Agriculture and Rural Development
Rural development is a broad term that encompasses many of our activities. This includes activities such as agriculture, livestock, aquaculture, agribusiness, forestry and value chain development.
In many countries where we work, agriculture is a major source of productivity, employment and income, and a tool for economic diversification. Promoting the potential for increasing productivity, value addition and exports in the agricultural sector is a key element in development and growth in rural economies. Agricultural and rural development is essential to reduce poverty and narrow the rural-urban divide. We support sustainable improvement in the livelihoods of smallholder farmers based on understanding the concrete and specific constraints and challenges they face, and on factors and motivations influencing their decisions.
Our long experience from implementing hands-on rural development programmes, together with an understanding of market systems development, enables us to provide valuable expertise and support to the design and implementation of market-driven interventions to integrate smallholder farmers and other actors in agricultural value chains, often in combination with infrastructure investments for irrigation and rural access.
We have the practical knowledge to work with all parts of agricultural development, from climate smart agriculture and conservation of natural resources and biodiversity, to agricultural financing, irrigation, and plant material research. The work involves dealing with regulatory frameworks, policies, strategies, and sector reform processes, and it includes relevant capacity strengthening of government at all levels, civil society and the private sector.
Our work in the agriculture and rural development sector began back in 1970 in Asia, and continues to date in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
As a tool for sustainable development, we specialise in participatory development processes, both at the grassroots and decision-making levels. Participatory approaches (including household approaches) encourage the inclusion of the project beneficiaries in all the processes of programme development, increasing ownership and empowering project beneficiaries.
We provide technical assistance particularly in the following fields:
- Agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries extension and training, mentoring, production of guidelines and manuals, and organising discussion forums
- Community/Livelihood development and poverty reduction
- Rural entrepreneurship and diversification of rural economies
- Development of cooperatives and farmer groups, and improving financial access and planning for farmers
- Agribusiness and value chain development
- Nutrition training and food security
- Sustainable natural resources management and environmental protection
- Watersheds / river basin management and protection
- Use of water for agriculture, including micro-irrigation, irrigation systems, water for livestock
- Land use planning and administration
- Institutional development and capacity building, with local and national governments, supporting local actors to formulate inclusive and equitable plans, policies, strategies and regulatory frameworks to strengthen the agricultural sector
- Rural infrastructure development