Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Recordings February 2023

  • Across a diverse range of sectors – including agriculture and food systems, the built environment, e-waste, plastics, and textiles – innovative technologies are serving as key enablers of the circular economy in Africa and beyond.
27 February 2023. Regional responses to challenges to soil fertility and sustainabilityRecording forthcoming
  • This webinar fostered an evidence-based exchange of views and sharing of experiences among GFAR members and networks on the nature and impacts of fertilizer shortages and price hikes in their regions.

Similar events explained how to apply to these calls for proposals.
  • 24 January 2023. Horizon Europe – Africa Initiative II - Focus on Kenya
  • 1 February 2023. Launch event Horizon Europe Launch Event – Focus on WP 2023-2024 and Africa Initiative II
  • 1 February 2023. Événement de lancement d'Horizon Europe - Focus sur le WP 2023-2024 et l'Initiative Afrique II
  • 6 February 2023. Virtual Event “Horizon Europe – Africa Initiative II: Focus on Rwanda
  • 8 February 2023. Horizon Europe Nigerian National Contact Points’ Network Launch Event & Presentation of Work Programme 2023-2024 and its Africa Initiative II – Focus on Nigeria
  • 9 February 2023. Webinar sur le programme-cadre Horizon Europe pour la Recherche et l’Innovation – Focus sur le Programme de travail (PT) 2023-2024 et l'Initiative Afrique II et les opportunités pour le Sénégal
  • 9 February 2023. Horizon Europe Launch Event – Focus on WP 2023-2024 and Africa Initiative II - Focus on Ethiopia
  • 14 February 2023. Horizon Europe Launch Event – Focus on WP 2023-2024 and Africa Initiative II, Mauritius
  • 15 February 2023. Événement virtuel « Horizon Europe –WP 2023-2024: focus sur l'initiative méditerranéenne »
  • 16 February 2023. Virtual Event “Horizon Europe –WP 2023-2024: Focus on the Mediterranean Initiative”
  • 27 February 2023. Horizon Europe South African National Contact Points’ Network Announcement & Presentation of Work Programme 2023-2024 and its Africa Initiative II – Focus on South Africa
23 February 2023Integrating Stakeholder Engagement and Computer Modelling in Foresight Process - recording available
  • Experts from International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Wageningen Economic Research (WEcR), and the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) spoke about their work on the use of computer modeling in the foresight process.
23 February 2023. Fertilizers Disrupted: Time to Embrace innovation - Recording forthcoming
  • This webinar from the World Bank is the first in this new series under the Food Systems Innovation webinar series and are dedicated at showcasing a range of innovations and discussing how the government can use and/or support the scaling up of these innovations for sustainable soil fertility management.
22 February 2023. Launch Event of the Digitally Enabled Resilience and Nutrition Policy Innovations (DERPIn) Project - recording available
  • In order to support improved planning and decision-making across food systems, AKADEMIYA2063 has recently been awarded a grant by Germany’s Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to implement the DERPIn project
15 February 2023. Why is financing food systems transformation the latest global challenge? - recording available
  • This IFAD Governing Council side event was a deep-dive into food systems transformation, what it is all about, the role of small-scale farmers in achieving it, and how it can be financed.
  • GC2023 Food Water Energy Nexus Panel 

    recording available
  • GC2023 Private Sector finance for small producers climate adaptation recording available
15 February 2023Entrepreneurial skills developed by successful African SMEs PAFO and the COLEAD.

9 February 2023. Taking Stock of Africa’s Agrifood Processing Sector. Key findings of the 2022 ReSAKSS Annual Trends and Outlook Report on Agrifood Processing Strategies for Successful Food Systems Transformation in Africa - recording available

1 February 2023. IFPRI Seminar, The future of food and agriculture: Drivers and triggers for transformation - recording available
  • This policy seminar, co-organized by FAO, IFPRI, and the CGIAR Research Initiative on Foresight, was an opportunity to hear from the report’s authors and engage with a group of panel discussants on challenges facing food and agriculture, foresight approaches to exploring alternative future pathways, and opportunities for food system transformation, with particular focus on the Americas

Monday, February 27, 2023

Upcoming events and webinars March 2023

26-27 February 2023. Second session of the fourth Africa Climate Talks in Niamey
  • organised by the AU Commission (AUC), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) 
  • focus on a just and equitable transition and human security in Africa.
27 February - 2 March 2023. ECA, the AUC, the AfDB and the government of Niger are hosting the 2023 Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development in Niamey.

27 February 2023. Horizon Europe South African National Contact Points’ Network Announcement & Presentation of Work Programme 2023-2024 and its Africa Initiative II – Focus on South Africa

28 February 2023, 13:00-14:30 CET/15:00-16:30 EAT. Harnessing Technology in the Circular Economy for Climate Action in Africa

1 March 2023. FAO Webinar on sustainable mechanization 

1 - 2 March 2023. The Sankalp Africa Summit
  • This is an event that catalyzes collaborations across the entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to solve global challenges sustainably.
  • 01/03 Scaling Up Regenerative Agriculture: a Social Entrepreneur's Perspective
  • 01/03 It takes a digital village to improve smallholders’ productivity and resilience.
  • 01/03 Scaling SMEs to strengthen African food system – making it affordable, nutritious and accessible
  • 01/03 What is the real cost of food security?
  • 02/03 Is GMO the answer to food security for sub-Saharan Africa?
1 March at 3pm CET. Can higher education better meet the needs of rural agricultural communities?
GFAR Talks
  • Jim French of GCHERA and Vincent Mariadho of PROLINNOVA with moderation by Sayed Azam-Ali.

2 March 2023. Introduction to USAID's Research Translation Toolkit
  • WEBINAR 3 | Capturing Attention: How to Use the Communication Products Section
  • The USAID Research Division and USAID's Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) invites USAID staff and partners to a four-part webinar series that provides an overview of our Research Translation Toolkit and a deep dive into each of its three sections.
  • This toolkit is particularly relevant to those supporting or implementing research projects who can benefit from step-by-step guidance on communicating key messages to the right decision-makers.

7 March 2023 6TH GLF INVESTMENT CASE SYMPOSIUM Finance for nature: What comes next?
The Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) is the world’s largest knowledge-led platform on integrated land use, dedicated to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement.

7 March 2023. 1200 EAT, 1100 Southern African time and 0900 for much of West Africa/GMT. GIS and modelling methods to address water-based issues
7 March 2023. 8 PM EAT Drones for agriculture Masterclass

7 - 10 March 2023. 2nd AERAP Africa-Europe Science and Innovation Forum
  • A joint convening of AGRA and the African Union Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy, and Sustainable Environment (ARBE).
8 March 2023.Twitter Chat: Innovations and technologies for an inclusive, equitable food system

8-9 March 2023. Third Global Foresight4Food Workshop at Montpellier 

9 March 2023, Thursday 8:00 -9:30 AM EST (Washington DC time) Africa-Korea AgTech Innovation Summit- Learnings and Way Forward

9 March 2023, Thursday 8:00 -9:30 AM EST (Washington DC time)

9 March 2023. Introduction to USAID's Research Translation Toolkit
  • WEBINAR 4 | Transforming Research into Programs and Policies: How to Use the Research-to-Action Plan Section
  • The USAID Research Division and USAID's Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) invites USAID staff and partners to a four-part webinar series that provides an overview of our Research Translation Toolkit and a deep dive into each of its three sections.
  • This toolkit is particularly relevant to those supporting or implementing research projects who can benefit from step-by-step guidance on communicating key messages to the right decision-makers.

14 March 2023. 10:00am CET/ 12an Nairobi;  The sound and vision of organic farming for rural audiences - by AccessAgriculture
  • Webinar to know more about how media houses (radio, television, newspapers, and web media) can help in disseminating information about organic farming, agri entrepreneurship learning
14 March 2023.  10:00am CET - 2:00 pm CET Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Agriculture Rural Development Water and Environment (ARDWE)

14 March 2023. 2:30pm - 4pm CET Food Loss and Waste in Fruit and Vegetable Supply Chains - IFPRI Seminar

14 March 2023. 3:00pm to 4:30pm (UTC+01:00) CET Useful applications of ChatGPT in knowledge work
  • Johannes Schunter will show a number of useful applications in development work ; what the bot is good at and what it is not good at.
  • Concept-note_EN.pdf
  • draft_Agenda_EN.pdf
  • 11:15 – 13:00 Thematic session: Case nº4: AgriFI Country and Regional windows: A framework to foster greater collaboration with technical assistance providers.
  • 13:45 – 15:30 Thematic session: Case nº7: Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD).

15- 17 March 2023 AGRITECH WEST AFRICA
  • exhibition and marketing platform for companies in the agriculture technology, agro chemicals, irrigation & systems, and all products related to agriculture and value addition, if they are targeting to connect partners and expand your business in West Africa.
20 March 2023. 15:00 - 16:30 CET. InfoPoint conference: Advancing African Continental Integration in Higher education: building trust through better quality

2023 UN Water Conference Side Events (# 58 p.)

22-24 March 2023. New York UN 2023 Water Conference 

22 March 2023 | 9:00 am - 10:00 am ET. School Feeding Coverage Webinar 

  • For many smallholder farmers, lack of access to affordable healthcare is a persistent problem.
  • In this webinar, the Living Income Community of Practice welcomes healthcare organization Elucid, and speciality cocoa company Max Felchlin AG to explore how healthcare protection for smallholders can help reach livelihood and living income goals.​
  • The analytics and data pipelines from DiCRA feed into numerous use cases including but not limited to Drought Early Warning Systems, Impact Evaluation of technical and policy interventions, designing targeted advisors, and long-term agriculture and food system budgeting, planning, and operations. 
  • DiCRA was piloted for Telangana state in India, and is now being scaled to 5 other states in India and to other geographies around the globe.
27 March 2023. #e-conversation on “Is #smart #farming raising justifiable expectations?” 
  • the Digital Agri Hub is launching the third of a series of e-conversations on a number of what it considers as potential clichés in the D4Ag domain. The exchanges are hosted on the D4Ag dgroup which you are welcome to join.
  • In the publication Assessment of smart farming solutions for smallholders in low and middle-income countries (Source: Loukos P. and Arathoon L. , 2022. GSMA Agtech & Digital Agri Hub, # 100 p) smart farming is defined as ‘the use of on-farm and remote sensors to generate and transmit data about a specific crop, animal or practice to enable the mechanisation and automation of on-farm practices and achieve more efficient, high-quality, and sustainable production of agricultural goods’.
  • The summary of the 2nd e-conversation on “How true is the mantra that small-scale producers benefit from digitalisation?” is available on the D4Ag dgroup’s wiki (login required).
  • The INCITIS-FOOD Project ( is working on improving innovative circular food system in 6 countries across 3 African regions: East (Kenya), West (Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) and Central (Cameroun and Gabon). These countries also host living labs that act as innovation accelerators.
  • Living labs are innovation networks in which the participant’s roles and rules are freely defined by themselves. They essentially exchange information according to a defined research strategy and a digital infrastructure in order to transform this information into new knowledge;  comparable to a lean innovation approach in which the end users define the contents of the project.
  • What are the benefits of participating as a food system actor? The objective of the eight living labs in six African countries is to map the landscape of food providers, manufacturers, marketers, and consumers and to help identify bottlenecks and challenges that can be addressed by the living labs.
  • Forum for the Future of Agriculture (ForumforAg) has been contributing to the debate on agriculture and the environment in Brussels since 2008 and is now firmly established as the premier event of its type. 
  • As well as the main event in Brussels, regional conferences every year discuss agriculture and environment at a national level across Europe.
  • This event will discuss how the new EU-IFAD partnership agreements can be used to promote agro-ecological approaches and other sustainable agricultural practices among youth.
  • A panel discussion will follow a conversation on policy priorities for youth and the future of food systems with EU Commissioner for International Partnership, Jutta Urpilainen, IFAD President, Alvaro Lario, and Chairperson of the Committee on World Food Security, Gabriel Ferrero de Loma-Osorio.
  • by IIED. This webinar will discuss the importance of the small-scale fisheries and aquaculture sectors, and look ahead to explore opportunities for supporting small-scale actors to overcome challenges and fulfil their potential contributions to sustainable development.
28 March 2023. 9 AM CEST. Policy Interventions During Times of Crisis - by AGRA

30 March 2023. 12:30- 14:00 CEST. InfoPoint Hybrid Conference: "Agricultural data-driven strategies for development, food security, and resilience"
  • lack of access to data and limited transparency in production are hampering policy making and policy evaluation processes to develop sustainable agriculture and food systems.
  • This webinar presents key results and lessons from the GSMA Innovation Fund for the Digitisation of Agricultural Value Chains, an initiative that supported six grantee organisations in designing, developing, testing and scaling commercially viable digital solutions that address smallholder farmer challenges.
30 March 2023. 14:00 - 15:00 CET. Pricing and purchasing practices in the journey to achieve a living income and wage | hosted by Solidaridad, 
  • Solidaridad's new research, carried out by Aidenvironment and SÜDWIND, dives into pricing in cotton and textiles, gold, palm oil, cocoa and coffee. It examines how we can adapt pricing to ensure living wages and incomes for the producers at the beginning of the value chain.
30 March 2023. 01:00 pm – 02:30 am CET Catalyzing the Seaweed Revolution
  • Incl. : Recent developments in seaweed aquaculture in Tanzania highlighting challenges and opportunities
  • Meeting password: CtpNMTR3Q39
  • Meeting number: 2318 126 1189
  • The municipalities of Kolding (DK) and Castelo Branco (PT), both part of the FUSILLI project, will share how connecting with people in the city has been key in kickstarting urban food system transformation.

31 March 2023. 12:00 PM CET. Digital Technologies and Tools for sustainable and resilient Agriculture and Food Systems in West Africa
  • The public webinar is expected to draw lessons on digital technologies and or innovations from the third-party projects of AGriDI and VaRRIWA as well as of other country or regional initiatives.
  • AGriDI is implemented in five countries of ECOWAS, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria through the deployment of ten local projects that are promoting digital technologies. To this effect, a baseline study was conducted to assess the ecosystem of digital technologies in the five countries. The main finding of the baseline study [rather redundant and not surprising] is that the rate of development of digital innovations in agriculture is closely linked to the efforts of each country in providing policies and strategies enabling access by the population (and especially by those living in rural area) to basic connectivity infrastructure (electricity and Internet).
4 April 2023. 8:30 AM EST | 2:30 PM CET | 7:00 PM IST. Fortifying our Future: Coming together to support the World Health Assembly Resolution on Food Fortification

4 April 2023. 6:00 PM Africa's E-Governance
  • Cabo Verde's President on e-Government
4 April 2023. 1200 EAT, 1100 Southern Africa, 1000 Central and parts of West Africa/BST, 0900 the rest of West Africa/GMT. Water School Africa (WSA)
  • Meeting ID: 700 341 344
  • Groundswell West Africa is a partnership in four countries in West Africa – Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Ghana. Much of their work happens in the Sahel region where every drop of rain counts so over the years various practices have been developed by farmers and communities in the region to hold more water in their landscapes. Tsuamba Bourgou will share some of those experiences.
 4 -5 April 2023. Kenya Food Systems Conference
  • CGIAR Initiative on National Policies and Strategies
5 April 2023 at 8:00 am Central US (2:00 pm West Africa Time, 3:00 pm Central Africa Time and 4:00 pm Eastern Africa Time) Availability of soybean rust resistant varieties currently accessible to growers

11 April 2023. 11:00am Pacific time (7pm UK). Fungi and the Soil Food Web

13 April 2023. 3PM CEST Global Food Policy Report launch
  • IFPRI’s 2023 Global Food Policy Report,  explores evidence-based policy and governance solutions that can provide better early warning and rapid response, increase resilience of food systems, protect the livelihoods of women and marginal groups and ensure their inclusion in crisis response, and address the impacts of conflict and migration.
  • Meeting in a hybrid format, members of the Food Crisis Prevention (RPCA) will: examine the final results of the 2022-23 agropastoral season 2022-23 and the food and nutrition situation and review food and nutrition situation and mobilise all stakeholders to address the major food crisis stakeholders in the face of the major food crisis in the region.
14 April 2023.  3PM CEST Investing in Human Capital to Accelerate the Green Transition

19 April 2023. 12:00 EAT/ 11:00 SAT/ 9:00 WAT. Linking with universities and research institutions in the promotion of the Participatory Innovation Development (PID) approach.
  • Prolinnova network is organising a series of three webinars for network members to share experiences in PID
20 April 2023. 11:00am Pacific time (7pm UK). Fungi and the Future of Farming

25 – 26 April, 2023. 4Revs African Summit(4Revs) 2023
  • Japan/ The Catholic University of Eastern Africa Nairobi Kenya
  • To bring together professionals in the field of Food Science and Nutrition from Africa with the intention of encouraging and transforming newest knowledge on sustainable food and nutritional consumption and lifestyles
26 April, 2023. 11:00am Pacific time (7pm UK). Fungal Farming Case Study

28 April 2023. @ 04:00 PM EAT Addressing non-tariff measures (NTMs) to Accelerate the Implementation of the AfCFTA - by AGRA

28 April 2023. 11:00am Pacific time (7pm UK). Fungal Farming Experts: Meet the Fun-guys and gals!

8 - 10 May 2023. AIM for Climate Summit
  • The Summit, supported by Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR), aims to bring together partners to increase and accelerate investment in and support for agriculture and food systems innovation for climate action.

12-13 June, 2023. 9:00 pm EDT. Cracking the Nut Conference
  • Reducing risks associated with rural and agricultural investments
18-23 June 2023 22nd International Fusarium Laboratory Workshop (IFLW23)

19 June - 30 June 2023. ANH 2023 will be hosted in a hybrid format: online and in Malawi.
  • The ANH Academy Week is a series of annual events that bring together the community of researchers, practitioners and policymakers working at the intersection of agriculture, food systems, nutrition and health
24 - 28 July 2023. UN Food Systems Summit | 2023 Stocktaking Moment

5-8 September 2023, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Africa Food Systems Forum 

11th – 15th September 2023, KAMPALA, UGANDA 16th African Dairy Conference and Exhibition

Domestication and Commercialization of Indigenous Food Crops in Africa

Leakey R.R. B. et all (2022) The Future of Food: Domestication and Commercialization of Indigenous Food Crops in Africa over the Third Decade (2012–2021) # 75 p.

This paper follows the transition from ethnobotany to a deeper scientific understanding of the food and medicinal properties of African agroforestry tree products as inputs into the start of domestication activities. It progresses on to the integration of these indigenous trees as new crops within diversified farming systems for multiple social, economic and environmental benefits

Policy Relevance:

There is strong evidence that high-value, non-timber forest products with potential in agroforestry systems for the production of food and medicines can have significant impacts on poverty alleviation, well-being, food security and also provide ecosystem services for the mitigation of climate change. Much has been written this decade about the need for enabling policies to support the reform of tropical agriculture, especially for hundreds of millions of very poor smallholder farmers in Africa locked in subsistence agriculture by current adverse policies. Importantly, this can be achieved through the use of indigenous technologies and new crops developed from indigenous species.

There is, however, a big constraint to achieving all this. It is the lack of well-replicated, randomized impact studies to convince donors and development agencies of the importance of these approaches. Unfortunately, donors are very reticent to fund such studies at the start of development programmes. (page 50)


From its advent in the 1990s, the domestication of indigenous food and non-food tree species has become a global programme with a strong African focus. This review of progress in the third decade is restricted to progress in Africa, where multi-disciplinary research on over 59 species has been reported in 759 research papers in 318 science publications by scientists from over 833 research teams in 70 countries around the world (532 in Africa). 

The review spans 23 research topics presenting the recent research literature for tree species of high priority across the continent, as well as that in each of the four main ecological regions: 
  1. the humid zone of West and Central Africa; 
  2. the Sahel and North Africa; 
  3. the East African highlands and drylands; 
  4. and the woody savannas of Southern Africa. 
The main areas of growth have been:
  • the nutritional/medicinal value of non-timber forest products; 
  • the evaluation of the state of natural resources and their importance to local people; 
  • and the characterization of useful traits. 
Remains under-researched:
  • the testing of putative cultivars; 
  • the implementation of participatory principles; 
  • the protection of traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights; 
  • and the selection of elite trees and ideotypes 
To the probable detriment of the upscaling and impact in tropical agriculture, there has been, at the international level, a move away from decentralized, community-based tree domestication towards a laboratory-based, centralized approach. However, the rapid uptake of research by university departments and national agricultural research centres in Africa indicates a recognition of the importance of the indigenous crops for both the livelihoods of rural communities and the revitalization and enhanced outputs from agriculture in Africa, especially in West Africa. 

Thus, on a continental scale, there has been an uptake of research with policy relevance for the integration of indigenous trees in agroecosystems and their importance for the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

To progress this in the fourth decade, there will need to be a dedicated  Centre in Africa to test and develop cultivars of indigenous crops. Finally, this review underpins a holistic approach to mitigating climate change, as well as other big global issues such as hunger, poverty and loss of wildlife habitat by reaping the benefits, or ‘profits’, from investment in the five forms of Capital, described as ‘land maxing’. 

However, policy and decision makers are not yet recognizing the potential for holistic and transformational adoption of these new indigenous food crop opportunities for African agriculture. Is ‘political will’ the missing sixth capital for sustainable development?

The domestication strategy spectrum:

There is an inadequate resource of people nationally, regionally and internationally with the appropriate skills in vegetative propagation to meet the scale of the need for these techniques if participatory domestication is to be scaled up across Africa. (page 6)

There has been reduced research activity in Participatory Domestication led by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) due primarily to a loss of donor funds. This is less a loss of support for the concept and more a need to make funds available to other causes. Meanwhile a new source of funding became available for a more centralized top-down biotechnological programme focussed on a laboratory approach to crop improvement by genetic characterization and tree breeding (page 7)

It must be hoped that decentralized tree domestication has not succumbed to the prevailing view that academic advancement is more important than real-life impact. Indeed. It is important to recognize that a participatory approach to domestication with benefits flowing to local communities is essential when the traits being selected are rooted in Traditional Knowledge. (page 7)

These two strategies [centralised and decentralised] lie at opposite ends of a domestication strategy spectrum and that they have different merits relevant to the domestication of indigenous trees and to needs of tropical farmers in the short- and long-term. A number of review papers have been written about the merits of both approaches and their use in recent years.(...) However, to assist development agencies and donors to understand their differences and likely impacts, a detailed cost–benefit analysis would be helpful. (page 7) 

Pan-African Priority Species:

1. Adansonia digitata (Baobab)

Baobab has been declared to be one of Africa’s most important leafy vegetables, as seen regarding the livelihoods of local communities in Mali. Consequently, it has been identified as a high-priority species for domestication across Africa. Baobab products—leaf, fruit pulp and seed kernels—are widely marketed and have been approved for trade as ‘novel food’ in the European Commission.

Nutritious baobab products are very important locally across dry Africa and have potential markets as lifestyle food products in Europe and in the USA. Indeed, thanks to processing and packaging, they have already gained access to international markets with several hundred formulations in European markets, following approval for trade by the European Commission.

Concerns have been raised that developing international markets for African indigenous food products could damage local supply, environmental degradation and loss of local dietary diversity. These concerns for subsistence users of baobab were greatest in West Africa, where there is a high dependence on these products, unlike southern Africa, where baobab has been reported to be ‘underutilized’ and where commercialization could help reduce poverty. This concern was the subject of a conference “Bridging the gap between increasing knowledge and decreasing resources” in the Czech Republic in 2014, which examined these issues. (page 12) 

2. Sclerocarya birrea (Marula)

Their natural distribution spans drylands in 29 African countries, but they primarily grow in different areas in Africa. Within many African communities, the fruits and kernels in particular, have great cultural and ceremonial value. Nevertheless, the natural resource is under considerable pressure due to the extensive clearing of woodlands for settlement and agriculture, which threaten the ecosystem services and genetic diversity of the species. (page 13) 

Like many other indigenous tree food products, S. birrea has nutritious fruits containing high levels of vitamins and oil rich kernels with unique fatty acid profiles, etc. with dietary significance for humans, as well as a supplement for livestock feeds. (page 15)

In addition to the traditional uses of marula, there are numerous potential new commercial uses, such
as the ‘Amarula’ liqueur, biodiesel, vinegar, jams, jellies, yoghurt and ice cream. In addition, there are health and medicinal uses. marula oil has many food and domestic uses as it is 10 times more stable to oxidation than olive oil and has free radical scavenging properties. These are traits conferring its use in cosmetics. (page 15)

3. Vitellaria paradoxa (Shea Nut)

It is one of the best known among many indigenous trees of Africa as the oil from its nuts is the source of shea butter that is widely used in the confectionary and cosmetic industries. Shea butter production as a source of edible fat from agroforestry parklands is second only to cocoa butter as a source of stearic acid in the multi-billion dollar chocolate and cosmetic industries. In addition to its products and their role in livelihoods, V. paradoxa parklands are recognized for their contribution to environmental services. (page 15)

The international trade in shea has been opaque to the consumers of its edible products about the role of women involved in the production, harvesting and post-harvest processing of shea nuts. (...) The expansion of shea production raises post-harvest issues. For example, the storage of shea fruits and nuts is often associated with their damage by a wide range of insects (mites, ants and weevils), threatening food security, self-sufficiency and farmer income. These risks increase with longer periods in storage. (page 17)

There is an opportunity to use ‘green chemistry’ to produce a wide range of new products from shea butter as part of a new global approach to the industrial development of sustainably produced and healthy edible vegetable oils and fats. (page 17)

4. Allanblackia Species (Tallow Tree)

The oil-rich kernels of Allanblackia species have traditionally been used by local people for their edible oils and medicinal properties. Their domestication became a major Public–Private Partnership agroforestry initiative due to commercial interest in their unique fatty acid profiles. This has led to enhanced interest in its cultivation as a new crop. (page 17)

The prime focus of the commercialization has been its potential in the manufacture of margarine for international markets. However, as with domestication, a localized approach to marketing was promoted through small- and medium-term enterprise development for the Allanblackia product trade. This initiative has resulted in the export of nuts for processing in Europe. (page 18)

5. Tamarindus indica (Tamarind)

In sub-Sahara Africa, this species is traditionally used to build resilience into the farming system in terms of food security, income generation and ecosystem stability. Indigenous fruits are one of the most important groups of plants for consumption by local people, with T. indica among those of greatest importance for their nutritional value across the continent. (page 19)

Although having a sharp, sour taste, the pulp of tamarind fruits is used industrially to make sauces, syrups, jams, chutney and beverages, with greater potential for its oils. In addition, its leaves, bark and roots are used as medicinal products, fuelwood and fodder. (page 19)

6. Zizyphus species (Ber)

There are many Ziziphus species, several of which are indigenous to Africa. [Such as]: Z. mauritiana, Z. mucronata and Z. spina-christi. They are all indigenous to dry, low-rainfall and high-temperature areas. They produce edible fruits which are used in local cuisine, as well as to make alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, jams, etc. The trees have large spines and are also used to make hedges to exclude livestock. (page 20)

7. Prunus africana (Pygeum)

Prunus africana is found in many highland areas of Africa, often in isolated populations. Extracts from its bark are used in the pharmaceutical industry as a major source of compounds to treat benign prostate hyperplasia (prostate enlargement) in men. 

The over exploitation of Prunus africana has led to calls for its integration into agro-forestry systems and its domestication to improve the source of these medicinal products to supply the pharmacological industry. (...) The World Agroforestry Centre has also led a pan-African programme with multiple partners to implement the conservation, domestication and cultivation of pygeum by farmers using agroforestry systems. This has placed great emphasis on the role of farmers, the industry and policy makers to ensure much more sustainable production, harvesting and bark processing.  (page 21)

A farmer-centred approach

As a farmer-centred approach to extension, Rural Resource Centres have been identified as an excellent source of agricultural information. The model has been awarded the distinction of being one of the top 20 innovations benefitting smallholder farmers.  (page 32)

Prioritising tree species preferred by farmers is considered to be instrumental for the success of domestication programmes, since it empowers farmers to simultaneously improve the production of both their crops and woody multipurpose species. (page 34)

The challenge now, however, is to scale up the application of tree domestication within agroforestry for meaningful social, economic and environmental impact at different scales (national, regional, global). The key to adoption partly lies in addressing the site-specific needs which are driven by different preferences and aspirations of local communities. Indeed, membership to a tree farmer group, awareness of farmers about socio-ecological benefits of agroforestry, and effective provision of extension services positively affect adoption. Accordingly, success involves meeting farmers’ choices, with appropriate technological designs and implementation through participatory approaches which form the core of the tree domestication strategy. In this regard, it is widely recognised that farmer institutions can play a crucial role in upscaling and capacity building of agroforestry programmes. (page 38)


There is need to support the skills, techniques and philosophy behind the locally appropriate strategy of domesticating a range of different trees at the community ‘grassroots’ level as a source of numerous social, economic and environmental benefits for local communities. Then, through the processing
and value addition of tree products grown on-farm opportunities for income generation and local employment can multiply the livelihood benefits, especially for women and children. However, more work needs to be done to capture the opportunities presented by the genetic potential of individual elite trees and move these initiatives towards a decentralised, continent-wide, tree domestication development programme on the scale needed to meaningfully deliver this wide range of impacts. (page 53)

Friday, February 24, 2023

CGIAR Food System Accelerator

22 - 24 February 2023. 
CGIAR Food System Accelerator kick-off in Kigali, Rwanda to announce the top 10 agribusinesses from East and Southern Africa

The CGIAR Food Systems Accelerator Kick-off event took place in Kigali, Rwanda to unveil its first cohort of agribusinesses from East and Southern Africa. The event brought together a diverse group of companies scaling climate-smart innovations that address pressing problems in food value chains.

288 high quality applications were received and 10 agribusinesses were selected as the first cohort for the Food Systems Accelerator. The initiative will assist with match-making demand (agribusiness needs) with supply (CGIAR science and knowledge assets). Together, the agribusinesses together with the CGIAR scientists and local demand partners in the agribusiness ecosystem, will support the scaling of various innovations from mechanization to solar irrigation, conservation agriculture, agriculture risk management solutions and nutrition. 

These agribusinesses are located in the four priority countries of the first cohort: Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and Rwanda. Subsequent phases will prioritize other countries in the region including: Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Eswatini and Tanzania.

The CGIAR Food Systems Accelerator is part of Ukama Ustawi, CGIAR’s regional integrated initiative for East and Southern Africa. The initiative aims to support climate-resilient agriculture and livelihoods in 12 countries in East and Southern Africa by helping millions of smallholders intensify, diversify, and reduce the risks in maize-based farming through improved extension services, small and medium enterprise development, supporting governance frameworks and increased investment with a gender and social inclusion lens.
“The Food Systems Accelerator is of decisive importance to an agribusiness seeking financing to ‎develop sustainable products for food markets. 2SCALE’s unique farm-to-market based expert support ‎does not only accelerate growth of inclusive businesses, but it also helps them to create a mature, ‎solid investment case. With 2SCALE’s support in developing a strong ‎supply/demand chain, and investing in nutritious business case for example, the operational and financial ‎risks would be drastically reduced for the Food Systems Accelerator handpicked agribusinesses,” Peter Kirimi, Snr. Financial ‎Inclusion Manager IFDC-2SCALE.

Innovations for sustainable soil fertility management

23 February 2023.
 Fertilizers Disrupted: Time to Embrace innovation

This webinar from the World Bank is the first in this new series under the Food Systems Innovation webinar series and are dedicated at showcasing a range of innovations and discussing how the government can use and/or support the scaling up of these innovations for sustainable soil fertility management.

Recording forthcoming

While it is understandable that global fertilizer production and distribution systems are crucial for agriculture and food production and have significantly contributed to yield increases over the last decades, it is also evident that it lacks sustainability and its limits for supporting a resilient food system are now brought to the fore. Fertilizer application if often inadequate and inefficiency, its supply depends on a few countries and it is a source of pollution and GHG emission. Record fertilizer prices provide an opportunity to fast track the change towards carbon-neutral and more sustainable agriculture systems and can serve as the disruption which will ease farmers and investors transition to alternative fertilizers. 

Many options already exist, from a data-driven use of chemical fertilizers to innovations allowing decentralized production systems or move to a range of options of BioSolutions with microbial- or plant-based fertilizer, which have the potential to provide a viable long-term solution to these challenges.
  • Moderator: Parmesh Shah, Global Lead, Data-driven Digital Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, The World Bank
  • Chakib Jenane, Practice Manager, West and Central Africa, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, World Bank
  • Shobha Shetty, Practice Manager, East Africa (TBC)
  • Julian Lampietti, Manager for Global Engagement, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, World Bank
  • Sebastian Nduva, Program Lead, AFO, International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)
  • Mandla Nkomo, Chief Growth Officer, Excellence in Agronomy Initiative, CGIAR
  • Jeremy Cordingley, Founder/Managing Director, Crop Nutrition Laboratory Services (Cropnuts)

    Cropnuts was established in 1998 and is Africa’s one of the leading laboratory for agricultural and environmental testing, providing a wide range of analytical services to farmers, businesses and smallholders. Cropnuts has developed detailed soil fertility maps for several African countries. These soil fertility maps typically cover large areas of land and reveal variations in the soil properties. These maps have been used by fertilizer blending companies and research institutions to develop specialist fertilizer blends for specific crops in different agro-ecological zones – a process that we call Smart Blending.

  • Nico Pinkowski, Co-founder, and CEO, Nitricity
  • Bill Brady, Founding CEO and Director, Kula Bio
  • Closing Remarks: Martien van Nieuwkoop, Global Director, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, The World Bank

This Register of Fertilizer Manufacturing and Processing Facilities in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), excluding South Africa, monitors and maps all operational fertilizer producing plants, indicating the available name-plate production capacity in the region. The register also captures information on upcoming projects on fertilizer plant installations. The details are obtained by (AFO) directly from fertilizer companies by use of questionnaires or from secondary data. 
The AfricaFertilizer (AFO) initiative is the premier source for fertilizer statistics and information in Africa. Set up in 2009, AFO is hosted by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) and supported by several partners, including the International Fertilizer Association (IFA), on fertilizer trade and fertilizer use by crop studies, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) through Development Gateway (DG) as partner for data visualization, Argus Media as partner for international fertilizer prices, comments, and reports and USAID’s Bureau for Resilience and Food Security through the Feed the Future Soil Fertility Technology Adoption, Policy Reform, and Knowledge Management under the Sustainable Opportunities for Improving Livelihoods with Soils (SOILS) Consortium for monitoring tools such as the AfricaFertilizer Watch.

Foresight methods for food systems transformation

The second episode of the Foresight4Food Webinar Series 2023 focus on practical examples and cases of use of foresight methods for food systems transformation. The interactive webinar series will provide plenty of engagement opportunities for diverse stakeholder groups and individuals working on foresight to share their work with others in the Foresight4Food network. 

Themes addressed in the series revolve around: 
  1. what is the value-add for using foresight approaches, 
  2. how to link qualitative and quantitative foresight methods; 
  3. and regional and country-level foresight use cases.

23 February 2023Integrating Stakeholder Engagement and Computer Modelling in Foresight Process

In the second episode, experts from International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Wageningen Economic Research (WEcR), and the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP) spoke about their work on the use of computer modeling in the foresight process.

8 February 2023. “State of Play: An Update on the foresight work of Foresight4Food, IFPRI and FAO Asia’.

  • Moderated by Jim Woodhill, Lead Foresight4Food Initiative, the guest speakers for the first episode were:
  • Keith Wiebe, Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI, 
  • Rathana Peou Norbert-Munns, Climate Foresight and Scenarios Development Expert at the UN FAO. 

2 December 2022. Foresight and Future Scenarios for Food Systems Transformation CFS 50 Side Event

Foresight4Food side event at 50th Plenary Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS). 
  • Moderator: Jim Woodhill, Lead Foresight4Food Initiative 
  • Patrick Caron, International Director at Montpellier University of Excellence / CIRAD 
  • Abdurazak Ibrahim, Cluster Lead, Institutional Capacity and Future Scenarios, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA
  • Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann, a member of the HLPE-FSN 
  • John Ingram, Lead of the Food Group at the Environmental Change Institute 
  • Sara Savastano, the Director of IFAD's Research and Impact Assessment Division 
  • Ravi Khetarpal, Executive Secretary of Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), and Chair of the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR
  • Sara Mbago-Bhunu, the Director of IFAD's East and Southern Africa Division 
  • Winnie Yegon, a Horticulture Fellow with the African Food Fellowship
  • Herman Brouwer, Senior Advisor for Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration at the Centre for Development Innovation (CDI), Wageningen University and Research

Key Results and Recommendations of the Agroecology Dialogue Series

In 2022, FAO and Biovision Foundation organized the Agroecology Dialogue Series, an initiative in support of the Coalition for food systems transformation through Agroecology (Agroecology Coalition).

The briefs were officially launched during the FAO Deputy Director-General’s visit to Switzerland on 22 February 2023.

The series consists of three thematic dialogues that aim to identify entry points, opportunities, building blocks, innovative approaches and institutional frameworks that can support the upscale of agroecology. Between 60 and 90 participants contributed to each dialogue from various backgrounds (scientists, government representatives, civil society organizations, intergovernmental organizations, private sector, and others) and sectors. The key findings and recommendations of each dialogue were summarized in three outcome briefs.

23 June 2022Dialogue 1: The interface between agroecology and territorial approaches for food systems transformation

Agroecology and its principles are increasingly recognized as a promising pathway for providing sustainable solutions to the issues of food security and nutrition, the fight against poverty and social inequalities, the adaptation to climate change, the preservation of biodiversity and natural resources, and the fight against zoonotic diseases. Simultaneously, approaches that put territories at the center of development also gained attention for the implementation of the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. They are championed as being more effectively and sustainably tailored to local socio-economic and ecological conditions and have been proposed as ways to increase the sustainability of agricultural landscapes that look at the landscape as an integrated system of resources, actors, processes, and flows.

This first hybrid dialogue: 
  • explored the interface between territorial approaches and agroecology, and how this interface contributes to the sustainable transformation of food systems. 
  • analysed the relation between both approaches and the pathways needed for public policies, research initiatives, investment mechanisms, and advocacy to support agroecological transitions at territorial scales.
FAO and Biovision (2023) The interface between agroecological and territorial approaches for food systems transformations, Outcome brief no. 1, January 2023, # 17 p.

15 September 2022 Dialogue 2: Beyond the farm: Exploring synergies between the agroecology and conservation communities

The second dialogue intended to connect the conservation and agroecology communities to explore opportunities and limitations of agroecology to address conservation needs beyond the farm. It looked beyond classical on-farm conservation angles (e.g. conservation of local crop varieties and crop wild relatives). 

  • it discussed the contributions of agroecology to mitigate species decline and ecosystem degradation in the landscape, which are less explicitly recognised within existing narratives of the agroecology or conservation communities. 
  • The dialogue also aimed to identify concrete pathways to increase synergies between the agroecology and conservation communities in food system transformation through policy reform, knowledge creation and investment.
FAO and Biovision (2023)  Beyond the farm: Exploring synergies between the agroecology and conservation communities, Outcome brief no. 2, January 2023, # 15 p.

29 September 2022. Dialogue 3: Agroecology as a response to agri-input scarcity

This third dialogue reflected on the current global food crisis and the looming scarcity of agricultural inputs. Record prices in fertilizers, supply chain interruption, increasing dependence on synthetic agricultural inputs and on a handful of suppliers have underlined the urgency of food system transformation. As a result, a number of countries are committing to reducing their dependence on synthetic inputs. The current crisis creates opportunities to advance food system transformation through agroecology. 

The dialogue focused on:
  • a better understanding of concrete implementation steps and pathways to increase the resilience of food systems to agricultural inputs scarcity through agroecological approaches, in the areas of policy reform, knowledge creation and investments.
FAO and Biovision (2023) Agroecology as a response to agri-input scarcity, Outcome brief no. 3, January 2023, # 17 p.