Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Developing digital soil maps covering 42 African countries

28 March 2012. Nature article. African agriculture: Dirt poor. The key to tackling hunger in Africa is enriching its soil. The big debate is about how to do it.
African governments, international donors and scientists all agree that farmers must revitalize their soils. But there is passionate debate about how to do it. Many African governments and agricultural scientists argue that large doses of inorganic fertilizers are the most practical solution. But others, such the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, are pushing for greener, cheaper solutions, such as no-till farming that conserves soil and 'fertilizer plants' that boost the soil's nitrogen content organically. Researchers report that these latter techniques are beginning to raise yields and improve soil fertility. But farmers are slow to adopt such practices, which require significantly more labour.

An international collaboration of researchers is hoping to improve the use of fertilizers by developing digital soil maps covering 42 African countries south of the Sahara. Started in 2009 with an $18-million grant from AGRA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute in Nairobi, the maps will provide up-to-date information on soil properties, derived from satellite measurements and sampling at 60 sites across Africa.

Keith Shepherd, a soil scientist at ICRAF who has worked on the maps, says that the analysis will inform agronomists and agricultural extension services about soil health and what nutrients are lacking. “Until now there was no unbiased sampling at this scale so there was no reliable data on acute problems,” he says.

AGRA is also helping to bring some of Africa's better-quality phosphate deposits into production, which will provide sub-Saharan countries with a cheaper source of locally produced phosphate fertilizer.

Africa Soil Information Service The Africa Soil Information Service (AfSIS) is developing continent-wide digital soil maps for sub-Saharan Africa using new types of soil analysis and statistical methods, and conducting agronomic field trials in selected sentinel sites. These efforts include the compilation and rescue of legacy soil profile data, new data collection and analysis, and system development for large-scale soil mapping using remote sensing imagery and crowdsourced ground observations.

BBC video: Horizons Business. Video interview with Keith Shepherd. Soil Scientists at The World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi are working on digital mapping systems to help analyse the quality of the soil across the country, so farmers will know what to grow and when to grow it.

ICRAF video: The World Agroforestry Centre's Global Research Project on Land Health aims to develop and promote scientifically rigorous methods for measuring and monitoring land health,assessing land health risks, and targeting and evaluating agroforestry and other sustainable land management interventions to improve ecosystem health and human wellbeing.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Announcement: What works when scaling inclusive agri-food markets?

11-13 April 2012. Carlton Beach Hotel, the Netherlands. From Islands of Success to Seas of Change
“What works when scaling inclusive agri-food markets?”

The last decade has seen an explosion in value chain initiatives, and sustainable and ethical sourcing has become an accepted aspect of business strategy. Non-governmental organisations are working with businesses to link small producers to markets; round tables on global commodity chains are focusing on sector-wide approaches; a broad range of certification schemes are in place; and ‘bottom of the pyramid’ concepts are emerging. Experience is developing rapidly but insights often remain fragmented and the lessons that need to be learned are only slowly being taken on board.

The big question for the next few decades is how to build on these developments to achieve the measure of change that is needed, and quickly. It is necessary to assess when, where and why some efforts remain islands of success while others indicate a sea change. The inspirational examples that are emerging need to be scrutinised, and we need to assess which ideas can be adapted, mutated and cross-pollinated. It is necessary to consult with those who have most experience to see where they believe the opportunities lie for putting good ideas into practice.

100 international partners will attend this learning workshop. Coordinated by the Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation, this is the first step in an initiative to scale up the agri-food market – in a way that includes all players. The aim of the workshop is to take a step back and look at the range of promising efforts that have emerged as a result of the last decade’s experience in establishing sustainable and equitable agri-food value chains. It will also look to the future, share innovative approaches and identify high-potential options. The outcome will be a state-of-the-art perspective on how to develop and expand inclusive agri-food development.

For more information, please visit the website of the Seas of Change Initiative 

Markets, Smallholders and Empowerment

This issue of aims to refocus attention on the critical but largely neglected issue of producer agency: that is, the capacity of producers to make informed choices, and to act on those choices.

Drawing on several detailed case studies - contract farming arrangements that benefit or exploit farmers; guidelines for addressing farm labour interests; and the role of women on small-scale farms - the journal's contributors offer practical guidance on how to strike the right balance between "economic and political empowerment."

Download Issue 44 (PDF, 700 kb)

Working Session by the Mauritius Breadfruit Sector Consortium

28th March 2012. The Mauritius Breadfruit Sector Consortium organized a working session on the 28th March 2012 at the Food and Agricultural Research Council (FARC), Reduit.

This working session was a follow-up to the Partnership Inception Workshop organised by the consortium on 9th and 10th February 2012 in the framework of the PAEPARD project.

The participants of the working session were comprised of representatives from the Agricultural Research and Extension Unit (AREU), the University of Mauritius (UoM), Conserverie Sarjua Ltee, the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security, the Food and Agricultural Research Council and the APEXHOM (Professional Association of Producers / Exporters of Horticultural Products from Mauritius).

The objective of the working session was to use the questions generated from the last workshop as guidelines to identify research areas/ research themes along the value-chain, with potential for research and development in the local context (Mauritius).
Along the Breadfruit value-chain, 11 themes were identified (from its origin to marketing and consumer preferences), and there were unanswered questions that cropped up during the previous workshop. Participants were provided a copy of these questions which they could use as guidelines, and the floor was open for discussion on where we have areas of interest for Research and Development under each theme. Each research theme or research area that was proposed by the participants was discussed and added under their respective headings. After this exercise, a series of research and also development themes was generated (horizontally in picture below), which were then classified in 6 components (input supply, farm production, post harvest treatment, logistics, processing, marketing) of the value chain (vertically in picture).

By the end of the working session, 10 Research and Development themes were generated which would be used for the next workshop, whose objectives would be to formulate research questions under the identified themes and conceptualise & develop project proposals.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Grants Provided on research and science about Post-harvest and Agriculture

March 28, 2012. ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia. The African Union signed nine grant contracts with African and European universities, scientific think tanks and research institutes with the endorsement of the European Union.

These grant contracts are part of the ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) Research for Sustainable Development Programme - Africa component (€14.7m) with the objective of strengthening international economic competitiveness of ACP countries.

During the signing ceremony Prof. Jean Pierre Onvehoun Ezin, Commissioner of the Human Resources, Science and Technology, AUC said “Science and Technology in Africa within the last decade have been tremendous evolution, so more that the African Union Commission is championing the scientific awards at national, regional and continental levels....”

"The signature today is very encouraging for all of us who believe that innovation is key for maintaining high growth rates in today's and tomorrow's increasingly competitive world", said Gary QUINCE, EU Ambassador to the African Union.

These projects on applied sciences are designed to respond to improve the living conditions of African population. More specifically, it aims to create networking among African scientific community and to build bridges with European partners while performing joint researches by the transfer of knowledge and know-how through a 'learning by doing' approach.

Today's signature ceremony of grant contracts is the result of the "First Call for Proposal" of an amount of 7 million Euros which are limited to some strategic priority actions: Post-harvest and Agriculture, renewable and Sustainable Energy, water and sanitation.

The African Union Commission, through its Department of Human Resources, Science and Technology, is the Delegated Regional Authority for the Africa Component of the programme.

The Second Call for Proposal has been launched on 16 January 2012 with the aim to engage 7 million Euro on new grant contracts by the end of the current year.

  1. (a) The European Commission invests in Research in Africa, not onlythrough the African Research Grant, but also through the 72M€Africa Call of the 7th R&D Framework Programme. To this figureone should add the number of African research laboratories thatparticipate in the global FP7 calls, which is higher than any othercontinent, but very much concentrated in the North of Africa and inSouth Africa.
  2. The 40M€ Nyerere programme that facilitates exchanges betweenAfrican universities for students at masters and doctoral level.
  3. The 13 M€ (?) Africa Connect project that provides connection fromthe National Research Networks to the European High SpeedResearch Network GEANT2.
  4. The 23M€ EDULINK-II Programme which fosters capacitybuilding and regional integration in the field of higher educationand where the call was launched last week.
  5. A package of 500.000$ for continental science prizes and bestfemale science prizes.
  6. And last but not least the EC support to the Pan-AfricanUniversity.

TEAM Africa Planning Meeting

26 - 28 March 2012. Wageningen. The World Bank and Wageningen University and Research Centre organized a workshop on ‘Support to Tertiary Agricultural Education in Africa’. The Workshop, which was held in Wageningen, the Netherlands, follows on earlier discussions on higher education in agriculture at the Kampala Ministerial Conference (November 2010), the first TAE-Partnership workshop launching it in Ås, Norway (September 2011), and at subsequent meetings in Ouagadougou (November 2011) and Washington DC (December 2011).

Given the level of renewed interest in African TAE, several development partners and knowledge institutions in Africa, Europe and Northern America have initiated this series of discussions to explore how they might scale up and coordinate their support for TAE initiatives in Africa. The Wageningen workshop was intended to further strengthen this TAE-Partnership and to be the next step in that effort.

Specifically, the workshop participants discussed:

  1. Lessons learned from past and current programs of support to TAE in Africa;
  2. Africa’s plans for TAE (as expressed by the leaders of the TEAM Africa initiative) and how best to support them;
  3. Possible forms through which development partners might increase the coordination and alignment of their support for TAE in Africa;
  4. Next Steps towards achieving better coordination of development partners, and further alignment with the African agenda for TAE.

The workshop brought some 60 African, North American and European stakeholders in agricultural education together, including Development Partners (World Bank, USAid, DGIS, AFD, CDA, FAO, CTA, DAAD, NUFFIC, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GlobalHort), Regional Coordination Fora (FARA/CAADP, RUFORUM, ANAFE, Team Africa) and African as well as northern universities and knowledge Institutions (APLU, AGRINATURA, Université d’Abomey Calavi, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Stellenbosch University, Michigan State University, OHIO State University, Université de Liège, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, the University of Helsinki, Finlkand, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Wageningen UR, the Netherlands’ Royal Tropical Institute, the Faculty of Life Sciences of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, SupAgro and Agreenium from France, NRI/University of Greenwich, UK and ICRA.

The workshop participants discussed new mechanisms to support TAE in Africa by assessing lessons learned from past and current support programs, and by matching possible new initiatives with Africa’s own plans for TAE, as expressed in Pillar 4 of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme of NEPAD, and by the World Bank supported TEAM Africa initiative. The latter comprises of a new coordination unit, hosted by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Development in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and the African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE). Specifically the Wageningen Workshop aimed to align the various North American and European donor support mechanisms as well as (bilateral) university partnership programmes and how best to support them.

Proposal Writeshop (Edulink+Af Union) / Francophone

Cotonou, INFOSEC, du 26 au 30 Mars 2012
26 - 30 March 2012. Cotonou. Institut de Formation Sociale, Economique et Civique (INFOSEC) de Cotonou. Suite aux ateliers d’initiation au partenariat multi acteurs, accompagné par le PAEPARD et ses partenaires financiers, un atelier régional d’écriture de projet a été organisé grâce à l’appui technique et financier de RUFORUM. L’Association pour le Développement du soja au Bénin (SOJAGNON) a assuré la coordination et la gestion logistique de cet atelier d’écriture de projet avec le RUFORUM.

Cet atelier avait pour but de former les consortia des différents pays de l’Afrique de l’Ouest sur la compréhension et l’écriture complète de projets à soumettre à l’Union Africaine.

Le facilitateur en train d’exposer les grandes lignes
du formulaire à remplir
L’objectif général de l’atelier était de renforcer les capacités des partenaires africains dans les consortia de recherche agricole pour le développement, et de développer des propositions de recherche à partir des notes conceptuelles qui ont été présentées dans les séminaires d’initiation aux partenariats et autres processus.

Cet atelier visait spécifiquement à aider les consortia à rechercher des partenaires à la mobilisation des ressources et à écrire des projets de recherche à soumettre au 10ème Fonds Européens pour le Développement, Composante Africaine du Programme ACP pour la recherche pour le développement durable.

L’atelier d’écriture a permis le renforcement de capacités de tous les participants sur
la rédaction des projets de recherche, les règles et principes de l’Union Africaine sur
la soumission des projets aux appels à proposition, le partage d’expérience sur les
sujets de recherche entre membre d’un même consortium, et l’appropriation du
processus de partenariat par tous les consortia.

Ces derniers qui, après s’être mis
d’accord sur la vision, les objectifs communs, les activités et un consensus sur le pays
porteur du projet de chaque consortium. Chacun des consortiums a ont élaboré un
plan d’action avec rôles à l’appui engageant chaque partenaire et qui les guidera
pendant toute la durée du processus de rédaction complète du projet.

Travail de groupe : Ici, le Consortium "Piment" du Togo, Ghana et du Sénégal réfléchi sur
des outputs

Attract and promote private investment in agriculture

19 - 20 March 2012. Kigali. Second meeting of the Grow Africa “First Wave” Initiative. The meeting brought together high ranking officials from the Agriculture Ministries of the seven participating countries. Included in this group were three Agriculture Ministers from Burkina Faso, Tanzania and Kenya. Diplomatic representatives from the G8 Countries in Kigali, Development Partners and representatives from the AU, NEPAD and World Economic Forum were also in attendance.

The purpose of the meeting was to encourage the World Economic Forum and G8 Summit to support “First Wave” countries as they prepare their investment blueprints. The meeting also served as preparation for the upcoming Grow Africa Forum meeting in Addis Ababa on 8-9 May 2012 and for an initiative at the G8 Summit on 18-19 May which will focus on food security and agricultural investment.

Initiated at the 2011 World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, and convened jointly by WEF, the African Union Commission and the NEPAD Agency, the Grow Africa Forum has included seven countries as part of its ‘first wave’. Rwanda was invited by the WEF and the AU to participate in the Grow Africa Forum, a multi-country platform to attract and promote private investment in agriculture. The first meeting of the Grow Africa Forum was held in Dar Es Salaam from 7-8 November 2011 and included representatives from “First Wave” countries, alongside private investors and major donors. The “First Wave” countries include Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda.

22 March 2012. Ireland's Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore (left) said that the Irish agri-food industry has a key role to play in developing the farming sector in African countries. Speaking at the launch of the €2 million “Africa Agri-food development fund”, Mr Gilmore said the partnership between the department of foreign affairs and the department of agriculture is a new way of working on aid. “Irish companies are well placed to play a role in meeting Africa’s increasing food needs. Our agri-food industries have the skills and the vision to both trade and invest in Africa,” he said. Mr Gilmore said the collaboration builds on work begun by the government’s Africa Strategy, and would expand on the role already being played by Ireland in countries like Mozambique. “It is in the context of the Africa Strategy, and it is the start of an initiative which will advance our aid programme and open up opportunities for trade and investment in Africa by the agri-food sector,” he said. Also at the launch, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney (right) said the partnership will allow Irish firms to use experience gained in the shift from subsistence farming to an export industry in collaboration with African partners.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

African Ministers of finance discuss the implementation of CAADP

22–25 March 2012. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Meeting of the Committee of Experts of the 5th Joint
Annual Meetings of the AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. About 50 African ministers of Finance met for a two-day conference whose theme is “Unleashing Africa’s potential as a pole of global growth.”

A report on the implementation of the comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), being reviewed by a committee of African economic, finance and planning experts who met ahead of the ministers, said ministers of finance have a key role in facilitating faster and better implementation of national agriculture and food security investment plans.

Key messages to Ministers of Finance
The report calls on ministers of finance to initiate and facilitate effective spending instruments like public expenditure reviews, effective monitoring and evaluation systems and regular sectoral reviews and dialogue mechanisms for agriculture and related sectors for better results. During budget discussions, emphasis needs to be placed on complementarities of different sectors as the only instrument to determine and allocate sector budgets, says the report. The report says “budget process in countries should be used as instruments for better inter-and-intra sectoral coordination and that during budget discussions, emphasis needs to be placed on complementarities of different sectors as the only instrument to determine and allocate sector budgets.'

In 2013, it will be ten years since the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) was endorsed in Maputo in 2003. Beyond the 29 countries that have signed CAADP Compacts, and more than 20 countries developed CAADP-based Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plans (AFSIPs), CAADP has since created space for inclusive participation of all relevant sector players – from within and outside the state and to the grassroots level. CAADP has raised the profile of the agricultural sector in national domestic politics and the attention to agriculture has significantly increased.

• 29 countries have signed CAADP Compacts
• 21 countries have CAADP Investment Plans Developed
• 15 countries have CAADP Business Meetings and defined financing modalities
• 6 received GAFSP money
• 7 have developed blueprints for private sector investment

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

PAEPARD write shop in Entebbe

19-23 March 2012. Entebbe. As part of the PAEPARD Project, RUFORUM organised a proposal development writeshops for the African Union Research call (deadline 20/04/2012). A total of fifty participants comprising 16 inter-organisational groups prepared detailed proposals for submission under the African Union Research Call in April (French, Cotonou / English, Entebbe).

 Both workshops were facilitated by Ir. Gerard den Ouden, from the ACP-S&T Management Unit in Brussels, supported by Dr Paul Nampala from RUFORUM. They led participants through the detailed guidelines and requirements of each call, explaining the process of how the proposals are evaluated by the respective financing agencies, and how to prepare a winning proposal.

In each workshop, participants worked long hours to refine logical frameworks, activity plans and budgets, reviewing each other’s plans in a process of peer review. The resulting proposals should therefore have a head start in the competitive selection process, and be more ably managed when funded.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Multi-Stakeholder Platforms and Processes (MSP) in Inland valleys in sub-Saharan Africa

This is the link to the trailer (in fact more a summary of 6 minutes) of a 52 minute film on Multi-Stakeholder Platforms and Processes (MSP) in Inland valleys in sub-Saharan Africa. The film was shot in Mali and produced by MOOV-ON productions for AfricaRice and the Agricultural Research institute in Mali (IER). It illustrates ICRA's involvement in the set-up and functioning of MSPs within the framework of a EU-funded project RAP.

Sinima Sinima: MSPs in action (Trailer) door moovon

you can also watch the French version of the trailer (Bande announce), this is the link

Sinima Sinima : PMA en action (Bande annonce) door moovon

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Agricultural Innovation platforms in practice

Bulletin 396 Putting heads together: Agricultural Innovation platforms in practice
Authors: Suzanne Nederlof , Mariana Wongtschowski , Femke van der Lee
Series : Bulletins of the Royal Tropical Institute
ISBN : 9789460221835 192 pages
Published 2012
Bulletin 396 Putting heads together

The agricultural sector in sub-Saharan Africa badly needs to find new ways of doing things if agricultural development is to contribute to food security and poverty alleviation. This is not only about introducing new technologies to farmers. It is also, even more importantly, about changes in the way old and new technologies, ideas and initiatives are put into practice – as well as how different actors work (together) to stimulate innovation. This book takes a look at platforms that have been set up in order to trigger such change.

However, little is known about how innovation platforms actually operate. This book brings together twelve stories from the field about creating and working with innovation platforms in Africa. It is the result of practitioners putting their heads together to analyse their experiences, and to draw lessons from them. This joint analysis provides insights into how innovation platforms (can) work and different options available to them, and also offers suggestions on how to deal with their main common challenges.

This publication is written from the perspective of practitioners for practitioners. It provides new information on the performance of innovation platforms in developing countries, offers options to policy makers, and gives inspiration to all actors involved in one way or another in stimulating innovation in the agricultural sector.

Putting heads together

Growth with Resilience: Opportunities in African Agriculture

22 March 2012. Brussels, European Commission Directorate General for Development and Cooperation - DG DEVCO. The Informal stakeholder consultation about Improving the quality and effectiveness of development cooperation with African agricultural knowledge organisation, provided the opportunity to launch the new report of the Montpellier Panel: Growth with resilience – opportunities for African Agriculture in 2012.

The Montpellier Panel is a panel of ten experts from the fields of agriculture, sustainable development, trade, policy, and global development chaired by Sir Gordon Conway of Imperial College London. The Panel is working together to make recommendations to enable better European government support of national and regional agricultural development and food security priorities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Growth with Resilience: Opportunities in African Agriculture Download the report here 

Media coverage 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Informal stakeholder consultation on agriculture research in Africa

Prof. Monty JONES (FARA)
20-22 March 2012. Brussels, organized by the European Commission Directorate General for Development and Cooperation - DG DEVCO. Improving the quality and effectiveness of development cooperation with African agricultural knowledge organisations: Informal stakeholder consultation.

In order to improve the quality and effectiveness of development cooperation with African continental and sub-regional agricultural knowledge organisations, the European Commission organized an informal stakeholders consultation which brought together representatives of African agricultural knowledge organisations, of the Development Partners, and EC/EU experts.
Dan KISAUZI & Silim Mohamed NAHDY
(AFAAS) ; Paco SEREME & Harold
David NIELSON (World Bank)

David NIELSON, Melissa BROWN, Bremala
The objectives of this meeting were to:
  • share experiences of African continental and sub-regional leading organizations linked to agricultural research, advisory services, and tertiary agricultural education on how these organisations have contributed to the objectives of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) under the Framework for African Agricultural Productivity (FAAP);
  • Carolyn GLYNN & Philip CHIVERTON
    (Swedish University of Agricultural 

    Nicoliene OUDWATER 

    (AgriCulture ETC Foundation)
  • dialogue with representatives of African continental and sub-regional organisations, Development Partners organisations, and EC/EU experts on the key lessons learnt through such processes – what worked well and less well and why;
  • looking to the future, discuss how such processes might continue to be strengthened into the future and scaled up where appropriate, share views of African organisations on their future role in their mandate areas and discuss this with representatives of the Development Partners organisations and EC/EU experts.
The outcomes were:
Aissetou Drame YAYE (ANAFE), Adipala
  • raised awareness of the value of African continental and sub-regional leading organizations linked to agricultural research, advisory services, and tertiary agricultural education in support to the objectives of CAADP;
  • shared experience on key initiatives of African continental and sub-regional leading organizations linked to agricultural research, advisory services, and tertiary agricultural education to advance African agriculture;
  • Patrick TAWONEZVI & Mwape
  • deepen understanding of the challenges and opportunities of African continental and sub-regional leading organizations linked to agricultural research, advisory services, and tertiary agricultural education to support the objectives of CAADP;
  • recommendations made to donors and Development Partners organisations on how to increase effectiveness of their support to agricultural research, advisory services, and tertiary agricultural education in support to the objectives of CAADP.

Monday, March 19, 2012

First Global Conference on Women in Agriculture

Dr. R.S. Paroda (at the right), Executive Secretary, APAARI and Co-Chair, 
International Organizing Committee presented the glimpse 
of synthesis report based on the deliberations held during 
the conference. Dr. Paroda informed the audience that 
second GCWA will be held in 2015 in Africa.
13 - 15 March. New Delhi. India. a dream team of World Food Prize laureates, government ministers, farmers, agriculture researchers, gender experts and community development organizations were in New Delhi, India for the first ever Global Conference on Women in Agriculture. It is sponsored by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), along with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the Asian-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI). A Global Conference on Women in Agriculture (GCWA) was organized with participation of researchers, policy makers, women farmers and other stakeholders from different regions of the world.

  • To discuss and deliberate the prevailing and emerging gender issues in agriculture and food systems and the lessons learned for future sustainable development,
  • To take stock of evidence on experiences in enhancing role of women in agriculture,
  • To understand the mechanisms and approaches adopted by the international organizations, regional fora, countries and civil society for empowering women and addressing gender issues in agriculture, and
  • To collate lessons on strategies for strengthening gender research in agriculture to make technology generation and dissemination, agricultural planning and policy making gender sensitive and disseminate them through an edited book and develop a Framework for Action.

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), a new tool developed by IFPRI, the US Government’s Feed the Future initiative, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, measures the empowerment, agency, and inclusion of women in the agriculture sector. The WEAI is a composite measurement tool that allows researchers to identify women who are disempowered and understand how to increase autonomy and decisionmaking in key domains. For additional information on IFPRI’s gender research please visit the thematic page on gender and the Gender and Food Policy News blog.

IFPRI senior researcher, Ruth Meinzen Dick on the book, "Engendering agricultural research, development, and extension."

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Making things happen: Stories of how DONATA’s innovation platforms are strengthening farming communities across Africa

Making things happen: Stories of how DONATA’s innovation platforms are strengthening farming communities across Africa
Series 1:

Burkina Faso – Building better lives
DRC – Working wonders with miracle maize
Kenya – Sweet success with sweet potato in Busia
Mali – Food security is our motto
Mozambique – Maize magic
Tanzania – Improving access to promising technologies
Uganda – Transforming lives with technology in Gulu
Zambia – Back to basics with sorghum

DONATA [Dissemination of New Agricultural Technologies for Africa] is a continental platform for technology dissemination co-created and co-managed by FARA Secretariat together with the SROs and NARS. Most of its work in the field is conducted through innovation platforms for technology adoption (IPTAs). IPTAs operate at sub-national level and are composed of agricultural research-for-development (ARD) partners, including extension agencies and farming communities. They work on a common commodity and analyse gaps in the commodity value chain to define the IPTA’s specific interventions. They follow the concept that effective agricultural technology dissemination – the adoption, use, uptake or commercialisation of existing knowledge – calls for understanding of farming systems through strong linkages and active participation among a range of actors.

IPTAs include researchers, primary producers, extension workers and NGOs, government policy makers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, traders, processors and others. All of these stakeholders are organised into a coherent platform, with each participant (individual or corporate) contributing to the attainment of its goals.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Internal consultation of Work Package 2 of PAEPARD

Mamadou Koita and Felex Apelete (ROPPA), Gustave Ewole
(PROPAC, Sharon Alfred (FANRPAN), Steven Muchiri, 
Marygoretti Kamau and Joyce Wanjiru (EAFF), Vesta Nunoo
and Jonas Mugabe (FARA), Moses Usiru (RUFORUM)
8 - 9 March 2012. Accra. FARA. Internal consultation of Work Package 2 of PAEPARD.

The main agenda under discussions were:
1. The title of the federating theme selected by each RFO and the National AIFs selected per organization as well as countries of focus.
2. Integration of WP4 in development of the TORs for desk review studies for each RFO, organizing of the regional research questions development workshops, write shops and level of involvement in organizing the African Multi-stakeholder workshop
3. African Multi-stakeholder workshop; we need to discuss issues based on the agenda for the workshop and degree of reporting
4. Case studies that were conducted last year to be presented at the European Multi Stakeholder workshop
5. Clarification of payments for AIFs (both RAIFs and NAIFs)
6. Financial budget i.e. both reporting and fund transfers
7. Technical and financial reporting


12 au 16 Mars 2012. Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire. Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire (CSRS). L’accessibilité à la nourriture est une contrainte majeure limitant le rendement scolaire des enfants en âge d’aller à l’école notamment en mileu rural et périurbain. Le réseau de cantines scolaires installés et gérés par la Direction Nationale des Cantines Scolaires (DNCS) avec l’appui de bailleurs nationaux et internationaux permet de servir le déjeuner à des milliers d’écoliers, améliorant ainsi les performances scolaires des enfants et le taux de scolarisation en milieu rural et péri-urbain notamment chez les jeunes filles.

En vue d’assurer la pérennité des cantines, la DNCS a lancé depuis quelques années des initiatives d’appropriation de ces cantines par les communautés rurales elles-mêmes. C’est dans cette optique que le Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire (CSRS), l'Agence Nationale d'Appui au Développement Rural (ANADER) et la DNCS ont développé un partenariat dont le but est d’aider à un meilleur fonctionnement des cantines, à la fois dans leur approvisionnement que dans leur mode de gestion, en faisant de celles-ci un vecteur de développement local à travers la promotion des produits agricoles locaux.

Ces 3 institutions et la Fondation InterJurassienne en Suisse (FRIJ) ont formé un consortium qui a soumis avec succès une demande de financement à la Plate Forme de Partenariat Afrique-Europe pour la Recherche Agricole et le Développement (PAEPARD) pour développer des projets de pérennisation des cantines scolaires à soumettre à différents bailleurs de fonds.

L'atelier avait pour but principal de consolider le consortium et de produire une note conceptuelle de projet qui sera développée au cours d’un autre atelier prévu début avril au Bénin. Outre les acteurs sus-mentionnés, l’atelier a enregistré également la présence de deux facilitateurs mandatés par le PAEPARD. Il s’agit notamment de M. Diomandé Daouda et Mme Dibi Béatrice respectivement issus de l’ANOPACI (ASSOCIATION NATIONALE DES ORGANISATIONS PROFESSIONELLES AGRICOLES DE COTE D'IVOIRE) et de l’ONG Emmanuel.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Vidéos “Lutter contre le Striga” développées par l’ICRISAT

Farmers on film in the fight against striga

Juliana Toboyee from Ghana, gives the go ahead sign for action (© Marcella Vrolijks)
Juliana Toboyee from Ghana, gives the go ahead sign for action
© Marcella Vrolijks
With the widespread scaling back of agricultural extension services in Africa, those with a responsibility to deliver information to rural communities are learning to follow new channels. In West Africa, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has built on experiences gained by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) in developing a series of ten farmer-to-farmer videos. The ten films are now being widely shown to support rural learning on practical and affordable ways to control one of Africa's most serious weeds - striga.

You can watch either with live streaming, downloads onto your computer, or mobile device, or order for local delivery by VCD or DVD. AccessAgriculture are also developing a facility for audio files to be downloaded by radio stations.

Les vidéos “Lutter contre le Striga” ont été développées par l’ICRISAT et ses partenaires, avec le support de Agro-Insight et Countrywise Communication. Il y a 10 vidéos sur des sujets différents concernant la gestion intégrée du striga et de la fertilité du sol pour les producteurs de mil et de sorgho. Pour avoir une idée du contenu, vous pouvez les visualiser ou télécharger du site

Comme les producteurs n’ont pas access à l’internet, actuellement nous avons prévus de multiplier et distribuer 25,000 DVDs (qui sont déjà attribués aux différentes structures) aux Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger et Nigéria. Chaque DVD a toutes les 10 vidéos en 8 langues: Anglais, Français, Bambara, Bomu, Mooré, Haoussa, Fulfulde et Zarma.

Pourquoi s’investir à multiplier un grand nombre de DVD? Et bien, l’objective principale d'Acces Agriculture est de mettre la plupart des DVDs  à la disposition des communautés, des OPs, des paysans, des radio rurales, etc. Bref, partout ou le mil et le sorgho sont cultivés et ou les producteurs ont des problèmes avec le striga, la pauvre fertilité du sol (ou les deux).