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Homestead gardens in drought prone areas in north-western Bangladesh









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    Book (series)
    The State of Food and Agriculture, 2000
    Lessons from the past 50 years
    2000
    The State of Food and Agriculture 2000 reports only very modest growth in world agricultural production in 1998, and the estimates for 1999 do not appear to indicate any improvement. Particularly for the developing countries, where the performance of the agricultural sector is of special concern, prospects for 1999 are for a noticeable slowdown in crop and livestock production - reflecting a negative trend that is now in its third consecutive year. It has been a difficult period for many of thes e countries, which have been facing unusually adverse climatic conditions, together with the negative economic impact of the financial crisis that erupted in 1997, declining prices of several of their major commodity exports and, in a number of cases, political instability and conflicts. Food supply disruptions associated with these problems have led to the outbreak or persistence of serious food emergency situations in a large number of countries - currently more than 30 - around the world. The close of a millennium is an opportune time for studying the past with a view to seeking lessons for the future. In its special chapter, "World food and agriculture: lessons from the past 50 years", The State of Food and Agriculture 2000 reflects on humankind's achievements and failures in fighting poverty and hunger over the past half-century - a theme that stimulates both historic and prospective thought.
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    Demand for products of irrigated agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa 2006
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    If irrigated production is to make a significant contribution to food security and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), it will have to be re-structured across the region as a whole. This is the main conclusion of a study undertaken by FAO to analyse the drivers of demand for irrigated production in SSA. Steeply rising commercial food import bills for staple crops across SSA are indicative of the level of demand that is not being met from domestic production. The increase in area und er equipped/spate irrigation for the whole of Africa over the last ten years amounts to 1.27 million ha, which is equal to about 127 000 ha per year. This rate of growth has proved too low to have an impact on food import bills and buffer regional food security. However, within subregional trading groups there is scope for consolidation of market supply. Some key conclusions emerge: first, matching the structure of the irrigated subsector to the structure of demand is essential; second, it w ill be necessary to realize the value of the existing asset base where supply chains, storage and processing can be concentrated to address specific, well identified markets; third, prior to new public expenditure or the encouragement of private investment, the full implications of price impacts must be taken into account; and, finally, the costs of supplying into specific crop markets will need to be assessed. With these provisions in mind and the political and institutional constraints not withstanding, irrigated production opportunities in SSA could be realized where natural resources and markets coincide, but only through a great deal more attention to costs of production, price formation, effective water allocation mechanisms, economically efficient water use and strong, responsive institutions.
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    Home gardens key to improved nutritional well-being 2006
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    FAO recognizes that healthy, well-nourished people are both the outcome of successful social and economic development and constitute an essential input to the development process. Achieving nutrition related goals requires that national and sectoral development policies and programmes are complemented by effective community-based action aimed at improving household food security and promoting the year-round consumption of nutritionally adequate diets. These activities are being actively pursued by FAO as part of its field programme. This report provides an account of one such pilot project in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. The objective was to promote integrated home gardening, including small livestock and aquaculture. The project activities targeted poor and food-insecure families with under-five-year-old children with moderate or severe undernourishment. Post-project evaluations found increased production of vegetables, fruits, poultry and fish among the targeted households a nd a decline in the rates of undernutrition in children under five years of age. The project demonstrates an effective and sustainable method for improving nutritional standards of low income rural families through integrated household food production, which can be extended to the national level.

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