the potential to be drivers of agricultural transformation in Africa, holding
the key to improving their families’ livelihoods and food security. However, such constraints as lack of access to initial
capital, machinery, reliable markets, and knowledge and training are difficult
to overcome, leading to restricted participation by women and young people in
agricultural systems in Africa.
A new video from the Sustainable Intensification of Maize-Legume Systems for Food Security in Eastern and Southern Africa (SIMLESA) project highlights the importance of gender equity and social inclusion to achieving project impacts and outcomes, helping to drive transformative change towards securing a food secure future for Africa. Case studies and interviews with women and men farmers – including young people – detail how SIMLESA’s approach has re-shaped their maize-based farming lives.
Maize production is increasing in several South East Asian countries as farmers respond to changes in consumer preferences and diets. An increasingly popular cash crop in the region and suited to cultivation by smallholder farmers, maize is nonetheless subject to unpredictable markets and may be associated with negative environmental externalities where appropriate production practices are not used. Some countries in the region have experienced a dramatic increase in maize production in recent years, followed by a decline, highlighting the importance of linked economic and agronomic research that addresses the rapid pace of change in the region. Delegates from across South East Asia gathered recently to explore ideas and opportunities for key research issues on the sustainable intensification of maize in smallholder farming systems in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, during a meeting held from November 9 to 11, 2018, in Siem Reap and in maize growing areas around Battambang, Cambodia.
Women and youth help lead efforts to adopt climate-friendly farming and safeguard indigenous maize yields
Farmers walk through a field that has been cleared by slash and burn agriculture in the Yucatan peninsula. Photo: Maria Boa/ CIMMYT
The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico has been hard hit by drought and extreme weather events related to climate change in recent years, exacerbating local poverty and food insecurity. In addition, slash-and-burn agriculture techniques have led to environmental degradation and contribute to climate change. The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) is working to help indigenous Mayan farming families in the Yucatan peninsula adapt to and mitigate climate change, increasing maize yields and food security while minimizing negative environmental impact. This comes as world leaders mull a crucial decision on agriculture at the UN Climate talks in Bonn, a decision that could support farmers everywhere to take similar actions.
Transcending the boundaries of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, lie the Eastern Gangetic Plains (EGP), fertile lands home to 300 million people, highly dependent on agriculture for their food security and livelihoods. The EGP area is crucial to future food security in South Asia, where production of rice, wheat and maize must respectively increase by about 1.1, 1.7 and 2.9 percent each year to meet food needs in 2050. Yet due to a lack of agricultural development, today the EGP contains the highest concentration of rural poverty found anywhere in the world.