Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Farmers’ organisations make agro-food chains work

24 May 2016. Brussels. DEVCO InfoPoint. Farmers’ organisations make agro-food chains work. Recent experiences of cooperation between farmers’ organisations.

AgriCord is an initiative of farmers’ organisations and their cooperative businesses to support their colleagues in developing countries by mobilising funds and expertise from organised farmers.

Representatives of farmers’ organisations explained the evolution of their position in specific agro - food chains and the impact on incomes of their members (dairy value chain in Uganda by UCCCU, cashew nut value chain in Benin by URCPA).

  • Piet Vanthemsche, Chairman of AgriCord – Belgium (and head of the Farmers' Union in Belgium from 2008 to 2015)
  • Clayton Arinanye, General Manager Uganda Crane Creameries Cooperative Union (UCCCU) - Uganda
  • Gwenaël Salaün, Responsable du service technique et expérimentation de la Coopérative Unicoque – France

PAEPARD video interview related to the Q&A session with Piet Vanthemsche, Chairman of AgriCord – Belgium
  1. How serious is the issue of aflatoxin contamination?
  2. Why is the collaboration between research for development and farmer organisations important?

NRI targets postharvest losses with next-generation information system

19 May 2016. The African Postharvest Losses Information System or ‘APHLIS’ is a scientific model producing calculated estimates of postharvest losses of food crops across sub-Saharan Africa.

It was developed in 2010 by NRI, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and information specialists ISICAD (Information Systems for International Cooperation in Agricultural Research and Rural Development) and is based on the work and expertise of Rick Hodges, NRI’s Visiting Professor of Grain Postharvest Management.

APHLIS combines scientific data from literature on postharvest loss with local factors from a network of over 35 African postharvest experts to generate localised estimates of losses. Such local factors include weather conditions, pests, grain drying conditions and the length of farm storage periods, among others. The combined information is fed through an algorithm which produces percentages loss at each link of the value chain – for example, at harvest, during threshing or storage – and is modified according to the factors for localised estimates.

All data is freely available on the APHLIS website, primarily as maps, where users can zoom in to details at a regional level, download the information as tables or pinpoint the specific scientific papers that were used to calculate the estimates.

The experts that make up the network also act as APHLIS champions; they are currently expanding their reach with a new and improved version of the information system, through a 5-year project called ‘APHLIS+’ (Aphlis plus). The core project team is led by NRI’s Bruno Tran, together with Tanya Stathers, Ben Bennett and Jan Priebe, Marc Bernard (AfricaRice), Felix Rembold (JRC), Brighton Mvumi (University of Zimbabwe), and Frank Sonntag and Rudolf Böck (AKM-Services).

GIZ - Post-Harvest Losses of Rice in Nigeria and their Ecological Footprint
The study ‘Post-Harvest Losses of Rice in Nigeria and their Ecological Footprint’ presents an analysis of food losses in the harvesting, processing and marketing stages in Nigeria, and identifies their ecological footprint. Commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and development (BMZ), special unit “One World – No Hunger”, it has been written by Dr Adegboyega Eyitayo Oguntade, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria; Daniel Thylmann, and Dr Sabine Deimling, PE INTERNATIONAL AG, Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany.

According to the study, the main hotspots for post-harvest losses are harvesting and parboiling followed by losses occurring during milling. The final results show an estimated post-harvest loss of 24.9 per cent, resulting in a substantial loss of revenue for farmers. Considering the entire global warming potential along the complete rice value chain a large environmental footprint can be seen: the losses in the rice value chain account for the emissions of around 0.65 million tonnes of CO2eq. into the atmosphere. The industrial value chain shows 20 per cent lower global warming potential than the traditional value chain, due to lower losses along the value chain.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bioversity International Annual Report 2015

23 May 2016. In the Bioversity International Annual Report 2015 you will find examples that show the impact of Bioversity International’s work on people's lives on the ground in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The work of Bioversity is organized around three initiatives: 
  1. ‘Healthy Diets from Sustainable Food Systems’, 
  2. ‘Productive and Resilient Farms, Forests and Landscapes’ and 
  3. ‘Effective Genetic Resources Conservation and Use’.
One of the highlights in 2015 was the 30th anniversary of the Bioversity International Musa Transit Centre – the world’s largest collection of banana diversity, which houses more than 1,500 samples of edible and wild species of banana from all over the world.

Bioversity International also participated in the World Expo ‘Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life!’ in Milan, Italy, where Bioversity featured women farmers from Bolivia, India, Italy and Mali who came to Milan to share their stories at our main event – Agricultural biodiversity, value chains and women’s empowerment.

Upcoming developments in 2016
  1. The first ever State of Knowledge on Agrobiodiversity for Sustainable Food Systems that will be published and presented at the Thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP13), in Mexico, in December. 
  2. The second is an agrobiodiversity index that will guide policymakers and investors to implement policies and investment strategies that ensure that agricultural biodiversity can contribute to food and nutrition security, and to the resilience of food production systems.

E-agriculture Strategy Guide - Piloted in Asia-Pacific countries

21 May 2016. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), together with support from partners including the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), have developed the E-agriculture Strategy Guide - Piloted in Asia-Pacific countries (FAO/ITU, Bangkok, 2016, 222 pages). 

This publication provides a framework for countries in developing their national e-agriculture strategies. These strategies would include an e-agriculture vision, an action plan, and a framework by which results can be monitored and evaluated. Like all strategies and plans, the outcomes of these processes are not static and changes in a country’s strategic context will require a dynamic approach to updating the strategy so that it remains relevant.

Setting in place a national e-agriculture strategy is an essential first step for any country planning on using ICTs for agriculture. While the need for e-agriculture strategies is acknowledged by many stakeholders, most countries have yet to adopt a strategic approach in making the best use of ICT developments in agriculture. E-agriculture strategies will help to rationalize both financial and human resources, and address holistically the ICT opportunities and challenges of the agricultural sector while generating new revenues and improving the lives of people in rural communities. It will also help ensure that the goals of national agricultural plans are achieved.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Climate Change Urban Food Initiative Final Outputs

20 May 2016.  The United Nations Environment Programme, the Fondation Nicolas Hulot and the International Urban Food Network have produced the final outputs of the Climate Change Urban Food Initiative.

A Policy Perspectives Paper presents the challenges associated with feeding cities in a changing climate and how urban areas can take a leadership role in driving more sustainable food systems.

How and why should food be considered within the climate policies of cities?
  • Urban food systems are major contributors to climate change.
  • Urban food systems are highly vulnerable to climate change.
  • Action is needed now to ensure urban populations can access sufficient, sustainably produced, affordable, safe and nutritious food in a changing climate.
You can also watch the video or read the Policy Perspectives Paper in French.

Published on 16 May 2016
Today, 4 billion people, or 54% of the global population, live in urban areas. By 2050, this number will grow to over 6.3 billion people, representing 66% of the world's population. Cities will be a major driver of the demand for food and their inhabitants will need access to healthy, sufficient, environmentally friendly food.

Urban food systems are a considerable source of greenhouse gas emissions: from the production and processing of food to its transportation and consumption.

Furthermore, climate change can significantly impact on urban food systems. For example, climate change can create more intense heat waves which can lead to food spoilage, increasing waste and the spread of diseases.

Climate change can also impact on the supply of food to cities. Urban areas often produce only a small portion of what they actually consume. As a result, if extreme weather events such as floods or hurricanes seriously damage transport infrastructure, like bridges and roads, it can interrupt food supply to a city and lead to sudden food shortages.

These, and other climatic events which impact food supply, can cause a rise in food prices. This can have serious consequences for poorer disadvantaged populations, whom represent a quarter of the world's urban population, and who are already nutritionally vulnerable.
Actions are needed now in order to transform our urban food systems.

Urban decision-makers need to analyse the repercussions of climate change on our urban food systems with a view to finding solutions to increase resilience.

They can also help to support actions aimed at:

  • reducing food waste;
  • encouraging farming in urban areas and near-by;
  • promoting sustainable diets in communities and schools, including tackling the overconsumption of foods that cause high greenhouse gas emissions;
  • diversifying food supply sources so that cities have a range of local, regional, and international food supply options
Food systems need to be a core consideration in urban climate change planning and policy. Through our individual actions and by working together, we must take the opportunity now to achieve sustainable urban food systems.

How are businesses in Africa learning from China?

22 April 2016. The Economist. Intra-African business. By The Economist Intelligence Unit

Platforms for change

Table of contents
Bidco Africa, founded as a garment manufacturer in 1970, is now one of East Africa’s largest manufacturers and distributors of fast-moving consumer goods, sourcing from more than 30,000 farmers, operating in 16 countries. Its focus is on edible oils and related products. Vimal Shah, the firm’s CEO and son of its founder, Bhimji Depar Shah, is bullish on the prospects for Africa’s agribusiness sector and consumer market: in early 2015, he announced the intention to quadruple Bidco’s sales between 2015 and 2020. 
Bidco’s resources and counsel on precision farming, as well as market information, are all available to farmers on digital platforms. Information also flows in the opposite direction, meaning that both sides have much greater visibility on supply, demand and prices. This direct connection between producer and buyer also leads to safer, more reliable contracts. Having advised a farmer on which crop they should grow, Bidco then offers to buy a pre-agreed amount at a pre-agreed price, as long as the quality is right. Electronic payments also reduce the risks of delay or theft.
Together with urbanisation and the rise of the middle class, which are driving demand for processed food and personal care products, the Internet is changing everything about African consumer behaviour. “There are a lot of thought leaders out there now,” observes Mr Shah. “Consumers see stories online, for instance about the negative health impacts of sugar, and that informs their decisions. You have to adapt your range of products and their nutritional value to the changing demand.Mr Shah believes that thanks to the Internet, younger people in Africa are now growing up in a different paradigm and are more empowered consumers as a result.
The other challenge, according to Mr Shah, is unfair competition from businesses in the informal economy, where taxes are not paid and smuggling is rife. As one of the continent’s most successful players in the formal economy, it is perhaps not surprising that Bidco would like to see the government clamp down on the many smaller players in the informal economy that can undercut it on price. But the emphasis, says Mr Shah, should not be on making life more difficult for small businesses. “We need to reduce the enormous number of different taxes and duties that people pay, and make policies that are conducive—not an impediment—to business.”

Friday, May 20, 2016

Investing in and collaborating with Africa

19 May 2016. Gent, Belgium. The Africa Platform of Ghent University Association organized its 3rd Network Event. This event brought together the profit and the non-profit sector, as well as the academic world and local experts from Africa. The idea was to discuss challenges and exchange best practices about investing in and collaborating with African partners.

The Africa Platform of Ghent University unites all Africa-related expertise at Ghent University Association, it distributes information on academic activities linked to Africa and the African diaspora, it facilitates collaboration with African institutes on the level of teaching and research, and it raises awareness on issues linked to African societies.

The Africa Platform publishes the peer-reviewed and open access journal Afrika Focus  it organizes an annual symposium and it offers you a database on Africa expertise at Ghent University Association.

4 thematic group discussions were organised: challenges and opportunities when collaborating with Africa
  1. Agriculture and forests ; Chris Vansteenkiste – Vredeseilanden | Isabelle Vertriest – WWF | Mémé A. Tsan Fall – Sopex Consulting, Pascal Boeckx – UGent | Landry Cizungu – Université Catholique de Bukavu
  2. (Micro)financing ; Jasmien Bronckaers – Trias | Wouter Vandersypen – Kampani | Marijke D’Haese – UGent, Josephine Mukumby – aBi Finance
  3. Energy and water, Marc Despiegelaere – Protos | Steven Poppe – DEME | Arne Verliefde – Water for Development – UGent, African students from the research group Particle and Interfacial Technology – UGent
  4. Prof. Patrick Van Damme
  5. Trade (import/export) Arne Schollaert – Oxfam
8 - 9 December 2016. Brussels. The Building Trust Seminar: bridging the gap between farmers, investors and food professionals. this event will a unique opportunity to connect with farmer organisations, private sector actors and financial institutions and to discover sound assessment tools for farmers' performance and professionalism

5 reasons to attend:
  1. Discover how to obtain a complete profile and rating of farmer organizations on their professionalism and entrepreneurship by using a sound tool
  2. Meet farmers, investors and food professionals in the heart of Europe
  3. Exchange finance and business experiences with smallholders
  4. Exchange learnings and insights from assessments of farmer organizations with the SCOPEinsight’s tools
  5. Connect to a platform that builds global curriculum for capacity building of smallholders to become performant business organisations

Lessons for Sustainability - Failing to Scale ICT4Ag-enabled Services.

20 May 2016. CTA has released during WSIS 2016, held in Geneva 2-6 May 2016, a new publication titled: Lessons for Sustainability - Failing to Scale ICT4Ag-enabled Services.
"ICTs have undoubted potential to boost agricultural production and value chains in ACP countries. But many efforts to introduce ICTs for this purpose have not been sustainable". Michael Hailu, CTA Director
To address this problem, Failing to Scale provides nine overall lessons to inform the design of future projects on ICT4Ag. These lessons derive mainly from the case studies described in the publication, but also draw from other sources such as the World Bank's ICT in Agriculture Sourcebook

Briefly, the nine lessons are:
  1. Consult with farmers, traders and extension workers to accurately assess demand
  2. Work with extension workers and other existing service providers
  3. Provide services in local languages and be aware that women are sometimes denied access to technology
  4. Decide who will implement the service in the long term
  5. Do not pre-commit to a specific ICT solution
  6. Keep projects simple – scale up can always happen later if a pilot is successful
  7. Develop a viable business model
  8. Make sure project costs are sustainable, and not simply led by initial donor support
  9. Do not ignore the costs of providing training and promotion.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

BIOPROTECT : Organic from father to son / Bio de père en fils

Bio de père en fils
Durée : 4min 59sec  | Chaîne : Burkina Faso
Chez les Savadogo, l’engagement pour l’agriculture biologique se transmet de père en fils. Claude Arsène Savadogo, 31 ans, titulaire de deux masters, l’un en économie rurale et stratégie des entreprises agroalimentaires et l’autre en ingénierie économique et financière des projets et des politiques publiques, aurait pu facilement trouver un emploi dans le secteur public ou privé. Au lieu de ça, il y a préféré emprunter le chemin difficile de l’entrepreneuriat.

En 2011, il crée BIOPROTECT, une entreprise de production et de commercialisation d’intrants et de pesticides biologiques basée au Burkina Faso. Cela à la suite de son père, président du Conseil National de l’Agriculture Biologique (CNABIO), qui depuis plus de 20 ans œuvre à la promotion de l’agroécologie.
Arsène emploie neuf salariés, en majorité des jeunes âgés de la vingtaine. Pour convaincre les producteurs d’utiliser ses intrants, Arsène et son équipe réalisent des champs de démonstration. Un choix qui paie.

Aujourd’hui, le jeune entrepreneur ambitionne faire de son entreprise le leader dans la production et la commercialisation d’intrants biologiques.

Organic from father to son

By : Agribusiness TV | Duration : 4min 59sec | Channel : Burkina Faso
In the Savadogo family, the engagement for organic agriculture is transmitted from father to son. Claude Arsène Savadogo, 31 years, holds two Masters degrees. One in rural economy and agro-enterprises, and another one in economics, project finance and public policies. With these, he could have easily found a job in the public or private sector. But instead, he preferred to take the risky road of entrepreneurship.

In 2011, he created BIOPROTECT, a company involved in the production and marketing of organic fertilizers and pesticides in Burkina Faso. And this has been a result of following the footsteps of his father, the President of the National Council of Organic Agriculture (CNABIO), who has worked on the promotion of agro-ecological practices for over 20 years.

Arsène employs nine staffs, most of them in their twenties. In order to convince producers to use his fertilizers, Arsène and his team conduct field demonstrations. A choice that pays off.

Today, the young entrepreneur ambitions to make his enterprise a leader in the production and marketing of organic inputs.
5th May 2016. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Agribusiness TV, the first Youth in Agribusiness Web TV in Africa, launched its mobile apps and web platforms.

Despite the fact that the sector can provide many opportunities to young people with all backgrounds along the value-chain, youngsters still prefer white-collar jobs.

What Agribusiness TV aims to do is to change this perception and mindset towards agriculture and agricultural jobs. How? By showcasing the stories and paths of those youth who have succeeded in agricultural entrepreneurship through videos.

The Minister of Communication of Burkina Faso 
officially launching the web TV
Agribusiness TV is a project that is combining media, ICT and agriculture. What makes it a unique initiative in Africa is that it is the first media focusing specifically on youth in agribusiness, and also one which is available as a mobile application, in addition to its web version. Released recently, the mobile app of Agribusiness TV is available on App Store and Google Play.

Agribusiness TV is an initiative of MEDIAPROD, supported by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA).

Better Seeds Bring Bigger Harvests in West Africa

Published on 18 May 2016. More food is being produced on farms in Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and across West Africa. What’s behind this big boost to agriculture and farming? Better seeds!

Throughout West Africa, WAAPP is supporting governments’ efforts to prepare and implement seed system strategies, improve regional seed regulations and strengthen seed certification systems. A project of this scale requires collaboration so WAAPP is working with scientists, farmers, the private sector and others to make improved seeds for rice, plantain and other staple crops available to more people.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the National Rice Development Office’s (NRDO) seed improvement initiatives are positively impacting rice supply. The NRDO is laying the ground work for six seed centers around the country. It engages with farmers and seed entrepreneurs, collecting seeds, cleaning them, and then storing them in WAAPP-funded cocoon storage facilities which preserve their quality for longer periods. It also builds up distribution networks through farmer co-ops.
  • The West Africa Agricultural Productivity Program (WAAPP) is working with Côte d’Ivoire – and other countries in West Africa – to revive and strengthen seed systems that were previously decimated due to a lack of infrastructure and funding.
  • Seeds from seed multiplication farms are better in quality, more resistant to pests, and can yield up to 50% more than traditional varieties.
  • In Côte d’Ivoire alone, approximately 50,000 beneficiary producers farming on 100,000 hectares of land have improved their yields by 30 to 150 percent.

Food Nigeria Expo and Conference

18 - 20 May 2016. Lagos, Nigeria. Nigerian food industry professionals came together to meet more B2B Food and Beverages Exhibition and Conference ever held in West Africa, Food Nigeria.
than 150 companies from across the world, convening to showcase their products covering food and drink, equipment, food services and hospitality at the largest

Click here to view the exhibitor list.

The three-day multisector meeting discussed current issues in the food supply chain management. It presented latest modern channels of food distribution in the region, advances in food handling and logistics, updates on safety management, and regulations on importation and exportation. Industry experts from domestic and international large-scale food companies, governments, agencies and associations gave  their insights on how to consolidate and implement
better measures in food distribution retail in Nigeria.

  • Address challenges in the food supply chain management
  • Identify improved measures and policies in food distribution
  • Identify new and traditional food channels
  • Discuss safety management in transport and infrastructure
  • Determine business opportunities to export 
  • Determine business opportunities to import
  • Understand the increasing shift from consumption of unpackaged, unbranded food to stronger demand for packaged and processed food
  • Business innovation in food distribution, processing and service in Nigeria ; Chris John Mamuda - Managing Director, Global Spring Consulting Nigeria Ltd, Abuja, Nigeria
  • Challenges in facilities and sanitation, processing technologies ; Ayotunde F. Ogunrinde - CEO, QSR Consult; Just Food, Lagos, Nigeria
  • Food consumption, challenges and aspirations related to BoP consumers in Nigeria ; Thompson Ogunsanmi - National Cluster Advisor, IFDC- 2SCALE Project, North West African Division, Abuja, Nigeria
  • Food safety program ; Fubara A Chuku - National Coordinator, Federal Ministry of Health Abuja, Nigeria 
  • Subsisting EU ban on Nigerian food exports and imports ; Dr Olatunde Oluwatola - Senior Lecturer, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Yewa Campus, Ayetoro, Ogun State, Nigeria 
  • Challenges in the food export industry ; Dr Obiora Madu - Chairman, Export Group, , Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lagos,Nigeria 
  • Food contamination ; Dr Dan Orji - , Safe Food Awareness Initiative 
  • Food preservations - the good, the bad in Sub Saharan African ; Adedotun Abayomi Adepoju - Training Manager, Tantalizers, Lagos, Nigeria
4th Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) Annual Poultry Summit, Ikeja, Lagos
Lagos, May 18, 2016 (NAN) The Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) says the poultry sub-sector is contributing 25 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) annually, amounting to the single largest contributor to agriculture.

Dr Ayoola Oduntan, President of the association made this known in Lagos on Wednesday at the 4th Poultry Summit, 2016 tagged: ``The Role of Poultry Industry in Economic Revival of Nigeria,’’ the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
"The sub-sector is a major consumer of commodities such as maize, cassava, soya beans and polished rice. We have it on good record that poultry contributes 25 per cent of the agriculture GDP of the country. Poultry is probably the single largest sector in agriculture, for instance, we consume 25 per cent of the maize produced in this country; we consume a lot of the polish from the rice. We also consume the entire soya beans produced as by-products; we consume cassava so we play a very significant role in the country’s economy. We are very happy that at last the industry is getting the recognition it deserves’’ 
The Poultry Association of Nigeria is an Association of poultry producers embracing all persons and organizations involved in Poultry Production. This includes input suppliers, commercial feed millers, service providers and all persons that have interest for Poultry Production.

MYCOKEY Kick-off Meeting

26-29 April 2016. Martina Franca, Italy. The MycoKey project started on 1st April 2016 and the official Kick-off meeting was held for the project partners.

This event is of great significance to a good start of the project and to allow us to better organize the work plan, to prevent any problems and to use fully the potential and opportunities that this project will offer. The meeting was conducted in a very informal way, open to all comments and concerns.
  • MycoKey presentation, Antonio F. Logrieco, CNR ISPA, MycoKey Coordinator
  • European policy on mycotoxins in feed and food: Regulatory challenges and the important role of research, Frans Verstraete, European Commission, Directorate General for Health and Consumers
  • H2020 program: insights to improve research and innovation in funded projects, Alessio Bacchielli,European Commission, REA - Research Executive Agency, FP7 SME Actions
  • The APHLIS+ international project on food safety, Felix Rembold, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability - Monitoring Agricultural Resources Unit
  • Future challenges on mycotoxin management, Monica Olsen, Senior Risk Benefit Assessor, Livsmedelsverket - National Food Agency of Sweden
  • Ecological functions of mycotoxin detoxification, Peter Karlovsky, Universityof Goettingen
  • The SYMPHONY project: microsystems for mycotoxin detection, Andrea Adami, Fondazione Bruno Kessler, CMM-Center for Materials and Microsystems
MycoKey is a new project funded by European Commission under Horizon 2020 programme, Societal challenge 2 "Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine, maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy challenge" - topic “ Biological contamination of crops and the food chain”.
  • It aims to deliver in 2019 the first integrated ICT based solutions to address mycotoxin contamination along the food and feed chain, by using an holistic and sustainable approach.
  • In the past, several actions have been developed to counteract mycotoxins effects and risks in the single stages of the value chain, often difficult to be applied by common farmers and SMEs. 
  • MycoKey will integrate innovative key actions into an user friendly and cheap application, able to provide real-time information and suggestions for mycotoxin management to several stakeholders. Studies will be carried out to investigate new methods to prevent the contamination in the field, during processing and storage. New sustainable technologies will be developed (i.e. drones) to monitor toxigenic fungi, analyze and prevent the mycotoxin contamination and risk, finally to apply remediation tools.
  • 32 partnersfrom Europe, China, Nigeria, Argentina, including research institutions, SMEs, industries and associations will work together for 4 years, focusing on aflatoxins, deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, ochratoxin A, fumonisins. They will also operate together to strenghten the global knowledge on mycotoxins, feed an effective cooperation with China, and to create interaction with other projects and initiatives, giving recommendations to regulators.
  • The project (total value 6,4M euro) is Coordinated by CNR ISPA, Italy and started on April 1, 2016.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Prolinnova International Partners Workshop

16–20 May 2016. Dakar. Prolinnova/PROFEIS–Senegal coordinated by Agrecol-Afrique hosted the 2016 Prolinnova International Partners Workshop (IPW)

Extract of the programme:

Bonn Climate Change Conference

16 - 26 May 2016. Bonn. Climate negotiators from around the world met for the first time since brokering the Paris climate deal to start filling in some of the gaps left in that landmark agreement.

The midyear U.N. meeting in Bonn, Germany, is much lower-profile than the conference on the outskirts of the French capital in December and the agenda is more mundane. The two-week meeting will deliver an agenda for the ad-hoc working group tasked with implementing the Paris.

In 2014 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), as part of its mandate to consider issues related to agriculture, decided to invite submissions from parties and observers, covering four topics, in 2015 and 2016.

The topics to be discussed at this year's meeting are:
  1. Identification and assessment of agricultural practices and technologies to enhance productivity in a sustainable manner, food security and resilience, considering the differences in agro-ecological zones and farming systems, such as different grassland and cropland practices and systems.
  2. Identification of adaptation measures, taking into account the diversity of the agricultural systems, indigenous knowledge systems and the differences in scale as well as possible co-benefits and sharing experiences in research and development and on the ground activities, including socioeconomic, environmental and gender aspects.
Related resource:
Hussein Alfa Nafo, Mali, speaking on behalf of the African Group

Paper no. 3: submission made by the African Group: page 12 - page 22
PART A: Identification of Adaptation Measures in Agricultural systems 
PART B: Identification and Assessment of Agricultural Practices and Technologies to Enhance Productivity: (Include diversity of agro-ecological zones) 
The African Group of Negotiators (AGN) highlights agricultural approaches that have proven to effectively support adaptation in different farming systems. This includes improved:
  1. crop and livestock breeding, investments in water and land management that can deal with droughts and floods, 
  2. better agro-processing technologies that can transform the value chain, 
  3. integrated pest and disease management, enhanced insurance for farmers, 
  4. and better climate information services.
“We need business unusual,” said Fred Kossam, Head of Climate Change and Research Services, Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Malawi, who spoke on behalf of the AGN. “We need to change how we adapt agriculture in Africa. We highlighted the approaches to be supported for effective upscaling in countries,” he explained.
Workshops related to agriculture:
Thematic areas:
  • Scientific analysis of pathways for achievement of the “well below 2 ºC” global temperature goal and limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 ºC, including global and regional transformation pathways and related impacts.
  • The risks and impacts of slow-onset events as a result of climate change, particularly including temperature and those that occur in the cryosphere (sea level rise and ocean acidification) and hydrological cycle (drought).
  • Meryl Richards (CCAFS Low Emissions Agriculture) will present on "Reducing emissions from agriculture to meet ambitious limits on global temperature increase" during a of Poster presentation, Part 2 (16:45-18:00): Supporting scientific knowledge and capacity building
  • For more information visit the RD8 webpage
For more information visit the official SBSTA 44 website.

To support countries in developing their submissions, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) prepared technical background papers on these topics, and provided technical advice to several countries and negotiating teams. Agriculture issues will be further discussed at two special workshops during the Bonn meetings.

WP agricultural practices and technologiesInfo note practices and technologies
Info note: Measures for climate change adaptation in agriculture. Messages to the SBSTA 44 agriculture workshopsInfo note: Climate change adaptation in agriculture: practices and technologies. Messages to the SBSTA 44 agriculture workshops
At a 17 May side event, CCAFS scientists and country partners from Africa, Asia and Latin America shared their approaches and visions for enhancing food security, resilience and productivity in agricultural systems, in an effort to highlight real adaptation measures, practices and technologies that deliver positive outcomes for farmers.

Watch the video: Adapting to climate change in agricultural systems: experience from Latin America, Africa and Asia

Watch Dr. Vermeulen's presentation: Adapting to climate change in agricultural systems: Key findings from CGIAR and partners:

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

International Scientific Conference on Food Security and Safety

16 to 18 May 2016. The University of Johannesburg (UJ) in collaboration with the HSRC and the
Department of Science and Technology (DST) South Africa.

Food security is pivoted on four major aspects, which are availability, access, stability and utilization. In the same way, Food Safety implies “the absence of, or acceptable and safe levels of contaminants, adulterants, naturally occurring toxins or any other substance that make food injurious to health on an acute or chronic basis”.

Generally, in sub-Saharan Africa, an estimated 60% of the population depends on agriculture for theirvarious populations in sub-Saharan Africa are exposed to health hazards (such as mycotoxins, heavy metals, etc.) in their diets, directly and/or indirectly through the consumption of unsafe foods or the unavailability of nutritious foods.
livelihoods but ironically the continent is known for numerous agricultural and associated health challenges. Some of these challenges include: limited access to arable land and services, high post-harvest losses, limited processing, inadequate access to markets and finance as well as low investment into food and agricultural research, training and extension services. Basically,

Interview with: Dr Palesa Sekhejane from the HSRC of the University of Johannesburg (UJ)

​​​​Plenary Session 1: Science, technology, innovation and development for food safety and security.
From left: 
Prof Gabriel Adegoke (University of Ibadan, Nigeria), 
Prof Lise Korsten (University of Pretoria) and 
Prof Sarah De Saeger ( Ghent University, Belgium)
Science, technology, innovation and development for food safety and security – Instrumentation for hazardous contaminants (e.g. pathogens, toxins, heavy metals, pesticide residues, etc.) detection and analyses along the value chain; Crop science and modelling; Nano/Biotechnology and biological applications for reducing food waste and loses; etc.
  • Prof. Sarah De Saeger – Ghent University (UGent), Belgium. ​ ​​Current Developments in Mycotoxin Analysis ​

    More than 25% of the world’s crops are contaminated with poisonous moulds and fungi known as mycotoxins. These toxic chemical compounds are a serious food safety threat as they cause disease and death in humans and animals worldwide. Finding solutions to mycotoxins is a global struggle. Aflatoxins, a type of mycotoxin, are carcinogenic and in Africa it can cause stunted growth in children. It is, however, a global issue and not only an African one. There have been major advances globally in improving mycotoxin analysis. There are more than 400 known mycotoxins, but even more may exist.In the European research community there is a belief that the food security problem needs to be solved first and food safety second. It is a pleasure to see that in South Africa food safety is seen as part of food security.

    Prof. De Saeger commended South Africa’s science and research community’s work into finding solutions that could reduce the risk of mycotoxtin contamination.
  • ​Keynote Address – Role of agricultural bio technologies in sustainable food systems and nutrition ​ ​​
​​​​Plenary Session 3: Food and health risk assessment and Novel and emerging food processing technologies.
Food processing, water purification, irrigation and technological challenges – High pressure processing, Food processing technologies; Industrial processing techniques; Ozone processing techniques, Radiation challenges and evolution; Novel and emerging food processing technologies, water purification and irrigation, etc.
Food and health risk assessment – Clinical implications of food contamination; Burden of food related illnesses on healthcare; Economics of GMOs; Risks associated with fertilized food crops; Food grown in metal-heavy lands; Systems modelling for food-associated risk assessment, etc.   
  • Dr. Nomusa Dlamini – Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa ; Sustainable Novel and Emerging Technologies for Food Processing and Preservation Paths to making food processing technologies impact positively on food safety and food security at household, local and national levels in Africa ​ ​​​ ​ ​
  • Prof. Gabriel Adegoke – University of Ibadan (UI), Nigeria ; Mycotoxin Research in Africa ​ ​​ ​ ​ ​
  • Prof. Hussaini Makun – Federal University of Technology Minna (FUTMinna), Nigeria ; Managing Compositions Of Fungal Populations to Reduce Human Exposure to Aflatoxins ​ ​​
​​​Keynote Speakers
Tentative Programme at a glance

11th IST-Africa Conference

11 - 13 May 2016. Johannesburg. IST-Africa 2016 was the eleventh in an annual series of Ministerial Level Technology Research Conferences, supported by the European Commission (EC) and African Union Commission (AUC).

Focused on Information Society and ICT Policy Dialogues, International Development and Research Cooperation and Community Building, this conference brought together senior representatives of leading public, private, education and research organisations from 50 countries to discuss policy, share insight and identify collaboration opportunities.

The goal of this IST-Africa Conference was to:
  • Support Development of the Information Society and Knowledge Economy in Africa
  • Promote International Innovation, Research and Policy Cooperation and Coordination
  • Showcase African Research and Innovation Capacity
  • Stimulate exploitation of research results by the public and private sectors
The Programme featured two sessions related to agriculture.

Session 7c: eAgriculture
Chair: Lefa Thamae, Department of Science and Technology, Lesotho
  • Use of Social Media to Strengthen Service Delivery for Urban Agriculture in Uganda ; Fatuma Namisango, Makerere University Business School, Uganda
  • IT and the Non-formal Sector: How can IT propel Skills Development in Agriculture?  ; Collins Mwesigwa, UNCST, Uganda
  • A Model Intelligent Decision Support System for Predicting Late Blight Disease of Potatoes in Kenya ; David Gichoya, Moi University, Kenya
  • Development of Adaptive Environmental Management System: A Participatory Approach through Fuzzy Cognitive Maps ; Mpho Mbele, Central University of Technology, South Africa
  • An m-Agric Application for Broadcasting Agricultural Information for Subsistence Farmers in Rural Areas of the Eastern Cape ; Nam Nojozi, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
Session 8c: eAgriculture & Environmental Sustainability
Chair: Lieketseng Tjokotsi, Department of Science and Technology, Lesotho
  • Traceability Systems in Swaziland and Namibia: Improving Access to Markets with Digital Information ; Tania Prinsloo, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • Prototyping mAgriculture Applications among Smallholder Farmers ; Bonface Ireri, University of Free State, South Africa
  • Provisional Findings on Linking Climate Information to Livelihood Strategies through ICTs among Rural Women in Kitui County, Kenya ; Michaelina Yohannis, University of Nairobi, Kenya
  • Network Densification Strategies for Automatic Weather Stations: Challenges and Opportunities for Uganda ; Mary Nsabagwa, Makerere University, Uganda
Session 4e: Mobile Applications II
Chair: Haitham Hamza, Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), Egypt
  • Branchless Banking in Rural Malawi: Potential Customers’ Perspective on Bank-led Mobile Banking ; Tiwonge Manda, University of Malawi, Chancellor College, Malawi
  • Towards Non-cash Payments in Tanzania: the Role of Mobile Phone Money Services ; Hosea Mpogole, University of Iringa, Tanzania
  • Towards A Context-Aware Multi-Channel Messaging Model for African Banks: Preliminary Investigations ; Olusola Salami, University of South Africa, Nigeria
  • Promoting Savings among Low Income Earners in Kenya through Mobile Money ; Patrick Kanyi Wamuyu, USIU-Africa, Kenya

Second Stakeholder Forum of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP)

16-17 May 2016. Milan, Italy. Held every three years as a high-level event, the Stakeholder Forum is one of the key strategic dialogue events organized by the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP).

See programme day 1 and day 2

Convened under the theme ‘Business and Science: Leading the Way to Sustainable Energy,’ the Second Stakeholder Forum brought together EU and African ministers and heads of regional institutions, as well as more than 300 high-level delegates from public, private and non-governmental sectors with a view to galvanizing renewable energy innovation, investment and Africa-EU energy cooperation. The Forum was jointly organized by the AEEP, the Italian Government, the African Union Commission and the European Commission.

The Forum was organized around technical thematic discussions on the AEEP themes of energy access, energy efficiency, and renewable energy and energy security on the first day, and a high-level session on the second day. In addition to plenary and specially structured panel discussions, there were targeted networking, business match-making and media events, as well as a parallel exhibition and fair showcasing the latest technological innovations.

In the context of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Forum provided an opportunity to further contribute to discussions around the role of energy within Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) and the 2030 Agenda, including the AEEP’s contribution to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 on affordable and clean energy.

One of outcomes of the meeting is a “Call to Action” in which stakeholders announced commitments to help develop a comprehensive portfolio of activities that contribute to the 2020 Targets of the AEEP. The 2020 Targets focus on three key areas are:
  1. access to modern energy services for an additional 100 million Africans; 
  2. a doubling of energy security through increasing the capacity of cross-border electricity interconnections, 
  3. increased use of natural gas and expanding African gas exports to Europe; 
  4. and increasing the use of renewable energy, and improving energy efficiency in all sectors.
In addition, the Second Stakeholder Forum launched a number of AEEP reports and initiatives, including the Mapping of Initiatives and Programmes in Africa Report and the Intermediate AEEP Status Report.

Related PAEPARD blog posts
Global Status of Renewable Energy

The Africa-EU Energy Partnership
11-13 February 2014. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Second High-Level Meeting (HLM) of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) - “Taking the Next Step: Africa and the EU are tackling energy challenges together”

Video interviews
Mr. Roberto Ridolfi, Director of the European Commission for Sustainable Growth and Development, discussing: the role of different stakeholders in the Africa-EU Energy Partnership, the importance of a regulatory environment for investment, and the necessity of increasing energy in remote areas with more than 700 million people in Africa still lacking access.

David Otieno, Head of the Africa-AU Energy Partnership Secretariat, discussing the partnership of equals, energy targets and monitoring.

Hary Andriantavy, Executive Secretary of the Club ER and Dr. Abu Dafalla, Director of Infrastructure Development Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) discussing the lack of energy access and potential for rural electrification in Africa.


Dr. Elham Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy African Union Commission discussing: the success of the African-EU Energy Partnership, the financing gap and the importance of gender mainstreaming for energy access.

Volume 62, September 2016, Pages 793–803
Improving electrification rates in Sub-Saharan Africa is widely regarded as a strategy that can help the sub-continent to reduce inequality and promote sustainable economic growth. However, most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have their own unique challenges and opportunities to improving access to electricity.

The paper, focuses on some financing strategies that can be implemented in Sub-Saharan Africa and Malawi in particular in-order to support the universal access ambitions as embodied in the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4All) and Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7.

Friday, May 13, 2016

One million tons of cold storage initiative launched

11 May 2016. Kigali, Rwanda. A new initiative was launched amidst efforts to address challenges of post harvest losses for potatoes and other perishables currently accounting for 40 percent on the continent.

The initiative, one million tons of cold storage will see African farmers reduce on wasted resources while increasing returns on investment as result of proper storage facilities for the perishables.
"The initiative will allow farmers to decide on when they need to put their produce on the market and have a greater negotiating power for greater incomes,” said Dr Agnes Kalibata, President of Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
The launch happened on the sidelines of the World economic Forum on Africa –WEF Africa 2016 going on from May 11-13 in Kigali which has brought together over 1,200 business, political, policy making and other leaders to discuss current economic and social issues, problems, ideas and possible solutions.

The initiative which is expected Public Private Partnership between AGRA and UPL from India and governments of three countries is expected to mobilize U$ 2 Billion in the next decade to create integrated value chains and set up one million tons of cold storage facilities across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Currently, work for the construction of three cold storage projects in progress in Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda and is expected to be fully operational by 2017.

Other resource:
L’Agra lance un projet de 2 milliards de $ pour améliorer les chaînes du froid en Afrique

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI)

11 May 2016. A new policy report published by RESULTS UK, highlights the Index-Based Livestock Insurance (IBLI) Program in Kenya, as one of the initiatives that are successfully reaching vulnerable people with climate risk insurance in developing countries.

The report, which was launched 11 May 2016 ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit, highlights ‘unprecedented opportunities for donors to reach an additional 400 million vulnerable people with climate risk insurance by 2020 through the G7 “InsuResilience” Initiative’.

On 23-24 May, world leaders will meet in Istanbul for the World Humanitarian Summit – and climate risk insurance is on the agenda. The international community will commit to invest in smart and efficient risk financing mechanisms that proactively build resilience before disasters strike, rather than reacting afterwards at staggering human and economic cost. £1 invested in insurance can save more than £4 in averted humanitarian assistance.
It brings together a weight of evidence about the protective, promotive and transformative effects of insurance in building climate resilience. The report also includes a series of case-studies demonstrating the real impacts of cutting-edge weather-based insurance programs.

Experiences from IBLI in Kenya, were used by the government in Kenya to launch the ‘Kenyan Livestock Insurance Programme’ which is covering small-scale farmers and herders against weather-related crop failure and loss of livestock.

Read the whole report: Weathering a risky climate: New policy report launched by RESULTS UK.


If you are interested in knowing just how Index Based Livestock Insurance works: Lessons on IBLI and the Asset Protection Contract are now just a click away! You can easily access your IBLI lessons from ILRI’s e-Learning portal

The IBLI e-Learning course was launched on the 22nd of March 2016 at the International Livestock Research Institute’s (ILRI) campus in Nairobi, Kenya. Various stakeholders including Kenya Government officials from the State Department of Livestock (SDL), insurance companies, donor organizations and partner NGOs attended the launch ceremony. In his opening remarks, ILRI’s Director General Dr. Jimmy Smith reiterated the fact that Capacity Development is a critical success factor for ILRI and that stakeholders must focus on enhancing pastoralism as it is a major contributor to the national Gross Domestic Product.