Gender & Governance in rural India, Ghana, and Ethiopia

In 2010, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the World Bank (WB) conducted an analysis of agricultural extension and clean water access in rural areas in India, Ghana, and Ethiopia. The surveys were conducted in approximately 1,000 households in each country.

Access to agricultural extension varied across the three countries. There was reported moderate access in India and Ethiopia, and low access in Ghana. Agricultural extension services were reported as inconsistent in many areas and the quality of the service provided varied. Each country in the report had different apparent causes for the inadequate availability or poor quality of agricultural extension services. A common feature in every country was the gendered divide in access to agricultural extension services. Oftentimes, extension service workers did not talk to the women of the household and in some cases, there was a perception that women were not farmers and thus could not benefit from the extension services. Seemingly by default, the extension workers would speak only to the men of the household even if women were a part of the agricultural community in that region.

The IFPRI and WB report also investigated access to clean water in this study. India was reported to have high water access, Ghana had moderate access, and Ethiopia had low access to clean water. The decentralization of water access and maintenance in India most likely contributes to its high amount of clean water access. However, Ghana and Ethiopia do not report high disatisfaction rates even if water access is low. In addition to access, the survey also asked about maintenance and accountability to water systems. Regardless of rates of water access and happiness with water access, the share of households that reported dissatisfaction with their service (or lack thereof) to government officials or political representatives was low.

General recommendations for improving agricultural extension services and access to clean water address the gendered issues seen in every country. Some of suggestions are:

  • Looking at why rural services and solutions fail women: link gender-related efforts to general reform efforts and fix the perceptions that women are not farmers, or do not make agricultural decisions
  • There is a need to obtain gender-disaggregated data on access to services
  • Investigate the possibility of different kinds of community groups for services that are necessary for the entire population of the village or region: for instance, farmer-based organizations are good for targeting farmers but lack access to the entire population for promoting and ensuring clean water access=

IFPRI and the WB also recommended country-specific policy suggestions. There is an acknowledgement that agricultural extension services and clean water access are managed and maintained best by local actors. There have been efforts to decentralize these systems in all three countries, but there are recommendations to make the decentralization more effective.

To make decentralization as effective as possible, IFPRI recommends:

  • Creating structures to prevent elite capture of resources
  • Increasing gram panchayat administrative support
  • Making it easier for women to attend gram panchayat meetings

India has not hired new agricultural extension workers for more than a decade (in 2010) and capacity suffers because of this. Further recommendations include:

  • Hiring new extension workers as soon as possible will improve the quantity of farms an extension worker can visit and, hopefully with gender-sensitive training, can help bridge the gap between agricultural extension access between men and women
  • Re-establish the function of agricultural extension workers as a link between farmers and researchers.
  • Expanding extension workers roles even more- there is an opportunity for extension workers to organize inclusive farmer-based organizations and interest groups.

Suggestions for India’s clean water access focus mainly on making the water and sanitation systems more gender inclusive:

  • Getting more women involved in WASH committees
  • Including gender issues in WASH professionals’ training
  • Hiring more women
  • Focusing more on drainage

Decentralization in Ghana has opportunities to be stronger. Some recommendations are gender focused:

  • Increasing the number of female district assembly members
  • Strengthening gender district focal points to ensure gender is a priority at the district level
  • Empowering district assembly members more
  • Strengthening the subdistrict structure, so as to aid district assembly members more effectively

Agricultural extension rates in Ghana are low. Improvements can be made by:

  • Better management practices
  • Focusing more on goals and outcomes of the agricultural extension workers
  • Increasing access to female farmers
  • Reconsidering the roles of farmer-based organizations to deliver agricultural extension services more effectively

Access to clean water is hindered by the misunderstanding around Ghana’s Water and Sanitation Committees (WATSANs). WATSANs have limited coverage, so expanding their capacity and strengthening their role in the accountability system is key for more effective implementation.

Local government has a lot of potential in Ethiopia. The recommendations encapsulate the need for strengthening the capacity and skills of local government and supporting regional government as well. Additionally:

  • There are suggestions to better monitor local service delivery
  • Pay attention to the gender dimensions of service delivery and local leadership
  • Investigate the ruling party process and systems.

Currently agricultural extension services are narrowly focused and delivered from a very top-down approach. Promising strategies to make agricultural extension more effective are:

  • Giving extension workers more discretion
  • Extending coverage to where it is currently limited, like pastoral areas
  • Identifying innovative ways to bridge the gender gap in access to agricultural extension services

Ethiopia struggles with perceptions of clientelism in the delivery of public services. Effective delivery of gender-sensitive and inclusive water systems from water committees, and not political actors, will help make clean water more accessible and better maintained.

The book can be found in PDF form here.

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Linking WASH, Nutrition and Agriculture: Indicators to Measure Progress Across SDGs

IMG_1425Many development actors and United Nations Member States have suggested – where possible – that indicators for the SDGs measure progress towards more than one target, or be “multi-purpose.” On March 27th, the International Coalition on Advocating for Nutrition (ICAN) hosted a discussion at the UN titled Indicators with Impact: how to measure nutrition in the post-2015 development agenda. CONCERN Worldwide, Action Against Hunger, The Hunger Project, Farming First, WaterAid and WASH Advocates co-organized a follow-up discussion on Thursday, April 23rd about inherent linkages between nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and agriculture during a week of negotiations about Financing for Development and Means of Implementation. Attendees and panelists discussed how indicators for these three sectors can meaningfully measure progress to ensure a sustainable and comprehensive Post 2015 framework.

With only 15 years to meet this agenda, efforts will require broad scale-up of effective partnerships, the realization of national ownership and efficient methodologies.

In her opening remarks, moderator Åsa Skogström-Feldt, CEO of The Hunger Project, stated that the development community knows that “nutrition-sensitive agricultural interventions address both hunger and nutrition, and failure to address WASH issues can undermine both nutrition and food security…These issues are inextricably linked.” Åsa challenged attendees to ensure that solutions – and the way in which we measure progress towards them – acknowledge interlinkages and address the root causes underlying the manifestations of hunger and poverty in all of their forms.

Susan Carlson, Chair of the Women’s Committee of the World Farmer’s Organization set the context for discussion as a female farmer herself and representative of rural, farmers’ voices from the Global South. She urged that agricultural initiatives seek to shift subsistence farming toward sustainable livelihoods through an increase in funding and investments from a variety of actors to ensure adequate commitments.

Indicators in the UN Statistical Commission’s preliminary list for target 2.2 for nutrition do not reference lactating mothers and two indicators on target 2.4 address climate change mitigation but omit adaptation, resilience, and the vital topic of soil quality referenced in the target. Improving these indicators to more holistically measure progress will not only uphold the targets and their goals, but also offer a significant avenue of opportunity for partnerships between actors focused on value-add for nutrition and WASH.

Expounding on gaps in the current draft of the SDG indicator framework, Dr. Andrew Trevett, UNICEF’s Senior Adviser for WASH, stated that a crucial and clearer global indicator for water security – as it affects food production and the linkage to time poverty – is missing. Improved water supplies and access yields increased productivity of small farmers and opportunity for economic empowerment of women [in rural areas.] Current WASH priorities in the SDGs include elimination of open defecation, universal access to basic water and sanitation, raising service levels to deliver safely managed water and sanitation services and progressive elimination of inequalities. WASH access – as it reduces exposure to fecal pollution – is critical for improved nutrition outcomes, especially stunting in children and pregnant women’s retention of nutrients.

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These points brought the discussion full-circle to the driving topic of this event: nutrition. Hien Tran of Global Policy and Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation returned after speaking on the previous event’s panel about specific nutrition indicators that can be broadly and feasibly applied across sectors at both the global and national levels.

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On this panel, Hien focused on the conceptual approaches to selecting the best indicators for the Post 2015 framework, noting that they must be sensitive to differing national capacities: “We can see how the integration of these sectors paves the way for partnership opportunities, thus improving [our] shared capacity to strengthen the implementation of the Post-2015 Agenda.” Looking at nutrition in its simplest form – with respect to agriculture – Hien highlighted a “feedback loop,” wherein nutrition-sensitive agriculture can provide an accessible supply of diverse, nutritious foods, and improved nutrition leads to better health which can help improve productivity on the farm. The glue in this “feedback loop” is the inclusion of WASH, reinforcing Dr. Trevett’s point that without safe water and adequate sanitation, any possible gain in improved nutrition will be undermined by water-borne diseases and unclean conditions.

So, what implications do the inherent linkages between WASH, nutrition and agriculture have in determining [the best] indicators for the post-2015 framework? Hien noted that considering policy implications across sectors is particularly important because it has been emphasized that developing indicators is a technical process, and rightfully so. However, the technical process must be informed by a very strong, complete, and nuanced understanding of linkages and policy implications across sectors.” The baseline criteria for indicators is that they be methodologically sound, outcome-focused and allow for global comparisons. But, the value of an indicator is not only in its effectiveness in measuring progress for a particular target, but also how policy implications from the interventions underlying a particular indicator apply to progress toward other targets.

Hien used the example of an indicator for the prevalence of stunting in children under 5, which will solidly measure progress towards ending all forms of malnutrition (target 2.2). This indicator captures a non-income dimension of poverty as stunting reflects cumulative effects of inadequate food intake and poor health conditions that result from exposure to unsanitary environment common in communities living in endemic poverty. The implications from initiatives to address stunting have implications for eradicating poverty in all its forms as well as measuring progress toward target 1.2 to reduce – at least by half – the proportion of all persons living in poverty in all its dimensions (according to national definitions).

Those living in poverty – the people at the heart of what the SDGs are intended to address – face multiple burdens, thus programmatic interventions cannot ignore these overlapping challenges. The selection of indicators must reflect and take this into account.

Award-Winning Agriculture/Nutrition Projects

Harvest Nutrition contest
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Three projects were awarded as winners of the 2013 Harvesting Nutrition contest  organized by  SecureNutrition . The contest was organized to promote initiatives with a holistic approach linking nutrition, agriculture and food security. The award ceremony was held at The World Bank on February 19, 2015. According to SecureNutrition the contest attracted 50 submissions from projects around the world showcasing  a global effort to close the gap between agriculture, food security and nutrition. A panel of five judges from SecureNutrition, GAIN, and Save the Children took part in the decision process. The three winning projects were selected according to their potential for impact, innovation and scalability.

Below is the profile of the three winning projects and assessment of their unique approach provided by the decision panel ;


  • Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN): Potential Impact on Nutrition 

    Aiming to increase year-round availability of and access to high-quality foods at the household level, preliminary data from RAIN shows encouraging results, with increased production of various micronutrient rich crops, such as leafy green vegetables, and increased dietary diversity during both the hunger as the post-harvest seasons.  With rigorous data collection and analysis, conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), integrated into the program design and strong government coordination, the potential impact – and potential for demonstrating an impact – of RAIN on nutrition outcomes is likely to increase as the project unfolds. (Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN)

  • Shamba Shape Up : Innovation 

    A “make-over”-style reality TV show targeting rural smallholder farmers, Shamba Shape Up was a clear standout as an innovative platform for presenting and disseminating a nutrition message. Shamba Shape Up reaches over 10 million farmers in East Africa with tools and information to improve productivity and income on their farms  (Shamba Shape Up)

  •  N2Africa: Scalability 

    A large-scale multi-country “development to research” project aimed at promoting new technologies for improving productivity of legumes such as groundnut, cowpea and common bean – commonly regarded as women’s crops – N2Africa works with a wide variety of stakeholders across the value chain from seed to fork and from field to market.  A strong evaluation system provides the basis for ongoing feedback and learning. (N2Africa)

The State Of Food And Agriculture 2014: Innovation in family farming

SOFA-2014-cover-web-en_01FAO’s 2014 report on The State Of Food and Agriculture (SOFA 2014) focuses on the vital role of family farms for food security, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability. The report states more than 500 million family farms manage the majority of the world’s agricultural land  and produce most of the world’s food. That group constitutes 90% of the world’s farmers. Family farms occupy around 70 – 80 percent of farmland and produce more than 80 percent of the world’s food in value terms.

The vast majority of the world’s farms are small and in many lower-income countries farm sizes are shrinking. Globally, farms of less than 5 hectare account for 94 percent of all farms but control only 19 percent of all agricultural land. In contrast, only 1 percent of all farms in the world are larger than 50 hectares, but these few farms control 65 percent of the world’s agricultural land. Many of these large farms are family-owned and operated.

In most countries, small and medium-sized farms tend to have higher agricultural crop yields per hectare than larger farms because they manage resources and use labor more effectively, however they produce less per worker. SOFA 2014 assesses the innovation needed to improve labor productivity. The development, adaptation and application of new technologies and farm management practices, and the wider application of existing technologies and practices, are cited as the pathways towards efficiency in labor productivity, natural resource management and environmental
sustainability as well as food security.

The report sets the following prerequisite circumstances as a backdrop for family farming innovation;

  • Family farms are an extremely diverse group, and innovation systems must take this diversity into account.
  • The challenges facing agriculture and the institutional environment for agricultural innovation are far more complex than ever before; the world must create an innovation system that embraces this complexity
  • Public investment in agricultural research and development and extension and advisory services should be increased and refocused to emphasize sustainable intensification and closing yield and labor productivity gaps.
  • All family farmers need an supportive environment for innovation, including good governance, stable macroeconomic conditions, transparent legal and regulatory regimes, secure property rights, risk management tools and market infrastructure
  • Capacity to innovate in family farming must be promoted at multiple levels.
  • Individual innovation capacity must be developed through investment in education and training.
  • Effective and inclusive producers’ organizations can support the innovation of their members.

According to FAO 2014 is the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF), which aims to highlight the role of family farmers in achieving food security and sustainable development.

Below is a sample table showing the agricultural labor productivity of THP program countries and the world based on income grouping. 

You can review the complete report here!

Average annual level(Constant 2004–06 international dollars) Average annual rate of change(Percentage)
Countries 1981–1991     1991– 2001    2001–2012 1981–1991     1991– 2001   2001–2012
Low income 416                419                  490 –0.2                    0.7                 1.9
Lower middle  income 937                902                  1057 1.4                      0.5                 2.3
Upper Middle income 720                1003                 1454 1.3                      3.7                 3.5
World 1141               1261                1535 0.4                      1.7                 2.1
Low and middle income 755                 879                  1144 1.2                      2.2                 2.8
Bangladesh 333                 378                  537 0.2                      2.9                 3.6
Benin 658                 831                  1046 2.0                      3.9                 1.4
Bolivia 1194                1362               1530 1.5                       0.8                1.2
Burkina Faso 270                  334                 370 3.9                       0.4               –0.7
Ethiopia                        216                  265                            0.9                 2.6
Ghana 615                  841                 1010 2.6                       1.6                 1.8
India 555                 658                  763 1.8                       1.5                 2.7
Malawi 319                 344                  494 –1.6                      5.9                 3.9
Mexico 2390               2803                 3797 0.5                        2.9                 2.6
Mozambique 202                 210                  267 –0.7                      4.2                 3.1
Peru 1304               1401                 2000 –0.6                      4.1                 3.7
Senegal 370                 337                  328 0.0                        0.4                 1.7
Uganda 502                 504                  517 –0.2                     0.5               –1.1

Gender Gap and Access to Productive Assets: A Conceptual Framework

GAAPHow can agricultural development programs help improve women’s access to assets, thus reducing gender gaps and leading to more well-being? The latest report “Learning from Eight Agricultural Development Interventions in Africa and South Asia” from The Gender, Agriculture, & and Assets Project (GAAP) focuses on that question. GAAP developed a conceptual framework for the evaluation of development projects and presents the results of eight agricultural programs.

GAAP is a gender focused project led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). It aims to reveal gender gaps with regards to the different distribution of productive assets between men and women of a household, and how agricultural development projects can improve the access to assets and thus diminish the gender gap (GAAP, 2013).

The report stresses the fact that “[a]ccess to, control over, and ownership of assets are critical components of well-being” (GAAP, 2013). Having productive assets can help  increase income as well as facilitate dealing with shocks (e.g. natural disasters or family health crises). Assets can be controlled separately by men and women or as joint assets. However, since assets and their control are unequally distributed in a household between man and woman, their bargaining power over resources is unequal as well, leading to a varying in well-being with regards to food security, nutrition, and education (GAAP, 2013). Therefore, development programs should rather focus on the improvement of access to assets and their control than just on the improvement of incomes.

For the outcome evaluation of agricultural development programs GAAP drafted a framework to ”offe[r] a starting point how gender and assets influence household and individual well-being” and “the way gender relations influence the different ways men and women experience constraints and opportunities when building their asset stock” (GAAP, 2013). The framework includes seven elements, which are all interconnected and gendered. The overall element to be aware of the context, since ecological, social, economic, and political conditions have different effects on women and men. The further components are now shortly presented (GAAP, 2013):

  • Assets: access to and control over assets are key determinants of individual agency
  • Livelihood strategies: the decisions about how to invest assets to generate returns, such as income or food, depend on contextual factors as well as assets which are available  
  • Shocks: shocks such as conflicts and diseases are experienced differently by men and women, also depending on their responsibilities; assets are differently used to respond to them
  • Full income: household members differ in their contribution to household income; women often spend more of their income on food, healthcare and children’s education
  • Consumption & savings: consumption and saving can affect asset accumulation or loss; income of women, men or the joint income can be used for different types of investment, however, women are not always able to invest in the same assets as men
  • Well-being: assets can impact well-being, e.g. by increasing status and empowerment through asset ownership or by providing a buffer against shocks  

This framework is a useful tool for project developers to analyze “how their interventions are gendered and likely to influence outcome and long-term asset accumulation” (GAAP 2013).

To download the report click here.

To read the project notes click here.


Need help designing seed-related assistance?

Seed System is a collaboration among diverse national and international organizations aiming to improve seed security in high stress and vulnerable areas across the world. Their new website provides practical (‘how- to”) guidance and strategic thinking to help professionals design seed-related assistance.  pro provides practical (‘how-to’) guidance and strategic thinking to help professionals design seed-related assistance.

Seed system website is dedicated to strengthening smallholder farmers’ seed systems. is for practitioners, researchers, managers, policy-makers and donors working in humanitarian relief and agricultural development. Seed system highlights the aim of the program is to foster productive, resilient, and market-oriented seed systems, even in times of emergency and chronic stress.

The site shares resources (tried-and-tested technical guidance!) and has three main aims:

  • to improve intervention practice;

  • to improve assessment;

  • to improve strategic thinking around seed system response and seed system development.

The website also comes with a section that has Assessment Tools on:

– When disaster strikes: overall assessment guide

– Seed system security assessment: specific tools

– Tips for planning and implementation

The assessment tools provide the basic tools and practical planning aids needed to assess seed security— that is, to conduct a Seed System Security Assessment (SSSA). The website allows practitioners and managers in the field to plan and implement an SSSA.

Seed system has resources downloadable resources available online in French and Portuguese.


Seed System, 2014. Retrieved on 2 April 2014 from


Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

Olivier De Schutter, a United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, has recently presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council. The Rapporteur called for the world’s food system to be radically and democratically redesigned. (SRFOOD.ORG, 2014). In the final report, Olivier De Schutter presents his main conclusions and a summary of recommendations issued over the course of his mandate as Special Rapporteur (2008-2014).

According to the Special Rapporteur, “the right to food is the right of every individual, alone or in community with others, to have physical and economic access at all times to sufficient, adequate and culturally acceptable food that is produced and consumed sustainably, preserving access to food for future generations.1 Individuals can secure access to food (a) by earning incomes from employment or self-employment; (b) through social transfers; or (c) by producing their own food, for those who have access to land and other productive resources.”

To download and read the final report, click here.

To download and read the final report in Spanish, click here and for French, click here.

The following is a summary from the final Report on the right to food/ (Adopted from Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter).

The eradication of hunger and malnutrition is an achievable goal. Reaching it requires, however, that we move away from business as usual and improve coordination across sectors, across time and across levels of governance. Empowering communities at the local level, in order for them to identify the obstacles that they face and the solutions that suit them best, is a first step. This must be complemented by supportive policies at the national level that ensure the right sequencing between the various policy reforms that are needed, across all relevant sectors, including agriculture, rural development, health, education and social protection. In turn, local-level and national-level policies should benefit from an enabling international environment, in which policies that affect the ability of countries to guarantee the right to food – in the areas of trade, food aid, foreign debt alleviation and development cooperation – are realigned with the imperative of achieving food security and ensuring adequate nutrition. Understood as a requirement for democracy in the food systems, which would imply the possibility for communities to choose which food systems to depend on and how to reshape those systems, food sovereignty is a condition for the full realization of the right to food. But it is the paradox of an increasingly interdependent world that this requires deepening the cooperation between States.

 The following are few excerpts from the key recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur in past thematic reports, from 2008 to 2013, to the Human Rights Council:

A. Ensuring access to resources

1. Access to land

 In a context in which commercial pressures on land are increasing, it is crucial that States strengthen the protection of land users (A/65/281) and implement the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land and other Natural Resources. In particular, States should:

(a) Ensure security of tenure, by adopting anti-eviction laws and improving the regulatory framework concerning expropriation;

(b) Conduct decentralized mapping of various users’ land rights and strengthen customary systems of tenure;

(c) Adopt tenancy laws to protect tenants from eviction and from excessive levels of rent;

(d) Respect the rights of special groups, such as indigenous peoples, fisherfolk, herders and pastoralists, for whom the protection of commons is vital;

(e) Prioritize development models that do not lead to evictions, disruptive shifts in land rights and increased land concentration, and ensure that all land investment projects are consistent with relevant obligations under international human rights law (A/HRC/13/33/Add.2);

(f) Refrain from criminalizing the non-violent occupation of land by movements of landless people;

(g) Implement redistributive land reform where a high degree of land ownership concentration is combined with a significant level of rural poverty attributable to landlessness or to the cultivation of excessively small plots of land by smallholders, and supporting beneficiaries of land redistribution to ensure that they can make a productive use of their land; and

(h) Regulate land markets to prevent the impacts of speculation on land concentration and distress sales by indebted farmers.

2. Seeds

Guaranteeing food security in the future requires that we support crop genetic diversity, including agro-biodiversity (A/64/170). This is particularly important for small-scale farmers in developing countries, who still overwhelmingly rely on seeds which they save from their own crops and which they donate, exchange or sell. In order to ensure that the A/HRC/25/57 22 development of the intellectual property rights regime and the implementation of seed policies at the national level are compatible with the right to food, States should:

(a) Make swift progress towards the implementation of farmers’ rights, as defined in article 9 of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture;

(b) Not allow patents on plants and establish research exemptions in legislation protecting plant breeders’ rights;

(c) Ensure that their seed regulations (seed certification schemes) do not lead to an exclusion of farmers’ varieties; and

(d) Support and scale up local seed exchange systems such as community seed banks and seed fairs, and community registers of peasant varieties. Donors and international institutions should assist States in implementing the above recommendations, and, in particular:

(a) Support efforts by developing countries to establish a sui generis regime for the protection of intellectual property rights which suits their development needs and is based on human rights;

(b) Fund breeding projects on a large diversity of crops, including orphan crops, as well as on varieties for complex agro-environments such as dry regions, and encourage participatory plant breeding;

(c) Channel an adequate proportion of funds towards research programmes and projects that aim at improving the whole agricultural system and not only the plant (agroforestry, better soil management techniques, composting, water management, good agronomic practices).

3. Fisheries

It is urgent that States move towards sustainable resource use while ensuring that the rights and livelihoods of small-scale fishers and coastal communities are respected and that the food security of all groups depending on fish is improved (A/67/268).

B. Supporting local food systems

1. Reinvestment in agriculture

Reinvestment in agriculture and rural development should effectively contribute to the realization of the right to food (A/HRC/12/31). In order to achieve this important goal, the international community should:

(a) Channel adequate support to sustainable farming approaches that benefit the most vulnerable groups and that are resilient to climate change;

(b) Prioritize the provision of public goods, such as storage facilities, extension services, means of communications, access to credit and insurance and agricultural research;

(c) In countries facing important levels of rural poverty and in the absence of employment opportunities in other sectors, establish and promote farming systems that are sufficiently labor-intensive to contribute to employment creation (A/HRC/13/33/Add.2); and

(d) Ensure that investment agreements contribute to reinforcing local livelihood options and to environmentally sustainable modes of agricultural production.

2. Agro-ecology: Moving towards sustainable modes of agricultural production is vital for future food security and an essential component of the right to food. Agro-ecology has enormous potential in that regard (A/HRC/13/33/Add.2).

3. Support small-holder farmers: The realization of the right to food for all will require proactively engaging in public policies aimed at expanding the choices of smallholders to sell their products at a decent price (A/HRC/13/33). To achieve this, States should:

(a) Strengthen local and national markets and support continued diversification of channels of trading and distribution;

(b) Support the establishment of farmers’ cooperatives and other producer organizations (A/66/262); A/HRC/25/57 24

(c) Establish or defend flexible and efficient producer marketing boards under government authority but with the strong participation of producers in their governance;

(d) Encourage preferential sourcing from small-scale farmers through fiscal incentives or by making access to public procurement schemes conditional on the bidders’ compliance with certain sourcing requirements.

4. Contract Farming: To ensure that contract farming and other business models support the right to food (A/66/262), Governments should ensure that regulatory oversight keeps pace with the level of the expansion and the complexity of business models.

5. Agricultural workers: To guarantee that those working on farms can be guaranteed a living wage, adequate health and safe conditions of employment (A/HRC/13/33)

C. Deploying national strategies

1. National Strategies: States should build national strategies for the realization of the right to adequate food, which should include mapping of the food- insecure, adoption of relevant legislation and policies with a right-to-food framework, establishment of mechanisms to ensure accountability, and the establishment of mechanisms and processes which ensure real participation of rights-holders, particularly the most vulnerable, in designing and monitoring such legislation and policies (A/68/268).

2. Human Rights Impact Assessments: To ensure consistency between domestic policies aimed at the full realization of the right to food and external policies in the areas of trade, investment, development and humanitarian aid, States should establish mechanisms that ensure that the right to food is fully taken into account in those policies. The Special Rapporteur has presented Guiding Principles on Human Rights Impact Assessments, based on a range of consultations with governmental and non-governmental actors, which provide guidance as to how to conduct such assessments, both ex-ante and ex-post (A/HRC/19/59/Add.5).

3. Women’s Rights:

 In order to strengthen the protection of the right to food of women (A/HRC/22/50), States should:

 (a) Remove all discriminatory provisions in the law, combat discrimination that has its source in social and cultural norms, and use temporary special measures to accelerate the achievement of gender equality;

(b) Recognize the need to accommodate the specific time and mobility constraints on women as a result of the existing gender roles, while at the same time redistributing the gender roles by a transformative approach to employment and social protection;

(c) Mainstream a concern for gender in all laws, policies and programs, where appropriate, by developing incentives that reward public administrations which make progress in setting and reaching targets in this regard;

(d) Adopt multi-sector and multi-year strategies that move towards full equality for women, under the supervision of an independent body to monitor progress, relying on gender-disaggregated data in all areas relating to the achievement of food security.

4. Social Protection:

 The provision of social protection can substantially contribute to the realization of the right to food (A/68/268, A/HRC/12/31).

5. Nutrition: To reshape food systems for the promotion of sustainable diets and effectively combat the different faces of malnutrition (A/HRC/19/59), States should:

(a) Adopt statutory regulation on the marketing of food products, as the most effective way to reduce marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, sodium and sugar (HFSS foods) to children, and restrict marketing of these foods to other groups;

(b) Impose taxes on soft drinks (sodas), and on HFSS foods, in order to subsidize access to fruits and vegetables and educational campaigns on healthy diets;

(c) Adopt a plan for the complete replacement of trans-fatty acids with polyunsaturated fats;

(d) Review the existing systems of agricultural subsidies, in order to take into account the public health impacts of current allocations, and use public procurement schemes for school-feeding programmes and for other public institutions to support the provision of locally sourced, nutritious foods; and

(e) Transpose into domestic legislation the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and the WHO recommendations on the marketing of breast-milk substitutes and of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children, and ensure their effective enforcement.

The private sector should:

(a) Comply fully with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, and comply with the WHO recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children, even where local enforcement is weak or non-existent;

(b) Abstain from imposing nutrition-based interventions where local ecosystems and resources are able to support sustainable diets, and systematically ensure that such interventions prioritize local solutions;

(c) Shift away from the supply of HFSS foods and towards healthier foods and phase out the use of trans-fatty acids in food processing.

D. Shaping an enabling international

1. Food price volatility: The international community should find ways to better manage the risks associated with international trade and ensure that least-developed and net food-importing developing countries are better protected from the volatility of international market prices.

2. A new framework for trade and investment in agriculture

The realization of the right to food requires designing trade rules that support the transition toward more sustainable agricultural practices. The multilateral trade regime as well as regional and bilateral trade agreements must allow countries to develop and implement ambitious food security policies including public food reserves, temporary import restrictions, active marketing boards, and safety net insurance schemes, in support of the progressive realization of the right to food (A/HRC/10/5/Add.2).

3. Regulating agribusiness

States should take steps towards the establishment of a multilateral framework regulating the activities of commodity buyers, processors, and retailers in the global food supply chain, including the setting of standards by these actors and their buying policies (A/HRC/13/33). In particular, States should use competition law in order to combat excessive concentration in the agribusiness sector. This requires having in place competition regimes sensitive to excessive buyer power in the agri-food sector, and devising competition authorities with mechanisms that allow for affected suppliers to bring complaints without fear of reprisal by dominant buyers.

4. Agro-fuels

The international community should reach a consensus on agro-fuels, based not only on the need to avoid the negative impact of the development of agro-fuels on the international price of staple food commodities, but also on the need to ensure that the production of agro-fuels respects the full range of human rights and does not result in distorted development in producer countries. Public incentives for the production of crop-based bio-fuels must be reduced and eventually removed, while only those advanced bio-fuels that do not compete with food production for land or other resources should be incentivized.

5. Food aid and development cooperation:

 International aid remains an important component of the right to food (A/HRC/10/5). Donor States should:

(a) Maintain and increase levels of aid calculated as Official Development Assistance as a percentage of GDP;

(b) Provide food aid on the basis of an objective assessment of the identified needs in developing countries;

(c) Fully respect the principle of ownership in their development cooperation policies by aligning these policies with national strategies for the realization of the right to food;

(d) Promote the right to food as a priority for development cooperation

To watch a related YouTube Video on Food Sovereignty Dialogue, click here.

Web Source :

IFPRI: 2013 Global Food Policy Report

Credit: IFPRI

The International Food Policy Research Institute has launched a 2013 Global Food Policy Report yesterday. The report was launched at the event held at the Institute’s Washington, DC main office. Among the speakers during the report launch event were  Dr. Shenggen Fan, Director General of the Institute, and guest speakers Homi Kharas from Brookings Institution, Asma Lateef from Bread for the World institute and Tjada McKenna from the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAIDs) Bureau for Food Security. Dr. Fan presented an overview of the major food policy developments presented in the Report and discussed about post-2015 development efforts that can help achieve the aspirational target of eliminating hunger and undernutrition in a sustainable manner by 2025 (IFPRI, 2014). Following Dr. Fan the guest speakers provided their own perspective on food and nutrition security, and they later responded to participant questions and suggestions.

To download and read the full report, click here.

To download and read the overview booklet, click here.

To watch the full report launching on YouTube, click here.

The release of report is pivotal as the process of defining the  post-2015 agenda and the new sustainable development goals (SDGs) are underway. Among others, the report calls for the need to improve nutrition at a global level and advocates for inclusion of nutrition in policy dialogue and development programs to end hunger and under-nutrition by 2025. According to Fan, “divergent views on agriculture, food, and nutritional goals in the post-2015 framework show that despite good information for debate, we still far from consensus on final decision.” citing the lack of coherence on strategies and goals. Further more, on the path to ending hunger and undernutrition, we should also ensure environmental sustainability(IFPRI, 2013).  The report suggests that the post-2015 agenda needs to be grounded in a multi-sectoral approach that (1) focuses on clear goals and targets, (2) uses comprehensive data and indicators that can be monitored and measured accurately, (3) supports partnerships among all stakeholders, and (4) promotes accountability (IFPRI, 2014).

The following are suggestion on approaches to accelerating the pace of hunger and undernutrition reduction:

– Country-led strategies and investments

– Evidence-based policies and policy experiments

– Knowledge sharing and transfers

– Data revolution, and

– Enhanced role of private sector

 Attention was also given to agriculture which employs majority of the global poor and the role it plays to end hunger and under-nutrition over  the next ten years leading to 2025. “Growth in agriculture sector is shown to reduce poverty three times faster than growth in any other sector-manufacturing, industry, or service.”(IFPRI, 2014). The report discusses how agricultural intensification and innovative farming to accelerate the end of hunger and under-nutrition by 2025. The report states that for  agriculture to address under-nutrition and hunger, scaling-up agricultural production and increasing productivity should couple with production of vegetables, fruits and other nutritious food.

To download the full pdf version of the report, click here.

The following is 2013 Food Policy Timeline (source: IFPRI)


Increasing homogeneity in global food supplies and the implications for food security (PNAS)

Source: PNAS
Source: PNAS

A study by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) shows that global diets have become more similar in composition over the last 50 years.  According to the study, “the narrowing of diversity in crop species contributing to the world’s food supplies has been considered a potential threat to food security.” (Khoury et al, 2014).  Important staple crops and cereals such as sorghum, millets, rye, cassava, sweet potato, and yam have lost their dietary contribution while oil crops like soybean, sunflower, and palm oil have increased in contribution to diet and production (Khoury et al, 2014).

Source: NBC NEWS
Source: NBC NEWS

The study notes that over the past 50 years, production of energy dense foods (i.e., animal products, plant oils, and sugars) increased around the world.  The liberalization of international trade and globalization has helped accelerate the homogenization of global food supply (Khoury et al, 2014).

To download and read the study published by PNAS, click here.

The following is an an important excerpt from NBC News on homogenization of food variety produced and susceptibility to crop disease and natural calamities by Colin Khoury, one of the study authors:

“Examples like the Irish potato famine [and] the southern corn leaf blight in the ’70s in the United States,” he noted, “have shown that if you have one variety, pests will find it and make trouble.” (NBC NEWS, 2014).

To read more about the authors and the publication, click here.

Development Strategy and Investment Plan (DSIP) of Uganda and the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)

Uganda tourism destinations

As a landlocked country in sub-Saharan Africa and with a population of 36.35 million (2012), Uganda will face a daunting task in reducing poverty and ensuring sustainable development in the coming years. Despite the challenges, over the past decade, the country has managed to reduce national poverty levels from 33.8% in 2000 to 24.5% in 2009, increased life expectancy at birth from 48 in 2000 to 58 years in 2011, and the gross national income (GNI) per-capita increased from $260 in 2000 to $440 in 2012. (World Bank, 2014). Like that of most African countries in the region, agriculture has been the backbone of Uganda’s economy. Agriculture accounts for 73% of total employment, and the proportion of women employed in agriculture is 83% while that of men’s is 71% in 2005. (MAAIF*, 2010).  Thus development of the agriculture sector in Uganda means, development of the economy,improvement in food supply, increased house hold income and above all improvement of the life of the majority of the people including women and children.  Among the major agricultural outputs in Uganda are maize (main staple food), coffee main export commodity), fish, diary cattle’s, beans, tea, poultry, bananas and cassava. The country still imports wheat, palm oil, refined sugar and other which could have been produced at home.(MAAIF, 2010). Future development plannings and investments should target these products which serve as a source of nutrition and export earnings.

*MAAIF, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries

To download a PDF version of the 2010/11-2014/15 DSIP of Uganda, click here:

In order to eradicate poverty, increase export earnings, maintain food security, improve nutrition and increase income, investment in sustainable agriculture and rural development is crucial.  In 2003, the African Union formed a Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) deligating New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as its implementing agency. CAADP members including Uganda signed compacts and designed investment plans. Member countries pledged to increase public investment in agriculture by 10% per year and raise agricultural productivity by 6% per year. Similarly, in 2010, the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) of Uganda designed development strategy and investment plan (DSIP) in alignment with its National Development Plan (NDP) and CAADP goals. As a revision of 2005/06 -2007/08, the 2010/11 – 2014/15 DSIP sorts the governments’ plan and strategy to reinvigorate the agriculture sector which contributes to 20% of the gross domestic product (GDP), 48% of export and most of the employment. (MAAIF, 2010).  According to a data from MAAIF, real growth in agricultural output decreased from 7.9% in 2000/01 to 2.3% in the years 2008/09 which was alarming considering the population growth and increasing food price. (MAAIF, 2010).

For more about CAADP,  here:

Imports of major agricultural commodities (2007)

Quantity (tonnes)

Value (current US$)




Palm Oil



Sugar, refined



Exports of major agricultural commodities (2010)

Quantity (tonnes)

Value (current US$)

coffee, green



Cotton lint



Sugar Raw Centrifugal



Source: FAO

In order to meet the demand for food, poverty and increase income from agriculture, it is imperative that the government work in cooperation with the private sector, international organizations, development agencies and civil societies. Among others, the government of Uganda on its next post 2014/15 DSIP, should focus on investments that centered around small scale farmers to increase production, income, export and ensure food security. A 2008 research by IFPRI demonstrated that “if agriculture in Uganda grew at 6% per year, the national poverty headcount level would fall from 31.1% in 2005 to 17.9% by 2015.” (MAAIF, 2010). Emphasis should be given to agricultural commodities  with export potential and those nutritious to increase caloric intake which is very low as compared to World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.The caloric intake per person in Uganda was 1,971 in 2005 which is less than the 2,300 recommended by WHO.(MAAIF, 2010).  It is also important that the government work with private investors to increase domestic supply of staple foods and avoid falling for corporations rushing to seize land for production of bio-fuels while 17.7 million (2007) people are food insecure. (MAAIF, 2010). Promoting climate resilient small scale agriculture, investing in transportation and agricultural infrastructures, promoting sustainable natural resource management, investing in agricultural research and technology, and collaborating with international donors help boost individual income, export earning, production output, food supply and also help eradicate poverty. The government of Uganda should also improve its bad image and record on human rights protection, political freedom, corruption and bureaucracy. Encouraging civil society organizations (CSOs) and development organizations that work at the grassroots level, and creating an accountable and transparent government system from top to village level will help achieve the DSIP and CAADP goals.


NEPAD-CAADP. (2010). Agriculture for food and income security: Agriculture Sector Development Strategy and Investment Plan 2010/11 – 2014/15. Retrieved on January 29, 2014 from

World Bank. (2013). Data: Uganda. Retrieved on January 29, 2014 from

Joan Akello. (2013). The Independent. IMF: aid cuts good opportunity for Uganda. Retrieved on January 29, 2014 from