Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Member profile

Prof. Georgina Bingham Zivanovic

Organization: Vestergaard
Country: Switzerland
Field(s) of expertise:
I am working on:

We are producing and developing tools for the most vulnerable in socity, specifically the Food Security department is currently focused on protecting Livestock high yielding breeds and sustainable intensification of agro-ecological & climate sensitive husbandry practices such as zero grazing. Additionally, we are focussed on food losses and waste, since, following the food crisis in 2006/ 2007 there was a sharp rise in global food prices that brought an increased focus on agriculture and a renewed interest in the reduction of postharvest losses (PHLs) as a means of increasing food availability. In the case of smallholders, most cereals are stored by farming households after harvest until they are sold or consumed during the year. A key aspect of addressing post-harvest losses is through encouraging smallholders to invest more of their resources in postharvest handling and storage to maintain the high quality of their cereal and reap the rewards of higher value markets. Better post-harvest management associated with loss reduction was also reported by the World Bank’s 2011 “Missing Food Report” as a way of helping to build resilience against current and future climate-related shocks, and reduce the need for compensatory agricultural extensification, land use change, and damage to the environment services, including carbon sequestration. We have tools focused on reducing losses through post harvest storage.

This member contributed to:

    • Based on the question raised in this forum, we at Vestergaard wanted to share a practical example of how we see agriculture being able to lift the most vulnerable out of poverty in rural areas.  We are currently focused on supporting the poorest families, with a very small amount of land, living below the poverty level or 1.90 USD/ Day (693.50 USD).  We wanted to share with this forum, for input, a possible platform for an anti-poverty starter kit and a new strategy for local warehousing that we are developing together with local partners in Kenya.

      In Kakamega Western Kenya, at Vestergaard, we are challenging ourselves to show that using the Farmer’s Starter Kit we can lift 10,000 rural families out of extreme poverty. The kit dynamics are based on over 90% of families’ prefer to grow and consume their own food, and the average storage time is 2 months, with over 70% storing at home. Storage is typically in woven new or used bag (costing USD 0.80 – USD 0.40). As many as 50% are “in the market and net sellers” and know quality gives better prices. Financing institutions require smallholders to sell upon harvest to minimize credit risk, this is exacerbates the poverty cycle. There are now initiatives from various banks allowing farmers an additional 3 months storage subject to proper safe storage (due to revenue upsides of >100% by storing for few months extra).

      Working closely with Kenya Seed Corporation we are focusing on providing an anti-extreme poverty starter kit for farmers. This kit will initially focus on providing all the tools needed for maximizing production of maize of high quality and then also the opportunity of storing the maize produced safely. This not only allows the farmer to grow more but also keep the grain longer, selling the surplus at a price higher than the one available during the harvest period.

      The families will then be provided a connection to a warehouse storage program being set up in the region, a simple decentralized profit sharing warehousing system designed on the “Uber” model, to provide a place for farmers to confidently sell the maize close to home. The system, like Uber, is managed through a block chain phone application, it enables quality classification, spot price agreement, weight documentation and a sales agreement. The ZeroFly® Storage Manager stores and sells at the optimal pricing, and shares profits with family via the app (based on the m-pesa/ cryptocurrency system).

      Then Uber Warehouse owner is then connected with the key markets through East African Grain Council & the National Cereals Board to bring this maize to market for the most optimal prices.

      Case study: The Otienos are a family of five, father working as a farm laborer outside of the home, mother working part time and taking care of two young children and managing the family’s 1/3 acre plot of land with the help of her mother – the family lives close to the poverty line and has an income of approximately 540 USD per year – approx. earning 1.50 USD/ per day. Mrs Otieno cannot afford high quality seeds or fertiliser, they grow maize twice per year, but yields are low and she never manages to grow enough for the family to eat for the year, and the maize that is grown needs to be sold or consumed within 2 months or it will be completely spoiled by insects and rodents. The 100kg of maize that that her husband carries 20 km to the nearest market sells at the lowest market price as it is at the harvest period.

      Vestergaard proposes to provide a family such as the Otienos an Anti-Poverty Starter Kit for Farmers – the kit contains enough high quality maize seeds from Kenya Seed Co., top dressing & fertiliser, and ZeroFly® Combi Bags (allowing safe storage of grains within patented hermetic coated storage bags protected by insecticide and rodent repellent) for two seasons – 12 months. This kit not only provides additional income and high quality nutrition, but also – since the Uber Warehousing scheme will be much closer to the homestead, <7km, Mrs Otieno will be able to carry the grain to the warehouse, providing an opportunity for gender empowerment. Additionally, after sometime the family will have more disposable income to grow their farm and provide opportunities for the younger members of the family, and members of other neighboring families to stay in these rural areas, instead of having to leave to find work.

      A cheap starter pack can generate on average 400 kg of maize per season, and the investment needed for this pack is under 20 USD per family and will bring them out of extreme poverty within two harvest seasons (12 months), and break the cycle of poor farmers always having to sell first or at least provide an opportunity to store for better profits.

      Calculation (estimated):

      *Two seasons of seed for 400 kg maize, fertiliser and 4* ZeroFly® Combi Bags; With KES 1,700 approx. 17 USD / household, a family’s food security and financial needs will be met for the year.

      *One acre of land requires 12 kg of seeds and produces on average 20 bags of 100 kg, equivalent to 2000 kg. Most of the target farmers have less than 1 acre of land for planting. Therefore, 800 kg have been used as the average and 5 kg seeds are needed for producing this much maize.

      *Poor soils require both planting and top dressing fertilizer; 50 kg fertilizer of both basal and top dressing approx. 25 kg fertilizer is able to work for the 5 kg of seeds

      *A minimum of 4 bags will be provided for each of the farmers; x4 ZeroFly® Combi bags are able to ensure the farmers can store the equivalent of enough grains to earn an additional income of 125-150 USD x2/ year ; After 12 months generating 250-300 USD lifting the family out of extreme poverty.

      *Outreach and distribution of kits; the infrastructure and resources are already available to distribute kits in the Kakamega region through Vestergaard’s LifeStraw team and can provide the necessary initial training.

      Many thanks for comments and thoughts.

      Georgina V Bingham PhD FRES

      [email protected]

    • Dear Minister Counsellor Fratini,

      Many thanks for this opportunity to engage in this process and provide input.

      With Reference to the HLPE Report on Food Waste: A work stream specifically focusing on Post-Harvest Losses (PHLs) with cross cutting issues of environmental impact, nutrition, health & water sanitation, in its nature would likely engage a multi-stakeholder and multidisciplinary approach:

      The food crisis in 2006/ 2007 resulted in a sharp rise in global food prices bringing an increased focus on agriculture and a renewed interest in the reduction of postharvest losses (PHLs) as a means of increasing food availability and rural incomes.

      In the case of smallholders, most cereals are stored by farming households after harvest until they are sold or consumed during the year.

      A key aspect of addressing post-harvest losses is through encouraging smallholders to invest more of their resources in postharvest handling and storage to maintain the high quality of their cereal and reap the rewards of higher value markets. 

      Better post-harvest management associated with loss reduction was, in addition to discussion the HLPE report, also reported by the World Bank’s 2011 “Missing Food Report” as a way of helping to build resilience against current and future climate-related shocks, and reduce the need for compensatory agricultural extensification, land use change, and damage to the environment services, including carbon sequestration.

      The targets primary outcome if to achieve a goal on the reduction of food losses & waste – there should be a relevant end point e.g. 2030 & clear regional quantitative targets; with the note that post-harvest not only includes crop losses, but also livestock, fisheries.  There should also be a further push for separation of both, loss and waste, with clear targets on Productivity losses (including Livestock) & Post-Harvest losses.

      To address the remaining cross cutting issues – it is important to note that simply increasing the nutrition by ensuring a healthy and nutritious diet through promotion of a micronutrient rich diet, increasing coverage of nutrition behavior change activities is not enough.  It must be couple with improved water sanitation and drinking water.   It is key that improving nutrition and proving safe drinking water are principles that are run in parallel; since for example if a child is infected with a waterborne disease it is likely to fail to achieve the expected impact, to singularly increase the nutritive value of the child diet, as diarrhea usually accompanies these waterborne conditions.

      For the Committee of Food Security; under this work stream there could be three key focus areas:

      1. A CFS roundtable event on defining actionable linkages with water & health to synergise impacts, when improving nutrition through Food Security measures

      2. Best Practices for reducing post-harvest and post production losses; Guidelines for countries on the correct measures to take and tools to use for greatest impact

      3. A CFS roundtable event on solutions to reducing post-harvest losses and other food losses

       

      Many thanks for your kind attention and advice.

      Kind Regards

      Georgina

      Georgina Bingham Zivanovic PhD FRES
      Product Development Manager Food Security

      Vestergaard Frandsen SA

      Chemin Messidor 5-7 | 1006 Lausanne| Switzerland
      T: +41 (0) 21 310 7331 | M: +41 79 824 2032

      E: [email protected] | W: www.vestergaard.com | Skype: georgina.bingham
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