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World Food Day 2014: Supporting Family Farming

Published 10/15/2014 by Global Communities

World Food Day 2014: Supporting Family Farming
World Food Day is recognized every October 16th to bring awareness to global hunger. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that worldwide more than 800 million people are suffering from chronic hunger and under-nourishment. This year’s theme “Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth” brings attention to the important role that small farmers play in the larger context of national food security. According to the FAO, more than 98% of the farms in the world are family farms. These small farmers help feed the world, yet often suffer from hunger themselves. The reasons are complex and range from changing climate cycles and poor soil quality to lack of seeds and transportation to markets.
Global Communities is supporting small farms in Rwanda, Uganda, Mongolia and Honduras through innovative means. In Rwanda, Uganda and Mongolia, we are working cooperative farming, livestock and dairy groups to help them increase productivity, improve the quality of their products through training and exposure to improved practices. In Honduras, we are helping small farmers install high-tech rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation systems which will allow them to grow crops year around.  We are also providing emergency food support to vulnerable populations in the West Bank and Gaza and employing integrated strategies to improve food security in Yemen.

Training Small Farmers in Rwanda
Through the USAID Ejo Heza program, Global Communities is helping to improve the livelihoods and food consumption of rural Rwanda n households. A large component of this program includes increasing agricultural production through Farmer Field Schools, a group-based learning process that brings together concepts and methods from agro-ecology, experiential education and community development. As a result, hundreds of producers in Rwanda have been able to improve their crop yields. With a $1 million grant from the WalMart Foundation, Global Communities is reaching an additional 50,000 farmers through the USAID Ejo Heza program to provide training in improved agricultural techniques and marketing of commodities.

Supporting Cooperative Farming Groups in Uganda
Through the Developing Economic Strengthening Interventions for Group ProductioN (DESIGN), Global Communities is working with cooperatives in the Bushenyi District of Uganda to research and develop better ways to facilitate group production. The formation of cooperatives can be slow and challenging and can take time before the benefits are realized by group members. As a result DESIGN is researching approaches to determine the best way to help small cooperatives to develop and expand more quickly. Working with HealthPartners Uganda Health Cooperative, the program is studying the development of social capital, cohesion, trust and other key factors for facilitating successful group production based on cooperative principles.

Expanding Economic Opportunities for Cooperatives in Mongolia
Through the Enabling Market Integration through Rural Group Empowerment (EMIRGE) program, Global Communities is working with new and fledgling farming cooperatives in Mongolia to help them to identify opportunities to raise productivity and income. Interventions include training and dissemination of improved cultivation and production techniques, as well as management assistance and access to inputs and services.

Developing Irrigation Systems for Small Farmers in Honduras
Global Communities in partnership with USAID is  developing irrigation systems for smallholder farmers in Honduras. The project aims to study the effect of rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation on the livelihoods of subsistence farmers to develop best practices to ensure future programs can be successfully scaled up. Global Communities’ previous work on water harvesting in Honduras has received both the Actions in Water and Climate Change Adaptation Prize from the Americas Climate Change Dialogue and The National Environmental Award from the Honduran Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The new project will result in ten new reservoirs  benefiting 600 households and will help assess the impact of water harvesting on crop yields, farm profits, poverty, gender inequality, and environmental outcomes.

Humanitarian Assistance for Conflict-affected Families in Gaza
The conflict in Gaza this summer caused a drastic deterioration of humanitarian conditions there. Global Communities responded, as we did before in the 2008-09 and 2012 conflicts, to the needs of the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict by providing food assistance to internally displaced and vulnerable families, household and personal hygiene kits as well as other essential non-food items. Since July 2014, we have provided emergency humanitarian assistance to approximately 200,000 individuals including emergency food assistance to families in Gaza through our partnership with the World Food Programme and USAID.

Boosting Food Security in Yemen
Global Communities is employing an integrated strategy to promote food security among vulnerable households. Yemen Food for Asset Development (YFAD) relies on the use of food aid to vulnerable households, labor-based methods to re-engage actors in their own recovery, and participatory decision-making approaches focused on women, in order to develop productive assets that are owned, managed and maintained by target households and the community. Asset building activities include: household and institutional rainwater harvesting, agriculture infrastructure rehabilitation and kitchen gardens.