Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Exclusive interview at FARA GA2010 (1): professor Calestous Juma

24th July 2010. Video interview at the FARA General Assembly with Professor Calestous Juma, keynote speaker.

Professor Calestous Juma is professor of the practice of international development and Director of the Science, technology and globalization project at the Belfer Center for Science and international affairs, Harvard University.

Professor Juma answers following questions:
  1. How do we organize successful partnerships?
  2. Should partners be organized according to a commodity chain or a territory?
  3. How do you involve external partners?
  4. How to make partnerships sustainable beyond funding?
  5. Do you have a good example?
  6. Should students produce a business plan instead of a thesis?
  7. How do we include SMEs in post harvest technologies?
  8. Are SMEs interested in investing in agricultural products?
  9. Is it not an illusion to bridge those different working cultures?
  10. What is a good broker?

Transcript of the interview:

How do we organize successful partnerships?
One of the key things to make sure that partnerships can actually work is to organize them around a specific problem so that they are function oriented rather than mandated oriented. What we tend to do is getting groups of organizations together and we look to their mandates. And we bring them together.
1. What we need is to define the problem and say: given this problem who do I need to bring around the table, so that the partners are brought together according to their competences they bring to the table and not the missions of their organizations.
2. Secondly what we move from basic research to field trials of a product we need different kinds of partners. They may not b the ones when we started off initial research. The partnership and the composition evolves over time when you move from one problem to the next one and you solve it.
3. The sustainability of the partnerships is depended on the chain of problem solving
Should partners be organized according to a commodity chain or a territory?
Partners should certainly be organized according to a commodity chain, not according to a territory. If you organize it according to territory partners become partnerships to block others from doing anything. But when you organize them according to a commodity chain you get at each stage of the chain a different composition of partners. They are not permanent partners as they help to solve the problem. What is permanent is the chain.

How do you involve external partners?
Now it is really important to see African problems as global problems and to think about solutions as also being global. We not have the tools to find out who has been working on which problem? For every African problem there is a Brazilian, a Chinese or an European solution. Any manager of any research institution should be reaching out and use Science an Technology diplomacy, which is to use African Embassies outside Africa to identify people who are working on issues which are relevant to Africa and create connections. The partnerships need to be global.

How to make partnerships sustainable beyond funding?
The key thing is to focus on the chain of activities. When the job is finished you don’t need the partnership anymore. There are a lot of networks in African around many different issues because they were never organized around a particular problem. They meet, they have an annual conference, they have a newsletter but there is no particular problem they are solving. The same organization can rather participate in several different partnerships because it is the competence they are bringing in the partnerships that matters.

Do you have a good example?
NERICA, the new rices for Africa brought a lot of players together : international researchers, agencies and local communities. It uses new tools like video in local languages to communicate information to farmers to create awareness on the availability of the product. Innovation systems capture the idea of how people interact and focus on the interaction to solve the problem rather than bringing the mandate to the table.

Should students produce a business plan instead of a thesis?
I have seen a lot of progress in the last five years among African universities which start to be very creative on how to be commercially oriented and how to solve problems. Examples: Stellenbosch University in South Africa is the first university in the developing world which has build and launched a satellite and introduced an educational system which is very practical. The University of Development Studies in Northern Ghana is doing exactly the same thing of engaging young in agricultural activities. Also NGOs are training people, almost at university level, in solving problems. What is likely to happen is that governments are going to see those initiatives and they are going to change the incentives system for the universities to enable African universities to adapt to problem solving. But not every university should be designed this way. There has to be diversity in universities. And this should be organized on a regional level where universities can specialize according to different roles.

How do we include SMEs in post harvest technologies?
In Africa we have very poor rural infrastructure and have thus no ability to transport. If you have no capability to transport commodities you don’t have the incentive to dry and to store it and to start thinking about post harvest technologies. Post harvest technology is much linked to shelve live and duration of a product. We have been devoting too much time in growing food and less on preserving it. And that is a technological issue. Post harvest technology would create rural technologies on preservation ad that is the link with Small and Medium Size Enterprises.

Are SMEs interested in investing in agricultural products?
There are a lot of firms, commercial firms and banks, looking for areas where they can invest. Especially as African markets expand: with the emergence of the East African common market and banks who are going regional. I meet a lot of investors who tell me: “We are looking for products to invest in”. What is lacking is some mechanism to connect the people who have the resources and the university researchers. There are different cultures and you thus need a link. The culture is that a business man will not take a thing until it has been completed. A researcher does not want to complete anything. He wants to do more and more research. You need bridging institutions that can see a product and say: this one we can move and commercialize it. In many countries universities have technology transfer departments that bridge between the commercial sector and the research community. But it Africa we tend to leave it only to the researchers. If we leave it only to the researchers or only the financers it is not going to work because you need to bridge institutions.

Is it not an illusion to bridge those different working cultures?
It is the only way it works. You have the technology officers and that what’s they do: they bridge. You have the venture capitalists and they also bridge. You have technology brokers: people who broke the technology partnership: that’s their job. If you don’t bridge that ability to bring a product to the market will always be an illusion.
What is a good broker?
A good broker is to be honest and to be trusted.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

E-consultation for CGIAR Mega Program 4 (MP4) on Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and Health

As part of the CGIAR reform process, a proposal for Mega Program 4 (MP4) on Agriculture for Improved Nutrition and being developed.

A draft concept note has been developed, which will serve as the basis for developing a a full proposal. All program-related documents, including those in draft form, are being uploaded to an online space at the following URL:

CGIAR asks help in ensuring that they have participation of key stakeholders, including research and development organizations, civil society, and the private sector.

Please join by visiting the site URL listed above and filling out the feedback form at: If you have any difficulties using the online form or prefer to submit your feedback via email, you may direct your comments to All comments and feedback must be submitted by August 1, 2010.

Second Management Team Meeting of PAEPARD

Tuesday 20th of July. PAEPARD MANAGEMENT TEAM MEETING as side event during the FARA Science Week.

1.       Presentation of Guidelines produced by WP5: Guidelines for innovative African-European innovation partnerships in agricultural research for development in Africa 
DRAFT 3, Ouagadougou, July 18, 2010
2.       Internal consultation organized by WP1 and WP2
3.       Financial and management issues

Presentation of Concepts and process for establishment of PAEPARD partnerships (long term and fast track) by the consultants Danielle Clavel (CIRAD) and Paul Kibwika (RUFORUM):

General objective of the consultancy
To develop guidelines for establishment and management of equitable innovation partnerships among African and European ARD and non-ARD actors within the PAEPARD project.

Specific objectives
       Clarify the concept of innovative African-European multi-stakeholder partnerships in the context of ARD
       Define principles and process for establishment of equitable multi-stakeholder innovation partnerships (involving ARD and non-ARD actors) between African and European interest groups in ARD
       Propose brokerage and management mechanisms for African-European multi-stakeholder partnerships for long-term engagement in ARD innovations
       Propose a process and ways to put the partnership principles into practice.

What is partnerships in ARD?
A partnership is an alliance [collaboration] between organisations from two or more sectors that commit themselves to working together to undertake a sustainable [research for] development project and in doing so they also undertake to share risks and benefits, review the relationship regularly and revise the partnership as necessary (Tennyson and Wilde, 2000; Spielman et al., 2007).

What is innovation partnerships?
Innovation is the application of a novelty (idea, technology, or process) in new ways that generate economic and social benefits to those involved and the wider society. Innovation partnerships serve to bring together diverse talents with complementary skills to foster mutual learning and development of creative ideas.

What is demand-driven research?
In this case demand-driven research simply means that the research is responsive to expressed needs of the research users who may be in the public, civil society or the business sector.

What is an innovation broker?
Innovation broker is an organisation acting as a member of a network of actors that is focused neither on the organisation nor the implementation of innovations, but on enabling other organizations to innovate (Klerkx, 2009). Broker is a “go between”, the organisation may delegate the brokerage role to trusted individuals.

What is PAEPARD then?
In a nutshell, PAEPARD should be seen as a capacity building initiative to empower the non-research actors and influence research actors to engage more to increase the relevance and impact of agricultural research for development (ARD) through equitable African/European partnerships. The Africa-European partnerships are a mechanism for mutual learning, capacity strengthening and empowerment. Innovation systems is the framework for enhancing the relevance and impact of ARD 

Process for establishment of partnerships
Two options
1.       Long-term process
      Partnerships emerge based on interests of stakeholders
      Mainly championed by the non-research actors
      Provides space for emergence of many different types of partnerships
2.       Fast-track (short-term)
      Based on negotiated or pre-determined R&D themes (possibly focusing on calls for funding)
      Mainly championed by research actors

Launching of the Platform on African–European Partnership for Agricultural Research in Africa

David Radcliffe, Dr. Monty Jones, Paolo Sarfatti

19th of July. Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso. Launching of the Platform on African–European Partnership for Agricultural Research in Africa.

PAEPARD is a new agricultural research for development (ARD) project implemented by FARA and includes different partners from Africa and Europe. Its overall objective is to build joint African-European multi-stakeholder partnerships in ARD to help achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs). The specific objective has been spelt out as follows:

Enhanced, more equitable, more demand-driven and mutually beneficial collaboration of Africa and Europe on ARD with the aim to attaining the MDGs. In contrast to man other projects, PAEPARD phase II is more balanced because it involves many non-research stakeholders towards a demand-driven approach. It is sponsored by the European Commission and through the contributions of the consortium partners. The event consisted of presentations by partners, followed by an official launch by the FARA Executive Director and the representative of the European Commission.

Following expectations were expressed by David Radcliffe, Unit Sustainable Management of Natural Resources DG Development and Relations with ACP States:

European Commission support for PAEPARD
  • Euros 5.5 million over 3 years (total budget €6.85 million)
  • From Food Security Thematic Programme
  • Builds on PAEPARD I funded by DG Research and Technology Development
Big challenges of food security and poverty in Africa (around 350 million < $1.25/day and undernourished)
ARD part of solution but African ARD under-resourced

Constraints to African ARD stakeholders
  • poor access to information on funding opportunities,
  • complex procedures of donor agencies in applying for research grants,
  • limited involvement of farmers' organisations, civil society, private sector
  • difficulties of establishing equitable partnerships with European institutions.
PAEPARD I addressed some challenges and learned lessons.

GCARD sets new paradigm for ARD: Montpellier Roadmap
  • Collective action among stakeholders
  • Addressing regional constraints, Implementation of regional priorities
  • Innovative partnerships taking account of comparative advantage
  • Developing collective capacities – linking research and development
  • Mutual accountability among stakeholders and to constituencies
PAEPARD II is uniquely timed to pioneer this approach. PAEPARD II and GCARD I developed in parallel. PAEPARD workplan can build on GCARD recommendations

Some key issues in innovative partnerships
  1. Equitable and transparent
  2. Gender: importance of women farmers
  3. Roles and comparative advantages:
  4. Farmers’ organisations
  5. Civil society
  6. Private sector
  7. Durable partnerships, but flexible according to demand
Expectations of European Commission
  • Deliver on objectives and results specified:
  • Overarching objective is enhanced equitable and mutually beneficial collaboration of Africa and Europe on agricultural research for development, ultimately contributing to food security and reduction of poverty in Africa.
Some key expected results are:
  • Durable and equitable African – European Partnerships
  • The European ARD agenda better reflects African needs and priorities;
  • Greater and more equitable participation of African research stakeholders in ARD projects
  • Increased capacity of all African – European ARD stakeholders
Emerging opportunities
New EU Policy Framework to assist developing countries address food security challenges.
  • Advocates demand driven agricultural research, extension and innovation to increase food availability
  • Focuses on smallholder farmers and sustainable, ecologically efficient, intensification
  • Calls for 50% increase in spending on ARD (including extension, innovation) 'globally' by 2015.
European Commission Initiatives
  • FSTP Phase II 2011-13. Programming underway
  • Africa Regional and sub-regional programmes: FARA, ASARECA, CORAF, CARBAP etc.
  • FP 7: Annual Work Programmes – Food, agriculture and biotechnologies.
  • CGIAR partnership opportunities – new mega-programmes
  • EU member states (and Norway, Switzerland)
  • Joint programming initiative: Food security, agriculture and climate change
  • Bilateral programmes

BioCircle facilitating better understanding of European Commission FP7: Side event at FARA GA

19th July. Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso. This session during the FARA General Assembly has tried to create awareness of the European Commission financing mechanism Framework Programme 7 (FP7) and what it offers for Agricultural research Scientists in Africa.

FARA is a member of the BioCircle network, a two-year project which aims to reinforce the network of National Contact Points (NCP) for FP7 under the theme “Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology (FAFB)” and extend the network to National Information Points (NIP) in major developing country partners.

BioCircle thus promotes the EU-Africa joint partnership by stimulating international cooperation between EU and African researchers. The African research community in FAFB is represented in this network by FARA. As such, FARA is enabled to provide consistent and accurate advice to researchers throughout the African continent on the FP7 FAFB theme.

This session revolved around the methods used to promote partnerships, such as national round tables, brokerages, twinning and tailor-made training programmes. They are designed to stimulate dialogue to better define specific areas of mutual interest and benefit in FAFB.

The session was facilitated by Dr. Pea Oberhagemann (National Contact Point of Life Sciences, Germany) and Francois Stepman (European co-manager of the Platform for African European Partnerships on Agricultural Research for Development - PAEPARD).

It coincided with the launch on 20th of July of the latest FP7 call. 3 themes are relevant for Africa in this call (deadline for submission of proposals 15/01/2011:

KBBE.2011.2.5-02 Reducing post-harvest losses for increased food security — SICA Up (Specific International Cooperation Actions) to 2 projects may be funded (SICA means that non EU members are mandatory)

KBBE.2011.1.3-01 New/next generation of researchers for Neglected Zoonoses at the animal-human interface – Mandatory ICPC (International cooperation partner countries ) Coordination and Support Action targeted to SMEs. Minimum number of participants: 3 from different Member States or Associated Countries and 3 from different ICPC (of which at least 2 from Africa)

KBBE.2011.1.4-08 Role of aquaculture in improving food security and eradicating poverty worldwide - Mandatory ICPC Coordination and Support Action (coordinating action) Minimum number of participants: 2 from Member States and Associated Countries and 3 from different ICPC (International cooperation partner countries )

Further references:
PAEPARD is facilitating the consortia creation of innovative partnerships to submit proposals to such calls. Hereunder are the links to the FP7 call which is available online and other useful resources:

  3. BIO-NET (national contact points on Agricultural research in Europe)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Fifth (5th) Africa Agriculture Science week and General Assembly of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)

19 - 24 July 2010. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The Government of Burkina Faso hosted the fifth (5th) Africa Agriculture Science week and General Assembly of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). The event drew together representatives of FARA's constituents from all African and non-African institutions involved in African agricultural research and development such as the Sub-Regional Organizations (SROs) (ASARECA, CORAF/WECARD, SADC/FANR and NASRO), farmers' organizations and pastoralists' associations, the agricultural research institutions, universities, NGOs and private enterprises that comprise the national agricultural research systems (NARS), non-African advanced research institutions (ARIs), the International Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs), international NGOs, policy makers, private sector and Africa's development partners.

The objectives were:
• To hold the 5th African Agricultural Science Week and the 5th FARA General Assembly to highlight advances in agricultural research for development.
• To enable FARA members to meet, review progress and lessons learnt since the 4th General Assembly and foresights, determine the African regional agenda for the next three years.
• To hold key events promoting African agriculture development.

• Increased knowledge of the problems, opportunities and successes in African agricultural research and development
• Greater awareness of the roles and contributions of different stakeholders and enhanced networking and interaction
• Greater appreciation amongst the participants and the public of the important contributions of agricultural research for development in Africa, especially in Burkina Faso
• Review and endorsement of FARA’s program for the next three years
• Election of new FARA Executive Board members including the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson

Theme and subthemes
African Agricultural Innovation in a Changing Global Environment

In the video below Dr. Monty Jones, FARA’s Executive Director, opened the meeting by noting the series of crises that have jolted the world since the last FARA meeting in Johannesburg and highlighting the interconnected nature of the world today: the fuel crisis, the food price crisis, the economic and financial crisis, and the realization that climate change is upon us and its impacts more evident across the continent. It is followed by comments from Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda, CEO of FANRPAN, and Ms. Lydia Sasu, a farmer from Ghana.

Further references:
Africa Agriculture Science Week
FARA week 2010 blogspot  

Saturday, July 17, 2010

E-consultation on the proposed CGIAR Mega Program on livestock and fish

CGIAR is currently undergoing a major change process and is being operationalized through a number of Mega Programs. Four CGIAR Centers - ILRI, WorldFish Center, CIAT, and ICARDA - are working together to develop a Mega Program on improving the productivity of livestock and farmed fish by and for the poor. It has the twin objectives of improving food and nutrition security, and enhancing livelihoods in carefully selected meat, milk and fish value chains. A short concept note for this Mega Program has recently been approved by the CGIAR Consortium Board and is now being developed into a full proposal.

An E-consultation is starting between now and a stakeholder meeting planned for August 24-25 in Nairobi. The discussion is structured around a central topic each week over four weeks. Each week, an aspect of the proposal will be highlighted for feedback and suggestions.

You can join by going to