Strengthening the resilience of small-scale farmers is critical to reversing the rise in hunger and ending poverty

Today, on the UN International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, I wanted to step back and reflect on the progress we have made collectively and through IFAD‘s work and also look at the challenges we are facing to further reduce poverty.
— Read on www.ifad.org/en/web/latest/blog/asset/41385382

The Farming System that Ensures Biodiversity Conservation

Small scaled family farming plays a multidimensional role, ensure not only livelihood but play a pivotal role in biodiversity conservation. Such farmers judiciously use the weeds and herbs grow along with the crops and use the crop residues as animal feed. Here are some pictures, I shot in my hometown Borai, Loralai which show us the beauty of this unique farming system. The farmer told me that he never used any pesticides and chemical fertilizer.

Orchard grass and the biodiversity
These grasses are rich in nutrients and the best feed for the sheep, goats and the cows.
The place for wild mint
This weed is locally called as Shinshobey in Pashtu. It is a wild mint. This weed is dried/powdered and uses as food with yogurt and shlombey etc.
The beauty as well as rich animal feed
This weed is called as Perwathke in Pashtu, a very rich feed for the small ruminants.
Chicken is the integral part of this farming
The chicken thrives on the insects in the orchard and provides a rich source of protein.

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Vegetables are grown at the orchard, providing rich and safe food for the family.

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The beautiful but rich herbal plant
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Apricot tree, the small piece of land is richer with different types of trees

Frog breeding is ensured here
The small canal providing a niche for the frog breeding. One can see the eggs of the frogs.

More plants and animals diversity is placed on a smaller piece of land with the highest productivity and the whole family depends on this farm in one or other way.

Cow dung is a biofertilizer
The cow dung is dried and use as a fuel. The remaining material (powdered) is used as farmyard manure

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Borai is home to delicious Anar (Pomegranate)
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Damson fruit, locally called as Aloo. The dried fruit is a source of spices with sheep meat.

Author of the manuscript with a plum tree
We can find many different types of trees, plants, vegetables, and weeds on a smaller piece of land

 

Goat is playing a Pivotal role in Rural Economy! Small Scaled Farming is a Hope

An article in ‘Animal’ compares the lifetime performance (mortality, maturity, nutrition, birth weight etc.) of West African Dwarf goats kept under various feeding systems.

via Lifetime performance of West African dwarf goats under different feeding systems — ILRI news

Added benefits of reducing meat and dairy consumption

When we think of the big drivers of climate change, cars and air travel often come to mind. But transformations over the past century in the way food is produced and consumed have resulted in more greenhouse gas emissions than those from transportation. The biggest culprits? Industrial meat and dairy.

In addition to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, reducing consumption in the countries that currently eat too much meat and dairy could have significant health and social welfare benefits. One study shows that reducing meat consumption as a means of fighting climate change would also cut the risk of colon cancer, heart disease and lung disease worldwide by 34 percent.[31] Another says it would reduce global mortality by 6 to 10 percent by 2050, translating into a healthcare cost savings of US$735 billion per year.[32]

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Other scientists point out that cutting meat and dairy consumption would cut infectious disease and reduce the emergence of antibiotic resistance, and have secondary effects as well.[33] One model shows that the worldwide adoption of a healthy diet could reduce mitigation costs for the energy sector by more than 50 percent by 2050.[34] It would also free up land now used for animal feed production and, if combined with other policy measures, could help small farmers access much-needed land.

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For details, please go to the link below for GRAIN Report

Grabbing the bull by the horns: it’s time to cut industrial meat and dairy to save the climate

GMO Law Review Articles (Including Notes and Comments) — Ban GMOs Now Blog

Originally posted on Ban GMOs Now: “The pursuit of food security faces an uncertain future.Biocultural community protocols: tools for securing the assets of livestock keepers In the absence of a robust consumer rights framework, both farmers and consumers are heading into a future replete with unsafe and insecure food. Moreover, if the federal regulatory framework continues to rely on arcane federal laws, without incorporating modern…Characterization and significance of Raigi camel, a livestock breed of the Pashtoon pastoral people in Afghanistan and Pakistan

via GMO Law Review Articles (Including Notes and Comments) — Ban GMOs Now Blog

The Poisonous Fields

Do we really eat safe food? The reply cannot be a clear yes. The factory farming is producing toxic foods as the scientific findings revealed.  Sometimes I think ‘a day will come when the living people will say “those who killed in wars and disasters are luckier. Eating from the poisonous field make us prone to various health issues. Just watched a TV program on RT, how the factory farming is poisoning our field and ultimately our bodies. poison fields

Roundup (active ingredient Glyphosate) is the world’s most widely-used weed killer. Some claim it’s completely harmless, others say it’s a serious health hazard for humans and animals. The WHO has suddenly called for an all-out ban on glyphosate, considering it toxic and probably carcinogenic. This film sets out in search of sick animals, humans and plants in Germany, Denmark and the US, and asks how the WHO reached these new conclusions and what action the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment is taking poisoned fields: Glyphosate, an underrated risk?

While googling, there are many research based peer reviewed articles proving that this product is causing cancer and also developing Autism in the kids. Are our generations are safe? The decision makers should not ignore this fact. There must be a concreted outcome of the whole discussion as going on among the scientists.

I found Dr. Stephanie Seneff, the author of more than 170 peer reviewed scientific article is focusing especially on this alarming issue. Stephanie Seneff is a well-known scientist emphasizing on the consequences of the Monsanto roundup, GMOs and the factory farming.  Some scientists and activists have the fears that up to 2050, around half of the kids in USA will be autistic. Also, Glyphosate causes low or poor fertility in dairy cows who depend on the food coming from such a poisonous fields.

I have been arguing since last 12 years that small scaled ecofriendly agricultural system is the solution to such threats like poisonous fields. We should eat less but quality products. We should not pose threat to the whole humanity just to earn some extra pennies. Let’s advocate small farming and promote the products come from small farmers and pastoralists.

Sustainable breeding strategies for Red Maasai sheep in Kenya — ILRI BioSciences

Although environmentally-adapted strains of livestock, are essential to smallholder farmers, there has been a decline in the populations of such breeds, such the ‘hardy’ Red Massai sheep. A recent poster by scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) emphasizes that through the implementation of various breeding strategies it may be possible to safeguard this drought- and disease-resistant sheep breed, helping increase food security and productivity across southern Kenya

via Sustainable breeding strategies for Red Maasai sheep in Kenya — ILRI BioSciences

Small Scaled Farming Promotes Diversity

Contrary to factory farming, small scaled farming promote diversity. The factory farming promotes uniformity. Here are the key massages of the International Penal of Expert on Sustainable Food Systems (iPES)’s discussion.

The slogan of the IPES is “FROM UNIFORMITY TO DIVERSITY”

The key massages are here below.

  • Today’s food and farming systems have succeeded in supplying large volumes of foods to global markets, but are generating negative outcomes on multiple fronts: widespread degradation of land, water and ecosystems; high GHG emissions; biodiversity losses; persistent hunger and micro-nutrient deficiencies alongside the rapid rise of obesity and diet-related diseases; and livelihood stresses for farmers around the world.
  • Many of these problems are linked specifically to ‘industrial agriculture’: the input-intensive crop monocultures and industrial-scale feedlots that now dominate farming landscapes. The uniformity at the heart of these systems, and their reliance on chemical fertilizers, pesticides and preventive use of antibiotics, leads systematically to negative outcomes and vulnerabilities.
  • Industrial agriculture and the ‘industrial food systems’ that have developed around it are locked in place by a series of vicious cycles. For example, the way food systems are currently structured allows value to accrue to a limited number of actors, reinforcing their economic and political power, and thus their ability to influence the governance of food systems.* Sacks - Kibera, Kenya - Photo Avantgardens - 24631_623615430985555_2019559313_n_2.jpg
  • Tweaking practices can improve some of the specific outcomes of industrial agriculture, but will not provide long-term solutions to the multiple problems it generates.
  • What is required is a fundamentally different model of agriculture based on diversifying farms and farming landscapes, replacing chemical inputs, optimizing biodiversity and stimulating interactions between different species, as part of holistic strategies to build long-term fertility, healthy agro-ecosystems and secure livelihoods, i.e. ‘diversified agroecological systems’.
  • There is growing evidence that these systems keep carbon in the ground, support biodiversity, rebuild soil fertility and sustain yields over time, providing a basis for secure farm livelihoods.
  • Data shows that these systems can compete with industrial agriculture in terms of total outputs, performing particularly strongly under environmental stress, and delivering production increases in the places where additional food is desperately needed. Diversified agroecological systems can also pave the way for diverse diets and improved health.small scaled
  • Change is already happening. Industrial food systems are being challenged on multiple fronts, from new forms of cooperation and knowledge-creation to the development of new market relationships that bypass conventional retail circuits.
  • Political incentives must be shifted in order for these alternatives to emerge beyond the margins. A series of modest steps can collectively shift the centre of gravity in food systems. Key messages 2 RE

For details, please go to the link below;

Click to access UniformityToDiversity_ExecSummary.pdf

 

Factory Farming Leads to Soil Erosion

Small-scaled subsistence farming is the key to keep our soil healthy and fertile. On the other hand the factory farming is resulting in the soil erosion and narrowing the genetic resources (biodiversity). The erosion of soil has largely occurred due to the loss of structure by continual disturbance for crop planting and harvesting. If soil is repeatedly turned over, it is exposed to oxygen and its carbon is released into the atmosphere, causing it to fail to bind as effectively. This loss of integrity impacts soil’s ability to store water, which neutralizes its role as a buffer to floods and a fruitful base for plants.

Featured Image -- 66The world has lost a third of its arable land due to erosion or pollution in the past 40 years, with potentially disastrous consequences as global demand for food soars, scientists have warned.

For details, please go to the link below;

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/02/arable-land-soil-food-security-shortage

 

Role of small scaled farmers and food security

Colorful food market in Western Bengal

Originally posted on AgHealth: Bird’s-eye view of a colourful food market in Western Bengal, where 70% of people depend on agriculture (photo credit: Krishnasis Ghosh/Bioversity International). In a recent blog post (11 April) published by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, Delia Grace, a food safety expert at the International Livestock…

via Reflections on food safety and risk perception — Dr. B. A. Usman’s Blog

“Water scarcity” — a condition defined by the withdrawal of more water than is sustainably available — DESERTIFICATION

Photo credit: Nature ‘Water scarcity’ affects four billion people each year Global map charts locations that use more water than is available in at least one month each year. by Emma Marris In the western United States, disputes over the management of the Klamath River, which wends its way from southern Oregon to the […]

via “Water scarcity” — a condition defined by the withdrawal of more water than is sustainably available — DESERTIFICATION

A Distinctive Instrument Guaranteeing Livelihood in the Thirstiest Lands of the Ecosphere

Forgotten and neglected but the still inevitable tool of small-scale livestock keepers and pastoralists in driest lands of the world, ensure livelihood and food availability. Among the camel keepers, more than 70% are small scaled keepers, owning 5-15 camels. Amid small farmers, the camel is used for very diverse operations; water harvesting, agricultural operations and also producing milk. While for the pastoralists, it ensures their movement in hard terrains during the harsh climatic conditions. DSC01460The camel ensures food endowment (milk) in conditions when other livestock species struggle for their survival. Camel! A One in All Creatures. Camels have been playing the pivotal role as a multipurpose animal, especially in the extreme drylands of the world. The camel is a forgotten combatant, who played the role even in the development of modern countries like Australia1. With the onset of the automobile revolution, the Dark Age (1960-2000) of camel happened, the beast was almost neglected and rejected as an untuneful farm animal. Ultimately, the camel converted from a caravan animal to an animal of small scaled livestock keepers and pastoralists (nomads, Bedouins, Kochis, etc.). 11390372_10153419389789559_7790676575313165751_nThey had been using camels for very diverse goals; accessibility, food provision, cultural and heritage desires etc. Unfortunately, the camel, the main one being the lack of awareness about this unique species.  Due to prevailing droughts, climate change, interesting results from camel science, the camel has gained much attention again since the year, 2000.

The recent studies have shown that the camel is an immense candidate which can meet the milk requirements of the pastoral people and as well as other population if managed, bred and fed properly. Some planned and integrated efforts are required in camel concentration areas to undertake research and auxiliary developments on this species and its allied disciplines.10896985_628512283927255_2873814486121034170_n

The time has come to know and exploit the true potential of the camel and to find the ways to sustain this old industry for the cause of the conservation of important animal genetic resource and transform it in a modern entrepreneur in the near future. The forum Camels4Life2 is organizing communities, scientists, activists, development workers and policy makers to use the camel in sustainable development agenda and advocate for its promotion and sustainable development in future.

References;

  1. History Of Camels In Australia; http://camelfarm.com/camels/camels_australia.html
  2. Al Ain doctor sees potential in camels beyond their milk; http://www.thenational.ae/uae/health/al-ain-doctor-sees-potential-in-camels-beyond-their-milk

Question Asked~ What is the Concept of Small-Scaled Livestock Production Syetems?

A question was asked in the context cited above by a Sudanese colleague. This question was raised in the DAD-Net discussion group. Here the question is provided in the ensuing lines.
Many thanks for the interaction
The question is how can we characterize the small-scale livestock producers in pastoral system?   
kind regards
Hassan Mohammed Nur (PhD)Livestock consultant
Khartoum, Sudan
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Here was my reply;
A definition for small-scaled Livestock Production/farming can be different in different regions/cultures, landscape/ecosystems and demands (consumer demand for livestock products).
In my view (Central and South Asia​), it is a livestock farming system based on local AnGR (with a wide diversity) with the harvest of locally available feed resources (primary or by-products), mainly raised for subsistence (livelihood earning)in a rural background (mainly). Such farming communities practicing small-scaled livestock farming since generations. They are rich with traditional knowledge with diverse skills ranging from animal breeding, feeding, health to marketing etc. They keep different livestock species usually, ranging from chicken, small ruminants to few large ruminants like cow or buffalo (in some cases camels).
There are two main types of small-scaled livestock farming, i.e. 1. owing agricultural land (2-20 acre) 2. landless farmers
But pastoralists/nomads cannot be categorized in this small scaled farming group. They are very specialized professionals and move with their livestock on their fixed and historical routes.
with my best regards