Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

AU Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture

28 April-2 May 2014. The African Union (AU) Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture officially opened in Addis Ababa at the AU Headquarters. The conference is organised in two segments; the Experts meeting from 28-30 April 2014 and Ministerial Session 1-2 May 2014.

The theme for the meeting is: “Transforming Africa’s Agriculture for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods through Harnessing Opportunities for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development.”

The joint conference aims to highlight the importance of agriculture as a vehicle for economic growth and poverty eradicationin the African continent. This conference will also take steps towards finalising strategies that will catalyse African-led solutions for African problems through agriculture and the rural sector for the
next 10 years.
“Agriculture has been showing a growth performance of about 4% per annum over the last decade of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), this is indicative that agriculture and the rural sector are at the centre of the transformation agenda”, said AUC Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, H.E Tumusiime Rhoda Peace during her opening remarks. “The Decision of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government to commemorate 2014 as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security and marking the 10th Anniversary of the Adoption of CAADP, provides us all with a unique opportunity to engage ourselves in an exercise of honest assessment and reflections of the progresses made thus far, the lessons we have learnt, and chart clear set of goals and targets for implementation in the next decade in a context of transformative agenda to get rid of hunger, malnutrition and poverty from our continent”, she added.
The five day meeting aims to finalise consensus on strategic goals and improved coordination of programmes linking agriculture and rural development and strengthening policy and institutional capacities for advancing agricultural transformation.

27/04/2014. Opinion. Rwanda: African Smallholder Agriculture - Our "game Changer"
AFRICA'S Ministers of Agriculture are meeting in Addis Ababa this week to debate the policies that will shape an agricultural market projected to be worth USD 1 trillion by 2030, three times its size in 2010.

Agri-innovations strategic in Africa's industrial progress

23rd April 2014. Agri-innovations strategic in Africa's industrial progress. Professor Juma who directs the Agricultural Innovation in Africa’ project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said the main issue is that so far agriculture has been viewed as a sector rather that a foundation for overall economic transformation.
“The state of agricultural innovation in Africa is in its nascent stage. The good news is rise of interest among African presidents in transformation agriculture. While there are some activists, who are opposing agricultural innovation such as application of biotechnology to address challenges of diseases and droughts, Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete has emerged as an internationally-recognized champion of agricultural innovation. Because of his leadership leading international investors have committed nearly US dollars 3.5 billion for investment in African agriculture.
This ‘Grow Africa’ initiative was inspired through the World Economic Forum and enjoys the support of the African Union. This is the kind of leadership and support that Africa has previously lacked, said Prof, Juma.

He said that Tanzania has access to a wider range of technologies that it can leverage to address food security and agricultural innovation in generation.

EU injects $14m into African agriculture

25 April 2014. The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa Multi-Donor Trust Fund (FARA MDTF) has received an additional $14 million from the European Commission to achieve food security, the World Bank has announced.The agreement was signed in Washington, DC by Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, executive director of FARA, and Colin Bruce, World Bank director for regional integration in the Africa region.

According to the World Bank, these new funds will increase the total support for the (FARA MDTF) to $45 million. These funds support FARA’s programs toward strengthening the capacity of African agricultural research institutions to develop new technologies for Africa’s farmers.

The Bank said the funding is also intended to help Sub-Saharan African countries reach a higher path of economic growth through agriculture development.

Programme d'Appui aux Organisations Paysannes en Afrique (PAOPA)

11 au 13 Avril 2014. Lomé, Togo. Lancement de la phase principale du Programme d'Appui aux Organisations Paysannes en Afrique (PAOPA).

Financé par l’Union Européenne et d’autres partenaires à hauteur de 2,280 milliards de francs CFA, ce programme viendra soutenir les organisations paysannes dans leurs actions de plaidoyer et de lobbying pour la promotion des politiques agricoles, politiques qui vont leur donner les moyens de développer l’autosuffisance alimentaire en Afrique.
« Il est inconcevable que ce soit le marché international qui continue à nourrir l’Afrique. Il faut doter les agriculteurs de moyens, car nous pensons que c’est grâce au financement adéquat du secteur agricole que nous pouvons renverser la tendance . Le secteur privé doit travailler « main dans la main » pour y arriver.» Bagna Djibo, président du conseil d’administration du Réseau des Organisations Paysannes et des Producteurs Agricoles de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (ROPPA).
Représentant le Fonds International de Développement Agricole (FIDA), Aïssa Touré a insisté sur la nécessité de mutualiser les interventions de chaque pays, afin que le programme qui vient d’être lancé, atteigne les objectifs à lui assignés.

Choosing for agricultural studies starts at secondary school level

19 April 2014. Release of the educational movie, called "Going for Agric, Harvesting Magic".The film was made for the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment of Gulu University, Northern Uganda, within the framework of a NUFFIC-funded project supported by ICRA.

 This educational movie is part of a promotional package program for classes or any group of secondary school students that are the crossroads of choices to be made for school subjects and future studies.

Going for Agric, Harvesting Magic (full version) door moovon

The percentage of women students being very low, the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment wants to change this situation. To reach this objective there is a need for girls:
  1. to become more interested in agriculture by seeing that you have good career perspectives with agriculture and 
  2. to be in well prepared for choosing agricultural studies at the University.
The film aims at encouraging girls to do sciences in high schools, as this is the precondition to enter the Faculty. To address the first challenge, secondary level students of Central High School in Gulu have been proposed to make a tour in the University bus to encounter women role models, most of them alumni of the University, to have a better idea of what one can do having done agricultural studies.

The film follows these students while they visit different women:
  • Dorah' at her farm; 
  • Juliet in her agricultural inputs shop, 
  • another Juliet as extension worker, 
  • Moreen, a loan processing officer in the Centenary bank, 
  • Gloria and Pauline researchers at Ngetta, 
  • Lilian an information officer and 
  • Harriet who is a lecturer at Gulu University. 
While exchanging with the women role models and expressing their worries, the students gradually change their perceptions and opinions, which will allow them to make well informed decisions about their future.

22/04/2014. SciDev A three-step strategy for African education. 
Africa needs a better strategy for fashioning its education system to steer development. It should adopt a three-tiered model to achieve this. Since low enrolment and high dropout rates are common in the formal basic education system in many African countries, the key first layer should focus on giving students the skills they need to provide generic solutions and services to help reduce absolute poverty. It would also involve lessons on hygiene, water issues, environmental management and food production.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The business of agricultural business services

An increasing number of African smallholders are moving from subsistance farming to selling at least part of their output. To shift successfully to a more commercial footing they need a lot more than the production advice traditionally provided by extension services. They need agricultural business development services. These are provided by a mix of private companies, NGOs, cooperatives and government agencies. And their services are paid for in many different ways: some are for free, paid for by donors, some are subsidized and sometimes clients pay the full costs.

The Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), Agro-Profocus and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) set out to learn from the practice and experiences of a number of business service providers in Africa, trying to understand the role they play in the current pluralistic extension systems.
Short video produced by ACACIAS. Made with Yessica Baeten and Edward Menchaca.

Related blogpost:

Kick-off meeting Western Africa Biowastes for Energy and Fertilizer

15 - 17 April 2014. Bénin.Centre Régional Songhaï, Porto Novo. La réunion de lancement du projet WABEF s’est tenue du 15 au 17 avril 2014 au Centre Régional Songhaï à Porto-Novo au Bénin. Il s’agissait de la première réunion du projet rassemblant l’ensemble des partenaires en un même lieu. 

Cette réunion a aussi regroupé des acteurs béninois de la gestion des déchets organiques afin de s’assurer de leur participation aux activités futures du projet. 

Vingt-huit personnes ont participé à la journée d’ouverture de la réunion.
  • Les objectifs, les activités et les résultats attendus du projet ont été présentés et une visite du Centre Songhaï organisée.
  • Un atelier de travail a permis à l’ensemble des partenaires de discuter sur les outils techniques existants susceptibles d’être réutilisés par le projet et sur les personnes cibles à associer au projet, les matériels à acquérir pour l’amélioration des installations de démonstration, de finaliser les outils de promotion et de visibilité du projet et enfin d’identifier les experts qui vont assurer l’évaluation externe du projet.
  • Une session de formation a été organisée pour la prise en main des règles de gestion administratives et financières des projets financés par le Fond Européen de Développement.
  • Un plan détaillé de mise en œuvre des activités de la première année du projet a été élaboré par les partenaires, conduisant jusqu’à la prochaine réunion intermédiaire qui aura lieu au second trimestre 2015 à Dakar au Sénégal.

Can Africa's 'hidden water' secure agricultural growth and food security?

22 March 2014. ODI’s Water Policy Programme (WPP), the Global Water Initiative East Africa (GWI) and UEA’s Water Security Research Centre (WSRC) hosted a flagship event to mark World Water Day (22nd March). The event broughttogether international experts from a range of disciplines and sector perspectives to discuss four key themes:
  • The groundwater perspective: Are recent headlines about Africa’s vast groundwater potential credible? What do we know – and what don’t we know – about the development potential and management needs of groundwater resources in SSA?
  • The agriculture perspective: Does better land and water management, and more irrigation in particular, hold the key to ‘climate-proofing’ agriculture, raising yields and reducing rural poverty?
  • The development and poverty perspective: Groundwater irrigation for smallholder farmers in SSA is accelerating, but what do we know about its ability to deliver inclusive growth and the factors that still block development?
  • Lessons from the Asian perspective: Thanks to a groundwater boom, millions of farmers have improved their livelihoods and food security in South Asia and northern China. But the costs of runaway withdrawals are now hitting hard – on poorer farmers, the environment and other sectors, not least energy. What important lessons can be drawn? 
The day concluded with the launch of a new book, Water Security, Principles, Perspectives and Practices, published by Earthscan, with mini-presentations from some of the well-known authors.

Violet Alinda GWI, Dr Steve Wiggins ODI, Dr Eva Ludi ODI, and Dr Bruce Lankford UEA introduce the event Africa's 'hidden water': can it secure agricultural growth and food security?. They talk about the scope of the water & agriculture challenge.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

CCARDESA to host Sub-Regional Focal Point on Animal Genetic Resources

1st – 3rd April 2014. Botswana. The Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) and the African Union – Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) organized from  a workshop, focusing on strengthening institutional capacity for the management of animal genetic resources in Southern Africa. 

The workshop aimed at launching the process of establishing a Sub-Regional Focal Point for Animal Genetic Resources in Southern Africa as part of the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources. 

It was decided that CCARDESA Secretariat will host the Sub-Regional Focal Point by offering office space and the necessary support.

6- 7 May, 2014, Boipuso Hall, Gaborone, Botswana 

28 March 2014. CCARDESA and the International Centre for development oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA) met to discuss possible areas of cooperation. Discussions covered possible areas of collaboration on conducting relevant studies related to AR4D and on initiating change of mind set through employment of the AR4D approaches.

Focus was on leveraging on on-going CCARDESA led sub regional activities. ICRA is a non profit organisation founded by European members of the Consultative Group on International Research (CGIAR). It aims to stimulate rural innovation in the South by strengthening the abilities of people and organisations in research, education and development to collaborate and learn from each other.

Deadline 30 April 2014
The Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) would like to develop a database of experts in the region to serve internal and external purposes of the organisation.
  • Internally, CCARDESA will soon start to operate a competitive research grant system for awarding research funds to different organisations in the region. For this purpose CCARDESA will establish a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) whose duty will be to review proposals submitted and advise CARDESA on the technical quality of these proposals. The composition of the TAC will change depending on the nature of proposals being reviewed. Thus technical composition of the TAC will be determined by the skills mix required at a particular time. 
  • Secondly, CCARDESA wishes to use the database of experts as a pool from which different consultants could be sourced and contacted directly for consultancy assignments.
From time to time, CCARDESA receives requests from regional and global organisations, asking for advice and recommendations for various regional experts to provide a range of services. CCARDESA therefore intends to use the database for purposes of marketing the regional experts and connecting them to organisations that maybe interested in engaging them for various tasks.

In order to serve the internal and external needs of CCARDESA as briefly outlined above, the CCARDESA Secretariat is requesting for submission of CVs from the regional experts, using a format provided below. Please strictly adhere to the following specifications:

Interested individuals are requested to submit their CVs electronically to with a copy to by 30 April 2014.
Download the CV format:

Deadline 25 April 2014
Call for Research project proposals: Reference: CCARD-CFP-CN-14-01

Technical Areas of the Call
CCARDESA is seeking expression of interest from public and private research organizations to carry out research/development work on a topic of relevance to the SADC region under the following Technical Areas:
  1. Technical Area 1: Up-scaling and out-scaling of proven agricultural technologies to users.
  2. Technical Area 2: Technology generation for improving productivity of agricultural systems.
  3. Technical Area 3: Improving the nutritional quality of agricultural products
  4. Technical Area 4 Value addition to primary agricultural products and promoting the economic participation of women and youths in agriculture
These research and development grants shall be for a variable period of between one (1) and three (3) years, depending on the nature of the work proposed. The value of each grant shall be not more than USD60,000 per year. Thus, each project will have a budget ceiling of USD180,000 for the duration of the project. The deadline was 25th April 2014.

Friday, April 25, 2014

PRIVATE SECTOR DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVES: Challenge Funds and other Cost-Sharing Mechanisms

A Practical Exploration of Good Practice for Challenge Funds and other Cost-Sharing Mechanisms

By Melina Heinrich, The Donor Committee for Enterprise Development (DCED)
April 2014, 47 pages

Donors are increasingly interested in sharing the costs and risks of private investments in developing countries – by giving money directly to businesses, paying for or providing in-kind services.

One possible model to do this is through competitive challenge funds and other matching grant or cost-sharing mechanisms that invite applications from businesses.

Matching grants are also a possible tool used by market system development programmes that aim to stimulate changes to a company’s business model.What these approaches have in common is the aim to bring about pro-poor private investments which would not happen (at all or in the same way, extent or time) without public support. While this means that there must be significant barriers to such investments, these are then typically expected to achieve sustainable and scalable commercial and development results and be replicated by other companies within fairly short time frames.

The key objective of this document is to explain practical ways of how to assess and enhance additionality before a cost-sharing partnership begins. Specifically, it aims
  • to allow donors and implementing staff to credibly determine that the private investment and associated development impacts would be unlikely to happen (in the same way, time or extent) without public support;
  • to help implementing staff to articulate clearly the specific way(s) in which they expect public support to change the company’s course of action;
  • to suggest a process that is manageable for both implementing agencies and companies, considering time and capacities constraints; and
  • to offer a common point of reference against which ‘good practice’ can be reported.
The document also describes appropriate monitoring of additionality in ongoing partnerships as well as ex-post assessments, i.e. after project completion. Further, it suggests ways in which the design of cost-sharing mechanisms with businesses may be improved to allow for better additionality assessments. The recommendations are based on a literature review and interviews with a range of practitioners.

These guidelines are based on inputs from 24 experts from 18 agencies and programmes. They provide a synthesis of the key elements (assessment criteria and principles) that can form the basis of good practice in demonstrating additionality.

Related PAEPARD blog posts:
African Agribusiness Academy

Status: In progress
Start project: May 1, 2010 End project: April 30, 2015

Client(s): Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Private sector companies

Wageningen UR Centre for Development Innovation

Other parties involved: Sokoine University of Agriculture, Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness (Tanzania)

  • The Africa Agribusiness Academy (AA Academy) was founded in 2010 by 15 small- and medium- scale entrepreneurs from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. They sought co-operation with the aim to expand and strengthen their role in the food- and agribusiness sector.
  • The active business platform stimulates individual entrepreneurial skills and commercial activities and fosters the development of small and medium scale (SME) agribusiness firms in Africa.
  • Innovation, the sharing of knowledge and experience and the attraction of investors are important means to raise the decisiveness and enhance the quality of the entrepreneurs. Ultimately, the AA Academy aims to contribute to economic growth, optimization of rural income and the increase of food security in Africa.

Inclusive Growth - An imperative for African Agriculture

Inclusive Growth - An imperative for African Agriculture

Benedict S. Kanu, Adeleke Oluwole Salami, and Kazuhiro Numasawa
© 2014 African Development Bank (AfDB) Group
Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department (OSAN)
Development Research Department (EDRE)
78 pages

This publication is part of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) assessment and documentation of recent lessons and experiences emerging from its long years of assistance to the agriculture and agro-industry sector and the importance of the sector concerning food security in Africa.

The principal objectives of the report are to review the importance of agriculture for overall inclusive growth and poverty reduction, facilitate an understanding of the requirements of the concepts of inclusive and green growth in agriculture and agro-industry, review efforts made by the Bank in responding to the main pillars of inclusive growth through its support for African agriculture, propose a strategic framework and key drivers, as well as to generate recommendations on how to apply the concept to the Bank’s sectoral strategy and agriculture operations.

Global Food Symposium 2014, Göttingen, Germany

25-26 April 2014. Göttingen, Germany. The GlobalFood Program at the University of Göttingen carries out research along these lines in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and other partners. 

As part of this Program, it organized the Second GlobalFood Symposium. The aim of this Symposium was to discuss new research findings and policy challenges related to the global agri-food system transformation. 

The two-day event will featured plenary sessions with invited speakers, contributed paper sessions, and posters. Speakers include Joachim von Braun (Germany), Julio Berdegue (Chile), Julie Caswell (USA), Jill Hobbs (Canada), Jo Swinnen (Belgium), and Maximo Torero (USA).

Download the Conference Program (Final version) (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Download abstracts of papers presented at the Symposium here (PDF, 1.2 MB)

B1: Economic experiments in agriculture 
  1. Angelino Viceisza (Spelman College, USA): “Cheap talk and coordination: experimental evidence from farmer groups in Senegal” 
  2. Travis Lybbert (University of California-Davis, USA): “Experimental markets for ready‐to‐use supplementary foods (RUSFs) in Burkina Faso: implications for private and public sector involvement in RUSF supply chains” 
  3. Hanna Julia Ihli (University of Göttingen, Germany): “Investment behavior of Ugandan smallholder farmers: an experimental analysis” 
  4. Sebastian Kunte (University of Göttingen, Germany): “Making it personal: breach and private ordering in a contract farming experiment”

Kenyan business is tapping into the organic farming market

25 April 2014. Organic farming in Africa is gaining popularity as farmers seek to exploit growing demand among the continent’s emerging middle class, as well as export to European markets with appetites for healthier foods.
Myles Lutheran, a director at  Eco Fuels Kenya
Myles Lutheran, a director at Eco Fuels Kenya

Producers of organic fertilisers are taking note of the “big market opportunity”. So says Myles Lutheran, a director at social enterprise Eco Fuels Kenya, adding that organic farming “is an inevitable shift as African farmers seek to produce better quality produce, attain higher yields and protect their soils against destructive chemicals”.

Eco Fuels Kenya produces organic fertilisers and biofuel from the nuts of the Croton megalocarpus canopy forest tree. The tree is naturally abundant in equatorial East Africa, but the commercial potential of the Croton nut is largely untapped.

The company collects nuts from a network of more than 1,500 individuals in the Laikipia area (about 300km from capital Nairobi) who generate a seasonal income from the harvest.
“We squeeze oil out of the seed which has a lot of different uses including replacing diesel fuel in certain engines, curing leather and making soaps. However, the oil makes up only 10% of what we are doing,” says Lutheran. “The remaining 90% of the nuts we collect become organic fertiliser, and due to growing demand for organic fertilisers and the necessity for Kenyan farmers to adopt more sustainable farming practices that is the primary opportunity for our business.”
Eco Fuels Kenya sells its products to more than 20 export-focused corporate farms and hundreds of local small-holder horticulture farmers in central Kenya. Lutheran adds that Kenya’s market is also attractive because legislators and farmers now recognise that overuse of chemical fertilisers has depleted the country’s soils and contributes to poor yields. Eco Fuels Kenya is hoping to expand its market by encouraging farmers to supplement its chemical fertilisers with organics.

Despite the potential, Lutheran says making sales is “an uphill climb” because Kenya’s is not yet an established market for organic farming like Uganda and Tanzania.
“Turning the need for organic fertiliser into a demand for product is a timely process. You can talk to almost any farmer and they are very keen on organic, they know the benefits and they know why chemicals are bad, but they still do not just switch all of a sudden from chemicals to organic fertiliser without visible evidence of the fertilisers’ results which often means three to four months trials and another two to three months to close sales after that.”

Thursday, April 24, 2014

COLEACP supports organic agriculture in the Great Lakes region of Africa

22 April 2014. Fourteen organic agriculture supervisors were recently trained by COLEACP in Bujumbura (Burundi). The participants represented three national organisations: Rwanda Organic Agriculture Movement (ROAM), Burundi Organic Agricultural Movement (BOAM), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Organic Agriculture Movement.

Tharcisse Nziganasbo, Passion fruit grower 
in Banga, Burundi show us his plantation. 
Adrien Sibomana from BOAM in the background
COLEACP has been working with BOAM under the PIP programme since July 2013. Eager to boost the fruit and vegetable exports of its 675 members, BOAM is organised into cooperatives that produce over 2,000 tonnes of passion fruit, strawberries, pineapples, Japanese plums, bananas, tangerines, coffee, cassava, beans, rice per year.

As part of this cooperation programme, in January 2014 supervisors from Burundi, Rwanda and Congo (the Kivu provinces) took part in training that focused on the technical aspects of organic crops – vegetables and fruit – for local markets. In line with other training-of-trainers initiatives, it also involved developing participants’ teaching skills, based on tools developed by COLEACP (including exercises and good practice guides).

The goal of the training was to provide supervisors with the knowledge and tools they need to fulfil their task of providing support to producers by raising awareness and sharing good practices in the fields of organic farming and food safety.

Institutional purchases to support family farming

23 April 2014. Brussels. This seminar organised by the Collectif Stratégies Alimentaires (CSA)  gathered farmers’ organizations from the South and the North, NGOs and agri-agencies as well as researchers and policy-makers. It gave the opportunity to consider the possibilities of supporting family farming through institutional purchases, the difficulties met by public-law bodies to get them, confronted to their bonds to their respect for the game of competition law, transparency and the risk of patronage.

Institutional purchases-Program (Document PDF - 401.5 kb).

The constraints were discussed that arise to the producers and to their organizations in order for them to be able to answer the institutional demand. They are numerous, quite particularly in the countries where the family producers’ access to the markets face difficulties.
  • The World Food program (WFP) has been using its position of important foodstuffs applicant to favor the development of agriculture in the beneficiary countries of its food aid (Purchase for progress, or P4P). 
  • In Wallonia, a platform is promoting procurement between communities and the Walloon producers 
  • The "Zero Hunger" program distributes farm products to the Brazilians who are in a situation of social and food vulnerability. It is the “Program of Acquisition of Food”, integrated in the “Zero Hunger program” that purchases the food at a remunerative price at family farmers’ level. It is probably one of the most accomplished programs on the subject that carefully targets the institutional
    purchases in order to support the family farming.
  • Annick SEZIBERA, General secretary of CAPAD (Confederation of the Associations of agricultural producers for development), presented its experience with the negotiation hurdles between CAPAD and the WFP/P4P program in Burundi
  • Jean Vettraino of Caritas France shared the document on Effets des interventions agricoles sur la nutrition: identifier et limiter les risques (15 pages, CIRAD/Action contre la Faim,10 Février 2014)
Research issues related to institutional purchases:
  • Aflatoxin contamination research
  • Improved storage research
WFP's Purchase for Progress (P4P) initiative is generating a wealth of information on connecting smallholder farmers to markets. As 2014 is an evaluation year for the pilot initiative which ended in 2013, this video shares important lessons learned and challenges identified to date.

Related resources:
Training Manual for Improving Grain Postharvest Handling and Storage.
July 2012, 248 pages

The materials in this manual serve as a basic tool for different levels of PHHS trainers working in different contexts and with different end users, with the objective of improving the quality of grain being offered for sale to WFP and other buyers. The manual includes detailed reference materials and technical guidance, PowerPoint presentations (available under the second link) as well as user-friendly posters for use in the field.

The manual was prepared by the Natural Resources Institute on behalf of WFP.
Powerpoint presentations
French version: Manuel de Formation pour l’Amélioration du Traitement et du Stockage des Grains Après-récolte

Structured Demand and Smallholder Farmers in Brazil: the Case of PAA and PNAE
October 2013. 35 pages.
The Centre of Excellence Against Hunger World Food Programme and the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth of the United Nations Development Programme (IPC-IG/UNDP) launched last year the Technical Paper “Structured Demand and Smallholder farmers in Brazil: the case of PAA and PNAE”. The study brings findings on two general institutional food purchase programmes in Brazil, the Food Acquisition Program (PAA) and the National School Feeding Programme (PNAE), as well as unpublished results of the PNAE.

The study reveals that the PAA and PNAE together contributed to increased purchases made ​​by municipalities and local states directly from family farms. The two programs combined represent a potential demand of R$ 2 billion a year for the purchase of products of family farmers, which would have a great impact on the production and income of these farmers.

Africa-Brazil Agricultural Innovation Marketplace

8 to 11 April 2014. Brasilia. The Africa-Brazil Agricultural Innovation Market Place held its 2014 Forum in Brasilia, Brazil.

The objectives of the forum were to: 
  1. Foster knowledge sharing among African, Latin America and Caribbean and Brazilian AR4D professionals/practitioners; 
  2. Provide opportunities for learning between current implementers of MKTPlace-supported projects and graduated co-leaders; 
  3. Provide support in the implementation of Marketplace projects; 
  4. Discuss mechanisms and options to support scaling up of successful projects that have been completed; 
  5. Strengthening capacity in project implementation and scaling up/out.
8 African projects selected in the first call in 2011 have completed their activities and lessons learnt in terms of challenges; communication and germplasm exchange.
  1. Mozambique - Fostering knowledge sharing for integrated natural resource management in agricultural landscapes of Southern Africa (ICRAF) Download here
  2. Kenya - Sweet sorghum varietal adaptation for ethanol production Download here
  3. Ghana - Enhancing small-holder cowpea legume production using Rhizobium inoculants  Download here
  4. Kenya - Rehabilitation of degraded rangeland using planned grazing and animal impact in the arid and semi arid lands of Kenya Download here
  5. Ethiopia - Introduction of Napier grass elite lines for screening for stunt resistance to provide feed for improved smallholder dairy productivity (ILRI) Download here
  6. Togo - Pesticide leaching and loss to groundwater in coastal vegetable growers in Togo Download here
  7. Tanzania - Cotton varieties and pest management in Tanzania Download here
  8. Burkina Faso - Study of the ecology and nutritional potential of native food tree species used by local communities in Burkina Faso and Brazilian Amazon: A food security and conservation strategy in the context of climate change. Download here
12 African new projects were selected in December 2013.
  1. Malawi - Enhancing Crop Productivity through Solar-Powered Groundwater Based Drip Irrigation System in Malawi (Department of Agricultural Research Services, Ministry of Agriculture) 
  2. Uganda - Utilizing Sustainable Energy for Water Management in Semi-intensive Aquaculture (NARO) 
  3. Ethiopia - Narrowing the yield gap of food legumes through integrated management of parasitic weeds in the highlands of Ethiopia (ICRISAT )
  4. Mozambique - Sustainable Rice Production Intensification in Conservation Agriculture: Incorporation of Legume and Grass as Cover Crops for Weed Management and Soil Health Enhancement (Aga Khan Foundation) 
  5. Ethiopia -Assessment of the Booroola Fecundity (FecB) Gene in Ethiopian Sheep Breed for Improvement of Sheep Production (Mekelle University) 
  6. Uganda - Towards genetic improvement of farmer preferred rice varieties to the stalk-eyed fly (Diopsis sp): an emerging pest in rainfed irrigated rice growing ecosystems (Uganda Christian Uinversity) 
  7. Ethiopia - Improving crop productivity through use of efficient, low cost and climate smart irrigation technologies (Mekelle University) 
  8. Ghana - Comparative evaluation of different manual cassava harvesting tools (Crops Research Institute)
  9. Kenya - Confidence-Building in Modern Biotechnology: Optimizing Best Communication Practices and Policies to Guide Deployment of Biotech/GM crops in Africa and Brazil International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications 
  10. Tanzania - Exchange of banana and plantain (Musa spp.) varieties and hybrids between IITA and EMBRAPA - widening the genetic base for the development of new cultivars and direct use by farmers (IITA) 
  11. Uganda - Inoculation of efficient rhizobial strains as an approach to increase the pigeonpea production of smallholders in Uganda (NARO) 
  12. Ghana - Increased Smallholder Food Production Through Implementation of Water Conserving Aquaponics-based Food Systems (Crops Research Institute

For scaling up the results of the completed projects the IAR4D model successfully tested through the Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Program (SSA CP) was recommended. The Dgroup of PAEPARD was also suggested to help improving communication between partners in sharing information and knowledge.

The Africa-Brazil Agricultural Innovation MarketPlace is a South-South cooperation led by Embrapa and FARA with the support from Bill and Melida Gates Foundation (BMGF), The World Bank, DFID, IFAD, ABC, FAO, CIAT, IICA & IDB.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Agribusiness - How It Works

Agribusiness - How It Works. The highest rated Agricultural show on Philippine national TV focused on agribusinesses' industry profiles and how-to instructional procedure.
Published on 22 Mar 2014 Published on 3 Mar 2014 Vegetables are part of our everyday meal. But for the locals of San Ildefonso, Bulacan, vegetables are their major source of livelihood. Know the vegetable farming industry of San Ildefonso, Bulacan. Published on 20 Oct 2013 Know how to manage your own Cassava Farm with the help of farmers from Central Luzon.

Trade Hub Network to promote West African agricultural trade

25 March, 2014. Abt Associates has won a $48.6 million contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to increase regional trade competitiveness in West Africa, improve food security, and reduce poverty under USAID's Trade Hub Network.

Under the contract, Abt will promote broader, more sustainable growth by improving both the private sector's capacity and the policies, rules and practices that govern regional and external trade. The project is also designed to increase regional and international exports, jobs, and investments.

Working with Abt are four U.S. small businesses (Banyan Global, JE Austin, SSG Advisors and Kanava International) as well as local partners ISSER (Ghana), Performances Management Consulting (Senegal) and Catek Groupe (Mali). The Trade Hub Network will work with many associations, including the Borderless Alliance, the African Cashew Alliance, the West African Grains Alliance and COFENABVI, which represents livestock farmers and traders.

Based in Accra, Ghana, with satellite offices in Dakar, Senegal and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, project staff will collaborate closely with ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, and travel frequently to its member countries and throughout the region.

The Trade Hub Network merges two previous USAID projects: the Agribusiness and Trade Promotion (ATP), managed by Abt Associates, and the West Africa Trade Hub. Both projects worked across the region, building networks, developing the capacity of sector associations, and addressing obstacles to cross-border and overseas trade.

The USAID-funded West African Global Competitiveness Hub (WATH) enhanced West Africa’s trade competitiveness to take greater advantage of the increased trading opportunities provided through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and other global trade initiatives.Abt Associates lead the export business development component of the project, working with processors and exporters of shea butter, cashews, textiles and apparel, frozen fish, processed foods, handcrafts and home furnishings, and furniture and wood products to target the U.S. market. This involved the following activities:
  • Carrying out in-depth value chain studies;
  • Identifying and screening export-ready firms;
  • Preparing these firms to participate in and exhibit products at major U.S. trade shows (and selected regional and EU exhibitions) through training workshops and one-on-one consultations;
  • Improving product presentation and shelf life, particularly packaging and labeling;
  • Preparing firms to engage with prospective U.S. buyers and address their questions, issues and concerns about sourcing products from West Africa;
  • Assisting exhibitors at U.S. trade shows (booth design & set-up; signage; materials to hand-out to prospective buyers; selecting product samples for exhibiting, etc.);
  • Helping West African firms to follow up on sales leads in the U.S. after trade shows upon return to their countries; and
  • Assisting West African firms to identify sources of finance for investment, expansion, and meeting working capital and trade finance needs.

Is agribusiness good for Africa?

11 April 2014.  First broadcast BBC.  BBC World Business Report Podcast. Duration 29 minutes.

The latest G8 idea to tackle hunger in Africa is to call in agribusiness. Under the New Alliance for Food Security, the G8 and African governments have agreed to work together to promote large scale private sector investment. In this BC edition we hear from one of the companies involved, the American crop giant Cargill. Their chairman, Greg Page, tells us that while the company will be investing with profit in mind, the scheme will also benefit local smallholders. Not everyone agrees...

Stop the corporate takeover of Africa's food. 8 page booklet which provides an accessible introduction to the campaign. In solidarity with small farmers and civil society groups in Africa, the World Development Movement is calling on the UK government to stop funding schemes like the New Alliance that require African governments to make policy changes that favour large corporations.

Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) Cowpea

15 April 2014. 2014 Pod Borer Resistant (PBR) Cowpea Project Review and Planning meeting in Accra.  The PBR project is a public private partnership coordinated by AATF to promote technological intervention that would optimise cowpea productivity and utilisation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The meeting brought together seed companies from Ghana, Nigeria and Burkina Faso, who are expected to play a key role in marketing the PBR cowpea in their countries.

kyetereThe African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) promoters of the Pod Borer Resistant Cowpea in Africa say the organisation was putting in place all necessary precaution for the successful commercialisation of the cowpea in the participating countries.

Dr Denis Kyetere, AATF Executive Director said at the opening of the review and planning meeting for the scientists, seed companies and country regulators holding in Accra, Ghana that: 
Commericalisation of the PBR cowpea is somewhat different from what we might be used to as conventional seeds. Besides registration, certification and variety release of the product there are requirements for regulatory approvals by governments in target countries for food, feed and environment safety.”
“These requirements are new and have not been implemented for food crops in Sub-Saharan Africa. We have therefore invited people with expertise in deregulating biotech products to share their experience with us so that the PBR cowpea will be deployed successfully. We encourage regulators to take advantage of this opportunity so that they will be ready to grant regulatory approval in due time,” Kyetyere said.
He said that PBR cowpea continue to make advances in the product development by successfully incorporating the BT trait into the farmers varieties, testing them in multi location trials in Nigeria and conducting the first Confine Field Trail (CFT) in Ghana. He added that it is about time for us to develop a strategy of how the product will be commercialized and made available to farmers.

Related: AATF project briefs

Five countries are jointly addressing two deadly cassava diseases in the region

14 February 2014. SciDev. Cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown streak disease (CBSD) cause losses estimated at US$1 billion every year worldwide, placing farmers at risk of food insecurity, according to the Nigeria-headquartered International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). CMD can lead to total yield loss, while CBSD affects root quality and renders roots unfit for human consumption and animal feed production.

IITA is spearheading the project in five countries — Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda — in collaboration with a national agricultural research institution in each nation.

The countries are sharing their top five varieties resistant to the diseases as part of a project called New Cassava Varieties and Clean Seed to Combat CBSD and CMD (5CP). The project, which is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, began in 2012.

The first consignment of 19 varieties in the form of plantlets or laboratory-created small plants were released last month (14 March) by Genetics Technologies International Limited (GTIL), a tissue culture-based laboratory in Kenya. According to GTIL, each of the five countries received 300 plantlets of a variety. Six more varieties are undergoing mass multiplication and will be shared later.

Edward Kanju, 5CP project coordinator, says cassava has a potential for commercialization to improve food security.
“We are aware that cassava has been identified to be one of the crops that can be used to mitigate climate change and many [African] countries are embarking on cassava research and production. Each of the five countries will evaluate 20 new cassava varieties to identify those well adapted to local conditions and are acceptable to local farming communities. The project will pilot in Tanzania a seed certification system for cassava to ensure that farmers grow only disease-resistant varieties. Most of the cassava growing countries don’t have any official seed certification scheme. We want to try that in Tanzania”.
Simon Gichuki, the coordinator of the biotechnology centre at the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, says: “There are other supportive projects such as virus-resistant cassava for Africa (VIRCA) looking at providing transgenic solutions to both diseases using biotechnology tools”.

VIRCA is being undertaken in Kenya and Uganda. Since 2005,the Monsanto Fund has been working with scientists at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center to develop new forms of cassava that are genetically enhanced to resist these viruses. Other collaborators in VIRCA include the National Crop Resources Research Institute in Uganda, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute, and the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, based in Nigeria.

Other contributions come from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. As a major donor, Monsanto Fund has contributed nearly $13 million to VIRCA. Monsanto also has contributed the expertise of its scientists, who have learned about virus resistance from their work on tomatoes and other crops in which Monsanto has a direct interest.

RUFORUM gets US$16 million for agricultural development

18 April 2014. The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, or RUFORUM – a research and training network on agriculture based in Uganda – has received US$16.2 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to strengthen agriculture in Africa. 

The grant, the second from the foundation, will run until 2018. The first grant of US$12.7 million in 2008 supported the growth of a regional, crop-based network of 10 agricultural faculties into a broad-based consortium of 32 universities in East, Central and Southern Africa.

Since RUFORUM started it has supported training of 1,197 masters and 197 PhD graduates in the agricultural sector. This year the forum marks 10 years as a network of universities and 22 years of tacking tertiary agricultural education issues in East, Central and Southern Africa.

Professor Adipala Ekwamu, RUFORUM's executive secretary, told University World News that the new grant would be used to strengthen agricultural research and development activities in African universities in support of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, CAADP.
Ekwamu said three programmes would be piloted during this phase.

There would be community-action research linked to strengthening crop-livestock value chains in Ethiopia and Tanzania. In Uganda there would be support for the cassava value chain. Another initiative would start the use of MOOCs to support access to quality education resources, especially in research methods.

21st to 25th July 2014. The RUFORUM Biennial Conference in Mozambique's capital Maputo in July will celebrate a decade of the organisation's existence and will be part of wider celebrations of 10 years of CAADP and the African Union-declared African Year of Agriculture and Food Security.


FAO 2014. Animal Production and Health Guidelines No. 16. Rome, Italy
103 pages.

The Decision Tools address the situation of four distinct family poultry production systems and their development opportunities: small extensive scavenging, extensive scavenging, semi-intensive production and small-scale intensive production. 

They describe the poultry production systems, including their required inputs and expected outputs and the techniques and tools used to assess the operational environment, in order to design interventions suited to the local conditions. 

Practical technical information are provided about genetics and reproduction, feeds and feeding, poultry health, housing, marketing and value chain development, microfinance and credit, institutional development, training and extension, and creating an enabling policy. Guidance is then provided on how to utilize this relevant information to design and develop projects targeted at specific conditions.

The Decision Tools are the result of joint efforts of 26 authors and a cooperation between FAO, IFAD, the International Rural Poultry Centre (IRPC) of the Kyeema Foundation and the International Network for Family Poultry Development (INFPD).

A print version and an ebook version will be available in the near future. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Interview with Kanayo F. Nwanze, president of IFAD

15 April 2014. Rome. IPS correspondent Silvia Giannelli interviewed Kanayo F. Nwanze, president of IFAD, on the role of rural poverty and food security in shaping the current debate on the definition of a new development agenda.

Q: Do you think it is time to rethink the strategies to achieve the Millennium Development Goals?
A: It’s not only that I think, I know it. And that is why we have Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that are being fashioned. The SDGs are an idea that was born in the Rio Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012. The crafting of a new global development agenda is a unique opportunity to refocus policy, investments and partnerships on inclusive and sustainable rural transformation.

The intent is to produce a new, more inclusive and more sustainable set of global development objectives that have application to all countries. These goals – once agreed by governments – would take effect after the current MDGs expire in 2015.

And measurement will be crucial if we are to achieve what we set out. This is why we are talking about universality but in a local context. The SDGs will be for all countries, developing and developed alike. But their application will need to respond to the reality on the ground, which will vary from country to country.

Q: How do the five targets revealed this month fit in this discussion on the post-2015 development goals?

A: The proposed targets and indicators are intended to provide governments with an informed tool that they use when discussing the precise nature and make-up of the SDGs related to sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition.

These are five critical issues for a universal, transformative agenda that is ambitious but also realistic and adaptable to different country and regional contexts. The targets can fit under a possible dedicated goal but also under other goals. So, it is for governments to decide whether or not they wish to include these targets in the SDGs.

Kanayo F. Nwanze, president of IFAD, says it is clear that a new revolution in agriculture is needed to transform the sector so it can fully live up to its potential to drive sustainable development. Credit: Juan Manuel Barrero/IPS

Q: Why does agriculture represent such a critical aspect within the post-2015 development agenda?
A: We have a growing global population and a deteriorating natural resource base, which means more people to feed with less water and farmland. And climate change threatens to alter the whole geography of agriculture and food systems on a global scale.

It is clear that we need a new revolution in agriculture, to transform the sector so it can fully live up to its potential to drive sustainable development. Target areas should address universal and context-specific challenges, but context-adapted approaches and agendas are the building blocks for any effort to feed the world.

Q: Why is the focus on rural areas so important in order to overcome inequality?

A: The world is becoming increasingly urban, yet cities are still fed by the people working the land in rural areas. And it is in those rural areas where 76 percent of the world’s poor live.

At IFAD we see that the gap between rich and poor is primarily a gap between urban and rural. Those who migrate to urban areas, oftentimes do so in the belief that life will be better in the urban cities.

However they get caught up in the bulging slums of cities, they lose their social cohesion which is provided by rural communities and they go into slums, they become nothing but breeding ground for social turmoil and desperation. One only has to look at what is happening today in what was described as the ‘Arab spring’.

Q: But beyond the issue of exclusion and turmoil, why is key to addressing rural poverty?
A: Because the rural space is basically where the food is produced: in the developing world 80 percent in some cases 90 percent of all food that is consumed domestically is produced in rural areas.

Related IPS Articles
Q&A: “Boosting Agriculture Is Not an Option But an Imperative”
Q&A: The World Must Learn From Smallholder Farmers
Q&A: “Smallholder Agriculture Needs to Be Seen as a Business”

Food agriculture does not grow in cities, it grows in rural areas, and the livelihoods of the majority of the rural population provide not only food, it provides employment, it provides economic empowerment,[…] and social cohesion.

Essentially, if we do not invest in rural areas through agricultural development we are dismantling the foundations for national security, not just only food security. And that translates into not just national security but also global security and global peace.

Q: What risks are we facing in terms of global security, if we don’t face and take concrete action to ensure food security?

A: We just need to go back to what happened in 2007 and 2008: the global food price crisis, as it is said, and how circumstances culminated in what happened in 40 countries around the world where there were food riots.

Those riots were the results of inaction that occurred in some 25-30 years due to these investments in agriculture and the imbalances in trade, across countries and across continents. Forty countries experienced serious problems with food riots, and they brought down two governments, one in Haiti and another one in Madagascar. […] We’ve seen it, [and] it continues to repeat itself.

Q: What role are developed countries expected to play in the achievement of these five targets?

A: All countries will have an essential role to play in achieving the SDGs – whatever they end up looking like. Countries have agreed that this is a “universal” agenda and developed countries’ commitment will have to extend beyond ODA [Official Development Assistance] alone.

At IFAD we [are] seeing that development is moving beyond aid to achieve self-sustaining, private sector-led inclusive growth and development. For example, in Africa, generated revenue shot up from 141 billion dollars in 2002 to 520 billion dollars in 2011. This is truly a universal challenge, but it also requires local and country-level ownership and international collaboration at all levels.

Friday, April 18, 2014

SNV - ILRI collaboration for the Livestock and Fish program

ILRI/SNV MoU signing ceremony 
 (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).
15 April 2014On 31 March 2014, Jimmy Smith, director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and Tom Derksen, managing director for agriculture of SNV Netherlands Development Organization signed a memorandum of understanding to start of a formal collaboration between SNV and the ILRI-led CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish. It also opens up spaces for further collaboration between SNV and ILRI beyond the program.

15 years ago, SNV reformed itself to become a premier capacity development organization in which a network of advisors work with clients to unlock intractable development problems. These advisory services are constructed around agriculture, water sanitation and hygiene, and renewable energy.

The Livestock and Fish program is already engaging with SNV staff in several of its value chain countries. In Tanzania, collaboration on exploring ways and means to service dairy hubs has begun as part of theMoreMilkiT project where SNV brings in expertise on multi-stakeholder facilitation. In Uganda, SNV and ILRI are working together to form a pig value chain multi-stakeholder platform. In Ethiopia, SNV contributes to the Livestock and Irrigation Value Chains for Ethiopian Smallholder project and SNV staff participated in ICARDA-led stakeholder workshops on the development of small ruminant value chains.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

La mécanisation agricole au Cameroun

15 avril 2014. Le ministre camerounais de l’Agriculture, Essimi Menyé, et le consortium allemand Agriculture Company (AGCO), ont signé le 12 avril 2014 à Yaoundé, une convention pour la mécanisation de l’agriculture. Selon Rabe Yahaya, responsable d’AGCO, grâce à cet accord, le consortium allemand contribuera à l’augmentation de la production agricole au Cameroun, grâce à la mise à disposition de tracteurs de marque Massey Fergusson, ainsi que de moissonneuses-batteuses d’une capacité de 60 tonnes par heure.

Cette convention qui sera principalement implémentée dans la filière maïs, apprend-on, intègre également la mise en place par AGCO d’un centre de formation des jeunes à l’aviculture. «Nous voulons aller de la création du champ de maïs vers la production du produit fini tel que le poulet», a expliqué le ministre Essimi Menyé. En effet, les filières avicoles et maïs sont imbriquées, dans la mesure où le maïs est le principal constituant de la provende (70%), qui est l’aliment des poulets.

Créé en 1990 en Allemagne, le consortium AGCO est devenu un mastodonte du machinisme agricole dans le monde, en prenant des participations ou absorbant et créant des joint-ventures avec des entreprises du même secteur en Amérique et en Europe. AGCO, qui ambitionne également d’aller à l’assaut des marchés des pays émergents de l’Asie, dispose de plusieurs usines de montage à travers le monde, mais surtout d’un réseau de distribution animé par 2600 partenaires indépendants installés dans 140 pays.

Brazil approves Sh7bn loan for sugarcane farmer tractors for Kenya
The Brazillian government will give priority to delivery of the 2,000 tractors that will be sold at prices close to the cost of manufacturing.