Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Roundtable on Sustainable African Agriculture and CAADP 2014 review

28 November 2013. Brussels. A joint ECDPM-APRODEV workshop was organised around Sustainable African Agriculture and CAADP 2014 review

The discussed themes were:

  1. Land and Water resource management
  2. Seeds
  3. Participatory research
  4. Family women farming

concept note

The objective of this roundtable was to bring together key (AU and EU) stakeholders to discuss issues that are central to sustainable agricultural development and their implications for the CAADP process: land, research, seeds, family and women farming. The timing is right as several key policy processes are currently under review, both at European Union (EU) and African Union (AU) level. Furthermore agriculture will be high on the international agenda in 2014 as it will be the AU Year of Agriculture and Food Security the UN General Assembly has declared it the Year of Family Farming.

The results of this roundtable will hopefully inform the 2014 review of the CAADP framework, currently underway under the leadership of the AU.

Background reading
Concept note
Agricultural Research in Africa: Why CAADP should follow IAASTD
Synopsis on seven international food security and rural development strategies
Lobby Brief on EU Horizon 2020 on research for sustainable agriculture
Lobby Brief on EU CAP Reform 2013 on mitigation GRG emissions
The Role of European Development Finance Institutions in land grabs
Emerging Economies and the Changing Dynamics in African Agriculture: What Role for CAADP?
Dan Lui, Anna Rosengren, Quentin de Roquefeuil, ECDPM Discussion Paper 145, June 2013
The CAADP and Emerging Economies: The Case of Ghana and Brazil
Quentin de Roquefeuil, ECDPM Discussion Paper 146, June 2013
The CAADP and Emerging Economies: The Case of Tanzania
Anna Rosengren, ECDPM Discussion Paper 147, July 2013
The Enriching Business of Nutrition. Market-based Partnerships and Regional Approaches to Nutrition: What Role for CAADP?
Bruce Byiers, Simona Seravesi, ECDPM Discussion Paper 149, July 2013
EU Policy Coherence for Food Security: Aligning Parallel Agendas
Paul Engel, Brecht Lein, Jeske van Seters, Bas van Helden, ECDPM Discussion Paper 153, October 2013
We can create local wealth and jobs and Governments should support family farming more effectively, say West African farmers
Fabien Tondel, Jeske van Seters, ECDPM Talking Points Blog, 26 September 2013
Challenges for Africa-EU Relations 2014

A keynote speaker under the third theme was: Roger Leakey, previously with CGIAR, author of “Living with the Trees of Life”

Living with the Trees of LifeTowards the Transformation of Tropical Agriculture
By R Leakey, Professor of Agroforestry and Novel Crops Unit, James Cook University, Australia

In his book, Dr. Leakey explores a particularly promising innovation—agroforestry. Agroforestry consists of a wide range of practices that integrate trees in farming systems.

In Living with the Trees of Life, Dr. Leakey suggests that farmers in tropical areas of Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Oceania domesticate indigenous trees as cash crops to foster both increased biodiversity and economic opportunities. With increased diversification, agroecosystems will provide habitats for wildlife, improve soil erosion, protect watersheds, and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, helping to mitigate climate change. The only obstacle in implementing these agricultural innovations, Leakey argues, is a lack of political will and appropriate policies.

Dr. Roger Leakey is currently Vice Chairman of the International Tree Foundation and Vice President of the International Society of Tropical Foresters. He has served as the Director of Research at theInternational Centre for Research in Agroforestry (now the World Agroforestry Centre) and coordinating lead author of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development. According to Leakey, his extensive background in tropical, multifunctional agriculture and his personal experiences in tropical rural villages are the basis for his new book.

Read more about Living with the Trees of Life here. Posts about Dr. Leakey’s work: An Evergreen Revolution: Using Trees to Nourish the Planet, Trees as Crops in Africa, Where Would You Like to See More Agricultural Funding Directed?

Roger Leakey was Professor of Agroecology and Sustainable Development of the James Cook University, in Cairns, Australia (2001-2006); Head of Tropical Ecology at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Edinburgh, UK (1997-2001) and Director of Research at the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (now the World Agroforestry Centre 1993-1997). Currently he is Vice Chairman of the International Tree Foundation, a UK registered charity and Vice President of the International Society of Tropical Foresters.

He was born in Kenya and educated at Marlborough College in England before becoming an agriculturalist (NDA and CDA from Seale Hayne Agricultural College (1964-67 including 18 months practical farm work in England, Sweden and Scotland); B.Sc. Hons. in Agricultural Botany (University of Wales 1967-1970), Ph.D. in the physiology of perennial weeds while working at the ARC Weed Research Organization (University of Reading 1970-1974).

Between 2006 and 2008, he was a Coordinating Lead Author in the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD). This Assessment examined the impact of agricultural knowledge, science and technology on environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development worldwide over the last 50 years. To meet the challenges agriculture is facing it has to become more multidisciplinary and embrace food production within a more integrated approach in order to achieving environmental, social and economic goals.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Side-event to EU-Africa HLPD on role of STI in promoting Food Security

28 November 2013. Brussels. The event focused on bi-regional STI cooperation in promoting food security. This half-day side event, focused on the role of STI in promoting food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture.

The event was organised alongside the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation in Brussels. Several events took place the same week, for more information click here.

The programme provided an overview of existing and promising joint EU-Africa science, technology and innovation initiatives in the field of food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture like:
Philip C Stevenson (NRI)
presenting ADAPTT
  1. PAEPARD: Platform for African European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development. Funded by the Food Security Thematic Programme of the EU’s Development Cooperation Instrument, and erected under the EU’s 6th Framework Programme. 
  2. The Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Programme of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, led by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). Funded by a consortium of donors. 
  3. ADAPPT: African Dryland Alliance for Pesticidal-Plant Technologies: A network for optimising
    and promoting the use of indigenous botanical knowledge for food security and poverty alleviation in Africa. Funded by the ACP-EU Cooperation Programme in Science and Technology. 
  4. CAAST-NET Plus: Advancing SSA-EU cooperation in research and innovation for global challenges. Funded by the EU’s 7th Framework Programme. IntensAfrica: A research partnership between Europe and Africa on sustainable intensification of agri-food systems. 
  5. IntensAfrica: A research partnership between Europe and Africa on sustainable intensification of agri-food systems.
  6. Philippe Petithuguenin (CIRAD)
    presenting IntensAfrica
  7. Validation and dissemination of bio intensive eco-friendly management strategies for thrips – a critical constraint to cowpea production in Africa. Funded by the African Union Research Grants Programme.
Below is the presentation made by PAEPARD:


29 November 2013, Brussels Belgium. The European and African Union Commissions held the 2nd High Level Policy Dialogue with a special focus on the role of science, technology and innovation in ensuring “Food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture (including water)”. An integrated approach is taken recognising the important cross-cutting nature of innovation/ entrepreneurship, research infrastructures and technical competence building.

Agricultural sector occupies a pivotal and central position in Africa's social and economic development dynamics. The dialogue expressed a strong conviction that science and technology can bring about enhanced productive and efficient food and agricultural sector on the continent which is central for economic growth, wealth creation, food and nutrition security, as well as political stability. In 2003 the Heads of State and Government launched the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), as a common framework for boosting agriculture on the continent, through strategic investment plans and programmes.

See also SciDev article 08/12/2013: Africa and EU team up on food and farming research

See reference to PAEPARD on p.34 + p.49
See reference to PAEPARD from page 2 to page 4.
application/pdf iconAgenda for the Side Event (En)
See reference to PAEPARD on page 2
The ‘way forward’ sets out the short-, medium- and long-term steps and milestones towards the implementation of a long-term jointly funded research and innovation partnership (flagship) between the EU and Africa. As a first priority area of Cooperation, “food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture” has been chosen.
Medium-term milestone (by end 2017)
The establishment of a framework of enhanced coordination in the domain of STI for food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture, making the landscape less scattered, increasing coherence, scale and impact while building on existing efforts (e.g. through clustering) and promoting synergy between and co-ownership of all stakeholders and financing instruments. Therefore, this medium-term partnership could be based on the era-net model following the successful example of the ERAfrica project or any alternative model that serves the purpose and has proven impact. 

Strengthening agricultural innovation systems in smallholder farming in Africa

26 November 2013. Brussels, Belgium. European Commission's DG DEVCO. Lunchtime Conference: Research serving development – "Strengthening agricultural innovation systems in smallholder farming in Africa"
  • How does innovation actually happen in smallholder farming? 
  • How can research advance the innovation process? 
  • How do European and African research, innovation and development actors cooperate in this domain? 
Research on these issues is key both to support food and nutrition security and to inform development policy-making. Examples from the SREC platform (rural communities, environment and climate in West Africa) and the FP7 funded projects JOLISAA and INSARD demonstrated this during a lunchtime conference..


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Panels related to ARD @ the European Development Days

26th - 27th November 2013. Brussels. European Development Days. 20 auditorium sessions were broadcast via live web-streaming. Here under are the panels related to ARD:

Resilience-building for improved food security and nutrition
CTA/IFPRI/PAFO/EC High-level panel on Resilience-building.
Understanding the multi-faceted dimensions of food security, nutrition and resilience is crucial. Smallholders account for a large share of vulnerable and food insecure populations. To reduce and manage risks they need access to technologies and practices that reduce yield variability, as well as financial services and policies to adapt to climate change. Investments in disease-resistant crop varieties to reduce vulnerability to crop losses have improved food and nutrition security.

Food security and food justice: Building blocks for a just and sustainable global food system
The panel discuss which policy shifts are needed to address these challenges. Which kind of agricultural development is desirable and most effective to feed the world in 2030, and does not add additional stress to the environment and the global climate? The panel should thus advance the discussion on the environmental sustainability of the food system, in particular in view of converging MDGs and SDGs in the post 2015 framework and help in better defining the EU’s contribution to transforming the global food system with the ultimate goal of achieving food security in a just and sustainable way.

Boosting resilience, food and nutrition security through innovative partnerships
Effectiveness and resilience can be enhanced by promoting economic growth. Innovative partnerships encompassing the private sector, development agencies, civil society, governments and researchers are a promising approach to achieve this. But first, best practices and potential pitfalls in high-level partnerships must be identified, together with safety mechanisms to protect the most vulnerable stakeholders.
Food, fuel and fibre – how can we ensure healthy land for future generations
Members of the panel gave their views on the growing threat of land degradation, the measures that can be taken to combat it and the environmental, social and economic benefits of doing so.
Leveraging private sector and trade for inclusive and sustainable development
The panel analysed the challenges faced when working with the private sector. It then highlighted potential benefits of Trade Facilitation and Trade Capacity Building advisory, especially for SMEs. Discussants will showcase tools to effectively engage with the private sector and will prioritize next steps needed to overcome the obstacles discussed. The debate explored the necessary conditions for fruitful public-private cooperation to catalyse trade-related reforms and achieve development results.

Besides a number of labs related to Agriculture in Africa were organised:

Agriculture in Africa today
The project is a collaborative effort between the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank, Cornell University, Yale University and the Maastricht School of Management.

Improve livelihoods by sustainable trade
By leveraging and accelerating the investments of European private sector companies, EU Member States contribute to the public good through trade by upgrading and integrating large groups of smallholder farmers and local MSMEs into commercial supply chains. Building on the drive of these parties to upgrade supply origins in line with demand opportunities in regional and international markets, public leverage funding contributes towards strengthened cooperation and impact on the ground.

Upscaling climate risk assessments
The Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre has developed interactive approaches to inform and apply climate risk assessments, which are used by a wide variety of actors, from smallholder communities in Africa to the World Bank and IFAD. This interactive session will (i) feature brief examples from the field, showing how local risk assessments can directly inform policy and practice, (ii) present tools to overcome uncertainties and link information to action, and then (iii) ask participants to brainstorm solutions to enhance the integration of climate risk assessments into decision-making at all scales.

Climate financial instruments
This brainstorming session aims to identify good practices and standards to enhance both the effectiveness and the supervision of innovative mechanisms.

Small farmers, big business?
Drawing from the experience of the “Small Farmer Big Business Platform” initiated by GIZ, UNIDO, SNV, COLEACP and AFD, this brainstorming session will discuss how innovative public-private partnerships can join efforts, benefit from synergies, and create up-scalable business models that promote inclusive agricultural growth as well as food and nutrition security.

Public Private Partnerships (PPPs): Have we considered all the implications?
In this session, COLEACP wishes to share its 12 years of experience as a private sector association supported by the European Development Fund (EDF), in building partnerships and working with African, Caribbean and Pacific private agriculture value chains.

Soil data and information for development
How to protect Africa’s soil resources? The first Soil Atlas of Africa, the result of a collaboration between the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and the Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation–EuropeAid, uses informative maps and texts and stunning photos to explore how to protect Africa’s soil resources

Strengthening the role of the private sector in achieving inclusive and sustainable growth
Stakeholder consultations on the future EU approach to private sector development and engagement of the private sector for development. DG DEVCO is working on defining a clear policy that formulates in more operational terms its strategy for implementing the directions given in the ‘Agenda for Change’ on working for and with the private sector in development cooperation. This session will provide a space for discussion of the issues and options that should be addressed in a future EU policy on private sector development and engagement with the private sector for achieving sustainable and inclusive growth.

Innovative solutions for food security
A problem-solving workshop to enhance resilience to the challenges of food insecurity. This session will provide an overview of the challenges, followed by small group brainstorming exercises to explore innovative solutions.

Innovative projects on sustainable energy access in Africa

25 November 2013. Brussels. On the occasion of the European Development Days in Brussels, WWForganised an evening debate where two of its main and innovative projects on sustainable energy access in Africa were presented.

WWF showed how together with the Indian Barefoot College it train grandmothers from Madagascar to become solar engineers and electrify their village and how a district in Uganda becomes a champion of renewable energy.

The first joint project "Turning Grandmothers into Solar Engineers" takes place in Madagascar, a country where more than 80% of the population still lives without electricity in 2013.

Seven Malagasy grandmothers were trained for six months at the Barefoot College in India, and will now start electrifying their villages with solar energy in the most remote areas of Madagascar. They will assemble and maintain solar systems at affordable costs for the communities. The project will have important positive impacts on health, education, empowering women and security in the villages.

Published on 25 Nov 2013 by WWF

WWF presented also its new report “Boa Nguvu: An African sustainable energy country” which showcases energy practices across Africa and demonstrates how the continent could move to a future of renewable energy.

This was followed by a debate on the ways international institutions, national governments, NGOs and businesses can collaborate to ensure modern energy services, community development and environmental protection for all.

Boa Nguvu: An AfricAan Sustainable energy country
Published in May 2013 by WWF-World Wide Fund for Nature
By Smail Khennas, Stuart Coupe and Jean-Philippe Denruyter
68 pages
Page 50 to 52 develops the theme Bio energy from waste and residues.

Monday, November 25, 2013

IFPRI-European Research Collaboration for Improved Food and Nutrition Security

25 November 2013. Brussels, Belgium. The all-day “Partnering for Impact: IFPRI-European Research Collaboration for Improved Food and Nutrition Security” workshop highlighted the achievements of the innovative research programs IFPRI and European partners have jointly undertaken.

The workshop supported a critical dialogue between researchers, development partners, policymakers, and implementers; discuss new ideas, approaches, and strategies for achieving impact through food policy research; and further contribute to the development of a meaningful post-2015 research agenda.

Event Agenda
Speaker Bios

A Joint European and African Research and Innovation Agenda on Waste Management

25th November 2013. Brussels. High-level conference A Joint European and African Research and Innovation Agenda on Waste Management “Economic Opportunities on Turning Waste into a Resource”. 

The high-level conference “Turning Waste into a Resource” is one of two events of the Project “A Joint African-European Research and Innovation Agenda on Waste Management”. This project is intended to identify joint European-African key research and development issues for waste management leading to a reduction in the environmental impact and promotion of the recycling and recovery of raw materials.

This conference brought together stakeholders and experts from Industry, Research and Academia and Governmental bodies from Africa and Europe, in order to tackle issues related to waste management, recycling and recovery of raw materials to explore the potential economic opportunities from the collaboration between Africa and Europe. It was intended to stimulate networking of stakeholders, share experience and knowledge on existing and potential research and innovation initiatives and business cases and enhance cooperation and partnerships in the joint challenges of waste management and recovery of raw materials.

The conference was accompanied by a brokerage event on innovative business and research activities in the field of waste management, recycling and recovery.

Related PAEPARD blog post:
June 26, 2013 Joint African-European Research & Innovation Agenda on Waste Management

WABEF : Western Africa Biowastes for Energy and Fertilizer
ACP-EU Cooperation Programme in Science and Technology II (S&T II)
Period: 01/02/2014 - 01/02/2017
Overall objectives
  • Build innovative and technical capacities in the field of anaerobic digestion technologies in Western Africa
  • Strengthen the capacities of government agencies, private sector and civil society to find, uptake existing technologies for anaerobic digestion of biowaste
  • Help improve the energy access of peri-urban and rural communities, and the energy supply of industrial parks through biogas production
  • Help produce local fertilizers for crops and ponds through bioslurry
  • Contribute to reduce the environmental impact of agricultural, industrial and municipal biowastes
  • Contribute to improve sanitation and water quality, to maintain soil fertility and to reduce deforestation
  1. Cirad, UR Recyclage et Risque
  2. Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), Dakar, Sénégal
  3. Institut Africain de Gestion Urbaine (IAGU), Dakar, Sénégal
  4. Songhai Regional Centre, Bénin
  5. Association d'entraide pour le développement rural (AEDR): Teriya Bugu, Mali
  6. Resource centre on urban agriculture & food security (RUAF) Foundation, Pays Bas

Saturday, November 23, 2013

knowledge platform between European, African and Chinese stakeholders on sustainable private investments in African agriculture

8 November 2013. ECDPM is planning to organise and facilitate an informal knowledge platform between European, African and Chinese stakeholders on sustainable private investments in African agriculture. The platform aims to strengthen mutual understanding and lesson learning, as well as provide a space for trust building and enhanced international partnerships. As Africa is preparing for the AU's Year of Food Security in 2014, the long term goal of ECDPM is to gradually build a platform for mutually beneficial partnerships for food security and agricultural development.

Ultimately, ECDPM aspires to create a forum that can help Africa respond more efficiently to its food security challenges, while also assisting public and private partners in further developing their support and contributions.

Background reading

Africa Adaptation Gap Technical Report :Climate-change impacts, adaptation challenges and costs for Africa

Africa Adaptation Gap Technical Report :Climate-change impacts, adaptation challenges and costs for Africa
November 2013. UNEP, 43 pages

Africa’s Adaptation Gap Report is a stark analysis of where Africa stands in relation to its adaptation goals and is a cautionary indicator of what may happen should the emissions gap remain - necessitating additional adaptation.

The Africa Adaptation Gap Report was accomplished to inform policymakers of the shortcomings and opportunities for adaptation to Climate Change in Africa. The results demonstrate how delaying action now will assuredly result in exponential costs down the road. Adaptation costs due to past emissions are revealed to be between USD 7-15 billion annually by 2020. 

The report’s conclusions demonstrate that - even where the emissions gap is closed and we get onto a pathway to hold warming below 2°C - by 2050 adaptation costs could hover around USD 35 billion per year. Analyses of present policies put the world on track to 3.5-4°C warming by 2100 are even more dispiriting and reveal that the cost of adaptation for Africa could reach USD 50 billion per year by 2050, still only halfway to the warming by 2100. This is hardly encouraging news for some of the world’s least developed countries.

DW Akademie invited to partake in an exclusive online, in-depth briefing with Mr Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on October 30, 2013. The interactive online conference was part of a five-week online training for journalists on issues regarding "Reporting Climate Change" held by DW Akademie. Workshop participants as well as other expert journalists with a focus on environmental issues had the chance to interview Achim Steiner on issues regarding the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP19/ CMP9 in Warsaw (11-22 November 2013).

Web session with Achim Steiner (UNEP) from DW Akademie on Vimeo.

Writeshops: A tool for packaging and sharing field-based experiences

Writeshops. A tool for packaging and sharing field-based experiences.

In recent years, development practitioners and organizations have come to discover and recognize the writeshop as an effective methodology for the documentation and distillation of project learning. A writeshop is a participatory and highly intensive process which involves bringing together authors, editors, artists, and desktop publishing specialists to produce a publication in a relatively short time.

Writeshops are characterized by critical reviews and revisions, involving peers and a diverse range of stakeholders and users. Writeshops have been found particularly useful in helping field workers and practitioners document their experiences, making field-based evidence more widely available.

Volume 1: Workshop proceedings / Julian Gonsalves and Ric Armonia (editors)

Volume 2: Case studies / Julian Gonsalves and Ric Armonia (editors)

Volume 3: A guide to organizing writeshops / Julian Gonsalves and Bernardette Joven (editors)

Three-volume series on various ways to use writeshops to capture experiences and translate them into a form that others can understand.

International Institute of Rural Reconstruction and International Potato Center - UPWARD, 2010. Produced with support from ENRAP (International Development Research Center (IDRC) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Do agricultural subsidies work?

Agricultural Input Subsidies.

The Recent Malawi Experience
Ephraim Chirwa and Andrew Dorward
Oxford University Press
First Edition published in 2013
320 pages

A new book by Future Agricultures members Ephraim Chirwa and Andrew Dorward offers an up-to-date review of theory and experience of agricultural input subsidies in low income countries.

Agricultural Input Subsidies: The Recent Malawi Experience includes a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the Malawi Agricultural Input Subsidy Programme.

The authors aim to contribute to a greater understanding of the roles, contributions, and pitfalls of agricultural input subsidies as instruments for promoting food security, poverty reduction, social protection, and wider economic growth in poor agrarian economies. The specific objectives are
  • to update and develop theoretical understanding of agricultural input subsidies’ impacts, allowing for new delivery systems and instruments and specific constraints inhibiting the livelihoods of poor subsistence farmers and the economies of which they are a major part;
  • to derive from Malawi’s experience lessons about the implementation and impacts of a large-scale agricultural input subsidy programme, with specifi c focus on the contextual, design, and implementation determinants of economy-wide, benefi ciary, and market impacts; and
  • to promote debate about strategic policy decisions in the design of large-scale agricultural input subsidies in contemporary low income agrarian economies, including targeting and graduation, to foster their sustainable contribution to agricultural development and poverty reduction.
Open Access version – free to download (pdf)
Buy the book from Oxford University Press
More research on input subsidies

Harnessing Collaborative Technologies

As part of the research, they looked at more than 170 different technological tools now available to funders, dove deeply into the literature on philanthropic collaboration, analyzed the results of recent Foundation Center surveys, and spoke with a wide range of experts from the worlds of both technology and philanthropy.

The report’s main headlines won’t come as a huge surprise to anyone: 
  1. more than ever before, funders are recognizing that they will need to collaborate to effectively to address the complex, intractable problems that we now face, and 
  2. new technologies—from simple group scheduling tools to comprehensive online collaboration workspaces—are now available to help facilitate the often challenging process of working together.
But there’s a deeper story beneath the headlines: about how these emerging technologies are enabling new types collaborations that weren’t possible (or at least much were more difficult) just a few years ago.

The Harnessing Collaborative Technologies report helps readers make sense of the dizzying array of technologies that are now available to help those engaged in both low- and high-intensity collaborations by parsing the different collaborative needs of funders. How can new tools help funders learn and get smarter about the issues they care about? How can the technologies help you find and connect with potential partners? How can they help you transact business together? Which technologies can help you assess collective progress and measure outcomes? The report encourages funders to start with these collaborative needs rather than with the technologies themselves, to ensure that solutions fit the wants, requirements, and limitations of users.

Harnessing Collaborative Technologies also provides a set of principles that offer guidance for tool developers and funders about how to make thoughtful choices when investing in the creation and adaptation of new tools that facilitate collaborative work.

By getting smarter about how we develop and use these collaborative tools, we have an opportunity to alleviate some of the “friction in the system” that has made working together—even in lower intensity ways—difficult until now. And in doing so, we can ease the path to collaboration and help aggregate resources and effort that can match the scale of the problems we now face.

This is the link to a very easy to use website

Home | Harnessing Collaborative Technologies

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Agribusiness Directory of Uganda

The Agribusiness Directory of Uganda is a product of Agasha Group Limited (formerly Agasha Business Network), an internet marketing agency that promotes mainly African products, services and brands in the growing global market.

Next year Agasha Group Limited will publish the regional Agribusiness Directory East Africa including Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Ethiopia

The network was set up to support African Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) with few options of accessing international markets due to limited capital and technical knowledge for sustaining a simple website. 

Through AgaSha online platform and offline events, these businesses are able to expose products and services demanded or offered in the region. Additionally, AgaSha connects companies and individuals interested in African market of over 1 billion people. The agency generates money mainly through advertisements and special memberships among other means. 

Agasha Business Network was found in May 2010 by Sharon Againe and it is legally registered under the laws of the Republic of Uganda, East Africa.
  • In 2008, Sharon Againe (Founder of AgaSha Business Network) carried out her junior-year internship in Africa as Alumni Volunteer Consultant to Technoserve, Mozambique and was involved in determining the productivity of honey in the Gorogonsa District. During her internship, she was concerned by the plight of honeybee farmers in the community.
  • On finishing her internship, Sharon decided to focus her EARTH University graduation research project on small businesses in the community of Siquirres, Costa Rica. She carried out a study to determine the feasibility of setting up recycling centers of domestic wastes in communities. One of the challenges that the potential project beneficiaries presented was how to get connected to the buyers who are mainly based in the capital city of San Jose.
  • Sharon, an agronomist by training, decided to dive into internet marketing by developing a pilot project of AgaShaKnows Business Directory which later evolved into an intergated business networking platform of AgaSha, where businesses grow.
Interview with Sharon Againe, Director of Agasha Business Network - An internet based company that connects Africa to the global market through internet media.

Published on 6 Feb 2013 The video features Sharon Againe (Founder of AgaSha Business Network) a finalist of the ICCO BID network "women in competition", a competition for women in developing countries. She was one of the five finalists and therefore invited to the Netherlands.


'Talks that Matter', a new ICCO Cooperation initiative, was held on November 13. A select group of international experts debated on the subject of 'Farming by choice or default? The future of smallholder farming in developing countries'.
Talks that Matter is held twice a year and debates on subjects related to the working field of the cooperative and its stakeholders. After the General Members Meeting of the cooperative the first edition of Talks that Matter was held at the Global Office in Utrecht. All seats were taken and the atmosphere was good.

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Rwanda has awarded ICCO Cooperation funding (€ 2 million: 2013 – 2015) for the development of an Agri-Sector Development Facility (ASDF).  

ICCO Cooperation will be the lead agency and host of the secretariat of a network of Dutch organizations and enterprises active in agri-sector development in Rwanda, called Agri-ProFocus Rwanda.

Announcement: Agtube will be launched before the end of 2013

20 November 2013. Agtube will be launched before the end of 2013. This portal is where you can upload videos about agriculture for sharing with the agricultural community.  Keep checking the news section of Access Agriculture for the latest.

Access Agriculture also aims to support new productions and more local language translations. For those without internet access and to ensure the DVDs end up in the villages where farmers can organise themselves to watch the videos whenever they like, major distribution of the hard-copy DVDs is planned through a wide variety of outlets: rural radio networks, research and extension agencies, farmers' organisations, development organisations and Chambers of Agriculture.

Here are the links to two new videos made the Malian partners:
Row planting of sesame
Enriched porridge

And the French versions:
Semis en ligne du sésame
Bouillie enrichie


Agro Insight blog: Agro-Insight is co-founder of the international NGO Access Agriculture, which facilitates the production, translation, distribution and use of quality, local language, farmer training videos in developing countries. It publishes regular backgrounds to the produced videos.

See related stories in: New Agriculturalist and in: Nourishing the Planet

Showcasing its video-sharing platform at the ICT4Ag conference in Kigali earlier this month, Access Agriculture attracted a lot of interest. Delegates expressed their confidence in the organisation to support sustainable agriculture through its unique communication model, namely by putting quality training videos into the hands of the thousands of advisory service providers and millions of farmers across developing countries.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Malawi Programme for Aflatoxin Control (MAPAC)

The Malawi Programme for Aflatoxin Control (MAPAC) (September 2013, 54 pages) , developed in this document, represents an initial effort to create a shared vision, prioritize entry points and create mechanisms for effective coordination and collaboration of aflatoxin control in the country.

The program is proposed as a tool for collaborative advantage in the fight against aflatoxins in Malawi, contributing to the achievement of established nutrition and health; trade; and agriculture and food security objectives.

MAPAC is proposed as the national platform/forum on which collaboration and synergies among government agencies and relevant stakeholders can be built upon. It is also a channel/conduit to facilitate the implementation of regional strategies and aflatoxin-related efforts in the country.

This proposal analyses key capacity needs and gaps (based on existing government and development partner programmes / interventions), identifies critical components of a collaborative programme for aflatoxin control, and outlines implementation strategies and recommendations for follow-up by various stakeholders. This initial proposal gathers the views of several stakeholders consulted during the preparation phase (see Annex 1). It is the result of a preliminary, concerted effort towards advancing collaborative advantage for aflatoxin control in the country. But, while MAPAC is a response to the need for concerted action, it is at the same time a call for it.

Related PAEPARD blog post:
5 November 2013. IFPRI Policy Seminar "Aflatoxins: Finding Solutions for Improved Food Safety" 

19 November 2013 Webinar on Aflatoxin Risk Management
Speakers: Andrew Emmott (Twin); Isaac B. Gokah (MAPAC); Julian Smith (Fera)
About the Webinar:

Andrew Emmott, 

Senior Manager (Nuts) at Twin
In recent years, a pan-African initiative has emerged, the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA), which is managed by the African Union through the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP). This webinar explores the approach taken by Malawi, through the Malawi Programme for Aflatoxin Control (MAPAC), to develop a framework aligned to PACA that seeks to address the challenges of monitoring, managing and mitigating aflatoxin risks in maize and groundnuts. The webinar will also look at the work of Twin and FERA and how their assistance to the coordinators of MAPAC is helping to raise the profile of their plan. >>Learn More

The first ROPPA Business Forum

29th – 31st October 2013. Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. ROPPA organised together with the West African private sector, a Business Forum to foster private sector investments into West Africa’s agriculture and promote partnerships with farmers and producers.

Under the patronage of HE the President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, over 200 participants representing both farmers and producers’ organisations and the West African and international private sector participate in:
  • Thematic panels regarding factors needed to improve productivity and competitiveness of agricultural and food products in West Africa, including specifically: partnerships between farmers’ organisations and the private sector, enabling environment for successful contracting, major challenges and opportunities for inclusive business models and effective value chains.
  • Training on contracting and “Business to Business” (B2B) meetings specifically designed for farmers’ organisations to support them in further developing attractive offers for private sector investment.
  • Sharing best practices, information and institutional financial advice related to trade in agricultural and food products in West Africa.
  • The second day was dedicated to B2B sessions and over a hundred bilateral meetings are already under preparation. 
ROPPA Business Forum’s partners included: ECOWAS, UEMOA, EU, IFAD, AGRA, SDC, FAO, CILSS, CTA, Grow Africa, Council of Employers, AFD, CORAF, EDITO. A 2nd Farmers Business Forum will take place in Ghana in 2014. The exact date will be announced later.
ROPPA is working to establishing the Farmers University, a mechanism aimed at systemactically strengthening the capacities of its members for their effective engagement in future Business for and in business partnerships with actors from PS sector in general. The key areas of focus identified for the first three years of the Farmers Universities are the following:
  • adovocacy for enhanced business environment in West Africa
  • strengthening of the seed sector, and
  • organizational management capacity building including value chain analysis, quality of produce, etc. 

Related: On the 2nd October 2013, Kalilou Sylla (Executive Secretary, ROPPA) held a presentation on “the progress of Maputo commitments towards agriculture in West Africa” as part of the Brussels Briefing on the ‘Drivers of success for agricultural transformation in Africa’ organized by CTA Brussels at the Borschette Congress Center in Brussels.

Video Guest: Kalilou Sylla (Executive Secretary, ROPPA, West Africa) from CTA on Vimeo.

Monday, November 18, 2013

UNEP report highlights emissions gap

5 November 2013. In its annual Emissions Gap Report, UNEP (November 2013, 37 pages) says that countries' existing emission pledges, if fully implemented, will help reduce emissions to below the business-as-usual level in 2020, but not to a level consistent with the 2°C limit, thus leaving a considerable and growing "emissions gap".

To help bridge the gap, the European Union will be pressing at Warsaw climate conference for progress towards concrete measures to raise the ambition of near-term global climate action in order to cut world emissions further before 2020.

The Report presents the latest estimates of the emissions gap in 2020 and provides plentiful information about:
  • current (2010) and projected (2020) levels of global greenhouse gas emissions, both in the absence of additional policies and consistent with national pledge implementation
  • the implications of starting decided emission reductions now or in the coming decades
  • agricultural development policies that can help increase yields, reduce fertilizer usage and bring about other benefits, while reducing emissions of greenhouse gases
  • international cooperative initiatives that, while potentially overlapping with pledges, can complement them and help bridge the emissions gap

African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) at COP19/CMP9

17 November 2013. Warsaw, Poland. The Conference of African Ministers on Environment was held in preparation for the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 9th Session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP9).

The conference discussed issues related to the current negotiation position of Africa. It took stock of the outcomes of at least two preparatory events that preceded COP19 – the Conference of African Environment Ministers which met in Gaborone, Botswana and the Third Annual Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa (CCDA III). Both events were held in October, a month before COP19.
  • Calls for the provision of adequate means of implementation, including finance, technology transfer and capacity-building, to enable Africa to address its adaptation needs in particular, has been one of the staples on Africa’s menu at virtually every COP for the last decade.
  • So too have been calls on developed country parties to urgently scale up support for the implementation of adaptation measures and national adaptation plans, particularly through the Cancun Adaptation Framework and the Nairobi Work Programme.
  • In Warsaw, Africa also wants developed countries to support and expedite work to understand, reduce and compensate for loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including its impacts on agriculture. Furthermore, they have called for a well structured standing body with technical and financial facility, clear functions, relevant national points and a trust fund to address loss and damage.
Most of these issues were extensively dealt with at CCDA III, says Tom Owiyo, one of ECA’s scientists who explains that the conference provided a platform to play back critical issues in the negotiations to seek contribution from a larger audience from across Africa, as well as fine-tune science-informed positions on a number of negotiation tracks.

PARTICIPANTS: African Ministers, AU Commission, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Ministers of AU Member States, Civil Society Organizations, Development Partners, Regional Institutions, and National Experts, among others. Only two heads of states from Africa are attending: President Mulatu Teshhome of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, the President of the United Republic of Tanzania.

18 November 2013. Interview with Kurt Lonsway of the African Development Bank. Below is an older interview with Interview with Kurt Lonsway of AFDB on 28/08/2012.

Interview with Kurt Lonsway - "Taking Stock of Bank Activities in Energy, Environment and Climate Change" - African Development Bank

Around one thousand people gathered in central Warsaw on Saturday to call on world leaders to step up action on climate change. Warsaw hosts the UN climate conference this week. Amid a heavy police presence, 3000 people walked from the Palace of Culture in the centre of the city to the National Stadium, where the UN conference is taking place.

See further
Whitfield, S. (2013) Uncertainty, ignorance and ambiguity in crop modelling for African agricultural adaptation.Climatic Change
Okali, C. and Naess, L.O. (2013) Making Sense of Gender, Climate Change and Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa Working Paper 57