The future of Ethiopia’s drought-threatened agriculture is in the hands of the country’s resourceful women farmers, Development Marketplace 2009 winner Ehsan Dulloo says.
Dulloo calls the women Ethiopian agriculture's “primary seed custodians.” They’re the ones who “have to confront significant uncertainty in the climate every year and regularly face food shortages as crops fail,” he says. That’s why Dulloo and the Institute of Bioversity Conservation in Addis Ababa – where he is a scientist – developed the winning project Seeds for Needs. (Participating farmer Bertukan Kebede is shown with daughter in photo from project workshop.)
Seeds for Needs aims to benefit 200 woman farmers who are running out of options on their subsistence plots in the increasingly dry highlands of eastern Ethiopia. Through Seeds for Needs, the woman farmers will get access to new strains of seeds -- produced at gene banks -- that may prove more hardy than the traditional varieties of seeds the farmers have been using to overcome droughts that are more frequent and intense because of climate change.
The story was told to me and so I will tell it to you. No, it was not passed down to me by my father or my father’s father but I still think it is a great story. A known story amongst international volunteer corps, it is whispered between friends with wistful eyes and knowing glances.
- South Asia
- Middle East and North Africa
- Latin America & Caribbean
- Europe and Central Asia
- East Asia and Pacific
- Communities and Human Settlements
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- political economy analysis
- consensus building
- Coalition Building
It is not often that you find forest officers sitting face to face with mining officials to discuss environmental sustainability—especially in a state which is rich in both minerals and forest resources. Nor do you often see fishermen walking toe to toe with farmers in sweltering 48° C heat to be heard alongside tribal chiefs and industrialists. And it is not often that a state, dubbed as the disaster capital of India, and which lags behind on every conceivable development indicator, comes out on top by being the first to consult with its people on how to tackle the onslaught of climate change.
Well, this happened last week in India’s coastal state of Orissa, one of the poorest states in the country. While the richer states - Maharashtra and Gujarat - were busy building fancy climate models to predict temperature and rainfall changes fifty years from now, Orissa focused on what it can do today.
The world South Asia will face after this crisis is not going to be the same as in the past. The trend that is accelerating after the financial crisis is that of the “new normal”: the shift in traditional engines of growth from industrial countries to emerging markets.
The crisis is accelerating this fundamental change in economic order in which developed countries have to save more and spend less, while emerging markets, such as China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa begin to play much bigger roles in driving the global recovery. According to our estimates, by 2020, in just ten years---Asia may see its share of world GDP (in nominal dollars) climb to over one-third, replacing North America and the European Union as the biggest region. Underlying this is an expected sharp rise in shares of China and India, and indeed, that of all emerging markets may climb to nearly one-half of global output.
Mozambique’s weak socio-economic infrastructure and geographic location make the country particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Rain-fed agriculture is the main livelihood for subsistence farmers in this southeastern Africa country. But the resources farmers depend on are severely affected by the climate hazards of drought, flooding, and epidemic disease, and the outlook is for even more adverse impact. Moreover, the Government of Mozambique currently has neither the capacity nor the financial resources for an integrated adaptation strategy.
Helvetas (Swiss Association for International Cooperation), which has promoted rural development in rural Mozambique for more than 30 years, is working to close those gaps through activities concentrated in rural areas in the Northern Provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula. (Photo above shows Zero Emission Fridge seed storage silo that was Development Marketplace 2009 finalist and which subsequently won $2 million funding from European Commission Food Facility.) The Food Security and Value Chain (SAAN) project aims to contribute to increased livelihoods of semi-subsistence farmers and increased income from cash crop sales. To achieve its goals, SAAN promotes organizational and entrepreneurial capacity for improved productivity, post-harvest management, and processing and commercialization of agricultural produce.
Climate proofing of the Helvetas Mozambique Food Security and Value Chain (SAAN) project should decrease the vulnerability of farming families and increase their adaptation capacity. A Vulnerability Assessment and Evaluation of Adaptation Capacity (CVCA) in Cabo Delgado Province improved understanding of links between climate related risks, people’s livelihood, and project activities.
What are the critical elements necessary for sustainability and scalability of social enterprise?
Tolstoy notwithstanding, the 20 African success stories described in the booklet “Yes, Africa Can” show that success comes in many different forms. Broadly speaking, the cases fall into three categories:
- Success from removing an existing, major distortion. The best example is Ghana’s cocoa sector, which was destroyed by the hyperinflation and overvalued exchange rate in the early 1980s. When the exchange rate regime was liberalized and the economy stabilized, cocoa exports boomed (and continue to grow). Similar examples include Rwanda’s coffee sector and Kenya’s fertilizer use. Africa’s mobile phone revolution, too, is an example of the government’s stepping out of the way—in this case by deregulating the telecommunications sector—and letting the private sector jump in.
- Urban Development
- Public Sector and Governance
- Private Sector Development
- Macroeconomics and Economic Growth
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Financial Sector
- Culture and Development
- Agriculture and Rural Development
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Sustainable development has been one of Development Marketplace's themes since its beginning 10 years ago. It's hard to count all the DM winners and finalists who have come forward with innovative "green" ideas that they wanted to share. Just a few examples:
One of the winners in DM2007 -- themed "Health, Nutrition, Population" -- was a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-sponsored project to develop clean-burning cooking charcoal from agricultural waste. Haiti's traditional cooking fuel often comes from wood. But wood burning produces high pollution that is a cause of widespread respiratory disease. Substituting charcoal for cooking not only improves the health of Haitian families, but also means fewer trees -- a major protection against soil erosion -- are cut down.
Yesterday, I attended the TEDxWorldBankGroup event, entitled Global Challenges in the New Decade. This first TEDxWorldBankGroup event was organized by the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) to add to the critical discussions taking place during the Spring Meetings. The event aimed to encourage conversation on gender, climate change, agriculture and water, and to find possible solutions to these global issues.
The speakers at the event were great and made excellent points about each of the chosen issues. One of the takeaways from the event was that the development community should act as one in addressing critical issues and take a wholesome approach to resolving global challenges instead of tackling them piecemeal.
Jason Clay, Senior Vice President of Market Transformation at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who presented on water issues at the event said that every time the development community tries to maximize efforts in one area, it takes away from another; therefore looking at all of these issues as a whole is the most effective way to solve them for the future generations.