Newsletter A+FS and e+i / March 2019

The A+FS Network publishes its Newsletter together with the Employment and Income Network. Please select your area of interest: Agriculture and Food Security | Vocational Skills Development / Private Sector Development / Financial Sector Development

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Climate Resilient Agriculture: Key issues and next steps

By 2050 world food production must increase by 60% to meet the demand of the world population. How is this possible with the climate related challenges faced by smallholders? Climate Resilient Agriculture (CRA) is one answer. In an online dialog, webinars and various documents the A&FS Network has been discussing the potential and challenges of CRA. Looking at the first outcomes of the first steps of this learning journey, Mélanie Surchat (see who is who) identifies the following key points:

•    Alliances between different stakeholders ensure more inclusive approaches
•    Capacity building and strong farmer organizations help promote CRA
•    Access to weather and climate information of high quality is primordial
•    Digital tools have great potential, data protection must however be ensured
•    Low-emission technologies are available, but incentives for implementation are needed
•    Use of diagnostic tools for programs and strategies should be mainstreamed
•    Access to insurance and finance are a major challenge
•    Public-Private-Partnerships can help integrate CRA concerns into the market system

Climate Resilient Agriculture: key points from the learning journey

The A&FS Network would like to continue the discussion, by defining the next steps towards a global F2F event on the transformation of food systems. What are your interests?

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Members' Articles | Your comments join the network!

Lessons learnt from the IGAD Land Governance project
[by Addis Teshome and Peter Sidler]
Land governance for socio-economic development, peace building and environmental resilience is still not sufficiently addressed. This is why Switzerland is engaged in the IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development) region to support the implementation of the African Union Declaration on Land Issues and Challenges. The article provides an overview of the achievements and lessons learnt so far… [read more]

Exporting coffee instead of opium
[by Markus Bürli]
In remote northern Myanmar a Private-Public Partnership links former opium farmers who nowadays produce coffee to the high-quality coffee market in Europe. It shows the challenges involved in the early stages of market linkages and the importance to also consider non-monetary benefits in such endeavours … [read more]

A review of Hans R. Herren’s book “How to Nourish the World”
[by Kris Schürch]
“An interesting read, which ignites a flame of hope that positive, grassroot changes are present and spreading” concludes Kris Schürch in his review of the small compendium written by the famous Swiss entomologist and winner of the World Food Price Hans R. Herren… [read more]

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The African Risk Capacity (ARC) - a challenging experience
The ARC is a Specialized Agency of the African Union that helps African governments in planning, preparing and responding to natural disasters. It uses an innovative approach by linking early warning systems to contingency plans and funds as well as credible national response mechanisms. A major challenge is the financing of insurance premiums… [read more]

Ever heard about Mothers’ Clubs (MCs)?
A Mothers’ Club is an association of volunteer women, who adhere to the principles of the Red Cross and sensitize other members of the community on topics they have previously been trained on (e.g. maternal and child health, nutrition, etc). A new leaflet provides an overview of the history and key elements of this approach… [read more]

Nutrition-sensitive agriculture benefits mountain areas
In the frame of the project Nutrition in Mountain Agro-ecosystems (NMA), 132 micro-interventions were implemented in Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan and Peru. Local communities benefitted from solar drier technology, school nutrition gardens, mushroom production and low cost greenhouses for instance. These activities should be combined with awareness creation activities to stimulate behavioural change… [read more]

Organic certification boosts positive impact of palm oil
For the first time, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) presented the results from the ‘palm oil assessment project’ at Biofach organic trade fair congress in Nuremberg, Germany. The findings are promising: FiBL’s assessment shows that all four organically certified palm oil companies score very well on almost every sustainability criteria… [read more]

Who is who | Your comments join the network!

Mélanie Surchat

Academic trainee for the Global Programme Food Security (GPFS) and the Global Programme Health (GPH) at SDC

What do you love about your work; what is special about it?  
I really enjoy working on different focus areas in different countries, and to see all the diversity of approaches and answers that are provided on the field. In my daily tasks, I am responsible of publishing articles and news/events on the A+FS shareweb, in order to maintain the connection between the members. Managing such a diverse network allows me to keep in touch with stakeholders from all around the world, which I enjoy very much.

What is the most important lesson you have learned from your work?
Today, holistic approaches are necessary to solve increasingly complex problems. The A+FS shareweb should be useful in that sense, to understand the consequences of a similar issue, for different stakeholders in various regions. However, I find it challenging to meet the demands of all the actors involved, as it is difficult to treat of all themes simultaneously. Therefore, I think it is important that the Focal Point Team, members from partner organizations and Swiss Cooperation Offices invest enough of their time for regional interactions and exchanges in order to understand precisely what is needed.

Take home messages for your colleagues?
The quality of the work provided by global programs depends on the quality of the exchange with the local members. Therefore, it is important for us in the GPFS that member participation on the shareweb is high (webinars, online dialogues, member articles…). Global cooperation takes time, but its power should not be underestimated. It can add new issues on the political agendas on an international and national level by providing new frameworks/soft laws, for example. Taking part of this process is a real opportunity.  

Mélanie Surchat is an extroverted, energetic and determined 25 years old woman. She has completed a European master degree in Agroecology, from university of Norway and France in September 2018, which took her across the world in Oslo, Vienna, Lyon and Tahiti for various projects. Her passion for farming and food systems grew during her bachelor studies in Environmental Sciences in Lausanne. Given the complexity and intertwined nature of climate change, issues must be addressed through different sectors, such as food, mobility, energy or housing. Mélanie decided to focus on food production because it seemed to be one of the most impactful way to convince citizens to adapt their lifestyle and make a meaningful change. As Julia Carney says: “Little drops of water, make the mighty ocean”.

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