Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, January 31, 2014

Critical and Emerging Issues for Food Security and Nutrition

The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE), is launching, at the request of the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) a study on critical and emerging issues in the area of food security and nutrition, to inform the work of the CFS.

This work is in line with one of the key functions of the HLPE, science-policy interface of the CFS, which is to “identify emerging issues, and help members prioritize future actions and attentions on key focal areas”.

By definition, emerging issues are challenging to identify. This is why the HLPE seeks to involve very largely the scientific and knowledge community by requesting this community, in its wide diversity, to provide documented inputs on those issues which are considered critical and emerging for food security and nutrition.

The methodology which the HLPE will follow to produce its report to CFS is described in the following Concept and Process note. A Questionnaire is also attached, with a short Noticeon how it should be filled. You can suggest and document any issue you might find worthwhile to be presented, up to 10 in total. Kindly use one separate form for each issue. Please return the forms in word format by e-mail to cfs-hlpe [at] by 15 March 2014.

As part of this process, and unless you request otherwise, your contributions (forms) would be published as such in the proceedings of the inputs received by the HLPE.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ripe for Change: The Promise of Africa's Agricutural Transformation

29 January 29, 2014. ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia. A new ONE report, called Ripe for Change: The Promise of Africa's Agricutural Transformation, calls on African governments to implement an “enhanced CAADP” package of policies to accelerate economic development in Africa through an African-led agricultural transformation agenda steered by the AU's own CAADP (Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme). The package of policy recommendations, was developed after a lengthy consultation process with African farmers and farmers associations from all over the continent.

The ONE Campaign also launched Do Agric, It Pays. This campaign is calling for African governments to commit to spending at least 10% of national budgets on effective agriculture investments, through transparent and accountable budgets. At the heart of the Do Agric campaign is an effort to push political leaders to adopt better policies that will boost productivity, increase incomes and help lift millions of Africans out of extreme poverty.

The launch of Do Agric in Addis Ababa coincides with the 2014 January African Union (AU) summit, where heads of state have gathered to discuss key development challenges across the continent. The AU has declared 2014 the Year of Agriculture in Africa.

Civil society partners at the launch included the Pan African Farmers Association (PAFO), ActionAid International, Acord International, Oxfam, East and Southern African Farmers Forum , ROPPA, Southern African Confederation of Agriculture Unions (SACAU), the Africa Union Commission, Becho Welisho and the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Campaign champions include Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, Beninois President Dr. Thomas Yayi Boni and Côte d'Ivoire footballer Yaya Touré.

62 pages
20th January 2014. 
advanced copy
  1. In the first section, “Profiling Success”, the report presents three case studies of African countries (Ghana, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso) where real leadership, reform and investment in agriculture have helped foster national growth and development. Public spending offers one of the most direct and effective instruments for governments to promote inclusive agricultural growth. Yet as governments seek to implement reforms, increase agricultural spending and boost growth, they must grapple with a range of options and reforms to address their country- and context-specific concerns and reach their goals. These case studies illustrate how leaders in Ghana, Ethiopia and Burkina Faso have navigated these decisions and how they have shown remarkable progress in both agricultural success and economic development. They also offer important policy lessons for other leaders who wish to see similar results. 
  2. In the second section, “Renewing Maputo’s Promise”, the report looks at progress made by African countries in achieving (or falling short of) the Maputo targets, and surveys the challenges that they have faced in striving to reach these goals. There is a particular focus on the CAADP results framework, which underscores the importance of accountability and of improving farmers’ access to information. Farmers have not had opportunities to hold leaders to account on prioritising the agriculture sector or on achieving CAADP progress and implementation. These challenges also demonstrate important areas for reform that could be enhanced in any new agreement reached in 2014. 
  3. Finally, in the third section, “Policy Recommendations for Africa’s Agricultural Transformation”, the report concludes by calling on policy-makers to seize the opportunities presented through transformations in the agriculture sector, the enhancement of public investment, strengthened ties with farmers, civil society and the private sector, and enhancements to the quality of public policy and spending. A range of policy options are presented for consideration by African leaders, including programmes aimed at narrowing the gender gap in agriculture, reforms designed to facilitate intra-regional trade and heightened resources targeted at improving land governance.
Published on 22 Feb 2014 Musicians and artists from across Africa have come together - to seek more money for farming. They want governments to help transform the agricultural sector. And they've recorded a song, to promote the cause.

Highlight: the National Smallholder Farmers' Association (NASFAM) in Malawi

24 January 2014. In this CTA Brussels video interview, Dyborn Chibonga, Chief Executive Officer of the National Smallholder Farmers' Association (NASFAM) in Malawi tells more about the main achievements of the association and the projects for the future.

  • Chibonga also explains how smallholder farmers can drive agricultural research initiatives responding to their needs. 
  • NASFAM is a farmer-directed business system based on the individual participation of over 100,000 Malawian smallholders. 
  • Finally Chibonga shares the lessons learnt from his participation to the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements negotiations by pointing out the main challenges and opportunities of such trade agreement for Malawi.

Video Guest: Dyborn Chibonga (Chief Executive Officer, NASFAM, Malawi) from CTA on Vimeo.
On the 14th of November 2013, Chibonga held a presentation on “the knowledge transfer as a two-way street” as part of the Brussels Briefing on the “Farmer-driven research to improve food and nutrition security” organized by CTA Brussels at the Jacques Delors Building (in Brussels).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Press Briefing of H.E. Mrs. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture

28 January 2014. Addis Abeba.

29 January 2014. LAUNCH OF JOINT NEPAD (New Partnership for African Development) - AUC PUBLICATION ON African Agriculture, transformation and outlook
NEPAD, November 2013, 72 p.
Director of the publication: Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer of NEPAD
Overall coordination: Estherine Lisinge Fotabong, Programme Director of NEPAD
Editor: Bureau Issala
Authors: Roger Blein, Martin Bwalya, Sloans Chimatiro, Benoît Faivre-Dupaigre, Simon Kisira, Henri Leturque, Augustin Wambo-Yamdjeu

The NEPAD-AUC publication was presented by the AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Mrs Tumusiime Rhoda Peace and NEPAD Chief Executive Officer Dr Ibrahim Mayaki. The Publication is a state of the art, defining the key priorities and opportunities to advance agriculture. It is developed within the context of sustaining the CAADP momentum and especially to inform decisions on key issues that will drive agriculture into to the next decade and beyond. It reflects debate and consultations going on with regard to two key themes, Agenda 2063 and Post 2015 Agenda.

23-24 January 2014. Pre-African Union Summit meeting: Theme Empowering Women for Agriculture and Food Security. Gender is My Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) held its bi-annual pre-summit consultative meeting at UNECA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with the theme “Mainstreaming Gender in the African Union; Women in Agriculture and Food Security”. The main objective was to mobilise a diverse cross-section of women to dialogue on women’s issues in agriculture, reproductive health and rights and violence against women, and make recommendations to the 22nd AU Summit. They also wanted to deliberate on how these issues affect their livelihoods and in turn affect their agricultural production and food security.
At the 23rd consultative meeting on gender mainstreaming in the African Union, Mr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) said that food security is within reach and that “Africa can and should feed Africa”.
 See the transcript under UNECA 23/01/2014 Forum Stresses Role of Women in Agricultural Value Chain

New Zealand and Ethiopia sign food security agreement

28 January, 2014. Voxy New Zealand. The Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully of New Zealand and his Ethiopian counterpart, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, have signed an arrangement to improve agricultural cooperation and food security.

The Food Security Cooperation Arrangement was signed following a meeting of the African Union Executive Council in Addis Ababa. The arrangement will provide a government-to-government framework to encourage commercial partnerships between New Zealand and Ethiopian agricultural interests.
"Africa is of increasing interest and importance to New Zealand, as evidenced last year when we made the decision to open a diplomatic post in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia has one of the largest populations in Africa, some 91 million people, a fast growing economy and is situated close to key markets in the Gulf. This arrangement will enable New Zealand to assist in the development of commercial scale agriculture in Ethiopia, and build food security partnerships in the region." Mr McCully said.

29 January 2014. Addis. The Government of Canada announced funding totalling approximately $35 million to support sustainable economic growth, food security and good governance in Africa. The funding will be directed among others to Food Security for the Support to the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund - Agribusiness in Africa Window (Pan-Africa):

This project supports new business ideas that will create jobs, boost agricultural productivity and connect small farmers to agricultural markets. This initiative is worth $15.15 million over seven years and will be implemented by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

Africa and India cultivate agricultural research ties

28 January 2014. SciDev. Africa and India cultivate agricultural research ties. Africa and India are gearing up to further enhance cooperation in agricultural science, technology and innovation, and move beyond dialogue to a range of practical options from a virtual biotech platform to agribusiness centres, seed investments and even joint donor-aided projects.

Willy Tonui, chief executive officer of Kenya’s National Biosafety Authority, said that studying how India has resolved development problems could help overcome similar challenges across Africa.

“India has developed solutions to its unique environmental and cultural challenges. We could learn from it,” he told SciDev.Net at a meeting on science, technology and innovation cooperation between Africa and India in New Delhi last October.

The meeting, which included ministers, heads of biotechnology organsiations, seed industry representatives, officials and scientists, generated a slew of proposals to enhance agricultural collaboration. The ideas from the meeting will feed into a larger Africa-India summit slated for 2014 in Delhi.


Several international research institutes are engaged in collaboration programmes between Africa and India.
  • For example, the Nairobi-based International Livestock Research Institute is engaged in programmes focusing on animal genetics, animal feeds and animal health that involve Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique and Tanzania as well as India.
“India-Africa knowledge management should move beyond the movement of messages to technology dissemination tools and approaches, and linkages to agricultural education,” says Purvi Mehta-Bhatt, the institute’s representative for South Asia. The two partners should develop joint projects to attract donor funding, set up institutional collaboration and document, monitor and evaluate their experiences, she says.
  • Similarly, New Delhi-based The Energy and Resources Institute is running collaboration initiatives including policy dialogues, policy research knowledge sharing, institutional capacity building and grassroots demonstration projects on areas such as biotechnology and sustainable development.
  • And the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, whose headquarters is near Hyderabad, will use its Agribusiness and Innovation Platform initiative to help set up agribusiness incubators for farmers across Africa, along the lines of its networks of incubators in India.

Support to small scale fisheries in Kenya: fish training videos

 23-24 January 2014. Entebbe, Uganda. SmartFish Trade Event 2014. Under the framework of the European Union (EU) funded SmartFish programmeFAO is now aiming to carry out direct actions to address the root causes of the losses through provision of trainings and awareness activities.

Fish traders from the Eastern, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (ESA-IO) region met in Entebbe, Uganda.
The one hundred delegates come from 13 countries - Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe to attend the SmartFish Trade Event 2014. The event is being hosted by Uganda and was officially opened by the Minister of Agriculture, Animal, Industry and Fisheries and the European Union.

The participants have gone through the Smartfish programme which demonstrated how it is possible to achieve self sustainability in both providing for their livelihood and feeding the region.

The trainings are taken to specific fishing communities in the Smartfish region. Individuals are identified from records in ministries and co-operative societies.
“The FAO component on Food Security through SmartFish has launched a new video-training packages to teach small scale fisheries operators in Kenya on the importance of hygiene and quality in the small scale fisheries for better quality and business,” says Davide Signa, the FAO Expert on Food Security
According to FAO research, demand for fisheries products is expected to rise in the future. Based on current demand, another 27 million tonnes of fish would be needed to maintain the present level of per capita consumption in 2030.

Smartfish has endeavoured to bring together fish dealers and encourage the trade, which is shunned by many especially because of the numerous activities involved from fishing to getting the product to the market.

“The SmartFish Trade Event is providing a productive forum for regional producers
and traders to see what others are doing in terms of value-addition, packaging and labelling, product development and also the various challenges for specific markets and products” said Chris Short, Fish Trade Specialist for the SmartFish Programme.



Posted: 14 Mar 2014 03:08 AM PDT
A series of high quality aquaculture training videos, designed to teach Egyptian fish farmers the industry’s best management practices, has recently been released.
Produced by WorldFish, an international non-profit research organization, the 10 short videos are being used to train local fish farmers in the most effective ways to boost the production and quality of farmed fish.
Available in Arabic with English subtitles, the videos cover all aspects of aquaculture from pond preparation and fish health care, to how to transport and handle live fish.
These videos are good learning tool for fish farmers to show them the industry’s best management practices in a simplified way – Dr. Diaa Al-Kenawy, WorldFish
The videos are part of the Improving Employment and Income through the Development of Egypt’s Aquaculture Sector (IEIDEAS) project. This project is part of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) led Livestock and Fish CGIAR Research Program small and medium-scale aquaculture value chain in Egypt.

Monday, January 27, 2014

HLPE calls for comments on Food losses and waste report

10 Jan 2014. The High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition invites experts to an open electronic consultation on the draft “Food losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems” study, which will be presented at the CFS plenary session on policy convergence in October 2014.

The HLPE will use this e-consultation to further elaborate the report, to further submit to external expert review, before finalisation and approval by the HLPE steering committee. The report has to be policy oriented, practical and operational. The deadline for public feedback and comments is 20 January 2014.

The HLPE was established in 2010 as the science-policy interface of the CFS. The HLPE aims to improve the robustness of policy making by providing independent, evidence-based analysis and advice at the request of CFS.To participate to the consultation, please visit the dedicated HLPE e-consultation webpage.

Annual General Assembly of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development

Prospects Agriculture and rural development assistance in the post-2015 development framework
Edition based on member consultation in January 2014
34 pages

The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development (the Platform) commissioned this study to explore ODA for ARD and Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) in a post-2015 world. Rather than adopting a linear planning approach, the Platform requested a scenario-based inquiry to clarify how the international development framework might be shaped from an uncertain interaction of multiple factors and actors. The aim of the study is not to provide prescriptive recommendations but to trigger discussion among Platform members aimed at clarifying new and better options for the future of the Platform in the context of key emerging issues of the post-2015 agenda.

This report is structured into two parts. The first chapter presents an analysis of the evolving framework of ARD and FNS, describes five alternative global scenarios and identifies implications
for ARD and FNS. The second chapter presents implications for ODA and outlines possible strategic responses ODA might adopt to cope with disruptions and new challenges. It also identifies
the implications of the different scenarios for ODA and concludes with elements for building a robust frame for development assistance in ARD and FNS.

22 - 23 January 2014. Paris. The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development held its Annual General
Assembly and was hosted by The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the French Development Agency (AFD). The objective was a better understanding of ‘territorial approaches’ and how it compares to other complementary approaches to rural development

Based on local analysis, territorial development is multidimensional. It can tackle a wide range of issues - connecting rural and urban markets, answering the growing demand for food and diversification of production and processing, managing pressure on land for production, urbanisation and natural resources, settling and investing in “empty” areas, implementing sustainable waste and water management, developing employment options for the youth, providing equitable territorial development and public investment etc. Players involved are also numerous. They include the "traditional" development partners plus private sector, including investors, both domestic as well as foreign, investment funds, SMEs/VSEs, civil society stakeholders, influential professional organisations, multiple political parties, local authorities etc.
“We (the donors) need external reviewers and discussion 
on how we are actually part of the problem, 
and how to build on existing knowledge.”
These significant challenges and new opportunities for development agendas create the need for a more inclusive approach to agricultural development. Donors are usually not equipped to answer such complexity but many international initiatives provide some elements for framing the approach (i.e. voluntary guidelines on responsible governance of tenure, responsible agriculture investments, food security initiatives etc.). 
  • What are the challenges for developing territorial development programs? 
  • What tools can be used for analysis and programming? 
  • How to work with local authorities and private sector? 
  • How to reinforce coherence between value chain development, food security and nutrition strategies and territorial development approaches?
Ben Ramalingam

Estherine Fotabong
Head of Programme Implementation 
and Coordination Directorate 
African case studies
The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development is a network of 37 bilateral and multilateral donors, international financing institutions, intergovernmental organisations and development agencies. Members share a common vision that ARD is central to poverty reduction, and a conviction that sustainable and efficient development requires a coordinated global approach. The Platform uses a wide range of instruments to actively promote effective policy, and public, private, and domestic investment in rural development as a central element of the international sustainable development agenda by:
  • Advocating with policy- and decision makers
  • Sharing knowledge amongst Platform members and all relevant actors
  • Facilitating the networking and cooperation with and between all relevant actors

Highlight: Tropicultura

Tropicultura publishes original articles, research and synthesis notes, book and thesis summaries as well as reviews of films and videos relative to all aspects of rural development: plant and animal production, veterinary science, forestry science, soil science, rural engineering, environmental sciences, bio-industry, agro-food science, sociology and economy.

The review is published with the aid of the "Direction générale de la Coopération au Développement (DGD), Ministère des Affaires du Commerce extérieur et de la Coopération au Développement" of Belgium and the "Région Bruxelles - Capitale" by Agri-Overseas in order to establish common-interest professional relationships between people working on overseas rural development.

Agri-Overseas is composed of both individual members and members of the following Belgian Institutions: the four faculties of agronomy (Gembloux - GxABT, Ghent - UGent, Leuven - KULeuven and Louvain-La-Neuve - UCL), the two faculties of veterinary medecine (Ghent - UGent and Liège - ULG), the Department of Production and Animal Health of the Institute of Tropical Medecine in Antwerp - IMTA, the inter-faculty section of agronomy of the "Université libre de Bruxelles" (Brussels - ULB), the "Facultés universitaires de Notre Dame de la Paix" (Namur - FUNDP), the "Département des Sciences et Gestion de l'Environnement de l'Université de Liège" (Arlon - DSGE ULg), the Directorate General for Development Cooperation (DGD) and the Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences (KAOW - ARSOM).

Tropicultura is published four times per year.

Friday, January 24, 2014

EuropeAid welcomed new Director General

24/01/2014. EuropeAid – or DG DEVCO – is responsible for designing EU development policies and delivering aid to reduce poverty in the world, while ensuring sustainable development and promoting democracy, peace and security. In November last year, EuropeAid welcomed new Director General, Fernando Frutuoso de Melo. took a camera to his office for an informal conversation on the context of European development cooperation in 2014.

Trained as a lawyer in his native Portugal, Fernando Frutuoso de Melo has worked with the European Institutions for the best part of the last 26 years. He has held positions as Director in the Secretariat General responsible for relations with the European Parliament, as Deputy Head of the President’s Cabinet, and most recently as Deputy Director-General in DG Human Resources.
“We often see development aid as something totally outside the rest of what the Commission is doing, what Europe is doing,” he said. “It is not: it is part of an overall effort to develop Europe for the EU citizens but also to help our partner countries and have better cooperation with them.

“And there are many areas where the EU and the Commission and other services and Institutions can contribute to the development of third countries - think about not only traditional services like Agriculture or Fisheries, but also Environment, Climate Change, Energy, Transport, Enterprise Development. There are all kinds of areas of cooperation where we can be useful to them, and they to us.”

SDC’s work in supporting smallholders and family farms in developing countries

The UN has declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF). The goal is to raise the profile of smallholders and family farms by focusing world attention on their role in alleviating hunger and poverty. Improving conditions for smallholders and family farms are central goals of the IYFF.

To mark the IYFF, a national Swiss committee composed of agriculture and development cooperation representatives has been established in Switzerland. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has an observer status in the committee.

Three films produced by the SDC address the issue of smallholder farming in developing countries: "Can we feed the world?, " Today’s reality of smallholder farms” and " “Realizing the potential of smallholder farming”. Films

Climate change and food security at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos

22 January 2014. Davos. Switserland. Climate change is on the agenda at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos

In anticipation of the forum, the WEF released the results of its survey “Global Risks 2014,” which measured perceptions of global risks among its “multi-stakeholder community” of global leaders in the business, government and non-profit sectors. 

Significantly, the results demonstrated that climate change is ranked in the top five of perceived global risks, and three of the other top ten risks have explicit relationships with climate change (those being food and water crises and extreme weather events). 

The “food crises” risk is listed in the report under the “societal” category, and defined as “access to appropriate quantities and quality of food and nutrition becomes inadequate or unreliable.” 

There is growing evidence that climate change can have a significant influence on food security. For example, two recent peer-reviewed studies assert a 70 and 80% likelihood (respectively) that the Russian heat wave of 2010 was attributable to climate change. According to a journal article by Oxford University’s Troy Strernberg inNature magazine, this event “reduced the wheat harvest by 32.7%,” while the 2010 drought in China had a marked impact on global food prices and food security in North Africa and the Middle East. According to our own research, a prolonged drought in Syria from 2006-2011, part of a drying trend likely associated with climate change, contributed to the decimation of nearly 75% of Syria’s crops.

The African Union Summit on agriculture and food security

21-31 January. Addis Abeba. 22nd AU Summit Agriculture and Food Security. “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture: Harnessing Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development” is the theme that will be at the center of discussions during the 22nd Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).

The Heads of State and Government will launch the year 2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security, marking the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

They will also consider the report of H.E. Mr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Coordinator of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) which will include among others: the outcome of climate change negotiations at the 19th Conference of Parties (COP 19) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the report of the Commission on the implementation of previous decisions on UNCCD and outcomes of COP 11 held in Windhoek, Namibia, 16-26 September 2013.

During the first half of the year, efforts will mainly be focussed on articulation of the key messages through a process of stakeholders’ consultations, in particular RECs and Member States, and deepening engagement for high level political commitment. At the continental level, the main events planned for the first half of the year, in the run up to the July 2014 AU Summit include:

See: Concept Note (En)
  1. Launch of 2014 Year of Agriculture and Food Security in Africa, marking 10th Anniversary of CAADP, during the January 2014 AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia-
  2. The 10th CAADP Partnership Platform Meeting to be held from 19th – 24th March, 2014 in Durban South Africa – organised by AUC and NPCA, which brings together Member States, RECs, key African Institutions and partners to review progress, and synthesise lessons for way forward.
  3. The Joint AU Conference of Ministers responsible for Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Rural Development, to be held from 28th April – 2nd May, 2014 also in Durban South Africa – which will deliberate on the theme and sub-themes and make resolutions for consideration by the AU Policy organs.
  4. The African Agribusiness Forum planned for June 2014 in Addis Ababa – which among others is expected to explore business opportunities for African entrepreneurs particularly women and youth, in the context of agricultural transformation and inclusive growth; and
  5. The July 2014 AU Summit, whose theme will focus on the Year of Agriculture and Food Security in 
  6. Africa and commemoration of CAADP at 10 - where discussions and deliberations will be dedicated to agriculture, food and nutrition security– and a declaration on “agricultural transformation and inclusive growth for shared prosperity and improved livelihoods” is sought.
CAADP 2nd Multi Donor Trust Fund 
design meeting
22 January 2014 Addis Ababa, AUC hosted CAADP 2nd Multi Donor Trust Fund design meeting
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Multi Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) 2 design meeting opened today with a view to map out a strategy for the second phase of the MDTF.

Established in 2008 at the request of the African Union as a programmatic trust fund, the CAADP MDTF, whose mandate ends December 31, 2015, was intended to support the efforts of African agencies engaged in CAADP processes. The MDTF supports the activities of African institutions to lead the adoption and utilization of CAADP across the continent and to facilitate coordination of development partner support to activities under CAADP and to African agriculture more broadly.

Press Release (En)

Other references:
Face book:

24/01/2014 All Africa. Ethiopia: AU Summit to Discuss Agriculture, Food Security
Only eight countries have surpassed the 10 percent financing target, according to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) - the technical body of the AU spearheading implementation of the CAADP. Only one of these, Malawi, is from southern Africa. The others are Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Senegal.
Published on 23 Jan 2014
Press briefing of Mrs Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, on 23rd Jan at 11:00 AM, AU briefing Room 1

Interview with Dr. Richard Munang - The Regional African coordinator for United Nations Environment Programme - talks on Africa's food security. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Kenya Agribusiness for Innovation Incubator programme

The 2014 GrowthHub – Agribusiness for Impact incubator and accelerator programme is designed to equip entrepreneurs with the most innovative solutions to some of the most pressing problems faced in agriculture to take their idea and build it into an innovative product or service that creates both financial and social impact. The programme consists of a cohort of 12 for-profit teams that are operating in any stage of the agricultural value chain other than actual farming.

Why the GrowthHub?

The GrowthHub incubates and accelerates East African start-ups to deliver sustainable business growth, create employment and contribute to social progress. The first GrowthHub is situated in the business district of Kilimani, Nairobi and has office facilities for its entrepreneurs who are part of the various incubator and accelerator cohorts it runs, as well as training and meeting facilities. 

The GrowthHub is a part of GrowthAfrica, a group of companies that includes GrowthAfrica Consulting, GrowthAfrica Management, GrowthAfrica Capital and GrowthAfrica Ventures. Their goal is to have 20 hubs throughout Eastern Africa within the next 5 years, focusing on locally relevant technologies, products and services.

The Incubation Programme is developed for those entrepreneurs and their start-ups who have already come up with an innovation to improve food production, processing, technology or distribution, have validated this idea and want to evolve and take the next step towards a successful business.
  • The programme invited 12 agribusiness start–ups with mature ideas to work together with facilitators, mentors and like mined entrepreneurs in the same environment for 16 weeks.
  • The sessions and workshops are designed to assist the start-up teams analyse the real need for input and feedback from the market, customers and key stakeholders, and design their tests and pilots accordingly. It is a resident experiential programme, filled with working days where specific topics will be discussed every week.
  • After 4 weeks the teams present their plans for piloting and testing to a panel of business angles and their fellow peers. This panel decides which 5 start-ups will be receiving the pre-committed funding of 5,000 USD for each team, to commence the testing and piloting.
  • The successful teams will then continue the programme for another 10 weeks executing their pilot/test with the guidance of facilitators, advisers and mentors – while continuously sharing their experiences with each other.
  • The activities conclude with a presentation to potential investors, key stakeholders and the social enterprise community at large what their tests and pilots revealed, and what the next steps are for their business venture.
Applications closed on 09/01
Selection Process closes on 24/01
Programme Sessions: 17/02-17/03/2014

The ICRISAT Agribusiness Fair

17 January 2014. ICRISAT headquarters at Patancheru, India. The Agri-Business Incubation (ABI) Program of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) organised a one-day Agribusiness Fair for agribusiness innovators and entrepreneurs. The one-day Agribusiness Fair organized by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) proved to be a major success, with more than 300 agribusiness innovators and entrepreneurs attending the event.

The fair was an opportunity for start-up entrepreneurs to explore various opportunities in the agri-business sector. It also acted as a platform for participants to present their agro-technology or business ideas for incubation support. Under the ABI program, selected entrepreneurs and innovative ideas will be provided incubation support.
"ICRISAT nurtures a research for development paradigm, now guided by a strategic framework called Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD). We have been reinventing ourselves for the past 41 years to efficiently and effectively serve the interests of smallholder farmers in 55 semi-arid countries across Asia and sub-Saharan Africa," said Dr William Dar, ICRISAT Director General, in his address during the inaugural program.
Highlighting the importance of the event, Dr Kiran Sharma, CEO of ICRISAT's Agribusiness and Innovation Platform ( AIP) said, "Programs such as these contribute to the sustainable transformation of Indian agricultural sector from an orientation of primarily food self-sufficiency to one in which market orientation is equally important for poverty alleviation and income generation."
13/01/2014 India strengthens ties with CGIAR institutions in Ethiopia and Kenya

Accelerating Investments for an Agricultural Revolution

Rob Smith, AGCO Senior Vice President & General Manager 
Europe, Africa and Middle East, John Agyekum Kufuor, 
Former President of Ghana & Chairman of The John 
A. Kufuor Foundation and Martin Richenhagen, AGCO Chairman, 
President & CEO at the AGCO Africa Summit 2014. 
(Photo: Business Wire)
20 January 2014. Berlin, Germany. Third annual AGCO Africa Summit. The Summit is a joint initiative of
AGCO, Bayer CropScience, DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft, Rabobank, De Lage Landen, and the John A. Kufuor Foundation. This year’s Summit focused on innovation – the application of technology and science to tackle and overcome the challenges inherent in Africa’s agriculture, and to exploit the opportunities to raise Africa’s agricultural productivity levels for all farmers.

AGCO plans to continue to collaborate on establishing further demonstration farms and training centers in different African countries. These facilities will allow local farmers and dealers to be trained on new farming technology. Currently, Zambia has an AGCO Future Farm and Training Center already operating, and it has yielded its first harvest of maize and soybeans in the last year. A key component to the success at Zambia’s Chalimbana Farm and Training Center are the strong partnerships that have been forged. The purpose of these partnerships is to bring together subject matter experts from various backgrounds that can create a roadmap to educate and train farmers on how to increase their agricultural productivity.

Through its global tractor brand, Massey Ferguson, AGCO has more than 50 years of experience in African agriculture. During this time African farmers have come to rely on the quality, reliability and support provided by Massey Ferguson, which was a major player in the power farming revolution, mechanizing and increasing farming efficiency across the continent. 

First Cracking the Nut Africa

13-15 January, 2014. Kigali, Rwanda. USAID Rwanda's Integrated Improved Livelihoods Program “Ejo Heza”, managed by Global Communities (formerly CHF International), organised its the first Cracking the Nut Africa: Improving Rural Livelihoods and Food Security conference, in conjunction with AZMJ. This event highlighted innovations in the development of rural and agricultural livelihoods, financial inclusion and increasing rural food security and nutrition in Africa.

About 400 experts in agriculture from 22 countries discussed how to advance food security through propelling the private sector to invest more in the field. 'Cracking the Nut Africa' discussions centred on how governments, donors, investors and private sector representatives, can support positive progress in rural and agricultural market development.

See Conference programme

The Conference showcased competitively selected best practices through focused themes:
  • Reducing Costs & Risks of Serving Rural Clients. What technologies and methodologies can be applied to reduce costs of serving rural populations with financial products (savings, loans, insurance, etc.), business development services and agricultural extension services?
  • Preparing for Sustainability of Future Livelihoods. What are the growth markets and skills needed for future jobs and business opportunities in the rural sector? How will globalization and innovation change the landscape for livelihoods in the future? To what extent are life skills and financial literacy important?
  • Enticing Investors to Key Agricultural Value Chains. Who are the most likely investors for rural and agricultural market development? How can donors and governments incentivize them to make effective long-term investments that will create jobs?
As well as high level panel discussions through related questions:
  • Proper Feeding of a Growing Population. How can Africans ensure they will produce enough food, of the right quality to feed their people a nutritious diet and avoid long-term negative implications of chronic food insecurity? What policies are needed to protect staple crops and rural incomes?
  • Facilitating Positive Behavioral Changes. What approaches and communication strategies are most effective in moving people to action? How can one convince the rural poor to commit to long-term strategies when they are faced with short-term crises?
David Weiss of Global Communities (formerly CHF International) recently sat down for an interview with Microlinks to discuss the Cracking the Nut Africa conference, a joint effort of Global Communities, USAID/Rwanda, and AZMJ.

Check out additional pre-conference interviews here!

16 & 17 January, 2014 | Kigali, Rwanda

JUNE 24-25, 2013 Cracking the Nut Conference – Dresden

Rice-based innovation: low-cost water control infrastructure

SMART-Valley: video presented by AfricaRice and produced by MOOV-ON productions. This is the trailer-summary of a 40 minutes educational video.

SMART valleys -trailer (finver) door moovon

SMART-valleys is a low-cost participatory and sustainable approach to develop inland valleys in sub-Saharan Africa for rice-based systems. The SMART-valleys approach has been developed by AfricaRice and its national research and development partners in Benin and Togo.

The SMART-valleys approach allows rice yields to double through improved water control, with only limited additional cost for the producers. Compared to traditional approaches, which involve expensive topographic studies and high investment costs to construct elaborate water control infrastructure, SMART-valleys are low-cost and more sustainable because they are developed and constructed by the farmers themselves.

The SMART-valleys approach follows a step-wise procedure focusing on design, lay-out and construction of low-cost water control infrastructure after a careful selection procedure paying attention to both socio-economic and biophysical factors and making extensive use of farmer knowledge.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Highlight: Western Africa Biowastes for Energy and Fertilizer

WABEF : Western Africa Biowastes for Energy and Fertilizer

Interview (in French) with Jean-Michel Médoc (Chercheur en gestion des déchets organiques of CIRAD), project coordinator. (25th November 2013. Brussels. Conference Joint European and African Research and Innovation Agenda on Waste Management: Economic Opportunities on Turning Waste into a resource).

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

Monday, January 20, 2014

Horizon 2020 info meeting

Photo credit: PAEPARD
17 Jan 2013 Brussels. The info day was organised by the Directorate for Biotechnologies, Agriculture, Food to provide full information on the new calls for proposals of Societal Challenge 2 (Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research bio-based industries and the Bioeconomy) and on the call Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies (LEIT) - Biotechnology.

Societal Challenge 2 covers three calls for proposals under which
projects can apply for funding:
  • Sustainable Food Security
  • Blue Growth
  • Innovative Sustainable and Inclusive Bioeconomy
In addition, the call under Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies was also be presented:
  • LEIT - Biotechnology
Horizon 2020 is the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, succeeding P7. Running Europe 2020 strategy and addresses major concerns shared by citizens in Europe and elsewhere.
from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of nearly €80 billion, Horizon 2020 is part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe. Horizon 2020 reflects the policy priorities of the

Programme pdf - 106 KB

Morning session:
Afternoon sessions
Session: Sustainable food security session
Session: Blue Growth
Session: Innovative, sustainable and inclusive Bioeconomy (ISIB) + Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies

Interview with Mr Stephane Hogan, Science Counsellor, European Union Delegation to the African Union. (South Africa in Horizon 2020 Information Day, 14 January 2014, Brussels)

Stephane Hogan answers following questions: 
  1. How will the private sector be involved in the food security?
  2. Two themes target Africa. Are African researchers excluded from the other themes?
SciDev 07/01/2014: A new horizon for African-European research links
“It’s a European programme, not a collaboration programme with Africa,” so it is logical that most funding goes to the EU, says Daan du Toit, senior science and technology representative for the South African Department of Science and Technology to the EU in Brussels, Belgium. “As much as we [South Africans] promote it and are enthusiastic about it, it’s not a magic instrument for all.”

Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2014

16 – 18 January 2014. Berlin. Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2014: Empowering Agriculture: Fostering Resilience – Securing Food and Nutrition.

Ministers from 69 countries gathered in the German capital; among them, Robert Sichinga, the agricultural minister of Zambia. One third of his country is farmland. Corn is the main crop.

"We don't want our food supply to be dependent on other countries," Sichinga said. "The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) tell us that we can't plant maize anymore, but should import genetically altered maize from South America instead. For us, that's a stupid suggestion that we will not accept under any circumstances."

Zambia is banking on small farmers who plant traditional types of corn. The government supports the purchase of seeds and fertilizer with considerable subsidies.

In addition, the government buys up the corn in order to ensure a measure of price stability. Critics say that Zambia lags far behind its agricultural potential and could achieve much more with the right technology.
"We don't want genetically modified crops in Zambia because we don't know what consequences they have for human health," Sichinga said. "As an African, I also won't let others tell me that their way is the only way that's right."
African countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Burkina Faso are taking a different approach. Genetically modified corn - as well as cotton, sugar cane and bananas - are being planted in those countries. Philip von dem Bussche, spokesman for the seed company, KWS Saat AG, thinks that's the right way to go. Progress will be achieved above all through new breeds of crops, he said.
"We are also trying to make plants healthier to protect them from climate change and diseases and to improve their quality," said von dem Bussche, adding that it's about turning farmers into entrepreneurs.
There's no foreseeable end to this entrenched ideological struggle. As a consequence, progress has stalled.
"We are not moving fast enough," said UN environment expert Steiner. "Expanding farmland not feasible over long term."

It's a criticism that certainly applies to the agricultural ministers in Berlin. Nothing groundbreaking was included in the summit's final communiqué.

German agriculture minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, 
at the Global Forum
According to that communiqué, agriculture has to be strengthened so that it can withstand climate change and limited resources. This is only achievable through diverse, sustainable and productive farming, the document said. There should be investment in crop research and support for family farms. Decentralized solutions should also be recognized and private property respected, according to the text.

Germany's agricultural minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, said that above all the relevant actors have to talk with each other more. Berlin will campaign for more and better communication, he said.


Deutche Wele 20/01/2014. Industry, non-profit groups divided over how to increase food production