Successful home-grown solutions in agricultural development

Successful home-grown solutions in agricultural development

Khalida Bouzar*
Shifts in the global economy and regional trade patterns have shaped South-South cooperation strategies, underscoring the need to foster cooperation among developing countries at all levels. Growing volumes of South-South trade, as well as increasing flows of South-South development assistance, have given rise to new types of policy frameworks. 

We believe that a continued emphasis on the economic integration of small and medium-sized enterprises - particularly those providing income for rural women and youth - is crucial for increased growth and prosperity in developing countries.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency focusing on smallholder agriculture and rural development. For more than 40 years, IFAD has invested in the rural poor through agricultural development projects aimed at contributing to inclusive and sustainable rural transformation. Today, IFAD’s lending and non-lending activities are under way in roughly 100 countries - an investment of about $6 billion on the ground. By promoting the exchange of knowledge and expertise among various clients from fragile states, middle-income countries and low-income countries, IFAD can leverage its resources to help more people.

Concurrently, IFAD also facilitates policy dialogue and has played a consistent role as a broker of knowledge and a best practice hub. Our goal is to sustainably transform rural lives and communities.

By sharing knowledge, expertise, innovation and technology, partnerships through South-South and triangular cooperation (SSTC) can help countries overcome development challenges, strengthen capacities and build resilience to conflict and shocks, such as climate change. We believe that better regional cooperation not only brings countries together in new ways, but also helps them mobilize their resources.

And in many cases, it helps them foster and maintain strong relationships with each other under the hardest conditions.

SSTC partnerships have been vital in carrying out this mission. With a total membership of 176 countries, IFAD works in partnership with governments and rural producer organizations, civil society, the private sector and development and research institutions, as well as with its sister United Nations agencies, funds and programs, including the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC).

In November 2014, IFAD’s ongoing SSTC efforts were presented at the annual Global South-South Development Expo held in Washington, D.C. There, IFAD demonstrated its ongoing support for SSTC with the launch of a new grant program on SSTC for Agricultural Development and Enhanced Food Security in the Near East and North Africa Region. 

Implemented by UNOSSC, this initiative is breaking new ground when it comes to improving agricultural development, enhancing food and water security, and reducing poverty. 

IFAD strongly believes that people need to be involved in—and take charge of—their own development. Thanks to this grant, the program is benefiting more than 1,000 young people and women working in agriculture in Algeria, Morocco, Turkey and Uzbekistan. Participating farmers are able to share innovative solutions to save water, cultivate water-efficient crops, breed cattle, enhance marketing and increase overall productivity. 

The Knowledge Exchange and Coordination Workshop that is taking place in İzmir from July 22 to 24 marks the launch of the first cross-regional corridor led by Turkey. It seeks to contribute to capacity-building efforts to strengthen agricultural producer groups in the Arab states and Central Asia. In addition, the grant includes two other main cross-regional corridors on agricultural biotechnology and sustainable water management practices. These are spearheaded by Hungary and Algeria, respectively. 

Supported by IFAD and by UNOSSC, the İzmir Workshop is hosted by the Turkish Food, Agriculture and Livestock Ministry. By this occasion, I would like to thank the government of Turkey for their valuable contributions. 

Beyond sharing Turkey’s expertise in the management of farmer-based organizations, this workshop also provides an opportunity for government representatives to exchange views and practical recommendations.
The next South-South Knowledge Exchange workshop will be hosted by Hungary later in 2015.

*Dr. Khalida Bouzar is the director of the Near East, North Africa, Europe and Central Asia for the International Fund for Agricultural Development.