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1 ICRISAT UNCCD Proceedings of the Regional Workshop on A Network for Promoting Sustainable Agricultural Farming Systems in the context of the Regional Action Programme to Combat Desertification in Africa ICRISAT, Sadoré, Niger, March 1999 Compte-rendu de l Atelier régional sur Un réseau pour la promotion des systèmes de production agricoles durables dans le cadre du Programme d Action Régional de lutte contre la désertification ICRISAT, Sadoré, Niger, mars 1999

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3 Acknowledgement This report has been prepared jointly by ICRISAT and the UNCCD Secretariat. It benefited from valuable contributions offered by the representatives of African specialised institutions and their cooperating partners. The UNCCD Secretariat is very grateful towards ICRISAT who co-organized the workshop. It extends its thanks also to the Government of Niger for having accepted to host and co-organize the meeting, as well as to all sponsors. Remerciements Ce rapport a été préparé conjointement par ICRISAT et le Secrétariat de la CCD. Il a bénéficié des contributions pertinentes des représentants des institutions africaines spécialisées et de leurs partenaires de coopération. Le Secrétariat de la CCD est très reconnaissant à ICRISAT qui a bien voulu co-organiser l'atelier. Il exprime également ses remerciements au Gouvernement du Niger qui a accepté d'accueillir et de coorganiser cette réunion, ainsi qu aux contributeurs financiers. Editors/Editeurs: N. van Duivenbooden*, S. Koala*, B. Horstmann**, N. Ndiang ui**, A. Rechkemmer** and M. N Diaye**, *ICRISAT **UNCCD iii

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6 Table of contents: English version Part A. General Report Introduction Opening ceremony The plenary session Election of the Bureau and adoption of the Agenda Brief presentation of the Convention to Combat Desertification Introductory note on the workshop Presentation of reference papers Summary of information notes presented by specialized institutions of Africa General discussion Terms of reference for working groups Synthesis of working group reports Major constraints faced in the field Elements for policy orientation Priority areas for action Institutional arrangements...15 Part B. Background reports Understanding and developing farming systems strategies in the struggle against desertification - plant production of desert margins Introduction Primary production, limiting factors and principals The "natural" agricultural production Water limited agricultural production...37 Pennisetum pedicellatum...40 Andropogon gayanus...41 Stylosanthes hamata Production potential and production goal...45 References A framework for international action to promote sustainable agricultural systems in dryland areas in Africa Introduction Principles of successful agricultural technology development Networks and a framework for international action Recommendations for a framework for international action...67 References Technology development and exchange in agricultural farming systems in dryland areas in Africa Introduction Changing paradigms in land degradation...72 Variable Appropriate strategies for technology transfer and dissemination Partnerships for technology development and transfer Conclusion and recommendations...84 References Crop-livestock interactions in the farming systems of African drylands: Status and role in sustainable management of natural resources Introduction...88 vi

7 8.2 The status of crop-livestock interactions in Africa Past and future perspectives on rural development in the African drylands The role of crop-livestock interactions in sustainable natural resource management Conclusion and recommendations...96 References Identification of target institutions and suggested criteria for a focal point for catalyzing and galvanazing cooperation in this field to ensure successful Regional Action Programme process in Africa Introduction Identification of target institutions in Africa through the Global CST/CCD Network Survey Suggested criteria for a Focal Point institution Conclusion Part C. Summary of presentations by specialized African institutions ACMAD CEMAC CILSS EcoNews Africa ECOWAS ENDA ICRAF IRA INERA ISRA OAU PAID/WAS PATECORE REDDA Sahel Defis UEMOA UMA Part D. Reports of working groups Report of working group I Introduction Major constraints and orientation elements Overall strategy Report of working group II Introduction Major constraints faced in the field Elements for policy orientation Priority action areas Institutional arrangements Part E. Annexes Annex I. Agenda Annexe II. List of participants vii

8 Table des Matières : version française Partie A. Rapport général Introduction Cérémonie d ouverture Séance plénière Mise en place du Bureau Adoption de l ordre du jour Présentation sommaire de la Convention Note introductive à l Atelier Présentation des documents de référence Synthèse des notes d information des Institutions africaines spécialisées Discussion générale Termes de référence Partie B. Documents de référence Conception et Développement des Stratégies de Systèmes Agricoles dans la Lutte Contre la Désertification Un cadre pour une action globale pour la promotion des systèmes agricoles durables dans les zones arides et semi-arides Développement et échange de technologies dans les systèmes de production agricole dans les zones arides de l Afrique : document de travail Interactions entre élevage et cultures dans les systèmes de production des terres arides de l Afrique: statut et rôle dans la gestion durable des ressources naturelles Identification des institutions cibles et critères proposés pour un point focal pour catalyser et galvaniser la coopération afin d assurer le succès du processus du Programme d Action Régional en Afrique Partie C. Résumés des présentations des institutions spécialisées ACMAD CEDEAO CEMAC CILSS EcoNews Afrique ENDA ICRAF IPD/AOS IRA INERA ISRA OUA PATECORE REDDA Sahel Défis UEMOA UMA Partie D. Rapports des groupes de travail Rapport du groupe de travail I Rapport du groupe de travail II Partie E. Annexes I. Programme II. Liste des Participants viii

9 Part A. General Report 1. Introduction The regional workshop on a network for promoting sustainable agricultural farming systems in the context of the regional action programme to combat desertification was held in Sadoré (Niger) from March 23-26, This workshop was the sixth of seven thematic consultations organized as part of the development of the Regional Action Programme (RAP) to combat desertification. The workshop was co-organized by the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi- Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the Desert Margins Program (DMP). The Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of Finland funded the workshop, with contributions from Desert Margins Programme/ICRISAT. 53 representatives of specialized institutions, intergovernmental and sub-regional organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and selected African countries attended it. The workshop was convened to achieve the following objectives: To promote closer collaboration and networking among the institutions and organizations in Africa involved in the promotion of sustainable agricultural farming systems in the context of the RAP; To further enhance the principles and provisions of the CCD in evolving harmonized approaches to the achievements of food security; To identify the key stakeholders in this field who would be involved in the development of the RAP, and to define their respective roles regarding the elaboration and implementation of the RAP. To select and agree on priority programme areas for RAP elaboration and implementation in this field involving the relevant institutions and organizations. 1

10 2. Opening ceremony The opening ceremony was chaired by His Excellency Yacouba Nabassoua, Minister for Planning of Niger. The Minister for Hydrology and Environment, Mr. Harouna Niandou, also attended. The opening statements were delivered by: Dr. K. Anand Kumar, Country Representative of ICRISAT, Niamey, Niger; Mr. Ndegwa Ndiang ui, representing the Executive Secretary of the CCD; His Excellency, Mr. Yacouba Nabassoua, Minister for Planning of Niger. Dr. Anand Kumar welcomed the participants to the station, and said that the theme of the workshop fits in well with the long-term objectives of ICRISAT. He stressed the need to focus on the conditions of areas affected by drought and desertification in the search for options to promote sustainable agricultural farming systems, including the development and diffusion of the appropriate technologies to resource-poor farmers. Mr. Ndiang ui said that the Convention to Combat Desertification recognizes sustain-able agriculture as the cornerstone of developing and nurturing sustainable economies, particularly in those countries where dryland farming is the mainstay of the economy. He pointed out that sustainable agriculture represents the key to stemming the perennial food insecurity that is experienced in areas affected by drought and desertification in Africa, and stressed the need to promote adaptable technologies. He underscored the need to establish an efficient and effective network among the relevant institutions and organizations, and to identify the ways and means to address food security problems through sustainable agricultural farming systems as underlined by the Convention. His excellency Mr Yacouba Nabassoua emphasized the problems which have adverse effects on agricultural farming systems, including desertification and frequent droughts, the increasing degradation of the productive potential of the land, poverty and inefficient extensive production systems combined with population growth. The Minister invited the workshop to address these issues adequately, as they are central to food security and sustainable development as a whole. He also stressed the need for development of innovative agricultural farming systems that are suited to dryland areas, pointing out the necessity for continued research that would be geared to assisting the farming community. 2

11 3. The plenary session 3.1 Election of the Bureau and adoption of the Agenda A Bureau was elected by the participants with the following membership: - President: Dr Seydou Oumarou, Executive Secretary CNDD, Niger; - Vice-president and first reporter: Dr. Niek van Duivenbooden, Senior Scientist, ICRISAT, Niger; - Second reporter: Mrs Fatou Ndoye, Head of the Administrative and Information Unit, REDDA, Côte d Ivoire. - Facilitator: Mr. Mansour N Diaye, Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary, UNCCD Secretariat The Agenda and the working program were unanimously adopted. 3.2 Brief presentation of the Convention to Combat Desertification Mr. Mansour N'Diaye (CCD), gave a short background presentation on the basic principles of the Convention, and a reflection on the historical perspective of the efforts made by the international community in combating desertification. After having explained the concept of desertification as expounded by the Convention, he emphasised the interaction between desertification and development, and the issues such as the deteriorating terms of trade on the international arena as well as land use patterns, which tend to exacerbate the degradation of natural resources. 3.3 Introductory note on the workshop Dr. Moïse Aklé, a CCD consultant, referred to Panafrican Conference held in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) in March 1997, during which this workshop was conceptualized as part of the process to facilitate the elaboration of the RAP. Dr. Aklé pointed out that the workshop would help to: a. Review current knowledge; b. Identify research priorities at regional level in the context of CCD; c. Review regional cooperation in the context of agricultural intensification and improvement of agricultural farming systems; d. Suggest an institutional framework to further exchange of experiences and capacity building in accordance with the concerns of the Convention. The following outputs are expected from the meeting: - An overview of the contribution of research, both at regional and international levels to sustainable agricultural farming systems; - Some strategies to improve agricultural farming systems in Africa; 3

12 - Identification of food security components of the CCD Regional Action Programme for Africa and priority actions to be carried out and an implementation plan; - Identification of the actors likely to make up the basic core of regional consultation mechanism in order to promote a sustainable agriculture in Africa. 3.4 Presentation of reference papers Five reference papers were presented, of which the abstracts are given below. Understanding and developing farming systems strategies in the struggle against desertification - plant production of desert margins 4 H. Breman 1 and A. Bationo 2 ( 1 IFDC-Africa, Lomé, Togo; 2 IFDC-Africa/ICRISAT, Niamey, Niger) The West African semi-arid tropics is the poorest region of the world. Most of the people is rural and has to live from the land. However, rainfall is low and erratic, and very high potential evapotranspiration causes such extreme aridity of the dry season that perennial plant life is rare. The very poor soils are therefor poorly protected and have very low holding capacity for water and nutrients. In the desert margins of West Africa, overpopulation takes place at low population density. Plant nutrient balances are negative for many cropping systems, indicating that farmers are mining their soil. But increasing use of external inputs, the solution developed elsewhere is hindered by high costs of inputs and low output prices linked to the low population density. In the northern Sahel (rainfall less than 300 mm) water is more limiting than nutrients but when rainfall is more than 300 mm the dominance of nutrient limitation over water is such that the vegetation uses only 10 to 15% of average rainfall. The natural production is already low and extensive animal husbandry and arable farming at the present intensity are still decreasing it. The possibilities to extend the present agricultural areas are limited. Intensification through increasing production per unit areas offers the best option for feeding the population and reducing the environmental degradation. Interventions aimed at reducing distorted nutrient budgets imply the development of integrated nutrient management systems, conceptualized as the judicious manipulation of the nutrient input and output process. All examples show that although application of mineral fertilizers is an effective mean of increasing yields in arable farming systems, mineral fertilizers alone cannot sustain yields in the long-run, when mineral fertilizers are combined with organic amendments such as crop residue, manure and compost, productive and sustainable production systems can be obtained. There is need for soil improvement with soil amendment and the adoption of soil and water conservation techniques in order to increase the efficiency of mineral fertilizers. There is evidence that in this way the West African semi-arid tropics can still feed their population, even in the year However, the costs of sustainability are such that under the present socio-economic conditions farmers' income will decrease. Therefore, soil fertility improvement is not simply a question of technology, a responsibility of farmers alone. In order to control desertification effectively, there is need for national soil fertility action plans with a strong government commitment in order to create conditions that stimulate the private sector to invest in input and output market

13 development, and that stimulate farmers to invest in their soils. There is need to elaborate packages for sustainable crop production using the participatory approach. Such packages should be composed out of socio-economic measures and technical options. The agroecological knowledge available is enough to guide the required policy development. Principles of successful agricultural technology development to combat desertification and the role of a research network B.I. Shapiro 1 and S. Ehui 2 ( 1 ICRISAT, Bamako, Mali; 2 ILRI, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) Combating desertification requires creating production systems that are not only environs-mentally sustainable, but also economically viable. Mixed crop-livestock systems are evolving in arid and semiarid areas in response to increasing population pressure and growing markets - both crops and livestock have critical roles to play in increasing farmers incomes and in making these systems viable and sustainable in the long run. Realizing this potential, however, raises critical questions regarding technology research and transfer strategies related to how research efforts need to be organized to ensure impact. We propose a conceptual model of the evolution of agricultural systems to help guide technology research and transfer strategy. This model is based on extensive empirical evidence from the field and whole farm modeling of potential changes. The path of development is driven by population pressure and market access. Empirical evidence shows that the two primary agricultural constraints in the arid and semi-arid regions are agronomic, water availability and soil fertility, and not socio-economic. These constraints need to be addressed simultaneously to have successful technology introduction that will lead to sustainable production systems in the long run. The critical indicator for moving to an intensive or extensive system is where crop fertilization is profitable. The only viable technology strategy to make such systems sustainable in the long run involves cash inputs. In the semi-arid region, organic and inorganic sources of soil nutrients are compliments and not substitutes. Water retention techniques will be required where possible to ensure the profitability of inorganic fertiliser and lower the risk. Where rainfall is high enough, with increasing population pressure and market access crop systems will need to increase land productivity with higher input levels. Then the livestock activities will follow their own intensification process in this mixed system. However, in some areas there will not be economic incentives to intensify crop or livestock production. For drier areas, improved, low-input, extensive livestock activities can substitute for the present mixed systems. Here we project that the mixed systems will be transformed into more extensive livestock production activities. The elements of a network to promote activities to combat desertification and a framework for international action to help organize and support research and development activities to improve the impact of on-going and new activities are also addressed in this paper. Numerous networks already exist to promote and coordinate collaborative research and related information exchange of technical and policy information. The networking activities of CCD related to combating desertification should not duplicate on-going efforts. One area that would complement on-going efforts would be information exchange 5

14 aimed at policy makers to promote policy changes at the national and regional levels. In an effective framework for international action, developing country policy makers and NARS scientists themselves must be the driving force behind all activities; they must be fully involved in research priority setting and feel ownership of the coordinating bodies with the other relevant stakeholders. A framework for international action would ensure overall coordination of all the partners and stakeholders involved by rationalizing their roles and most efficiently organizing their efforts. It will require measures to promote an increase in agricultural research investment within the framework of a human capacity and institution building model. IARCs can support this process by concentrating more on technical backstopping, practical research training provided during collaborative research, and organizing forum to promote information exchange. Technology development and exchange in agricultural farming systems in dryland areas in Africa 6 S. Koala and N. van Duivenbooden (ICRISAT, Niamey, Niger) Technology development, dissemination, and adoption are a continual process. In agriculture, this process begins with developing an understanding of the target production system, followed by the design and development of technologies, and subsequently technologies are disseminated. This process is embedded in an environment or general development process. Nine qualitatively different dominant paradigms for fostering agricultural and rural development have been observed since 1910: i.e. Cash cropping, Community development, Basic human needs, Regional integration in industry, Structural adjustment 1, Supply-shifters in agriculture, Regional integration, food first, Structural adjustment 2, and Sustainable development. These paradigms and approaches to land degradation, i.e. classic approach, populist, and neo-liberal approaches are discussed. Three different approaches in technology development are identified and discussed: (i) farming systems approaches, (ii) yield gap identification as related to environmental diversity, and (iii) use of information tools. Impact of technology transfer and dissemination depends on the strategy (or technology transfer model) adopted. In the past, a top-down model was used, followed by the feedback model, which in turn was replaced by the modified feedback model should be adopted. The current opinion is the farmer-back-to-farmer model. Despite the different efforts with the various transfer models, many of the technologies are not adopted, and a listing of the reasons is given. In the process of technology development and transfer, partners are crucial whether they are national or international agricultural research institutes, advanced research institutes, non-governmental organizations, or farmer groups. To increase the rate of adoption of improved technologies, it is concluded that: (i) farmers should be consulted in all phases of the technology development and diffusion process; (ii) on-farm or adaptive research should be well planned with partners; the partners should be involved and together deal with all phases; (iii) testing and validating technologies should entail also different spatial and temporal scales, and (iv) a mechanism to exchange information on technology development, diffusion and adoption between countries and regions within Africa should be developed in light of continual decreases in funding

15 availability. On the basis of the review, three recommendations are made: (a) carry out a review of existing technologies (improved and local) in semi-arid Africa, (b) develop an appropriate structure of incentives for natural resource management, and (c) create a network of institutions for technology dissemination. Crop-livestock interactions in the farming systems of African drylands: status and role in sustainable management of natural resources P. Hiernaux 1, P. de Leeuw 2, T.O. Williams 1 and S. Fernandez-Rivera 1 ( 1 ILRI, Niamey, Niger; 2 ILRI, Nairobi, Kenya) Statistics show that Africa is characterised by the prevalence of low inputs farming systems and low average agricultural productivity. More than half of the livestock lives in dry areas. With the exceptions of arid areas, integrated crop-livestock production systems dominate, however, even where crop and livestock are not integrated within the same farm. They are closely interacting at local and sub-regional levels because of seasonal mobility of a large fraction of the livestock and the geographical pattern of livestock and crop marketing. Customary law is predominant in the communal management of fodder resources, while most areas under cultivation are privately managed by household most often with usufruct rights. Perspectives and objectives of rural development by 2025 are as follows (i) very high population growth rates, (ii) expansion of areas under cultivation, decrease in soil fertility and aggravation of soil erosion, (iii) population increase faster than animal production, (iv) agricultural growth and marketing affected by government policies, (v) weakness of customary institutions and absence of viable local-level organizations; however, there is a tendency towards decentralization, and (vi) research on crops and livestock do not receive adequate funding and are poorly integrated in the agricultural development, in spite of current efforts made. Two aspects of the options and constraints regarding the integration were addressed. The environmental impact of livestock on the ecosystem of drylands were analyzed at different levels and broken into effects on climatic changes, effects on soil and vegetative cover, recycling of organic and mineral matters. With respect to socio-economic aspects, crop-livestock integration is viewed as a way to diversify, stabilized and intensify production. The following recommendations were made: 1. Promote a closer interaction between research and development. This promotion goes through the use of participatory methods involving all the actors of development in the definition of development and research priorities; 2. Promote the implementation of appropriate policies and institutional arrangements. Increased crop and livestock productivity could be achieved by the adoption of technologies, which will promote efficient use and recycling of organic and mineral resources. We need to promote collective action in the management of common resources and facilitate regional trade; 3. Strengthen the capacity of agricultural research institutions. To achieve critical mass through cooperation in terms of organized research based on the collective prioritization, the specific advantages of the various partners and the need to share responsibilities. 7

16 Identification of target institutions and suggested criteria for a focal point for catalyzing and galvanizing co-operation in this field to ensure successful Regional Action Programme process in Africa T. Maukonen (UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya) The seven thematic workshops in the context of African Regional Action Programme process as well as the Global CST/CCD Network Survey (GNS) are part of the process to get the implementation of the Convention under the way. Both the goal and objectives of the African Sustainable Agriculture Network in essence are the same as those of GNS from a regional and topical perspective. In the African region, members of the GNS Consortium are undertaking the survey in collaboration with sub-regional bodies. The expected outputs of the first phase of GNS are an inter-active database and inventory of CCD-relevant institutions, agencies, bodies and networks and their linkages. This database would serve as an interactive global reference book of these institutions. A network of institutions on sustainable agricultural farming systems and natural resource management would be one component of the SUPER Network of networks (and its African Chapter again a part of that component) being facilitated and coordinated by a strong Focal Point institution. Since there is a multitude of institutions in Africa who are involved in desertification control one way or another, there is no need to create any new institution for this network. However, there is a need to establish the strengths, appropriateness (and/or deficiencies) of the candidate institutions for hosting the network: (i) mandate and objectives of the institution, their relevance to the sustainable agricultural farming systems and natural resource management Network, (ii) links to other institutions, (iii) geographic Africa-coverage, and (iv) achievements. In addition, there are some other considerations to be taken into account: (a) a network is only as good as its members are active and out-going, (b) the Focal Point institution is not to do everything by itself, (c) the Focal Point institution needs to show Network benefits, and (d) the Sustainable Agriculture Network is a technical network and therefore financing aspects and mechanisms which are covered by CCD article 15, are of secondary importance to this context for a Focal Point, but an experience in this field would be a value added. These reference papers were considered very rich in information, with two addressing more technical issues, while the other three dealt with organizational and institutional aspects of sustainable agricultural production systems. As it is beyond the scope of this part of the report to go into more detail, reference is made to Part B of the proceedings where the full papers are given. 3.5 Summary of information notes presented by specialized institutions of Africa Representatives of institutions and organizations attending this workshop presented about 15 notes of information (as presented in Part C). These notes were, in general, short 8

17 presentations of their institutions (mission, mandate, objectives, actions to combat desertification, activities related to sustainable agricultural farming systems, actions as part of the implementation of NAPs, SRAPs, RAP). They also gave information on: The role of each partner in the process according to their comparative advantages; Adoption of a participatory approach with the framework of the elaboration and the implementation of the CCD; The necessary transfer of knowledge, training and support to the actors concerned (youth association, women group, farmer s organizations) which will help implement research products in the field; The need to avoid duplication of activities carried out by the different networks; The need to exchange relevant information for a better regional integration. 3.6 General discussion Following these presentations, a discussion was engaged to identify reflection axis for the workshop, that is priorities in terms of actions, definition of a strategy including political and technical aspects of the issues concerned and the definition of the role for the promotion of agricultural farming systems. The main outputs were as follows: - Desertification, as a phenomenon of degradation of ecosystems, is common to all the continents; - Intensification of agricultural production: (i) the combat against desertification should be closely linked to the increase of agricultural productivity; (ii) the intensification is possible but requires a set of conditions, some of which are difficult to meet by the farmer; (iii) there is an interaction between environmental protection and productivity improvement objectives and those related to improvement of the well being of the population; (iv) the opportunity, for those countries which have not yet adopted an action plan to redress the soil fertility, to do so; and (v) envisage coherent rural development perspectives in areas with high population growth rates; - The need to identify a focal point, for example an existing structure, to provide a technical and methodological framework to co-ordinate activities planned to combat desertification in accordance with provisions of the CCD; - Instead of establishing a new network, build on the existing ones to improve the collection and the dissemination of information as well as relevant experiences; - The need to gather all the experiences taking into account their political, technical and socio-economic dimensions. At the end of this general discussion, two working groups were formed to discuss the following aspects: The best approach to develop a strategy and an action plan aiming at strengthening sustainable agricultural farming systems; The opportunity to establish a network of African specialized institutions, mechanisms and regional cooperation. 9

18 The participants adopted the terms of reference of the working group, presented in the next subsection. 3.7 Terms of reference for working groups A. Terms of Reference for Working Group I 1. This working group will consider the best approach to put in place a strategy for enhancing and strengthening sustainable agricultural farming systems in context of the RAP. In order to comprehensively develop this strategy the working group will have before it the background documents presented by resource persons covering the following themes: Conditions for sustaining the biological productivity potential of agricultural lands in areas affected by drought and desertification in Africa ; The status of use of integrated dryland farming, including strategies to promote sustainability in areas affected by drought and desertification. 2. Based on your experiences and the issues raised in the documents, as well as the ensuing discussions, elaborate the following: a. The major constraints faced in this field; b. The elements for policy orientation; c. The priority programme areas to be considered in the process of formulating the RAP in this field. B. Terms of Reference for Working Group II 1. This working group will consider the best approach to put in place a strategy for enhancing and strengthening sustainable agricultural farming systems in context of the RAP. In order to comprehensively develop this strategy the working group will have before it the background documents presented by resource persons covering the following themes: Options for development and promotion of sustainable agricultural farming systems in areas affected by drought and desertification including strengthening of networks among relevant institutions (socio-economic aspects) ; The state of the art in technology development in agricultural farming systems in dryland areas. 2. Based on your experience and the issues raised in the documents, as well as the ensuing discussions, elaborate the following: a. The major constraints faced in this field; b. The elements for policy orientation; c. The priority programme areas to be considered in the process of formulating the RAP in this field. 3. Based on the contents of the document entitled Suggestions for networking among institutions and agencies in the context of the RAP, the working group is requested to 10

19 propose the appropriate institutional arrangements for promoting sustainable agricultural farming systems in the context of the RAP. 4. Synthesis of working group reports The terms of reference of the two working groups were somewhat similar in scope and coverage, hence the need to consider the outcome of their deliberations as one consolidated text. 4.1 Major constraints faced in the field Food security and poverty alleviation are among the major objectives of the CCD. In order for agricultural farming systems in Africa to meet the objectives of food security and poverty alleviation, and to ensure sustainability, various constraints facing the sectors need to be identified and overcome. These constraints are environmental, technological, socio-cultural, economic, institutional, or policy related. The major ones are enumerated below, together with recommendations on how they can be addressed, through among other means, policy orientation. In the following sections, priority areas for programme development and institutional arrangements are also suggested. Environmental constraints a. Limited and unreliable rainfall, coupled with frequent and severe droughts; b. Infertile soils that are poor in nutrients, and are also faced with erosion problems; c. Inadequate access to water which is often poor in quality as well as quantity. d. Reduction of available land that is suitable for agricultural purposes; e. Troublesome pests and diseases that limit both crop and livestock production. Technological constraints a. Inadequate technology transfer; Some technologies are beyond the capacity of farmers in terms of labor, time and capital; Some technologies are also not adapted to farmers means, living conditions, as well as specific needs; b. Weak research-extension-farmer linkages and poorly coordinated technological messages from NGOs, researchers and extension workers; c. Inappropriate and inadequate technological packaging, as well as limited technological awareness; d. Limited involvement of universities in research and extension education and lack of adequately trained personnel; e. Irrigation technology limited due to various unfavorable factors. Socio-cultural constraints a. Local indigenous technical knowledge is not taken into account, particularly when introducing new practices; b. Some farmers are not convinced of the added value of technology; c. Technology conflicts with local knowledge and time-tested traditional practices; 11

20 d. Gender barriers to technology adoption; Economic constraints a. Inadequate access to markets for agricultural produce. b. Low market competitiveness for African agricultural produce. c. Insufficient funding for agricultural research; d. Limited access to affordable funding for farm inputs and credit; e. High costs of fertilizer inputs and other soil-condition ameliorating methods; f. Not well oriented agricultural research programmes; g. Competition/conflict between agriculture and livestock enterprise on limited land resources. Institutional constraints a. Inadequate integration of research and development activities; b. Lack of coordination among and between agricultural research institutions; c. Inadequate promotion of sustainable agricultural farming systems; d. Policy constraints; e. Incentives to increase agricultural production are not harmonized and sustained; f. Inappropriate land tenure systems that limit access to land and security of tenure; g. Inadequate political will to support sustainable agricultural farming systems; h. Exclusion of the corporate sector from agricultural research; i. Inefficient financial support to implement technology; j. Weak logistics to extend technologies e.g. roads, telephones and tools. The above constraints call for many solutions and strategies based on the existing situation within the respective agricultural farming systems. 4.2 Elements for policy orientation Africa is endowed with resources for supporting sustainable development, but the issue is how to use these resources so as to improve the standards and conditions of living of the African people. A number of strategies related to local, national, sub-regional or regional levels are required to support the Regional Action Programme for Africa in the context of the Convention to Combat Desertification. These will address elements related to land, water, inputs, labor, consumption, population, collective political will, trade and markets, competitiveness and technologies. The strategic elements to be considered include: a) Sensitization of policy makers so as to enhance the promotion of an enabling environment for technology development and transfer; policy re-orientation to support sustainable agriculture and ensure food security for the African continent; b) Sustainable agricultural farming systems should: 12 - Address gender issues on the basis of African realities and priorities; - Take into account issues and inter-relationships between the environment and trade at local, national and international level; - Promote sound partnerships and institutional arrangements;

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