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Empowering people for developed societies

Jul 10,2017

ICARDA joins its agricultural development partners across the dry areas in celebrating World Population Day.

“Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations” is the theme of this year’s World Population Day on 11 July, which has been celebrated by the world community since 1989 to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues.

More than 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty, with less than $1.25 per day worldwide. Dry areas, where ICARDA works, are home to some of the poorest people, with about 336 million living in chronic poverty. Most live in rural areas and depend on smallholder farming as their main source of livelihood.

Climate change, food insecurity and unrest in some regions continue to make population of drylands more vulnerable to poverty. Limited access to information and services, as well as insufficient family and community support lead to lack of safe and effective family planning methods.

Rural farming is probably one of the most potent paths to make a difference in the lives of rural people and advance the Sustainable Development Goals of no poverty, zero hunger and gender equality. ICARDA’s research-for-development programs emphasize reducing poverty by developing higher income generating agricultural technologies and supporting creation of value chains in dry and marginal areas.

Women make up a large fraction of labor for farming in developing countries. Focusing on rural women’s needs to access productive agricultural resources could be a large contributor to reducing poverty. ICARDA’s research and capacity building programs embed women-focused strategies to target the needs of women, and promote their access to and control over productive assets, inputs, services, information, and market opportunities – actions that will help women to capture a more equitable share of increased income, land, food, and other benefits.

In Ethiopia, long-term investments in agricultural research has made big progress in terms of reducing poverty. Improved lentil varieties and associated technologies, outcomes of ICARDA’s decades of research partnership with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), are transforming the country from a lentil importer to a lentil exporter, enabling a brighter outlook for farmers and the country, with support from International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Government of the Netherlands. (Read the story of Demekech Tekleyohannes, a farmer from Gimbichu).

ICARDA is working on empowering rural women in sub-Saharan Africa through another project, the Wheat component of Support to Agricultural Research for the Development of Strategic Crops (SARD-SC), funded by African Development Bank. The initiative is strengthening the roles of women and youth across the wheat value chain through training in various activities, such as seed multiplication, variety selection, post-harvest handling, and value addition activities, such as baking, pasta-making, and machine operation. The project has trained 4,783 women in various activities. (Read the success story of Halima from Kadawa, Kano, Nigeria).

In Afghanistan’s patriarchal society, seed production is primarily considered the task of men. ICARDA, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock, is encouraging greater participation of Afghan women through community-based activities, such as Village Based Seed Enterprises (VBSE), funded by International Fund for Agricultural Development. The approach’s success in the province of Parwan has opened the doors for replicating the model and increasing the number of VBSEs to address the huge gap between the supply and demand of certified seeds in Afghanistan, while delivering on an invaluable benefit – empowering the rural women. (Read the success story of Ms. Noor Khanum from Baki Village, Dar-e-Noor District of Nangar).

Read more about ICARDA’s projects on women empowerment here.