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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Eradicating extreme poverty: what is the role of agriculture?

Takele Teshome
Takele TeshomeAssociation for Sustainable Development Alternatives (ASDA)Ethiopia

1. Under what conditions can agriculture succeed in lifting people out of extreme poverty? Particularly those households with limited access to productive resources.

In Ethiopia food insecurity is almost synonymous with poverty.  Hence, the effort to lift people out of poverty should start from exerting synchronized effort to enhance food security. This situation appears to prevail in many least developed countries. Food security can be attained by addressing the 3 pillars of food security through increasing food availability employing improved production technologies, creating access (economic etc) to facilitate easy distribution to enable those who cannot produce their food to buy from the market with affordable price and improve food utilization (nutrition) though nutrition education and overcome post harvest loses from the available food. The improved agricultural technology and practices should cover both pastoral and agro pastoral communities to enhance food and livestock production and support along the value chains. The intervention should focus, not only those who own land, but also the landless, women headed households etc through agricultural and non agricultural livelihoods diversification. I believe that the combination of the above measures will help attain food security, economic growth and poverty reduction and eventually poverty alleviation

2. What is the role of ensuring more sustainable natural resource management in supporting the eradication of extreme poverty?

Natural resource management should be participatory through upstream and downstream engagement. One cannot achieve sustainable natural Resource management by excluding resource owners and users (the communities). The policing and restricting access approach did not yield substantive success. It should be the resource owners and users who should protect and develop its resources (land, water, soil etc). If they are given this opportunity with proper awareness, community by-laws that illustrate the conservation, development and equitable benefit sharing they will engage not only in planting trees, but also in ensuring their survival. Cultivating awareness and leadership among University and High school students will also help to engage students in annual tree planting during school/university closure and use them as change agent in their respective communities.

I also think that there is a need to institutionalize annual tree planting campaign to ensure survival of planted seedlings and the respective institutes that planted seedlings should also take appropriate measure for ensuring the survival of those seedlings through post planting care until the seedling pass vulnerable stage

My association applied most the above suggested approach and achieved commendable results and won best practice award standing 2nd. But, resource constraint did not allow scaling up the best practice. Indeed, the developed bylaws should be approved by the regional government to scale up the initiative

Such integrated approach will enhance food security, climate change adaptation, biodiversity conservation and community based tourism development

4. What set of policies are necessary to address issues connecting food security and extreme poverty eradication in rural areas?

To my opinion, policy and practice integration and interagency collaboration is of paramount importance.

Sustainable land management, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation are closely connected to help achieve food security and thus poverty reduction and also tourism development.

Hence, policies pertaining to the above thematic areas should speak to each other and exert synchronized effort to achieve economic growth of the country.  Public-private partnership  to promote economic governance (job creation, foreign currency generation, import substitution), Social governance who civil society organization work on behavioral change, constitutional right and obligation awareness is given through CSO/NGO,CBO) and political governance where the government create enabling environment, policies strategies and political participation  will enhance sustainable human development. Also, enhancing. research/academia-extension and farmers linkage is critical to connect technology generators (Research) , technology disseminators (extension) and farmers (technology users)  significantly contributes to poverty alleviation.

In this regard, ASDA has attempted bring the academia, research, agricultural and health extension system together with a view of promoting linkages and collaborations in one of its project and plan to scale given availability of funds

Takele Teshome
Executive Director, Association for Sustainable Development Alternatives (ASDA)