Beyond agriculture: Transcending sectors for diversified livelihoods

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Livelihoods within rural communities are not static and are undergoing a quiet revolution in diversification. We need to understand this better when looking for sustainable solutions to the ‘wicked’ problem of poverty alleviation. Case studies from Thailand and Zimbabwe. Presented by Dr Andrew Noble, director of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems at World Water Week 2013 in Stockholm.

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Beyond agriculture: Transcending sectors for diversified livelihoods

  1. 1. Beyond Agriculture: Transcending sectors for diversified livelihoods. Andrew Noble, Director WLE.
  2. 2. We are living in a globally connected world dominated by megatrends. Global Economic Rebalancing • Emerging economies and growing middle class – led by China and India – will drive global growth and create new markets. • Mass industrialization and urbanization highlight existing pressures on the world’s natural capital.
  3. 3. Environment and Resource • Climate change enhances vulnerability to climatic events. • Deforestation continues, leading to ecosystem decline and habitat and species loss. • Demand for resource needs expose constraints in water, energy, waste management, food and extraction systems, and prompt new resource markets.
  4. 4. Growing Pains • Ageing populations, rising health costs and shifting values. • Growing cities, resource constraints and diverse communities. • Structural change, decline in full- time manual male work. • Growing inequity between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ – no longer an issue between the north and south.
  5. 5. Case studies • Two case studies to show different types of problems and complexities. • One with organic change. • One with an assisted intervention to improve the resilience of system. This story was written by Swathi Sridharan from ICRISAT and is part of the funding of WLE the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food Livestock and risk In southern Africa wealth is often measured by how many animals a family owns. The mor and goats you have, the richer you are. And the more able you are to cope with life’s unex demands. Rural families have long relied on their livestock as a buffer against shock. Livestock repre discreet amounts of cash that can be used to buy shortfalls of food, clothes, build houses pay for education. For Kumutso Nare and her husband, livestock also signify a way to stor wealth - a savings account of sorts from which they can draw as the need arises. The Nares have four cattle but they prefer to focus their energies on goats. “Cattle are diff maintain. The rangelands are 15 km  away,” Nare says. Goats are easy to keep and feed. are my favorite.”  The Nares’ plan for their livestock is straightforward – to build their herd. So far they have adults and 11 goat kids. “The last time we sold a goat was last year,” she says. “We sell a only when we need to. “  But while their plan is to hold on to their animals the impending drought was forcing them t consider selling their animals.  “Our strategy in a drought is to sell some animals and buy s feed to feed the rest. We haven’t yet decided how many to keep or sell. We will see what happens and then decide.”
  6. 6. Case 1: The quiet revolution: Moving beyond the farm gate. On-Farm Employment Profile of Families Full time Part time Not On-Farm Percentage(%) 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 IFS CFS • A study 2010 undertaken in Northeast Thailand of integrated farming systems (IFS) and commercial rice growers (CFS). • Total number of family members in each of the IFS and CFS groups were 579 and 485. • Higher percentage of family members that were either part-time farmers or not employed on-farm.
  7. 7.  Declining productivity and a shift in cropping patterns = lower on-farm incomes.  Higher costs of production = excessive borrowing and high level on non performing loans.  Dependence on off-farm employment i.e. migration to Bangkok Can have negative impacts on family and social structures.  Aspirations of youth beyond the farm gate. Case 1: The quiet revolution: Moving beyond the farm gate.
  8. 8. Case Study 2: Innovation platforms in the Zimbabwe The Nares have four cattle but they prefer to focus their energies on goats. “Cattle are difficult to  maintain. The rangelands are 15 km  away,” Nare says. Goats are easy to keep and feed. They are my favorite.”  The Nares’ plan for their livestock is straightforward – to build their herd. So far they have 33 adults and 11 goat kids. “The last time we sold a goat was last year,” she says. “We sell a goat  only when we need to. “  But while their plan is to hold on to their animals the impending drought was forcing them to consider selling their animals.  “Our strategy in a drought is to sell some animals and buy stock   feed to feed the rest. We haven’t yet decided how many to keep or sell. We will see what happens and then decide.” Photo by Swathi Sridharan This case is abstracted from ten years of work done by ICRISAT in Southern Africa and which has been supported by CPWF the last three years.
  9. 9. The challenge to diversity livelihoods in the semi- arid regions of Southern Zimbabwe • Introduction of improved management of livestock proved difficult because there was a lack of incentives to change. • Markets were segmented, little coordination, and poor understanding of value. • Unhealthy animals, poor prices, and communities that were food insecure. Photo by Swathi Sridharan
  10. 10. The solution. • Innovation platforms established to improve market efficiency and reduce transaction costs along the entire value chain. Photo by Swathi Sridharan
  11. 11. The outcome • Platform has raised value of goat from 10$ to 60$ • Farmers are readily adopting previously un- used technology to produce goats now. • Farmers have options other than staple crops such as maize and cassava which have poor yields and prices. Photo by Swathi Sridharan
  12. 12. Conclusions • Livelihoods within rural communities are not static and are undergoing a quiet revolution in diversification. • Old push-side solutions are not viable – Thailand: Labour, migration driving agriculture, old solutions do not apply. – Zimbabwe: Farmers only adopt when context taken into account.
  13. 13. Conclusions • If we are looking to sustainable solutions to the ‘wicked’ problem livelihoods and poverty alleviation there is a need to: – Each actor holds a key to the solution. – There is a need to engage each actor. – Finding the right ‘lever’ is the key to getting collective action.
  14. 14. wle.cgiar.org wle.cgiar.org/blogs

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