Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The FAO/WHO/WTO International Forum on Food Safety and Trade

23-24 April 2019. Geneva, Switzerland. The FAO/WHO/WTO International Forum on Food Safety and Trade.

Continuing the discussions from the Addis Conference, the Geneva Forum addressed the trade-related aspects and challenges of food safety.

The food safety priorities set by this Conference facilitated global collaboration and help ensure that no one is left behind. Its provided an opportunity for participants to explore the challenges and opportunities arising from rapid technological change and digitalization, namely:
  • the use of new technologies in the realm of food safety and trade;
  • how trade in safe food can be facilitated at the borders;
  • multi-stakeholder coordination and the role of partnerships;
  • harmonizing food safety regulation in a period of change and innovation.
The conference will result in a document summarizing key issues and recommendations from both, the Addis Conference and the Geneva Forum, to better align and coordinate efforts to strengthen food safety systems across
sectors and borders.

Extracts of the programme:
  • Addressing the economic burden of foodborne disease Delia Grace, Co-Leader, Animal and Human Health, International Livestock Research Institute 
  • Aligning national food safety policies to promote food security Angela Parry Hanson Kunadu, Lecturer, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Ghana
  • Overview of the Addis Ababa Conference Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko (see picture), African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture 
  • Synergies between food safety and trade facilitation Elizabeth Murugi Nderitu, Acting DirectorStandards and SPS, TradeMark East Africa

Related PAEPARD blogpost:
First FAO/WHO/AU International Food Safety Conference

12-13 February 2019. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. First FAO/WHO/AU International Food Safety Conference
In this pivotal moment, this conference, co-organised by FAO, WHO, WTO and AU, brought together Ministers and representatives of national governments, senior policy makers as well as representatives of non-state actor groups from all regions of the world to engage in an urgent reflection on food safety challenges.

 1–2 April 2019. Rome, Italy: At the International Plant Protection Convention, 25 ACP countries mobilised around sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues and priorities. COLEACP presented its Fit For Market SPS programme (FFM SPS) to the competent authorities of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

Related: New EU Unfair Trading Practices Directive adopted
10 April 2019. For over 10 years, COLEACP and others have been lobbying the European Union to tackle unfair trading practices in agricultural supply chains. Smaller suppliers are particularly vulnerable to unfair practices – such as last-minute cancellation of orders and late payments.

This lobbying activity finally bore fruit and the groundbreaking EU Unfair Trading Practices Directive was formally adopted. Each EU Member State now has 2 years to enforce the Directive. For the first time there will be a shared minimum standard for fair trading practices enforced throughout Europe. This will provide regulatory certainty to buyers and confidence to suppliers –even those based outside the EU – that they will be able to access protection regardless of where their European buyer is based.

3rd West Africa Fertilizer Forum 2019

24-26 April 2019. Lome, Togo. West Africa Fertilizer Forum, organised by the Africa Fertilizer initiative in partnership with the Regional Fertilizer Professionals Association.

More than 200 participants from 38 countries gathered: producers, developers and investors. In Togo, firms like CECO Group, CIAT Sarl, and ETG Togo SA (Export Trading Group) operate in the fertilizer industry.


Regional Conference on ICT and geodata for agriculture and water

17-18 April 2019. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Regional Conference on ICT and geodata for agriculture and water

The Netherlands Space Office (NSO) and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) conducted a Regional Conference on the theme “Geospatial data and information services in the field of climate-smart Agriculture (CSA): enhancing geo-data and digital business and entrepreneurship opportunities for women and youth in the Sahel region”.

The Regional Conference was organized in partnership with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ECOWAS and UEMOA and CILSS, under the patronage of the Minister of Agriculture and Hydro-agricultural Development of Burkina Faso.

Approximately 150 participants from Sahel’s public and private institutions, information and communication technology (ICT) sectors, agriculture, livestock and fisheries, water management, food security, climate change and the geospatial space sector tok part in the conference in Ouagadougou. The event connected actors and innovative solutions in a dynamic process that facilitated knowledge sharing, interaction and targeted networking to produce tangible results!

Using recent experiences, the meeting  explored how ICT and geospatial data services can help address the key development challenges of countries in the Sahel region, particularly in the smart Agriculture sector, to increase business opportunities and entrepreneurship of youth and women.

In addition, a Round Table was organized during which participants explored how digital services can contribute to the transformation of Agriculture in the Sahel by bringing together – in synergy – the different actors active in the above mentioned sectors.

The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture is helping to facilitate this new relationship
between farmers and the digital world. Using the emerging tools of Big Data, the CGIAR Platform is developing approaches for solving complex problems in agriculture, especially smallholder farming in the developing world. CGIAR, which is the largest network for agricultural research in the world, is working to bring these analytical breakthroughs to farmers and to transform how farming research is conducted and potentially transform farming itself.

2019 Inspire Challenge is open 
Winning teams will receive $100,000 to put their ideas into practice. Teams will have 12 months to implement small-scale proof of concept pilots to demonstrate viability. Successful pilots will be placed on the trajectory to wider-scale implementation, including the possibility of receiving an additional $250,000 of scale-up funding. Successful pilots will also have additional help in finding continued funding and widespread adoption within CGIAR, to ensure that these innovations become a part of how we operate system-wide.

Innovative finance opportunities for inclusive agribusiness

This report (PDF) by iBAN and BoP Innovation Center offers guidance and describes in depth 8 different financing instruments with specific example cases of its application to inclusive agribusiness.

Agribusiness have a huge business opportunity and a chance to contribute to the SDGs. Financing opportunities for inclusive agribusiness are growing.

The financing instruments are: 
  1. Public-private partnerships, a long-term contractually based mutual cooperation between public and private sector aimed at the provision of public services. 
  2. Project finance, which mainly targets large-scale and long-term projects and it protects the undertaking company in case of failure. 
  3. Blended finance, a mechanism that uses public and philanthropic funds to leverage private capital in order to meet the financing needs of an inclusive business. 
  4. Result-based financing is used by developing country governments, or states or donor agencies, in cooperation with the private sector, to incentivise the provision of goods or services to create or expand markets, or to stimulate innovation. 
  5. Thematic bonds, a sustainable investment option that is beginning to attract a new generation of investors. 
  6. Agricutultural value-chain finance is financing provided to an actors in the chain by a financing source outside of the value chain or by another actor in the value chain. 
  7. Crowdfunding, brings together multiple private investors to fund a project for a specific cause, usually start-ups with the desired impact as main reason why investors choose one proejct over another. 
  8. Impact investment funds, curate a selection of carefully vetted businesses, which seek funding towards an impact area or around a regional focus.
A webinar about the report is available, including its slideshow.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Pre-breeding Utilizing Crop Wild Relatives

24-26 April 2019, Rabat, Morocco. First International Experts
Workshop on Pre-breeding Utilizing Crop Wild Relatives (1st PBCWR).

Using crop wild relatives (CWR) in crop improvement is much more difficult than breeding with domesticated varieties.
The @CropTrust’s Director of Science,
Luigi Guarino (@AgroBioDiverse)

Pre-breeding aims to isolate desired genetic traits (e.g. disease resistance) from unadapted material like CWR and introduce them into breeding lines that are more readily crossable with modern, elite varieties.Pre-breeding broadens the elite genepool by re-capturing lost beneficial genetic diversity.
welcomes delegates
ICARDA plays a crucial role in conserving dryland agrobiodiversity. It holds in-trust more than 157,000 accessions in the three genebanks in Lebanon, Morocco and Syria
Dr Mahmoud El-Solh,
former Director General
of @ICARDA and
Advisory Group member
of the @CropWildRelativ Project
chaired the opening session
Extract of the program
Session 1: Opening lectures 
  • Mohamed Sadiki (MoA), Jacques Wery (ICARDA), Faouzi Bekkaoui (INRA-Morocco), Luigi Guarino (GCDT), Daniel van Gilst (NORAD)
  • Bikram Gill: Towards a Futuristic Elite Crop-CWR Germplasm Enhancement Program
Session 2: Collecting and conserving crop wild relatives 
  • Ahmed Amri (see picture): Promoting in situ/ ex situ conservation linkages of crop wild relatives of cereals and legumes
  • Chris Cockel: The role of botanic gardens in collecting and conserving crop wild relatives + CWR initiative
  • Julian Ramirez: Approaches for gap analysis for landraces and crop wild relatives
  • Vania Azevedo: Conservation of tropical dryland food legumes and cereals genetic resources
  • Zakaria Kehel: Targeting adaptive traits in ex situ collections and in situ natural habitats
  • Alain Tsobeng: Use of tree genetic resources for land restoration: Case study of Dacryodes edulis G. Don Lam (Burseraceae) in Cameroon.
Session 3: Exploring the value of crop wild relatives 
  • Benjamin Kilian: Global efforts to explore the value of crop wild relatives
  • Mona Schreiber: Glimpses of domestication history of cereal crops through genebank genomics
  • Antonio Costa de Oliveira: Improving efficiency in the exploitation of genetic resources through molecular techniques
  • Mustapha El-Bouhssini: Evaluation of wild relatives and pre-breeding germplasm for resistance to major insects and diseases
  • Hisashi Tsujimoto: Can we find abiotic stress tolerance in wheat related-wild species? - Experiences and lessons learned in pre-breeding of wheat with drought and heat stress tolerance
  • Professor Ian King of the
    @UniofNottingham presented
    the research of his team
    on mobilizing useful genes
    from distant species of wheat
  • Carla Ceoloni: Chromosome engineering to leverage alien genetic variation and make a better wheat in the face of current and future challenges
Session 5: Strengthening pre-breeding efforts 
  • Kuldeep Singh: Plant Genetic Resources Management and Pre-Breeding in Genomics Era
  • Verma Ramesh: Excellence in pre-breeding efforts in barley
  • Izzat Taher: Pre-breeding and breeding efforts for heat tolerance in cereals and legumes
  • Shiv Kumar: Pre-breeding efforts in lentil, chickpea and grass pea
  • Shivali Sharma: Utilizing the underutilized CWR: Pigeonpea pre-breeding from discovery to delivery
  • Zakaria Kehel of @ICARDA on
    targeting novel diversity
    in genetic resources
  • Christian Fatokun: Utilizing the underutilized CWR: cowpea
Download CWR Pre-breeding Flyer

Pre-breeding Utilizing Crop Wild Relatives.
The initial phase of the initiative involves 19 projects focussed on creating new pre-bred materials derived from crop wild relatives.

In the current phase (2017-2020), the focus is on expanding the pre-breeding work and evaluating germplasm derived from CWRs. Newly developed pre-bred lines are being evaluated under field conditions in target environments with breeders and farmers. The project integrates promising materials into the breeding pipelines. Evaluation projects for 13 crops are supported.

The two phases of the initiative together involve nearly 100 national and international partners in 48 countries. All projects have strong capacity-building elements and always involve research partners in a CGIAR center or a university, as well as national partners in the developing world.

All key germplasm material produced will be made available to users with the standard material transfer agreement (SMTA) under the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Related: The women finger millet advocates of Western Kenya
Women in Kakamega and Busia counties of Western Kenya are going against the grain. They are turning their backs on the commonly planted grains of sorghum and maize and on commercial sugarcane, and replacing them with a grain that not only better meets the nutritional needs of the family but also fulfils economic and agronomic requirements in a time of climate change.

The women are planting finger millet. Finger millet hardly needs
an introduction in Western Kenya. The crop is native to the highlands of Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia and has been widely grown traditionally in Eastern and Southern Africa and South Asia for hundreds of years. It is now considered a minor crop in many of these areas. But perhaps not for long, according to the women who grow it and a woman who works to improve it.

ICRISAT’s Dr. Damaris Odeny is the principal investigator of a five-year finger millet pre-breeding project and focuses on genotyping finger millet samples. [Photo: Michael Major/Crop Trust]

Agri Analytics Days

23-25 April 2019. Morocco. Agri Analytics Days is a platform that aims at exploring Big Data to provide new efficient decisionmaking tools for helping agricultural sustainable development. New acquired, aggregated and shared data is a breeding ground for extracting and sharing useful information and knowledge among different actors involved in agriculture and technology domains to provide actionable on-farm decisions.

"Addresing Africa's challenges is possible through
close collaboration between researchers and industrials"
- @ElHabtiHicham1, General Secretary OCP group
Agri Analytics Day offered the framework conditions that would bring together all the communities interested by developing sustainable agriculture worldwide. Our aim is to explore Big Data Perspectives and Implementation Challenges in agricultural domains.

See: twitter @ocpgroup

Extract of the programme:
  • Dr. Steve Phillips - Agri Analytics on the farm 
  • Dr. Terry Griffin - Big Data Implications for Agriculturists 
  • Mr. Thiago Lobao De Almeida Venture Capital, Entrepreneurship & Open Platforms: why these pillars are shaping the 4th agricultural revolution 
  • Mr Jorge Bazo - Precision Farming tools for desert conditions: Irrigation and fertility management
  • Dr. Biradar Chandrashekhar (see picture) - Digital augmentation for sustainable agroecosystems - ICARDA
  • Dr. Karel Charvat (see picture) - Visualization of Big Data in Agriculture
  • Dr. Andre Laperriere - Big data: reshaping the future of agriculture 
  • Dr. Ernest Mwebaze - Crowdsourcing surveillance data from smallholder farmers 
  • Mr. Juan Pablo Bentín - Feedback on the use of technologies for the better management of a farm under desert conditions 

Crop Livestock Conservation Agriculture

19 April 2019. Tunis. The IFAD-funded Crop Livestock Conservation Agriculture (CLCA) project runs from 2018-2021 and focuses in its second phase on scaling of successfully tested CLCA farming systems. This is reflected in its project component:

“Accelerate adoption through the development of delivery systems/participatory farmer-led extension systems and inform the development of contextually relevant CLCA technologies and practices”.
In order to create awareness to promote conservation agriculture more than 120 persons attended this event in particular director generals of the main directorates of the Ministry of Agriculture, professional organizations and private actors, IFAD investment projects, and the IFAD focal point.

The event was also attended by around 20 deputies (representing the agricultural commission in the parliament). This paved the pathway towards influencing policy makers in Tunis.


Monday, April 22, 2019

Climate-Smart Agriculture Solutions for Egypt

18 April 2019. Cairo. IFPRI Seminar. “Climate-Smart Agriculture Solutions for Egypt”

Noting the efforts in the industry to produce climate-smart solutions for agriculture, IFPRI organised with the Center for Applied Research on the Environment and Sustainability (CARES) during the American University in Cairo’s Earth Week celebrations, this event.

As a country that juggles a dry climate, the water demands of irrigated crops, and an increasing and deeply-rooted dependence on crops irrigated by the Nile, Egypt is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Fluctuating levels in the flow of the Nile leave crops and yields at risk, especially during the summer season, while sea-level rise threatens low-lying Delta lands with increased sea water intrusion and increased salinity, resulting in lower levels of fresh water supply.

As Egypt re-writes its Sustainable Development Strategy: Egypt’s Vision 2030, recognition of the risks of climate change to the Egyptian agricultural sector and to the economy in general have begun to appear in policy rhetoric. While the opportunities and challenges facing the agricultural sector in Egypt are well known, the related policy advice to address the issues is often overly general and not necessarily targeted at specific regional and farm characteristics. Such policy advice includes increasing water-use efficiency and preserving soil quality; improving input and output marketing; and linking farmers to knowledge and improved agricultural technologies.

Panelists discussed technologies and solutions being adopted in the fields at the different scales, the opportunity and challenges that facilitate or hurdle this, and how it all translates to policy
  • Yumna Kassim, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI Egypt)
  • Richard Tutwiler, The American University in Cairo (AUC)
  • Ajit Govind (see picture), International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
    PPT Presentation forthcoming
  • Representative, Ministry of Environment or Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation
  • Assem Sa’eed, Owner of hydroponic and aquaponic farms
  • Nicolas Tremblay, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
  • Waleed Hassan, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
ICARDA Interview with professor Ahmed Abdellatif Elkhoudy - Professor of Plant Ecology - Desert Research Center about: Cultivating plants in saline soils and making a business

Professor Ahmed Abdellatif Elkhouly answers following questions: 
  • Which plants can be used in saline soils? 
    Halophyte species can be used. A halophyte is a salt-tolerant plant that grows in waters of high salinity, coming into contact with saline water through its roots or by salt spray, such as in saline semi-deserts, mangrove swamps, marshes and sloughs and seashores. 
  • Do you have additional examples? 
    In South East Egypt several medicinal plants have been identified which represent niche markets
  • How did you involve farmers and their link to markets?
    Priority plants and research priorities have been selected together with the farmers during joint working sessions.

20-21 April 2019. “Enhancing Sustainable Agriculture”. Institute of National Planning (INP), Cairo

Second day: Sustainable management of water resources.
  • Chair: H.E. Mahmoud Abu-Zeid (Former Minister Water Resources and Irrigation, President Arab Water Council)
  • Pasquale Steduto (FAO) see picture Water Scarcity: Establishing a framework for action towards water sustainability 
  • Amgad Elmahdi (IWMI) The water supply-demand gap is widening fast: How to revert this trend? 
  • Bisher Imam (UNESCO)
  • Atef Swelam (ICARDA) 
  • Ebel Smidt (EU Water STARS)
  • Sikandra Kurdi, Associate Research Fellow, IFPRI Egypt
The government of Egypt is now revising both strategies (water and Ag.) and developing a unified strategy on water and Agriculture among all other sectors led by the Ministry of planning. It will be launched on Tuesday April 23rd.

ICARDA Interview with Ebel Smidt (EU Water STARS

The EU Water Sector Technical Assistance and Reforms Support (EU Water STARS) is a thirty months project, funded by the European Union. EU water STARS aims to support the institutional reform of water resources sector in Egypt and to improve the management and use of water resources by improving the operational efficiencies of concerned stakeholders and beneficiaries.

The project is implemented with the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, overseen and coordinated by the Head of the Planning Sector of the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI).

Mr.  Ebel Smidt (EU Water STARS)  answers following questions about the urgency of
research on water management:
  • How to convince donors for the urgency of research on water scarcity solutions?
The crisis in water management and bringing sustainability to the high level agenda and the public is ENORMOUS. Priority setting is number one. Secondly the correct combining of champions at different levels is essential also to acquire funds. It is important to identify funds which match best your needs. The money is not the real problem (as the technology is not the real problem) but the way you address problems and the agencies in Brussels or elsewhere. that is the major obstacle to innovative research. Don't look first at which funds are available and address your research question tailor made to the funding opportunity. Use new technologies and the youth in their capacity to innovate.
  • How can we reconcile the narrative on migration with the research needs on water management?
The political agenda of the EU it is to increase prosperity in its surrounding areas. Not only for its self interest. But in the interest of the common markets. There is an inter connectivity of economics, politics, sustainability marketing, introducing new technologies. Those who show the interconnection will have access to funding in terms of practical support and in terms of research agendas. 
  • Is there a contradiction between long term research impact and immediate job creation?
It is important to combine them in an appropriate way. the improvement of Monitoring and evaluation systems will help you enormously. On the contrary - those who can show how to overcome this seemingly contradiction - they will be rewarded very rapidly.

Fifth Session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development

16-18 April 2019. Marrakech, Morocco. The Fifth (2019) session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (ARFSD 5) was held under the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.

Download the summary report (9 pages)

It reviewed SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 13 (climate action), and SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and the corresponding goals of Agenda 2063 . 

The forum also undertook an in-depth review of SDG 17 (partnerships) to address challenges and
strengthen partnerships to develop capacity, harness science and technologies and mobilize and scale up finance to implement the goals.

The outcomes of ARFSD 5 will feed into the 2019 session of the High-level Political Forum on July 2019. It offered an opportunity for Africa to articulate its inputs to the Leaders’ summit. Such inputs will include Africa’s specific challenges in the implementation of the SDGs, gaps and levers of change to accelerate implementation.
Sustainable Development (HLPF) under the auspices of ECOSOC, which will be held in

Extracts of the programme and key messages

SDG 13: Scaling up climate action
This panel recommended enhancing science-policy interfaces, calling for resource mobilization to support climate mitigation and adaption measures, and including climate change in primary, secondary and tertiary education. During the ensuing discussion, delegates suggested emphasizing innovative ways to tackle the drivers of climate change and using indigenous knowledge to increase resilience, notably in the agriculture sector.

The implementation of the nationally determined contributions by African countries requires a massive investment, well beyond what can be provided from the limited public resources. Accordingly, most of the investment required to finance the nationally determined contributions will need to come from the private sector. Countries must review, reformulate and package the actions to meet their nationally determined contributions as investment portfolios to provide a mechanism through which the much-needed private sector financing can be mobilized.

With large scale-carbon removal, also classified as a form of geoengineering, identified as a part of the required solution pathways if emissions do not start to decline well before 2030, it is important that African countries ensure the risks and opportunities of geoengineering are well communicated globally, and that a governance framework is established for the development and deployment of such technologies.

SDG 17: partnerships
Stronger action by countries and their development partners is needed to ensure that an integrated and coherent approach is taken in the efforts to mobilize resources and financing for the implementation of key regional and global frameworks, including, among others, the 2030 Agenda, Agenda 2063, the Agreement Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Paris Agreement and the SAMOA Pathway. Otherwise, a fragmented, silo or piecemeal approach to the implementation of these frameworks could lead to the dissipation of efforts and imbalanced and short-lived outcomes that, in turn, would undermine the integrated and linked-nature of the SDGs.

Countries need to address common challenges that impede the harnessing of science, technology and innovation for sustainable development. Such challenges include the lack of capacity to implement related policies, political leadership, balanced engagement and participation to ensure that resources are in line with aspirations, and address fragmentation. In addition, there is need to strengthen the evidence base for measuring and monitoring the effectiveness and efficiency of science, technology and innovation programmes, including those related to social and environmental issues, beyond economic outcomes. Gender disparity in the field of science, technology and innovation is also a challenge in most African countries.
Yasser Refaat AbdelFattah, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research,
Egypt, presented the commendations from the First Africa Regional STI Forum including the need to: provide opportunities for young African innovators; finance research and development; develop STI infrastructure; provide enabling conditions such as inclusive societies; good governance to ensure fair application of technologies; and scaling up competences in research and institutions.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

FARA collaborates with YPARD to build capacities of Africa Youth in Agri-preneurship for Technology Adoption

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in collaboration with the Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) in December last year (2018) launched an essay competition to have youth articulate their experiences in youth engagement initiatives across the Africa region, including the context of agri-preneurship.

From the twenty-six (26) countries where responses were amassed, the one hundred and fifty (150) essays submitted recounting the experiences of youth as beneficiaries of various initiatives of diverse agricultural institutions in their respective countries and across Africa. Forty (40) of these were written in French and a hundred and ten (110) in English. Also notable among the entries were illustrations of youth’s experiences being directly involved in the implementation of youth-targeted initiatives in which the participants themselves had the opportunity to engage other youth. The themes of engagement described included entrepreneurship, food security, sustainable agriculture and natural resources, advocacy towards agricultural policy formulation, ecological agriculture, agricultural extension, women empowerment, climate change, sustainable development among others.

 The top thirty-five (35) among the participants of the FARA-YPARD Africa Essay Competition #AgriYouthEngagement have been selected to participate in the Youth Workshop: Strategic Engagement and Capacity Development of Youth in Agri-preneurship for Technology Adoption.

In this three-day workshop which takes place from 2nd to 4th May 2019 in Accra, Ghana, participants will get the opportunity to build their writing & communication skills to share knowledge and experiences apply the concepts of Innovation Platforms for agri-preneurship development and validate the framework for agri-preneurship capacity development interventions among youth. A few YPARD Africa representatives from the sub-regions (West and Central, Eastern and Southern Africa) will also partake in the workshop to share their experiences on expanding their country chapters. Also, among the collaborators are the TAAT ENABLE Youth compact, African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) and several Agricultural Incubators Networks.
Ultimately, the participants will constitute an expanded network of practitioners of experience capitalization who will assist in capturing experiences on the implementation of the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) within the in-country TAAT commodity compacts. 

We profoundly express our appreciation to all the youth across the continent who conscientiously responded to our call for entries to the FARA-YPARD Africa Essay Competition #AgriYouthEngagement. We look forward to our continued engagement together as we advance the involvement of youth in Africa’s Agri-food systems.


Story also available at: YPARDAfrica

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Agroecology Infopool website now launched

2 - 4 April 2019. Cairo, Egypt "Boosting the Role and Potential of Organic Farming in Africa".

In April 2019, 39 participants from Africa and Europe met in Sekem, Egypt with the purpose to exchange and strategize organic development and spreading knowledge about organic farming in Africa.

Participants had been part of an about one-year process of development of regional organic knowledge hubs (East, West, South and North) that are
covering the African continent.
  • The first networking workshop aimed to bring together the different institutions working on Organic agriculture in Africa and discuss their characteristics, visions and strategies as well as the different challenges they face.
  • This process is based on a Sekem-BMZ Memorandum of Understanding published in November 2017 and on a call for proposals in May 2018. 
  • In January 2019, BMZ mandated GIZ to implement organic knowledge hubs in Eastern, Western and Southern Africa with the intention that the northern region would follow in a similar way through other channels.
Issues such as finding the most efficient tools to communicate with farmers, the limitations of platforms, language barriers or the market development were some of the challenges discussed.

An extensive new resource on agroecology has just been made available by Biovision, following the first phase of the Advocacy for Agroecology (A4A) project, of which IPES-Food is a key partner.

The “Agroecology Info Pool” ( was launched last month at the 2nd Global Conference of the Sustainable Food Systems Programme - One Planet Network.

The Agroecology Info Pool contains convincing cases, a criteria tool to assess projects or policies, and an assessment of the impacts of various agroecological interventions on all Sustainable Development Goals.

This website serves as a platform to provide evidence, knowledge, and experiences on the impacts and multiple benefits of agroecology.

Through the A4A project, Biovision, IPES-Food, and other partners are assessing how current funding for agricultural research, development, and extension services is allocated, and to what extent it supports conventional systems versus sustainable (and particularly agroecological production).

Forum for the Future of Agriculture

9 April 2019. Brussels. FFA2019 : The next generation. The Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA) has been contributing to the debate on agriculture and the environment in Brussels since 2008. The FFA is now firmly established as the premier event where agriculture and environment meet each year for an open dialogue.
"There is no more time to waste. It is often said that tomorrow belongs to the next generation. Unfortunately, we have made the world in which the tomorrow is already predetermined by us – for all of them, around the world. Make no mistake, the next generation is already out there. There are hundreds of millions of them, and the vast majority lives in the developing world. They have as much right as anyone in this room to a sustainable, just, and happy life." Janez Potočnik Chair FFA2019, Chairman RISE Foundation Read full speech

  • Ertharin Cousin, 12th Executive Director, United Nations World Food Programme (2012-2017) Dialogue & discussion 
  • Moderator: Femi Oke, Journalist 

Climate change: Are we doing enough? 
  • Keynote speaker: Miguel Arias Cañete, Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, European Commission Discussants:
  • Lesley Rankin, Researcher, Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Philippe Lamberts, Member of the European Parliament, Co-chair of the Greens/EFA group
  • Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General DG ENVI, European Commission
  • Jean-Marc Bournigal, General Manager of the Wheat Producers Association (AGPB), France
  • Moderator: Fiona Harvey, Journalist

The next generation of consumers - Video forthcoming
  • Mette Lykke, CEO, Too Good To Go 
  •  Professor Andreas Hensel, President, German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung) 
  • Stefan Goethaert, Managing Director, Colruyt Group Fine Food & Retail Services 
  • Rob Hamer, Vice President Agrifood External Affairs, Unilever Dialogue & discussion 
  • Moderator: Femi Oke, Journalist
IRP (2019). Global Resources Outlook 2019: Natural Resources for the Future We Want.
A Report of the International Resource Panel. United Nations Environment Programme. Nairobi, Kenya.
  • The analysis and modelling presented in this report are a first attempt to understand the impacts of our growing resource use, and to develop coherent scenario projections for resource efficiency and sustainable production and consumption that decouple economic growth from environmental degradation. 
  •  A Historical Trends scenario shows that the current trajectory of natural resource use and management is unsustainable, while a Towards Sustainability scenario shows that implementing resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production policies promotes stronger economic growth, improves well-being, helps to support more equal distribution of income and reduces resource use across countries.
  • The final message of this report is one of hope and optimism. While additional research is needed, an extensive knowledge base from the International Resource Panel about natural resources use and their impacts exists. 
  • Well-chosen and coordinated sustainability actions can achieve our international ambitions for prosperity within planetary boundaries. Using the results from this report, multi-stakeholder collaboration, and innovative solutions, we can resource the future we want.
Global Resources Outlook 2019 summary policymakers EN - 36 pages pdf, 8.35 MB
Global Resources Outlook 2019 summary business - 44 pages pdf, 1.57 MB
Global Resources Outlook 2019 factsheet - 2 pages pdf, 1.75 MB
Global Resources Outlook 2019 infographic 1 - 2 pages pdf, 333.59 KB
Global Resources Outlook 2019 Methods Annex - 64 pages pdf, 2.07 MB
Global Resources Outlook 2019 press release - 2 pages pdf, 188.32 KB
Global Resources Outlook 2019 - 162 pages pdf, 13.8 MB
Global Resources Outlook 2019 Scenarios infographic - 2 pages pdf, 176.1 KB

26 March 2019A new Afrobarometer data from 34 national surveys explores the perceptions and preferences of ordinary Africans when it comes to international migration.

Findings show that more than one-third of Africans have considered emigrating, though far fewer are making actual plans to leave. The data support concerns about human-resource drain: The young and the educated are most likely to consider going abroad.

But researchers found some interesting differences.
People in southern African indicate the strongest preference for staying in the region (58%) while this feeling was weakest in North Africa (8%).
Finding work and escaping economic hardship are the most frequently cited reasons to consider emigrating – fully in line with our earlier findings that unemployment is the most important problem that Africans want their governments to address.

The most preferred destination for potential emigrants is neither Europe nor the United States, but another African country.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Linking research to private sector needs (1)

7-9 April 2019. Cairo. Africa Food Manufacturing conference.

ICARDA video interview with Atef Wafic Idriss 
MENA Food Safety Associates (MEFOSA) was formed to assist companies hone their competitive edge by establishing and verifying procedures and practices that ensure quality, wholesome and safe products. It provides consulting, auditing and training services in HACCP, GMPs, Hygiene and more. MEFOSA can help move businesses into a leadership position through science-based food safety.

Atef Wafic Idriss pf MEFOSA responds to following questions on Public Private Partnerships and Linking research to private sector research priorities:
  • What is the impact of ICARDA's fusarium resistant chickpea in Lebanon?(Note: Some fusarium species produce mycotoxins in cereal crops that can affect human and animal health if they enter the food chain)
  • Was this variety up-scaled?(Note: there is no seed multiplication system in Lebanon except for wheat which is done by the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute LARI)
  • How difficult is it to convince researchers to do research based on private sector priorities?
  • What is your main message for donors?

Climate Smart Seed Systems Research

GCRF-AFRICAP is a major programme to make agriculture and food production in Sub-Saharan Africa more productive, sustainable and resilient to climate change.

Working with local organisations and governments in Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia, if is creating an evidence base to underpin new country-specific policies in agriculture and food production.

Through the GCRF-AFRICAP programme, FANRPAN and the University of Leeds are conducting research into Climate Smart Seed Systems.
  • As part of the research, the survey is seeking responses to this short survey from those involved in seed system activity (e.g. gene/seed banks, crop breeders, regulators, seed companies, agro-dealers, extension officers, farmers) across Africa.
  • GCRF-AFRICAP is particularly interested in the priorities and activities that direct seed systems in Africa, and evaluating the importance of and responses to climate variability and change within these systems.
  • The survey takes 5-10 minutes to complete. Your answers will be anonymous, although if you would be willing to be contacted for follow up information or would like to receive updates on the research, there will be a space to provide your contact details.
The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries. The GCRF delivery partners are: UK Research and Innovation, Scottish Funding Council, Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, Higher Education Division Northern Ireland, Academy of Medical Sciences, Royal Society, British Academy, Royal Academy of Engineering and UK Space Agency.

  • promote challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research, including the participation of researchers who may not previously have considered the applicability of their work to development issues
  • strengthen capacity for research, innovation and knowledge exchange in the UK and developing countries through partnership with excellent UK research and researchers
  • provide an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research need.
Latest call for proposals:
A Combined Food Systems Approach to Scaling-up Interventions to Address the Double Burden of Malnutrition Deadline 7 May 2019

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Africa Food Manufacturing

7-9 April 2019. Cairo. Africa Food Manufacturing conference. The conference hosted professors from various universities, food scientists, industries, and students, local and international. It was organised by MEFOSA (Middle East North Africa Food Associates) and INFORMA / Food Ingredients Africa

Distinguished international speakers, professionals, scientists from different countries met, thought, collaborated and shared their ideas, new releases and scientific research on Food Science and Technological solving problem solutions. 

Extract of the programme:
It included the following tracks:

Track 1: Food science and technology: Preharvest factors, tools, techniques and instrumentation.

Atef Wafic.Idriss MEFOSA (Middle East North Africa Food Associates) Food Industries

MENA Food Safety Associates (MEFOSA) was formed to assist companies hone their competitive edge by establishing and verifying procedures and practices that ensure quality, wholesome and safe products. It provides consulting, auditing and training services in HACCP, GMPs, Hygiene and more. MEFOSA can help move businesses into a leadership position through science-based food safety.

MEFOSA assures that food safety system meets current regulations and is being operated correctly. From HACCP plans to GMPs, MEFOSA enables SMEs to comply with government regulations quickly, economically and get the job done right the first time.

MEFOSA believes that safe food and feed are a prerequisite for sustainable development, and that the Arab Middle East should develop its own food safety prerequisites in full recognition with its own socio-economic priorities, and in harmony with international standards and norms, while respecting the culture, family values and quality of life throughout the MENA region.

He responded to following questions:
  • What is the impact of ICARDA's fusarium resistant chickpea in Lebanon?(Some fusarium species produce mycotoxins in cereal crops that can affect human and animal health if they enter the food chain)
  • Was this variety up-scaled?
  • How difficult is it to convince researchers to do research based on private sector priorities?
  • What is your main message for donors?
Dr. Marc Abu Zeidan Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon, The development of indigenous sourdoughs with potential applications in the baking industries

ICARDA video interview with Dr. Marc Abu Zeidan on - Head of the Food Sciences Department
Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Lebanon: The opportunities of research on Lebanese traditional food fermentation 

He responded to following questions:
  • What type of research does traditional Lebanese food need?
  • Do we need another type of expertise?
  • Do you think there are many job opportunities in processing traditional food?
  • Can you give some examples of fermented food products?
  • Which organisation is checking on food safety issues?
  • Do you also have a civil society organisation working on food safety?

Track 2: Food security: Risk analysis and management, value chain analysis, public health and hygiene.
Dr. Hussein Mansour, National Food Safe Authority
The Egyptian Parliament has approved the law number 1/2017 establishing the National Food Safety Authority on Monday 2, January 2017. the main functions are:
  • Supervising the handling of food and making sure all specifications and requirements set out by relevant legislation are fulfilled.
  • Setting the rules and conditions for granting validity certificates necessary for the exportation of locally produced food as well as supervising the granting of these certificates and their compliance with the aforementioned rules and conditions.
  • Licensing, inspecting and supervising food handling and the workers in these facilities to insure the compliance with the relevant laws and decrees.
  • Supervising imported and locally produced food, prohibiting the handling of food unfit for human consumption and preventing fraud and deception in food.
  • Setting the regulations and rules for food advertising and the mandatory labeling criteria.
  • Regulating the cases of approval or rejection of genetically-modified foods or foods containing components that are genetically modified or irradiated where they relate to food safety and setting the rules regulating the use of food additives, treatment catalysts and other ingredients of which food is composed and which affect its safety according to Codex Commission criteria and standards adopted by international bodies.
Track 3: Impact of environmental pollution on food industries.
Dr. Ing. Zahra S. Ahmed Technical University Munich - Africa's food security and emerging technology - challenges and opportunities

Dr. Patrick Vincent Hegarty (see picture)Importance of Codes Alimentarus for food manufacturers

Track 4: Food Adulteration: Laws, policy and governance.
Dr. Patrick Vincent Hegarty (see picture), Important new developments in food packaging

Track 5: Food Economy, Marketing, Trade, and Market Access.
Mohamed Wageih, The future of empowering the EU-North Africa Research and Innovation Cooperation on Agro-Food under the PRIMA Initiative (2018-2028)

Track 6: Food and Water Testing.

Track 7: Public health and Food hygiene practices/sanitation.

The institute, which forms part of Nestlé’s global research organisation, will be based in Lausanne, Switzerland. The company says it will employ around 50 people, including around 20 new positions, and include a state-of-the-art laboratory complex as well as facilities for rapid prototyping. It will be working closely with academic partners, start-ups and suppliers, testing new materials in various product categories before they are rolled out across Nestlé’s global portfolio.

One of the key issues Nestlé says the Institute will be facing is that of plastic waste, for which it will be delivering “highly-performing environmentally friendly packaging solutions.” Focus areas for research will include recyclable, biodegradable or compostable polymers, functional paper, as well as new packaging concepts and technologies to increase the recyclability of plastic packaging.

Webinar: Sicker Fatter Poorer: The Urgent Threat of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals to Our Health and Future ... and What We Can Do About It

Dr. Trasande exposes the chemicals that disrupt our hormonal systems and damage our health in irreparable ways. He shows us where these chemicals hide—in our homes, our schools, at work, in our food, and countless other places we can’t control—as well as the workings of policy that protects the continued use of these chemicals in our lives. Drawing on extensive research and expertise, he outlines dramatic studies and emerging evidence about the rapid increases in neurodevelopmental, metabolic, reproductive, and immunological diseases directly related to the hundreds of thousands of chemicals that we are exposed to every day. Unfortunately, nowhere is safe.

A Conversation with Author and Leader in Children's Environmental Health, Dr. Leo Trasande. In his new book, Dr. Leonardo Trasande, a pediatrician, professor, and world-renowned researcher, tells the story of how our everyday surroundings are making us sicker, fatter, and poorer. Through a blend of narrative, scientific detective work, and concrete information about the connections between chemicals and disease, he shows us what we can do to protect ourselves and our families from hormone-disrupting chemicals in the short-term, and how we can help bring about the large-scale change that limits this threat to our health. In this webinar 

Dr. Jerry Heindel, director of Commonweal’s Program in Endocrine Disruption Strategies, interviews Dr. Trasande about his research, his commitment to effecting change, and how his new book can help. February 20, 2019.

Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, Land O'Lakkes is leading a five-year $6.25 million F2F program focused on food quality and safety (FSQ). 

Bangladesh, Egypt and Lebanon face considerable food safety and quality challenges. To increase productivity and profitability in the agriculture sectors, Land O’Lakes International Development is implementing F2F FSQ to address the important issues of food safety and quality with highly qualified volunteers. Volunteers assist and train others on good agricultural, veterinary and manufacturing practices in order to improve the local food safety protocols and quality assurance systems from “field-to-fork.”

This project is USAID funded project and the implementation party is Land O’ Lakes.

With a history of food safety issues in the country, the Government of Egypt (GOE) has established the National Food Safety Authority (NFSA) to control and regulate food in Egypt. TAIB will work in close collaboration with NFSA and other key stakeholders to ensure a successful transition to a modern food safety system. 

It will provide technical support to NFSA to regulate food across Egypt and promote greater U.S. export and investment opportunities. The three main objectives are to: enhance organizational capacity of NFSA, develop workforce training for NFSA and promote improved policy and regulatory frameworks.