Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Agriculture familiale et agribusiness Afrique Centrale

22-24 March 2017. Yaoundé-Cameroun. Cette conférence avait pour objectif de montrer l’importance de l’agriculture familiale dans un contexte d’émergence de l’agri- business en Afrique Centrale, en vue d’un soutien plus accru des gouvernements et des partenaires en faveur des organisations paysannes, en particulier des jeunes entrepreneurs agricoles.

Objectifs spécifiques

  • Analyser les politiques publiques nationales et régionales en matière de développement agricole en Afrique centrale ; 
  • Identifier les enjeux, les défis, les besoins d’accompagnement à l’insertion socio professionnelle des jeunes pour la modernisation et le développement concerté d’une l’agriculture familiale entreprenante et durable en Afrique centrale; 
  • Identifier les opportunités de soutien aux jeunes pour la dynamisation de l’agriculture familiale en Afrique centrale ; 
  • Identifier les besoins spécifiques d’accompagnement des jeunes femmes exploitantes agroalimentaires en Afrique centrale ; 
  • Analyser les inter- relations entre l’agriculture familiale et l’agri- business en Afrique Centrale 
  • Renforcer ses relations avec les décideurs politiques 
  • Renforcer son système de partenariat pour le développement durable ; 
  • Présenter et valider son nouveau Plan Stratégique (2016-2020).
Participants

  • Les représentants des OP nationales de dix pays de l’Afrique centrale intégrant les femmes, les jeunes et les minorités (…) 
  • Les représentants des organisations des jeunes entrepreneurs agricoles en Afrique centrale ; Les représentants de l’organisation panafricaine des organisations paysannes et des producteurs agricoles (PAFO) 
  • Les représentants des organisations paysannes régionales (EAFF, ROPPA, SACAU, UMNAGRI) ; Les représentants des institutions publiques régionales et nationales
  • Des représentants des institutions publiques nationales camerounaises ; Les représentants des réseaux parlementaires 
  • Les représentants des partenaires techniques et financiers ; Les représentants des ONG et OSC internationales, nationales 
  • Les représentants des collectivités décentralisées
Autres:
Célébration des 12 ans d'existence de la PROPAC,
3e Assemblée Générale Ordinaire de la PROPAC en marge de la Conférence régionale sur l’agriculture familiale et l’agri business en Afrique
President Elu du PROPAC : NATHANAEL BUKA MUPUNGA, La Confédération paysanne du Congo, ou Copaco-PRP, RDC.
Forte de 292.000 familles paysannes structurées en plus de 450 organisations à travers toute l'étendue du territoire national de la République Démocratique du Congo, la Copaco-PRP est le fruit d’une histoire longue et mouvementée

Public Spending Priorities for Africa Agriculture Productivity Growth

23 March 2017. WASHINGTON. Enhancing the productivity of agriculture is vital for Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic future and is one of the most important tools to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity in the region. How governments choose to spend public resources has significant development impact in this regard.

The new Africa regional flagship study, Reaping Richer Returns: Public Spending Priorities for Africa Agriculture Productivity Growth, explores how effective, efficient and climate resilient public spending in and for agriculture can be the foundation for transformation and reducing poverty in Sub-Saharan African countries.

According to the study, the challenge is not only that agricultural public spending in Sub-Saharan Africa lags behind other developing regions but its impact is vitiated by programs and transfers that tend to benefit the better off, with insignificant gains for agriculture, or for the poor.
“Sub-Saharan African countries tend to underfund high-return public good investments related to technology generation and adoption, strengthening markets, and rural infrastructure. The study recommends areas where African governments can prioritize spending to reap richer returns, including implementing smart subsidies, boosting spending on research and development and eliminating barriers that impede rapid uptake of new technologies, and investing in market access and land governance.” Aparajita Goyal, World Bank senior economist and task team leader of the Africa regional flagship study.
Conditions are ripe for boosting the productivity of African agriculture, the study says. African regional markets are growing rapidly, driven by population, urbanization, and income growth, and are forecast to reach a trillion dollars by 2030. Prospects are also promising on the supply side, according to the study, since Africa’s potential for agricultural prosperity is enhanced by an abundance of vital components.
“To make a significant dent on poverty, enhancing the productivity and competitiveness of African agriculture must become a priority. Reforming the design and implementation of public spending programs while rebalancing in favor of high-return public goods could produce significant gains.”
The study uses the successes of African and other developing countries around the world to provide lessons for African agriculture, the quality of public spending and the efficiency of resource use. For example, input promotion during high agricultural productivity periods in Asian and South American countries addressed systemic constraints to productivity through integrated investments in improved technologies, extension services, water and soil management, and market linkages.

Related:

Interview with Aparajita Goyal, Economist, Agricultural and Environment Services, Worldbank 

Africa-EU climate change research and human health

22-24 March 2017, Kampala, Uganda. Africa-EU climate change research and human health. The
Uganda National Council for Science and Technology hosted a 2.5 day workshop (two days’ workshop followed by half a day field trip). The selected proposals received a round of feedback in advance of the workshop from staff at UNEP DTU Partnership.

The workshop provided targeted information and guidance for early-career African researchers with a professional interest in the implications of
climate change for human health. The workshop pursued a predominantly training/workshop style and structure, with opportunities for researchers to work alone and in small groups to develop their research ideas, proposal and strategies. The workshop contained a mixed agenda with speakers from the public, private and academic sectors to provide guidance on:
  • Identifying current research/knowledge priorities and gaps/needs regarding applied research into human health and climate change, as identified by speakers representing private sector, academia, civil society and local or regional policy-makers 
  • How to access relevant funding sources, where invited speakers introduced both private and public funding sources and provide practical recommendations on how to access such funding 
  • Group-based sessions where participants seeked advice and received coaching from the speakers on specific research ideas/proposals

Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture

22-23 March 2017, Washington DC. Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture. How science and technology can help business meet sustainable agriculture objectives. This two-day forum was designed to provide leading discussion and debate on how business can most efficiently improve sustainable agriculture production, raise yields and deliver against company objectives.

It covered important questions around sustainability and agriculture, taking a practical look at the big issues, from emissions to water, and will go on to look into the potential solutions that companies can explore to sustainably improve efficiencies.

Extractof the programme

Can industrial agriculture be sustainable? 
The world’s largest agri-businesses, producers, processors and retailers have increasingly tough sustainability targets to meet, yet for consumer groups, industrial agriculture is controversial. There’s evidence that shows that intensification of agriculture can deliver significant environmental benefits. But there are ‘social acceptance’ and reputational challenges. In this session,  both the science and impact of scaled up industrial agriculture was discussed, and whether the concerns about it can be met by the industry successfully. 
  • David Rosenberg, CEO, AeroFarms Dawn Rittenhouse, director, Sustainable Development, DuPont 
  • Christine Daugherty, VP of sustainable food production, Tyson Foods
Corporate financing for sustainable agriculture: How far should it go and what should be the expected returns? 
Investment in agriculture will play an important role in increasing resilience to climate change and improving food security. With more and more large companies trying to help suppliers become more sustainable, this session discussed how companies determine the success of such programs, how economic and sustainability returns are measured, and if these funds are actually sustainable long-term. 
  • Stefani Millie Grant, senior manager, Unilever 
  • Bruce Wise, global product specialist, sustainable business advisory, IFC 
  • Dan Zook, director of investments, Initiative for Smallholder Finance 
  • Stephanie Potter, VP, sustainable business development, Rabobank
Collaboration to meet your business targets: where is the evidence? 
Collaboration is often hailed as the answer to scaling up projects and increasing impacts on the ground. However, there are a number of challenges involved. The panelists will take a look at the practicalities and different hurdles that arise with collaboration. Looking at lessons that can be learned so collaboration can deliver on the potential it promises, and be effectively scaled to meet your targets. 
  • Suzy Friedman, senior director of agricultural sustainability, Environmental Defense Fund 
  • Rod Snyder, president, Field to Market

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Guidelines for organising a Farmer Innovation Fair

Amsterdam: Prolinnova International Secretariat / Royal Tropical Institute (KIT). 12 pp.

In order to stimulate policymakers and practitioners to recognise farmer innovation in agricultural research and development (ARD), partners in the Prolinnova network have been developing and using various methods and tools for advocacy and lobbying. One of these is the Farmer Innovation Fair. The following guidelines reflect the network’s experiences in organising and hosting such fairs, with a focus on the experiences gained from the West African Farmer Innovation Fair held in Ouagadougou in May 2015, hosted by Inades Formation Burkina and the PROFEIS (Promoting Farmer Experimentation and Innovation in the Sahel) multistakeholder platform in Burkina Faso:

Click here for the French and Spanish versions.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue Bureau Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture Working Group

15 - 16 March 2017. Addis Ababa. This Kick-Off meeting was organized alongside a cluster of meetings on the FNSSA theme taking place in Addis Ababa to initiate the Working Group’s activities. (One of those meeting was the PROIntensAfrica final seminar (Addis Ababa, 13 - 15 March 2017) on effective and Efficient Research and Innovation Partnerships).

The meeting brought together the members of the Working Group and external experts with the aim of developing a report to be presented to the next plenary meeting of the senior officials of the EU-Africa HLPD (October 2017, tbc) and the Africa-EU Summit in November 2017.

Background:
Background documents
Related:
22 - 23 February 2017. Brussels. Developing a future EU-Africa Research & Innovation Partnership
on climate change and energy
In view of the Africa-EU Summit 2017, the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue on science, technology and innovation is focusing its work on developing a R and I Partnership in a second priority area: climate change and sustainable energy. Scientists, program owners and stakeholders from Africa and Europe gathered in an expert meeting on Climate Change and Renewable Energy organized by RINEA in Brussels. The meeting aimed at further identifying joint research and innovation needs in the area of climate change, renewable energy and sustainability, thereby building on existing collaborative initiatives.


Related:
23-24 January 2017. Brussels. European Commission, DG Research and Innovation. A workshop was held on on EU-Africa R and I Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture.

GFAR webinar: Challenging Development and Research Communications

22 March 2017. This webinar covered communications as a “process for change” rather than for promotion or awareness-raising communications: using communications for knowledge creation and sharing, participatory or social learning, creative participatory project synthesis and writeshops or learning briefs. How to work with multi-stakeholder platforms, or use tools like participatory video or farm radio..?

Speakers:
  • Michael Victor (CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems): Introduction/teaser into the topic
  • Meredith Giordano (Principal Researcher and U.S. Representative for the International Water Management Institute - IWMI).): Project synthesis (and its
    communications) from a researcher’s point of view
  • Peter Ballantyne (head of communications and knowledge management at the International Livestock Research Institute - ILRI): Social learning, participatory comms, tools and processes to create and share knowledge (with some of ILRI’s
    examples)
  • Julian Gonsalves (Senior Advisor for Asia at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) Philippines): Repackaging research, using 'write shops' as an example 
  • Fisher Qua (Principal Practitioner at Back Loop Consulting): How to use multi-stakeholder
    platforms (with the Mekong dialogue as example)
  • Juliet Braslow (ex-CIAT, has worked with farmers and rural communities internationally for
    the past 10 years): Video to engage farmers as a learning, empowering, and farmer to farmer exchange tool.
  • Karen Hampson ( (Regional Program Manager, ESA, Farm Radio International): Using farm radio and mobile phones as a way to reach farmers with research
    outcomes
  • Beatrice Makwenda, Head of Policy and Communication for the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) presented:
    The uptake and communications 
    of aflatoxin research findings in Malawi and Zambia
    (replaced by Fancois Stepman (PAEPARD) due to technical issues)
    This last presentation of 10 minutes runs from 2:07 to 2:17 in below video




Related:
Management of Aflatoxin in Australian Peanut Industry

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

2017 AWARD GAIA Agricultural Technology (Ag Tech) Innovations

The 2017 AWARD AgTech Innovation Challenge for Southern and Central Africa (GAIA) was launched in March by the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) to increase agribusiness investments in technological and business model innovations that help bridge the gender gap in African agriculture and particularly those that enhance the positive participation of African women in agricultural value chains across the continent.
The AWARD GAIA (Deadline 16th of March) was looking for enterprises that:
  • Serve the agriculture or allied sectors;
  • Demonstrate clear benefits to groups that are often marginalized in agriculture including women smallholder farmers and other women value chain actors;
  • Have an innovative technology or business model;
  • Have a clear for-profit business model with high potential for scale;
  • Have some proof of concept on the ground, conducted pilots and are preferably generating revenues;
  • Are seeking funding to commercialize or scale.
The Benin Agribusiness Incubation Hub-SARL (BAIH-SARL) has been selected selected out of over 200 applicants as a high potential enterprise working in Agriculture Technology, while also working to close the gender gap.

BAIH-SARL is invited to Accra, Ghana to participate in an intensive 2-day boot camp (April 3-5) to further refine and develop their business model. AWARD GAIA will then showcase the selected enterprises to present their pitch at a public showcase where incubators, agriculture experts, investors, and the entrepreneurship community will be present.

Related PAEPARD blog posts:

PAEPARD Soja project receives Ministerial attention
26 July 2016. Cotonou.
FARA visit to SOJAGNON project
14 - 16 aout 2016. Benin.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Strengthening rural livelihoods in the face of rapid urbanisation


20 March 2017. Brussels. CTA Brussels Development Briefing. Strengthening rural livelihoods in the face of rapid urbanisation in Africa. Strengthening rural-urban linkages in terms of infrastructure, transport, market access and exchange of information, ideas and innovation can catalyse economic development in rural areas and provide future perspectives for rural population and especially youth. Rural development strategies should therefore consider some of the following opportunities:
  • New income-generating opportunities in food systems as a result of changing urban consumption patterns
  • Investing in towns and intermediary cities as hubs for economic growth and service delivery for rural areas
  • Boosting agricultural productivity and attracting youth to farming
  • Supporting job creation in the rural non-farm economy and enabling diversified and multi-local livelihood strategies
Programme and Background Note
Biodata of the speakers
Resources

Panel 1: Potential of closer rural-urban linkages for rural transformation and job creation
  • Fostering Rural-Urban links and the implications for the rural economy Steve Wiggins, Senior Researcher, ODI
  • Employment opportunities in West African food systems Thomas Allen, Economist, Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat, OECD SWAC
  • Agri-Business-Led Employment for Youth in African Agriculture: new opportunities Edson Mpyisi, Principal Agricultural Economist, Coordinator, Agropoles and Agro-Industrial Parks, Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department, African Development Bank Group
  • Applying a territorial lens to rural development: West Kenya portfolio Petra Jacobi, Project Manager, GIZ
Panel 2: Creating opportunities for rural youth in transforming food systems
  • Fostering employment through territorial development, Denis Pesche, sociologist at CIRAD and member of the Research Unit ART-Dev “Actors, Resources and Territories in Development’ (Montpellier University)
  • Opportunities for young entrepreneurs in serving urban or semi-urban markets, Nono Dimakatso Sekhoto, African Farmers’ Association of South Africa
  • Adding value to local products for urban markets, Omar Ouedraogo, Fédération des professionnels agricoles du Burkina (FEPAB)

Friday, March 17, 2017

First MycoKey General Assembly

14 to 17 March, 2017. Bari, Italy. The annual General Assembly represented an opportunity to share tasks progress, periodic outcomes and/or deliverables, to discuss MycoKey on-going activities within the Consortium and was open to stakeholders.

International experts joined the MycoKey Consortium and discussed about mycotoxins issues. In addition, a qualified panel of experts in food safety and European policies – the External Advisory Board – support the MycoKey project by monitoring and evaluating the first year activities and progress.

This event allowed all the member to update the work plan, share knowledge and experience, manage potential risks, schedule next activities to achieve MycoKey goals, thus valorising any opportunity arising from the joint work of this international community.

Related:


Related:
ISM – MYCOKEY Workshop – Training Course 2017 Strategies for minimization of mycotoxins and toxigenic fungi in food chains
The Institute of Sciences of Food Production – National Research Councilof Italy (ISPA-CNR), under the aegis of the MycoKey project (http://www.mycokey.eu/) and the International Society for Mycotoxicology (ISM), is hosting a 4 days Workshop-Training Course from 16 to 19 October, 2017.

The course aims at training smart, integrated, sustainable solutions and innovative tools to manage and reduce the major mycotoxins (aflatoxins, fumonisins, trichothecenes and ochratoxin A) in economically important food and feed chains (maize, wheat, barley, dried fruits and grape) in pre and post-harvest.

Advanced technologies in the field of chemical detection, molecular analysis, modelling and ICT solutions will be covered by highly qualified international instructors, throughout lectures and laboratory experiences. About half of the duration of the workshop will be ”hands on” and spent in the laboratory.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Processus Assurance Qualité des poissons transformés au Tchad

Processus Assurance Qualité des poissons transformés au Tchad
Ali Gamane Kaffine, Jean Claude Micha, Abdelsalam Tidjani
Editions universitaires europeennes ( 20.02.2017 )

Au Tchad, le poisson transformé est une denrée consommée accessible à toutes les couches sociales. A ce titre, il devient une préoccupation publique. 

En combinant les protocoles d’analyses alimentaires et le suivi des diagrammes, le livre montre deux types de résultats assortis d’un plan destiné aux transformatrices. Le résultat du suivi des diagrammes a montré des lacunes préjudiciables à la santé humaine notamment les probables contaminations aux germes pathogènes. 

Des points critiques : lavages des mains et poisson, inobservances de règles d’hygiène ont été déterminés et des mesures correctives ont été apportées sur des diagrammes améliorés de production. 

Les analyses microbiologiques ont montré des échantillons traités positifs aux germes cherchés et sont non satisfaisants à 83,3% contre 16,7% satisfaisants. Ce résultat confirme les défauts technologiques dans le processus de transformation des poissons. Des contaminations diverses par les germes indicateurs de manquement aux règles d’hygiène ont été observées. De toute évidence les résultats de ces analyses et enquêtes invitent les transformatrices à une amélioration de la qualité du poisson transformé commercialisé au Tchad.

5th Commercial Farm Africa 2017


14-15 March 2017. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. “Agriculture transformation through value additions and innovative technologies!” “How farms adapt to new market conditions and commodity prices?”

The 5th Commercial Farm Africa Summit brought together leading industry experts to share insights and experience in transforming Africa’s agri value chain.

PANEL DISCUSSION: INNOVATIVE FINANCING OF AGRIBUSINESS IN AFRICA
  • Institutional investors and Agri private equity: What are the objective and targets to achieve in agri investment? 
  • Risk and return: what are the expectation?
  • Access to finance in current economic climate
  • Finding new ways to support African agriculture
Panelist:
LEVERAGING PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS FOR IMPACT IN AFRICAN
AGRIBUSINESS
Ms. Vanessa Adams, Director/Chief of Party, (picture) USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub implemented by DAI

WHY YOU NEED TO THINK BROADER THAN JUST A COMMERCIAL FARM - A CASE STUDY ON MALAWI MANGOES
Mr. Craig Hardie, Co-Founder Longevity Development  Co Founder & Former Joint MD, Malawi Mangoes

SUSTAINABLE & STRATEGIC SOURCING STRATEGY IN EQUATORIAL AFRICA
– NESTLE’S PERSPECTIVE
Mr. Fabrice Blanc, Head of Procurement and Demand & Supply Planning Nestle Equatorial African Region Limited

Assessing use of the Mazzican to transport and improve milk quality in Tanzania

The efficacy of the Mazzican for milking, transportation and improving bacteriological quality of milk in the smallholder dairy value chain in Tanzania. 
Kurwijila, L.R., Mboya, N., Laizer, M. and Omore, A. 2016. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

Plastic milk containers commonly used in milk handling and transportation
of raw milk by traditional farmers and milk traders contribute to the poor bacteriological quality of milk commonly observed in smallholder dairy value chains in Tanzania.

These plastic containers are often not made from food grade plastic material or designed for milk handling but they are commonly used because they are more affordable than recommended metal containers.

This report presents results of field testing a new and affordable food grade plastic container (the “Mazzican“) to assess acceptability and validate its efficacy to improve the bacteriological quality of milk when it is used for handling and transportation of raw milk by agro-pastoralists and smallholder farmers.

More information:

Sustainable smallholder development

14-15 March 2017. London. How to empower farmers and deliver business solutions at scale: a two-day conference on how business can engage with small farmers to ensure supply security and resilience at scale

This conference addressed the major risks for small farmers across agricultural sectors, and focused on how business can create scalable solutions to tackle future supply chain vulnerabilities. It focused on the top priorities across commodities to provide high-level insight and practical, actionable guidance on how business can implement effective programmes that will boost the resilience of smallholders at scale.

You can view the full list of attendees here. 

Themes:
  • Sustainable Development Goals: Guidance on how companies can strategically integrate the 17 SDGs into their smallholder policy to raise social and economic development.
  • Capacity building: Addressing the business role in building capacity for farmer resilience, independence and stability.
  • Blended finance: Examples of innovative financial risk-sharing models that can provide long-term finance for smallholder farmers.
  • Economic viability of farming: progressive solutions to securing future supply chains.
  • Pre-competitive collaboration: Active debate around how business can facilitate greater collaboration and knowledge sharing across agri supply chains.
  • Climate-smart agriculture: An analysis of CSA's potential as a solution to climate risk and examples of successful cases so far.
Capacity building: What is the role of major companies in supporting farmer independence and stability?
This session discussed what journey business must embark on to lay the foundation for a future of sustainable smallholder farming. The panelists explored how business models can align interests of business, government and farmers alike, and how collaborative effort can empower farmers at scale.

  1. What role will business take to build capacity for sustainable smallholders?
  2. How do we take it to scale with the huge number of smallholders spread across geographies?
  3. How do we incentivise local governments?
  4. How do we incentivise smallholders?
  5. Who pays?
With:
  • Alan Johnson, senior operations officer, IFC
  • Mike Warmington(picture) director of microfinance partnerships, One Acre Fund
  • Roberto Vega(picture) head smallholder policy and food chain relations, Syngenta
  • Anna Turrell, (picture) senior public affairs manager – sustainability, Nestlé
Collaborating for finance: How to manage and make partnerships for finance workThis session hosted a multi-perspective discussion from organizations engaging in these blended finance models. The discussion focused on how to best make financial partnerships for shared risk work.
  1. Making shared decision-making work;
  2. Overcoming conflicts of interest;
  3. Deciding appropriate levels of financial commitment;
  4. Overcoming implementation challenges in day-to-day partnership management; and
  5. Avoiding negative reputation impact by association.
With:
  • Hoi-Ming Mak(picture) initiate lead "Impactor", ING NL
  • Kate Wylie(picture) global sustainability director, MARS
  • Chris Isaac, senior director, investments and business development, AgDevCo
  • Urvi Kelkar(picture) global agriculture policy and partnerships manager, AB InBev
Pre-competitive collaboration: How willing are companies to engage in knowledge-sharing across agriculture supply chains
Following on the previous session, it cannot be disputed that there is tremendous value to greater knowledge sharing, communication and collaboration and across agriculture supply chains. In an ideal world, organisations could come together in honest, pre-competitive space to work on common issues, share critical types of data and experience to find better solutions. Clearly, this is easier said than done.

This discussion assessed the potential of pre-competitive collaboration as means to greater communication and information exchange. The panellists addressed questions such as:
  1. What might pre-competitive collaboration look like and is it realistic?
  2. To what extent are companies truly willing to be fully transparent and disclose information to their competitors?
  3. What are the obstacles to making pre-competitive collaboration work, and how can they be
    overcome?
With:
  • Clare Salter,  (picture) senior communications manager, EMEA, Starbucks
  • John Magnay, head of agriculture, Opportunity International
  • Erinch Sahan,  (picture) head of private sector team, Oxfam
  • Herbert Lust, vice president and managing director, Europe, Conservation International
Resources:
10/03/2017 Can smallholders count on better data? Data that is shared or reused can have a “far greater value than if it were simply used for its original purpose”, was a key conclusion of a recent Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) working paper.

However, working out how best to deliver on this opportunity is still in its infancy. According to research from ICT, while the opportunities might appear to be plentiful, a lack of reliable and contextualised data is currently working against smallholder farmers.

Currently, open agricultural data in developing countries is thin on the ground. Information must be localised to have the desired effect. As Theo de Jager, president of the Pan African Farmers’ Organisation pointed out to ICT “On a farm – whether it is one thousand hectares or only one hectare – I need real-time information. What does the market want now? What’s my soil like now? What’s the weather like now?’”

Better information means farmers are better equipped to know what to plant and when, yet this type of data remains hard to get hold of.
  • in Uganda, ICT4Ag-enabled Information Service is providing farmers with satellite-based data to help improve agronomic practice as well as financial and index-based insurance services and market intelligence on where and when to sell.
  • FarmSat and FieldLook are among the growing number of service providers offering satellite-based crop monitoring. Such advice-by-satellite is said to increase smallholder productivity by around 40%.
As Zara Rahman, a researcher at tech specialists Engine Room, warns, there is a crucial need to build capacity among smallholder farmers so they can deal with the growing amounts of data as they are becoming accessible. “Simply making data available is not enough … and more needs to be done, potentially through providing low-cost advisory services on data use, or more accessible capacity building options.”