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Atlas of African agriculture research & development

August 7, 2014 Comments off

Atlas of African agriculture research & development
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute

The work of agricultural researchers and development workers in Africa has the potential to significantly improve the lives of the poor. But that potential can only be realized with easy access to high-quality data and information. The Atlas of African Agriculture Research & Development highlights the ubiquitous role of smallholder agriculture in Africa; the many factors shaping the location, nature, and performance of agricultural enterprises; and the strong interdependencies among farming, natural-resource stocks and flows, and the well-being of the poor.

Organized around 7 themes, the atlas covers more than 30 topics, each providing mapped geospatial data and supporting text that answers four fundamental questions: What is this map telling us? Why is this important? What about the underlying data? Where can I learn more?

The atlas is part of a wide-ranging eAtlas initiative that will showcase, through print and online resources, a variety of spatial data and tools generated and maintained by a community of research scientists, development analysts, and practitioners working in and for Africa. The initiative will serve as a guide, with references and links to online resources to introduce readers to a wealth of data that can inform efforts to improve the livelihoods of Africa’s rural poor.

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2013 Global Food Policy Report

March 20, 2014 Comments off

2013 Global Food Policy Report
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute

IFPRI’s flagship report examines the major food policy issues, developments, and decisions of 2013. It puts into perspective the year’s food policy successes and setbacks, and suggests how to advance policies that will improve the food situation for poor people in developing countries.

Promising Agricultural Technologies for Feeding the World’s Poorest

March 3, 2014 Comments off

Promising Agricultural Technologies for Feeding the World’s Poorest
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute

Increased demand for food due to population and income growth and the impacts of climate change on agriculture will ratchet up the pressure for increased and more sustainable agricultural production to feed the planet. A new report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) measures the impacts of agricultural innovation on farm productivity, prices, hunger, and trade flows as we approach 2050 and identifies practices which could significantly benefit developing nations.

The global landscape of poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition and implications for agricultural development strategies

December 24, 2013 Comments off

The global landscape of poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition and implications for agricultural development strategies
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute

For many years poverty reduction was the overarching welfare objective of a wide range of development institutions and programs, particularly in the context of agricultural development. Yet in recent years the development community has increasingly set for itself more specific welfare objectives by distinguishing between monetary poverty, food security, nutrition and, most recently, resilience. This paper first outlines a basic framework for thinking about the relationships between these different concepts, and then explores the empirical relationships among different indicators of these concepts, and some of their potential determinants. The empirical analysis highlights several important stylized facts. First, key indicators of these three dimensions of welfare suggest strong correlations among the subset of chronic welfare indicators but much weaker relationships between chronic and acute measures of welfare. Put another way, many countries are chronically poor, food insecure or malnourished, but a much smaller set of countries suffer from acute ill-being. For example, countries in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa and South Asia suffer disproportionately from high rates of child and maternal wasting, and a relatively small subset of developing countries are highly prone to natural disasters. Conceivably these acutely vulnerable countries require quite different development strategies. Second, gross domestic product per capita, agricultural productivity, literacy rates, fertility rates, and health burdens all share fairly robust relationships with poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition indicators, as expected. But somewhat novel is a strong relationship between a simple indicator of dietary diversity and a wide range of both chronic and acute welfare indicators. This perhaps suggests that dietary diversity is a relevant intermediate welfare indicator of particular relevance for agricultural development initiatives.

2013 Global Hunger Index

October 14, 2013 Comments off

2013 Global Hunger Index
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute

The issue brief for the 2013 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report—the eighth in an annual series—presents a multidimensional measure of national, regional, and global hunger. It shows that the world has made some progress in reducing hunger since 1990, but still has far to go. World hunger remains “serious,” and 19 countries suffer from levels of hunger that are either “alarming” or “extremely alarming.”

The theme of the 2013 GHI report is resilience in theory and in practice. The relief and development communities have long struggled to understand why some people fare better than others when confronting stresses or shocks. Resilience-building efforts are much needed to help poor and vulnerable people cope with hunger seasons, droughts, and other natural and manmade disasters. To help build resilience in ways that will boost food and nutrition security, the report calls for breaking down the silos between the relief and development communities and for focusing on approaches that contribute to the ability of people and systems to resist, absorb, and transform in response to shocks.

Genetically modified crops in Africa

October 8, 2013 Comments off

Genetically modified crops in Africa
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute

A variable climate, political instability, and other constraints have limited agricultural development in African countries south of the Sahara. Genetically modified (GM) crops are one tool for enhancing agricultural productivity and food security despite such constraints. Genetically Modified Crops in Africa: Economic and Policy Lessons from Countries South of the Sahara investigates how this tool might be effectively used by evaluating the benefits, costs, and risks for African countries of adopting GM crops. The authors gather together studies on GM crops’ economic effects and impact on trade, how consumers view such crops, and other issues. They find that GM crops have had, on average, a positive economic effect in the nations where they were used and identify future steps for enhancing GM crop adoption’s positive effects. Promising policy initiatives include making biosafety regulations that do not make GM crop development prohibitively expensive, fostering intraregional trade in GM crops, and providing more and better information about GM crops to consumers who might currently be skeptical of them. These and other findings in Genetically Modified Crops in Africa indicate ways biotechnology can contribute to economic development in Africa south of the Sahara.

Organizational and institutional issues in climate change adaptation and risk management

August 28, 2013 Comments off

Organizational and institutional issues in climate change adaptation and risk management
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute

This report provides some reflections and insights on the level of awareness, practices, and organizational and institutional issues being faced by countries as they adapt to climate change, based on interviews with 87 practitioners working in government agencies, local organizations, international organizations, and think thanks reporting involvement in climate change adaptation. Data were collected in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Mali using both an e-survey platform and face-to-face interviews.

Responses reveal active work within these organizations on climate change adaptation and emphasize their important role in the countries’ efforts to address and adapt to climate change. Responses also reveal strong awareness among these organizations of different aspects of climate change adaptation along the different stages in a climate change adaptation project cycle, which may be a reflection of the active discussions and awareness campaigns during NAPA development in these countries. However, despite the awareness and presence of national strategies and action plans, there seem to be no explicit and clearly defined policy and strategy within these organizations outlining their role in and contribution to the national and collective efforts and, more importantly, no explicit and measurable targets and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system to track progress and outcomes over time. Reported capacity gaps can be grouped into two categories: training needs and institutional challenges.

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