Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Towards sustainable vegetable growing with farmer learning videos in Benin

24 January 2018.
Towards sustainable vegetable growing with farmer learning videos in Benin
Gérard C. Zoundji, Florent Okry, Simplice D. Vodouhê & Jeffery W. Bentley

Vegetable production plays an important role in nutrition, food security and poverty reduction in Benin. However, vegetable production is hampered by pests and farmers rely on pesticides to control them. Improving farmers’ knowledge is important for the use of sustainable, intensive agricultural practices.

This paper assesses the role of learning video in changing vegetable farmers’ behaviour towards sustainable agriculture. Drawing mainly on mass distribution of learning videos, DVDs entitled ‘Improving vegetable production’ were sold through non-conventional dissemination networks from August to December 2015, to strengthen farmers’ learning. In June 2016, researchers related to AccessAgriculture interviewed a sample of 120 buyers/viewers in four different areas where the DVDs were sold. The interviews were followed by a field visit to collect evidence of the change of practices reported during the interviews.

Results revealed that farmers who watched the videos enhanced their creativity and adapted the learning to their environment by using more sustainable agriculture practices. About 86% of respondents indicated that they now spend less money for pesticides to manage pests and diseases.

Video-mediated learning promotes local innovation, improves farmers’ knowledge and triggers agro-ecological practices with little or no input from the conventional extension system.

  1. Thursday 30th November 2017
    Women in northern Malawi show how best to pick, dry and store bean leaves
  2. Tuesday 27th June 2017
    In this video, farmers from northern Bangladesh will guide us on how to sort and store pumpkins correctly
  3. Monday 11th July 2016
    Different onion diseases can cause different symptoms, but most can be managed in the same way.
  4. Tuesday 31st May 2016
    Solar drying allows farmers to reduce losses and sell leafy vegetables out of the main harvest season
  5. Friday 27th May 2016
    How to prepare the substrate, plant mushroom seed and grow oyster mushrooms under clean conditions
  6. Friday 27th May 2016
    How to make compost using earthworms, and increase soil fertility
  7. Friday 27th May 2016
    Farmers in Benin teach us how to make a chilli seedbed to get strong, healthy seedlings
  8. Friday 27th May 2016
    Making chilli powder is a good way to make money that does not require very much time
  9. Friday 27th May 2016
    Dry your food faster and more hygienically by using a solar dryer that uses the heat of the sun
  10. Friday 27th May 2016
    Give your seedlings a smooth transition from the seedbed to the field to increase your chances of getting a good crop
  11. Friday 27th May 2016
    The diagnosis, life cycle and control methods of root knot nematodes in vegetables
  12. Friday 27th May 2016
    Practical ideas about proper harvesting, drying, grading and storage of chillies

AGRA @ the 48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

23-26 January 2018. Davos, Switzerland. 48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

Agnes Kalibata, the president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa attended the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting several times.
  • AGRA will be focusing in the future on helping to strengthen country capacity to work with the private sector, find investment opportunities and improve leadership around key agriculture issues.
  • The continent needs to build the right institutions and systems to deliver for farmers, from fertilizer and input access, to building market access. AGRA will be working to help build better systems, support the government to provide better agriculture leaderships and strengthen partnerships with the private sector and others who want to invest in agriculture on the continent.
  • AGRA, which has worked in the past largely on improving technical capacity and research, will now focus more on building the systems that allow technology to scale fast.
Davos was an opportunity to help make connections and for government leaders in Africa to make the case for investing in their countries and reassure potential companies or investors that it is a stable environment and share country plans with them.
I don't get a sense that people are put under pressure to track what they say and what they do. WEF would do well to have a better mechanism to track commitments and encourage people not to say the same thing every year and talk about progress without making significant strides towards it. (...) Greater accountability mechanisms could help, but so could a better understanding between political leaders and business leaders on how to engage. That would help improve the conversations around the three key issues of climate, youth employment, and private sector engagement.
She pointed to the example of the New Vision for Agriculture, launched in 2009 by World Economic Forum partners to build partnerships and bring in investment to sustainable agriculture to address food security, and improve environmental sustainability and economic opportunity. Among the partnerships eventually launched in 21 countries was Grow Africa, which was founded in 2011 by WEF, the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. The efforts were reported to have mobilized more than $10.5 billion in investment commitments. Less than $2.5 billion has actually been deployed, Kalibata said.

Devex 22/01/2018 Davos agenda should include climate, youth, private sector engagement, AGRA chief says

Related Reports

Food East Africa

23-25 January 2018. Nairobi. Food East Africa. Food East Africa is the largest platform for both international and regional food and beverage companies to meet, network and establish business ties.

Visitors had the opportunity to network and connect with industry leaders and influencers from regional, national and international organisations over three full days. The Food East Africa conference discussed critical topics and issues including:
  • Supply chain management
  • Food technology
  • Retail innovation

Learning from Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture Activities in Zambia

23 January 2018. Webinar
Focus group discussion comprised of PROFIT+ beneficiaries
Focus group discussion comprised of PROFIT+ beneficiaries
The practical application of nutrition-sensitive agriculture continues to be a challenge for development practitioners all over the world. 

To gain a better understanding of how agriculture interventions can contribute to improved nutrition, USAID’s flagship multi-sectoral nutrition project, Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally (SPRING), partnered with USAID and nongovernmental organizations operating in Zambia to learn from these three agriculture and food security activities implementing nutrition-sensitive interventions:
  • Mawa, led by Catholic Relief Services 
  • Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN/RAIN+) led by Concern Worldwide
  • Feed the Future Production, Finance, and Improved Technology Plus (PROFIT+), led by ACDI/VOCA 

This webinar discussed findings and recommendations and what they mean for future programming in Zambia and nutrition-sensitive programs worldwide.

  • Constance Gewa, SPRING Review Lead, George Mason University
  • Lidan Du, Research Adviser, SPRING
  • Erin Baldridge, Mawa Project Chief of Party, Catholic Relief Services
  • Danny Harvey, Country Director, Concern Worldwide
  • Sally Abbott, Senior Nutrition Advisor, Bureau for Food Security | USAID

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Failing access to agriculture funding

30 January 2018. Failing access to agriculture funding A 2017 report by the Uganda Agribusiness:

The report found that agriculture remains financially underserved due to low bankability of the enterprises. This is majorly caused by high real and perceived risk levels, lack of business and investment preparedness, which experts say is due to lack of appropriate advisory services.

The report notes that majority of agriculture enterprises in Uganda lack capital at the start up stage when it is most needed. But all types of financiers including grant making bodies, venture capital firms and commercial banks are all eager to finance agriculture enterprises that have taken off.

Most enterprises are reported to lack capital in their first three years of establishment when investment in things like green houses, irrigation and storage infrastructure are made. Even after these investments have been made in there is still little interest from lenders, until banking history, which can take up to seven years has been established.

The report notes that most financiers prefer to only fund business that are well established. This establishment can take up to ten years.
Alliance on agriculture financing notes that whereas several government and donor facilities have been established to provide capital for agriculture enterprises, majority of those who need the funds have not been served.

The Ugandan Government’s efforts are supplemented by the donor community, as several other initiatives including the agricultural business initiative (aBi) which is funded by several European countries to provide capital and advice to enterprises along the agriculture value chain. Under a different initiative the European Union working with the National Social Security Fund and the International Fund for agriculture established $12 million fund for the same purpose.
Related: Agriculture Finance Platform of Uganda
Created in March 2015 the AFP is a dynamic, responsive and action-based multi-stakeholder platform, hosted by Uganda Agribusiness Alliance, whose purpose is to improve focus and response to Uganda's agricultural finance challenges through a coordinated approach.

27-28 November 2017. Kampala. 
In close collaboration with the New Partnership for
Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the German Development Agency (giz), the FAO, IFDC and government of Uganda, the Uganda Agribusiness Alliance (UAA) organised a 2-day Agricultural Investment Facilitation Conference.

The conference was informed by the need to increase engagement between the private sector, government and Development Partners to push agribusiness development.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Upcoming events in Agriculture for Development (ARD) - Africa

27 January - 10 February 2018. Bouake, Côte d’Ivoire. 2018 World Food System Summer School
Objective: To achieve economic growth and enhance the competitiveness of the African private sector through the use of science, technology and innovation. This, by urging the countries of the continent to invest more in research, higher education and science, to build a knowledge economy and not to miss the train of the new industrial revolution on the move.
15 February 2018. Sharm el-Sheikh. First International Conference of the Egyptian Society of Food Safety
16 February 2018. Paris. Soutien à l’agriculture : où en est-on ?
1-3 March 2018. Paris. 5th International Conference on Nutrition and Growth
6 -7 March 2018. Nairobi Kenya.  Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Summit
6-8 March 2018. Nanyuki. Kenya. 3rd ECHO East Africa Pastoralist Symposium
7-9 March. Dakar, Senegal. AAIN Agribusiness Incubation Conference
12-15 March 2018. Bujumbura-Burundi. Workshop on the implication of women and youth in Agri business
13-14 March 2018, London. How business can make smallholder supply chains resilient. Practical ways to use the Sustainable Development Goals
19-20 March 2018. Nairobi, Kenya. 1st Biocontrol Africa Conference
19 March 2018.Washington D.C., USA. WORLD BANK LAND AND POVERTY CONFERENCE 2018.
20 March 2018. Brussels. 'Edible insects for food, feed and food security', organized in collaboration with the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Meise Botanic Garden
21-22 March 2018Chicago Council Global Food Security Symposium
21-23 March 2018. Nairobi, Kenya. 16th New Ag International Conference
27 March 2018. Brussels. The annual Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA) Debate on the future of European and world agriculture.
3-5 April 2018. Rome, Italy. 2nd International Symposium on Agroecology: Scaling Up Agroecology to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
3-5 April 2018. Manchester. World Symposium on Climate Change and Biodiversity (WSCCB-2018)
5-6 April 2018, Washington DC Can innovation and technology make agriculture sustainable?
This two-day business forum is designed to provide leading discussion and debate around how to leverage technology, climate-smart agriculture and cross-sector collaborations to improve sustainable farming, deliver against company objectives and balance positive impact for farmers, businesses and the planet.
9-10 April 2018. Copenhagen. 5th International Conference on Food Security and Nutrition (ICFSN 2018)
9-12 April 2018. Cape Town South Africa. Sorghum in the 21st Century Conference
19-20 April 2018. Berlin, Germany. Global Bio economy summit
22 - 25 April 2018. Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus. World Congress of the International Commission of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (CIGR). This Congress is organized in cooperation with the Turkish Chamber of Agricultural Engineers, Akdeniz University and Ege University and it is the most important and the biggest event for the international community of Agricultural Engineers. This Congress will give an excellent possibility to present your current studies, discuss new ideas, technologies, processes, application experiences and machines, developing new collaborations between academics, researchers, developers, engineers, experts, students and also practitioners.
25-26 April 2018. Hohenheim, Germany. Agrinatura General Assembly.
8-10 May 2018. Lusaka, Zambia. Use of ICT for Agriculture and Environment
18 - 19 April 2018. Berlin Germany. Global Bioeconomy Summit 2018.
6-12 May 2018. Uyo, Nigeria. Biodiversity Conference of Nigeria Chapter of SCB
31 May -1 June 2018. Pretoria. IAALD – AFRICA CONFERENCE
11-12 June 2018 EAT Stockholm Food Forum
14-15 June 2018. Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Research; Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security – Transforming our food systems. Second FOOD2030 High Level event.
The Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of EU is organising a Flagship Conference dedicated to Research and Innovation (R&I) as a driver of sustainable food systems transformation. This will be the second FOOD2030 High Level event.
18-21 June 2018. Cape Town, South Africa. Adaptation Futures 2018
24-27 June 2018. Mombassa, Kenya. 2nd African Symposium on Mycotoxicology
3 - 5 July 2018. Stuttgart, Germany. 5th International ISEKI Food Conference
20-24 August 2018. Nairobi. 14th Edition of the African Dairy Conference
5 – 6 September 2018. Hohenheim, Germany. Congress FOOD2030 Towards Sustainable Food Systems
17-19 September 2018. Gent, Belgium. Tropen Tag. Annual interdisciplinary conference on Research in tropical and subtropical agriculture, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development. Conference theme:Global food security and food safety: The role of universities
24-26 September 2018. Cape Town, Africa Fertilizer Agribusiness Conference.
4-7 October 2018. Jahorina, Bosnia and Herzegovina. AGROSYM 2018.
7-11 October 2018 in Berlin. IWCSPP 2018 - 12th International Working Conference for Stored Product Protection.
9-12 October 2018. Johannesburg. Second African Congress on Conservation Agriculture
15-19 October 2018. Accra, Ghana. 7th All African Conference on Animal Agriculture (7th AACAA)
30 November-4 December 2018: Addis Ababa Role of Bees in Food Production

Friday, January 26, 2018

Watching videos to become a dairy expert

7 January 2018. Tom Nyongesa Juma grew up in a small village in Bungoma, in Western Kenya, about an hour from the city of Kisumu. He has watched Swahili versions of several Access Agriculture videos, including the one on yoghurt making and on making a rabbit house. “They were nicely translated and educational,” Tom says.

As a young man he earned a B.Sc. in forestry, and studied soil science for an M.Sc. He nearly finished that degree, but was frustrated by a lack of money to pay his school fees. After university, in 2008, Tom started to work for various NGOs, especially ones that gave him an opportunity to help farmers improve their yields of cereals and other crops.

Then in 2017, Tom decided to put his passion for agriculture into building his own model farm. He now has turkeys, chickens, sheep and three cows. Tom is building a barn to hold 30 milk cows. He is motivated by the desire to teach others, “the extension bit,” as he puts it. But Tom also sees the urgency of producing food for Kenya: “We have so many mouths to feed.” Tom wants his teaching farm to focus on young people. He is building the barn so it can accommodate learning visits by primary schools and others, to teach kids about agriculture. “I want to show that you can make a living by agriculture, and do it smartly”, Tom explains.

Please find Tom’s full story at Watching videos to become a dairy expert.

Living territories for sustainable development

22-24 January 2018. Montpellier. This conference was organized by CIRAD in partnership with AFD, the CGIAR System Organization and CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM), the NEPAD, the GFAR, PNUD-ART, AgroParisTech, IAMM, INRA, the RIMISP, Wageningen University, and with the support from the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

The objectives were:
  • To highlight new methods and scientific knowledge on territorial approaches to rural development, specifically in the Global South.
  • To showcase successful place-based innovations and projects including organisational and institutional reforms.
  • To analyse and question the conditions of success for territorial development, especially within the context of the implementation of the SDGs.
Living territories to transform the world
July 2017. Nb de pages : 274
What resources underpin the development of a territory? What does territorial management of resources mean? What specific characteristics and opportunities does territorial organization offer for agricultural production, regulation of sectors, and services? How are territorial public policies conceived and applied? What methods and tools can be used for territorial development? This book presents a wide range of studies illustrating how actors, scales and scopes of intervention interact in the development of rural spaces in countries of the Global South.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

African Orphan Crops Consortium Tackles 101 Crop Genomes, Training in Africa

13-17 January 2018. Researchers at BGI and other centers are in the process of sequencing — and resequencing — the genomes of 101 plants for the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC), an international effort to improve nutrition in Africa through genome-assisted breeding resources and training.

Howard-Yana Shapiro, chief agricultural officer at Mars Incorporated, who is also affiliated with the University of California at Davis, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media lab, outlined the AOCC's goals during a session on African orphan crops at the Plant and Animal Genome conference.
The AOCC was established in 2013 — spearheaded by investigators at Mars, UC Davis, the World
Bambara groundnut, one of the orphan crops being
profiled as part of the African Orphan Crops Consortium
Wildlife Fund, the African Union's New Partnership for Africa's Development, and ICRAF.
  • It has since grown to include partner organizations such as BGI, the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Illumina, LGC, South Africa's ARC, Bioinformatics Institute Ghent's "From Nucleotides to Networks" (BIG N2N) center, CyVerse, Biosciences Africa, Google. 
  • The AOCC also teams up with other collaborators for specific research efforts,
  • Dow AgroSciences announced that it partnered with UC Davis and the AOCC to sequence 116 lines of Bambara groundnut, drumstick tree, and apple-ring tree.

Integrating Research Results in Development Plans

VICE-Chairperson for East African Business Council, Prof Felix Mosha
presents a paper during a workshop to discuss the importance of
putting research results into use. (Photo by Abela Msikula)
11-12 January 2018. Arusha, Tanzania. A workshop organised by the African Centre for Research, Agricultural Advancement, Teaching Excellence and Sustainability (CREATES) , brought together various stakeholders to discuss the importance of establishment of strong network of partnership between research, industrial and academic institutions, providing outreach services to the community and supporting spin offs and incubation of novel technologies and products.
Research results are commercialised, they don't end in shelves as is the case for Tanzania. Tanzanian faces shortage of experts to run researches and convince relevant authorities to practice the results. As a way forward, CREATES is implementing a-five year special programme, starting from last year, focusing mostly on strengthening selected Eastern and Southern Africa higher education institutions to deliver quality post-graduate education, and building collaborative research capacity in the regional priority areas. Prof Hulda Swai, Director of CREATES
Ethiopia considered research results’ uses where the country sets aside 10 percent yearly, from the national budget for agriculture activities. As a result, it experiences an increase in national income every year. Prof Felix Mosha Vice-Chairperson-East African Business Council
Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) is part of a network of African Institutions of Science and Technology (AISTs), established as brainchild of the late Nelson Mandela and the World Bank. 
  • The newly formed “African Centre for Research, agricultural Advancement, Teaching Excellence and Sustainability in Food and Nutritional Security” (CREATES-FNS) is an African Center of Excellence (ACE) which was established at the NM-AIST through the World Bank’s African Centers of Excellence (ACE II) initiative, in order to build capacity in the region by training and raising a critical mass of specialized and skilled human capital that can use a multidisciplinary approach to ensure sustainable environment, food and nutritional security. 
  • The CREATES-FNS will produce a pool of creative and innovative experts who are able to generate novel solutions to today's development and industrial needs and challenges. Graduates from CREATES-FNS will have expertise on “Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Nutritional Sciences, Biodiversity and Conservation, as well as Human Health and Biomedical Sciences, able to take up high-level career positions in R&D, agricultural production, food and nutritional sciences. 
  • Through Tanzanian government, the Centre secured USD 6m fund from the World Bank (WB), to support over 200 Master's and PhD students from across the African continent. Tanzania got prioritized with about 50 percent of (WB) sponsorship beneficiaries to be locals.
  • The core aspiration of the Centre is to become the regional hub for innovative solutions to foster food and nutrition security in the region. It is also built up on up on four core thematic areas, which support the transformation of the interventions in to expected outcomes: sustainable agriculture, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management, food and nutrition sciences, as well as health and biomedical sciences.
Some of the main NM-AIST donors are; the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), World Health Organization (WHO), VLIR-UOS of Belgium, USAID, World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) through DFID, Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), European Union (EU), and McKnight Foundation.

10 January 2018. East African Business Council EABC 20th Anniversary Celebrations and Regional Business Excellence Awards (BEAs) 2018.
EABC launched and start to receive entries for the Business Excellence Awards (BEAs) 2018. The EABC Business Excellence Awards (BEAs) seek to reinforce the critical role of the private sector in the economy of East Africa and to recognize and celebrate businesses from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Uganda that demonstrate exceptional business performance in accelerating regional growth, creating wealth, employment and reducing poverty across the region. As the only regional business awards, the EABC-BEAs provide businesses in East Africa an opportunity to compete for the ultimate business accolade at the EAC level. The inaugural EABC Business Excellence Awards are organized across three categories comprising of 14 individual awards available for competition.

4th German-Africa Agribusiness Forum

22 January 2018. 4th German-Africa Agribusiness Forum: Opportunities and Challenges along the Value Chain. From Agricultural Farming to Food Processing and Distribution.

This Forum served to create synergies and a platform for exchange and networking to a large number of important decision- and policy makers from all over the African Continent, Germany and around the globe within the agribusiness field.

The Forum was be held in the course of the 83rd International Green Week (IGW) in Berlin. The IGW is also the origin of the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) – where over 80 international ministries and food producers meet.

Extracts of the programme:
Opening Speeches:
  • Dr Theo de Jager President World Farmers Organisation (WFO) & Panafrican Farmers Organisation (PAFO) 
  • Dr Lindiwe Sibanda Vice President for Country Support, Policy, & Delivery Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
Working Group 6 - Financing Agricultural Projects “Show me the money - Winning business across the value chain” How and where to capture direct business from programs by financing institutions such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank over the next 10 years? 
  • Diane M. Willkens President and CEO Development Finance Int'l Inc., USA 
  • Benedict Kanu Partnerships Coordinator African Development Bank (AfDB), Côte d’Ivoire 
  • Moderation Asmau Nitardy, Afrika-Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft (AV) 

IITA /AfDB launches bold plan to revolutionise agriculture in Africa

22-25 January 2018.   Ibadan, Nigeria. Sientists, development specialists, agricultural experts, representatives from national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES), and entrepreneurs from the private sector mainly from Africa assembled in IITA for the inauguration and planning workshop of the African Development Bank (AFDB)-funded program called Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).

According to IITA sources, the multi-year, multi-partner TAAT program was conceptualized based on;“Africa Feeding Africa,” a core priority of AfDB and aligned with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy (2013- 2022) for inclusive and green growth in the continent. The program, aimed to revitalize African agriculture, was conceived in a high-level conference on African agricultural transformation attended by leading experts in agriculture, research institutions, academia, financial institutions and civil society held in Dakar, Senegal in 2015.

The TAAT program was first announced during the World Food Prize events held in Des Moines, Iowa, in October 2017, where AfDB President Akin Adesina was given the 2017 World Food Prize award. TAAT will be launched on 22 January at IITA’s headquarters in Ibadan, Nigeria.

According to Dr Jonas Chianu, AfDB Agricultural Economist and TAAT program manager, “TAAT heralds a new dawn in African agricultural transformation because of its key benefits.” TAAT will lead to Increased agricultural productivity and diversification, leading to improved food and nutrition security, improved the socioeconomic status of farmers including women and youth due to higher incomes, Reduced vulnerabilities to market fluctuation due to agricultural product imports, and Job creation, among others.

TAAT will execute an ambitious and bold plan to achieve rapid agricultural transformation across Africa by raising agricultural productivity along nine Priority Intervention Area (PIA) and over 18 agricultural commodity value chains.

“The execution of TAAT will involve a close partnership among the AfDB, World Bank, and development partners to ensure increased financing for agricultural research and development along the value chains. FARA, the CGIAR System Organization, and 11 of its 15 international agricultural research centres most active in Africa have embraced the Bank’s initiative and are co-sponsoring the program to revitalize and transform agriculture through TAAT within the shortest possible time while restoring degraded land and maintaining or strengthening the ecosystems that underpin agriculture.”

Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa (SARD-SC)

Published 9 January 2018. Final report of the project: Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa (SARD-SC) (20 pages)

The Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa(SARD-SC), was a multi- national CGIAR- led project, which had the overall objective of enhancing food and nutrition security and contributing to reducing poverty in selected Regional Membership Countries(RMCs) in Africa. 

The target RMCs are: Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

The project was funded by the African Development Bank and focuses on raising the productivity and profitability of four commodities; cassava, maize, rice and wheat. These were four of the six commodities that African Heads of States have defined as strategic crops for Africa, through the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP).

A two- day end- of – project Supervision Mission by the African Development Bank to the Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic crops(SARD-SC) project was conducted at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan, Nigeria, 2 to 3 November, 2017.

The end –of- project international conference on cassava value chain was  held from 28-30 June 2017 in Sierra Leone, brought to the front burner the valuable contribution the SARD-SC project has made to food security in target countries; Tanzania, Sierra Leone, Zambia and DR Congo

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Link up Kenyan agribusiness start-ups with global investors and mentors

17 January 2018. Norwegian incubator in search of fintech, agribusiness start-ups.

Norwegian accelerator Pangea has partnered with Strathmore University’s iLab Africa to link up Kenyan start-ups with global investors and mentors. Apart from iLab Africa, other advisers include impact investor Francis Stevens, associate professor Rotem Shneor and Michael Monari, the chief executive officer at Longitude Finance (Lofin), a venture capital firm in Kenya.

Pangea has opened an online platform to receive applications from start-up in ICT, agribusiness, fintech, healthcare and education sectors until February 19. Applicants must address a gap in society.

The programme will select 40 start-ups that will undergo a three-month training. It will eventually pick 10 best start-ups an run a demo and conclude with a demo-day on April 3. The winners will receive initial funding of up to Sh5 million ($50,000). Pangea’s plan comprises the launch of a crowd investment platform in June 2018, allowing accelerated startups further access to funding.

IDRC and ACIAR research call "Ensuring a food-secure Africa: cultivate Africa's future":

IDRC and ACIAR research call "Ensuring a food-secure Africa: cultivate Africa's future":

This call is open to applicant organizations that will work in partnership with others to carry out research in one (or more) of the eligible countries: Burundi; Ethiopia; Kenya; Malawi; Mozambique; Rwanda; Tanzania; Uganda; Zambia; and Zimbabwe.

Applicant organisations must be developing country organisations (national agricultural research
systems, universities, government departments, NGOs, regional organisations and Southern-led international organisations) with legal corporate registration in an eligible country. Eligible countries are (there are more but I mention only those where there is a Prolinnova Country Platform): Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.

This call will support cutting edge applied field and/or laboratory research projects with the potential
to generate high-impact and innovative results with particular impact on the food insecure and poor. All projects require a sound environmental impact assessment, the consideration of social and gender issues, and an applicability to smallholder farmers.

Key research areas:
  • Improved productivity and incomes for farmers and communities and decreased post-harvest losses
  • Improved gender equity
  • Nutrition and human health
  • Climate change and sustainable water management.

Of special interest is supporting innovative research with the potential for breakthrough results that can be effectively scaled-up and easily adopted by smallholder farmers, food processors, post-harvest handlers and other value-chain actors to improve food and nutrition security and achieve gender equality.

Deadline for applications is 1 March 2018.

View the projects of the previous phase.
Expanding Business Opportunities for Youth in the Fish and Poultry Sectors in Kenya (CultiAF)
This project built skills and knowledge among young people in Kenya to develop innovative business models that increase their participation in the fisheries and poultry sub-sectors.
Region(s): Kenya, Netherlands, United States
Total Funding: CA$ 427,200.00
Expanding Business Opportunities for African Youth in Agricultural Value Chains in Southern Africa (CultiAF)
This project developed and test novel, creative, and bold business models that increase the participation of youth in fish and maize post-harvest value chains in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Region(s): Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Total Funding: CA$ 464,200.00
Communicating Science for Impact: Radio for Reaching Farmers with Research Results (CultiAF)
Radio is an effective medium to deliver information that will influence small-scale farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to adopt agricultural technologies.
Region(s): Kenya, Uganda, Canada
Total Funding: CA$ 543,005.00
Reducing maize-based aflatoxin contamination and exposure in Zimbabwe
This project seeked to investigate innovative post-harvest solutions to reduce aflatoxin contamination in grain.
Region(s): Zimbabwe
Total Funding: CA$ 2,055,600.00

Friday, January 19, 2018

2017 Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition

This year's report, which features the theme: "The Food Security and Nutrition - Conflict Nexus: Building Resilience for Food Security, Nutrition and Peace" was launched at the joint FAO/WHO Africa Regional Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition  in Abidjan from 16 to 17 November 2017.

The report indicates that during the first decade of the millinium, sub-Saharan Africa made sound progress in the fight against hunger with the prevalence of undernourishment falling from 29.1 percent to 20.6 percent. However, this was followed by a period of no progress with a worsening of conditions in 2015 and 2016 in many countries. This was mainly due to the impact of conflict and adverse climatic conditions such as repeated droughts - often linked to the El Niño phenomenon - resulting in poor harvests and the loss of livestock.

The FAO report identifies a range of pathways through which support to food security and livelihoods can also help build resilience against conflict and contribute to sustaining peace. Given the complexity of conflicts and the conflict-food insecurity nexus, which climate change may amplify, a sustainable impact of food security and nutrition-related interventions on peace is more likely when implemented as part of a broader, multisectoral set of interventions before, during and after conflicts.

The report notes how many countries have developed or are developing policy frameworks and investment plans that are aligned with the goals of the Malabo Declaration and SDG 2. And this requires adequate funding, setting the right priorities and strengthening institutional capacities.

Lewis Hove FAOR South Africa a.i.
and Roger Nkodo Dang,
President of the Pan-African Parliament
at the launch of the new project 
Improving legislative capacity to advance food and nutrition security in Africa.
11 October 2017, Midrand -The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Pan-African Parliament have launched a partnership to improve legislation of food and nutrition security issues in Africa.

The two -year project aims at enhancing the technical capacities of the Pan-African Parliament and the Pan-African Parliamentary Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition (PAPA-FSN). It will also benefit legislators in four pilot countries; Cameroun, Madagascar, Sierra Leone and Uganda to advance strategies, policies and laws on the right-to-adequate-food, investments in food and nutrition security at the national and regional levels, in collaboration with the Department for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission (AUC-DREA).
  • South -South cooperation is key tool in building Pan African Parliamentary Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition Bureau and Executive members capacity in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes on Food Security and Nutrition. 
  • To this end the PAPA-FSN is working very closely with the Latin American and Caribbean Parliamentary Front against Hunger through sharing of experiences on successes and challenges in legislating for Food Security and Nutrition Security, sharing of legislation already passed and critical entry point and lesson learnt in the legislative process. 
  • PAPA-FSN is also working with the European Parliament Alliance on Food Security and Nutrition and is working with the Spanish Development Agency in hosting the Global Parliamentary Conference on Food Security and Nutrition to be hosted in November 2018
  • It is hoped that this global conference will bring Parliamentarians all together to share their work on Food Security and Nutrition, success, lessons learnt and challenges as well as to strategies on how to strategically put food security and Nutrition at the forefront of development discourse.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Call for proposals of the Partnership on Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area

17 January 2018. The PRIMA Foundation announced the PRIMA Calls for proposals for 2018.

Download this document to read important information in view of the forthcoming launch of the calls.

The PRIMA programme counts 15 Participating States (PS): ALGERIA, CROATIA, CYPRUS,

In addition, it is expected that EGYPT, JORDAN, LEBANON, MOROCCO are to be considered for the time being to be Participating States.2 (tbPS). 

Their full participation will be announced on the PRIMA website (

Through Resarch Collaborative Projects PRIMA aims to build research and innovation capacities and to develop knowledge and common innovative solutions for agro-food systems, and water provision in the Mediterranean area to make to make them sustainable, in line with the UN 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The calls for proposals are part of the PRIMA Annual Work Plan 20183 which covers the priorities described in the PRIMA Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA) under the three PRIMA thematic areas:
  1. Management of water
  2. Farming systems
  3. Agro food value chain