Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security: FAO

In case you need some more “ammunition” for your policy-dialogue activities – also with a view to 2014 International Year of Family Farming:

The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE), the science-policy interface of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS), aims to improve the robustness of policymaking by providing independent, evidence-based analysis and advice at the request of CFS. A report launched this week by the HLPE is focused on the potentials of smallholder agriculture (defined in a broad sense):

Investing in smallholder agriculture for food security

It stresses the importance of research for further development of agro-ecological approaches and states: “Research that involves smallholders in the definition of research priorities and the design and execution of research according to participatory and empowering methodologies is crucial. This is the best way to ensure that research results respond to the complex social and economic, as well as ecological, contexts of smallholders. In order to achieve this, research systems must be more accountable to smallholders in terms of their institutional priorities, the impact of their work, and their funding.” (p 82).

One of the recommended policy instruments is “Participatory research programmes including smallholders’ organizations” (p 107).

PS for the CELEP and ELD e-lists: In the report,”smallholder farmers” explicitly include livestock-keepers and pastoralists. 


Investing in agriculture for a better future: FAO Report on Status of Agriculture 2012

Investing in agriculture is essential for reducing hunger and promoting sustainable agricultural production. Those parts of the world where agricultural capital per worker and public investments in agriculture have stagnated are the epicentres of poverty and hunger today. Demand growth over the coming decades will place increasing pressure on the natural resource base. Eradicating hunger sustainably will require a significant increase in agricultural investments, but also an improvement in their effectiveness. Farmers are the largest investors in developing country agriculture and must be central to any strategy for increasing investment in the sector, but if they are to invest more in agriculture they need a favourable climate for agricultural investment based on economic incentives and an enabling environment. Governments also have a special responsibility to help smallholders overcome the constraints they face in expanding their productive assets and to ensure that large-scale investments in agriculture are socially beneficial and environmentally sustainable. Government investment in agriculture is a crucial component of providing an enabling environment for private investments in the sector. Governments need to channel scarce public funds towards the provision of essential public goods with high economic and social returns.


Sustainable smallholder agriculture: Feeding the world, protecting the planet

What promise will Rio herald for agriculture?” A conversation with Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda

As the international community prepares for Rio+20 in June 2012, Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, Chief Executive Officer of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANPRAN),  will speak with Naga Munchetty, international journalist and television presenter, on the prospects for elevating the role of agriculture in the climate talks.  Dr Sibanda will present her views on what global policy and investment changes are needed to ensure that smallholder farmers in developing countries can play a central role in meeting the multiple challenges of increasing their production to ensure food security while preserving the natural environment and coping with the effects of climate change.

At the centre-stage event, Dr. Sibanda will discuss the ways in which smallholder agriculture is impacted by resource scarcity and climate change – and how farming can and must become environmentally friendly.

A leading supporter of the Farming First campaign, Dr Sibanda advocates a holistic approach to sustainable agricultural development. At FANRPAN, she coordinates policy programmes aimed at making Africa food-secure. Since 2009, she has led “No-Agriculture, No-Deal” global  campaign that has mobilized African civil society organizations to push for  the inclusion of agriculture in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations. Recently, Dr Sibanda joined some of one of the world’s most influential thinkers and provocative voices as a member of the Guardian Global Development advisory panel as one of the world’s most influential thinkers and provocative new voices on the future of agriculture.

Sustainable Agriculture and Small holders: Dr. J. Venkateswarlu

111231 Sustainable Agriculture and Smallholders – JV

We are very happy to welcome the New Year 2012. The passing out year was very eventful. The Planning Commission organized several working groups and one of the groups was to address agriculture. The recommendations made by each of the working groups were very meaningful and useful for the country and for the Planning Commission to evolve the strategies for XII FYP.

We are happy that there is a growing realization at various levels (CBOs, researchers, planners, activists, thinkers as well as Government) to look for alternate production systems. Need for biomass generation is gaining ground. It is also good to note the efforts of the committee on “Works on individual land in MGNREGS” prepared by Gopal (CEC) and his associates bearing a fruit as the MoRD is now expanding the horizons of the MGNREGS to meet these goals.

We hope while launching more KVKs, the DARE would address the problem of “Udyog Vikas” as part of the activities of the existing and upcoming KVKs by augmenting the strength of the trainer units. Similarly we fondly believe that the Government would look into the effect of climate change on the natural resources (land, water, vegetation) and not limit to crops and livestock production systems. Lastly there is a need for converging several of the programmes that provide “doles” to the farmers with on-going programmes like IWMP and MGNREGS.

We are enclosing a brief note on “Sustainable Agriculture and Smallholders: for your perusal and consideration.

Dr. J. Venkateswarlu

Former Director, CAZRI