Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Africa’s Climate: Helping decision-makers make sense of climate information

30 November 2016. Africa’s Climate: Helping decision-makers make sense of climate information is the first major programme-wide report to emerge from Future Climate for Africa (FCFA). FCFA comprises five major research projects to develop better climate information for Africa and to test how the new information could be used in decision-making, with potential benefit for millions of affected Africans.

The report is available in the form of a digibook:

Key findings in Africa’s Climate report:
  • Climate modelling indicates that east Africa is expected to warm in the next five to 40 years, although changes in rainfall are much less certain.
  • Extreme events (floods, droughts, heatwaves, and so on) are expected to change and, in most cases, increase into the future.
  • The region is severely understudied, because of a lack of scientific observation data, such as that from weather stations
  • Southern African economies are exposed to weather and climate vulnerabilities, particularly through sectors such as agriculture, energy, and water management. It follows that the supply of essential resources are all extremely at risk as the climate becomes more changeable and extreme.
  • Most government departments are planning according to a three- to five-year time horizon, while the climate projections are based on decades-longer timeframes, such as looking to 2050 and beyond.
  • Applying past data to the future, which is also used by other ministries, is potentially problematic as it assumes that the future climate will mirror the past, which may not be the case for projected climate change.
  • Although there is uncertainty associated with the future climate projections, climate change will have significant economic impacts across Africa.
  • Future climate change is likely to lead to new risks: the negative impacts seen from today’s climate variability are likely to become worse.
  • While there is often uncertainty in climate projections, this should not be a reason for inaction.
FCFA’s Coordination, Capacity Development and Knowledge Exchange unit is based with the Climate and Development Knowledge Network in Cape Town, South Africa.

IFAD Rural Development Report 2016

The 2016 Rural Development Report of IFAD focuses on inclusive rural transformation as a central element of the global efforts to eliminate poverty and hunger, and build inclusive and sustainable societies for all.

It analyses global, regional and national pathways of rural transformation, and suggests four categories into which most countries and regions fall, each with distinct objectives for rural development strategies to promote inclusive rural transformation: to adapt, to amplify, to accelerate, and a combination of them.

The report presents policy and programme implications in various regions and thematic areas of intervention, based on both rigorous analysis and IFAD’s 40 years of experience investing in rural people and enabling inclusive and sustainable transformation of rural areas.

Browse the report online now.

If rural transformation is essential to the development process, why have some countries been able to transform and to reduce poverty faster than others? The answer to that question is not only key to focus global efforts on eliminating poverty and hunger and to reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, but to inclusively and sustainably transform rural areas.

This report provides a thorough analysis of this complex picture and seeks to answer three key questions:
  • What are the different pathways of structural and rural transformation in developing countries?
  • How do the different pathways affect rural poverty reduction and social and economic inclusion?
  • What can policy makers do to stimulate and support inclusive rural transformation?

Monday, November 28, 2016

Brokering and facilitating multi-stakeholder partnerships in ARD: from assumptions to reality

Facilitating innovation in agricultural research for development:
Brokerage as the vital link, “From assumptions to reality”
François Stepman, Edited by Susanna Cartmell-Thorp, WRENmedia
PAEPARD November 2016. Published by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa – FARA, Accra, Ghana, 20 pages 

Initially set up in 2007, PAEPARD was formed to question why agricultural research partnerships were often not balanced, and why competitive funding applications with African partners were also often unsuccessful.

This paper highlights lessons learned from the development of PAEPARD-supported consortia, which illustrate various impacts of brokerage.

A number of assumptions have been used in the implementation of PAEPARD II, which PAEPARD consortium partners have worked to refine over the years. The most important assumptions included:
  1. Demand-driven agricultural innovation and research increases quality of results
  2. Innovation facilitators are key in multi-stakeholder partnership success; 
  3. An inclusive approach supports locally-led change, innovation and entrepreneurship; 
  4. PAEPARD supported-consortia have better balanced multi-stakeholder partnerships
  5. Improved call preparedness increases success rate of ARD proposals
Since 2010, some 55 concept notes and proposals have been submitted by PAEPARD-supported consortia. And, as of early 2016, 21 submitted proposals have been selected for a call organized by a diverse group of donors.  PAEPARD was able to influence donors on the focus of their calls, lobbying for specific funding for an under-supported (participatory) research field such as, for example, the aflatoxin contamination of food and feed.

The preliminary conclusions and recommendations may appear obvious at first sight, but will be useful for informing the implementation of brokerage activities until PAEPARD activities come to an end in December 2017.

Facilitating innovation in agricultural research for development: Brokerage as the vital link
Policy brief March 2016. 8 pages

PAEPARD has undertaken a diversity of brokerage activities in support of demand-driven research. This brief highlighted lessons learned from the development of PAEPARD-supported consortia, and provides insights for policy and decision-makers to
build and develop users-led demand-driven multistakeholder partnerships in agricultural research for
development (ARD).

French version
Faciliter l’innovation en recherche agricole pour le développement : la médiation, un lien essentiel.
« Des hypothèses à la réalité »
François Stepman. PAEPARD 2016. Publié par le Forum pour la recherche agricole en Afrique - FARA, Accra, Ghana. 20 pages

PAEPARD a été lancée en 2007 afin d’étudier pourquoi les partenariats de recherche agricole
étaient souvent déséquilibrés entre chercheurs du nord et ceux du sud et pourquoi les propositions de
financement avec des partenaires africains n’étaient généralement que peu retenues.

PAEPARD a été lancée en 2007 afin d’étudier pourquoi les partenariats de recherche agricole étaient souvent déséquilibrés entre chercheurs du nord et ceux du sud et pourquoi les propositions de financement avec des partenaires africains n’étaient généralement que peu retenues.
Le présent document met en avant une série de leçons tirées du développement de consortiums soutenus par PAEPARD, qui illustrent divers impacts de la médiation.

Un certain nombre d’hypothèses ont été utilisées pour la mise en oeuvre de PAEPARD II, que les partenaires des consortiums soutenus par PAEPARD se sont employés à affiner au fil des ans. Les principales hypothèses sont les suivantes :
  1. L’innovation et la recherche agricoles guidées par la demande améliorent la qualité des résultats ;
  2. Les facilitateurs de l’innovation jouent un rôle clé dans la réussite des partenariats multi-acteurs ;
  3. Une approche inclusive soutient le changement, l’innovation et l’entrepreneuriat menés par le niveau local ;
  4. Les consortiums soutenus par PAEPARD bénéficient de partenariats multi-acteurs mieux équilibrés ;
  5. Une meilleure préparation aux appels améliore le taux de réussite des propositions de RAD.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Ecosystem Services Partnership Africa Conference

21-25 November 2016. The conference theme was Ecosystem Services for SDGs in Africa. Discussions focused on Africa’s contribution towards data and evidence on best practices for management, restoration of ecosystem services for decision making particularly towards the realization of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The issue of Ecosystem Services is crucial for the African continent given that we already experience negative effects of climate change and the situation is projected to worsen. Proper management and restoration of essential ecosystem services will to a large extent ensure we are equipped to deal and or cope with climate change.

Africa’s participation in this forum is also heightened by the fact that there is underwhelming data and information on ecosystem services and climate change from the continent. This makes it difficult to formulate strategic policies and implement action for sustainable development.

The conference brought together 250 African experts, students, policy makers, and the private sector to discuss, explore and exchange research as well as action on preserving and restoring ecosystem services in the content. In particular we would like to bring as many early career practitioners, specialists and researchers from around the continent to enable learning, exchange and exposure to knowledge, ideas, experiences and contacts that will enhance contributions when they get back home.

5th World Congress on Rural and Agricultural Finance

24 to 25 November 2016. Dakar, Senegal. 5th World Congress on Agricultural and Rural Finance.

This event was organised by The African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA) in collaboration with sister Rural and Agricultural Credit Associations (RACAs) around the World, namely; The International Confederation of Agricultural Credit (CICA), Near East North Africa Regional Agricultural Credit Association (NENARACA), Asia and Pacific Regional Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA) and The Latin American Association of Development Financial Institutions (ALIDE), are organizing the 5th World Congress on Rural and Agricultural Finance.

The world congress, which is being organized every three years, was last held in Paris, France from 26 to 28 September 2013. The forum brought together who is who in rural and agricultural finance and stakeholders around the globe to share experiences on emerging and cross cutting issues on the industry.

One of the key objectives of the upcoming world congress was to show case best practices and innovations in rural and agricultural finance space world over. See also the concept note
  • The forum provided a platform to share core and complimentary competencies on best practices, innovations and promotes international and interregional cooperation.
  • In the context of rapid demographic growth and climate change and in order to key-in to attaining the objectives the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is essential to improve rural and agricultural aimed at boosting agricultural production to meet a growing consumption demand. 
  • Agricultural and rural finance institutions are major stakeholders in these challenges as they continuously innovate in order to provide rural people with the most appropriate and suitable financial services that take into account their existing needs and anticipate the change to come.
Agricultural Innovations and Technologies in Agricultural and Rural Finance
This panel discussed the role of new techniques and technologies in the development of agricultural and rural finance.
  • Mr Tarik Sijilmassi, Chairman Credit Agricole du Maroc
  • Mr.Massimo Pera FAO, Rome, Italy
  • Mrs. Corinne Riquet- Bamba CGAP Financial Sector Specialist, Inclusive Markets (based in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire)
  • Dr. Sirajul Islam, Programme Head, BRAC, Bangladesh
  • Mrs. Mbengue Rokhaya Solange Director RSE, Orange Sénégal. 
  • Mr. Robert H. Masumbuko Director of Financial Inclusion Afican Development Bank (AFDB)
What is the future of Farmers, Producers and Organizations (FPO) ? Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies.
This panel discussed of family farming, its opportunities for development and inclusion in economic channels, but also its constraints and limitations.
  • M. Xavier Beulin, Chairman of Avril Group, President of FNSEA (France). Agricultural industries in the North and in the South, experiences of an agro-industrial group.
  • Cheikh Mouhamady Cissokho, Chairman, Réseau des organisations paysannes et de productuers de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (ROPPA)
  • Shri G.R. Chinthala, Chief General Manager, National Bank for AGriculture and Rural Development (NABARD); India
  • Luis Alberto Ibrra, Director General, Fondo de Capitalization e inversion del Sector Rural (FOCIR), Mexico
  • Mr. Alain Gagnon, Chairman DesJardins International, France
Risk Management in Agricultural Financing : Best Practices and ChallengesThe panel was dedicated to the risk management in the agricultural sector, that remains difficult to manage compared to other economic sectors, (impacts of drought, inundations, frost, hail, volatile markets).
  • Mrs. Sylvie De Serres, Executive Director and Administrator of Financière agricole du Québec,
    Canada. The agricultural insurance system in Canada.
  • Mr. Nipath Kuasakul, Executive Vice President, Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperative (BAAC), Thailand
  • Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed, Managing Director Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending( Nirsal), Nigeria
  • Mrs. Marie Sennequier, Africa Project leader, responsible for Private Sector AFD, Paris France
  • Mr. Vincente Caruz Middleton, President Desarolloy Redes , Chile
  • Carlos Ginocchio, Development Manager, Banco Agropecuario – AGROBANCO, Peru

Friday, November 25, 2016

International Conference on Agribusiness

20-24 November 2016. The Faculty of Agriculture, University of Mauritius hosted an International Conference on Agribusiness in collaboration with the AFMA (Africa Farm Management Association) from  under the main theme “Sustainable Agricultural Development: Innovation Systems Approach for Agricultural Transformation in Africa”.

Participants were Farm Managers, Scientists, Policymakers and Practitioners in agribusiness and related fields across Africa, America and Europe to exchange information on the development of African agribusiness. 

The sub themes were:
  1. Sustainable Agriculture and organic farming
  2. Food Safety, Food Security and Nutrition
  3. Agribusiness and Farm Management
  4. ICT in Agriculture and Agricultural Innovation Systems
  5. Biotechnology and Technology Development
  6. Climate change and Climate Smart Agriculture
  7. Market Development for increased production and Agricultural trade policies
Extract of the programme:

  • Identifying consumer buying preferences of beef in South Africa: Christo Bisschoff
  • Framework for a voluntary beef traceability system for South Africa on-farm and feedlot: Petronella Calitz
  • Indicator based sustainability assessment of the smallholder cattle production system in South
  • Africa: Tawanda Marandure
  • Technical efficiency of food and drink manufacturig firms in Lagos and Ogun States of Nigeria: Funke Olagunju
  • Agricultural Value chain Financing and small scale famers in Nigeria: The prerequisites: Grace Evbuomwan
  • Innovation in Agricultural Education and Training (AET): integrating Work-integrated Experiential
  • Learning (WIL) into Agricultural Management education at university level: Johan Jordaan
  • Access and Use of information in Dairy: A Case Study of Meru and Uasin Gishu Counties, Kenya:
  • Stella Makokha
  • Factors affecting small-scale farmers’ choice of and Willingness-to-Pay for improved maize
  • seed varieties in Homa-Bay and Kisumu Counties, Western Kenya: Philip Nyangweso

Thursday, November 24, 2016

FAO Regional Symposia on Agroecology

November 2016. 34 pages

A summary of the contributions and outcomes of the regional symposia is presented here in a brief format for decision-makers. The four central themes running through each seminar are reflected in the organization of this document: agroecology for food and nutrition security (section 2), agroecology and natural resources in a changing climate (section 3), learning and social innovation (section 4), and public policies for agroecology (section 5), followed by the conclusion and next steps (section 6). The set of recommendations put forward by the meeting participants at the close of each meeting are presented in (section 7).

"A salient point of agreement during the three regional meetings was the potential of small-scale agroecological agriculture as a promising approach to climate change adaptation. There was consensus that agroecological farming systems can play an important role in mitigating the effects of climate change through carbon storage solutions through enhanced biodiversity, increased organic content in the soils and reintroduction of trees to the landscape, as demonstrated in cases presented in each region."  
"Throughout the symposia, it was stressed that education and public research has increasingly acquired a business-like character, where funding from the agricultural corporate sector strongly influences curricula and research agendas." 
"In face of this situation, agroecology strives to democratize the way knowledge is produced and the way benefits are shared."
FAO organized the International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition in September 2014 in Rome, Italy. The Symposium brought together 400 scientists, food producers, high level officials from governments, policy makers, farmers’ organizations, the private sector and NGO representatives.

FAO’s International Symposium on Agroecology in 2014 was a major step towards a more integrated institutional approach to agroecology. The symposium emphasized that future food systems need to suit the reality of smallholders and family farmers. Agroecological approaches are a way to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and negative impacts on society and the environment by imitating nature and learning from local agroecological knowledge. The local context should be awarded greater importance: a shift from ‘ready-to-use’ to ‘custom-made’ cropping systems.
  • The first FAO Regional Meeting on Agroecology was successfully held in Latin America and the Caribbean on 24-26 June 2015, in Brasilia, Brazil, with over 130 participants from governments, civil society, regional organizations, academia and research institutions from 14 countries. 
  • A Multi-stakeholder consultation on Agroecology for Asia and the Pacific was held in Bangkok, Thailand, on 24-26 November 2015 with over 150 participants including government officials, UN agencies, civil society organizations, INGOs, NGOs, academia, research and development institutes, universities, private sector and farmer’s organizations. (see report 65 pages). 
  • A regional meeting on agroecology in sub-Saharan Africa was held on 5-6 November 2015 in Dakar, Senegal. Almost 300 representatives from governments, producers and social movements, private sectors, academia and agronomic research institutes, civil society, FAO officials, representatives of indigenous peoples and local communities participated in the meeting.

    "Participants in Dakar agreed that while agroecology has been practiced for decades on the continent, it still lacks sufficient support from governments and policy-makers to make better contributions to food security and nutrition. Many participants called for a new narrative based on food sovereignty. To develop this, it would be important to clarify the distinction between food security and food sovereignty"
24 - 25 November 2016. Budapest. The Regional Symposium on Agroecology for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems in Europe and Central Asia.
  • Agroecology can make an important contribution to the transition to more sustainable food systems. Its practices, research, and policies have seen exponential growth worldwide in the last decade.
  • The Regional Symposium on Agroecology for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems follows previous FAO organized international and regional symposiums. These symposia highlight a broad range of best practices, policies and scientific innovation as well as allowing participants to discuss collaboration and future steps.
Module 1: Concepts and challenges of agroecology.
Module 2: Agroecology systems and practices.
Module 3: Research, innovation and knowledge sharing for agroecology transitions.
Module 4: Agroecology at the core of ecosystem services-ecological and social challenges.
Module 5: Valuing agroecology and sustainable food systems.
Module 6: Transformative policies and processes.
Closing session and recommendations.

Innovation paysanne / Small-scale farmer innovation.

Innovation paysanne. Comment la recherche agricole collabore fructueusement avec les paysans.
Ann Waters-Bayer (Prolinnova/KIT), Sabine Dorlöchter-Sulser (Misereor), Gabriela Quiroga (Prolinnova/ KIT), Bettina Haussmann (Fondation McKnight), Anja Ruf (pour Welt-Sichten).
Novembre 2016. 28 pages.
Ce dossier a pour objet de faire connaître différentes approches novatrices de la recherche agricole dans lesquelles les paysans jouent un rôle déterminant, qu’il s’agisse de véritables partenariats entre organisations paysannes et organismes de recherche ou d’alliances entre groupes paysans, ONG et chercheurs ; ou encore de recherches agricoles gérées par les organisations paysannes. Dans ce contexte, ce ne sont pas seulement les innovations paysannes en elles-mêmes qui comptent : il est également important de se pencher sur de nouvelles approches méthodologiques permettant de renforcer les capacités des paysans à « concevoir le changement ».

Tous les articles du dossier partagent la même vision d’une recherche agricole ayant pour objet de contribuer, avec et par les paysans, à améliorer durablement la productivité de l’agriculture paysanne et, de ce fait, à lutter efficacement contre la pauvreté.
Ann Waters-Bayer (Prolinnova/KIT), Sabine Dorlöchter-Sulser (Misereor), Gabriela Quiroga (Prolinnova/ KIT), Bettina Haussmann (Fondation McKnight), Anja Ruf (pour Welt-Sichten).
November 2016. 28 pages.
"The articles (in the dossier) present different approaches to supporting farmer-led research, ranging from partnerships between small-scale farmer organisations and research institutions, to alliances of farmer groups, nongovernmental organisations and researchers, to constellations in which farmer organisations directly contract researchers. The articles highlight some innovations that have emerged from these processes and – more important still – show new ways of organising research so that it strengthens innovative capacities at grassroots level. All authors share a joint vision of agricultural research embedded in society, working with and through small-scale farmers who thus contribute to intensifying agriculture and alleviating poverty in a sustainable way." (page 1)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

PAEPARD Survey on Users’-Led Research and Innovation Partnerships

16 November 2016PAEPARD Survey on Users’-Led Research and Innovation Partnerships
  • Five years ago, the PAEPARD management team took the strategic decision to launch the Users’- Led Process (ULP) for achieving greater development impact through stronger Africa-EU research and innovation multi-stakeholder partnerships. We are presently assessing the achievements of ULP to date with a view to learning lessons and using them to guide future policies and interventions including scaling them up. 
  • Given your involvement in the PAEPARD community, we would appreciate it if you complete the short survey using the link provided below . 
  •  It will not take you more than 15 minutes:

Enquête PAEPARD sur les partenariats de recherche et d'innovation menés par les utilisateurs
  • Il y a cinq ans, l'équipe de gestion de PAEPARD a pris la décision stratégique de lancer le Processus Guidé par les Utilisateurs (PGU) afin d'atteindre un plus grand impact sur le développement en renforçant les partenariats multi-acteurs de recherche et d'innovation entre l'Afrique et l'UE. Nous évaluons actuellement les accomplissements du PGU en vue de tirer les leçons et de les utiliser afin d’orienter les politiques et les interventions futures.
  • Tenant compte de votre intérêt et /ou de votre implication dans les activités du PAEPARD, votre participation à cette enquête rapide serait très appréciée. 
  • L'enquête ne vous prendra pas plus de 15 minutes.
  • Merci de cliquer sur le lien suivant pour démarrer l’enquête.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Improving the Evidence Base on Aflatoxin Contamination and Exposure in Africa

Improving the Evidence Base on Aflatoxin Contamination and Exposure in Africa
Sheila Okoth, University of Nairobi
CTA Working Paper 16/13 | November 2016, 128 pages

Because of their potency and the wide range of commodities they affect, aflatoxins pose serious risks to human health, agricultural production and trade.

As part of its increased focus on aflatoxin mitigation for improving nutrition outcomes in Africa, CTA and the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) have launched this working paper. The report is the result of a study commissioned by CTA and PACA in 2015. The report is based on a detailed review of over 800 references in the published literature.
"Aflatoxins can be produced anytime and anywhere along the food and feed value chains. The presence of aflatoxins in food and feed have adversely affected the health of the population and the ability of the continent to trade with the rest of the world," Professor Sheila Okoth, University of Nairobi
A substantial body of knowledge is available on the aflatoxin challenge that plagues African farmers, other agri-entrepreneurs and governments, but it is not being put into practice. Judith Francis, CTA's Senior Programme Coordinator, Science and Technology Policy, who oversaw the project said that farmers, consumers, processors, financiers, governments need to act in unison with the research community.
"The report demonstrates that there is enough evidence to support joint action to solve the aflatoxin problem but key stakeholders do not seem to be receiving or are not sufficiently exposed to this evidence-based information, despite the significant research that has been carried out so far in the continent". Judith Francis, CTA
The toxins are also associated with severe under nutrition; kwashiorkor and poor growth in young children. Blood samples from new-born infants in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Sudan have tested positive for aflatoxins.
“Effective management requires wholesale change and is knowledge intensive. Joint public and private investment is key to support holistic actions for aflatoxin mitigation with greater impact. A multi-actor, multi-pronged approach is needed from farm to fork, pre-production to postharvest, marketing and distribution supported by an enabling policy, regulatory and institutional framework, including laboratory infrastructure, public education and adequate financial and trained human resources”. Amare Ayalew, Program Manager, PACA Secretariat at African Union Commission
21/10. Mitigating the consequences of aflatoxin in Africa. What role for the private sector?
21/11. Confronting the aflatoxin challenge in Africa
21/11. CTA and the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) launch a working paper on Improving the Evidence Base on Aflatoxin Contamination and Exposure in Africa

Related PAEPARD blog posts:
14/10. 2ND PACA Partnership Platform Meeting

Monday, November 21, 2016

New Prolinnova initiative in Africa to enhance food & nutrition security

14–18 November 2016. Accra, Ghana. The Promoting local innovation for food and nutrition security (Proli–FaNS) project was launched with a meeting of all partner. Proli-FaNS is a 3-year project supported by MISEREOR / Katholische Zentralstelle e.V.“ (KZE, Germany) through a grant of the “One World No Hunger” initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The contract is held on behalf of the Prolinnova network by ACDEP (Association of Church-based
Development Projects), the host organisation of Prolinnova-Ghana. Prolinnova Country Platforms (CPs) in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ghana, Ethiopia and Kenya are taking part in this initiative.
  • It will support rural communities in these countries to develop their innovative capacities to improve food security, nutrition security and nutritional diversity so as to enhance community resilience to change. 
  • In doing so, Proli-FaNS will promote wider recognition of rural women as innovators and support them in further developing their innovations related to food and nutrition, from which the women control the benefits. 
  • In addition, the project will contribute to building Prolinnova multi–CP platforms in two subregions – in West and Central Africa and in Eastern and Southern Africa. 
  • These will support the CPs in joint learning, mobilising resources and effective policy dialogue at national, subregional and regional (African) level to promote local innovation and research led by female and male small-scale farmers.

The Agriculture Sectors in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions

14 November 2016. A new report from FAO provides a detailed update on the situation of INDCs/NDC for the 189 countries which have submitted their “plans” as of July 2016. The report aims to summarize how different countries are planning to deal with the challenge of global warming, by particularly assessing the role of agriculture and land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) and the agriculture sectors (crops, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture, as well as forestry) in meeting national mitigation contributions and adaptation objectives, respectively.
  • According to the study, all 189 countries refer to mitigation commitments in their INDCs, while 134 countries include concrete information on adaptation areas and/or actions. Some INDCs (from developing countries) specify detailed measures in specific sectors, while others only point to existing plans for further reference. 
  • Referring to the specific role of agriculture, FAO has found that “developing countries – especially the least-developed countries (LDCs) – put a strong emphasis on the agriculture sectors. 
  • Many of these countries highlight the role of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture in economic development, particularly for employment, exports and rural development. Many countries also point to the vulnerabilities of these sectors to climate change” and to the urgency to deal with this challenge for achieving the sustainable development agenda. 
  • Particularly, 148 countries include agriculture (crops, livestock) in their mitigation contributions. As for adaptation, among the 131 countries that include priority areas for these type of actions, 97 percent refer to crops and livestock, 88 percent refer to forests and 64 percent refer to fisheries and aquaculture.
The FAO analysis provided in this new report is intended to be used as basis to identify clearer objectives for international support to climate action in the agriculture sectors and contribute to the debate on climate finance priorities.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Role of Science Academies in Providing Evidence-informed advice

9-10  November 2016. Johannesburg, South Africa. This workshop took place directly after the ’ (NASAC) general assembly.
Network of African Science Academies

This CAAST-Net Plus event offered a platform through which mechanisms of dialogue between policy-makers and science academies could be instituted to support the Africa-EU High Level Policy Dialogue on science, technology and innovation, as well as the implementation of the research and innovation Roadmap on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture.

The workshop interrogated the participants with following questions:
  • How and through which potential mechanisms can science academies and their respective continental networks play a role in providing evidence informed policy advice for the bi-regional Africa-EU Partnership, particularly the HLPD Bureau in the short, medium and long term?
  • What kind of environment is required to promote dialogue between science academies and policy makers to enrich the bi-regional partnership between Africa and Europe?
  • What role have continental networks of science academies in Europe and Africa played in providing evidence-informed advice to multilateral governance institutions such as the European Commission and African Union Commission? 
  • What lessons can be learned from the respective experiences and practices which would be useful within the context of the Africa-EU Research and Innovation Partnership?
  • How can science academies and their networks play a role in the establishment of an Africa-EU Knowledge Management and Communication System (KMCS) as part of implementing the Roadmap on Food Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA)?
  • How can European and African networks of science academies establish a community of practice that will contribute to the development of bi-regional policy priorities and positions with the aim of enriching the bi-regional Research and Innovation  Partnership and strengthening bi-regional policy positions on common issues of global significance?
Go to full draft concept note
Go to preliminary agenda

Communication and Dissemination in an Africa-EU Research and Innovation Cooperation Network PDF | 2.95Mb
This report, reflects critically on the CAAST-Net Plus experience, and is aimed primarily at the funders of EU-Africa research and innovation networks, who invariably have to make decisions about what communication and dissemination activities are worth supporting. But it is also aimed at programme managers, network coordinators, and communicators, who might be interested in learning from or benchmarking their approaches and practices against the CAAST-Net Plus experience.

The report is the result of a collaboration between *Research Africa (based in South Africa) and the Centre for Social Innovation (based in Austria), who lead the communication and dissemination work of CAAST-Net Plus.

Extract of the programme:
How can science academies and their networks play a role in the establishment of an Africa-EU Knowledge Management and Communication System (KMCS) as part of implementing the Roadmap on Food Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA)?

In the field of STI on FNSSA, a big variety of institutions in Africa and Europe are active and have existing platforms for knowledge management and digital as well as non-digital communication and action. The existing platforms are challenged in ensuring that all the available knowledge is used to inform policy, improve food systems and processes, expand product range, markets and trade, and support innovation for social and economic gain and environmental protection in both Africa and Europe. The format of databases and their accessibility play a crucial role and since research output would always have to be communicated continuously in the future, the digital linking of the existing databases and opportunities for collaboration in digital platforms is one challenge for a joint Africa-EU KMCS – but not the only one.

The CAAST-Net Plus stakeholder forum aims to support the implementation of the Africa-EU HLPD roadmap on FNSSA by developing a blue print for a sustainable Joint Africa-EU KMCS addressing the challenges of food and nutrition security in Africa and Europe by building on existing platforms and strengthening institutional alliances for joint actions grounded in the reality on the ground for achieving greater impact.

LAUNCH Food challenge - call for innovations
In partnership with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and a broad cross-sector network of key opinion leaders and industry players, LAUNCH is taking a people-centred approach to action across the whole of the food system.

  • This call for innovations was developed through consultation with industry, government and civil society from the Pacific Islands, Australia, the United States, Europe and elsewhere. It aims to collect ideas that will make healthy eating more accessible, especially in low-income communities and developing countries.
  • If you are working on an innovation that will contribute to improving health outcomes through the food system or if you’re working on a related solution in another field that could apply to this challenge, please answer the call.
  • LAUNCH Food is seeking solutions with the potential to transform food systems and the behaviours they drive to promote health and prosperity for all people while respecting the planet’s resources. The call for applications closes on December 7, 2016. For more information on the application process, please click here.
  • Selected innovators will have the opportunity to present their innovation to members of the LAUNCH network at the LAUNCH Food Forum, to be held in March 2017. The Forum is a facilitated multi-day event connecting innovators with investment partners, market leaders, and technical experts as well as philanthropic, NGO, and public sector actors committed to accelerating the adoption and scale of solutions.

17 November 2016. The InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) and IAP for Science, currently undertaking a project on ‘Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture', would like to encourage academy engagement in this call for the support of innovations in the food sector.

The project  on “Strengthening the Global Network of Science Academies (IAP) - Global and regional statements on food and nutrition security and agriculture” (1 November 2015 to 30 June 2018 - 3.5 years) is almost exclusively funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). IAP is also providing financial support, while some IAP member academies and the affiliated regional networks provide in-kind support.

Enhancing the Capacity of African Science Academies
  • African academies of science can play a central role in providing independent, objective scientific and technological advice on policy issues of critical importance to Africa’s development, targeting both their governments and other stakeholders. 
  • Generously supported by the Gates Foundation, the African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI) has worked to raise the profile of a select but very diverse group of African academies as strong, independent institutions, building upon the scientific merit of their members to form beacons for science and technology as a tool for development.
  • This review of ASADI has revealed both the strengths and the weaknesses of the programme, identifying opportunities and threats for the future of science academies in Africa.

Blending4Ag: innovative partnerships for agricultural finance

7- 8 November 2016. Brussels. By focusing on the practicalities of blending finance for agriculture, this conference aimed to contribute to the knowledge base on how this can best be done, and to bring together key stakeholders who, working together, can catalyse the change towards more impactful public sector funding of agriculture.

Most discussion of blended finance has been on healthcare, financial services and infrastructure, in line with the major activities funded in this manner. In its 2015 survey, OECD/WEF found that among respondents, only 4.7% of blended finance had been for food and agriculture.

Given the role of public funding for smallholder finance (and also, the new interest of the European Union in blended finance for agriculture, through its AgriFI initiative), it made sense to engage in a specific debate on how blending tools can be used to leverage finance for agriculture. 

This debate involved not just international public financiers, but also developing country governments as well as the entities that are able to cross the distance between international financiers on the one hand, and farmers on the other. Best placed are developing country commercial banks, value chain actors and NGOs active in agricultural value chain development.

The organisers have have opened a LinkedIn Group and a Page which they encourage you to join for the purpose of continuity. Please click on the Blending4Ag LinkedIn Group and Blending4Ag Page in order to join the community of Blending4Ag experts.

They will continue to send you monthly newsletters. They encourage to share ideas and activities relating to ‘blended finance for agriculture’ to be published on the LinkedIn Group and on the Blending4Ag newsletter.

During the conference there were a number of social reporters sending tweets and writing blogs. 
  •  You can find the blogs by clicking here. 
  • Also, you can view and download the PowerPoint presentations from the event on the Blending4Ag website under each programme session.
Extracts of the programme:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Malawians are gaining access to agric video material through DJs

Even without smartphones, internet or electricity, rural Malawians are gaining access to video material through young entrepreneurs called DJs who work mainly from barber shops.

In small towns in Malawi, young men who want to start their own ICT business are teaming up with
the unlikeliest of partners, including barbers. The entrepreneurs are almost always men in their 20s or even teens. Most have some schooling and can read and write. They call themselves DJs, copying video materials for a small fee in a shop called a “burning centre”.

Few of the DJs have access to internet or email, although they do have Facebook on their cell phones. The DJs like movies and some are making their own movies or music videos. They share the videos they make with their friends, so even though they are off the internet, they have a real-life social network to swap original and copied content. Some DJs can provide other ICT services, as farmers begin to demand them, for example they sell blank CDs, and helping to film
or edit videos of local events.

The burning centres pay no royalties, so Malawian entertainers have the cold comfort of becoming famous without getting rich. But for the non-profit development sector, the DJs can be ideal partners, to get educational videos into farmers’ hands. In 2015, the international NGO Access Agriculture distributed educational videos for farmers in 3GP and on DVD to 70 DJs. The DJs sold 456 DVDs and 645 videos in 3GP on the parasitic weed Striga, 551 DVDs and 547 3GP videos on rice, and 507 DVDs and 559 3GP videos on chilli growing and processing. By tapping into entrepreneurial DJs, educational videos can be distributed to thousands of rural people.

Related links
Thirty four farmer to farmer videos are presently available in Chichewa language. These videos are freely downloadable, also in 3gp format for mobile phone viewing, from All videos in Chichewa

Below are some highlights on few of these videos.

Practical ideas about proper harvesting, drying, grading and storage of chillies.

How to make sure the seedbed will give your rice crop the best start.


Various ways to help women recover after childbirth, both emotionally and physically.

The diagnosis, life cycle and control methods of root knot nematodes in vegetables.

A participatory tool to measure cost-benefits of agricultural technologies helps farmers to make decisions.

Compost helps to fight the parasitic weed striga that attacks maize, millet, sorghum and rice in Africa and Asia.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

International agrobiodiversity conference

6-9 November 2016. New Delhi, India. The IAC 2016 was attended by 900 delegates from 50 countries.

It was organized by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources (ISPGR) and Bioversity International, in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and many other partners.

Crop diversity in farmer’s fields continues to decline in many parts of the world, often driven by market forces beyond the control of farmers’ themselves. Diversity is also lost from genebanks — a shortage of funding and staff means collections are often poorly maintained.

The First International Agrobiodiversity Conference was an opportunity to begin anew. That’s why practitioners in all these fields, from all over the world, both industrialized and developing, and from both the formal and informal sector, came together in

This congress gave conservation and agro-biodiversity experts and policymakers the opportunity to start mapping out a future that breaks down barriers between the two approaches, integrating them to ensure global food and nutritional security. This means helping politicians and the public understand that conserving the diversity of our food is just as important as conserving the diversity of wild animals.

SciDev 8/11/2016Break down barriers between seed banks and field study

Extracts of the programme:
  • Ganga Rao NVPR, ICRISAT, Kenya, Effective Utilization of Local Genetic Diversity of pigeonpea, sorghum and finger millet in Eastern and Southern Africa: Impacts and Prospects
  • Hamidou Falalou, ICRISAT, Niger, Abiotic stresses tolerance and nutrients contents in groundnut, pearl millet and sorghum mini core collections for food and nutrition security
  • Manyasa EO, ICRISAT, Kenya, Exploiting genetic diversity for adaptation and mitigation of climate change: A case of finger millet in East Africa
  • Martin Kropff, CIMMYT, Why We Need Effective Partnerships and Agrobiodiversity to Feed 9-Billion People?
  • Emile Frison, DNCF, Paradigm Shift in Sustainable Food Systems
  • Coosje Hoogendoorn, Royal Tropical Institute, How Informal and Formal Seed Systems Can Work Together for the Conservation and Use of Agrobiodiversity?
  • Ed Southern, Kirk House Trust, Fighting Climate Stress with Orphan Legumes

Themes and Sub-themes
1. Agrobiodiversity for Food, Nutrition and Ecosystem Services
  • Harnessing traditional foods: landraces, indigenous breeds, native strains and races for nutrition and health
  • New species for diversification: genetic resources for the future
  • Genetic resources for ecosystem services
  • Sustainable use of genetic resources
2. Agrobiodiversity for Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change
  • Climate change - threats and opportunities
  • Assessing real impact of climate change on agrobiodiversity
  • Genetic resources for resilience in agriculture
3. Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) and Farmers' Rights
  • IPR and other legal instruments: national and international experiences
  • Germplasm exchange: current concerns and options for access
  • Access and benefit sharing: the way forward
  • Farmers’ and Breeders’ rights: implications
4. Quarantine, Biosafety and Biosecurity Issues
  • Introducing germplasm: challenges and innovations
  • Preparedness for biosafety and biosecurity
  • Implementing Cartagena protocol, SPS agreements and other treaties
  • Invasive alien species: threat assessment and management
5. Conservation Strategies and Methodologies
  • Genebanks: options for efficient management
  • In situ and on farm conservation: incentives and sustainability
  • Conserving wild relatives and species
  • Managing community genebanks: strategies, technologies and policies
"ICRISAT has over 124,000 accessions of six mandate crops (sorghum, chickpea, pigeonpea, pearl millet, groundnut, and finger millet) and five small millets from 144 countries conserved in our genebank at Patancehru in Telangana, India. Besides the central gene bank we have three regional genebanks in Africa, at Kenya, Zimbabwe and Niger, to support our regional partners. ICRISAT genebanks have provided over 1.44 million samples of germplasm to scientists in 148 countries". Message from David Bergvinson
6. Science-led Innovation for Agrobiodiversity Management and Sustainable Use
  • Genomic resources: conservation and utilization
  • Pre-breeding and genetic enhancement
  • Geographical information system (GIS) and remote sensing
  • Genetic resource databases and informatics
7. Capacity Building and Strengthening Partnerships
  • Capacity building: new initiatives and paradigm shifts
  • Civil society organisations: sharing of experiences
  • Engendering agrobiodiversity and role of youth
  • Partnership and networking

Stakeholders convene in IITA to address research issues in cocoa

8-10 November 2016. Ibadan. Stakeholders, researchers, policy and decision makers across the value
The Ooni (king) of Ife, also a farmer, 

participated in the.opening program of 
the Regional Cocoa Symposium held in IITA
chain converged at IITA in Ibadan, for a Regional Cocoa Symposium to brainstorm on the future of Africa’s cocoa research. The symposium was organized by WCF, CRIN, IITA, and USAID.

The inaugural symposium focusing on the Next Generation of Cocoa Research for West and Central Africa, aimed at addressing the issues around the sustainability of cocoa in West and Central Africa, the region which produces about 70% of cocoa in the world, and strengthening the partnerships among different actors across the entire sector.
“To supply cocoa farmers with improved seedlings, we have to do more breeding of higher yielding cocoa, and investing more in propagation. We also have to invest in producing clones and making sure healthy plants reach farmers. I manage research to improve cocoa productivity and quality, and we are here to absorb information and connect to the African network of cocoa researchers”. Martin Gilmour Mars chocolate company, (UK), 
“There is need to review policies and develop new strategies to address the challenges faced by the cocoa industry and research institutes involved in cocoa production. We have to come up with the strategies that will ensure sustainable cocoa production for the benefit of all”, Dr Olayiwola Olubamiwa, Acting Executive Director, Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN), Ibadan.
"The African Cocoa Initiative (ACI) has a focus on youths in terms of making the cocoa sector a profitable business. We will make the plant materials and finance available where necessary”. Jay Daniiuk United States Agency for International Development (USAID) representative

Monday, November 14, 2016

Global Conference on Sustainable Beef

14 November 2016. Banff Springs, Alberta, Canada. The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) is a global, multi-stakeholder initiative developed to advance continuous improvement in sustainability of the global beef value chain through leadership, science and multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration. The GRSB envisions a world in which all aspects of the beef value chain are environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable.

Presentations from the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef held October 4-7, 2016 are now available online by visiting the Conference's Proceedings page
Extract of the programme:

Selective mango harvesting

7 November 2016. The German International Cooperation (GIZ) is implementing a bilateral program in Ghana in partnership with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture called the Market Oriented Agriculture Program (MOAP).

As part of MOAP’s activities in contributing to increasing the competitiveness of the mango value chains they have produced a documentary on selective mango harvesting.