FSN Forum

DISCUSSION No. 148   •   FSN Forum digest No. 1339

Eradicating extreme poverty: what is the role of agriculture?

until 24 April 2018

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Dear Members,

The discussion "Eradicating extreme poverty: what is the role of agriculture?" keeps attracting insightful comments from all around the world and below we share with you the latest ones received.

Participants largely agree that while there is a clear link between poverty and food security, the extreme poor are hard to reach by development initiatives. However, measures such as microfinance, land access policies, establishment of cooperatives, policy coherence and concerted action by all players involved have been identified as carrying the potential for positive impacts.

Please take advantage of the remaining week of discussion to share your thoughts and experiences on the opportunities that agriculture can offer to the most poor and vulnerable, including those who lack productive assets.

Your views will be part of a broader reflection to refine and improve FAO's approach towards the eradication of extreme poverty by using its experience in supporting agriculture and the livelihoods of rural dwellers towards the realization of SDG1.

The full versions and the introduction are available on the discussion page. To take part, send your contribution in English, French or Spanish to FSN-moderator@fao.org or post it online on the FSN Forum.

Your FSN Forum team


iconAndrew Isingoma, Rwanda Agriculture Board, Rwanda

Andrew highlights the persistence of suboptimal farming techniques, lacking infrastructure and transport facilities as contributing to food insecurity in many rural areas. He sees this as a result of the fact that development initiatives too often do not include rural areas and prevent training and investment from reaching farmers. Encouraging the forming of cooperatives and land consolidation policies could help address these shortcomings.

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iconSiosiua Halavatau, Pacific Community (SPC), Fiji

Siosiua shares an insight into the situation in the Pacific Islands. He identifies the need for an increase in local food production, a push by governments to encourage development of agriculture as an industry and the development of simple food systems that can provide a healthy diet even for the poor as crucial elements to address both poverty and food insecurity.

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iconRajendran TP, Research & Information System for Developing Countries, India

Rajendran laments the widespread lack of seed money that prevents rural communities from engaging in integrated farming.

Regarding the opportunities to use common goods such as fish and forests products, he believes that governments and non-governmental organisations should enable farmers to organize in producer groups to empower cooperative production, processing and marketing.

In addition to his reply, Rajendran shares excerpts from a review he wrote on a book on commercial agriculture by Indian smallholders.

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iconGetaneh Gobezie, Ethiopia

Getaneh highlights the microfinance sector as an effective way to reach the very poor, citing growing evidence that the poor can finance most of their consumption and investment requirements from their own resources if suitable saving facilities are available.

In fact, the biggest difficulty farmers adopting new technologies face, is timing savings in order to purchase the fertilizer when they needed it. When financial tools such as ‘commitment saving’ accounts at a local bank are provided, production increases.

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iconRutger Groot, East-West Seed, Thailand

Rutger argues that access to good input materials such as seeds, fertilizers and training can boost yields immensely. For this, policies creating a better enabling environment are required.

He sees a need for a joint effort by all players involved: private companies to deliver good farm input materials and training, governments to facilitate inputs and produce trade, donors to fund training, irrigation and logistics projects, and NGOs to execute the projects.

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iconRobert Mutisi, Manica Boards and Doors, Zimbabwe

In his comments, Robert focuses on the potential of integrating agro-forestry with beekeeping for contributing to poverty eradication.

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iconDhananjaya Poudyal, Civil Society Alliance for Nutrition Nepal (CSANN), Nepal

Dhananjaya suggest establishing policies that facilitate the access of poor landless rural dwellers to marginal lands, credit, formal and informal education, and natural resources.

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iconErnest Chidozie, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria

Ernest sees a problem in the cultivation of crops without previous assessing  land suitability, fertility and capability. 

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iconShahid Zia, RBDC, Pakistan

Shahid proposes following two distinct strategies to get families and communities out of extreme poverty: a farm level strategy for families having access to land resources and an income and food security strategy for the rural communities who have no ownership or access to land resources.

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iconTakele Teshome, Association for Sustainable Development Alternatives, Ethiopia

Takele argues that in Ethiopia and many developing countries food insecurity is almost synonymous with poverty. He therefore suggest focusing on improving food security in order to address the poverty problem as well. Regarding the role of sustainable natural resource management, he calls for an inclusive approach with both owners and users of the resources.

To support these efforts, Takele sees policy coherence as being of paramount importance with aspects such as sustainable land management, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and tourism development all important to help achieve food security and poverty reduction.

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iconBirgit Nimukamba Madsen, Denmark

Birgit suggests community based programmes developed and implemented using the Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) methodology as a sustainable solution to reach extreme poor in rural areas.

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iconManuel Castrillo, Proyecto Camino Verde, Costa Rica

Manuel identifies issues such as unfair land distribution, greedy intermediaries, lack of policy coherence and the overcrowding of crops as problems that need to be addressed in order to stand any chance at addressing rural poverty.

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