Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Uptake and scaling of information and communication technologies (ICTs) support for agriculture

28 August 2014. CTA announced five grants totalling 400,000 EUR (536,040 USD) to five institutions in Africa and the European Union to support the adoption, uptake and scaling of information and communication technologies (ICTs) support for agriculture. These grants were awarded following a rigorous competitive process that involved more than 30 high-quality proposals addressing various informational issues along agricultural value chains.

The winning organizations are:
  1. eLEAF Competence Centre, a Netherlands-based high-tech company that uses reliable, quantitative data on water and vegetation coverage to support sustainable water use, increase food production and provide environmental protection systems, will be scaling up its satellite-based information services at the Gezira Irrigation Dam in South Sudan to provide targeted delivery of extension services to farmers.
  2. RONGEAD, a France-based international network system made up of NGOs, technical specialists, international institutions and businesses that provides market information services, will use the grant to improve its current initiative and scale it up through market analysis, training and capacity building, provision of information and advice and delivery of a business intelligence service to improve the competitiveness, profitability and ability of smallholder farmers to manage business risks in food chains in West Africa.
  3. Syecomp Business Services, a private-sector provider of geographic information system (GIS) services based in Ghana, will use its grant to develop a proof of concept and explore business models for the adoption of geospatial technology (GIS/global positioning system applications), dissemination of agro climatic information and mFarm actor-chain interactions in Ghana.
  4. The University of West Indies, a public-sector research institute located in Trinidad and Tobago, will use its grant to extend and scale up an existing suite of web and mobile applications (mFisheries) for small-scale fisheries. It will also explore a novel co-management delivery model for ICTs amongst various agents in the small scale fisheries ecosystem in the Caribbean.
  5. Yam Pukri, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Burkina Faso, will use the grant to improve the monitoring and implementation of agricultural policies using ICTs, thereby empowering smallholder farmers to contribute to the agricultural and rural development policy processes.

Youth and Agriculture: Key Challenges and Concrete Solutions

Youth and Agriculture: Key Challenges and Concrete Solutions,
New publication by FAO, CTA and IFAD

Few young people see a future for themselves in agriculture or rural areas. Some of the major challenges faced are: limited access to land; inadequate access to financial services; insufficient access to knowledge; information and education; difficulties in accessing green jobs; limited access to markets; and limited involvement in policy dialogue.

Each of six key challenges indicated above have been documented, and for each of them, seven to nine cases studies illustrate how they can be addressed. Analyses of the experiences, their implementation frameworks and indications on some of their results have been provided. Additional experiences have been indicated in the conclusions of each chapter. A number of the case studies carry innovations that have strong potentials to strengthen the engagement of youths and family farmers in agricultural value chains, enhance global food security and youth livelihoods.

Many of the initiatives originate with the young people themselves. They show that – when there is a supportive environment – youth are able to find innovative ways to create a future for themselves, and also contribute to the societies and communities in which they live.

The document builds on results of the project “Facilitating Access to Rural Youth to Agricultural Activities” undertaken by FAO/IFAD/MIJARC, as well as on CTA youth activities. CTA, FAO and IFAD hope that this publication will help development practitioners, youth leaders, youth associations, producers’ organisations and policy makers alike by providing insights into possible solutions that can be tailored to their own context.

Agribusiness Development and Managing Risk and Uncertainty in African Agriculture: The role of Tertiary Agricultural Education”

25 - 29 August 2014. Yaoundé, Cameroon. Agribusiness Development and Managing Risk and Uncertainty in African Agriculture: The role of Tertiary Agricultural Education”. This symposium coincided with the 20th Anniversary of ANAFE (the African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE) . 

Over 150 researchers, scientists, students, policy makers, private sector players and persons involved in financing, managing or teaching agriculture, forestry or natural resources management at tertiary level from Africa and Europe are attending that event.

The symposium specifically aimed to:
  1. Discuss the elements of risk and uncertainty in agriculture and the roles of TAE;
  2. Strategize on mechanisms and policies for coping with risk and uncertainty in agricultural production;
  3. Discuss policy and institutional issues for building appropriate capacity for the implementation of agricultural practices which minimize the impact of climate change risks;
  4. Discuss curriculum reforms and the need to strengthen agribusiness education in Africa;
  5. Reinforce the concept of profitable agriculture through agribusiness and to interest youth and women to advance in agricultural sciences.

Symposium on Indigenous Vegetables

18 - 22 August 2014. Brisbane, Australia. The 29th International Horticultural Congress (IHC International Symposium on Indigenous Vegetables. More than 3,500 delegates attended the International Horticultural Congress' 'World Olympics of Horticulture' from 100 countries.

The congress hosted more than 40 symposia, covering a range of topics under the theme 'Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes'. As well as the main congress, 17 additional international meetings were held at the centre in conjunction with the event.

  • The Role of Horticulture in USAID’s Agricultural Research Strategy and the Feed the Future Initiative - John Bowman
  • Assessing the Benefits of Ongoing, NGO-Driven Agricultural Extension Services: Lima Rural Development, Foundation’s Impact on Smallholders in Umzimkhulu, South Africa - Amy Thom, Nomonde Jonas, Gerald Ortmann, Michael Lyne
  • Linking African Indigenous Vegetable (AIVS) with Health and Nutrition of HIC/AIDS Patients and Their Families in Western Kenya - S.C. Weller, P. Obura, J. Simon
  • Impacts of Climate Change on Accumulated Chill Units at Selected Fruit Production Sites in South Africa - Phumudzo Charles Tharaga, Gesine Coetzer, Stephan Steyn
  • Discrimination of Pomegranate Fruit at Different Harvest Dates by Instrumental and Sensory Measurements in Consideration of Long Supply Chains - Olaniyi Fawole, Lan Chan, Umezuruike Opara
  • On-Farm Musa Germplasm Diversity Status Across Different Agro-Ecologies in the North and South Kivu Provinces of Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo - Walter Ocimati, Deborah Karamura, Charles Sivirihauma, Vigheri Ndungo, Edmond De Langhe, Joseph Adheka, Benoit Dheda, Jules Ntamwira, Honoré Muhindo, Guy Blomme

Published on 27 Aug 2014
Presentation by Leigh Morris (RBGE) as part of the '7th International Symposium on Horticultural Education, Research, Training & Consultancy'

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Ten African countries get biosecurity investment

20 August 2014Australia-Africa initiative. The Australian International Food Security Research Centre announced on 18 July 2014 the launch of a two-year, $800,000 initiative for sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The project aims to help 10 countries such as Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Rwanda, become better equipped to combat plant biosecurity threats. 
  • The two-year $0.8m Plant Biosecurity Capacity Development Initiative – which is funded through theAustralian International Food Security Research Centre within ACIAR (the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research) – will be delivered by a consortium led by Australia’s Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, including CSIRO, the Crawford Fund and CABI International
  • The consortium will develop and deliver the Program that will commence with a regional workshop to be conducted in Nairobi in September or October 2014. Stakeholders from a wide array of national, regional and international agencies and the private sector in eastern Africa will be invited to participate in the workshop.
  • The workshop will work to identify strategic east African national and regional plant biosecurity needs and match these with Australian plant biosecurity capacity development partners and experts.
  • Program activities will commence in early 2015.
"Pests and diseases are the single biggest threat to the quality and safety of produce. Poor or fragmented capacity to control pests and diseases reduces productivity – through losses in production or storage – and is a significant obstacle to regional and international trade of African plant products."says Michael Robinson, chief executive of the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre
The initiative contributes to the Australian Government’s focus on aid for trade and economic growth. It will improve agricultural productivity and sustainability, strengthen agricultural value chains and help overcome regulatory impediments, while building capacity for agricultural innovation in Australia and Africa.
Speaking on ACIAR’s biosecurity research program in Melbourne on 18 July 2014, Dr Nick Austin, CEO of ACIAR - said the initiative will leverage Australia’s world-class strength, experience and comparative advantage in biosecurity.
References: See project pages on the AIFSRC and Plant Biosecurity CRCwebsites:

Seeking Fertile Ground for a Green Revolution in Africa

22 August 2014. Nairobi, Kenya. Launch of a new report from the Soil Health Program of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA): “Seeking Fertile Ground for a Green Revolution in Africa.”  (August 2014, 18 pages).

The report highlights the decline in soil fertility in sub-Saharan Africa over the years and the work by AGRA’s Soil Health Program and its partners to restore degraded farmlands and increase yields for Africa’s smallholder farmers.

The study is the result of a five-year program called “Integrated Soil Fertility Management" or ISFM, initiated by AGRA and a consortium of international partners. The program is designed to support some 3 million smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, where badly eroded and nutrient-deficient soils - coupled with unsustainable farming practices - has led to severely depressed yields for crucial staples like maize, banana, and cassava.

According to the AGRA analysis:
  • Unsustainable farming practices, like failure to rotate crops or apply mineral or organic fertilisers along with persistent soil erosion are depriving croplands across sub-Saharan Africa of 30 to 80 kilos per hectare of essential plant nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen.
  • The analysis of AGRA focuses on intensive efforts initiated five years ago to move aggressively to support smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa, where lack of agriculture extension services and a scarcity of basic soil supplements have contributed to severely depressed yields for crucial staples like maize, banana and cassava. 
  • While farmers in many parts of the world regularly harvest up to five tons of maize per hectare (about 2.5 acres), African farmers typically harvest one tonne. Overall, depleted soils cost African farmers USD4 billion each year in lost productivity.The report warns that such losses threaten to “kill Africa’s hopes for a food-secure future.”
Speakers included:
Right: Dr. Bashir Jama

  • Sicily Kariuki, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Kenya
  • Mary Muteti, Director of Agriculture, Makueni County, Kenya
  • Bashir Jama, Soil Health Program Director, Soil Health Program, AGRA
"We've shown that it's possible to work on a very large scale to help smallholder farmers adopt sustainable and profitable approaches to crop production, with the proof there for all to see in the form of significantly larger yields," said Dr. Bashir Jama, director of AGRA's Soil Health Program.

Published on 11 Jun 2014
Bashir Jama, Director of Soil Health Program, AGRA , at the side event, "Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in sub-Saharan Africa: An Integrated Approach." IFPRI 2020 conference on Building Resilience for Food and Nutrition Security, May 15-17, 2014, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

25/08/2015 Partners inject USD25m to increase fertiliser supply in Tanzania, Ghana

The African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) through a Soil Health Programme has set aside USD25m to increase fertiliser supply, reduce the price by at least 15 percent, and double total use in Tanzania, Ghana and Mozambique.

AFAP is collaborating with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the International Fertiliser Development Center (IFDC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the Agricultural Market Development Trust - Africa (AGMARK).

AFAP’s intervention promises to have nine new or improved blending and/or granulation plant facilities, 600 new or improved retail or cooperative storage facilities, and to deliver 225,000 tonnes to farmers in the three focal countries, the goal is in addition to the 187,000 tonnes that the Soil Health Programme is targeting.

AFAP is also working to develop “hub agro dealers” who have large storage capacity and a business that can support smaller dealers in their area as a move to enhance the process, AFAP provides both matching grants and technical support.

Farm technology bound for Africa

(L-R) Professor Paul van Gardingen - Director, Research Into Results; 
Professor James Smith – Edinburgh University Vice Principal; 
Alistair Carmichael; Dr Andy Frost - Director, Research Into Results 
and Dr Alan Tollervey - DFID Agriculture Research Team Leader
18 August 2014. An Edinburgh research group is to receive £10.8 million from the UK Government to provide leading-edge agricultural technology in Africa. The group will receive their funding over six years from the Department for International Development (DFID) for their Social Enterprises for Economic Development (SEED) programme.

Research Into Results (RIR) will make the latest agricultural innovations available to small businesses in 10 east and southern African countries. The group will then mentor these businesses to help them grow and find private investment.

RIR has already delivered pest-free crops, improved crop storage systems and a developed a mobile phone app that advises farmers the best time to plant their crops.

SEED will support the commercialisation of new agriculture technology in markets accessible to at least 500,000 small-scale farmers.
  • SEED aims to turn promising research into commercially viable technology. 
  • It has the potential to make more than half a million farmers become more efficient, helping them to feed their families and work their way out of poverty.
  • The programme will be based in Rwanda and work in 10 countries
  • SEED seeks to enhance the flow of investment-ready proposals that reach investment funds and banks. 
  • By working with a range of partners, SEED will develop new enterprises to help take technology to market
  • It aims to overcome the investment gap that can stop promising research turning into valuable technology.
The SEED Programme will develop technology-driven social enterprises whose products and services increase the profitability of smallholder farmers. There is a substantial, unmet need for ambitious social enterprises in Africa. SEED is an ambitious programme. It aims to be a game-changer, to create viable social enterprises for the benefit of smallholder farmers. Dr Andy Frost Director of Research Into Results
Research Into Results (RIR)
Centre of African Studies


Technology Development Assistance for Agriculture: Putting Research into Use in Low Income Countries
By N Clark, A Frost, I Maudlin & A Ward
Routledge, 2013; 200 pp.

How should development organisations, donors or indeed national governments attempt to support the development of new technologies for agriculture? In the last few decades, billions of dollars have gone into research labs and universities to support technology development, but in low income countries, particularly in Africa, the benefits for rural populations can be hard to detect. Such a situation motivated the UK’s Department of International Development to try a new approach, under its Research into Use (RIU) programme.

The RIU Best Bets initiative was much more hands on than simply providing grants for research work. In attempting to secure value for money for its investment in developing a number of farming technologies, it sought to engage private sector actors in processes that put these technologies in the hands of farming communities. This book reviews that work, featuring case studies from across sub-Saharan Africa, and making recommendations for how this work should inform future funding of technology development.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Announcement: Sharefair on Rural Women's Technologies to Improve Food Security

15 - 17 October 2014. Nairobi. UN Women's Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa in partnership with FAO, IFAD and WFP Sharefair on Rural Women's Technologies to Improve Food Security, Nutrition and Productive Family Farming.
has planned an Inspiring Agricultural Change:

The Sharefair is a regional initiative aimed at promoting technologies and innovations that support rural female smallholder farmers.
A series of activities will be carried out that will lead up to the Sharefair event in October 2014. For example, a Young Scientist Innovation Award will acknowledge promising students who are designing technologies that take into consideration the unique gender dimensions of rural agriculture, food security and nutrition.

Atlas of African agriculture research & development. Revealing agriculture's place in Africa

Atlas of African agriculture research & development. Revealing agriculture's place in Africa

The Atlas of African Agriculture Research and Development highlights the ubiquitous role of smallholder agriculture in Africa; the many factors shaping the location, nature, and performance of agricultural enterprises; and the strong interdependencies among farming, natural-resource stocks and flows, and the well-being of the poor.

Organized around 7 themes, the atlas covers more than 30 topics, each providing mapped geospatial data and supporting text that answers four fundamental questions: What is this map telling us? Why is this important? What about the underlying data? Where can I learn more?

The atlas is part of a wide-ranging eAtlas initiative that will showcase, through print and online resources, a variety of spatial data and tools generated and maintained by a community of research scientists, development analysts, and practitioners working in and for Africa. The initiative will serve as a guide, with references and links to online resources to introduce readers to a wealth of data that can inform efforts to improve the livelihoods of Africa’s rural poor. 

African Livestock Futures: Realizing the potential of livestock for food security, poverty reduction and the environment in Sub-Saharan Africa

Herrero, M., Havlik, P., McIntire, J., Palazzo, A. et Valin, H. 
June 2014. Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Food Security and Nutrition and the United Nations System Influenza Coordination (UNSIC), Geneva, Switzerland, 118 p.
Herrero, M., Havlik, P., McIntire, J., Palazzo, A. et Valin, H. juin 2014. Bureau du Représentant spécial du Secrétaire général des Nations Unies pour la sécurité alimentaire et la nutrition et Coordination du Système des Nations Unies pour la grippe aviaire (UNSIC), Genève, Suisse, 118 p.

Key highlights from the study are:
  1. Under all scenarios, smallholders, with their mixed crop and livestock farming systems, will continue to be the main producers of ruminant (cattle, goat and sheep) products until 2050. For monogastrics (such as poultry and pigs), most of the expansion will be through industrial production systems.
  2. Policies that encourage healthy food consumption patterns, the sustainable intensification of all livestock production systems and selective promotion of monogastric livestock production, could result in increased environmental efficiency of livestock systems in sub-Saharan Africa. This can be done in ways that protect production in pastoral communities, and by smallholder farmers. 
  3. Sustainable intensification of livestock production will yield significant benefits for food security, incomes, trade, smallholder competitiveness and ecosystems services. These benefits need to be widely appreciated: at the present time farmers face major challenges when attempting to increase their investments in livestock production especially when the sector’s contribution to sustainable development and economic growth is not appreciated.
  4. The required investments include increased provision of veterinary services, inputs, institutional support, processing and markets. These are all essential if current livestock production systems are to evolve into viable commercial operations.
David Nabarro, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Food Security and Nutrition who directed the development and implementation of the study, states that 
“As people’s incomes increase, their demand for (and access to) livestock products tends to increase as well.” He believes that “the degree to which people have predictable access to safe livestock products depends on the extent to which local markets responds to increasing demand and to which gaps in production can be met through imports from elsewhere”.
“The results of this research set the scene for more intensive work on options for expanding livestock production in Africa”, said David Nabarro. Follow-up work will explore how the dynamics of livestock markets will evolve in Africa and how changes in habitats will impact on the likelihood that new diseases will emerge and threaten the health of both animal and, if they are transmissible, human populations providing a detailed map for disease emergence hotspots under the different livestock scenarios.
This study was prepared by a core research team from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) under the stewardship of the Office of the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Food Security and Nutrition and UN System Influenza Coordination (UNSIC).

The conduct of the study was made possible through financial support provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The scenarios used in the study were developed and quantified as part of the European Union (EU) funded project “An integration of mitigation and adaptation options for sustainable livestock production under climate change”.
*** AnimalChange regional workshop, 30-31 October 2014 in Budapest

Online (PDF) versions of the full Report, Executive Summary and Policy Brief available below:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Seeds of Doubt and anti GMO activism

25 August 2014 issue. The New Yorker. Seeds of Doubt An activist’s controversial crusade against genetically modified crops.


When Shiva writes that “Golden Rice will make the malnutrition crisis worse” and that it will kill people, she reinforces the worst fears of her largely Western audience. Much of what she says resonates with the many people who feel that profit-seeking corporations hold too much power over the food they eat. Theirs is an argument well worth making. But her statements are rarely supported by data, and her positions often seem more like those of an end-of-days mystic than like those of a scientist.

Anne Glover, the chief scientific adviser to the president of the European Commission, considers it unethical to ignore G.M. crops if other approaches have failed. “People are still concerned about G.M.,” she said. “Most of them are uneasy not with the technology per se but, rather, with the business practices in the agrifood sector, which is dominated by multinational companies.” She said that those companies need to do a much better job of communicating with their customers.

According to a recent study by the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology, there has been a sevenfold reduction in the use of pesticide since the introduction of Bt cotton; the number of cases of pesticide poisoning has fallen by nearly ninety per cent. Similar reductions have occurred in China. The growers, particularly women, by reducing their exposure to insecticide, not only have lowered their risk of serious illness but also are able to spend more time with their children.

“It is absolutely remarkable to me how Vandana Shiva is able to get away with saying whatever people want to hear,” Gordon Conway told me recently. Conway is the former president of the Rockefeller Foundation and a professor at London’s Imperial College. His book “One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed the World?” has become an essential text for those who study poverty, agriculture, and development.

The need for more resilient crops has never been so great. “In Africa, the pests and diseases of agriculture are as devastating as human diseases,” Gordon Conway, who is on the board of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation, told me. He added that the impact of diseases like the fungus black sigatoka, the parasitic weed striga, and the newly identified syndrome maize lethal necrosis—all of which attack Africa’s most important crops—are “in many instances every bit as deadly as H.I.V. and TB.” For years, in Tanzania, a disease called brown-streak virus has attacked cassava, a critical source of carbohydrates in the region. Researchers have developed a virus-resistant version of the starchy root vegetable, which is now being tested in field trials. But, again, the opposition, led in part by Shiva, who visited this summer, has been strong.

Maize is the most commonly grown staple crop in Africa, but it is highly susceptible to drought. Researchers are working on a strain that resists both striga and the African endemic maize-streak virus; there have also been promising advances with insect-resistant cowpea and nutritionally enriched sorghum. Other scientists are working on plants that greatly reduce the need for nitrogen fertilizers, and several that produce healthful omega-3 fatty acids. None of the products have so far managed to overcome regulatory opposition.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Dairy innovation platform experiences from Tanzania

Tanga Dairy Platform, Agri-Pro Focus Tanzania and SNV
15 August 2014. Multi-stakeholder innovation platforms are one of the most important mechanisms employed in the Livestock and Fish program to build alliances and engagement with different research and development partners. They are also important as potential ways to build momentum to test and apply promising technologies and interventions at scale.

In recent years the Program in Tanzania – focused on dairy development – has been linking up with different local and national stakeholders. One of the most promising partnerships has been with the Tanga Dairy Platform.

The Tanga Dairy Platform was founded in December 2008 by a group of dairy enthusiasts and facilitated by the British NGO Research Into Use (RIU). The development of this platform has been documented by Jean-Joseph CADILHON (ILRI) et al. (2014) in a paper (draft) (18 pages) presented to the IFAMA 2014 World Forum (16-19 June 2014, Cape Town, South Africa). It is a rare example of a self-sustaining innovation platform accomplishing relevant outcomes for its members

To learn from the platform’s experiences, the International Livestock Research Institute recently produced three photo films telling stories from platform stakeholders.
The 5-minute film below tells the story of the platform and how it is helping dairy farmers improve their milk production and sales:

Watch 2 related films:
Sheha Saidi compares her experiences of keeping dairy cattle in Tanzania’s largest city with the experiences of her sister who lives and keeps dairy cows in Pongwe, Tanga

Faustina Akyoo explains how she learnt dairying from her parents in Arusha before moving to the coastal town of Tanga.

View more videos on innovation systems and platforms
Read a series of innovation platform practice briefs

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The importance of working donkeys, mules and horses for food security

Invisible Helpers: Women’s views on the contributions of working donkeys, horses, and mules to their lives 
© The Brooke 2014. All rights reserved.
47 pages

This book is based on the findings from Voices from Women, a research project which focuses on the role of working equine animals in the lives of women and the role of women as carers of the animals. 

The research puts the emphasis on listening to women’s views and experiences and understanding their needs and priorities with regards to livestock functions and the multiple roles of women. It shows the multiples roles that working equids play in supporting women and their families and the importance of good animal welfare in enabling those animals to help them.

The research findings from Ethiopia, Kenya, India and Pakistan provide an unequivocal picture of the importance of working donkeys, mules and horses for women from equine owning communities in their own words. From lightening women’s load of daily household chores, to enabling them to earn an income, increasing their decision-making power and enhancing their status within the community, the report finds that working equids make a crucial difference to the lives of women in developing countries and shows the importance of good animal welfare in enabling those animals to help them.

Keeping Track of Adaptation Actions in Africa

12 August 2014. Nairobi. Launch of the UNEP report Keeping Track of Adaptation Actions in Africa. The report findings details that -Investment in climate change adaptation can help ensure that the impacts of climate change - including a projected 20-50 per cent decline in water availability - do not reverse decades of development progress in Africa, according to a new report released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Keeping Track of Adaptation Actions in Africa (KTAA) - Targeted Fiscal Stimulus Actions Making a Difference - is the first graphical report that presents practical examples of successful low-cost adaptation solutions from around sub-Saharan Africa in one concise handbook. The report includes examples of successful adaptation projects that have provided the impetus for large-scale government investments and policy action.
"With 94 per cent of agriculture dependent on rainfall, the future impacts of climate
change - including increased droughts, flooding, and seal-level rise - may reduce crop yields in some parts of Africa by 15 - 20 per cent. Such a scenario, if unaddressed, could have grave implications for Africa's most vulnerable states. Using projects implemented in various countries in sub-Saharan Africa, the KTAA report clearly demonstrates how investment in adaptation actions can provide, not just low-cost solutions to climate change challenges, but can actually stimulate local economies through more efficient use of natural capital, job creation and increased household incomes." 
UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. 
The practical publication responds to the 2013 Africa Adaptation Gap Report which was endorsed by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), and which identified the potentially crippling costs of climate change for Africa.
"Incipient threats posed by climate change, particularly in terms of potentially overturning decades of development efforts in Africa, suggest that future development efforts should incorporate greater resilience to climate change impacts. The KTAA report is an action guide that showcases ways to do this in various sectors and African countries should use this as the guiding document for investments in adaptation to climate change." President of AMCEN and Minister of State for the Environment, United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Dr. Binilith Mahenge.
The first part of the report provides snapshots of the current and predicted future impacts of climate change on livelihoods, agriculture, and human and ecosystem health in Africa, detailing impacts by region, country and even city.

The second half of the report describes how countries through low-cost climate adaptation actions can:
  • improve the health and functioning of ecosystems; 
  • build community capacity to sustainably manage ecosystems; 
  • improve agricultural productivity
  • and innovatively store water.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Strategies to scale up investments in modern rice farming

6 - 7 August 2014. Kigali. Researchers from 11 African countries discussed strategies aimed at scaling up investments in modern rice farming and boost production.

The event was hosted by the Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) with facilitation from AfricaRice – a leading pan-African rice research organisation that operates in 25 African countries.

According to Diagne Aliou, AfricaRice’s economist in charge of impact assessment, the training was aimed
at introducing continental rice producers to automation of socio-economic surveys and improved methods and tools of the rapidly growing agricultural field.
“Rice growing is one of the budding agricultural fields in Africa and it requires day-to-day modern evaluation theories and practices with a particular focus on their applications that will assess the impact of agricultural research and projects,” he said.
The expert explained that the training in Kigali was in line with the target of leaders in Africa who want the continent’s rice to be able to feed its population and have surplus for international markets.

The Deputy Director General in charge of Research at RAB, Dr. Daphrose Gahakwa, said Rwanda became a member of AfricaRice in 2013 in a bid to learn from other continental producers how to boost rice production.
“It is our first time to host this training since joining the forum last year and it is very important in the way that it will improve our capacity in data collection. Our day-to-day objectives and work means that we need to correct information in order to improve our productivity,” Gahakwa said.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Animal Science Research Priorities Under Feed the Future

28 July - 1 August 2014. Animal Science Research Priorities Under Feed the Future.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau for Food Security (BFS) implements the Feed the Future initiative as the United States’ contribution to a collaborative global effort supporting country-owned processes and plans for improving food security. 

The current Adapting Livestock Systems to Climate Change Innovation Lab ends in April 2015, BFS seeks to develop a new Innovation Lab that defines a livestock-focused research agenda which enhances livelihood possibilities and food security while attending to key value chains and agricultural development priorities identified by USAID Missions in the framework of Feed the Future priorities. 

The USAID Bureau for Food Security (BFS) hosted a web-based Livestock AgExchange July 28 – August 1, 2014 to solicit global, public input in defining key research and capacity development priorities which BFS will use to help inform the development of the new Innovation Lab.

Hereunder are the conclusions of the third and last day

I. Role of Livestock in Global Food Security & USAID’s Scaling-Up Initiative (Moderators: Drs. Betram & Chapotin)
Feed the Future has placed increasing emphasis on "technology scaling" to accelerate delivery and uptake of innovations to enhance food security, smallholder incomes and household nutrition and delivering these advances in ways that enhance the sustainability of systems for innovation and extension, e.g. working in ways that strengthen commercial agro-inputs dealers, and accelerating the rate at which livestock producers adopt new or improved technologies or practices. In this session we have asked: (1) What are the key points of entry for interventions that are likely to enhance the role of livestock in agricultural development and food security? (2) What are some livestock-linked technologies or innovative practices that merit consideration as opportunities for scaling? It is important to determine how innovations and technologies related to livestock can be made to reach smallholder farmers to enable them to strengthen their production systems, reach markets, and get better access to animal source foods. How can we ensure that research partners are building the connections to players along the value chain so that new innovations are tested, adapted and scaled across diverse production systems? 
Small livestock
  • Encouraging and training for small livestock rearing (rabbits, chickens, etc) to promote food security for the urban poor is immediately scalable and both neglected and of considerable potential.
  • As part of a health project targeted to people living with HIV/AIDS in Nairobi, we supported a church-based organization in establishing chicken production in the grounds of their building with community labor and included an egg-hatching machine. Worker profited from sale of chickens and eggs but also consumed eggs.
  • Backyard poultry rearing can be done with local materials for poultry housing and stock is available locally (exotic to be crossed with local breeds).
Training and education for livestock management
  • Donors and other policy makers should work with people at the grassroots level and conduct trainings since diseases are a bother to small-scale livestock farmer in subSaharan Africa. Research centers for diseases and breeding near farmers would be effective along with regular vaccination programs and provision of trained veterinary personnel.
  • For example a goat production/intensification sites of which there are now 203 around the country are close to the farmers and assists the goat group who owned the production site where extension demonstrations are conducted including nutrition & feeding, improved forage feeders, importance of clean water, deworming and other health care, slatted floor dry shelters and their use, intestinal parasite and the cycle of parasitism, salt mineral blocks basically addressing calcium and phosphorous deficiencies in the local forages. 
  • Pastoralists should be encouraged to destock and keep manageable herds but this is difficult since in Africa the number of animals owned is associated with prestige no matter their state of health. Water harvesting technology and climate predictions are needed for this sector of livestock.
  • The role of livestock in agricultural and food security is enhanced by implementation of sustainable management practices. Taking much of the existing knowledge and skills we currently have for the diagnosis and control of many infectious and nutritionally related diseases to the community level would likely eliminate many health problems that constrain livestock production. Merely applying what we already know in a consistent broad based approach could significantly reduce the burden of disease for animals and humans. Buy-in and uptake by communities takes place when we have engaged all stakeholders before, during and after the studies/implementation take place. 
  • In many countries, veterinary and animal health services were hit hard during the period of structural adjustment that occurred back in the 80s and 90s.  We now often look to the private sector to fill the gap, but lack of effective demand (in economic terms) from small producers means that their needs go unmet.  The key it seems would be to think of ways to apply "what we already know" through some approach that would be sustainable, rather than a one-off intervention.  
  • There is a need for public and private sectors to work in sync, including perhaps in the process of engaging stakeholders, e.g., in Kenya there have been several advances in technologies for milk storage, processing and storage of animal products (yogurts, ghee, dried meats, etc) that improve nutritional impacts especially for children (e.g., The BMGF-funded East Africa Smallholder Dairy Program).
  • Introduction of camels in drought prone areas is another example, which provide an important source of milk and foods during dry periods that cattle and other livestock species cannot.  This raises a series of management and possible environmental issues, but there is little doubt that the increased adoption of camels in dry parts of the Horn of Africa has been at least partially a response to improve local food security and nutrition.
Livestock as banking system
  • Livestock as an asset/saving:  there is been little mention of livestock's role as an economic asset, but the asset/savings dimension is an important means for smallholders to address food insecurity through sales and then purchases of cereals during periods of shortage.  Evidence from parts of the Sahel shows that households with livestock often were less vulnerable to severe food insecurity than strictly crop-based systems in the Sahel, because the former could sell off livestock to buy cereals during extreme weather events.  
  • Goats are walking bank accounts and kept for sale during time of need for cash such as school fees, health problems especially since there is no rural banking system. Can goatherds be scaled up with improved management to increase security? 
Attracting the next generation
  • Young people interested in the Peace Corps and NGOs like Heifer International and international studies seem to have waned in number over the last 3 decades. There seems to be a ‘disconnect’ between international animal agriculture at American universities and the concept of globalization. 
  • When faculty interested in international agriculture retired in the 1990s and the concept of globalization took hold there was a loss of attendance at specific ‘international agriculture’ sessions at meetings and more integration of research presentations into specific disciplinary sessions. Do we need to recreate a great interest in our young and older students and faculty in international animal agriculture in order to feed the future, by encouraging scientists to "go out there" and contribute to feeding the world using the latest technologies as we have seen with the boom of mobile phone use in Africa opening up markets for huge numbers of small producers etc.
  • This may be necessary to accomplish the multi-inter-and trans-disciplinary research and extension activities discussed above that lead to many different applied and outreach projects and especially the "farm to fork value chain projects" needed to feed the future.
  • It is imperative to motivate livestock farming among youth and provide conducive environment for the existing farmers so that they can continue to do so. Programs like VFT and CAHF could be helpful to incentivize and bring more youth to this sector.
II. Relationship building with other livestock programs, projects & donors (Moderators: Drs. Richard, Turk, Sukumaran and Yazman) 
70% or 1.5 billion people globally generate a livelihood through livestock and animal source food that is an important part of food security worldwide. Donors want to address the issues of alleviating poverty, increasing incomes, and sustaining livelihoods. While various donors may fund programs in the same region or countries, each has a specific agenda, mandate or vision and programs must align with both donors’ interests as well as beneficiaries’ interests. Lack of co-ordination and learning exists among the many donor organizations involved in research and that are gaining valuable experiences. Even though the expertise and strategies are different for different projects implemented, varying from disaster response to resource management, there is essentially an overlap that needs to be taken care of through principles of inclusion, transparency and focus on work. The ultimate goal would be improving the lives protecting them from hunger, poverty and disease. To do this not only the countries but the donors need to be aligned and kept well informed about the role of the livestock sector in several important aspects of food security, income generation, control of zoonoses and so on. Those in the private sector are interested in becoming engaged because development activities make a profit so while their motivation differs it should have an understanding of what support donors can give and what type of coordination the donors have to align support for achieving objectives and improving the sector. The private sector is important because livestock keeping is a business. Therefore, it is necessary to build relationships and balance support for coordination with the private sector and between donor groups especially considering that funding for livestock is at its lowest point in 30 years.
Coordination through meetings and committees
  • There is much overlap, and very little inter-organizational discussion that includes all players who might be interested in finding common ground.  It requires old-fashioned one-to-one reaching out. Personal interactions that foster true partnership require inter-personal skills, respect and sincere action toward mutual understanding and support. It requires effort, stepping out of one's own comfort zone. Identify organizations and understand their missions/visions/objectives. Thus we need to establish collegiality and opportunities for cooperation and collaboration. Provide a platform for learning from each other so as to avoid redundancy and inefficiency in effort and expenditure (financial and human capital).
  • A multi stakeholder committee needs to be set up at country level by governments to coordinate and complement current donor projects and strengthen future participation of all stakeholders for a pro-poor livestock development. Compare and contrast each currently implemented or planned donor initiatives and determine at what levels of interventions the initiatives work and determine overlaps or synergies and gaps. The Country Co-ordination mechanism followed by the Global Fund is a replicable model for donors in countries to ensure right channeling of funds.
  • Learn from others about both local and international organizations with complimentary goals and mandates to find new partnerships with experts outside of veterinary medicine: feed experts, soil scientists, aquaculturalists, environmentalists, botanists, horticulturalists, entrepreneur trainers, anthropologists, marketing, communications, media and public relations specialists, since livestock farming in not a standalone sector. It is embedded in the culture and traditions of the country involving positive and negative externalities, very closely linked to climate change and above all the needs of the sector has to be translated to understandable messages for use of policy makers.
  • Leverage interdisciplinary expertise since one organization cannot know all or do all, but there seems to be untapped possibility for exchange of knowledge that would not result in the dreaded "competition for donor dollars.
  • The use of ethics based decision tools can enable agencies to identify stakeholders as well as points of agreements and common interests. This in turn could serve as the starting points for building stronger longterm relations between the administrations and external agencies.
Coordination of donor groups and clients through online forums
  • Few NGO sharing platforms exist like REGLAP in Horn and East Africa, Graziers Diary on Face book. Online forums could go beyond the information exchange about the local problems and challenges to co-operation between countries. It has been used to link One Health veterinarians at Makerere University in Uganda and to support capacity building in Liberia along with US based international development experts.
Crafting and funding the development agenda for ASF
  • Investment plans and policy agendas need to adequately address the issues and opportunities that characterize the livestock sector. Policy makers and budget investment planners need to be provided with the evidence required to make the right decisions on funding livestock sector research and in promoting the right livestock sector policies.
  • As a body researchers have been too introverted, interested in own sub-research fields in animal health, production issues, marketing and not focused sufficiently on addressing the main problem which is the plight of poor livestock keepers. Donors have also been too competitive, often vying with other donors to undertake a piece of developmental research rather than collaborating with them. As long as projects solely deal with sub-systems and not with how they benefit livestock keepers then donors will be seen to be more interested in research than development and thus governments will provide less funding accordingly. We need more joined-up and follow-through research where the benefits of donor investments can be seen as increases nutrition or other food security and livelihoods benefits to discreet livestock keepers - pastoralists, small stock keepers, smallholder dairy farmers etc. Research needs to change from the introverted, individual and sub-research field focusing style to that of a joint venture capable of producing demonstrable outcome for the investment made.
  • Livestock research has generated some amazing pro-poor benefits but donor marketing of such products for wide scale benefit has been lacking partly due to the fact that donors have not appreciated the strengths and experience of the private sector in marketing research products and have relied rather on generally inefficient and cash-strapped extension agencies to do the Scaling-up. We need to embrace both these institutions (extension and private sector) into our research programs right from the program planning stage and provide financial support and training to the national extension agencies. If livestock research is not seen to be delivering wide scale benefits to the target population funding levels will be lower.
  • Provide educational opportunities and future career and volunteer opportunities for veterinarians new to the profession, or interested in changing career paths to engage in development work.
  • The production to consumption value chain provides a basis for identifying common interest in supporting livestock development and thus could be used to define areas and avoid redundancies and provide synergies of efforts. Utilize an approach based on the two components of the livestock value chain in most FtF countries: (1) pre-farm gate production component and (2) post-farm gate marketing/processing/distributing. Agencies primarily concerned with pro-poor development to improve family livelihoods will focus on the pre-farm gate component while development agencies and banks primarily concerned with economic development will primarily focus on the post-farm gate component, not least because they will be addressing macro-economic priorities of national decision makers.
Examples of success
  • East Africa Dairy development Project led by Heifer International and funded by Bill & Melinda Gates and implemented in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania over 2 phases has successfully promoted 40 different practices based on “best fit practice” policy for the local context.
  • The Volunteer Farmer Trainer (VFT) program has proved to be a sustainable one, after the end of the project period. The probable reasons could be early access to new technologies, social status, social networking, altruism and also the fact that this helps them generate income from associated extension activities. VFT has also demonstrated its capability to penetrate across male and female livestock farmers equally.
  • Operation Flood in India is another success story. This is the world’s biggest dairy development program that has led to white revolution in India and made India the largest milk producer in the world. Dairy farming became India’s largest and self-sustaining employment. Operation Flood works through a network of milk co-operatives formed by livestock farmers across the country. The program commenced with the EU assistance through the World Food Program and still continues as a sustainable program. It is important to be cautious about the replication of this in a different environment since there are countries that have been affected by protracted civil conflicts and where education has been disrupted for many years. In such situations, the role of external assistance could be very critical.

Safe food saves life: Dealing with aflatoxin

Milk is a major food in Kenya. Understanding how, and to what extent, these toxins affect dairy products in this country is under investigation by scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

‘We don’t know enough about the specifics of milk consumption in Kenya’, says Johanna Lindahl, a food safety researcher at ILRI. ‘We know that some groups, such as young children, pregnant and nursing women, as well as livestock herders, consume more milk than others.’
"Aflatoxins in milk has had quite some research interests, but it might be important to note that the public health importance of this has not been shown. We know the AFM1 is there, but we don't really know what it does to you (apart from being less carcinogenic than AFB1), and we know people consume it. I think there is a lot of research that still needs to be done on this issues, and this also needs to be conveyed to donors. There are knowledge gaps still in the basic pathology and the actual total impact on human and animal health. There is a lack of knowledge in binders and their efficiency, and we have very little means of actually mitigating the problem in a cost efficient manner."
ILRI is determining the risks posed to such different groups of people by exposure to aflatoxin-contaminated milk in a ‘My-Dairy’ project in Kenya funded by Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In a series of studies, this project, which is under the CGIAR Research Programs on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) and Policies, Institutions and Markets, is also assessing the economic impacts of contaminated dairy feeds and the most appropriate ways of reducing aflatoxins along Kenya’s dairy feed chain.

How can the presence of aflatoxins in food be controlled?
This virtual briefing of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development looks at two Kenyan studies on the effects of fungi, mycotxins and aflatoxins. Caused naturally, common fungus has been isolated in soils, maize, millet and sorghum in both regions. They are even found in infants' food.

Prof. Erastus K. Kang'ethe of the University of Nairobi speaks about the reasons for high contaminations – both on the natural, agricultural side as well as a result of cultural practice and societal problems. Erastus K. Kang'ethe is member of the PAEPARD supported consortium "Aflatoxin contamination management along the maize value chain in Kenya".

Published on 7 Jul 2014

Interview with Pierre-Marie Borne Public Affairs Director of the Public Health Zoonoses and Food Safety at CEVA SANTE ANIMALE (Bordeaux, France) on the state of meat production and dairy development projects. 

Published on 31 Jul 2014 When different organisations -donors, funders, governments, private sector agencies, project managers, farmers- all enter a local developing market they each have different objectives and intentions. However if their goals differ then so would the strategies employed to achieve them.
"In order to help the emergence of a profitable, sustainable dairy sector -that includes small farmers- you need at the origin good public private partnerships. So you need to have all these ingredients -the prerequisites- but also you have to get the most suitable collaborations in order to produce and to push the development of the dairy sector," explains Pierre-Marie Borne in an interview with the platform.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Regional consultation between farmers organisations, and research actors in Central Africa

6 to 8 August 2014. Yaounde. Regional consultation between farmers organisations, and research actors in Central Africa: "Agricultural Research for development and capacity building of stakeholders." 

Organized by the Sub-Regional Platform of Farmers Organizations of Central Africa (PROPAC) the workshop included thirty participants from producer organizations, national institutes and regional research centers, ministries, RECs (CEMAC and ECCAS).

The workshop aimed at strengthening mechanisms for collaboration between producer organizations and agricultural research institutes, for a common purpose and a shared vision on the key aspects of agricultural research for development in Central Africa.

Specifically the objectives were:
  • Establish mechanisms to promote the inclusion and involvement of FOs in the research process;
  • Promote the uptake process and research results by FOs and their members for better extension; 
  • Create a formal framework for dialogue between research, PROPAC and the national farmer organisations; 
  • Identify areas and thematic priorities for collaboration.


Status of commercialized biotech GM crops in Africa

5 August 2014. Accra, Ghana. Stakeholder's forum "Global Status Of commercialized biotech GM cropsBiotechnology will not just address malnutrition, but it will also help increase food production and food security, says Dr. Florence Wambugu, CEO of Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International.

Dr. Wambugu mentioned the statement during the stakeholder's forum and launch of ISAAA Brief 46:
Global Status of Commercialized Biotech/GM Crops 2013

The population of Africa is projected to increase significantly in the coming years, thus there is a need for a massive increase in food production, Dr. Wambugu stressed. There must be a high level of political will to successfully adopt and reap the benefits of biotechnology in the region, she added.

On the other hand, Prof. Walter Alhassan, agricultural biotechnologist and Biosafety Policy Consultant at the Forum For Agriculture Research in Africa (FARA), said that he observed that the public's fear on the technology is a result of misinformation. Thus, he encouraged publications on agri-biotech, which will help the public get the right information on biotech, and eventually help in the development of agri-biotech in the region.


US Public conversation about the role of agriculture in realizing Africa’s economic potential

4-6 August 2014. The first US-Africa Leaders Summit. The theme of the Summit was "Investing in the Next Generation."

The three-day event, which drew the leaders of more than 40 African nations to Washington with the idea of transforming the way Americans – and American business in particular – think of Africa.
See: Statement by the Chair of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced four new partners in the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative and up to $1 billion in export credit guarantees that will enhance trade between the U.S. and Africa. The export credit is a part of President Obama's Doing Business in Africa Campaign. The Ghana Open Data Initiative, Sierra Leone, IBM and Kellogg Company will join over 100 GODAN partners who work to make agricultural and nutritional data available, accessible and useable for unrestricted use worldwide.

USDA's Commodity Credit Corporationwill make the funding available to export U.S. agricultural commodities to Africa over the next two years. The Department, which currently works with nine eligible banks in 49 African countries, will also conduct outreach seminars to Africa in 2015 to promote the use of its credit guarantee program for the export of U.S. agricultural products.

Also during the Summit, representatives from the American Soybean Association's World Initiative for Soy in Human Health program met with African officials to discuss the program's current and future plans in the area. With funding from USDA's Emerging Markets Program WISHH has developed a strategy to promote trade in U.S. soy to the feed, poultry and aquaculture sectors in Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal.

At the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, private-sector companies announced an additional $7 billion in commitments to promote agricultural development in Africa as part of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. This two-year-old effort brings socially responsible private investment to the African agricultural sector, creates good jobs, and encourages countries to enact sustainable agriculture reforms.

The "Resilience and Food Security in a Changing Climate" Signature Event highlighted three critical and interrelated areas in the U.S-Africa relationship: food security, climate change, and resilience. 

This event highlighted how climate change and variability are impacting food security in Africa, and how key U.S. initiatives align with the commitments of African leaders to bolster the resilience of people, households, communities, and systems.

Dr. Jill Biden delivered remarks at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit on resilience and food security in a changing climate:

During this conference there were also side-events held in both Washington and in other U.S. cities.

Side event: The Young African Leaders Fellowships program – which in the first year of 2014 , allowed 500 young Africans to spend six weeks in the US, announced that next year the program will double to bring 1,000 young African leaders to the US.

Side event: hosted a top US and African official for a public conversation about the role of agriculture in realizing Africa’s economic potential.

A late night concert featured performances from some of Africa’s top young musicians from ONE’s Do Agric Campaign, which spurred over 2 million citizens from across the continent to use their voices and demand that their leaders support smart, effective agricultural development policy that will help lift 85 million Africans out of poverty.

Side event:
3 August 2014. Increasing agribusiness in Africa was the focus of a panel discussion moderated by African "Believe in Africa Day".
Development Bank Group President Donald Kaberuka on Sunday at

"Believe in Africa" is an African Diaspora-led initiative founded by former U.S. Congressional staffers and African leaders in the U.S. to empower young Africans, educate policy-makers about economic growth on the continent and highlight its gradual rise in the global economy.

AFDB President Donald Kaberuka 

kicked off "Believe in Africa Day"
"How do we work together to increase agribusiness investments now that the policies are in place? That is the question," Kaberuka said. As part of the panel on realizing a new vision for Africa's development, African agricultural leaders from Cameroon, Madagascar and Guinea, along with industry executives, fielded pointed questions from Kaberuka on food security, the use of subsidies to fuel growth and the need for regional integration when it comes to agricultural expansion on the continent.

Side event:
4 August 2014. Washington. The Empowered Africa Dialogue was a day-long event hosted by the U.S.-Africa Network. A discussion group on Agribusiness and Land Grabbing included the following speakers:
  • Jacques Bahati, Africa Faith and Justice Network
  • M. Jahi Chappelle, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
  • Scholastica Haule, ActionAid Tanzania
  • Nina Moses, ActionAid USA, Moderating
A new report released July 31 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides uniform scientific methods for quantifying the changes in greenhouse gas emissions and carbon dioxide storage from various land-management and conservation activities.

The report, Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Agriculture and Forestry: Methods for Entity-Scale Inventory, will help it evaluate greenhouse gas (GHG) conservation programs, develop new tools and update existing tools to help U.S. landowners participate in emerging carbon markets.

The report, available on the USDA website, is the work of 38 experts in the cropland, grazing land, livestock and forest-management sectors across academia and government. It was reviewed by another 29 scientists, federal experts and the public.

31 July 2014. SciDev. Report sheds new light on gender gaps in agriculture. African research institutes need to provide policymakers with better evidence on what works to close the large gap in agricultural production between men and women, says a report.

The joint report “Levelling the Field: Improving Opportunities for Women Farmers in Africa” delves into the scale and causes of the striking differences between how much men and women farmers produce in six African countries-- Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda-- which together make up more than 40% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population.

The report is published by the World Bank and US-headquartered ONE Campaign and aims at providing policymakers and researchers with an assessment of Africa’s gender gap in agriculture and to address the challenge.

The researchers used a statistical technique called decomposition analysis to evaluate datasets from the World Bank’s Living Standards Measurement Study —Integrated Surveys on Agriculture initiative to document the drivers of gender gap in agriculture for six African countries: Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.