Policy outreach and communications – what works for improving food and nutrition security?
Suggested Success Story Template for Producers/ Disseminators of FSN Information ( feel free to write short notes or use bullet points)
Name of your organization, country
Devarao Shivaram Trust, INDIA
Who are your target users?
Governments, Multilateral Organisations, International Research Institutions, Donors, CSO/ NGOs, Producer org/ companies (PC), etc.
How do your target users use the information you provide and how do they give you feedback on their emerging needs?
Information is provided as soft copy for use in the manner most appropriate for achieving their objectives.
They will either support my contributions, disagree or just keep silent when they do not want to be seen folowing a line/ stand.
What role do intermediaries* (‘champions’ in government, media, etc) play ?
Intermediaries become champions and make appropriate interventions at meetings, conferences, at different levels, putting across their points of view having had exposure to the reality on the ground.
What is the main communications or policy outreach challenge you face?
Outdated institutional mandates, curriculums and TORs as a result of which the wrong people are in high places, allowing little or nothing to change over the last 15 years, except using some sexy words like smallholder producers, increased incomes, inclusive, climate change, etc., but the mainstream system sticks to their market oriented high cost economies of scale green revolution technologies being the cause of the present crisis in agriculture, with most rural producer communities deeper in debt, hungry, malnourished, getting poorer, committing suicide.
What recommendations would you give to someone, in a similar organization, wishing to improve the uptake and relevance of the information they produce?
UN orgs – UNCTAD, UNRFC, FAO, IFAD, Donors, etc., have put on top their focus on ‘Public Funds for Public Good’, being directed at meeting the AR4D and funding needs of the rural poor smallholder producer communities’, for them to set up producer org/ company (PC) staffed by professionals (general practitioners [GPs]/ MBAs in agriculture) to take over all risks and responsibilities and managing the cash to cash cycle, leaving members to on farm activities. Convert to and follow low cost agro ecological – organic systems of their area primarily to produce and thus have access to nutritious food for their own requirements, at little or no cost, since they do not have the money to buy from the open market.
In your own words , tell your success story !
I have been a part of GFAR since its formation, as I happened to be living in Rome at the time. My interventions at the time was for AR4D to move in the direction of meeting the needs of the dry land and rain fed farmers following organic principles. For obvious reasons most ignored, some even looked down upon me as the numbers involved were less than 1%.
I then shifted gears and coined the phrase ‘rural poor smallholder producer communities’, writing a paper on the subject, jointly with Dr O P Rupela, Principal Scientist, ICRISAT, circulated to the GFAR, Delhi, invitees/ delegates/ participants . This paper did attract attention, thus giving us reason to focus and pursue our advocacy for these communities, at all platforms (e consultations, face to face meetings, etc., in preparation for GCARD I), especially as most smallholders do follow organic principles by default and we did succeed in persuading Dr R B Singh, former ADG, GCARD's Senior Consultant, to re write the outputs and focus on meeting the needs of the smallholder producers. A few weeks before GCARD I, Monpellier, a few of us CSO/ NGOs intervened in the consultation process and voluntarily contributed a ‘White Paper’, as attached, which then came to be the conference document as the Uma Lele, contracted to write the conference document, held it back in light of our document having reached the delegates/ invitees/ participants and was circulated by the GFAR secretariat after the conference.
I am happy that our efforts has put the smallholder producer communities’ AR4D needs on top of the table, reports, etc., and will continue till the UN orgs’ focus on meeting the AR4D needs of these communities, converting back to their low cost agro ecological – organic systems thus access there nutritious food requirements, at little or no cost, reducing hunger, malnutrition, poverty, effects of climate change, suicides whilst improving livelihoods, increasing net incomes & purchasing power and long term sustainability is pursued.
Delivery & long term Sustainability is missing:
The economic activities of the rural smallholder producer communities following their low cost ecological agriculture systems, mostly ensures access to their nutritious food requirements at little or no cost, thus reducing hunger, Malnutrition, poverty, suicides and the effects of climate change whilst improving livelihoods, purchasing power and net incomes. The intervention of their PC, staffed by professionals (general practitioners [GPs]/ MBAs in agriculture) to take over all risks and responsibilities other than on farm activities, is essential for proper convergence between the supply side and demand side institutions providing services related to agricultural production, management, training, extension, value addition, etc., considering that it has become more difficult with passing of time. Evidence in this regard is available in the working papers available on this link:
Given the required support, producers can then access low cost finance, management, know how/ knowledge for producing inputs, optimizing production, value addition to increase shelf life of perishables for minimizing post harvest losses, marketing/ logistics and creating the required infrastructure. PCs are also helping strengthen the capacity of producers by negotiating for improved policies, ensure stable domestic markets and link with regional, National and International processes.
Government (Members of Parliament/ Legislators) have the responsibility and at all levels to fund, facilitate and assist in the setting up and staffing of PCs, thereafter mentor, if they are to succeed and for agriculture to contribute in economic development and growth in the long term. A model successfully implemented and in one of the poorest districts of Orissa, India:
Evidence for commitments made - UK research on nutrition through agriculture:
Baranski M et al. (2014) British Journal of Nutrition 06/2014; DOI: 10.1017/S0007114514001366
Demand for organic foods is partially driven by consumer perceptions that they are more nutritious. However, scientific opinion is divided on whether there are significant nutritional differences between organic and non-organic foods, and two recent reviews concluded that there are no differences. Here we report results of meta-analyses based on 343 peer-reviewed publications that indicate statistically significant, meaningful differences in composition between organic and non-organic crops/crop based foods. Most importantly, concentrations of a range of antioxidants such as polyphenolics were found to be substantially higher in organic crops/crop based foods, with levels of phenolic acids, flavanones, stilbenes, flavones, flavonols and anthocyanines being an estimated 19 (95% CI 5, 33), 69 (95% CI 13, 125), 28 (95% CI 12, 44), 26 (95% CI 3, 48), 50 (95% CI 28, 72) and 51 (95% CI 17, 86) % higher respectively. Many of these compounds have been previously linked to reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and certain cancers in dietary intervention and epidemiological studies. Additionally the frequency of occurrence of pesticide residues was 4 times higher in conventional crops, which also contained significantly higher concentrations of the toxic metal cadmium (Cd). Significant differences were also detected for some other (e.g. minerals and vitamins) compounds. There is evidence that higher antioxidant and lower Cd concentrations are linked to specific agronomic practices (e.g. non-use of mineral N and P fertilisers respectively) prescribed in organic farming systems. Overall it is concluded that on average, across regions and production seasons, organic crops have more antioxidants and less Cd and pesticide residues than the non-organic comparators.
Corresponding author: Prof. Carlo Leifert, phone +44 1661 830 222, fax +44 1661 831 006, email email@example.com
2. NUTRITIONAL COMPOSITION OF ORGANIC CROP FOODS STUDY: BRIEFING NOTE
Newcastle University, School of Agriculture Food and Rural Development (AFRD)
About the Study
A new scientific paper published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that there are significant composition differences between organic and conventional crops (primarily vegetables, fruit and cereals) that are relevant in terms of nutritional quality.
It is the most up-to-date analysis of the nutrient content in organic compared to conventionally produced foods, synthesising the results of many more studies than previous analyses. The findings are the result of a groundbreaking new systematic literature review and meta-analysis by an international team of scientists led by experts at Newcastle University.
The most striking differences revealed in the study are: higher concentrations of antioxidants, lower levels of cadmium, nitrate and nitrite, and less frequent presence of pesticide residues in organic crops compared with non-organic.
In presenting robust evidence of substantial differences and significant nutritional benefits from organic food, this study contrasts markedly with some previous studies, in particular with the findings of a 2009 UK Food Standards Agency (FSA)-commissioned study (Dangour et al. Am. J. Clin Nutr. 90, 680-685).
The new analysis of organic crops is based on 343 peer-reviewed publications solely focusing on organic crops, fruit and vegetables, whereas the FSA-commissioned study based its conclusions on just 46 publications covering crops, meat and dairy. The Newcastle University study specifically sought to identify and quantify compositional differences between organic and conventional crops (primarily cereals, vegetables and fruit) and crop-based products (e.g. seed oils, wine and baby food) based on a systematic review of all the available literature and data.
With over 50% of the publications included in the new analysis published since 2006 (and therefore not available to the FSA-commissioned researchers, and other earlier studies), this review is a landmark in the advancement of our knowledge of the subject.
While people should not eat less fruit or vegetables, this study demonstrates that choosing food produced according to organic standards can lead to increased intake of antioxidants without increased calorie intake. With greater nutrient and antioxidant density, every mouthful of fruit and vegetables produced organically can count for more. This constitutes an important addition to the information currently available to consumers.
The authors of this study welcome the continued public and scientific debate on this important subject. The entire database generated and used for this analysis is freely available on the Newcastle University website (http://research.ncl.ac.uk/nefg/QOF) for the benefit of other experts and interested members of the public.
The Main Findings
Organic crops/crop-based foods – on average, across regions and production seasons – have substantially more potentially health-promoting antioxidants, phenolics and (poly)phenolics and less potentially harmful cadmium, nitrite and pesticide residues than non-organic comparators.
The analysis indicates that the quality of food is strongly influenced by the way it is produced, and that organic farming methods lead to increased levels of nutritionally desirable compounds and reduced concentrations of undesirable ones. In particular, there is increasing evidence that higher levels of manufactured chemical fertilisers, most notably the nitrogen and phosphate-based fertilisers that are prohibited or heavily restricted by organic farming standards, lead to substantially lower concentrations of antioxidants in conventional crops.
Organic farming prohibits the use of synthetic chemical pesticides, and promotes the use of balanced crop nutrition, crop rotation and mechanical, biological and cultural methods for weed, pest and disease control. This explained the very low incidence of pesticide contamination in organic compared to conventional crops found in the study and demonstrated that organic food consumption is an efficient way to reduce dietary pesticide exposure.
Organic crops and crop-based food products were found to have significantly higher concentrations of antioxidants (including phenolic acids, flavanones, stilbenes, flavones, flavonols and anthocyanines)compared with their conventionally produced counterparts. The mean percentage difference for most antioxidant compounds was between plus 18% and 69%. Smaller, but still statistically significant, composition differences were also detected for a number of carotenoids and vitamins.
A switch to eating organic fruit, vegetable and cereals (and food made from them) would lead to a 20–40% (and for some compounds up to a 60%) increase in crop-based antioxidant/(poly)phenolic consumption without any increase in calories. This is important as there is strong scientific evidence of the health benefits of increased consumption of (poly)phenolics and other plant secondary metabolites with antioxidant activity, most notably protection against chronic diseases, including cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and some cancers.
Less Toxic Metals and Nitrogen
Substantially lower concentrations of a range of toxic heavy metals were detected in organic crops, particularly cadmium (on average 48% lower). Cadmium is one of only three toxic metal contaminants (along with lead and mercury) for which the European Commission has set maximum permitted contamination levels in food. Since it is known to accumulate in the body (especially the liver and kidneys), any reduction in cadmium consumption is positive.
Nitrogen concentrations were also found to be significantly lower in organic crops. Concentrations of total nitrogen were 10%, nitrate 30% and nitrite 87% lower in organic compared with conventional crops.
The higher nitrate and nitrite concentrations in conventional crops are believed to be linked to the use of mineral nitrogen fertiliser, which is strictly banned under organic farming standards.
The significantly higher nitrite concentrations in conventional crops can be considered nutritionally undesirable, as they have been described as potential risk factors for stomach cancer and other conditions.
Less Pesticide Residues
This study found that the frequency of occurrence of detectable pesticide is four times higher in conventional (46 (+/-4)%) than organic (11(+/-2)%) crops.
Conventionally grown fruit had by far the highest frequency of pesticide residues (75(+/-5%), about seven times higher than in organic fruit. In conventional vegetables and crop-based processed foods the frequency of pesticide residues was three to four times higher than in organic. All organic crop types were found to have similarly low contamination rates.
The understanding that they contain lower levels of pesticides is already a key factor motivating some consumers to choose organic foods, making this further information useful for consumer choice.
While further studies are needed to clarify the health benefits of reducing pesticide exposure, any reduction can be considered desirable, especially since we know that a significant proportion of conventional crop samples regulated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) contain pesticide residues above permitted levels. For example, in recent EFSA surveys pesticide residues above the Maximum Residue Levels (MRL) were found in 6.2% of spinach, 3.8% of oats, 3.4% of peach, 3% of orange, 2.9% of strawberry and lettuce, 2.8% of table grape and 2.7% of apple samples.
The fact that pesticides are found twice as frequently in conventional fruit than in conventional vegetables is also significant and may point to greater use of persistent chemicals and/or pesticides being applied closer to harvest time in fruit crops.
Need for Further, and More Reliable, Scientific Studies
This study identified serious deficiencies in a large proportion of previously published studies. These include a lack of standardised measurements and reporting, and evidence of duplicative or selective reporting of data collected in experiments.
The statistical methods used in the Newcastle University study were an advance over previous research syntheses that did not balance out the contribution of larger studies versus smaller ones. As well as having less evidence and not accounting for the amount of information, earlier syntheses used less reliable methodologies and inclusion criteria, and some included results from the same experiment multiple times.
The authors of the Newcastle University study also concluded that further research is needed to understand the variation between studies and that it is vital that future comparative food composition studies use standardised protocols.
This study identified significant differences, believed to be nutritionally beneficial, in the composition of organic compared with non-organic crops. However, it also highlights the need for more research to build our knowledge of the corresponding human health benefits of these differences.
The findings of this study clearly demonstrate the urgent need to carry out well-controlled human dietary intervention and cohort studies specifically designed to identify and quantify the health impacts of switching to organic food.
About the funding of this study
The authors are grateful for funding from the European Community financial participation under the Sixth Framework Programme for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities for the Integrated Project QUALITYLOWINPUTFOOD, FP6-FOOD-CT-2003- 506358.
The study also received financial and technical support from the SheepdroveTrust, which supports independent R&D underpinning the development of organic and sustainable farming and food systems. Financial support by the Trust was without conditions and the Trust had no influence on the design and management of the research project and the preparation of publications from the project.
To read the full paper, as published in the British Journal of Nutrition, go to:http://research.ncl.ac.uk/nefg/QOF. This includes further information and annexes, and summary information in English, German, French, Italian, Greek, Polish, Czech and Finnish.
Higher antioxidant concentrations, and less cadmium and pesticide residues, in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analysis. Leifert, C. et al. (2014) British Journal of Nutrition July 2014
The full dataset of this study is being made publicly available athttp://research.ncl.ac.uk/nefg/QOF
For more information please contact:
Lead author Professor Carlo Leifert
e-mail: Teresa Jordon firstname.lastname@example.org
Addressing point 4:
Mission for long term sustainability of smallholder producer communities:
The UN agencies correctly have and continue to sound alarms about the urgent need for the rural poor smallholder producer communities (about 50% of the world’s population), to return to producer oriented, economies of scope development, following ecological/ natural/ organic agriculture systems, being sustainable in the long term, thus ensuring their access to nutritious food needs, at little or no cost and also feed the world. In contrast, the United States, Canada, Australia and some EU governments are pushing for the high cost external input, chemical intensive and corporate-dominated industrial farming systems and now also GMOs. UNCTAD report, link at:
has contributions from more than 60 scientist/ experts around the world, mostly re iterating the findings of the IAASTD report, link at:
Reports also argue that smallholder producer communities following low cost organic/ natural/ ecological agriculture systems of their area is the answer for “feeding the world,” not the high cost conventional Industrial/ GMOs with a focus on mono cultures agriculture systems, being the cause of distress, deep debt and suicides.
The UN reports rightly calls for, major changes in food, agriculture and trade systems, to focus on meeting the conversion needs of the rural poor smallholder producer communities, if they are to access their requirement of nutritious food, thus reducing hunger, malnutrition, poverty and suicides whilst improving livelihoods, increasing net profits and purchasing power, effects of climate change and ensuring their long term sustainability.
These reports also demand that global trade rules be reformed in order to work toward these ends as the proposed trade deals like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the U.S.- EU Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are primarily designed to strengthen the hold of multinational corporate and financial institutions managing the global agriculture economy are mostly working against the rural poor smallholder producer communities. Further ,with food prices (and speculation in food prices) on the rise, the report states that the present conventional systems are seeking to accomplish the opposite by continuing to push for their high cost green revolution/ GMO technologies..
Thus, the reports call upon the Governments, National and Global Agriculture and Research Systems to shift from their conventional, high cost mono culture dependent external input based industrial production to following the low cost successful ecological/ natural agriculture systems, as applicable to the soil and agro climatic conditions in each area, that optimizes nutrition and improves agriculture productivity of smallholder producer communities.
Following Ecological Agriculture Systems Ensures area of the low cost production of 'nutritious food'
Agriculture faces the challenge of not just meeting the growing demand for more but also safe, nutritious food and produced in a way that it is sustainable in the long term for the illiterate rural poor smallholder producer communitiess, constituting over 50% of the population in developing countries around the world.
Given the persistence of hunger, Mal nutrition, health and poverty problems, there is need to review conventional agriculture 'nutrition and health through a lens to identity the Integrated Agriculture Research for Development (IAR4D) areas for meeting the needs of the smallholder producer communities.
To better understand the producer and their communities', meeting their requirements of nutrition, health and food needs, we first need to ascertain how currently their needs are addressed, document this and their successful low cost integrated agriculture models, meeting their own nutrition, health and food needs and at farm gate prices. These successful farmers need to be contracted for wide replication. This is the first step for reducing the cost, optimizing farm production and increasing the purchasing power and net income of the rural poor producer Communities, Ensuring nutrition, health and food security for Their long term sustainability.
Adding value to the produce locally for increase increasing shelf life, THUS zero down post harvest-losses, made possible With the intervention of the producer orgs (PC) staffed by professionals (general practitioners [GPs] / MBAs in agriculture, Set up by the smallholder producer Communities, but Facilitated by public funding ..
The focus on nutrition-sensitive agri 'Culture' is of high priority and is gaining international attention, if we are to mitigate hunger, Poor nutrition, poverty and climate change (MDGs). Also review how agriculture and food systems can be leveraged to mitigate hunger, Poor nutrition, poverty and climate change in a more sustainable and equitable Manner.
Some areas for IAR4D:
One. Conversion of conventional agriculture to the Ecological Agriculture Systems of each area to Ensure nutrition, health and food security through agriculture.
Two. Value Addition 'in not just agriculture Could Contribute to improved shelf life, harvest Minimizing post-losses, nutritional outcomes, but healthy food systems for Improving economic development and Reducing subsidies.
Three. Comparative research Between the Local and conventional agriculture and integrated agriculture on farmer fields to focus on safety and nutrition and to document / nutritious food and agriculture system of each area, Especially Those Programmes and projects have resulted in improved That nutritional outcomes to be used as the baseline for future IAR4D projects, sharing the success and or failure factors, constraints faced, Lessons Learned: how the impact and objective nutritional Measured and was built into the program.
Four. The key gaps in knowledge or good practices abitur That the limit of agriculture and food systems to optimize nutrition through agriculture.
Further to my earlier contribution and since I strongly believe that 'Nutrition education' does have an enormous potential to motivate producer communities to follow their low cost ecological agri systems thus ensuring their access to safe and improved diets and of the general public who consume their produce. Answers to your Qs:
Are you aware of programmes aiming to improve the dietary quality and diversity of farming families?
With the Govt of India deciding on funding, assisting and provide supporting to the whole of North East India for replicating the hill State of Sikkim’s successful model of converting to the producer oriented economies of scope low cost ecological/ organic agriculture system will ensure the producer communities access to safe, nutritious food and cash needs of the producer communities, the possibilities are huge if this experiment succeeds in all hill states of the world, especially as Bhutan as a country has decided to go organic by 2020.
How can ecological agri systems and nutrition education/ knowledge increase the demand for local family farming produce with high nutritional value?
The produce from organic agriculture ensures access to the farmer families at little or no cost, is tasty and safe, thus ensures good health (little or no medical cost), thus will increase demand among producer communities and markets in the vicinity whilst reducing the effects of climate change.
1. What are the existing national and regional programs which aim to improve the dietary quality and dietary diversity of farming families?
Government of India has recognized the fact that the market oriented economies of scale green revolution technologies/ industrial agriculture, were and continue to be dependent on high cost agro chemicals and seed, irrigated water and increasing each year, is the cause of deep debt/ distress among producer communities having small holdings, dependent on rain/ water harvesting in arid areas (84% of the farmers). The Government for now over ten years has made a provision in the annual budget to assist farmers’ conversion to their low cost producer oriented economies of scope ecological agri systems/ organic, thus ensuring their access to nutritious food and long term sustainability. In this process the State of Sikkim has since followed organic principles, banning the use of agro chemicals, GM seeds, etc. The Prime Minister of India has now proposed that the North East States of India follow the Sikkim model for which provision has been made in the new budget. The world needs to follow Bhutan’s example as a country going organic by 2020 especially as numerous reports commissioned by the UN orgs have provided the required evidence that producer communities following their low cost ecological agri systems ensures producer communities (64% of the population) access to nutritious food and also be able to feed the growing populations in the future provided Governments make the required investment in meeting the needs of the producer communities.
a. What educational and communication strategies have been used in these programs?
Knowledge and the understanding of nature, eco agri systems needs to be part of curricula of education from the beginning through high school to enable students to make considered choice of a carreer in agriculture and associated fields, targeting women and youth to become general practitioners (GPs)/ MBAs in agriculture, with colleges offering these subjects.
b. What main constraints and best practices have been identified?
Most Governments have gone along with Agri Education and Research institutions over the last 100 years mandate to convert the low cost producer oriented economies of scope ecological agri systems followed by producer communities worldwide to the high cost market oriented economies of scale industrial agriculture (mono crops) systems resulting in the deep crisis being now faced by agriculture, especially the smallholder producer communities (84%) dependent on rain.
c. What other strategies have potential?
Fund, assist and support producer communities to set up and own their producer orgs/ company (PC) but staffed by professionals (GP &MBAs) to take over all risks and responsibilities except on farm activities. Governments to ensure required funding is available only through the PC’s bankable proposal based on the evidence provided by the numerous UN org reports, in an effort to ensure the long term sustainability of the community, reducing subsidies over the years.
2. How can nutrition education increase the demand for local family farming produce with high nutritional value, and thus contribute to improving dietary diversity and to protecting traditional foods and the local food culture?
a. What are the existing programs in the region in this respect?
1. Funding for education/ knowledge, conversion and communication proposals to follow the low cost producer oriented economies of scope organic principles, evidence available that produce has high nutritional value and ensures the producer communities access to and protecting traditional nutritious local food and culture, at little or no cost.
b. What main constraints and best practices can you identify?
Opposition from the gradutes and specialists whose knowledge is restricted to conventional green revolution agri systems, staffing Government agriculture departments, National, Regional and International Education and Research Institutions.
c. What other strategies have potential?
All education institutions from KG, lower, middle and higher schools and colleges must offer courses in agriculture and allied subjects as over 50% of the worlds population is directlyor indirectly involved with this subject/ rural activity.
Support Required Investment for Low Cost Producer Oriented Economies of Scope Ecological Agriculture Systems of each area being Smallholder Rural Poor Producer Community friendly and Abolish Support to the High Cost Market Oriented Economies of Scale Green Revolution Technologies (mono crops) serving only the Large Farmer Interests
Strengths and Opportunities:
‘Low Cost Ecological Agriculture’ will put to work about 60% of India’s rural poor producer communities, ensuring access to their requirement of nutritious food and cash, at little or no cost thus improving livelihood, net incomes and purchasing power and their long term sustainability whilst reducing hunger, malnutrition, poverty, suicides and the effect of climate. In contrast, distortions due to the high cost green revolution agricultural economy which perversely incentivizes farmers to grow wheat and rice (mono crops which have MSPs and subsidies for highbrid/ GM seeds).
It will help boost farm production spread over 12 months, minimize risks with income from non-cereal food items, like vegetables, lentils, fruits, diary, fisheries, energy, production of inputs, etc. This will put a lid on food inflation with 60% of the rural poor producing for meeting their own requirements of nutritious food, value adding to the surplus, if any, for increasing the shelf life of the produce for storage and thus minimizing post harvest losses (presently 40%). MSPs (which have only moved upwards) and subsidies will no longer be required once the producers have become sustainable in the long term (about 10 years) with high economic development and job created through agriculture. An income support programme will ensure that needy farmers are compensated for any loss in income caused during their conversion to the low cost Ecological Agriculture System of their area abolition of subsidies and MSPs.
Weaknesses and Threats:
Conversion to ‘Ecological Agriculture Systems’ of each area from the green revolution technologies incentivized by Government/ NARES mostly followed by large industrial farmers who have benefitted from subsidies, MSPs, etc. are well organized and will protest and there will also be scientist/ political opposition to what will be portrayed as an anti-farmer policy.
Identifying needy farmers for the income support programme will be a challenge as they will require assistance and support for setting up democratic producer organizations/ company (PC amendment IX A of the companies act) but staffed by educated (general practitioners/ MBAs in agriculture) women and youth to take over all responsibilities and risks other than on farm activities.
How to get it done:
Involving the CSO/ NGO working with the producer communities for setting up their PC and staffing it with the required professionals to manage on behalf of the members the Government’s introduction of an Income Support Programme, using Aadhar successfully and then followed by announcement to abolish ‘Subsidies & MSP’.However, the implementation of both these policies could be synchronized in calibrated steps over a period of time, so as to ensure that such a major policy reform is not stalled by the sheer scale of the change. As it will curb food inflation – an issue that pinches the majority – must be used as argument by the Government to persuade public opinion.
New Zealand farmers mostly follow their Ecological Agriculture Systems and are sustainable in the long term (without farm subsidies). This can be achieved in India in less than 10 years provided the required investments are made in Human and Institutional Development for meeting the needs of the rural poor producer communities to correct the wrong policies of the past 50 years: ·
Announcing of a moratorium on export and futures trading ban only after the rural poor have converted to Ecological Agriculture and have access to their requirement of nutritious food and cash.·
Invest in locally adapted modern seed technology, enabling producers to produce their own seed.·
Amend Food Security Bill; Government’s introduction of an Income Support Programme for Rural Producer Communities through their PC and reduce coverage only to urban poor through Aadhar for cash transfers.·
Provide the financial resources for rural producer communities to contract CSO/ NGOs to assist them to set up their PC and staffed with the required professionals.·
Abolish the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Act.·
Provide funding to allow PCs to manage.·
Fund/ Aid Integration of allied activities; Water harvesting/ table, energy production/ distribution projects, Horticulture, Poultry, Fisheries & Animal Husbandry.·
Institutes of Agriculture be converted to serving the needs of education, knowledge, training, action research in the area leaving research to the CSIR institutes.
Encourage Modernisation as applicable to the soil and agro climatic conditions of each area, using hand tools, etc., to improve quality and production
A policy for agriculture and rural investment:
This policy brief on agriculture and rural development is aimed to make agriculture and rural producer communities sustainable in the long term. It would not only avert the impending food,nutrition and health crisis but also improve security, climate risks whilst increasingly reduce the subsidies of the Governments in the next one decade.
In the light of the increasing evidences from across the world in support of integrated ecological agriculture for sustainability, the policy in line with the best of understanding of making agriculture and rural communities sustainable. It is also substantiated by various practices, policies and declarations from different national and international organizations. A few of them are cited below:
1. According to FAO,
Smallholder family producer communities,
http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/wess/index.shtml, 50 percent women, provide up to 80 percent of the food supply in South Asia, are productive, drivers of change and given the resources could increase farm production by 20 – 30 %. They mostly follow their low cost ‘Agro Ecological, climate-resilient agriculture’, primarily for meeting the producer communities own ‘Food, Nutrition, Health and
Cash’ needs. A few examples are cited below:
1. Nava Jyoti, Orissa
2. One village. 60 millionaires, the miracle of Hiware Bazar, Maharashtra, the suicide State of India,
3. Panchavat Academy, Kuthambakkam (34 miles from Chennai),
4. The System of Crop Intensification (SCI) -
now being followed by millions of prosperous farmers worldwide,
5. Protect Water Quality, Replenish Aquifers and Saves the Soil:
6. Increasing ‘Cropping System Diversity’ balances productivity, profitability and environmental health, a USDA and Univ of IOWA case study,
These systems ensures the producer communities’ access to nutritious food, reduces hunger, malnutrition, poverty, suicides and the effects of climate change, whilst improving rural livelihoods, increasing net incomes and purchasing power, thus making their country sustainable in the long term and the key to agriculture contributing substantially to the country’s security and economic growth, Coventry report as attached.
Thus, the emphasis should be on low cost economies of scope integrated agriculture system, as applicable to the soil and agro climatic condition of each area (cereals, horticulture, animal husbandry, aquaculture, water harvesting, etc.), water harvesting, producing seed, energy, inputs on farm /locally and minimizing demand for water, energy, etc., over the years.
In contrast, as we know, that the green revolution technologies require increasing quantities of the high cost seeds, agro chemicals, water, etc., year after year, reducing the net incomes/
purchasing power of the producer communities and which have and will continue to have disastrous effects on climate change/drought, the soil and their long term sustainability. Briefly:
a. Agriculture Policy: needs to take a clear direction towards sustainable agriculture for minimizing the risks of the farmers and increasing risks of climate change .Some of the key areas of intervention that the policy needs to cover are on farm/agro forestry, kitchen garden, fodder cultivation, cattle shed, kitchen gardens, in-situ water conservation, bio-villages, action research and codification of science of sustainable agriculture, facilitate training of sustainable agriculture with the help of locally successful sustainable agricultural farmers. This also means that policy should develop a clear time plan to exit from the external input based industrial agriculture. (Nayak. 2014. Baseline Study on Sustainable Agriculture in India)
b. Institutional Architecture: To make the sustainable agricultural policy work among the smallholder producer communities, an appropriate institutional architecture needs to be set up to deliver both ecosystem services and effectively deal with the pre harvest and post harvest needs of the small and marginal farmers (Nayak, 2014. Baseline Study on Sustainable Agriculture in India).
c. Following Integrated Agriculture System of the area shall be given the predominant role it deserves in our agrarian society, with the emphasis on self sufficiency for the producer communities’ meeting their own nutrition, food, health and cash requirements. Adequate land area shall be identified & reserved for agriculture and allied activities, and such lands shall not be diverted to any other activities except under very rare circumstances for which the consent from the concerned state legislature and the parliament shall be obtained after due diligence in establishing the critical national need for such a diversion.
d. With more than 60% of the population in the country being smallholder rural producer communities, depending on activities associated with agriculture, but contributing only about 16% of GDP from agriculture, there is an urgent need to refocus on funding
innovative agriculture research for development (IAR4D) and meeting all their needs, making this the backbone of our economy and thus substantially increasing agriculture’s contribution to the national economy.
e. Adequate funding, support and encouragement for converting to the integrated agriculture system and allied activities ( producing inputs, value addition to increase the shelf life of the produce, storage and minimizing post harvest losses) shall be ensured in order to produce enough nutritious food (horticulture, grains, dairy produce, etc.,) for their own and the growing requirements of the people in the vicinity on a long term sustainable basis and thus minimize the cost of transportation and pollution (climate change), eradicating import of food grains. In order to develop and implement sustainable practices the effective involvement of various stake holders such as CSO/ NGOs, successful farmers following their low cost integrated agriculture system and agricultural institutions should be
ensured in the policy/decision making levels.
f. Focus on low cost economies of scope staple crop of the area such as ragi and other millets and following the integrated agriculture systems which are suitable for dry/ arid regions of the country should be encouraged, not just the high cost economies of
scale mono crops like rice and wheat green revolution technologies, which requires increasing quantities of water, seed, fertilizer and other agro chemicals each year and closely associated with Climate Change/ Global Warming as is the case now.
g. Vast varieties of native fruit species such as banana, jack fruit, mango, guava, pomegranate, orange etc. have huge potential to reduce the dependence on water intensive agricultural crops, and hence should be encouraged fully and as part of the integrated agriculture system.
h. Many varieties of tree species which can become perennial source of fodder, bio mass, etc., additional income to our farmers through bio-fuel and/or timber value potential, and which are also environmentally friendly should be encouraged as fencing crops, and
also on barren lands and as an integral part of their integrated agriculture system.
i. In view of large areas of arid and semi arid areas in many parts of the country, widespread use of water harvesting for scientific dry land farming practices such as millets, horticulture, perennials, etc., should become an important part of agrarian economy.
j. In order to make agriculture a viable/ attractive option in rural India, human and institutional capacity should be developed adequately in women and educated youth being trained to become general practitioners in agriculture to shoulder the entrepreneurial risks and responsibilities, with good roads, telecommunication, health, and education facilities.
k. Agricultural produce/ products should be produced primarily for meeting the nutritious food needs of the rural producer communities, accessible to them at farm gate price, value addition for storage and release when prices peak, if we are to make the rural life meaningful through the intervention of the producer communities setting up their producer org/ company (PC) but staffed with professionals, to manage the ‘cash to cash cycle’ of each member.
>> VERSION FRANÇAISE CI-DESSOUS
Students are now a part of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in agriculture and rural development.
The Hindu report ("Farming is now part of CSR") will be of assistance for you to intervene and ensure that the Goa CSR model is replicated by all colleges, management institutions in Africa, assisted and facilitated by the Ministry of Education, governments, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Institutes of Agri Research, Universities and globally through World Bank, UN FAO and IFAD and the CGIAR.
You can also observe that the call given by us during GCARD-I consultation process, to focus on and create capacity in educating rural youth (general practitionners and MBAs in agriculture) for the management of integrated agriculture systems (read UNCTAD TER 13) in their area, documenting and widely replicating the models of successful farmers, achieved through Inovative Agriculture Research for Development (IAR4D), season after season, adapting to climate change, ensuring a positive 'cash to cash cycle', not leaving our future only to 'breeders''.
Les étudiants sont maintenant une partie de la responsabilité sociale des entreprises (RSE) dans l'agriculture et le développement rural .
Le rapport hindou ( "L'agriculture fait désormais partie de la RSE" - article en anglais) peut être utile pour faire en sorte que le modèle de RSE de Goa soit répliquée par tous les collèges, instituts de gestion en Afrique et facilité par les ministèrse de l'Éducation, les gouvernements, les banques nationales pour l'agriculture et le développement rural (NABARD), les instituts de recherche agricole, les universités et dans le monde à travers la Banque mondiale, la FAO, le FIDA et le CGIAR .
Vous pourrez également constater que nous avons lancé un appel durant le processus de consultation de la Conférence mondiale biennale sur la recherche agricole pour le développement , pour se concentrer sur l'éducation des jeunes en milieu rural (praticiens et diplômés en agriculture)pour la gestion des systèmes agricoles intégrés (lire en anglais UNCTAD TER 13 ), et la réplication des bonnes pratiques, obtenues par la recherche agricole pour le développement innovant (IAR4D ). Saison après saison, tout en s’adaptant au changement climatique, ceci favorise un cycle d’exploitation positif.