Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Copenhagen Consensus Center's Post-2015 Consensus project

The Copenhagen Consensus Center's Post-2015 Consensus project has released a new economic analysis on nutrition. Most people would feel that feeding people properly – particularly young children – is something we simply have to tackle. And it turns out that what looks like a good idea morally is also really good economically.

The first 1,000 days of a child’s life – from conception to age two – are vital for proper development. Poorly nourished infants become stunted (being lower than the expected height for age), and fall behind better-fed ones in developing cognitive skills. This lack of development has real long-term consequences. Stunted children do less well at school and lead poorer adult lives.

As reported in Reuters and in The Wall Street Journal, alleviating stunting can be done relatively cheaply – with a suite of interventions that produce dramatic long-term results.

The payback changes across different countries but some African countries will be particularly beneficial. This is because the cost of nutrition interventions are about the same everywhere, but in countries with higher incomes or with higher economic growth rates, the benefit of smarter people are even greater. For Nigeria, each dollar would return $85 in future, higher earnings.

The Post-2015 Consensus project brings together 60 teams of economists with NGOs, international agencies and businesses to identify the targets with the greatest benefit-to-cost ratio for the UN's post-2015 development goals.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Unlocking Africa’s potential for Growth and Prosperity

14 November 2014. Wageningen. Orion Building at Wageningen Campus. Hon Dr Akinwumi Adesina gave a lecture entitled: “Unlocking Africa’s potential for Growth and Prosperity”. A number of African Ambassadors in the Netherlands have been attending this lecture.

Dr Adesina is the honorable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Federal Government of Nigeria. During the past couple of years, Dr Adesina has meticulously concentrated his energy on the transformation of the Agricultural sector of Nigeria. According to the Minister, ‘poverty is not a tradable commodity’ and agriculture is central to poverty eradication in Africa. In his opinion, agriculture is a business concern and not a development issue.

  • Chair: Prof. dr. Martin Kropff, Rector Magnificus and vice-president of the Board of Wageningen UR
  • Occasional Lecture. Title: “Unlocking Africa’s potential for Growth and Prosperity” - H.E. Minister Akinwumi Adesina. 

The Second International Conference on Nutrition

At the global food conference, 
UN officials sound the call for better global nutrition
19-21 November 2014, FAO Headquarters, Rome, The Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) was an inclusive inter-governmental meeting on nutrition jointly organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Representatives of governments, multilateral institutions, civil society and the private sector met in Rome for the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) . The conference came 22 years after its first edition and, unfortunately, addressed the same unsolved problem.

Malnutrition, in all its forms, has repercussions on the capability of people to live a full life, work, care for their children, be productive, generate a positive cycle and improve their living conditions. Figures from the Global Nutrition Report estimate that the cost of malnutrition is around four to five percent of national GDP, suggesting that prevention would be more cost-effective.

With the goal of improving nutrition through the implementation of evidence-based policies and effective international cooperation, ICN2 produced two documents to help governments and stakeholders head in the right direction: the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and a Framework for Action.

The conference also heard a strong call for accountability and for the strengthening of nutrition in the post-2015 development agenda.

Flavio Valente, who represented civil society organisations at ICN2, remarked that “the current hegemonic food system and agro-industrial production model are not only unable to respond to the existing malnutrition problems but have contributed to the creation of different forms of malnutrition and the decrease of the diversity and quality of our diets.”

This position was shared by many speakers, who stressed the negative impact that advertising of unhealthy food has, mainly on children. Educating children about healthy habits and women who are in charge of feeding the family was recognised as crucial, as was breastfeeding, which should be encouraged (through paid maternity leave and breastfeeding facilities in the workplace), and the need to empower women working in agriculture.

Supporting small and family farming would also give people better opportunities to eat local, fresh and seasonal produce as well as fruit and vegetables, reducing the consumption of packaged, processed food that is often low in nutrients, vitamins and fibres and high in calories, sugar, salt and fats. However, teaching people how to eat is not enough, if they cannot easily access quality food – hence the need for relevant policies targeting the food chain and distribution.

Initiatives like the Fruit in Schools programme proposed by New Zealand go in the right direction, especially when implemented within a coordinated policy that promotes physical activity and a healthy lifestyle that fights consumption of alcohol and tobacco.

Source: Inter press Service, The Double Burden of Malnutrition


Global Nutrition Report 2014 

Introducing the new food-based dietary guidelines website
FAO has launched a new website on food-based dietary guidelines (FBDGs) which will serve as a platform for information exchange on nutritional guidelines from across the world. The site currently holds a growing collection of FBDGs from more than 100 countries, and will be continuously updated as guidelines are created and revised.

Food-based dietary guidelines are intended to establish a basis for public food and nutrition, health and agricultural policies and nutrition education programmes to foster healthy eating habits and lifestyles. Using short, science-based positive messages on healthy eating and lifestyle choices, FBDGs inform the general public on which foods and eating habits will provide the nutrients they need to promote overall health and prevent chronic diseases.

FBDGs have become increasingly important as the world becomes more globalized and urbanized. Changes in food systems and in lifestyles have resulted in a shift in dietary patterns and loss of traditional food cultures in favour of quick meals and food products of low nutritional value. Because diet is so essential to health, FBDGs are an important tool to shape healthy eating habits and prevent diet-related non-communicable diseases (including type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer).

Worldwide more than 100 countries have developed or are currently developing food-based dietary guidelines (FBDGs), with many revised at least once. FAO has supported a large number of Member Countries in the development and implementation of their FBDGs, through the organization of technical expert meetings, the publication of technical documents and the direct provision of technical assistance.

In the months and years following ICN2, these guidelines will help governments shape nutritional policies and nutrition education programmes to promote optimal health for their citizens and fight all forms of malnutrition.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Expert consultation on the future of Agricultural Knowledge Resource Centres in ACP regions

17-19 November 2014, Wageningen, The Netherlands. The consultation brought together representatives involved in implementation of global initiatives, those involved in implementation of regional systems as well as technology experts to better address common themes, processes and projects. It followed another CTA expert meeting on ICT technologies. (29 to 31 October 2014 in Rhenen, The Netherlands.)

Over the past couple of years, a number of global initiatives has evolved and present opportunities for convergence and complementarity that need to be explored. Such initiatives are CIARD, GODAN, TAP and IMARK – which cover the range of information and knowledge management i.e. capacity strengthening, generation, classification, storage, packaging, exchange and use.

Meanwhile regional organisations in ACP have also established new strategic plans that re-inforce the engagement of beneficiaries in regional strategies and value chains development, and which address information and knowledge management in a complementary manner (e.g. FARA, CORAF/WECARD, ASARECA, CCARDESA, NEPAD/CAADP, SPC, GFRAS andnetworks, PAFO and networks, IICA and IntraACP progamme).

The participants at the Expert consultation shared some initiatives at global level as well as at regional level to find the appropriate linkages. They discussed in succesive inter-active sessions:
  1. What is the current status? Identify the strengths acquired (knowledge assets, processes, approaches, technology applications); Identify the challenges in making the knowledge available and accessible in a more (Day 1)
  2. What needs to be done? Identify the traditional proposals; Thinking out of the box to apply new technologies (Day 1)
  3. Who is already involved in implementation? Identify good practices & synergies; Identify areas of influence, for improvement in an innovative model; How do we experiment and learn? (Day 2) 
  4. How can we innovate? Consider social innovation; Technological innovation; Possible/realistic paradigm shift (Day 2) 
  5. How do we get started? Discuss proposals and devise a concept note; identify areas for collaborative action; identify Key Performance Indicators and impact pathways; Establish working groups for follow up.(Day 3)
Some statements
We need to adapt knowledge and information to different types of value chains: global value chains (in which other countries and regions are involved and depend from each other): in this you need something beyond a local Knowledge Resource Centers; local value chains can be targeted by KRCs (stakeholders; the State, the industry, the local communities) Pascal Bonnet - CIRAD

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - Regional Office for Africa, in collaboration with the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD Africa Chapter), conducted a survey of agricultural information centres, libraries and documentation centre in sub-Saharan Africa.
Only 10% of the NARO' s collect what they produce. Only in times of promotion researchers compile their publications. Justin Chisenga - FAO
The goal of the survey was to establish the state of agricultural information centres, libraries and documentation centres in sub-Saharan Africa. This proved useful to design capacity development and technical support initiatives to enhance access, dissemination and exchange of agricultural information and knowledge in sub-Saharan Africa.
Knowledge is increasingly online and digital, making connectivity essential; and offline explicit knowledge invisible. Getting their own hidden knowledge online and visible is a number one task for institutional KRCs. It also makes sure that knowledge seekers are more likely to find more of what they want. Extension, educational and practical (non-scientific) information as well as content in smaller languages is especially missing. Physical ‘reading’ and ‘storage’ spaces are becoming redundant in many institutions; these spaces can be re-purposed to support other forms of communication and interaction. Peter Balyntine - ILRI
Highlight 1:
Classroom Without Walls
A large number of learners and teachers in the developing world operate in "unconnected" environments – unconnected to the power grid and to the Internet. There needs to be a different approach to extend them support.

COL’s idea of a "classroom without walls" can make a contribution. We can
imagine a situation where a learner in a typically unconnected environment can access a lesson in a Learning Management System (LMS), and complete an assignment, with her/his credentials intact and available to the teacher. Learners can also participate in a socializing process through visiting and commenting on a blog related to the learning materials and courses.

Testing commercial products available and at a cost of USD100.00, COL has provided a prototype which includes technical information to assist in assembling this environment, which will enable a teacher to run a classroom without those ubiquitous walls. more...

Highlight 2:
Access Agriculture shares practical training videos in international and local languages.


Related (1): ICT’s in Value Chains

Related (2): ICT’s 4 advisory services

Inventory of Innovative Farmer Advisory Services using Information Communications Technologies.
Mucemi Gakuru, Kristen Winters and François Stepman
FARA, 2009, 65 pages

This inventory was an attempt to document all known innovative farmer advisory services or systems, currently in design, in existence or recently completed in Africa. Entries included projects using Information Communications Technology (ICT) solutions or implementing ICT-based activities, institutions/groups providing services using ICTs as well as ICT solutions software providers, both at the national and regional level. While many of the entries are projects with a definitive beginning and end date providing one or two services, others are national or regional information systems providing many agricultural services using ICTs.

Throughout Africa, ICTs have become increasingly integrated into the dissemination of information to farmers. For decades more “traditional” forms of ICTs have become more prevalent in advisory service provision. Radio and TV programmes feature agricultural information. Rural telecentres provide information on education, agricultural and health issues and equip rural citizens with skills on how to use computers and basic literacy. National ministries of agriculture have attempted to integrate ICTs into the delivery of information and have established district information centres providing agricultural information. Many NGOs and research organizations have also attempted to facilitate technology transfer in the agricultural sector.

This inventory, however, is limited to documenting innovative farmer information services. It is focused on projects/services that provide agricultural training and information to farmers directly, through the use of ICTs, rather than documenting services that facilitate exchange of information among researchers and policymakers. It also does not include the many research initiatives that exist to study the possible application of ICTs to agriculture or organizations or projects that focus on the development of linkages with input agencies, credit organizations and markets through the use of ICTs.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Africa Day of Food and Nutrition Security

3 November 2014, Kinshasa, Congo (Kinshasa). The overall objective of the 2014 ADFNS was to arouse solid commitment to action by parties at different levels to take active part in the different stages of implementation of robust programmes geared to ending hunger, achieve food security, adequate nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture.

The objectives of the 2014 ADFNS were:
  • To highlight key characteristics of an enabled environment necessary to advance food and nutrition security
  • To facilitate mutual learning and experience sharing with a view to strengthening and deepening country engagements and ownership to advancement of the food and nutrition security agenda;
  • To facilitate broad-based and inclusive consultations, and dialogue among all relevant stakeholders with the view to strengthen hunger eradication efforts at national level.
    De Gauche à Droite: S.E Jean Michel Dumond, 
    Union Européenne, Dr Mustapha Kaloko, UA
  • To consolidate active political commitments by, notably, committing national resources for operationalisation of scale up of programmes geared to ending hunger, achieving food security and adequate nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture.
"Malgré les progrès enregistrés certaines régions d’Afrique ont toujours des taux alarmants de malnutrition liés en partie à la négligence et la sous-utilisation de certaines espèces indigènes aussi bien végétales qu’animales. Il est regrettable, de constater qu’avec tout son potentiel l’Afrique dépense plus de 40 milliards par an dans l’importation de nourriture alors que l’agriculture devrait être le vivier pour la création d’emplois et de croissance durable’’’. 
Ambassadeur et Chef de la Délégation de l’Union Européenne en RDC, S.E Jean Michel Dumond. 

The outcomes of the 2014 edition of the ADFNS are as follows:
  • Enhanced level of awareness of the importance of an enabled environment and national institutions governance, and engagement among a broad spectrum of African citizenry (legislators, farmers organisations, CSOs, women and youth groups, private sector, etc.) to attain food and nutrition security;
  • Renewed demonstrable political commitment by African leaders to champion hunger eradication and nutrition programmes to the forefront; and
  • Renewed demonstrable commitment by Africa’s partners to align, harmonize and coordinate programmes that ensure mutual accountability for results.
  • Renewed demonstrable commitment by Member States, supported by Development Partners, to develop national capacities for better data and information management.
  • Mr Ndiaga Gueye, Représentant de la FAO en  RDC,  a estimé qu’autant qu’il ne pourrait avoir de régime alimentaire idéal pour tous, il est plutôt ‘’recommandé d’encourager les investissements dans des politiques de diversification  de régimes alimentaires qui contribueraient grandement à la croissance économique de l’Afrique.’’ Poursuivant sur le mode du plaidoyer, Mr Gueye affirmera qu’il est ‘’ également important d’avoir recours aux aliments dits traditionnels non utilisés et  qui ont des vertus que les aliments transformés ne possèdent pas surtout que les aliments transformés sont à l’origine de nombreuses maladies tel  que le diabète et l’obésité entre autres’’

Improving Nutrition Outcomes Through Optimized Agricultural Investments (ATONU)

3 November 2014. Kinshasa. DRC. The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and its consortium partners announced a $16 Million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to implement the “Improving Nutrition Outcomes through Optimized Agricultural Interventions (ATONU)” project.

This was announced during the Africa Day of Food and Nutrition Security.

This project seeks to improve nutrition outcomes in smallholder farm families and poor households through tailored nutrition sensitive agriculture programs that ultimately benefit women of child bearing age and children in the first 1000 days of life.

The ATONU project consortium members include:
  1. the Africa Innovations Institute in Uganda, 
  2. Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, 
  3. Agribusiness Systems International, an affiliate of ACDI/VOCA, 
  4. Farm Africa, 
  5. the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich, 
  6. the Leverhulme Center for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health 
  7. and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK. 
The ATONU project will be implemented over a six-year period, ending in December 2020. The focus countries for the project are: Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and Uganda.

The ATONU project will provide technical assistance to integrate tailored nutrition interventions
into planned and ongoing agricultural investments through:
  •  generating tools and frameworks for diagnosing the opportunities to incorporate tailored nutrition interventions into agriculture investments; 
  • offering technical assistance for designing, testing, and rigorously monitoring and evaluating results of the tailored nutrition interventions (proof of concept); 
  • documenting and disseminating best practices and evidence and adding to the agriculture for nutrition knowledge base; 
  • advocating for evidence-based decision making at all levels; and 
  • strengthening African capacity and building a community of practice in agriculture for improved nutrition. 
The impact will be that smallholder farm families and poor households will have access not only to more food but also to a wide variety of safe and nutritious foods. Dr Lindiwe Majele Sibanda – FANRPAN CEO and ATONU Project Director, appreciating the grant award from the foundation, said: 
“The grant award will help close the gap between the agriculture and nutrition communities who have to work together and bring to bear what agriculture can do for nutrition in farm families”.
Additional source:
6 November 2014. NRI: Research consortium featuring NRI seeks to harness the power of agriculture for improved nutrition: new grant announced by FANRPAN

Related: Call for Applications

Postdoctoral Fellowships on Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA Fellowships)(led by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University)
  • Download the Call
  • Objective: To accelerate the development of innovative and interdisciplinary methods, metrics and tools to advance scientific understanding of the linkages between agriculture and food systems, health, and nutrition outcomes, and thereby inform policy and programmatic actions in low and middle income countries (LMICs).
  • Funding available: Six one-year postdoctoral research fellowships, in four rounds (2015-2018), with stipends for fellows and two mentors.

Master class in Agribusiness management Southern Africa edition

10 - 12 November 2014. Johannesburg, South Africa. The AABS Agribusiness Consortium – AAC and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) Master Class in Agribusiness Management, Southern Africa Edition was held at the Gordon Institute of Business Science, South Africa.

The Master Class in Agribusiness Management provided leaders from across the industry with a unique platform for understanding the core issues and management decisions necessary to develop and execute models of success for Agribusiness.

This unique three day course took participants through a practical exploration of the innovations, trends, and business fundamentals that define the industry now and in the future. Grounded in the AAC’s practical hands-on approach to agribusiness management training and structured in themes of Strategic Thinking, Value Creation and Disciplined Execution, the Agribusiness Master Class delved into the fundamentals of Agribusiness Management and positions participants at the forefront of this fast emerging economic opportunity.

 Included was a field trip where participants toured Greenway Farms (Pty) Ltd, South Africa owned by Mr. Vito Rugani and Mr. Vincent. As part of the welcome to the carrot farm and industry, Mr. Vito Rugani spoke intensely on efficiency as a key to a successful #Agribusiness in Africa. He further challenged participants not to be “professional dreamers”.

Further information:
  • Still wondering how the Agribusiness Master Class went? Follow the hashtag #AgbizMgtSA14 on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Read what participants of the East African edition of the Master Class said here.
  • You can following the events using the hashtag:#AgbizMgtSA14

Mobilising The Data Revolution for Sustainable Development.

November 2014.
A World That Counts: Mobilising The Data Revolution for Sustainable Development.

The report highlights two big global challenges for the current state of data:

  1. The challenge of invisibility (gaps in what we know from data, and when we find out)
  2. The challenge of inequality (gaps between those who with and without information, and what they need to know make their own decisions)

The IEAG consists of over 20 international experts convened by the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to propose ways to improve data for achieving and monitoring sustainable development. The IEAG report makes specific recommendations on how to address these challenges, calling for a UN-led effort to mobilise the data revolution for sustainable development:

  • Fostering and promoting innovation to fill data gaps. New technologies offer new opportunities to improve data, if they are used for the common good. The IEAG proposes a programme for experimenting with how traditional and new data sources (including big data) can be brought together for better and faster data on sustainable development, developing new infrastructures for data development and sharing (such as a “world statistics cloud”), and supporting innovations that improve the quality and reduce the costs of producing public data.
  • Mobilising resources to overcome inequalities between developed and developing countries and between data-poor and data-rich people. The group stresses the need for increased funding and resources, used both to develop national capacity and global data literacy, and for public-private partnerships to leverage private sector resources and knowledge in the global interest. The international conference in July 2015 to discuss financing for new Sustainable Development Goals provides an opportunity for this.
  • Leadership and coordination to enable the data revolution to play its full role in the realisation of sustainable development. The group proposes a global effort to improve cooperation between old and new data producers, ensure the engagement of data users, and develop global ethical, legal and statistical standards to improve data quality and protect people from abuses in a rapidly changing data ecosystem.

Download ‘A World That Counts’

13-14 November 2014. Rome. FAO, IPCC and IFAD jointly organized an expert meeting “Emerging activities to combat climate change – use of FAO data and IPCC GHG inventory guidelines for agriculture and land use”.

Some 70 participants attended this meeting comprising national and international experts, representatives of relevant institutions, agencies and interested donors. The meeting was a follow up of the 2009 joint FAO-IPCC-IFAD event, organized to discuss datasets for use in the IPCC Guidelines – FAO data and how it can be used in the IPCC Agriculture and Land Use Guidelines.

The 2014 expert meeting was meant to serve both as a reflection of progress made since 2009 and as an opportunity to build on lessons learned and to address emerging needs in the area of improved forest and rural statistics for use not only in national GHG inventory and mitigation, but also for rural development in general. In this regard, experts discussed the new data and tools developed by FAO, such as FAOSTAT Emissions Database and new guidelines on mitigation.

The event addressed the urgent need to conduct analyses, identify actions and implement activities for both mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

European Forum for Agricultural Research for Development Annual meeting.

12-13 November, 2014. DG Research and Innovation, European Commission, Brussels. EFARD (European Forum for Agricultural Research for Development) Annual meeting.

For this year, the EFARD management team in consultation with the membership has determined that the global food and nutrition challenge and more specifically the agriculture-health-nutrition nexus is of strategic importance for deliberation by EFARD members during the annual meeting.

This thematic priority also coincides with the second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) entitled “Better nutrition, better lives” jointly organized by FAO and WHO for 19-21 November 2014 in Rome and is in line with the European Union’s commitment to supporting partner countries to reduce stunting in children under five by at least 10% by 2025 and its budgetary commitment of Euro 3.1 billion for nutrition-sensitive interventions. Read the programme.

To review key aspects of agriculture and nutrition interventions being undertaken by EFARD stakeholders (universities, research organizations, private sector and civil society) and identify future interventions for accessing funding for joint research and training, improving engagement of the private sector and partners from the south and for strengthening partnerships with CGIAR and other platforms.
Expected Outputs
An EFARD position paper on improving the agriculture-health-nutrition nexus and Europe’s responsiveness to the Global Food and Nutrition Challenge through joint research, training and diverse partner engagement.

Related: presentation of AICF

Maximising the Nutritional Impact of Food Security and Livelihoods Interventions – A manual for field workers aims to provide practical guidance in order to maximise the nutritional impact of food security & livelihoods interventions.

Ce manuel a pour objectif de fournir des recommandations pratiques aux personnels de terrain pour optimiser l’impact nutritionnel des interventions sécurité alimentaire et moyens d‘existence (SAME).

The approach promoted in the manual is the systematic use of a ‘nutrition lens’ at each step of the project cycle and a close collaboration between sectors. It is divided in two sections: Section 1 outlines the basics of undernutrition, and explains the interlinkages and synergies between food security & livelihoods, and nutrition. Section 2 provides simple and practical guidance on how to adopt and promote nutrition-sensitive practices and interventions. It is written using bullet points, and key messages are highlighted to ensure easy access and enable quick reading in the field.

Related: presentation of GAIN

Cultivating Nutritious Food Systems: A GAIN Snapshot Report, authored by Bonnie McClafferty, Director of Agriculture and Nutrition at GAIN follows nutrition along the agricultural supply chain and explores the success stories and challenges where agriculture and nutrition are working together.

This film highlights several stories from GAIN’s first Snapshot Report 
7 November 2014. Washington. Cultivating Nutritious Food Systems: A dialog with U.S. leaders. U.S. experts from government, civil society and the private sector discussed the obstacles and opportunities to keeping agriculture and nutrition at the top of the United States foreign assistance agenda, streamed live from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The discussion coincided with the launch of GAIN’s first in a series of snapshot reports Cultivating Nutritious Food Systems: A GAIN Snapshot Report.

With increasing demand for foreign aid, it is more important than ever to focus on the impact of investments linking agriculture and nutrition. GAIN held a high-level dialogue to reflect on and forecast the country’s continued commitment to a nutritious global food system.

The panel was moderated by award-winning journalist and contributing writer to National Geographic, Joel Bourne. The panelists were:
  1. Lisa Gable, President of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation
  2. Richard Greene , Deputy Assistant to the USAID Administrator for the Bureau for Food Security
  3. Howard Shapiro, Chief Agricultural Officer, Mars, Inc.
  4. Katie Lee, Policy Manager at InterAction
  5. Opening remarks were given by GAIN’s Executive Director, Marc Van Ameringen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

PAEPARD Write-shop targeting the NWO-WOTRO second call

11-14 November 2014. Entebbe, Uganda. Write-shop targeting the NWO-WOTRO Applied Research Fund second call.

This write shop is facilitated by Gerard den Ouden and organised by RUFORUM (Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture) as part of the PAEPARD initiative (the Platform for African European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development) which supports research collaboration between a wide range of organizations in Africa and Europe.

It is coordinated by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and supported by the European Union (EU) through DG DevCo.

RUFORUM is the co-leader of the Work Package on Capacity building of the PAEPARD II Project. A previous write-shop’ was organised in Entebbe, Uganda (27 November – 1 December 2013) which targetted the NWO-WOTRO first call.

Two PAEPARD consortia were selected and are presently funded under the first call
(see: Outcome of the selection of the Dutch ARF call for proposals).
More potatoes - Secure food in Burundi
Partners: Mr Pierre Nahayo, Confédération des Associations des Producteurs Agricoles pour le Dévelopmment (CAPAD, Burundi). Consortium partners: Institut de Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU), Innovative Technology Development for Rural Entrepreneurship Center (ITEC, Burundi) and Wageningen UR (NL)
Research: Potato in sub-Saharan countries is rapidly becoming a crop that substantially contributes to food security and well balanced diets. As ‘seed’, potato tubers are planted that need special care to make sure they are well sprouted and avoid diseases. Research, development and knowledge transfer involving growers are aimed at this.
Indigenous African Vegetable systems for better livelihoods
Partners: Ms Margaret Komen, Mace Foods (Kenya). Consorium partners: University of Eldoret (Kenya), The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture – RUFORUM (Uganda)
Research: Indigenous vegetables have unique production and nutritional characteristics that can solve a myriad of problems in sub-Saharan Africa. This project seeks to establish a robust Indigenous Vegetables value chain and incentive system that responds to the smallholder farmer conditions to increase production and access to the local, national and international markets.
Facilitation by Gerard den Ouden
The present workshop puts the attention on the funding requirements, as well as on the development of the contents of all proposals, the eligibility of activities and partners, and the electronic submission technicalities. These components are addressed in both peer review sessions and individual group sessions.

At the end of the workshop, it is expected that each proposal will have a well-developed structure and contents enabling them to easily complete the proposal template. The workshopis in English and French.

Nicole Metz
The Office of the Food and Business Knowledge Platform is represented by Nicole Metz.
  • The Knowledge Broker, Food and Business Knowledge Platform is strongly involved in the preparation phase of the ARF-calls and the implementation of the awarded projects. 
  • Nicole Metz explained the context and the objectives of ARF. 
  • It is an opportunity to meet practitioners interested in ARF, hear what the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities are from their perspective, and which knowledge questions they have related to their work.
Participants and consortia
The total number of participants in the workshop is 42, including the (co-) facilitator and support staff.

The following proposals and consortia were developed:

  1. Development of strategies to reduce fungal toxins contamination in the maize value chain in Eastern Kenya 
  2. Improving the product ability of vegetable growing in Ghana 
  3. Rice-Green rotational cropping for increased productivityin Uganda 
  4. Integrating fish farming in Vegetable production in Uganda
  5. Intergraded soil fertility management for vegetable production in Ghana 
  6. Fortification of maize flour in Uganda
  7. Increased production and market access for diversifying sources of staple foods and sustainable livelihoods among small holder potato farmers in Western Kenya 
  8. Matching grain quality attributed to the requirements of soya bean processors in Benin 
  9. Developing feed management protocols for dairy farmers in high rainfall areas (HRA) in Kenya 
  10. Developing integrated disease control and rangeland management practices for improved beef and milk productivity development and upscaling innovative technologies in Uganda
  11. Tomato value chain in Imbo Region in Burundi

The ECOWAS Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Status Report

REN21 in cooperation with the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE)has just released a new report: The ECOWAS Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Status Report.

The report provides a regional perspective on the renewable energy and energy efficiency market and industry development in West Africa. It enables policymakers, industry, investors and civil society to make informed decisions with regards to the diffusion of renewable energy. The 92-page report covers recent developments, current status, and key trends; by design, it does not provide analysis or forecast.

The report is available in English, French and Portuguese.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The nutritional benefits of new high-iron beans song

10 November 2014. KIGALI, Rwanda. Rwanda’s top musicians are promoting better nutrition and health through a catchy new music video. The song extols the nutritional benefits of new high-iron beans that are now available in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda. Almost 40 percent of children in Rwanda do not get enough iron in their diets. In severe cases, this can lower their IQs and learning capacity, resistance to disease, and energy levels. Beans are a traditional staple food and eaten every day. These new iron beans contain 15 percent more iron than ordinary beans, and can provide women and children with almost half their daily iron needs. They also yield twice the harvest of ordinary beans, increasing incomes for farmers.


More than 700,000 Rwandan farmers are growing and eating these nutritious beans, first released by the Rwandan Government in 2011.
"We’ve had tremendous success so far in getting these beans out, but we wanted to reach a much wider audience across the country,” said Lister Katsvairo, who heads the Rwanda Office of HarvestPlus, a global program to improve nutrition. 
"These iron beans are now making their way into urban markets, so we are launching a campaign to increase consumer awareness. We worked with Rwanda’s top musicians, who cater to all musical tastes including Afro-pop, rap and RandB. Who better to spread this message of how beans can improve nutrition and health?".
The campaign has taken musicians King James, Miss Jojo, Riderman, Tom Close, and Urban Boyzon a series of roadshows across the country where they have performed live for more than 30,000 people. The road shows included exhibitions and sales of iron bean seeds.

ARD funding opportunities

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The Leverhulme Center for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health announces the launch of the research partnership, "Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions" (IMMANA). IMMANA intends to accelerate the scientific evidence needed to guide changes in global agriculture to feed the world’s population. It invites submissions of interest from researchers on innovative and interdisciplinary methods to explore the links between agriculture and food systems and health and nutrition outcomes. In its first round of grants funding, IMMANA intends to award 7-8 grants of up to £250 thousand each. The deadline for concept memos is 21 November 2014.

European Commission ARIMNet2 is a network of funding organizations and  research institutions that promote the coordination of agricultural research and innovation among Mediterranean countries.  ARIMNet2 announces a joint call for proposals 2014-2015 which is open to researchers in Algeria, Croatia, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey.  Subject areas include agricultural productivity, animal and plant health, sustainable aquaculture and fisheries, agricultural and food policies, sustainable management of agricultural water, and other topics.  The deadline for pre-proposals is 01 December 2014.

La Caixa Foundation (Barcelona) makes grants for projects in socioeconomic development in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Past grants include many in aspects of agriculture, energy, and environment. The program is open to Spanish nonprofit organizations and local partners for grants up to €450 thousand for up to four years. The closing date for applications is 18 December 2014.

This is an international initiative supported by different partners aiming to link Brazilian, African and Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) experts and institutions to develop cooperative research projects for development.A new call for pre-proposals is now open and the deadline for submissions is 4 January 2015.

PEER brings together the U.S. Agency for International Development with other agencies of the U.S. government to address critical challenges in international development.  PEER invites scientists in developing countries to work with U.S. collaborators in research and capacity building on priority topics defined by regions, countries, and subject areas.  The subject areas are water resources, climate change, forests and biodiversity, wildlife conservation, and others.  Applicants must be based at academic institutions, non-profit organizations, or government-managed research laboratories, centers, or institutes in eligible countries.  Applicants need to have at least one research partner in the U.S. that has grant funding from the U.S. government. Grants will range from US$40 thousand to US$120 thousand per year for one to three years. The deadline for pre-proposals is 09 January 2015. 

Food and Business  Applied Research Fund
The Food & Business Applied Research Fund provides grants to applied research contributing to innovation for food security and private sector development in the 15 partner countries of Dutch development cooperation. Proposals may be submitted by consortia consisting of at least one private or public practitioners organisation active in the partner countries and one research or higher education organisation. One Dutch partner is required. Application form 2nd Call for proposals 2014/2015 – Round 2. Deadline: 12 January 2015 and last round 12 May 2015.

 The Swiss Program for Research on Global Issues for Development (r4d Program) makes grants for transnational and interdisciplinary research focusing on poverty reduction, global risks, and the provision of public goods. Applications are invited from nonprofit Swiss research institutions in partnerships with research institutions in the developing countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Grants are up to CHF 500 thousand for up to three years. The application deadline for pre-proposals is 06 February 2015.

The Work Programme on ‘Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy’ offers opportunities in finding diverse 
and innovative solutions to well-identified challenges in key EU policy priorities. Through generic or dedicated topics, a broad multidisciplinary participation is welcomed in these efforts.

Specific topics related to Africa: 
  • SFS-1C-2014/2015: Sustainable terrestrial livestock production: Assessing sustainability of terrestrial livestock production (page 8)SFS-2B-2014/2015: Sustainable crop production: Assessing soil-improving cropping systems (page 10)SFS-3-2014: Practical solutions for native and alien pests affecting plants (page 13)
  • SFS-13-2015: Biological contamination of crops and the food chain (page 23)
  • SFS-18-2015: Small farms but global markets: the role of small and family farms in food and nutrition security (page 29)  
Deadline First stage 3 February 2015
G4AW is a program by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, executed by the Netherlands Space Office, to support private investments for satellite-based information services that improve the output of agriculture, livestock, and fishing in 26 emerging and developing countries. Grants will range from €500 thousand to €5 million for consortia of Dutch organizations in partnerships with organizations in Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The application deadline is 27 February 2015


IFAD is partnering with the CGIAR to fund research on better practices in agricultural development under the risks of climate change.  The focal countries in this IFAD-CCAFS Learning Alliance are Bangladesh, Bolivia, Chad, Djibouti, Ghana, Lesotho, Mali, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Vietnam.  Funding will be provided to research consortia that can deliver scientific knowledge, policy engagement, and capacity enhancement. The limit on budget requests is US$500 thousand for two years.  The deadline for concept notes is 10 November 2014.

The Nordic Environment Finance Corporation and the Government of Norway aim to acquire certified emission reductions (CERs) from registered and commissioned CDM projects and Programs of Activities under the Kyoto Protocol.  The current purchase will target carbon-reduction projects and activities that face discontinuation because of low CER prices.  Purchase contracts will be for future deliveries of CERs based on emission reductions generated from 01 October 2014 to 31 December 2020.   The deadline for submissions is 27 November 2014.

The Social Science Research Council (SSRC) makes research grants through the African Peace Building Network to African researchers, policy analysts, and practitioners working on conflict and peace building in Africa. Support is available for research and analysis on issues that include environmental change and conflict -- among other themes. Applicants must be African citizens currently residing in a country of Sub-Saharan Africa. Grants are up to US$15 thousand. The deadline for applications is 14 December 2014.


ERANet-LAC announces its first joint call on research and innovation with the participation of 20 organizations in Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The themes of the call include biodiversity assessment and monitoring; screening for bioactive metabolites and enzymes; small-scale biorefineries; zero-carbon energy systems for heating and cooling; and others (related to health). Proposals need to involve at least four partners from four countries. The deadline for proposals is 27 November 2014

The CEPF invites applications for small and large (>US$20 thousand) grants to conserve biodiversity in Mozambique.  Eligibility extends to NGOs, community groups, private enterprises, universities, and other civil society applicants.  The geographical priorities are the Chimanimani Mountains; Mount Chiperone; Mount Mabu; Mount Namuli; and Lake Malawi. The application deadline for large grants is 14 November 2014; the deadline for small grants is 28 November 2014

Axé sur l’opérationnel, SEP2D s’inscrit dans l’esprit de REDD+, de la mise en œuvre du protocole de Nagoya et de la Stratégie Mondiale de Conservation des Plantes (SMCP) révisée. Des partenariats seront développés avec le secteur privé. Six établissements français ont joué un rôle moteur dans SEP : l’IRD, le MNHN, le CIRAD, le CNRS, et les Universités Pierre et Marie Curie, et Montpellier.
Début 2015 : Démarrage effectif de SEPDD ;  projets, actions, opérations-pilotes

USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance seeks to fund an NGO that works internationally to build the capacity and technical knowledge of Kenyan NGOs in matters of disaster risk reduction at the community level in the event of future droughts. Thematic areas include management of water supply, agriculture and livestock, and others. The project will operate in one or more of Turkana, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, and Marsabit as the basis for expansion to other organizations across Kenya. Funding Opportunity APS-OFDA-14-000008. The application deadline is 30 November 2014. 

The Crowder-Messersmith Conservation Fund makes grants for local conservation projects in developing countries. The grants are intended as seed money for communities and individuals. The Fund especially invites applications from the developing countries. Grants are a maximum of US$2 thousand for one year. Applications are accepted from 01 December through 01 February 2015.

The Scientific Exploration Society (SES) makes awards to "pioneers with purpose" who combine innovative field expeditions with important research contributions, including in subject areas related to environment and conservation.  The awards are intended to provide a financial contribution to the overall cost of the fieldwork phase of scientific exploration. For 2015, the SES announces five award categories. The application deadline for all awards is 31 December 2014.

Each year, the Belgian Royal Academy for Overseas Sciences sponsors a competition to stimulate high-quality research regarding problems inherent in the developing world. The questions for 2015 include one on the potential contributions of plant and/or animal biodiversity to improve nutrition security and health in developing countries. Each award-winning work is granted a prize of €2,500. The deadline is 01 March 2015.


Israel's Agency for International Development (MASHAV) offers professional short courses in Israel in subject areas that include agriculture, energy, health, education, and social development. For most courses, MASHAV covers course fees, accommodation, medical insurance, and other expenses in Israel. Applications are submitted through Israel's diplomatic missions. Courses offered in English language for 2015 include biotechnology and bioinformatics (apply before 27 November 2014); integration of research, extension, and applied agriculture (apply before 21 December 2014); and others. Interested individuals should monitor MASHAV for other courses likely to be announced in the next few months.

AGRA and Mali's Katibougou Polytechnic University call for qualified applicants from Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger to undertake masters studies in integrated soil management. Applicants must have educational qualifications in agriculture or related fields, together with adequate professional experience. Up to five individuals will be selected for the masters program of two years. The deadline for applications is 30 November 2014.

CGIAR offers funding for early-career scientists in developing countries to conduct PhD research on any of 52 research topics that fall under six research themes. The program is open to qualified and well-rounded rice scientists from the public and private sectors. Applicants should be not more than 35 years old at the time of application, and be proficient in English.  The application deadline is 30 November 2014

European Graduate School in Animal Breeding and Genetics (EGA-ABG) . The EGA-ABG is comprised of four European institutions of higher education to train current and future generations of animal breeders. The program announces six funded PhDs to start in September 2015, including research specific for the developing world. Applicants should have a masters degree in animal breeding and genetics, and proficiency in English. The application deadline is 30 November 2014.

The International Council for Science (ICSU) works with strategic partners to plan and coordinate international research addressing major issues of relevance to both science and society -- such as global environmental change; hazards and disasters; ecosystem change; oceans; space research; and solar-terrestrial physics. The ICSU invites grant proposals to be led by an ICSU Scientific Union, with encouragement to involve other organizations as formal supporting applicants. The documents to apply are available to ICSU members only. The deadline for applications is 01 December 2014.

University of Cambridge. The MPhil degree in Conservation Leadership at the University of Cambridge is a full-time interdisciplinary masters course over 11 months in conservation management and leadership. The program aims to attract graduates that have at least three to five years of relevant experience. Applicants from less-developed and developing countries can apply for scholarship support, which is awarded competitively. The deadline for university admission and scholarship application is 02 December 2014.

The MasterCard Foundation funds citizens and residents of Sub-Saharan Africa for graduate studies at Michigan State University, USA. The fields of study at MSU include agriculture and natural resources; veterinary medicine; natural sciences; and many others. The deadline for completed applications is 02 February 2015.

The French-language universities of Belgium award 150 scholarships and 70 training grants each year in the ARES program to applicants from developing countries. Subjects include aquaculture; tropical animal and plant resources; environmental management; management of natural hazards; and others. Eligibility requirements are defined by age, previous education, and nationality. The eligible countries are Algeria, Bangladesh, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Colombia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haïti, India, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Palestinian Territories, Peru, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Suriname, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The deadline for applications (French or English) is 11 February 2015.
Master complémentaire en aquaculture
Master complémentaire en sciences et gestion de l'environnement dans les pays en développement
Master complémentaire en gestion des ressources animales et végétales en milieux tropicaux
Master complémentaire en gestion des risques naturels
Master complémentaire en sciences et technologie des aliments
Master complémentaire en protection des cultures tropicales et subtropicales
Master complémentaire en développement, environnement et sociétés
Stage en système d'information géographique
Stage méthodologique en appui à l'innovation en agriculture familiale
Stage en environnement et gestion durable des ressources minérales

VLIR-UOS awards scholarships to attend one of the selected trainings (7) or Master programmes (15)
taught in English at a Belgian Flemish university or university college.
Training programmes organized in 2015 (1-4 months)
Technology for Integrated Water Management. Application now open, deadline 1 February
Food Safety, Quality Assurance Systems and Risk Analysis. Application now open, deadline 1 February
Dairy Nutrition. Course dates and applications dates yet to be confirmed
Two-year Master programmes
Nutrition and Rural Development, main subject: Human Nutrition. Deadline: 1 January 2015
Physical Land Resources. Deadline: 5 January 2015
Aquaculture. Deadline: 15 January 2015
Biology - Specialisation Human Ecology. Deadline: 1 February 2015
Statistics - Specialisation Biostatistics. Deadline: 1 February 2015
Environmental Sanitation. Deadline: 1 February 2015
Nematology. Deadline: 1 February 2015
Food Technology. Applications open on 1 November 2014. Deadline: 1 February 2015
Water Resources Engineering. Applications open on 1 November 2014. Deadline: 1 February 2015
Marine and Lacustrine Science and Management (Oceans & Lakes). Deadline: 1 March 2015
Molecular Biology. Deadline: 31 March 2015
The Heinrich Böll Foundation annually funds approximately 1,000 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students across all subjects and nationalities for university studies in Germany. Preference is for applicants working in the subject areas of the Foundation such as climate and energy, resource governance, and ecology and green development (among others). The geographical scope (but not exclusive) for international students is Central and Eastern Europe; EU neighborhood countries and the CIS; the Middle East and North Africa; transition and newly industrialized countries; and conflict regions worldwide. Applicants should be capable in German language. The deadline for international applications (i.e., from outside Germany) is 01 March 2015.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation offers 20 fellowships for young climate experts from developing countries interested in conducting a project in Germany and pursuing long-term collaboration. The fellowship allows future leaders to spend a year in Germany working on a research-based project of their own choice in the field of climate protection. Fellows choose their own hosts. The fellowship includes intensive language training and an orientation program at the introduction. The deadline for applications is 15 March 2015

The Eppley Foundation supports advanced scientific research by scientists and medical doctors with established records of publications in their specialties. These specialties include endangered animals and ecosystems; climate change; and others. Past grants include examples related to conservation and ecology in Africa, China, and elsewhere. Grants may be awarded for research internationally when applicants are based in the USA, or are associated with U.S. institutions that will administer the grants. Most grants are under US$25 thousand. The deadlines for letters of inquiry are 15 March and 15 September 2015.


This event is scheduled for 2 till 5 February 2015 in Burkina Faso, and it aims to bring together 150 actors engaged with sustainable family farming. Organizations, cooperatives, and associations are invited to submit initiatives that meet the themes of the Camp. The organizers will cover the travel costs of these participants, and the best initiatives will receive international publicity. The deadline for applications (French, English) is 8 November 2014.

Impact Amplifier, Growth Africa, VC4Africa and Hivos. The Green Pioneer Accelerator Program aims to help early-stage green entrepreneurs position themselves for national or regional scale in Africa. The program combines a rigorous curriculum with practical experience shared by entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors. Entrepreneurs across Africa can apply to either the Kenya or South Africa cohort. Upon successful graduation, 10 enterprises in each program will be showcased to a group of investors. The application deadline is 01 December 2014.

The Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food recognizes contributions in research, development, and capacity building in the North, South, or the Mediterranean Region to sustainably improve food and agricultural systems while addressing food security and poverty reduction. The Prize will be awarded in three categories: distinguished scientist; promising young scientist; and outstanding career in agricultural development. The winner of each category will be awarded €20 thousand. Applications are open to academic and research organizations (private or public), civil society organizations, and the private sector (e.g., small/medium enterprises). The deadline for applications is 4 December 2014.

The Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) is a partnership of business schools in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with mentoring, exposure, and funding to support their social ventures. Past winners include plans for water supply, energy micro-credit, agricultural processing, ecological building materials, and other environmental themes. The GSVC will award cash prizes up to US$25 thousand.  The deadline for the first entry round in all regions is 05 December 2014.

The Conservation, Food, and Health Foundation (CFH) Foundation makes grants to nonprofit organizations worldwide for projects in conservation, sustainable agriculture, and health in developing countries. The average grant is approximately US$17 thousand. The deadlines for concept applications is 01 January 2014.

The Tusk Conservation Awards highlight achievements of individuals working for conservation in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa is awarded to a distinguished individual for exceptional contribution over a minimum of ten years. The Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa is awarded to an individual with a minimum of five years experience who has demonstrated a considerable commitment to conservation, and who has already made a significant impact. In both categories, the winner receives a trophy and a grant to support further work. The deadline for nominations is 06 February 2015.