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Topic: Household Food Security

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Technological Change and Productivity Growth for Food Security: the case of shifting cultivation and the REDD policy

In many parts of the forest-agriculture frontiers of the tropics, shifting cultivation is practiced as a way of subsistence farming. In particular, widespread poverty and rural population growth are the prevalent causes that aggravate the need for encroaching into the forestland for subsistence farming in these frontiers. In such areas, economic policies and technological change to improve agricultural productivity are vital to avoid the expansion of agriculture by means of shifting cultivation. In particular, as we are in the age of global climate change, resource use and management practices that rely on the use of land clearing and biomass burning, thus emitting carbon into the atmosphere must get our careful attention, despite the need to bring more land under cultivation for enhancing food security. This situation is quite challenging and requires much more careful attention in the case of shifting cultivation practiced in some Asian and African countries. For instance, shifting cultivation by land clearing and biomass burning recycles phosphorous and other nutrients but contributes to deforestation, emission of greenhouse gases, loss of biodiversity, and increased soil erosion and land degradation, etc, and as yet is an important livelihood and food security strategy for millions of smallholders. Because shifting cultivation is so different from the forms of agriculture mostly practiced in the lowlands, and by majority population, it is one of the most misunderstood land use systems. Therefore, in the name of forest conservation and land development, governments in Asia and Africa have devised ad-hoc policies and laws seeking to eradicate shifting cultivation. The reasons usually given for such restrictive state policies are that shifting cultivation is: technologically primitive to improve agricultural productivity; prevents development and thus keeps people trapped in poverty; destructive to forests and soils; and contributing to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by deforestation. However, by adapting appropriate technology and agronomic practices agricultural productivity can be improved in those tropical areas. Such technological changes for more productive and environmentally friendly agriculture, by means of zero tillage/reduced tillage, mulching, integrated plant nutrient management using both organic and mineral fertilizer, improved crop rotations, and improvements in water productivity can not only avoid shifting cultivation, but also contribute to food security, rural livelihood, poverty alleviation, improved soil fertility, and reduced GHG emissions from deforestation. In particular, agricultural productivity can be improved by provision of input subsidies for mineral (inorganic) fertilizers to build on sound ecological principles and agronomic practices; access to finance and micro-credit; improving the infrastructure; capacity development for men and women farmers; and research and development targeting poor rural areas and addressing emerging questions of agro-defence. This chapter therefore discusses the opportunities for technological change in agriculture by rethinking the Agricultural Input Subsidy Programs (as economic-policy reforms) in Asian and African countries, as well as the new financial incentives arising from REDD (as Payments for Environmental Services from UN-REDD program) for those countries for a land use transition towards more intensified agriculture. It is argued that unlocking the potential of ecosystem markets can provide new income to the farmers for the services they provide anyway, while safeguarding the resource quality and enhancing food security.

20.09.2012
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Resilient Livelihoods: Disaster Risk Reduction for Food and Nutrition Security

Resilient Livelihoods is FAO’s interdisciplinary Framework Programme on Disaster Risk Reduction for Food and Nutrition Security. It provides strategic direction to FAO member countries and partners for the implementation of disaster risk reduction measures in agriculture, forestry and fisheries at local, national, regional and global levels.

Through its disaster risk reduction activities, FAO seeks to protect livelihoods from shocks, to make food production systems more resilient and more capable of absorbing the impact of, and recovering from, disruptive events.
This Framework Programme reflects the Hyogo Framework for Action and strives to assist member countries implement its five Priorities for Action for the agricultural sectors. It also responds to recent recommendations made on disaster risk reduction by the Committee on Agriculture, the Programme and Finance Committee, the Committee on World Food Security and the Committee on Fisheries.

It contributes to meeting the needs of member countries, as expressed in the Regional Areas of Priority Action and identified by FAO Regional Conferences held in 2010.

While the Framework Programme supports national government partners, the direct beneficiaries are smallholders in developing countries, including small-scale farmers, fishers, herders, foresters and the urban poor - particularly women - whose lives and livelihoods are threatened. Small-scale farmers represent 90 percent of the rural poor and make up the majority of the world's hungry population.

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Indonesia’s Modern Food Retail Sector: Interaction With Changing Food Consumption and Trade Patterns

Indonesia’s food market has changed in response to a changing and growing economy. The report examines changes in the food consumption pattern and measures the growth of modern food retail chains, packaged food purchases, and food imports in the world’s fourth-most-populous country. The evidence suggests that Indonesians are moving toward modern global purchasing and consumption patterns, but more slowly than in some comparable countries. Barriers to foreign and domestic commerce, affecting the development of modern food retail supply chains, are important constraints on food market change in Indonesia. Further change in Indonesia’s retail food sector will help determine future growth in imports, including from the United States.

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Familiy Nutrition Guide

This guide is for everyone who wants to improve the feeding and nutrition of families in developing countries. It is for you if you are a health worker, nutritionist, agricultural extension worker or any other kind of development worker. It is for you if you are a member of a community group or a mother or other caregiver who wants to know more about family feeding. It might also be useful to anyone training health staff and community workers.
If you do not have a basic knowledge of nutrition and feel uncomfortable dealing with some technical parts of the guide, we suggest that you team up with local professionals so they can give you help when you need it. The purpose of the guide is to: provide the information needed to prepare good, nutritious and safe meals and feed each member of the family well; motivate people to adopt healthy eating habits.
The guide is divided into 11 topics that cover basic nutrition, family food security, meal planning, food hygiene and the special feeding needs of children, women and men, and of old, sick and malnourished people. Each Topic is set out in the same way and has two parts: Nutrition notes and Sharing this information. The Nutrition notes summarizes up-to-date knowledge on each topic. These can be used to prepare: face-to-face education sessions with families and other community-level groups (including teachers, care workers, traditional health workers, etc.); nutrition education print materials (such as booklets, brochures, flyers, posters) or material for other media (such as radio talks); training materials for different levels of staff in different sectors who deal with family nutrition.