Stories tagged: World Bank

Priorities for Food Safety in Emerging Economies

In this guest post, Russ Webster, CEO of International Development Strategies discusses the steps that must be taken to ensure the food supply chain is safe for all – resulting in a better future for farmers, consumers and emerging economies.

In the United States, we buy our food with confidence. We may wash our produce and handle raw chicken carefully, but outside of that, we generally trust that our food is safe, and that it won’t make us sick.

That’s because, given the amount of food we produce and consume, the U.S. food supply is exceptionally safe, thanks to our food safety standards and enforcement systems. Continue reading

MAR242014
2014 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty

24 – 27 March 2014

Washington D.C.

Under the theme of “Integrating Land Governance into the Post-2015 Agenda: Harnessing Synergies for Implementation and Monitoring Impact”, the 2014 conference will focus on building a shared understanding of best practices in land governance. By providing an opportunity to strengthen collaboration between diverse experts in land governance, the conference aims to put stakeholders at the country level in a position to address this key development issue.

The following themes will be discussed:

  • Securing and protecting land rights from a gender perspective
  • Managing urban landscapes
  • Attracting responsible land-based investment for local benefits and common resource management
  • Maximizing benefits from spatial data
  • Strengthening country level institutions
  • Fostering transparency in land ownership, use, and administration
  • Research on key aspects of land governance

For more information contact [email protected]

The Rise of Home Grown School Feeding: Five Ways to Make it Work

This week, Farming First attended a panel event hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development at the Houses of Parliament. The event explored recent developments in research, policy and programming for Home Grown School Feeding projects in the developing world.

“When the drumbeat changes, the dance must also change”. This opening remark from Ms. Boitshepo Bibi Giyose, Senior Food & Nutrition Security Advisor for the African Union set the scene for discussion on Home Grown School Feeding – a programme that has been adapted and revitalised to meet a new demand.

In recent years, traditional school feeding programmes that rely on food aid to provide meals for children in schools, have been replaced by programmes that source their food from local smallholder farmers. Dubbed a “virtuous circle”, this new approach has been described as a win-win for children and farmers alike as it improves nutrition and educational outcomes for children whilst at the same time securing farmer livelihoods and access to markets.

According to panellist Professor Donald Bundy, a health and education specialist for The World Bank, this renaissance in school feeding programmes occurred after a crisis response report written by The World Bank in 2008 discovered that school feeding programmes were one of the highest priority areas for people living in low income countries. Citizens were calling for a system that would not only act as a social safety net, but was self-sufficient and long term, that relied on local food producers for food and not donors. “School feeding can provide a structured demand for local agriculture”, Professor Bundy commented.

As an example of the impact that a robust Home Grown School Feeding can have on a community, panel member H.E. Engr. Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of the Osun State of Nigeria, spoke of his first hand experience implementing the “O-Meals” programme, that provides free, healthy meals for primary school children. Within 15 months of implementation, school enrolment in Osun jumped 40%. 3,000 women have been employed as food vendors to serve meals in the school and 1,000 farmers have been trained to improve their production of cocoyam.

Peter Rodriguez, Senior Programme Advisor for the World Food Programme commented on the economic sense that Home Grown School Feeding projects make. “We estimate that for every $1 spent by governments and donors, WFP estimates at least $3 is gained in economic returns.”

Five ways to make Home Grown School Feeding work

1.     Legislate

The panel attributed the success of Brazil’s school feeding programme to legislation that was written, to ensure 30% of all food served at schools must be locally sourced. If it is written in the law, it must be abided by.

2.     Be transparent

To ensure government and donor funds are indeed transformed into food in children’s bellies, eliminating corruption was a key priority for the panel. The computerised transfer of money that bypasses a human intervention was suggested as the best way to address this issue.

3.     Consider nutrition

Panellist Dr. Josephine Kiamba of the Partnership for Child Development highlighted the importance of nutrition in school meals, to combat stunting and illness in young children caused by micronutrient deficiencies. A meal planning tool has been piloted in Ghana, which visualises the nutrients available in a set meal, and will highlight missing food groups or vitamins.

4.     Integrate other health interventions

Nutritious food will not serve children who suffer from diseases caused by poor sanitation or worms. Coupling a school feeding programme with hygiene workshops and de-worming programmes will ensure an integrated and holistic approach to child health.

5.     Partner up

Governments and donors must partner with private sector and NGO partners who can bring a range of expertise to the table, and will also ensure mutual accountability for the success of a school feeding programme.

Photo credit: GOV. AREGBESOLA’S O-MEALS School Feeding Programme

Rachel Kyte: What Next for Climate-Smart Agriculture?

In this guest post, Rachel Kyte, Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank, reflects on the lack of progress made in getting agriculture on the agenda at the recently concluded UN climate talks, and she looks to the newly launched Alliance on Climate-Smart Agriculture as a possible channel for building consensus and fostering collaborations.

I have recently returned from the United Nations climate talks that were held in Warsaw, Poland, and I have both good and bad news.

The bad news is that delegates opted to delay again, discussions of agriculture.

This decision, given agriculture’s substantial and well-documented contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, reveals the discomfort negotiators still feel around the science and priorities of what we consider “climate-smart agriculture”.

The decision to postpone is short-sighted when we consider the potential role that agriculture can play globally. Agriculture is the only sector that can not only mitigate, but also take carbon out of the atmosphere.  It has the potential to substantially sequester global carbon dioxide emissions in the soils of croplands, grazing lands and rangelands.

The good news is that there are steps we can take to make agriculture part of the solution. Importantly the discussions with farmers on how to improve incomes and yields, to serve the nutritional content of the food we grow, are our key focus. But we can at the same time improve resilience of food systems and achieve emissions reductions.

At the World Bank Group, we are deeply committed to supporting climate-smart agriculture, which is an approach with three core goals that together point the way towards a “triple win”:  increasing productivity and incomes, building resilience while reducing vulnerability, and reducing emissions – potentially capturing carbon as well.

To have real impact, we must apply these principles and act across landscapes – that means crops, livestock, forests, and fisheries. Otherwise progress on farms will come at the expense of forests, streams and biodiversity – the loss of which will impact farmers’ productivity and resilience down the line.

The potential is enormous.

When I visited Kenya last month, I met a farmer who embodies the triple win promised by climate-smart agriculture. John Obuom and Poline Achieng’ Omondi plant trees that sequester carbon and transfer nitrogen to the soil. They grow improved crops that are more resistant to drought and disease. And they keep livestock breeds that are better adapted to a changing climate. This model works for John and Poline: they have improved soil fertility, restored degraded land, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions— while providing more food and income for their family.

John and Poline are beneficiaries of a CGIAR Research Program that is working with communities to develop Climate-Smart Villages. The idea is to test agricultural interventions to gain a full understanding of the benefits and effects they might have.

Clearly, some of these models show great promise.  But John and Poline’s farm is one hectare.  We now need to replicate successful approaches on a much larger scale.

In Costa Rica, farmers have benefited from more than a decade of payments for ecosystem services.  Those payments, nationwide, have shifted behaviors toward better livestock and crop management practices that protect natural water sources and take advantage of trees on farms to fix nitrogen in the soil, provide shade for cows and coffee and sequester carbon. These practices are good for the environment; the reason they stick is because they’re also good for the farmers’ wallets.

Part of what makes Costa Rica so unique is the strong multi-stakeholder approach and commitment.  In Costa Rica’s agroforestry program, for instance, the country’s National Forestry Financing Fund is working together with farmers and farmer organizations like CoopeAgri and the BioCarbon Fund to achieve the successful results we’ve seen. Innovative partnerships will be critical moving forward, as many different skills are needed to achieve systemic change in how countries address the challenge of providing food security in the face of climate change.

Support is growing.  This week, innovative farmers, scientists, government officials and representatives from private sector and civil society – are coming together at the Global Conference on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security and Climate Change in Johannesburg, South Africa, to launch the Alliance on Climate Smart Agriculture.  The conference will provide a platform to discuss and share experiences on successes, as well as lessons learned, to deliberate the challenges and threats to food and nutrition security under the impact of climate change and to start identifying and advancing solutions for action.

This Alliance could become a key forum for collaboration.  Working together, I believe we can move climate-smart agriculture to the next level, identifying common goals and fostering new working partnerships that deliver systemic change on the ground.

Pursuing climate-smart agriculture is not a luxury – it’s an imperative.  Let’s make this a groundbreaking move towards real advances in sustainable agriculture. We need to act now.

The World Bank Open Forum on Food

At the World Bank Open Forum on Food, an expert panel addressed the issue of how to solve the global food crisis in front of an audience of about 120 guests… and streamed live to hundreds more viewers.

FANRPAN CEO and Farming First spokesperson Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda took part in one of the panel sessions, which included with Calestous Juma, of Harvard University, David Beckman from Bread for the World, World Bank Vice-President Inger Andersen.
Focusing on the solutions to the problem of rising and volatile food prices, the panel discussed the possible paths to relieving poverty and food insecurity.
Dr Sibanda spoke of the role of the private sector in helping to develop local agribusiness. She cited a case where treadle pumps were distributed to farmers, but that there were no local artisans to repair the equipment and make them affordable. The private sector, she said, have the opportunity to get involved to help communities be able to produce tools locally, and offer the services to repair and renew the tools.
On empowering farmers, Calestous Juma said that farmers need two things. Firstly, they need to be encouraged to organise themselves into enterprises, and be supported in this endeavour, and secondly, an expansion in technical training is needed to ensure farmers are up to speed with modern farming techniques.
David Beckmann emphasised that while these types of panel sessions can talk about the technological solutions, we need to make a commitment to get this done. In the US, he said, there are proposals for cuts that would harm the poor all around the world. This is not just technical problem, he said, it is a matter of mobilising commitment.
Much of the online debate accompanying the panel discussion revealed that people’s greatest concerns were with support for smallholder farmers. Dr Sibanda addressed the issues of access and affordability of inputs for smallholders. Malawi, she said, is one example where we saw uptake of hybrid seeds when subsidies were introduced. The subsidies were for 2kg of seed per farmer. Farmers who were producing yields of 500kg per hectare were later seeing yields of 3 tonnes per hectare. Through the introduction of the new seeds, an improved network of suppliers was built up, and on top of their subsidy, farmers then sought to buy additional supplies of seed of their own.
Dr Sibanda’s final plea was to put farmers first in efforts to deal with food crisis. She said that today in Africa, farmers do not have the food to feed themselves let alone their communities. The first port of call is to enable farmers to come out of poverty. Assisting farmers to feed themselves is the first step to the farmers being able to feed others.

FANRPAN CEO and Farming First spokesperson Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda took part in one of the panel sessions, which included with Calestous Juma, of Harvard University, David Beckman from Bread for the World, World Bank Vice-President Inger Andersen.

Focusing on the solutions to the problem of rising and volatile food prices, the panel discussed the possible paths to relieving poverty and food insecurity.

Dr Sibanda spoke of the role of the private sector in helping to develop local agribusiness. She cited a case where treadle pumps were distributed to farmers, but that there were no local artisans to repair the equipment and make them affordable. The private sector, she said, have the opportunity to get involved to help communities be able to produce tools locally, and offer the services to repair and renew the tools.

On empowering farmers, Calestous Juma said that farmers need two things. Firstly, they need to be encouraged to organise themselves into enterprises, and be supported in this endeavour, and secondly, an expansion in technical training is needed to ensure farmers are up to speed with modern farming techniques.

David Beckmann emphasised that while these types of panel sessions can talk about the technological solutions, we need to make a commitment to get this done. In the US, he said, there are proposals for cuts that would harm the poor all around the world. This is not just technical problem, he said, it is a matter of mobilising commitment.

Much of the online debate accompanying the panel discussion revealed that people’s greatest concerns were with support for smallholder farmers. Dr Sibanda addressed the issues of access and affordability of inputs for smallholders. Malawi, she said, is one example where we saw uptake of hybrid seeds when subsidies were introduced. The subsidies were for 2kg of seed per farmer. Farmers who were producing yields of 500kg per hectare were later seeing yields of 3 tonnes per hectare. Through the introduction of the new seeds, an improved network of suppliers was built up, and on top of their subsidy, farmers then sought to buy additional supplies of seed of their own.

Dr Sibanda’s final plea was to put farmers first in efforts to deal with food crisis. She said that today in Africa, farmers do not have the food to feed themselves let alone their communities. The first port of call is to enable farmers to come out of poverty. Assisting farmers to feed themselves is the first step to the farmers being able to feed others.