Roles of Agriculture project goes online
Over the next two years, the project will conduct 12 case studies in four regions -- Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and the Near East and North Africa. It will pay greater attention to Asia and Africa due to the severity of the poverty and food insecurity situations there. The objective of the project is to provide policy-makers with tools to examine the roles of agriculture in their countries and pursue sustainable agricultural and rural development policies.
The new Web site (http://www.fao.org/es/esa/roa/) provides updated information on the project's activities, access to key documents and major research findings. The Web site also offers background and contact information as well as useful links. The site is available in English, French and Spanish.
31 July 2001
Small farmer groups: finding power in numbers
A new FAO publication, The inter-group resource book: A guide to building small farmer group associations and networks, shows how, using a participatory approach, inter-group associations can be established in rural areas. The third in a series of FAO manuals on small farmer group development, it is intended for use by group promoters, extension workers and other rural development staff to help existing farmer associations join forces and run inter-group enterprises. Other books in the series are The group promoter's resource book: a practical guide to building rural self-help groups and The group enterprise resource book.
The publication is available in English, with Arabic, French and Spanish translations forthcoming. It can be ordered through the Sales and Marketing Group, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy; by fax at +39 (06) 5705 3360; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The full publication can also be downloaded in pdf format.
30 July 2001
inter-group resource book: A guide to building small farmer
group associations and networks (in pdf)
Contract farming: partnerships for growth
Today most small farmers around the world are independent producers who sell their produce individually and have little bargaining power with suppliers or markets. But farmers and agribusinesses are increasingly linking up in mutually beneficial arrangements.
Under this method of production, called contract farming, farmers and processing firms agree before seeds are sown as to what crops the farmer will grow and, often, the price the firm will pay for the resulting harvest. This protects farmers from market fluctuations and guarantees that processors have adequate supplies of the produce they need. Contract farming also operates in the poultry, livestock and dairy industries.
Contract farming -- Partnerships for growth is a new FAO publication from the Marketing and Farm Supply Group of FAO. It aims to provide practical advice on contract farming operations to key players in the field.
The publication -- now available in English, with French and Spanish versions planned for next year -- describes in detail how contract farming works and provides advice on how to start and improve such operations. It also offers guidance to government officials seeking to promote or monitor contract farming.
It can be ordered through the Sales and Marketing Group, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy; by fax at +39 (06) 5705 3360; or by email at email@example.com.
26 July 2001
Internet version of Contract
farming -- Partnerships for growth
Latin American experts promote appropriate biotechnology
This is one of the conclusions from the Fourth Latin American meeting on Plant Biotechnology. The meeting, which took place in Goiãnia, Brazil 4-8 June, was hosted by FAO's Technical Co-operation Network on Plant Biotechnology (REDBIO). More than 750 participants from 26 countries and numerous research institutions participated in discussions about strategies to promote development of plant biotechnology in the region. Among the topics discussed were genetically modified organisms, molecular biology, intellectual property rights and food security.
Another message from the meeting was the need for scientific risk/benefit analysis. "Considering the current and potential deep implications of biotechnology the participation of the scientists in the public debate on the benefits and risks of the application of modern technologies must be favoured and promoted," the final meeting declaration says. The involvement of all stakeholders, and especially the members of the REDBIO network, is also important in this debate, it adds.
The declaration laments the lack of attention to the seriousness of food insecurity and the degradation of natural resources, especially water and soil. In addition it highlights the need for strengthening research on biotechnology and the urgency of using appropriate biotechnological techniques to protect genetic resources and biodiversity. The declaration also emphasizes safe and responsible use of biotechnology, especially in fragile environments and lower income countries.
REDBIO has operated since 1991 and has 619 affiliated institutions in 32 countries in Latin America. The network is recognized by FAO as a cooperation mechanism in technical assistance in agri-biotechnology comprising over 2300 experts in related areas. Members include world-renowned experts in plant biotechnology research and development.
6 July 2001
Improving nutrition through home gardening
Improving nutrition through home gardening -- A training package for preparing field workers in Africa is designed for agricultural extension agents as well as other field workers who are involved in nutrition, home economics, health and community development.
Home gardens are found in many humid and subhumid areas of Africa. These gardens offer great potential for improving household food supplies. The home garden can be used to raise many kinds of vegetables, fruits, staple crops, medicinal plants and spices, as well as animals and fish. Even a small plot of land, if well managed, can make a substantial contribution towards meeting household food needs and improving nutrition.
This new training package was prepared by FAO's Nutrition Programmes Service. It was adapted, at the request of nutritionists and agricultural professionals in Africa, from an earlier publication prepared for field workers in Southeast Asia. While similar to the previous publication in its easy-to-follow approach, the new package has been modified to address the eating patterns and agro-ecological, climatic and socio-cultural conditions found in Africa.
The publication is available in English, with a French translation forthcoming. It can be ordered through the Sales and Marketing Group, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy; by fax at +39 (06) 5705 3360; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
28 June 2001