Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The food and nutrition situation in the Sahel and West Africa review

14-15 December 2015. 
Dakar. The Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) has just reviewed the food and nutrition situation in the Sahel and West Africa: "The overall food and nutrition situation is satisfactory". Malnutrition remains, however, a major challenge for the region: between January and October 2015, 910 000 children have been identified and treated against severe acute malnutrition in the Sahel. The Cadre harmonisé analysis reveals that some 7.9 million people in the 17 Sahel and West African countries were in a crisis situation during the period from October to December 2015, including 5.2 million in northern Nigeria due to the security situation in that area. If strong action is not taken, the food and nutrition crisis could impact, by June-August 2016 some 10.5 million people in the region.

The Cadre harmonisé was for the first time applied to all 17 Sahelian and West African countries. The PREGEC system continues to expand its coverage to Anglophone coastal countries. The RPCA benefited from high-level engagement, with the participation of six West African ministers, including those of Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as representatives of the Mano River Union (MRU); this illustrates the Network’s increasing advocacy capacity and impact on decision-making.

Presentations, statements and a selection of images are now available online. We also invite you to watch a WARI magazine programme dedicated to the 31st RPCA annual meeting on TV5 Monde and the Ouest-TV channel.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Report of the 6th GFRAS Annual Meeting 2015

17 December 2015. The 6th GFRAS Annual Meeting took place from 14 to 17 September 2015,

The report of the 6th GFRAS Annual Meeting has been released. It looks back on the event, summarieses discussions and draws conclusions.

Full report of the 6th GFRAS Annual Meeting 2015

In addition the meeting's website has been updated. You can find all thepresentations, the video recordings of the sessions,photos,postcards, and more.
with side events on 14 and 18 September. Organised around the topic of Global Good Practices, this year’s annual meeting challenged participants to reflect on the process of generating, documenting, sharing, testing, and adapting knowledge and good practices.

Related PAEPARD blogpost:
6th GFRAS Annual Meeting. 14-18 September 2015. Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan.

Video-sharing website on agricultural training videos in local languages

18 December 2015. News release of Access Agriculture. A new version of Agtube has been created to make it easier to upload videos and to further share videos already posted to other sites such as vimeo and youtube. If you have any videos or anything that you have recorded yourself you can share it with others on Agtube – social media for rural people.

Access Agriculture is an international NGO which showcases agricultural training videos in local languages. It provides a world-leading, open access web platform where all these videos can be freely downloaded.
  • At the end of 2015, videos are available in 65 different languages
  • Translations have been commissioned by many different organisations, and in 2015 Access Agriculture recruited a Global Translation Coordinator to respond to the increased demand for video translations. 
  • New videos. Many quality “farmer-to-farmer” training videos were added to the Access Agriculture website on a wide range of topics, from crop management to livestock, from soil conservation to water harvesting. 
  • Many of the videos were developed by partner organisations that have been trained across Africa. Others were produced by some AA international partners, such as WOCAT, a global network of soil and water conservation specialists, and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).
  • Partnership. The partnership base is steadily expanding; over 60 organisations in Africa, Asia, the Pacific and Latin America have now signed partnership agreements with Access Agriculture. In Kenya, AA signed a unique agreement with the Equity Group Foundation, representing one of East Africa’s main banks.
  • University linkages. AA has supported nearly 30 MSc and PhD students in six African countries to conduct research on video-mediated rural learning, including cost-recovery for video shows, private sector distribution of DVDs, language and translation, and other topics. In the near future, their work will be featured on the Access Agriculture website.
  • TV and radio stations. Many TV and radio stations have signed contracts with AA to use the quality videos and audio files on the Access Agriculture website for broadcasting.
  • Agtube. A new version of Agtube has been created to make it easier to upload videos and to further share videos already posted to other sites such as vimeo and youtube. If you have any videos or anything that you have recorded yourself you can share it with others on Agtube – social media for rural people. Agi does Agtube
  • Training. In 2015 AA conducted training workshops in Kenya and Uganda to build local capacities in video translations, with additional workshops being planned in early 2016 in several countries in Africa and Asia. 
  • In November, AA organised a two-day writeshop with students and organisations (partners and others) using videos for farmers resulted in a story book called “A Passion for Video”. 
  • This was followed by a conference in Nairobi, attended by some 100 participants. 
  • Access Agriculture Video Awards. A highlight of the Access Agriculture week was the first Access Agriculture Video Awards. Six awards were given to video production partner – Centre Songhai from Benin, to media partner – Infonet Biovision from Kenya, outreach awards to AAS/CIMMYT in Bangladesh and Countrywise Ghana, an innovation award to Bon Paysan from Benin and an outstanding achievement award to Jane Nalunga from the National Organic Agricultural Movement Of Uganda.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Rapid Assessment of the Horticulture Sector in Guinea

The Horticulture Innovation Lab recently evaluated fruit and vegetable production in Guinea, as part of USAID’s ongoing food security response in the wake of the West African outbreak of Ebola.

The report, “Rapid Assessment of the Horticulture Sector in Guinea” is now available online. It identifies constraints to improving horticultural production at household and commercial levels in Guinea, along with specific recommendations for improvements. It is intended to provide guidance to USAID for Feed the Future investments in Guinea’s agriculture.

“We provided a list that is doable, makes sense in the context of Guinea specifically, and identifies where to start for greater impact. The next step for the Horticulture Innovation Lab is that we would like to explore potential partners who can work with us in Guinea, for future research opportunities” said Amanda Crump, associate director of the Horticulture Innovation Lab and one of the authors.
Guinean farmers consistently identified eggplant and chili pepper as important horticultural crops, while the report also focuses on okra, tomato, mango and citrus, with specific recommendations for each crop. Recommendations in the report are separated into categories based on farmers in different wealth quartiles, women farmers, farmers in specific geographic zones, specific crops, and links in the horticultural value chain.

Read the rest of the article for highlights of Guinean horticulture or go to the report and its recommendations.

CALL FOR TRELLIS FUND GRANT PROPOSALS Small grants (up to $2,000 each) are available for organizations in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Rwanda, Senegal, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda, or Zambia. To apply, organizations need to submit a project proposal that addresses a horticultural problem facing local farmers by Jan. 18, 2016

Fostering Investments in African Agricultural Value Chains

15 December 2015. This webinar recording organized by the World Bank's AgriFin features the Africa Agriculture and Trade Investment Fund (AATIF), an innovative public-private partnership initiated by KfW on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and managed byDeutsche Bank. It was attended by some 60 online participants.

AATIF supports agricultural value chains by providing debt and investments to commercial farms and processing companies. AATIF also provides financing and risk sharing facilities to financial institutions that want to increase lending to producers and agricultural SMEs. Our invited speakers discussed different aspects of the Fund as follows:
  • Mr. Max Bock, assistant vice president in Sustainable Investments Europe at Deutsche Bank provided a detailed overview of the Fund's objectives, structure, and functions. He discussed the Fund's different financing instruments highlighting several investments made since AATIF's inception.
  • Mr. James Wabala, a sector specialist with Chase Bank, Kenya discussed how AATIF enables them to expand financing to new segments in agricultural value chains.
  • Ms. Camila Castaneda Quintero, technical officer for the social finance program at the International Labor Organization (ILO), discussed the collaboration between ILO and AATIF that aims to foster positive social and environmental impacts of agricultural investments.
Webinar Recording

Download the Presentation

Who should listen?
  • Investors and development partners interested in setting up similar investment funds.
  • Bankers and other financiers interested in learning about how refinancing and risk sharing opportunities of targeted investment fundss can help address agricultural lending constraints.

Horizon 2020 Info Day

25 November 2015. This event was attended by more than 200 participants. Webstreaming of live sessions and Twitter coverage allowed other interested attendees to follow the Info Day remotely.

The Research Executive Agency (REA) organised the Info Day on the 2016 calls for proposals of the Societal Challenge 2 - ‘Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy’. This Info Day was held as the part of the Societal Challenge 2 Info Week but other related events had to be cancelled due to security conditions in Brussels.

During this event, an overview of the new funding opportunities available under the Societal Challenge 2 (SC2) 2016 calls for proposals was provided. It targeted potential applicants for the four calls: ‘Sustainable Food Security’, ‘Blue Growth’, ‘Rural Renaissance’ and ‘Bio-based innovation’.

The morning presentations covered novelties and main policy objectives of the new Work Programme as well as practicalities regarding its implementation. Questions from the audience focused on evaluation procedures and the role of independent experts in proposals' selection.

In the afternoon, parallel sessions were organised per call to present more into details topics and call conditions. A new feature introduced for the organisation of the afternoon session was the possibility for participants to send questions before the event, via online questionnaires, which were then incorporated by speakers in their presentations.

The audience and Twitter followers also had the possibility to react to presentations with additional questions and remarks for speakers. Lively discussions on topics and research priorities continued after presentations were made.

Agenda(109 kB)

Session 1:Introduction to the Work Programme 2016- 2017
Session 2: Information on proposal submission and evaluation including hands-on advice
Afternoon parallel session on Africa and China
  • EU-Africa and EU-China Cooperation (505 kB)
  • To view the morning session and the afternoon one on Sustainable Food Security, click here
  • The intervention of Hans-Joerg Lutzeyer (DG Research) on the EU-Africa cooperation starts at 5:49 concerning the 2 themes related to Africa:
  • SFS-41-2016: ERA-Net Cofund EU-Africa Research and Innovation partnership on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture
  • SFS-42-2016: Promoting Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture in Africa: the role of innovation

Kenya National Biosafety Authority Receives Public Comments on Bt Cotton

11 December 2015. The Kenya National Biosafety Authority (NBA) has formally received comments from the public as it embarks on analyzing feedback for consideration of the application for environmental release (open cultivation) of Bt cotton in Kenya.

The public forum was organized four months after Kenya Agricultural Research Organization (KALRO) filed a similar application for insect protected maize under the WEMA – Water Efficient Maize for Africa project.

More than 100 stakeholders, mainly farmers, consumers, academia, media, and students attended, where further clarifications on the application were presented.

NBA regulators outlined key components of the application and the rationale for soliciting public comments as stipulated in the Biosafety Act 2009. Speaking at the event, Dr. Charles Waturu of KALRO, who has been working as the Principal Investigator on Bt cotton research for the last 10 years, explained that research done at the national agricultural research center has confirmed the efficacy of Bt technology in controlling the African bollworm. He added that Bt cotton would only require 2 sprays instead of the average 10 sprays necessary for conventional cotton. Thus Kenyan small scale farmers will realize considerable savings on production costs from Bt cotton.

"Bt cotton could revive Kenyan textile industry from a meager 20,000 ha of cotton currently to more than 350,000 ha" said Dr. Waturu.
Echoing sentiments of many who attended the meeting, farmers were eager to know when Kenya would embrace Bt cotton. "We should stop having baseless arguments and start talking about when we will get the Bt cotton seeds" said Mr. Muriuki, a farmer. "This public meeting is an eye opener for us. We now have adequate knowledge and will support Bt cotton if it is going to assure jobs for the youth" said a member of Bunge La Wanainchi, a Caucus which gathers opinions at grassroots on national matters.

NBA's approval process for environmental release takes 90-150 days from the date of acknowledgement of the application. A decision is thus expected in February 2015, followed by national performance trials by the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS).

26 November 2015. Zambia National Biosafety Authority Launched. The Zambian government has launched the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), whose core business is to regulate genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or products of GMOs in the country.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Science Forum South Africa (SFSA)

Dr. Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma gave an enlightening
talk about the importance of science and the role of women.

8-9 December 2015. Pretoria, South Africa. SIR International Convention Centre. The key objectives of the Forum were:
  • To create a platform for a vibrant debate on the role of science, technology and innovation and society in South Africa;
  • To strengthen South Africa’s strategic international science, technology and innovation partnerships;
  • To create a platform for senior government leaders, academics, scientists, industry, civil society, and students to interact.
Subjects related to agriculture:
The Role of Soil-Biochar-Fertilisers Interactions in Improving Soil Fertility and Mitigating Climate Change, Mr Obed Freddy Madiba, University of Limpopo, South Africa

Strengthening Agriculture Innovation Systems for Agricultural Transformation in Africa
  • Prof Frans Swanepoel, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
  • Prof Irene Annor-Frempong, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, Ghana
  • Dr Vuyo Mahlati, International Women’s Forum, South Africa
  • Prof Linus Opara, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  • Prof Mandi Rukuni, International Business Service Consulting, Zimbabwe
  • Prof Aldo Stroebel, National Research Foundation, South Africa

During the Science Forum South Africa (SFSA), RUFORUM was awarded with the SFSA Science Diplomacy Award in the category recognizing “an international science partnership which has made an outstanding contribution to advancing African regional cooperation, integration and development .” 

RUFORUM was recognised for it’s work in supporting postgraduate training and networks of specialisation, especially in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). The Award was conferred by Minister Naledi Pandor at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria. Specifically the Committee noted that RUFORUM had been instrumental to promote regional integration and cooperation in agricultural research in support of regional development strategies.

RUFORUM has enhanced networking of African universities, linking them both to the rural communities and policy makers and supported internal transformation of higher education institutions for impact. RUFORUM has trained over 381 PhDs and 1,373 Masters within Africa with a 94% retention rate of alumni working in their countries of origin.

Virtual dialogue on the fertilizer use in Africa

10 December 2015. The Africa south of the Sahara Food Security Portal held a virtual dialogue on the fertilizer use in Africa. This event brought together regional experts who engaged with online participants in order to share information, discuss progress and constraints, and brainstorm new ideas to address the problem of low and improper fertilizer use.

Discussion questions included:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Africa Pavilion @ COP 21

30 November to 12 December 2015. Paris. ClimDev-Africa partners - the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) - hosted the African Pavilion during COP21/CMP11.

Side events and exhibitions
The Africa Pavilion’s side events addressed critical themes and fundamental questions central to the climate change negotiation process, as well as the most pressing climate-related issues in relation to Africa’s development agenda.

Covering diverse themes from climate-smart agriculture to energy access, REDD+ to climate finance, the side events provided a platform to share knowledge and experience from a uniquely African perspective. By providing a unique networking hub for researchers and policymakers, scientists and civil society, the Africa Pavilion added important momentum to the official negotiations.

Side events included the Africa Day, Energy Day as well as sessions hosted by representatives from ClimDev-Africa initiatives including the Young African Lawyers Programme and the ClimDev-Africa Youth Platform. The pavilion also hosted a number of exhibitions in the form of posters, videos and slide presentations.

Side events day by day
Monday 30 November 2015

Tuesday, 1 December 2015
L-R: President Thomas Boni Yayi, Benin; Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency; Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA); Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, AUC; Akinwumi Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB); Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, AUC; Mohamed A.S Abdel Monem, Advisor to the Minister on African Affairs, Ministry of Environment, Egypt

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Thursday, 3 December 2015
Friday, 4 December 2015
L-R: Martin Frick, Director, Climate Energy and Tenure Division, FAO; Martin Bwalya, Co-chair, Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA); David Nabarro, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; Frank Rijsberman, CEO, CGIAR; Anette Friis, Knowledge Action Group (KAG), GACSA
Saturday, 5 December 2015
L-R: Youba Sonaka, Advisor, South Centre, University of Surrey; Shri Prakash, Distinguished Fellow, TERI; Fatima Denton, Director, Special Initiatives Division, UNECA; Muawia Shaddad, President, Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network (HoA-REC); Abel Musumali, Executive Director, Eastern and Southern Africa Youth Climate Alliance
Monday, 7 December 2015
L-R: Kurt Lonsway, Manager, Environment and Climate Change, African Development Bank (AfDB); Nicholas Stern, Co-chair, Global Commission on the Economy and Climate; Hela Cheikhrouhou, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund (GCF); Fatima Denton, Director, Special Initiatives Division, UNECA; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Commissioner, Global Commission on the Economy and Climate; Andrew Norton, Director, International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED); Eric Postel, Associate Administrator, US Agency for International Development (USAID); Nick Hurd, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, DFID
Tuesday, 8 December 2015
L-R: Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary, UNECA; Olushola Olayide, Head, Division of Environment, Climate Change, Water and Land Management, African Union Commission (AUC); Richard Sezibera, Secretary General, East African Community (EAC); Khaled Fahmy, Minister of Environment, Egypt, and President, African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN); Shiferaw Teklemariam, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ethiopia; Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, AUC; Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, AUC; Anthony Nyong, Manager, Compliance and Safeguards Division, African Development Bank (AfDB)

Wednesday, 9 December 2015:
L-R: Mahama Kappiah, Executive Director, ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE); Shiferaw Teklemariam, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ethiopia; Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural Resources, Kenya; Elizabeth Dipuo Peters, Minister of Transport, South Africa; Jabulane Mabuza, Minister of Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Swaziland; Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, AUC; Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary, UNECA; Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General, IRENA; Jesca Eriyo, Deputy Secretary General, East African Community
Thursday, 10 December 2015:
L-R: Axel Olearius, Director, Climate Policy Support Programme, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ); Phyllis Ombonyo, Director of Business Development, NETFUND, Kenya; Kurt Lonsway, Manager, Environment and Climate Change, AfDB; Rose Mukankomeje, Director General, Rwanda Environment Management Authority; Anthony Nyong, Manager, Compliance and Safeguards Division, AfDB; David Craig, Senior Advisor, Green Climate Fund (GCF)
Friday, 11 December 2015:

Scaling-up debate from CCDA-V and ACTS.
ClimDev-Africa’s flagship events held in the lead-up to COP21 - The Fifth Climate Change for Development in Africa (CCDA-V) and Africa Climate Talks (ACTs) - provided unique platforms for reviewing the progress of past negotiations, anticipating the outcomes of COP21 and exploring approaches for how Africa can be most effective in influencing the Paris agreement. The Africa Pavilion provided an essential space to scale-up these solution-focused debates on the biggest climate change issues facing Africa. Related links: AfDB COP21 ; African Union COP21

AAIN/UniBRAIN - PAEPARD support to milk processing from soya beans in Benin

8-9 December 2015. Zogbodomey. AAIN/UniBRAIN and PAEPARD jointly organised a training session in Benin to support milk processing from soya beans in Benin and to create a  «Benin Agribusiness Incubator Hub».

SOJAGNON-NGO is the coordination organization for the implementation of the project: Re-engineered Soybean “Afitin” and Soybean Milk processing technologies in South and Central Benin (ProSAM), a Research and Development project of PAEPARD led by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) under a grant contract of the Commission of the European (DCI FOOD/2013/308-657).

The training discussed how to transform the association of women to a Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) informed by the UniBrain business model and the Business plan of Association.

The objective of this PAEPARD supported consortium is to increase the food security ( quality and productivity of products) and the food security (quality and and household income through improved
food chain of soybean derived products (milk and afitin). It has 4 main activities:
  • to draft an inventory of existing soybean processing technologies
  • to assess and document the nutritional value, safety and microbial composition , consumer preference of Soya Milk and Soya Afitin
  • develop and adapt Soya Milk and Soya Afitin processing technologies
  • improve the technologies, skills and knowledge and disseminate it to the consortium members and stakeholders
The Universities, Business and Research in Agricultural Innovation (UniBRAIN) programme was
launched in 2010 as a follow up to the Africa Commission. It supports the setup of innovation centres in a joint undertaking between universities, research institutions and the private sector in order to foster innovative solutions and products. The programme strengthens the role of the research community and of universities in agriculture and agro-industry. UniBrain
is closing on 31st March 2016. PAEPARD will accompany the process after this period.

UniBRAIN is based on partnerships (consortia) involving universities, agricultural research institutions and stakeholders from the private sector. The activities of the programme fall within the following three areas related to agriculture, agribusiness and agroindustry:
  • Development of innovation and incubation centres.
  • Strengthening of related tertiary education.
  • Dissemination of experiences and best practices regarding incubation and innovation.
The programme has enabled the creation and establishment of incubator consortia in the following five countries: Ghana, Mali, Zambia, Uganda and Kenya. The consortia have developed and established the following six incubators:
  • Creating Competitive Livestock Entrepreneurs in Agribusiness (CCLEAr), Ghana. This incubator is dedicated to promote commercialization of smallholder livestock (poultry, small ruminants and grass cutter).
  • West African Agribusiness Resource Incubator (WAARI), Mali. The focus is on non-timber agro-forestry products, cereals and fruits.
  • The Agribusiness Incubation Trust (AgBIT), Zambia. The incubator is concerned with value-chains related to tropical fruit and vegetables.
  • Afri Banana Products Limited (ABP Ltd), Uganda. The focus is on staple food and cash crops - initially within the specific value chain of banana.
  • Consortium for Enhancing University Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development (CURAD), Uganda. The incubator’s value proposition is on plantation and cash crop value-chain enhancement with an initial focus on coffee.
  • Sorghum Value-Chain Development Consortium (SVCDC), Kenya. The incubator works with smallholder dry land food grains focusing on sorghum.
UniBRAIN is executed by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). A UniBRAIN
Facility has been set-up within FARA’s premises in Ghana, Accra. The Facility is tasked with the responsibilities of programme implementation and liaisons with partners and stakeholders of the programme. FARA is promoting the longer-term sustainability of the UniBRAIN-model through the establishment and development of an African Agribusiness Incubator Network (AAIN). The programme was supported by Denmark with a total budget of 129 million DKK (2010-2015).

Already Beginning 2000, farmers of Zogbodomey - a commune in the Zou Department of southern Benin -, who were looking for an alternative to cotton, have started growing soybean. The initiative was supported by the local producers’ organisation, the UCP (L’Union communale des producteurs de Zogbodomè au Bénin). The UCP not only supported the farmers technically, they also arranged for proper seed and engaged in finding market outlets for the produce.

The initial experience with Fludor, a national oil seed processing company, met with many problems. The UCP did not give up, however, and in its search for alternatives, the women of the commune, who are locally processing soybean at small scale, were considered a potential market to explore. Therefore, the UCP organised an initial training on soybean processing techniques to diversify soybean products and make milk, cheese, brochettes, and biscuits. The UCP also supported the set-up of a women soybean processors association.

Together with the UCP and soybean processor village groups, GVPS, they now form the heart of the agribusiness cluster that is supported by 2SCALE.
  • The step-wise construction of a stable partnership, facilitated by a coach who is staff member of UCP, and supported by ICRA trainers, has resulted into several successes for both men and women: the men, soybean producers, have now secured access to quality seed and inoculum, and the women processors have extended their knowledge to others and have been able to buy simple processing equipment. 
  • More women actors have joined the cluster, including wholesalers, so less soybeans leave the zone. 
The partnership aims at win-win solutions for all actors involved,
  • for example, an inventory credit system was established that allows women processors and wholesalers to buy soybean from the UCP when market prices rise, without disfavouring the producers.
  • Cotton, once a men’s occupation, was turned into a profitable soybean business to the benefit of thousands of men and women. With support of the president of the federal farmer organisation FUPRO, the fire is spreading to other zones as well.

China-Africa Cooperation and agricultural modernization

4-5 December 2015. The Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa. Second Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit. Held under the theme: "Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development ”, the Summit  adopted the Johannesburg Declaration and Action Plan, which outlines specific measures aimed at consolidating the growing mutual partnership between Africa and China.

The Summit reviewed the implementation of various agreements signed since the 1st FOCAC Summit in 2006, and outlined the course of action for development of China-Africa relations over the next few years. The FOCAC Summit opened new avenues of cooperation and opened new opportunities for both China and Africa, in line with the AU's Agenda 2063, including the First Ten-Year Implementation Plan of Agenda 2063.

China will roll out 10 major plans to boost cooperation with Africa in the coming three years. The big package covers the areas of industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security.

In order to help Africa accelerate agricultural modernization, China will carry out agricultural development projects in 100 African villages to raise rural living standards, send 30 teams of agricultural experts to Africa, and establish a "10+10" cooperation mechanism between Chinese and African agricultural research institutes.

The 7th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC will be held in the People's Republic of China in 2018.

Innovations and technologies in agriculture to leapfrog Africa's development

1 - 2 December 2015. Durban Exhibition Centre, KwaZulu-Natal.

GFIA Africa, an event which is aimed at showcasing innovations for sustainable agriculture, hosted ministerial delegations from Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, and Zambia – to find innovative solutions to the challenges that threaten the agricultural sector, and ultimately food security in Africa.

Addressing an audience of more than 400 delegates, Mohamed Abdullahl Farmaajo, the Former Prime Minister of Somalia, stated that the African continent must seize the opportunity to secure food security. “There are a number of countries that have successfully managed to overcome the cycle of poverty, but there is still a great deal more that needs to be done,” he said.

Te GFIA series of events offer a much needed platform for interactions between diverse actors committed to spearheading an innovation driven transformation of Africa’s agriculture. Partnerships for agricultural transformation are strengthened and new ones initiated during networking events such as GFIA. Organisers of GFIA say science, technology, innovation and technology transfer will be key elements for unlocking the productive
potential of Africa. According to Africa Agenda-2063; “Africa hosts 60% of global arable land but the continent only contributes 10% of global agricultural output”.

The Global Forum for Innovation in Agriculture (GFIA) 2016 edition will take place in Kigali in June.

30 November 2015. Farmers Sessions: Responding to the effects of climate change on the business of farming  organised by CTA and NEPAD in collaboration with the Pan-African Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO), the Regional Famers Organizations in East Africa (EAFF), West Africa (ROPPA), Central Africa (PROPAC) and Southern Africa (SACAU). 

In development and policy discussions, there is a general consensus that climate change affects agriculture, especially for smallholder producers in Africa, the impact is high, and urgent action is required to assist farmers. While much has been documented about the challenges and problems of climate change and its impacts on agriculture, comparatively less information is available on the solutions and innovations that help farmers adapt to climate change. This session focused on solutions and opportunities for responding to climate change effects on the business of farming in Africa. Specifically, discussions at the session focused on:
  • Existing practical and proven climate-smart solutions, and draw lessons for scaling them up
  • Private sector experiences and engagement on climate-solutions across the agriculture value chain in the continent
  • Farmers’ perspectives and position on scaling up solutions to climate change in Africa
  • Strengthening partnership to support the scaling up of the emerging solutions to climate change in the field of agriculture

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Tomato research project in Ghana awarded by the Korean government

The Korean Government recently bestowed a certificate of excellence on Mr. Michael Kwabena Osei, a SCARDA recipient at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) who graduated in 2010 with a Master of Science (MSc) Degree in Plant Breeding. Michael won the KAFACI award on the 26th of November, 2015 with a certificate of outstanding project and other RDA Souvenirs. 

Mr. Michael Osei is currently the Head of the Horticulture division of the Crops Research Institute Ghana and the first Ghanaian scientist to have reported the discovery of three new distinct tomato virus strains associated with Tomato Yellow Leaf curl Virus (TYLCV) disease in Ghana. He is indeed an exceptional icon of FARA’s Capacity Strengthening Programme.

The tomato research project led by him with funding from the Korean government under Korea Africa Food and Agriculture Cooperative Initiative (KAFACI) was adjudged by the donors as the outstanding project among 14 African member countries of KAFACI after evaluation of the country project from November 2011 to November 2014.

A plant breeder currently working on vegetable improvement with emphasis on tomatoes and funding from SCARDA, his research activities focus on identifying farmers’ constraints in the field and designing experiments to find solutions to those problems. Michael Osei’s award winning project looked at “developing and transforming vegetable technologies in Ghana: the case of tomato”.

The Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research and Development in Africa (SCARDA), is a DFID funded programme and an action response to recommendations made during a NARS Assessment commissioned in 2005 by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) thereby, improving the impact of African agricultural research including the adoption of holistic and inclusive innovation systems concepts and creating new directions and mechanisms to strengthen capacities of NARS in agricultural science and research management. The purpose of SCARDA was to strengthen the institutional and human capacity of African agricultural research systems to identify, generate and deliver research outputs that meet the needs of poor people.