Thursday, October 14, 2010

World Food Prize: Overcoming Major Constraints Facing Smallholders

Uma Lele, World Bank, Chaired session 1
How do we bring all the expertise of the panelists together so each is not in a silo.

Rolf Derpsch: soil expert.
We hear very little about problem of degrading soil.  We need to focus on soil.  We cannot produce crops if soils are eroding away. Degradation and sometimes irreversible destruction of soil have reached frightening level of degrading ability to grow food.  >10 M Hectares are destroyed. Plowing degrades soil, Soil erosion, desertification. Intensive tillage leads to erosion and is largest cause of soil degradation. 
First :Stop soil degradation
Second:Build soil with calcium and nitrogen.
Conservation agriculture no tillage
Permanent soil coverage
No Tillage
Crop rotation
With no-till farming Brazil double crop production.

Dr. Joseph DeVries: Dir. African Seed System
Very optimistic because of increased supply of improved seed.  Seed is maybe the most deliverable.  Improved seed is the basis of the who;e green revolution. Lack of improved variety and problem getting seed to farmers if you have that improved variety.  We are starting to see improved seed. 150varieties recently released.  Micro delivery by bicycle seed dealers.  Micro packs. With better seeds can double yield from 800 KG /HA to almost two tons with both fertilizer and better seed. 

Dr Nuhu Hatibu: CEO Kilimo Trust. 
Africa had green revolution in the 50's before the other green rev. of the 60's.  There was markets, irrigation.  The markets are the key to making sure the farmers are sustainable.  Without markets that give fair prices the farmers cannot suceed.  Don't do good by us but do business with us.

The world has changed drastically in the last forty years but our conversation on food has not changed.  We are trying to reach 30K farmers to teach them to be independent farmers.  Multiple projects. Get information on crops and pest by cell phone to farmers in India.  No till demands the application of modern fertilization products and challenge organic farming.

Stephanie Hanson Dir One Acre Fund
Constraint of finance.  30K farmers in Kenya and Uganda.  Large banks do not want to do small farmers also micro finances are mostly urban.  They provide micro-finance plus.  They lend seed and fertilizer instead of cash.  they have 150 market points in Kenya and 200 in Uganda.  Within walking distance.  The farmers receive it in credit and repay it as they sell their crops.  Need to teach them how to plant and timing and how to use fertilizer.  Repayment rate of 98%.  They are doubling farm income.  $1.4M is 65% of there budget. 

Sarah Munalula, smallfarmer in Zambia
42, four children 1990 she stopped school (soshe went to school till 22) She had to farm because of economic pressure.  They could not plant variety. 2007 they got pioneer seed and she planted variety. Six Hectares owned but she only planted one hectare.  With Pioneer seed she has increased from 18X55 KG to 180X55KG of maze and now is very successful. She is now chairperson of womens cooperative.  The new seed from pioneer is the crucial change.

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