Food and Fiber Production for a Wanting World: Addressing the Challenges of Providing a Better Quality-of-life for a World of Seven Billion Soul…and Counting [12/13/2009]

Guests:

  • Jaime Loucky, Associate Program Officer, Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems Program, International Relief & Development
  • Richard L. Owens, Senior Program Development Officer, AVIPA (Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Productive Agriculture), International Relief & Development
  • Melissa Price, Senior Communications Director, International Relief & Development

Segment 1

2009.12.13seg1
Jaime Loucky, Associate Program Officer, Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems Program, International Relief & Development
Segment 2

Richard L. Owens, Senior Program Development Officer, AVIPA (Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Productive Agriculture), International Relief & Development
Richard L. Owens, Senior Program Development Officer, AVIPA (Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Productive Agriculture), International Relief & Development
Segment 3

Melissa Price, Senior Communications Director, International Relief & Development
Melissa Price, Senior Communications Director, International Relief & Development
Segment 4

Jaime Loucky, Richard L. Owens, and Melissa Price
Jaime Loucky, Richard L. Owens, and Melissa Price

Program Summary:

The EmeraldPlanet weekly television programs are broadcast and distributed via Channel 10 TV in Fairfax, Virginia USA. The programs are being simulcast to 532stations around the United States and then overseas by the Internet and C-SPAN television. The EmeraldPlanet programs are currently available in all countries and 214 territories around the world.  The Emerald Trek and companion The Emerald Mini-Treks are identifying the 1,000 “best practices” on location from the 143 nations, 750 cities, and 50,000 communities by Internet TV, local television stations, main stream media outlets, YouTube, Facebook, The EmeraldPlanet Meetup, Twitter, among other social media networks,and all manner of print media.

The EmeraldPlanet TV is broadcasting weekly a number of the “best practices which are identified through collaboration with:  major non-governmental organizations (NGOs); United Nations, universities and colleges;research institutes; government ministries and agencies; Embassies;banking and micro-lending organizations; Chambers of Commerce; World Trade Centers, international bodies such as The World Bank,International Monetary Fund (IMF), Inter-American Development Bank,African Development Bank Group, Asian Development Bank, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), citizens groups; multimedia organizations; among others by utilizing the most advanced broadcasting hardware and software along with an outstanding television Production Crew to reach an ever expanding global audience.  The Emerald Trek is focused upon linking principals identified among the 1,000 ‘best practices’ in the 144 nations being visited through this world-wide movement.The Emerald Trek is encompassing over 300,000 miles, visiting 750 major cities, and 50,000 suburban and rural communities in the identified nations

This program features:

  • Segment 1: Jaime Loucky, Associate Program Officer, Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems Program, International Relief & Development
  • Segment 2: Richard L. Owens, Senior Program Development Officer, AVIPA (Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Productive Agriculture), International Relief & Development
  • Segment 3: Melissa Price, Senior Communications Director, International Relief & Development
  • Segment 4: Jaime Loucky, Richard L. Owens, and Melissa Price

As reported by the United Nations Development Program there is a reemergence of a major food security crisis around the world as the world enters the second decade of the 21st Century. Triggered in part by soaring food prices, spreading drought, increasing levels of extremely hot atmospheric temperatures, and the global economic slump the crisis has led to food riots in dozens of countries around the world, destabilizing governments, and pushing an additional 500 million people into poverty and food insecurity.  For the first time in history over two billion people suffer from hunger or the lack of the United Nations established daily minimum calorie intake for citizens of developing nations.

The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and a host of other multilateral organizations and NGOs are unanimous in research findings that there is the need to address the rising challenges of hunger and malnutrition.  Such organizations have documented that international development efforts must focus on improving agricultural production in food insecure regions.  Small-holder farming has the potential to reduce poverty while strengthen local markets among vulnerable communities.  Such efforts are believed to ultimately reduce the dependence on foreign assistance and food imports from developed nations.

Complementary activities, such as increasing alternative sustainable farming techniques, proper storage of locally produced grains, micro-lending banking institutions, provision of new water pumping and filtration technologies, low cost advanced irrigation systems, food processing and packaging, alternative energy production, expansion of lower cost transportation systems, increased access to farmers markets, among other improvements.  Such local, regional, and national improvements can increase job opportunities, small business creation, while providing more money for families to obtain better food, health care, education, and housing while addressing the environmental conditions of their local communities.

Featured in this program is International Relief and Development as a leading global non-governmental organization responsible for implementing relief, stabilization, and development programs across a broad spectrum of technical areas. It mission is to help reduce the suffering of the world’s most vulnerable groups and to provide tools and resources needed to increase their self-sufficiency. IRD accomplishes its mission by managing targeted, cost effective development programs that improve the lives of these vulnerable groups. These include refugees, internally displaced persons, victims of combat, former combatants, women, children, and the elderly.

The International Relief and Development works in regions of the world that present social, political, and technical challenges, and particularly specialize in helping communities going through or coming out of conflict to recover and improve.  Staff members lead organizational efforts to collaborate with a wide range of organizations to design and implement humanitarian relief, stabilization, and development programs ranging from large-scale construction projects to small-scale nutrition projects.  Its flexibility allows the organization to respond appropriately to differing donor, partner, and beneficiary needs.

The Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems (SFAS) program of International Relief & Development (IRD) is lead by Jaime Loucky, Associate Program Officer. This program has helped expand opportunities for farming families in developing countries of Africa, Southeast and Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.  Working with whole communities in affected areas, SFAS has restored access to food through delivery of emergency food aid and food-for-work programs.  For over 10 years IRD has collaborated with the United States Agency for International Development and private donors becoming a specialist in working in conflict and post-conflict environments, taking on the challenge of working in some of the most complex and difficult places.  Through this collaborative relationship the  Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems (SFAS) program was created.

The organization does not just focus on immediate needs.  Its multiple sectorial programs, such as the SFAS, addresses the causes of chronic food insecurity such as cyclical drought or health concerns that keep farmers from their fields.  It provides technical assistance to farmers so they can improve productivity and efficiency.  It helps build local expertise for agricultural training as well as working with local businesses supplying farmers with work animal feed, seeds, fertilizer, among other critical inputs. All sectors of its work supports citizen engagement around issues of access to economic, health, infrastructure, along with social resources and services.

Nearly one-third of the people in Afghanistan, some 7.4 million, are unable to obtain sufficient food to live active and healthy lives. Instability, low household income, and declining agricultural productivity are contributing factors which lead Afghans to join the insurgency so they can afford food for their families.  IRD is implementing the Afghanistan Vouchers for Increased Productive Agriculture (AVIPA) Plus project.  AVIPA Plus is a $360 million United States Agency for International Development (USAID) project aimed at increasing rural family farm production and productivity and strengthening links between the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and its people.

AVIPA Plus builds on the success of AVIPA, the initial project aimed to increase basic wheat crop production in Afghanistan. AVIPA distributed wheat seed and fertilizer vouchers to farmers in 18 of the 34 national provinces. Twelve thousand tons of improved wheat seed and 55,000 tons of fertilizer were distributed. The Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and USAID were pleased with IRD’s performance and added $300 million to the original $60 million award. AVIPA Plus expanded to include Helmand and Kandahar provinces.

AVIPA Plus has five primary objectives:

  • Increase farm family use of high quality agricultural inputs;
  • Support profitable farm family participation in agricultural value chains;
  • Implement cash for work projects that enhance rural family farm production and productivity;
  • Implement a grants component that contributes to rural family farm production and productivity; and
  • Include Afghan authorities, civilian and military counterparts in program implementation.

AVIPA Plus implementation is closely linked with Afghan government leadership and local community ownership. The small grants program works closely with community and government officials to identify and process awards for in-kind materials and equipment. The in-kind grants give farmers and rural communities the resources to increase farm production and productivity. Government officials help AVIPA Plus identify cash for work projects, such as repairing irrigation systems, in local communities. Cash for work projects employ men who might otherwise produce illegal crops or participate in insurgency.  AVIPA Plus impact will enhance the Government of Afghanistan’s credibility in rural Afghanistan and link the Government of Afghanistan more strongly with Afghan citizens.


As you may know EmeraldPlanet is a worldwide non-profit organization dedicated to identifying at least 1,000 ‘best practices’ for sustainable environmental and economic development. Our efforts are to link those having such “best practices” with those needing the technologies, processes, services, and products to be outstanding ecological stewards of their resources. Please support The Emerald Planet Television and The Emerald Trek through your generous donations of US$25, US$50, or US$100. Click the donations button to make your contributions now

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