18, April, 2013

Spotlight on Organisations: Smallholder Farmers and Rural Development

This document highlights some of the key organisations that focus on small-scale farming in the Latin American context. Together, these organisations cover a wide range of themes, including institutional rural development, land access and use, market access, value chains, food security, and smallholder market integration, and a variety of issues related to rural life, such as access to finance, poverty fighting and infrastructure.

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Agricultural Research for Development (CIRAD)

Link: http://www.cirad.fr/en/home-page
Areas of Expertise: Agriculture for development, food, animal health and emerging diseases, poverty and inequality, bioenergy
Key Activities: Applied research, knowledge sharing
A French research centre, CIRAD conducts applied research projects on a number of different sub-fields related to the link between agriculture and development. For example, when focusing on accessible, quality food, CIRAD researches the best ways to help small-scale producers adapt to changes in markets, distribution and quality standards. CIRAD offers access to its publications but also implements knowledge dissemination programmes and helps to strengthen the capacities of local actors. In Latin America, CIRAD is reformulating its activities around shared regional priorities, aiming at developing ecologically intensive agriculture, managing pest and disease problems, improving product quality and safety, and producing global public information useful for small- and medium-sized farms.

European Network for Rural Development (ENRD)

Link: http://www.fao.org/about/en/
Areas of Expertise: Agriculture, food production, food security, poverty alleviation, access to markets, climate change
Key Activities: Research, knowledge dissemination
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a United Nations agency specialising in creating and disseminating knowledge about agriculture and food security. FAO emphasises the importance of two-way knowledge exchange and therefore tries to play a connector role between partners with different areas and levels of expertise. Within its department of Economic and Social Development, FAO publishes information on topics such as smallholder market integration, smallholders and rural poverty and inclusive value chains. The main topics they deal with in Latin America are related to four issues: food security; family farming; climate change; and food and agriculture safety. The resources they offer will likely be useful for both policymakers and practitioners working on small-scale farming issues.

Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)

Link: http://www.iica.int/Eng/Pages/default.aspx
Areas of Expertise: Sustainable agricultural development, food security, poverty alleviation, rural territories, climate change, technology and innovation for agriculture, biotechnology and biosafety, agroenergy, agrotourism, organic agriculture, agricultural insurance, rural agroindustry
Key Activities: Technical cooperation, research, knowledge dissemination
IICA is an agency of the Inter-American System specialised in research, knowledge production and technical cooperation to make agriculture more inclusive, competitive and sustainable in the Americas. IICA covers an array of issues related to agriculture, including management of rural territories and family agriculture, that are relevant to practitioners and policymakers addressing small-scale farming. IICA works with thirty four member states from Latin America and the Caribbean and North America, specifically with their ministries of agriculture, thereby having a direct influence on the design and implementation of public policies.

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Link: http://www.ifpri.org/
Areas of Expertise: Food security, agriculture and poverty
Key Activities: Research, policy assessment
Through research and activities conducted around the world, IFPRI aims to transform its critical results into inputs which have an impact on public policies. IFPRI offers a well-documented website on food policy research and projects related to finding sustainable ways to reduce poverty and malnutrition. IFPRI’s areas of research that integrate a Latin America focus includes rural infrastructure and trade, covering issues such as market access, market integration, and value chains, and nutrition covering issues such as food security, poverty and rural development. Readers can search by country to access the wealth of research available on the Latin America region.

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)

Link: http://www.ifad.org/rural/index.htm
Areas of Expertise: Agricultural development, poverty alleviation, food security, indigenous peoples, markets, rural finance
Key Activities: Research, finance
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is a specialised agency of the United Nations specifically dedicated to the eradication of rural poverty in developing countries, with a strong emphasis on Latin America. The Latin American section of their website houses a wealth of research and information about projects implemented in the region. In general, IFAD focuses on country-specific solutions to contribute to the empowerment of rural people, including community-driven development and specific programmes on indigenous peoples, market access and rural finance, helping people achieve better access to land and other natural resources, agricultural technologies, financial services and employment.

International Land Coalition (ILC)

Link: http://www.landcoalition.org/
Areas of Expertise: Land access, land rights of women, indigenous and poor people
Key Activities: Knowledge exchange, policy research, international dialogue
The International Land Coalition (ILC) emerged as an alliance of intergovernmental agencies and civil society organisations during the mid-1990s. It now represents a coalition of 116 organisations that aim to promote secure and equitable access to land for rural people, focusing on access to land and tenure security for poor and vulnerable groups. Overall, ILC aims to build capacities, share knowledge and engage in successful advocacy. ILC has a number of initiatives, including Land Reporting Initiative, Indigenous Peoples and Pastoralists Initiative, and Women’s Land Rights, each with a wealth of information on Latin America and beyond. They also have a separate website for Latin America (Spanish only).

Land Matrix Partnership

Link: http://landportal.info/landmatrix/index.php
Areas of Expertise: Land deals
Key Activities: Collection and distribution of data on land deals
The Land Matrix Partnership is a consortium of research institutes and non-governmental organisations that has created and maintains a public database with up-to-date information about land deals. The database has a global focus, and includes information specific to Central and South America. It is designed in such a way that all users can both contribute to and access data, and the interactive visualisation facilitates research and analysis. In addition to downloading raw data, users can also access Land Matrix reports and analysis.

Land Tenure Center

Link: http://www.nelson.wisc.edu/ltc/about.php
Areas of Expertise: Land (use, tenure, management, resources), environmental governance, livelihoods
Key Activities: Policy analysis, research, training, programme implementation
The Land Tenure Center is part of the University of Winsconsin-Madison. As an academic institute, its main activities are focused on analysis and research with the aim of identifying policy solutions and recommendations. Their website includes a wide range of their research on Latin America, both at the regional level and on individual countries. The Center also creates learning networks to enhance public dialogue, offering a useful tool for researchers and policymakers from different regions.

RIMISP - Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural (Latin American Centre for Rural Development)

Link: http://www.rimisp.org
Areas of Expertise: Rural territorial development
Key Activities: Applied research, systematisation of experiences, capacity building, advocacy
Based in Chile, RIMISP is a regional organisation conducting research, capacity building and advocacy, with a large focus on contributing to the formulation of a rural territorial development approach in Latin America that aims to reduce poverty through an institutional transformation of rural areas. In particular, RIMISP focuses on four key issues: access to dynamic markets for small farmers and rural entrepreneurs; new rural social movements and local governance; non-farm rural employment and incomes; and social learning for rural change. The organisation produces research and publications (though mostly in Spanish) that provide an important insight into the Latin American small-scale farming sector and the rural territorial development approach.

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