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Policies and Partnerships for Nutritious Food Systems in Fiji

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Tuesday, September 12, 2017 0 comments

A Multi-sectoral, Gender-sensitive Approach is the Way Forward

By Judith Francis and Jana Dietershagen
Garlanding chief guests of the workshop: From left to right, Mr. Christoph Wagner, Howard Politini  and Sakiusa Tubuna
The Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organization (PIPSO), in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) held a national workshop in Suva Fiji on 28-29 June on 'Promoting Nutritious Food Systems in the Pacific Islands' within the framework of the ongoing CTA/IFAD/PIPSO project.

The aim was to present different viewpoints, exchange knowledge, and spark discussions around the multifaceted and multidimensional aspects of the agri-nutrition challenges in Fiji, which led to key recommendations that inform national policy and programmes. The event was attended by 63 participants (46% female), comprising representatives from public and private organisations. The workshop was officially opened by Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation of the European Delegation for the Pacific, Sakiusa Tubuna, Sub-Regional Coordinator of IFAD in the Pacific, and Howard Politini, Chair Board of Directors, PIPSO.

“Addressing agricultural challenges in an innovative way is what this workshop is about” – stated Wagner, adding that “The European Commission has a strong focus on public-private-partnerships.”

IFAD views the CTA/IFAD/PIPSO collaborative project as an opportunity for developing and piloting innovative approaches that strengthen the agriculture-nutrition nexus and increase people’s access to nutritious and healthy foods.

"This project is an opportunity to mainstream nutrition in agriculture. Therefore we need to pull together all the expertise", said Tubuna.
From left to right: Fantasha Lockington (CEO Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association), Emil Jejov and Judith Francis (CTA)
Judith Ann Francis, CTA’s Senior Programme Coordinator S&T Policy and leader of the CTA/IFAD/PIPSO project, presented an overview of the innovative tools and approaches that will be used for achieving the project goal, such as seed-funding; value chain coordinating/agricultural innovation (VCC/AI) multi-stakeholder platforms; and an innovation credit facility for small and medium enterprises (SME) development.

According to Francis, “through these innovative tools, the project will support communities to find solutions that build on traditional knowledge, agri-businesses to harness the social and intellectual capital and producers to engage in inclusive value chain development.” 
Participants discussing and suggesting strategies during roundtable exercises 
Dr. Jimaima Lako, a CTA consultant, presented her research findings from a rapid country scan on the Agriculture Nutrition Nexus in Fiji, which formed the basis of the highly interactive 2-day workshop. Key highlights include:
  • High prevalence of non-communicable diseases – (NCDs) (35.8%) and micronutrient deficiencies especially iron deficiency anaemia (32.4%) 
  • High dependence on imports and calorie intake from imported foods and processed foods that are generally cheaper and less nutritious, with negative impacts on health; 
  • Multiple policies and frameworks covering agriculture, health, women etc. that do not specifically address the nutrition challenges and in some cases are contradictory. 
  • 16 national policies and frameworks are in place across various line Ministries (Agriculture, Fisheries, Health, Education etc.) but these are not specific enough on addressing nutritional challenges.
  • Need for more research (including on the relationship between agri-nutrition outcomes by academia) to support the Ministries in their work, as well as private sector/businesses.
  • Major gaps in Agri-Nutrition nexus identified include Weak or absence of nutrition link in the National Development Plan and Policies in use by the various line ministries, Lack of commitment and poor coordination of the Fiji Plan of Action on Nutrition( FPAN) with multi-stakeholders and partners and Limited awareness and availability of nutrient dense local foods.
  • “Policies on agriculture, health, nutrition exist in Fiji but they are not aligned. Agriculture can change the nutrition paradigm of NCDs and anaemia.” Dr. Lako, explained. 
Other presentations and interventions on current issues in agricultural development, food security, crops and fisheries value chains and women’s empowerment by the diverse multi-sectoral panellists provided additional meaningful insights and sparked fruitful discussions during the round table group sessions. For example, Joann Young, Assistant Representative at FAO, triggered the reflections by questioning: “What is the cost of a nutritious diet?” Dr. Isimeli Tukana, Director Wellness in the Ministry of Health, advocated for agriculture as the solution to the nutrition challenges: “Fiji is going through nutrition transitions. Unless the laws change, nothing will happen. The solution for NCD’s is in agriculture.”

Women play a critical role in Fiji’s agricultural sector 
Female participants discussing during the group exercises
Cherie Moris, from Fiji Women in Fisheries Network, emphasised on the importance of women as custodians of knowledge in sectors such as fisheries; finding new markets and the cost and time of processing are just a few barriers they have to overcome. Other obstacles can be lack of access to expertise and difficulties complying with food safety standards.

Sian Rolls, from Femlink Pacific, further explained, “the biggest gender gap is in decision-making. Women feel frustrated because, despite the development changes, they have not been seeing improvements in their economic and nutrition status.”
Cherie Moris Fiji, Women in Fisheries Network
SMEs to accelerate value chain development

“SMEs create the most jobs in Fiji. They need support and capacity building,” emphasized Ravi Chand, CEO, National Centre for Small and Micro Enterprise Development.

Business in Fiji is not just about trading any more, but is gaining an inclusive community engagement role. Together the government and the private sector can contribute to sustainable economic development. 
Products of participating producers were displayed during the workshop
Save Waqainabete, Business Development Analyst at Joe’s Farm, explained: “Agri-businesses can play a vital role in addressing agri-nutrition”. Agribusinesses need to overcome financial and technical challenges while reducing costs so that fresh local produce and value added products can be affordable for local consumers. While subsistence farming is the main activity, there needs to be a shift to semi-commercial operations – this is one way to address supply issues to respond to market demand.

Workshop outcomes: Three strategies for national development consideration 
Participants presenting results from group discussion on women’s empowerment
An immediate reaction to the Fiji roundtable workshop was a request by a representative of the Ministry of Economy to submit three major strategies for their consideration in Fiji’s National Strategic Plan, which is currently being developed.
  1. Setting a high-level political agenda and urgent multi-sectoral approach to addressing agri-nutrition and tackling NCDs in Fiji. 
  2. Establishing stronger collaboration and relationship with academia and private sector for evidence based policy and strategic planning 
  3. Partnerships and collaboration between Government Ministries, communities, private sector, and academia, need to be strengthened and their ongoing activities aligned. Joint interventions could include media campaigns, agribusiness/farming communities’ initiatives with schools, promoting local produce and local cuisine, to name a few. 
Moving forward with the project

In the next few months, similar national policy roundtables are rolling out in the other project’s target countries: Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. Priority value chains are analysed to launch the Value Chain Coordination/Agricultural Innovation platforms and to identify the challenges and opportunities for investing in weather risk insurance - another innovation that the project will explore in consultation with producer organisations and representatives of the public and private sector.

According to Emil Jejov from CTA: “Index based insurance is suitable where many smallholder farmers operate. Insured farmers are able to save more and invest more in inputs and other production assets. Multi-stakeholder consultations are crucial in developing successful insurance products.”

Literacy – a building block for real change in rural areas

Posted by S.Sperandini Friday, September 8, 2017 0 comments

By Maria Hartl, Senior Technical Specialist – Gender and Social Equity
On 8 September, we celebrate International Literacy Day. But is there reason to celebrate when the number of illiterate people – the majority of whom are women – is not declining, and we are witnessing a donor fatigue in supporting literacy classes? 
Literacy is one of the benchmarks of the Education for All (EFA) Framework and is included in the 2030 Agenda (SDG 4.6). For more than 60 years, UNESCO has been leading global literacy efforts advancing the vision of a literate world for all. Yet in 2017, we are still far from achieving this goal. According to the UNESCO 2016 Global Education Monitoring Report, some 758 million adults worldwide, 63% of them women, have not attained even minimal literacy skills.  They live in rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab States and in South and West Asia.
Illiteracy is a marker of deprivation. In some countries, including Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Nigeria, less than 10% of poor rural women can read; in Niger, the rate is only 2%. Large gaps in literacy rates between women and men also exist in Cameroon, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo. In Latin America, illiteracy rates among indigenous women are often more than double those of non-indigenous women.  
Burundi: a literacy class for adults
Many illiterate people, especially among the older generations, have never been to school.  Others completed some years of primary schooling, but dropped out and are not using any literacy skills that they do have because they live in a non-literate environment. 

The persistence of such high numbers of people who cannot read and write, compounded by high levels of poverty, demographic pressure, and lack of schools and teachers , raise questions whether even with strong political will and injection of resources, the literacy goals will be achieved as envisaged. Children may be enrolled, but leave school with minimal levels of literacy – because they do not attend, or the teacher does not show up, or there are emergencies that result in the closure of classes or schools. Malnutrition also makes it more difficult for children to regularly attend school and to learn while they are there. Special efforts are required to meet the needs of drop-outs from formal schooling.

Many of those who are unable to read and write are rural poor people, the targeted participants of IFAD-supported projects. If literacy is a driver for sustainable development and greater participation in the labour market, if it improves child and family health and nutrition, reduces poverty and expands life opportunities, what can be can be done to reduce illiteracy? The challenge seems gigantic.

Capacity-building and training are major investment activities in most IFAD-supported projects, and adult literacy training is also undertaken in some cases as part of overall community development. When rural poor people are consulted in participatory community development efforts, the request for literacy training is very often among their top priorities. 

Over the last years, I have seen some projects where literacy is very much on the agenda. There I have met mostly women who were highly motivated, proud of attending and forever grateful to the project for teaching them how to read and write and bringing them to the same level as their children who attend school.

Literacy classes can be a stepping stone

Functional literacy programmes bring best results when they are linked to other project activities   and work as a stepping stone for further interventions.

In Burundi, the Value Chain Development Programme – Phase II makes it a precondition that participants attend literacy classes before joining local solidarity groups and cooperatives. The project uses the REFLECT methodology, an innovative approach to adult learning and social change developed by Action Aid in the 1990s. Over 500 organizations in 70 countries worldwide who use REFLECT as an approach to literacy and a people-centred development and advocacy method. 

When we visited a literacy class last year in Burundi, the topic was hygiene and nutrition. The teacher introduced words related to health and food, and then the class was built around these words.  This approach also prepares the participants for later activities in the project such as nutrition training for young mothers. The literacy classes enabled participants to acquire not only numeracy skills, but also basic knowledge about the functioning of savings and credit groups, which they subsequently joined. Using mobile phones, doing calculations and other practical operations such as storing phone numbers, are also practical skills taught in the literacy class. 

Madagascar: out-of-school-youth meeting after course
In Madagascar, the  Vocational Training and Agricultural Productivity Improvement Programme (FORMAPROD) targets and provides training – including functional literacy training – to young farmers, agricultural technicians and extension agents, and supports continuous vocational training in all 13 regions of the country. The project specifically focuses on uneducated youth and young women (18-25 years) who are heads of household. Special activities are provided for young people aged 14 – 18 years with little or no formal education to give them a second chance. UNESCO is a partner for the training of out-of-school-youth. The 1535 rural youth (including 453 young women) accomplished a 3-month residential course followed by artisan training and development of business plans. In the next step, the project is supported their professional start-up projects.

In Morocco, the Agricultural Value Chain Development Programme in the Mountain Zones of Taza Province enabled 1440 participants including 960 women to participate in functional literacy training in 2016. Once they have completed their literacy training, trainees will start income-generating activities.

Recently I received a beautiful letter from a group of women in Taza, whom I had met on a previous field visit.  They wrote:  "we were not able to attend school before, but thanks to the project we could realize our dreams and carry the torch of knowledge and learning into our daily family live and professional activities. The classes enabled us to participate in our personal and local development initiatives. Thank you!"




Read more:
For more information in English and French about PRODEFI, see also the IFAD website: Madagascar - Burundi



It was just a “wow” experience with a lot of “aha” moments as we spent nine days in Denmark as UNLEASH participants from IFAD. The UNLEASH Innovation Lab 2017 (hereinafter referred to as UNLEASH) is a non-profit initiative developed and funded predominantly by companies and foundations, such as Bestseller, Microsoft, Dalberg, Carlsberg Foundation and the Confederation of Danish Industry. The idea behind UNLEASH is to identify and gather one thousand young entrepreneurs, academics, professionals, etc. from over 120 countries and bring them together to elaborate disruptive, yet implementable solutions and build lasting global networks around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). IFAD was invited to nominate multiple youth delegates composed of Davinia Hoggarth (Global Engagement Unit), Fatima-Zohra Yaagoub (Partnership and Resource Mobilization Office), Thokozile Newman (West and Central Africa Division), Elena Pietschmann (East and Southern Africa Division), Valeria Smarrini (Quality Assurance Group), Maria Luisa Saponaro (Latin America and the Caribbean Division) and Anja Rabezanahary (Policy and Technical Advisory Division).

SDG 2/Food track at the Folk High School of Ry. Credit to Astrid Maria Rasmussen

Thinking out of the box and framing the problem first

The nine days took us all out of our comfort zones and pushed us to think out of the box. It all started with mingling informally, attending inspirational presentations, working together to solve business cases and joining an SDG Roadmap to visit companies that are starting to look beyond corporate social responsibility and try to integrate the SDGs more prominently in their for-profit models.
Then we were taken to different locations and hosted in different Folk High Schools throughout the country. This offered a deep dive into the Danish culture and the Danish way of living while enjoying a wonderful and conducive environment for creativity. Each day started and ended with a singing session and an inspirational moment. We were divided into teams focussing on specific challenges, and tasked to think, think and think about the problems we were to tackle and come out with concrete solutions which included a business model. This part was truly enriching because we were working with people from different professional and educational backgrounds: academia (32%), entrepreneurs (28%), tech experts (23%), and intrapreneurs (17%). So we had to leave the “IFAD world” and work with new angles and perspectives.

Team working and inspirations for disruptive and collective action

A big take away from the UNLEASH experience is how working with different people from different horizons is hard and yet very rewarding when you achieve to find a common solution. Team work is bringing out the best of us…and also the worst! We were all part of a big social experiment. This is why UNLEASH gave an award to the best team work and our colleague Elena Pietschmann was part of it. Besides, talents had the opportunity to attend speeches, interviews and panel discussions with Princess Mary of Denmark, former Prime Minister of Denmark  Lars Løkke Rasmussen, actor and philanthropist Ashton Kutcher, Denmark Minister of Development Ulla Tornaes, “Starchitect” Bjarke Ingels, and much more.

Receiving an Award for the Best Team Work. Credit to Alex Luka Ladime

Competing for the best solution for SDG 2 Zero Hunger…and winning!

One of the seven winning solutions (out of a total of 199!) was Doti Gold, designed by a team of six that included our colleague Anja Rabezanahary. Doti Gold is a social enterprise that will turn trash to gold, transforming organic waste into proteins and fertilizers through a biotechnology. Doti Gold will connect the needs of people living in urban areas to the needs of people living in rural areas. The first ones will contribute to a better waste management and the second ones will benefit from accessible and affordable agricultural inputs to increase their production and productivity. In return, the farmers will provide organic fish, chicken, pork and crop products to the markets. The social enterprise will also create jobs for people living in extreme poverty through the waste collection system. These people will receive income and training that will support them move out of poverty in a sustainable way. In addition, bigger industries/companies will contribute to develop smallholder farming and organic farming and become partners for the SDGs (see below). In sum, the model is creating a virtuous cycle between urban and rural areas for safe and nutritious food for all and will directly contribute to achieving nine SDGs (1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 17).

Partnering for global solutions

UNLEASH aims to generate youth-led innovative, implementable and scalable solutions to the SDGs in partnership with leading companies, research institutions, foundations, non-profits, and investors. What we took home is that UNLEASH really had the potential to be life-changing on many levels for all participants: from meeting investors and possibly securing funding to receiving quality feedback on one's ideas and insights, to enhancing a whole set of soft skills. The idea is now to replicate UNLEASH and make it become a recurrent event.

Many of the teams – whether or not they have been awarded - have concrete plans for implementing the ideas they developed during UNLEASH. UNLEASH organizers promised to set up a global platform to support the implementation of the various solutions and continued network opportunities.
IFAD can play a role and be part of key partners – where the very definition of partnership can evolve when such diverse points of view are (ex)changed. UNLEASH definitely presents a new modality with which IFAD can collaborate with the private sector in a youth-inclusive manner, for example through our grant programme.

The full programme, winners of the seven SDG themes, and partners can be found here: https://unleash.org/program/, https://unleash.org/news/winners-seven-sdg-themes-found/, and https://unleash.org/partners/




Improving market access in South-West Bangladesh

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Tuesday, September 5, 2017 0 comments

By Christa Ketting


“Of course, we can build 197 markets – if we would start tomorrow, then we could be finished in a couple of months. But that is not the point.” says Luthfur Rahman, project director of the Coastal Climate Resilient Infrastructure Project –CCRIP- in Bangladesh. “We won’t have any development impact when we randomly construct markets without taking their location into account” he concludes.

CCRIP constructs climate-resilient road infrastructure and markets sheds in order to improve market access in south-west Bangladesh. The project is implemented in 32 upazilas (unions) in 12 districts in the south of Bangladesh. The 12 districts are known to be among the least developed of the country and vulnerable to natural disasters such as tidal surges, cyclones and floods. The goal of CCRIP is to improve the livelihoods (higher incomes and food security) for poor households. In order to do so, it upgrades markets in the selected areas and rehabilitates the access roads towards them.

For monitoring and evaluation purposes, the location of CCRIP markets and roads are uploaded in Google earth. As Google earth allows you to consult historical images, the project is able to track how CCRIP markets develop over the course of years. For example, the footage below is that of the “Post Office Bazar” located in the Babuganj upazila of the Barisal district, which has been established in 1988. In 2013, most of the market activities took place alongside the main road. 

Photo credits: maps prepared by CCRIP Project Monitoring Unit Bangladesh
In 2014 CCRIP started with the construction of retail market sheds and open platforms, as you can see in the picture below.


These markets are constructed on government donated land, called “Kash”. Besides market sheds, CCRIP also rehabilitated access roads and internal roads, as well as constructing toilet facilities around the “Post Office Bazar”. Moreover, the project replants trees along side roads in order to make up for the logged trees. To date, 7 kilometers of trees have been replanted.


The number of sales points considerably increased in the last two years, as shown on the picture below. In particular, in the area West of the market sheds, a livestock market now takes place every Wednesday and Sunday. 


This growth can not only be attributed to the markets and roads constructed by CCRIP. Yet, it seems increased connectivity and by offering smallholders a place to sell surplus production contributes to livelihood development in the project areas. The majority of CCRIP markets thus saw an increase in goods traded and the number of traders.

Moreover, site selection seems key in order to trigger growth, especially for the rural poor. Most of CCRIP activities take place in the most remote and poor Upazila’s of Bangladesh. Moreover, the project upgrades “small markets” with around 10-50 outlets that serves the rural population. This stands in sharp contrast to the rural growth centres like the Gosairhat Bazar (below) that are upgraded by other financial institutions in line with their respective mandates. 


Bangladesh, which is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, has a fast growing economy. Small scaled interventions like the CCRIP road construction and market upgrading allows the rural population to benefit from this growth. However, as implied by project director Luthfur Rahman, these intervention should be carefully planned and well implemented.

IFAD, SECAP and Human Rights

Posted by Christopher Neglia Thursday, August 31, 2017 0 comments

By Elsie Fedha

We are all born with equal rights irrespective of our gender, our religion or our race. As humans, we are given a right to life, right to freedom, right to choice among many other rights. When the United Nations released its UN charter in 1945 and later its International Bill of Human Rights in 1948 it paved the way for member states and agencies. In 1945 the UN Charter was created and its primary purpose was to deal with the "…. problems of an economic,  social, cultural or humanitarian character…and encouraging respect for human rights…" (Article 1). In addition to the UN Charter, the International Bill of Human  Rights were created and played a crucial role in the purpose of the United Nations. 

As an enforcer of these rules and laws, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) monitors human rights across nations and publishes various documentation on the validity of countries implementation of human rights. OHCHR is an organisation that"… represent[s] the world's commitment to universal ideals of human dignity". According to OHCHR, they "…have a unique mandate from the international community to promote and protect all human rights"[1] OHCHR works as a reliable source to analyse the accuracy of a nations implementation of a treaty or a conventions.

Human rights is a fairly new concept, regardless of its  origins from the Magna Carta, it was introduced with the creation of the League of Nations which later became the United Nations. Today, OHCHR, among many other human rights agencies, plays a critical role in ensuring that human rights are respected among various nations and organisations.


Comparative Analysis of different human rights assessment approaches

Apart from nations, international organisations, particularly those a part of the UN system, have a responsibility to ensure that their work with either development or the economy is not in gross violation of any human rights principles. Institutions such as the Danish Institute of Human Rights, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), have implemented various precautions and criteria that ensure that their work abides to international standards of human rights laws. The World Bank has an in-depth criteria entitled the Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) and it goes into detail through nine steps on how to analyse the international, national and organisational legal framework in relation to human rights.

Since IFAD is still a growing organisation, in respect to social issues, the social policies already in place (such as the FPIC, SIA, ESMP)  do play a role in the monitoring of human rights. IFAD policies do address indigenous rights, women's rights and rights to land and a clean environment, which are the essential factors when addressing human rights. All these factors of human rights are addressed through the various IFAD policies such as Gender and Land or the SECAP Guidance Statements such as Water, and Physical and Economic Resettlement. The only aspect lacking within IFAD is human rights terminology. While IFAD is trying to remain away from political interference it is essential that human rights is addressed in its policies so as to abstain from any violations.

The following diagram is an example on how to incorporate human rights in relevant projects and ways to take on a human rights impact in our work.



Map of SECAP and a human rights approach

What we can learn and accomplish by taking on a human rights based approach is on how to take proper accountability and address the needs of a community in a more sustainable way. IFAD has a responsibility as an UN agency to carry out its work with a human rights mind-set.


[1] http://www.ohchr.org/EN/AboutUs/Pages/WhoWeAre.aspx

It has been one year, that the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) established its office in Jakarta, Indonesia. The office serves as a hub for the wider sub-region, covering the Fund's portfolios in  Indonesia, Malaysia, the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste. Earlier this month, IFAD commemorated this anniversary with a Forum on Empowering communities, strengthening resilience in Jakarta.

Partners and stakeholders, including government representatives from Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands, development partners, civil society and private sector, followed the invitation extended by IFAD, the Indonesian Ministry for National Development Planning and the Indonesian Ministry of Finance. Having all partners in one room provided an opportunity to explore enhance cross learning and strengthen linkages within the portfolio: As Island states, the countries in IFAD’s portfolio in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific share a number of similar characteristics related to social, economic, environmental, food and nutrition related opportunities and vulnerabilities.

We are living in a fast changing and interconnected world today.  This new world calls for joint efforts to create a more inclusive and sustainable development. For joint efforts to work, we need trust and an understanding of our shared interests. We have the global level commitment to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Our gathering today is not independent from this work, but it should complement or even catalyse the process.
H.E Bambang Brodjonegoro
Minister for National Development Planning
Indonesia
  
Indonesian Minister Bambang adressing the South-South Forum


In two sessions, participants explored good practices, common challenges and collaboration opportunities. The Project Forum Empowering communities, strengthening resilience focused on exchanging good practices and innovations from project implementation. Bringing together project partners from Fiji, Indonesia, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu, as well as regional networks and farmers’ organizations.

We at IFAD are firm believers in the power of partnerships. And our partnership with the Government of Indonesia, with the Governments of the Pacific Islands, with the Government of Papua New Guinea, and the Government of Timor-Leste, and all of you was taken to a new level when we opened the office here. I cannot think of a better way to mark this important step, and to honour the subregional character of our office, than assembling together to facilitate cross-learning and partnership not only within but among our countries.
Perin Saint Ange, IFAD Associate Vice President Programmes

Participants of the Project Forum
 Key messages emerging from the conversation were:
  • Empowering communities and creating ownership in programmes and processes for all stakeholders and giving rural people a voice and control over decisions that affect their lifes is crucial for development success.
  • Special attention should be placed on engaging young people to build tomorrow’s successful rural producers by bringing in innovative technologies, and most of all, make farming a solid business.
  • Partnerships create opportunities to leverage additional resources. Programmes must put structures and capacities in place so that these can be sustained beyond project completion.
  • Rural women and men’s resilience to increasing risks, such as by the impacts of a changing climate, can be strengthened by better natural resource management, diversifying income sources and mitigation measures such as insurances and savings.

Discussing how to ensure market access for remote rural villages.


Empowering our people and strengthening resilience is much more relevant today than yesterday, and much more so in the future, particularly with the increasing challenges through climate change, sea level rising and increasing severity of natural disasters. 
Balwyn Fa’otusia
CEO, Ministry of Finance and National Planning
Tonga

The key is to activate the community to run with the programme. When programmes do not belong to the community, they will not be sustainable.
Lottie Vaisekavea
Programme Manager Rural Development Project
Solomon Islands

Introducing coastal resource management practices mot only created additional income opportunities through eco-tourism and better coastal ecosystems. It also enhanced the villages protection from beach erosion and floods.
Sapta Putra Ginting
National Project Coordinator
Coastal Community Development Project
Indonesia



The High-Level Roundtable Transforming Rural Areas in Southeast Asia and the Pacific centred around the status of rural areas and how they can be transformed into vibrant economic and social centres. Building on the good practices and common challenges identified by the project-level forum, the high-level policy makers from Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu, also explored opportunities for South-South collaboration.

The Indonesian Minister of Villages sharing his vision for rural areas.
We have the dream to turn villages into economic growth centres.
H.E. Eko Putro Sandjojo
Minister of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration
Indonesia

We need to change the way we do development and partnerships if we want to address the challenges that we are facing. More mitigation now means less adaptation in the future.
H.E. Inia Batikoto Seruiratu
Minister of Agriculture
Fiji

IFAD has been instrumental in designing processes to strengthening communities and giving them a voice in development planning.
H.E. Tevita Lavemaau
Minister of Finance and National Planning
Tonga

Ministers and high level policy makers from Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu with IFAD Associate Vice President


In outlining the way forward, Perin Saint Ange, IFAD Associate Vice President Programmes, stressed the need to change mindsets in order to change practices, the importance of sharing knowledge and resources and the need to de-risk the agriculture sector. He recognised the expectation by IFAD’s member states to deliver faster and highlighted IFAD’s approach to develop tailored solutions—together with respective governments and communities. Findings of the forum will be reflected in IFAD’s work going forward.

Cutting the ribbon to mark the next chapter for IFAD in Southeast Asia and the Pacific



Indonesian Minister of Finance delivering her remarks.

The day concluded with a reception to celebrate the office anniversary. In her opening remarks, Minister of Finance of Indonesia, H.E. Sri Mulyani, appreciated the IFAD’s partnership with Indonesia as well as the Fund’s contributions towards Indonesia’s rural development. She further expressed her expectation that with IFAD being on the ground, this partnership can be further strengthened.





from the left: IFAD Asia and Pacific Director Hoonae Kim, IFAD SEA and Pacific Country Director Ron Hartman, IFAD Associate Vice President Programmes Perin Saint Ange, Secretary Department of Agriculture and Livestock PNG Vele Pat Ila' Ava, Minister of Agriculture Fiji Inia Batikoto Seruiratu, Minister of Finance and National Planning Tonga Tevita Lavemaau, Minister of Finance Indonesia Sri Mulyani, Senior Advisor to the Minister and IFAD Governor Indonesia Rionald Silaban



By Vivienne Likhanga, PROCASUR

Background

In November 2016, the Learning Route (LR): Practical solutions to adapt to climate change in production and post-harvesting sectors: the cases of Mozambique and Rwanda was implemented in several districts of Mozambique and Rwanda by PROCASUR Corporation. The IFAD projects: Pro-poor Value Chain Project in the Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL) in Mozambique and Climate Resilient Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP) in Rwanda were selected as one of the best practices in managing climate change and adaptation components under the Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP) in the East and Southern Africa (ESA) region. The LR was organized and co-funded under the framework of the IFAD-PROCASUR Large Grant Programme “Strengthening Capacities and tools to scale up and disseminate Innovations”.

The partnership between PROCASUR and the IFAD Projects PROSUL and PASP involved the projects acting both as the LR ‘host cases’ on the one hand and as active ‘participants’ and beneficiaries of the learning activity on the other hand. An agreement between PROCASUR, PASP and PROSUL was signed in August 2016 in order to design and implement the LR activity. PROCASUR, PASP and PROSUL staff worked jointly to identify, select and systematize the good experiences to be visited during the LR. In November 2016 PASP and PROSUL, supported by PROCASUR, successfully hosted 25 participants from 7 different countries and implemented all the learning activities foreseen by the LR in Mozmabique and Rwanda through the valuable effort of many local champions.


Learning Route Participants from the IFAD Project: Agricultural Support Services Project (ASSP) in Botswana at the experience of the multiplication of climate-resilient varieties of cassava in Manjacaze District, Gaza Province, Mozambique in November 2016

Two members of the PROSUL project team participated in the whole LR, culminating in the development of an Innovation Plan (IP): “Strengthening Institutional Capacities to Improve the Provision of Climate Information to smallholder farmers in Southern Mozambique”. The IP aims at establishing an effective climate information system for enabling farmers and agricultural stakeholders to make informed decisions with regards to seasonal planning and monitoring. This is a crucial component in many IFAD-supported projects addressing Climate Change Adaptation, and in particular in the ASAP, as an important adaptation measure to increase small-holder farmers’ resilience to climate shocks.

Technical Exchange: Enhancement of Knowledge Management in the PROSUL project

Prior investments on climate information in Mozambique had already been made by the PROSUL project with the aim of setting up an effective mechanism for the provision of climate information such as the rehabilitation of two meteorological stations, in Gaza and Inhambane provinces, and the provision of training to meteorological observers. These activities were done under the scope of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Centre for the Promotion of Agriculture (CEPAGRI), the former leading agency of PROSUL, and the National Institute of Meteorology (INAM). As highlighted in the rationale of the IP, both INAM and PROSUL failed to achieve the expected results due to the weak capacities in INAM in developing readily use messages framed to agricultural sector and to the lack of involvement of the Department of Crops and Early Warning (DCAP) within the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA).

The IP, designed by the LR’s participants from the PROSUL project, integrates the lessons they learnt during the LR from the PASP project in Rwanda, where the provision of climate information to farmers and the relationships among the government institutions involved has achieved positive results.

Local Champion, Justin Etienne Mpayimana explaining how he uses the climate information provided by the Rwanda Meteorological Agency to plan his farming activities. Justine is a farmer and a businessman running a small shop at the Mutara village in Ngoma District. He is also a member and beneficiary of the KOREMU Cooperative that illustrates the financial mechanism developed by the IFAD Project: Post-Harvest and Agribusiness Support Project (PASP) to access to equipment and technology for post harvesting activities under the hub operational model as product and business aggregation points. He is an interesting example of success of usage of climate information that has been adapted in the Innovation Plan of the PROSUL Project in Mozambique.





From the LR (November 2016 – where the IP idea was born) to date, the IP has been discussed in depth among the PROSUL project management team (PMT), the IFAD country office in Mozambique, the governmental stakeholders involved and with PROCASUR. There has been a renewed commitment from INAM to revisit their objective of increasing small-holder farmers’ resilience to climate shocks. Due to the strong interest and willingness of all the interested stakeholders and the PROSUL PMT to implement the IP, and in line with the recommendations received by IFAD in the mid-term review report, PROSUL expressed the specific request to PROCASUR to facilitate one of the activities foreseen in the IP that will lead to the strengthening of their capacities in collecting and processing climate data and the final and timely dissemination of the climate information to smallholder farmers.

In this framework, PROCASUR will be organizing a technical – institutional exchange learning activity in Rwanda involving PROSUL, MASA and INAM representatives in order to strengthen their capacities in providing climate information to smallholders and to improve the institutional dialogue by exposing them to the processes and tools used in PASP. This training will be held in September 2017.

We look forward to updating you on the progress!  Stay tuned for more on the innovation plan implementation and more information on the Learning Initiative on our Website and Facebook Page.

Por Salvador S. Merlos

 
Árboles frutales enTunga-San Pedro ©Hugo Néstor Villegas
El 20 de junio de 1698, un terremoto de magnitud 7,3 en la escala de Richter provocó grandes deslizamientos en las laderas altas del volcán Carihuairazo, que acabarían sepultando a la actual ciudad ecuatoriana de Ambato, en la provincia de Tungurahua. Pocos meses después de la catástrofe, pobladores de Santa Rosa, el Obraje de Huachi y el asiento de Ambato construían en esa misma provincia la acequia Toalló. Esta obra abastecería de agua a buena parte de la microcuenca, aunque sería también motivo de disputas a lo largo de los siglos, reflejando así la importancia crucial que el agua ha tenido en esta región desde tiempos inmemoriales.

Un año después del grave terremoto que en 2016 destruyó los hogares de más de 20.000 habitantes de poblaciones rurales del Ecuador, el Vicepresidente Adjunto del Fondo Internacional de Desarrollo Agrícola (FIDA), Périn Saint Ange, visitó el país andino con el mensaje de que, junto a la ayuda humanitaria en casos de desastre, el desarrollo a largo plazo es crucial para reconstruir vidas. Además de reuniones con ministros e instituciones, el Sr. Saint Ange viajó a Tungurahua junto con funcionarios del Ministerio de Agricultura y representantes de la Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) para reunirse con pequeños agricultores y jóvenes beneficiarios del proyecto "Buen Vivir". Su propósito era conocer de primera mano la manera en que este proyecto financiado por el FIDA está transformando los medios de vida de las comunidades rurales y especialmente de las mujeres.

Riego tecnificado en Tunga-San Pedro ©Hugo Néstor Villegas
En las inmediaciones de la antigua acequia Toalló, el presidente de la Junta de Riego del canal de Mocha-Huachi, Hugo Villegas, recibió calurosamente al Sr. Saint Ange en compañía de un gran número de los 214 beneficiarios de ese proyecto. De ahí partieron al reservorio de agua, cuya capacidad es de 4.200 m3, para comprobar in situ cómo el nuevo sistema de riego de parcelas permite diversificar la producción de papa y alfalfa en las 120 hectáreas de Tunga-San Pedro. Los principales productos que se cultivan son la alfalfa, frutales caducifolios, zanahoria, papa y maíz, mientras que en la parte pecuaria se manejan cuyes.

La incorporación de riego tecnificado es crucial para una región que se está viendo fuertemente afectada por el cambio climático. El caudal concesionado del río Mocha ha registrado un descenso de alrededor del 40% en el lapso de poco más de 20 años, lo que ha incidido directamente en la disponibilidad de agua para su uso en la acequia Mocha Huachi. "La incorporación de los sistemas presurizados, además de un uso eficiente del recurso, contribuye a empoderar a las mujeres, quienes ganan tiempo y calidad de vida, rompiendo así el circulo de la pobreza y de las desigualdades", afirmó Caroline Bidault, Gerente del Programa del FIDA en el Ecuador. Esto se ha traducido, por ejemplo, en un incremento de los rendimientos de alfalfa de 25.000 kg/ha con riego por inundación a 33.000 kg/ha con riego tecnificado; en cuanto a la papa, se ha pasado de 9.500 kg/ha con riego por inundación a cosechar 16.000 kg/ha con riego tecnificado.

Narcisa Mayorga frente al reservorio de agua de la acequia Mocha Huachi ©FIDA
El Gerente del Programa Buen Vivir Rural, Hugo Dután, destacó la importancia de la presencia del Vicepresidente Adjunto del FIDA, "al dar cuenta de iniciativas productivas tradicionales que se mejoran con la incorporación del riego, además del gran impacto territorial generado por la modalidad de intervención mancomunada entre los Gobiernos Autónomos Descentralizados, las organizaciones y el Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganadería por medio del Programa Buen Vivir rural que se ejecuta mediante el convenio con el FIDA".

Narcisa Mayorga, una de las agricultoras beneficiarias, destacó que a raíz del proyecto las mujeres disponen de más tiempo para dedicarse también a otros menesteres. "Además del tiempo ganado, ha mejorado la seguridad, pues en el pasado hubo accidentes, algunos de ellos mortales". Narcisa cuida de sus padres y corta a diario la alfalfa de su terreno para alimentar a los cuyes, que vende en una feria cada jueves. "Los nuevos turnos de riego nos han permitido renunciar a las palas, azadones y picos, para incorporarnos con las válvulas. Ya no tenemos que levantarnos de madrugada para pernoctar tempranamente".

Perin Saint Ange es obsequiado con una muestra de productos de Mocha Quero ©FIDA
La experiencia de trabajo en el Proyecto ha permitido que los beneficiarios adquieran nuevos conocimientos y desarrollen destrezas técnicas, además de fortalecer la coordinación interinstitucional, el trabajo en equipo, la capacidad de entendimiento entre todos los involucrados y un sinnúmero de aprendizajes que contribuirán al ejercicio de nuevas y mejores prácticas. Alberto Flores, operador del sistema de riego del ingreso del agua al reservorio, es un buen ejemplo de ello. Él se encarga de abrir la válvula, verificar las presiones y dar mantenimiento, al tiempo que cuida de un pequeño terreno en el que cultiva mora. Junto a él, 214 familias del ramal San Pedro han aportado un terreno para la construcción del reservorio, y han excavado más de 9.000 metros de redes secundarias, además de adquirir e instalar equipos en las parcelas.

Ángel Morales muestra el sistema de riego mientras un familiar da de comer a los peces ©FIDA
La comitiva prosiguió su visita al Directorio de Aguas de la Acequia Mocha Quero, en el cantón Pelileo, donde la implementación de sistemas de almacenamiento y riego tecnificado ha contribuido a la diversificación de la alfalfa, la mora y el tomate de árbol. Allí, Ángel Morales, uno de los beneficiarios del proyecto, explicó a la delegación del FIDA que el reservorio para regadío de su finca lo utilizan también como piscifactoría. Mientras invitaba a la comitiva a descender por su escarpado terreno para mostrar el sistema de riego ante la vista imponente de los Andes, un familiar daba de comer a los peces, destinados de momento al consumo de cuatro familias. "Este es un sueño que el proyecto del Buen Vivir ha hecho posible", comentó con visible emoción. "Me siento muy orgulloso de ser campesino".

Ángel Morales muestra el sistema de riego mientras un familiar da de comer a los peces ©FIDA

By Francesco Rubino and Elisabeth Steinmayr
Q&A with participants and World Bank representatives © F. Rubino
As part of its knowledge generation and sharing activities, in March 2017 a team from the Pro-poor Value Chain Development Project in Maputo and Limpopo Corridors (PROSUL)* travelled to Washington D.C. to participate in the annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty (20-24 March 2017). The globally re-nowned conference represented the ideal stage to share the preliminary results obtained by the project in securing land tenure rights for smallholder farmers in Mozambique.

The PROSUL project is an IFAD-supported project working to support the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the Maputo and Limpopo corridors. In doing so, the project works across 19 districts in the In-hamabane, Gaza and Maputo Provinces, focusing on three specific value chains: horticulture, cassava and red meat (i.e. cattle, goats, etc.). Alongside building stronger farmer organizations and improving the agribusiness linkages for farmers, the project strongly focuses on climate smart interventions and land tenure security in the rural communities targeted.

The paper Mainstreaming Securing Land Rights in Value Chain Development Programmes: The Case of the Pro-poor Value Chain Development Project in Maputo and Limpopo Corridors in Mozambique presented at the World Bank Conference gave insights on PROSUL’s experience in mainstreaming interventions that aim to facilitate land tenure regularization for smallholder farmers in the project provinces.

PROSUL Project Coordinator Daniel Mate arriving at the
 Conference ©F.Rubino
In its work under the cassava value chain, PROSUL has managed to secure 4,260 individual land use rights titles (DUATs – Direito de Uso e Aproveitamento de Terra) in the districts of Morrumbene, Massing and Jangamo; and of these approximately 33,5% were attributed to female-headed households, through both individual and co-titling arrangements. This showcases a great result for the project team, as they were able to go beyond their yearly target. In addition to that, almost 161,400 hectares (ha) of land were delimited and provisional land delimitation certificates issued in communities that largely depend on livestock as one of their main sources of income. Within the areas identified, circa 105,400ha were designated as grazing areas, thereby assisting the communities in their desire to reduce the land degradation through a better management of their livestock routes and grazing patterns.

Beyond the described successes PROSUL also faced a number of challenges, and in presenting the paper to the numerous participants that attended the presentation, the PROSUL Project Coordinator Daniel Mate mentioned the need to continue promoting and increasing the secured access to land for vulnerable groups such as women and youth. An additional point of interest discussed are the Community Based Natural Resource Management Plans, which will be elaborated with and for the communities, in order to strengthen the sustainable use of the natural resources surrounding them.
The paper prepared by Daniel Mate and the PROSUL Land Tenure Advisor Daniel Simango**
represents a good example of IFAD-supported projects directly engaging with knowledge creation, thereby attempting to bridge the often large gap between knowledge and practice. Furthermore, it shows PROSUL’s contribution (both theoretical and practical) to the Government of Mozambique’s Terra Segura (Secure Land) program, that seeks to ensure land tenure security regularization across the country.

Daniel Mate explained how the paper presented this year is just the first of what may well become a number of future participations and publications for the project team. In fact, PROSUL is already working on identifying topics for the 2018 Land and Poverty Conference, hoping to possibly share new experiences, and is on the look-out for other platforms and meetings in which to engage and share with partners on a global scale.

*The PROSUL project is implemented through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and through the Agrarian Development Fund (FDA).
** together with support from the IFAD Country Office