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Monthly Newsletter
September 2020

Welcome to the Resilient Food Systems (RFS) Newsletter.

In this issue of the RFS newsletter, we provide an update on the desert locust crisis in Ethiopia—and how RFS communities are working to protect their crops. Download UNEP’s Sustainable Land Management (SLM) best practice report and toolbox to learn more about the successful SLM practices and tools being adopted throughout the RFS programme. Learn how dairy goat farming is improving nutritional outcomes and household incomes for women in Nigeria and how conservation agriculture is improving the resilience of smallholder farming systems in eSwatini

Useful resources and links

Each the month, the Regional Hub shares the latest news and events related to sustainable agriculture, resilience, land degradation, climate change, and COVID-19 from programme partners and relevant organisations. 
  • The World Bank has approved a USD 500 million programme to provide support to countries impacted by the desert locust outbreak. View their factsheet for an overview of the crisis and how COVID-19-related constraints are impacting effective responses.
  • Mobile phones have become a critical tool for smallholder farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read about IFAD’s initiative to provide 1.7 million small-scale farmers in Kenya, Nigeria, and Pakistan with personalised agriculture advice through their mobile phones.
  • FAO’s COVID-19 Food Coalition is gaining momentum. Read more about how the multi-stakeholder mechanism is mobilising political, financial and technical assistance to countries affected by the crisis.
  • The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) concluded its 2020 virtual meeting amidst the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On the road to the 2020 UN Biodiversity Conference, deliberations on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework have continued virtually. IISD’s policy brief provides an overview of these discussions, the challenges posed by COVID-19 and outlines expectations for the 2020 conference. 
 New Resource  Sustainable Land Management 

UNEP develops Sustainable Land Management (SLM) best practice report and toolbox

To support the scaling up of proven approaches for SLM within the RFS country projects, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has gathered best practice examples of SLM approaches in sub-Saharan Africa. Sustainable Land Management for Food Security in Africa: Best Practices and Guidelines for Action provides information and case studies for a range of SLM approaches, including integrated soil fertility management (ISFM), conservation agriculture (CA), rainwater harvesting (RWH), agroforestry (AF), ecosystem-based adaptation for smallholder farmers and reduction of post-harvest losses.
As a compliment to the best practice document, UNEP also developed an SLM toolbox, which provides an overview of tools and technologies that can support the implementation of SLM practices. The tools are mostly IT-based, intended to support the organisation of data and information for decision making in land evaluation, suitability and similarity analysis, land capability classification, and agro-ecological zoning.
Download Best SLM Practices and Guidelines for Policy Action  →
Download Toolbox for Sustainable Land Management  →

Request for grant applications
Deadline: 18-Sep-2020

The Biovision Africa Trust (BvAT), acting on behalf of the African Union-led Ecological Organic Agriculture (EOA) Continental Steering Committee and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, have announced a Request for Applications to recruit a suitable consortia of partners to implement activities under the Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative (EOA-I) Phase 2 in the following target countries: Benin, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.

The EOA-I is an African Union-led continental undertaking to establish an African organic farming platform based on available best practices and to develop sustainable organic farming systems and improve seed quality.

For more information about the initiative and instructions on how to apply, visit the EOA website.
Farmers in the Raya Azebo woreda spray insecticide to mitigate the impact of the desert locusts. 
Ethiopia Sustainable Land Management 

Desert locust crisis impacts RFS project communities in three Ethiopian woredas

The desert locust crisis persists in the Horn of Africa, devastating local crops and grazing pasture. As the crisis evolves in Ethiopia, RFS project communities continue to suffer varying degrees of locust-related losses of staple crops and livestock productivity. Within the RFS project area, desert locusts have appeared in the Raya Azebo, Tuliguled and Doba woredas (districts). However, in Raya Azebo, through considerable organised efforts, the community was able to protect the woreda from any significant impact on their crops.
In Doba, locusts have been found in 14,600 hectares, roughly 20 percent of the woreda’s total land area. The district-level Agriculture Office estimates that a total of 20,775 households have experienced negative impacts to their livelihoods and food security due to locust-related crop losses. Of the primary crops grown in the region, sorghum has been the most severely impacted—3,027 hectares have been invaded by locusts, directly affecting 4,307 households.
FAO believes that Ethiopia will remain the epicentre of the African locust crisis through October.
Read more about how the desert locust crisis is impacting the RFS Ethiopia project →
eSwatini  Sustainable Land Management 

In eSwatini, lead farmers are key to scaling up conservation agriculture practices throughout the country

To support the capacity development of lead farmers, the RFS eSwatini team has led a training programme in the Manzini, Lubombo and Shiselweni regions. Within each constituency, the RFS eSwatini team selected 10 farmers to be trained and supported as lead farmers within their communities, with a particular emphasis on developing the capacity of women and elderly farmers. Led by the Chiefdom Development Unit, these farmers went through vigorous theoretical and practical training.
Held at demonstration plots in each chiefdom, the practical training sessions centred around a learning-by-doing approach and encouraged experimentation. Farmers were able to apply the conservation agriculture approaches and techniques learned in the classroom, such as minimal soil disturbance and intercropping, in a field setting and see tangible results.
Lynn Kota, Project Director of the eSwatini project, says conservation agriculture is gradually being adopted by more farmers, particularly when they witness the resilience of the new methods and crops against drought. “With the heat wave that is becoming stronger every year, and the unpredictability of rains, crop failure is inevitable, particularly maize. The intercropping that is used in conservation agriculture is a lifesaver to most farmers.”
Learn more about RFS eSwatini's approach to lead farmer development  →
Nigeria  Value Chains & Market Access 

RFS is empowering women through dairy goat farming in Nigeria

Between June and August of this year, with the support of local women’s groups, the RFS project trained over 1,000 women from seventy communities on dairy goat farming and production. These women were also provided with the goats for rearing in all the seven states.
In Gombe State, the RFS Nigeria project held a ‘Train the Trainer’ session for 30 women farmers from ten communities on dairy goat farming and production. The purpose of the training was to enhance knowledge on dairy goats, including goat rearing, feeding, hygiene and health, with the ultimate goal of empowering these representatives to go back in their communities to train other women.
Celina Sanusi, a beneficiary of the training, was eager to learn how to improve the health of her goats: “I prefer goats because they reproduce twice in one year. If I take care of my goat and it reproduces, I am able to give that goat to another women—all women benefit.” Through the training, Celina learned when and where to go for veterinary services and was introduced to new treatments available when her goats got sick.
Through dairy goat production, these women are increasing their access to nutritious food for themselves, and their children, improving nutrition outcomes for the entire community. Moreover, the women are able to earn additional income through goat milk sales to local markets.
Learn more about how RFS Nigeria is promoting sustainable livelihoods for women  →

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Check out our website and social media pages for more information about the Resilient Food Systems programme and our 12 country projects.
Resilient Food Systems, also known as the Integrated Approach Program on Food Security (IAP-FS), is primarily funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Visit the
Resilient Food Systems website
to learn more about how we are building resilient food systems in 12 countries across Africa.
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