Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

FARA receives CSIR Award

Left to right: Prof. Kingsford-Adaboh (CSIR Council Chair),
Dr Agrey Agumya (FARA) and dr Wilhelmina Quaye
(Director CSIR-STEPRI)

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) was among the recipients of Ghana’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Awards, during a ceremony to honour scientists, champions of science and research and  industry players who have made outstanding contributions to Ghana’s scientific and industrial development over the past 60 years. Held on Friday, 17th May 2019 at the Coconut Grove Hotel in Accra, the event was one of the activities organised to mark the 60th anniversary of the CSIR. It was graced by, among others, Mr. Yaw Osafo Marfo, Senior Minister who was the special guest of honour; Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Honourable Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; and Professor Robert Kingsford-Adaboh, the Chairman of CSIR’s Governing Council.
FARA’s award was received by Dr. Aggrey Agumya, Director for Stakeholder Engagement and Communication on behalf of the Executive Director, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo. 
Among the awardees was the 94-year-old Dr. Leticia Obeng, a heroine scientist in Water and Environment, the first Research staff to be recruited by the CSIR and the first Female President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Obeng is also a recipient of Ghana's highest national award, the Order of the Star of Ghana (2006).  Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng received a citation for scientific excellence in medicine.

Mr. Osafo Marfo commended CSIR for its immense contributions towards the socio-economic development of the nation, especially, for producing improved varieties of the country’s main staples. He urged it to ensure these varieties become easily accessible to farmers and industry players. He announced that Cabinet had approved an increase in spending on science and technological research from 0.3 per cent of GDP to one per cent. 
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng acknowledged the distinguished scientists, stakeholders and former staff of CSIR for contributing substantially to the growth of the country over the past 60 years. He underscored the instrumental role of science and technology to the attainment of the President’s vision of an industrialized nation that is also beyond aid.  He pointed out that this will require stronger coordination among the relevant sectors and actors.
Professor Victor Kwame Agyeman, Director-General of CSIR, welcomed the strong support the government has extended to scientists and suggested the introduction of a “Science Day” to commemorate and increase the visibility of the work of scientists in the country.

Sourced from: FARA Africa 

Research Cooperation for Food Security and Nutrition

16 - 17 May 2019. Bonn, Germany. Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE). “Shaping the nutritional environment to promote a balanced diet ("Food environments for improved nutrition".

BLE organized a workshop to further specify the topics of its third call for proposals and to clarify the research needs in the area of “food environments for improved nutrition”.  The overall goal is to improve nutrition in the face of the double burden of malnutrition in the partner countries
The aim of the workshop was to identify research gaps, research areas which are already sufficiently addressed and essential subsets of research questions to be considered.
  • Consumer markets: access to markets in rural and urban regions, the characteristics of the direct sales environment, questions of supply; the increasing importance of supermarkets.
  • Influence of nutrition education on consumer buying decisions and opportunities to optimise both in terms of a healthy diet in the target regions.
  • Influence of the structure and shape of food systems on nutrition.
  • Importance and use of information and communication technology (ICT) in "food environments"; Is there room for target-group-specific improvements using ICT?
  • What are the limits? Under what circumstances do consumer markets fail?
  • Which feasible, practical Government interventions to influence food markets and to improve diets (combat the double burden of malnutrition: overweight and obesity as well as stunting and lack of micronutrients) are already implemented? What are their weaknesses and successes with a view to promoting healthy nutrition?
Download here the Overview of the Agricultural Research Sector in Gemany


Urban Food Systems for Better Diets, Nutrition, and Health

17 May 2019Urban Food Systems for Better Diets, Nutrition, and Health

Click here to watch online.

The explosive growth of cities all over the world has led to major shifts in diets, with serious consequences for the health and nutrition of the urban poor, especially in rapidly urbanizing low- and middle-income countries in Africa and Asia.

To reverse this trend, we must take into account the realities of urban life and understand what role urban food systems and environments play in shaping food choices. For example, what are the urban poor eating, and where do they source their food—from informal markets, supermarkets, or urban gardens? And how do gender, household structure, time constraints, and personal preferences, among other things, shape these patterns?

Designing effective urban food systems policies for healthier diets and optimal nutrition among the urban poor requires answers to these and many other questions. Building this evidence base—in addition to documenting, evaluating, and learning from current and past initiatives and policies—will enrich the dialogue and enhance our efforts to improve the well-being of poor urban dwellers.

IFPRI speakers presented the Institute’s new research program, Urban Food Systems for Better Diets, Nutrition, and Health. Invited guests shared experiences and provide examples of ongoing initiatives, policies, and partnerships that are successfully tackling issues of urban diets, nutrition, and health among the urban poor.
  • Marie Ruel, Director of Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division, IFPRI
  • Jef Leroy, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI
  • Danielle Resnick, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI
  • James Thurlow, Senior Research Fellow, IFPRI
  • Corinna Hawkes, Professor of Food Policy; Director, Centre for Food Policy, City University, London (video message)
  • Aira Htenas, Agriculture Economist, Food and Agriculture Global Practice, World Bank Group

Opportunities of blockchain for agriculture

15 June 2019. Brussels. The latest Brussels Development Briefing n. 55 on Opportunities of blockchain for agriculture was organised by CTA, the European Commission/EuropeAid, the ACP Secretariat, Concord and BMZ.

Twitter: @ctabrussels and @brubriefings #BBBlockchain

Introductory remarks: Patrick Gomes, Secretary-General, ACP Secretariat ; Wim Olthof, Deputy Head of Unit, Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition, Europeaid, European Commission; Andreas Pletziger, Senior Policy Officer, BMZ  (see picture), ; Michael Hailu, Director, CTA

Panel 1: Blockchain technology in support of the agrifood sector
This panel provided an overview of the opportunities and challenges in adopting the blockchain technology in agriculture and the agrifood industry across several sectors.
  • Opportunities and challenges for blockchain in the agri-food industry - Mischa Tripoli, Economist, Trade and Markets Division, FAO [presentation|video]
  • Blockchain applications for ACP sustainable agriculture - Chris Addison, Senior Expert, Data4Ag, CTA [presentation|video]
  • Blockchain supporting food systems: private sector perspective - Louis de Bruin, Blockchain Thought Leader Europe, IBM Global Business Services [presentation|video]
  • Blockchain legislation: the case of Uganda - Alice Namuli Blazevic, Expert Blockchain and AI, KATS, Uganda [presentation|video]
  • Critical views on blockchain development: control and sovereignty - Pat Roy Mooney (see picture), Founder, ETC Group
Panel 2: Best practices in blockchain technology adoptionThis panel looked at specific examples of successful applications of the blockchain technology of interest to the ACP countries.
  • Potential and successes of Blockchain for the agribusiness industry - Anthi Tsilimeni-Archangelidi, Business Analyst, EMEA Business Applications, Cargill [presentation|video]
  • Opportunities of blockchain for famers in Africa - Theo de Jager, President, World Farmer’s Organisation (WFO) [presentation|video]
  • Increasing price transparency through blockchain in the coffee chain in Ethiopia - Sander Govers, Moyee Coffee “FairChain”, Ethiopia [presentation|video]
  • IBISA: Inclusive Blockchain Insurance using Space Assets - Annette Houtekamer, Expert in Inclusive Insurance, Ibisa [presentation|video]
  • Blockchain applications in food safety - Erik Árokszállási, CEO, TE-FOOD International [presentation|video]

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Strategies towards more sustainable food systems in the Mediterranean Region

15 to 17 May 2019. Palermo, Italy. The 2nd World Conference “Strategies towards more sustainable food systems in the Mediterranean Region: Mediterranean Diet as a Lever for Bridging Consumption and Production, in a Sustainable and Healthy Way”.

Organised by CIHEAM Bari and by the Forum of the Mediterranean Food Cultures in collaboration with more than 20 partners, this world conference was hosted under the auspices of CIHEAM, the International Foundation of Mediterranean Diet (IFMeD), the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) , the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Cooperation, the Region of Sicily, the City of Palermo, and the European Federation of Nutrition Societies.

This high-level meeting identified strategies, programs and actions, able to provide solutions for more sustainable Mediterranean food systems, by bridging sustainable food consumption and production through the Mediterranean diet as a lever.
coping with current critical challenges in the region through

Extract of the programme
Download the brochure of the event (Scope and objectives, expected outcomes, programme, partners)

  • SESSION 5 Solutions for Coping with Challenges for Coping with Youth Migrations, Agriculture, and Rural sustainable development in the Mediterranean Region: Knowledge Sharing, Capacity Building and Training as Driving Forces for the Shift Towards More Sustainable Food Systems in the Mediterranean
  • SESSION 7 TALK SHOW PANNEL DISCUSSION Solutions for Coping with impacts of Water Scarcity, Land Degradation and Climate Change on Mediterranean Food Systems
  • SESSION 8 The Diversity of Mediterranean Food Cultures and Culinary Systems as a Driver for the Revitalization of the Mediterranean Diet in the Context of Sustainable Food Systems in the Mediterranean Region
  • SESSION 10 The Challenge of Organic Food Systems Linking Sustainable Production and Consumption in the Mediterranean 
  • SESSION 13 Sustainable Agriculture, Agro-Ecology and Sustainable Food Value Chains Development in the Mediterranean Region
  • SESSION 14 Research and Innovation as Driving Forces for the Shift Towards More Sustainable Food Systems in the Mediterranean
  • SESSION 18 Fostering Engagement and Partnership Towards a Multi-stakeholder Sustainable Food Systems Platform in the Mediterranean, within the United Nations One Planet Network, for Achieving the 2030 Agenda’s SDGs
  • SIDE EVENT 1 Networking Euro Mediterranean Countries for Sustainable Food Consumption and Production Strategies using the Mediterranean Diet for the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases

Power, Politics, and Governance in the Food System

8 May 2019. Webinar: Power, Politics, and Governance in the Food System: Applications to Africa.

Growing interest by the development community in stimulating transformation throughout the agri-food system in Africa implies a more complex role for the region’s governments. Such roles include not only creating an enabling environment for the private sector but re-orienting public expenditures, resolving coordination failures, and regulating food safety.

This webinar summarized research findings relevant to different policy domains of the food system, including fertilizer subsidies, agricultural extension services, land governance, and urban informal food trade.

This PIM webinar drew on case studies from Ghana, Nigeria, and Zambia to show how electoral incentives, overlapping ministerial mandates, and relations between central and local authorities structure the ability of governments to fulfill these roles in the food system.
  • Presenter: Danielle Resnick, Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  • Moderator: Frank Place, Director, CGIAR Research Program on Policies, Institutions, and Markets (PIM)

FARA and ZEF Collaborate to Define Needed Investment for Jobs Creation in Agriculture

Participants from Ghana, Ethiopia, Tunisia and FARA experts during the event 
Researchers from the Forum forAgricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and counterparts from the Center for Development Studies (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany,  Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI), Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STPRI), Ghana and the and National Institute of Agricultural Research (INRAT), Tunisia met in Accra to consider some critical steps to creating jobs in the agriculture sector. The two-day meeting which was under the auspices of the Program of Accompanying Research with Agricultural Innovation (PARI), was a collaboration among the stakeholders, geared at defining the needed investment for the creation of jobs from agriculture.

The meeting also assessed, among other things, methodologies and other logistics required to run the study, whose outputs are expected to influence policy development and direction for investment into agriculture related jobs.
Speaking at the brainstorming session of the stakeholder engagement, Wole Fatunbi, Lead Specialist for Innovation Systems and Partnerships at FARA, underscored the need for leveraging jobs in agriculture to stem the tides of youth migration from Africa to the West and the Americas.
“Apparently, Africa, is least prepared for the explosion in its youth population.  There is an urgent need for smart solutions going forward and all eyes are on the agricultural sector to generate the needed jobs”.

The stakeholders also intimated that the real puzzle for technocrats is what component of agriculture truly holds the potential to generate jobs and livelihood-compliant income for the youth. The said the conundrum is based on the prevailing data that suggests, that 60% of the continent’s population is already engaged in agriculture as a means of livelihood. That being the case, what specific investments will be required to generate the jobs and from whom will the resources be derived?  The meeting concluded that the answers to these and other questions will require comprehensive studies done with proven methodologies.

Sourced from: FARA Africa

FARA Hosts African Youth in Agriculture

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in collaboration with the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) hosting more than sixty young men and women, involved in diverse agricultural value chains, at the FARA Secretariat in Accra.  The participants have been drawn from twenty-six countries across the region.

The three-day workshop is being organized as part of FARA’s efforts to effectively scale up proven innovative technologies within the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT)’s ten tier one countries and subsequently across the continent. This role is within the context of the Capacity Development and Technology Outreach Enabler Compact (CDTO) which is FARA’s commitment to TAAT.
TAAT is an initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) aimed at improving the business of agriculture across Africa as part of the Feed Africa Program.

The main objective of the youth workshop is to develop a set of guidelines on strategic engagement and capacity development of youth focused on agripreneurship and scaling of technologies for increased productivity.

Opening the workshop on behalf of the Executive Director of FARA, Dr. Irene Annor-Frempong, Director for Research and Innovation urged the participants to leverage the opportunities and platforms that the workshop offers so that will be able to impact their communities when they return to their home countries. She encouraged the participants to stay invigorated so they will be able to achieve the set objectives.

Over the course of the workshop, participants will explore the diverse youth engagement initiatives in the various countries, brainstorm on ideas for a continental Youth Engagement Strategy, draft cases of experience capitalization, be taken through TAAT value chains, Innovation Platforms and Knowledge Management among others.
It is expected that deliberations at this workshop will lead to the development of a practical and realistic action plan to strengthen youth initiatives for technology deployment. This includes reinforcing activities of the youth activities within the YPARD Africa network for example.

Also, the documentation of the capitalized experiences of youth engaged in agri-preneurship will help identify opportunities for youth employment. Youth and women-led enterprise development will also be identified within the TAAT value chains through innovation platforms.

Eventually, the discussions are expected to validate the existing draft framework on what will be more effective in building capacity for agri-preneurship development within TAAT value chains, as well as key areas to focus on, when developing Africa’s youth agri-preneurship strategy.

Sourced from: FARA Africa

FARA Publication: Innovation Opportunities Guidebook in Dairy Livestock in Kenya (NEW)

Persistent food shortage is a common occurrence in many sub-Saharan African countries. Several initiatives have been implemented to address this problem where some of them have recognized the role of innovations in spurring agricultural development. Hence, the use of innovations in agriculture and development in addressing the challenges of feeding an increasingly populous and resource-constrained Africa is receiving prominence. Creating an innovation system is therefore critical in establishing favourable networks of organizations within an economic system that are directly involved in the creation, diffusion and use of scientific and technological knowledge, as well as the organizations responsible for the coordination and support of these processes. 
The actors involved focus on bringing new products, new processes, new policies, and new forms of organization into economic use.

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), in partnership with the German Government represented by the Center for Development Research (ZEF) of the University of Bonn under its ‘One World No Hunger’ initiative, is implementing the “Programme of Accompanying Research for Agricultural Innovations (PARI)” (2014-2019). PARI has taken cognizance of the successes of research and innovation initiatives in African agriculture and through FARA developed a sub grant agreements with the identified National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARI) in 12 African countries.

Application of innovations offers important opportunities to African farmers and consumers; and therefore publication of the book is an important means of communicating current dairy research findings to a wider audience. The book which also has information on XIII utilization and marketing as well as existing innovations, and opportunities for further innovations will be shared widely with academicians, researchers, policy makers, development partners and practitioners, and other value chain actors, as a reference material on innovations and other aspects of the dairy value chain.

FARA Publication: Innovation Opportunities Guidebook in the Poultry Livestock Sector in Benin ( NEW)

The Poultry livestock plays a key role in the different facet of African society, it is traditionally valued as source of protein in the diet of the majority as well as a source of income for the farming families. The size of the different birds and the relative ease of raising them, makes the poultry a very affable livestock enterprise in the traditional farming system. Over the years, the poultry industry in Africa has witnessed significant growth following the development of highly productive breeds for meat and eggs. This has resulted in the expansion of the industry and the provision of livelihood along the value chain. Despite the noticeable change in the sector, it is still faced by a myriad of constraints that require scientific and institutional interventions. 

The conventional poultry birds are much susceptible to a myriad of diseases ranging from biotic factors to physiological stress. For a handful of the pathogenic diseases, there are known cure through antibiotics and series of vaccination to ensure healthy and productive birds. The use of these vaccines and antibiotics are also considered to have some effect on the quality of carcass and egg products from the poultry industry. With increasing health and nutritional awareness among the populace occasioned by the growth of the middle class, the need for low or zero use of antibiotics is fast gaining recognition, and in some instances, it is becoming the subject of some social movement. Apparently, the poultry industry strongly requires more scientific interventions to develop hardier and yet productive breeds to withstand various stresses.

Research efforts to improve the productivity of the poultry industry require attention in Africa. Principally, Africa needs to beef up its game in the industry with more advanced science and technologies. This needs to target farm level productivity as well as the total factor productivity of the sector.
This book attempt to analyses the poultry livestock production and marketing systems in Benin Republic, to identify the constraints, source solutions and explicate the innovation opportunities within the industry. The book explicated both the technological and institutional or infrastructural modification including markets, policies and social interactions that could be deployed to yield improved productivity and profitability.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Agriculture Knowledge Share Fair for the CGIAR System

15-17 May 2019. Addis Abeba. The Agriculture Knowledge Share Fair for the CGIAR System Council. The Share Fair was a side event to the 8th CGIAR System Council Meeting (SC8). The objective of the Share Fair was to demonstrate how CGIAR is working in an integrated manner to tackle local challenges of global importance with a diverse range of partners and stakeholders.

The Share Fair focused on five global challenges:
  1. Living within planetary boundaries
  2. Sustaining food availability
  3. Promoting equality of opportunity
  4. Securing public health
  5. Creating jobs and growth
With over 35 displays, researchers from 11 CGIAR Research Centers present in Ethiopia showcased how they work together in partnership with the Ethiopian government and key partners from the private sector, civil society and funders, to transform local food systems.

Twitter: #OneCGIAR

Global Challenge 1: Living within planetary boundaries
WLE / @ICRISAT’s simple but powerful flood
capturing weir system in pastoralist Ethiopia,
@IWMI_ Director Gen Claudia Sadoff notes that
@CGIAR’s “Simple proven strategies are
being shared across centers and locations.”
  • Digital AgroMet advisory platform for resilient agriculture in Ethiopia - Climate Change. Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS)
  • Quality tree seed accelerate forest landscape restoration and enhance forest production in Ethiopia - Forests, Trees and Agriculture (FTA)
  • Mapping genomic regions and genes associated with the fat-tail, an adaptation trait in indigenous sheep - LIVESTOCK
  • How can the data revolution help deliver better agronomy to African smallholder farmers? - MAIZE, TAMASA initiative
  • Climate-resilient sweetpotato seed systems - Roots, Tubers and Bananas (RTB)
  • Innovation equips pastoralists in dry Ethiopian lowlands to turn flooding events into farming opportunities - Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE)
  • Transforming livelihoods and building resilience through multi functional landscapes - WLE, FTA (See picture)
  • Water scarcity solutions for smallholders: Climate smart water lifting, solar irrigation and simple optimization technologies improve farm productivity - WLE, CCAFS
Global Challenge 2: Sustaining food availability
  • Nutritious, resilient and market preferred common bean varieties - Agriculture for Health and Nutrition (A4NH), Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM), WLE
  • Deploying nutritious climate-smart potato varieties - RTB
  • Sustaining farming systems for food security and economic growth in Ethiopia - Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC), PIM
  • Increased performance of sheep and goat value chains in Ethiopia through community-based sheep and goat breeding programs - LIVESTOCK
  • Africa RISING: Innovation for development highlights - LIVESTOCK
  • Creating more inclusive and integrated programs for the poor in Ethiopia - PIM
  • Maize and Wheat: Strategic crops to fill Ethiopia’s food basket - WHEAT
  • Promoting adoption of improved seed through the Direct Seed Marketing approach - PIM
Global Challenge 3: Promoting equality of opportunity
  • Transforming gender relations in rural Ethiopia through community conversations - LIVESTOCK
  • Fostering youth employment in rural Ethiopian through Sheep Fattening – a viable solution to empower young people and unlock their potential - LIVESTOCK
  • Accelerating technical change through video-mediated agricultural extension - PIM
  • Gender-responsive food production, Ethiopia - RTB
  • Resilience through agricultural water management: Gender matters - WLE
  • Addressing Gender Norms in Ethiopia’s Wheat Sector - WHEAT
Global Challenge 4: Securing public health
  • A food systems approach to healthier diets in Ethiopia - A4NH
  • CGIAR Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Hub – a global research and development partnership for reducing agriculture-associated antimicrobial resistance - CGIAR AMR Hub and A4NH
  • Tackling Malnutrition through Nutri-food baskets - GLDC, AN4H, ICRISAT
  • Quality Protein Maize (QPM) for better nutrition in Ethiopia - MAIZE and A4NH
  • Driving adoption of regional health nutritional standards for sweetpotato crops and processed products - Roots, Tubers and Bananas; A4NH
  • Citizen science to fill hydro-meteorological data gaps in rural watersheds - WLE
Global Challenge 5: Creating jobs and growth
  • Smart marketing of small ruminant in Ethiopia - LIVESTOCK
  • Willingness to pay for livestock market facilities in Ethiopia - LIVESTOCK and PIM
  • Healthy sweetpotato-based bakery products for sub-Saharan Africa - RTB
  • Improving agricultural extension systems for wider adoption of technologies - WHEAT
  • Rural Resource Centre (RRC) Business Model - A new agri-based knowledge-hub - WLE
  • Appropriate small-scale mechanizationWheat and Maize
  • Public-private partnership to transform malt barley value chain in EthiopiaICARDA
Videos related to Global Challenge 5

Sowing the seeds of success: Ethiopia on a new path to explore global malt markets

ICARDA, through its long-term engagement and partnership with the national Ethiopian agricultural researchers and policy makers, in particularly the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, has developed several malt barley varieties adapted to the country and of a desired malt quality.

This partnership, supported by USAID, has furthermore enabled the introduction of new technologies allowing for scaling out malt barley production. Till now, this has involved farmers in four major barley growing areas of the country in a national drive to meet domestic demand with an ultimate objective of export markets in the region and beyond.

Early August 2018, ICARDA in collaboration with the Ethiopian Gonder Malt Factory and the Amhara Regional Agricultural Research Institute gathered stakeholders in the production of malt barley from the Amhara Regional State. Present were also representatives of global beer brands, presenting views and challenges to be overcome to unlock the potential of Ethiopia’s barley production.

When Women Farmers Lead the Way

A research partnership of ICARDA with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR) has been working to overcome production constraints in barley in the country. ICARDA’s barley crop improvement research has been providing germplasm to develop higher-yielding and disease-resistant varieties, while building the country’s capacity. A resulting new variety, HB 1307 – a cross between ICARDA’s germplasm and a local variety – has demonstrated superior performance both in yield and disease resistance and was approved for release to the farmers. (Donor: USAID)

Sowing the seeds of success: improved lentil varieties in Ethiopia

Success story of improved lentil varieties bringing higher yields, income and nutrition in Ethiopia. The research, led by ICARDA in partnership with EIAR, was funded by IFAD and Government of Netherlands.

Combating the threat of Wheat Stripe (Yellow) Rust

When a breakout of stripe rust swept across Ethiopia in 2010, prompted by unusual temperature and rain patterns, it decimated large areas of wheat crops and left the farmers devastated. A fast-track crop research and seed distribution program delivered future protection, along with higher yields and incomes for the farmers.(Donor: USAID)

The integration of dietary indicators in the CAADP process

Namukolo Covic works for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) as Senior Research Coordinator in the Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division and is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Namukolo Covic answers following questions:
  • Why is it essential to integrate dietary indicators in the CAADP process?
  • How difficult was it to get this in the CAADP?
  • How does it change the rolling out of the Compacts?
  • How do you relate African diets, orphan crops, biodiversity and agribusiness for youth?
  • The next Tropentag will be in Kassel-Germany and ICARDA will receive more attention. What are the challenges for the arid zones in Africa related to the orphan crops ?
  • Key Achievements from CultiAF Phase 1 - Video 
  • The Insect for Food and Feed Project Dr. Subbi Sevgan, International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, icipe 
  • Overview of the CultiAF Phase 2 and Project Portfolio
    Ms Mellissa Wood, General Manager for Global Programs, ACIAR
    Dr Renaud DePlaen, Program Leader for Agriculture and Food Security, IDRC

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Change of Host Country for the 8th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW8)

Accra, Ghana, 14 May 2019 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Board of Directors and Management of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), regret to announce to all stakeholders and the general public, that due to circumstances beyond their control, the 8th Africa Agriculture Science Week and FARA General Assembly which were set to take place from 28th to 30th October, 2019, will no longer be held in Cairo, Egypt. A new host country and date shall be communicated as soon as they are confirmed.

The Africa Agriculture Science Week is a triennial platform that brings together stakeholders in Africa’s agriculture research and development to exchange information, network and shape the research and innovation agenda for the next triennium.

For more information contact:

1.       Dr. Aggrey Agumya (FARA AASW8 Conference Chair): 

2.       Christoph Essikpe (FARA Communications Specialist): 



Monday, May 13, 2019

Strengthening functional capacities in agricultural innovation systems.

13-14 May 2019, Gembloux, Belgium. Strengthening functional capacities in agricultural innovation systems.

The EU-funded Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (CDAIS, was initiated in 2015. In May, partners will gather to share their experiences and knowledge from this project to a broader audience. And much has been learnt. We also invite those from other initiatives working on similar themes related to capacity strengthening in agricultural innovation, to join with us and communicate your experiences and knowledge. The aim, is to share and shape a path for action on how to strengthen functional capacities, and develop
recommendations on to most effectively drive innovation processes in agriculture.

  • Share documented and scientific anal/ysis of the relevance and applicability of the CDAIS Common Framework
  • Shape ideas and visions on how to mainstream the strengthening of functional capacities in the development agenda at national and global levels.
The CDAIS team including partners and beneficiaries from the eight pilot countries (Angola, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Laos and Rwanda) presented their experiences and the knowledge gained through the strengthening of their capacities to innovate during the past 3-4 years. The discussions included:
  • Improved practices or innovations that have resulted from strengthened capacities, or that have failed because of a lack of adequate functional capacities.
  • Concepts based on analyses on how agricultural innovations can benefit (or not) from strengthened functional capacities.
  • Policies or investments that support or block agricultural innovation because of a limited knowledge of the benefits from improved functional capacities.
Common Framework onCapacity Development forAgricultural Innovation Systems  (87 pp.)
Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation Systems (CD for AIS) enables joint learning and co-creation and new uses of knowledge for social change and enhances the interactions between actors. It is also about creating an enabling environment for such interaction, learning and innovation, based not only on conducive formal law and regulations, but also on informal values, attitudes and behaviours. It aims at changing people’s behaviour and developing of more sustainable practices that bring about societal transformation.

CDAIS Stories of Change – FULL BOOK
Agrinatura and FAO. 2018. Building Competence and Confidence in Agricultural Innovation Systems. Stories of Change. Pasiecznik N, ed. Agrinatura, Paris, and FAO, Rome. 196 pp.
Building on CDAIS training experience, this manual has been developed to support the activities of the CDAIS project.This manual is a resource for the training of National Innovation Facilitators (NIFs) across all 8 countries. The objective of the training is to strengthen the NIFs’ facilitation skills and their ability to carry out Capacity Needs Assessments (CNAs) in agricultural innovation niche partnerships.
The implementing partners of CDAIS developed a serie of factsheets outlining tools and approaches to promote capacity development projects for agricultural innovation systems (AIS) that has just been released. Each factsheet includes an introduction on each of the five stages of the CDAIS cycle used and implemented by the CDAIS project.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

FARA Led S3A receives a boost as Uganda, 13 other countries to commit 1% of their budget for agricultural research

Uganda’s Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Mr Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, also the chairperson of the ASARECA Council of Patron Ministers signs the Communique in the presence of his counterparts from other countries. Together they committed to increase funding dedicated for agricultural research. 

In a move to address the glaring food insecurity several African countries are facing, Uganda and 13 other continental states have committed to increase funding for agricultural research in their respective countries.
In a communique, the ministers of agriculture from the 14 African countries, including Uganda, pledged on behalf of their respective nations to dedicate at least one percent (1%) of their total national resource envelop to agricultural research in line with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa's (FARA) Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A) agenda

For Uganda whose next budget (2019/2020) is estimated at Shs39.5trillion, the fund allocation for conducting agricultural research shouldn’t be less than Shs395billion. Should this happen, then it will be a record budget allocation and a statement of intent from the government.
Despite the capabilities and availability of human resource in this area, agricultural research in African countries has for decades been relegated to the periphery.
Most agricultural research in Africa are donor funded which according to the executive director of Forum forAgricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, has robbed of the conscious of continental scientists and researchers, urging continental government to take up research funding responsibilities.
And for that, the ministers of agriculture from the 14 countries in the continent, mostly drawn from Eastern, Central and Southern African, now want the casual manner in which agricultural research is treated in the continent to stop forthwith.
“Aware that in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, the challenge of feeding a growing population is projected to double by 2050 has to be met, that despite a degrading resource base coupled with global climatic and economic changes, where smallholder agriculture remains the centerpiece of our countries’ economies, that confronting this challenge while protecting the natural resource base involves finding innovative and sustainable ways to produce more food with less resources,” reads the communique signed by the Ministers responsible for Agricultural Research from 14 countries in Kampala, Uganda, on Friday last week.

Cognizant of the need to use the land resources in ways that will ensure its health and sustainable access to future generations, they committed to: “Conservation agriculture-based sustainable intensification (CASI) practices, including practicing minimum tillage, maintaining permanent soil cover and mulches.
“This is in addition to the implementation of crop diversification practices (such as cereal legume intercropping and rotations), as tested through the sustainable intensification of maize-legume cropping systems in eastern and southern Africa (SIMLESA) program and similar multidisciplinary research efforts show promise in boosting and stabilizing productivity and safeguarding the resource base in the face of climate change.”
Importantly perhaps, they committed to mainstreaming Conservation agriculture, institutionalisation efforts that support scaling and networking, integration into agricultural research and extension systems and fostering value chains development.
Part of the communiqué committed to reducing drudgery especially for women farmers and laborers; as well as attracting youth talent into agriculture. Supporting agribusinesses willing to invest in rural innovation and market development was also highlighted.
Promoting collective institutions to enable farmer integration into markets, supporting the development of smallholder machinery value chains through, local-level training for entrepreneurs and supporting market innovations that enable low-cost farmer learning and experimentation was conspicuous in the communique. 
Time to walk the talk
Uganda’s Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Mr Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja who is also the chairperson of the ASARECA Council of Patron Ministers, after signing the communique said it is time research is promoted in Africa, saying their gesture (signing the joint communique) stress the call for research funding and promotion in all the continental states.
For scientists and researchers involved in the agricultural sector to fulfil their potential he said: “At least one percent of the total national budget of the country should be geared towards agricultural research because without that it will be difficult to overcome food insecurity threats that is already widespread across the continent,” said Mr Ssempijja.
As for Amb. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, the African Union commissioner for rural economy and agriculture, without research in agriculture, the continent should forget about agricultural transformation which helped propelled the economies of most European countries.
But before that the executive director of ASERECA, Prof Jean Jacques Mbonigaba Muhinda, said the role of research in agriculture has never been that crucial as it is today. He said the agricultural sector is evolving and without research it will be difficult to keep pace with the changes, most of which have far reaching effects on the livelihood.

And the head of Uganda’s delegation in the ASERECA Council of Patron Ministers Summit, the State Minister for Agriculture, Mr Christopher Kibanzanga, was of the view that African countries, including his own, Uganda, should invest where it reaps most and that is in agriculture. 
Governments that signed a joint communique in Kampala on May 03, 2019;
  1. The Republic of Burundi: Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock
  2. Republic of the Congo: Minister of Scientific Research and Technological Innovations
  3. The Democratic Republic of the Congo: Minister of Scientific Research
  4. The State of Eritrea: Minister of Agriculture
  5. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia: Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  6. The Republic of Kenya: Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation
  7. The Republic of Madagascar: Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries
  8. The Republic of Malawi: Minister of Agriculture, Water and Irrigation Development
  9. Republic of Mozambique: Minister of Agriculture
  10. The Republic of Rwanda: Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources
  11. The Republic of South Sudan: Minister of Agriculture and Forestry
  12. The Republic of The Sudan: Minister of Science and Technology
  13. The United Republic of Tanzania: Minister of Agriculture
  14. The Republic Of Uganda: Minister Of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries
  15. For The African Union: Commissioner, Rural Economy and Agriculture, African Union Commission
  16. Observer: Dr. Martin Kropf, Director General, Cimmyt

Uncertainties of Climate Change Impacts in Agriculture

8 May 2019. ICARDA Workshop on Novel Research Dimensions in Modeling Climate Change Impacts in Agriculture.

The participants brainstormed on issues associated with modelling of crop growth process (in particular wheat) under various limiting factors such as weather, soil, management and water in a climate change scenario to strengthen the in-house modelling capacities and also to develop future projects.

The workshop was chaired by Prof. Senthold Asseng a renowned crop modeller from University of Florida and co-leader of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) network. He is the Director of the Florida Climate Institute and elected Chair of the Expert Working Group (now a program) Plant and Crop Modeling of the international Wheat Initiative.
"Africa imports every year 40 million tons of wheat. The main import is from Russia" 
"Our models predict that there will be a 6% decline in global wheat production for each degree in global warming"
"In 2010 Egypt lost 1,5 tons of wheat production out of the 10 million tons produced or a 16% drop due to a warmer season." 
"In 2016 France - as the 5th world producer of wheat - had a 32 % drop with a production of 12 million tons of wheat." 
"The combination of a warmer early winter and intensive rainfall during key crop growing stages leads to increased disease pressure, water logging, nutrient leaching and lower solar radiation." 
"Seasonal forecast research is very promising in dry areas where there is a great weather variability. Simulating the weather for the coming 6 to 9 months is like making money on a roulette game where 80% are red numbers. Seasonal forecasts need to be 80% reliable to be useful"
"If you have more dry seasons you better get the few wet seasons right" 
The  workshop identified the research gaps, challenges, pitfalls and opportunities within the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) context and in collaboration with AgMIP. The participants discussed various modelling options and identify funding opportunities within the region and globally and identify prospective partners and modelling platforms.
  • Introducing ICARDA and the DryArc Initiative, Jacques Wery ICARDA Deputy Director General - Research

  • Climate change impact and adaptation on the production of wheat. Senthold Asseng Professor at the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department of the University of Florida. (see presentation and video interview below)
  • Modeling wheat yield, water productivity and nutrition using new high yielding cultivars and irrigation management strategies in Egypt. Ahmed Kheir Agricultural Research Center (ARC, Egypt), Soil, Water and Environment Research Institute
  • Improving and Upscaling WUE in agriculture the Nile Delta: Raised Bed Technology and ET-based Irrigation Scheduling, A.Swalem ICARDA Senior Scientist - Irrigation and Water Management
  • Bio-economic modelling at ICARDA, Y. A. Yigezu ICARDA Senior Agricultural Economist
  • Digital Augmentation for Accelerating Sustainable Intensification, C.Biradar ICARDA Geoinformatics and Research Data Management
  • Climate change in the DryArc and its implications on Agroecosystems A.Govind ICARDA Climatologist
Climate change impact and adaptation in wheat. Presentation by by Dr. Senthold Asseng

ICARDA video interview
Dr. Senthold Asseng, answers following questions: (partial transcription)
  • What is the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement project (AgMIP)?
    AgMIP - brings together thousand researchers, modelers and experimentalists around the globe  
  • How could barley and lentil crop modeling be integrated in the AgMIP research community?
    Some of the crops like barley and lentils have no teams yet. It would be very important to find a leader together with AgMIT who could motivate the community of whoever has barley and lentil crop models to collaborate. I would encourage ICARDA to take up such role.
  • Can climate change be used for farmers' decisions in rainfed dryland systems?
    If we get longer period of drought we better get prepared for that. We can help farmers to prepare for taking decisions and the changes which will come with climate change: for example to change crops or alter the management of fertilizers
  • How can we convince donors to support research on seasonal forecasting in dry land areas?
    Seasonal forecast research is very promising fo dry areas where there is great weather variability. We have to give the farmer the tools to recognize the good seasons to get most out of them. And we need to be prepared for the poor seasons and not waste limited resources. Seasonal forecast will help the farmer in the future to cope with  even increased seasonal variability.

Background DryArc
       ICARDA is currently elaborating a new large-scale initiative – the DryArc – in collaboration with five other CGIAR centers which is founded on the DryArc Interface;
  • Two of the CGIAR Centers were created specifically to work on the agriculture of the dry areas, ICARDA with a focus on the West Africa, North Africa region (WANA) and ICRISAT on the semi-arid tropics of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa;
  • The participating CGIAR Centers, ICARDA, ICRISAT, IFPRI, IWMI and World Fish have developed a proposal for a Proof of Concept for the New CGIAR Interface to support research and development investments in the global dry and based on current technologies for scaling;
  • A prototype of the DryArc Interface will be implemented as proof of concept phase (2019-2021), during which it will be tested through its application to key thematic areas of particular relevance for the DryArc region stretching from Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. By the end of 2021, the Initiative will serve as a means to support, informing research and development investments in the DryArc region as a part of the subsequent 2022-2030 CGIAR Business Plan.
Talk at the 2014 ASP Summer Colloquium at NCAR.
Dr. Senthold Asseng works on systems analysis to understand compare and improve the productivity and sustainability of atmosphere - crop - soil systems changing over time, space and scales. He is interested in the impact and adaptation of climate variability and climate change on cropping systems and food security. 


Farmers and other players in Sudan's agricultural sectorare celebrating the success of new heat-resistant wheatvarieties which could transform the food landscape in Sudan. The country has been hard hit by a severe bread shortage and sharp price increases last year.

Thanks to the new cultivars such as Imam, Zakia and Bohain, Sudan's wheat-growing areas saw a rise in production to around 303,000 ha, up from 230,000 ha in 2017. The high productivity and wheat area expansion witnessed during this season would lead to a record high production expectation of around 0.85 million tons of wheat, covering up to 45% of the national demand, the nation's Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Nahar Osman Nahar, announced.