Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, March 31, 2014

Engaging SME’s in EU-Africa Science, Technology and Innovation

Presentation by Judith Francis of CTA:
Current trends of SME involvment in
EU-Africa STI Research Partnerships
31 March 2014. Brussels. Stakeholders were invited to discuss and map out practical ways in which
SME’s can and should be engaged in EU-­‐Africa STI research collaborations. Discussions will be based on current successful practices that could be adopted, possible challenges arising from policy and practice limiting these collaborations, untapped opportunities and the way forward.

The key questions which were addressed in the workshop related to:

Wendell McIntosh of
ADA Commercial
Panel discussion: from left to right:
Prof. Taute (CSIR Meraka Institute); Wendell Mcintosh
(ADA Commercial); Antoine Mialhe (EC, DG Research);
Prof. Isaac Graham Meewella (IPMI International Business
School, University of Oulu)
EU-Africa Research and Business Policies – Opportunities or Threats? EU and Africa regional research strategies (including REC’s) have recently begun to increase the role of SME’s in research. It is however not clear how far the business policies support
these partnerships and what levels of coherence exist between the two.

  • How are current EU-­‐Africa research and business policies supporting or limiting collaboration between researches and business? 
  • Are EU-­‐Africa research policy priorities coherent with the regional business priorities? 
  • What areas of partnership are most viable for SME-­Research collaboration?
Strengthening STI research partnership and engaging SME’s
  • What kinds of challenges are SME’s in EU and Africa facing in engaging in joint research partnerships?
  • Best Practices from Finnish research-­SME partnerships. Are these transferrable models? 
  • Are there EU-­Africa platforms that exist that can be used to include SME’s in research? Is there a need to create new platforms? If so, what kind of platforms? 3.3 Way Forward
  • What is the way forward for researchers, policy makers and SME’s in enhancing STI research partnerships within the JAES roadmaps? 
  • What opportunities and challenges are foreseen and  how do we address them?
An outcome document from the workshop will be produced and taken forward to various organizers’ channels at EU and National level.
PPT presentation of Wendell McIntosh of  ADA Commercial
Following research questions linked to the mechanization of rice production in Africa have been identified:

Small and suitable field production machinery research
  • Pre-harvest mechanization: Precision planting, nursery industry and efficient use of water; mini-combine harvesters; ASI thresher; paddy cleaner; Weeders
  • Improvement of agricultural technology and system management
  • Post harvest mechanization for processing of agricultural product: Flat-bed dryers; parboiling vessels;  Briquetting machines; Rice hullers and grading machine 
Renewable energy technology research
  • furnaces for bio char 
  • Bio gas digesters
  • stoves for parboiling operations

Interview with Prof. Hannu J. Korhonen, Biotechnology and Food Research, MTT Agrifood Research Finland, about the importance of measuring aflatoxin. Prof. Hannu J. Korhonen is the European partner of the PAEPARD supported consortiumAflatoxin contamination management along the maize value chain in Kenya.

FoodAfrica – Improving Food Security in West and East Africa
Many of the farmers who don’t understand the risk would feed
moldy or spoilt maize to animals as feed, and drink the milk
 from these animals, which is the problem we are focusing
on within the FoodAfrica programme, says
Professor Erastus Kangethe from the University of Nairobi.

FoodAfrica is a research and development Programme enhancing food security in West and East Africa. The objective of the Programme is to provide new knowledge and tools for researchers, decision makers and local farmers to improve local food security. The FoodAfrica Programme is implemented in six countries: Benin, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, and Uganda.

FoodAfrica Programme is coordinated by MTT Agrifood Research Finland. The other cooperating partners are four CGIAR institutions and two Finnish universities.

See article: Comprehension and action required for successful aflatoxin control

Interview with Dr Olivier BESNARD of the France based SME Biophytech. Dr Olivier BESNARD is the European partner of the PAEPARD supported consortiumBurkina Faso - BIOPROTECT-B, un groupement d’intérêt économique pour la protection biologique des cultures et la fertilisation organique des sols pour une agriculture saine et durable au Sahel.

BIOPROTECT – B à été créé en 2011 et son siège social est au Burkina-Faso. BIOPROTECT – B propose des intrants d'origine organiques non polluants permettant une revitalisation de la vie microbienne des sols et une valorisation optimale des ressources locales afin de fertiliser et protéger des végétaux à fortes valeur ajoutée. Olivier answers following questions:

  1. Quelle est la genese de votre collaboration avec ARFA? 
  2. Comment le PAEPARD a-t-il contribue a cette collaboration? 
  3. Comment les essais de terrain ont ete finance? (le role du ColeACP) 
  4. Est-ce que Biotech est une PME qui est devenue viable? 
  5. Quelle est la collaboration entre ARFA et Bioprotect? 
  6. Est-ce que les biopesticides sont une niche ou il y a moyen de faire de l'argent? 
  7. Quel est le lien avec la conservation des sols?

Friday, March 28, 2014

10th CAADP Partnership Platform

18-21 March 2014. Durban South Africa. African leaders adopted 2014 as the year of agriculture at their 33rd summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in January to encourage the continent to reflect and recommit its efforts to boost production.

At their forthcoming summit scheduled for June in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the leaders are expected to adopt a series of measures to transform agriculture development in the continent.

The 10th CAADP Partnership Platform meeting  was, therefore, one of the main activities that will shape the key decisions to be adopted by the leaders. CAADP is an Africa-wide framework for revitalising agriculture, food security and nutrition aims to assist African countries reach a higher path of economic growth through agriculture-led development. Under this comprehensive programme, African governments have made a commitment to allocate at least 10 percent of their national budgets to the agricultural sector each year.


The Pre-CAADP PP and main sessions on the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa organized by FARA in Durban on 18th March, 2014 gathered about 100 participants from the continent and beyond. 
Participants emphasized that Africa needs to take advantage of advances in science and technology to increase the pace of achieving the required agricultural productivity and competitiveness that will ensure food and nutrition security, gender equality, increased incomes, reduced poverty and increased resilience to shocks. that the meeting exhibited the formidable AR4D coalition of actors; (ASARECA, CORAF/WECARD, CCARDESA, NASRO, RUFORUM, ANAFE, AFAAS, PANGOC, PanAAC, PAFO, AFAPP, NARS, CGIAR) committed to the implementation of the Science Agenda towards ensuring achievement of the CAADP goals at the country and regional levels within the current results framework of the “Sustaining the CAADP Momentum”. 

The sessions on the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa were organized in plenary and working groups. 
After discussions and deliberations, participants came up with the following short, medium and long term goals as well as the related actions and targets for the Science Agenda.
Short term goalIncrease domestic public and private sector spending and create the enabling environment for sustainable application of science for agriculture.
Medium term goal: Build basic science capacity at national and regional levels with special attention to the youth and women.  
Long term goal: Double the current level of Agricultural Total Factor Productivity (ATFP) by 2025 through application of science for agriculture. 
Actions and targets for short term goal: 
  1. Adopt the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa as the principal vehicle and framework for operationalizing the AR4D component of the Sustaining the CAADP Momentum
  2. Develop and implement country specific strategies and operational plans for implementing the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa; 
  3. Establish an African Science for Agriculture Transformation Fund (ASATF), in consultation with key African financial institutions (e.g. the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)), a funding mechanism for science, technology and innovation to mobilize additional resources for purposes of up-scaling successful agricultural innovations in Africa.
  4. Increase national budgetary allocations for science and innovation for agriculture
  5. Set up Chairs in universities as vehicles for attracting investment from the private sector
  6. Promote the adoption of IAR4D through the development of functional innovation platforms at country level;
  1. Country specific strategies and operational plans for implementing the Science Agenda for Agriculture developed and implemented in 10 countries by 2016
  2. Establish an African Science for Agriculture Transformation Fund (ASATF), by 2016
  3. Double national budgetary allocations for science and innovation for agriculture by 2018
  4. Set up Chairs in universities as vehicles for attracting investment from the private sector by 2016
  5. Innovation platforms set up in 15 country level by 2016; 
Actions and targets for medium term goal: 
  1. Mobilize collective action to take advantage of science and technology in resolving common problems across member states and building the basic science capacities;
  2. Develop and mainstream a framework for human capital formation in science, technology and agri-prenuership in schools, colleges, vocational institutions and universities
  3. Support regional mobility programmes 
  1. Regional mobility programmes for research, extension and education established and functional by 2024.
  2. Identifying and prioritizing common regional and continental interventions for collective action by 2024. 
  3. Develop and mainstream a framework for science, technology and agri-prenuership in schools, colleges, vocational institutions and universities by 2018
  4. Identifying and prioritizing common regional and continental interventions for collective action by 2024. 
Actions and targets for long term goal: 
  1. Develop appropriate technologies, policies and institutional innovations for increasing total factor productivity
  2. Promote access to and use of factors of production including new varieties and breeds, inputs  by end users
  3. Promote access to more efficient local, national, regional and international markets for increasing total factor productivity
  1. Appropriate technologies, policies and institutional innovations for all commodities available for use by 2024
  2. Factors of production including new varieties and breeds, inputs  accessible to at least 50% of end users by 2024
  3. More efficient local, national, regional and international markets available to at least 50% of end users by 2024
The Science Agenda outcomes from the 10th CAADP PP provide the critical step towards preparations for the Ministerial meeting and the Heads of State Summit in June. 

On 18th March, 2014, a big crowd witnessed the launch of the book titled Maximizing Impact from Agricultural Research: Potential of the IAR4D Concept, at the International Convention Centre in Durban, South Africa. This was at the opening of the meeting marking the 10th anniversary of CAADP.
The book contains the report of the proof that IAR4D using Innovation Platforms works better than conventional approaches in the generation, dissemination and adoption of technologies for increased food security, poverty reduction and the protection of the integrity of the environment.  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The social, environmental and economic sustainability of biofuels production

12 March 2014UNIDO Press Release UNIDO has announced the release of two publications that investigate the social, environmental and economic sustainability of biofuels production, with the aim of promoting investment in increased biofuels production.
  1. The first publication, titled Biofuels Screening Toolkit: Guidelines for Decision Makers evaluates 74 liquid biofuels pathways in developing countries and offers guidance to decision makers on the sustainability of biofuels projects. The toolkit contains criteria for decision making on, among others: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; biodiversity; soil protection; land productivity and resource management; food security; land tenure; gender; labor conditions; cost-benefits; and life-cycle costs.
  2. The second publication addresses the Impacts of Biofuel Production Case Studies: Mozambique, Argentina and Ukraine and considers sustainability impacts of scaling up production of biofuels for transport in contexts of varied industrial development. It investigates land availability as well as environmental, social and economic impacts of biofuels projects, and offers best practice recommendations in over a dozen areas.
The publications were developed as part of a Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project, titled 'Global Assessments and Guidelines for Sustainable Liquid Biofuel Production in Developing Countries.' They were written in collaboration with the FAO, UNEP and three German research institutes, namely IFEU Heidelberg, Utrecht University and Öko-Institut. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

German-African Cooperation in Education and Research Africa Days of the BMBF

16-18 March 2014. Berlin, Germany. German-African Cooperation in Education and Research Africa Days of the BMBF.

Approximately 700 experts from Germany and Africa discussed the further development of cooperation in education and research at this event organized by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The discussion focused on topics such as environment, bioeconomy, health, resources management, social and political transformation processes as well as the cross-cutting topic of innovation. At the closing event, the German and African experts presented their recommendations to Federal Minister Johanna Wanka, who said:
"We are following up on successful cooperation and drafting the first Africa Strategy for
Education and Research. We want to address research issues jointly and at the same time promote sustainable development and innovation in African countries. This includes the development of research capacities and support for young researchers as well as the introduction of practically oriented elements in African education and training systems. The recommendations provide additional inspiration which we will gladly take into account when organizing our future cooperation."
Professor Horst Köhler emphasized in his keynote speech the inability to talk about Africa, and the geopolitical importance of the African continent:
"The inability to talk about Africa must not leave us speechless. On the contrary, we
must determinedly set out on new pathways of dialogue and cooperation. What we need in our relations with Africa is a new modesty in what we say and a new passion in what we do. We need a change of culture in our Africa policy which acknowledges the historic changes currently taking place on this continent and which finally takes Africa's global importance seriously. Such a change of culture makes great demands on us: It requires a self-critical attitude, an ability to differentiate, patience, a little bit of courage – and the political will to ensure that action reflects this change of attitude."

The African Union Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, Dr. Martial De-Paul Ikounga, stressed in his speech that support for Africa is based on Africa's own self-articulated priorities and home-grown framework solutions to engender Africa's social and economic development. 
"The Commission of the African Union appreciates the German support strategy that
has taken into account Africa's own homegrown frameworks in the areas of education and research as well as in science, technology and innovation. Thus the support will help to advance the key initiatives expressed in the AU strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (STISA-2024), the Plan of Action for the Second Decade of Education for Africa including the Pan African University, as well as Post 2015 Agenda. This is a welcome departure from erstwhile practice by international agencies and donor countries to develop and support parallel programmes that do not optimally contribute to Africa's collective vision of peace, prosperity and integration."
Source: 18 March 2014. Press Release.

In the context of a specialist workshop on the first day German and African experts discussed the projects which receive funding under the BMBF funding scheme related to the bio-economy:
  1. Trans-SEC – Innovating pro-poor Strategies to safeguard Food Security using Technology and Knowledge Transfer 
  2. UrbanFoodPlus – African-German partnership to enhance resource use efficiency in urban and peri-urban agriculture for improved food security in West African cities 
  3. BiomassWeb – Improving Food Security in Africa through Increased System Productivity of Biomass-based Webs 
  4. RELOAD – Reduction of Post-Harvest Losses and Value Addition in East African Food Value

  5. HORTINLEA – Horticultural Innovations and Learning for Improved Nutrition and Livelihood in East Africa 
  6. Wetlands in East Africa: reconciling future food production with environmental protection
January 20, 2014. Berlin, Germany. 3rd AGCO Africa Summit. Leading international experts discussed solutions for the development of African Agriculture.

The Bioeconomy Strategy.
© Department of Science and Technology 2013.
48 pages

The Department of Science and Technology of South Africa, in consultation with other relevant stakeholders, has identified three key economic sectors – agriculture, health and industry – as being the most in need of, and likely to benefit from key levers to drive the implementation of the South African Bioeconomy Strategy.
Extract: The skills and solutions that emerge from biotechnology research need to be effectively transferred to emerging, small-scale and commercial farmers.
Related: involvement of German mid-sized companies in African projects:
18 March 2014. German agriculture boss endorses foreign investment in African farming.
The perception of Carl Heinrich Bruhn (founder of Amatheon Agri) used to be mostly negative about of Africa. “I came from this typical view Europeans have of Africa, that it is this continent of hunger, war and corruption.”

Other German agri-business initiatives:
  • CECAMA: CENTRE DE CONSEIL AGRICOLE MAROC-ALLEMAND (involving companies such as Rauch, Lemken)
  • Ethio-German Agricultural Training Center (ATC): (Ethiopia) located in Kulumsa, about 170 km south-east of Addis Ababa
  • VDMA: the German Engineering Federation (Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya): this partnership between UNIDO and VDMA focuses on developing and extending the skill-base necessary for the provision, acquisition and effective deployment of technology and methodology in agribusiness value chains, with particular emphasis on the establishment of operational and capacity-building maintenance centres of excellence in Africa.
  • PSDA: Private Sector Development of Agriculture (Kenya)
  1. 31st March 2014. Brussels Engaging SME's in EU-Africa Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Research Partnerships (co-organised by PAEPARD)
  2. 31 March - 1 April 2014. Brussels. The 5th EU-Africa Business Forum
  3. 1 April 2014: Brussels. Round table on the role of and conditions for private sector engagement in the food and nutrition security research and innovation partnership. The EABF innovation platform is however restricted to 50 invited persons.
  4. 1 April 2014. Brussels. Forum for the Future of Agriculture FFA2014
  5. 28 to 29 April 2014. Vienna. Africa agribusiness investment forum
  6. 14-18 JULY 2014. Nairobi. FIN4AG CONFERENCE

Saturday, March 15, 2014

East African Community workshop on Aflatoxin Control Program

6 - 8 March 2014 2014. Bujumbura. East African Community Secretariat. A two-day regional workshop on Aflatoxin Control Program was organized by the EAC Secretariat with the support of (USAID) and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) .

The workshop saw the composition of the Regional Working Group on Aflatoxins (REWGA) mandated to provide technical and advisory guidance to EAC Sectoral Council on Agriculture and Food Security and key stakeholders in the region on prevention and control of aflatoxin in the region.REWGA will work at a regional level to provide leadership for coordinating and monitoring strategic intervention on aflatoxin control.

The workshop was attended by among other experts from all the EAC Partner States, United States of America Government representatives, the African Union, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF), the Media. 
Aflatoxin contamination is not adequately and appropriately controlled or regulated within the EAC region as most of food stuffs are produced and consumed locally with no or limited testing by the relevant regulatory authorities. Many countries reject agriculture imports exceeding certain levels of aflatoxin, costing African farmers millions of dollars each year in lost sales. Meanwhile, people who inadvertently consume a large quantity of the contaminated food can get very sick, as the toxin can cause potentially fatal problems in the liver and intestines. For example, in 2004 alone, 300 people in Kenya were sickened by aflatoxin and 125 people died.

Dr Victor Manyong, Director for IITA Eastern Africa based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, noted that the East Africa region is one of the hotspots of aflatoxin contamination - it has all the right conditions that the natural occurring fungi that produce aflatoxins thrive in.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Conference on Agricultural Investment, Gender and Land in Africa

5 - 7 March 2014. Stellenbosch (Cape Town). The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS), the Future Agricultures Consortium, and the Land Policy Initiative (LPI) of the African Union, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, jointly organized this multi-stakeholder conference -

This conference aimed to promote an open exchange of experiences and evidence-based knowledge on the implications of public and private agricultural investments for rural livelihoods, gender relations, social differentiation.

The conference featured research findings by a range of institutions and networks, that document and analyse diverse land-based investments and the related business models, investment partnerships, community impacts and community responses. The purpose was to critically review existing investment practices as well as relevant policy and institutional set-ups in order to identify good and bad practices, promising strategies, approaches and policy measures that can be promoted and adapted to national contexts to foster inclusive, equitable and socially responsible investment that respect the rights of local communities and promote economic growth within a framework of social and gender equality.

The conference analyzed the following thematic areas always with a strong focus on gender and social equity dimensions:

1.  Primary agriculture investments implemented under different business models and the implications for the livelihoods of rural women and men
  • Value chain participation and small-scale farmer development
  • Technology transfer and skills development
  • Opportunities and challenges for decent employment creation and income generation
  • Changes in land access, use and control
  • Free, prior and informed consent
  • Changes in intra-household decision-making and resource control
  • Infrastructure development and provision of social goods
2. Enabling environment, strategies and approaches for responsible, inclusive and gender equitable agriculture investments;
  • Policy, institutional and regulatory frameworks, including national land tenure, agricultural development, trade regulation and investment policy, legislation and related institutions
  • Civil society and producers’ organizations best practice, roles and responses
  • Private sector best practice, corporate social responsibility and self-regulation
Focus countries
Ghana, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda are the priority countries but interesting and innovative case studies from other countries were also considered.

Martha Osario of FAO presents the Aims and Objectives of the Multi-Stakeholder Conference Agricultural Investment, Gender and Land in Africa.


Honourable Ambassador Gertrude, a Tanzanian politician and the first president of the Pan-African Parliament, spoke movingly about the subordinate position of women in agricultural development despite the fact that "most African men received an education because their mothers were farmers".


Nidhi Tandon of Oxfam (Canada) at the first day of the Multi-Stakeholder Conference on Agricultural Investment, Gender and Land in Africa, highlighting women's loss of dignity as a result of land deals.


In this presentation, Ward Anseeuw from the University of Pretoria and CIRAD, discusses the Land Matrix research on the extent and impact of agricultural investment. He highlights that agricultural investment is not as pervasive as one would imagine given the media uptake of the issue; nevertheless the impacts on poverty are severe, especially since so many projects have failed.

Even with the data collated by the Land Matrix project, the picture of large-scale land acquisitions remains hard to decipher. But The Land Matrix database provides evidence that the phenomenon may be even larger than assumed until now.

The LAND Matrix (April 2012. 64 pages. Authors: Anseeuw, W.; Boche, M.; Breu, T.; Giger, M.; Lay, J.; Messerli, P.; Nolte, K.) out of which this report was produced, is an online public database of large scale land deals facilitated by a partnership between the following organisations:

  • The International Land Coalition (ILC) is a global alliance of civil society and intergovernmental organisations working together to promote secure and equitable access to and control over land for poor women and men through advocacy, dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building. 
  • The Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) is the University of Bern’s centre for sustainable development research. 
  • CIRAD works with the whole range of developing countries to generate and pass on new knowledge, support agricultural development and fuel the debate on the main global issues concerning agriculture. he GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies based in Hamburg-based. 
  • The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)


Discussing trends and responses to agricultural investment, Pascal Liu argues that investment only makes sense if it is going to benefit rural communities.

Sue Mbaya discusses the need for the Voluntary Guidelines on large scale land investments

Nexus 2014: Water, Food, Climate and Energy Conference

5th-8th March 2014. North Carolina, USA. Nexus 2014: Water, Food, Climate and Energy Conference. The Nexus Conference brought together leaders in business, government, NGOs and research to discuss innovative and sustainable solutions that address the intersection of the world’s water, food, and energy needs and use in a changing climate.

The Conference comprised a variety of panel discussions, interactive and networking sessions, and research presentations aimed at increasing the dialog around Nexus issues.

One of the primary goals of the Nexus 2014: Water, Food, Climate and Energy Conference was to provide input to the UN Sustainable Development Goals process. To do so a group of experts has prepared a draft of the Nexus Declaration. We are seeking feedback on the Declaration and welcome comments. To learn more about the Declaration click here.

  • Urban Challenges of the Nexus: Local and Global perspectives
  • Nexus perspectives: Water, Energy and Climate
  • Nexus perspectives: Water, Food and Climate
  • Nexus Corporate Stewardship: How business is improving resource use
  • Natural Resource Security for People: Water, Food and Energy
  • Financing the Nexus: policy and practice
  • Learning from the past, building a new future: Nexus Scientific Research

Conference Program – PDF Version
Conference Agenda – PDF Version
Side Event Schedule – PDF Version
Verbal Presentation Schedule – PDF Version
Abstract Book – PDF Version

Undercover Farming Conference

4 - 6 March 2014.  Pretoria, South Africa. Undercover Farming Expo and Conference was started in March 2012 to draw exhibitors from service providers out of the intensive Horticultural industry and a Conference with Horticultural experts speaking to a vast number of delegates. In March 2013 this was repeated with equal tremendous results. More than 1 500 visitors streamed through the doors on both occasions.

Sponsors of the Undercover Farming Expo 
Niek Schelling, Agricultural Counsellor of the 
Embassy of the Netherlands in Pretoria (left) 
and Ernst Janovsky, head of Absa AgriBusiness (right) 
are pictured with the organiser, Johan Swiegers (centre) 
Highlights on the two-and-a-half day conference programme, themed What drives modernisation in the industry, included topics such as:

  • Farming for the Future, 
  • Profit Margins to drive production efficiencies, 
  • What the markets expect, 
  • Growth in undercover farming under shade netting, 
  •  Importance of good seedlings, 
  • Equipment for measuring of substrates, 
  • Change of chemical uses- the ‘softer’ approach, 
  • Getting ready for export – what role cargo agents play, 
  • Flower business – Finding Export Markets and Horticulture in The Netherlands.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Launch of IFPRI’s 2013 Global Food Policy Report | International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Initiated in response to resurgent interest in food security, this annual report offers an overview of the food policy developments that have contributed to or hindered progress in food and nutrition security. It reviews what happened in food policy and why, examines key challenges and opportunities, shares new evidence and knowledge, updates key food policy indicators, and highlights emerging issues.

Contributions by IFPRI researchers and other leading food policy experts draw on rigorous research and consider a wide range of crucial questions:
  • What is the direction of the global development agenda as the world approaches the 2015 deadline of the Millennium Development Goals?
  • What are the best policies and investments to ensure we can end hunger and undernutrition by 2025?
  • How effective will India’s landmark National Food Security Act be in ensuring access to adequate food at affordable prices?
  • What policies, investments, and technologies will do most to sustainably increase agricultural productivity, to link smallholder farmers to markets, and to ensure that their products are safe and nutritious?
  • How do we get the politics of nutrition right, to create an environment in which policies promote food and nutrition security?
  • What have been the major developments in regions and countries where poor and hungry people reside?
page 88-92 Regional Developments (PDF 2.4M)
Ousmane Badiane, Tsitsi Makombe, and Julia Collins
This essay examines Africa’s progress in implementing CAADP and reviews significant agriculture-related developments within the region in 2013, including:
  1. efforts to better integrate issues of nutrition and resilience into national agriculture and food-security investment plans, 
  2. actions to ensure mutual accountability through agricultural joint sector reviews, and 
  3. continent-wide and subregional dialogues to address policy constraints to achieving better development outcomes.
Uploaded on 12 Mar 2014

Livestreaming video on 12 March
12:15 pm to 1:45 pm EDT (Washington)
19:15 pm to 20:45 pm (Ghana)
20:15 pm to 21:45 pm (Brussels)
22:15 pm to 23:45 pm (Addis Ababa)
22:15 pm to 23:45 pm (Nairobi)

Chair: Gwendolyn Stansbury, Division Director, Communications and Knowledge Management Division and Shenggen Fan, Director General of IFPRI. IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan presented an overview of the major food policy developments presented in the Report, and discussed ways in which post-2015 development efforts can help achieve the aspirational target of eliminating hunger and undernutrition in a sustainable manner by 2025. 

Homi Kharas, Senior Fellow and Deputy Director for the Global Economy and Development Program, Brookings Institution

Asma Lateef, Director, Bread for the World Institute


Tjada McKenna, Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future and Acting Assistant to the Administrator at USAID’s Bureau for Food Security .

Question and Answer session)

Thursday, March 6, 2014


4-6 March 2014. Budapest, Hungary. The FAO and the Hungarian Ministry of Rural Development organised a Global Forum to identify the various political, policy, business and social elements that play a role in the complex environment in which family farms operate. The overall objective was to find ways in which economies and communities could benefit from the values that family farms represent in food production, management of natural resources, biodiversity, human relations and the preservation of cultural heritage.

African speakers: (see programme)
  • Mr Francis F. Ngang, Secretary General, Inades-Formation (Cote d’Ivoire)
  • Mr Ibrahima Coulibaly, IYFF Special Ambassador for Africa (Mali)
  • Mr Mohamed Ould Saleck, IYFF Special Ambassador for North Africa and the Near East (Mauritania)
  • Ms Claire Regina Quenum, IYFF-2014 National Committee, World Rural Forum (Togo)
The main findings of the two day event, which emerged from the ministerial roundtable and the three parallel panel discussions, are the following:
  • Even if family farms differ to a large extent from region to region, they have values that all nations share and challenges that all nations need to tackle.
  • Most smallholder farms are family-based and make a significant contribution to global food and nutrition security. However, family farms and the countries in which they operate are diverse in many ways and the solutions offered for them should be tailored for this diversity.
  • Farmers need a high enough income to maintain their rural livelihoods and not to move to urban areas in the hope for a better life. To this end, a decent price for their produce and services needs to be obtained.
  • Limited access to land and other natural resources, knowledge, education and financing are seriously hindering family farming development globally. Best practices of coping mechanisms should be widely disseminated.
  • Co-operation could offer access to investment, technology and markets making family farming viable. An enabling environment, including a clear and simple legislation and a proper taxation system is crucial for the development of co-operatives and farmers’ organisations. Socially responsible partnerships with civil society organizations and with the private sector can play an important role in the promotion of co-operation.
  • Women are the backbone of family farming but their large contribution is not duly recognized in terms of income earned and access to productive resources and assets. If both women and men have adequate access to productive resources, rural societies can become more resilient. Hence, women’s meaningful participation in decision making processes should be enabled. We should continue raising awareness on the role of women in family farming management and promote women’s equal access to land, credit, education, technology, networks and decision-making processes.
  • Youth are increasingly losing interest in agriculture and are migrating away from rural areas in search for job opportunities in other sectors. In order to provide young farmers with adequate livelihoods, appropriate income, targeted policies, programs and projects are essential.
  • The common ground among the views expressed reflects the key position that family farms occupy in sustainable agriculture. Since we all want our agrarian systems and rural networks to be sustainable, we must strive to support family farms.
  • Economic sustainability is essential for family farming. Viable farming helps to keep young people on the farm. We also need pragmatic co-operation and responsible actions from different stakeholders: especially government, business, farmers and civil society.
  • Environmental regulations should take into account the measured and internalised positive and negative externalities of different types of family farming. Traditional family farming strongly contributes to environmental sustainability. New environmental challenges should be answered by participative research, knowledge transfer and Life Long Learning.
  • The social sustainability of family farming is based on the next generation’s willingness to take part in farming and the society valuing the culture behind traditional family farming.
Food Tank released a new research report called Food Tank By the Numbers: Family Farming. You can share an article about the report with a link to the complementary download by clicking HERE.

The report proves that family farms—farms or ranches owned and operated by families—are not only feeding the world, but also nourishing the planet. Family Farms are developing effective ways to address global food security, increase income, protect biodiversity, and conserve the environment for a growing populatio

Highlights from the report:
  • Recent research by FAO shows that, in their global sample, over 98 percent of farms are family farms and these produce at least 56 percent of the world’s agricultural production. In many countries, the contribution of family farmers to food production far surpasses their share of land holdings.
  • Family farming makes up the majority of agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa,where approximately 33 million farms in the region, or 80 percent, are smallholder farms.
  • More than 80 percent of all agricultural holdings measure less than two hectares in size and are thus managed by smallholder farmers.
  • All farmers can have a direct impact on nutrition through the crops that they choose to grow and consume, as well as through post-harvest and preparation methods.
  • Smallholder farmers utilize farming practices that preserve biodiversity—not just for nutrition and taste—but also because cultivating a wide variety of species helps insulate farmers against risk of plant disease, and crop diversity promotes soil health and increases yields.
  • Diversified and indigenous crops are typically more resilient to climate change and extreme weather conditions.
  • The use of organic fertilizers by family farms has been proven to be effective in reducing soil degradation.
  • Smallholder farmers typically use innovative technologies to conserve resources. Drip irrigation methods used in Benin, for example, can save between 30 and 60 percent more water than conventional methods.
  • Evidence shows smallholder and family farming can be the key to mitigation of the negative effects of climate change and improving food security.
  • If 10,000 small- and medium-sized farms converted to organic, sustainable production, the environmental effect in terms of carbon sequestration would be equivalent to removing over one million cars from the road.
  • In Vietnam, land tenure reforms that provide private land use rights to smallholder farmers have had a significant and positive effect on agricultural productivity, as well as increasing household incomes.
  • Mobile phone technology has been instrumental in breaking down barriers that smallholder, rural farmers, especially women, face in accessing markets.
  • Despite growth of large-scale farms around the world, smallholder and family farming still make up the majority of global agriculture.

Revolutionising finance for agri-value chains

5 March 2014. ACP Secretariat, in Brussels. 35th Briefing on Finance for agri-value chains.

This CTA Briefing looked at finance as a key driver for value chain development and discussed the concept of agricultural value chain finance, new opportunities for financiers, and the new context of value chain finance in Africa – including the development of ICTs that support innovative applications. It examined the innovations in financial instruments and services and presented concrete examples of more current applications on the ground which demonstrate the potential of value chain finance for shaping African agriculture.

Extra materials:

Below you may find the programme of the event, the presentations of the speakers, as well as other useful information:
Programme and Background Note
Reader (extensive research on the topic) – Available soon
Photos – Available soon
Biodata of the speakers

Video streaming by Ustream

Panel 2: Innovations in financial instruments and services

Chair: H.E. Brave Ndisale, Ambassador of Malawi

  1. Financing agri-processing projects in emerging markets: lessons learned - Hans Bogaard, Head of the agribusiness advisory activities, Rabo Bank
  2. Linking rural entrepreneurs to financial services - Hans Balyamujura, Co-Founder and CEO of ZED Group Limited
  3. Kenyan Experience in Agri-value Chain Financing - Priscilla Wambui Muiruri, Agribusiness Specialist, KAPAP
  4. Finance innovations combining ICT’s and warehouse receipts - David Ruchiu, Africa Director, Farm Concern International, Kenya
  5. Commodity exchange development - Adam Gross, Investments and Capital Markets Advisor, Nepad Business Foundation
Calvin Miller, Group Leader FAO Agribusiness and Finance Group held a presentation on "The concept of agricultural value chain finance and types of vc business models"

Lee H. Babcock, Expert on mobile finance for agriculture, USA,held a presentation on "Strategic benefits of and approaches to agricultural mobile finance"

Training manuals on business and marketing for agriculture

The CRS guides listed below explain how to help farmers strengthen five skill sets to successfully engage with markets. The documents are in their first year of beta testing.

The five skill sets are:
  1. organizing democratically for collective decision-making; 
  2. managing savings and lending to protect key assets, smooth consumption and encourage investment; 
  3. selecting, establishing and growing an enterprise; 
  4. managing natural resources for sustainable agricultural production; 
  5. and managing knowledge to innovate and maintain competitiveness in a changing market.
The guides were created through the support of 130 practitioners from 19 organizations and 12 countries. The manuals have been prepared for use by development facilitators, field extension agents and community leaders working with poor rural communities.

USAID and MEAS provided financial support for the editing and graphic design of the guides and for the development of e-learning courses.

Download the guides

Introduction to the Five Skills for Rural Development

This manual describes the multiple-skills approach and how to use it in rural development projects. It is made up of six sections:
  1. Using a skills-based approach
  2. A closer look at the five skills
  3. Organizing the team
  4. Working with the community
  5. Ensuring sustainability
  6. Building a training plan
Skills Farmers Need for Organizing and Managing Groups

This manual describes the skills farmers need to successfully organize themselves in groups. It also explains how to manage a farmer group. The manual contains four sections:
  1. Working with groups
  2. Organizing and managing a group
  3. Planning and implementing activities
  4. Communicating and networking
Field Agent Guide: Savings and Internal Lending Communities

This manual describes a robust methodology for establishing savings and lending communities. This guide is made up of five sections:
  1. Introduction to the Field Agent Guide
  2. Review of the SILC methodology
  3. SILC implementation manual
  4. Record keeping structure
  5. Field Agent Monitoring Forms
Natural Resource Management: Basic Concepts and Strategies

This manual describes the theory and concepts of natural resource management. The document contains 10 lessons and includes the following concepts:
  1. The importance of NRM
  2. The water cycle
  3. Watersheds and watershed management
  4. Soils and soil fertility
  5. Plant health
  6. Sustainable systems
Natural Resource Management: Tools for Planning and Implementing Participatory NRM Projects

This manual describes a process for designing and implementing an NRM plan. It includes seven lessons:
  1. Engaging the community
  2. Understanding the community context
  3. Identifying and engaging stakeholders
  4. Mapping natural resource problems and opportunities
  5. Making an NRM plan
  6. Managing an NRM project
  7. Monitoring progress
Marketing Basics: Course on Agroenterprise and Market Development for Field Agents

This manual describes the theory and concepts of marketing and agroenterprise development. The document contains 10 lessons:
  1. What is agricultural marketing?
  2. Supply and demand
  3. Costs, income, prices and profit
  4. Types of markets
  5. Changes in markets
  6. The value chain
  7. Developing marketing strategies
  8. The four Ps of marketing
  9. Entrepreneurial spirit
Seven Steps of Marketing: Course on Agroenterprise and Market Development for Field Agents

This manual describes a process for designing and implementing an agroenterprise business plan and assessing market performance. The document gives seven steps you can follow to help farmers develop their agroenterprises:
  1. Getting organized
  2. Identify products and organizing groups
  3. Collecting information for the business plan
  4. Building a business plan
  5. Marketing as a group
  6. Reviewing agroenterprise performance
  7. Scaling up
Promoting Innovation: Course for Field Agents on Promoting Innovation in Rural Producer Groups

This manual takes you through the steps that a group of farmers undertake during a process of innovation. It includes the skills and knowledge you will need in order to lead a group of farmers through that process. The manual is made up of seven lessons:
  1. Introduction to innovations
  2. Identifying and understanding problems
  3. Exploring possible solutions
  4. Designing experiments
  5. Analyzing and evaluating the results
  6. Applying findings and sharing knowledge
Financial Education curriculum

Financial Education curriculum
This 11-lesson financial education curriculum has two main purposes:
  • To provide trainers with the tools to teach groups about financial management.
  • To help group members improve their financial and money management skills.
The curriculum is appropriate for development facilitators, field agents and SILC private service providers.