Welcoming Alena Kalodzitsa

Please allow me to introduce Ms. Alena Kalodzitsa.  Alena has decided to come on board as one of our Technical Specialists in the capacity of the Economic Development & Social Policy Specialist. In this role, Alena will work with Mrs. Chantal Kassa, Director of Operations & Strategic Partnerships in which she will facilitate our organization with the functional knowledge of the United Nations Systems specifically the United Nations Economic and Social Council and its specialized agencies and partners and how we could leverage opportunities available for the advancement of our vision and mission.

Alena will also coordinate with others to provide expert recommendations, strategic priorities, interventions, research, and development outcomes to the corporate team, our development partners, and stakeholders as the need arise. She will work with the corporate team to conduct research to formulate strategic plans to address economic and social problems related to the production and distribution of resources across all our impact areas to collaboratively achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and beyond.

Alena holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the Eastern Illinois University and a Bachelor’s degree in International Business and Administration from Lithuanian Christian College located in Klaipeda, Lithuania. Her passion for economic development with emphasis on youth made her travel in more than twenty countries around the world where she has worked with various international youth organizations including the United Nations Youth AssemblyWorld Youth AllianceEuropean Youth Parliament, and the Nantucket Project.

Please join me to welcome Alena on board the team and have a wonderful holiday!

 

 

 

 

 

Welcoming Mairi McConnochie

We are excited to welcome Mairi McConnochie to INDESEEM INCORPORATED. She holds a Master’s degree in Health, Population, and Society from the London School of Economics (LSE), with a focus in Epidemiology, Health Policy and Planning and Demography in low and middle-income countries. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Anthropology from the University of St. Andrews as well as a qualification in Leadership from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

Mairi is joining our team as the Global & Public Health Technical Specialist and she will work on all matters and projects related to advancing health and sanitation as well as reducing poverty and inequality within the global and public health sectors. She will work with the Director of Global & Public Health.

Mairi’s professional profile speaks volumes and her role as the Director at inHealth Consulting Ltd. – a consulting business specializing in health programme management and development based in the United Kingdom speaks more about her leadership, technical pedigree, and passion for health in developing countries that INDESEEM Inc. could benefit from. I worked with Mairi in the past in Ghana where she worked on several projects and initiatives with local, national, and international organizations and I am excited to have joined us!

 

 

 

 

Smart fertilizer management and the quest for sustainable rice production


Pauline Chivenge and Sheetal Sharma   |  « PREVIOUS


Specific fertilizer recommendations in smallholder rice farming systems could increase crop production while reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Rice production relies on the use of synthetic fertilizers, especially nitrogen, in order to meet the challenge of rising demand for the commodity driven by population growth. However, the nutrient needs of rice crops are not constant and can vary with fields, seasons, and years because of differences in crop-growing conditions and management. Consequently, the proper management of nutrients for rice production needs to be adjusted to suit field and crop requirements.

Furthermore, the application of external nutrients constitutes the second most expensive rice production input, after labor. As a result, nutrient management is an important component for sustainable rice production while protecting the environment.

Too much of a good thing
The Green Revolution in the mid-20th century resulted in increased crop yields, including rice, in the developing world. Much of this was due to a combination of the introduction of improved varieties and more reliance on the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. However, although the Green Revolution was undoubtedly beneficial in improving food security, it was also associated with a dramatic increase in pollution due to the high use of agricultural chemicals.

Fertilizer recommendations in smallholder rice farming systems are often given as blanket recommendations, but this can lead to the overuse of fertilizers and inefficient use of nutrients. This created a need to find approaches to increase crop production while reducing pollution.

Location-specific information
Soil testing has been promoted to estimate location-specific fertilizer requirements based on the measurement of soil nutrient pools for a field or location. Soil-test methods attempt to measure the proportions of nutrients available for crops, but the amount measured may differ across soils with contrasting properties. Additionally, different tests for one nutrient often provide different results that can be expressed in a variety of ways.

Therefore, soil-test methods need to be calibrated to be used in a specific region. Soil testing requires rapid sequential sampling of soil, laboratory analysis, and timely deployment of a fertilizer recommendation with training for farmers before crop establishment. The effective implementation across hundreds of thousands of fields has been constrained by the high costs involved in sampling and analysis.

In developed countries, precision nutrient management is done using sophisticated technology to monitor variations in nutrient levels within large fields and across seasons. But, this is not applicable for small fields in Asia and Africa.

The site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) approach was developed in the 1990s to enable rice farmers to apply fertilizers and efficiently meet varying nutrient requirements of plants, thereby reducing fertilizer misuse associated with fertilizer subsidy.

The approach is used to calculate field-specific requirements for fertilizer nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for cereal crops based on scientific principles with the aim to increase nutrient-use efficiency. SSNM has improved rice yields compared with the farmers’ practice often based on blanket recommendations.

nmrice-smatphone

Nutrient Manager for Rice provides farmers in the Philippines with advice on best fertilizer through mobile phones. (Photo: IRRI)

Timing is everything
The SSNM approach, however, does not aim to increase or reduce the amount of fertilizer used. The increase in grain yield with lower amounts of fertilizer has been associated with the better timing of application, particularly for nitrogen. Farmers apply a greater proportion of the nitrogen fertilizer in the early stages of the crop, causing higher vigor during early growth, which does not translate into higher grain yield at maturity.

In recent years, SSNM has been identified as one of the options for sustainable intensification of rice production in Asia and as a climate-smart technology for increasing resource-use efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient runoff into water sources.

The SSNM approach relies heavily on information generated from nutrient omission plot trials that are used to estimate fertilizer requirements for major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). Briefly, nutrient omission plots are small field trials in which adequate nutrients—except the nutrient of interest—are applied to a plot in order to estimate the supply of the omitted nutrient from indigenous sources such as soil, crop residues, irrigation water, biological nitrogen fixation, and atmospheric deposition. This is used to calculate the amount of fertilizer required to achieve a given yield target.

Phosphorus and potassium are generally applied at sowing or transplanting while nitrogen is applied at different crop stages. Thirty percent of the nitrogen is applied at transplanting and the rest is equally split at critical rice growth stages: active tillering and panicle initiation. Alternatively, the nitrogen splits can be determined using leaf color charts.

Rice production in Asia is largely done by smallholder farmers who often lack access to information. For sustainability, there is a need to develop tools that are accessible to farmers. Using the principles of SSNM, an information and communication technology decision support tool, Nutrient Manager, was developed to give field-specific fertilizer recommendations for smallholder farmers.

Nutrient Manager targets irrigated and rainfed lowland rice farmers with the aim to increase productivity and net income by USD 100 per hectare per season at the farm level. The tool has been widely tested and used in the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, and Vietnam, and has led to an increase in farm productivity and profitability. The tool was later developed into the Rice Crop Manager in the Philippines and India, which give climate-informed agro-advisory services to farmers, including the selection of suitable varieties. (See An app tailor-made for India’s rice farmers.)

Although the tool has effectively improved productivity in 80% of the locations where it has been tried, there is room to expand the fertilizer recommendations for a wider set of conditions. Additionally, dissemination of the tool needs to be boosted to give more rice farmers access to smarter and more sustainable fertilizer management.
_______________________
Dr. Chivenge is a soils and biogeochemistry expert at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). Dr. Sharma leads IRRI’s research on the design, evaluation, and dissemination of soil and nutrient management technologies for the rice-based systems of South Asia.


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the RICE Today and retrieved on 12/13/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM Inc. accordingly.


Commodity-dependent developing countries need to boost efforts to diversify their economies


Without policy change, these countries risk falling short of achieving sustainable development by 2030, UN report warns

11 December 2017, Geneva/Rome – Without a renewed commitment to policy change, commodity-dependent developing countries (CDDCs) are by 2030 set to lag behind countries with more diverse economies in their social and economic achievements, UNCTAD and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said in a report issued today.

The Commodities and Development Report 2017 argue this is a likely scenario given that global food and non-food commodity prices – with the exception of oil – are expected to remain at their 2010 levels. They may even increase slightly in the years leading to 2030 – the target date for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by the international community in 2015. However, the report notes that these global price patterns may diverge once broken down at the regional and national levels.

The 2003-2011 commodity price boom drove up export revenues and, generally, economic growth rates for many CDDCs, but this trend has either slowed down or has been reversed since global commodity prices stabilized at a lower level, the report notes.

This, in turn, has brought to light the importance of investing in human capital and social protection as well as of redistributive policies, considering that strong overall economic growth alone does not necessarily translate into poverty reduction and food security achievements.

The report stresses the need for CDDCs to pursue structural transformation to improve their social and economic prospects, reduce poverty, realize food security and achieve the SDGs at large.

To support its policy recommendations, the report reviews policies pursued by several countries and their respective socio-economic impacts. The case studies cover such commodities in producing countries as soybeans in Argentina and Brazil, rice in Bangladesh, diamonds in Botswana and Sierra Leone, cotton in Burkina Faso, coffee and bananas in Costa Rica, cocoa in Ghana, nickel in Indonesia, sorghum in Mali, oil in Nigeria, and copper in Zambia.

According to the report, policies that can promote inclusive growth over the next 15 years include economic diversification, expanding the linkages between the commodity sector and the national economy, adopting counter-cyclical expenditure policies which build commodity revenue buffers during price upswings to use them during downswings, adding value to raw commodities, and investing in social protection, health and education.

CDDCs will require more policy space in order to tailor the right policy mix to fit their economic conditions and circumstances and drive their sustainable economic development in an increasingly globalized world.

Ultimately, the structural transformation should result in the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, of which the SDGs are the core, the report concludes.

Contact

FAO
Media Relations Office
(+39) 06 570 53625
FAO-Newsroom@fao.org

UNCTAD
Communications and
Information Unit
(+41) 22 917 58 28
(+41) 79 502 43 11
unctadpress@unctad.org


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the FAO and retrieved on 12/12/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM Inc. accordingly.


 

Modernizing rainwater harvesting for the dry areas


Written on Nov 26,2017


Although there is renewed interest in indigenous rainwater harvesting, traditional practices and technologies are rarely suitable or feasible. ICARDA is promoting a practical and cost-effective alternative that combines indigenous knowledge with mechanization to enhance effectiveness and strengthen resilience.

Although rainwater harvesting remains relevant, there have been few efforts in recent decades to modernize old practices, develop new ones, or create an enabling environment to unlock its full potential. Many rural communities have become overly attached to old practices and all too often the concept of rainwater harvesting is blamed for failure when in reality mismanagement and poor design are most at fault.

The limitations of rainwater harvesting

One key limitation is that the technical aspects of water harvesting structures – never simple and often complex – are usually implemented by unskilled labor. Laying ridges or contour lines is essential to the proper functioning of a water harvesting system, but this is a complicated procedure and requires special training. Proper site selection is also required. Failure to adequately tailor a method to site characteristics – topography, soil type, vegetation cover etc. – will result in failure.

In addition, the contextual environment in the drylands is increasingly unfavorable. The break-down in collective conservation systems, subsidized feed, and a corresponding increase in animal populations and overgrazing means that unless new legislation is introduced and existing institutions are reformed dry ecosystem restoration schemes will have limited success.

A practical and cost-effective approach

In an effort to overcome these constraints, ICARDA scientists worked with two communities in Jordan’s badia – Mhareb and Majdieh – to design, test, and promote a practical rainwater harvesting package. The package combines indigenous knowledge with mechanization and a contour laser guiding system to enhance the accuracy of ridges and bunds.

Efforts were also taken to improve the selection of restoration sites, design appropriate structures, select the right shrubs, and most importantly, implement sustainable grazing strategies and ensure on-going maintenance.

With support from Jordan’s National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension (NCARE), 80% and 90% of farmers in Mhareb and Majdieh used the package. Jordan’s Ministry of Environment also adopted it, allocating funds for its implementation across 2000 Ha so far – an area the Ministry is planning to extend even further.

The result? Rapid vegetation growth, more animal feed, less soil erosion, and enhanced biodiversity. The package is also cost-effective: it costs a mere USD 32/hectare – which includes the production, planting, and maintenance of shrub seedlings – and the economic internal rate of return is estimated at some 13%.

Achieving long-term sustainability

While the positive impacts of the rainwater harvesting package are clear, additional financial support is needed to extend the intervention over a wider area and ensure its long-term sustainability. Given that local communities are unable or unwilling to fully cover the costs of implementation, public funding is essential.

However, to extend benefits and reduce costs even further, public-private partnerships should be initiated to pay for the building of water harvesting structures. This would enhance the intervention’s viability across the dry areas and ensure that many more rural communities could benefit from land restoration and enhanced resilience to climate variability and change.

This blog is based on an article recently published in the Journal Environmental Reviews: ‘Rainwater harvesting for restoring degraded dry agro-pastoral ecosystems; a conceptual review of opportunities and constraints in a changing climate.’


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the ICARDA and retrieved on 12/07/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM Inc. accordingly.


 

Moving closer to achieving climate-smart future for Southeast Asia


Written by Nguyen Thu Hang (Viet Nam News) on Dec 6, 2017


Fostering learning and sharing knowledge and experiences across Climate-Smart Villages and projects in Southeast Asia.

Based on the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)’ Southeast Asia’s vision, by 2025, the Southeast Asian region has achieved a stable food supply, and communities, especially those in the most vulnerable areas, have already improved their climate change resilience through the adoption of climate-smart technologies and practices.

By this time, institutional, public, and private sector’s capacities to implement measures to cope with climate change are already strong, and climate change adaptation and mitigation measures are fully integrated into both regional and national development plans. These goals guided the implementation of its flagship projects (FP) under the program.

 

On its third annual meeting, CCAFS SEA looked at the four flagship projects’ progress in terms of achieving the goals abovementioned since the second phase of the program started. The annual meeting was held on the 20th of November in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The beginnings of CCAFS

The regional agenda and research portfolio of CCAFS SEA are put into four flagships (FPs), FP1 – priorities, and policies for climate-smart agriculture, FP2-climate-smart technologies, and practices, FP3–low emission development ad FP4–climate services and safety nets.

The Climate-Smart Village (CSV) project serves as the convergence point of the flagship projects. These are implemented to improve farming communities’ resilience to challenges brought about by climate change which are expected to be worsened by the region’s rapid economic growth.

At present, the projects of CCAFS SEA are mostly located in three countries of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia because they are among the most vulnerable countries to climate change in the region. However, there are also other projects implemented in the Philippines and Indonesia.

CCAFS flagship leaders Dr. Phil Thornton and Dr. Andy Jarvis, together with CCAFS SEA regional program leader Dr. Leocadio Sebastian, facilitated a special session on the future projects’ focus. Photo by Duong Minh Tuan/ICRAF

CSV achievements

During the review conducted during the event, participants discussed the successes and challenges faced by the flagship projects and looked at how much of the desired outputs and outcomes have already been achieved. The key emerging outcomes from CSV sites in Vietnam, Philippines, and Laos, have also been highlighted in the workshop.

For instance, in the first stage of the CSV project in Guinayangan Village in the Philippines’ Quezon Province, the implementers had successfully engaged with local governments. In addition, the incorporation of climate-smart agriculture into the local government’s agriculture extension services is expected to have benefitted from 5,000 farmers in Guinayangan Village. Guinayangan is also recognized as a learning site that influenced the implementation and rolls out of the Philippines’ Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (AMIA) program.

As for the project of CSVs in the Mekong Basin, initial outcomes include eight climate-smart agriculture practices and technologies have been implemented with the engagement of 100 local households. For example, in Vietnam’s Ky Son Commune, implementers have successfully coordinated with local governments, same with Guinyangan. They have also helped 2,000 farmers in achieving stable incomes and two neighboring villages in selecting 3 CSAs as priorities for scale-out: stress-tolerant rice varieties, dry season water storage, and pest smart practices for adoption during the first year of the project’s second phase.

Meanwhile, Rohal Suong CSV in Cambodia is now poised to be selected as a demonstration site under IFAD-funded ASPIRE project (worth about USD 50 million).

A special poster session was held to showcase the significant outputs and emerging outcomes of the various CCAFS SEA’s regional projects. Photo by Duong Minh Tuan/ICRAF

Points for improvement

Despite the successes of CCAFS SEA in the first phase and the first year of its second phase, several challenges are still needed to be addressed in the remaining years in the second phase.

The biggest concern to be addressed now pertains to the mobilization of funding for the projects because the total budget left is not enough to run all the projects while most of them will end next year.

Aside from this, Dr. Andy Jarvis, one of the Flagship Leader of CCAFS stated that there is a need to re-design the projects to make it fit with the situation. To address this concern, Dr. Godefroy Grosjean, an expert from the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), suggested three ways they can improve mobilization of financial resources for the projects in the region.

According to him, the first step that CCAFS should do is to recruit a joint position with the Food and Agriculture Organization for a climate finance expert. Second, it is advised to develop new agenda on climate finance, including fiscal reform, evaluation of business models, and carbon pricing. The third step is taking new methodology such as behavioral economics, he said.

Dr. Leocadio Sebastian, the Regional Program Leader at CCAFS SEA, also pointed out the gaps between discussions and the reality in the field where the projects were implemented. He called for all stakeholders to suggest solutions in order to cope with these challenges so that the projects would be smoothly run in the coming years.

Nguyen Thu Hang is a reporter for the Viet Nam News.


Article Disclaimer: This article was published by the CGIAR and retrieved on 12/07/2017 and posted here for information and educational purposes only. The views and contents of the article remain those of the authors. We will not be held accountable for the reliability and accuracy of the materials. If you need additional information on the published contents and materials, please contact the original authors and publisher. Please cite the authors, original source, and INDESEEM Inc. accordingly.


 

%d bloggers like this: