Indonesia upholds Indigenous People’s Rights to Forest
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
By Elizabeth Kahurani with additional reporting by Martua Sirait, Meine van Noordwijk and Ujjwal Pradhan
The court ruled that the word “state” should be scrapped in the provision: customary forests are state forests located in the areas of customary communities. Article 5 of the same law was revised to also show that state forest does not include customary forest. The ruling was made in favor of a petition filed by Indonesia’s national indigenous peoples’ alliance, AMAN (Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara) in March 2012.
This new development is of special significance to the Customary Communities of Indonesia and also to many stakeholders and partners who have worked at various levels to have government policy recognize and cede rights to community ownership of forests as one of the key strategies to enhance livelihoods and curb deforestation. Among these is the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) SouthEast Asia (SEA) especially through the ASB Partnership for the Tropical Forest Margins programme and partnership with the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).
“This has been a long standing debate. When it emerged in the lead-up to the Bali COP in 2007 where REDD was discussed, there still was a lot of denial and resistance, but gradually positions have shifted. It’s like the Latin saying that water wins from a stone, not by force but by falling continuously,” notes Meine van Noordwijk, ICRAF Chief Scientist based in Indonesia. He further notes that this was an important decision because “When communities own the forests, they are more inclined to take care of it. When they do not, they will want to exploit it to their maximum benefit before they are displaced.”
So exactly what does this revision of the forest law mean for the Indigenous people of Indonesia? Martua Sirait, a researcher from ICRAF Indonesia explains, “I was there at the Constitutional Court session and based on the decision by the Court , the new reading of the Forestry Law reflects that Customary Forest (Hutan Adat) is not classified as State Forest anymore, but as Rights Forest (Hutan Hak; privately-owned and customary forest).”
The Struggle: Historical Background
To understand the issue and its sensitivities there is need for some historical background. According to the 1945 Indonesia constitution, all resources belong to the Indonesian people and the State does not own the resources but controls them directly and indirectly. In so doing, the state appeared not to represent the interests of the communities. For example, from the perspective of many communities living in and around the forests, the state-sanctioned permits given to the private sector to exploit the forests did not serve their interests.
The colonial government, in the patchwork of institutional arrangements with local leaders that had evolved over time, had accepted and respected the “adat” (often translated as “customary” but better taken as a unique term) communities (referred to as masyarakat adat) as having effective systems of rules and rights. In contrast, the unitary Republik Indonesia had strong centralistic tendencies, and the military power to enforce them. Adat leaders found common ground and sympathy in what was termed internationally “indigenous peoples” (IPs) movements elsewhere, even though the diversity of actual settlement histories did not necessarily match the pattern elsewhere with the term masyarakat adat (customary communities), which is not based on indigenouity but a way of life following the traditional custom.
The political change of 1998 brought a wave of democratization and decentralization to Indonesia, but did not reduce the fear of the country falling apart, hence the articulation of “state” in the reference to Adat communities and their forest in the 1999 Forest Law. However, important procedures in the law which require a formal process of gazettement to identify forest ownership as separate from spatial planning designation as “forest lands” were not effectively implemented (up till now only about ten percent of the forest has completed the legal procedures), and a legal vacuum with contradicting legal clauses surrounds Indonesia’s forests. The constitutional court ruling on Adat forests is a big step forward, as was last years’ ruling that reinforced the need for the gazettement procedure with rules for local governments as well as national forest institutions.
ICRAF-SEA, ASB Partnership and RRI lend their support
Within the confines of its mandate in Indonesia, ICRAF-SEA and ASB Partnership got involved in land tenure research and supported negotiated solutions. One year before the political overturning of General Suharto’s rule by the 1998 “reformasi”, a first breakthrough was achieved with MoF decree no 47/1998 that recognized the indigenous agroforest of Krui (West Lampung, Sumatra). This formed the basis towards recognition of the customary communities known as masyarakat adat in Indonesia in managing their agroforests.
In 1999, freedom of organization and political debate was established and the National Indigenous Peoples Alliance (AMAN) was instated. ICRAF and partners supported the customary communities who managed many interesting agroforest systems, through comparative knowledge on the recognition of IPs as well as field research. This support was channeled through the Indonesian Customary Community Study Group (KEDAI), hosted by ICRAF (1999-2005), which held regular meetings and seminars at the AMAN’s venue. KEDAI was critical on the government’s position and practice. Their meeting discussions and seminars would be printed for distribution to stakeholders, and posted on ICRAF website.
In 2001, ICRAF, through research evidence supported the process of formulation of Legislative Act no IX/2001 regarding Land Reform and Natural Resources Management Reform, which became the reference to the legal reform on the land and natural resources sectors.
A broader academic debate followed on the issue of land tenure and IPs rights, with international comparative study support. A book on the future of forest tenure reform in Indonesia (Contreras & Fay 2005) was still deemed highly controversial. Meanwhile, small steps were made in the application of the legal instruments of “community forest” and “village forest” designation.
A report published by The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) in 2011 titled The Greener Side of REDD+: Lessons for REDD+ from Countries where Forest Area Is Increasing suggested that Indonesia was lagging behind other countries in the Southeast Asia region with regard to giving more rights to the local communities and indigenous groups. According to the report, the almost 30,000 villages and indigenous communities had recognized rights to less than 1 percent of the nation's forests.
A major sign that positions in the Ministry of Forestry were shifting was the International Forest Tenure Conference in Lombok in 2011, jointly organized by the Rights Resources Initiative, ICRAF, and The International Tropical Timber Organization, and the Ministry of Forestry. The commitment of the Government expressed at this meeting was consolidated in the Road Map of Forest Tenure in Indonesia and integrated it to the government policy (2011-2013).
The result of Judicial Review by Constitutional Court announced few days ago was the result of a long process by all participants including ICRAF and its partners. Significantly, the Ministry of Forestry did not object in court to the proposal to remove the legal ambiguity that equated Adat with the state.
According to Martua, it still remains unclear yet, how the forest conflict will be resolved between the customary communities and private sector actors that have in the past received permits to customary forests from the Ministry of Forest or local government. “But what remains clear is that the court decision strengthened the rights and will prevent customary communities from being criminalized for entering their forest,” says Martua.
“What this also means is that in future, MoF or local government will not release permit to large scale concessions without a Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process,” he notes, adding that the court decision opens a window for a customary community based conservation management system, as well as an opportunity for reconciliation and close collaboration between MoF and customary communities.
Indeed, customary communities have been managing their natural and forest resources for generations and long before the advent of colonialism and pre-independence. A series of legislation and center-locality relations had rendered these local forms of natural resources management systems under de jure control of the state. The ruling on Thursday now opens an opportunity for stakeholders to work with the communities to enhance conservation.
Climate finance that makes sense to farmers
Friday, May 17, 2013
Agricultural carbon projects involving smallholder farmers can take up to 16 years to generate a profit from carbon credits. Meanwhile, farmers’ direct income from poles, timber and fuelwood could be 50 times higher than the value of carbon revenue.
These statements are just a snapshot of the evidence presented in a new World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) policy brief, Climate Finance for Agriculture and Livelihoods, which calls for an innovative and integrated approach to financing sustainable smallholder agriculture.
The policy brief is a collaboration between ICRAF, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and experts from the public sector, private finance and civil society that draws on evidence from project experiences to date.
We face the immense challenge of shifting to low-carbon, climate-resilient and sustainable agricultural practices that benefit farmers’ productivity, food security and livelihoods. We need climate finance – public- and private-sector finance that supports sustainable development, reduced climate risk and the reduction of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere – to drive this transition.
Yet project evidence tells us we need to re-think our approach if finance is to benefit smallholder farmers. So what are the criteria for finance that works for agriculture and livelihoods? According to the policy brief, we need to think in integrated ways, across disciplines and sectors, if we are to achieve development, adaptation and mitigation aims. We need:
From obscure forest species towards a globally traded commodity: Lessons from Allanblackia
Friday, May 17, 2013
Just over a decade ago the genus Allanblackia was a little-known though locally important group of forest species in Africa’s humid equatorial belt. Allanblackia seeds contain a fat that is excellent for a number of food applications and potentially also for personal care products such as crèmes. Today, over 10,000 farmers are involved either as collectors or growers of Allanblackia, but for a sustainable business in the tree’s fat, upscaling is needed to provide the right volumes of product with the right quality and at the right price. As one project has learned, partnership is a key ingredient for achieving this.
A first step in the transition from a forest species to a cash crop is the execution of a domestication program. Domestication means selecting desirable traits from wild species and developing seedlings with these properties that can be grown on farms for their products.
Dr Daniel Ofori, a tree domestication specialist with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), is currently the coordinator of the Allanblackia domestication project in Eastern, West and Central African regions.
“The public-private partnership (known as Novella partnership) that is trying to build a successful and sustainable Allanblackia business was sparked by a demand for the oil by the private sector, specifically Unilever,” he explains.
“As the project demanded specific skills and capabilities, Unilever decided to partner with the public and private sectors, forming the Novella partnership to build a supply chain and assess the feasibility of the domestication and upscaling of Allanblackia into a substantial African business.”
Currently, the partnership involves Unilever and the public non-profit organisations World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), World Conservation Union (IUCN), Union for Ethical Biotrade (UEBT), local Allanblackia organizations (nurseries, supply chain), Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency, Novel Development Tanzania, and Novel Development Ghana. FORM International is a private-sector partner specialized in designing and implementing planting models. In addition to this the partnership is working with government organizations and local NGOs involving farmers in four countries in equatorial Africa.
After just over a decade’s work, local supply chains are functioning and over 200,000 Allanblackia seedlings have been planted in Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana. Monitoring and Evaluation programs have been developed and implemented—these should provide the data needed for the assessment of the feasibility of Allanblackia as a business.
“The Allanblackia experience has many lessons to teach on participatory tree domestication of traditionally important forest tree species in Africa,” says Ofori.
A recent article by Ofori and others, published in the journal Acta Horticulturae, discusses these lessons, among them:
1. How to deal with a recalcitrant germinator
Successfully growing allanblackia from seed is a long and tedious undertaking, because the seeds take months to germinate. The partnership has pulled together ICRAF’s expertise in tree biology with innovations by farmers to slash the time to achieve 75% seed germination from 10 months to 3 months.
2. How to choose propagation and seedling multiplication methods
Allanblackia is dioecious, meaning that a particular tree is either male or female. This characteristic means that when grown from seed, farmers have to wait almost 10 years to see if they have a male or a female tree, signaled by white (female) or orange (male) flowers at tree maturity. Because the oil-containing seeds come from the fruits produced by female trees, the project has focused increasingly on vegetative propagation to produce planting stocks. This allows seedlings identical to female (mother) trees with desirable properties to be produced. Vegetative propagation also shortens the period to reach maturity. Grafts, for instance, flower within 2 years and fruit within 4 years.
3. How to spread new technologies, materials and knowledge in cost-effective and sustainable ways
Producing a commercial commodity from hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers needs a different model from the approaches used in centralized commercial plantations. For dissemination of quality planting material, Novella partners are using participatory research and the Rural Resource Centres (RRCs).
These RCCs are managed by national agriculture institutes, community groups and local NGOs. The partnership equips RRCs with seedling propagation units, nursery facilities, mother blocks (plots with female trees with desirable traits) and demonstration plots. Farmers, technicians and other stakeholders come here to receive training on nursery establishment and management, as well as tree propagation and cultivation techniques. So far, the project has equipped seven RRCs in three countries.
4. How to develop a market chain that works for smallholder farmers
Novella Africa began to develop market supply chains for Allanblackia oil in 2002. Novel Development companies act as buyers of the dried seeds from farmers. The oil is extracted under the supervision of Novel companies, who then sell the oil to Unilever and other buyers. Public meetings, radio, posters and video are used to inform local people about Allanblackia and its market.
Currently, the most important activities of the project in Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania are the mass-production of seedlings of selected, superior trees, and the development of sound agroforestry systems for large-scale integration of Allanblackia on farms.
Ofori notes that by encouraging on-farm cultivation of Allanblackia, the project is having a positive impact on the environment by decreasing the pressure on the remaining trees found in the wild. “The sustainability of the tree’s genetic resources is assured,” he says.
Priority research questions under the partnership currently include:
Public–private sector partnership in tree domestication provides a good model for the domestication of traditionally important forest tree species of high economic potential. Such trees include baobab, tamarind, and the medicinal species Warburgia ugandensis and Prunus africana, all of which are being researched under different projects within ICRAF’s Tree diversity, domestication and delivery programme.
“Strategic partnerships accelerate progress and can address even huge problems like lack of propagation techniques, poor access to quality planting materials, lack of knowledge on tree management, on-farm and value chain development, and a host more,” says Ofori.
Allanblackia species: A model for the domestication of high potential tree crops in Africa. By D. A. Ofori, K. Kehlenbeck, M. Munjuga, E. Asaah, C. Kattah, F. Rutatina, and R. Jamnadass. ISHS Acta Horticulturae 979
Download full article here.
Peprah, T., Ofori, D. A., Siaw, D. E. K. A., Addo-Danso, S. D., Cobbinah, J. R., Simons, A. J. and Jamnadass, R. (2009). Reproductive biology and characterization of Allanblackia parviflora A. Chev. in Ghana. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 56(7): 1037-1044
ICRAF Science Domain on Tree diversity, domestication and delivery
The ICRAF publication Seeds of Hope booklet chronicles the project in detail.
Living with the Trees of Life [FaceBook page]
Tony Simons, DG ICRAF on the benefits of trees for food security and nutrition
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
“The emergence of trees 350 million years ago made the planet inhabitable: the destruction of trees will make it uninhabitable.” This was the ominous warning that Tony Simons, Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), gave to the high-level opening session of the FAO Forests for Food Security and Nutrition conference on Monday 13 May 2013 in Rome, Italy.
But the good news is that FAO is starting to focus attention on forests as a source of food and nutrition. High level presentations at the opening session of the event, by Jose Grazianio da Silvia (Director General FAO) and David Navarro (Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Food Security and Nutrition) emphasised this point.
Tony Simons made the case clearly for forestry and agroforestry in the main keynote event on day one. Using a visually distinctive and thought-provoking presentation, he made five key opening statements.
Perspective and timeframe is important Forests have been around for hundreds of million of years but farming just 10 000. A particularly striking slide overlapped childhood mortality and soil degradation The message was stark: "If you have degraded soil, your children die.”
The landscape approach was emphasised, with reference to the FAOMICCA project, which uses geospatial tools to better understand soil degradation. “And we need these better soil maps” added Simons.
Natural capital is at risk. Negative externalities cost more than agriculture's GDP. So the economics of carbon needs to change. High environmental and social considerations need to be added to our understanding of value. As an example, Simons outlined the positives of the West African experience, where in the Sahel, 5 million hectares of mostly nitrogen-fixing trees have been planted.
Nutrition is key also: more nutritious cultivars and hardier varieties can and should be developed, fruit trees can play a much greater role in providing food and vitamins, while traditional trees like the baobab have much to offer in terms of nutrition.
In concluding, Simons emphasised the need to develop food security indicators; build awareness; seek long-term investments; improve tenure; integrate research and government priorities, and promote diversity of use.
Questions from the floor brought up issues of the old food paradigm: it used to be about better cereal seeds and more fertilizers, but the need for more dimensions has emerged. As has the need to really consider externalities. “Trees,” Simons concluded, “are an intergenerational gift, but one that requires all the stakeholders to step up and make investments.”
From cocoa to coffee cup: Agribusinesses take a landscape approach to sustainable sourcing
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Agribusinesses are increasingly aware that “sustainability megaforces” —such as water scarcity, climate change, ecosystem degradation and population growth, among others—present operational risks and can affect the bottom line. When sourcing area quality and sustainability are priorities, focus beyond the level of individual production units is required to address these risks.
A new report, Reducing Risk: Landscape Approaches to Sustainable Sourcing, released by the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature Initiative shows that companies are finding solutions to these risks by reaching beyond farm-scales through landscape approaches. In particular, water, climate, and community risks require company interventions beyond the farm-scale.
Landscape approaches provide a framework to work deliberately in an integrated manner beyond the farm-scale to support food production, ecosystem conservation, and rural livelihoods across entire landscapes. These approaches require more than “sum of the parts” thinking—thus large-scale interventions at the producer scale do not necessarily deliver the value that a landscape approach provides.
This global analysis identified 27 landscape approaches with strong business partnership, and explores the modes and rationales for business engagement. In-depth case studies include SABMiller’s water risk mitigation in Bogotá, Colombia and George, South Africa; Olam’s cocoa and forest initiative in Western Ghana; and Starbucks’ landscape approach for coffee in Mexico, Indonesia and Brazil.
A significant number of landscape approaches reviewed involve tree-crops, such as cocoa and coffee. Only a few strong examples exist with fast expanding commodities, such as soy, corn and sugarcane. Both the Starbucks and Olam case studies demonstrate the climate adaptation and mitigation benefits of agroforestry ecosystems.
“Starbucks is the first company to integrate climate resilience into the coffee sector. They’re addressing livelihood needs through higher prices paid for beans and supplemental income from carbon payments, and giving farmers incentives to not expand coffee growing areas into surrounding forests,” says Gabrielle Kissinger, principal of Lexeme Consulting and lead author of the report.
Olam’s approach links to REDD+ policies that dissuade expansion into forests, increase carbon stocks and promote agroforestry. Both company’s climate change strategies are the result of strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations.
One of the 27 approaches included in the global review is the Vision for Change project in Côte d'Ivoire, in which the World Agroforestry Centre and Mars Inc. are working together to directly addresses operational risks and cocoa resource security, supporting growers in key regions to ensure long-term cocoa supplies.
Other innovations include landscape approaches to increase yields in oil palm crops, such as intercropping palm oil with native species such as acai and rose in Brazil (which may increase oil production by as much as 40%) and Guayakí’s sustainable tea and yerba mate production in the Atlantic rainforests of Brazil and Argentina. Guayakí seeks to improve livelihoods of indigenous people, increase incomes, promote agroforestry, and increase productivity by as much as 20% through better management practices.
While addressing risks is crucial, companies are also finding opportunities to make smarter investments and hedge multiple risks through landscape approaches in key sourcing areas.
“In order to go a step further in promoting resilience in key sourcing regions, those companies with shared interests may need to work together to address risks in both the short- and long-term,” says Kissinger.
See recent article in Green Biz: Starbucks, SABMiller take holistic approach to sustainability
From local knowledge to national policy: how can China’s mountain communities better adapt to climate change?
Monday, April 29, 2013
Faced with increasing rainfall variability – especially continuous, four-year droughts – mountain farmers in Southwest China’s Yunnan province have developed innovative strategies to minimize water-related threats to their livelihoods.
Yufang Su, Jianchu Xu and a team of World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) scientists conducted case studies of three mountain communities in rural Yunnan, each with different socio-economic and ecological characteristics and water-related vulnerabilities. Their results are published in a new study Coping with climate-induced water stresses through time and space in the mountains of Southwest China.
Farmers developed new strategies to cope with water-related climatic risks – from changing cropping varieties and cropping patterns, to using water-saving technologies, improved irrigation methods and engaging in off-farm income generation. At the same time, communities now use collective action to cope with water stresses, including social organization and cooperation, village-level water-management rules, water storage and hiring irrigation managers.
In one high-elevation village, community leaders have introduced afforestationactivities to control landslides and erosion. In some other communities, agroforestry practices are not only reducing the risks of climate-induced water stress, they are diversifying income sources, too.
Socioeconomic, political and geographical factors have greatly impacted individual and collective responses to water stresses. In rural China, the past 50 years have witnessed a shift from state-planned centralized agricultural communes to a decentralized, market-driven economy. Water demand spiked following agricultural intensification and urbanization, leading to shortages, while decentralization cut central government funding for rural water infrastructure and community institutional development. Yet these challenges also opened the doors for local leadership and household-level innovation.
Despite this multitude of innovations, the researchers predict that not all coping strategies will be sustainable in the long-term.
“Economic drivers combined with easy access to fertilizers and pesticides and government extension services biased towards cash-crop production are causing farmers to focus on high-input agriculture. These monocultures of vegetables, tobacco and high-yield corn rely on optimal weather and large quantities of chemicals, increasing crop vulnerability to pests. The high fertilizer inputs also contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and potentially threaten water quality and human health,” said Yufang Su, lead author of the paper and project manager with ICRAF’s East-Asia Program.
According to the researchers, current coping strategies will need to be supported by long-term ecological and socioeconomic adaptations, including technological developments such as drought-tolerant crops and trees, agroforestry and water-efficient conservation agricultural practices, as well as investment in water infrastructure and management, stakeholder participation and government programs.
Moreover, the Chinese government has a responsibility to assist rural communities’ long-term adaptation. According to Jianchu Xu, principle ecologist and coordinator for ICRAF’s East-Asia Program, China’s afforestation policies should support rural livelihoods and promote healthy ecosystems.
“Large scale afforestation may be a poor investment, or worse, it could have negative consequences on watersheds and biodiversity if it involves exotic monoculture plantations whose ecological toll has not been well studied through research,” said Jianchu.
Instead, Jianchu advocates for dual forest-management programmes: one for recovery and restoration of natural forests, and one for incorporating trees into farmlands, both of which are based on robust research.
For example, government funded tree planting, such as through the “Grain for Green” program, needs to be better integrated into local watershed plans and disaster-risk management. “China can’t afford to wait for new extreme climate events or water crises. We need to develop integrative policies and practices that link local and state-level adaptation in order to reduce community vulnerability to climatic events in the long-term,” said Jianchu.
“With climate change and climate change adaptation emerging as new policy domains, we see a great opportunity to integrate climate science and adaptation into sectoral policies that can inform local-level action,” added Yufang.
Scientists from the Centre for Mountain Ecosystem Studies, a partnership between ICRAF and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have already launched case studies in China, Nepal and Pakistan to explore how trees on farms can help mountain communities adapt to climate change. This research will facilitate learning between different countries, generate knowledge about the policy context needed to achieve more resilient farming communities and help inform national adaptation strategies in the greater Himalayan region.
In the face of a climatically uncertain future, understanding communities’ historical adaptive responses and current vulnerabilities, and integrating this knowledge to shape adaptation policies, will help China and respond more effectively and equitably to water stresses in the long-term.
Read the full journal articles:
China’s new forests aren’t as green as they seem - Jianchu Xu
Eastern Africa Region Annual Staff Planning Meeting
Friday, April 26, 2013
The East Africa (EA) Region conducted a three day Annual Staff Planning Meeting at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) Headquarters 10th to 12th February 2013. The meeting was attended by EA staff members from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia. Representatives from each Science Domain (SD1, SD2, SD3, SD4, SD5), Human Resource Unit, Capacity Development Unit, Financial Services Unit, ICT, Research Methods Group, Communications Unit and the Programme Development Unit gave a presentation on their Domain or Unit to enlighten the participants more of the purposes the Units serve and the linkages between the Science Domains with CRPs and Regional programs.
As part of his welcoming remarks, Dr. Mowo, East Africa Regional Coordinator, specified the agenda of the meeting. First, a general overview and updates on the progress of Regional activities and what has been done so far towards addressing World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) goals. Second, discuss the EA refreshed strategy and business plan. Dr. Mowo also highlighted the key challenges currently experienced in the region and stated that with these challenges, diversification into higher-return activities is crucial and agroforestry has the potential to contribute to higher-returns. He emphasized the need of having a strategy that will not only address current challenges but also address possible future challenges.
Dr. Ofori and Dr. Jonathan Muriuki also made presentations on the EA strategy and Business Plan. In order to align the EA Strategy with the ICRAF refreshed strategy, the participants were divided into 6 groups to brainstorm about the ICRAF strategic goals and operational goals and fit them into the EA context, guided by several points including: Opportunities for Agroforestry practices in EA; Conducive areas to work in; Drivers of land use change that affect communities in EA; Impact pathways; Resources required; Partners to liaise with and a five year vision on the success indicators, milestones, gender, equity and sustainability. Each of the groups presented what they had developed during the activity and all the ideas will be incorporated in the final strategy and business plan which is set to be finalized by mid-July through a team of scientists and country representatives that was put in place. The country representatives also presented their country specific strategies and timelines were set for each of the finalized strategies to be completed.
In his closing remarks Prof. Temu pointed out the need to build bridges and not barriers as it is easier and much healthier to learn to ask for forgiveness and not for permission. The administration of ICRAF is not a barrier but a bridge to success in scientific work.
Strengthening Rural Institutions Project Focal Point Persons Workshop
Friday, April 26, 2013
The Strengthening Rural Institutions (SRI) Project conducted a Focal Point Persons Workshop at Brackenhurst Conference Centre, Limuru on 21st and 22nd February 2013. Three representatives of different stakeholder groups, one being the elected Focal Point Person (FPP), were invited from each of the six locations the Project operates in (Bungoma and Embu in Kenya, Kapchorwa and Masindi in Uganda, Pemba and Lushoto in Tanzania). In addition, the Workshop included various SRI Project members from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), ICRAF staff of country offices in Uganda and Tanzania, and the IFAD Tanzania Country Program Officer.
The Project Leader, Joseph Tanui, highlighted some of the present challenges rural institutions face in the region and the Project approach in addressing them. Dr. Jeremias Mowo, Regional Coordinator for East Africa at ICRAF, further explained the importance of working with rural institutions to achieve sustainable land management, and stressed the need for developing the capacity in rural institutions to adopt technologies and overcome project dependency. He emphasized that ICRAF is not a donor, as well as the need for the Project to link with other regional and local institutions and governmental agencies to ensure sustainability of the ongoing activities at the end of the Project.
As part of the process of getting inputs into the future plans of action for the Project, the Workshop participants undertook site specific work planning, with the help of a ‘tool box’, assisted by ICRAF representatives. Each site team selected activities group strengthening, identified partners, service providers and extension methods to provide those activities, and pinpointed the challenges and advantages posed by the context in which the Project operates. Finance officers Nancy Oseko and Samuel Omondi defined the role the ICRAF Finance department plays with respect to the Project. The participants also finalized draft site-level M&E plans highlighting the measures of progress for the respective sites, the composition of the M&E committee, selection of representatives, and frequency of reporting to ICRAF, which will be further refined, finalized, and distributed by the end of March 2013. Platform and Enterprise Developments were also discussed and the participants listed examples of the same according to their respective sites.
One of the key upcoming events in the project is an IFAD review mission slated to take place in June 2013, to evaluate progress that the Project has made, and to solicit feedback from key stakeholders. The progress made thus far under the Strengthening Rural Institutions project is a testament to the efforts of all the stakeholders involved. A true collaboration of knowledge, skills, and expertise, the success of the Project will therefore depend on continued efforts to ensure that the core objectives are met. As an action research project, there is always the need for further inputs and contributions from all stakeholders, and the Project team at ICRAF welcomes any such inputs and contributions at any stage of the Project.
Charcoal briquetting in Nairobi relieves poverty, environmental stresses
Friday, April 5, 2013
Over ten years ago when the poorest residents of Nairobi started making briquettes out of charcoal dust, they were trying to solve an immediate household problem of unaffordable fuel. Today, their work is helping overcome some of Kenya’s capital city’s most intractable headaches—poverty, unemployment, and poor waste management—and contributing to the country’s sustainable development aspirations, too.
Charcoal briquettes are made by mixing charcoal dust with water and a binding agent such as soil, paper or starch. The resultant ‘dough’ is shaped by hand, or moulded in wooden or metal presses into fist-sized units, which are then air-dried. Women and youth make up the majority of those employed in this informal industry.
By 2010 some of the most successful community groups in Kibera, Kahawa Soweto, and similar low-income neighbourhoods in Nairobi were making up to $2000 monthly from the sale of charcoal briquettes, and women were slashing their cooking-fuel costs to a tenth or less, says a recently published study in the International Journal of Renewable Energy Development. The briquette trade is spreading to rural areas of the country, too.
Milka, a 30-year-old mother of two and a member of the self-help group ‘Kahawa Soweto Youth in Action’, makes her living by selling charcoal briquettes made by her group in Nairobi to residents of a village called ‘Engineer’ about 80 km west of Nairobi, and in Limuru and Kirinyaga. ‘Engineer’ village abuts the Aberdare forest, one of Kenya’s most important water catchment areas and game reserves.
“Instead of spending hours collecting firewood, the women in these villages buy my briquettes because it allows them to spend more time on farming,” says Milka. “It also relieves them of the pain of carrying firewood on their backs for several kilometres daily.
Converting charcoal dust into usable fuel contributes towards Kenya’s national development aspirations in many important ways, says Mary Njenga, a doctoral fellow with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and lead author of the new study. “By saving trees that would otherwise be cut down for charcoal or firewood production, briquetting is protecting the country’s forest, savanna and dryland habitats, and contributing towards the country’s reaching its 10% forest cover target by 2030. It is also easing the energy demand from fossil fuels and grid electricity.”
Njenga says briquetting is helping resolve the cooking-energy poverty faced by the poorest households.
Along with co-researchers from the University of Nairobi, University of Tsukuba in Japan; the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala; and partner NGOs, Njenga found that the poorest urban households often selected foodstuffs they could cook in the shortest time regardless of their nutritional value, in order to save on energy.
“With charcoal briquettes it costs just 3 Kenya Shillings (US$0.04) to cook a traditional meal of maize and beans for a standard household of 5 people. This is nine times cheaper than cooking the same meal with charcoal (KSh 26 or US$0.3) and 15 times cheaper than cooking with kerosene (KSh 45 or US$0.6). As such, households are now able to choose from a wider dietary range,” says Njenga.
As part of the research, Njenga herself made charcoal briquettes using various binding agents, and compared their energy values. Those using ordinary printing paper as a binder produced 25 –27 kilojoules of energy per gram (KJ/g), while those made using soil as a binder produced 25 KJ/g. These values are similar to commercial charcoal’s 25 KJ/g, and between 25–75% higher than briquettes made by community groups in Nairobi. Njenga says this points to a need for capacity building for local communities, to improve the quality of the briquettes they produce.
Some 2.4 million tonnes of charcoal are traded in Kenya annually, over eighty percent of it in urban areas. Breakage during handling and transit leaves in its wake large mounds of charcoal dust at retail and wholesale outlets. This is the raw material for charcoal briquettes, which burn even cleaner than charcoal.
The clean burn of charcoal briquettes dramatically reduces indoor air pollution, one of the leading causes of the 400,000 deaths from respiratory diseases that occur each year in sub-Saharan Africa.
The huge potential for briquetting to contribute to sustainable development, however, needs enabling policy support, which would allow local authorities to provide various types of assistance to bring about efficiencies and reduce risks for briquette producers.
“Space to make and sell the briquettes, reliable and affordable water, and better links with institutions generating waste paper, are just a few examples of support that would really help community groups,” says Njenga.
Dr. Ramni Jamnadass, a co-author of the study and leader of the Tree Diversity, Domestication and Delivery programme at ICRAF, hastens to add that the dependence on charcoal in African cities will be with us for the foreseeable future. As such, purposeful cultivation of trees for charcoal burning must go hand in hand with support for briquetting.
Rather than traditional harvesting of natural vegetation, Jamnadass recommends short-rotation forestry with the right tree species grown in woodlots and agroforestry farms, to supply wood for charcoal production. The right tree species can result in higher charcoal production per unit biomass, and charcoal yield can be more than doubled by shifting from a low-efficiency to high-efficiency kilns, she emphasizes.
“Most of the charcoal in East Africa comes from dryland agroecologies, and the choice of tree species for charcoal production is critically important. The hardy Acacia mearnsii farmed in woodlots, for instance, yields 3.5 times more charcoal than from naturally occurring Acacia drepanolobium,” says Dr. Miyuki Iiyama a scientist at ICRAF and co-author of the new study.
Implications of Charcoal Briquette Produced by Local Communities on Livelihoods and Environment in Nairobi, Kenya. By M Njenga, A Yonemitsu, N Karanja, M Iiyama, J Kithinji, M Dubbeling, C Sundberg and R Jamnadass (2013). International Journal of Renewable Energy Development 2 (1)
Charcoal Production and Strategies to Enhance its Sustainability in Kenya.. By Mary Njenga, Nancy Karanja, Cristel Munster, Miyuki Iiyama, Henry Neufeldt , Jacob Kithinji and Ramni Jamnadass (2013). Development in Practice, 23 (3) 303-314
Miti na mazingira radio broadcast on DW
The gender connection in climate-smart agriculture
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Livelihood- and climate- focused agricultural practices help farmers to sustainably increase their farm productivity and build resilience to climate change, while contributing to mitigation. But how does this type of farming— commonly known as climate-smart agriculture or CSA—interact with gender in real-life communities?
In a new policy brief, researchers from CARE International, the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) share their insights on gender. The brief highlights the importance of a flexible learning approach in advancing gender equity goals and improving outcomes for farmers and projects.
The Sustainable Agriculture in a Changing Climate (SACC) project, on which the policy brief is based, has gleaned several important insights into gender and CSA:
The SACC project also highlighted just how dynamic and nuanced gender and social differences are within communities, a point echoed in a recent online learning event hosted by the FAO. In his presentation on ‘Gender and agroforestry – ownership of trees in the context of climate change’, David Edmunds of CCAFS said gender dynamics vary depending on farmers’ socioeconomic conditions.
“…you can’t walk into a farm landscape and ask who owns this land and understand everything about the access and use rights… It differs among men and women, wealthy or poor farmers, older and younger people.”
According to Edmunds, breaking down tree tenure into its gendered components is a complex business, with differences spanning tree products, species and spaces, while access and use rights can vary by season or during times of crisis.
Quinn Bernier, lead author of the new policy brief, says that switching to a CSA approach could help increase women’s benefits. “We need to emphasize livelihood benefits and focus on interventions that are beneficial to women. This is crucial, not just for farmers, but for the project as a whole, as it’s these livelihood benefits that encourage and sustain participation in climate-smart practices.”
In moving forward, Bernier and co-authors advocate for a number of changes, including placing more focus on innovation – a central component of adaptive capacity.
“If we can showcase women’s innovations and ensure them equal access and a voice in platforms that encourage the exchange of ideas and experiences – for example project and village management committees – this could translate to significant gains in terms of adaptive capacity,” said Bernier.
Download the Policy Brief Addressing Gender in Climate-Smart Smallholder Agriculture – Quinn Bernier, Phil Franks, Patti Kristjanson, Henry Neufeldt, Agnes Otzelberger and Kristi Foster
Online Learning Event:
All information on the online learning event, including recordings and presentations, is available at: www.fao.org/climatechange/micca/79527
Gender and agroforestry – ownership of trees in the context of climate change – Presentation by David Edmunds, CCAFS