Displaying 1-20 of 28 key documents
Source: IISD | June 2012
This paper gives an overview of the financing needs of smallholder farmers, their current sources of financing, and ways to deliver these funds to help them achieve the triple dividends of enhanced food security, increased resilience to climate change, and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases. It offers recommendations for mobilising investment to enable further progress towards this goal.
The authors argue that there is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all solution, and suggest that adaptation funds and the private sector could be a source of additional support, in the absence of public sector financing for agriculture or a carbon market for smallholders. They conclude with recommendations for policymakers, such as building on prior experience and knowledge, and creating an enabling environment for climate-smart agricultural investment.
This report presents the results of a study of six African agricultural carbon projects and identifies institutional innovations — such as financial management and carbon monitoring systems — that have helped make them successful. It also puts forward emerging research questions and discusses the future of the project.
The study found that direct carbon payments to farmers were low, but non-cash benefits were received after careful management. The projects successfully established systems for financial management, agricultural extension, and carbon monitoring, using a complex set of partnerships. They also found that mechanisms for settling conflict over land and benefits were crucial, as were methods for managing power dynamics to ensure equitable decision-making and participation.
Source: OECD-FAO | June 2012
This is the eighteenth edition of the Agricultural Outlook, which outlines projected market trends (from 2012 to 2021) for major agricultural commodities and biofuels, and presents recent developments and uncertainties associated with those markets. It focuses on the challenges of meeting the rising demand for food alongside input costs, resource constraints, environmental pressures and the impacts of climate change.
The report finds that world prices for many agricultural crops are expected to remain high over the long-term, in spite of a short-term decline. It highlights progress in improving the sustainability of agricultural practices, and calls for the private sector to take a leading role in creating the right environment.
The report concludes by arguing for better agronomic practices and commercial, technical and regulatory environments, and strengthening agricultural innovation systems, as essential policy challenges. It calls for developing countries to invest in agricultural infrastructure in rural areas and in human capital, and to put in place policies for reducing food loss and waste.
Source: World Agroforestry Centre | June 2012
This book compiles the findings of over a decade of ecoregional research and methodological innovation by the Africa Highlands Initiative, drawing on case studies from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. It describes the experiences of stakeholders involved in integrated natural resource management (INRM) activities in the eastern Africa highlands.
The book showcases innovative tools and practical methods for putting INRM into action, and tangible results from these efforts in five countries. It shows the importance of an integrated approach to managing agro-ecosystems, and includes lessons learned on what works, where and why. It also shows that achieving sustainable agricultural development in the region is a complex task, and requires combined efforts and commitment by individuals and institutions with complementary roles.
Source: Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change (CSACC) | March 2012
This report lays out a set of policy recommendations for the sustainable intensification of agriculture and reduction of food waste to create a resilient global food system. Based on a review of scientific evidence, it pinpoints seven actions that policymakers — including those attending the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) — should adopt to foster sustainable agriculture and efficient food supply chains.
Recommendations include integrating food security and sustainable agriculture into global and national policies;
intensifying agricultural production while reducing negative environmental impacts; and creating comprehensive, shared, integrated information systems.
This policy roadmap will require the reshaping of food production, distribution and consumption patterns, and empowering vulnerable populations to build a sustainable global food system.
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) | December 2011
This report examines how agricultural research, and practices can promote gender equality, and why the distinct role of women in achieving food security must be recognised.
It gives an overview of how gender should be integrated throughout the research, development, and extension system. It explores ways of integrating gender in conducting research; designing, implementing, and adopting extension services; setting agricultural agendas; and evaluating the impact of gender equity initiatives.
The authors review evidence on the significance of gender issues, and present a conceptual framework that links different contributors to the agricultural innovation cycle. They discuss the data needed to inform gender-sensitive decisions and priority-setting, and argue that agricultural researchers must be attuned to gender issues in how technologies are developed and adopted. Each chapter provides a summary of findings and recommendations.
Source: UNEP | February 2012
This report, which is part of the UN Foresight Initiative, describes the 21 most pressing emerging global environmental issues — those recognised as very important to well-being by the scientific community, but are not yet receiving enough attention from the policymakers. These cover a range of themes, from food security to biodiversity, energy and technology.
One of the most important cross-cutting issues identified in the report is the need to rethink international environmental governance. Other areas in need of improvement include the science–policy interface, and coping with incremental damage to the environment.
Improving food security in light of changing climate is also high on the list of priorities, with the report suggesting a need for more comprehensive early warning systems, support for smallholder farmers, efforts to reduce food waste and increasing agricultural efficiency. Other issues highlighted include managing the impacts of glacial retreat; improving ocean governance; accelerating the implementation of renewable energy systems; and considering the environmental implications of nuclear reactor decommissioning.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO)
This report presents a global overview of the role of livestock in nutrition and food security, and discusses ways of meeting the expected increase in demand for livestock as a source of food with limited resources. It examines how livestock contributes to food security in three population groups — livestock-dependent societies, small-scale mixed farmers and urban dwellers — and the main challenges they face in producing enough food.
The first section of the report discusses how livestock contributes to food security, including economic factors that affect the choice of foods, and the stability of livestock food supplies. The second section examines the contribution of livestock as a source of food in each population group, and the last part of the report looks to future prospects for producing enough food in the context of risks such as water shortages. It concludes that careful management of livestock food systems will be key in building a stable livestock food supply to meet future needs.
Source: Centre for Global Development | September 2011
This report outlines how ICT (information and communications technology) could facilitate the adoption of agricultural technologies that can contribute to improving crop yields in developing countries.
It reviews existing agricultural extension services — programmes that deliver information to farmers — which use ICT, categorised by the type of services and how they are provided (by text, for example, or the Internet). The report concludes that although these programs are innovative, implementing them remains a challenge and evidence of their impact is limited. It is not yet clear that ICT-based services will replace existing agricultural extension systems, and there is a risk that they will become unsustainable — a fad with limited impact on the lives of the poor. The report suggests evaluating pilot programmes using rigorous methods, and says that future efforts should calculate demand and cost-effectiveness, and identify information best suited to such programmes.
Source: Climate Change Adaptation and Development Initiative (CC DARE), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
This paper suggests that research-based, small-scale interventions that help farming systems adapt to climate change can guide progress towards achieving food security and addressing the food crisis in the Horn of Africa.
It outlines lessons learnt from the Climate Change Adaptation and Development Programme jointly implemented by the UN Environment Programme and the UN Development Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa.
The authors argue for a shift away from top-down, corporate approaches to agricultural research and practice, in favour of a democratic approach that involves giving more decision-making power to local people, including farmers and indigenous people. Small-scale initiatives reduce tillage, protect the soil surface and alternate cereal crops with legumes that enrich the soil.
The paper suggests that communicating food security solutions to the public can help balance vested interests and level the field in favour of small producers. Managed effectively, the current drought in the Horn of Africa offers a window of opportunity to re-establish food security as a global priority.
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) | September 2011
This report presents two case-studies that illustrate problems arising from subsidising fertiliser and electricity for groundwater irrigation in India — a policy put in place in the 1960s to boost food production and food security. It aims to analyse why subsequent reforms of these policies have done little to resolve economic and environmental problems; identify reforms that could prove successful; and outline political processes that could help achieve them.
Using India's experience, it highlights political challenges of using subsidy policies that could also be relevant to other countries.
This analysis is based on a literature review and interviews with stakeholders. The report also presents the conceptual framework, and gives an overview of fertiliser policy in India: how it has evolved, the stakeholders involved in the political process, and the policy implications of subsidy reform. Case-studies of electricity supply in Andhra Pradesh and Punjab are used to demonstrate policy reform feasibility.
The report concludes that for both electricity supply and fertiliser policies, various reforms could be adopted that are unlikely to face significant political obstacles. It argues that experimental and research-based knowledge could be used more effectively.
Source: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) | June 2011
This report, from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), highlights the results of research into what drives and inhibits the uptake of new crop-livestock farming techniques by small-scale cattle farms in Asian countries. The authors describe five farming systems in China, Indonesia and Vietnam that have attempted to increase beef production and profitability by integrating new farming knowledge and technology with help from ACIAR. Using these case studies, the authors draw out lessons learned for future initiatives. Key findings include the importance of partnering with local people who have a good understanding of the farming system, and having a realistic expectation of the scale of improvements that can be made with new technologies.
Source: World Agroforestry Centre | April 2011
This report synthesises the results of a review of 104 studies on gender and the adoption of agroforestry in Africa, and aims to identify strategies that challenge gender imbalances in development initiatives. It explores women's participation in agroforestry, including their ability to manage agroforestry practices, access to agroforestry information, and how they benefit from agroforestry.
The results highlight the substantial benefits that agroforestry can offer to rural women in Africa, mainly because it requires fewer resources than alternative enterprises. But women's participation is low, with limited access to information and markets, and a mixed record of successful management of agroforestry technologies.
The report provides several technological, policy and institutional recommendations for improving the efficiency of women's participation in agroforestry. They include domesticating important tree species, and ensuring that women have access to market information and microfinance. The report concludes by suggesting further research in areas such as measuring the income that women generate from agroforestry, and identifying the key ingredients of success stories across Africa.
Source: International Food Policy Research Institution | June 2011
This report aims to identify strategies that the agricultural sector can adopt to mitigate and adapt to climate change, ensure food security, and improve the livelihoods of poor smallholder producers.
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for poor people in developing countries, and improving agricultural productivity is key to achieving food security and meeting most targets set as part of the Millennium Development Goals. In Sub-Saharan Africa, climate change is adding to existing development challenges, making it essential that mitigation, adaptation and rural development strategies are developed together.
By focusing on the example of smallholder farmers in Kenya, the authors suggest "triple win" agricultural practices that promise the greatest payoff in terms of increased resilience of the agriculture sector to climate change mitigation, adaptation, productivity and profitability. They include irrigation, soil and water conservation, integrated soil fertility management and improved livestock feeding.
Source: International Livestock Research Institute | February 2011
This report highlights small-scale farmers who combine growing crops with raising animals. Although this farming system may appear old-fashioned, it remains the most prevalent and has gained popularity in recent years.
Most poor people currently rely on around one billion of these 'mixed' family farmers cultivating rice paddies and raising a few animals, for example. It is not big farms but these small agricultural systems that will play the biggest role in global food security over the next several decades, according to the report.
The study is the first to investigate mixed farms. It argues for a transition towards this farming system because it has a huge potential for increasing productivity in developing countries, provided that farms are managed appropriately.
The international donor community should fund and commit to policies that foster this neglected form of agriculture, it suggests, or their money will go to waste.
Source: IFPRI | February 2011
This report explores the role of agricultural growth in reducing and preventing undernutrition — deficiencies in energy, protein, and essential vitamins and minerals.
It describes how agricultural growth increases the capacity of households to produce more nutritious food and to buy more nutritious food by boosting income levels. Agricultural growth also improves nutrition through a broader effect on the economy, such as increasing government revenues to fund education, health, infrastructure, and nutrition intervention programmes.
The report gives an overview of the relationship between nutrition and growth, examines different growth patterns and their nutritional outcomes, and identifies factors that influence this dynamic — such as a country's stage of economic development.
A new paradigm for agricultural development is needed, says the report, where agricultural growth leads not only to increased production and reduced poverty, but also to improved nutrition. It concludes with recommendations for future research, and aims to provide policymakers with knowledge about development and investment strategies that can improve nutritional outcomes.
Source: UNDP | November 2010
This report provides guidance to developers of forest carbon projects. It outlines the requirements for analysing and documenting carbon benefits, as well as legal, business, and community relations issues. The document also includes a guide to creating carbon benefits through reforestation, forest and land management activities.
It proposes steps for projects aiming to produce marketable emissions reductions under the most widely utilised carbon standards: the Voluntary Carbon Standard, the Clean Development Mechanism, and, as co-certification to verify additional benefits, the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standards.
The report states that although the future of projects in REDD+ forest-protection schemes is unclear, the approaches currently used will continue to be relevant to afforestation and reforestation activities that aim to generate and quantify carbon benefits effectively.
Source: International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
This book, published by IWMI, evaluates the benefits, costs and impacts of water development over the past 50 years. The authors highlight challenges still facing poor countries today and outline some of the solutions people have adopted. The assessment is available as a summary, with specific policy recommendations, or in individual chapters covering topics ranging from integration and institutional reform to improvements in irrigation and groundwater use.
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute | June 2010
This report investigates large dams and small-scale irrigation investment opportunities in Africa. It aims to inform national and community-led efforts to assess irrigation potential and tailor solutions to local contexts. It suggests, for example, that Mali would benefit most from small-scale irrigation, while the Gulf of Guinea has the greatest potential for expanding dams within the continent.
Source: German Development Centre
This study explores strategies for effectively adapting small-scale agriculture to climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa. The authors provide background information on the region's agriculture and climate, an overview of adaptation analysis tools and policy frameworks. They suggest a mix of farm practices for successful and resilient adaptation.