The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture & Food for Development is currently inviting written submissions from organisations and individuals on the topic of rural infrastructure. The deadline for submissions is 15 October 2016.
A terms of reference, with submission guidelines, is available here.
Rural infrastructure is essential to improving smallholder productivity, access to markets and poverty reduction. In much of sub-Saharan Africa, for example, smallholders have little or no access to electricity. They also rely on rain-fed agriculture, have poor crop storage facilities and inadequate means of getting crops to market.
These issues are all inter-related. With access to energy, smallholders can power pumps to extract groundwater and operate irrigation systems. They can charge phones to access market information. Other forms of water infrastructure - such as rainwater harvesting and small reservoirs - also reduce reliance on rain-fed agriculture and can enable farmers to produce more crops per year. Such improvements can boost yields, but this only improves livelihoods and reduces poverty if those yields can be properly harvested and handled, and sold at good prices. This is where storage and transport comes in.
The APPG is therefore holding an inquiry into the three aspects of rural infrastructure thought to be most crucial to smallholders: energy, water and storage/transportation.
Following the receipt of written submissions, the APPG will also be hosting roundtables at Parliament in the autumn of 2016.
These events are scheduled as follows:
11 October: 'Optimising water infrastructure for smallholder farmers'
18 October: 'Powering Agriculture: access to productive energy for smallholder farmers'
24 October: 'From field to market: roads, transport and storage for smallholder farmers'
The final outcome will be a report published in late 2016 / early 2017, aimed at Parliamentarians, donors and NGOs.