Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sharefair on Rural Women's Technologies to Improve Food Security

15 - 17 October 2014. Nairobi, Kenya. UN Women's Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa in partnership with FAO, IFAD and WFP organised a Sharefair on Rural Women's Technologies to Improve Food Security, Nutrition and Productive Family Farming. 

The Sharefair is a regional initiative aimed at promoting technologies and innovations that support rural female smallholder farmers. It coincided with the International Rural Women’s Day and World Food Day 2014, and brought together rural women innovators from Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. It also offered a platform for policymakers, academics, food producers, investors, technology innovators and others to interact.

The objectives were:
  1. Accelerated programmatic and policy attention to gender and agriculture and practical ways to overcome current gender-related technology, food security, and nutrition challenges
  2. Generation of a technology repository comprising a menu of technology options that meet the needs of women farmers and that can serve the sector and the region will be a lasting contribution
  3. Identifying new and scaling up of existing technologies through linking farmers to entrepreneurs, investors and policy makers
  4. Further anchor of the Regional Network to translate into deepened collaborations on gender and agriculture and food security

Towards a common strategy to fight global hunger

13 -17 October 2014. Rome, Italy. Committee on World Food Security (CFS) 41st Session, "The impact of food safety on nutrition security", co-organised with the Global donor Platform (GDP).

High-level representatives from governments, United Nations food agencies, aid groups, the private sector and civil society gathered last week at the Food and Agriculture Organization’s headquarters in Rome to agree on a common strategy to fight global hunger.

As expected, the intergovernmental and multistakeholder Committee on World Food Security endorsed in its 41st session a set of principles on responsible investments in agriculture. It also discussed innovations in the sector, as well as lessons learned on how to address malnutrition and tackle food wastage.

Regional: CAADP/NEPAD’s efforts to mainstream nutrition in agriculture
African Group with Ghana Former President John Kufuor. Group Picture
  • Haladou Salha, Senior Technical Adviser, NEPAD
  • Karim Mtambo, Director, National Food Security in the Ministry of Agriculture Food Security and Cooperatives, United Republic of Tanzania
  • Djibo Bagna, Pan African Farmer’s Forum, representing CSM
  • Arne Cartridge, CEO Grow Africa
Lynn Brown (World Bank) and Maureo Ghirotti (Italy)
Djibo Bagna (PAFO) and Elisabetha Atangana (PROPAC)
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Learning from Africa's Year of Agriculture and Food Security: Country Implementation and Global Implications
  • Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Global Donor Plaform for Rural Development: Impact of food safety on nutrition security. 
  • Africa Group of Representatives and Pan African Farmers’ Organization (PAFO)-Transforming African Agriculture: Who and How? Implementing the orientations of the AU, CFS and the IYFF.
  • Agriculture for Impact & the Overseas Development Institute: Linking smallholders to markets better: lessons from working models
CFS Special Event: Innovation in Family Farming: Towards Ensuring Food Security and Nutrition

The Panel
  • Moderator: Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation
  • Her Majesty Queen Máxima Of The Netherlands, UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development
  • Dacian Cioloş, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Segfredo Serrano, Undersecretary for Policy and Planning, Department Of Agriculture, Philippines
  • Ibrahima Coulibaly, Vice-President of the Network of Farmers’ and Agricultural Producers’ Organisations of West Africa (ROPPA); Ambassador of FAO for the International Year on Family Farming
  • Santiago Del Solar Dorrego, Asociación Argentina de Consorcios Regionales de Experimentación Agrícola (AACREA)
Supporting documents

18 October 2014. Bari, Italy. Conference “From the seed to the food: cooperation, sustainable agriculture and food security” organized by CIHEAM, Bari, and the Italian Cooperative Alliance.

L’incontro rappresenta l’occasione, inoltre, per illustrare i risultati raggiunti e le prospettive future del Programma “Feeding Knowledge”, iniziativa strategica di Expo Milano 2015, attuata dal CIHEAM di Bari in collaborazione con il Centro METID del Politecnico di Milano, che farà parte dell’eredità permanente dell’Esposizione Universale. 

Il Programma mira a promuovere la condivisione della conoscenza nell’area Euro-Mediterranea sulle tematiche connesse con la sicurezza alimentare e a contribuire all’identificazione di soluzioni che siano in linea con le reali esigenze degli stakeholders e degli operatori locali. In questa maniera, la riduzione dello spreco di conoscenze potrà portare ad elaborare innovazioni efficaci per garantire l’accesso a cibi sani e nutrienti, nel rispetto delle risorse naturali e dell’ambiente.

See full programme

* Start: 23 March 2015
* End: 27 March 2015

Monday, October 20, 2014

Live coverage of the World Food Prize 2014

16 October 16, 2014. DES MOINES, IOWA - Live coverage of the World Food Prize, honoring outstanding individuals who strive to improve the quality, quantity or availability of food throughout the world. The World Food Prize Foundation awarded the 2014 World Food Prize to Dr. Sanjaya Rajaram in a live ceremony from Des Moines, Iowa.

Referred to as the "premier conference in the world on global agriculture", the Borlaug Dialogue featured expertise and diverse perspectives of governmental leaders; policymakers; farmers; CEOs and executives from agribusiness; leaders of non-governmental organizations; and scientific, academic and development experts from around the world. Highlighted speakers included:
  • His Excellency Ernest Bai Koroma, President, Republic of Sierra Leone
  • His Excellency Kanayo F. Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • The Honorable Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, United States
  • His Excellency Enrique Martinez y Martinez, Secretary of Agriculture, Mexico
  • Her Excellency Florence Chenoweth, Minister of Agriculture, Liberia
The Dialogue gave special emphasis to the powers of intensification, innovation and inspiration to uplift smallholder farmers and meet the increasing demand for nutritious food.

Discussion topics included:
  • taking stock of where we currently stand in meeting the "greatest challenge in human history";
  • closing yield gaps while addressing pressing water, gender and nutrition challenges and disparities;
  • the role of information technology and data to increase productivity, conserve the environment, adapt to climate volatility and consumer needs, and improve the lives of farmers and other participants along the value chain;
  • sustainable intensification to improve productivity with a special focus on soils and fertilizers;
  • innovations in insurance and agrofinancing;
  • and the role of the next generation in the fight against hunger through the DialogueNEXT conversation that features young innovators and thought leaders who are contributing new ideas, concepts and achievements toward this goal.
Published on 20 Oct 2014 Kofi Annan’s video address to celebrate the centennial of Dr. Norman Borlaug during the World Food Prize symposium.


Side event: ILRI@40: Livestock-based Options for Sustainable Food Systems
In 2014, to mark 40 years of international research, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is facilitating a series of events that highlight the ways in which livestock research advances the global development agenda, specifically for sustainable food and nutritional security, economic well-being and healthy lives.
On 15 October 2014, ILRI and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation held a roundtable event at the 2014 Norman E Borlaug International Symposium to articulate the roles of livestock production in sustainable food production and the changes, impacts and coordination needed to address the needs of a growing human population in sustainable as well as equitable ways. This roundtable event brought together public and private actors in sustainable livestock development to discuss ways to enhance the contributions of livestock to sustainable food and nutritional security.
Side event: From Smallholders to Shareholders: Optimizing Private Sector Partnerships for Smallholder Impact
This workshop builded on a new guide, “From Smallholders to Shareholders: A Guide to Optimizing Private Sector Partnerships for Smallholder Impact,” which details how to successfully implement private sector partnerships for smallholder impact. The interactive format highlights case studies from the guide as well as innovative partnerships, licensing and local manufacturing, marketing and distribution, extension and other forms of customer support, and financing.

Side event: America’s plenty, America’s waste: A conversation on food security at home and abroad with leading journalists
Conversation on food waste in America and the role of Iowa and U.S. businesses in transforming global agriculture. This engaging, multimedia presentation featured Chrobog's new film "Wasted" and new reporting from Hicks and White's investigation of agricultural reform in China.

Borlaug Prize

The 2014 winner of the World Food Prize is Sanjaya Rajaram, a native of India and citizen of Mexico who received the award for his groundbreaking work in maximizing the potential of wheat production.

In Mexico, Rajaram was able to raise two crops a year, shortening the time it would normally take to double a yield and feed millions more people with better-quality food. His breakthrough breeding technologies have had a far-reaching and significant impact in providing more nutritious food around the globe and alleviating world hunger.

Dr. Rajaram succeeded Dr. Norman Borlaug in leading CIMMYT's wheat breeding program, and developed an astounding 480 wheat varieties that have been released in 51 countries on six continents and have been widely adopted by small- and large-scale farmers alike.

2014 Recipient: Dr. Bram Govaerts, BELGIUM. Dr. Govaerts, 35, currently serves as Associate Director of the Global Conservation Agricultural Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

Dr. Govaerts was instrumental in framing the Mexican government’s major initiative known as the Sustainable Modernization of Traditional Agriculture (MasAgro), and, in June 2014, he assumed leadership of the entire program, with responsibility for coordinating the evolution of related projects in Latin America. The component of MasAgro that Dr. Govaerts originally developed and has successfully led is named “Take It to the Farmer.”

It focuses on integrating technological innovation into small-scale farming systems for maize and wheat crops, while minimizing detrimental impacts on the environment. Under this extension-style program, farmers on over 94,000 hectares switched to sustainable systems using MasAgro technologies, while farmers on another 600,000 hectares are receiving training and information to improve their techniques and practices.

10 Big Ideas to Increase Availability and Improve Access to Food by 2025

12 October 2014. Washington. The report “Unleashing The Potential For Global Food and Agriculture - A Call For Innovation And Leadership” that was presented during the Duisenberg Lecture that was held in conjunction with the Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank.

“Africa is critical to feeding the planet’s growing population. We have huge opportunity and challenge within our grasp.”

To demonstrate both what is needed and what is possible, Rabobank has developed ten big ideas in global Food and Agriculture aimed at boosting global food availability and improving access to food over the next decade However, while innovation may be the key ingredient, leadership will be the single most important tool in overcoming these difficulties and putting these big ideas into practice.

These ten ideas are:
  1. Adopt big data in U.S. agriculture, boosting grain and oilseed production and resource efficiency, leading to another 20 million tonnes of grain and oilseed output by 2025.
  2. Close the yield gap in Central and Eastern Europe, consolidating F&A to increase production. This will create an additional nine million tonnes of grain production over the next decade.
  3. Improve China's food security, taking domestic actions to complement agriculture imports. This will drive a 61 million tonne improvement in grain production and a three million tonne lift in oilseed output by 2025.
  4. Strengthen South-South trade, linking South America’s production potential to Asia’s demand, leading to another 20 million tonnes of soybean trade from South America to China over 10 years.
  5. Invest in local storage, reducing post-harvest food losses in Sub-Saharan Africa and creating an 8 million tonne increase in grain and oilseed availability over the next decade.
  6. Boost production in the F&A engine room, capitalizing on Brazil’s grain and oilseed and animal protein potential. This will create an 11 million tonne lift in meat production and a 22 million tonne increase in grain and oilseed output by 2025.
  7. Develop cold chains in China, leading to a 40 million tonne increase in meat and seafood availability over 10 years.
  8. Grow aquaculture, kickstarting the tilapia industry in Latin America and increasing production by two million tonnes by 2025.
  9. Lift dairy production in India, improving rural incomes and increasing output by the liquid milk equivalent of 30 million tonnes over the next decade.
  10. Raise sugarcane's productivity, improving consistency of yields and cane quality in Brazil, and boosting sugar output by 16 million tonnes by 2025. 
The report argues that harnessing innovation requires a shift in mindsets, to accept that business as usual is not likely be the right way forward. Although global Food and Agriculture has seen much change over the past decade, there is still some reluctance to accept that the future is going to be different, or appreciation of how different global Food and Agriculture is going to have to be in order to successfully respond to the significant constraints that come with the long-term opportunities.

Innovation, it is suggested, should be focussed in two areas. 
  1. The first is in basic research and development (R and D), to discover new technologies and practices that are implementable at a commercial scale. 
  2. The second focus area is in business models, which need to change to accelerate the take-up of new technologies and practices in ways that better manage risk and better align investments and returns.

Unleashing Science, Technology and Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security

15-17 October 2014. Arnhem, The Netherlands. International Forum Unleashing Science, Technology and Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security.With special focus on Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific.

A 2013 call for proposals was launched by CTA for the Top 20 Innovations benefitting smallholder farmers. This yielded 251 responses of which twenty (20) have been shortlisted. These innovations are having an impact on farming communities, especially small-scale farmers, fisher-folk, agro-processors and traders but they are most likely taking place under the radar of governments, the private sector and other stakeholders. 
Dr Ayele and Prof Mugabe

A CTA-CoSIS Wageningen UR 2013 expert consultation on Innovation Systems: Toward Effective Strategies that Benefit Smallholder Farmers demonstrated that while innovation systems thinking has permeated the culture and actions of several key agricultural organizations in ACP countries and beyond much more work is needed in understanding the context of smallholder farming systems so that policy and institutional changes can be effected for their benefit; thereby ensuring that development is inclusive.

Participants are reviewing the Top 20 innovations
The international forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security brought together leading scholars, senior scientists/researchers/academicians, policy-makers, development practitioners, innovators and private sector representatives including farmers to:
  1. Assess the relevance and effectiveness of current agricultural research and innovation policies and programmes for addressing the food and nutrition security challenge;
  2. Analyze and generate evidence on innovations occurring in ACP agriculture for shaping future STI policy formulation and implementation for achieving food and nutrition security;
  3. Agree on how best to move forward in sharpening the STI focus, strengthening national innovation systems and increasing public and private investments to effectively address food and nutrition insecurity in the future;

Friday, October 17, 2014

Innovation in family farming

16 October 2014. The State of Food and Agriculture 2014: Innovation in family farming 

Innovation in family farming analyses family farms and
the role of innovation in ensuring global food security, poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.

It argues that family farms must be supported to innovate in ways that promote sustainable intensification of production and improvements in rural livelihoods.

Innovation is a process through which farmers improve their production and farm management practices.

Key messages

  • Family farms are part of the solution for achieving food security and sustainable rural development; the world’s food security and environmental sustainability depend on the more than 500 million family farms that form the backbone of agriculture in most countries.
  • Family farms are an extremely diverse group, and innovation systems must take this diversity into account.
  • The challenges facing agriculture and the institutional environment for agricultural innovation are far more complex than ever before; the world must create an innovation system that embraces this complexity.
  • Public investment in agricultural R&D and extension and advisory services should be increased and refocused to emphasize sustainable intensification and closing yield and labour productivity gaps.
  • All family farmers need an enabling environment for innovation, including good governance, stable macroeconomic conditions, transparent legal and regulatory regimes, secure property rights, risk management tools and market infrastructure.
  • Capacity to innovate in family farming must be promoted at multiple levels. Individual innovation capacity must be developed through investment in education and training.
  • Effective and inclusive producers’ organizations can support innovation by their members.

A member of the Prolinnova International Secretariat at ETC Foundation, Ann Waters-Bayer, took part in the CGIAR Development Dialogues on 25 September 2014 in New York City.
  • Ann spoke in the session on “Resilient systems and communities towards sustainable development: Fostering the capacity to innovate“. 
  • This session explored strategies and actions needed to foster the capacity to innovate in smallholder farming systems and key challenges to building inclusive innovation in these systems. 
  • Fostering capacity to innovate at all levels is critical to strengthening the resilience of these systems in the face of change, so that progress can be continued in improving agricultural livelihoods, promoting sustainable agriculture, restoring terrestrial ecosystems and engaging in effective partnerships to this end. 
  • Place-based agro-ecosystem research involving researchers, development workers, farmer groups, civil society, the private sector and policymakers can increase the impact of development policies and investments on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, and the resilience of natural resource systems on which they depend.
The session was organised and opened by Kwesi Atta-Krah, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics, and moderated by Stephanie Strom, journalist with the New York Times. Other panel speakers on fostering the capacity to innovate were: H.E. Ruth Nankabirwa, Minister of State for Agriculture, Uganda; Sara Scherr, President, EcoAgriculture Partners; Stephen Muchiri, CEO, Eastern Africa Farmers Federation; and Blake Ratner, Research Director, WorldFish.

Stephen Muchiri answers the question:
@ 17:15 "How often do researchers contact the EAFF federation and ask for information? "
@ 20:00  "Researchers come when they have a project"
@ 31:00 Malawi farmers: "Nothing about us without us"
@34:00 "We want to be viewed as partners not as beneficiaries"

@41:47 "A lot of information on public and private financing is not available: who is providing it, etc. There is also a problem of capacity to access these finances. Partnership building has been a huge challenge (referring to PAEPARD)
@1:05:10 There is an issue of predictability when the money flows in from donors

Sara Scherr, President, EcoAgriculture Partners
@ 37:30 "How do you increase the capacity of these [multi] stakeholder forums"
@40:15 "We start to see a shift in financing those platforms. We need a more thorough assessment on what works and what works not

H.E. Ruth Nankabirwa, Minister of State for Agriculture, In charge of Fisheries, Entebbe, Uganda
@45:40 "Government says agriculture is a priority but when it comes to budgeting it's a different story".

Ann Waters-Bayer, Senior Advisor, Prolinnova International Secretariat, ETC Foundation, Netherlands
@ 50:50 "It is very important for researchers to do research in the process of platforms which are innovating"

Question time:
 Peter Manton AFRICA RICE board
1:07:00 The center of  gravity among most researchers in most CGIAR research centers is still a top down modern type of science domination of the dialogue. Farmers are collaborators. How do we bring a real change in mindset among CGIAR researchers?

  • Stephen Muchiri: CGIAR should like IFAD [2 yearly farmer forum] engage on a regular basis with other stakeholders
  • Ann Bayers-Water:  like we look at farmer innovators CGIAR should look at its positive deviants researcher who are interested in social learning in research for development , who try to enhance the capacity to innovate. Don't kill it

FANRPAN Annual Regional Policy Dialogue

29 September – 3 October 2014. Antananarivo, Madagascar. The 2014 FANRPAN Annual High-level Food and Nutrition Security Multi-Stakeholder Policy Dialogue was attended by over 225 delegates from 22 African countries and beyond including all 17 FANRPAN member countries.

The theme
focused on:
  • Family Farming: FANRPAN recognises "Family Farming" as farming operations owned and operated by rural household farming families; and the majority of which are poor.
  • African Agriculture: FANRPAN acknowledges that over 80% of farmers in Africa are in family farming. These family farmers continue to stay at the heart of Africa's agriculture as they are generators of African agriculture competitiveness, growth and job creation.
  • Climate-smart agriculture: Climate-smart agriculture seeks to increase sustainable productivity, strengthen farmers' resilience, reduce agriculture's greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration.
Related global and regional initiatives:
  • The recently formed African and Global climate-smart agriculture Alliances, which FANRPAN endorses and is part of, launched respectively as follows:
  • African Chapter launched in Malabo on the 25th of June 2014
  • Global Chapter launched in New York on 24th September 2014
  • The declaration of 2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security by the African Commission, and
  • The United Nations declaration of 2014 as the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF).
View programme

  • Post-harvest losses and implication on Family Farming: Fisheries Systems by Mr John Linton (NRI)/Dr Sloans Chimatiro
  • An overview of the FANRPAN Post-harvest loss management (PHLM) projects by Dr Bellah Mpofu (FANRPAN)
His Royal Highness, Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso
(on the left) with Mr Talentus Mthunzi the
AfricaInteract Coordinator for Southern Africa
AfricaInteract Study Reports Launch

Launch of the AfricaInteract study Reports titled: Review of Research and Policies for Climate Change Adaptation in the (i) Agriculture, (ii) Urban, and (iii) Health Sectors in Southern Africa”

His Royal Highness, Prince Seeiso Bereng Seeiso then presented the three reports as follows:
  1. The "Review of Research and Policies for Climate Change Adaptation in the Agriculture Sectors in Southern Africa"; written by Prof Paul Mapfumo, Dr Abdulai Jalloh and Dr Sepo Hachigonta.
  2. The "Review of Research and Policies for Climate Change Adaptation in the Health in Southern Africa"; written by Dr Mao Amis, Dr Abdulai Jalloh and Dr Sepo Hachigonta.
  3. The "Review of Research and Policies for Climate Change Adaptation in Urban Areas in Southern Africa"; written by Ms Miriam Madalitso Joshua, Dr Abdulai Jalloh and Dr Sepo Hachigonta.

Special thanks were given to CORAF, FANRPAN and the funding agency IDRC who enabled production of what HRH the Prince referred to as valuable gifts.

Documentary (Video) - FANRPAN Climate Smart Agriculture best practices Documentary, was shown to the participants.
  • Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) is agriculture that sustainably increases productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes greenhouse gases (mitigation), and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals. 
  • CSA promotes agricultural best practices, particularly integrated crop management, conservation agriculture, intercropping, improved seeds and fertilizer management practices, as well as supporting increased investment in agricultural research. 
  • CSA encourages the use of all available and applicable climate change solutions in a pragmatic and impact-focused manner. While resilience is key, CSA is a broad approach which for more innovation and pro-activeness in changing the way farming is done in order to adapt and mitigate while sustainably increasing productivity. 
  • CSA practices propose the transformation of agricultural policies and agricultural systems to increase food productivity and enhance food security while preserving the environment and ensuring resilience to a changing climate

Employment opportunities of young people through agribusiness

Alemayehu Konde Koira
(ALEMAYEHU KONDE KOIRA, August 2014, 20 pages)

This paper is intended to provide guidance for those seeking impact in the field of agriculture and youth development in Africa. It defines key terms and concepts, and highlights promising initiatives and projects that develop durable livelihood opportunities for young people working in agriculture.

Some field-based practical experiences and lessons now show promise for improving the employment opportunities of young people through agribusiness. From the point of view of farmers, producers and other actors in the value chain, there are opportunities to build agribusinesses through skills and training, technology and finance in order to improve productivity and add value to products.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Debates around African agriculture and rural development

16 October 2014. IIED, ODI and IDS have just published the first 7 papers in a series of 12 on debates around African agriculture and rural development – please see the blog. The papers are below with links.

IIED, ODI and IDS are really keen to get feedback from Africans and those working in Africa.

• Africa's Evolving Food Systems - Drivers of change and the scope for influencing them
T.S. Jayne, Ferdinand Meyer and Lulama Ndibongo Traub investigate ‘megatrends’ such as rising food and energy prices, climate change, urbanisation, and demographic transitions that are shaping African economic, political and social landscapes. They discuss how policy choices will influence each of four plausible scenarios for African food systems, and argue that the state can play a major role to engage the public in determining what a ‘good society’ looks like.

• Smallholder agriculture in Africa. An overview and implications for policy
Douglas Gollin asks what type of investment is best for the viability of smallholder systems. He concludes that the implications for development policy are not straightforward, as the priorities vary across and within countries due to the highly heterogeneous nature of the smallholder sector.

• Rural economic diversification in sub-Saharan Africa
Felicity J. Proctor discusses emerging policy implications for economic diversification in rural sub-Saharan Africa. She explores the potential of bringing rural and urban development policies together, ideally within a territorial or regional development framework, to strengthen the market and service linkages between rural and urban areas.

• Agricultural policy choice: interests, ideas and the scope for reform
David Booth investigates the scope for reforming African agricultural policy choices. While recognising the difficulties that many countries face in developing the agricultural policies they need to transform their economies, he encourages policymakers to abandon ‘pessimistic’ political-economy diagnostics. Instead he provides evidence that social and economic reforms can be achieved ‘against the odds’ when local actors are empowered to pursue a politically smart, entrepreneurial approach.

• Rural futures. How much should markets rule?
Henry Bernstein and Carlos Oya distinguish different approaches to markets that affect rural sub-Saharan Africa. They propose a political economy approach as an effective way to grasp the complex social dynamics of ‘real markets’, the subsequent class differentiation of ‘small farmers’ and how this affects rural ‘livelihood diversification’.

• The rehabilitation of agricultural subsidies?
Andrew Dorward and Ephraim Chirwa review the changing paradigms, politics and theories associated with input subsidy programmes. Their paper discusses how such programmes can improve and realise their potential to deliver major benefits to smallholder farmers and wider economies.

• ​Improving Policymaking for Agricultural and Rural Development in Africa
Towela Nyirenda-Jere and John Kazembe look at the role of knowledge management and information and communications technologies (ICTs). They conclude that the capacity to collect and analyse locally-relevant data for policymaking is still low and the linkages between ICTs, knowledge management and policymaking are not yet well established.

Le Festival AlimenTerre

9 - 12 October 2014. Belgium. Le Festival AlimenTerre est organisé par SOS Faim Belgique, ONG active dans le soutien à l’agriculture paysanne et familiale au Sud.

En cinq ans, cet événement est devenu un espace d’information et d’échange incontournable pour tous ceux qui s’intéressent aux enjeux fondamentaux de l’alimentation et de l’agriculture. Au travers d’un programme riche et varié, SOS Faim entend alerter le public sur les désordres alimentaires mais aussi et surtout nous faire découvrir les alternatives et les pistes d’actions vers un système agroalimentaire plus juste et plus durable.

Bousse Nabab est le 3° Epîsode de la série « Les Liberterres », dont le 2° épisode, « Vache de guerre! » avait été projeté au Festival AlimenTerre 2012.

  • Chaque année, Remi quitte sa ferme pour aller soutenir ses amis africains du Burkina Faso et du Bénin ; il leur apporte aussi des chèvres sélectionnées pour leur rendement laitier. 
  • « La chèvre pour moi, c’est l’animal numéro un pour régler le problème de la faim. » Remi est membre fondateur de l’Association « Paysans sans Frontières ». 
  • Ce grand projet avec le Sud est unique et remet en question les politiques « d’aide alimentaire » dans le monde.

Yagouba et l'EGAB from SOS Faim on Vimeo.

  • Yagouba est un jeune chef de famille. À 35 ans, il est à la tête de son exploitation agropastorale, située au nord du Sénégal, dans la réserve du Ferlo. Comme tous les Peuls, l’ethnie à laquelle il appartient, il ne dit jamais de combien de têtes son troupeau est composé. C’est tabou. Mais Yagouba détient de nombreux moutons, des chèvres et des vaches. Il se définit avant tout comme éleveur mais il est aussi agriculteur. 
  • Pour assurer la sécurité alimentaire de sa famille, il cultive du mil et de l’arachide pendant l’hivernage. Lorsque Yagouba s’est installé avec sa famille, il détenait un troupeau de petite taille et ses activités agricoles ne couvraient que la moitié des besoins alimentaires de sa famille. 
  • Utilisant des semences de mauvaise qualité, ses rendements étaient médiocres. Par ailleurs, dans cette zone aride, les éleveurs comme Yagouba doivent régulièrement parcourir des dizaines de kilomètres avec leurs troupeaux pour trouver des pâturages. Difficile dans ses conditions d’assurer la pérennisation du troupeau, de l’exploitation et donc de la famille. 
  • Dans cette région isolée, où l’information peine à arriver et où la formation est quasiment inexistante, Yagouba ne voyait pas comment s’en sortir et songeait à abandonner son travail agricole pour rejoindre la ville. Puis il s’est vu proposer par l’EGAB un accompagnement pour tenter de développer son activité et être en mesure de nourrir sa famille.


No Land No Food No Life is a hard-hitting film which explores sustainable peasant and community agriculture and the urgent calls for an end to corporate global land grabs. 

Du Riz et des hommes
  • Situé en plein cœur du Mali, l’Office du Niger est l’un des plus vastes périmètres irrigués d’Afrique. Dans cette zone, anciennement utilisée pour la production du coton à destination de la métropole, des milliers de familles travaillent quotidiennement sur de petites parcelles pour produire du riz. 
  • Cependant, au fur et à mesure du temps, ces familles s’agrandissant, les parcelles sont devenues trop petites pour leur permettre de vivre de leur production. Et pourtant, la zone dispose d’un potentiel immense et elle pourrait devenir à l’avenir le grenier à riz de toute la région. 
  • Aujourd’hui, organisés en syndicat, les petits producteurs de l’Office du Niger se battent pour obtenir le soutien de l’Etat malien afin qu’il investisse dans l’aménagement de nouvelles terres. Seulement, surendetté, l’Etat a plutôt fait le choix de s’ouvrir aux investisseurs privés et les petites exploitations sont à présent menacées par les sociétés transnationales qui s’installent dans la zone…

Le dernier carre de chocolat
  • Associé au luxe, à l’enfance et à la gourmandise, le chocolat est un marché de 80 milliards de dollars par an, un marché en pleine expansion. 
  • La Côte d’Ivoire produit à elle seule 40% de la récolte mondiale de cacao. Mais depuis 1999, le pays est plongé dans une crise politique endémique, que l'arrivée au pouvoir d'Alassane Ouattara n’y a pas normalisé à ce jour. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Women in Agriculture Conference

9 - 10 October 2014. Durban. The NEPAD Gender Climate Change Agriculture Support Programme (GCCASP) hosted a Conference for Women in Agriculture themed: “Investing in African Women: Opening the Space for Agribusiness.”

It’s main aim was to discuss ways in which Agribusiness can be aligned to the activities of African women smallholder farmers. It is expected that a decision to establish a fund for supporting these smallholder farmers in Agri-business activities will be also be made during the conference.

The event was attended by AUC representatives, policy makers, women small holder farmers and farmer grouprepresentatives, Leading Women Agribusiness Practitioners and Experts, Academia, Researchers, Non-Governmental Organisations, UN Women, Development Partners including NORAD, Private Sectors, and Government Ministries of Agriculture, Gender and Environment.

  • Concept Note the the Gender Conference for Women in Agriculture: [DOWNLOAD]
  • Concept Note on the Continental Level Consultations for the NEPAD Gender Climate Change Agriculture Support Programme: [DOWNLOAD]
  • Programme of the Gender Conference for Women in Agriculture: [DOWNLOAD]
  • Gender, Climate Change and Agriculture Support Programme Flyer: [DOWNLOAD]

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New SNV Biomass Waste-to-Energy toolkit

Use of renewable energy sources is critical if we are to achieve the changes needed to transition to a sustainable, low emissions development trajectory. Biomass residues already make an important contribution to meeting global energy demands and their role in the modern energy supply mix is likely to expand significantly in the future.

SNV's REDD+ Energy and Agriculture Programme (REAP) recently developed and published a toolkit for development practitioners, together with the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), TBR Consulting and The Green House.

The toolkit presents a concise set of policy options to project developers and provides best practices and case studies from W2E programmes from three continents of the world and highlighted market intelligence on the potential scope of biomass waste to energy opportunities, including those for small and medium enterprise (SME) level in the supply chain.

The toolkit addresses technology, financing, consumer and environmental protection issues. Key qualitative and quantitative success factors for each waste to energy pathways have also been explored in the toolkit.
  • Please download our Biomass Waste-to-Energy toolkit here.
  • And find more information on SNVs REDD+ Energy and Agriculture Programme here.

Qualitative Methods for Assessing the Impact of Development Programmes on Food Security

A new e-learning course entitled: “Qualitative Methods for Assessing the Impact of Development Programmes on Food Security” is now available free of charge online and on CD-Rom at:

The course was jointly developed by Wageningen University and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

This course promotes a common methodological approach and a set of practical tools to provide guidance and assist, programme managers, and monitoring and evaluation officers, on the use qualitative methods to conduct the assessment of food security and nutrition impact, of development programmes.

This course is part of a series of three courses in this thematic area, accessible from the same website, namely: “Assessing Impact of Development Programmes on Food Security” available in English, French and Spanish and “Monitoring and Evaluation of Food and Agriculture Programmes” soon available in English.

Monday, October 13, 2014

New research proposals selected by the Cultivate Africa's Future fund

IDRC's Dominique Charron and Simon Carter,
ACIAR's Nick Austin, and AIFSRC's Mellissa Wood
at the IDRC/ACIAR offices in Nairobi
October 2014. The Governance Committee of the Cultivate Africa's Future (CultiAF) fund has chosen six projects from its September 2013 call for proposals. Previously, eleven applications out of 171 submissions developed full proposals.

The six proposals focus on post-harvest management and productivity with nutritional outcomes and cover five Eastern and Southern African countries: Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

CultiAF is a 4-year, $15 million research partnership between IDRC and the Australian International Food Security Research Centre (AIFSRC) of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). CultiAf is designed to combat hunger in sub-Saharan Africa by harnessing the potential for innovation among the region’s smallholder farmers, the majority of whom are women.

Selected proposals and an analysis of the call for proposals will be announced on the websites of IDRC, AIFSRC and ACIAR by the end of September 2014. The projects are expected to start in October 2014.

Learn more about the Cultivate Africa's Future (CultiAf) fund
Learn more about the Australian International Food Security Research Centre (AIFSRC) of theAustralian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

Fourth conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa

8 - 10 October 2014. Marrakesh, Morocco. Fourth conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa. Some 500 African climate research and impact communities representatives met in to agree on a research collaboration platform on climate science in Africa.

This meeting was organized under the aegis of the World Meteorological Organisation and ECA/Africa Climate Policy Centre "to devise an institutional platform for linking African climate science research and knowledge to inform adaptation decision-making in Africa", according to Ms Fatima Denton, Director of the Special Initiatives Division at the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

Breakout sessions: 
  1. Sub-theme I: Improving and harnessing climate data, information, and knowledge for agricultural production, water resources management, and food security in Africa.
  2. Sub-theme II: Agricultural opportunities for renewable energy development in Africa.
  3. Sub-theme III: Enhancing Africa’s capacity to mobilize, access, and implement climate finance for agricultural development.
  4. Sub-theme IV: Innovation and technology to enhance agricultural transformation in a changing climate.
Extract: Topic 4.1 Agricultural research and innovations with emphasis on low-carbon development
  • Chair: Dr. Cosmas Milton Obote Ochieng, African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), Kenya
  • Paper 1: Evidence of Impact from Successful Climate Smart Agriculture Approaches in Africa - Presenter: Dr. Mary Nyasimi
  • Paper 2: Fighting climate change and feeding Africa using steep land: a green solution in an Africa grass species - Presenter: Dr. Effiom Oku
  • Paper 3: Precision-nutrient sensitive based conservation agriculture toward sustainable intensification: Nitrogen and weed management in maize-wheat system - Presenter: Mr. Anthony Oyeogbe
  • Paper 4: Use of Gliricidia sepium as coppicing fallow technology in efforts to improve soil productivity and food security for degraded soils and a changing climate of Tanzania - Presenter: Deodatus Stanley Kiriba
Side events:
  1. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) side-event
  2. Network of Africa Science Academies (NASAC) side-event
  3. Climate Change National Focal Point discussions
  4. Gender, Youth, and Climate Change (in collaboration with ECA’s Social Development Policy Division (SDPD)) 
  5. The Climate Change, Agriculture, Trade, and Energy Nexus
  6. The role of the media in communication of climate-related impacts and adaptation options
  7. The role of African farmers in local adaptation initiatives
  8. Vulnerability of agricultural production in the African Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
  9. Capacity Development for Climate Change (C3D+) (bringing the various national and global partners to this programme).
  10. A focus on sharing lessons among the African pilot countries
Opening the meeting, Ms Denton prodded participants to conscientiously promote what she called "utilitarian science" that would help Africa to take its full place on the world's development train.
"This laudable initiative should aim at science that gives the power to the people; science that would allow the sahelian farmers to make strategic choices; science that will strengthen the productive capabilities of research institutions in Africa; and science that enables Africa to rise above current challenges"
She promised that under the auspices of ClimDev-Africa programme, the African Climate Policy Centre is initiating a -1 Million Dollar capacity building programme to support the training of young African scientists in all areas of climate change and development.

She traced ClimDev's support to the project back to its inception at the Arusha (Tanzania) conference and promised continued assistance in the provision of space, time and resources because the objectives of CR4D chime with the overall goals of ClimDev-Africa.

Dr. Ademola Adenle Oxford University Uk

Dr. Abdellatif Khattabi of the IPCC adaptation team and of the National School of Forestry Engineering in Rabat Morocco speaks about the influx of illegal migrants into Morroco enroute for Europe - attributed to the climate changes and other related social and political pressures.

Professor Yacob Mulugetta, Chair of Energy and Development Policy, Dept of science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy, University College London.

Background documents
Side event documents:

FARA visits Cuba

22 – 26 September 2014. Havana, Cuba. The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) led a delegation of stakeholders in agricultural research and development (AR and D) to the Republic of Cuba  to meet with Cuban authorities to discuss avenues for partnership and collaboration between African and Cuban AR and D institutions and agribusiness enterprises. 

At the margins of the International Congress LABIOFAM 2014 

and the 3rd International Symposium on Products 
for Cancer Therapy, 
LABIOFAM and FARA signed an MoU to establish a strategic 
partnership between the two organizations in areas of 
bio-products, agricultural research, technology dissemination 
and adaptation, science and technology.
The mission consisted of 
  • Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, FARA’s Executive Director 
  • Dr. Emmanuel Tambi, FARA’s Head of Policy and Advocacy; 
  • Dr. Emmanuel Okogbenin, Director of Research and Technology of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Nairobi, Kenya; 
  • Prof. Timothy Simalenga, Executive Director of the Center for the Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development in Southern Africa, Gaborone, Botswana; 
  • Mr. Brian Mwanamambo Head of Agribusiness Incubation Trust Limited (AgBiT), Lusaka, Zambia; and 
  • Ms. Marie Nkom Tamoifo, Head of Association Jeunesse Verte du Cameroun, Yaounde, Cameroon.
The FARA Delegation participated in the LABIOFAM 2014 International Congress co-organized at the Havana International Conference Center from 22nd to 25th September, 2014 by the Entrepreneurial Group LABIOFAM, Pan-American Health Organization, Cuban Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 

Organized under the theme: Natural Products in Cancer Therapy, the International Congress addressed issues of Biopesticides, Biofertilizers and Biostimulants for Agriculture. Scientists and professionals from more than 20 countries attended the congress that presented and discussed more than 150 scientific papers during the four-day congress.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

AU calls for fight against aflatoxin in Africa

Rhoda Peace Tumusiime (2nd R), Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of African Union commission attended the opening ceremony of the 1st Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) press conference at the Africa union (AU) conference center in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, Oct. 7, 2014. The conference was aimed at supporting agricultural development, safeguarding consumer health and facilitating trade by coordinating and increasing effective aflatoxin control in Africa. XINHUA PHOTO: MICHAEL TEWELDE
7-9 October 2014. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This PACA Partnership Platform Meeting brought together the full array of stakeholders involved in the management of aflatoxins, including: African Union Commission, Regional Economic Communities, government ministries and regulatory agencies, companies, farmers, entrepreneurs, health organizations, civil society groups and the development partners.

The PACA Secretariat has given several awareness-raising presentations at key events, including the African Livestock Conference and Exhibition 2013 (ALiCE) on 26-28 June 2013 and the East African Farmers Federation (EAFF) Farmers Congress 2013 on 5 August 2013.

This 1st PACA PP created a forum had following objectives:
  • Embrace the refined PACA Mid-Term Strategic Plan as a driving instrument for attainment of results and impact;
  • Share implementation progress, challenges and receive input from stakeholders to enhance the effectiveness of PACA’s current activities;
  • Exchange information, share experiences and lessons in afl­atoxin mitigation and management, including evidence from recent studies;
  • Identify and deepen partnerships to create synergies and strengthen programs aligned with the PACA Strategy and Mid-Term Strategic Plan; and
  • Across Africa and around the world, 
    numerous public and private funders are supporting 
    to research, prevent and control aflatoxin contamination. 
    PACA has begun to catalogue current and 
    planned activities on aflatoxin in Africa. 
    Activities range from research and analysis, 
    development of new control technologies, 
    scaling up existing technologies, 
    or building capacity among key actors 
    on the agricultural value-chains.
    If you are aware of updates or additional activities 

    that should be added to this list, 
    please submit them using this form.

    Click on the areas of the map for more details of 
    ongoing or planned work in these countries and regions.
  • Engage all stakeholders to support all efforts in the fight against a­flatoxins on the African continent.
Session 12: Financing of Aflatoxin Mitigation Initiatives on the Continent
Panel discussion on specific challenges, opportunities, and innovative ideas to fund actions to reduce harmful effects of aflatoxin. Panel from private sector, public sector and philanthropy.

Panel Members:
  • Dr. Dogo Seck, Secretary General of the Minister, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Equipment, Republic of Senegal 
  • Mary Onsongo, Program Management Specialist, Agricultural Markets and Value Chains, USAID East Africa 
  • Regional Mission
  • Gerald Masila, Executive Director, Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC)
  • David Adama, Coordinator Public Finance for Agriculture, ActionAid International
  • John Cordaro, Global Business Advisor, MARS (invited)
  • Moderator: Boaz Blackie Keizire, Head, Food Security and Agriculture Division, African Union Commission
Research needs: 
A Background Paper for the PACA Strategy Development 
– StakeholderConsultation Workshop
"Conduct further research on use of aflatoxin-resistant planting materials, including conventional and transgenic breeding". (page 5)
"Promote research on safe disposal and alternative use of unsafe commodities, such as biofuels or blended feeds (which in the aggregate conform to safe maximum levels) and finishing feeds, which can have slightly higher levels (300ppb) of aflatoxin without harming the animal". (page 5)
"Conduct further research on ammoniation and other commercial processing techniques". (page 5)
Additional (Optional) Reading:
Related power point presentation:
01-02 October 2014. Berlin, Germany. Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ). Expert meeting on Food Safety for Nutrition Security discussing aflatoxin.