Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Europe, Africa and food security: European policies, biofuels and land grabbing conference

28 February 2012. This conference was co-organised by EuropAfrica-toward food sovereignty and CONCORD. Supported by European Union-funded project “Awareness raising on the on the relations between European policies and agricultural development in Africa”.

It covered following topics:
Mamadou Goita of ROPPA
  • The Right to Food and Biofuels – Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food. This intervention by the Special Rapporteur drew on the briefing on this topic that he will be releasing in early March and his reading of the EuropAfrica report.
  • Policy coherence targeting food security in Africa – EuropAfrica: Nora McKeon, Terra Nuova. This intervention illustrated the objectives and methodology of EuropAfrica’s policy coherence monitoring, which takes as its reference points the promotion of food security and sustainable small-scale production.
  • Food Security and Rural development in Africa - Rural Development, Food Security and Nutrition Unit, Directorate General Development and Cooperation. A presentation by Chantal Symoens of the EU’s strategy and policy guidelines for promoting food security and sustainable small-holder food production in Africa.
  • The EU and biofuels – Directorate General Energy and Transport. A presentation by Ruta Baltause of the Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC (RED) and plans for its assessment during 2012.
  • European energy policies and land grabbing in Africa – Roman Herre and Sylvain Aubry, Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN). Presentation of the main findings of the EuropAfrica 2011 report.
  • African small-scale farmers’ concerns regarding land grabbing and biofuels – Mamadou Goita, Executive Secretary of ROPPA
  • Land grabbing in East Africa – Annick Sezibera, CAPAD, Burundi and EAFF
  • Land grabbing and biofuels in Senegal – Marius Dia, CNCR, Senegal
        The report referred to and the launch event are part of the project “Awareness raising on the relations between European policies and agricultural development in Africa”, co-funded by the European policies and agricultural development in Africa”, co-funded by the European Commission | DCI – NSAED/2010/240-529. (Bio)Fueling Injustice? [1.6MB]
        The report presented at the launch event on Februrary 28 is co-sponsored by the EuropAfrica platform, composed of European NGOs and the regional farmers' platforms of West, Central and East Africa (ROPPA, PROPAC and EAFF), and by CONCORD, the European confederation of relief and development NGOs.
        What is EuropAfrica? EuropAfrica - Towards Food Sovereignty, is a campaign that connects African farmers' platforms of West, Central and East Africa (ROPPA, PROPAC and EAFF) and European NGOs (Terra Nuova, Centro Internazionale Crocevia, Collectif Stratégies Alimentaires/CSA, Vredeseilanden, Practical Action, Glopolis). It supports the attainment of food sovereignty, both in Africa and in Europe, without impeding the food sovereignty of others. 
        What is FIAN ? FIAN (FoodFirst Information and Action Network) is an international human right organisation organization that has advocated for the realization of the human right to food for more than 25 years.  
        What is Policy Coherence for Development (PCD)? Policy Coherence for Development is about ensuring that the aims and objectives of EU development co-operation policy are not undermined by other EU policies.

      Press coverage: FIAN (FoodFirst Information and Action Network) 28/02/2012 EU must stop bio-fuelling injustice and hunger in Africa
      Africa Online 28/02/2012 EU must stop bio-fuelling injustice and hunger in Africa

      Related: 28 February 2012 Danish EU Presidency to push for development friendly CAP
      Europe's farm policy should take into account its impact on developing countries and be more coherent with anti-poverty efforts announced the Danish Presidency of the European Union.

      Speaking at a conference on Trade, Development and Agriculture on 28/02 organised by CONCORD Denmark and the Danish Agriculture Council in Copenhagen, Friis Bach, Minister for Development Cooperation declared:
      "Denmark will strive to promote the Policy Coherence for Development agenda during our EU Presidency. PCD is not just another ingredient of the alphabet soup, but all about making our development efforts more effective, transparent and inclusive. With clear consequences for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable groups."

      Welcoming the positive approach of the Danish Presidency, Olivier Consolo, Director of CONCORD, the European NGO confederation for Relief and Development said:
      "Today the Danish Presidency has stood up for a major improvement in the CAP reform that can reduce the policies negative impacts in poor countries. More EU member states should go Danish when it comes to pushing for the CAP to be more coherent with development objectives. To improve the CAP, the EU Commission needs to establish impact and monitoring mechanisms so that overseas impacts can be fully assessed.”
      Pekka Pesonen, secretary-general of EU umbrella farming body Copa-Cogeca said over a billion people in the world remain in hunger today. He said international efforts should focus on ensuring a ‘substantial increase’ in agricultural investment.
      Related: Rising Global Interest in FarmlandReleased in draft form in September 2010 and in hard copy in January 2011, the study Rising Global Interest in Farmland --Can it yield sustainable and equitable benefits? compiles country inventories of large land transfers during 2004-09 in 14 countries, identifies global drivers of land supply and demand and highlights how country policies affect land use, household welfare and distributional outcomes at the local level. It establishes a typology, classifying countries by the size of suitable available land and yield gaps and proposes paths for responsible agricultural investments that would contribute to positive social, economic and environmental outcomes.


      Séminaire de lancement du consortium BIOPROTECT-B

      20 au 24 février 2012. Fada, Burkina Faso. Lancement du partenariat du consortium BIOPROTECT-B: un groupement d’intérêt économique pour la protection biologique des cultures et la fertilisation organique des sols pour une agriculture saine et durable au sahel .

      Il s’agit du premier atelier conformément aux programmes d’activités du second appel du PAEPARD (Partenariat Afrique Europe pour la Recherche Agricole et le Développement).

      Le cœur de la problématique du projet PAEPARD consiste au soutient a une approche innovante multi-acteurs dans le domaine de la recherche en agriculture pour le développement (RAD). L’atelier s’est tenu à FADA, dans la région de l’Est. Il etait organisé par l’ONG ARFA avec L’appui technique et financier du PAEPARD. Environs 12 participants ont pris part à cet atelier. Il faut signaler que parmi les participants on notait la présence des deux partenaires Français du consortium.

      Cet atelier de lancement du consortium avait pour objectifs :

      • Une prise de contact des facilitateurs d’innovation agricole (AIF) avec les membres du consortium,
      • Une meilleure connaissance des parties prenantes du consortium, consolider le consortium
      • Identifier les attentes des participants de l’atelier
      • L’écriture d’un draft de note conceptuelle

      Le consortium a choisi de travailler en priorité sur l’appel à projet du CFSI/Fondation France porté par ARFA dont la date limite est pour le 29 Mars 2012. La deuxieme possibilite est l’appel ACDI dont la date limite de dépôt de dossier est prévu pour le 19 Avril.


      Friday, February 24, 2012

      Announcement: Curriculum Development for postgraduate Organic Agriculture Research and Training in West Africa

      The “Institutional Capacity Building for Organic Agriculture in West Africa” project is a West African Network for Organic Research and Training. It is financed by the European Union and Implemented by the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States Secretariat under the EDUKINK programme. The partners in this network share their expertise and resources to enhance the prospects for a successful organic agriculture sector in the wider West African region.

      Specifically the network partners train graduates, farmers, extension officers and civil society organisations to develop a viable organic agriculture sector. The project partners also facilitate and undertake research that underpins organic production, embed organic agriculture into the curriculum in West African universities and develop locally appropriate standards, regulations and technologies for West African organic production. The composition of the partnership reflects the different stages of development of organic agriculture in West Africa and deliberately includes both Francophone and Anglophone countries.

      DVC (A), Prof. Toyin Arowolo (2nd Right) receiving
      Dr. Missiako Kindomihou (Standing), Miss Koura Tatiana
      (Left) and the Coordinator (WANOART), Prof. Isaac
      Aiyelaagbe in his office.
      A workshop and training session on curriculum development will be held in Nigeria 6 -13 March 2012at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB). This will involve partners, participants from other HEIs and other important stakeholders, such as future employers of organic agriculture graduates, government agencies for higher education, and government agencies in the agricultural sector. An outcome of the workshop is expected to be an outline common curriculum for organic agriculture in tertiary institutions in West Africa, which will facilitate further teaching collaboration and exchanges. In addition, teaching materials including posters, slides, DVDs, and monographs will be developed. Access to markets will be a major issue in sustainability of organic agriculture in West Africa.

      Defragmenting Africa: Removing Barriers to Trade in Africa

      February 7, 2012. Washington. With African leaders now calling for a continental free trade area by 2017 to boost trade within the continent, a new World Bank report shows how African countries are losing out on billions of dollars in potential trade earnings every year because of high trade barriers with neighboring countries, and that it is easier for Africa to trade with the rest of the world than with itself.

      in Goods and Servicesregional fragmentation could become even more costly for the continent with new World Bank forecasts suggesting that economic slowdown in the Eurozone could shave Africa’s growth by up to 1.3 percentage points this year. As the authors write, “while uncertainty surrounds the global economy and stagnation is likely to continue in traditional markets in Europe and North America, enormous opportunities for cross-border trade within Africa in food products, basic manufactures and services remain unexploited.”

      The reports says this situation deprives the continent of new sources of economic growth, new jobs, and sharply falling poverty, factors which accompanied significant trade integration in East Asia and other regions. The cross-border production networks that have spurred economic dynamism in other regions, especially East Asia, have yet to materialize in Africa.

      Obiageli Ezekwesili
      “It is clear that Africa is not reaching its potential for regional trade, despite the fact that its benefits are enormous—they create larger markets, help countries diversify their economies, reduce costs, improve productivity and help reduce poverty.” says Obiageli "Oby" Ezekwesili, The World Bank’s Vice President for Africa, and a former Nigerian Minister of Extractive Industries. “Yet trade and non-trade barriers remain significant and fall most heavily and disproportionately on poor traders, most of whom are women. African leaders must now back aspiration with action and work together to align the policies, institutions and investments needed to unblock these barriers and to create a dynamic regional market on a scale worthy of Africa’s one billion people and its roughly $2 trillion economy."

      In one notable example of trade barriers, report co-editors Paul Brenton and Gozde Isik of the World Bank describe how the South African supermarket chain Shoprite spends US$20,000 a week on import permits to distribute meat, milk, and plant-based goods to its stores in Zambia alone. For all countries it operates in, approximately 100 (single entry) import permits are applied for every week; this can rise up to 300 per week in peak periods. As a result of these and other requirements, there can be up to 1,600 documents accompanying each truck Shoprite sends with a load that crosses a border in the region.

      Paul Brenton is Lead Economist (Trade and Regional Integration) in the Africa Region of the World Bank.
      Gözde Isik is an Economist (consultant) in the Africa Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Unit and co-editor of the recently released book De-Fragmenting Africa: Deepening Regional Trade Integration in Goods and Services.
      Related: 14/02 Interview with Marcelo Giugale World Bank’s Director of Economic Policy and Poverty Reduction Programs for Africa
      “Imagine the benefits of allowing African doctors, nurses, teacher, engineers and lawyers to practice anywhere in the continent, but responsibility for making this happen lies with countries first and foremost,” says Marcelo Giugale, the World Bank’s Africa Director for Poverty Reduction and Economic Management. “The final prize is clear: helping Africans trade goods and services with each other. Few contributions carry more development power than that.” 

      In a superb special World Bank video produced for the new report, women traders on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and neighboring countries in the Great Lakes region describe how they routinely encounter violence, threats, demands for bribes, and sexual harassment, at the hands of the large numbers of customs and other government officials at the border. As one egg and sugar trader from Goma says on the video: “I buy my eggs in Rwanda; as soon as I cross to Congo I give one egg to every official who asks me. Some days I give away more than 30 eggs!”

      Thursday, February 23, 2012

      Bill Gates and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame attended IFAD’s annual meeting

      Microsoft Corp. chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates
      gestures during the  (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
      23 February 2012. ROME. IFAD, International Fund For Agricultural Development Annual Governing Council at Rome's IFAD headquarters.

      Bill Gates announced nearly $200 million in grants from his foundation to agriculture including the $21 million Tropical Legumes II project and the $33 million Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa project. The Tropical Legumes project is part of a ten-year plan to improve the livelihoods of farmers in 15 countries in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, and is expected to bring $1.3 billion of added value to productivity of target crops including, chickpea, bean, cowpea, groundnut, pigeonpea and soybean. The introduction of new, improved seed is expected to address challenges such as drought, and pests and disease. This grant will assist the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA). The second phase of this Legumes project will build on the introduction of over 60 new legume varieties introduced during the first phase, by focusing on gender-specific interventions, monitoring and evaluation, and strengthening capacity of national agricultural research systems.

      The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center's (CIMMYT) Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa Project will support the third phase to develop drought-tolerant maize that reduces the risk of crop failure and will directly impact up to seven million farmers.

      Additional grants were made to: the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Agriculture for the Program for Africa's Seed System (PASS) - Phase 2 ($56 million); CARE for the Pathway to Secure Livelihoods Project ($15 million); Conservation International for an Integrated Monitoring System for Ecosystem Services in African Agricultural Landscapes ($10 million); the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines for the Protecting Livestock, Saving Human Live Project - Phase 2 ($41 million); and the Meridian Institute for the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa Project (PACA) ($20 million).

      Gates has embraced high-tech — and to some critics controversial — solutions for boosting agriculture, including supporting genetic modification in plant breeding as a way to fight starvation and malnutrition. In separate remarks to reporters, he suggested critics should ask farmers in poor countries who have adopted such techniques in plant breeding, "do you mind that it was created in a laboratory?"

      • Video elease date
        Mar 1, 2012
      • Runtime

      Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda, said his country is striving to rebuild its economy with coffee and tea production, which are significant sources of foreign exchange. Nearly two-thirds of the population live below the poverty line. But in the past five years progress has been made, Kagame said, noting that the country’s gross domestic product has grown at an average of 8 per cent.

      Kagame urged the international community to “be bold and try what has not been done before. We must learn from what has worked and adapt these models to suit smallholder farmers. The reality in most developing countries is that smallholder agriculture remains the source of livelihood and food supply. Every farmer counts.”

      The IFAD Farmers' Forum

      20 - 21 February. Rome. About 95 delegates from farmers' and fishers' networks, and an equal number of observers, attended the Farmers' Forum. The forum discussed a.o. the importance to invest in strengthening the technical, managerial and organizational capacity of FOs, as well as their governance mechanisms and leadership skills. IFAD and other development organizations are playing a role in this area.

      Various concrete solutions have been proposed as a way forward for FOs, in many cases by drawing on successful experiences that have potential for replication. It was suggested that IFAD and other development institutions provide a combination of loans and grants to financially support FOs. This could build their capacity while making FOs more responsible as owners of their own path towards sustainability.

      Djibo Bagna of the West African producers' network ROPPA listed a series of specific policy questions that must be answered as a prerequisite for rural transformation. For example, how will smallholders gain access to credit and markets? And how can we empower rural women and youth, and build the capacities of producers' organizations? "The road ahead is still very long," said Bagna.

      The Farmers' Forum is an emerging, bottom-up process of consultation and dialogue between small farmers and rural producers' organizations, IFAD and governments, focused on rural development and poverty reduction. Fully aligned with IFAD's strategic objectives, the Forum is rooted in concrete partnership and collaboration at the country and regional level. Engagement with rural organizations at the field level and dialogue at the international level are articulated as mutually reinforcing processes. Following consultations at the national and regional level, the Farmers' Forum meets every two years for a global consultation, in conjunction with the Governing Council of IFAD.

      Sustainable smallholder agriculture: Feeding the world, protecting the planet

      Side events of the Farmers’ Forum

      Thursday, 23 February 2012 (IFAD HQ)

      14:00 - 16:00
      “Organic farmers organizations: empowering farmers and promoting sustainable rural development” organised by IFOAM. – Oval Room A
      English | French | Spanish
      14:00 - 16:00
      “Linking research to advocacy in farmer organizations: building on country experiences”. organised by AgriNatura and the ESFIM project. – Oval Room B
      English | French | Spanish
      14:00 - 16:00
      “The role of livestock for farmers coping with environmental and social challenges of the future”. organised by Vétérinaires Sans Frontières  – Europa. - Room C 500 5th floor wing C
      English | French | Spanish
      16:30 - 18:30
      “Strengthening farmers' organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa– the Farmer Organization Support Centre in Africa” (FOSCA). organised by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). – Oval Room A
      English | French | Spanish
      16:30 - 18:30
      “World Agricultures Watch”: FAO/CIRAD – organised by WAW secretariat at FAO. – Oval Room B
      English | French | Spanish
      16:30 - 18:30
      “International Year of Cooperatives”: jointly organised by IFAD, WFP and FAO. – Room C 500 5th floor wing C
      English | French | Spanish
      Entretien avec Moussa Para Diallo, Président de la Confédération Nationale des Organisations des Paysans de Guinée (CNOPG), dans le cadre du Forum Paysan 2012, FIDA, Rome

      4th global meeting of the Farmers' Forum . Opening session, part I

      Main challenges affecting the pastoralists in the ACP countries

      22 February. Brussels. CTA Brussels Development Briefing: Pastoralism. The Briefing provided an overview of the main challenges affecting the pastoralists, especially in the ACP countries, and the opportunities provided by existing continental and regional policy frameworks and processes.

      It shared good practices and experiences from the field across regions and identified what urgent and concrete policy actions need to be in place to increase support pastoralism.
      The Briefing was organised with the African Union Commission and in collaboration with the Coalition of European Lobbies for Eastern Africa Pastoralism

      Field stories illustrated innovative practices in various areas of importance for rural development in different regions:
      • Options for enhancing resilience in pastoral systems: Shirley Tarawali,Director of Institutional Planning, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
      • Improving market access and the opportunities in the regional market: the case of dairy products: Maryam Abeiderrahmane,CEO,Tiviski Dairy, Mauritania
      • Adaptation and mitigation to Climate change and coping mechanisms from pastoralists:
      • Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Coordinator of Bororo nomadic peoples association, Chad
      • Pastoral field schools and proximity learning in a climate change perspective: Joep Van Mierlo, Director, Vétérinaires sans Frontières, Belgium

      Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, coordinator of the Chadian Association of Indigenous Mbororo women and peoples (AFPAT), and the Sahel region representative at the Indigenous Peoples of African Coordinating Committee (IPACC). She explains the situation of Indigenous people amid the food crisis and shared some of the preliminary findings of the RIO+20 preparation, in which she takes part.

      Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Sahel Region representative at IPACC from CTA on Vimeo.

      Maryam Abeiderrahmane, CEO at Tiviski Dairy, in Mauritania, explains that the beginning of Tiviski was difficult as a result of several factors, including traditional prejudices against selling milk, as well as consumer preferences for imported goods. Notably, she underlines that Mauritania has faced trade barriers when dealing with the EU.

      Maryam Abeiderrahmane, CEO, Tiviski from CTA on Vimeo.

      Joep Van Mierlo, Director of Veterinarians Without Borders-Belgium, speaks about the main goals of the VSF in Africa.

      Joep Van Mierlo, VSF-Belgium from CTA on Vimeo.

      Making Agricultural Research for Development more pro-poor; improving the accessibility and relevance of ARD results to the poorest

      Two policy briefs have recently been commissioned by EIARD to Agrinatura, with the support of the Food Security Thematic Programme (FSTP) of the EU. These policy briefs are based on detailed studies available on the EIARD website, together with other studies and policy briefs.

      The policy brief (November 2011, 10 pages) on "Making Agricultural Research for Development more pro-poor; improving the accessibility and relevance of ARD results to the poorest" highlights that:
      • European ARD policies and supports could increase their contribution to the alleviation of poverty and hunger in the developing world by identifying more explicitly its direct and indirect target groups (the "poor"), by involving them in the research process (in priority setting, design, implementation and monitoring), and by making research results accessible to them through a more conducive uptake environment and through dissemination mechanisms catering for the specific needs of the poor. 
      • It also established that a number of promising programmes targeting the poor, promoting gender equality and involving the poor during the different stages of the research process, exist among EIARD members and that experiences from these initiatives need to be shared more widely between ARD decision makers, in Europe and more globally. 
      • The policy brief is based on the full report (August 2011, 65 pages)
      The second policy brief (January 2012, 11 pages), on "capacity development for agricultural research for development (ARD)", is based on a review of the policies, programmes and projects in capacity strengthening for ARD of fourteen European countries. It recommends increasing support to capacity development for ARD, with a stronger focus on organizational and institutional strengthening as opposed to individual training, encouraging more multi-stakeholder initiatives and participatory methods, improving the planning, monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment of current capacity strengthening initiatives, and giving more attention to encouraging young people, especially women, to enter agriculture as a profession.

      Tuesday, February 21, 2012

      Canada Fund for African Climate Resilience call

      The Canada Fund for African Climate Resilience
      will co-finance Canadian organizations or coalitions to address climate change effects and adaptation needs that restrict or have negative impacts on food security and/or economic growth in Africa.

      The focus countries are Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Senegal, and Tanzania. Projects in certain other Sub-Saharan countries are also eligible (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Dem Rep Congo, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zambia). CIDA will provide 85% of project funding; eligible applicants in Canada's private sector and/or civil society (or their coalitions) contribute the remaining 15%. The deadline for applications is 19 April 2012.

      Intra-ACP mobility scheme - Call for Proposals

      The second Call for Proposals under the Intra-ACP academic mobility scheme was launched on 10/02/2012, with a deadline of 10 May 2012.

      The Intra-ACP academic mobility scheme promotes cooperation between higher education institutions (HEIs) and supports mobility in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) regions. The Programme aims to increase access to quality education that will encourage and enable ACP students to undertake postgraduate studies, and to promote student retention in the region along with mobility of staff (academic and administrative). In doing so, the Intra-ACP Programme is expected to increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of the institutions themselves.

      COLEACP at Fruit Logistica 2012

      FRUIT LOGISTICA 2012 Ghana
      8 to 10 February. Berlin. This trade fair was characterized by the presence of the industry's key decision-makers as well as by excellent reviews from exhibitors and trade visitors who praised the commercial results achieved at the exhibition. The event also registered a record number of exhibiting companies, 2537 in all. More than 56,000 trade visitors from 139 countries were in Berlin to view the full spectrum of products and services across the entire fresh produce value chain. Around 80% of the visitors at this year's exhibition came from outside Germany.

      COLEACP, PIP and EDES teams facilitated contacts between ACP exporter and EU importer Members at the Fruit Logistica 2012. You will find more information on the COLEACP entry on the « Fruit Logistica Virtual Market Place »

      Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters. Ghana is focusing on the extremely tasty pineapples that it grows and harvests all year round. "Many Europeans are not aware of this. We are at FRUIT LOGISTICA to make this fact known", says Antony Sikpa, President of the Federation of Associations of Ghanaian Exporters. Ghana is represented with four exporters, whose produce, in addition to pineapples, includes papayas and mangos.

      FRUIT LOGISTICA 2012 Mairitius
      (with a breadfruit)
      Mozfoods S.A., Mozambique: "This was our first appearance at FRUIT LOGISTICA and it was very valuable for our business. We had a chance to meet with our customers and build new contacts with prospective buyers in Europe. The current demand clearly exceeds our production capacities". Carlos Henriques, Chief Executive Officer.
      Enterprise Mauritius: "We are very satisfied with our first appearance at FRUIT LOGISTICA.  The trade fair is an excellent platform for maintaining existing contacts and finding new customers. We had visitors from Brazil, China, Britain, France and the Middle East at our stand. In the coming months, we will see what specific orders will arise from this". Yogesh O. Amoroo, Business Development Officer

      Related: Extract from Agricultural Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa: experiences from multiple-stakeholder approaches

      Ghana’s pineapple industry. This case study concerns the rehabilitation of the pineapple industry after loss of valuable export markets to Europe as new country producers provided sweeter varieties favoured by consumers. Pineapples now account for more than 50 percent of Ghana’s total horticultural exports and the crop is a source of income and employment for 15,000 people. Increased production has led to significant poverty reduction in pineapple-growing areas with farmers reporting a 10 percent increase in income (World Bank, 2006), largely due to increased production and higher prices for the commodity.

      Lessons learned for scaling up. The strong commitment of all stakeholders – donors, national partners, NGOs, Government, exporters, importers, individual farmers and research institutes – has played an important role in the success achieved in the pineapple industry. Linkage with export markets has clearly been a driving factor. However the emergence of large-scale farmers and processors has made them the major beneficiaries at the expense of smallholder farmers.Meeting this challenge will require additional support to raise their production levels.

      Friday, February 17, 2012

      AfDB-IFPRI stakeholder consultation on agricultural biotechnology in Africa

      15-16 February 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya. in June 2011, the AfDB Group commissioned IFPRI to conduct a comprehensive and evidence-based study on agriculture biotechnology in Africa to assist African countries to address their agriculture and food security problems.

      This consultation meeting discussed the findings and recommendations of the study for broad stakeholder validation, prioritize key areas which need to be addressed, and identify and agree on roles, responsibilities and resources needed to implement priority actions.

      Some of the main recommendations from the study included the need to enhance support for the following: data collection, capacity building; renewed cooperation on biotechnology with sub-Saharan African countries, and outreach and communication to the public at large. In this regard, the report is an important step in the right direction.

      Approximately 80 representatives of development organizations, senior African policy makers, private sector officials, scientists, researchers, and farmers organizations participated in the meeting.

      Related: In November 2011, FARA hosted the 1st Pan-African Conference on Stewardship of Agricultural Biotechnology

      Related: A lively [still ongoing] debate on fara-net in February resulted in an exchange of a number of reports on the GMO theme:
      1. Vitale, J.D., Vognan, G. Ouattarra,M.  and Traore, O. (2010). “The CommercialApplication of GMO Crops in Africa: Burkina Faso’s Decade of Experience with BtCotton,” Agrobioforum, 13(4): 320-332.
      2. The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa (2011) Complete Text of The New Harvest: Agricultural Innovation in Africa (765K PDF)
      3. Freedom to Innovate: Biotechnology in Africa's Development. Report of the High-Level African Panel on Modern Biotechnology. (2007) Full text of this publication is available
      4. A decade of EU-funded GMO research (2001-2011) (2011)
      5. How to engage with farmers over GM crops, Obidimma Ezezika and Justin Mabeya, SciDev, 22/02/2012
      6. CTA Policy Brief on Harnessing Biotechnology (also available in French)
      7. Ghana Business News 28/02 Biotechnology crucial to global food security – Prof. Alhassan
      A video on biotechnology was produced by young professionals in the Caribbean for our 2010/2011 science and video competition. It raises some interesting issues and can be used to fuel interest and mobilize young people on this important issue.

      The Farmer Organization Support Centre in Africa (FOSCA)

      FOSCA was established by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) in 2010, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation (BMGF) in order to develop the managerial, organizational and technical capacity of farmer organizations (FOs) by linking them with service providers (SPs) that focus on demand driven and income-enhancing services. FOSCA is expected to contribute to the overall AGRA vision of increasing smallholder incomes and livelihoods through effective FOs capable of delivering on the needs of their members by:
      1. identifying and engaging a robust network of FOs in target countries and identifying income-enhancing needs of their members
      2. Increasing and improving the supply of relevant services available to FOs to respond to their needs
      3. Linking FOs with service providers and private sector players in value-chains to enhance their capacity for effective service delivery (market-driven income gains) for their members
      4. Evaluate outcomes, document lessons, and build the knowledge base on FOs that would promote learning and best practice in Sub Sahara Africa (SSA).
      Mercy Karanja works with extension and farmer organizations at
      the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and guides the strategy and
      grants for the foundation’s work with small holder farmers.
      Expected Outcomes
      During this initial four-year program, FOSCA plans to:
      1. Reach 220,000 smallholder farmers with income and production improvements services
      2. Improve the capacities of at least 70 FOs based on a set of criteria around gender, market-orientation, smallholder membership, and income generation.
      3. Expand the smallholder membership of 50% of the target FOs by 25-50% during the project term.
      Target Countries in First Phase
      In order to maximize opportunities for collaboration and synergies, FOs prioritized by FOSCA are partners or potential partners in existing AGRA and Bill Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) grants. The initial pilot activities will be those working with World Food Program’s (WFP) Purchase for Progress (P4P), AGRA’s Markets Access and Soil Health Programs.

      Geographic Coverage:
      FOSCA will focus on the 4 Priority One countries of AGRA in this initial Phase:
      • Ghana, Mali, Mozambique and Tanzania
      FOSCA will gradually expand its activities to other AGRA target countries as opportunities to collaborate emerge:
      • Burkina Faso, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda and Zambia (Partnership with Swedish Cooperation),
      • Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria (Partnership with BMGF)

      Addressing Climate Change Challenges in Africa: A Practical Guide towards Sustainable Development

      This manual (272 pages) aims to translate available climate science and current international climate policies into the tools for practical action in Africa, in the context of sustainable development. In this regard the guidebook focuses on the potential climate change impacts on key sectors in Africa and appropriate adaptation and mitigation options. It outlines the governance, technological, financial and capacity building opportunities available to the continent to work effectively towards sustainable development.

      The manual is self-contained and stands alone, but provides guidance to intended users to other relevant materials in the form of links and annexes. The primary audiences for the guidebook are policymakers, decision makers, practitioners from public and private sector, civil society organizations, environment and climate change negotiators and experts.

      African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, African Union Commission

      Thursday, February 16, 2012

      Partner Inception Workshop Enhancing Soybean and Cowpea Value Chains

      Facilitator Patrick Egessa (left) and
      EC evaluator of PAEPARD Hubert Cathala (right)
      13th – 17th February 2012Kampala. Partner Inception meeting. Enhancing Soybean and Cowpea Value Chains for Increased Productivity, Incomes and Nutritional Security of Smallholder Farmers in Eastern and Central Africa.

      Soybean and Cowpea Value Chains for Increased Productivity, Incomes and Nutritional Security of Smallholder Farmers in Eastern and Central Africa consortium is holding its inception meeting in Kampala- Uganda with support from PAEPARD and RUFORUM. The objectives of this meeting are;
      1. To bring together all partners of the consortium.
      2. Explore and design a framework of engagement in response to targeted calls.
      3. Gain an insight into all partners areas of expertise, skills and commitment.
      4. Explore linkages and collaborations
      Criteria for assessing the competitiveness of the Crops

      The meeting agreed to develop a criteria that would be used to assess the competitiveness of the legumes.

      • Potential to increase employment
      • Number of SMEs within the sector
      • Potential for Value addition
      • Potential to increase income
      • Number of women and Youth – are their studies?
      • Government involvement in the sector
      • Research opportunities along the chain.

      Day 2 discussions focused on the requirements for the AU call, which this consortium is targeting. Looked at broadly, the discussion was guided using the following  questions
      *      What were the call requirements?
      *      What should be our priority sector
      *      What was expected on  partnerships
      *      What was the evaluation criteria?
      *      What was the  selection criteria?
      *      What was the award criteria?

      Issues raised in response to discussion on call
      *      How  we demonstrate capacity/ expertise.
      *      How we demonstrate that we were involved in the process.
      *      Technical expertise in the required sectors
      *      Sustainability of the results
      *      And  the Management structure