Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Third Global Soil Week

19-23 April 2015. Berlin, Germany. The Third Global Soil Week (GSW) – a multi-stakeholder platform for sustainable soil management brought together policy makers, scientists, representatives of civil society and the private sector, farmers and artists in an inclusive and transparent process to address the theme “Soil: the substance of Transformation.”
Participants discussed issues regarding soil and land and their links to food security, rural development, growth, energy production, and the competition for land resources.

Held during the 2015 UN International Year of Soils, the event contributed to the discussions on the post-2015 Development Agenda, in particular with regard to food security, as well as the role of soil management for climate change mitigation.

Resources for the Global Soil Week 2015


Enabling smallholder farmers to use financial technologies

20 April 2015. Village Capital has launched its FinTech for Agriculture: East Africa 2015 accelerator programme at a launch event in Nairobi, revealing the cohort of 12 startups selected to participate in the programme.

The Village Capital flagship accelerator programme returns to East Africa for the third time; with over 125 applications received for the 2015 programme from nine African countries. Village Capital’s investment committee selected the 12 most outstanding start-ups on the basis of how their ideas have the potential to increase incomes for smallholder farmers by improving their access to financial services. The 12 start-up firms selected to join the three month programme are:
  1. Atikus Insurance expands access to credit by increasing the capacity of MSME lenders via reimagined insurance and technology risk solutions.
  2. Chamasoft is a web and mobile app to automate recordkeeping for investment groups.
  3. Ensibuuko builds ICT solutions to enable enterprises deliver financial services efficiently and to scale rapidly, especially in underserved communities.
  4. FarmDrive is transforming how smallholder farmers access financial services.
  5. Farmerline provides accurate and timely agricultural information to farmers and also provides technology to stakeholders to work better.
  6. M-Shamba is an interactive platform for smallholder farmers and traders.
  7. Mobipay provides technology solutions to various economic sectors to drive commerce and trade.
  8. nanoCredit Technologies has developed lending and de-risking engines, providing structured digital finance for small farms.
  9. Rangerland Solutions is an online livestock marketing platform that directly connects buyers and sellers, reducing marketing costs.
  10. Redcore Interactive is a platform for online international money transfers to mobile money in Africa.
  11. SmartMoney provides free-of-charge branchless mobile banking to unbanked rural communities in Uganda and Tanzania.
  12. YieldUganda sources high quality, traceable food products for local and export markets.
The chosen startups have commenced the three month programme focusing on business model canvassing, customer hypothesis testing, financial modeling, partnership and customer development, and investor engagement. The cohort will present to potential partners and customers at a pitch day, as well as pitch to investors at an investor demo day.

The accelerator willsee the 12 startups participate in three workshops to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, on April 15-18, May 19-22 and June 22-25. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Spanish Lettue: What's the real cost of your fresh salad?

15 April 2015. An army of modern-day "slaves" are being used to grow the salad and winter vegetables that fill Britain's supermarket shelves.

An investigation by Channel 4 News has spoken to workers picking vegetables for a Spanish company whose produce is supplied to Tesco, Sainsbury's Asda, Waitrose and Marks and Spencer. The company, Agroherni, grows conventional and highly priced organic lettuces, herbs and salad leaves in a trade worth almost 30m euros a year.

Agroherni uses an employment agency called Integra Empleo to provide casual workers to pick the produce in its fields. Workers spoken to by Channel 4 News claim the agency routinely mistreats the workers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Food security under the spotlight at BRICS symposium

20-24 April 2014. Academics from BRICS countries' Brazil, China and South Africa are gathering at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) this week to focus on transformation in global food systems.

The BRICS Initiative for Critical Agrarian Studies (BICAS) is collaborating with several initiatives and institutions The organizers are the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape, in partnership with the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) and the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), with the support of the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation. The 2015 conference builds on the growing body of research in the area of critical agrarian studies, including the literature on land grabs that has been promoted by the Land Deal Politics Initiative (LDPI).

The conference is aimed at examining the role of the three countries in transforming the agricultural systems in the African, South American and South East Asian regions and focuses on Agrarian land reform policies within the BRICS bloc and the need to increase food production. Delegates are expected to meet small scale farmers producing crops for local markets at the end of the four-day conference.

This conference follows on initial meetings of a founding BICAS collective in Beijing in 2013 and Brasilia in 2014 and the highly successful international academic conferences organized by LDPI in 2011 at IDS, University of Sussex, UK and in 2012 at Cornell University, New York, USA.

The 7th World Water Forum

12-17 April. The cities of Daegu and Gyeongbuk were the host of the world’s largest meeting on water, with the 7th edition of the World Water Forum taking place this year in South Korea. With support from the Korea Africa Economic Cooperation (KOAFEC) Trust Fund, the AfDB supporte the participation of 30 African representatives at the Forum to ensure that the continent’s voice is heard at this important global water event.

Side events related to Africa:

World Water Prize:

The Kingdom of Morocco and the World Water Council have awarded the King Hassan II Great World Water Prize, one of the most prestigious awards in the water sector, to Mr Abdou Maman, Director Tech Innov Niger, for an integrated and innovative solution for remote operation of irrigation.

The Tech Innov Niger solution for remote irrigation is a technology process that lets farmers manage their farm irrigation system remotely, using their mobile phone and solar panels. This solution enables farmers to save time and energy, expand the area under irrigation, increase their production and income, and streamline the management of irrigation water. This remote irrigation system is composed of a small solar station, a solar pump, a water distribution network, and a simple mobile telephone.

FAO Director-General meets EU high-level representatives in Brussels

14-15 April 2015. Brussels. Food and nutrition security, climate change and soils are among the main topics outlined for the forthcoming months in the common agenda of work between FAO and the European Union (EU). This follows a series of meetings involving FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva and EU high-level representatives that were held on Tuesday and Wednesday in Brussels.

Graziano da Silva met EU Commissioner of Agriculture, Phil Hogan, EU Director-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), Fernando Frutuoso de Melo, and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz.

Both parties highlighted the alignment between the EU initiatives and FAO's strategic objectives, and expressed satisfaction on the strategic partnership and high-level political dialogue taking place on common key challenges. FAO and the EU have also stressed the joint role they will be playing within some of the main conferences and events to take place in 2015.
  • These include the Conference on the Financing for Development, in Addis Ababa; the United Nations General Assembly, New York - when the Sustainable Development Goals are expected to be endorsed; the Conference of the States Parties of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, the COP 21, in Paris.
  • Cooperation between FAO and the EU in the framework of the Expo Milano 2015 and in the 2015 European Year for Development was also underscored, during the talks.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The boom in “mAgri” information services

16 April 2015. The Guardian.  Smartphones help Kenyan farmers text their way out of trouble. New mobile phone services are providing farmers in developing countries with agricultural advice on challenges.

iShamba is one of a growing number of mobile phone services looking to provide farmers in the developing world with agricultural advice. The subscription phone service is the brainchild of Mediae, a for-profit social enterprise behind the hit TV drama Shamba Shape Up, which deals with issues relating to poverty and food insecurity in East Africa.



The boom in so-called “mAgri” information services comes on the back of an exponential growth in phone ownership (shipments of mobile handsets hit 257m in India alone last year), coupled with lower airtime costs and improved network coverage.

An early pioneer in the field is OneWorld South Asia, an affiliate of the nonprofit OneWorld International Foundation. Seven years ago, the New Delhi-based charity established a dial-in service called LifeLines that allows farmers to phone and leave a message about a problem. Experts at the charity then search a database for geographically relevant answers and record an answer, which the farmer can then access by phone.

Business interests
  • The local nature of mAgri presents issues around access, too. Phone ownership and network coverage may be expanding fast in the developing world, but black spots still exist, particularly in remote rural areas. Penetration of internet-enabled phones among low-income farmers, meanwhile, remains tiny for now. Low literacy rates and the predominance of regional languages mark additional obstacles to rural producers looking to access mAgri services. 
  • Overcoming these challenges is possible, but it isn’t cheap. Nor is there the prospect of a lucrative market at the end of it. iShamba, for instance, charges only 80 Kenyan Shillings ($0.87) a month to subscribers. Others offer the service for free, subsidizing it through advertising or grant money.
  • Key to the success of such programs is the quality, timeliness and relevance of information provided.
    In the case of iShamba, the project’s backers are able to draw on years of experience of producing radio and television content about good agricultural practices. Most out-bound mAgri information services, such as FarmerLine in Ghana, incorporate GPS coordinates so as to localize their content as much as possible.
  • The commercial element behind many mAgri projects makes some in the development community nervous. 
“In the past a number of mAgri programs have served to advance the agendas of agribusiness and created high input dependencies to the beneficiaries of the programs. Any advice to farmers should be 'sustainability neutral'. That is to say that information and communications technologies are equally applicable the development of more sustainable, agro-ecological approaches as to the expansion of conventional, high external input dependent agriculture.” Alvaro Valverde, private sector advisor at UK charity Oxfam.
About Farmerline
15 October, 2014, Accra - Leading Ghana-based technology provider Farmerline has announced plans to join the Business Call to Action. The company plans to empower 500,000 small-scale farmers by 2019 in west Africa to advance their livelihoods by accessing information that helps them to improve their harvests. The company also plans to provide a specialised mobile communication and data-collection platform to 5,000 development organisations and agri-businesses in the next five years.

Farmerline is a mobile-messaging platform that allows businesses and development partners to instantly communicate and gather data from rural communities, especially small-scale farmers, in their local language through outgoing voice messages, SMS and mobile surveys. Today, the Ghanaian company is leading an ICT approach to Ebola education with its chain of mobile communication and data-collection technologies.

Co-Founders Alloysius Attah and Emmanuel Owusu Addai have recently been named 2014 Echoing Green Global Fellows for their innovation and vision. To read more about Farmerline and its efforts to empower small-scale farmers, click here.

About Business Call to Action
The Business Call to Action (BCtA) is a global corporate leadership platform, with over 100 member companies that are incorporating inclusive business approaches in their operations to help advance the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs)
According to Sahba Sobhani, acting programme manager of the Business Call to Action, “Greater access to agricultural information using the mobile phone is a vital instrument for farmers in key underserved markets in Africa, and opening up crucial access to real-time information helps farmers increase their productivity.”

Towards better monitoring of investments in agricultural research in Europe

16 April 2015. This international workshop was organized by FAO and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) within the framework of the EU-funded project on the Impact of Research on EU Agriculture (IMPRESA), whose overall aim is to measure, assess and comprehend the impact of all forms of European research on key agricultural policy goals.

The workshop, which brought together key stakeholders to discuss, finalize and agree on a set of recommendations for the development of future research monitoring to enhance impact of investments in agricultural research in Europe. Specifically, the workshop aimed to:
  • Present key findings from the IMPRESA project regarding the current status and trends in investments in agricultural research in Europe (based on surveys in 20 countries).
  • Discuss the rationale for monitoring expenditures on agricultural research. 
  • Discuss and formulate recommendations for better monitoring of investments in agricultural research in Europe. It is IMPRESA’s ambition to put forward realistic recommendations regarding how the monitoring of agricultural research investments in Europe can be improved. Three options to do so will be discussed in the workshop.
Extracts 

  • The “new” topics conform to European programmes, such as Horizon 2020, and include challenges related to climate change adaptation and mitigation, notably through the management of natural resources and reductions in pesticide use. Alongside measures to stimulate “greening” of the agricultural and rural economy, research investments also provide support for improved uptake of ICTs and other new technologies applied to the agricultural context. In most countries, biodiversity, nutrition, human and animal welfare are also of particular interest. (page 31)
  • Despite poor data availability, it can be inferred that since 2008 an overall decline in agricultural research expenditure in the European countries studied has been experienced. (page 34)
  • Change in both the level and the mix of sources of research funding are having effects on the structure and orientation of agricultural research. Public institutes are receiving less recurrent funding and having to enter competitive bids for contract research, as well as seeking to diversify by undertaking commercially funded work. This is influencing a shift from basic to applied and developmental work in research, and as a result concerns are expressed about longer-term effects on innovation potential. Research priorities are being shaped to a greater extent by multiannual strategies, and resemble the objectives and patterns of operation of the Framework Programmes more closely. (page 34)
  • Increased involvement of the Business Enterprise sector in agricultural research is also welcome. However, while it provides some attractive and much needed compensation for the reductions in public funding, the overall implications appear not to have been fully thought through. The public and policy interest is not served well by handing over substantial control of, and resources for, the research agenda when there are already concerns about adverse effects of industrial concentration and supply chain dominance. Policies related to strategy towards (and also governance arrangements within) PublicPrivate Partnerships in agricultural research should be subject to thorough and extensive review, both by national governments and European coordination frameworks. (page 35)
See the IMPRESA country reports on agricultural research expenditure (published on-line in March 2015). In addition, a Synthesis Document of the country reports has been published and is available here.

Chicago Council: Global Food Security Symposium

Healthy Food for a Healthy World: Leveraging Agriculture and Food to Improve Global Nutrition
Douglas Bereuter and Dan Glickman, cochairs
136 pages, April 2015

16 April 2015.  The Chicago Council on Global Affairs’ new report was released at the Global Food Security Symposium 2015 and calls on the United States to use the power of the agriculture and food sector to reduce the reality and risks of malnutrition globally.

The report, Healthy Food for a Healthy World: Leveraging Agriculture and Food to Improve Global Nutrition, recommends that:
  • The US Congress commit to a long-term global food and nutrition strategy focused on agricultural development and convene a bipartisan commission on how to tackle nutrition challenges globally.
  • The US government, in partnership with universities and research institutes, increase funding for nutrition research to expand access to nutrient-rich foods and address malnutrition.
  • The United States draw on the strength of its research facilities and universities to train the next generation of agriculture, food, and nutrition leaders both here and in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
  • Government and industry work together to support more efficient and wider delivery of healthy foods, especially through technologies that can reduce food waste and enhance food safety.
Extract:
Aflatoxins, a type of mycotoxin, can lead to stunted growth in children and other diseases through adulthood. Aflatoxins primarily affect maize and peanuts, which are key dietary staples in developing countries. While modern agricultural practices and regulations in the food processing system have greatly reduced exposure to mycotoxins in developed countries, they are a significant problem in developing countries. (page 24)
Researchers in plant physiology and nutrition, respectively, are independently investigating the mechanisms of aflatoxin contamination of maize pre- and postharvest and the potential adverse effects of aflatoxin exposure in utero on postnatal infant growth. Although this research is of significant value, transdisciplinary research that builds on single discipline work can provide solutions and insights that would not be possible through single discipline modes of inquiry. (page 46)
Maize in particular, a staple crop for much of Sub-Saharan Africa, is especially vulnerable to contamination with aflatoxin. Public-private partnerships comprised of leading seed, processing, and storage companies could be established with the specific objective of reducing mycotoxin exposure in the global food supply by 50 percent by 2030. Such a partnership would require investments in training farmers, extension agents, and stakeholders throughout the food supply chain in appropriate crop management and harvest practices as well as in the equipment, facilities, and technologies necessary to properly harvest, store, screen, and transport agricultural goods. (pages 71)
Background
Convened annually by The Chicago Council, the Global Food Security Symposium discusses the US government's and international community’s progress on addressing global food and nutrition security.

Healthy Food for a Healthy World Campaign. Over the past ten weeks, in the lead-up to our Global Food Security Symposium, The Chicago Council’s blog series, "Healthy Food for a Healthy World," has built awareness about the important role healthy food can play in promoting health and curbing malnutrition. Read the posts.

Task Force Members
  • Douglas Bereuter, President Emeritus, The Asia Foundation; former Member, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Catherine Bertini, Distinguished Fellow, Global Agriculture & Food, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs; Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs, Maxwell School, Syracuse University
  • Ekin Birol, Head, Impact Research Unit, HarvestPlus, and Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute
  • Gebisa Ejeta, Distinguished Professor of Plant Breeding and Genetics and International Agriculture and Director, Center for Global Food Security, Purdue University
  • Cutberto (Bert) Garza, University Professor, Boston College; Visiting Professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Visiting Professor, George Washington University’s School of Public Health
  • Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture; former Member, U.S. House of Representatives; Vice President, The Aspen Institute; Senior Fellow, The Bipartisan Policy Center
  • Andrew D. Jones, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health, University of Michigan
  • Shiriki K. Kumanyika, Professor Emerita of Epidemiology, University of Pennsylvania
  • Carolyn Miles, President and CEO, Save the Children
  • Robert H. Miller, Divisional Vice President, Research and Development, Scientific and Medical Affairs, Abbott Nutrition
  • Namanga Ngongi, former President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa
  • Danielle Nierenberg, President, Food Tank: The Food Think Tank
  • Per Pinstrup-Andersen, Graduate School Professor and Professor Emeritus, Cornell University and Adjunct Professor, University of Copenhagen
  • Beth Sauerhaft, Senior Director Corporate Sustainability, Corporate R&D, PepsiCo
  • Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO and Head of Mission, Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network
  • Robert L. Thompson, Visiting Scholar, John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies; Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois
  • Ann M. Veneman, former Executive Director, UN Children’s Fund; former Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Derek Yach, Executive Director, The Vitality Group


3 November 2014. Kinshasa. DRC. The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and its consortium partnersannounced a $16 Million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to implement the “Improving Nutrition Outcomes through Optimized Agricultural Interventions (ATONU)” project.

Beating Famine in Southern Africa Conference

14 to 17 April 2015. Lilongwe, Malawi. Southern African Beating Famine conference. More than 400 participants from 38 countries attended this conference. The aim of the conference was to provide more information on the impact of climate change and highlight how widespread land degradation is in the SADC region and especially in the face of climate change and how it could affect food security in the region.
"Malawi lost nearly 13 percent of its total forest cover due to fuel wood collection as well as expansion of the agricultural land. The loss of primary forest since 1990 is about 198 thousand hectares. Many households in the rural areas of Malawi consider charcoal as their only source of income and this has resulted into complete deforestation of some forest. Indeed many solutions are needed to avert the extent of deforestation in all countries of the Sub-Saharan region" Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Dr Allan Chiyembekeza
“What we do here will be remembered as the launching pad for many new partnerships, initiatives, programs, projects, and action plans to reverse the alarming trends in land degradation in southern Africa. Southern Africa has been experiencing an alarming downward trend in land degradation over the past 25 years. The real issue is assisting the rural poor to increase their own productivity, so they can grow more for the family and sell more on the market to purchase their basic needs.” Dr. Dennis Garrity, UN Drylands Ambassador and Senior Fellow at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
The conference shared insights from surveys done in Malawi on Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) to prompt a discussion about ways to accelerate the widespread adoption of these methods that help in preserving trees.

March 2015. 44 pages

According to reports the Farmer managed natural generation has proven to be a rapid, low cost and easily replicated approach to restoring and improving agricultural forestry and pasture lands.

Although FMNR has gained widespread recognition and demonstrated results, there is still need to generate new evidence. This new study reviews the impacts of FMNR throughout its history across the globe. It is the most comprehensive work on FMNR to date.

Authors Rob Francis (World Vision Australia’s Project Manager FMNR) and Peter Weston (formerly World Vision Australia’s Research and Evaluation Advisor) have identified 24 different social, environmental and economic benefits that stem from the practice of FMNR.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

PAEPARD: ARD funding opportunities

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A G R I C U L T U R E
Collaboration with Developing Countries 2015. The Swedish Research Links Program funds research cooperation between scientists in Sweden and scientists in selected low and middle-income countries. Past grants have funded research to address water pollution; control of agricultural diseases and post-harvest losses; livestock introductions; management of protected areas; and various other topics related to agriculture and natural resources. The closing date for applications is 21 April 2015.

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.

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 £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.
·         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.

The Yara Prize is awarded for significant achievements related to food security and sustainable agriculture in Africa. The Prize can be awarded to any qualified individual, group, or organization without restriction by nationality, profession, or location. In 2015, the Yara Prize will have a special focus on youth, women, and agribusiness in Africa. The amount of the Prize is US$60 thousand. The deadline for nominations (in English) is 19 June 2015.

CLIMATE CHANGE

Green Challenge 2015. The Dutch Postcode Lottery offers the Green Challenge to encourage the development of products and services that contribute to an environmental lifestyle; that reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and that rate highly in aspects of quality, design, and convenience. The competition is open globally. The winner will receive €500 thousand to help bring his or her plan to market. An additional €200 thousand be awarded to the runner-up. The Green Challenge accepts business plans through 01 June 2015.

International Climate Initiative 2016. Germany's BMU (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety) funds the International Climate Initiative (IKI) to support projects on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and biodiversity projects that have climate relevance. Most projects are led by German and international organizations with partners in developing and emerging countries. Grants are generally over €200 thousand, and sometimes much larger, for projects that are usually two to four years. The closing date for project outlines (German, English) is 01 June 2015.

WATER  RESOURCES

The SWFF Founding Partners -- USAID, the Government of Sweden, and the Foreign Ministry of the Kingdom of the Netherlands – selected in the past 17 winners out of 520 applications from universities, start-ups, and NGOs in more than 93 countries. Innovations ranged from crops for saline environments to flying water sensor technologies. SWFF seeks innovators who understand the local environment, understand the needs of the end users of their technology, and have sustainable innovations that benefit the poor and women. Stage 1 and Stage 2 Awardees will receive between $100,000 and $3 million in funding and acceleration support to bring their innovations to scale. Applications will be accepted until 5:00 PM ET on May 22, 2015.

Award for outstanding contributions by individuals or organizations towards solving the world's water challenges by applying innovative technologies, policies, or programs which benefit humanity. Nominations are welcomed from leaders of international water companies and water utilities; academics in water research, policy and management; heads of international organizations; members of government; and distinguished individuals in the field of water. The prize laureate will receive S$300 thousand plus a certificate and medallion at the award ceremony at Singapore International Water Week 2016. The deadline for nominations is 01 June 2015.

The Rotary Foundation partners with UNESCO to offer funding for masters studies in water and sanitation. Applicants for Rotary's support must be provisionally admitted to one of the three participating degree programs at UNESCO's Institute for Water Education (IHE). Students apply via their local Rotary club or district. Each award is approximately €34 thousand, paid directly to UNESCO-IHE. The application deadline is 15 June.

The Belgium Royal Academy for Overseas Science Competition 2016. Every year, each section of the Academy puts questions forward on specific subjects. Each award-winning work in the yearly competition is granted a prize of €2,500. The competition is open to all scientists worldwide without age restrictions. The deadline for submissions is 01 March 2016.

BIO DIVERSITY

The CTFS-SIGEO Grants Program supports tropical forest research by senior researchers, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students. Social scientists and natural scientists of all nationalities are eligible. Preference is to scientists in the countries that have CTFS-SIGEO sites, and to graduate students and postdoctoral researchers. Most grants will range from US$2 thousand to US$15 thousand. The deadline for applications is 15 June 2015.

The U.S. National Science Foundation NSF funds an annual competition for research on the geographic distributions and interactions of human, physical, and biotic systems on the Earth's surface. Projects on a variety of topics (U.S. and international) qualify for support if they offer promise of enhancing geographical knowledge, concepts, theories, methods, and their application to societal problems and concerns. Past projects include several in the world's developing countries related to environmental disasters, waste management, marine spatial planning, wildlife conservation, and others. The deadline for regular proposals is 03 September 2015.

The Christensen Fund makes grants to indigenous-led and community-based organizations for projects that combine biodiversity with cultural diversity. Pre-proposals are accepted for consideration in the following programs: African Rift Valley; Central Asia; Northwest Mexico; Melanesia; Global; and San Francisco Bay Area. Most grants are in the range of US$50 thousand to US$100 thousand for one or two years. The application period is 01 September through 30 September.

Funding for Arboriculture and Urban Forestry. The Jack Kimmel International Grant Program makes grants to researchers in arboriculture and urban forestry worldwide. Projects of one to three years are funded to a maximum of US$10 thousand. The application deadline is 01 October 2015.

FELLOWSHIPS/SCHOLARSHIPS

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.

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission provides funding support to study master’s degree courses offered in partnership with universities in developing countries, or delivered directly by UK institutions. The available offerings include tropical forestry; veterinary medicine; environmental management; conservation and wildlife management; risk and disaster management; and others. Eligibility extends to Commonwealth citizens of developing Commonwealth countries, refugees, and British protected persons. Applicants must be permanently resident in a developing Commonwealth country and meet the entry educational requirements. The application deadline is 15 May 2015.

The Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) makes awards of US$5 thousand to each of up to three young agricultural researchers in developing countries who contribute to outstanding research and development in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and related themes. Candidates need to be younger than age 40. The deadline for applications is 15 May 2015.

Professional Fellowships 2015, Round 2. Commonwealth Professional Fellowships support mid-career professionals from developing Commonwealth countries to make professional visits (typically of three months) with UK host organisations. Applications are invited in broadly defined fields that include agriculture, fisheries, and forestry; environment; and others. Fellows must be Commonwealth citizens, refugees, or British protected persons -- and they must be permanently resident in a developing Commonwealth country. Applications are submitted by UK host organizations. The closing date for 2015 applications (Round 2) is 18 May 2015.

Canada's International Development Research Center (IDRC) offers doctoral research awards in priority themes that include agriculture and environment (among others). The program is open to Canadians, permanent residents of Canada, and nationals of developing countries who are pursuing doctoral studies at Canadian universities. IDRC funds research in all developing countries, with a few exceptions. The award covers expenses for field research up to CA$20 thousand a year. The deadline is 20 May 2015

The program KLIMAFORSK is Norway's new 10-year initiative for climate research. KLIMAFORSK announces funding for research stays abroad, visiting researcher stays in Norway, and events that promote the scientific and strategic objectives of the program. The formal applicant must be a Norwegian institution. Grants are also available to promote communication and dissemination activities in climate research. The application deadline (both opportunities) is 27 May 2015.

The African Network of Scientific and Technological Institutions (ANSTI) aims to facilitate active collaboration among African scientific institutions for the purpose of training and research in science, engineering, and technology. ANSTI announces a imited number of fellowships for postgraduate studies in the 2015/2016 academic session, and tenable in ANSTI member institutions. The application deadline is 31 May 2015.

Postgraduate Training Fellowships. Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) supports female scientists in Sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) with doctoral fellowships in the natural sciences. The fellowships are for the pursuit of a doctoral degree at a host institution in a developing country, but not in the applicant's home country. Applicants should be qualified young women science graduates (generally below 40 years of age), who have an M.Sc. degree or outstanding B.Sc. in the natural sciences. The application deadline is 31 May 2015.

Research Training Fellowships for Scientists in Developing Countries 2015/2016. India's Department of Science and Technology (DST) offers fifty fellowships in 2015-2016 for scientists and researchers from developing countries for collaboration with Indian research partners. Thematic areas include agricultural sciences, biological sciences, and several others. The fellowships program is coordinated through the Center for Science and Technology of the Non-Aligned and Other Developing Countries (NAM S&T Center). Applicants should be less than 40 years of age. The closing date for applications is 15 June 2015.

The Center for Development Innovation (CDI) at Wageningen University in the Netherlands helps build the capacities of individuals and organizations that are addressing the global challenges of sustainability and food security. Services at CDI include professional short courses in subject areas related to agriculture, genetic resources, pest management, water management, climate change, natural disasters, rural entrepreneurship, and others. Funding for most courses can be applied for through the Netherlands Fellowship Program. Many of the remaining courses in 2015 have application deadlines on 24 March 2015 or 21 July 2015.

OTHER 

Award for outstanding scientists at African universities who have made significant contributions to agricultural research and science for development in Africa to the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). June 30 is the deadline to submit nominations.

The deadline is 1st May 2015
Agrinatura Association -- Travel Grants to Tropentag 2015. AGRINATURA is offering eight travel grants for MSc and PhD students participating in Tropentag at Humboldt University, September 2015. Each grant is €500 for individuals at AGRINATURA's member institutions. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 01 May 2015; the deadline to apply for travel grants is 01 June 2015.

African Academy of Sciences (AAS) Affiliates' Program provides support to young scholars to enable them to develop into research leaders. The program is open to applicants from any field of specialization. Nominees should be aged 40 or under; employed in higher educational or research institutions; have obtained their PhDs during the last five years; and have post-doctoral research experience. The deadline for nominations is 30 April 2015.

International Opportunities Fund 2015. NERC's International Opportunities Fund announces grants up to £40 thousand over two years for initiatives that help UK researchers develop new collaborative links with international partners. Eligibility is limited to applicants currently having grants through NERC. The closing date for proposals is 30 April 2015.

VLIR-UOS is the secretariat of Flemish universities for development cooperation, with funding by Belgian Development Cooperation. VLIR-UOS announces several cooperation activities for 2015-2016 between its member universities and partner universities and networks in the developing world. The submission deadline for IUC North South South projects is 28 May 2015. The deadline to apply for international conferences; short training initiatives; and international training programs ranges from 07 September to 21 September 2015. Additionally, VLIR-UOS makes travel grants for EU students at Flemish universities for research and internships in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It offers PhD scholarships for nationals in selected countries of these regions to study at Flemish universities.

The Wangari Maathai Award honors this exceptional woman who championed forest issues around the world. The award to recognize an individual for outstanding achievements related to the key role forests play in supporting local communities, rural livelihoods, women, and the environment. The awardee will receive a cash prize of US$20 thousand, along with international recognition. Applicants should be nominated by a third party. Nominations related to grassroots initiatives are particularly encouraged. Nominations are accepted in English, French, or Spanish before 29 May 2015.

Support for International Students. Nanjing University of Science and Technology (NUST) offers full or partial scholarships for 40 international doctoral students; 100 masters students; and 180 undergraduate students. Academic areas at NUST include environmental engineering, biotechnology, energy science, and many others. Application deadlines are 10 April 2015 for the Chinese Government Scholarship, and 30 May 2015 for the Jiangsu Jasmine Scholarship.

With funding from UNESCO and the Swedish International Development Agency, the African Network of Earth Science Institutions (ANESI) aims to encourage the mobility of African students in the earth sciences. This call targets: (i) young earth science postgraduate students willing to participate in a specific course or to use a research facility in another African institution; and (ii) African earth science institutions willing to host students from other African countries for a specific course. The application deadline is 30 June 2015.

With funding from UNESCO and the Swedish International Development Agency, the African Network of Earth Science Institutions (ANESI) aims to encourage outstanding women geoscientists to pursue post-graduate education. Grants of US$2,500 will enable female candidates to undertake exposure visits to research programs, facilities, and institutions in geosciences. Nominations are invited from institutions on behalf of their best performing post-graduate female student. The deadline is 30 June 2015.

In Europe's research program Horizon 2020, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships provide opportunities to acquire and transfer new knowledge and to work on research in a European context or outside Europe. The scheme particularly supports the return and re-integration of researchers from outside Europe who have previously worked there. It also develops or helps to re-start the careers of individual researchers that show great potential, considering their experience. Applicants in the EU; their overseas territories; countries associated to Horizon 2020; and most developing countries are eligible for consideration. The closing date for applications is 10 September 2015

Within the framework of Danish development cooperation, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs hereby invites Phase 1 applications for The Call is applicable for both North-driven (Den­mark) and South-driven (Ghana, Nepal, and Tanzania) development research grant applicants. Application deadline: September 4, 2015.

Use of insects in animal feed seen as favorable by farmers, sector and consumers

15 April 2015. Ghent University. The attitudes towards the use of insects in animal feed and resulting livestock products are generally favorable, so has recent scientific research shown. The use of insects in animal feed is one potential solution to improve the sustainability of animal diets and maintain legitimacy for livestock production within society.

The idea of using insects in animal feed was rejected by only 17% of a sample of 415 farmers, agriculture sector stakeholders and consumers from Flanders, Belgium. Resulting livestock products were perceived to be more sustainable, nutritious and healthy, but at risk of presence of off-flavors and allergens, and less easily marketable, according to a study published inAnimal Feed Science and Technology.
"The insights from this study confirm that the policy debate should focus primarily on the use insects in feed for fish, poultry, and pigs, whereas lower interest and acceptance of milk, dairy products and beef from insect-fed cattle among farmers, stakeholders and consumers indicate that the use of insects in feed for cattle is not currently an issue," according to the study authors.
The study
  • The use of insects in animal feed is one potential solution to improve the sustainability of animal diets and maintain legitimacy for livestock production within society.
  • A research team from Ghent University's Faculty of Bioscience Engineering interviewed 196 farmers, 137 agriculture sector stakeholders and 82 citizen/consumers about their attitudes, product attribute beliefs, perceived benefits, risks and concerns, and willingness-to-accept and use insect-based animal feed and the resulting livestock products.
  • The study was performed in January 2015 in Flanders, the northern Dutch-speaking region of Belgium with a highly specialized intensive livestock farming industry.
Journal Reference:
Wim Verbeke, Thomas Spranghers, Patrick De Clercq, Stefaan De Smet, Benedikt Sas, Mia Eeckhout. Insects in animal feed: acceptance and its determinants among farmers, agriculture sector stakeholders and citizens. Animal Feed Science and Technology, 2015

Related:
22/05/2013. Australian Research into the feasibility of feeding insects to poultry has shown that a number of insect taxa including silkworms, locusts, fly larvae, crickets and grasshoppers can be safely fed to chickens without compromising the quality and palatability of the meat. The technique of feeding insects to poultry will be beneficial in developing agriculture based recycling systems, reducing waste and potentially aid in reducing environmental pollution. Depending on the insect species and whether the diet of insects is fed to meat producing or egg laying birds it will likely need to be supplemented with either or both calcium and limiting amino acids to meet the chicken’s dietary requirement.

18/6/2012. Wageningen University in The Netherlands early June 2012 conducted a workshop on the use of insects as feed ingredient. Main purpose of this meeting was to identify opportunities and obstacles to the widespread use of insects as a sustainable feed ingredient. Approximately 50 participants, including insect breeders, feed companies, waste processors, risk assessors, researchers and others discussed the subject. Gert van Duinkerken, chairman and head of the Animal Nutrition of Wageningen UR Livestock Research department, conducted a ‘final measurement’ at the end of the meeting. This showed that the participants almost unanimously believe that it is feasible to use insects on a large scale as a feed ingredient. Opinions varied about the time that this may become reality: already within 5 years or longer.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kenya Feed the Future Innovation Marketplace 2014

Published on 6 Feb 2015. Kenya Feed the Future Innovation Engine (KFIE), funded by United States Agency for International Development, identifies innovative agricultural technologies, coaches and mentors selected innovators, and facilitates wide-scale commercialization of high-impact solutions to farmer-identified needs.