Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Impact of Chinese, Indian and Brazilian Investments on Agricultural Development in Africa

Agricultural Development and Food Security in AfricaThe Impact of Chinese, Indian and Brazilian Investments
Edited by Fantu Cheru and Renu Modi
Zed Books 8/08/2013, 263 pages

The subject of food security and land issues in Africa has become one of increased importance and contention over recent years. In particular, the focus has shifted to the role new global South donors - especially India, China and Brazil - are playing in shaping African agriculture through their increased involvement and investment in the continent.

Approaching the topic through the framework of South-South co-operation, this highly original volume presents a critical analysis of the ways in which Chinese, Indian and Brazilian engagements in African agriculture are structured and implemented. Do these investments have the potential to create new opportunities to improve local living standards, transfer new technology and knowhow to African producers, and reverse the persistent productivity decline in African agriculture? Or will they simply aggravate the problem of food insecurity by accelerating the process of land alienation and displacement of local people from their land?

Topical and comprehensive, Agricultural Development and Food Security in Africa offers fresh insight into a set of relationships that will shape both Africa and the world over the coming decades.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Rebuilding West Africa's Food Potential:Policies and market incentives for smallholder-inclusive food value chains

Rebuilding West Africa's Food Potential:Policies and market incentives for smallholder-inclusive food value chains -7.8Mb
Edited by Aziz Elbehri
© FAO 2013
503 pages

This book offers an in-depth analyses of value chain policies, past and present in West Africa. The book contains a large number of in-depth case studies of food value chains in particular countries, including traditional export commodities (cocoa, cotton), high value exports (mangoes, horticulture) and the most important staple food value chains (oil palm, rice, maize, sorghum and millet and cassava) in the region. It also contains a large number of private and public initiatives, and thematic analyses relating to the role of the private agro-industry and producer organisations and their role as market agents.

The study argues that countries could benefit significantly from policy support that targets broader agricultural development and greater coordination among producers, private industry and the public and financial sectors.
 “Although some West African countries in the region are doing better than others, the region has lagged behind other parts of Africa in terms of basic infrastructure, investments, research and development and agricultural processing,” said FAO Senior Economist Aziz Elbehri, who edited the publication. 
The study reasons that the region should direct greater efforts to develop its staple food crops, which in the past had been sidelined in favour of a few export commodities. 
  • maize and cassava, two of the main pillars of West Africa’s food security, could form the backbone for a thriving agro-industry given their multiple market applications. 
  • There is a huge production deficit in rice in the region, which currently imports an unsustainable 70 per cent of what it consumes. “And yields of sorghum and millet – critically important for the food security of 100 million people in the Sahel – could double or triple with the help of improved seed varieties and fertilizer.” 
  • providing farmers with the means to boost the yields of staple food crops was not enough. 
The study also underscores the importance of continued investment in export crops such as cotton, coffee and cocoa, which play a significant role in generating income and employment, and flags tropical fruit and vegetables and other emerging niche products like sesame and cashew nuts as another viable area for export growth. 
  • among the hurdles that governments need to address are poor transport networks, excessive regulation and conflicting trade policies among different countries, all of which result in costly delays on West African trade routes. 
  • countries need to prioritize credit and resources for women, who had a central role in the staple food value chains of the region. 
“Whether rice parboiling in Burkina Faso, cassava production in Cameroon or small-scale oil palm processing in Ghana, much of the staple food production and processing in West Africa is carried out by women,” said Elbehri.

It also highlights the importance of strengthening farmers’ organizations, which put farmers in a stronger position to negotiate arrangements with suppliers and buyers and play a critical role in advocacy and policy dialogue. Its key recommendations are aimed at helping to accelerate implementation of the region’s national agricultural investment programmes under the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Regional Dialogue on Family Farming

11- 12 December 2013, Brussels, Belgium. FAO in collaboration with the World Rural Forum, the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), the World Farmers Organization (WFO) are hold a series of regional dialogues. The 66th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, declared 2014 as the “International Year of Family Farming” (IYFF) and invited FAO to facilitate its implementation, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.

Their outcomes will set the ground to provide regional overview of Family Farming issues that will be further discussed at the Global Forum and Expo on Family Farming to take place in Budapest on 4-7 March and be addressed in the IYFF Global Dialogue to be held in Rome in October 2014.

By focusing on the regional perspectives, Regional Dialogue for Europe and Central Asia will be complementary to the conference on "Family farming: A dialogue towards more sustainable and resilient farming in Europe and the world" organized by European Commission, which took place in Brussels, on 29 November 2013.

The Regional Dialogue of Family Farming for Europe was designed to:
  • Understand the “state-of-the art” on family farming in different parts of the Region in terms of opportunities and challenges, including existing policy environment.
  • Identify cases of successful family farming models at regional or country level including innovation, effective organizational models through producer organizations and cooperatives in each sub-region. 
  • Propose common priorities for the promotion of family farming in each sub-region.

Family Farming: a Europe and Central Asia Perspective
Sophia Davidova, Centre for European Agri-Environmental Studies (CEAS), University of Kent
Livestock Farmers at the Wheel of their Development 
Experience of yak herders in the Eastern Pamirs

PAEPARD ARD funding opportunities


Les Pays-Bas initient un fonds de 2 millions d’euros destiné à l’innovation dans agriculture. ASDF offre deux fenêtres de financement à savoir : le fonds pour l’innovation dans le secteur agricole (ASIF) et le fonds de renforcement des capacités et de financement des petits investissements (CaBIF).

Nutrition - Diversified Agriculture for balanced nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa 
The Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL) has launched a new funding instrument. BMEL seeks to strengthen the contribution of Germany’s agricultural research to the development of an efficient agricultural sector in partner-countries, by fostering long-term partnerships between agricultural research institutions in Germany and in developing countries especially in Africa. Deadline: 17 march 2013.

The Work Programme on ‘Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy’ offers opportunities in finding diverse 
and innovative solutions to well-identified challenges in key EU policy priorities. Through generic or dedicated topics, a broad multidisciplinary participation is welcomed in these efforts.
Specific topics related to Africa:
·         SFS-6-2014: Sustainable intensification pathways of agro-food systems in Africa (page 14) Deadline 26/06/2014
·         SFS-18-2015: Small farms but global markets: the role of small and family farms in food and nutrition security (page 29) Deadline First stage 24/02/2015
Info Day 2014 in Brussels, on 17 January 2014, from 9.00 am till 5.00 pm, at the "Charlemagne building, Rue de la Loi 170, Brussels",

The AFDB Agriculture Fast Track Fund aims to boost investment in African agriculture by providing grants up to US$ 1.5 million in support of African agribusiness. Grants can be used for feasibility studies, market research, financial modeling, business plan development, and environmental and social impact studies. The eligible pilot countries are Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, and Tanzania. The application deadline is 31 December 2013.

The EU-Egypt Innovation Fund supports consortia of European and Egyptian researchers for innovative projects in renewable energy, food production, aquatic resources, sustainable tourism, and other themes. The program is open to applicants that partner with at least six co-applicants. Applicants must be registered and based in Egypt. Funding will range from from €300 thousand to €750 thousand, subject to cost shares. Reference EuropeAid/135159/M/ACT/EG. The application deadline is 03 February 2014.

CTA is calling for proposals on innovations in use or have potential in smallholder agricultural production systems in ACP countries and which if known and widely promoted can benefit other farming communities. They have to reach CTA no later than 15 February 2014

The Agricultural Innovation MKTPlace is an international initiative supported by different partners aiming to link Brazilian, African and Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) experts and institutions to develop cooperative research projects for development.  This call was launched on 18th November 2013 and will be open till 18 February 2014.

Sida will fund partnerships between Swedish universities and Makerere University in Uganda. The aim is research strengthening at Makerere. The call is open to all Swedish and to participating institutions at Makerere University, including the colleges for agriculture and environmental sciences; natural resources; veterinary medicine and animal resources; and others. The deadline for submitting letters of intent is 19 February 2014.

The ESRC and DFID announced a research program to investigate the economic development impact of China's engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa. The scope includes research related to aspects of agriculture and natural resources, among other themes. The program encourages academics from developing and developed countries to work together in any configuration; principal investigators can be from anywhere in the world. The application deadline is 13 March 2014.

The UK's Royal Society collaborates with UK's DFID to strengthen the research capacity of universities and research institutions in sub-Saharan Africa through partnerships with the UK. Research priorities in the current round are water and sanitation; renewable energy; and soil-related research. Funding contributes towards research expenses, travel and subsistence costs, PhD training, and limited funds for equipment. The closing date for the first round of applications is 09 April 2014.

This Call for proposals invites consortia composed of private and public practitioners organisations and research organisations, from the 15 Dutch development partner countries and from the Netherlands, to submit project proposals for applied research for innovation. Of the 15 partner countries for Dutch international cooperation, following countries are from Africa: Benin, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, South Sudan, Uganda. A grant amounts to a minimum of 50,000 euro (for six months) to a maximum of 300,000 euro (for 36 months). Proposals can be submitted continuously during the course of this first Call for proposals. This Call closes at 15 April 2014.

The Innovation Fund for Ethiopia Agriculture invites proposals for innovative projects that link activities in agriculture and health in order to reduce food security and malnutrition. Applicants are Ethiopian NGOs and Ethiopian national or private research institutes, optionally working with external partners (external partners are limited to 25% of the total agreement). USAID anticipates making three awards, at least one of which will focus on pastoralist areas. Funding Opportunity APS-663-14-000002. The application deadline is 15 May 2014.

C L I M A T E  C H A N G E 

WASCAL (West African Science Service Center on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use) is a partnership of German and West African institutions for research and science-based advice on impacts, mitigation, and adaptation measures related to climate change. The program offers scholarships and research support to qualified candidates in WASCAL member countries. WASCAL's support for doctoral students (program West African Climate System) has a deadline of 31 December 2013.

The latest round of the Global Poverty Action Fund focuses on MDG-1 ("eradication of extreme poverty and hunger"), with a thematic focus on jobs and livelihoods. This GPAF funding round calls for proposals in both the Community Partnership window and the Impact window. The deadlines are 20 January 2014 for the Impact window, and 27 January 2014 for the Community Impact window.

The Nordic Climate Facility has launched a call for proposals on the theme of “Inclusive green growth projects contributing to private sector development.” Grants up to €500 thousand will be made to partnerships between relevant Nordic (Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland) institutions and qualified local partners in low-income countries. Co-financing of at least 20% is required. The application deadline is 31 January 2014.

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) announced two open calls for concept notes:
1) help develop its portfolio of work related to climate-smart agricultural practices, specifically around the area of local adaptation planning processes, and scaling up and out approaches (Flagship 1).
2) contribute to the resilience and adaptive capacity of agriculture through climate information services and climate-informed food security safety nets (Flagship 2).
Deadline for submission of the concept notes is 1 March 2014

The French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) announced a second call under FISP-Climat as an innovation facility to encourage private enterprise to use green technologies for fighting climate change in developing countries. The FFEM will support projects in climate mitigation and adaptation for up to €500 thousand per project . Proposals must include at least one private company. Projects can be located in ACP countries, with preference for North Africa and the Mediterranean region. The closing date is 09 February 2014.

The UK Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)  and the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) jointly sponsor research on Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL). PEDL encourages proposals which address cross-cutting issues such as climate, environment, and social compliance -- among others. PEDL currently invites applications for: (i) Exploratory Grants ranging between £10 thousand and £35 thousand; and (ii) Major Research Grants, with an average grant size of £300 thousand. The application deadlines are 31 January 2014 for Exploratory Grants, and 03 March 2014 for Major Grants.


Echoing Green helps emerging social entrepreneurs around the world with grants of seed capital and technical assistance to support their start-up organizations. Past grants include several that address renewable energy, waste management, smallholder farming, and other societal challenges of developing countries. The application period (Phase I) is 03 December 2013 through 06 January 2014.

IDEO is a nonprofit organization that uses design and innovation to address the challenges of poverty. IDEO invites applications from designers and from the social sector to apply human-centered design in projects related to several development subjects that include water and sanitation, agriculture, and others. There are no nationality restrictions. The deadline for applications is 06 January 2014.

USAID and Sida are collaborating to identify and accelerate innovations in science, technology, and business that improve water access and sustainability for increased food security and poverty alleviation. Organizations of any type or size are eligible to apply for funding, with a preference for applications submitted by local and international partners. Awards will range from US$100 thousand to US$3 million for awards up to three years. The submission period for concept papers is 27 November 2013 through 17 January 2014.

6th Call for Proposals. The EEP for Southern and East Africa announced a new call for projects in renewable energy. The focus is on promising local private projects that are close to commercial maturity, but need a limited amount of bridging finance. Projects should be implemented in one or more of the following countries: Botswana, Burundi, Kenya, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, or Zambia. Grants range from €200 thousand to €1 million, depending on co-financing shares. The submission deadline for concept notes is 15 January 2014.

The European Commission(EC)'s Research Directorate (FP7) will fund collaborative projects and networking through the program FORESTERRA. The two research themes include one on a regional approach to learn how global change affects Mediterranean forest ecosystems, and another on managing biodiversity in forest systems. Applications are made by consortia of organizations from the participating countries, including Algeria and Tunisia in North Africa. The application deadline is 15 January 2014.

The Darwin Initiative funds of the UK Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) for capacity building, training, research, and education in support of the three major conventions on biodiversity -- focusing on the developing world. The scoping awards cover travel costs to enable prospective partners to collaboratively develop an application for a Darwin project. Fellowships support participants in recent or current Darwin projects with opportunities to work towards formal qualifications or to develop policy skills. The application deadline for scoping awards and fellowships in Round 20 is 03 February 2014. Link Scoping    Link Fellowships 

The EU will fund projects to provide low-income areas in peri-urban zones of Malawi with improved water supply and sanitation services. Proposals may be submitted by organizations in the EU member states, the ACP countries (which include Malawi), and international organizations. All proposals must include at least one applicant or co-applicant from Malawi. Grants will range from €300 thousand to €1.5 million, subject to cost shares. Reference EuropeAid/135226/L/ACT/MW. The deadline for submissions is 21 February 2014.

The ARCOS Small Grants enhance collaboration to develop sustainable solutions for biodiversity and people, focusing on critical landscapes and watersheds of the Albertine Rift and the Great Lakes Region of East and Central Africa. The program is open to civil society organizations. Governments and for-profit actors cannot apply, but may participate as cooperation partners in the project, or in coalitions where a civil society organization is the main applicant. The maximum grants is US$5 thousand. Applications are received in two periods each year: 01 April to 15 May, and 01 August to 15 September 2014.

The Ekhaga Foundation (Sweden) makes grants for research in ecological agriculture and biological medicine. Universities, research institutes, etc., from all over the world are invited to apply, although Ekhaga recommends cooperation with a European institution. The deadline for applications is 31 May 2014.

The World Conservation Union in the Netherlands (IUCN-Netherlands) manages the Purchase of Nature program, funded by the Dutch Postal Code Lottery. The program provides grants of up to €85 thousand for the purchase and protection of threatened wildlife habitats and vulnerable ecosystems, mainly in tropical developing countries. The grants are to local conservation organizations in those countries. Pre-proposals are due before 01 May 2014.


With funding from Canada's IDRC, CAREG will support short-term exchanges between Canadian and African universities and research institutes in research themes that include agriculture and environment (among others). Grants of up to CAD$40 thousand are for joint projects between researchers in Canada and researchers in eligible African countries. The closing date for applications is 18 February 2014.

The Biosciences eastern and central Africa (BecA) Hub awards research fellowships to African agricultural researchers for short-term projects at the BecA-ILRI Hub in Nairobi. Candidates should be currently engaged in agricultural research and be affiliated with a national agricultural research program or university in the eligible countries. The Fund supports travel, accommodation, stipend, and research costs. The application deadline is 28 February 2014

Netherlands Organization for Cooperation in Higher Education (NUFFIC) offers opportunities for professionals in 50 developing countries to pursue masters degrees, PhD studies, and short courses in the Netherlands. Individuals applying for fellowships must be admitted to the relevant academic programs in order to be eligible for funding. Programs include subjects in agricultural and veterinary sciences; sustainable energy; marine biology; water resources; environmental governance; and various other areas related to environment and natural resources. Application deadlines vary by sub-programs -- with deadlines on 04 February 2014, 06 May 2014, and 07 October 2014.

Sida funds short-term training in selected development topics for participants from developing countries. The Global program includes courses in the following subject areas in year 2014: (i) efficient energy use and planning, with submission deadlines 01 February and 01 August 2014; and (ii) integrated sustainable coastal development, with submission deadline 01 March 2014. Information about course content and eligibility are included with each course description. Note: Interested individuals should follow the website for additional courses that may be announced, including at regional levels.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) cooperates with the African Network of Scientific and Technical Institutions (ANSTI) -  by offering financial support for Masters and Ph.D degrees at institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. The fellowships are awarded to nationals in Sub-Saharan Africa for studies outside the applicants' home countries. Participants must be from ANSTI member institutions, and be less than 36 years old at the time of application. The application deadline is 31 May 2014.

The Norman E. Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (Borlaug LEAP) offers fellowships for graduate students from developing countries for agricultural research at universities in the USA. The program currently invites applications from citizens of USAID-assisted countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Each research project is coordinated by a university in the student's home country, a university in the USA, and a mentor in the CGIAR. The application deadline is 01 May 2014.

Le CIUF accorde 150 bourses d'études et 70 bourses de stage.
·         Master complémentaire en aquaculture.
·         Master complémentaire en sciences et gestion de l'environnement dans les pays en développement.
·         Master complémentaire  en gestion des ressources animales et végétales en milieux tropicaux.
·         Master complémentaire en gestion des risques naturels
·         Master complémentaire en sciences et technologie des aliments
·         European Microfinance Programme
·         Master complémentaire en protection des cultures tropicales et subtropicales
·         Stage méthodologique en appui à l'innovation en agriculture familiale
·         Stage en environnement et gestion durable des ressources minerals

VLIR-UOS International Master Programmes 2014-2016

VLIR-UOS International Training Programmes 2014
·         Dairy Nutrition

A W A R D S 

The Dubai Municipality collaborates with UN Habitat to offer Best Practices Awards for outstanding contributions to improve the living environment, particularly for poor and disadvantaged populations. The categories of best practices include awards for organizations (i.e., NGOs and associations), businesses and enterprises, university research, and individuals. The deadline for submissions requesting feedback is 01 March 2014. The final deadline is 31 March 2014.

The Fiat Panis Foundation (Germany) makes awards for university thesis and dissertation research in themes of agriculture and natural resources, with a focus on food security in developing countries. The Justus von Liebig Award for World Food is €25 thousand; the Hans Hartwig Ruthenberg Graduate Award is €7.5 thousand. The deadline for both awards is 30 April 2014.

The Global Land Tool Network is sponsoring a competition on the theme of good practices for tenure security in the Muslim world. This refers to successfully increased security of tenure and access to land, housing, and property rights in Muslim communities -- with special reference to the poor, women, and youth. The three best papers will be awarded cash prizes. The application deadline is extended to 2 April 2014.

The King Baudouin African Development Prize rewards innovative initiatives to improve the quality of life of local communities in Africa. Candidates for the Prize can be individuals or organizations, working in any field of endeavor. Past winners include champions of fair trade, environmental conservation, and land reform (among a wide field of other issues). The Prize is worth €150 thousand, awarded every other year. The deadline for nominations for the 2014 award is 28 February 2014.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Africa provides a new market for agribusiness firms

December 18, 2013CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa. News Release - African Press Organization (APO) Charles Brewer, Managing Director of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, says that one particular sector which has seen significant growth in Africa is agribusiness, which entails the full value chain from agricultural production/farming through secondary processing, distribution and retailing to the end user/consumer (farm-to-fork concept). 
“The retail sector is booming in Africa, as is the rapid growth of populations and the African middle class. As a result of this expansion, there is a greater availability of and demand for good quality agricultural produce and processed food products than ever before.”
He points to the recent report by World Bank - Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness – which revealed that Africa’s farmers and agribusinesses could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 – a three-fold increase from the current size of the market which is estimated to be worth $313 billion.
“This expected growth highlights the growing market and many opportunities for South African agribusiness and related value chain role players to expand into Africa,” says Brewer.
Hennie Heymans, Managing Director of DHL Express South Africa, says that:
"While it was previously a great risk to get involved in Africa, today it is an even bigger risk not to be involved in Africa. Most major South African brands are now involved in Africa and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are now also actively seeking opportunities. A big differentiator between businesses which are successful in Africa and those which aren’t is effective supply chain management, as the continent is still relatively new to businesses expanding into the area.”
According to Hennie van der Merwe, CEO of the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC), based in South Africa, Africa provides a new market for agribusiness firms.
“Given its increased spending power, demand for goods and untapped land resources, Africa is currently experiencing a revival in terms of its focus on agribusiness, not only to increase food self-sufficiency, but also to create jobs and economic activity, specifically in rural areas. In the current climate, Africa is increasingly offering greater growth forecasts. While Africa is well-endowed with resources, it often lacks much of the necessary expertise to unlock the commercial potential of its agriculture resources, whereas South Africa is well regarded for its expertise in commercial farming and agribusiness. One of the major limitations on agribusiness development in Africa is a human capacity and human skills constraint. The ability and experience to develop and manage commercial farming and agribusiness ventures are largely lacking in the African environment and that major technology transfer and capacity building would be necessary in this regard.” 
Van der Merwe says this is where the opportunity lies for local businesses and farmers to expand beyond their borders and offer expertise in neighbouring countries. It is vital to have partnerships in place before venturing into projects in Africa. 
“Partnerships with a local business or association in the specific country are necessary as business owners need to be provided with assistance, guidance and sometimes protection when in the area. It is also essential/indispensable to ensure that all the building blocks for working value chains are in place to ensure and support successful operation. A local partnership will also assist with analysing the market carefully to evaluate what the real market needs, requirements and opportunities are.
About the ADC
  • The Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) is a Cape Town based firm specialising in agribusiness project identification, development, 
    Hennie van der Merwe, 

    CEO of the Agribusiness 

    Development Corporation (ADC).
    facilitation and management across the African continent. Their vision is to see the development and growth of the agribusiness sector in Africa to become a major driver of economic development, job creation and empowerment on the continent.
  • Its core competence is its knowledge and understanding of the principles and requirements of commercial agribusiness projects in the African environment and ability to mobilise skilled professionals and other role players that can add value, enhance profitability and ensure sustainability of interventions.
  • It is currently working with over 60 product and service providers – from aquaculture firms and irrigation system manufactures, to greenhouse suppliers and cold storage specialists – to develop agribusiness and rural development solutions for Africa.
  • The ADC has been involved with numerous agribusiness projects across the continent and has experience in a number of countries, including Nigeria, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Angola and Mauritius, to name a few.
  1. Forthcoming events Agribusiness Africa
  2. 14 June 2012 Africa Agribusiness Forum
Important Business Initiatives Introduced: A short description by Corin Mitchell (AECF) about the funds available and how to qualify to get these funds. Right-click to download presentation(s):
Corin Mitchell [.pdf – 0.8MB]

Innovation and research by private agribusiness in India
Agricultural research and innovation has been a major source of agricultural growth in developing countries. Unlike most research on agricultural research and innovation which concentrated on the role of government research institutes and the international agricultural research centers of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research, this paper focuses on private sector research and innovation. It measures private research and innovation in India where agribusiness is making major investments in research and producing innovations that are extremely important to farmers.

India-Africa ARD collaborations: overview of PAEPARD blog posts

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

PAEPARD research proposal writeshop

27 November – 1 December 2013. Entebbe, Uganda. RUFORUM (Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture) organised as part of the PAEPARD initiative (the Platform for African European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development) a research proposal writeshop. RUFORUM is co-leader of Work Package 4 of the PAEPARD II Project.

The proposal write-shop concentrated on three different Calls for proposals, i.e.

  1. Food and Business Applied Research Fund (ARF) in-sub-Saharan-Africa (with a submission deadline of 15 January 2014) from NWO in the Netherlands focuses on the following countries: Western Africa (Benin, Ghana, Mali), Eastern Africa (Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, South-Sudan), and Southern Africa (Mozambique); optional N-S collaboration Research for Inclusive Development:
  2. Productive Employment (PE) in-sub-Saharan-Africa (with a submission deadline of 14 January 2014) from NWO in the Netherlands focuses on the following countries: Ghana, Benin, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda – N-S collaboration). 
  3. Agriculture Fast Track Fund Now (AFTFN) Accepting Grant Applications from African Agri-Business Operators in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique and Tanzania. The call for proposals for grants from the Agriculture Fast Track Fund (AFT) is open until 31 December 2013. This new multi-donor trust fund, managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB), designed to boost investment in Africa’s agricultural sector, is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish Development Agency (SIDA) and the Danish International Development Agency (Danida).

2nd Regional CAADP Africa Forum for Eastern Africa

25th to 28th November 2013. Nairobi. The Eastern African Farmers’ Federation (EAFF) organised its 2nd Regional CAADP Africa Forum for Eastern Africa from 25th to 28th of November in Nairobi on “Smallholder Commercialisation – livestock and potato value chains in Eastern Africa”. The AFC Team Leader facilitated in this meeting as moderator for some of the sessions and assisted the participants in the development of country action plans.

This second regional forum has been convened in close collaboration with the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency and Regional Economic Communities from Eastern Africa. EAFF’s main objective for the forum was to facilitate learning and sharing between farmer organisations and other actors, with the deliberate intention of ensuring that what is learned is applied back in the home countries.

Agricultural experts and farmers attending a three-day workshop in Kenya have hailed the farmers body for being effective and people-driven in the promotion of regional integration.

The Eastern Africa Farmers Federation convened the regional workshop recently at the Pride Inn hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, to share experiences in the agricultural policy processes at both national and regional levels, under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).
Several agricultural experts and farmers from Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, South Sudan and Tanzania attended the workshop.
The selection of participants was demand driven in respect to the two value chains and focused on EAFF members, individual farmers, government representatives and organisations that are already working on potato or livestock value chains in their countries and to which the forum could add value in developing their respective country action plans. More than 60 participants from Djibouti, Ethiopia, DRC, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya followed the invitation, of which almost 30% were women.

The forum was well organised by EAFF and consisted of presentations, discussions and field trips to selected livestock and potato farmers and research institutions, such as KARI (Kenya Agricultural Research Institute – Regional Centre of Excellence for Dairy in Naivasha) and CIP (International Potato Centre – Plant Quarantine Station in Muguga).

AFC Consultants International, Bonn (AFC) has been contracted in December 2012 by GIZ to support PAFO (the Pan African Farmers Organisation) and the 5 Regional African Farmers Unions (EAFF, PROPAC, ROPPA, SACAU, UMAGRI) in the planning and organisation of the regional and continental CAADP Africa Forums to identify gaps and weaknesses in the organisation of the forums and propose and implement respective training, thus, contributing to the capacity building within these organisations.

Addressing the reduced numbers of African plant breeders

The first African Plant Breeding Academy class.
The first African Plant Breeding Academy class.

The Seed Biotechnology Center at the University of California, Davis has organized a professional development course to teach the principles of plant breeding to seed industry personnel. This 13-month course addresses the reduced numbers of plant breeders being trained in academic programs. Participants meet for multiple sessions over thirteen months. Readings and exercises continue between sessions via internet to allow participants to maintain their current positions while being involved in the course.
NEPAD logo3
In collaboration with NEPAD (The New Partnership for Africa's Development) and the African Orphan Crops Consortium, the UC Davis African Plant Breeding Academy launched the first session in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2013.

Week 1 & 2:   December 2-14, 2013                
Location:  Nairobi, Kenya
Week 3 & 4:   June 16-28, 2014                    
Location:  Nairobi, Kenya
Week 5 & 6:   December 1-13, 2014                      
Location:  Nairobi, Kenya
More information about the Africa's orphan crops in a December 3, 2013 interview with Dr. Howard-Yana Sharpio.

Breeding for African Crops
An innovative and integrated program including genomics, breeding, and practical training will enable breeding of crops for Africa by Africans using the most advanced technologies. Due to the diverse nature of the crops grown in Africa, including cassava, cacao, cocoyam, millet, sorghum, and legumes, there is a need to adapt the latest breeding strategies and innovate new ones appropriate for these crops. In the past, little genotypic information was available, so selection focused on extensive phenotyping trials. 

Traditional breeding strategies were based predominantly on annual grain crops with rapid generation turnaround and simple harvesting and storage of seeds for propagation. In contrast, vegetatively propagated perennial crops require different strategies to evaluate, recombine, objectively evaluate and advance materials. Fortunately, modern technologies such as micro-propagation and meristem culture to avoid disease, production of doubled haploids to reduce breeding cycles, and advanced trial designs and statistical analyses to account for spatial and temporal variation can efficiently integrate genotyping and marker-assisted selection into breeding programs for perennial crops. Breeders must work with a team of skilled individuals to be able to access genotypic and phenotypic information relevant to the crop and apply these selection and propagation methods to create improved varieties.

Established in 2007 to train plant breeders over a 10-year period following a grant from AGRA, WACCI is aiming to become the foremost centre for the training of plant breeders for Africa. It may not be far from its goal, having made history by graduating eight PhD students in a single discipline - plant breeding - on the same day in July 2013. Currently, 54 students are at various stages of PhD training in plant breeding.