Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Friday, November 30, 2018

Developing the rice value chain in East and West Africa

30 November 2018. Brussels. DevCo Infopoint. Rice is becoming one of the most important food crops on the African continent. Steep population growth coupled with rapid urbanization and changing consumer behaviour are the main drivers behind the increasing demand for the cereal.

You will find below the link to watch the video of the conference

Despite increased rice production output over the years, the average yields across Africa still remain very low and meet just a fraction of what is actually demanded Challenges along the value chain are still high, but also the potential for significant growth, employment creation and poverty reduction in Africa.
  • Introduction: Mr Regis Meritan, Head of Sector - Agricultural Growth DEVCO C1 - Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition
  • Dr. Ulrich Sabel – Koschella, Head of Unit, Agricultural Value Chains, GIZ A4SD
  • Mr Jean – Bernard Lalanne, Head of Program, GIZ CARI (Competitive African Rice Initiative)

  • Mr Michel Baudouin, Agro- economist

The CAADP Biennial Review Mechanism

28-30 November 2018. Bangkok, Thailand. The IFPRI-FAO Global Event: Accelerating the end of hunger.

Organized by: African Union Commission, Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture
  • Dr Simplice Nouala, Head of Division Agriculture and Food Security, African Union
  • Mr Ernest Ruzindaza (left picture), CAADP Team Leader, African Union Commission. Accelerating Ending Hunger through implementation of Malabo compliant National Agriculture Investment Plans and Biennial Review Mechanism
  • Dr. Norman (right picture), Donor Coordination CAADP, Malawi
  • Dr. S. B. Baye, CAADP focal Coordinator Nigeria
  • Dr. Namukolo Covic ((middle picture)), IFPRI-A4NH
  • Dr Suresh Babu, IFPRI

Spotlight on Kennie-O Logistics: Cold storage solutions to reduce food wastage

28-30 November 2018. Bangkok, Thailand. The IFPRI-FAO Global Event: Accelerating the end of hunger.

Having won the Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) agri-pitch competition at the first Nutrition Investors Forum in Nairobi, Kenya (16-18 October 2018), two Nigerian SME's represented Africa at the IFPRI-FAO meeting in Bangkok, Thailand.

Over 450 SMEs from across Africa applied for the SUN Pitch competition and through rigorous selection processes at various levels, 21 top businesses qualified as finalists, five of which were NutriPitch entrepreneurs from Nigeria, namely:
  • Veggie Victory, Hakeem Jimo
  • Soupah Kitchen, Ifeoluwa Olatayo
  • Augustsecrets, Oluwatoyin Onigbanjo
  • Prothrive, Oluyemisi Obe
  • Kennie-O Cold Chain Logistics, Ope Olanrewaju. 
Other countries represented at the final competition are Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. The award which included specialised technical assistance worth $15,000 to be provided at country level and in Switzerland and the Netherlands. 
Ope Olanrewaju of Kennie-O Logistics based in Kwara, provides Cold storage solutions to reduce food wastage, preserve the freshness and nutrient retention in Food.
Another promising entrepreneur is a journalist and founder of August Secrets, Mrs Oluwatoyin
Onigbangbo, who produces baby food, using local recipes
  • She won the Gender Lens Investing Award by the Graca Machel Trust. The award was given to deliver mentorship and technical assistance worth $10,500 to scale a promising business that has substantive impact on the empowerment of women and in nutrition in Africa. 
  •  Her start-up is a growing food company with a focus on natural, home-grown innovative meals for babies.
  • While working as a journalist with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mrs Onigbangbo started making her own range of baby meals from her kitchen in 2016 and has since expanded to selling in 15 cities, Ghana, the United Kingdom and the United States, reaching over 60,000 mothers from all over the world, who use the digital media. While having her son abroad, she bought all sorts of pre-made baby foods, but at six months the baby rejected them and as a mother she became frustrated and started looking for a solution.
  • She had to start looking for locally-made weaning foods as an alternative and started trying
    homemade foods with the support of her mom and nutritionists close to her. Her experience made her to start the business. She recently launched her Baby and Toddler recipe book, selling to hundreds of mothers within and outside Nigeria. 
  •  She was the first runner-up at the food art competition, organised by Samsung Nigeria in 2016. Her company, Augustsecrets, was listed among the 100 Most-Innovative Female-owned businesses in Nigeria by SME100. It also won the Bell-Africana Award for the Most Innovative Company in Nigeria in 2017.

G-STIC 2018 Global Sustainable Technology & Innovation Conference

28 - 30 November 2018. Brussels. G-STIC 2018: Global Sustainable Technology and Innovation Conference

By adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (September 2015) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (December 2015), the international community has set clear goals to shift the world onto a sustainable development path.

To limit global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius and to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, a transition is needed to more resilient economic and social development models. That in turn requires the active participation of all sectors of society to contribute to the world-wide implementation of new technologies, and new ways of producing and consuming.
  • Under the lead of VITO (the prime research and technology organisation on cleantech and sustainable development in Belgium), a number of independent and not-for-profit technological research institutes are teaming up to organise a series of Global Sustainable Technology & Innovation Conferences (G-STIC). 
  • Bringing together key stakeholders from Science, Technology and Innovation communities (including the private sector) the G-STIC Conference series helped catalyse change, strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development. 
  • G-STIC provided all stakeholders with a forum to review, discuss and identify internationally relevant technological innovations that can lead the world on a more sustainable development course.

Extract of the programme:

The sustainable food systems session at G-STIC last year recognized the need for a paradigm shift in agriculture towards diversified agroecological systems. Agroecology applies ecological principles to the design and management of agroecosystems, it basically works together with nature.
  • Agroecology has proven consistently capable of sustainably increasing yields over time and for building salt fertility. 
  • Evidence is particularly strong on the ability of Agroecology to build resilience, which is crucial in the face of climate change. 
  • Agroecology can also ensure adequate nutrition through providing diverse diets. 
The focus was on technologies and innovations that adhere to agro-ecological principles. During this session we will discus the following questions:
  • What are the barriers that are preventing the adoption of these technologies and how can they be overcome? 
  • What policies incentivize change?
  • How can we scale up and make agriculture more widely applied throughout the world? 
The session shared successful case studies and examples from different countries in the world. Agroecology also needs a change in the way we do research and development extension and dissemination of knowledge: we need to focus on bottom-up participatory approaches. Therefore, we will also be sharing examples from farmer-to-farmer, farmer-to-networks and farmer-to-scientists collaborations that have helped scale up and spread agroecology technologies and innovations.
  • Introductory keynote - Emile Frison - Member, International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES) 
  • Upscaling Agroecology through participatory and collective innovation - MOHAMMAD HOSSEIN EMADI - Ambassador and Permanent Representative for Iran to UN Agriculture and FAO
  • RespondentMARIËLLE VINK-DE ROOS - Member / Farmer, European Coodination Via Campesina/NBS / Lofoten Gårsysteri
  • Panel discussion How do we make the key findings of G-STIC 2017 more actionable and what is needed to enhance the use of agroecology technologies and innovations?


Organized by: IFPRI
Diets of poor urban dwellers in low and middle-income countries are rapidly shifting from traditionally rich in coarse grains and pulses to highly concentrated in refined sugar, salt, saturated fats, animal-sourced foods, refined grains, and (ultra-)processed foods. These dietary changes, which are believed to unfold faster in urban than in rural areas, increase the risks of malnutrition in all its forms and diet-related non communicable diseases. Contributing factors include the rapid expansion of modern food retail systems, and the abundance of convenient, cheap, ultra-processed yet nutrient-poor foods. This side event will provide in-depth perspectives from research and industry on how to build food systems that provide healthy and affordable diets for the urban poor.
 4 pages document on the Urban Food Systems research program of IFPRI

3 December 2018. Brussels. Strengthening Rural-Urban Linkages in Africa to achieve food security.
The event will look at multiple and complex interconnections between rural and urban spaces, and how these affect poverty and food insecurity in Africa.

11 December 2018 3:30-5 pm EST. Washington. The Role of Local Governance in Urban Food Security
Please join the Global Food Security Project at the Center for Strategic on International Studies in-person or via livestream on :

Featured speakers include:
  • Maíra Colares, Secretary of Food and Nutrition Security, City of Belo Horizonte, Brazil
  • Olivier de Schutter Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
  • Chris Shepherd-Pratt Policy Team Lead, Bureau for Food Security, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Related FAO Publications:
Urban agriculture, poverty, and food security
Rural Income Generating Activities (RIGA) database
FAO Food for the Cities
FAO Growing Greener Cities


The report “All Hands on Deck: Reducing Stunting through Multisectoral Efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa” lays the groundwork for more effective multisectoral action on reducing stunting by analyzing and generating empirical evidence useful for informing the joint targeting and, if necessary, the sequencing of sector-specific interventions in countries in SSA.
  • Dr. Purnima Menon (Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI)
  • Dr. Emmanuel Skoufias (Lead Economist, The World Bank)
  • Elan Satriawan (Head of Policy Working Group TNP2K, Office of the Vice President, Republic of Indonesia)
  • Harold Alderman (Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI, USA)
Main Report
Report Annex

Launch of the Global Nutrition Report 2018

We need young people to be going out with the report
and spreading the messages and the data.”
@CorinnaHawkes speaking @IFPRI

The 2018 Global Nutrition Report shares insights into the current state of global nutrition, highlighting the unacceptably high burden of malnutrition in the world. It identifies areas where progress has been made in recent years but argues that it is too slow and too inconsistent. It puts forward five critical steps that are needed to speed up progress to end malnutrition in all its forms and argues that, if we act now, it is not too late to achieve this goal. In fact, we have an unprecedented opportunity to do so.

The IFPRI-FAO Global Event: Accelerating the end of hunger

28-30 November 2018. Bangkok, Thailand. The IFPRI-FAO Global Event: Accelerating the end of hunger.

How can we accelerate progress in transforming our agri-food systems to meet the needs of the hungry and malnourished and achieve the SDGs?

With rising levels of global hunger putting the goal of ending malnutrition in all its forms by 2030 in serious jeopardy, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) organised a global conference aimed at urgently accelerating efforts to achieve Zero Hunger worldwide.

The conference highlighted how great strides have been made in many countries in reducing hunger and malnutrition, rapidly and sustainably, through improvements in public policies, focused investments and the harnessing of new technologies.
  • Bangladesh, for example, has achieved one of the fastest reductions in child underweight and stunting in history, largely by using innovative public policies to improve agriculture and nutrition. Policies supporting agricultural growth helped increase agricultural production, while other policies supported family planning, stronger health services, growing school attendance, greater access to drinking water and sanitation, and women’s empowerment. Together, these policies reinforced each other to create an environment of improved food security and nutrition for millions of Bangladeshis.
  • Economic growth in China lifted millions out of both hunger and poverty, while Brazil and
    transformed their food systems and diminished the threat of hunger through targeted investments in agricultural research and development (R and D) and social protection programmes. Starting in the mid-1980s and continuing over two decades, crop production in Brazil grew by 77 percent and that -- combined with the country’s Fome Zero programme, established in 2003 to provide beneficiaries a wide range of social services -- saw hunger and undernutrition nearly eradicated in just ten years.
  • Similarly, Ethiopia’s large-scale investments in agriculture have led to substantial growth in the production of cereals and the availability of food, while the creation of the Productive Safety Net Programme provides food and/or cash to needy households, which are direct for the most needy and conditional on a work requirement for others. These investments, combined with large public expenditures in health and education, have dramatically reduced hunger and undernutrition, shifting the international image of Ethiopia from victim of frequent famines to development success story.
By convening key figures from the worlds of research, policymaking, and development programme implementation to share knowledge of the policies, interventions, and technologies that have effectively accelerated the elimination of undernutrition, the conference has catalyzed the next era of rapid reductions in hunger and malnutrition.

29 November 2018. The 2018 Global Nutrition Report shares insights into the current state of global nutrition, highlighting the unacceptably high burden of malnutrition in the world.

29 November 2018. The report “All Hands on Deck: Reducing Stunting through Multisectoral Efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa” lays the groundwork for more effective multisectoral action on reducing stunting by analyzing and generating empirical evidence useful for informing the joint targeting and, if necessary, the sequencing of sector-specific interventions in countries in SSA.

‘Future Smart Food’ to Tap Huge Potentials of Neglected and underutilized species
Li, X. and Siddique, K.H.M. 2018. Future Smart Food - Rediscovering hidden treasures of neglected and underutilized species for Zero Hunger in Asia, Bangkok, 242 pp.
Scoping and Prioritizing NUS through an interdisciplinary priority-setting exercise in December 2016, in collaboration with among others FAO, ICARDA, ICRISAT, ACIAR and national governments and research institutes of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Vietman and India,

30 November 2018. This blogpost includes the presentations of the side event and a 4 pages document on the Urban Food Systems research program of IFPRI


Thursday, November 29, 2018

Linking research to policies and practices:experiences on pastoralism in Eastern Africa

29 November 2018. Brussels, Belgium. InfoPoint Lunchtime Conference: "Linking research to policies and practices:experiences on pastoralism in Eastern Africa."

Watch the video of the conference
What recent policy processes are ongoing in the East African region promoting and securing rangelands and pastoralism and how can scientific research feed into these policy processes? This is the question this Infopoint lunch-conference aims to answer by focusing on East Africa and Ethiopia in particular. Join this interesting exchange between researchers and civil society representatives.
  • Introduction: Willem Olthof, Deputy Head of Unit, DEVCO Unit C.1 – Rural Development, Food and Nutrition Security
  • European Parliament, MEP Maria Heubuch, Greens/EFA
  • Peter Ken Otieno - Technical Coordinator, RECONCILE, Kenya

  • Francesco Staro - Anthropologist, University of Paris 8 - Saint Denis, France

  • Tezera Getahun - Executive Director, Pastoralist Forum Ethiopia, Ethiopia

Spotlight on the Ghana Nutrition Improvement Project – KOKO Plus

The Ghana Nutrition Improvement Project was launched in 2009 by the Ajinomoto Group to help solve the pressing issue of malnutrition in the country. In particular, the core project partners aim to improve the nutritional outcomes of an estimated 200,000 children aged 6-24 months by 2017 by providing a supplement named “KOKO Plus”.

Today the project has only  reached 1/10 of the target (reaching20,000 children) due  to the difficulty of social business and public-private partnership.

Koko, which is a traditional weaning food in Ghana, is a porridge made with fermented corn. This meal does not meet the nutritional requirements recommended by the World Health Organization and other international organizations because it is lacks in energy, protein, and micronutrients. On the other hand, KOKO Plus® is a protein and micronutrient supplement to be added to complementary foods (such as koko) at the point of serving to improve nutrient density. KOKO Plus® is not added in the cooking process, but to the dished meal just before feeding.
  • The product started to be sold in 2014, further to positive tests on preservation stability and surveys on taste, as well as tests to confirm the nutritional effect of the supplement.
  • The project is being implemented through a new sustainable business model by forming partnerships to foster open innovation with the local government and other local stakeholders, experienced NGOs, international organizations and other corporate entities. 
The key components of this business model are:
  • In depth Understanding of Local Needs 
    Identify local needs in order to provide local people with a product that helps them improve their nutritional status in a way that suits local food culture and tastes at an affordable price.
  • Producing Locally with a Local Partner
    Local production using locally grown soybeans and other ingredients helps foster local agriculture and create employment
  • Communicating the Importance of Nutrition to Local Mothers
    It is necessary for local mothers to have correct knowledge about nutrition as a precondition to encourage the mothers to make appropriate use of KOKO Plus to improve the nutritional status of their children.
  • Building up a Innovative Distribution Model 
    In Ghana, there are areas with few retail stores due to the lack of necessary distribution infrastructure. In response, the program supports the empowerment of women in the northern part of the country, to develop a local system for women of each village to serve as salespersons for the product, in addition to promoting sales through the traditional distribution route.
Partner organizations include the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the World Food Programme (WFP) GAIN, University of Ghana, DSM, Yedent, Ghana Health Service, ESM, USAID, INF, CARE and PLAN.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

‘Future Smart Food’ to Tap Huge Potentials of Neglected and Underutilized Species

Li, X. and Siddique, K.H.M. 2018. Future Smart Food - Rediscovering hidden treasures of neglected and underutilized species for Zero Hunger in Asia, Bangkok, 242 pp.
To tap the high potential of NUS, FAO RAP has organized a Regional Expert Consultation on Scoping and Prioritizing NUS through an interdisciplinary priority-setting exercise in December 2016, in collaboration with the FAO Special Ambassador for the International Year of Pulses, ICARDA, ICRISAT, MSSRF-LANSA, ACIAR, Mahidol University, the University of Western Australia, ICIMOD, CATAS-TCGRI, CFF, national governments and research institutes of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Vietman and India, as well as civil society (Akshaya Patra Foundation). It adopts an innovative methodology to identify NUS as FSF that meet four criteria on nutrition, agriculture, ecology and socio-ecological dimensions, which led to the priority list of Future Smart Food at the country level.

The report presents the major outcome of this regional priority-setting exercise on NUS and has as its purposes:
  1. to demonstrate the multidimensional benefits of Neglected and Underutilized species (NUS) and their potential contribution to achieving Zero Hunger; 
  2. to identify promising NUS that are nutrition-dense, climate-resilient, economically-viable and locally available or adaptable as FSF; 
  3. to highlight the challenges and opportunities for harnessing these less-mainstream food crops encounters; and 
  4. to provide strategic recommendations to create an enabling environment for the promotion, production, marketing and consumption of Future Smart Food, assuring healthy diets for the future.
Future Smart Food, referring to NUS that are nutrition dense, climate resilient, economically viable and locally accessible, represent a promising abundance of food resources and constitute the bedrock of the food system.

Challenges to NUS by category
Extracts of the publication:
For centuries, people in Asia and the Pacific have grown and consumed a wide variety of nutritious foods. Unfortunately, more recent generations have slowly but surely changed their diets and have moved away from many of these traditional foods.Increasing the availability of and access to nutritious foods necessary for a healthy diet will help to close both the production and nutrition gaps. 

But conventional staple foods do not supply all the nutrients needed for a balanced diet. Agricultural production in Asia focuses on a few staple crops, particularly rice. The pattern reflects a structural issue: too many people consume food with too few nutrients and too much food is being produced without offering enough nutrients. This is often the involuntary consequence of government policies that prioritize quantitative food production targets.

Tackling the health problems caused by malnutrition requires a transformation of current agriculture and food systems towards more diversity on all levels.

Regional priority-setting exercise on scoping, prioritizing and mapping of NUS
Part II (Chapter 6 through Chapter 13) provides an overview of scoping and prioritizing FSF for eight countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Viet Nam and West Bengal in India. For each country, high-potential crops were shortlisted after being prioritized on the basis of a set of multi-dimensional criteria. 

The studies include: 
  1. mapping of the availability of FSF, 
  2. an assessment of their multiple benefits and the challenges they face, 
  3. and feature lists of prioritized crops with potential in each country. 
Each study provides background on 
  • the country’s agro-ecological environment, food composition, predominant cropping patterns and crops in the national farming system. 
  • A situation analysis identifies gaps and major challenges each country is facing with regard to hunger and malnutrition, climate change, and market and economic considerations, as well as cultural aspects. 
To link suitable FSF in each country to the identified challenges, potential FSF were assessed and prioritized according to their nutritional features, adaptation potential to local environments and climate change, economic potential, and sociocultural suitability. Each study also includes a set of recommendations and subsequent actions to further promote FSF in the respective country.

A lucky few NUS have made their way to export niche markets around the world. Apart from their advantages for nutrition and production, the selected NUS also needed to be economically viable and socially acceptable.

The criteria for prioritizing NUS were established in four categories. Each participating country conducted assessments according to these criteria:
  1. Nutrition (nutritional value and health benefits); Currently there is only limited information on the nutrient composition of NUS and FSF, which needs to be analysed and linked to respective health benefits.
  2. Production (local knowledge, availability, seasonality, productivity, intercropping and competition from other crops, and processing);For some NUS the amount that can be consumed in proportion to the weight is low. In addition, it can be is difficult to process and propagate soem NUS and trees may bear fruit for several years. Some NUS also tend to attract borers, pink disease, leaf spot, collar rot and rust.
  3. Ecology (agro-ecology, adaptability to potentially changing local climates and soil types),
    More research is needed to identify climate-resilient varieties and varieties more tolerant to abiotic and biotic stresses. Priority should be given to genetic and husbandry improvement of NUS and FSF.
  4. Socio-economy (cultural acceptance and consumer preferences, access to markets and potential income generation).
    See below (socio-economic challenges)
The regional priority-setting exercise focused on the following groups:
  • cereals,
  • horticultural species,
  • nuts and pulses,
  • roots and tubers, and
  • others.
Promotional efforts would require germplasm collection of endangered species, documentation of collected materials, development of diversified cropping systems that include NUS, improved public awareness of the importance of NUS for nutritional value and health benefits, and research on sustainable management practices for underutilized species and improved marketing.

NUS have remained ignored often for reasons of poor commercial performance, restricted distribution, consumption by small population groups, inadequate research, absence of modern processing and post-harvest methods, and lack of organized value chains and policy support for popularization. Bioversity International has initiated a special programme, “Moving from orphan to high potential crops,” aimed at mainstreaming certain NUS and making them more popular to substitute or supplement major food crops in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Socio-economic challenges:
  • Most of the local foods cannot be stored long-term and preservation technologies have not been locally developed. This has resulted in a shift to foods like cereals and pulses which may not be as nutritious but can be stored easily. 
  • Local food is losing favour even in rural areas despite being readily available. Many of the younger generation are unaware of many of these food items.
  • No specific legislature concerning NUS
  • Risks of genetic degradation if these crops are lost due to the expansion of more commercial forms of agriculture
Processing challenges:
  • Processing may require a substantial amount of fuelwood which contributes to deforestation.
  • Some NUF contain toxins which must be removed by cooking for long periods. The stem requires prolonged boiling, with the water replaced once to remove irritating chemicals.
  • For specific NUS oil extraction rates can be low when using a traditional oil expeller 
  • The taste may seem unfamiliar and so off-putting to potential consumers.
  • Processing techniques should be advanced, and recipes need to be diversified.
  • It may be difficult to process NUS which have low yields and small grains. SomeNUS are susceptible to waterlogging and frost, damping off, powdery mildew and rust.
  • Some NUS may need to be processed as soups because eaten raw because it may cause an itchy, stinging, and very irritating sensation to the throat.
  • Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary (SPS) standards 
Market challenges:
  • Uncertain pricing
  • The lack of short-term storage facilities
  • High market fees
  • Lack of access to credit
  • Extended sales chains between farmers, intermediaries, retailers and consumers,
  • Lack of market information
  • Lack of modern transportation facilities
  • Lack of affordable, available and adapted packaging materials
  • High transportation costs
  • Large disparities between farm gate prices and urban retail prices
  • Un-existing private sector self-regulatory SPS standards setting mechanisms

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Spotlight on Greenday snacks

The world is an ever-changing place. Technology evolves. Trends come and go. The world has become a fast-paced place. Business owners tend to focus more on their revenue and profit than to consider what is best for the consumer health, working environment and morality.

Greenday snacks in Thailand aims to build a sustainable growth business with an ability to compete. A company that produce a healthy snack for the whole family to enjoy, and to keep developing and improving their tasty products.

e-Weather/e-Climate Information Services for Sustainable Development in Africa

27 November 2018. Brussels, Belgium. InfoPoint Lunchtime Conference: e-Weather/e-Climate Information Services for Sustainable Development in Africa

Increasing agricultural productivity, profitability and resilience to climate change while ensuring food security all requires access to reliable, customized, and consistent information including weather forecasts, early warning of extreme weather events and agronomic advisory services. This InfoPoint will show-case two EU Horizon 2020 funded projects and the work of Kenya's Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization (KARLO) in harnessing advanced remote sensing technologies (e.g. EU Copernicus satellite weather/climate data) and in-situ sensing technologies, both combined with mobile technologies to support climate-smart agriculture effectively and ensure food security in a changing climate.
  • Meropi PANELI Senior Policy Officer, DEVCO C6, Sustainable Energy & Climate Change, European Commission

  • Frank OHENE ANNOR, Field Leader – TWIGA Project, Trans African Hydro Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO)

  • Stelios KOTSOPOULOS, Task-leader AfriCultuReS Project, DRAXIS ENVIRONMENTAL S.A.

  • Natasa ASIK, Project Advisor Executive Agency SME (EASME)

  • Boniface AKUKU, Director Information and Communication Technology, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization

L’agriculture de conservation au Maghreb. Les agriculteurs font évoluer leurs pratiques.

26 Novembre 2018. L’agriculture de conservation au Maghreb. Les agriculteurs font évoluer leurs pratiques. FERT. Novembre 2018. 21 pages 

Fert is a French association for international cooperation for agricultural development in developing and emerging countries. This report summarizes Fert’s collaboration with farmers and other stakeholders in conservation agriculture in the Maghreb, who have been at the heart of the thinking and action. They carry within them a capital of experience to share.
En 2010, la FAO estimait que plus de 100 millions d’hectares étaient cultivés en agriculture de conservation (AC) dans le monde. Très fortement adoptée sur le continent américain sur de larges surfaces, elle l’est beaucoup moins en agriculture familiale sur le continent africain.

Au Maghreb, où cette pratique a été introduite à partir des années 1980, son adoption est restée limitée, malgré les réponses qu’elle peut apporter aux défis de préservation des sols et des rendements, de réduction de coûts de production et d’adaptation au changement climatique.

Au Maghreb, au cours des dernières décennies, la croissance démographique a généré d’importants besoins alimentaires, conduisant à une intensification de l’utilisation agricole des sols. La région a connu des sécheresses récurrentes associées à des périodes de pluies importantes concentrées sur des périodes très courtes affectant des sols nus ou peu couverts.

La forte demande en céréales et les contraintes socioéconomiques des agriculteurs ont également conduit à une simplification des pratiques culturales (rotations restreintes voire monoculture, réduction des jachères, diminution des apports d’engrais et de fumure) et ont occasionné une forte dégradation des sols : érosion éolienne et hydrique, perte de fertilité des sols, avec pour conséquences une baisse des rendements et des revenus. Dans un environnement autant exposé aux effets du changement climatique et composé en grande majorité d’agriculture pluviale, il devient essentiel d’adopter des pratiques qui valorisent au mieux la ressource en eau.

30 ans d’engagement et de coopération pour les agriculteurs au Maghreb

  • Avec la naissance du Réseau Innovations agro-systèmes méditerranéens (RCM) en 1989, c’est une dynamique d’expérimentation paysanne et d’échange pour les agriculteurs qui se met en place. 
  • La thématique de l’agriculture de conservation (AC) au Maghreb y devient centrale en 1999, au travers d’essais de semis direct en Tunisie et au Maroc. 
  • Dès lors, les champs d’action, au début uniquement agronomiques, vont s’élargir vers les problématiques d’accès à un matériel adapté et à la promotion/diffusion des pratiques de l’AC aux acteurs de l’enseignement, de la vulgarisation et des politiques publiques.

Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization Framework for Africa

FAO and AUC. 2018. Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization: A Framework for Africa. Addis Ababa. 127pp.

5 October 2018. RomeThe African Union Commission in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), launched the Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization Framework for Africa.

This framework resulted from a meeting which participants from AU Member States, the private sector, farmers’ associations, civil society organizations, research institutions and academia, held on 11th and 12th May 2017, at the AUC, to validate the draft Framework for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Africa (SAMA).
  • The Framework offers a detailed look at the history of machinery in Africa
  • The Framework identifies 10 priorities for AU member states to include in their national plans, ranging from the need for a stable supply of machine spare parts and innovative financing mechanisms, and the importance of regional collaborations that allow for cross-border hiring services.
Mechanization in the twenty first century must follow some core principles.
  • It must be built along the entire agricultural value chain, private sector driven, environmentally competitive and climate smart, and economically viable and affordable, especially to small-scale farmers who constitute the bulk of African farmers. 
  • Mechanization must target youth, specifically to make agriculture more attractive for employment and entrepreneurship.
  • Cross-border initiatives - for dealers, supply networks and tractor operators - can allow for viable scale and greater utilization.
  • Its implementation will require significant contributions from other stakeholders, including public institutions and private actors such as the European Agricultural Machinery Industries Association (CEMA), which has just renewed its partnership with FAO to work on issues related to sustainable mechanization strategies in developing countries.
  • A significant effort in capacity development will have to be made. To that end, FAO and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) have also published a training manual to help roll out more effective networks of access to small-scale mechanization services.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Lessons from PAEPARD 10 years experience

26 November 2018. The Platform for Africa-Europe Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) supports since 2009 research collaboration between a wide range of organizations in Africa and Europe.

The conference described the main achievements of the various mechanisms – multi-stakeholder partnerships, users-led process – and instruments – incentive funds, write-shops, communication tools – to set up, strengthen and get sustainable various consortia. The potential for impacts has been recently assessed, and the perspective to scale were discussed.

You will find below the link to watch the video of the conference:

  • Wim Olthof, Deputy Head of Unit DEVCO C1, Rural development, Food security and Nutrition
  • Christophe Larose, Head of sector, Sustainable Agriculture, DEVCO C1
  • Jonas Mugabe - Manager PAEPARD, FARA, Accra, Ghana
  • Remi Kahane - Deputy Manager PAEPARD, Agrinatura/CIRAD Montpellier, France
  • Irene Annor Frempong - Director for Research and Innovation, FARA, Accra, Ghana
  • Dr. Betty Chinyamunyamu - NASFAM

10 years of African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD)

29 November 2018. The African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) is marking a decade since its founding. This event brings together actors in agricultural research and development to discuss gains made in advancing inclusive agricultural research and how to accelerate these.

There are a couple of newly published videos and a special ten year report

Sunday, November 25, 2018

6th Brazil Africa Forum

22-23 November 2018. Salvador, Bahia/Brazil. 6th Brazil Africa Forum. Youth Empowerment: Transformation to Achieve Sustainable Transformation

Extract of the programme 


  • Special Address by Gilbert Houngbo | President of The International Fund for Agricultural Development – IFAD (Video message)
  • Moderator: Bronwyn Nielsen | Editor at Large of CNBC Africa
  • Yemi Akinbamijo | Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)
  • Livio Vanghetti | Vice President Global Partnership and Cooperation of Philip Morris International
  • Daniel Balaban | Director of WFP Centre of Excellence against Hunger
  • Claus Reiner | Country Director of IFAD
  • Higino Francisco de Marrule |Minister of Agriculture and Food Security of the Republic of Mozambique
Agriculture is essential for Africa’s economic development, mainly due to the world’s arable and uncultivated land concentrated on the continent. Alongside this issue, there is a concentration of young people – the main vector of promoting the continent’s food self-sufficiency in line with sustainability – that with appropriate qualification can promote changes in the reality of the african continent. This session covered the following topics:
  • Awareness among young generation of working opportunities in agriculture
  • Sustainability application: using creativity
  • Improving knowledge on food security

FANRPAN 2018 High-level Food and Nutrion Security Policy Dialogue

20-22 November 2018. Maputo, Mozambique. FANRPAN High-Level Dialogue. Transforming Africa’s Agriculture.

FANRPAN hosted a Regional Policy Dialogue in partnership with @G_MachelTrust @MINDSAfrica @ccardesaa under the theme: hashtag#TransformAgriculture

This event created a platform for experts to reflect on approaches that can be employed to boost agricultural productivity on the continent.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

CLImate SMArt BANanas

8-9 November  2018. Ghent, Belgium. Inception meeting of the 3 year EU-Africa LEAP-Agri project CLISMABAN (CLImate SMArt BANanas): Phenotyping the banana biodiversity to identify climate smart varieties with optimal market potential in Africa and Europe.

The consortium coordinated by IPBO (VIB-UGent) includes three Belgian Universities (ULiège, KU Leuven and Ghent University), Kenyatta University (Kenya), the National Agricultural Reasearch Organization of Uganda and ICIA (Instituto Canaria de Inversitgaciones Agrarias).

The rationale of this project lies in the fact that today Banana (Musa spp.) is an important crop providing a staple food for more than 400 million people on the planet. It is an important source of income for many small and medium-scale producers that needs only limited inputs to ensure harvest. However, harvest yield is still far below its potential for many small holder farmers. 

In Africa, a high diversity of highland, plantain and dessert bananas is cultivated and the production is mainly aimed at local markets. In contrast, the banana production and import in Europe is limited to only a few varieties. Belgium hosts the world banana collection and has a long history of scientific research and partnerships with European and African scientists. 

The CLISMABAN project aims to exploit the existing genetic resources and diversity of banana: 
  • To select with input from all actors of the banana value chain (consumers, farmers, processors…) the varieties that will be resilient to the constraints that are threatening production because of climate change. 
  • To address the increasing demand for food, this project will investigate the potential of some microorganisms to be beneficial for the soil and the productivity of the banana plant. 
  • The project will combine top-notch phenotyping technologies to identify the varieties from the collection that fit the established “cahier des charges” and to test the potential benefits of microorganisms on growth of the banana plant. 
  • The laboratory obtained results will be brought to the field in different agro-ecological zones of Kenya, Uganda and Canary Islands for evaluation. 
  • Producers and researchers will be trained in different aspects of the banana research to market pipeline to stimulate a better utilization of scientific results in the development of agricultural systems that will meet both the increasing demand for food and the requirement for a sustainable use of land and water that can challenge the climatic evolutions. 
This inception meeting was the opportunity for all partners to meet for the first time although there already precedent bilateral collaborations in research or capacity building. 
  • This meeting was the opportunity to visit the facilities at Liège University where the “Ecotron” will be used to grow selected banana varieties in simulated future climatic conditions. 
  • The group also visited KU Leuven hosting at the International Transit Center hosting the biggest banana collection. In addition, an explanation by the young scientists on how phenotyping for drought resistance with the “growtainer” and other facilities will be implemented within this project. 
  • This first meeting was the perfect occasion for all concerned partners to plan and coordinate their respective work within the CLISMABAN project.
25 November 2018. Meise, Brussels, Belgium. Botanical Gardens Science Day. How did bananas taste in 1950? Will we still drink coffee in 2050?
Science Day (Dag van de Wetenschap) offers the opportunity to take a unique look behind the scenes of numerous companies, universities, schools, museums, training centres and research institutes in Flanders and Brussels.