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Building the Resilience of African Smallholder Farmers in a Changing Climate
FANRPAN/World Vision International ARDD Learning event
3 December 2011


Lead organisation/individual for learning:
Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN)

Learning event title:
Building the Resilience of African Smallholder Farmers in a Changing Climate

Overall objective for learning event:
The learning event seeks to demonstrate the depletion of livelihood assets in rural southern African households as a result of extreme weather events (e.g. recurrent droughts and floods), which have contributed to poverty, hunger and disease (e.g. HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria). Through livelihoods databases developed using the FANRPAN Household Vulnerability Index (HVI) and testimonies presented by smallholder farmers, learners will receive first-hand knowledge on the asset bases of and targeted interventions for smallholder farmers, and policy initiatives aimed at bridging the divide between agriculture and climate change. Returns from increased investment in agriculture, a conducive policy environment and targeted interventions at household level can help build resilience and restore African farmers' dignity.

Specific questions for learning event:
  • What assets are required to improve household agricultural productivity?
  • What are the financial requirements at local, national and regional levels to improve agricultural productivity?
  • What policy processes are in place to address the challenges of increased smallholder farmer productivity, resilience and climate change adaptation and mitigation?
Key messages for learning event:
  • The importance of investing in research and longitudinal household panel data on rural livelihoods is critical for informing climate smart agriculture initiatives
  • Climate change and food security are inter-sectoral, and this calls for collective action from multiple actors that include relevant government ministries, the research community (universities, CGIAR centres) and development agencies, the private sector and farmers
  • Evidence-based policy dialogue platforms and tools that involve all relevant stakeholders, particularly vulnerable communities, should be utilised to inform policy development processes
Specific questions for participants to discuss:
  • How do you capacitate smallholder farmers without creating dependency?
  • What policies are required to stimulate African academics to engage in research that addresses the needs of smallholder farmers and policy makers?
  • How can we build the capacity of farmers to actively participate in shaping the climate-smart agriculture agenda?
Proposed lead speaker:
Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda (FANRPAN Chief Executive Officer & Head of Mission)

Proposed panellists:
  • A Policymaker
  • An African Smallholder Farmer
  • A Policy Researcher
Proposed moderator:
Tony Carnie (a Durban-based journalist with Natal Mercury)

Proposed rapporteur:
Mr Yuven Gounden (FANRPAN Communications Manager)

Proposed wrap-up person:
Mr Walter Middleton (Partnership Leader: Food Security & Livelihoods, World Vision International)

Notes on learning event:
FANRPAN (www.fanrpan.org) is a multi-stakeholder, multi-national network that supports the development of better food, agriculture and natural resources (FANR) policies in Africa. FANRPAN's mandate is to build the continent's capacity for policy analyses and policy dialogue, and to improve policy decision-making by enhancing the generation, exchange and use of relevant information. FANRPAN members include government FANR ministries; policy research institutions; private sector national FANR umbrella organizations; national farmers' organizations; and civil society organizations.

World Vision (www.wvi.org) is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Inspired by Christian values, World Vision works with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God. It has a presence in 97 globally, 25 of which are in Africa.

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