Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, June 29, 2012

Kenya’s innovative agricultural micro-insurance program for smallholder farmers in Kenya wins award

14 June 2012. London. Kilimo Salama, a partnership between the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and UAP Insurance, won the Financial Times’ award for Technology in Sustainable Finance, recognizing their groundbreaking work to provide smallholder farmers with access to insurance cover using innovative technology and approaches.

The FT’s Award for Technology in Sustainable Finance recognizes organizations and initiatives that are addressing the scarcity of essential goods and services across society and those that demonstrate leadership and innovation in addressing environmental, social and corporate governance considerations in business.

Kilimo Salama (Kiswahili for ‘safe farming’) is an innovative, pay-as-you-plant, index-based, micro-insurance program for smallholder farmers in Kenya and the first in the world to use a mobile network-based platform and on-the-ground solar weather stations to provide smallholder farmers with low-cost insurance policies.“When it comes to drought, most farmers have no choice but to simply pray for rain. And if the rains don't come, the crops don't grow. At a time of global change, Kilimo Salama is giving farmers more options so they can meet these challenges and prosper,” said Marco Ferroni, Executive Director of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture

Kilimo Salama has seen an eventful second year marked by severe weather and explosive farmer demand for insurance to mitigate current and future weather risk. Kilimo Salama has just completed one of the largest index insurance payouts ever experienced on the continent has insured nearly 64,000 farmers for the next season. 

They are currently making plans to expand to other countries in the region beginning with Rwanda. 


In Kenya, small-scale farmers are particularly vulnerable to the vagaries of weather, often losing their entire investment when droughts or floods destroy their crops. Crop insurance is usually too costly for such operations. But a Swiss-based foundation is now offering low cost insurance through a program called "Kilimo Salama," or "safe farming." Cathy Majtenyi reports for VOA from the western Kenyan town of Eldoret.

Rose Goslinga, Technical Coordinator of the Agricultural Insurance Initiative, Kilimo Salama, speaks at the Power of Information: New Technologies for Philanthropy and Development conference. This conference was co-hosted by the Indigo Trust, Omidyar Network and Institute for Philanthropy. In this video, Rose talks about her work in the field of crop insurance via mobile phone.

Related:Preliminary List of Innovative Financing Mechanisms (IFMs) for Agriculture, Food and nutrition

EC Contributes 5 Million Euros to Help Farmers Maintain Crop Diversity

21 JUNE 2012. FAO Press Release. The European Commission is contributing more than €5 million (6.5 million dollars) towards the Benefit-sharing Fund of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, FAO announced at a high-level ministerial meeting on the plant treaty at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

The Benefit-sharing Fund helps farmers in developing countries manage crop diversity for food security and climate change adaptation. This is the single largest contribution made to the Benefit-sharing Fund since it was established in 2008. It will help to increase the capacity of smallholder farmers to manage traditional crops like potato, rice, cassava, wheat and sorghum.

 "One of the Benefit-sharing Fund's unique features is the transparent process that governs the allocation of funds. After a wide announcement of each call, all the project proposals received for funding are evaluated according to established scientific criteria by international experts in order to fund the best projects," said Shakeel Bhatti, Secretary of the International Treaty

The contribution from the European Commission will make possible a range of activities, including:
  • On-farm evaluation, selection and management of local and introduced seed varieties;
  • Conservation of local and threatened varieties in national or international genebanks or the development of local and community genebanks; 
  • Documentation and sharing of local and indigenous knowledge that brings value to local crops and varieties; 
  • The transfer of technologies for conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources to farmers and selected institutions in developing countries; 
  • Establishment of links between farmers and communities elsewhere to promote the sharing of genetic material and information about that material, which will help farmers to respond to climate change.

So far, two rounds of calls and approvals have taken place. Altogether 30 projects have received funding.

Relevant links and documents:
The benefit-sharing fund
Approval of the first round of projects under the Benefit Sharing fund
Approval of the second round of projects under the Benefit Sharing fund

Agricultural Biotechnology Regulation: The opposing world views of slow food versus fast food

April 18, 2012, Iowa, US. Over 110 ag industry leaders, scientists, and experts from around the world attended the Ninth BIGMAP Symposium. The 1 day event, titled "Agricultural Biotechnology Regulation, Trade, and Co-existence" focused on current research and perspectives on the role of regulation in biotechnology and genetically modified agricultural production.

Grant Improving Quality Seed Access in Sub-Saharan Africa

Iowa State University seed scientists are partnering with regional and national organizations in Malawi, Zambia and Nigeria to conduct a pilot study in Africa on enabling better access to improved seed varieties with the help of a new grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Seed Policy Enhancement in African Regions (SPEAR) project is funded by a $1.45 million three-year grant. As part of the grant, Iowa State University scientists will work to advance harmonization policies into actionable reality in western and southern Africa. They will improve varietal evaluations and timely releases of candidate seed varieties.Read More

Seed Enterprise Management Instittute

Seed Science Center Director Manjit Misra, AGRA President Namanga Ngongi and Distinguished Fellow David Lambert collaborate on the creation of a seed institute during a visit to AGRA.

ISU Seed Science Center, University of Nairobi Establishing African Seed Institute

Iowa State University seed scientists are working with the University of Nairobi and other groups to increase food security and reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa with help from a new $4.49 million grant from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Read more.

Audios and Powerpoints from the 2012 BIGMAP Symposium "Agricultural Biotechnology Regulation, Trade & Co-existence" are now available

Jack Bobo, Senior Advisor on Biotechnology, Department of State

Import/Export Opportunities and Challenges. The opposing world views of slow food versus fast food\

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Innovation in Seed Potato Systems in Eastern Africa

Innovation in Seed Potato Systems in Eastern Africa P Gildemacher, 2012, 184 pages

The potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) has a high potential to raise smallholder income and improve food security in Eastern Africa. Improving the quality of seed potatoes can contribute to increasing its productivity.

Few seed potatoes are currently sourced from specialized multipliers, as farmers largely rely on farm-saved seed potatoes. This often makes economic sense in the absence of affordable high quality seed potatoes and limited market security. Seed potato system interventions need to address the quality of specially multiplied and farm-saved seed potatoes simultaneously.

Here it is shown that positive selection, the selection of healthy looking mother plants for the production of seed potatoes by ware potato farmers, can contribute to improving seed potato quality.

When looking back an essential success factor of the research trajectory was the researchers’ room to manoeuvre and immerse in partnerships with practitioners, while innovation was made the central objective, rather than research results. The experience shows that it is worthwhile to search for opportunities for incremental innovation and that these can be of a surprising simple nature. For an effective contribution to innovation the mandate of research needs to allow for the active engagement in training, communication and scaling-up.

Related blog post:
Atelier de formulation de projet Développement participatif des technologies de la culture pomme de terre / Burundi

Brussels Development Briefing on Food Losses and Food Waste

 26 June.  Brussels Development Briefing on on Food Losses and Food Waste. 

The objectives of the Briefing were to raise awareness of the causes and impact of food losses and waste in low, medium and high-income countries, increase an exchange of information and expertise relating to strategies and successes in preventing and reducing them and to facilitate networking amongst development partners working in these areas.

Speakers included research, policy makers, food industry, farmer’s organizations.

Panel 1:  Causes and extent of food losses

Food is lost or wasted throughout the supply chain, from initial agricultural production down to final household consumption. This panel discussed the main causes of food losses and what impact they have on food security, food quality and safety, economic development and the environment.
  • Food losses, food waste: a global perspective: Mr Divine Njie or Mr Gavin Wall, Director Agro-Industries Division, FAO
  • Why do we throw away vast amounts of food and what to do about it? Tristram Stuart, Writer and activist, United Kingdom
  • Overview of the  Grain Postharvest Losses of Smallholders in Sub-Saharan Africa: Dr John Orchard, Director of Research, Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich
  • Building successful business partnerships to reduce waste:   Dr Richard Swannell, Director of Design & Waste Prevention, Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), United kingdom

Panel 2:   Strategies to prevent and reduce food waste
This panel discussed possible ways of preventing food losses and waste and the necessary policy frameworks. It will also share practical cases on how to avoid and minimize food waste.
  • Preventing food wastage and optimizing the use of agrofood materials: towards an European approach: Toine Timmermans, Programme Manager Sustainable Food Chains, WUR 
  • Transforming Food Waste into a Resource Andrea Segrè, Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Bologna, President of Last Minute Market, Italy; and Silvia Gaiani, Research Fellow, University of Bologna 
  • Addressing Post-harvest losses: perspectives from the farmers Onya Akonopeesa, Farmer Leader and Board Member of Uganda National Farmers Federation 
  • What solutions are there for losses in the horticulture sector? Stephen Mbithi, Chief Executive Officer, Fresh Produce Exporters Association of Kenya (FPEAK) and Coordinating CEO of the Horticulture Council of Africa (HCA)
  • Excused: Growing oyster mushrooms on the remains of the coffee harvest: Jan Willem Bosman, Green Recycled Organics (GRO), The Netherlands
Selected resources "Waste shows how the way we live now has created a global food crisis - and what we can do to fix it". This and other statements come fromTristam Stuart, author of "Waste. Uncovering the Global Food Scandal", and an active campaigner.
Tristam Stuart, 'Waste. Uncovering the Global Food Scandal' from CTA on Vimeo.

John Orchard, Director of Research, Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich.

John Orchard, Director of Research, Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich from CTA on Vimeo.

Oliver Leo, Joint Research Centre, European Commission.

Oliver Leo, Joint Research Centre, European Commission from CTA on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

G20 Mexico 2012 launched an innovative Fund to Boost Food Security and Farmer Livelihoods

18th May 2012. Mexico City. An innovative initiative that will enhance global food security and improve the livelihoods of developing country farmers through prizes and other market-based incentives was announced by the G20 Leaders. With a results-driven funding model that rewards innovators for tackling some of the biggest problems in food security and agricultural development,

AgResults addresses global challenges in food security and agriculture by generating market-oriented solutions. The initiative aims to achieve significant improvements in the wellbeing of the poor and vulnerable in developing countries with a fund of up to $100 million, to be administered by the World Bank. The governments of Australia, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are supporting this effort.

In the coming years, AgResults will launch a series of pilots that address some of the biggest problems in global food security and agricultural development. The initiative’s portfolio of pilots will represent a diverse mix of agriculture and food security issues, testing different types of pull mechanisms in different regions globally.

Through October 2011, the World Bank has solicited 38 pull mechanism ideas from 24 experts in four Thematic Groups focused on in the areas of (1) Inputs/Increasing Yields, (2) Outputs/Post-harvest Management, (3) Livestock, and (4) Nutrition. An Expert Advisory Group has recommended a number of those ideas for donor funding.
The initial set of pilots, focusing on maize production in Sub-Saharan Africa, include:
  • Incentivizing the adoption of on-farm storage technology for smallholder farmers. The on-farm crop storage pilot will focus on Kenya. The pilot will offer prizes for storage capacity sold and technology innovation in two target regions: the Rift Valley and Eastern provinces of Kenya. The pilot is designed to encourage private sector participants to develop innovations in on-farm crop storage technology, while addressing a range of issues faced by smallholders in accessing appropriate storage solutions.In Eastern Province, the pilot will be designed to catalyse innovation specifically for on-farm crop storage solutions that are resistant to the Larger Grain Borer (LGB) pest, as this region was identified as experiencing the greatest incidence of LGB outbreaks owing to its arid climate.
  • Encouraging innovative distribution of a breakthrough technology to reduce aflatoxin contamination. The aflatoxin control pilot will provide incentives for smallholder farmer adoption of a particularly promising aflatoxin control technology called AflasafeTM. This technology has been shown to reduce aflatoxin contamination. of maize grain by between 80 and 99 per cent in field tests in Nigeria, and the pilot will focus on demonstrating a successful model for increasing smallholder adoption of an aflatoxin biocontrol. The pilot will focus on maize in Nigeria, as the country is the largest producer and consumer of maize on the African continent, and is furthest along in registering AflasafeTM as a biocontrol product. The pilot aims to address persistent barriers to the widespread adoption of biocontrol technology by Nigerian smallholders through a premium per-unit payment for maize that is verified to contain a high prevalence of AflasafeTM (a strong predictor of low aflatoxin levels) at designated maize collection points.
  • Building a market for new vitamin A-enhanced varieties of maize.  The biofortification pilot aims to support the rollout of ProVitamin A (PVA) maize in Zambia by stimulating the grain market for the new hybrid varieties of maize through incentives aimed at industrial millers. While the developer of PVA maize, the non-profit organisation HarvestPlus, already has push-financed programs aimed at introducing new seed varieties into the market and supporting smallholder adoption, the AgResults pilot will aim to stimulate longterm demand for new PVA maize products in mainstream secondary markets.
Additional pilots will be explored in the coming years, potentially including livestock vaccines and fertilizer innovation as well as new ideas related to increasing crop yields, decreasing post-harvest losses, increasing livestock productivity and improving nutrition.

The  Expert Advisory Group  consisted of
  1. Craig Courtney Independent Consultant 
  2. John Hamilton Dodds Founder, Dodds and Associates 
  3. Michele Veeman Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the Department of Rural Economy at the University of Alberta 
  4. Peter B. R. Hazell Professor, Center for Environment, Development & Policy, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) 
  5. Susan Horton Associate Provost, Graduate Studies, and CIGI Chair in Global Health Economics, Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo 
  6. Monty Jones Executive Secretary, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) 
  7. Marília Regini Nutti General Manager, EMBRAPA (The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation) 
  8. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda CEO, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network 
  9. Giancarlo Spagnolo Professor of Economics, University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’ 
  10. David Spielman Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 
  11. Elizabeth Jean Woods Chief Scientific Officer, Department of Employment, Economic Development & Innovation, Queensland
Related (a):

Brics' heads of state, from left, Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, 
Russia's President Vladimir Putin, India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, 
China's President Hu Jintao and President Jacob Zuma at the G-20 Summit in 
Los Cabos, Mexico. South Africa is the only African country 
participating in the meeting of the 20 most powerful leaders.
Under Mexico’s G20 Presidency, Vice Ministers/Deputies of Agriculture from the countries of the G20, and invited countries (the “G20 Agriculture Group”) met in Mexico City with the aim of articulating goals, focusing efforts and establishing sound commitments to address food security challenges under a global perspective.

Extract from the Agriculture Vice Ministers / Deputies Meeting REPORT:

Given the importance of Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) and especially R&D activities in each country’s respective production systems, we commit to explore additional ways of enhancing international cooperation for the effective management of R&D activities and agree to: 

Facilitate the exchange of experiences and policy dialogue on AIS at a high level, and as a follow up of the G20 Conference on Agricultural Research for Development, we support :
  1. The Meeting of the GCARD to take place in Uruguay in October 2012. 
  2. Meetings of G20 Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) or highlevel agricultural research officials from G20 member countries, other interested countries, and International Research Organizations such as CGIAR, with the goal of identifying global research priorities and targets, facilitating collaboration between public and private sector organizations in the key areas, most likely to drive sustainable productivity gains, and tracking progress on established goals over time. The first MACS meeting will take place in Mexico in September 2012.9/16
  3. Invite existing mechanisms and platforms to consider ways to facilitate international collaboration and information exchange on sustainable agricultural innovation and growth. 
  4. Focusing agricultural R&D cooperation on helping developing countries, particularly those least developed to enhance capacitybuilding and promote agricultural knowledge sharing and transfer. 
  5. In addition, we emphasize the need to strengthen efforts at the national, regional and global levels to assess, identify, prioritize, monitor and evaluate investments in AIS in order to a) collect and maintain a comprehensive database on expenditures on agricultural innovation; and b) develop tools and methods to assess the performance and impact of innovation systems.
Related (b):

8 - 10 June 2012. LIBREVILLE, Gabon. During the build-up to the G20 Summit in Mexico and the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil, over 600 economic, financial and political policymakers met for the first New York Forum AFRICA.

Throughout 30 hours of debates and taskforce meetings, the participants of the New York Forum AFRICA discussed the key issues facing the African continent: the facts behind the African take-off, the different economic models that can thrive there, regional integration, natural resources, agriculture, innovation and entrepreneurship, human capital, the relations between Africa and the United States and China, the energy equation, foreign investment, safety and governance requirements and the role of the next generation of political and economic policymakers on this continent and the African diaspora.

Africa needs to both increase its food production for domestic consumption and take advantage of the global opportunities provided by its vast arable territory and superb growing conditions. What are the keys for development of agribusiness?
• Can agriculture be both a force for economic development and an entrée into global markets for Africa?
• Where are the most interesting innovations occurring? What’s needed to ensure food security?
JULIEN NKOGHE BEKALE, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Rural Development, Gabon
PIERRE BORDENAVE, Edifice Capital, France
C.D. GLIN, Associate Director, Rockefeller Foundation, Kenya
GAGAN GUPTA, Country Head for Gabon, OLAM, Singapore
MAGATTE WADE, CEO, Tiosann, Senegal
LEYTH ZNIBER, CEO, Diana Holding, Marocco

Moderated by ALBERT SASSON, Chairman of the Governing Council, The Norman Borlaug Institute for Global Food Security, Morocco

Friday, June 22, 2012

CIDA funding to African agricultural / food security R&D

On June 20, 2012, IDRC and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) announced six winning projects to be funded under the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF). Six research teams of Canadian and developing-country researchers will receive a total of CA$16.5 million in funding to carry out applied agricultural and nutrition research to increase food security. This brings to 19 the number of projects funded by CIFSRF since its launch in 2009.

The projects for Africa are:

  • Developing a vaccine for eradicating contagious bovine pleuropneumonia in Africa (#106929) Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan and the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute are developing a vaccine for bovine pleuropneumonia in Africa, a highly contagious bacterial disease in cattle that can significantly reduce the incomes of small-scale farmers. [Funding: CA$1.6 million, Duration: 2012–2014]
  • Vaccines to combat livestock diseases in sub-Saharan Africa (#106930) Researchers at the University of Alberta and the Agricultural Research Council in South Africa are developing inexpensive, safe, and easy-to-use vaccines using a novel delivery technology to combat a host of livestock diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. This will contribute to food availability, nutritional security, and higher incomes for rural families. The delivery technology being developed could also be useful to Canadian farmers. [Funding: CA$3.7 million, Duration: 2012–2014]
  • Improving nutrition in Ethiopia through plant breeding and soil management (#106927) Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan and Ethiopia’s Hawassa University are testing ways to combat micronutrient deficiencies and malnutrition in three different regions of Southern Ethiopia. Using plant-breeding and improved soil management, they are working to increase the zinc and iron content of pulse crops. (this is a new phase of the research project  Improving pulse crops in southern Ethiopia (#106305) (September 2010 - August 2012) [Funding: CA$3.1 million, Duration: 2012-2014]

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF)

17 – 19 June 2012. Rabobank Headquarters – Utrecht, Netherlands. The Africa Finance & Investment Forum (AFIF) 2012, was held in the framework of the UN’s "International Year of Cooperatives”, and organised in partnership with Rabobank Foundation, the Dutch international finance service provider operating on the basis of cooperative principles.

The Africa Finance & Investment Forum is one of EMRC’s showcase events, aimed at strengthening the private sector in Africa, by encouraging partnerships andattracting investments. The Forum is designed for entrepreneurs interested in securing finance for their projects, for private investors looking for projects, as well as for policy makers, financiers and bankers.

AFIF  featured over 250 decision makers from around the world; African Companies and financing institutions; International and bi-lateral organisations; NGOs and foundations working in Africa. The Rabobank Foundation, Centenary Bank, Global Development Cooperative, the World Bank, GIZ (German International Cooperation Organisation), FARA and the Shell Foundation are just a few of the organisations that attended the AFIF this year. Prof Monty Jones of FARA made a presentation on "Strategic partnerships to enhance investments in Africa’s Agricultural Productivity and Competitiveness" during the Session on: Innovative solutions to address the financial needs of SMEs & Cooperatives.

Related: EMRC Project Incubator Award Session
CESACOPA is the winner of 2012 Incubator Award. CESACOPA is a coffee cooperative located in Amboim province, Angola. The main objective of the CESACOPA project is to increase coffee quality standards for export while at the same time making a clear contribution to the community e.g., employment generation and pollution abatement. The coffee is produced without use of chemicals or pesticides and the fertilizer used is organic. It is also noted that the project impacts some 6000 families as direct beneficiaries. 
This year’s 2012 Incubator Award was sponsored by Hivos, a leading Dutch organisation and Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A), a global platform connecting entrepreneurs and investors throughout Africa. With two leading organisations associated to this year’s award, the winner and nominees will receive increased international recognition and the opportunity to expand their global contacts. This prestigious award will be presided by a panel of international experts and the winner will receive a cash prize of US$15,000.
The project promoter Anastácio Roque Gonçalves explained, "This project aims to obtain a coffee grader machine and installing a small coffee laboratory to help the export chain and create the proper environment for fair trade and coffee certification". 

See brief 4: Rural Banking in Africa: The Rabobank Approach by Gerard Van Empel

Rural and agricultural finance innovations have significant potential to improve the livelihoods and food security of the poor. Although microfinance has been widely studied, a large knowledge gap still exists on the nuts and bolts of expanding access to rural and agricultural finance.

IFPRI’s 2020 Vision Initiative (July 2010) approached the rural finance team of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department of the World Bank to conceptualize and assemble this collection of briefs to narrow the knowledge gap by examining innovations in providing financial services to rural households

2012 US-Africa Forum: Farming Is A Business

11 - 12 June , 2012. Washington. The Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa, the Joaquim Chissano Foundation, and the John A. Kufuor Foundation held the 2012 US-Africa Forum, on “Farming Is A Business: Strengthening Linkages and Skills to Transform Africa’s Food Systems.”

The Forum reviewed the significant evolution of Africa’s agricultural development and food systems over the past decade, assess the transformations currently underway, and envision the changes that are likely to occur in the next decade and beyond.

This was the fourth annual US-Africa Forum hosted by the Partnership, but this year’s event marks the first time the Forum will be co-hosted with African partner institutions. Former Presidents Joaquim Chissano and John Kufuor have been instrumental in elevating food security and agriculture to the top of the development agenda in Mozambique and Ghana, and their leadership extends across the continent and around the globe.

The Forum featured a mix of keynote speakers, plenary presentations, and guided breakout group discussions that drove toward the identification of a practical set of recommendations and actions.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Platform Dialogue Food security and climate change

7 June. Stockholm/Sweden. Sida Offices. This first Platform dialogue kindled great interest among the ARD community. In addition to the 45 attendees present in Stockholm, over 300 participants tuned into the event via live webstream — immediately reaching the maximum capacity that had been set for the event.

Marion Guillou (CCAFS Commissioner) presented the Commission’s Report Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change, to which Agnes Andersson Djurnefeldt (Lund University) responded with findings from her research. Elywn Grainger-Jones (IFAD) and David Howlett (DFID) presented the climate change initiatives from the perspectives of a multilateral and bilateral institution respectively.

Speakers commented and built on each other’s work, eliciting many and diverse questions from both the onsite and virtual audience. The recording of the presentations and discussion is available below, as well as powerpoint slides and a short summary report of the discussion.

//  Getting to know the Platform

Kerstin Jonsson Cissé, Platform focal point at Sida
About the Platform
Brian Baldwin, Platform co-chair
Download slides

Platform Knowledge Exchange Tools
Pascal Corbé, Platform secretariat communications
Download slides
Melinda Sundell, SEI network

//  Food security and climate change

Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change: the Critical Role of Global Donors
Marion Guillou, CCAFS Commissioner
Download slides
Response from SIANI
Agnes Andersson Djurfeldt, Lund University / SIANI
Download slides

Climate change initiatives at IFAD
Elwyn Grainger-Jones, Director, Environment and Climate Division
Climate change initiatives at DFID
David Howlett, Senior Advisor on Climate Change and Agriculture
Download slides

Agriculture & Rural Development Day at Rio+20

18 June 2012. The purpose of the  4th Agriculture and Rural Development Day, Rio+20 was to ensure that the vision for a sustainable green economy includes clear steps for building a sustainable food system.


 The 4th annual Agriculture and Rural Development Day was held in conjunction with the Rio+20 Earth Summit to discuss agriculture’s role in building a global green economy. Co-organised by 17 partner organisations, the day united 600 agricultural experts, including policymakers and negotiators, farmers, and scientist.


The event aimed to ensure that the new vision for sustainable development outlined at Rio+20 recognizes the importance of agriculture and includes key steps necessary for achieving a sustainable food system. Keynote speakers included Mendes Ribeiro Filho, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, Brazil and Rachel Kyte, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development and CGIAR Fund Council Chair.


Thirteen participatory “learning events” were held that share knowledge from various projects on the ground in the developing world. Each learning event related to one of the seven recommendations outlined by the recent report from the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change, “Achieving Food Security in the Face of Climate Change” The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) has produced a short photo-film that illustrates ways people around the world are already taking actions that align with the Commission’s recommendations.

Press Conference - Agriculture & Rural Development Day at Rio+20.(Moderator Lindiwe Sibanda of FANRPAN)


Tuesday, June 19, 2012


11th – 13th June 2012. Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel, Entebbe, Uganda. The Afri-Sol network was created from the realization that a number of African solanaceous plants are increasingly playing an important role in meeting the nutritional and health needs of many households globally. 

Scientists also continue to look for novel traits from wild plants of the Solanaceae family that are native to the African continent. Current research activity in the rich source of diversity present within the African continent, however, does not match the potential value of these plants. There has been very little consolidated effort towards proper conservation, management, improvement and promotion of valuable Germplasm. Afri-Sol brings together a multidisciplinary team of stakeholders with the goal of unlocking the potential of African solanaceous species biodiversity for the improvement of nutrition, health and income. 

Dr Rene Klein Lankhorst who is the head of the EU- Solanaceae Management office made a presentation on the functioning of EU SOL project. The 3- year USD44 million project has been running since 2009 and mainly concentrated on developing solanaceae plants with a focus on nutrition, quality, disease tolerance and better yield. One of the successes of this project has been the production of the Golden potato.

Broadly, Afri-Sol aims to address existing knowledge gaps and challenges within the respective African regions.The participants concentrated their efforts on mapping out the way forward for Afri-Sol. The problems Afri-Sol would seek to address were defined as follow:

  •  Knowledge gaps in terms of health and nutritional value of solanaceae, consumer preferences and ornamental value.
  • Regional challenges in terms of coordination of research, access to Germplasm, markets, identification of stakeholders, research infrastructure, biotic and abiotic stresses of solanaceae.

From these identified problems, a goal for Afri-Sol was formulated and it is; “To Unlock African Solanaceous biodiversity for nutrition, health and income improvement”. The participants defined following specific objectives of Afri-Sol:
  1. Gathering of indigenous knowledge of African Solanaceae species (Uses, Propagation, Access to information)
  2. Assessment of genetic resources (existing collections, exploration, bio-prospecting, conservation, characterization and core collection, germplasm sharing, preliminary screening, gene mining, breeding)
  3. Basic biology (Cytogenetics, Biochemical and molecular tools, Ontology)
  4. Nutrition and health (Micro nutrients, Bio active analysis, Social economics studies, Novel bioactives, Human intervention studies)
  5. Seed systems (Indentify stakeholders in seed systems, Seed regulation, Seed quality & management, Seed markets, Seed storage)
  6. Value addition and Markets (Demand Analysis, Supply analysis, Product development, Post harvest, Industrial applications)
  7. Capacity building (Taxonomy, the “Omics” (Genomics, Proteomics, Metabolomics), Human intervention studies, Biochemistry, Infrastructure, Curriculum

Friday, June 15, 2012

RIO+20 and Sustainable Agriculture

11 June 2012. In the run-up to RIO+20, the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), CGIAR, the global agricultural research partnership, issued a call to action. In this seven-point plan, CGIAR outlines how agricultural research for development can contribute to a more sustainable, food-secure future.

The conference recognizes the need for agricultural research for development: The Zero Draft of the conference's outcome document calls on "all states to prioritize sustainable intensification of food production through increased investment in local food production, improved access to local and global agri-food markets, and reduced waste throughout the supply chain, with special attention to women, smallholders, youth, and indigenous farmers.
The preparations for Rio+20 have highlighted seven areas that need priority attention. CGIAR's main focus, "food security and sustainable agriculture," is one of those seven areas.

Bruce Campbell Ph.D. Director, CGIAR Research Progamme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, interviewed  Dr. Frank Rijsberman, the newly appointed CEO of the CGIAR Consortium, to find out how agriculture and the environment are now "best friends."Community-designed programs"... focusing on small holder farmers?
Yes, contrary to the focus of the big agro-business, CGIAR concentrates on supporting and strengthening local production groups and small holders. Marginalized food producers, particularly women, need to be included more in the bid for sustainable development. They should be empowered to increase their production and marketing of a wide diversity of adapted and nutritious crops, many of which have been long-neglected by agricultural research. This empowerment can be achieved through a combination of basic agronomic research, strengthened land and water rights, increased access to markets, finance and insurance. While CGIAR concentrates on local research, we enhance local capacity -- where possible -- through community-based farmer organizations.

More than 500 on-site side events organized by Governments, Major Groups, Organizations from the UN system and other International Organizations will take place in RioCentro during Prepcom III (13-15 June), the Sustainable Development Dialogue Days (16-19 June) and the Summit (20-22 June).

Following side events target [African] agriculture and environment:

Steering Committee Meeting of EFARD

12th – 13th June 2012. Brussels. Steering Committee Meeting of EFARD (the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development). EFARD’s strategic objectives are to encourage dialogue between European ARD stakeholder groups promoting awareness, innovative approaches, and partnerships in order to build a more efficient and impact focused ARD; to support global ARD initiatives within the framework of GFAR and the GCARD process; and to to promote inter-regional partnerships and collaborative ARD activities for joint research initiatives, capacity strengthening and greater impact, particularly in developing countries.

The 3 major agenda points were the role of ARD in Horizon 2020, the EFARD communication strategy and the contribution of EFARD to the GCARD 2 conference in Uruguay (October 2012).
  • In order to continue with efforts to ensure ARD is more prominent in the awareness of policy makers and funders, the EFARD Steering Committee decided that more efforts are needed on Horizon 2020 (the successor of FP7). A letter will be addressed by EFARD to Paolo De Castro, Chairman of the Commission on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament on food security. 
  • In order to implement the GFAR’s agricultural information and communication management programme which sets out to enhance stakeholders’ access to agricultural knowledge, a desk study was led by CIRAD. The objective of this study was 1) To review and map the major European information and communication system: portals and websites dealing with Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D); 2) To provide some suggestions on how to integrate European agricultural information resources into the existing global agricultural information and communication management systems. 
  •  The EFARD lead activities in support of GCARD Road Map are Foresight; the role of the ARI’s; Capacity Strengthening and coordination with CSOs and NGOs. 
Participants: Alessandra Giuliani (SFIAR, Switzerland, Vice Chair) Arno Maatman (ICRA) Observer Catherine Guichard (COLEACP, France, Chair) Christian Hoste (AGREENIUM/ France) Codrin Paveliuc-Olariu (YPARD – Europe representative) Caroline Sidi (ACF, France) substitute for Myriam Ait-Aissa Didier Pillot (AGRINATURA) David Radcliffe (EC/DEVCO; Executive Secretary) Frédéric Lapeyrie (CRAI, France) Francois Stepman (European Co-manager, PAEPARD) Observer George Rothschild (UK Forum) Judith Francis (CTA, Netherlands) Observer Jennie van der Mheen (WUR, Netherlands) Nicoliene Oudwater (ETC) substitute for Ann Waters-Bayer Paolo Sarfatti (AGRINATURA/ IAO, Italy) Philippe Petithuguenin (EC, DG RTD, representing EIARD) Sander van Opstal (ERA-ARD representative) Observer Wim Andriesse (WUR, Netherlands) Alex Percy-Smith (Consultant to Secretariat) Francoise de Chevigny (ICRA), VAN OPSTAL, Sander Senior Officer, Directorate for Knowledge, Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Ede, The Netherlands

Related: EFARD Joint meeting with EIARD 
As a new point at the end of the EFARD SC meeting and at the beginning of the 54th EIARD Working Group meeting a joint session was held with the following agenda:
  • Presentations of EIARD and of EFARD 
  • Discussion on linkages (incl. governance and communication) 
  • GCARD 2 preparation and participation 
  • Bi-continental platforms with Africa (PAEPARD), ASIA and Latin America: PAEPARD presentation on re-thinking funding mechanisms for multi stakeholder ARD consortia
  • Participation of ARIs in the CGIAR CRPs 
  • EFARD Steering Committee (see above)
  • KALDERS, Joseph NCP WG Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, DGOS, Brussels, Belgium 
  • THEVENOUX, Philippe European Commission, DG DEVCO, Brussels, Belgium 
  • PETITHUGUENIN, Philippe ExSec European Commission, DG Research, Brussels, Belgium
  • RADCLIFFE, David European Commission, DG Development, Brussels, Belgium 
  • LAPEYRIE, Frederic NCP Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, Paris France 
  • FLOOD, Frank Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs, Limerick, Ireland 
  • VAN GILST, Daniel M Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), Oslo, Norway 
  • CHIVERTON, Philip NCP Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden 
  • THOENNISSEN, Carmen NCP WG Senior Advisor, CGIAR, Global Program Food Security, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Berne, Switzerland 
  • TOLLERVEY, Alan NCP Agriculture Team Leader, Research and Evidence Division DFID,  London, UK
  • Wofgang Kasten Germany, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), Eschborn, Germany
  • HAUG Ruth, Norway 
  • DOBAO Maria Teresa, Spain

Monday, June 11, 2012

World Farmers Organization General Assembly

June 6 – 9, 2012. Rome. World Farmers Organization General Assembly. The objective of the GA was to provide an opportunity to discuss WFO‘s statutory issues; as well as offer the possibility to farmers associations to discuss and share experiences in agriculture related key issues (trade, food security, climate change, education and awareness raising programs); sharing experiences on outreach activities, special programs, services, products; collecting best practices and case studies; stimulate cooperation and partnership among WFO’s members and agriculture related organizations; build Interactive platform for sharing experiences and cooperation network.

Presentations from Africa: 

  • What is the enabling environment needed for thriving Producer Organizations and Cooperatives, Mr. Jervis Zimba, President, ZNFU, Lusaka 
  • Practical role and challenges of Farmer Organizations in developing Countries, Mr. Nduati Kariuki Chairman, Kenya National Federation of Agricultural Producers (KENFAP), Nairobi 
  • Ensuring food security in sub-Saharan Africa, a way through, Dr. Martin Eweg, AFAAS board, South Africa 

PAEPARD related:
Agriculture Research for Development: GFAR, GCARD and Farmers’ Organizations, Mr. Thomas Price, Senior Officer, Agricultural Innovation and Society, FAO, Rome

World Bank urges Africa-Brazil partnership in agricultural development

5 June 2012. The World Bank organised a video conference for some African countries including Ghana, Liberia, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Zambia to present experience of the Brazilian corporations in agriculture, social protection, vocational and technical training.

The conference papers were presented from Washington DC in US to participants in their respective countries. Brazilian technology is said to be easily adaptable to many African countries because of geophysical similarities in soil and climate. Andre Nepomuceno Dusi, Structuring Projects Coordinator of Brazilian EMBRAPA pledged the Brazilian government's commitment to help develop the agricultural capacity of African countries, especially those in the Sub-Saharan region.

14 June. This half-day seminar organized by the WB Africa Region aims at presenting Brazilian cooperation experiences in the areas of agriculture, social protection and vocational training.

Shantayanan Devarajan, Chief Economist – Africa Region. The World Bank video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

“Bridging the Atlantic, Brazil and Sub-Saharan Africa. South-South Partnering for Growth” is the title of a recent report produced jointly by the Capacity Development and Partnership Unit of the Africa Region at the World Bank (WB) and the Brazilian Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA). As the report points out, Brazil and Africa are natural partners with strong historic and cultural links. Complementing these links, Brazilian technology seems to be easily adaptable to many African nations because of geophysical similarities in soil and climate. Brazil’s recent successes on the social and economic fronts have attracted attention from many African countries. They have requested Brazilian cooperation in areas such as tropical agriculture, tropical health, vocational training, energy and social protection among others.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Agricultural Research in Africa: Why CAADP should follow IAASTD

A new briefing paper from APRODEV and PELUM Association analyses the agricultural research policies of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and the extent to which they address the needs of marginalised smallholder farmers. CAADP has a huge opportunity to promote good agricultural research by following the findings of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). However, CAADP is largely not following the IAASTD roadmap.
The paper highlights five key problems with CAADP’s policies and practices:
  1. African governments are ignoring their CAADP commitment, set in 2003, to double their annual spending on agricultural research within 10 years; rather, many have been reducing their spending. CAADP has not invested enough in examining why CAADP commitments are not met at member state level and therefore falls short of appropriate measures to meet the set targets of 6% agriculture growth.
 2. Despite the fact that women constitute most farmers in Africa, they are paid lip service in CAADP programmes. Women are largely ignored in countries’ CAADP and other agriculture strategies.
 3. CAADP is promoting a farming model, associated with the Green Revolution, that encourages heavy reliance on expensive external inputs, such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and improved and/or hybrid seeds bought from agribusiness companies; this comes at the expense of promoting sustainable agriculture approaches which are likely to benefit poor farmers much more.
 4. CAADP’s lead partner in agricultural research, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, has taken a lopsided stance on GMOs and advocates strong IPR regimes that threaten farmers’ rights to retain and exchange their traditional seeds; ignoring the consensus on sustainable, agro-ecological farming models as a viable solution for African agriculture.
5. Smallholder farmers, especially women, are being insufficiently consulted in the design of agricultural research policies.