Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Livestock feeds in the CGIAR Research Programs

Presented by Alan Duncan at the FAO West Africa Regional Workshop on Crop Residues, Dakar, 10-13 December 2012.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Draft on Investing in smallholder agriculture for food and nutrition security

20/010/2012. The Knowledge network on Food Security and Nutrition is launching a new consultation on behalf of the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), aimed at gathering inputs on the Version 0 draft (V0 draft) of the report on Investing in smallholder agriculture for food and nutrition security.

This consultation from 20 December 2012 until 18 January 2013 follows the earlier one aimed at defining the scope of the study. The HLPE holds open online consultations to gather informed inputs and to widen the circles from which evidence is made available, including experiences from the ground.

The invitation is also available in French and Spanish and comments are welcome in these languages.


Le Groupe d'experts de haut niveau sur la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition (HLPE) sollicite des vues et contributions sur une version zéro (V0) du rapport. La version V0 présentée a été élaborée par l'équipe de projet du HLPE, sous la direction et la supervision du Comité Directeur, ainsi que sur la base des commentaires reçus dans le cadre de la consultation virtuelle sur la portée de l’étude.

Le HLPE utilisera cette consultation virtuelle pour affiner le rapport qui sera ensuite soumis à révision par des experts externes, avant élaboration de la version finale par l'équipe du projet sous la direction et supervision du Comité directeur.

La version zéro (V0) projet actuel est en cours d'élaboration et devrait se présenter comme une présentation globale, tout en restant succinct et accessible, où seront mis en relief les thèmes et les domaines prioritaires à la lumière des actions que devront mener les différentes parties prenantes du CSA.

Vos contributions peuvent être envoyées en anglais, français et espagnol mais le projet V0 est uniquement disponible en anglais.

Friday, December 14, 2012


13 Decembre 2012. Le bio-contrôle comme alternative aux Produits de Protection des Plantes conventionnels
Suite à de récents essais du PIP en Afrique subsaharienne, plusieurs produits de bio-contrôle se révèlent être des alternatives viables à l'utilisation de Produits de Protection des Plantes conventionnels.

LE COLEACP collabore au projet de micro-jardins de la Ville de Dakar
Un accord de collaboration a été signé en septembre 2012 entre le COLEACP et la Ville de Dakar. Avec le soutien de la FAO, la capitale sénégalaise appuie des projets de micro-jardinage, renforçant ainsi la sécurité alimentaire de la population urbaine.

Vers une meilleure conservation de l'igname en Côte d'Ivoire : un enjeu pour la sécurité alimentaire locale et régionale
La durée de conservation limitée de l'igname pose de nombreux problèmes, tant pour la filière export que pour le marché local.
Le COLEACP a mis en place une mission d'étude avec le CIRAD, afin de cerner les difficultés et d’ identifier des pistes d'amélioration.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Food Security Research in SLU-hosted Symposium in Uganda

Participants of the SLU Africa Food
Security Research Symposium.
Photo: Hotel Metropole.
During 4-6 of December 2012 the SLU Africa Food Security Research Symposium took place in Kampala, Uganda. The symposium, which was hosted by SLU Global, was a result of the 40 milllion SEK that the Swedish government allocated to SLU to support food security. The Ambassador of Sweden in Kampala and representatives from Sida, AGRA, ANAFE, RUFORUM and TEAM-Africa are attended the symposium. Within the UD40, a cluster of research projects is funded over two years (2011-2012).

The symposium in Kampala was an opportunity for participants to share their findings, discuss lessons learned and, particularly, prepare plans for future collaboration in their specialty areas with project partners.
Partnership between research, education and extension is the key in the development of a sustainable African agriculture, reports Arvid Uggla, Director of SLU Global.
Current projects at SLU include research in collaboration with partners in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa and Central Asia and cover topics from plant genetics, reproductive health of cattle, to gender perspectives in agriculture and forestry.

 In 2010 the Swedish government, via its Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD), allocated 40 million SEK to SLU to support food security related research projects in collaboration with partners in Africa and elsewhere. ‘UD40’ is the collective name for the cluster of research projects financed by this allocation which was to be run over two years, 2011 and 2012.

Chatham House Food Security 2012 Sustainable Intensification

10-11 December 2012. London, UK. This conference examined the potential of technologies – old, new and pipeline – to deliver sustainable intensification in agriculture.
Is a resilient global agricultural system achievable?
  • Is technology crucial to delivering increased agriculture outputs in tandem with environmental objectives?
  • Is the current regulation evidence-based or driven by the public’s perception of risk?
Business leaders, policy makers, opinion formers and civil society representatives teased out the implications of the technological approach to sustainable intensification of food production, including the need for regulatory systems to adopt evidence based policies on risks and benefits to ensure resilient production.

Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) President Jane Karuku called for a continued global push for increased smart investments in Africa's agriculture, both by governments and the private sector. After speaking at the Chatham House Food Security 2012 Sustainable Intensification: Miracle or Mirage conference, Nwanze and Karuku addressed a group of international media in London emphasizing that farming is a business and the private sector must fuel the development of Africa's agribusiness in upgrading smallholder agriculture to meet demand from foreign and emerging markets in developing countries.

Food Security: Priorities for Action - Catherine Woteki of USDA

Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa

10 December 2012. The African Development Bank (AfDB) and researchers have launched the US$63.24 million AfDB-funded initiative aimed to raise agricultural productivity.

The 5-year, multi-CGIAR center initiative known as “Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa” (SARD-SC) is a research, science, and technology development initiative aimed at enhancing the productivity and income derived from cassava, maize, rice, and wheat – four of the six commodities that African Heads of States, through the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program, have defined as strategic crops for Africa.

The project, which will run until 2016, will be co-implemented by three Africa-based CGIAR centers: IITA, Africa Rice Center, and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas. IITA is also the Executing Agency of the project.

During the launch of the initiative in Ibadan, Nigeria, the Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Dr Nteranya Sanginga called on researchers to deliver ‘quick impact’ to justify the investments in research.
“We should begin to demonstrate impact in the next two years using available technologies already developed. Everything in SARD-SC is about impact and not only writing scientific papers,” Dr Sanginga said.

DFID, IDRC Introduce Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia at COP 18

2 December 2012. Doha, Qatar. In partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Canada’s International Development Research Center (IDRC) hosted a parallel event to the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the UNFCCC that introduced the new Collaborative Adaptation Research Initiative in Africa and Asia (CARIAA).
Isabelle Proulx, CARIAA Team

Through interactive sessions, facilitated by Alexander Alusa, Climate Change Advisor to the Prime Minister of Kenya, participants discussed the CARIAA model and its approach and application, in anticipation of CARIAA’s open call for consortia to be launched in early 2013.

CARIAA is a US$70 million programme, initiated by DFID and IDRC, that will run from 2012 to 2019. It aims to increase the resilience of vulnerable populations and their livelihoods, in one of the following climate change “hot spots” in Africa and Asia: densely populated river basins, large deltas, and semi-arid regions. The experience and lessons learned through the Climate Change Adaptation in Africa programme (2006-2012), DFID’s and IDRC’s earlier joint climate change effort, have provided insight and guidance for CARIAA’s mission.

During the event in Doha, Qatar, Isabelle Proulx, CARIAA Team, introduced the programme, highlighting that the target areas, large deltas, glacier-fed river basins and semi-arid zones, have been chosen because of their vulnerabilities to climate change. She noted that CARIAA’s strategy is to create knowledge and put it in the hands of the people that are affected by climate change. Proulx noted that three interdisciplinary consortia, which will have up to five members, would be funded and expected to draw from a large base of institutions, and to engage communities. She underlined that the expectations are that the funded projects will promote research uptake and generate new knowledge.
[CARIAA website]

UNEP Launches the Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network

6 December 2012: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched the Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network (AAKNet), which will provide a platform to share knowledge, research and information on initiatives, as well as catalyze partnerships for climate change adaptation.

The network builds on efforts to mobilize knowledge and provide solutions to mitigate the impact of climate change on livelihoods in Africa. Specifically, AAKNet will: conduct workshops to provide advice and share knowledge on climate change adaptation to local communities; build partnerships to support climate change responses; share best practices and lessons learned from numerous initiatives across the continent; and aggregate knowledge to address climate risks.

AAKNet will share information and aid in building a community of practice to aid in planning processes on the continent and scale-up successful initiatives to adapt to climate change. [UN Press Release] [Africa Adaptation Knowledge Network Website]

Business Support Services in the rice value chain

12 December 2012. This is an animated version of the Rising Rice film (part of the film United through markets)... mapping the value chain and Agribusiness clusters, and dealing with the role of the Business Support Services (BSS) as brokers of innovation and change within the competitive playing fields. Featuring the agribusiness cluster of parboiled rice in Bolgatanga

animated rice clip_fn - Broadband door moovon

Monday, December 10, 2012

Extensive Livestock Research Multi-Stakeholder Research Question Development Workshop


EAFF together with its consortium partners in the PAEPARD program is organizing a continental multi stakeholder research question development workshop around the federating theme “Extensive livestock value chain” to:
  1. Validate the federating theme of the Extensive value chain , the desk review and the document of strategy produced; 
  2. Identify and/or refine research questions for the development of the livestock that were identified during the study that was conducted. 
  3. Identify potential partnerships that can be formed to address gaps identified in the extensive livestock value chain 
  4. Identify the Terms of Reference for platform and core group to take up the research question that is proritized forward 
The participants for this workshop include PAEPARD partners, national, regional stakeholders working in Farmer organizations, private sector, government, consumer organizations, research institutions, Universities, and farmers all interested in the extensive livestock value chain within eastern Africa region.

Participants came from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Zambia, France and the UK and represented research, education, farmers organizations, non-government organizations, national governments, agricultural extension and advisory services, the private sector and regional economic communities. The discussions were guided by a new Eastern Africa Livestock strategy commissioned by EAFF, and carried out by the Agency for Inter-regional Development, as an input to its strategic plan for 2012-2020.

In his opening remarks at the workshop Mr Philip Macharia Kiriro, President of EAFF, explained that a key pillar of the plan is “…trade and agribusiness with a special focus on value chain development and economic services to EAFF members…”. He indicated that EAFF’s livestock focus will be on the extensive beef value chain and that regional collaboration is need to ensure both productivity gains and improved market access.

One of the main tasks of workshop participants was to validate EAFF’s livestock strategy and to prioritize proposed areas for intervention at three stages along the value chain; namely, production, processing and marketing.

The group looking at production identified the need to improve the availability and quality of feed and water and to prevent and control pests and diseases as the two most important research issues. Improving food safety and quality standards and developing and promoting value addition technologies emerged as the key research issues for processing.

Finally, enhancing product standards and policies for improved market access and improving access to, and utilization of, market information were the priorities for research related to marketing. A core group of seven persons has been given the responsibility to draft a concept note and to identify additional organizations which might contribute to a new research initiative. Potential opportunities for funding have been identified and further work is being done to promote the initiative and secure additional support.


The report of the meeting in English can be downloaded here

The report of the meeting in French can be downloaded here

PAEPARD partners shifted to a new user led brokerage procedure which is giving the lead to the “research users” partners (especially FOs but also the private sector) in the organization of brokerage activities in particular the organization of “brokerage workshops” around a federating theme that they have themselves chosen.

With this in mind EAFF through collaborative approaches and consultation within Eastern Africa stakeholders identified a federating theme to focus on Extensive livestock value chains. In May 2012, the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) contracted the Agency for Inter-regional Development (AFID) to carry out a consultancy study to develop a Livestock Strategy for Eastern Africa. The focus of the strategy was given as “Extensive Livestock Systems” predominant in the dry areas of Eastern Africa. Major species involved were cattle, small ruminants (sheep and goat) and camels. Poultry and pig rearing in the target production systems which involve agro-pastoral and pastoral systems were also to be captured. The objective of this approach is to
  • a) Reinforce the existing dynamics at national/regional level, 
  • b) Improving existing partnerships between FO, research and others stakeholders (improvements in terms of partnerships design of diversity of stakeholders involved etc, and Deepen pending questions and potential solutions
Related PAEPARD blog post:
Video interview with Dr. Jean Ndikumana who explains the objectives of the study: EAFF - Post handling of Extensive Livestock value chains in Eastern Africa with Specific Focus on Kenya and Uganda. 

He was interviewed during the EAC-Europe Food Security Thematic Policy Dialogue Workshop, 25th to 26th, October, 2012, Arusha, Tanzania.

He responds to following questions:
  • How important is it to identify gaps in research which benefits pastoralism?
  • How difficult is it to identify research gaps?
  • Do farmers or pastoralists have the capacity to translate a problem into a research question?
  • Was such consultation difficult?
  • Which gaps did you identify?
  • What is the way forward?
  • Which is the most important recommendation?
  • You recommend a multi sectorial approach?
Monday 14 January 2013. News from Africa Africa: Agricultural Researchers Call for Scaling up of Extensive Livestock Production

South African programme for farm animal breeding and reproduction technology

7 December 2012. Brussels. The South African Mission to the European Union organised a lunch info session for a presentation by Mrs Ravini Moodley, Agri-Biotech Sector Portfolio Manager at Technology Innovation Agency, about the South African programmes for agriculture and biotechnology innovation, especially for farm animal breeding and reproduction technology.

Mrs Ravini Moodley is a Small Enterprise Development Researcher with the Technology Innovation Agency in Pretoria, South Africa.The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) was established in 2008.

TIA’s core business objective is to support the development and commercialisation of competitive technology-based services and products. The Agency primarily uses South Africa’s science and technology base to develop new industries, create sustainable jobs and help diversify the economy. It invests in the following technology sectors: Advanced Manufacturing, Agriculture, Industrial Biotechnology, Health, Mining, Energy and ICT.

TIA was formed through merging seven DST entities previously tasked with supporting and promoting innovation in the country. These entities included the Innovation Fund, Tshumisano Trust, Cape Biotech Trust, PlantBio Trust, LIFElab, BioPAD Trust, and the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy (AMTS).

In a bid to revitalise the animal vaccine development and manufacturing in South Africa, which is crippled by insufficient funding and the lack of co-ordination between agricultural research institutions, the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) established the Tshwane Animal Health Cluster to improve services for livestock farming and agribusiness.

The initiative is a result of the outcry by livestock farmers and the value chain industry in South Africa that has been crippled by the country’s failure to prevent the spread of viral outbreaks that have lost the country billions of rands following the suspension of trade in sectors, such as beef, due to foot and mouth diseases, and ostrich meat, hides and feathers due to avian flu.

2nd Annual Conference on Biopesticides

5 - 6 December 2012. Berlin. Informa Life Sciences' 2nd Annual Conference on Biopesticides. The Informa Life Sciences Annual Biopesticide conference is a two-day event with more than 100 industry attendees ranging from small and medium-sized biopesticide companies to large multinational agrochemical organizations including Monsanto, Becker Underwood, Syngenta and more. The event delivered a comprehensive review of the biopesticide industry, including the diverse regulatory environment through the eyes of various European agencies.

  • Gain a global update on biopesticides with speakers from USA & Europe 
  • Keynote sessions from 5 Regulators and The European Commission
  • speed networking and interactive panel sessions
  • real-life case studies on market access, product registration from those who have gone through the process
A Pre Conferenece Workshop was organised on 4 December 2012: A Masterclass on Biopesticide:
  • An introduction to biopesticides
  • Definining biopesticides and the complexities that surround such a definition
  • Background information relating to topics that will be discussed throughout the two day event
MBI CEO Pam Marrone opened the conference with “A Critical Analysis of the Biopesticides Industry,” including her perspective on the state of the industry, the advantages and disadvantages of biopesticides, current challenges facing the industry and the future outlook. Additionally, Marrone examined the biopesticide discovery process targeting nematicides and herbicides
“Over the last decade, the use of biopesticides has increased significantly due in no small part to improved performance and safety, reduced residues and shorter and less costly development process,” said Marrone. “Though the industry continues to face regulatory challenges for registration worldwide, biopesticides are increasingly becoming an important part of overall pest management programs as their performance matches that of chemical pesticides. This is leading to current expectations that biopesticides will significantly outpace the growth of chemical pesticides in the next few years to reach $3 billion by 2014”.
Pam Marrone is the CEO and founder of Marrone Bio Innovations , a leading developer of environmentally-responsible biopesticides. When compared with conventional chemicals and pesticides, the natural products developed at MBI result in healthier plants and a safer environment. In bringing natural alternatives to market for organic and conventional growers, Pam has built a successful business model within a growing industry -- all while helping to make our food safer and reduce pollution in our water and air that can put workers and consumers at risk.


Slash and burn agriculture in DRC

4 Decembre 2012, Bruxelles. WWF et la Cooperation Technique Belge ont organise une rencontre entre chercheurs, opérateurs publics, ONG, bailleurs, afin de discuter les méthodes de travail et connaissances en matière d’impact de l’agriculture sur brûlis sur les forêts congolaises.

Dans les zones forestières, l’agriculture sur brûlis est l’agriculture paysanne par excellence en République Démocratique du Congo. Méthode d’agriculture particulièrement appropriée pour l’approvisionnement alimentaire des populations et capable de répondre aux besoins humains tout en ayant peu d’impact sur la conservation, il apparait que ce mode d’agriculture est devenu, sous l’effet de la pression démographique, une des principales causes de déforestation.

Plus précisément, les objectifs du séminaire etaient de :

  1. Renforcer la collaboration entre les ONG de terrain, la coopération bilatérale et les chercheurs
  2. Analyser les freins et leviers permettant de développer en périphérie des aires protégées et/ou des forêts une agriculture assurant conservation et sécurité alimentaire
  3. Identifier les déficits de connaissances scientifiques et les synergies possibles sur ces matières entre ONG et scientifiques
  4. Fournir des recommandations d’actions qui, à court, moyen ou long terme, devraient permettre aux différents participants d’améliorer leur travail de développement ou de recherche agricole pour la prise en compte des interrelations entre agriculture et conservation des forêts

PAERIP workshop and CAAST-Net stakeholder conference

3-4 December, 2012 in Accra, Ghana. Science and Technology Policy Research Institute of the Ghanaian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. The PAERIP and CAAST-Net projects organised a joint Africa-Europe stakeholder conference on the roles played by research infrastructures in advancing and facilitating bi-regional cooperation in scientific and technological research and innovation.

Drawing on the experience and expertise of stakeholders from African and European research, civil society and science policy communities, the event examined key aspects of the contributions of Research Infrastructures (RI) to addressing mutual scientific research priorities, and consider approaches to lowering the barriers to RI access and sharing for enhanced bi-regional cooperation.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Finance for the Farmer around climate change

6 December 2012. Funding is always a prominent topic of discussion, and often a sensitive issue at such international gatherings as the UNFCCC COP18. Commitments made by member countries usually have some financial strings attached, and the question is largely ‘who will pay, how much, and for what?’ At Agriculture, Landscapes, and Livelihoods Day (ALL) the issue surfaced continuously over the course of the day – more money for technology transfer; more for neglected areas of research (climate impacts on pollination, pests, and disease); more for farmers. To manage overlapping objectives related to food security and nutrition, development, environment, and climate, there was undeniable agreement that increased and more efficient funding is necessary.

One Roundtable session at ALL Day honed in specifically on questions related to finance opportunities for smallholder farmers. This panel of private, government, and civil society experts attempted to cover all the bases, while still pulling from concrete case studies. The challenges identified by the panelists were telling about the key criteria for more integrated finance mechanisms.

CARE International Phil Franks (CARE International), in describing a smallholder carbon project in Kenya, noted how the value of the actual carbon revenue to each individual farmer is rather insignificant and the requirements to earn credits don’t allow for the level of flexibility farmers need to adapt. Initially touted as an innovative means to bring climate finance to farmers, smallholder carbon projects do in fact have benefits but largely in terms of soil fertility, water management, and productivity. For smallholder farmers, the dispersed nature of their holdings also makes it difficult to access carbon finance or insurance, due to high transaction costs.

Second from right: Matthew Wyatt (DFID)
Separation of adaptation and mitigation is one of the themes reiterated throughout the day, and a characteristic of the funding mechanisms within the UNFCCC. This split hinders implementing more integrated approaches to climate-smart land management. On the panel, Matthew Wyatt (DFID) noted  ow we need to get beyond this separation, because in agriculture the two go hand-in-hand. And yet funding, too, reflects this separation. Moreover, funding streams for climate change and agriculture and rural development also operate in their respective silos. One attempt to cross this divide, IFAD’s Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme (ASAP), is trying to blending climate and agriculture ‘know-how’ in financing resilient development for smallholders.

Lou Munden
So what does all this mean when we take a landscape perspective? Panelists were generally of one mind, emphasizing that operating on a landscape scale allows for more carbon storage while also increasing adaptive capacity. Lou Munden (Munden Project), representing the private sector on the panel, argued that “we need to stop thinking about how to make this fit old models and start thinking about new ones.” His company takes this to heart, focusing on investing in a diverse portfolio of activities within the landscape to manage risk.

Judi Wakhungu
At the end of the day, though, the institutional structures in place are what will allow for better integration and efficiency for funding climate-smart landscapes. For example, in the opening panel of ALL Day, Judi Wakhungu (African Centre for Technological Studies) noted the restructuring of the Kenyan government and a proposal to integrate agriculture, environment, and climate change in one ministry.

A move such as this may help streamline funding for agricultural development that achieves multiple objectives and benefits to smallholders. As several panelists noted, public sector funding is crucial for covering the high upfront costs and reducing risks, which will in turn entice more private sector funding.

DOHA, Qatar December 6, 2012/ -- A new report by the African Development Bank, in collaboration with Vivid Economics, makes concrete proposals that will facilitate access by African countries to the Green Climate Fund.

Launched in Doha on the sidelines of the UN climate change conference (COP18), the “Getting Africa Ready for the Green Climate Fund” report makes a series of recommendations for the Green Climate Fund board and African nations that will increase the likelihood that African countries, with the support of the African Development Bank, will be able to access increased flows of climate finance from this source.

Doha: Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day 5

3 December 2012. Doha, Qatar. “No agriculture, no deal” was the mantra coming out the fifth Agriculture, Landscapes, and Livelihoods (ALL, formerly Agriculture and Rural Development) Day on Monday. Yet it appears as though the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) will not make any sort of recommendation regarding agriculture to the UNFCCC at COP18, due to difficulties in reaching consensus. And while according to Mahmoud Sohl (ICARDA), one of the speakers on the high level panel at ALL Day, “if they don’t put agriculture on the agenda, then they are not serious” about dealing with climate change, clearly participants at this year’s ALL Day felt strongly that agriculture needed to be part of the solution to climate change.

However, ALL Day also demonstrated that agriculture poses a unique challenge; there is such a diversity of interests, priorities, and stakeholders that underlie a more general agreement around issues and urgency. Whereas some like Sohl stressed a need for research into technology and sustainable intensification, others placed emphasis on institutions to strengthen gender considerations and integration of adaptation and mitigation.

African negotiators are concerned about the lack of 

trust at the Doha climate change talks. 
(Source: Flickr/UNFCCC)
A High-Level Panel that kick-started ALL Day reflected this diversity, composed of representatives in farming, research, and policy. But the session was not all about talking heads, as Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda (CEO, FANRPAN) called 0n the audience for feedback and questions. Through the farmers who voiced their concerns and opinions, it became increasingly apparent that these stakeholders felt as though their experiences and hurdles with climate change were not being heard in high-level policy.

The challenge for the agriculture community within UNFCCC processes is to find a unifying voice. As Dr. Sibanda said during the opening panel, “let’s all speak with one voice – it’s all about the food.” And regardless of whether or not something comes to fruition at COP18 or beyond, the message is clear that all of these different voices – particularly those without much access – need to come to the table to deal with climate change in a context-specific and meaningful manner.

Swaziland’s Dr Emmanuel Dlamini, Director of Meteorology, said there was a mismatch between what some richer nations had promised and what they were prepared to put on the table in Doha.

Many developed parties, including Norway, Japan and the EU, have met or exceeded their targets for FSF, which promised a total of $30bn from 2010-2012. The EU insists that there is money budgeted for support to continue and RTCC understands that the US also intends to maintain its climate finance at current levels.
However, African countries would prefer to see more concrete pledges.

“They are saying ‘we’ll continue with FSF, there’ll be no cliff, well keep providing funds’, so it’s difficult when we ask for a [formal] decision and they say they are just giving assurances. So you start saying are we negotiating in good faith?”
“The negotiations greatest challenge is building trust. To a certain extent, the trust that is there, if it is there [at all], is not sufficient enough to make us agree to make a successful outcome. When there is no trust among people then the good faith is damaged,” added Dlamini.

EU negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger insists the bloc will continue to provide climate finance beyond 2012

With the climate talks in Doha in their second week, Kenya like many African countries is pessimistic that any concrete decisions will be reached at the ongoing negotiations. However Kenya says it is willing to continue working with other African countries to fight for the continent's concerns even as the negotiations time the last lap. NTV's Loise Wangui reports on the talks.

IFDC 2013 International Training Calendar

IFDC has held over 700 formal workshops, study tours and training programs for more than 10,000 participants from 150 countries since 1974. The programs have covered a wide range of subjects including integrated soil fertility management, fertilizer use efficiency, fertilizer production technology, agro-input dealerships, competitive marketing, supply chain management, investment analysis, policy reforms and numerous specialized topics.

Please visit the IFDC ebsite for additional information, updates and registration forms for the IFDC 2013 Training Program Calendar. 
  1. Developing Private Sector Agro-Input Markets: Designing and Implementing Targeted Input Subsidies April 8-12, 2013 Nairobi, Kenya $1,300 
  2. Fertilizer Policy & Marketing Strategies in Africa ; May 20-24, 2013 Arusha, Tanzania $1,300 
  3. Linking Farmers to Markets in Africa ; July 1-5, 2013 Nairobi, Kenya $1,300 
  4. Developing and Managing Profitable Agro-Input Business Through Sustainable Value Chains ; ovember 4-8, 2013 Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso $1,300 
IFDC reserves the right to cancel any program or change the dates and/or venue of any program without liability for compensation.For the PDF printable version of our calendar, please click here.

The Future of Agriculture: Debate the Experts @ OXFAM

Monday, December 10, 2012 - Friday, December 21, 2012
Forecasts indicate world food production must grow at least fifty per cent by 2050, to feed a population of nine billion people. Can this be done in a way that eradicates hunger and preserves the environment? 
The second in Oxfam’s online discussion series will tackle this very question from Monday, December 10 to Friday December 21, at

Biotechnology and Africa’s Strategic Interests

3 December 2012. In this opinion piece, Calestous Juma, a professor of international development at Harvard University, United States, writes that while threats to global food security are increasingly evident, efforts to stall adoption of new technologies are appearing to intensify. A lack of strategic thinking about food as a national security issue is leading many African countries, Juma says, to make poor decisions regarding agricultural biotechnology. 
Juma writes: “Africa’s precautionary approaches to biotechnology are not only misguided but they expose the continent to long-term political risks. The issue is no longer a simplistic argument about becoming an importer of GM foods; it is about building up the requisite capacity to diversify the technological options needed for long-term agricultural adaptation. Biotechnology offers Africa a wider range of economic opportunities than the Green Revolution did. It is already being used to improve food production and establish or revive cotton production. Its economic impact is therefore likely to go well beyond the farm sector to include industrial development.” 
Agricultural biotechnology is already being used in numerous countries around the globe, providing new opportunities for African countries to create trading alliances, and potentially new technology partnerships. Juma argues that African leaders should appoint chief science and technology advisors that can provide strategic advice about these issues. 
“Guided by good science and technology advice, the choices open to African leaders are clear,” says Juma. “Doing nothing, especially in an age of worsening food prospects, is no longer an option. The time has come for African nations to start focusing on their long-term strategic interests. Biotechnology is not simply a matter of rhetorical debate guided by short-term interests. It is central to how African countries define their place in the global knowledge ecology.” 

The State of Food and Agriculture 2012

6 December 2012, Rome Investing in agriculture for a better future
Investing in agriculture is essential for reducing hunger and promoting sustainable agricultural production. Those parts of the world where agricultural capital per worker and public investments in agriculture have stagnated are the epicentres of poverty and hunger today. Demand growth over the coming decades will place increasing pressure on the natural resource base. Eradicating hunger sustainably will require a significant increase in agricultural investments, but also an improvement in their effectiveness.

Farmers are the largest investors in developing country agriculture and must be central to any strategy for increasing investment in the sector, but if they are to invest more in agriculture they need a favourable climate for agricultural investment based on economic incentives and an enabling environment. 

Governments also have a special responsibility to help smallholders overcome the constraints they face in expanding their productive assets and to ensure that large-scale investments in agriculture are socially beneficial and environmentally sustainable. Government investment in agriculture is a crucial component of providing an enabling environment for private investments in the sector. Governments need to channel scarce public funds towards the provision of essential public goods with high economic and social returns.

Read the executive summary
Download the full publication
See the press release

Monday, December 3, 2012

Food Security in Africa: Bridging Research and Practice

29-30 November 2012. Sydney. This event included a high-level Forum (leadership dialogue) for officials from Africa and Australia, together with international experts on global food security. The main purpose of the Forum was to officially launch the Australian International Food Security Centre (AIFSC) and strengthen its collaborative partnerships.

The Forum brought together a selection of notable high-level Africans, Australians and internationals from government, research and development, and private enterprise to:
  • launch the AIFSC strategy and acknowledge the range of national and international partnerships
  • enable discussion to inform the AIFSC strategy outcomes for improving food security across Africa
  • showcase Australia's expertise in research for development and policy development for improved global food security
  • showcase Australia's quality agriculture through a short social program.
The Hon Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign 
Affairs, announcing the new fund 
at the opening of the forum. 
Photo M Gyles ACIAR
The conference provided an opportunity for:
  • networking with key African and international decision makers
  • fostering new connections with Australian researchers and the AIFSC
  • contributing ideas that will be streamed/recorded for wider distribution
  • improving your personal knowledge on key issues and players involved in food security
  • connecting with a large number of international representatives at one event, away from everyday distractions and time zone issues
  • being part of conference legacies to be generated by distribution of conference records to multiple organisations
  • side meetings for one-on-one business with a special focus
  • witnessing firsthand some of Australia’s finest agricultural research capabilities
  • enjoying the dramatic beauty of Sydney and its surrounds, including a showcase of Australian agriculture.

Green Economy – from intention to action

Tony Simons (far right) speaking at the SusCon in Bonn
27-28 November 2012, Bonn. SusCon 2012. For the third time SusCon, the International Conference on Sustainable Business and Consumption.

The conference brought - under the patronage of Mr. Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment together - around 450 participants from 37 countries. Businesses, NGOs and politicians discussed on issues related to a “Green Economy” and debated on solutions for sustainable supply chains.

Major topics were technical innovations, CSR 2.0, resource efficiency, certification as well as financial transitions and lifestyles.

VorschauSusCon's Bonn Declaration -Green Economy Offers Solutions for Global Challenges. Comment on and/or support the declaration!

The declaration summarizes the elements of shared convictions of the endorsing SusCon networking partners and serves as an appeal to promote the development of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet as well as for present and future generations.

Tree Product Value Chains in Africa: Sharing Innovations that Work for Smallholders

26-28 November 2012. Yaounde, Cameroon. Tree Product Value Chains in Africa: Sharing Innovations that Work for Smallholders.

This conference was a forum for a wide group of (inter)national stakeholders to learn and share knowledge, experience and innovations on emerging trends relating to the production, processing and marketing of tree products by smallholder farmers.

The conference was organised by the Agroforestry Tree Products for Africa (AFTP4A) project, financed by the Belgian Development Cooperation in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The project contributes to improving participation and active involvement of poor farmers in agroforestry tree product value chains and markets in order to increase and diversify their incomes. 

The project followed the value chain approach and involved all economic actors who contributed directly to the production, processing, transport and commercialisation of a product up to the consumption stage.

Innovative Composting Alternatives

26-30 November 2012. Accra, Ghana. Promoting Affordable Sources of Plant Nutrients in Africa Through Innovative Composting Alternatives. Co-sponsored by African Union Commission Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture.  

The objectives of this five-day training program included:
  1. Improving participants’ capabilities to overcome constraints that hamper waste recycling and the feasibility of recycling strategies and their contribution to ensuring sustainable agricultural productivity and improved sanitation in rapidly growing rural, urban and peri-urban environments.
  2. Increase participants’ knowledge of the principles and methodologies of solid waste and fecal sludge collection, storage and handling to ensure efficiency.
  3. Update participants on the development of innovative composting technologies to enhance the effectiveness, aesthetics and applicability of the composted material to increase acceptability among smallholder farmers.
  4. Increase participants’ knowledge on: (i) proper handling of composted organic fertilizer to eliminate any risks associated with their use; (ii) calculate optimal application rates; and (iii) the long-term benefits of their use on soil health.
  5. Identify sound policy options for promoting municipal and human waste fertilizer use and supply in Africa.

AgriBusiness Forum 2012

25-28 November 2012 Dakar, Senegal.« Partenariat, investissement et technologie pour relancer l’agriculture africaine ». Tel etait le thème du forum Agribusiness à Dakar.

L’Agribusiness Forum du Centre européen de recherche en marketing (Emrc) est co-organisé par le Pnud et le Consortium Panafricain de l’agrobusiness et l’agro-industrie (Panaac), en collaboration avec la Fao et le secteur privé africain. Il vise à renforcer le secteur agricole et agro-alimentaire en Afrique, en encourageant les partenariats et l’échange de bonnes pratiques pour attirer les investissements.

Selon le ministre de l’Agriculture et de l’Equipement rural, Abdoulaye Baldé, qui a présidé la cérémonie d’ouverture, la crise alimentaire de 2008 a fait que les organisations du système des Nations unies ont pris davantage conscience de l’importance du secteur agricole et agro-alimentaire, et ont placé l’agriculture au centre de l’agenda des politiques internationales.

Le Sénégal, poursuit le ministre, met en œuvre une telle politique à travers l’Agence nationale d’insertion et de développement agricole (Anida) dont la mission principale est dédiée à l’insertion des jeunes sénégalais aux métiers de l’Agriculture.

D’après Moussa Seck du Panaac, le forum réunit tous les acteurs de la chaine de valeurs. Il plaide en faveur d’une reconsidération de l’agriculture à tous les niveaux. « Ce n’est pas normal que l’activité sur laquelle repose la vie ne soit pas élevée à un niveau supérieur dans nos ministères », soutient-il. Il veut que le pourcentage du budget alloué au secteur soit plus important, d’autant plus que les besoins vont suivre l’évolution constante de la population.

Une idée renforcée par le président d’Emrc international, le Belge Pierre Mathijsen. A l’en croire, les pays occidentaux consacrent en moyenne 40 % de leur budget à l’agriculture. Le docteur Amadou Ouatara de la Fao pense, quant à lui, qu’il faut faire en sorte que l’agriculture soit un métier. Pour cela, il invite à allouer des prêts aux jeunes qui veulent s’investir dans le secteur, les former, les initier aux programmes de maîtrise de l’eau et régler les questions liées au foncier.

Pour sa part, le vice président d’Olam Sénégal, Jean Claude Gruner, estime qu’il y a un déséquilibre entre l’offre et la demande. En Afrique, soutient-il, l’agriculture emploie plus de 60 % de la population alors qu’elle fournit moins de 10 % du Pib. De son point de vue, il faut un gouvernement fort, avec des partenaires forts, pour développer le secteur agricole africain. Ce qui suppose une agriculture compétitive, des usines de transformation, une amélioration des pratiques culturales, une prise en compte de la question foncière, etc.

Ce forum de trois jours, a ete rythmé par des des sous-thèmes, comme le financement de l’agriculture africaine, la jeunesse et les technologies agricoles, les nouvelles initiatives pour promouvoir les Pme africaines, le développement d’un agrobusiness inclusif...

FARA and UniBRAIN hosted a side event at the AgriBusiness Forum 2012: 6 UniBRAIN incubees to present their projects!

Joint Ministerial Conference of Agriculture and Trade (JMCAT)

26 and 27 November 2012Meeting of senior officials and experts of trade and agriculture
29 and 30 November 2012 – Conference of Ministers of Agriculture and Ministers of Trade.

The two day Ministerial Conference themed, “Boosting intra African trade: a key to agricultural transformation and ensuring food and nutrition security,'' reviewed progress on implementation of continental agriculture and trade development initiatives and revisit efforts from the two sectors that impact on intra-African Trade, agricultural transformation and achievement of food security in the continent.
  1. Session 1. Joint expert session to review and consider reports and issues that affect both agriculture and trade.
  2. Session 2a. Trade expert’s session to review and consider the reports.
  3. Session 2b. Agriculture expert session to review and consider the reports.
The Joint Ministerial tried to:
  • Identify synergies, linkages and complementarities in on-going initiatives in agriculture and trade development (CAADP, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Frameworks, Aid for Trade, Grow Africa, African 
  • Agribusiness and Agroindustries Development Initiative-3ADI, etc).
  • Agree on areas of immediate follow up actions at country and sub-regional levels, including coordination mechanisms between Ministries of Agriculture and Ministries of Trade at Member State level, also linked to those at the level of Regional Economic Communities.
  • Build consensus on specific programmatic areas, approaches and actions for high-level political engagement with the AU Heads of State and Government, meeting next time in January 2013.
The Commissioner of Rural Economy and Agriculture, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace on her part indicated that the issues of agricultural production and trade are two interlinked matters that the continent has not made best use of. “Africa has great potentials in agriculture and trade. We must ensure that what is produced is traded, but we haven’t done much about trade within Africa,” the commissioner said.

The Commissioner also said that intra-African trade of agricultural products is very low while most agricultural products in the continent are imported from countries outside of the continent.

“Africa trades more with the outside world rather than with itself. Africa’s trade values are close to $40 billion to $60 billion with the outside world,” said the Commissioner, “had this money been invested within, it would have a crucial value in the development of agriculture,” she added.

She also stated that adding value and trading strategic commodities such as wheat would enable Africans to feed themselves. According to her, the conference is to focus on filling the gap for challenges in agricultural production and trading, employment in agricultural production as well as value chain in agricultural products.

The Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture, Wondirad Mandefro, mentioning Ethiopia’s experience indicated that value chain plays an important role in trading agricultural products for African nations. He also said that Ethiopia promotes cotton, sugar and palm as value added products in its agricultural market.

“Africa lacked the capacity to subsidize its small scale farmers who feed the majority of its population. Africa needs the support of the developed nations on how best it can support its smallscale farmers to achieve food security.”

Wondirad also said that the AU’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), provides with the necessary framework to shape agricultural policies for countries on the continent.

ECDPM Briefing Notes:
The Joint Ministerial was originally scheduled to take place from 29 October to 2 November, but was postponed. This came as a surprise, announced only four days before the start of the meetings in Addis. According to the related AU press release, the reason was the low response and confirmation of attendance by AU Member States. This is worrying, since apparently some African Ministers were not available to start working on the integration of trade and agriculture policies for achieving food security on the continent. Although the postponement may also have been related to the insufficiently advanced technical preparations (background papers, etc.), there is a clear risk that the Ministerial Conference only produces a Declaration, without real commitment or follow-upand very slow implementation. This happened before in other important areas for the development of the Continent (including regional integration and the CFTA itself), and should be avoided.

ECDPM blog Talking points, 07/12/2012. African trade and agriculture ministers sow a seed for closer cooperation. A number of important commitments by Ministers and requests for further work are worth emphasis:
  • Accelerating implementation of the Plan of Action for Boosting Intra-Africa Trade in both agricultural commodities and processed food products. Hopefully this will lead to an early deal to liberalise key regional food staples markets, which could bring a significant ‘early harvest’ from negotiations for aContinental Free Trade Area;
  • Ensuring that the national and regional compacts and investment plans of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP, i.e. the continent-wide agriculture initiative under implementation in most African countries) are the instruments to define and operationalize trade-agriculture collaboration, and enhancing inter-ministerial Working Groups at national and Regional Economic Communities levels;
  • Strengthening the capacity of relevant institutions and producers to effectively participate in these innovative practices and monitor their impact at country level;
  • Mandating the African Union Commission, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency and the Regional Economic Communities to institutionalize policy dialogue aimed at realizing synergies between agriculture and trade sectors

BBC World Debate Why Poverty?

26 November 2012. BBC. Why is that despite all our advancements, technological progress and increasing wealth, the twin scourges of extreme poverty and inequality still blight the lives of vast numbers of people in the 21st Century?

Joined by the former British prime minister Tony Blair, Oby Ezekwesili, a former Nigerian government minister, Vandana Shiva, a scientist and grassroots activist from India and the South African author Moeletsi Mbeki, Zeinab Badawi hosts the BBC World Debate from Johannesburg.

This Debate is part of a global event hosted by the BBC and 50 other broadcasters around the world. The debate explores the causes of and cures for the enduring problem of severe poverty which still affects many people in the world.

It was recorded in front of a live audience in Johannesburg earlier this year.

Part 1 The causes of poverty
Part 2 The need for opportunity
Part 3 The prospects for Africa
Part 4 The importance of agriculture
Part 5 Possible solutions

CTA Strategic Youth Stakeholder Workshop

14th to 16th November 2012 in Wageningen, The Netherlands. About 25 young professionals, youth champions from ACP countries and partners from international organizations working on Youth in Agriculture and Rural Development were brought together by the CTA to participate in its Strategic Youth Stakeholder Workshop.

CTA presented key elements of its 2011-2015 Strategic Plan abd the Youth in agriculture activities it has been undertaking in three key areas (youth in agricultural science and research, youth in agriculture policies, youths and ICTs).

Some of the organisations which were represented during the workshop included: Yam-Pukri, CARICOM, Caribbean Regional Agricultural Policy Network (CARPAN), Biosecurity Authority of Fiji, Savannah Young Farmers Network, Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), Ndola Youth Resource Center, University of Nairobi, FAO, IFAD, Young Professionals' Platform for Agricultural Research for Development (YPARD), African Youth Forum (AFY), Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), SangoNet, International Labor Organization (ILO), and Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN).

During the 3-day workshop, the participants shared their experiences allowing for an improved understanding on key issues and initiatives undertaken in ACP countries. With this information, recommendations on the strategic focus areas targeted by CTA youth activities will be validated and potential project ideas, collaborative initiatives and partnerships for future actions will also be identified.