Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Innovation systems: Towards Effective Strategies in support of Smallholder Farmers

Innovation systems: Towards effective strategies in support of smallholder farmers
Francis, J.; Mytelka, L.; van Huis, A.; Röling, N.
2016 CTA; CoS; Wageningen University and Research, 256 pages

The result of an expert consultation, this publication examines ‘innovations systems’ – a concept suggested as underpinning industrial development – as a strategy for agricultural development. Innovation systems approaches conceptualise change as a long-term, socially-embedded process, and recognise the important role policy plays in shaping the parameters within which decisions are made. Providing a collection of papers and commentaries from the world’s top scholars and practitioners, this book looks at the strengths – but also the weaknesses and challenges – of the innovations systems approach and how it may be applied to benefit smallholder farmers.

Introduction - Why Focus on Innovation Systems: Implications for Research and Policy Judith Ann Francis and Arnold van Huis
  1. Chapter 1. Innovation Systems and Agriculture: Going Beyond Research for Increasing Yields - Merle Jacob
  2. Chapter 2. Innovation Systems Approaches to Agriculture and Rural Development - John Ouma-Mugabe
  3. Chapter 3. Innovation Systems Approaches in a Time of Transition - Lynn Mytelka
  4. Chapter 4. What is Systemic about Innovation Systems? The Implications for Policies, Governance and Institutionalization - Ray Ison
  5. Chapter 5. The Use of Innovation Systems in a Technology Development Programme: The Case of Research Into Use (RIU) - Norman Clark
  6. Chapter 6. Building Innovation Capacity of Local Actors: The Case of the Chilean and Argentine Wine Industries - Fulvia Farinelli
  7. Chapter 7. Innovation Systems and Capability Building among Smallholder Farmers: Lessons and Insights from Kenya’s Flower Farmers - Maurice Bolo
  8. Chapter 8. Political Power in Innovation Systems: Smallholder Sustainable Intensification and Rural Mechanization – Stephen Biggs and Scott Justice
  9. Chapter 9. The Uses of Research: Action Researching in and Across Nine Agro-Enterprise Domains. The Experience of the Convergence of Sciences-Strengthening Innovation Systems Programme in Benin, Ghana and Mali - Janice Jiggins, G. Essegbey, L. Klerkx, A. van Paassen, R. Pyburn and R. Tossou
  10. Chapter 10. Research and Experimentation in Support of Artisanal Palm Oil Production in Ghana - Charity Osei-Amponsah
  11. Chapter 11. Innovation Platform and Pricing Policies: The Case of Cocoa in Ghana - Richard Adu-Acheampong, E. Tei-Quartey, W. Jonfia-Essien, M. Owusu-Manu, M.S.N.K. Addo, K. Ofori-Frimpong, P. Osei-Fosu, M. Amuzu, C. Afari-Mintah, N. N. Eku-X, E.T.N. Quarshie and F. Otu Acquah
  12. Chapter 12. The Theory of Change Underlying the Efficiency of Agricultural Innovation Platforms (IPs): The Case of the Thyolo Vegetable IP in Malawi - Adewale Adekunle, A.O. Fatunbi and N. Kefasi
  13. Chapter 13. Innovation Platforms for Smallholders in Maize and Cassava Value Chains: DONATA’s Experiences in West and Central Africa - Sidi Sanyang, S.J.B. Taonda, J. Kuiseu and A. Kafando
  14. Chapter 14. Making Sense of Innovation Processes in African Smallholder Agriculture - Bernard Triomphe, A. Floquet, G. Kamau, B. Letty, C. Almekinders and A. Waters-Bayer
  15. Chapter 15. The Journey to R4D: An Institutional History of an Australian Initiative on Food Security in Africa - Andy Hall, P. Carberry, A. Djikeng, H. Roy-Macauley, B. Pengelly, A. Njoya, L. Ndungu, I. Kollo, C. Bruce, L. McMillan, R. Ison and B. Keating
  16. Chapter 16. Innovation Systems, Douglas, Douglass and Beyond: Using Cultural Theory to understand Approaches to Smallholder Development in Sub-Saharan Africa - Niels Röling
  17. Chapter 17. Innovation Systems, Agricultural Development and Economic Empowerment: Lessons from CTA’s Agricultural Science Technology and Innovation System Capacity - Judith Francis

Monday, January 16, 2017

Support of India to agricultural mechanization in Kenya

11 January 2017. India announced a USD 100 million Line of Credit to Kenya for agricultural mechanization after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Kenyan President, during which they also decided to deepen economic cooperation, identifying expansion of bilateral trade as a “priority”.

The upgrading of Rift Valley Textiles Factory (Rivatex) funded by a Sh2.995 billion ($29.95 million) LOC is ongoing, while another Sh1.5 billion ($15 million) LOC to IDB Capital Limited for development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is being implemented.

State Visit of the President of Kenya
to India (10-12 Jan 2017)
11-13 January 2017Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit. The central focus of the Summit was “Sustainable Economic and Social Development”. It brought together heads of states and governments, ministers, leaders from the corporate world, senior policy makers, heads of international institutions and academia from around the world to further the cause of development and to promote cooperation.

A Kenyan business Session was organised by FICCI, CII and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), in New Delhi on January 12, 2017.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Future of African Agriculture: Perspectives from the Next Generation of African Scientists

11 January 2017. Davis, USA. University of California, Plant and Environmental Science Bldg. Borlaug LEAP Fellows presented their perspectives from a book they are editing, The Future of African Agriculture: Perspectives from the Next Generation of African Scientists.

The book is showcasing the opportunities for Africa’s future in the midst of on-going challenges through current research and from the viewpoint of young African scientists. Seven former Fellows, now serving as editors on the book, presented current research in the context of the book. 

Dr. Dawd Gashu
Through presentation and panel discussion, the speakers covered the three main book topics:
  1. Africa Rising – small farmers feeding the continent
  2. Biotechnological advancement as a tool to enhance agricultural productivity in Africa and 
  3. Opportunities and challenges in Africa’s agriculture in 2050 and beyond 
The speakers represented both academic and government research institutes in seven different African countries (Togo, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Mali).

Dr. Waweru
Presenters and Panel:
  • Dr. Senorpe Asem-Hiablie, Ghana. Post-doctoral Researcher, USDA-ARS (Research:
    Investigations of Human Exposure Risk to Environmental Estrogens through Common Ingestion Pathways).
  • Dr. Dawd Gashu, Ethiopia. Assistant Professor of Nutrition, Addis Ababa University (Research: Effect of Micronutrient Status on Health and Metabolism of Children in Ethiopia)
    Dr. Assoumane
  • Mr. Kwevitoukoui Hounkpati, Togo. PhD Candidate, Entomology, University of Georgia (Research:  Systematic Studies of West African Ladybeetles (Coccinellidae)
  • Mr. Mustafa Jibrin, Nigeria. PhD Candidate, Plant Pathology, University of Florida-Gainesville (Research: Molecular Characterization and Race Classification of Bacteria Spot Pathogen of Tomato in Northwestern Nigeria).
  • Dr. Assoumane Maiga, Mali. Professor Advisor, Ministry of Education, Mali. (Research: Evaluating Communication Strategies and the Role of Mass Media in Disseminating Agriculture-related Information to Farmers in Post-conflict Nations)
  • Dr. Mariam Mtunguja, Tanzania. Senior Research Officer, Mikocheni Ag. Research Inst.
    Dr. Mtunguja
    (MARI) (Research: Genetic Diversity, Starch Physicochemical Properties and Cyanide Levels in Farmers' Preferred Cassava Landraces in the Eastern Zone of Tanzania)
  • Ms. Bernice Waweru, Kenya. Research Scientist, Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Org. (KALRO) (Research: An Implementation of Nested-Association Mapping for Stem Rust Resistance Genes in Bred Wheat)

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Agricultural mechanisation: how adapted financial solutions can make a difference

Food security in sub-Saharan Africa: a fresh look on agricultural mechanisation; how adapted financial solutions can make a difference
Ströh de Martínez, Christiane / Marietta Feddersen / Anna Speicher 
2016 German Development Institute (DIE) Bonn: Studies 91, 191 pp.

Much of sub-Saharan Africa’s farmland is (still) cultivated with the hand hoe, and agricultural processing and transport are often done manually. This limits the potential of agriculture in the region. 

Mechanization can help to alleviate food shortages and enhance agricultural development. However, this implies high levels of investment for farmers and some risks for rural populations and eco-systems. The necessary financing is especially difficult to access and risky for longer-term agricultural investments such as mechanisation. In addition, there can be trade-offs between mechanisation and employment.

To better understand how mechanization can contribute to food security, this study first assesses the controversial impact of mechanization on rural populations and their environments. In a second step, the difficulty in accessing financing is analysed, distilling success factors for financing mechanisation. Thereby, the study aims at bringing the sectors of agriculture and finance closer together with the overall objective of fighting food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa.

1 February 2017. "Transformer l’agriculture ouest-africaine par le développement de la mécanisation : quelles politiques publiques ?".
  • Cet atelier, qui durera toute la journée, a pour but d’engager des réflexions relatives à la transformation  de l’agriculture de la sous-région, en vue de favoriser une intensification agricole raisonnée. L’atelier a ainsi pour objectif de formuler des recommandations destinées aux principaux acteurs et tout particulièrement aux décideurs politiques, aux banques et aux organisations de producteurs. 
  • Cet atelier est organisé en partenariat avec le Ministère de l’Agriculture et de l’Equipement Rural du Sénégal, la Fondation pour l’Agriculture et la Ruralité dans le Monde (FARM) et la Fondation Syngenta pour une Agriculture Durable (FSAD). 

The SIMA Paris International Agribusiness Show 2017 will take place from 26 February to 2 March 2017 at Paris Nord Villepinte, France.

Sunday 26 February 2017, the opening day, will bring together African ministers and African institutional partners, who will present their agricultural development strategy.

On Tuesday 28 February 2017, a conference will be held entitled “Agricultural mechanisation in Africa: what strategy for progress?” 

Organized by AXEMA and SIMA, with the participation of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the European Agricultural Machinery Committee (CEMA), Bpifrance Export, FNCUMA, and the Pan African Farmers Organizations (PAFO). Feedback from entities operating in Africa will also contribute to this event aimed at African professionals (farmers, breeders) and exhibitors.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mycotoxins: How climate change is affecting crops

Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern
May 2016. UNEP, 35 pages

20 May 2016 – From the worrying rise in zoonotic diseases around the world to an examination of how climate change is increasing the toxicity of crops, this UNEP report of last year seeked to highlight a number of the world’s key emerging environmental issues.

UNEP’s Frontiers report identifies, highlights and offers solutions to six emerging issues, including the threat to human health posed by the alarming amount of plastic waste in our oceans and the crucial role the world’s financial sector can play in driving the planet to a low-carbon, resource-efficient future.
Aflatoxins, which are fungal toxins that can cause cancer and stunt foetal growth, are another emerging problem in crops. The risk of aflatoxin contamination, especially in maize, is expected to increase in higher latitudes due to rising temperatures. A recent study predicts that this toxin will become a food safety issue for Europe, especially in the most likely scenario of a 2oC rise in global temperatures.
4 November 2016. CTA Spore Magazine. Mycotoxins: How climate change is affecting crops. Agricultural yields are not the only thing under threat from climate change. A warmer climate could also make staple food crops more toxic.

The UNEP report focuses in particular on mycotoxins, a type of toxin produced by fungi that contaminate plants. There are said to be around 400 different types of mycotoxin, the most well-known of which are aflatoxins, ochratoxin A and fumonisins – strains found most commonly in maize, wheat, sorghum and groundnuts. UNEP estimates suggest that 4.5 million people will be exposed to mycotoxins in developing countries by consuming foodstuffs without quality control.
Around 40% of cases of liver cancer in Africa are said to be attributable to aflatoxins. This is the most pressing health concern in hot, humid countries. (...) There is a pressing need to promote best-practice principles among farmers to take action further up the food chain. We already have a number of simple techniques to reduce this type of contamination, such as drying seeds properly and avoiding storing them directly on the ground. Sadly, many countries lack the funding required to train farmers.” Didier Montet, food safety specialist at CIRAD
“One of the effects of climate change is an increase in the risk of plant contamination. When a plant is stressed and in poor health – such as during a heatwave or drought – it can become more vulnerable to fungal infections. Some types of fungus also infect plants via wounds caused by insects – another phenomenon that may well become more common as the climate heats up”. Catherine Bessy, food safety expert at FAO.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hygienic Practices for Food Safety in Small & Medium-Size Businesses

9 January 2016. Sojagnon (a PAEPARD supported consortium) in Partnership with the Soybean Innovation Lab (SIL) held a webinar entitled “Hygienic Practices for Food Safety in Small and Medium Sized Businesses.”

Hygienic practices for handling, preparing, and storing food not only preserve the food’s nutrition and protect consumers from food-borne illness, but also help producers reduce food waste, garner trust to their brand, and increase business profits.

Charles Nsubuga
Food safety is especially important for producers who serve those with compromised immune systems, including those living with HIV/AIDS, illness, the elderly, pregnant women, and infants. Emphasis will be placed on using resources available in your community to implement a safe food handling system in your own production room.
  • Food safety challenges faced by rural women soy entrepreneurs in Benin (Patrice Sewade, Managing Director of SOJAGNON, and NGO in Godomey-Togoudo, Benin)
  • Food safety challenges faced by a small, certified soy milk operation in Ghana (Prof. Joseph Osei, manager of AA Pure Soya Milk in Agona, Ghana)
  • Food safety and quality control methods in a medium-size soy food company in Uganda (Charles Nsubuga, CEO of Sesaco Foods, Ltd., Kampala, Uganda)
    "The cost of testing for aflatoxin at Makerere University is between 20 and 30 $ per sample)"
  • First steps for food safety in small businesses and households (Faustina Vimariba, Ghana Health Service Regional Nutrition Officer)
  • Closing remarks by Prof. Matt Stasiewicz, University of Illinois, USA
  • Q and A
Packaging Techniques to Improve Soy Food Shelf Life
Published on 6 Dec 2016
This webinar, Packaging Techniques to Improve Soy Food Shelf Life,
  • focused on the range of packaging techniques for soy dairy products and the best practices for each to ensure greater success and financial growth of soy dairy enterprises. 
  • reviewed technical information regarding different packaging and distribution options including the use of glass versus plastic bottles, different refrigeration.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

AFRIKA KOMMT! An Initiative of German Industry for Future Leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa

14 December 2016. AFRIKA KOMMT! is an initiative of leading German enterprises for future leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa. The fellowship program aims at highly qualified young professionals and junior executives from countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with several years of work experience, strong leadership qualities and a high level of commitment and dedication.

Heart of the program is an eight-month internship in Germany, (Boehringer Ingelheim, BSH Hausgeräte, B. Braun, Commerzbank, Continental, Daimler, Merck, Robert Bosch, SAP, ThyssenKrupp, Voith, Volkswagen, BASF, Bayer, BMW, Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Bank, E.ON Global Comm., Lufthansa, Rauscher Gruppe, Siemens, Schott, Telekom, ZF Friedrichshafen) allowing the participants to gain first-hand practical experience in a leading German enterprise. During the internship, they are exposed to leadership concepts and management techniques in practice and become acquainted with working processes and business culture in German enterprises. As a result, the participants extend their international management competencies and initiate networks of cooperation between Sub-Saharan Africa and German companies. 

“Afrika kommt!” is an impressive example of partnership between Europe and Africa in action.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Research should be more inclusive, especially to the end users

29 December 2016. SciDev. Invest in African research and citizen science​.

To bridge the societal expectations and help solve the current needs, there must be more collaborations. Researchers at both public and private institutions and other research entities that are working on these challenges need to collaborate and work with on-the-ground partners such as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) because such entities frequently interact with the end users, the people affected by these challenges. Furthermore, NGOs are driven to get results.

Moreover, to generate impact and create sustainable solutions, research should be more inclusive, especially to the end users, the citizens. Citizens must feel that they are part of the process of research. They should play an active role in defining, implementing and evaluating research intended to improve their livelihoods.

One creative way of engaging citizens would be through citizen-science research projects. African governments and donor agencies should fund such projects. 
  • Citizen science enlists society members who care about the issue and engages them in the process of inquiry and discovery of new knowledge. It also goes a long way in making participants feel important because they are engaged in learning how to create solutions and affect change for the future. 
  • Citizen science is a win-win experience both for the participants and scientists. Participants get to experience what it is like to obtain data, the backbone of science. Scientists on the other hand, get the science done while helping them draw meaningful conclusions from the very large datasets. At the same time, citizen science will ensure that members of the society know exactly what is happening.
  • See: The power of citizen science (Citizen Science Association, 2016)

Breakthroughs in wheat varieties with heat tolerance

Andrew Noble (right), ICARDA, talks agriculture 
with a group of farmers from the Nile Delta in Egypt
29 December 2016. Ground-breaking agricultural research and development work being conducted in Africa will help push sub-Saharan Africa towards food security, but may also have big benefits for Australian agriculture.

Deputy director general of research at the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) Andrew Noble said there had been some breakthroughs in wheat varieties with heat tolerance. Varieties have been developed that are able to withstand heat shock at critical periods of development.
"We have varieties that can withstand temperatures up to four degrees Celsius hotter than previous lines, which is a massive advantage when planting in areas subject to heat at critical times during crop development. It is a great thing for sub-Saharan Africa and will mean wheat will be able to be produced in non-traditional areas, such as in Sudan, where it will be able to be grown under irrigation."
Other crops, such as sorghum and millet, had traditionally been grown in many areas, but said the preference was for wheat. The consumers want wheat products, there is $15 billion worth of wheat being sold to this part of Africa alone, so any improvements in production within the region would really help. The benefits of the research into heat tolerance would not just benefit Africa.
"Australian breeders are very interested in working with our material, with the high risk of spring heat stress in Australia it could have some real application there. Researchers have identified heat shock as one of the major annual causes of yield losses in Australia. The material used in the heat tolerant lines primarily came out of Middle Eastern wheat landraces (wild relatives). There are 154,000 lines of landraces in the ICARDA gene bank so we have plenty of material to work with." 

Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 African Economic Conference (AEC) on Agro-Allied Industrialization

5-7 December 2016. Abuja, Nigeria. The theme for the 2016 African Economic Conference (AEC) "Feed Africa: Towards Agro-Allied Industrialization for Inclusive Growth".

The AEC brought together policy-makers, researchers and development practitioners from Africa and from around the world to make strategic contributions for accelerating agro-allied industrial development.

The Conference provided an opportunity to assess the impact of current growth strategies in Africa;
focusing on the agricultural and industrial sector. In addition, the conference discussed successes, lessons learned and identify remaining gaps, challenges and emerging issues on the topic. It encompassed in-depth presentations of policy-oriented research by both established academics and emerging researchers from the continent and beyond who debated and recommended policy
options on how to accelerate Africa's agricultural and industrial transformation.

Round-Table: The way forward to transforming Africa’s agriculture
  • Eric Maskin, Nobel laureate and Professor, Harvard University, USA Download presentation: Eric Maskin
  • H.E. Audu Innocent Ogbeh, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria
  • Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB)
  • Abdalla Hamdok, Acting Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
  • Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, UN Assistant Secretary General and Director, Regional Bureau for Africa, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

African agricultural ministers visit Israel

ECOWAS delegation with 
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (center) 
and MASHAV head Gil Haskel (second from right) 
at the Volcani Center in Beit Dagan 
(photo credit:SHARON UDASIN)
6 December 2016. This three-day conference, titled “Enhancing Sustainable Agricultural Productivity in Arid and Semi-arid Regions: The Israeli Development Experience,” was a collaboration between ECOWAS and the Foreign Ministry’s MASHAV (Hebrew acronym for Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation), along with the Agriculture Ministry’s CINADCO: The Center for International Agricultural Development Cooperation.

The conference participants began their trip by learning about water and land management techniques, dairy technologies and agricultural extension, at the MASHAV Agricultural Training Center on Kibbutz Shefayim near the central coast.

They also met with several Israeli agricultural technology companies and startups.
At the Volcani Center, the visitors spoke with researchers and were shown a variety of fruits, vegetables and other crops grown in harsh climatic conditions.

While Israel is eager to bolster its cooperative activities with all sub-Saharan African countries, until recently, efforts have been predominantly focused on East Africa, which is much closer to Israel and English-speaking. A few West African countries may have been missing from the delegation, but the 10 nations represented expressed keen interest in advancing collaborative opportunities with Israel in the agricultural sector.

Can sub-Saharan Africa feed itself?

A new study (December 27, 2016 | vol. 113 | no. 52, 6 pages) finds that countries in Africa south of the Sahara likely will be unable to meet growing cereal demand through yield increases alone. An anticipated 2.5-fold population increase by 2050, combined with income growth, is expected to triple current cereal demand in the region and will require a multi-pronged approach to food security.

The study, “Can sub-Saharan Africa feed itself,” examined 10 countries in Africa south of the Sahara that jointly make up the majority of population and arable land in the region: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

The researchers found that cereal yields would need to increase from 20% of their potential to 80% to maintain current levels of self-sufficiency. Even with this increase in yield more farmland would be needed to attain full self-sufficiency, which is in short supply in much of the region. Ensuring food security in the region will therefore still require increased trade and food imports.

“Self-sufficiency is not a goal in itself, as food security can be achieved through a variety of pathways,” said Keith Wiebe, senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Institute and a co-author of the report. “Boosting crop yields is essential and can go a long way to help meet future food demand; but these countries will also need to increase incomes in other sectors of the economy to ensure adequate food supply – be it from domestic production or imported from regions projected to produce a surplus.”
A nation’s economic growth is often dependent first on economic growth in the agricultural sector, and emphasized the importance of public and private investment in agricultural research and development. “These countries must innovate to increase crop yields because there simply isn’t enough land to continue farming as usual. “Technology will be key to feeding the growing populations of this region, and so will be policies that encourage sustainable economic development.” Daniel Mason-D’Croz, scientist at the International Food Policy Research Institute and co-author of the study.

5th Global Forum of Leaders for Agricultural Science and Technology (GLAST-2016)

6 December 2016. Bangkok. A report described by the UN as “the first post-Millennium Development Goals report of its kind,” cautions that without significant increased investments in agricultural research, especially in Asia, “home to 60% of the world’s hungry people,” global efforts to achieve the zero hunger target by 2030 could fall short. 

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) launched the report titled, ‘Asia and the Pacific Regional Overview of Food Insecurity: Investing in a Zero Hunger Generation,’ (64 pages) at the 5th Global Forum of Leaders for Agricultural Science and Technology (GLAST-2016).

The report’s key thematic approach examines the challenges of addressing persistent hunger and undernutrition in the context of limited natural resources. It also takes a closer look at other aspects of malnutrition arising from poor diets such as the rise in obesity and ‘hidden hunger.’

In a significant new development, the report introduces a new indicator for monitoring food
insecurity and presents analysis of some of the emerging issues in the region, such as dietary diversification and implications for food production systems, food safety, and policy.

The launch was followed by a panel discussion “Investing in a Zero Hunger Generation”. The panel examined past policy successes and failures in this context and raise new questions to encourage dialogue and shape a new public narrative towards eradicating hunger and malnutrition and creating transformative change for sustainable development.

The panelists were:
  • Biraj Patnaik: Principal adviser to the Supreme Court of India Commissioners on the Right to Food. 
  • Marco Bertacca: Managing Director at Friesland Campina Thailand. Friesland Campina is one of the world's largest dairy product producers and is promoting Thailand as its export hub for milk and dairy products to other ASEAN countries. 
  • Tsetsgee S (Retd.): Former Director of Food Production, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Government of Mongolia. Currently, National Secretary of Mongolia to the International Dairy Federation.
  • Parvathy Ramaswami: Deputy Regional Director, Regional Bureau for Asia & the Pacific, World Food Programme, Bangkok, Thailand

AFDB 2016 Development Effectiveness Review on Agriculture

21 December 2016. Release of the new Development Effectiveness Review on Agriculture.  (December 2016, 58 pages)

The African Development Bank (AfDB), as one of the leading investors in agriculture in the continent, has been firmly on track on how it has deployed US$5.5 billion in investments in the agriculture sector over five years to 2015.

Total investment in African agriculture is still well short of the levels required to deliver fundamental change and prosperity. Africa’s rapid rates of population growth and urbanization are creating vast unmet demands for food and agricultural products. The continent needs a major injection of both public and private finance into all stages of the agricultural value chain, using finance in smarter ways to create dynamic enterprises throughout the sector and markets. This must include both small- and large-scale agribusinesses, to ensure that agricultural development generates inclusive growth.
"The Development Effectiveness Review is mission accomplished, as the AfDB sets out an even more ambitious agenda in its Feed Africa strategy to end hunger and extreme poverty by 2025", Simon Mizrahi, Director of Quality Assurance and Results Department that authored the Development Effectiveness Review on Agriculture.
The Review details the progress and the pitfalls to date in transforming Africa’s agriculture sector, and lays out what steps must be taken to catapult Africa into becoming a global agricultural powerhouse in the next decade. In recent years, agriculture has zoomed to the top of Africa’s policy agenda, with African countries pledging to eradicate hunger and halve post-harvest losses in under a decade.

Download the full report

Level 1: Africa’s progress in agriculture

  • Agriculture for inclusive growth 
  • Delivering higher crop yields to consumers 
  • Moving up the value chain 
  • Towards efficient management of natural resources 
  • Conclusion 

Level 2: The Bank’s contribution to the agriculture sector

  • Strategic focus to transform Africa’s agriculture 
  • Increasing agricultural productivity 
  • Establishing food security corridors 
  • Sustainable use of natural resources 
  • Conclusion

Level 3: Effectiveness in managing our agriculture portfolio

  • Designing quality projects 
  • Effective delivery of support to agriculture 
  • Conclusion

Level 4: Efficiency in supporting agriculture operations
  • A dynamic organisation providing the right mix of instruments 
  • Managing our staff to deliver quality agricultural support 
  • Conclusion

UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP13)

1-17 December 2016. Cancun, Mexico. UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP13). Governments from 167 countries have given unprecedented recognition to the need to protect biodiversity across the agricultural sectors as a key action to achieve sustainable development, including ensuring food security and addressing climate change.

At the Cancun meeting, governments welcomed relevant policy frameworks, guidance, and tools developed by FAO and invited countries to use guidance from FAO related to biodiversity and the agricultural sectors.

A series of meetings were held in parallel with the UN Biodiversity Conference, including: 
  1. the 3rd Science for Biodiversity Forum; 
  2. the 2016 Business and Biodiversity Forum; 
  3. the Summit ‘Muuchtanbal’ on Indigenous Experiences: Traditional Knowledge and Biological and Cultural Diversity; 
  4. a workshop on the ABS Clearing-House; 
  5. the 5th Global Biodiversity Summit of Cities and Subnational Governments; the Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) Fair; 
  6. the Rio Conventions Pavilion; and a series of exhibitions and side-events.
1 and 2 December 2016. 3rd SCIENCE FOR BIODIVERSITY FORUM Mainstreaming Biodiversity for well-being: Contributions form Science.  

2-3 December 2016. CBD COP 13 Business and Biodiversity Forum. Mainstreaming Biodiversity: Opportunities for Business.

Interactive panel discussions are planned on the following topics:
  • Financing;
  • Natural Capital Accounting;
  • Supply Chains and Sustainable Production and Consumption;see video
    Taking into account that the impact of human activities on ecosystems is largely generated by unsustainable production and consumption patterns. This session addressed the role of the supply chain in biodiversity conservation, as well as of the role of big corporations in fostering change through their supply chain.
    Mr. Cuauhtémoc Ochoa, Undersecretary for Environmental Promotion and Regulation, SEMARNAT
    Ms. Elisa Tonda, Head of the Responsible Industry and Value Chain Unit, UNEP
    Mr. Yusuke Saraya, President, Saraya Co. Ltd
    Mr. Hans Jöhr, Corporate Head of Agriculture, Nestlé
    Mr. Fabio Luiz Peres Miguel, Procurement Director, Boticario Group
    Mr. Vijay Vardhan Vasireddy, Operation Manger, Social Investment, ITC Limited
    Mr. Pedro Álvarez Icaza, General Coordinator for Biological Corridors and Resources, CONABIO
  • Climate, Biodiversity and Business; 
  • Access and Benefits Sharing;
  • Partnerships and other Innovative Approaches for Biodiversity Conservation
Delegates at the roundtable on agriculture
Parallel panel breakout sector based sessions Session on Agriculture 
  • The negative impact of current agricultural practices on ecosystems and biodiversity has increased dramatically, while the biological and genetic diversity of these ecosystems still need to be taken into account to ensure sustained and sustainable food systems. 
  • During this session, business opportunities and challenges of sustainable agriculture were discussed.
    Mr. Jason Clay, Vice President, WWF
    Mr. John Cain Carter, President of the Board of Directors, Aliança da Terra
    Mr. Yoshinori Hashibe, Manager, Agricultural Department, Aleph Inc.
    Mr. Howard Shapiro, Global Staff Officer, Plant Science and External Research, Mars, Inc.
    Professor Kathy Willis Director of Science, Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew
    Mr. Salman Hussain, Coordinator for Agriculture, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), United Nations Environment Programme
IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB Meeting Coverage, has provided daily web coverage, daily reports and a summary and analysis report from the UN Biodiversity Conference. The summary and analysis report is available in HTML and PDF.

Bangladeshi agro-based organization to fight food security in Liberia

25 December 2017. Monrovia - Brac-Liberia, a Bangladeshi agro-based organization operating in Liberia has received a 1.5 Million Euros project gear toward addressing food and nutrition security to help end hunger in Liberia.

The money was given to Brac by the European Union to fight or address food security including hunger and nutrition in Liberia.

The project, which is expected to commence early next year, will be implemented in six counties: Grand Cape Mount, Bomi, Grand Bassa, Montserrado, Margibi and Bong Counties.

Brac organised a workshop that seeked to sensitize farmers and stakeholders in the country’s agricultural sector on food and nutrition security across the six selected Counties. Before this project ends in 2018, 390 most vulnerable household groups will be engaged in cash for work,1625 poor households will receive training in poultry and livestock rearing, and the capacity of 5200 smallholder farmers will be built on climate smart agriculture technologies

Announcement: 1st All Africa Post Harvest Congress

​The World Food Preservation Center® LLC in conjunction with its sister University (University of Nairobi) and a consortium of Universities and a Research & Development Institution in Africa have organized the "1st ALL AFRICA POSTHARVEST CONGRESS & EXHIBITION"

The congress will be held from 28th to 31st March, 2017 at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi, Kenya. The conference theme is ‘Reducing Postharvest Food Losses: Sustainable Solutions for Africa’ and will bring together diverse stakeholders in the food supply chain including farmers, transporters and traders. Other targeted participants include researchers, academics, policy makers, technology developers and entrepreneurs in the public and private sector.

The overall aim of the congress is to provide a platform where technology developers and promoters can interact with potential users, sponsors and policy makers with an ultimate goal of scaling up for wider adoption in an enabling policy environment. Success stories of technologies, practices, strategies and policies that have worked to reduce food losses in the African context will also be showcased.

East Africa Postharvest Technology Challenge 2017. 
This competition seeks to identify 10 scalable innovations and technologies that address challenges in postharvest management of perishable commodities, livestock and fish products, and non-perishable produce, including grains, cereals, and pulses from the East Africa Community (EAC).

The challenge is part of an upcoming All Africa Postharvest Congress and Exhibition scheduled for March 28-31, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. The event to be held under the theme, ‘Reducing Food Losses and Waste: Sustainable Solutions for Africa,’ is expected to attract over 400 participants from across East Africa. Young innovators from Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi can participate in the contest whose three top contestants pocket $30,000 in seed funding.

Interested innovators can log on for more information and competition guidelines.

Africa Startup to start assisting young Agribusiness entrepreneurs in Burundi

29 December 2016. The NGO Africa Startup plans to start a project of Education, Trade and Professional Training for young entrepreneurs in Burundi.

It has organised a workshop to inform potential participants to its training programmes about how the project will be carried out.

The workshop was organised in partnership with the nonprofit association Burundi Business Incubator (BBIN) that develops entrepreneurship and general business skills in both established and new Burundian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and KCB bank.

Africa Startup is a Norwegian NGO specialised in startup and self-employment in agribusiness, ICTs and renewable energy. Ultimately, through a learning-by-doing approach, Startup Africa will help young entrepreneurs acquire competencies necessary for the production and the sale of their own products.

From January 2017, Startup Africa will begin a training programme in Agribusiness. The training will take place in Ruziba area, south of Bujumbura. Recipients will attend short sessions in the classroom and spend much of their time in the NGO’s farm where they will learn farming. They will also learn marketing techniques for their projects.

Masumbuko said trainees will leave the training centre to go and do their own business partly with some money earned from the sale of the farm products. Trainees themselves will sell them as part of learning the marketing of their products. They will be rewarded according to their sale, “the more they sell the more they will receive”, said Masumbuko.

Africa Startup (Gambia) is a charitable foundation based in Norway with the mission to improve
livelihoods in The Gambia through education in agricultural innovation, environmental protection and entrepreneurship. At its inception in 2008, the focus was on infrastructure projects and business start-ups, encouraging and promoting an entrepreneurial spirit. As a result, the focus has moved to establishing MyFarm.

How to make money in PDF (10 MB) is the  training guide used at MyFarm. We hope it can be helpful for you or someone else you know. It is also now as video tutorials on Youtube:
  1. Video 1. How to make money - Introduction
  2. Video 2: Marketing
  3. Video 3: Sales Overview
  4. Video 4: Money
  5. Video 5: Running your Business
  6. Video 6: People Power
  7. Video 7: Make your own action plan

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The role of science, technology and innovation policies in SDGs

The role of science, technology and innovation policies to foster the implementation of the sustainable development goals (SDGs)
Report of the Expert Group Follow-up to Rio+20, notably the SDGs
Enrico Giovannini, Ingeborg Niestroy, Måns Nilsson, Françoise Roure, Michael Spanos 
© Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, European Union, 2016. 56 pages

This report presents the conclusions of the independent expert group on the 'Follow-up to Rio+20, notably the sustainable development goals (SDGs)' that was established by the European Commission (EC) to provide advice on the role of science, technology and innovation (STI) for implementing the new global sustainable development agenda (2030 Agenda). 

The group gives recommendations, both in terms of general policy orientations and concrete areas of engagement, for EU STI policy to contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Europe and beyond, as well as for possible engagement in international initiatives concerning STI. It recommends the EU to capitalise on its Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, which is seeking to invest more than 60% of its budget for sustainable development and is fully open to international participation.

Some statements:
Switch the focus, reorienting mindsets and behaviours towards SD, reframing the EU’s STI challenges, and refocusing from technology transfer to building innovation capacity. 
Strengthen international partnerships, enhancing engagement with developing countries through existing EU instruments, engaging all stakeholders (especially business), and developing tailor-made international STI initiatives. 
Walk the talk” and establish enabling systems identifying causes of implementation gaps, aligning domestic STI with SDGs, ensuring Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development, seizing benefits from the “data revolution”, and setting up monitoring, evaluation and assessments of STI4SD.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Long-term agricultural transformations: national scenarios for a global issue

Together with Rothamsted Research, the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) coordinates an international Initiative that focuses on developing, adapting and applying practical toolkits for countries to build national pathways that could help them meet the targets of high priority for the future transformation and development of their agriculture and food sector.

The primary outcomes this Initiative will achieve will be:
  1. A comprehensive understanding of transformation pathways, supporting national debates;
  2. An international learning platform;
  3. Concrete knowledge on how to deliver the SDGs.
In both Southern and Northern countries, the continuation and extension of large-scale, highly mechanized, input-intensive specialized agriculture is being challenged by those who point to its environmental and socio-economic limitations. 

The framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by all the countries of the planet in 2015, indicates the necessity, in every context, of a long-term transformation to produce positive social, economic and environmental results in multiple areas (poverty, food and nutrition security, health, socio-economic development, biodiversity, water, energy and climate).

Based on initial results from pilot countries, this session will aim to discuss the potential of such an approach to remove the main obstacles to the necessary transformations.
  • Marie-Hélène Schwoob (CIRAD) will review the findings of the initiative over the past few months in pilot countries such as Uruguay, China and the United Kingdom. (24 slides) 
  • Étienne Hainzelin will focus particularly on agricultural transformation pathways in regions such as Africa. He has coordinated the book Cultivating biodiversity to transform agriculture (Springer Edition 2013).
14 December 2016. Cancun, Mexico. The Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI), GIZ and the France-IUCN Partnership organize a Side-Event at the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity COP13 (4-17 December 2016) on Innovative Financial Mechanisms for long-term biodiversity conservation. 

This side event invites Parties and other stakeholders to share lessons learnt on innovative financial mechanisms and their role in sustainable financing strategies for protected areas at national and site-level. It will showcase practical examples and present highlights of a review of experiences from international cooperation (including French and German). IDDRI & France-IUCN Partnership and GIZ studies on Innovative Financial Mechanisms for long-term biodiversity conservation, including in Africa, will also be presented.

  • Mr. Yann Laurans, IDDRI: Innovating for biodiversity conservation in African protected areas: funding and incentives. Insights from 3 countries. 
  • Mr. Augustin Berghöfer, UFZ: Enhancing the financial sustainability of biodiversity conservation Conclusions from a review of experience in German development cooperation. 
  • Ms. Katia Karousakis, OECD: Sustainable financing of marine protected areas.
For more information, see below and here.