iDE and the EU – Creative Cooperation Delivering Results for Rural Farmers

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Today is Europe day which is about celebrating peace and unity across Europe and marking the anniversary of the historic speech made by Robert Schuman in which he declared: “World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.”

This spirit of creative cooperation is one which iDE shares. Whilst the EU was founded on the idea that European cooperation in the coal and steel markets could bring much needed security to Europe, iDE knows that harnessing the power of the market can bring real change and income security to the rural poor.

iDE has a tradition of creative cooperation and partnership with the EU on many of our projects.  Whilst the EU is opening its doors to visitors in Brussels (4th May) and Strasbourg (19th May) to celebrate Europe day, recently iDE opened its doors to an EU delegation to one of the projects that they support in Bangladesh.

Visiting a production and sales planning meeting (PSPM) in Hizla Upazilla

EU delegates at a production and sales planning meeting in Hizla

During their visit to our Agriculture and Nutrition Extension Project (ANEP), Mr Phillippe Jacques and other EU delegates were given a taste of life as a Bangladeshi smallholder farmer. The ANEP team put on demonstrations of the treadle pump (pedal powered irrigation technology), the Sex Pheromone Trap (a natural way to avoid pests) and other resource saving vegetable technologies. The officials were then invited to a nutrition education session for mothers and carers. In the peri-urban area of Barisal City, they attended a farmers’ market to see how ANEP has helped develop existing institution’s rural-urban linkage capacities. The second day of the visit involved fish harvesting at the aquaculture demonstration pond, followed by a production and sales planning meeting, catching the attention of The Daily Sattya Sangbad (pictured).

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EU visit press release in The Daily Sattya Sangbad

With the help of the EU, the success of ANEP has exceeded our expectations.  Through creativity, cooperation and a commitment to harnessing the market to achieve food security, iDE has enabled farmers to adopt new techniques, such as integrated pest management, so they can produce off-season vegetables with high nutritional value, such as okra and sweet gourd. We also have introduced carp-poly culture, so fishermen can stock multiple carp species safely because they feed at different depths.

We have further grouped 16,000 vulnerable households with children at crucial stages of development, pregnant and lactating women and those of reproductive age. These families discuss appropriate feeding practices and learn how to counsel other mothers about nutrition. This encourages community leadership and ownership of food security solutions.

The ANEP team also host fun events to initiate the supply of quality food to these vulnerable groups. Urban consumers are entertained at farmers’ markets through songs and cartoons for children around the theme of nutrition.

We are striving to increase the annual income of 51,000 households by 75 Euros by December 2014. The program should then continue to grow via sustainable market linkages. There will be a follow up event to discuss technology transfer and nutrition this summer. This will continue our successful partnership with the EU into the future, with a view to enhancing our strong strategic partnerships within Europe.

For more on our work in Asia click here

For more on our technologies and innovations click here 

For more on Europe Day (including Open Doors events) click here

What next? Please let us know what you would like to hear about in our blog. Click on the speech bubble icon at the top of this post to comment.

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iDE UK Laying the Path to Entrepreneurship for Bangladeshi Farmers

How iDE Bangladesh’s Agriculture and Nutrition Extension Project (ANEP) links farmers to new agricultural technologies and retailers.

Richard Rose with participants in Bangladesh

Richard Rose came to visit us at iDE UK in a whirlwind of news and progress from Bangladesh. He described the Agriculture and Nutrition Extension Project (ANEP) with well-founded pride and enthusiasm.  His team have been improving agriculture technology transfer systems for poor smallholder entrepreneurs, which has increased the production and marketing of nutritious foods.

The EU funded the project in partnership with iDE, three international centres from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) – World Fish, CIMMYT, IRRI, Save the Children International and national partners in Bangladesh – CODEC – and Nepal  – BES and CEAPRED. ANEP seeks to sustainably raise agricultural productivity and promote effective market linkages to improve the nutrition of poor rural and urban households in the south of Bangladesh and the Nepal plains.

Food insecurity and malnourishment are major issues in Bangladesh and iDE are targeting the most vulnerable groups: pregnant and lactating women and adolescent girls. ANEP works with Save the Children to provide nutritional education about which foods to buy and how this impacts on the cognitive development of children. It then forges relationships between rural famers, the urban poor and agricultural industries.

To support the commercialization of small-holder agriculture ANEP hosts pre-season production planning meetings (PSPMs).  These bring buyers (output traders) and sellers of key agro-inputs such as seeds and fertilizers (inputs traders) together to plan production volumes, quality standards, schedule harvests, and aggregate produce.  The ANEP also invites market intermediaries to bring along new technologies and explain the benefits for farmers.  For example, a demonstration of how packaged maize seeds can provide a better yield than recycling seeds from last year’s crop.  Responding directly to the market’s needs in this way generates a much more reliable income, boosts business for agricultural technologies and the farmers get free training on how to increase production without using GM crops or harmful pesticides.  This enables farmers and the local private sector to benefit from greater security of sales and builds greater trust to work collaboratively together in the future.

After a good harvest it’s time for the ANEP food festivals.  These bring farmers to the slums to sell fresh produce to urban consumers with poor access to nutritious foods.  The ANEP always team think creatively about how to support local traders and strategies remain flexible in order to achieve the best outcomes.  This often involves learning quickly in the field.  In the case of the food festivals, the first of these was a traditional affair, with formal readings and attendance lists.  But this didn’t get the results the team wanted.  The festival needed to be more fun.   So the following day the ANEP team recruited entertainers to sing about health foods for urban consumers – a great success!  Women farmers came to sell their Indian Spinach, which was not sold locally, and each made the equivalent of $20 in just two hours.  For the next big event the team are considering live cooking classes and tasty food samples.

ANEP is benefitting 60,000 people in Bangladesh and Nepal.  After three years iDE will have completed their role in the project and will have facilitated relationships between the farmers, traders, and consumers which will continue in the future.

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For a summary of Agrilinks Twitter chat on serving the poorest smallhold farmers: http://agrilinks.org/blog/links-links-and-more-links-recap-askag-twitter-chat-serving-poorest-smallholder-farmers

For a video on iDE’s agricultural programs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgB65oMz3JM

For more on our work in Bangladesh: http://www.ide-bangladesh.org/

What next? Please let us know what you would like to hear about in our blog. Click on the speech bubble icon at the top of this post to comment.

Season’s Greetings from iDE UK!

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As the end of the year approaches, iDE UK would like to thank all of our supporters and reflect on the fantastic progress we have made over the last year.

What a great year it has been for iDE UK, we have welcomed new volunteers, interns and staff, continued our brilliant work and started on some exciting new projects for 2013. On top of this, we have just ended the year with the fantastic news that we have raised over £30,000 in just three days thanks to our generous supporters, The Waterloo Foundation and The Big Give Christmas Challenge!

In terms of our projects, we have had yet another successful year, and we continue to expand into new areas and countries.

We are still working hard on the Nepal and Bangladesh Agriculture and Nutrition Extension (ANE) project, which is funded by the EU and involves us managing a diverse group of partners including Save the Children, CIMMYT and WorldFish. The project is supporting 51,000 households to improve their food security and is increasing child nutrition in 16,000 households in Nepal and Bangladesh. The project ensures cutting edge agricultural technology, which vastly improves productivity, is getting into local shops for smallholder farmers to buy. This means that highly efficient and affordable irrigation machinery like the Axial Flow Pump become available to the poorest farmers.

Cambodia has also enjoyed a fantastic year, with successes in sanitation with the Sanmark project, as well as winning a prestigious Ashden Award with Hydrologic, gaining a gold standard with Carbon Offset Funding and continuing to help smallholder farmers through Farm Business Advisor programmes.

We are also going strong on our Ethiopia Smallholder Markets and Agriculture Resilience Transformation (SMART) Project in Ethiopia, helping 36,500 smallholder farming households, consisting of approximately 219,000 individuals out of poverty. So far, 4,419 smallholders have received a total of approximately 15.47 tonnes of certified seeds through our micro-finance institutions and new technologies!

We have also had a great year in Vietnam, through our Fertiliser Deep Placement Technologies (FDP) project funded by the innocent foundation. In this project we have successfully reached many of our targets and by the summer of 2012 2,726 farmers had adopted FDP technologies. Through applying FDP to their rice crops, the farmers have seen their fertilizer costs fall and their quantity of rice produced rise, leading to a 71.8% increase in income.

We are also now working to expand our farm Business Advisor programme into Mozambique, with the help of SIDA’s Innovations Against Poverty funding. SIDA’s support has allowed us to develop a comprehensive business plan; with many interested private investors we are presently hunting for the right social investor to implement the plan and match this exciting prospect to provide technical agricultural knowledge to smallholder farmers.

Next year we will start a project in Zambia, which will match local farmers to mining companies in order to create a market providing fresh fruit and vegetables to the mining workers. Through this project we aim to help 3,500 households raise their incomes by $350, utilising the markets created by new mines opening up in the area (with up to 36,000 hungry miners to feed each day) and supporting farmers to grow their way out of poverty in the long-term.

This year we have helped thousands of smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia realise their entrepreneurial potential and work their way out of poverty. Next year we aim to continue this success and help thousands more!

iDE UK 2012 Review

Bangladesh photographs from David Graham

As promised, here are some more wonderful photographs taken by iDE UK ambassador and professional photographer David Graham when he was out visiting iDE UK projects in Bangladesh.

To see more of David Graham’s photographs taken when visiting iDE UK projects visit our Tumblr and Pinterest pages!

The two David’s supporting entrepreneurs in Bangladesh for iDE UK!

The two David’s – David Graham (L) and David Jackson (R) in Bangladesh

iDE UK in Dhaka

David Graham captures life in Dhaka, Bangladesh where iDE UK are working to combat rural poverty.

Today we would like to share with you a few photographs from Dhaka  in Bangladesh, where our lovely programmes manager David Jackson and award winning photographer and ambassador of iDE UK, David Graham are currently visiting. Dhaka is home to the iDE Bangladesh office and is the hub of all projects and activity to support rural farmers in Bangladesh, including an exciting new latrine project funded by the EU.

These photos help give an insight into the lives of those living in Dhaka, which is the 9th largest city in the world. Although poverty is a fundamental problem across Bangladesh, iDE UK is working hard to ensure small scale rural farmers have access to innovative technologies which can lead to an increased income for themselves and their families.

Next week we’ll be following the two David’s journey into rural Bangladesh where they will visit farmers on the ground to find out how they are combatting poverty with the help of iDE UK.

For more information about iDE UK please visit: http://www.ide-uk.org

The two David’s in Nepal and Bangladesh for iDE UK

ImageOur programmes manager David Jackson is currently out in Nepal with our very gifted supporter and photographer David Graham, to check up on the projects over there. They will be reporting back with information and photographs as they go along to keep us all up to date with what is happening on the ground. Here is one of the first photos David Graham has sent to us from Nepal of one of the many women in Nepal that iDE UK is helping with sustainable business solutions.

Keep posted for more photos and information about their trip!

Photos will also be shown on the iDE UK Pinterest and Tumblr pages so why not take a look?

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/ideuk/

Tumblr: http://www.tumblr.com/blog/ide-uk-share-to-inspire#