Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, June 21, 2024

Debating one of the dilemmas in digital solutions for agriculture


14 June 2024
To diversify or not to diversify? Debating one of the dilemmas in digital solutions for agriculture

Digital service providers operating in the agricultural sector often find themselves at a crossroads, faced with deciding whether to stick to their specialized niche or diversify their service offerings within agriculture and eventually branch out to other sectors. This strategic choice can significantly impact their market positioning, growth potential, and resilience.

This panel discussed the challenges and opportunities digital service providers face in diversifying their offerings.

Please find the link to the presentations from the speakers (link HERE). 
  • Worlali Senyo Country Manager Farmer Line. 
    Farmerline is a company founded in 2013, a leading agritech company in Africa using technology to accelerate climate-financing to facilitates access to resources by farmers to help increase yield and realise more profit.
  • Anne Jorun Aas CEO of Farmforce
  • Teddy Segore CTO and Co-founder of Charis UAS
  • Hamza Rkha Chaham COO and Co-founder of SOWIT
  • Dr. Abdelaziz Lawani (Facilitator) Assistant Professor Agribusiness Management & Entrepreneurship 
  • Giacomo Rambaldi (Facilitator) Senior Advisor/Consultant

SASi-SPi: Sustainable Agri-Food Systems Intelligence

18-19 June 2024The first in-person Science Policy Lab event of the Initiative Sustainable Agri-FoodSystems Intelligence – Science-Policy Interface took place in Malmö Hyllie, Sweden. The SASi-SPi Science Policy Lab is a collaborative approach to foster dialogue and knowledge sharing among researchers, policymakers, and key stakeholders engaged in aquatic and agrifood systems. 

The objective of the event was to present and reflect with participants on the conceptual framework developed by the team of Agrinatura, and how it can guide transitions towards more sustainable aquatic and agrifood systems. The event will be an opportunity for participants to share their insights on the framework and how to shift from a traditional to a systemic approach to address challenges faced in aquatic and agrifood systems and achieve positive economic, social and environmental outcomes.

The two-days event combined presentations, panel discussions, breakout sessions with practical case studies, and networking opportunities. Collaborative and participatory methods were used to facilitate dialogue, peer learning, knowledge sharing, and co-creation. See agenda below.

11June 2024. An online pre-engagement session was organized on Tuesday June 11 to introduce the Science Policy Lab approach and the main components of the conceptual framework.

About 40 experts from around the globe gathered online for a pre-engagement session, paving the wayfor the first SASi-SPi Science Policy Lab event scheduled for June 18-19, 2024 in Malmö. The session presented the objectives for the upcoming Science Policy Lab (S-PoL), which featured a role-playing game designed to simulate stakeholder interactions and policy interventions for food systems transitions. Participants called for the sharing of meeting materials and continued collaboration, reflecting a strong commitment to advancing towards sustainable agrifood systems.

Key Discussions
  • Transition models drivers and challenges and stakeholder roles: Participants debated about transition models for agrifood systems, its drivers and challenges, emphasizing the need to understand diverse stakeholder interests and perspectives for their engagement.
  • Leverage Points: Discussions highlighted the complexity of leverage points within the transition and the need of unpackaging them for the application across different contexts.
  • The insights gained shaped the S-PoL event, which focused on refining and operationalizing the SASi-SPi conceptual framework.
See the presentation from the pre-engagement meeting:
SPOL pre_engagement_1106.pdf

Background SASi-SPi


Sustainable Agri-Food Systems Intelligence – Science-Policy Interface (SASi-SPi) is a 5-year € 11.5 million project with the overall objective to contribute to the economic, social, and environmental sustainability of Aquatic and Agri-Food Systems in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

SASi-SPi is a social-sciences, economics in particular, driven project and is primarily open to each of the 35 AGRINATURA member organisations, of which SLU is one. The project management unit is responsible for the coordination and implementation and is led by SLU.

A "sister" project, named SASi (€ 10 m) is coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The two teams, AGRINATURA and FAO, will work in close collaboration and coordination on the overall project and each work stream.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Local Private Sector and Nutrition for Women and Children

20 June 2024.
InfoPoint conference: Local Private Sector and Nutrition for Women and Children

Recording forthcoming

Representatives of local companies such as Nutri’zaza and Le Lionceau shared their business models, which are based on creating decent jobs, developing economically viable distribution networks and market safe nutritious and affordable products that appeal to as many people as possible. 

EU representatives presented how best to support this type of initiative and upcoming opportunities to develop value chains related to the nutritional products and share ideas for building pilot Global Gateway projects in the field of nutrition.

Speakers
  • Helena Guarin, Head of section Nutrition, INTPA F3- Sustainable Agri-Food systems and Fisheries unit (F3)
  • Auxane Gennetais, Health and Nutrition Project Manager, GRET
  • Quentin Moreau-Hamel, Policy officer, INTPA E2- Trade, Investment Climate, Entrepreneurship & Value Chains
  • Mandresy Randriamiharisoa, Director General, Nutrizaza, Madagascar
  • Siny Samba, Director General, Le Lionceau, Senegal
  • Tharcisse Nkunzimana, Programme Manager – EU Delegation, Niger
Background
  • GRET, (France) a partner of EU, has a twofold objective: to help develop and make available
    quality local foods adapted to the nutritional needs and expectations of the 1000 days window, and to support a market-led approach to disseminate targeted quality fortified foods in a sustainable way, to as many people as possible, at lower cost.
  • Nutri'zaza is a Malagasy social enterprise, created in 2013, whose main objective is to combat child malnutrition by improving the nutrition of Malagasy children and families. To achieve this, it distributes quality fortified products, adapted to those most affected by chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, and available everywhere at an affordable price, even to the most vulnerable. Working in urban areas, the company distributes its products, made in Madagascar from essentially local ingredients, through 3 distribution networks.
  • Le Lionceau is a Senegalese company that offers a range of products for feeding babies mainly small jars and biscuits made on the basis of recipes and local products. The company has found its market at the national level, mainly in urban areas and now wants to take a new dimension by opening up to a wider market in West Africa. Her director will share her experience as a pioneer in the region in the early childhood food market and the challenges she faces to give a new dimension to her business.
  • The representative of the EU Delegation, Niger shared his experience on supporting local flour production initiatives and partnership with the private sector in the field of nutrition. In particular, it will address regulatory aspects, support through political dialogue and challenges and opportunities to promote the business environment of companies with both a social and economic vocation.
Preliminary findings of the International Trade Centre (ITC) study mandated by DG INTPA on a Regional Value Chain related to Formulated Complementary Food (including RUTF, Fortified Blended food (including flours), High energy biscuits, infant formulas.) was shared. Previously identified as a high potential area, the second phase of the study now identify concrete ideas in the shape of operational roadmaps for building pilot Global Gateway projects.

Science in support of land degradation

17 June 2024Science in support of land degradation. 

In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the INTERFACES team at IDOS in collaboration with the NGO “Let's Plant!” organised an evening event including an engaging panel discussion and an interactive market place, accompanied by music, food and drinks, aiming to foster exchange and science-policy-practitioner networking among organisations and people engaged in combating desertification, soil degradation and drought.

The global theme of the Desertification and Drought Day 2024 is “United for land. Our Legacy. Our Future” and aims to emphasise the transformative power of sustainable land management and drought resilience as key solutions to today’s challenges and to amplify a renewed global commitment in the run-up to the UNCCD COP16 between 2 and 13 December 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 

  • Introduction by Dr. Tina Beuchelt, project leader INTERFACES and senior researcher at the Center of Development Studies (ZEF), University of Bonn Panel 
  • Mr. Benjamin Abugri, Knowledge Management Expert at the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA
  • Prof. Dr. Anna-Katharina Hornidge, Director of the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS) 
  • Ms. Bettina Iseli, Chief Programme Officer at Welthungerhilfe (WHH) 
  • Ms. Andrea Meza Murillo, Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) 
  • Dr. Anneke Trux, Head of Global Programme Protection and Rehabilitation of Soils for Food Security (ProSoil) at the German Development Corporation (GIZ
  • Dr. Andreas Quiring, CEO and Managing Director of Andreas Hermes Akademie (AHA) 
  • Moderation by Dr. Michael Büntrup, senior researcher at the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS)


Let’s Plant!

“Let’s Plant!” is a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting the restoration of degraded land and the development of new functional agro-ecological systems through a holistic landscape management approach. Practically, “Let’s Plant!” raises awareness on the progressive degradation of ecological systems, develops new concepts, networks with equal-minded organisations, and implements projects in target regions


INTERFACES

SUPPORTING PATHWAYS TO SUSTAINABLE LAND MANAGEMENT IN
AFRICA

Sustainable land management is one of the most important drivers of sustainable development in Africa. Sustainable land management should contribute to food security and social justice, mitigation and adaptation of agriculture and forestry to climate change, and nature and environmental protection. Starting in October 2022 to 2026, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funds four regional research and development projects and this accompanying project that contribute to this goal.

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and further partners under the “CAADP-XP4” initiative jointly designed and rolled out the annual Knowledge Management for Agricultural Development (KM4AgD) agenda (Challenge & Conference) in 2021 to build appropriate capacities, establish communities of practice for knowledge management and strengthen the knowledge ecosystem to accelerate the achievement of the CAADP Malabo goals and the SDGs. The Challenge is implemented through an integrated, strategic, educational, and transformational approach. 

It is the lighthouse project for knowledge-based development in AR4D in Africa. Since 2021, the consortium has jointly supported and certified 55 Fellows from national agricultural research and extension systems. It has mainstreamed over 20 countries and 30 organizational knowledge management policies and strategies to strengthen the knowledge ecosystem of AR4D.

  • Benjamin Abugri is Lead Specialist for Knowledge Management, Digitalization and Learning Cluster at FARA.
    He has vast experience in knowledge management, outreach, coordination, project management, community engagement, development Communication and public policy. Before joining FARA in February 2017, he worked as Knowledge Management Specialist for the University Research Company (URC) USAID-funded Systems for Health Project; as Knowledge Management Program Manager for the John Snow (JSI) Health Research & Training Institute USAID-funded SPRING Project; and as Knowledge Management, New Initiatives and Child Sponsorship Coordinator for World Vision International.
  • Dorcas Alame is a PhD Candidate at the Institute for Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES), University Bonn within the INTERFACES project (Supporting Pathways to Sustainable Land Management in Africa).
    She has a high interest in the development and understanding of sustainable, resilient and profitable cropping systems and how decision-analysis approaches can support decision-making in such systems. Her PhD research is on decision analysis and impact forecasting of several agricultural research and development interventions undertaken in some African countries within the framework of the INTERFACES project. She participates in the 2024 edition of the KM4AgD Challenge and will share some of her experiences with the process.

AI agriculture pest detection tool from Kenya wins tenth Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation

13 June 2024. Esther Kimani was named winner of Africa’s biggest engineering prize, the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, in Nairobi on 13 June 2024. 

Her early crop pest and disease detection device was selected as the winning innovation for its ability to swiftly detect and identify agricultural pests and diseases, reducing crop losses for smallholder farmers by up to 30% while increasing yields by as much as 40%.


Esther received KSh 8.3 million to further develop the device. This is the largest amount awarded to a winner, in honour of the 10th Anniversary of the Prize. The four finalists delivered their final business pitch to the Academy judges and an in-person audience of approximately 700.
Esther said: “My parents would lose up to 40% of their crops each farming season, which affected our standard of living. We are empowering smallholder farmers, many of whom are women, to increase their income. We aim to scale to one million farmers in the next five years.”
Esther Kimani is the third woman and the second Kenyan innovator to win the Africa Prize, receiving £50,000. Her tool reduces crop losses for smallholder farmers by up to 30% while increasing yields by as much as 40%
  • Five million smallholder farmers in Kenya lose on average 33% of their crops to pests and diseases. Kimani's innovation not only provides real-time alerts within five seconds of an infestation, offering tailored intervention suggestions, but also alerts government agricultural officers to the presence of diseases or pests, contributing to broader agricultural management efforts.
  • The solar-powered tool uses computer vision algorithms and advanced machine learning to detect and identify crop pests, pathogens or diseases, as well as the nature of the infection or infestation. The device then notifies the farmer via SMS. This affordable alternative to traditional detection methods leases for just $3 per month, significantly cheaper than hiring drones or agricultural inspectors.


The annual Africa Prize was founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014 to support innovators developing sustainable and scalable engineering solutions to local challenges in Africa
  • To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Prize, the Royal Academy of Engineering hosted the Africa Prize Alumni Reunion, bringing together 100 innovators from the past decade for a three-day programme ahead of the final ceremony. This momentous occasion showcased the strength of the community united by the Prize.
  • This year has seen the Africa Prize alumni community grow to almost 150 entrepreneurs from 23 countries, who together have generated more than 28,000 jobs and benefitted more than 10 million people through their innovative products and services.

GIZ Knowledge Centre for Organic Agriculture and Agroecology in Africa Newsletter

Global project Knowledge Centre for Organic Agriculture and Agroecology in Africa
  • Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)​​​​​​​
  • Overall term: 2019 to 2026
KCOA is a collaborative country-led partnership that aims to scale up the adoption of organic and agroecological farming practices through a network of five Knowledge Hubs in Africa. Within KCOA, the implementing organisations have four main objectives: 
  1. to improve access to knowledge on organic agriculture and agroecology; 
  2. to strengthen the technical and professional capacity of multi-pliers; 
  3. to foster networking and to strengthen relationships in the sector; 
  4. and to strengthen actors in their advocacy activities.
ISAN Magazine Issue 10 (May 2024) brings stories about the benefits of biodiversity in agricultural systems, stories from Zimbabwe about how to enhance agrobiodivesity for improved food security and community-based climate change adaptation approaches, as well as profiling knowledge products on enhancing soil fertility developed by farmers in the Southern African region.

FutureFoodS: the EU Partnership for Sustainable Food Systems

19 June 2024
, FutureFoodS: the EU Partnership for Sustainable Food Systems.

More than 100 research and innovation experts convened in Dijon to help support the transition to sustainable food systems by sharing insights, initiatives and joining forces within the EU-co-funded FutureFoodS partnership.

FutureFoodS is the selected co-funded partnership on Food Systems of Horizon Europe Framework Program, involving 87 partners from 29 countries. The aim? To accelerate the development of sustainable food systems by mobilising European research and innovation toward that goal.
Planned actions

Planned actions include open calls for research and innovation, with one launched already before the
end of 2024. The partnership will also develop Living Labs, create a new European food system observatory, and organise several knowledge-sharing events.

The partnership strives to accelerate the transformation of national, EU, and global food systems to make them safe, sustainable, healthy, resilient, and trusted for everyone while staying within our planetary boundaries. This contributes to the European Union’s Green Deal objective of ‘Fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food systems, from primary production to consumption’.


The kick-off meeting was organised by The French National Research Agency (ANR) and the German Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE). Panelists of the round table represented related initiatives (SCAR, CLEVERFOOD, AGROECOLOGY, WATER4All, ERA4Health) that also contribute to the FutureFoodS partnership.

Introduction of the FutureFoodS partnership

  • Monique Axelos, Inrae, Scientific Director for Food and Bioeconomy
  • Thierry Damerval, President of ANR
  • Margareta Büning-Fesel, President of BLE
  • John Bell, Head of the Healthy Planet Unit, DG-RTD
  • Albert Wulff, Head of Directorate for Budget, Research, Operational Coordination, German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture – BMEL
  • French Ministry of Higher Education and Research – MESR (TBC)
  • Claude Yven, Coordinator of FutureFoodS

Food systems presentation and Round Table

  • Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann, Chairperson of the United Nations, HLPE-FSN
  • Niels Halberg, vice chair of the SCAR Food Systems Strategic Working Group
  • Christian Bugge Henriksen, coordinator of CLEVERFOOD
  • Nicolas Tinois, coordinator of AGROECOLOGY
  • Esther Diez-Cebollero for the European partnership Water4All
  • Hendrik de Ruyck for ERA4Health

Follow the FutureFoodS LinkedIn account here.

China-Africa Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Alliance (CAASTIA)

12 - 13 of June 2024. 
 Sanya Yazhou Bay Science and Technology City, China. A two-day conference was  organized by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the FAO South-South and Triangular Cooperation Division and deliberated on the status of African agricultural research and innovation and how to optimize the partnership between China and the African continent with its 55 independent countries. The conference was attended by about 100 high-level scientists of Africa and China.

 The Chinese science and technology cooperation in Africa agriculture needs to be coordinated and the focus needs to be defined. The introduced Chinese technologies need to be adapted to the local context in Africa. Recent observations with agricultural processing and industrial machineries from China on their serviceable years or how long they lasts, showed the need to run strong adaptation of the machineries to general behaviors of users in Africa.

The upcoming China-Africa Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Alliance (CAASTIA),which was initiated by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the African Academy of Sciences, has huge potential to promote effective partnerships and exchanges between African agricultural stakeholders and that of China. 
  • China has established cooperative relations with 23 African countries. In recent years, under the Belt and Road Initiative and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the two sides have carried out practical cooperation on major issues such as food security, poverty reduction, and agricultural green development,
  • It was advised that FARA would play a constructive role in coordinating and implementing CAASTIA activities, to ensure its effective formation and operation.

Capacity building through training

Capacity building through training is the key to sustainable agricultural productivity, China has established joint laboratories in Africa for advanced research. These include the establishment of 
  • Sino-Egyptian Joint Laboratory for Agricultural Green Development between IARRP, CAAS and NARSS for joint research in remote sensing-based monitoring, efficient utilization of water resources, etc.,
  • Sino-African Joint Laboratory in Nairobi-Kenya by CAS for Biodiversity studies, 
  • Biogas facilities by CAAS and training of over 1530 local technicians in African countries (e.g. Rwanda, Tanzania, Mauritania, and Angola) for socio-economic development, 
  • Capacity building in agricultural R&D for Africa by CAAS, which trained 276 PhD students from 38 African countries as at July 2023, and hosted 21 visiting scholars from Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Rwanda under the Talented Young Scientists Program, and 
  • Training courses for African agricultural technicians every year by CAAS and CATAS to bridge the technology gap in crop breeding and cultivation, plant disease and pest control, animal disease monitoring and control, biomass energy, agricultural machinery, etc.
The importance of the China-Africa cooperation on agriculture was underscored when in 2023 the CAAS and MARA organized the 2nd Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Sanya city, which attracted some 39 Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Agriculture from across Africa and High-Level Officials from the African Union.

In 2023 the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) signed and implemented MOUs with various Academies in China, which include the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), Chinese Academy of Tropical Agricultural Sciences (CATAS), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) and the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF).

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

G7 summit unveils new global food security initiative

GZ Food security18 June 2024 --- The Group of Seven (G7) reinforced its commitment to food security around the world and to the enhancement of climate resilience at the G7 Summit in Italy, where the political and economic grouping introduced its new Apulia Food Systems Initiative (AFSI).new Apulia Food Systems Initiative (AFSI).

The G7, consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US, as well as the EU as a “non-enumerated member,” is launching AFSI to “overcome structural barriers to food security and nutrition and to build resilient sustainable and productive agriculture and food systems, and to ensure that all people can progressively realize the right to adequate food,” states the leaders’ communique.

G7’s AFSI aims to contribute to ongoing global efforts to alleviate food insecurity by supporting three multi-stakeholder programs: the Technical Cooperation Collaborative to implement the “COP28 UAE Declaration on sustainable agriculture, resilient food systems and climate action,” the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soil, as well as a G7 private-public initiative on coffee.
  1. The COP28 UAE Declaration on sustainable agriculture, resilient food systems and climate action is being implemented by the Technical Cooperation Collaborative, including the FAO, World Bank and other international organizations. In collaboration, the AFSI sets out to build technical cooperation for the integration of food systems and climate plans in low-income and climate vulnerable countries.
  2. The Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils, by the US Office of Global Food Security, works on the restoration and maintenance of healthy soils. It targets the development and climate resilience of traditional and indigenous crops in Africa.
  3. The third program, which is a private-public initiative by the G7, concerns coffee. Its aim is to advance policy, sustained investments, research and innovation, partnerships, blended finance to boost the resilience, environmental sustainability, value addition and circularity of the coffee value chains worldwide.

Supporting Women Agri-entrepreneurs in India

CRISP (2024) Digital Innovations Supporting Women Agri-entrepreneurs in India: Mapping Good Practices #53 pp.


This report is based on a collaborative project undertaken by the Centre for Research on Innovation and Science Policy (CRISP) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) as part of the activities of the Evidence module of the CGIAR GENDER Platform. 
  • The study is primarily based on insights from in-depth interviews conducted with women agri-entrepreneurs across India. The study identified the enabling role played by digital tools in women’s entrepreneurship such as networking, self-learning, upskilling and educating, e-commerce and sales, and enterprise management. 
  • The study also identified various challenges faced by women agri-entrepreneurs in the digital ecosystem. These include digital skill gap, lack of security in digital spaces, financial constraints, and lack of family support. 
  • The findings of this study highlight the fact that women do face many challenges, but they can also seize several clear benefits by employing digital technologies. Although women agri-entrepreneurs acknowledged that digital technologies have created opportunities for them to advance in their careers, they also lack the capacity to fully realize the potential of several digital solutions.
Currently, there are more than 2500 agri-startups registered with Startup India. According to the Economic Survey 2021-22, India has become the third largest startup ecosystem in the world after the USA and China. But as the global startup revolution continues to grow, fundamental shifts are also occurring due to the fast-evolving digital landscape. There is a new wave that is taking over the startup revolution with a deeper integration of technology, such as AI, Blockchain, and advanced data analytics, with heightened focus on sustainability and social impact. (page 10)  

Gender disparities in access, coupled with factors such as unequal access to education and professional training, financing, asset ownership, etc., contribute to the gender digital divide and limit the transformative impact of digital innovations. (page 15) 

Despite the discourse on Industry 5.0, the agricultural sector’s progression into the 4.0 revolution remains confined to a select few pioneering companies. (page 16) 
 “A few YouTube channels had interviewed me and documented my work, and it was only then that I really became aware of the power of digital tools. A few of the videos got lakhs of views and I got calls from people around the world who had watched them. It astonished me when my products – from this small town in Kerala – got the attention of people from countries like Ghana.” (page 27) 
Presently, the use of digital tools among women agripreneurs is predominantly confined to social media platforms due to their cost effectiveness, flexibility, and minimal technical requirements. (page 32) 

Will Democratizing STI make future Agri Food Systems more equitable?

19 June 2024
- Will Democratizing STI make future Agri Food Systems more equitable?

Zoom: https://fao.zoom.us/j/93847900629 Passcode: 30948827

Agrifood interventions are influenced by underlying paradigms and visions of development, creating tensions around decision-making, governance, and direction of agrifood systems transformation. Decisions over investments in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) are influenced by different paradigms and broader understandings of development. These paradigms also shape governance and institutional arrangements, and perspectives and practices, of STI. Introducing a new collaborative initiative with FAO, this seminar will explore whether “democratizing” STI, through more inclusive, participative and equitable stakeholder involvement and contribute to equitable agrifood systems is possible. It will also consider what type of policies and interventions can contribute to more resilient, efficient, and sustainable outcomes for all.
  • Peter Taylor is a renowned expert in international development. Currently the Acting Director at the Institute of Development Studies, Peter’s rich background in international development spans over 30 years.
  • He is currently engaged in conducting comprehensive research and background study on democratizing STI for the forthcoming ATIO report which will be launched in 2025. 

The Agricultural Technology and Innovation Outlook (ATIO) initiative


The Agricultural Technology and Innovation Outlook (ATIO) initiative, launching in 2025, aims to enhance understanding of technology and innovation generation and uptake and factors shaping the technology frontier in agrifood systems. 

ATIO open-access knowledge base
Overall budget : $900,000 USD.
Funding Requirements : $750,000 USD.
Annual maintenance and background : $150,000 USD per year.
ATIO biennial report : $500,000 USD funded by FAO's regular programme of budget.
  • It will be the most comprehensive global source of information on innovative solutions for Agrifood Systems Transformation.
  • ATIO will include a knowledge/data base and a biennial publication providing insights into current trends and prospects for Agrifood System Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI). 
  • It will track STI progress globally and in LMICs, identify emerging technologies, and address regulatory, ethical, gender, and environmental issues, ensuring inclusivity in decision-making and investments.
  • See also Introducing ATIO report 2022

Farmers shaping the Future of Agriculture and Food Production


17 - 21 June 2024. Harvesting Tomorrow: Farmers shaping the Future of Agriculture and Food Production

This event convened hundreds of farmers of all sizes and sectors, family farmers, young and women farmer leaders, farmers’ organisations and agricultural cooperatives from across the globe, as well as other relevant stakeholders such as government representatives, multilateral institutions, academia, scientists, private sectors, civil society groups, and financial institutions.

The event provided a vibrant and inclusive platform for forward-looking dialogues, knowledge exchange, and multi-stakeholder collaboration to advance the sustainability of global agri-food systems.

The event highlighted the crucial role of farmers as fundamental contributors to the sustainable development of agriculture and food production: farmers of the world, with their innovative practices and extensive knowledge, are indispensable in addressing global challenges such as food security, climate change, and the preservation of biodiversity. Still, agrifood systems are much more complex than just food production.


Extracts of the programme

18/06 United Nations Decade of Family Farming session towards the UNDFF Mid-Term forum



Approved in December 2017, the United Nations Decade of Family Farming (UNDFF) 2019-
2028 aims to prioritize family farming in national public policies and investments. By
proclaiming this decade, the United Nations General Assembly acknowledged the crucial role
of family farming in alleviating poverty and enhancing worldwide food security. To support this
initiative, a collaborative FAO-IFAD Secretariat has been established, operating under the
guidance of an International Steering Committee (ISC) composed of Member States and
Family Farmers Organizations.

18/06 Innovation and Digitalization in Agriculture



Session co-organised by WFO and EU-funded Projects DIVINE and TRUSTyFOOD

Guided by insights from the EU-funded projects DIVINE and TRUSTyFOOD, of which the World Farmers' Organisation (WFO) is a partner, this session examined the challenges and opportunities arising from the transition to digitalisation in agriculture

It explored the potential of blockchain technology to address traceability and transparency issues in food supply chains and the untapped potential of a data-driven economy in agriculture. The session featured the participation of young farmers from the Global North and the Global South, enriching the discussion with their perspectives.

18/06 Opening Ceremony


WATCH HERE
  • Master of Ceremony: Mr Dimitri Houtart, BBC Rural Affairs Champion
  • Distinguished Speakers:Mr Arnold Puech d’Alissac, President, World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO)
  • H.E. Mr Francesco Lollobrigida, Minister for Agriculture and Food Sovereignty
  • Mr QU Dongyu, Director General, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • Mr Alvaro Lario, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • Ms Cindy McCain, Executive Director, World Food Programme (WFP)
  • E. Amb. Ms Nosipho Jezile, Chair, Committee on World Food Security (CFS)
  • Mr Ettore Prandini, President, Coldiretti
  • Mr Cristiano Fini, President, Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori (CIA)
  • Ms Berioska Morrison, Minister Counsellor, Mission of the Dominican Republic to the Rome-based UN Agencies (on behalf of the ISC-UNDFF presidency)
  • H.E. Amb. Ms Nosipho Jelize, Chair, Committee on World Food Security (CFS)
  • Ms Elizabeth Nsimadala, Board Member, World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO)


20/06 Regenerative Agriculture - Who’s paying for the cost of transition?



Regenerative agriculture is a tool to achieve common gains: increase sustainability levels in food systems while maintaining productivity and food security. The whole food value-chain should combine their effort to fairly redistribute the costs of transition along with the actors who are benefitting from it. Who’s truly paying for the cost of transition? 

20/06 The Food Systems Database



Presentation of the Planet Food System Explorer
Speaker: Prof Peer Ederer, Member of the WFO Scientific Council

20/06 Agro-Innovation-Solutions for Challenges of Tomorrow



Recognising the crucial role of farmers in ensuring food and nutrition security, addressing climate change, and preserving biodiversity, this session aims to investigate how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other new technologies can empower farmers, enhance their productivity and ensure food and nutrition security for everyone.

20/06 Farmers Shaping the Future of Agriculture and Food Production


WATCH HERE
Reflections from morning discussions
Speaker: Dr David Nabarro, Strategic Director, 4SD Foundation

20/06 Financing the Transition to More Sustainable Food Systems



After a scene-setting introduction, the audience will hear directly from the farmers about their experiences accessing or trying to access climate finance and the obstacles they found. Representatives from multilateral funds, agricultural banks and private investors, will help place those experiences into the broader picture of trends and opportunities facing the financial sector.

20/06 Leveraging the Potential for Trade to Improve Food and Nutrition Security in a Sustainable Manner


Session co-organised by WFO and US Dairy Export Council (USDEC)
The farmers will set the agenda for a discussion involving the WTO, government representatives, the private sector and trade experts discussing the main challenges facing the global trading system and the improvements needed to ensure trade can effectively support the transition towards more sustainable food systems with farmers at their core.

20/06 From COP28 to COP30: Integrating agriculture and food systems into Climate Action” 


This panel discussion will explore the role farmers are expected to play in implementing the merged food systems and climate agenda. Key questions include resolving the current negotiation impasse and ensuring that farmers' voices and needs are adequately represented in future climate policies.

Accelerate regenerative and agroecological food systems transformations


4 – 7 June 2024
. Location: Arusha, Tanzania. The Cultivating Change Gathering: accelerate regenerative and agroecological food systems transformations

An ambitious transition to agroecology and regenerative approaches can reverse biodiversity loss and increase food security. The Cultivating Change Gathering built on a co-design process with partners on the ground in key countries and regions.

The event was co-convened by the Ministry of Agriculture of Tanzania, Global Alliance for the Future of Food, Biovision Foundation, and the Agroecology Coalition.
  • The National Ecological Organic Agriculture Strategy (NEOAS) of Tanzania is a testament of the country’s commitment towards agroecology.
  • Tanzania has increased its agriculture budget by five times compared to three years ago.
  • Developed over several years through a multistakeholder participatory process, NEOAS covers 6 priority action areas
  • Other East African countries have developed/are developing their respective agroecology strategy
  • Leadership is key (at all levels); need to wean from external inputs as farmers integrate agroecological approaches
  • Need to leverage global finance for key drivers of change, align donor efforts
  • Articulate/mainstream agroecology other agendas and communities: climate, biodiversity, etc.
  • Regional/continental agroecology agenda have to be rooted in civil society and local organisations, anchored on food sovereignty and food culture
  • Agroecology should go beyond production and cover consumption; creating demand and developing market pathways for agroecology to flourish is essential
  • Harnessing the creativity and energy of young people into agroecology is vital
  • Retooling/training extensionists on agroecology given their key role in knowledge dissemination and uptake is crucial
  • Knowledge needs to be decolonized. Recognizing indigenous, farmer, local and traditional knowledge and practices is key.
  • Farmers need to have space for meaningful involvement in research prioritization and implementation.
  • Donors present during this convening has shown very high interest to coordinate their efforts in support of agroecology and deep regenerative approaches in Tanzania, in East Africa and beyond.


Resource:


Global Alliance for the Future of Food. Cultivating Change:A Collaborative Philanthropic Initiative to Accelerate and Scale Agroecology andRegenerative Approaches. n.p.: Global Alliance for the Future of Food, 2024. # 22 p.

In 2023, the Global Alliance along with over two dozen philanthropic partners launched an initiative to explore strategies to accelerate and scale agroecology and regenerative approaches. This report explores what's needed to transition a costly global food system into one that is regenerative, renewable, resilient, interconnected, healthy, equitable, and inclusive.

The report Cultivating Change calculates the cost of the transition to agroecology and regenerative food systems. The transition will require USD 430 billion annually but right now only USD 44 billion goes towards this. In contrast, nearly USD 630 billion goes annually towards agriculture subsidies, half of which are harmful.

The cost to transition to regenerative, resilient, equitable food systems is dwarfed by the massive costs of damage caused by industrial food systems to our health, the environment, and society.

Related:

26 June 2024. 03:00 PM CET. Driving the transition to regenerative farming
  • update on Regen10's Outcomes-Based Framework, which aims to equip all food system actors with a shared understanding and ambition for driving the transition to regenerative farming; provide a spotlight and Q&A on Regen10's upcoming feedback survey; and present the latest on Regen10's transition pathways briefs, which explore the costs and benefits of transitioning to regenerative food systems.

Monday, June 17, 2024

Delegation from Zambia appreciates natural farming techniques of Andhra


8 - 21 June 2024
. A delegation from Zambia is on a two-week visit to Andhra Pradesh to study community-based natural farming (APCNF) techniques. (former APZBNF - Andhra Pradesh Zero budget Farming).

To promote the CNF programme in the state, the Government of Andhra Pradesh have established “Rhythu Sadhikara Samstha” (RySS), an integrated institutional mechanism. Apart from implementing the program in the state, RySS is leading a large-scale action research to develop knowledge products and agriculture models in CNF. One of the major inventions by RySS is Pre-monsoon Dry Sowing (PMDS).  

The delegation includes agriculture researchers from Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture, farmers, and project functionaries from two community-based organisations—the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC) and the Valponasca Learning Farm (VLF).

  • The Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC), established in 1974, is a non-profit organisation in Zambia, run by Jesuit priests to promote sustainable organic agriculture in Lusaka County, improving livelihoods and building resilience to climate change. Fr Claus Recktenwald from KATC leads a delegation of 11 farmer practitioners.
  • Valponasca Learning Farm (VLF). Since 1984, the Salesian Sisters have been working across four counties in Northern Province, Zambia. They established the Valponasca Learning Farm in 2012 to train young people in agriculture, providing formal education, professional training, and skills to 529 small-scale farmers.

The delegation is practising natural farming under the guidance of Andhra Pradesh APCNF farmer trainers and Anantapur District Project Manager of the APCNF Lakshma Naik. The State government is also planning to send expert farmers from Andhra Pradesh to Zambia to guide the farmers for three years until this model is successfully demonstrated and scaled up.

RySS is now ready to become a global resource organisation for countries that want to learn natural farming from us and take this movement back to their lands. We are honoured to receive the Zambian delegation since most of them are farmer practitioners. RySS is collaborating worldwide with various governments, NGOs, and philanthropies, having hosted delegations from over 45 countries. T Vijay Kumar Thallam - RySS executive vice-chairman 


The Zambian delegation, visited several APCNF (Andhra Pradesh Community-managed Natural Farming) fields in Anantapur district and interacted with the farmers about the 'draught proof model' and Pre-Monsoon Dry Sowing (PMDS) new grain cultivation practices that can grow crops even in water-scarce lands.
  • In PMDS, mulching practice across the field acts as the catalyst to harness the water vapour from the atmosphere that drops to the land surface in the form of early morning dew. 
  • The material used for mulching facilitates the percolation of the dew into the soil and prevents its evaporation again. 
  • It is therefore recommended to the farmers to follow PMDS during March-May/June, followed by Kharif crops, Pre-Rabi dry sowing (PRDS) and Rabi crops, under the overall CNF programme.
  • Farmers are expected to get multiple benefits through the crops grown under PMDS and PRDS that include obtaining intermittent cash income, food items, green manure, and green fodder to animals. 
  • Thus, PMDS contributes to cropping intensity, increased agricultural incomes, and continuous green cover to the soil for 365 days in a year. In turn, these practices would result in the improvements in the soil fertility besides reducing and/ or removing greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. 
  • Hence, RySS has made PMDS as an integral part of CNF 

Picture: RySS, Chief Technology & Innovation Officer, Mr. Lakshmana Nayak and a group of Zambian delegations eagerly listening to various issues being discussed during their visit to several APCNF crop fields in Anantapur district of the state to adopt natural farming in their country.

  • It takes three to five years for an individual farmer to completely transition to chemical-free agriculture. RySS plans to transition 5 million farmers between 2024 and 2035. Focusing solely on fertilizer input savings, the APCNF programme’s own data project that the net benefits will exceed 50% of the fertilizer expenditure in FY 2028–2029.

  • The Indian government approved in June 2023, entitled the Prime Minister’s Programme for Restoration, Awareness, Nourishment, and Amelioration of Mother Earth (PM-PRANAM). Under this policy, different branches of the Indian government at central and state levels act as investors, implementors and monitors of projects to reduce fertilizer use. Under the PM-PRANAM, fertilizer savings result in a payment from the government of approximately 50% of the benefit, paid a year after those savings are realized.
  • The RySS internal projections of farmer adoption of APCNF calculated that the payments from the central government will only exceed the expenditure cost at the end of 2028–2029, with a maximum deficit before turning positive of US$244.0 million. There would be a modest US$22 million deficit in FY 2024– 2025 before returning positive cumulative benefits in FY 2025–2026.
  • Transitioning to agroecology will require further investment at the farm level in training and infrastructure to maximize the environmental and social returns so far achieved. With appropriate support, the bond scheme might offer a pathway for future additional investment.

Related:

11 July 2024. 14:00 – 17:00 CEST. Doing Science Differently.
  • first of a series of dialogues hosted by the Agroecology TPP (Transformative Partnership Platform on Agroecological Approaches to Building Resilience of Livelihoods and Landscapes). 
  •  The Agroecology TPP aims to foster transitions to more sustainable agricultural and food systems by accelerating and coordinating the actions of a range of institutions already working on agroecology across various scales, contexts, and locations.

AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum

12 - 15 June 2024Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM2024), taook place in Nassau, The Bahamas

The 3rd edition of the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF2024) explored the platform of Global Africa – to navigate new vistas for the Caribbean through African and global investments from across the diaspora; with more than 25 deals signed and new commercial and developmental initiatives announced.

The Annual General Meeting of Shareholders and Advisory Group Meetings took place on Saturday 15th June, with seminars and plenaries comprising the AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum taking place on the preceding days from 12-14 June.

Extracts of the programme



12/06 Launch of 2024 African Trade Report & 2024 African Trade and Economic Outlook Report


The first report is titled: 
Afreximbank (2024) Climate Implications of the AfCFTA Implementation #92 pp.
  • Despite the tumultuous global landscape, intra-African trade remained resilient, standing as a beacon of hope for sustainable development in Africa. It grew at 7.2 percent year-on-year, reaching US$192 billion, which accounted for 15 percent of total African trade in 2023, up from 13.6 percent a year ago. This resilience was a testament to the continued push to implement the AfCFTA, backed by AfCFTA-enabling initiatives, such as Afreximbank's IntraAfrican Trade Fair (IATF), the PanAfrican Payments and Settlement System (PAPSS), and Intra-Champ Initiative.
  • Products exhibiting the greatest potential for trade among African nations encompass machinery, electricity, motor vehicles and parts, food products, minerals, beauty products, chemicals, plastic and rubber, ferrous metals, pearls and precious stones, and fertilizers. 
  • Southern Africa emerges as the sub-region with the most substantial export potential, followed by Eastern Africa, Western Africa, Northern African, and Central Africa
  • the AfCFTA offers a path to achieving the developmental goals of African nations while also addressing climate change concerns.
  • while the benefits of the AfCFTA can be seen, the debate on its impact on climate change is still ongoing. One group believes that increased urbanisation and industrialisation associated with the AfCFTA will worsen carbon emissions, and the second group believes that by emphasising intra-African trade and reducing extra-African trade, carbon emissions will be eliminated through shorter shipping distances.
  • Overall, the report states that optimising the AfCFTA can result in potential gains through increased intra-African trade and investment, creating economic prosperity and fulfilling the vision of the founding fathers.

The second report is titled :

  • The report forecasts that African economies will grow on average by 3.8% in 2024 – slightly ahead of predicted global growth of 3.2% – prior to increasing by 4% in 2025.
  • The Report provides in-depth analysis of the current global and African macroeconomic environment, trade patterns, and sovereign debt sustainability dynamics, as the basis for trade and economic projections for 2025. 
  • Through the examination of historical trends, existing and emerging risks, as well as opportunities, the report seeks to foster a deeper understanding of the factors driving Africa's economic performance and trade patterns, with a view to informing policy design. It also singles out the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and other initiatives as critical to accelerating industrialization and promoting sustainable growth across the continent.

12/06 Plenary Session 1: Navigating Economic Transformation in a Polycrisis World: Strategies for Global Africa @2:41:00


  • Prof. Jeffery Sachs - Senior Lecturer in Economics at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of the Erasmus University of Rotterdam @3:02
  • Mr. John A. Rolle - Central Bank of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Governor
  • Mr. Denys Denya Senior Executive Vice President Afreximbank
  • Hon. Kevin Greenidge Governor, Central Bank of the Barbados
  • Dr. Howard Nicholas Senior Lecturer in Economics at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of the Erasmus University of Rotterdam
  • Prof. Yemi Osinbajo Former Vice President of Nigeria 
  • Dr. Donald P. Kaberuka Chairman and Managing Partner of SouthBridge Group and Former President, African Development Bank Group
  • Moderator Eleni Giokos Correspondent, CNN

12/06 Presentation of African Award

See blogpost Following a highly competitive selection process, FARA and Afreximbank announced the two laureates of the 2024 AFRICA Awards. They are: Umezuruike Linus Opara + Professor Richard Mkandawire

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Afreximbank and FARA Announce Inaugural AFRICA Awards Winners at the 31st Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM2024) and the 3rd AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF2024)

12th June, 2024.  Nassau, Bahamas









African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) are pleased to announce winners of the inaugural Afreximbank-FARA Research, Innovation and Competence in Agriculture (AFRICA) Awards.

These prestigious awards honour individuals, groups, or established organisations that have made outstanding contributions towards improving food and nutritional security, income generation, resilience and natural resource management in Africa through research, innovation, agriprenuership and policy advocacy in the food and agriculture domain.

The AFRICA Awards encompass three categories: (i) the Africa Research Excellence Award, (ii) the Innovation-based Entrepreneurship Award, and (iii) the Impactful and Evidence-based Policies Award.

The AFRICA Awards selection process is overseen by an Independent Awards Selection Committee composed of globally recognized experts.

Following a highly competitive selection process, FARA and Afreximbank are pleased to announce the two laureates of the 2024 AFRICA Awards. They are:

Umezuruike Linus Opara

Distinguished Professor and holder of the South African Research Chair in Postharvest Technology, Faculty of AgriSciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Professor Opara, a national of Nigeria, is the recipient of the Africa Research Excellence Award in recognition of his contribution to developing and validating a novel integrated value-chain approach to post-harvest research and innovation, one crop at a time. His work is acclaimed for reducing post-harvest losses, enhancing value addition, and connecting production to local, regional, and international African markets. Additionally, Professor Opara is recognized for his contributions to building Africa’s capacity for research and innovation in post-harvest science and technology through cutting-edge research, new knowledge creation, and mentoring young, outstanding researchers. Professor Opara holds a Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and a PhD from Massey University, New Zealand. Professor Opara has published extensively, is a highly cited researcher, and has received several other prestigious awards.

Professor Richard Mkandawire

Africa Director, Alliance for African Partnership; Chair, Malawi National Planning Commission and formerly the Head of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) at NEPAD

Professor Mkandawire, a Malawian national, is the recipient of the Impactful and Evidence-based Policies Award for his foundational role in conceptualising CAADP and catalysing its domestication in African countries. CAADP is credited with elevating the attention and increasing the investments African countries are devoting to agriculture.

Professor Mkandawire has consistently and vigorously advocated for policy processes that are inclusive and supported by evidence. He has catalysed very productive partnerships among policy analysts, policymakers, the private sector, knowledge institutions and other actors in the food and agriculture system. These partnerships have been instrumental in improving the policy environment needed to drive Africa’s agricultural transformation. Professor Mkandawire holds a PhD in development studies and an MSc in agricultural extension from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom. He also holds an MA in Rural Sociology from the University of Missouri, USA. He has published extensively on agriculture development policy and related areas and has been honoured with several other notable awards.

 

For more information on the AFRICA Award visit africa-awards.faraafrica.org or kindly contact:
– Afreximbank: Dr. Christiane Abou-Lehaf (caboulehaf@afreximbank.com)
– FARA: Dr Abdulrazak Ibrahim (aibrahim@faraafrica.org)

About Afreximbank:

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution mandated to finance and promote intra-and extra-African trade. For 30 years, the Bank has been deploying innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that support the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby boosting economic expansion in Africa. A stalwart supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), Afreximbank has launched a Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS) that was adopted by the African Union (AU) as the payment and settlement platform to underpin the implementation of the AfCFTA. Working with the AfCFTA Secretariat and the AU, the Bank is setting up a US$10 billion Adjustment Fund to support countries in effectively participating in the AfCFTA. At the end of September 2023, Afreximbank’s total assets and guarantees stood at over US$33.4 billion, and its shareholder funds amounted to US$5.8 billion. Afreximbank has investment grade ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A), Moody’s (Baa1), Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCR) (A-) and Fitch (BBB). Afreximbank has evolved into a group entity comprising the Bank, its impact fund subsidiary called the Fund for Export Development Africa (FEDA), and its insurance management subsidiary, AfrexInsure, (together, “the Group”). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.

For more information, visit: www.afreximbank.com

About FARA:

FARA is the continental apex body for agricultural research and innovation (R&I). Mandated by the African Union Commission (AUC), FARA facilitates pan-African actions to effectively deploy R&I to increase the continent’s agricultural productivity and competitiveness to feed its fast-growing population. FARA works with Sub-Regional Organisations (SROs), which are the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) and North African Sub-Regional Organization (NASRO) as well as the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS). FARA aims to facilitate strategic (continent-wide) collective agricultural research and innovation actions to increase agricultural productivity and competitiveness. The collaborative efforts are focused on strengthening the capacity for agricultural innovation on a country-specific basis. FARA is an international organisation with full diplomatic status in Ghana.

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