Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Agriculture for Improved Nutrition:Seizing the Momentum

28 February 2019. Washington. Agriculture for Improved Nutrition:Seizing the Momentum

Live webcast and post-event viewing available here

Every day, researchers are producing more evidence on the agriculture-nutrition nexus; professionals are stepping out of silos to work across sectors; and people and institutions are improving their capacity to carry out this work. The momentum built during the past decade has created boundless opportunities for redesigning and reimagining agricultural and food systems for the benefit of nutrition.

This event marks the publication of Agriculture for Improved Nutrition: Seizing the Momentum, co-edited by Shenggen Fan, Sivan Yosef, and Rajul Pandya-Lorch. The volume reviews the latest evidence, results from on-the-ground interventions, and recent national policy experiences of bringing agriculture and nutrition closer together. Panelists will discuss big data, the design of agriculture-nutrition programming, the global obesity epidemic, and India’s and Malawi’s successes and challenges in linking agriculture to nutrition.

Welcome and Moderator
Rajul Pandya-Lorch, Director, Communications and Public Affairs Division and Chief of Staff, Director General's Office, IFPRI

  • Shenggen Fan, Director General, IFPRI
  • Mathew Abraham, Assistant Director, Tata-Cornell Institute
  • Olivier Ecker, Senior Research Fellow, Development Strategy and Governance Division, IFPRI
  • Marie Ruel, Director, Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division, IFPRI
Video Messages (Introduced by Sivan Yosef, Senior Program Manager, Director’s General’s Office, IFPRI)
  • Noora-Lisa Aberman, Associate Research Fellow, Ghana Strategy Support Program, IFPRI
  • Ruthie Musker, Strategic Projects and Partnerships Lead, Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition


26 February 2019. BIOMIN and Romer Labs hosted live webinar featuring an in-depth discussion on upcoming mycotoxin threats to poultry, swine and ruminants worldwide, the latest annual results of the BIOMIN Mycotoxin Survey, the outlook for 2019 and relevant mycotoxin detection tools to better understand and control the risk of contamination in raw materials and feed.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

CRS Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program

CRS Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) Program is a USAID funded 5-year program (July 2018 – June 2023) that will provide technical assistance from United States (U.S) volunteers to farmers, farmer groups (cooperatives and associations), agribusinesses and other agriculture sector institutions.
  • CRS’ Farmer to Farmer Program is implementing a second round of the five-year program to promote sustainable economic growth, food security and agricultural development in Uganda, Ethiopia Benin, Rwanda, Nepal and Timor Leste. CRS’ Farmer-to-Farmer program sends U.S. volunteers with agricultural expertise to share skills and help build capacity for farmers through short-term training and technical assistance projects.
  • Volunteer technical assistance from U.S. farmers, educators, agribusinesses, cooperatives, and universities helps developing countries improve productivity, access new markets, and conserve environmental and natural resources.
  • Farmer-to-Farmer volunteers work with farmers, producer groups, rural businesses, and service providers to develop the local capacity necessary to increase food production and rural incomes, expand economic growth, and address environmental and natural resource management challenges.
  • This people-to-people exchange promotes international goodwill, understanding of U.S. foreign assistance programs, and private involvement in development activities.

Sustainable agriculture: where are we on SDGs implementation

27 February 2019. Brussels. ”Sustainable agriculture: where are we on SDGs implementation?” The Briefing was co-organised by CTA, the European Commission (DG Devco), the ACP Secretariat and CONCORD.
The Brussels Briefing 54 discussed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, examining the status of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the progress made with respect to Zero Hunger (SDG 2) on agriculture, food security and nutrition in ACP

In particular, the Briefing featured an exchange of views and experiences on: the policies, practices and partnerships that have been successful in driving the goal of SDG 2, with a focus on landmark developments at local, national and regional levels; the achievements and best experiences in developing partnerships for SDG 2 implementation; the next steps on SDG 2 delivery.

Panel 1: SDGs: Frameworks, Partnerships and Progress 
This panel provided an overview on SDGs, and more especially SDG 2, and bring various perspectives from policy, research and the private sector. 
  • Where are we on SDG2 implementation: Trends and projections Asfandiyar Khan, Statistical Unit, FAO 
  • Transforming food systems to reach SDG2 Patrick Caron, Chair, UN High-level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition 
  • Review of the framework, processes and actors to support SDGs implementation Stefano Prato, Managing Director, Society for International Development (SID) 
  • Data for SDGs implementation: access, collaboration and governance Muchiri Nyaggah, Executive Director, Local Development Research Institute, Kenya 
Panel 2: Best practices towards successful SDGs implementation.
This panel looked at specific examples of successful delivery of initiatives and programmes in support of SDG2. 
  • Country specific examples of success in SDGs implementation: Mali and Rwanda Modibo Traoré, Director of Multilateral Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mali Octave Semwaga, Director of Planning, MINAGRI, Rwanda (tbc) 
  • Support and finance from the private sector towards SDGs implementation Daniel Ohonde, Chief Executive Officer, AECF, Kenya 
  • SDGs’ implementation: Good practices from across Europe

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The Contribution of Organic Agriculture to the SDGs

26 February 2019. Brussels. The Contribution of Organic Agriculture to the SDGs: Scientific evidence from comparative research”

Led by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the workshop was hosted by the European Commission.

It aimed to stimulate debate on the role of organic agriculture and other agro-ecological approaches in the European and international development policy frameworks in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Presentations on the latest scientific evidence produced by FiBL researchers on the performance of organic agriculture in tropical and sub-tropical climate zones in terms of productivity, economic viability, environmental soundness and social inclusiveness.
  • A scientific panel discussion with representatives from leading research institutes.
  • A policy panel discussion with representatives from the European Commission, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the European Parliamentary Alliance on the Fight Against Hunger.
Towards the 2030 Agenda - DEVCO’s agriculture strategy Leonard Mizzi, DG DEVCO
Research on organic agriculture and other agroecological approaches in view of the SDGs – relevance, state of the art, needs. Urs Niggli, Director FiBL Switzerland 
Organic Farming Evidence What is the contribution of organic agriculture to sustainable development? Beate Huber Gurbir Bhullar Noah Adamtey Christian Schader Irene Kadzere, FiB
  • Results of 10-year farming systems comparisons in Kenya, India and Bolivia
  • Results of 5-year assessments on productivity, profitability and sustainability in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. 
Advancing organic farming through research, development, innovation and technology transfer. Bram Moeskops, IFOAM EU 

Scaling-up Agroecology to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – results from the 2nd Agroecology Symposium. Carolina Starr, FAO 

Policy Reflection Panel Discussion: The role of organic agriculture and other agroecological approaches in development policy. 
  • Moderator: Gurbir Bhullar, FiBL 
  • Maria Heubuch, MEP 
  • Carolina Starr, FAO 
  • Frank Eyhorn, IFOAM Organics International/Helvetas 
  • Leonard Mizzi, DG DEVCO
Online at

Strengthening FAO’s Commitment to Agroecology
Agroecology represents an alternative paradigm for food and farming – one that puts people and planet at centre stage and emphasises the priorities of food producers and marginalized peoples around the world. International institutions can play an important role in advancing this paradigm, as this new bookletdemonstrates. The publication is the first of a new series of civil society briefings. It provides strategic advice to civil society groups for influencing global policy-making on food to support agroecology while avoiding co-optation.

Written by Janneke Bruil, Colin Anderson, Annelie Bernhart and Michel Pimbert. This work is supported by the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience of Coventry University (CAWR) and the Agroecology Fund and was developed in collaboration with Cultivate!, an international collective that catalyzes the transition to healthy food and farming rooted in agroecology. The brief is published as a part of the Reclaiming Diversity and Citizenship Series hosted by the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience at Coventry University.


L’agro-écologie laisse-t-elle une place aux pesticides?


Dans le cadre de la conférence à l'Innovation Center de Bayer (Lyon), Jacques Wery a présenté sa vision de l'agro-écologie et la place réservée aux pesticides. Cette deuxième partie est consacrée à la place des pesticides. 

Dans le cadre de la conférence à l'Innovation Center de Bayer (Lyon), Jacques Wery a présenté sa vision de l'agro-écologie et la place réservée aux pesticides. Cette troisième partie est dédiée à la séance de questions-réponse ayant suivi l'exposé

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Geoinformatics application in agriculture and resilience

10 February – 28 February 2019. ICARDA Cairo, Egypt. Geospatial technologies is a term used to
describe the range of modern tools contributing to the geographic mapping and analysis of the Earth and human societies. Especially in the last decade, these technologies have evolved into a network of national security, scientific, and commercially operated satellites complemented by powerful desktop GIS.

High quality hardware and data is now available to new audiences such as universities, corporations, and non-governmental organizations. The fields and sectors deploying these technologies are currently growing at a rapid pace, informing decision makers on topics such as industrial engineering, biodiversity conservation, forest fire suppression, agricultural monitoring, humanitarian relief, and much more.

Geospatial technology is used mostly for surveying and mapping of plantation crops. At the micro level implementation of geospatial tools is mainly used for mapping of ground water resources, drainage patterns, variable rate application and management of fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides. Geospatial technologies play an influential role in the agriculture sector by increasing yields, managing of resources, prediction of outcomes and improving farm practices.

A course organised by ICARDA for young scientists provided an overview on Geospatial Science, Technology and Applications in Agriculture. Key components of the course included lectures, discussions, interactive and hands-on computer exercises, and individual projects.

Overarching goal of this course was to introduce a state of the art of geoinformatics platform for pursuing research, outputs and outcome generation. Through this lecture cum practice-based training helps scientists
  1. to understand potential application of remote sensing/GIS applications; and 
  2. to learn the general image processing and GIS operation to extract and manage spatial information.
The participants came from Iraq (*3), Tunisia, Egypt and South Africa. 3 participants form Iraqm Tunesia and SouthAfrica/Zimbabwe were asked how this course would benefit their work back home.

Mapping Annual Cropland Using Reference Landsat Time Series in Central Asia

Chandrashekhar Biradar (ICARDA) co-authored a paper on the mapping of annual cropland in Central Asia. Published in the Remote Sensing journal, the study used a reference time-series-based mapping method (RBM) to create binary cropland vs. non-cropland maps using irregular Landsat time series. This method was applied in seven distinct agricultural landscapes in Xinjiang, China, and the Aral Sea Basin. The authors found that the accuracy of this study was higher than 85% and also significantly more accurate than existing products, such as GLC30 and FROM–GLC.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Highlight: the TAAT Wheat Project

Wheat is an important strategic food security crop in Africa, where billions of dollars are spent on imports although there is a great potential to produce the crop locally. The African Development Bank (AfDB), bolstered by the successes of the Support for Agricultural Research and Development of Strategic Crops (SARD-SC) projects, started a new initiative – TAAT. (Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation).
  • The TAAT programme consists of nine value chains (rice, cassava, wheat, sorghum/millet, maize, high iron beans, orange-fleshed sweet potato, small livestock and aquaculture) and six enabler/cross-cutting (policy, capacity building, ENABLE-TAAT, water management, and fall armyworm) compacts.
  • In the TAAT Wheat Project project, transforming wheat production is at the forefront of the Feed Africa agenda of the the African Development Bank AfDB to ensure self-sufficiency of the continent. 
  • ICARDA is implementing the TAAT Wheat Project. 
  • The project focuses on seven countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe) and seeks to transform domestic wheat production and commercialization to achieve wheat selfsufficiency in target countries.
TAAT Wheat Project Launch in Sudan 
28–30 October 2018 in Khartoum, Sudan. The launch of the TAAT Wheat Project and the National Wheat Seed Sector Consultation Workshop.

In Sudan, wheat was traditionally grown for thousands of years as a staple crop in the northern part of the country where temperatures are low. However, increased demand arising from an increased population and urbanization pushed wheat production towards the southern states with their shorter, hotter winters. The availability of heat-tolerant varieties boosted wheat production to a level of 90% self-sufficiency in the 1990s. However, inconsistent government policies led to a decline in self-sufficiency; at its lowest it was just 20%. With SARD-SC intervention, however, wheat self-sufficiency reached about 36% in the 2015/16 crop season. Local production reached about 780,000 tonnes compared to a total national consumption of 2 million tonnes. 

TAAT Wheat Project Launch in Nigeria
28–29 November 2018 in Kano, Nigeria. The National Wheat Seed Sector Consultation Workshop 16 October 2018. Abuja, Nigeria.  Project launch meeting.

In Nigeria, as elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, wheat is becoming a strategic staple food crop – a result of increased demand arising from an increased population and urbanization and changing food habits. Nigeria has both irrigated and rainfed wheat production conditions. Commercial production usually takes place under Seed Info January 2019 | Issue No. 56 6 irrigation between latitudes 10°N and 14°N during the dry Harmattan season (November–March). The availability of heat-tolerant varieties had enabled wheat production to reach 90% in the 1990s. The wheat production level in Nigeria has been very low.

Egypt/National Nutrition Committee Seminar: 100 Million Healthy Lives reservation

26 February 2019. IFPRI Egypt Seminar in partnership with the National Nutrition Committee (ASRT). "100 million healthy lives: Scientific evidence on double burden of malnutrition in Egypt"

The seminar discussed the current status of malnutrition among children and adults; providing a policy framework for managing determinants of malnutrition and obesity; and identifying options for preventive action to reduce the costs of nutrition-related diseases. In that respect, the seminar provided the occasion for researchers, decision makers and other stakeholders to discuss and inform the 100 Million Healthy Lives Initiative on state-of-the art nutrition and health related policies and interventions.

Presentations took stock of the available nutrition data and provide an overview of the latest nutrition research findings from IFPRI and CAPMAS. The seminar also presented a multidimensional framework to control obesity and non-communicable diseases developed by Egypt’s National Nutrition Committee.

Left: professor Ahmed Khorsid
National Nutrition Committee
In addition, FAO and WHO shared experiences with nutrition interventions to target the different forms of malnutrition in Egypt. The combination of research-based evidence and
experience contributed to the identification of priority programs and key policy interventions, providing guidance on the way forward for the 100 Million Healthy Lives initiative to achieve its health and nutrition targets.

Extract of the programme:
Hoda Elenbaby - IFPRI Egypt: Findings on nutrition status based on Takaful  and Karama
"The share of Egyptian adults who are overweight or obese is among the highest in the world. Shifting diets from cheap but calorie-rich foods such as bread and sugary foods toward more fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish could contribute to healthier and more productive lives and improve children’s physical and mental development. Both the quantitative and qualitative analyses showed that Takaful produced a greater increase in food spending than in nonfood spending, with households spending more on fruit, meat, and poultry."
20 December 2018. Cairo. IFPRI. “Advancing the food system for growth, job creation and better nutrition in Egypt”.

This seminar presented first estimates on how the key value chains in Egypt - such as cereals, fruits, vegetables, livestock and fish contribute to key development indicators. The presentation of results were accompanied by presentations of a distinguished set of panelists. As such, the seminar uncovered trade-offs between promoting different value chains and thereby help guiding public and private investments in the food system.
  • Clemens Breisinger, Country Program Leader, IFPRI Egypt See Slides / See Video 
  • Saad Nassar, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Agriculture & Land Reclamation (MoALR)
  • See Slides / See Video  
  • Mahmoud Elbasyouny, Executive Director, Chamber of Food Industries(CFI) The Federation of Egyptian Industries (FEI) See Slides / See Video
  • Fatma El Zahraa Aglan, Agricultural Specialist, World Bank See Slides / See Video

Friday, February 22, 2019

The state of the world's biodiversity for food and agriculture

22 February 2019.  Launch of the State of the world's biodiversity for food and agriculture report

Biodiversity for food and agriculture is among the earth’s most important resources. Thousands of species and their genetic variability make up the web of life and are indispensable to adapt to new conditions, including climate change. The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture is committed to conserving biodiversity for food and agriculture and promotes its sustainable use for food security and human well-being and development worldwide, for current and future generations.

Biodiversity for food security and nutrition.

The first report on “The State of the World’s Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture” is an essential step in creating a comprehensive picture of the state and use of this biodiversity, thus providing a strong foundation for the design of effective interventions towards more sustainable, resilient food systems.

Five years in the making, the report engaged over 175 authors and reviewers, who based their analysis on 91 country reports prepared by over 1,300 contributors. This global and participatory report is a milestone in the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.

The report prepared under the guidance of FAO’s Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture details the many benefits biodiversity brings to food and agriculture; examines how farmers, pastoralists, forest dwellers and fisherfolk have shaped and maintained biodiversity; identifies major drivers of both positive and negative trends, and presents trends in biodiversity-friendly production practices.

For more information click here
To watch the launch click here

Related links

Mechanization of African Agriculture - Does it Create or Destroy Jobs?

20 February 2019. Berlin, Germany. 
Mechanization of African Agriculture - Does it Create or Destroy Jobs? Launch of the german version of the MaMo Mechanized Report.

"Innovation Dialogue - on the Future of Rural Areas of Africa" ​​is being commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and within the framework of the Special initiative ONE WORLD without
    #Mechanization can create jobs if done
    right such as investing in skills
    development and trainings together with
    mechanization, said ZEF director
      #Joachimvonbraum now at the
    @MamoPanel in Berlin.
    @BMZ_Bund #InnovationDialogue
    @ZEFbonn @HelloTractor @Welthungerhilfe

A study by the "Malabo Montpellier Panel" describes the state of mechanization of agriculture in Africa. The panel provides recommendations for institutional reforms, innovative sector policies and cooperation with the private sector.

The study testifies to considerable increases in productivity by agricultural machinery and shows: Mechanization can certainly lead to more employment.
How and under what conditions does this work in smallholder African agriculture?
What possibilities does an inter-company use offer?

The panel discussed this with:
  • Gunther Beger, Head of Department in the BMZ
  • Ousmane Badiane, IFPRI, Director for Africa
  • Frank Nordmann, Grimme Agricultural Machinery
  • Jehiel Oliver, Hello Tractor
  • Jochen Moninger Deutsche Welthungerhilfe
  • Joachim von Braun, University of Bonn.
The report — Mechanized: Transforming Africa’s Agriculture Value Chains (55 pages) —summarizes the findings of a systematic analysis of what countries at the forefront of progress in mechanization have done right. It analyzes which policy decisions were taken and which interventions were implemented to substantially increase the uptake of mechanization.

The German translation of this report is: MECHANISIERT Transformation der landwirtschaftlichen Wertschöpfungsketten Afrikas
  • The report takes a broad perspective on mechanization, including technologies along the entire value chain and how they relate to agricultural development and job creation
  • The report shows what can be done to sustainably mechanize agriculture to increase production and enhance value addition across value chain segments. The set of policies and practices that are identified, if brought to scale, could have significant impact on agricultural transformation in Africa. 
  • The report provides a roadmap for African governments to take concerted action to deliver on the growth and transformation targets set out by the Malabo Declaration and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Analysis of the policies and investments made by seven African countries determined to be at the forefront of mechanization are a key feature of the report. Ethiopia, Morocco, Mali, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia have all shown strong growth in both mechanization and agricultural output. Their experience shows that African countries can start to close the large gaps between themselves and other developing regions. Successful mechanization will be key to tackling major challenges on the continent, from spiraling food import costs to rampant rural unemployment.

The seven recommendations set out by the report are:
  1. Develop national agricultural mechanization investment plans that form part of countries’ National Agriculture Investment Plans
  2. Focus on mechanization pathways and strategies that generate new employment opportunities
  3. Prioritize mechanization along the entire food value chain, not just at production level
  4. Invest in supporting infrastructure, such as irrigation systems and electricity grids
  5. Incentivize the private sector to invest in mechanization through tax waivers and smart subsidies
  6. Use public-private partnerships to develop local machinery industries to ensure the technology is affordable and appropriate
  7. Provide localized services that match farmer demand with appropriate technologies
Upcoming event:
18 March 2019. Abidjan. The Malabo Montpellier Panel: High Level Policy Innovation through evidence and dialogue in agriculture

This event co-organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Malabo Montpellier Panel in Abidjan, Côte d'ivoire, will cover the thematic areas covered under the Panel’s first three reports and bring together members of the Panel to present the key findings and recommendations, and to exchange with the experts at the AfDB.

They will also discuss the way forward regarding the appropriation of the outcome of the reports by policy makers and planners in order to inform policy reforms and investments to be supported by the Bank and other Development Partners. Particularly, the discussion will focus on the communication approach followed by the Panel so far and identifies possible improvement if necessary. Finally, during the event some insights on priority topics for future reports by the Panel will be discussed.

Since January 2017, the Malabo Montpellier Panel has published three reports.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Hunger in Africa Continues to Rise, UN Report Reveals

20 February 2019. ISAAA Hunger in Africa Continues to Rise,
13 February 2019. Reliefweb.

The incidence of hunger continues to increase in Africa after several years of decrease, threatening the various efforts to eradicate hunger to meet the Malabo Goals 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically the Sustainable Development Goal 2. This was highlighted in the report Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutritionreleased by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

The report states that 237 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are suffering from chronic malnutrition, overturning the improvements accomplished in the previous years.
"The worsening trend in Africa is due to difficult global economic and worsening environmental conditions and, in many countries, conflict and climate variability and extremes, sometimes combined. Economic growth slowed in 2016 due to weak commodity prices, in particular for oil and minerals. Food insecurity has worsened in countries affected by conflict, often exacerbated by drought or floods. For example, in Southern and
Eastern Africa, many countries suffered from drought," FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, Abebe Haile-Gabriel, and ECA Executive Secretary Vera Songwe.

The key figures of the report includes the following:
  • number of hungry people in Africa: 257 million or 1 in every 5 people
  • children under five affected by stunting (low height-for-age): 59 million (30.3 percent)
  • children under five affected by wasting (low weight-for-height): 13.8 million (7.1 percent)
  • children under five who are overweight (high weight-for-height): 9.7 million (5 percent)
  • percentage of women of reproductive age affected by anaemia: 38 percent
  • percentage of infants aged below 6 months who were exclusively breastfed: 43.5 percent
  • percentage of adults who are obese: 11.8 percent
Download the report from the FAO website.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Glyphosate debate

15 February. Glyphosate Isn’t Giving You Cancer  vs Monsanto’s Roundup raises cancer

Monsanto’s Roundup raises cancer risk 41%, EPA-linked scientists 
Monsanto’s Roundup raises the risk of certain cancers in heavily-exposed individuals by an eye-popping 41 percent, according to a study by former EPA advisors that may influence a coming wave of legal actions against the company.

Monsanto’s Roundup raises the risk of certain cancers in heavily-exposed individuals by an eye-popping 41 percent, according to a study by former EPA advisors that may influence a coming wave of legal actions against the company.

Exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides like Roundup dramatically increases a person’s risk of developing non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a new review of studies found, adding to the mounting pile of evidence against Monsanto’s popular weed killer, now owned by Bayer. The meta-analysis, published in Mutation Research, analyzed the results of six earlier studies to find individuals with heavy exposure to the herbicide had a 41 percent higher risk of developing non-Hodgkins lymphoma than those not exposed.

(...) After a historic court ruling in August in which the agrochemical conglomerate was forced to pay $78 million for “acting with malice” in concealing the carcinogenic risk of its product, resulting in a California groundskeeper’s cancer, Bayer-Monsanto is facing over 9,300 additional lawsuits from others with non-Hodgkins lymphoma who believe Roundup was responsible. The next case begins later this month.

15 February. Glyphosate Isn’t Giving You Cancer Why RoundUp is probably fine for your health
News stories have exploded recently — as they do every 3 months or so — screaming that glyphosate is a cancer-causing evil that causes a 41% increase in people who are exposed to the chemical.

After decades of research, we can safely say that glyphosate is not harmful to the average person. Despite the recent research, it’s unlikely that glyphosate poses any significant harm.

So where are the terrifying headlines coming from?

Well, researchers recently did what’s known as a meta-analysis to look at glyphosate risk for a specific type of cancer — Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. What this means is that they combined all of the studies that have been done looking at this specific cancer, and reanalyzed the data to see if there was a risk. 
  • They found that being exposed to the highest levels of glyphosate for long periods of time was associated with a 41% increased risk of developing the cancer.
  • The problem is, this study had issues. It collected a diverse range of observational studies into one place, and then combined the results into one statistical analysis. To see the problem with combining studies in this way, we can take a look at two of the included studies — one of them measured glyphosate exposure via a single yes/no question, while the other used a detailed interview that looked at a wide variety of exposures. Are those two studies measuring the same thing? It’s hard to know.
  • Overall, even if we accept the results on face value, the study isn’t that meaningful to individuals. The increased risk, in absolute terms, was only about 0.5%, which is much lower than the scary-sounding 41% that’s been in most headlines. It was also for people who have been exposed to very high levels of glyphosate, often for decades. This is very different to the tiny exposure that most people would get from eating fruit and vegetables grown using glyphosate.
Related: Glyphosate : comment s'en sortir?
  • 21 January: Published on YouTube(128,003 views)
  • PRODUCTION : January 2019
  • Lenght : 01:30:00
  • 4 consecutive documentaries: Monsanto, la fabrique du doute ; Le glyphotest d’"Envoyé" ; Le vote impossible ; Sri Lanka, un pays sans glyphosate
  • This was broadcasted on Friday evening 15 February @ 22h00 on TV 5 Magreb Proche Orient: Grande soirée événementielle consacrée au glyphosate dans « Envoyé spécial »

Glyphosate Isn’t Giving You Cancer

Upcoming events:

Monday, February 18, 2019

Agriculture task force takes aim at EU investment plan for Africa

15 February 2019. Devex. Agriculture task force takes aim at EU investment plan for Africa 

An expert group convened by the European Union to offer advice on how to create jobs in African agriculture will point to shortcomings in the EU’s flagship initiative for the African continent, the External Investment Plan, or EIP.

Created in February 2018, the Task Force Rural Africa met five times last year, charged by the European Commission’s agriculture and development departments with accelerating “responsible EU private investment in support of African agriculture, agri-business and agroindustries.” They will publish their report on March 7. An overview of the task force’s recommendations was presented at a meeting of European and African officials in Vienna in December.

Tom Arnold, the Irish agricultural economist who chaired the group of 11 experts from Africa and Europe, explained that the “first attempt at using the EIP to get investment [in agriculture] hasn’t fully worked.” An EU official acknowledged the problem, telling Devex that agriculture is seen as too risky to attract investment, even with EIP incentives.

EIP’s guarantee mechanism — the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) — is designed to use EU taxpayers’ money to de-risk investments in Africa as well as countries neighboring the EU.
  • The commission asked development banks hoping to benefit from the guarantee to present proposals in strategic areas such as digitalization, sustainable energy, SMEs, and agriculture. 
  • But in July, proposals for the agriculture component were deemed insufficiently “mature.” 
  • For now, agriculture has largely been folded into support for SMEs and digitalization, with an EU spokesperson saying around 15-20 percent of the guarantees in these areas are expected to support agriculture-specific investments.
  • A commission official, who requested anonymity, said: “It’s true, [EFSD] definitely didn’t turn out as successful in the first go for agriculture, because apparently, the risk is quite high. The banks are afraid to go there and the incentives being put by the External Investment Plan are not fully understood or not fully used in this sector of the economy.”
  • Despite concerns, including from the European Investment Bank, that the EFSD has yet to be properly evaluated and only makes sense as a niche product, the commission has proposed greatly expanding its external investment guarantee model under the EU’s 2021-2027 budget.
One agriculture investment program has been approved, the spokesperson said, referring to an €85 million guarantee for the French Development Agency’s AGREENFI initiative, designed to give affordable credit to underserved producers and small rural businesses. Money has been put aside to fund further programs, the spokesperson said, adding that these will be guided by the task force report.

Recent trends and Outlook in African Agricultural Trade

18 February 2019. Brussels. Recent trends and Outlook in African Agricultural Trade

Trade is an important avenue through which countries transform their economies and raise standards of living. For African countries, trade in agricultural products offers great potential to boost incomes for farmers, processors and other agricultural value chain actors.
  • Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit DEVCO C1- Rural Development, Food Security, Nutrition Chair
  • Isolina Boto Manager, CTA Brussels Office
  • Ousmane Badiane Director for Africa, IFPRI
"Increasing the ability of African countries to participate in regional and global trade helps to improve well-being of consumers, raise incomes of farmers, build resilience of food markets, and ultimately it also helps to boost economic growth and reduce poverty,"
"Increasing the ability of African countries to participate in regional and global trade helps to improve well-being of consumers, raise incomes of farmers, build resilience of food markets, and ultimately it also helps to boost economic growth and reduce poverty,"  Ousmane Badiane, IFPRI Africa Director.
The 2018 Africa Agriculture Trade Monitor (AATM), (2018, 174 pages) is the first in a series of annual reports assesses long-term and emerging trends and drivers of Africa’s global, intra-Africa, and intra-regional economic community trade in agricultural products
  • It examines Africa’s recent performance in different markets and identifies changes in the composition and direction of trade.
  • The Report is a collaboration between the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA). 
  • It builds on the work of the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) and the African Growth and Development Policy Modelling Consortium (AGRODEP) on trade, both facilitated by IFPRI under its work in support of the African Union Commission’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme.
  • Despite recent growth in agricultural trade deficits, there are promising signs of export diversification, both in commodities traded and trade partners, as well as increasing intra-African trade in agricultural commodities.
  • Intra-regional trade in Africa is increasing rapidly the report notes, by 12% a year between 1998 and 2013, but is still low compared with other regions such as Europe and Asia.
  • There is a need for governments to act to raise productivity along the value chain, reduce trade costs, and eliminate barriers to trade in order to boost both global and intra-regional trade.
  • Tthe European Union as the continent’s dominant trading partner, accounting for 40% of exports and 30% of imports, but Asia is catching up rapidly. 
  • There are promising signs for export performance from many countries, with African exporters increasing their competitiveness in global markets for three-quarters of commodities studied. 
  • Many new export commodities, such as wool, soybeans, soybean oil, live trees and plants, and cocoa preparations, showed strong gains in competitiveness, suggesting the potential for diversifying exports by expanding trade in these areas.
  • In nearly all West African countries national production was more volatile than regional production during the 1980–2010 period, implying that intra-regional trade would be able to reduce the volatility of food supplies at the regional level.
  • Increasing the volumes of intra-African trade in agricultural products has the potential to boost industrialization and enhance competitiveness. 
  • Enabling policies that enhance intra-regional trade such as the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) will be crucial to open up the continent to new investors and better opportunities for its entrepreneurs.
Key factors limiting Africa’s trade in agricultural products include:
  • the poor quality of physical infrastructure, inefficient customs processes and high harassment costs, inconsistent regional standards and regulations, and non-tariff trade barriers including stringent food safety and traceability requirements in importing countries. 
  • Support to domestic agricultural producers in OECD countries also reduces Africa’s trade. 
  • African countries have limited control over trade policy in other countries, the study notes, but they should continue to take part in global efforts to lower trade barriers. 
  • In addition, much can be accomplished by addressing the domestic constraints to expanding trade.
Actions recommended include 
  • allocating greater public expenditures to agriculture and to agricultural research and development in particular, harmonising regulations and decreasing barriers to intra-regional trade, 
  • and providing an enabling environment for value chain development by strengthening market institutions and investing in infrastructure. At the global level, efforts are needed to meet strict food safety and traceability requirements.
"Increasing the ability of African countries to participate in regional and global trade helps to improve well-being of consumers, raise incomes of farmers, build resilience of food markets, and ultimately it also helps to boost economic growth and reduce poverty," said Ousmane Badiane, IFPRI Africa Director.

Transforming Food Systems to Deliver Healthy, Sustainable Diets

14 February 2019. Washington. IFPRI. Transforming Food Systems to Deliver Healthy, Sustainable Diets : The View from the World’s Science Academies

The InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), a global network of science academies, recently brought together regional networks of science academies from four continents—Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. This project aimed to spark a new global commitment to research the opportunities and challenges facing food and nutrition security and agriculture today.

This seminar provided details on the scope and priorities of the IAP project, the regional perspectives of participants, and a global synthesis. During the discussion, participants explores mutual interests in increasing the sciences’ contribution to informed policy development, innovation, and practice.
  • Volker ter Meulen, President, InterAcademy Partnership (Presentation | Video)
  • Joachim von Braun, Director, Center for Development and Professor for Economic and Technological Change, Bonn University; & President, Pontifical Academy of Sciences (Vatican), Germany (Presentation | Video)
  • Michael T. Clegg, Professor Emeritus, University of California Irvine; & Chair, Council for the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis, Austria (Presentation | Video)
  • Sheryl L Hendriks, Head, Department and Professor of Food Security, Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development, University of Pretoria, South Africa; & Director, Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being, University of Pretoria, South Africa (Presentation | Video)
  • Paul James Moughan, Distinguished Professor, Massey University, New Zealand (Presentation | Video)
  • Moderator Rajul Pandya-Lorch, Director of Communications and Public Affairs & Chief of Staff in the Director General's Office, IFPRI (Video)
  • Q&A Video

Sunday, February 17, 2019

IFAD's forty-second session on rural innovation and entrepreneurship

14-15 February 2019IFAD's forty-second session focused on the theme rural innovation and entrepreneurship. IFAD, with its specialized mandate of enabling rural transformation, has a pivotal role to play in creating the conditions for innovation and entrepreneurship to thrive in rural areas.

Extract of the programme

Centre Stage – IFAD Talk 
Dr Gunhild Stordalen, Executive Chair of the EAT Foundation
Moderator: Ms Katherine Meighan, General Counsel, IFAD

Special event: Access to finance for young people 
  • Mr Jim Leandro Cano, Country Representative, Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) (Philippines
  • Ms Annie Nyaga, farmer, agriculture transporter, and the youngest County Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries in Kenya; Co-Director, 4-H Kenya (Kenya
  • Ms Dalí Nolasco Cruz, Member of the Nahua peoples of Tlaola, Puebla. Director of the Timo’Patla Intercultural Organization A.C. and Mopampa, a network of social and solidarity economy companies of indigenous women (Mexico
  • Mr Ntiokam Divine, Managing Director, Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN). African Continental Vice-President of Youth in Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture Incubation Network (Cameroon
  • Moderator: Ms Hlami Ngwenya, Special Facilitator, Emerging Ag Inc.
Empowering social entrepreneurship for inclusive rural transformation 
  • Ms Cornelia Richter, Vice-President of IFAD Introductory remarks
  • Ms Anushka Ratnayake, Founder and CEO, myAgro (Senegal
  • Mr Dominic Wanjihia, Founder and CEO, Biogas International Limited (Kenya
  • Mr Nnaemeka C. Ikegwuonu, Founder and CEO, ColdHubs Limited (Nigeria
  • Ms Dulce Martinez, Creative Director, Fábrica Social (Mexico) 
  • Ms Annan El Sherbiny (see picture), Junior Consultant, Yadawee (Egypt
  • Moderator: Dr Alexander Dale, Senior Officer, Sustainability, MIT Solve (United States)
The future of farming – New technologies to transform smallholder agriculture 
  • Keynote speaker: Mr Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance (India
  • Mr Hamza Rkha Chaham, Managing Director, SOWIT (France
  • Ms Ingabire Muziga Mammy, Managing Director, Charis Unmanned Aerial Solutions Ltd (CHARIS UAS) (Rwanda
  • Ms Veronica Barbati, President, Coldiretti Giovani Impresa (Italy) 
  • Ms Nicole Nguyen, Head, Asia-Pacific Region (APAC), Infinity Blockchain Ventures (Thailand
  • Mr Quan Le, Founder and CEO, Binkabi (United Kingdom
  • Moderator: Mr Guoqi Wu, Associate Vice-President, Corporate Services Department, IFAD

EU provides €45 million in support for smallholder agri-businesses in rural Africa

IFAD and AGRA, both with operations on the ground
in rural communities, will work closely with the fund manager
to identify investment opportunities with promising SMEs.
Image Credit: Twitter(@IFAD)
15 February 2019European development commissioner Neven Mimica launched the new Agri-Business Capital Fund, or ABC Fund, a partnership between the EU and others who have so far committed around €55 million to support direct investments via small-scale loans for small- and medium-sized businesses and farmers' organizations, plus indirect investment in local financial institutions for on-lending.

The EU has made €45 million available to the fund. On top of this, the Luxembourg Government and the Africa Green Revolution Alliance, an international NGO, are contributing €5 million and $5 million respectively.

Launch of the Agri-Business Capital Fund (ABC Fund)
  • Welcome remarks: Mr Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD 
  • Introductory statement: Mr Neven Mimica, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Speakers: 
  • H.E. Paulette Lenert, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg 
  • Dr Patrick I. Gomes, Secretary-General, African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) 
  • Ms Hedwig Siewertsen, Head of Inclusive Finance, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) 
  • Mr Florian Kemmerich, Managing Partner, Bamboo Capital Partner
Bamboo is the fund manager of the ABC Fund, in partnership with Injaro Investments (‘Injaro’).
“The launch of the ABC Fund is a momentous milestone for the impact investing industry. The support of organisations such as IFAD, the EU and the Luxembourg Government, coupled with a launch event at IFAD’s annual Governing Council is testament to the maturity of the industry. We believe that the ABC Fund has the potential to transform small scale farming in developing countries and we look forward to working with IFAD and Injaro as we strive to realise this vision.” Jean-Philippe de Schrevel, Founder and Managing Partner of Bamboo
“Injaro is excited to participate in this innovative initiative that actively addresses a long-standing and glaring gap by connecting smallholder farmers in Africa with access to a range of financing instruments. The lack of accessible and affordable working capital, trade finance and term loans consistently prevents farmers from scaling and addressing their local food security needs. The ABC Fund will support farmers through technical assistance to improve yields and reduce post-harvest losses with the ultimate goal of progressively eliminating hunger on the continent.” Jerry Parkes, Managing Principal of Injaro Investments

The ABC Fund is a major blending operation for agricultural investments in developing countries.
  • Visit the Agri-Business Capital (ABC) Fund page 
  • Visit the Governing Council page here
  • The new ABC Fund, established by IFAD, is primarily geared towards individual smallholders and farmers' organisations, with loan sizes from $25 000 - $1 million (approximately €22 000 – €885 000), thus improving their access to finance. 
  • This "missing middle" has the potential to be profitable and to impact development, but has lacked sufficient funding until now.
  • It covers direct investments such as small-scale loans for small and medium-sized enterprises, farmers' organisations and 'agripreneurs', along with indirect investment in local financial institutions for subsequent on-lending. 
  • It builds on existing IFAD development activities to screen opportunities and reduce the risk attached to subsequent investments. 
  • It is expected to attract significant additional funding from other sources – private and impact investors alike. 
  • Based in Luxembourg, it draws on the expertise of a professional fund manager and uses technical assistance adapted to investees' needs.
  • Building on past experience, the ACP Farmers' Organisations Programme will strengthen farmers' organisations and cooperatives so that they can increasingly access capital directly, for the benefit of their members. In this way they will become a key element in the supply of bankable deals for the ABC Fund and form another angle of the sustainable investment the EU is seeking to promote.
  • The ABC Fund aims to raise EUR 200 million over the next 10 years. It will provide loans adapted to the needs of SMEs. Loan size will range from EUR 20,000 to EUR 800,000. The ABC Fund will work through financial institutions for loans in the range of EUR 20,000 to EUR 200,000, while providing loans between EUR 200,000 and 800,000 directly to investees.
See also: Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investments and Jobs