PIM is happy to invite all interested parties to attend or join virtually to our first brownbag seminar this year dedicated to the Youth Employment in Sub-Saharan Africa. The seminar will take place at 12.00 pm on 27 February at IFPRI.
The World Bank has recently issued a report on this topic, and we are inviting you to meet the authors and brainstorm some of the work on youth employment that we can include in the 2015-16 PIM portfolio.
Frank Byamugisha, the author of “Securing Africa's Land for Shared Prosperity: A Program to Scale Up Reforms and Investments” will also join our discussion to offer perspective on improving access to land for young people.
Louise Fox, Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley, Former World Bank Lead Economist
Frank Byamugisha, Former Africa Region Lead Land Specialist, The World Bank
Karen Brooks, Director, CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM)
“Eleven million youth are expected to enter Africa’s labor market every year for the next decade. Despite rapid growth in formal wage sector jobs, the majority of these youth are likely to work on family farms and in household enterprises, often with very low incomes. To boost young people’s earnings, governments need to hasten overall business climate reforms, strengthen basic education, and make land, infrastructure, training and financing more accessible”.
See more in the World Bank blog New Report Outlines Priorities to Address Africa’s Youth Employment Challenge
Event will take places at IFPRI, 2033 K Street N.W., Washington DC 20006, Conference Room 4A
To join us virtually on the day of the event - click on the link at around 11:45AM (Washington time) to install a small piece of software and join GoToMeeting. This will allow you to see the presenter's screen on your computer screen. Use your microphone and speakers (VoIP) - a headset is recommended.
Or, call in using your telephone:
Dial +1 (213) 493-0604
Access Code: 232-204-142
Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting
Meeting ID: 232-204-142
If you have any further questions, please contact us.
Delegates from 21 countries from Northern, Eastern and Southern Africa recently took part in a regional workshop on African Agriculture in a Changing Climate: Enhancing the up-take of Climate Smart Agriculture held in Arusha, Tanzania.
The aim was to provide an opportunity for consolidating and sharing of experiences that could inform emerging Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) global efforts and the on-going United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations.
Coorganised by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), East African Community (EAC) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the meeting took place from 12 to 14 February 2014 in Arusha, Tanzania.
Emerging global efforts on climate-smart agriculture
Although a well performing agricultural sector is fundamental for Africa's overall economic growth, as well as for addressing hunger, poverty and inequality, the changing climate poses a challenge.
Research is now pointing towards CSA as the solution to enhancing the capacities of agricultural and food systems to cope with current climate variability in order to improve productivity and resilience. CSA seeks to integrate climate change into the planning and implementation of sustainable agricultural strategies in Africa.
To take forward work in CSA, a series of conferences on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change have been held to mobilize action on policies, practices and financing for food security, adaptation and mitigation.
In December 2013, the 3rd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security and Climate Change was held in Johannesburg - South Africa and included high level discussions on a Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance. This will be launched in September 2014 at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Summit in New York, USA.
CSA is a relatively new concept. The integration of climate change into the work of agriculture ministries in Africa is very slow. Subsequently, policies and action plans do not sufficiently incorporate climate change. This inhibits the kind of action taking place on the ground as well as participation in climate change institutional mechanisms within countries. These countries therefore cannot access climate financing for CSA” said Wendy Mann, Policy Adviser at FAO who attended the workshop.
Watch our interview with Wendy Mann on climate-smart agriculture
In Arusha, delegates acknowledged that with the approaching global CSA launch, Africa needs to prepare to argue for CSA practices not only as an adaptation, mitigation and risk management strategy, but also to discuss how various governments can tap into various climate funds. The agriculture sector in most African countries suffers from low budgetary allocations.
“If African governments are allocating less than 10% of their national budget to agriculture, we need to understand the logic in the low budgetary allocation as these are agriculture driven economies. What Africa needs is bold, integrative and sound financial investments to be able to meets its food security, increased productivity and build resilience in a changing climate” said James Kinyangi, Program Leader CCAFS East Africa.
By catalyzing action on climate change prior to the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in 2015, the UN Secretary-General intends to build a solid foundation on which to anchor successful negotiations and sustained progress on the road to reducing emissions and strengthening adaptation strategies.
Agriculture in the UNFCCC process
The Arusha meeting also aimed to consider COP19 outcomes and explore ways of consolidating the African common position on agriculture in the on-going UNFCCC, Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and Ad hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) negotiations and at the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board.
“Africa has not been politically smart in the UNFCCC negotiations and has so far not succeeded in reaching an agreement on Agriculture” noted Richard Muyungi, a former SBSTA chair.
Currently, the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) efforts are hampered by lack of sufficient scientific data and specific case studies on best practices on African Agriculture. This is according to Chebet Maikut, a climate change advisor in Uganda and member of the AGN. CCAFS is therefore leading initiatives aimed at developing technical papers on Agriculture and Climate Change in Africa: Vulnerabilities, Impact and Adaptation.
These papers will greatly inform the African Group of Negotiators. Some of the issues in these papers include: Impact and adaptation strategies for a climate resilient agriculture, opportunities for mitigation in agriculture and synergies with adaptation and enabling framework to accelerate climate change adaptation. A separate chapter deals with potential successful adaptation case studies for a climate resilient agriculture.
Chebet Maikut speaks about the African Group of Negotiators and their work
Key workshop recommendations (Access the document here)
The three day workshop came to an end with recommendations being made in three key areas. First is the political and enabling environment. Africa must ensure there is a 2015 agreement on Agriculture in the UNFCCC process.
Regional bodies such as AMCEN, AUC and AGN can help by strengthening their coordination, mobilization and harmonization role among the high level decision making institutions for a common position on Agriculture and Climate Change. Knowledge management is the second key area. It was agreed that a gender sensitive programme to enhance CSA knowledge management and sharing among different actors be developed.
Additionally, regional and national CSA centers of excellence need to be established. The third area was on up scaling CSA. This entails the development of capacity, evidence, policy alignment, incentives and robust investment proposals to support investment and implementation in a CAADP Climate Investment Framework. Also national and regional incentives and platforms for up-scaling private sector engagement and investment need to be developed.
Another important outcome of the workshop was the establishment of an “Interim Ad hoc Working Group” on CSA chaired by the United Republic of Tanzania to drive Africa’s engagement in up scaling CSA. Additionally, it will lead Africa’s contribution in the upcoming global CSA alliance.
The meeting today shows that climate change is real. We must fast track decisions in Africa on what are the options and to settle for some of them and get all stakeholders on board" noted Odd Erik Arnesen, Senior Policy Adviser with the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).
Read various reports that appeared in the media
Key workshop recommendations
View photos from the workshop
Vacancy Number: MCDS/IBLI/02/14
Department: Index-based livestock insurance- IBLI
Duration: 6 months
ILRI seeks to recruit a Market and Capacity Development Specialist for a temporary position.
This position would be part of the team developing, piloting, assessing the impact of, and scaling-up index-based livestock insurance IBLI products. A comprehensive pilot has already been commercially launched in Marsabit county of Northern Kenya and Borana Zone of Southern Ethiopia. In executing its agenda, the IBLI project (www.ilri.org/ibli) works with an array of commercial, NGO, governmental, academic and donor partners. We seek a well-rounded, experienced individual within the team to play a central project management role: supporting implementation activities of the team; managing project budgets; contributing to project reporting; managing communication and publicity among others.
ILRI works to enhance the roles livestock play in pathways out of poverty in developing countries. ILRI is a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Consortium, a global research partnership of 15 centres working with many partners for a food-secure future. ILRI has two main campuses in East Africa and other hubs in West and southern Africa and South and Southeast Asia. www.ilri.org.
The Centre’s headquarters are located in Nairobi, Kenya, and research is conducted in 31 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We are supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and receive funding from over 50 different donors.
CGIAR is a global agricultural research partnership for a food-secure future. Its science is carried out by 15 research centres that are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations. www.cgiar.org.
1. Partnership and stakeholder engagement:
- With the support of the program team and key partners, contribute to the market development and capacity building strategy in Mandera, Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit & Isiolo;
- Support in liaison with local government partners to promote their support and adoption of IBLI;
- Assist in coordinating partnerships that add both programmatic and strategic value to the implementation agenda and help achieve program objectives;
- Support in enhancing institutions for more cost-effective delivery of IBLI services (sales provision, information dissemination, extension and indemnity payments) and building their capacity.
- 2. Capacity Development:
- Organize and facilitate training programs and the development of training materials (lesson plans, manuals, PPTs and Prezis, ToT materials, individual and group face-to-face training activities, scripts for multimedia products, etc.) adapted to the specific needs of each location;
- Support team members and partners in coordinating and delivering of capacity development programs as needed;
- 3. Project implementation support:
- Oversee the planning and actual implementation of the project in the field;
- Support delivery channels and link them to the IBLI ICT based transactions platform;
- Support the commercial partners in the development of marketing and publicity materials, sales plans, etc.;
- Contribute to the development of project reports for donors and other partners;
- Contribute to the development of proposals to advance the teams agenda.
• A Master’s degree in a development-related Social Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Communication or related fields;
• At least 5 years’ experience in the disciplinary area, e.g., international development / market development / sales & marketing / insurance – with experience working in arid and semi-arid areas.
• Demonstrated ability to develop and rally complex partnerships around a common objective, and managing the deployment and assessment of innovative programs, especially with regard to the Kenyan and Ethiopian government.
• A proven skill-set in the area of outreach and extension development of learning courses, training and technical assistance materials, needs assessments, and other capacity development products.
• Excellent organizational, interpersonal, written, and verbal communication skills in English and Kiswahili.
- Ability to speak Somali and/or Boran would be an added advantage.
- Demonstrated ability to facilitate training sessions and make presentations to diverse audiences.
- Relevant publication record would be an added advantage
• Familiarity with aspects of livestock production, and/or agricultural systems in developing countries a plus.
Terms of appointment:
This is a Nationally Recruited Staff (NRS) positions based at ILRI’s Nairobi campus and is for a six months contract period.
Job level and salary:
This position is job level 3A with a starting salary of KES173,617 per month. This is exclusive of other benefits provided within ILRI’s National Recruited Staff Scheme.
How to apply:
Applicants should send a cover letter and CV combined together explaining their interest in the position, what they can bring to the job and the names and addresses (including telephone and email) of three referees who are knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience to the Human Resources Director through: http://ilri.simplicant.com/ before 7 March, 2014. The position title and reference number REF: MCDS/IBLI/02/14 should be clearly marked on the subject line of the online application.
Mixed crop–livestock farming system is a major livelihood strategy in most sub-Sahara African countries. Low water use efficiency and water scarcity characterize the dominant rainfed agricultural production system in the densely populated highlands of Ethiopia. Improving water productivity in the rainfed system is among the ways of overcoming the water scarcity challenge.
This study was conducted in Meja watershed, located in Jeldu district, West Shewa in the Ethiopian part of the Blue Nile Basin to estimate economic crop water productivity based on agro-ecology and crop management practices. The watershed was classified into three landscape positions (local agro-ecologies) and major crops representing at least 70% of each landscape position were identified through discussion with farmers and development agents.
Five farmer fields were randomly selected for each major crop and crop management practices implemented by the farmers were monitored and yield (grain or tuber and straw) was measured at harvest. The local market value of the crops and the production cost was estimated based on the local market value for labour and other inputs. CROPWAT model was used to estimate effective precipitation based on weather data generated using NewLocClim and crop characteristics.
The result indicated that the landscape positions, crop variety and management practices significantly influenced the net economic water productivity. The net economic crop water productivity for barley, wheat, tef, sorghum and maize grains and fresh potato tubers were 3.31, 2.45, 3.09, 3.01 and 5.20 and ETB 13.56 m-3, respectively. Similarly, physical water productivity of the crops ranged from 0.47 for teff to 9.98 kg m-3 for fresh potato tubers. Hence, farmers can enhance economic benefit from the land and water resources they are endowed with rainfed by using improved agronomic practices that could raise grain/tuber and biomass yield. Enhancing improved input use, improving access to market for outputs and integrating livestock with crops may further augment the benefit at system scale.
This paper was first presented at the Nile Basin Development Challenge Science meeting. The NBDC Science meeting was held on 9 and 10 July 2013 at the ILRI-Ethiopia campus, with the objectives to exchange experiences and research results across NBDC scientists involved in the NBDC projects and to discuss challenges and possible solutions.
In the run up to the International Women’s Day commemorated on 8th March 2014, each week on this blog we will meet gender scientists working in the Livelihoods, Gender, Impact and Innovations Program at ILRI. This week, we meet Elizabeth Waithanji a gender scientists who worked with the program for four years until October 2013. Waithanji points out that ‘the gender strategies within the CGIAR research programs have been well thought out and deserve to be mainstreamed in projects and programs’
How did you develop interest in gender research?
I started as a trained veterinarian teaching large animal surgery at the Kabete veterinary school of the University of Nairobi. As part of the university staff development program, I got an opportunity to study camel trypanosomiasis in Marsabit, Kenya, and was attached to Farm Africa, which had development projects in the district. That was my first exposure to development work. During my experience doing development work, in Marsabit and later in other places, I realized that even with my knowledge in clinical veterinary medicine, I was not adequately equipped to understand and contribute appropriately to ways of address the development issues challenging the communities that I worked with. I realized that among these pastoral communities were many challenges such as water and pasture shortages and conflicts over these resources. I realized that in addition to my technical skills, I needed to have some skills in addressing the social issues if I was going to become more relevant in terms of helping improve the livelihoods of vulnerable people living in marginal areas. As a result, I developed an interest in natural resource management because most of the conflicts among these marginal communities were over water and pasture. I also developed an interest in policies – more specifically, the political economy of places and the policies on distribution and use of natural resources. More specifically, I purposed to know what policies aggravate tensions, and which ones reduce tensions. At the macro level, therefore, I became interested in policies and at the micro level, and especially at the in the household and community level, I started paying attention to relations of power among different gender and socio-economic categories of people, such as women, men and the youth, and the rich and poor. At this point, I decided to pursue a PhD in human geography, specifically on political economy focusing on gender, natural resources and livelihoods.
What has been your experience as a gender scientist in relation to your work and the situation in the agricultural and livestock sector?
It has been exciting and very challenging especially because a lot of things have not been explored exhaustively. It is like being thrown in a jungle and then trying to establish in there. One’s first experience in the development work-world can be overwhelming and one has to really focus on a certain area. In the area of gender and development too, many things that need to be addressed have not been addressed. I found the opportunities exciting and the work overwhelming because I could not do everything at once. I decided to focus on what I can do best and chip at it a piece at a time, something that has now become my work philosophy. Gender and livestock was a really good entry point in my post PhD research career because I understand the livestock issues from a clinical and social dimension owing to my training as veterinarian, experience working with livestock dependent marginal communities and my training as resource, gender and livelihoods human geographer.
You say that a lot has not been explored and addressed in relation to gender research and development issues; in your opinion, why is that?
Gender is a fairly new area of research inquiry compared to other areas such as veterinary medicine. Gender issues have existed for as long as people have existed for example as highlighted in Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own”, and before, attention to gender in development was brought about by fairly recent works like Esther Boserup’s 1970’s book “Woman’s Role in Economic Development”. However, gender has never been systematically addressed. Maybe it is because gender is about constantly contested power relations between men and women whereby the contestations are embedded in the very process of inquiry and implementation of change. For example, much resistance to change advocated for in gender interventions can be associated with the historical and cultural subservience of women, which is maintained as cultural gender norms and roles and supported and disseminated down generations in discourse, speech and song. These inequalities of power have resulted to the differences we see between men and women. If you are trying to address that, then you are trying to change power relations and changing power relations means that the powerful have to relinquish some of the power to the powerless and that is always a very big struggle. Because of the nature of gender relations, addressing it as a subject of inquiry is easier than implementing activities that will change the inequalities stemming from the socially constructed identities of men and women and boys and girls.
As much as you mention that a lot of issues have not yet been addressed, what progress would you say has been made?
A lot of progress has been made to demonstrate the differences. For example, gender inequalities in organizations can be demonstrated by the ratio of men and women in senior management, but counting heads and just showing that, yes, there is a difference here does not fix this problem. Another example is that certain jobs are known to be women’s jobs and others men’s jobs, but when women jobs become lucrative, men get into those jobs like hairdressers, cooks, nurses among others. There is a shift whereby when things become attractive in the women’s domain, the men take over. The two genders are, therefore, not equal. What I believe has not been done is to stop these things from happening, which is still a big area of struggle. In Gender Transformative Approaches (GTAs), pro change actors attempt to address these inequalities in ways that will change them permanently and sustainably. Often, agents of change experience backlash which is a form of violence against the agent and can range from physical violence to social stigma. An example of backlash is domestic violence towards women who question oppressive tendencies by their spouses. Backlash acts as a deterrent for the powerless from trying to take back the power that is rightfully theirs. I believe that the biggest challenge experienced by gender practitioners is how to overcome this power struggle, how to bring about a gender power balance without the backlash.
Do you think a critical mass has been reached in terms of the gender practitioners?
No – there is a big shortage; there are many ‘number counters’ but the critical analysts are not enough. Many gender practitioners lack the political will to address GTAs; somebody has to get in there, experiment, and if it backfires it might ruin your career. Who wants to take such a risk? Nobody wants to cause more problems to people and few people will take the risk. Others lack the capacity to identify what needs to be done and how it gets done to make a difference. There are so many problems in this world, that sometimes, it is better to address the problems that are easier to solve, what I call ‘low hanging fruits’. For example if the women have been denied access to the forests by men and they are not able to get firewood, you come in and get the women some solar stoves, which do not use firewood. That way, you have steered clear of the forest issue and the conflict it would have caused, and the women will achieve what they want. Many gender programs go around gender problems this way and do not transform the relations of power.
Having worked in this field and specifically with the LGII program for close to four years; what do you consider as some of your major highlights?
My research has been two-fold:
• Strategic gender research
This involves carrying out small-scale studies on issues that have not been explored, to understand the problem better, I call it testing concepts. I try to understand the differences in gender. For example, on market participation; why are women concentrated in the farm gate markets, whereas the men sell to all the markets and are able to reach even the foreign market – I try to understand this situation and the difference so that I can apply the lessons learned from this small-scale research in larger scale research projects such as value chain interventions. Larger project actors consider the lessons and advice given from the recommendations of this study and implement them. For example, special affirmative actions and opportunities that can enable women to participate in markets beyond the farm gate, while still safeguarding the relationships between men and women. They may include making the farm gate market more lucrative.
• Mainstreaming gender research by integrating lessons learnt from the strategic gender research
An example of mainstreaming gender research can be demonstrated in the implementation of gender strategies in core research projects. Although gender strategies have been developed and published, their mainstreaming is yet to be demonstrated. At this point, it is difficult to tell what is happening in all projects, but my experience points to the reality that the reception and integration of these strategies varies with projects, with some projects embracing them and running with them and others ignoring them or dismissing them as too much work with the possibility that integrating gender will make no difference in the results. Either of these reactions is to be expected as different program leaders and actors have different understandings of gender and their political will varies. My parting shot to all, as I leave LGII, is that it is always better to try something and demonstrate that trying it was a waste of time than not trying because trying it might be a waste of time. The gender strategies have been well thought out and deserve to be mainstreamed in projects and programs.
Elizabeth Waithanji holds PhD and MA in Geography, an MSc in Clinical Studies and a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVM). Her current work, located in Africa and Asia, focuses on understanding gender in terms of measuring empowerment and gender empowerment gaps as well as assets and gender asset gaps in order to inform projects that target the narrowing of these gaps; looking at the roles of men and women in livestock value chains and how gender influences these roles and men and women’s ability to build and own assets. Other areas of research focus include gendered analyses of livestock value chains, and inter- and intra-household asset disparities in livestock and food crop production, disparities in market and technology access and decision making within the household. Past work includes a study on mobility and gender relations after sedentarization among Somali nomads of northeastern Kenya and ethnography on gender struggles in development interventions among the Somali of Gedo in southern Somalia. Findings on most of these studies have been published in academic journals, research/policy briefs, chapters in books and have been presented in multiple conferences. Her most recent publication (2013) includes Gendered Participation in Livestock Markets. Chapter In Women, livestock ownership and markets: Bridging the gender gap in eastern and southern Africa
Filed under: Gender, Gender news, Interview, LGII, Women Tagged: Elizabeth Waithanji, gender
If the rains fail, a farmer can lose everything. With even the chance of a bad year, investing in new crop varieties and technologies might be too risky. Year after year, she’s caught in the trap of low production.
Weather index-based insurance emerged at the beginning of the 21st century as a new tool to help change this story. The innovative insurance scheme aims to arm farmers against climate uncertainty where traditional crop insurance isn’t viable.
With this promise, researchers within the CGIAR agricultural research partnership want to find out how this tool can enable farmers to try out new seeds and production technologies that might help secure their food supply in a changing climate.
The CGIAR Research Programs on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM) brought together experts from across the CGIAR research partnership at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington, DC 20-22 January, 2014 to tackle this question, and build new collaborations towards answering it.
A way to help farmers out of the poverty trap
To escape the trap of low production, farmers need access to better seeds and technologies, and loans to buy them. But where risk of crop failure from extremes like drought, flooding or pests is high, banks are not as willing to lend to smallholder farmers. Even if she can get a loan, a failed harvest driven by weather or climate extremes could leave a farmer with a debt she can’t repay. The risk of investment is simply too high, and the result is low productivity.
In a keynote address, Dr. Michael Carter of UC Davis showed how index insurance can help turn this story around. Dr. Carter’s premise is that when this risk is insured, banks may be more willing to give loans, and farmers can invest in new ways to increase their harvests.
“Simply removing some of that risk in the most direct and immediate way may actually encourage farmers to enhance the level of investment in their activities,” Dr. Carter said.
In bad years, families might not have to sell off assets like livestock to make ends meet, or cut back on meals. And in good years, they might have a better chance of increasing their harvests and saving up money over time.
Watch Michael Carter talk about index-based insurance and get his presentation “The Potential Impacts of Agricultural Insurance on Agricultural Development & Rural Livelihoods.”
But can insurance work beyond the pilot scale?
One of the biggest hurdles for index insurance is moving beyond small pilot projects. Pilot projects are carefully designed for a specific context, often where high quality data is available. But on a broader scale, gaps in weather data coverage in developing countries needed to create indices can increase basis risk – the possibility that insurance payouts don’t match with farmers’ losses. Farmers’ willingness to use new insurance products is also still a challenge, and building trust in these products is slow going.
Despite these challenges, a number of projects have grown to make payouts to thousands of farmers, and most without government subsidies. Dan Osgood from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society outlined the lessons we can learn from these projects, notably that index insurance is just one part of managing climate risk. Successful projects have brought farmers into index design, and used low cost methods of distributing insurance products.
Find out about these projects in his presentation:
Learning across borders
Even with these successes, farmers' willingness to start using various insurance products is still a challenge.
Experience in India has shown that basis risk – the possibility that payouts don’t match with farmers’ losses – remains a barrier to more farmers using insurance.
CCAFS has learned that increasing the density of weather stations, supplemented by remote sensing data, can create indices that are better matched with crop losses. Farmer satisfaction with insurance is also increased by involving them directly in keeping track of crop losses, and management of the insurance schemes.
India has the world’s largest index insurance program targeted to smallholder farmers, and new indices are being tested through community-managed programs in CCAFS South Asia’s Climate Smart Villages. In expanding insurance to new areas, CCAFS South Asia Regional Program Leader Pramod Aggarwal highlighted the opportunity for South-South collaboration in learning from these experiences:
What goes best with insurance?
Index insurance may work best when paired with other options for farmers such as credit, climate information services, or drought tolerant seeds. With insurance, both new and existing technologies to boost production might be within reach—but we need to know more.
As researchers mapped their projects in 19 countries, a picture of the collective strength of the CGIAR agricultural research partnership emerged. Index insurance relies on scientific muscle—from estimating harvests using satellite images to economic modelling and more—and on the ground knowledge about the policies and institutions that make insurance possible.
index insurance might work best When paired with options for farmers such as drought tolerant seeds. Photo: K. Trautmann.
CGIAR Research Programs and Centers have deep expertise in the different elements that make up index insurance, and long histories of working in countries and regions. Bringing together expertise in individual crops, livestock and production technologies with the science needed to make insurance work could be a pathway to insurance schemes that work better for farmers, and can move beyond the pilot level.
In one example, the International Livestock Research Institute’s (ILRI) Index Based Livestock Insurance project provides insurance for pastoralists based on satellite measurements of animal feed and predicted livestock mortality. Improving the precision of these measurements to better understand the nutritional value of forage is a key gap in the project, and could help researchers better predict the impact of drought on livestock. Building on expertise in the use of high resolution satellite data developed through projects like the International Rice Research Institute project Remote Sensing Based Information and Insurance for Crops in Emerging Economies (RIICE) is one path forward.
How using insurance affects farmers and other players in the value chain over time is still not well understood, but is critical to teasing out how sustainable it is as a strategy for poverty alleviation, and how effective in improving development. Participants agreed that economic impact evaluation of insurance schemes is a particular need.
Maximo Torero of PIM/IFPRI and Andrew Mude of ILRI discussed research opportunities in index insurance across CGIAR centers:
Index insurance has a long way to go before reaching its full potential in supporting farmers in a rapidly changing climate. Workshop discussions sparked new collaborations in project planning across CGIAR institutions and regions that hope to tackle these challenges, and highlighted some remaining questions: How do we bring private insurers into the game? Which technologies and finance options work best with insurance? How can insurance contracts be designed to better serve the needs of women and other vulnerable groups? Going forward, new collaborations are looking to these challenges, and to moving from hundreds to tens of thousands of farmers and beyond.
SCIENCE SEMINAR: Index based insurance arms farmers against uncertainty
Climate variability means the fluctuations in rainfall, temperature or other attributes that make one year – or one decade – different from the next.
So then, how large are the fluctuations (variability) in rainfall and temperature that make up one year? More to the point, how do these fluctuations compare with the changes we might expect from global warming?
The answer to this question depends on where, on planet Earth, one stands: In the West African Sahel in the mid-20th century, rainfall experienced a decade-on-decade decrease that was quite large. This can be compared with any slowly-evolving trend we might associate with global warming. Across the continent in equatorial East Africa, however, decade-to-decade variations were muted.
In a recently released Working Paper from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Secuirty (CCAFS) series, we looked at the simulation of near-term climate change at target sites in Kaffrine, Senegal, and Machakos in Kenya. Our paper focuses primarily on the methodology of simulation and the generation of simulation data.
As we look to the future, global climate models can help us to understand the warmer world in which tomorrow’s crops will be grown. Observations based on weather station records on the other hand, can provide insights into the nature of regional climate variability.
In our Working Paper, “Simulation of near-term climate change at target sites in West and East Africa” these complementary sources of information have been combined while producing future scenarios for 2050 .The simulations incorporate both climatic changes and the decade-to-decade variations that may act to either enhance or mitigate the effects of climate change.
Kaffrine and Machakos have experienced markedly different decade-to-decade variability in rainfall. Seasonal patterns of rainfall also differ, with Kaffrine experiencing a single rainy season and Machakos the classical “long” and “short” rains that we associate with equatorial East Africa This is among the other characteristics that must also be accounted for in any simulation design.
Tackling uncertainties in climate modeling
In the paper we refer to “the extent that we believe” something, in this case about a particular aspect of climate behavior. Implicit in this innocuous-sounding, but in fact deeply significant phrase is the concept of uncertainty. Uncertainty per se need not be feared, of course, but neither can it be ignored, and this is a key feature of the scenarios produced by this project.
By taking account of uncertainties, in both the future effects of global warming and the natural variability that may act to augment or diminish those effects, the scenarios include quantifiable uncertainty ranges for variations in rainfall and temperature for the next few decades. In this way the uncertain behavior of decadal variability are introduced into representations of climate change in the “near term.”
What we did in this paper was to generate sequences of precipitation and maximum and minimum daily temperatures at two locations in western and eastern Africa respectively. The generated sequences and models we used are all included in the Working Paper.
The simulations are intended to drive agricultural or other applications models to investigate responses to a range of plausible trends, on which are superimposed decade-scale climate fluctuations whose likelihood of occurrence can be estimated.
Interested in climate modeling? Learn more about our modeling-research:
- Agriculture and climate models under scrutiny: why are they not coming together?
- New study models where agriculture is heading under climate change
Explore our climate databanks - now with new data:
- CCAFS-Climate data portal
- MarkSim GCM tool
Download the Working Paper to learn more about this unique study: Simulation of near-term climate change at target sites in West and East Africa, Greene AM, Khomyakov I. 2013. CAFS Working Paper No. 58. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).
This story spotlights some of the Big Facts on Europe, and is part of a special blog series to complement the new Big Facts infographics website.
As any other region of the world, Europe will feel the numerous impacts of climate change; from erratic weather to crop failures to increased temperatures. Although Europe is the smallest continent and covers a relatively small area of land, the impacts will be far from uniform, and thus the adaptation measures necessary will vary from north to south. In the south, higher temperatures will increase the risk of drought, whereas in the north and north-west, increased precipitation might lead to flooding.A shrinking population that is overweight not underweight
Unlike many other regions, the population of Europe does not suffer from undernourishment in any significant manner. The real problem is “overnutrition” and its related impacts. According to the World Health Organization, 54.8% [53.1-56.6%] of Europen adults are overweight, and what is more, 21.9% [20.7-23.2%] are obese.
Another distinction separating Europe from most other regions is population changes. The population of Europe will not grow by 2050. Already, the European population is growing very slowly and it will in fact peak within a few years and then decline steadily towards 2050 and 2100, meaning that the population of Europe will constitute an ever smaller part of the global population.
A diet rich in meat and dairy leaves room to reduce emissions
Western Europe is the only region where GHG emissions from agriculture are projected to decrease by 2020. This is associated with the adoption of a number of climate-specific and other environmental policies in the European Union, as well as economic constraints on agriculture (Smith et al, 2007). However, the current level of emissions from the food chain is high; contributing roughly 31% of EU total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, partly the result of a diet rich in meat and dairy products. Such items contribute more than 40% of total food chain emissions, or about 13% of all EU GHGs (Garnett, 2009: 53).
Food waste, especially amongst consumers, also contributes a significant amount of GHGs, and policies to eliminate food waste will be an important part of lowering emissions from the food sector.Mitigation potential to be found after the farm-gates
In high-income regions such as Europe, nearly half of the emissions from the food chain occur beyond the farm gate, and in Europe, there is a high potential to reduce emissions by focusing on areas such as transporting, processing, cooling, and pre-cooking.
Another area that needs addressing is the livestock sector. Because of Europe’s meat and dairy rich diet, the livestock sector is one of the largest contributors of GHG emissions in Europe. The GHG mitigation potential from the livestock sector in Europe is estimated to be 101-377 MtCO2e per year, that’s 12-61% of total EU-27 livestock sector emissions in 2007 (Bellarby et al., 2012).
Related to consumption choices, reducing food waste will be an important mitigation strategy. Per capita food loss in Europe is estimated to be around 280 kg/year, of which more than a third (95 kg/year) is wasted at the level of consumers, resulting in a significant amount of GHGs and generating a significant potential for reduction.People already feeling the heat
In the summer of 2003, Europe experienced a particularly extreme climate event, with average temperatures 6°C above normal and precipitation deficits of up to 300 mm. This had catastrophic impacts on people and crops, and resulted in up to 70,000 deaths across Europe (Robine et al. 2008). A study by Gornall et al. (2010) estimates that such summer temperatures in Europe are now 50% more likely to occur as a result of anthropogenic climate change; unless adaptive measures are taken, this could have severely negative impacts on people across the continent.A mixed impact on food production
The impact of climate change will be increasingly visible in Europe in the coming years. Predicted changes include: sea level rise across most of Europe’s coasts; a decrease of river flows in southern/eastern Europe, an increase in droughts and flood events; the northward expansion of areas suitable for several crops; earlier flowering and harvest dates in cereals; and an increase in the number of forest fires in the Mediterranean (EEA, 2012).
As can be seen in the Big Facts section on crop production, climate change will have both negative and positive impacts on global fisheries. And in the northern European and Arctic seas, that impact is mostly positive. By 2055, under a high-emissions scenario (in which greenhouse gas concentrations double by the year 2100), the average catch potential in Nordic countries (such as Norway, Greenland and Iceland) would increase by 18-45%; and in the Alaska and Russia Pacific by around 20% (Cheung et al., 2010).
In Southern Europe, climate change is projected to worsen conditions (high temperatures and drought) in a region already vulnerable to climate variability, which could in turn have a negative impact on crop production. In Northern Europe, the effects could be more mixed, including increased crop yields and increased forest growth. However, over time, its negative impacts (more frequent winter floods, endangered ecosystems and increasing ground instability) are likely to outweigh its benefits (Alcamo et al., 2007).
Adaptation across the continent
As the crop suitability range is predicted to move northwards, European farmers will need to grow different crops. As can be seen from the graph below, increases in climate-related crop yields are expected in northern Europe, while reductions may occur in the south.
As climate change impacts will vary in nature between the different regions of Europe, adaptation measures have to be taken at national, regional and local levels and using different tools to address different types of impacts These include 'Grey' actions: technological and engineering solutions; 'Green' actions: ecosystem-based approaches that use the multiple services of nature; and 'Soft' actions: managerial, legal and policy approaches that alter human behaviour and styles of governance (EEA 2013).
This short post is by no means an exhaustive overview of the various issues related to climate change and agriculture in Europe. I invite you to dig deeper into the various facts and graphics on the site and explore the differences and similarities between the different regions. In each of the sections, numerous references are given, should you want to explore a topic further.Have Your Say
What will it take for Europe to reduce its emissions from agriculture and food waste, and make its agriculture more resilient? Leave your ideas in the comments section below or send us an email.