Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2012 Africa-EU Cooperation Forum on ICT

28-29 November, 2012. Lisbon, Portugal. The “2012 Africa-EU Cooperation Forum on ICT” (an event designed to anyone with an interest in Euro-African collaborative project on ICT) is organised by the EuroAfrica-P8 EU/FP7 funded project in the framework of the EuroAfrica-ICT Initiative and with the support of the National Science Foundation (FCT) of Portugal.

This major event is the fifth of a series of lconferences organised by the EuroAfrica-ICT Initiative under the aegis of the European and the African Union Commissions (EC & AUC):

Presentation by
Harry De Backer, EC
Organised in the framework of the Africa-EU Strategic Partnership (JAES) and hosted by the Government of Portugal through the Ministry of Education and Science (MEC), this 5th Forum edition aiming at strengthening and supporting the development of cooperation on ICT research and ICT4D between Africa and Europe.

Use of ICTs alongside the value chain
PAEPARD made a presentation on Knowledge Management using ICT in agricultural and rural development in Africa.
  • Millions of farmers want customized information, most do not get it 
  • Customized = up-to-date, relevant and supplied in a timely manner 
  • Most farmers expect free services, which needs to change 
  • Using value chain information requires a learning process for farmers and that takes time 
  • Doubts about the appropriate methodology for researching the impact of ICT on agricultural development

The Transformational Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Africa. This new flagship report – eTransform Africa – produced by the World Bank and the African Development Bank, with the support of the African Union, identifies best practice in the use of ICTs in key sectors of the African economy.

Under the theme "Transformation-Ready", the growing contribution of ICTs to Agriculture, Climate Change Adaptation, Education, Financial Services, Government Services and Health is explored. In addition, the report highlights the role of ICTs in enhancing African regional trade and integration as well as the need to build a competitive ICT industry to boost innovation, job creation and the export potential of African companies. Summary(PDF)

Agriculture: Summary I Full Report
The study on the Agriculture sector contains case study analysis of the use of RFID tags for tracking livestock in Botswana, and ICT sensor networks used in water management for irrigation in Egypt. These examples show how ICT can help address some of the challenges facing agriculture and food security in Africa.
Climate Change :Summary I Full Report
The study on the use of ICTs in adapting to Climate Change includes country case studies of Malawi, Senegal and Uganda. Africa is especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because its climate is likely to be more severely affected than other regions, because its major economic sectors are climate sensitive and because low levels of general economic development and other stress factors, such as conflict and disease, constrain adaptive capacity
Education: Summary I Full Report
Financial Services:Summary I Full Report
Health: Summary I Full Report
ICT Competitiveness :Summary I Full Report
Modernizing Government :Summary I Full Report
Regional Trade and Integration: Summary I Full Report

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Agricultural Innovation Facilitators’ Workshop

26-30 November 2012. Entebbe. The purpose of this workshop was to familiarise participants with their role as facilitators of the “User-led Process” for establishing balanced African-European a multi-stakeholder partnerships within the PAEPARD project.

Expected workshop outputs:
  1. Participants understand the PAEPARD project background, objectives, processes; 
  2. Participants understand the “User-led Process” and its expected results; 
  3. Progress to date and lessons learned with the “User-led Process” in each sub-region (including desk reviews of “federating themes”) is reviewed; 
  4. The general action plan for the User Led Process is reviewed and adapted to the specific circumstances of each sub-region; 
  5. An draft, generic programme for the “Multi-stakeholder R&D question development workshops” is developed; 
  6. The role of the participants as “agricultural innovation facilitators” (AIFs) within the PAEPARD project, the “User Led Process” and the Multi-Stakeholder workshops is reviewed, revised, understood and agreed by both participants and PAEPARD managers; 
  7. Participants are familiar with the PAEPARD website, and how to use this to identify and promote communication between potential partners in ARD and obtain financing for ARD partnerships; 
  8. The input required, terms and conditions for engagement of AI facilitators within the PAEPARD project is defined and agreed 

Involving local farmers is key to success of foreign investment

13 Novembre 2012, Rome - International investments that give local farmers an active role and leave them in control of their land have the most positive effects on local economies and social development, according to a new FAO report published today.

The report, Trends and Impacts of Foreign Investment in Developing Country Agriculture, emphasizes that investment projects that combine the strengths of the investor (capital, management and marketing expertise, and technology) with those of local farmers (labour, land, local knowledge) are most successful.

Business models that leave farmers in control of their land give them an incentive to invest in land improvements and also favor sustainable development. The publication offers a number of case studies on the impact of foreign investment in Africa and Asia, including large-scale land deals often referred to as land grabbing.

"While a number of studies document the negative impacts of large-scale land acquisition in developing countries, there is much less evidence of its benefits to the host country, especially in the short-term and at local level," says the report. "For investments involving large-scale land acquisition in countries where land rights are unclear and insecure, the disadvantages often outweigh the few benefits to the local community," it notes.

The report advises that "acquisition of already-utilized land to establish new large farms should be avoided and other forms of investment should be considered."

OECD Global Forum on Agriculture 2012

26 November 2012, Paris. OECD Conference Centre. OECD Global Forum on Agriculture 2012Policy Coherence for Food Security in Developing Countries.

The aim of this Global Forum was to foster a dialogue among policy makers from OECD countries and emerging and developing economies on how best to address these challenges. In particular, the Forum:
  • Took stock of the spill-overs of national agricultural and agriculture related policies, suggesting ways in which negative impacts can be avoided and identifying positive effects that can be leveraged, for example through knowledge sharing in areas such as agricultural research;
  • Examined ways in which aid and aid-related policies, including donor support for developing country led co-ordination processes, can better support a structured prioritisation of investments to improve food security;
  • Considered ways in which governments can encourage the kinds of private investment – both foreign and domestic – that are conducive to improved food security.
Agenda (last updated 22 November)
List of Participants (last updated 23 November at 15:30)

In order to support future food security policy making, the DAC EvalNet meeting in 2010 expressed the need for a systematic review of recent evaluations and other research that would provide evidence-based information on successful approaches. The Netherlands, through its evaluation agency IOB, proposed that it should take the lead in preparing this systematic review and the Royal Tropical Institute was invited to carry it out. 

The main research question of this review was: ‘what is the evidence for, and nature of, the impact of development interventions on food security in developing countries?’
- Full report (190 pages)
- Evaluation insight (12-page summary)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Forum for Africa's business leaders

Donald Kaberuka, President of 
The African Development Bank
20-21 November. Geneva. Forum for Africa's business leaders held by Groupe Jeune Afrique in partnership with the AfDB. 560 delegates from 32 countries, including more than 300 leaders of major private African enterprises. Approximately 100 investors and financiers, among the most influential in Africa, as well dignitaries from Africa and the rest of the world, attended the event.

Nine thematic conferences, offered ready-made toolkits for CEOs on the latest management trends: international development strategy, access to capital, regional integration, public-private sector dialogue, an in-depth explanation of the legal environment, as well as skills management.

Though the private sector is growing fast, government remains a much more preponderant force. Though it is perhaps not as onerous as the permit system of India's 'Licence Raj,' there are many regulatory hurdles and opportunities for shakedowns. SIFCA in Côte d'Ivoire employs 28,000 workers in the agribusiness sector. CEO Jean-Louis Billon makes his complaints clear: "We are overtaxed, we put up with poor infrastructure and then we have to be competitive on price in the global market!"

Patricia Ithau, managing director of L'Oreal East Africa, says: "Increasingly as industries you have to start lobbying the government to improve efficiency." For a consumer goods company like L'Oreal, trademark protection is a critical issue. "Africa is full of entrepreneurs. The entrepreneur's idea is 'I see a gap, I fill it,' even if that gap is not necessarily legal," says Ithau. She says that governments need to create punitive laws and enforce them.

Kenya's beauty industry is estimated to be worth more than 13 billion Ksh, but the sector remains less focused on. ABN's Ken Karuri spoke to Patricia Ithau, MD L'Oreal East Africa on what prompted the company's entry into the EA Market.

Mitigation Potentials In The Livestock Sector

13 November, 2012. The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) live streamed Dr. Mario Herrero, Senior agro-ecological systems analyst at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The science seminar covered the topic of mitigation potentials in the livestock sector, which was followed by a 30 minute interactive discussion session.


Mitigation Potentials In The Livestock Sector

13 November, 2012
12:30 - 13:30
TIME: 12:30 - 13:30 Central European Time (CET) - [Convert Time]
The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) will live stream Dr. Mario Herrero, Senior agro-ecological systems analyst at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). The science seminar will cover the topic of mitigation potentials in the livestock sector, which will be followed by a 30 minute interactive discussion session.

2012 CAADP Africa Forum

12 to 16 November 2012, Tunis, Tunisian Republic. 2012 CAADP Africa Forum. Farmer Organisations as the Vital Link to Equitable and Sustainable Agriculture Growth in Africa.

This 2012 Africa Forum was under the coordination of UMAGRI, as the  Regional Farmer Organisation (RFO) in charge of the Northern African region. For the 2012 forum, RFOs decided upon the following theme: 

The forum has the following objectives
  1. Create awareness on the critical role of FOs in the development of agriculture in Africa; 
  2. Identify how to strengthen linkages between Regional and National Farmer Organisations and from Farmer Organisations to farmers and other relevant actors (decision makers, traders, consumers);
  3. Identify ways to ensure a representative inclusion of women at all levels of farm organisation and representation; 
  4. Advance countries’ agricultural agendas in support of strengthening FO capacity and role in efficiently linking farmers to the wider network of relevant actors in the sector.
  • Farmer Organisation Dynamics: Structure, membership, objectives
  • Governance in Farmer Organisations and its impact on performance
  • Women participation in Farmer Organisations
  • Farmer Organisations and the CAADP process
  • Sustainability of Farmer Organisations
  • FO engagement in Value Chains
RFOs brought together their members (National Farmer Unions, Farmer Organisations and others) in a
workshop that has five main objectives:
  1. Raise awareness on the CAADP process and the CAADP Africa Forum; 
  2. Identify the critical issues from FOs and farmers in the region in relation to implementation of the action plans developed at the previous continental forum;
  3. Assess what kind of support is needed and available to help FOs and farmers implement action planned at the previous continental forum; 
  4. Ascertain what FOs and farmers in the region expect from the upcoming continental forum; 
  5. Discuss a strategy for FOs to identify potential contributions from their country to be shared at the forum, in line with the continental forum’s theme and objectives
The CAADP Africa Forum is part of the CAADP framework, and is coordinated by the Regional Farmer Organisations together with the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA). The forum is an important platform for harnessing the voice and the influence of non-state actors in CAADP processes at country level. The platform is meant mostly for farmers and farmer representatives, but also for policy makers, manufacturers, traders, retailers, financiers, development workers and others who work in, with or for African agriculture.

Innovation System Perspective in Agriculture and Rural Development for smallholder farmers

19-21 November 2012. South Africa. Eleventh regional conference of the Southern and Eastern African Association of Farming Systems Research-Extension (SEAAFSRE). The conference, whose theme was ‘Innovation System Perspective in Agriculture and Rural Development for smallholder farmers’ was intended to share experiences and best practices in moving agriculture from subsistence to commercial among resource-constrained farmers in the region.

In particular, the conference shared practical experiences on the role innovation, agricultural training, research and extension can play in enhancing a value chain orientation in smallholder agriculture.

The conference was attended by individuals and organizations involved in Farming Systems Research-Extension (FSRE) work including farmers, policy makers, planners, trainers, researchers, advisory services providers, non-government organizations (NGOs), elected officials and donors. 

The objectives for the conference were:
  • To share experiences on best farming systems research and extension practices and strategies for commercializing agriculture and reducing hunger and poverty. 
  • To provide an opportunity for farmers, trainers, researchers, agricultural advisory and support service providers and elected officials to debate and learn together how they might individually and collectively make progress towards millennium targets in poverty, hunger and environment through innovations in smallholder farming systems. 
  • A profile of innovative farming systems research and extension opportunities for commercializing agriculture and reducing hunger, poverty and environmental degradation. 
  • Peer reviewed proceedings of the conference detailing the achievements, lessons learnt and opportunities in the region. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Why has Africa become a net food importer?

Why has Africa become a net food importer? Explaining Africa agricultural and food trade deficits.
Manitra A. Rakotoarisoa, Massimo Iafrate, Marianna Paschali
Trade and markets division food and agriculture organization of the united nations
ISBN 978-92-5-107088-8
© FAO 2012, 97 pages

Food import dependency is viewed differently depending on each individual country’s ability to pay its food import bill. For some oil or mineral rich countries (e.g. Botswana, Libya) or for some of the relatively more industrialized countries (e.g. Mauritius), importing some types of food products (like fruits and vegetables) seems more beneficial than producing these products at home, especially since they have enough foreign currency reserves to pay for the food import bills. But for cash-strapped countries (e.g. Burundi, Central African Republic, Eritrea), persistent food import becomes a problem when the high and rising food import bills take money away from other important development agendas without resolving food insecurity.

The problem is even bigger for countries where exports rely mainly on agriculture but the revenues from
traditional exports such as cocoa, coffee and spices are less certain and at the mercy of volatile international market prices.

The objective of the investigation documented in this report was to review the state of African food and agricultural trade and to explore some of the main causes of Africa food import dependency and slow growth of agricultural and food exports.

Specifically, the aim was to:
  1. update the information on past and recent trends in Africa’s food and agricultural production, consumption, and trade;
  2. review and explore some of the various explanations of African food import and export trends and especially the persistence of rising food imports;
  3. discuss what, if necessary, can be done to reverse the African food deficit trend or to solve the problems caused by it.
The focus is on the 53 African countries : Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


19/11/2012, Brussels.Conference: The European Innovation Partnership on Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP) on Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability – Priorities and Delivery Mechanisms

The European Innovation Partnership on Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability (EIP) creates working interface between agriculture, bio-economy, science, advisors, environmental groups, consumers, and other stakeholders at EU, national and regional level. It helps to bring innovative research results faster from science to practice, to encourage the sharing of knowledge and experience, and to ensure a systematic feedback about needs from practice to the scientific community.

The aim of this conference was to tap into the collective knowledge of the stakeholder and research communities. It provided a forum for a genuine brainstorming on the challenges and opportunities to be addressed by the EIP with a particular focus on the functioning and funding of Operational Groups. The outcome of the conference will feed into the work of the Steering Board for the EIP.

The conference brought inter alia together:
  • Agricultural stakeholders, European and national farmers' organisations
  • Representatives of Member States ( Delegates of the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research (SCAR) and of the Rural development Managing Authorities, representatives of national advisory bodies)
  • Researchers and academics
  • Environmental NGOs and Civil Society organisations
  • Representatives of on-going initiatives within the research framework
  • Advisors and innovation brokers
An example on reducing emissions from livestock

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Africa for Norway-video

16 November 2012. Imagine if every person in Africa saw the “Africa for Norway”-video, and this was the only information they ever got about Norway. What would they think about Norway?
The truth is that there are many positive developments in African countries, and we want these to become known. We need to change the simplistic explanations of problems in Africa. We need to educate ourselves on the complex issues and get more focus on how western countries have a negative impact on Africa’s development. If we want to address the problems the world is facing we need to do it based on knowledge and respect.
The video is made by The Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund ( With the cooperation of Operation Day’s Work ( With funding from The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and The Norwegian Children and Youth Council (LNU).
  Related: 19 November. BBC Focus on Africa's Alex Jakana

Eight African Countries to Benefit from Grant to Improve Sustainable Farming Methods

Michigan State University researchers will use a $7.8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help eight African nations improve their sustainable farming methods.

The grant, from the Gates Foundation Global Development Program, will be used to help guide policymaking efforts to intensify farming methods that meet agricultural needs while improving environmental quality in Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Ethiopia and Tanzania.

Programs like this are paramount to Africa, as demonstrated by more than $2.5 billion in annual spending by African governments on agricultural intensification, said Thomas Jayne, project co-director and MSU agricultural, food and resource economics faculty member.
“All of the partners have made a long-term commitment to help this region’s programs reach their full potential,” he said. “MSU has longstanding expertise in this field, and our commitment to institution building was a major reason as to why the Gates Foundation put its trust in MSU for this grant.”
The team will focus on three key crops – maize, sorghum and rice – and seek to improve seed development, fertilization and crop rotation to increase yields in a sustainable manner.

Monday, November 19, 2012

ARD funding opportunities


The calls, to be launched in January with a budget of €11 million, will offer research funding in areas such as agriculture, health, climate change and energy, grouped under three headings: "Renewable Energy", "Interfacing Challenges" and "Idea driven research". The calls have been developed within the framework of the €2 million, three-year "ERA-Net for Africa" (ERAfrica) project. ERAfrica was set up to facilitate networking of African and European funders of research and innovation and to work towards joint project calls. The agreement concerns ministries and public institutions from 15 countries: Austria, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Kenya, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey. Together they have agreed to fund research for at least € 11 million, with the five African states contributing nearly €4 million.

The project calls are expected to be published in mid-January 2013, with a deadline for application of around mid-April 2013. Signing of the contracts is foreseen from December 2013 to May 2014.

ACP-EU Cooperation Program in Science and Technology, 2nd Call for Proposals
The EU announces S&T II as its second call for proposals to strengthen science, technology, and innovation in developing countries. Priority thematic areas are energy access and efficiency, as well as agriculture and food security. Grants will range from €300 thousand to €1 million (exceptionally to €3 million) for activities in capacity building, awareness raising, science promotion, and other support for S&T. The program is open to organizations in the developing countries defined by the EDF and DCI funding categories (i.e., most developing countries) -- and to international organizations. A proposal requires three or more partners, at least two of which must be located in ACP (African, Caribbean, and Pacific) member states. The application deadline is 07 February 2013

Africa- Brazil Agricultural Innovation Marketplace.
The next call for pre-proposals is planned to be launched on 02 January 2013The new Marketplace website will be available for registrations starting 01 Dec 2012. You are encouraged to visit and register yourself on the new website after 01 Dec. By registering, you will receive updated information on the initiative and will be able to find partners and submit proposals during the call.

Agricultural Research for Food Security
USAID-Washington announces funding for agricultural research in support of the Feed the Future initiative. USAID will support six research programs with grants ranging from US$500 thousand to US$3 million per year -- not including additional funding anticipated from USAID's field programs (i.e., missions). The program is restricted to eligible U.S. colleges and universities. Funding Opportunity RFA-OAA-12-000036. The closing date is 21 December 2012. Link

Research on Zoonoses and Emerging Livestock Systems
The UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) collaborates with the UK's other research councils, and with the UK's Department for International Development, for research that will lead to reduced transmission of diseases between livestock and people in developing countries. Applications should be submitted by research partners in the UK and developing countries. BBSRC posts details of the program, as well as an online tool to help find collaboration opportunities. The closing date for applications is 10 January 2013.

Food Security in Madagascar
The European Commission (EC) supports agricultural development in five regions of southern Madagascar through the FRDA (i.e., regional funds for agricultural development). The EC's funding will contribute to and strengthen the FRDA's management of funding and technical assistance. Eligibility for grants extends to nonprofit NGOs in the EU and its candidate countries; the European Economic Area; and the ACP countries (including Madagascar) and other developing countries. Reference EuropeAid/133260/M/ACT/MG. The application deadline is 29 January 2013. Link

Food Security in Burkina Faso
The EC announced two calls for proposals to improve food security in Burkina Faso (EuropeAid/133611/C/ACT/BF, and EuropeAid/133612/C/ACT/BF). Objectives (among others) include support for agricultural production, vegetable growing, and raising small ruminants and poultry. The programs are open to nonprofit NGOs in the EU countries, ACP countries (including Burkina Faso), and OECD/DAC countries -- consult eligibility details in each call. Grants range from €400 thousand to €1 million, varying in each call, and subject to co-financing requirements. The application deadlines are 14 December 2012 for Call 133612, and 17 December for Call 133611. Link 133611 Link133612

Food Security in Burundi
The EC calls for projects in Burundi to increase food security. The aim is to strengthen agricultural producers, and to reinforce value chains in nutrition. Eligibility extends to non-profit organizations in EU member states and candidate countries, OECD countries, developing countries (including Burundi), and international organizations. Proposals need to include partner organizations in Burundi. Grant size is €3.5 million to €5.4 million, subject to co-financing requirements. Reference EuropeAid/132679/M/ACT/BI. The application deadline is 14 December 2012. Link

Agricultural Development in Sierra Leone
The EC's Delegation in Sierra Leone is making grants through "Agriculture 4 Development" to strengthen the country's production and export of cocoa, coffee, and cashews. The themes are improved production; quality control; improved processing; and marketing. The program is open to nonprofit organizations in the EU and the ACP (Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific) countries, working in collaboration with partners in Sierra Leone. Reference EuropeAid/133547/M/ACT/SL. The deadline for proposals is 18 January 2013.

Innocentive -- Storage Container to Protect Seed and Grain
Innocentive is a platform to promote open innovation and crowd sourcing for solutions to important problems. It currently posts a challenge that calls for designs or materials for a storage bag, container, or vessel that protects seeds and grains against rodent infestations. Requirements include durability over several seasons, low cost, and feasibility for use in developing countries. The winning proposal will receive US$20 thousand. Proposals need to be submitted by 21 November 2012.

Grants to Strengthen Farming Communities 2013
The Monsanto Fund makes grants in support of agricultural communities around the world. Grants of US$25 thousand and more are available to tax-exempt charitable organizations for activities and projects that address farmers' education and training; food security; community water and sanitation; and other local needs. Monsanto's international grants are administered at the country level; interested persons should contact the Fund's national liaison. The next application period is 01 January 2013 through 28 February 2013. Link Fund Link Locations

B I O D I V E R S I T Y 

Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Program
The EU-FAO FLEGT Program 2012-2016 announces its first call for proposals. The program makes grants to organizations in developing countries that have signed a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) with the European Union, as well as to organizations in selected non-VPA countries. The first call for proposals is for government institutions, civil society organizations, and organizations/federations in the private sectors of non-VPA countries (listed on the website). Grants are up to €100 thousand for actions that support any of the seven themes of the FLEGT program. The deadline for applications (English, French, Spanish) is 12 December 2012. 

C L I M A T E  C H A N G E

Darwin Plus
UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is collaborating with the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) and its Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to launch Darwin Plus. This is a new program to fund projects in environment and climate change in the UK's overseas territories. The program is open to governments, NGOs, research institutions, private organizations, and others in all of the UK's overseas territories for projects of two years. The application deadline is 01 April 2013

International Climate Initiative 2013
Germany's BMU (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety) funds the International Climate Initiative (ICI) to support projects on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and biodiversity projects that have climate relevance. Most projects are led by German and international organizations with partners in developing and emerging countries. Grants are generally over €200 thousand, and sometimes much larger, for projects that are usually two to four years. The closing date for project outlines is 09 January 2013.

The CCAPS fellowships aim to support the next generation of researchers and thought leaders on the topic of climate change and political stability in Africa. CCAPS offers up to three pre-doctoral fellowships in residence at the University of Texas at Austin (Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law) for an academic year, with preference for individuals who have made substantial progress towards the completion of their dissertations. CCAPS encourages applications from women, minorities, and citizens of all countries. The fellowship includes a nine-month stipend of US$24 thousand, and one round-trip airline ticket. The application deadline is 15 February 2013.

D I A S P O R A 

The Common Ground initiative 
This is a £20 million fund supporting African development through UK based small and Diaspora organisations. This initiative is managed by Comic Relief and co-funded by the Department for International Development.


The Australia Awards program will support 20 eligible candidates in Africa for PhD studies in agricultural research at Australian universities, commencing in 2014. The program is open to nationals from the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The closing date for applications is 31 March 2013.

Grants for Guest Researchers from Africa 2013
The Nordic Africa Institute provides funding to social science researchers from Sub-Saharan Africa for short-term collaborative assignments at the NAI in Uppsala, Sweden. Research areas include one on agrarian change, property, and resources. NAI provides travel, subsistence, an installation allowance, and in-kind support for stays of up to 90 days. The deadline for applications is 01 April 2013

The Fiat Panis Foundation (Germany) makes awards for university thesis and dissertation research in themes of agriculture and natural resources, with a focus on food security in developing countries. The Justus von Liebig Award for World Food is €25 thousand; the Hans Hartwig Ruthenberg Graduate Award is €7.5 thousand. The deadline for both awards is 30 April 2013.

Research Training Fellowships for Scientists in Developing Countries
The Government of India, Department of Science & Technology (DST) announces 20 fellowships for scientists and researchers from developing countries for collaboration with Indian research partners. Thematic areas include agricultural sciences, biological sciences, and several others. The fellowships program is coordinated through the Center for Science and Technology of the Non-Aligned and Other Developing Countries (NAM S&T Center). Fellowships are for six months. Applicants should be below 40 years of age, who possess at least a Master’s Degree in the relevant natural sciences. The closing date for applications is 07 December 2012

Ideas to Contribute to Agriculture and Rural Development in Africa
Through its program Africa Rural Connect, the National Peace Corps Association (U.S.) sponsors a competition of ideas to advance grassroots agriculture and rural development in Sub-Saharan Africa. The "Second Chance" competition allows individuals to take ideas already submitted in previous rounds of the competition and re-mix them by adding new elements. Themes in Africa Rural Connect are water resources, agribusiness, post-harvest losses/storage, transportation and infrastructure, and communication methods. Cash prizes range from US$250 to US$2,000 thousand for the best re-mixes and original ideas. The contest ends 30 November 2012.

Student Video Contest
The "World at 7 Billion" invites short video public service announcements that illustrate the connection between world population at seven billion and one of the following: Food Security; Global Status of Women/Girls; or Wildlife Habitat. The contest is open to high school students (or equivalent) worldwide. Cash prizes will be awarded for videos in each of the three topic areas. The deadline for submissions is 21 February 2013.

In collaboration with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Green Belt Movement, the Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) invites applicants for the Wangari Maathai Scholarship for tertiary education. The scholarship will be awarded to a young woman aged 18 to 25 years on the basis of her passion and personal commitment to environmental conservation. Eligibility extends to Kenyan citizens residing in Kenya. The application deadline is 30 November 2012.

25 Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in any field of research.
By investing in international recruitment of eminent researchers and students, international exchanges and increased collaborations, Stockholm University intends to stimulate the academic environment and strengthen the position of the University in the international market.
Deadline for applications: December 17, 2012.

Joint funding of European-African research projects agreed

The Commissioner was on a week long visit to 
South Africa to mark the 15 th anniversary of 
the European Union's first science and technology 
agreement with South Africa.
6th November. Cape Town. Joint funding of European-African research projects agreed

The first initiative of European and African countries to jointly fund collaborative research projects was agreed on 6th November during a visit by Research, Innovation and Science Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn to Cape Town.

The calls, to be launched in January with a budget of €11 million, will offer research funding in areas such as agriculture, health, climate change and energy, grouped under three headings: "Renewable Energy", "Interfacing Challenges" and "Idea driven research". The calls have been developed within the framework of the €2 million, three-year "ERA-Net for Africa" (ERAfrica) project.

ERAfrica was set up to facilitate networking of African and European funders of research and innovation and to work towards joint project calls. The agreement concerns ministries and public institutions from 15 countries: Austria, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Kenya, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland and Turkey. Together they have agreed to fund research for at least € 11 million, with the five African states contributing nearly €4 million.

The project calls are expected to be published in mid-January 2013, with a deadline for application of around mid-April 2013. Signing of the contracts is foreseen from December 2013 to May 2014.

The financial commitment agreement will be signed on the margins of the annual EU-Africa Joint Experts Group science cooperation forum meeting.

ERAfrica was set up as part of the 2007-10 Action Plan of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES). It is funded from the EU's seventh framework programme for research and technological development (FP7). In addition to ERAfrica, FP7 has provided nearly €137 million in funding for over 900 African participations in EU research projects or initiatives.

The agreement follows the official launch on Nov 2 of a new bilateral EU-South Africa science cooperation project, ESASTAP Plus, providing a forum for cooperation between research ministries and institutions from South Africa, Germany, France, Greece, Italy and Switzerland to support South Africa’s participation in the Framework Programmes, but also reciprocal European participation in South African national programmes, and to target coordination of Member States and Associated Countries' research policies and programmes vis-à-vis South Africa, encouraging the development of new joint initiatives for mutually beneficial cooperation.

Africa's role in solving the global food crisis

Graça Machel, Founder and President, 
Foundation for Community Development 
talking about achieving food and nutrition security
15 - 16 November 2012. Johannesburg. THE Economist hosted a conference in with an ambitious goal: Feeding the World: Africa's Role in Solving the Global Food Crisis

Feeding 9 billion people is an ambitious goal and as befits a conference of this nature, a mixed bag of stakeholders have gathered from around the world.

The tough nut to crack floated to the surface early on - getting public-private partnerships (PPP) to work.

Graça Machel, renowned for her work as Mozambique's minister of education and culture in decades past, opened the conference with a frank, sleeves rolled-up approach to the topic.

Her message resonated through a folk saying in her mother tongue: "Your neighbour's granary will never fill your stomach."

This anti-dependency stance is a breath of fresh air in an entitlement-filled smog generated by the "we demand" squad. Machel's focus on dignified work differentiated her message from the cacophony of calls for job creation. Drawing a line between a job and work, she emphasised that a job solves the short-term problem while work - specifically entrepreneurial work - is more likely to lead to dignified labour.

This addition of the dignity factor is a welcome entrant to the employment conversation. It spotlights the need for agriculturally-focused entrepreneurship startup kits, namely access to capital, land, skills, consumables and markets. On the heels of Machel's message, Global Alliance for Improved Nutritional Gain (GAIN) chairperson, Jay Naidoo of Cosatu fame, emphasised the need for coordination between the various stakeholders - specifically woman farmers - to facilitate successful smallhold farming.

Naidoo highlighted the message being transmitted from his work at GAIN, from women at the base of the pyramid. He emphasised that these women are clear on what they need and want: land, seeds, fertilizer, implements - and business skills to manage these inputs.

The only surprise here was the acknowledgement that business skills are needed, which reinforces the opinion that a less parochial view can be taken on these women, a message subsequently drummed in by Sheila Sisulu of the World Food Programme.

U.S.-Africa Agribusiness Investment Forum

November 12-14, 2012. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. U.S.-Africa Agribusiness Investment Forum: Private Sector Opportunities in Support of Inclusive Agricultural Growth. The Corporate Council on Africa hosted the 2012 U.S.-Africa Agribusiness Investment Forum in Ethiopia to introduce the U.S.-Africa Business Center (USABC) and its role in facilitating U.S.-African trade and highlight other initiatives designed to boost agricultural growth, trade and investment.

Attended by a number of industry members drawn from the USA, Canada, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso as well as Ethiopia, the conference brought together U.S. and African businesses, investors and financiers, policy makers, representatives of the public sector, capital market experts and service providers. They were able to discuss various cross-cutting issues, including finance, risk mitigation, value-chain development, and industry best practices and trends. The forum was also intended to introduce the U.S.-Africa Business Center and its role in facilitating U.S.-African trade as well as highlight other initiatives designed to boost agricultural growth, trade and investment.
One of the speakers at the Workshop 4: Fork: Opportunities at the End of the Value Chain was Lucy Muchoki, Chief Executive Officer, Pan African Agribusiness and Agro Industry Consortium.

Mark Carrato, Foreign Service- Private Enterprise at USAID  noted the ineffectiveness of the donor support approach and praised the growing focus on public-private partnership as a significant step forward.

Workshop 7 addressed The Role of Regional Economic Communities in Facilitating Agricultural Trade and Investment. The EAC is developing a partnership with the United States that is being designed to increase investment and trade, and private sector participation will be critical to its success.

25-28 November 2012 - Dakar, Senegal. FARA and UniBRAIN host a side event at the AgriBusiness Forum 2012: 6 UniBRAIN incubees to present their projects!

UniBRAIN is an initiative of the Forum of Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the government of Denmark whose objective is to enable universities, business and agricultural research institutions to commercialise agricultural technologies and produce graduates with entrepreneurial and business skills.
"Africa is blessed with the world’s youngest population but if the youth are not gainfully employed they will become frustrated, angry and dangerous. This must be avoided by creating jobs and for that it is necessary to have job-creators, in other words successful entrepreneurs and business men and women", explains Ralph von Kaufmann, FARA's Facility Coordinator. 
Read Ralph von Kaufmann's full interview here:

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

FAO Film Documents Seed Diversity and Climate Adaptation in Ethiopia

November 2012: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released a short film that documents the ways Ethiopian smallholder farmers recognize and use seed diversity in their local farming practices to build resilience into their fields.

FAO's documentary, titled "Seeds of Diversity," gathers information on the kinds of seeds that farmers prefer and helps to create a greater understanding on the importance of preserving genetic diversity in seeds.

Monday, November 12, 2012

IFAD Supports EAC’s Efforts to Be Food Self-Sufficient

7 November 2012. East African Community Secretariat.  The president of the Rome-based International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) Mr. Kanayo Nwanze has assured the East African Community of full support in its efforts to fight hunger and become food self-sufficient.

He said that EAC would be their top priority in 2013 adding that his senior officials would be dispatched to discuss areas of co-operation in revamping food production in the region.

“EAC is exemplary in its integration programmes and I fully endorse opportunities to work with the region”, stated Mr. Nwanze during discussions with EAC Secretary General Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera at IFAD headquarters in Rome, Italy, 6 November 2012.

Amb. Sezibera informed the IFAD President that EAC has developed an Action Plan to reverse the region’s persistent food insecurity.

“The region is frequently affected by food shortages and pockets of hunger although it has capacity to produce enough food for local consumption and surplus for export to the world market,” the EAC Secretary General said.

He added that the five-year Action Plan was adopted by the 9th Extra-Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State, the highest decision making body, mid this year.

The aim of the Action Plan is to significantly increase production of strategic food security commodities through access to inputs and promotion of cross border production in the region.

The EAC is also establishing early warning system for monitoring food shortage, said Amb. Sezibera.

Also present during the courtesy visit were Amb. Deo Rwabita from Uganda, the outgoing Dean and Chair of EAC Ambassadors in Italy, and Amb. Renovat Ndayirukiye, Burundi’s Ambassador to Italy.

Film on food sovereignty: Crops of the Future (French)

On November 8th 2012, the screening of this film was organized by SOS Faim at the European Parliament with the support of three MEPs: Charles Goerens (ALDE), Mariya Gabriel (EPP) and Bart Staes (The Greens). 

The Crops of the Future is Marie Monique Robin latest documentary, which completes her trilogy after The world according to Monsanto (2008) and Our daily poison (2011). Ms. Robin shows that is possible to tackle the food crisis together with the environmental and climate crises. 

Prioritising and supporting small-scale farmers must be the core of future policies that aim at tackling energy, climate, poverty and biodiversity issues. By exploring agro-ecological practices from different continents, the film demonstrates that another type of agriculture is possible and shows how revisiting farmers’ practices and rethinking the agricultural production system can help to meet the most important challenges of our time.

Comment nourrir les 9 milliards d'habitants annoncés en 2050 ? Une émission de télévision a convaincu Marie-Monique Robin de poursuivre ses investigations sur l'urgence de produire autrement.

Vers l'entretien avec Marie-Monique Robin
Galerie photo : "En voyage pour Les Moissons du futur"
Remerciements de l'auteur


Comment les produits chimiques qui contaminent notre chaîne alimentaire sont-ils testés, évalués, puis réglementés ? Notre Poison Quotidien est une grande enquête de Marie-Monique Robin (Le monde selon Monsanto) qui démontre de manière implacable comment l'industrie chimique empoisonne nos assiettes.

Note: Ce film a uniquement été uploadé dans un but éducationnel. En aucun cas je n'ai l'intention d'en tirer avantage. Tous droits réservés à ARTE.

China to build agricultural research centre in Angola

5TH NOVEMBER, 2012. Angola and China have signed a cooperation deal for construction of an agricultural research centre in Mazozo, Luanda province, around 40 kilometres from the centre of the Angolan capital.

The Angolan Secretary of State for Agriculture, Amaro Tati, and China’s deputy Trade Minister, Li Jinzao, signed the agreement, which will make it possible to test rice and wheat varieties in different regions of Angola.

Tati said the agreement was very important as the agricultural testing and research centre is essential for agricultural growth.

14 such projects are supported by China in Africa and China’s Centre for Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer in Mozambique, located in the district of Boane, Maputo province was the first to be finished.China is currently also building a centre for agricultural research and technological demonstration near Bamako, Mali, to carry out experiments and technical training, and to contribute to the development of sustainable agriculture in the country

Biosciences for Farming in Africa

Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA) is a programme specifically designed to encourage informed discussion about the potential application of biosciences and genetics for farming in Africa. Can recent advances help bring about a positive change on farms and in communities in Africa and create a vibrant, sustainable and diverse agricultural sector? A change that would also mean Africa could play a role in helping feed the world.

The aim of this project is to encourage dialogue and to promote a better understanding of the available options for improving agricultural productivity in four African countries – Ghana, Tanzania, Nigeria and Uganda. The project aims to work in three general areas:
  1. Opinions and Ambitions. Production and dissemination of a scholarly publication which synthesizes information and views from opinion leaders about the potential benefits, concerns, application and consequences of new technologies for farming in Africa.
  2. Communication and Dialogue – a Media Fellowship Programme. We will run a series of Professional Development Fellowships for media professionals, focusing in particular on the science of plant breeding. Journalists and editors from radio, television, newspapers and journals will be enrolled, by competitive application, in a programme that will offer technical training combined with field-visits, mentoring and support, and long-term networking opportunity among the Fellows and with the research community in their country.
  3. Strengthening and Enabling Implementation. Studies of how to strengthen extension services that deal with the application of the new technologies and processes. Extension agents play the crucial role of linking research institutions to the intended end users of agricultural research products and technologies – farmers. 
This project was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.

Friday, November 9, 2012

ICT and producer organizations - online forum 12 to 23 November

ICT and producer organizations - online forum 12 to 23 November
From 12/11/2012 to 23/11/2012 
Location: Online
Producer organizations play an important role in tackling the systemic causes of poverty, because they give farmers—men and women—a legitimate voice in shaping pro-poor rural policies.  Producer organizations can function more efficiently by using information communication technologies (ICT) to attract and retain a wider membership, generate more funds, and provide better services to their members. Documented benefits of ICT include improved connections to members, better accounting and administration, and stronger collective voice (From ICT in Agriculture Sourcebook module 8).
As the United Nation's International Year of the Cooperative comes to a close, join the e-Agriculture community and our subject matter experts in a discussion on the key issues that make ICT important for producer organizations, and the challenges that limit their full potential.
 Subject matter experts:
  • Marie-Hélène Collion
  • Alexander Flor, University of the Philippines Open University
  • Riikka Rajalahti, World Bank
  • Pierre Rondot, CIRAD
  • John Rouse
This online forum will discuss the role ICT plays in producer organizations, from improved efficiency to networking to transfer of technical knowledge. Aware that organizations face limited resources, the discussion will look at priority areas for investing in ICT.  They will look for examples of whether ICT empowers or marginalizes women and smallholders in producer organizations, and the group will discuss the role of the public sector in supporting producer organizations’ uptake of ICT.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Value chains for transforming smallholder agriculture

6–9 November 2012. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Over 500 private sector representatives, government officials, donors, civil society representatives, farmer organisations and academics have come together at “Making the Connection: Value Chains for Transforming Smallholder Agriculture”, an international conference that will discuss the future of agricultural value chains and how to incorporate smallholders in them to promote agricultural and rural development.

Hosted by the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), with the support of many other organisations, the conference takes a novel, market-based approach to solving the challenge of how smallholder farmers can continue to play a major role in meeting consumer demand at domestic, regional and international levels.

This unique four day event brought together international experts and practitioners to:
CTA director Michael Hailu and 
Jethro Greene, Caribbean Farmers Network

  • discuss how best to incorporate smallholders into value chains to promote agricultural and rural development,
  • debate how to transform smallholders into entrepreneurs,
  • identify conditions necessary to create a broader and more solid knowledge base for the promotion of sustainable value chains,
  • identify training and information-sharing needs.
  • share the floor with key experts and debate how best to incorporate smallholders into value chains and help foster entrepreneurship. 
  • discover best practices and lessons learned from leading organisations around the world in a dynamic environment. 
  • play your part and join representatives from the private sector, government, civil society, and farmer organisations in discussing ways of promoting sustainable agricultural value chains.
Michael Hailu, Director of CTA, said: “This is the first event of its kind to bring all sectors together to specifically explore agricultural value chain development from the perspective of the smallholder farmer. Giving smallholders the resources, entrepreneurial skills and knowledge they need has the potential to increase global food production and offers farmers a chance to work themselves out of hunger and poverty.”
cover of spore magazine2012 - Value ChainsFull details and download

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Innovations for Better Livelihoods

30/10/2012. Breakout session GCARD II, P3.1 Innovations for Better Livelihoods

Unlocking innovation represents a major challenge. |A diversity of approaches grounded on participatory action research have been developed including notably the concept of Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D).

Despite the conceptual agreement around these approaches and the promise they hold, there are also concerns, not only regarding how these approaches can have impact, but also how they can they do so at scale. Participatory approaches to agricultural research have often been judged to be slow and costly “boutique solutions” confined to the sites where they work directly. As a result their impact on poverty
is considered by some to be marginal when compared with commodity research targeting many millions of people.

This Session explored these issues by considering how investment in agricultural research can be
strengthened to increase its contribution to poverty reduction and improve the lives of those that more conventional approaches have failed to reach. In doing so the panelists considered the specific issues of partnerships and the role that they play in strengthening the quality of our work and the ultimate scale of the impacts.
What is needed for implementing innovation partnerships and producing the evidence and understanding required for impact in global, regional and national programs?
Stakeholders’ approach to AR4D
Putting the approach into practice: Establishing effective livelihood research partnerships for impact at scale
Working with national innovation pilot learning sites and inter-regional innovation platforms
3 p. Download document of the Breakout session GCARD II, P3.1