Stories tagged: Montpellier Panel

Katrin Glatzel: Why Partnership is Key to Boosting Smallholders’ Resilience to Climate Change

In this guest post, Dr. Katrin Glatzel, lead author of the latest Montpellier Panel briefing paper explains why partnerships involved in climate-smart agriculture will be critical for boosting the resilience of African smallholder farmers. “Set for Success: Climate-Proofing the Malabo Declaration” is available online now. 

Crops, grazing land, fisheries and livestock are already negatively affected by climatic changes and extremes. The recent El Niño, likely to be the strongest on record, has affected the food security of a vast number of people across the world. Among them, millions of smallholder farmers in developing countries, who own less than one hectare of land, live on less than US$1 per day and do not grow enough food to feed their families. Continue reading

Sir Gordon Conway: Supporting the Soil that Supports African People

When building food security and economic growth in Africa, the ground beneath your feet plays a crucial role. Modern studies, using remote sensing, show that 65 per cent of arable land in Africa is degraded, meaning it has an impaired ability to nurture plant life, including crops. This results in low yields and higher crop failure, which in turn have a direct impact on the health and economic growth of the populations dependent on that land. Across the region an estimated 180 million people  are affected by the social and economic costs of degraded land.
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Stephanie Brittain: “When I Grow Up… I Want To Be A Plant Scientist”

In this guest post, Stephanie Brittain of Agriculture for Impact outlines the need to encourage more young Africans to study the agricultural sciences, as a route to a food secure and prosperous continent.

In 2012, sub-Saharan African countries’ food import bill reached US$37.7 billion. Turning Africa into a food producer rather than food importer will depend on many things: reenergizing African soil that is highly degraded, improving the flow of resources to smallholder farmers, and finding jobs for Africa’s ballooning young population. Continue reading

Katrin Glatzel: Using Education to Create a Generation of “Agripreneurs”

In this guest post, Dr. Katrin Glatzel, Innovation Officer at Agriculture for Impact, discusses recommendations laid out by the latest report from the Montpellier Panel “Small and Growing: Entrepreneurship in African Agriculture” which is launching today.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the youngest population in the world aged 14 to 24, which could reach 265 million by 2050. Sadly, over 70% of young people in Africa live on less than US$2 per day and underemployment is high. Continue reading

Emily Alpert: Can You Be Resilient on One Acre or Less?

Our guest author, Emily Alpert, Deputy Director of Agriculture for Impact, concludes our series of blog articles on resilience published in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ahead of the conference Building Resilience for Food and Nutrition Security” 15-17 May 2014.

An acre is about the size of a football pitch. That might seem like a lot, but if your livelihood depends on it, it is rather small. In a good year, (that is with good seed, fertilizer and rain) a farmer can yield about 3 tons of maize on one acre. You might wonder why the 500 million or so smallholder farmers worldwide, who by definition farm on less than five acres (two hectares), farm at all. But my recent trip to Bungoma, Kenya, proved that there are ways these small farmers can be supported to build more robust livelihoods. The Montpellier Panel, Growth with Resilience report, for example, makes the case that people can be resilient with support for women and youth, diversified incomes and better nutrition. 


We talked to Fumona, a single mother and grandmother. Over 30 percent of rural households in Kenya are headed by women, and focusing support on rural women proves to have a positive impact on health, nutrition and education levels for the rest of the family, thus contributing to more resilient communities. Funoma has been receiving credit, inputs, training and insurance from NGO One Acre Fund. Fumona planted more than just maize this year as an outbreak of Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND) could have destroyed her entire crop. Instead, with advice from One Acre Fund she divided her acre between finger millet, maize, beans and groundnuts.  She ended up with an astounding seven bags of finger millet (about 70 kg) from planting just a quarter-acre, or in other words, more than enough to feed her family and leftovers to sell.


Farmers situated near Kisumu in a small village called Siaya such as Timothy Okoth, his wife Jennifer and their 5 children, weren’t as lucky. With just a few goats and a couple of chickens milling about the village, it was clear that these farmers have very little to fall back on if the rains are too short or their crops are damaged by pest or disease. Last year they faced severe drought and only produced 6 bags of maize that simply was not enough for the 7 of them. Kenya 1 Diversity is key to resilience as an entire livelihood can be wiped out if you are reliant solely on one crop. When and where these options don’t exist, safety nets can catch your fall and help you to bounce back more quickly. Even though drought ravaged Timothy and Jennifer’s crops, they were relieved to be One Acre Fund members.  In addition to their package of seeds and fertilizer, they also bought an insurance policy.  The insurance pay-out turned out to be a very smart investment indeed; enabling them to stay on their feet in hopes of better rains to come.


40 percent of children under five in sub-Saharan Africa are stunted. Adequate nutrition not only prevents irreversible damage to physical and mental abilities, but helps children become more resilient in the face of disease. To that end, the farmers we visited in Siaya are learning how to build a nursery for sukumu seedlings, a nutrient-rich kale variety. The sukumu will not only help to provide essential vitamins and minerals, but also a potential source of income. They hope that One Acre Fund will also help them access seeds for onions and tomatoes to eventually sell in their local markets. Kenya2  So can you survive on one acre or less? It’s not easy, but it is doable, especially when there is good weather. And when there’s not, one hopes that more farmers will have the access to and choose to participate in programmes like One Acre Fund. Resilience for farmers on an acre or less might still require cattle and kale, but making a wise investment never hurts either.

This blog article is part of an ongoing series on resilience being published ahead of an upcoming IFPRI conference to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in May 2014. Building resilience means helping people, communities, countries, and global institutions prevent, anticipate, prepare for, cope with, and recover from shocks, not only helping them to “bounce back” but also to become better off. This conference aims to help set priorities for building resilience, to evaluate emerging threats to resilience, and to draw lessons from humanitarian and development responses to previous shocks.

Montpellier Panel Briefing Launch – Scaling-Up Nutrition

Today, the Montpellier Panel will be launching a new briefing on malnutrition at the UK Houses of Parliament. The report is on Scaling Up Nutrition, a framework that was launched in April last year to advocate a better focus on child undernutrition.

Tom Arnold, the CEO at Concern Worldwide, and Katy Wilson, from Agriculture for Impact at Imperial College wrote the report, which is endorsed by the Montpellier Panel, a member of which is Farming First spokesperon Lindiwe Majele Sibanda from FANRPAN.

The briefing points to the necessary collaboration between the agriculture, nutrition and health sectors in dealing with undernutrition, and summarises the progress achieved so far. As well as the Scaling Up Nutrition Framework, the “1,000 days initiative” was launched at the UN General Assembly Summit for the MDGs last September, which gave extra support to the SUN Framework from national governments. 1,000 days refers to the period between pregnancy and two years old when adequate nutrition is critically important.  So far, several international donors including Canada, France, Ireland, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UK, US, and the World Bank have committed to support SUN.

In the video below, Anna Taylor, the Senior Nutrition Adviser at the UK Department for International Development, discusses the Montpellier Panel Briefing on Scaling-Up Nutrition.