Towards Food and Nutrition Security: Where is IITA going in the next half century?

The year 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). The anniversary was celebrated to reflect two milestones: the first 50 years, covering the period from its inception up till now; and the next 50 years, covering the present to the next 50 years. The first core event, held on … More Towards Food and Nutrition Security: Where is IITA going in the next half century?

IITA: Transforming African Agriculture

Agriculture is central to the development of the African continent, currently contributing 40% to 80% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in several countries. In recent years, it has been put back on to the development agenda of most African governments. In Nigeria, for instance, the agricultural policy document of the current government builds on … More IITA: Transforming African Agriculture

Conversations in transformation (why it’s good to talk to people on your way to work)

A popular story goes that the idea of establishing agricultural research centers, precursors of the modern-day CGIAR network, was born out of the daily train conversations between two gentlemen on their way to work In New York City in the early-1960s. The story, told by the late Lowell Hardin, former professor at the Purdue University … More Conversations in transformation (why it’s good to talk to people on your way to work)

SMART Indicators for Smarter Decision Making

When setting up a sustainability assessment system, no step is more critical for success than defining good indicators to measure. The COSA library of indicators for smallholder agricultural sustainability is crafted with the following best practices in mind to ensure our sustainability measurement framework is practical, globally consistent, accurate, and useful throughout the supply chain. … More SMART Indicators for Smarter Decision Making

Coffee in crisis offers a lesson in resilience

In the last five years, Coffee leaf rust, or “la roya” in Spanish, has crippled Guatemala and Central America. During the last outbreak, the Committee On Sustainability Assessment (COSA), a Partner in GFAR, was in the Verapaz and Oriente regions of Guatemala for an evaluation of a project aiming to improve the sustainability of Guatemalan … More Coffee in crisis offers a lesson in resilience

Spurring Sustainability through Data-Driven Needs Assessment

In development, implementing targeted and responsive programs is crucial to achieving impact. The importance of creating effective programs cannot be understated for agricultural extension programs that work with some of the estimated 1.5 billion smallholders—many of whom are vulnerable to climate change, volatile markets, and conflict—who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. At the Committee … More Spurring Sustainability through Data-Driven Needs Assessment

The Shifting State of Sustainability: Can the private sector really deliver a public good?

The development community, with some notable exceptions, is waking up to the absurdity of measuring only their inputs and outputs like the number of farmers trained or the number of hectares certified as “farmed sustainably”.  In many cases, missing is the measurement that matters most: what positive (or negative) difference did their efforts make for the … More The Shifting State of Sustainability: Can the private sector really deliver a public good?

Treasure Around Us: Agricultural and Cultural Biodiversity in the Balkans

Velika Plana, a small town in central Serbia is a meeting place of several different natural environments : the second largest river (after Danube) in Serbia – Velika Morava – and its fertile valley ; the hills of Šumadija, which are the starting point of the mountainous part of the Balkan peninsula ; and the final edges of … More Treasure Around Us: Agricultural and Cultural Biodiversity in the Balkans

The Convivium: Helping to resolve the disonance of entrepreneurship in agriculture

I would stay, but should I go Living near remote natural surroundings while being able to benefit from easier administration and mobility, provide the perfect conditions for development of rural entrepreneurship. This is what you find in small towns in rural settings. In the specific context of Velika Plana, the short distance from the capital … More The Convivium: Helping to resolve the disonance of entrepreneurship in agriculture

Empowering small-scale producers one taste at a time

On July 29th for the first time ever, ConviviumVelika Plana organized Terra Madre Morava, a gathering of small-scale food producers given an opportunity to showcase their products in the spirit of the SlowFood philosophy. The host of the event, Superior, a local seed company and GFAR partner, opened its doors to 17 producers from the … More Empowering small-scale producers one taste at a time

Terra Madre Morava: Promoting rural food communities in Serbia and beyond

On Saturday the 29th of July, Convivium Velika Plana hosted the first edition of TerraMadre Morava, the first meeting of small-scale food producers from Central Serbia, organised by Slow Food Velika Plana in cooperation with Ypard Serbia, Superior Seed and SlowFood. The event consisted of a market where only small-scale producers could exhibit and sell their … More Terra Madre Morava: Promoting rural food communities in Serbia and beyond

Interpersonal, international, interdisciplinary, intergenerational linkages fostering community development: A good example in Central Serbia

What can happen in local communities when Partners in GFAR from diverse sectors work together to preserve their cultural traditions while at the same time embracing the future? How important are the relationships between the leaders of these organizations to making their initiatives successful? Slow Food Convivium Velika Plana, a multi-sectoral collaboration in Central Serbia, … More Interpersonal, international, interdisciplinary, intergenerational linkages fostering community development: A good example in Central Serbia

Almonds and apricots flower on once-barren land

Family farmers in the West Bank are growing high value crops such as almonds and apricots on once-barren hillsides, seeing their incomes rise by 80 per cent or more. About 36,000 people have taken part in an IFAD-funded natural resource management programme, which prioritized terracing, fencing, irrigation, rock removal and other techniques to reclaim and … More Almonds and apricots flower on once-barren land

Rural poor people in Madagascar strengthen resilience through land tenure

In western Madagascar, IFAD-supported projects have been helping people in rural areas gain legal rights to their land – a key tactic in the fight against poverty. When smallholder farmers own their land, they can use it as collateral to access credit. Land ownership also gives them more incentives to invest in better farming techniques … More Rural poor people in Madagascar strengthen resilience through land tenure

Boosting nutrition one TV show at a time in Laos

In rural communities in northern Laos, an IFAD supported programme is using a television soap opera to help tackle extreme poverty and malnutrition. As villagers follow the fortunes of their favourite characters in My Happy Family, they are also learning how to choose healthy locally grown ingredients to create tasty, nutritious meals for the children … More Boosting nutrition one TV show at a time in Laos

Reducing rice imports helps smallholder farmers in Nigeria

An IFAD-supported programme in Nigeria is helping to reduce dependence on imported rice and strengthening the access of smallholder farmers to local markets. Every year, Africa spends some US$35 billion on food imports, undermining the sustainability of its own agriculture sector. This overreliance on food imports is partly due to the inferior quality of much … More Reducing rice imports helps smallholder farmers in Nigeria

Native fruits fuel rural development in Brazil

Wild and local fruits, such as umbu (Spondias tuberosa), passionfruit and guava, are fuelling the growth of a prosperous cooperative led by women in a remote area of north-eastern Brazil. More than a decade ago, family farmers in the heart of the semi-arid Sertão region came together to set up the Family Agribusiness Cooperative in … More Native fruits fuel rural development in Brazil

What do forests have to do with food security? A glance at this year’s HLPE Report

Forests are not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about food security. Sure, it’s fun to go mushroom picking, but otherwise what is the big deal about the role of forests in food security? Why is this year’s High Level Panel of Experts Report (HLPE), the science-policy interface of the UN … More What do forests have to do with food security? A glance at this year’s HLPE Report