Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, May 24, 2012

e-Agriculture for Improved Livelihoods and Food Security in Africa

21st - 23rd May 2012. Johannesburg, South Africa. International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists. 3rd IAALD Africa Chapter Conference: e-Agriculture for Improved Livelihoods and Food Security in Africa.

The conference drew attendance from 90 professionals and experts involved in the application of information and communication technology (ICT) in the rural domain, with a primary focus on agriculture (e-Agriculture), from both inside and outside Africa.

Speakers included government policy makers, industry, international development community, rural development practitioners, as well as researchers and graduate students from the agricultural and rural development field, including ICT. They presented and discussed the latest topics in e-agriculture and shared their experiences and lessons learned in the implementation of e-agriculture initiatives.

The conference activities comprised an exhibition showcasing e-agriculture initiatives and activities; pre-conference workshops, seminars and training. Prior to the conference, an online global discussion was held on e-Agriculture in Africa.

Presentation related to PAEPARD 

22/05. The use of ICTs to Facilitate Collaboration in a Multi-stakeholder Partnership: A Case Study of the Mauritius Breadfruit Sector Consortium – Nawsheen Hosenally - Consultant and Facilitator on Agriculture and Youth Related Projects, Mauritius and Krishan J. Bheenick, Programme Manager (Production Systems incl. IT Systems), Food and Agricultural Research Council, Reduit, Mauritius.

The role of South-South Cooperation in Agricultural Development in Africa - opportunities and challenges

17 May 2012. Brasília. The Role of South-South Cooperation in Agricultural Development in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges 2012

Both China and Brazil are becoming increasingly important players in agricultural development in Africa, whether through technical assistance or trade and commercial investments in land and agriculture. In the longer term, these new players may reshape the way agricultural development is thought about, financed and implemented across Africa. 

The implications of these new patterns of South-South cooperation have been discussed at a meeting in Brasilia on 17/05 organised by the Future Agricultures Consortium in collaboration with the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), with support from Articulação Sul, the International Cooperation Centre in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD), and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

Professor Li Xiaoyun and Professor Qi Gubo of the Chinese Agricultural University in Beijing offered their perspectives based on the findings of their recently-published book, Agricultural Development in China: A Comparative Analysis
Focusing on China's experience of supporting agricultural development in Africa, they argued that China has made massive strides in achieving food security and poverty reduction, feeding 20 per cent of the world's population with only 8 per cent of the world's arable land. Lessons from this experience are potentially important for Africa, they said. China has experience of labour intensive agriculture supported by locally developed appropriate technologies. China's 'green revolution', they pointed out, was home-grown and based on long-term public investment in research, agricultural education and infrastructure, and was not reliant on market led development.
Panel 1: Brazilian cooperation for development: new paradigm for agricultural development in Africa? 

Setting Brazilian agricultural development cooperation in its geopolitical and policy context – what are the attributes of the Brazilian model and what challenges is it facing? Reflecting on lessons from different agricultural development models in Brazil and their implications for cooperation with Africa – how to get the blend right?

Panel 2: Agriculture, climate change and a green economy in Africa: what role for South-South?

Focusing on the opportunities and challenges for African agriculture [in the context of the Rio+20 and post-Durban agendas on sustainability], inclusive green growth and climate change mitigation – climate smart agriculture and the socioenvironmental lesson-learning process from Brazilian agricultural development. What lessons exist from including rural women for example? How can we do better rather than simply produce more?

Panel 3: Brazil and China in Africa: similarities and differences in South-South exchange 

Identifying contrasts and commonalities in Brazilian and Chinese approaches for agricultural development cooperation with Africa, and potential for future exchange – what might Brazil and China do together?

Related, 10 May 2012. Chinese food security may be motivating investments in Africa Future need to import more food a possible influence in China's engagement with African agriculture, claims study.

Private Sector Perspectives for Strengthening Agribusiness Value Chains in Africa: Case Studies from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Mali

May 2012. Private Sector Perspectives for Strengthening Agribusiness Value Chains in Africa: Case Studies from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and Mali. Partnership Report by Mima Nedelcovych and David Shiferaw.

Value chains have been accepted as an effective way of focusing on measures to improve the scale and impact of private sector investments, which include the investments made by smallholder farmers themselves as well as those made by larger-scale domestic or foreign agribusiness investors. Development partners have adopted value chain approaches when designing interventions and project implementation to coordinate their support to specific sectors and commodities. Particularly due to the emphasis on targeted value chains by the US Government’s Feed the Future Initiative, a better understanding of the linkages being made (or missed) along a value chain will be essential to realizing the returns that they promise.

This report is a summary of observations made in four country studies: Mali, Ghana, Kenya and Ethiopia. The findings suggest that African governments have significant opportunities to take actions that would directly stimulate private investments in agriculture. The private investors interviewed believed that, with greater government support in creating an enabling environment and less direct government intervention in value chains, critical barriers to their businesses would be reduced or eliminated. Observations specific to the four countries and four agricultural commodity value chains are summarized below and call for practical reforms that promote the growth of successful agribusinesses and more productive farming in Africa.

Rwanda's remarkable progress in almost all FARA’s priority areas

21-23 May. Kigali, Rwanda. The Executive Board of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) was to review the programs and plans of FARA over the 18-month period from July 2012 to December 2013. The main reason for choosing Rwanda as venue for the Board meeting is the country’s remarkable progress in almost all FARA’s priority areas of intervention such as advocacy and policy, improved access to knowledge and technologies, strengthened capacities, and partnerships and strategic alliances. The total investment is USD 700,000 per annum for the past 3 years. FARA has also trained seven postgraduate students who have already complemented their courses of study and returned to their assignments with RAB.

In order to find out first-hand how Rwandan farmers are benefiting through the interventions introduced by FARA and supported by various donors, the Board members visited two key field locations of the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) in Rulindo and Musanze districts.

In Rulindo, the Board visited the Kotemu Cooperative, where farmers have achieved new prosperity through cultivation of Orange-flesh Sweet Potato (OFSP), which was introduced by the FARA project Dissemination of New Agricultural Technologies in Africa (DONATA).
The members of the cooperative, most of whom are women, were dressed in bright orange shirts bearing the slogan Turye ibijumba bikungahaye kuri Vitamine A! (Let’s eat sweet potatoes rich in Vitamin A!). The women prepared an array of baked OFSP products. One, which they called ‘DONATA Doughnuts’, so impressed Dr Tiemoko Yo, Chairman of the FARA Board, that he exclaimed ‘This is the best cake I have ever eaten!’

At the Musanze site in the village of Gataraga, Irish potato farmers were similarly expressive about FARA’s work through the Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Program (SSA CP). When Professor Monty Jones, Executive Director of FARA, asked the farmers what specific improvements in their lives had come about as a result of the FARA initiatives, he was overwhelmed by the immediate and varied responses of the farmers. One had been able to build a new house that he rents to a tenant. Another had been able to place her children in school, including one in university. Yet another had purchased a motor vehicle for transporting her crop to market. One after another, the farmers demonstrated their enthusiasm and satisfaction with the SSA CP project.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

G-8/African Leaders Launch New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition

President Jakaya Kikwete, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, 
Ghana's President John Atta Millls and President Yayi Boni of Benin, 
chairman of the African Union as the first African leaders 
to attend a G-8 summit at Camp David in Maryland, USA
18 May 2012. The G-8 and African leaders have committed to create a New Alliance for Food Security, with the goal of increasing responsible domestic and foreign private investments, making innovations to enhance productivity at scale, and supporting activities that eradicate hunger and poverty in Africa. 

The New Alliance represents a shared commitment to raise 50 million people out of poverty in the next decade by aligning commitments of Africa's leadership, the private sector, and the G-8. Central features of the New Alliance will be realizing the promise of L'Aquila, launching partnerships, mobilizing private capital, reducing and managing risk, improving nutritional outcomes and reducing child stunting, ensuring accountability for results, and taking innovations to scale. The initial countries participating in the New Alliance will be Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania.

Straight Talk Africa on May 23, 2012. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture shares her thoughts with Straight Talk Africa host Shaka Ssali on how leaders of the eight industrialized nations of the G8 and African nations gathered to address the acute food security agenda as the $20 billion pledge is about to expire from the 2009 L'Aquila, Italy meeting.

Advancing Food and Nutrition Security at the 2012 G8 SummitMay 18, 2012 | 7:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center
Washington, D.C.

On the eve of the 2012 G8 Summit, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs brought together senior global leaders to discuss new G8 efforts on food security and the opportunity and benefits of private sector investment in African agriculture and food sectors. Sessions identified ways business, civil society, and international organizations could complement and amplify G8 action on agricultural research and innovation, markets and trade, and nutrition.  President Barack Obama, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, His Excellency Professor John Evans Atta Mills, His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete, His Excellency Dr. Boni Yayi, His Excellency Meles Zenawi, Bono, and other dignitaries addressed over 700 attendees.

Session on AGRICULTURAL INNOVATION: Getting to scale
Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin
, chief executive officer, Ethiopian Commodity Exchange
Mr. Dyborn Chibonga
, chief executive officer, National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi
Ms. Janet Chigabatia-Adama, Savanna Farmers Marketing Company
Mr. Hugh Grant, chairman, president, and chief executive officer, Monasanto Company
Mr. Jeff Simmons, senior vice president, Eli Lilly and Company; president, Elanco Animal Health
Mr. Jack Sinclair, executive vice president, Grocery Merchandise, Walmart
Mr. Sam Dryden, director, Agricultural Development, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Atelier de formulation de projet Développement participatif des technologies de la culture pomme de terre / Burundi

21 - 25 mai 2012. Bujumbura. Atelier de formulation de projet Développement participatif des technologies de la culture pomme de terre / Burundi, organisé  par la Confédération des Associations de Producteurs Agricoles pour le Développement (CAPAD).

L’objectif global du présent atelier est l’initiation et le développement d’un partenariat autour de la chaine de valeur semences pomme de terre.

Une étude conduite par l’ISABU (octobre 2010) montre que les variétés en diffusion ne sont pas toutes connues, seules deux variétés (Ndinamagara et Victoria) dominent dans la production alors qu’il existe 8 variétés en diffusion au Burundi. Plus de 50% des agriculteurs interrogés déclarent s’approvisionner en semences dans les marchés locaux et 37% conservent une partie de leur récolte. Cette situation montre que les semences de bonne qualité ne sont pas disponibles chez l’agriculteur. La même étude rapporte que les contraintes liées aux maladies viennent en premier lieu, suivi de contraintes liées à la fertilisation et aux semences.

La bactériose vasculaire de la pomme de terre est la contrainte phytosanitaire la plus redoutable déclarée par les agriculteurs. Plus de 75% affirment connaître cette maladie mais ignorent complètement les mécanismes de sa propagation ainsi que les moyens de lutte.

De façon spécifique cet atelier a pour objectif de :
  • Mobiliser les acteurs pertinents ; 
  • Développer une compréhension commune au sein des parties prenantes sur les enjeux et la vision du projet en partenariat ; 
  • Elaborer un plan de travail assorti d’un plan de répartition des rôles entre acteurs pour le développement de la proposition complète et la mobilisation du financement ; – Identifier les potentiels Partenaires Techniques et Financiers (PTF) ; 
  • Patrick Henri de la CTB presente le projet PAIOSA
  • Adopter d’une charte des valeurs pour le fonctionnement et la viabilité du partenariat 
La démarche méthodologique est participative pour faciliter la pleine participation et l’expression des points de vue de tous les participants. Divers outils participatifs sont utilisés à cet effet. Une alternance de travaux en plénière et de groupe permet d’échanger sur les principales préoccupations liées à la viabilité de la chaîne de valeur semences pomme de terre dans un processus multi acteurs.

A la fin de l’atelier un plan de travail et une répartition équitable des rôles sera mis au point pour les étapes suivantes jusqu’à l’atelier d’écriture.

Activite en rapport avec l'atelier: 

3ieme semaine de Pomme de Terre organisée au Burundi du 07 au 10 mai 2012 à Kayanza.

Déclaration des recommandations a l’issue de la célébration de la 3e semaine dédiée à la pomme de terre qui s’est tenue au Burundi, en province de Kayanza à l’Hôtel KAMHOTEL en collaboration avec le Ministère de l’Agriculture et de l’Elevage et avec l’appui technique et financier d’AGRITERRA, de la CTB à travers le PAOISA, de ZLTO, de CSA et IFDC, la Confédération des Associations des Producteurs Agricoles pour le Développement – CAPAD, l’Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi- ISABU, le Département de la Promotion des Semences et Plants – DPSP et la Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi.


May 14-18. Entebbe. As part of the PAEPARD Project, RUFORUM organised a proposal development writeshops for the recent EDULINK call.

Thirty-seven participants from universities across Africa and Europe worked on a total of 21 proposals for submission to the current Edulink call ( in July.

The workshops were facilitated by Ir. Gerard den Ouden, from the ACP-ST Management Unit in Brussels, supported by Dr Paul Nampala from RUFORUM.

They led participants through the detailed guidelines and requirements of the call, explaining the process of how the proposals are evaluated by Edulink, and how to prepare a winning proposal. In the 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.

e-Agriculture received a World Summit on the Information Society' AWARD

14 May 2012, Rome – A global online community on the use of information and communication technologies in agriculture (called "e-Agriculture") run by FAO has received a prestigious award from the organizing body of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), called the WSIS Project Prize 2012.

The e-Agriculture Community today has grown to more than 8 500 registered members from over 165 countries, including development practitioners, policymakers, representatives of farmer organizations, researchers, and information and communication specialists involved in agriculture and rural development. The e-Agriculture Community is active on three levels. A web-based, multilingual (English, French, Spanish) platform ( provides a neutral space for knowledge sharing and collaboration. The Community also participates in face-to-face events organized around the world, and through in-country interventions lead by Community members and their institutions.

The project descriptions of winners are highlighted in the 2012 edition of the WSIS Stocktaking Report on Success Stories.

The ceremony was followed by a day-long series of presentation sessions on project implementation by managers from the winning organizations that were invited to showcase their projects to the public by focusing on the impact of their projects for the development of the Information Society and achieving WSIS targets:
WSIS Stocktaking: WSIS Project Prices Showcasing-Part 1
WSIS Stocktaking: WSIS Project Prices Showcasing-Part 2

Setting-up an equity fund for SMEs agribusinesses in Uganda

May 10, 2012. The European Union and other partners are working with the Government to explore the possibilities of setting-up an equity fund for SMEs agribusinesses in Uganda.

The proposed equity fund would blend resources from development partners, Uganda’s institutional investors and private investors. It would invest in small and medium enterprises in need of capital to develop new agribusinesses.

The objective of the initiative would be to contribute to the development of Uganda’s agriculture and agribusiness sector and to improve rural livelihoods, incomes and food security. A public private equity fund would support the development SMEs engaged in agribusiness by providing both access to “patient capital” and business development services to address capacity constraints. Benefits Incorporated in Uganda, the fund would be able to work very closely with Uganda’s SMEs. It would also allow Uganda’s investors to invest their money in the development of Ugandan agriculture, rather than on international markets. Producing crops and livestock is not the task of public institutions. SMEs, including the millions of Uganda’s smallholder producers are the driving force in agriculture. Public institutions are simply there to establish the policy and principles and regulations and to create an enabling environment for the private sector.

Equity funds, by providing long-term equity finance, contribute to address the funding gap. Equity funds are mutual investment funds that invest in private companies, becoming shareholders of these companies.

A feasibility study in August 2011 has concluded that the “equity fund initiative is relevant to support the mid-size agribusiness in Uganda” and would deliver impact on the sector. Capacity constraints also affect small and medium agribusinesses. There is a high need and demand for business development services to reinforce many of the key aspects of their business. These include financial management, corporate governance, access to - and management of information, production management and marketing. The European Union Commissioner for Development Cooperation, Andris Piebalgs, will visit Uganda on the November 8-9. One of the main events of his mission will be a high level roundtable on public private partnerships to boost investments in agriculture.

Agricultural investment funds for developing countries. FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS Rome, 2010, 165 pages Agricultural investment funds, which have experienced significant growth in numbers and volume in recent years, have underscored public and private sectors’ interest to help address the resource constraints for achieving food security. Moreover, the growing attractiveness of agricultural investment projects as profitable business ventures has played a role in the emergence and growth of such funds, especially in light of higher agricultural prices and improved business climates that favour longer-term investments. This publication provides insight into the nature and operations of these funds and draws lessons for development agencies, governments and investors.

Monday, May 14, 2012

ARD funding opportunities


ACP-EU Cooperation Program in Higher Education 
EDULINK II. EDULINK II will continue cooperation in the field of higher education between the countries of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP States) and the European Union. EDULINK II focuses on two thematic areas: (i) energy access and efficiency, and (ii) agriculture and food security. Projects will support capacity building (academic and managerial) at universities and other institutions of higher education in ACP countries. Grants range from €200 thousand to €500 thousand for periods of 12 to 42 months. Partnerships require a minimum of three institutions in at least two ACP countries. The application deadline is 30 July 2012.
* PAEPARD is organising with RUFORUM an EDULINK proposal write shop in Entebbe from 14 till 18/05/2012. 8 proposals are being developed.

B I O D I V E R S I T Y 

European Commission (EC) -- Biodiversity Research in Tropical and Subtropical Europe (BEST-2012). Net-Biome is a consortium of partners from EU member states to fund research for the sustainable management of biodiversity in the outermost regions and territories of Europe. Net-Biome requests proposals for BEST 2012 -- the voluntary scheme for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Territories of the EU Outermost Regions and Overseas Countries and Territories. Eligibility extends to organizations in EU member states; EU overseas countries and territories; and international organizations. Partners from third countries are also eligible. The closing date for applications is 01 June 2012

The Swiss Forum for International Agricultural Research (SFIAR) annually awards a prize for innovative agricultural research to scientists currently or previously working for a Swiss institution in agricultural research for development, with appropriate linkages in developing countries. The SFIAR Award is CHF 10 thousand for projects of young researchers, PhDs, and Post-Docs. The deadline for applications (English, French, or German) is 10 July 2012 

John Dillon Fellowship 2012. ACIAR awards the John Dillon Fellowships to young agricultural scientists and economists in developing countries for professional visits to Australia. The fellowships aim to develop leadership skills in agricultural research management, agricultural policy, and/or extension technologies. Applicants are citizens of ACIAR's priority partner countries who spend several weeks at one or two host Australian organizations. ACIAR funds four to six John Dillon fellowships per year. The deadline for applications is 31 August 2012.

Young People and Agri-Food, Small Grants 2012-2013
The Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) announced a program of small grants to support its theme on Young People and Agri-Food. Grants of up to UK£2 thousand are intended for “value-added” activities such as additional field visits; additional data analyses; specific writing projects; attendance at conferences; or organizing conference panels. The FAC expects to award most grants to African researchers, but it also encourages others to apply. Short proposals are due by 15 June 2012.

AIRD-CIRAD Doctoral Program
France's Agence inter-établissements de recherche pour le développement (AIRD)AIRD, in collaboration with CIRAD, will fund up to 15 doctoral degrees for agricultural researchers from developing countries. The support is for agriculture in the broad sense, i.e., including agriculture, environment, natural resources, etc. The research should be carried out in partnership with CIRAD. Applicants should be from inter-tropical and Mediterranean countries, and under 40 years of age. Applications (French, English) are due before 18 June 2012

Ann Stroud Memorial Scholarship for Agroforestry Research in East Africa
The World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) offers a scholarship to postgraduate students in East Africa to conduct thesis research in collaboration with ICRAF. Applicants should be nationals of East Africa who are 35 years of age or less, and involved in agroforestry research, education, or development. The scholarship is tenable at any university in East Africa. The upper limit of support is US$5 thousand. Applications are due at ICRAF before 30 June 2012.

Global Research Competition 2012
The Global Development Network (GDN) invites researchers from developing and transition countries to submit research proposals for the 2012 Global Research Competition. The themes in 2012 -- which is the pilot year of this program -- include food security (among others). The research competition is inter-regional and multi-disciplinary. Proposals can be submitted individually, or in teams. An online platform will help individuals and incomplete teams to find collaborators. Each winning team will be paired with world-class mentors. Grants are up to US$32 thousand for projects of up to 18 months. The submission deadline is 21 May 2012. Link

International Awards for Young Agricultural Researchers 2012
Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) makes awards of US$5 thousand each for up to three young agricultural researchers in developing countries who contribute to outstanding research and development in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and related themes. Candidates need to be less than age 40. The deadline for applications is 29 June 2012.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

EU Grants €8 Million to ClimDev Africa

27 April 2012: A grant agreement was signed by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the EU and the African Union (AU) in support of the ClimDev Africa programme, a flagship initiative in the Africa-EU Partnership on Climate Change and Development.

The €8 Million grant will support the activities of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) at UNECA and the Climate Change and Desertification Unit (CCDU) at the AU Commission (AUC) under the ClimDev Africa programme for three years. [UNECA Press Release]

Second African Organic Conference

UNCTAD's Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Petko Draganov,
together with the 
H.E. Mr. Emmanuel Chenda,
Zambian Minister of Agriculture and Livestock,
and representatives of IFOAM, the African Union and the FAO,
the first President of Zambia, 
Dr. Kenneth Kaunda,
a fervent supporter of organic agriculture, 
in the opening session of the conference.
2-4 May 2012. Lusaka, Zambia. The Second African Organic Conference concluded with the adoption of The Lusaka Declaration on Mainstreaming Organic Agriculture into the African Development Agenda, which urges the African Union (AU), including the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), to implement the African Organic Action Plan.

The Conference aimed to showcase the role of organic agriculture in ensuring food security and poverty alleviation. More than 300 participants from 40 countries are in attendance. The Conference was held under the theme "Mainstreaming organic agriculture into the African development agenda," with support from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The conference stressed that shifting agriculture towards organic practices leads to farming methodologies that rely on local resources, thus shielding farmers from external price shocks as well as encouraging local job creation and preserving arable farm land.

 [The Lusaka Declaration on Mainstreaming Organic Agriculture into the African Development Agenda] [UN Press Release] [2nd African Organic Conference Website]

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Announcement: Conference on Making the connection: value chains for transforming smallholder agriculture

4 May 2012. Wageningen, The Netherlands . CTA, in conjunction with UNECA, and other international organisations and the private sector is organising an international conference on value chains, to take place, 6-9 November 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Dubbed ‘making the connection: value chains for transforming smallholder agriculture’, the conference will bring together more than 400 participants, including private sector, government officials, development partners, civil society, farmer organizations and academics, to share experiences on value chain development and discuss how best smallholder farmers can be incorporated into value chains in order to promote agricultural and rural development.

The conference will focus on strengthening agricultural value chains that enable smallholders to become more actively engaged in market-led agriculture: transforming the role of the smallholder into that of an entrepreneur. The meeting aims to identify the conditions necessary to create a broader and more solid knowledge base for the promotion of sustainable value chains, including training and information-sharing needs. It also seeks to provide an opportunity to exchange current ideas, knowledge, new approaches and best practices in order to both strengthen the efficiency and profitability of existing commercial value chains and assist those working to promote value chain development in order to strengthen economic growth in smallholder communities. Participants will also discuss issues related to trends impacting on value chain development, innovation, sustainability and scaling up, and capacity building.

 It is envisaged that participants will develop a shared understanding of the role of value chains in promoting sustainable and inclusive agricultural and rural development, and of the potential for existing best practices to be scaled up. Experts hope to develop a greater understanding of the factors necessary for value chains to thrive, such as finance and investment, ICTs, and improved farmer-buyer linkages, with particular emphasis on small and medium enterprises. Strategies to further promote knowledge sharing and exchange of experiences on value chain development will be outlined.

The value chain concept is relatively new in agriculture but has repercussions for smallholder farmers who form the majority of the farming capital in developing countries, yet often seem left out of the growing value chain trend. The meeting will address how best smallholders can be included in such chains. There is an agreement in this field that interventions have to be demand-led and that the private sector plays a central role in all value chains.

By reducing some of the market risks and enhancing farmer incomes, value chains can attract businesses such as input suppliers, machinery hire services and banks to rural areas, as well as others seeking to profit from greater rural affluence. To date there has been no attempt to provide space for discussion among value chain actors such as the private sector, the donor community, governments, civil society and others to fully explore the issues related to value chain development and to share experiences. The conference will attempt to provide such a forum.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Third ERAfrica Briefing Session for Programme Owners about the ERA.Net ERAfrica

4 -5 May 2012. South African Representation. Brussels. This Briefing Session informed about the progress in the elaboration of the Joint Call and casted a look on the next steps towards the funding of collaborative European-African projects.

ERAfrica facilitates networking of African and European funders of research and innovation working together to jointly finance research and innovation partnerships between the two continents.

The network presently consists of ministries and public funding institutions from countries such as Austria, Belgium, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Kenya, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. A wave of new partners, from for example Uganda, Côte d’Ivoire, Norway and Burkina Faso, are currently considering to commit funding for the ERAfrica activities.

With regard to the thematic focus, the funders have agreed to target their funding at three priority areas:

  1. Renewable energy: research and innovation for renewable electricity generation, fuel production, heating and cooling. These activities will address Africa and Europe’s shared societal, industrial and environmental interests to develop sustainable economies. 
  2. ”Interfacing Challenges”: research to better understand and address the interfaces between different societal challenges such as assuring food security, fighting pandemic disease, managing climate change, promoting inclusive information societies, etc. Activities will be aligned with the global “Rio+20” sustainable development agenda. 
  3. “Idea driven”: curiosity driven, cutting-edge collaborative research and innovation, irrespective of the theme chosen. Novelty and impact matters.

8th CAADP Partnership Platform

3rd and 4th of May 2012. Nairobi Kenya. The African Union Commission (AUC) and NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) organised the 8th CAADP Partnership Platform (PP) Meeting around the theme of the meeting “Accelerating CAADP Implementation for results and impact.”

Over 200 participants, including agriculture experts, researchers, policy makers, civil society, development partners, farmers' groups and media from within Africa and beyond attended the two-day event.

The President of Pan African Farmers Organization (PAFO), Ms. Elizabeth Atangana, urged CAADP to put in place the mechanism for marketing Africa agriculture produce. She said the programme should also encourage agricultural research, promote inter-countries trade, strengthen cooperative societies, and empower women and youths in African rural areas. 

“CAADP is an opportunity but the slow implementation of its agenda is of concern to farmers. In Central Africa, the launch of CAADP is still facing a lot of challenges. I hope that this meeting will give us space and lead to conclusion, implementation and joining of countries that have not joined,” she said.

Background: CAADP was established in 2003 as part of the AU's NEPAD programme and as Africa's response to the various challenges facing agriculture in the continent. Some of its main goals are to influence countries to increase their budgetary allocation to agriculture by 10%, achieve 6% growth, promote land and water management, agricultural research, marketing and food security. Some 30 countries have signed the CAADP compact, which is a blueprint for accelerating agricultural growth, while over 24 countries have established agriculture and food security investment plans.

PAEPARD 2nd European Multi-Stakeholder Consultation

3 and 4 May 2012. Brussels. BTC-CTB center. PAEPARD 2nd European Multi-Stakeholder Consultation

The main objective of this PAEPARD workshop was an exchange between non-research and research stakeholders or "research users" (producer organizations, private sector, NGOs) to explore possibilities of establishing a multi-stakeholder inclusive and balanced in the field of Agricultural Research for Development (ARD), in order to foster a more demand-driven approach in ARD.

In order to reach the objectives and expected results, the workshop was organized around: “how to make researchers and users work together?” by focusing on models of partnerships and funding and support mechanisms.

The workshop was fed by the lessons learned from PAEPARD experience accumulated over the past two years, which were presented and analyzed.

Models of partnerships 
It is possible to distinguish between several types of partnership models by considering the role played by different actors, in particular in terms of their initiative, definition of problems or challenges, implementation, evaluation and a host of other factors. Based on the idea that 'there is no perfect model' the workshop analyzed various existing models in order to ascertain and highlight their relative advantages and risks.

Funding mechanisms and support mechanisms for partnerships 
In light of identified models of partnerships and items to promote benefits or to avoid risks, the workshop aimed to analyze existing funding mechanisms and set recommendations. Further, the workshop addressed some mechanisms to support balance and inclusive partnerships, particularly those set up by PAEPARD.

PAEPARD experiences 
Those questions were introduced by analyzes based on the experience of PAEPARD from several sources:
  1. Case studies conducted by PAEPARD partners 
  2. Representatives of consortia supported by PAEPARD. 
Following persons represented consortia at the PAEPARD 2nd European Multi-Stakeholder Consultation :
  • Adler CORNEL, Federal Research Center for Cultivated Plants, Julius Kuhn Institute, Germany for the consortium of Ghana/Malawi - Improving food security and income for smallholder farmers through improved post harvest technology
  • Joutsjoki VESA, MTT Agrifood Research Finland; for the consortium of Aflatoxin contamination management along the maize value chain in Kenya.
  • Cheikh Oumar Ba, INITIATIVE PROSPECTIVE AGRICOLE ET RURALE (IPAR), Senegal, for the consortium of Un partenariat Europe Afrique pour la création d’un outil de suivi de l’agriculture familiale
  • Vincent ANTONIO, Instituto valenciano de investigaciones agrarias (IVIA), Spain;
  • Control of Angular leaf spot disease of Citrus in Ghana

PAEPARD CSO consultation meeting

Thomas Price (GFAR Senior officer) addresses the participants
2 May 2012. Brussels.Espace Jacqmotte de la CTB (Coopération Technique Belge). PAEPARD-CSO consultation meeting: NGO and FO participation in Agricultural Research for Development. Mechanisms and instances at national, regional and global level and opportunities for NGO/FO coordination.

This workshop gathered European and African NGO and FO. It aimed at reviewing mechanisms and instances for NGOs and FOs participation to ARD, at different levels: global (GFAR/GCARD, CGIAR), continental/regional (EFARD, FARA, CORAF, ASARECA) and national. It focused on constraints to overcome and necessary conditions to ensure participation at these different levels and articulation between those levels. The day was organized around interventions of European and African experts and working groups to foster involvement of all participants.
  • General overview and historical background by Thomas Price 
  • Presentation about GFAR/ GCARD by Thomas Price 
  • Presentation about CGIAR by Christian Castellanet 
  • Presentation about EFARD by Ann Waters-Bayer 
  • Example of national level: Swiss National ARD Forum by Martina Graf 
  • Presentation about ASARECA by Mary-Jo Kakinda 
  • Presentation about CORAF and challenges at national level by Mamadou Goita

INSARD Advisory Group meeting

1 May 2012. Brussels, CSA office. INSARD Advisory Group meeting, back-to-back with PAEPARD meetings: the CSO consultation meeting of 2 May and the PAEPARD multi-stakeholder meeting of 3-4 May 2012.

One of the main deliverables for INSARD (INcluding Smallholders in Agricultural Research for Development) is to come up with a CSO coordination and consultation mechanism that allows CSOs (both NGOs and Farmer Organisations) to participate effectively in regional and international discussions on ARD.

Following the mapping study by Mutizwa Mukute and the international consultation meeting in Nairobi (19 Nov 2011), a summary outlining the overall strategic direction has been developed and shared widely (i.e. through the PAEPARD website and EFARD, and also the INSARD webpage ( The INSARD consortium is working on a more elaborated strategy, which was shared and discussed with the Advisory Group. WP 1: CSO coordination and communication mechanism WP 2: Producing joint research outlines (in framework of pilot national ARD platforms) WP 3: Policy-influencing strategy

Successful innovation depends on engaging the grassroots

Technologies work better 
when adapted by users: 
a podcast in local languages 
helps farmers keep cows 
healthy. Lawrence Gudza
02/05/2012. SciDev. Technological innovation can't be imposed on poor people — they must be engaged to select ideas that suit their lives, wrote Lawrence Gudza. Lawrence Gudza is programme team leader for Responding to New Technologies at Practical Action Southern Africa, based in Zimbabwe. This article is part of a Spotlight on Supporting grassroots innovation.

We need inclusive, community-based approaches that consider how people use technologies in their daily lives. The key for institutions is to engage in a dialogue about technologies with communities — vulnerable groups, traditional leadership,policymakers, scientists and business people. 

Introducing technology through community approaches is a social process that empowers communities to take charge of their own development through debate. This promotes a technology agenda based on local priorities and strengthens alliances for collective action. The process is transparent, and focuses on the priorities and needs of communities. It accepts and incorporates the output from the engagement, and in so doing, a narrow focus on a particular technology is avoided. Instead, issues around the problem that technology could help solve are examined in broad terms.

For example, in 2006 a three-day workshop run by the UK-based organisation Practical Action, examined whether nanotechnologies can help achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people without access to clean water by 2015. Not once did the organisers mention nanotechnology until the last day of the workshop. This allowed the dialogue to focus on the problem of water in broad terms — for example, access, availability and quality — and not on a specific technology. As a result, several preferred technologies were discussed — and when nanotechnology was proposed there were more questions about it than the organisers imagined before the workshop.
In 2008, a pilot study among a rural population of 51,000 in Zimbabwe, 'Sharing local content in local voices', another Practical Action project, tested mobile devices for podcasting information relevant to farmers — such as crop and livestock production, and food processing and preservation. Recording was done using local voices and languages. The project's impact exceeded expectations: apart from improving livelihoods through increased production and yields, it also helped establish markets for buyers and suppliers.

Programme DONATA : diffusion des nouvelles technologies agricoles en Afrique

La technique de multiplication rapide des boutures de manioc par recépage à Dabou en Côte d’Ivoire fait école en Afrique. Conçu par le FARA, le Forum pour la Recherche Agricole en Afrique, le CORAF-WICARD et financé par la BAD, la Banque Africaine de Développement, le programme DONATA est un projet dont le but est d’améliorer la productivité agricole en Afrique.

Dans le cadre d’un atelier chercheurs-médias organisé par le FARA/CTA, du 19 au 23 mars à Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), une trentaine de chercheurs et journaliste francophones de l’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre étaient sur les traces de ce projet exécuté à Dabou. Sur le site du village de petit Badien, la recherche agricole ivoirienne, les services de vulgarisation expérimentent la production de deux nouvelles variétés de manioc à haut rendement : Boucou I et Boucou II à partir de la nouvelle technique de multiplication rapide des boutures de manioc par recépage. Une technique de production de manioc qui suscite beaucoup de convoitises et fait de DONATA un projet de recherche agricole à succès en Côte d’Ivoire.

Le reportage de Ernest KAMBIRE RTB/Télévision

Announcement: POSTHARVEST AFRICA 2012: 25 - 28 November, 2012

7th International CIGR Technical Symposium
"Innovating the food value chain"
2nd International Conference on Postharvest Technology &
Quality Management


Conference Flyers:First


Following the success and scientific reputation of the previous CIGR Section VI Postharvest Symposia held in Beijing (China), Warsaw (Poland), Napoli (Italy), Iguascu (Brazil), Potsdam (Germany) and Nantes (France), and the 1st International Conference on Postharvest Technology held in Muscat (Oman), we are pleased to invite you and your colleagues to the next event to be held in the beautiful and historical 'Oak City' of Stellenbosch, South Africa.
The Conference will highlight recent scientific advances and technological tools to handle, preserve, process, maintain and control quality and reduce losses in fresh and processed foods and agro-industrial raw materials, including fruit and vegetables, grains, roots and tuber, meat, seafood, herbs, spices, and cut flowers.
Convenor - Prof OparaProf Linus Opara
South African Research Chair in Postharvest Technology
Faculty of AgriSciences, University of Stellenbosch
Private Bag X1, Stellenbosch 7602, South Africa.
Phone: +27 218084064 Fax: +27 218083743