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Year in review: Take a look at your favourite social media posts in 2016

Posted by Francesca Aloisio Tuesday, January 17, 2017 0 comments

By Michele Pentorieri

Another year has passed, and we had a look at what engaged our followers the most on IFAD's social media last year. Here's what we discovered.

Climate change: Recipes for change and COP22

One of the most engaging themes in 2016 was climate change and ways to tackle it. To celebrate World Environment Day on 5 June, IFAD partnered with Italy's famous chef Carlo Cracco in order to show the impact that climate change is having on rice production in Cambodia. This was part of our Recipes for Change series, focusing on the impact climate change has on traditional dishes and giving you the tools to cook recipes from all over the world.

A year after the COP21 Climate Summit in Paris, Governments met in Marrakesh, Morocco, for the UN climate change conference (COP22). To mark the event, IFAD launched a campaign called #AdaptNow, where we invited the international community to recognize smallholder farmers’ positive impact on food security, and to help farmers on the front line of climate change to adapt.

Rural Development Report 2016: fostering inclusive rural transformation

On 14 September IFAD launched itsflagship publication analysing global, regional and national pathways of rural transformation. The report draws upon both analysis and IFAD's direct experiences and presents policy and programme implications in various regions and thematic areas of intervention, based on both rigorous analysis and IFAD’s 40 years of experience investing in rural people and enabling inclusive and sustainable transformation of rural areas.

International Days

In 2016 we also highlighted some important days celebrated around the world. Some of the most popular ones were Valentine's Day, International Day for Biological Diversity and International Youth Day.

Africa Food Prize

Finally, many of you joined us in congratulating IFAD's President Kanayo F. Nwanze for the Africa Food Prize. He dedicated it to "the African women who silently toil to feed their families." The reasons the prize committee gave for the choice were Nwanze's leadership and his results and successful efforts at IFAD.

Keep following us

Don't miss out on our daily posts in the year to come. You'll have the opportunity to learn more about rural development, agriculture, climate issues and research findings. We are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Blogspot. IFAD's President Kanayo F. Nwanze is on Twitter too.

by Christa Ketting 
Stanley uses his mobile phone to communicate current market prices from a variety of traders and markets to producers in his group. The First Mile Project in Tanzania began in 2005 concentrating on developing the connection between suppliers in rural areas and markets. ©IFAD/Mwanzo Millinga

The Public-Private-Producer Partnership (4P) approach, is one of IFAD’s strategies to connect smallholders to the private sector as a way to secure access to inputs and outputs markets. But how do we broker the 4P model? An IFAD grant-funded initiative implemented by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation looks into this question. Through the grant, SNV brokered twenty three 4P cases in Senegal, El Salvador, Mozambique Uganda and Vietnam. With the grant hitting midterm, some initial lessons from the grant were presented at IFAD headquarters in Rome on 7 December 2016.

Conventional Public-Private-Partnerships often assume that farmers are common private sector operators. However, it is obvious that smallholders have specific needs and face different constraints than well-established agribusinesses. Many agribusinesses, and especially international companies are therefore still hesitant to source directly from smallholders. A 4P therefore explicitly includes smallholders as equal partners in a business relationship and blends public and private resources in order to make the 4P mutually beneficial (win-win) for both producers and agribusinesses.

In Vietnam for example, a 4P is brokered between Betrimix, a private company active in the processing of coconuts, and local producers. Betrimix used to process traditional products like desiccated coconut with little value added. Ms. Chau Kim Yen, general director of Betrimix explained now as part of a 4P, it provides smallholders with inputs, training services and quality verification enabling them to significantly improve quality and practices. The IFAD-funded Project for Adaptation to Climate Change in the Mekong Delta in Ben Tre and Tra Vinh Provinces, representing the P that stands for public in the acronym, provides training to these groups on business plan development and farming techniques.

Ms. Chau Kim Yen stressed the importance of a broker when it comes to enforcement and arbitration of the 4P. For Betrimix’s business model to succeed it is key that smallholders uphold organic standards as indicated in contractual agreements. In a 4P, this is where the broker steps in. In the case of Betrimix for example, the independent broker hired by SNV through the grant stepped in to resolve conflicts when necessary.

Mr. Abbey Anyanzo is hired by SNV to assume the role as an independent broker in Uganda. He explained that a key feature of his role is to balance the interests of different participants and take a neutral stand in potential discussions between the partners. In order to do so it is important to understand what the main motivations and interest of the different partners are by talking to them separately. Afterwards a broker should bring different partners together and slowly start with the development of the partnership. Unfortunately it is often the producer who is the most vulnerable partner in the partnerships. Producers could for example be illiterate and have urgent financial needs luring them to side-selling which jeopardizes the entire 4P. In some cases Mr. Abbey Anyanzo encountered that producers are not accustomed with working for an agribusiness and, therefore, require more attention.

4P brokers hired by SNV through the IFAD-grant, are independent brokers and not connected to governments. Independency is a key requirement for the success of the 4P model. But how to roll out the 4P strategy in IFAD projects? The grant aims at showcasing different models through which a 4P brokerage can be developed in order to replicate it in IFAD projects globally.

Brokerage services are not limited to partnership brokering. Financial brokerage is another key-enabler for a 4P. For example, 4P cases established through IFAD’s Agricultural Value Chains Support Project in Senegal are constrained by limited access to finance. In order to resolve this problem, a financial brokerage model is developed by the IFAD grant with the assistance of a specialized partner, i.e. The Rock Group. Mr. Ruud Nijs, a partner at the Rock Group, just returned from Senegal where he mapped the financial situation and needs of the Alif Group in order to attract potential investors. By developing individual financial models for cases, they can liaise with both local financial institutions as well as international investment funds.

It often occurs that producer organizations and private companies are active in a certain area, but not able to form a synergetic partnership. 4P brokerage can overcome this problem, but it is key that learning on brokerage skills are disseminated more widely in order to do so. This is exactly what the IFAD-grant will focus on during the final year of implementation. In order to support IFAD projects with value chain development, 4P brokerage guidelines and knowledge products will be produced building on the experience of grant-supported cases in the five pilot countries.

By Christopher Neglia

The IFAD-sponsored tve biomovies competition finished at the end of 2016 and the winners have been announced. In the Family Farming category, the winning entry is 28 year old Hongwei from China.

Hongwei’s short documentary profiles the vulnerabilities and difficulties of female farmers coping with natural disasters brought on by climate change. The film was shot in Luoci County, Yunnan Province. This village in the Southwest of China is heavily dependent on agriculture, where small family-owned farms make up the mainstay of the rural economy.

Through field trips and interviews with local farmers, Hongwei shed light on the physical, and mental fights women go through to provide for their families. She also notes that mining and upstream industrial activities are impacting the community’s drinking water, and decreasing crop yields.

After releasing  a short-list, the tve biomovies jurors invited finalists to submit a one-minute film based on their proposals. Hongwei came out on top with more than 5,000 views on Youtube. IFAD partnered with the 2016 tve biomovies competition, which encourages young people from the developing world to produce short films that show their perspectives on issues such as international development and climate change. You can watch Hongwei’s winning documentary below. 

Back to the roots: Latin America and Africa share cooking experiences

Posted by Steven Jonckheere Thursday, January 5, 2017 0 comments

Many people of African origin arrived in the Americas with the Spanish and Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries. Those who were directly from West Africa mostly arrived in Latin America as part of the Atlantic slave trade, as agricultural, domestic, and menial labourers and as mineworkers. The connection between Africans in the Americas and the Africans that were scattered abroad during the slave trade is ever evident in the underlying cultures and traditions that were passed down from generation to generation in the form of music, dance and fashion, but most noticeably in cuisine. Derivatives of African cuisine have been preserved, yet modified due to the conditions of slavery. Often the leftover/waste foods from the plantation were forced upon slaves, causing them to make do with the ingredients at hand. However, during this Diaspora, what remained whole were the techniques, methods and many of the spices and ingredients used in African cooking.

The Colombian Ministry of Culture acknowledges the cultural, social, economic and environmental importance of traditional cuisine in its Traditional Cuisines Public Policy. With support from IFAD and the ACUA Foundation, the Ministry therefore organised a learning event to exchange knowledge and experiences related to traditional cuisine between Colombia and West and Central Africa in Buenaventura, Colombia, from 26 to 30 October 2016. The aim of the event was to promote identity-based  territorial development. The event brought together a number of diverse participants:

  • Representatives from Colombian and international institutions (Ministry of Culture, ACUA Foundation, local government and IFAD)
  • Representatives from Colombian community-based organisations
  • Beneficiaries from IFAD-supported projects in West Africa and the representative of Self Help Africa, an African NGO

In the two years running up to the event, research was carried out on local ancestral know-how and traditions from various communities in the regions of Quibdó, Guapi, Buenaventura and Tumaco, in Southern Colombia. This resulted in the publication of two books and a documentary, which were presented at the annual book fair of Bogotá and the during meetings on local food and cooking practices in Quibdó, Guapi, Buenaventura and Tumaco.

The event offered numerous opportunities for the participants to share knowledge and experiences: presentations, live cooking performances, a cocktail workshop with local drinks from the pacific region,  cooking experience with the women working at the Buenaventura market place, a visit to the village “La Gloria” where women are running a collective farm, an exhibition of traditional cooking utensils and tools and cultural and musical nights.

The three beneficiaries from IFAD-supported projects in West Africa were Ms Aissatou Cissé and Ms Ndeye Marie Seydi from Senegal and Ms Blandine Montcho from Benin. Ms Aissatou Cissé is a beneficiary of the Agricultural Value Chains Support Project in Senegal. Local ingredients are the secret to success in her restaurant business. She received training and support in restaurant management and food processing through the Project. Today, in her restaurant, she offer Senegalese and European dishes made of locally-grown products and earns a good living.

Ms Ndeye Marie Seydi is a beneficiary of the Support to Agricultural Development and Rural Entrepreneurship Programme in Senegal. She is a young entrepreneur and runs an agricultural and processing company in the Kolda region and has been focusing, although not exclusively, on fonio, the oldest cereal in West Africa. It is a kind of millet that has a nutty flavor – a cross between couscous and quinoa in both appearance and texture. Fonio has been cultivated in West Africa for thousands of years, and is a favorite in salads, stews, porridges and even ground into flour. It’s gluten-free and nutritious because of two amino acids, cystine and methionine, which make it a favorite to be baked into bread for diabetics, those who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. Until recently, the fact that processing operations were small- scale, time-consuming and difficult meant that there was no future for the crop. However, with support from the Project, Ms Ndeye Marie Seydi is now applying new producing and processing technologies  operations and modernizing drying, which has sparked s renewed interest in fonio and new export chains are developing around innovative products. She is currently leading a network of 150 women that are producing and processing fonio.

Ms Blandine Montcho is a beneficiary of the Rural Economic Growth Support Project in Benin. She is the owner of small processing enterprise that turns tropical fruit into organic juices. Although she focuses mainly on pineapple, her company also makes organic tamarind, baobab fruit and ginger juices.

Overall, the event showed that when products are used that have been grown organically and/or responsibly, traditional cuisine allows local communities to have access to the required nutrients for a healthy life. Traditional cuisine can also contribute to preserving biodiversity and the environment.  for environmental and biodiversity protection projects. Furthermore, it can be used for nutrition education to facilitate voluntary adoption of food choices and other food- and nutrition-related behaviours conducive to health and well-being. Finally, traditional cuisine is of great economic and social value as it can help to create employment in rural communities and help to build networks, especially between women.