Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, July 31, 2014

CCAFS East Africa training in climate-smart innovations

28 July - 2 August, 2014. Agricultural Society of Kenya (ASK) Kisumu Fair.

As part of its 2014 work plan on participatory action research in Nyando climate- smart villages, CCAFS East Africa intends to train 500 women, leaders and entrepreneurs and farmers in climate-smart innovations focusing on three thematic areas; new climate-smart practices and agro-advisories, appropriate on farm tools and technologies; and accessing micro finance and
micro- insurance.

Farmers will be trained on agricultural practices and how agro-advisory services can improve their knowledge in making choices about farm enterprises under climate-smart agriculture.

The specific topics of the Kisumu ASK training are:

  • Appropriate technologies to increase on-farm productivity: e.g. agronomic methods, livestock technologies, farm equipment, post-harvest processing technologies 
  • Climate related risk management through index insurance and microfinance 
  • Agro-advisories and how to integrate them with new and improved agriculture practices

How to build research partnerships that benefit farmers?

9 July 2014. This article was originally published on SciDev.Net and the Southern Times (South Africa). 

True partnerships are vital for linking ‘upstream’ innovation to ‘downstream’ uses, says CGIAR Generation Challenge Programme’s Jean-Marcel Ribaut.

Agricultural research for development spans a broad spectrum of activities — from ‘upstream’ research, generally at universities or advanced research institutes, to much more ‘downstream’ research by plant breeders to put better crops in farmers’ hands.

  • As a result of this spread, activities can become fragmented, with little communication between specialised teams along the research and development (R and D) chain. This is often counterproductive, especially when researchers stretch beyond their area of expertise.
  • In addition, broader and more diverse research portfolios often compromise efficiency and create unhealthy competition for funding. And resulting research projects may never turn into products that improve farm productivity.
  • True and effective partnerships — connecting the right people from complementary teams — is one obvious way to improve R and D effectiveness.
It is important to find right people and teams, and to have adequate financial and human resources to manage partnerships effectively, and as a result believesvagricultural policy research team in African countries should work with a range of partner countries to provide them with support to create policies that will be successfully put into real action.

Demand-driven research needs to strengthen each part of the agricultural industry from production to processing, marketing and to the final consumer. Therefore, key partnerships need to be fostered with other key research organisations, meaning researchers must work more closely development practitioners in agriculture.

More so, governments, policy decision makers and other stakeholders must create agricultural policy clusters, and their mandate must be to provide a knowledge sharing process and information platform to promote innovations, technologies, and best practices that can benefit farmers.
“A key challenge in true partnership is to strike the right balance between management that serves the programme as a whole and creating ownership so all partners can nurture a network spirit.

I must add a necessary note of caution: this model can work only if it builds on strong and well-established institutions, and as a complement to core activities.

Another key element of success is identifying specific research objectives that can be achieved in a given time frame. Our experience also suggests that the benefits of having an independent management team outstrip the cost it entails.

Jean-Marcel Ribaut is director of the CGIAR Generation Challenge Programme, a plant-breeding partnership network hosted at CIMMYT’s headquarters in Mexico. He can be contacted at 


[1] Paramjit S. Sachdeva and others Report of the final external review of the Generation Challenge Programme (CGIAR, April 2014)

Agribusiness Africa conference 2014

15 - 16 July 2014. Midrand. The Agribusiness Africa conference offered an opportunity to meet with role-players in the agri-business sector and learn from the experts on how to enhance food security through commercial agricultural practices on the African continent.
Extracts of the programme:

Lester Mouton, President: Agri SA Mozambique on “The importance of primary producers unlocking the food value chain in Africa and understanding logistical changes.”

H.E. Ambassador of France, 
Elisabeth Barbier
was asked to talk about political and 
Introduction by Dr Bellah Mpofu, programme manager at FANRPAN.


AfDB’s NERICA dissemination project receives US Treasury Award

23 July 2014. Washington D.C. The African Development Bank’s New Rice for Africa (NERICA) project received Development Impact Honors from the US Treasury Department in an awards ceremony.

The NERICA Dissemination Project increased domestic production and food security in seven West African countries, namely Benin, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria, Mali and Sierra Leone. The project was selected from a pool of 29 submissions from various multilateral development banks (MDBs). It is the third consecutive year in which an African Development Bank project has won a US Treasury Award.

The US Treasury Department’s Development Impact Honors awards promote the highest standards in development by recognizing outstanding projects undertaken by multilateral development banks. The program seeks to reward excellence in project design and implementation and to showcase the vital work MDBs carry out in communities, countries and regions to support the world’s poorest people.

O.N.U. - NERICA The Seed of Hope (AfDB) from City VIDEO on Vimeo.

Global Initiative for Agricultural Education Formed

Participants of the global expert consultation workshop
on ‘One Agriculture-One Science: A Global Education
Consortium’ held at the University of Florida, Gainesville
17-18 July 2014. Gainesville, Florida, USA. India, Africa and the USA have formed an international partnership across the countries to revitalizing global agricultural education, capacity building and technology transfer.

One Agriculture-One Science: A Global Education Consortium will be made possible with the collaboration of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and top universities from all these continents.

The ‘One Agriculture-One Science’ will see the formation of a consortium of international educators including select universities in the USA, international and regional organizations, and universities in interested regions, especially from the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).

The launch was attended by select experts from land grant state universities in the USA, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the African Green Revolution Alliance (AGRA), the Regional University Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM, a consortium of 42 universities in 19 countries in Africa), US Department of Agriculture, US Agency for International Development, and CGIAR centres.
“The ‘One Agriculture-One Science’ will see the formation of a consortium of international educators including select universities in the USA, international and regional organizations, and universities in interested regions, especially from the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa),” Dr K Ramesh Reddy, Graduate Research Professor and Chair of Soil and Water Science Department, UF-IFAS said.

25 July 2014. African scientists visit UAS, Dharwad. A five-member scientific delegation from Bunda College Malawi, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Africa visited the University of Agricultural Sciences in Dharwad and held discussion with the experts here on wide range of topics related to agricultural research and operations.

The team comprising of agronomist Vernon Kabambe, plant breeder Moses Maliro, soil chemist Patson Nalivata, agricultural entomologist Trust Kasambala and agricultural economist Josef Djanza were in UAS Dharwad for four days from July 20 as part of the Obama Singh Initiative as tripartite arrangement between Cornell University, USA, Bunda College, Malawi and Sathguru Consultants, Hyderabad.

On trial: Agricultural biotechnology research in Africa

21 July 2014. SciDev. GM’s potential in Africa impeded by ‘dysfunctional debate’. Opportunities to enhance crop yields and reduce poverty in Africa are being lost because of a “polarised public debate” on the continent, according to a report by the international policy institute Chatham House.

Genetic modification (GM) research projects remain stuck at the field trial stage due to governments’ fears keeping the technology from African farmers, it says.

This “deadlock” of continual field trials has allowed African governments to appease both sides of the GM debate: proponents are pleased research is done, whereas opponents are satisfied that research has not led to products on the market, the report says.
“Part of the problem is that it is a very one-sided debate. Governments are not doing a
good job of providing reliable information and data that contradicts the misinformation campaigns about GM. Politicians and policymakers are wary of stepping into the debate,” says author Rob Bailey, from Chatham House.
The report cites evidence from a survey of ongoing GM research and development projects in selected African countries by the networking organisation FARA (Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa): from 2010 to 2013 none of the surveyed projects had progressed from field trials.
“Many of the opponents of GM crops are not interested in engagement or understanding. They want to eliminate the technology altogether,” says Calestous Juma, an international development expert at Harvard Kennedy School, United States. “This is why the highly restrictive laws were put in place [in Africa] before the technology was given a chance or before there was sufficient evidence either way. It is also the reason why some of the opponents destroy field trials,” he says. “It is because they do not want to see any evidence that might lead to the adoption of the technology. They have made up their minds that biotechnology should be eliminated. The situation is more like war than it is like debate.”
25/07 BBC Africa 'missing out on biotech green revolution'
25/07 Voice of America Researchers: Africa Genetically Modified Crops Held Back by Scaremongering
21/07 All Africa Africa: On Trial - Agricultural Biotechnology in Africa

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Technical handbook of domestication and production of diptera black Soldier Fly

15 juillet 2014. Technical handbook of domestication and production of diptera black Soldier Fly Hermetia illucens, Stratiomydae
Domenico Caruso, Emilie Devic, I Wayan Subamia, Pascale Talamond, Etienne Baras Badan penelitian dan pengembangan- IRD

Ce manuel technique a pour objectif de fournir les indications nécessaires pour la domestication et le développement de la production de l’insecte Hermetia illucens. Connu également sous le nom de Black Soldier Fly (BSF), ce diptère cosmopolite, appartenant à la famille des Stratiomyidae, est un non nuisible.

Saprophage au stade larvaire il est capable de bio dégrader des substrats ou des déchets organiques divers. Depuis quelques années, la valorisation des sous-produits agroalimentaire et le recyclage des déchets urbains sont devenus incontournables et le potentiel des larves de BSF dans ce domaine n’a pas échappé à de nombreux chercheurs. Les larves sont capables de traiter et de réduire les masses de déchets organiques et leur action diminue aussi significativement les odeurs provenant des matières en décomposition.

Mainstreaming Nutrition in Agriculture Development Plans

Published on 14 Jul 2014

10th CAADP Contributed interview with H.E. Dr Ibrahim Mayaki NEPAD CAADP - FRENCH

Regional Training Workshop to build capacity of Farmer Organizations in selected Agribusiness Models

28 - 30th July 2014. Naivasha-Kenya. Regional Training Workshop to build capacity of Farmer Organizations in selected Agribusiness Models.

Related: SFOAP supervision to East Africa

The Support to Farmer Organizations in Africa Program (SFOAP). The SFOAP is supporting farmers organizations (FOs)' institutional, advocacy and economic capacities at regional, national and continental levels in Africa. It is supporting EAFF National Farmer Organizations. The main phase supports the development of FOs’ economic services to facilitate the integration of smallholder farmers in value chains. During the Supervision mission, IFAD visited the KIRINYAGA Dairy Cooperative in Kenya, member of EAFF, that is benefiting from support of SFOAP Component 3 to critically review the implementation of the Programme by EAFF.

4th RUFORUM Biennial Conference

19 - 25 July 2014, Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique. Over 600 delegates attended the Fourth Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture Biennial Conference.

The Regional Universities Forum for CapacityBuilding in Agriculture (RUFORUM) is celebrating its 10th anniversary under the theme, "African Higher Education Week: Transforming Agricultural Education - a Platform for the Way Forward."

See further RUFORUM conference blog.

RUFORUM organized a side session where it interacted 

with the Alumni students who have been in the field to 
listen to them in order to know the changes needed in the 
approach to the career path.
FUFORUM's 10th anniversary celebrations coincides with the AU annual theme of Agriculture and Food Security, as well as the 10th anniversary of the Comprehensive AfricanAgricultural Development Programme (CAADP), a blue print agreed upon, and signed in Maputo in 2003, by African Heads of Statesand Governments for achieving 6% economic growththrough agricultural transformation.

In her keynote address Dr. Dlamini Zuma said that Agriculture over the last decade grew by 4% per annum, lower than the target of 6% as envisaged by CAADP
"African agriculture should and must do much better, to ensure our collective food security, to reverse the trend of being a net importer of food, to create jobs and to contribute towards industrialisation." 
Another keynote address was delivered by Mrs. Graca Machel, a Member of the International Panel of Elders and Former Mozambiquan Minister of Education. The event was officially opened by the Minister of Science and Technology, and representative of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Mozambique.

Dr Wanjiru from AWARD fellowship
FARA and partners (e.g. NPCA, SROs, ANAFE, RUFORUM and other key regional agencies) are jointly implementing a project known as the Africa Human Capital in Science, Technology and Agripreneurship for Food Security Framework (AHC-STAFF). 
  • The AHC-STAFF seeks to undertake exhaustive studies to determine current and future capacity needed to propel Africa’s agriculture and recommend appropriate capacity strengthening actions to address the identified needs. 
  • The project has adopted a technology capital (within the wider value) chain’ approach to elucidating requisite capacity for technical change needed to uplift Africa’s agriculture. 
  • The project will assess the overall national capacity needs for knowledge/technology generation, knowledge/technology diffusion, and knowledge/technology adoption and utilization in priority program areas of the NAFSIPs. 
  • The assessments will be conducted in all the CAADP post-compact countries over a three-year period, and will furnish credible grounding for comprehensive human capital formation and institutional strengthening. 
In the first year, the following countries will be targeted:
  • ASARECA: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Djibouti
  • CCARDESA: Angola, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia
  • CORAF/WECARD: Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia
  • NASRO: Tunisia, Mauritania

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Establishing farmers’ agricultural banks at the country or regional level in Eastern Africa

16 July 2014. Nairobi. Fin4Ag Conference. Session S49: The East African farmers’ challenge: establishing farmers’ agricultural banks at the country or regional level in Eastern Africa: prospects and practical steps ahead.

EAFF commissioned a study in 2013 to explore agricultural financing models across the region: Investigating agricultural financing models and approaches for farmers and farmer organizations in Eastern Africa. The study generated various ideas on possible viable models to be scaled out. Despite these initiatives, a comprehensive solution to the challenge of access to affordable credit still eludes the smallholder agricultural sector. Another study was commissioned by EAFF on the Foreign Direct investment in agriculture in 5 countries of the sub-region.

During a session at the Fin4Ag Conference concrete proposals for an agricultural bank and policy for agricultural financing were discussed.

Highlight: the Oromia Co-operative Union by Tadesse Meskela General Manager.

A similar presentation was made during session 3 of the 2nd African Continental Briefing (13 July 2014): The banking service to its 190 member cooperatives by Dessalegn Jena, Deputy Manager Accounts & Finance, Oromia Coffee Farmers' Co-operative Union (OCFCU) and EAFF 2nd Vice President.

In 1999, Oromia Coffee Farmers' Co-operative Union was established with 35 member co-operatives, the first of its kind in Ethiopia, and Tadesse was appointed as General Manager. Membership has recently risen to 74 co-operatives, representing 68,691 smallholder farmers with a total of 343,455 family members.
"Oromia is the best example of how farmers can do business". 
Philip Kiriro, President of EAFF

Black Gold tells the complex story behind an attempt to make globalization work for the producers of the second most valuable traded commodity for developing countries in the world.

Nowhere is the disparity of the coffee industry more evident than in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. Tadesse Meskela manages the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, representing more than 74,000 coffee farmers. The union buys coffee from 101 individual cooperatives, spread across southern Ethiopia. Black Gold follows Meskela on his mission to save struggling coffee farmers from bankruptcy.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Food 4 Growth Forum 2014

14 – 16 July 2014. Australia Africa Conference 2014. Promoting strategic engagement and partnership between government, academia and business.

The Australia-Africa Universities Network focuses the engagement of Australian universities in sub-Saharan Africa to enable the provision of specific expertise across areas of priority for Australia and Africa. Key objectives for the Network are:
  • Provide an intelligence and advisory portal for government institutions, the corporate sector and media to access, via a ‘one-stop-shop’, a range of expertise on Africa.
  • Develop institutional research partnerships on Africa.
  • Develop capacity building and training programs for example in governance, public sector reform, education, mining, agriculture and health.
  • Produce innovative policy solutions through position papers with key academics, non-government organisations, business and political representatives.
  • Provide post-training support for African scholars, including an alumni network, linking with African communities in Australia as appropriate.
Panel Discussion Three: Health, Nutrition and Food Security: optimal policies to improve agricultural production to enhance nutrition and food security and harnessing emerging markets.
Objective: The session determined optimal governmental policy interventions in agriculture to maximise 
food output and ensure its distribution in such a way to provide food security to the population. The 
contribution of food security to good health outcomes was considered, as will the role of the private 
sector in achieving these outcomes


16 -17th June 2014. Brisbane Australia. The Food4Growth (F4G) Forum was held on  and was an event hosted by Australia's national science agency, CSIRO, supported by partners in the Australian Government.

This Forum was a lead-in event to the G20 Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS), later the same week. The MACS is an official G20 event in the lead-up to the G20 Leaders' Summit to be held in Brisbane in November 2014.

The F4G Forum was an opportunity for business and science leaders to explore the linkages between agricultural productivity, sustainability, food security and economic growth in both the developed and developing world. The meeting also drew upon the insights arising from the FAO/OECD review on food security currently underway for the Donor Working Group of the G20.

The Forum enabled a sharing of experiences in public and private sector stimulation of agri-innovation and inclusive market development. Forum participants crafted a communique on opportunities for better science - business collective actions, which were considered at the G20 MACS Meeting on 19/20 June 2014. The communique is available here.

Key messages developed through Food4Growth and delivered to the MACS included:
  • encouragement to take a food systems perspective, building the links from production to consumption, reflecting the role of small and large-scale farms and considering the links between agriculture, environment and society
  • that MACS provide a unique and critical opportunity to coordinate and align research and innovation efforts across the G20 (with appropriate links beyond) and to provide strategic oversight of efforts that identify and fill gaps in the global agricultural science capability that underpins food and nutritional security
  • the importance of better monitoring, foresight and scenario analysis capabilities to inform decision-making (across scales) in research, business and government
  • the ongoing critical role for global public goods in the agricultural science domain
  • considerable attention is needed on the issue of brokering linkages between science, business and development outcomes. A significant capability gap was recognised in the skill set, incentives, institutional mechanisms and investments to effectively broker partnerships, dialogue and knowledge synthesis that is needed to speed up and scale up the necessary innovation.
MACS Communique 328.7 KB
Food4Growth Communique

Participants included delegations from G20 countries and G20 guests (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, European Union, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom, United States of America), APEC economies (Hong Kong China, Malaysia, Chinese Taipei, Vietnam), International Organisations (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center [CIMMYT], Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa [FARA], Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN [FAO], Global Crop Diversity Trust [GCDT], Global Forum on Agricultural Research [GFAR], International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture [ITPGRFA], and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD]).
Uploaded on 17 Jun 2014
International scientists from nations participating in the G20 travelled around southern Queensland today to look at agricultural businesses.

The Agribusiness Incubation Trust (AgBIT) Limited Zambia consortium

19 July 2014. Lusaka, Zambia. The government of Zambia and the Agribusiness Incubation Trust (AgBIT) Limited Zambia consortium have launched a centre to develop the agriculture sector and support small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) in Chongwe.

The Agribusiness Incubation Trust centre will provide strong business mentorship to SMEs, linking smallholders to market, strengthen the supply chain and deliver quality business development services to enterprises. The centre is a unique public-private partnership established with support of Danish Foreign Ministry and the Danish International Development Agency through the Universities Business and Research in Agricultural Innovation facility. AgriBIT Limited is Zambia’s pioneer agribusiness incubator, focused on accelerating innovation and the growth of scalable enterprises in the sector.
At the same occasion, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) executive director Yemi Akinbamijo called on the consortium to offer up-to-date skills techniques and monitor support to its incubatees. Dr Akinbamijo said FARA will continue supporting and partnering with Government as AgBIT undertakes its work of building competitive agribusiness SMEs globally, particularly in Zambia.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New strategies for financing agricultural mechanisation

17 July 2014. Nairobi. New strategies for financing agricultural mechanisation.  Panel discussion. Session AFRACA and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD)

In the 1960s many African states set up programmes of large-scale farming which promoted mechanisation. However, these programmes have failed, which has led to a lot of scepticism about mechanisation policies. Currently, agencies which dare to design mechanisation programmes, simply provide equipment but hardly integrate its maintenance in their strategies.

These are the issues which this session discussed:

  • It is very easy to put equipment in place but maintaining it is a challenge. Nevertheless, if African agriculture is to become a modern sector, it needs to mechanise. But how, and how should mechanisation be financed? Today, this is far from clear. 
  • Nigeria is currently setting up a mechanisation programme, but it is based on many assumptions. Are we making the right choices? 
  • Should we go for a strategy based on cooperatives in rural areas, or a public-private partnership? 
  • Should mechanisation be subsidized by the government, or driven by the market? 
  • From the few examples of recent mechanisation policies that we can see, what has worked and what has not? 
Related (1):
Advancing Agricultural Mechanization (AM) to promote farming and rural development in Africa
Position paper of CEMA
July 2014, 6 pages.
  • The current levels of commitment and encouragement by international actors andgovernments to promote agricultural mechanization in developing countries are comparatively low. Infact, notwithstanding its fundamental importance and potentially beneficial role, AgriculturalMechanization, in the words of the FAO, is “the neglected waif” of agricultural and rural development in developing countries.
  • The successful examples of, for instance, Bangladesh and Indonesia demonstrate that whenever AM strategies have been tailored to local needs and integrated into broader agricultural policy approaches,they have proven successful in supporting farming and rural development.

About the European Agricultural Machinery
  • CEMA is the European association representing the agricultural machinery industry. For more than 50 years CEMA has acted as a network of national associations and provides services, advice and a common European industry view on relevant topics. 
  • The industry represented by CEMA includes 4,500 manufacturers of agricultural equipment employing directly 135,000 persons and indirectly in the distribution and service network another 125,000 persons. 
  • The companies are mainly small and medium-sized manufacturers according to the EU definition and in 2011 had a total turnover of 26 billion euro.

Related (2):
Farm power and conservation agriculture for sustainable intensification (FACASI)
Australian International Food Security Center (AIFSC) Investment:
$3.9 million, Co-contribution: $1.4 million
From 29 April to 10 May 2013, 16 agricultural engineers, 
agronomists, machinery importers, and machinery 
manufacturers from Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, 
and Zimbabwe took part in a study tour in India 
organised by CIMMYT and the Indian 
Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
The aim of this project is to identify appropriate small-scale machines (e.g. 2-wheel tractors) to improve farming practices (such as planting, harvesting, milling and transporting), and the commercial mechanisms needed to deliver these to smallholder farmers. The project will identify opportunities to create new markets for equipment and services, and supporting policies and networks.

Only launched in March 2013, the Farm Mechanization and Conservation Agriculture for Sustainable Intensification project (FACASI) is already making significant progress.

Related blogpost:
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).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Revolutionising finance for agri-value chains

14 - 18 July 2014. Nairobi, Kenya. More than 700 agriculturists, value-chain partners, ICT developers, financiers, central bank governors and the media are meeting for a four-day meeting to explore new tools, mechanisms and approaches to revolutionise agriculture to ensure smallholder farmers get access to finance.

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Director, Dr Michael Hailu said at the opening of the conference that there was an
urgent need to transform smallholder agriculture into a profitable and sustainable enterprise in Africa, the Caribbean, the Pacific and other developing countries.
"Bringing about real changes depends to a large extent on access to finance that enables smallholder agriculture to grow and prosper. The Fin4Ag conference gives us a unique opportunity to learn about the different tools and initiatives that facilitate successful smallholder inclusive agriculture-value chain finance" 
The African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA) Secretary General, Mr Saleh Gashua said the conference provides a platform for all agricultural stakeholders to accelerate contacts with key players in the industry with a focus on the existing functional models on agri-value chain finance.

Interview with Lamon Rutten, CTA Manager (Policies, Markets and ICTs)

TXF has produced and launched a special report on Fin4Ag - free to view and download.

In this issue:
- Warehouse receipt financing
- Tony Elumelu – interview
- Commercial African banks
- Funds in the value chain
- Crop insurance
- Agricultural regulation
- Commodity traders

TXF has teamed up with The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) to produce the special report for the Fin4Ag Conference (Nairobi, 14-18 July).

From the rise of African banks and sophisticated electronic receipt systems to the critical role of traders, you can read all the articles on the TXF dedicated Fin4Ag pagehere or download the special report in both English and French.

Related media productions 

Curtain Raiser Fin4Ag from CTA on Vimeo.

Plug and Play Playout from CTA on Vimeo.

Interview Theo de Jager from CTA on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

2nd African Continental Briefing

13-14 July 2014, Kenya School of Monetary Studies, Nairobi, Kenya. 2nd African Continental Briefing. Promoting inclusive finance models for farmers in Africa. Organized by The Panafrican Farmer's Organisations (PAFO), the ACP-EU Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the African Union Commission (AUC).

This Briefing addressed the rural finance gap through agricultural value chain finance. Financial services providers often see high risks because they lack an understanding of the agricultural sector and food markets, and have no way to evaluate the risks in agricultural value chains.

To most financial institutions, the cost of directly lending to small-scale farmers in remote rural areas is prohibitive and they are reluctant to finance rural entrepreneurs, citing high transaction costs and risks related to agriculture such as crop failure, diseases and market fluctuations as a justification. The result is a serious and long-lasting rural finance gap that keeps the economic potential of agriculture under used.

After many years of declining investment, there is a renewed interest in agricultural financing.
  • The best innovations in AVC finance depend on the chain, the capacity of the different stakeholders in the chain, the interests of the stakeholders and the socio-economic and political context. 
  • Agricultural value chain finance offers an opportunity to reduce cost and risk in financing and reach out to smallholder farmers, expand the financing opportunities for agriculture, improve efficiency and repayments in financing, and consolidate value chain linkages among participants in the chain. 
  • The specific opportunities that financing can create within a chain are driven by the context and business model and the relative roles of each participant in the chain.
Extracts of the first day interventions: (13/07/2014)

Session 2: Successes from farmer's organisations

Fadel Ndiame, Lead, Farmer Organization Support Centre (FOSCA), AGRA
Building Small Farmer Organizations
"Only 20 percent of the farmers are part of a farmer organisation". 
"It requires 5 time more efforts to have a farmer organisation sign a grant agreement" 

David Ruchiu, Africa Director, Farm Concern International
 "The Commercial Villages Model (CVM) is a hybrid model through which typical social administrative villages are designed and systematically graduated into commercialized competitive market-led agricultural production units. It is supported by a business incubation and graduation pathway that is efficiently organized into evolve social administrative villages into commercial villages that meet the modern markets supply chain practices that include quantity and quality (Q and Q) requirements through bulking and quality assurance."
Published on 18 Sep 2012Interview with Fadel Ndiame, Lead, Farmer Organization Support Centre (FOSCA)

On the 5th of march 2014, David Ruchiu held a presentation on " Finance innovations combining ICT’s and warehouse receipts " as part of the Brussels Briefing on ‘Revolutionising finance for agri-value chains' organized by CTA Brussels at the ACP Secretariat in Brussels.

Agribusiness development in Small Island Developing States

11 July 2014. Brussels. The Brussels Development Briefing on ‘Building resilience of SIDS through trade and agribusiness development‘, took place in the context of 2104 as the year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the upcoming UN Conference on Small Island Developing States (1-4 September 2014, Apia, Samoa).

Small islands face a greater risk of marginalization due to the combined adverse consequences of their small size, remoteness from large markets and high economic vulnerability to economic and natural shocks beyond domestic control.

The Briefing gave an overview of the main challenges and opportunities for agribusiness development in SIDS. It also discuss some best practices in agribusiness in ACP regions and strategies to identify new opportunities especially through innovative partnerships.

Below you may find the programme of the event, photos, the presentations of the speakers, as well as other useful information:
Programme and Background Note
A webstream recording of the Briefing is available by clicking on this link.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

European Association for Potato Research

6-11 July 2014. Brussels. The European Association for Potato Research (EAPR) organized its 19th Triennial Conference.

This congress was held for the first time in Belgium (Brussels). It represented anopportunity for the Belgian potato industry as well as for research institutions and private companies, to share their scientific and technical know-how. 

The scientific topics of the congress focused on all of the classical aspects of the potato sector, especially the latest knowledge about sustainable and innovative techniques. Recent and innovative fundamental research and applied research results were presented, together with technological transfer and implementation for users.

The Belgian potato crop and industry have been rapidly developing in the last 15 years. In Belgium alone, the potato-cropped area increased from ca 33% during the last 15 years and the Belgian potato processing sector is now number-one in the world for export and in the top 3 for production with more than 3.5 million tons of processed potatoes.

The PAEPARD supported consortium « Le développement participatif des technologies de la pomme de terre et promotion des innovations sensibles au genre et à la conservation de l’environnement au Burundi » was represented by Prof. Jean Ndimubandi of the FACAGRO of the University of Burundi and Prof Ir. Jean-Louis Rolot of the Agricultural Research Center of Gembloux. 

WORKSHOP 5 From Research to Practice (incl. connection with EU EIP-AGRI program)
Meeting CIP: Open discussion on collaboration EAPR-CIP to promote international potato research for food security

The African Potato Association is a non-profit organization that was launched in September 1985.

The objectives of APA are:
  • To promote the interests of potato and sweetpotato workers in Africa.
  • To act as a central source of information and resource exchange.
  • To facilitate greater inter-country collaboration and horizontal exchange of information and exchange visits by scientists.
  • To stimulate the development of potato and sweetpotato research, production, and utilization in Africa.
  • To popularize potato and sweetpotato as important food items in Africa.
  • To act as a link between the International Potato Center (CIP) and other relevant associations in the world and members/member countries.
  • To monitor training opportunities to its members.

Shaping our food – an overview of crop and livestock breeding

Shaping our food – an overview of crop and livestock breeding
Editor: Anna Lehrman
Authors: Anna Lehrman, Sevasti Chatzopoulou, Li Feng, Flavio Forabosco, Elisabeth Jonas, Konstantinos Karantininis, Fredrik Levander, Alessandro Nicolia, Lotta Rydhmer, Helena Röcklinsberg, Per Sandin, Jens Sundström, and Li-Hua Zhu

You may not have thought about why tomatoes look the way they do, why our pets and farm animals are so calm and friendly, or how it is possible to get a watermelon without any seeds in it. Although the breeding of plants and livestock have shaped more or less everything we eat, few people know about the scientific achievements and the tedious work that results in the food we see on our plates every day.
  • Why breed crops & animals?
  • How is it done?
  • Ethical questions
  • What GMOs are available?
  • What does the law say?
  • Who benefits from the GM-technology?
With this book an overview is given of the background of domestication and breeding, from the beginning of farming more than 10,000 years ago to the molecular work of today.

It presents the basics of the structures and functions of genes, describe why and how different breeding methods are applied to crops and livestock, and give some insight into legislation surrounding the use of biotechnology in breeding in the EU and in Sweden.

It also provides an overview of different products produced through genetic modification, a summary of the economic impact of such crops, and some ethical issues related to breeding in general and to genetic modification in particular.