Chris Mweembe, a Progressio DW based in Zimbabwe with Environment Africa, shares his thoughts on where the High Level Panel’s report of Post 2015 development goals should go next, looking in detail at agricultural targets and supporting small scale farmers.

The Post 2015 develoment agenda should emphasize the issues of access to, affordability, reliability, and sustainability of clean water for farmers especially in very poor and marginalised communities. Farmers need clean water for domestic purposes but also, just as importantly, for growing crops for their families to eat and to sell on at market to make a living.

What next?

Forthcoming documents on Post 2015 development goals should also explain practical strategies and commitments in addressing issues of climate change and climate variability as rainfall is becoming increasingly unreliable for rain fed agriculture. Further elaboration on alternative options for sustainable water harvesting techniques such as irrigation development is needed. This could be a reliable form of supplementing rain fed agriculture to improve yields and incomes for farmers.   

Additionally, the document should detail issues of accessibility, frequency and reliability of climate related information to farmers. This information should easily be interpreted by farmers in all parts of the country for them to make informed decisions.

Appreciating indigenous knowledge

It is also important for the Post 2015 development goals and policies to address the issues of indigenous knowledge systems in developing new water technologies. Further to that the document should give special emphasis on the promotion of traditional crop varieties like the small grains and small livestock which are adaptable and resilient to climate change negative effects.   

Future Post 2015 development document should focus on empowering farmers through strengthening local institutions such as the farmer and women’s movements and water committees. The new set of development goals should explicitly promote and give practical strategies for farmers to demand accountability from policy makers at local, national and international level.

Increasing sustainability

The Post 2015 development document should address issues of micro-finance and the promotion of local entrepreneurs. In addition, issues of value addition and market linkages should be taken into consideration in order to help farmers become self-reliant.  

The issues of sustainable harvesting and utilization of natural resources must also be promoted along with integrated waste management as well as pest and disease management in agriculture and forestry. Clean development mechanisms including the use of biogas and solar energy should also be encouraged. All these issues are key to supporting people out of poverty and should be contained in the next set of documents detailing the more specific aims and policies for the Post 2015 development agenda.

Photo: Christopher Mweembe (above left) and Machinda Marongwe (above right), from partner organisation NANGO