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SARD - December 2004

SARD-FSE: Results from Regional Workshops

The preliminary synthesis of the priority policy issues stemming from the case studies of the Farming Systems Evolution for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD-FSE Project) were discussed during regional workshops held during July-October 2004.

The three case studies of the SARD-FSE Project are being implemented, one each, in Honduras, Mali and the Philippines with the aim of using the results to enhance the capacity of governmental and non-governmental institutions to plan, implement and evaluate sustainable agriculture and rural development policies and strategies, and to develop the essential capacities to actively participate in the processes of decision-making.

Among the main recommendations (all may apply to all the case studies):
  • Need for more favorable macro-economic policies for agriculture and rural development (ARD), e.g. interest rates, investment and agricultural prices, and policies on physical and service infrastructure.
  • Provision of a strong political-administrative boost and advocacy for SARD, e.g. raising the national priority of ARD and appreciation for farmers and ARD professionals.
  • Trade and marketing linkages, access and stability, e.g. concerns about imminent trade agreements, capacity to meet food and safety standards, price stabilization and farmer-market linkages.
  • Decentralization of skills/ resources in addition to responsibilities to carry out devolved responsibilities, and effective ways to access public support.
  • Governance and social participation, e.g. rural people not having political voice, especially for women, youth and landless, and concerns about institutional responsiveness and accountability.
  • Strengthening of rural communities, farmer organizations, cooperatives and associations, e.g. need for entrepreneurship, economies of scale for key services, business management and accountability.
  • Support for research, extension and farmer training, e.g. focus on the agri-food chain, integrated productive and ecological objectives, and how the public, civil society and private sectors should work.
  • Accessible financing schemes, e.g. need for appropriate instruments for rural finance, pooling risk, reducing the cost of intermediaries, and managing remittances.
  • Improvement of farming systems productivity, e.g. water access and management, soil fertility management, high value commodities and income diversification out of agriculture.
To assess the relevance of recommendations for other systems and countries, the Project sponsored 3 regional workshops to critically analyze them and also to identify SARD-relevant priorities for future regional collaboration. The workshops were held in Tegucigalpa, Honduras (13-15 July), Antipolo City, Philippines (19-21 July) and Bamako, Mali (26-28 October). Approximately 40 professionals, practitioners and local stakeholders participated in each workshop. Table 1 presents the participating countries and agencies, other than the host country, and the main recommendations of each workshop.

The regional cooperation proposals of the workshops are indeed so valuable that the participating agencies, in particular the national lead agencies (i.e. PASOLAC, ANGOC and IER) and FAO, will do their best to insert these proposals into on-going programmes and initiatives, to use them to complement and strengthen project proposals which are currently under negotiation with donors, and to develop them into fully-fledged proposals for donor funding.

To read the main results of SARD-FSE regional workshops carried out in July - October 2004, please click here.

For more information on the workshops please contact Dr. Marcelino Ávila at marcelino.avila@fao.org or Ms. Dominique Legros at dominique.legros@fao.org Download the leaflet (324 KB) presenting the evolution of farming systems for sustainable agriculture and rural development Project - Building on policies, strategies and tools.

See previous articles published in the UN Systems Network web site: