SFD’s agriculture sector aims to increase productivity and income of poor farmers through their agricultural activities, enabling them to upgrade and diversify their cultivated and livestock production, processing and marketing systems. SFD focus will enhance the rational use of water and protection of soil and as natural resources through better watershed management, flood protection works, traditional irrigation systems improvement, groundwater recharge, high value crops, etc.

Agriculture includes crop and tree cultivation, livestock production and beekeeping. It also includes post-harvest processes, for example storage, processing and marketing.

The overall policy is: Poverty alleviation through economically & environmentally-sustainable agricultural and rural development. This means all support should aim to improve the economic wellbeing of the poor through increasing income and reducing costs of agriculture inputs.


Rain-Fed and Livestock development

        Project (RALDP)

The Rain-fed and Livestock Development Project (RALDP) is currently located in 5 governorates, (Sana'a, Taiz, Lahj, Mahweet, and Hajja). The goal of the RALDP is to help poor people to:

Upgrade and diversify their agriculture and livestock production including processing and marketing
Protect their assets—soil, water, rangeland, seeds and animals
Get  themselves organized into groups for better access to the services and input.
Empower local communities to organise access services and markets.
Rain-fed agriculture has 3 components. Components 1 and 2 is implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and  cover the whole of the 5 selected governorates.

Currently component 3 is implemented by SFD  and focuses on 23 districts within the 5 governorates, in collaboration with the Local Authorities. Criteria for intervention are provided in SFD’s Guidelines for Operations.

At the local or community level,  targeting aims to ensure that the poorest producers benefit. SFD also intends to support women producers in particular as women play major roles in many aspects of rural development. They are sometimes amongst the poorest in the community and therefore consideration of the following is essential:

Acceptable and balanced numbers of women’s and men’s groups will be supported
Women’s groups should not only undertake those activities that are normally seen as women’s work. They should be actively encouraged to undertake work and responsibilities beyond their normal sphere.
Where women are prevented by local tradition and practices from being represented on mixed Producer Committees, Women Producer Committees should be considered
Women should benefit from training provided by SFD
The RALDP supports a wide range of projects. Examples of sub-projects that are supported include the following:

Type A sub-projects are projects with producers who already have some assets but who realize that they would gain from working together as a group for accessing inputs and markets, accessing knowledge and information, and applying new innovations.

Type B sub- projects include infrastructure (soil and water conservation projects).  Examples are wadi diversion canals, terrace rehabilitation, wadi bank protection and reservoirs for livestock or home gardens. There are few funding issues here except that the SFD team needs to ensure that the infrastructure will benefit more than just a few households in the community.

Type C sub-projects.  These are similar to type A projects, except that the producers do not have assets of their own.  This is often the case with young married women or very poor women-headed households who live on remittances.  They do not have access to land, and have no small livestock or beehives either.  Hence the project will help them access some assets as a start up (goats, sheep or beehives) in addition to the collective action described under type A.  However, for these type C sub-projects, we may expect that the introduction of new technological innovations would be limited, or altogether absent, at least in the first round.  Because these groups would be engaging in an activities that they have not done before,  it is expected that they would want to reduce risk and stick to the agricultural practices known in the community.

Community contributions depend on the type of project.

Activities may take place at  three levels. Support may be given to activities involving a single community or  may involve several communities, the inter-community level, or  may be provided  to institutions at the District level.

Each intervention that is supported will involve the creation Rural Producers Group.

Capacity Building
Capacity building is seen as a continuous process. As an important part of SFD’s support to rain-fed agriculture, capacity building should have its own plan linked to other aspects of the intervention and its own monitoring and evaluation.

Sometimes levels of literacy are very low. This prevents groups and committees, especially of women, from keeping records. In these situations, literacy programs through the SFD education unit (or elsewhere) should be considered. In other areas, health problems may be so severe that poor health prevents poor people from undertaking agricultural work. Linkages with Health programs should be considered.

An important part of the support that SFD will provide is in capacity building of Producer Groups and committees as well. Training and support may be provided in:

Organisational aspects of Producer Groups and Committees
Technical aspects of sub-projects.

Non Rain-Fed Agriculture Activities

There are two main areas of focus beyond RALDP. These fall under Non Rain-Fed Activities. They are:

Activities associated with irrigation, and soil and water conservation

Activities associated with the transfer of technology such as milk processing but may include beekeeping, etc.

Irrigation, Soil and Water Conservation

More than 90% of Yemen’s water resources are used for agricultural activities and about 70% of Yemen’s labor force are working in the agricultural sector.  Focus in the areas of water management for agriculture and on water & soil conservation are seen as vital if sustainable development in Yemen is  to be achieved.

In SFD, activities associated with irrigation, and soil and water conservation will fall under a new section: Areas covered include:

Surface water irrigation systems such as improving traditional spate irrigation systems, springs, and streams
Ground water irrigation systems, focusing only on those which minimize the use of  the water and maximize its productive agricultural use
Water and soil conservation measures such as wadi bank protection and check dams.
Terrace rehabilitation
Rainwater harvesting projects (e.g. private and sometimes communal cisterns and reservoirs) for livestock & irrigation
Qat-substitution water-related projects
Small dams with attached irrigation systems
Training & awareness raising

Construction of small dams without irrigation will only be supported very occasionally. This is because other agencies are working in this area and SFD does not want to duplicate efforts. Also many dams have not fulfilled their functions as many are poorly built or do not supply irrigation systems.

The main interventions are likely to include:

Small and medium water reservoirs.
The rehabilitation of traditional open rainwater reservoirs.
The rehabilitation of devastated terraces.
Protecting valleys through dam building, rectification, and banks protection.
Improving flood irrigation through gabion blocks and diversion canals.
transfer of technology
Transfer of Technology will deal with the new improved agricultural ideas
(knowledge), devices and cereal varieties that will contribute to an increase in quality and quantity of the rural production. These innovations include improved and the latest technology in seed nurseries water storage, supplies and services, and infrastructure, that can bridge the gap between potential and actual yield and overcome the difficulties faced by farming communities and could generate income to fund cost-intensive activities.

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