“With half a hectare we usually harvested four sacks of maize without compost. With compost we harvest up to 10 sacks. Everybody is now aware of the importance of compost and we can no longer get manure from herdsmen for free. Compost pit construction is the most successful activity in the village of Boungou.”
Nassouri Pascal, Burkina Faso
Persistent chronic hunger and poverty in most low-income countries, ongoing food price volatility, and the increasingly evident impacts of climate change all demonstrate the failure of the current global food system to meet the needs of the rural poor. In 2009, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) reaffirmed this point in its report ‘Agriculture at a Crossroads’, which argued that ‘business as usual’ will not enable poor countries to address development and sustainability goals.
In order to provide effective support to smallholder farmers in the face of existing and emerging challenges, we believe that multi-lateral and bilateral donors should focus agriculture aid allocations and policy dialogue in Africa on:
“I have already expanded my shea butter processing and with the increased income, I am in a position to pay for my children’s education even if my husband cannot. Now when my husband is absent, I am able to provide for the family with ease. Previously, I would not have been able to do that.”
Abegka Anankpieng, Ghana
Sources: IFAD Rural Poverty Report 2011, FAO/WFO The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2010, 2005 Information Brief Small Farms: Current Status and Key Trends, Oksana Nagayets, 2009 IAASTD Report: Agriculture at a Crossroads.