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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

By Elisa Mandelli and Andrea Wyers, with contributions from Everlyne Nairesiae (GLII-GLTN)


Participants at the GLII Expert Group Meeting on ‘Securing Women’s Land Rights in the SDGs Monitoring Framework’. @Browne 2017

From 8 to 9 July Elisa Mandelli, representing IFAD, was in New York to participate in the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Securing Women's Land Rights in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The meeting was jointly organized by the Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII) in partnership with Landesa, Oxfam, Huairou Commission and UN Women. Over 40 gender and women’s land rights experts participated, including representatives from national statistical offices, Civil Society Organizations CSOs, UN agencies, multilateral agencies and other stakeholders.

The EGM preceded the United Nations High Level Political Forum held in New York from the 10 to 19 July 2017. The Forum focused on “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world" and on the review of some SDGs, including goals with land-related indicators such as:
  • Goal 1 “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”.
    Indicator 1.4.2 : Proportion of total adult population with secure tenure rights to land, with legally recognized documentation and who perceive their rights to land as secure, by sex and by type of tenure (disaggregated by sex and type of tenure).
  • Goal 5 “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.
    Indicator 5.a.1 (a) Proportion of total agricultural population with ownership or secure rights over agricultural land, by sex; and (b) share of women among owners or rights-bearers of agricultural land, by type of tenure.
    Indicator 5.a.2 Proportion of countries where the legal framework (including customary law) guarantees women’s equal rights to land ownership and/or control.
The inclusion of land indicators that explicitly reflect women’s land rights in the SDGs is a major achievement for the land community and a significant point of departure from the Millennium Development Goals, which did not have these provisions. This achievement is attributed to high level advocacy at national, regional and global levels by the land community including the GLII, the Global Donor Working Group on Land (GDWGL), FAO, UN Women, UN Sustainable Solution Network (UNSDSN) and other networks, CSOs and agencies who have strongly advocated for the inclusion of land indicators in the SDGs.

The importance of securing women's land rights to eradicate poverty has also been identified by the African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges in Africa and the Framework and Guidelines on Land Policy in Africa (F&G) as one of the critical areas for advocacy and action of the African member states. As part of this engagement and within the framework of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, the African Land Policy Initiative (LPI) is negotiating member states’ commitment in monitoring the progress of women’s land rights and increasing to a minimum of 30% the amount of land allocated (individually or jointly) to women. The LPI has also played a key role in advocating for the African Union recent endorsement of the Pan African Women’s Charter on Land Rights. The Charter resulted from the Kilimanjaro Initiative, which has mobilized rural women from 22 countries across Africa. The Charter includes 15 specific demands addressing women’s access to use, control, own, inherit and dispose of their land and natural resources with the ultimate aim to help empower women across the continent.

Thus, the land tenure community can celebrate the progress made in raising awareness on the importance of women’s land rights and the monitoring of progress made, but is now challenged to define the methodology for measuring the progress on these indicators and ensuring that the reporting contributes to the women’s land rights agenda. Land tenure statistics are in fact highly complex and there is a lack of clear and consistent data on land tenure security, particularly when it comes to statistics disaggregated by gender. See also blog on gender equality.


Within this framework, the purpose of the EGM was to examine land indicators in the SDGs and to promote meaningful and more harmonised approaches to monitoring women’s land rights in a coordinated manner. In particular, participants agreed on the need to promote the harmonization and complementarity of land-related indicators based on a single and integrated narrative of concepts and definitions (i.e. land tenure security, ownership, tenure type, etc.). This includes strengthening the level of robustness of the proposed methodologies using proxies for women specific issues noting that women are not a homogenous group.

Moreover, participants committed to convey key messages and recommendations on women’s land rights to UN member states during their participation at the High Level Political Forum. Messages included the importance to monitor the progress on women’s secure land rights since not having the data to diagnose and monitor progress made in the context of the SDGs will be a missed opportunity to eradicate poverty and empower women and girls. In order to ensure immediate country data collection and reporting on secure tenure rights (1.4.2., 5.a.1 and 5.a.2), member states have to support the adoption of the proposed methodologies for monitoring the indicators at the 6th Meeting of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDG) to be held in November 2017. Further information on the re-classification of land-related indicators can be found in the blog by Jamal Browne, a participant of the EGM.

IFAD is looking forward to continuing its engagement with the GLII, the GDWGL and the custodian agencies responsible for the specific land indicators including UN Habitat and World Bank; FAO and other agencies to support the elaboration of the proposed methodology and their successful reclassification by IAEG-SDGs in November 2017. On this subject, IFAD and the Global Land Tool Network Secretariat are collaborating in the co-financed grant “Strengthening capacity for assessing the impact of tenure security measures on IFAD supported and other projects within the SDG framework”. The grant aims at improving the capacity of IFAD-supported projects to assess measure and report their impact on poor rural people’s tenure security, including on women’s land rights.

You, whose voice can be heard in other places

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Friday, July 21, 2017 0 comments

By Tomás Ricardo Rosada Villamar,  Country Programme Manager for Mexico

It was still dark when we left. Without breakfast, without even a sip of coffee. Half asleep, we all piled into the three vehicles that had been assigned to us and began driving up the mountain in a state that is now known for its blistering land and its unsafe territory: a land of death, a land at war.

We were tossed around inside the cabs of our trucks as we rolled over streams and open wounds in the roads, slowly being engulfed by the depths of green vegetation as we penetrated deeper into the forest. Its shades of green were endless, an explosion of hues that were evidence of nature almost completely undisturbed. Adobe houses adorned the hillsides, and every so often we glimpsed a peasant herding goats or a group of women shouldering bundles, slowly but surely making their way.

We finally reached our destination several hours later, with the sun high above us. A group of visitors from distant places, with their lists of questions, and local guides who knew their way around the hills with a guerrilla-like intuition. Of course, we all arrived with the stubborn expectation of finding the survival instincts and organization that supposedly always prevail, even in the harshest of conditions.

We were welcomed by a group of inhabitants of a small settlement that was proudly called a village. We got out and started walking up to one of the villagers’ houses, then to their gardens and orchards, spread out in the surroundings. They showed us their production techniques, talked about their dreams, and asked us what we thought or how this or that was done elsewhere. Then we went back to the first house where a group of women were preparing a meal, an unmistakable sign of poor people's gratitude: sharing their hearth and their table, offering a stranger their best food.

From the back of the house appeared an old woman. Small and discreet, with a calm and profound look. This is Doña Carmela, they told me. She's the oldest person in the village and she's still as lively as ever. She likes doing everything and going everywhere. She'd even climb the trees with us if she could!

She exuded such magnetism that I went over and knelt beside her so that I could talk to her, but above all so I could listen to her. She took my hand and gave me a smile that revealed some missing teeth. She bowed her head discreetly, her way of thanking us for our visit. She grabbed the arm of a girl whom she might have resembled seventy years ago and sat down in a chair to wait; to wait with the patient determination of someone who is certain that they must take the opportunity to send a message with an emissary who is finally within reach.

When the time was right, she spoke in that timeless language of Rulfo and his Comala[i],making reference respectfully and impersonally to forces and attitudes that have ignored them for years on end, even today on the centenary of a Constitution born out of a revolution that over the decades has lost sight of its main goal: satisfying the peasants’ clamour for land and development.

"You, whose voice can be heard in other places, tell them not to forget about us, the poor." I promise to pass on your message, I told her. We shook hands again and said goodbye: she, feeling certain that she had sent her message again, and I, fearing that it would fall, once again, on deaf ears.


[i] Translator’s note: A reference to Mexican writer Juan Rulfo and a town mentioned in his novel Pedro Páramo

By Susan Onyango

Originally posted here.

Africa’s population is expected to double from 1.26 billion today to over two and half billion by 2050, little more than 30 years from now. At the same time, land degradation, loss of biodiversity and the effects of climate change pose increasing challenges to the continent’s agriculture sector, particularly smallholder farmers.  If left unchecked, these challenges will threaten the food security of millions of people, particularly in the drylands. Affected countries will require national policies and farmer practices that safeguard food production, as well as frameworks for mutual cooperation across the agricultural and environmental sectors, if they are to ensure the sustainability and resilience required to feed their people.

In an effort to address these multiple challenges, more than 80 government and development sector experts met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 5 July 2017, to launch the Integrated Approach Programme on Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in sub-Saharan Africa. Financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the 5-year, USD 116 million programme is designed to promote sustainability and resilience among small holder farmers through the sustainable management of natural resources – land, water, soils and genetic resources – that are crucial for food and nutrition security. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is the  lead agency with the Programme Coordination Unit hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) at their headquarters in Nairobi. Bioversity International, UN Environment, UNDP, FAO, World Bank, UNIDO, AGRA and Conservation International are all involved.

Smallholder farmers, who are responsible for most of the region’s food production, will benefit from practices and policies that will ensure the long-term sustainability and resilience of their production systems. Efforts to ensure post-programme sustainability include a particular focus on gender issues at every level of the programme to address policy and culturally-related barriers to gender equity and women’s empowerment in most of the participating countries. The Programme targets almost three million households in 12 countries and will improve the management of 10 million hectares of land.

“With an explicit focus on smallholder agriculture in the drylands, we have collectively established a framework to underpin the long-term sustainability and resilience of production systems,” said Dr. Mohamed Bakarr, Lead Environment Specialist at the GEF. “The program framework, which is defined by three main components – platforms for multi-stakeholder engagement, acting to scale-up innovations, and systems monitoring and assessment – is informed by sound science and policy, including a theory of change.”

The Programme includes the increased involvement of the private sector in developing viable value chains for food crops. At the same time, a regional hub that will support, synthesize and promote learning across the network of countries will improve access to knowledge from scientific institutions and help inform policy options and investment opportunities for managing ecosystem services in smallholder agriculture.

Margarita Astralaga, Director of IFAD’s Environment and Climate Division reiterated the importance of linking food production with ecosystems to protect the environment and to ensure that smallholder farmers reach markets.

“A key ingredient to the Food Security Integrated Approach Programme is the learning across the twelve country projects as well as its three components on institutional frameworks and policy, scaling-up integrated approaches, and on measuring collective impacts,” she noted.

To ensure effective implementation of the project, participants called for system-wide stakeholder engagement – from the field to the government – and the mapping of existing and previous projects to enable south-south learning. They also emphasized the need for technical support on improving stakeholder engagement, capacity development, strengthening institutions, monitoring systems, combining research and technology, scaling technologies, and communicating among stakeholders in participating countries and globally.

“The process has been very engaging, giving us insight for those who haven’t started on implementation (and) alignment with regional programmes, especially indicators and information on national and regional goals,” said Shamiso Nandi Najira of Malawi’s Ministry of Environment. “We look forward to working with the implementation agencies. Learning from others on what they are doing in their countries has been a good eye opener.”

“Taking resilient food security to scale means supporting innovation among millions of farmers over millions of hectares,” said Fergus Sinclair of the World Agroforestry Centre. “We have to go beyond simply promoting best bets, to supporting farmers as they experiment with new options in their own contexts, and then foster the sharing of that learning about what works where and for whom.”

The Food Security Integrated Approach Programme is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals and the three Rio Conventions on biological diversity (CBD), to combat desertification (UNCCD) and on climate change (UNFCCC). It will be implemented in 12 countries including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda.

Other Integrated Approach Programmes of the GEF are on Green Commodities Supply Chains and Sustainable Cities.

Also see:
GEF Integrated Approach Pilot: Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa 

IFAD Director presenting the Integrated Approach Pilot (IAP)




By Nerina Muzurovic, NEN/IFAD, and Drew Gardiner, ILO

Rates of female education in the Arab World have increased dramatically—a factor usually leading to higher levels of employment. Why, then, is female labor force participation in the Arab World not only the lowest in the world, but also rising very slowly?

This was one of the questions addressed at a policy forum on gender and labor markets in the Arab world on 3 July 2017 in Amman, Jordan. Panel members hailed from Jordan’s Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, the International Labour Organization (ILO), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation, and the University of Minnesota.

The forum was part of an executive course on evaluating labour market programmes conducted by ILO, under the IFAD regional grant on gender monitoring and evaluation in the Near East and North Africa (NENA). The IFAD and ILO partnership, also known as the “Taqeem Initiative”, looks to build evidence on “what works” in effective rural labor market strategies for women and young people.

The five-day course brought together more than 60 participants from 9 NENA countries, including Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia, Turkey and Yemen. It also included co-financiers, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Centre, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), GIZ and the Economic Research Forum who contributed financial and in-kind support.

In his opening remarks, the Labour Ministry’s Secretary General Farouq Hadidi highlighted the need for evidence of investments’ impact, when it comes to generating job opportunities. He also noted the importance of supporting positive labor market outcomes in Jordan, as well as drawing from good practices when drawing up policy recommendations.

The keynote lecture, “Gender and Labor Markets in the Arab World,” was delivered by Ragui Assaad, a professor at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Professor Assaad discussed what he called “the MENA paradox.”

"Rural young women are both increasingly educated and increasingly unwilling to engage in traditional agriculture work,” said Assaad. “Thus, because of limited mobility and limited modern employment opportunities in their local labor markets, they are increasingly unemployed or withdrawing from labor force altogether."

Arguing against the idea that “this is strictly a story about conservative cultural values restricting labor supply,” Professor Assaad introduced the idea of “reservation working conditions”—the minimum working conditions that a woman (and her family) will accept.



“Educated women in the Arab World are seeking higher rates of market work if such work can meet their ‘reservation working conditions,’” Assaad explained. In countries like Jordan, Egypt and Tunisia, this means work places must do the following: preserve women’s sexual and reputational safety; prevent contact with male clients or owners and bosses in non-public spaces; be geographically accessible without excessive commuting; and be located inside fixed establishments, protected from passers-by. “Generally, this means larger workplaces with many other women present,” said the professor.

To support his claims, Professor Assaad cited primary data gathered from some 1,000 interviewees as part of a recent ILO report on Jordanian labor market challenges by Susan Razzaz. “As long as I am alive, I will never let my sister work in manufacturing,” said one male Jordanian manufacturing worker. “The employers are very rough. I don’t trust them to not yell at my sister or harass her.” When these conditions are not met, many women stay home.

Furthermore, safety and harassment were considered common concerns. As one unemployed Jordanian woman said: “I’d be willing to work in a hotel if the job was in reservations, at the front desk, or in food service. Of course, I can’t work in housekeeping or room service because it is near the bedrooms.”

Long commutes were also a concern: “I wouldn’t want to spend 3 hours a day on the road,” said one female Jordanian worker. “I could barely stand the time spent getting to and from work in Amman, so I wouldn’t work outside of it.”

However, change is possible: An IFAD-supported initiative under the Agricultural Resource Management Project (ARMPII) in Jordan tapped into the region's traditional knowledge base to initiate 400 small-scale enterprises for women in the southern part of the country. Relying on the sustainable use of local resources, these businesses centered around food processing, dairy and pickle production, and the harvesting of mushrooms.

Interviews with the women involved showed they felt empowered, managing small-scale income-generating enterprises. They reported increased levels of independence and status, as well as more effective participation in decision-making at both the community and household levels.

Findings like these indicate that effective policy interventions should look into improving opportunity structures for women. Peter van Rooij, ILO’s Director in Cairo, Egypt agrees, “Women and men need to have equal opportunities in the world of work, especially in the agriculture sector which represents the most important source of employment for women. Achieving gender equality goals under the 2030 Agenda can only be achieved through concerted effort and unique partnership, such as that between the ILO and IFAD in the Near East and North Africa”.

Indeed, the panel discussion that followed recognized positive trends: factors affecting female labor supply are moving towards increased participation. These factors include educational attainment, later marriages, access to improved infrastructure like water and sanitation, access to household technologies, and access to markets for time-saving goods and services.

The panel also noted that incentivizing private employers to offer shorter work days, low-cost transportation, telecommuting, and flexible and part-time work opportunities would make a difference. Other important changes would include shifting maternity leave pay to social insurance, specifying a minimum wage on an hourly basis, establishing better public transport systems--where women can feel safe—and taking steps to gradually expand the range of jobs considered acceptable for women in conservative societies.

Creating a more attractive environment for investors to invest in remote rural areas, as well as making agricultural sector more attractive, should also be considered a priority.

“With a rising population and growing demand for food, there is an ever greater need to invest in agriculture and rural development. Investment in agriculture is two to four times more effective in reducing poverty than investment in any other sector. The agricultural sector is also a rich source of employment for young people, especially women. Thus, creating job opportunities in this sector will improve the lives of poor farmers, and serve indirectly as a means to combat migration to cities and beyond, ” said Khalida Bouzar, Director of the Near East, North Africa and Europe Division, IFAD.