Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, June 30, 2014

Announcement: 1st African Symposium on Mycotoxicology - Reducing mycotoxins in African food and feed - September 2014

In an effort to address the threat of mycotoxins to food production systems, health care and trade on the African continent, an African Mycotoxin Network was established in 2011.

The objective of this network was to connect scientists, academics and industries interested in research and collaboration. With a significant membership participating in web activities, the network now is organizing the first African Symposium on Mycotoxicology in September 2014 .

The objectives of this meeting will be to:

  1. Assess the occurrence and impact of mycotoxins on African food and feed chains; 
  2. Discuss and facilitate the mitigation of mycotoxins on the continent; 
  3. Coordinate scientific research efforts on mycotoxins on the continent; 
  4. Strengthen continental and international collaboration and networking; and 
  5. Establish an African Society of Mycotoxicology (ASM) under the auspices of the International Society of Mycotoxicology (ISM). 
The 1st African Symposium on Mycotoxicology will be jointly organized by Stellenbosch University (South Africa) and the University of Nairobi (Kenya).

Research to feed Africa symposium

23 - 27 June 2014. Naivasha, Kenya. The "Research to feed Africa" symposium put the spotlight on new and emerging practical, on the ground and scalable innovations from research conducted in Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania supported by the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF) which aims to put into practice on-the-ground solutions to hunger and malnutrition.

This conference was organized by the Kenya Agriculture Research Institute (KARI), with support from Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD).

IDRC Regional Director for sub-Saharan Africa Simon Carter said CIFSRF supports innovative research partnerships between Canadian and developing-country researchers to respond to immediate food needs while increasing access to quality, nutritious food over the long term.

"We bring together the best natural and social scientists to develop practical solutions to increase food production, support small-holder farmers - especially women – and deal with the vexing reality that hundreds of millions of people remain hungry or malnourished," Carter said.
Current CIFSRF projects in Kenya are exploring how safe, effective and affordable vaccines can tackle cattle lung disease in Kenya potentially improving the livelihoods of millions of people in Africa who rely solely on livestock.

The projects also help to scale up agricultural innovations by investigating the numerous causes of low agricultural productivity in dryland areas while at the same time identifying opportunities for linking farmers to markets and influencing the formulation and implementation of sound policies. 

Read more about CIFSRF projects.

CGIAR consortium research in Africa interview

20 June 2014. Two years ago, Frank Rijsberman took over as the CEO of CGIAR consortium, a global partnership that brings together organisations with interest in research and development for a food secure future. SciDev.Net talks to him about his priorities for achieving food security in Sub-Saharan Africa, some successes and key research challenges of CGIAR consortium. See article

He answers following questions:
  • After two years in office, what have been your priority areas of action and key achievements?
  • What are some of your focus areas in the next few years, especially for Sub-Saharan Africa, and why?
  • Why is it that many African countries are still food insecure?
  • What is CGIAR consortium doing to address these challenges?
  • Africa is grappling with youth unemployment. How can the youth be enticed to agriculture?

Understanding smallholder farmer attitudes to commercialization.

Understanding smallholder farmer attitudes to commercialization.
The case of maize in Kenya

23/06/2014. FAO Using the case of maize production in Kenya, this study reframes the challenge of smallholder commercialization in the context of staple food crop production and individual farm-level decision-making by a heterogeneous population of smallholder farmers. While many smallholder growers of staple crops find themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty, they differ greatly in their abilities to break this cycle and in their attitudes towards using commercial farming as the pathway for doing so. 

With an appreciation for the heterogeneity of smallholder farmers comes an understanding that supporting policies and programmes must move from traditional one-size-fits-all approaches to more targeted, customized approaches that are more likely to facilitate the sustainable uptake of a more commercially oriented approach to smallholder farming. Based on extensive primary data analysis, various innovative options for such strategies are presented in this study.

Mechanization of conservation agriculture slashes farming costs

11 June 2014. IFAD. FARMERS can increase yields, efficiency and drastically reduce the cost of ploughing, planting and weeding in the 2014 season following the introduction of mechanized Conservation Agriculture (CA). The new innovation that is being rolled out by the Lower Usuthu Sustainable Land Management (LUSLM) project (Zimbabwe), funded by the International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), uses tractor drawn Conservation Agriculture implements.

Using mechanized conservation agriculture, a farmer can complete land preparation, fertilizing and planting all
in one operation and in a fraction of the time it takes with conventional ploughing. This method uses the principles of minimum soil tillage, or “Climate Smart” agriculture practices.
  • A 4x4 John Deer 5503 supplied by Swazi Trac in Matsapha rigged with a 5-tooth rippertyne was unveiled during the first demonstration. The designated field was just over a hectare, where Lindiwe Magagula (a local farmer) intended to grow legumes.
  • When the tractor starts, the ripper opens five trenches that are almost 25-30 centimetres deep and 45 centimetres apart. The ripper leaves rows of grass between the trenches. Norman Mavuso, a sustainable Agriculture Coordinator, showed Lindiwe how to mix the herbicide and using a sprayer on her back, how to spray the grass with a special Springbok herbicide to dry the grass so that it forms a mulch cover between the rows of plants.
  • The reduced tillage equipment makes it possible for the tractor to open planting lines, apply fertilizer, seed and cover in one pass. The fertilizer dispenser is able to place fertilizer on one side of the trench and the seed on the other, eliminating the danger of the seed being scorched.
5 June 5 - 12 June, 2014.  Mulindi, Rwanda. 9th annual National Agri-show. The expo, was organized by Minagri under the theme, 'Transforming Agriculture for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods.' It attracted over 100 exhibitors from 11 countries, namely Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, India, France, USA, Swaziland and Rwanda.
CIMBRIA, a Danish agri-business processing firm is making in-roads in East Africa with a subsidiary company with main offices in Nairobi Kenya. CIMBRIA does not only deal in construction of grain plants but also provides support services which may include training farmers on how to use the machines, plus some technical advice.The company has over 40 employees from East Africa with hope to get more if fully established in Rwanda.

""We provide post-harvest machinery for handling grains such as maize, beans, rice, coffee among others," Wanjohi said. We want to extend our services to Burundi and Congo and this will be so with collaboration with the government," Peter Wanjohi the Technical Sales Assistant at CIMBRIA East Africa Ltd

Friday, June 27, 2014

Africa’s Big Seven (AB7)

22 to 24 June 2014, Midrand, South Africa. As a showcase for new and exciting foods, beverages and equipment from around the world, Africa’s Big Seven (AB7) is the biggest and most spectacular exhibition on the continent.

It’s also a versatile and highly effective platform for networking across the international food industry, and provides thousands of leads and opportunities for business – with more than 300 exhibitors from over 40 countries on the lookout for new importers, distributors, agents or representatives, but most importantly, new markets and new customers.

As the continent’s largest annual gathering of professionals for the industry it is the single most important platform for sourcing new products and technologies, networking, establishing new relationships and generally conducting business. As Africa grows and prospers, spawning a new middle class with more disposable income, demand for new and innovative foods, fast foods and home meal replacement alternatives grow. Manufacturing facilities need to be upgraded and established, wholesalers and retailers need to expand, cold chains need to be upgraded. All of this is addressed by the exhibitors at one annual event.

Seminars and workshops @ Africa’s Big Seven (AB7):
 The 7 co-located events were:
21Pan Africa Retail Trade Exhibition- Food, Beverage & Merchandise
Dry goods • groceries • frozen foods • convenience foods • HMR • fresh produce • confectionery •beverages • liquor and FMCG
AgriFoodManufacturers & Producers Expo Fresh produce • Product development • Ingredients, additives & flavourings • Processing • Quality control • Value added food products

34FoodTech Africa
International Food & Beverage Trade Fair for:
• Ingredients, additives & flavourings • Manufacturing technologies • Production, processing and packaging equipment
DrinkTech Africa
Beverage processing & packaging machinery, equipment & technology; beverage products

5Interbake Africa6 Ingredients • premixes •mixes • ready mixes• processes • equipment • shelf ready products
Retail Solutions Africa
ATM • EFT Terminals • Retail IT • Security & cash handling equipment • Shopfitting • Refrigeration • Store layout • Merchandising • Display equipment • Point of Sale systems • Back office software • Lighting


FoodBiz Africa Food, service & equipment
Hospitality, retail & institutional catering Equipment, food preparation and preservation equipment • Packaging • Warming, heating and refrigeration • Catering supplies •

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Agriculture and Food Security in Africa at the African Union summit

23 June 2014. THE African Union (AU) 23rd summit opened in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on Thursday with the official theme "Agriculture and Food Security in Africa".
Addressing the theme of the 23rd AU Summit, Dr. Dlamini Zuma said Agriculture and Food Security, are critical priority for Africa.
“If we get this right, it has the potential - along with what we do with the Blue economy - not only to propel us towards our goal of eradicating poverty and hunger in one generation, but also to contribute towards the industrialization through agro-processing and the development of infrastructure”, she noted.
Dr. Dlamini Zuma reiterated that agriculture and agribusinesses are critical to the empowerment of people, especially women and youth. “The Summit debate must look at the practical actions necessary to achieve this, including modernizing and mechanizing agriculture” she said. (see complete speech of the AUC Chairperson on the AU website.

The African Agribusiness Forum, held ahead of the 23rdOrdinary Session of the Assembly of African Union Heads of State and Government, is meant to enhance private sector engagement and inclusive agribusiness transformation in Africa.

Commissioner Tumusiime said:
The last decade of CAADP implementation, has redefined and reshaped the critical path to the attainment of Africa`s agricultural transformation objectives. Mrs. Tumusiime informed the Forum that the recent AU Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 1st to 2nd May 2014 adopted a Resolution endorsing seven Africa Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation Goals (3AGTGs) for 2025 for consideration by the AU Heads of State and Government, at their Malabo Summit.
The joint conference recommended among other things the need to enhance Public-Private Partnerships and Investment Financing for African Agriculture and called on stakeholders to establish and/or strengthen inclusive public-private partnerships for at least five (5) priority agricultural commodity value chains with a strong linkage to smallholder agriculture and to strengthen the capacities of domestic apex private sector intermediary institutions for inclusive facilitation and coordination to ensure engagement of the private sector in CAADP implementation.

In a key note address, the new AUC Head of Division of Agriculture and Food Security Mr. Boaz Keizire, highlighted the key opportunities and challenges for enhancing Africa’s agribusiness value chains and the outcomes of the AU Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development and Aquaculture.

Sibiri Jean Zoundi
, administrateur du club Sahel de l’OCDE, confiait à Radio France International
« Même si les engagements de Maputo n’ont pas été pleinement tenus, Maputo demeure un tournant majeur dans la prise de conscience en Afrique des potentialités du secteur agricole et de la nécessité de mettre en place des infrastructures modernes adéquates, notamment celles qui permettant de relier les zones de production aux zones de consommation. 
Difficile cependant de s’en contenter, surtout quand on sait que le continent injecte chaque année 33 milliards de dollars dans l’importation des denrées de bases dans un contexte de hausse du prix. Aussi la société civile invite-t-elle les dirigeants africains à passer «de la rhétorique à l’action».Selon M. Zoundi :
« Il faut désormais passer, d’une stratégie de sécurité alimentaire à une stratégie de souveraineté alimentaire, c’est-à-dire relever le défi de financement de cette souveraineté. Je pense que, les débats au sommet de Malabo vont beaucoup tourner autour de cette question, car les dirigeants africains savent bien que parler de la " souveraineté " n’a aucun sens si sa mise en œuvre doit dépendre du bon vouloir des partenaires externes, quelle que soit leur générosité!»
Opinion. AU summit in Equatorial Guinea unlikely to be guided by lofty farming theme
The summit’s final document, which will emerge on Friday evening, is understood to be a congested one but few if any of the decisions will have any focus on farming or food. This does suggest that summit themes merely carry symbolic value because they are hardly accompanied by an intensive agenda and sessions that seek to deal with the subject in a detailed manner. While this ought to be of concern to AU policy makers and implementers in the short-to medium term, the nature of the AU political decision-making system renders structured discussions around summit themes almost impossible. In the absence of urgent issue-based summits between the two annual summits, the agenda of the AU will remain congested and the assembly will be forced to deal with pressing security issues before it, while attending to summit themes in a validating manner without necessarily going into detail.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ALiCE2014: African Livestock Conference and Exhibition

June 18 – 20 2014. Kampala, Uganda. The ALICE 2014 major objectives were to create an opportunity platform to stimulate technology transfer and knowledge sharing while developing intra-regional trade in livestock and livestock products.

Over 30 countries from Africa Europe and Asia participated in the conference which was attended by veterinary doctors, veterinary pharmaceutical companies and researchers in the livestock sector.

Presenting a paper on the status and opportunities in the Animal Industries in Eastern Africa, Dr. Jean Ndikumana the programme officer in charge of livestock and Fisheries at ASERECCA said the contribution of the sector in the GDP of East African Countries is still very low despite the fact that the sector has the capacity to contribute about 25%. He attributed the low contribution on the failure by most countries to increase investment in the livestock sector.
“Livestock is currently contributing only 10%. This is very small. We need to increase the investment in the sector by about 35% and that is when the sector will be productive,” he advised. He said the sector has many business opportunities which should be exploited by people in the private sector especially in the value addition chain and technology transfer.
Explaining the challenges which are hindering the sector to develop, Dr. Danilo Pezo the project leader of the small holder pig Value Chain Development in Uganda at the International Livestock Research Institute said poor livestock nutrition, inadequate access to quality veterinary services especially by the small holder livestock farmers and by less funds allocated to livestock researches are some of the challenges hindering the development of the livestock sector on the African continent .
“Small farmers need to be supported in accessing quality veterinary service especially during the out brake of livestock diseases ,more veterinary staff should be employed to ensure that in every corner of the country livestock farmers can have access to the veterinary services being offered by qualified staff,” he said.
On quick retains from the sector, the consultant asked the African ministries responsible for livestock to promote the farming of livestock like pigs sheep and poultry which he said are easy to manage and also give high returns in a short period of time.

Because of the above challenges this has kept the numerical number of Livestock on the African Continent low as compare to the global Livestock population. It is estimated that the Numerical livestock population in Africa is 231million out of the 1.3 billion in the whole world.

Uganda’s Minister of state responsible for Livestock industry Bright Rwamirama told the participants that African Countries should set aside special funds for financing livestock researches instead of depending on researches funded by the developed countries.
“Researchers in the sector is good but some of these researches done and funded by the developed countries are not helping the African countries because some cannot solve our challenges and their recommendations are very expensive to be implemented and also to be adopted by the local livestock farmers in most African countries that is why we need to carry out researches that can be useful to the local people this can be done if we can funds it by ourselves (Africa)” he explained.
(Source: East African Business Week 21/06/2014).

Most of the presentations from this year’s conference available here.

Published on 12 Mar 2014. Extract from the African Livestock Conference and Exhibition of last year: ALiCE 2013. One of the speakers was Stephen Muchiri of EAFF (see his contribution from 3min40'' till 11min 20'').

Announcement: Moderated sessions July 28-30th 2014 from USAID on Animal Science Research Priorities

USAID invites the international research communities and all other interested stakeholders to the online AgExchange on Animal Science Research Priorities Under Feed the Future.

Reducing global poverty and hunger and improving nutrition are core objectives of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. Harnessing agricultural science and technology is critical to meeting the challenge of increasing production of more nutritious food with fewer natural resources, while adapting to climate change. The Feed the Future Research Strategy supports targeted research on sustainable intensification of plant and animal production systems and on increasing the availability of and access to nutritious foods. Livestock – including goats, sheep, cattle, pigs, poultry and fish – are central to this effort and contribute to smallholder incomes and household nutrition.

The AgExchange will take place during the week of July 28- August 1, 2014, and will explore animal science research priorities to strengthen livestock value chains in developing countries and will inform future USAID livestock research investments.

Moderated sessions will take place Monday through Wednesday, July 28-30th, and topics will include:
  • Research priorities for livestock production within different agro-environmental systems such as dryland and mixed livestock-crop systems and intensive production systems
  • Capacity building needs related to livestock research in developing countries
  • Policy dimensions of livestock production and marketing 
  • The role of livestock in global food security and USAID’s technology scaling initiative
  • The relationships and coordination between projects and other donors. 
Subtopics during these discussions will include:
  • Climate change
  • The role of nutrition in human and animal health
  • Animal health and disease
  • Gender
  • Livestock value chains
  • Livestock technologies

CAAST-Net Plus annual meeting

17-19 June 2014. Lisbon, Portugal. CAAST-Net Plus annual meeting. Project partners and invited stakeholders gathered for their second annual meeting of the CAAST-Net Plus project.

CAAST-Net Plus is a network of 25 partner organisations from all over Europe and sub-Saharan Africa. CAAST-Net Plus actions rely on bi-regional dialogue among stakeholders for gathering informed opinion and experience about the bi-regional cooperation process, formulating and disseminating it in such a way as to be admissible to the formal bi-regional Science Technology and Innovation (STI) policy dialogue process and to programme owners.

The Work Package on Africa-Europe STI cooperation on the food security global challenge has following objectives:
  1. Assess the impact of Africa-Europe collaborative research on joint food security priorities;
  2. Contribute to bridging the public-private sector gap for the dissemination and exploitation of food security research results;
  3. Foster a Europe-Africa multi-actor platform which promotes synergies and coordination of programming and/or policy approaches within and between EU and AU MS for addressing researchable joint food security priorities;
  4. Enhancing the framework conditions for bi-regional S and T cooperation in food security RDI: promoting the sharing of information, knowledge, experiences and good practices; finding innovative solutions for complex issues, establishing a ‘level playing field’ and facilitating the deployment of new products and services
Melissa Plath from Finland, Constantine from 
Greece and George and Masahudu from Ghana
The Work Package on Africa-Europe STI cooperation on the Climate Change global challenge has following objectives:
  1. To assess the impact of recent and on-going bi-regional research cooperation on joint climate change
  2. priorities, and the extent to which R&D outputs inform policy for more effective impact on climate change outcomes;
  3. To examine the framework conditions for bi-regional climate change cooperation, identify barriers and propose solutions with a view to facilitating the translation of R and D outputs into new technologies, goods and services;
  4. To explore and propose policy interventions to facilitate the exploitation of bi-regional Rand D outputs by the private sector; and propose mechanisms that make provision for improved responsiveness of R and D actors to the needs and opportunities identified by industry.
  5. To encourage the setting up of sustainable, voluntary platforms of collaborating EU MS bilateral research (and capacity building) programmes, coupled with broad consortia of stakeholders, for the coordination of support for joint climate change priorities leading to bi-regional research partnerships.
The Work Package on EU-Africa bi-regional ST&I cooperation on health has following objectives:
  1. Assess the impact of bi-regional research cooperation on health priorities, and the extent to which R and D outputs inform policy for more effective impact on health outcomes;
  2. Identify specific bi-regional health research priorities, initiatives and instruments, particularly with
  3. cross-sectoral relevance, in health related topics in research and innovation which present areas of collaborative research of benefit to both regions.
  4. Support and promote synergies between and co-ordination of EU and EU MS/AS programmes and policies for health related research cooperation with Sub-Saharan Africa.
  5. Foster the engagement of the private sector (both business and capital); translating R and D outputs into goods and services, improving responsiveness of R and D actors to the needs and opportunities identified by industry; and identifying / promote cooperation on key framework conditions which impact upon private sector co-operation.
A report of this meeting will be available on the CAAST-net plus website. 

An Impact Study on EU-Africa Food Security Research was launched by CAAST-Net Plus in May to assess the impact of research cooperation between Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa on food and nutrition security.
  • The survey targetted both European and African respondents that have participated in bilateral programmes or projects funded by the European Commission, European Union member states, or national governments.
  • It asked how programming has benefitted their organisations as well as how support has impacted food and nutrition security. It also aims to assess the extent to which programme results have been adopted by industry, government or civil society stakeholders.
  • The results (forthcoming) of the survey will seek to inform both formal and informal EU-Africa food and nutrition security policy dialogue processes.
  • The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, a CAAST-Net Plus partner, is conducting the research.

“The research is necessary to understand where future investments and partnerships should focus their efforts for addressing this global challenge, and to determine the mechanisms for increasing the impact of future S&T collaboration,”
says the Technical Centre’s Senior Programme Coordinator, Judith Ann Francis.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Food and Agribusiness successes in Africa

17 - 19 June 2014. Jointly presented by the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) and the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), the 2014 Agribusiness & Food World Forum focused on Africa as a region of limitless opportunity, where agribusiness has the potential to be the engine that drives dynamic, unprecedented economic growth and development.

IFAMA is an international management organization that brings together current and future business, academic, and government leaders along with other industry stakeholders to improve the strategic focus, transparency, sustainability, and responsiveness of the global food and agribusiness system

The Symposium portion of this conference featured two-days of research based presentations from international scholars on topics addressing the global food system. The program occured in parallel tracks which include scientific papers, case studies, discussion sessions and posters.

Pamela Chitenhe from DuPont Pioneer delivered her keynote: 

"There is an unprecedented need for talented and highly 
skilled individuals with the desire to make a global impact. 
The need to recruit young people as farmers, agronomists, 
scientists and ag entrepreneurs is linked directly to Africa's
 food security and long term development" 
Session on African Agribusiness On The Move
  • Many agri-businesses in Africa are forging ahead today, creating innovative business models to serve growing domestic and export markets. In the process, they are solving problems at all levels of the value chain. This special session showcased 25 success stories from across the continent. Each case study brought its own story, while together it identified common elements of success across the case studies. 
  • Agricultural and food sector contributors included: Zambeef Products PLC-Ethiopia, Kati Farms-Uganda, WildFoods, Hillside Green Growers & Exporters-Kenya, Mountainside Farms Limited-Tanzania, Export Trading Group-Kenya, Dala Foods-Nigeria, TechnoServe, Zimbabwe, Hiruth Milk-Ethiopia, Bee Natural-Uganda, Woolworths and Greenway Farms-South Africa and more...
Session on Value Chain Development in African Agribusiness
African Agribusiness on the Move – International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) Review Special Report
IFAMA has a review publication called the International Food and Agribusiness Management Review (IFAMR), which publishes high quality contributions on topics related to the practice of management in the food and agribusiness industry. A Special Issue of the publication on case studies on Food and Agribusiness success in Africa called African Agribusiness on the Move was compiled and published.

The cases are widely diverse from all across the African continent and include studies of innovative businesses producing, among others, dried Marula fruit snacks in Botswana, shea production in Ghana, herb production in Kenya, honey production in Uganda, livestock production in Benin, Coffee production in Ethiopia and many more.

  1. Rooibos Ltd: Turning Indigenous Products Into Business Opportunities Nick Vink, Martin Bergh, and Barbara M. Novak
  2. Harnessing the Power of Africa's Sun to Produce Healthy Products for International Markets: The Case of Fruits of the Nile (FoN), Uganda Fred Yamoah, Adam Brett, and Ian Morris
  3. Bee Natural Uganda: Unlocking the Potential of Smallholder Farmers in the West Nile Margaret Lynch, Edward Mabaya, Elena Bussiere, Matthew Williger
  4. Ele Agbe in Search for a New Light in Ghana's Shea Sector Rita Abban, S.W.F. Omta, John B.K.Aheto and Victor.Scholten
  5. WildFruits: Commercializing Natural Products to Improve Rural Livelihoods in Southern Africa Edward Mabaya, Jose Jackson-Malete, Gretchen Ruethling,Casandra Marie Carter, and Jack Castle
  6. Conflict Resistant Agribusiness in Democratic Republic of Congo Shahriar Kibriya, Vincente Partida, Joseph King, and Edwin Price
  7. Inclusiveness of the Small Holder Farmer is the Key Success Factor for Ethiopian Agribusiness Development Marc Steen, Woody Maijers
  8. Building a Better Livestock Market in Benin and a Safer, More Reliable Food Supply Eric A. Newman and Mark D. Newman
  9. From Economic Vulnerability to Sustainable Livelihoods: The Case of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperatives Union (OCFCU) in Ethiopia Tadess Meskela and Yalem Teshome
  10. Agribusiness Model in Africa: A Case Study of Zambeef Products, PLC Lal K. Almas and Oladipo Obembe
  11. Building Livestock Industry Professional Capacity through ITC in East Africa Tricia Beal, Francesco Braga, and Bayella Thiam
  12. Dala Foods Nigeria Limited: Effective Product Development and Management in Foods Processing (Agribusiness) Firm Musa K.K. Gambo and Ali Madugu Safiyanu
  13. Adding Value to Aquaculture Products: Kati Farms (Uganda) Ltd. Jean-Joseph Cadilhon and Lovin Kobusingye
  14. The Journey from Subsistence to Commercial Viability: The Case of Meru Herbs, Kenya Fred Yamoah, Conall O’Caoimh, Christina Donnelly and Sally Kimotho Sawaya
  15. Practicing Ergonomic Balance in Order to Avoid the Inevitable Addiction to Cheap Labor: The Case of Greenway Farms Vito Rugani and Peter Goldsmith
  16. A Great Agribusiness as the Anchor: The Role of KijaniAgro Michael L. Cook, Rebecca Savoie, and Ronen Almog
  17. Woolworths Farming for the Future Lucy King and Suzan Thobel
  18. Inclusive Agribusiness Models for Africa: The Case of an Innovative Initiative by TechnoServe in Zimbabwe Maxwell Mutema and Pamela Chiromo
  19. Commercial Agricultural Production in Tanzania: Mountainside Farms Limited John Y. Simpson and Qing Yang Cheong
  20. Irvine’s: Developing Business and Communities in Zimbabwe Patrick Murphy and Sarah Gentry Aubry
  21. The Exporting Trading Group: Unlocking Africa's Agricultural Potential Disha M. Patel
  22. Tru-Cape Fruit Marketing, South Africa: Managing the Export Market Diversification Challenge Wilma Viviers, Marié-Luce Kuhn, Ermie Steenkamp, and Brian Berkman
  23. Growth in a Globalized Industry: The Case of Hillside Green Growers and Exporters Ltd. Edward Mabaya and Laura Cramer
  24. HomeVeg Tanzania: Managing a New Strategy Amidst GLIMPSE Challenges Theresia Dominic, Ludwig Theuvsen, Mussa Mvungi and Ray Ufunguo
Talent Factor, Noble Ambition of Feeding the World, and Africa Agribusiness’ Age of Opportunity.

According to IFAMA President, Thad Simons, the “Talent Factor” is one of the most exciting aspects of this global dialogue. In total, 20 teams comprised of students pursuing agribusiness careers are part of the event. Each year, the Forum brings into focus employment opportunities for food and agribusiness students as they interact with agribusiness executives, government officials and academics. Students are able to participate in a number of activities that showcase their unique skills for potential employers.

The competition is in its ninth year and teams are presented with a case for which they have to develop and present a business plan on how they intend to implement the plan. This year, the challenge was to develop a plan to expand the market of a multinational alcoholic beverage into African markets and also to integrate local products and services into this plan; the teams were judged accordingly.

The winning team – from Purdue University, Indiana, USA – included David Boussios, John Tobin, Rachel Carnegie, Brian Bourquard and John Lai. Second, third and fourth prizes were respectively awarded to Santa Clara University, California, USA, Wageningen University, Netherlands and New Holland University, Netherlands. These teams reached the final competition round from a preliminary round earlier during the Forum in which 20 teams from around the globe participated.

AgriFuture Days 2014

16 - 18 June 2014. Villach, Austria. TOPIC: ICT’s Improving Family Farming. The 3 days were organized by GFAR and PROGIS. This forum discussed the future of agriculture in the context how ICTs can contribute to improve family farming and make it more sustainable, resilient and profitable. It looked at key issues in 3 areas where application and use ICTs makes a difference:
  1. Informing family farming communities
  2. Improving family farm’s production, productivity and marketing efficiencies
  3. Contributing to the future of agriculture
download the preliminary program  (final version - June 10th, 2014)

  • Agricultural Machinery, the new challenges for research and innovation. Ing. Alessio Bolognesi, FEDERUNACOMA Electric and Electronic Technical Service Italy 
  • AgriConneXions Using ICT to Promote Smallholder Business Credibility through Improved Social Capital and Commercial and Technical Skills of Producer Organizations. Getaw Tadesse Gebreyohanes IFPRI Ethiopia 
  • Agribusiness in Africa – Streamlining of governmental and private sector initiatives in Germany.

  • Johannes Kurt, Manager Southern Africa, German-African Business Association, Germany
  • South Africa Lessons learned: ICTs for small-scale farming, Johann (Rensie van Rensburg, CSIR (Council for Scientific & Industrial Research) South Africa
  • Collaborative logistics ideas for small holder farmers and small urban consumers in developing countries like Africa ; Prof. Dr.-Ing. Kyandoghere Kyamakya and Dr. Oana Mitrea, Transportation Informatics Group (TIG) at the Institute for Smart-System Technologies, Alpen-Adria University,Austria
  • Needs to achieve greater resilience in family farming Dr. Ir. Robin Bourgeois, Senior Foresight and Development Policies Expert, Secretariat of the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR c/o FAO- NRD), Italy 

The Sustainable Intensification of European Agriculture

This report has been undertaken on the initiative of the Public Utility Foundation for Rural Investment Support for Europe (RISE)
June 2014. 98 pages.

24 June 2014.  Rise Foundation Brussels. The report was launched  (Brussels, Tuesday, 24 June, 2014 - 13:15 - 14:30) at the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS) by Professor Jo Swinnen, former EU Agricultural Commissioner and RISE CEO Dr. Franz Fischler and project coordinator Professor Allan Buckwell of the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP).

“The report makes clear that the next increase in global food output must come from continued intensification of existing agricultural land, and that this must be accompanied by a steep reduction in the negative environmental consequences of agriculture”, commented Professor Buckwell. “The last round of negotiations failed to produce meaningful green reform of the CAP, which is why this report is written with the 2017 mid-term review in mind”.
“This report represents the first systematic look at the policies needed to prepare European agriculture for the challenges of the 21st century. It represents a tremendous contribution to future rounds of CAP reform”, said Dr. Franz Fischler.
The concept of Sustainable Intensification (SI) is used in the context of feeding a global population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. The RISE report comprises the first analysis of SI in a European context, and argues it must be the paradigm within which future agricultural policy is made in the EU.

The report makes three key points:
  1. The agricultural input which needs to be intensified across all of Europe is knowledge per hectare. This means knowledge in managing delicate ecosystems, knowledge to ensure that pollinator populations thrive, knowledge to make water management minimise flooding, as well as knowledge to achieve more food output per hectare. 
  2. The EU needs to devise a measurement tool for environmental farming performance. It would be strongly preferable to build on an EU-wide set of indicators already developed, for example the Joint Research Centre’s IRENA indicators. 
  3. In addition to better enforcement of existing environmental regulations, and using policy measures under the CAP, changes in farming practices must also come from farmers and private actors themselves. Many companies up- and downstream already operate sustainability schemes, some of which are reviewed in the report. These should be strengthened and broadened, with more efforts to monitor and demonstrate their impact.
page 24: 
There are four main aspects to the EU’s external agricultural footprint:
  1. the first is the sheer agricultural land area used outside of the continent: “the currently occupied land in third countries (34.9 million hectares) is almost equivalent to the entire territory of Germany". About 72% of Europe’s demand for protein feed crops is met by imports, mainly soy from Brazil, Argentina and the USA. To produce this, an area of 20 million hectares of land outside of Europe is needed, an equivalent to 10% of Europe’s own arable land. The remaining 28% of protein feed crops is produced in Europe, and occupies only 3% of Europe’s arable land.
  2. Second, the external agricultural footprint can be expressed in water terms. The EU is a net water importer: "40% of the water used to produce food for the EU is used outside its territory".
  3. Third, the external land use footprint has consequences for biodiversity in the areas where land is converted from natural habitat to farmland. However, methods for assessing the costs of these impacts in terms of biodiversity are currently not well advanced: “it is impossible, to date, to arrive at a full picture of where indirect land use change (iLUC) has happened already and how much area has been affected, where it will happen in the future, and what its implications for biodiversity are”
  4. Fourth, land use change has consequences for global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as forests are converted into pastures or used to grow crops, a process which switches land from being in equilibrium or a net sink, to being a significant CO2 source. This, too, is an unresolved question: “the lack of data and understanding (epistemic uncertainty) prevents convergence of judgment on a central value for iLUC emissions”.
It is far more important to know the biodiversity, soil, GHG (global greenhouse gas) and cultural landscape ‘footprints’ of EU imports than their land and water effects.

Published on 14 Apr 2014
Franz Fischler, former EU Commissioner for Agriculture and currently chairman of the RISE Foundation, explains his view on "sustainable intensification" in agriculture and on the recently approved CAP reform. Filmed by Angelo Di Mambro at the Forum for Agriculture held in Brussels, 1 April 2014. Subtitles in Italian are available.

Sustainable Energy for Food: a Multi-Donor Approach to Supporting Clean Energy for Agricultural Growth

12 June 2014. Bonn, Germany. Sustainable Energy for Food Challenges and solutions for sustainable energy use in the agriculture and food industry.

This GIZ-DIE symposium showed where the various stakeholders currently stand on this issue. It also examined which energy-smart solutions exist in our agri-food systems and investigate how to accelerate their broad-based roll-out.

In his keynote address, Tilman Altenburg from the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) explained the relevance of this topic and map out the challenges ahead. Brief inputs looked in greater depth at how much and what type of energy agri-food chains require, as well as explored sustainable energy options for a viable food industry.

The morning’s event took a close  look at innovative regional energy supply solutions and also showcased actual regional development experiences. The topic of energy and food is now firmly on the international cooperation agenda. Several donors, including Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), launched the international initiative Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development (PAEGC) in June 2012. 

The afternoon session focused on the initiative’s goals and how it intends to achieve them. It also showcased the online wiki platform Powering Agriculture, where you can find information, share knowledge and engage in exchanges with your colleagues in this field of specialisation. This was followed by three parallel working groups that will focus on specific aspects in more depth:
  1. Working group 1: ‘Cooperation with the Private Sector’
  2. Working group 2: ‘Energy Efficiency – A Potential Gain for Agro Industries’
  3. Working group 3: ‘Optimising Agricultural Irrigation from an Energy Perspective’
Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development is a multi-year initiative focused on increasing food security and driving economic growth in the developing world through effective and affordable clean energy solutions for farmers.

This effort aims to bring renewable energy technologies to all points in the agricultural value chain, including on-farm uses like water pumping, cold storage to decrease post-harvest loss, and value-added processing like grinding or drying. USAID has been joined in these efforts by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), Duke Energy, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the African Development Bank and through the Powering Agriculture Energy Grand Challenge.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Agro-sylvo-pastoral systems to feed West and Central Africa

16 au 20 juin 2014. 
Niamey, Niger. Quatrième Semaine Scientifique agricole de l’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre et Onzième Assemblée Générale du CORAF/WECARD. Theme: Innovations in agro-sylvo-pastoral systems to feed West and Central Africa.

Programme in English

Side event on: Contribution of Rice Research in Regional Initiative on Rice (Offensive Riz)

Dr Yamar MBodj, Director of Rural Hub and Dr Mandiaye Diagne of AfricaRice made presentations on the main side event theme.The side event aimed to demonstrate the contribution of research to the success of the Regional Initiative on rice. It examined the contribution of the different poles of rice development to the success of the Regional Initiative on rice and capacity building of stakeholders at national and regional levels. 

Dr Alain Sy Traoré, Director of Agriculture of ECOWAS has made introductory remarks marked by three key points: 
  1. the 15 countries of the ECOWAS region chose rice as a strategic sub-sector which is in line with the Regional Program on Agricultural Investment and ECOWAP. 
  2. He also stressed the need to build national reserves against food insecurity in the sub region to compensate for shortages and damage during critical periods with emphasis on rice. 
  3. Dr Traore noted that AfricaRice is a technical resource center on all aspects of rice production in the sub-region.
Side event on: The private sector and CORAF/WECARD for useful research
The commitment of CORAF / WECARD for this theme comes through: a workshop in November 2013 to raise the mobilization and involvement of the private sector in the implementation of the second operational and strategic plan of CORAF/WECARD; a gender policy involving the private sector in its activities to create favorable incubation conditions for youth and self-employment of women; the implementation of a "Knowledge for employment-based Internet" project on the one hand and on the other UNIBRAIN project to increase the use of the results of scientific research as a source of new jobs for educated youth. Note the need to develop public-private partnerships and strategies for the exploitation of the results of scientific research.

To motivate more private researchers, participants suggested developing market mechanisms of search results. To reverse the situation, the participants of this session invited the CORAF / WECARD fund youth activities in addition to the "knowledge for employment based on the Internet" program and develop public instruments to promote employment youth through the use of technologies and innovations. This is to make agriculture a business and a source of employment especially for young people. Private research is facing enormous challenges, both internally and externally. 

In addition, the potential for private innovation is often not taken into account by conventional
. Also, research driven by private is forced to develop its own strategy and make his own plea. It is in this context that fall activities Gisele Lopes Almeida who was able to make an ecological agriculture business profitable by finding biological solutions to input problems. Three types of organic products have been developed by her company: 
  1. the nematicides biodegradeur 
  2. the biocompost and 
  3. the activator nematicide growth. 
All these innovations have the advantage of preserving the health of plants and animals including promoting modern family farming.

Le Réseau pour la Gestion de l’Information, de la Communication et des Connaissances Agricoles 
Krishan Bheenick, Senior Programme Coordinator for
Knowledge Management, shared details of the
Knowledge Management work CTA and CORAF are
collaborating on, at the official launch of CORAF ReGICA
in a side event organised by the two organisations.
    (ReGICA) est initié par le Conseil ouest et centre africain pour la recherche et le développement agricoles (CORAF) pour répondre à un besoin de gestion des connaissances agricoles des pays membres. 

    En effet, plusieurs initiatives sont en cours ou ont été menées en Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre dans le domaine agricole mais il manque un cadre accessible où les contenus générés par ces initiatives sont agrégés au moyen des outils web2.0 et rendus disponibles à tous les acteurs.

    • Faciliter la Collaboration entre les institutions et individus membres en mettant à leur disposition les outils et les capacités nécessaires à un meilleur travail collaboratif dans le domaine de la recherche et le développement agricoles au sein de la zone CORAF; 
    • Renforcer la Visibilité des activités de recherche et de développement agricoles menées par les institutions et individus membres; Faciliter le Renforcement des Capacités des institutions et individus membres dans l’utilisation des outils TIC et de gestion de connaissances dans le domaine de la recherche et du développement agricoles.
    17th June 2014. The book ‘Unlocking the Potential for Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) in the Savannah of West Africa’was launched on  by the Chairman of the 4th CORAF/WECARD General Assembly, Dr Adama Traore, the acting Director General of AfricaRice. 

    This was the third launch of a book documenting the work undertaken to establish a proof the IAR4D approach. 
    1. The first launch was of the book documenting a synthesis of all the work carried out in the three sub-regions. This took place in Durban, South Africa during the 10th CAADP Partnership Platform meeting in March 2014. 
    2. The second launch was for the book summarsing the outcomes of the work carried out in the Southern Africa sub-region. This took place in May 2014, during the 1stCCARDESA General Assembly in Gaborone, Botswana. 
    This book documents the proof of the IAR4D approach. IAR4D was developed by FARA as a means to overcoming the low adoption of agricultural research outputs by end users leading to limited impact of agricultural research on the continent. The research coordinated by FARA under the Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Programme (SSA CP) has established that IAR4D delivers more benefits (income and food security) than the conventional research-to-development approach. The superior performance of IAR4D is mainly attributed to stronger linkages and interactions among agricultural value-chain actors from commencement of the research onwards.

    5th Edition of the Salon Des Solidarités

    12 - 14 June 2014.
    Paris. 5th Edition of the Salon Des Solidarités. Family farming was in the spotlight in this second edtion. The association Salon Des Solidarités is born thanks to the partnership between two organizations : ASAH (Association au Service de l’Action Humanitaire) and HUMANIS. Born in 2007, this association aims to organize the exhibition « Salon Des Solidarités » every 2 years. Her vocation is to gather together numerous players in the international solidarity (NGO, associations, local authorities, institutions, companies...) and citizens ( an increase is noticed durgin every exhibition, +27% between 2010 and 2012).

    Conférence : « L’agriculture familiale face aux défis sociaux et environnementaux du 21e siècle » par Marc Dufumier et Henri Rouillé d’Orfeuil.

    Table ronde 1 : « L’agriculture familiale, une source d’innovations pour les exploitations agricoles»

    L’agriculture familiale est source de nombreuses innovations au niveau des exploitations : conçues pour
    permettre aux petits agriculteurs de s’adapter à un environnement changeant et pour améliorer les rendements, ces innovations constituent souvent une réponse de facto aux enjeux sociaux et environnementaux.
    • Ces innovations peuvent être techniques, mais également d’ordre organisationnel, institutionnel ou financier : comment ces différentes dimensions sont-elles prises en compte ?
    • Ces innovations sont souvent développées par les agriculteurs eux-mêmes. Est-il possible de les dupliquer, de les transférer ? Comment les promouvoir ? A quels coûts, et avec quel impact pour les paysans ?
    • La recherche et développement (RetD) est elle aussi source d’innovation. Les agriculteurs en bénéficient-ils ? Les impacts de ces innovations auprès des petites agricultures familiales sont-ils connus ?
    Atelier participatif 1.1 « Quels liens entre la recherche et la petite agriculture familiale ? »

    En 2014, la recherche s’intéresse encore peu à la petite agriculture familiale. La transmission des résultats de la recherche et son appropriation sont pourtant essentiels pour contribuer à développer l’agriculture familiale et ses pratiques. A quels coûts (humains, financiers) se fait le transfert des résultats de la recherche vers la petite agriculture familiale?
    • Bilan des relations entre Recherche et Développement des petites agricultures familiales. Présentation de quelques programmes et interventions destinés à assurer la transmission les travaux et résultats de la R&D à la petite agriculture familiale: le cas du Bénin
    Atelier participatif 1.2 « L'agro-écologie : un nouveau modèle pour l’agriculture familiale? »
    • Quelles innovations agro-écologiques pour garantir une durabilité sociale, économique et environnementale pour l'agriculture familiale?
    • Quels enjeux? Produire plus et mieux?
    • Quels changements possibles? Comment construire et transmettre les connaissances?
    Table ronde 2 : « "Innovations organisationnelles, économiques et, institutionnelles pour une agriculture familiale mieux inscrite dans son environnement" » / Vendredi 13 juin de 16h30 à 17h30

    L’agriculture emploie plus de 1,3 milliard de personnes dans le monde, soit près de 40% de la population active mondiale. Toutefois, cette proportion a considérablement baissé au cours du 20e siècle. La petite agriculture familiale est la première concernée, ce qui pose des risques importants pour la sécurité alimentaire mondiale et la préservation de l’environnement.

    Dans ce contexte, l’environnement économique, institutionnel et territorial joue un rôle déterminant pour assurer le maintien et le développement de l’agriculture familiale. Dans les pays du Sud comme du Nord, les orientations stratégiques nationales ou locales tiennent-elles compte de l’agriculture familiale ? Quels débouchés économiques pour la petite agriculture familiale ?
    • Comment la petite agriculture familiale est-elle incluse dans les orientations stratégiques nationales et locales
    • Quels sont les réseaux de distribution des produits issus de la petite agriculture familiale à l’échelle locale, régionale, nationale (Des exemples, la place de l’innovation dans ces dynamiques (cf. commerce équitable)
    • Apprentissage et innovation à travers l’expérience de pôles d’entreprises agricoles en Afrique sub-saharienne (Projet 2SCALE / ICRA)
    Atelier participatif 2.1 « Spécialisation ou diversification des territoires agricoles : quels choix et quels solutions innovantes pour maintenir une agriculture familiale ?

    Faut-il spécialiser ou diversifier des territoires agricoles ? La question fait débat et peut orienter fortement des stratégiques politiques nationales et locales. Au-delà de cette question se pose celle du maintien de l’agriculture familiale sur un territoire : face aux défis de l’accès au foncier ou de l’accaparement des terres, quelles solutions politiques et quelles innovations peuvent être trouvées ??

    Atelier participatif 2.2 « L'agriculture familiale face au marché : comment assurer une répartition juste des richesses et de la valeur ajoutée »

    L’un des enjeux pour le maintien de l’agriculture familiale est de trouver un marché qui assure aux petits agriculteurs une rémunération stable et juste. Du producteur au consommateur, comment améliorer la création et la répartition des richesses à tous les niveaux de la chaîne et particulièrement de la petite agriculture familiale ? Les acteurs économiques, les acteurs solidaires et les acteurs politiques sont sources d’innovations pour répondre à cet enjeu.
    • Présentation des principaux modes de mise en marché des produits issus de la petite agriculture familiale : analyse des forces et limites. Quels rôles pour les acteurs solidaires ?
    Table ronde 3 : « "Bilan et grand témoin»  Henri Rouillé d’Orfeuil

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014

    ICARDA's Sub-Saharan research and innovation platform

    28-29 May 2014. Addis Ababa. ICARDA has launched a Sub-Saharan research and innovation platform.

    The countries partnering on the regional initiative – Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Somalia, and Djibouti – are set to gain from the fully participatory approach of the program right from the onset. 

    A two-day program launch and consultation event, provided an opportunity for heads and members of the National Agricultural Research Systems of all six countries to steer the research agenda to ensure the initiative responds to their national priorities, needs and challenges. 

    The research agenda further benefited from insights and active participation of several alliances that play a major role in sustainable agricultural development in the region, such as the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and CCARDESA.