A farmer in Gitwa, Rwanda, reads a training at one of the input delivery sites. Training handouts are one of the many tools One Acre Fund uses in the field. Photo by Francoise Umarishavu. Photo courtesy of the One Acre Fund blog. One Acre Fund is an NGO in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania that helps 137,000 smallholder farmers grow their own way out of poverty by providing a "market bundle" that includes education, finance, seed and fertilizer, and market access.
The Chicago Council Senior Fellow and former Executive
Director of the UN World Food Program Catherine Bertini discusses how gender
relates to agriculture, the role of nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life,
and the importance of US investment in agriculture development. Follow
Catherine Bertini on Twitter @C_A_Bertini.
By Mpule K. Kwelagobe Mpule K. Kwelagobe is the CEO of the Institute for Endogenous Development, Executive Director of Africa Youth ARISE for youth in agriculture, rural innovation and social entrepreneurship, and Managing Director of the Pula Agriculture Fund.
Rural women constitute 50 percent of the agricultural labor force in Africa; they are responsible for 80 percent of the food production and 50 percent of the agricultural output. Rural women are also crucial in translating agricultural production into food and nutrition security for their families’ wellbeing. Given the extensive participation of women in all aspects of agricultural production, gender mainstreaming in the agriculture sector should be a key strategy for poverty reduction, sustainable agricultural intensification, and rural development.
Agriculture is an important engine for economic growth and poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa. But the sector is underperforming in many African countries in part because women face constraints that reduce their productivity. African women have a higher labor burden than men, and are increasingly faced with shortages of water, fuel, and food in addition to their crushing workloads.
Women across Africa report working over 16 hours a day and, compared to men, work up to 30 hours more per week. This heavy labor burden limits their ability to be more actively engaged in economic activities. Climate change is also a multiplier of existing threats to food security, hunger and malnutrition. By the nature of their agricultural responsibilities, women are more likely to be impacted by land and water degradation, desertification, biodiversity losses, and natural disasters.
Land is the single most important asset for poor and non-poor households in Africa. Across the continent, rural women are less likely to own or operate land; they’re less likely to have access to rented land, and in those cases where they do have access, women typically operate smaller plots of land than men. Additionally, rural female farmers receive a mere 1 percent of total credit to agriculture and have less access to productive resources and services including livestock, extension services, financial services and new technologies required for efficient agricultural production.
Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and Chicago Council on Global Affairs Global Agricultural Development Initiative Co-Chair Dan Glickman addresses the importance of agricultural education, the effects of climate change on agriculture, and the need to fund agricultural research.
By Charlotte Broyd and Francis Peel Partnership for Child Development, Imperial
Each year on 16 October World Food Day aims to increase understanding of problems and
solutions in the drive to end hunger, malnutrition and poverty. Over the years
the themes day has taken on various themes which have focused on investing in
agriculture and recently focus has been drawn on health and education too.
One solution which countries have put in place to
combat hunger and poverty is to provide free school meals to their
schoolchildren, and now an increasing number of governments are looking at how
school feeding can do the same for their smallholder farmers.
The popularity of school feeding is simply that it
gets results - results in terms of happier, healthier and better educated kids.
The evidence base shows that school feeding
increases pupil enrolment, improves retention and that educational outcomes
improve as children are able to concentrate better and ultimately enter adult
life later and better equipped. These benefits are felt the most in the poorest
communities. In short school feeding provides a very effective social safety
On October 16, the Global Harvest Initiative released our 2013 Global
Agricultural Productivity Report®(GAP Report®) at the
World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, before an audience of global
scientists, agricultural industry experts, dignitaries, farmers, and
development professionals. Many traveled from far and wide to attend the World
Food Prize, and to learn and to meet new people that share their vision of
improving global food and nutrition security.
It is always great to be a part of the World Food Prize and to
experience first-hand the collective power of people around the world who are
dedicated to addressing the global agricultural imperative. Each year I am left
with a great sense of optimism.
The findings of the 2013 GAP Report also give reason for optimism,
albeit cautious: over the past decade, countries are managing to maintain
growth in agricultural productivity on global average. But those findings
should not downplay the serious and urgent fact that we must maintain an
increasing rate of global agricultural productivity year after year for the
next 40 years.
By Peter Frykman Peter Frykman is the Founder and CEO of Driptech. He received his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, where he focused on manufacturing and design. He is vitally concerned with the challenge of water scarcity, especially in developing countries.
Globally, over 2 billion people rely on small-plot farming
for their primary livelihood. In order
to effectively address global poverty and food security challenges we must
improve productivity and profitability of these small-plot farms. This requires the adaption or complete
redesign of technologies to specifically fit the needs of these customers. Let’s take the case of irrigation in India as
India is home to 16% of the world’s population but has
access to only 4% of the water resources. Sixty percent of India’s population relies on
agriculture as their primary livelihood, and 85% of these are small-plot farms. As the per capita availability of water decreases,
small-plot farmers are among the worst affected by water scarcity. Today, smallholder families already make up
more than half of the country’s hungry and poor.
The major challenge for small-plot farmers is often the lack
of access to appropriate irrigation methods. Instead they rely on rainfall and
wasteful flood irrigation. Erratic rains and depletion of ground water force
farmers to use their limited water resources as efficiently as possible.
Without access to better irrigation solutions, the productivity of small-plot
farms will remain very low, leaving them vulnerable to uncertain incomes and
Drip irrigation presents a proven solution to alleviate the effects
of water scarcity in India. By enabling water savings of up to 75% and energy
savings of up to 45%, drip irrigation should be among the most attractive technologies
for farmers. With drip irrigation, a farmer can irrigate twice the amount of
land with the same water resources, leading to at least double the income. Weeds
are reduced, as is the need for herbicides. However, despite its enormous
advantages, it has reached only 2-3% of India’s farms over the past 30 years.
The major barriers to widespread adoption of drip irrigation
are the prohibitive cost of existing drip irrigation systems and their
complicated nature and/or poor quality. Traditional drip irrigation systems are
usually designed for use with highly filtered water at high pressure, which
most small-plot farms in India do not have access to. As a result, smallholders continue to rely on flood
irrigation techniques that impair yield and income.
Carlos Carrazana joined Save the Children as executive vice president and Chief Operating Officer in June 2012. Carrazana brings 25 years of global management experience in the private and non-profit sectors to his new role as COO.
To the unassuming observer, the Guatemalan Quiché highlands are a breathtaking sight of lush, rolling hills and quaint mountaintop villages. I visited one such village, called Media Luna, about 100 miles outside of Guatemala City, during a trip to the region this summer on behalf of Save the Children. To get to it, you have to drive along a steep mountainside road until you’re up above the clouds. Be prepared to be mesmerized by panoramic vistas unfolding before you—even as your stomach drops at every hairpin turn.
Getting out of the car, all dizzy from the drive and the high altitude, our group of Save the Children and USAID representatives was greeted by smiling villagers in colorful dress who welcomed us into their homes. It wasn’t until we started speaking with the local families, seeing first-hand how and where they lived, that we were faced with the reality of what it means to call such an isolated, albeit beautiful, place home.
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