headcount poverty index, both the poverty gap and the squared poverty gap indices increase. The Gini coefficient increases as well. In general, these results imply that the poores t of the poor are adve rsely affected. In particular, while market reforms in rice bring about a reduction in consumer prices that is favorable to all, imports of rice surge and generate displacement effects on poor households that rely heavily on agricult ure for factor incomes, particularly on palay rice production and other related activities. Palay production and its output price decline. This translates to lower demand for factor inputs in the sector, lower factor prices in agriculture, and lower factor incomes for these households. Thus, poverty in these groups, as well as the general income inequality, deteriorates. However, the results of the experiments involving various poverty-offsetting measures indicate that an increase in direct government transf rs to these household groups can provide a better safety net.
This paper analyzes the changes in the Philippine rice economy during the past three and a half decades and evaluates the policy options in light of the prospective rice supply and demand situation over the next decade and beyond. The changing nature and trends in rice production, trade and consumption are presented here. Projections of demand, supply and trade gap are provided as well.
Due to the increase in prices of basic agricultural commodities in 1995, food price stability and food security emerged as a major policy concern in the Philippines. This paper argues that the sharp increases in prices of rice; largely the choice and management of policy instrument have caused corn and sugar. It argues that highly protectionist policy on tariffs imposed on sensitive agricultural products is not sustainable over a prolonged period of time. Moreover, bidding out of the right to import while retaining quotas, can minimize gross errors in timing and amount of importation.
Provision of safety nets for the poor is a popular call in development policies especially in light of the government’s pursuit of structural and macroeconomic adjustments.
A simple exercise in this article shows that even when the only information employed in identifying potential beneficiaries is the area of residence, an area-differentiated income transfer program amounting to P2 billion is capable of achieving the same poverty reduction as a universal program. Increases in food prices are also found to be inimical to poor households.
[extracted from source]
Addressing humanity’s great challenge — finding sustainable ways to feed rapidly increasing numbers of people around the world — is Latin America’s great opportunity.
Across Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), a more productive and environmentally sustainable agriculture system holds great promise for achieving food security around the world — as well as for the region’s development, for poverty alleviation and for social progress.
The LAC region has a third of the world’s fresh water resources, the most of any developing region when measured on a per capita basis, and more than a quarter of the world’s medium to high potential farmland. The region as a whole is already the largest net food exporting region in the world, and it still has achieved only a small fraction of its potential to expand agricultural production for regional consumption and global export.1 In addition to its abundant natural resources, the region has a large number of farmers who have extensive experience and capacity to innovate, as well as relatively strong institutions and markets. The essential building blocks for massive and sustainable agricultural growth are already in place.
But in order for the entire LAC region to deliver on its enormous agricultural potential, many “moving parts” will have to be brought into harmony. How to do that is the subject of this report.
The next 10 to 20 years offer a critical window of opportunity to advance new forms of productive and environmentally sustainable agriculture in the region. With that in mind, we have set out to illustrate the great potential that exists, the obstacles and challenges that stand in the way of realizing that potential, and how the private and public sectors can and must move forward together.
Around the world, women farmers are taking a leading role in implementing strategies aimed at crop variety conservation and diversification, with the goal of strengthening local climate change adaptation capacities. That is the message conveyed in this gender brief by the Center for International Forestry Research. The brief begins by outlining the problem: political, social, economic, and environmental changes are putting pressure on farmers’ seed systems, systems in which women play a key role. However, these women are often overlooked by researchers and development personnel, policies, and programmes. This context is expanded upon, with the brief noting that every stage of local seed systems, from selection, to storage, production, distribution, and exchange, is under growing stress. Privatisation, rural to urban migration, a growing feminisation of agriculture, climate changes, and declining crop varieties are all significant contributors to the insecurity of women and local seed systems.
Two case studies are then concisely discussed to illustrate the central role women are playing in tackling these issues. Firstly, there is the story of Pema, who lives with her parents, husband, and daughter in Bhutan. Together with the rest of their village, Pema is trying to adapt to climate change through crop and rice diversification. The brief presents Pema’s own words as she describes the difficulties they have faced through the damage caused by wild boars, and the reduction of water due to drought. The second case study concerns crop and variety conservation in South Africa, where the initiation of a national community seed bank is supporting local smallholder communities in their efforts to revive and improve traditional seed-saving practices. One such community has women front and centre, in the form of the Gumbu village community seed bank, managed and operated by 40 women farmers.
Women play a key role in ensuring food security, yet in Nigeria rural women farmers have suffered long-term marginalisation in the nation’s affairs. In light of this fact, this study seeks to determine and better understand the roles rural women farmers play as household food producers, as conservators of agrobiodiversity, and as food processors in the Cross River State. The study employed a survey research design, and included 2231 respondents of whom 2021 were rural women farmers, and 210 were agricultural extension agents. A total of 221 rural women farmers and 21 extension agents were then chosen for further study, using a random sampling technique. The questionnaire used was split into four parts; first on the personal information of the respondent, and then on each of their roles as food producers, conservators, and processors.
The overall findings of the study showed that rural women play a significant part in the food security of Cross River State. In none of the sectors investigated did the respondents have significant differences in opinion compared to the hypothesis presented by the study, that positioned rural women farmers as important actors in household food security and production. Furthermore, a literature review provides evidence agreeing with the findings of this study. This includes a Food and Agriculture Organisation finding in 2009 that estimated women to be responsible for around 50% of global food production, rising to 60-80% of production for household food consumption in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan Africa countries. The authors note that Douda (2009) estimated that women in south-western Nigeria account for up to 90% of labour used in rice cultivation, underlining their fundamental importance to food security. Other findings note the importance of women to maintaining biodiversity, conservation, and traditional knowledge.
The use of ‘systems strengthening’ can help achieve food and nutrition security, contribute to growing a more sustainable economy, and better respond to inherent systemic challenges. That is the argument of this topic brief, presented in a Nigerian context. The brief shows how the principles behind systems strengthening can be used to achieve a cohesive, efficient, and just global food security agenda.
To begin, the authors define systems strengthening as the process of identifying and implementing changes in policy, ownership, mindset, and practice across multiple systems at the same time, in this case the agricultural, nutrition, and health systems in Nigeria. This is done via an array of initiatives and strategies that improve the functions of multiple, interlinked sectors so that access, coverage, quality, and efficiency are simultaneously increased. The second half of the brief is dedicated to communicating nine key building blocks for a global food security agenda, most of which form the basis of strategic initiatives behind the systems strengthening approach:
In unprecedented fashion, much of Africa is currently at risk of losing a vast wealth of knowledge about crops, nutrition, medicines, biodiversity, and ecosystems, just as it is needed most. Rapidly changing social and environmental contexts are threatening traditional ways, and it is vital that the rich knowledge held by the present generation of elders is allowed to continue to inform and complement contemporary science and technology, and not simply become lost. To argue this case in-depth, the African Biodiversity Network and the Gaia Foundation have jointly produced this report that explores the central role that women and traditional knowledge plays in the resilience and diversity of local, rural food systems across the continent. It is hoped that the document will help spur discussion and debate, and inspire greater inclusion and documentation of African women’s knowledge and roles in agriculture within a framework of peaceful community building.
The first section of the report introduces and contextualises the role of African women as custodians of seed and food diversity. It describes Africa’s rich biocultural and crop diversity, and the unique role women play in maintaining and passing on traditional knowledge often linked to identity-affirming sacred sites, rituals, and symbolism. A guest interview with Professor Patricia Howard, author and political ecologist, discusses the status that women derive domestically through this knowledge, and how this role is unjustly marginalised, under-researched, and unaccounted for in official statistics. Key messages include that: seed is at the centre of agriculture and food systems; women tend to be the main custodians of wild foods; and the present generation of elders are possibly the last generation which retain living memory of Africa’s rich biodiversity.
Section two discusses a number of ways in which women’s roles in agriculture and the community is undermined: the impacts of colonisation and globalisation; the commercialisation of agriculture; the legal barriers presented by GMO patenting; land-grabbing for extraction and biofuels; and pressure from commercial interest to narrow crop-diversity, which places stress on local seed exchange systems and biodiversity. This section also has an interview with feminist, philosopher of science, and science policy advocate Dr. Vandana Shiva, who is committed to protecting farmers’ rights to their own seed stores. The section concludes that colonialism brought Victorian values regarding women that laid the foundation for decades of gender discrimination. Additionally, free trade agreements have negatively impacted local producers, who are unable to compete with large corporations.
Section three concerns the restoration of women’s traditional knowledge and leadership, and its importance to increasing resilience and food security. The concept of agroecology is introduced, with the aid of a selection of expert interviews. A key message is that agroecology, an approach that builds on and empowers traditional knowledge in a holistic fashion, is ecologically, socially, and economically just, and if used widely enough can be effective at mitigating climate change. Additionally, community-led dialogues, reflection, and research must be continued and strengthened.
The report the presents a number of women’s voices from the field, with words from practitioners, advocates. and seed custodians in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, South Africa, and Benin. Finally, four key priorities are identified and outlined in the conclusion of the report:
Seasonal Climate Forecast (SCF) is one of the tools, which could help farmers and decision makers better prepare for seasonal variability. Using probabilistic principles in projecting climatic deviations, SCF allows farmers to make informed decisions on the proper choice of crop, cropping schedule, levels of input and use of mitigating measures. However, a cloud of uncertainty looms over the true value of SCF to its target users.
To shed light on the true value of SCF in local agricultural decision making and operations, farm and household level survey was conducted. A total of 85 corn farmers from the plains and highlands of Echague and Angadanan, Isabela were interviewed.
Results showed that climate and climate-related information were undoubtedly among the major factors being considered by farmers in their crop production activities. All aspects explored on the psychology of corn
growers pointed to the high level of importance given to climatic conditions and SCF use. This was evident on the farmers’ perceptions, attitudes, and decision-making processes.
Though the high regard of farmers on climate forecast and information cannot be questioned, actual application of such information seemed still wanting. Most corn farmers still started the season by “feel”—relying on the coming of rains and usual seasonal cropping schedules when commencing key farm operations. Reliable indigenous knowledge on climate forecasting was scarce. With corn farmers in Isabela still thirsting for climate-related information, the delivery of appropriate information and accurate forecasts should be addressed through proper extension and provision of support.
Overall, SCF still has to solidify its role in the decision making process. Reliable SCFs remain the key to answer the riddle of seasonal variability and allow farmers to securely harness the goodness of the changing seasons. Ultimately, a holistic approach is necessary to truly elevate the productivity in Isabela’s corn lands.
This paper documents the activities of the National Food Authority (NFA), particularly on rice marketing, in realizing its mandates of buying high and selling low. Because the Philippine agriculture is greatly affected by extreme climate events such as El Niño and La Niña, this paper highlights the importance of seasonal climate forecast (SCF) information as input to the formulation of various policy decisions of the NFA. Among these important policy decisions are: how much volume of paddy rice to procure from farmers to be able to defend its support price; how much volume of rice to maintain in order to achieve stability in the supply and consumer price; and how much volume of rice, as well as when is the best time, to import to be able to position the optimal level of stocks in time for the lean season. It is also argued in the paper that importation has been playing a significant role in the rice supply-demand situation of the country since 1990, making it one of the most significant government interventions in the rice sector. Based on historical data assessment, some of the worst events in the past such as the 1995 rice crisis and over-importation during the 1997-1998 El Niño could have been avoided if policy decisions, particularly on the volume and timing of rice importation, were linked to SCF. Indeed, linking crop production and import decisions more systematically with SCF would enhance the usefulness of these forecasts at a more practical level.
The measurement of poverty essentially hinges on choosing a welfare indicator, and setting a poverty line, i.e. a minimum value of the welfare indicator that households (or persons) must have to fulfill their basic needs. In developing countries, the poverty lines used for measuring monetary poverty are absolute poverty lines, which are based on a fixed welfare standard that is merely updated across time by price changes, and whose differing nominal values across regions merely reflect cost of living differences.
To monitor changes in absolute poverty across time, it is crucial to ensure that the established poverty line is a fixed standard of living that represents the minimum standard required by an individual to fulfill his or her basic food and nonfood needs. Typically, the food (component of the) poverty line is set with the cost of basic needs method, which entails determining the price of some nutritional benchmark through an artifice. In the Philippines, the official food poverty line is estimated at urban and rural areas of each province by using a one-day food menu as the artifice. These menus satisfy energy, and other nutrient requirements. We review the issues raised on this methodology, including the nutritional benchmarks, and propose an alternative approach for estimating the food poverty line using a representative food basket (and some spatial price indices to adjust for differences in cost of living). The proposed methodology addresses issues on consistency raised against the current official approach for setting food poverty lines
In the Philippines, importation has remained as one of the most feasible options for the government to meet the growing demand for rice. It is thus imperative for the government to develop a strategy that would ensure adequate supply and minimum importation costs. One of the critical factors in import decisionmaking is rice production. The Inter-Agency Committee on Rice and Corn (IACRC), where the National Food Authority (NFA) and Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) are members, decides on importation when there is an impending production shortfall in the coming season. However, because Philippine agriculture is vulnerable to extreme climate events and climate change is believed to further intensify the effects of seasonal climate variability, rice production forecast is becoming more uncertain. Inaccurate production forecasts could lead to incorrect volume and ill-timing of rice imports, which in turn could result in either a waste of resources for the government or a burden to consumers. Contraction of rice imports in the early 1990s, ill-timing of imports in 1995, and overimportation in 1998 illustrate how inaccurate forecasts of volume and timing of rice importation, especially during El Niño and La Niña years, could result in substantial economic costs such as higher rice prices due to rice shortages, higher storage costs, among others.
This paper evaluates the significance of SCF information, among other things, in rice policy decisions of the government, particularly on importation. It presents an alternative method of forecasting the level of rice production through regional rice production models. The rice production models systematically incorporate SCF and could be used in support of the current practice of forecasting rice production based on planting intentions.
The paper also demonstrates how SCF, together with these production estimates, could be incorporated in the rice import decisions of the government through the Rice Importation Simulation (RIS) model, which was developed using a Discrete Stochastic Programming (DSP) modelling approach. The RIS model, which recommends a set of optimal rice import strategies, could serve as guide for the government in its rice import decisions in the face of seasonal climate variability and could be used in estimating the potential value of SCF.
Increasingly, development policy has taken a social reform focus. Public policies and government programs articulated in the Medium Term Philippine Development Plans reflect the thrust toward sustainable development. However, since all members of society do not equally benefit from economic growth, government has to develop and implement social protection mechanisms, and to work on reducing poverty.
This paper presents a few of the latest statistics on income poverty, growth, and inequality, and makes a case about the need not only to monitor current poverty, but also to reduce future poverty. An assessment of the trends in household vulnerability to income poverty is made for the years 2000, 2003, and 2006. Measurement of household vulnerability is based on the use of a modified probit model, income data from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey, as well as the official poverty lines. Policy implications about the vulnerability assessment are also discussed.
The Philippines has been posting progress in terms of poverty reduction since the early 1990s. However, reversal in the trend was observed in 2006. Further worsening of the poverty situation is expected given the various economic and natural shocks (i.e., food and fuel price hikes; global financial and economic crisis; typhoons Milenyo, Reming, Frank, Ondoy, Pepeng; and the recent El Nino) that recently hit the country. Many households, especially those that belong to the bottom 40 percent, are deemed vulnerable to these shocks.
Using a panel of households from the different rounds of Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) and Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS) from 2003 to 2008, this paper examined the movements in and out of poverty among households. The study provided a description of the extent of chronic and transient poverty as well as the various household characteristics that discriminate among the different groups of households, including the chronic and the transient poor. A panel regression analysis was also explored to identify factors that can predict the income-based poverty status of households. Based on the descriptive and regression analyses, some insights were presented that can guide the government in the formulation of specific types of interventions to different groups of households, especially the transient poor. This is hopefully an attempt to recover the previous gains in poverty reduction and thus attain the MDG target of halving extreme poverty by 2015.
This paper tries to characterize the current situation in the Philippines with respect to the goal of the Aquino administration to be food secure and self-sufficient in rice by 2016. Specifically, it aims to address the question: "Should the government continue its efforts in increasing rice productivity to achieve food self-sufficiency, or should it focus instead on increasing the production of high-value crops for exports, in the aim of achieving food security?"
The study finds that the Philippines is far from being food secure. Looking at the food-trade balance at the macro level, it was noted that food security has deteriorated through time due to increased imports. At the micro level, several indicators of food self-sufficiency and food security were identified. A negative correlation between food self-sufficiency and all four indicators of food security namely: 1) value of food consumption, 2) share of nonstaples, 3) share of animal products, and 4) proportion of households with sufficient food, was established with respect to the relationship of food security, food self-sufficiency, and well-being. Rice self-sufficiency on the other hand, was found to be positively correlated with food security and per capita expenditure, which is a measure of standard of living.
Moreover, the paper looked into the relationship of agricultural exports on food security. In particular, it examined the effect of expanding the production of high-value crops for export, and its possible contribution to food insecurity, in terms of reducing the domestic food production. Results revealed that the expansion of export crop production will not displace crop land, nor will it have a significant effect on staple crop availability or prices.
Initiatives toward the attainment of global food security have been done not just unilaterally but also regionally and globally. Among the platforms which have made great efforts in this aspect is the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). In 2015, the Philippines will host the next APEC Summit. Food security shall be high on the agenda of the Summit and of various Meetings. To provide advice to the Philippine Government on the possible Philippine position on food security during its hosting, this paper recommends that the Philippines should adopt agribusiness development based on sustainable food supply chains as its priority advocacy, while continuing to promote elements of food security as expressed in the APEC Road Map. This "branding" integrates a strong position on Blue Economy with the agribusiness development and road map thrusts of DTI and DA.
This paper looks at the application of ICTs to the improvement of state-citizen relations in a developing country context. It argues that, to maximise responsiveness of the government, ICTs need to target the structural problems in state-citizen relations, from which unresponsiveness of the state to citizens is generated. Failure, as portrayed here, arises from the fact that ICTs, rather than being used for tackling the causes of issues in government responsiveness, tend to be conceived and utilised primarily as a means for acquiring political consensus.
This argument is illustrated through a case study of computerisation of the ration card procedure in the southern Indian state of Kerala, where a typical problem of state unresponsiveness – mirrored by a burgeoning amount of unattended ration card applications – is matched by a typical e-government solution, i.e. digitalisation of the process of document release.
The case study reveals that, while the structural problems of the process of ration card delivery in Kerala lie within two crucial nodes, namely poverty status determination and verification of applications, the digital solution devised by the government addresses predominantly the front-end, politically appealing node constituted by citizen application for a ration card. This strategy, which leaves untouched the crucial nodes of state unresponsiveness, turns out in citizen dissatisfaction on the long run. Implications are both theoretical, as a cause for failure is identified and deconstructed in the domain of ICT4D, and practical, as an orientation to structural problems is recommended for policymakers that engage in ICT-based government reform.
The feminization of agriculture is well recognized: women are acknowledged as the main food producers in mainstream development policy and practice. However, women are disproportionally affected by hunger and malnourishment. A growing body of literature focuses on how to contribute to improved nutrition through agricultural interventions. ‘Women’s empowerment’ is often cited as a promising strategy for improved nutrition. Yet, there are multiple meanings of women’s empowerment and a lack of evidence on the linkages between women’s empowerment and food and nutrition security. As a result, proposed and emerging responses do not provide the evidence of what works and why; neither do they result in sustainable food and nutrition security.
This paper contributes to literature on the linkages between food and nutrition security using a gender lens; through which we can consider specific power relations between men and women. The paper argues that addressing unequal gender power relations is part of the solution to achieving improved nutrition and agricultural outcomes.
Finally, the paper introduces the Nutrition and Gender Sensitive Agriculture Toolkit for addressing food and nutrition insecurity using an explicit gender lens. This toolkit was developed as part of a KIT and SNV partnership.
The current levels of food and nutrition insecurity in Zimbabwe condemn a large section of the population to reduced intellectual and physical capacity and ill health, resulting in limited productivity and worsening poverty. The gains in nutrition during the 1980s have largely been eroded. This chapter discusses the food and nutrition situation in Zimbabwe by closely examining the patterns and impact on vulnerable populations. The nutrition situation is then related to the HIV and AIDS pandemic and poverty. Poverty makes HIV worse and AIDS makes poverty worse (Ray and Kureya, 2003). The increase in HIV infections and poverty has resulted in some doubts about the ability of the country to improve nutrition and food security.
The chapter then elaborates on the nutrition policy as well as the institutional set-up responsible for monitoring and addressing the nutrition problems.
Emerging strategic partnerships are examined from the national (state and private) perspective and at the local level where the zunde ramambo concept has emerged as a crucial social safety-net for many vulnerable people. Social groups that have been identified as most prone to food shortages and hence malnutrition even in times of plenty are families working seasonally in existing and former large-scale commercial farming areas (Mehretu, chapter 5), some families in communal and resettlement areas, and low-income urban dwellers. Nutrition policy making was mooted with the aim of reducing the severity of the problem. The last two sections of the chapter examine the lessons learnt and the challenges that face the country in dealing with the problems of nutrition.
There is now substantial evidence that periodic cash transfers to poor households as a form of social protection, particularly when conditional on complementary investments in child schooling and health, can lead to substantial and sustained improvements in household welfare, household food security and child schooling. Similarly, food transfers can lead to substantial improvements in household food security and may have persistent effects on household expenditure and food consumption. However, there is very limited evidence directly comparing impacts of the two modalities in the same setting.
This study draws from a unique set of integrated social protection experiments conducted in two countries to compare the relative impacts of cash and food transfers on household behavior in side by side comparisons in starkly different contexts: Ecuador and Uganda.
The study addresses the following research questions:
Genetically modified (GM, transgenic) crops have come to be widely invoked as a key technology for improving agriculture in the developing world, enhancing agricultural productivity, alleviating poverty and achieving food security at both household and global levels. Yet the types of GM crops and traits currently on the market are considered to have been designed to meet the needs of farmers in industrialised countries and to offer little to small-scale farmers in the developing world. Though a range of more relevant crops and traits may be in the pipeline, they appear to be some way off.
This paper examines these claims. Focusing on the case of the international agribusiness company Monsanto, the paper demonstrates that stories about sustainability and feeding the world played an important role in driving and shaping that company’s technological and commercial strategies over a period of 20 years, even though they had little influence over the actual content of the technologies that were being developed in Monsanto’s laboratories
The Child Grant Programme is one of the Government of Zambia’s largest social protection programmes. The programme provides a monthly cash payment of 60 kwacha (US$12) to very poor households with children under five years old.
A randomised controlled trial of 2,515 households was implemented to investigate the impact of the programme. The researchers found that cash transfers improve household consumption, food consumption, diet diversity and food security. These outcomes lie along the causal pathway linking the cash transfer to children’s nutrition. For children under five, there were positive but not statistically significant impacts of the programme on weight. There were also strong and significant heterogeneous impacts on reducing stunting among children who have access to clean water or more educated mothers. The results demonstrate that nutrition can be improved through an integrated and holistic strategy instead of only pursuing targeted programmes in one sector such as health or agriculture.
Food safety has moved up the policy agenda in industrialised countries in recent years. Governments have tightened both product and process standards, and businesses have had to respond to ever more stringent public food safety standards and the need to maintain consumer confidence.
Private voluntary standards developed by groups of companies are one response to this challenge. Complying with process-based standards and certification at the farm level has become a market access condition for access for some products. Failure to meet these challenges will undermine rural development strategies predicated on expanding agricultural production and introducing high-value products.
An analysis of the EUREPGAP standard for horticulture links this standard to the development of European Union food safety regulations. As a pre-farm gate standard, EUREPGAP creates new challenges not only for farmers, but also for the exporters that play a key role in the horticultural value chains supplying European supermarkets.
When some European supermarkets began to insist that Kenyan suppliers be certified, the potential impact on small farmers in Kenya was recognised by numerous development agencies. However, to the extent that their responses focused directly on the problems of small farmers rather than on certification as a value chain coordination issue, some of their interventions were ineffective.
This article looks at these issues in detail. It argues that the future challenge for donors will be both to understand better how the global food business is organised into value chains that link together dispersed economic agents, and to devise policies and programmes that recognise the possible trade-offs between business vitality and poverty reduction and identify the roles and responsibilities of public and private actors in ways that allow these trade-offs to be overcome