Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

This member contributed to:

    • 1) My SIDS Region is AIMS.

      2) Examples of action that are undertaking to reduce poverty, food insecurity and nutrition challenges in response to climate change and climate related events are:

      • Established Disaster Management Policy for Zanzibar, a Disaster Management Commission/Department, and an Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan.
      • Socio-economic scenarios

      Future socio-economic development needs to be considered alongside the future impacts of climate, because these changes – such as population growth, the size of the economy, land-use development - will affect the potential size of future climate impacts (e.g. the number of people potentially affected, the number of people living in flood zones, etc.).

      • Climate Screening MKUZA II

      This considers how climate resilient existing plans are, identifies any changes that are needed, and can assess whether existing plans are taking advantage of the potential opportunities for low carbon or adaptation finance.

      • Implementation of Home School Feeding Program. This program implemented in schools that have the Most Vulnerable Children. In this program the children are given millet porridge and yellow sweet potatoes with vegetables.
      • Implemented MWANZO BORA PROGRAM at the selected Districts. This program implemented at selected Districts based on children under malnutrition and their parents are in poor household income. In this program the selected households have given knowledge on capacity building focusing on food security and nutrition. Also they provided capital for establishment of vegetable home garden. 

      3) The lesson drawn are:

      • More effort is needed to be practiced in the issue of climate change and climate change related events in order to ensure that we can minimize the poverty and food insecurity in all level.
      • There is shortage of knowledge to the community regarding to the climate change, food insecurity and nutrition particularly at rural areas.
      • The strong and close collaboration is needed between climate change stakeholders and community focusing all issues regarding to climate change, poverty and food insecurity.
      • Up to now most people unable to understood the correct time for practice agricultural activities related to climate change.

      4) The challenges that faces in reducing the poverty and inequalities and building the adaptive capacity of the poor and vulnerable to climate change and climate-related events are:

      • High number of poor and vulnerable children who need close assistant, services including basic need and social services.
      • Lack of awareness and insight to the community particularly for climate changes events.
      • Shortage of commitment for leader in all level, there is no special strategies that indicated how they take action on all matter concern the climate events, poverty and vulnerability.
      • Shortage of financial.
      • Lack of equipment such as motor cycles or vehicles.
      • Poor infrastructure especial at rural areas.

      5. a) The World can learn the following from my experiences:

      • A participatory approach is very important in introducing and solving the issues of poverty, food insecurity of climate change and climate-related events.
      • Involvement of all stakeholders is all level is very important in addressing the issue of poverty, food insecurity nutrition climate change and climate-related events.
      • Knowledge on food security, nutrition and climate change and climate-related events is still needed in the community.
      • The poverty line in Zanzibar is 30.4% where most of these people found in rural areas.
      • There is shortage of forecast knowledge to the most people in the community regarding to climate change and food security.

      b) The possible pathways and good practice that I can recommend to follow when addressing poverty, food security and nutrition in the context of the climate change and climate-related events:-

      • Providing capacity building to the community.
      • Enhancing institutional support networks.
      • Increasing household food production to the community.
      • Increasing food trade and market chain.
      • Increasing income opportunities to the community.
      • Educate people on climate change related to food security.

      The questions are clear and will trigger peoples’ interest and participation.

    • The students of the Master in Human Development and Food Security at the University of Roma Tre, Italy prepared two country case studies (Kenya and Peru) in which they analysed the existing framework concerning the introduction of nutrition sensitive value chains (NSVC).

      Both papers explore the national economic and social conditions of the countries’ food systems, present examples of already existing value chains and provide suggestions on how the framework presented by the RBAs can further facilitate the creation of successful NSVC.

      The study on Peru was carried out by:

      Augusta Correa Rojas, Camilla Spallino, Davidson Nkoro, Eleonora Cannamela, Federica Borrelli, Maurizio Furst, Maria Costanza Gomez Lemos, Nataliia Gavryliuk, Noemi Renzetti, Thomas Preindl, Valentina Terribile, Yacouba Coulibaly

      You can download it here

      The study on Kenya was carried out by: 

      Mildred Chitima, Andreé-Anne Côté-St-Laurent, Hashem Darkashalli, Irena Giorgis, Edda Isla,
      Alejandra Lizarraga, Marcel Mallow, Heather Mondin, Elise Polak, Kim Voogt, Haritz Goya

      You can download it here

    • Dear Participants,

      A special thanks to Emile and Sangeetha for posting online additional thoughts on yesterday’s working group session.

      Our time in the workshop is limited and I can see there are many ideas and a great wealth of knowledge in all of you. We will have the Open Forum session this afternoon where you will have a chance to ask questions or make additional comments.

      Please do also take advantage of this space to add anything that went missed or overlooked during the workshop sessions.

      See you later!





    • Posted on behalf of Sara J. Scherr, EcoAgriculture Partner, USA

      Dear CFS-HLPE of the Smallholder Agriculture Paper,

      Congratulations on putting together a very strong overview of the current conditions, constraints and opportunities for smallholder agriculture in food and nutrition security. I support the sections on defining smallholder agriculture and their significance, and the elements on investment, constraints and recommendations that have been put forward.

      However, I believe there is a very substantial gap in the analysis related to the role of natural resource conditions and flows of ecosystem services in smallholder constraints, opportunities and recommendations for action. This element is almost entirely missing from the report, yet are consistent with and would support the main recommendations. I encourage the HLPE to look at the recent reports by UNEP (Avoiding Future Famines: Strengthening the Ecological Basis of Food Security through Sustainable Food Systems) and UNDESA ( that elaborate these issues from diverse perspectives and with a strong focus on smallholder farmers.

      Here are my specific suggestions:

      p.9: Add Land Degradation as a major challenge for smallholders, both at farm level (soil erosion, fertility decline and water-holding capacity) and landscape level (devegetation of watersheds with resulting reduction in water flow and storage, threats to irrigation, loss of pollinators, pest problems, et al). The lack of mechanisms for collective action by smallholders and their communities to manage such issues and for financing of investments that provide returns only in medium and longer terms.

      p. 22:  Smallholders need to have a much stronger voice in territorial (and other spatially defined models for integrated landscape management)initiatives, and to strengthen their voices in defining development strategies at district, landscape, watershed and sub-regional levels (including agricultural development, water resources development, forest development, et al).

      p. 27:  I suggesting adding a short sub-section 2.1.3 on the important role of smallholder farmers, in many parts of the world, in producing ecosystem services for other groups in society through their stewardship of farm and non-farmed lands, controlling erosion, protecting watersheds, sustaining wild plant and animal species, maintaining culturally important resources and germplasm, and sequestering carbon in ways that mitigate climate change.

      p. 29:  Figure 1, add ecosystem services and natural resource management as key components.

      3.2:  “Natural capital” is defined here much too narrowly, and should include types of natural capital at farm, community, and landscape scales upon which smallholder farmers depend (agricultural soils, natural pastures, woodlands and community forests, riparian vegetation, sources of raw materials used in agricultural production  or agro-processing, woodfuel, medicines, fodder for livestock, and particularly the management of micro- and sub-watersheds and the diverse vegetative cover, rainwater harvesting structures at farm and landscape scale, biodiversity for pest and disease control, etc..

      3.3 Add a new sub-section on collective action by smallholder farmers to improve ecosystem health and ecosystem services upon which they depend.

      4.1.2  Smallholders have a particularly weak voice in decision-making about landscape strategies for agricultural development, water resource development, forest development, which are too often decided at district, provincial or national levels without consultation or engagement of smallholders.

      4.2  This section should also highlight the lack of access by smallholders to natural resources that are located off their farms but are critical as inputs for agricultural production or agro-processing, such as forest resources needed for woodfuel, raw materials, ‘natural’ pesticides and fertilizers, water for irrigation, etc.

      4.3  I suggest creating a separate category for ‘natural resource and environmental risks’, separate from ‘technical risks’, to highlight the high threats from soil loss, fertility decline, damage from flooding, pollution of water supplies for people and animals, and the host of climate change-related risks such as rise of new pests and diseases, increased drought risk, increased severity of storms,et al.

      4.  I encourage you to include at least one example of the many documented case studies showing how smallholder investment in natural resource management, at farm and local landscape scales, improves ecosystem health in ways that directly increase agricultural productivity, stability and resilience. I would be happy to suggest some examples and refer you to the experts.

      Figure 15: Another challenge for smallholders’ well-being is their access to natural resources and ecosystem services critical for their livelihoods, as described above. For example, access to cropland along is not sufficient in most smallholder farming systems—their access to forest, water and grazing resources is also critical, and in many places, to cropland parcels located in different agroecological zones to enable different types of crops to be grown under varying weather conditions.

      5.4.2 The definition of territorial developmentshould be broadened and enhanced to incorporate diverse area-based approaches that can aggregate smallholder activities to improve stewardship of critical natural resources and ecosystem services (e.g., Landcare) or that will enable smallholder farmers to negotiate directly with other stakeholders in planning that affects their access and quality of land, water and other resources, and strategies of investment that will affect their ability to use them productively.

      Thanks very much for the opportunity to comment on this very important report.


      Sara J. Scherr, President

      EcoAgriculture Partners (

      Facilitator, Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative (

    • Posted on behalf of Jean-Paul Pradère, World Organisation for Animal Health, France

      Les auteurs du rapport méritent d’être félicités pour la qualité et la clarté de leur travail sur un sujet aussi complexe. L’importance des rôles économiques et sociaux que les petites exploitations jouent, pratiquement partout dans le monde, est très bien montrée et très bien analysée.

      En complément des recommandations déjà proposées dans le rapport, il me semble nécessaire d’ajouter le renforcement de la productivité de l’élevage et, en conséquence, le besoin de renforcer le contrôle de la santé animale. En effet, l’élevage représente une part croissante du PIB agricole dans le monde (actuellement plus de 40%) et le rapport montre bien les rôles multiples et importants qu’il joue dans les petites exploitations. Des études (Ludena 2010) ont montré que c’est dans les petits élevages (volaille, porcs) que les transferts de technologie étaient les plus faciles à réaliser et que des gains de productivité pouvaient être les plus rapides. Bien entendu, pour réaliser ces gains de productivité et améliorer la qualité de leurs produits, les petits producteurs doivent pouvoir compter sur des services vétérinaires performants. En outre, un meilleur contrôle de la santé animale réduit l’aversion au risque des producteurs et des banquiers et donc facilite l’accès des petits producteurs aux innovations. L’amélioration de la santé animale et de la qualité des produits animaux est également une des conditions à l’intégration des petits éleveurs dans les filières de production et dans les circuits modernes de distribution (intégration largement recommandée dans le rapport).

      Les remarques sont présentées en réponse aux grandes questions qui sont posées par les auteurs du rapport :

      1) Definition and significance of Smallholder agriculture: is the approach in the report adequate?

      Cette question est déjà bien traitée dans le rapport. En outre elle a déjà bénéficié de nombreuses contributions.

      2) Constraints to smallholder investment: are all main constraints presented in the draft? Have important constraints been omitted?

      Le rapport montre bien les liens étroits qui existent entre les composantes économiques et domestiques dans les ménages de petits producteurs agricoles. On comprend que pour ces ménages fragiles, la réalisation d’un risque (par exemple la baisse de production ou la mort d’un animal) a immédiatement des effets très graves.

      • Aversion au risque

      Le paragraphe 4 du rapport, pourrait développer la notion d’aversion au risque et son impact d’une part sur les choix d’investissement du producteur lui-même (lorsqu’il investit avec ses ressources propres) et, d’autre part, sur les décisions d’investissement (relations producteurs/ banques)

      Les études sur le sujet montrent, qu’en raison de leur aversion au risque, les producteurs (surtout les plus modestes) préfèrent des options qui offrent moins de profit mais avec un risque faible, au détriment des options qui pourraient générer un grand profit, mais avec un risque élevé.

      Jesús Antón et Wyatt Thompson (Risk Aversion and Competitiveness, 2008) montrent que, toutes choses égales par ailleurs, l’aversion au risque conduit les investisseurs à choisir des options qui réduisent le niveau de leurs revenus. Au fil du temps ils se marginalisent eux-mêmes et s’écartent des circuits économiques les plus rentables.

      On comprend dans ces conditions, que l’aversion pour les risques liées aux maladies animales constitue une contrainte forte, qui empêche les petits producteurs de bénéficier des profits élevés (mais risqués) de l’élevage et notamment de l’élevage d’espèces à cycle court (volailles, porcs) pour lesquels les transferts de technologie sont relativement faciles et les ratios de profit généralement très élevés. On comprend également l’intérêt d’un meilleur contrôle de la santé animale pour réduire la force de l’aversion aux risques dans les choix d’investissement en élevage.

      3) Are the main areas for recommendations and the priority domains for action adequate?

      • Importance croissante de l’élevage au niveau mondial et dans l’économie des petites exploitations.

      Le rapport en objet montre bien le rôle de l’élevage dans la constitution, la gestion et la préservation du patrimoine des ménages ruraux. Toutefois, l’importance des rôles de l’élevage dans les petites exploitations pourrait être soulignée.

      En effet, l’élevage est partout en croissance. Le volume des productions animales augmente vite. Il représente déjà plus de 40% du PIB agricole mondial et cette proportion augmente vite.

      L’élevage est une source de revenus pour 70% des ruraux pauvres dans le monde. Outre des revenus directs et une réserve en capital, l’élevage offre une force de travail et de transport pour la moitié des exploitations agricoles du monde, une source de fertilisation organique pour la plus grande partie des cultures et un moyen de convertir des sous-produits grossiers en produits animaux à forte valeur ajoutée. Sans être un passage obligé, l’élevage constitue une opportunité pour réduire la pauvreté (Banque mondiale, « Minding the Stock: Bringing Public Policy to Bear on Livestock Sector Development, 2009 »).

      • Forte élasticité de la demande de produits animaux.

      La demande de produits animaux est en forte croissance, partout dans le monde. En Afrique, où le déficit en produits animaux va continuer à augmenter (OECD/FAO Outloock -2012), l’élasticité de cette demande a été estimée à 0,8 (Seale, Regmi, & Bernstein 2003, Muhammed et al 2011). Les élevages à cycle court, qui valorisent vite et biens les investissements lorsqu’ils sont sécurisés, permettraient à de petits éleveurs de profiter de la croissance de la demande.

      • Productivité de l’élevage (et des autres productions agricoles)

      De investissements en faveur de la productivité globale de la production agricole figurent – à juste titre - parmi les recommandations prioritaires du rapport. Le rapport contient également différents environnements économiques de la production agricole. Il est en effet important de distinguer clairement plusieurs catégories de pays. On pourrait distinguer notamment :

      • les pays (généralement développés) où les producteurs ont plus d’opportunités de diversification des revenus, où ils bénéficient de bonnes infrastructures, de services éducatifs et sociaux de bons niveaux et surtout de soutiens importants aux productions agricoles ;
      • et à l’autre extrême, les pays les plus pauvres où les nombreux petits producteurs sont le plus souvent mal représentés au niveau politique, où les infrastructures et les appuis techniques sont insuffisants et où le contexte institutionnel ne favorise pas les petits investissements.

      Les analyses de l’OCDE (Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation -2012) montrent par exemple, qu’au Japon, en Norvège et en Suisse, les soutiens des pays aux producteurs agricoles (les PSE) dépassent 50% de la valeur des productions (ces soutiens ont été récemment réduits mais, en 2011, ils représentaient encore 19% de la valeur moyenne des productions agricoles).

      Bien entendu il existe un lien entre le volume et la nature des soutiens à l’agriculture et le niveau de la productivité agricole. Dans un excellent rapport Ludena et al. (2007) montre bien l’intérêt des actions de recherche et de recherche-développement et de l’accès aux intrants pour le renforcement de la productivité = = le rapport en objet souligne bien ces exigences = =. Les gains moyens annuels de productivité calculés par Ludena pour la période 1961-2007 reflètent bien le niveau de soutien à l’agriculture (Pays développés 2,2% ; Amérique latine et Caraïbes 1 ,8%, Asie du Sud-Est 1,6% ; Afrique sub-saharienne 0,2%).

      Dans les pays qui bénéficient de services vétérinaires performants et où la santé animale est bien contrôlée, les gains de productivité les plus élevés sont observés dans les élevages de volailles et de porcs, où les transferts de technologie sont plus faciles.

      Il serait important de citer le besoin d’un meilleur contrôle de la santé animale (et donc d’une meilleure sécurisation) pour le renforcement de la productivité de l’élevage. Benett (2003) montre bien l’intérêt économique des investissements pour l’amélioration de la santé animale. A niveau d’input égal, la rentabilité des élevages sains est plus forte.

      Un élevage sain est aussi une condition essentielle à l’accès aux circuits de commercialisation intégrés et au développement de partenariats entre petits producteurs et industriels qui sont recommandés dans le rapport.

      • Recommandations - Processus PVS de l’OIE

      Outre les actions transversales, déjà citées dans le rapport (formation agricole, recherche-développement, etc.) et la promotion générale de formes d’élevages adaptées aux petits producteurs, une amélioration de la santé animale est indispensable à la sécurisation et à la bonne valorisation des productions des petits éleveurs.

      L’amélioration de la santé animale est elle-même directement liée à la qualité des Services vétérinaires nationaux (qui outre leur mission de santé publique vétérinaire accompagnent l’accès des animaux et produits d'origine animale aux marchés régionaux et internationaux), à la qualité de formation initiale des vétérinaires et à la qualité des partenariats publics privés organisés dans le domaine vétérinaire (y compris pour la mise en oeuvre de stratégies de vaccination avec des vaccins de qualité).

      Parmi les recommandations concrètes, il serait important de citer l’« Outil pour l’évaluation des performances des Services Vétérinaires » (Outil PVS de l’OIE). Cet outil qui est mis en oeuvre à la demande des pays, vise à évaluer la conformité des Services Vétérinaires nationaux avec les normes de qualité de l’OIE. En résumé, une première évaluation PVS peut être suivie d’une analyse des écarts par rapport aux normes internationales qui aide à l’identification des priorités et à la préparation et au calcul des programmes d’investissement, avec l’appui des gouvernements, des partenaires de l’OIE et, si nécessaire, des bailleurs de fonds. Ces outils sont les leviers principaux de l’OIE pour pouvoir concrètement aider les Services Vétérinaires de tous les pays du monde à mettre en place une bonne gouvernance de leur structure et de leur mode de fonctionnement.

      • Des « Banque de vaccins » contribuent à la sécurisation des revenus des producteurs.

      Avec l’appui financier de divers partenaires l'OIE poursuit le développement d’un nouveau concept de « banque de vaccins » dotée de stocks de roulement virtuels. En cas d’apparition d’une maladie contagieuse, ce concept permet une fourniture rapide de vaccins aux pays infectés. Entre autres résultats, plus de 62 millions de doses de vaccins H5N2 ont été livrées aux pays suivants : Mauritanie, Sénégal, Égypte, Maurice, Ghana, Togo et Vietnam.

      La création de nouvelles banques de vaccins pour tout un ensemble de maladies permettra de mieux contrer la propagation des maladies animales transfrontalières dans le monde. Ce qui contribuera à la sécurisation des revenus et du patrimoine des éleveurs.

      Des informations détaillées sur l’outil PVS de l’OIE et les résultats de son application dans de nombreux pays sont disponibles sur le site Internet de l’OIE (Menu « Appui aux Membres de l’OIE » / « Support to OIE members »)

      4) Does the draft include sufficient information at the adequate level to support the policy messages?

      Le rapport montre clairement l’importance économique et sociale des petites exploitations agricoles mais aussi le rôle clé de ces exploitations dans la production alimentaire mondiale. Le plaidoyer en faveur des petites exploitations agricoles pourrait insister davantage sur deux arguments :

      • L’insuffisance des soutiens aux politiques agricoles (politiques de l’élevage en particulier) dans les pays les moins avancés.

      Dans les pays les moins avancés il y a un net déséquilibre entre l’importance économique et sociale de l’agriculture et le volume de l’aide qui est affecté à ce secteur. Dans un rapport de 2009 (déjà cité), la banque mondiale estimait le pourcentage de l’aide affectée à l’agriculture à environ 2,5 % du total de l’aide au développement. Une consultation des bases de données du Comité d’Aide au Développement de l’OCDE montre que le pourcentage de cette aide a légèrement augmenté ces dernières années mais reste à un niveau très bas (4 à 5% du total de l’aide).

      En outre, l’élevage reste, de loin, le traditionnel parent pauvre de l’aide et des politiques publiques dans les pays les moins avancés. Parmi les raisons évoquées pour expliquer le désintérêt des décideurs et des agences d’aide figurent, entre autres, la complexité des systèmes d’élevage et le niveau élevé des risques (dus aux maladies). Pourtant, les petits élevages se prêtent bien à des actions de promotion au bénéfice des petites exploitations familiales, les transferts de technologie sont faciles à organiser. Beaucoup d’exemples en Asie et Amérique latine montrent qu’une amélioration de la couverture vétérinaire contribue à des gains de productivité très rapides.

      Dans un contexte de croissance de la demande et de manque de soutien des politiques publiques dans les pays les moins avancés, la croissance de l’élevage ne profite pas suffisamment aux petits éleveurs, car cette croissance est « tirée par la demande » et ne bénéficie pas suffisamment de politiques publiques qui, outre des objectifs économiques, pourraient avoir aussi des objectifs sociaux et environnementaux

      • La participation des petites exploitations au bien-être et à la croissance économique.

      Dans le rapport cité en référence, Ludena rappelle que l’intensification de l’agriculture a été la base de l'industrialisation réussie dans les économies aujourd'hui développées. Des auteurs : Adelman et Morris (1988), Krueger, Schiff et Valdes (1991), Stern (1989), ont montré que l’amélioration de la productivité agricole joue un rôle clé dans le processus d'industrialisation et de développement.

      Parallèlement, les pays qui n’ont pas suffisamment (ou ont mal) soutenu leur agriculture ont eu de faibles taux de croissance. Les petites exploitations sont des éléments importants des économies nationales. Les investissements en leur faveur génèrent des gains en termes de croissance économique et de bien-être des populations.

      Références :

      1. Jesús Antón (OECD), Wyatt Thompson (University of Missouri), Risk Aversion and Competitiveness. 2008.

      2. Carlos E. Ludena. Agricultural Productivity Growth, Efficiency Change and Technical Progress in Latin America and the Caribbean. 2010. Inter-American Development Bank

      3. Banque mondiale. Minding the Stock: Bringing Public Policy to Bear on Livestock Sector Development. 2009

      4. OECD (2012). Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2012 ; OECD countries, OECD Publishing.

      5. Benett, R (2003). The direct cost of livestock diseases. The development of a system of models for the analysis of 30 endemic livestock diseases in Great Britain. Journal of Agricultural Economics 54 (1), 55-71

    • Posted on behalf of the Norwegian Agriculture Cooperatives and Norwegian Farmer's Union

      Federation of Norwegian Agriculture Cooperatives and Norwegian Farmer’s Union congratulate the High Level Panel of Experts with the report, and welcome your invitation to consult the report. This work is of great, focusing on the significance of smallholder agriculture challenges and what framework is needed to improve the ability for production within smallholder agriculture.

      The report recognizes the heterogeneous nature of smallholder sector, showing diverse support needs. The wording smallholder is a key notion in the report. We would however urge the Panel to include the heterogeneity to a greater extent, and to be more specific about which smallholders are addressed. All smallholder agriculture has challenges which need specific framework concerning for instance access to farmland and markets.

      Ensuring access to a well functioning market for smallholder agriculture is important, as recognized in the report. The farmer must be ensured a fear share of the surplus. Farmer owned cooperatives have an important role to play. Protection of the national market is also crucial to many smallholdings.  

      We support the report on the necessity of providing secure access to land and natural resources. However, we miss an emphasize on the importance of farmer’s ownership to the land.

      We appreciate that the report mention cooperatives specifically, however, we would like the report to emphasize stronger the important role of agriculture cooperatives, for instance in empowering the farmer in the food chain.

      We would also like the report to stronger underscore the role of family farming, and how this model of ownership has proven to be a very efficient model, securing continuity and efficiency.

      A large part of agricultural production is carried out by smallholdings. This report reminds us of the importance of this work, and is a good platform for further elaborations on this issue.

      Best regards,

    • Posted on behalf of the Australian Government

      The Australian Government acknowledges the importance smallholder agriculture plays in global food security. Smallholders are not only important contributors to food security and agricultural productivity within many countries but also drivers of/ contributors to economic development and enterprise in rural areas. Throughout the developing world smallholder agriculture faces many access constraints. These include access to:

      • secure tenure of land;
      • knowledge and technology transfer;
      • markets and market information;
      • financial services; and
      • social safety nets to protect them during times of crisis.

      Like other businesses, smallholders (whether formal or informal) benefit from reforms and improvements in the domestic enabling environment and liberalisation of trade.

      In responding to these challenges Australian aid currently supports:

      • lifting agricultural productivity by increasing investment in agricultural research and development, through Australian and international organisations working on food policy and agricultural innovation;
      • improving rural livelihoods by strengthening markets in developing countries and improving market access to increase incomes and employment, and reduce risks for the poor – through enterprise development, better policies and access to financial services; and
      • building community resilience by supporting the establishment and improvement of social protection programs that reduce the vulnerability of the poor to shocks and stresses.

      As well Australia is supporting adaptive capacity and resilience through climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction programs.

      Australia recognises the importance of trade liberalisation and trade facilitation in underpinning food security, and pursues these through multilateral, regional and bilateral channels. The Australian Government has been a strong advocate for a successful conclusion to the World Trade Organization Doha Round of trade negotiations. From Australia’s perspective a multilateral trade deal offers opportunities to improve global food security. Australia also works to reduce trade barriers through other forums such as the Group of Twenty (G20), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Australia seeks to negotiate and implement comprehensive bilateral free trade agreements that can deliver real benefits for the relevant parties.

      Australia recognises the important contribution that investment in agriculture, whether from domestic or overseas sources, can make towards achieving food security. Foreign investment in agriculture can bring benefits to the sector and create opportunities for farmers. It can help to generate higher employment and incomes, investment in infrastructure and improvements to food production capabilities.

      Further liberalisation of global agriculture and food markets will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these markets and ultimately access and availability of food. Liberalisation of markets and improving access to markets and information is also likely to lower the likelihood of information asymmetry, rent seeking, and other market distorting behaviour. This in turn will benefit poor farmers and the food security of the poor by reducing transactions costs, increasing return on investment and providing income and employment opportunities. Food security will be determined by not only how communities and individuals feed themselves, but by their own ability to purchase and consume food at the lowest cost.

      1) Definition and significance of smallholder agriculture and related investments is the approach in the report adequate?

      Yes. The definitions and significance of smallholder agriculture and related investments are adequate and well defined in the paper. However, there probably should be some caveats put around expectations the document may generate of smallholder systems acting as a panacea for global food insecurity. The reality is that many systems of smallholder farming, while having the potential to significantly increase their local production capacity, will not alleviate global or even local food insecurity because of physical, cultural, social or economic constraints and disincentives. It would be helpful for the report to put smallholder systems in context by outlining the other key approaches that are fundamental in addressing global food security. These could be outlined in the report’s executive summary section and should cover:

      • Emergency assistance and longer term protection for the most vulnerable
      • Increased investment in agricultural research, development and extension
      • Increased focus on agricultural production and distribution and
      • Appropriate economic and trade policies, leading to open and efficient markets to maximise food trade flows, locally and internationally.

      2) Framework for Smallholder Agriculture and related investments: is the typology useful, adequate and accessible for the problem at hand?

      The typology is useful, well thought out and accessible conceptually. The approach while acknowledging the heterogeneity of smallholder contexts provides an opportunity to clearly analyse what context best describes smallholders in a system, what the system itself looks like, and how changes can be generated to impact on the poor.

      There is room for the analysis to be further enhanced by drilling down and further mapping the characteristics of smallholder agriculture with further sub classifications relating to specific areas (i.e. land tenure arrangements (assets) and farmer type (markets) see below).

      This is simply an example and other sub-classifications could include prevalence of marketing boards (institutions), cost of doing business (markets, institutions), ease of access to finance and financial institutions (assets, markets, institutions) and other measures all of which could build a very useful typology for analysis and intervention if required.

      A better and more nuanced understanding of smallholder agriculture and the constraints to investment and other opportunities they face, would certainly improve Australia and other international partners’ capacities to respond effectively to need.

      One issue for consideration in drafting the next version of the document is to ensure that the clarity of thinking is as apparent in the Executive Summary as it is in the body. In reading the Executive Summary the logic and clear thinking within the body of the document is lost by summarising and compressing the thinking - resulting in what looks like a series of headline statements with little of the interconnecting logic of the main text.

      3) Constraints to the smallholder investment: are all main constraints represented in the draft?

      No. The enabling environment constraints to smallholders and smallholder investment seem to be somewhat overlooked in the paper. Rather than tackling the hard questions of vested interest and the need to reform markets from within, the paper tends to take a broader brush focusing on how farmers operate at the end point of the system.

      While flagging institutions in the typology analysis the focus seems to be placed more on the demand than supply side. Thus institutional reform as defined in the document tends to focus on governance at the local level and the empowerment of farmers and farming communities in rural areas rather than on the perverse incentives that some existing and centralised institutions may be exerting on the market. While potentially politically sensitive, the document should use every opportunity it can to highlight where smallholder investment and the opportunities for smallholders can be improved through both centralised macro-reform (of say commodity marketing boards and departments of agriculture) alongside micro-reforms to the farming sector. The domestic reform and market access activities are a necessary precursor to securing the potential gains for smallholder farmers from trade liberalisation. Farmers often lack access to domestic markets as a first step to achieving export potential.

      There is also a slight bias towards protectionism in some of the analysis and prescribed solutions. Even with respect to new economic entrants – such as modern retail markets – there is a focus on protection of the smallholder and their existence. Institutional and policy reforms which have often been slow are being overtaken in some regions by private market developments, such as investment in modern retail chains, which open both opportunities and challenges to smallholders as urbanisation continues to grow across many countries. Traditional institutions/policies are either hampering or confusing these autonomous developments and constraining rather than facilitating farmer participation. Both protectionism and domestic subsidies are cases in point in many countries. Over the longer term, such innovations and changes in the market place may lead to greater income and employment opportunities, improved access, availability and utilisation of food, and ultimately poverty alleviation. Protecting the cultural aspects of smallholder society seems a misplaced aspect of the paper given its focus on smallholder investment and opportunity.

      While purporting to be market focused, the paper is in fact very public investment and public good oriented. This includes recommendations in support of public goods such as research, health services, extension and even asset transfers. Less focus is given to how sustainable markets can and will be developed over the longer term. Even financial services have a focus on cooperative rather than commercial services. While products like a ‘National Smallholder Vision and Strategic Framework’ are often seen as important outcomes from such analyses there should be an emphasis in this document around less planned approaches to smallholder investment and opportunity, and more on systemic reform that will result in long term change.

      The report should give greater focus to the role of agriculture and trade reform and the importance of developing well-functioning markets at the local, regional and international levels.

      On Food sovereignty (page 20 paragraph 7)

      Australia notes the use of the term “food sovereignty” in the report and suggests that its use be avoided. Food security refers to the ability of a country to determine its own agriculture and food policies, however, some use food sovereignty to justify policies that perpetuate existing trade distortions or introduce new ones.

      On Speculation (Page 65 paragraph 5.3.1.)

      Australia suggests that the sentence “Speculation in agricultural commodity derivatives market exacerbates price volatility and prevents most vulnerable smallholders from investing.” be excluded. A June 2011 report to the G20 (by expert organisations led by the OECD, FAO, and others) concluded that speculation was not a major influence on prices or volatility and that demand and supply remain the fundamental drivers of price formation for agricultural and food commodities

    • Posted on behalf of Samuel Gebreselassie, Future Agricultures Consortium, Ethiopia

      Dear Moderator,

      This is a short contribution on your zero draft report of the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition on ‘Investing in Smallholder Agriculture for Food and Nutrition Security’ which is open to comments from experts and researchers working on small farmers.

      In addition to low productivity which is largely technical problem, a fast and sustained growth of small farmers especially in potential areas (of Ethiopia) could also be a non-technical problem, i.e. narrow aspiration and fatalism which is largely psychological problem but might restrict the aspiration and desire for change of small, largely poor farmers.  A study by Bernard et al (2012), for instance, suggests that fatalism lowers the demand for long-term loans and loans for future-oriented productive purposes (Bernard et al (2012). This problem might be complicated by government policy that considers small farmers as homogenous group of farmers.

      Currently I am conducting an exploratory study aiming to describe the emerging market-led agriculture in Ethiopia in general and the emerging small-investor farmers in particular. The core research question this study investigates revolves around enabling environments and future aspiration and goals of such emerging small-investor farmers. It also assesses alternative policy and institutional options or supports that might help such farmers fulfill their dreams, which will have pull effect on other ‘average’ farmers.

      Though no statistics is available on the number of small-investor farmers currently exist in Ethiopia; their number is expected to grow overtime especially in high potential areas like Lume district in central Ethiopia where the study is conducted.

      The major thesis of the study is that such farmers need different type of support and to convince Ethiopian policy makers to outline separate policy and technical package for such farmers.

      The major purpose of my writing to you is, however, to share you the following two pie charts from my ongoing analysis.

      The survey of aspiration and dreams of the study farmers also reveal diverse difference in their future aspiration, dreams and ‘perceived’ goals.

      Despite some weakness in the method that include lack of sampling frame that forced the sample not to be representative (to the true population) and its consequent impact on having no knowledge on the number or the percentage share of such emerging farmers in the farming population of the study area, the study clearly indicate the need for special support for such kind of emerging farmers.

      After an in-depth revision of Ethiopia’s five year development plan, IMF also provides similar kind of recommendation for Ethiopian government.

      “Excluding domestic or foreign private commercial large farmers, the broader agricultural policy of the country overlooked this emerging group of small-investor farmers.  Most government policy and strategy documents consider silently the rest of small farmers as homogeneous or near-homogenous group. Critics, however, recommends the government to rethink otherwise. The IMF, for instance, in its evaluation of the government five-year (2010/11-2014/15) development plan commonly known as the GTP, advise the government the importance of private investments for smallholder agriculture and broaden its narrowly defined private sector agriculture to include both commercial large investors as well as emerging small farmers (IMF, 2011).”

      To summarize, my points are two. First, any support to smallholder farmers should not be limited to technical or market support but should also focused on building their psychological makeup that is essential to broaden their aspiration and desire for change. Second, any technical or policy support for small farmers should not be uniform and should not be standardised as small farmers could not be homogenous or near-homogenous group.

      Finally, the above two pie charts as well as the points discussed were drawn from my on going research work financed and conducted by Future Agricultures Consortium or FAC (

      Finally, my contribution might not be relevant if your open electronic consultation strictly based on the points raised on your V0 Draft as I will read it after this comment or at time in the near future. My apology for this.


      Samuel Gebreselassie,

      Research Fellow,

      Future Agricultures Consortium.

    • Posted on behalf of the Federal Government of Germany

      1. Introductory Comments

      Germany highly welcomes the opportunity to comment on the HLPE V0-Draft on constraints to smallholder investment in agriculture. Overall, the paper provides a good as well as balanced assessment of the challenges faced while attempting to facilitate smallholder based agricultural development.

      However, the report should take more into account the overall challenges of agricultural development in the context of ensuring food and nutrition security. Agriculture has to feed approximately nine billion people in 2050. Climate Change, declining soil fertility and the consequences of the negligence of the agricultural sector in the past are constraints for increased sustainable agricultural production which is in its own required to implement the human right to adequate food worldwide. FAO estimates that investments of 83 million USD are needed every year to achieve that. The role and the potential of small scale farmers to contribute to increased agricultural production and to benefit by enhancing their own means of production and productivity should be elaborated more detailed in the report.

      Since the CFS requested the HLPE to compile a report on constraints to smallholder investment in agriculture, the headline of the V0-Draft is creating the false impression of dealing with investments in smallholder agriculture in general. Yet, the content really covered by the report and requested by the CFS deals with challenges and opportunities to facilitate smallholder based agricultural development by smallholders themselves. As a consequence, Germany recommends changing the headline into “Facilitating smallholder agriculture for food and nutrition security”.

      1. Definition and significance of Smallholder agriculture: is the approach in the report adequate?

      Assuming that the above mentioned improved embedding of the topic into overall agricultural challenges will be included, the report is adequate to define smallholder agriculture and their significance.

      1. Framework for Smallholder agriculture and related investments: is the typology useful, adequate and accessible for the problem at hand?

      The used typology is adequate to access the problem. The charts and boxes within the report further simplify the readability of the document.

      1. Constraints to smallholder investment: are all main constraints presented in the draft? Have important constraints been omitted?

      All in all the constraints are addressed in a proper way. However, the following aspects should be included as well:

      • One of the basic conditions for successful investment and sustainable development, particularly in the small scale farming sector, is education, especially vocational education and training. While education in general is referred to, the document does not address the area of vocational education and training. The report should give reference to the importance of vocational education and training appropriate consideration.
      • The report repeatedly refers to climate change. However, only the relationship between the sector of small scale farmers and the mitigation of climate change is mentioned. Given the already apparent impacts of climate change on agriculture in many regions, it will be essential to enable the small scale farmers to adapt their production to the changing climatic conditions. Therefore investment in adaptation strategies for small scale farmers should be taken into account appropriately in the report.
      • The report mentions in its summary the dimension of institutional and policy design. More detailed insights in the importance of good governance are nevertheless lacking in the main document. Germany recommends therefore evaluating the inclusion of an additional chapter dealing with political frameworks and underlying governance structures.
      1. Are the main areas for recommendations and the priority domains for action adequate? Does the draft include sufficient information at the adequate level to support the policy messages?

      While referring to the agricultural dimension of economic growth, the macroeconomic parameters for overall development need to be taken into account as well or at least be kept in mind. In some countries investing in smallholder farming might contradict the optimum of macroeconomic development policies.

      While referring to the enforcement of rights regarding existing rights on land the reference to the Voluntary Guidelines of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the context of national food security and the self-commitment by the states for its implementation has to be included and clearly pointed out.

      In general, it is appropriate to focus on small scale farmers because they represent the majority of agricultural producers. Nevertheless, the focus should be on a dynamic development taking small scale farmers as a starting point for further development. A mere conservation of small scale farming structures in the long run should not be the leading idea of this study.

      Further, the study recommends states to develop a “National Smallholder Vision and Strategic Framework”. Such an instrument can be regarded as useful in order to better address the smallholder issue within the national agricultural policy planning. However, given the need for synergies and an effective and efficient use of capacities it might be more appropriate to recommend including that kind of framework in already existing international or national frameworks like CAADP or other national agricultural strategies.

    • Posted on behalf of Mike Donovan, Practical Farm Ideas, UK

      Dear authors,

      My interest is The dissemination of improved methods for farmers and smallholders, and I search the report for an analysis of current knowledge transfer and recommendations for its improvement.

      My involvement is the creation of Practical Farm Ideas  in 1992, and the subsequent development of the service, which has the potential for the principles to be transferred to the developing world. Even some content is suitable for adoption in farming systems based on smallholding.

      Knowledge transfer is as important to the sector as marketing and banking / finance systems. Knowledge transfer, independent of those companies and organisations marketing products and services, allows the poor performer to move higher, the median smallholder to achieve production and efficiency through the use of methods and ideas passed to them by the best performers. This happens in the developed farming of the UK and is equally relevant in Africa, Asia and South America.

      Mike Donovan
      editor, Practical Farm Ideas
      11 St Mary's St,   Whitland,
      Carmarthenshire, SA34 0PY

    • Posted on behald of Eric Joel Fofiri Nzossie, University of  Ngaoundéré, Cameroon


      Faisant suite à votre courriel relatif à la consultation électronique sur la version V0 du rapport cité en objet, je vous prie de trouver ci-joint, mes observations à la suite de la lecture dudit rapport.



      FOFIRI NZOSSIE Eric Joël, PhD
      Université de Ngaoundéré
      FALSH-Département de géographie
      BP. 454 Ngaoundéré

    • Posted on behalf of Abdul Razak Ayazi, Permanent Representation of Afghanistan to FAO

      First I wish to make some general observations on the zero draft of the study and then address the three topics on which comments are requested by the HLPE Team, as well as reflecting on section 5 of the study (Recommendations).

      General Comments

      The study is wide-ranging and contains useful material on principal issues relevant to the investment needs of sustainable smallholder agriculture. The search conducted    by the HLPE Team on this study is indeed extensive and praiseworthy.

      However, as a policy-oriented document the structure of the study needs improvements. In its present form, the text reads like an academic paper, which is obviously not the intention. The membership of CFS wish to be advised on key  policy recommendations that are most suitable for improving the production and productivity of sustainable smallholder agriculture for different ecological systems.

      With this purpose in mind, the balance between broader and circumstantial issues and those germane to the development of sustainable smallholder agriculture needs a fresh look, with the aim of increasing the weight of the latter in the study.

      The section on Conclusions (which has not yet been written) should come before section 5 and should focus on substantive issues, thereby leading the way to a few  key recommendations.

      Section 5 (Recommendation) should be made shorter and more focused. The essence of each of the 9 recommendations proposed needs to be expressed in a straight forward manner and in simple  language, so the reader would know exactly what each recommendation entails.

      The Three topics

      1.            Definition and significance of smallholder agriculture: is the approach in the report adequate?

      For a policy-oriented study, the definition of “smallholder agriculture”, which also includes small fishers and indigenous forest dwellers, should be crisp and concise. The three paragraphs of sub-section 1.1, when taken together, reflect a definition that is somewhat diffused. Recognizing that the definition of smallholder varies from region to region, from country to country and from location to location within a country, the symptoms are nevertheless commonly shared.

      On the global scale, smallholders, who practice intensive and diversified agriculture, are large in numbers, asset- poor, prone to exploitation, least beneficiaries of public services, most vulnerable to shocks, facing a wide range of socio-economic and technical constraints and struggling to survive in a global economy from which they hardly benefit. 

      Given the policy nature of the study, sub-section 1.2 (How small is small) can be shortened and perhaps limited to the salient features of  Figure 2 and Figure 3. This reduction will in no way diminish the importance of the valuable conclusion shown in bold letters on page 22 of the study.

      To provide a geographically balanced oversight on policy for smallholder agriculture,  it may be advisable to also include in sub-section 1.3.2 (Policy concerns) one or two initiatives taken from Asia and the Pacific Region, where 87% of the world’s smallholder farmers live. Similarly, an example from Latin America and the Caribbean would be most appropriate because in that continent the profile of smallholder is different than in the land-scare continent of Asia.  

      Sub-section 1.4, which represents historical trends in the average size per holding for 3 countries (India, France and Brazil), may not be that representative of the global picture. It would be advisable to show a single chart based on the last three or four censuses showing the evolution in the size of holdings for at least 10 small, medium  and large countries in different regions and then attempt to make some comparisons, if feasible. Consideration could also be given to placing sub-section 2.5 after sub-section 1.4 because the two sections are to a large extent complementary.

      The significance of smallholder agriculture is fairly well substantiated in Section 2.  That said, it may be advisable to also mention milling in sub-section 2.1.2 due to its importance in rural areas and open a new sub-section on the contribution of smallholder agriculture to rural employment, as this aspect is highly significant and needs a separate treatment. In Box 4 on pages 34-35, mention should also be made to the third category of family farms that hire some labour on permanent basis. While this category accounts for only 6% of the 15 million family farms in LAC, it cultivates 25% of the most productive land of the 400 million hectares of family farms.

      2.            Framework for smallholder agriculture and related investments: is the typology useful, adequate and accessible for the problem at hand?

      Section 3 should present the investment framework most appropriate to smallholder agriculture. The existing text is not well focused on this issue and what is presented is somewhat academic. Generally speaking, the five types of capital/assets listed on pages 37-38 (Human, Social, Natural, Physical, Financial) equally applies to medium and  large size holdings, though the mixture may differ between the three types of landholdings according to their specific characteristics and requirements.

      For investment in smallholder agriculture, three ways of asset creation are crucial, namely:

      (i)           family labour for on-farm development (basically soil improvement; better use of family labour in improving animal productivity through crop/livestock integration; creation of home-based gardens; on-farm improvements that would increase water efficiency for crops, trees and livestock; and preservation of genetic resources);

      (ii)         community labour used in creating physical and human assets beneficial to smallholders as a group (erosion control, terracing, drainage, water harvesting, improved range management, construction of community owned wells, storage, on-farm roads, centres for cooperative and farmer organization, facilities to enable the group employment of women and the development of skills for young boys and girls);

      (iii)        Public goods that gives an upward shift to the technological frontier most suitable for smallholder (roads connecting smallholders to nearby markets, small and medium irrigation schemes, electricity, public education, sanitation, health services, affordable financial services and communication, more or less on the model practiced in China and some other developing countries). Public-private partnership in  research and extension and building on traditional knowledge are also considered as important public goods.

      Corporate investment has a role to play in the development of smallholder agriculture, provided the benefit sharing arrangements are carefully worked out for the benefit of both parties, a subject matter that presumably will be addressed in the study on rai. 

      3.            Constraints on smallholder investment: are all main constraints presented in the draft? Have important constraints been omitted?  

      Generally speaking, section 4 (A Framework for Smallholder Agriculture and Investment) contains relevant conceptual  material. However, the section attempts to  simultaneously cover context, constraints and potential solutions in mitigating the negative impact of the constraints on production by smallholders and improving household income. It may be advisable to keep the focus of  section 4 on constraints to investment and their typology and placing context and potential solutions to other sections of the study. 

      Nevertheless, the good features of section 4 are:

      •              Underscoring the complete absence or severe limitation of legal protection for smallholders and their political and economic underweight within their respective social environments. The writings of Mr. Olivier de Schutter, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, could be used to substantiate legal protection for smallholders;

      •              A very good assessment of the three types of risks facing smallholder agriculture and their interaction (sub-section 4.3);

      •              A good exposé of the policy disincentives (sub-section 4.4);

      •              An excellent presentation of typology of smallholder according to the interplay of 3 essential factors: assets, markets and institution, especially Box 9 on page 54. 

      The assessment is comprehensive, issue-oriented and with focus on policy issues. I cannot think of any important thing to add.

      Section 5 ( Recommendations)

      Section 5 is too lengthy and the recommendations are somewhat lost within the expansive text. For example, what exactly is being recommended under 5.2.1? Is it that smallholder should have full access to all public services as listed in lines 4-9 of the first paragraph on page 58?  If so, it needs to be concise and precise.

      That said, the 9 recommendations (4 addressing the constraints facing smallholders, 3 focusing on specific priority domains and 2 related to implementation strategy) are undoubtedly pertinent and strategic in nature. Avoiding a plethora of recommendations is also commendable. The question is the presentation of the recommendations in short and unambiguous language. It would be very helpful if each of the 9 recommendation can be supplemented with one or two country-based experience, like Box 10 on yields, page 59, and Box 11 on Rabobank, page 51

    • Posted on behalf of Jean Emile Song Minyem, Ministere de l`Agriculture et du Developpement Rural, Cameroun

      Ce rapport fouillé et bien détaillé sur les multiples facettes des biocarburants est une sonnette d’alarme pour les preneurs de décidons en Afrique. C'est aussi un appel a réflexion avant tout investissement dans les biocarburants. Il faudrait que ce rapport devienne un guide a l'intention des promoteurs des biocarburants.
      SONG MINYEM Jean Emile
      Ingénieur Agronome
      Ministere de l`Agriculture et du Developpement Rural
      Sous Direction des Engrais et des Sols

    • Posted on behalf of Seema Prakash, Ashoka Fellow, India

      We work with a particular tribe called Korku in Madhya Pradesh (INDIA).

      Since couple of decades they have been gradually divorcing their traditional tribal millets and crops in favor of cash crops like soybean and wheat and cotton. Ironically they grow soybean but is not a part of their food culture. The tribal millets like Kodo (paspalum scrobiculatum) and Kutki (little millet) and Sawa (Indian barnyard millet) have been going out of vogue and generating a widespread lack of essential micronutrients and manifesting in large numbers of children malnourished. The recent surveys show nearly 60% children below 5 years being underweight,  45% stunted and 30% wasted. The situation has remained chronic. Secondly Korku tribe settled from their hunter-gatherer life quite late at the end of the nineteenth century. With restriction on hunting and their divorce from wild yams and tubers have further compounded the issue.

      The government policy is not titled to promote it or bring it in their Public Distribution system.

      Serious research is needed to ascertain the los this has brought to community nutrition and established chronic food insecurity among Korku and also many other tribes in Central and Northern India.

      Seema Prakash



      Madhya Pradesh


    • Posted on behalf of James Levinson

      Wonderful idea, Friends,
      And thanks to Anna and Cristina for organizing.
      A few thoughts below

      1. If you were designing an agricultural investment programme, what are the top 5 things you would do to maximize its impact on nutrition?
      Nicely spelled out in the IYCN guidelines. I'd simply follow these - and also be prepared to do mitigation where early monitoring sees negative nutrition results

      2. To support the design and implementation of this programme, where would you like to see more research done, and why?
      Carefully following actual efforts to incorporate nutrition in ag projects and documenting results - including the attribution of particular results to particular project activities.

      3. What can our institutions do to help country governments commit to action around your recommendations, and to help ensure implementation will be effective?
      Insist that new agriculture projects have food security/nutrition objectives (which then will be evaluated) or, at a minimum, nutrition impact statements (the latter permitting input on the project from groups such as ours.)

    • Posted on behalf of Emile N. Houngbo, University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin

      Agricultural cooperatives are a priori a credible alternative to address agricultural development problem facing Africa. Cooperatives are useful to face the problems of excessive land fragmentation and precariousness in which farmers live. The farmers, who have individually some very small portions of land, would find relief by putting together their production factors: land, labor and capital. This pooling within cooperatives must enable cooperators for example:

      i) To adopt land conservation farming practices and modern production techniques that could not be applied under conditions of scarcity of land. Cooperatives are then able to create the conditions for introduction of improved fallow technologies (Mucuna pruriens, Aechynomene histrix, Acacia auriculiformis, Gliricidia sepium, Senna siamea, etc) and natural fallow in order to control land degradation. With the production factors available to cooperatives, the use of tractors for example and such the farming systems diversification must also be facilitated.

      ii) To achieve economies of scale through the optimal use of production factors and reduced unit cost of the productions. This would allow cooperatives to improve their profit margins and thus to reduce poverty of the cooperators.

      Cooperatives are then for the producers, a relevant way to address the agricultural risks which are: farming risks (yields falling), economic risks (prices falling, poor sales…), biological risks (plant and animal diseases, pests,) and climatic risks (drought, flooding, inadequate exposure,). In fact, the problem of agricultural development in Africa is mainly linked to risk management, especially if we take into account the fact that agriculture still dominantly rainfed in this region of the world.

      However, we must recognize that cooperation does not systematically deal with all risks. It is a way to face the first two types of risks: the farming risks and the economic ones. This means that agricultural cooperatives formation is not a panacea.

      Indeed, all these virtues recognized to cooperatives cannot be achieved without a judicious intervention of the State. The role of the State remains important because the biological risks and the climatic ones do not find systematically their solution through the cooperatives formation. Even at the level of economic risks, the role of the State remains also crucial. The State must be able to get involved in supporting cooperatives by the definition of good agricultural policy, such as supply chain organization. It is this policy which would allow producers to better profit of the advantages mentioned above, and thus, the State also could make back revenue through taxes that may be collected on the productions.

      A second kind of intervention also returns to the State, the supervision of cooperatives. The Government must insure capacity building to the cooperatives. These are the actions to be taken so that the cooperatives can recognize the importance and develop mutual trust, efficient organization of the activities and active participation of all the cooperators in the work. Experiences show that these qualities are not always present in the cooperatives without external support. The Cooperatives of Rural Development (CAR) initiated in Benin in the '60s for especially the palm oil sector development are almost all blocked some decades ago, operationally speaking. But we must recognize here that the initiative of the CARs creation came from the State; what raises the question of the necessity of a spontaneous and voluntary cooperatives constitution by the co-operators themselves, and the free choice of the crops they could judge useful and appropriate to their conditions. The CARs were created in Benin by the law 61-27 of August 10, 1961 on the Statute for Agricultural Cooperation; law that received minor amendments, especially the Order 60/PR/MDRC of December 28, 1966 and the amendment of 1969.

      In short, cooperatives are important to meet the challenge of declining production resources in Africa and to support family farming which remains primarily a way of life for the farmers before being a business. But, it still requires a good agricultural policy of the State. Two critical levels of action are concerned: the necessary support to cooperatives to enable them to face climatic and biological hazards, and the necessary support to facilitate the creation of a good climate of trust between the cooperators, the efficient organization of the activities and the active participation of all of the cooperators. But, moreover, a voluntary association of cooperative members should be preferred Agricultural cooperative promotion in Africa, and then agriculture development, depends largely on the macroeconomic policies and strategies of the different States.

    • Posted on behalf of Nora Ourabah Haddad, FAO, Italy

      Dear FSN Participants,

      After three weeks of intense discussion and fruitful exchanges, I would like to take the opportunity of the closing of the FSN discussion on "Enabling rural cooperatives and producer organizations to thrive as sustainable business enterprises" and to thank  our facilitators John Rouse and Janos Juhasz for their valuable contribution. Indeed, we are very grateful for their accepting to avail their time and long standing experience on cooperatives and producer organizations to ensure the success of this discussion.

      We also thank our participants for their insightful inputs and in-depth contributions throughout these last weeks.  Our team will  compile them and use them to enrich  upcoming discussions and debates during fora and events to be held as part of FAO's awareness-raising initiatives related to the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC, 2012) and the World Food Day (16 October 2012) on the theme of agricultural cooperatives.  Most importantly, we expect to integrate all these inputs and contributions in the Global Plan of Action being prepared by the Rome-based agencies and the UN interagency coordination for the IYC and Beyond.

      We would also like to thank our colleagues from FSN secretariat team, in particular Renata Mirulla, for her precious support to our Team in organizing this successful FSN.

      Please feel free to contact us directly at FAO, for any request or information regarding follow-up to this FSN Discussion or information relevant to FAO's initiative on the International Year of Cooperatives (2012) and Beyond.  Please send your query directly to me: [email protected] and also to: [email protected].

      We look forward to your continued support in strengthening the role of agricultural cooperatives and producer organizations to reduce poverty and achieve food security in the world.

      Nora Ourabah Haddad
      email: [email protected]

    • Contribution posted on behalf of Edwin Tamasese

      The most important thing for a cooperative to work sustainably is not to form it from the outset. Cooperatives form on common need. When a cooperative is formed too early in the piece it does not allow the participants to gain relevant insight into why, how and into what areas they can work together. Creating a cooperative based on common need it therefore critical. Too many times cooperatives get formed for political rather then common need reasons. Yes, pooling resources together is a much more effective method of ensuring good wealth distribution, but this must be combined with the ability to work with the natural psychology of participants which is personal benefit. The key is creating a group vision where the individual identifies personal benefit in a forum which creates group benefit. I am currently building this with several groups in Samoa. End of the day, results will speak for themselves, but the best way to test a theory is to put it into practice.


      Edwin Tamasese
      Managing Director
      Soil Health Pacific Ltd

    • Contribution posted on behalf of Danilo Beloglavec

      Dear John and Janos,
      Thank you for the invitation for an online discussion. First I would like to congratulate for the good idea to bring forward the idea of rural cooperatives. I am sure that the consultants will analyze the answers of the questionnaires. I want to submit here only three points that are not new.
      1) My personal view is that the most important factor that the coops can succeed and become sustainable is the human factor. If the personal interests of the administration, board members,staff and members are not compatible with their personal ambitions no rules, subsidies or training can substitute it. Unfortunately an efficient manager wants to be well rewarded. If not he has to mismanage (steal), find another job or create his enterprise that will very often compete with his previous coop.
      2) The members have to have a real advantage from their coop. Only in that case they will not sell their best products to private enterprises and the second class to the coop. Naturally the coop has to pay in time and not 9 to 15 months late.
      3) The management has to improve the productivity and quality of their members. In this since during my time with FAO wery little was done and many donor sponsored large scale projects were not sustainable without outside help and benefited the donor industry and larger scale farmers in developing countries.
      I know that is nothing new, and is easier to write model coop rules, legislation an new workshop than to find products that are requested by the market at a standard quality and a competitive price.
      Best regards
      Danilo Beloglavec
      Former FAO Senior Development Officer

    • Posted on behalf of Peter Filius, Germany

      Hi, there;

      In terms of innovative funding sources I'd like to suggest a kind of "foster system", which means that european or OECD country inhabitants would foster a family of small scales farmers in a developing country. Similar to a "orphan's adoption system" they would exchange letters and experiences, photographs and emails, so share their daily lives. I am sure that the communication facitlities nowadays should offer many options for the partners. The partners will be able to invest into climate and food security programmes at a very low but efficient level on the farms, such as planting trees, water and sanitation projects (filters) and so on. Sponsors could benefit by sharing directly the positive impacts of the activities, planned together with their partners. Small scale individual credit schemes could be another option. Key players in the system to build up the framework will be rural banks and micro-credit schemes (transfer costs of money, accounts) and maybe churches and religious bodies as reliable and wide-spread organizations to facilitate serious partner contacts.

      Pls discuss my proposal with your team and think it over - yours P.