Sunday, 25 August 2019

Enabling policies to foster inclusive agribusiness and the catalytic role of public-private partnerships

Enabling policies to foster inclusive agribusiness and the catalytic role  of public-private partnerships
The vast majority of staple food products (cereals, roots and tubers, livestock, horticulture) serve domestic, informal markets in developing countries. Despite the expansion of supermarkets, most small farmers (60-80%) continue to market their goods through traditional informal channels and street markets. There is a strong business case for agri-processors to source directly from small farmers, as the former can benefit from known efficiency and comparative advantage of the smallholder farmers and reliability of secured supplies. The answer depends on the levels of risk and how they are addressed. Among the risks faced by agribusiness are difficulties getting smallholders to comply with standard requirements and to fulfill commitments, as well as problems with communication and coordination. Farmers dealing directly with agribusiness typically require a higher level of negotiating capacity and better internal coordination to meet contractual obligations than they generally have; these depend on better organization and a higher degree of market and business capacity. The transition of small-scale farmers from subsistence to commercial agriculture depends on finding ways for smallholders to move up the commercial and market integration ladder and, inversely, on opportunities for agribusiness to source more of their raw agricultural products from small-scale producers.
A particular form of supply relationship between agro-industry and small-scale producers is the outgrower scheme – a supply contractual arrangement through which private industry provides services to small farmers in the form of extension, training and inputs, in return for a supply of raw agricultural products at set prices. The outgrower scheme, found predominantly within the export-oriented value chains, is favoured by governments and development partners as a means to encourage more small- scale producers to participate in value chains. However, in practice, the outgrower scheme doesn’t always work well and can result in frequent side-selling by farmers or contract-breaking on the part of the producers. This is the case for the oil palm industry in Ghana, where side-selling by farmers is rationalized as a consequence of oil palm mills raising input prices and lowering the prices offered for fresh fruit bunches without consultation or coordination with supplying farmers. The farmers often respond by selling on the open market instead, where prices are higher. This case illustrates the importance of close coordination in price negotiations between agribusiness and supplying farmers, which implies relationships that build trust and seek win-win outcomes on prices, quality and supply for both sides. Other conditions for success include merit-based selection of participating farmers and an emphasis on farmer training. The same requirement for close coordination and transparent negotiations also applies to commercial agreements between outgrower farmers and input suppliers.
Successful cases of good working linkages between agribusiness and small-scale producers also exist.
Senegal offers a good example involving a dairy agriprocessor and milk suppliers from Richard Toll,
east of Dakar. In this case, a privately-led initiative (Laiterie du Berger) was established to produce dairy products using milk sourced from local farms. The dairy processing unit collects, processes and sells milk in the Dakar market and offers its milk suppliers services to improve quality, as well as yield-enhancing techniques. Additionally, an NGO is involved in providing training to participating dairy farmers, focusing on capacity building not provided by the agriprocessor. However, the successful experience in this caseis linked to the localized nature of a captive dairy market with only one operating agriprocessor within the region. These conditions strongly favour a closer business relationship featuring coordination and collaboration.

Resolving the perennial credit problem for small-scale farming: innovative solutions for staple food value chains

Resolving the perennial credit problem for small-scale farming: innovative solutions for staple food value chains
Access to finance by small-scale producers and value chain operators is the foundation of a well-functioning value chain and ensures steady agricultural development. For the majority of small scale producers, access to credit for staple food production is either unavailable or comes at prohibitive interest rates. Unlocking credit and finance constraints remains a huge challenge for agrifood chain development. At the Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A) Conference, held in Kampala Uganda in 2011, a declaration of principles was made on enhancing financial capability in Africa. The Kampala principles provide some useful guidelines in the search for solutions. Some of the relevant principles seek to: (i) ensure legislation to remove barriers to financing agriculture operations such as warehouse receipts and contract farming, and support the emergence of viable local rural financial institutions; (ii) develop financial markets to support the enhanced capacity of financial institutions to lend and meet the market demand; (iii) strengthen farmer organizations so that the production end of agricultural value chains becomes an effective influence on agricultural finance policy-making; (iv) improve financial literacy and farmer business education, inclusive of both men and women, as well as youth; and (v) ensure a sustainable flow of information on markets, output prices, cost of inputs, and cost and conditions of finance and credit.
Innovative solutions are required for staple food crops and can involve the public sector or public-private partnerships. Some finance models that have been applied with some success to cash or export crops could also be tried with staple crops. Among these are: (i) the social lender model (which focuses on lending directly to producer organizations and small-scale businesses); (ii) direct financing of out grower schemes where producer-buyer relations already exist; and (iii) finance schemes that involve two or three partners, including a finance institution and producer organization, with a government agency (sometimes with donor financial support) often supplying a guaranteed fund to back up the programmed.
One example is Ghana’s National Rural Growth Programmed (NRGP), which has test- piloted a new credit system as part of the value chain development targeting industrial crops, exported fruits and vegetables, crops grown especially by women, and livestock. Under the programmed, farmer groups, including those participating in out grower schemes, can register as a company known as a Special Purpose Vehicle (or SPV). The SPV has access to commercial bank finance and can provide farmers (or out growers) with input credit (fertilizers, herbicides, etc.), machinery and other mechanical services, as well as training in group cohesion and coordination. The programmed appears to be working, with a steady increase of participants – over 2 500 Ghanaian farmers (as of July 2012) benefit from the credit system – and with high repayment rates (91-98%).
Nigeria offers a different model to facilitate access to credit for value chains. Under the incentives-based
Shared System, the government of Nigeria, through the central bank, provides incentives to commercial banks to lend to private agribusinesses by reducing their investment risks in the agricultural sector. As a result, many commercial banks in Nigeria have expanded their lending and investment activities, focusing particularly on seed production where they have been actively seeking potential partners to expand seed production and distribution.
Another promising approach to facilitate access to credit for producers in staple food value chains is the inventory credit or warrant age system. Under this system, producers stock specific quantities of surplus production (usually cereals or other easily storeble crops) in a reliable warehouse, jointly managed with a financial institution. The stored crop is used as collateral in order to access credit. Once the credit is reimbursed, the producer can retrieve the production and sell it when market prices are at their seasonal peak. The warrant age system, first introduced by FAO in Niger, has since spread to several countries of the region and is being taken up by a growing number of cereal-based producer organizations. Under the European Union-funded project, All-ACP Programmed for Basic Commodities in the African-Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, FAO examined several producer organizations in West Africa and concluded that, while warrant age is a powerful institutional innovation for credit access, its success depends on a number of critical conditions being met, such as: (i) the presence of a local financial partner; (ii) a functioning producer organization with sufficient internal coordination capacity and sufficient storage capacity; (iii) a storable commodity subject to predictable cyclical prices (high and lows within a season); and (iv) ability of the producer organization to fulfil contract obligations vis-a-vis the financial partner.

Boosting productivity: promoting private input markets and creating the correct incentives for input uptake

Boosting productivity: promoting private input markets and creating  the correct incentives for input uptake
Among the key drivers for enhancing productivity of staple food crops are policy incentives and measures that foster higher input use by farmers. The focus must be placed on encouraging private initiatives and market-based schemes, while public agencies can play an important direct role in seed research and development, as well as catalyzing privately-led commercial seed production and distribution. At the initial stages of input market development, the public sector can also lower the cost of inputs to producers by subsidizing private bulk purchases and providing tax incentives for private input networks and dealers. Another critical public role is to enforce the quality controls on fertilizers and seeds.
On the other hand, direct fertilizer or seed subsidies by the government to farmers have rarely worked; they are unsustainable and subject to leakages (including smuggling across borders) and have very low impact apart from a temporary boost to production. Far more seriously, direct input subsidies tend to discourage the emergence of viable and private provision of inputs to producers. Fertilizer subsidy programmed, often used by governments, have rarely been successful. For example, Nigeria tried a fertilizer input subsidy, only to abandon it as unworkable, leaky and inefficient. Instead, Nigeria turned to indirect support for input uptake by facilitating access to credit. There are, however, noteworthy experiences with targeted subsidies taking place in East Africa (Rwanda, Malawi) that could be replicated in West Africa.
Providing credit to increase input use has many advantages, not least of which is the flexibility it offers producers in choosing the optimal fertilizer management for their situation, depending on the production system as well as the state of soil fertility. In Benin, the Project de Gestation Integrate DE la Production ET eds Provocateurs (GIPD) offers a successful case of an integrated fertilizer programmer which combines organic and mineral fertilizer techniques to deal with depleted soil fertility resulting from previous excessive fertilizer applications.
Increasing the use of inputs is only the first step to enhancing productivity. The latter also requires facilitating improved access to appropriate technologies and equipment by small scale farmers and small and medium enterprises. This in turn requires various interventions and supportive measures that include subsidized credit and investments for targeted productive assets and solving the land tenure constraints which block investment opportunities for small scale producers, including women, and reduce access to credit. Better access to input, equipment and technologies combined with technical and managerial training (through training centers, farmer field schools) all combine to improved returns to labor. These measures must be integrated with value chain or sectoral development strategies.

Getting policies right: priorities for the transformation of the staple food chains in West Africa

Getting policies right: priorities for the transformation  of the staple food chains in West Africa
The essential players in agrifood value chains can be grouped into four broad categories (or market
 agencies): (i) public agencies; (ii) agro-industry (input suppliers, processors); (iii) financial institutions; and (iv) producers and their organizations. Each of these players plays a critical and well-defined role within the agrifood system.The role of the public sector is to provide the catalytic interventions required to create the enabling environment and the right policy setting. However, the full development of staple food value chains rests primarily on the private agribusiness players, including those of small- and medium-scale, who contribute to market creation, innovation and enhancement of quality standards. A dynamic agro-industry also depends on well-functioning credit institutions that forge commercial partnerships with processors, input suppliers and producers, contributing to funding as well as financial training and capacity building. Finally, no value chain can thrive without the producers and their organizations – the necessary market agency that can contribute to more dynamic and inclusive value chain development.

The public sector supports the food value chain development by setting the overall policy environment guided by broad strategic objectives – namely, food security, poverty reduction and growth. The public sector aims to create the enabling environment for business (security, legal frameworks, infrastructure, research and development), and to support smallholder-inclusive market participation. In the context of food value chain transformation, the priorities for policy support include the following: (i) fostering private input markets and providing incentives for their uptake by farmers; (ii) supporting dissemination and transfer of information, including market signals to stimulate exchange and to improve quality and value; (iii) increasing high-impact investments targeting the development and transfer of technologies, promoting private sector participation, reducing investment risks and promoting public-private partnerships; (iv) equalizing the market opportunities for domestic producers vis-a-vis competing imports and harmonizing trade policies with domestic support measures; (v) promoting schemes to encourage greater engagement and developing stronger linkages between producers and buyers; and (vi) strengthening the capacity of small farmers and their organizations to expand market participation.

Why rebuilding ?

Why rebuilding ?
The price hike on international food markets in 2007-2008 was a turning point in world agriculture.
The crisis jolted governments of developing countries and their development partners into renewed
focus on agriculture after a long period of relative neglect. A broad consensus emerged, calling for
increased investments in agriculture and rural development in order to enhance productivity and meet
the heightened challenge of food security. The crisis also heightened awareness of the degree of
vulnerability for the majority of farmers in developing countries, who could not respond with higher
production because the expected supply response to rising prices did not occur.
For West Africa in particular, this episode reinforced the need for a major rethinking of agricultural
development and induced a policy correction towards staple food, which had been long neglected in
favor of a few export commodities. The West African governments also responded to the disruptions
to food trade by redefining food security in terms of self-sufficiency, increased reliance on domestic

supply of staple food crops and lower reliance on imports. In the short run, this gave rise to crisis-
induced interventions to stimulate production (national initiatives on rice, maize or cassava, depending

on the country) and a new impetus to raise productivity in the medium term. The crisis also gave a new
momentum to the CAADP process.
More importantly, the post-crisis environment gave rise to a new modus operandi giving greater
importance to broader agricultural diversification with increased focus on staple food crops. Considered
key to food security, these crops have now received more attention, with attempts to address the huge
productivity gaps. However, too narrow a focus on staple food products alone is neither feasible nor
desirable. The staple food markets would not be sufficient to harness the full agricultural potential in
West Africa, given the diversity of growing conditions and agro-ecological systems. Moreover, achieving
greater food security requires not only improving food availability but also requires greater access to
food which comes through enhanced sources of income that can be facilitated by diversification of
agricultural enterprises. Diversification must also continue to give due importance to cash crops and
exports, which continue to generate substantial revenues despite the relative erosion of global market
shares. Consequently, the new development paradigm embraces diversification that covers both food
staple crops and cash crops.
There is clearly a need to rebuild the West Africa food productive capacity through broad-based
diversified agriculture. Such rebuilding must be based on the triple objectives of enhancing productivity,
fostering market-based competitiveness and ensuring smallholder inclusiveness. In West Africa,
improving productivity requires disseminating yield-enhancing best practices, addressing the serious
soil fertility depletion, addressing land tenure pressures, and raising returns to labour. Improving
productivity also requires managing risks, tackling vulnerabilities, and strengthening resilience of staplefood production. Competitive agrifood value chains must rely on solid demand, supportive industries,
quality inputs and firm rivalry; agrifood chains also require an enabling legal and policy environment
and coordination among value chain actors.
It is essential to develop inclusive value chains in order to achieve stronger agricultural growth and
improve the livelihoods of the rural poor. Given the myriad constraints facing small-scale farmers,
greater effort must be deployed to ensure that markets are more inclusive of small-scale producers –
including women, who play a significant role in staple food value chains. Women face additional
constraints in accessing resources (land, credit, technology, training, extension) and therefore require
gender-targeted interventions. As an illustration, much of the rice produced in Burkina Faso is parboiled
by women, who play a central role in the potential development of the rice value chain; however,
women face a huge set of constraints (in access to credit, training, organization and capacity), which
prevents them from playing a far more dynamic role in turning rice into a thriving agro-industry.
Clearly, policy support is crucial to induce the required value chain transformation in West Africa.
Equally important is an understanding of the role of the key players essential for such transformation –
the public sector, private agro-industry, the finance sector, and the producers and their organizations.
Understanding the respective roles of each of these players is an essential part of formulating the
required market and institutional reforms and delineating the right policy environment.

Monday, 19 August 2019

These 7 Personalities Were Born In Pakistan But Always Stayed Indian By Heart

After scrapping of article 370 from the Indian constitution things are off between India and Pakistan. The residents of both countries are showing their anger and hatred openly on social media. But no matter how much we hate each other, we are connected in some way or other.

Do you know that several eminent Indian personalities are originally born in Pakistan? Millions of people left Pakistan and migrated to India after partition and some of them became successful and famous and will always be remembered as Indians.

These are the prominent personalities who were Pakistani by birth but stayed Indian by heart.

1. Manmohan Singh

The former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh was born on 24 September 1932 in Punjab province of British India which is presently in Pakistan. After the partition, his family moved to India and he completed his higher education from Punjab University.

2. Lal Krishna Advani

The senior leader of Bhartiya Janata Party LK Advani was born on 8 November 1927 in Karachi. His family migrated to India after partition and played a major role in the making of one of the biggest parties of the nation, BJP.

3. Yash Chopra

Born in the city of Lahore in Punjab province in British India (now in Pakistan) on 27 September 1932, Yash Chopra along with his family moved to India after partition and he went on to become of the greatest filmmakers of all times. He was even honored by Padma Bhushan in 2005.

4. Sunil Dutt

The Bollywood star who is now no more was born in a village Khurdi in Jhelum district of Punjab state in British India, which is now in Pakistan. He gave some classic movies which will be remembered forever and later joined politics and won several elections.

5. Bhagat Singh

Freedom fighter Bhagat Singh who gave his life for his motherland was also born in Pakistan. He was born on 19 October 1907, in Banga Pakistan. He was one of the youngest fighters who was sentenced to death by the British government.

6. Gulzar

Sampoorn Singh Kalra, known by his pen name Gulzar, was born 14 August 1936, in a village named Dina of Jhelum district, Punjab. The village is now in Pakistan. He is a famous poet, screenwriter, film director, and playwright.

7. Milkha Singh

Prior to partition born in Lailpur on 8 October 1935. Singh lost his parents during the chaos created during partition. He came to India with his remaining family. He represented India at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome and the 1979 Summer Olympics in Tokyo and earned the nickname “Udta Sikh”.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Tiger A True Story of Vengeance & Survival:

Tiger A True Story of Vengeance & Survival:
AS OF 2008, THERE WERE AN ESTIMATED FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY tigers living in Primorye, southern Khabarovsk Territory, and their adjacent border regions—down from a postwar high of roughly five hundred in the late 1980s. (By comparison, the state of Texas, a place that has no natural history of tigers, has more than two thousand of them living in various forms of captivity.) This may sound like a lot of tigers, but it is nothing compared to what the wild population was a hundred years ago. At the beginning of the last century, it is estimated that there were more than 75,000 tigers living in Asia. Today, you would never know; within the fragile envelope of a single human memory 95 percent of those animals have been killed—for sport, for beauty, for medicine, for money, for territory, and for revenge. Looking at distribution maps of tigers then and now is like looking at maps of European Jewry before and after World War II: you simply cannot believe your eyes. It is hard to imagine such a thing is possible, especially when you consider that tigers have accompanied our species throughout its entire history on the Asian continent and have been embraced for their physical, aesthetic, and iconic power. Because of its beauty, charisma, and mythic resonance, the tiger has been adopted as a kind of totem animal worldwide. There is no other creature that functions simultaneously as a poster child for the conservation movement and as shorthand for power, sex, and danger. Like a fist, or a cross, the tiger is a symbol we all understand. Of the eight commonly recognized tiger subspecies, three of them—the Balinese, the Javan, and the Caspian—have become extinct in the past two generations, and a fourth, the South China tiger, has not been seen in the wild since 1990. No reliable tiger sightings have been reported from the Koreas since 1991. Today, the tiger has been reduced to isolated pockets of relic populations scattered across the vast territory over which it once roamed freely. Current estimates indicate a total wild population of around 3,200 and falling. Making this situation more upsetting, especially for conservationists, is the fact that this cascading trend could be reversed tomorrow. Left alone, with enough cover and prey, there are two things tigers do exceptionally well: adapt and breed. In nature, versatility equals viability, and in this, tigers rival human beings. Until around 1940, tigers could be found almost anywhere on the Asian continent from Hong Kong to Iran and from Bali to Sakhalin Island—and at any habitable altitude: tigers have been sighted in Nepal at 13,000 feet, and they are still somewhat common in the semi-amphibious mangrove swamps of the Sundarbans. Nor are they terribly choosy: as long as quantities are sufficient, tigers take their protein where and how they find it. And this is often exactly wherever the strain lies: Panthera tigris and human are literally abundantly alike, and we are drawn to many of the same things, if for slightly different reasons. Both people demand massive territories; each people have prodigious appetites for meat; each people need management over our elbow room and area unit ready to defend it, and each North American country|folks|people} have a huge sense of claim to the resources around us. If a tiger will poach on another’s territory, it probably will, and so, of course, will we. A key difference, however, is that tigers take only what they need. This is why, given the choice, many Russian hunters and farmers would rather have tigers around than wolves. The former are much less prone to surplus killing. What is happening to tigers now is analogous to what happened to the Neanderthals twenty-five thousand years ago, when that durable, proven species found itself unable to withstand the competitive force and expansion of Homo sapiens and was backed into a corner of southwestern Europe. There would have been a point when their numbers, too, began to visibly shrink, and falter, and finally disappear. There would have been a last one. Many human tribes have met the same fate since then, and many more are meeting it now. Today, it occurs not so much by death as by dilution: through resettlement, religious and economic conversion, and intermarriage, gradually the skills, stories, and languages fade away. Needless to say, once sheltered by a roof, carried in a car, and fed from a can, very few humans willingly return to sleeping on the ground, walking cross-country, and foraging with hand tools. The same is true of tigers: once they have been habituated to zoo conditions, there is no going back. To date, there has been no case of a captive tiger being successfully introduced, or reintroduced, to the wild. Captivity is a one-way trip. There is a poignant irony in this because, at one time or another, all of us have been in the tiger’s situation. The majority of us live how and where we do because, at some point in the recent past, we were forced out of our former habitats and ways of living by additional aggressive, if not better adapted, humans. Worth asking here is: wherever will this trend ultimately lead? Is there a better way to honor the fact that we survived?