Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

African universities advised to team up on agriculture

15 July 2015. Addis Ababa. SciDev 17/07/2015. Speakers told the UN’s third Financing for Development conference in Ethiopia that universities should align their agricultural science efforts and collaborate with each other to compete internationally.
“We import a ridiculous amount of food, and still many suffer from malnutrition. The harmonisation of agricultural science is the first step in streamlining university courses so they attract more young people to science and technology, this would encourage young people to study agriculture and then to introduce better farming technologies” Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the chair of the African Union Commission.
The African Union’s Agenda 2063, a 50-year development plan for the continent, says widening the use of modern agricultural technology would help secure a steady food supply and improve farmers’ contribution to economic growth. But a lack of know-how, infrastructure and equipment make this goal difficult to achieve, said Donald Kaberuka, a former president of the African Development Bank. He warned that sustained national investment, in particular in transport and communication infrastructure, is needed to make sure that new agricultural scientists can implement the technologies they develop. - See more at:

Africa-EU Research Collaboration on Food Security

7 July 2015. Accra, Ghana. The new ‘Africa-EU Research Collaboration on Food Security’ report was launched at the High-Level Dialogue of African Ministers and Legislators on Mobilising Science, Technology and Innovation for Africa’s Sustainable Development Post 2015.

It showcases the key findings from an analysis of research cooperation between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.
“Research is necessary to understand where future investments and partnerships should focus their efforts for addressing this global challenge, and to determine the mechanisms for increasing the impact of future science and technology collaboration,” said the report’s lead author, Judith Francis, CTA senior programme coordinator for science and technology policy.
The analysis was conducted within the framework of the CAAST-Net Plus project, a network of 26
partner organisations from Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, including CTA. In fact, the Centre and CAAST-Net Plus share, among other aspects, the objective of informing the bi-regional policy dialogue on food and nutrition security.
"Bi-regional science, technology and innovation cooperation in food and nutrition security has contributed to capacity development and joint learning. Yet this is insufficient if the outputs of the collaboration have not contributed to improving the lives and livelihoods of farmers and other actors involved in the agricultural sector. For the future, Africa and the EU should develop joint research priorities and set up the mechanisms to better track the outputs, outcomes and impact", Judith Francis added.

Greening the Grid

Greening the Grid offers a toolkit of information and guidance materials to support developing countries in defining and implementing grid-integration road maps. Toolkit resources provide 1) concise and comprehensive overviews of emerging practices for addressing grid-integration challenges through policy, market, and regulatory mechanisms and 2) guidance on applying these mechanisms to develop robust grid-integration road maps.

Drawing on this toolkit, Greening the Grid also facilitates direct technical assistance tailored to the unique power system characteristics and priorities in each partner country. Some examples of technical collaboration opportunities include:
  • Expert exchange on developing scenarios for large-scale wind and solar generation
  • Development or technical review of grid codes
  • Training on the use of grid capacity expansion models and the data needed to support these models
  • Partnering to develop grid integration road maps. 
Greening the Grid is supported by the U.S. Government’s Enhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies (EC-LEDS) program, which is managed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Department of State with support from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Forest Service.

As part a no-cost, webinar-based training on Integrating Variable Renewable Energy into the Grid - Key Issues and Emerging Solutions, will be conducted on Wednesday, July 29th, 10am EDT. This webinar-offered in coordination with the Clean Energy Solutions Center-will review the challenges to integrating significant quantities of variable renewable energy to the grid and the emerging solutions that policy-makers, regulators, and grid operators have taken to integrate wind and solar and meet RE targets. Webinar participants will learn about the myths, misperceptions, costs, and options for scaling up grid connected RE, as well as the Greening the Grid website and technical assistance opportunities.

Integrating Variable Renewable Energy into the Grid - Key Issues and Emerging Solutions
Time: Wednesday, 29 July 2015, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM EDT.
Sign up:

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The 2015 Agribusiness & Food World Forum

14 - 17 June, 2015. St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. IFAMA 2015 Forum. The 2015 Agribusiness & Food World Forum focused on Innovation, Talent and Technology. Interactive discussions and presentations focused on the common and binding factor that human talent and potential can achieve global nutritional security.

Structured conversations identified the issues and linkages underscoring these thematic areas.
1. Food Security 2050
2. Food and Agribusiness Talent Flow
3. Climate-Smart Food and Agribusiness Systems
4. Deeper-Insight Solutions/ BigData

The program was structured to produce science-based decision-making. Stakeholders deliberated on the necessary public-private collaborations to facilitate development and execution of sustainable and superior solutions which explore opportunities designed to enhance individual organizations’ value innovation capacity.

IFAMA was formed in 1990 to stimulate strategic thinking across the full spectrum of the food chain. Today, IFAMA serves as an effective worldwide networking organization and acts as a functional bridge between the agribusiness industry, researchers, educators, government, consumer groups and non-governmental organizations. IFAMA provides high quality, value-added products and services to meet the needs of our members, and addresses the many challenges and opportunities facing food chain participants through leadership and innovation. IFAMA’s members are stakeholders in the success of the organization through their involvement in volunteer networks and program activities.

16 July 2015. AFK Insider. What More Asian Agribusiness Firms In Africa Means For US Farmers

Over the last decade more and more Asian agricultural companies, lead by China and India, have invested in African countries to help feed a growing number of the middle class back home.

On the other hand, American companies, which are the biggest suppliers of food items to Asian countries have invested very little in Africa, a continent whose economy Vincent Amanor-Boadu, a agribusiness economics and management professor at Kansas State University, say is very dichotomized.

Amanor-Boadu said that US farmers stand to lose their largest export market in the long term if the world super-power does not change its policy towards Africa and engage Africans on a business front rather than a moral one.

“Think about it this way, 20 years ago the location was Asia. Today what is happening is that Asia is in Africa buying land, producing, so that they can be food self sufficient. So here is our (US) customer that we’ve built a lot of investment in going out and building into production. What does that mean for us?,” Amanor-Boadu told the Market Journal in an interview.
“I’m travelling around Africa and I’m seeing the Chinese playing in all aspect of Africans lives. They are building roads, they are building houses, they are investing in businesses and I can’t find any American company doing that. When I look at that I project forward 20 years, the same way we had the whole engagement with China which froze out other players who had not figured out how to do it, and that’s the same thing that I see here where now the American public policy engagement with Africa is one of trying to tell Africans how to live like us and the Chinese are coming in and are saying we want to do business. So from a long term engagement perspective, putting it into perspective that the middle class is growing and they need products, I think what we need is to look for opportunities to create markets for our food products which generally used our farm products and that chain will create opportunity for our farmers here.”

Kenneth Zuckerberg, Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory Executive Director, speaks about the role of big data in agriculture at IFAMA 2015 World Conference.

Enabling Factors for Public-Private-Producer Partnerships in Agricultural Value Chains

Brokering Development: Enabling Factors for Public-Private-Producer Partnerships in Agricultural Value Chains
Thorpe, J. and Maestre, M.
Publisher IDS and IFAD, June 2015, 56 pages
Download this publication (3.7MB)

Markets are central to agriculture and rural development. Making markets, value chains and the systems that support them work better for the poor has therefore become a central aim of many donors, governments and nongovernmental organisations.

1 July 2015. IFAD. This research seeks to understand how public-private-producer partnerships (PPPPs) in agricultural value chains can be designed and implemented to achieve more sustained increases in income for smallholder farmers and broader rural development. PPPPs involve cooperation between government and business agents, working together to reach a common goal or carry out a specific task, while jointly assuming risks and responsibilities, and sharing resources and competences. They also explicitly involve farmers (or producers), hence the fourth ‘P’ is added to the more familiar designation of ‘public-private partnerships’.

The research also considers the role of PPPP brokers as independent facilitators who support the process of exploring, designing and implementing PPPPs. The research is based on four case studies of agricultural value chain PPPPs developed through projects financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Ghana, Indonesia, Rwanda and Uganda. In each country, local research teams collected data through a mixture of semi-structured interviews, field visits and focus group discussions (FGDs) with local market chain actors, smallholder farmers and other community members, and relevant experts. These were not impact assessments, and represent instead a snapshot in time. However, the aim was to gain insights into the outcomes of the PPPPs so far, and how these have been influenced by the way the PPPP was designed, implemented and brokered.

Read the four country case studies below:
Ghana case study
Indonesia case study
Rwanda case study
Uganda case study

Extract: the Role of brokers (page 8)
Drawing on the enabling factors and the roles of brokers identified through the case studies, the findings also identify key roles that brokers can fulfil, supporting different steps of the PPPP process. They can:
  • facilitate contact between potential partners, helping them explore the potential benefits of partnership, identify common objectives and build trust and understanding;
  • ask the right questions early on, identify and justify assumptions and ensure effective feasibility studies;
  • provide or procure technical expertise as needed;
  • involve farmers directly as partners in the PPPP, building farmer capacity to organise effectively, access information and negotiate a fair deal;
  • help ensure transparency and dialogue within the PPPP, and between the PPPP and external
  • stakeholders;
  • support monitoring processes, facilitate dialogue around conflicts or differences, and encourage partners to develop and own joint solutions;
  • ensure actors have long-term capacity, financing and incentives to play new roles.
Brokers also need to develop a clear exit strategy from the outset. Otherwise the risk is that brokers become part of how PPPP implementation works, creating dependence, particularly on the part of the less powerful partners.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Using sawdust to increase the shelf life of the potatoes

7 July 2015. Fair Planet. African farmers triumph over pests report of the successes of a potato preservation method.

By using sawdust, the shelf life of the potatoes is increased from six weeks to between two and three months depending on the potato variety. Among the farmers in the meeting are five Kenyans, two Ugandans and two Rwandese. They are here on a farmer exchange program. The success of the low cost preservation technique has won hearts across East Africa.

To store the potatoes after harvest, the farmers identify a clean space where they would like to store their potatoes. They then spread chips of sawdust evenly before placing potatoes on top of sawdust. Another layer of sawdust is spread on top of the potatoes. The sawdust, according to the farmers, must be moist but not overly wet. Dry sawdust affects the quality of potato and makes them prone to pests while wet sawdust makes potatoes rot.
“Potato has become a hot commodity but in the recent past it had been loosing value due to farmers planting and harvesting at the same time. In a bid to dispose it in time to avoid rotting, all farmers would take theirs to the market, creating a glut and ultimately a low farm gate price,” Tassus Mapunda the head of Iringa farmers group. 
According to a survey by Bridgenet Africa, a not-for-profit organization working with farmers across Africa, farm gate price of potatoes that had hit unprecedented lows from 2009 to 2013 in most Sub Saharan countries had contributed to the diminished production of the crop.

A 90kg bag of potatoes that initially cost $50 had plummeted to between $20 and $25 due to oversupply. The sawdust innovation is now resuscitating production, albeit gradually. Mapunda says market prices have increased and demand for potatoes is spread across the country since buyers are now assured of constant supply.

Scientists have also taken time to study these innovations to understand their efficacy in fighting African farmers’ biggest headache and have given them a clean bill of health. 
“In countries that lose up to 40 percent of harvested yields to these pests, creating market imbalances and fanning hunger cycle, these innovations are the region’s best bet for now,” said Professor Phillip Mwathe from the University of Nairobi College of Agriculture and Veterinary Services in a keynote address to agriculture ministers from Africa who had gathered to discuss threats to Africa’s food production.
Industry players have also rallied their support to these innovations arguing that they are a cheaper way of increasing food supply rather than producing more.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Why climate talks need to focus on agriculture

9 July 2015. SciDev. Other sectors often dominate discussions, but climate-smart farming offers potent solutions, says Frank Rijsberman.

Negotiators at the Paris climate talks in December (COP 21) will focus on reaching a truly universal and legally binding agreement to drive the world’s transition towards resilient, low-carbon societies and economies. This is being talked about as humanity’s last chance to avoid truly disastrous effects for our planet — the floods in the Philippines and persistent drought in Thailand are just two current examples of the types of events that climate change makes more likely.

In parallel, the scientific community’s focus will be on using and creating practical solutions to complex climate challenges. This week, scientists are gathering in France for a conference hosted by UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to debate evidence-based solutions.

Agricultural scientists are getting organised to increase their involvement in such climate meetings, which the energy and transport sectors often dominate. There are already good examples of agriculture turning climate smart.
  • In Uganda, for example, prolonged drought and erratic rains threaten yields of coffee, the country’s most important cash crop. And pests and diseases such as leaf miners, mealy bugs and leaf rust appear to be more common. CGIAR’s scientists are addressing this concern by turning to bananas — a crop that many of the same farmers often depend on for both food and income throughout the year. Grown alongside coffee, the banana tree can offer shade and reduces the coffee crop’s sensitivity to drought, hail and climate-related pests and diseases.
  • In the past, governments, including those of Burundi and Rwanda, banned banana intercropping in favour of monocropping, in the mistaken belief that intercropping would reduce yields and incomes. And until recently, neither the public nor private sector researched this practice. CGIAR’s researchers and partners are now working with authorities to recommend policy changes to at least allow intercropping, and with farmers to examine other ways to cope with higher temperatures.
  • the French government, research institutes and CGIAR are also launching an initiative to scale up climate-smart agriculture with a focus on capturing carbon in the soil.
  • Tools already exist to help contribute to this ambitious goal. They include : (1) intercropping with nitrogen-fixing plants ; (2) no-till agriculture that causes minimum soil disturbance, therefore preserving carbon stocks, and (3) planting more cover crops, like the banana trees that shelter coffee crops, can also contribute biomass that nourishes soil.
The Mitigation Advantage. Maximizing the co-benefits of investing in smallholder adaptation initiatives
© 2015 by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
26 pages

8 July 2015. Paris, France. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) have released the 'Mitigation Advantage Report' at Our Common Future Under Climate Change Science Conference held by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris
“What this report shows is that smallholder farmers are a key part of the solution to the climate change challenge,” says IFAD’s Vice President Michel Mordasini. “With the right investments, smallholders can feed a growing planet while at the same time restoring degraded ecosystems and reducing agriculture's carbon footprint.”

Technology no silver bullet for Africa’s farming challenges

9 July 2015. Nairobi, Kenya. Source: How we made it in Africa.

Africa is seeing a surge in mobile phone-based solutions promising to revolutionise the agricultural industry. Technology entrepreneurs have developed mobile platforms offering a variety of solutions, including online livestock and produce exchanges, weather forecasts, market prices data, and access to insurance, financing and extension services.

It seems like the perfect intersection: millions of people in Africa have mobile phones, the majority of the population is involved in agriculture, and there are multiple problems in the industry to solve. But many of these solutions have struggled to meet expectations and remain unknown to the majority of rural farmers.
“Some people think technology is a silver bullet for the challenges in agriculture. But technology is not a stand-alone solution. Its success depends on other things, including the attitude and discipline of the farmer. There are people who farm because they don’t want to let their land lie idle, or because all their neighbours are farming, or because farming is what their family has done for generations. The way they go about farming is different from that of serious, passionate farmers who know what they are doing. So the farmer’s attitude and motivation does matter. (...) 
We started with an app, but the uptake was very low because most farmers were using feature phones. We wanted to continue using mobile phones as our main tool so we shifted focus to SMS,” Calvince Okello, founder of M-Shamba, a platform that provides farmers in Kenya information on crop production and farm management.
13 July 2015. ICT4Ag: improving their use in farmer cooperatives
CTA is exploring various models by which ICT4Ag-enabled services are delivered through its current initiative on Building Viable Delivery Models for ICT4Ag
  • One aspect of this initiative is to understand the nature of the value-added service (VAS) provider – including the private sector, the public sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), research institutes and farmer organisations. 
  • Analysis of over 300 ICT4Ag applications collated by CTA reveals that fewer than five of the value-added service providers represent farmers themselves. 
  • While ICTs may be integral in fulfilling the lobbying, networking, administrative, accounting and access functions of farmer organisations, there are opportunities for farmer organisations and cooperatives to change from being service receivers to service providers for their members.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

New donor directions in combining aid and trade for farmers

30 June - 2 July 2015. An event on 1st July took about new donor directions in combining aid and trade in supporting the agricultural transformation of developing countries on the sidelines of the 5th Global review of Aid for Trade at the World Trade Organisation and was organised by the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development and its partners..

Representatives from developing countries were invited to test these new donor policies against requirements in Asia and Africa such as market access, reduced trade costs and agricultural productivity and rural development.
  • How can farmers be effectively connected to markets? 
  • What should donors do to assist in reducing trade costs and trade barriers by smart upfront investments in line with rural development policies?
  • What do farmers associations and the private sector (SME and lead companies) expect from the new trends and directions of donor agencies on the trade and development agenda for Post-2015?
  • Are the opportunities offered by the international trade system real opportunities for end users? Is there a real perspective for regional trade?

    Audio + Programme

Panel 1: Changing development landscape - donor perspectives on moving from aid to tradeMr

  • Marcel Vernooij , Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, The Netherlands
  • Mr James Baxter, Deputy Permanent Representative and Minister, Permanent Mission of Australia to the WTO
  • Ms Gordana Delic-Radovic, Deputy Director at Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada

Panel 2: Adapting approaches and priorities – response by stakeholders from partner countries.
Marco Marzano de Marinis
  • H.E. Ms. Kamrang Tekreth, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia
  • Mr Christopher Onyanga Oparr, Ambassador of the Republic of Uganda to the United Nations office and other International Organizations in Geneva
  • Marco Marzano de Marinis, Executive Director, World Farmers’ Organization
This is the full audio record (MP3)

Audio + Programme

The EU and its member States' commitments of Aid for Trade exceeded EUR 11 billion in both 2012 and 2013. The EU Aid for Trade Strategy was adopted in 2007 and its main quantitative targets have long been met. Moreover, as the outcomes of processes such as the Post-2015 Development Agenda will need to be taken on board, the time is ripe to start reflecting on a revision of the EU AfT Strategy to adapt to new challenges. This side event was meant to initiate stakeholder consultation seeking to identify new priority issues, draw lessons from the latest research and studies, present the view of beneficiaries and ultimately provide some building blocks upon which to launch the review.
  • Introduction by DG DEVCO on the current EU AfT strategy, progress so far and questions to consider ; Giorgio Cocchi, Deputy Head of Unit, Private Sector Development, Trade, Regional Integration, DG DEVCO 
  • Introduction by DG TRADE on the importance of Aid for Trade and how trade and development policies can be mutually supportive; Marc Vanheukelen, Director, Sustainable Development, DG TRADE 
  • EU Member States' challenge of integrating trade and development functions: Dominik Ziller, Deputy Director General, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany 
  • Main trends identified by recent AfT research and studies ; Frans Lammersen, Principal Administrator, Development Cooperation Directorate, OECD 
  • The AfT recipient perspective: how to increase the access/impact of AfT in LDCs?; Stephen N. Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade Division, UNECA 
  • How AfT and trade agreements – bilateral/regional/multilateral – can support each other ; Sanoussi Bilal, Senior Executive/Head of Programme, Economic Transformation and Trade, European Centre for Development Policy Management - ECDPM 
  • Emerging issues for AfT including sustainable development ; Joseph Wozniak, Programme Manager, Trade for Sustainable Development, International Trade Centre, ITC 
8-9 July 2015. Nairobi, Kenya. Agricultural Trade Policy and Sustainable Development in East Africa

The aim of this dialogue was to provide policy makers and other stakeholders from the East Africa Community (EAC) an opportunity to explore how global trade rules and national policies affecting agricultural markets could best promote food security and support rural development, in the run-up to the WTO's tenth Ministerial Conference in Nairobi and beyond.

With WTO members currently negotiating a work programme on the remaining Doha issues ahead of a July 2015 deadline, this dialogue will therefore constitute a unique opportunity for EAC Geneva-based negotiators and national and regional constituencies to review priorities and negotiating strategies in advance of the upcoming ministerial conference.

Extract of the programme:

Making food available and accessible to poor consumers: the role of international trade rules and national policies
  • Gerald Makau Masila, ‎Executive Director, Eastern Africa Grain Council: Evolving trends in the use of agricultural exports restrictions and possible options to regulate them (see video at 2:45 - unfortunately the sound is still to be fixed by ICTSD)
  • Jonathan Hepburn, Agriculture Programme Manager, ICTSD : Policy options available and scenarios for a “permanent solution” on public stockholding for food security at the WTO
  • Simon Dradri, Senior Regional Programme Advisor (Market Analyst), United Nations World Food Programme : International food aid and implications for the operation of food markets

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Agriculture at the Financing for Development Conference

13 – 16 July 2015. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Third International Conference on Financing for Development gathers high-level political representatives, including Heads of State and Government, and Ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation, as well as all relevant institutional stakeholders, non-governmental organizations and business sector entities. The Conference will result in an intergovernmentally negotiated and agreed outcome, which should constitute an important contribution to and support the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

These are the events related to agriculture:

13 July 2015. Harnessing Innovative Financing for Nutrition in Africa. This side event advocated for increased investments in nutrition and to ensure that global and continental targets set on nutrition are accompanied by a viable financing framework, capable of delivering the resources needed to implement appropriate nutrition actions at national, regional and global levels. 
  • At this side-event the revised African Regional Nutrition Strategy was launched. 
  • Furthermore the results of the Cost of Hunger in Africa study from the second phase countries will be commissioned at this event, showcasing findings from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi and Rwanda. The Cost of Hunger in Africa Study was concluded in the first phase countries - Egypt, Ethiopia, Swaziland and Uganda. The first report representing the results from the four phase one countries was launched in March 2014, in Abuja, Nigeria.
13 July 2015. Leveraging science and technology for sustainable development. This side gave an opportunity to scientists, decision makers, private sector and civil society representatives to discuss the benefits of investing in research to produce components of sustainable development (including new technology production, sharing, transfer and adaptation, capacity and business development). Four research subject were presented:

  1. Research, knowledge sharing and innovation for local development: case of complementary foods and food supplement for nutrition security of infants and young children by Mieja Vola Rakotonarivo, Entreprise Nutri’zaza, Madagascar 
  2. Pharmaceutical regulation and intellectual property issues in India and Kenya: scientific issues and sociopolitical stakes by Matthieu Quett, IRD, France 
  3. Rainfall and flood risk monitoring from mobile telecommunication networks : an innovative and green solution to monitor climate related risk by Carlos Federico de Angelis, CEMADEN/INPE, Brazil 
  4. Sustainable development in Southern countries and Earth Observation: The case of water resources management by Frédérique Seyler, IRD, France
13 July 2015. Private Funding for Food Security: The Investment Sharing Facility
SDG Goal 2 calls to end hunger; Target 2.5 aims to conserve crop diversity by 2020, a prerequisite for food security. The Global Crop Diversity Trust safeguards crop diversity in international seed collections, funding them sustainably. It has now teamed up with Deutsche Bank to attract private money, launching the Investment Sharing Facility, a social impact investment fund. Institutions and households invest into an equity mutual fund complying with environmental, social and governance criteria. The Crop Trust receives part of the returns to secure global crop diversity for current and future generations. The event introduced this innovative financial instrument.

14 July 2015. Financing Growth: Mobilizing Leadership and Investment in Nutrition. This event outlined the case for investment in nutrition and highlight a range of approaches to finance both the healthy growth of children and economies. At the event, the World Bank and R4D will launch the first in a series of costing and financing scenarios for reaching the global nutrition targets, specifically the target calling for a 40% reduction in child stunting.
The World Bank, Results for Development Institute (R4D), and 1,000 Days, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, have estimated in the report Reaching the Global Target to Reduce Stunting: How Much Will it Cost and How Can We Pay for it? that it will cost approximately an additional $8.50 per child per year to meet the global stunting target (Figure 2). This cost covers the scale-up of high-impact, proven interventions focused in the 1,000 day window— namely, improving maternal nutrition; improving infant and young child feed practices, which include exclusive breastfeeding for the fi rst 6 months of life; and improving child nutrition through micronutrient.
14 July 2015. Realizing the Vision: Investing in Rural People for Inclusiveand Sustainable Transformation. This event was an opportunity for governments, public institutions, the private sector and rural people themselves, to commit themselves to the necessary actions to transform rural areas and to meet the ambition of the Post-2015 Agenda. It a.o. discussed the examples of successful partnerships that have built on the comparative advantages of different types of actors – government, farmers’ organizations, private companies, financial institutions, etc – to deliver transformative results. The question was: How can we further build on these examples in the post-2015 period? Rural transformation is a big and broad concept, but it can be usefully subdivided into four big transformations that need to occur if smallholder agriculture is going to become synonymous with efficient and sustainable family farming and if we are going to be able to achieve SDG 2. (see further the blogpost of the Brookings Institution)
The High-level panel included:
  • HE Lilian Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • HE Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Rwanda
  • HE Seán Sherlock, Minister of State for Development, Trade Promotion, and North South Co-operation, Ireland
  • Kanayo F. Nwanze, President, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • Moderator: Homi Kharas, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
14 July 2015. Investments and agribusiness for food and nutrition security: Public and Private Sector coordination. The Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, FAO and CTA organised this High-Level Panel. The participants in the panel were:
  • Patrick Ignatius Gomes Secreatry-General of the ACP Group of States 
  • José Graziano da Silva Director-General, FAO 
  • Tefera Derbew Minister of Agriculture, Ethiopia 
  • Roberto Ridolfi Director, Sustainable Growth and Development, DG Europaid, European Commission 
  • Pim van Ballekom Vice President, European Investment Bank 
  • Pierre van Hedel Managing Director, Rabobank Foundation 
  • Andreas Proksch Director General, Africa Department, GIZ 
  • Moderator Michael Hailu Director of CTA
A high-level panel discussed the importance of private and public sector investments in the agrifood sector which benefit small-scale farmers, SMEs and value chain actors. It highlighted a mutisectoral approach, including policy support, finance and capacity building for value chain actors.

The panel addressed various approaches ranging from policy support at country level; the operationalization of the policy framework for enhanced, structured engagement of aid programs with the private sector; the need to leverage private finance in development and what mechanisms are in place to support SMEs in the agrifood sector and the need to support inclusive and profitable value chains.
14 July 2015. Financing Sustainable Development: Food Security and Sustainable Cities. The GEF and global thought leaders from partner institutions shared two new flagship initiatives on Sustainable Cities and Food Security to catalyse further action and investments by other actors.
  • Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF
  • Kanayo Nwanze, President, IFAD
  • HE Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture
  • HE Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs of South Africa (invited)
  • Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Assistant Administrator and Director Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP
14 July 2015. How to Invest in Integrated Landscape Management to Achieve the SDGs. Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) – an approach in which a group of stakeholders in a given landscape collaborate to achieve landscape scale outcomes that are critical for each of the individual stakeholders – offers a promising means of implementation of the SDGs. These kinds of landscape partnerships are on the rise, and a growing number of public and private funds are now seeking to invest in integrated landscapes. The tools and strategies evolving for ILM explicitly focus on realizing synergies among different landscape objectives, and identifying and managing trade-offs, in the context of democratic and inclusive governance. This side event focused on:
  • why integrated landscapes are an effective means of implementation of the SDGs,
  • how public and private investments can be designed and coordinated in landscapes in support of SDG
  • how governments can support integrated landscape investment.
15 July 2015. Scaling up Agro-Ecology Programmes to Achieve Smallholder Resilience and End Hunger and Poverty. The side-event will provide an opportunity for representatives from Member States, UN Agencies, private sector, civil society, research and philanthropy to hear about successful smallholder initiatives based on agro-ecology and understand how these contribute to improving farm resilience and fighting hunger, malnutrition and poverty.
  • Laurent Thomas, Assistant Director-General for Technical Cooperation, FAO: On scaling-up agro-ecology programmes to achieve smallholder resilience and end hunger and food security 
  • Mathias Ginet, The 4‰ Initiative, Ministry of Agriculture, Agrifood and Forestry, France The 4‰ Initiative – Carbon-rich soils for food security
  • Sue Edwards, Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD) The Tigray experience, Ethiopia 
  • Dr. Manuel Flury, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Member of the Continental Steering Committee of the Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative for Africa The Ecological Organic Agriculture Initiative for Africa (EOA) 
  • Dr. Getachew Tikubet, Director of Operations, BioEconomy Africa (BEA) Push-pull – a novel farming system for ending hunger and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Hans R. Herren, President Biovision and Millennium Institute, Laureate of the “Alternative Nobel Prize” 2013 and World Food Prize 1995 
15 July 2015. Talent Development in Agriculture: Growing Ambitions for Food. To transform agriculture into a more productive, sustainable, competitive, and efficient sector, demands modern knowledge and skill transfer to develop talent in agriculture. It means up-skilling and re-tooling of the current agricultural workforce. It means retaining people with skills. It means attracting new personnel and expanding the range of career opportunities available in the agriculture-food-nutrition-environment nexus. Most importantly, it means creating incentives and campaigns that encourage young people to see agriculture as a one of the best options for a career choice. Organised by:
  • Young Professionals in Agricultural Research and Development (YPARD)
  • UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD);
  • African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS)
  • Global Forum for Agricultural Research Services (GFRAS)
  • Tropical Agriculture Platform
  • International Agri Food Network (IAFN)
15 July 2015. Leadership and Partnership to Achieve Global Food Security. This event will explore a proven approach to mobilizing investment to unlock this transformative potential. During the event, high level representatives from the AU’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), the US Government’s global food security initiative Feed the Future, civil society and the private sector will showcase the importance of country ownership, partnerships, and leveraging of resources to accelerate agricultural growth and reduce hunger and poverty. A young leader from Africa will also share his viewpoint on the rapid transformation of the agricultural sector.

Panel 1
  • Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, DREA Commissioner, African Union Commission
  • Khalid Bomba, Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency
  • Hassan Bashir, Chief Executive Officer, Takaful Insurance
  • Lindiwe Sibanda, CEO, FANRPAN
Panel 2
  • Minister Carlos Raúl Morales, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guatemala
  • Richard Greene, Acting Assistant to the Administrator, Bureau for Food Security, USAID
  • Josefina Stubbs, Associate Vice President, Strategy and Knowledge Department, IFAD
  • James Mwangi, Managing Director and CEO, Equity Bank
  • Ruhul Amin Talukder, Director of Research, Food Policy and Monitoring Unit, Ministry of Food, Government of Bangladesh (TBC)
15 July 2015. Achieving Zero Hunger: The Critical Role of Investments in Social Protection and Agriculture. The Rome-based agencies have prepared new estimates of the additional investments required to achieve a world without hunger by 2030. These estimates indicate that hunger and poverty can be eliminated, and that investments in agriculture and social protection are critical. The side event will enable discussion by a wide range of stakeholders.

The panel is composed of the Principals of the Rome-based Agencies of the United Nations (FAO, IFAD, and WFP), as well the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the General Director for Multilateral and Global Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile, and the President of Biovision and the Millennium Institute. 

15 July 2015. Financing Smallholder Agriculture to Eliminate Hunger and Poverty: Supporting African Smallholder Farmers and Agri-Sector SMEs with Innovative Financing Structures
The event highlights the African Fertilizer Financing Mechanism, established by the African Development Bank and others to provide finance to facilitate smallholder access to essential inputs.

15 July 2015. Partnerships Address Aflatoxins, The World’s Most Urgent Food Safety Challenge
This event will illustrate progress through collaborations among the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA), UN Agencies such as FAO and the World Food Programme, GAIN, an industry leader Mars, Incorporated and others. Panel members will:
  • illustrate food safety problems and present a compelling need for comprehensive strategies; 
  • Humanize aflatoxins devastating impacts on the nutrition and health of women, children and reduced income consequences for farmers; and 
  • Share lessons learned to prevent and control aflatoxins to achieve freedom from the harmful effects of aflatoxins.
The panel will comprise of:
  • Amare Ayalew - Program Manager, Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) Dr. Amare will describe the landscape and architecture of food safety challenges, especially aflatoxins in Africa; causes of contamination and relationship to food security and nutrition, economic, social and human impacts; solution pathways along the value chain; PACA’s role and strategic plan; resources invested and needed for the future; stakeholder engagement progress; and next steps. 
  • Dr. Lynn Brown - Independent Consultant, Special Adviser to World Bank Vice President for Climate Change; Representative for Global Panel for Agriculture, Food Systems and Nutrition Dr. Brown will describe the devastating impacts aflatoxins have on the nutrition and health of women, children and the reduced income consequences for farmers. 
  • Dr. Alem Abay - GAIN, Country Program Manager Dr. Abay will discuss GAIN’s global perspective on the role that food safety plays in food security; share program focus and activities in Ethiopia, including insights on a new program funded by the Netherland Government which looks at testing for aflatoxins at the laboratory level through a regional approach; describe laboratory controls and link to the broader nutrition agenda, including fortifying blended foods and staple foods to ensure they are aflatoxin free. 
  • Dr. Isabelle Mballa - Chief Food Safety and Quality, World Food Programme Dr. Mballa will describe the unique challenges that the WFP faces in feeding millions of people in scores of countries; the adaption to a new business model from distributing donated foods to local sourcing, manufacturing, and distribution; role of partnerships and programs in addressing food safety challenges. 
  • Dr. Melanie Edwards - USAID Foreign Service, Technical Specialist on Transboundary Maize Issues. Dr. Edwards will provide an overview of USAID’s assessment of how mycotoxins, including aflatoxins, impact food security, nutrition, trade and development; program priorities to address harmful consequences of human, social and economic impacts; needs and values of research and development; and perspectives on public-private partnerships for implementation. 
  • J.B. Cordaro - Mars, Inc., Consultant J.B. Cordaro will offer a summary of Mars, Inc. food safety activities worldwide; the importance on specific value chains; focus on the need for and value of partnerships; the uncommon collaborations of Mars’ partnerships along with the philosophy of pre-competitive, transparent engagement; and the scheduled launch of the Global Food Safety Center in China.
15 July 2015. Financing Africa’s Food Security and Agricultural Growth in a Warmer World: How Can the FFD and Paris Climate Summit Help? For African governments, the outcomes of FFD and the Paris Climate Summit will determine the parameters of Africa’s future agriculture growth and food security. For women farmers, who grow the majority of food on the continent and who are facing climate impacts already today, these discussions are central to their future livelihoods. This event is organised by Oxfam, PACJA (Pan African Climate Justice Alliance) and the African Union Commission.

15 July 2015. The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation in a Post-2015 World. The landscape for development innovation is changing. Foundations and investors are seeking to invest in new technologies and innovations that have the potential to deliver both social impact and economic returns. Universities and regional research organisations are seeking to increase R&D cooperation to catalyze locally-driven development solutions. Given this changing landscape, what can donors, national governments, private industry, NGOs and civil society do to catalyse STI for more inclusive development? The panel will consists of:
  • Alfonso Lenhardt, Acting Administrator, USAID 
  • Torbjörn Pettersson, Assistant Director General, Sida 
  • Ewen McDonald, DFAT Deputy Secretary, Australia 
  • Ann Mei Chang, Executive Director, U.S. Global Development Lab, USAID 
  • Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director for Africa, The Rockefeller Foundation 
  • Peter Singer, Chief Executive Officer, Grand Challenges Canada 
  • Moses Engadu, U-report Global Coordinator, World Scout Bureau
Related: Financing Global Sustainable Development after 2015: Illustrations of Key EU Contributions
This brochure features the key contributions to financing the post 2015 agenda from the EU and its Member States. It focuses on the EU contributions to the following topics: domestic resources mobilization, blending, ODA, environment and climate, trade, science and innovation, remittances, sustainable agriculture and nutrition, energy, human development, gender, peaceful societies and the EU efforts targeted towards least developed countries.

Financing Global Sustainable Development after 2015: Illustrations of Key EU Contributions
Infograph of Key EU Contributions


Published on 13 Jul 2015
The Third International Conference on Financing for Development will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between 13 and 16 July 2015. At the conference, high-level political representatives will adopt an international agreement setting out how the post-2015 sustainable development agenda will be financed.

Realizing the Vision: Beyond the money - Press Conference of IFAD, 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development, Addis Ababa

Published on 2 Jul 2015
Official development assistance will remain a "centerstone" of development financing, but other flows are even more important. Klaus Rudischhauser, EuropeAid's deputy director-general, reveals a 10-point EU package will be presented at the third International Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa in this video interview.

Regional Overview of Food Insecurity: Africa

Regional Overview of Food Insecurity: Africa
Year of publication: 2015
Publisher: FAO
Pages: 35 pages.
The publication covers key aspects of regional food security and nutrition, including evolution of undernourishment (and other forms of malnutrition) in the region; other indicators that help understand hunger and malnutrition; highlights of policy developments that are relevant (using the Food and Agriculture Policy Decision Analysis [FAPDA] and other monitoring tools); and individual country success stories.

Also Available in: French
"The 2015 Africa report on food insecurity also shows some factors
of positive change and progress towards the MDG hunger goal. These multi-faceted and interrelated factors include economic growth, smallholder agriculture productivity, market access, international trade, social protection programming and timely access to information.
The number of underweight children in Sub-Saharan Africa has declined over the last two decades, while stunting has stagnated and overweight is on the rise among children below five years," Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa.

High performance computing and computational modeling for food security

9 July 2015. Over the last few years a collaborative effort to bolster Africa’s High performance computing (HPC) and networking infrastructure has hit its stride with grassroots and international support. The non-profit organization STEM-Trek is a prominent partner and voice working to facilitate these positive changes.

An article by STEM-Trek founder and longtime HPC community member Elizabeth Leake describes the high stakes. At the 2014 Southern African Development Community High Performance Computing (SADC-HPC) Forum meeting, the authors of a white paper titled “Cyberinfrastructure: An urgent need for SADC leadership to address food security in sub-Saharan Africa,” concluded:
“HPC (with related analytics and decision support systems) is critically important for sustaining people, societies and essential ecosystem functions.(...) The short term gains from the development of a  Cyberinfrastructure (CI) in agriculture are likely to be from leveraging and supporting the proliferation of ICTs being used by producers. ICTs directed to agriculture in developing countries typically include wireless telecommunications that provide farmers with decision support, education, and market information and aggregation. While the widespread adoption of ICTs has revolutionized communications among producers, there has been minimal integration of telecommunications and computers, including the necessary enterprise software, middleware, storage, and audio-visual systems which enable users to access, store, transmit, and manipulate information.
The STEM-Trek article notes that 70 percent of southern African citizens rely on agriculture for their income, and the industry is the largest consumer of water, yet African yields have been in sharp decline and nearly 65 percent of the area’s cultivated lands suffer from over-farming, erosion, compaction, or pollution.
  • In the face of these dire challenges, a study conducted by an international team of researchers employed a bio-economic approach to modeling global agricultural futures to show that it is possible to meet future demands given adequate and sustained global investments in agricultural research and development. 
  • On the medical front, computational modeling is key to addressing policy and transportation bottlenecks that hinder community healthcare measures. 
  • And molecular modeling and protein folding techniques are among the most important tools for combatting deadly diseases, such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV.
On 10 November 2015, 16 African computational and domain scientists will travel to the U.S. to attend the annual Supercomputing Conference (SC15). The Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), will host a two-day workshop where participants can roll up their sleeves, working side-by-side with some of the world’s most experienced HPC technicians, and learn more about the use and management of their shared eInfrastructure.

30 November 2015 - 4 December 2015. CSIR ICC, Pretoria, South Africa. CHPC National Meeting 2015, Theme: Towards an integrated cyberinfrastructure.

In 2013, the University of Texas at Austin, U.S. donated the upcycled supercomputer, formerly known as Ranger, to South Africa's Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC). Twenty-four Ranger racks were divided into several stand-alone systems that now reside in institutions in Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and South Africa. Each is interconnected via high-speed national research and education networks (NRENs), and creates a point of presence on an interfederated knowledge network where technicians can help each other as new sites are brought online.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Global Landscapes Forum: the investment case

10 June 2015. London. SciDev. Science Could Spur Growth in Sustainable Industry. Investment bankers and fund managers met with agriculture and forestry researchers, representatives from advocacy groups and government agencies at the Global Landscapes Forum: The Investment Case.

Extracts of the agenda:

Expert Clusters 1 – Removing roadblocks (6 parallel sessions)

Expert Clusters 2 – Scaling up solutions (4 parallel sessions)

Closing Plenary – Towards a roadmap for integrated landscape investments

CIFOR organised the event with partners including the World Bank, US charity The Nature Conservancy and investment bank Credit Suisse. The organisers now aim to draw up a five- to ten-year road map for creating global funds for sustainable spending on landscapes that bring financial, social and environmental returns.

This is due to be presented at the next Global Landscapes Forum alongside the UN’s COP 21 climate conference in Paris, France, in December 2015.
Advocates of a “landscapes” approach are looking for ways to integrate historically disparate expert communities, particularly forestry and agriculture. By orienting strategies and programs around the landscape as a whole — rather than around certain individual features such as forests, farms or carbon sinks — practitioners hope they can arrive at some clearer descriptions and indicators for what “sustainable development” looks like at a larger scale.
“By bridging these boundaries and opening up the conversation you will also find new solutions that you wouldn’t find in the separate, more isolated situation,” Peter Holmgren, director general of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
CIFOR, which has convened the first two editions of the Global Landscapes Forum, sees the platform as an opportunity to find common ground that establishes a cohesive community of participants from environment, development and finance backgrounds.

CIFOR is in the process of assembling a new “Landscapes Fund,” which would aggregate a variety of small loans to farm and forestry projects that meet some common land-use improvement criteria and allow private investors to purchase — and, in theory, profit from — bonds that support those projects.
“Our private sector clients — even our public sector clients — very often find that engagement with communities, with smallholders, is the most difficult part of developing a bankable project,” Rahill said at the forum. “That whole social dimension is incredibly important as we look at expanding investments in landscapes.” Bilal Rahill, World Bank’s director of the environment and natural resources global practice
Daniel Gad, a commercial farmer in Ethiopia, insisted that the onus was on investors to take their
money to those who need it most.
“It may be romantic to see a half-fed ox pulling a 50cm piece of wood in the countryside: that’s a poverty story that won’t go away if we don’t make it go away. The farmer has no capability, no access to finance, no collateral, no education or health benefits to make that change. I keep meeting financiers who tell me they do not know where to put their capital. “I don’t get it. The projects are there. We shouldn’t even be sitting here talking about it. The amount of projects that are credible, bankable projects, sitting in the area that I’m in!” 

Bernard Giraud, a former senior sustainability advisor for the food company Danone (now head of Livelihoods Venture, an organisation that manages investment funds on behalf of corporations intent on making their supply chains more sustainable – all the way to the farm level) gave the example of a sustainable dairy farm project financed by the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming, set up with food company Mars in February. The project involves about 30,000 farmers in Kenya who produce milk whilst trying to keep the impact on the land to a minimum. The milk is then processed locally to make products for Danone.

In his keynote address to the Global Landscape Forum on investment in London, James Cameron, Chairman of the Overseas Development Institute and an investor in sustainable farming in Tanzania himself, said the facts - "reason" - were not enough to achieve transformative change in land use. Language that resonates with all stakholders - "love" - and ways to make it heard - "power" - are just as important, he says.

This presentation by SUCAFINA and Kahawatu was given at a session titled “Sustainable Coffee in Burundi- What can private and private resources achieve together?” at the Global Landscapes Forum: The Investment Case on June 10, 2015.