Stories tagged: rural

Supporting Rural Development in Guatemala

In the Cuchumatanes Highlands in Guatemala, The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has been supporting a rural community development project.

The project aims to improve the livelihoods of 22,000 families with incomes below the poverty line. A needs analysis demonstrated that one of the problems in the area was poor handling and application of crop protection products, leading to health and environmental risks.

As a result, IFAD formed a partnership with CropLife Latin America to provide training for the project beneficiaries.

A multiple approach was used: teaching Integrated Pest Management (IPM) concepts and proper, safe use of crop protection products to farmers and their families, school teachers and health workers; a one-year course for schoolchildren on environmental protection; training teachers on the benefits and risks of crop protection products; communicating to housewives the importance of washing farmers’ clothes separately so as to avoid contamination of other clothes and water supplies; providing information to health workers at medical and paramedical levels on treatments in the event of accidents; and the training of trainers to amplify the reach of the programme goals.

A similar programme has started in the Dominican Republic and plans are being implemented to expand it throughout Central America.

This initiative in Guatemala echoes two of Farming First’s principles: Sharing knowledge and Building local access and capacity.

There are currently four IFAD-supported projects ongoing in Guatemala. Among them is a rural development project in the Western Region.

The target group comprises smallholder farmers, landless farmers, and microentrepreneurs and artisans. The programme will reach minority groups, particularly indigenous populations with lower educational levels and very limited access to productive resources.

For farmers in Guatemala, such assistance is needed as the country is facing the worst drought in 30 years.

Highlights from the Opening of the High Level Segment of the CSD-17

Presented 13 May 2009, New York

Sylvie Lucas, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the UN, Pdt of ECOSOC:

We know that 75% of the world’s poor live in rural areas and most of them depend directly on agriculture. The poor were the first to be affected by the food crisis, which added 115million people to the ranks of hunger in 2007 and 2008. Early indications are that the economic and financial crisis could bring the total number of hungry past one billion.

First, current agricultural practices will not allow us to meet the food needs and consumption patterns of a growing and developing world population, let alone in a sustainable way. Investments in new technologies are needed to support a shift toward a more sustainable agricultural and food production system.

Multidimensional challenges require an integrated approach, combining economic, social and environmental solutions. We see that the Commission on Sustainable Development is uniquely placed to take on this challenge, as the very aim of sustainable development is to apply this integrated approach.

It provides an effective platform to bring together and foster dialogue between Governments, the UN systems, the policy research community and Major Groups. I trust that this session will produce clear deliverables and concrete actions to learn lessons from the global food crisis and tackle the hunger and malnutrition challenge, within the sustainable development framework.

(emphasis added)

Serving Malawi Farmers by Reducing Credit Risks for Agrodealers

CNFA established credit insurance in 2001 in Malawi to guarantee repayment of half of the money borrowed by agricultural input retailers to stock their shops.

This greatly expanded the number of rural distributors and decreased the distances farmers travelled to obtain inputs, sometimes quite dramatically, resulting in savings in both time and travel costs.

By 2005, retailers covered by the guarantees earned more than $1 million (plus a significant amount not underwritten by the credit insurance). Their success boosted local economies, raised Government tax receipts and increased the provision of non-agricultural services.

After the 2005 food crisis, the Government distributed seeds and fertilizers in order to prevent the situation from worsening. The 2006 maize crop rebounded significantly, but the impact on private-sector retailers was devastating: commercial sales of fertilizers slumped by 60-70 per cent.

A coalition engaged with the Government to transform the support programme into a private-public partnership. Retail sales have since recovered.

Creative Milk Business Fights Poverty, Links Rural and Urban Economies

With its high-quality milk, Nairobi-based Brookside Dairy has a 40 per cent share of the Kenyan dairy market. Seven per cent of its 80,000 suppliers are commercial farmers and the remainder are small-scale producers.

The widespread lack of refrigeration facilities means that Brookside employs an army of delivery personnel, including more than 1,000 “bicycle boys” in the Nairobi area alone, to collect milk.

Brookside’s sales depots now stretch from the East coast to the shores of Lake Victoria in the West. Its training field days, each attended by up to 6,000 local farmers, help spread best practices in livestock management and provide networking opportunities for smallholders, many of whom are geographically isolated.

The business links rural and urban economies and offers a sustainable route out of poverty for many.  Additional benefits to local communities are health education programmes and funding for school, church and road building projects.

Dial “A” for Agricultural Markets in Africa

The West Africa AgriTrade Network provides information on the latest available prices from selected agricultural markets, buy and sell, news, contacts and other information required for commercial decision-making in all 15 member countries of the Economic Community of West African States.

Farmers can receive all this information via text message on their mobile phones.

For example, the Trade in Hand project provides daily price information for fruit and vegetable exports in Burkina Faso and Mali, while Manobi, a Senegalese telecom company, provides agricultural and fish price updates to subscribers.

Safaricom, the Kenyan mobile phone operator, also provides a text message service for farmers to access updates on commodities in markets direct from the Kenya agricultural commodity exchange. Traders can offer their goods for sale or place bids, as well as post short messages or questions on agricultural matters. Rural-based market information points help to extend the service to those farmers with limited access to mobile phones or computers.