Tag Archives: Food security

Transforming Agriculture in Nepal

agriculture in nepal

Photo Credit: Sanot Adhikari

Written by: Dinesh Panday

In some years, the government declares the subsidy on quality seed to ensure food security through increased productivity but in the whole fiscal year there is neither mechanism developed nor execution.

Similarly, with regard to access to credit, the so called Agriculture Development Bank changed its policy to invest in non-agricultural portfolio and some other commercial bank like, Mega Bank which has alternative name for plough to power (to promote small scale business), but speaking truly it’s no more than slogan.

There are several instances of such nature. Weak policy formulation, implementation, monitoring, evaluation and revision system together with inconsistency in agriculture is an important issue which has created frustration among farm families and out migration of youth from rural areas.

Agriculture in Nepal is characterized by low productivity which is mainly due to predominance of traditional farming practices, heavy reliance on weather conditions and poor infrastructure development. Agriculture has been one of the pillars of the development since I was a child. On an average, in spite of two decades of investment, there is only decimal (about 3 percent) progress in Nepalese agriculture.

Government has been developing Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) to replace Agricultural Perspective Plan (APP) from 2015 with the concept of agricultural transformation, but the transformation process is not getting momentum due to small uneconomic farm size, resource constraints, inadequate infrastructure development, lack of alternative employment opportunities, lack of technical knowledge and business skills among farmers and inadequate policy supports.

In this regard, here I am presenting some of the major ways to transform Nepalese agriculture to achieve much higher productivity, competitiveness, inclusiveness, and sustainability while making it more resilient to climate change impacts, which is also a road map of ADS.

Public Private Partnership

Coordination is one of the widely talked word and terminology in Nepal but it has failed almost all the time. The contribution of the private sector has been grossly overlooked. Hence, there is a need to create conducive environment which promote private sector involvement in agriculture. Moreover, it needs to enhance a favorable environment for a broad and pluralistic participation and resource coordination amongst all potential service providers and beneficiaries in partnership to adapt and modify technologies to best meet its farmer’s requirement. So we need more public and private research to work hand in hand for farmers.

 Value Chain Approach

High value-added agricultural products in order to have a high return help to open up new markets, and even build their own brand, and promote farm diversification. Nepal is already member of WTO and other organizations which increases the competition between domestic and foreign products and entrepreneurs to satisfy consumers from their products and services. The association of actors in agribusiness chains helps to realize economies of scale and gain market power of Nepalese agricultural products. This has been observed explicitly in poultry, dairy, tea, cardamom, ginger, and fresh vegetable sectors.

Commercialization and Competitive Advantage

Investment of resources, horizontal and vertical linkages between value chain actors, and policy supports help to commercialize certain sector of agriculture industry. The involvement of farmers and resources invested in these sectors and outputs generated from them provide competitive advantage for import substitution and export promotion. Commercialization of agriculture, being a national goal, has been receiving top priority in policies, plans, and programmes of the government. However, such efforts have been in project mode not in policy shift mode. Such projects which are currently in implementation include Project for Agricultural commercialization and Trade (PACT), High Value Agricultural Project (HVAP), etc.

Agricultural Mechanization

Our agriculture is heavily dependent on human and animal power which constitutes 78 percent of the total farm power, while mechanical sources contribute only 22 percent, also one of the factors responsible for high cost of production. Agricultural mechanization, which includes improvement of simple farm tools and implements like sickle and hoe to use of power tillers, harvesters, planters and seed drills etc., has become the need of the day where concept of collective farming or block farming could be appropriate to make huge plots. Recently, government officials have developed Contract Farming Guideline focusing on the import of modern farming machinery, including discounts on VAT and other taxes. All of these particularly automation and use of ICTs will also add glamour to farming and attract more youth in agriculture bychanging their perception into an exciting and innovative industry.

Capacity building and Farmer Outreach

The current prevailing simple mechanistic delivery system of training is not enough to support farming. Limited numbers of experts (JTA to officers) are trying hard to teach the huge number of farmers and generate appropriate technology. In the field, one front line extension worker has to look after more than 1300 farm families. More ever, major of our technology transfer materials are outdated and more recent publication are in doner agencies preference language than in Nepali.

There is also need to have better coordination among training providing institutions. Providing agribusiness or entrepreneurship training to remittance recipient households and returnee migrants can play vital role in commercializing agriculture at faster rate. Hence, the government should develop supportive policy for development of human resources to improve farmers’ livelihoods, support resource sustainability, ensure national food security and promote agribusiness and trade.

To conclude that it would not be wrong as Nepal’s agricultural policies are made without their serious engagement which was also stressed in recently held program called ‘Nepal Economic Summit 2014 – Destination Nepal for Investment.’ It is high time for the government of Nepal to look into these issues critically and get the policies implemented properly so that Nepal can once again entrench as an agriculturally self-sufficient country where farmers feel secure and embrace farming as means of business and not merely a way of living.

Apply for a virtual student internship with the USAID Bureau for Food Security!

Are you a U.S. student interested in a career in international development? If so, don’t miss your chance to apply for an internship with the Virtual Student Foreign Service (VSFS) eInternship program. The application deadline is July 22. Visit these links for more information:

The VSFS program provides a unique opportunity to work with internationally-focused U.S. government agencies and gain valuable experience for your resume. Over 300 projects are available from 11 different agencies, and students can apply to their top three choices. Selected eInterns will spend 5-10 hours per week contributing to their projects during the 2014-15 school year (September 2014 through April 2015).

USAID is offering 50 different projects this year. If food security is one of your interests, we encourage you to apply to the following projects with the USAID Bureau for Food Security. If you would like to contribute to Agrilinks and other knowledge management efforts in the bureau, please consider #3 below!

  • USAID-US-BFS-1 – Program Support for USAID Food Security Projects – Support food security projects through data compilation, research, recommendations, writing, and information management
  • USAID-US-BFS-2 – Higher Education in Africa / Asia – Assist in outreach to stakeholders on higher education in Africa / Asia, including compiling mailing lists of organizations and assisting in the design of informational graphics
  • USAID-US-BFS-3 – Knowledge Management for Agriculture and Food Security Programs – Assist USAID Bureau for Food Security’s Knowledge Management team with research, writing, web tasks (via http://Agrilinks.org), and social media to support knowledge-sharing among agricultural development practitioners under the Feed the Future initiative
  • USAID-US-BFS-4 – Research / Study Opportunity Assistance – Assemble a comprehensive listing of research/study opportunities open to both US and developing country students to supplement their programs of study at their home universities; explore the impact of these opportunities on students’ personal and professional development after the experience

Virtual Student Foreign Service ad

 

Post Source: Agrilinks

What are Climate-Smart Villages?

by Cecilia Schubert and Dharini Parthasarathy

Climate-Smart Villages are taking shape in Bihar, India, helping farmers adapt and build resilience to climate change. In the photo: Babul Rai of Mukundpur village, participant in the project. Photo : V.Reddy (ViDocs).It is not unusual for farmers to give up on agriculture when repeatedly having to deal with erratic and extreme weather events. For Horil Singh, a farmer from Rajapakar in India, changes in the summer temperatures and delayed rainfall severely affected his crop planning.

“We have seen the weather change to a great extent” he said in a sit-down interview, “now low or delayed rainfall have become the norm.”

The question is, how can a farmer plan for the unexpected? And where does he turn when the rains have failed him yet again?

At the moment, our South Asia Regional Program is working hard to implement and scale-up something called the ‘Climate-Smart Village’ model project. The project has reached the furthest in the area of Bihar in India, where a number of videos have been shot, showcasing the activities.

“These villages will serve as benchmark villages,“ said Devender Singh from Rajapakar in the making of the videos. ”In the changing climate, farmers will be shown how to continue farming with new technologies.”

 

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) envisions these Climate-Smart projects to not only be long-term, but also as participatory as possible. Farmers, especially women, are encouraged to weigh in on the activities and take the lead in prioritizing what activities should be implemented in their villages. This is to make sure the climate-smart farming practices learned are kept alive long after the project has been phased out.

Learn more: Climate-Smart Villages

The project aims to raise awareness among farmers about how they can continue farming, and increase their crop yields and income, despite climatic changes. Some interventions also have low emissions co-benefits, making sure that the activities have a ‘climate-smart’ edge to them.

One successful activity that has been rolled out is the index-based insurance scheme. Several farmers have aleady received payments for failed crops that they have been able to invest in new seeds and tools.

Read their story: Farmers reap the benefits from climate insurance scheme

The scheme relies on little financial investment but is a good example of collaboration, linking research with practice.

Working with partners: Climate smart villages in India show early signs of great reform achievements

On 15 July, we will be convening a side event at the Africa Agriculture Science Week, in Ghana, on the Climate-Smart Village model: Climate-Smart Villages in Africa – Opportunities for farmers and communities. If you are at AASW join us!

 

Cecilia Schubert is a Communications Assistant at CCAFS Coordinating Unit. Dharini Parthasarathy is a Communications Specialist for CCAFS South AsiaFollow us on Twitter for the latest climate change and agriculture stories: @Cgiarclimate

 

Post Source: http://www.ccafs.cgiar.org/what-are-climate-smart-villages

No excuses, no regrets: we can adapt agriculture to climate change now

Farmers and countries will need to make big transitions as climate change. Science can help them make decisions. Photo: K. Trautmann

Farmers and countries will need to make big transitions as climate change. Science can help them make decisions. Photo: K. Trautmann

by Vanessa Meadu

Imagine you’re working for your country’s government and you’ve been given the formidable task of developing a strategy to help the agriculture sector adapt to climate change. Working out how climate models will play out on the ground for farmers, and conceiving options for farmers to adapt is sophisticated stuff, and the challenge is only compounded when the best information remains somewhat uncertain.

You might easily be discouraged, when faced with data and projections that are not sufficiently specific, only applicable for certain crops, or simply missing altogether. Often this uncertainty becomes a political weapon, wielded as an excuse for inaction. But a new analysis published in the journal PNAS debunks such excuses by showing how scientists and governments can cut through uncertainty and make the most of existing knowledge, however conflicting or weak. In fact some countries have done exactly that, and “embraced “no-regrets” adaptation: actions that will benefit farmers and society regardless of specifically how and when climate change plays out on the ground.”

The paper Addressing uncertainty in adaptation planning for agriculture is co-authored by researchers from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the International Livestock Research Institute, and leading universities (OxfordLeedsReading). The researchers point to examples around the world where governments have taken crucial first steps to safeguard food and farming, even when information was weak.

In Nicaragua, scientists have managed to predict a “narrow niche” where Arabica coffee production will still be viable as temperatures rise, which allows farmers to prepare to relocate to cooler areas, or else switch to similarly profitable crops.

In Sri Lanka, faced with conflicting projections about future rainfall, the government focused on regions that have historically been more vulnerable to water problems. Their approach was to invest in tried and tested methods for farmers to collect and use rainwater, which would benefit farmers in the short and long term.

But the crucial ingredient is political will:

“Getting farmers, communities, governments, donors and other stakeholders to embrace various adaptation strategies can end up being equally or more important than seeking higher levels of scientific certainty from a climate model,” said Andy Challinor, a professor at the Institute for Climate and Atmosphere Science, School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, who co-leads research on climate adaptation at CCAFS and was also an author of the study.

Luckily, the science is improving by leaps and bounds:

“Science is now reaching a point where it will be able to provide advice on when—not just whether—major climatic shifts relevant to agriculture will happen,” said Sonja Vermeulen, head of research at CCAFS and the lead author of the study. “Helping governments and farmers plan ahead will make all the difference in avoiding the food insecurity and suffering that climate change threatens.”

Read more

Addressing uncertainty in adaptation planning for agriculture by Sonja J. Vermeulen, Andrew J. Challinor, Philip K. Thornton, Bruce M. Campbell, Nishadi Eriyagama, Joost M. Vervoort, James Kinyangi, Andy Jarvis, Peter Läderach, Julian Ramirez-Villegas, Kathryn J. Nicklin, Ed Hawkins, and Daniel R. Smith. 2013. PNAS vol. 110 no. 21. doi:10.1073/pnas.1219441110.

 

Post Source: http://ccafs.cgiar.org/blog/no_excuses_no_regrets_adapt_agriculture_climate_change_now

Call for Paper: International Conference on Policies for Water and Food Security in the Dry Areas, 2013

cairo 2013We (ICARDA, ARC, IFAD, FAO) welcome conceptual papers, empirical research, case studies and success stories. Papers should focus on one of the conference’s emerging issues and potential solutions. The conference will be held in 24-26 June 2013, Cairo, Egypt.

Sound policies for food security and agricultural water management are critical for national economies – and particularly for dryland areas, where water resources are already scarce, and declining rapidly.

Conference Themes

  • Theme 1 – Incentives for sustainable and efficient water allocation and management
  • Theme 2 – Interactions between water management, food production & employment opportunities
  • Theme 3 – Policies for enhancing food security

Abstracts (maximum 500 words) should be submitted by 20th April 2013, presentation on at the conference, authors will be requested to submit full papers by 15th May 2013.

Conference secretariat: To register or submit an abstract, please contact: CWFDA@cgiar.org

 

For more details and post source: http://www.icarda.org/water-and-food-security-conference?goback=%2Egde_2859480_member_219404556

Call for Papers: 2013 First International Conference on Global Food Security, The Netherlands

Global-Food-Security 2013The First International Conference on Global Food Security, 29 September – 2 October 2013, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands aims to deliver state-of-the-art analysis, inspiring visions and innovative research methods arising from interdisciplinary research. Join us in this exciting opportunity to ensure that the best science is garnered to support the emergence of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Achieving global food security whilst reconciling demands on the environment is the greatest challenge faced by mankind. By 2050 we will need to feed 9 billion people. The urgency of the issue has led to huge scientific strides forwards; making it difficult to keep up with the rapidly expanding volume of scientific research.

Abstracts for oral and poster presentations are invited on the below topics and should be submitted using the  Online Submission System by 10 May 2013.

Topics List

  • Global and local analyses of food security
  • Enabling trade and market policies for local and global food security
  • Sustainable intensification of food production systems
  • Novel ways of feeding 9 billion
  • Learning from the past to understand the future
  • Land sparing, land sharing and trade-offs
  • Agricultural production as feedstock for renewables
  • Lost harvest and wasted food
  • Nutritional security
  • Labelling, certifying and striving for quality and sustainability of food production

Submit your abstract here »

 

For more details: http://www.globalfoodsecurityconference.com/

Why the food security debate needs to focus on solutions not issues

By World Business Council for Sustainable Development

The magnitude of the world’s food security challenge is well documented. By 1950 the world’s population had reached two and a half billion people. In October 2011, it had nearly tripled to seven billion people and by 2050, we can expect it to surpass nine billion people. In order to feed this population, it is estimated that global food production will need to increase by some 70%.

In order to feed a population of nine billion, it is estimated that global food production will need to increase by 70%.

In order to feed a population of nine billion, it is estimated that global food production will need to increase by 70%.

This is a tremendous challenge which is further exacerbated by existing constraints such as erratic climatic conditions, limited farmland availability, scarcity of natural resources as well as lack of infrastructure and finance.

In recent years, the dialogue around food security has increased and gained traction. However, to facilitate positive and productive collaboration and action between governments, the private sector and other key stakeholders, tools are required that can help the multitude of players turn dialogue into action.

One such tool is the Rice Bowl Index, which is designed to assess the robustness of a country’s food security system. Initially focusing on 14 countries across Asia-Pacific, the tool’s unique feature is that it captures the complexity of food security through a multi-dimensional approach and reduces this complexity into user-friendly charts and tables. These provide a platform for discussing potential action to address the challenges. The tool serves as a common language for different stakeholders to engage in purposeful dialogue leading to solutions-oriented action.

Conceived by Syngenta, the Rice Bowl Index is the result of more than two years of planning and consultation with inter-governmental organisations, food and agriculture companies, non-governmental organisations, multi-disciplinary experts, academia, civil society groups and media. Consisting of a quantitative and a qualitative component, the quantitative component is a modular diagnostic platform examining the key enablers and disablers of food security, built on Frontier Strategy Group’s MarketView Platform. The Rice Bowl Index defines these enablers as demand and price; environmental factors; farm-level factors; and policy and trade. The qualitative component is a white paper authored by Professor Paul Teng, one of Asia’s leading food security experts.

By moving from the ‘talking’ stage towards a solutions-focused dialogue, the Rice Bowl Index has generated a great amount of interest, and has successfully highlighted the importance of a system-wide integrated approach in managing the key enabling and disabling factors of food security. Furthermore, the initiative has raised the understanding that, due to the multidimensional complexities of food security, collaboration is essential in order to affect change that is sustainable in the long term.

But it cannot stop there. The road to food security has many different routes, and this means action must take place between governments, the private sector and other key stakeholders all across the world. Whilst the Asia-Pacific region, home to over 60% of the world’s population and some of the world’s fastest growing economies, is the current focus of the Index, such a tool can be applied to other regions too. Concertedly, we can shift the dialogue from discussing the extent of the problem to forging the solutions needed to address the food security challenge: translating complexity into an opportunity for action.

Post Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/move-food-security-debate-to-solutions and for more details: http://www.wbcsd.org/home.aspx

Farming Matters- From farmers’ fields to Rio+20

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro provides a good opportunity to review the viability and success of family farming and agro-ecology. The special Rio+20 edition of our network’s magazines is ready, and already being distributed. In terms of food security or climate change, agro-ecology works!

Many debates are already taking place in Rio. The presence and participation of thousands of people at the UN conference and at the parallel meetings has triggered a tremendous stream of information about small-scale family farming and agro-ecology; many ideas are being presented and discussed.

Building on more than 25 years of information shared with readers all over the world, this issue of our magazines provides an overview of the importance of small-scale farming and of an agro-ecological approach to agriculture, paying special attention to the key thematic areas identified by the authors of the Zero Draft: food security, poverty alleviation, energy and climate change. It shows a variety of examples of how family farmers have been practicing a type of agriculture that is not only sustainable, but essential for a green planet and a healthy population. The articles in this issue show the need for scaling-up these approaches, and what could be the steps in the process.

 

Note: This post was based on the email received from AgriCultures Network ✆ webmaster@ileia.nl