Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Forum Africain des Sciences et des Technologies pour le Développement

22 au 24 février 2016. Dakar, Sénégal. Le Groupe Interacadémique pour le Développement – GID a organisé le premier forum euro-subsaharien GID-FastDev - Forum Africain des Sciences et des Technologies pour le Développement sur le thème « Emploi des jeunes : une nécessaire co-construction des enseignements-formations et des entreprises ».

Il a réunit tous les acteurs concernés, scientifiques, technologues, enseignants, entrepreneurs, politiques, économistes... afin d'analyser les besoins réels et de faire des propositions pour y répondre.

La question de l’emploi des jeunes en Afrique sub-saharienne se trouve au cœur du développement des pays africains. Pour l’essentiel, les emplois sont créés par les entreprises, qu’elles appartiennent au secteur formel ou informel. Leur réussite doit beaucoup aux qualités des formations de ceux qu’elles recrutent. L’employabilité et l’adaptabilité de ces jeunes sont déterminantes. Comment les construire sans établir une relation étroite entre le monde des enseignants et des formateurs et celui des entreprises ? C’est pourquoi ce premier forum GID-FastDev a été consacré à la construction de cette relation à tous les niveaux.

  • analyser la situation actuelle, 
  • écouter les avis de ceux qui ont conduit des expériences dans ce domaine ; 
  • discuter les propositions de nature à réaliser des progrès sensibles dans une interaction formations-entreprises qu’il est urgent de repenser. 
  • intégrer dans la réflexion le secteur informel qui est un formateur important et le principal pourvoyeur d’emplois. 
  • réfléchir aux améliorations qui devraient être apportées aux politiques de coopération euro-africaine dans la formation professionnelle et l’emploi.
Consultez le programme en cliquant ici

Friday, February 26, 2016

A strategic approach to EU agricultural research & innovation

24 February 2016. Blogpost of by Sarah Cummings on Cap4dev.

The strategy was published for discussion as a draft document to coincide with the Conference on Designing the path: a strategic approach to EU agricultural research and innovation which took place in 26-28 January 2016. Incorporating research and innovation activities into a long-term strategy will make it easier to identify strategic areas of short-, medium- and long-term interest, and so improve their overall consistency, sequencing and impact. Research is expected to address immediate problems while at the same time anticipating future needs. 

Today’s research will guide tomorrow’s farming solutions and approaches. Laying down strategic priorities for agricultural and forestry research in the EU will make it possible to reinforce synergies with Member States and non-EU research programmes. The strategy aims to harness EU investments in the framework Programme for Research and Innovation in view of the following main objectives: ensuring food security in the long term; addressing the environmental sustainability and resilience of land-based primary production as well as food and non-food systems; and boosting the sustainable growth of rural territories. In addition, the strategy seeks to improve the delivery of research for policy use.

Although the paper has a primary focus on agricultural research and innovation within the EU, international cooperation is also considered. It argues that international cooperation has a key role in boosting the competitiveness of European economy and the capacity of the European research and innovation system itself. This involves supporting the EU’s external policy dimension and ensuring coordination and leveraging effect in addressing challenges that can better be tackled internationally. International cooperation needs to take recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals as guiding objectives. In addition, activities in key areas are needed to support sustainable agriculture and forestry and food security.

Call for Proposals: Sustainable Inclusive Value Chains and Food Fortification

25 February 2016. Brussels. EU public information session on the launch of two calls for proposals with a combined value of €57 million with the objective of developing inclusive and sustainable agriculture-based value chains (Lot 1) and fortified foods (Lot 2) that improve food security for the poor and vulnerable and that reduce poverty and under-nutrition. 
  1. Lot 1 specifically focuses on smallholder farmers and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) agribusinesses in developing countries as final beneficiaries by increasing income opportunities, creating jobs and business opportunities along the agricultural supply chains in an inclusive and sustainable manner.
    Lot 1 – Value Chains (S.O. 1 & 2):  EUR 27 million.
  2. Lot 2 aims to strengthen the production, diffusion and consumption of accessible technologically viable and culturally acceptable fortified food, compliant with national and international standards. It will involve working with government and intergovernmental regulatory bodies, the food processing private sector operators and civil society, reinforcing public-private partnerships.
    Lot 2 – Food Fortification (S.O. 3): EUR 30 million
  1. This call was launched on 12 February and is open until 29 March 2016.
  2. In order to be eligible for a grant, the lead applicant must be among one of the following eligible countries in LDCs and other low income countries from Africa (see however the full list in the Guidelines for grant applicants.docx)(c) Least developed countries (LDC) : Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia
    (d) Other low income countries: Kenya, Zimbabwe
  3. Any requested EU contribution (amount) under this call for proposals must fall between the following minimum and maximum amounts:
    Lot 1 – Value chains:
    • minimum amount: EUR 3 million
    • maximum amount: EUR 7 million
    Lot 2 – Food fortification:
    • minimum amount: EUR 1 million
    • maximum amount: EUR 4 million
  4. Full details of the call are available here
  5. A public information session about these calls, lasting more than one hour, took place on 25 February 2016. 
  6. The video of the session is available here. "Probably a total number of 9 projects will be funded under this call": Regis Meritan (DG DevCo European Commission)

The Citrus Innovation Platform of Ghana

19 February 2016. Kade (120 Km from Accra, Ghana) Eastern Region citrus producers.

Since 2014, the Sub Saharan Challenge Programme (SSA CP, managed by FARA) has supported the PAEPARD Citrus consortium with an amount of 100,000$. The objective was to build the capacity of its members to work as an Innovation Platform (IP). The consortium has evolved in an IP at country level known as the Citrus Innovation Platform (CIP) of Ghana. This is a strategic IP which oversees 3 regional platforms in:
  1. Kumasi (for Ashanti region), 
  2. Kade (Eastern Region), 
  3. Assin Foso (Central Region).
The SSA CP support closed on 19th February 2016. GIZ came in also to build and strengthen the capacity of citrus producers and has sensitized some producers who were not initially in IPs to join them.

Very recently ECOWAS has funded the Fruit Fly Project in 8 countries (including Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali etc.) with a total amount of 23,312,000 USD for 3 years. Professor Kwame Afreh-Nuamah of School of Agriculture, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, University of Ghana, is the Chairman of the Fruit Fly National Committee. He attended the workshop. He said that the chairman of the Citrus Innovation Platform will be included in the Committee and will seat in the next meeting planned in April.

CORAF has also funded the ARD component (research) of the Fruit Fly Project with 2.5 million USD. In Ghana this component is led by Dr Maxwell K. Billah of University of Ghana who attended the workshop as well.
EC reviewers' Field visit on 22nd September 2015
  • The SSA CP is a FARA program funded by the European Commission through IFAD. The program has specialized in Integrated Agricultural Research Development (IAR4D) with the Integrated Innovation Platform (IP) approach where researchers, private sector including banks, NGOs, farmers create/form a forum to reflect and invent solutions to their challenges. 
  • SSA CP has facilitated the creation of IPs across the continent. Through PAEPARD they entered in contact with the Ghana citrus association. After discussion, two members (a researcher and a farmer) of the Citrus consortium were sent to Rwanda to learn the experience of IP. The support from FARA under the SSSA CP funding amounts to 100,000 USD
  • A training on IP management involved some 30 members of the citrus producers association and researchers. It was organized in Kumasi in August 2014. A field visit was organised and the Mankranso.
  • The IP was officially launched in the presence of the District Chief Officer, two members of the Parliament of Ghana and many other dignitaries.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation in Africa

21 - 23 February 2016. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation in Africa. This symposium was organised by Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), Addis Ababa University, the Research and Transfer Centre “Applications of Life Sciences” of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany) and the International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP). 

The Symposium was an interdisciplinary event, mobilising African and non-African scholars undertaking research and/or executing climate change projects in the African continent. It focused on “fostering African resilience and capacity to adapt”, showcasing experiences from research, field projects and best practice in climate change adaptation in African countries, which may be useful or implemented in other countries in the continent.

Extracts of the pogramme: Climate Change and Agriculture 
  • Empirical Analysis of Climate Variability and Impact on Nigerian Agricultural Production Olawale Emmanuel Olayide, University of Ibadan, Nigeria 
  • Silvopastural systems using indigenous fodder trees and shrubs: the underexploited synergy between climate change adaptation and mitigation in the livestock sector Mulubrhan Balehegn Gebremikael, Mekelle University, Ethiopia 
  • Potential for Scaling up Climate Smart Agricultural Practices: Examples from Sub Saharan Africa, CIMMYT
  • Adaptation to Climate Change in Egyptian Marginal Environments through Sustainable Crop and Livestock Diversification: A Case Study Hassan M.EI Shaer, Desert Research Center, Egypt
  • Impacts of climate change and adaptation options for maize production in the Central Rift Valley of Ethiopia Belay Tseganeh Kassie, University of Florida, USA.
  • Approaches to adaptation of agriculture to climate change and variability: The Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) and the Green Belt Initiative (GBI) in Malawi Floney Patame Kawaye, Australian National University, Australia 
  • Adaptation Benefits of Climate-Smart Agricultural Practices in the Blue Nile Basin: Empirical Evidence from North-West Ethiopia Paulos Asrat, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia 
  • Assessment of Weather Variability Impact on Rice Yield in South Western Nigeria Tawakalitu Bola Onifade, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Nigeria.

Guide to the Use of Digital Finance in Agriculture

Guide to the Use ofDigital Financial Servicesin Agriculture
Lead Author Christine Martin, Senior Digital Finance Advisor, USAID Co-Authors Nandini Harihareswara (USAID), Elizabeth Diebold (USAID), Harsha Kodali (USAID), and Carrie Averch (mSTAR)
February 2016, 70 pages

22 February 2016. This Guide to the Use of Digital Finance in Agriculture aims to provide a quick and easy-to-use tool to understand how digital financial services (DFS) can help address some of the challenges that smallholder farmers are experiencing today - mainly, lack of access to financial services and convenient payment systems.

The goal of this Guide is to identify specific challenges in value chains that can be addressed by improved payments or financial services, and then to identify corresponding DFS solutions to these specific challenges, with the aim of improving the ability of value chains to increase farmer incomes.

In doing so, it is possible to increase farmer household access to a transaction account that builds household resiliency and offers access to payments and financial services long after an aid project or intervention is complete. Ultimately, this will move us closer to Feed the Future's joint high-level objectives of inclusive agricultural sector growth and improved nutritional status.

The Cyumba Wheat Innovation platform in Rwanda

Threshing wheat using the traditional method
of beating with stick to remove the grains
17 February 2016. An Innovation Platform (IP) established in 2015 in Cyumba area in Rwanda has selected wheat as its primary commodity of interest since the locality has ample capacity for wheat production over two seasons in a year. 

This arose as a result of the wheat production system in Rwanda which is faced with low productivity from the unavailability of seeds of improved varieties, poor agronomic practices and poor access to market.

Dr Wole Fatunbi (FARA) making a point 
on Cyumba IP wheat field in Rwanda
The Cyumba Innovation platform is comprised of willing farmers with ready mind to foster a change by investing into their own livelihood, coupled with responsive research system and good political will.

Cyumba IP was set up by the Rwanda Agricultural Board with support from FARA within the Humidtropics research program. The platform is determined to change the wheat story in Rwanda having recently mobilized 1,322 members with a total of 670 ha of well terraced land dedicated to wheat production. 
  • The platform has created six innovation clusters in Ryamuromba, Nubuga, Kigarama, Rusebeya, Gipandi and Remera. 
  • It has also engaged all the needed stakeholders group to leverage available research results and market linkages to boost its production and market access. 
  • It boasts of the presence of Phembe Wheat milling factory on its platform (Phembe is one of the two major wheat miller in Rwanda, and the mill is willing to buy off all the wheat produced by the platform provided its prescribed quality standards are met).
The current yield of wheat on farmer’s field in Rwanda is as low as 2 tons per hectare while elite varieties could yield as high as 6 tons per hectare. Despite the potential capacity to produce wheat in the Northern and Western part of Rwanda, the country still imports over 80% of its annual wheat consumption costing the country about Thirteen Million US Dollars ($13,000,000).

In lieu of the above, members of the Cyumba IP lamented the current state of their production and the low price that is offered for their wheat due to its quality. A kilogram of wheat is currently sold for Rwf 300 to 350 depending on quality, and this is equivalent to 0.5 US dollar per kilogram of wheat grains.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The power of online communities

22 February 2016. The power of online communities . Communities of practice can strengthen smallholder farmers’ ability to influence policy and improve their farming practices

The latest issue of CTA’s ICT Update magazine features eight articles portraying the huge potential of communities of practice (CoPs) for leveraging learning and innovation in the agricultural sector. 

The articles provide experiences of various partners in establishing CoPs along with some case studies and lessons learned.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Community seed banks

19 February 2016. Community Seed Banks: Origins, Evolution and Prospects is the latest book in the 'Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity' series to be made available to download for free on our website.

Earlier this year, book editors Ronnie Vernooy, Genetic Resources Policy Specialist and Bhuwon Sthapit, Senior Scientist at Bioversity International and Pitamber Shrestha, Program Officer with Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD), discussed the origins of seed banks and their achievements and potential as key rural organizations, in light of the book's publication. Read their blog on the Routledge Sustainability Blog.

The 'Issues in Agricultural Biodiversity' series, published by Earthscan/Routledge in association with Bioversity International, reviews the current state of knowledge on agricultural biodiversity, identifies gaps, synthesizes lessons learned and proposes future research and development actions. Issues range from conservation biology of genetic resources through social sciences to policy and legal aspects.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Action against widespread mycotoxin contamination

17 February 2016. Lyon, France. A Working Group of world-leading experts convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) reviewed the health effects of aflatoxins and fumonisins.

The panel concluded that these mycotoxins are not only a cause of acute poisoning and cancer but are also a likely contributor to the high levels of stunting in children in affected populations.

The Working Group also identified effective measures to reduce exposure in developing countries. These recommendations have been published in the report Mycotoxin Control in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, which is available in English, French, and Spanish.
“The report stresses the need for a coordinated international response to the problem of mycotoxin contamination of food,” says Dr Christopher Wild, Director of IARC. “Its health impact has been neglected for too long. We have the tools to make a difference. Now we must find the political will.”
An estimated 500 million of the poorest people in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Asia are exposed to the pervasive natural toxins, aflatoxins and fumonisins, on a daily basis by eating their staple diet of groundnuts, maize, and other cereals. Exposure occurs throughout life at levels far in excess of internationally accepted norms. This contrasts starkly with the situation in developed countries, where people and livestock are protected by good agricultural practices, regulation, and legislation.

Exposure to mycotoxins at these high levels substantially increases mortality and morbidity.
Aflatoxin is a cause of human liver cancer, and fatalities from outbreaks of acute aflatoxin poisoning occur in Africa and Asia. Evidence from population studies and the effects of the toxins in animals also suggest that mycotoxins contribute to stunting in young children.
“Worldwide, more than 160 million children younger than 5 years are stunted. Improving mycotoxin control could have a far-reaching health benefit,” says Dr J. David Miller, Chair of the IARC Working Group. “It is time to put the existing knowledge and technology into action to control mycotoxin food contamination in low-income countries.”
The panel also evaluated 15 interventions against mycotoxins, considering the strength of the evidence as well as its completeness and transferability at an individual, community, or national
level. Four of the measures were judged to be ready for implementation.
“The IARC Working Group Report’s recommendations provide a reliable foundation for investment of public, nongovernmental organization, and private funds to tackle this neglected problem,” says Dr Sindura Ganapathi of the Global Health Program at the BMGF. “What is needed now is effective translation of the vast body of science through to subsistence and smallholder farmers in order to make a difference.”
Download the report:

Download the brief:
PRESS RELEASE N° 242 17 February 2016 New IARC report urges action against widespread mycotoxincontamination in developing countries

See the video interview with Dr Christopher Wild, Director of IARC

Dutch floriculture investments in eastern Africa

16 February 2016. The Netherlands Academy on Land Governance (LANDac) / IDS Utrecht University has conducted a scoping study on Dutch flower farms, land governance and local food security in eastern Africa within the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP). While earlier research focused mainly on evaluating the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of floriculture investments, there is still a significant knowledge gap on the land governance arrangements around the investments, and how the investments impact local food security.

In this report, the complex linkages between land governance – policies and regulations governing the access to and use of land – and how they relate both directly and indirectly to local food security have been studied. The study found that floriculture investments have both negative and positive impacts on local development and local food security: through land use changes and land acquisition processes; through job creation and employment conditions and; through technology and knowledge transfers.

Download the report “Flowers for food?” here.

(Un)sustainable livestock policies and practices

17 February 2016. Brussels. Farm animals make high nutritious foodstuff such as milk, meat, eggs and blood available and accessible for families. They provide nutrients and micro-nutrients such as proteins, lipids, vitamins and minerals and can therefore play an important role in preventing malnutrition and situations of chronic food insecurity, especially when it comes to women and small children. Also, profits from crop production can rise as a result of using manure to fertilize the crops.

Being an economic asset, livestock plays the role of savings, for capitalisation and financial risk management in areas where financial services are not available. Thereby it contributes to the overall financial stability and food security of the household...

However, industrialized countries have developed consumption trends that are excessive in many products, among which meat, milk and eggs. This results in health and environmental concerns: obesity and cardio-vascular diseases, feed production and trade, deforestation, greenhouse gas emission, competition for land, speculation, animal welfare impacts of high-energy and high-protein rations, etc. The rising living standards in the emerging world and urbanization cause a spreading of these nutritional habits, questioning the sustainability of their globalisation. Voices are rising, calling for moderation in this consumption, or even vegetarian or vegan ways of life. 

The questions of the debate were: 
  • Do we need livestock? 
  • Can we afford their feeding? 
  • Are there alternatives? 
  • Is there a sustainable pathway of development, with or without livestock? 
  • What policies to enable this pathway?
  • Thierry Kesteloot, Policy Advisor at Oxfam Solidariteit/Solidarité, focused on the direction the system of global food production and consumption is taking and how this affects farmers in both the North and the South. His approach will be based on the ‘right to food’. 
  • Ced Hesse, principal researcher on climate change at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), focused on how drylands and dryland economics are
    evolving and what their importance is regarding climate change. Particular attention will be given to pastoralism and other ways of dealing with climatic irregularities. 
  • Oumou Khairy Diallo (CNCR – ROPPA), focused on her work related to advocating pastoralism and family farming in Senegal and West Africa. She emphasized the role of family farming in an ever evolving world where more and more people need to be fed. 
  • Erik Mijten (Boerenbond), focused on what livestock production will look like in the years to come in Belgium/Europe. He elaborated on the role of the livestock sector and particular ideas on how this sector will evolve, based on a growing demand for livestock products. 
Be-troplive is an informal and multidisciplinary platform, gathering the Belgian expertise on tropical animal health and production. It constitutes a network spurring interaction between governmental development agencies, universities, NGO’s, independent experts, in the agricultural, veterinary and medical sectors.

In 2015, two sessions were organized, one in Gembloux and one in Gent, each focusing on a different sub-theme related to the central discussion topic. These sub-themes included reflections on livestock’s purpose related to nutrition and food security (‘Do we need livestock?‘) and also the way livestock are fed on a global scale (‘Are livestock eating the world?‘).

VSF Policy Brief One Health,One World? Policies and Perspectives, August 2015.
Efforts in making One Health operational should increasingly include the global South and should entail reinforcement of existing human and animal health services and their mutual linkages to eco-health.


Oumou Khairy DIALLO, présidente du DIRFEL, présente un projet portant sur la valorisation du métier des femmes éleveurs pour la lutte contre l'exode rural et la pauvreté au Sénégal.
Partenaires : DIRFEL de Kaolack, AFDI Bourgogne Franche Comté, Fondation de France, CFSI

In a new study in Nature Communications, a group of researchers concluded that the world’s grasslands are going to need a lot more phosphorus — an important nutrient for plants — if they’re going to produce enough grass to meet future food demands.

No, all that grass won’t be used to feed humans. It’s for the livestock, such as cattle, that people eat. Although many farmers increasingly supplement their animals’ diets with corn and grain, grass remains a major food staple for livestock all around the world. So being able to feed all those animals depends, in a big way, on the productivity of the world’s grasslands. The problem is whether those grasslands will be able to keep up with the future demand for meat, which is only expected to increase.

Source: 16 February 2016. The Washington Post. Scientists just found another key threat to global food security

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Assessment of the CAADP partnership structure

11-12 February 2016. Bonn. The chairmanship of the secretariat of the CAADP DPTT, from April 2013 to December 2015 assumed by the European Commission, has been taken over by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development since January 2016.

The aim of the meeting was to discuss amongst other topics the results of the recent assessment of the CAADP partnership structure and priority topics during German DPTT chairmanship.

Independent Assessment of the CAADP Multi-Donor Trust Fund
February 2014

ECDPM, ESRF, LARES. 2014. Independent assessment of the CAADP Multi-Donor Trust Fund. (ECDPM Discussion Paper 158). Maastricht: ECDPM.

This report finds that the Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) supporting the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) has played a key role in building the capacity of institutions tasked with advancing CAADP at continental and regional level and in improving coordination around CAADP. Nevertheless, it identifies important shortcomings in the way this support has translated to impact on the ground at the national level. Such shortcomings could be addressed during the ongoing design for a future MDTF. Making the MDTF more effective requires improving the governance of the Fund and clarifying its role vis-à-vis the CAADP structures and other types of CAADP support. But also a stronger role of national stakeholders in continental CAADP, better mainstreaming of CAADP in official AU-RECs organs and stronger subsidiarity, seem to be preconditions for such MDTF improvements to work.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The sixth global meeting of the Farmers' Forum

15 to 16 February 2016. Rome. The sixth global meeting of the Farmers' Forum was preceded by a special session on Pastoralism on 12 February and followed by a number of side events on 18 February. See programme

12 February 2016. VSF International organised a Special Session of the Farmers’ Forum with Pastoralists and Livestock Breeeders Organisations at IFAD, in Rome.

18 pastoralists and livestock breeders representatives from Africa, Asia and Latin America participated to the Special Session in Rome, bringing messages from the regional consultations held in January. 

During the whole day they could exchange their views, concerns and experiences, but also propose solutions to promote a more favorable environment for the sustainable development of pastoralism
and livestock keeping.

Participants recalled that IFAD has a crucial role to play to improve the livelihoods of the hundreds of millions of pastoralists and livestock keepers worldwide. For this reason, they elaborated a series of recommendations to IFAD, regarding investment priorities, facilitation of policy dialogue, and improved partnership with pastoralists and extensive livestock breeders organisations.

All these key messages are included in the Statement of the Special Session with Pastoralists and Extensive Livestock Breeders, which was presented at the Farmers’ Forum and received by IFAD and all Farmers Organisations participating in the process.

Extract 15/02: 4 Parallel thematic working group sessions: 
  1. Which markets work for smallholders? Learning from FOs and IFAD experiences in Connecting smallholders to markets 
  2. Smallholders and Climate Change: How to mainstream agro-ecological approaches for CC adaptation and mitigation 
  3. Working together to support and implement women and youth rights in agriculture development: Follow up of Special session on Women in Agriculture (2010) and Special session on Youth in Agriculture (2012) 
  4. Preparing the Farmers' Forum process for future challenges
Extract 16/02: 5 Parallel regional working group sessions: operational partnership between IFAD and FOs at regional and country levels 
  1. Western and Central Africa Regional working group session
  2. Eastern and Southern Africa Regional working group session 
  3. Near East and North Africa Regional working group session 
  4. Asia and the Pacific Regional working group session 
  5. Latin America and the Caribbean Regional working group session 
Extract 18/02:
  • Side Event #1: The experience of Italian Cooperatives and the development of partnerships with farmers' organizations. Organizer: Coopermondo, FedagriAlliance of Italian Cooperatives and IFAD/ Italian Conference Room 
  • Side Event #7 Back to the Future: Farmers re-envisaging the value and role of agricultural research for development and innovation. Organizer AFA and GFAR 
  • Event #8: Economic activities of Farmers’ organisations: recent initiatives, approaches for support, complementarities between national and local organisations. Organizer: AgriCord (Farmers Fighting Poverty) 
  • Side Event #9: Purchase from Africans for Africa (PAA)
PAEPARD presentation by EAFF:

2016 marks the 10th year anniversary of the Farmers' Forum. The sixth global meeting provided an opportunity to assess the results of  this unique dialogue and partnership. It also set the stage for revisiting the Forum's purpose and modalities within the context of the evolving relationships between smallholder, family farmers and development actors and taking into account IFAD's new Strategic Framework and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

On 18 February 2016, the Farmers' Forum had an opportunity to share its messages with IFAD's Governing Council.

Innovation platforms in rice value chains

1-5 February 2016. Cotonou, Benin. AfricaRice held its 2016 Science Week and Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP)-Africa Forum. The Science Week served as the annual review, reflection and planning event for the Center and its research and development partners from around the world. It is held under the framework of the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP), a CGIAR Research Program on rice.

International and national rice research and development partners from the public and private sectors, including representatives of national research and extension programs of about 30 African countries participated in this event.

The main objectives of the 2016 AfricaRice Science Week and GRiSP-Africa Forum were to discuss results obtained in 2015 and carry out effective and efficient planning of rice research-for-development (R4D) activities in 2016.

In addition to updates on GRiSP-Africa R4D activities and meetings of the Africa-wide Rice Task Forces and the Rice Sector Development Hubs, the Science Week’s program included among others brainstorming sessions on improved seed delivery, long-term agronomic trials related to soil fertility management, knowledge sharing and innovation platforms in rice value chains.

Published on 22 Dec 2015. A video on the improved GEM parboiling rice system, which has started to make a difference in the lives of over 450 women rice parboilers in the Glazoué rice hub in Benin, has been produced.

AfricaRice has developed and established the GEM system in Glazoué using an innovation platform approach along the rice value chain thanks to the project "Support to Agricultural Research for strategic crops in Africa" (SARD-SC) with funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Appropriate training has allowed women to explore the GEM method and its advantages that include the following:
  • Reduction of post-harvest losses; 
  • Parboiling a large quantity of rice in a limited period of time; and 
  • Improving the quality of rice that better meets consumer demands. 
The innovation platform approach has promoted the creation of good business relations between the various stakeholders in the rice value chain by bringing together all the stakeholders.

As a result, rice consumers are progressively being attracted to the locally produced parboiled rice in Glazoué, leading to increase in incomes of women parboilers. In addition to the beneficiaries from Glazoué rice hub, the training included women processors from Malanville in northern Benin and 10 young entrepreneurs.

Multi stakeholder processes in agricultural innovations

Published on 14 Jan 2016Why multi-stakeholder processes are a must
Social scientist Marc Schut shared his insight into how multi-stakeholder processes can help achieve agricultural development goals at a recent seminar held at AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center Eastern and Southern Africa in Tanzania.

(English; running time 00:01:59).

PAEPARD: ARD funding opportunities

Pour la traduction en français cliquez dans la colonne de droite du blog sur « automatic translation » et choisissez votre langue !


The Agropolis Fondation, Fondazione Cariplo, and Fondation Daniel et Nina Carasso announce the “Thought for Food Initiative: Transdisciplinary Research towards more Sustainable Food Systems.” The program will fund research projects, including those with a capacity building component, in either of the following thematic strands or a combination of both: (i) Diverse agricultural production for more sustainable food systems and diets; and (ii) Sustainable food processing for more sustainable and healthy diets. Projects must include partners from concerned countries, especially if they involve case studies in developing countries. Funding requests should be a minimum of €200 thousand over three years. The deadline for concept notes is 29 February 2016.

Frameworks for managing natural resources, and for strengthening agriculture and food security
Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) works to promote political and economic governance that contributes towards justice and human rights in West Africa. The current call for proposals includes improved frameworks for managing natural resources, and for strengthening agriculture and food security in the context of climate change -- among other social and political objectives. OSIWA makes most of its grants to local organizations in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Senegal. It will also fund other types of organizations in rare and limited circumstances. The deadline for concept notes (English, French) is 30 April 2016

Bio-diversity, environment, climate change

Projects to strengthen land governance in Africa
The LEGEND Challenge Fund of DFID aims to identify and support projects to strengthen land governance in Africa by fostering alliances between private-sector investors in agriculture and natural resources with local communities. Window 1 ("Responsible Land-Based Agricultural Investments") focuses on Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Tanzania. Window 2 ("Open Innovation") focuses on these same countries plus Sierra Leone and Zambia. LEGEND is open to national and international non-profit organisations who are expected to establish formal partnerships with private sector businesses investing in the target countries. In addition, grantees may wish to partner with government, research, or development organisations. Most grants are expected to range from £350 thousand to £450 thousand for projects of 12-30 months. The application deadline is 26 February 2016.

The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is the country's focal point for the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI). Qualified individuals from developing countries supported by Belgian Development Cooperation can apply for study visits in Belgium to train in taxonomic projects and biodiversity assessment projects that have strong taxonomic components. The call is restricted to trainees who benefited from the GTI support in 2014 and/or 2015. The application deadline is 27 February 2016

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF-U.S.), through its Education for Nature program, offers special grants to build capacity for conservation leadership in Mozambique and Myanmar. The Russell E. Train Fellowships provide support for conservationists in Mozambique and Myanmar to pursue graduate-level study anywhere in the world with the goal of advancing conservation in both countries. Applicants may request up to US$30 thousand per year for up to two years. The deadline to apply for the Conservation in Mozambique Fellowship is 01 March 2016.

The EC calls for proposals to strengthen the contribution of non-state actors to improving forest governance, sustainable forest management, and the contribution of forests to development. Specifically, EC aims to strengthen the role of civil society to engage in the processes about FLEGT VPA (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade - Voluntary Partnership Agreement) and REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). Funding will be allocated among the following regions: Congo Basin; Western Africa; Amazon Basin; Mesoamerican Corridor; Mekong Region; and Southeast Asia and Pacific. The program is open to nonprofit non-state organizations in the EU and in the developing countries listed in the announcement. Grants will range from €2 million to €6 million, varying by regions and cost shares. Reference EuropeAid/150699/DH/ACT/Multi. The deadline for concept notes (English, French, Spanish) is 08 March 2016

The French Global Environment Facility FFEM announced a fourth call under FISP-Climat as an innovation facility to encourage private enterprise to use green technologies for fighting climate change in developing countries. The FFEM will support projects in climate mitigation and adaptation for up to €500 thousand per project . Proposals must include at least one private company. Projects can be located in ACP countries and other developing countries, with preference for North Africa and the Mediterranean region. The closing date is 18 March 2016.

The Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) offers competitive grants in support of its mission to improve forest management and expand forest certification around the world. PEFC invites its members and other non-profit organizations to apply. Project partners may also include private and public-sector organizations. PEFC will consider proposals up to CHF 40 thousand for projects up to two years. Grantees must provide at least 35% co-funding. The deadline for applications is 18 March 2016

The Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d) supports research that contributes to the solution of global problems. The programme currently calls for proposals in topics that include (i) ecosystems, ecosystems management, and climate change; (ii) natural resource governance for sustainable development; and (iii) others. Eligibility for funding extends to researchers in Switzerland with partners in eligible developing countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The application deadline for pre-proposals is 01 April 2016


In partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the government of Hungary announces scholarships for MSc degrees in agriculture at participating Hungarian universities. The fields of specialization are agricultural sciences, agricultural biotechnology, horticulture, and animal nutrition and feed safety. Applicants should be residents and nationals of the developing countries listed in the announcement. The deadline for applications is 28 February 2016.

Candidates who are interested in conducting postdoctoral research at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research in Israel are invited to apply for fellowships. Research topics include desert ecology, solar energy, environmental physics, architecture and urban planning, rainfed and irrigated agriculture, hydrology, aquaculture, environmental microbiology, desalination and water treatment, and biotechnology. Candidates should first select a topic of interest and identify a prospective supervisor. Applications are open worldwide. The application deadline is 03 March 2016

With financial support from the German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD), RUFORUM offers scholarships for doctoral studies in specific disciplines of agriculture and life sciences at participating universities in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. Applications are welcomed from qualified candidates in these countries, and also regionally. The deadline for applications is 11 March 2016.
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) is partnering with Aarhus University (Denmark) to address dispersal and effects of heavy metals and xenobiotic substances in Ghana's environment. The program announces the availability of seven PhD scholarships for fellows to be enrolled at KNUST, and to benefit from joint collaborative supervision between KNUST and Aarhus University. Priority for funding support will be given to researchers in Ghana and other countries of West Africa. The application deadline is 15 March 2016.

ICRA invites applications for a three-week course in October 2016 on the subject of integrating education, action-research, and community outreach related to agriculture. The course is designed for individuals working in tertiary agricultural and rural education. Candidates should be proficient in English, have at least five years professional experience, preferably in tertiary agricultural and rural education and related fields. They also need to have approval of their institution to participate. The deadline to apply for scholarships is 22 March 2016. The deadline for other applicants (with funds) is 01 August 2016.

The CGIAR Research Program on Dryland Cereals aims to increase research on barley, finger millet, pearl millet, and sorghum. In partnership with RUFORUM, the program invites PhD and MSc graduates specializing in sorghum, barley, and millet to apply for field attachments with research projects at ICARDA and ICRISAT. The call is open to RUFORUM-sponsored PhD and MSc students who have worked with millet, barley, or sorghum and who have recently graduated, or who have submitted their thesis for examination. The amount of support over six months is US$10 thousand for PhD students, and US$5 thousand for MSc students. The application deadline is 30 March 2016

The Nordic Africa Institute provides funding to social science researchers from Sub-Saharan Africa for short-term collaborative assignments at the NAI in Uppsala, Sweden. Female researchers are especially encouraged to apply. The research cluster "Agrarian Change, Property, and Resources" includes the topics of land ownership and entitlements, land grabbing, natural resource management, livestock rearing, community forestry, and environmental sustainability. The application deadline is 01 April 2016

Support for International Students 2016. Nanjing University of Science and Technology (NUST) offers full or partial scholarships for international students at graduate and undergraduate levels. Academic areas at NUST include environmental engineering, biotechnology, energy science, and many others. Application deadlines are 10 April 2016 for the Chinese Government Scholarship, and 30 May 2016 for the Jiangsu Jasmine Scholarship.

The Congo Basin Grant Program provides competitive research grants of up to US$5 thousand for African graduate students and early-career professionals working in the areas of biodiversity, conservation, and environmental sustainability in the Congo Basin. Applicants should be 35 years of age or younger, and reside in one of the following countries: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Dem Rep Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, or Uganda. The deadline for applications (English, French) is 01 May 2016

The Ekhaga Foundation makes grants for research in ecological agriculture and biological medicine. Universities, research institutes, etc., from all over the world are invited to apply. Ekhaga requires cooperation with a Swedish institution for applications that do not come from Europe or North America. The deadline for applications is 20 May 2016.

The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) supports female scientists in Sub-Saharan Africa and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) with doctoral fellowships in the natural sciences. The fellowships are for the pursuit of a doctoral degree at a host institution in a developing country, but not in the applicant's home country. Applicants should be qualified young women science graduates (generally below 40 years of age), who have an M.Sc. degree or outstanding B.Sc. in the natural sciences. The eligible scientific fields include agricultural sciences; biological systems and organisms; and many others. The application deadline is 31 May 2016.

The Rotary Foundation partners with UNESCO to offer funding for masters studies in water and sanitation. Applicants for Rotary's support must be provisionally admitted to one of the three participating degree programs at UNESCO's Institute for Water Education (IHE). Students apply via their local Rotary club or district. Each award is approximately €34 thousand, paid directly to UNESCO-IHE. The application deadline is 15 June

The Ernest du Bois Prize of the King Boudouin Foundation offers €20 thousand for doctoral studies on the theme of water availability. The awards are for young engineers who are carrying out research on the theme of water and its availability -- including issues of protecting reserves, managing pollution, developing processing techniques, and others. Applications need to be submitted in French or Dutch. The application deadline is until 19 October 2016


Innovative sustainable solutions in energy, resources, and food
Sustainia100 is an annual guide to 100 innovative sustainable solutions from around the world in sectors that include energy, resources, and food (agriculture) -- among others. Sustainia100 invites innovative solutions that present readily available projects, initiatives, and technologies at the forefront of sustainable transformation. The finalists receive publicity online, at the awards ceremony, and in a published guide. The deadline for submissions is 02 March 2016.

Social and Environmental Enterprises. Founded by the United Nations Environment Program and partner organizations, SEED supports small-scale enterprises in the developing world which integrate social and environmental benefits into their business models. The SEED Awards for 2016 are structured in three categories
·         15 SAG-SEED Awards supported by the SWITCH-Africa Green project, which is implemented by UNEP with the assistance of the European Union. Social and environmental start-up enterprise located in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa or Uganda
·         4 SEED Africa Awards supported by the Government of Flanders. Social and environmental start-up enterprise located in Malawi, Mozambique or Namibia.
·         SEED Gender Equality Award in Kenya. Social and environmental enterprise run or owned by a woman or women, does it prioritise women empowerment and is it located in Kenya
Each award recipient is granted capacity building and networking opportunities. The application deadline is 21 March 2016.

MasterCard Foundation's Fund for Rural Prosperity aims to facilitate increased financial access for people living in rural and agricultural areas of Africa. The Fund for Rural Prosperity will support ideas from institutions looking to deliver a financial service, product, or process to the rural poor in eligible African countries. Projects may be proposed by a single institution or by a partnership, which could include NGOs. However, the proposal must be submitted by one company acting as the lead organization. Applications to the Innovation Competition should request support between US$250 thousand and US$1 million. For the scaling competition, applications should request between US$750 thousand and US$2.5 million. The deadline for submissions is 28 March 2016

The Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for the Agricultural and Life Sciences (GCHERA) supports innovation and leadership in education, research, and outreach in the agricultural and life sciences. The GCHERA World Agriculture Prize will be awarded in 2016 to a faculty member from a higher education institution for lifetime achievements in agriculture, forestry, natural resources, food, bio-based products, bio-energy, rural development and the environment, and related subject areas. The amount of the prize is US$50 thousand, contributed by Nanjing Agricultural University. The closing date for nominations is 25 April 2016.

The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) makes grants to support the organization of high-level international and regional scientific activities in developing countries by offering financial assistance for conferences, workshops, symposia, and special meetings. Eligible fields include agricultural, biological, geological, and other sciences. Support is normally in the form of travel grants for principal speakers from abroad and/or participants from developing countries other than the country where the meeting is held. The amount provided normally does not exceed US$5 thousand. The next application deadline is 01 June 2016

Friday, February 12, 2016

Lancement du projet Semences Soja

3 février 2016
INFOSEC à Cotonou. Le Projet Semences Soja (ProSeSS) a été officiellement lancé. La mise en œuvre dudit projet vise l’amélioration de la qualité et le rendement des produits dérivés du soja. Les travaux de l’atelier ont été ouverts par Emmanuel Zinsou représentant le Ministre en charge de l’agriculture, de l’élevage et de la pêche.

A travers ce projet, la filière soja connaitra dans les prochains jours un nouvel essor au Bénin. Soumis par le Consortium Soja du Bénin au nom de l’association SOJAGNON, la mise en œuvre du projet s’étend sur une durée de trois ans. 
  • Il vise entre autres à promouvoir la production et l’utilisation des semences de soja de qualité à travers l’élaboration de plan stratégique pour le sous-secteur semences soja et de mettre à la disposition des entreprises semencières de la filière, une gamme de variétés de soja adaptées aux différents produits dérivés. 
  • En effet, ce projet vient en complément à l’initiative déjà en cours telle que le Projet Soja Afitin Milk (ProSAM, financé par la Plateforme Afrique Europe pour le Partenariat de Recherche Agricole pour le Développement (PAEPARD) de FARA sous UE pour supporter des chaines de valeur de soja au Bénin. 
Le Consortium Soja du Bénin est composé du Réseau de Développement d’Agriculture Durable (REDAD), la Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques de l’Université d’Abomey-Calavi (FSA/UAC), l’Institut International d’Agriculture Tropicale (IITA-Bénin) et de l’Université de Wageningen (WU) des Pays-Bas. Dans son mot de bienvenue, le Coordonnateur du Projet Semences Soja (ProSeSS), Patrice SEWADE a rappelé que le projet a été retenu en raison de sa qualité, mais surtout à cause de l’impact significatif qu’il aura sur les acteurs de la filière soja. Cependant, la bonne gouvernance s’impose pour atteindre les objectifs fixés à cet effet. 
« Nous devons y arriver, oui nous le pouvons », a rassuré M. SEWADE avant de remercier l’Ambassadeur du Royaume des Pays Bas au Bénin, pour avoir décidé de soutenir cette initiative. 
A son tour le Doyen de la FSA, le Professeur Joseph HOUNHOUIGAN, reprécisant les missions du projet, a souligné que le Soja accroit la fertilité du sol. Prenant la parole, le Chef de Coopération, Adjoint à l’Ambassadeur des Pays-Bas près le Bénin, SPEELMAN a félicité tous les acteurs, experts et institutions partenaires du projet pour leur démarche participative d’élaboration et de soumission de projet compétitif au financement des institutions du ministère des affaires étrangères des Pays-Bas (NWO/WOTRO). 

Par la suite, il a réitéré la disponibilité de l’Ambassade à apporter son soutien à la promotion et au développement des initiatives privées dans le secteur agricole. Le représentant du Ministre en charge de l’agriculture Emmanuel F. ZINSOU a, quant à lui, rassuré du soutien du gouvernement béninois à ce projet de recherche de développement. Ceci contribue, selon ses dires, à l’amélioration des revenus des petits producteurs surtout les semenciers et les femmes.


BIOFACH 2016: organic food and the tension between safety and quality

10 - 13 February 2016. Nuremberg, Germany. BIOFACH 2016.
The BIOFACH Congress – the platform for knowledge transfer, information exchange, discussion and opinion forming – is the biggest organic congress in the world and its some 100 presentations and panel discussions reach more than 7,000 participants. Join in the discussion and be inspired!

Key theme 2016: "Organic 3.0 – Acting for more organic!"
Organic 3.0 is the discussion on the organic sector of the future and stands for credible and sustainable concepts which are ground-breaking in the re-structuring of the global agriculture and food industry. The organic movement itself is called upon. But not only that: its partners in politics, the private sector and civil society must also create the conditions for the restructuring process and growth as well as actively support the organic sector. BIOFACH 2016 provides the platform for holding discussions and initiating specific measures.

Extracts of the program:
  • The World of Organic Agriculture - Statistics and Emerging Trends At this session the latest data on organic agriculture worldwide were presented (area, operators, markets) and an overview of the current status of organic legislation will be given
  • EU Policy Day, organised by IFOAM EU in cooperation with BIOFACH. In March 2014 the European Commission published its legislative proposal for a new organic regulation. The next and last step in this process is represented by the ‘trilogue’ negotiations between the three EU institutions to agree on a final legal text, presumably at the beginning of 2016. Taking into consideration the three institutions’ proposals, trilogue outcomes on certain regulation areas can be already foreseen and discussion can be kicked off.The policy day will bring together the EU policy makers and the organic sector to discuss the possible changes that the sector will have to be facing when the new organic regulation is adopted.
  • Recent Studies in Organic Research. This session bridged the gap between science and the public by covering studies published in 2015 (and early 2016) about the human health and environmental benefits of organic agriculture.
  • How much food safety can we afford? The tension between safety and quality. Manufacturers and consumers have been jolted by the discoveries of dioxin and mycotoxins in food products. Does society need to reach a new consensus on safety and quality?
Barbara Altmann, Head of Strategic Sourcing Food Ingredients / Rapunzel Naturkost AG Jutta Jaksche, Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V. (vzbv)
Dr. Ulrich Mautner, SALUS Haus Dr. med. Otto Greither Nachf. GmbH and Co. KG
Andreas Swoboda, W-E-G Stiftung and Co. KG
Tom Nizet, Responsable certification / Certisys GmbH
Hubertus Doms, Hipp GmbH & Co. Produktions KG