Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, January 24, 2015

One Acre Fund library

One Acre Fund, an award-winning nonprofit that works with smallholder farmers to increase their productivity and incomes, today announced the launch of One Acre Fund Insights, a living library of white papers and case studies for agriculture development practitioners and social enterprise professionals.

The new library will contain reports on One Acre Fund’s completed crop trials and current initiatives, as well as original articles on topics related to international development, agriculture innovation, social enterprise, and rural microfinance. The online library can be accessed via and will expand dramatically in 2015.
“Since launching One Acre Fund in 2006, we have learned a lot from the smallholder farmers we work with every day in the field,” said Andrew Youn, the organization’s executive director and co-founder. “One Acre Fund Insights is an attempt to document some of this knowledge and to proactively share our lessons learned with other organizations and professionals working to end hunger and poverty.”
Founded in 2006, One Acre Fund supplies smallholder farmers in East Africa with the financing and training they need to grow their way out of hunger and poverty. Through a comprehensive bundle of services offered on credit, the organization distributes quality farm inputs to the remote areas where farmers live, trains farmers on agricultural techniques, and educates them on how to minimize post-harvest losses and to maximize market prices. On average, farmers working with One Acre Fund realize a 100 percent return on their investment and significantly increase farm income from every planted acre. The organization currently serves 200,000 smallholder farmers across Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania, reaching more than one million people in rural East Africa.

Food Tank Summit

21 - 22 January 2015. Food Tank, in partnership with The George Washington (GW) University, organised its 1st Annual Food Tank Summit.

This two-day event featured more than 75 different speakers from the food and agriculture field. Researchers, farmers, chefs, policy makers, government officials, and students will come together panels on topics including; food waste, urban agriculture, family farmers, farm workers, and more.

Starting 26/01/15, you can watch videos of each panel discussion on the Food Tank YouTube page by clicking HERE. Food Tank will also be posting individual videos of each of the speakers. Also, click HERE to read interviews with many of the speakers and Food Tank will be posting photos of the event on their Facebook page HERE.

(Download the Full Program HERE)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Regional workshop – Livestock and climate change

12-14 January 2015. Dakar, Senegal. Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA) National Laboratory for Livestock and Veterinary Research (LNERV). Regional workshop – Livestock and climate change / Atelier Regional – Elevage et Changement Climatique 

The demand for livestock products is growing and climate change threatens food security and rural livelihoods. Policies that are currently in place may prove insufficient. Livestock systems are a significant contributor to greenhouse gases (GHG) but there is much uncertainty.

ANIMALCHANGE is providing a vision of the future of the livestock sector under climate change.
  • Reduce uncertainties concerning GHG emissions from livestock systems.
  • Include climate variability as part of impact assessment.
  • Develop cutting-edge technologies for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
  • Assess economic and societal costs of business as usual and of adaptation and mitigation scenarios.
  • Assess the vulnerability of livestock to climate change and feedbacks on GHG emissions.
  • Provide direct support to set up policies for mitigation and adaptation to climate change for the livestock sector.
  • Reach out to stakeholders by organising symposia, training of scientists, technicians and policy makers and forming a network to alert stakeholders of project outputs and events.
2nd and 3rd February 2015. “Livestock and Climate Change” Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya.
The event will include presentations and in-depth discussion on:
  • Climate predictions for East Africa under different scenarios and implications on the livestock sector
  • Mitigation and adaptation strategies that are relevant to East Africa.
  • Socio Economic, Inventory and Policy perspectives
  • Future implementation strategies for livestock systems that will adapt to climate change, will reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and increase efficiency of production.
Download invitation | Programme | Logistics | Information on grants (deadline: 19th January)

Smallholder Agricultural Carbon Projects in Eastern Africa

With four modules divided into easy-to-follow units and loaded with sample forms, step-by-step instructions, and simple, meaningful visual aids, this is a new tool for rural development project managers looking to capture the value of carbon while improving landscape performance and farmer livelihoods.

The manual describes the steps for implementing an afforestation/reforestation voluntary carbon project based on the Plan Vivo Standard. It builds on experience gained by the Environmental Conservation Trust of Uganda (ECOTRUST), ENR Africa Associates, and EcoAgriculture Partners while undertaking a participatory action research project focusing on the institutional arrangements of smallholder agricultural carbon projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. This work was supported by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS).

Download the manual directly
Read more about how the manual was developed.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Davos 2015: Focusing on international food security, nutrition and health

21 January , 2015 in Davos 2015

Bridging the gap between rich and poor over food 
With huge discrepancies occurring between rich and poor over what they eat, CNBC Africa's Alec Hogg speaks to Shenggen Fan, director general, International Food Policy Research Institute, about what needs to be done to fix the problem.


Increased concentration of wealth
Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International and one of the six co-chairs at this year’s WEF, said the increased concentration of wealth seen since the deep recession of 2008-09 was dangerous and needed to be reversed.


Global wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small wealthy elite. These wealthy individuals have generated and sustained their vast riches through their interests and activities in a few important economic sectors, including finance and insurance, and pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Companies from these sectors spend millions of dollars every year on lobbying to create a policy environment that protects and enhances their interests further. The most prolific lobbying activities in the US are on budget and tax issues; public resources that should be directed to benefit the whole population, rather than reflect the interests of powerful lobbyists. 

A briefing (publication date 19 January 2015) explains Oxfam’s methodology and data sources and updates key inequality statistics, such as Oxfam’s frequently cited fact in 2014: ‘85 billionaires have the same wealth as the bottom half of the world’s population’.

Has Africa fallen of the WEF agenda?
CNBC Africa asks Elsie Kanza, senior director, head of Africa, World Economic Forum.


PAEPARD: ARD funding opportunities

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Horizon 2020
The Work Programme on ‘Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy’ offers opportunities in finding diverse and innovative solutions to well-identified challenges in key EU policy priorities. Through generic or dedicated topics, a broad multidisciplinary participation is welcomed in these efforts.Specific topics related to Africa:
SFS-1C-2014/2015: Sustainable terrestrial livestock production: Assessing sustainability of terrestrial livestock production (page 8)
SFS-2B-2014/2015: Sustainable crop production: Assessing soil-improving cropping systems (page 10)
SFS-3-2014: Practical solutions for native and alien pests affecting plants (page 13)
SFS-13-2015: Biological contamination of crops and the food chain (page 23)
SFS-18-2015: Small farms but global markets: the role of small and family farms in food and nutrition security (page 29) . Deadline First stage 3 February 2015

2nd Open Call on Global Issues.
The Swiss Program for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d Program) makes grants for transnational and interdisciplinary research focusing on poverty reduction, global risks, and the provision of public goods. Applications are invited from nonprofit Swiss research institutions in partnerships with research institutions in the developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Grants are up to CHF 500 thousand for up to three years. The application deadline for pre-proposals is 6 February 2015.

Clean Energy for Agriculture
USAID invites applications for "Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development." The program aims to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy to increase agriculture productivity and/or value in developing countries. Applications are invited from any category of organization or institution worldwide. The size of grants is up to US$500 thousand (Window 1), and US$500 thousand to US$2 million (Window 2). Deadline:12 February 2015

Diaspora Marketplace III
The African Diaspora Marketplace is sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development and Western Union to support the start-up and expansion of businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa. This refers to enterprises in agribusiness, water supply, energy, fisheries, livestock, tourism, environmental services, and various other sectors. Eligibility for grants in ADM III extends to U.S. citizens and permanent residents who own at least 25 percent of the business, and who will be an active member of the business management team. Applications must provide a minimum of one-to-one match funding. The deadline for concept notes is 13 February 2015.

Geodata for Agriculture and Water (G4AW)
G4AW is a program by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, executed by the Netherlands Space Office, to support private investments for satellite-based information services that improve the output of agriculture, livestock, and fishing in 26 emerging and developing countries. Grants will range from €500 thousand to €5 million for consortia of Dutch organizations in partnerships with organizations in Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The application deadline is 27 February 2015

Livelihoods in South Sudan
USAID will make grants to improve livelihoods in the areas of South Sudan most severely affected by conflict. Interventions should address agriculture; livestock and fisheries; water and sanitation; reduced disaster risks; and other thematic areas identified in the announcement. Eligibility for funding extends to nonprofit organizations and colleges and universities, either individually or in consortia. USAID anticipates making up to four cooperative agreements of at least US$10 million per award for up to three years. Reference APS-OFDA-15-000004. The deadline for proposals is 27 February 2015.

PACE for Enterprise Development
Partnering to Accelerate Entrepreneurship (PACE) is a program in USAID's Global Development Alliance to direct private investment to early-stage enterprises in developing countries. Thematic areas may include agriculture, energy, and water - among others. USAID invites concept papers to propose public-private partnerships for a single country or multiple countries in which USAID is present. Details are found in the FAQ of the announcement. The deadline for concept papers is 27 February 2015.

Food and Business Applied Research Fund
The Food and Business Applied Research Fund provides grants to applied research contributing to innovation for food security and private sector development in the 15 partner countries of Dutch development cooperation. Proposals may be submitted by consortia consisting of at least one private or public practitioners organisation active in the partner countries and one research or higher education organisation. One Dutch partner is required. Application form 2nd Call for proposals 2014/2015 – Round 2. Deadline:  last round 12 May 2015.

International Wheat Yield Partnership
This program of CIMMYT is initiating its first competitive funding call. The aim is to to substantially increase the genetic yield potential of wheat by focusing on the four research topics identified in the call. Grants (cash and in-kind) are up to US$2 million over three years. The application period for pre-proposals is 15 January through 15 March 2015.

Global Center for Food Systems
In partnership with other organizations, Michigan State University invites applications to the Global Center for Food Systems Innovation. The program seeks science-based solutions to the challenges of food systems in relation to ten thematic areas. Eligibility for funding extends to universities; government and private laboratories; research organizations; and companies. Individuals may be eligible under some circumstances. Proposals are invited worldwide for implementation (testing, evaluation, scaling) including following African countries : Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, or Zambia. The application deadline is 16 March 2015.

Irwin Andrew Porter Foundation
The Foundation's international grant making includes projects for agriculture, natural resources, and grassroots conservation. Grants range from US$500 to US$30 thousand per year for projects of 1-2 years. Applicants must have tax-exempt status or a tax-exempt fiscal agent in the USA. The deadline for applications is 30 April.

Presbyterian Hunger Program
This program supports nonprofit organizations for projects that provide food relief, development assistance, and improved public policy in the fight against hunger. Activities in international development assistance include agricultural production, livestock development, land rights, soil and water conservation, and others. PHP gives preference to applications submitted by organizations based in the geographic area of the proposed activities. The average grant is about US$7 thousand. The deadline is 30 April.

The Agri-Tech Catalyst.
The £70m ‘Agri-Tech Catalyst' funding scheme has been launched to help businesses and researchers develop innovative solutions to global challenges in the agricultural technology (‘agri-tech') sector.
Early-stage projects will explore the commercial potential of an early-stage scientific idea through feasibility studies. Deadline: 17 June 2015.Industrial research projects aim to develop innovative solutions, eg through technology development, lab-based prototyping, product development planning, field trials, and market testing. Deadline: 1 April 2015.
Late-stage projects evaluate or trial the commercial potential of an innovative concept in a real-life environment ahead of deployment. This can be through pre-experimental feasibility studies or experimental development. Deadline: 17 June 2015.
Pre-announcement: New CIFSRF call for proposals in 2015
Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) are pleased to provide advanced notice about the upcoming 2015 Open Call for Proposals. The call will support projects that aim at developing, testing and applying ways to scale up food security and nutrition innovations. Date of official launch: early February, 2015. Funding: projects will be in the range of CAD $0.5 to $1.5 million. Duration of the projects: up to 28 months. Deadline for full proposals: late March 2015


Climate Projects in Developing Countries
The Nordic Climate Facility has launched a 5th call for proposals on the theme of "Climate Resilience in Urban and Private Sector Contexts." Grants ranging from €250 thousand to €500 thousand will be made to partnerships between relevant Nordic institutions and qualified local partners in eligible low-income countries. The eligible African countries are: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Deadline: 30 January 2015.

Global Environmental Change
In collaboration with the International Council for Science (ICSU), the Swedish Secretariat for Environmental Earth System Sciences (SSEESS) announced funding to link researchers in Sweden with partners in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Research themes are global environmental change, including climate change and adaptation; urban health and well-being in a changing environment; sustainable energy; and natural and human-induced hazards and disaster risk management. Swedish scientists apply for SEK 90 thousand in order to network with partners in the developing regions. Deadline: 31 Jan 2015.

Initiative Secteur Privé dans le domaine du changement climatique
Le Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial lance le 3ème appel à projets de son programme FISP-CLIMAT. La facilité FISP-Climat a vocation à promouvoir les innovations dans le secteur du changement climatique, portées par les acteurs privés et développées dans un pays éligible, en partenariat avec des acteurs locaux. Deadline: 12 March 2015.


Business Services to Advance Energy Projects in Africa
ENEA Access will provide 30-100 days of pro bono consulting services for selected energy projects in Africa. Projects must contribute to the reduction of poverty and/or the impacts of climate change as a result of improved access to energy. The range of available services includes market studies, feasibility studies, pilot structuring, business modeling, impact assessments, and others. The deadline for applications (French, English) is 15 February 2015.

Award for Research on Biodiversity to Improve Human Nutrition
Each year, the Belgian Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences sponsors a competition to stimulate high-quality research regarding problems inherent in the developing world. The questions for 2015 include one on the potential contributions of plant and/or animal biodiversity to improve nutrition security and health in developing countries. Each award-winning work is granted a prize of €2,500. The deadline is 01 March 2015.


Agris Mundus 2015-2017
Agris Mundus invites qualified individuals worldwide for two-year master's degrees oriented towards agriculture and natural resources in the developing world. The courses are given at the member universities of Agris Mundus in Europe. Applicants can apply for scholarships to offset fees and living expenses. The Agris Mundus MSc is a product of AGRINATURA. The whole course is coordinated by Montpellier SupAgro. The program is funded by the European Commission. Deadline: 31 Jan 2015.

Graduate Studies for Africans at Michigan State University 2015.
The MasterCard Foundation funds citizens and residents of Sub-Saharan Africa for graduate studies at Michigan State University, USA. The fields of study at MSU include agriculture and natural resources; veterinary medicine; natural sciences; and many others. The deadline for completed applications is 02 February 2015.

Scholarships and Training Grants 2015-2016.
The French-language universities of Belgium award 150 scholarships and 70 training grants each year in the ARES program to applicants from developing countries. Subjects include aquaculture; tropical animal and plant resources; environmental management; management of natural hazards; and others. The deadline for applications (French or English) is 11 February 2015.

Scholarships and Training Grants 2015-2016.
Trainings (7) or Master programmes (15) taught in English at a Belgian Flemish university or university college. Deadlines vary according to the course.

Doctoral Studies in Social and Agricultural Sciences
The University of Kassel in Germany collaborates with partner universities in Brazil, Ghana, India, Kenya, Pakistan, and South Africa to comprise the International Center for Development and Decent Work (ICDD) as an interdisciplinary scientific network. With funding by the German government, ICDD offers doctoral fellowships at the network's eight member universities in themes that integrate agricultural development, livelihoods, and rural welfare. Applications are accepted from qualified citizens of all aid-recipient countries. The selected PhD students will be based at the partner university they choose. Funding is for three years, with a possibility to extend for a fourth year. The application deadline is 15 February 2015

University Studies in Germany 2015.
The Heinrich Böll Foundation annually funds approximately 1,000 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students across all subjects and nationalities for university studies in Germany. Preference is for applicants working in the subject areas of the Foundation such as climate and energy, resource governance, and ecology and green development (among others). The geographical scope (but not exclusive) for international students is Central and Eastern Europe; EU neighborhood countries and the CIS; the Middle East and North Africa; transition and newly industrialized countries; and conflict regions worldwide. Applicants should be capable in German language. The deadline for international applications (i.e., from outside Germany) is 01 March 2015.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation offers 20 fellowships for young climate experts from developing countries interested in conducting a project in Germany and pursuing long-term collaboration. The fellowship allows future leaders to spend a year in Germany working on a research-based project of their own choice in the field of climate protection. Fellows choose their own hosts. The fellowship includes intensive language training and an orientation program at the introduction. The deadline for applications is 15 March 2015

Grants for Research in Environmental Topics
The Eppley Foundation supports advanced scientific research by scientists and medical doctors with established records of publications in their specialties. These specialties include endangered animals and ecosystems; climate change; and others. Past grants include examples related to conservation and ecology in Africa, China, and elsewhere. Grants may be awarded for research internationally when applicants are based in the USA, or are associated with U.S. institutions that will administer the grants. Most grants are under US$25 thousand. The deadlines for letters of inquiry are 15 March and 15 September 2015.

International Master of Science in Rural Development
This two-year master's program in rural development and agricultural economics, focuses on socioeconomic and institutional aspects. The IMRD comprises a consortium of 16 participating universities in the EU, China, Ecuador, India, South Africa, and the USA. The program invites qualified individuals from around the world to apply. The program offers Erasmus Mundus Scholarships as well as IMRD Consortium Scholarships. The deadline to apply for scholarships is 15 March 2015.

Taiwan Scholarships
Taiwan's program of development assistance includes scholarships for university students in eligible developing countries to study in Taiwan. The program provides full scholarships for applicants from selected countries in the Asia-Pacific region, West Asia, Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America and Caribbean. Subject areas at Taiwan's participating universities include tropical agriculture, renewable energy, environmental sciences, conservation and wildlife management, and others. The application period each year is 01 January through 15 March.

Fellowships for Agricultural Research
The Norman E. Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (Borlaug LEAP) offers fellowships for graduate students from developing countries for agricultural research at universities in the USA. The program currently invites applications from citizens of USAID-assisted countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Each research project is coordinated by a university in the student's home country, a university in the USA, and a mentor in the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The next application deadline is 31 March 2015.

New Zealand Aid Program
Development Scholarships 2016. New Zealand's government provides a variety of opportunities for training and university study through the New Zealand Aid Program, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The priorities often include agriculture, renewable energy, fisheries, disaster risk management, and other areas related to natural resources and environment. For individuals intending to pursue tertiary studies at any of the ten eligible New Zealand universities and institutes of technology, NZAID recommends applying for admission before 30 April.

Transdisciplinary Research Summer School
Stellenbosch University offers the following Transdisciplinary Research Summer School on Sustainability.
Full bursaries (including travel & accomadation) are available for participants from the following universities: Mekelle University, University of Nigeria Nsukka, University Of Ghana, University of Dar es Salaam, University of Botswana and the University of Nairobi. Aim of Summer School: Complex global sustainability challenges relating, for example, to the problems of increasing inequality, natural resource depletion, energy, water and food security, pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, rapid urbanisation, etc., cannot be understood and addressed using mono-disciplinary approaches alone. Dates: 23 - 27 February 2015


Awards for African Conservation
The Tusk Conservation Awards highlight achievements of individuals working for conservation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa is awarded to a distinguished individual for exceptional contribution over a minimum of ten years. The Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa is awarded to an individual with a minimum of five years’ experience who has demonstrated a considerable commitment to conservation, and who has already made a significant impact. In both categories, the winner receives a trophy and a grant to support further work. The deadline for nominations is 06 February 2015.

Private Enterprise Development
UK Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) jointly sponsor research on Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL). PEDL encourages proposals which address cross-cutting issues such as climate, environment, and social compliance -- among others. Major Research Grants average about £300 thousand for up to three years. The deadline for submissions is 13 April 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

International Green Week of Berlin

16-25 January 2015. Berlin, Germany. International Green Week of Berlin. Established in 1926, International Green Week is taking place for the 80th time in 2015. The IGW is a one-of-a-kind international exhibition for the food, agricultural and horticultural industries.

At the same time, the IGW is the point of origin for
the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) with more than 65 departmental ministers. The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) is an international conference that focuses on central questions concerning the
future of the global agri-food industry and took place in its current form for
the seventh time. GFFA 2015 was organised by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in cooperation with the Senate of Berlin, Messe Berlin GmbH and in close collaboration with the German agri-food industry, represented by GFFA Berlin e.V

The forum gave representatives from the worlds of politics, business, science and civil society an opportunity to share ideas and enhance political understanding on a selected topic of current agricultural policy within the context of food security.

17 January 2015. Under the title “The growing demand for food, raw materials and energy: opportunities for agriculture, challenges for food security?”, the forum discussed topics, such as the ever greater demand for resources and the changes in the roles played by producers and processers in the food industry, formulate new challenges and identify future prospects.

The International Panel Discussion was a high-calibre discussion hosted by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. It involved representatives
from politics, industry, science and civil society along with approximately 1,400 international guests.
  • Welcoming Address Christian Schmidt MdB Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture
  • Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Nigeria
  • Dr. Evelyn Nguleka, President of the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO)
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Joachim von Braun, Director at the Center for Development Research, University of Bonn
  • Dr. Deon Nel, Conservation Director, WWF Regional Office for Africa
  • Cornelia Füllkrug-Weitzel
  • Priest Berlin, President of „Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe“ and President of Bread for the World
  • R. Vasu Vasuthewan, Board Member of International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) and Consultant in bioeconomy sector
You can view the video interviews of the International GFFA panel discussion 2015 here.

17 January 2015. The Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Summit brought together politicians from all over the
world to discuss the subject of “The growing demand for food, raw materials and energy: opportunities for agriculture, challenges for food security?”. 

A final communiqué from the summit formulates the Agriculture Ministers’ joint position and feeds into the international agricultural debate. (7 pages)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

ARCH: European Agricultural Research towards greater impact on global CHallenges

19 - 20 January 2015. Brussels. European Commission, DG Research. Joint EIARD-SCAR Strategic Working Group.

The development of sustainable agriculture and food systems encompasses a change of consumption habits and production models, pursuing the principles of inclusive green economy. Considering current use of wording, Agricultural Research (AR) focusses on the needs within Europe whereas Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) is dedicated to collaboration with and in developing countries. Moving from the Millennium Development Goals towards Sustainable Development Goals, AR and ARD are increasingly interlinked due to the global scale of the challenges including issues such as climate change, food and nutrition security, and access to natural resources.

Studies on the synergy of AR and ARD have revealed that international cooperation at the level of global challenges will reduce fragmentation and promote efficiency of research investments. The Joint EIARD SCAR Strategic Working Group ARCH (Agricultural Research for global CHallenges) has updated the main type of AR and ARD policy principles and linkages between the two.
  • To provide inspiration and guidance for subsequent steps, the ARCH members and the SCAR Working Group worked in a joint session on the common objective: How to create sustainable policy alliances on research for global challenges? The presentations and discussions provided the basis for drafting a joint communication to the European Commission and to national ministries on a road map which will lead to stronger linkages between AR and ARD.
  • BLE in Germany have created a Portal of Portals as a gathering of sites related to “The European contribution to Agricultural Research for Development”. It includes a trial sub-site for ARCH.
  • An update on the work by the Expert Group supporting the HLPD process was given by Philippe Petithuguenin (CIRAD) and Nienke Buisman (European Commission, DG Research and Innovation Policy-officer STI cooperation with Africa). The work of the Expert group is somewhat delayed and the Road Map, and is now expected by February. 
  • A presentation about Learning alliances on innovation and research was give by Krijn Poppe, Co-chair Strategic Working Group AKIS (Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Systems) of the EU SCAR (Standing Committee on Agricultural Research) Economist and Research Manager at LEI Wageningen UR.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Coping with climate change – the roles of genetic resources for food and agriculture

FAO. 2015. Rome
109 pages

To review the state of knowledge on the impact of climate change on genetic resources for food and agriculture and to discuss the potential roles of these resources in adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, the Commission requested FAO to conduct a scoping study on climate change and genetic resources for food and agriculture.

Based on several thematic studies, this publication presents an overview of the complex interactions between climate change and plant, animal, forest, aquatic, invertebrate and micro-organism genetic resources.
Most countries need to access genetic resources from elsewhere for their agricultural production and food security. Consequently, countries should be regarded as interdependent in their use of genetic resources. It is expected that the challenges posed by climate change will increase interdependency and lead to greater international exchange of genetic resources for food and agriculture.
A scene-setting introductory section, providing a brief overview of the main international processes relevant to climate change, is followed by six sections dealing with the various sectors of genetic resources. Each section addresses two key questions:
  1. What are the possible effects of climate change on genetic resources for food and agriculture and how does it influence their management? 
  2. What are the specific roles of genetic resources for food and agriculture in coping with climate change? 
The book ends with a discussion of the main conclusions and opportunities identified.

19-23 January 2015. Rome. Fifteenth session of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and
Agriculture (CGRFA 15) of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

16 January 2015. A Special Event on “Food Security and Genetic Diversity” preceded the Commission Session. The event aimed to raise awareness on the importance and contribution of genetic resources to food security and its different dimensions. Participants had the opportunity to hear country and stakeholder perspectives on impacts of, as well as, challenges and opportunities in integrating biodiversity and genetic resources into national food security and nutrition objectives.

A seminar entitled “Towards The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture” took place on 17 January 2015. This interactive seminar aimed to give participants the opportunity to share views on, and to contribute to, the preparation of the first report on The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture and on the way forward.

Deep Roots: A Closer Look at the International Year of Family Farming in 2014

Deep Roots
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy
November 2014, 258 pages

Deep Roots reflects the momentum that the IYFF has galvanized during the year. With so many experiences and insights captured in one place, this book offers an opportunity to reflect on family farming in its rich diversity while serving as a tool for how best to address their needs and demands.

Deep Roots is a new publication from U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) that takes a closer look at the momentum generated by the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) in 2014. According to FAO, the book examines “family farming policy development and actions at international, regional, national, municipal and local levels of activity. The commentaries draw upon experiences around the world, reflecting how Governments, civil society and other stakeholders focus on family farming to achieve social development goals and advance the well-being of societies.”Deep Roots highlights the benefits of family farming in supporting sustainable development, addressing a wide range of topics including family farming and its relationship to food security, balanced diets, and boosting local economies.
  • The 258-page, fully illustrated book includes the writings of over 100 authors 
  • Pablo Eyzaguierre and Margaret Ann Tutwiler of Bioversity International on “Agricultural biodiversity: An essential asset for the success and resilience of family farming”
  • George Aley, Chair of the Future Farmers Network on “Supporting young Australian farmers to support and feed the region”
  • Rasit Pertev, Secretary of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on “Investing in family farmers for the future we want”
  • Roger Johnson, President of the National Farmers Union on “National Farmers Union: We are all citizens of the world”
  • Elizabeth Mpofu of La Via Campesina on “Food sovereignty: The bulwark of family farming and agrobiodiversity”
The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), marking its 40-year-anniversary in 2014, contributed the article on ‘Livestock farming boosts local economies in developing countries’.
Livestock matters a great deal in developing countries, playing an increasingly important role in food security and economic development. In fact, the livestock subsector is growing faster than all other agriculture sectors in developing countries worldwide. And importantly in the International Year of Family Farming, the bulk of that livestock production is occurring on small family farms. Livestock farming offers unique features to support local livelihoods and economies, especially for women. 
Some 70 per cent of the world’s 37 billion farm animals are raised in developing countries, and that share will increase in the coming decades. 
A major reason for this is an ongoing dramatic rise in demand for meat, milk and eggs in developing countries, far outstripping that for grains, starches and other food crops. This ‘livestock revolution’ is a result of dietary changes due to increasing urbanization and incomes, both of which lead people to spend more of their disposable income on meat and other high-value animal-source foods than on maize, rice, potatoes and other cheaper staples. As a consequence, total demand for livestock products is expected to double by 2050 from 2000 levels. Nearly all of that growth is occurring in developing countries, where experts anticipate a 37 per cent rise in per capita consumption of animal-source foods, even as rich country consumption levels flatten or decline.
Further, because feeds are easier to trade than perishable livestock products, 90 per cent of the increased livestock production will occur in the same developing regions where demand for animal-source foods is growing. On aggregate, livestock enterprises now comprise about 40 per cent of total agricultural gross domestic product of developing countries, a proportion expected to grow to 50 per cent in the next few decades. Because livestock products are intrinsically energy dense and high value, four of the five highest value agricultural commodities globally are livestock products, with dairy as the highest value agricultural commodity globally. All of this indicates that important new opportunities are opening for livestock producers, particularly for family farmers in developing countries.
The printed edition of Deep Roots was launched on 27 November 2014 at the IYFF closing ceremony in Manila, Philippines.
“WFO attaches importance to the family farming business model, and appreciates the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and all stakeholders who have worked hard in 2014 to promote this model of agriculture,” stated Piet Vanthemsche, World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO) Vice President during the session focused on Farmers’ Voices and Way Forward for Family Farming.
The agenda for the IYFF Closing Event is available here. View the winning pictures from the IYFF photo contest. To learn more about the closing event,read this article by FAO.

Special Ambassadors for the International Year of Family Farming Robert L. Carlson for North America and Gerd Sonnleitner for Europe were unable to attend the event, however each shared a special closing statement on the occasion of the celebration for the IYFF closure.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Demand-driven innovation key to fighting poverty in the drylands

8 January 2015. Hyderabad, India. – “Inclusive and demand-driven innovation is the key to fighting poverty, eradicating hunger and malnutrition, and providing environmentally sustainable solutions to the most pressing challenges faced by smallholder farmers in the drylands.” 

This was according to Dr David Bergvinson, as he assumed office as Director General of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) for a five-year term effective 1 January 2015.
“In tackling the poverty challenge persisting in the drylands of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, innovation has to be driven by the demands of farmers and markets, and must recognize the important role of women and youth to enable inclusive market-oriented development,” he emphasized.
Dr Bergvinson articulated his passion and commitment for smallholder agriculture, and a strong desire to improve the lives of the hundreds of millions of impoverished smallholder farmers and their families living in the drylands, as he addressed senior management, scientists and staff at the ICRISAT global headquarters in Hyderabad, India, and virtually, at various ICRISAT locations in Africa.

Prior to his appointment at ICRISAT, Dr Bergvinson was with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, USA, as Senior Program Officer, Crop Value Chains and Digital Design for Agriculture Development. He had been with the Foundation since 2007. He was responsible in accelerating the development and delivery of farmer-preferred products and services for staple crops in the developing world through formulating strategies, forging partnerships and applying digital technologies. He represented the Foundation on the CGIAR Fund Council.

Highlight: More Milk in Tanzania (MoreMilkiT) Project

About the project:
The MoreMilkiT project aims to achieve inclusive growth and reduced poverty and vulnerability among people with dairy- dependent livelihoods in selected rural areas in Tanzania. The project is primarily targeted at pre-commercial marginalized smallholder cattle-keeping men and women who do not currently participate fully in dairy value chains.

This 'four-year project' with research-for-development objectives aims to:
  • Develop scalable value chains approaches with improved organization and institutions serving resource-poor male- and female smallholder dairy households;
  • Generate and communicate evidence on business and organizational options for increasing participation of resource-poor-male and female-headed households in dairy value chains;
  • Inform policy on appropriate role for pro-poor smallholder-based informal sector value chains in dairy sector development.
Between 1-8 December 2014, ILRI’s staff (in collaboration with Transition International, a Dutch consultancy organization) were in Tanzania to meet partner institutions and individual colleagues in the Maziwa Zaidi dairy value chain project to pilot a gender capacity assessment methodology with seven partners.

The meetings were held with the Tanzania Livestock Research Institute, FAIDA MALI, Local Government Authorities (LGAs) including District Dairy Boards, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), Heifer International, and Tanzania Dairy Board which all work with ILRI to improve milk production and expand markets for smallholder dairy farmers.

The CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish has a gender strategy that aims to “increase gender capacity within CGIAR centers, partner organizations and value chain actors to diagnose and overcome gender based constraints within value chains”. The focus is on improving incomes and employment and on stimulating local level public private partnership models and multi-stakeholder partnership initiatives.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

GIZ publications on post-harvest losses

Post-Harvest losses in potato value chains in Kenya
GIZ August 2014
78 pages

This study on post-harvest losses of potato contributes to the efforts of the Kenyan Government and private sector to improve the development of the potato value chain. To strengthen market linkages in the potato value chain, it is necessary to stimulate and enhance cooperation and coordination between the different actors. The introduction of standardised bags along with perweight payment and the expansion of contract farming present opportunities to support the market linkage of small-scale farmers. However, an important condition for cooperation is trust between the actors in the value chain.

Potato is the second most important food crop in Kenya after maize and is mostly cultivated by smallholders. The Kenyan Government has recognised the critical role potatoes play in alleviating food shortages given that potato provides higher yields compared to maize and is less affected by climate change. The issue of food loss is a highly important factor in securing the stable production required to combat hunger and raise incomes. Food security is a priority area of German development policy. Therefore, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) launched the special unit “One World – No Hunger” in order to intensify its dedication to alleviate hunger and malnutrition. This study, commissioned by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of BMZ, contributes to these efforts.

Related PAEPARD blog post: European Association for Potato Research
Jul 10, 2014. The scientific topics of this congress focused on all of the classical aspects of the potato sector, especially the latest knowledge about sustainable and innovative techniques.

Post-Harvest Losses of Rice in Nigeria and their Ecological Footprint
This second study is mainly based on primary data from field surveys analysing the production, processing and trading of rice in Kogi and Niger States: two states in which the Competitive African Rice Initiative (CARI) is supporting public and private sector parties along the value chain. The production chain in these two regions is typical for Nigeria and therefore representative of the entire country. The results of the two regions serve as a learning example for the rice sector in other states. The final results show an estimated post-harvest loss of 24.9 per cent, resulting in a substantial loss of revenue for farmers.

Nigeria is currently the largest rice producer in West Africa. Due to its large population, the country is also the region’s largest consumer of rice in absolute terms. Its estimated annual demand for milled rice is 5.2 million tonnes, while the average national production is 3.3 million tonnes. The supply and demand gap of 1.9 million tonnes can be bridged only by importing rice. Nigeria’s rice processing capacity is 2.8 million tonnes of paddy (Jica, 2013). In spite of these sizeable food imports, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 2014) states that in 2012 about 9.4 million Nigerians or about 6 per cent of the population were undernourished and the poverty level in 2010 was estimated at 69 per cent (NBS, 2012). Given this level of poverty, food insecurity and undernourishment in Nigeria, food losses and waste, which occur along the entire food value chain, are unacceptable.

Food losses not only have effects on a social and economic scale, but also represent a waste of resources used in production such as land, water, energy and other inputs. This study considers the multifaceted impacts of food losses and thus has a twofold objective. First, it offers a sound analysis of the losses occurring along the rice value chain in Nigeria. Second, it highlights and assesses the consequential environmental impacts of the rice value chain activities.

Annual meeting of the European Initiative for Agricultural Research and Development (EIARD)

12-13 January 2015. Berne, Switzerland. The European Initiative for Agricultural Research for Development (EIARD) is a permanent informal ARD policy coordination platform between the European Commission, Member States of the European Union, Switzerland and Norway.

EIARD is implemented by a European Coordination Group, which meets annually, and a smaller Working Group, which ensures the continuing activities of EIARD.

Patrick Dugan, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems and Deputy Director General of WorldFish, made a presentation about  "Capacity to innovate in the CGIAR Strategy and Results Frame (SRF)"and the key outcome being sought in their work:enhanced capacity to innovate. 
In the PPT, Slides 15 and 16 explain in a nutshell what capacity to innovate (C2I) is and how research can enhance it, and Slide 19 shows how C2I can be measured. This is based on the brief on Capacity to innovate from a system CGIAR research program perspective.

Patrick also drew the attention to a similar approach being taken in the Duchy Originals Future Farming Programme coordinated by the Soil Association and the Organic Research Centre in the UK (see article on small-scale agricultural innovation through decentralised farmer-led research, published in Nature.

Related PAEPARD blog posts:
Global alliance to boost local capacity to innovate in agriculture
24th and 25th June 2013. Montpellier
Capacity to innovate from a system CGIAR research program perspective
October 2014. 11 pages

Monday, January 12, 2015

Study on impacts of farmer-led research supported by civil society organizations

Study on impacts of farmer-led research supported by civil society organizations.
Wettasinha C, Waters-Bayer A, van Veldhuizen L, Quiroga G and Swaans K.
2014. Penang, Malaysia: CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems.
Working Paper: AAS-2014-40. 178pp.

Related PAEPARD blog posts:
a) 23/09/2014 Tropentag 2014 International Conference
b) 28/10/2014 CGIAR WorldFish podcast: Farmer-led innovation key to lasting change

This publication is fairly long (178 pages), as it includes the tables of over 100 cases and the 11 case studies in the annex, but the essence in terms of lessons learnt from the review can be found in the (PPT and 4-page paper) presented at the Tropentag in Prague, Czech Republic, in September 2014

Many of the efforts to transform scientific knowledge into sustainable agriculture and natural resource management (NRM) have brought only limited benefits to smallholder farmers, including fishers, livestock-keepers and other resource users. Donors, policymakers and civil-society organisations (CSOs) are urging the formal agricultural research and development (ARD) sector to make its research more directly useful to smallholders. Several ARD institutions are seeking ways to engage more closely with smallholders and supporting organisations in the field in order to conduct research that is more relevant for and accessible to them. These institutions are open to learn from examples of ARD driven and co-managed by smallholders in processes facilitated by CSOs outside of the formal ARD sector, in what could be called “informal” ARD.

The CGIAR Research Program (CRP) Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) is taking an approach that seeks to embed research in development processes and thus strengthen capacities of stakeholders to innovate and adapt. Similarly, the CRP Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) seeks to translate knowledge into action for change through social-learning processes. AAS and CCAFS have linked up with Prolinnova to explore the approaches, experiences, outcomes and impacts of “informal” ARD in the CSO sector.

The first output of this initiative is a desk study on impacts of farmer-led research supported by CSOs. Based on 11 case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America selected from over 100 cases identified through Prolinnova’s various networks and a Web search, the study team assessed the extent to which farmer- or community-managed processes of research and innovation in agriculture and NRM led to improvements in rural livelihoods. It analysed the impact in terms of food security, ecological sustainability, economic empowerment, gender relations, local capacity to innovate and adapt, and influence on “formal” and “informal” ARD institutions. It then drew lessons related to:
  • the process of FL-ARD and supporting it;
  • sharing and spreading results of FL-ARD;
  • scaling out the FL-ARD process;
  • scaling up FL-ARD as an approach;
  • gender and other equity issues; roles of formal research, advisory services and education;
  • roles of CSOs; and
  • roles of funding agencies.
The cases suggest profound, self-reinforcing and long-lasting change as a result of FL-ARD that conventional impact evaluation, when done at all, does not pick up. The lessons provide guidance for better integration of “formal” and “informal” research in rural development by smallholder communities.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Highlight: Making of Shamba Shape Up

Shamba Shape Up is the third “edu-tainment” production created by Mediae, and the first of its kind in Kenya. Aimed at East Africa’s rapidly growing rural audience, the make over style TV show aims to give both farmer and audience the tools they need to improve productivity and income on their farms.

The Shape Up team visit a different farm each week in a different area of the country. The team involve the film crew and a number of experts from partner organisations who specialize in the topics to be covered in the episode.

The core of the series tackles issues surrounding livestock, poultry, crops and soil fertility. Other relevant topics such as financial planning, solar power and harvesting rainwater are also included depending on the needs of the farmer in the episode.

Typically the film crew spend 4 days with one household, allowing enough time to build
any improvement structures and invite the experts in to advise. These experts include veterinarians, soil analysists and specific crop specialists from partnering companies in Kenya. At the end of each episode, viewers are encouraged to SMS their name’s and addresses in order to receive a free leaflet on the topics covered in the show, as well as follow updates and video clips on the Shamba Shape Up Facebook page.

Episode published on 15 September 2014 Shamba Shape Up is revisiting farmers from the series to see how they are getting on and if the shape up has helped! We learn more about cows, sorghum, chickens, solar lights and crop improvement methods.