Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, December 15, 2014

Highlight: Making of Shamba Shape Up

Shamba Shape Up is the third “edu-tainment” production created by Mediae, and the first of its kind in Kenya. Aimed at East Africa’s rapidly growing rural audience, the make over style TV show aims to give both farmer and audience the tools they need to improve productivity and income on their farms.

The Shape Up team visit a different farm each week in a different area of the country. The team involve the film crew and a number of experts from partner organisations who specialize in the topics to be covered in the episode.

The core of the series tackles issues surrounding livestock, poultry, crops and soil fertility. Other relevant topics such as financial planning, solar power and harvesting rainwater are also included depending on the needs of the farmer in the episode.

Typically the film crew spend 4 days with one household, allowing enough time to build
any improvement structures and invite the experts in to advise. These experts include veterinarians, soil analysists and specific crop specialists from partnering companies in Kenya. At the end of each episode, viewers are encouraged to SMS their name’s and addresses in order to receive a free leaflet on the topics covered in the show, as well as follow updates and video clips on the Shamba Shape Up Facebook page.

Episode published on 15 September 2014 Shamba Shape Up is revisiting farmers from the series to see how they are getting on and if the shape up has helped! We learn more about cows, sorghum, chickens, solar lights and crop improvement methods.


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Africa in a Post-2015 New Climate Change Agreement

10 December 2014. Lima, Peru. An Africa Day side event took place at UNFCCC COP 20. The event aimed to provide a platform and opportunity to critically examine the implications of the post-2015 climate change agreement for the continent, and explore how to advance sustainable and inclusive growth in Africa through building capacity to access the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other regional and international funds.

The event also highlighted how to enhance the involvement of women and youth in the climate changes adaptation.

12 December 2014. Lima, Peru. Delegates to the UNFCCC COP 20 discussed capacity building for climate finance at the event, ‘Tools for Climate Finance Readiness: building capacity to support increased finance flows,’ sponsored by Transparency International and adelphi, with the support of the Federal German Foreign Office, Climate Diplomacy, BMUB, NORAD, and the European Commission. 

This video by IISD Reporting Services explores available tools for preparing developing countries for climate finance.

Note: The CliFiT toolkit was developed with financial support from Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of German Ministry of Development and Economic Cooperation.


Transparency International’s e-learning site about the governance of climate funding.
  • Introduction to the governance of climate finance
  • Climate finance - corruption and solutions
  • Market based greenhouse gas mechanisms – challenges and opportunities (coming soon)
To join one of the courses first register here. Then, enter the courses here.

6 December 2014. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) launched its 'Adaptation Gap Report' at the UNFCCC COP 20 meeting. At its launch event, the authors and advisers of the report discussed the the report's findings, and global gaps in adaptation knowledge, finance, and technology. This video by IISD Reporting Services explores how the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report can inform policymakers and the UN climate negotiations. See also: PAEPARD blog post on the UNEP 'Adaptation Gap Report' :

Livestock - E-consultation until 15th January 2015

9 December 2014. At its 41st session in October 2014, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) requested the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) to prepare a study on Sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition, including the role of livestock, to feed into CFS debates at the Plenary session of October 2016.

As part of its report elaboration process, the HLPE is conducting an e-consultation until 15th January 2015 to seek views and comments on the scope and building blocks of the report.

Contribute to the consultation

Spanning five years, this project combines research with technological innovation to improve the feeding system, while ensuring that productivity and profitability are retained. Part of the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish, the project is funded through the Netherlands Organization for Agricultural Research WOTRO Science for Global Development, and is led by Wageningen University in partnership with WorldFish.

The project will assess which factors contribute to the transfer of essential Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids through the pond’s food chain and determine the ideal ratio of algae and bacteria for optimal water quality and nutritive value for fish and shrimp. These technologies will be translated into new commercial products like improved pond feeds, feed additives and culture protocols. The project will also assess the social and institutional factors affecting the uptake of this feeding system in Vietnam’s aquaculture industry.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Highlight: Rise of the African Consumer Class and its impact on African Food Systems

The Modernizing African Food System Consortium (MAFS)
aims to help African agricultural education and training (AET) institutions develop the technical skills and institutional capacity required to modernize African food systems.

Activities and Outputs: 
Collaborative teams from four major agricultural universities have produced a series of empirical background studies that provide evidence necessary for informing capacity development efforts in African AET institutions.

Agricultural Role Models: 
Career guidance from distinguished African agricultural professionals. Click here to view Role Model Directory and Featured Role Model.

Key Publications and Presentations:
Consumers with greater choices are also likely to change their shopping venue from traditional markets to retailers. The current rapid development of retail markets in Africa is in response to a bigger market with increased buying power. Although the transformation in the retail sector is happening rapidly, currently 90% of all food sold in Africa is still bought in traditional markets. The question arises whether the robust development of the retail sector will make the traditional African market obsolete. Projections have shown that this is not likely to be the case but that the prevalence of traditional markets will decrease from the currently handling 90% of food sold to around 65%.
Related Publications and Presentation by Consortium Member Scholars

Call for Submissions: 
The Journal of Agribusiness in Developing and Emerging Economies (JADEE) is requesting original contributions for a special issue entitled “Modernizing Africa Food Systems: Implications for Agricultural Education and Training (AET) in Africa”.

MAFS Seed Funding: International Fund for Agricultural Development

The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund (ASTF) project for Eastern Africa kicks off

26 November 2014. Embu County, Kenya. FAO in collaboration with the Governments of Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda launched  the Eastern Africa project ‘Promoting Nutrition Sensitive Agricultural Diversification to Fight malnutrition and Enhance Youth employment Opportunities in Eastern Africa’.
  1. The Kenyan and Ugandan component of the regional project will receive support of USD 1,000,000 over a period of three years. This will enhance access to markets and increase the availability of good quality fish fingerlings and feeds and thereby increase the overall production, marketing and value addition capacity of local aquaculture value chains.
  2. In Burundi and Rwanda, the project will invest USD 800,000 with focus on the poultry component aiming to address food security and build capacity of rural youth in these countries to obtain decent employment in the agriculture sector and improve their entrepreneurial skills.
This project is one of four new projects funded by the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund worth a total investment of USD 16 million, set to benefit 24 countries in West, Central, East, and Southern Africa, encompassing youth employment and malnutrition, transboundary animal and plant diseases, food safety and urban food security.
25 June 2014, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea– 

The FAO-managed Africa Solidarity Trust Fund 
gave a green light to four new, continent-spanning projects
 at a ceremony during the Malabo African Union Summit

About the fund
The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund was launched in 2013 as a unique Africa-led initiative to improve agriculture and food security across the continent. It includes contributions from Equatorial Guinea ($30 million), Angola ($10 million) and a symbolic contribution by civil society organizations in the Republic of the Congo.

The four new subregional projects formalized cover the following areas of work:
  1. Enhancing urban food security in Central Africa by increasing the availability of locally produced food for people living in towns and cities. Recipient countries: Cameroon, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe.
  2. Promoting greater diversity in agricultural production and activities to improve nutrition and to offer better job prospects to young people in Eastern Africa. Recipient countries: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
  3. Strengthening controls on food safety, plant and animal pests and diseases to boost agricultural productivity and trade in Southern Africa. Recipient countries: Angola, Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
  4. Creating more and better jobs for young people in West Africa through sustainable aquaculture and Cassava activities. Recipient countries: Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria and Senegal.

Orange Social venture Prize 2014

12 November 2014. Cape Town. AFRICOM 
The Orange Social venture Prize 2014 – Out of the 452 submitted projects the following prize winners were selected:

Modisar (Botswana) – Founder: Thuto Paul GAOTINGWEThe first prize has been awarded to Modisar Botswana. The project is a livestock farm management
application (desktop, web and mobile) that makes it easy for a farmer to manage his\her farm. The mission of Modisar is of resuscitating the livestock industry and cultivating livestock farming interest among the youth by marrying today’s technologies and the nation’s passion for farming, Modisar aims to ensure the continuity and sustainability of the livestock sector, a major contributor to the national Gross Domestic Product in Botswana.

Mewanko Farm (Cameroon) – Founder: Christelle LAMINSI KENMOE
The special Orange Partner API prize was awarded to Mewanko Farm Cameroon, a project that involves the creation of an online platform to enable the sale of agricultural products on both urban and international markets. The aim is to facilitate the lives of small farmers by using ICT tools to provide them with a direct means of access to markets and enabling them to increase their income.

9 December 2014. L’opérateur de téléphonie mobile Orange Cameroun a remis, le prix spécial
« API Orange Partner » qui récompense le meilleur projet d’entrepreunariat social en Afrique à Mewanko Farm. Il s’agit d’une plateforme permettant la vente en ligne de produits agricoles camerounais sur les marchés locaux et internationaux.

Au cours de la cérémonie organisée au stand de l’opérateur, au Salon International de l’entreprise, de la PME et du partenariat de Yaoundé (Promote 2014), le projet mené par Christelle Laminsi Kenmoe (et ses huit collègues) a reçu une enveloppe de 6 500 000 FCFA.
« Ce prix va donner un coup de pouce au développement de ce concept qui est déjà implémenté sur le terrain, mais à petite échelle. Actuellement, nous travaillons de manière bénévole. Nous pourrons compléter notre équipe, et construire une plateforme professionnelle qui va contenir un volume de transactions plus important », a expliqué Christelle Laminsi Kenmoe.

Africa-Turkey Summit Renews Agribusiness

21 November 2014. Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. Leaders of African countries and Turkey reviewed the
performance of the 1st Africa-Turkey partnership and to endorse projects and implementation modalities on priority areas for the coming five years.

African Union Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Turkish President Reccep Tayyip Erdogan, Mauritanian President Ould Abdel Aziz, who is the current chair of the African Union, President of Equatorial Guinea Theodore Obiang Ngoma and high officials of member countries attended the last session of the 2nd Africa-Turkey Partnership.

The 1st Africa-Turkey Partnership was held in August 2008 in Istanbul, Turkey. The summit evaluated and endorsed the “Joint Implementation Plan of Africa-Turkey Partnership 2015-2018,” featuring key areas of cooperation.

It also looked into and endorsed a “Matrix of Key Priority Projects of the Africa-Turkey Partnership 2015-2018″ with the aim of discussing the way forward on proposed key priority projects.

Some 200 business leaders, along with a delegation led by Erdogan attended the three-day summit in addition to a handful of African leaders.

Mauritania and Ethiopia – the AU’s outgoing chair – both attended this year’s summit, along with Algeria, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Libya, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt. Thirty-two other African countries attended the event as observers.
“A lot has happened since the 1st summit in August,” Dlamini-Zuma said, mentioning China’s outpacing of Japan as the world’s second economy and the global financial crisis. Seven out of ten fastest growing economies were in Africa while Africa has the fastest growing consumer class.”

Taking stock of national agricultural R&D capacity in Africa South of the Sahara

ASTI africa report Nov 2014 2Taking stock of national agricultural R and D capacity in Africa South of the Sahara
ASTI Synthesis Report

Nienke Beintema is the program head of Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI), which is led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC.
Gert-Jan Stads is ASTI's senior program manager.

This report, which summarizes SSA’s recent progress in developing its national agricultural R and D systems, is intended to serve as an important input into, and potential benchmark for, the implementation of the science agenda in SSA and the broader development agenda for the region. The analysis is based on comprehensive primary datasets by Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI), the most recent of which was compiled during 2012–2013.

New quantitative evidence presented in this report demonstrates that, although agricultural R&D spending and human resource capacity has grown considerably in the region since 2000, it was concentrated in only a few African countries. In 2012, just three countries—Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya—accounted for half the region’s agricultural R&D nvestments.

Other key findings of the report include:
  • Low salary levels and poor conditions of service have led to high researcher turnover across Africa. In addition, a very large share of senior researchers are approaching retirement.
  • Female scientists remain grossly underrepresented in agricultural R&D, despite the fact that they are in a unique position to effectively address the pressing challenges facing African farmers, the majority of whom are female.
  • Donor dependency and funding volatility remain critical in many countries. The research agendas of countries with very high shares of donor funding can be skewed toward short-term goals that are not necessarily aligned with national or regional priorities.
African governments and research agencies are limited in their choice of options to address the many challenges they face in developing their agricultural research systems because of funding constraints. The report lists various successful policy changes already adopted in certain countries, which can offer valuable lessons for others.

The findings were released at the Forum for Agricultural Research conference in Johannesburg (11/26-28).
Listen to De Capua report (Voice of America) on Africa agriculture R and D.

Related: Washington Post Live: Feeding the Future
3 December 2014. This Washington Post forum convened agriculture experts, policymakers and business leaders working on innovative methods and cutting-edge technologies that will define the farms of the future. They looked at what’s working and how agricultural growth here in the U.S. can support the global need for food. Follow below 2 video excerpts (more can be found on above link).
Robert van Otterdijk from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Steven Waldmann of the Society of St. Andrew and Caroline Kronley of The Rockefeller Foundation

Mark Cackler of The World Bank, Ephraim Nkonya of the International Food Research Policy Institute and Peter Rosset of the ECOSUR Advanced Studies Institute

EU embraces CCARDESA, awards agricultural research grants

 Left: EU Ambassador to Botswana and SADC
Alexander Baum
19 November 2014. About 60 representatives from the SADC region, the development partners (World Bank, USAID and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation), national agricultural research institutes and universities, NGOs, and the private sector attended the launch of the CCARDESA Grants Facility. It was the first of its kind to be launched by CCARDESA.

The grants were awarded to the successful seven grantees of the 106 scientists from the SADC member countries that had applied. The selected proposals cover a wide range of topics such as poultry diseases, the development of solar dryer and urban farming practices in the livestock.

The successful seven grantees were represented by:
  1. Professor Philemon Wanbura of Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) from Tanzania, 
  2. Dr Moses Okoth Marenya of Agricultural Research Council-Institute of Agricultural Engineering, 
  3. Professor Isaac Mpofu Of the University of Namibia, 
  4. Dr Germinus Tungu from Tanzania Livestock Research Institute, 
  5. Dr Rosa Costa Kyeema Foundation, 
  6. Professor Benedict Kayombo from Botswana College of Agriculture 
  7. and Jeffrey Mkhari East Power PTY LTD.
Speaking at the ceremony to mark the presentation of the grants to the seven grantees, the first of its kind to be launched by CCORDESA, the EU Ambassador to Botswana and SADC Alexander Baum noted that the awards ceremony was of particular importance. He said it demonstrated the SADC region’s continuing efforts to create a conducive environment to support agricultural research and development under the stewardship of CCARDESA.

“I am therefore confident that through CCARDESA Grants Facility, the SADC region will be better equipped to address some of the key challenges affecting the agricultural sector,” Baum said.
  • Over the past 15 years, the EU has been actively involved in the coordination of agricultural research and development at the continental and regional level in Africa. Several initiatives throughout the African continent were therefore supported by EU to strengthen the capacity and improve research funding in the agriculture sector.
  • EU has provided funds to support the preparatory activities for the creation of the CCARDESA through the implementation and coordination of agricultural research and training project under the European Development Fund.
  • The centre, which is a subsidiary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) received monetary support amounting to 5 million Euros from the European Union (EU) and World Bank.

Africa's Statisticians on Agriculture and Post-2015 Agenda

8-12 December 2014. Tunis, Tunisia.Africa's Statisticians met on Agriculture and the Post-2015 Agenda.

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in collaboration with the Africa Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development bank (AfDB) organized a Joint Session of the Committee of Director Generals of the National Statistics Offices (CoDG) and the Statistical Commission for Africa (StatCom-Africa).

Themed, "Strengthening the production of agricultural statistics in Africa for better monitoring and evaluation of CAADP, the Joint Session brought  together Director Generals of National Statistics Office of African Countries, the Heads of departments of statistical units of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Schools and Institute of statistics, AFRISTAT and other Development Partners, to discuss policy progress of statistics and statistical activities in Africa.

The main objectives of the meeting included: 
  • to discuss the challenges related to the production of agricultural statistics in Africa; 
  • to review the implementation of the African Charter on Statistics and SHaSA as well as the operationalization of the African Union Institute for Statistics and the Pan-African Statistical Training Centre; 
  • and to contribute to the formulation of indicators of Post 2015 African Development Agenda.

Making agricultural research for development (R4D) partnerships work at scale at FARA@15

26 November 2014, in Johannesburg, South Africa.  ‘Making agricultural research for development (R4D) partnerships work at scale’ was one of the sessions that CGIAR ran at the event ‘Celebrating FARA at 15’.(by Ewen Le Borgne of ILRI, 10/12/2015)

This session picked up where another similar session left off: at the second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) in 2012, the Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program (CRP) convened a conversation about ‘Mobilizing AR4D partnerships to improve access to critical animal-source foods’. Some critical success factors for partnerships to work were then identified.

At the ‘Celebrating FARA at 15’ event, Livestock and Fish was joined by two other CRPs: Water Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and ‘Integrated Systems for the Humid tropics’ (Humidtropics). These three programs want to leverage more impact at scale, through stronger partnerships that last, among others because they are structured around value chains (Livestock and Fish), a landscape approach (WLE) or R4D systems (Humidtropics).

After three case presentations from the programs, participants split themselves in groups to explore ‘do’s and don’ts of successful partnerships’ elaborating on the list of critical success factors from the GCARD 2012 meeting, as well as to ponder ‘how to develop and stimulate relationships that impact agricultural systems at scale, over time’.

The participants contributed the following conclusions and recommendations:
  • Partnerships are necessary to achieve outcomes and they should be brokered on firm terms around the value of partners themselves;
  • Getting people to come together on a common agenda takes time because small subsets of the stakeholders start connecting first, then others, then others and eventually you can link together all the nodes – it does not happen all at once and doing a social network analysis can be quite useful in this respect, to assess where crucial linkages need to be built and are likely to evolve more quickly or profoundly;
  • To achieve transformation for greater impact, we are looking for different partners, from different backgrounds. This is complex, requires time, requires good governmental support, trust building (which again takes time), so the participants questioned the time scale of projects that last for only three to five years. We need to allow time for partnerships to develop well beyond these limited time frames.
  • Working from grassroots participation can give rise to cultural change (‘stay in line with the crowd’);
  • What else matters for partnerships to work: a common agenda, quick and visible wins, transparency and trust, a focused agenda, clear roles and responsibilities mapped onto the partners’ strengths, developing partners’ capacities
In essence, this leads to these recommendations to build the next generation development (research) relationships and alliances:
  • Do not over-design processes that involve partners because you need to co-create the agenda;
  • Research – in its own right – how functional alliances form, grow and deliver;
  • When investing in long term partnerships at scale, assure relevance at different scales and try and connect these different scales better;
  • Change the notion of transaction costs (for building trust and partnerships) into “investments”;
  • Any given that the ‘partnership case’ has dozens of moving parts and issues that can go wrong, we need to zoom in on and address the top three to five issues that are important (and that we can influence).
This side event showed that believing in partnerships does not magically make them simpler. Flexibility is key to nurture relationships that feed development work, and eventually the mouths of the people they aim to serve.

Read notes from the session

Second Session of the IFAD AgTalks

Full house at #agtalks #ifadnews listening attentively 
to cultivating change issues. Follow at 
11 December 2014. As a contribution to the International Year of Family
Farming 2014, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) organised the Second Session of AgTalks.

The objective of AgTalks is to present the human face of family farming by sharing the latest policy research findings, as well as different viewpoints on smallholder farming. The series aims to bring forward the latest thinking, trends and research regarding policies and innovations in small-scale family farming.

This session benefited from the insights and experience of Nicole M. MasonKari Niedfeldt-Thomas and Pablo Tittonell.

About the event and download programme

Uploaded by IFAD on 1 Dec 2014 

Monetary value is often added in countries where crops like coffee beans are processed and not grown. Ugandan entrepreneur Andrew Rugasira, founder and CEO of Good African Coffee, presents the challenges he faced in building an African company that did both by partnering with thousands of poor Ugandan small farmers and providing them with needed training and incentives.

AgTalks is created from presentations recorded at events hosted by IFAD to present the human face of family farming and to bring forward the latest thinking, trends and research regarding policies and innovations in small-scale family farming.


Chatham House Food security conference

The conferenceoffered a comprehensive assessment of the threats to global food security and identified priorities for action. Particular focus was given to addressing vulnerabilities in the global supply chain, the impacts of climate change, and instability in the global food market.

Attendees heard from food manufacturers, traders and retailers as well as representatives of key export and import dependent countries. Discussion considered what is needed from national policy, new business practice and international collaboration in order to mitigate these risks and improve resilience.
Agricultural trade policies in the EU and US will continue to promote farm security, and emerging economies will increase their role in the global food trade with increasing farm support, whereas poorer countries will be unable to protect and support their weak producers in the absence of adequate resilience tools, and safeguards against food dumping. Christian Häberli World trade Institute (WTI) senior researcher 
Mapping the Risks
  • What are the key risks – by likelihood and severity – that require monitoring and managing?
  • Which countries, populations and businesses face the greatest challenges?
  • What new threats have recently been identified and what impact may they have?
  • What tools can help to predict improbable, but catastrophic, ‘worst case scenarios’?
  • To what extent does food insecurity threaten global political stability?
Identifying vulnerabilities in the global supply chain
  • Which trade routes are of critical importance to the global food system?
  • Where are the respective choke points for import-dependent countries and major export countries?
  • What are the challenges facing strategic infrastructure, storage and distribution? 
  • How can businesses identify supply chain risks of strategic importance? What strategies can help to improve resilience? What are the implications for food security policies?
Governing the global food market
  • Does current market regulation sufficiently incorporate food security?
  • How are EU, US and OECD agricultural trade policies likely to evolve?
  • How are emerging economies approaching a greater role in the food trade? 
  • What impact will emerging multilateral and bilateral trade agreements have?
  • What is needed in order to protect the imports of the world’s most food insecure countries? 
  • What financial tools can help to transfer risk and ensure a more resilient agricultural trade? Does current regulation of the commodities market contribute to food security?
The Impacts of Climate Change
  • In the light of recent climate science, what are the opportunities and challenges for future food production and distribution?
  • To what extent will climate change cause a long-term reconfiguration of global supply chains?
  • How can the global food system be made more resilient to extreme weather shocks?
  • Can the impacts of climate change on agriculture mobilize support for mitigation measures?
Stabilising Supply
  • How can national investments in agriculture – both domestic and overseas – mitigate supply risks? What role should private sector investment play?
  • Do new business practices offer opportunities to manage risks across the supply chain? What investment is required? How can public policy support these efforts?
  • How can strategic food reserves provide a defence against food shocks? Is multilateral coordination possible?
  • What are the linkages between water security and the global food system? How can coordinated action stabilise food supply? 
  • Can regional cooperation manage collective risk?

2nd General assembly of PAFO

6-7 December 2014.  Cotonou, Benin. The Pan African Farmer's Organisation has a new President. SACAU President, Dr. Theo de Jager has been elected as the new president at the 2nd General assembly of PAFO. He is succeeding Mr. Djibo Bagna, from the farmers' Organisation of West Africa (ROPPA), who held the Position for the past two years.

In his speech during the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru (COP20), Dr. de Jager urged farmers' organisations to bring the international community's attention and support back to agrictulture.
“Farmers in Africa represent a significant number of the continent’s population - they are the poorest people in the world, yet they do not live on the poorest continent in the world. We have good soils and a good climate – things money cannot buy, but we lack in technology, infrastructure, market linkages and expertise. The oil and minerals of the continent have only benefitted a small elite, but prosperity in agriculture on the continent can transform the lives of millions of farmers and households,” Dr de Jager emphasized.
Dr. de Jager welcomed his appointment in this remarkable time for Africa, where seven out of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are on the continent. But he also stressed the need for changes so the agriculture can benefit from this developmnet. Some of his suggestions include:
  • A change of mindset from fighting poverty through agriculture, to wealth creation
  • Embracing of technology, especially from the young people
  • A Need for Africa to take ownership of opportunities on the continent (intra-Africa) trade
  • The Promotion of unity and cooperation between Africa's people and governments towards a common goal
The new executive Board of PAFO include Mr Abdelmajid Ezzar of Tunisia, who has been elected as deputy President, Mr Djibo Bagna of Niger who is treasurer and Mrs Elizabeth Atangana of Cameroon, the first President of PAFO from 2010-2012, who will be responsible for women and young farmers. 

The priority of the new Board under the leadership of Dr de Jager is ensuring that PAFO establishes its secretariat within the next six months in Addis Abba, Ethiopia. PAFO was launched in Lilongwe, Malawi in October 2010 with membership from Africa’s five regional farmers’ organisations namely, EAFF (East Africa), PROPAC (Central Africa), UMNAGRI (Northern Africa), SACAU (Southern Africa) and ROPPA (West Africa). PAFO was established to promote and consolidate solidarity among African agricultural producers and to transform the sector on the continent into sustainable farming and food provision industry.

African TV stations broadcast videos hosted on Access Agriculture

13 December 2014. More TV stations across Africa start to broadcast videos that are hosted on the Access Agriculture website. Likewise more and more radio stations broadcast the audio files of the same videos for their listeners. 

Appealing and of high educational value, videos hosted on the Access Agriculture website have been used by thousands of organisations to strengthen the capacities of their staff and of the farmers with whom they work. Many NGOs, development agencies, farmer organisations, universities, national research and extension staff, as well as radio journalists and TV broadcasters have used videos in various ways.

Using either the English, French or local language versions, TV stations have broadcast videos hosted on Access Agriculture  in Bangladesh (local cable TV stations and BTV), Benin (BB24, Tunde Agric TV), Burundi (Télévision Nationale du Burundi), Central African Republic (Télévision Centrafricaine), Democratic Republic of Congo (community television of Kinzau-Mvuete), Gambia (GRTV), Ghana (Channel 3), Guinea (RTG),
Malawi (Channel of All Nations and Times TV), Nepal (NTV), Niger (Canal3 in Malanville), Nigeria (the federal Nigerian Television Authority as well as the state-owned Broadcasting Service of Ekiti State) and Uganda (UBC).

Below, Access Agriculture  showcases creative ways through which farmers have watched farmer-to-farmer training videos made available to them in multiple local languages on DVDs. Exciting stories can be shared by sending an email to
In 2011 a young rice farmers named Ahmed Naleba, from a village in Nampologoma sub-county, in Uganda, wrote an email to Grace Musimami, asking for the rice advice videos he had seen advertised in the newspaper. Ahmed’s family, neighbours and about 1000 other villagers are organised in an association called CITARD, in the traditional lowland rice growing area of eastern Uganda. Ahmed and his colleagues have shown the video to about 300 people so far. One farmer, Alpha Mwaagale has been very good about getting out his TV set and putting it outside, in front of his house in the evening. He puts on the rice advice videos and when people pass by they say “hey, there’s a Nigerian video!” Alpha waves them over, and they stop to watch the rice videos. The folks in Nampologoma watched the videos themselves, without an outside facilitator to answer their questions. Later the people began mulching their rice straw instead of burning it. They adopted transplanting in lines, and other practices they saw on the videos. One elder woman says she doubled her yields. More information on how much money farmers earn on economic and forex trading 
In 2011 when rice farmer Morris Engin in Barr, Lira, in North-East Uganda read about the rice advice videos (in Farmers’ Media), he phoned the editor and asked for a copy, which he later picked up in Kampala. Morris and his neighbours are organised in a cooperative and grow irrigated rice. They watched the videos eagerly. Morris showed the videos every Sunday in the cooperative’s rice warehouse and he took the videos around to other villages to show them. Eventually 500 people saw the videos. After watching the videos people began planting in lines, and began using more fertiliser, which they had only started to use in 2010. Where they had been getting 10 bags they were getting 16 or 17 now. Neighbours shared the ideas with others who had not seen the videos.
Similar stories like the one above on video use in Africa, Asia and Latin America can be found on he Agro-Insight website.

New videos added:

Friday, December 12, 2014

Seminar on Food and Nutrition Security, Agriculture and Climate Change

7 December 2014. Lima, Peru. Seminar on Food and Nutrition Security, Agriculture and Climate Change

On the sidelines of December’s UN climate talks in Lima (COP20), CARE International, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) hosted a seminar to raise awareness about and discuss approaches to help address climate change challenges to food and nutrition security.

Post-2015 actions must promote food and nutrition security in the face of climate change if we are to shift course towards long-term sustainability. The six issues to be discussed at this event are critical to success.

The event brought together a wide range of participants from civil society, research, government, and the private sector for interactive discussions and debates.
Download the full agenda (PDF)

Written by Nienke Raap and Leisa Perch

Towards gender-just food and nutrition security

7-9 December 2014. Addis Abeba. The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and its consortium partners organised an inception workshop.

This project seeks to improve nutrition outcomes in smallholder farm families and poor households through tailored nutrition sensitive agriculture programs that ultimately benefit women of child bearing age and children in the first 1000 days of life.

The ATONU project consortium members includes:
  1. the Africa Innovations Institute in Uganda, 
  2. Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, 
  3. Agribusiness Systems International, an affiliate of ACDI/VOCA, 
  4. Farm Africa, 
  5. the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich, 
  6. the Leverhulme Center for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health 
  7. and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK. 
The ATONU project will be implemented over a six-year period, ending in December 2020. The focus countries for the project are: Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and Uganda.

Side event on ATONU at FARA@15
The ATONU project will provide technical assistance to integrate tailored nutrition interventions
into planned and ongoing agricultural investments through:
  •  generating tools and frameworks for diagnosing the opportunities to incorporate tailored nutrition interventions into agriculture investments; 
  • offering technical assistance for designing, testing, and rigorously monitoring and evaluating results of the tailored nutrition interventions (proof of concept); 
  • documenting and disseminating best practices and evidence and adding to the agriculture for nutrition knowledge base; 
  • advocating for evidence-based decision making at all levels; and 
  • strengthening African capacity and building a community of practice in agriculture for improved nutrition. 
Publisher: Institute of Development Studies UK
Publication Date: Jan 2014

(Adobe Acrobat Document)

There is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone, but the number of people who do not have enough to eat remains unacceptably high, with disproportionate impacts on women and girls. Reversing this shocking trend must be a top priority for governments and international institutions and responses must treat food insecurity as a gender equality, rights and social justice issue. 

This BRIDGE Cutting Edge Overview Report makes the case for a new, gender-aware understanding of food security, arguing that partial, apolitical and gender-blind diagnoses of the problem of food and nutrition insecurity is leading to insufficient policy responses and the failure to realise the right to food for all people. Showcasing effective and promising existing strategies, the report suggests that in order to truly achieve food security for all in gender equitable ways, responses need to be rights-based, gender-just and environmentally sustainable.

The report is the result of a collaborative and participatory process, involving over 40 experts on food and nutrition security and gender from around the world.


3 December 2014. Florence, Italy. An ideas market place organised during the Florence Annual General Assembly themed 'Food Systems and Gender - Women's empowerment for food security and nutrition, allowed for meeting new approaches or recent research.

Here are two highlight:
  • The EIF is a multi-donor programme, which supports LDCs to be more active players in the global trading system by helping them tackle supply-side constraints to trade. In this way, the programme works towards a wider goal of promoting economic growth and sustainable development and helping to lift more people out of poverty. The programme is currently helping 50 poorest countries worldwide, supported by a multi-donor trust fund, the EIF Trust Fund, with contributions from 23 donors. A high-level pledging event in 2007 set a funding target of US$250 million over five years – and both additional and ongoing contributions are being sought.
  • Aim of the EIF. The EIF programme creates a genuine partnership among all EIF stakeholders to show results on the ground. Working in close cooperation are donors, six core partner agencies, observer agencies, the Executive Secretariat (ES) and the Trust Fund Manager (TFM) and other development partners who are supporting LDCs' own drive to:
  • mainstream trade into national development strategies;
  • set up structures needed to coordinate the delivery of trade-related technical assistance;
  • and build capacity to trade, which also includes addressing critical supply-side constraints.
  • The EIF process aims to strengthen donors' support to a country's trade agenda. LDCs can use the EIF as a vehicle to assist in coordinating donors' support and to lever additional Aid for Trade resources, whereas donors can sign up to the EIF as a vehicle to deliver on their initial Aid for Trade commitments.

Sharefair on rural women’s technologies

In a PAEPARD blogpost of October Sharefair 2014 on women's technologies was already reported .

Following a panel session about What does women's empowerment look like in real food systems and nutrition cases
during the GA of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development 3 organisors/participants witnessed about its success.

The three-day regional Sharefair on rural women’s technologies took place in Nairobi in celebration of the International Day of Rural Women and the World Food Day.

The Share Fair was co-funded by the European Commission. 

Although agricultural fairs are a common feature in extension services offered in the region, this was the first time that the focus was exclusively on technologies for rural smallholder women. This topic is particularly relevant in the International Year of Family Farming and the African Union’s year of agricultural productivity and food security.

Hereunder are 3 video interviews of organisers who attended the Share fair: 
  1. Carol Djeddah from FAO
  2. Asa Torkelsson from UN Women (Advisor Economic Empowerment)
  3. Clare Bishop-Sambrook from IFAD (PTA – Gender and Social Inclusion) 

The Sharefair - organized jointly by UN Women, IFAD, FAO, WFP and IIRR - was held at the UN Complex in Nairobi, Kenya from 15th to 17th October 2014. It was attended by over 400 delegates from 20 countries in the region that included exhibitors, African Union representatives, UN Staff, Government Officials, Civil Society and farmers. The event attracted high-level participation from the Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Africa Union Commission; IGAD; some Members of Parliament from the region among others.

IFAD played an active role in all aspects of the Sharefair. 
  • Elizabeth Ssendiwala (ESA - Regional Gender Coordinator) was a member of the organizing committee and delivered the synthesis of findings on the final day. 
  • Clare Bishop-Sambrook (PTA – Gender and Social Inclusion) gave a Key Note address on ‘Rural women’s technologies: where are we now and what are the opportunities for agricultural growth’ 
  • Clare Bishop-Sambrook

  • Julianne Friedrich (PTA - Nutrition) participated in a high-level panel discussion on gender, food and
  •  nutrition security. 
  • Silvia Sperandini (PTA – Gender and Knowledge Management) ran a very well-attended training 
  • session on innovation and knowledge management.
Over 100 technologies and innovative activities led by women were exhibited at the Sharefair. They focused on: enhanced food security; labour and time saving; reduced post-harvest losses; value addition, climate change adaptation; increased productivity; and tools and machinery that enable farmers better manage production at a reasonable price.

Young Innovators’ Award
Four young innovators were recognized and awarded for their contribution to innovative technologies:
Portable electro-chemical Aflatoxin testing kit, Mushroom growing from affordable, readily available materials, Mobile application for livestock production, and Farmland ownership mapping software.

Key Messages from the Sharefair:
  1. Women are central in all aspects of agriculture and off-farm activities in rural communities
  2. Empowered women farmers can increase their income, develop stable rural livelihoods and contribute to ensuring food security
  3. The critical role that women play in agriculture, food security and rural economies is often hampered by their lack of access to productive resources, technologies, services and markets
  4. The cost of gender gaps in agriculture to economic development is immense
  5. Family farming depends heavily on women and youth, investing on them as agents of change is key to
    move out of poverty
Messages for IFAD
  1. Address the daily burden of rural living through mechanization, conservation agriculture, fuel efficiency, water-related solutions
  2. Solve women’s time burden
  3. Engage in a Transformative Agenda in order to break down the gender division of labour in farming and household tasks
  4. Upscale existing technologies so that they are accessible (and affordable) by rural women
  5. Engage men in the Gender Agenda
  6. Through partnerships, engage at policy level – starting by taking advantage of existing opportunities:
  7. 2015 – African Union’s Year of Women’s Empowerment and Beijing +20
  8. African Union’s Agenda 2063 – opportunities to propose gender responsive and youth friendly solutions
  9. Sustainable Development Goal 5 on “Attain gender equality, empower women and girls everywhere” includes a target to recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid care and domestic work
  10. 2014 Malabo Declaration on Africa’s Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods (3AGTs).
More about Sharefair 2014, Nairobi:
Why smallholders should be involved in research (
Sharefair on Social media  and Storify
Sharefair Photo Album (

How to do toolkits
IFAD has developing practical hands-on “how to do” toolkits to:
  • build the capacity of project design and implementation teams in various thematic areas
  • support the scaling up agenda
  • support policy dialogue
These modular toolkits are composed of three different documents, a “Teaser”, a “How To Do Notes” and “Lessons Learned” serving different purposes and audiances.

Below is a list of our available toolkits (an additional number of toolkits are under preparation and will be released shortly):
IFAD value chain toolkit
The toolkit on sustainable inclusion of smallholders in agricultural value chains aims to support the design of IFAD-supported Value Chain (VC) projects.

The value chains toolkit contains:
Designing commodity value chain development projects:
Teaser | How to do note | Lessons learned

Inclusive rural financial services toolkits
Each toolkit related to inclusive rural financial services is composed of:
Teaser: Sets out the scope
How To Do Note: Conceptualizes key issues and provides guidance for design and implementation.
Lessons Learned: Analyses past experiences with recommendations for the future.

The land tenure toolkit offers valuable guidelines to help practitioners analyze and address land tenure issues during the devopment of country strategies and in the design and implementation of programmes and projects.

It is a.o. composed of the following note:
Teaser: Provides a overview of the issues and the challenges, benefits and opportunities in addressing land tenure issues.

The Supporting rural young people in IFAD projects: Lessons learned available in English, French andSpanish is based on a review of 19 IFAD-financed projects with strong pro-youth features and/or promising innovations in reaching young people in rural areas. The review identified a broad range of project approaches to pro-youth development over the past two decades. The present document summarizes the findings on what has been done, and where possible, on why and how.

See also: Lessons learned on youth and land tenure
Related: 12 November 2014 SciDev article: Forum calls for key roles for women in agricultural R and D Experts at the forum appealed for more investments in nutrition and for women to be placed at the heart of initiatives to promote agricultural research because of their significant role in farming and in the family. We should not only focus on increasing agricultural production but look at the systems, said Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg, director for African Women in Agricultural Research and Development, adding that only one in four African women are scientists and that only one in seven agricultural leaders are women.

Annual General Assembly (AGA) of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development

3-4 December 2014. Florence, Italy. The Annual General Assembly (AGA) of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development. The theme of this year’s Annual General Assembly was “Food systems and gender: Women’s empowerment for food security and nutrition.”

The objectives of the Annual General Assemblies of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (AGA) were to:
  • Exchange knowledge amongst Platform members and partners on issues connected to agriculture, rural development and food and nutrition security, based on innovative and effective solutions for pressing problems of the world food system
  • Provide opportunities for networking to strengthen and build up partnerships between the donor community and industry, foundations,
    research institutions, policy makers, UN agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders that foster new ways of working together to support information dissemination and impact;
  • Advocate outcomes and central messages from the event to key stakeholders in a manner that creates impact
  • Download concept note, draft agenda and keynote speaker discussion points
  • View agenda day 1
  • View agenda day 2 

Pre-event of the GDPRD 

2 December 2014. As a pre-event to the Annual General Assembly in Florence, the Secretariat of the Global Donor Platform helped organise a consultation Meeting on the Topic of NEPAD's Support Prograamme 'Gender, Climate Change and Agriculture' for 5 countries in Africa. More than 30 participants discussed with Estherine Fotabong, NEPAD and NORAD, IFAD, GIZ, WB, UNWomen and FAO gave detailed feedback on the programme in light of their gender policies.

Three main ideas were agreed upon during the meeting:
  1. the importance of harnessing the momentum of Post-2015 to strengthen women’s central role as smallholder farmers in in the context of climate change; 
  2. that a strategic approach to mainstreaming gender considerations is needed for a long term success in ARD; 
  3. that it is essential to take culture and traditional systems into account and include them in the Approach.
NEPAD in collaboration with NORAD will invite development partners to a conference in Oslo in early 2015 to increase collaboration with donor agencies, private sector and NGOs and to mobiles investments into this 5-year programme.

Gender in agriculture. Closing the knowledge gap.

This Book summarizes women’s contributions to agriculture and food security and the obstacles to their broader participation. It draws on data at the micro, census and national levels. It challenges conventional story lines on women in agriculture. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) produced a 2011 report on women in agriculture with a clear and urgent message: agriculture underperforms because half of all farmers—women—lack equal access to the resources and opportunities they need to be more productive.

The book’s six editors—including two IFPRI researchers, Agnes Quisumbing and Ruth Meinzen-Dick—build on the report’s conclusions by providing, for a nonspecialist audience, a compendium of what we know now about gender gaps in agriculture.

 The authors explore linkages among gender, assets, and agricultural development projects. They examine the current state of land tenure; women’s access to markets, financial services, and rural employment; and gender differences in social capital and in vulnerability to poor nutrition and health. The book also looks at trends in agricultural research, development, and extension systems and in women’s participation in research.