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“Little by little, the egg begins to walk”

CRP 2: program news -

Attention to gender equality remains an important development goal highlighted in the United Nations MDGs. Closing gender gaps has been seen to contribute to women’s empowerment, as well as to improving productivity and increasing efficiency in general, improved outcomes for the next generation, and more representative decision making. 

Motivations for closing the gender gap are not mutually exclusive; rather, they reinforce each other, say Neha Kumar and Agnes Quisumbing (IFPRI) in their paper “Policy reform toward gender equality in Ethiopia: Little by little the egg begins to walk” recently published by World Development. The linkages between women’s empowerment and increased productivity and food security have been emphasized in the analysis of the newly developed Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index. Closing the gender gap in assets—allowing women to own and control productive assets—both increases women’s productivity and increases their self-esteem.

A woman who is empowered to make decisions regarding what to plant and what (and how many) inputs to apply on her plot is likely to be more productive in agriculture. Similarly, an empowered woman is likely to be better able to ensure her children’s health and nutrition because she is able to take care of her own physical and mental well-being.

Could different policy reforms have reinforcing impacts on gender equality?

Drawing on Douglass North’s theory of institutional change (1990), the authors of this paper use data from rural Ethiopia to show how the changes in the Family Code implemented in 2000 and the community-based land registration, undertaken since 2003 may have created conditions for self-reinforcing reforms that favor gender equity.

Authors find that Ethiopia’s land registration process increased tenure security among women, and, if properly implemented, has the potential for far-reaching impacts. Still, there are gender gaps in awareness about the process. In particular, male-headed households are, on average, more likely to have heard about the land registration process, attended meetings, and received some written material about the process.

Although the reform of Family Code occurred a few years before the beginning of the land reform, authors find that awareness about the land registration process is positively correlated with the shift in perceptions toward equal division of land and livestock upon divorce. The same positive effect is observed in relation to the presence of female members in the country’s Land Administration Committee (LAC).

Kes be kes enqullal be-egrwa tihedalech

Little by little, the egg begins to walk (Ethiopian saying)

Despite the long history of gender discrimination in property rights in Ethiopia, these reforms, and recent increased attention to women in agricultural development programs, illustrate that perhaps, little by little, progress is being made—or, to quote an Ethiopian saying, the egg is beginning to walk. While this example is obviously rooted in the Ethiopian context, it raises the possibility that similar reform efforts may be complementary in other countries as well. Given the potential gains derived from eliminating the gender gap in access to assets and resources, exploiting complementarities in the reform process may be an untapped opportunity to accelerate progress in closing the gender gap worldwide.

Full citation: Kumar, Neha and Quisumbing, Agnes R. 2015. Policy reform toward gender equality in Ethiopia: Little by little the egg begins to walk. World Development 67(March 2015): 406-423. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.10.029

This research was supported by the Swiss Development Corporation and the International Food Policy Research Institute Strategic Initiative on Gender and Assets, with additional support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany and the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets. 

Learn more about PIM's work on gender and property rights.  

Also read this earlier story by Marcia McNeil published on the IFPRI Blog: "Building on gender policy reforms in Ethiopia"

Featured image: USAID Flickr photostream. Photo credit: Links Media

Linking small dairy producers to dynamic markets: three business models from Kenya

CRP 2: program news -

In November last year, the Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program commissioned an external evaluation of its value chain approach. One of the evaluators’ main concerns was that researchers spent their time analyzing how the livestock and fish value chains were working from an economics perspective but little work had been done on characterizing successful business models for farmer’s group organization and value chain governance, which are more likely to lead to more meat, milk and fish by and for the poor. 

Livestock and Fish has started taking this business development angle with research on existing dairy hubs in the Tanzania value chains. This post aims to keep the ball rolling on this topic of business models for linking smallholder livestock farmers to dynamic markets by an overview of three dairy marketing business models that I visited last year in Kenya.

There was a flurry of dairy knowledge sharing events in Kenya late last year. The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) organized the African Dairy Value Chain Seminar from 21 to 23 September. This was followed by the Annual dairy conference of the East and Southern Africa Dairy Association (ESADA) from 24 to 26 September. And from 27 to 29 October, more dairy experiences were shared at the 6th All Africa Conference on Animal Agriculture.

All three events involved field trips to meet stakeholders in the Kenyan dairy value chains. In the course of one month, I was able to hear about three different dairy business models linking smallholder dairy farmers to dynamic markets. I felt that all three were successful to foster market access. This blog post summarizes the lessons learned from these field visits in terms of 1) models for smallholder inclusion into value chains, 2) encouraging investment into dairy value chains, and 3) gender roles and empowerment in African dairy value chains.

Read the full story here>>

This story originally appeared in the Livestock and Fish blog. The introductions is cross-posted with minor modifications and from the author's permission. Jo Cadilhon is a senior agricultural economist at International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and a member of the PIM Value Chains team under research flagship 3.

Featured image: Youth milking on a dairy farm in Machakos, Kenya (photo credit: ILRI/Brad Collis), Flickr

World Water Day 2015

CRP 5: Program news -

Water and Sustainable Development 16658845477_3b211af372_z

Celebrated annually, March 22 is the UN Designated day to highlight the importance of water and its impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions globally. As with any other resource, the challenge of managing water for the future is at the forefront of sustainable development amidst a growing population, migration trends and a limited resource base.

Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum highlighted global water crises as the biggest threat facing the planet over the next decade. In the meantime, large-scale agriculture continues to be one of the primary drivers of unsustainable practices and the single largest contributor to biodiversity loss, carbon emissions and water scarcity.

Healthy ecosystems such as wetlands, forests and global landscapes underpin the global water cycle. Together with our spectrum of partners from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the CGIAR Consortium and beyond, WLE aims to foster a new integrated approach to natural resource management research, where a healthy functioning ecosystem is a prerequisite for agricultural development, resilient food systems and human well-being. The program aims to improve the sustainability of development in Africa, Asia and Latin America, regions that are seeing fast-paced economic growth but need to balance burgeoning demands for food and water, while ensuring environmental security.

WLE emphasizes the need to rethink agricultural development in the context of growing resource constraints and rising risks of abrupt changes affecting water, land and ecosystems.WLE focuses on strengthening the regulating services that ecosystems provide, such as by moderating extreme weather events, regulating water flows, treating waste, preventing erosion,maintaining soil fertility, controlling pollination, and regulating the climate. The program works in peri-urban areas, degraded sloping-lands, deltas and floodplains.

This World Water Day, we’ve highlighted our work together with our partners’ to reflect this year’s theme of Water and Sustainable Development; where from food and energy security to human and environmental health, water is vital in not only contributing to but also improving the lives and livelihoods of billions.

From the AgEco blog:

Tapping into Africa’s groundwater potential

Africa potentialFarmers have already tapped into Africa’s groundwater but mostly not in the ‘right’ places.  While northern and southern Africa commonly use groundwater for agriculture, because other water resources are less dependable, it’s here that the resource is most likely to be non-renewable.  In other words, in these regions, aquifers don’t fill up again or at least not nearly fast enough.  When they run out, that’s it.  It’s like using a watering can that you can only fill once.  It seems like a good idea now but it won’t get you far…Read more here: http://wle.cgiar.org/blogs/2015/03/20/tapping-into-africas-groundwater-potential/

High potential in Africa’s flood plains

flood plainsThey are largely overlooked in agricultural potential: the extensive flood plains of Sub Saharan Africa. These huge flat swathes of land adjacent to Africa’s major rivers – Nile, Zambezi, Niger, Senegal, Congo and many smaller ones – add up to close to 30 million ha of land. Whereas in Asian countries (Bangladesh, Vietnam) the flood plains are converted into food baskets and densely populated population hubs, in Africa the flood plains are largely unchartered terrain. Read more here: http://wle.cgiar.org/blogs/2015/03/11/high-potentials/

Partner news:

Uniting farmers and business through Africa’s first Water Fund

06_TANA-Infographics_Mar-2015In the lead up to World Water Day, on March 20, in a first for Africa, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and partners* including the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), launched a landmark initiative in Kenya aimed at supporting farmers and upstream users, to curb the soil erosion that leads to reduced water and heavy cleaning costs.

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. Read more here: http://www.ciatnews.cgiar.org/2015/03/19/africas-first-water-fund-to-tackle-rising-threats-to-food-security-water-and-energy-supplies/

Looking back on 3 decades of research excellence

WLE’s lead Center, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), is celebrating World Water Day by reflecting on 30 years of research excellence to support sustainable water use and development. During the last three decades, new ways of collecting, distributing and managing water have continually influenced their scientists’ work.

World Water Day 2015 from International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

Experimental Games for Strengthening Collective Action

WatergamesIn India, a project led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) implemented experimental games that simulate water use in real life. Men and women played separately, and the hypothesis was that women would choose more water conserving crops because women bear the greatest burden when falling water tables deplete domestic water supplies.

Surprisingly, women chose more water consumptive crops. In 2014, the project followed up with qualitative research to investigate why women did not play more water conservatively than men. This revealed that there was a lack of understanding among many women about how choice of crop under irrigation affected domestic water supply. Having a better understanding could improve women’s abilities to make more informed and beneficial decisions. Read more here: http://www.ifpri.org/blog/playing-games-save-water


Sri Lanka expands online tool to help manage water resources

Sri LankaAn online information system to aid government, researchers and development agencies in managing water resources and ecosystems in Sri Lanka has attracted more than 2,300 users since being launched a year ago.

The Sri Lanka Water Resources Information System provides maps and data on water availability, quality and use, and is an archive of more than 700 water-related scientific papers that can be downloaded. Read more about this initiative here: http://wle.cgiar.org/blog/2015/03/06/7984/

Snapshot: Tackling pollution in the Ganges

This photo blog is part of a new monthly Snapshot series.

Snapshot series 1_Neil PalmerPhoto: Neil Palmer


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.

WLE has just started work with the Indian government to develop ways to tackle the pollution problem. One method could involve diverting wastewater onto specially created wetlands and letting the natural process of filtration and absorption remove pollutants. Another uses large areas of sand to filter the water before it reaches the river. Read more here: http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org/2015/02/cleaning-the-ganges/

Infographics Tana Nairobi Water Fund

The Tana River supplies 95% of Nairobi’s water but can only meet 70% of total demand. View a series of infographics developed by CIAT to highlight how vital the Tana River is to Kenya’s food security and economy and how research plays a fundamental role in ensuring that interventions such as the Water Fund initiative can be successful. Download the series of 8 infographics via CIAT’s Flickr account here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ciat/sets/72157650987815627/#

From all of us here at WLE, we wish you a productive World Water Day. Follow the conversation on twitter #WaterIs



The post World Water Day 2015 appeared first on Water, Land and Ecosystems.

Scientists join forces to decipher tsetse fly in battle against sleeping sickness

Beca news -

The decoding of the tsetse fly’s genome to reveal the genes responsible for its peculiar reproductive and feeding habits opened up new frontiers in dealing with the devastating trypanosome parasite it transmits. The tsetse fly is the sole vector for the parasite which causes sleeping sickness in people and livestock putting an estimated 70 million people in sub-Saharan Africa at risk every year and rendering livestock keeping almost impossible in some parts of the continent.

Unlike other insects, tsetse fly females get pregnant with a single young which is nourished and develops inside the body of the parent with "milk" secreted from special glands. Only eight to ten are produced during the lifecycle of a female tsetse fly, compared to the thousands of eggs laid by a  female mosquito over her life span. These insects also rely on proline, an amino acid that is a constituent of most proteins, as their source of energy unlike other insects which utilize different forms of carbohydrates.

Participants of the “Comparative Genome Annotation of Major Tsetse Fly Species” workshop in Nairobi, 17-21 March 2015From 15-21 March 2015, a team of scientists from across the world are gathered at the Biotechnology Research Institute-Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (BRI-KALRO) to compare the genomes of five tsetse species and determine the genetic factors responsible for their peculiar nutrition and reproduction as well as their vectorial capacity. The workshop to give in-depth meaning to the genome sequences of tsetse flies was convened by the Yale School of Public Health (YSPH) and BRI-KALRO, in collaboration with the Biosciences eastern and central Africa -International Livestock Research Institute Hub(BecA-ILRI) Hub; African Insect Science for Food and health (icipe); the Center for Biotechnology and Bioinformatics –University of Nairobi (CEBIB-UoN); and South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI).

The scientists including Lorna Jemosop from Kenya, Tania Bishola from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Abraham Mayoke from Congo Brazzaville whose participation was facilitated by the BecA-ILRI Hub, are annotating the genes associated with chemosensation and vision, immunity, reproductive physiology, horizontal transfer events, digestion, salivary biology, regulatory systems and more.

The hands-on annotation efforts are being accompanied by topical lectures on the different physiologies given by experts in these fields including BecA-ILRI Hub bioinformatics post-doctoral scientist, Mark Wamalwa.

Influencing policy on the pig sector and broader livestock sector policies in Vietnam

CRP 3.7 News -

The International Livestock Research Institute’s projects in Vietnam are contributing to influencing policy on the pig sector and broader livestock sector policies in Vietnam in a number of ways. Below are some examples:

  1. Recommendations contributed to the draft ntional strategy on animal breeding development (PM’s Decree 10/2008 QD-TTg)

In the first draft of the strategy, the Department of Livestock Production (DLP) paid most attention to large scale farms and considered that as the only solution to develop the livestock sector with higher productivity and better disease control. The Center for Agricultural Policy/Institute for Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development (CAP/IPSARD) together with ILRI, in the project Improving the Competitiveness of Pig Producers in an Adjusting Vietnam Market, developed a Vietnam pig sector modeling (VPM) showing that smallholder pig producers still play important roles in domestic supply of pigs in the next 10 years. Based on evidence generated by the project, such as income elasticity and market share, as well as the consumer demand and preference of products from the traditional and small-scale pig production, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development leaders paid greater attention on smallholder pig producers. The latest Decision 50/2014/QD-TTg issued by the Prime Minister on 4 September 2014 expressed government support to strengthen the efficiency of smallholder pig producers during 2015-2020.

  1. Contributions to the annual ‘Agricultural Outlook’ conference organized by CAP/IPSARD

Various ILRI products have been used in the annual Agricultural Outlook Conference, organized by CAP/IPSARD since 2007. The Outlook Conference gathers policy makers, researchers, international donors and representatives of agribusiness, farmers and local authorities. In the Outlook Conference, CAP/IPSARD and ILRI provided research results on the forecast of per capita demand of pork, income elasticity and consumer preference, especially in case of animal disease and their policy implications to improve efficiency and quality of the pig value chain in Vietnam.

  1. Improving the Competitiveness of Pig Producers in an Adjusting Vietnam Market policy brief

The policy brief provided policy guidance based on empirical evidence on the key strengths and weaknesses of Vietnam pig production, with details on two main types of production systems i.e. modern and traditional. Policy recommendations from the project results focused on three key aspects: efficient and bio-secured production system, “cluster” model for distribution and marketing system, and upgrading value chain to improve market accessibility of smallholder pig producers in Vietnam.

  1. Restructuring plan of the livestock sector toward 2030 (Decision No 984/QD-BNN-CN)

The CAP/IPSARD’s team contributed to the preparation of the restructuring plan of Vietnam’s livestock sector. Key findings of the updated Vietnam pig sector modeling (VPM) contributed significantly in the proposed policy in the plan, specifically the main finding on smallholder pig producers still being an important supply source in the pig sector and would receive policies (such as in food safety and pork quality issues) the policies to reduce animal feed price (e.g. increase planned area of maize, prompt to spread GMO maize species) would also help to improve efficiency of pig production of both large and small farms. Supporting policy to create the technological changes in the traditional and small-scale pig sector will also help to reduce prices, maintain market shares, and have pro-poor impacts.

Contributed by Nguyen Do Anh Tuan, vice director of IPSARD (IPSARD has partnered with ILRI on various projects).

Filed under: CRP37, ILRI, Pigs, Southeast Asia, Value Chains, Vietnam

Australian envoy to Kenya visits Australian funded agricultural research programs at the BecA-ILRI Hub

Beca news -

The Head of Mission at the Australian High Commission in Kenya, HE John Feakes visited ILRI on 11 March 2015 to acquaint himself with various agricultural research programs funded by the Australian Government through the partnership between BecA-ILRI Hub and Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO.

 HE John Feakes visits the BecA-ILRI Hub
During the visit, HE Feakes who was accompanied by Dr Paul Greener, ‎Senior Specialist - Agricultural Productivity and Markets at Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and key link in the BecA-CSIRO partnership, held discussions with the ILRI director general, Jimmy Smith. Thereafter, he met with BecA-ILRI Hub staff and project partners to get an overview of the partnership; the research projects; and the capacity building activities.

While at the Hub, HE Feakes took a tour of the lab facilities and was able to see the nutrition and mycotoxin analytical laboratory that was established in 2011 through the BecA-CSIRO partnership and which has since hosted work of more than 60 researchers, from seven African countries, Australia, Europe and North America, significantly increasing the capacity for mycotoxin research on the continent.

HE Feakes also met with research fellows conducting their research at the BecA-ILRI Hub under the Africa Biosciences Challenge Fund fellowship program which is co-funded by the Australian and Swedish Governments, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture.


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