>> VERSION FRANÇAISE CI-DESSOUS
I have read the contributions made till now and have a better understanding of social protection required by the rural poor in West Africa, especially smallholder producer communities, being mostly illiterate are vulnerable and at high risk as they have little or no access to resources.
To get them out of hunger, malnutrition and poverty, they need to be given the required assistance and facilitated to set up their orgs/ company (PC), staffed by professionals [general practitioners (GPs) and MBAs in agriculture], to take over all responsibilities and manage risks - cash to cash cycle (www.navajyoti.org, a model PC), leaving members to on farm activities, focus on producing low cost nutritious food of the area, mostly for their own needs, value adding to increase shelf life of their produce, thus minimizing post harvest losses and ensuring access to nutritious food and cash, round the year, surplus if any, PC to market in the vicinity and when prices peak.
J'ai lu les contributions faites jusqu'à présent et j'ai désormais une meilleure compréhension des besoins de protection sociale des ruraux pauvres d'Afrique de l'Ouest. Les communautés de petits producteurs, le plus souvent analphabètes, sont les plus vulnérables car ils ont un accès limité aux ressources.
Afin qu'ils sortent de situation de faim, de malnutrition et de pauvreté, il est nécessaire qu'on leurs fournisse une assistance et des facilités pour développer leurs activités. Cela peut se faire à l'aide de professionnels (praticiens et diplômés en agriculture) afin de mieux prendre en charge les responsabilités et gérer les risques du cycle d'exploitation (voir l’exemple www.navajyoti.org) tout en laissant les membres de l’exploitation agricole se concentrer sur la production de nourriture bon marché à fort potentiel nutritionnel, principalement pour leurs propres besoins. Cela permet d’augmenter la durée de conservation de la production et donc de minimiser les pertes post-récolte, et d’assurer l'accès à la nourriture et à des revenus financiers tout au long de l'année. En cas de surplus, la vente peut se faire dans le voisinage et quand les prix augmentent.
- Communities followed sustainable agri ‘Culture’ in their areas to produce nutritious food, mostly for their own needs.
- Conversion to mono crops, with a focus on farm management, was done by the colonial rulers, for serving their political and commercial interests.
- Increasing conversion each year to commercial crops like cotton, tea, coffee, jute, rubber, sugarcane, etc., resulted in less production by the small holders of nutritious food for their own and their country’s needs (decrease in purchasing power), leading to scarcity and famine like conditions
- Increased cost of production, taxes and the reducing prices for commodities (green revolution techs) produced also reduced producers’ access to nutritious food and net income.
- Post independence, senior scientists sent for advanced education abroad, mostly specializing in green revolution (GR) technologies – loosing focus on sustainable integrated agriculture systems of the local areas
- GR tech increased productivity for about a decade, with production plateau and decreasing in some cases whilst cost of production and requirement of water increased each year
- Agricultural and Education System (ARES), Central & State Government agri depts. were and are staffed by scientists, mostly specialists, responsible for policies.
- Focus was to meet the supply side (top down) when the need was more for the demand side (bottom up smallholder needs)
- Production cost increased due to dependence on external inputs and hybrid/ GM/ BT seeds for implementing Green Revolution technologies, oil crisis, etc., further reducing net incomes, access to low cost nutritious food, resulting in rural hunger, malnutrition, poverty, debt, suicides and climate change
Communities followed integrated agriculture system of their area to produce nutritious food for their own needs and at little or no cost, before the arrival of their colonial rulers, For serving their political and commercial interests, farms were converted to produce mono crops importing agro chemical inputs, converting more and more land for commercial crops like cotton, tea, coffee, jute, rubber, sugarcane, etc., reducing the land for production of nutritious food by the smallholder producer communities for their own needs. Policies, rules and regulations focused on commercial mono crops,, resulting in the decrease of purchasing power, taxing rural producers, increasing cost of production also resulted in the decrease of farm produce prices and the producers’ net incomes. The resulting decrease in smallholder farm production and availability of nutritious food, leading to scarcity and famine like conditions during the world wars and also after independence (early 1960 in India).
After many countries became independent from colonial rule, large sums of money were made available as aid for development of agriculture by the erstwhile colonial powers as well as the USA, with subtle conditions attached, eg., USAID made provisions to give scientists grants for advanced studies in the land grant universities of the USA, where the curricula focuses on mechanized industrial GR agriculture (most farms being over 100 hectares), training them as specialists, with little or no knowledge about the integrated low cost agriculture of the local areas in their country and sustainable in the long term for the smallholder producers. Most returned with PHD’s and thus on their return were given the responsibility to replicate the industrial agriculture models with AID funds, pursuing commercial mono crops, primarily to keep down the world prices of agricultural commodities, like rice, wheat, maize, cotton, rubber, tea, coffee, etc, loosing focus on producing nutritious food, good agriculture and management practices (GAP).
The agri policies of the Indian government, post independence, continued to serve the commercial interest of the North (Europe/ USA/ Canada/ Australia), rather than the bottom up knowledge and management needs of smallholder friendly, integrated agriculture systems of each area for their long term sustainability primarily producing nutritious food to meet their own needs and that of the increasing rural populations in the vicinity, The continuing focus on commercial crops lead to shortages, scarcity and famine like conditions in the sixties, creating a panic among policy makers. By now, in addition to the agriculture research & education systems (ARES), most Central and State Government positions in agriculture were filled by Scientists, mostly specialists, opening the flood gates for conventional agri technologies being forced on all farmers, as official extension programmes and schemes (subsidies) of the Government, especially in the irrigated areas of the country. The use of agro chemicals on rich soils built over centuries, did increase productivity for a decade, temporarily solving the immediate problem of shortages by meeting supply side but ignoring the demand side of access to good management to produce nutritious food needs of the rural producer communities.
However, in about ten years there was enough evidence documented that the GR productivity had plateau and decreasing in some areas, requiring increasing quantities and higher prices for fertilizer, seed and water each year. Added to this was the global oil crisis since the 70’s, resulting in the huge increase in the costs of imports, transportation, production of agro chemicals, etc., making conventional farming unviable and forcing governments to subsidise production of external inputs. In spite of subsidies, the purchasing power (mono crops) and net incomes of farmers, especially smallholder producer communities reduced each year (often below cost of production, waste, etc., due to un abling policies), resulting in rural hunger, malnutrition, poverty, suicides and climate change.
UN agencies have taken the initiative over the last 5 years to support holistic solutions for the long term sustainability of over 2 billion hungry, malnourished, poor, deep in debt rural producer communities, with UNCTAD’s TER of September 18, 2013, taking the ARES, World Bank, etc., head on, urgently calling for a ‘Paradigm shift in agriculture’. attached.
‘Make agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate’
UN agencies have taken the initiative over the last 5 years to support holistic solutions for the long term sustainability of over 2 billion hungry, malnourished, poor, deep in debt rural producer communities, with UNCTAD’s TER of September 18, 2013, taking the ARES, World Bank, etc., head on, urging for a 'Paradigm shift in agriculture' IAR4D needs attached and for us to 'Wake up before it is too late', read TER at:
Communities followed integrated agriculture system of their area to produce nutritious food for their own needs and at little or no cost, before the arrival of their colonial rulers, For serving their political and commercial interests, farms were converted to produce mono crops importing high cost agro chemical inputs, converting more and more land for commercial crops like cotton, tea, coffee, jute, rubber, sugarcane, etc., reducing the land for production of nutritious food by the smallholder producer communities for their own/ country needs. Policies, rules and regulations focused on commercial mono crops,, resulting in the decrease of purchasing power, taxing rural producers, increasing cost of production, resulting in the decrease of farm produce prices and or producers’ net incomes. The resulting decrease in smallholder farm production and availability of nutritious food, lead to hunger, malnutrition, debt, poverty, scarcity and famine like conditions from time to time especially during the world wars and after independence (early 1960 in India).
After many countries became independent from colonial rule, large sums of money were made available as aid for development of agriculture by the erstwhile colonial powers as well as the USA, with subtle conditions attached, eg., USAID made provisions to give grants for scientists’ advance studies in the land grant universities of the USA, where the curricula focused on mechanized industrial green revolution (GR) technologies (most farms being over 100 hectares), training them as specialists, with little or no knowledge about the integrated low cost agriculture of different areas in their country and sustainable in the long term for the smallholder producers. Most on return, made the agriculture policies of their country, continued to serve the commercial interest of the North (Europe/ USA/ Canada/ Australia), implemented their industrial agriculture models, using AID funds, ensuring continuation of their commercial interests (mono crops), primarily to keep down the world prices of agricultural commodities, like rice, wheat, maize, cotton, rubber, tea, coffee, etc, loosing focus on producing nutritious food, following the low cost integrated agriculture and management practices (GAP), etc., essential for meeting their own safe and nutritious food needs and the long term sustainability of the producer communities and markets in the vicinity.
The continuing focus on commercial crops lead to shortages, scarcity and famine like conditions in the sixties, creating a panic among policy makers [mostly scientists staffing agriculture research & education systems (ARES), most Central and State Government covering agriculture departments, mostly specialists, opening the flood gates for GR technologies being forced on all farmers, as part of official extension programmes and schemes (subsidies) of the Government, especially in the irrigated areas of the country. The use of agro chemicals on rich soils built over centuries, did increase productivity for a while, temporarily solving the immediate problem of shortages by meeting supply side but ignoring the demand side of producers’ access to required knowledge and management to produce nutritious food needs of the rural producer communities/ contry.
However, in about ten years there was enough evidence documented that the GR productivity had plateau and decreasing in most areas, requiring increasing quantities and higher prices for fertilizer, seed and water each year. Added to this was the global oil crisis since the 70’s, resulting in the huge increase in the costs of fossil fuel imports, transportation, production of agro chemicals, etc., making conventional farming unviable and forcing governments to subsidies production of external inputs. In spite of subsidies, the purchasing power (mono crops) and net incomes of farmers, especially smallholder producer communities reduced each year (often below cost of production) resulting in rural hunger, malnutrition, poverty, suicides and climate change.
You will be pleased to read the CGIAR Chairman's forward, written for UNCTAD’s Trade and Environment Review 2013 - "Wake Up Before Its Too Late ", endorsing the paradigm shift required in agriculture.
Better understanding of the multi – functionality of agriculture being of pivotal importance for the significant role it can play in development of rural poor producer communities’ access to safe, sufficient, nutritious food and mitigating/ adapting to climate change
· Around one billion people chronically suffer from starvation and another billion are malnourished (70% of these two billion are themselves small producers/ agriculture labour) as they do not have the money to access sufficient nutritious food for their own needs
· Priority in conventional systems remains on productivity and economies of scale, with the focus being on ‘Industrial Agriculture’
· Paradigm shift and Fundamental transformation towards sustainable low cost agriculture systems needs to be recognized to ensure the ‘Right of everyone to safe, sufficient nutritious food is a reality before the MDG’s deadline of 2015 (June 20, 12, Rio +20
Links are given below to the press release of Sept 18, 2013, and the report:
It is very encouraging that the report focuses on the current crisis in global agriculture and calls upon Governments to change and follow a smallholder producer friendly enabling AR4D path, primarily to put them to work on farm, producing most/ all the nutritious food needs for themselves and markets in the vicinity and tackle the multiple challenges of rural poverty, hunger, malnutrition, suicides, environmental degradation and the effects of climate change. This
requires a rapid and significant shift from conventional monoculture-based and high-external-input-dependent ‘economies of scale’ industrial production towards mosaics of sustainable, regenerative ‘economies of scope’, integrated low cost agriculture systems of each area that considerably improves livelihoods, production, net income and purchasing power of smallholder producer communities.
This report adds to the growing weight of opinion that conventional industrial agriculture will not deliver future nutritious food security and that efforts to promote low cost ecological farming practices, as adapted by successful farmers of each area, season after season, need to be widely and rapidly scaled-out for producer communities to access the required nutritious food and at little or no cost, thus making agriculture sustainable for nutritious food security and in the long term and substantially contributing to the economic development of developing countries.
I am attaching the ‘White paper’ (contributed by CSOs for GCARD, Montpelier, March 2010), as it had then initiated the Paradigm shift in AR4D- Old to New, matrix also attached, focus being on following integrated agriculture of the area, financing of producer orgs/ companies (Private Sector) set up by the rural smallholder producer communities but staffed by professionals (general practitioners [GPs] and MBAs in agriculture), to take over all responsibilities and manage risks, leaving members mostly to on farm activities.
Hopefully, the CGIAR and national agricultural research and education systems (NARES) with the intervention of all stakeholders, ensure that the mandates are re written to include the proposed paradigm shift in the report, also being reflected in their research agenda and gets translated into policy recommendations by Governments, international bodies and multilateral UN agencies.
· Policy issues:
We need to look at the rural producer orgs/ company (PC) staffed by professionals (general practitioners [GPs] and MBAs in agriculture) playing the role of the private sector and assisted by civil society for designing and implementing bottom up policies that ensures nutrition through agriculture, following the local integrated low cost agriculture systems and creating human and institutional capacity and filling the knowledge gaps among the women, men and youth, docs attached coverring Policy, Programmes, Governance and Partnerships.
· Programme issues:
Document the successful models, contracting these farmers for wide replication in the area assisted by the PC (private sector) and civil society in following integrated nutrition-enhancing community assisted agriculture and food systems programmes at country level and the PC responsible for monitoring the impact on food consumption and reduction of hunger, malnutrition, poverty and effect of climate change whilst improving livelihoods and net incomes.
NARES, CGIAR, PCs (private sector), CSO/ NGOs, will all need to work as a team and as equal partners, focused on AR4D for meeting the needs of the rural producer communities, from seed to harvest, finance, value addition, infrastructure, marketing/ logistics, etc.,if we are to ensure building effective and sustainable governance mechanisms related food systems and nutrition through agriculture.
Governments, NARES and the CGIAR are mostly urban based and thus it is the contribution of the local successful farmers, PC (private sector) and civil society, mostly working across sectors and building strong linkages with rural producer communities, covering nutritious food and agriculture, social protection, employment, health, education and other key sectors, model available at:
Very interesting discussion on nutrition sensitive agriculture. I think the best pathway to nutrition for small holder farmers in developing country is agriculture-based nutrition intervention. If the food they produce is nutritious, they could supplement other foods (like cereals) from purchase within the village or available through market mechanisms. Therefore, sustainable technology producing more nutritious food is essential. Whatever land these people have or whatever opportunity is possible to improve access to land, these need to be tapped to grow nutritious food through sustainable technology and social arrangements (like economies of scope) that could enhance all the capitals of these people - social, natural, finance and human.
Thanks for putting me in the loop. I hope Bonn conference goes well. I would have liked to come to Bonn to share my ideas but t is too late for now.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Subhash Mehta email@example.com>
To: "Myriam Ait Aissa (ACF)" firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Date: Sun, 15 Sep 2013 13:41:25 +0530
Subject: 'Economies of Scope' & nutrition through agriculture ensures long term sustainability of smallholder producers
I am forwarding the mails exchanged by me with the CGIAR and Prof Swaminathan in this regard along with all the attachments for your assistance. Please do press home the fact that the CGIAR needs to revisit its 'Economies of scale' mandate, as it works against the rural poor smallholder producer communities who need to follow the low cost integrated agriculture of their area adopting 'Economies of Scope' to have access for their needs of nutritious food at little or no cost,
if we are to achieve the MDGs and in the short time.
Wishing you and Christine all the best and hope you are both able to persuade the CGIAR into re writing their mandates if they mean what they say about serving the poor smallholder producer communities.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Subhash Mehta email@example.com>
Date: Sun, Sep 8, 2013 at 4:18 PM
Subject: 'Economies of Scope' ensures long term sustainability of
To: "William D. Dar ap" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: Prof M S Swaminathan email@example.com>,
This has reference to the mails exchanged and Prof Swaminathan's response in this regard, trailed below.
I am quoting from the matrix, Ideas for Research, Project Design,
Implementation and policy for ‘nutrition sensitive food in
agriculture’, as attached:
‘Biofortification - Nutrient-rich crop varieties can be produced through genetic modification but until concerns about GMOs are adequately addressed, biofortified crops be bred by traditional methods’.
Prof Swaminathan's concern above, is reiterated by Jack Heineman, calling for better research and better process, before continuing to release GM crops into the environment or using them as food, reported by the Hindu and available at:
To assist the CGIAR in using the $400 million committed by the Gates Foundation to facilitate producer communities and all other people to access the required quantities of nutritious food, while contributing to economic growth, I am also attaching the following docs on
nutritious food through agriculture:
1. Enhancing the role of smallholder farmers in achieving sustainable
food and nutrition security
2. Synthesis of guiding principles on agriculture programming for nutrition
3. Key recommendations for Improving Nutrition through Agriculture
4. Sustainable nutrition security restoring the bridge between
agriculture and health
Looking forward to more action in this regard from the CGIAR,
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Prof M S Swaminathan firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, Sep 5, 2013 at 4:06 PM
MSS/RM/ 5 September 2013
Dear Shri Mehta
Thank you very much for sending me a copy of your letter to Dr Willie Dar. You have made important points.
With warm regards,
M S Swaminathan
PROF M S SWAMINATHAN
Founder Chairman and Chief Mentor
UNESCO Chair in Ecotechnology
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation
Third Cross Street, Taramani Institutional Area
Chennai - 600 113
Tel: +91 44 2254 2790 / 2254 1229 / 2254 1698; Fax: +91 44 2254 1319
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Srinivasrao, M (ICRISAT-IN) M.Srinivasrao@cgiar.org>
Date: Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 4:05 PM
Subject: Your mail :
To: "email@example.com" firstname.lastname@example.org>
Cc: "Dar, William (ICRISAT-IN)" email@example.com>, "Bantilan, C
Dear Mr Subhash Mehta ,
Your mail of Aug 27h to Dr William Dar , has been marked to me for perusal and follow-up.
Thank you for your insights on IMOD and the two paradigms ( scale and scope ) and also your views on producer company organizations. At times , the challenge is how to develop the metrics of measurement and impact at the farmer level especially when you are looking at scale and from a value chain perspective .
I am also going through the attachments you had sent of Dr Nayak of XIMB .
I hope to discuss more with you in the days to come .
Best regards /
Specialist ; Markets , Research and Innovation .
From: Dar, William (ICRISAT-IN)
Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 6:20 AM
To: Bantilan, C (ICRISAT-IN); Srinivasrao, M (ICRISAT-IN)
Subject: FW: Your mail
From: Subhash Mehta [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 27 August 2013 23:46
To: Dar, William (ICRISAT-IN)
Subject: Your mail
You had asked me to read your talk at the MS Swaminathan Leadership in Agriculture Award Ceremony, in New Delhi, explaining CGIAR's 'Inclusive market oriented development (IMOD)' vision, developed for the decade ending 2020, as available at:
MDW TAAS DGs_Enhancing Smallholder_Scr .pdf (1.0MB), and then give you my comments. The attached table clusters the terminologies in two paradigms from your talk.
Governments, NARES, CGIAR, etc., all appear to be very concerned about hunger, malnutrition, poverty and suicides in the smallholder producer communities (producers) and the effects of climate change on them.They also appear to be equally serious about improving their livelihoods, increasing net income and purchasing power and that developing countries drive economic growth in a ustainable manner and for the long term.
The Old & New Paradigms, shared with you earlier, as attached, urgently requires that the new Paradigms be implemented, first by including the low cost integrated agriculture system of each area and included in all the mandates. Also the contracting of farmers for wide replication of their successful models, as extension services are required to be provided to producers for improving their communities' economic condition. This also means supporting and assisting in the setting up of the producer orgs/ company (PC) intervention, if they are to have access to their annual nutritious food and cash needs.
The PC intervention is a critical component of the New Paradigm. The resource poor producers, mostly illiterate and isolated, need policies seeking 'Economies of Scope', some of which have been addressed in your talk, also listed in the attached table. Thus, producers need these policies which work for them as they and their families work their farms 24x7, 365 days and under hardship conditions, not the policies seeking 'economies of scale', also listed in the table, as they are in the interest of the commercial organisations, The producers need the required assistance to set up their PC and for staffing with professionals, to shoulder all responsibilities and manage risks, other than on farm activities.The PC, tested over time, adopting 'Economy of Scope,' policies ensures:
Smallholder agriculture contributes to improved nutrition and achieves the MDGs,
A bottom up 'Producers' Jury (IIED/ DDS model)' to ascertain their
IAR4D and other needs,
Following a low cost integrated agriculture to meet their own
nutritious food and cash needs,
Creating human and institutional capacity (women, men and youth)
within the community,
Assistance for setting up their PC, staffed with professionals trained
to be general practitioner (GPs)/ MBAs in agriculture,
Culture of planning & budgeting, to manage through weekly/ monthly/
quarterly and annual meetings of concerned stakeholders at each level,
Quarterly internal audit of performance by an independent person,
Arrangements are made for capital and working capital requirement -
get rid of money lenders,
Facilitating members to produce inputs and energy on farm,
Putting in place water harvesting and recharging of wells and bore
wells in each farm,
Value addition for increasing the shelf life of produce/products &
storage till prices peak,
Provision for reserves and emergencies with storage of nutritious
food, etc., in PC go downs,
Management of post harvest losses by covering production with orders in advance.
In these circumstances, you will be happy to know that some donors, managing public funds, are now stipulating that funds are used only for 'Public Good', thus putting producers' needs seeking 'Economies of Scope', on top of their agenda, when considering requests for funding/ loans. It is also vital that concept notes/ project proposals and requests for conferences/ workshops, etc., when requesting donor funding, should first be debated by all stakeholders, with donors setting up an 'Electronic Consultation Process', ensuring that all proposals follow the 'economies of scope' paradigm, removing all grey areas from the proposals, which otherwise could drift to the
'economies of scale' paradigm.
You will agree with me that a mechanism is needed to ensure that requests received midstream for change to, 'Economies of Scale' from 'Economies of Scope' policies of sanctioned projects, primarily to meet the needs of the value chains focusing on a 'Market Oriented Development', are not accepted. Further, for proposals received in the future, donors also need to include in their contract that if such
requests are received midstream, the project will be terminated and that the PEA will return the funds already disbursed.
Women, Men and Nutrition
Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:10 am (PDT) . Posted by:
"Myriam Ait Aissa"
I'm happy to come back to you on this « Nutrition&Agriculture » issue.Indeed, as you might know, ACF (Acton agains hunger) is very involved in tackling undernutrition.
In this regards, I have been asked to coordinate a break out session in the "Facilitating Research Uptake : highlighting the importance of considering the empowerment of decision-making within households" for the biennial CGIAR Science Forum (http://scienceforum13.org), which will be held from September 23-25, 2013 in Bonn. The main objective of this conference is to improve griculture's impact on Nutrition and health outcomes.
In preparation to this meeting, I would be delighted to get your views as Civil Societies Organizations and representative of farmers associations on the two following questions:
- What would your members would like to ask about Nutrition?
- According to your members, what interest do men have in the
nutrition of their children?
I allow myself to put Christine Okali from IDS into copy of this
message as we defined these two questions together.
Thanks in advance for your feedback - I will be very happy to be able to get / bring some of your views in this CGIAR meeting,
Tel : + 00 33 (0)1 43 35 88 58
Email : email@example.com<:mailto: href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com>
Action Contre la Faim
4 rue Niepce
75662 PARIS Cedex 14
http://www.actioncontrelafaim.org<: href="http://www.actioncontrelafaim.org/" target="_blank">http://www.actioncontrelafaim.org/>
Fax : +00 33 (0)1 43 35 88 00
Subhash Mehta, Trustee,
Devarao Shivaram Trust,
NGO Association for Agricultural Research Asia Pacific (NAARAP),
Hegenahalli PO, Devanahalli Taluka,
Bangalore Rural North, Pin Code: 562110,
Tel: +91-80-28494009 / +91-80-22712290,
Amar - Language-Logic-Value for Sustainable Management.pdf
153K View Download
382K View Download
FAO agri programming for nutrition.pdf
916K View Download
FAO Sustainable nutrition security – Restoring the bridge between agriculture and health.pdf
947K View Download
FAO smallholder producers - nutritious food prod - Dioula_Paper_ICN2.pdf
102K View Download
FAO Swami_Matrix_nutrition in agriculture1.doc
51K View Download
Subhash Mehta, Trustee,
Devarao Shivaram Trust,
NGO Association for Agricultural Research Asia Pacific (NAARAP),
Bangalore Rural North,
Pin Code no: 562110,
Tel: +91-80-28494009 / +91-80-22712290,
SAFE Nutritious Food & Sustainaable Agriculture
A summary of arguments by Stabinsky, D. and Lim L.C., ‘Ecological agriculture, climate resilience and a roadmap to get there’, is a consistent focus on sustainability (as versus a politically correct or convenient concept of sustainability) prepared for the third session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals held from Wednesday, 22, to Friday, 24 May 2013 at the UN headquarters in New York. The formulation of SDGs was one of the major agreed actions carried forward from the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
The sessions addressed the following clusters of issues:
Food security and nutrition, sustainable agriculture; and drought, desertification, land degradation and water and sanitation.
Programme of Work for 2013-2014 adopted will facilitate the formulation of the SDGs coverring:
- Investment in agriculture
- Focus on smallholder producer communities' access to nutritious food
- Incentives and subsidies agrgated to finance setting up producer orgs
- Research locally adapted successful integrated agri knowledge
- Partnerships to create local human and institutional capacity
The background documents for this is at: http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/end/pdf/end14.pdf
Important elements for consideration: Food Security and Nutrition, and Sustainable Agriculture
1. Increase investment in sustainable agriculture
Sustainable agriculture practices contribute to food security and climate resilience. Governments should specifically reorient agriculture policies and significantly increase funding to support biodiverse, sustainable agriculture, as recommended by the International Assessment on Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). In The Future We Want, which is the outcome document of the Rio+20 Conference, paragraphs 110-113 emphasize the importance of sustainable agriculture and the need for increased investment in sustainable agricultural practices. Particularly, in paragraph 111, the need to “maintain natural ecological processes that support food production systems” is recognized, which is a nod towards agro-ec ological principles.
- Conduct in-depth assessments of agricultural conditions and policies at the national level, to identify both barriers to a transition to sustainable agriculture and gaps in policy, and ensure policy coherence such that sustainable agriculture is promoted and facilitated.
- Focus national agriculture policy frameworks urgently and immediately on sustainable agriculture. In particular, increase emphasis on the conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity, building healthy soils, and developing and sharing water harvesting and other water management techniques.
- Devote a large share of the national agricultural budget to promoting sustainable agriculture. The support should include mechanisms (both traditional extension and more far-reaching farmer-to-farmer networking methods) to train farmers in the best options for sustainable agriculture techniques, the development of ecological infrastructure including water supply, improvement of soil fertility, and the provision of credit and marketing.
- Directly fund adoption of agroecological practices that reduce vulnerability and increase resilience, such as soil-fertility-enriching and climate-resilient practices (e.g., use of compost to enhance soil health, water storage and soil quality).
2. Focus on smallholder farmers and their practices
Agriculture is the most important sector in many developing countries and is central to the survival of hundreds of millions of people. Most agricultural production in these countries involves small land holdings, mainly producing for self-consumption. Women are the key agricultural producers and providers. Hence agriculture is critical for food and livelihood security, and for the approximately 500 million smallholder households, totaling 1.5 billion people, and living on smallholdings of two hectares of land or less. Smallholdings account for 85 percent of the world’s farms.
The role and needs of rural communities are recognized and rural development emphasized in paragraph 109 of The Future We Want, including the need for enhanced access by small producers to credit, markets, secure land tenure and other services. Paragraph 109 also stresses the importance of traditional sustainable agricultural practices, including traditional seed supply systems, including for many indigenous peoples and local communities. This is important in light of the threats that undermine and marginalize such systems and the increasing takeover of the seed supply by a few large multinational corporations.
- Ensure enhanced access by small producers, women, indigenous peoples and people living in vulnerable situations to credit and other financial services, markets, secure land tenure, health care, social services, education, training, knowledge and appropriate and affordable technologies.
- Support conservation and use of local knowledge and seeds, as well as support peasant seed systems and community seed banks. In addition, prioritize participatory and formal plant breeding efforts to adapt seeds for future environments, particularly increased temperatures.
- Improve social safety nets to enable farmers and the rural poor to cope with external shocks climate-related disasters. This includes implementing a range of policies that support the economic viability of smallholder agriculture and thus reduce their vulnerability, for example, improving access to credit for smallholders; and building and reinforcing basic infrastructure, such as water supplies and rural roads that can facilitate access to markets. Special attention and specific support should be given to women smallholder farmers.
- Strengthen small-scale farmers’, women’s, indigenous and community-based organizations to, among other objectives: access productive resources, participate in agricultural decision-making and share sustainable agriculture approaches.
3. Dismantle perverse incentives and subsidies that promote unsustainable agriculture
Current agriculture policies are geared to promoting conventional agriculture practices that are unsustainable. Perverse incentives, including those perpetuated under the international trade regime governed by the World Trade Organization and bilateral free trade agreements, entrench this unsustainable system. Agricultural incentives and subsidies therefore need to be redirected away from destructive monocultures and harmful inputs, towards sustainable agriculture practices of the small-farm sector. These need to be phased out in a fair and equitable manner, taking into account the impact on small farmers in developing countries.
- Avoid and phase out perverse incentives and subsidies that promote or encourage the use of chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and fuel, or that encourage land degradation, while ensuring that impacts on small farmers are addressed in a fair and equitable manner.
- Reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers by removing tax and pricing policies that contribute to their overuse.
- Shift subsidy priorities such that the initial costs and risks of farmers’ transition efforts to implement sustainable farming practices are borne by public funds.
- At the international level, modify key market distortions that act as a disincentive to the transition to sustainable agricultural practices in developing countries. These include the significant subsidization of agricultural production in developed countries and their export to developing countries. As long as these conditions prevail, it is difficult to imagine how developing-country producers can implement a paradigm shift towards sustainable agriculture.
4. Implement a research and knowledge-sharing agenda towards sustainable agriculture
Paragraph 114 of The Future We Want resolves to enhance agricultural research, extension services, training and education to improve productivity and sustainability. National and global agricultural research agendas have been however dominated by conventional agriculture approaches and the promise of new technologies. Sustainable agriculture has been sidelined, yet it has thrived and has proven successful despite the lack of public support. Research and development efforts must be refocused towards sustainable agriculture, while at the same time strengthening existing farmer knowledge and innovation. Moreover, current agriculture research is dominated by the private sector, which focuses on crops and technologies from which they stand to profit most. This perpetuates industrial, input-dependent agriculture, rather than solutions for the challenges facing developing-country farm ers.
- Place sustainable agriculture at the forefront of the international and national agriculture research agendas; this means providing public resources for sustainable agriculture interventions.
- Address current intellectual property systems that act as drivers towards corporate consolidation and corporate dominance of agriculture research, including the issues of patents on living organisms and seeds, as well as plant variety protection consistent with the strict standards of UPOV 1991, which may also impinge on farmers’ rights and affect smallholder agriculture.
- Generously fund efforts to conserve crop diversity, both in situ and ex situ.
- Support research on sustainable agriculture approaches that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, such as practices that reduce or eliminate the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.
- Identify research priorities in a participatory manner, enabling farmers to play a central role in defining strategic priorities for agricultural research; and increase networking and knowledge sharing between farmers and researchers.
- Reorient research and extension systems at the national level to support farmer-to-farmer agroecological innovation; increase the capacities of farmer and community organizations to innovate; and strengthen networks and alliances to support, document, and share lessons and best practices.
- Ensure farmers have access to information about sustainable agriculture practices, through both formal and informal means, including extension services, farmers’ organizations, climate farmer-to-farmer field schools and cross-visits.
5. Build supportive global partnerships
A range of international institutions can make positive contributions by supporting and enabling the adoption of sustainable agriculture. These institutions should support the range of efforts to be undertaken at national and regional levels, and cooperate and coordinate efforts to mobilize necessary resources at the international level. Public financing and transfer of appropriate technologies by developed countries are needed not only for the adoption of sustainable agriculture but also to put in place the required infrastructure, communications and other enabling conditions. Furthermore, trade commitments made at the multilateral and bilateral levels must provide developing countries enough policy space to enable support for the agriculture sector, expansion of local food production, and effective instruments to provide for local and household food security, farmers’ livelihoods and rural development needs. This is needed before farmers in developing countries can start investing in sustainable agriculture. A universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system that will promote agricultural and rural development in developing countries and contribute to world food security is reaffirmed in paragraph 118 of The Future We Want.
- Ensure sustainable, predictable and significant public funding for sustainable agriculture, rather than speculative and volatile market-derived funding. International agencies must play an active role in mobilizing public resources.
- Increase the scale of the work to promote sustainable agriculture practices by the Rome-based UN agencies: FAO, WFP, IFAD. This should include technical support to enable countries to transition to and prioritize sustainable agriculture, and appropriate policy advice that supports its implementation.
- Encourage CGIAR centres to leverage research and research partnerships, and the funding thereof, which focus on sustainable agriculture, agricultural biodiversity and small farmers in developing countries.
- Ensure the conservation and sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity and related traditional knowledge systems, including through the relevant work on agricultural biodiversity carried out by the FAO and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
- Revive the work of the UN for a global framework for corporate accountability, including the reinstatement of obligations under the aborted UN Code of Conduct on Transnational Corporations.
- Implement the outcomes/decisions of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), as the governing body for food, agriculture and rural development policy and related financial issues at the global level, including the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security and the outcomes of the ongoing discussions on Responsible Agricultural Investment. (The important work and inclusive nature of the CFS is reaffirmed in paragraph 115 of The Future We Want.)
- Eliminate export subsidies in agriculture (in line with WTO Hong Kong Declaration 2005) and substantially and effectively reduce agricultural support and subsidies in developed countries (in line with WTO Doha Declaration 2001) so that distortions in global agricultural trade will be reduced and developing countries’ farmers will have a more level playing field.
- Prioritise developing countries’ goals of food security and protection of farmers’ livelihoods in free trade agreements (FTAs). The percentage of goods to be subjected to tariff elimination by developing countries should be adjusted if necessary to accommodate the need to exclude sensitive agricultural products from tariff elimination. Ensure that the FTAs provide enough policy space to allow sufficiently high tariffs on agricultural imports that enable the fulfilment of the principles of food security, farmers’ livelihoods and rural development, and to allow countries to rebuild and strengthen their agriculture sector.
- Ensure that commodity markets operate in an adequately regulated manner that avoids excessive volatility and speculative activities and serves the real needs of both producers and consumers. Address the root causes of excessive food price volatility, including its structural causes, and manage the risks linked to high and excessively volatile prices and their consequences for global food security and nutrition, as well as for smallholder farmers and poor urban dwellers (as emphasized in paragraph 116 of The Future We Want).
I have read with interest the contributions made to the consultation and would like to highlight the fact that a key factor why there was no food crises post-Soviet Union collapse in South Caucuses and Central Asian countries after 1992, as seen in Sub Saharan Africa, was the Dekhon / Homestead farming practiced by each family. These farms provided most of the immediate nutritious food needs of vegetables, meat, milk, eggs, fruits, etc., even when inflation was rife.
The NARES, Regional and International research orgs/ stakeholders have not and are continuing to follow a top down approach, thus ignoring to meet the AR4D needs of the rural poor smallholder producer community ( 85% of farmers) to reduce costs, hunger, malnutrition, poverty, suicides and the effect of climate change whilst improving farm production of homesteads, quality of on farm produced low cost inputs in terms of improved livelihoods, seeds, compost, bio mass, water and irrigation, cultivation techniques, housing of livestock and their upkeep, net income and purchasing power etc. Many out of the box interventions like the funding for the setting up of producer orgs/ company (PC) GOI doc attached, staffed by professionals (rural youth trained as general practitioners [GPs]/ MBAs in agriculture to take over all responsibilities, manage risks, leaving their members to on farm activities producing nutritious food for their communities and accessible at farm gate price), creating local human and institutional capacity (knowledge/ know how/ technologies/ ICTs and material sciences to manage water, etc., can contribute significantly to increased productivity of nutritious food by homesteads.
Link to an article about smallholder agriculture contributing to better nutrition, by Steve Wiggins and Sharada Keats, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), UK - commissioned by The Hunger Alliance (March 2013):
A couple of excerpts:
Public agricultural research needs to focus on smallholder needs, with technical innovations that are sparing in their use of capital, but which emphasise labour and the skilful application to local circumstances: reflecting the relative endowments of smallholders. For very small, part-time farms there is often a call for intermediate technologies that raise yields of food crops without heavy demands for labour or external inputs.
Farmer-to-farmer learning, especially of agro-ecological approaches with considerable local specificity, can be facilitated and promoted by innovative extension services; research on conservation of soil and water need to recognise how and where local innovations function.
Develop and promote innovations for marginal farms, focusing on higher yields for staples but using few external inputs and where possible saving labour. These will allow these farms to achieve the self-provisioning in staples that is often a primary objective of the farm, as well as potentially allowing some of the land to be switched to more diverse, nutrient-rich fruit, vegetables and small-scale livestock rearing.
Responsibility for this lies with agricultural research systems, although for some researchers taking up this challenge may require setting aside the search for optimal yields. There is scope here for NGOs to foster exchange of experiences from local innovations and NGO research.
Trees on farms are essential for global production of nutritious food
My inputs are incorporated in,
Summary of the International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition, held at FAO headquarters, Rome, Italy, 13–15 May 2013'
• The role of trees on farms in the fight against hunger and malnutrition demands much greater attention and should be integrated with strategies for food and nutrition security.
• Nutritious Food security is grounded in diversity – in terms of biota, landscapes, cultures, diets, integrated agriculture and management. Forests and trees are critical for maintaining that diversity.
• The ecosystem services provided by forests and trees make essential contributions to forest dependent communities and integrated agriculture for, among other things, protecting soil and water, maintaining soil fertility, effects of climate change, providing habitat for wild pollinators and the predators of agricultural pests.
• Forest tree products as part of integrated agriculture of the area have been important components of rural nutritious food diets for millennia and today provide essential nutrition for millions of people. More than one-third of the world’s people rely on wood fuel for cooking, fodder for cattle and bio mass as a low cost producer of farm inputs.
• Forests and trees on farms and their sustainable management are crucial for ensuring the resilience of low cost nutritious food-production systems in the face of climate change, economic, social and political instability by ensuring access to the poor rural smallholder producer communities. Forest and trees on integrated farms reduces effect of climate change, cost of production, hunger, malnutrition and poverty whilst improving livelihood, net income and purchasing power based on increased sources of income thus contributing to building resilience.
• There are opportunities to use more forest species, especially plants and insects, for the large scale production of nutritious food. However, deforestation and forest degradation risks the loss of many such species.
• The single biggest cause of forest loss is mono cropping in agricultural expansion, but there is potential for both by following the local integrated agricultural system and protecting forests, including through the restoration of degraded forest land, with the greater use of trees in agriculture, and the alignment of policies and institutional frameworks to that end.
• Secure land and forest tenure and ensure equitable access to public resources for women/ local communities and who will encourage sustainable forest and tree based approaches to nutritious food security.
• There is a need to retrieve, document and make available the traditional knowledge of integrated agriculture as applicable to the soil and climatic conditions of each area and to combine it with scientific knowledge to increase the role of forests and trees in food and nutrition security.
• Women often have specialized knowledge of forests and trees in terms of species diversity for the local integrated agriculture, uses for various purposes, and conservation and sustainable management practices, thus ensuring the food and nutrition security of forest-dependent communities.
• Greater collaboration at the local and national levels is needed to improve data collection, documentation, communication, reporting, monitoring & evaluation of the contributions made by non-wood forest products, forest ecosystem services and other forest and tree related aspects on nutritious food security.
• Training and creating local capacity in the women and youth for management of sustainable forest enterprises can help forest-dependent communities, to add value, increase shelf life of the produce, to minimize post harvest losses and gain access to higher prices, thereby improving livelihood, net income and purchasing power and the food and nutrition security of such communities by helping them to capitalize on their traditional knowledge.
• Governments, civil society, indigenous peoples, bilateral and multilateral development assistance agencies, the producer organisations/ company (PC) and other stakeholders are invited to strengthen the contributions of forests and trees on farms to food and nutrition security through a number of feasible actions, listed in the full summary.
2 As used in this summary, the term “trees outside forests” encompasses agroforestry systems, other trees on farms, and trees in non-forested rural landscapes.
I am saddened at the news of Michelle Gaultier who tirelessly contributed to the e consultations.
I would like to bring to the table my experiences with the Government of Bhutan over the last decade in the effort to make Bhutan become the first country in the world to fully convert to organic agriculture, ensure the water bodies/ sub soil water is free of pollutants and agro chemicals.
I had been visiting Bhutan regularly since 2002 on the invitation of the officials of its ministry of agriculture. Subsequent to the meetings I had with the Ministers of Agriculture, senior officials and the Research Institutes during my numerous visits , I was invited in 2007 by the then Prime Minister (also holding charge of agriculture) to bring with me a group of resource persons for holding workshops at research institutes across Bhutan and for senior Ministry officials in Thimphu. The purpose was to facilitate and take forward the Prime Minister’s goal for ‘Bhutan to become the first country in the world to fully convert to organic agriculture, ensure the water bodies/ sub soil water is free of pollutants and agro chemicals’ into a reality. The world of agriculture has a lot to learn from the Government of Bhutan:
The Honorable Prime Minister inaugurated our Thimphu workshop, June 2007, when I had the honor of sharing the podium with him to release the Organic Policy of Bhutan also declared that one of its research institutes had been converted and dedicated for research on following organic principles in agriculture, to meet the needs of the poor smallholder producers and went on to setting a tentative date of 2020 for Bhutan’s conversion to organic agriculture.
Very soon the country’s commitment for achieving these objectives was taken forward with the contracting of of Dr A Thimaiah, a PHD from IIT Delhi in Bio Dynamic Agriculture, as consultant, attached to the Ministry. The import and use of chemical pesticides were also banned and following measures and decisions taken for meeting the needs of the rural poor smallholder producers:
- create an enabling policy for integrated producer oriented development and research
- public funds for the rural poor to produce and access nutritious food (self reliance),
- recognize the importance of natural resources (forest cover, animal husbandry/ wildlife)
- support rural human and institutional capacity building, funding of producer orgs (PC)
- aggregating of programs, schemes, funding, etc., all concerned Ministries/ departments
- gross national happiness (GNH) of rural communities and long time sustainability
The following links gives status of this programme:
Worldwide, over a billion people go hungry every day, even more are mal nourished and poverty among the rural smallholder producer communities is of serious concern, as they are getting deep into debt with the yearly increase in costs of external chemical inputs for conventional agriculture, reducing net incomes/ purchasing power, thus forcing large numbers to commit suicide.
The Bhutan model on organic agriculture should be followed by all developing countries for making ‘Nutritious food being made accessible through integrated agriculture to the world population of about nine billion by 2050. This is possible by focusing on and using public funds to contract the successful farmers in each area for wide replication of their model, setting up producer orgs and staffing them with professionals, thus meeting the needs of the poor rural smallholder communities to follow ‘Integrated Producer Oriented Development (IPOD)’, putting them to work, following the local integrated low cost ecological successful agriculture, producing to meet their own nutritious food needs. This is in contrast to the high cost ‘Market Oriented Development’ system of conventional mono crop agriculture policy of most Governments, NARES, CGIAR, etc., which produces the quantity of food required, but being high cost is not accessible to the poor (being many times the farm gate price in the retail with shops overflowing with food stocks).
- The intervention of rural producer orgs/ company (PC) set up by rural producers (mostly following the local integrated agriculture) but staffed with professionals, to take over all responsibilities and manage risks, other than on farm activities of their members will ensure:
- creating of human and institutional capacity
- providing the required management,
- encouraging natural regeneration, planting of trees and other forest plants as a source of nutritious food, fodder for livestock,
- production of inputs and biogas,
- recharging of subsoil water for drinking and agricultural lands, by protecting catchments, on farm water harvesting, production of nutritious food, bio gas, fibre/ fuel (animal droppings and bio mass for production of low cost inputs),
- primary and secondary value addition to increase shelf life of produce for storage till prices peak, thus minimizing post harvest losses, etc.
This would reduce cost of production, deforestation, degrading ecosystems, hunger, Mal nutrition, poverty, effects of climate change, etc., whilst ensuring livelihood improvement of forest-dwellers, tribal’s and the smallholder rural communities, water and nutritious food security and improving livelihood, net income and purchasing power:
Link provided by you to FAO's publication on Forests for Improved Nutrition and Food Security has most of the required evidence.