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Toolkit: Engaging with farmers’ organizations for more effective smallholder development
Smallholder farmers use different strategies to improve their market presence and to capture more value added in the agricultural sector. These strategies include the creation of cooperatives and other farmers’ organizations (FOs).
Research Series Issue 7 - Measuring IFAD's Impact
This paper examines the impact of IFAD-supported projects so as to learn lessons for future projects. It analyses the different methods used by IFAD to measure a project's impact, finds that IFAD is improving the well-being of rural people, and recommends that impact assessments be built into future projects from their inception.
The Biodiversity Advantage: Global benefits from smallholder actions
Biodiversity is about more than plants, animals, and micro-organisms and their ecosystems – the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD, 1992) recognizes that it is also very much about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment. Biodiversity is also essential for the maintenance of ecosystem-based services, such as the provision of water and food for human, animal and plant life. When we make an effort to conserve biodiversity, we are helping to maintain critical global biological resources to meet our needs today as well as those of future generations. Biodiversity conservation is therefore central to achieving recent global commitments for sustainable development under “Agenda 2030”, adopted by the United Nations in 2015. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) recognizes that losing biodiversity means losing opportunities for coping with future challenges, such as those posed by climate change and food insecurity.
The Economic Advantage: Assessing the value of climate-change actions in agriculture
This report is aimed at readers who seek to build economic evidence in support of the inclusion of actions on agriculture in climate change plans and programmes, particularly at the national level under the umbrella of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to the December 2015 Paris Agreement, which aims to restrict a rise in global temperatures and manage risks. Agriculture is a sector especially sensitive to climate change. It also accounts for significant emissions and is, therefore, a priority for both adaptation and mitigation plans and actions at global, national and local levels.
The Drylands Advantage: Protecting the environment, empowering people
Present in each continent and covering over 40 per cent of the earth, drylands generally refer to arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas, and are home to more than 2 billion people.
Research Series Issue 6 - Why food and nutrition security matters for inclusive structural and rural transformation
This paper challenges current thinking on the connection between rural transformation and food security & nutrition. It advocates that improving rural and structural transformation has a positive cyclical effect upon communities by improving food availability, access, supplies and utilization which in turn improves the health and education of communities. Using evidence from across the developing world, the paper creates a policy agenda to maximise potential for smallholder farming to transform local economies.
Toolkit: Formalising community-based microfinance institutions
Microfinance institutions (MFI) take various forms these days, among them: projects, credit union or village banking networks, savings and credit cooperatives and mutual institutions, associations, capital companies, etc.
Research Series Issue 5 - Rural-urban linkages and food systems in sub-Saharan Africa
This paper examines the role of rural-urban linkages in fostering inclusive and sustainable food systems and how these contribute to rural transformation and, more broadly, to sustainable and inclusive development. Focusing on sub-Saharan Africa, the paper analyses the interdependencies between rural and urban areas and points to the key roles played by rural-based populations and producers, particularly smallholders, in promoting inclusive, mutually beneficial and sustainable urbanization.
The Adaptation Advantage: the economic benefits of preparing small-scale farmers for climate change
It is now beyond a reasonable doubt that the earth’s changing climate is a result of human actions. The expanding total volume of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere is precipitating higher global surface temperatures and sea level rise. The effects of human-induced climate change threaten the very existence of numerous species across the planet, including our own.
Research Series Issue 4 - The effects of smallholder agricultural involvement on household food consumption and dietary diversity: Evidence from Malawi
This paper investigates how household agricultural involvement affects food consumption and dietary diversity in rural Malawi. It analyses the relationship between on-farm income shares and the caloric consumption levels and shares across food groups. It finds that while food consumption and dietary diversity increase with agricultural involvement, the quality of diets does not improve. It highlights the importance of income diversification to dietary diversity and the need for investments in nutrition-sensitive agricultural value chains, nutrition education and crop diversification programmes.
Toolkit: Reducing rural women’s domestic workload through labour-saving technologies and practices
Labour-saving technologies and practices promote inclusive development by reducing the domestic workload and freeing up time to perform productive tasks, to participate in decision-making processes and development opportunities, and to enjoy more leisure time.
The Traditional Knowledge Advantage: Indigenous peoples’ knowledge in climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies
Higher temperatures, wildlife extinction, rising sea levels, droughts, floods, heat-related diseases and economic losses are among the consequences of climate change. Climate change disproportionally affects the poorest and most marginalized communities living in vulnerable regions, among them indigenous peoples, whose livelihoods depend on natural resources.
Research Series Issue 3 - Fostering inclusive outcomes in African agriculture: improving agricultural productivity and expanding agribusiness opportunities
This paper looks at the role of agriculture in fostering inclusive and sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa. It discusses how improving agricultural productivity, smallholder access to markets and expanding agribusiness opportunities can accelerate transformation, investment and industrialization. The paper presents key investment and policy elements to be considered and points to the centrality of smallholders for the rural transformation process to be inclusive.
Toolkit: Digital financial services for smallholder households
Recent advances in technology and telecommunications have the potential to make financial services more accessible and affordable for smallholder households in rural areas. With digital platforms such as mobile phones, smallholders can now use financial services without having to visit a bank branch.
Research Series Issue 2 - Migration and Transformative Pathways
This paper analyses the role of migration in promoting rural livelihoods and discusses how migration interacts with transformative economic processes. Focusing on migration out of rural areas, it examines the impacts of migration on rural livelihoods and challenges the perspective that sees rural outmigration as a failure of rural development.
Research Series Issue 1 - Agricultural and rural development reconsidered
This paper is a guide to current debates about agricultural development. It analyses the changes in development approaches and thinking in recent decades and explores today's critical issues in agricultural and rural development policy. With the main focus on Africa, the paper also includes insights from Asia and Latin America.
The Policy Advantage: Enabling smallholders’ adaptation priorities to be realized
Policies affect every dimension of the institutional and legal context in which poor rural people pursue their livelihoods. They shape the world they live in and the economic opportunities open to them. This means that supportive policies can go a long way towards providing the conditions in which people can lift themselves out of poverty. Conversely, policies that do not create opportunities, or that exclusively reflect the interests of other economic players, can be an insuperable barrier or an unbridgeable gulf – roadblocks barring the way out of the poverty trap.
Toolkit: Integrated homestead food production
Since its founding, IFAD has focused on enabling smallholder farmers to increase agricultural production and productivity as a means for reducing poverty. However, experience shows that increased productivity and incomes do not automatically translate into improved nutritional status of poor rural people, especially women, young people and children.
How to do note: Fisheries, Aquaculture and Climate Change
Fisheries and aquaculture are important contributors to food security and livelihoods at household, local, national and global levels. However, while aquaculture production is growing rapidly throughout the world, particularly in Asia and Africa, many of the world’s fisheries are at grave risk from human pressures, including overexploitation, pollution and habitat change. Climate change is compounding these pressures, posing very serious challenges and limiting livelihood opportunities.
The Mitigation Advantage: Maximizing the co-benefits of investing in smallholder adaptation initiatives
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has highlighted a critical trade-off between agricultural development and climate change mitigation.