Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, May 18, 2017

UGent: Investing in and collaborating with Africa.

17 May 2017. Ghent University, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering. Investing in and collaborating with Africa.
  • Presentation by Cristina MIRANDA-GOZALVEZ (DG Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission)
  • Keynote by Patrick GOMES (Secretary-General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States)
Thematic group sessions - Flemish CEOs present their success stories and failures about
working in Africa + discussion
  • Agriculture and forests
  • (Micro)financing
  • Energy and water
  • Trade (import and export)
Keynote presentation on agribusiness: Joris De Nocker (Rentec)
Investing in and collaborating with Africa in palm oil extraction
RENTEC is a Belgian manufacturer of machines and installations with an experience of more than 30years.
  • Palmito Basic extraction unit for village use 
  • Rural Semi-industrial unit pre-assembled in one 20 ft. container 
  • Modular Semi-industrial smale-scale plant pre-assembled in four 20 ft. containers 
  • Separate machines Separate machines that can be part of an extraction unit or a larger plant



The RENTEC MODULAR is a complete industrial palm oil mill in mini format, pre-assembled in 4 standard 20 FT containers. It processes 1 Ton/hour complete fresh palm fruit bunches and includes biomass steam boiler, 3 bar pressure steriliser, tresher, twin-screw extraction press, double stage clarifier and diesel gen-set. Engineering, design and manufacturing by RENTEC in Belgium, Europe.


Highlight:
Foster sustainable development through impact entrepreneurship:
First-Step Africa: Partnership with Italian Businesses
  • First-Step Africa is an opportunity for international SMEs to discover the potential of African markets by engaging African talent to study the feasibility of their businesses in specific countries.
  • The local talent will participate in the E4Impact MBA and develop the requested project throughout the program, with the support of the MBA Business Coach.
  • The selected local talent will engage in intense networking activity with local suppliers, customers, and financial and government institutions in order to guarantee a project’s start-up.

Business opportunities in the framework of Europe's climate actions outside the EU


18 May 2017 Brussels.The Paris agreement resulted in a new wave of climate commitments by countries and regions worldwide. The regions of Flanders and Catalonia co-organized a seminar and matchmaking event for te private sector, educational and research organizations and civil society organizations as important partners in reaching the climate objectives.

Extract of the programme:

  • What could Europe do to comply with the Paris agreement? Key note speech by Mr. Jos Delbeke, Director General for Climate Action, DG Climate Action, 
  • What could the EU do outside the European Union? DG Devco
  • What actions are taken by the EIB? Mrs. Monica Peña Sastre, Policy Adviser Institutional Relations; Mr. Bert Teuwen, Senior Banker, EIB Brussels Office 
  • How important is Climate Change agenda for the EBRD? Mr Gianpiero Nacci, Associate Director, Head Sustainable Resources Investment and Ms Bénédicte Kariger Associate Director, in the Manufacturing and Services sector
* Presentations forthcoming



Youth in agribusiness: shaping the future of agriculture

18th May 2017. Brussels Policy Briefing. Youth in agribusiness: shaping the future of agriculture, organised by CTA, ACP Secretariat, European Commission (DG DEVCO), Concord, PAFO, AgriCord, and AFDB/AAIN

Panel 1: Employment creation for youth in the agricultural sectorThis panel shared data on youth employment in the agricultural sector and will bring various perspectives from research, policy and practice and define key actions to be taken to support youth in agribusiness.
  • Experiences of youth going into agriculture: main drivers of success Betty Wampfler (see picture), Deputy Director, IRC /Supagro, France
  • Promoting innovation and entrepreneurship through incubation Peter Kuria Githinji, Director Business Development and Partnerships, African Agribusiness Incubators Network (AAIN), Ghana
  • Improving financial inclusion of Youth through ICTs Gerald Otim, Founder and Chief operating officer, Ensibuuko, Uganda
Panel 2: Young farmers and entrepreneurs: successes and opportunities ahead.
This panel shared concrete successes across ACP countries from young entrepreneurs working in the agribusiness sector and discussed the drivers of success and their replicability and upscaling.
  • Youth Participation in agro-processing in Malawi Maness Ngoma Nkhata, Lakeshore Agro-ProcessingEnterprise (LAPE), Malawi
  • E-commerce opportunities for farmers Bertrand Foffe, founder Jangolo Farm, Cameroun
  • Improved agricultural information access through ICTs Patrick Sakyi, Expert mobile commerce business, Farmerline, Ghana

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mobile utility storage for Grains - Reducing Postharvest losses in Africa

Agronomists know that in environments like Northern Ghana which couple naturally moving air of low relative humidity and the heating effects of sunshine, grain will dry standing.

When grain is dried standing, it spends less time close to the ground exposed to the soil-borne fungi that produce aflatoxin. However those operations that are too small or not conscious of quality, harvest grain with little regard for moisture content onto drying tarpaulin or platforms that are at ground level. Additional handling and drying grain close to the ground increases the risk of soil borne fungi that produce aflatoxin and other pests.

Lack of success of using solar based drying among rural commercial [surplus] growers has been attributed to the cost, complicated operational procedures, and the reluctance to change from traditional methods.

It is encouraging that most Northern Ghana Development cultural advisors do see that postharvest is an integral part of the system. However, even though their extended family is exposed to “Postharvest and related input loss” (PHL) like aflatoxin, advisors fail to address how:
  • Bio-control products must overcome the tendency of fungi to exchange DNA before they are an effective means to reduce aflatoxins 
  • Sun and heat will stop fungi, but the colorless aflatoxin that remains is extremely difficult to manually sort from surplus grain 
  • Depending on the crop, when low levels of fungi or insects enter typical “Grain Distribution and Logistical Infrastructure” (GDLI), higher levels of aflatoxin result (IARC, 2015) 
  • Periodic sack rotations are invasive and a labor intensive method of monitoring grain quality
Historically grower harvest grains to be dried, aggregated, stored,
processed and marketed with Grain Distribution Logistics and
Infrastructure (GDLI) and after family needs, surplus
exits to consumers. 
A Grain Distribution Logistics and Infrastructure (GDLI) utility mitigates condensation and rises above the fungi that causes “Postharvest and related input loss” (PHL) like aflatoxin.
  • It is mobile and can be leased to cost-effectively alleviate “Postharvest and related input loss” (PHL) at control points like harvest aggregation, drying platforms, monitoring, storing and processing.
  • Three people with basic construction skills and farm tools can assemble utility GDLI. 
  • Fabricating GDLI in country requires sheet metal and welding skills.
  • Long lasting and low maintenance metal outperforms locally available materials, by forming roofs that allow monitoring and mitigate condensation so residual fungi and dormant insects die.
  • Roofs are supported by robust walls and cone shaped floors that are raised to stop rats, ground water and let gravity enhance the labor for aggregation, cooling aeration, primary processing and cleaning (utility). 
  • Combining utility with wheels creates cost-effective GDLI that: when empty, can be positioned to address contamination, proximity for monitoring, scale for weather, crop pests or demand; let’s transport go to haul heavy loads and facilitates marketing opportunities that reduce the yield gap optimally.
Sources:

Food Security: At the Heart of the Solution to Demographic, Migration and Security Challenges

16 May 2017. Brussels. In collaboration with the Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission, the SWAC Secretariat discussed why the challenges facing food security in West Africa should not be overshadowed by the resurgence of demographic, migration and security concerns on the international agenda. See web stream
  • Food security issues are at the heart of these concerns and should be considered as part of the solution to the challenges they raise. Of central importance is the food sector which is the largest economic sector in the region, far ahead of extractive industries, cash crops or the energy sector. 
  • The food economy offers huge potential for creating more jobs, stimulating stronger and more inclusive growth, opening up a wider field of opportunities - in rural and urban areas - for agricultural producers and entrepreneurs, and pulling the most vulnerable out of poverty and insecurity. 
Introduction: 
  • Leonard MIZZI, Head of Unit, Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition (DEVCO C1)
  • Charlotte ADRIAEN, Deputy Head of Unit, Development Coordination and Regional Cooperation WestAfrica (DEVCO E2)
Presentation: 
  • Laurent BOSSARD, Director, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat
  • Philipp HEINRIGS, Senior Economist, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat


Related:
Maps and facts on Food issues and Demographic, Migration and Security Challenges 
Burkina Faso, 2016 © OECD/SWAC
November 2016 (40 pages)


This document promotes the following key message: the challenges facing food security should not be overshadowed by the resurgence of demographic, migration and security concerns on the international agenda. Rather, food security is closely related to these issues, and should be considered as part of the solution to the challenges they raise.

Food issues are at the heart of the West African economy and society; ignoring their importance would be a strategic error. The business of making food for human consumption, including all elements of the value chain – production, processing and distribution – is the largest sector in the region, far ahead of oil, cash crops or industry. The food sector is key for creating more jobs, stimulating stronger and more inclusive growth, opening up a wider field of opportunities for agricultur al producers and other entrepreneurs, and pulling the most vulnerable out of poverty and insecurity.

Background:


Created in 1984, the RPCA is an international network for co-operation and co-ordination under the political leadership of the Commissions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). Co-ordinated jointly by the Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) and the Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat (SWAC/OECD), the RPCA brings together the region’s key food and nutrition security stakeholders: representatives of Sahelian and West African countries, regional organisations, regional and international information systems, bilateral and multilateral co-operation agencies, humanitarian agencies and international NGOs, agricultural professional organisations, civil society and the private sector.


Published on 26 Apr 2017 : RPCA meeting, 10-12 April 2017

Members of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) reviewed the final results of the 2016-17 agro-pastoral campaign, analysed the food and nutrition situation and made some recommendations, particularly focused on mobilising urgent and co-ordinated assistance to the affected populations in the Lake Chad basin. They also encouraged all stakeholders to commit to implementing long-term programmes to rehabilitate and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable populations.

 

PAEPARD: ARD funding opportunities

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A G R I C U L T U R E

The Agriculture Fast Track (AFT) Fund is facilitating investments in agricultural infrastructure in Africa by lowering project preparation costs for AFT Grant Recipients. The AFT Fund is a multi-donor trust fund managed by the African Development Bank with funding support from the US government represented by USAID (US$ 12 million), the Danish Government represented by DANIDA (US$ 1.8 million) and the Swedish Government represented by SIDA (US$ 10 million). The types of projects envisioned range from rural feeder roads to agro-processing and marketing facilities to out-grower schemes. The emphasis will be on projects that contribute to food security and support to smallholders. The Call for Concept Notes (CNs) under the auspices of the Fund is currently on with a deadline for online submission of CNs set today Tuesday 16 May, 2017.

The Ekhaga Foundation makes grants for research in ecological agriculture and biological medicine. Universities, research institutes, etc., from all over the world are invited to apply. Ekhaga requires cooperation with a Swedish institution for applications that do not come from Europe or North America. The deadline for applications is 20 May 2017.

The University of Florida calls for research and capacity-building proposals in support of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems (LSIL), funded by the U.S. government. LSIL aims to enhance the production, marketing, and consumption of animal-source foods in target countries, with current focus on Burkina Faso and Niger. The program offers two Reach Grants for projects of up to 38 months and with budgets up to $1 million per project. It also offers four Focus Grants for projects up to 12 months and budgets up to US$150 thousand per project. Applications are invited from institutes, universities, and organizations in Burkina Faso, Niger, USA, and other countries. The application date is 26 May for Focus Grant proposals.

U.S. Department of State — The program aims to increase the productivity, competitiveness, and sustainability in selected value chains and areas of the agribusiness sector to boost Tunisia’s agro-food exports. Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations; for-profit organizations; private institutions of higher education, public and state institutions of higher education; public international organizations; and small businesses. The U.S. Embassy in Tunis strongly encourages applications from civil society organizations headquartered in the Middle East and North Africa. Funding Opportunity NEAAC-EMBASSYTUNIS-16-002. The application deadline is 08 June 2017

The Orange Social Venture Prize is awarded to entrepreneurs and start-up organizations that make innovative use of ICTs in agriculture, energy, and other fields of development. The geographical focus is Africa and the Middle East. Prizes range from €10 thousand to €25 thousand, plus professional support for a period of six months. The eligible countries are Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Dem Rep Congo, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Jordan, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Liberia, Senegal, and Tunisia. The registration deadline is 06 June 2017.

 LEAP AGRI (EU-Africa co fund call AGRIFOOD)
The objective of LEAP-AGRI is to fulfill the ambition of the Europe Africa dialogue in Science and Technology (the HLPD) to launch a joint flagship initiative on its chosen priority area: Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA). This is the list of countries of which the research bodies are bringing in fudning (partners should thus be found within those countries: 2+2 model to create a consortium): 12 African countries: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, Egypt, Cameroon , Uganda, Madagascar, Tunis, Madagascar. 10 European partner countries: the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Finland, Portugal, Norway, Italy, Turkey and Belgium. Deadline for submission of proposals:
15 June 2017

The CFH Foundation makes grants to nonprofit organizations worldwide for projects in conservation, sustainable agriculture, and health in developing countries. The average grant is approximately US$20 thousand. The next deadline for concept applications is 01 July 2017.

Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative (SIANI) offers seed funding to expert groups that support its vision and mission to understand emerging issues in food security and nutrition in low-income countries. Expert groups comprise a diverse group of stakeholders (academia, NGOs, private business, government, etc.) to prepare publications, organize events, and engage in other activities that strengthen the Swedish resource base and their partners. Expert groups do not need to be geographically located in Sweden. However, if an expert group is established outside Sweden, it needs to have a clear link to the Swedish resource base and Swedish funded activities. The deadline for proposals is 15 July 2017.

The Erbacher Foundation supports rural development in subject areas that include livestock husbandry, crop production, drinking water, and environmental protection. The priority countries are India, Tanzania, and Uganda. Applications are invited from Germany charitable organizations involved in development cooperation. Applying organizations need to have partnerships with local NGOs. The German institution is responsible for project administration and coordination. Next application deadline is 01 August 2017.

The Monsanto Fund makes grants to strengthen agricultural communities in several countries around the world. Grants of US$25 thousand and more are available to tax-exempt charitable organizations for activities and projects that address farmers’ education and training; food security; community water and sanitation; and other local needs. Monsanto’s international grants are administered at the country level. The Fund presents a list of eligible countries. Monsanto accepts international applications during two periods each year. The second period ranges from 01 July through 31 August

The Nestlé Foundation supports research in human nutrition in low-income and lower middle-income countries. The Foundation will consider research in areas such as food policy, food production (i.e., related to agricultural development), and food technology if the proposed interventions have high potential for sustainable improvement of nutritional status. The Foundation offers training grants; pilot grants; small and large research grants; and re-entry grants to encourage the return of post-graduate students to their home countries. Interested researchers are invited to submit letters of intent (LOIs). At any time.

The program area “seed funding” of the Innocent Foundation makes grants to partner NGOs to deliver small-scale agricultural projects that have strong local impacts in the developing world. In addition to grant for agriculture, past projects include several that address water, forests, biodiversity, and related issues in environment and natural resources. Applying organizations must be registered charities in the UK. Grants are up to £30 thousand per year for three years. At any time.

The African Union Research Grants (AURG) programme supports research and innovation in Africa and is supported by the European Union through the Pan African programme (2014-2020) with a budget of €17.5 million for two calls in 2016 and 2017. The closing date for applications in 2016 was 31 August 2016. The focus of the 2017 Edition is expected to be on nutrition.


Bio-diversity, environment, climate change

The ADAPT-Africa project aims to increase actions needed at national- and subnational levels in African countries to attract investment that builds resilience to climate change. Interested organizations are expected to propose activities according to their organization’s strengths and experience. The relevant countries are Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia. Eligibility for funding extends to U.S. non-profit NGOs and for-profit organizations, non-profit organizations in other countries, educational institutions, and public international organizations. The closing date is 22 May 2017

UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) announced grants that help UK researchers develop and strengthen collaborative links with international partners. Pump Priming grants are a maximum of £40 thousand for up to two years. Pump Priming Plus grants are a maximum of £250 thousand for up to three years. Eligibility is limited to applicants currently having grants through NERC. The closing date for proposals is 06 June 2017.

The European Commission (EC) invites applications to promote expanded access to rural energy in Lesotho. Activities should focus on commercial opportunities for solar innovations in households; demonstration of mini-grid projects; and support for businesses that offer sustainable energy products and services in rural Lesotho. The lead applicant should be an NGO, private company, research institute, public sector operator, or local authority in Lesotho or an EU member state. International (inter-governmental) organisations are also eligible. Reference EuropeAid/155297/DD/ACT/LS. The deadline for concept notes is 07 June 2017.

Toyota makes grants to support environmental activities implemented by nonprofit organizations. The themes are “biodiversity conservation” and “counter measures to global warming.” Grants are made in Japan and internationally. The international program is open to applicants in Japan, and to international partners in collaboration with Japanese groups. The application deadline is 23 June 2017.

Spain’s Biodiversity Foundation funds conservation field projects, research, education and training, and public awareness. Most grants are made in Spain. However, the Foundation is willing to consider international projects proposed by Spanish nonprofit NGOs; by large international nonprofit NGOs; by nonprofit organizations in other EU member states; and projects co-funded by AECID (Spain’s agency for international development cooperation). Grants are up to €50 thousand for one year. The closing date for the main program of competitive grants is 30 June 2017.

The Van Tienhoven Foundation for International Nature Protection promotes the protection, conservation, and sustainable use of ecosystems and their living organisms. The Foundation aims to counter the human-induced causes of threats to biodiversity. Grants are for projects outside of the Netherlands, and they should be initiated and owned or widely supported by local stakeholders. Government organizations are excluded from applying, and academic studies are not supported. The maximum grant is €10 thousand. The next application deadline is 15 August 2017.

The New England Biolabs Foundation makes grants to grassroots and charitable organizations to support conservation of biological diversity; ecosystem services; community food security; and marine environment. The geographical scope includes selected and conservation sub-regions of Central America, the Andean region of South America, and West Africa.  Grant seekers should review the geographical priorities carefully.  Maximum grant size is US$10 thousand, although most grants are smaller. The next periods for letters of inquiry is 01 July through 15 August 2017.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Adaptation Fund makes grants for projects and programs that address the adverse impacts of climate change. Eligibility for grants extends to countries which are Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, with emphasis on developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Grants are primarily to government organizations such as national ministries, development institutes, local government authorities, and others — sometimes in partnership with civil society organizations. Project proposals are submitted through any of the Fund’s national, regional, or multilateral implementing entities.  The next deadline is 07 August 2017.

Fellowships/scholarships/grants

The Climate Systems Analysis Group (CSAG) at the University of Cape Town organizes a “winter school” intensive course, with the next one scheduled for five days in July 2017. The course is presented by facilitators from CSAG and other institutions to take participants through the full spectrum of topics related to climate and climate change, with an emphasis on issues in developing countries. CSAG offers partial sponsorships to some participants. The application deadline is 19 May 2017.

With financial support from the government of Sweden, the Association of African Universities (AAU) will make grants of up to US$600 per person to help post-graduate university students acquire practical skills via internships of 12-24 weeks. The grants are for training purposes only, not for the completion of theses or dissertations. The program is open to students in AAU member institutions. The deadline for applications (English, French) is 23 May 2017.

The Pan African University (PAU) of the African Union Commission seeks to develop institutions of excellence in science, technology, innovation, social sciences, and governance in Africa. The African Union offers the Pan African University Scholarship for masters and PhD degree programs at four PAU Institutes (in Algeria, Cameroon, Kenya, and Nigeria). Subject areas for the postgraduate educational programs include agriculture, water resources, arid lands management, energy, environmental management, and many others — varying among the PAU Institutes. The scholarships program is open to applicants from African countries and the African Diaspora. The deadline for applications (English, French) is 31 May 2017.

The International Development Research Centre (IRDC) announces the 2017 round of doctoral research grants for Canadians, permanent residents of Canada, and citizens of developing countries pursuing doctoral studies at Canadian universities Thematic priorities include agriculture and environment (including climate change), among others. IDRC supports research in all developing countries, with certain exceptions (explained in the announcement). The program aims to fund approximately 20 grants at up to CA$20 thousand each. The deadline for applications (English, French) is 31 May 2017.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) announced thirty Netaji Subhas-ICAR international fellowships for doctoral degrees in agriculture and allied sciences at agricultural universities and institutions in India and abroad. The priority areas are crop sciences, horticulture, animal sciences, natural resource management, agricultural engineering, and fisheries.  The application deadline is 15 June 2017.

India’s National Institute of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD) invites international candidates from developing countries to apply for six-week training courses scheduled during July-August in India.  Course topics for this period include rural enterprise planning and promotion; women and youth enterprise in water and sanitation; and others. NIESBUD lists additional courses available later in the year. The program covers transportation and visa costs, course fees, accommodation, and living and book allowances for course participants.  The application deadline for the July-August courses is 10 June 2017.

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) makes grants through the Freezailah Fellowship Fund for training opportunities, demonstration tours, participation in conferences and workshops, preparation of technical papers, and post-graduate degrees. Grants up to US$10 thousand are in support of sustainable tropical forest management. Applicants are young and mid-career professionals in ITTO’s member countries; most grants are to individuals in the developing countries. The next application deadline is 20 June 2017.

The Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition sponsors BCFN YES! (Young Earth Solutions) is an international competition for young researchers on the theme of sustainable food systems. The program offers one-year research grants up to €20 thousand to PhD and postdoc researchers worldwide from any background and nationality. The maximum age is 35. Subject areas include climate change, resilient agriculture, sustainable water management, ecosystem services, food policy, and many others. The competition encourages the participation of teams from different disciplines and countries who wish to combine their expertise in innovative approaches.  The deadline for proposals is 28 June 2017

Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) offers short courses in Israel in subject areas of agriculture, climate change, and related themes. Courses are available in English, Spanish, Russian, and French. Courses in English include one on Clean Technologies from 27 August through 20 September. For most courses, MASHAV offers a limited number of scholarships to cover course fees, accommodation, medical insurance, and other expenses in Israel (but not international airfare). Applications are submitted through Israel’s diplomatic missions at country level. The deadline to apply for this course is 30 June 2017.

RUFORUM is offering support for seven staff exchanges at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR). The goal of the fellowships is to provide opportunities for academics from outside Malawi to enhance faculty teaching, research, and collaboration at LUANAR. Applications are invited from permanent teaching faculty staff at a RUFORUM  member university. Application deadline: 30 June 2017

The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) are offering postgraduate training fellowships for women scientists from Sub-Saharan Africa and least developed countries (LDC) at Centres of Excellence in the South. Application deadline: 30 June 2017

The government of New Zealand sponsors LEARN (Building Capacity in livestock emissions research).  LEARN currently invites applications for postdoctoral fellowships of one to two years from technical staff and scientists in developing countries who will work with New Zealand colleagues. Applicants need the collaborative support of a New Zealand host organization, which will administer the funds.  Expressions of interest (EOI) can be submitted at any time during the year, and full applications must be submitted by 30 June 2017.

The Integrated Research on Disaster Risks (IRDR) Young Scientists Programme invites young researchers worldwide to join its professional network of professionals and practitioners.  Eligibility extends to candidates affiliated with an academic program (either master or doctorate) as a student or as a young faculty, and working on research related to disaster risk reduction and its link to broader issues of environment and development.  Applicants should be less than age 40 on the date of application. There is no cash grant, but IRDR Young Scientists are offered opportunities for networking and training. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2017.

The RUFORUM program for Graduate Training Assistantships (GTA) is offering support for 325 PhD training opportunities for the next 5 years under the GTA for the academic year beginning January, 2017. Eligible applicants must be a staff member at a RUFORUM member university and nominated for PhD training by their university.

Sida funds short-term training in selected development topics for participants from developing countries. The Africa program includes a course on strategic environmental assessment, with a focus on energy.  Participants may be nominated by organizations and agencies within the energy sector that work actively with energy plans, policies, and programmes at national or regional levels. The following countries are invited to nominate candidates: Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zambia.  The training will be provided in two parts, first in Sweden and then to be decided. The closing date for applications is 31 July 2017

Australia’s International Water Center announces funding for three international candidates accepted into the Master of Integrated Water Management. Two scholarships will cover full tuition and living expenses, and a third will cover full tuition. Applications are invited from eligible countries in Asia-Pacific; Africa; Latin America and Caribbean; the Middle East; Europe; and North America. The application deadline is 01 August 2017

The Australian Center for International Agricultural Research ACIAR awards the John Dillon Fellowships to young agricultural scientists and economists in developing countries for professional visits to Australia. The fellowships aim to develop leadership skills in agricultural research management, agricultural policy, and/or extension technologies. Applicants are citizens of ACIAR’s priority partner countries who spend several weeks at one or two host Australian organizations. ACIAR funds eight to ten John Dillon fellowships per year. The deadline for applications is 31 August.

The International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) offers PhD, Postdoctoral and Short-term fellowships in Life Sciences to scientists from ICGEB’s member states. The fellowships are for research at collaborating universities in Trieste, New Delhi, and Cape Town. Application deadlines: Short-term fellowships 30 June, 30 September, 31 December.  

AWARDS & O T H E R

The Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) makes awards of US$5 thousand to each of up to three young agricultural researchers in developing countries who contribute to outstanding research and development in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and related themes. Candidates need to be younger than age 40. The deadline for applications is 26 May 2017.

The Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association (GSDI Association) makes cash grants of US$ 2,500 to support national or sub-national activities in developing countries for capacity building related to environment and sustainable development. Grants can be used to foster partnerships, develop in-country technical capacity, improve data compatibility and access, and increase political support for spatial data infrastructure. The application deadline is 01 June 2017.

The winner for the Africa Food Prize 2017 will be awarded at the Africa Food Prize gala dinner on 6th September 2017 during AGRF in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Nominations for the Africa Food Prize 2017 closes on Monday 5 June 2017.

The British Council Newton Fund grants for trilateral research workshops between the UK, Kenya and South Africa + Workshops which bring together early-career researchers from the UK and South Africa. Eligible subject areas include agriculture, climate and environment, sustainable energy, reduction of disaster risks, and others. Proposals have a principal applicant from the UK and a principal applicant from the partner country. The closing date for submissions is 13 June 2017.

Young Champions of the Earth is a newly launched initiative co-supported by UN Environment and Covestro to identify and support outstanding environmental initiatives of talented people worldwide between the ages of 18 and 30. The program is a global stage to showcase technological inventions and innovative business models that improve the planet’s health. The program will select six Young Champions of the Earth every year — one from each of Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America, and West Asia. Each winner will receive US$15 thousand in seed funding, plus various opportunities for high-profile networking and entrepreneurship training. The deadline for applications is 18 June 2017.

CRDF Global invites early-career scientists working and living in the USA to apply for travel grants to build new research partnerships with colleagues in South and Southeast Asia; Latin America; and Sub-Saharan Africa. The subject areas are the natural sciences and engineering. Grants are up to US$10 thousand. The application deadline is 30 June 2017.

SFIAR annually awards a prize to scientists working at or in association with a Swiss institution in agricultural research for development. For 2017, the best team project will be awarded CHF 10 thousand, and the best masters project CHF 1 thousand. To be eligible, research must have been carried out at or in close collaboration with a Swiss institution. The deadline for applications (French, German, English) is 13 July 2017.

The Global Development Network (GDN) is offering six finalists the chance to win a prize of up to US$30,000 for their creative proposals under this year’s Global Development Awards Competition, an innovative awards scheme for development practitioners and researchers across the globe. This year, the competition's theme is ‘Skills Development and Employment Generation,’ and adopts a sectoral focus which will reward creative thinking and innovative actions for skilling, technical education and training in the sectors of agriculture, manufacturing and digital technology. APPLICATION DEADLINE: 16 July, 2017


The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) is accepting nominations for its annual Science Award. The purpose of the award is to recognize distinguished contributions by scientists involved with global ecological intensification as related to crop production. Private or public sector agronomists, crop scientists, soil scientists, and food scientists from all countries are eligible. The winner will receive a plaque and a monetary award of USD 5,000. Nomination deadline: 30 September

Monday, May 15, 2017

Aflanet: Joining Forces Against Aflatoxins

18 April 2017. In the inter-departmental project “Aflanet”, MRI scientists are building a German-
Kenyan network of scientists, public and private organizations, as well as farmers to reduce aflatoxin in the food chain.
  1. The project is coordinated by the Department of Safety and Quality of Cereals in Detmold, which developed an instant aflatoxin test using corn samples from Kenya. The idea was to create a test that is so easy to handle that African famers can administer it themselves. The food to be tested is ground, put in a container with a liquid extraction agent such as alcohol or water, and then shaken. The liquid is filtered and dripped onto a strip, which is inserted in a measuring device that shows the overall aflatoxin level within one minute.
  2. The Department of Safety and Quality of Milk and Fish Products in Kiel studies critical contamination levels in animal feed and how they carry over into dairy products. Cows from the experimental station in Schädtbek near Kiel were given feed containing aflatoxin B1. Later, an analysis of their milk showed that in complete feedingstuffs, at normal levels of concentrated feed, the current critical aflatoxin level did not result in excessive levels of the toxin in the dairy product. The carry-over rate was two percent. Aflatoxin levels could be lowered by 25 percent by adding aflatoxin binder to the milk – a potential way to reduce the toxin, at least temporarily.
  3. The Department of Safety and Quality of Fruit and Vegetables in Karlsruhe uses molecular-biological methods to study the factors that generate aflatoxin. They hope their insights will lead to a method to suppress the production of the toxin and optimise storage conditions. The goal is to develop a sort of heat map that shows high risk or presence of activated aflatoxins. The activation of genes can be measured using modern analytical methods such as microarray, real-time PCR or ddPCR technologies (Droplet Digital PCR). The researchers successfully developed a ddPCR-system to show the activity of a gene that controls the generation of aflatoxin (aflR). More ddPCR-systems are in the pipeline.
Announcement:

AflaNet • one-day-conference • call for abstracts
Conference date: 9th October, 2017
Venue: Nairobi, Kenya.
(see link at the bottom)

The organizers of the AflaNet project are announcing a conference to be held in Nairobi, Kenya. The aim of the conference is to bring together scientists, stakeholders, institutes, farmers and governmental institutions seeking for long-lasting, innovative and practicable ideas to combat Aflatoxin from the food value chain.

The project funded by the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture in 2016 is designed as an initial study that is planned to be followed by a more intensive, overall collaborative project with African partners. The goal of the AflaNet project is to establish a long-term network between scientific and development partners in Kenya/East Africa and Germany to address the reduction of aflatoxins in the food value chain. Scientific results have been gathered by conducting a carry-over study of aflatoxin into milk, about verifying aflatoxin rapid tests and molecular methods to minimise contamination.
  • Send abstract to: Aflanet@mri.bund.de
  • Deadline for abstract submission: 15th June, 2017
  • Notification of acceptance 15th August, 2017

Nutrition-sensitive food systems: from concepts to practice

15 May 2017. Brussels. Infopoint Lunchtime Conference: "Nutrition-sensitive food systems: from concepts to practice: Resources for developing capacities of policy and programme planners".

The European Commission is a key supporter of efforts to scale up nutrition efforts at global and country levels, especially through its investments in agriculture and rural development. Developing capacities of policy and programme planners in nutrition-sensitive approaches is essential to make these efforts sustainable. FAO will present innovative resources, prepared with support from the EU, World Bank and German government.
  • Introduction: Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit, DEVCO C.1 – Rural Development, Food and Nutrition Security
  • Cristina Amaral, Director, FAO liaison office with the European Union and Belgium
  • Charlotte Dufour, FAO Nutrition policy and programme officer
  • Domitille Kauffmann, FAO Nutrition and resilience and capacity development advisor

Related:
FAO developed e- learning courses for professionals working in food and nutrition security, social and economic development and sustainable management of natural resources. It provides learners with free access to content that can interest them and support them in their job. The courses cover a wealth of topics of global interest. They offer content for self-pace learning as well as materials for trainers and references to existing bibliography and online resources.

Select a course:
Improving Nutrition through Agriculture and Food Systems
This course illustrates the linkages between agriculture, food systems and nutrition. Starting from two realistic scenarios, the course describes benefits and opportunities for integrating nutrition into food system policies, investments and programmes. It also provides a series of examples of nutrition-sensitive policies and interventions, as well as an overview of the main initiatives and commitment on nutrition on which learners can build to integrate nutrition in their work.
Nutrition, Food Security and Livelihoods: Basic concepts
This short 35-minute module addresses the basic terms and concepts relating to food and nutrition, malnutrition, food security and livelihoods. By the end of this module, you will be able to define and differentiate these key concepts and understand the different situations that they encompass. Understanding these concepts is indeed very important in order to be able to assess the nutrition situation, to design and implement programmes, investments and policies that address nutrition problems (also called "nutrition-sensitive"), and to evaluate the nutritional outcomes of programmes, investments and policies.
This interactive course is a self-training tool. It guides you through the simulation of a workshop process in the fictional country of Namambar. You will learn how to use a methodology based on malnutrition problem-and-solution trees to support joint planning for combating food insecurity and malnutrition. Through this course, you will also improve your understanding of the multisectoral causes of malnutrition, and gain new facilitation skills for successful participatory workshops. 
Food Composition Data
The FAO/INFOODS e-Learning Course on Food Composition Data will contribute to close the knowledge gap on food composition of nutritionists and all those generating, compiling or using food composition data. The course aims at making learners aware of all important issues; nevertheless the course cannot provide the necessary experience to become a full-fledged food composition expert. This will only come with experience and when actually working with food composition data. However, if most nutritionists and professionals working with food composition data acquired the knowledge of this course, it would make a great difference in data quality, availability and use.
Nutritional Status Assessment and Analysis
This course covers the basic concepts of malnutrition, describes how nutritional status is assessed, and identifies the most commonly used nutrition indicators, as well as the criteria to be used when selecting the indicators in specific contexts and situations.

7th Multi-Stakeholder Partnership meeting of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock

Fritz Schneider, chair of the Global 

Agenda for Sustainable Livestock
8–12 May 2017. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. More than 250 livestock experts from over 50 countries explored ways of ensuring that the long-term benefits of livestock contribute to sustainable development.

The year’s meeting shared and discussed progress in the development of tools and models to monitor sustainable livestock sector development. It will articulate lessons from successful tool application and practice change. It will also identify opportunities that GASL and its members can exploit to ensure multiple benefits accrue from sustainable livestock development.

FAO is actively involved in and hosts the secretariats of GASL and the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance (LEAP) partnership. It is also supports Africa Sustainable Livestock 2050 and other initiatives that are developing tools and models, such as the Global Livestock Environmental Assessment Model (GLEAM), and guidelines to monitor the development of the sector. 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A new professionalism for agricultural research for development

2 May 2017. Published online. A new professionalism for agricultural research for development
Boru Douthwaite, J. Marina Apgar, Anne-Maree Schwarz, Simon Attwood, Sonali Senaratna Sellamuttu & Terry Clayton

Abstract
There have been repeated calls for a ‘new professionalism’ for carrying out agricultural research for development since the 1990s. At the centre of these calls is a recognition that for agricultural research to support the capacities required to face global patterns of change and their implications on rural livelihoods, requires a more systemic, learning focused and reflexive practice that bridges epistemologies and methodologies. In this paper, we share learning from efforts to mainstream such an approach through a large, multi-partner CGIAR research program working in aquatic agricultural systems. We reflect on four years of implementing research in development (RinD), the program’s approach to the new professionalism. We highlight successes and challenges and describe the key characteristics that define the approach. We conclude it is possible to build a program on a broader approach that embraces multidisciplinarity and engages with stakeholders in social-ecological systems. Our experience also suggests caution is required to ensure there is the time, space and appropriate evaluation methodologies in place to appreciate outcomes different to those to which conventional agricultural research aspires.

Responding to global change: A theory of change approach to making agricultural research for development outcome-based
PK Thorntona, T Schuetza, W Förcha, 1, L Cramera, b, D Abreub, S Vermeulenc, BM Campbellb, c

Abstract
Agricultural research for development has made important contributions to poverty reduction and food security over the last 40 years. Nevertheless, it is likely that both the speed of global change and its impacts on natural and socio-economic systems are being under-estimated. Coupled with the moral imperative to justify the use of public resources for which there are multiple, competing claims, research for development needs to become more effective and efficient in terms of contributing towards longer-term development goals. Currently there is considerable debate about the ways in which this may be achieved. Here we describe an approach based on theory of change. This includes a monitoring, evaluation and learning system that combines indicators of progress in research along with indicators of change aimed at understanding the factors that enable or inhibit the behavioural changes that can bring about development impacts.

Theory of change represents our best understanding of how engagement and learning can enable change as well as how progress towards outcomes might be measured. We describe the application of this approach and highlight some key lessons learned. Although robust evidence is currently lacking, a theory of change approach appears to have considerable potential to achieve impacts that balance the drive to generate new knowledge in agricultural research with the priorities and urgency of the users and beneficiaries of research results, helping to bridge the gap between knowledge generation and development outcomes.

Liver Cancer on Rise, Aflatoxin Contributes

May 5, 2017. US National Institutes of Health.There are few other chemical carcinogens as closely tied to causing cancer as aflatoxin, a product of mold, usually in corn, that is ubiquitous on planet Earth. First discovered in the United Kingdom in 1960, aflatoxin was soon thereafter linked to disease when it was implicated in the deaths of turkeys who had consumed moldy peanut meal. Identified as a cause of liver cancer from both experimental studies and epidemiology, aflatoxin remains a significant contributor to liver cancer in humans, which is now the second leading cause of global cancer deaths.
“Deng Xioping [who led the People’s Republic of China from 1978 to 1989] allowed farmers to make a profit, so the local agriculture switched from corn to rice as a staple commodity. The reduction in aflatoxin exposure has been about 4,000 percent. It’s like quitting smoking to reduce lung cancer. We should never forget that primary prevention can have profound benefits.” Dr. Croopman*
Besides China, aflatoxin exposure has been linked to acute toxicities in communities suffering from drought and poor crops, impairment of child growth and development and cancer in many countries across the globe.

* Dr. Groopman is the Anna M. Baetjer Professor of Environmental Health Sciences and Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences in the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Professor of Oncology and Associate Director of the Cancer Center for Cancer Prevention and Control at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.]

Video lecture from the US National Institutes of Health
Air date: Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 2:00:00 PM
Runtime: 00:55:16
Description: Stars in Nutrition and Cancer
The aim of the lecture was to learn about the historic role that the dietary carcinogen aflatoxin has played in human liver cancer, to outline how mechanistic studies of aflatoxin has helped establish a paradigm for chemoprevention in high risk populations, and to project the emerging role of this agent in fatty liver disease and emerging data on liver cancer in Central America.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Biotechnology: from Innovation to Industrial Production

10 May 2017. Gent. In many parts of the world a knowledge-based bio-economy is emerging using
eco-efficient bio-processes and renewable biological resources to create new value chains. These innovations are enabled by unprecedented advances in biotechnology offering new technological solutions for sustainable agricultural development and the production of food, feed, fiber, energy and improved health care from renewable biomass or underutilized biological resources.

The 2017 IIBN Forum brought together experts in the area of biotechnology who addressed the industrial chain from innovation to the market side. The focus is to promote value creation beyond food production to support sustainable development in Africa and other developing countries.

SPEAKERS:
  • Perspective UN Industrial Development Organization - Yvonne Lokko – United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Austria
  • Can Genetically Modified Crops Contribute to Food Security and Sustainable Agricultural Development?  Matin Qaim – University of Göttingen, Germany
    Many countries in Africa and Asia have established EU-style regulatory systems (and attitudes) that are stricter and more complex than for any other agricultural technology. The effects of over regulation are: (a)Fuels public notion that GM crops are dangerous (b) Makes technology unnecessarily expensive (c) Contributes to industry concentration (multinationals) (d) Contributes to focus on large countries, large crops, and traits of large commercial interest (e) Poor countries and people suffer most from overregulation (f) EU anti-biotech attitudes have far-reaching global implications.
  • Glycosylation as a Major Deciding Factor in Biopharmaceutical Expression System Choice - Nico Callewaert – VIB-UGent Center for Medical Biotechnology, Belgium
  • Plant-Made Pharmaceuticals and Biomaterials: Novel Industrial Processes & Products Relevant to Developing Countries Yuri Gleba – Icon Genetics, Germany
  • Oxitec – From a Laboratory to a Factory Amandine Collado – Oxytec, United Kingdom
  • The Innovative Biobased Economy in Europe: Value, Partnerships & Investments - Dirk Carrez – Bio-based Industry Consortium, Belgium
  • GFBiochemicals, the Engine to Valorize Levulinic Acid & Derivatives for or Society Today & Tomorrow - Rudy Parton – GF Biochemicals, Italy
  • Synthesis of Specialty Carbohydrates using Industrial Biotechnology Wim Soetaert – Inbiose, Belgium
  • The Role of GlobalYeast in the World-Wide Transition to a Sustainable Biobased Economy - Johan Thevelein – GlobalYeast, Belgium
  • Concluding Remarks - Marc Van Montagu – International Plant Biotechnology Outreach, VIB, Belgium


Related:
Published on 29 Sep 2013. Science Forum 2013. Plenary session: Evaluating nutrition and health outcomes of agriculture, Matin Qaim, University of Gottingen, main presentation: "How to Evaluate Nutrition and Health Impacts of Agricultural Innovations".



Transform Africa 2017, Kigali


10-12 May 2017. Transform Africa Summit is the leading African forum bringing together global and regional leaders from government, business and international organizations. This annual event enables them to collaborate on new ways of shaping, accelerating and sustaining Africa’s on-going digital revolution. This summit is geared to enable member states to become more competitive, open and innovative smart economies, with favourable business environment, leveraging ICT innovations. The countries will be able to attract large-scale investments, reward entrepreneurship, have rapid growth in exports, to transform African nations into smart societies.

Extract of the programme:

Smart Villages: Pathways to Africa’s digital transformation 
People are migrating from villages seeking an improved quality of life, good education, healthcare, access to electricity, etc. As this migration poses several challenges, there is a need and opportunity to create smart villages, especially in Africa where majority of the population live in rural areas. This session explored how to bridge the rural urban divide (economic, technological and those related to facilities and services) and what can be done to ensure that Smart villages become the drivers of Africa’s digital transformation.

Developing Integrated Smart Water and Energy Solutions for Communities 
The demand for sustainable energy and clean water in Africa is unprecedented; the energy supply and distribution gaps have a direct and indirect cost to African economies and households. How can smart energy and water solutions systems effectively solve this problem? Dimensionsaddressed: - Leveraging smart renewable energy and water solutions - Financing affordable clean energy - Up-scaling community level solutions 

Published on 11 May 2017

Heads of State attending the Transform Africa Summit in Kigali deliberated on how Africa can use ICT to accelerate it's socio-economic transformation, deliver wealth and prosperity for its citizens. During the high-level panel discussion, Rwanda's president Paul Kagame called for political will and urgency to fast track Africa's Digital Transformation.


Related: 
30 May - 02 June 2017. IST Africa 2017 Hosted by the Government of Namibia through the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology, and Supported by the European Commission and African Union Commission, IST-Africa Week 2017 is the twelfth in an annual series of Ministerial Level Technology Research Conferences.

Sessions related to agriculture:
Session 9e: eAgriculture
  • IoT at the Grassroots – Exploring the Use of Sensors for Livestock Monitoring, Ciira Maina, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Kenya
  • Jaguza Livestock APP, Ronald Katamba, AFROSOFT IT Solutions, Uganda
  • The development of a mobile information system to assess the food security of rural communities in South Africa, Marita Turpin, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • Farmers’ Perceptions of ICTs and its Effects on Access and Use of Agricultural Input Information in Developing Countries: Case of Sikasso, Mali, Suama Hamunyela , Namibia University of Science and Technology , Namibia

Session 10e: eAgriculture and Environmental Sustainability
  • "Virtuous Cycles" for Rural Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship Development, Johann (Rensie) Janse van Rensburg, CSIR, South Africa
  • Demonstrating Smart Irrigation Control and Communications Systems for Rural Farms, Robert BASOMINGERA, Carnegie Mellon University Africa, Rwanda
  • MCDA Criteria Elicitation For Dams In Conflicted Regions - Merowe Case Study, Mohamed Abdallah, Sudan university of science and technology, Sudan
  • Leakage Detection in Tsumeb East Water Distribution Network Using EPANET and Support Vector Regression, Joseph Kemba, University of Namibia, Namibia
  • Linking Climate Information to Livelihood Strategies through ICTs: the Role of Integrated Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, Michaelina Yohannis, University of Nairobi, Kenya