Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, October 17, 2019

2019 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium

16-18 October 2019. Des Moines, Iowa. The "Borlaug Dialogue," each year brings together over 1,200 people from more than 65 countries to address cutting-edge issues related to global food security and nutrition.

The three-day conference convenes a wide array of scientific experts, policy leaders, business executives and farmers and has been called "the premier conference in the world on global agriculture."

The theme for the 2019 Symposium, “Pax Agricultura: Peace Through Agriculture,” addressed the increasingly inter sectional issues of food security, conflict and development. With topics ranging from religion, diplomacy, climate, scientific innovation, and corporate leadership, this year’s Dialogue served as an opportunity to take stock of the current state of global agriculture and food security.

Extracts of the programme:

"In the 1994 genocide in 
Rwanda, more than 1 
million people died in 100 days.
 In the rebuilding process, 
all policies were centered 
around agriculture".
Geraldine Mukeshimana.

Panel | Healing the Wounds: The Power of Agriculture in Post-Conflict Recovery

Panel | Food Security in the Next Decade: The Power of the Private Sector

Keynote | The Gates Initiative Ten Years Later

  • Mr. Rodger Voorhies (see picture), President, Global Growth and Opportunity Division, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Dr. Gebisa Ejeta, Director, Center for Global Food Security

Panel | The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

Panel | Getting to Zero Hunger: Research for Resiliency

Panel | Collaboration or Catastrophe: Global Trends in Agricultural Development

2019 Borlaug Dialogue Breakout Sessions

Unpacking "Crops to End Hunger"
Dr Hale Ann Tufan (front row,2nd left) receives
 the 2019 Borlaug Field Award for her outstanding work
in integrating gender in breeding programs
and agricultural research.
Click on above link for the PAEPARD blogpost

U.S. - Africa Forum on Agricultural Technology
The U.S.-Africa AgTech Forum brought together stakeholders from government, business, academia and multilateral institutions to take stock of the agriculture sector in Africa and identify opportunities to enhance efficiency, productivity, and sustainability by incorporating technology across agricultural value chains.
  • Mwangi Kiunjuri - Cabinet Secretary of Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, & Irrigation for the Republic of Kenya
  • Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful - Minister of Communications for the Republic of Ghana
  • Dr. Jennifer Blanke - Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development - African Development Bank
  • Dr. Ed Mabaya - Manager, Agribusiness Development - African Development Bank
  • Parmesh Shah - Global Lead for Rural Livelihoods and Agricultural Jobs - World Bank
  • Tavonga Alex Siyavora - Program Manager - John Deere
  • Kommy Weldemarian - Chief Scientist - IBM Research- Africa
  • Mark Edge - Director of Collaborations for Developing Countries - Bayer
  • Mark Chiavello - Representative of South Africa to the United States - Standard Bank
  • Sara Eckhouse - Executive Director - Foodshot Global
  • Paul Sheppard - Founder Future Farms
  • Aboubacar Karim - CEO Investiv
  • Jehiel Oliver - CEO Hello Tractor
  • Paul Sheppard - Co-Founder - Future Farms South Africa
Wild Futures: Technologies for Accelerating Food-Systems Innovation Towards the SDGs
The session brought together leaders in science, policy and investment to understand the opportunities and challenges associated with the application of next generation technologies to transform food systems and achieve the SDGs, and develop suitable actions in their respective capacities.
  • Kenneth M. Quinn - President World Food Prize Foundation
  • Svend Christensen - Head of Department, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences ​​
  • University of Copenhagen
  • Mario Herrero - Chief Research Scientist - Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
  • Diego Osorio - Head of Partnerships and Resource Mobilization - CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
  • Akinwumi Adesina - President African Development Bank
  • Jan Low - Principal Scientist International Potato Center (CIP)
  • Ruben Echeverria - Director General International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Systems for Change: Seeds and Vegetables to Transform Smallholder Agriculture for Global Food and Nutrition Security
Vegetable crops play a key role in addressing the triple burden of malnutrition (undernutrition, overweight and obesity) rapidly rising in many countries. Yet, due to a lack of quality seed, the power of vegetables remains an under-utilized tool for curbing these alarming trends. Backed by a more robust seed system, smallholder farmers can produce safe, nutritious vegetables to promote healthy diets, generate rural employment, and develop sustainable businesses for themselves and their communities.
'In Zimbabwe, many farmers are still not having
access to affordable quality seeds - Lindiwe Sibanda
  • Vimlendra Sharan - Director, Liaison Office for North America - FAO
  • David Beckmann - President Bread for the World and 2010 World Food Prize Laureate
  • Kenneth Quinn - President World Food Prize
  • Simon Groot - 2019 World Food Prize Laureate
  • Rob Bertram - Chief Scientist, Bureau for Food Security - USAID
  • Marco Ferroni - Chair, System Management Board CGIAR
  • Josephine Okot - Managing Director Victoria Seeds Ltd
  • Lindiwe Sibanda - Board Member World Vegetable Center
  • Ann Tutwiler - Strategic Adviser, Transforming Agri-Food Systems, and Board Chair Access to Seeds Foundation
Feed the Future Innovation Labs: The Global Payoff of Investing in Research for Development
This event showcased the innovations developed through the Feed the Future Innovation Labs and how they improve incomes and livelihoods in developing countries and provide benefits to the U.S. 

Six Innovation Lab’s presented findings BIFAD-commissioned study:
“How the United States Benefits from Investments in Developing Country Agriculture and Food Security”. (October 2019, 44 pages)

This report describes the food security investments of the U.S. Agency for International Development and how improving agriculture in developing countries brings positive returns to the United States and developing countries. The multiple benefits of foreign agricultural assistance include growth of agri-food systems of developing countries, and positive impacts on U.S. jobs and exports, technology spillovers that support U.S. agricultural production, health and nutrition of U.S. consumers, and global and U.S. security.
  • Dr. Adegbola Adesogan - Director, Livestock Systems Innovation Lab and Chair Council of Innovation Lab Directors - University of Florida
  • Dr. Jack Payne - Associate Vice -President Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Florida, Institute for Food and Agricultural Sciences
  • Beth Dunford - Assistant to the Administrator - USAID, Bureau for Food Security
  • Gebisa Ejeta - Board member, Board for Food and International Development (BIFAD); WFP laurate; Distinguished Professor - Purdue University
  • Brady Deaton - Board member, BIFAD; Chancellor Emeritus - University of Missouri
  • Tim Dalton - Director, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sorghum and Millet - Kansas State University
  • Peter Goldsmith - Director, Soybean Innovation Lab - University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • Pamela Anderson - Board member, BIFAD; Director General Emeritus - International Potato Center (CIP)
How Israel achieved its agriculture transformation: lessons for developing countries
Presentation of a new report developed by AGRA, Tony Blair Institute and Volcani International Partnerships on How Israel developed its agriculture and water sectors: Insights for today’s developing countries (September 2019, 52 pages) to become a leading agriculture player on the global stage, followed by an open discussion of lessons and insights for today’s developing countries – particularly Africa which has yet to achieve its green revolution.
  • Jonathan Said - Head of Inclusive Growth Tony Blair Institute
  • Danielle Abraham - Executive Director - Volcani International Partnerships
  • Dr. Agnes Kalibata - President - Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa

Transforming Food Systems Under a Changing Climate

Mario Herrero Acostaa, Philip Thorntonb, Daniel Mason-D’Croza, Jeda Palmera

A recent inventory of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) shows that new and emerging technologies are well spread across the food system, from production processes right along the value chain to consumers. These technologies are from the domains of cellular agriculture, digital agriculture, food processing and safety, gene technology, health, inputs, intensification.

This briefing is part of Transforming Food Systems Under a Changing Climate, an initiative led by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) that aims to realize a transformation in food systems by mobilizing knowledge and catalyzing action. The initiative brings together leaders in science, business, farming, policy and grassroots organizations to identify pathways for transformation. 


8 - 10 October 2019. Bali, Indonesia. The 5th Global Science Conference on Climate-Smart Agriculture 2019 - Transforming food systems under a changing climate.

Since the term climate-smart agriculture (CSA) was coined in 2010, the biannual global science conferences on CSA have emerged as the key global forum for scientific exchange to underpin CSA implementation. Building on the lessons from the previous conferences, the overarching theme of the 5th conference, ‘Transforming food systems under a changing climate’, takes cognizance of the need for transformation and aims to build the knowledge base needed to support the transformation required.

  • To mobilize the knowledge needed for food systems transformation under climate change.
  • To catalyze the partnerships needed for transformation, bringing together all key stakeholders, from scientists, policy makers, investors and farmers.
  • For the full program overview, click here
HE Hans Hoogeveen, Ambassador of the Netherlands to the
FAO, announced the Netherlands will host
the 6th Global Science Conference
on Climate-Smart Agriculture in Spring 2021.

Sub-theme 1: Empowering farmer and consumer organizations, women and youth

Collective actions by farmers and consumers are key to driving transformational change in food systems. At the same time, actions are needed to create conducive enabling environments that encourage producers, business owners, researchers, investors and policy makers to innovate in ways that promote gender equality and opportunities for youth. 
  • Gender Transformation in Climate-Smart Agriculture: A Framework for Action – Sophia Huyer, Gender and Social Inclusion Leader, CCAFS-ILRI
  • Accelerating Gender Equity in Agricultural Research for Development – Jayne Curnow, Research Program Manager, ACIAR
  • Gender in Social Seed networks for climate change adaptation – John Recha, Participatory Action Research ILRI
  • Role of women farmer-led institutions in scaling out Climate Smart Agriculture in smallholder farming systems – Nitya Chanana, Consultant, BISA-CIMMYT / CCAFS
  • Innovative approaches to gender mainstreaming for accelerating adoption of climate smart agriculture in smallholder systems – Tripti Agarwal, Project Administrator, CIMMYT
The CGIAR climate team from East Africa

Sub-theme 2: Digitally enabled climate-informed services

Agriculture is behind many sectors in the application of information and communication tools. This theme focuses on addressing this gap, and generating lessons for application of digital tools, disruptive technologies and big data, in extension, early response systems and adaptive safety nets. 
  • Scene setting – Anthony Whitbread, Research Program Director for Innovation Systems for the Drylands, ICRISAT
  • Ram Dhulipala, Lead, Digital Agriculture Theme, ICRISAT
  • Nurturing Africa’s Digital Revolution for Agriculture: agCelerant value chain orchestrators industrializing EO and IoT into smallholder agriculture – Pierre C. Sibiry Traore, Director, Research and Development at Manobi Africa and ICRISAT
  • Social networks to practical use: Can strong social network actors help improve digital-delivery of climate-risk reducing services in Bangladesh? – Wolfram J. Simon, Master Student, Wageningen University and Research
  • Contrasting approaches to developing digital tools for enabling climate adaptation – Julie Ingram, Reader in Sustainable Agri-Environmental Systems, University of Gloucestershire
IshmaelSunga of SACAU stresses the importance of evidence 
from the farmers themselves informing policy. Something 
FANRPAN is advocating for using innovative 
engagement tool Theater 4 Policy Advocacy

Sub-theme 3: Climate-resilient and low-emission practices and technologies

New technologies and innovations are necessary to enhance resilience and facilitate adaption of low emissions development pathways. 
  • Wild futures: food-systems innovation for accelerating progress towards the SDGs, Philip Thornton/Mario Herrero IFPRI
  • The Suitability of CSA Practices in Africa under Current and Future Climate Conditions, Christine Lamanna, Climate Change Scientist, ICRAF
  • Solarising Irrigation in Indian Agriculture, Neha Durga, Research Consultant, IWMI
  • Data science to support climate smart agriculture in South Asia: How can crucial data gaps be filled with big data stacks? Timothy J. Krupnik, Senior Scientist and Systems Agronomist, CIMMYT
  • ITC’s Climate Smart Agriculture: Livelihood Improvement through Low Emission Technologies, Vijay Vardhan Vasireddy, Operations Manager, ITC Limited

Sub-theme 4: Innovative finance to leverage public and private sector investments

The Government of Indonesia is stepping up efforts to scale climate-smart agriculture (CSA) in the country. In this context, this theme explores how the required finance can be mobilized, leveraging on both public and private sources.
  • Financing the Transformation of Food Systems Under a Changing Climate – Hans Loth, Global Head UN Environment Partnership, Rabobank
  • Designing Prize Competitions to Spur Private Sector Action in Climate-Smart Agriculture: The Case from Vietnam, Tran Thu Ha, Team Leader of AgResults, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
  • Scalable interventions for climate smart cocoa and coffee sectors, Tiffany Talsma, Climate Strategy Specialist, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
  • Ilaria Firmian, Regional Specialist- Asia Pacific, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • Tobias Baedeker, Agriculture Economist, World Bank

Sub-theme 5: Reshaping supply chains, food retail, marketing and procurement

Food system approaches are increasingly seen as key to identifying new opportunities for enhancing health, environment and enterprise. There is a need for system-wide actions to drive transformation, and focus on reshaping supply chains from farm to fork. These include new models of business-to-business coordination, new diets and consumer choices, and efforts to manage food loss and waste. 
  • One choice at a time: How supply chain decisions can transform the food system, Angela R. Hansen, Strategic Advisor, PhD Candidate, University of Cape Town
  • Food Techs reshaping supply chains and consumer´s choice to reduce food waste, Daniele Eckert Matzembacher, Ph.D. Candidate, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)
  • Climate Change Mitigation and Food Loss and Waste Reduction: Exploring the Business Case, Duncan Gromko, Investment Expert, UNIQUE Forestry and Land Use
  • Analysing trade-offs between food loss and waste reduction and GHG emissions, Jan Broeze, Scientist, Wageningen University and Research
  • Integrating Climate-Smart Rice Agriculture in Supply Networks, Olivia Vent, Advisor, Lotus Foods
#South-south collaboration: 
Key mechanism for building capacity
 and scaling low-emissions technologies and practice

Sub-theme 6: Fostering enabling policies and institutions

Much attention has been focused on the need to make agriculture more climate smart, both for mitigation and adaptation. A stockpile of CSA technologies and practices also already exists. Much less discussion has focused on how to operationalize CSA. This theme brought together analytical and operational perspectives to identify and overcome some key challenges to the implementation of CSA.
  • Mainstreaming Climate Smart Agriculture into a regional policy in a fast-track formulation process: lessons from the Centro American Region, JF Le Coq, CIAT/Cirad
  • Combined use of numerical and conceptual models for climate-smart food systems – Marcelo Galdos, Met Office University, Academic Fellow in Modeling Food Security and Climate Impacts, University of Leeds
  • Ease of doing adaptation and mitigation in agriculture: Can NDCs keep up to the promise? – Shalika Vyas, Project Scientist, CCAFS-BISA
Side event: 

Fostering investment in climate-smart agriculture through innovative engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa

This side event showcased how innovative approaches such as multi-stakeholder policy dialogues driven by community level Theatre for Policy Advocacy (TPA) engagements can be used to develop and communicate a climate smart agriculture investment pitch to attract climate financiers.
  • The Challenge with Financing CSA Sithembile Mwamakamba, FANRPAN
  • Using the Theatre for Policy Advocacy approach as a tool to showcase the challenges of scaling CSA?
  • Using theatre for climate mitigation/adaptation – A farmers’ testimony by Natalia Kalipeni, Farmer from Malawi

South-South collaboration: Key mechanism for buildingcapacity and scaling low-emissions technologies and practices

  • Perennial grain crops in the rotation for enhancing soil carbon sequestration and sustaining crop production ; Sikiru Yusuf Alasinrin ; University of Ilorin, Nigeria/ PhD student at Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Nigeria. Nigeria
  • Business solutions for soil restoration ; Duncan Gromko ; KOFAR Kenya Limited. Kenya
  • Increasing crop productivity and soil carbon storage on sandy soils: No soil left behind! Ngonidzashe Chirinda ; CIAT. Colombia
  • Carbon Sequestering and Sustainability of Rice-Wheat Cropping System of South Asia by resource conservation technologies of Climate Smart Agriculture ; Adnan Zahid Institute of Agricultural Sciences, University of the Punjab, Lahore. Pakistan
  • Improving Monitoring of Soil and Biomass Carbon Sequestration using Microwave Remote Sensing to enhance Climate Smart Agriculture ; Stella Ndirangu (see picture) ; Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise Ltd (ACRE Africa). Kenya

Commission on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification

Commission on Sustainable Agriculture Intensification. Over 30 hand-picked experts gathered in EAT Food Forum for the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).
Stockholm at the
  • WLE and EAT laid out the case for a commission that will speed up the process of agricultural transition.
  • The Commission will be tasked with bringing together the best knowledge and evidence to deliver a roadmap for changing agricultural systems, particularly in the developing world. 
  • Solutions need to ensure they nourish people and stimulate jobs and growth – but all while building environmental health and climate resilience.
One of the themes emerging from the group was to ensure the socio-political backdrop is part of any transformation. Change won’t come without solutions on those levels. Even where there is knowledge on how we can use fertilizer more efficiently, using this knowledge in the field is hard and that has a lot to do with current economic and political systems. So, much of the system is directed to producing more of the same and that has to change.

The experts agreed that the world really needs to speed up the process of transitioning to sustainable agricultural systems. But ways forward need to be based on firm political, economic and equity foundations.
“We can’t just produce more. We have to produce better. As we launched EAT Lancet (the first full scientific review of what constitutes a healthy diet from a sustainable food system), we focused on dietary shifts. But when we looked at cropland use, bluewater use, nitrogen and phosphorus application, we saw the biggest impact comes in how we produce the food. We need to bring food production within the safe environmental limits while paying attention to climate.”  Fabrice DeClerck, EAT Science Director, and a Commission lead. 
“We have the technologies. We’ve worked on how to scale solar irrigation in an environmentally and socially sustainable way. We’ve been looking at how to protect the most vulnerable farmers from floods using rapid assessment tools for insurance. We’ve developed low cost, rapid soil technologies so that farmers can assess their soil health and make better fertilizer decisions. So there are many solutions, but there is a real need building off the back of EAT Lancet to figure out how we are going to make the transition.” WLE Program Director Izabella Koziell.
WLE will be launching a Commission Secretariat in the coming months and are seeking partners, Commissioners and authors. The Commission will release a major international report, aimed at guiding global and national decision-makers as the world embarks on a vital transformation of our global food systems.

Scientific American. Our Food Systems Are in Crisis. It’s not just from climate change. By Izabella Koziell on October 15, 2019

Currently, so-called solutions are often heralded as the solution to climate change—from planting millions of trees or sequestering carbon in farms. But placing all bets on any one of these alone will not resolve the myriad challenges facing the agriculture sector and those whose livelihoods depend on it.
  1. The first step is to face the reality that agriculture must be intertwined with preserving and restoring natural resources such as water, land, ecosystems and biodiversity of plants and animals, a practice known as sustainable natural resource management (NRM).
  2. The second step is to actively manage the various trade-offs and synergies that exist between agricultural growth and the environment. Policies that promote diverse diets, for instance, can enrich soils and build biodiversity through the introduction of alternative crops or forgotten foods, but they may mean convincing people accustomed to other foods to eat them.
  3. Thirdly, encouraging and investing in future solutions that tackle these multiple complexities at once will help deliver more food in ways that nourish both people and the environment. This is not a zero-sum game.

  4. But we also know that overcoming barriers to political and institutional apathy, vested interests, up-front costs of innovations and insufficient investment in the right type research and development is a critical aspect of this effort also—and that change in these areas is difficult and slow.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Unpacking "Crops to End Hunger"

16 October 2019. The "Borlaug Dialogue" brings together over 1,200 people each year from more
than 65 countries to address cutting-edge issues related to global food security and nutrition. The three-day conference convenes a wide array of scientific experts, policy leaders, business executives and farmers and has been called "the premier conference in the world on global agriculture." Through the Borlaug Dialogue, the World Food Prize Foundation helps build alliances in the struggle against world hunger and malnutrition.

Extract of the programme: CGIAR at the World Food Prize

1- Launch of the “Crops to End Hunger” Initiative

The challenge of CGIAR is to apply modern scientific advances toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 2: “End hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.” In service of this mission, CGIAR introduced “Crops to End Hunger,” an initiative focused on increasing the effectiveness of CGIAR crop breeding programs in developing
more productive, resilient and nutritious varieties of staple crops in demand by smallholder farmers and consumers in the developing world.

The official launch of “Crops to End Hunger” introduced and outlined this new ambitious vision to meet the food, nutrition and income needs of both producers and consumers, respond to market demands, and provide resilience to environmental challenges arising from the climate crisis.
  • Simon Groot, Founder, East-West Seed, and 2019 World Food Prize Laureate
  • Rodger Voorhies (see picture), President, Global Growth and Opportunity, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
    “Unless we anchor into these adaptation changes of seed production and adaptatige varieties, smallholder farmers will be left behind." 
  • Neal Gutterson, Chief Technology Officer, Corteva Agriscience
  • Hon. Gerardine Mukeshimana, Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, Rwanda
  • Felister Wambugha Makini, Deputy Director General Crops – Crops Division, KALRO, Kenya
  • Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Executive Director, CGIAR System Organization

2- Unpacking “Crops to End Hunger”

    This CGIAR side-event in partnership with Corteva will open a dialogue with participants to learn Crops to End Hunger”, the new initiative that will be officially launched in the CGIAR symposium at the Borlaug Dialogue. Continuing the discussion, this official side-event will provide deeper context and underline why the modernization and focus on crop breeding is crucial to help feed the world’s growing population in these times of climate crisis.
    more about “
    • Dr. Geoff Graham Head of Plant Breeding Corteva Agriscience
    • Dr. Gary Atlin Senior Program Officer Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
    • Dr. Michael Quinn Director CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform (EiB)
    • Dr. Robert Bertram Chief Scientist, Bureau for Resilience and Food Security USAID
    • Dr. Felister Wambugha Makini Deputy Director General Crops – Crops Division KALRO, Kenya
      Digitalization and access to information with 80% of Kenyans having a mobile phone
    • Dr. Martin Kropff Director General International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)
    • Moderator Dr. Marco Ferroni Chair CGIAR System Management Board

    What is Crops to End Hunger?

    Crops to End Hunger (CtEH) is a CGIAR initiative to accelerate and modernize the development, delivery and widescale use of a steady stream of new crop varieties. These new varieties are developed to meet the food, nutrition and income needs of both producers and consumers, respond to market demands and provide resilience to pests, diseases and new environmental challenges arising from climate change.
    • This initiative aims to accelerate a transition in CGIAR crop breeding for human consumption to address very different challenges from those faced in the green revolution. 
    • 20 CGIAR crops, including cereals, legumes and root crops, have been chosen for this breeding initiative.
    • The first step towards modernization of breeding programs is to identify the gaps – the areas that need to be addressed or improved. The Breeding Program Assessment Tool (BPAT) has been developed for this purpose. The deployment of BPAT has been administered by the University of Queensland and has now been used to assess the breeding programs across CGIAR Research Centers. 
    • Examples of gaps include cross-CGIAR data management tools, access to low-cost genotyping, and sharing high-quality technical advice across programs and with partners.
    Related: Simon Groot, Founder, East-West Seed, and 2019 World Food Prize Laureate.
    Initially, Simon Groot struggled in the Philippines because “farmers are extememly reluctant to go in for seeds.” Switching from underperforming free seeds to hybrid seeds with higher yields has the initial burden of taking the financial investment into seeds

    Related: BBC Release date:10 October 2019. The man who fed the world - Duration: 4 minutes
    In 1970 the American agri-scientist, Norman Borlaug, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his pioneering work developing disease-resistant crops. At the time famine and malnutrition were claiming millions of lives across the world, particularly in South Asia. Dr Borlaug’s work meant countries like India were able to become self-sufficient. Critics said the new grain varieties were too reliant on chemical fertilisers, but it’s thought millions of lives were saved. Witness History hears from Professor Ronnie Coffman, student and friend of Norman Borlaug.

    Multi-stakeholder processes to develop capacities to innovate for food and nutrition security

    17 October 2019.  Rome. The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the foremost inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all. The Committee reports to the UN General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to FAO Conference.

    A CFS46 side event (SEO94) Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Systems for Family Farming: Multi-stakeholder processes to develop capacities to innovate for food and nutrition security showcased and discussed evidence from success stories, emphasizing the contributions of research and extension and rural advisory services among other innovation actors.

    It highlighted strategies for assessing and strengthening capacities to innovate and engage in multi-stakeholder processes for agricultural innovation. Innovation is the driving force that can transform food systems and lift family farmers out of poverty to help the world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

    Multi-stakeholder processes which revolve around family farmers, the major producers of the food we eat, are crucial for fostering innovation at the local, national and global levels. Farmers are at the center of the transformative change agenda for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically zero hunger and poverty alleviation.
    • Selvaraju Ramasamy, Head, Research and Extension Unit, FAO Overview of FAO’s role in strengthening agricultural innovation systems for family farmers 
    • Theo De Jager, President, World Farmers’ Organization Farmers in the global political processes on climate change and agriculture: The Climakers Initiative 
    • Judith Francis, Chair of the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) The TAP Common Framework on Capacity Development for Agriculture Innovation System 
    • Etienne Coyette, Policy officer for Agriculture and Climate change, DG DEVCO, European Commission EU approach in support to innovation and research for agricultural and rural transformation
    • Teresa Pinto-Correia, Coordinator, Horizon 2020 SALSA project, University of Évora Understanding the role of small farms in Europe and Africa: the transdisciplinary research approach of the SALSA project
    SALSA is an EU-funded, transdisciplinary, research project that works for a better understanding of how small farms and food businesses contribute to sustainable food and nutrition security (FNS).
    • Salsa gathers 16 European and African partners, including research institutes, universities and farmers' organizations, whose combined experience is key to unravel the complex relationships between small-scale farming and global food and nutrition security. 
    • Under the umbrella of the Horizon 2020 program, SALSA pioneers a novel integrated multi-method approach in 25 regions in Europe and 5 in Africa, using the most recent and innovative technologies, such as SENTINEL-2 satellite imagery, food systems mapping and participatory foresight analysis. 
    • By using a transdisciplinary approach and developing an in-depth analysis of food systems in the 30 reference regions, the project intends to evaluate the potential response of small farms and food businesses to expected increases in demand for food, feed and fibre.
    In addition, SALSA also aims to identify and assess the governance frameworks that influence the contribution of small-scale farming to food and nutrition security. Accordingly, SALSA is working on policy recommendations to enhance the contribution of small farms to sustainable food nutrition security and address innovation needs in order to maintain food system diversity and stability in the face of potential shocks. These recommendations are intended to guide decision-makers involved in national, regional and global debates on agricultural policy and research.

    The Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP): The TAP partnership, which now has over 45 members,
    was launched in Mexico in 2012 as a G20 Initiative.
    • Its goal is to strengthen agricultural innovation systems (AIS) in developing countries through coordinated multi-stakeholder interventions. 
    • Through collaboration among TAP’s network of experts, TAP has developed the Common Framework (CF) on Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (CDAIS). 
    • The CF has been tested in 8 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America through the CDAIS Project, funded by the European Commission and jointly implemented by AGRINATURA and FAO in partnership with national governments and organisations. 
    Valuable lessons have been learned. In particular, the CDAIS Project demonstrated that to successfully innovate together, stakeholders need technical as well as functional capacities, like the ability to link with others, negotiate, and engage in political processes. The project strengthened functional capacities of key actors of the AIS, emphasizing the important role of facilitation through national innovation facilitators who accompanied the entire capacity development process, starting from the identification of a common vision, problems to be overcome, and reflection and learning events as well as joint tracking of progress

    (SE020) on Farmers driven innovation to boost food systems transformation toward global sustainable development: Innovative ways of involving farmers in research and policy debates  

    Thursday, October 10, 2019

    8th African Grain Trade Summit

    3-5 October 2019. Mombasa, Kenya. 8th African Grain Trade Summit The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC) hosting the 8th edition of its African Grain Trade Summit (AGTS)

    The Summit is an internationally-recognised, high-level, policy conference that attracts high level policymakers, influential industry practitioners and leading researchers in the grain sector from across Africa and beyond for discussions about key grain industry issues and developing trends in grain trade on the continent. The Summit typically features high-level plenary discussions, side-events, exhibitions, B2B events and field excursions, to name a few.
    With its theme, “More Trade and Better Trade: Transforming Grain Trade Value Chains for a Prosperous Africa”, the 8th AGTS seeked to find solutions to the missing pieces of the grain trade puzzle and attempt to devise an action plan to transform grain trade value chains and to deliver more trade and better trade and ultimately deliver prosperity for Africa.
    CDKN is funding a knowledge-into-action project led by
    @EAGrainCouncil looking at mitigating the effects
    of climate change on grain quality and post harvest losses.
    Janet Ngombalu highlights the importance of working with
    both researchers and private sector at #ACRC2019

    Extract of the programme:
    Ministerial Roundtable: Opportunities in the Africa Continental Free Trade Area for More and Better Grain Trade Session 

    • What does the AfCFTA mean for the African Grain Sector? By Mr. David Luke – Coordinator, Africa Trade Policy Centre - United Nations Economic Commission for Africa 
    • Hon Peter Munya, MGH - Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Kenya
    • Hon. Christophe Bazivamo – Deputy Secretary General, EAC Secretariat 
    • Mr. Munir Thabit – Chief Executive Officer, Grain Industries Limited
    Climate-Proofing Grain Trade and Investment 
    • Climate Development and Knowledge Network Climate Risks in the Grain Sector Dr.
      Revocatus Twinomuhangi
      Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences, Makerere University 
    • Combating climate-induced aflatoxin mitigation through Aflasafe® Bhubhinder Singh (see picture)  Group Head of Marketing – A to Z Textile Mills Limited is best known for its AgroZ® brand of hermetic storage bags which is a key solution to post-harvest losses and preservation of grain quality. He spearheaded the launch of the AgroZ brand of products for Horticulture and Post-harvest management in 2015 in Tanzania and Kenya and spread to Zambia, Uganda, Mozambique and Sudan. He is now ready to launch in Rwanda, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Nigeria.
    Grain Industrialisation: Innovations for Improved Grain Handling, Storage and Value Addition for Increased Grain Trade and Investment 
    • Policy Options for Improving the Business Environment for Value Addition in Eastern and Southern Africa Lulama Traub Technical Chairperson, Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes 
    • Extrusion Technologies for Grain Value Addition Prof. L.J. Grobler School for Mechanical Engineering, Northwest University and Director, CFAM Technologies Pty Ltd 
    • Ozone Treatment for Mycotoxin Control in Bulk Grain Storage Peer Hansen  (see video)   iGrain International 
    • Enhancing Animal Feed Value Chains to Improve Animal Productivity Brenda Aluda Senior Technical Advisor USAID Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Systems Activity

    The importance of biodiversity in agriculture, markets and diets.

    Article  by GRAIN on the importance of biodiversity in agriculture, markets and diets.
    Summary of emerging critiques of biofortified crops:
    • The main underlying problem with biofortified crops is the belief that health can be reduced to a few nutrients. Malnutrition cannot be isolated from poverty and inequality. Since biofortification doesn’t address the root causes of poverty and malnutrition, it risks blindly reinforcing it.
    • The second major problem is the belief that adding nutrients to a few staple crops that are supposedly most accessible to the poor is better than promoting a diet rich in diverse foods. This strategy promotes dangerous farming practices like monocultures and monotonous diets.
    • Biofortified crops are part of a Western and white male-dominated approach to what food and agriculture should look like: capitalist markets serviced by formal (and often corporate sponsored) scientific research.
    • Women and children suffer many forms of discrimination and malnutrition, but they should not be used as pretext for pushing a technological fix that risks deepening social injustices. There is a lack of meaningful and inclusive consultation and dialogue with women prior to these research projects and their evaluation.
    • Biofortified crops are a top-down solution. They are not aimed at strengthening local farming and food systems, but replacing them with supposedly superior crops.
    • 6. While many biofortification programmes are presented as using ordinary breeding techniques, they are a trojan horse for bringing in GMOs. Scientists use a number of biotechnology tools to pack nutrients into staple foods including transgenesis, mutagenesis and genome editing. These serve to create patented GMOs which pose significant threats to food sovereignty.
    • Biofortified beans on sale in Rwanda
       (Photo: Harvestplus)
    • 7. The role of agribusiness and food corporations like PepsiCo, Nestlé, Bayer and DuPont in promoting biofortification is worrisome. These companies are part of an industrial food system based on monocultures that destroy biodiverse farming systems and processed foods that are a major cause of global malnutrition and diet-related disease.
    ... approaches to address hunger and malnutrition should be based on the five following principles:
    1. Sharing information and education about healthy diets and living, with an emphasis on women and gender equality;
    2. Strengthening women's leadership in food policy decision-making and food systems research;
    3. Promoting diversity in farming and in diets, not monocultures or single foods. This includes valuing local plants and animals, food cultures, seeds and local knowledge that sustain health and keep communities strong;
    4. Lowering the cost and increasing the availability of fruits and vegetables in part by redirecting subsidies and other public funds currently promoting industrial commodities and processed foods; and
    5. Indigenous greens like “quelites” in Mexico
    6. Resisting the neoliberal takeover of food and agriculture that treats food and crops as commodities and patentable intellectual property to facilitate corporate profits. Addressing the root causes of poverty and hunger requires keeping food and agriculture under public and community control.

    Africa Climate Risks Conference (ACRC)

    7 - 9 October 2019. Addis Abeba. The African Climate Risks Conference (ACRC) is an open platform for sharing the latest African climate research among researchers, policy makers, practitioners and development partners. The conference was organised by Future Climate for Africa (FCFA) with funding from UKAid and NERC.

    @future_climate ; @acrc2019 ; #acrc2019

    The ACRC offered an opportunity to promote the uptake of new data, tools and knowledge; brokering new research collaborations and more targeted donor support. It also stimulated increased contribution of African experts to, and improve coverage of Africa, in the IPCC assessment reports; and bring together development partners to deliberate on how to improve programming to support African-led climate research and service priorities.

    • Disseminate results and share insights from new and on-going climate science and adaptation research in Africa;
    • Provide a forum to co-identify common priorities in the African climate research for development through African-led collective discussions;
    • Contribute to efforts to address barriers to more effective use of climate information to ensure greater impact and legacy of on-going research programmes by promoting the uptake of new data, tools and knowledge within planning and decision-making processes; and
    • Link researchers and the diversity of other actors important for moving research into policy and practice: decision-makers, national meteorological agencies, knowledge brokers, donors, NGOs, etc
    07/10 Co-production of knowledge between science, business, policy, practice and local communities
    • Alice McClure Towards theorising rich learning cultures of transdisciplinary research (TDR)
    • Bruce Currie-Alder Building climate resilience in Africa & Asia: lessons on membership, organization and collaboration from CARIAA on multi-consortia research programme
    • Emmanuel Nyadzi Towards Weather and Climate Services that Integrate Indigenous and Scientific Forecast to Improve Forecast Reliability and Acceptability in Ghana
    • Idowu Kunlere Combatting Climate Change in Africa by Strengthening Public Participation: Making Policy Count by Making Every Voice Count
    • Inga Menke ISIpedia, the open-access climate impacts encyclopedia: The contribution of stakeholder-scientistdialogue to the development of user friendly climate services
    • Neha Mittal Tailoring climate information for African tea
    • Richard Graham Forecasts to services: building global regional-national partnerships to strengthen seasonal forecasts and service coproduction for the Greater Horn of Africa
    • Richard Jones Climate Risk Narratives: An iterative reflective co-production process for climate knowledge development and integration
    • Oluwatoyin Adejonwo-Osho Access to family planning as a pathway to environmental sustainability and as a climate change adaptation tool in Africa
    Lead authors of the @IPCC_CH Special Reports
    on Land and Ocean share valuable insight
    with journalists at @cdknetwork
    09/10 Climate services initiatives in Africa
    • Mr Asrat Yirgu Senato - Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ethiopia 
    • Mr Zachary Atheru - Programme Manger, IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) 
    • Dr Richard Graham - UK Met Office 
    • Ms Afroza Mahzabeen - Climate and Resilience Coordinator, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)- Norwegian Capacity (NORCAP) 
    • Dr Kanta Kumari Rigaud - Lead Environmental Specialist, the World Bank 
    • Ms Chihenyo Kangara - Regional Climate Change and Resilience Specialist, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) 
    • Ms Daisy Mukarakate - Regional Climate Advisor, United Nations Development Programme
    Suzanne Carter from WISER Transform
    introduces the Manual on Co-production
    in African Weather and Climate Services,
    officially launched the week before
    in a Co-Production Workshop
    A newly launched manual (2019, 136 pages) by WISER (Weather and Climate Information Services in Africa) and Future Climate for Africa supports producers of climate services to work more effectively with the users of their information – for more climate-resilient development.

    The key to a co-production approach is bringing together the
    producers of weather and climate information with those who use the information to make decisions, often using intermediaries to help connect these actors, in order to solve a problem where weather and climate information is relevant. A number of donors are encouraging the use of co-production to drive further improvements in weather and climate services.

    The manual outlines six building blocks in the co-production process. These building blocks do not need to be followed sequentially. Co-production can be used for different purposes. As a result, co-production can be used in all, or some, building blocks depending on the problem to be addressed. Most research projects will involve users in the identification of research questions but not always in the co-development of solutions step, for example.

    The manual identifies ten principles for good co-production that have been drawn together from learning from a number of recent programmes including WISER: Weather and Climate Services for Africa, BRACED: Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters and FCFA: Future Climate for Africa.

    Sunday, October 6, 2019

    European Research and Innovation Days

    25 September 2019. Horizon Europe Mission on Soil health and food. This policy conference brought together high-level speakers to debate and shape the future research and innovation landscape.

    Discussion about a Mission on Soil Health and Food. 

    The debate included soil management in agriculture and forestry for food and nutrition security, and the delivery of non-food products and public goods; soil management beyond agriculture and forestry; restoration and remediation of soils, brownfields, soil sealing; potential of soils and soil management practices for climate mitigation and adaptation; etc.

    Watch video recording


    Transforming of Food Systems for People, Planet and Climate

    Our food systems are unsustainable. How can they be urgently transformed to simultaneously address multiple-objectives - climate, environment, safety, nutrition for health, and inclusion? A systemic approach to R&I will provide new opportunities and solutions, and support evidence-based policy making and implementation.

    Watch video recording

    Professor Mazzucato’s first report for Commissioner Moedas, called ‘Mission-Oriented Research and Innovation in the European Union’ set out the main characteristics of mission-oriented research and innovation:
    • Bold, inspirational, with wide societal relevance;
    • Targeted, measurable, and time-bound;
    • Ambitious, but realistic R&I actions;
    • Cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and cross-actor innovation;
    • Drive multiple, bottom-up solutions.
    Professor Mariana Mazzucato currently holds the Chair in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL). She is founder and director of UCL’s new Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. Her research covers the relationship between financial markets, innovation and economic growth.

    Mission-oriented policies can be defined as systemic public policies that draw on frontier knowledge to attain specific goals or “big science deployed to meet big problems” 7 . Missions provide a solution, an opportunity, and an approach to address the numerous challenges that people face in their daily lives. 

    4 July 2019. Commission launches work on major research and innovation missions for cancer, climate, oceans and soil

    The Commission is establishing five ‘mission boards’. Their first deliverable will be to propose concrete targets and timelines for each mission by the end of 2019. They will be chaired by the following outstanding individuals who will contribute with their experience, authority and credibility:
    1. Ms Connie Hedegaard, former European Commissioner for Climate Action, for the mission on ‘Adaptation to Climate Change including Societal Transformation’
    2. Professor Harald zur Hausen, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, for the mission on ‘Cancer’
    3. Mr Pascal Lamy, former Trade Commissioner and Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, for the mission on ‘Healthy Oceans, Seas, Coastal and Inland Waters’
    4. Professor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, former Mayor of Warsaw, for the mission on ‘Climate-Neutral and Smart Cities’
    5. Mr Cees Veerman, former Dutch Agriculture Minister, for the mission on ‘Soil Health and Food’.
    Professor Mariana Mazzucato, Special Advisor for Mission Driven Science and Innovation to Commissioner Moedas, presented a new report: Governing Missions in the European Union’, which sets out what it takes to make missions a success.