Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, January 30, 2017

Conservation agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa

Published in December 2016 by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), this three-part toolkit explores the challenges of promoting and adopting conservation agriculture in Africa, highlights where there have been successes, and analyses the factors underpinning adoption and “dis-adoption”. 

It also examines how controversy and opposing positions have complicated the debate about how best to go forward. While it acknowledges the potential of “full-package” CA, it argues for a systems approach and shows how even “partial” CA can lead to productivity and environmental benefits. 

Most importantly, the toolkit balances the evidence from the field and sets out practical steps to introduce and sustain CA in IFAD investment projects within sub-Saharan Africa. The toolkit consists of: 
  1. a so-called teaser (8 pages) that introduces and defines CA in the context of sub-Saharan Africa; 
  2. a How to do note (24 pages) framed around a step-by-step progression from planning to field implementation; and 
  3. Lessons learned (28 pages) which explores what has been experienced in Africa, taking specific countries where CA has been tried and tested. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Impact in International Development Research Funding Calls & Programmes

Striking the Balance: Between Competition, Collaboration & Impact in International Development Research Funding Calls and Programmes
2017 © UK Collaborative on Development Sciences, 2017. 18 pages

With the recent rise in international development research funding in the UK, fostering competition, collaboration, impact (CCI) in a global challenge-led context are now increasingly important issues for UK research funders. A competitive environment for research funding among academics is essential to drive excellence, and collaboration and impact are vital to solve complex global issues and ensure benefits on the ground in developing countries. Striking the balance between these three components is at the heart of research call and programme design in international development.

A cross-funder workshop explored approaches used by six Research Councils in the UK (AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC) Research Councils UK, DFID and the Wellcome Trust; and have brought this together into an output that offers advice, tips and reflections on designing international development research calls.
  1. Competition is built into the process through standardised assessment of proposals and peer review, but more dynamic approaches can be used such as competitive interviews, “project pitch-to-peers”, workshops and sandpits to sharpen or focus competition.
  2. Collaboration (internationally or disciplinary) can be enforced in a call specification or encouraged and supported through additional and staged funding, online partnership brokering services, online webinars, international workshops, matchmaking and funding for researchers to adapt proposals or collaborate. 
  3. Impact can be fostered through post-award funding, activities and workshops; scoping workshops/expert advisory groups, embedding expert knowledge brokers in-country, holding back money for programme integration and catalyst grants to enable innovation.
Each of these approaches has their strengths, weaknesses and lessons learned which you can find out more about in the report. Finally, what recommendations could funders consider for future research calls? For example, the report outlines that research funders need to be aware of how to support interdisciplinarity, improve online webinar approaches, and address tensions between research impact and excellence.

This report provides insights from UK research funders in international development and a menu of activities to pick and choose from to maximise CCI. It will be of particular interest to those who manage or who are new to managing international development research funds, calls and programmes, either in the UK or internationally.

The report is aimed at staff in research funder organisations, particularly those working in a practical role in research call and programme design and delivery in international development.

Policy brief. Five trends driving change in research for development (October 2016, 4 pages)

The trends UKCDS has identified are as follows:
  1. A new global development landscape with a commitment to science and technology at its heart but a need for a clear global research agenda to deliver on the ambition.
  2. Uneven, but rising global investment to research and innovation leading to changing geographies of partnership and driving calls for southern-led agendas and research management.
  3. A fragmented and rapidly changing development landscape with rapid economic development, rising inequality or increasing fragility occurring in different countries that could lead to tensions in the focus of development research agendas.
  4. The potential for transformative innovation through social and technological ideas may drive funding, butavoiding hype and scaling successful ideas are imperatives.
  5. ‘Wicked’ problems and interdisciplinary research driving the need for new cultures but also challenging incentives around excellence and impact.

Australian program for improving plant biosecurity in Africa

25 January 2017. How an Australian mentoring program is improving plant biosecurity in Africa.
Plant biosecurity management can be a boon to agricultural economies in sub-Saharan Africa, and Australia has a wealth of expertise to share. That’s the logic behind a mentoring program that helps the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the Plant Biosecurity CRC partner with fellows working at agricultural institutions in 10 African countries.

The resulting program, the Australia-Africa Plant Biosecurity Partnership, aims to transfer skills in designing, delivering and managing plant biosecurity — measures to safeguard plants from pests and diseases.

In 2014, ACIAR contracted PBCRC to deliver a mentoring program to help improve biosecurity capacity in Africa, particularly in Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. That project would have a budget of $1.2 million through 2017, jointly funded by ACIAR and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. PBCRC formed a consortium to deliver the program, including the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International and The Crawford Fund.

The new program was advertised to biosecurity organizations in each of the 10 African countries to seek applicants. The project team, including leaders Bill Magee and Roger Day, then selected 15 senior fellows to visit Australia for an initial six-week training in Nov. and Dec. 2015. The initial applicants came from the public sector.

The fellows were placed with Australian host institutions — including universities and government entities and departments — that specialized in their areas of interest, for example how to deal with fruit flies or how to manage banana crops.
“Australia is well known for its strong biosecurity systems and has been my reference even in the course of trying to develop documents and application of plant biosecurity measures,” Mary Githinji, from the Phytosanitary Department with the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, one of the fellows. 

Once participants returned to Africa, their new international network continued to be in contact to provide ongoing mentoring and support, including by visiting the fellows in their home countries at times. The 15 senior fellows have also become mentors. The program selected 30 people as associate fellows in 2016. This time, their training was held on the continent, utilizing Australian experts, as well as the senior fellows.

Beyond 2017
As each of the African participant countries work to develop and implement individual action plans, the project partners will be looking for a future host of the program and network.

In 2017, they will seek to partner with a major African institution, such as the Common Market for East and Central Africa or Food and Agriculture Organization. “Our two and a half years of funding from ACIAR is expected to finish and we need to preserve, and hopefully expand, what we have created in terms of network between these two countries,” Magee explained. “Preferably, we want to have it hosted by an institution within Africa to give our program a longer life.” What the program will look like beyond 2017 will be in the hands of the new host.

AGCO Africa Summit 2017

23 January 2017. Berlin. Since its premiere in 2012, this AGCO Africa Summit has established itself as an important institution for discussing critical issues impacting Africa’s agricultural development. What sets the AGCO Africa Summit apart from other agricultural conferences is that it has a strong focus on private sector driven agricultural growth, promoting the idea of agriculture as a business and not a development agenda.

The overall aims of the AGCO Africa Summit were:
  • Actively engage and lead the international dialogue on the development of the agricultural sector in Africa within the industry and beyond;
  • Raise international awareness for the needs of the agricultural sector in Africa with a strong focus on commercial agriculture, as well as on specific interests of key players throughout the value chain including producers, suppliers, manufacturers, processors and the market;
  • Highlight concrete solutions and opportunities for engaging in sustainable agricultural development in Africa and by doing so, encourage other companies to do the same;
  • Support the spirit of global partnerships and local cooperation, knowledge transfer and sustainability.
Aligning Agribusiness and Farmer Based Organizations as Co-Creators of Rural Wealth Through Agricultural Development:
Evolving Value Chain Strategies and Securing Maximum ‘Value’ for Farmers - Where next?
  • ERIC MUTHOMI, FOUNDER AND CEO OF STAWI FOODS AND FRUITS, Stawi Foods and Fruits is a food processing company that processes bananas into gluten free banana flour. To create sustainable growth, banana farmers in Meru, one of the largest banana producing regions in Kenya, needed buyers willing to purchase their produce at responsible prices. The company also produces fortified flours for children and adults to address challenges of malnutrition in Kenya
  • ELLY SIAKASASA MWALE, FOUNDER AND CEO OF GLYMO ENTERPRISES. She runs her businesses in Zambia for 13 years in agriculture commodity trading, seed multiplication and distribution, training and consultancy. 
AGCO Africa Ambassador 2017 contest

Watch Zimbabwean farmer Ruramiso Mashumba talk about the challenges of scaling up for small scale farmers and how AGCO helped her to mechanize her farm.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Addressing Food Safety in Animal Source Foods For Improved Nutrition

25 January 2017.  Webinar hosted by Agrilinks. Addressing Food Safety in Animal Source Foods For Improved Nutrition

This was the third event in the Livestock & Household Nutrition Learning Series, convened by Land O’Lakes International Development and the International Livestock Research Institute and funded through the USAID TOPS Small Grants Program. What are the key food safety issues related to livestock production, animal source foods and what are their potential impacts on human health and nutrition?

Attendees learnedd about improving food safety and quality throughout the livestock value chain including production methods, processing and storage technologies, risk assessments, policy impacts, opportunities for the private sector and consumer education.
  • Hung Nguyen-Viet payed particular attention to the relationship between animal source foods and the impact of food borne disease, while also considering how traditional and gender roles in livestock and fish value chains can impact exposure and risk.
  • Dennis Karamuzi outlined the steps taken by the Government of Rwanda and the Rwanda Dairy CompetitivenessProject II in increasing the supply of clean milk for both rural and urban consumers. 
  • Silvia Alonso discussed the role of informal markets in meeting the nutrition needs of the most vulnerable communities and the tension between food safety, livelihoods and access to food that characterize such markets. She will present new research aimed to investigate how “light-touch” interventions in informal dairy markets could give win-win outcomes on health and livelihoods.
The presenters discussed new actions taking place in development that help provide clean, safe and affordable animal source foods to poor urban and rural households. In addition, the webinar touched on the role of animal source foods in the global burden of food-borne disease and why food safety related to animal source foods plays an important role in food security.

EU-Africa Food Systems workshop

23-24 January 2017. Brussels. European Commission, DG Research and Innovation. A workshop was held on on EU-Africa R&I Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture.

On 23 of January DG AGRI hosted the meeting which was on pillar I aspects.  Around 25 experts from Africa and Europe discussed issues of sustainable intensification and on diversifying farmer’s revenues: converting agricultural waste into products, materials and energy. Presentation from this workshop are available under this link.  aAsummary of discussion will be posted later.

Opening session
Sustainable intensification I - Crops and livestock - agricultural practice for improving farm output and farmers living conditions
Parallel sessions
Group I: Sustainable intensification II: soil and land management for improving agricultural diversity and preserving biodiversity
Group II: Diversifying farmer’s revenues: converting agricultural waste into products, materials and energy. Identifying and adapting simple and robust technologies for use in African rural communities without substantially changing agricultural systems and practices.
On the 24 of January DG RTD had a meeting on pillar II of the Roadmap for Food and Nutrition security and Sustainable Agriculture.

The second day the topics were:
  1. Agricultural systems and nutrition, what are research and innovation needs for farming systems to deliver better on nutrition?
  2. Innovations in African speciality food with high nutritional value to supply local urban markets and global markets.
  3. Research and Innovation for plant based protein food?
  4. How to reduce food waste along the post-harvest – consumer chain in Africa? Scope for technological and social innovation? Is there a role for bio-based packaging?
  5. Food Safety – Mycotoxins, including aflatoxin – challenges for research and innovation.
The presentations on 'Food Systems Approach' – in Africa focused on research and innovation questions and priorities which were identified before the workshop, starting with an insight into the different viewpoints of scientific disciplines and stakeholders to food systems:
  • Agricultural systems and nutrition, what are research and innovation needs for farming systems to deliver better on nutrition? 
  • Hidden Hunger – Malnutrition and the first 1000 days of life – food based research and innovation needs 
  • A Food System Approach for Africa – research and innovation needs
Pillar 2 of the Roadmap – Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, focused on:
  • Research and Innovation needs for improved food value chains for local urban markets and global markets 
  • Research and Innovation for plant based proteins? 
  • How to reduce food waste along the post-harvest – consumer chain in Africa? Scope for technological and social innovation? Is there a role for bio-based packaging? - 
  • Food Safety – Mycotoxins, including aflatoxin – challenges for research and innovation - Approaches to Innovation
Extract of the programme:

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Why Women Lose Out From Agricultural Investments

Promoting Gender Equality in Foreign Agricultural Investments: Lessons from voluntary sustainability standards
© 2017 International Institute for Sustainable Development |, Kathleen Sexsmith January 2017, 60 pages

This report analyzes the gender-related content of five major global agricultural sustainability standards and five principles for responsible investment in agriculture.

The report answers the question: Do the global principles and standards improve gender equality? It also examines how to build on the successes and failures of these initiatives to improve gender equality in agricultural investments. The experiences of the sustainability standards are used to provide guidance for responsible investment.

This paper contributes to the emerging literature on the gendered impacts of the contemporary wave of foreign agricultural investments. The outcomes of agricultural investments for men and women often differ in rural areas of the Global South where gender inequalities are persistent. 
  • Barriers to women’s access to productive resources— production inputs, credit and training—reduce female agricultural producers’ yields by 20–30 per cent from their full potential (FAO, 2011). 
  • Further, culturally based gender discrimination often leaves women with a heavier burden for care work, diminishes their access to education, restricts their access to land and limits options for decent paid work (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development [UNCTAD], 2015). 
  • The evidence presented in this paper indicates that these inequalities are often exacerbated by foreign agricultural investments, unless investors and host country governments work to ensure that investment contracts address the needs of women farmers and agricultural workers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

30 years of banana diversity

23 January 2017. Leuven, Belgium. Research conducted at the world’s largest collection of banana diversity hosted in Belgium is helping farmers and scientists all over the world to make banana farming more productive, resilient and sustainable. The collection of genetic diversity conserved in the Belgian genebank has celebrated 30 years of service with an event – '30 years of banana diversity hosted in Belgium' – attended also by the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo.

During the event, attendees learned how banana production is threatened by climate change, pests and diseases and many other factors. Cutting-edge research conducted at the ITC is helping to find ways to respond to these threats. For example, Bioversity International and KU Leuven scientists are looking for drought-tolerant varieties to enhance cultivation in climate change-affected areas. They are also investigating how the spread of Panama disease – a deadly fungal banana disease – can be managed though the use of resistant varieties, and how bananas naturally-rich in vitamin A can fight vitamin A deficiency, which causes half a million children to go blind every year.
"This platform resulted in the training of and scientific research collaboration with more than 100 researchers from 44 countries. For these reasons KU Leuven is proud to host this international banana collection.”
For more information about the ITC:
The partnership between KU Leuven and Bioversity International, a member of the CGIAR Consortium, is supported by the Global Crop Diversity Trust, the Belgian Development Cooperation, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). [Bioversity International Press Release] [KU Leuven Press Release] [Bioversity International Blog Post] [ITC Website]

Monday, January 23, 2017

ARD funding opportunities

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The SEED Foundation supports French nonprofit organizations in partnership with nonprofit organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa for innovative solutions that address food security. Projects can address agricultural practices, farming knowledge and capacity, local agricultural products, etc. Grants range from €7 thousand to €15 thousand, up to 70% of project costs. The Foundation lists 21 eligible African countries. The deadline for applications (French, English) is 06 February 2017.

The EC announced funding to improve food security and income in South Sudan, focusing on sustainable supply of agriculture and livestock inputs and services through the private sector. This call for proposals is part of the first and second component of the ZEAT-BEAD Program (“Zonal Effort for Agricultural Transformation – Bahal Gazar Effort for Agricultural Development”). Grants up to a maximum of €3 million will be allocated in four lots according to geographical regions. The lead applicant should be a nonprofit NGO based in the EU, the European Economic Area, an ACP State, a least-developed country, or a member country of OECD/DAC. Participation with co-applicants of South Sudanese nationality is strongly encouraged. Reference EuropeAid/153933/DD/ACT/SS. The deadline for concept notes is 16 February 2017.

The Belmont Forum and START announce an opportunity for African scientists to participate in the Belmont Forum Collaborative Research Action on “Sustainable Urban Global Initiative: Food-Water-Energy Nexus.” Principal Investigators and co-PIs should be African nationals based at African institutions. Proposals should include PIs or co-PIs from at least three countries, combining African countries with countries in the Belmont Forum. Funding for the African research is US$100 thousand for one year, with the possibility to extend for another year. The deadline for applications is 15 March 2017. Webinars for applicants February 16, 2017.

Within the framework of Danish development cooperation, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls for research proposals between Denmark and researchers in partner countries.   Window 1 will fund research with partners in Denmark’s priority countries for development assistance.  Window 2 will fund research with partners in growth and transition countries. Window 1 is open to research institutions in Ghana and Tanzania, in addition to Denmark.  Window 2 is open to Danish research organizations in collaboration with research institutions in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, South Africa, Turkey, and Vietnam.  For both windows, the application deadline (Phase 1) is 03 March 2017

The French Committee for International Solidarity (Comité Français pour la Solidarité Internationale – CFSI), in partnership with Fondation de France, funds projects that support small-scale farming in West Africa. Grants will support projects carried out by partnerships between European and West African nonprofit legal entities in the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Projects can range from one to three years. Grants are a maximum of 15 thousand euros per year, or 50 thousand euros in the case of a 3-year project. The deadline for project summaries (French, English) is 07 March 2017.

Founded by the United Nations Environment Program, and in partnership with Switch Africa Green, SEED supports small-scale enterprises in the developing world which integrate social and environmental benefits into their business models. The SEED Awards for 2017 are structured in four categories: agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and waste management. The eligible countries are Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, and Uganda. Each award recipient is granted capacity building and networking opportunities. The application deadline is 08 March 2017.

Food and Business Global Challenges Programme (GCP)
NWO/WOTRO launched the fourth call of Food & Business Global Challenges Programme (GCP). This call is developed in collaboration with the CGIAR Research Programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Full applications may be submitted until 18 April 2017, and need to be preceded by a Letter of Intent that may be submitted until 28 March 2017.

The Ekhaga Foundation makes grants for research in ecological agriculture and biological medicine. Universities, research institutes, etc., from all over the world are invited to apply. Ekhaga requires cooperation with a Swedish institution for applications that do not come from Europe or North America. The deadline for applications is 20 May 2017.

The Nestlé Foundation supports research in human nutrition in low-income and lower middle-income countries. The Foundation will consider research in areas such as food policy, food production (i.e., related to agricultural development), and food technology if the proposed interventions have high potential for sustainable improvement of nutritional status. The Foundation offers training grants; pilot grants; small and large research grants; and re-entry grants to encourage the return of post-graduate students to their home countries. Interested researchers are invited to submit letters of intent (LOIs). At any time.

The program area “seed funding” of the Innocent Foundation makes grants to partner NGOs to deliver small-scale agricultural projects that have strong local impacts in the developing world. In addition to grant for agriculture, past projects include several that address water, forests, biodiversity, and related issues in environment and natural resources. Applying organizations must be registered charities in the UK. Grants are up to £30 thousand per year for three years. At any time.

Pre-announcement LEAP AGRI (EU-Africa co fund call AGRIFOOD)
The objective of LEAP-AGRI is to fulfill the ambition of the Europe Africa dialogue in Science and Technology (the HLPD) to launch a joint flagship initiative on its chosen priority area: Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA). This is the list of countries of which the research bodies are bringing in fudning (partners should thus be found within those countries: 2+2 model to create a consortium): 12 African countries: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, Egypt, Cameroon , Uganda, Madagascar, Tunis, Madagascar. 10 European partner countries: the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Finland, Portugal, Norway, Italy, Turkey and Belgium.
Call launch expected in February. Deadline for submission of proposals: 3 months after launching the call.

The African Union Research Grants (AURG) programme supports research and innovation in Africa and is supported by the European Union through the Pan African programme (2014-2020) with a budget of €17.5 million for two calls in 2016 and 2017. The closing date for applications in 2016 was 31 August 2016. The focus of the 2017 Edition is expected to be on nutrition.

Bio-diversity, environment, climate change

The Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) funds short-term training in selected development topics for participants from developing countries. The training programs include a course in climate change organized by the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI).  SMHI invites organizations in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger to propose candidates for the course, which will focus on climate change in relation to water resources and agriculture.  Eligibility to nominate candidates extends to government organizations, private enterprises, and NGOs at national, regional, and local levels in the three target countries. The application deadline is 12 February 2017.

The EC announced grants to address climate vulnerability in São Tomé and Principe. The program will work to provide tangible benefits for the vulnerable communities of Lembá and Mé-Zóchi in matters of water supply, rural energy, agricultural diversification, soils management, and forest management. Principal applicants for funding should be NGOs eligible under the EC’s rules for external actions. The planned allocations are €750 thousand for Lembá and €750 thousand for Mé-Zóchi. Reference EuropeAid/138523/ID/ACT/ST. The application deadline is 16 February 2017.

The Jana Robeyst Trust Fund provides financial resources for non-profit organisations and individuals to carry out conservation research in Sub-Saharan Africa. Priority will be given to projects related to the conservation of forest elephants. Applicants can be based anywhere in the world. Funding is up to 1,500 euros per applicant. The Fund accepts applications throughout the year.

The Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) offers competitive grants in support of its mission to improve forest management and expand forest certification around the world. PEFC invites its members and other non-profit organizations to apply. Project partners may also include private and public-sector organizations. PEFC will consider proposals up to CHF 40 thousand for projects up to two years. Grantees must provide at least 35% co-funding. The deadline for applications is 31 March 2017.

The Beit Trust supports projects for health, education, welfare, and environment in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Themes include wildlife conservation. Additionally, the Trust’s interests in community welfare include drinking water and irrigation water. Grants do not normally exceed £50 thousand. Applications can be submitted at any time.

Rare and several partner organizations announce “Solution Search: Farming for Biodiversity” as a competition to identify and reward promising approaches to conserve biodiversity on agricultural lands. Examples include integration of biodiversity and ecosystems in the management of sustainable land use; methods of pest control that reduce toxic runoff; methods of organic farming for enhanced biodiversity; control of livestock to protect flora and fauna; and innovations to reduce human-animal conflict in agricultural areas. The grand prize will be US$30 thousand. Additional prizes of US$15 thousand will be awarded in each of four special categories. The best solution submitted before 10 February will be awarded US$5 thousand. Finally, a prize of US$1 thousand will be awarded for winning nominations. Solution Search is open to all organizations with a proven solution in biodiversity-friendly agriculture. The application deadline is 10 March 2017.

The JRS Biodiversity Foundation aims to increase the access to and the use of information for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa. JRS invites proposals for multi-year projects, and for planning grants to prepare multi-year projects. Projects in the theme of freshwater diversity should increase access to and use of biodiversity information relating to freshwater biodiversity assessment and the conservation of freshwater ecosystem services in eastern and southern Africa. Projects in the theme of pollinator biodiversity should increase access to and use of biodiversity information relating to pollinator biodiversity assessment and the conservation of pollinator services in Sub-Saharan Africa. Each multi-year grant will range from about US$50 thousand to about US$250 thousand. Proposals are expected to have strong capacity-building components.  The deadline for submitting proposals is 22 February 2017.

The New England Biolabs Foundation makes grants to grassroots and charitable organizations to support conservation of biological diversity; ecosystem services; community food security; and marine environment. The geographical scope includes selected and conservation sub-regions of Central America, the Andean region of South America, and West Africa.  Grant seekers should review the geographical priorities carefully.  Maximum grant size is US$10 thousand, although most grants are smaller. The next periods for letters of inquiry (English, Spanish) are 01 February through 15 March 2017, and 01 July through 15 August 2017.

Funded by IRD in collaboration with several other French organizations, the program “Sud Expert Plantes Développement Durable” (SEP2D) aims to reinforce scientific research on plant biodiversity in 22 tropical countries. The eligible countries are distributed across West Africa; Central Africa; Indian Ocean; and Southeast Asia. Research themes in SEP2D are forest biodiversity; mitigation of mining activities; commercial applications of plant biodiversity; and agro-biodiversity.  In comparison with the first call for proposals, Call 2 does not require prior co-funding.  Additionally, research institutions or operational actors (NGOs, private or public societies, associations and CSOs, etc) are eligible to lead the partnerships. Funding is up to €40 thousand for national projects, and up to €80 thousand for regional and international projects. The application deadline is 01 March 2017


 With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Academy of Sciences and NEPAD jointly announce seed grants to help Africa implement the Sustainable Development Goals, with focus on SDG3 and SDG9. Challenge 2 in the current call aims to ignite new ways of communicating the importance of investments in scientific research and development to motivate African governments and their citizens to support increased investments in scientific research.  Seed grants are US$100 thousand for two years. Innovations which receive seed grants and show promise for scaling up will be eligible to apply for additional funding up to US$1 million. Grants will go to investigators in African countries, but the program encourages partnerships with investigators in other countries. Applicants can be at any level of experience and discipline from colleges and universities, government laboratories, research institutions, non-governmental, and non-profit organizations.  The deadline for applications is 17 February 2017.

The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is the country’s focal point for the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI). Qualified individuals from developing countries supported by Belgian Development Cooperation can apply for study visits in Belgium to train in taxonomic projects and biodiversity assessment projects that have strong taxonomic components. Priority is given to projects in the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Dem Rep Congo, Guinea, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda. The application deadline is 19 February 2017.

RUFORUM announced PhD scholarships available through the German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) for doctoral studies at three universities in East Africa. They are the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Sciences and Technology (Tanzania); Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Kenya); and Makerere University (Uganda). The relevant doctoral programs are identified in the announcement. Scholarships are available for in-country applicants, as well as for regional (all Sub-Saharan) applicants. The application deadline is 20 February 2017.

The Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP) fosters and supports start-up enterprises in Africa. TEEP combines mentoring, training, forums, seed capital, and alumni support to individuals in Africa proposing new business ideas or early-stage companies in sectors that include agriculture, among others. The program is open to citizens and legal residents ages 18 and older in any African country. The period for applications (English, French, Portuguese) is 01 January through 01 March.

RUFORUM is partnering with the MasterCard Foundation, Gulu University, and Egerton University to enhance the application of science, technology, business, and innovation for rural agriculture. Students who are economically disadvantaged, and students from post-conflict and conflict-affected areas of Africa, are welcome to apply for admission and financial support at Gulu University (Uganda) or Egerton University (Kenya). The announcements lists the available academic programs at each university. The application deadline is 15 March 2017.

In partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the government of Hungary announces scholarships for MSc degrees in agriculture at participating Hungarian universities. The fields of specialization are rural development and agribusiness, horticulture, and agricultural water management.  Applicants should be residents and nationals of the developing countries listed in the announcement. The deadline for applications is 28 February 2017.

With funding provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the African Water Association offers fellowships of US$1 thousand for masters research in water and sanitation. Applicants must be citizens of West African countries who are registered in academic institutions, and whose research is on any of the following themes:  non-revenue water; water quality; water services in low-income urban areas; faecal sludge management; urban and peri-urban sanitation; and use of ICTs in providing water and sanitation services. The application deadline is 28 February 2017.

The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree in AquaCulture, Environment and Society (EM JMD ACES) is a full-time master’s program during two years for European and international students. Applicants are expected to have an appropriate background in aquaculture, marine science, aquatic biology, biology, environmental sciences, marine resources, environmental economics, or environmental policy. Participating students will divide their semesters among universities in the UK, Greece, and France. The program offers scholarships to cover tuition fees, living, and travel expenses. The deadline to apply for scholarships is 17 February 2017.

Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) offers short courses in Israel in subject areas of agriculture, climate change, and related themes. Courses are available in English, Spanish, Russian, and French. Courses for 2017 in English include Integrated Pest Management in March-April (application deadline is 22 January 2017), and Agribusiness for Rural Women in April-May (application deadline is 24 February 2017).  For most courses, MASHAV offers a limited number of scholarships to cover course fees, accommodation, medical insurance, and other expenses in Israel (but not international airfare). Applications are submitted through Israel’s diplomatic missions.

VLIR-UOS is the secretariat of Flemish universities for development cooperation, with funding by Belgian Development Cooperation. VLIR-UOS announces courses at Belgian Flemish universities and university colleges that are eligible for scholarships in 2017. They include 1-year and 2-year masters’ programs, along with training courses lasting from two weeks to three months. Subject areas include aquaculture, marine science, plant breeding, nematology, water resources, rural development, and others. Eligibility for scholarships extends to applicants in 31 developing countries of Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. Candidates apply directly to the Flemish universities that offer the programs, requesting scholarship support. The admission deadlines vary with each program, with many having a deadline of 01 March 2017 for non-EU applicants. (Please check the deadlines carefully!).

The deadline of introduction of application forms is set to the 10 February 2017.

The deadline of introduction of application forms is set to the 10 February 2017.

The deadline of introduction of application forms is set to the 10 February 2017.

Master de spécialisation en production intégrée et préservation des ressources naturelles en milieu urbain et péri-urbain

Candidates who are interested in conducting postdoctoral research at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research in Israel are invited to apply for fellowships. Research topics include desert ecology, solar energy, environmental physics, architecture and urban planning, rainfed and irrigated agriculture, hydrology, aquaculture, environmental microbiology, desalination and water treatment, and biotechnology. Candidates should first select a topic of interest and identify a prospective supervisor. Applications are open worldwide. The application deadline is 02 March 2017.

The Global Sustainable Electricity Partnership comprises many of the world’s largest energy companies in partnership with international organizations, development banks, institutes, and foundations. The program sponsors ESED (Education for Sustainable Energy Development) to support outstanding students from developing countries to pursue masters-level studies directly related to sustainable energy. The support is US$23 thousand per year for up to two years. Applications are invited from any developing country on the list of ODA recipients. The next application deadline is 10 March 2017.

Taiwan’s program of development assistance includes scholarships for university students in eligible developing countries to study in Taiwan. The program provides full scholarships for applicants from selected countries in the Asia-Pacific region, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean region, and certain other countries (Jordan, Mongolia, Russia, Turkey). Subject areas at Taiwan’s participating universities include tropical agriculture, renewable energy, environmental sciences, conservation and wildlife management, and others. The application deadline is 17 March 2017.

With funding by the UK’s Department for International Development, the Commonwealth Shared Scholarships are available to citizens of Commonwealth countries for masters studies at UK universities, usually for one year. The participating academic programs include several in subject areas such as environmental science and management, agro-forestry, livestock management, remote sensing, disaster management, wetlands science, etc. The CSC lists the participating universities and their eligible courses. Potential applicants must check with the relevant UK university regarding their admission requirements and guidelines for applying. The deadline for scholarship applications is 29 March 2017.

The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) jointly invite applications for the CAS-TWAS President’s PhD Fellowship Programme to pursue PhD studies in China. The participating institutions are the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences; the University of Science and Technology of China; and CAS institutes around China. Eligible fields of study include agricultural sciences, various fields of biology, and other areas of the natural sciences and engineering. The programme will award up to 200 scholarships to non-Chinese applicants worldwide. The maximum age of applicants is 35. The application deadline is 31 March 2017.

The Arturo Falaschi Fellowships Program offers long and short-term fellowships to assist in the training of scientists from ICGEB’s member states, including many developing countries. The fellowships are for research at collaborating universities in Trieste, New Delhi, and Cape Town. For doctoral fellowships, the application deadline is 31 March. For post-doctoral fellowships, the deadlines are 31 March and 30 September. For short-term fellowships, the deadlines are at the end of each calendar quarter.

The Challenge is an annual prize of US$100 thousand to invite ideas to radically advance human well-being and ecosystem health. Entries in prior years include several in energy, water, agriculture, natural disasters, etc., with relevance in developing countries. The application deadline is 31 March 2017.

The Norman E. Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture Program (Borlaug LEAP) offers fellowships for graduate students from developing countries for agricultural research at universities in the USA. The program currently invites applications from citizens of USAID-assisted countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Each research project is coordinated by a university in the student’s home country, a university in the USA, and a mentor in the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The next application deadline is 06 April 2016.

The International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Scholar Awards are open to applicants who are graduate students attending a degree-granting institution located in any country with an IPNI program. Applicants in Africa can apply if their research connects with international programs, even if their countries are not in IPNI (see the special criteria for Africans). Awards of US$2 thousand are available to students in the disciplines of agronomy, horticulture, ecology, soil fertility, soil chemistry, crop physiology, and other areas related to plant nutrition. The deadline for applications is 28 April 2017.

The Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition sponsors BCFN YES! (Young Earth Solutions) is an international competition for young researchers on the theme of sustainable food systems. The program offers one-year research grants up to €20 thousand to PhD and postdoc researchers worldwide from any background and nationality. The maximum age is 35. Subject areas include climate change, resilient agriculture, sustainable water management, ecosystem services, food policy, and many others. The competition encourages the participation of teams from different disciplines and countries who wish to combine their expertise in innovative approaches.  The deadline for proposals is 28 June 2017


FAO Conference Awards 2017
The FAO makes awards to individuals, institutions, and organizations for outstanding achievements in fighting hunger. For 2017, FAO will present four awards and one medal. Proposals for nominations require endorsement by FAO representatives in countries, regions, or headquarters. The deadline for nominations is 31 January 2017.

The RUFORUM Field Attachment Program Award is a graduate student internship to link thesis research to application and use at the community level. The awards are for MSc students supported by RUFORUM, and who are finalizing their degrees. The grant provides a living stipend and limited travel for three to four months. Applications will be accepted throughout 2017

AuthorAID announced its first round of small grants in 2017 to support researchers in developing countries with travel and workshops. In this first round for 2017, AuthorAID plans to award five travel grants (US$1,500 each) and five workshop grants (US$2,500 each). AuthorAID posts the list of eligible developing countries. The deadline to apply for travel grants is 29 January 2017. The deadline to apply for workshop grants is 05 February 2017.

Question 3 in the 2017 competition of the Belgium Royal Academy for Overseas Science is: "A study is requested on the possibilities of improvement of underutilized plant species based on characterization of their genetic diversity, with the aim of solving problems of food security, poverty or climate change adaptation." Each award-winning work in the yearly competition is granted a prize of €2,500. The competition is open to all scientists worldwide without age restrictions. The deadline for submissions is 01 March 2017.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation offers 20 fellowships for young climate experts from developing countries interested in conducting a project in Germany and pursuing long-term collaboration. The fellowship allows future leaders to spend a year in Germany working on a research-based project of their own choice in the field of climate protection. Fellows choose their own hosts. The fellowship includes intensive language training and an orientation program at the introduction. The deadline for applications is 01 March 2017.

The West African Research Association (WARC) Travel Grant supports West African scholars and graduate students for research visits to other institutions on the (African) continent. Travel grant funds may be used to attend and present papers at academic conferences relevant to the applicant’s field of research; visit libraries or archives in support of the applicant’s current academic work; engage in collaborative work with colleagues at another institution; and travel to a research site. The grant provides travel costs up to US$1,500 and a stipend of US$1,500. The program is open to West African nationals, with preference given to those affiliated with West African colleges, universities, and research institutions. The next application period is 15 January 2017 through 15 March 2017.

Each year, the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) awards eight prizes of US$15 thousand each to individual scientists who have been working and living in a developing country for at least 10 years. The disciplinary fields include agricultural sciences, biology, and seven others. TWAS particularly encourages nominations of women scientists, and scientists from scientifically-lagging countries. The deadline for nominations is 31 March 2017.

Through the TWAS-DFG Cooperation Visits, post-doctoral researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa make cooperation visits to institutes in Germany. The visits are limited to three months, with the aim of promoting longer-term collaboration. Preference is for young PhD-level scientists, particularly women. The application deadline is 31 March 2017.

The swissuniversities Development and Cooperation Network (SUDAC) calls for various types of Swiss higher education institutions to collaborate with each other and with partners in the Global South to develop and organize Consortia for Education and Research (COFER).  COFER will aim for stronger integration of research, education, and implementation through new collaborative networks oriented towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Each COFER must address at least two SDGs; provide at least 50% matching funds; and provide funding for partners in the Global South. The application deadline is 31 March 2017.

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) offers sponsorship assistance to individuals wishing to attend a conference, seminar, workshop or field day that directly benefits agricultural research for development. ACIAR also supports organisations seeking sponsorships for this same objective. The priority is for events and sponsorships in ACIAR partner countries and related to ACIAR projects. However, direct involvement in an ACIAR project is not a prerequisite to apply for funding. The application deadlines are the first Wednesday of April and the last Wednesday of October in each calendar year.

The Fiat Panis Foundation makes awards for university thesis and dissertation research in themes of agriculture and natural resources, with a focus on food security in developing countries. The Hans Hartwig Ruthenberg Graduate Award is €7.5 thousand. The deadline for submissions (German, English) is 30 April 2017.

The World Food Prize Foundation invites nominations for the annual World Food Prize, and for the annual Borlaug Field Award. The World Food Prize (US$250 thousand) recognizes an individual or individuals who have made outstanding achievements to enhance the world’s food production and its distribution to those most in need. The Borlaug Field Award (US$10 thousand) recognizes science-based achievement in international agriculture and food production by an individual under age 40 in the challenge to eliminate global hunger and poverty. The deadlines for nominations are 01 May 2017 for the World Food Prize, and 30 June 2017 for the Borlaug Field Award.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Global Forum for Food and Agriculture 2017

19-21 January 2017. Berlin. The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) is an international conference that focuses on central questions concerning the future of the global agri-food industry. It is held every year in January during the International Green Week (IGW).

The GFFA is organised by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in cooperation with GFFA Berlin e.V., the Senate of Berlin and Messe Berlin GmbH. The political highlight of the GFFA is the Berlin Agriculture Ministers’ Conference, which takes place in the Weltsaal of the Federal Foreign Office. With 65 ministers at the last summit, this is the world’s largest conference of agriculture ministers.

At numerous events the three-day forum offered representatives from the worlds of politics, business, science and civil society an opportunity to share ideas and agree on a different key topic of agricultural policy each year. 

Under the title “Agriculture and Water – Key to Feeding the World”, the forum discussed:
  • what role agriculture, as a large user of water, can play worldwide in the sustainable stewardship of water as a valuable resource and in maintaining water quality, 
  • how it can be ensured that agriculture has access to water, and hence can provide the global population with food, given the increasing competition over water usage and how agriculture can contribute its considerable potential regarding the use of water towards political processes at international level.
  • Innovative regional and national approaches to efficient water use in agriculture in Africa (Organiser: German-African Business Association; Co-Organiser German Agribusiness Alliance)
  • Meeting the Twin Challenges: Food security and water management (Organiser: European Commission): Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development will host this ministerial level debate. This panel focuses on an active engagement with all participants and the audience with the aim of identifying appropriate policy responses and best practice examples in view of tackling enormous global challenge of water and sustainable agriculture.
22 January 2017. Berlin Meeting of G20 agriculture ministers in Berlin.
By adopting the communiqué of the 9th Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Conference, the participating Ministers from 83 states and representatives of the European Commission and international organisations such as the FAO undertake to lobby for a sustainable stewardship of water.

This year, the Berlin Agriculture Ministers' Conference was held for the ninth time during the Global
Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) – the Berlin World Food Conference. The GFFA is the world's largest Agriculture Ministers' Summit. At the invitation of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Agriculture Ministers from across the globe discuss vital issues for the future of the global agri-food sector. The motto of this year's conference was "Agriculture and Water – Key to Feeding the World".

In their final communiqué, the Agriculture Ministers reaffirm their will to ensure a sustainable use of water resources, whilst identifying four central challenges: reducing the risks of water scarcity, curbing water pollution, managing surplus water and safeguarding adequate access of agriculture to water. 

By adopting the GFFA final communiqué, the Agriculture Ministers commit to pro-actively support the implementation of Agenda 2030 and call for communicating the GFFA at UN level as agriculture's contribution to a successful implementation of the Agenda 2030.