Raising enough food to feed a burgeoning global population is a complex problem that requires the best minds and coordination of the public/private sector. There are couple interesting thoughts I’d like to share from two African women that work in agriculture.
The first is Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, chief executive officer and head of mission, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network. I had the pleasure of hearing Dr Sibanda speak at the Chicago Symposium on Global Hunger in Washington DC in late May. She made the following points.
There needs to be a focus on the farmer. What are their assets, what are their needs and how to link research directly to farmer’s livelihood. Further, typically there is little, or no, alignment of the farmers aspirations to the goals of the nation. Secondly, too often researchers are focus on heir narrow area of expertise and engage farmers in very selective areas instead of more broadly. A multi-discipline approach to helping farmers is need Thirdly, in Africa there is a plethora of successful projects but taking those to scale is always a challenge. What has always been missing is the interface of research and policy making. Research is done in isolation of the policy that is required to scale the project.
Josephine Okot, founder of Victoria Seeds makes observation on lack of good extension services for Uganda farmers and then makes what I find an interesting point:
“Donors should focus on those higher up the value chain. It is enterprises that are the critical drivers, they drive demand from farmers,” she says. “If donors want to achieve their objectives, if they want to improve livelihoods, they should focus on businesses that add value to output.”
Need to focus on companies that server farmers. Make something of raw materials. http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/jun/17/uganda-seed-entrepreneur-josephine-okot?CMP=twt_gu
Need to align policy makers with pilots to get buy in. Kenya women from conference.