23 November 2012

Nigeria: Iita, Development Partners to Boost Poor Farm Families' Income

Photo: Kate Holt/IRIN
In Karamoja, people are resorting to reducing their food rations to cope.

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA),Ibadan, is working with development partners to boost farm families' income under a programme tagged "Humid tropics"

At an inception meeting, Dr. Ylva Hillbur, Deputy Director General (Research) IITA, said that the partners collaborating with IITA in the implementation of the Humid tropics include the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), the International Potato Center (CIP), Bioversity International, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), AVRDC - The World Vegetable Center, and the Wageningen University.

"Humid tropics would help to boost incomes of poor farm families, mostly led by women, from agriculture in the humid tropics while preserving the land for future generations.

"Humid tropics help farm families to make better decisions about making their living and living their lives while caring for the environment they cultivate," he said.

He stated that home to the bulk of the rural poor, the humid and sub humid tropics are the vast hot and wet areas around the equator that are associated with poor household nutrition and soil fertility depletion.

"More than 2.9 billion people in this region--humid lowlands, moist savannas, and tropical highlands in the tropical Americas, Asia, and Africa--depend on about 3 billion hectares of land for their livelihoods.

"The humid tropics span agricultural systems from the integrated tree crops-based systems such as cocoa in West Africa, banana-based systems in East and Central Africa to intensive-mixed systems in Asia and vulnerable integrated crop-livestock systems in Central America and the Caribbean.

Intensifying agriculture in these areas offers the best potential to reduce poverty, especially among women and other vulnerable groups.

Over the next 15 years, it is expected that humid tropics will increase staple food crop yields by 60 percent, average farm income by 50 percent, lifting 25 percent of poor households above the poverty line, reduce the number of malnourished children by 30 percent, and restore 40 percent of degraded farms to sustainable resource management.

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