Stories tagged: Rural development

Agriculture and Rural Development Day

Taking place at the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil, the event will give voice to a wide cross section of people working on land, food and sustainability. Learning events will explore concrete cases of success that could translate into a thorough transformation of the global food system, and afternoon sessions will focus on science for a food-secure future

The day will feature keynote speakers, a high-level panel discussion, and 13 participatory “learning events” – giving voice to a wide cross section of stakeholders. The learning events will explore concrete cases of success, which, if scaled out through greater investment, could translate into a thorough transformation of the global food system. The afternoon will showcase science innovations for a food-secure future.

See the event website here and the programme here.

New Chicago Council report calls for increased investment in rural adolescent girls

A new report titled “Girls Grow: A Vital Force in Rural Economies” from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs has called for girls and women to be prepared to become “major stakeholders in agriculture and natural resource management”.

The report identifies girls as key to unlocking the full potential of agricultural development in developing countries, and to secure food supplies.

The report argues that rural adolescent girls face a “triple challenge” of rural location, gender and age which restricts their development into the agents of change they could become.

The report provides a seven-step action plan for investing in rural girls. These steps are:

  • Expand opportunities for rural adolescent girls to go to school
  • Equip rural adolescent girls to be entrepreneurs, workers, and managers in the rural economy and beyond
  • Prepare rural adolescent girls to be major stakeholders in agriculture and natural resource management
  • Empower and provide opportunities for rural adolescent girls to have an active voice in household, community and national decision making
  • Provide rural adolescent girls with comprehensive health information and services
  • Improve rural adolescent girls’ safety and security
  • Count girls and measure progress

The report pays special attention to how girls uniquely contribute to agriculture. It argues that if women farmers were given the same access to productive resources such as land and water as men, the results could be significant, with he potential for women’s agricultural yields to increase by 20 to 30 per cent, national agricultural output to increase by 2.5 to 4 per cent and the number of undernourished people to reduce by 12 to 17 per cent.

The report goes on to say:

“Girl’s responsibilities at home and on the farm give them unique knowledge of local crop species and environmental conditions, making them natural players in natural resource management. They can become leaders in agricultural research and extension and as entrepreneurs and workers across the agricultural value chain.”

Policy Coherence in Agriculture and Rural Development

The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development has released a study on policy coherence within the field of Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) “Platform Knowledge Piece 1: Policy Coherence for Agriculture and Rural Development”.

The report explores the need for policy coherence to make sure that policies for development do not contradict one another but rather complement each other, creating synergies. This is importnant, the report says, as:

“In the absence of clear guildelines, policies and programmes proliferate. Some potentially compete, duplicate and overlap one another, leading to waste and loss. This is exacerbated by the tendency for new policies and programmes to emerge while older ones are not always clearly retired.”

Within the report, the authors talk about the particular challenges of ensuring policy coherence for ARD. They highlight three aspects that distinguish ARD:

–       Agriculture and most rural enterprises are carried out by private enterprises, most of which are small and dispersed over large areas, sometimes with little access to ports and cities. This means more technical uncertainly than other sectors, and a higher risk of market failures when interacting with others in the supply chain

–       A wide range of objectives are commonly invested in ARD – economic growth; export earnings; poverty; employment; gender equality; food and nutrition security; conservation; and regional equity

–       Political support for agriculture is often weak and unfocussed. Responsibilities for providing the public goods and services to support agriculture tend to be spread over several ministries and agencies, and may well not be providing the more important and costly public goods such as rural roads, education, and clean water.

As well as the three challenges highlighted above, the authors say that there is the expectation that ARD policy will serve multiple objectives. Factoring in limited administrative capacity in many developing countries leaves us with inconsistent and contradictory policy, which will need sustained interest and effort in order to be aligned and coherent.