Part 22: Where Would You Like to See More Agricultural Funding Directed?

Each day we run three of your responses to the question: Where Would You Like to See More Agricultural Funding Directed?

Photo credit: Bernard Pollack

1. Steve Osofsky, Wildlife Health Policy, USA

“Full examination of opportunities that might enable the delinking of trade in livestock products from geographically defined animal disease status zonation is to be encouraged, as modern approaches to the management of transboundary animal diseases could potentially enable expanded international trade in livestock products from, for example, southern Africa to proceed safely while reducing the need for some of the disease control fences that currently preclude the connectivity required for transfrontier conservation success as currently envisioned by many SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries. Science-based shifts away from older disease management paradigms should result in an enabling environment for enhanced and diversified livelihood opportunities and regional economic growth related to benefits to and from both the livestock and environmental conservation sectors. Economic development that is based upon a diversified portfolio, including both livestock and wildlife activities, increases opportunities for resilience to threats like food insecurity and climate change.

The development of Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) to further the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable development through the harmonization of transboundary natural resource management is a priority for SADC. Altogether, SADC’s existing and proposed transfrontier parks and TFCAs cover approximately 1,200,000 sq. km.- a huge area by any standard. A key economic driver behind TFCAs is nature-based tourism that seeks to maximize returns from marginal lands in a sector where southern Africa enjoys a global comparative advantage.  Nature-based tourism (photographic safaris, trophy hunting, etc.) now contributes about as much to the gross domestic product of southern Africa as agriculture, forestry, and fisheries combined – a remarkable and relatively recent development documented by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.  However, the management of wildlife and livestock diseases (including zoonoses – diseases transmissible between animals and people) within the larger transboundary landscapes is an  emerging policy issue of major concern to livestock production, associated access to export markets, and other sectors, including public health.  Livestock farming is, an important traditional way for communities in sSA to build and maintain wealth, not to mention attain food security.  Essentially, the TFCA concept and current internationally accepted approaches to the management of transboundary animal diseases (TADs) are largely incompatible. The TFCA concept promotes free movement of wildlife over large geographic areas, whereas TADs are controlled by vast fences to prevent movement of susceptible animals between areas where TADs occur and areas where they do not, and to similarly restrict trade in commodities derived from animals. This incompatibility between (a) current regulatory approaches for disease control and (b) the vision of vast conservation landscapes with fewer major fences needs to be reconciled now that SADC countries have chosen to pursue TFCA initiatives in the interest of regional risk-diversification of land-use options and livelihood opportunities. The AHEAD (Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development) Program works at the wildlife / livestock / human interface and strives to catalyze win-win opportunities related to food security, biodiversity conservation, poverty alleviation and enhanced livelihood diversification- all of which enhance resilience in the face of climate change. Thanks very much for all that you are doing on a critical set of issues.”

2. John Vickrey, USA

“Thank you for the opportunity to comment on agricultural funding in Africa. First, there is no single program to fit all food aid problems in Africa. Second, wealthy countries need to fund workable agricultural economic systems and move away from creating food aid dependency. Supporting local, sustainable farms and connecting farmers to reliable markets is paramount. Funding, at least in the interim, should be used to develop reliable food distribution systems from the farm to the local consumer. The long term solution is to connect local farms larger markets. Third, putting more effort into sustainable technologies is critical. We have idle college students who could be inventing the next wave of low cost, sustainable, agricultural equipment and shipping it to the third world. Can you imagine the excitement, sense of accomplishment students would get from partnering to solve real world problems? Worldwatch could educate and coordinate these efforts. Start by funding “Development Labs” in colleges.”

3. Michael Levenston, City Farmer – Canada’s Office of Urban Agriculture, Canada

More funding should be given to urban agriculture groups who are working to open up vacant lands in cities for growing food. These can be groups working to start up more small household gardens, larger commercial market gardens, or allotment gardens where many people can grow food.


Part 1: Dave Andrews (USA), Dave Johnstone (Cameroon), & Pierre Castagnoli (Italy)
Part 2
: Paul Sinandja (Togo), Dov Pasternak (Niger), & Pascal Pulvery (France)
Part 3
Christine McCulloch (UK), Hans R Herren (USA), & Amadou Niang.
Part 4
: Michel Koos (Netherlands), Don Seville (USA), & Ron Gretlarson
Part 5
Shahul Salim, Roger Leakey (Kenya), & Monty P Jones (Ghana)
Part 6
: Calestous Juma (USA), Ray Anderson (USA), & Rob Munro (Zambia)
Part 7
: Tom Philpott (USA), Grace Mwaura, & Thangavelu Vasantha Kumaran
Part 8
: Peter Mietzner (Namibia), Madyo Couto (Mozambique), & Norman Thomas Uphoff (USA)
Part 9
: Tilahun Amede (Ethiopia), Shree kumar Maharjan (Nepal), & Ashwani Vasishth (USA)
Part 10Mary Shawa (Malawi), Wayne S. Teel (USA), & Bell Okello (Kenya)
Part 11
: Mark Wells (South Africa), Pashupati Chaudhary (USA), & Megan Putnam (Ghana)
Part 12
: David Wallinga (USA), Ysabel Vicente, & Esperance Zossou (Benin)
Part 13
: Susi Basith (Indonesia), Diana Husic (USA), & Carolina Cardona (Togo)
Part 14
Rachel Friedman, Jennifer Geist (USA), & Lowden Stoole
Part 15
: Antonio Requejo, Alexandra Spieldoch (USA), & Daniele Giovannucci (USA)
Part 16
: Mary Njenga (Kenya), Mabel Toribio, & Makere Stewart-Harawira (Canada)
Part 17: Dale Lewis (Zambia), Chris Ojiewo (Tanzania), & Molly Mattessich (USA)
Part 18
: Gregory Bowman (USA), Lucila Nunes de Vargas, & Caroline Smith
Part 19: Tesfom Solomon (Sweden), Sahr Lebbie (USA), & Jenny Goldie (Austrialia)
Part 20: Steven Sweet, Vicki Lipski, & Viola Ransel
Part 21: Puspa R. Tiwari, Johan Staal (Netherlands), & Kevin Kamp (USA)

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