Making a difference in Asia and the Pacific



Issue 22: July-August 2008


In this issue


Working towards ecological sustainability of West Timor and food security for its inhabitants


Map of West Timor


The Post-Crisis Programme for Participatory Integrated Development in Rainfed Areas (PIDRA) is an IFAD-supported programme in Indonesia (2001-2009). The programme is helping poor people mainly living in dry, rainfed and remote areas of Indonesian islands. Timor Tengah Utara is one of the poorest districts of West Timor. Twenty-two per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, struggling for daily survival. The programme is working to improve their livelihoods to achieve better living, better farming, better business and better community.

Through PIDRA, IFAD is supporting the conservation and improvement of natural resources on Indonesian islands such as West Timor. This double focus will provide a basis for ensuring that the livelihoods of programme beneficiaries are sustainable.


A group of people discuss a ‘grand design’ for their village


The programme introduced a number of community-based natural resource management activities to help local people to survive in dry upland areas of Timor and manage their natural resources in productive and sustainable ways. These activities are coordinated by the Village Development Association (VDA), made up of community representatives and village leaders. The officers of the VDA are training local people on various technologies related to natural resource management, such as:

  • techniques for planting on sloped areas
  • different varieties of trees, such as teak and mahogany, suitable for conserving land and water
  • local technologies such as terracing, organic farming, mulching and feeding cows for fattening.

PIDRA helps increase household food supply

The programme helped households in Oenainis, one of the villages it supports, to increase their food supply. Before the programme, the majority of local communities practiced shifting cultivation in a way that was damaging the environment. The programme encouraged the community to develop a permanent farming area with average land holdings of about 0.5 hectares per family for planting food crops, such as maize, nuts and rooted crops. It provided training on using agricultural technology with low inputs, such as organic fertilizer, to increase the productivity of food crops. By implementing the technology introduced by PIDRA, the villagers are no longer suffering food scarcity.

The implementation of natural resource management takes a long time. It requires planning the use of resources such as wood, land and water for the future. By preparing a ‘grand design’ of their villages for the next five to ten years, villagers identified the needs and potential of their resources. Such plans will help the communities to use the resources in sustainable manner.

What will I give to my grandchildren for their survival?

Vinsen Korbafo of Sainoni Village decided to plant ’long-term trees’; that is, trees that live at micro-water basin for more than 20 years and are still productive,  such as teak, mahogany, candle nuts and cashew nuts. He said that the PIDRA training he attended on sustainable farming and permanent cultivation inspired him to start planting these trees.

Project interventions in natural resource management improved the environment as well as livelihoods of project participants. Greater availability of trees means that they can sell more firewood. Increased income enables them to spend more money on food and goods.

The project also conducted technical training on the development of ‘on-farm, off farm and non farm’ microenterprises to farmers who were interested in improving the productivity of their enterprises or establish new businesses. One example includes improving food processing, such as making instant herb drinks. The implementation of these activities has improved poor people’s food purchasing power, thus increasing the availability of food for daily household needs.

Mariam Rikhana, IFAD Field Presence Coordinator, Indonesia

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Investing in know-how and “know-who” to enhance incomes of poor farmers and fish processors in the Maldives


A fisherman gets ready go fishing in his boat


In September 2007, the IFAD Executive Board approved a US$ 6.87 million Fisheries and Agricultural Diversification Programme. The programme aims to improve incomes and living conditions of poor farmer and fish processing households in the Maldives. The programme will help poor people to capture increased value from the products they sell through three value chains – fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, and processed fish products. The programme is expected to become effective in 2008.

Despite impressive economic growth and reduced poverty in the last ten years, Maldivian people living on 1,190 islands continue to be vulnerable to lapsing back into poverty. Dispersed land and low population density significantly increase the cost of delivering essential social and administrative services and raise the cost of living.

Natural disasters such as the Indian Ocean Tsunami in December 2004 compromised tourism – one of the main sources of the country’s income – and badly damaged the country’s physical and social infrastructure. Maldives is also considered one of the countries that is most vulnerable to climate change. Such challenges are affecting a significant number of Maldivians, especially farmers and fishers.

The IFAD-supported Fisheries and Agricultural Diversification Programme will deploy an innovative form of public-private partnership to enhance the incomes of poor farmers and fish processors through value-chain management services.

Value chains

Integrated forms of agro-industrial-commercial organizations characterized by:

  • effective controls over product quality, product value and inventory storage
  • minimum transaction costs, including the precise matching of supply and demand at the point of retail sale
  • minimum order to delivery time
  • minimum waste, loss and damage to products
  • minimum inventory accumulation
  • ability to adjust product mix, product design and packaging swiftly to changing customer preferences and shifting competition
  • competition based not so much on price as on differentiated service support, product quality and reliability of supply.

Source: Fisheries and Agricultural Diversification Programme, Appraisal Report, IFAD, 2008

The programme will help establish three value chain companies, each corresponding to a specific line of products. The companies will provide technical support to participating producers and processors to achieve good-quality output. They will also arrange long-term commercial agreements with strategic customers in niche markets, ensuring premium prices for producers and fish processors. In each value chain, at least half of the participating producers will be women.

For the value chain companies to become effective and viable private companies, it is essential that private-sector enterprises co-invest in them, bringing their marketing know-how and know-who. The programme will therefore select co-investors for each value chain among possible strategic customers.

Value chain development

There are various forms of industrial organization for value chains (corporate affiliation, contractual affiliation, membership in a trading community, membership in a cooperative of producers). The IFAD-supported programme chose a form of a contractual affiliation among producers – small farmers and artisanal fish processors – and a value chain company operated by professionals capable of eventually transforming the company into a franchise. 

Source: Fisheries and Agricultural Diversification Programme, Appraisal Report, IFAD, 2008

Value chain for fresh fruits and vegetables

The company will develop and own a market trademark called ‘Piece of Paradise’. Small farmers engaged in crop farming will be involved in the development of this value chain. Co-investors will be strategic customers such as major resort operations.

Value chain for fresh and processed fruits and vegetables

The ‘Sun’s Best’ trademark will target a different market niche. It will focus on supermarkets in Male’ and will include processed and fresh food in its product line. Small farmers engaged in crop farming will participate in the development of this value chain. The programme will train them to use new production, food processing and packaging technologies and methods.

Value chain for processed fish products

The value chain for processed fish products will focus on processed skipjack tuna fish for export. Small-scale processors of dried fish interested in producing high-quality products for export will participate. Co-investors from the private sector will be fish processing enterprises with established export markets. The efforts put into developing this value chain should reverse the gradual deterioration of the quality of processed Maldive fish and reclaim its top-quality status.

By the end of the programme, these companies are expected to be transformed into professional franchise companies. Their business models should attract other interested smallholders or fish processors.

Martina Spisiakova, Newsletter Coordinator

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Developing international standards for organic agriculture in the Pacific

Organic farmers in the Pacific are keen to produce and export organic products to take advantage of growing worldwide demand. But before they can market their products internationally, they need to show they are meeting accepted international standards for organic production. Two IFAD-supported projects in the Pacific are working to address the issue.

Many agricultural practices in the Pacific Islands are organic but are not adequately certified because of the costs and perceived complexity of the certification process. To address this issue, IFAD is funding a project entitled Building capacities on certification of organic agriculture, implemented by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

The project aims to analyse the existing situation for organic agriculture and fair trade production in the Pacific Island countries and territories and develop a set of regional standards for organic agriculture products.

During implementation of the project, it became clear that there was a need to consult and support national organic bodies. In response, IFAD designed a project entitled Development of regional certification standard and strategy for organic agriculture in Pacific Island countries and territories,implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The project is helping develop regional organic standards and negotiate the acceptance of regional standards with certifying bodies in other regions. It will develop a regional strategy and national plans to build a strong foundation for sustainable organic agriculture in the region.

The two projects are closely integrated, since both seek to enhance the adoption of organic agriculture in the Pacific region by reducing the negative impacts of the certification process, such as high costs and complex procedures, on small rural producers.

The development of organic agriculture in the Pacific has a number of advantages:

  • Good existing models for organic production, support and marketing, including exports (for example, noni juice)
  • Regional co-operation such as with the University of the South Pacific, the Land Resources Division (LRD) of SPC, the Subregional Office for the Pacific Islands of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and non-governmental organization (NGO) networks
  • Pacific Islands market their organic products as made in clean and pristine environments to maintain a positive image of organic products
  • Fair trade/organic agriculture development
  • Positive elements such as established national movements, SPC’s interest in organic development, regional cooperation, some experience in exports (organic honey from Niue), and potential for local and regional marketing (for example, exporting virgin coconut oil and noni juice).

…but also constraints:

  • Distance to markets because of small and scattered islands
  • Variation between countries in the development of organic agriculture (each Pacific island has developed its organic industry based on different models because of lack of organic standards in the Pacific)
  • Small local markets for organic products mean low demand for organic products in the region, thus lack of incentive for farmers to produce organics
  • Lack of a strategy and research for promoting organic agriculture in the region.

Local conditions such as climate and culture are not taken into account in organic certification. The variation in climatic conditions impacts on organic production. Organic agriculture in the Pacific is more a way of life rather just about exports. It is about culture, social dynamics and indigenous knowledge. This is not considered in organic certification.


Participants in the second meeting of the Regional Organic Task Force, the technical body responsible for drawing up suitable organic standards. The meeting was held in Nadi, Fiji on 17-21 March 2008.


In his opening remarks at the second meeting of the Regional Organic Task Force in March 2008, Mr Inoke Ratukalou, Agriculture and Forestry Policy Adviser in LRD, stated that the global organic produce market is worth up to US$ 18 billion and that Pacific farmers can begin to tap into this market. “Organic agriculture is also a way of life for Pacific farmers. It is good for the environment as well as for providing healthy and wholesome produce. The establishment of Pacific-owned standards asserts the Pacific on the global organic market with its own standards that are comparable to international standards,” he pointed out.

“Organics is more about a way of life than about certification and export. It is about health, ecology, fairness and care. We want more than just sound technical regional standards. We want to incorporate a Pacific feel that acknowledges our past as organic farmers and the changes that have happened. We need to acknowledge our smallness in marketing terms and also recognize our culture and develop a brand that acknowledges that – as a holistic organic system,” added Ms Adi Maimalaga Tafuna’I, IFOAM consultant and Director of Samoa’s Women in Business Development Inc.

Regional organic standards and an accompanying strategy will be launched at the Heads of Agriculture and Forestry Services Conference on 3-5 September 2008 in Samoa.

Emil Adams, , Information Officer, Land Resources Division, SPC
Stephen Hazelman, Coordinator, Information, Communications and Extension, Land Resources Division, SPC
Karen Mapusua, Associate Director, Women in Business, Samoa

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For more information on IFAD’s Pacific programme contact:

Ron Hartman, Country Programme Manager, Pacific Islands, IFAD
Siale Bain-Vete, Field Presence Coordinator, Pacific Islands, IFAD

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Time to go back to our roots? Reducing dependence on imported food in the Pacific


Fishers in Kadavu, Fiji


Pacific Islanders have become increasingly dependent on imported staples such as rice, flour and noodles. They are vulnerable to increasing global prices of food as a result. This is especially the case for those living in atolls, where limited land and water and poor soil make it difficult to grow more than breadfruit, taro and coconut. This increasing vulnerability is prompting the question: “Is it time to go back to our roots?”

All Pacific Islands are net importers of rice and wheat products. An increasing reliance on imports has left them facing the dual impact of rising costs of imported food and the rising cost of fuel associated with transporting the food across the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.

At the national level, this dual impact is fuelling inflation and worsening balance of payments in countries that already have significant trade deficits, hence undermining economic growth.  At the household level, families are facing difficulties in making ends meet. For example, higher prices are forcing them to cut expenditure on nutritious foods, basic goods and services such as school fees and health care.

But does the high price of commodities represent a threat for everyone or does it also bring opportunities? Despite a high dependency on imports, certain factors suggest that Pacific Islanders may be able to manage the challenges of higher prices better than other developing countries.

Many Pacific Islands are endowed with a rich diversity of traditional root crops such as taro, cassava, sweet potatoes and yams. These crops are less important in global trade than some of the imported commodities such as rice and flour on which poor people now rely. Increasing the production of these local crops could help limit the impact of rising prices for imported food as people move away from imported produce. Growers may benefit from increased income as a result, although this may not be enough to offset the impact of higher priced imports.


Dried fish that will be eaten by fisher families in Fiji


Subsistence farmers may be better equipped to deal with the current situation. Poor infrastructure or unreliable transport, which has previously limited the opportunities for their involvement in formal markets, makes them less reliant on global markets and more self-sufficient. They may therefore be less affected by changing prices in these markets. Farmers are also less vulnerable than other members of the community because they have access to local produce. Pacific Islanders in general and especially those who are not engaged in farming are the people vulnerable to increases in food import prices.

In the Pacific, the communal land-ownership structure and strong cultural obligations of sharing provide an important safety net for the most vulnerable people. Most land is customary, and owned by land-owning communities. People generally have access to land, allowing them to grow their own food. Communities often share meals and crops produced on certain communal plots. The customs of sharing food and, in some cases, money mean that in a traditional setting it is very difficult for a family to go hungry. Urbanization tends to erode these traditional support systems. Moreover, in Fiji a growing number of people are without access to land. The agricultural leases of settlers of Indian descent are expiring and many are not being renewed by the traditional landowners, which is leading to a growth in squatter settlements.

Leaders in the Pacific are encouraging people to grow more local food. Mr Manny Mori, President of the Federated States of Micronesia, stated, ”For too long our children have been fed on rice as staple food because of the convenience of preparation and storage. We have neglected our responsibility and even contributed to their lower health standards by failing to teach them to appreciate the natural food and bounty of our island.” Rising prices provide a powerful economic incentive to replace imports with locally produced food and boost the agricultural sector.

Significant increases in agricultural production are unlikely to be achieved in the short run. Other measures may be necessary to prevent the price increases from having detrimental impacts on the diets and wellbeing of Pacific Islanders. But these should be carefully considered as they may reduce the supply response to higher prices.

  • Reducing import tariffs on food items and cash transfers for the most vulnerable people in society can help to increase their purchasing power without reducing the returns to producers.
  • Price control is used extensively in the Pacific. While this may help to reduce or delay the impact of rising prices on poorer consumers, price control protects all consumers from rising prices, including those who are able to pay. This can have a detrimental effect on retailer incentives. Erosion of their margins may prompt them to cease stocking the product altogether, leading to problems of availability.
  • Bans on exports may safeguard domestic consumers from food shortages. However, they also reduce the returns to producers and can be a disincentive to increasing production. Some of the smaller Pacific Islands rely on imported produce from their larger neighbours in the Pacific. Restricting exports would merely worsen the situation for net food importers. 

As a longer-term strategy, governments of the Pacific Islands and donors need to reverse the declining investment in the agricultural sector and recognize the role agriculture plays in safeguarding food security in the face of volatile global food prices. Farmers will grow more if they have the means to do so. This will require strategies to address the constraints to expanding agricultural production including:

  • strengthening extension services
  • increasing access to planting material
  • improving rural infrastructure such as roads and post-harvest storage facilities
  • improving information services
  • addressing constraints in accessing land.

For many decades, national and international support to research and development in the agriculture and forestry sectors in the Pacific has been inadequate. High global food prices provide opportunities to reverse this trend by increasing the support in these areas. Increasing returns to agriculture can increase incentives to engage in agricultural activities. Future farmers need to be nurtured – educated, supported by appropriate government policies and extension services – and the attractiveness of agriculture to youth must be fostered.

For generations, we relied on our land and ocean to provide us with sufficient food to meet our needs. Lifestyle changes, a desire for convenience and a world of inexpensive imports have eroded our self-reliance. The soaring world food prices provide Pacific Islands with an opportunity to accord the agricultural sector the priority it deserves. This will make us less dependent on others for our food and improve the health of our people and future generations. It is time to go back to our roots.

Marita Manley, Economist, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Land Resources Division, Fiji

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Promoting sustainable use of resources and economic opportunities on Basilan Island


Fishers in Basilan island inspect the new traps introduced by the project


The Island Province of Basilan, situated in the western part of Mindanao in the Philippines, is bestowed with a variety of cultures and traditions, rich aquatic resources, and vast and fertile agricultural land. But poverty still prevails. The province has been subject to conflicts, kidnapping and insurgency, all of which have had serious consequences on the island’s economy. The IFAD-supported Western Mindanao Community Initiatives Project (1999-2007) satisfactorily responded to the government’s call for assistance in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao.

In Basilan, the Western Mindanao Community Initiatives Project covered 15 barangays (villages) and made a big difference in the lives of their inhabitants. The overall objective of the project was to enhance poor people’s livelihoods and promote the sustainable use of resources,

The project provided economically viable and environmentally friendly technologies to farmers and fishers, such as:

  • coco-based farming system – an intercropping system in which banana and pineapple are planted in between rows of coconut to increase land utilization and preserve soil fertility
  • rubber-based farming system in the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim areas – a system of planting rubber in between rows of coconut. The Yakans (Indigenous People in Basilan) who were provided with land ownership in their ancestral domain are adopting this technology
  • sloping agricultural land technology –  a form of alley farming in the uplands in which field and perennial crops are grown in between contoured rows of trees and shrubs legumes. The latter are thickly planted in double rows to form hedgerows
  • seaweed farming –  using improved planting technology in coordination with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
  • mudcrab culture – aquaculture technology using floating cages and earthen ponds to grow mudcrab
  • finfish in cages and pens – setting up, operating and managing 40 floating fish cages to culture high-value marine species such as grouper fish locally known as ‘dark spotted lapu-lapu’
  • modified fish traps and gill nets – used by marginal fishing households to improve their catch and allow only the marketable size fish to enter
  • improved goat production – goat farming management that involves cutting fresh forage grasses on the farm, bringing them to the shade house and feeding the goats at any time of the day
  • improved native chicken range management – a poultry-raising system with improved techniques for chicken breeding.

These technologies not only improved farm productivity and conserved biodiversity but also generated employment among community members. By attending meetings and community activities and participating in coastal resource assessment training, fishers and staff from local government also learned about biodiversity and its importance for human survival.

The project provided institutional and infrastructure support to farmers by:

  • establishing the Kalahi Training Centre in Isabela City (Basilan’s capital) for nearby farmers and fishers
  • constructing five multipurpose village centres that serve as venues for meetings, assemblies, training, seminars, and social and other community gatherings of farmers and fishers
  • installing the ‘Level 2’ potable water supply – a system in which water is stored in a common reservoir and distributed through pipes to common faucets for a cluster of five to ten households
  • rehabilitating 35 km of roads from farms to markets
  • rehabilitating irrigation systems serving 88 hectares of farm land.

Finfish caught in cages and pens


An interesting feature of the project was its commitment and priority to the poorest of the poor. It implemented the ‘Kapitbahayan Innovative Interventions for Vulnerable Households’ as a way of organizing communities and responding to the basic needs of families by enhancing their sources of income. For example, vulnerable households were provided with one draft animal and iron plough, and assorted seeds and planting materials and were introduced to multiple cropping systems and crop rotation. Animal feed and medicines were also provided to strengthen their livestock activities. For fishers, the project provided a variety of fishing gear to encourage multiple fishing systems. Households were also engaged in making and selling roof shingles.

At the completion of the project, a number of significant following results stand out:

  • From a baseline regional average income of PHP 22,000 (US$ 498) in 2001, Basilan province recorded a significant increase in income to PHP 40,704 (US$ 922) in 2005 and PHP 64,192 (US$ 1,454) in 2006, according to the Results Monitoring and Evaluation Survey 2005 and 2006.
  • Some project participants acquired assets such as televisions, radios, motor boats, motorcycles and additional fishnets.
  • As a result of increased income, more household were able to send their children to school.

Before the project officially closed in February 2008, it was able to mainstream programmes and projects initiated by the community into regular programmes of its partner institutions.

Julita Ragandang, Project Director, Western Mindanao Community Initiatives Project, the Philippines and Regional Director, Promoting sustainable use of resources and economic opportunities on Basilan Island (DAR-supported project)
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Recovering from isolation and uncertainty when a Bangladesh village becomes an island


Floods and waves engulf and erode the Kholachanpur village every year


Inhabitants of Kholachanpur in Sunamganj District of Bangladesh are very poor. They particularly struggle when their village becomes an island during monsoon. The village is home to 110 families. Half of them have no agricultural or fishing land, and about 30 families have no homestead. With no regular income for more than four months a year during the monsoon, many of these families have to live on one meal a day. But the situation is changing following the intervention of the IFAD-supported Sunamganj Community-Based Resource Management Project.

Beel (water-body) is the depressed part of a haor (deep floodplain). It is a rich source of fish and other aquatic resources.   During full monsoon, it is completely flooded and becomes a part of open-water.


Each year, Kholachanpur becomes an island for five months


The Kholachanpur village literally becomes an island for almost five months from June to October as it is flooded by water from the Meghalaya hills. The rushing water erodes the land, and destroys homes and livelihoods. There are hundreds of such villages in Sunamganj haor, where people live in isolation with no access to essential services during the monsoon season.

After the monsoon as the water recedes, village life becomes easier.  Children can return to school. Markets and other public services become accessible. People’s mobility increases.

The majority of people living in Kolachanpur village are from fisher communities and make a living by fishing in beels. Although they have priority rights to the beels, they have hardly any access to them.This resource base is leased out by the government through open tendering. Usually, rich and influential people gain access since they are the only ones who can afford the cost of the lease. This is impoverishing the fisher community.

The Sunamganj Community-Based Resource Management Project started operating in Kholachanpur at the end of 2003. The project mobilized poor people and formed two women’s groups totalling 54 members. The members were trained in:

  • group building
  • leadership development
  • savings and credit management
  • fisheries resource management
  • alternative income-generating activities such as backyard agriculture, food processing, and livestock, poultry and duck rearing

The fishers’ dream of accessing beels finally come true with the help of the project. Under an agreement with the Ministry of Land and Ministry of Youth and Sports, the project ensured that a group of 75 fishers gained access to the 26.8 hectare Abua Prokashito Nainda Nodi Beel in Kholachanpur village. The group introduced community-based sustainable fisheries management to ensure that the resources would last. The group has its own plan for conservation and restoration of beel habitat. Its activities include re-excavating beel, planting swamp trees and establishing a fish sanctuary.

Last year, the group made a profit of around BDT 240,000 (about US$ 3,500) from its fishing activities. The project now plans to transfer 300 beels of different sizes being provided by the two ministries to other fisher communities in Sunamganj district.

The project is also addressing the severe water and sanitation crisis by sinking tube-wells and distributing sanitary latrines to the community. These interventions have improved the health of the community, especially children. The community reported that having safe drinking water and sanitary latrines have significantly decreased the incidence of diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases.

Through the savings and credit schemes supported by the project, two women’s groups comprised of 52 members saved BDT 158,300 (US$ 2,310). These women received credit from the project, which they used to invest in small trades such as starting up grocery and tailoring shops, buying boats and nets, and livestock rearing and agricultural activities. The investments provided project participants with a substantial additional income. The group savings and credit schemes have also freed the members of these groups from the clutches of moneylenders. 

“Why didn’t the project start its work earlier? I could have saved my land from a moneylender,” Birendro Barman, a project participant points out. He had to sell his entire land of around 11.3 hectares to pay off a debt to a moneylender and became landless. There are many such cases in the village. 

Inhabitants of Kholachanpur are now confident about their future and wellbeing. They are no longer concerned about falling into poverty. Swaroshoti Barman, a project participant says, “We can now breathe. Our lives were too hard to survive before”.


Villagers protect their land from flooding


Kholachanpur village still has some challenges. Some people continue living in houses unprotected from heavy rain. Children’s education is usually interrupted due to transportation problems during the monsoon period. Livestock have no access to grazing land during the wet season. Villagers hope to solve these problems with the help of the project and their collective initiatives in the near future.

Mr Michael A Roy, Management Consultant, Sunamganj Community-Based Resource Management Project

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Occasional papers

Issue 6: Assessment of likely impacts of avian influenza on rural poverty reduction in Asia: Responses, impacts and recommendations for IFAD strategy

IFAD’s experience shows that village or backyard poultry production is fundamental to poor people, and especially to rural women. For many poor households, poultry is primarily a form of savings, which can be used in building up assets or generating cash quickly by sale in time of need.

Studies conducted in Bangladesh have shown that when appropriate support is provided, women poultry producers have been able to increase incomes and assets, buy more food and send their children to school.

Since its outbreak in December 2003, highly pathogenic avian influenza (or avian flu) has affected millions of birds in many Asian countries, particularly in the South-
East Asian countries of Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam, as well as in
China. More than 230 million poultry in affected countries died or were slaughtered as of the end of 2006.

Despite considerable control efforts, the avian flu virus continues to be detected, at least sporadically, in humans or birds in these countries. Poultry industries have been badly hit by direct losses and a fall in prices due to the drop in consumer confidence. However, the most vulnerable groups are smallholders, many of whom are poor rural women with few assets and no animals other than poultry.

Poor poultry raisers contribute to the risks and are directly and indirectly vulnerable to avian flu. The health dimension of the epidemic, particularly the increased risk of the virus mutating to become a potentially dangerous human-to-human pandemic virus, has received much attention internationally. However, there have been few studies of the impact of the disease on poor, small-scale poultry producers or of ways to build their capacity to mitigate this impact and prevent future outbreaks.

The present study was designed to fill this gap. It has identified concrete measures to mitigate adverse impacts of future epidemics, reduce the vulnerability of poor poultry producers, rehabilitate affected producers and foster sustainable poultry-raising through enhanced biosecurity in the poultry sector.

The study was undertaken by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), in collaboration with the Asia and the Pacific Division of IFAD. The findings and recommendations of the study should be of interest to policymakers, development practitioners, donors, academics and civil society.

The paper was written by Jim Hancock, Asia and the Pacific Service, Investment Centre Division, FAO and Gyudam Cho, Asia and the Pacific Division, IFAD

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Occasional papers are a series of studies on emerging thematic issues in the Asia and the Pacific Region published by IFAD. The papers contribute to IFAD’s efforts to share the knowledge and experience emerging from its activities and those of its partners in the region.

For more information, please contact Valentina Camaleonte, Asia and the Pacific Division, IFAD.

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Martina Spisiakova
Tel: 3906-54592295

Making a Difference in Asia and the Pacific

Issue 21: June-July 2008
Food security in the context of increasing commodity prices

Issue 20: January-February 2008
Rural infrastructure

Issue 19: January-February 2008
Rural finance

Issue 18: December 2007

Issue 17: September-October 2007

Issue 16: June-July 2007
Managing risks and reducing vulnerability to natural hazards

Issue 15:
March/April 2007

Energy for sustainable development

Issue 14: January/February 2007 - Sustainable natural resource management

Issue 13: November/December 2006 - PBAS: looking beyond the resource allocation system

Issue 12: September/October 2006 - Communication for poverty reduction and rural development

Issue 11: July/August 2006 - Working with UN agencies at the country level

Issue 10: May/June 2006 - Indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities

Issue 9: March/April 2006 - Access to land

Issue 8: January/February 2006 - Agricultural Technology Management

Issue 7: November/December 2005 - Pro-poor policies

Issue 6: September/October 2005 - Gender & MDGs

Issue 5: July/August 2005 - Partnership

Issue 4: May/June 2005 - Rural Finance

Issue 3: March/ April 2005 - Donor Harmonization

Issue 2: January/ February 2005

Issue 1: November/ December 2004

Upcoming events and missions:


94th Session of the IFAD Executive Board, 10-11 September 2008


Design completion and quality assurance mission – Rural Microfinance Project, 1-14 November 2008


Supervision mission – Market Infrastructure Development Project in Charlands Regions, August 2008

Design completion and quality assurance mission – Participatory Small-Scale Water Resources Development Project, 17-30 August 2008

Supervision/mid-term review mission – Microfinance for Marginal and Small Farmer Project, 1-13 September 2008

Supervision mission – Microfinance and Technical Support Project, 13-21 September 2008

Annual review of COSOP, Dhaka, end of September

Supervision mission – Finance for Enterprise Development and Employment Creation Project, 20-30 November 2008


Mid-term review mission – Agriculture Marketing and Enterprise Development Programme, October 2008


Fact-finding mission – new project, August–October 2008

Detailed project design and quality enhancement mission – new project, November–December 2008

Supervision mission – Rural Poverty Reduction Project in Prey Veng and Svay Rieng, October–November 2008


Project completion mission – West Guangxi Poverty-Alleviation Project, 8 September – 5 October 2008

Supervision mission – South Gansu Poverty-Reduction Programme, 6-19 October 2008

Supervision mission – Rural Finance Sector Programme, 15-30 November 2008

Mid-term review – Environment Conservation and Poverty-Reduction Programme in Ningxia and Shanxi, 17-30 November 2008

Supervision mission – Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Modular Rural Development Programme, 27 October – 16 November 2008


Joint review mission – Chattisgarh Tribal Development Programme, 1-14 September 2008

Joint review mission – Tejaswini Rural Women’s Empowerment Programme in Maharashtra, 1-14 September 2008

Project completion workshop – North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project for Upland Areas, 16 September 2008

Mid-term review mission – Livelihoods Improvement Project in the Himalayas (Uttaranchal and Meghalaya), 15 September – 15 October 2008

Joint review mission – National Microfinance Support Programme, 15-30 October 2008

Start-up workshop – Post-Tsunami Sustainable Livelihoods Programme for the Coastal Communities of Tamil Nadu, October 2008

Joint review mission – Tejaswini Rural Women’s Empowerment Programme in Madhya Pradesh, October 2008

Joint review mission – Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme, November 2008

Training of all project staff in financial management and procurement, Goa, end of November 2008

Training of all project staff in monitoring and evaluation (M&E), Results and Impact Monitoring System (RIMS) and results-based annual work plan and budget (AWP&B), Nagpur, 8-12 December 2008


Implementation support mission – Post-Crisis Programme for Participatory Integrated Development in Rainfed Areas, 3-13 August 2008

Supervision mission – Post-Crisis Programme for Participatory Integrated Development in Rainfed Areas, November–December 2008

Start-up support mission – National Programme for Community Empowerment, August–December 2008

Start-up workshop – Rural Empowerment and Agricultural Development Programme in Central Sulawesi, November–December 2008

Start-up workshop – National Programme for Community Empowerment, November–December 2008


Design completion and quality assurance mission – Agriculture Natural Resources Programme, 10-28 August 2008

Mid-term Review – Rural Livelihoods Improvement Programme, 23 August – 9 September 2008


Supervision mission – Post-Tsunami Agricultural and Fisheries Rehabilitation Programme, October–November 2008


Supervision mission – Rural Poverty-Reduction Programme, 14-30 September 2008


Supervision mission – Western Uplands Poverty Alleviation Project, October-November 2008


Launching of IFAD-supported ‘Mainstreaming of Rural Development Innovations Programme (MORDI) in Kiribati, Kiribati, 3-7 August 2008

United Nations Alignment Meeting, Apia, Samoa, 27-29 August 2008

Meeting of heads of agriculture represented by all Pacific Island nations. IFAD will make a plenary presentation and hold a side event, Samoa, 3-5 September 2008

Meeting of ministers of agriculture and forestry represented by all Pacific Island nations. IFAD will make a plenary presentation and hold a side event, Samoa, 8-9 September 2008

Roundtable meeting on World Trade Organization and regional trade agreements and provisions. IFAD will co-host with the Government of New Zealand and FAO, Wellington New Zealand, 15-17 September 2008

Regional stakeholder’s workshop on promoting partnerships in food security hosted by IFAD, to be attended by 14 Pacific Island countries, 22-23 September 2008

Roundtable meeting on lessons learned from MORDI, 29-30 September 2008

Biofuels conference on implications and opportunities for sustainable livelihoods organized by IFAD, SPC, the Pacific Islands Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC), Nadi, Fiji, 3-5 November 2008


Desk review – Results-based COSOP, August – September 2008

Project completion review mission – Dir Area Support Project, October 2008

Workshop – Results-based COSOP, second half of November 2008

Six-monthly portfolio review meeting, second half of November 2008

Supervision mission – Microfinance Innovation and Outreach Programme, November 2008

Supervision mission – Programme for Increasing Sustainability and Outreach in Microfinance, November 2008

Supervision mission – Southern Federally Administered Tribal Areas Development Project, November 2008

Follow-up mission – Programme for Increasing Sustainability and Outreach in Microfinance, December 2008


Completion design mission – Rapid Food Production Enhancement Programme, 1-15 September 2008

Loan negotiations – Rapid Food Production Enhancement Programme Beginning, December 2008

Sri Lanka

Supervision mission – Post-Tsunami Coastal Rehabilitation and Resource Management Programme and Post-Tsunami Livelihoods Support and Partnership Programme, 11 August – 1 September


Loan negotiations – Khatton Livelihoods Support Project, Dushanbe, 27-30 October 2008

Viet Nam

Joint mission of the Asian Development Bank and IFAD to the new programme –Agricultural Sector Capacity Enhancing Programme, 3-21 August 2008

Mid-term review mission – Rural Livelihoods Improvement Programme, 23 August – 9 September 2008

About IFAD

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in developing countries. Its work in remote rural areas of the world helps countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Through low-interest loans and grants, IFAD develops and finances projects that enable rural poor people to overcome poverty themselves.

IFAD tackles poverty not just as a lender, but as an advocate for the small farmers, herders, fisherfolk, landless workers, artisans and indigenous peoples who live in rural areas and represent 75 per cent of the world's 1.2 billion extremely poor people. IFAD works with governments, donors, non-governmental organizations, local communities and many other partners to fight the underlying causes of rural poverty. It acts as a catalyst, bringing together partners, resources, knowledge and policies that create the conditions in which rural poor people can increase agricultural productivity, as well as seek out other options for earning income.

IFAD-supported rural development programmes and projects increase rural poor people's access to financial services, markets, technology, land and other natural resources.

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