Monthly Archives: August 2012

ILRI Clippings

This case study on Participatory smallholder dairy value chain development in Fogera woreda, Ethiopia: Experiences from IPMS project interventions by Tilahun Gebey, Tesfaye Lemma, Dirk Hoekstra, Azage Tegegne and Bogale Alemu was released by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in July 2012.

Market-oriented smallholder dairy in Fogera has an opportunity for growth because of growing urban population in the district itself as well as in the wider Bahar Dar–Gondar milkshed. The Improving Productivity & Market Success (IPMS)  of Ethiopian Farmers project introduced a participatory market-oriented dairy value chain development approach with partner organizations in 2005. IPMS together with its partners also identified gaps in the dairy value chain through Participatory Rapid Appraisal and also designed interventions involving key value chain actors.

This approach included increased use of knowledge capturing and sharing by the extension services. Major production interventions were the development of communal grazing areas through clearance of…

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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


Recognizing the African Woman Farmer | IRIN

JOHANNESBURG, 29 August 2012 (IRIN) – Boys learning new ideas of masculinity around campfires in rural Africa and “sisterhoods” formed to provide a common voice to women are starting to change attitudes about African women farmers, say the authors of a forthcoming book about gender and agriculture. But it will take many more such efforts to support women food producers, who make up 43 percent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries. In some countries, that number rises to 70 to 80 percent.

Despite being a major presence in agriculture, women “usually produce less than male farmers because of their limited access to land, credit and other production inputs,” said Melinda Sundell, a senior research fellow at the Stockholm Environment Institute. Sundell is co-author of the book Transforming Gender Relations in Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa: Promising Approaches, which was discussed at a side event today at World Water Week in Stockholm.

“A study in Kenya found that tools owned by female farmers were worth 18 percent as much as tools owned by male farmers,” she added. “Women’s lack of assets impacts directly on human development outcomes. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has shown that countries in which women lack any right to own land have on average 60 percent more malnourished children.”

Policies supporting women farmers are “vital to help create the enabling environment” needed for women food producers to thrive, but “changing attitudes is paramount if policy is to become a reality on the ground,” explained Cathy Farnworth, another of the book’s co-authors.

Although people are aware of the key role women play as farmers, their “’empowerment’ is often seen as a win-lose game – men lose out and women gain. Nowhere is this more clear with land, where typically men govern women’s access rights to land,” Farnworth told IRIN via email.

“All too often, men think that work on gender means that they will lose out, and historically it is true that programmes focusing on women only have ignored men’s real needs”




Grassroots advocacy

But years of grassroots lobbying and advocacy are paying off. Grassroots Organizations Operating Together in Sisterhood (GROOTS) Kenya, a network of women’s self-help groups and community organizations, helped create a formal base for women’s voices to be heard during the constitutional debates that led to the new constitution in 2010.

That year, Kenya enacted “one of the most exciting and progressive constitutions on the continent with regard to ensuring women have equal rights to own, control and manage land,” said Farnworth.

“Women networks in Kenya were instrumental to this outcome – but it is going to be a real challenge to convince men and traditional leadership/gatekeepers in the rural areas that women are equally entitled to inherit land from fathers.”

Transforming gender relations

Transforming gender relations will be essential to this process. “All too often, men think that work on gender means that they will lose out, and historically it is true that programmes focusing on women only have ignored men’s real needs,” Farnworth said.

Instead, efforts to effect change must target both women and men within households. “These work to transform how decisions taken regarding how to run the farm, and how to allocate money earned, and who benefits. The results have been really very impressive because women and men see the gains to cooperation so quickly – it can take only months to change patterns of behaviour that have existed for generations.”

Change also depends on the involvement of men at all levels, she said. “This is true particularly in the case of adapting technologies and integrating into market value chains. Our findings show that promoting methodologies that encourage cooperation between women and men farmers reap productivity dividends as women and men share resources across the farm and maximize the efficiency of their decision-making.”
Role models

The authors also spoke to traditional leaders in Zambia’s patrilineal communities who were trying to get women involved in key decision-making bodies.

“We talked to the Zambia Men’s Network, which is working to transform male behaviour towards women through organizing campfires where men gather in villages to talk through violence against women, and also work to support women for leadership positions. The Men’s Network is also working with boys in schools and boys’ campfires,” added Farnworth. The initiative aims to develop male role models who will work on gender equity issues.

And Ghana’s former Minister of Women’s and Children’s Affairs, Alima Mahama, provided the book with case study about her work in gender-responsive budgeting – government planning and programming that advances gender equality. Her efforts have encouraged government departments to plan and spend according to the needs of women, men, boys and girls.

“She managed to get gender-responsive budgeting adopted by four ministries, including the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Education and Health,” said Farnworth.

Programmes like these are critical, not only for women but for their broader communities as well. “We have seen a common theme throughout the different case study experiences – namely, that improving gender equity can contribute directly to increasing agricultural productivity,” said Sundell.


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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Tanzania dairy value chain stakeholders map outcomes

CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish

Stall-fed crossbred dairy cattle, Amani, TanzaniaOn 6-7 August 2012, the ILRI-led project called ‘More Milk in Tanzania: Adapting dairy market hubs for pro-poor smallholder value chains in Tanzania’ (More Milk IT) held an outcome mapping workshop in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The workshop brought together project collaborators, consultants and potential key stakeholders.

The aim was to create a vision for both the research and the pilot phases of the project and to discuss how to plan the project’s communications, implementation and monitoring and evaluation work.

Participants reviewed the project objectives and the lessons learned carrying out the project so far this year. Potential options for piloting during the research and development phase was a topic that generated lively and insightful discussions. A significant amount of time was spent defining options for dairy market hubs that would fulfill project objectives. Different options were recommended for extensive/pre-commercial (rural-to-rural) producers and intensive/more commercial (rural-to-urban) producers.

Three options for hub…

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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Uncategorized



New York, Aug 21 2012  2:05PM
More consolidated efforts to combat the threat of climate change and counter its ripple effects on global food security are needed amid an intensifying global drought and increasing temperatures worldwide, the United Nations <“”>declared today.

“Climate change is projected to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of droughts, with impacts on many sectors, in particular food, water, and energy,” said World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Michel Jarraud in a press release. “We need to move away from a piecemeal, crisis-driven approach and develop integrated risk-based national drought policies,” he added.

According to the news release, the WMO and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), along with other UN agencies, are intensifying efforts to establish a more coordinated and proactive strategy for managing drought risk to fill existing policy vacuums in countries around the world. As a result, a High Level Meeting on National…

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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


Database of Press Releases related to Africa - APO-Source

AUC charts way forward on pastoralism

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, August 22, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ The African Union Commission (AUC) meeting on the Policy Framework for Pastoralism, opened today with a focus on validating the institutional arrangements and resource mobilization strategies proposed for the implementation of the AUC Policy Framework on pastoralism.

Officially opening the meeting, Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture (DREA), Head of Division for Rural Economy, Dr. Janet Edeme, representing the AUC DREA Commissioner, Mrs. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, said pastoralists make crucial but often undervalued contributions to national and regional economies in Africa.

She pointed out that human development and food security indicators for many pastoral areas in Africa were among the lowest in Africa, and it was for that reason that the AU Heads of State and Government in 2011 adopted the Policy Framework for Pastoralism as the Continental Framework for addressing the complex challenges…

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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Uncategorized



It is the nature of human beings to solve a problem or issue, to be creative, to invent; this leads to the creation of all types of technology for a myriad of purposes. The more important an issue the more varied the technology becomes as we (human inventors) try to solve that issue.

Agriculture and Food production in all forms is an absolute necessity since life cannot be sustained without food. Therefore, technology as it relates to agriculture ranges from low levels of engineering and simple ingenuity to high levels of complex mechanical and scientific systems. These create the immensely wide  spectrum of technology  that can be found all over the world.

Practical Action is a non profit NGO that “uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries. Through technology they enable poor communities to build on their skills and knowledge to produce sustainable and practical solutions to their problems…

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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

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