Stories tagged: FANRPAN

Wall Street Journal Features Four Farming First Spokespeople

Four Farming First spokespeople feature in a Wall Street Journal article published today that looks at private sector investment in African agriculture.

The article, ‘Private Sector Interest Grows in African Farming’ looks at how fears about another global food crisis are leading private companies to tap into the huge potential of the farm sector in Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to hold up to 60% of the world’s uncultivated land suitable for farming.

Reflecting on this current wave of investment, Lucy Muchoki, head of PanAAC, said, “People are realizing the potential of agriculture.”

Sindiso Ngwenya, chairperson of COMESA and chairman of FANRPAN, spoke about the failure of previous African agricultural projects initiated by foreign investors, that did not properly address the barriers to the sector’s development, saying,“You end up with an enclave economy, prosperous on cheap labor in the countryside without integrating the locals, and this can lead to future conflicts.”

Hugh Scott, director of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, said that private sector investors have the power to empower local farmers to boost output and ensure sustainable markets. Speaking about AECF’s mission, he said, “We’re looking to create projects others will copy, that will change the way market systems work. By doing this with for-profit companies, hopefully they will be there in 10 years,” he said.

Mima Nedelcovych, board director of the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, said if governments want to encourage a sea-change in investment, they need to foster a productive environment themselves.“The agro-industrial side can always be financed because it can handle shorter-term loans. But developing infrastructure and putting in irrigation requires longer term soft money.”

The 2010 FANRPAN Regional Food Security Policy Dialogue

At the end of August, over 200 policymakers, farmers, agrodealers, scientists and non-governmental organisations from across Africa and the world gathered in Windhoek, Namibia for the annual FANRPAN Regional Food Policy Dialogue to discuss the most pressing issues facing African agriculture.

Food security is still only an aspiration in Africa. At the dialogue, the delegates discussed the potential solutions available, highlighting the need for increased funds, training, market access and continued research to help African farmers access the information and tools they need .

Climate change is exacerbating the problem of low agricultural productivity in Africa.  FANRPAN made clear the need for effective evidence-based policies to help tackle the challenges.

The theme for this year’s dialogue was livestock and fisheries the face of climate change.

FANRPAN also accepted the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as the 14th country node within the network, and it announced that its remit will be extended to become Africa-wide, rather than just focused on sub-Saharan Africa.

This year’s FANRPAN Food Security Policy Leadership Award was presented to the President of Namibia, H.E. Hifikepunya Lucas Pohamba as recognition of his country’s achievement in creating responsible fisheries policies in Namibia, which have already been commended by the UN FAO in 2009.

At the dialogue, BBC World Service’s Focus on Africa radio show interviewed two participants along with FANRPAN’s CEO, Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda. Klaus Shade is an Economic Analyst and Research Associate at the Institute of Public Policy Research and Gerald Nelson is a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

You can listen to the interviews here:


Resilience to climate change means different varieties of animals, maybe even changes in species that we grow and certainly more storage of grains to deal with the changes in the climate patterns that we can see coming forward even if we cannot predict where or when. – Gerald Nelson

We know the answers: it’s all about technology. And how do we get these technologies to be affordable accessible to the majority of farmers. In most cases the technologies are there, but they are not affordable. – Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda

Farming First Case Studies and Videos Feature in New Farmers Guardian World News Site

Farming First are pleased to announce that the coalition has contributed to the World News section of the Farmers Guardian website, as part of an ongoing relationship with the UK-based Farmers Guardian.

The recently launched World News page features news stories, case studies, and videos from farmers across the planet

Farming First has provided two case studies for the launch of the new sub-section:

Farmer-to-farmer training in Zambia

Limpopo Basin

Limpopo Basin

  • CropLife Zambia has been training farmers in the responsible use of pesticides, who then become Spray Service Providers, administering pesticides on the farms in their villages.

Securing water supply in the Limpopo Basin

  • FANRPAN is the lead on a CGIAR programme researching water use and food security in the Limpopo Basin in South-eastern Africa.

Two Farming First videos are also on the Farmers Guardian site; an interview with Dr. Wynand van der Walt on plant biotechnology in Africa, and Tendayi Kureya from Development Data explains the Household Vulnerability Index and how this new metric is helping development practitioners.

Farmers Guardian is one of the largest sites for farming news in the UK.  The World News page is a new section of the website, to share the experiences of farmers throughout the world.

G8 Wrap-Up with Farming First’s Lindiwe Sibanda on BBC World Service

After the G8 summit at the end of June, Farming First’s Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, spoke with BBC World Service’s Network Africa radio show to discuss the outcomes of Muskoka 2010. Dr. Sibanda, CEO of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), said,

We are quite happy with the outcome although more could have been achieved, though what is particularly pleasing is the fact that the leaders have been able to commit to an accountability framework.

This framework, the Muskoka Accountability Report, is the first of its sort and is a clear sign that leaders are opening up their negotiations to the outside world so that no longer are commitments made behind closed doors.

Whilst it was revealed at Muskoka that only US$6.5 billion of the US$22 billion pledged at L’Aquila last year has actually been dispersed to date, Dr. Sibanda said that it was encouraging that leaders had promised to ensure the full amount would be dispersed by 2012.

Dr. Sibanda noted that the majority of the US$6.5 billion that has been delivered has gone towards financing the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP).

Globally we now accept that Africa has a plan, Africa is committed to a plan it wants to implement and there is now coherence, slowly, in financing initiatives that are Africa-led.

The broadcast also addressed the growing crisis in the Sahel, in particularly in Chad and Niger.  To tackle this challenge, Dr Sibanda proposed starting with agricultural policy.

How do we get Africa to have and realise its own green revolution? How do we get Africa to improve productivity? Unless we realise the potential productivity by having good quality seed, by having the right fertilizer to improve productivity, by looking after our natural resources, making sure our soils are fertile enough to boost productivity, we will always be chasing the food that we cannot produce and grow on our own.

Listen to the interview here:

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FANRPAN and Gates Foundation Announce 3-year Project for Rural African Women Farmers

The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), led by Farming First’s Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda, has announced a three-year pilot project to help women farmers in Southern Africa influence agricultural policy development.

The programme has been funded by a $900,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and will be presented at the annual FANRPAN Regional Policy Dialogue and Annual General Meeting held in Maputo, Mozambique in September 2009.

The pilot projects will be based in Malawi and Mozambique and will help to amplify the voices of women farmers in policy decisions at the national and regional levels.  These projects will also then help women access the tools and technologies — such as better seeds, adequate fertilizer, extension services, and access to credit — that these realigned markets will provide.

FANRPAN’s involvement across 13 Southern African countries will help it to partner with other Gates Foundation grantees to create deeper linkages within the communities where their pilot projects will take place.  The lessons learned from these pilots will then be incorporated and extended into programmes for other Southern and East African countries.

Why is $100 Better than $1000? Farm Support vs. Food Aid

At a recent Farming First conference in New York, Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda explained how supporting small-scale farmers with $100 worth of agricultural inputs and training can help them to improve their livelihoods more than $1000 worth of equivalent food aid.

Dr. Sibanda is CEO of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), a Southern African network organisation with representation in 12 Southern African countries.

Watch her presentation here: