Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Seminar for Food and Nutrition Security Coordination of the EU Delegations

5 to 9 November 2018. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Seminar for Food and Nutrition Security Coordination of the EU Delegations in Eastern and Southern Africa (CODESA)
“Capitalising on experiences and lessons learned and looking forward to the next programming cycle”.

Extracts of the programme
  • “Agriculture, food ad Jobs: the future of rural youth” Alexandre Kolev (HoU – Social Cohesion OECD 
  • “Tracking Progress in the Implementation of AU’s Agricultural Transformation Agenda” Ernest Ruzindaza and SImplice Nouala.(AU) 
  • “The transformative potential of the agrifood sector” Francesco Rampa (ECDPM) 
  • “The contribution of the Agri-food Sector to Rural Transformation and sustainable growth” Khalid Bomba, (Agricultural Transformation Agency Ethiopia) 
  • “Conditions to invests in agricultural value chains; an investor perspective” Tigist ARAYA (East Africa Gate) 
  • “Applying science in development: Where do we stand with DESIRA?” Patrick Herlant (C1) 
  • “Knowledge & Innovation Systems for achieving Malabo Targets: the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa” Irene Annor Frempong (FARA) 
  • “Ex-ante Impact Analysis of Policies on the Farming Sector and Food Security” Sergio Gomez y Paloma (JRC-SEVILLA) 
  • eProd “Building trust in the Value Chain” by Jan Willem Van Casteren
  • Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) “Innovation that leads to inclusive and sustainable development – Role of Farmer organisations” by Stephen Muchiri
Country specific
  • Ethiopia:“Contract farming to serve agro industry - Brassicol malt” GMS, Leslie Goussault (GMS Ethiopia) 
  • Ethiopia: “Sector trends and challenges in the Horn of Africa Countries" by Dominique Davoux 
  • Ethiopia: “Ethiopia – Access to Nutrition Services” by Pierre-Luc Vanhaeverbeke
  • Ethiopia: “Innovative approaches to gender in development” by Immaculada Guixe-Ancho
  • Madagascar: “Industrial, commercial and household farming: the rich vs the poor? Poverty reduction, human development, really?” by Olivier Machiels
  • Malawi: “KULIMA program: Access to quality extension services as a way for effective transformation of agriculture” by Jean-Pierre Busogoro
  • Somalia: "Evolving approaches to resilience in an evolving fragile context" by Pauline Gibourdel 
  • Swaziland: “The Case of High Value Crop and Horticulture Project in Swaziland” by Bhekani Magongo
  • Tanzania: “Achieving equitable outcomes with nutrition specific and sensitive activities: Challenges in semi-arid regions in Tanzania” by Liesl Inglis 
  • Uganda: “Building resilience in Uganda: the value chain approach and the Nexus Action Plan” by Céline Lhoste & Jacqueline Uwamwiza
  • Zimbabwe: “Inclusiveness and growth through Performant Value Chains” by Alice Peslin

Monday, November 12, 2018


5-9 November 2018. Addis Ababa. Seminar for Food and Nutrition Security Coordination of the EU Delegations in Eastern and Southern Africa (CODESA)

6 November 2018. Wageningen, Netherlands. Global Future Farming Summit

7 - 9 November 2018. Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. 6th International Conference on Organic Agriculture Sciences (ICOAS);

12-15 November, 2018. Kampala, Uganda. National Agricultural Research Organisation - Makerere University Second Joint Scientific Conference

14 November 2018.  European Investment Bank’s first Donors Conference in Luxembourg. The event will focus on how finance can help tackle the root causes of migration and climate change, and boost economic growth.

15-16 November 2018. The European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes is organising a two-day workshop on research communications in Bonn.

19-23 November, 2018. Abuja, Nigeria. IFDC workshop: Bringing Balanced Fertilizers to Smallholder Farmers in Africa

21-23 November 2018. Rome, Italy. The International Symposium on  Agricultural Innovation for Family Farmers: Unlocking the potential of agricultural innovation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”

20-22 November 2018. Maputo, Mozambique. Transforming Africa’s Agriculture. ‘’ With this focus in mind, the High-Level Dialogue will create a platform for experts to reflect on approaches that can be employed to boost agricultural productivity on the continent. 

22-23 November 2018. Salvador, Bahia/Brazil. 6th Brazil Africa Forum. Youth Empowerment: Transformation to Achieve Sustainable Transformation

26 November 2018. 1040 Brussels, Belgium. Lessons from PAEPARD 10 years experience: ‘’Striving for success in multi-stakeholder partnerships in Europe-Africa agriculture research and innovation actions’’12:30 – 14:00

26 – 30 November 2018Dakar, Senegal. International workshop on the dairy value chain in Africa

27 – 29 November 2018. Geneva, Switzerland. Sixth GGKP Annual Conference On Inclusive 
Solutions for the Green Transition: ‘’Competitiveness, Jobs and Social Dimensions’’

28-30 November 2018. Johannesburg, South Africa. Smart Farming. ‘’ The future of ‘Smart' farming - leveraging digital technology to farm more efficiently - is inextricably linked to our ability to ‘connect’ farms via the internet. 'Smart' farming depends on exchanging data with, within and between farms. The speed of connection is critical and if we don't have adequate bandwidth in regional Australia we will miss out on the third wave of the internet’’.

30 November- 4 December 2018: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. APIMONDIA SYMPOSIUM 2018; Role of Bees in Food Production.

10-12 December 2018. Center of Congress Rennes, France.  DIVERSIFOOD Final Congress ‘Cultivating Diversity and Food Quality’

10-12 January 2019International Conference on Aquatic Resource and Aquaculture for Sustainable Development, ICAR-AQUAS-2019.

18-20 June, 2019. Safari Park Hotel & Casino Nairobi, Kenya. 1st All Africa Congress On Synthetic Pesticides, Environment, Human And Animal Health.

28-31 October, 2019. Cairo, Egypt. 8th Africa Agriculture Science Week and FARA General Assembly. This the biggest assembly of actors in Agricultural Research for Development organized every three (3) Years by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and Partners at the regional (ASARECA, CCARDESA, CORAF, NAASRO and AFAAS) and country levels (NARES). The 2019 edition is hosted by the Egyptian Agricultural Research Centre (ARC) and the North Africa Agricultural Sub-Regional Research Organization (NAASRO). You don'y want to miss this. 

AR4D Funding Opportunities _ November 2018


The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks new approaches for strategic prioritization of agricultural development policies. Proposed solutions must be relevant and applicable in Nigeria, Tanzania, and Ethiopia. Selected early-stage projects will receive US$100 thousand and have one opportunity to apply for a follow-on award of up to US$1 million. Eligibility extends to non-profit organizations, companies, government agencies, and academic institutions. The application deadline is 14 November 2018.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks tools and technologies for crop pests and disease surveillance over large geographic regions in low-income countries. Approaches should have the potential to transform crop pest and disease surveillance globally, but focus on low-income countries. Selected early-stage projects will receive US$100 thousand and have one opportunity to apply for a follow-on award of up to US$1 million. Eligibility extends to non-profit organizations, companies, government agencies, and academic institutions. The application deadline is 14 November 2018.

The Agri-Tech Catalyst aims to increase the pace and scale of uptake of agricultural innovation by farmers in Africa. Projects should focus in any of three categories: early-stage technical feasibility; industrial research; or late-stage experimental development. Project leaders must be UK businesses (or UK research organizations in the case of early-stage technical feasibility). Projects should include at least one consortium member from an eligible African country. The amount of project co-funding available varies from £100 – £800 thousand depending on category and business size. The deadline for registration is 21 November 2018.

The CS Fund and Warsh-Mott Legacy take an activist approach in making grants to defend traditional management of agriculture and natural resources in the Global South. Specific interests include protecting local seeds and reducing chemicals in agriculture; regulating the introduction of genetically modified organisms; and supporting communities in their self-governance of natural resources. Recent grants include several for Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Most grants are under US$20 thousand. Letters of inquiry can be sent at any time.

The Hilden Charitable Trust makes grants in the UK and developing countries in defined thematic areas. Projects in developing countries focus on community development, education, and health. (Note: Projects related to food security, community water supply, local energy, etc., may be relevant.) HiIden particularly welcomes projects addressing the needs and potential of girls and women. Hilden will consider funding for charitable organizations based in any developing country, that have been active for at least five years, and that meet its criteria on financial income. Hilden only accepts applications from UK charities for overseas projects. Projects may be for more than one year. Average grants are £5 thousand. Applications can be submitted anytime but the closing date for the next meeting is 19 December 2018.

The uptake and impact of agricultural research innovations in developing countries – often referred to as ‘scaling’ – has not lived up to expectations. One reason is that research and development communities operate under different mandates, time frames and incentive structures. Agricultural research focusses on developing innovations to address global challenges. Research often has limited direct beneficiaries, and it takes a relatively long time to translate findings into practical outcomes. Agricultural development is concerned with translating innovations into local solutions for larger numbers of users so that their impact becomes more substantial. Public and private development agencies have short time horizons and may not be prepared to wait for findings of longer term research processes. Manuscript submission deadline: 31 December 2018

Pennsylvania State University (USA) invites participants for its 8-week online course about sustainable dairy production. The course offers an international perspective on aspects of dairy management such as genetics, nutrition, reproduction, etc. Target audiences include the general public interested; professionals; livestock producers; and educators and students. Financial aid is available to individuals who cannot afford the course fee. Course lectures are translated into Portuguese and Chinese.

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation, seeks applications for the programme “Transforming African Agricultural Universities to meaningfully contribute to Africa’s growth and development (TAGDev)”. TAGDev’s Community Action Research Programme aims to extend university activities to work more closely with rural communities. Funding of up to US$300 thousand is available for a period of 3-4 years. The programme focuses on crops and livestock value chains of strategic importance in Zambia, South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana and Namibia. The application deadline for full proposals is 15 January 2019.

The European Commission, under Horizon 2020, launches a call for proposals to fight nutritional imbalances in Africa. Proposals should assess and deliver better nutrition performance of African farming systems, strengthening the agro-biodiversity (including aquaculture systems) and food diversity. The Commission will consider multi-actor approaches including civil society organisations requesting a contribution of EUR 7 million. The application deadline is 23 January 2019.

The Erbacher Foundation supports rural development in subject areas that include livestock husbandry, crop production, drinking water, and environmental protection. The priority countries are India, Tanzania, and Uganda. Applications are invited from Germany charitable organizations involved in development cooperation. Applying organizations need to have partnerships with local NGOs. The German institution is responsible for project administration and coordination. Application deadlines are 01 February and 01 August of each year.

VLIR-UOS supports 15 development relevant International Master Programmes organised at one of the five Flemish universities. The programmes have a specific but non-exclusive focus on participants from the global South. Application deadlines: Between 1 February 2019 and 1 March 2019 (depending on the programme)

Through the TWAS-DFG Cooperation Visit Programme, post-doctoral researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa make cooperation visits to institutes in Germany. The visits are limited to three months, with the aim of promoting longer-term collaboration. Preference is given to young PhD-level scientists, particularly women. The next application round will open in November with deadline on 14 February 2019.

Mobility grants allow researchers and students to build personal contacts and relationships for collaborations between institutions. Mobility grants can be awarded to young scientists who hold a Bachelor or Master’s degree and with not more than 6 years of professional research experience. Activities may include field work and/or an internship in relation to the applicant’s research project. The call is open for activities in all scientific disciplines and fields of research. Priority countries under this call are: Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Qatar, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. Mobility visit should have a minimum duration of 4 weeks and not exceed CHF 5 thousand. Applications will be accepted until 31 December 2019.


The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) seeks applications for the Investing in Women (IIW) window. Projects should focus on creating a more gender inclusive agricultural value chain in order to address rural poverty, food insecurity and gender equality by increasing the proportion of women generating income from agribusiness. Total grant funds requested must be between US$100 thousand and US$1 million. Eligibility extends to for-profit enterprises located in Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. New businesses (start-ups) may be considered. The deadline for the submission of concept note applications is 09 November 2018.

SEED is a global partnership founded by UNEP, UNDP, and IUCN to promote eco-enterprises. The program announces its next replicator workshops in India, Uganda, and Tanzania. The replicator workshop of one day introduces motivated individuals to proven business models from different sectors, with a follow-up process to match them with existing entrepreneurs. Focus areas are waste management, solar energy, agriculture, and tourism. Future entrepreneurs, business owners and NGOs are welcome to apply. The application deadlines are 18 October 2018 (Uganda), 21 October 2018 (Tanzania), and 11 November 2018 (India).

SEED is a global partnership founded by UNEP, UNDP, and IUCN to promote eco-enterprises. The program announces its next replicator workshops in Malawi. The replicator workshop of one day introduces motivated individuals to proven business models from different sectors, with a follow-up process to match them with existing entrepreneurs. Focus areas are waste management, agriculture, and energy. Future entrepreneurs, business owners and NGOs are welcome to apply. The application deadline is 14 November 2018.

Through the Agriculture Fast Track (AFT) Fund, the African Development Bank provides initial funding for agriculture infrastructure projects spanning the entire value chain – from production to market. Co-funding is encouraged, but not necessary, provided that the requested amount does not exceed US$1 million. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), government agencies, and non-governmental organizations from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania are eligible to apply. Concept notes can be submitted until 16 November 2018.
The World Bank Group invites applications for the “Sustainable Development Goals and Her Competition”. SDGs & Her is an online competition for women micro-entrepreneurs to showcase how they are supporting the SDGs through their business operations. Winners will receive leadership training, mentoring and will be flown to Washington DC, for an event at the World Bank Group-IMF Spring Meetings (April 2019). The deadline for the competition is 31 December 2018.

The TEF Program fosters and supports start-up enterprises in Africa. TEF combines mentoring, training, forums, seed capital, and alumni support to individuals in Africa proposing new business ideas or early-stage companies in sectors that include agriculture, among others. The program is open to citizens and legal residents ages 18 and older in any African country. The next application deadline (English, French, Portuguese) is 01 March 2019.
Technovation invites teams of girls from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology. Girls work with women mentors, find a problem in their community and develop a mobile app to launch a startup. Categories may include environment, poverty, health, and others. Eligibility extends to teams of up to 5 girls (aged 10-18 years). Registration deadline is 20 March 2019.

Bio-diversity, environment, climate change

The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program offers short-term fellowships to African-born academics at universities in the USA and Canada to collaborate with African universities in research, curriculum co-development, and/or graduate student training. Project requests to host scholars are submitted by universities and other higher education institutions in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. Past scholars in the program have included several in agriculture, environment, and related disciplines. The next application deadlines are 06 July 2018 and 09 December 2018.

The Climate Smart Agriculture, East Africa (CSA-EA) program offers opportunities for the placement of two PhD students to be enrolled in one of the graduate schools of Wageningen University. The selected PhD students are expected to spend about 18 months in Wageningen (Netherlands) and 30 months in East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, and/or Uganda). The scholarship offers €1400/month during the stay in the Netherlands and €700/month during the stay in East Africa. Applicants must be nationals from Kenya, Uganda or Tanzania. Applications should be submitted before 12 November 2018.

This call offers funding for biotechnologies and transnational collaborative research projects. Proposals should address the sustainable production of different types of feedstocks and bioresources into value-added products or the development of sustainable industrial processes and supply services. BBSRC contributes up to £2 million under this call. To be eligible, each consortium must involve at least three partners requesting funding from three different countries. Proposals must be submitted by 14 December 2018.

The Horizon 2020 program of research and innovation includes topics that are suitable for international cooperation. This includes cooperation in several projects of sustainable food security (SFS). Topic SFS-01-2018-2019-2020 will explore biodiversity in action: across farmland and the value chain, Topic SFS-04-2019-2020 will focus on integrated health approaches and alternatives to pesticide use, Topic SFS-05-2018-2019-2020 will explore new and emerging risks to plant health, Topic SFS-08-2018-2019 seeks to improve animal welfare, and Topic SFS-11-2018-2019 will focus on anti-microbials and animal production, among many others. Eligibility for funding in most topics extends to EU countries, Horizon 2020 associated countries, and over 100 mainly developing countries. The application deadline is 23 January 2019.

The Climate Justice Resilience Fund seeks grants applications for community-led, social justice approaches to climate change adaptation and resilience-building. Grants are made to women, youth, and indigenous peoples to create and share their own solutions for resilience. CJRF grants focus on four interrelated issues connected which climate change: (1) Water Access; (2) Food Security; (3) Sustainable Livelihoods; and (4) Migration and Relocation. The CJRF grantmaking strategic framework prioritizes multi-year grants and grants larger than US$100 thousand. Non-profit organizations from Alaska, Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh, and the India are invited to apply. Letters of Inquiry for the Spring Round 2019 are due 21 December 2018 and LOIs for the Fall Round 2019 have to be submitted by 19 April 2019.


The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) is seeking proposals to support the implementation of blockchain use cases addressing the agri-food sector in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific countries, in order to contribute to its transformationDeadline: 12 November 2018

IFAD Call for Proposals: Pro-poor Agricultural Innovation System for Sustainable and Resilient Agri-food Systems
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has announced a call for proposals to select a recipient or consortium of recipients to receive grant financing to implement a project on Pro-poor Agricultural Innovation System for Sustainable and Resilient Agri-food SystemsDeadline: 16 November 2018

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program funds citizens and residents of Sub-Saharan Africa for graduate studies at the University of British Columbia, USA. The fields of study at UBC include Sustainable Forest Management; Environmental Management; Food Science; Land and Water Systems; and many others. Each Faculty has different deadlines, please check carefully. The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program application closes 16 November 2018.
The Gbowee Peace Foundation awards scholarships for postgraduate masters at the University of Dundee (Scotland). Subjects areas include environmental science, energy petroleum and mineral law and policy, and others. The Africa Scholarships are open to female students who are currently Liberian, Nigerian or Ghanaian nationals permanently resident in these countries. The scholarship offers up to £30 thousand for tuition and living expenses. Closing date for applications is 17 November 2018

The Eleanor Crook Foundation funds implementation research on cost-effective, scalable innovations designed to improve nutrition interventions in East Africa. Each grant will consist of a maximum award of US$1.35 million for an implementation research project of up to three and a half years duration. Proposals should focus on one or more of the following East African countries: Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia. Concept notes should be submitted by 25 November 2018.

The WAAW Foundation supports African women who seek a STEM-focused college education. Applicants have to be under 32 years old and be enrolled in undergraduate B.S. Degree program at a University or college in Africa. Eligible courses include Agriculture, Biology, Botany, Environmental Science, Natural Science, Zoology and many other fields. Application closes on 30 November 2018.

The UNESCO/Keizo Obuchi Research Fellowships Programme (UNESCO/Japan Young Researchers’ Fellowship Programme) funded under the Japanese Funds-in-Trust for the capacity-building of Human Resources will aim, in particular, to impact on capacity-building and research activities in the following areas: 1. Environment (with particular attention on disaster risk reduction (DRR); 2. Intercultural Dialogue; 3. Information and Communication Technologies; and 4. Peaceful conflict resolution. No other research topics will be considered. Deadline: 30 November 2018.

Australia Awards funds qualified African candidates for masters studies in Australia in priority subjects that include agriculture; extractives; climate change; environmental management; water management; and others. Additionally, the program offers short-term fellowships for professional training in Africa and/or Australia. The announcement identifies the eligible countries and eligible fields of study (varying by country). Most application deadlines are 03 December 2018 (masters) and 15 January 2019 (short courses).

MESPOM is a two-year Erasmus Mundus masters course in environmental sciences, policy, and management operated by four European and two North American universities, and supported by the EC. MESPOM invites applications from all countries. MESPOM aims to prepare students for identifying and implementing solutions to complex environmental sustainability challenges, especially in an international context. MESPOM graduates receive MSc degrees from the Central European University, Lund University, and the University of Manchester. Candidates applying for financial aid should submit their applications before 03 January 2019.

The Breakthrough Institute supports Generation Fellows who contribute writing and research to one of four policy programs at the Breakthrough Institute: Energy; Conservation; or Food and Farming. The program operates during ten weeks from June through August. Fellows receive US$600 per week. Eligibility to apply for the fellowships extends to final-year undergraduates, college graduates, and postgraduates. Fellowships are open to applicants from any country. The application deadline is 12 February 2019.

The University of Antwerp’s Institute of Development Policy and Management (IOB) offers three specializations for one-year masters programs in development studies. Topics include poverty, climate change, conflict, good governance, sustainable development, and others. The Flemish Inter-University Council (VLIR-UOS) awards scholarships to students from many countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America for studies at Belgian universities that include Antwerp’s IOB. For applicants applying for both academic admission and a VLIR-UOS or Master Mind scholarship, the deadline is 15 February 2019.

VLIR-UOS is the secretariat of Flemish universities for development cooperation, with funding by Belgian Development Cooperation. VLIR-UOS announces courses at Belgian Flemish universities and university colleges that are eligible for scholarships in 2019. They include 1-year and 2-year masters’ programs, along with training courses lasting from two weeks to three months. Subject areas include aquaculture, marine science, plant breeding, nematology, water resources, rural development, and others. Eligibility for scholarships extends to applicants in 31 developing countries of Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. Candidates apply directly to the Flemish universities that offer the programs, requesting scholarship support. The admission deadlines vary with each program, with many having a deadline of 01 March 2019 for non-EU applicants.

Ghent University grants PhD scholarships to promising PhD students from developing countries who wish to carry out half of their PhD research at Ghent University in Belgium. Before applying each student needs to find a professor from Ghent University who is willing to act as their supervisor. Supported thematic areas include biology, veterinary medicine, agricultural economics, water managements, and many others (a complete list of faculties and research topics is provided). The deadline for applications is 04 March 2019.

The Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation invites participants for new short-term courses in 2019. Courses have different deadlines and locations. Thematic areas include Climate Change, Water Management, Agriculture, Fisheries, Livestock, and others. Most courses are open to professionals of government departments, NGOs and civil society organisations, businesses, development agencies, universities and colleges for higher education, and individual consultants. The deadline to apply for course scholarships through the Orange Knowledge Programme is 19 March 2019.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General recognises innovations that are advancing sustainable development in Commonwealth countries. The Innovation for Sustainable Development Awards have five categories: (1) Well-being (i.e. health, education, human rights etc.); (2) Prosperity (i.e. economic development, trade, etc.); (3) Peace; (4) Planet and the natural environment; and (5) Partnerships for sustainable development. The 15 winners (e in each category) will each receive a trophy, a certificate and prize money of £2000. Eligibility extends to individuals, governments, social enterprises, and businesses in Commonwealth countries. The deadline for nominations is 31 December 2018.

The BAF Awards serves to showcase and award entrepreneurs who are running early-stage for-profit and not-for-profits that are addressing Africa’s unique needs through technology or differentiated business models. These needs are in health, education, energy, financial inclusion, gender inclusion, nutrition, commerce, industrial development, and other socioeconomic good. DeadlineJanuary 2019

Ideas for Action is a knowledge platform of the World Bank Group and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the Wharton School. The annual Ideas for Action competition seeks innovative ideas and actionable projects to support the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Past winners include water solutions for better fish farm yields, women-led business models to improve sustainable access to energy, web-based solutions for agriculture processes, and many more. Teams must consist of two to six members and may be formed across different schools, institutions, companies, or countries. Students and young professionals between the ages of 18-35 years from around the world are invited to participate. The winners of the competition present their ideas at the annual meeting of the World Bank Group, receive support from a project incubator and coaching. The deadline for submissions is 28 February 2019.

Webinar and guidelines on Highly Hazardous Pesticides

12 November 2018. This webinar brought together representatives from the national pesticide regulatory authorities, the civil society and the private sector to speak on the challenges and the benefits of replacing highly hazardous pesticide in use in the agricultural sector. The speakers presentrf an overview of the main environmental and social issues associated with their use and recent country experiences in devising risk mitigation plans. Specific case studies on the phasing out of highly hazardous pesticides were presented. A private sector representative provided insights on market drivers and incentives for commodities produced without the use of highly hazardous pesticides.

The global pesticide use has grown continuously over the past 20 years. About 4 million tonnes of active ingredients where used in 2016. Highly Hazardous Pesticides, which are largely banned in industrialized countries for their potential to severely impact human health and the environment, are still readily available in many developing countries where the regulatory frameworks are inadequate to ensure proper use.

In these countries, agrochemical-dependent farming is often proposed as the inevitable path to economic development and welfare. The mismanagement of pesticides however can negatively impact on crop productivity, undermine the wellbeing of farm workers and rural communities, and jeopardize food safety and international food trade. The need to urgently address these impacts is well recognized by all global development and chemical agendas. In 2015, the fourth International Conference on Chemical Management declared highly hazardous pesticides as one of the emerging policy issues that need resolution in order to achieve the Agenda 2020. 

To this end, FAO and WHO have jointly published the “Guidelines on highly hazardous pesticides” and developed a strategy which calls for concerted action and wide stakeholder engagement.
  • Opening remarks: Remi Nono Womdim, Deputy Director, Plant Production and Protection Division, FAO
  • Highly hazardous pesticides - an emerging global issue in the sustainable development agenda: Francesca Mancini, FAO consultant
  • Strategies to address highly hazardous pesticides in the field: David Kapindula, Operations Manager, Zambia Environmental Management Agency
  • The health impacts of highly hazardous pesticides use: Michael Eddleston, Professor, Toxicology and Therapeutics Unit, University of Edinburgh
  • Replacing highly hazardous pesticides with ecological alternatives: Keith Tyrell, Director, Pesticide Action Network (PAN), UK

6th International Conference on Organic Agriculture Sciences (ICOAS);

7 - 9 November 2018. Esterhazy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria. 6th International Conference on Organic Agriculture Sciences (ICOAS).
  • ICOAS brought together scientists, advisors, entrepreneurs, policy makers, associations, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders to meet and discuss latest research results and developments in organic agriculture in Central and Eastern European countries.
  • ICOAS fosters the strong partnership across stakeholders in Central and Eastern Europe. Knowledge dissemination and capacity building along the value chain in Central and Eastern European countries are the main focus of ICOAS. Therefore, ICOAS actively contributes to the promotion of research and innovation in the organic sector.
ICOAS took place in two main parts – the two-day Scientific Conference, followed by the Organic Policy Summit.

Pathways to phase-out contentious inputs 
Chair: Ulrich Schmutz – Coventry University, UK 
  • Replacement of Contentious Inputs in Organic Farming Systems (RELACS) – a comprehensive Horizon 2020 project, Veronika Maurer, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), CH 
  • Pathways to phase-out contentious inputs from organic agriculture in Europe – Research overview and preliminary results, Ulrich Schmutz, Coventry University, UK 
  • Lessons learned from phase-outs – the case of the peat phase-out in the United Kingdom, Judith Conroy, Coventry University, UK
Better knowledge transfer and dissemination across all stakeholders in organic agriculture 
  • Chair: Klaus Wiesinger, Bavarian State Reseach Center for Agriculture (LfL), Germany 
  • Knowledge transfer in organic farming in Estonia, Elen Peetsmann, Estonian University of Life Sciences, EEstonia
  • Low Input dairy farming in Austria – Experiences from training courses and results of participating farmers, Andreas Steinwidder, Höhere Bundeslehrund Forschungsanstalt Raumberg Gumpenstein, Austria 
  • Pleasurable Cooking Lessons work! Findings from the Pilot Phase of Schule des Essens (School of Eating), Theres Rathmanner, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FIBL), Austria
Consumers’ perspectives and attitudes towards organics 
  • Chair: Anja Eichinger, Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Austria 
  • Organic - what consumers think, Reinhard Geßl, Freiland Verband, Austria
  • Organic Agriculture and Food Industry in Austria - attitudes, wishes, expectations and knowledge of young people and young adults, Andreas Steinwidder, Höhere Bundeslehr- und Forschungsanstalt Raumberg Gumpenstein, Austria 
  • Organic or Local Food: Consumers’ Attitudes and Preferences for Vouchers, Iva Zvěřinová, Charles University, Czech republic

Global Future Farming Summit

6 November 2018. Wageningen, Netherlands. Global Future Farming Summit

The agri- and horticultural sector are still changing rapidly. The world is asking to produce more food using fewer resources and to take into account the society and the environment. These are the challenges the sector is facing every day. The urgency for agri- and horticultural production systems to change is at an all-time high, but for the first time in decades, current technological innovations may allow the systems to take a leap in their performance output. New technologies such as blockchain but also data-driven processes, promise speed and efficiency and have a major impact on the sector and the distribution of power and knowledge between players in the agricultural ecosystem. Investment companies and large technology companies such as Microsoft see the growing business potential in agri- and horticulture.

Extracts of the programme

Transform and prosper or be disrupted
Deborah Nas, Professor Innovation TU Delft
Seven technologies that will transform the agricultural and horticultural industry
Farms are becoming tech companies
Where do you see business opportunities?

Look beyond the Field
Claudia Rössler, Director Industry Solutions for Chemical and Agriculture Microsoft Corporation
Feeding the world with precision agriculture
The reason why to invest in agriculture
Unlock the full potential of the industry

Take the guesswork out growing by using big data
Ros Harvey, Founder and Managing Director, The Yield
The Yield story
How technology and data science contribute to the governance of the planet
Five AgTech predictions for 2025

Create impact on your business focusing on people, planet and profit
Joris Lohman, Co-founder Foodhub
Understanding the changing world of food and agriculture
Stimulating the transition to a fair, healthy, tasty and sustainable food system
Speed up the transition to a ‘good, clean and fair’ food system

Saturday, November 10, 2018

African Investment Forum

7-9 November, 2018.  Johannesburg, South Africa. African Investment Forum. Around 350 investors from 53 countries from across the globe were in attendance with 30 of these representing African countries. The rest were from outside the continent including representatives from United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, France, United States, China, Japan and Switzerland.

Close to 80% of the investment ready deals that were being negotiated in the boardrooms of the Africa investment Forum have been signed.

At the beginning of the inaugural forum 61 projects with a value of $40.4-billion were set to be discussed in closed boardroom discussions between investors, governments and promoters. On Friday, the last day of the conference, 45 of those deals worth R32-billion had been closed.

Extract of the progrramme

Industry leaders discuss investment opportunities in the agriculture sector.
  • Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, EC  
  • Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Finance of Nigeria
Investment Roundtable: 
  • Aliko Dangote, Chairman and CEO, Dangote Group 
  • William Asiko, CEO, Grow Africa 
  • John George Coumantaros, Chairman of the Board, Flour Mills of Nigeria 
  • Roberto Ridolfi*, Special Advisor on strategy and financing development, FAO 
  • TP Nchocho, CEO, Land and Agricultural Bank of South Africa 
  • Julie Gichuru, Founder and CEO, Arimus Media Limited (moderator)
Large and growing net food imports demonstrate that there are substantial markets for prospective agribusiness investors to address, worth over US$100bn by year by 2025. However, today, Africa’s participation in the global agricultural commodity and value added market remains limited, at only 2%. This session discussed investment opportunities for producers and buyers in a more structured food trade eco-system. 

Investment Roundtable: 
There is a need to invest US$45 billion per year to harness the power of agriculture and move up the value chain to create jobs and wealth. At present, only US$7 billion is invested in the sector. Investments from the private sector will create the adequate environment and enhance the emergence of locally owned agro-processing industries, capable of creating jobs and increasing incomes in rural Africa. The continent could become a net exporter of agricultural commodities, replacing US$110 billion worth of imports, as well as doubling its share of market value for select processed commodities.
  • Jennifer Blanke, Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, African Development Bank
    Agriculture is a key priority for the African Development Bank, through our Feed Africa strategy. Understand that by transforming Africa’s agriculture sector it will become the engine that drives Africa’s economic transformation through increased income, better jobs higher on the value chain, improved nutrition, and so on.

  • John Coumantaros, Chairman of the Board, Flour Mills Nigeria
  • Jendayi E. Frazer, Managing Partner, Africa Exchange Holdings, Limited 
  • TP Nchocho, CEO, Land Bank 
  • Kevin Njiraini, Regional Director, Southern Africa and Nigeria, International Finance Corporation 
  • Ramsey Day, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID - Jodi Engelberg, Founding Member, The ValueWeb (moderator) 
Financing pitches: 
  • Ayodeji Balogun, Regional Director, Africa Exchange Holdings, Ltd., Nigeria 
  • Joshua Rugema, Country Director, East Africa Exchange, Rwanda 
  • Kristian Moller, CEO, Agricultural Commodity Exchange for Africa, Malawi
 Investment opportunities in infrastructure that will transform the African rural landscape into economic zones of prosperity.  The role of Staple Crop Processing Zones in laying out the foundation for Africa’s agro-industrialisation and contribution to lifting millions of Africans out of poverty.

Investment Roundtable:
  • Hon. Gugile Nkiwinti, Minister of Water and Sanitation of South Africa 
  • Jennifer Blanke, Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, African Development Bank 
  • Nialé Kaba, Minister of Planning and Development, Cote d’Ivoire Department for International Trade 
  • Ronnie Ntuli, CEO, Thelo 
Financing Pitches: 
  • Hon. Higino Marrule, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Republic of Mozambique 
  • Hon. Mrs. Fetlework Gebre-Egzihaber, Minister of Industry and Trade, Ethiopia 
  • Hon. Michael Katambo, Minister of Agriculture, Zambia 
  • Gabriel Curtis, Ministre, Ministère des Investissements et des Partenariats Publics Privés, Guinee
Key challenges faced by women-led businesses. Innovative financing tools to close the gap. Identifying the catalytic drivers and opportunities to scale up investments in women. Best practices around gender lens investing.
  • Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank 
  • Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau*, Minister of International Development, Canada 
  • Ibukun Awosika, Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Limited 
  • Salwa Akhannouch*, Founder and CEO, Aksal Group 
  • Daphne Mashile-Nkosi, Executive Chairperson, Kalagadi Manganese 
  • Bronwyn Nielsen, Anchor-at-large, CNBC Africa (moderator) 

The creation and sustainability of enabling investment environments.
  • Hon. Tito Titus Mboweni, Minister of Finance, South Africa 
  • Hon. Wolfgang Schmidt, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Germany 
  • Hon. Jim Carr*, Minister of International Trade Diversification, Canada 
  • Hon. Jens Frølich Holte, State Secretary International Development, Norway 
  • Ian Steff, Assistant Secretary for Global Markets and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service, U.S. Department of Commerce 
  • Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank 
Investment Roundtable by Compact with Africa Ministers:
  • Hon. Thierry Tanoh, Minister of Petroleum, Energy, and Renewable Energy, Cote d’Ivoire 
  • Hon. Zied Ladhari, Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation, Tunisia 
  • Hon. Sileshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia 
  • Hon. Mohammed Benchaaboun, Minister of Economy and Finance, Morocco 
  • Bronwyn Nielsen, Anchor-at-large, CNBC Africa (moderator)

Friday, November 9, 2018

The use of electro culture for plant growth in China

19 October 2018. Researchers in China have made a breakthrough that means more food can be grown without placing a burden on these finite resources. It all hinges on the introduction of one key component: electricity.

According to the South China Morning Post, experiments by the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, involving farms across the country, found that vegetable crop yields could be increased by 20 to 30%. That’s despite using substantially less pesticide (a decrease of between 70 and 100%) and a 20% reduction in fertilizer consumption.

In a series of large greenhouses, with a combined area of 3,600 hectares (8,895 acres), bare copper wires have been suspended three metres above ground level. The cables run the full length of the greenhouses and carry rapid pulses of positive charge, up to 50,000 volts. These high-voltage bursts kill bacteria and viral plant diseases both in the air and the soil. They also affect the surface tension of any water droplets on the leaves of plants, accelerating vaporization.

The introduction of electricity into the plants’ immediate environment is also credited with helping assist the transportation of naturally charged particles, such as bicarbonate and calcium ions, within the plants.

It also seems to speed up metabolic activities like carbon dioxide absorption and photosynthesis, the process whereby sunlight enables plants to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose, generating oxygen as a byproduct.

The study’s encouraging results are leading to an increase in the use of electro culture throughout China, with an extra 1,000 to 1,300 hectares of growing space being added each year. At current rates of growth, that represents a 40% increase year-on-year.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The strength of rural agricultural institutions, research and development will influence African agriculture

1 November 2018. Tom Jayne, a professor of food and resource economics at the US-based Michigan State University and Onyeka Akumah, founder and chief executive officer of Nigeria-based Farmcrowdyspoke to SciDev.Net during the Africa Green Revolution Forum in Rwanda (4-8 September).

They are of the opinion that there is a need to think about innovation more broadly in Africa’s farming context if it is to yield more, alleviate poverty and improve lives and livelihoods.
“If smallholders in Africa are going to be empowered and really thrive as a business, innovation is not just going to happen in technology but also in institutions. The strength of rural agricultural institutions, research and development, and the rate of farm technology advancements will influence African agriculture.Challenges confronting farming in Africa include migration of youth from rural to urban settings and smallholders’ low adoption rates of conservation agriculture: a farming system that promotes maintenance of a permanent soil cover, minimum soil disturbance and diversification of plant species.”  Tom Jayne,

Onyeka Akumah, founder of Farmcrowdy, a digital agriculture platform that connects small-scale farmers with investors to boost food production in Nigeria, says technology in agriculture needs to improve yields as well as operations, adding that a focus has to be on broadening the impact of technology.
 “There is a whole [set of] business that revolves around agriculture, whether it is logistics, warehousing, processing or exporting. Now you can go on our mobile app or on our website and decide whether you want maize, rice or sorghum farmer or cassava farmer, make your decision and invest your money through the platform.”