Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Agricultural Leasing in sub-Saharan Africa

31 May 2017. This webinar discussed Agricultural Leasing in sub-Saharan Africa, based on a recent market study undertaken by Nathan Associates in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

Although leasing is a growing form of asset finance in African markets, its use in agriculture remains a nascent concept. Why is this the case? How could leasing help to bridge the finance gap in the sector and ultimately improve rural livelihoods? More specifically, what role can Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) play in expanding agricultural leasing in order to support much-needed growth in the African agriculture sector ?

Speakers included: Amalia Johnsson and Stewart Pirnie from Nathan Associates. The session was moderated by Mike De Klerk, Agricultural Development Specialist.

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Agricultural Leasing Market Scoping Study for Sub-Saharan Africa
REPORT | MARCH 2017 | 29 pages | FSD Africa, Nathan Associates

This scoping study (Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) applies a market systems approach to agricultural equipment leasing in sub-Saharan Africa in order to capture a holistic view of how the leasing market currently works.
  • Like many other financial sector challenges, there is no “one size fits all” solution to building a functioning agricultural leasing sector that is appropriate for and accessible to market players across the continent. 
  • However, through a market systems lens, the research helps to identify constraints within the core market (supply and demand), the market functions that support the sector and the policy and regulatory systems that govern the sector. 
  • Using this approach, the report maps the countries of scope and starts to pinpoint recommendations for developing the sector. The hope is that this market scoping can act as a starting block for development partners that may be interested in promoting growth within the agricultural leasing sector. 
  • The report provides useful country overviews and a summary as to how the countries of scope were chosen, in an effort to identify the right geographical focus for any development partner. The overarching recommendations can be used to best determine one’s entry point or focus, based on specific interests.
Related PAEPARD blogpost
Leasing agricultural equipment in Senegal
6 January 2015. The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has arranged and partly financed a
€25mn credit facility to Locafrique, a leasing company to the Senegalese agricultural sector. Afreximbank arranged the dual-tranche loan, with Banque Atlantique Senegal as an additional lender.

Technologies, Platforms and Partnerships in support of the African agricultural science agenda.

4-5 April 2017. Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Technologies, Platforms and Partnerships in support of the African agricultural science agenda.

A meeting was held co-hosted by IFPRI and AfricaRice, to strengthen linkages and forge stronger partnerships around new ideas, tools and technologies that contribute to developments in agricultural science, technology and innovation.

The meeting was attended by over 60 participants from international development institutions (World Bank, Africa Development Bank, IFAD and USAID) and technical partners (CGIAR Centers, national partners including universities, sub-regional organizations, private sector and NGOs). It demonstrated how new technologies and their assessments, delivery mechanisms, shared platforms, and new tools will support agricultural transformation and economic development in Africa.

Funding support for the Scientific and Technical Partnerships in Africa program was provided by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

The Meeting:
  • Reviewed and discussed initial highlights and results from IFPRI and partners three workstreams as proof of concept in technical support of the Science Agenda.
  • Explored examples of country level applications of technologies, technology platforms, and their delivery mechanisms.
  • Prepared for specific business cases for technologies and examined further the role private and public sector partnerships play in technology investment in Africa.
  • Explored opportunities to create synergies in agricultural R&D that could make a difference in brokering institutional and technical partnerships moving ahead.
(Meeting Summary, Agenda and Participant List)

  • A scoping study of the evolving institutional structures for the delivery of STIs to agriculture in Africa (presentationYihenew Zewdie 
  •  Science, Technology and Innovation delivery in Context of Africa's Agricultural Transsformation (presentation) Maurice Lorka
  • Rolling out the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A) at country level (presentation) Aggrey Agumya 
  • Innovate, generate, disseminate and adopt improved technologies (presentation) Simeon K. Ehui 
  • Assessment of the sectoral effects of selected CGIAR technologies (presentation) Mark W. Rosegrant 
  • Technology Platform Country Case Studies (presentation) Kodjo Kondo, Moses Odeke, Baitsi Podisi, Liangzhi You, Ulrike Wood-Sichra and Jawoo Koo
  • Bridging the Gap: the application of agricultural innovation and technology (presentation, overall diagram) Katie Downie
  • Delivery Mechanisms to Accelerate Dissemination: Building Bridges (presentation) Dina Umali-Deininger
  • CAADP and CGIAR alignment efforts - expanding the role of institutional and technical partnerships - next steps (presentation) Simeon K. Ehui

Webinar: The rise of medium-scale farms in Africa

23 May 2017. This webinar by Prof. Thomas Jayne (MSU) highlighted the causes and consequences of changing farm size distributions in sub-Saharan Africa.

Watch the webinar recording and join the conversation in the comments section below.

This presentation highlights the causes and consequences of changing farm size distributions in sub-Saharan Africa. Medium- and large-scale farms account for a rising share of total farmland, especially in the 5 to 100 hectare range where the number of these farms is growing especially rapidly. 
Thomas Jayne
  • Medium-scale farms control roughly 20% of total farmland in Kenya, 32% in Ghana, 39% in Tanzania, and over 50% in Zambia. The rapid rise of medium-scale holdings in most cases reflects increased interest in land by urban-based professionals or influential rural people. 
  • The rise of medium-scale farms is affecting the region in diverse ways that are difficult to generalize. Many such farms are a source of dynamism, technical change and commercialization of African agriculture. Evidence shows that the rise of bigger farms is encouraging new entry and investment by large-scale traders and more concentrated marketing channels as well as greater use of mechanization even by small-scale farmers. 
  • However, medium-scale land acquisitions may exacerbate land scarcity in rural areas, bid up land prices and encourage out-migration of rural youth. 
  • Medium-scale farmers tend to dominate farm lobby groups and influence agricultural policies and public expenditures to agriculture in their favor. 
  • Nationally representative Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data from six countries (Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia) show that urban households own 5% to 35% of total agricultural land and that this share is rising in all countries where two or more DHS surveys warrant comparisons over time. This suggests a new and hitherto unrecognized channel by which medium-scale farmers may be altering the strength and location of agricultural growth and employment multipliers between rural and urban areas. 
  • Given current trends, medium-scale farms will soon become the dominant scale of farming in many African countries.
About PIM webinars
The PIM webinars aim to share findings of PIM’s research, discuss their application, and get feedback and suggestions from participants. Webinars are conducted by PIM researchers in the form of research seminars. Each webinar is a live event consisting of a presentation (30 min) and a facilitated Q&A session (30 min).

See the full schedule of PIM webinars for May-October 2017 here.

  • August 29, 2017, Women's empowerment in agriculture - what have we learned? (presented by Hazel Malapit, Research Coordinator, Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division, IFPRI, and Cheryl Doss, Senior Departmental Lecturer in Development Economics Department of International Development, Oxford University)
  • September 26, 2017, What determines public budgets for agricultural growth in the developing world? (presented by Tewodaj Mogues, Senior Research Fellow, Development Strategy and Governance Division, IFPRI)
  • October 25, 2017, Strengthening seed systems and markets (presented by David Spielman, Senior Research Fellow, Environment and Production Technology Division, IFPRI)

Naissance du Renova : pour une agriculture durable au Bénin

19 mai 2017 à l’Infosec de Cotonou. Réseau national des ONG actives dans l'agriculture durable (RENOVA).

En Février 2017, une équipe de consultants s’est occupée de répertorier les Organisations Non Gouvernementales (ONG) actives dans le secteur de l’agriculture au Bénin et de collecter des informations auprès de celles-ci. Les informations ont révélé qu’il y a un vide institutionnel qui existe dans le cadre de la synergie d’actions qui devrait avoir lieu dans les secteurs d’activités de ces ONG.

En mettant en place ce réseau, les acteurs entendent montrer à l’autorité de l’Etat, l’engagement des acteurs des Ong à accompagner sa vision qui est de faire du Bénin,un pays à économie prospère. Pour capitaliser les forces, le réseau entend mettre en place des plans d’action pouvant accompagner le Plan stratégie de développement du secteur de l’agriculture et le Programme d’actions du gouvernement (Pag).
Le Conseiller technique du ministre de l’agriculture, Paulin Assigbé a reconnu l’importance de cette initiative. De son intervention, il ressort qu’il n’est plus un secret que les ong mènent beaucoup d’activités techniques et technologiques au niveau des agriculteurs, d’où la nécessité de les organiser. Prenant la rencontre comme une occasion de synergie d’actions pour accompagner le secteur, le représentant du ministre pense que ce réseau vient comme un cadre qui servira d’interlocuteur valable devant les producteurs et les autorités étatiques. 

A l’issue des travaux, les membres du Réseau ont procédé à l’élection d’un bureau devant conduire les destinées du creuset. Ainsi, le choix a été porté sur Patrice Sèwadé, élu coordonnateur national du Réseau national des Ong actives dans l’agriculture durable au Bénin (Renova)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

13th CAADP Partnership Platform

31 May - 2 June 2017. Kampala. Theme " Strengthening Mutual Accountability to Achieve CAADP/Malabo Goals and Targets."

The theme of the CAADP PP was be subdivided into three main sub-themes as follows: 

Sub-theme#1: Strengthening evidence based planning through Malabo compliant NAIPs and RAIPs:
This sub-theme will dedicate time to the transformation agenda captured in the Malabo declaration and the role of the NAIP to translate the continental aspirations into results and impact. Proposed specific sessions will specifically highlight key steps required for countries to take forward CAADP implementation within the context of their NAIPs and the need to embrace and align to the Malabo commitments. The role of evidence-based planning in the context of mutual accountability will take center stage during the sessions, while approaches for financing the plans will be discussed. 

Commissioner for Agriculture Josefa Sacko, asks
member states to increase investment in Agriculture
Sub-theme#2: Fostering evidence-based reporting and accountability: 
Specific sessions of this sub-theme are conceived to inform PP participants on steps hitherto taken in designing the CAADP Biennial Review for effective mutual accountability. This is an integral part of the Malabo Declaration on fostering result-based implementation, evidence-based tracking, learning and building of new knowledge to inform further planning and policy reforms. Operational tools and 3 instruments, institutional mechanisms, and continental and regional roadmaps proposed and endorsed by members States and RECs, to coordinate preparation of country, regional and continental performance reports will also be exhibited. Anticipated challenges for a sustainable funding of the biennial reports preparation will be discussed as well as countries readiness to engage in the first reporting exercise. 

Sub-theme#3: Strengthening multi-stakeholder platforms for review, dialogue and mutual accountability to enhance policy formulation and effective implementation: 
Specific sessions of this sub-theme will provide comprehensive coverage of all the key stakeholder groups who need to be engaged for effective dialogue, implementation and mutual accountability while addressing ‘public sector' coordination issues at national level, as well as sector coordination issues at regional and continental levels. They will also provide an insight into existing tools and mechanisms designed to promote enabling policy environmentsfor responsible and inclusive private sector investment in agriculture along selected value chains. In line with the AU theme for 2017, issues on harnessing the demographic dividend through the role of youth in agribusiness development will also be discussed. Enough time will be given for discussion on lessons learnt, experiences, challenges and good practices with a view to informing a set of recommendations on how to strengthen multi-stakeholder dialogue and accountability platforms for effective NAIP implementation.

Side Events: 
Title of the side event: “Deepening the Understanding of Food and Nutrition Security Accountability Process and the CAADP Results Framework to Facilitate the Achievement of Malabo Goals and Targets’’
Conveners: FARA and NEPAD
  • Overview of Nutrition in Africa, Ms. Kefilwe Moalosi (see picture), Nutrition Programme and Research Officer, NEPAD
    Ms Kefilwe Moalosi of NEPAD’s Nutrition Programme reported last year that the Ugandan diet mainly composed of traditional bananas known a Matoke, starchy roots (cassava, sweet potatoes), cereals (maize, millet, sorghum) and pulses (nuts), can be adversely affected by the Fungi [aflatoxin] which is known to contaminate these food crops.
  • Food and Nutrition Security goals and targets in the CAADP Results Framework: Technical guidelines and review process, Dr. Laila Lokosang, CAADP Food and Nutrition Security Advisor, AUC 
  • Aligning nutrition-sensitive agriculture indicators to Malabo/CAADP targets and indicators, Dr. Dia Sanou, Nutrition Officer, FAO, East Africa 
  • Monitoring and evaluation of advocacy and nutrition outcomes: Experiences from the Reaching Agents of Change and Building Nutritious Food Basket (BNFB) Projects, Dr. Godfrey Mulongo, M and E Specialist, BNFB Project, CIP, Tanzania 
Title of side-event: Evidence on measuring On-farm investment as means of prioritising investments that catalyst smallholders own investment.
The purpose of this side event is to increase understanding on on-farm investment and how to leverage investments for meeting the CAADP targets; and to identify next steps for inter-institutional collaboration between producers’ organisations, AUC, NPCA, FAO, IFPRI , ActionAid and other institutions to develop clear methodology for piloting data collection in Africa. There is the need to review the various agriculture financing streams in the wake of the current discourse on innovative financing for agriculture differentiating and measuring farmers’ own investment against Public, and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The main objective of this session are:
  • To discuss and provide substantial clarity and commonality on private investment and by different types of farms
  • To present and discus data sets on on-farm investment
  • To identify the several data sets and discuss opportunities to develop participatory tools and methodologies needed for comprehensive data collection and analysis of private investment (on-farm investments)
  • What kind of public investments catalyze, support or constrain smallholder farmers’ (especially women’s) own investment
  • To discuss, define and provide incentives for collaboration among stakeholders in piloting documentation of on-farm investments as a measure for improving both public and private investment in agriculture in Africa
  • Sarah Lowder (see picture), Agricultural Economist, Georgetown University , Washington, D.C.: Evidence on measuring On-farm investment as means of prioritising investments that catalyst smallholders own investment.
  • Augustin Wambo - Head, CAADP NEPAD Agency 
  • Ruchi Tripathi – LAND Platform Manager, ActionAid International 
  • Greenwell Matchaya (see picture),- ReSAKSS Coordinator (Acting) 
  • Mary Afan –President Smallholder Women Farmers Organisation of Nigeria 
  • Komla Prosper Bissi - African Union Commission 
  • Eva Mageni – President, Rural Women Farmers Federation
Oxfam has been engaging the African Heads of States and institutions in addressing the inequality in our food systems through evidence based advocacy for pro small holder farmer’s policies, practices and investments, through the GROW Campaign implemented in partnership with farmer organisations and other development partners and coalitions in 14 countries in Africa. In support of this campaign there are several projects such the Agriculture Investment project and Female Food Hero Awards implemented in Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopia and at Africa Union level. The main objective of this session are:
  • Improved knowledge on the agriculture budget allocation and its impact on the target sectors and beneficiaries. 
  • Launch of the Agriculture financing paper: ‘A broken promise! Financing African Small holder Agriculture’
  • Policy recommendations presented to the policy makers
Specific objectives

  • To share report findings on agriculture financing and discuss its implication in addressing the gender inequalities in food system and reduction in poverty levels.
  • To discuss recommendations for effective planning and utilisation of resources for the benefit of small scale farmers.
  • To provide a cross learning platform to share experiences and best practices on agriculture budget and policy influencing.
Conveners: Oxfam in collaboration with Grow campaign partners, CAADP Non State Actors Coalition (CNC) and AU

Presentation of the paper: “A broken Promise! Financing African Small Holder Agriculture’’ Jessica Mwanzia (see picture) – Oxfam, Pan Africa Programme
Panel Discussion:
  • Panel host: Apollos Nwafor- Pan Africa Director 
  • Victoria Adongo- Peasant Farmers Association of Ghana 
  • Dr Janet Edeme: Head Rural Economy Division 
  • H.E. Hon Dr Charles Tizeba – Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Tanzania

Farmers' rights and seed systems

30 May 2017. Webinar. As one of the series of GFAR webinars, GFAR Secretariat brought together several presenters to engage the agri-food research and innovation community around the topic of Farmers’ Rights, and especially how to achieve the complementarity between the informal and formal seed systems.

Complementarity between the informal and formal seed systems were approached in a holistic way. Not only do the conservation and innovation systems need to integrate the formal and informal seed systems to benefit from one another’s capacity and value added, but new policies and legal measures need to be formulated to ensure the recognition and implementation of the rights of farmers.


  • Mr. Mario Marino, Technical Officer, Secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. 
  • Dr. Gloria Otieno (picture), Associate Expert, Genetic Resources and Food Security Policy; Bioversity International Regional Office in Uganda. Gloria is a Genetic Resources and Food Security Policy Specialist at Bioversity International with specialization on genetic resources policy (access and benefit sharing, farmers’ rights and treaty implementation); climate resilient seed systems; adaptation planning and food security policy development. She has exteMr. Marvin Gomez, leader in participatory plant breeding; Foundation for Participatory Research with Honduran farmers.nsive experience in East, West and Southern Africa.
  • Ms. Szonja Csörgõ (picture), Director of Intellectual Property and Legal Affairs of the
    European Seed Association
  • Mr. Bram de Jonge (picture), Seed Policy Advisor at Oxfam Novib, the Netherlands. He is involved in the Sowing Diversity = Harvesting Security program. He is also a researcher at the Law & Governance Group of Wageningen University,

25 May 2017Community seedbanks: securing diversity for climate change adaptation
Bioversity International’s policy scientist Ronnie Vernooy explains to Degrees of Latitude why community seedbanks are important for farming systems’ resilience, and how they can be supported. Community seedbanks are an invaluable tool to maintain local crop diversity, and can enhance farming systems’ resilience by securing access to, and availability of, diverse, locally adapted crops and varieties.
  Related PAEPARD blogposts
The basic objectives of biodiversity legislation are conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources and the sharing of benefits that arise from their use.

In-kind activities supporting the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources happen in various forms and take place at national, regional or international level.

In order to find out more about the types of voluntary benefit-sharing activities the seed sector is engaged in and to view the specific projects, please select a type of activity here.

Direct financial support: In certain cases private breeders also provide direct financial support to certain activities or projects of national genebanks, conservation programs or other projects.

Fair Planet has recently completed a pilot project in Ethiopia, in which high quality tomato varieties were compared to the local variety. The trials were conducted using agronomic practices that are accessible and affordable to local smallholder farmers. High quality varieties yielded more than 5 times the average national yield. The quality of the crop was better, with bigger fruits and longer shelf life, allowing higher pricing and increasing farmers' income. This project was financially supported by Enza Zaden.

Several seed companies (such as Limagrain Group, Enza Zaden, Syngenta, Bayer) participate in the project via providing access to existing high quality varieties and respective know-how. In return, the companies will benefit from a positive reputation, gain entrance to the African seed-market and help it grow. Eventually, they will gain access to new markets created through Fair Planet's activity.

Baraa is a primary school with hundreds of pupils. Enza Zaden’s financial support has enabled the school to invest in an irrigation system for its kitchen garden, in which the pupils learn how to grow traditional vegetables. The garden also plays an important part in providing food for the pupils.

Eight hundred small-scale farmers in the Sengerema region on the southern shore of Lake Victoria have succeeded in increasing their vegetable production with help from the NGO Vi Agroforestry and sustainable agricultural methods. Enza Zaden also financially supports Vi Agroforestry’s second aim, which is to further develop sustainable vegetable production in Sengerema. This includes helping the farmers to adapt more effectively to climate change, for example by improving the farming system on and around their arable land with certain larger tree species. This way they can to some extent counterbalance deforestation while simultaneously generationg extra income from the sale of wood on top of that of their fruit and vegetables.

SEVIA is a project, initiated by Rijk Zwaan, East West and Wageningen University, supported by the Dutch government. SEVIA aims to contribute to the development of the vegetable industry in Africa and to food security, for example by developing and disseminating adapted technical innovations in order to enhance productivity and to increase farmers' income and by carrying out variety testing trials to identify well adapted varieties per region.

Back in 2012, a co-operation between Germany (GIZ) and Ethiopia has been launched to improve the supply in seeds for local farmers and thereby also yields. The project has been planned for 15 years and is designed to address the following issues: sustainable use of plant genetic resources, practical plant breeding and supply of seeds of locally adapted, high-yielding local plant varieties for domestic Ethiopian demand. The project involves the education and continued training of Ethiopian plant breeders and farmers as well as the support of regional plant breeding projects.

Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) is a public-private partnership to develop drought-tolerant and insect protected maize that will be available royalty-free to smallholder farmers in Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda through local seed companies. Monsanto Company has contributed germplasm and intends to eventually donate biotechnology derived proprietary traits to this project.

CEFA – Il seme della solidarietà (the seed of solidarity), located in Bologna,
is a private committee involved in projects for the sustainable development in rural areas of third countries.A specific sector of activity of CEFA is the program called: “Dal seme al cibo (from seed to food)”. Since the existence of the project there have been important Italian seed companies involved in this project who donated quantities of seeds to be sent abroad for cooperation projects in particular in Albania and Sudan.

In 2014, Monsanto Company donated breeding rights to 4 cotton lines to Institut de L’Environnement et de Recherches Agricoles (INERA) which is the national research organization operating the national cotton breeding program in Burkina Faso. The lines were donated to increase the genetic pool of the INERA breeding program.

IST Africa 2017

31 May - 2 June 2017, Windhoek, Namibia. Hosted by the Government of Namibia through the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology, and Supported by the European Commission and African Union Commission, IST-Africa Week 2017 is the twelfth in an annual series of Ministerial Level Technology Research Conferences.

Focused on ICT-enabled Innovation, Science and Technology related policy dialogues, Global
Development, Research and Innovation Cooperation and Community Building, each conference brings together senior representatives of leading public, private, education and research organisations from 50 countries to discuss policy, share insight and identify collaboration opportunities.

Sessions related to agriculture:
Session 9e: eAgriculture 
  • IoT at the Grassroots – Exploring the Use of Sensors for Livestock Monitoring, Ciira Maina, Dedan Kimathi University of Technology, Kenya
  • Jaguza Livestock APP, Ronald Katamba, AFROSOFT IT Solutions, Uganda
  • The development of a mobile information system to assess the food security of rural communities in South Africa, Marita Turpin, University of Pretoria, South Africa
  • Farmers’ Perceptions of ICTs and its Effects on Access and Use of Agricultural Input Information in Developing Countries: Case of Sikasso, Mali, Suama Hamunyela , Namibia University of Science and Technology , Namibia

Session 10e: eAgriculture and Environmental Sustainability 
  • "Virtuous Cycles" for Rural Innovation and Agri-Entrepreneurship Development, Johann (Rensie) Janse van Rensburg, CSIR, South Africa
  • Demonstrating Smart Irrigation Control and Communications Systems for Rural Farms, Robert BASOMINGERA, Carnegie Mellon University Africa, Rwanda
  • MCDA Criteria Elicitation For Dams In Conflicted Regions - Merowe Case Study, Mohamed Abdallah, Sudan university of science and technology, Sudan
  • Leakage Detection in Tsumeb East Water Distribution Network Using EPANET and Support Vector Regression, Joseph Kemba, University of Namibia, Namibia
  • Linking Climate Information to Livelihood Strategies through ICTs: the Role of Integrated Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, Michaelina Yohannis, University of Nairobi, Kenya

Smart-valleys, developing inland valleys for rice production

Smart-valleys: Trainer-facilitator’s manual.
Smart-valleysManuel du formateur-facilitateur
Defoer, T, Dugué, M-J, Loosvelt, M, and Worou, S. 2017.
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire: Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice). 130 pp

This manual is made up of modules, which are to be used by the trainer-facilitator during the training of the technician-facilitators who are in the position to facilitate the Smart-valleys development process on the ground. The manual is therefore, first of all, meant for the trainer-facilitators interacting with the technicians during the training workshop. These training workshops, and consequently the accompanying modules, are based on the principle of training by discovery and by action-training.

The AfricaRice Knowledge Management Unit is currently preparing distance learning courses for the approach that will allow AfricaRice to reach even more farmers in the end.

SMART-valleys’ is a low-cost, participatory and sustainable approach to develop inland valleys for rice-based systems. Major advantages mentioned by farmers are the increased water retention in their fields, less risk of fertilizer losses due to flooding and increased rice yields.
  • The SMART-valleys approach follows a step-wise procedure focusing on design, lay-out and construction of low-cost water control infrastructure after a careful selection procedure paying attention to both socio-economic and biophysical factors and making extensive use of farmer knowledge.
  • The SMART-valleys approach starts with the identification of inland valley sites with potential for rice cultivation. This is done by a technical team working with farmers and village chiefs in the field. The team should be comprised of members that are trained in the SMART-valleys approach, able to comprehend the social and hydrological setting of valleys with potential for rice cropping. Together they put together a dossier containing information about the valley/s to be developed, importance of rice in the surrounding community, potential to grow and market rice, suitability of the soil and water source for rice cropping, land tenure, etc. The dossier allows the technical team to discuss with the communities that want to exploit the valley and those that are downstream that might be affected by the development.
  • The plan and design of the development is based on this dossier, consultations with technical teams and farmers’ knowledge and experience of water flow and retention on the soil surface. Such a design outlines the water intake, drains and bunds to enable greatly improved water retention in the valley lowlands and drainage of excess water from the valley. It may also include simple structures to divert water from a natural source and provide irrigation to thirsty rice fields when needed.
Back in 2009 the SMART-IV project was started in Benin and Togo. Since that year it supported rice farmers with improvement land and water management approaches. Despite a slow start the SMART-IV project has become a great success. With hard work and good collaboration it achieved the goals that were set by the donor, the Ministry of Agriculture in Japan.

The SMART-valleys approach was rewarded a second phase then called the SMART-VALLEYS project and it expanded the project to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Ebola affected the timely implementation of the activities but since this year field technician and farmers are exposed to the Smart-valleys approach and it conducted agronomic research to improve the yields in terms of quantity and quality.

In the meanwhile new projects are introducing the Smart-valleys approach in GIZ funded projects in Burkina Faso and northern Benin. The approach was showcased as an example of adaptation of African farmers to climate change and variability at the COP22 Climate Change meeting in Marrakech last year. Both Radio France International and the German sister Deutsche Welle broadcasted the Smart-valleys approach.

The coordinator of the project, Dr. Roland Issaka (picture), is succeeding to Sander Zwart who coordinated the project from 2009 until 2017.



4-5 April 2017. Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. Technologies, Platforms and Partnerships in support of the African agricultural science agenda. A meeting was held co-hosted by IFPRI and AfricaRice, to strengthen linkages and forge stronger partnerships around new ideas, tools and technologies that contribute to developments in agricultural science, technology and innovation. The meeting was attended by over 60 participants from international development institutions (World Bank, Africa Development Bank, IFAD and USAID) and technical partners (CGIAR Centers, national partners including universities, sub-regional organizations, private sector and NGOs). It demonstrated how new technologies and their assessments, delivery mechanisms, shared platforms, and new tools will support agricultural transformation and economic development in Africa.

Funding support for the Scientific and Technical Partnerships in Africa program was provided by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM) led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

The Meeting:
  • Reviewed and discussed initial highlights and results from IFPRI and partners three workstreams as proof of concept in technical support of the Science Agenda.
  • Explored examples of country level applications of technologies, technology platforms, and their delivery mechanisms.
  • Prepared for specific business cases for technologies and examined further the role private and public sector partnerships play in technology investment in Africa.
  • Explored opportunities to create synergies in agricultural R&D that could make a difference in brokering institutional and technical partnerships moving ahead.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Workshop on Food Safety Investments

24 May 2017. Brussels. Better Targeting Food Safety Investments in Low and Middle Income Countries.

Recent work by the WHO shows the health burden of foodborne disease is comparable to that of malaria, HIV/AIDS or tuberculosis. To further expose and explore the massively under-estimated burden of foodborne disease and its likely causes, the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) organised this workshop.
The event provided updates on recent evidence on the burden of foodborne disease in low and middle income countries (LMICs) as well as a review of food safety interventions and opportunities to discuss promising solutions. The event program focused first on the vastly underestimated burden of foodborne disease in LMICs and its likely causes. The program then took a closer look at successes in and unintended consequences of small-scale food safety interventions and explore options for developing widespread solutions for foodborne disease in LMICs.

Complete Agenda (708.17 KB)

Annual conference of the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association

22-25 May 2017. 
Windhoek, Namibia. Annual conference of the Southern African Research and Innovation Management Association (SARIMA). The Conference was hosted to allow the opportunity to network with colleagues in the fields of Research Management (RM) and Innovation and Technology Transfer (ITT) and to share our experiences.

SARIMA is a membership organization of Research and Innovation Managers that operates at an institutional, national and international level, as well as across the value chain, from research through to successful innovation commercialization). The organization provides a platform for the promotion and facilitation of best practice in research and innovation management in Southern Africa and its purpose is to strengthen the research and innovation system to ensure the social and economic development of the Southern African region.

22 May 2017. 8:30 – 12:30  The Role of Private Sector Institutions, Non-Governmental & Philanthropic Organizations in Food and Nutrition Security & Sustainable Agriculture (DST)
The purpose of this workshop was to provide a platform for the private and public sector, as well as the research community and philanthropic actors to engage in an open discussion towards the implementation of the R&I Roadmap on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA). 
  • The Roadmap identifies short, medium and long term actions aimed at addressing gaps in food security and sustainable agriculture with the purpose of addressing the developmental challenges common to both continents. 
  • In particular, the Roadmap identifies four key priorities that aim to influence the research agenda, the nature of collaboration and the types of research to be funded. These priorities are: (i) Sustainable intensification in agriculture; (ii) Agricultural and food systems for nutrition; (iii) Development and improvement of agricultural markets and trade; and (iv) Cross-cutting issues such as adding value to what already exists, facilitating the innovation process, strengthening R&I capacities etc. 
  • It is envisaged that the outcomes of such a dialogue will lead to recommendations on: (i) conditions necessary for maximising dynamic and innovative partnerships between private sector, non-state actors and government, (ii) funding instruments for research and innovation, (iii) the potential role of SMEs and large enterprises in funding FNSSA initiatives; (iv) linking the agricultural sector to non-traditional funding opportunities, and (v) addressing challenges with respect to policy and R&I funding. 
  • Good practices in private sector engagement in FNSSA – a case study of the National Food Technology Centre, Botswana, Dr Boitshepo Miriam Keikotlhaile - National Food Technology Centre, Botswana
  • Good practices in private sector engagement in FNSSA – a case study of the SANBio Network

22 May 2017. 8:30 – 13:00 Challenges and Best Practices in Commercialising Research (RINEA, CAASTNET PLUS, DST SARIMA)
This workshop brought together technology transfer practitioners and those involved in the commercialisation of research results to share best practices and experiences, exchange knowledge and collectively identify practical ways to address common challenges. In particular this workshop explored techniques and innovative models for commercializing research results through the exchange of good practices from both EU and African countries, identifying bottlenecks in the market uptake of research results highlighting common traits in EU and Africa; pin-pointed existing obstacles in cooperation between EU-African technology broker professionals; and laid out a path for cooperation among technology transfer stakeholders from both regions taking into consideration recent developments in the wider EU-Africa R&I cooperation. 

  • Insights from High Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) in Africa – EU STI – Mr Tapsoba Issa, Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation - Burkina Faso 
  • Africa – EU Knowledge Management and Communication System (KMCS) on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) – Department of Science and Technology, South Africa
According to the concept note, the KMCS is an initiative which aims to respond to the "need for an Africa‐EU platform for structured access to all knowledge, outputs and lessons learned from various initiatives and research projects, as well as the need for a communication strategy, not only for the implementation of the Roadmap on FNSSA but also for the transfer of knowledge into solutions, including the national decision‐makers and potential investors in Research and Innovation (R&I) and entrepreneurs." See draft agenda
  • Existing initiatives on FNSSA big data collection 
  • The role of technology transfer officers in establishing the KMCS 
  • Good practice methods and principles for knowledge sharing 
  • Identifying methodological/technical needs for a joint Africa-EU KMCS on FNSSA 
  • Big data sharing infrastructure: what is needed?

3rd German-African Agribusiness Forum

22 May 2017. Frankfurt, Germany. The topic of this GAAF17 was the "Opportunities and Challenges along the Value Chain: Tailor-Made, Sustainable and Smart Solutions". Over the coming decades, agriculture will be the main motor of the African labor market. Three quarters of the population in Sub Sahara Africa are already active in this sector. This is also crucial for the economic growth of African countries, accounting for one third of GDP in this region. Nevertheless, the productivity of agriculture is nowhere less than in Africa.

Extracts of the Program GAAF17
New approaches by German and African political decision-makers, business opportunities for the German economy in cooperation with local entrepreneurs as well as innovative solutions from Africa and Germany were presented.

Harnessing the African Agribusiness Partnership Potential 
This panel assessed technical, business, and governance factors in designing successful agribusiness opportunities in Africa. Where are the key market opportunities? Building competitive commercial value chains? Where can value-added be enhanced? How can traders, banks and private investors support producers in the region? How can new projects overcome sustainability issues and learn from past mistakes? 

Input Isolina Boto Manager, Project Leader on Agribusiness Development The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) 
Panel Discussion 
  • Sten Guezennec Africa and Middle East Bayer S.A.S. 
  • Dr Oyewole Babafemi Managing Director African Agribusiness Alliance 
  • Lutz Hartmann General Manager FruitBox Africa GmbH and Partner Belmont Legal 
  • Sako Warren Secretary General World Cocoa Farmers Organisation (WCFO) 
  • Dr Badi Besbes Senior Animal Production Officer Head of the Animal Production and Genetic Resources Unit (AGAS/AGAG), Animal Production and Health Division Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Financing Agricultural Projects in Africa: New Financing Approaches and Instruments What financing structures are being employed successfully? Which instruments are needed? Key African agencies discuss where they have been instrumental in financing vital Agribusiness projects and combating the issue of access to finance across the continent – especially long-term. Which products are offered and where will they increase coverage? Can the huge SME demand be met? How can commercial banks and ECAs collaborate with these organisations? What is the role of international institutions including MIGA, AfDB, EIB and DEG/KFW in helping to get more projects off the ground?

Panel Discussion 
  • Johannes Buschmeier Managing Director AFC Consultants International GmbH 
  • Dr Christophe Cordonnier Frankfurt Business School 
  • Heike Rüttgers Head of Mandate Management Implementation -Development & Impact Finance European Investment Bank (EIB) 
  • Benedict Kanu Agriculture Expert, Partnerships Coordinator African Development Bank (AfDB) 
  • Ulrike Nitsch Vice President DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH
In 2015, the first German-African agricultural forum was launched, which is still Germany's only forum with a focus on "Agriculture in Africa". The German-African Business Association (Afrika-Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft) supports German businesses with their involvement on the African continent. Members profit from our decades-long experience in Africa related issues and a wide network in Africa, Germany and the world.

The Association was founded in 1934. Now, in 2017 we have around 600 members. Our members are mainly German, but also African incorporations, institutions and private individuals. The Afrika-Verein offices are situated in Hamburg and Berlin, Germany.

The Afrika-Verein's main responsibilities include the organization of events, such as forums, conferences, and business summits, the channeling of contemporary information regarding economic and political issues in Africa, as well as the advocacy of our members.

Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank

22-26 May 2017. Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. In line with the central theme, “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa,” many of the high-level meetings explored how India and Africa can work together in order to achieve their shared goal of rural and agricultural transformation, which would go a long way in reducing rural poverty and improving the quality of lives of rural people.
A series of regional sessions on India–West Africa Economic Cooperation; India–Central & South Africa Forum on Connectivity; India–East Africa Business Forum; and India–North Africa Trade Forum also feature prominently in the knowledge events of the meetings.

A special session on India-Japan co-operation for the development of Africa was held under the aegis of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC), in cooperation with their partner organizations in India on the promotion of African business through private-public partnerships between Japan and India in support of African businesses.

A ministerial roundtable discussion dwelt on developing partnerships between Africa and Asia trade and capital flows between the two continents. Entrepreneurship, private sector development in Africa, Asian lessons on human capital and technology in development as well as regional cooperation and trans-boundary challenges also came up for discussion. Bilateral meetings and briefings by organisations and businesses, as well as expositions were held on the sidelines of the meetings.

The AfDB Annual Meeting ended with call to see the potential of African agriculture
“With 65% of the world’s uncultivated land, Africa will determine the future of food for the world. There is gold in the dirt, if only we will see it. I am convinced that we must change the narrative about African agriculture, which will be a US $1 trillion business by 2030. And the entertainment world agrees with me. One of the results of this Meeting is that we have collectively seen the need to make dramas – not just documentaries – about agriculture, so as to engage a younger audience,” Akinwumi Adesina African Development Bank President 
Adesina summarized progress made in the Meetings on the roles of the private sector, young people and women in transforming agriculture to create wealth on the continent. He discussed the Bank’s support for agricultural research (not least through the newly launched Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation Initiative, TAAT), its support for women farmers, and its commitment to heighten the African presence along the entire length of the agricultural value chain, from farm to fork.

“That’s why the Bank will be investing US $24 billion in African agriculture in the next 10 years – a 400% increase on its support to date,” he said. “In Africa, for far too long, farmers have been abandoned. In India’s Green Revolution, farmers were given bold support – in Africa we must do the same.”
African Economic Outlook: the 2017 edition unveiled
Build on African entrepreneurs to succeed in the continent's new industrial revolution. This is what emerges from the 2017 edition of the African Economic Outlook, released on 22 May in Ahmadabad, India, on the sidelines of the AfDB's Annual Meetings. This flagship publication, which annually reviews all 54 African countries, is a joint effort of the Bank, UNDP and OECD.

Read the full report

Developing Africa’s Grey Matter Infrastructure
Building on the AfDB President Adesina’s strong commitment to unlock sustainable economic growth, participants agreed that investing in physical infrastructure cannot help Africa to move forward without building brainpower. Speaking at a side event on “Developing Africa’s Grey Matter Infrastructure: Addressing Africa’s Nutrition Challenges” for healthy children, families, and economies, they highlighted the importance and urgency of fighting the scourge of malnutrition on the African continent. The event also established a foundation for further high-level dialogue and leadership to end malnutrition for health and prosperity for Africans and Africa on the whole.
  • For Jennifer Blanke, AfDB Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, “malnutrition is a major global public health concern whether it is from undernutrition, overweight/obesity or micronutrient deficiencies.” She also mentioned that ensuring good nutrition requires a multi-sector, collaborative approach and that the agriculture sector, among others, has a role to play in influencing nutrition outcomes.
  • During the debate, the panelists agreed that there is a direct link between productivity and growth of the agriculture sector and improved nutrition. “It has become evident that it is the quality of food and not the quantity thereof that is more important,” said Baffour Agyeman representing the John Kuffuor Foundation.
  • Commenting on the role of African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) in encouraging investments in nutrition, Shawn Baker, Nutrition Director at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, said, “ALN is a way to make the fight against malnutrition a central development issue that Ministers of Finance and Heads of State take seriously and hold all sectors accountable for.”
  • For Laura Landis of the World Food Programme, the cost of inaction is dramatic. “We have to make an economic argument on why we need action,” she said. “The WFP is helping, in cooperation with the African Union and the AfDB, to collect the data that gets not just the Health Minister moving, but also Heads of State or Ministers of Finance.”
  • In a word, said Gerda Verburg, Scaling Up Nutrition coordinator, “without better nutrition you will not end poverty. Without better nutrition you will not end gender inequality. Without better nutrition you will not improve health, find innovative approaches, or peace and stability. Better nutrition is the core.”
  • This is particularly true for fragile states, said Sierra Leone’s Finance and Economic Development Minister Momodu Kargbo. “Cooperation and coordination are key between government and development partners, he said. Development partners disregard government systems when implementing programs whereas they should align and carefully regard existing government institutions and ways of working,” he lamented.

Transforming African agriculture into a lucrative business 
Agriculture and agribusiness together account for about 45 percent of the economy of Sub-Saharan Africa. The share of agribusiness (including logistics and retail) in GDP averages 20 percent, while the share of agricultural production is about 24 percent for low-income countries, much of which is subsistence production. Much of Africa is physically close to big markets in the Middle East and Europe and some countries already capitalize on this through horticultural exports. Agriculture and allied industries are now favoured sectors for foreign direct investments (FDI). In 2014, Africa was the world’s fastest- growing region for FDI - a 65 percent increase over 2013.

In this new market environment, agribusiness companies are starting to respond to investment opportunities Africa has to offer. By 2030, agriculture and agribusiness combined could be worth over US$1 trillion to Africa from the current US$313 billion, offering the prospect of bringing more jobs, greater prosperity, less hunger, and enabling farmers to compete globally. However, notable constraints to agribusiness development still remain and explain a substantial part of the underperformance in Africa’s agriculture and agribusinesses. These include dominance of subsistence agriculture and the difficulties in some countries to position agriculture as a profitable business and source of wealth and employment. The Bank believes that it is crucial to transform African agriculture into a globally competitive, inclusive and business-oriented sector that creates wealth, generates gainful employment, improves quality of life and secures the environment. This event provided a platform for exchanging of views among key stakeholders on the subject matter.

Innovative Financing for Agriculture
There is a large financing gap for private sector-led development of agricultural value chains, with an estimated gap of US$50 billion for smallholder farmers. The IFC estimates that 84% of all SMEs on the continent, including those in agricultural sectors, have limited or no access to finance. The flow of private capital into the sector is constrained by low risk-adjusted returns, due to high transaction costs driven by small deal sizes, high delivery costs, and inadequate banking technology. These factors discourage banks from developing agriculture sector expertise, or investing in innovative delivery models. There is need to re-align incentives for commercial banks and other financial institutions to get into financing agriculture, by de-risking agriculture as an asset class and building banks’ capacity to serve smallholder farmers. In so doing more attention should be devoted to innovative financial services including technology-based financial services and insurance schemes which contributes to not only enhancing financial access to small-farmers but also enhance their resilience to the growing risks related to climate, market and political shocks.

The analysis of the Bank has shown that the recent growth of mobile money has allowed millions of people who are otherwise excluded from the formal financial system to perform financial transactions relatively cheaply, securely, and reliably. Mobile money has achieved the broadest success in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 16% of adults report having used a mobile phone in the past 12 months to pay bills or send or receive money (overall in Africa, 14% of adults used mobile money in the past 12 months). In Kenya, where the M-Pesa service was commercially launched in 2007, 68% of adults report using mobile money. Similarly, in Sudan, more than half of adults used mobile money. This re-alignment requires participation of the public sector to address the structural and capacity constraints in the sector. The Bank is proposing a new approach - the Risk Sharing Model - which aims to address some of these challenges. The Bank also intends to establish national/regional Agriculture Risk Sharing Facilities that will catalyse greater commercial banks’ lending to the agriculture sector by de-risking lending to agricultural SMEs.

This panel provided the opportunity for the Bank to formally present the planned approach to deploy innovative financing models to stimulate increased agricultural financing on the continent. The panel will also offer an opportunity to engage key stakeholders in the elaboration of these models to ensure successful deployment and sustainability. This event will be organized following a town hall (arena) setting style.

MODERATOR: Ms. Julie Gichuru, News Anchor, KBC
SETTING THE CONTEXT: Jennifer Blanke, Vice-President, Agriculture, Human & Social Development, AfDB

Hon. Henry Kiplagat Rotich, AfDB Governor for Kenya
Hon. Ambassador Claver Gatete, AfDB Governorfor Rwanda
Hon. Amadou Ba, AfDB Governor for Senegal

Women in Agriculture
The centrality of women’s role in African agriculture, as well as the importance of agriculture to women’s lives, are widely recognized. About 80 percent of women in the least developed countries who are economically active cite agriculture as their primary economic activity. However, a gender gap persists in the agriculture value chain. Further, given gender disparities in overall access to formal financing, with fewer women meeting lenders’ criteria, less commercial credit goes to women-run enterprises. Moreover, depending on the country, the rural wage gap between men and women in Africa is estimated at between 15 and 60 percent. It is therefore clear that one critical area in which Africa’s agriculture innovation system must go beyond traditional approaches to achieve transformative change is in how it treats issues of gender.
  • This panel provided an opportunity to delve into the problem of gender disparities while bringing together a range of stakeholders (African women farmers (organisations) and entrepreneurs, policy-makers, practitioners, researchers and other experts) to exchange views on how agricultural transformation can enhance decent employment opportunities for women in Africa.
  • The session discussed how to fully develop the capacity of women working in and around the agricultural sector for higher productivity, increased income and economic empowerment through sustained entrepreneurship. The discussion provide concrete and non-traditional approaches and solutions to the issue of gender in agriculture applicable to African circumstances, and also make suggestions on best practices from around the world.

SETTING THE CONTEXT: Mr. Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President, AfDB
OPENING REMARKS BY: H.E. Macky Sall, President of Senegal

Agriculture is Cool: Engaging Africa’s Youth
Africa has the world's youngest population. There are 420 million youth aged 15-35 in Africa. Most of these young people lack access to meaningful economic opportunities. Of those not in school, one-third are unemployed and discouraged, another third are in vulnerable employment, and only one in six is in wage employment. On the other hand, the average age of farmers in Africa is 60 years for a continent hoping to feed itself and to eradicate malnutrition by 2025. In the agriculture sector, lack of access to land, finance, markets, technologies and practical skills are barriers to youth participation. In addition, there is a perception among the youth that farming is an unattractive career path.

Yet the agriculture sector holds the potential to create gainful job and wealth creation for the continent's young people. There are opportunities to empower the youth at each stage of the agricultural value chain as 'agripreneurs.' The ENABLE (Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment) Youth Program has shown evidence that with greater access to the agribusiness enterprise, the youth can be the driving force for the transformation of Africa's agriculture.

This three-part interactive event brought  into the spotlight the innovative concept of "Youth Agripreneurs" developed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria as well as similar original ideas, to showcase success stories in Africa's agriculture sector. Following a short documentary highlighting the AfDB's role in attracting more investment for youth in agribusiness, the audience will hear direct testimonies from some of the bright young African Agripreneurs. Finally, there will be a panel conversation on the topic of youth in agriculture, and the celebration of Agripreneur excellence through an award ceremony (the call for business ideas will be launched and a winner selected before the Annual Meetings. It is envisaged that the Bank through the African Development Institute will send the winner to Korea for a study visit).

MODERATOR: Ms. Lerato Mbele, Presenter of Africa Business Report, BBC World News
REMARKS BY: H.E. John Dramani Mahama, Former President of Ghana