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IFAD Annual Report 2015: Cheat sheet

Posted by Hazel Bedford Wednesday, June 29, 2016 0 comments

Go to the IFAD Annual Report 2015
IFAD’s Annual Report and Highlights for 2015 have just been published. People from across the organization have contributed and the report contains a wealth of information on our work and our results – stories, facts, figures and analysis. This short blogpost is a cheat sheet, giving you all the big numbers from the main report, plus some tasters from the stories.

These are the big numbers, correct as at 31 December 2015:
  • 231 ongoing programmes and projects funded by IFAD in partnership with 98 governments
  • IFAD investment of US$6.2 billion in the ongoing portfolio and domestic contributions and external cofinancing worth US$7.6 billion
  • 39 new programmes and projects approved in 2015 with loans, DSF grants and ASAP grants worth US$1,330.6 million
  • 70 new grants approved in 2015 worth US$73.6 million
At the time of publication (June 2016), total IFAD loan and grants approved since 1978 were worth  nearly US$17.7 billion and the programmes and projects we support had reached about 459 million people.

If you’re looking for the details behind those figures, or information on our new sovereign borrowing framework, recent replenishments, cofinancing or disbursements – take a look at the Financing Data and Resource Mobilization chapter.

Here's the breakdown of the numbers region by region.

West and Central Africa
  • 47 ongoing projects in 22 countries
  • US$1,270.7 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
  • 7 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$184.4 million
East and Southern Africa
  • 46 ongoing projects in 17 countries
  • US$1,463.1 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
  • 7 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$399.4 million
Asia and the Pacific
  • 66 ongoing projects in 21 countries
  • US$2,142.2 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
  • 14 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$552.2 million
Latin America and the Caribbean
  • 36 ongoing projects in 20 countries
  • US$535.8 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
  • 7 new project for a total IFAD investment of US$116.6 million
Near East, North Africa and Europe
  • 36 ongoing projects in 18 countries
  • US$773.7 million invested by IFAD in the region’s ongoing portfolio
  • 4 new programmes and projects for a total IFAD investment of US$78.0 million
Not just numbers
The Annual Report is more than just numbers, however. It’s also about IFAD’s engagement in policy processes and dialogue on global and regional issues, including the SDGs, climate change, financing for development and more. And it spotlights key areas of activity in each region, with results and stories.

A theme that comes up in several of the stories from the field in the 2015 report is how IFAD is supporting the production, consumption and marketing of local, traditional crops like millet in Senegal, sorghum in Kenya and Tanzania and the red-seeded shrub achiote in Ecuador. Read the stories to find out how IFAD-funded projects enable farmers to improve cultivation and processing techniques at the same time as they raise awareness about the benefits of the crops, which often include resilience in the face of the effects of climate change. Connecting farmers to value chains and markets is also a key part of such projects.

You’ll also find stories that bring to life our commitment to empowering women and young people. In Moldova, ambitious young  farmer Anastasia Gilca is building her blackberry business with IFAD support. In Indonesia, businesswoman Ratna Sari Dewi Bani is leading a successful fish-processing group. And in Central Asia women spinners, knitters and felt-producers are exporting their high-quality products to Europe and America.

If you're interested in the details of new initiatives, all newly approved programmes, projects and large grants are summarized. To see which countries we’re working in and where we have country offices, take a look at the map.

If you want more than this one-page cheat sheet, there are plenty of other options  to explore from the Annual Report landing page. There are the 12-page Highlights, the 64-page print report, and the full report (which includes a wealth of information and detail, including Member States and their representatives, the Financial Statements and more).

I’d like to close with a big thank you to the many people who have contributed to AR2015: the focal points who pull together the information and give guidance during the writing phase, those who write their own sections, the people who give us the numbers and the directors who give support and clearance. Then from the production phase, the production teams in the four languages, the production coordinator, the editor, the photo editor, the sub-editor, the translators, the in-house and external designers, the editorial assistant and the proofreaders. Everyone has contributed a huge amount and I hope you will all be happy with the end result. Feel free to send suggestions for next year's report – work starts on that in September.

As usual, we’re launching the Annual Report on social media. Take a look at our Facebook page and join the conversation on twitter. Use hashtag #AR2015 and tweet your favourite quotes, facts and figures to your followers.

Written by: Francisco Pichon

On 6 May 2016, the operation and the maintenance of five large irrigation systems in the District of Kirehe in Rwanda, have been formally transferred to Irrigation Water Users Organisations (IWUOs) by the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources. As such these are the first batch of IWUOs in Rwanda to formally sign an Irrigation Management Transfer Agreement (IMTA) - a tri-partite agreement between Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB), District Authority and the IWUO.

In the week of 20 June 2016 a further seven IWUOs signed the agreement. The Mayor of Kirehe District co-signed the IMTA and said “Kirehe District is focused on sustainable development of its population. This means that Kirehe District’s cell and sector staff will continue to ensure that the IWUOs are working well and fulfilling their responsibilities."

The empowerment and capacity development of Irrigation Water User Organisations (IWUOs) have paved the way for Rwanda to take-over responsibility for Operation and Maintenance (O&M) of irrigation schemes in Kirehe district. We will work closely together with these IWUOs to ensure sustainable irrigation infrastructure,” said Louis Butare, Director General of Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB).

Cyunuzi  Rice Marshland under irrigation.
Credit: Viateur Karangwa
Daniel Tuyishime, President of Cyunuzi 2, one of the Irrigation Water Users Organisations, mentioned that “by signing the IMTA, we are very confident that we are going to succeed in O&M of irrigation schemes.” This is a challenging task as IWUOs can have as many as 820 members and some schemes are 15 kilometres long.

Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project

The Kirehe Community-based Watershed Management Project (KWAMP) is co-financed by Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Known as ‘the land of a thousand hills’, Rwanda is famous for its highlands and deep valleys. A 2.7 per cent annual growth rate makes Rwanda the most densely populated African country (with 416 people per km2 ). Population growth and climate change coupled with Rwanda’s unique geography has led to severe environmental degradation, such as soil erosion and a scarcity of productive land. Sustainable soil and water conservation interventions and strategies to increase land productivity are thus needed.

Cyunuzi Dam. Credit: Viateur Karangwa
KWAMP, one of the most successful IFAD-supported projects in East and Southern Africa became effective in 2009 and will close in 2016. It has achieved its targets and attained its main development objectives as evidenced by a steep improvement in household and district-level food security, asset ownership and quality of life indicators among vulnerable groups in Kirehe district. 

The immediate objectives of the project converged on the development of sustainable small-scale commercial agriculture in Kirehe District. Claver Gasirabo, coordinator for KWAMP explains that “out of the total project budget, 33 per cent has been invested in the development of irrigation schemes, including the construction of six dams”. In Kirehe District a total of 19 schemes of 2.442 ha of land have been developed.

New Approach to Capacity Development of Irrigation Water Users Organizations

During the initial years of KWAMP implementation, the approach for training of IWUOs focused predominantly on classroom based training with lectures. These sessions typically involved several IWUO committees from different schemes at the same time in large joint sessions. Mid 2014, this approach had shown to have limited impact on the capacity and strength of the IWUOs, which as a result were considered not ready or able to take over O&M of the schemes. Therefore, KWAMP revised its capacity building approach in many aspects by the end of 2014, as indicated below:

A training package with 15 practical exercises based on the Farmer Field School (FFS) approach was prepared. Exercises were selected from the Farmers Water Management Training materials developed by FAO , complemented by exercises from other training manuals . The participatory exercises were further adapted and tested in a Training of Trainers (ToT). The FFS approach fits well with the approach adopted by MINAGRI/RAB and Twigire Muhinzi, which is also based on FFS methodology. 

The training package covers four key areas: management & governance, agronomy, technical irrigation and water management, monitoring & review and exchange of experiences. In using the different training methods, it became apparent that the more active the participants are involved the more they retain from the learning. Below are the key areas of the training programme with respective objectives: 
  • Management and governance: to understand the roles and responsibilities of the IWUO; causes of conflicts and their resolution and the awareness of the members of IWUO on their rights related to access to water services; information and their collective power in holding their leaders accountable.
  • Agronomy: to understand the steps and requirements for rice/vegetable cropping seasons; draft a cropping calendar with farmers trained in cooperatives and; facilitate exchange on techniques and inputs for production among rice/vegetable farmers.
  • Technical irrigation and water management: to improve land preparation, field layout and land levelling to obtain a more equal distribution of water in the field; monitor operation and maintenance of canals and structures; review present water use/field irrigation methods and assess shortcomings; introduce possible alternative field irrigation methods and; assist farmers in defining a proper irrigation frequency and irrigation amounts.
  • Monitoring and Review at IWUO, District and National levels: to self- evaluate the experience and areas for improvement; exchange of experiences with other IWUOs and; exchange experience with other projects, schemes, districts & national stakeholders.
As explained earlier, the focus shifted to organising training per scheme involving the full range of local stakeholders. “An increased focus on practical training activities at scheme level improves the learning among the IWUO committees, zone leaders and farmers” explains Joseph K. Nsabimana, IWUO Specialist of KWAMP. “This as opposed to more theoretical lectures in a meeting hall. For example for the review of the status of O&M of a scheme, the block leaders of left side blocks assessed the same block on the right side in terms of the status of O&M. Afterwards they gave each other feedback on their observations.” 

Kinoni I Dam. Credit: Viateur Karangwa

Training at scheme level increased the awareness of the roles and responsibilities of the IWUO among a much larger number of stakeholders. This resulted in enhanced monitoring and planning practices by all stakeholders involved.

A Training of Trainers organised in Kirehe in December 2014 expanded the pool of trainers involved in the capacity building by including local leaders, IWUO committee members and farmers. This has had a big impact on local involvement and sense of ownership. Farmer to farmer training has proven to be very effective, especially in convincing relatively new IWUOs that the tasks can be done, and demonstrating how these can be done in the best way. Exchange visits also contributed to the farmer to farmer learning. The involvement of local stakeholders as trainers resulted also in reduction of overall costs of the capacity building activities. 

With the formal transfer of management responsibilities, the duties of the different parties are clearly outlined:
  • IWUOs are responsible for an annual work plan, a maintenance plan, irrigation scheduling, water delivery, regular maintenance and repairs, water fee collection and reporting; 
  • MINAGRI is responsible for monitoring, training and advice;
  • The District is responsible for coordination and monitoring through the District Irrigation Steering Committee, providing regular support and monitoring & evaluation.

Connecting farmers to district and national Levels

Participatory workshops at district and national level allowed for the sharing of experiences between Irrigation water users organisations, Cooperatives, District staff, KWAMP and other irrigation projects in Rwanda, and RAB. 

Emmanuel Musabyimana, Head of unit of IWUOs at LIME, RAB underlines the importance of the active involvement of local stakeholders in Kirehe District: “For long-term sustainability the good cooperation between the IWUO, District and RAB is essential”. 

Bonaventure Mbarushimana Musaza, Sector Agronomist agrees that “As local leaders and technicians working with the IWUOs let us put together what is required for sustainable management of irrigation. Support in organization, maintenance activities, agriculture practices, evaluation of their activities, etc.” 

Ultimately these investments will pay off, as the mayor of Kirehe district indicates “Support to farmers’ organisations is the best way for developing the country: leading to sustainability of irrigation schemes, increased production, food security and increased income.”

Kirehe District Mayor receiving books providing summary of Main Investments.
Credit: Viateur Karangwa


Close monitoring over the next few years will indicate the long-term sustainability of the IWUOs and their capacity for O&M of the schemes. The past 18 months have already shown several positive outcomes, such as:
  • Improved scheme management practices, resulting in increased rice production, with some farmers attaining yields as high as 9 tons per hectare;
  • Profitable vegetable production thanks to successful irrigation activities in hillside schemes;
  • Increased water fee collection by IWUOs, in some schemes nearing 100%. Daniel Tuyishime, President of IWUO Cyunuzi 2 explains “success in water fee collection is guaranteed by timely providing all inputs required by farmers, before requesting them to pay”
  • Increased IWUO self-reliance by finding solutions for their needs without relying on project support (e.g.: some IWUOs are constructing their own office including Cyunuzi, Rukizi, Rwabutazi, and Kinnyogo). 

For more details, or a copy of the training package, please contact: Francisco Pichón  

[1] PARTICIPATORY TRAINING AND EXTENSION IN FARMERS' WATER MANAGEMENT (PT&E-FWM), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations AGLW - Water Service of the Land and Water Development Division, CD rom, April 2001
[1] A Trainer’s Manual for Community Managed Water Supplies in Kenya, 2012. FAO and UNICEF-Kenya Country Office, SEAGA Sector Guide on Irrigation – Socio- economic and Gender Analysis Programme, FAO, 2001

To celebrate this year’s World Environment Day, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) brought together international experts to look at sustainable land management (SLM).

The discussion on June 5 was part of  IFAD’s Environment and Climate Divisions Climate Lecture Series, which highlights environmental issues facing farmers in developing countries and promotes some of the solutions that IFAD is supporting to achieve a food secure future.

Among the panellists was IFAD Vice-President, Michel Mordasini, IFAD’s Environment and Climate Division Director, Margarita Astralaga and the Director of World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT), Hanspeter Liniger.

Representing the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), Jeroen Van Dalen presented a global overview of the current state of SLM,  and UNCCD’s approaches for scaling up SLM globally. He tied UNCCD work closely to that of IFAD, stressing the importance of food security.

''In the new definition by UNCCD of land degradation, food security is part of it. It shows how important it is,'' Said Van Dalen.

WOCAT Hanspeter Liniger gave an overview of the recent  IFAD grant to WOCAT.

This grant is being used to scale-up adoption of SLM in three pilot countries.

''Our ultimate beneficiaries are the land users,” said Liniger “We don’t make the change, they do.”

“There is so much experience available, it is criminal if we don’t use it for the benefit of the people.''

A recording of the lecture can be seen here.

Recipes for Change

On World Environment Day, IFAD also launched its latest episode of Recipes for Change, a web tv series where top chefs raise public awareness by cooking foods that are threatened by climate change and show how IFAD is helping farmers adapt,

The episode featured Italian celebrity chef, Carlo Cracco, who recently visited an IFAD-supported project in Kandal province in southern Cambodia. While there, he met Cambodian farmer Somreth Sophat and cooked a traditional Cambodian recipe, Somlar Kako.

 “Climate change is a fact,” said Cracco. “Perhaps we can slow it down, but we cannot stop it. So we must help those people who work the land so that there is a change in the way we fight the battle of climate change.”

Rice, a staple food in Asia, counts for almost 80 per cent of farmland in Kandal province, but frequent droughts and damaging floods mean farmers here have seen harvests halved. See the full video here.

Training the trainers on Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture

Posted by David Paqui Wednesday, June 22, 2016 0 comments

By Marian Amaka Odenigbo
Extension workers from all the provinces in Mozambique came to receive training on nutrition-sensitive agriculture in Maputo. This is the first structured training on nutrition provided to agricultural extension workers in the National Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services (DNEA), Mozambique. Agriculture extension plays vital roles in agriculture development, rural transformation and in addressing the issues of food and nutrition security.

Happily, I participated in this event to provide technical support in the training sessions involving 16 extensionists. The event took place at the Agrarian Extension center in Marracuene district, Maputo Province on 13th June - 17th June 2016. This training was organized by PRONEA Support Project (PSP) and DNEA.
Group photo of the participants

PSP is one of IFAD-supported programmes in Mozambique which has a focus on improving household food and nutrition security of subsistence farmers. In the efforts of achieving nutrition outcomes, PSP engaged a nutrition focal point with the responsibilities to facilitate nutrition mainstreaming activities including training of extension workers on nutrition-sensitive agriculture. 

Seeing the enthusiasm and keen interest among the trainees, I felt so proud on the success of this training ably coordinated by the PSP-nutrition focal person, Francisco Jeronimo.  Jeronimo challenged the participants to take the lead on this nutrition mainstreaming initiative in agriculture and rural development since they are the first set of extension workers receiving the training.

Nutrition is gaining so much attention in the world including Mozambique. “Chronic malnutrition is the main problem facing our country and we all have to join efforts to overcome this issue” said Marcela Libombo, a staff of DNEA during her opening remarks. She further reiterated that the attention for agricultural sector is now on farmers, children’s under 2 years, women of reproductive age, teachers, school children as well as activities within farmers field school (FFS).

The training session was official declared open by the Director of DNEA, Sandra Silva. Silva welcomed this kind of training in extension services as timely in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA).  She echoed that the creation of the MASA in 2015 was tasked with the duties and responsibilities for food security and good nutrition at National, Province and District levels. “I am pleased to announce that at national level, the DNEA will lead this initiative of Nutrition- Sensitive Agriculture” said Silva.

The training session

Focus of the training
• Enhanced nutrition knowledge to extension workers
• Communication skills to disseminate nutrition messages
• Technology transfer on food processing and storage

Expectation from participants
Participants were asked “what do you expect to acquire from this 5-day training?” They echoed the following;
• To transfer knowledge on how to process and cook nutritious diet to farmers
• To teach farmers the food that are nutrient dense
• To know when and what we should give to children, women and old people
• I hope to get more information to improve the food insecurity and malnutrition in my province

For diversity in the content of training, 7 facilitators from Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition, DNEA, FAO, IFAD and PROMER delivered presentations on different topics related to food and nutrition. PROMER- an IFAD-funded project in Mozambique shared the experiences of nutrition integration in the project interventions. Training sessions varied from presentations to working group sessions, field visits, evaluation and feedback.

Next step
The training event was concluded with the preparation of action plans by each province in order to conduct similar training at district levels.

By Marian Amaka Odenigbo

I just returned from the official launch of a regional project to support IFAD's initiatives on nutrition-sensitive agriculture. This event took place on 9-10 June, 2016 in Lusaka Zambia. It was all about a grant project for strengthening capacity of local actors on nutrition-sensitive agri-food value chain in Zambia and Malawi in collaboration with McGill University of Canada, and other partners including WorldFish and Biodiversity.
In International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), one of the instruments to advance smallholder farming is regional grant. The grant is awarded to institutions and organizations for strengthening the capacities linked to agricultural and rural transformation.
I was delighted with the level of participation and representation from IFAD country office in Zambia, IFAD-loan programmes in both Malawi and Zambia, National food and nutrition commission in Zambia, the ministries of agriculture in Zambia and Malawi.
Also in attendance were the representatives from McGill, WorldFish, Zambia Agriculture Research Institute, Self Help Africa (SHA), Food science department in the University of Zambia, Small Producers Development and Transporters Association (SPRODETA) in Malawi, and Lilongwe University of Natural Science and Research (LUANAR), Malawi. 

Group photo of the participants

Can we afford not to invest in nutrition?
“Nutrition can no longer be seen as a social issue, it is a multisectoral issue” said Abla Benhammouche, IFAD representative and country Director in Zambia during her opening speech. Benhammouche emphasised the need to invest in nutrition and went further to inform participants that the governments of Malawi, Zambia and IFAD had committed to nutrition. Last month in Lusaka, Zambia the African Leaders made an economic case for increased nutrition investments during the May, 2016 African Development Bank Annual Meeting. Benhammouche echoed that in this project, IFAD is bringing US$2million while the other partners are contributing $654,000.
In reinforcing the relevance of nutrition, Patrick Nalere the Regional Director of WorldFish said  “Without nutrition, whatever we think of doing, we are likely to go wrong” Nalere linked this project to one of the key priority areas of WorldFish-Nutrition and value chain. According to Nalere the initiatives in this project is one of the best nutrition related projects involving IFAD and WorldFish collaboration. And it is special in the sense that the project will go beyond poverty reduction and demonstrate the role of fish in addressing malnutrition”.
On the same note, the Government of Zambia and Malawi expressed delight and welcomed the project initiatives. “As a ministry we now believe that nutrition issues are not merely cross-cutting issues but key areas of focus” said Charles Sondashi, Deputy Director Ministry of Agriculture. He gave assurance of the Zambian government’s commitment toward supporting this project.
Furthermore, Mofu Musonda, Deputy Director of National Food and Nutrition Commission reiterated that the government of Zambia has recognized that nutrition issues particularly under nutrition in the country can be resolved through enhancing a number of agrifood value chain.

The Malawi counterpart, Martha Mwale, ministry of Agriculture, Malawi said “this project is coming at the right time when Malawi is facing challenges of nutrition and a lot has been lost due to issues of malnutrition”. According to the cost of hunger report, Malawi is losing MWK 147 billion Malawi Kwacha (US$ 597 million) due to child under-nutrition.

Implementation plan
The event went on to a second day June 10, 2016 for implementation planning.
Opportunity was given to each of the IFAD loan programmes to provide insight on their respective programmes interventions to identify the areas for linkages and support by the grant project. Similarly the project partners presented their respective areas of comparative advantage within the project activities.

According to Elia Manda, a preventative of SHA, it strives to help smallholder farmers in promoting small livestock, crop production, seed multiplication and other multi sector approaches to nutrition for under five children and pregnant women and appropriate child feeding practices coupled with emphasis on dietary diversification.
SHA gives loans to small scale farmers for instance the fish caging project in Siavonga, Southern province of Zambia was designed to benefit women. The women are engaged in aquaculture on a small scale and the produce is sold to the local community.

ZARI is also another partner that specializes in legume mainly beans. They have designed a recipe booklet on beans in collaboration with SHA.

SPRODETA, a local NGO in Malawi works with smallholder farmers who are prone to natural hazards and malnutrition. Allen Kumwenda, Executive Secretary of SPRODETA echoed that SPRODETA approach to reach out to their target groups include awareness campaigns and entertainment designed for disseminating nutrition information.

The University of Zambia and LUANAR in Malawi are also partners that will be working on this project. Through the department of Food Science and Technology, the universities will carry out research aimed at investigating the nutritional properties of selected homegrown food.
An informative video on McGill University was shown highlighting its commitment to African continent, Food Security and nutrition. McGill will backstop technical activities in the project. “We have several years’ experience on value chain analysis, value addition, quality and nutrition analysis” said Michael Ngadi of McGill University.
Moving Forward
A round table discussion was held on criteria for selecting project sites, identification of districts, priority value chain commodities and value added products to be developed.  Project partners were tasked to develop specific activities for the project year one. And Ngadi requested partners to think of - technology transfer, knowledge development and skills - while preparing activities:
In order to sensitize partners on effective operationalization of project actions, Robert KOK, a professor in McGill University gave an overview of the project management, coordination and reporting structures.
Participants were passionate to contribute to IFAD efforts on nutrition in these countries with high rates of stunting (Zambia 40% and Malawi 42%).

Promoting responsible land governance in West Africa

Posted by Steven Jonckheere Thursday, June 16, 2016 0 comments

IFAD has supported a Senegalese Think Thank, the Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rurale (IPAR), in their efforts to disseminate information on responsible tenure governance in order to improve practices in Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. By raising the awareness on the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT), politicians, civil society organisations and journalists are now in a better position to influence policy processes in Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. From 30 May to 1 June 2016, a workshop was organised in Dakar to present the results of this initiative.

The  promote secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests as a means of eradicating hunger and poverty, supporting sustainable development and enhancing the environment. They were officially endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security on 11 May 2012. Since then implementation has been encouraged by G20, Rio+ 20, United Nations General Assembly and Francophone Assembly of Parliamentarians.

The Guidelines serve as a reference and set out principles and internationally accepted standards for practices for the responsible governance of tenure. They provide a framework that States can use when developing their own strategies, policies, legislation, programmes and activities. They allow governments, civil society, the private sector and citizens to judge whether their proposed actions and the actions of others constitute acceptable practices.

Sensitising policy-makers
States have a unique role in the development, implementation and enforcement of policy and law, and through the administration of tenure, including through courts, registration of tenure rights, valuation, taxation and spatial planning. Courts and government agencies responsible for the administration of tenure should try to deliver equal services to all, including those in remote locations. Services should be provided promptly and efficiently, and without requesting bribes for services. IPAR sensitised over 100 parliamentarians from the four countries on the VGGTs. In addition, the assessments of the status of land governance at country level, carried out in a participatory manner by the World Bank, were updated by taking the Guidelines into consideration.

Empowering civil-society
Civil society organizations can work to raise awareness and assist people to enjoy and protect their tenure rights. They can promote the participation of the public in decision-making processes. IPAR has trained more than 200 members of civil society organisations (including women and youth groups) and leaders of farmers’ organisations from the four countries to strengthen their participation in policy processes.

Raising awareness of journalists
Journalists can play a key role in promoting and raising awareness about the VGGTs. IPAR has therefore trained over 150 journalists from both the print and electronic media from Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and The Gambia. This is allowing them to analyse and report on ongoing land reform processes and agricultural investments in the target countries according to the Guidelines. In addition, in Senegal a network has been created for journalists reporting on land governance.

Multi-stakeholder platforms have been set up
As encouraged by the VGGTs and with the support of IPAR, four multi-stakeholder platforms and frameworks at national level have been set up to collaborate on the implementation of these Guidelines; to monitor and evaluate the implementation in their jurisdictions; and to evaluate the impact on improved governance of tenure of land, fisheries and forests, and on improving food security and the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security, and sustainable development.

Improving the governance of tenure in the Senegal River Basin
Building on the results of this IFAD-supported initiative, IPAR and the Food and Agriculture Organisation is now supporting the implementation of the Guidelines in the Senegal River Basin. The new project is responding to an increasing demand from numerous actors in the Basin over the past few years - especially representatives from civil society, farmers’ and pastoralists’ organizations, local authorities, etc. - to discuss and improve governance of tenure and accountability in the context of new investments in agriculture being made by public and private investors. Given the importance of responsible land governance for its target groups, IFAD-supported projects that are operational in the area will be involved in these discussions.

By Eric Patrick

On 9 June, Ms Margarita Astralaga, Director of the Environment and Climate Division, delivered a presentation on the Integrated Approach Pilot (IAP) to the Council members of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). IFAD is the Lead Agency for the Food Security IAP in Sub-Saharan Africa. The other two GEF IAPs on Green Commodities Supply Chains and Sustainable Cities are led by the United Nations Development Programme and World Bank respectively. The Food Security IAP comprises 12 country projects and one cross cutting knowledge/capacity building project for a total value of $116m in GEF grants and $700m in co-financing, including IFAD loans with which the grants are tightly blended.

©IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon

The objective of this IAP is to demonstrate how food production by smallholders can be enhanced while also improving the environmental health of soil, water and agro-biodiversity; the basis of smallholders’ production system, their natural capital and typically principal asset. The outcome of this 5 year program will be the scaling up of these approaches both through the 12 country projects and through influencing the policy discourse on agriculture and food security in the region. 

The presentation by IFAD was well received by Council Members, including by representatives of sub-regional constituencies of African countries, who also expressed the desire of non IAP countries to benefit from this program in the future; indicating a high level of support and demand for this approach. In response to Council's query on modalities to address challenges faced by the IAP, Ms. Astralaga clarified that the coordination arrangements of the cross cutting knowledge/capacity building project would instill collaborative efforts with key actors engaged in food security issues to optimize the diverse capabilities and opportunities available.

©IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon

The GEF is a fund intended to assist Member States meet their obligations and commitments under the Climate Change, Biodiversity and Desertification Conventions and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements. This IAP is innovative because it promotes integration among sectors on food security and directly links to development objectives. IFAD has been a GEF Agency since 2004, with the current GEF cycle worth $3.4b. The IAP modality will be evaluated in 2017 and if found to be promising will become a prominent instrument in subsequent GEF cycles.

Sending money home

Posted by Beate Stalsett Wednesday, June 15, 2016 0 comments

On International Day of Family Remittances we celebrate the incredible potential that remittances – money migrant workers send home to their families – have in providing crucial financial support for millions of people in developing countries. 

16 June marks the second global observance of the International Day of Family Remittances – launched in 2015 by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to encourage the public and private sectors, as well as civil society, to do more to maximize the impact of remittances in the developing world.

Remittances, the money migrant workers send home to their families, provide crucial financial support for millions of people in developing countries.

For years, migrants worked in the shadows of globalization while their remittances went uncounted by governments and aid agencies. Over the past 15 years, however, the true size of their contribution has come to light, and most importantly the opportunities these funds present in helping families and communities escape poverty.

Here are four surprising facts you may not have known about remittances sent home from migrants. 

Fact: In 2015, almost 250 million economic migrants living outside their countries of origin sent about US$450 billion in remittances to their families back home. 

Remittances are crucial for migrant's families, often representing more than 50 per cent of their income. These funds allow families to address their basics needs such as food, housing, health and education, but also help them to raise their living standards above subsistence levels. They can help rebuild the fabric of societies, spark economic development, and bring stability necessary for a hopeful future.

In the Philippines, a financial education programme supported by IFAD is helping families of migrant workers turn remittances into successful businesses. They learn about budgeting and how to better invest the money they receive from abroad. For Lily Bruhl, whose husband is one of 10 million Filipinos currently working outside the country, this knowledge was life changing.

''The first thing I learned was that if you receive remittances from your husband, save first before you spend,” she said. “It also made me realize that I have to be ready for the reintegration of my husband because if I am not going to prepare, then who will prepare for us?''

With money saved from her husband's remittances, Lily soon decided to invest in a fish farm. Now she is running a successful business, and providing jobs to others in the community.

Fact: 30 to 40 per cent of remittances are sent to rural areas 

Like Lily, when given the opportunity, many rural families are willing to save (sometimes just small amounts) and invest in activities such as small businesses. This in turn contributes to job creation, better food security, and ultimately a better future for families and their communities.

"Today we honour migrant workers, their families and their stories of hope, separation and sacrifice," Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, told those attending last year’s inaugural commemoration of the International Day of Family Remittances. "We also recognise their vital contribution to their families at home and to the development of their nations."

Nwanze added that remittances could play a critical role in transforming poor communities if both migrants and their families at home were given more options to invest their funds, creating opportunities for business development and employment.

The remittances from the Somali diaspora in Europe and the United States have resulted in targeted investments that have had a positive impact on Somalia's agriculture sector. Through the Somali AgriFood Fund, six business owners got financing for more than US$435,000 and are expected to generate close to 200 jobs and open new markets for about 15,000 small-scale producers in the agriculture and fisheries sectors. Somalia is estimated to receive over US$1,3 billion annually in remittances, exceeding official aid to the country.

Fact: IFAD estimates that one out of seven people – more than one billion individuals - are directly impacted by remittances. 

The amount of remittances sent home is equivalent to around four times official development assistance and exceeds foreign direct investment inflows in most developing countries. It is estimated that over the 15-year period the UN’s new Global Development Goals have set to end poverty, migrants abroad will have sent an accumulated US$7,5 trillion to their hometowns in developing countries. This is a testament to the transformative potential of remittances.

Remittances are crucial in fragile states or disaster-affected regions. They are often the only income families have, and can play a role in the reconstruction and stabilization of those states.

Fact: More than 90 per cent of the world’s poorest people do not have access to savings accounts, loans, insurance or any convenient way to transfer money 

There is a direct correlation between financial exclusion and poverty.

For remittances to work for families and for development, it is crucial to improve access to basic financial services, such as savings and credit, but also to provide families with non-financial services adapted to their needs, such as technical assistance for business development or financial education programmes.

Lowering the cost of sending remittances can also have a tremendous impact, according Pedro De Vasconcelos, IFAD Senior Technical Specialist and Coordinator of the Financing Facility for Remittances. ''In the case of Europe, reducing the cost of sending remittances by one per cent would add up to a US$1 billion savings for those sending and receiving remittances.”

 Join us in celebrating the International Day. Share your activities on social media using #FamilyRemittances.

One woman's story working for development in a fragile country

Posted by David Paqui Tuesday, June 14, 2016 1 comments

One-on-one with Rym Ben Zid, IFAD's Country Programme Manager in Burundi
By David F. Paqui

Rym Ben Zid, IFAD's Country Programme Manager for Burundi
In Burundi, the working day starts early. Every day at 7.30 am, Rym Ben Zid, IFAD's Country Programme Manager for Burundi is already at her desk in the IFAD Country Office is hosted in Bujumbura.
This May I went to meet her to learn more about how the situation in Burundi is impacting her work, the main challenges rural people in the country are currently facing, what IFAD is doing and what more needs to be done.
Ben Zid said that the rural people in the country are faced with many significant challenges. She told me that the effects of climate change are destroying their food crops.

"Youth unemployment in rural areas is a problem, because of population growth  farmers have less and less land area to cultivate," said Ben Zid "Small farmers are also suffering greatly from the political crisis in the country because some donors are not providing aid to allow the government to subsidize fertilizers."

Another key issue, says Ben Zid, is that as a result of El Niño, there is a risk that farmers in some areas in Northern Burundi may lose their rice crop due to the flooding.
If they lose their crop, they will not be able to pay back the loans they took to buy inputs and they will not be able to purchase inputs for the next planting season either. To limit the damage, the IFAD-supported Agricultural Intensification and Value-enhancing Support Project is helping the farmers to repair the irrigation systems.

Irrigation system built by IFAD supported project

Ben Zid also explained the important role that IFAD is playing in post-conflict reconstruction in the rural areas. With the support of IFAD, the farmers have been able to increase their rice production and their incomes by adopting the system of rice intensification and investments in irrigation scheme construction.

System of Rice Intensification IFAD supported value chain project - PRODEFI
As we all know, war destroys social links and cohesion. IFAD is helping the country to rebuild these links through development projects that use livestock solidarity chains.

For example, the solidarity chain of the cows has contributed to rebuilding and strengthening social relations among the various ethnic groups. The system starts by identifying the target group within the communities using a participatory and inclusive approach.

Woman farmer happy to receive a cow hugging the farmer who passed it to her

Then the project gives one pregnant cow or sows to each beneficiary. When the cow (or sows) has the calf the beneficiary passes it on to another beneficiary that might be from another ethnic group but who is able to maintain the calves or piglets.

With the cows or sows, the farmers have organic fertilizer or manure that also helps to increase their staple crop production and ensure the household food security and nutrition. At least, 10 000 households benefited from livestock development activities.They also sell milk to increase their income.

According to Rym, women are at the heart of IFAD’s activities in Burundi. In Burundian society, rural women are the most vulnerable group. One of the sub components of our operations is to provide legal support to women who are oppressed by their husbands or other family members.

With legal support, many women have been able to fight for their rights and in so doing improve the stability of their households and become agents of development and growth of their communities. Many women in IFAD's project areas were trained to engage in livestock rearing, in business, in cropping etc.
Rénilde Buhembe, Presidente of Cooperative in Bugendana

"We have built women's capacity and they are leaders of various cooperatives in their communities," said Ben Zid.

In this fragile situation of the country, investing in young rural people is investing in peace and stability. Without jobs, they have nothing to lose in joining the rebellions.

The projects IFAD is supporting in the country are targeting youth especially. Some of the youth are trained to gain the skills to create jobs for themselves and we are seeing more and more young rural entrepreneurs in the provinces where IFAD is working with the Government of Burundi.

Young people at the training centre

Listening to the difference IFAD is making in Burundi, I was curious to know what more needs to be done for rural poor people in this fragile country and Rym had some concerns.

“The political crisis is having negative impacts on rural people although less than on urban people and we do not know when it will end,” she said.

"Smallholder farmers are having problem purchasing seeds and fertilizers to produce crops. The local rural finance institutions are receiving more and more requests that they cannot meet," she continued.

"The women self-help groups are also suffering from lack of microcredit. IFAD is designing a new microfinance project to help the country to meet the needs of rural finance services for the smallholder farmers and we need to move very fast."

According to Ben Zid, there is a risk that the smallholder farmers who assure the food and nutrition security of their households, and are increasing their incomes, may fall back in food and nutrition insecurity and poverty.

"If we don’t want to compromise the sustainability of our activities in Burundi, we need to move quickly for the approval and the implementation of the new microfinance project in the pipeline," she said.

"The project will contribute to improving food security by giving rural people access to production credit and supporting vulnerable groups with access to micro-loans to develop income generation activities and to develop value chain by providing marketing credits to cooperatives."

I cannot conclude without asking Ben Zid about her own security. She just smiles and says “if you believe in development, you cannot run away and leave alone the rural people who need your contribution, who need IFAD.

“My mom is a war orphan. There are still many orphans here in Burundi and I am happy to be here with them, work with them for the development of their communities."

David F. Paqui is the Regional Communications Officer for IFAD's East and Southern Africa Division and West and Central Africa Division.

Exclosure Zones, Biodiversity and Livelihoods

Posted by Christopher Neglia Tuesday, June 7, 2016 1 comments

By John Rossiter
Communal pastures in Ethiopia suffer from excessive land degradation. The sheer intensity of grazing can leave lands barren and devoid of vegetation, resulting in extensive soil erosion reducing the productivity of the land. This over use of common pasture land is a direct result of historic government control of land rights and the resulting lack of tenure security. Issues the current government is addressing through its Sustainable Land Management (SLM) programmes to combat desertification and reduce degradation.  

In 2009 the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) funded the Community Based Integrated Natural Resources Management Project (CBINReMP). The project's primary objective is to combat land degradation and promote SLM to increase agricultural productivity, food security and income generation in rural communities.  Through land registration and certification processes local communities are able to gain land tenure security instilling a sense of pride inducing a willingness to enhance SLM implementation.
An important aspect of stainable land management  in Ethiopia is the implementation of 'Exclosure Zones'. These consist of communal lands where livestock grazing is prohibited and enforced through community by-laws. After a growing season cut and carry systems are implemented allowing beneficiaries to hand cut fodder for their livestock. This has the benefit of reducing the effect of trampling and overgrazing encouraging stall feeding leading to a reduction in grazing intensity on reduced open grazing grounds. The system utilizes a social fencing, where the community agrees the byelaws and fines for any infringements.  This reduces the needs for physical fencing, making the practice cheap and highly appealing.
In the absence of intensive grazing pressures soil seed banks re-establish their dominance and the once barren lands begin to flourish. Out of lands reduced to dust and prickly straw comes initial bursts of luscious grasses and colourful highland flowers soon interspersed with the iconic African Acacias, Bruceania and Dodonea species. Anchoring soils and providing shade and wind resistance, the transformation soon attracts the colourful plethora of birdlife endemic to the region.

However, this enhancement in biodiversity has more than aesthetic value. For local smallholders utilizing an effective cut and carry system it means an increase in fodder for their livestock, increasing incomes and enhancing livelihoods in the area. At the same time soils regenerate themselves under the enhanced vegetation, with better infiltration of rainfall and a recharge of ground water.  Long dead springs come back to life providing clean water sources to communities in isolated villages during the dry months.

By Souleymane DOUMBIA

Sur financement du FIDA, j’ai participé, accompagné d’une forte délégation,  à une visite d’échanges du 08 au 15 mai 2016 au RWANDA entre le projet Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Program (ASAP) du Mali et le projet KIREHE Comunity-Based Watershed Management Project (KWAMP), du RWANDA, sur le thème « la mise en place et la maintenance des systèmes Flexi-Biogaz ». La délégation du projet ASAP Mali était composée du Responsable du projet, de deux Agents bioénergie, de quatre bénéficiaires de bio-digesteurs et de moi-même (Responsable Gestion des Savoirs et Communication).
La visite d’échanges s’est déroulée dans la ville de KIGALI et dans le District de KIREHE.

A KIGALI, au siège du projet KWAMP, nous avons tenu une réunion au cours de laquelle nous avons présenté et échangé sur les approches de mise en œuvre des deux projets et entendu les témoignages des bénéficiaires de bio-digesteurs du projet ASAP. 

Réunion entre le projet ASAP et le projet KWAMP à KIGALI

Les échanges m’ont permis de constater des différences dans les approches de mise en œuvre des deux projets, notamment :
Les cibles : le projet KWAMP cible des familles de 2 à 3 membres (pour les Flexibles) et de 3 à 5 membres (pour  les dômes fixes) tandis que les bénéficiaires de bio-digesteur du projet ASAP au Mali sont des ménages dont la taille moyenne est de 24 membres d’où les différences dans les volumes des bio-digesteurs;
Les types d’élevages : Intensif au RWANDA et extensif au MALI.
Elevage intensif (RWANDA)

Elevage extensif (MALI)
La contribution des bénéficiaires : En espèces pour le projet KWAMP et en nature pour ASAP Mali.
La mission s’est ensuite rendue dans le district de KIREHE, où sont installés les bio-digesteurs, pour être en contact direct avec les bénéficiaires et les techniciens du projet KWAMP.

Les visites de terrain dans les secteurs de RUBAYA, GATORE, NYARUBUYE et KAGOYE ont  permis à la mission : i) d’assister au montage d’un bio-digesteur flexible de type Kenyan ; ii) de découvrir et de tester le mélangeur de bouse avec l’eau ; iii) de voir des bio digesteurs (dômes et flexibles) ; iv) de comprendre la technique d’utilisation du digestat et de visiter des bananeraies fertilisées avec le digestat ; et v) d’échanger avec les techniciens et les bénéficiaires sur le système biogaz.
A  l’issue des différentes étapes de la visite de terrain,  j’ai appris beaucoup de leçons et de bonnes pratiques sur l’utilisation et la maintenance du système biogaz (montage, alimentation du digesteur, utilisation du gaz et la gestion du digestat). Aussi, j’ai été édifié par les bénéficiaires et les techniciens sur les avantages et les contraintes liés au système biogaz ainsi que les conseils pratiques d’entretien et de maintenance du système biogaz.
En marge de la visite des bio-digesteurs, nous avons visité un micro-barrage pont qui se situe sur un bassin versant. Réalisé par le projet KWAMP en 2011, le micro-barrage est toujours en très bon état. Le micro-barrage irrigue 172 ha que 740 ménages exploitent pour la culture du riz. J’ai remarqué l’aménagement des berges du bas-fond avec des mesures antiérosives (cordons pierreux et reboisement). 

Micro-barrage pont réalisé par KWAMP sur financement FIDA à KIREHE

J’ai beaucoup appris de cette visite d’échanges au RWANDA sur le système biogaz. Elle a permis aux deux projets d’échanger leurs expériences sur les bio digesteurs, de partager les avantages du biogaz et de comparer les types d’élevage pratiqué pour alimenter les bio digesteurs. J’exhorte le FIDA à multiplier de telles visites entre des projets du sud qui ont les mêmes centres d’intérêt pour les transferts de compétences. Vivement d’autres visites d’échanges pour le partage d’expériences entre projets du sud.