Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, April 30, 2018

African orphan crops, blockchain, biotechnology and agribusiness

25 April 2018. Meise/Brussels. The consultation between African Diaspora Agro-entrepreneurs and researchers resulted in a strong recommendation for more research into the domestication of African orphan crops and indigenous medicinal plants and wild fruits for nutritious food and healthcare.

Biotechnology may play a central role to overcome the challenges in the domestication and result in the creation of thousands of jobs in innovative agro-processing and transformation of traditional crops and herbs.

Forthcoming: Blog post on the indigenous plants with high nutritional  value and economic potential  presented during the guiding tour at the Botanical Garden of Meise/Brussels.

The consultation recognized the essential role of public funding to avoid bio-piracy (intended and unintended) and privatization which may lead to restricted benefit sharing

The European Research programme Horizon 2020 and the African Union Research Grant should support the Gates funded initiative 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. See following references:
Partnerships should be established between bio technology researchers and the vast collection of  African orphan crops and indigenous medicinal plants and wild fruits currently preserved in European botanical gardens.
  • the Horizon 2020 funded BigPicnic project brings together the public, scientists, policy-makers and industry to help tackle the global challenge of food security.
  • BigPicnic is being carried out by 19 partner organisations comprising international leaders in the fields of food security, public engagement and participatory techniques.
  • BigPicnic Partners span 12 countries across Europe, and one in Africa.
  • The majority of Partners are botanic gardens, but also include universities, a science shop, an institute for art, science and technology, and an international NGO.
23 January 2018. World Economic Forum. Bio-Inspired Innovation Unleashed
What if the DNA of all life on Earth was entered into a database we could mine for new medicines, fuels and other breakthroughs? Learn how efforts to sequence all known plants and animals in the next decade are laying the foundation for a new wave of innovation.
  • Harris Lewin, Professor of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis
    Formerly: 27 years at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, latterly as E.W. and J.M. Gutgsell Endowed Professor of Immunogenetics, with a primary appointment in the Department of Animal Sciences and Member, Center for Advanced Study; served as Director, University of Illinois Biotechnology Center, Founding Director, W.M. Keck Center for Comparative and Functional Genomics, and Founding Director, Institute for Genomic Biology. With the University of California, Davis: 2011-16, Vice-Chancellor for Research; currently, Robert and Rosabel Osborne Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor of Evolution and Ecology; concurrently, joint appointment in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Current research interest is in mammalian genome evolution in relation to adaptation, speciation, and the origins of cancer. Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science. Elected Foreign Member, Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry. Recipient: Wolf Prize in Agriculture (2011); elected to the US National Academy of Sciences (2013).
  • Juan Carlos Castilla-Rubio, Chairman, Space Time Ventures
"Humanity has high hopes in technology but only has deep trust in nature" (W.H. Brian, Santafe institute) 
BEng in Chemical Engineering and MEng in Biochemical Engineering, University of Cambridge; MBA, INSEAD. Serial entrepreneur, founder and Chief Executive Officer of start-ups in artificial intelligence, biotech, fintech and cleantech. Senior executive leadership positions at Cisco, SABMiller, Oliver Wyman and McKinsey. Former founding Chief Executive Officer, biotechnology start-up Bioingenieria Aplicada focused on developing advanced biofuels and bio-products in the Amazon. Founder and Chairman, Planetary Skin Institute, a Silicon Valley research and development corporation co-founded with NASA. Founder and Chairman, Space Time Ventures and Space Time Analytics. World Economic Forum: Member, Global Future Council on Environment and Resource Security; Member, Global Advisory Council for the last seven years designing and incubating innovation programmes to address global critical issues in energy, food and water security, risk management, climate change and tropical ecosystem protection. Co-leader of the Amazon Third Way initiative and the Amazon Bank of Codes.

12 April 2018. The Economist. Could Blockchain Save The Amazon Rainforest? 
Blockchain technology can do more than underpin crypto-currencies—it could help save the Amazon rainforest by stopping so called “biopirates” from plundering its biological riches. If it works, more money could be made by preserving the rainforest than cutting it down.

The Amazon Bank of Codes initiative is a collaboration between the World Economic Forum, the Earth Bank of Codes and the Earth Biogenome Project. Their aim is to assign and classify biological data from every species of plant and animal in the Amazon Basin, logging their genetic sequences on the blockchain. Registering these assets on the blockchain makes it possible to record and track these resources’ provenance and use. In theory, it would thus be possible to trace where these resources go and create a platform for the fair sharing of the benefits with the country of origin.

19-20 April 2018Global Bio economy summit
The keynote of Juan Carlos Castilla-Rubio, Chairman, Space Time Ventures on Inclusive Bioeconomy Innovations powered by the 4th Industrial Revolution starts @ 7:02:20 (unfortunately the audio is not synchronous with the video).

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Global Bio economy summit

19-20 April 2018. Berlin, Germany. Global Bio economy summit. An ambitious program featuring high-level speakers and bioeconomy experts from around the globe.

Around 700 high-ranking representatives from politics, science, civil society and the business sector and from more than 70 countries discussed the latest developments and challenges in the global bioeconomy. This was the second time that German Bioeconomy Council had organized the Global Bioeconomy Summit in the German capital.
“We created an event format in the Global Bioeconomy Summit that succeeds in bringing together broad international expertise on bioeconomy, innovation, biodiversity and sustainability. Together with all the experts from different fields, we can identify important obstacles on our way towards a biobased economy, join forces to search for solutions and place them on the international policy agenda,” Joachim von Braun, Co-chair of the German Bioeconomy Council,
More than 100 top-class speakers contributed to the event. They included ministers and government representatives from Asia, Africa, Europe, South and North America; international policy experts from the United Nations, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission; as well as high-level representatives from science and industry. In ten plenary sessions and 14 workshops, the participants discussed a wide range of societal, scientific, economic and political challenges to implementing the visions of the bioeconomy, which often differed widely from region to region, in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

At the end of the 2-day conference, the 40 members of the Summit’s International Advisory Council recommended setting up an international mechanism or forum to support and promote: 
  • a structured exchange of policies and practices among the global bioeconomy community on the key themes identified by the GBS2018 
  • a start-of-the-art knowledge base for bioeconomy policy and governance, specifically of evidence-based information and assessments that are considered trustworthy by all stakeholders 
  • a competent and significant bioeconomy voice in global policy fora related to innovation, sustainable development and the Paris Agreement, providing a holistic perspective and considering the interdependencies between individual SDGs in the bioeconomy 
  • the facilitation of international collaboration programs in bioeconomy R and D and capacity building oriented toward common goals
“Globally, 50 countries have issued policy strategies related to bioeconomy development. Yet the potential of the bioeconomy is still rarely discussed in international policy fora. What we need is a continued and, ideally, a more formalized international dialogue on bioeconomy. The Global Bioeconomy Summit has created a good basis for this,”  Christine Lang, Co-chair of the Bioeconomy Council
Extracts of the programme
Role of Bio-Innovation and Biodiversity for Africa, H.E. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Former President, Mauritius

Bioeconomy of World Regions (Room: Bratislava) - Africa -
RAPPORTEUR Nicholas Ozor, IAC 2015, African Technology Policy Studies Network, Kenya

The aim of this interactive workshop on the bioeconomy region of Africa was to create an engaging platform to discuss strategies for bioeconomy development in Africa and to highlight opportunities for international collaboration in bioeconomy development. Topical questions include: what are the challenges involved from a regional perspective? And what are potential starting points for a deepened cooperation between European and African bioeconomy regions? Broadening our perspective, we also aim to address challenges and opportunities for integrating African bioeconomy regions into a global bioeconomy while using the SDGs as global sustainability safeguards.
  1. Topic cluster 1: African concepts of bioeconomy, national and macro-regional strategies, and SDG;
  2. Topic cluster 2: Opportunities and challenges for bioeconomic transformation in Africa;
  3. Topic cluster 3: Integration of African bioeconomies in the global context and implications for achieving the SDG
  • Region specific: What is the understanding of bioeconomy concepts and what are the strategies in African countries?
  • What is the unmet bioeconomical potential to achieve SDGs in the region and how do policy strategies in African countries consider SDGs?
  • Region specific: What are the challenges in African countries concerning the development of bioeconomies (science policy, resource competition, jobs, potential winners and losers)
  • Region specific: What are the opportunities for collaboration within Africa, incl. private sector innovations? In addition, what potential arises from the development of synergies between life sciences and digitization?
  • Global perspective: How to achieve a successful integration into global value chains and how to foster cooperation with other world regions in the global bioeconomy?
  • Angelo Riccaboni, President of PRIMA initiative
  • Jan Janosch Förster, Senior Researcher, University of Bonn, Center for Development Research (ZEF), STRIVE project
  • Diuto Esiobu, President / CEO Applied Biotech Inc USA/ Int Nigeria Ltd.
  • Kassahun Tesfaye, Director General of the Ethiopian Biotechnology Institute 
  • Sigi Gruber - Head of Unit- EU Commission, Brussels
  • Peggy Oti Boateng, Senior Programme Specialist for Science and Technology for Africa and the Coordinator for the African Network of Scientific and Technological Institutions (ANSTI)
  • Paul Mungeyi, Manager Biotechnology National Commission on Research, Science and Technology (NCRST)
  • Philippe Mengal, Executive Director of the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU)
  • Ivar Virgin, Stockholm Environment Institute
  • Holger Hoff, Senior scientist at SEI and PIK, with focus on integrated resource management, footprints, global responsibility along supply chains, and planetary boundaries

  • Keynotes 20 April:
1. Strengthening the Climate Agreement and Energy Security
Frank Rijsberman, Director-General, Global Green Growth Institute @ 53:45
2. Science and Technology Policy & Regulation for an Expanding Bioeconomy
Mary Maxon, Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences, Berkley Lab @ 1:11:40
3. Strengthening Trade and Investment Agreements for Inclusive Development with Bioeconomy
Fan Shenggen, Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute @ 1:25:50

  • Strategic Debate 20 April: Reshaping Stakeholder Exchange and Agenda Setting for International Collaboration Session Chairs:
    Waldemar Kutt European Commission DG Research and Innovation
    Elspeth MacRae, General Manager Manufacturing & Bioproducts, SCION
    Carl Wolf, Vice President Europe, LanzaTech @ 6:00:00
    Gertrude Ngabirano, Executive Secretary, East African Science and Technology Commission @ 6:07:00
    Yoshihide Esaki, Deputy Director-General, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and Cabinet Secretariat Japan. @ 6:03:00

Sorghum in the 21st Century Conference

9-12 April 2018. Cape Town South Africa. Sorghum in the 21st Century Conference

On the programme were 5 cross-cutting themes:
  1. Accelerating progress in advanced breeding for improved crop adaptation to climate risks
  2. Improving productivity and increasing profitability to expand opportunities across global markets
  3. Enhancing resilience in the face of biotic and abiotic challenges
  4. Tackling key issues in food security and farming systems for improved livelihoods for the smallholder farmer
  5. Exploring the future of the value-added: Nutrition, biofuels and feedstuffs for evolving consumer demands
Symposium #1: Productivity and food security for the smallholder farmer
A presentation focusing on variety improvements, agronomy, post-harvest technologies and markets for sorghum, with particular reference to smallholder farmers. It was followed by a panel discussion on the topic of ‘Smallholder Sorghum Farmers: Constraints, challenges and opportunities’.

Symposium #2: A driver for change: Sorghum’s role in global markets
Important global trends and opportunities to increase demand and reduce supply bottlenecks of sorghum. The symposium included an overview plenary on global trends on the production, consumption and trade of sorghum and highlighted keys issues affecting trade opportunities. Three sessions, focusing on important issues affecting sorghum supply and demand followed. 

Symposium #3: Bringing Ancient Grains to the World’s Dinner Tables
This symposium was jointly organised by AACC International and the International Association for Cereal Science and Technology (ICC). It focused on developments in Ancient grains particularly understanding their nutritional and health-promoting attributes. Experts explored the science and technology of how to process Ancient grains into mainstream food and beverage products to bring the nutritional and health-promoting benefits of these climate-friendly grain staples to consumers worldwide.

Special Session #1: Regional Issues, Sorghum in Southern Africa
This session presented a platform for in-depth discussions and deliberations around sorghum issues specific to the Southern African region. The talks were delivered by expert scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs on various aspects of the sorghum value chain in sub-Saharan Africa followed by a moderated discussion featuring a panel of experts to identify and prioritise specific actions that need to be taken to boost the sorghum value chain in sub-Saharan Africa and the responsibilities required of various role players, stakeholders and entities within the value chain.

Special Session #2: International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics
(ICRISAT), Special Session on Improvement of Post-Rainy Sorghum
During the past almost 10 years, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and the University of Queensland, have been working together on a project to improve fodder/grain quality/productivity of post-rainy sorghum in India, funded by the Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR). This project was a multi-disciplinary endeavour combining physiology, breeding, crop modelling, nutritional quality and socio-economics to develop genetic material targeted to end-user demand in the target region. This project has gathered an outstanding set of research outputs that was showcased in a special session of the 2018 Global Sorghum Conference. This special session was also be an opportunity to share similar experiences from other projects.

5th International Conference on Food Security and Nutrition (ICFSN 2018)

9-10 April 2018. Copenhagen. 5th International Conference on Food Security and Nutrition (ICFSN 2018)

  • Evaluating the impact of consumption of indigenous fruits and vegetables on rural food security: the case of Port St Johns area, South Africa. Samuel Ntlanga, Amon Taruvinga and Abyssinia Mushunje
    Indigenous fruits and vegetables are associated with multiple nutritional and health benefits. Unfortunately, the multiple benefits associated with indigenous fruits did not gain any popularity and further not taken into account as the possibly solution in addressing food and nutritional insecurity in rural areas. The study shows that there was a significant improvement in food security from the consumers of indigenous fruits and vegetables than non-consumers. (PAGE 16)
  • Income and food security status among rural women Indigenous Knowledge (IK) based crafters and non-crafters: The case of Amathole District Municipality, South Africa Sesetu Nyeleka, Amon Taruvinga and Leocadia Zhou
    IK based crafts may address rural household income for women but falls short of addressing their household food security.
  • Multisector approach to tackling drivers of malnutrition in vulnerable communities: Experience from USAID - Feed the Future Nigeria Livelihoods Project E. A. Oluloto, A. A Oseni, A. Kanoute
    The project promoted optimal Nutrition and WASH services focusing on the first 1000 days through a comprehensive behavior change communication package, capacity building, and services delivery.   The success of this multisector approach to improving nutrition was massive and demonstrates that food and nutrition security is better achieved when all sectors work in tandem. (PAGE 24)
  • Performance and Application of a “Dilute-and-Shoot” LC-MS/MS Method for Determination of Mycotoxins in Food Products in São Paulo, Brazil. Larissa T. Franco, Tânia Petta, Maria E. Vendrametto and Carlos A.F. Oliveira
    Results indicated low incidences of mycotoxin in the products evaluated, although the co-occurrence of FB and DON warrants concern about their incidence in wheat flour in Brazil. (PAGE 23)

Friday, April 27, 2018

LEAP-Agri Group of Funders meeting

19-20 April 2018. The Hague. LEAP-Agri Group of Funders meeting. LEAP-Agri is an African Union – European Union partnership between 30 partners from 19 European and African countries. 

The meeting was prepared by the managers of LEAP-Agri (ANR and MOEST) in collaboration with the Call Secretariat (NWO-WOTRO, NRF and DLR-PT).

One of the objectives of this meeting was to select the final projects which were submitted under the the LEAP-Agri Call 2017 on 'African European collaborative research on Sustainable Agriculture and Aquaculture and on Food and Nutrition Security' (which close 15 June 2017).

LEAP-Agri Group of Funders meeting - Information on procedures
Full proposal stage preparation
  • The following main steps have been taken, with the 85 proposals received: 
  • The 83 eligible proposals have been sent to three reviewers each; 
  • The main applicants had the opportunity to write a rebuttal on the reviews; 
  • The members of the independent International Review Panel (IRP) were asked to prepare a report on around 14 proposals assigned to them (pre-assessment with scoring). 
  • The IRP based a report on a weighing of a proposal, the three review reports and the rebuttal. IRP meeting 16-18 April 
  • The panel consisted of 20 members and additionally two technical co-chairs. During the IRP meeting also the general management of LEAP-Agri was present as well as an independent observer (required by the EC).
Group of Funders Meeting
During the GF meeting the funders were informed in a calculation table displayed on a screen visible for the plenary about the outcome of the IRP meeting, and what this means for the financing of the projects. Ranking was based upon equal weighing of the three main criteria: 1) Excellence of the proposal 2) Expected impact of the project 3) Quality and efficiency of the implementation.
Hans-Joerg Lutzeyer from EC presenting
FNSSA HPLD Working group activities

Steps after the GF meeting 
LEAP-Agri coordinator Maurice Héral
presenting on going activities on food security
  • Some funders may need one week to settle additional funding; 
  • After the final selection of projects to be funded, each Funding Agency will fill the Annex 7 « Commitment on the Availability of Funds » and sign it electronically (after the EC opens the portal); 
  • The CS will provide an excel file with information to each funder; 
  • With a mandatory starting date before the end of August 2018, each funder needs to start the procedure within their own organization as soon as possible; 
  • Each funder needs to write an allocation letter for their financing part of a project, before the ultimate starting date of a project
Funding Agencies should have to start funding the concerned applicants in the co-funded projects with their own budget, and before having received EC funds. 

Most of the Funding Agency will not transfer to the applicants the total requested budget at the beginning of the project life, but only a part of this budget. This would allow normally Funding Agencies to start the co-funding of “their” applicants for all concerned co-funded projects with their own budget.

Stratégies marketing pour les espèces alimentaires négligées et sous-utilisées

25-27 avril 2018.  Université de Parakou, Benin. Première édition des journées Scientifiques des Sciences Economiques et de Gestion de l’Université de Parakou

Dans le cadre de la mise en œuvre du projet Doyiwé sous financement de ARF/NWO-Wotro, le partenaire européen a envoyé pour séjourner, enquêter et interviewer les acteurs et partenaires du projet pour clôturer sa thèse de Master à l’université de Wageningen au Pays-Bas. Après deux mois de séjour à SOJAGNON et auprès des partenaires du projet, une bonne dose d’informations et de meilleurs compréhensions ont été obtenu sur le produit et le fonctionnement du marché de Doyiwé au Bénin.

Au total près de 80 pages ont été transcrites après les enregistrements ; 29 acteurs et partenaires ont été interviewé, questionné ; une dizaine de différentes régions agro-écologique du Bénin ont été parcouru et les acteurs interrogés, plus 3500 km de distances parcourues (Cotonou-Ouidah-Bohicon-Aplahoué- Zogbodomey-Djidja--Glazoué-Savè-Bantè-Bassila-Parakou-Natitingou-Kalalé) ; au moins 5 acteurs de chaque chaînes de valeurs a été écouté.

Monsieur Philip Barth a présente une partie de ses travaux de recherche. Le titre de sa communication etait: « Création de marchés dans les économies émergentes : Stratégies marketing pour les espèces alimentaires négligées et sous-utilisées »

Agrinatura General Assembly meetings and workshops 2018

24-26 April 2018. Stuttgart, Germany. GA 2018 was hosted by Hohenheim Research Center for Gobal Food Security and Ecosystems.

This year Agrinatura celebrated its 30th anniversary. It took the opportunity to reflect on the  organisation’s past and shape its future. Steadily growing, Agrinatura continues to be an active and international network promoting scientific excellence in agricultural research and training programs in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Focusing on the role of innovation in academic research from UniLisbon Prof Luis Mira da Silva, President of @INOVISA addressed the audience.

Emerging issues in agricultural research for development were the focus of the General Assembly also in 2018. All members, partners and friends from academia, policy, the private sector, and civil society were welcome to participate in the Agrinatura meeting and to discuss the way forward towards a sustainable transformation of agricultural research.

Jessica Fanzo from the the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition @UN_CFS gave a talk on the links and gaps between Science and Policy when it comes to Nutrition and Food Systems.

"Africa needs to make greater use of science, technology & innovation to accelerate development" said Dr. Moses Osiru, Dep. Executive Secretary from Regional Universities Forum f Capacity Building in Agriculture (#RUFORUM)

Extract of the Program Agrinatura 2018

24/04: Innovation Partnerships in Africa and in Europe: experiences from CDAIS and PAEPARD

26/04: Workshop on the Research and Innovation Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) between the African Union and the EU - The Role of Universities.

IFAD seeks to scale up youth involvement in agriculture in East Africa

25 April 2018. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) on Thursday launched a 1-million-U.S.-dollar project that is aimed at unveiling financial services to the youths involved in agriculture in East Africa.

The three-year project known as scaling up rural youth access to inclusive financial services for entrepreneurship and employment is aims to end extreme poverty and hunger in Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.
"The initiative is an opportunity for the youth to become the engine driving new agriculture and agribusiness agenda. It will lead to economic rural transformation in the region as it will help avail affordable credits, improve technologies, provide practical skills and fair markets for agribusiness success in the region.  
 Previously, financial service providers ask for loans guarantees such as land title deeds, steadily paid employment and guarantors with good accounts that the youths are unable to avail. Intervention towards building youth's capacity in developing business plans is fast changing with the entry of the initiative that looks at the business viability in terms of return on investment. The project will help the youth figure out who they are and how best to professionalize their ideas in attracting funding," Elizabeth Nsimadala, President of the Eastern African Farmers Federation (EAFF)
The project is intended to benefit at least 10,000 young farmers aged 18-35 and living in rural areas in the countries. The youths will have to belong to organized groupings.
"The potential of rural youth is capable of sustaining a dynamic economic growth only when they have access to financial services and land. The project will help the youths take up agricultural from the aging population in the region given that 70 percent of young people live in rural parts of the countries. The youths in the region has are highly educated, innovative and are already adapting to the modern technology but unfortunately lack access to land and financial services to be fully engaged in agriculture. The financial support will also benefit 50 percent of young women since it has been proven that women form large number of farmers in the region," Elizabeth Ssendiwala, IFAD Gender and Youth Coordinator for East and Southern Africa

Maximizing Finance for Development in Agricultural Value Chains

24 April 2018"Future of Food : Maximizing Finance for Development in Agricultural Value Chains"

“Townsend, Robert; Ronchi, Loraine; Brett, Chris; Moses, Gene. 2018. Future of Food : Maximizing Finance for Development in Agricultural Value Chains. World Bank, Washington, DC. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.” 44 pages

This report provides details on maximizing finance for development in agricultural value chains.

It highlights financing gaps, identifies a range of potential funding sources, and suggests possible actions to help crowd-in more private investment, while optimizing the use of public resources.

The recommended actions are aligned with the aim to address the market failures that lead to inadequate levels of privately provided goods and services to achieve global development goals. Implementation of MFD in agricultural value chains will require an approach to diagnostics that is more oriented to the private sector, as well as structured, inclusive public-private dialogue to help inform the design of a robust reform and investment program.

Main Messages:
  • Current levels of investment in agricultural value chains are insufficient to achieve key development goals including ending poverty and hunger and boosting shared prosperity through more and better jobs.
  • Crowding-in private investment in the agriculture sector can help achieve development goals and optimize the use of scarce public resources
  • Sources of finance for private sector investments in agricultural value chains are expanding. Sources include own-savings, local and international banks, value chains actors, impact investors, development financing institutions, private sector foundations, and agricultural investment funds.
  • Factors that can help maximize finance for agricultural development include: Improving the enabling environment for the private sector, promoting responsible investment, improving the policy and regulatory environment; using public financing to improve private incentives and to reduce transaction costs and risks—including through blended finance.
  • There is still a critical need for public resources to finance essential public goods and services such as human capital, agricultural research, and complementary public infrastructure.
21 April 2018. World Bank Group Headquarters. The World Bank Group’s Maximizing Finance for Development (MFD) approach, which leverages private sector resources in fiscally, environmentally, and socially sustainable ways, can be a powerful engine for transforming the global food system into an engine of sustainable and inclusive growth. 

The World Bank Group brought together a diverse panel of speakers from the development, government, and business worlds as they explore MFD in the agriculture sector to discuss opportunities to scale-up investments and innovation.


President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

Chief Strategy & External Affairs Officer, ABInBEV

Member of the Executive Committee, ECOM Agroindustrial

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Côte d’Ivoire

Vice President, Economics and Private Sector Development, IFC

International Broadcaster and Chair, Royal African Society

Supporting Diaspora investment in agri-food systems with research and funding

25 April 2018. Bouchout Castle, Botanic Garden Meise Belgium. African Diaspora Agro Food Forum 2018.

The report of this meeting is forthcoming.

30 participants (agro entrepreneurs from the African Diaspora) were selected to participate in this forum based on a call for registration and the respondents to a survey which was held in 2017.
Many in the African diaspora communities across the globe are still actively engaged with their home countries through economic, cultural, social, political and even religious links.

For many of these Africans and their descendants, it is not just enough to be successful in foreign lands, they also want to make positive contributions to their home land and those left behind. Over the years, many have engaged in various economic ventures to support family members and to give back to their society. This is mainly through
Lunch at the castle
remittance running into millions of euros sent back home each year. Despite these, one persistent issue in the continent is food insecurity.

Food security in Africa ranks quite high in the list of the development policies of African governments, global agencies and donor countries. African entrepreneurs in the agriculture and food production sector in the continent are receiving support from global agencies, yet the relevance of the Africans in Diaspora in the agriculture and food sector in Africa, is given minimal attention.

For the African diasporas, eating ‘home’ food is an important part of their daily lives in different parts of the world. There are many ‘African shops’ stocked with food grown in the continent in different cities in the developed countries. Thus insuring that there is a sustainable agriculture, producing safe food in Africa is also of importance to many in the diaspora, as well as a continuous flow of ‘home’ food from Africa to the different African diaspora communities.
A sizeable section of African diaspora is present in India – in the form of students, diplomats, workers of different governments of Africa and tourists. African companies can easily export African processed food to cater to this population. Urban India is increasingly showing tendencies to consume foods of different continents, and therefore food and agro-based exports from Africa have a potential market in India. Indian and respective agricultural ministries of African countries should have an active cooperation for such exports of African foods and agro-based products. (PAEPARD blogpost 29/10/2015)
Maureen Duru, Founder The Food Bridge vzw
The African Diaspora Agro Food Forum 2018 was an opportunity to link research to diaspora investments in agricultural value chains, particularly in food processing.
  • The purpose was to bring together development experts, policy makers, financial experts, African diaspora entrepreneurs and representatives of diaspora communities/entrepreneurs, to discuss the role and potentials of the African diasporas in the agribusiness and food sector and the link with research. 
  • The African diaspora food market is expanding across the globe, yet many have no information about this market, its content and impact on the economic development of Africa. There is no existing data mapping the progression of this trade because it is not given as much attention as other African food exports for mainstream food markets in Europe. 
The discussions in the 3 panels focused on:
  1. African Diaspora food market
  2. African Diasporans in agribusiness: Food security in the continent and opportunities in Agribusiness and food production for job creation in African and abroad 
  3. Supporting Diaspora investment in agri-food systems with research
  4. Supporting Diaspora investment in agri-food systems with Funding opportunities 
Extracts of the programme:

The African Diaspora Food market
Diaspora, Food and Identity
Nigerian Migrants in Belgium
2017, 311 pages
  • Maureen Duru, Founder The Food Bridge vzw - Why African Diaspora Food matters

    The African Diaspora communities in Belgium today all have a food history. Culinary knowledge acquired through trial and error  helps  migrants to satisfactorily utilize food from their new environment to recreate the taste from  home. The innovative nature of Diasporan foodways can only be appreciated, when one examines its history.

    Once a diaspora community is fully established, it becomes a dynamic component of locality, although made up of people whose roots may lie somewhere else.  This means that the increased demand for their food, leads to new business opportunites, that can only be taken advantage of, by people with the right resources. Many in Belgium and other countries too,  involved in the supply end of the food system are only interested in the economic values.

    With the rate shops are springing up in different cities, there is no doubt that these investments are rewarding. The African diasporas food market in
    Mr Solomon Agyin interviewed by Francois Stepman
    Belgium is an anomaly, because Africans roles are mainly as consumers while they rely on others for the supply of their ethnic food.

    We have a new generation of Africans who are of Belgian origin, born and raised here, whose main link to Africa is not in the language or even culture but the food.  However 
    some of what we accept as normal, will not be allowed in other communities. For example, pounded yam flours. This is an important food item, yet no one has bothered to question why a flour labelled and sold as pounded yam, has no yam (but potato!)  in it or why a food item should be labelled as product of Africa.
    The Solomon warehouse
    is about 1500 square meters
  • Chika Onyejiuwa, Executive secretary Africa Europe Faith and Justice Network (AEJFN)- Analysis of a sample survey of the African Diaspora food Market
    104 respondents have filled in the African Diaspora Food and Agribusiness Survey.
    61 respondents have replied to the French version.
  • Mr Solomon Agyin, Founder King Solomon Warehouse Cash and Carry Antwerp – African
    Food Marketing in Belgium

    "I recruited a Pakistani shop keeper to also attract the Pakistani clientele"

    "I´m in this business since 23 years and it is typical that Africans don´t buy in African shops but rather from foreigners. The competition is fierce with Chinese, Indians and Pakistani as their communities tend to operate as a community to set up businesses"
African Diasporans in agribusiness 
  • Suzanne Awung Nvenekeng - Founder Suzzy Farms Cameroun

  • Odile Ano (see picture)  - Founder 1001 Noyaux France

    Le projet 1001Noyaux répond au problème de gaspillage alimentaire sur le marché de gros sur la région parisienne et d’une opportunité de valoriser une partie de ces denrées pour le secteur de la cosmétique. L’équipe intervient dans la récupération des fruits à noyaux invendus en vue de sa valorisation pour le secteur de la cosmétique. La première phase est la récupération des mangues invendues et non commercialisables pour sa transformation en beurre de mangues. C’est un ingrédient cosmétique qui a des propriétés similaires au beurre de karité.
    1001Noyaux répond aux exigences d'achat éco-responsable de l'industrie cosmétique en lui fournissant un beurre de mangue de qualité s'inscrivant dans un schéma d'économie circulaire. L' objectif est de valoriser les mangues non commercialisables mais propres à la consommation en respectant les principes
    du développement durable :
    - Economique: création de valeur par la transformation en ingrédient cosmétique.
    - Social : création d'une activité professionnelle pour les personnes en réinsertion.
    - Environnemental : réduction des impacts environnementaux liés à la non commercialisation des fruits exotiques sur le territoire français.
  • Rachel Silendie-Van Fleteren – Meat processing in Africa
    PVF Food Ingredients is a young company with the objective of the sale and distribution of various products to the entire food industry. Click here for more information on PVF Food Ingredients.
  • Dominic WAMICA - MAFRA Organic

    MAFRA ORGANIC is a new, exciting and modern way to buy tea, spices, honey and other infusion teas in which a community is actively involved in creating tea blends and sharing tea experiences. This reinforces the customer’s involvement in the experience of exotic MAFRA ORGANIC products while encouraging originality and healthy living.
    The online store MAFRA ORGANIC offers a wide range of tea, spices, pure honey, rooibos and other infusions. MAFRA ORGANIC exclusively offers a new tea concept from Central Africa: SINDA, BULUKUTU, and MORINGA.
  • Zilipa Nyirabyago- Solidev Coffee Producers Rwanda

  • Oceane Vildeuil of LUM ARTEMISSA - Supporting local communities in RDC to grow Artemissa for consumption against malaria

Supporting Diaspora investment in agri-food systems with research
Supporting Diaspora investment in agri-food systems with Funding opportunities