Agricultural intensification is commonly identified as one way to both address growing food security concerns and improve the income of smallholder farmers. However on a recent trip I took to Northern Ghana, I noticed that agricultural intensification could lead to adverse effects, affecting men and women in ways we perhaps haven’t yet considered.
A major report on water for food security and nutrition, launched on Friday by the high-level panel of experts on food security and nutrition, is the first comprehensive effort to bring together access to water, food security and nutrition. This report goes far beyond the usual focus on water for agriculture.
What are we to make of the proliferation of water funds around the world? Now there’s a question. Would they still be growing in number if they weren’t delivering tangible impacts? Many interventions lack fundamental scientific principles to support them, so the answer in some cases may well be yes. Which is why it is vital that they get the science right.
When experts in large-scale irrigation systems hear the phrase ‘ecosystem services based approach’, their responses represent an array of contrasting perspectives on what is – or should be – an environmental service perspective and how it can be used. Two researchers react to ‘ecosystem services based approach’.
Has anyone considered the relationship between the stubbornly high malnutrition in Laos and the increasing workloads of women in agriculture? A recent World Bank report ignored this question, while other projects are assuming that nutrition can be solved by boosting the numbers of trainings and home gardens.
What are we to make of the proliferation of water funds round the world dedicated to maintaining the watersheds that keep rivers flowing, aquifers charged and taps full? Should we embrace the engagement of some of the world’s most famous water guzzlers?
When a savings and credit trainer had explained to a farmer that if he saved $1 per month for the last 30 years he would have more than $360, the farmer was impressed about the amount of savings he lost and raised a surprising question: where were you.
In celebration of the International Year of Soils, we asked a number of experts: Can poor farmers afford to invest in restoring degraded soils? Read their responses.
Development practitioners are faced with a conundrum: how to measure results, and satisfy donors’ and funders’ demand for impact reporting, when the typical three-year development project has long expired by the time impacts emerge? A new tool might be the answer.
With so much great literature on ecosystem services over the past two months, here is the second part to our Science on the pulse series for February and March.
We’d like to present you with what’s been in scientific and popular literature this February and March on the theme of Ecosystem Services and Resilience.
Researchers from the Technical University of Madrid, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Harvard University have just published a paper in PLOS ONE which jointly assesses issues of future global food security and environmental outcomes. The study describes different future agricultural production pathways in one of the most important food baskets of the world: Latin America.
The Tana-Nairobi Water Fund is a public-private scheme uniting big business, utilities, conservation groups, government, researchers and farmers. It aims to increase farm productivity upstream, while improving water supply and cutting costs of hydropower and clean water for users downstream, and is designed to generate US$21.5 million in long-term benefits to Kenyan citizens, including farmers and businesses.
A recent study indicates that the total area under irrigation from groundwater resources in Africa can safely be expanded 20 times or more beyond current levels, but not everywhere. Farmers have already tapped into Africa’s groundwater, but mostly in the northern and southern regions. There is potential to sustainably increase the use of groundwater elsewhere in Africa, and in particular for small-scale farming.
New Snapshot Series: Partially treated sewage and industrial effluent is pumped into irrigation channels in Jajmau, a suburb of the Indian city of Kanpur. What isn’t used by farmers eventually flows into the Ganges, one of the country’s most polluted rivers.
They are the large overlooked agricultural potential: the extensive flood plains of Sub Saharan Africa. In Asian countries the flood plains are converted into food baskets and densely populated population hubs, in Africa the flood plains are largely unchartered terrain.