David Suttie, Global Engagement Specialist at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Continue reading
When it comes to ending hunger, we need to start with smallholder farmers, argues the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
Filmed as part of Farming First’s #SDG2countdown campaign.
Music: Ben Sounds
As part of our ongoing blog series that examines the state of the negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals, Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development explains why the Financing for Development discussions should focus on rural farmers.
We are standing at a point of fateful decision.
This year, the governments of the world are coming together to frame a set of new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that could chart the way toward the elimination of hunger and poverty. In addition, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) this month will help us come to grips with how we will pay for the elimination of this double scourge. Continue reading
This week, Kanayo Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) wrote a piece for FT: This is Africa, about the huge potential that African agriculture can have, if the right investments and interventions are made. Part of the “Inclusive Economies” series, the article explores that statistics presented in the latest Farming First infographic, which was compiled in partnership with IFAD.
In the article, Nwanze states that today, two thirds of Africans earn their living from agriculture or fisheries, yet Africa imports $35bn worth of food every year. He questions why this should be, as this is food that can be and should be grown in Africa, by Africans. This is money that should be flowing in to support African businesses, not outwards.
When speaking of the infographic Farming First and IFAD created to demonstrate the potential African agriculture has, Nwanze writes that the data gathered speaks volumes about why Africa lags behind other regions. For example, only around 5 percent of cultivated land in Africa is irrigated, compared with 41 percent in Asia. At the same time, farmers in Africa apply only 10 to 13kg of fertilizer per hectare of cultivated land. This compares to more than 100kg in South Asia – even though roughly 75 percent of African soils lack the nutrients needed to grow healthy crops.
Irrigation alone could boost the continent’s agricultural output by 50 percent, and efficient use of fertilizer has been proven to triple yields. Imagine the future Africa could have if the appropriate investments and policies were in place to realize just these two interventions.
To realize Africa’s potential, he argues, we need to dramatically change the way we look at agriculture. Smallholder farming is a significant economic activity, a business enterprise that feeds people and generates wealth. It is a dignified profession and needs to be treated as such, and not just as an activity of the rural poor.
Nwanze urges us to take collective action to ensure that Africa’s future includes a vibrant and productive rural economy, which begins on the farm. Only then can we hope to see a continent that is prosperous and free of hunger.
In the first of our brand new series of Farming First TV interviews, Kanayo Nwanze, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), talks to Farming First about the extent to which helping smallholder farmers access bank loans can set them on their way to growing their businesses and securing their futures.
In the video below, Nwanze describes a project in which IFAD and Alliance for A Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) have been providing guarantees that enable farmers to obtain bank loans from Kenyan lender, Equity Bank.
The initiative, launched in 2008, helps “the beneficiaries to grow their businesses so that they can own collateral and go into the mainstream banking system,” Nwanze explains.
AGRA and IFAD initially provided a 10 per cent risk-sharing fund in the form of a $5 million deposit that enabled Equity Bank to provide a 20 million loan project to small producers. The default rate was less than 1 percent, and the project then grew as more banks wanted to participate.
The impact of such projects can be transformative, affording even farmers of the smallest scale the opportunity to transition from microfinancing into the banking mainstream.
Nwanze describes meeting a woman farmer from Awassa, Ethiopia, who started with $100. “Within ten years, she’d been able to grow her business from one cow to seven cows including a heifer. She’d been able to buy land,”
Watch our video for the full interview with Kanayo Nwanze.
Ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), Farming First is co-organising the fourth Agriculture and Rural Development Day in Rio de Janeiro, which takes place on 18th June. The UNSCD (or Rio+20) marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro and will bring together world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection to get to “the future we want.”
Agriculture and Rural Development Day is organised by a consortium of global agricultural organisations, including Farming First, the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to name a few. Policymakers, farmers, scientists and development organisations are all represented within the ARDD consortium, embodying their vision for collaboration as a solution to food security.
In previous years, Agriculture and Rural Development Day has been held annually in conjunction with the United Nations climate negotiations (COP 15, 16 and 17 in Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban respectively) and seeks to ensure that sustainable agriculture, which is inextricably linked to both climate change and a green economy, features prominently in discussions as well as the outcome documents of the conference. Following the last Agriculture and Rural Development Day in Durban, the UNFCCC agreed to consider the adoption of a work plan to support research on climate change mitigation and adaptation science and policy in agriculture, as well as country level readiness and capacity planning. Back in March, Farming First submitted its views to the UNFCCC Secretariat on how these agriculture-related issues might be prioritised, to be discussed by the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) at its 36th Session later this month.
The goal for ARDD at Rio+20 is to ensure that the vision for a sustainable green economy includes clear steps for building a sustainable food system, as sustainable intensification of food production as been highlighted as a priority area in the zero draft for the conference.
During the morning session of Agriculture and Rural Development Day, entitled “Lessons in Sustainable Landscapes and Livelihoods”, attendees will see keynote presentations from leaders in sustainable agriculture, as well as a panel discussion on how agriculture will address the Rio+20 challenges. A number of Learning events will also take place in the morning, sharing successful, concrete examples of best agricultural practices from around the world. These include:
- Livestock Plus. How can sustainable intensification of livestock production through improved feeding practices help realize livelihood AND environmental benefits?
- How can developing countries advance towards a more sustainable agriculture? A concrete experience on development of a science-based tropical agriculture in Brazil
- Achieving and measuring sustainable intensification: the role of technology, best practices and partnerships
The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) will host an afternoon programme, entitled “Science of a Food Secure Future”. During the afternoon, groups will hold parallel events on a range of issues such as addressing gender equity in access to natural resources, household nutrition security, sustainable intensification of small scale farming and strategic partnership.
Register for the event here: https://www.agricultureday.org/registration.php
Follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag: #rio4ag