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Steering the seed revolving fund initiative to meet growing farmers’ demand for certified seed

2 weeks ago

Adoption of new varieties can never be successful until efficient seed delivery systems are in place. To increase the efficacy and impact of the existing ‘seed revolving fund initiative’ for groundnut and sorghum crops a decision to form a steering committee was taken at a recent AVISA project meeting in Tanzania. The Tanzanian seed sector […]

The post Steering the seed revolving fund initiative to meet growing farmers’ demand for certified seed appeared first on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals.

De-risking agricultural value chains using climate-smart agriculture

3 months 2 weeks ago

In April 2019, professionals from the soft commodity sectors who represent diverse value chains across the African continent came together for the Sustainable Agriculture Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. The gathering served as an opportunity to learn from best practices, technologies, partnerships and real-life implementation of sustainable agriculture practices.

As part of the summit, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) Kenya chapter, hosted a workshop on the role of climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in de-risking agricultural value chains. Twenty-five participants mapped their value chains while identifying key risk factors and developing business pitches for CSA interventions that would de-risk their respective value chains.

“CSA as a de-risk strategy is based on three major concepts: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, improving resilience to climate-related shocks, and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions where possible” explained Christine Lamanna, Climate Decision Scientist at ICRAF, and co-facilitator of the workshop. “But the question is, can such an approach also make business sense?”

Value chains, risks, and CSA options identified for the sorghum (L) and cassava (R) value chains. Photo: C. Lamanna (ICRAF)

Overall, climate change risks—particularly from droughts, unpredictable rainfall and flooding—were found to affect production in all commodities, with the production stage being the most affected. “For us, flooding is the biggest risk for horticultural farmers at the Kenyan coastal area” said Benson Mwendia, a farmer from Kilifi County, Kenya, and founder of the CSA Excellence Center.

To offset these risks, climate-smart interventions such as provision of clean, certified, drought tolerant seeds, water harvesting and irrigation, changing harvesting times, use of cover crops and regular soil checks were identified as remedies.

Beyond production risks

However, risks are not only found in the production stage. “Most of the agricultural losses and waste happen during post-harvest” noted Philip Simiyu, a graduate student at the University of Nairobi. Kenya loses 5 million bags of maize yearly to poor post-harvest handling through inadequate storage facilities and poor preservation techniques. With traditional drying techniques, changing weather patterns result in prolonged drying times and upraised aflatoxins. The situation is further worsened by long transportation periods from farms to markets. CSA options to mitigate post-harvest losses such as drying grains using solar dryers, use of appropriate preservation facilities, changing harvesting times and use of better storage bags could de-risk this stage of the value chain.

Evidently, the potential of CSA to mitigate risks in value chains is high, so why aren’t farmers and agribusiness professionals implementing them? A key barrier to adoption of CSA was found to be access to finance. Luckily, there are a growing number of innovative financing mechanisms, such as Financial Access, which lends exclusively to CSA and agribusiness farmers. Insurance is another option to reduce the financial risks faced by farmers. “Insurance for agriculture isn’t just limited to weather index-based insurance anymore. New products are being developed that cover the entire value chain, including risks to labor” said Wairimu Muthike of ACRE Africa.

There was agreement on CSA’s potential for risk mitigation as well as its business sense: “… we need to bring the private sector to farmers to bridge the gap and engage the government in support of local farmers incentives” concluded Kenneth Monjero, Lead Scientist with Kenya’s Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO).

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Capacitating Farmers and Fishers to Manage Climate Risks in South Asia (CaFFSA)

3 months 2 weeks ago

Climate variability has a profound influence on fisheries and agriculture in South Asia, including the service industry and value chains. Progress in weather and sub-seasonal/seasonal forecasting has significantly increased the information available. Yet gaps still exist in the delivery and impact of climate information services, including reliability, uncertainty, scaling and delivery. CaFFSA will innovate in the delivery of climate information services (CIS) to 330,000 farm households in India (Andhra Pradesh and Odisha states) and 150,000 fish farming households in Odisha and Bangladesh (Barisal, Sylhet and Khulna divisions). Timely, reliable and contextualized climate information will profoundly change the climate risk equation in sectors that underpin the food security of millions. The project builds on the existing expertise of CGIAR and partnerships with national agencies and agricultural service and credit institutions to design and deliver scalable products, with an aim to reach more than 600,000 people by 2021.

1 hour 59 minutes ago
Value chains
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