The report shows that about 3 billion ha. of land ( near to 41% of the earth’s land) in the developing countries are dry. CRP1.1 proposed that with in population close to 2.5 billion there are 16% extremely poor. CGIAR research program (CRP1.1) focuses the economically and climatically challenged population of the dry areas as they are already vulnerable due to change in climate which is making their life harder. There are five developing countries target regions; West African Sahel and dry Savannas, East and Southern Africa, North Africa and West Asia, Central Asia and South Asia as identified in the initiation of CRP1.1, facing challenges in dryland agriculture.
On 27-28 August 2013, researchers, development partners and policy makers came together for Work Planning Meeting for the Dryland Systems (CRP1.1) South-Asia in Kathmandu, Nepal including a young participant as YPARD representative, three women and 39 researchers.
Formal session was started with welcome speech of Dr. Van Ginkel Maarten, Deputy Director of ICARDA and followed by second session where Dr.Peter Craufurd stressed towards the measurable outcomes from the discussion. Similarly Dr.Amare Haileslassie highlighted on the outcomes of the inception and post inception phase. We are working to achieve the following System Level Outcomes with
i) Reducing rural poverty,
ii) Improving food security
iii) Improving nutrition and health and
iv)Sustainable management of natural resources as mentioned by Dr. William Bill.
On CGIAR consortium member’s summary of ongoing activities session for each Intermediate Development Outcomes (IDOs), its main activity, and for each milestones responsible Cg members and the national partners were discussed.
There were five working groups; Rajasthan, Southern India, Chakwal and Monitoring and Evaluation group and mobile group of cross cutting themes. I was in the mobile group; cross-cutting themes. Moving in every group and tuning in to their discussions to ensure clear-cut inclusion of youths aspects including gender facets for each IDO were interestingly challenging tasks. For me, being engaged in ensuring youths and gender aspects to be discussed in each and every processes of work plans, it was great opportunity of learning through mutual exchange.
Initiation of the implementation of the CRP on Dryland Systems in South Asia is an ambitious global research program aiming in increasing sustainable productions making livelihoods more resilient towards climate risks and it is the determination of the youths to make them successful. It is the conviction of the youths to make them happen.
It is obvious that the definition of the youth varies from country to country. It made the discussion quite difficult and finally the, Chakwal group acknowledged my view to take UN’s definition of youth as the baseline. Malika martini, a Gender-Analysis Specialist facilitated making more clear about the ways of empowering women.
Data from FAO reports that women in the developing countries comprises 43% of the average of agricultural labor force and with good access to productive resources they could increase farm yield by 20-30% however, women do not have control over their own time and I stressed the same points to the various groups how they are addressing the very issue for which I saw them quite indifference. Then, they stressed on inclusion of women organizations in discussing the matter. Some felt awkward to include the matters of youth and gender directly in their discussion as they saw the matters trivial.
Youths are the present stakeholder and the change agents. So dealing in youth aspects is urgent. It is a global problem to attract youths in Agriculture and keep them engaged in it. Farming requires multi-facetted resource base. So there are more risks. In this regard, I focused my presentation in Mechanization (women friendly) and ICTs, provision of microfinance and microcredit, crop insurance, value adding trainings, management of markets, skills transfer mechanisms. Capacity building, use of Bottom Up approaches and policy dialogues among scientists, policy makers and youths should be integral part of any global ambition. Migration is posing great threats in agriculture production which needs more political conviction to lower it.
Farm to market, market to the home and then after home to the nutrition are the main agricultural pathways. Comprehensive and accurate analysis of local situation and rural areas is very essential to develop technological innovations in each of the agricultural pathways. It will aid in the rapid and progressive learning with conscious exploration.
What I perceived from workshop is based on our general practice of rainfed farming system, we can use dryland systems innovations to enhance production systems for our semi arid and rain shadow areas in mountain region of Nepal.