Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Sunday, February 17, 2019

IFAD's forty-second session on rural innovation and entrepreneurship

14-15 February 2019IFAD's forty-second session focused on the theme rural innovation and entrepreneurship. IFAD, with its specialized mandate of enabling rural transformation, has a pivotal role to play in creating the conditions for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive in rural areas.

Extract of the programme

Centre Stage – IFAD Talk 
Dr Gunhild Stordalen, Executive Chair of the EAT Foundation
Moderator: Ms Katherine Meighan, General Counsel, IFAD

Special event: Access to finance for young people 
  • Mr Jim Leandro Cano, Country Representative, Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) (Philippines
  • Ms Annie Nyaga, farmer, agriculture transporter, and the youngest County Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries in Kenya; Co-Director, 4-H Kenya (Kenya
  • Ms Dalí Nolasco Cruz, Member of the Nahua peoples of Tlaola, Puebla. Director of the Timo’Patla Intercultural Organization A.C. and Mopampa, a network of social and solidarity economy companies of indigenous women (Mexico
  • Mr Ntiokam Divine, Managing Director, Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN). African Continental Vice-President of Youth in Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture Incubation Network (Cameroon
  • Moderator: Ms Hlami Ngwenya, Special Facilitator, Emerging Ag Inc.
Empowering social entrepreneurship for inclusive rural transformation 
  • Ms Cornelia Richter, Vice-President of IFAD Introductory remarks
  • Ms Anushka Ratnayake, Founder and CEO, myAgro (Senegal
  • Mr Dominic Wanjihia, Founder and CEO, Biogas International Limited (Kenya
  • Mr Nnaemeka C. Ikegwuonu, Founder and CEO, ColdHubs Limited (Nigeria
  • Ms Dulce Martinez, Creative Director, Fábrica Social (Mexico) 
  • Ms Annan El Sherbiny (see picture), Junior Consultant, Yadawee (Egypt
  • Moderator: Dr Alexander Dale, Senior Officer, Sustainability, MIT Solve (United States)
The future of farming – New technologies to transform smallholder agriculture 
  • Keynote speaker: Mr Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance (India
  • Mr Hamza Rkha Chaham, Managing Director, SOWIT (France
  • Ms Ingabire Muziga Mammy, Managing Director, Charis Unmanned Aerial Solutions Ltd (CHARIS UAS) (Rwanda
  • Ms Veronica Barbati, President, Coldiretti Giovani Impresa (Italy) 
  • Ms Nicole Nguyen, Head, Asia-Pacific Region (APAC), Infinity Blockchain Ventures (Thailand
  • Mr Quan Le, Founder and CEO, Binkabi (United Kingdom
  • Moderator: Mr Guoqi Wu, Associate Vice-President, Corporate Services Department, IFAD

EU provides €45 million in support for smallholder agri-businesses in rural Africa

IFAD and AGRA, both with operations on the ground
in rural communities, will work closely with the fund manager
to identify investment opportunities with promising SMEs.
Image Credit: Twitter(@IFAD)
15 February 2019European development commissioner Neven Mimica launched the new Agri-Business Capital Fund, or ABC Fund, a partnership between the EU and others who have so far committed around €55 million to support direct investments via small-scale loans for small- and medium-sized businesses and farmers' organizations, plus indirect investment in local financial institutions for on-lending.

The EU has made €45 million available to the fund. On top of this, the Luxembourg Government and the Africa Green Revolution Alliance, an international NGO, are contributing €5 million and $5 million respectively.

Launch of the Agri-Business Capital Fund (ABC Fund)
  • Welcome remarks: Mr Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD 
  • Introductory statement: Mr Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Speakers: 
  • H.E. Paulette Lenert, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg 
  • Dr Patrick I. Gomes, Secretary-General, African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) 
  • Ms Hedwig Siewertsen, Head of Inclusive Finance, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) 
  • Mr Florian Kemmerich, Managing Partner, Bamboo Capital Partner
Bamboo is the fund manager of the ABC Fund, in partnership with Injaro Investments (‘Injaro’).
“The launch of the ABC Fund is a momentous milestone for the impact investing industry. The support of organisations such as IFAD, the EU and the Luxembourg Government, coupled with a launch event at IFAD’s annual Governing Council is testament to the maturity of the industry. We believe that the ABC Fund has the potential to transform small scale farming in developing countries and we look forward to working with IFAD and Injaro as we strive to realise this vision.” Jean-Philippe de Schrevel, Founder and Managing Partner of Bamboo
“Injaro is excited to participate in this innovative initiative that actively addresses a long-standing and glaring gap by connecting smallholder farmers in Africa with access to a range of financing instruments. The lack of accessible and affordable working capital, trade finance and term loans consistently prevents farmers from scaling and addressing their local food security needs. The ABC Fund will support farmers through technical assistance to improve yields and reduce post-harvest losses with the ultimate goal of progressively eliminating hunger on the continent.” Jerry Parkes, Managing Principal of Injaro Investments

The ABC Fund is a major blending operation for agricultural investments in developing countries.
  • Visit the Agri-Business Capital (ABC) Fund page 
  • Visit the Governing Council page here
  • The new ABC Fund, established by IFAD, is primarily geared towards individual smallholders and farmers' organisations, with loan sizes from $25 000 - $1 million (approximately €22 000 – €885 000), thus improving their access to finance. 
  • This "missing middle" has the potential to be profitable and to impact development, but has lacked sufficient funding until now.
  • It covers direct investments such as small-scale loans for small and medium-sized enterprises, farmers' organisations and 'agripreneurs', along with indirect investment in local financial institutions for subsequent on-lending. 
  • It builds on existing IFAD development activities to screen opportunities and reduce the risk attached to subsequent investments. 
  • It is expected to attract significant additional funding from other sources – private and impact investors alike. 
  • Based in Luxembourg, it draws on the expertise of a professional fund manager and uses technical assistance adapted to investees' needs.
  • Building on past experience, the ACP Farmers' Organisations Programme will strengthen farmers' organisations and cooperatives so that they can increasingly access capital directly, for the benefit of their members. In this way they will become a key element in the supply of bankable deals for the ABC Fund and form another angle of the sustainable investment the EU is seeking to promote.
  • The ABC Fund aims to raise EUR 200 million over the next 10 years. It will provide loans adapted to the needs of SMEs. Loan size will range from EUR 20,000 to EUR 800,000. The ABC Fund will work through financial institutions for loans in the range of EUR 20,000 to EUR 200,000, while providing loans between EUR 200,000 and 800,000 directly to investees.
See also: Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investments and Jobs

15 February 2019. Devex. Agriculture task force takes aim at EU investment plan for Africa 

An expert group convened by the European Union to offer advice on how to create jobs in African agriculture will point to shortcomings in the EU’s flagship initiative for the African continent, the External Investment Plan, or EIP.

Created in February 2018, the Task Force Rural Africa met five times last year, charged by the European Commission’s agriculture and development departments with accelerating “responsible EU private investment in support of African agriculture, agri-business and agroindustries.” They will publish their report on March 7. An overview of the task force’s recommendations was presented at a meeting of European and African officials in Vienna in December.

Tom Arnold, the Irish agricultural economist who chaired the group of 11 experts from Africa and Europe, explained that the “first attempt at using the EIP to get investment [in agriculture] hasn’t fully worked.” An EU official acknowledged the problem, telling Devex that agriculture is seen as too risky to attract investment, even with EIP incentives.

EIP’s guarantee mechanism — the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) — is designed to use EU taxpayers’ money to de-risk investments in Africa as well as countries neighboring the EU.
  • The commission asked development banks hoping to benefit from the guarantee to present proposals in strategic areas such as digitalization, sustainable energy, SMEs, and agriculture. 
  • But in July, proposals for the agriculture component were deemed insufficiently “mature.” 
  • For now, agriculture has largely been folded into support for SMEs and digitalization, with an EU spokesperson saying around 15-20 percent of the guarantees in these areas are expected to support agriculture-specific investments.
  • A commission official, who requested anonymity, said: “It’s true, [EFSD] definitely didn’t turn out as successful in the first go for agriculture, because apparently, the risk is quite high. The banks are afraid to go there and the incentives being put by the External Investment Plan are not fully understood or not fully used in this sector of the economy.”
  • Despite concerns, including from the European Investment Bank, that the EFSD has yet to be properly evaluated and only makes sense as a niche product, the commission has proposed greatly expanding its external investment guarantee model under the EU’s 2021-2027 budget.
One agriculture investment program has been approved, the spokesperson said, referring to an €85 million guarantee for the French Development Agency’s AGREENFI initiative, designed to give affordable credit to underserved producers and small rural businesses. Money has been put aside to fund further programs, the spokesperson said, adding that these will be guided by the task force report.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

AU and AfDB launched African Leaders for Nutrition Accountability Scorecard

11 February 2019. Addis Abeba. AU and AfDB launched African Leaders for Nutrition Accountability Scorecard

 The African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and global partners launched the Continental Nutrition Accountability Scorecard to raise awareness and reinforce commitments by African governments to help end malnutrition.

The Continental Nutrition Accountability Scorecard is produced by the African Leaders for Nutrition Initiative (ALN), headquartered at the African Development Bank, in collaboration with ALN's partners including the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The scorecard launch presented key findings and recommendations, including calls for governments to increase budgetary allocations for multi-sectoral nutrition plans. The scorecard also calls for the enhanced empowerment of women and adolescent girls and the provision of nutritional support at the most critical time of a child's life - during pregnancy and early childhood.

The nutrition assessment tool provides a snapshot of the status of key nutrition indicators, including internationally agreed nutrition targets, specific interventions, sensitive interventions, policy and legal provisions, nutrition financing, and socio-economic impacts.

Background:Banking on Nutrition is a program helping to generate long-term economic growth across Africa by unlocking the nutrition potential of the African Development Bank’s investment portfolio.

It involves redesigning the Bank’s investments in areas such as agriculture, water, sanitation, hygiene, social protection, health and education to become “nutrition smart” and deliver a greater social and economic return alongside achieving nutrition impact, thus representing a double win for AfDB and its member countries. The program was launched in May 2016 by AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina in partnership with Big Win Philanthropy and Aliko Dangote Foundation. It has a three-part approach:
  1. Mainstreaming nutrition into the Bank’s portfolio and pipeline, including Regional and Country strategies, lending programs, non-lending programs, and other activities. 
  2. Working to increase the production and consumption of safe and nutritious foods, through partnerships with regional member countries and regional and private sector partners.  
  3. Encouraging regional member countries to prioritize nutrition smart lending requests and investments that deliver greater social and economic return alongside achieving nutrition impact, representing a double win.
Call to Action: Partner with the African Development Bank
  •  The $20.8 million Infrastructure Rehabilitation for Food Security Project (PRIASA II) in Sao Tome and Principe, which has a double bottom line of supporting economic development through better access to agricultural markets and improving nutrition. 
  •  The Programme to Build Resilience to Food and Nutrition Security in the Sahel (P2RS), a $36 million multinational program in 7 countries, with nutrition-related activities including: mother-to-mother support groups for the promotion of adequate infant and young child feeding practices; creation of home gardens for the most vulnerable households; and provision of equipment for the production of local infant nutritious foods. 
  •  The $38.5 million Gambia Climate Smart Rural WASH Development Project, which is designed to improve the socio-economic and environmental conditions of the rural and peri-urban population through improved access to sustainable WASH infrastructure and services. The African Development Bank is looking for new avenues of collaboration to expand the reach of Banking on Nutrition and achieve maximum impact. Examples of AfDB’s nutrition smart investments include:

Friday, February 15, 2019

First FAO/WHO/AU International Food Safety Conference

12-13 February 2019Addis Ababa, EthiopiaFirst FAO/WHO/AU International Food Safety Conference

In this pivotal moment, this conference, co-organised by FAO, WHO, WTO and AU, brought together Ministers and representatives of national governments, senior policy makers as well as representatives of non-state actor groups from all regions of the world to engage in an urgent reflection on food safety challenges to:
  • Identify key actions and strategies to address current and future challenges to food safety globally.
  • Strengthen commitment at the highest political level to scale up food safety in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

  • Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) – Conference Chairperson 
  • Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture 
  • José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General 
  • Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General 
  • Roberto Azevêdo, WTO Director-General 
  • Moussa Faki Mahamat, African Union Commission Chairperson 
  • Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia

  • The public health burden of unsafe foods: a need for global commitment Arie Hendrik Havelaar, Professor, University of Florida, USA 
  • Economic case for investments in food safety Steven Jaffee, Lead Agricultural Economist, World Bank Group 
  • Leveraging private sector investment for safe value chains Ed Mabaya, Manager, African Development Bank 
  • People-focussed food safety investment in low- and middle-income countries John McDermott, Director of CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI
  • The need for integrated approaches to address food safety risk – the case of mycotoxins Chibundu Ezekiel, Senior Postdoctoral Researcher, Babcock University, Nigeria 
  • MODERATOR : Nathan Belete, Agriculture Global Practice Manager, World Bank Group
  • Whole genome sequencing – paving the way forward globally to better understand food systems Juno Thomas, Head of the Centre for Enteric Diseases, National Institute for Communicable Diseases, South Africa 
  • Novel food production Aideen McKevitt, Professor, University College Dublin, Ireland 
  • Novel analytical methods and models for enhanced food safety Steven Musser, Deputy Center Director of Scientific Operations, Food and Drug Administration, USA 
  • Policy considerations for the development and adoption of technologies for local food value chains Kennedy Bomfeh, Food Scientist, University of Ghana 
  • Digital transformation of the food system Mark Booth, Chief Executive Officer, Food Standards Australia and New Zealand 
  • MODERATOR : Robert van Gorcom, Director of the Food Safety Research Institute (RIKILT), Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands
Video interviews:
Anne Wetlesen from Norad at the First FAO/WHO/AU International Food Safety Conference

Leon Gorris, Chair of the Food Safety Committee of the International Union of Food Science and Technology, explains how the large network of academics he works for strives to strengthen food


Hussein Mansour Chairperson, National Food Safety Authority of Egypt at the First FAO/WHO/AU International Food Safety Conference

Nathan Belete from the World Bank explains from his perspective why countries should invest in food safety


Wondwossen Gebreyes / Ohio State University


Barbara Gallani. Head of Communication, Engagement and Cooperation, European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) at the First FAO/WHO/AU International Food Safety Conference

Background papers
23-24 April 2019. Geneva, Switzerland. The FAO/WHO/WTO International Forum on Food Safety and Trade

Continuing the discussions from the Addis Conference, the Geneva Forum will address the trade-related aspects and challenges of food safety. The food safety priorities set by this Conference will facilitate global collaboration and help ensure that no one is left behind. Its will provide an opportunity for participants to explore the challenges and opportunities arising from rapid technological change and digitalization, namely:
  • the use of new technologies in the realm of food safety and trade;
  • how trade in safe food can be facilitated at the borders;
  • multi-stakeholder coordination and the role of partnerships;
  • harmonizing food safety regulation in a period of change and innovation.
The conference will result in a document summarizing key issues and recommendations from both, the Addis Conference and the Geneva Forum, to better align and coordinate efforts to strengthen food safety systems across sectors and borders.

Workshop on Bioinformatics and Wheat Genomics II

4-8 February 2019. Worcester, South Africa. Workshop on Bioinformatics and Wheat Genomics II

The UK Science and Innovation Network (South Africa) hosted a workshop and built on the previous workshop (Bioinformatics and Wheat Genomics) made possible by the Newton Fund Researchers Link Program, which aimed to establish and strengthen relationships between South African (SA) and United Kingdom (UK) researchers, particularly in the area of bioinformatics.

The workshop was coordinated by Dr Renée Prins (SA) and Dr Diane Saunders (UK) and provided continuity to the previous effort of improving the bioinformatics skill set of African researchers working in the fields of cereals research and crop breeding. Dr Burkhard Steuernagel (UK) and Dr Robert Davey (UK), will join Dr Diane Saunders as workshop trainers. Bioinformaticians from two South African universities were invited as guest speakers to provide insight into bioinformatics training and collaboration opportunities in South Africa.

The workshop was designed around a series of practical exercises to allow the participants to explore different types of bioinformatics analyses, and invited researchers from Africa (particularly South Africa and Kenya) working in the fields of cereals research and crop breeding.

World Sustainable Development Summit and sustainable agriculture

11-13 February 2019. New Delhi, Delhi, India. World Sustainable Development Summit. This
summit aimed to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) is the annual flagship event of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).

WSDS 2019 focused on the theme, 'Attaining the 2030 Agenda: Delivering on our Promise'. The “mega themes” to be addressed during the event are clean oceans, climate finance, energy transitions, mobility and sustainable agriculture.
"There is a need to make use of the endless possibilities of biotechnology and nanotechnology to develop a range of green products, including nano-fertilisers. We should move towards more efficient systems of irrigation with 'more crop per drop' as our mantra. Greater thrust has to be placed on organic farming and on the use of natural means of pest control. Sustainable development is inclusive development which includes sustainable agriculture, sustainable mobility solutions, urbanization, energy security and clean energy, waste management and efforts in wildlife conservation." Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu
Ms Rhea Suh and Mr Suman Bery, Senior Fellow, Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth delve into the intricacies of action against climate change, and discuss the need for an integrated effort by India and the United States to combat this menace.

Extract of the programme:

Commemorating The UN Decade of Family Farming: Striving for Local Sustainability at the Global Level
The role of the private sector in forging partnerships as a way forward found focus in the panel discussion. Panellists felt there is a need to leverage investments from the private sector and bring down the risk barrier, given that small farmers are seen as risky investment.

Showcasing agriculture as a lucrative investment sector would also bring about social inclusion for farmers to further pare the risk. The private sector can potentially galvanise family farming, not just through investment, but by fostering innovation, expertise, and technology. The panel concluded the session by identifying inclusive rural development and economic transformation as the need of the hour to achieve some of our sustainable development goals.
  • Chair: Dr P K Basu, Former Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, India
    Mr Basu talked about family farming from the perspective of food security. In India and other Asian countries, most of the food production is done by small producers. Mr Basu said that even though we have made large strides in scientific knowledge in agriculture, it does not percolate to small producers. The issue stems from the fact that this segment of the population, for whom the policy has been made, is not part of the policy making process, thus creating a chasm.
  • Dr Alok Adholeya, Senior Fellow and Senior Director, Sustainable Agriculture Division, TERIDr Adholeya's career has been largely devoted to finding and developing ways to harness the power of microbes, particularly mycorrhizae, to increase the productivity of crop plants and to restore degraded and industrial overburden lands. Currently, he chairs a major Task Force on Biological Agents in the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India
  • Dr Hemant Kumar Badola, Advisor (Biodiversity, Climate Change, GTT facilitator), Chief Minister's Office, Government of Sikkim, India
  • Mr Edward Millard, Director – Landscapes and Communities, Rainforest Alliance
  • Mr Ashwani K Muthoo, Director, Global Engagement and Multilateral Relations Division, International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)
  • Mr Kazuhiko Takeuchi, President, Institute for Global Environmental Studies (IGES), Japan
  • Speaker: Ms Rhea Suh, President, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
  • Chair: Mr Suman Bery, Senior Fellow, Mastercard Centre for Inclusive Growth and Former Chief Economist, Shell International Limited

India-EU Water Forum Inaugural 
  • Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, TERI 
  • Mr Raimund Magis, Charge de Affairs, Delegation of the European Union to India 
  • Mr Wolfram Klein, Head of South Asia Division, German BMZ Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development 
  • Mr Akhil Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, India 
  • Mr Rajiv Mishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) 
  • Mr Arjun Ram Meghwal, Hon’ble Union Minister of State, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, India

Forests at the heart of Sustainable Development

7 February 2019High-Level Conference on Forests at the heart of Sustainable Development

The event shed light on the diverse social, economic and environmental benefits linked to the sustainable management of forests, as well as to highlight forests and trees’ contribution to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Focus was given on illustrating the socio-economic benefits linked with forest resources as well as to underlining their crucial role in sustaining livelihoods and improving both rural and urban landscapes. The conference provided an opportunity for institutional and multi-stakeholder exchange of views on the significance of forests for bringing about sustainable development, while raising public awareness about forest conservation and restoration, sustainable forest management and forest value chains, and the various socio-economic utilities of forest products and services.

The Malabo Montpellier Panel’s report: Smart Irrigation Strategies

14 February 2019WEBINAR/ SEMINAR. How can Africa achieve an agricultural transformation through smart irrigation strategies? Discussion of lessons from Ethiopia’s policy and program interventions.

The Malabo Montpellier Panel’s report, Water-Wise: Smart Irrigation Strategies for Africa, summarizes the key findings of a systematic analysis of what six African countries at the forefront of progress on irrigation have done right.
  • The report has identified a set of policies and practices which, if brought to scale, could significantly improve the resilience and livelihoods of rural communities and spur overall agricultural growth and transformation in Africa. 
  • The report reviews traditional and new, innovative small-scale and large-scale irrigation approaches and technologies that have been implemented in Africa, followed by an analysis of the experiences of six African countries - Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Niger and South Africa that have been particularly innovative and successful in terms of their institutional and policy design for irrigation.
It is estimated that nearly 20 percent of Morocco’s arable land is currently equipped for irrigation. Irrigated agriculture comprises half of Morocco’s agricultural gross domestic product (GDP), indicating its higher productivity compared to rain-fed agriculture. The 2018 Biennial Review Report by the African Union revealed that Morocco is on track to meet Malabo Commitment area #3.1, “Access to agriculture inputs and technologies,” given its score of 7.46 out of 10, which vastly exceeds the 2017 minimum score of 5.53. This is largely due to institutional and programmatic commitments by the government to improve irrigation for a more productive agriculture sector.
The Ethiopian irrigation success story was the focus of this webinar to understand where progress has been achieved and what can be replicated in other African countries.

The guest speaker was Mr. Zena Habtewold Biru, Director of the Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate at the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and Focal Person for the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP).

This webinar is of great interest to practitioners from ministries, government agencies, institutions, research analysts and students interested in understanding the work of governments, civil society, and the private sector in tackling some of the biggest challenges facing African countries.
If you wish to know more about our previous webinar session, click here or watch our follow the podcast.

13th – 15th December 2018. Rabat, Morocco. The third meeting of the Malabo Montpellier Forum took place on Monday, 17th December in Rabat, Morocco. The basis of this third Forum meeting was Malabo Montpellier Panel’s report: Water-Wise: Smart Irrigation Strategies for Africa.

The report summarizes the key findings of a systematic analysis of what six African countries – Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Niger and South Africa – at the forefront of progress on irrigation have done right. The report has identified a set of policies and practices which, if brought to scale, could significantly improve the resilience and livelihoods of rural communities and spur overall agricultural growth and transformation in Africa. By adapting these lessons to countries’ specific contexts and scaling them up across the continent, African governments can meet their national and international commitments to agricultural growth and transformation.

The Forum was tied to the 2018 Atlantic Dialogues, organized by OCP Policy Center for the New South, which took place on 13th – 15th December 2018.

Published on 29 Jan 2019

Dr Karim El Aynaoui, Head of the Policy Center for the New South (Rabat, Morocco) and MaMo Panel member tells us more about the Water-Wise report .

Policy Center for the New South, formerly OCP Policy Center, is a Moroccan policy-oriented think tank based in Rabat, Morocco, striving to promote knowledge sharing and to contribute to an enriched reflection on key economic and international relations issues. By offering a southern perspective on major regional and global strategic challenges facing developing and emerging countries, the Policy Center for the New South aims to provide a meaningful policy-making contribution through its four research programs: Agriculture, Environment and Food Security, Economic and Social Development, Commodity Economics and Finance, Geopolitics and International Relations.

 Dr. Agnes Kalibata (AGRA, Nairobi) talks about why the Malabo Montpellier forum was successful. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

L’agro-écologie laisse-t-elle une place aux pesticides?

L’agro-écologie laisse-t-elle une place aux pesticides?
Dans le cadre de la conférence à l'Innovation Center de Bayer (Lyon), Jacques Wery a présenté sa vision de l'agro-écologie et la place réservée aux pesticides.

Cette première partie est consacrée à la définition de l'agro-écologie.

Cette deuxième partie est consacrée à la place des pesticides. 


Cette troisième partie est dédiée à la séance de questions-réponse ayant suivi l'exposé.

Jacques Wery comes from the University of Montpellier, where he was Professor of Agronomy and Agricultural Systems. He has a vast expertise in Mediterranean crops and cropping systems. He led the development of innovative modelling and prototyping of cropping systems methods that are now widely used in the field. His interdisciplinary research approaches and systems analysis cover the plant, field, farm and supply chain levels.

Jacques has engaged in a number of key multidisciplinary initiatives. These include the UMR System with INRA and CIRAD on functional analysis and design of cropping systems, as well as the “seamless project” on integrated modelling of agricultural systems. He served as Executive Secretary of the European Society for Agronomy and Chair of the Farming Systems Design Network. He founded and chaired AgroSys, a joint venture between SupAgro and the private sector to design sustainable agricultural systems through capacity building.

He is since 2018 Deputy Director General for Research for ICARDA.

13th International Conference on Dryland Development

11-14 February 2019. Jodhpur, India. The 13th International Conference on Dryland Development, with the theme "Converting Dryland Areas from Grey into Green", is organized by IDDC (International Dryland Development Commission) and the Arid Zone Research Association of India (AZRAI) and hosted by the ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI).

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat‏ 
(Indian Minister of State
for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare)
addressed the Inaugural Session
Drylands cover about 41% of earth’s land area and are home to ~38% of world population. A majority (90%) of the people of this ecosystem live in developing countries. With fragile natural resource base, achieving food security in drylands has been a great challenge. With the threat of climate change looming large and additional threat of massive out-migration, the livelihoods of more than 2 billion people who live in these areas, will be further at risk.

The efforts of research and development community and policymakers dealing with dry areas and aiming at sustainable management of natural resources have to be boosted in order to optimize adaptive mechanism and risk aversion elements for the dryland communities.

Fast sharing of knowledge and capacity building of all the stakeholders in dryland will have to be an essential element of these efforts. Institutional reforms at the ecosystem level to bridge the divide in the governance of different natural resources including water coupled with the global commitment for greater coordination in legal, policy and management issues shall pave the path for sustainable livelihood security in drylands and in converting dryland areas from grey to green.

Themes technical session:
  1. Technical Session 1: Impact of Climate Change in Drylands (Theme 1)
  2. Technical Session 2: Managing Land Degradation & Desertification (Theme 2)
  3. Technical Session 3: Soil Health Management, Carbon Sequestration and Conservation Agriculture (Theme 3)
  4. Technical Session 4: Conservation & Use of Agrobiodiversity; Developing Adapted Cultivars (Theme 5)
  5. Technical Session 5: Water Harvesting & Improving Water Productivity
  6. (Theme 4)
  7. Technical Session 6: Conservation & Use of Agrobiodiversity, Developing Adapted Cultivars (Theme 5)
  8. Technical Session 7: Sustainable Intensification & Diversification (Arid Horticulture, Aquaculture, Protected Agriculture) (Theme 6)
  9. Technical Session 8: Livestock, Rangeland and Agroforestry Management (Theme 7)
  10. Technical Session 9: Conservation & Use of Agrobiodiversity, Developing Adapted Cultivars (Theme 5)
  11. Technical Session 10: Post Harvest Management, Value Chain, Renewable Energy, Farm Mechanization and Automation (Theme 8)
  12. Technical Session 11: Policies, Institutions & Markets to Improved Livelihood Security (Theme 9)
Themes of the Satellite symposium
  1. Crop Improvement for Sustainable Production
  2. Big Data in Dryland Agriculture
  3. Mainstreaming Water Productivity in Drylands
  4. Dryland Agrobiodiversity for Adaptation to Climate Change
  5. Arid Agro-ecosystem: Challenges and Opportunities

11 February 2019

Guests of honour:
  • Dr. Peter Carberry, (see picture) Director General ICRISAT, Patancheru, India
    Risk mitigation in dryland agriculture: Prospects and realities
  • Dr. Martin Kropff, (see picture) Director General, CIMMYT, Texcoco, Mexico 
    Maize and wheat science for alleviating the pressure on natural resources in drylands
  • Prof. Dr. Adel El-Beltagy(see picture) Chair International Dryland Development Commission
    Navigating through uncertainties: Agro-ecosystems affected by dynamic impact of climate change
  • Dr. Claudia Sadoff(see picture) Director General, IWMI, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Dr. Raj S. Paroda, Chairman of the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences (TAAS) New Delhi, India
  • Dr. Panjab Singh, President, National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAS), New Delhi, India
  • Prof. T. Mohapatra, Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and Secretary Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARA), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India
  • Mr. Aly AbousabaaDirector General ICARDA, Beirut, Lebanon 
    Role of traditional knowledge combined with new innovative technologies in achieving (see presentation below)
Mr. Aly Abousabaa, Director General of ICARDA
on how synergy between traditional knowledge and
innovation would contribute to livelihood in dry areas

"Evidence shows that the dry areas and the MENA region specifically, for example, is heading towards a much warmer climate scenario over the next 50 years than initially anticipated."

"As highlighted by the IPCC Special report on impacts of global warming in October 2018, climate change impact can be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to 2 degrees, or more. Also noted in this report

is that by limiting global warming, people and ecosystems will have more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds. To undertake this critical adaptation, appropriate local intervention schemes can be applied and instead interrupt negative effects of climate change."

"Published last month, the EAT-Lancet report on Food in the Anthropocene cites the need for environmental systems and processes to be maintained for sustainable food production. Global food systems transformation is needed urgently to ensure long-term sustainability both in terms of food production and to reduce the threat to local ecosystems. Mr. Aly Abousabaa (see picture), Director General of ICARDA"

12 February 2019

12 February: Technical Session 4: Conservation and Use of Agrobiodiversity; Developing Adapted Cultivars (Theme 5)
  • Field crops breeding for resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses at ICARDA: Achievements and prospects. Lead Lecture 1 - Dr. Michael Baum, Director BIGM, ICARDA, Beirut, Lebanon 

Dr. Michael Baum, on behalf of Filippo,
presenting durum wheat research carried out at ICARDA
to make it climate smart crop
@fillobax⁩ ⁦@ICARDA
12 February: Satelite Symposium TU - ICARDA Satellite Symposium Crop Improvement for Sustainable Production
The marginal region is the place where one or more of the factors necessary for plant production do not reach the level of the requirement. 

To achieve the goal to produce the necessary amount of crops under the changing climate, we need to extensively improve the crop varieties combining knowledge and technologies of molecular biology, genetics, physiology, informatics, modeling, and others. This satellite symposium is aimed to exchange the research activities among researchers studying cereals, pulses, and root symbiotic microbes, and know the present status and prospects to develop marginal regions for sustainable crop production.
  • Manipulation of centromere specific histone H3 (CENH3) in crop plants for haploid breeding: towards sustainable food production in dryland Dr. Takayoshi Ishii 
  • Pulses for harvesting more from less in dry areas

    Dr. Shiv Kumar Agrawal
    (see picture)

    Shiv Kumar Agrawal leads ICARDA’s Food legumes program, which aims to deliver improved germplasm of lentil, kabuli chickpea, faba bean, and grass pea to national partners in South Asia, sub -Saharan Africa, West Asia, and North Africa. 

  • How to find effective root symbiotic microbes for crops? -Toward the use of customized microbes for sustainable agriculture in an object area Dr. Takeshi Taniguchi 
  • Barley improvement for marginal lands Dr. Ramesh Verma
  • Discussion Crop improvement for the dry areas/ Conclusions and closing remarks Dr. Michael Baum
  • Rapporteur: Dr. Vinay Nangia (see picture) Senior Hydrologist, ICARDA Specially Appointed Associate Professor IPDRE, Tottori University
12 February: Satelite Symposium Big Data in Dryland Agriculture
Agricultural research is becoming more and more data intensive. High-throughput genotyping, precise phenotyping, drones, imaging platforms, GIS/RS, socio-economic information, climatic sensors, IoT and various kinds of data streams are pouring data to scientists to leverage their research to next level.
  • Big Data and Informatics Platforms at ICRISAT and future strate- Dr. Abhishek Rathore 
  • The CGIAR platform for big data in agriculture: Towards big-data enabling agriculture development Dr. Brian King 
  • GOBii, a Scalable Genomics Data Management System with Rapid Data Extract Times and Integration with Downstream Genomic Selection Analysis Pipelines Dr. Elizabeth Jones 
  • Big Data and Digital Augmentation for Accelerating Agroecological Intensification Dr. Chandrashekhar Biradar  (see picture) 
    Dr. Chandrashekhar Biradar is a Principal agroecosystems scientist and head of Geo-informatics Units, ICARDA. He is a distinguished scientist in the field of geo-informatics science and technology. He has multidisciplinary science background with focus on digital augmentation for accelerating agro-ecological intensification
  • Seeing is Believing: Using Smartphone Pictures for Agricultural Risk Management Dr. Berber Kramer 
  • Big Data in Indian Agricultural Research and Development Dr. Rajendra Parsad 
  • Breeding Modernization at ICRISAT: Implementing Industry Principles in the Public Sector Dr. Jan Debaene 

13 February 2019

 Dr. Vinay Nangia Senior Hydrologist, ICARDA

13 February: Technical Session 5: Water Harvesting and Improving Water Productivity 
(Theme 4)
  • Improving Agricultural Water Productivity in the Indira Gandhi Nahar Pariyojana (IGNP) A joint project between ICARDA and CAZRI Vinay Nangia (see picture), N.D. Yadava, M.L. Soni and V.S. Rathore

Dr. Ashutosh Sarker talking at ICDD about how to
intensify and diversify rice based systems with
lentil and grass pea
 ⁦@ICARDA⁩ ⁦@alyabousabaa

13 February: Technical Session 7: Sustainable Intensification & Diversification (Arid Horticulture, Aquaculture, Protected Agriculture) (Theme 6)
  • Intensification and diversification of dryland production systems with winter pulses in South Asia Dr. Ashutosh Sarker, Coordinator, ICARDA’s Regional Program for South Asia and China, New Delhi, India 
13 February: Satellite Symposium Mainstreaming Water Productivity in Drylands
Low precipitation and prolonged dry seasons in the drylands can lead to water scarcity, and limit agricultural productivity and output. Therefore, it is critical to achieve efficient inter-sectoral coordination to enable utilization of available water resources to the best advantage. The maximum potential for expansion of agricultural areas and benefits from improved water productivity lies in arid and semi-arid regions. This mini-symposium enabled exchanges among researchers working in the area of water management to share knowledge on the present status and prospects for higher water productivity in the drylands. The deliberations helped in framing a strategy for managing water for increasing water productivity and mainstreaming it in drylands at scale through appropriate institutional frameworks and policies. 

Dr. Ahmed Amri speaking about science based
approaches for efficient conservation and use of
genetic resources at ICDD
@ICARDA⁩ ⁦⁦@alyabousabaa
13 February: Satellite Symposium Dryland Agrobiodiversity for Adaptation to Climate Change
Amongst the total 34 global hotspots, 9 are in the dry lands and about 0.5% of the plant species are endemic to the region. In terms of agriculture, plant species endemic to the drylands make up 30% of the plants under cultivation today, including many ancestors and crop wild relatives (CWRs). However, exact status of species in the dry lands remains unknown, as no comprehensive assessment has been collated. The objectives of this mini-symposium were:
  • To examine the current threats to dryland agrobiodiversity, deliberate upon the opportunities and challenges due to climate change, and the required policy interventions to overcome the threats and challenges.
  • To take stock of agrobiodiversity in the Indian, Central and West Asian, and North African dryland regions and management strategies of their genetic resources.
  • To Identify the possible role of regional and international organizations in management of dryland agro-ecosystems through research and development, in partnership mode for
    harnessing agrobiodiversity to address the global challenges being faced by dryland communities.
  • Conservation and use of agrobiodiversity in CWANA drylands, Ahmed Amri (see picture), ICARDA, Morocco Head of ICARDA's Genetic Resources Unit, which runs the GRU seed bank in Rabat.
  • How to set priorities and capture market/farmers' needs Dr. Filippo Bassi Senior scientist ICARDA (durum breeder) and Dr. Michael Baum BIGM Program (Biodiversity and Integrated Gene Management ) and Morocco Platform Director ICARDA, RABAT

14 February 2019

14 February: Satellite Symposium Arid Agro-ecosystem: Challenges and Opportunities
The Arid ecosystem covers around 17% of the world's land area and are inhabited by about 6% population which manifests insurmountable challenges due to inhospitable climate, vast livestock and human population surviving on limited and fragile natural resources.

Generation of technologies for conservation and efficient utilization of resources holds key for transforming less productive arid lands to gainful livelihood resources for farmers of these regions. Despite of several limitations, many opportunities exist in arid lands. The symposium will discuss some of the key issues concerning the conservation of natural resources, their optimum utilization and livelihood security. These include:

  • Changes in Land use patterns and role of space technologies in food, energy and water security in arid regions
  • Natural resource vulnerability under climate change and biological indicators of land degradation and agradation
  • Livestock scenario in arid regions and their role in livelihood security
  • Integrated farming system approach for arid ecosystem and opportunities in horticulture
14 February:  Policy Dialogue- Converting Dryland Areas from Grey into Green
  • Chairs - Prof. Ramesh Chand, Member, Niti Aayog, Government of India, New Delhi
  • Co-chairs - Prof. Dr. Adel El-Beltagy, Chair, International Dryland Development Commission, Former Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Cairo, Egypt
  • Dr. Ashok Dalwai, CEO, National Rainfed Area Authority, Government of India, New Delhi
  • Dr. Raj Paroda, Chairman, TAAS, New Delhi, India
  • Dr. Panjab Singh, President, NAAS, New Delhi, India
  • Sh. Pawan Kumar Goyal, Additional Chief Secretary - Agriculture, Rajasthan, India
  • Dr. Aly Abousabaa, Director General, ICARDA, Beirut, Lebanon
  • Ms. Maria Beatix Giraudo, Former President, AAPRESID, Senior Advisor to Govt. of Argentina
  • Prof. Wang Tao, President, Lanzhou Branch of CAS, China
  • Prof. Atsushi Tsunekawa, Professor, ALRC, Tottori University, Tottori, Japan
  • Prof. Academician Guram Aleksidze, President, GAAS, Georgia
  • Dr. S.K. Malhotra, Commissioner (Agriculture), Govt. of India, New Delhi, India
  • Prof. Mohamed F. Osman, Former Chair, General Authority for Fish resources Development (GAFRD), Egypt