Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, October 22, 2018

Public-private partnership experienced by PAEPARD

22 October 2018.
Public-private partnership experienced by PAEPARD
AUTHORS: Alfred S., Muchiri S. and Kahane R. 9 pages

The Platform for Africa-Europe Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD), designed a multi-stakeholder partnership approach to overcome existing shortcomings in agricultural research for development (ARD). Through a variety of brokerage mechanisms, PAEPARD has supported the formation of consortia made up of multi-stakeholder partners from the public and private sectors, which are intended to address priority research issues and respond to user needs.

PAEPARD played a key role in brokering the PPP that made up consortia, in particular, the Platform helped attract private sector small and mediumsized enterprises (SME) to partner with consortia, and trained a group of facilitators to strengthen partnership formation and management.

Initially, PAEPARD experienced challenges in involving the private sector in its multi-stakeholder consortia. A major constraint to the participation of SME stems from their reluctance to engage with NGO or government-driven research activities due to their limited experience and mistrust of working with such organizations. The challenges of working with smallholders in outgrower schemes also limits the private sector’s interest in submitting proposals for multi-stakeholder partnerships, which require significant time and resource commitments (human and financial).

To mobilize private sector partners PAEPARD sought to create better understanding of the winwin outcomes for all partners, the constraints that private sector partners operate under (e.g. time  and resources), and the required incentives for private sector participation (e.g. ownership of the research product).

During its second phase, PAEPARD increased the participation of private sector partners, including farmer organizations, in its multi-stakeholder consortia, through its users-led process (ULP), competitive research fund (CRF) and incentive fund (IF) mechanisms. Each of these mechanisms were funded by PAEPARD, providing the necessary financial incentive for private sector involvement in consortia.

Ghana citrus consortium
The Ghana citrus consortium brought together a range of stakeholders to address the high level of fruit losses due to the presence of the angular leaf spot disease (Pseudocercospora leaf and fruit spot) and fruit flies in the regions where citrus fruits are produced. One of the key partners in this consortium is the Citrus Growers and Marketing Association of Ghana (CIGMAG), which has over 3,000 members whose income depends on citrus fruit farming. Two private sector fruit processing companies were involved in the Ghana citrus consortium, which aimed to address citrus fruit damage as a result of pests and diseases. Pinora Ltd and Fruitland Ghana Ltd.

Nigeria cassava consortium
Two influential farmers’ groups (Unit Six Multipurpose Cooperative and Imo State Cassava Growers Association) joined the consortium to collaborate in the production and use of cassava as a raw material for poultry feed.

Burkina Faso Trichoderma consortium
With Téga Wendé on board, the consortium activities have seen a significant expansion in the production and use of organic matter by local farmers. In fact, the Téga Wendé group has almost doubled its compost production from 45 tons in 2014 to nearly 76 tons in the first half of 2017. The revenue generated by the sale of the compost has increased four-fold over this period to €2,763 in the first half of 2017. In addition, the study tours of Téga Wendé have made it possible to replicate the processing structure used by the group to establish 12 new rural composting units in Burkina Faso.

GIE BIOPROTECT, a (joint venture) private sector company based in Burkina Faso that specializes in the supply of organic farm inputs, as well as training and advice on organic farming and good agricultural practices, is a leading partner in the Burkina Faso consortium focused on promoting the use of Trichoderma enriched compost.

East Africa livestock feed consortium
EAFF established the Kenyan Aflatoxin Innovation Platform (KAIP). KAIP provided further support to elaborate and present several project proposals to create awareness among farmers of aflatoxin control mechanisms.

Malawi and Zambia groundnut consortium
Smallholder farmers, drawn from the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) and Eastern Province Farmers’ Cooperatives membership base, were at the heart of the project. Farmers participated at two levels, either as lead farmers who took part in the participatory research, or farmers who received targeted extension services for improved aflatoxin mitigation practices through publications, radio broadcasts and face-to-face demonstrations.

Burundi potato consortium
The consortium placed farmers at the center of activities, building strong relationships with producer cooperatives for the rapid dissemination and adoption of the locally adapted seeds.

Benin soybean consortium
Engagement with the women processors in the consortium has enabled researchers to demystify and simplify scientific information so that it is user friendly and meets the women’s needs. In 2016, the consortium also partnered with the African Agribusiness Incubation Network to set up a private sector organization, the Benin Agribusiness Incubation Hub (BAIH), to help turn research outputs into viable agribusinesses.

Seventh Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-VII)

10-12 October 2018. Seventh Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA-VII)

Translating nationally determined contributions into concrete actions, requires, among other things, implementation plans that prioritize specific sectoral climate actions and predictable finance flows, sustained capacity-building and the transfer of relevant technologies from developed countries. This, in turn, calls for serious dialogue and interaction between policymakers, scientists and researchers, as well as other stakeholders, to support the translation of the nationally determined contributions into action plans and programmes. 
The seventh Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa brought together various stakeholders to interrogate Africa’s nationally determined contributions and define actionable climate agendas. This gathering built on the sixth Conference, which focused on understanding the implementation implications, challenges and opportunities of the Paris Agreement in the context of Africa’s development priorities prior to it coming into effect on 4 November 2016. 

In keeping with the Conference’s founding philosophy, the seventh meeting facilitated science-practice-policy dialogue. Three themes guided this dialogue: 
  • advancing the implementation of the nationally determined contributions in Africa, 
  • the role of climate information and services in support of those contributions 
  • and climate finance for them. 
By uniting different platforms, parallel sessions and exhibitions for dialogue and interaction, the seventh Conference facilitated and enriched the shared lessons from the implementation of nationally determined contributions, key research findings and outreach and policy uptake, as well as stimulate investment.

Pre-event at the Seventh Climate Change and Development in Africa Conference reflects on the involvement of youth in agriculture.
At the Seventh Climate Change and Development in Africa Conference (CCDA VII), the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) co-organized a pre-event around youth in agriculture. The session was led in cooperation with the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

Catherine Mungai (see picture), CCAFS East Africa Partnerships and Policy Specialist, made a recommendation to document what young people are already doing in agriculture and start organizing learning visits for them so they can exchange knowledge and best practices with each other.

As part of the CCDAVII pre-events, CCAFS East Africa scientists made presentations during the training workshop for African journalists on climate and environment. This session created a platform for the young journalists and media professionals covering climate and environmental issues to engage with researchers. The participants included the finalists of the African Climate Change and Environmental Reporting (ACCER) journalist awards and members of the Pan African Media Alliance for Climate Change (PAMACC).

Strengthening the capacity of multi-stakeholder partnerships in ARD

22 October 2018. Nairobi, Kenya. Launch of PAEPARD THEMATIC BRIEFS.

The 16th Management Team Meeting (MTM) is the last meeting of the PAEPARD project. It is organized back-to-back to the 6th African Higher Education Week organized by RUFORUM from 22nd to 26th October 2018.

Yemi Akinbamijo (FARA) and
Tim Chancellor (AGRINATURA)
It brought alongside all implementing partners with the overall objective of assessing the level of implementation of the 2018 work plan and the institutionalization of PAEPARD tools and instruments (ULP and communication tools).

At this occasion several PAEPARD THEMATIC BRIEFS were launched.

Newly released THEMATIC BRIEFS

BRIEF 1 - ARD Partnerships - An introduction
Authors: Richard Hawkins, Julia Ekong and Mundie Salm, 5 pages
PAEPARD experience has shown that funding for balanced and multi-stakeholder ARD partnerships, where farmer organizations or the private sector have a significant and even determining voice in setting the research agenda, is not yet easy to obtain. Complex and elaborate research funding mechanisms tend to focus on more straightforward conventional research, with information and technology as shorter-term outputs, rather than on longer-term outcomes in farmer livelihoods and commercial value chains.

BRIEF 2 - Systems thinking and ARD partnerships
Authors: Richard Hawkins, Julia Ekong and Mundie Salm, 7 pages- looks at the broader systemic (or systems) thinking needed for addressing complex, multi-faceted issues. Tools consisting of diagrams and matrices that can be used to explore systems thinking are introduced.

BRIEF 3 - Adaptive leadership in ARD
Authors: Richard Hawkins, Julia Ekong and Mundie Salm, 5 pages
- looks at how different types of leadership can promote and guide collaboration between stakeholders and project partners with different backgrounds, interests, knowledge, culture, and operating procedures.

BRIEF 4 - Managing power differences in ARD partnerships
Authors: Richard Hawkins, Julia Ekong and Mundie Salm, 5 pages
- considers how the inevitable power issues between different actors and stakeholders with different resources and interests, can be made more explicit and managedin ARD partnerships.

BRIEF 5 - Gender and youth inclusion in ARD processes
Authors: Richard Hawkins, Julia Ekong and Mundie Salm, 7 pages
- focuses on frameworks and tools which can be used to ensure that these groups are included in the definition of research needs and ARD processes, and hence for them to 0benefit from the resulting changes in practice.

BRIEF 6 - Reflection and learning in ARD 
Authors: Richard Hawkins, Julia Ekong and Mundie Salm, 5 pages
- explores how to improve the continual joint learning required by ARD partners, based on iterative cycles of planning, action and reflection on the experience gained through collaboration.

BRIEF 7 - Knowledge co-creation and management in ARD
Authors: Richard Hawkins, Julia Ekong and Mundie Salm, 5 pages
Knowledge co-creation and management in ARD - looks at the processes which are needed to convert the information gained through research projects into knowledge which leads to action, and eventually embedded in the processes, products and culture of organizations.

BRIEF 8 - Scaling of ARD processes: forthcoming
- considers the
principles and strategies that allow ARD processes and the learning
gained through these processes to be used more widely.

Innovation platforms are widely used in agricultural research to connect different stakeholders to achieve common goals. These ‘practice briefs’ are intended to help guide agricultural research practitioners who seek to support and implement innovation platforms. A contribution to the CGIAR Humidtropics research program, the development of the briefs was led by the International Livestock Research Institute; they draw on experiences of the CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food, several CGIAR centres and partner organizations.

Addressing the Challenges in Communicating Climate Change

20 October 2018. One of the major needs seen in respect of addressing the various challenges
climate change poses to countries, people and ecosystems, is the need for better information, communication and in some cases training, on matters related to climate change.

Consistent with the urgency to address this problem, the International Climate Change Information and Research Programme (ICCIRP)  has coordinated the inputs by a teamof over 100 specialists, who have joined efforts to produce two ground-breaking publications, namely:

1. The Handbook of Climate Change Communication, the most comprehensive work produced to date on the topic, structured around 3 volumes:
  1. Volume 1- Theory of Climate Change Communication
  2. Volume 2- Practice of Climate Change Communication
  3. Volume 3- Case Studies in Climate Change Communication
2. Addressing the Challenges in Communicating Climate Change Across Various Audiences, which describes research on and applications of climate change communication in a comprehensive way, with highly international coverage:

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Groundnut aflatoxin exposure and the food safety policy environment

17 October 2018. Pretoria. 2nd International Conference on Food Safety and Security. Theme: Next Generation Food Safety Technologies addressing Sustainable Development Goals

Presntation on Groundnut aflatoxin exposure and the food safety policy environment – need for a systems approach Willeke De Bruin, University of Pretoria

3 July 2018. Lilongwe, Malawi. The close-out research dissemination workshop was held under the theme ‘Sustainable Partnerships for Research and Development: Experiences of PAEPARD Groundnut Value Chain Consortium in Malawi and Zambia’ and aimed at sharing outputs from the research, extension and policy interventions, exploring more on policies and technologies used in management of aflatoxin, generating policy recommendations and isolating areas of further research.

See full report: The Project Close Out Workshop (11 pages)

Dr Hendrex Kazembe-Phiri (Department of Agricultural Research Services);
Ms. Beatrice Neri (European Commission);
Dr Betty Chinyamunyamu (NASFAM);
Dr Remi Kahane (CIRAD); and Dr Jonas Mugabe (FARA)
Over fifty-four (54) participants from Government ministries, donor community, universities, private sector, farmer organizations and civil society participated in the workshop.

  • The NASFAM Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Betty Chinyamunyamu welcomed participants to the workshop and emphasized on the importance of addressing the aflatoxin challenge. In her welcome remarks, she highlighted the increasingly important role that farmers are playing in defining research trajectories, extension methodologies and policy direction. 
  • Ms. Beatrice Neri shared with the participants on the European Delegations’ agenda on development highlighting main ongoing agricultural programmes in Malawi and called for strengthened collaboration first amongst EU supported initiatives and then for the wider agricultural development actors for increased cross-learning.
  • The Guest of Honour, Dr Hendrex Kazembe-Phiri (Department of Agricultural and Research Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development) emphasised that the producers of groundnuts are also net consumers of own production, addressing the aflatoxin challenge requires raising the consciousness of farmers from both the health and trade perspectives.
  • Dr. Mweshi Mukanga of the Zambia Research institute (ZARI) presented the research results.
  • Dr Ben Bennet of the University of Greenwich- Natural Resources Institute moderated two panel discussions. The panel and plenary discussions appreciated the lessons that were shared by the consortium and called for sustaining the momentum as well as scaling up the validated technologies, contribute to the review of national extension policies and promote the best practice of forming and sustaining multi-stakeholder partnerships.
  • The Chief Executive Officer of the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC), Dr. Felix Lombe stimulated discussions on resource mobilization for multi-stakeholder research partnerships and the role of private sector in agricultural research and development.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Horizon 2020 Info Day Kenya

18 October 2018. Nairobi. Horizon 2020 Info Day: Funding opportunities for cooperation between Africa and Europe through Horizon 2020.

The European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation through its unit for Science and Technology Cooperation with Africa, has organised a Horizon 2020 Info day as a pre-conference event during the African Higher Education Week and RUFORUM Biennial Conference.

The main objective of the event was to provide information on funding opportunities available for cooperation between Africa and Europe through Horizon 2020 and its successor programmes. Specifically, the information day will provide knowledge to the following:
  1. Opportunities for African-EU cooperation in science and innovation in Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe 
  2. Horizon 2020 – Open to the world & opportunities for African countries 
  3. European Innovation Council Horizon Prize on Affordable High-Tech for Humanitarian Aid 
  4. Best Practice Examples on research projects in horizon 2020 
  5. Networking: How to find suitable partners for Horizon 2020 proposals
Extracts of the programme
  • Myra Bernardi, Head of Section for Agriculture, Job Creation and Resilience, EU Delegation to Kenya 
  • Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, Executive Secretary for RUFORUM
  • Fadila Boughanemi, Deputy Head of Unit in charge of S&T Cooperation with Africa, European Commission - An introduction to Horizon 2020 and outlook to Horizon Europe
  • Jacob Mignouna (Beca/ILRI) Experience sharing from the Horizon 2020-supported project ‘InnovAfrica’
The Sixth African Higher Education Week and RUFORUM Biennial Conference, Date: 19th, 20 and 23rd October, 2018. WIPO Forum on Strengthening IP Management in African Universities 

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Committee on World Food Security (CFS) 45

15-19 October 2018. Rome. The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is the foremost inclusive international and intergovernmental platform for all stakeholders to work together to ensure food security and nutrition for all. The Committee reports to the UN General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and to FAO Conference.

Using a multi-stakeholder, inclusive approach, CFS develops and endorsespolicy recommendations and guidance on a wide range of food security and nutrition topics. These are developed starting from scientific and evidence-based reports produced by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) and/or through work supported technically by The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), World Food Programme (WFP) and representatives of the CFS Advisory Group.

Nutrition Africa Investor Forum

16-17 October 2018. Nairobi (Kenya). The Nutrition Africa Investor Forum, is a platform for bold, fresh, holistic ideas to develop the food value chain and the role that the private sector can play in enhancing nutrition in Africa.

The Forum was being hosted by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) together with Royal DSM, SUN Business Network and African Business magazine.

It brought together business leaders and key players from the agriculture, development and academic communities as well as investors. The forum allowed investors to connect with investment opportunities in high impact nutrition businesses as well as to exchange knowledge, share experiences, explore collaborations and spark new ideas.

Extracts ofthe programme

What will the African food industry look like in 2030 – will it deliver safe and nutritious foods for all? 
This session identified the main trends and vectors of change in the agri-food business of the future. From new foods to data analytics and trade liberalisation to fintech, what impact will these disruptive trends have on agri-businesses scaling up nutrition impacts in Africa? 
  • Shereen Tromp, Senior Consultant Specialised in Sub-Saharan African Research, Euromonitor 
  • Jennifer Baarn, Head of Partnerships, AGRA 
  • Myriam Sidibe, Senior Fellow, MRCBG, Harvard University – Marketing for Public Health and Africa Social Mission Director, Unilever 
  • Rachel Kabuyah, Grants and Partnership, Manager, Twiga Foods 
  • Fokko Wientjes, Vice President, Nutrition in Emerging Markets, Royal DSM
How can we finance the African food industry of the future to deliver safe and nutritious foods for all? 
A cross-section of experts built the case for investment in nutrition across the agri-food business chain and identify strategies to finance the scale-up the availability of African-produced nutritious foods. The session also discussed whether the appropriate finance instruments, both from public and private sources, are available to support Africa’s missing middle SMEs across the food value chain. 

  • Niraj Shah, Head of the Private Sector Window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, IFC 
Panel 1 (investors): 
  • Madeleine Onclin, Head of Sector – Nutrition, European Commission 
  • Jordyan Corcoran, Chief Strategy Officer, 4G Capital 
  • Randiana Tantely Rakotomalala, Impact Investment Adviser, Acacia Sustainable Business Advisors 
  • Tom Adlam, Director, AgDevCo Rwanda 
  • Clarisse Aduma, Senior Agribusiness Development Manager, KCB 
Panel 2 (companies seeking investment): 
  • Rachel Chinku, Finance Manager, Java Foods 
  • Eric Muthomi, Chief Executive Officer, Stawi Foods 
  • Amar Ali, Chief Executive Officer, Africa Improved Foods
White Paper Launch – Fuelling the Business of Nutrition:What will it take to unlock the investment opportunity in nutritious food value chains? 
Beth Jenkins and Richard Gilbert
October 2018. 28 pages

To mark the launch of the White Paper, the findings of the in-depth report from Harvard Kennedy School. This framed a discussion on the report’s recommendations including how donors, development organizations and government agencies can help uncover and de-risk investments and improve investment flows from private investors. 
  • Introduction: Greg S. Garrett, Director of Food Policy and Financing, GAIN 
  • Jane Nelson, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University 
  • Patrick Elmer, Founder, iGravity 
  • Anne Njuki, Investment Manager, DOB Equity 
  • Sandrine Henton, Investment Director, Educate Global Fund 
  • Mathias Hague, MEL Manager, AECF
How to grow the African nutrition businesses of the future 
An interactive session where experts offer insights into the common challenges faced by agri-food entrepreneurs. The session enabled delegates to understand how enterprises improving nutrition in Africa can become investment ready. 
  • Nutrition: Dominic Schofield, President, GAIN Canada and Senior Technical Advisor, GAIN 
  • Business Development: Fred Ogana, Managing Partner, East Africa Market Development Associates Ltd. 
  • Investments: Gonçalo Neves-Correia, CEO, ThirdWay Africa 
  • Investments: Andia Chakava, Investment Director, Graça Machel Trust 
  • Innovative Partnerships: Adrian Van Der Knaap, Deputy Regional Director, East Africa, World Food Programme 

A wind turbine to fight aflatoxin contamination

17 October 2018. Pretoria. 2nd International Conference on Food Safety and Security. Theme: Next Generation Food Safety Technologies addressing Sustainable Development Goals.

Presentation made by Francis Agbali, University of Kentucky. US
Aflatoxin contamination of grain in sub-Saharan Africa: Public health implication, application of novel postharvest technology in grain drying and the role of policy in adoption

Mutairu Ganiyu, 43, is wearing a dark brown jacket and driving a red motorcycle on the road that leads to the 150-hectare Ijaye Farm Settlement. Ganiyu and his brother Kazeem Ganiyu (see picture)  have been farming corn and cassava on the site for more than 20 years.

In a shed made of wood and corrugated metal, and filled with green buckets, wooden benches and roaming chickens, Mutairu Ganiyu presents a perfectly-colored gold piece of hardened corn on the cob. This is how his corn grows, he said, when there’s not contamination. He said aflatoxin-contaminated corn may have green spores. Before Ganiyu learned about aflatoxin, he used to remove the affected kernels and give them to poultry farmers to use for chicken feed.

Now, the Ganiyu brothers use a product called Aflasafe on the corn as it grows. Aflasafe is made of sorghum covered with fungi, and growers throw the blue bead-like particles on corn in the field during the growing phase.

But even corn that’s treated while it grows can become contaminated with aflatoxin after it’s harvested. To combat this, grain needs to be dried out; many Nigerian farmers rely on the sun, and it’s not uncommon to see corn laying on tarps on the side of the road. And this solution often ends up backfiring, because the mold flourishes in Nigeria’s humid climate.
Mechanized drying in the post-harvest stage is also an option. But that can be difficult if you’re a small farmer in a rural area.
“Electricity is still a major issue in many parts of Africa. So if you’re running a dryer that you need to plug it into electricity for long periods of time, it’s practically almost impossible. So the only option that most farmers have is to sun dry.” Mobolaji Omobowale, a researcher at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. 
This is where the Kentucky wind turbine comes in.
  • The Kentucky-based engineers, Akinbode Adedeji and Francis Agbali, want to use the man-made turbines to dry grains.

    “The idea is for farmers to be able build this themselves, In worst-case scenarios it would be an artisan that would replicate the system for farmers. But it would be something that wouldn’t require a university education to replicate; a high school or elementary graduate could build this.”
  • The energy of the turbine would be connected to a blower. 
  • The blower would generate air flux that would be tunneled into a farmer’s drying system, such
    as a grain storage bin or a solar dryer. 
  • This forced air would increase the rate of drying; Adedeji and Agbali say that grains can dry within 24 hours, as opposed to 3-4 days of air drying.
The immediate obstacle is funding. The group — which calls itself the UK Windcats — got about $15,000 to test the apparatus earlier this year. But the group is awaiting another round of funding of about $75,000, which will allow the Kentucky engineers to continue testing the model in Kentucky and travel to Nigeria early next year to test the turbine with farmers.

2nd International Conference on Food Safety and Security

15-17 October 2018. Pretoria. 2nd International Conference on Food Safety and SecurityTheme: Next Generation Food Safety Technologies addressing Sustainable Development Goals. 

Prof Lise Korsten (UP),
Prof Stephanie Burton (Vice principal-UP)
& Dr John Purchase Agbiz #FSAS2018
The conference was jointly hosted by the University of Pretoria; DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security, University of Johannesburg, Human Sciences Research Council, and the Agricultural Research Council in South Africa.

In South Africa, one of the objectives of the Department of Science and Technology (DST 2011-2016 strategy) is to reduce poverty through technology by improving socio-economic status and food security that is sustainable and vibrant in the urbanizing spaces and rural communities. Therefore the next generation innovative technologies are required in the field of food safety especially within developing countries. Combining the force of indigenous food safety knowledge and practices as well as those of scientific research is key to achieving these goals.

Keynote Addresses 
  • Dr John Purchase, Agbiz, Agricultural Business Chamber

    "While South Africa ranks quite well in terms of national food security at 44th place globally, household food security is a big problem. In South Africa, 70% of households are food insecure, based on high unemployment. "

    "In terms of food safety and quality South Africa ranks: 53rd .But this ranking was in 2016 before the listeriosis outbreak, which would have severely impacted South Africa’s rankings). The country’s agricultural competitiveness has regressed, but there has been a concerted effort to improve that, with some areas presenting significant global opportunity. There was declining competitiveness in wheat, groundnuts, sugarcane and white maize."
     James Stack, Kansas State University, US

    "Out of 36 commodities, we are a net exporter of 26. If we become locally competitive, we can make money out of them, drive the economy and create opportunities for new entrants. If we look at beef, citrus and a couple of other industries, we can create aggregation models to bring black producers into high value chains and access global markets"

    "If the regulatory framework is improved, then agriculture can create an extra one million jobs in South Africa, but a proper public-private partnership structure is necessary. Food security and food safety are critical to a country’s wellbeing,” he concluded. “This is a complex concept and directly linked to a country’s competitiveness and specifically the competitiveness of its agro-food sector. Of late, South Africa has regressed on both counts, which is a wake-up call. But there is a turnaround strategy in the making.”
  • Food safety through the lens of microbial ecology Shirley Micallef, University of Maryland, US
  • Prof Korsten has addressed Parliament
    on Food Safety Control and has developed
    a national framework for Government
    to develop a Food Control Authority.
  • The Global Plant Biosecurity - Food Security Challenge: Protecting Plant Systems to Keep People Healthy James Stack, Kansas State University, US
Presentations (random)

Listeriosis outbreak
  • Asymmetry in Food Safety Information - The Case of the Recent Listeriosis outbreak and Marginalised Consumers in South Africa Marlene Louw, University of Pretoria and Bureau for Food and Agricultural policy
  • Independent surveillance of Listeria monocytogenes in ReadyTo-Eat meat polony, prior and during the 2017-2018 South African outbreak of listeriosis Lise Korsten and German Villamizar-Rodríguez, University of Pretoria
Food Safety Standards and culture

  • Attainment of Global Food Safety Standards in South Africa, A Tall Mountain To Climb – A Family Physician’s Perspective Fundile Nyathi, Proactive Health Solutions
  • Harmonization and application of SPS regulations and standards to facilitate trade and
    ensuring consumer health protection: Challenges and perspectives in the developing world
    Benoit Gnonlonfin, Economic Community of West African States
  • Food safety culture – time to think beyond our systems Linda Jackson, Food Focus
  • The moral dilemma of safe food vs food security Francois Stepman, Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Theme 4: Pesticides and mycotoxins: a food safety challenge Subtheme: Mycotoxins
  • Groundnut aflatoxin exposure and the food safety policy environment – need for a systems approach Willeke De Bruin, University of Pretoria
  • Distribution and control of mycotoxins in food and feed commodities: An update on research findings at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa Patrick Njobeh, University of Johannesburg
  • Aflatoxin human exposure in Africa and challenges in management and control strategies Sheila Okoth, University of Nairobi
  • Fumonisin Contamination as Food Safety Concern on Maize Grown in Rural Communities of the Eastern Cape Bongani Kubheka, Dohne Agricultural Development Institute
  • Aflatoxin contamination of grain in sub-Saharan Africa: Public health implication, application of novel postharvest technology in grain drying and the role of policy in adoption Francis Agbali, University of Kentucky
  • The Conference line-up includes an impressive
    cohort of students and early career researchers
  • Multi-mycotoxin risk assessment among adult maize consumers living in rural subsistence farming areas in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa Hester-Mari Burger, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Promote and recognize the value of these 'forgotten foods'.

A total of 1,097 vegetable species are cultivated worldwide,
including species used for leaves (n = 495), multiple vegetative
parts (n = 227), roots (n = 204), fruits or seeds (n = 90),
and other parts like flowers, inflorescences, and stems (n = 81).
Meldrum, G., Padulosi, S., Lochetti, G., Robitaille, R., and Diulgheroff, S. (2018) Issues and Prospects for the Sustainable Use and Conservation of Cultivated Vegetable Diversity for More Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture. Agriculture, 8(7), 112.

Bioversity International and partners reveal that most of the world's vegetable species are poorly documented, and present a study and database with the aim to help promote and recognize the value of these 'forgotten foods'.

Vegetable displays in small urban grocery shops, supermarkets, and open-air markets are typically abounding in colour. While this diversity can seem quite rich for one location, it has become surprisingly similar in markets around the world, which offer primarily ubiquitous commercial vegetables such as tomato, eggplant, onion, carrot, beet, lettuce and broccoli. In other words, world diets are actually becoming more similar and based on fewer crops.

A much greater diversity of vegetables exists in traditional food systems, but many of these crops are
poorly integrated in current markets and diets. A recent study by Bioversity International scientists in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations revealed that a total 1,097 vegetable species, with a great variety of uses and growth forms, are cultivated worldwide. Still, we only seem to be familiar with less than 7% of these species.

This diversity of vegetables is more than a local peculiarity – it could play an important role in ensuring adequate levels of nutrition and in meeting the challenges of agricultural production posed by climate change and soil degradation. Many traditional vegetables are known to have higher nutritional value than their commercial counterparts, and are well-adapted to local conditions, exhibiting resistance to drought, pests, diseases and marginal soil conditions. For example, the Mesoamerican shrub, the Mayan spinach (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius) contains exceptional levels of protein, vitamin C and iron, and provides leaves year-round with little water and in poor soil conditions. Traditional crops such as these could be strategic in helping more people meet the recommended levels of fruit and vegetable consumption, which is currently a global health concern.

Lack of information on traditional vegetables is, however, a major barrier to their use and promotion
Chech bhaji, a highly nutritious vegetable, India.
Credit: Bioversity International/G. Meldrum
because it hampers a wider recognition of their values and understanding of how best to grow, process and market them. The study – recently published as part of the Agriculture Special Issue on Biodiversity of Vegetable Crops, A Living Heritage – showed that most of the world’s 1,097 cultivated vegetable species have received very little attention from research and conservation initiatives and are poorly documented by production statistics.

Organizations around the world are placing increasing efforts on promoting these so-called 'forgotten foods', such as the African leafy vegetables, because of their value and potential in bringing nutrition and income benefits to consumers and producers, as well as in strengthening local culinary traditions. This could be the beginning of a great transformation towards more diverse, vegetable-rich food systems around the world. The database of vegetables and this study that it accompanies can help in recognizing these valuably useful species and in ensuring that they indeed are not forgotten.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Food Sovereignty & Refugee Path Immigrants

7 October 2018. Food sovereignty is much more beyond the food on our plates. It is the historical heritage, the nutritional benefits, the cultural identity, the economic effects, and the environmental impact of the food that we eat. But, it is also, quite simply, just about the foods we are able to choose to eat.

The ECV Ontario team recently completed a research project and this short video is our attempt to disseminate the knowledge gained through the research. In this video, we explore the topic of food sovereignty using the Somali community in the GTA region as a case study.

Friday, October 12, 2018

A new bioeconomy strategy for a sustainable Europe

11 October 2018. The European Commission has put forward an action plan to develop a sustainable and circular bioeconomy that serves Europe's society, environment and economy. As announced by President Juncker and First Vice-President Timmermans in their letter of intent accompanying President Juncker's 2018 State of the Union Address, the new bio-economy strategy is part of the Commission's drive to boost jobs, growth and investment in the EU.
"The EU aims to lead the way in turning waste, residue and discards into high value products, green chemicals, feed and textiles. Research and innovation plays a key role in accelerating the green transition of the European economy and in meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals." Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation
Press release
The Bioeconomy strategy

Access Agriculture wins Prize D4D in Belgium

4 October 2018. Brussels. During the official ceremony Paul Van Mele and Jonas Wanvoeke received the 'Prize Digital for Development (D4D)' award on behalf of Access Agriculture from Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation and Digital Agenda.

After presenting its innovative approach, products and services to a jury comprising 20 major actors main development players in Belgium, Access Agriculture was selected as the winner of ‘iStandOut’ category at the biannual Prize Digital for Development (D4D). Prize D4D rewards outstanding initiatives that use digitisation and new technologies as a lever for development towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Access Agriculture will invest the Prize of 10,000 Euro in its Young Entrepreneurs Challenge Fund
that will be officially launched in January 2019 to support local entrepreneurs in the South to start a business around last mile delivery of farmer training videos.

The jury congratulated Access Agriculture on how effective its innovative approach and outstanding outreach has been. Rather than developing documentary videos for donors, Access Agriculture has encouraged the production, translation, distribution and use of farmer-to-farmer training videos to allow others across the South to learn from those few farmers who were fortunate to receive hands-on training.

Many farmers in developing countries can’t speak English, French or Spanish. Access Agriculture has trained local partners to translate videos into their own language. The step by step videos feature inspirational, empowered farmers providing practical advice in a format that others can easily learn from and experiment with sustainable agricultural technologies, natural resource management and food processing.

The Access Agriculture video platform ( hosts nearly 200 videos in 75 languages, all freely downloadable. Local language videos are distributed by development organisations, extension services, TV and rural radio stations, and farmer organisations on micro SD cards, DVDs, preloaded phones, tablets, USB sticks and smart projectors.

The innovative digital approach, technologies and partnerships used by Access Agriculture has enabled global access to quality training videos in local languages and has transformed the lives of millions of farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Prize D4D is a biennial initiative of the Belgian Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGD) in collaboration with the Royal Museum of Central Africa (RMCA).

1 October 2018. Access Agriculture released two new videos on aflatoxins in maize.

  • These videos are currently available in English and French
  • They are freely downloadable, also in 3gp format for mobile phone viewing.
  • The translation in a number of African languages are planned in the near future.
  • Please, kindly share the new videos with as many people as possible, using the various social media and email options provided at the right side of the screen on the website. 
  • Anyone interested in having these videos translated into other local languages, please

Maize that is poorly dried and stored will develop moulds. These moulds produce poisons, called aflatoxins.

Some moulds that live in the soil can infest your crop when it suffers from drought. They can secrete deadly poisons, called aflatoxins.