Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, May 26, 2017

Workshop on Food Safety Investments

24 May 2017. Brussels. Better Targeting Food Safety Investments in Low and Middle Income Countries.

Recent work by the WHO shows the health burden of foodborne disease is comparable to that of malaria, HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis. To further expose and explore the massively under-estimated burden of foodborne disease and its likely causes, the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) organised this workshop.
The event provided updates on recent evidence on the burden of foodborne disease in low and middle income countries (LMICs) as well as a review of food safety interventions and opportunities to discuss promising solutions. The event program focused first on the vastly underestimated burden of foodborne disease in LMICs and its likely causes. The program then took a closer look at successes in and unintended consequences of small-scale food safety interventions and explore options for developing widespread solutions for foodborne disease in LMICs.

Complete Agenda (708.17 KB)
  • Roberto Ridolfi , Director, Sustainable Growth and Development, DG DEVCO, European Commission (EC)
  • John McDermott (picture), Director, CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH)
  • Jeff Waage(picture) Chair of LCIRAH and Professor, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
  • “Global Burden of Foodborne Disease” Paul Torgerson, Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology, University of Zürich
  • Why Foodborne Diseases Matter for Development” Chair: Jeff Waage, Chair of LCIRAH and Professor, LSHTM
  • The agri-food system perspective -- Delia Grace, Program Leader (joint), Animal and Human
    Health, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Flagship Leader Food Safety, A4NH
  • The public health perspective -- Oliver Cumming, Assistant Professor, LSHTM
  • Strengthening sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) capacity: Experiences from STDF's work Marlynne Hopper, Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), WTO Speaker Commentator 
  • Strengthening capacities to enhance food safety in low and middle income countries (LMIC) Bruno Schiffers, Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee (COLEAP) 
  • Assessing contributions of food safety interventions to economic and health outcomes and impacts Kristina Roesel, Project Coordinator, Safe Food, Fair Food, ILRI 
  • From measuring to managing: The experience of food safety in Vietnam Hung Nguyen, Regional Representative for East and Southeast Asia & Senior Scientist Ecohealth and Food Safety, ILRI 
  • Scaling up aflatoxin control in Nigeria: The experience with public-private partnerships Adebowale Akande, Scientist, IITA

Annual conference of the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association

22-25 May 2017. 
Windhoek, Namibia. Annual conference of the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA). The Conference was hosted to allow the opportunity to network with colleagues in the fields of Research Management (RM) and Innovation and Technology Transfer (ITT) and to share our experiences.

SARIMA is a membership organization of Research and Innovation Managers that operates at an institutional, national and international level, as well as across the value chain, from research through to successful innovation commercialization). The organization provides a platform for the promotion and facilitation of best practice in research and innovation management in Southern Africa and its purpose is to strengthen the research and innovation system to ensure the social and economic development of the Southern African region.

22 May 2017. 8:30 – 12:30  The Role of Private Sector Institutions, Non-Governmental & Philanthropic Organizations in Food and Nutrition Security & Sustainable Agriculture (DST)
The purpose of this workshop was to provide a platform for the private and public sector, as well as the research community and philanthropic actors to engage in an open discussion towards the implementation of the R&I Roadmap on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA). 
  • The Roadmap identifies short, medium and long term actions aimed at addressing gaps in food security and sustainable agriculture with the purpose of addressing the developmental challenges common to both continents. 
  • In particular, the Roadmap identifies four key priorities that aim to influence the research agenda, the nature of collaboration and the types of research to be funded. These priorities are: (i) Sustainable intensification in agriculture; (ii) Agricultural and food systems for nutrition; (iii) Development and improvement of agricultural markets and trade; and (iv) Cross-cutting issues such as adding value to what already exists, facilitating the innovation process, strengthening R&I capacities etc. 
  • It is envisaged that the outcomes of such a dialogue will lead to recommendations on: (i) conditions necessary for maximising dynamic and innovative partnerships between private sector, non-state actors and government, (ii) funding instruments for research and innovation, (iii) the potential role of SMEs and large enterprises in funding FNSSA initiatives; (iv) linking the agricultural sector to non-traditional funding opportunities, and (v) addressing challenges with respect to policy and R&I funding. 
  • Good practices in private sector engagement in FNSSA – a case study of the National Food Technology Centre, Botswana, Dr Boitshepo Miriam Keikotlhaile - National Food Technology Centre, Botswana
  • Good practices in private sector engagement in FNSSA – a case study of the SANBio Network

22 May 2017. 8:30 – 13:00 Challenges and Best Practices in Commercialising Research (RINEA, CAASTNET PLUS, DST SARIMA)
This workshop brought together technology transfer practitioners and those involved in the commercialisation of research results to share best practices and experiences, exchange knowledge and collectively identify practical ways to address common challenges. In particular this workshop explored techniques and innovative models for commercializing research results through the exchange of good practices from both EU and African countries, identifying bottlenecks in the market uptake of research results highlighting common traits in EU and Africa; pin-pointed existing obstacles in cooperation between EU-African technology broker professionals; and laid out a path for cooperation among technology transfer stakeholders from both regions taking into consideration recent developments in the wider EU-Africa R&I cooperation. 

  • Insights from High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) in Africa – EU STI – Mr Tapsoba Issa, Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation - Burkina Faso 
  • Africa – EU Knowledge Management and Communication System (KMCS) on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) – Department of Science and Technology, South Africa
According to the concept note, the KMCS is an initiative which aims to respond to the "need for an Africa‐EU platform for structured access to all knowledge, outputs and lessons learned from various initiatives and research projects, as well as the need for a communication strategy, not only for the implementation of the Roadmap on FNSSA but also for the transfer of knowledge into solutions, including the national decision‐makers and potential investors in Research and Innovation (R&I) and entrepreneurs." See draft agenda
  • Existing initiatives on FNSSA big data collection 
  • The role of technology transfer officers in establishing the KMCS 
  • Good practice methods and principles for knowledge sharing 
  • Identifying methodological/technical needs for a joint Africa-EU KMCS on FNSSA 
  • Big data sharing infrastructure: what is needed?

3rd German-African Agribusiness Forum

22 May 2017. Frankfurt, Germany. The topic of this GAAF17 was the "Opportunities and Challenges along the Value Chain: Tailor-Made, Sustainable and Smart Solutions". Over the coming decades, agriculture will be the main motor of the African labor market. Three quarters of the population in Sub Sahara Africa are already active in this sector. This is also crucial for the economic growth of African countries, accounting for one third of GDP in this region. Nevertheless, the productivity of agriculture is nowhere less than in Africa.

Extracts of the Program GAAF17
New approaches by German and African political decision-makers, business opportunities for the German economy in cooperation with local entrepreneurs as well as innovative solutions from Africa and Germany were presented.

Harnessing the African Agribusiness Partnership Potential 
This panel assessed technical, business, and governance factors in designing successful agribusiness opportunities in Africa. Where are the key market opportunities? Building competitive commercial value chains? Where can value-added be enhanced? How can traders, banks and private investors support producers in the region? How can new projects overcome sustainability issues and learn from past mistakes? 

Input Isolina Boto Manager, Project Leader on Agribusiness Development The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) 
Panel Discussion 
  • Sten Guezennec Africa and Middle East Bayer S.A.S. 
  • Dr Oyewole Babafemi Managing Director African Agribusiness Alliance 
  • Lutz Hartmann General Manager FruitBox Africa GmbH and Partner Belmont Legal 
  • Sako Warren Secretary General World Cocoa Farmers Organisation (WCFO) 
  • Dr Badi Besbes Senior Animal Production Officer Head of the Animal Production and Genetic Resources Unit (AGAS/AGAG), Animal Production and Health Division Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Financing Agricultural Projects in Africa: New Financing Approaches and Instruments What financing structures are being employed successfully? Which instruments are needed? Key African agencies discuss where they have been instrumental in financing vital Agribusiness projects and combating the issue of access to finance across the continent – especially long-term. Which products are offered and where will they increase coverage? Can the huge SME demand be met? How can commercial banks and ECAs collaborate with these organisations? What is the role of international institutions including MIGA, AfDB, EIB and DEG/KFW in helping to get more projects off the ground?

Panel Discussion 
  • Johannes Buschmeier Managing Director AFC Consultants International GmbH 
  • Dr Christophe Cordonnier Frankfurt Business School 
  • Heike Rüttgers Head of Mandate Management Implementation -Development & Impact Finance European Investment Bank (EIB) 
  • Benedict Kanu Agriculture Expert, Partnerships Coordinator African Development Bank (AfDB) 
  • Ulrike Nitsch Vice President DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH
In 2015, the first German-African agricultural forum was launched, which is still Germany's only forum with a focus on "Agriculture in Africa". The German-African Business Association (Afrika-Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft) supports German businesses with their involvement on the African continent. Members profit from our decades-long experience in Africa related issues and a wide network in Africa, Germany and the world.

The Association was founded in 1934. Now, in 2017 we have around 600 members. Our members are mainly German, but also African incorporations, institutions and private individuals. The Afrika-Verein offices are situated in Hamburg and Berlin, Germany.

The Afrika-Verein's main responsibilities include the organization of events, such as forums, conferences, and business summits, the channeling of contemporary information regarding economic and political issues in Africa, as well as the advocacy of our members.

Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank

22-26 May 2017. Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. In line with the central theme, “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa,” many of the high-level meetings explored how India and Africa can work together in order to achieve their shared goal of rural and agricultural transformation, which would go a long way in reducing rural poverty and improving the quality of lives of rural people.

A series of regional sessions on India–West Africa Economic Cooperation; India–Central & South Africa Forum on Connectivity; India–East Africa Business Forum; and India–North Africa Trade Forum also feature prominently in the knowledge events of the meetings.

A special session on India-Japan co-operation for the development of Africa was held under the aegis of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC), in cooperation with their partner organizations in India on the promotion of African business through private-public partnerships between Japan and India in support of African businesses.

A ministerial roundtable discussion dwelt on developing partnerships between Africa and Asia trade and capital flows between the two continents. Entrepreneurship, private sector development in Africa, Asian lessons on human capital and technology in development as well as regional cooperation and trans-boundary challenges also came up for discussion. Bilateral meetings and briefings by organisations and businesses, as well as expositions were held on the sidelines of the meetings.

The AfDB Annual Meeting ended with call to see the potential of African agriculture
“With 65% of the world’s uncultivated land, Africa will determine the future of food for the world. There is gold in the dirt, if only we will see it. I am convinced that we must change the narrative about African agriculture, which will be a US $1 trillion business by 2030. And the entertainment world agrees with me. One of the results of this Meeting is that we have collectively seen the need to make dramas – not just documentaries – about agriculture, so as to engage a younger audience,” Akinwumi Adesina African Development Bank President 
Adesina summarized progress made in the Meetings on the roles of the private sector, young people and women in transforming agriculture to create wealth on the continent. He discussed the Bank’s support for agricultural research (not least through the newly launched Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation Initiative, TAAT), its support for women farmers, and its commitment to heighten the African presence along the entire length of the agricultural value chain, from farm to fork.

“That’s why the Bank will be investing US $24 billion in African agriculture in the next 10 years – a 400% increase on its support to date,” he said. “In Africa, for far too long, farmers have been abandoned. In India’s Green Revolution, farmers were given bold support – in Africa we must do the same.”
African Economic Outlook: the 2017 edition unveiled
Build on African entrepreneurs to succeed in the continent's new industrial revolution. This is what emerges from the 2017 edition of the African Economic Outlook, released on 22 May in Ahmadabad, India, on the sidelines of the AfDB's Annual Meetings. This flagship publication, which annually reviews all 54 African countries, is a joint effort of the Bank, UNDP and OECD.

Read the full report

International Conference on Agricultural Science and Technology in Berlin

21-22 May 2017. Berlin. The ICAST 2017 : 19th International Conference on Agricultural Science and Technology is an interdisciplinary platform for the presentation of new advances and research results in the fields of Agricultural Science and Technology. 

This conference brought together leading academic scientists, researchers and scholars in the domain of interest from around the world. 

Selected conference papers related to agriculture from Africa:

Uptake of evidence based research and evaluation by policy makers

24-25 May 2017. Nairobi. The East Africa Evidence to Action Conference on Agricultural Development and Food Security with over 200 delegates in attendance Called to Action to African Governments.
The event, whose theme was “Evidence to Action: Towards an Evidence Based and Data- Informed Policy, Action and Practice in Africa”, discussed challenges and opportunities in the uptake of evidence based research and evaluation by policy makers.

The conference provided delegates with an opportunity to share information about projects, reviewed cutting edge research and evaluation projects and identify a range policy gaps that can be resolved using research and evaluation. Delegates noted that though Africa has seen a significant increase in the generation of research data and evaluation, uptake of recommendations from these studies by Government was still very low.

“Many of the challenges faced in the African continent today can be resolved by implementing the findings coming out of existing research and evaluation reports. Sadly most government chose to ignore this valuable data and knowledge,” ICED President, David Ameyaw.
“African governments should pay special attention to agriculture now that it has emerged as a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product growth of many African countries. Policy in agriculture therefore requires that governments consider the whole food value chain,” ICED chairman, Dr. Namanga Ngongi

The event, which brought together researchers, government executives from the agriculture sector, local and international agribusiness firms, farmers, financial institutions, insurance firms, potential investors, society organizations and thought leaders called on governments to work in partnership with researchers and evaluators.

Delegates discussed actionable strategies to reverse the current trend which included among others:
  • Need to scale-up sharing of results and evidence coming out of evaluation and research projects to spur growth in African agriculture and contribute to a transformation agenda.
  • Need to promote evidence-based research and results to drive the development agenda
  • Need to scale up documentation of best-practices and identification of what works, for whom, Where, how, and at what cost. Africa is depending on us to catalyze its agricultural transformation agenda.
  • Need to enhance integration of gender dimensions in all evidence based decision making.
  • Working in Partnership remains imperative. No single organization can do this alone.
  • Improving food security through the introduction of new seed varieties: How effective are demonstration plots and field days in influencing farmers adoption behavior towards new maize and bean varieties? Dr Mercy Kamau Dr Fred Bagamba
  • Information and extension: reaching farmers where they are Mr. Donald Mavindidze; Mr. George Marechera
  • Impact of push pull technology on maize production and poverty reduction in Kenya Dr Menale Kassie
  • Evidence on Mobile Phone Extension from Kenya and Beyond . Prof. Michael Kremer, Gates Professor of Developing Societies, Harvard University
Translating Evidence to Policy and Practice: Lessons and Experiences from Agricultural Policy Research 
  • Dr Mercy Kamau, MLE Director, Tegemeo Institute 
  • Dr Lilian Kirimi, Research Director, Tegemeo Institute 
  • Dr Timothy Njagi, M and E Specialist, Tegemeo Institute 
  • Dr Miltone Ayieko, Outreach, Communication and Partnerships Coordinator, Tegemeo Institute 
  • Moderator : Dr Mary W.K. Mathenge, Director, Tegemeo Institute 
The Conference was hosted by the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED) in collaboration with Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI), the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Assets and Market Access (AMA Innovation Lab), and Tegemeo Institute.


Overview of investments and Human Resource Capacity in African Agricultural Research

A Comprehensive Overview of investments and Human Resource Capacity in African Agricultural Research.
Nienke Beintema and Gert-Jan Stads
International Food Policy Research Institute.
April 2017, 56 pages

Countries in Africa south of the Sahara (SSA) have made progress increasing their investments to agriculture, honoring regionwide commitments such as CAADP. However, new data and analysis by Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) shows that growth in agricultural research investments has lagged considerably behind spending on other agricultural areas, such as farm support, subsidies, and irrigation.

These findings—along with datasets, analysis, country factsheets, and online tools for country comparison, graphing, and benchmarking—have been just released online and summarized in a newly released ASTI Synthesis Report,

The data cover key indicators on agricultural research investments, human resource capacity, and research outputs in the region. Other highlights include:
  • As of 2014, half the region’s PhD-qualified agricultural researchers were in their 50s and 60s, thus reaching retirement age. Training and capacity building is needed to avoid capacity gaps that could jeopardize future research outputs.
  • Compared to other regions around the world, agricultural research in Africa remains highly dependent on volatile donor funding. National-level decision makers must diversify funding sources.
  • New ASTI analysis of national spending targets based on characteristics of each country’s economy and agricultural sector show a considerable gap between what countries are—and realistically could be—spending on agricultural research.
The report concludes by outlining a number of policy measures that SSA governments can undertake to address the various challenges related to agricultural research funding, human capacity, outputs, infrastructure, and institutional structure.

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.

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.

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. 
  • 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)
  • Laurent BOSSARD, Director, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat
  • Philipp HEINRIGS, Senior Economist, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat

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.


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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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.


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.  


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