Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Euragri conference

28 - 30 September 2014. Montpellier, France. 28th Euragri conference. The title of this year’s conference was: Long-term strategic agenda for research and innovation in agriculture: North-South partnership at stake.

The increasing food demand raises strategic issues for the agriculture and agricultural research in advanced countries in general and in Europe in particular. One way forward is driving science and agriculture forward, in both North and South, thus contributing to sustainable development of rural areas and agricultural supply chains globally. 

This has to be achieved by continuously building up scientific capacity, also in the world’s poorest countries, since societies cannot develop long term unless they themselves generate the knowledge and develop the innovations they need to adapt to a changing and fast evolving world. 

Coordinated research programmes, knowledge sharing, training, dissemination of information and participation of economic players are important pillars on which to build a North – South partnership aiming at a more shared and evenly distributed research system for the benefit of all in the spirit of the H2020 interest in global challenges.

Extract of the programme:

Session 1: Strategic issues for research and education
  • Sébastien ABIS (CIHEAM, FR): Challenges for the future of Mediterranean Agriculture 
  • Jean-Luc BATTINI (CIRAD, FR): Agricultural research and global challenges. Examples from the Mediterranean regions.
Session 2: Foresight and contribution of Euragri (29/09)
  • Albino MAGGIO (JRC, EC): The Foresight “Global Food Security” 
  • Gianluca BRUNORI ( University of Pisa, IT), Elke SAGGAU (BLE, DE) and Erik MATHIJS (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, BE): The SCAR foresight “Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in the Bioeconomy. A challenge for Europe”
  • Wayne POWELL (Chief Science Officer, CGIAR): The need of reform of agricultural systems both in Europe and in the South
4 breakout parallel sessions (30/09)
  1. Research, innovation and entrepreneurship: Xavier RIESCHER (Panzani, Ebro Foods). 
  2. The midterm perspectives of research collaboration in the Mediterranean, and in particular the prospects for joint activities in ERANETMED, paving the way for long-term cooperation like under Article 185: Claudio BOGLIOTTI (Coordinator the ERANETMED, IAM Bari, IT)
  3. Innovation systems now and in the future. What can we learn from AKIS 3 and EIP: Krijn POPPE (WUR, NL) and Inge VAN OOST (DG Agri, EIP)
  4. Instruments and results for North-South cooperation. Experience from the Era-Net ArimNet: Florence JACQUET (Coordinator of ArimNET, INRA, FR)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The African Landscapes Action Plan

The African Landscapes Action Plan
Landscapes for People, Food and Nature in Africa
36 pages
The Global Environment Facility
United Nations Environment Programme
Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Government of The Netherlands
World Agroforestry Centre
EcoAgriculture Partners

Based on concrete successes and ongoing best practice from around the continent, the plan includes actions for integrated landscape management programs and practices that can quickly go to scale and have significant impact across Africa in achieving food security and biodiversity and climate objectives.

The plan is a major outcome of the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature in Africa Conference which was hosted by the World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, Kenya in 1-3 July 2014. During this conference, practitioners, researchers and leaders from more than 20 countries in Africa and from organizations around the world discussed the most pressing problems facing African landscapes and determined the most critical actions needed to address them. 

The actions contained in the plan focus on 6 main themes relating to sustainable rural development: 
  1. policy, 
  2. finance, 
  3. governance, 
  4. research, 
  5. capacity building and 
  6. business engagement. 
Critical actions are identified for each of these areas, and key organizations, who were represented at the conference, have already committed to progressing the actions. The action plan is designed to dovetail with major initiatives of Africa’s landscape coalitions, including the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Sustainable Land Management, Desertification, Biodiversity and Ecosystems-based Adaptation to Climate Change (LDBE) flagship program.

Landscapes for People, Food and Nature in Africa Conference
22 September 2014; 9 pages


Synthesized research is needed to develop and manage successful integrated landscapes initiatives in Africa. This brief brings together relevant knowledge and provides recommendations for actions for the development of knowledge sharing platforms.

This paper synthesizes findings from several recent publications related to the science of integrated agricultural landscape management, as well as information shared at the Landscapes for People, Food and Nature in Africa conference in July 2014 (African Landscapes Action Plan, 2014). It recommends actions and platforms for building scientific knowledge and capacity in Africa to design and manage landscapes so that they can fulfill the multiple goals of sustainable food and energy provision, generation of livelihoods and human wellbeing, and conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme provides important convening functions focused on increasing agricultural productivity. The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the African Union’s Science, Technology and Information Strategy for Africa 2024 (STISA-2024), and other continent-wide platforms are important vehicles for harmonizing African priorities and representing pan-African perspectives in global research dialogues."" (page 6) 

The CGIAR Development Dialogues

25th September 2014. New York City. The CGIAR Development Dialogues. The all-day Development Dialogues event hosted by CGIAR came on the heels of the launch of the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture at the UN Climate Summit.

It was a one-two punch meant to convince the international community — and policymakers in particular — that we need to get smarter about the way we produce food.

Photos and videos are being loaded into the event page as they become available over the coming days.

Opening plenary session: Research priorities for a food secure and sustainable future
Opening and greeting: CGIAR Development Dialogues Host, Frank Rijsberman, CEO, CGIAR Consortium
H.E. Akinwumi Adesina, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria
H.E. Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, UNFCCC COP 20 President and Minister for the Environment of Peru
H.E. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, High-Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union
Kanayo F. Nwanze, IFAD President

High-level session debates I

1.1 Prosperous, food secure and resilient livelihoods: How can staple crops contribute to food security for 9.6 billion in 2050?
The challenges of sustainably supporting 8-10 billion people by 2030/2050, and the visions for improved crop production that needs to change to ensure food security and to all, will be presented. Five panelists will draw conclusions regarding the priorities for publicly funded international agricultural research. Read more.
2.1 Healthier, innovative, capable and inclusive communities: Nutrition- and gender-sensitive agriculture and food systems: A foundation for sustainable development
Billions of people around the world, especially women and children suffer from undernutrition caused by poor diets and lack of access to health, water and sanitation services. This results in repeated infections, and poor caregiving practices which can lead to lowered IQ, stunting and blindness in children, and increased risk of disease and death in both children and adults. Without improving nutrition, there can be no escape from the cycle of poverty. Read more.
3.1 New partnerships for development impact: Resilient systems and communities towards sustainable development: Fostering the Capacity to Innovate
Smallholder farmers, pastoralists, and fishers exist in a complex reality where a range of social and biophysical processes interact and affect their livelihoods. Reorienting the dynamics of these integrated systems towards desirable outcomes, such as reducing poverty, eliminating conflict and improving livelihoods, is essential for sustainable development. Read more.
4.1 Climate-change resilient agro-ecosystems: Integrated landscape approaches for agriculture, forestry and other land usesLandscape approaches ensuring that oft-competing land uses can be integrated into joint management are emerging from principle to practice. Such approaches include considerations on “land sparing”, which assumes that agricultural intensification leads to greater returns and therefore reduces the pressure for expansion, and “land sharing” whereby agricultural production takes place within complex multi-functional landscapes. Read more.

Midday Dialogue: Is “climate change and sustainable business” an oxymoron?Moderator: Tony Simons, Director General, ICRAF
Howard Minigh, Croplife President and CEO
Sonja Vermeulen, Head of Research at CCAFS
Halldor Thorgeirsson, Director for Strategy, UNFCCC

High-level session debates II
1.2 Prosperous, food secure and resilient livelihoods: Expanding commercial opportunities for the poor
There are nearly 450 million farmers today who farm less than 2 hectares (ha) of land accounting for about 2 billion people. They comprise about half the world’s undernourished people and more than half of people living in absolute poverty. Although rural to urban migration continues, it is also true that in many countries the absolute number of rural people is growing and is expected to do so for the next couple of decades. Poverty alleviation in rural areas will be linked to more profitable farming and the fostering of other rural non-farm businesses and jobs. Read more.
2.2 Healthier, innovative, capable and inclusive communities: Nutrition-sensitive landscapes
Global concerns about the sustainability of food production systems, as well as the quality of diets resulting from them, are escalating. Natural resource depletion, including diversity loss, changing diets, population increases and urbanization are changing what we produce, market and consume. Read more.
3.2 New partnerships for development impact: Strategic partnerships in agricultural research for inclusive impact: grounds for hope?Successful global partnerships will be a key prerequisite in achieving the SDGs. The world is facing many apparently intractable challenges, the development world’s so-called ‘wicked problems’. Solving these will require collaboration between many different groups with widely diverging interests and perspectives. Identifying and managing these partnerships to create any significant global impact presents a number of challenges. Read more.
 4.2 Climate‐change-resilient agro-ecosystems: Climate-smart agriculture: balancing trade-offs in food systems and ecosystems
Climate-smart agriculture offers a way to transform the world food system and achieve three goals: near-term productivity and food security; longer-term resilience and adaptation; and reductions in emissions across landscapes, agriculture and food systems. But how can these objectives be achieved while also meeting the Sustainable Development goals? Read more.

Keynote addresses
Moderator: Peter Holmgren, Director General, CIFOR
Johan Rockström, Director of the Stockholm Resilience Center
H.E. Gerda Verburg, Chair of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS)
Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Jonathan Wadsworth, Executive Secretary of the CGIAR Fund Council and Head of the Fund Office

Dynamic wrap-up of the day’s discussions:
Frank Rijsberman, CEO, CGIAR Consortium with Stephanie Strom, Journalist, New York Times
Video of panelist Kwesi Atta-Krah Director, CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the Humid Tropics

Climate Summit 2014

Agriculture Action Announcements. 

Left: Ishmael Sunga, CEO, Southern Africa Confederation of Agricultural Unions

Right: Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chair, African Union Commission
23 September 2014. New York, United States of America. The Summit brought together 100 Heads of State, together with government ministers and leaders from international organizations, business, finance, civil society and local communities, to mobilize the political support and momentum necessary to reach a global agreement on climate change in 2015 and galvanize action on the ground across all sectors.

A number of major initiatives, coalitions and commitments were announced or launched during the Summit, such as: the adoption of a New York Declaration on Forests, which contains commitments to halve the loss of natural forests by 2020 and strive to end it by 2030; a total pledge of US$2.3 billion made to the Green Climate Fund (GCF); the launch of the Global Alliance of Climate-Smart Agriculture; the announcement by the insurance industry of intention to create a climate risk investment framework by 2015 in Paris; and the launch of a new Compact of Mayors.

The Summary of this meeting is now available.

With demand for food set to increase 60% by 2050, world leaders, major corporations and civil society at the UN Climate Summit pledged commitments to transform agricultural practices by increasing productivity while reducing carbon emissions. More than 20 governments and 30 organizations and companies announced they would join the newly launched Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture, which aims to enable 500 million farmers worldwide to practice climate-smart agriculture.

Agriculture, Action announcements on 23 September 2014: presentation of a number of initiatives on climate change, agriculture and food security.
  • Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chair, African Union Commission @ 14min 
  • Ishmael Sunga, CEO, Southern Africa Confederation of Agricultural Unions @ 19min

23 Sep 2013 - Action announcements: Agriculture Multilateral and multi-stakeholder.
Mr Andris PIEBALGS, European Commissioner for Development @ 18min45sec

José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission @ 1h05min50sec


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ethics of Food Security in a Changing Society

24th September 2014.Windsor Great Park, UK. Ethics of Food Security in a Changing Society – Learning from the Past to Shape the Future

Food security is a significant concern in today's world and this conference viewed the issue in European countries and their former colonies from the colonial period until the present day and beyond. Particular focus was on how being a former colonised or a colonising country has impacted upon food security. 

The consequences of the resultant agricultural systems in the colonies affect daily life, the spread of wealth and food security up to this day. The engineering, along with the socioeconomic, aspect of this conference will explore how technological advances, particularly in the fields of food preservation and decentralised energy supply, can play a vital role in securing the livelihoods of people, especially in disadvantaged regions.

The conference was open to PhD students and early career researchers of all disciplines whose research is relevant to the conference topics and is conducted in Europe, Africa and the Americas. Topics:

  • How can history influence our understanding of food security and the resulting ethical dilemmas? 
  • What influence have behavioural changes, such as consumer waste in Europe, had? 
  • What effect have local, national and global policies had on food security and its wider ethical context? 
  • How have advances in engineering impacted upon the development of agriculture and rural livelihoods? 
  • What are the implications of food security to environmental conservation? 
  • How have global demands for food been affecting local livelihoods in the global South?
The explicit aim of this conference was to develop new concepts based on past experiences with the existing systems which are not constrained by the lack of communication between disciplines and not dominated by advocates of the current systems and approaches. 

The inaugural meeting of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture

22 September 2014. The inaugural meeting of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture was held this week in conjunction with the UN Climate Summit in New York City.

“I am glad to see action that will increase agricultural productivity, build resilience for farmers and reduce carbon emissions,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “These efforts will improve food and nutrition security for billions of people.”

“Farmers are on the front line of the climate change agenda. Farmers are not only directly impacted by climate change, but are also vital in implementing solutions we need to in order to adapt and mitigate,” said Peter Kendall, president of the World Farmers Organisation (WFO). “We must reposition farmers at the centre of the agriculture sector to become more resilient to climate risks.”

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack represented the United States at the meeting.”Farmers, ranchers and other producers in the U.S. and around the world are feeling the impact of climate change now,” said Vilsack.”The Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture offers the opportunity to collaboratively share knowledge, make investments and develop policies that will empower all producers to adapt to climate change and to mitigate its consequences. Long term global food security depends on us acting together now.”

Welcoming remarks
  • Ms Sharon Dijksma, Minister for Agriculture, the Netherlands
  • Dr Cao Duc Phat, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, VietNam
  • Mr Tom Vilsack Secretary of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture
  • Dr José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, FAO / Ms Maria-Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, Coordinator, Natural Resources, FAO
  • Dr Juergen Voegele, Senior Director of the World Bank’s Agriculture Global Practice
  • Dr Frank Rijsberman, Chief Executive Officer, CGIAR
Reactions from High Level representatives

Voices from all stakeholders ” Interactive panel dialogue
Inception Year - Way Forward
  • Presenting the Road Map
  • Outlining arrangements
  • Formalizing the action groups
Next Steps, Initiatives and Actions in support of the Alliance
  • Developing Program of Work for Inception Year
  • Planning of next meeting and evolutionary elements
Related PAEPARD blogpost:
Published on 25 Sep 2014
Why do we need climate-smart agriculture? And what do climate-smart farming practices look like? Meet some of the farmers who are leading the way!

Published on 24 Sep 2014 CCAFS webinar Exploring the GHG mitigation potential in rice production on 18 September 2014. Presenters: Dr Reiner Wassmann, IRRI and Dr Sultan Ahmed, Government of Bangladesh. Read more about the webinar and download related research materials.


24 September 2014. SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND INNOVATION IN AFRICA. The event was organized by the Center for International Studies and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning and in cooperation with the MIT-Africa Program. The event was convened by MIT in partnership with the African Union's NEPAD Agency. The event allowed MIT to learn more about emerging trends in Africa and for Africa to familiarize itself with activities and MIT. The aim of the symposium was to explore areas of mutual cooperation between MIT and Africans countries in areas of science, technology and innovation. 

Moderator: Calestous Juma, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visiting Professor, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

  • In June 2014 African heads of state and government adopted a 10-year Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA-2024). The strategy is part of the long-term Agenda 2063 which outlines the need to "consolidate African initiatives and strategies on accelerated human capital development, science and technology and innovation." 
  • More specifically, it calls on Africa to "lead the new industrial revolution by building a skilled workforce, capitalizing on the digital revolution and global knowledge. This will contribute to rapid diversification of sources of growth, sustain current economic performance and lift large sections out of poverty and create a powerful middle class." In pursuing this vision, the African Union emphasizes the importance of "building our universities as centers of excellence." 
  • As part of its efforts to implement STISA-2024, African countries are exploring a variety of partnerships with leading science and technology universities around the world. 

The 10th African Dairy Conference and Exhibition in Kenya

24 - 26 September 2014. Nairobi, Kenya. This conference hosted over 600 delegates (policy and decision makers) from over 50 countries within and outside Africa.

It had eight topical sessions from strategic information on the world and continental dairy industry outlook, trends, future projections, practices opportunities and challenges to policy issues impacting on dairy industry development, trade and competitiveness and sustainability to technical issues of interest to players along the value chain.

See: Conference program and speakers
See: all the power point presentations

The event hosted workshops and seminars by the dairy sector partners and supporters with long-term commitment to the dairy industry in Africa. Workshops and seminars gave in-depth presentations on some of the cutting edge technologies and emerging knowledge to dairy industry actors attending the conference as well as pre-registered trade visitors. Details of the private workshops and registration are coming soon.

One workshop tackled the issue of aflatoxin contamination:

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Livestock Development Officer Olaf Thieme told the dairy forum in Nairobi that the sector is largely unexploited in the region due to a variety of constraints.
"We are urging governments to partner with the private sector in order to improve the productivity of the sector. This group should be assisted to commercialize their operations in order to improve the yields. The average per capita milk consumption for Africa stands at 50 kg compared to the global average of 100 kg."
Kenya's Deputy President William Ruto said Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa trading bloc produces 12 million metric tonnes of milk annually against an annual demand of 14 million metric tonnes, adding the region relies on imports in order to plug the deficit.

Cabinet Secretary for agriculture Felix Koskei said the dairy industry contributes four percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product, up from 2.8 percent in 2003. He said the industry is most visible in the rural areas where it is a major source of livelihood.

Government data indicated there are 1.2 million dairy farmers in Kenya. Koskei said Kenya produced 5.2 billion litres of milk put, of which only 550 million litres was processed by the dairy industry in 2013.


Evaluating value chain interventions: A review of recent evidence

Title: Evaluating value chain interventions: A review of recent evidence Author: Kidoido, M., Child, K.
Date: 2014-09-10
ILRI Discussion Paper 26. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

Value chain interventions are rarely evaluated as rigorously as interventions in agricultural production or health. This is due to various reasons, including the intrinsic complexity of value chain interventions, intricate contextual support factors, presence of multilevel system actors, constant adaption to market and nonmarket forces and the cost associated with conducting an evaluation.
  • This paper discusses a range of approaches and benchmarks that can guide future design of value chain impact evaluations. 
  • Twenty studies were reviewed to understand the status and direction of value chain impact evaluations. A majority of the studies focus on evaluating the impact of only a few interventions, at several levels within the value chains. 
  • Few impact evaluations are based on well-constructed, well-conceived comparison groups. 
  • Most of them rely on use of propensity score matching to construct counterfactual groups and estimate treatment effects. Instrumental variables and difference-in-difference approaches are the common empirical approaches used for mitigating selection bias due to unobservables. 
  • More meaningful value chain impact evaluations should be prioritized from the beginning of any project and a significant amount of rigor should be maintained; targeting a good balance of using model-based and theory-based approaches.

Workshop on Nutrition and Marketing Diversity in Kenya

28 August 2014. Nairobi, Kenya. Workshop on Nutrition and Marketing Diversity. The workshop was one of the final steps in a 2.5-year collaborative research programme on improving dietary quality through agricultural biodiversity in collaboration with other research centres, local partners and the target community members.

The workshop was one of the final steps in a 2.5-year collaborative research programme of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health on improving dietary quality through agricultural biodiversity in collaboration with the Institute of Nutritional Sciences, Giessen University, Germany and Kenyatta University, Department of Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics, Nairobi, Kenya.

The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health is planning to produce a manual together with our partners – Diverse complementary foods for all seasons which will be used at the community health worker level and for agricultural extension workers to inform about which foods are needed to improve complementary foods throughout the year.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Uganda smallholder pigs project launches household nutrition and dietary surveys

photo credit: ILRI/Brian Kawuma
8-12 September  2014. Kampala, Uganda. 

37 enumerators were trained  by staff from ILRI-Uganda office and Makerere University on the use of food demand and intra-household dietary assessment tools.

Participants of the enumerators training for the Smallholder Pig Value Chain Development project household nutrition survey.

The Smallholder Pig Value Chain Development project, which is implemented by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and other partners in Uganda, will conduct household consumer nutrition and dietary surveys from September to November 2014 targeting 1000 households in five districts of Kampala, Masaka, Kamuli, Hoima and Lira.

The survey aims at assessing household food demand and nutritional security with considerations for intra-household resource and food allocation for children, men and women. It will focus on the demand, availability, actual access to and control over adequate food, especially animal-source foods by household members to assess whether some members may be at higher nutrition risk than others. The baseline information collected from this survey will enable identification of nutrition related best-bet practices for testing in subsequent years.

This activity is partly funded by the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish as part of its strategy to ‘promote increased level and equity in animal source food consumption within poor households’.

5th GFRAS Annual Meeting 2014 Argentina

23-25 September 2014. Buenos Aires, Argentina. The 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting was hosted by the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) and the Latin American Network for Rural Extension Services (RELASER).

The 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting contributed to thematic exchange on rural advisory services (RAS) and give participants the opportunity to discuss GFRAS strategic directions and functioning.

This year’s GFRAS Annual Meeting fostered exchange and learning on evidence-based RAS policies and actions to influence them – an important step towards effective RAS, rural development, and poverty reduction. Learning exchanges took place in plenary and parallel sessions, group discussions, a share fair, and a field trip (24 September). Side events occured on 22 and 26 September.

Objectives of the meeting
  • The objectives of the 5th GFRAS Annual Meeting are to:
  • Understand purposes, contents, and effects of RAS policies and policy influencing
  • Raise the awareness of evidence for policy influencing
  • Strengthen RAS fora to engage in partnerships

Programme (pdf 180KB)
Participants List (404 KB)

From 22 September to 6 October 2014, all e-Agriculture members are invited to share their experience and opinions about how effective communication and community media really are in rural areas, and to discuss with our guest subject matter experts the success and challenges in the use of ICTs and communication tools and services by family farmers during the e-Agriculture Forum “Communication for Development, community media and ICTs for family farming and rural development.

This 24th e-Agriculture forum is organized by e-Agriculture Community, along with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC).

All the inputs collected during this online event will inform the Forum on Communication for Development & Community Media for Family Farming (FCCM), which will take place at FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 23 to 24 October 2014.

Tropentag 2014 International Conference

17 - 19 September 2014.  Czech Republic. Tropentag 2014. International Conference on Research on Food Security, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development. Bridging the gap between increasing knowledge and decreasing resources.

The annual Conference on Tropical and Subtropical Agricultural and Natural Resource Management (TROPENTAG) was jointly organised by the universities of Bonn, Göttingen, Hohenheim, Kassel-Witzenhausen, Hamburg, ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (Czech Republic), as well as by the Council for Tropical and Subtropical
Research (ATSAF e.V) in co-operation with the GIZ Advisory Service on Agricultural Research for Development (BEAF).

Natural resources provide the basis for human survival and development but the increasing demand for these resources, and their decreasing availability, emphasise the need for sustainable resources management approaches.

  • Although a considerable amount of knowledge is available on natural resources management and sustainable development, today’s world is still a place of unequal development, unsustainable use of natural resources, worsening impact of climate change, and continued poverty and malnutrition. 
  • Therefore the question is raised how scientific knowledge can be transformed better into sustainable management of natural resources and towards poverty alleviation, especially in developing countries.
List of all abstracts of this years Tropentag

Highlight: Farmer-led research featured at Tropentag in Prague

A study of farmer-led research, carried out by Prolinnova in partnership with two CGIAR research programmes (CRPs), was presented at the Tropentag Conference on International Research on Food Security, Natural Resource Management & Rural Development, held in September 2014 in Prague, Czech Republic. The study examined the documented impacts of CSO-facilitated “informal” agricultural research and development (ARD) in terms of food security, ecological sustainability, economic empowerment, gender relations, local capacity to innovate, and influence on ARD institutions.

From over 100 cases identified through Prolinnova’s various networks and a Web search, 11 cases from Africa, Asia and Latin America were selected for the study. The farmer-led innovation processes built on local knowledge and sought more intensive ways to use local resources with low levels of external inputs. Three of the cases were processes initiated by farmers themselves, five were initiated through interventions by CSOs, and three focused on scaling up the approach to supporting farmer-led research. The presentation (PPT and 4-page paper) draws lessons for future partnerships with formal ARD actors. The study was carried out with the support of the CRP on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AA) and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). The report is now in press as an AAS Working Paper.
Video Interviews:

Interview Michael Hauser, Agrinatura:

Michael Hauser: “we are dealing with a systemic challenge”

Interview with Patrick van Damme, professor at Ghent University


Prof. van Damme underlined the importance of promoting local food production as one of the focal points to make food available and cheap, under the guidelines of agroecology philosophy. According to him, in agroecology “you take into account environmental parameters and conditions, you don’t try to bend them (in opposition to what he calls “modern” agriculture), you try to see how plots and crops can fit into those systems and you try to make the best of it and optimize production”. (Continue...)

Interview with Judith Francis (CTA) 

Interview with Jimmy Smith (ILRI)

Speaking at the Tropentag conference this year in Prague, Smith stressed that smallholder livestock producers can meet the growing demand of animal products in developing countries. What is required, however, is a system transformation. In order to be sustainable, such a transformation would result increased productivity with limited resources, or in Smith’s words, “producing more with less.” (Continue...)

Enriching soils and seeds to improve nutrition

September 2014: Farmers in southern Ethiopia have achieved a two-fold increase in chickpea productivity through enhanced soil health and improved crop varieties. At the same time, improved food processing, preparation methods and education programs have contributed to better nutrition, including through the incorporation of chickpeas into diets.

These are the findings of the ‘Improving Nutrition in Ethiopia through Plant Breeding and Soil Management' project, which researches the biofortification of pulse crops. 
  • It employs strategies to enrich the nutrient contribution of staple crops (chickpea) through plant breeding, soil micronutrient management (zinc fertilizer) and household processing strategies. 
  • It supports biofortification as a cost-effective and sustainable approach to increasing micronutrients in crops using agronomic strategies. 
  • The project also focuses on women's empowerment.
This case study is one of a series of nine ‘Stories of Change' that share some of the gender outcomes emerging from research in sub-Saharan Africa that is supported by the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), a program of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Read the story of change: From field to fingers: enriching soils and seeds to improve nutrition (PDF, 295 KB, available in English only).

ICRAF, Embrapa Strengthen Cooperation on Alternative Biofuel Crops

Manoel Teixeira de Souza, head of agroenergy with the Brazilian
Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) (left) and
Ravi Prabhu, ICRAF deputy director general for research,
sign the cooperation agreement between Embrapa and ICRAF,
on 19 August 2014
16 September 2014. Nairobi, Kenya. The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) have signed a cooperation agreement that builds on the relationship between the two institutions

ICRAF is implementing a four-year Programme for the Development of Alternative Biofuel Crops, with partners in South Asia, Latin America and Africa, including Embrapa, and with funding from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). 

The programme aims to conduct research and development along biofuel value chains, while improving food security and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. 

In Brazil, the programme focuses on research gaps that limit the development and scaling up of macaúba value chains. The macaúba, whose tree is drought-tolerant and can grow in poor soil, grows nontoxic oil-bearing fruits that can be used for producing animal feed, fuel briquettes, activated charcoal and cosmetics.

ICRAF is also partnering with Embrapa to develop silvopastoral and agroforestry systems that integrate food crops and/or livestock with macaúba trees, which would benefit smallholder producers.

Kenya-Nigeria Agribusiness Forum

Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,
Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, receiving a gift from the officials
of Kenyan National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI).
11 September 2014. Nairobi, Kenya. Kenya-Nigeria Agribusiness Forum.

The partnership has a set of objectives that include:

  1. fixing agricultural value chains, 
  2. ensuring sustainable supplies, 
  3. affordable financing, 
  4. instituting good agricultural practice and certification of programmes with international recognition. 

Nigeria's minister of agriculture, Akinwumi Adesina, who spoke at the launch of the Kenya-Nigeria Agribusiness Forum and signing of MoU on the bilateral trade and business relationship, explained that;
"Where you are going to have the greatest impact is to make agriculture a business everywhere in Africa. Whether in seeds, ferriliser, storage, processing or adding value, everything about agriculture is business. "That is why I don't understand how Africa will be spending $35 billion every year importing what it produces. It should be producing a lot more. Africa has no business importing food. Africa should be a dominant player in global food and agricultural market. We have land and water, we have cheap labour. And so, we should be dominant. We shouldn't be spending $35 billion a year importing what we produce. Because if we do that, we export jobs, we decimate our own rural economy, we fast-track the whole process of rural-urban migration and we have congested cities. 
Kenya's Minister of Agriculture, Felix Koskei, stated that the dominance of primary production and
marketing in crude forms are common to Nigeria and Kenya. These translate to low prices, few job opportunities and low income for farmers. Changing these will increase the income to our farmers.

Chairman of Kenya-Nigeria Joint Business Council, Sani Dangote, who was at the launch said Nigeria has woken up to transform agriculture from just primary production, adding that the Nigerian Agribusiness Group is a united front to address the issues of agriculture in Nigeria to make it private sector-driven.

Nestlé, Global Good partner to help East Africa small dairy farmers

22 September 2014. New York. Nestlé and Global Good, a collaboration between Bill Gates and Intellectual Ventures, have announced Clinton Global Initiative Commitments to Action as part of a two-year partnership to improve the productivity and lives of smallholder dairy farmers in East Africa.

The two-fold commitments focus on evaluating and devising ways to increase agricultural productivity of smallholder dairy farmers through technology innovation and on expanding the use of a specially designed milk container, known as 'Mazzi', by smallholders to maximize the quality and quantity of milk they sell.

The commitments were announced in New York at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 2014 Annual Meeting. Established by President Bill Clinton, CGI, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.

" We are very pleased to have this opportunity to work with Global Good. It is another important step in deepening Nestlé's dairy work in East Africa to help smallholders increase milk production and their incomes" Hans Joehr, Nestlé's Head of Agriculture

"But unlike the efficient processing and supply chains common in many developed countries, when these rural farmers collect and transport their cows' milk from the farm to local collection centers or chilling stations, all too often the milk is spilled or spoiled, at a significant loss for the farmer," said Maurizio Vecchione, Senior Vice President of Global Good and Research at Intellectual Ventures.

Global Good seeks to invent and deploy commercially viable technology that improves lives in developing countries. Mazzi was developed by Global Good, in conjunction with field testing partners in Heifer International's East Africa Dairy Development program, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kenya Dairy Board, and SNV Ethiopia and Ashut Engineers Limited in Kenya.
  1. As part of the current commitments, Nestlé and Global Good will undertake field evaluation work to identify deficiencies and bottlenecks in the rural dairy value chain for smallholder farmers.
  2. This field work is expected to take place in Uganda or Kenya, where smallholders account for most of the dairy farming. A decision is expected in coming weeks about where exactly the work will take place.
  3. The field evaluation work is set to start in November and aims to identify areas where technical innovation can be applied to improve the efficiency, quality, health, nutrition and sustainability of smallholder dairy farming.

Specially designed by smallholders to maximize the quality and quantity of milk they sell
  • Nestlé’s second commitment is to purchase at least 3,000 Mazzi containers to help simplify the milk collection and transport process and reduce milk spoilage and spillage for farmers.
  • Derived from “maziwa,” the Kiswahili word for milk, Mazzi is a durable food-grade plastic container designed with a wide mouth that better enables farmers to milk using both hands. Mazzi’s detachable black funnel helps to identify signs of a cow’s mastitis (udder infection). Its secure and durable lid prevents spills and allows for easy transportation by hand, bicycle or draft animal from the farm to local collection centers or chilling stations.
  • Once emptied, Mazzi’s fully-accessible and smooth interior surface also makes it much easier to clean, and with much less water than required than the milk collection buckets and repurposed jerry cans so widely used by farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.
21-24 September 2014. New York, NY. Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting

Side event: How can smallholder farmers and fishers increase their economic opportunities?

Over 80 percent of the food consumed in the developing world comes from 500 million smallholder farmers and 60 percent of the global fish catch is hauled by smallholder fishers. However, while smallholder farmers and fishers play a major role in feeding the world, they sometimes struggle to feed their own families and communities. Lack of tools, resources and opportunities prohibits smallholder farmers and fishers from scaling their production and increasing their income. In this session, CGI members will reimagine how to:

  • support farmers and fishers in scaling their production while protecting forests and oceans
  • increase access to financing opportunities, technical assistance, and business skills to achieve higher market value for smallholders’ yields
  • invest in women, who are the majority in the agricultural and fishery labor force, to close the gender-based gap and improve livelihoods
REMARKS:Mark Gunton, Chief Executive Officer, Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership

MODERATOR:Jocelyn Wyatt, Co-Lead and Executive Director,

PARTICIPANTS:María José González, Executive Director, Mesoamerican Reef Fund
Howard-Yana Shapiro, Chief Agricultural Officer, Mars, Incorporated; Senior Fellow, Plant Sciences, University of California, Davis; Distinguished Fellow, World Agroforestry Centre, Nairobi, Mars, Incorporated.

Announcement: World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation 2015

2-4 September 2015, Manchester, UK. The World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation will be organised by Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), and the Research and Transfer Centre “Applications of Life Sciences” of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany), in cooperation with the International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP) and the United Nations University initiative “Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development” (RCE).

This symposium will focus on “innovative approaches to implement climate change adaptation”, and will contribute to the further development of this fast-growing field. A set of presentations, divided into six main themes will be organised, distributed over parallel sessions dealing with some of the key issues of strategic value in the field of climate change adaptation. These are:
  1. Session 1: Technological approaches to Climate Change Adaptation
  2. Session 2: Implementing Climate Change Adaptation in Communities, Cities, Countries and via Outreach Programmes
  3. Session 3: Funding mechanisms and financing of Climate Change Adaptation
  4. Session 4: Climate Change Adaptation, Resilience and Hazards (including floods)
  5. Session 5: Information, Communication, Education and Training on Climate Change
  6. Session 6: Climate Change and Health
The Symposium will be of special interest to researchers, government agencies, NGOs and companies engaged in the field of climate change adaptation, as well as development and aid agencies funding climate change adaptation process in developing countries. The deadline for abstracts is 20th December 2014. Full papers are due by 30th March 2015.

Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance Side Event

22 September 2014. New York, United States. The Africa Union Commission, the NEPAD Agency and Partner International NGOs had a special Side Event on the AU-NEPAD Agriculture Climate Change Programme and the transformative AU-NEPAD-iNGO CSA Alliance on the eve of the 2014 UN Climate Summit.

The side event facilitated interactions and sharing on Africa’s efforts, initiatives and strategies to scale-up CSA, focusing on three aspects, namely:
  • the Africa CSA Alliance as an emerging, innovative and unique partnership between Africa’s Continental Development Agency and iNGOs with a shared goal to catalyze scaling up of CSA in Africa 
  • An Africa-specific perspective and interpretation of CSA, which brings “people issues”, i.e. livelihoods and prosperity, as well resilience, to the core of CSA 
  • Partnership opportunities including related principles and modalities for expended support to result-based efforts to scale-up CSA within the CAADP framework 
Additional to lead speakers including Ghana ex-President and UNSG Envoy on Climate Change, Mr John Kufuor; NEPAD Agency CEA, Dr Ibrahim A. Mayaki and H.E. Commissioner, Tumusiime Rhoda Peace; and a Panel of Prominent Leaders and Practitioners, the Side Event provided adequate time for open plenary debate.

Experience in climate services is already out there—the governments of India and Mali have been delivering weather and climate advisory services to their farmers for several decades. To learn from these experiences, the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) surveyed these national programs and other innovative climate services initiatives across Africa and Asia. A new CCAFS report details the findings.


Join CCAFS and partners for key Climate-Smart Agriculture events at Climate Week NYC

The Africa Climate-Smart Agriculture Alliance (ACSAA) is a unique and innovative partnership led by the NEPAD Agency and five international NGOs (Catholic Relief ServicesConcern WorldwideCAREWorld VisionOxfam) with technical support from a number of organizations including the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), FARAFAO and FANRPAN.

As a research body, CCAFS role will be to:
  • provide Africa with a perspective of CSA including determining climate specific risks and vulnerability; 
  • help determine and validate the Africa-specific CSA tool box including modalities and parameters to monitor/measure adoption and sustained practice; 
  • provide technical validation of the 25 million farm household target; conduct research to bring evidence-based understanding of both technical and political-economy issues to unblock accelerated adoption and sustained widespread practicing of CSA and lastly
  • undertake and support analytical pieces on future scenarios to inform today’s policy decisions and programme interventions (or lack of it). 
All ACSAA will work in partnership to design and implements programmes that can stimulate adoption of promising CSA practices and drive agricultural policy reform.

Ethiopia, Zambia and Niger have been identified as the three most appropriate African countries for early scaling-up proposals.
  • Alliance members are currently developing high-level concepts for each country. 
  • Country sub-committees will be formed, including as far as possible all major stakeholders working in each country. 
  • These sub-committees will refine concepts to ensure they are contextually appropriate and will develop detailed proposals.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition

18-19 September 2014. Rome.  The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) organized this symposium to highlight existing practices in agroecology and exchange information on the latest research and science in the field. 
The Symposium:
  • provided a forum for taking stock of the current state of science and practices of Agroecology, as well as for initiatives underway around the world and thus contribute to the development of an international framework for research on Agroecology, with consideration of economic, social and environmental aspects in developed and developing countries;
  • facilitated exchange of information on agro-ecology activities in the context of the FAO Strategic Framework;
  • produced scientific proceedings and other information material for web sharing (e.g. agroecological practices and video interviews).
This was an occasion for agroecological initiatives from around the world to publically display their work to a large audience of scientists, civil society members, members of the private sector and FAO staff during the two-day long symposium.

Agenda [PDF]

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Africa Agriculture Status Report 2014

2 September 2014. Addis Abeba. A comprehensive report on the status of agriculture on the African continent was launched 2nd September on the side-line of the 2014 African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF)

H.E former President of Ghana John Kufuor while releasing the report reiterated that issues of climate change are not new to African farmers since they have been with us from the 1980s however he noted that the report is significant as it has given clear directions for the needed actors to combat it in good time.
He said, “The time to act is now. The world must address the root causes of climate change or its effects may become irreversible – and in fact we may already be past that particular tipping point. But we can still act to mitigate the severity of longer-term impacts – as governments, industries, financiers, civil society organizations, and simply as individuals – to decrease our carbon footprints and harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and to invest in promising solutions.”
The Africa Agriculture Status Report 2014 : Climate Change and Smallholder Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa
218 pages

As the second in the series of the African Agriculture Status Report, this volume seeks to provide an in-depth and comprehensive analysis of emerging issues and challenges faced by African smallholder farmers, and allow scholars and professionals to contribute practical and evidence-based solutions. 

The Report documents the effects of climate change on smallholders in Africa, the ongoing adaptation by farmers and livestock keepers, constraints to adoption of climate-smart technologies, and highlights areas where investments in African agriculture have the potential to be most productive.

Fortunately, as this publication attests, there are many adaptation and mitigation options at our disposal. We need to be moving towards the widespread adoption of 'climate-smart' agricultural technologies and practices - not just in Africa, but globally. If we fail to do so, we risk greater food insecurity, higher food prices and rising poverty, as well as continued ecosystem degradation.

22 September 2014. New York. Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance Side Event.

  • This High Level Side Event will consist in defining Climate Smart Agriculture from an African perspective & describing the new partnership and its foreseen practical achievements. 
  • Lead speakers will include: Mr. John Kufuor, former President of Ghana & UNSG Special Envoy on Climate Change; H.E. Mrs. Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy & Agriculture; and Dr. Ibrahim Mayaki, NEPAD Agency CEO. Exposés will be followed by a panel discussion and an open debate.
  • The NEPAD-iNGO CSA Alliance is a unique and innovative partnership between the NEPAD Agency, the international NGOs, on one side, and national level state and non-state players on the other, to leverage each other’s strengths to stimulate and support grassroot capacity and efforts to scale-up CSA in Africa.
  • The NGOs consortium includes: CRS, Concern, CARE, World Vision, Oxfam; and benefit from the technical support of CCAFS, FARA, FAO, and FARNPAN
24 September 2014.
New York. The Alliance will hold its inaugural meeting. The meeting brings together Alliance partners, to share information and guide its inception year.

There will be a live webcast on 24 September from 15:00- 18:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time). 

High Level Segment
3:00- 4:15 pm Welcoming remarks
  • Ms Sharon Dijksma, Minister for Agriculture, the Netherlands
  • Dr Cao Duc Phat, Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam 
  • Mr Tom Vilsack Secretary of Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture 
  • Dr José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, FAO / Ms Maria-Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, Coordinator, Natural Resources, FAO
  • Dr Juergen Voegele, Senior Director of the World Bank’s Agriculture Global Practice 
  • Dr Frank Rijsberman, Chief Executive Officer, CGIAR
Reactions from High Level representatives
4:15-5:00 pm - “Voices from all stakeholders ” Interactive panel dialogue
The Way Forward
5:00 – 5:20 pm Inception Year - Way Forward
  • Presenting the Road Map 
  • Outlining arrangements 
  • Formalizing the action groups
5:20-5:40 pm Next Steps, Initiatives and Actions in support of the Alliance
  • Developing Program of Work for Inception Year
  • Planning of next meeting and evolutionary elements