12:00 pm

What future for small-scale farming? Inclusive transformation in challenging times – Part 3

Adebayo Aromolaran, Cyriaque Hakizimana, Aida Isinika, Abdelbagi M Ismail, Martin T Muchero, Jemimah Njuki
Published By:
Hosted by:
UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network
International Fund for Agricultural Development
Agricultural Policy Research in Africa
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This session will feature a panel discussion on the big trends affecting small-scale farming households across Africa with Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) researchers and other experts.

This webinar focused on Africa’s regional perspectives is the third of the eDialogue series: ‘What Future for Small-Scale Farming?’.

Small-scale farmers are critical to food systems in much of the world. Vast numbers of rural households rely, at least in part, on agriculture for their livelihood. Yet times are tough for small-scale farmers, with many being among the poorest and most food insecure people on the planet, who are furthest away from achieving SDG 1 (No Poverty) and SDG 2 (Zero Hunger). Meanwhile, COVID-19 puts a spotlight on the importance of resilient food systems and the vulnerability of poor rural households.

A profound transformation of small-scale agriculture is needed to create food systems that are equitable, healthy, resilient and sustainable. Breakthroughs are urgently needed so:

  • small-scale farmers can earn a living income to afford good food, housing, education and healthcare,
  • small-scale farmers can help produce the right balance of food for healthy and sustainable diets for themselves and consumers,
  • farm families caught in a poverty trap can transition into opportunities beyond agriculture,

These breakthroughs are more vital and urgent than ever given the emerging impacts of climate change and COVID-19.

To develop transition strategies and avoid future crises and suffering, perspectives on the future – 5, 10 and 20+ years -are needed.  It is crucial to better understand how changing demographics, economies, food systems, natural resources and climates will impact on small-scale farmers. This eDialogue will bring foresight and scenario thinking to the challenging questions around how small-scale agriculture can contribute to a future where the world eats more healthily, sustainably and responsibly.

The outcomes of this eDialogue will be made available for preparation of the Food Systems Summit and will contribute to the IFAD 2021 Rural Development Report on Food Systems, being prepared by Wageningen University and Research in collaboration with a global network of researchers.

Focus Region:
Sub-Saharan Africa
Middle East & North Africa
Focus Topic:
Nutrition / Food Systems
Agricultural Value Chains / Agri-Businesses
Gender / Youth / Social Inclusion
Land / Water / Resource Management
Market / Trade
Climate / Weather / Environment

Adebayo Aromolaran

Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Adekunle Ajasin University (AAU), and APRA Senior Researcher, Nigeria

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Cyriaque Hakizimana

Researcher, Institute for Poverty, Land, and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of Western Cape (UWC), South Africa, and APRA Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa

Cyriaque Hakizimana is a researcher and PhD candidate in the Institute for Poverty, Land, and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of Western Cape in South Africa. He obtained a Masters degree in Development Studies from the school of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and his academic training is in poverty reduction approaches. His research interest is in agricultural development within the broader field of Agrarian transformation.

In recent years he has been involved in a multinational project on Land and Agricultural Commercialization in Africa (LACA) which investigated among other things questions related to how agrarian transitions happen and how farming models articulate the relationships between land, labour and capital in commercial enterprises themselves and in the surrounding locality. He is currently leading the Southern Africa Regional Hub of the Agricultural Policy Research in Africa (APRA) programme which aims to produce new information and insights into different pathways to agricultural commercialisation in order to assess their impacts and outcomes on rural poverty, women’s and girl’s empowerment and food and nutrition security in Sub-Saharan Africa. He is also coordinating the Young African Researchers in Agriculture Network (YARA) that he helped found in 2014.

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Aida Isinika

Professor, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), School of Continuing Education, and APRA Country Lead, Tanzania

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Abdelbagi M Ismail

Principal Scientist and Regional Representative for Africa, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Kenya

Abdel Ismail is a principal scientist and the IRRI representative for Africa.  He has  over 30 years of experience in research for development, with a special interest in crop improvement to boost and sustain food production in less favorable areas and enhance resilience and adaptation to climate change.

Through his research, Abdel contributed to advancing knowledge in plant responses and adaptation to floods and salt, heavy metal toxicities, and nutrient deficiencies.  His work also supported the development of tolerant breeding lines;  facilitating the release and commercialization of stress-tolerant varieties; and developing and validating best management practices for different abiotic stress conditions to stabilize production, among others.

He works with partners in national programs, the private sector, and other stakeholders in South and Southeast Asia and in Sub-Saharan Africa to catalyze the establishment of effective seed systems and enabling enviroments for impacts .

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Martin T Muchero

International Consultant, former Regional Agricultural Policy Technical Coordinator of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Botswana

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Jemimah Njuki

Senior Program Specialist at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

Dr Jemimah Njuki is a Senior Program Officer at Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) where she oversees a portfolio of agriculture and food security projects focused on reducing post-harvest losses, improving nutrition and engaging women and youth in agribusiness, as well as overseeing gender integration and women’s empowerment in agriculture projects in IDRC’s Agriculture and Food Security Program. For the last 15 years she has carried out gender research and managed women’s economic empowerment programs in Africa and Asia. She has published widely on gender and women’s economic empowerment specifically in the areas of gender and technology, women and markets, and women and livestock. She has recently co-edited two books; one on ‘Women and livestock in Eastern and Southern Africa’, and the other on ‘Transforming Gender and Food Systems in the Global South’. She is the founder and editor in chief of the Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security. Prior to joining IDRC, she started and led the Women in Agriculture Program (Pathways to empowerment) at CARE USA, working in 6 countries in Africa and Asia and headed the Gender and Impact Program at the International Livestock Research Institute. She is an Aspen New Voices 2017 Fellow and currently chairs the advisory committee of the African Women in Agriculture Research and Development (AWARD) and in the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification.

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