Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sharing Agricultural Practices to Enhance Food and Nutrition Security in the Horn of Africa

23-25 October. Addis Ababa.   AgriKnowledge ShareFair at the International Livestock Research Centre (ILRI) campus inrganized by FAO Subregional Office for Eastern Africa and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the Eastern African Grain Council (EAGC).

The AgriKnowledge ShareFair brought together the multiple expertise and networks of international organizations from the region namely: Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. Senior officials from Comité permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contra la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CiLIS) and the affected countries in the Sahel will also be participating at the fair.

Dr. Castro Camarada, FAO Coordinator for Eastern Africa explains why sharing information on good agricultural practices is vital to enhancing food and nutrition security in the region.



October 30, 2012, Punta del Este, Uruguay
Breakout session C1.3 North-South and South-South Collaborative Actions – Speaker Brief - The Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Development (PAEPARD).

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the European Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (EFARD) through The European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development (AGRINATURA), joined forces in the implementation of the Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Development (PAEPARD), established with funding from the European Union. Among the problems addressed by PAEPARD are:
  • insufficient capacities of African agricultural knowledge organisations, at regional and national levels, on multi-stakeholder partnership for innovation systems; 
  • lack of effective linkages between research, extension and rural development.

Blogpost by Nawsheen Hosenally, one of the GCARD2 Social Reporters.

From pre-conference meetings, to opening ceremony and plenary sessions, it was clear from the speakers and participants at the second Global Conference for Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD2), that partnership is the key if we want to improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers and increase food production by 70% to feed a population of 9 billion in 2050. But what are the partnership models that we have and what can we learn from them?

The conference session on North-South and South-South Collective Actions gave a good overview on how multi-stakeholder partnerships have been done in different regions of the world. Interestingly, partnership in Agricultural Research for Development has existed for a long time. Whether it is African-European partnerships, Latin America-Caribbean-Europe-Africa, or African Partnerships, the focus of these partnerships has been mainly on involving stakeholders who normally do not have a say in traditional research.

For example, in projects and initiatives like PAEPARD, CAADP-CGIAR Alliance and IRD/CIRAD collaborative platforms among others, it is not only scientists who are involved in research, but also other stakeholders along the agriculture value chain: farmers, researchers, extension officers, the private sector, academia, processors, exporters, input suppliers and others.

In doing so, each stakeholder contributes in formulating the research proposal that would benefit each one of them. But as simple as this sounds, it is not the case in reality!

From their presentations, the panelists highlighted that in multi-stakeholder partnerships, TRUST is very important, but is not easy to build as different stakeholders have their own objectives. Making all of them move towards a common goal is a challenge.

To overcome this, the innovation that was brought in the PAEPARD (Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development) project was to introduce Agricultural Innovation Facilitators (brokers), who were independent from the multi-stakeholder consortium and facilitated the process of partnership. According to the panelist from PAEPARD, Mr Sarfatti, facilitators have had an important role in building multi-stakeholder partnerships in the different countries where the project has been funded and implemented.

However, during the discussions, two important points were raised: It was clear that smallholder farmers are involved in these initiatives, but how far are women and youth involved in these multi-stakeholder partnerships?

Regarding the inclusion of women, the representative from the IRD/CIRAD collaborative platforms shared with the audience that in their projects, a gender specialist/consultant was recruited and her role was to ensure that all projects that are selected for funding have women inclusion.

When it comes to youth involvement in these partnerships, it was confessed by the panellist from PAEPARD that to date, there has been no strategy to include the youth in the project, but since PAEPARD is moving to its 3rd phase, the suggestion that youths get into the picture can be considered as they can be facilitators or trainers in the project.

Taking the example from IRD/CIRAD collaborative platforms, whereby a gender specialist has been appointed to ensure that women are included in the projects, can there be a youth specialist to ensure youth inclusion in multi-stakeholder partnerships?

The point to take from the session was that multi-stakeholder partnerships are not as easy as they appear to be, but from the different initiatives taken in different regions we know that we can learn from each other, share our successes and failures so that there is no duplication. We can come up with a strategy that will encourage partnerships so that each stakeholder involved will have equal contribution and benefit from impactful research.

Research is important for food security, but now the time has come to innovate and involve more stakeholders in the process so that the outputs are useful to all of them!

Too much talk so far
October 30, 2012
Rodrigo de Oliveira Andrade
Latin America correspondent, SciDev.Net
On Monday, the session “North-South and South-South Collective Actions” promised to be a great opportunity to put into practice some of the tasks mentioned during GCARD2′s opening ceremony, since the session’s main goal was promoting inter-regional learning and capacities through mobilising and strengthening innovative networks to demonstrate and enhance their impacts on the Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D).

However, after the brief presentation of some collaborative research platforms, such as The Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Development (PEAPARD) and also the Brazil-Africa and Brazil-Caribbean Innovation Marketplace, the institutionalist discourse predominated. Paulo Duarte, from Coordination of Technical Cooperation Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA), for example, presented Brazil’s experience in implementing the Platform.

During his talk, Duarte said that this marketplace aims to benefit primarily smallholders with focus on agricultural innovation by the engagement of different actors involved in the generation of agricultural knowledge.

“The technologies developed by EMBRAPA were important for the development of Brazilian agriculture and there is interest from other countries to exchange knowledge with Brazil. The agriculture is vital for the economic and social development of Africa, Brazil and Latin America-Caribbean and EMBRAPA have projects in Africa to stimulating the ethanol producing and five other projects in different Latin American countries, such as Bolivia and Colombia,” he said.

So far, it the GCARD sessions appear to be more interested in sharing knowledge and their own institutional experiences.

PAEPARD users' led process: Eastern Africa Livestock Strategy

In May 2012, the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) contracted the Agency for Inter-regional Development (AFID) to carry out a consultancy study to develop a Livestock Strategy for Eastern Africa. The focus of the strategy was given as “Extensive Livestock Systems” predominant in the dry areas of Eastern Africa. Major species involved were cattle, small ruminants (sheep and goat) and camels. Poultry and pig rearing in the target production systems which involve agro-pastoral and pastoral systems were also to be captured.

AFID experts supported by an adviser Dr. Jean Ndikumana who is an expert in livestock research and development in East and Central Africa with a particular focus on pastoral systems used the market driven value chain approach to identify constraints and opportunities along the major segments of the value chain i.e. production, processing and marketing and through consultations with representative of major actors of each segment, identified priority areas for investment taking into consideration the national, regional and international policy environment. The consultant firm was requested to focus its study on Kenya and Uganda to inform the strategy. 

Hereunder follows a video interview with Dr. Jean Ndikumana who explains the objectives of the study: EAFF - Post handling in the Extensive Livestock value chains in Eastern Africa with Specific Focus on Kenya and Uganda. 

He was interviewed during the EAC-Europe Food Security Thematic Policy Dialogue Workshop, 25th to 26th, October, 2012, Arusha, Tanzania.

He responds to following questions:
  • How important is it to identify gaps in research which benefits pastoralism?
  • How difficult is it to identify research gaps?
  • Do farmers or pastoralists have the capacity to translate a problem into a research question?
  • Was such consultation difficult?
  • Which gaps did you identify?
  • What is the way forward?
  • Which is the most important recommendation?
  • You recommend a multi sectorial approach?
The situation analysis revealed that livestock production and productivity in tha agro-pastoral and pastoral systems of Eastern Africa is constrained by a number of factors including effects of the climate change and climate variability which translate into frequent droughts and floods and bears heavily on pasture and water stress as well as on pests and diseases that compromise livestock production. 

Other constraints to livestock production in the target production systems include limited extension services, cattle rustling, limited access to financial services and insurance facilities, corroding of traditional institutions and coping mechanisms, and loss of common property resources. 

On the processing side, poor value addition practices and generalized lack of knowhow, inadequate infrastructures at slaughter houses with lack of minimum facilities such as drainage facilities and waste disposal and unhygienic practices except in towns, poor hygiene in handling meat and other livestock products such as inappropriate containers during products transport exposing them to hazardous contamination or inefficient institutions for enforcement of regulations are majorm characteristics of the processing segment of the value chain. Other important constraints include limited investment by the private sector in the area due to limited financial facilities and lack of incentives from governments.

Numerous constraints were identified refraining access to market and exploiting market opportunities in agro-pastoral and pastoral systems. These include poor infrastructures ( roads, holding grounds, water, dipping facilities, veterinary services), limited access to market information, high cost of inputs, multiple taxes, inappropriate tax incentives, poor handling and post harvest facilities, failure to comply with standards and sanitary regulations, loss of market value during droughts, inefficient institutions to enforce regulations (e.g. market distortions and low prices offers). 

The general principle of the users led brokerage procedure is giving the lead to “research users” partners (especially FO) in the organization of brokerage activities, in particular the organization of “brokerage workshops” around a federating theme that they have themselves chosen.

The objective of this approach is
  • reinforcing existing dynamics at national/regional level; 
  • Improving existing partnerships between FO, research and others stakeholders (improvements in terms of partnerships ‘design, of diversity of stakeholders involved, etc.); 
  • Deepen pending questions and potential solutions.
Following studies are currently in the pipeline:
  1. EAFF - Post handling of Extensive Livestock value chains in Eastern Africa with Specific Focus on Kenya and Uganda.
  2. PROPAC - Environmental impact of the value chain inclusive of gardening crops in urban areas"
  3. ROPPA - Climate change Adaptation technologies on rice production in Niger Guinea Conakry and Burkina Faso
  4. FANRPAN - Ground nut value chain in Zambia and Malawi
  5. COLEACP - Mango byproducts; Senegal, B. Faso, Ivory Coast
The studies include:
  • A Stakeholder Analysis
  • Current Research: What research is being done (which stakeholders, where, how, who financing, etc.) to better understand and/or resolve the constraints identified. Include relevant research being done by European Organisations - to the degree possible via internet search, etc.
  • The identification of key stakeholders (to invite to multi-stakeholder workshop to identify research questions; include African and European; research and non-research stakeholders)
Follow up: 
Induction workshop
National Agricultural Innovation Facilitators (NAIFs) will be inducted to PAEPARD and End Users Led process in a workshop (end of November 2012 tbc). The 3 day-workshop will be facilitated by the 2 PAEPARD regional facilitators, 2 European facilitators and the 2 co-managers. This workshop will lead to agreed objectives, outputs, programme of Multi-stakeholder R&D Question (MSRDQ) workshops and discussions on strategic objectives process and points to monitor.

Multi-stakeholder R&D Question (MSRDQ) workshops
The objectives of the MSRDQ are to: (i) validate federating theme; (ii) identify or refine R&D questions gaps; (iii) identify potential partnerships to address gaps; (iv) identify TOR for platform and core group to take platform forward.

5 MSRDQ workshops will be organized by EAFF, FANRPAN, PROPAC, ROPPA, COLEACP.

Kick start of the Formulation Mission for support to PAEPARD – Third Phase

Isabelle Martin and Hubert Cathala
at the CTA office in Brussels
30th October 2012. Brussels. Meeting with the two consultants who were assigned by DevCo for the Formulation Mission for support to PAEPARD – Third Phase.

The Mid-Term review for the programme was launched in January 2012 and was completed in April 2012. The principal recommendation was to go for a one year no cost extension (17/12/2012-16/12/2013) in order to implement all the activities foreseen by the initial plan of activities.

An overarching finding has been a mismatch between the research proposals prepared by multi-stakeholder partnerships and the available funding instruments which usually rate scientific excellence over development relevance. The MTR recommended the formulation of a third phase of PAEPARD, which would capitalise on the investment in capacity and partnerships in PAEPARD 2 but also explore better matching of research proposals to sources of funding. The possibility of having a competitive research fund embedded in the project, should be considered along with the need to nurture and sustain the partnerships already created in PAEPARD 2.

The assignment is structured in three phases: a desk/inception phase, a field phase and a synthesis phase.
  1. At the beginning of the assignment, a kick off meeting was held in Brussels in DG DEVCO premises on Tuesday 23/10.
  2. A meeting was held with the European co-manager on Tuesday 30/10. Following issues were discussed: (i) Administrative management ; (ii) Fund to be managed by PAEPARD ; (iii) What needs to be consolidated in year 4? ; (iv) Collaboration of SROs ; (v) Are new consortia to be supported? ; (vi) Users led approach (in Skype conference call with the  African co-manager)
  3. The location for the subsequent field visits is Ghana (Accra), Nairobi (Kenya) and Brussels. The expected output from the field mission is the submission of a mission Aide-Memoire with a resumé of the interviews carried out and all other relevant outcomes of the mission. 
At the end of the field phase, the team is expected to submit:
  • a draft of the action fiche 
  • an agreed draft log frame (revised by PAEPARD co-managers) 
  • an agreed five year budget (revised by PAEPARD co-managers) 
  • a draft of the relevant documents to submit to the QSG (see the list in the reporting paragraph) 
  • aide memoires from the field missions and interviews

Training workshop on the FP7

22nd -23rd October 2012. Accra, FARA Secretariat. The training workshop targeted senior research scientists from universities and research institutes from Southern-African, East-African and West-African Sub-regions and some FARA administrative staff directly involved in funds and consortium agreement management.

The workshop aimed at creating awareness of participants to the FP7 (FAFB) funding mechanisms by using theoretical information but also using some practical cases of FP7 projects (example: AFTER project). The procedures of other EC funding mechanisms were also explained such as the FSTP through PAEPARD and the current ongoing call of ACP-UE S&T.

The exercise was made with the current Work Programme KBBE 2013 in which participants tried to choose the themes of their interest. Two themes were revealed of interest to some participants who teamed to respond to:
  1. KBBE.2013.1.2-04: Control of pests and pathogens affecting fruit. The lead institution is University of Ghana, College of Agriculture and Consumer Science. Collison Brentu is responsible of building the partnership (including find a European partner). 
  2. KBBE.2013.1.3-03: Sustainable animal production: an integrated and multi-factorial approach. Prof Charles Okoli from Federal University of Technology, Owerri State, Nigeria will initiate the partnership.

Participants (FARA staff not included):
  1. Gaspard Uwimana, Southern Agricultural Zone, Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) 
  2. Charles Okoli Ifeanyi, Federal University of Technology, Owerri State, Nigeria 
  3. Wales Singini, Mzuzu University, Lilongwe, Malawi 
  4. Venancio Edward Imbayarwo-Chikosi, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zimbabwe 
  5. Karin Dyason, Project Manager Capacity Building and Professionalization, Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) 
  6. Kiros Meles Ayimut (PhD), College of Dryland Agriculture and Natural Resources, Mekele University, Ethiopia 
  7. George N. Chemining'wa, Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection
  8. University of Nairobi 
  9. Samuel-Adjei Nsiah, Forest and Horticultural Crops Research Center-Kade, Institute of Agricultural Research, College of Agriculture and Consumer Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra. 
  10. Francis Collison Brentu, Forest and Horticultural Crops Research Center-Kade
  11. Institute of Agricultural Research, College of Agriculture and Consumer Science
  12. University of Ghana, Legon, Accra. 
  13. Wisdom Amoa-Awuah, Food Research Institute, Accra, Ghana. 
  14. Ismaila Mbenga, NARI Gambia, Banjul, Gambia 
  15. Valentine Aletor, Federal University of Akure, Nigeria, Representative WARIMA 
  16. Thomas Lyimo, University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, representative EARIMA
Facilitators : 
  1. Ms Chaiara Pacoterra (APRE, Roma, Italy) 
  2. Jonas Mugabe (FARA, Africa co-manager of the Platform for African European Partnerships on Agricultural Research for Development - PAEPARD).


  • The West African Research and Innovation Management Association (WARIMA) is the professional body for research management in the West Africa sub-region with the core objective of advancing research and innovation through advocacy of national and institutional policies by ensuring professional development and capacity buildingof individual members. The association promotes best practice, increase the awareness of research and innovation issues in academic and public institutions, as well as promote advancement of science, technology and innovation and thus facilitate access to, and diffusion of knowledge between the West Africa sub-region for socio-economic development.
  • The Eastern Africa Research and Innovation Management Association (EARIMA) is the  rofessional body for research management in the Eastern Africa region. It is anetwork of regional research and innovation management practitioners. The Eastern African Research and Innovation Management Association (EARIMA) is one of the results of the participation of the University of Dar es Salaam, as an African University partner, in the project “The Improvement of Research & Innovation Management Capacity in Africa and the Caribbean (RIMI4AC).” TheRIMI4AC project is funded by the European Union and the Secretariat of the ,Caribbean & Pacific States and has nine partners across southern, eastern, central and western Africa as well as in the Caribbean.
  • The Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA) operates at an institutional, national and international level, as well as across the research and innovation value chain, from research management to intellectual property management and the commercialization of research output. SARIMA interacts, liaises and forms strategic alliances and partnerships with other organizations as required. The objectives of SARIMA are: (i) Professional development and capacity building of those involved in managing research and/or innovation. (ii) Promotion of best practice in the management, administration and support of research and innovation to create value for education, public benefit and economic development. (iii) Creation of awareness in academic and public forums of the value of a stronger research and innovation system and the contribution it can make to economic and social development. (iv) Advocacy of appropriate national and institutional policy in support of research and innovation and participation in the development and testing of policy. (v) Taking the lead in research and innovation management improvement within Southern Africa, incorporating guidelines for the various components of the research and innovation cycle. (vi) Advancement of science, technology and innovation, including addressing the asymmetries in access to, and diffusion of, knowledge between 'North and 'South'.

  • Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    Africa can easily grow wheat to ease hunger.

    October 8 - 12, 2012. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Wheat for food security in Africa. Science and policy dialogue about the future of wheat in Africa. Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), CIMMYT, ICARDA, IFPRI, African Union and WHEAT CGIAR research program.

    In 2010 African countries spent more than 12.5 billion US$ to import of 32 million tons of wheat. Demand for wheat in Africa is growing faster than for any other food crop. This will be a major challenge particularly in cities, where urban population growth is forecasted to increase by 300% by 2050.

    Several countries could achieve wheat yields exceeding 6 t/ha (compared to global average of
    3t/ha). But many challenges prevent countries from realizing this potential.

    The conference topics were:
    • Africa’s food security and the changing demand for wheat over next decades
    • African perspectives on national food security and the way forward
    • Biological yield potential in various eco-regions of Africa
    • Major biotic and abiotic constraints of wheat production in Africa related to climate change
    • Potential for profitable wheat production in Africa
    • Major constraints (policy, institutional issues, infrastructure - road and market access etc.) to wheat production in Africa
    Declaration by the participants: 
     Wheat for Africa (W4A) Declaration (278.37 kB)

    Related report
    A 89-page study, Africa’s wheat potential (2.5 MB) issued at the wheat conference in Ethiopia, said it aimed to identify ways to raise wheat production as "a hedge against food insecurity, political instability and price shocks."

    This report, examining environmental conditions of 12 nations from Ethiopia to Zimbabwe, said that farmers south of the Sahara grew only 44 percent of the wheat consumed locally, meaning dependence on international markets prone to price spikes.

    "Sub-Saharan Africa has extensive areas of land that are suitable for profitably producing wheat under rain-fed conditions," according to the study by the non-profit International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.

    It said countries in the region were producing only between 10 and 25 percent of the amounts that the Center's research suggested was "biologically possible and economically profitable" with a net return of $200 per hectare (2.5 acres).
    "Wheat is not an African crop, it is not a tropical crop (but) many governments want to produce wheat locally instead of paying for imports," Hans-Joachim Braun, director of the Center's global wheat program, told Reuters by telephone.
    The report estimated that African nations would spend about $12 billion to import 40 million tonnes of wheat in 2012, particularly for fast-growing cities. More wheat should not be grown at the expense of other more viable crops, Braun said.

    PRESS RELEASE: Comprehensive 12-country analysis of climate, soil, and economic data suggests potential for significant rise in wheat production in eight African nations

    Press Release WITH EMBARGO (295.52 kB)

    REPORT: The Potential of Wheat Production in Sub-Saharan African Countries: Biophysical Suitability and Economic Profitability in Selected Countries

    Report – Africa’s wheat potential WITH EMBARGO (2.5 MB)

    POLICY BRIEF: Wheat for Food Security in Africa: Biophysical Potential, Economic Profitability and Competitiveness of Domestic Production
    SEP Policy Brief WITH EMBARGO. ( 2.52 MB)

    ABSTRACTS: Available by country upon request

    Africa can help feed Africa

    October 24, 2012. WASHINGTON –A new World Bank report says that Africa’s farmers can potentially grow enough food to feed the continent and avert future food crises if countries remove cross-border restrictions on the food trade within the region. According to the Bank, the continent would also generate an extra US$20 billion in yearly earnings if African leaders can agree to dismantle trade barriers that blunt more regional dynamism.

    According to the new reportAfrica Can Help Feed Africa: Removing barriers to regional trade in food staples ― rapid urbanization will challenge the ability of farmers to ship their cereals and other foods to consumers when the nearest trade market is just across a national border. Countries south of the Sahara, for example, could significantly boost their food trade over the next several years to manage the deadly impact of worsening drought, rising food prices, rapid population growth, and volatile weather patterns. 

    With many African farmers effectively cut off from the high-yield seeds, and the affordable fertilizers and pesticides needed to expand their crop production, the continent has turned to foreign imports to meet its growing needs in staple foods.
    “Africa has the ability to grow and deliver good quality food to put on the dinner tables of the continent’s families,” said Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa. “However, this potential is not being realized because farmers face more trade barriers in getting their food to market than anywhere else in the world. Too often borders get in the way of getting food to homes and communities which are struggling with too little to eat.”
    The new report suggests that if the continent’s leaders can embrace more dynamic inter-regional trade, Africa’s farmers, the majority of whom are women, could potentially meet the continent’s rising demand and benefit from a major growth opportunity. It would also create more jobs in services such as distribution, while reducing poverty and cutting back on expensive food imports. Africa’s production of staple foods is worth at least US$50 billion a year.

    Moreover, the new report notes that only five percent of all cereals imported by African countries come from other African countries while huge tracts of fertile land, around 400 million hectares, remain uncultivated and yields remain a fraction of those obtained by farmers elsewhere in the world.

    The report was released on the eve of an African Union (AU) ministerial summit in Addis Ababa on agriculture and trade. The African Union unexpectedly postponed the Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture and Ministers of Trade scheduled to take place on 1st and 2nd November in Addis Ababa just four days before it was due to start.

    A press release announcing the postponement said new dates will be communicated soon. (Source: ECDPM October 26, 2012: Lost opportunity to build bridges: African Ministers of Agriculture and Trade meeting postponed)

    Participants at the meeting
    on food safety.
    29-30 October 2012. The African Union (AU) aims to institute a food safety authority as well as a Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), so as to boost trade competence and avert food-borne diseases. This was announced at the opening of a two-day workshop in Kigali.

    Prof. Ahmed El Sawalhy, the Director of the AU’s Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AUBAR), which organised the workshop, observed that the establishment of the authority would boost trade and uplift the living standards of Africans, especially those in rural areas.

    The workshop attracted food safety specialists and managers from member states and representatives from regional economic communities and the African Union Commission.

    Friday, October 26, 2012

    Matooke Agribusiness Incubator

    Biogas from peels burning
    The Afri Banana Products Limited, formerly Incubation and Diversification of Banana Products for Agribusiness (IDBPA), aims to upscale innovations and improve entrepreneurial skills in banana production- to – marketing value chains with emphasis on capacity building for increased production, development of SME’s, training in entrepreneurship and agribusiness at B.Sc. and M.Sc. levels, linking of research innovations to agribusiness, and marketing of banana and its value added products including disease-free seedlongs, fresh peeled and vacuum sealed bananas, vinegar, banana wine, enriched animal feeds, biogas, charcoal briquettes, biodegradable bags and textile fibre materials.

    Hereunder follows an interview with Dr. Byarugaba Bazirake, director of Afribanana Products Ltd. He was interviewed by PAEPARD during the EAC-Europe Food Security Thematic Policy Dialogue organised by CAAST-net.
    Dr. Byarugaba Bazirake responds to following questions:
    • What motivated you to researh matoke and find a solution for the enormous amount of banana garbage?
    • How did you manage to extend the shelve life of matoke?
    • How important is extending the shelve life of matoke for Ugandans living abroad?
    • How do you bring the diverse chain actors together?
    • Where did you get the idea of a value chain approach around the matoke / banana plantain?

    Bananas(matooke) constitute a very important staple crop in Uganda, and are being grown by 75% of the country’s farmers on 40% of the total arable land.

    The triploid, Musa acuminata East African highland cultivar (AAA-EA genotype) locally known as matooke predominates banana production in Uganda and provides major food for over 7 million people including two thirds of the urban population. Bananas are so important in Uganda so much so that in some parts of the country the word “matooke” means both “banana” and “food” and the crop contributes about 35% of total food consumption expenditure. 

    The Uganda’s per capita consumption of bananas ranges between 220kg and 460 kg per year according This banana per capita consumption is the highest in the world.
    The demand and supply of matooke in urban areas has come with associated problems of: 

    • Discoloration due to enzymatic reactions and oxidation after peel inefficient transportation (40% waste) with undesired bulk garbage accumulation (over 500 ton/day) in Kampala. 
    • Costs high ($7/ton ) to dispose garbage (KCC). 
    • Perishability-short post-harvest shelf-life. 
    • Soil nutrients depletion from banana plantation due to: Poor agrarian management systems Transportation of waste which would serve as manure to urban areas
    Banana by-product utilization. Production of:
    • Biogas 
    • Vinegar 
    • Enriched animal feeds 
    • Charcoal briquettes 
    • Fiber-biodegradable (textile,bags) 
    • Manure,mulch,etc.
    Matooke Bulk Marketing problems: They include: 
    • Poor (road network) infrastructure 
    • High fuel prices for transporting trucks 
    • Weak reconditioned trucks 
    • Lack of organised markets 
    • Quick spoilage of raw food materials 
    • Lack of value-addition technologies
    Innovation Objectives
    The technological approach objectives were to:
    1. inactivate enzymes responsible for browning (oxidation) of peeled matooke. 
    2. preserve and prolong shelf life of the peeled matooke as a food stuff. 
    3. reduce transportation load that is very bulky
    • Sodium metabisulphite was purchased from “Desbro” (food grade chemical dealers) in Industrial area,Kampala, 
    •  vacuum sealer (Micromark, UK) was obtained from Midway Technologies,Kampala. 
    • The jaws hand peeler type (ED MARK, Malaysia) machines were purchased from Lugogo at the International Trade Fair,2007 and 
    • the transparent non-permeable vacuum sealable plastic packaging materials were procured from Shoprite, Kampala.
     Research Methods

    • The research work was done at the Uganda Industrial Research Institute(UIRI), Kampala. 
    • In the experimental study, the matooke were sorted, weighed and peeled using jaws hand peelers . 
    • They were washed in treated tap water and grouped into two categories. Category 1 was immersed in sodium metabisulphite –distilled water solution (1000 ppm) for 30 seconds to inactivate enzymes responsible for browning and serve as antimicrobial agent, drained in a stainless steel metal-mesh with reciprocated agitation for 5 minutes, vacuum sealed and labeled. Category 2 was just drained (untreated) and not vacuum sealed . 
    • The products were stored at chilling temperatures (100C)and set for further observations.
    Matooke shipped to the US targeting
    10,000 Ugandans consumers.
    Dr. Byarugaba Bazirake stands second left.
    • Approximately 60% of the matooke was obtained after peeling .They were stored under chilled conditions. 
    • The vacuum sealed matooke remained fresh as desired by the consumers for 10 days. 
    • The untreated matooke (control) turned brown after a few minutes and had moulds grown on them on the fourth day of storage(shelf-life). 
    • The banana waste was returned to rural areas profitable utilization as manure, livestock feeds, fuel (biogas) source and for inoculation of starter cultures useful in vinegar production.
    • matooke can be processed & preserved into a food stuff that is convenient to prepare with prolonged shelf life (10 days). 
    • Bananas can be transported from rural areas to the user ends at reduced logistical expenses by prior peeling to eliminate averagely 40% of waste.
    • Waste products can be used as manure to fertilize and replenish matooke plantations besides supplementary usage like biogas production and formulation of animal feeds. 
    • Rural based industries should be set up to process and solve the logistical problems involved in bulky post harvested food handling in Africa.
    Further Background:
    Dr. Byarugaba Bazirake is a lecturer of food technology and biotechnology at Kyambogo University and works with Prof. Wilson Byarugaba of Kampala International University Western Campus.  The project was given part of Uganda Investment Authoritys land in Mbarara Industrial Park and has been able to put up a factory which opened on March 15 this year. The site was selected because of its proximity to the matooke-producing areas of western Uganda. Twenty-five people are currently employed in the factory.
    • Bazirake says he came up with the idea after UNESCO sponsored his research in 2001. 
    • In 2006, President Yoweri Museveni contributed $2,000, which was used to purchase hand peelers. In the same year, he won the first Presidential Scientific Award at an exhibition in Munyonyo. It was then that he wrote a proposal to UNCST, which was approved in 2008.
    • They also got financial support from the Ministry of Finance in the financial year 2008/2009.
    • FREVASEMA is one of the projects funded by the Government under the presidential support to scientists through Uganda National Council for Science and Technology.

    The Afri Banana Products Limited, aims to upscale innovations and improve entrepreneurial skills, through training and mentoring, identification and/or development of viable research innovations and linkage to agribusiness, information generation and dissemination, community mobilization and market linkages, provision of business services to Incubatee SMEs, setting up a consortium comprising membership from Universities, Research Institutions, Private Sector Companies and Government Support Agencies.

    The consortium is led by Kyambogo University with the following as members; Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Excel Hort Consult Ltd, FREVASEMA, Uganda Industrial Research Institute, Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, Uganda Carbon Bureau and Adaptive Seed Company.

    Read more on UniBRAIN ABP

    Vacuum sealed banana - Uganda's latest export

    Vacuum-sealed cooking banana ready for sale or export - George Bazirake
    Vacuum-sealed cooking banana ready for sale or export
    © George Bazirake
    Cooking banana, known in Uganda as matooke, has a relatively short shelf life - too short for fresh bananas to be easily exported and sold in Europe. But in a new initiative, a Ugandan company has begun to export peeled, vacuum-packed matooke, which can last for up to a month. This is an exciting way of adding value to a crop which occupies nearly 40 per cent of Uganda's arable land. Wambi Michael talks to banana experts, an exporter and a consumer about the new innovation.
    Interview by:
    Date published:
    January 2010

    Bananas could replace potatoes in warming world
    Philip Thornton
    Climate change could lead to bananas becoming a critical source of food for millions of people, a new study has claimed.

    The study, Impacts of climate change on the agricultural and aquatic systems and natural resources within the CGIAR’s mandate, should help decision-makers at all levels prepare better for future food production on our warming planet.

    Read the policy brief by CCAFS that outlines the challenges required in feeding the estimated 9–10 billion people who will live in this world by 2050. In the brief, the need for a complete recalibration of what crops we grow and animals we raise around the world is detailed, as climate change will bring challenges in weather, water use, and increased pests and diseases of crops and animals alike.
    Researchers from the CGIAR agricultural partnership said that the fruit might replace potatoes in some developing countries, the BBC reported. The authors of the report also said that cassava and the little known cowpea plant could play increasingly important roles in agriculture, as temperatures rise and people will have to adapt to new and varied menus as traditional crops struggle.

    Responding to a request from the United Nations' committee on world food security, a team of experts in the field looked at the projected effects of climate change on 22 of the world's most important agricultural commodities. They predict that the production of world's three biggest crops in terms of calories provided - maize, rice and wheat - will decrease in many developing countries.

    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    EAC-Europe Food Security Thematic Policy Dialogue Workshop

    25th to 26th, October, 2012, Arusha, Tanzania. CAAST-Net cooperation with the RECs began with an exploratory meeting in February 2010 in Gaborone with SADC officials and the development of a roadmap of collaborative activities for high-level endorsement is in progress. As a result of this engagement, a workshop on renewable and solar energy was held in Malawi from 20th to 22th of September, 2011. Similar dialogues have been initiated with the EAC and ECOWAS and one is anticipated with ECCAS.

    In that respect, a consultative process was initiated with the EAC Secretariat in September 2010. It resulted in a focus on priorities addressed by the EAC Action Plan on Food Security. This was followed by an experts´ meeting in Dar-es Salaam in May 2012 in which the EAC priority topic of ‘Improved technologies for increasing production in crop, livestock, and fisheries’ was agreed.

    One of the key note presentations came from PAEPARD about: Is funding of ARD adapted to the needs? You can download the presentation here.

    Objectives of the meeting 
    • Identifying scenarios for how knowledge-based approaches, such as scientific research and innovation, as well as related capacity building play a role in the implementation of the priorities of the EAC Action Plan on Food Security in the field of technologies for increasing production in crop, livestock, and fisheries. 
    • Identify domains of particular added value for international cooperation in the field of technologies for increasing production in crop, livestock, and fisheries.. 
    • Building common ground for a joint agenda of EAC and other African and European states in research and innovation in the field of technologies for increasing production in crop, livestock, fisheries. 
    Outcomes of the meeting
    • Improved mutual understanding of how the processes of how research, capacity building as well as translational activities to put research into practice could be implemented for impact on food security in the EAC region. 
    • Identification of niches for partnership activities and recommendations to enhance cooperation between EAC and European parties in scientific and technological RDI and capacity building to increase production in crop, livestock, and fisheries aiming at coordinating or strengthening ongoing initiatives as well as proposing new ones.
    CAAST-Net is a network of national authorities from Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe sharing a common objective of advancing scientific and technological cooperation in research, development and innovation (RDI) between both regions for the common good. It is funded by the European Union’s framework programme for research and technology development (FP7). The CAAST-Net consortium consists of 13 African and 10 European partners.

    African Rural and Agriculture Credit Association General Assembly

    15th to 19th October 2012. Accra, Ghana. The 18th African Rural and Agriculture Credit Association (AFRACA) General Assembly and technical workshop was hosted by the AFRACA vice Chairperson; the Bank of Ghana.

    The theme of the technical session was “Enhancing the Agriculture Value Chain through Innovation”. The following were the activities to guide the 2012 Technical workshop and the business session of 18th AFRACA General Assembly programme:
    Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Millison Narh at the opening ceremony of AFRACA conference, raised concern about the continuous decline of the sub-Saharan international export.
    He said “the value chain process which includes input supply, producers, processors and buyers can be sustained through innovation projects such as introduction and improved access to suitable agric technologies and credit facilities; availability of appropriate incentives for farmers and traders and integration of these new technologies and practices into their activities and investment plans.”
    Millison Narh
    He indicated that in order to further enhance the value chain system towards successful innovation, there should be a focus on establishing an agriculture commodity market, creating a warehousing research system, provision of storage devices to reduce or eliminate post harvest losses, and embracing the co-operatives concept which has emerged as the best tool to help rural small-scale producers to overcome many challenges that confront them.

    He added that the provision of relevant training programmes for agric sector workers and a revision of the land tenure system to give access to arable lands for productive use would also contribute to enhancing the industry.

    He also called on African governments and policy makers to make appropriate policy interventions which would entail infrastructure development and appropriate training opportunities for farmers, and make fiscal incentives available for financial institutions who are focusing on agric lending.

    Dr. Bwalya Ng’andu, Zambia’s Deputy Governor in charge of Operations, encouraged AFRACA to compliment its training and policy programme initiatives with further research into the issue of inadequate access to finance and how avenues such as linkage banking may assist in fostering rural development.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

    GCARD: Using Innovation to Boost Farming

    18 October 2012. VOA radio broadcast. Innovation will be the theme at the upcoming Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development. It gets under way later this month in Uruguay. The conference, known as GCARD II, will consider the challenges that farmers may face in 20 to 30 years, and try to come up with solutions now.

    Listen to De Capua report on GCARD II

    Professor Monty Jones, winner of the 2004 World Food Prize, will chair the conference. He says it will differ from the first GCARD meeting in Montpellier, France in 2010.
    “This time it’s not just scientists talking to themselves; it’s scientists talking to the other players that matter very much, particularly this farmers, the farmer’s group, the NGO group, all these other players. Their voices are now being heard in agricultural research for development,” he said.
    Jones is head of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa. He said GCARD has published a road map to “transform agricultural research” so it can have a major impact on development. It’s called “foresight thinking.”
    “The tendency for most of us is to look at problems that occur today, and then try to solve those problems. This particular program on foresight thinking is trying to make [a] projection into the future, particularly in a world of climate change and associated problems, like drought and floods, and aggravated problems of disease and insect pests,” he said.
    The GCARD Roadmap recommends a “collective focus on priorities” that has been determined by society and science; an effective partnership between researchers and farmers; increased investment; and greater awareness of innovation’s effect on development. GCARD II will be held in Punta del Este, Uruguay from October 29th through November 1st.

    Evaluating the Effectiveness of Results-based Approaches to Aid

    16 October 2012. Public and political pressure on budget allocations, coupled with the genuine need to make aid more effective to tackle the global poverty crisis, have resulted in a renewed focus on results. Several donors are promoting the use of aid to reward the achievement of predetermined performance targets. Though this is a recent trend, in 2010, total disbursements for results-based approaches broke the $5 billion barrier.

    Eurodad examined the following six major results-based initiatives and assessed their performance against four key internationally agreed aid effectiveness principles: ownership; accountability and mutual accountability; harmonisation; and alignment and use of country systems. We also examined whether they had a ‘broad’ scope or a ‘narrow’ one, in terms of: how specific the objectives are; the level of funding (from national to local); and the flexibility with which the recipient can use the money.
    • The European Commission’s Millennium Development Goals Contract (MDG-C).
    • The GAVI Alliance (GAVI) Health System Strengthening support and Immunization Services Support (due to their similarities both initiatives have been these two initiatives have been depicted together in the tables examining their alignment with aid effectiveness principles.).
    • The Millennium Challenge Corporation’s (MCC) Threshold and Country Programs.
    • The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM).
    • The Global Partnership for Output-Based Aid (GPOBA).
    The main findings of this research are:
    • In general, results-based approaches are not particularly good at supporting aid effectiveness principles, with the exception of the MDG-C. However, broader approaches do appear to be better aligned with aid effectiveness principles. 
    • Ownership tends to be higher when the responsibility for designing programmes falls on recipient governments. This does not mean that donor led approaches such as the MCC cannot achieve significant degrees of ownership, but results are likely to be less consistent, have higher costs and impose a significant burden on host governments and civil society. 
    • Results-based approaches tend to reinforce accountability to donors and in doing so, undermine mutual accountability. In general, the problem is less acute with country wide initiatives and it is most pressing when working through third party service providers. 
    • The level of harmonisation of results-based approaches is low because of their widespread use of parallel structures. Donor harmonisation seems to be higher the broader the approach, with the MDG-C being the best performer. 
    • Only two of the approaches examined in this report use country systems to a significant extent: MDG-C and GAVI. Even in these cases there are significant eligibility and public financial management criteria that influence and limit the type of country systems that recipient countries can implement.
    In addition to these concerns, one of the most important findings is that there is little evidence or evaluation of the strengths, weaknesses and impacts of different results-based approaches. Therefore, it seems reasonable to use results-based approaches with a degree of caution.
    Read the full report: Hitting the Target? Evaluating the Effectiveness of Results-based Approaches to Aid

    Promoting Responsible Agricultural Investments in Africa

    October 22, 2012. Washington, D.C. Increased interest in public and private investments in the African agricultural sector has raised concern over how such investments will benefit smallholder farmers.

    This discussion explored how best to develop “responsible investments” that are profitable for international private investors as well as for local farmers, businesses and governments. As part of a series of conversations that the Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa has launched in the U.S. and Africa, the event helped define and identify appropriate models that promote responsible investments in Africa.

    Go straight to the second panel @ 1h18 minutes
    Moderator – Mima Nedelcovych, Partner, Schaffer Global Group
    • Promoting Inclusive Agricultural Investments That Benefit Smallholder Farmers
    – Katie Campbell, Senior Policy Analyst, ActionAid
    • Forging Effective Public-Private Partnerships to Facilitate Responsible Agricultural
    – Matthew Armah, COO, Millennium Development Authority, Ghana
    • Making New Private Sector Investments Work for African Agriculture
    – Njack Kane, CEO, Novel Commodities, Geneva
    • Encouraging Responsible Private Sector Investments in the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition
    – Paul Weisenfeld, Assistant to the Administrator, Bureau for Food Security, USAID

    The Role of ICTs in Addressing Climate Change in Ghana

    17-21 September 2012. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has released a report titled “Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation: The Case of Ghana,” which focuses on the question: How can developing countries effectively integrate ICT tools within climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies?

    The report was officially launched at the second ITU Green Standards Week held in Paris, France.

    Using Ghana as a case study, the report presents the potential of ICTs to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation, and provides concrete lessons learned and makes practical suggestions aimed at developing country decision makers and practitioners.

     [Publication: Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation: The Case of Ghana]