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Re: HLPE consultation on the V0 draft of the Report: Investing in smallholder agriculture for food and nutrition security

Ms. Ilaria Firmian IFAD, Italy
22.01.2013
Ilaria

 

The paper provides a very good overview of constraints to smallholder investment in agriculture in different contexts and put forward solid recommendations. While I appreciate that the focus is on market linkages, as requested by CFS, I found that the analysis of constraints overlooks important issues related to climate change and natural resources management.  These aspects could be strengthened both in the sections dedicated to resilience and risk identification - in particular by separating natural /climate change risks from technical risks in section 4.3 - (i.e. climate change as a risk multiplier, adding pressure to the already stressed ecosystems for smallholder farming, and making the development of smallholder agriculture more expensive; agriculture is also a source of GHG emissions; etc.) and in the analysis of smallholders’ role in food security and as a social, cultural and economic sector (highlighting the role smallholders play on sustainable natural resources management, ecosystem services; importance of local knowledge in adaptation to climate change; etc.).

Some specific suggestions include:

p.26: animal production should not only be considered in terms of “efficiency” but also in terms of sustainability and impacts on the environment (i.e. extensive grazing systems/pastoralism may represent a successful  mechanisms of adaptation to maintain an ecological balance among pastures, livestock and people).

2.3.2: the growing integration of local and international value chains may represent a driver for scaling up environmentally sound practices and promoting inclusive green growth (an example is the IFAD Participatory Smallholder Agriculture and Artisanal Fisheries Development Programme in Sao Tome and Principe, where public-private partnerships have been set up with overseas buyers of organic, fair trade cocoa of high quality).

2.4: the energy efficiency section should integrate climate change consideration as well as refer to technological innovations suitable for smallholders, such as biogas,  that provide social, environmental and economic benefits.

3.3.6: Rewards for Environmental Services is an approach that may be associated to provision of public goods.

p.55: related to first dimension, among interventions that might help to enlarge and improve the available resource base, include multiple-benefit approaches that have impact on natural resource base, yields, GHG emissions, biodiversity.  In addition, there are approaches to natural resources management such as Rewards for Environmental Services or organic/fair trade production, that have an impact also on the market dimension.

p.57: The importance of a  coordinated strategy across sectors, time, and space should be further strengthened.

p.58-59: diversification of the production system should also be highlighted as a strategy for adapting to climate change and increasing resilience.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this extremely interesting report.

Ilaria Firmian