Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, October 17, 2016

Awesome Oceans and overfishing, plastic waste, acidification, species extinction

Published on 31 Augustus 2016. About 70% of our planet is covered by oceans and seas: large, full of life and mysterious. They are a source of food, way of transportation, oxygen producer, and more. But the sea is in danger: overfishing, plastic waste, acidification, species extinction.
"We need to better understand the marine life and deal with it in a sustainable way, because our life is closely linked to the sea. If it is sick, we cannot stay healthy."
This animated short-video (8 minutes) is about the fascination of oceans and the problems they are facing, such as loss of biodiversity, acidification and plastic waste.

Friday, October 14, 2016

2nd Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance

11-13 October, 2016. Nairobi, Kenya. The NEPAD Agency convened the 2nd Africa Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) Alliance under the auspices of the Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. The theme for the meeting was: “From Agreement to Action: Implementing African INDCs for Growth and Resilience in Agriculture”.

At the 31st African Union Summit (Malabo, 2014), Heads of State and Government emphasized the importance of the agriculture and climate change by endorsing the NEPAD programme on agriculture and climate change. An integral part of the programme is theAfrican Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance which is to support the AU Vision to have at least 25 million smallholder households practicing CSA by 2025 in line with CAADP’s 2015-25 Results Framework. This Alliance was officially launched in Ethiopia in May 2015 as a mechanism for dialogue, agenda-setting, resource alignment and harmonisation in the efforts to support the scaling-up of CSA in Africa.

Climate Smart Agriculture contributes to the achievement of the new sustainable development goals (SDG) and aims to address food and nutrition security and climate challenges looking at the three dimensions of sustainability (economic, social and environmental).

The 4th Afraca Central banks forum

13 - 14 October 2016. Accra, Ghana. The 4TH AFRACA Central Banks Forum 2016 is a key platform convening all Central Banks, Financial institutions and stakeholders to deliberate on policies and interventions in rural and agricultural finance in Africa.

A lot of advances have been made in the rural and agricultural finance space since the last AFRACA Central Banks Forum held in 2011 and 2014.

Guided by the theme - ‘Taking stock of gains and misses in extension of financial services to Rural and Agricultural communities in Africa’ the Forum is therefore meant to acknowledge, reflect and take stock of the developments that have since taken place-including policy issues, innovations as
well as new partnerships that could be explored, aimed at developing an inclusive financial sector in Africa.

The 5th World Congress on Agriculture and Rural Finance
Nov 24 - Nov 25 · Radison Blue Hotel · Dakar, Senegal

7-8 November 2016. Boosting agriculture through innovative public-private lending partnerships, the Blending4Ag conference will examine the largely untapped potential for using blending tools to leverage finance for agriculture, and particularly to unlock more private funding to develop agribusiness in the smallholder sector.

Focusing on practical aspects of blending finance for agriculture, the conference will seek to contribute to the knowledge base on how this can best be done. The event, which will bring together key stakeholders from agriculture, finance, public and private sectors, will investigate various blending schemes that are currently in operation and assess some of the principle challenges to developing this approach to galvanise better funding of small-scale agriculture in the future.

2ND PACA Partnership Platform Meeting

11-13 October 2016. The 2nd PACA Partnership Platform Meeting (PPM) brought together senior
government officials from African Union Member States (government ministries from agriculture, trade and health), Regional Economic Community (REC) representatives, farmer organizations, consumer associations, large and small business sector representatives, civil society, development partners, donor communities, the African Union (AU).

The meeting aimed to achieve the following objectives:
  • Track progress of implementing the specific actions identified at the 1st PPM.
  • Assess efforts of the last two years (2014-2016) of implementing PACA activities at continental, regional and national levels, in order to capture the attained successes and recorded challenges, for the development of a clear roadmap for the next two years of implementation.
  • Celebrate the numerous programs and activities being implemented by partners in managing aflatoxin, particularly the active leadership of key agents of change and aflatoxin mitigation champions active on the continent.
  • Endorse planned approaches for implementing PACA Phase II, 2016-2019.
  • Strengthen instruments and mechanisms for accountability, M and E and reporting for PACA stakeholders.
Hon. Minister of Trade, Industry & Cooperative of Uganda
For a full description of the PACA PPM 2016, see following documents:
  • PPM 2016 Agenda (English and French) including descriptions of the following side events:
  • Parliamentarians Engagement for Aflatoxin Control in Africa
  • Strengthening Partnerships for Increased Impact of Non-State Actors in Aflatoxin Control
  • CTA Roundtable on Engaging the Private Sector for Aflatoxin:
    The private sector, including farmers’ organizations and industry leaders, are driving initiatives to mitigate aflatoxin in major commodities and to benefit agro-industry development. The private sector brings critical competencies, commitment and ingenuity for establishing meaningful alliances for scaling up and expanding innovative aflatoxin control approaches, and for joint implementation of actions that can ensure sustainability at the grass roots level. This side event brought together private sector players and other stakeholders to chart approaches for effective engagement with the private sector while leveraging the capabilities of different actors.
  • Aflasafe ™ Innovative Biocontrol Solution for Aflatoxin Control

FOOD 2030: Research & Innovation for Tomorrow's Nutrition & Food Systems

13 October 2016. Brussels. The official conference of FOOD 2030 saw the participation of high level officials, industry, entrepreneurs, investors, policy makers, and civil society organisations.

The European Commission presented its FOOD 2030 research and innovation policy stocktaking exercise to be followed by four prospective discussion panels, each exploring how R and I policy should contribute to shaping tomorrow's sustainable food systems, with respect to healthy and sustainable diets, climate resilience and circularity of food systems, user-centric innovation, new business models and investment.

  • The FOOD 2030 high level event provided a platform for dialogue that seeked to build on the political momentum for a coherent research and
    innovation policy framework for Food and Nutrition Security
  • The conference was an important step towards boosting future investment in research and innovation in support of impactful nutrition and food systems research breakthroughs, market-creating and open innovation, open science and multi-actor engagement, building of capacities and skills; and strengthening global collaboration for improved research policy alignment.
  • FOOD 2030 explored what is needed to transform and future-proof our food systems to be sustainable, resilient, competitive, diverse, responsible and performant in their provision of accessible, healthy and sustainable food and diets for all. 
  • Furthermore, FOOD 2030 investigated how research and innovation systems can be scaled-up to better contribute to the above Food and Nutrition Security priorities.
In the video below you will find the keynote presentations of:
  • Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation
    He announced the single thematic Research and Innovation narrative built on a number of key Food and Nutrition Security priorities:
    NUTRITION for sustainable and healthy diets
    CLIMATE smart and environmentally sustainable food systems
    CIRCULARITY and resource efficiency of food systems
    INNOVATION and empowerment of communities
  • Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Paul Bulcke, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé S.A.
  • Mairead McGuinness, Vice-President of the European Parliament
For the rest of the programme click here

Example of innovative research
Tomato skins transformed into food packaging.
The BIOCOPAC Project has been funded under 7th FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME - Research for the benefit of SMEs (Grant Agreement No. FP7-SME-2011-286446). The Project has started the 1st of December of 2011 and lasted for 24 months.
  • The goal of the project was to develop a bio-lacquer for the protection of metal food packaging to meet the demand for sustainable production and for the safeguarding of consumer health, at the same time increasing the competitiveness of the metal cans industry, valorising the wastes produced by the preserved industry and reducing refuse. 
  • BIOCOPAC, making a better use of Europe's renewable agri-food resources, enables business to deliver green growth and environmental benefits.
  • The core of the research was the development of a natural lacquer obtained from industrial tomato processing by-products (skins), to be applied on the internal and external surfaces of cans for foodstuffs.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

FOODSECURE Final conference

12 October 2016. Brussels. Some 150 participants consisting of policy and decision makers on FNS in the European Commission, the EU and beyond, with representatives of the civil society, private sector and academia that have a stake in a global strategy for
FNS participated in a conference entitled “Policies that matter”.

This conference provided a policy and science
forum on Europe’s role in eliminating global
hunger and malnutrition. Reflecting the approach adopted throughout the project, in this final conference FOODSECURE researchers engaged with interested policy-makers and stakeholders during a one-day event to present, share and discuss their research results and findings as well as policy recommendations. an introduction to the project and the overall conceptual framework of the project for assessing and addressing FNS in an uncertain future and in anticipation of more volatile global agricultural markets.

Parallel session 1: “A policy agenda driven by novel evidence on the determinants of global food and nutrition security (FNS)”

Session 1A. Culture and socio-economic exclusion driving food and nutrition security in the EU and beyond
Session 1B. Linking empowerment, innovation and resilience – evidence from farm households
  • Linking empowerment, innovation and resilience – evidence from farm households by Nicolas Gerber (ZEF) and Martina Bozzola (IHEID)

    Take-home messages

    Message 1: Innovation and technology diffusion can be inclusive, but reaching the poor may require looking beyond traditional remedies to low investments in agricultural innovations at the farm level. Interventions on farmers’ aspirations may enhance the effectiveness of other policies targeting „external“ constraints. Aspiration-raising strategies could hence
    support innovation diffusion and creation, as well as FNS.

    Message 2: Key technological innovations such as improved seeds can increase the economic resilience of small farmers in the developing world, especially if these technologies prove tolerant to a wide range of conditions. Yet the adoption of improved seeds is itself negatively affected by climate shocks and therefore the intensity of diffusion remains sub-optimal. Institutional changes, and possibly even deeper structural changes, are required to correct this. For example, to support technology diffusion in improved seeds varieties is important not only to invest the development of such technology, but also in experimentation and use at the production (farmer) level.
Session 1C. Volatile agricultural commodity prices and instability along the food value chain
Parallel session 2: “How do future FNS challenges shape EU policy action in meeting global sustainability and hunger and nutrition goals?”

Session 2A. Inequality and inclusiveness: Long term scenarios and robust policy response
Session 2B. Environmental sustainability of the food system: Long term scenarios, robust policy responses and the 1.5°C warming
Policy panel: “EU policies and global FNS”
Science panel: “A helpful research and policy frame for global action and governance of FNS”
  • Introduction and moderator: Joachim von Braun (ZEF)
  • Panelists: John Bell (DG Research), Ousmane Badiane (IFPRI), Alan Matthews (University of Dublin), Willis Kosura (University of Nairobi), David Zilberman (UC Berkeley)
FOODSECURE – An interdisciplinary research project to explore the future of global food and nutrition security. 7th framework program, Collaborative Project. € 10.5 mln. March 2012 – 2017. 19 partners from 13 countries. Scientific Coordinator Joachim von Braun (ZEF, Center for Development Research, University of Bonn)

Publications (extract)
The effect of aspirations on agricultural innovations in rural Ethiopia
Author(s) Daniel Ayalew Mekonnen; Daniel Ayalew Mekonnen; Nicolas Gerber; Nicolas Gerber
This paper identifies the impacts of aspirations on the adoption of agricultural innovations in the context of rural Ethiopia. While most studies on agricultural innovations have focused on identifying observable and resource-related deprivations or ‘external’ constraints, a related stream of literature suggests that ‘internal’ constraints, such as the lack of aspirations, could reinforce external constraints and lead to self-sustaining poverty traps. Since both aspirations and the adoption of i...More

Transfer of Improved Varieties in Informal Markets and the Diffusion of Embedded Innovation: Legal Pluralism in Uganda
Author(s) Martina Bozzola, Tim Swanson, Helena Ting
Summary The authors used household level panel data to look at the diffusion of seed technology among Ugandan farmers. We present a simple target-input model to conceptualize the adoption decisions and management of a new technology in which the best use of inputs under the new technology is unknown and stochastic. In this framework, there is path dependency in the adoption process, since use and adoption are important indicators of the superior efficiency of new technology. Our analysis suggests that the adoptio...More

Work packages/research areas

Causes of hunger and poor diets

Stakeholder orientation on the future of hunger

Sustainable agriculture

Database on hunger: outcomes and drivers

Short term modelling

EU and national food security strategies and aid policies

Innovation for FNS

Long-term modelling

EU policies in support of food and nutrition security

Aid, trade and agriculture policies

Surveillance on and management of food crises

Pooling resources: Models and data

The role of consumers for sustainable food and nutrition systems

11 October 2016. Brussels. In the context of the FOOD2030 conference "Research and Innovation for Tomorrow’s Nutrition and Food Systems”, the European Agricultural Research towards greater impact on global CHallenges (ARCH) jointly organised a Pre Event with other SCAR Strategic Working Groups AKIS and Food Systems as well as DGs RTD, AGRI and DEVCO on the role of consumers in the sustainable consumption and production in Europe and in developing countries.

The Pre Event show-cased examples of practical initiatives of the role of consumers from
which lessons may be drawn; investigate measures providing incentive to link various
stakeholder groups and also examine linkages between research and innovation policies both
at EU and national levels.
  • The role of consumers in different countries and regions will be highlighted to contribute to more resilient and sustainable food and nutrition systems.
  • The outcomes of the Pre Event will contribute to the DG RTD FOOD 2030 Conference and address the need to include the consumer’s perspective to create greater impact on global challenges by European Food and Nutrition Security research.
  1. The most sustainable food or value chain choice is not necessarily the most obvious one. Discussions made it clear that there is a need for more diversity in the food system, for reducing food wastage, and for value chain actors to take more responsibility, including for impacts in low- and middle-income countries
  2. The assessment of the sustainability impact of food systems should be multi-dimensional. This means looking beyond the well-known ‘People, Planet, and Profit’ dimensions, and should include ethics, fairness, culture and other aspects that are not always taken into account. For example, a Life Cycle Analysis may be scientifically sound, but doesn’t address ethical aspects.
  3. While it is important to be clear about what needs to be measured, it is also challenging to know who participates. Sustainability impact assessment should not just be a scientific activity but a multistakeholder process. 
  4. There is a need to raise consumer awareness about where and how food is produced, and to go a step further, working on consumer empowerment. These will form the basis for subsequent behavioral changes, and possibly for change at system level. 
  5. Another type of research is needed, including harmonized models for measuring consumer behavior, sharing data, etc. Consumer involvement in research is welcome, although expectations should be realistic given the often limited resources available. In multistakeholder research, various private sector actors also need to be included (retailers, SMEs, MNCs). Examples of successful engagement of multinational companies were mentioned, though reality shows that this involvement has been less ideal in other cases. 
  6. To foster the sustainability of food systems, there is an important role for the youth. Educating young children and youth about food can be effective, if you do it properly. But, at the same time, people from all age groups can foster food system change - it is everybody’s responsibility.
Extract of the programme

Shifting Consumption: Lessons from market transformations by Daniel Vennhard, World Resources Institute

A new paradigm for sustainable food systems by Emile Frison, IPES Food

Are local food systems more sustainable than global food systems? by Gianluca Brunori, Glamor project

Making sustainable food choices easier for consumers by Camille Perrin, European Consumer Organisation

Serving food for change, by Jorrit Kiewik, Youth Food Movement

The case of reducing food losses and waste; Engaging Consumers for Change by Toine Timmermans, WUR

A Joint EIARD SCAR Strategic Working Group – ARCH - was established in September 2013 in order to improve linkages between Agricultural Research and Agricultural Research for Development aiming at identifying and working towards ways to increase the contribution of European Agricultural Research investments to the solution of global challenges.
  • Agricultural Research (AR) focusses on national needs within Europe whereas Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) is dedicated to collaboration with and in developing countries working towards the Millennium Development Goals.
  • European Agricultural Research must now also focus on global challenges such as food security and climate change. At national, European and at global level Agricultural Research and Agricultural Research for Development activities are fragmented and could benefit from better coordination. Cooperation between EIARD and SCAR through the Joint EIARD-SCAR Strategic Working Group will strengthen Europe’s position in solving global issues that are the common interest and commitment of Europe and the global community.
  • For brief information please use the following link:Brief information about ARCH
  • For a folder about ARCH please print from this link:Folder about ARCH

Access Agriculture wins International Award for Innovation

11 October 2016. London. Nairobi based Access Agriculture has won GOLD in the Innovation category of the EVCOM Clarion Awards at an International Award Ceremony in London. The Access Agriculture website which features “farmer to farmer” videos in local languages was singled out for the imaginative way in which videos of value can be accessed by the target audience either directly or through extension staff.

Access Agriculture also received a highly recommended award in the video category.

The Clarion Awards champion community and environmental projects around the world.

Access Agriculture was established as an NGO 4 years ago to provide videos for farmers in their own languages. It was set up by Josephine Rodgers, Phil Malone and Dr. Paul Van Mele together with Kenyan Media Specialist Bob Muchina as Executive Secretary.

Today more than 140 videos are available for download in more than 70 languages. The videos help farmers boost their incomes by seeing and copying techniques which have been proven. The videos can be viewed online and downloaded.

Access Agriculture has been assisted by a contribution from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) to help increase food security among Africa’s farmers.

Technical website backup is provided by Drupal specialists at Adaptive.

EVCOM is the official voice of the live event and visual communication industry in the UK.

The EVCOM Clarion Awards are the leading event and communication awards that recognise performance in CSR and sustainability, including: environment, diversity, equality, community, charity initiatives, education, ethical, health and welfare issues. Now in their thirteenth year, the Clarion Awards were established on the principle of raising standards and celebrating achievement in all areas of corporate social responsibility.

The State of Food and Agriculture 2016

Climate change, agriculture and food security

The Paris Agreement, adopted in December 2015, represents a new beginning in the global effort to stabilize the climate before it is too late. It recognizes the importance of food security in the international response to climate change, as reflected by many countries focusing prominently on the agriculture sector in their planned contributions to adaptation and mitigation. To help put those plans into action, this report identifies strategies, financing opportunities, and data and information needs. It also describes transformative policies and institutions that can overcome barriers to implementation.

The SOFA 2016 report and other complementary information products will be released on Monday, October 17, 2016.

7th Africa Nutritional Epidemiology Conference

9 - 14 October 2016. 7th Africa Nutritional Epidemiology Conference is organised under the theme of “Nutrition Dynamics in Africa” under the following sub-themes:
  • Food and Nutrition Assessment methodologies
  • Food policy ; Food prices ; Livelihoods; and Nutritional well-being
  • Nutrition and HIV, ; Micronutrient deficiencies
  • Diet therapy; Overnutrition, NCDs and cancers
  • Maternal nutrition and infant and young child feeding
  • Nutrition, Food Security and Agricultural linkages
  • Scaling Up Nutrition
Extract of the programme
  • Dr. Gladys Mugambi, Kenya: Scaling Up Nutrition - Continental Experiences and Progress in Africa 
  • Munthali T., Incorporating pigeon peas (Cajanus cajan L.) and finger millet (Eleusine coracana L.) in complementary foods enriches porridge and improves child nutrition in Malawi
  • Osabutey N. Vitabread: orange-fleshed sweet potato and wheat composite bread as a dietary source of vitamin
  • Amoako-Andoh FO. Looking beyond carotenoid biosynthesis for crop staples biofortification with provitamin A carotenoids: Insights from comparative proteomic analysis of banana fruits
  • Judith Francis (CTA), Approaches to bridging the gaps between the nutrition, health and  agricultural sectors: Perspectives from Stakeholders' in Africa
  • Dr Ezekiel Chibundu, PACA, Strategic Priorities for Addressing Aflatoxins in African Staples
  • Atuobi-Yeboah A. Low dietary diversity and animal source food intake among infants 6- 12 months in the Upper Manya Krobo District, Ghana
  • Fungo R. Contribution of forest foods to women’s nutrient intake and household food security, in the biodiversity-rich Cameroonian forests
  • Wamahiu MW. The contribution of Irish potato towards household dietary consumption and food security in Dedza district, Malawi 
  • Prof. Johann Jehling, Director ANLP Programme, Northwestern University, Potchefstroom, South Africa, ANLP: Investing in Networking and Building Capacity for African Scientists in Nutrition 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA)

29-30 September 2016. Marrakech. Around 20 African ministers, alongside representatives from various international institutions, as well as scientists and experts, attended a High Level meeting ahead of the upcoming COP22 negotiations ( which will be held in Marrakech from November 7th-18th). The main purpose of the meeting was to formulate a committee for the initiative for the Adaptation of African Agriculture (AAA) to climate change. Nearly all African states were represented, including the host nation.

Recognising that various changes are needed in terms of African agriculture, the Ministers of Agriculture, as well as Heads of Delegations, amongst other participants have committed developed countries to mobilising at least 100 billion US dollars per year to developing countries, in terms of agricultural aid.

The initiative was launched in April 2016. African states found that Africa, Agriculture and Adaptation were not major features in international negotiations and therefore this initiative was born in order to change this.Participants recognised the vulnerability of Africa’s agriculture, in the face of climate change and global warming. The meeting acknowledged that various African states have insufficient funds in order to adapt their agricultural methods in order to sustain productivity.

The meeting concluded in support of the initiative in favour of the Adaptation of African Agriculture declaring:
  1. To support the principle of a higher, more efficient and more effective climate funding, both in private and public spheres.
  2. To contribute to the action and solutions in the Global Climate Action Agenda by emphasising various projects and practice in Africa.
  3. To place agriculture at the centre of negotiations, by pushing for sustainable agricultural productivity and the adaptation of agricultural practice.
  4. To work to reinforce African capacities, in terms of programs and policies and manage climate-resilient sustainable projects.

Mainstreaming climate change in agriculture and food security programmes

30 September 2016. This sector note Integrating the environment and climate change into EU international cooperation and development: towards sustainable development provides detailed advice and practical examples on how to mainstream environment and climate change in agriculture, food security and rural development programmes.

The full toolbox of guidelines, annexes, sector notes for major sectors of EU development cooperation, as well as a series of climate change sector scripts, are available on Capacity4Dev

The notes considers that agriculture, food security and rural development sector offers huge opportunities to enhance the environment, reduce GHG emissions, build resilience and improve the capacity to adapt to climate change. Improved land use and sustainable land management generates multiple benefits in terms of food security, livelihoods, economic development and ecosystem services. 
  • Good practice developed in this sector has, after many years, led to innovative and robust approaches and techniques for enhancing the environment through the use of sustainable agriculture e.g. soil and water conservation, agroforestry, minimum tillage techniques, integrated pest management and others
  • Good practice has also led to advances in building the resilience and enhancing the food security of vulnerable populations in drought-prone regions, including the introduction of innovations such as improved animal health services and rainfall insurance.
It considers that there are various opportunities for mainstreaming throughout the cycle of operations, showing entry points and mainstreaming actions that can be taken during different stages of the cycle. Policy dialogue occurs at all phases as an ongoing process. Guidance for each phase is provided.

FAO Africa Agriculture Outlook 2016-2025

OECD‑FAO Agricultural Outlook 2016‑2025 Special focus: Sub-Saharan Africa.
OECD Publishing, Paris. July 2016, 137 pages

The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook offers 10-year projections of agriculture production trends for cereals, oilseeds, sugar, cotton, meat and dairy products as well as biofuels. It also looks at the challenge of climate change and the strategic priorities for sub-Saharan Africa's rapidly-urbanizing population.
“Agriculture is a key sector for the achievement of many goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to end poverty and hunger and promote prosperity and people’s wellbeing, while protecting the environment. This Outlook outlines how agriculture can actively contribute to the attainment of these goals” (The Agricultural Outlook 2016-2025).
The Agricultural Outlook report is a collaborative effort between the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and FAO to provide supply, demand, trade, and price projections for the major agricultural commodities,biofuels and fish over the next decade (2016-2025).

To present an assessment of medium-term prospects of national, regional and global agricultural commodity markets, the Agricultural Outlook brings together the policy and country expertiseof both organizations and input from collaborating member countries.

A special chapter of the report is focused on the prospects and challenges of the agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“While the outlook for agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa [with more than 950 million people, approximately 13% of the global population] is broadly positive, it could be much improved by more stable policies across the region, by strategic public and privateinvestments, notably in infrastructure, and by suitably adapted research and extension. Such investments could improve access to markets, reduce post-harvest losses, and make needed inputs more widely available” (the Summary of the report).
Access The Agricultural Outlook report chapter-by-chapter:
Commodity chapters (not available in full report)
Sub-Saharan Africa’s net imports of food commodities are anticipated to grow over the next decade, although productivity enhancing investments would mitigate this trend. Food import dependency of resource poor regions, such as North Africa and the Middle East, is projected to intensify providing a huge market for any grain exporters in Africa. In SAA countries grain imports will increase 50% in ten years. Comparatively, North Africa will only see a 15% increase.

Due to extremely high population growth, SSA has a very young population. The World Bank predictes that more than half of young Africans will enter agricultural careers, mostly in the format of small family farms. Inovating ways for youth to participate in agriculture has the potential to greatly reduce poverty and hunger. Success for these young African farmers relies on their education of land access and tenure, access to financial services, access to markets, access to green jobs and involvement in policy dialogue. All of this has the potential to make the agricultural sector more attractive to young people, providing an additional push that may be needed for them to enter the sector

FAO believes that the single greatest factor in improve crop outputs over the next decade will be yield improvements. Currently, it’s not uncommon to see post-harvest crop losses above 50 percent in the region. In the next decade African farmers will gain new metholodgies and technologies to improve their yields. The opportunity for large fertilizers and machinery companies to penetrate the African market is likely to greatly increase as farmers seek new ways to improve their output.

FAO reports that foreign investment and external financial flows into Africa have quadrupled since 2000. These flows are expected to increase two times further in the next decade. The report finds that while the outlook for agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa is broadly positive, it could be much improved by improvements in government policies across the region, by an increase in strategic public and private investments (especially in infrastructure) and by suitably adapted research and extension. Such investments could improve access to markets, reduce post-harvest losses, and make much needed inputs more widely available. 

A great example of exactly this kind of investment is the new Norwegian funded company Arise. Arise is a cooperation by Norfund, FMO and Rabobank which seeks to invests in financial institutions in SSA to grow their financial services and capability to supply capital to small-holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The establishment of joint ventures, such as this, will contribute more to the development of banking than just one bank or investment fund on its own.

The new company, to be named Arise, will start with a presence in over 20 countries, USD 660 million in assets and is anticipated to grow to USD 1 billion. Arise will take and manage minority stakes in African FSPs. The key ambition is to build strong and stable FSPs that will serve retail, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the rural sector, and clients who have not previously had access to financial services.
“Rabobank’s activities in investing and building strong financial service providers in emerging economies, especially Sub-Saharan Africa, truly fit our Banking for Food strategy; focused on creating solutions with our clients to feed the world in 2050. It is therefore very important to us to take this approach to a higher level. By joining forces and pooling assets, networks and expertise with Norfund and FMO, two highly experienced development institutions of excellent reputation, we are taking a major step forward.”Berry Marttin, Executive Board Member of Rabobank
 “Norfund invests in financial institutions to strengthen their ability to supply capital and financial services to SMEs and unbanked people in Sub-Saharan Africa and thereby contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction. The establishment of Arise will contribute to the development of the financial sector in Africa on a scale which is far beyond what Norfund can achieve by itself. By partnering with experienced, like-minded investors such as FMO and Rabobank, will ensure that Arise benefits from excellent banking, technical and managerial expertise.” Kjell Roland, CEO at Norfund
“FMO is proud to co-create a unique platform for investing in African banks with Norfund and Rabobank. Arise can leverage the extensive banking knowledge and valuable agri-banking expertise of its founding partners. This partnership will increase the availability of financial services to small and medium enterprises. Above all it will allow the people in Sub-Saharan Africa to empower themselves by getting bank accounts and taking loans and thus building a better life for their families.” Nanno Kleiterp, CEO at FMO

Renewable Energy: decentralised solutions in agri-food chain

Renewable Energy Benefits: Decentralised solutions in agri-food chain
 IRENA The International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi.
September 2016, 57 pages

The number of people without access to electricity is estimated at more than a billion, while almost 2.9 billion still rely on traditional, unsustainable biomass sources such as firewood for cooking and heating. About 80% of those lacking modern energy access live in rural areas, which also host more than 70% of the world’s poor.

Agriculture and related agri-food activities are at the heart of the rural economy. However, rural communities struggling with expensive or inadequate power supplies are often limited to producing low-quality goods with little diversity. Extending affordable, secure and environmentally sustainable energy to underserved rural areas can drive community development, strengthen livelihoods and improve the quality of life.

Off-grid renewables can support productive activity at all stages of the agri-food chain, from irrigation to support food production, through post-harvest processes, including agro-processing and food preservation for storage and transport. Modern renewable technologies also allow sustainable food preparation and cooking.

This IRENA study analyses the benefits of introducing off-grid technologies for agriculture. Maximising the benefits of decentralised renewables depends on effective policies and regulations, appropriate business models, and integrated resource management.

The study finds that introducing these technologies in rural areas can boost agricultural productivity, reduce food losses, thereby improving food security and helping to address malnutrition, and increase resilience to climate variability.

Innovation Outlook: Renewable mini-grids
This report examines ground-breaking innovations that can help to unlock future power supply for unserved areas and communities through the rapid roll-out of mini-grids based on solar, wind or other renewable sources.

Solar PV in Africa: Costs and Markets
Abstract: The report discusses challenges in policy making and proposes a co-ordinated effort to collect data on the installed costs of solar PV in Africa, across all market segments to improve the efficiency of policy support and accelerate deployment.

The Global Atlas for Solar and Wind Energy project aims to create a collaborative internet basedGeographic Information System (GIS) forwind and solar resources that can direct and enhance cooperation on global scenarios and strategies and support decision-making, especially in areas where existing information is insufficient.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Food systems and diets: Facing the challenges of the 21st century

23rd September 2016. The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition published its new Report, Food systems and diets: Facing the challenges of the 21st century.

This evidence-based Report is designed to help policymakers make their food systems more supportive of high quality diets.
The need for action on malnutrition
  • Poor diet is the number one risk factor driving the world’s disease burden.
  • Three billion people from 193 countries now have low quality diets and nearly half of all countries are experiencing the simultaneous problem of serious levels of undernutrition, overweight and obesity. Yet our global understanding about the quality of our diets is limited. 
The Report

  • Using modelling and trend analysis, the Report generates a new understanding of diets and food systems, and how they could change by 2030.
  • The analysis shows that if current trends continue, by 2030 nearly half of the world’s adult population will be overweight or obese, up from one third today. The poorest countries are not immune to these trends. 
  • It also shows how these trends have enormous economic impacts at the macro and micro levels, as well major consequences for mortality and morbidity. For example, at the macro level, cost are estimated to represent an annual loss of 10% global GDP, equivalent to a global financial crisis every year.
  • Drawing on over 250 data sources and peer-reviewed articles, the Report lists a series of recommendations for policymakers in low and middle income countries through a ‘Call to Action’.
  • The Report presents evidence showing that the risk that poor diets pose to mortality and morbidity is now greater than the combined risks of unsafe sex, alcohol, drug and tobacco use.
  • But, as the Report shows that there are many opportunities for action within the food system.
A Call to Action
  • This Report identifies decisions that policymakers need to take in the coming decade, particularly for women and children, to invest in effective policies to reduce all forms of malnutrition, repositioning food systems from feeding people to nourishing people.
  • Actions which go beyond agriculture to encompass trade, the environment and health, harnessing the power of the private sector and empowering consumers to demand better diets.
  • Enhancing the ability of food systems to deliver high quality diets is a choice that is well within the grasp of policymakers. It is a choice that will help achieve the SDG goal of ending malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. It is a choice that will reap benefits for decades to come, for all people, in all countries. 
  • Only a response on the scale and commitment used to tackle HIV/AIDS and malaria will be sufficient to meet the challenge, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
“This Report makes clear the enormous challenge posed by malnutrition and poor diets generally to the detriment of many millions of individuals and indeed whole economies.” Sir John Beddington, Co-Chair of the Global Panel, and former UK Chief Scientific Advisor

The Global Panel is planning a series of regional launches and presentations of the Foresight report:
  • 7 October - Foresight South Asian launch in Partnership with The Public Health Foundation in India – Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi, India
  • 9-14 October - The Foresight report will be shared with participants at the seventh African Nutrition Epidemiology Conference (ANEC VII) – Marrakesh, Morocco
  • 12-14 October - Side event at the World Food Prize with prof. Lawrence Haddad, Chair of the Foresight Lead Expert Group – Des Moines, Iowa, USA
  • 18 October - Side event at CFS 43 in Partnership with Harvest Plus, IFPR and the FAO – Rome, Italy
  • 28 October - African launch in occasion of the Africa Day for Food and Nutrition Security, with Panel Co-Chair H.E. John Kufuor, former president of Ghana – Accra, Ghana
  • 2 November - UK launch in partnership with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development – House of Commons, London, UK
  • 15 November - Panel discussion and presentation of the Foresight Report at the Integrated Nutrition Conference - Nairobi, Kenya
The Consumer Goods Forum

The topics addressed will include Food Waste, Forced Labour and Health and Wellness.
Internationally renowned speakers, round table discussions, workshops and networking opportunities will provide applicable learnings from FMCG experts (company CEOs), high level government representatives, international organisations, inspirational health & sustainability leaders and other stakeholders.

USSEC: the critical issues behind soy sourcing and sustainable production.
This session offers a unique opportunity for The Consumer Goods Forum and the U.S. Soybean Export Council to educate and inform a broader audience of CGF members on the critical issues around soy sourcing and sustainable production. Focus will be placed firmly within the context of the work done by the CGF on deforestation, highlighting recent work carried out to update the soy sourcing guidelines. USSEC will present the US Sustainable Soy Assurance Protocol (SSAP) and their efforts to gain greater recognition and acceptance by European traders, feed companies, livestock producers and retailers and consumers. Finally, US soy producers will provide their first-hand experience on what sustainability means to them, the soy value chain and American consumers.

 Food waste is an enormous environmental, social and economic challenge. A third of food calories produced are never eaten. It represents an economic cost to the global economy of $940 billion per year and, if food waste were a country, its carbon footprint would be third only to China and the US. Given the magnitude of this challenge, the consumer goods industry is publicly committed to food waste reduction.

CEO Chimney Talk 
  • Thierry Cotillard, CEO, Intermarché Alimentaire Internationale 
  • Mike Coupe, CEO, Sainsbury’s 
  • Dave Lewis, Group CEO, Tesco Stores
Expert Panel 
  • Craig Hanson, Global Director (Food, Forests and Water) World Resources Institute 
  • Sabine Juelicher, Director, DG Health and Food Safety, Directorate E - Food and feed safety Innovation, European Commission 
  • Pierre Galio, Head of the Consumer and Prevention Department, The French Environment and Energy Management Agency, ADEME 
  • Jérôme Bédier, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and General Secretary, Carrefour Group

Pre-competitive actions along the value chain

21 September 2016. Wellington. Dr Jason Clay, Senior Vice President Food and Markets, WWF-US visited New Zealand in September.

He made a powerful and sobering case for why trade is essential to achieve both food security and biodiversity. He also had some great case studies on how large multinationals can have a lot of power to do good environmentally, socially and ethically when they control so much of the supply chain.
Should consumers really have choice about sustainability? Or should all products on the shelf be sustainable? Why is it that today unsustainable products actually cost less than sustainable ones, when unsustainable products actually cost the planet more? The planet is subsidising our food consumption because externalities – pollution, soil erosion and so on – are not brought into pricing. As we factor in these kinds of costs, food prices are going to go up. WWF has identified 15 commodities as the most important to global conservation – palm oil, cotton, biofuels, sugarcane, pulp and paper, sawn wood, dairy, beef, soy, low trophic-level forage species, farmed salmon, farmed shrimp, tropical shrimp, tuna and whitefish. These – rather than rice, corn or wheat, which occupy the greatest area – are expanding most right now, and so it is these we need to be thoughtful about.
You can see Jason's slide presentation here, or view his complete video presentation

There is no silver bullet, no single activity that will double food production. Instead, we think there are probably nine different sets of discrete activities that need to happen. If we pursue them all simultaneously we will more than double food production. Nobody can work on all of these. But everyone – consumers, producers, retailers, brands – can work on one of them. 
  • We know that one out of every three calories never makes it to the consumer. If we could eliminate food waste in the system, we’d have to produce half as much new food by 2050. Much of the waste is in fresh food, about which we seem to have a mania today. In developing countries the causes are different but the results are the same. 
  • Nor can we get away from genetics. If we didn’t have plant breeding, we wouldn’t have cities, we wouldn’t have agriculture, we wouldn’t have produce surpluses. It would be crazy to think we can abandon it. But genetics doesn’t mean transgenics and GMOs. We have to be doing 21st century plant breeding and looking for traits within the species that offer drought tolerance, disease resistance, productivity and nutrients. 
  • We have to begin looking at trees. Trees are a much better way to produce food, so let’s look at new technologies to see how we can change tree production within 10 years. 
  • We also need to decide what is the right thing to measure. It’s not bushels and tonnes, or animals per acre. It’s calories. And when you look at calories you get a different set of solutions. Fourteen crops provide about 70- 75 per cent of the calories on the planet. If calories are what the world needs to feed people, bananas produce 20 times more calories in Costa Rica than corn does per hectare in Iowa. Sugarcane produces three times more calories than bananas do and 60 times more than corn. Can we use banana starch to replace corn starch? Can we begin to look at the substitutes that will meet our caloric needs? 
  • We need to think differently, start measuring and start managing what we measure. Seventy per cent of all the water we use is for agriculture. This means that every calorie of food takes a litre of water to grow. So which crops take less water, or produce more calories? By 2050 we will have to produce two calories with half a litre of water. Which crops, what farming systems, can do that? 
  • We must focus on the results and be agnostic about the technologies. Let’s figure out which technologies work better in which places. 
  • One of the things people don’t understand is how dependent we are globally on a few countries to fill in the gaps of production shortfalls. When Russia cut wheat exports. That triggered price rises. And someone in Tunisia set themselves on fire in protest, triggering a series of events that became known as the Arab Spring. 
(see: SUSTAINABILITY, SOCIAL MEDIA…and THE FUTUREOF RETAIL Global Retail Summit London, August 2012, 44 pages)