Most rural poor depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. More food must be produced to feed a growing population, while an emerging urban middle class demands safe and varied agriculture and livestock products. However, outdated techniques, exhausted soils, environmental degradation, tenure insecurity, defunct cooperatives and poor infrastructure can prevent productivity gains, trade and investment. Other land use competes with food production and with increasingly erratic weather patterns, rain-fed production is no longer sufficient. Government budget allocations to the sector are limited, extension services neglected and sector turn-around strategies fail to have an impact in the field. The key to ensuring food security, generating employment, restoring the environment and lifting rural communities permanently out of poverty is following the right long term agricultural development strategy.
ORGUT applies a flexible and integrated approach in its work with a focus on environmentally sustainable production, agri-value chains and empowerment of individual producers and their associations. After analysing local conditions, advisors help remove growth constraints and balance food security with market-driven production needs. Tailor made solutions for including women and young people in income diversification are developed. Soil conservation, agro-forestry and conservation farming techniques are employed to limit or reverse environmental degradation. Appropriate technology, irrigation and improved crop varieties and livestock breeds, ideally sourced from local research institutions, increase yields and meet cash crop production and household needs alike. Conflicts between land users are addressed and land ownership is formalised. Post-harvest losses are reduced and access roads opened for trade while processing, branding and certification increases value. Revitalised producer associations engage in joint marketing and agri-input financing. Rural credit is facilitated, market linkages are established and investors attracted.
Value chains require a business-friendly environment. ORGUT promotes transparent cross-sector planning at local government level. A constructive dialogue between public and private stakeholders changes mind-sets and encourages agricultural development and good governance. Strengthened demand-driven agricultural extension services raise productivity and help reduce greenhouse gas emitting practises. Community based management of water catchments and forests make agriculture sustainable and more resilient to impacts of climate change.
Results based management is used to measure gains in income, employment or environmental restoration, inform decision makers and ensures solid returns on investment in agriculture projects. Well-documented best practises are then shared with policy makers and fed back into extension services.
In agricultural development, ORGUT offers services in:
- Sector and sub-sector analysis and policy/legislation review
- Agri-value chains
- Social and environmental safeguards
- Organic production and certification
- Farming as a business approach
- Food processing, hygiene and standards
- SME development, women and youth entrepreneurship
- Organisational strengthening of producer associations
- Appropriate technologies
- Rural infrastructure and irrigation
- Trade and export promotion
- Demand-driven extension services and skills training
- Cooperation with agriculture and livestock research
- Integrated work planning, land-use planning, land tenure, conflict resolution
- Results documentation and dissemination
- Institutional development at Ministry and local government level