Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sustainable agricultural mechanization in developing countries

Ren Wang, Assistant Director-General of FAO’s
Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department, (left)
and Richard Markwell, President of CEMA
2 October 2015. Rome - FAO and the European Agricultural Machinery Industry Association CEMA, an international non-profit organisation, forged a new partnership that aims to promote wider use of sustainable agricultural mechanization in developing countries.

The two organizations will work together to manage and disseminate knowledge on sustainable approaches to agricultural mechanization. They will also jointly develop technical programmes to support innovation in mechanization and facilitate the implementation of sustainable mechanization initiatives at the field level.
“If undertaken in a sustainable and inclusive way, mechanization can be a game changer for agricultural systems, helping remove the drudgery associated with farm work, overcoming time and labour bottlenecks, and reducing the environmental footprint of agriculture”, said Ren Wang, Assistant Director-General of FAO’s Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department.
“Tailored, inclusive, and integrated approaches to agricultural mechanization can make a real difference in increasing the welfare of farm households and create positive dynamics and opportunities for economic growth in rural areas. As such, we look forward to working together with the FAO on this important issue”, said Richard Markwell, President of CEMA.
The initial focus of the FAO-CEMA partnership will be on capacity building activities in Africa, where human muscle remains the most important power source for smallholder farmers. For example, in sub-Saharan Africa, humans provide 65 percent of the power required for land preparation compared to 40 percent in East Asia, 30 percent in South Asia and 25 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Sustainable farm mechanization
  • Promoting mechanization in agriculture means that more tasks can be completed at the right time, more efficiently and saving labour and energy. However, the equipment has to be compatible with the social, economic and environmental conditions in which it will work, in order to achieve sustainable crop production intensification.
  • Onе such example of this type of equipment that can easily adapt to the context of developing countries is the range of low-cost smaller horsepower tractors. This type of tractor can be attached to planters designed to operate on soils under zero tillage regimes by depositing seeds directly into the soil with minimal disturbance.
  • Compared to traditional tillage-based practices, direct seeding is far more energy efficient and less time consuming. It also reduces input losses and drudgery and, over time, achieves better crop yields when combined with adequate conservation agriculture practices. The effect on the environment is also very positive as soil erosion and compaction are eliminated and biodiversity is enhanced.
  • Direct planters are also well suited to animal traction which can also be used to pull small carts for transporting people and of goods. Low horsepower tractors, and indeed stationary engines, can also be used by smallholders to power other agricultural equipment, such as pumps, threshers and mills, improving farming conditions and productivity and coping with problems such as labour shortage and inadequate processing times.
  • Other examples of hand operated equipment that have a huge impact on labour efficiency are improved maize shellers or pumps for water lifting.
Mechanization in the post-production chain
  • Mechanization contributes significantly to the efficiency of post-production operations such as harvesting, processing, packaging, storage, transportation and marketing. Mechanization is also important in ensuring that the quality and safety of food is maintained throughout the chain
  • Through technologies such as refrigeration and packaging, value is added to agri-food products and market access is facilitated. These technologies are also crucial in reducing food losses and waste.
About CEMA
CEMA is the association representing the European agricultural machinery industry. With 11 national member associations, the CEMA network represents both large multinational companies as well as the numerous European SMEs active in this sector. CEMA represents more than 4,500 manufacturers, generating an aggregated annual turnover of EUR 26 billion. 135,000 people are directly employed in the sector, with a further 125,000 people working in distribution and maintenance.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Agroecology for Nourishing the World and Transforming the Agri-Food System

29 September 2015, EXPO 2015, Milan, Italy. The Action Network: Organic Can Feed The Planet published a manifesto and released a declaration, affirming organic as the food and farming system best suited to meet the major challenges facing us. 

The organic movement has joined together to contribute to the theme of this year’s EXPO in Milan – feeding the planet – and IFOAM EU has published a report, Feeding the People: Agroecology for Nourishing the World and Transforming the Agri-Food System.
“The question of feeding the planet is often and unfortunately approached from the wrong angle. Focussing entirely on intensifying production is misguided and merely props up collective dependency on the very industrial agri-food production and consumption systems that do not meet the needs of people whilst destroying the environment. Organic food and farming and agroecology have a holistic, system-wide approach to food and farming. They are uniquely placed to address the complex and interlinked global challenges we currently face including food insecurity and obesity, climate change, unfair working and trade conditions, soil degradation, loss of biodiversity, poor animal welfare, deforestation and loss of agricultural land, to name but a few.” IFOAM EU President Christopher Stopes.
“There is an urgent need for a transformation of the existing agri-food systems to sustainable agroecological systems and scientific investigation is increasingly showing that a system-wide change is needed. Agroecology is an innovative form of food production that offers huge potential, not only to provide better food but also to remedy the environmental destruction that now threatens human societies. Therefore, we are calling for a billion-euro EU flagship research programme on agroecology and the transformation of the current agri-food system.”  Angelika Hilbeck, senior scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology’s Institute of Integrative Biology and co-editor of Feeding the People.

Participatory plant breeding and technology adoption in Ethiopia

2 October 2015. The Ethiopian Association of Women in Business (AWiB) has announced the 2015 Women of Excellence nominees. One of the seven nominees this year is Fetien Abay, a pioneer in promoting local innovation and engaging in participatory innovation development in Ethiopia.

Professor Fetien has proven to be a pioneer in recognizing ‘farmer breeders’ and arguing that it is possible to engage in participatory and decentralized plant breeding even in drought prone environments. When she decided to conduct her research in Tigray and barley (this crop is sensitive to environmental variations), she knew it would be difficult to achieve immediate results as many renowned researchers, breeders, and other fellow countrymen felt that it is a waste of time to even try it. 

As time passed by and at times when things did not go her way, she still did not give up. After a painstaking effort and farmers’ involvement in the research, exploiting the GxE interaction, it turned out that it is rather possible. (Note from PAEPARD: The term “genotype x environment (GxE) interaction effect” refers both to the modification of genetic risk factors by environmental risk and protective factors and to the role of specific genetic risk factors in determining individual differences in vulnerability to environmental risk factors.) As a result of farmers’ participation in varietal selection and ranking, she has proven that decentralized plant breeding is indeed a panacea for diverse agro-ecological breeding given the diversity of farming system. She is proud that the approach is now adopted by the regional agricultural extension unit. 

She is also known to have released three climate resilient, highly nutritious (with their betaglucan, iron, and zinc contents), drought resistant, early maturing barley varieties which have reached over 30,000 farmers in three year time since 2011, covering over 500 ha. The variety release on barley is new for Tigray. Until the variety released by MU, no improved barley variety have been incorporated on the extension package of agriculture. The varieties submitted for release are transgressive segregants of a single cross made between two local varieties of Tigray region. The varieties are registered to Mekelle University the names of the varieties are felamit, hiriti, and fetina.’ Fetina is named after herself. This has resulted in increase in crop productivity from 2 to 5 ton/hectare. Moreover, the beneficiary farmers including women have increased their incomes by about 30-50%.

Professor Fetien has also been instrumental in securing funding for a number of large and small projects, which she coordinates alongside her regular work as University lecturer. To highlight a few:
  • Integrated Seed Sector Development (ISSD) – operating in four regions (Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and Southern) of Ethiopia. The project seeks to see a pluralistic and a vibrant seed system in Ethiopia. She is coordinating the Tigray project. Currently, she is overseeing over 50 farmer based seed producer cooperatives. The membership size of the seed producer cooperatives is over 2800 households and 14,000 direct beneficiaries.
  • Network Project: SOLIBAM (Strategies for Organic and Low-input Integrated Breeding and
    Management) EC-funded project with ICARDA and 22 organizations from 12 European, Mediterranean and 2 African countries (Mali & Ethiopia). EU FP7 funding
  • South–South–North Network Project on Women and Food Science (2009–12) with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Sokoine University (Tanzania) and Hawassa University (Ethiopia); this includes establishing a nutrition laboratory; developing a new BSc curriculum (already approved); opening a Department of Food Science and Technology; supporting 30 BSc (all female), 6 MSc and 4 PhD students (including one woman from Tanzania); and establishing two women’s cooperatives for “kollo” marketing.
  • Supporting Women Entrepreneurship in Food Product Commercialization in Tigray Region, Northern Ethiopia (2012-2014) through IDRC grant. This project focuses on product promotion by women, commercialization and income generating activities. One PhD and three MSc postgraduate students involved in the project. 6 women cooperatives established, new product developed (from sorghum, millet and barley) with the private food company NAS.

Strategy to Strengthen Higher Education in Agriculture Africa

30 September 2015. New York. Side Event at the 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York (UNGA), on ‘AStrategy to Strengthen Higher Education in Africa for implementation of the SustainableDevelopment Goals’. The event attracted Government leaders and representatives, development partners, regional organisations and higher education stakeholders.

The meeting noted that Africa is experiencing strong economic growth averaging around 5% and that studies in several sub-Saharan African countries have demonstrated that investment in Higher Education is a good economic investment, producing a rate of return of over 20%. More public and private sector investment in Higher Education is therefore justified. The low participation of African youth in Higher Education (<1 access="" agreed="" among="" and="" be="" better="" disparities="" do="" education="" from="" gender="" higher="" in="" it="" lower="" nbsp="" needs="" noted.="" p="" quintiles="" representation="" social="" that="" the="" there="" those="" to="" was="" wealth="" who="" women.="">

  • The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) is a network of 55 African Universities with mission to ‘strengthen the capacities of Universities to foster innovations responsive to demands of small-holder farmers through the training of high quality researchers, the output of impact oriented research and the maintenance of collaborative working relations among researchers, farmers, national agricultural research institutions’.
  • The Partnership for Higher Education in Africa (PHEA) was a joint project of Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Kresge Foundation. 

Launch of the Second Global Nutrition Report

22 September 2015. New York. The Global Nutrition Report (IFPRI, 201 pages) is the first comprehensive summary and scorecard on both global and country level progress on all forms of nutrition for 193 countries.

The 2015 edition builds and reflect on new opportunities, actions, progress, accountability, and data for nutrition, with the aim to build greater commitment to improved nutrition in all countries.

New findings and recommendations include:
  • The critical relationship between climate change and nutrition
  • Focus on the roles of business and how it can play a pivotal role
  • Fresh data covering all forms of malnutrition – from under nutrition in young children to nutrition-related noncommunicable diseases in adults, and from stunting to obesity
Financial support for this report was provided by 1,000 Days, the Bill & Melinda, Gates Foundation, the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, the Children’s Investment
Fund Foundation, the European Commission, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the Government of Canada, the Government of the Netherlands, Irish Aid, the United States Agency for International Development, and the UK Department for International Development.

Given that most, if not all, countries lack the resources to fully and immediately scale up all interventions, the analysis considers various more modest scale-up scenarios: (1) focusing on only the regions with the highest burden of malnutrition, (2) scaling up only a subset of interventions, and (3) scaling up a subset of interventions only in the regions with the highest burden of malnutrition. It finds that the most cost-effective scenario is to scale up a subset of the 10 interventions in the highest-burden regions of the country. This scenario is between 1.5 and 3.3 times more cost-effective than scaling up all 10 interventions nationwide. (page 69)
Aflatoxin control in high-aflatoxin areas may be cost-effective investments through the education and agriculture sectors. However, evidence for the impact of nutrition-sensitive interventions is less conclusive than evidence for nutrition-specific ones. This analysis of costs and benefits is thus preliminary and points to the need for more robust data on nutrition-sensitive interventions to inform future priorities for scaling up. (page 155)
Lawrence Haddad, IFPRI (presentation of the report)

Tom Arnauld, Scaling up nutrition

Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Singer, songwriter, entrepreneur South Africa

Graça Machel, Politician and Humanitarian Mozambique

Joy Phumaphi, African Leaders Malaria Alliance 

Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme

Friday, October 2, 2015

First Food & Business Applied Research ARF and CRF projects workshop

1-3 October 2015. Entebbe, Uganda. The Foood and Business Knowledge Platform, NWO-WOTRO Science for Global Development, the Platform for African European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD), AgriProFocus (APF) Uganda, and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) are organizing a workshop for applied research projects in food security.

The central theme is knowledge co-creation and research uptake.
  • One part of the workshop consists of two learning sessions organized around research projects of the Applied Research Fund (ARF, fund of NWO-WOTRO) and the Competitive Research Fund (CRF, fund of PAEPARD).The two learning sessions are entitled: 'Co-creation of knowledge' and 'Knowledge sharing and enhancing research uptake'.
  • On October 2, back to back to the ARF/CRF workshop, a public seminar was organized about the contribution of SMEs in economic development and food and nutrition security. An extra 25 external participants were invited to discuss the commercialization of knowledge, innovation through incubators and challenges faced by

    SMEs. Examples included the production and commercialization of juices and dried fruit (Jakana Foods) and chili peppers (North East Chilli Producers Association). A video was presented about good practices of farming as a business, supported by the Dutch Embassy. Special attention was given to the increase of the organization and institutionalization of SMEs in the food sector by initiatives like the Africa Agribusiness Academy. One of the main research issues identified in support of SMEs’ was the desired impact of policy implementations on the food businesses, a topic also shown in the Dutch Embassy video.
During the field visits on the last afternoon, students from CURAD shared their interesting experiences of how they are supported in setting up a business and starting careers as entrepreneurs. The examples especially included the development of new value adding products, such as folders, badges, bags and clocks from the banana plant, and juices and liquor from coffee. This will contribute to economic development as a prerequisite for increasing food security.The workshop was organised together with the Food and Business Knowledge Platform fifteen projects are to be represented by two to three people involved.

06/10/2015: Successful workshop in Uganda on knowledge co-creation and research uptake for food security
PAEPARD participation:
  1. Pierre Claver Nahayo (CAPAD/Burundi), Development of potato seed quality based innovations for small scale farmers in the three provinces surrounding Bujambura town in Burundi 
  2. Elizabeth Kizito, Improving productivity and market of indigenous vegetables/Uganda + Kenya
  3. John Jagwe, Improving productivity and market of indigenous vegetables/Uganda + Kenya
  4. Apollo Kasharu, Improving productivity and market of indigenous vegetables/Uganda + Kenya
  5. Anderson K. Kipkoeh (Univ. of Eldoret) , Margaret Komen (MACE fruit) Improving productivity and market of indigenous vegetables/Uganda + Kenya
  6. Dr. Matumba Limbikani, LUNUAR/Malawi, Aflatoxin in Groundnut value chain
  7. Claude Arsene Sewado (due to the political sitituation in Burkina Faso he could not attend) Trichoderma in vegetables production
  8. Joseph Hounhouigan  (Univeristy of Abomey-Calavi, Faculty of Agronomics Sciences), Soy-beans processing, Benin
  9. Patrice Sewade, Soy-beans processing, Benin
  10. Francois Stepman, Communication and Knowledge Management Officer
  11. Remi Kahane Deputy Project Manager
  12. Jonas Mugabe, Project Manager
  13. Paul Nampala, RUFORUM, WP Capacities Leader
  14. Henri Massa, RUFORUM
  15. Julia Ekong, WP Capacities co-leader

Thursday, October 1, 2015

How FAO helps to address climate change

29 September 2015. EuropeAidlunch-time conference: how FAO helps to address climate change.

Martin Frick presented the way FAO can help to address climate change: challenges and opportunities for agriculture and forests, linkage with food security; FAO can help developing countries for their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) and National Adaptation Plans and Mitigation Actions. 

  • Jean-Pierre Halkin, Head of Unit DEVCO C.1 - Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition
  • Mauro Poinelli, Head of Unit AGRI.H.4 - Environment, Forestry and Climate Change
  • Martin Frick, Director of the Climate, Energy and Land Tenure Division in FAO

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2015 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF)

Middle: Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President,
Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa
Right: Mr. Hugh Scott, Director,
Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund
29 September - 2 October 2015. Lusaka, Zambia. This year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) was themed: “Walking the Talk on Youth and Women: Bringing Inclusive Agricultural Markets to Life.” The event is livestreamed.

The event is being jointly organized by the AGRF Partners Group, the Government of Zambia and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA).

The theme of the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) held ahead of the 2015 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) was ”Empowering the Private Sector to Boost Africa’s Green Revolution.” With almost US $250 million in financing from eight donor countries, AECF is instrumental to addressing the dearth of capital available to support fledgling African businesses—particularly small enterprises focused on various aspects of farming and food production.
The biggest need in agribusiness in Africa is investment, adding that AECF is in a certain sense laying the groundwork for investors from outside of Africa who are eager to capitalize on Africa’s growing market for food and agriculture products but unsure about where to put their money. Feeding Africa with processed tomatoes, sugar, bread, and milk and providing farmers with things like seeds and vaccines for chickens, it’s a huge business. We are really building a pipeline of investible companies for people who want to invest in African agribusinesses. Gem Argwings-Kodhek, the agribusiness adviser to AECF
AECF officials also used the event to release a report (69 pages) detailing how its portfolio of 160+ projects across Africa is having a significant impact on the lives of rural poor people by addressing some of the continent’s most urgent development challenges.
  • In 2014, the AECF portfolio reached an estimated 1.39 million households – equivalent to seven million people. 
  • In 2014 alone, projects funded by the AECF generated the equivalent of US $117 million in benefits for poor households; help provide over 5,000 jobs, and improved access to clean, sustainable energy for over 200,000 families.
  • More details are available in this unique report which have been brought to life in a presentation available for viewing / download here.

Extract of the programme
Women in Agribusiness Forum
The Forum was an opportunity for women agriculture/ agribusiness owners and those with programs that support women to connect with peers and industry leaders, expand their networks, learn about capacity development resources and discuss key points (including desired outcomes) to be shared during the AGRF. 

Launch of 2015 “African Agricultural Status Report”
Overview of Report, Commentary and Feedback Keynote: Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO and Head of Mission, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN).

The Africa Progress Report 2015 explains the bold steps that leaders globally and in Africa must take to achieve this vision. Above all, the report shows that the global climate moment is also Africa’s moment – Africa’s moment to lead the world.


Theme: The Catalysts for Increased Inclusion in African Agriculture and Agribusiness 
  • Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner, Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union 
  • Dr. Theo de Jager, President, Pan African Farmers’ Organization 
  • Mr. Lucas Messo, CEO, Agriculture Finance Corporation 
  • Dr. Chiji Ojukwu, Director, Agriculture and Agroindustry, African Dev. Bank 
  • Ms. Monica Musonda, Founder and CEO, Java Foods
Theme: Improved Inputs and Increased Mechanization - Toward Modern Farming and Agribusiness Development on the Continent
  • Dr. Hans Balyamujura, CEO, Zed Group 
  • Dr. Florence Wambugu, Founder and CEO, Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International Case Studies: 
  • Dr. Rob Smith, Senior Vice-President and Manager EAME, AGCO 
  • Mr. Dyborn Chibonga, CEO, Nat’l. Smallholder Farmers’ Assoc. of Malawi 
  • Ms. Elly Mwale, CEO, Glymo Enterprises 
  • Mr. Kofi Adomakoh, Director, Project and Export Development Finance, African Export-Import Bank Discussants 
  • Dr. Prasun Kumar Das, Project Manager, IFAD-APRACA Project on Rural Finance, Asia-Pacific and Agricultural Credit Association 
  • Mr. Justin Rakotoarisaona, Secretary General, African Seed Trade Association 
  • Mr. Ousmane Badiane, Director, Africa, International Food Policy Research Institute 
  • Dr. Jemimah Njuki, Senior Program Officer, International Development Research Centre
A Pillar of Modern Farming - Agriculture Infrastructure and Mechanization Models
  • Ms. Ida Naserwa, Managing Director, Bukanga Lonzo Agribusiness Park, Democratic Republic of Cong 
  • Mr. Nuradin Osman, Director Africa & Middle East, AGCO 
  • Dr. Mbette Mshindo Msolla, Country ManagerTanzania African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership Discussants: 
  • Mr. Abraham Sarfo, Program Manager, Agriculture Vocational and Technical Education (ATVET), CAADP 
  • Mr. Emerson Zhou, Executive Director, Beira Corridor 
  • Ms. Eva Zansanze, Manager, Cenergy Global Limited 
  • Hon. Ms. Luisa Meque, Vice-Minister of Agriculture and National Food Security, Republic of Mozambique
Theme: The Keys to Effectively Financing Youth and Women Owned Enterprises in Africa 
  • Ms. Tacko Ndiaye, Senior Officer for Gender, Equality and Rural Development, FAO Keynote Address: Mr. Nelson Tangwena, CIO, Homestrings
  • Ms. Lindsay Wallace, Deputy Director, Financial Inclusion, MasterCard Foundation 
  • Ms. Betty Kibaara, Project Coordinator, Rockefeller Foundation 
  • Mr. Saleh Gashua, Secretary General, African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association 
  • Mr. Chris Nikoi, Regional Director, Bureau for Southern Africa, United Nations - World Food Programme Case Studies: Investment Opportunities 
  • Mr. Ben Zulu, MD, Zamibia Seed Company Limited 
  • Dr. Gertrude Mampwe, CEO, Getma Herbal Health 
  • Mr. Best Dorah, Manager -Strategy and International Cooperation, African Export-Import Bank Discussants 
  • Mr. Godfrey Chinoera, CEO, Zimbabwe Agricultural Development Trust 
  • Ms. Elizabeth Ssendiwala, Regional Gender & Youth Coordinator, East & Southern Africa Region, International Fund for Agricultural Development 
  • Mr. Scott Overdyke, Senior Program and Planning Manager, Root Capital 
  • Hon. Mr. Beda Machar, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Cooperatives and Rural Development
The AGRF was established in 2010, following a three year series of African Green Revolution Conferences (AGRC) held in Oslo, Norway from 2006–2008. Moving the venue to Africa anchored the African ownership of this global initiative. The AGRF seeks to bring together African Heads of State, Ministers, farmers, private agribusiness firms, financial institutions, NGOs, civil society, scientists, and other stakeholders to discuss and develop concrete investment plans for achieving the green revolution in Africa. The Forum focuses on promoting investments and policy support for driving agricultural productivity and income growth for African farmers in an environmentally sustainable way.
  • The AGRF has grown in scope and focus to become a “platform of platforms” on the development of African agriculture-as-enterprise. 
  • The first AGRF was held in Accra, Ghana in September, 2010. The Forum was Chaired by H.E. Kofi A. Annan, former UN Secretary General and hosted by H.E. John Atta Mills, President of Ghana. 
  • The second AGRF was held in 2012, in Arusha, Tanzania and was hosted by President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H. E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete. 
  • In 2013, the AGRF moved to the home of the Maputo Declaration on African Agriculture, and was held in Maputo, Mozambique. 
  • The fourth AGRF was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was hosted by the Ethiopian Government and the African Union, who convened the meeting at the new African Union Headquarters Conference Center. More than 1000 participants attended 2014 AGRF – making it the largest agriculture focused event of 2014. The 2014 AGRF was significant as it unpacked the continental theme – the African Union’s “Year of Agriculture and Food Security”.
Since 2013, the AGRF has adopted a dual mode, with alternate years hosting a minor and major AGRF respectively. The minor AGRF, held every odd year, features an-invite only specific-issue focus “Forum” unpacked at length by about 300 delegates; while the major AGRF, held every even year, will feature a broader agenda, with presentations on results of achievements in key areas and host upwards of 800 delegates

Agricultural Research for Development Conference

23 - 24 September 2015. Uppsala, Sweden. This conference was a forum for balanced and science-based discussions about the ways forward, and on how multidisciplinary agricultural sciences can contribute to the discussion on the Post 2015 Development Agenda.

This was a two-day event for researchers and professionals who work with and/or interested in agriculture for development. PhD students, senior scientists, experts from social, political, soils, crops, natural resources and animal science, economy, forestry, horticulture, veterinary medicine etc. participated.

Keynote speakers of the conference included John McDermot (Director for CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, IFPRI); Kostas Stamoulis, Director ESA, FAO, Rome; Margaret Kroma, Assistant Director General – Partnerships & Impact, World Agroforestry Centre, ICRAF; Christel Cederberg (Professor at the Department of Energy and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden); and Jim Sumberg (Research fellow, Institute of Development Studies – IDS. University of Sussex, UK).

Download the Conference Booklet

Extract ofthe program:
Transforming subsistence farming into commercial enterprises: The changing face of eastern and southern African agriculture. Session leaders: Ivar Virgin, SEI; Matthew Fielding, SIANI.
  • Commercialisation of Agriculture among Smallholder Farmers Catherine Komugisha Tindiwensi, Makerere University Business School, Uganda 
  • Food Security, Water and Sanitation for Improved Wellbeing of Smallholder Farmers in East and Southern Africa Ngolia Kimanzu, International Development, The Salvation Army, Sweden & Latvia Territory 
  • New Products from Traditional Grains to Create a Market and Improve Food Security. Mats Stading, Structure and Material Design, SP Food and Bioscience, Sweden. 
  • Rapid Ex-ante Environmental Impact Assessment for Livestock Value chains. Ylva Ran, Stockholm Environment Institute(SEI). 
  • From Communal to Private: The Case of Changing Land Tenure and its Implications for Agricultural Practices in West Pokot, Kenya Laura Saxer, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden 
  • The Impact of Large Scale Land Acquisition on the Right to Adequate Food of Small Scale Farmers in Lipokela, Tanzania. Atenchong Talleh Nkoboul, Institute of Social Sciences in Agriculture, University of Hohenheim, Germany 
  • Is Land Tenure Conversion Indispensable for Agricultural Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa? Lasse Krantz, Unit of Human Geography, University of Gothenburg, Sweden 
  • Land Use Consolidation in Rwanda: The Experiences of Small-scale Farmers in Musanze District. Emmanuel Muyombano. Unit of Human Geography, University of Gothenburg, Sweden 
  • Large-scale Land Acquisitions and their Implications for Commercialization of Small-farms. Atakilte Beyene, The Nordic Africa Institute, Sweden
Sustainable intensification in agriculture
  • Research-for-Development (R4D) platforms - a multi-stakeholder initiative for integrated farming towards sustainable intensification. Per Hillbur, Malmö University, IITA/Africa 
  • Risisng Biochar as an opportunity for agriculture in small-holder farming systems in Kenya – a win-win-win situation? Cecilia Sundberg, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU 
  • Converting organic waste into valuable animal protein – Business opportunities for improved organic waste management. Cecilia Lalander, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU 
  • Efficiency in small-scale urban dairy production has potential to increase in Uganda. Renee Båge, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU
  • Next Generation Breeding of East African Highland Bananas – The Main Staple of East African Great Lakes. Rodomiro Octavio Ortiz Rios, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU 
  • The role of civil society in assessment of GM crops in Africa (Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda). Ksenia Gerasimova, University of Cambridge 
  • Opportunities and Challenges of ‘Climate Smart Agriculture’ Activities: A Critical Review of Empirical Evidence. Linus Karlsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU
Improving access to markets and developing value chains. Session leader: Kostas Karantininis, SLU
  • Willingness to pay for organic food in Africa. Kostas Karantininis, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU 
  • Cooperatives and Farm Gate Prices for Agricultural. Jens Rommel, Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research. 
  • Farmland investment in Africa: What’s the deal? Luca di Corato, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU 
  • Choice of Marketing Channels in the Kenyan Domestic Organic Market. Leah Murimi, University of Nairobi 
  • Value chain governance and its influence on integration: Evidences from the malt-barley value chain in Ethiopia. Mulugeta Watabaji, Ghent University 
  • A model for Prototype Testing, Up-scaling and Commercialization of New Stress tolerant Canning Bean varieties in Eastern Africa. Paul Kimani, University of Nairobi

Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition 7th International Forum

21 - 24 September 2015. Milan, Italy. Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition 7th International Forum.
This is an event which, since 2009, has proposed to promote debates on global topics linked to food, as well as encourage awareness and generate sound proposals for the future of the planet.

The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition (BCFN) Young Earth Solutions (YES) finalists’ projects were presented at the forum, which was hosted within Expo Milano 2015.

The Mbororo are a minority ethnic group in Cameroon with a predominantly semi-nomadic lifestyle making them food insecure. Particularly vulnerable are women who are resource poor and lack access to food physically and economically. This project aims to employ an innovative upland farming approach in establishing an economically viable, eco-friendly gardening system for the Mbororo women; this will be reinforced with the value chain concept. Collective action would ensure higher bargaining power and reduced transaction costs. Higher incomes accruing to the women would improve their economic situation and consequently, their access to food.

The 11th African Dairy Conference and Exhibition in Kenya

23-25 September 2015. Nairobi. The three day conference saw a convergence of 120 local and foreign firms which consisted of 500 delegates from 42 countries.

It was an opportunity for Kenya to exhibit the steps it has taken to have its small scale farmers make a multi billion industry based on milk production. According to Eastern and Southern African Dairy Association (ESADA) who were the organisers, the conference also offered networking opportunities for industry players such as farmers, heads of co-operatives and manufacturers of equipment among others. The conference got more farmers to come together and form Co-operatives to enable farmers process milk directly instead of transporting and storing it as they wait processing.
“Kenya produces five billion litres of milk but only 55 percent to processors. The rest is sold at throw-away away prices to middlemen who sell them from door to door hence affecting the quality of milk,” Chief Executive Officer of ESADA Peter Ngaruiya.
The conference will also give Co-operatives a chance to experience the importance of cooling plants which will be showcased at the conference, which is hoped will lure them into buy the equipment.


Linking African Agri-Business Incubators with Finland

7-11 September 2015. Helsinki, Finland. International Business Incubation, Co-creation and Innovation

This Event was organised by Häme University of Applied Sciences, School of Bio-economy and FARA. The visit was fully financed by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and co-organised by Impact Iglu, Makery, ThinkAfrica, GOInternational, Shalin, UniPID​, LUKE (FoodAfrica) , FIBREPRO.
in Agriculture.

Profiles of the Delegates Profiles of the Incubators and Networks​
Extract of the programme
The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and African Agribusiness Incubation Network (AAIN) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Häme University of Applied Sciences (HAMK), Finland at the just concluded program on Linking African Agri-Business Incubators with the Finnish Social Enterprise and Innovation Ecosystems which until recently have concentrated on capacity building on forestry education institutions, innovative extension methodology and bioenergy.

The MoU states that partners are expected to explore different avenues of collaboration within the agriculture value chain from research and development technology transfer to improving the teaching and learning processes in agribusiness incubation.

In addition to understanding the HAMK innovative ways of encouraging entrepreneurship, the team visited different incubators including the Aalto Start up Center and the Design Factory to benchmark the startup ecosystem in Finland and to engage with innovative start-ups with solutions relevant to Africa.
The MOU will permit HAMK to increase its professional expertise and promote the opportunities for doing business with Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises from Finland to Africa. In exchange, some of the new businesses and start-ups from the incubators will target to provide outlets and marketing network for Finnish SMEs and vice versa and allows for more deepening and enlargement of the work that HAMK has been doing in Africa, which until recently have concentrated on capacity building on forestry education institutions, innovative extension methodology and bioenergy. Mr Ari Mikkola, Dean of HAMK School of Bioeconomy
The African Agribusiness Incubator Network (AAIN) was established by FARA to support the business development within the continental framework. AAIN is a result of the FARA-UniBRAIN program which ​currently hosts 80 incubators, members and partners under AAIN in 54 African countries. Under UniBRAIN, the incubators have collectively commercialized over 75 Agribusiness technologies, created thousands of jobs and produced over 200 incubates. The research networks have supported over 137 SMEs to startup and expanded businesses along selected commodity value chains, while creating business networks of about 24,000 value chain actors engaged in agribusiness.

Southern Africa Peanut Value Chain Meeting in Malawi

28-29 September 2015. Lilongwe, Malawi. Over 50 project partners including researchers, students, and private sector actors from the target countries, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia, plus collaborators from the United States and the United Kingdom attended the meeting.

Initial findings and updates from the ongoing projects that span the value chain were presented to improve multidisciplinary and regional cooperation and impact during the completion of the project.

Visit the website for more information about the Southern Africa Peanut Value Chain Intervention project.