Rwanda Pyrethrum Project more than triples industry value


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Thursday, April 30, 2015

KIGALI, RWANDA — The delicate white chrysanthemum flowers that flourish across Rwanda can be harvested and processed to produce pyrethrum, a highly-effective insecticide that is sold to companies and brings income to farmers. However, the production process can be difficult—especially the crucial drying stage—making pyrethrum income unpredictable. To address this challenge, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) partnered with SC Johnson, a global manufacturer of household cleaning and pest control products, to develop a strong foundation for a sustainable pyrethrum sector in Rwanda. USAID and SC Johnson worked to improve the production and quality of Rwandan pyrethrum, as well as the management capacity of farmer cooperatives. Over the six years of this project, pyrethrum production in Rwanda has increased by 371% and its value to farmers has increased 264% to over $1.3 million in 2014.

IMG_0958This collaborative $2.4 million project, known as Rwanda Pyrethrum Program (RPP), was launched in 2009 and implemented by the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at Texas A&M University. RPP, which comes to a close in June 2015, has directly assisted more than 5,000 households from the northern and western pyrethrum growing regions of Rwanda. Farmers received intensive training on best farming and business practices as well as increased access to new technologies identified through research on pyrethrum production, soil fertility, and pest management. The Ministry of Agriculture’s Rwanda Agriculture Board assisted with these research efforts in collaboration with Horizon SOPYRWA and Texas A&M technical experts.

Assistance was also provided to improve the management and leadership of pyrethrum cooperatives. In particular, women pyrethrum farmers have been encouraged to participate in the management of cooperatives, affording them equal access to decision-making and profit sharing. Maria Nyirambonizanye, 40, is a member of a group of 82 women pyrethrum farmers that were organized by RPP to form a savings group. Since joining the savings group, she reports that her family finances have improved significantly. “I do not struggle anymore wondering where school fees are going to come from,” said Nyirambonizanye.
IMG_0806USAID’s alliance with SC Johnson is an example of a public-private partnership, which leverages market-based solutions to advance development objectives. The partnership helped Rwandan farmers to increase the production and quality of pyrethrum to sell on the marketplace.  “A public-private partnership like this one with SC Johnson is a great example of how aligning USAID’s goals with business interests can produce remarkable development outcomes,” said Peter A. Malnak, USAID/Rwanda Mission Director.

A closing ceremony for RPP was held on Thursday, April 30, 2015 at the Serena Hotel where stakeholders and partners were invited to celebrate the project’s accomplishments in Rwanda.


Seminar: The Future of Sustainable Livestock Worldwide

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USAID’s David Atteberry discusses Agency’s new development model


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 Live Webcast

Friday | April 17, 2015 | 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. | Texas A&M University, Agriculture and Life Sciences Building (AGLS) Room 129, West Campus

David Atteberry, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will present international development trends and approaches over the past four decades as seen from his 35 years of experience with USAID in Africa, the Caribbean, Middle East and Asia.

The presentation will highlight the current USAID focus on the New Model for Development and partnerships, innovation and private capital mobilization.

Refreshments will be served.

Video: Borlaug Institute reflects on international work with women


International Women’s Day, March 8

Grown from the labor movements in the U.S and Europe at the turn of the twentieth century, International Women’s Day was officially recognized in December 1977 by the United Nations and its member states.

Each year on March 8, local events, such as conferences, rallies, parades, and government-sponsored activities, are held throughout the world to celebrate women’s achievements and inspire men and women to promote gender equity.

Although women’s contributions to agriculture often go unrecognized, in some countries, women perform upwards of 75% of agriculture work. For agricultural development or peace keeping efforts to be sustainable, organizations are now realizing that women must be engaged as active stakeholders. On this day, the faculty and staff of the Borlaug Institute pause to reflect on decades of effort from the Texas A&M University System to empower women in the U.S and around the world:

Afghanistan: The Borlaug Institute has been working in Afghanistan since 2006 to build capacity within the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) and to rebuild livelihoods impacted by decades of conflict. With the Howard G. Buffet Foundation and U.S. Department of Defense Task Force for Business and Stability Operations as partners, in 2011the Borlaug Institute established three Women’s Food Processing Centers in Herat Province. The goals of this initiative were to: 1) increase women’s incomes and reduce hunger at rural village level; 2) increase income of smallholder farmers by creating markets for local fruits and vegetables; 3) increase children’s health through improved nutrition; 4) improve working conditions and food sanitation standards; and 5) improve security and reduce rural to urban migration. With the new food processing centers, the women members’ increased their family income by 56% within the first year of operation.

USAID Tropical Plant Curriculum Project: As part of USAID’s Tropical Plant Curriculum Project (TPC), the Norman E. Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture led a collaborative effort with three Indonesian universities to improve utilization and quality of tropical plant products fostering economic development in home industries. The TPC project placed significant emphasis on supporting women’s cooperatives and community groups and noted amazing achievements. The Tunas Women’s Bamboo Cooperative in Bali Indonesia formed two years ago with support from TPC team members from Udayana University. The cooperative now has 23 members and has been recognized by the Ministry of Coopera­tives as one of the top three cooperatives in Bali. With improved processing and packaging, the cooperative has increased the value of its products by 75 percent and broadened its market to supermarket chains and hotels. Cooperative members have become recognized as leaders in their community.

The Rwanda Pyrethrum Program: In Rwanda, the Borlaug Institute has worked alongside SC Johnson to help women form cooperatives and sub-groups in which several have learned to pool earnings to buy their own land. Since 2014, one group was able to raise enough funds to lease its own plot for the growing season – a first for all of the women involved. Efforts by the pyrethrum program have helped women to be generally more business savvy in work that extends beyond just pyrethrum.

Just about every program of the Borlaug Institute includes a gender component. We look forward to new ventures in agricultural development that allow us to continue and expand our work in empowering the women of agriculture.

Huffington Post Discusses Food Policy

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Article reviews fighting hunger, poverty through food policy research

Original Article by Shenggen Fan | Director General | International Food Policy Research Institute

In the mid-1970s, the outlook for food supplies around the world was grim. There were talks of “food triage”– food-rich countries would decide which food-poor countries should get food, thereby dooming the rest to death. At that point, famines in Bangladesh and Ethiopia had killed hundreds of thousands of people, and countries such as India and Pakistan were teetering on the brink. Despite widespread agreement on food as a basic human right, there wasn’t enough food–or solutions–to go around.

Fast forward to today: Hunger and malnutrition still exist, but not nearly on the same scale. Bangladesh and Ethiopia have halved the prevalence of hunger in their countries in the past 15 years. Indeed, the drastic progress humanity has made in ensuring food security and nutrition makes the thought of a food triage something out of a dystopian movie. How did this happen? Click for full article

SEMINAR Career Opportunities in International Agriculture: Perspectives from a USAID Project Officer


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Live Stream

Thursday, March 5, 2015, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. | Texas A&M University, Horticulture/Forest Sciences Building (HFSB) Room 104, West Campus

In the second seminar of a two-day sub-series, John Bowman of the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) will discuss what it takes to enter a career in international
agriculture development.

Bowman will review the steps and work involved in breaking into a field whose demands are
greater now than at any other point in human history.

Refreshments will be served.
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Seminar: The Future of Worldwide Sustainable Livestock



Live Stream

Tuesday | March 3, 2015, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. | Texas A&M University | Agriculture and Life Sciences Building (AGLS), Room 129 | West Campus

In the first lecture of a two-day sub-series, Dr. Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) will highlight the changes and challenges of transforming a globally interconnected livestock sector.

Smith will explore research opportunities to bolster livestock production in emerging and developing economies to be profitable, equitable, healthy and sustainable.

Refreshments will be served.

VIDEO: TAMU, CIAT and agricultural research for development




Live Stream 

Ruben Echeverria, Director General of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, will explore opportunities for collaboration in agriculture research between CIAT and TAMU. The seminar comes as TAMU and CIAT each seek augment their global research and development agendas.

The Feb. 6 event is open to the public and will run from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. with an hour-long question and answer session following immediately after. The seminar will be held at Texas A&M University, West Campus, Agriculture and Life Sciences Building, room 129.

Refreshments will be served. Click the above image for information.

Borlaug Institute makes ‘Good Food Org Guide’

The Borlaug Institute at Texas A&M University

The Borlaug Institute at Texas A&M University

COLLEGE STATION  – The Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture has been named in the James Beard Foundation and Food Tank’s annual Good Org Food Guide, which showcases U.S. nonprofit organizations working in: food and agriculture, nutrition and health, hunger and obesity, and food justice.

“We are thrilled to have been named among this esteemed collection of organizations,” said Dr. Elsa Murano, Director of the Borlaug Institute. “It’s an honor to be recognized in our effort to build on the legacy of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug and his fight for food security in the developing world.”

Only nonprofit, scholarly, and municipal initiatives have been selected in order to spotlight efforts that are focused on community building and engagement, advocacy, and service, according to Food Tank, a think tank for food.

The Good Org Food Guide, released Oct. 26, can be found here.

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Seminar: Value Chains: A Tool for Sustainable Development



Tuesday Oct. 28, 2014 | 12 p.m. to 1 p.m | Texas A&M University, West Campus | Agriculture & Life Sciences Building (AGLS) Room 129


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Dividends go well beyond economic benefit when small-holder farmers participate in agricultural value chains.

The Borlaug Institute welcomes a panel of development experts on product chains in Africa and Central America to explore how farmers, families, and communities participate in value chains to gain social, health, skill, improved natural resource, and many other benefits.

The final installment of the Institute’s fall 2014 Seminar Series presents: Jean Claude Kayisinga, the Borlaug Institute’s project chief of party in Rwanda; Nina Henning of SC Johnson: A Family Company and Roberta Lauretti-Bernhard, executive director of Earth’s Choice Women of Coffee Microfinance.