Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kofi A. Annan,Ending Hunger in Africa. AGRA

Ending hunger in Africa:Change is now within our Grasp says Kofi A. Annan former UN Sect-Gen and current CEO Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA):

Kofi Annan
" Africa is only continent which does not grow enough food to feed itself"

"Never before has there been such a collective drive for change"

The millennium goal of reducing hunger by 2015 will obviously not be met.  The goal is not to to eliminate hunger but to make it a sustainable system.

Our goal is to make smallholder farms Profitable sustainable and .

All African Govt to put 10% of their budget into agriculture and drive a 6% growth per year in production.

Central role of women farmers is finally becoming front and center.  However, rarely do they have title for land and they have problems with getting their product to market.  Less then 3% of all bank lending in Africa is ag related.

At last conference a large number of Bankers were present and this makes me optimistic about Africa's ability to turn the corner.  If we miss this current opportunity I don't know when we will get another chance.

Without a stable peaceful Africa our ambitions will not succeed.

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.

Nourishing The Planet: World Watch

Danielle Nierenberg: State of the world pre-release. Visited 200projects across Africa tosee what is working in Africa.  Full report released inearly Jan 2011. 

Brian Hal   :  Hunger persists.  A policy of agricultural abandomment exist in Africa.  Africas food output hasbeen focused on raw commodities not on added value. 
First :Make better useof water,there is much greater potential that is not being tapped.  As little as 5%gets to crops.  Increase mulching, tilling.  can increase yeild 20-135%  Return on investment was so fast that 5 years later farmers will still use it and spread to surrounding farms
second:Make sure all the post harvest loses are minimized. This can be simple and very effective. Better storage, quickly get rid of spoiled produce, better drying.Community storage very effective.
Third: plan for more farmers incities.  By 2020 35-40M African will relie on urban agriculture.  There are many models for urban farms.
Fourth: Pay for programs for farmers to store carbon in the soil.i.e. keep farm planted more of the year  plant trees.  75 project in 22 countries that are working on this. Great GreenWall initiative and the Billion tree initiative.

Dr Dyno Keatinge: Humanity doesn't live by caloriesalone.  We need diverse diet.  Grains are just calories. and are 50% of food eaten.  We have 2B people who are malnourished.  Very few nuts and berries in diet.  This is major cause of epidemic of type two diabetes.  The Green Revolution is doing disservicebecause we have cast into stone that we put our effort predominately into grains.  Malnutrition is principle thing we need to address.  Not only to feed the planet but nourish it as well.  Rateof return in rice/wheat there is very small rate of return since there are so many people in it.  In nuts berries and other side crops the rate of return on $ can be very hi 3-400 %.  Broader crops are more likely to help break out of poverty and also address nutritional/vitamin deficiencies.  Don't give up what we are doing but expand to other typed of crops.

Hans Herren:Agriculture at the cross roads.  We need a paradineshift in agriculture.  In particular we need to look a changes from on that produces green house gases to one storing carbon.  We need a Brown Revolution in Agriculture.  Biggest return on research comes from one program.  this was using natural means with zero cost to farmer that preserves the crop better.  This is the most easily implement low hanging fruit.  If we want to move over into sustainable ag,we need todo these simple steps.  Indirect investments.  Infra structure, markets,