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IFPRI Spotlights Climate Change Adaptation and Land Degradation Issues

IFPRI Logo22 November 2013: The November edition of Insights, the magazine of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), explores a range of topics relevant to sustainable development and the alleviation of food insecurity.

IFPRI documents the role of crop index insurance in Ethiopia in addressing the impacts of climate change on East African farming communities. Recognizing that traditional agriculture insurance products are poorly suited to smallholder farmers, IFPRI trialed an index insurance scheme based on understandings of Ethiopian customary structures and opportunities for innovation in the insurance and microfinance industries. IFPRI and partners built on existing self-help groups to integrate community-based risk sharing approaches, noting that local institutions are potentially more transparent than external institutions and that they can distribute payments more quickly.

With respect to land degradation, IFPRI researcher, Ephraim Nkonya, underscored the need to present statistics in terms that will impact policymakers. Nkonya argues for moving away from describing impacts in biophysical terms and instead, putting a price tag on land degradation by comparing economic benefits of taking action against the costs of inaction. Related IFPRI research is acting to fill gaps on these costs.

Finally, IFPRI documents the important role that community paralegals can undertake to help women exercise their land rights. The magazine tracks the impact of IFPRI's community-based legal aid programs in Tanzania and Uganda, which train local paralegals to educate rural communities about land rights and to help mediate conflicts. The program relies on volunteer paralegals from within local communities. The next phase of the work will launch a quantitative assessment of how women's land rights and knowledge are impacted by the establishment of the program.

IFPRI is a member of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). [Publication: Insights Volume 3, Issue 2]