Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, July 31, 2017

Addressing the hunger-poverty nexus: What policy coherence means for the 2030 Agenda

“We need science, technology and the private sector”
said @UN_CFS Chair Amira Gornass
at the Ag & Food day #HLPF2017 #Ag4SGs #SDGs
12 July 2017. New York. Addressing the hunger-poverty nexus: What policy coherence means for the 2030 Agenda.

This  event took place at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York,during the technical segment of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development 2017, following the first three days of thematic reviews of progress on Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2, 3, and 5.
the 2030 Agenda.

It was proposed jointly by the ministries of foreign affairs of the Netherlands, Switzerland and Finland, together with the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) and the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). It was attended by over 70 participants including numerous representatives of governments, UN and international organisations, and civil society.

The panellists were
13 July 2017. The Livestock Global Alliance International has partnered with Agri-Food Network and a number of organizations hosted an Agriculture and Food Day to Implement the Sustainable Development Goals. The event raised awareness about the critical need for investment in SDG 2 on ending hunger and its interlinkages with the other SDGs under focus during the High Level Political Forum.

The day included a thematically-focused plenary session with high-level speakers including the director general of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Jimmy Smith, moderated this day-long event, but also Marie-Helene Semedo (FAO), Nicole Carta (IFAD), Nichola Dyer and Franck Berthe (World Bank).

See also the ILRI news on this. Follow the event on Twitter, using the hashtag #Ag4SDGs

Delegates at the conference also called for different sectors to work together and approach different aspects of the food security puzzle from a holistic perspective. 
“Despite advances, stunting in children has risen over 20 percent since 1990 in Africa. Mmalnutrition results in an 11 percent loss in GDP each year. Additionally, the sector is the second largest emitter of global greenhouse gas emissions and the largest driver of deforestation, making agriculture one of the top contributors to climate change and biodiversity loss. At the same time, youth globally are turning away from agriculture, just as the world needs to set its sights on doubling food production over the next three decades. Yemi Akinbamijo, executive director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa
Akinbamijo credited much of Africa’s food and nutrition challenges to the poor integration of science and production systems, with the latest research often failing to translate into the market.

Capacity Needs Assessment in an agricultural innovation niche partnership

Trainer’s Manual on Facilitating Capacity Needs Assessment
2017, 114 pages

Building on CDAIS training experience, this manual has been developed to support the activities of the CDAIS project.

This manual is a resource for the training of National Innovation Facilitators (NIFs) across all 8 countries. The objective of the training is to strengthen the NIFs’ facilitation skills and their ability to carry out Capacity Needs Assessments (CNAs) in agricultural innovation niche partnerships.
  • The materials were prepared in English by a CDAIS working group comprising staff of the various CDAIS implementing partners from Agrinatura and FAO, piloted in one English-speaking country (with valuable input from the CDAIS country team), then made available to the other seven countries. 
  • The manual is not a blueprint for use in precisely the same way across all countries, rather it is a general framework and approach around a series of concepts, tools and techniques
  • The manual was reviewed, modified and adapted to the national context of each country and translated where necessary to an appropriate language before delivery e.g. European languages such as French, Portuguese, Spanish and national languages in the 8 pilot countries.
  • Elements of the manual such as the facilitation tools may also be useful in other contexts and the modular design allows for parts of it to be extracted and adapted for use as necessary.
Here you can see the manual:
In the current global overview of CDAIS report, CDAIS is sharing the approaches used and lessons learnt from these pilot countries. We are excited to experience seeds of change not just with our national partners but also within institutions and organizations at Global and European level.
The European Commission is financially supporting a project to strengthen capacities to innovate in Africa, Asia and Central America. The project is officially called the capacity development for agricultural innovation systems (CDAIS). It is being implemented jointly by Agrinatura, FAO and national partners in the 8 pilot countries (Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Laos and Rwanda). CDAIS has supported the development of the common framework on agricultural innovation systems through the Tropical Agricultural Platform. The common framework advocates on the importance of the functional capacities in agriculture innovations.

Research for Development: How Three Innovation Labs Are Driving Impact

25 July 2017. This Agrilinks webinar showcased the applied research of three Feed the Future Innovation Labs and their contributions to on-the-ground development impact.

Leaders from the Feed the Future Innovation Labs for Nutrition, Soybean and Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss presented examples of how U.S. universities are leading the development of tools and innovations that support smallholder farming communities and other actors within agricultural value chains.

Presentation Audio
Presentation Audio Transcript
Question and Answer Audio
Question and Answer Audio Transcript
Webinar Chat Transcript
Webinar PowerPoint Presentation

Presenter(s) and extracts from their presentation

Patrick WebbTufts University - Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition
What we are focused on is how investments in improving on the farm practices and storage post-harvest and transformation of foods, how ail of those also can relate to nutrition, and how attention to certain concerns in nutrition .. . the main one I'm gonna focus on is food safety in the context of mycotoxins .. . natural molds in foods ... how those kind of concerns about the quality and safety of foods that people eat very closely links up the research and programmatic concerns of nutrition, but also post-harvest losses, the various ag research agendas, farm improvements, and so on.
The Nutrition Innovation Lab has four focus countries, particular Nepal and Uganda, but we also have a large research, operations research programming in Bangladesh, and working in Malawi.

In Nepal we're following 1600 women through their pregnancies to look at the effect of aflatoxin in their blood. 
  • So, through their diet, what are the rates of aflatoxin in their blood? 
  • Does that correlate with birth outcomes? 
  • And do those birth outcomes then correlate with the growth of children, so we can actually finally better understand if aflatoxins play a role, or not, in stunting through various mechanisms. 
We have ... these are not publish data yet. These are just hot off the press from a sub sample. We are seeing that there is a statistically significant correlation between rates of aflatoxin in the blood of the mothers during pregnancy, and low birth weight. So there is a correlation with birth outcomes at the five percent level. We're still exploring the data, but this is one of the füst prospective findings that we can ... as opposed to cross sectional ... that we can report on this. So I think it really linked the agriculture and food systems issues around aflatoxin with the human concerns. And we need to find ways to address this, as a human problem in relation to nutrition.

Jumping to Uganda, we also have found that infants in Uganda from mothers who had both ... were both HIV positive and hire rates of aflatoxin, had significantly lower rate of Aids or stunting, higher stunting, than those who were born of women who were HIV negative. So there's something here linking the food coming from the field, stored, with what certain categories of women consume, and their own health and behavior, and then the outcomes and the stunting of their children. This means we need to be very careful about what we do in promoting certain kinds of crops. We need to be very careful about farm management and storage.

So even if there are more nutritious crops available, or animal source foods available, we need to better understand how vulnerable populations eat those kinds of foods, and how their bodies absorb or not, the kinds of foods to achieve the kinds of results we want to see. Lower stunting, lower anemia, lower, higher MUAC BMI for women. This matters immensely for all of the goals of the global food security strategy.

Peter Goldsmith
University of Illinois - Feed the Future Soybean Innovation Lab

I will provide a brief overview of the Soybean Innovation Lab. But really my focus is how SIL's an expression of the feed the future and the global food security strategies. (...) The labs are about research for development. How the research and the expertise that we have at the universities can be relevant and improve development outcomes. 

The innovation lab, SIL, is in its fourth year. University of Illinois is the lead. We're parrnered with Mississippi State University, University of Missouri, and the International Institute for Tropical Ag in Ibadan. What we do, our mission is to establish a foundation for soybean development in the developing world, principally Africa. So we provide technical knowledge, and associated, appropriate technologies to make successful those trying to develop soybean in emerging markets. So we don't work with farmers, we work with researchers, extensionists, the private sector, contractors, NGOs, who, of course, many of whom are working with farmers, helping them be successful.

Our scope, we focus on the soybean value chain. So we focus from inputs, inoculum, and so forth, ail the way through livestock and human nutrition. We started out when we initiated the project in flve countries. We're now in 13 countries, working in partnership with the private sector, with contractors, USAID mission contractors, local NGOs, et cetera.
"The upper left graf just shows that soybean has been the fastest growing crop the last 20 years, about a third faster than the next crop, which is rape canola. So there's tremendous interest. The right hand sde, the map is a lot of soybean development in Latin America, and a lot of work has shown that there's great potential for soy in Africa, as well. And then the below slide is some price data that we work with in Ghana, just showing the strength of prices in Africa. The prices are very strong. That deep red line is the price in Chicago, and the other lines are local prices in Ghana. So prices are very good. So demand is very good. And this caused back, a number of years ago, a lot of interest in using soy as a development mechanism, to drive economic development, to reduce poverty and reduce malnutrition. 
We deliver very applied research. We're not about publications. We're about servicing the needs of our practitioner clients who are trying to develop soybean, whether they be a researcher at a NAR, as an extensionist, or private sector firm. And we value the disciplines. We have plant breeders, we have nutritionists, we have economists, we have anthropologists, working with disciplinary strength in a multidisciplinary setting. So we cluster activities, and we think this is very important. You don't just pop in and pop out in lots oflocations.
When you introduce a crop like soybean, which is very different from a native staple, it is going to have significant disruptive effects on the social fabric of, whether it be the household, the household economy, communities, because markets are so important. T echnology is transferred from private sector, and as well as extensionists, which are male dominated. Mechanization becomes important because scale is necessary for small holders to compete. And women's integration with mechanization is not well understood. So this, introducing a commercial crop, soybean, is normatively very different than working with native staples. And that's what Dr. Ragsdale, her body of work, and her collaboration, and her partnership is meant to guide practitioners and help them achieve gender balance, and be gender sensitive because soy is not a traditional crop, and well understood, especially from a social or anthropological sense.
We're currently engaged in Northern Ghana and in Ethiopia is a question about soil PH. Soybean is very sensitive to low PH and little work has been done around the development community in terms of first soil testing, which is so critical for tropical soybean, and then soil correction, and the challenge is correcting these soils using lime. Lime is very bulky, not very expensive but very bulky, and a logistical challenge for small holders.

There's a Swiss company called Omya that has developed a prill, a very small micro­grained form of lime called Calciprill, and they have not applied it or tested it in a developing country setting. We brought that product in working with the private sector, but you don't want to just go immediately to farmer trials or demo plots. You want to have good evidence. This is what Feed the Future and Global Food Strategy based on evidence is asking us to do, provide some formal evidence to guide companies like Omya. So we partner with them on our smart farms in Ghana and Ethiopia. We are now trialing this Calciprill product as a solution for small holders.

Dena Bunnel
Kansas State University - Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Post-Harvest Loss
The Post-Harvest Loss Innovation Lab is based at Kansas State University, although we are a robust consortium of US based and universities and organizations in the countries in which we work. And, as I mentioned, we focus on stored crops, grains, legumes, seeds, et cetera. And we have ... our key technical areas are in drying, storage, and mycotoxin assessments. And a big component of that is moisture measurement, as well. And in addition we have cross cutting, topics in capacity building, really focusing on the human institutional capacity building in the countries in which we're working. To date, we have worked with 19 graduate students in the local universities in the countries where we work, as well as here in the United States, here at K State, as well as Oklahoma State, University of Nebraska.

Our four core countries that span the link of our five year project are Guatemala, Ghana, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh. ln addition to that, we had a buy in project that has been ended in Afghanistan where we did a mycotoxin assessment on wheat, raisins and tree nuts And we just recently started new projects in Nepal and Honduras, where we're doing mycotoxin assessments there, as well.

ln Ghana, we have the solar-biomass dryer that l mentioned. lt's a greenhouse type set up, and it actually uses solar to dry and disinfect the grain. And when solar's not available, it has a biomass furnace as well.

Aflatoxin is a major threat to food and nutritional security, and one of which the impacts of are becoming better known. But a lot of research still needs to be done. And so, mycotoxins ... which aflatoxin is the most well known, of course ... are fungal metabolites. It's estimated that they can impact up to 25 percent of the global food supply. So the problem is vast. Tt is ... chronic exposure has been causal linked to cancer, and correlated linked to stunting and amino suppression. And acute exposure can even lead to death. And it has a huge impact on agriculture health trade and environment. And worst of ail, when it cornes to aflatoxins, is that they're often undetectable, or invisible to the naked eye, which makes both the detection and the education piece surrounding mycotoxin particularly challenging. And, in addition to that, some of our work that we've done ... in Guatemala, for example ...

One of the areas in which we're really trying to lead the way in this mycotoxin detection and mapping is through our new project that we're starting in Nepal, and through which we're collaborating with a variety of partners, including the Nutrition Innovation Lab, and then also the Mars Global Food Safety Lab, which is located in China, and really working with them on enhancing the capacity of our national partners to better detect and analyze mycotoxins in the food supply. And so, this project will be assessing aflatoxins in nuts, spices, dried chilies, as well as wheat and maize and peanuts.

And so it really is covering a vast portion of the food supply, as well as livestock feed in Nepal, and seeking to characterize ... identify the issues, characterize the fungal toxins that are present, and then, most importantly, really seeking to corne up with short, medium, and long term intervention strategies. And so, once we have identified the problem, really tal(ing that next step in this process, of what do we do now? How do we protect the most vulnerable? ln what ways can we not just reduce the level of aflatoxin, but looking at things like, what are alternative uses that we can have for these products, where we may never get aflatoxins completely out of the food supply. But if we can And a way to repurpose those in a way that reduces the danger for human consumption, what are some of those avenues in which we can do that? 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Pioneering project estimates nutritional losses

The two-year project, led by the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) at the University of Greenwich, is being carried out in partnership with scientists from the University of Zimbabwe, the National Agricultural Research Laboratories in Kawanda, Uganda (NARL), the International Potato Center (CIP), and Purdue University and Iowa State University in the United States.
“The team’s first step was to hold an open consultation on nutritional losses. Over four hundred agriculture and nutrition experts from more than 50 countries were invited to take part in a survey focussing on key nutrients. The data gathered from this survey will be used to shape the research and will be integrated into the design of a predictive tool being developed through the project.” NRI’s Dr. Aurélie Bechoff Food and Nutrition Specialist, who is leading the project. 
Nutri-P-Loss will work alongside APHLIS, the African Postharvest Losses Information System, created in 2010 by NRI and partners. APHLIS is a scientific model producing calculated estimates of postharvest losses of food crops across sub-Saharan Africa. Through APHLIS+, a project led by Dr Bruno Tran (AfricaRice and NRI), a new and improved version of the information system is being developed, covering more crops and types of data, including nutritional loss.

The project comes under the research initiative known as ‘IMMANA’ or ‘Innovative Metrics and
Methods for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions’, funded with UK Aid from the UK government through the Department for International Development (DFID) and coordinated by the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH).

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Mobile application developed to address post-harvest losses

3 July 2017. A mobile application has been developed to assist farmers to address the issue of high post-harvest losses from their produce.

The application, called Chains of Human Intelligence towards Efficiency and Equity in Agro-Food Trade along the Trans-Africa Highway (CHEETAH), addresses losses when farmers are crossing borders.

  • The mobile app, CHEETAH Smartphone Application, works by crowdsourcing trade barriers by value-chain players whiles transporting the goods.
  • It provides information flow between road users and helps one to determine the duration of transport and duration since harvest, and how the crops have been decaying.
Executive Director for Ujuizi Labs, developers of the app, Valentijn Venus (see picture extreme left), said the innovation will augment government's effort to institute non-tariff barriers on the road.
“There is so much lost to post-harvest but till date, there is no information about the gap and how to partition this gap. It makes the transporter aware of where these losses are incurred the most and how bad deteriorating is at what point in the journey. It makes the driver aware of what is happening and also inform traders who want to use the same corridors to prevent same challenges because maybe the issue is still not solved.
Ministry 0f Dutch Foreign Aid and Development, and Borderless Alliance are collaborating to support the project with funding from Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs is funding.

The group has been engaging traders, transporters, and journalist to test whether the landscape of human and social interactions are ready is ready to adopt the technology.

Why people believe the myth of 'plastic rice'

5 July 2017. BBC. Why people believe the myth of 'plastic rice'
A video which falsely claims to "prove"
the existence of fake plastic rice in the food supply

Despite little evidence that it's a widespread problem, rumours of "plastic" rice being sold in Africa and elsewhere persist on social media - driven in particular by viral videos which show bouncing rice balls.

The rumours spread over the last few weeks in Senegal, The Gambia and Ghana - and reached such a pitch that the Ghana Food and Drugs Authority decided to carry out an investigation.

They invited consumers and traders to submit samples of any rice brands they suspected of being made of plastic - and eventually concluded that there was no plastic rice being sold on the Ghanaian market.

Work with farmers to innovate, attract entrepreneurs

3 July 2017. SciDev. Work with farmers to innovate, attract entrepreneurs. Innovators need to work closely with farmers to create data and technologies that will boost sustainable agricultural growth in the global South, nutrition and data experts say.

The experts noted during the Ministerial Conference on Agriculture and Nutrition Data and 4th Agritec Africa International Exhibition in Kenya last month (14-16 June) that agricultural technologies could spur economic growth in the global South to benefit the people through rapid job creation, improved food security, nutrition and health.

“There is a need for a shift in new service delivery to producers through a new technological knowledge.” Dhairya Pujara (picture), Ycenter.

The meeting that was organised by Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition discussed how to effect positive changes in agriculture in the global South.

30 June 2017. A Cambridge company aiming to lift sub-Saharan farmers out of poverty by creating a market for their surplus was one of two winners in Agri-Tech East’s GROW agri-tech business plan competition. Farming Data’s mobile trading platform uses mobile money and SMS texting on a basic phone to allow smallholders and buyers to communicate and trade more effectively. Smallholders grow 50 per cent of the world’s food and 40 per cent of global food production relies on irrigation. 

GROW is the UK’s only agri-tech business plan competition, established by Agri-Tech East to
stimulate entrepreneurship in the industry. GROW was developed by Agri-Tech East to stimulate and support entrepreneurship in agriculture and horticulture.

The GROW finalists were:

  1. Agronomex – a trading platform which addresses the 4m tonnes of edible food lost before it reaches the farm gate in the UK. The London-based company considered the buy-side issues and have built logistics into the offering.
  2. DataGranary – a data management service that rewards farmers for providing data and cleans and prepares data ready for use.
  3. Farming Data – a Cambridge-start-up developing a software system that allows farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to communicate with potential buyers using SMS messaging on a basic mobile phone, creating a market for their produce.
  4. Soil for Life – a specialist soil health system which helps farmers prioritise interventions and is compatible with existing farm management packages.
  5. SoilSense – a Bristol based company developing an aerial soil moisture sensor that can provide a detailed map of the water status of a whole field in minutes.

Why fertiliser subsidies in Africa have not worked

1 July 2017. The Economist. Print edition | Middle East and Africa Jul 1st 2017| LUSAKALost in the maize. Why fertiliser subsidies in Africa have not worked. Good intentions, poor results

ASK Anesi Chishiko about fertiliser, and she points to her goats and her trees. Manure and leaves are all that she folds into the earth on her family farm in Zambia. Inorganic fertiliser is too costly: the government offers subsidies, but only “clever people” know how to get them, she explains. Her maize sucks up nutrients more quickly than she can replace them. Each year, she says, the soil gets worse.

Farmers in sub-Saharan Africa use little fertiliser: the region accounts for just 1.5% of the world’s consumption of nitrogen, a crucial nutrient. Governments, who want them to use more, spend nearly $1bn annually on subsidies. That is good business for traders, and good politics for leaders chasing rural votes. But it is not the best way to help small farmers like Ms Chishiko. Fertiliser often reaches them late, or not at all. And the cost saps budgets as surely as overcropping saps the soil.

Farming: a cornerstone of Angola's economic diversification

3 July 2017. In the Seventies, Angola was one of Africa’s leading farming nations. But years of civil war took its toll on the sector which only represents 10% of the country’s GDP today.

Since the end of conflict fifteen years ago, a major effort has been made to boost agriculture – a vital necessity when you consider that Angola needs to import 80% of its consumer goods.

According to economic experts, Angola has the potential to become one of the leading agricultural countries in Africa. It boasts 58 million hectares of arable land – the equivalent of a country the size of France. The problem is that only 10% of it is exploited. This is mainly due to poor irrigation.

For this edition of Focus, the team visited Angola’s largest farm. Located 1,400 metres in altitude, on the highlands of South Kwanza province, it covers 10 000 hectares. Only one third of that is being used for now, but the fifty varieties of goods produced – ranging from fruit and vegetables to milk products – yield an annual turnover of 5 million dollars.

Large, privately-owned farms like this one only represent 15% percent of Angola’s agribusiness, but half of its farmed land.
“Angola has excellent conditions for agriculture. There are many different micro-climates, there is a lot of arable land, a lot of water. We have some of the best conditions in the world for farming… Our big problem today is the workforce,” João Macedo, Grupolider administrator.

Delegates visit Tamil Nadu Agricultural University

5 July 2017. Coimbatore. India. An eight-member team from African nations visited Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) to explore areas of collaboration in agriculture and research.

At a meeting held at the TNAU campus, delegates from Mali, Seychelles, Uganda, Ethiopia and Botswana spoke about the importance of agriculture in making nations self-sufficient in food production and sought to focus on technology transfer.

Ambassador of Mali Niankoro Yeah Samake in his opening remarks, indicated that irrigation, farm mechanisation, quality seeds, market linkage, post-harvest, ICT tools and farmers co-operatives were some of the technological areas of collaboration, wherein TNAU can be roped in.

The High Commissioner of Seychelles expressed interest on seeking TNAU help on food related imports for Seychelles and to make it become self-sufficient in food production, a varsity release said.

The delegates expressed interest in sending students from their countries and requested TNAU to open up more admissions on agricultural education and research.
TNAU had collaborations with more than 150 institutions across the world and was is ready to work with Africa on transfer of technologies. (...) Nutritional security through multi- cropping system aided by integrated farming system can help nutritional security in Africa, for which undergraduate gricultural education is pivotal along with transfer of technologies. Industry associations like CII, which arranged the visit, can help agriculture by bridging producers and end users, Ramasamy said. NVM SS. TNAU vice-chancellor Dr K Ramasamy 

Nestlé S.A.: Planting Seeds for the Future of Food

6-7 July 2017. Lausanne/Vevey, Switzerland. Nestle. As the world’s largest food company, and one that connects farmers to consumers, how can Nestlé help shape the future of food systems?

The company hosted an extraordinary gathering of industry and civil society experts. The 'Planting the Seeds for the Future of Food' conference brought together farmers, academics, industry representatives, NGOs and intergovernmental organisations to explore the issues. The Better Business show was there to record this exclusive podcast.

Biodiversity for the planet and for food
  • Bev Postma HarvestPlus, 
  • Stefano Padulosi Bioversity, 
  • Urs Schenker, Nestlé 
  • Tony Juniper
Microbes for healthy soils and healthy guts 
  • John Crawford Rothamsted, 
  • Joachim Lammel Yara, 
  • Doug Cook UC Davis, 
  • Maurice Moloney GIFS
Water conservation and stewardship for agriculture
  • Wouter Wolters, University Wageningen, 
  • Adrian Sym AWS, 
  • Frank Eyhorn Helvetas, 
  • James Lomax UN Environment
Voices of our Farmers 
  • Robert Craig, Ambrose Kirobi CMS, 
  • Peter Froelich Agricircle, 
  • Martin Mwangi University Wageningen
Organic. Costing the Earth 
  • Hans Herren, Biovison, 
  • Samuel Vionnet, Valuing Nature, 
  • Urs Niggli, FIBL, 
  • Vanja Westerberg, Altus Impact
Modelling of the food system 
  • Gerald Nelson ex-IFPRI, 
  • Joost Vervoort, IFPRI, 
  • Natalia Brzezina, KU Leuven, 
  • Karen Cooper, Nestlé Leman
Productivity, transparency and proximity through technology, 
  • Aileen Ionesco-Somers, Business School Lausanne, 
  • Michiel Bakker Google, 
  • Sara Roversi Future Food institute, 
  • Rob Skidmore, ITC
Animal Proteins, Plant Proteins 
  • Ian Roberts Buhler
  • Duncan Williamson WWF, 
  • Aarti Ramachandran, FAIRR, 
  • Patrick Holden, Sustainable Food Trust, 
  • Leonidas Karagounis Nestlé
Urban and rural nutrition challenges 
  • Frank Mechielsen Hivos, 
  • Ruth Oniang’o Rural Outreach Africa, 
  • Hernan Manson ITC, Wilbert Sybesma, Nestlé
Responsible sourcing 
  • Rob Cameron SustainAbility, 
  • Joost Oorthuizen, IDH, 
  • Christina Nyhus Dhillon, GAIN, 
  • Benjamin Ware, Nancy Madigu, Nestlé
Food loss and food waste 
  • Richard Swannell WRAP, 
  • Franziska Staubli, Migros, 
  • Clementine O'Connor, Achim Drewes, Nestlé
Nutrition & Climate Change 
  • Josette Lewis, Env. Defense Fund, 
  • Doug Cook, UC Davis, 
  • Gerald Nelson ex-IFPRI, 
  • Pierre Herben Yara

Transforming Kenyan Agribusiness through innovation

7 July 2017. The World Bank and venture capital firm Nest have announced a call for applications for the AgriTech Challenge 2017 in Kenya.

The initiative is the first open innovation program of its kind in Kenya, and it is aimed at connecting promising startups and innovators with one of the region’s leading agribusiness corporates. The AgriTech Challenge, which is sponsored by the World Bank, aims to spur collaborative innovation within the agricultural sector in Kenya. It forms part of a program to test open innovation mechanisms in the country for a potential future scale up by the government of Kenya, according to KenyaNews.

Starting in August this year, high-calibre teams of innovators and entrepreneurs will work closely with agribusiness industry veterans to conceptualise and co-develop solutions around some of the most pressing challenges in the local value chains. As one of the largest contributors to Kenya’s economy, there is tremendous opportunity to drive value creation and create a sustainable impact through agribusiness innovation.

The World Bank AgriTech Challenge aims to collaboratively prototype solutions that drive productivity, accountability and operational insight in the agribusiness value chain, according to Nest.

  • * Note: The programme is open only to Kenya-based teams
  • Applications close July 25, 2017. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, so the sooner you submit the better!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


12–13 June 2017. Stockholm. The EAT forum gathered 500 of the brightest minds from science, politics, business and civil society. They discussed progress on transforming the food system to solve the interconnected challenges of climate, sustainable development and health.

This year’s topics ranged from innovation and biotechnology to the economics of food systems. Exciting speakers included Caleb Harper from MIT Media Lab, who shared the innovative ways that biotech is revolutionizing the urban food system, and policy advocate Yolanda Kakabadse, WWFs International President and former Ecuadorian Minister of Environment, who looked at sustainable consumption and production in the context of food waste.

Rapid political and environmental changes are having drastic impact on societies across the globe. How can we move from intention to action, from commitments to systemic change?
How can we solve climate, sustainability and health challenges? Which food system triggers could bring about the most transformative change? Cut through the background noise using clear, science-based guidelines for food system transformation. #Foodcanfixit
The EAT Lancet Commission on Food Planet Health

  • Professor Walter Willett, 
  • Dr. Sunita Narain, 
  • Dr. Juan Rivera Dommarco, 
  • Dr. Sonja Vermeulen, 
  • Dr. Tara Garnett and 
  • Professor Jessica Fanzo. 

Panel moderated by Marie Haga (Executive Director, Global Crop Diversity Trust) with

  • President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (Republic of Mauritius), 
  • Nicholas Moreau (Deutsche Bank Management Board, Head of Deutsche Asset Management), 
  • Ruben Echeverria (Director General, International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)) 
  • Alejandro Argumedo (Program Director, ANDES) 

Moderator Jeremy Oppenheim (Program Director, Business and Sustainable Development Commission) with

  • Naoko Ishii (CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility), 
  • Guido Schmidt-Traub (Executive Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network), 
  • Svein Tore Holsether (CEO, Tara International), 
  • Gunhild A. Stordalen (Founder and President, EAT Foundation), 
  • Peter Bakker (President, WBCSD) and 
  • Per Fredrik Ilsaas Pharo (Director, Norway´s International Climate and Forest Initiative, Ministry of Climate and Environment) 
  • Craig Hanson (Global Director of Food, Forests & Water, World Resources Institute) 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

LANDac Annual International Conference 2017

29-30 June 2017. Utrecht, the Netherlands. LANDac’s Annual International Conference 2017 looked back over the decade since the land grab “hype” began, analysing the processes of transformations that have taken place in those locations where investments have been made and revisiting our understanding of the implications of these investment flows for food security, rural livelihoods and local development.

Topics highlighted during the conference included: food security; infrastructure development; displacement, migration and mobility; compensation and resettlement; cities and urban expansion; inclusive development; conflict and competing claims; natural resources and environmental protection; gender and generation; and administration and technologies; and climate change and resilience, among others.
Extract of the programme:
  • Good practices in investments in Liquid Natural Gas investments in Northern Mozambique Chairs: Griet Steel, LANDac and Utrecht University & Karin van Boxtel, Both ENDS
  • Scaling up women’s land rights in Africa6 Chair: Michelle Nuijen, LANDac and Utrecht University
  • Authorizing expropriation effectively: lessons from South Africa Ernst Marais. University of Johannesburg
  • Improving the positive impacts of investments on smallholder livelihoods and the landscapes they live in Herman Savenije, Tropenbos International, Gerard Baltissen, KIT, Marleen van Ruijven, FMO, Hugo Verkuijl, HIVOS, Kees van Dijk and Maryse Hazelzet, the Rock Group
  • Land occupation models and its implications on rural development in Mozambique Natacha Bruna, Observatorio do Meio Rural (OMR) Mozambique
  • A good practice on the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Lands, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT) - The multi-actor and multi-sector approach in Sierra Leone Christian Schulze, FAO
Scaling up women’s land rights in Africa 
Panel Chair: Michelle Nuijen, LANDac 
  • El Hadji Faye Enda Pronat Senegal 
  • Clemente Ntauazi ADECRU Mozambique 
  • Nzira Razao de Deus Forum Mulher Mozambique 
  • Esther Mwaura GROOTS Kenya 
  • Alice Siema GROOTS Kenya 
  • Philip Kilonzo ActionAid International Kenya 
  • Catherine Gatundu ActionAid International 
  • Andrew T.D. Mkandawire Oxfam Malawi
Local livelihoods and customary land governance 
Chair: Jur Schuurman, LANDac 
  • The recognition of customary land rights: lessons from the Province of Bie in Angola Marco Orani, World Vision 
  • Inclusive development of tenure security and economic growth for Namibia’s communal areas 15 Winnie Mwilima and Rose-Mary Kashululu, Namibia Ministry of Land Reform 
  • Impacts of Large Scale Foreign Land Acquisitions on Rural Households: Evidence from Ethiopia Emma Aisbett, Hamburg University; Giulia Barbanente, Erasmus University 
  • Chiefs, Farmers, Businessmen and Officials: On-the-ground Processes of Land Privatization in Burkina Faso Elizabeth Gardiner, The Ohio State University 
Book launches
  • Inclusive businesses in Agriculture. What, how and for whom? Critical insights based on South African cases Authors: Wytske Chamberlain and Ward Anseeuw Published by: SUN MeDIA Metro, South Africa Year: 2017
    Copyright © 2017 AFRICAN SUN MeDIA and the authors, 282 pages
  • Land Law and Governance: African Perspectives on Land Tenure and Title Editors: Hanri Mostert, Leon Verstappen and Jaap Zevenbergen Published by: Juta, South Africa Year: 2017 
  • Contract farming in Ethiopia Editor: Gerrit Holtland Published by: AgriProFocus, the Netherlands Year: 2017 
  • Documentary screening Desert Paradise (Impacts of large scale land acquisition in Gambella region, Ethiopia) Azeb Degife, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich Screening: Friday, lunch break in the Brouwerskamer
13 Jun 2017. LANDac announced the release of a themed special issue, based on contributions from the LANDac Annual International Conference 2015, in the journal Geoforum.

The themed issue explores the “elusiveness of inclusive development” through analyses of empirical evidence on land grabbing ten years after the hype began. The cases collected show different types of investment flows into food and biofuel crops, wildlife, mining and city development in various developing regions, and analyse how different types of marginalized groups actually experience the flows of global capital in their local places – and search for a deeper understanding of the new and complex situations created under the banner of inclusive development in the context of landscape transformations triggered by large-scale land investment projects.

World Aquaculture 2017

26-30 June 2017. Cape Town, South Africa. Themed “Sustainable Aquaculture – New Frontiers for Economic Growth – Spotlight on Africa”, World Aquaculture 2017 brought together some 3,000 industry, academic and government delegates from the 100 member countries of the World Aquaculture Society (WAS).

 The conference was hosted by the Aquaculture Association of Southern Africa and the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The meeting was attended by 11 SADC Member States, viz. Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Other countries which participated in the meeting include Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda

Development partners in attendance included the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR), Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development in Southern Africa (CCARDESA), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD), Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) SmartFish Programme, NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and WorldFish.
The World Aquaculture Society took its annual conference to Africa for the first time in 2017 – turning the spotlight on the potential of aquaculture production to support economic development and investment opportunities in the world’s second-fastest growing regional economy. 

Aquaculture is increasingly important as an environmentally sustainable way to meet global demand for fisheries products, while Sub-Saharan Africa’s vast inland waters and coastlines – home to a small but rapidly growing aquaculture sector – present a largely untapped opportunity to contribute to the nutrition and socio-economic development needs of the region. 

Key programmes which were discussed and adopted include:
  • an “Environmental Management Framework for Sustainable Aquaculture Development in Southern Africa” that provides the basis for sectoral policy and management, which is a collaboration with the African Union Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR). The framework will enable Member States to i) apply the principles of ecosystems approach to aquaculture (EAA) at the sectoral level; and ii) identify key components to develop and implement appropriate mechanisms for specific regional and national environmental management of aquatic animal production systems; and
  • Secondly, drawing lessons from key success factors on growth of the aquaculture sector in a number of SADC countries, including Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, a “Science-Based Aquaculture Development Model” together with a mechanism for a regional “Aquaculture Scientific Mentorship Scheme” for young scientists were proposed, which will involve collaboration with WorldFish, and also between universities and research institutions, governments, private sector and communities in the region.
Keynote Speaker profiles
African Extrusion Seminar Aquatic Feeds
Discussions on African Aquaculture, Extrusion Cooking, Drying, Coating and related functions for production for all styles of aquatic feeds centered on profitability. Feed ingredient selection, grinding, methods of producing floating, sinking and slow sinking feeds. Related products include pet foods, ingredient creation, breadcrumbs for fish coating before frying giving a full review of extrusion possibilities.
Aquaponics workshop
Biofloc Technology Short Coures
Explore Sideways Catalogue 2017
Biosecurity Sessions Workshop
A special session has been organized for the WAS Annual Meeting in Cape Town, RSA to review the status, growth potential and risk profiles of African aquaculture investments, with a focus on the amounts and types of capital needed to help the sector produce revenues, jobs and fish for a growing continent. The session will feature presentations from aquaculture specialists from a range of financial and development institutions interested in African aquaculture, and plenty of time for questions and discussion with a view to helping farmers better understand the constraints for bankers, and helping bankers understand the opportunities in the aquaculture sector.

Sustainable Aquaculture - New Frontiers for Economic Growth.
The African Union – Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) chaired this session.,The transformation in the continent’s aquaculture development approach is enshrined in the ‘Policy Framework and Reform Strategy for Fisheries and Aquaculture in Africa’. This strategy that is currently under implementation serves as the continent’s blue print for aquaculture development. The strategic objective for aquaculture under this strategy is to jump-start market-led sustainable aquaculture based upon sound scientific principles and evidence-based strategies and implementation plans.

AQUA Spark, the Dutch based aquaculture investors, announced a $15 million Africa fund on the first day of the World Aquaculture Society conference in Cape Town. In a partnership with Msingi, an East African economic organisation, the fund will focus on tilapia and catfish producers, and will invest in all farming aspects.

Aqua Spark’s Amy Novogratz, launching the fund during a seminar on financing African aquaculture, said she and her partner Mike Velings were looking for additional investors to come on board.
The aim is to build infrastructure ‘for a thriving sub-Saharan aquaculture sector’, and help provide farmers access to global markets and to Aqua Spark’s portfolio of companies, which includes feed manufacturers. Aqua Spark is the only investment fund in the world dedicated to aquaculture, said Novogratz, and it considers thousands of applications before deciding which companies to support.
It already backs a tilapia farm in Mozambique and has interests in Indonesia and in an Indian Ocean sea cucumber farm, among others.

Impact of Mycotoxins on Aquaculture Fish Species: A Review
As the use of ingredients of plant origin has increased in aquaculture, the potential for mycotoxin poisoning in fish has increased accordingly. Feeding fish with mycotoxin-contaminated feed can lead to a breakdown in health, manifested as tissue damage or through immunosuppression. Both effects can lead to an increase in mortality. To date, however, there have been few reports of mycotoxins in feed at toxic concentrations. The aim of this study was to describe the effects of those toxic mycotoxins most commonly found as contaminants in fish feed. In terms of fish health, the most harmful mycotoxins are aflatoxin B1 and Fusarium mycotoxins. The most sensitive fish species was rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss. Future research in the field of mycotoxicosis in fish should be focused on the effects of combinations of mycotoxins.

The Fusarium Laboratory Workshop

25-30 June 2017. Kansas City, MO, USA. The Fusarium Laboratory Workshop was taught by
international Fusarium experts. Participants are introduced to standard morphological, genetic and molecular biological techniques used to identify and characterize strains of Fusarium.

Participants learned to use morphological characters to identify the most common Fusarium species, how to make tests for vegetative compatibility groups (VCGs) and cross-fertility, and how to extract, PCR amplify DNA, and analyze DNA sequences. More than half of the time will be spent in the laboratory working with standard strains. Students may bring some of their own strains (please contact Dr. Leslie to arrange for proper USDA permits).

Topics covered in this workshop included:
  • Laboratory Strain Identification
  • Molecular Identification
  • Species Concepts
  • Mating Types and Crosses
  • VCG Analysis
  • Strain Preservation
  • Mycotoxins

Global Aid for Trade Review

11 - 13 July 2017. Geneva. Global Review 2017 of Aid for Trade, “Promoting Trade, Inclusiveness and Connectivity For Sustainable Development”.

Underpinning the Review is a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) exercise. The aim of the M&E exercise is to survey: Aid-for-Trade priorities and how these have changed; the status of Trade Facilitation Agreement implementation and support; engagement in, and support to, the development of e-commerce; and infrastructure investment, the development of related services markets and related investment climate reforms.

The Aid for Trade Global Review 2015 highlighted how high trade costs slow growth and development by pricing many suppliers in developing and least developed countries out of global markets. The 2017 Global Review develops this theme further by extending analysis of trade costs into the area of digital connectivity. The Review will discuss the economic consequences of the digital divide and strategies to help policymakers, firms, women and SMEs to bridge this divide.

One tool at the disposal of trade policymakers to reduce logistics trade costs is the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that entered into force on 22 February2015 World Trade Report outlined the inclusive trade outcomes that may be achieved though trade facilitation reforms. This issue will be further examined during the 2017 Global Review.
2017. The

Discussions will be informed by the Aid for Trade at a Glance report, published jointly by the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, with contributions from Business for eTrade Development, the Enhanced Integrated Framework, the International Telecommunications Union, the International Trade Centre, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and the World Bank Group. Additional analysis will be contributed by regional development banks and other stakeholders.

Below video starts @ the 40th min'

Promoting Connectivity In Africa – The Role of Aid for Trade in Boosting Intra-African Trade
This regionally focused plenary session will launch the United National Economic Commission for Africa report on "Promoting Connectivity in Africa – the Role of Aid for Trade in Boosting Intra-African Trade". Discussions shall be based on how promoting connectivity can contribute to the implementation of Africa’s regional integration, notably in the context of the Action Plan for Boosting-intra African Trade.

Moderator: Uzo Madu, Founder, What's in it for Africa?

Panel discussion:

Gender features strongly as a cross-cutting theme in the "Aid for Trade at a Glance 2017" report. It highlights that developing countries and their development partners increasingly recognize the economic growth potential that can be tapped through women's economic empowerment. Among the 40 donors surveyed, 87% indicated that they now integrate women's economic empowerment into their Aid for Trade programming. And with good reason. The report also underscores a series of divides that hamper women and women-owned firms from fully reaping the benefits of international trade.

Divides in terms of access to information and skills needed to export; access and use of technology that helps integrate into global and regional value chains; and ownership or management of firms still exist. Research shows that the productivity premium that firms derive from exporting is actually lower for women-owned firms. When women-owned firms face the same barriers to trade as men-owned firms, they find them more costly to overcome. As firm size increases, obstacles grow, keeping the exporting firms owned or managed by women small. New technology, online platforms and e-commerce can help, but women entrepreneurs still run up against gender-based barriers that reduce their productivity and often their commercial viability.

Progress has been made in integrating gender into Aid for Trade programming. But there is still much room for improvement. Only 38% of developing countries felt that Aid for Trade could contribute to the gender equality target found in SDG 5 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – as compared to 50% of donor respondents.

The session WAS organized around the following themes:

  • How can Aid for Trade help developing countries integrate gender into their development policies? How should the trade dimension be captured?
  • How best should development partners align their support with the national and regional frameworks of the governments they seek to support so as to achieve maximum impact, notably in terms women's economic empowerment?
  • What is the role of the private sector? How can it be involved through advocacy, action and adherence to globally agreed rules?
  • How can gender empowerment action pursued through the Aid for Trade address broader issues of poverty and inequality, without losing sight of the trade dimension?
Keynote speaker: Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General, World Trade Organization

Moderator: Vanessa Erogbogbo, Head of Women and Trade Programme, International Trade Centre

Panel discussion:

  • Ann Linde, Minister for European Union Affairs and Trade, Sweden
  • Armand Tazafy, Minister of Commerce, Madagascar
  • Isatou Touray, Minister of Trade, The Gambia
  • Hiroshi Kuniyoshi, Deputy to the Director General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization
  • Anabel Gonzalez, Senior Director, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, Trade & Competitiveness, World Bank Group
  • Candace Nkoth Bisseck, Founder, Digital for Development, and Consultant, Stanford Seed West Africa

Connecting Trade and Agricultural Development in the LDCs 
Agriculture is a critical component of Aid for Trade and the largest contributor within productive capacity, contributing on average between 15% and 20% of all Aid-for-Trade flows. This should not be surprising given the importance of agriculture to trade in LDCs, a sector providing 69% of total employment, with half being women (UNCTAD).

Despite the synergic linkages between trade and agriculture in development, clear opportunities exist to better link agriculture and trade policy, processes and programmes in LDCs. For instance, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) of the African Union and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) provide institutional, policy and programming mechanisms for both agriculture and trade in African LDCs.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has recently started a project in conjunction with the EIF and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) to pilot an approach to better connect the CAADP and EIF processes and improve the cross-sectoral linkages in four countries Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

This workshop on "Connecting trade and agricultural development in LDCs" therefore aims to share the initial results of the project, and open the discussion to participants to explore the connections between agriculture and trade in development. The key themes will focus on collaboration, connecting siloes in agriculture and trade.

Moderator: Sean Woolfrey, The European Centre for Development Policy Management

Opening address:

  • José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 
  • François Kanimba, Minister of Trade, Industry and Economic Affairs, Rwanda 
  • Ratnakar Adhikari, Executive Director, Enhanced Integrated Framework Secretariat 
Panel discussion:
  • Komla Bissi, The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, African Union Commission 
  • What is the role of trade within CAADP? 
  • Patterson Brown, USAID, Chair of the CAADP Donor Partners Coordination Group (DPCG): Enhancing connection with trade within the CAADP structure. 
  • What is being done to support better coordination amongst donor programming supporting trade and agriculture? 
  • Kayula Siame, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Zambia. 
  • What gaps have you identified (results of the analysis), and how are you planning to address them (results of dialogue) 
Trade and Food Standards: Joint FAO-WTO Publication Launch
Trade in food is difficult to imagine without standards. Food standards give confidence to consumers about the safety, quality and authenticity of what they eat. By setting out a common understanding on different aspects of food for consumers, producers and governments, harmonization on the basis of international standards makes trade less costly and more inclusive. Food standards and trade go hand in hand in ensuring safe, nutritious and sufficient food for a growing world population.

Together, FAO and the WTO provide governments with the means to establish a framework to facilitate trade on the basis of internationally agreed food standards. Through the joint FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius Commission, governments establish global science-based food standards that provide the foundation for achieving public health objectives such as food safety and nutrition. Since standards are essential for smooth trade, the WTO SPS and TBT Agreements strongly encourage governments to harmonize their requirements on the basis of international standards.

This publication emphasizes the importance of participation and engagement of governments in standards development in Codex and in resolving trade concerns in the WTO SPS and TBT Committees, as well as the importance of capacity development, which together contribute to the dynamism and robustness of the global system of food standards and trade.

Keynote addresses:

Moderator: Edwini Kessie, Director, Agriculture and Commodities Division, World Trade Organization
The recently agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are expected to guide development through the 2030 time horizon. The 17 SDGs cover many areas, such as poverty, health, sustainable development, and the environment; however, there is no specific SDG trade goal. The objective of this book is to demonstrate to the international development community, including policymakers in developing countries, the contribution that international trade can make to achieving the SDGs. This book maps out a triple-win scenario: when good trade policy spurs international trade, contributes to development-friendly outcomes, and supports achieving the SDGs.


  • Matthias Helble, Senior Economist, Asian Development Bank Institute
  • Frans Lammersen, Principal Administrator, Development and Co-operation Directorate, Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development 
  • Aik Hoe Lim, Director, Trade and Environment Division, World Trade Organization
  • Ben Shepherd, Principal, Developing Trade Consultants