Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, October 30, 2015

Economic Empowerment of African Women Through Equitable Participation in Agricultural Value Chains

Economic Empowerment of African Women Through Equitable Participation in Agricultural Value Chains
Copyright © African Development Bank 2015
148 pages

The study, jointly commissioned by the Office of the SEOG and the Bank's Department for Agriculture and Agro-industry, identifies opportunities for women in four subsectors including cocoa, coffee, cotton and cassava sectors in Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso and Nigeria, respectively. These sectors account for US $43 billion in production and US $12 billion in export value across the focus countries. "They present opportunities to expand the export market share by improving processing techniques and integrating production into regional and global value chains," the report indicates.

The report says women can seize the opportunities if backed by the right policies, technologies, training, and access to financing. In Côte d'Ivoire, Africa's largest cocoa producer, generating one third of the world's cocoa, land is available, but women do not have the right training and appropriate funding to modernise agricultural systems.

The report highlighted three broad areas for action that could begin to address the specific constraints women face in each focus country:
  • Grow the number of large-scale agribusiness entrepreneurs by providing access to financing and training, and improving regional and global market links.
  • Make sure women are remunerated by setting them up as co-owners, improving productivity, and providing training in core business skills.
  • Increase women’s access to niche markets by producing and marketing women-only products.
This report will help to identify areas that the African Development Bank (AfDB) and its partners could target to empower women economically through agriculture as the Bank implements its Gender Strategy (2014-2018).

12th Africa-Israel Economic Mission

27 - 30 September 2015. Tel-Aviv, Israel. The 12th Africa-Israel Economic Mission brought together a group of African entrepreneurs and leaders.

The programme which was open to existing and potential agribusiness investors in Africa was organised by Belgium-based European Marketing Research Commission (EMRC). The aim, according to the organisers, was firstly to share Israel’s expertise in agriculture, agribusiness, livestock, training and agricultural research, as well as to establish partnerships between public and private African and Israeli entities. Field visits were carried out to sophisticated greenhouses, companies specialising in biotechnology, drip irrigation, seeds and other agricultural inputs, fruits and vegetables packaging, dairy farms and aquaculture.

According to Idit Miller, vice president and managing director, European Marketing Research Commission (EMRC), working sessions were organised to present key projects realised by leading Israeli companies in Africa. Business meetings were organised according to participants’ projects and activities.

Miller further stated that the mission enjoyed the support of Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Department of International Cooperation (MASHAV), Centre for International Agricultural Development (CINADCO), and the Institute of Export and International Cooperation of Israel, as well as private companies.

The Farms of Change: African Smallholders Responding to an Uncertain Climate Future

The Farms of Change
Click here to download
25th September 2015. New York. The Montpellier Panel report ‘The Farms of Change: African Smallholders Responding to an Uncertain Climate Future’ was presented by Agriculture for Impact ahead of the Climate Week.

Africa is already battling against the impacts of climate change. Mean temperatures in Africa will rise faster than the global average, and agricultural losses in the region will amount to 2% to 7% of GDP by 2100. By 2050, hunger and child malnutrition could increase by as much as 20% as a result of climate change, reversing the gains achieved through the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) process whilst jeopardising the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The report calls for donors and government to boost investment, to avoid problems that would have catastrophic results on African development such as major food shortages, increased child malnutrition, unplanned migration, food price hikes and exacerbated poverty.

The report advocates for this funding gap to be met through public and private resources, but allowing local governments to allocate funds according to need. The report analyses the finance options currently available to smallholders from multilateral funding mechanisms, as well as schemes such as carbon markets.
"Change will come from the bottom up as local people take action for themselves," says Ramadjita Tabo, one of the study's authors and head of the West and Central African hub of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Niamey, Niger.
Media Coverage:
21 September 2015. How low-tech farming innovations can make African farmers climate-resilient

The Soils, Food and Healthy Communities project has been teaching agroecological methods in hundreds of Malawian villages over the last fifteen years and the results have been impressive.

Farmers started planting crops that enhance soil fertility such as peanuts, beans and pigeonpea, which provide a food source as well as other benefits such as a source of cash, livestock feed and even fuelwood. Families had improved child nutrition and food security was enhanced as well as land quality. These methods are now expanding to thousands of farmers through the Malawi Farmer to Farmer Agroecology project.

However, Anita and her colleagues face an uphill battle. This year the Malawi government has indicated that overall crop yields will be even lower, by almost one-third, due to drought in the north and floods in the south. Recent reports anticipate severe impacts, particularly on the poor in the next few months. In a country in which the majority of people grow at least half of their own food supply, this news suggests that the coming year will be grim for Anita’s village and many more families across the country.

The most recent climate change studies leave no room for doubt that human activities primarily in the Global North release carbon and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, leading to unprecedented shifts in climate: rising temperatures and consequently increased droughts, floods, unpredictability of precipitation and rising sea levels. A recent study found that Africa contributes about two percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, and that is only based on current emissions, not even taking historical emissions into account.

Africa and Australia working together on biosecurity

23 October 2015. Melbourne, Australia. Fifteen Senior Biosecurity Fellows from Africa have begun an intensive six weeks studying Australia’s globally recognised plant biosecurity system, beginning today with a week-long workshop at AgriBio in Melbourne.

The Fellows are the first members of the Africa Plant Biosecurity network, which aims to improve plant biosecurity and safe trade of agricultural products in ten east and southern African countries; Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The six weeks in Australia will include individual three week placements with a range of State and Federal Governments, and biosecurity research organisations in New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and the ACT. The Fellows will spend some of this time working with their host agencies on priority African plant pest and disease issues.

The Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership is funded by the Australian International Food Security Research Centre (AIFSRC), within the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The program is being delivered by a consortium of PBCRC, ACIAR, CABI, CSIRO and the Crawford Fund.

Improving Fish Post-Harvest Management and Marketing in Malawi and Zambia

Fishing community drawing a map of their fishing area,
Tangatanga fishing village, Senanga , Zambia
25-26 September 2015. Fishing communities are working alongside researchers in Malawi and Zambia to evaluate post-harvest fish processing practices to improve their effectiveness, reduce losses, and promote greater equity among the men and women who work in the fisheries sector.

Working with fishing communities in Barotse and Lake Chilwa, and other partners, the project is analyzing fish value chains, including the differing roles of men and women, to understand how losses occur in fish volume, nutrient content, and economic value.

Research team discussing with fishing community at
Tangatanga fishing village on the banks of Zambezi River, Mongu.
The research team is developing and piloting interventions to reduce these losses, while also addressing issues connected to gender and power. These interventions include improved processing methods, such as paraboiling, solar drying, and kilning. Gender training and behaviour change communication activities will address the gender and social relations in the fisheries value chain. Working with policymakers, the team aims to increase recognition of the importance of fish production and gender equality in national and regional policies.

There is no local market for salted fish in Barotse because people are unaware of the methods for
desalting the fish in order to make it palatable. To address this, one of the groups involved in the project and traders based in local markets are creating awareness of desalting methods in order to develop the local market, and thereby provide a new outlet for fishermen and processors in the area.

One option is to develop packaging for salted fish products which includes desalting instructions;
Heading for field work at 3 locations. CultiAF project
team from Fisheries,World Fish,University of Malawi,NAIS .
another is to hold demonstrations and taste tests in local markets, as well as raising awareness through radio broadcasts. Another group is investigating the use of solar tents made from plastic sheeting. These have the advantage of protecting the fish from dust and flies during the drying process and speeding up the time for fish to dry.

This project is funded by the Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund (CultiAF). It is a CA$15 million joint program of the Australian International Food Security Research Centre of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and Canada’s International Development Research Centre. CultiAF supports research to achieve long-term food security in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Source: CultiAf Press Release 29/09/2015. Southern Africa: Improving Fish Post-Harvest Management and Marketing in Malawi and Zambia

15th September 2015. Addis Ababa. The FAO organised the East Africa Consultation Workshop on improving small-scale fisheries (SSF) in the context of food security and poverty eradication. This event was organized by the FAO Sub-regional Office for Eastern Africa (SFE) in collaboration with FAO HQ Fisheries Division.

The overall objective of the workshop was to facilitate the understanding of the principles of the SSF Guidelines and their application in order to support sustainable small-scale fisheries in the region; and, it is in response to direct demand from the region, and within the evolving framework of a Global Assistance Programme to support the promotion and application of the Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries.

The East Africa Consultation Workshop convenes 45 participants from government officers, civil society representatives, researchers, regional organization representatives and development partners from the countries covered by the FAO Sub-regional Office for Eastern Africa and from Tanzania.

More informations:

Reducing maize-based aflatoxin contamination and exposure in Zimbabwe

Funding: CA$2,055,600
Duration: October 1, 2014 to March 31, 2017

Researchers partner with government and the private sector in Zimbabwe to address the dangers posed by aflatoxins. These naturally occurring toxic substances, produced by fungi on maize, impair development in early childhood and have other important impacts on human health. New storage technologies and community education will be tested to tackle aflatoxin contamination in maize and to reduce human exposure, particularly in young children.

The challenge
In Zimbabwe, testing of harvested maize has revealed high levels of contamination by aflatoxins, natural toxins produced by certain fungi that can infect maize and other crops, both in the field and during storage. Consumption of contaminated grain can affect human health: babies are also at risk through their mother’s breast milk. In young children, aflatoxins can cause stunting, poor cognitive development, and greater susceptibility to infectious diseases. And while various technologies have been developed to reduce post-harvest losses, their effectiveness in reducing aflatoxin contamination in grain and exposure in humans is poorly understood.

The research
The project is investigating the efficacy of two storage technologies in reducing maize grain contamination. Working in the Makoni and Shamva districts of Zimbabwe, selected households will be assigned to either an intervention group or a control group. Intervention households will receive air-tight metal storage silos or thick plastic ‘super bags’ in which to store their grain. The control households will continue using traditional storage techniques. Researchers will assess the extent of aflatoxin contamination in grain stored by both groups and levels of exposure in mothers and children. If found to be effective, the metal silos and super bags will be provided to all the farmers in the study.

Once trained, male and female artisans will make metal silos and other private sector partners will increase the availability of improved grain storage containers. Researchers will work with the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders to promote the technologies. Currently there are no stringent monitoring programs or regulations governing the presence of aflatoxins in food products in Zimbabwe: the research will inform the development of such procedures and regulations as a matter of priority.

Expected outcomes
  • increased adoption of innovative grain storage technologies by smallholder farmers
  • reduced aflatoxin contamination in stored grain through improved storage practices
  • reduced exposure of infants, women of child bearing age, and others to aflatoxins
  • improved capacity of local artisans and agro-dealers to supply storage technologies
  • increased awareness of government stakeholders, non-governmental organizations, and donors in Zimbabwe of the importance of effective aflatoxin management
Implementing partners
University of Zimbabwe, Contact Loveness Nyanga:
Action Contre la Faim, Zimbabwe, Contact Charlene Ambali:

Other partners
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT); Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development; Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care; local small- and medium-sized enterprises

​​The Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund (CultiAF) is a joint program of the Australian International Food Security Research Centre of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and Canada’s International Development Research Centre. CultiAF supports research to achieve long-term food security in Eastern and Southern Africa.

Nestlé is launching a range of noodles in South Africa

9 October 2015. Nestlé is launching a range of noodles in South Africa containing the indigenous vegetable morogo — the result of a public-private research collaboration that it says resulted in the development of an innovative commercial product.

This is the first time that morogo, also known as amaranthus, has been used on an industrial basis, Nestlé said in a press release. The company’s long-term stated goal is to help farmers boost their income by producing morogo on a commercial scale.

Morogo, the Tswana word for vegetables, refers to a group of dark green leafy vegetables found throughout Southern Africa. It’s also known as wild or African spinach and used to prepare traditional South African dishes, according to Taste.
  • Various leafy greens including cleome, cow pea and amaranthus were assessed by Nestlé and the research team for nutrient bioavailability during digestion.
  • After conducting research and consumer studies, amaranthus was ultimately chosen.
  • The development of the new product, packaged under the Maggi label, is the result of a three-year collaboration between the Switzerland-based food giant — the largest food company in the world by revenue — the South African Department of Science and Technology and the country’s Agricultural Research Council.
  • They agreed to research the potential of South Africa’s traditional leafy greens for possible use in food and nutraceuticals.

Rhoda Peace Tumusiime's Autobiography

20 October 2015. Uganda - Since joining the African Union Commission, Rhoda Peace Tumusiime has championed the agricultural development of Africa. At present she is the commissioner for rural economy and agriculture, continuing to make great strides in her nation's growth and development.

In her recently released book titled "My Life's Footprints: Rhoda Peace Tumusiime's Autobiography" (published by Xlibris UK), Tumusiime looks back to the journey that brought her where she is today: a place of gratitude, commitment and social-consciousness.

Tumusiime grew up in a remote village in Uganda. Her family had marginal resources and girls in her society had limited opportunities; in fact it was common practice for girls to be married off at a tender age. In spite of these harsh realities, Tumusiime was determined to do something more. She shares her story in detail in her book, describing her early life, experiences in the African Union and her becoming elected as commissioner; a position which has given her the opportunity to give back and do more for her country.

"My Life's Footprints: Rhoda Peace Tumusiime's Autobiography" is a powerful true story of a girl who dared to dream. Above all, it is triumphant testament of the indomitable human spirit.

4th African Food and Nutrition Forum

27-29 October 2015. Addis Ababa. The 4th African Food and Nutrition Forum. Themed, “Global Response for Sustainable Food System in the Post Millennium Development Goal Era: Implication to Health, Nutrition and Food Security”, the forum designed to strengthen AFNF’s support in the formulation and implementation of evidence-based food and nutrition policies, and thereby contributes to the well being of its fellow citizens.

The forum has featured paper as well as poster presentations followed by interactive discussions on issues pertinent to food and nutrition security, in the face of climate change, agriculture, food safety and scientific innovation for sustainable food production. Further, the forum has staged presentations and deliberations on gender focused multi-sectoral and integrated nutrition strategy, policies and strategies and scaling up nutrition.

Food Science and Nutrition, one of the centers at Addis Ababa University, is tasked to offer postgraduate training leading to MSc. and PhD, conduct researches, provide community services and support the overall need of the country towards poverty reduction and sustainable development. Hosting the African Food and Nutrition Forum is one of the ways through which the center can achieve its goals.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Resilience research and innovation

26-28 October 2015. Djibouti. The Resilience, Research and Innovation (RRI) Conference was an initiative to review the role that research and innovations can play in guiding and enhancing the interventions aimed at building resilience to drought and other shocks and stresses.

The conference organized by the Ministry of Higher Education & Research of Djibouti took stock of the research involvement towards building resilience for the population of Arid and Semi-Arid Lands as well as to analyze and discuss some of the key challenges, innovations and research experiences, with the ultimate view of making resilience a true vector of development.

Final Agenda of the Conference RRI is available here.
Consult here the presentation note in French and in English.

India-Africa conclave discusses agri cooperation

26-30 October 2015. New Delhi. A five-day India-Africa conclave took place in India to deliberate on the need for greater cooperation in agriculture and agro-processing, which would have a positive impact on the food security situation in Africa and India.

The third India-Africa Forum Summit, which is the largest gatherings of African nations outside the continent, is being attended by all the 54 African countries. About 40 African presidents and prime ministers participated in the event along with several ministers and other dignitaries. The two previous India-Africa Forum summits were held in 2008 in New Delhi and in 2011 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It is the first time that an international summit on such a scale is being held in India, after the Non-Aligned Summit in 1983; the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in the same year saw the participation of 42 countries.

While the meeting between the heads of the government and states took place on October 29, it was preceded by rounds of interactions between the ministers and the senior officials.

India has been extending support for the development of cotton sector in the Cotton Four (C-4) countries (i.e. Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali) and also in Nigeria, Uganda and Malawi where India is providing cotton technical
assistance, support and cooperation India has already a well-established national research system, seed sector and testing laboratories in place.

In this scenario, an enhanced Africa-India STI cooperation can play a significant role in facilitating African countries for building R and D infrastructure, working out necessary Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs), sharing successful mutual practices and expertise, and supplying appropriate planting materials.

India has already provided better sugarcane germplasm to Ethopia for higher yields.

Many business enterprises such as Jain Irrigation, Karuturi Global, Kirloskar Brothers, Ruchi Soya and Renuka Sugars have established presence in several countries in farm and related sectors. In addition, several new players such as Yes Bank and McLeod Russel are making forays into the agriculture sector in the continent.

The Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India has been entrusted with the capacity building of African countries through Agricultural education of African students in different Agricultural Universities/ Deemed Universities of Indian Council of Agricultural Research. In accordance, the students from Africa are being admitted in Indian Agricultural Universities for M. Sc. and Ph. D. programmes.

This initiative has received very good response from the African students; 49 students got admission for various courses during the first year of its launch in 2010 itself and 57 in the second year. Further, various training programmes were also organised in India under IAFS-I for capacity building of African scientists.

DARE has also been entrusted to establish some centres in the Africa such as
  1. Soil, Water and Tissue Testing Laboratories; 
  2. Farm Science Centres; and 
  3. Agricultural Seed Production-cum-Demonstration Centres. 
The work relating to establishment of these centres have been taken up with the Ministry of External Affairs. Many countries in Africa have identified locations, building, etc. for the projects and some countries have already been visited by experts from India to study the existing infrastructure

India-Africa Fellowship Programme
To support theagriculturalhuman resource development in Africa, Government of India has implemented placements for 300 fellowships (75 per yeari.e. 50 Masters and 25 Ph.D.) to be provided for 4 years (2010-14) for students/faculty/professionals of African continent. The Fellowship programme started in the year 2010-11. The outcome of the programme is as follows:
  • A total of 195 candidates (119 Master's and 76 Ph.D.) have joined higher degree programme, at various Indian Agriculture University/Deemed University/research Institutes.
  • Out of 195 candidates, 78 Master's and 27 Ph.D. students have successfully completed their programme.
  • Maximum enrolments of candidates under the scheme are from the countries: Nigeria, Ethiopia and Sudan.
  • Gender wise breaks up shows participation of 162 Males and 33 females under India Africa Fellowship Scheme.
  • Enrolment of Tanzanian females is more than males in Masters’ programme.
  • Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi and Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) Coimbatore hosted maximum number of African candidates to pursue higher degree programmes.
  • Discipline Agricultural Economics has been the major area of interest by Africans.
The India-Africa Fellowship programme under IAFS I has been running successfully and it is believed that Indian government shall very soon implement a renewal of the India-Africa Fellowship Programme.

DARE also organised a meeting of H.E. the Ambassadors/High Commissioners of African countries in India on the 15th September, 2015 in India, where several aspects of cooperation in agricultural sectors were discussed, including modalities for implementing the projects proposed under IAFS and facilitating more and better opportunities for African students studying in India.

India-Africa trade: Continuous sunshine | October 2015 
- Author(s): ASSOCHAM-TARI (File size: 4.75 MB)

Key Future Potential related to agriculture in Africa:
  • India has a golden opportunity to initiate partnerships with African nations in agriculture where it can benefit from the increased African output while contributing positively to Africa in terms of technical assistance, skill building, and research and development in agriculture. Africa will benefit in terms of increased output by using idle capacity, mainly unused arable land.
  • Food and beverage spending is projected to expand the most in absolute terms, compared to any other consumer good category. However, with continuous development usually the spending pattern shifts towards higher quality goods. If consumption actually rises along with an increase in household income at the current rate then rapid increases are expected in retail banking, telecom and housing.
  • Partnership in agriculture: While India can help Africa in agricultural capacity building, Africa can help India in ensuring future food security.
  • A sizeable section of African diaspora is present in India – in the form of students, diplomats, workers of different governments of Africa and tourists. African companies can easily export African processed food to cater to this population. Urban India is increasingly showing tendencies to consume foods of different continents, and therefore food and agro-based exports from Africa have a potential market in India. Indian and respective agricultural ministries of African countries should have an active cooperation for such exports of African foods and agro-based products.
Cover for 
Will Africa Feed China?
    Will Africa Feed China?

  • Overturns conventional wisdom about the "Chinese land grab" panic 
  • Presents important new research and conclusions on a subject that has vast implications for the future of global stability 
  • Written by one of the world's leading experts on China and Africa

Africa climate change and sustainable development

26-27 October 2015. Zimbabwe.The African Youth Initiative Climate Change (AYICC) convened its first edition of the African Youth Conference on Climate Change (AfriYOCC) on the Theme: ‘’African Youth Responses to Climate Change and Food Security, Action from the Frontline’’. The event was held as a Pre-Youth Event of the Climate Change and Development Conference (CCDA V) organized by the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC), from the 28 to 30 October 2015 .

The conference focused on the following thematic areas:
  1. Youth in Agribusiness
  2. Climate Change and Development in Africa
  3. Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security
  4. Green Economy and Technology
  5. Climate Justice and Human Rights
  6. Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction
Key outcomes of AfriYOCC are:
  • African Youth Position on COP21, 
  • Best Practice Handbook on Youth Responses to Climate Change in Africa, 
  • African Artists Unite for Climate Justice 
  • and African Youth in Agribusiness Initiative (YFARM). 
Partners: PACJA,, ACPC-UNECA, AUC Youth Division, ZUNA, Action/ and AAPI. 
AfriYOCC 2016 will be in Nairobi-Kenya in commemoration of the 10yrs Anniversary of the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC)

28 to 30 October 2015. Climate Change and Development Conference (CCDA V) This year's conference theme is "Africa, climate change and sustainable development: what is at stake at Paris and beyond?

CCDA-V will review the application of the principles of the UNFCCC with a particular emphasis on the implications of the principles for equity. This is an opportune moment to engage the African continent and the world in such a review. The review will bring together reflections on the African climate change experiences thus far, and seek to inform the Paris framework on African perspectives. The reflections will also set the basis for developing climate sensitive development policies and processes in Africa in the post Paris period.

Specifically, CCDA-V will have following objectives:
  • Deepen understanding of the role of climate data, information services and climate knowledge in development planning and climate proofing Africa’s economic development processes;
  • Share experiences and deepen understanding of climate trends and the impacts of climate change in key development sectors in Africa, and the implications of these experiences for the continent’s sustainable development.
  • Contribute towards the development of common African positions regarding the post Kyoto global climate governance regime.
  • Anticipate the outcomes of Paris and initiate preparations for the implementation of the post Paris, such as the INDCs currently under preparation
  • Build on the recommendations of the Fourth Conference on Climate Change and Development in Africa and the climate research frontiers identified at the 2013 African Climate Conference.
  • Continue to be the main African platform for networking between climate and development stakeholders.
Supported by:

3-5 September 2015. Dar es Salaam. African Climate Talks.

Young Innovators in Agribusiness Competition

4 September 2015. The USAID-supported East Africa Trade and Investment Hub, Syngenta and the Inter Region Economic Network (IREN), have launched the second edition of the agribusiness competition dubbed “Young Innovators in Agribusiness Competition.”

This follows last year’s successful Agribusiness competition that attracted over 800 participants from sub-Saharan Africa. Out of the 35 youth finalists, ten have gone on to win other prizes in the energy and agribusiness sectors; ten have expanded and retained their agro-related enterprises and 15 are employed or pursuing higher education.

This year’s competition is open to East African youth aged 18-35 years, who reside in the East African Community, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Mauritius or Madagascar, and have a start-up or small and medium sized enterprise (SME) involved in the agricultural value chain.

Deadline for SMEs extended to October 30, 2015

THE 3 ESSAY FINALISTS of AgriBiz4Africa 2014 were:

Nickson Muturi - Kenya
Bites Cassava Millers Ltd.The business idea provides whole meal solution through cassava. It entails diversifying cassava products to increase its production through human food and chicken feed. Mr Muturi is currently supplying 26 poultry farmers with chicken feeds, 1 bakery, 2 hotels, 3 health clinics and 1 early childhood development center. His business idea can be applied to other starch food such as rice, yams, maize, millet and sorghum.

Kevin Muriithi Kithinji - Kenya

‘ACX Solutions’ Dubbed a one Stop Shop Solution for Small Holder Farmers, the business venture provides farmers with proper knowledge and input on how to plant, manage, harvest and package indigenous vegetables as well as link farmers to vegetable markets.The business has the beginner’s kit designed to interest people into farming especially those with small pieces of land and Commercial kit and the enterprise kit designed for those taking farming as a business venture. Mr Kithinji works with 7 farmers, who have bought the project kits. The project has a model farm currently training 10 farmers on monthly basis on how to tap into the indigenous vegetable markets. He is currently developing an online platform which will link farmers to market and consumers to the farmers. This process is replicable to any other exotic vegetables.

Olayiwola Adeyemi - Nigeria
‘Vegetable Snack’ idea is a Ready-to-Eat Vegetable Snacks venture focussing on processing carrots to produce crisps, powder and juice. These products are aimed to promote healthy eating, stimulate consumption, demand and prevent post harvest wastage. Currently working with 4 suppliers from Northern Nigeria, the vegetable snacks alternatives are also possible with leafy green vegetables.

THE 3 VIDEO FINALISTS of AgriBiz4Africa 2014 were:
Larry Kenya - Kenya
3-D Farming - It involves transferring best farming practices to smallholder farmers by uploading successful farming ventures into best practice.

Peter Gachanja - Kenya
The Vegetable ATM - Communication idea focuses on how to earn quick money through vegetable production.

Fatimah Oyiza Ademoh - Nigeria
Youth Agrbiz Training - Message idea focuses on how youth can earn through agriculture while learning.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The European Investment Bank in support of sustainable and inclusive food value chains

27 October 2015. Brussels. Food security has become an increasingly important priority on the global development agenda and the EU Member States have encouraged the EIB to give greater support to this priority in the ACP countries. 

The Lunch time conference showcased how the EIB facilitates access to finance for agricultural and food businesses, from micro-enterprises to large corporates, and it included some concrete project examples, such as FEFISOL, an equity investment in a closed-end microfinance fund providing debt and equity financing to African MFIs and agriculture producer organizations, and an irrigation infrastructure project for smallholder farms in Swaziland.
  • Introduction: Mr Aloys Lorkeers, Policy Officer, DEVCO C1, Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition
  • Presentation: Ms Eva Krampe, Agricultural Economist, EIB
Africa’s first microfinance fund for sustainable farmers was launched in 2011 
First row SIDI (Christian Schmitz) /EIB(VP)/ Alterfin (Diana Banura)
Proparco (Marie-Hélène Loison)/
FEFISOL/sidi or the fund manager (Anne-Sophie Bouguoin)/
FEFISOL/sidi or the fund manager (Silvia Cornacchia)
Second row: SEFEA (Gaetano Giunta)/
Crédit Coopératif (Yael Zlotowski)/
Etimos (Marco Santori)/
NMI (Ulf Linders)/
Fondation Caritas France (Jean Marie Destrée)

21/07/2011 Copyright : EIB Rights Free
FEFISOL Microfinance Fund
The European Solidarity Financing Fund for Africa (“FEFISOL” or the “Fund”), is a specialised rural microfinance Fund created with the aim to provide medium-term financing to rural Microfinance Institutions (“MFIs”) and small producer businesses active in fair trade, organic products and food production
  • The Fund mainly provides debt but also equity and guarantee instruments throughout Africa, including North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Solidarite International pour le Developpement et l’Investissement (SIDI), a French NGO which provides financing and technical assistance to organizations in developing countries, manages FEFISOL, while a Belgian development organization Alterfin and Etimos of Italy provide support for the fund.
  • EIB provided EUR 5 million (USD 7.2 million) for FEFISOL to help develop microfinance operations and small holder organizations in rural Africa and improve access to fair trade and organic export markets. Proparco structured the equity investment of The Investment and Support Fund for Africa (FISEA) for a total consideration of EUR 5.4 million (USD 7.77 million). The Norwegian Microfinance Initiative (NMI) will also make a EUR 1.8 million (USD 2.59 million) investment in the fund along with unspecified amounts from Crédit Coopératif, Societa Europea Finanza Etica ed Alternativa (SEFEA), Développement International Desjardins (DID) and Fondation Caritas France.
  • Results after less than one year (November 2014):  57% of Microfinance final clients are rural and 17% of their portfolio is dedicated to agriculture  3 POs financed for a total of about EUR 1.2 m (about 1/3 of total portfolio) represent altogether about 9,500 small holder suppliers  ECOOKIM in Ivory Coast  ACPCU Uganda  KPD Kenya 
  • Related: EIB’s financing mechanismsin agriculture in Africa (Brussels Policy Briefing n° 39 Global food systems, local impact: the role of agribusiness and development partnerships in advancing African agriculture, Brussels, 25 November 2014
ACP Smallholder Farming / ACP Smallholder Facility: 
  • A joint initiative of EIB and IFAD to support smallholder farming activities in ACP countries 
  • Building on pilot projects carried out by IFAD, with the objective of providing medium to long-term local and foreign currency funding (currently very scarce) 
  • 5-8 countries targeted, including Malawi, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda 
  • Amount: up to EUR 50m 
  • See also: Microfinance for Smallholder Farms (MF4ShF)Concept Note, . This Concept Note (Hervé Busschaert, Feb 2014, 19 pages) sets out the rationale for the European Commission (EC) to include microfinance within its programming for development. It is aimed primarily at Commission staff in Brussels and in Delegations, but it is hoped that it will be of interest to a wider group of partners and stakeholders. It discusses the concept of microfinance for agriculture investment in small farms (MF4SHF),
Study: Financing Opportunities in Agricultural and Food Value Chains in SSA
  • Screening ongoing by GIZ to identify financing opportunities in value chains for EIB 
  • 10 country profiles: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Tanzania, Zambia 
  • Selected criteria: Agricultural relevance, LDC, agriculture/nutrition as focal sector in the NIP 
  • Gap analysis in value chains and relevant counterparts 
  • Potential for co-funding with DEVCO, GIZ et al  
See also: 
Emerging Recommendations for Policy Development (*GIZ/BMZ, 23 pages, draft for the Roundtable on Innovations in Agricultural Finance Antalya, September 9, 2015)

Emerging donors and rising powers in agriculture in ACP countries

We have a problem with the image of Africa
and this needs to change Erich Schaitza, EMBRAPA

27 October 2015. Brussels. The Brussels Briefing on “Emerging donors and rising powers in agriculture in ACP countries” .

The Briefing discussed the key challenges and new opportunities to enhance South-South and Triangular cooperation. The Briefing : i) reviewed successes and the lessons learned from research and practice; ii) promoted the exchange of information on best practices and drivers of success; iii) fed into the debate various perspectives on policy options. It reviewed the key challenges and opportunities in South-South cooperation in agriculture and the lessons learned from research and practice. It looked at examples of successes in South-South and triangular partnerships across the

Introductory remarks: Patrick.I. Gomes, Secretary-General of the ACP Group of States; Bernard Rey, Deputy Head of Unit DEVCO/C1, Food security, rural development, nutrition EuropeAid, European Commission;Jean-Cyril Dagallier, Scientific Directorate, CIRAD; Isolina Boto, Manager, CTA Brussels Office

Panel 1: South-South and triangular cooperation: what do we know?
Jean-Jacques Gabas
This panel reviewed the key challenges and opportunities in South-South cooperation in agriculture and the lessons learned from research and practice.
  • Is there a Chinese cooperation model in agricultural sector in sub Saharan Africa? ; Jean-Jacques Gabas, Senior Researcher, CIRAD [Presentation] [see also at the bottom of this blog post]

    Conditions of trust need to be created between the ACP states, bilateral and multilateral donors and emerging donors: far too many preconceptions on all sides. There is little dialogue or scientific cooperation with national and regional agricultural research centres. We must promote and pursue exchanges between Chinese, African and European researchers. There is a strong growth in the exchange of ideas and knowledge with Chinese researchers, policymakers etc. There are close contacts and porosity, and with numerous think tanks and internationally recognised scientific publications.
  • Cooperation between Brazil and Africa on agriculture : best practices ; Erich Schaitza, Expert, EMBRAPA, Brazil [Presentation]
  • Working with China in the Pacific: prospects for trilateral cooperation ; Denghua Zhang, Researcher, State, Society and Governance in Melanesia Programme, Coral Bell School,
    Paul Thangatta fromEAFF identified issues
    of post harvest losses &and support from India
    Australian National University [Presentation]
  • Triangular cooperation and PPPs : the key role of the private sector ; Jéremy Rubel, Senior Consultant. Gannibal Consulting, France [Presentation]
Panel 2: Best approaches and partnerships in South-South cooperation
This panel looked at examples of successes in South-South and triangular partnerships across the ACP.
  • Food Purchase Programme (PAA) in support of Food and nutrition security ; Vincent Martin, FAO Representative, Senegal [Presentation]
  • Best practices in South-South and triangular cooperation with Mexico ; Carlos Cortés Zea, Expert, Mexico [Presentation]
  • Triangular cooperation in support of conservation agriculture ; Saidi Mkomwa, Executive Secretary, African Conservation Tillage Network, Kenya [Presentation]
  • East-Africa-India cooperation : new opportunities for farmers in ICTs ; Paul Thangatta, EAFF,
    5-7 September Nairobi: a three-day workshop,
    organised by FAO, Ministry of Agriculture and
    Animal Resources (MINAGRI) and the
    Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF),
    was held under the theme;
    “Cultivating Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Culture.”
    The e-Granary is one of our business models
    towards developing sustainable agribusiness with the EAFF.”
    Kenya [Presentation]

    In September 2015, EAFF requested FAO to support 15 leaders and farmers to India. The participants came from Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
    Purpose: Expose leaders of cooperatives/FOs from the Eastern Africa sub-region to success stories/best practices in India, especially on the promotion of agribusiness and agro-industry development strategies and approaches.

    Value Addition Culture: This is the missing link in East African Agriculture. 

    Transparency in milk marketing: farmers get receipts as soon as their milk is electronically tested

    Demand driven R+D available at the grassroots level.
    Visit of EAFF to India: (BAIF Development Research Foundation
    (formerly registered as the Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation),

    Today e-granary is under pilot in Kenya

  • Mary Adzanyo
  • South-South cooperation in the cashew industry in Africa ; Mary Adzanyo, Director Private Sector Development, GIZ, (ACi), Burkina Faso [Presentation]

Monday, October 26, 2015

Dairy business hubs in Tanzania

ILRI Research Brief 56. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.
Rao, E.J.O., Mtimet, N., Twine, E., Baltenweck, I. and Omore, A.O. 2015.

This study sought to determine the types of dairy business hubs smallholder dairy farmers in Tanzania would prefer and need.
  • Working closely with development partners, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has developed an approach to collective action, referred to as a dairy business hub (DBH). 
  • A DBH contractually binds dairy services to a milk buyer, enabling farmers to access milk markets, as well as inputs and services. 
  • The hub model is particularly useful in circumstances in which smallholder producers are scattered and produce low volumes, making it costly for traders/processors, as well as input and business service providers to provide services to farmers.
  • Success depends on the hub’s adaption to the meet constraints faced by the respective smallholder dairy farmers. Current contracts imposed by milk processors, cooperatives or chilling plants may involve clauses, such as lagged payments (monthly or fortnightly) or other quality standards, unattractive to some farmers. Some farmers may also prefer a milk marketing arrangement, accompanied by input and/or service provision to alleviate the onerous capital constraints.
Smallholder Milk Value Addition and Marketing in Kenya
Published on 1 Jul 2015 This video highlights the activities of a project on improving value addition and marketing of milk for smallholders in the East African region. The project is coordinated at the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO) and sponsored by East African Agricultural Productivity Project (EAAPP)

The Sahel and West Africa Week

26-30 October 2015, Expo Milano 2015. The 2015 edition of the Sahel and West Africa Week.

26-27 October: The Sahel and West Africa Club Forum

The Forum brought together representatives of regional organisations, West African governments and OECD countries to discuss the complex challenges of building resilience and improving food and nutrition security in a region that is experiencing profound social and demographic change.

The Week brought together regional organisations, representatives from West African governments and OECD countries, and experts in several events, including a two-day Forum to discuss the impact of on-going transformations on food security and resilience; a special session of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) and a meeting of the Senior Experts Group of the Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR) – Sahel and West Africa.The Week was organised by the Sahel and West Africa Club and its Members and partners, by invitation of the European Union.

More information:
The Sahel and West Africa Forum webcast (Monday, 26 October):
The Sahel and West Africa Forum webcast (Tuesday, 27 October):

29 October: Special session of the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA)
A pioneer in the co-ordination of food and nutrition security initiatives and the only platform of its kind in Africa, the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA) plays a crucial role in improving coherence and dialogue among all actors in the region. This special session of the RPCA will look at the progress made and lessons learned since the creation of the Network 30 years ago, and will feature a screening of the film produced to raise awareness about the RPCA.

30 October: Meeting of the Senior Experts Group (SEG) of the Global Alliance for Resilience (AGIR) – Sahel and West Africa

The Global Alliance for Resilience stands out as a framework which provides a common and inclusive approach to managing and preventing crises not only in the short-term but over many generations. Already 17 countries have adopted the AGIR Regional Roadmap and are committed to developing their own National Resilience Priorities (NRP-AGIR). Stakeholders will be asked to reaffirm their commitment to AGIR through the Milan Declaration which aims to strengthen the co-ordination, coherence and support of the framework.

AfricaRice returns to M'be, Cote d'Ivoire

The 38th meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) was held between September 7 and 10 at M’bé near Bouaké, its main research station in Côte d’Ivoire, for the first time in 12 years following the civil crisis that forced the Center to scale down its activities in that country. The Board meeting – an important signal marking the full return of the Center to Côte d’Ivoire – was warmly welcomed by both the government and traditional authorities. A colorful closing ceremony, attended by the local government administrator of Bouaké, Mr Konin Aka, and an array of community leaders from M’Bé, dressed in their full traditional regalia, expressed their joy on the return of AfricaRice to the community.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Aflatoxin contamination of food and feed

26 October 2015. Brussels. EuropeAid conference: Aflatoxin contamination of food and feed.

The Platform for African European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) organized a Lunch conference to discuss the devastating impacts that poor crop food management (development of mycotoxins such as aflatoxin) has on the nutrition and health of women and children, and the reduced income consequences for farmers.

The role of multi-stakeholder partnerships between Africa and Europe exemplified by the issue of aflatoxin contamination of food and feed.
October 2015, 8 pages

Mr Denis Salord
The Aflatoxin contamination of food and feed requires a development and research policy which translates research outcomes into practical ways which can bridge the gap between (a) research and the development of safe food and feed, and (b) different actors and (c) often parallel, initiatives.
  1. Evidence for a multi-stakeholder approach
  2. The importance of the aflatoxin problem
  3. When PAEPARD consortia address the issue
  4. Research initiatives
  5. Perspectives according to PAEPARD experience
Extract of the policy note:
Mr Remi Kahane
The effect of aflatoxin on animal health has so far been globally a lesser priority than its effect on human health. PAEPARD identified and is helping to bring  stakeholders together to identify the research priorities and questions and do the research together. This has led to the formulation of research proposals around: mobile phone apps on awareness creation and moisture control; the use of binders in feed to reduce waste and give an incentive to farmers for contaminated crops which should be destroyed; biological control measures: in particular the use of 
antagonistic bio control agents in addition to the bio control agent ‘aflasafe™’. Soil fertility is also an interesting entry point. The use of Trichoderma strains or extracts as bio-fertilizer or bioagents also out-competes Aspergius flavius in the soil.
Ms Lynn Brown
Introduction: Mr Denis Salord, Head of Unit DEVCO C7, Thematic programs intra ACP

  • Mr Remi Kahane, CIRAD/AGRINATURA, Deputy Project Manager. Presentation on PAEPARD
  • Ms Lynn Brown, Independent Consultant, Special Adviser to World Bank Vice President for Climate Change; Representative for Global Panel for Agriculture, Food Systems and Nutrition

Further PAEPARD blog post references:

20 October 2015, Rome - FAO and Mars Incorporated, one of the largest global food manufacturers, will work together to achieve better food safety and quality along the food chains especially in developing countries.

The FAO-Mars collaboration will a.o. focus on reducing food safety risks related to mycotoxin contamination. Mycotoxins, toxic substances for humans and animals, can be produced by certain fungi and may be found in all staple crops, such as maize, wheat and sorghum. Limiting the intake of mycotoxins is a critical factor to improve public health and animal health globally.
"This agreement with FAO is very important for Mars and a further example of our mutual way of working and our commitment to open to open and multidisciplinary collaborations. Unsafe food kills thousands of people every day, and damages the economies of developing nations. We are committed to working collaboratively to address food safety in the context of food security. Put simply, we believe if it's not safe it's not food." Dave Crean, Vice President, Corporate Research and Development Mars Inc.
The data and knowledge related to mycotoxin contamination developed by Mars Inc. would be of great benefit in expanding the functionalities of the FAO mycotoxin sampling tool (62 pages, Version 1.1 - updated September 2014) which has already drawn the interest of a number of member countries as well as other UN agencies. See: Mycotoxin Webinar: Part 1Part 2 and Part 3 FAO Mycotoxin Sampling Tool

On 25 September 2015 Mars opened a Global Food Safety Centre in China.
  • A pioneering, $15 million facility, the Mars Global Food Safety Centre aims to raise global food safety standards through pre-competitive research and training.
  • With a global population expected to grow to nine billion by 2050, we have many food safety challenges to solve for ahead of us. The Global Food Safety Centre will leverage insights and expertise from over 60 Mars partnerships, dedicated to innovative, sustainable and responsible food safety practices. These partnerships include the World Food Programme (WFP), the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA), and the IBM/Mars Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain.
  • While approximately 30 Associates will work on food safety research and training at the Mars Global Food Safety Centre, the Company said there will be a variety of sabbatical positions open to academic and regulatory researchers. The facility will house analytical chemistry and microbiology laboratories, interactive training laboratories and a conference auditorium to enhance knowledge sharing as 95% of the pre-competitive research conducted that Mars Global Food Safety Centre will be shared on the public domain.
In February 2015 Mars, Incorporated and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)
already announced a new partnership to provide technical expertise to inform the food safety processes of WFP, and will fund the hire of a new, full-time expert within WFP based in Nairobi, dedicated to food safety. 
  • This new hire will lead the implementation of expanded food safety initiatives in Africa, working with local suppliers to improve procurement of food products. 
  • Mars will use its vast experience in this area to guide this process through workshops, auditing of suppliers and lab analyses.
  • Mars is also supporting the African Union Commission based Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) to help African farmers control aflatoxins in food crops such as peanuts and maize to help reduce health impacts among women and stunting in children. 

In January 2015, Mars established its collaborative food safety platform with IBM Research - the “Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain” - that will investigate how genomics can make food safer - and later this year it will open a new global food safety center in China. Additionally, Mars announced in partnership with UC Davis, a new Innovation Institute that will bring together the right expertise needed for targeted innovation at scale to tackle complex sustainability challenges related to food, agriculture and health.