Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Bana-Bana: le bissap fabriqué et embouteillé au Sénégal

30 juin 2016. Vent de jeunesse sur l’entreprenariat africain. 

Et si la boisson la plus consommée au monde devenait africaine ? Tel est le slogan (et sans doute l'ambition) des fondateurs de Bana-Bana (En wolof, Bana-Bana veut dire « pour moi, pour moi », nom donné aux marchands ambulants des rues au Sénégal), entreprise de production et distribution de jus de fruits fabriqués au Sénégal. 

Il faut aller dans le 18ème arrondissement de Paris pour rencontrer Youssouf et Mamadou Fofana, 55 ans à eux deux. Ces derniers viennent d’ouvrir leur boutique, Les oiseaux migrateurs, qui rassemble leurs premiers projets : Bana-Bana (distribution de Bissap dans un premier temps) et Maison Château rouge (ligne de vêtements en wax). 

Car c’est bien un projet global dans lequel ils se lancent, un projet visant à faire connaître les possibilités du continent africain en les « marketant » correctement. Pour Bana-Bana, le bissap est entièrement fabriqué et embouteillé au Sénégal, en partenariat avec Esteval, dans une usine qui emploie une dizaine de personnes, l’approvisionnement en hibiscus se faisant auprès de 800 femmes de la région de Thiès et Kaolack. Bana-Bana connaît un franc succès notamment par la vente à travers des évènements parisiens, ce qui amène les créateurs à se poser la question de l'augmentation de leur capacité de production.

Selection of Forages for the Tropics – the SoFT Tool

More than the 70% of the total area of agricultural land in developing countries is used for livestock feeding. Worldwide, there are 3.4 billion hectares of grazing land, representing more than a quarter of world land use. Research shows that there is an increasing demand for livestock products. Thus, the need for information on forages for specific climates, soil types, farming systems, and animals is enormously important to mitigate feed shortages and improve natural resource management.

With this in mind, we would like to highlight the most popular tool accessed through CIAT’s website – one that has been chugging along since 2005 with little fanfare, yet receiving approximately 25,000 visitors monthly. Visitors come from universities, development agencies, seed companies, and farms, in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Colombia, and elsewhere. It is open access and easy to use, providing detailed information on about 170 major forage species and the environments they are adapted to.

Tropical Forages: an Interactive Selection Tool, or “SoFT” (Selection of Forages for the Tropics) as it is often called, was developed in response to a problem: some of the best minds in tropical forages research wanted to retire. 
  • The forages community worried that decades of tacit knowledge would be lost. 
  • In 2000, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAFQ), CIAT and ILRI, received funding from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), Germany’s BMZ, and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) to tackle this problem.
  • Between 2000 and 2004, more than fifty forage experts, with widespread knowledge and experience in tropical and sub-tropical forages, were brought together at workshops in Thailand, Australia, Colombia, Ethiopia, Germany, and Vietnam to hammer out selection criteria of accumulated knowledge, and compile both formal research and grey literature in factsheets
  • This effort resulted in the SoFT tool, available both online and via CD-Rom (available in four languages).
  • SoFT enables users to identify forage species suitable for specific climates, soils, and farming systems such as cut and carry, agroforestry, erosion control, beef, and dairy. Users can also view images of the plants and their use, search a database of scientific references with abstracts, and consult a glossary of botanical and management terms.
Plans to update SoFT are in the works – including updated and extended content, mobile capacity, higher speeds, and greater interoperability with complementary sites. For now, JavaScript must be enabled for use. Works best with Internet Explorer.

SoFT may also be accessed through the Tropical Grasslands-Forrajes Tropicales website. Tropical Grasslands-Forrajes Tropicales is a peer-reviewed, Open Access journal published by CIAT.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Taking stock of ten years promoting farmer-led innovation

Prolinnova. 2015.  "Ten years of promoting farmer-led innovation: taking stock of achievements of the Prolinnova Global PartnershipProgramme and network"
Amsterdam: Royal Tropical Institute (KIT).
December 2015. 35 pages

The report provides a synthesis of all findings and information generated through a “stocktaking” process that involved a desk study of Prolinnova documents and evaluation reports, a questionnaire to 40 staff members of international organizations in agricultural research and development (ARD), self-assessment by the Country Platforms (CPs) and backstopping visits to five CPs.

In 2014, the Prolinnova network saw a need to re-strategise in a changing context, and started this process by reviewing the activities it had undertaken and assessing its own functioning. This process of “stocktaking” generated insights into the network’s accomplishments between 2003 and 2013, seen in relation to the financial resources that were available, at both international and country level. The exercise also helped the CPs to re-strategise their work and partnerships for the coming years and to formulate and share lessons, conclusions and recommendations for strengthening global multistakeholder partnerships in ARD within and beyond the network.

Co-funding by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) made this comprehensive self-assessment exercise possible.

Over a decade of experience of promoting farmer-led innovation through the Prolinnova network was showcased at the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD3) on 6–8 April 2016 in Johannesburg. The event wasorganised by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) and hosted by the South African Government and the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa.

Laurens van Veldhuizen presented the Prolinnova network as an example of collective action during the GFAR Partners Assembly. Esther Penunia (in photo), director of the Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Agriculture and member of the ProlinnovaOversight Group (POG), presented pilots in farmer foresighting. During GCARD3, Laurens presented the results of the Prolinnova“stocktaking” exercise. Other Prolinnova network members who took part in the GFAR Partners Assembly and GCARD3 were SonaliBisht (Prolinnova-India) and Ann Waters-Bayer (International Support Team).

The PowerPoint presentation on 10 years of Prolinnova can be found here and the full report "Ten years of promoting farmer-led innovation: taking stock of achievements of the Prolinnova Global Partnership Programme and network" can be found here.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Bringing public and private sector actors closer on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture

20. June 2016. CAAST-Net Plus.

POLICY BRIEF | MAY 2016. Bringing public and private sector actors closer together in the Africa-EU Research and Innovation.

Expectations are high that the brand new research and innovation partnership between Africa and the EU in food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture will make a tangible contribution to the human development priority area of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. For this contribution to be realised in both regions and at scale, much stronger linkages need to be forged between publicly financed R and I actors, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, and large-scale industrial players. How – and how soon – can this goal be achieved? This Policy Brief draws on results of original survey research undertaken by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, Senegal, as part of its involvement in the CAAST-Net Plus project.

POLICY BRIEF | MAY 2016. Potential Instruments for Implementing the EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture

CAAST-Net Plus was tasked by the Bureau of the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) to support the members of the HLPD Bureau’s Working Group 1, South Africa and the United Kingdom, in elaborating a section of the HLPD Expert Working Group’s contribution to a Roadmap for an Africa-EU Research and Innovation Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (‘the Partnership’). Through a desktop review and interviews with key informants, this CAAST-Net Plus report analyses existing EU-Africa R and I projects related to FNSSA and recommends potential instruments for implementing the Partnership over the short-, medium- and long-term.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Are donors pulling back on agriculture research funding?

17 June 2016. DevEx Are donors pulling back on agriculture research funding?

According to a 2014 report published by the International Food Policy Research Institute, Africa invested 0.51 percent of agricultural output in research in 2011, below the African Union’s target of 1 percent or greater. Even then, the bulk of government funding in most sub-Saharan African countries is used for salaries. The cost of launching and maintaining research and development infrastructure equipment draws heavily from donor aid and practitioners are fearful over what happens when that aid dries up. The report points to “extensive” anecdotal evidence that some agriculture-focused agencies in Africa simply cannot survive without foreign donor funding.
“The problem is that there’s a several year lag between the decisions that donors make and the reporting of the consequences of that and by then we’ve locked in impact for some years ahead (...). One of the challenges in agriculture research is that it needs a long-term sustained investment and big amounts of money can be more damaging if they’re not sustained than a small constant contribution. Donors need to do better at providing that continuity and consistency.” Nick Austin, CEO of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
But, it is not just about the money. Small and medium-sized research programs also depend quite heavily on input, partnerships and capacity building from international research organizations such as the CGIAR and ACIAR.
“You’re running into this capacity gap and that gap is going to continue to grow, which is something I would worry about in the new funding scenario (...)  There are big layoffs across the CGIAR system. These people who came in 2008-2010 are suddenly finding themselves without jobs.The projects that started at that time are coming to an end and there’s no renewal of those projects. That gloomy outlook can be partially traced to the fact that food prices have declined and donors are focusing on more immediate priorities. For instance, the European Union, which proactively confronted the world food price crisis of 2007 and 2008 with a 1 billion euro investment, is now shifting increasing amounts of ODA to fragile states and working with refugees.” Prabhu Pingali, founding director of the Tata-Cornell agriculture and nutrition initiative and an agriculture economics professor at Cornell University (and was on the CGIAR Fund council)
As official development assistance stagnates, agriculture researchers are finding that they must welcome other funders to the table and pursue alternative resource mobilization strategies. For example, several middle-income countries have been stepping up their investments in agriculture research, which could be positive for the prospect of sustainability.

Emerging donors are also expanding their agriculture investment activity, potentially helping fill the void left behind by declines in traditional donor spending. Public spending in India, China and Brazil account for one quarter of global investments and half of combined spending in developing countries.

ICT for Future Agriculture

21 - 24 June 2016. Suncheon, South Korea. WCCA·AFITA 2016, with the theme of “ICT for Future Agriculture”, aimed to promote a wide range of ICT researches and developments for agriculture.

Extract of the programme: FORUM : Developing Countries' ICT Forum
  • Digital Finance for Agriculture: Assessing Trends in Developing Countries ▶ Kalenzi Cornelius F (Uganda)
  • ICT Development, Policy and Regulation: The case of Botswana ▶ Meshingo Jack (Botswana
  • ICT in Algeria. Between Facts and Perspectives: What opportunities are there for Agricuture? ▶ Lamia Sekkai (Algeria)
  • ICT and Agriculture in Kenya ▶ Francis Gitau Kinvtnia (Kenya
  • Agro Extension Services : Digital Opportunities for Zambia ▶ Moffat Zulu (Zambia)

Cambridge Conference on Global Food Security 2016

23-24 June 2016. Cambridge, UK. The Conference explored how to translate knowledge into action to secure future food supply, sustainability and equality. It covered the most exciting developments, and identify the most pressing knowledge gaps, across a wide range of different fields, seeking bridges across some of the fault-lines in Global Food Security discourse: 
  1. small-holder farming versus agri-business, 
  2. natural versus social science perspectives, 
  3. grassroots versus top-down solutions and food security versus sovereignty.
  • ‘Agriculture is the backbone of our countries’ - viewpoint from the grassroots (Shadrack Yoash and John Rusoke, Farm Africa)
  • Panel debate: priority research questions and opportunities for impact (Prof Charles Godfray and Dr John Ingram, University of Oxford; Professor Corinna Hawkes, City University; Dr Nigel Poole, ICRISAT; Prof Jiping Sheng, Remnin University)

Dr Nigel Poole, ICRISAT
Stream 1: Food security, sustainability and conservation
  • Where next for agricultural research and extension? (Dr Nigel Poole, ICRISAT)
  • Early warning for building resilience to food crises in Africa (Dr Francois Kayitakare, Joint Research Centre)
Stream 2: Economics, culture and politics of food
  • How production of food crops can help national GDP to grow: case study of Rwanda (Jane Lichtenstein, Centre of Development Studies) 
Plenary session 4: Food justice and food equality
  • The right to food in the Anthropocene: Equality and sustainability in the South African food system (Dr Laura Pereira, Centre for Complex Systems in Transition, Stellenbosch University)

A mini tractor modelled on the motorcycle from Nigeria

22 and 23 June 2016. Gaborone, Botswana. The African Innovation Foundation (AIF) hosted the IPA 2016: Made in Africa awards ceremony and its first ever Innovation Ecosystems Connector.

Prior to the final announcement at a special gala ceremony on 23 June 2016 at the Gaborone International Conference Centre (GICC), the expert panel of IPA deliberated through live pitching sessions and one-on-ones with each nominee to select the top three winners. One nominee related to agriculture:

Femi Odeleye is an automobile designer with more than 18 years of experience in design and engineering from both Africa and Europe. He obtained a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and a BA in Automobile Design from Coventry University, UK. He worked for the automotive industry in the UK before returning to Nigeria to work on the Tryctor.

The Tryctor is Femi's innovation - a mini tractor modelled on the motorcycle. By attaching various farming implements, it can carry out similar operations as a conventional tractor to a smaller scale. Farming for most small scale farmers in the continent is tough, laborious and characterized by low productivity. Small scale farmers are constrained by the costs involved in switching to mechanized agriculture and use of heavy equipment. However, through inspired alterations to a motorcycle's engine, gearing system and chassis, this innovation has made it possible to mechanize agriculture in Africa for small scale farmers in a way that was previously inaccessible.

Additionally, the Tryctor is easy to use and cheaper to maintain as 60% of its parts and components are locally sourced. The IPA judges were captivated by the clever adaptation of a motorized solution that is ubiquitous in Africa, largely for transportation to a solution for mechanized farming for small scale farmers.

Policies against hunger

22 - 24 June 2016. Berlin, Germany. This conference focused on the goal of realizing the human right to
adequate food.

Extract of the programme

Diversification: Beside staples like rice, maize and wheat, an adequate nutrition also needs vegetables, fruit, legumes, oils and animal-based foods. Background paper WG 1: Diversification
  • What science-based approaches exist for increasing
  •  diversification both in what is produced and in what is actually consumed? 
  • What challenges and innovative solutions arise during implementation? 
  • And how can this help to strengthen the resilience of the agricultural sector?
  • Tshilidzi Madzivhandila, Director Policy and Research, FANRPAN – Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network 
  • Katja Kehlenbeck, Expert on neglected underutilized crops, Fachhochschule Rhein-Waal 
    H.E. Amira Daoud Hassan Gornass,
    Committee on World Food Security (CFS)
    and Parlamentarian Peter Bleser,
    Credit::BMEL/Ingo Heine
  • Mamadou Diop, Action Contre La Faim (ACF)
Processing: Food should be convenient to prepare and have a long shelf life without losing its Background paper WG 2: Processing
nutritional value. 
  • What challenges arise from these requirements in respect of processing and preparation particularly in developing countries?
  • How can we ensure that food is nutritionally beneficial, safe and affordable, whether consumers are eating at home or out of home? enges arise from these requirements in respect of processing and preparation particularly in developing countries? 
  • What role does the increasing level of urbanisation play?
  • Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, Research Program Leader, Value Chains and Nutrition, WorldFish, CGIAR, 
  • Rosemonde Touré, Entrepreneur for dried fruits, Burkina Faso 
  • Bendantunguka Tiisekwa, Department of Food Science and Technology, Sokoine University of Agriculture 
The involvement of the BLE
in the field of nutrition
at international level
Flyer (pdf | 179 KB)
Women‘s empowerment: Women account for the majority of the agricultural workforce in developing countries and emerging economies. They are also responsible for the nutrition of children and families. They have to contend with a very high workload and their own nutrition is often neglected. Changes in society take a lot of time. Background paper WG 3: Women's Empowerment
  • Nevertheless, what possibilities exist to strengthen women in their roles here and now and thus ensure better nutrition for everybody? 
  • Salamatou Bagnou, Coordinator of Drylands Development Programme CARE Niger 
  • Babette Wehrmann, Expert on land governance issues 
  • Ramona Ridolfi, Gender Manager at Helen Keller International 
Nutrition education: Nutritional knowledge and skills regarding existing foods, their production, storage, processing and preparation are essential for achieving an adequate nutrition. This is true for both producers and consumers within the whole food system. Background paper WG 4: Nutrition education
  • What form must the nutrition education of caregivers, parents, children, teachers, instructors, trainees and farmers take to ensure that the knowledge acquired is put into practice?
  • Stacia Nordin, Nutrition Education Specialist - Feed the Future Malawi Strengthening Agriculture & Nutrition Extension Services Activity 
  • Bruno Prado, AS-PTA (Assistance and Service for Alternative Agriculture Projects), Brazil 
  • Mohammad Ali Reja, Farmer Nutrition Schools, SPRING, USAID

Conference on Agri-Health Research

Clement Adama from the Univ of Ghana
20-24 June 2016. Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. The first annual Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy was held to facilitate African participation with attendees from around the world and comes just a week after the release of the Global Nutrition Report 2016, which warns that ‘malnutrition and diet are by far the biggest risk factors for the global burden of disease.’

The ANH Academy grew from a commitment to build interdisciplinary capacity and foster a community of researchers working in agriculture and food systems, health and nutrition. Founded by the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH), the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), and the Innovative Metrics and Methods for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) research initiative, the ANH Academy – of which membership is free – facilitates learning and sharing among researchers working at the intersection of agriculture,
nutrition, and health.

The aims of the ANH Academy were to:
  • Share innovative research in agriculture and food systems for improved nutrition and health;
  • Stimulate the development and harmonisation of new research;
  • Help strengthen the capacity of the research community to undertake inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary research;
  • Aisha Twalibu, using value chain approaches
    to improve nutrition in Malawi
  • Facilitate the uptake of robust evidence in policies and programming in agriculture and food systems for improved nutrition and health.
The programme for the ANH Academy Week featured contributions from a diverse array of leading thinkers at the nexus of agriculture, nutrition and health research and policy. Keynote speakers include Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and former Rwandan Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources; Shawn Baker, Director of Nutrition at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Haris Gazdar, Senior Researcher at the Collective for Social Science Research.

The Learning Labs were followed by a three day Scientific Conference on Agri-Health Research.
Daniel Senerwa calculates the substantial economic costs 
of aflatoxin contamination in dairy value chains
Speakers will deliver oral and poster presentations around six major themes:
  • Agriculture and Nutrition Linkages
  • Agriculture and Sustainable Diets
  • Health Impacts of Animal Sourced Foods
  • Women, Households and Nutrition
  • Markets, Value Chains and Nutrition
  • Determinants of Diets and Nutrition
The ANH Academy Week expands on the successful history of the five LCIRAH conferences, as
Poster presentations underway showcasing 
a range of research across ANH themes
well as events and activities by A4NH, and is part of one of three workstreams of IMMANA.
  • A4NH helps realize the potential of agricultural development to deliver gender-equitable health and nutritional benefits to the poor. The program is led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). 
  • The ANH Academy is part of A4NH’s strategy to strengthen the capacity of national and CGIAR researchers and research institutes to conduct high quality agriculture, nutrition and health research through the design and delivery of innovative learning materials and approaches. 
  • The IMMANA research initiative, funded with UKaid from the UK government and coordinated through LCIRAH aims to accelerate the development of a robust scientific evidence base needed to guide changes in global agriculture to feed the world’s population - projected to hit nine billion by 2050 - in a way that is both healthy and sustainable. 
  • Through offering competitive research grants and fellowships for early career scientists, as well as promoting networking in the ANH Academy, IMMANA seeks to strengthen the capacity of young researchers and facilitate international collaboration to stimulate the development, sharing and adapting of new and existing innovative methods and metrics for understanding the critical linkages between agriculture and nutrition.

South Africa Food Forum conference

19-21 June 2016. Johannesburg. Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand. A South Africa Food Forum conference was organised alongside the continent’s largest food and beverage industry trade expo: Africa's Big Seven Food Forum (AB7).

Its seven specialised sectors covered everything from fresh produce and ingredients to manufacturing technologies, processing and packaging equipment, retail ready products, hospitality and catering equipment and much more.

With 300 exhibitors and over 14 thousand buyers from more than 72 countries attending the event, it served as a platform for industry experts to discuss trends, technological developments and challenges that influence business in the sector. The three-day programme offered lively discussions and debates across a range of subjects and provide insight into the industry developments delivered by the most
recognised industry gurus.

Nigeria’s D-Dynamic-D is one of more than 100 African exhibitors at the show and said it targeted retailers and processing companies with produce that it says will appeal to “West Africans around the world”.
Mapula Wanjau
“In addition to raw commodities, including ginger, sesame and hibiscus, we will be displaying processed Nigerian foods such as pounded yam flour, plantain flour and the finely ground ogi/pap flour. We are at AB7 looking to find partners who can benefit from sourcing foods desired by West Africans.” DDD spokesman Ibrahim Bayero. 
Daleen van der Merwe

  • Forward-thinking human capital strategies, Mapula Wanjau, Human Resources Business Lead, South Central and East Africa, Mondelez
  • Consumer insights on the labelling of food products, Prof Daleen van der Merwe, Associate Professor and Research Coordinator: Consumer Sciences, North-West University
  • Economic challenges for primary producers supplying the food chainWessel Lemmer, Senior Economist, AgriBusiness, ABSA. See TV interview with Wessel Lemmer  on CNBC Africa
  • Good Governance Africa (GGA) a pan-African based research and advocacy non-profit organisation presented an open discussion on the theme of Ethics and Doing Business in Africa. The round table discussion will take place during the SAITEX and Africa's Big Seven events and will include topics including: Ethics, Corruption, Relationships, Business enablement

Communications and innovation platforms

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) has been increasingly involved in innovation platforms in recent years. An online course is being created in partnership with several organizations (WUR, IITA, FARA, and others) under the umbrella of the Humidtropics CRP. 
  • When completed later this year, there will be a total of 13 modules in the course 
  • This course draws on the experiences of ILRI and many of its partners.
  • See list below of already online modules 
  • The online course can be accessed at: (it is free but you need to register)
  • POWER AND CONFLICT (module with 7 steps)
  • COMMUNICATIONS (module with 14 steps)
  • THEORY OF CHANGE AND IMPACT PATHWAYS (module with 11 steps)
  • TOOLS FOR REFLEXIVITY (module with 8 steps)
For those who would like to get involved, ILRI created an early draft (in PowerPoint versions) for modules 1-5, which they would greatly appreciate feedback so that they can be revised prior to being developed into online modules.

The drafts can be accessed from the following link:

Published on 23 Jun 2016. Recording of a presentation by Iddo Dror at the SEARCA Forum-workshop on Platforms, Rural Advisory Services, and Knowledge Management: Towards Inclusive and Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development, Los Banos, 17-19 May 2016.

International Food and Agribusiness Management Association conference

19 - 23 June 2016. Denmark. The three major issues at the International Food and Agribusiness
Management Association conference (IFAMA 2016) were:

In the future, we will become increasingly dependent on people with the right work ethic, training, competencies and skills to develop sustainable solutions.
  • How do we identify and overcome the barriers that influence the attractiveness of the food and agribusiness industry to young people in various regions, from elementary school through university?
  • Which educational changes are necessary to enhance the flow of high quality talent into the industry?
Climate change has direct implications for food production, commodity supply and prices, and food security, especially among vulnerable populations in developed and developing countries.
  • How do we define and map the implications of climate change on the food and agribusiness industry?
  • What gaps exist in the climate change knowledge of industry stakeholders, and how do we develop research questions, training and processes to bridge them?

Big data is key to addressing food security challenges and productivity improvements in a future era of resource constraints and climate change.
  • Which research questions would best envision the role of big data in the food and agribusiness industry and define the strategies to exploit it?
  • How do we build alliances to foster opportunities for data sharing that enhance efficiency while leaving room for competition?
  • How should we frame the issues surrounding big data so that privacy risks do not dog other industries?
Finance and sustainability
  • Niels Dijkman, Head Sustainability Corporate Banking ABN AMRO Bank, Netherlands
    (speaker and moderator)
  • Stefano Pascucci, Co-chair Scientific Symposium, Professor in Sustainability and Circular Economy, University of Exeter Business School, UK
  • André Louw Chief Executive Officer and Board Member: Agric Risk Specialist (ARS), Ficksburg, Free State; Honorary Professor: Agricultural Economics, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Food Innovation, HR management and Development
  • John Purchase, CEO Agricultural Business Chamber, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Jaideep Biswas, Vice President, OLAM International, Nigeria
  • W. Scott Hine, Vice President Products & Solutions and Chief Innovation, Novus International, USA
  • Johan van Rooyen, IFAMA President, Professor in Agricultural Economics, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa (moderator)
Food innovation in developing countries
  • Johan van Rooyen, IFAMA President 2015 – 2019, Chairman of IFAMA, Professor in Agricultural Economics, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa (moderator), 
  • P.G. Chengappa, President of the Agricultural Economics Research Association (AERA) and Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR), National Professor at the Institute for Social and Economic Change, India
  • Domenico Dentoni, The Global Centre for Food Systems Innovation, Netherlands
Addressing the opening session of the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA) 2016 conference, meeting in  all this week, Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development said that he believed agriculture policy was “back on the agenda” and that the EU was working hard to deliver on behalf of the industry’s farmers and agri-innovators.
There is €3.6bn (£2.75bn) available at EU level between now and 2020 to fund synergies between agriculture and research, via Horizon 2020 and the European Innovation Partnership for ‘Agricultural Productivity and Sustainability’. Around €64 million of that will be dedicated to precision farming and digital technologies in the agriculture sector under the current Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2016-2017, with €30m being invested in the implementation of an ‘Internet of Things Large Scale Pilot’ on smart farming and food security. There is evidence that the links between research, farmers and industry are still too weak. Too many innovations are still not being transformed into practical tools, and too many research questions from the sector remain unanswered. Agricultural knowledge and innovation systems need to be made more efficient and interactive. And the same goes for food innovation. Farmers and the food industry needed to be empowered to embrace research and innovation, working in collaboration with scientists and investors to generate knowledge from the earliest possible stage.” Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Technology for Transforming Irish Agri-Food and Bioeconomy

22 June 2016. Brussels. Launch of the Teagasc Technology Foresight Report 2035.  The Teagasc Technology Foresight report identifies the key technologies that will shape and influence the farms of 2035. Over 200 national and international scientists, policymakers and industry representatives contributed to the foresight process over the past 18 months to help identify these potentially transformative technologies.

  • Launch of Teagasc Technology Foresight 2035 Report (Mr Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development) 
  • Overview of Teagasc Technology Foresight (Dr Frank O’Mara, Director of Research, Teagasc) 
  • The Role of Foresight in the EU Commission (Dr John Bell, Director, Bioeconomy, Agriculture, Food, Marine, DG- Research and Innovation)
Teagasc Technology Foresight 2035. Final Report [3.6mb]
  • The Teagasc Technology Foresight report provides a comprehensive and well-researched source of evidence for policy decisions relating to future science and technology programmes. 
  • The primary users of the report will be research and policy makers and key players in the industry.
  • This Foresight Report has identified the technology areas which Teagasc will prioritise in its research programmes to support Ireland’s agriculture and food sectors in facing the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. 
  • Without coordination of the full complement of stakeholders, not just the researchers, it will be very difficult to arrive at a system which creates jobs and equitably distributes the gains realised by the new technologies discussed in this Report.
The launch informed key players in research and policy fields about the potential benefits and risks associated with powerful new technologies and support the need for the type of informed decision-making which will be required in the coming years if Europe is to reap the benefits and minimise the risks of highly disruptive technologies in the broad bioeconomy sector. You can see the programme here

Extracts of the report:
Agriculture in particular faces significant challenges in the coming decades not only in Ireland, but in Europe and elsewhere around the world. On the one hand, it must produce more food for a growing, increasingly affluent global population that requires a more diverse, protein-rich diet. But it must also compete for lucrative new markets, while vying for access to increasingly scarce natural resources, preserving biodiversity, water and soil quality, restoring fragile ecosystems and mitigating the effects of climate change. (page 5)

We are beginning to understand how the microbiota of the rumen in livestock has an impact on feed conversion and rate of emission of GHG . We are also beginning to understand how the microbiota of the soil has an impact on issues such as grassland productivity, nutrient cycling and carbon sequestration. These insights will help us improve the performance of the beef and dairy sectors based on better nutritional strategies for livestock and the grasslands they feed on. (page 6)

The beef farm sector continues to be characterised by very large numbers of small producers, some part-time, with comparatively low farm incomes and a very high reliance on direct payments as a source of income. Innovation and technology adoption rates remain low on many small and part-time farms with little incentive to innovate given the high-reliance on direct payments. Improving the productivity and profitability of these farms will be a persistent challenge for both research and knowledge transfer over the next ten to twenty years. (page 10)

‘Smart Agriculture’ technologies are not yet available at commercial scale. According to research by Accenture, applications are currently only partly implemented, if at all, and mainly in developed countries on large farms. The vast majority of smallholders are yet to adopt these technologies. (page 11)

It is clear that the current dependency on chemical protectants is becoming, or indeed has become unsustainable. (...) While seeking to reduce the potential occurrence of chemical residues in water systems-and ultimately in the food chain-is fundamentally logical, it has been predicted that this approach will have a negative impact on crop protection measures, because a reduction in the availability of active chemistries will lead to an overuse of the remaining compounds. Hence, this will drive the evolution of resistance in pest/pathogen/weed populations for the remaining active chemicals. Such a scenario will seriously undermine the viability of several crop systems, if alternative measures of disease mitigation are not identified and integrated into crop rotations. (...) Accordingly, there is an increased need to develop integrated pest control measures that incorporate genetic resistance supported by chemical and/or agronomic interventions. Biotechnology has a crucial role to play in this integrated approach through the use of new techniques of molecular biology and networks of sensors. (page 18)

The growing global population, increasing urbanisation and rising incomes will not only increase the overall global demand for food and agricultural products, but also lead to a greater demand for higher quality and processed food. (...) Aspects such as food safety, quality, traceability and health-promoting properties of food will all become more important as the sustainable lifestyles trend gains
(page 19)

Responsible & sustainable sourcing through Fair Trade

22 June 2016. Brussels. Brussels Development Briefing on “Promoting responsible and sustainable sourcing through Fair Trade". This Briefing was is co-organised by CTA, the European Commission / DEVCO, the ACP Secretariat, CONCORD and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.
Panel 1: Responsible value chains, sustainable sourcing and Fair TradeThis panel provided an overview of sustainable sourcing from a development perspective and the positioning of Fair Trade.
  • Sustainability of supply chains and fair schemes favorable to farmers; Aynur Mammadova, IISD Associate, SSI Team Member
  • Unsustainable sourcing: facts and figures; Dr. Adrian de Groot Ruiz, Executive Director, True Price
  • The Fair Trade market and consumers’ choice contribution to sustainable sourcing; Lily Deforce, Director, Fairtrade Belgium
  • Supermarket sourcing Fair Trade; Rosita Zilli, Deputy Secretary – General, Eurocoop

Panel 2: Scaling up successes in sustainable sourcing and Fair TradeThis panel looked at specific examples of successful businesses and PPPs in support of sustainable sourcing.
  • Fair Trade: a farmer’s led movement; Marike De Peña, Chair of Fairtrade International and Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Small Producer Organizations (CLAC)
  • Case study from the Fair Trade in the field; Abel Fernández CONACADO Commercial Manager, Dominican Republic
  • Example of B2B sourcing in Fair Trade; Frank Okyere, Kuapa Kokoo environmental and extension manager Fairtrade programme, Ghana + Charlotte Borger, Communications Director, Divine Chocolate, (UK)
  • Example of a PPP promoting sustainable sourcing through Fair Trade; Fredrick Masinde, Business Development Manager, Undugu Fair Trade, Kenya

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Innovation systems for food security and nutrition

21 June 2016. Rome. the TAP Secretariat organized a half-day symposium to discuss the findings of an e-conference which was held online from 18 April to 13 May 2016. This symposium also discussed capacity development for improving human nutrition and health.

The event was live streamed in three languages (English, French and Spanish).The link will be active until almost 1 year after the Symposium.

Background documents:
For AIS to perform effectively, four plus one key capacities are required; these capacities are discussed in detail in the document Capacity for Change – Common Framework on Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems:
  • Capacity to Navigate Complexity
  • Capacity to Collaborate
  • Capacity to Reflect and Learn
  • Capacity to Engage in Strategic and Political Processes
These four capacities are the core of an overarching “Capacity to Adapt and Respond in order to Realize the Potential of Innovation”, shifting focus from reactive problem solving to co-creating the future. This requires facilitative leadership to enable all of the above to happen.

Increasing use is being made of innovation platforms, which are set up to facilitate various activities around identified agricultural innovation challenges and opportunities at individual and organizational level. 
  • How can the best structure and size of an innovation platform be determined in a particular project? 
  • Involving more actors can potentially increase the resources that can be tapped, but at the same time increases the difficulties of implementing collective action.
Documentation and knowledge management are a core issue in CD for AIS. 
  • Considering that the AIS approach is a decentralized process and encompasses several dimensions, the task of identifying, capturing, evaluating and sharing relevant knowledge among stakeholders is much more complex than in traditional knowledge management approaches. 
  • Two particular important issues are what knowledge should be kept and who should keep it. 
  • These issues are related to the value of non-scientific knowledge (including procedures that adequately capture local knowledge), intellectual property rights and power within each innovation process.
The Framework proposes a cycle of five stages for implementing CD for AIS.
  1. Stage 1. Galvanizing commitment
  2. Stage 2. Visioning
  3. Stage 3. Capacity Needs Assessment at the FSN-AIS level
  4. Stage 4. CD Strategy Development and Action Plan
  5. Stage 5. Implementation
Given the importance of skilled facilitators in the CD process, it is vital that the process described by the cycle is accompanied by the identification and strengthening of individuals and organizations that can act as effective agents of change. They can be extension services, private consulting firms, university departments, capacity building organizations or NGOs.

Answers to the questions of the e-conference
The full summaries of the e-conference are available per week:
Which policies or instruments would be effective for developing capacities of food security and nutrition-sensitive Agricultural Innovation System (FSN-AIS) at the organizational and systems levels?
  • Contributions to this questions emphasized the role of education and training programs, starting from youngsters, head of households, to agricultural professionals and policy makers.
Once the capacities have been developed, how can they be kept strong despite changes in management and staff turnover? Could you mention cases where capacities were successfully built and kept for at least five years? What were the factors for success?
  • Improve the capacity of policy makers (including donors) and research managers on AIS and its complexity
  • Help researchers to work within an innovation systems perspective
  • All national, state or local public organizations related to the sector must be trained on the AIS new focus (Food security and nutrition)
The concept “institution” comprises a number of formal and informal ‘rules of the game’, including relationships between organizations, regulations and behaviours. Which are the most essential institutions that should be strengthened to foster innovation in FSN-Agricultural Innovation Systems and why?
  • Local organizations are often not included in capacity development activities, which creates problems when implementation is decentralized. The private sector should also be included in capacity development activities.
  • It is important to make sure that innovation activities and capacity development projects in particular are not captured by elites
Which initiatives for developing capacities for FSN-Agricultural Innovation Systems are being implemented or planned in the country where your activities are devoted to the achievement of SDGs 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being) and 12 (responsible consumption and production)?
  • The survey is not mentioning an African initiative
Which indicators would be relevant to measure improvement of capacities that support collective learning and adaptation in food security and nutrition-sensitive initiatives?
  • The discussion highlighted how difficult it has been to find appropriate indicators of capacity development for FSN-AIS. One of the main causes of this difficulty is that indicators serve specific purposes and have meaning within specific conceptual frameworks (in other words, theories of change); therefore, different goals and different theories of change would indicate different indicators for the same process or intervention.
Till recently nutrition problems in low and middle income countries were characterised mainly by undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. An additional form of malnutrition is now present in the same communities: obesity. How can the framework for capacity development for FSN- Agricultural Innovation Systems be adapted to address the more complex nature of food security and nutrition issues?
  • The following interventions to improve food security and nutrition were mentioned: education, campaigns to raise awareness about nutrition and lifestyles, involvement of nutritionists in agricultural projects and extension, and promoting urban agriculture. Awareness raising for nutrition can be done through for example peer-peer meetings and gatherings, and even more current and yet still poorly exploited, through mobile applications.
When implementing the framework for capacity development for FSN-sensitive Agricultural Innovation Systems, how can the needs of often voiceless actors (e.g., small farmers, young people or female-led households) be incorporated and addressed?
  • Elicit the needs of marginalized actors and open new opportunities for them.
Schut, M., L. Klerkx and C. Leeuwis, 2015
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Wageningen
University, November 2015, pp.140.

RAAIS facilitates the analysis of
  1. interactions between different dimensions, levels and stakeholder dynamics of complex agricultural problems,
  2. innovation capacity in agrifood systems and 
  3. the existence and performance of the agricultural innovation system.
RAAIS can thereby provide specific Entry Points for innovation to address concrete problems experienced by farmers and other agripreneurs in a specific locality, but it can also provide more generic Entry Points for innovation to address constraints faced by policymakers and other scaling actors at higher levels.

Farmer to Farmer Extension: international learning event

14 – 17 June 2016. Kigali – Rwanda. In this event professionals actively involved in farmer to farmer extension systems learn more about “Twigire Muhinzi”. The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) organized this event in collaboration with the Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC), and Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) with support from One Acre Fund/Tubura, World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), Swiss Cooperation, EU and African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS).

The Rwandan Twigire Muhinzi extension model, a home-grown extension model operating in all Rwandan villages, was taken as a case study for in depth analysis. Around 350 national and international participants got a better understanding of how Twigire Muhinzi works and what its success factors are. Participants included government staff working in extension as well as staff of various organizations such as NGOs, Development partners, universities, private sector, and farmers’ organizations, among others. 
  • Twigire Muhinzi is the home-grown decentralized, farmer-oriented national agricultural extension and advisory services delivery model of the Rwanda government.
  • Twigire Muhinzi extension model combines two different kinds of Farmer to Farmer Extension approaches: Farmer Promoters (FP) with demonstration plots and Farmer Field Schools (FFS) with experimental plots.
  • The idea is that if one farmer in a village is empowered with better skills to improve his yield, neighbors too will learn from him or her. Thus the Farmer Promoters program was born, with the motto, “Seeing is Believing”. At the same time, it was recognized that farmers also need to get in depth knowledge to understand why certain technologies work better than others. And so the Farmer Field Schools (FFS) Approach was born, with the tagline “The plant is the teacher”.
  • Twigire Muhinzi has front line extension agents comprising 14,200 Farmer Promoters (one in each village) and 2,500 FFS facilitators who have been recruited from local communities and work on voluntary basis. Thanks to this model, the access to advisory services in Rwanda has increased from 32% in 2012 to 69% in 2015.The Facilitators are farmers who got an intense training to become a facilitator. They facilitate the knowledge transfer between the plant and the group members, because it’s the plant who is the teacher
  • There are now more than 14.600 farmer promoters who are trained by Farmer Field School Facilitators. Their role is to invite farmers to the village demo plot 3 times per season and to give them an easy access to inputs (seeds, fertilizers, etc.)
  • This extension model is enabling farmers to increase agricultural productivity significantly and those reached by Farmer promoters experience more than 12% increase in yields while those reached by the FFS approach benefit more than 37% increase in yields.
  • On the international scene, FFS program in Rwanda was among the 10 Finalists for the global prestigious DAC Prize 2015 for taking development innovation to scale. 
The 4-day event was kicked off with an exciting opening show featuring videos, interview, debates and live performances. It also featured an interactive workshop about all kinds of Farmer to Farmer extension and in-depth field experiences to give participants the opportunity to observe and analyze the model. Participants were invited to present their own experiences and results in a structured manner. The event combine several activities that provide a different kind of experience from what you usually get at a conference. Among the activities were a TV Talkshow and Debate, interactive workshops and Plug and Play sessions focusing on related ICT.
“We hope that the event will trigger participants to reflect on their own experiences working with farmer to farmer extension in their countries leading to self-discovery of what is applicable for their own context,” explains Dr Gerardine Mukeshimana, the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources. “For us and partners, this will be a moment of learning, reflection and shaping Twigire Muhinzi to deliver better.” The minister expressed gratitude to the Belgian government not only for the support extended in the process of developing the decentralised extension system but also for the overall success achieved in the country's strategic plan for agriculture transformation.
"The results are impressive. Production is higher and income is higher too. The results are not only economic but also social. I am happy to see how farmers were trained to be facilitators and later on became professional service providers. When we talk about investment in the private sector, this is a good example because it is not only about building factories but it is also about investing in people to become more productive," Arnout Pauwels, the Belgian Ambassador to Rwanda
Recent Documents
Innovative and successful Farmer Field Schools experiences in Rwanda. Interview avec Jean-Pierre Busogoro, Conseiller technique Recherche et Vulgarisation, CTB Rwanda. Il évoque les principaux résultats obtenus depuis la mise en place du système en 2009.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Side event of PAEPARD the 7th African Agriculture Science Week

13 - 14 June 2016. Kigali, Rwanda. The management and partners of the Platform for African European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) organized a side event @ the 7th AASW (African Agriculture Science Week) on– "Brokering the African-European multi-stakeholder partnerships in ARD: role of SMEs"

  • To learn lessons drawn from a trajectory going through two calls for Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) proposals involving multi stakeholder consortia, the Users’ led process (ULP: research led by regional farmer organizations and the private sector) and the use of instruments like a Competitive Research Fund (CRF), an Incentives Fund (IF), a communication and an advocacy strategy;
  • To discuss opportunities and challenges of engaging Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) in multi-stakeholder partnerships;
  • To raise the visibility of PAEPARD, the European Commission (EC) and all PAEPARD partners during the 7th AASW. 

This event led to a better knowledge of PAEPARD by ARD stakeholders participating in the AASW. Ideas were collected from participants to help in the implementation of the project and feed in the capitalization workshop which is planned at the end of the project.

The event offered an opportunity to nurture new partnerships for consortia and ULPs for their sustainability after PAEPARD.

The Management Team of PAEPARD also decided that until the end of the PAEPARD project (end of 2017) a 3 monthly bulletin will be circulated with the highlights of the lessons learned by PAEPARD consortia.


Extensive livestock in East Africa. East Africa farmers’ federation (EAFF)

Urban agriculture in Central Africa. 
Plateforme régionale paysanne de l’Afrique Centrale (PROPAC) 

Rice value chain in West-Africa. 
Réseau des organisations paysannes et des producteurs agricoles de l’Afrique de l’ouest (ROPPA)

Groundnut value chain in Malawi and Zambia. 
Food Agriculture Natural Resources Policy Network (FANRPAN)

Mango waste in West-Africa. 
Comité de Liaison Europe-Afrique-Caraïbes-Pacifique pour la promotion des exportations horticoles (COLEACP)

Presentations by PAEPARD supported Consortia:

Seed Potatoes, Burundi 

Indigenous vegetables Uganda

Control of Angular Leaf Spot in Ghana 

Poultry feeding production in Nigeria 

Red pepper in Togo 

Trichoderma in Burkina Faso 

Soy-bean Milk and Soy-bean Afitin in Benin 

A cette Septième Semaine de Sciences Agricoles en Afrique (#AASW7), la transformation du soja en différents produits est l’une des réponses à la promotion des légumineuses pour une meilleure nutrition et l’amélioration des moyens de subsistances des populations. Ainsi, plusieurs résultats issus de la recherche sont utilisés pour le développement et la valorisation des dérivés du soja surtout au Bénin. Pour Patrice Sewadé, agro-industriel, et Coordonnateur de l’Association Sojagnon au Bénin, le soja représente une partie essentielle de la base alimentaire de nombreuses populations. En plus de sa valeur nutritionnelle, le soja présente des qualités requises pour contribuer à la réduction de la pauvreté, améliorer la nutrition des ménages et renforcer la durabilité des exploitations agricoles. En plus, “Le soja améliore la fertilité des sols et présente une adéquation avec l’agro-industrie dans la production d’huile végétale et d’aliments pour les animaux et de nombreux produits issus de la transformation artisanale pour enrichir l’alimentation en protéine”, a-t-il expliqué lors de la visite de son stand à l’exposition des produits au cours de la conférence.