Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Kenya-Nigeria Agribusiness Forum

Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, receiving a gift from the officials
of Kenyan National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).
11 September 2014. Nairobi, Kenya. Kenya-Nigeria Agribusiness Forum.

The partnership has a set of objectives that include:

  1. fixing agricultural value chains, 
  2. ensuring sustainable supplies, 
  3. affordable financing, 
  4. instituting good agricultural practice and certification of programmes with international recognition. 

Nigeria's minister of agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina, who spoke at the launch of the Kenya-Nigeria Agribusiness Forum and signing of MoU on the bilateral trade and business relationship, explained that;
"Where you are going to have the greatest impact is to make agriculture a business everywhere in Africa. Whether in seeds, ferriliser, storage, processing or adding value, everything about agriculture is business. "That is why I don't understand how Africa will be spending $35 billion every year importing what it produces. It should be producing a lot more. Africa has no business importing food. Africa should be a dominant player in global food and agricultural market. We have land and water, we have cheap labour. And so, we should be dominant. We shouldn't be spending $35 billion a year importing what we produce. Because if we do that, we export jobs, we decimate our own rural economy, we fast-track the whole process of rural-urban migration and we have congested cities. 
Kenya's Minister of Agriculture, Felix Koskei, stated that the dominance of primary production and
marketing in crude forms are common to Nigeria and Kenya. These translate to low prices, few job opportunities and low income for farmers. Changing these will increase the income to our farmers.

Chairman of Kenya-Nigeria Joint Business Council, Sani Dangote, who was at the launch said Nigeria has woken up to transform agriculture from just primary production, adding that the Nigerian Agribusiness Group is a united front to address the issues of agriculture in Nigeria to make it private sector-driven.

Nestlé, Global Good partner to help East Africa small dairy farmers

22 September 2014. New York. Nestlé and Global Good, a collaboration between Bill Gates and Intellectual Ventures, have announced Clinton Global Initiative Commitments to Action as part of a two-year partnership to improve the productivity and lives of smallholder dairy farmers in East Africa.

The two-fold commitments focus on evaluating and devising ways to increase agricultural productivity of smallholder dairy farmers through technology innovation and on expanding the use of a specially designed milk container, known as 'Mazzi', by smallholders to maximize the quality and quantity of milk they sell.

The commitments were announced in New York at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2014 Annual Meeting. Established by President Bill Clinton, CGI, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

" We are very pleased to have this opportunity to work with Global Good. It is another important step in deepening Nestlé's dairy work in East Africa to help smallholders increase milk production and their incomes" Hans Joehr, Nestlé's Head of Agriculture

"But unlike the efficient processing and supply chains common in many developed countries, when these rural farmers collect and transport their cows' milk from the farm to local collection centers or chilling stations, all too often the milk is spilled or spoiled, at a significant loss for the farmer," said Maurizio Vecchione, Senior Vice President of Global Good and Research at Intellectual Ventures.

Global Good seeks to invent and deploy commercially viable technology that improves lives in developing countries. Mazzi was developed by Global Good, in conjunction with field testing partners in Heifer International's East Africa Dairy Development program, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kenya Dairy Board, and SNV Ethiopia and Ashut Engineers Limited in Kenya.
  1. As part of the current commitments, Nestlé and Global Good will undertake field evaluation work to identify deficiencies and bottlenecks in the rural dairy value chain for smallholder farmers.
  2. This field work is expected to take place in Uganda or Kenya, where smallholders account for most of the dairy farming. A decision is expected in coming weeks about where exactly the work will take place.
  3. The field evaluation work is set to start in November and aims to identify areas where technical innovation can be applied to improve the efficiency, quality, health, nutrition and sustainability of smallholder dairy farming.

Specially designed by smallholders to maximize the quality and quantity of milk they sell
  • Nestlé’s second commitment is to purchase at least 3,000 Mazzi containers to help simplify the milk collection and transport process and reduce milk spoilage and spillage for farmers.
  • Derived from “maziwa,” the Kiswahili word for milk, Mazzi is a durable food-grade plastic container designed with a wide mouth that better enables farmers to milk using both hands. Mazzi’s detachable black funnel helps to identify signs of a cow’s mastitis (udder infection). Its secure and durable lid prevents spills and allows for easy transportation by hand, bicycle or draft animal from the farm to local collection centers or chilling stations.
  • Once emptied, Mazzi’s fully-accessible and smooth interior surface also makes it much easier to clean, and with much less water than required than the milk collection buckets and repurposed jerry cans so widely used by farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
21-24 September 2014. New York, NY. Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

Side event: How can smallholder farmers and fishers increase their economic opportunities?

Over 80 percent of the food consumed in the developing world comes from 500 million smallholder farmers and 60 percent of the global fish catch is hauled by smallholder fishers. However, while smallholder farmers and fishers play a major role in feeding the world, they sometimes struggle to feed their own families and communities. Lack of tools, resources and opportunities prohibits smallholder farmers and fishers from scaling their production and increasing their income. In this session, CGI members will reimagine how to:

  • support farmers and fishers in scaling their production while protecting forests and oceans
  • increase access to financing opportunities, technical assistance, and business skills to achieve higher market value for smallholders’ yields
  • invest in women, who are the majority in the agricultural and fishery labor force, to close the gender-based gap and improve livelihoods
REMARKS:Mark Gunton, Chief Executive Officer, Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership

MODERATOR:Jocelyn Wyatt, Co-Lead and Executive Director,

PARTICIPANTS:María José González, Executive Director, Mesoamerican Reef Fund
Howard-Yana Shapiro, Chief Agricultural Officer, Mars, Incorporated; Senior Fellow, Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis; Distinguished Fellow, World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, Mars, Incorporated.

Announcement: World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation 2015

2-4 September 2015, Manchester, UK. The World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation will be organised by Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), and the Research and Transfer Centre “Applications of Life Sciences” of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany), in cooperation with the International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP) and the United Nations University initiative “Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development” (RCE).

This symposium will focus on “innovative approaches to implement climate change adaptation”, and will contribute to the further development of this fast-growing field. A set of presentations, divided into six main themes will be organised, distributed over parallel sessions dealing with some of the key issues of strategic value in the field of climate change adaptation. These are:
  1. Session 1: Technological approaches to Climate Change Adaptation
  2. Session 2: Implementing Climate Change Adaptation in Communities, Cities, Countries and via Outreach Programmes
  3. Session 3: Funding mechanisms and financing of Climate Change Adaptation
  4. Session 4: Climate Change Adaptation, Resilience and Hazards (including floods)
  5. Session 5: Information, Communication, Education and Training on Climate Change
  6. Session 6: Climate Change and Health
The Symposium will be of special interest to researchers, government agencies, NGOs and companies engaged in the field of climate change adaptation, as well as development and aid agencies funding climate change adaptation process in developing countries. The deadline for abstracts is 20th December 2014. Full papers are due by 30th March 2015.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance Side Event

22 September 2014. New York, United States. The Africa Union Commission, the NEPAD Agency and Partner International NGOs had a special Side Event on the AU-NEPAD Agriculture Climate Change Programme and the transformative AU-NEPAD-iNGO CSA Alliance on the eve of the 2014 UN Climate Summit.

The side event facilitated interactions and sharing on Africa’s efforts, initiatives and strategies to scale-up CSA, focusing on three aspects, namely:
  • the Africa CSA Alliance as an emerging, innovative and unique partnership between Africa’s Continental Development Agency and iNGOs with a shared goal to catalyze scaling up of CSA in Africa 
  • An Africa-specific perspective and interpretation of CSA, which brings “people issues”, i.e. livelihoods and prosperity, as well resilience, to the core of CSA 
  • Partnership opportunities including related principles and modalities for expended support to result-based efforts to scale-up CSA within the CAADP framework 
Additional to lead speakers including Ghana ex-President and UNSG Envoy on Climate Change, Mr John Kufuor; NEPAD Agency CEA, Dr Ibrahim A. Mayaki and H.E. Commissioner, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace; and a Panel of Prominent Leaders and Practitioners, the Side Event provided adequate time for open plenary debate.

Experience in climate services is already out there—the governments of India and Mali have been delivering weather and climate advisory services to their farmers for several decades. To learn from these experiences, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) surveyed these national programs and other innovative climate services initiatives across Africa and Asia. A new CCAFS report details the findings.


Join CCAFS and partners for key Climate-Smart Agriculture events at Climate Week NYC

The Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance (ACSAA) is a unique and innovative partnership led by the NEPAD Agency and five international NGOs (Catholic Relief ServicesConcern WorldwideCAREWorld VisionOxfam) with technical support from a number of organizations including the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), FARAFAO and FANRPAN.

As a research body, CCAFS role will be to:
  • provide Africa with a perspective of CSA including determining climate specific risks and vulnerability; 
  • help determine and validate the Africa-specific CSA tool box including modalities and parameters to monitor/measure adoption and sustained practice; 
  • provide technical validation of the 25 million farm household target; conduct research to bring evidence-based understanding of both technical and political-economy issues to unblock accelerated adoption and sustained widespread practicing of CSA and lastly
  • undertake and support analytical pieces on future scenarios to inform today’s policy decisions and programme interventions (or lack of it). 
All ACSAA will work in partnership to design and implements programmes that can stimulate adoption of promising CSA practices and drive agricultural policy reform.

Ethiopia, Zambia and Niger have been identified as the three most appropriate African countries for early scaling-up proposals.
  • Alliance members are currently developing high-level concepts for each country. 
  • Country sub-committees will be formed, including as far as possible all major stakeholders working in each country. 
  • These sub-committees will refine concepts to ensure they are contextually appropriate and will develop detailed proposals.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition

18-19 September 2014. Rome.  The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) organized this symposium to highlight existing practices in agroecology and exchange information on the latest research and science in the field. 
The Symposium:
  • provided a forum for taking stock of the current state of science and practices of Agroecology, as well as for initiatives underway around the world and thus contribute to the development of an international framework for research on Agroecology, with consideration of economic, social and environmental aspects in developed and developing countries;
  • facilitated exchange of information on agro-ecology activities in the context of the FAO Strategic Framework;
  • produced scientific proceedings and other information material for web sharing (e.g. agroecological practices and video interviews).
This was an occasion for agroecological initiatives from around the world to publically display their work to a large audience of scientists, civil society members, members of the private sector and FAO staff during the two-day long symposium.

Agenda [PDF]

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Africa Agriculture Status Report 2014

2 September 2014. Addis Abeba. A comprehensive report on the status of agriculture on the African continent was launched 2nd September on the side-line of the 2014 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF)

H.E former President of Ghana John Kufuor while releasing the report reiterated that issues of climate change are not new to African farmers since they have been with us from the 1980s however he noted that the report is significant as it has given clear directions for the needed actors to combat it in good time.
He said, “The time to act is now. The world must address the root causes of climate change or its effects may become irreversible – and in fact we may already be past that particular tipping point. But we can still act to mitigate the severity of longer-term impacts – as governments, industries, financiers, civil society organizations, and simply as individuals – to decrease our carbon footprints and harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and to invest in promising solutions.”
The Africa Agriculture Status Report 2014 : Climate Change and Smallholder Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa
218 pages

As the second in the series of the African Agriculture Status Report, this volume seeks to provide an in-depth and comprehensive analysis of emerging issues and challenges faced by African smallholder farmers, and allow scholars and professionals to contribute practical and evidence-based solutions. 

The Report documents the effects of climate change on smallholders in Africa, the ongoing adaptation by farmers and livestock keepers, constraints to adoption of climate-smart technologies, and highlights areas where investments in African agriculture have the potential to be most productive.

Fortunately, as this publication attests, there are many adaptation and mitigation options at our disposal. We need to be moving towards the widespread adoption of 'climate-smart' agricultural technologies and practices - not just in Africa, but globally. If we fail to do so, we risk greater food insecurity, higher food prices and rising poverty, as well as continued ecosystem degradation.

22 September 2014. New York. Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance Side Event.

  • This High Level Side Event will consist in defining Climate Smart Agriculture from an African perspective & describing the new partnership and its foreseen practical achievements. 
  • Lead speakers will include: Mr. John Kufuor, former President of Ghana & UNSG Special Envoy on Climate Change; H.E. Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy & Agriculture; and Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, NEPAD Agency CEO. Exposés will be followed by a panel discussion and an open debate.
  • The NEPAD-iNGO CSA Alliance is a unique and innovative partnership between the NEPAD Agency, the international NGOs, on one side, and national level state and non-state players on the other, to leverage each other’s strengths to stimulate and support grassroot capacity and efforts to scale-up CSA in Africa.
  • The NGOs consortium includes: CRS, Concern, CARE, World Vision, Oxfam; and benefit from the technical support of CCAFS, FARA, FAO, and FARNPAN
24 September 2014.
New York. The Alliance will hold its inaugural meeting. The meeting brings together Alliance partners, to share information and guide its inception year.

There will be a live webcast on 24 September from 15:00- 18:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time). 

High Level Segment
3:00- 4:15 pm Welcoming remarks
  • Ms Sharon Dijksma, Minister for Agriculture, the Netherlands
  • Dr Cao Duc Phat, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam 
  • Mr Tom Vilsack Secretary of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture 
  • Dr José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, FAO / Ms Maria-Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, Coordinator, Natural Resources, FAO
  • Dr Juergen Voegele, Senior Director of the World Bank’s Agriculture Global Practice 
  • Dr Frank Rijsberman, Chief Executive Officer, CGIAR
Reactions from High Level representatives
4:15-5:00 pm - “Voices from all stakeholders ” Interactive panel dialogue
The Way Forward
5:00 – 5:20 pm Inception Year - Way Forward
  • Presenting the Road Map 
  • Outlining arrangements 
  • Formalizing the action groups
5:20-5:40 pm Next Steps, Initiatives and Actions in support of the Alliance
  • Developing Program of Work for Inception Year
  • Planning of next meeting and evolutionary elements

Inter-Agency Donor Group on pro-poor livestock research and development

16-18th September 2014, BMGF HQ, Seattle, US. Impact of donor investments in dairy research and development on poverty reduction and food security. Evaluating the evidence and identifying funding opportunities and dairy development indicators.

Key rural development donors that support livestock development are engaged in the Inter-Agency Donor Group on pro-poor livestock research and development (IADG). Its current focus is on the promotion of public-private partnerships and bringing on board commercial companies involved in livestock value chains and to identify those issues that might encourage greater collaboration and partnership between the public and private sector institutions involved in livestock development.

The meeting in Seattle focuses on following subject:
  1. Session 1: The current state of smallholder dairy development (success stories, challenges, opportunities). Outputs: Sum up lessons learned on investments in smallholder and pastoralist dairy development: what worked, what didn’t work, what next?
  2. Session 2: Technical developments in research of relevance to smallholder dairy systems and beneficiaries. Outputs: Identification of tested technologies, innovations and approaches which have proven relevance to smallholder dairy producers - for promotion, further testing
  3. Session 3: Public Private Partnerships in dairy development. Outputs: Update guidance document for donors on how to engage the private sector in livestock focused Public-Private Partnerships
  4. Session 4. Design of a set of core design principles and indicators for resilient, competitive and inclusive dairy market development. Outputs: Through consideration of outputs from Sessions 1,2,3 – in breakout sessions and Plenary, compile core set of principles and indicators for donor investments in small-holder dairying 
  5. Session 5 : Donor investments in livestock research and development. Outputs: Mechanisms to encourage greater participation of donors/funders in programme mapping to ensure information remains current/relevant.
Book of Abstracts

The current state of smallholder dairy development (success stories, challenges, opportunities)
Technical developments in research of relevance to smallholder dairy systems and beneficiaries
Public Private Partnerships in dairy development
Design of a set of core principles and indicators for resilient, competitive and inclusive dairy market development
Related: Published on 21 Aug 2014 Jorgen Henriksen (Henriksen Advice) n the state of meat production and dairy development projects.

 Jim Yazman (USAID) on the state of meat production and dairy development projects.

Sunday, September 14, 2014



Africa Singapore Business Forum

27 - 28 August.2014.  Singapore. Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF 2014) addressed critical issues and identify opportunities for the strategic growth of both regions through presentations, panel discussions, and numerous networking opportunities.

International Enterprise (IE) Singapore is the government agency driving Singapore's external economy. In In Africa, IE has two offices, in Accra (Ghana) and Johannesburg (South Africa). These overseas centres help to build mutual mindshare and facilitate greater trade and investment cooperation between Singapore and Africa.

The third panel adressed agri-business.

Africa Food Security Conference

9 - 10 September 2014. AFSC 2014 was held under the timely theme “Ensuring Sustainable Food Security in Africa Old Challenges – New Solutions.

Building on the success of the inaugural, AFSC 2014 addressed the topical issues of food availability, accessibility, stability and utilization. Africa is entering an unprecedented period of economic growth underpinned by a burgeoning population development and execution of a core food security strategy is essential to providing a sustainable growth platform.  Poverty, climate change, food price hikes, water scarcity, land rights, fairer agricultural policies – all of these issues and more will be addressed to ensure that infinitely better management of natural and financial resources and more strategic investment are implemented.

Sustainable Agriculture for Food, Energy and Industry in Regional and Global Context

3-6 September, 2014. Hurup Thy, Denmark. 6th International Conference on Sustainable Agriculture for Food, Energy and Industry in Regional and Global Context. Organized by Nordic Folkecenter for Renewable Energy and the International Council for Sustainable Architecture -in collaboration with EUROSOLAR Denmark, IFEED, Hokkaido University, York University and others.

ICSA has organized five conferences on sustainable agriculture for food, energy and industry; two in Germany, and one each in China, Canada and Japan. The 6th International Conference was organized with following objectives:

  1. To provide an international forum for scientists, farmers, consumers, industrial, material and energy producers in the field of agriculture and energy to exchange information and achievements in research, technology, education and policy.
  2. To identify long term challenges in agriculture to cater to food, energy and industry sectors and formulation of strategies to achieve the UN millennium goal of reducing hunger.
  3. To harness and promote the international partnership for sustainable agriculture.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Summer course Modern Breeding Techniques of Cassava

Logo UGent (OPGELET: gebruikt in Google Search) Logo FBW geel logo ipbo Logo VLIR-UOS VIB logo Logo Ilvo

8 - 19 September 2014
. The Institute of Plant Biotechnology Outreach (IPBO – VIB/Ghent University) organized an advanced course "Modern Breeding techniques of Cassava" at Ghent University (Belgium) from

This course is aimed at training students and scientists from the public and industrial sector, who are involved in local breeding programs of cassava plants. During this two week course the major topics in the field of modern breeding, including the latest breeding techniques using molecular analyses as a tool were discussed. The course covered different kinds of markers and their use in breeding programs for fingerprinting, mapping of traits and QTL’s, incrossing of specific genes (wild or transgene into cultivars) and quality assessment. The challenges to commercialize ‘elite transgenic events’ as well as legal issues related to plant breeding, such as breeders rights, were discussed. In addition, a session was organized on Cassava value chains to link advances in plant breeding with crop improvement objectives that are relevant for socio-economic impact.

The program also included a day of practical exercises on molecular markers to familiarize participants with the associated lab techniques as well as excursions to crop processing plants.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The value of climate information for adaptation, risk reduction and resilience in Africa

Facing Uncertainty: the value of climate information for adaptation, risk reduction and resilience in Africa
Added to the Using Climate Information Theme by Fiona Percy from CARE

Climate change is not only a concern for the future. Ongoing and visible changes in temperature and rainfall patterns and increased frequency, severity and unpredictability of extremes in weather and climate are already having devastating impacts on productivity, economies and above all, on the livelihoods of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable. Added to these, longer term, slow onset impacts from rising temperatures and sea levels threaten development and economic growth at local,...

Monday, September 8, 2014

African Green Revolution Forum 2014

1 - 4 September 2014. Addis Abeba. The African Green Revolution Forum focused on delivering agriculture-led economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. It was looking to build on an African Union declaration to double food productivity and halve poverty by 2025. More than 1,000 delegates, including heads of state, business leaders and scientists, attended the conference.

The AGRF is the most significant Africa-wide gathering of agriculture experts, investors and farmers since the African Union issued its Malabo Declaration forcing strident acceleration of agricultural growth.

In addition the meeting addressed critical issues for Africa’s food security: increasing food productivity as climate change presents more challenging growing conditions; promoting agricultural investment that generates benefits at all economic levels; increasing financing for agricultural development; and support for modernizing commodity markets and removing barriers to intra-regional trade. A pertinent factor omitted is the dire need for job creation within the agricultural sector across the continent.
“Africa’s smallholder farmers produce the vast majority of food grown on the continent and they are the backbone of a sector that employs more than 65 percent of all Africans,” said Strive Masiyiwa, chairman of AGRA. “So when businesses, governments, researchers and farmers work together to strengthen our food production and distribution systems, they are seeking commercial success that will be shared across African society – and particularly for the poorest among us.”

Community Based Adaptation and Resilience in East and Southern Africa's Drylands

1 - 4 September 4, 2014. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. CARE Ethiopia hosted an event focusing on community-based adaptation and resilience, event together with CARE’s Adaptation Learning Programme (ALP), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE).

The conference will explored:
  1. What is the added value that CBA practical experience brings to achieving resilience in dryland communities? 
  2. ow are climate change and related responses exacerbating the entrenched drivers of differential vulnerability among communities living in drylands? What are the barriers and drivers to change? 
  3. What would an integrated and coherent approach to achieving resilience in vulnerable dryland communities look like?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Intensive training on mycotoxin analysis 2014

28 August – 10 September 2014. Gent, Belgium. The Laboratory of Food Analysis of the university of Ghent held a Short Training Initiative “Intensive training on mycotoxin and aflatoxin analysis”.

This training session aims teaching the trainees the fundamentals of the most important analytical methodologies (ELISA, HPLC, LC-MS/MS,…) for mycotoxin analysis in food and feed. Moreover, the awareness on the mycotoxin problem in developing countries is enhanced by providing the trainees with theoretical lessons given by different experts on the several aspects of the mycotoxin issue.

Theoretical lessons:
  • Mycotoxin management and risk assessment
  • Legislation
  • Recent advances in mycotoxin analysis
  • Good agricultural practices for the reduction of mycotoxins
  • Myctoxins and animal health
  • The impact of food processing on mycotoxin reduction
Practical lab work:
  • Screening techniques for the detection of mycotoxins
  • The use of HPLC-UV-FLD for mycotoxin analysis
  • Multi-mycotoxin analysis in cereals by LC-MS/MS

26-29 August 2014. Ljubljana, Slovenia. 14th congress of the European Association of Agricultural Economists (EAAE).

Kenyan perceptions of aflatoxins: An analysis of raw milk consumption Presentation by Maria Walke, Nadhem Mtimet, Derek Baker, Johanna Lindahl, Monika Hartmann and Delia Grace.

3-5 September 2014. Nairobi, Kenya. Presentation by Johanna Lindahl and Delia Grace at the 9th biennial scientific conference and exhibition of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Nairobi.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

How the Bank Learns

Published on 1 Aug 2014
The "Learning and Results in World Bank Operations" evaluation was launched at the World Bank HQ in Washington, D.C. in July 2014.

The blog Wanted: A New Approach to Assessing Learning and Results provides a snapshot of some of the findings and what is going to happen in the second phase.

During an event about the first phase of the evaluation on Learning and Results, WB had panelists asking tough questions about how the World Bank can succeed in sharing knowledge and effectively learn through lending.

The discussion covered a lot of ground, which centered around five points:
  1. People are central. The Task Team Leaders who care about learning do so for their clients. They want clients to get the best possible outcomes and will go the extra mile for that. They have an ability to engage with stakeholders in the Bank and in client countries and internalize learning as they do. And they succeed in spite of “the system.” So, is it just a matter of getting the right people on board? Certainly, but the reality is that very few people are leaders in this way, and even their life can be easier, more efficient, and more fun if they don’t have to fight “the system.”
  2. The system as the beast. All of us who work in large organizations – public and private alike – know what it means when bureaucracy becomes an end unto itself. Things are done because “the system” requires them to be done. They either have nothing to do with the client service, or we have long forgotten the reasons for doing these things. We all resent and struggle with the rigidities, and yet we are all part of “the system” and sustain it. Panelists and the audience alike were in tune on this issue: the formality and inflexibility of the system hasgot to go.
  3. Systemic learning, nonetheless. The discussion brought up many calls for getting to a better place where learning is not dependent on chance, but where good practice is handed from one person to another, and shared in a much larger circle than happens now. Ideas included everything from mentoring to short write-ups of success and failure stories, and “blind” peer reviews.
  4. Leaders to the fore. Above all, the evaluation and the audience called on management to lead by example. What should that look like? Simple things like asking during review meetings: what have we learned from the past, have we tried this before, what are some of the mistakes we should avoid? Living the commitment to learning will be essential to becoming the Solutions Bank Group.
  5. Learning to learn. And finally, having the space and time to learn, be conscious of what it takes to learn and invest in those incentives and activities. The second phase of our evaluation is coming and will have even more information and recommendations on how the Bank Group can do a better job of learning.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Rice Innovations Fair of Scalable Technologies

1-2 September 2014. Cotonou, Benin. Rice Innovations Fair of Scalable Technologies

1. Create visibility of research products of AfricaRice & partners for the development sector.
2. Explore with NGO’s, donors, private and public organizations scalable technologies and define
dissemination pathways.

The first day of the event focused on the presentation of a set of eleven technologies, followed by discussions to define dissemination pathways for each innovation.
  1. Scalable technologies developed by AfricaRice and partners (rapid presentation):
  2. Smart‐valleys – a participatory and low‐cost development approach
  3. Inland valley atlas – assessing the potential for development
  4. RiceAdvice – localized farmer advice for nutrient management
  5. Multi‐stakeholder platforms – improving farmers’ access to the value chain
  6. Powertillers – local adaptation to support multiple use
  7. Rice Varieties – ARICA, NERICA and others – new lines of rice varieties
  8. Mechanical weeders – reducing labour in rice production
  9. GEM Parboiler – energy efficient and improved quality
  10. ASI Thresher – high‐capacity thresher for clean rice
  11. PLAR/IRM – Participatory Learning & Action Research for improving farmer practice
The second day will include a visit to the Ouinhi district in Benin, to see inland valleys that have been developed using the Smart-valleys participatory approach. These achievements are the result of AfricaRice’s partnership with the Benin extension agency called Cellule Bas-Fonds, under the Rural Engineering Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries.

Title: Supporting the African rice value chain (Competitive African Rice Initiative, CARI)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Countries: Various countries in Africa; based in Nigeria
Lead executing agencies: Agricultural ministries in Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Tanzania
Overall term: 2013 to 2017

EU, Uganda Collaborates on local agribusiness development

1 September 2014. At least 35 private small and medium enterprises, engaged in agribusinesses, will benefit from the 25 million Euros (approximately Shs 87.5bn) donor-supported equity fund set up to avail interest-free grants and technical services.

The Small and Medium Agribusiness Fund (SMADF), which was launched last week, is a joint European Union (EU) and government initiative expected to solve capital constraints faced by mid-size agribusinesses in the country. The fund will specifically tend to beef, commercial forestry and fish farming (aquaculture) enterprises over the eight years that the pilot project will run.

Firms applying to access financing and related services from the fund will be selected based on viability, business models and prudent management. An independent board of investors, comprising private sector experts, will assess the viability of the projects applying for support the fund.

The EU, which has contributed 15 million Euros (Shs 52.5bn) in the project, has tasked the International Fund for Agriculture Development (Ifad) to manage its investment in the Fund.

Speaking after the launch of the of fund at the ministry of finance in Kampala, the Head of EU Delegation Ambassador Kristian Schmidt said they chose Uganda for the pilot phase as the EU attempted to blend public and private resources to boost the agribusiness sector by lowering the cost and risk of investments. Previously, the EU had solely funded government projects.

"The purpose of blending the public resources with resources from investment banks, institutional and private investors is to initiate the process of capital investment in Uganda and create a capital market for domestic financial resources," Schmidt explained
Schmidt noted that formal banking and microfinance institutions shied away from agriculture because of the perceived high risks, and yet the sector is crucial to Uganda's growth, where three out of four people are employed.

The EU envoy said the fund did not aim to compete with local commercial banks, but simply to partner with them to serve the needs of SMEs with the most appropriate financial services.

Maria Kiwanuka, the minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, described the fund as a "truly public-private producer initiative."

Research to Feed Africa

1 September 2014. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Research to Feed Africa dialogue brought together senior ministers and policymakers; researchers; farming, private sector, and agribusiness leaders; and representatives from financial institutions, international governmental and non-governmental organizations, and civil society.

Dialogue delegates discussed the solutions that research has to offer to feed Africa’s hungry people, in particular:
  • new trends to make agricultural research work for the poor 
  • new pathways to deliver cutting edge science for impact 
  • win-win entry points to achieve both research and development impact 
  • practical experiences to take innovations to the millions who need them
CIFSRF is a program of Canada’s International Development Research Centre undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. CIFSRF supports applied, collaborative, results-oriented research projects that can significantly improve agriculture and nutrition in developing countries.

CIFSRF is organizing the dialogue in collaboration with Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), an Africa-wide agricultural policy think-tank that has long experience in convening multi-stakeholder food and nutrition security policy dialogues across the continent.