Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, March 4, 2024

North Africa Digital Climate Advisory Services (DCAS)

4-5 March 2024
. North Africa Digital Climate Advisory Services (DCAS) hybrid training event to support climate resilience for smallholder agriculture
  • GCA, the Global Center on Adaptation , an international organization operating as a solution broker to accelerate action and support for adaptation solutions, is launching its Food Security Program in Africa, to support mainstreaming of digital climate advisory services ( DCAS ) and adaptation solutions into agriculture and food security investments .
  • DCAS is seen as a potential game changer for smallholder farmers, giving them access to information and a variety of services .
  • For the first time, all key players in agrofood research and innovation from the public and private sector in North Africa are gathered to exchange experience and design potential joint programs to address the challenges of the region

This training event brings together public and private key changemakers from the North African region who have the capacity to scale up Digital Climate Advisory Services (DCAS) in their countries.

The Training of Trainers format aims at informing and strengthening the capacity of selected public and private actors to share knowledge, best practices and experiences, as well as explore the latest innovation and approaches that can promote the adoption of DCAS in their countries.


Overview of the programme

04/03 What is DCAS? Sketching the Tools to do Advisory and Extension Work Digitally

  • Moderated by Fadi Abdelradi, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agriculture
  • Dr. Saad Moussa, Head of External Relations and Chairman of Central Administration of Plant Quarantine, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation of Egypt
  • Dr. Bruce M. Campbell, Senior Advisor, Food Security and Wellbeing, GCA
  • Ms. Zainab Awad, Country Programme Officer, Egypt, IFAD
  • Ms. Svetlana Edmeades, Lead Agriculture Economist MENA Region, World Bank

04/03 Public Sector Case Studies of Agencies Integrating DCAS in their Extension Services

  • Dr. Mohamed El-Kersh, Digital Coordinator, Ministry of Agriculture & Land Reclamation, Egypt
  • Dr. Tarik Benabdelouahab, Principal Research Scientist, INRA, Morocco

04/03 Update on DCAS Digital Tools to Improve Advisory and Extension

  • Dr. Ajit Govind, Senior Climatologist Systems Modeler, acting Head Geo Agro, ICARDA
    (CGIAR) Introduction to digital climate advisory services tools and contents and progress to date

04/03 GCA, The World Bank and IFAD Overview and Projects in Agricultural Digital Services in North Africa

Development partners’ investment plans and cooperation with public and private actors
  • Ms. Fatma El Zahraa Aglan, Egypt Focal Point for Digital Agriculture, World Bank

    In the Q&A she answered the online question on "How do you increase the confidence between bankers and farmers for funds ?" [see PAEPARD blog post illustrating this Involvement of the Private Sector in Financing Climate Adaptation Actions
  • Dr. Bruce M. Campbell, Senior Advisor, Food Security and Rural Wellbeing, GCA

    Bruce referred to the report
    CLIMEAT (2023) Advancing climate change adaptation in African food systems: Seven key priorities for action on adaptation #19 p.

    Climate impacts in Sub-Saharan Africa are severe and will increase. Agriculture is a cornerstone of the economies of most countries and yet is dominated by climate-vulnerable rainfed systems. Meeting the food demands of the growing African population will require significant adjustments in food production systems and unfortunately, current adaptation efforts across the continent are insufficient to meet the climate challenge. This is demonstrated by lack of progress on National Adaptation Planning (NAP) processes, the likelihood of not achieving SDG2 on zero hunger, and the large numbers requiring humanitarian assistance because of climate change-related extreme events. Adaptation finance and funding are lacking, with international climate funding failing to reach the agreed targets and being dominated by indirect access. Private sector finance is limited but represents a massive opportunity. However, enabling policies and governance for adaptation need to improve.

  • Mr. Nadhem Mtimet, Senior Regional Technical Specialist, IFAD


05/03 How is DCAS used in smallholders’ linkages with their ecosystem? How to scale up and engage the private sector and investments?

Interactive session with group discussion and presentation of case studies of companies’ integrating DCAS in their operations and private agritech from North Africa

Case studies of agribusiness companies
  • Dr. Naglaa Ahmed, Project Manager, Sekem
  • Eng. Hesham Radwan, CEO, Danone
  • Mr. Tamer Mostafa, Agriculture Operations Manager, Olam Egypt
  • Eng. Magdy Elsobky, Country Manager Egypt & Middle East, Agricultural Solutions, BASF Egypt and Dr. Inji Zaki, Sustainability & Digitalization Manager, Agricultural Solutions, BASF Egypt
  • Ms. Wendy Smith, Agriculture and Public-Private Partnerships Lead, AXA Emerging Customers

Case studies of agritech companies and emerging eco-systems
  • Mr. Mousine Lakhdissi, Director AgriData, Morocco
  • Mrs. Dorra Fiani, President, Knowledge Economy Foundation/Bashaier Platform
  • Eng. Hassan El Badawy, Senior Digital Specialist, GIZ
  • Mr. Yehia Houri, Chief Program Officer, Flat6Labs, Egypt


05/03 Engaging smallholders in the co-development of DCAS Programs

  • Moderated by Fadi Abdelradi, Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, Cairo
  • Dr. Sayed Khalifa, Head of Agricultural Professions Syndicate, Egypt
  • Dr. Mohamed Fahim, Head of Climate Change Information Center, ARC, Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Egypt
  • Ms. Rem Ferchichi, Director UMNAGRI North Africa Farmers Organization
  • Ms. Valentina Sommacal, Rural Institutions and Services Expert (FAO-RNE)/AFRAS Secretariat
  • Event participants from North African farmers’ organizations and NGOs/CSOs


052/03 Successful advances in Digital Applications

Case studies of leading digital service providers offering bundled services and alternative low-digital connectivity solutions
  • Mr. Youssef Tawfick, Manager, Products and Solutions, Mastercard Egypt
  • Mr. Ashraf Gouda, Microsoft Technology Strategist, Microsoft Egypt

05/03 Tailoring DCAS Business Models to the Local Context

How to design a sustainable business model: subsidies, sponsored, subscriptions? DCAS business model canvas: mapping exercise and interactive session
  • Moderated by: Dr. Brian Muroyiwa, Head, Department of Agricultural Economics & Extension, NUL Lesotho

05/03 Prospects of DCAS Applications in North Africa

Group discussions on the innovations required to enable DCAS supply chain: regulations, technologies, infrastructure, business linkages, customized finance, knowledge management

  • Dr. Faissal Sehbaoui, Director AgriEdge, subsidiary Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Morocco
  • Mrs. Dorra Fiani, President Knowledge Economy Foundation/Bashaier Platform, Egypt



Related: 25 – 26 April 2024, 8:00 GMT+1. Digital Climate Advisory Services Training to Support Climate Resilience for Smallholder Agriculture in Central Africa


The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP), a joint initiative of the African Development Bank and the Global Center on Adaptation, will bring together key public and private sector changemakers from Central Africa for a two-day training session on the effective implementation and scale-up of digital climate advisory services.

Past event: 27 - 28 September 2023 DCAS Training to Support Climate Resilience in Smallholder Agriculture in Southern Africa

This two-day training event aimed to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, best practices, and experiences, as well as to explore the latest innovations and approaches that promote the adoption of Digital Climate Advisory Services (DCAS) in Southern Africa.



Past event:  8 – 9 December 2022. Training of Trainers on Digital Climate Advisory Services in West Africa

As part of its role of setting climate adaptation agenda and as a leading knowledge broker for climate adaptation in Africa through its African Adaptation Acceleration Program (AAAP), GCA will be convening stakeholders from ministries of agriculture, related government agencies, public research institutions, farmers organizations, universities and non-profit organizations working on climate adaptation for food security in West Africa to a 2-day training event.


The training, was co-organized with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), will hold in Accra, Ghana. It was organized in a “Training of the Trainers” to improve the confidence and capacity of trainees to design and implement DCAS projects to reach the last mile and farmers.




Sunday, March 3, 2024

Unlocking the potential of private sector engagement for innovations that can transform the food system

A new Discussion Starter by Clim-Eat outlines the most promising ways for research and philanthropic organizations to engage with the private sector to develop innovations that support the transition to a more sustainable food system.

Food systems innovations require an estimated USD10.5 billion of additional agriculture research and innovation investment per year between now and 2030 in order to reduce hunger by 5 per cent and meet greenhouse gas emissions targets in line with the Paris Agreement. But with public investment slowing down in recent decades, there is increasing interest in collaboration with the private sector to help fill the gap.



After all, private sector entities often have the advantage of significant innovation capacity and direct links to consumers and farmers, providing opportunities to support climate change adaptation and mitigation. At the same time, there is a risk that corporate entities steer innovation away from environmental outcomes.

The Discussion Starter, Picking locks for potential: Mobilizing private sector innovation for climate action explores how the private sector research and development pipeline for food and agriculture works, how it currently aligns to the need for climate action, the hurdles (“lock-ins”) involved in making it more climate responsive, and how to overcome them with a series of interventions (“lockpicks”).



“If we are to fundamentally transform food systems to put them on a sustainable footing, while simultaneously addressing food insecurity, we need all hands on deck in coming up with innovative solutions,” said lead author Leanne Zeppenfeldt of Clim-Eat. “This report helps to shine a light on some of the ways to engage with the private sector so that its phenomenal power and influence can help enhance environmental outcomes while also boosting food production for those most in need.”

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Recordings February - THEMATIC


FOOD SYSTEMS

CAADP

NUTRITION

INNOVATION

AGRIBUSINESS

LAUNCH OF NEW RESEARCH PROJECTS



Friday, March 1, 2024

Webinars March

  • Digital Agri Hub is launching a new e-mail-based conversation.
  • GCA, the Global Center on Adaptation , an international organization operating as a solution broker to accelerate action and support for adaptation solutions, is launching its Food Security Program in Africa, to support mainstreaming of digital climate advisory services ( DCAS ) and adaptation solutions into agriculture and food security investments . 
  • DCAS is seen as a potential game changer for smallholder farmers, giving them access to information and a variety of services .
  • For the first time, all key players in agrofood research and innovation from the public and private sector in North Africa are gathered to exchange experience and design potential joint programs to address the challenges of the region .
  • North Africa DCAS hybrid training event is co-hosted by GCA, IFAD, AFDB, with the participation of WB and ISDB
  • Related: 25 – 26 April 2024, 8:00 GMT+1. Digital Climate Advisory Services Training to Support Climate Resilience for Smallholder Agriculture in Central Africa
4-5 March 2024. Mastering Erasmus+ proposal development: from project concept to winning proposal.  2-day online training course by European Academy: Course payment and reservation in advance

5 March 2024.2-3pm CET.  Beneath the surface: exploring best practices for soil regeneration and carbon farming - hosted in partnership with Bayer Crop Science.

5 - 6 March 2024 AFMASS Ethiopia Food Expo co-located with Africa Food Safety Summit – Eastern Africa

5 - 6 March 2024. Washington. Powering Africa Summit, finance for the energy transition.

  • Launch of the Water Footprint Tool and Guidance document, featuring step-by-step instructions on its utilization. 
  • Gain insights directly from Winnow an AI-based company actively involved in reducing Food Loss and Waste (FLW) in the UAE
  • Speakers: Seta Tutundjian سيتا توتنجيان, CEO and founder, Thriving Solutions, Rachel Devine, Senior Analyst, WRAPDavid Jackson, Director of Marketing & Public Affairs, Winnow, And a pre-record from City, University of London
  • Previous webinar recording 22/02: Champions 12.3, a regional network that brings together public, private, and civil society organizations working across the Middle East and North Africa on food loss and waste (learn about joining the multi-stakeholder network and calculating Carbon Footprint it)
7 March 2024 - 1:00 TO 2:30pm BST/9:00 TO 10:30AM EST. Global Food 50/50 Launch Event
Co-organized by Global Health 50/50, IFPRI, and UN Women

  • The Theme of the event is “Reflecting on the Malabo Declaration and Outlining the new (Post Malabo) Agenda to Build Momentum, Re-invigorate and Consolidate the Gains on CAADP, and respond to Emerging Trends and Dynamics”.
  • The official launch of the fourth BR report is in line with efforts to increase awareness and advocacy and to commence the necessary dialogues on the findings of the report to enhance ownership and action at national, regional and continental levels. The Post-Malabo agenda roadmap outlines the objectives, process, expectations and timelines for discussion.
8 March 2023, at 3 PM WAT, The Future of Food is Inclusive: African Women At The Forefront Of Agriculture by African Food Changemakers

8 March 2024. Climate Finance Forum  - Cape Town by RES4Africa Foundation together with Nedbank CIB and the European Investment Bank

8 March 2024, 12 March 2024 and 20 March 2024 Celebrating Women in Organic Agriculture webinars: 3-part webinar series. 

8 March 2024, 14:00 CET Youth Adaptation Forum on Young Women Leadership 

11–13 March 2024. Leuven, Belgium. Open Food Conference
  • For three days, international and national stakeholders will reflect in Leuven on the challenges and prospects of a sustainable food system. 
  • The aim is to create synergies between science, policy and practice. Scientists, policy-makers, civil society and industry will participate and co-organise, more than 20 thematic sessions!
11–15 March 2024, Livingstone, Zambia. Global EverGreening Alliance | Accelerating Nature-based Solutions

11th March, 2024, in Lusaka, Zambia. Official launch event of the Agdive 2024 program 
  • Agdrive is an acceleration and investment platform focused on unlocking innovation and investment in Africa’s agro-processing, agritech, and digital agriculture sector. 
  • AgDrive is a 12 month innovation and investing ecosystem focused on innovative early stage and growth oriented early stage and growth oriented small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the agro processing, agritech, and digital sectors. 
13 - 14 March 2024. Bioeconomy Changemakers Festival
  • Bioeconomy Changemakers Festival in Brussels at our high-level event and at more than 30 satellite events across Europe.
  • 40-years journey through the Research and Innovation Framework Programmes. Check the programme​ here!
  • 20/03 17h:50 – 18:20 The AU-EU Innovation Agenda A Forward-looking Cooperation for the Africa-Europe Partnership
  • 20/03 17h:50 – 18:20 Evolution of Association of Third Countries to EU Research & Innovation Framework Programmes
  • 21/03 11:40 – 12:10 Innovation Ecosystems for Bioeconomy and Food Systems 
18 - 21 March 2024. Training on breeding data management with BreedBase Lima, Peru

  • FAO, Biovision, the Food Policy forum for Change and the Agroecology Coalition
  •  Get inspired by learnings from Eastern and Southern Africa summarised in the outcome brief “National Agroecology Strategies in Eastern and Southern Africa: Lighthouses for food system transformation” which will be launched during the event and followed by an insightful discussion with policy makers and shapers from the region, as well as international experts.
19–20 March 2024. Montpellier. The Montpellier Process: Pooling Collective Intelligence
  • The event will gather 200-300 selected individuals from scientific and policy domains, focusing on intentional, diverse representation. It seeks to identify and agree on a joint roadmap Details
  • The Blue Bioeconomy ERA-Net Cofund will organise a Final meeting in Brussels to mark the end of the ERA-Net. The event will gather science-policy professionals and research and innovation funders to discuss R&I project portfolio management, using a Value Chain Approach and creating synergies among projects. 
  • BlueBio funding partners, policy officers from The European Commission, representatives from relevant HE Partnerships and other institutions will be invited to join the one-day event in Brussels.
19 - 24 March 2024. VIII Global Conference Family Farming: Sustainability of Our Planet

  • The European Commission’s annual flagship research and innovation event brings together policymakers, researchers, stakeholders, and the public to debate and shape the future of research and innovation in Europe and beyond through key policy debates, funding and networking opportunities, and dedicated workshops.
21 March 2024. 13:00-18.00 (UTC +1) How innovation is driving change in forestry  by FAO


27 March 2024. Soil health Africa 

  • Partners such as GIZ, FSD-Kenya, African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership, AGRA, National Research Fund, International Food Policy Research Institute, Tegemeo Institute, Association of Fintechs in Kenya, AGRA, Association of Microfinance Institutions of Kenya, Fertilizer Association of Kenya, Apollo Agriculture, Kenya Union of Savings and Credit Co-operatives, SNBX Capital, will contribute to this conference and transformation of the Agricultural sector in Kenya.
29 March 2024 | 9.30-14.00 (CET). International Year of Millets Closing Event
9-12 April 2024 | Leuven, Belgium. 5th Global Food Security Conference. Towards equitable, sustainable and resilient food systems
  • Building on the momentum from the UN Food System Summit and recognizing that the 2030 target year of the Sustainable Development Goals is on the horizon, this 5th Global Food Security Conference will bring together science, business and policy to address this need.
10 - 12 April 2024. EU-Zambian Business Forum: Value addition in the copper sector


  • This conference will explore opportunities in circular food production, renewable energy, and sustainable agro-logistics, asking how the private sector, both Dutch and African, can contribute to a sustainable and inclusive future for the continent.
24 April 2024. Innovations Session n°18: Innovations in packaging: opportunities for African entrepreneurs and SMEs

25-26 April 2024, 8:00 GMT+1 Digital Climate Advisory Services Training to Support Climate Resilience for Smallholder Agriculture in Central Africa



2 - 3 June 2024. Exploring Intersections: Decolonization, Diasporas and the African Food System
  • This hybrid conference is an initiative of the Food Bridge vzw in partnership with Diaspofood ULB, Africa Museum Tervuren, Interdisciplinary Historical Food Studies Research Group (FOST) VUB, The New Global Order (TNGO), Alefa Diaspora and others.
  • The conference seeks to unravel the historical, cultural, and socio-economic dynamics that shaped the
  • current state of African food systems and its impact on the continent’s development. Furthermore, it will be considering the effects of colonization, the experiences of diasporic communities, and the potential for decolonization to reshape the African food systems.
  • Abstracts should be in .doc or pdf format and sent to diasporaprojet@gmail.com Maureen.Duru@vub.be Sarah.Oneill@ulb.be

10 June 2024. Nairobi, Kenya Africa Future Food Summit

12 - 14 June 2024. . Nairobi, Kenya AFMASS Food Expo Eastern Africa co-located with Dairy Manufacturing Africa Expo

17 to 20 June 2024. ANH2024 (Online) Learning Labs
  • The 9th annual Agriculture, Nutrition, and Health (ANH) Academy Week

23 June 2024. IUFRO World Congress 2024 - Forests and Society Towards 2050, Stockholm, Sweden

24 June 2024. SUN Movement Global Gathering 2024
  • The SUN Movement Global Gathering is the Movement’s flagship event and one of the largest international gatherings within the nutrition community.
24-26 June, 2024. COMPIE 2024 conference
  • Developments in the theory and the applications of counterfactual methods for policy impact evaluation. Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
  • The aim of COMPIE is to bring together practitioners and academics to discuss developments in the theory and the applications of counterfactual methods for policy impact evaluation. Applications can cover a broad range of interventions, from labor and social policy to regulation and funding programmes, ideally with a focus on EU policies or developing countries.
  • Paper submissions: January 1, 2024 to 28 February, 2024.
23–29 June 2024, Stockholm, Sweden. IUFRO | 26th World Congress

1–5 July, 2024. CGIAR Science Week, Nairobi.
  • Drawing on CGIAR science and partnerships from around the world, the inaugural CGIAR Science Week will bring together the community working for a food, nutrition and climate secure future to: co-create a roadmap for food, land and water systems transformation, forge partnerships for action, build the case for investment, inspire change.

3 July 2024 4th Life Cycle Innovation Conference | LCIC 2024

3 - 4 July 2024. Kenya, Kwale County. BlueInvest Africa 2024
  • BlueInvest Africa is an important business event, initiated by the European Commission in 2022.
  • The objective of BlueInvest Africa is to facilitate meetings between African entrepreneurs seeking financing and international investors scouting for opportunities, all centred around projects capable of propelling Africa's blue economy forward.
8 - 17 July 2024. High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2024

13 August 2024. Nairobi, Kenya Africa Fresh Produce Expo co-located with Africa FarmTech Expo

August 2024. AFMASS Nigeria Food Expo co-located with Africa Dairy Manufacturing Expo and Africa Food Safety Summit – Western Africa

4–9 August 2024, Taizhou, Zhejiang Province, China. IPC 2024 | 17th International Peatland Congress

12 - 13 August 2024. Crawford Fund Conference - Nurturing global change from Australia: Fostering agricultural innovation for worldwide food security, Australia

8 to 12 of September 2024. Rimini, Italy. 22nd IUFoST World Congress 2024 of Food Science and Technology.

22–23 September 2024, New York, USA. UN | Summit of the Future

21 October–1 November, TBA, Colombia. UN | 2024 United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP16)

November 2024 (Agro)pastoralism in Africa: Current Dynamics and Perspectives, in preparation for the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP 2026)

4–8 November 2024, TROPICAL SUMMIT

11–22 November 2024, Baku, Azerbaijan UN | 2024 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP29)

2–13 December 2024, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia UN | UNCCD COP16

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Innovative tools to reduce the overall cost to serve small agri businesses

22 February 2024. Small tickets, big returns: Innovative tools to reduce the overall cost to serve small agri businesses


Smaller enterprises in the agriculture sector have long struggled to access adequate and timely capital for their business activities, despite their critical role in moving food from farm to fork.

The development finance sector has increasingly focused on such enterprises, launching various funds and initiatives to bridge the estimated US$ 74.5 billion annual financing gap they face across Sub-Saharan Africa. While practical experience has advanced significantly in recent years, investors typically shy away from lending to smaller agricultural enterprises because the financial costs and risks often don’t match the financial returns of these investments.

This first session of the SAFIN and USAID’s ‘Backing the Middle’ webinar series explored this notion, looking first at how some investors are using innovative tools to reduce the overall cost to serve small businesses in the sector, and then discussing whether smaller enterprises can cumulatively generate more social returns than larger ones in terms of job creation, resilience and sustainable development.
Is there a path to sustainably support small businesses along their journey to accessing commercial investments with market returns?
  • Moderator: Songbae Lee Agricultural Finance Team Lead, USAID
  • Wouter Vandersypen Executive Director, Kampani
  • Jovitus Rutakinikwa Country Manager, SME Impact Fund (SIF)


Upcoming 


  • The Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network and the Marketlinks initiative of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are kicking off 2024 with a webinar series that dives deeply into diverse approaches and perspectives from agri-SME finance practitioners, from fund managers and commercial banks in sub-Saharan Africa, to donors backing large-scale agricultural SME funds.
  • Coming Soon: Donors as Investment Catalysts. 
    In March 2024, Session two of SAFIN's ‘Backing the Middle’ series. The next discussion will focus on engaging donors to explore the most effective utilization of concessional capital in agriculture to maximize impact on small agricultural enterprises and the farmers they support. Representatives of donor countries will focus on the central questions—where is concessional capital best utilized? What are the best approaches to attract private financiers without disrupting existing agri-SME finance markets?
    STAY TUNED HERE >
  • The third and final session of this series in April 2024 will highlight the use of financial incentives like guarantees and first loss facilities to encourage local financial institutions to lend to agripreneurs. Seasoned experts from the field to discuss when, how and how long incentives can be used to bridge the agri-SME finance gap in sub-Saharan Africa.

Recordings February 2024 - CHRONOLOGICAL

  • Organised by the City University of London
  • This webinar focused on insights from the IFPRI report: The Political Economy of Food System Transformation: Pathways to Progress in a Polarized World 
5 February 2024. A Hybrid High-Level Public Panel Discussion on the Future of the Malabo Declaration Beyond 2025 – What next? Recorded
  • Organised by PARI- Program of Accompanying Research for Agricultural Innovation
6 February 2024 Hybrid Event, From Commitments to Impact: Analyzing the Global Commitments Toward Promoting Food Security and Healthy Diets by IFPRI Recorded


7 February 2024. Research Lessons to Inform Future CAP Reform Recorded AUDIO
  • The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) plays a crucial role in aiming to transition to and maintain sustainable practices while addressing biodiversity loss and the challenges of climate change.

7 February 2024. New short film-Seeds of Profit (video)
  • Best Documentary released in 2019 a the film Seeds of Profit: Why Fruits and Vegetables Are the New Gold. It is since 7 February avaialble on YouTube.
8 February 2024. Building startup ecosystems to leverage the private and public sector for the transformation of our food system – A guidebook Recorded
12 - 14 February 2024. Science Transforming Food Systems for a Better Future Recorded
  • The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development (DALRRD) of South Africa hosted their first-ever joint annual conference.
  • Related: Focus on: Prof Umezuruike Linus Opara (video)

14 - 15 February 2024. Africa Tech Summit Nairobi (video)


  • Organised by the Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change (FACCE-JPI), together with Healthy Diet, Healthy Life, (HDHL)
15 - 16 February 2024. Multilateral dialogue on principles and values for international cooperation in research & innovation  (video)

15 February 2024. Regional Webinar on Leadership and Capacity Building in Food Science and Technology in Africa Recorded
  • The Association of African Universities (AAU) and the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST). Theme: Promoting collaboration and partnership for research development among academic leaders in Food Science and Technology

21 February 2024. Food Systems as a Solution to the Climate Agenda Recorded
  • Co-sponsored by the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, this Grand Rounds lecture featured Dr. Jess Fanzo.
21 February2024. The Potential of African regional markets: Successes from SMEs and Smallholders Recording forthcoming

21 - 22 February 2024. “It's Bean Too Hot: The Reality of Coffee Farming in the Era of Climate Change” Movie trailer

  • This first session of the SAFIN and USAID’s ‘Backing the Middle’ webinar series explored this notion, looking first at how some investors are using innovative tools to reduce the overall cost to serve small businesses in the sector, and then discussing whether smaller enterprises can cumulatively generate more social returns than larger ones in terms of job creation, resilience and sustainable development.
27 February 2024. Policy Fix Series: Taxes on HFSS Food and Beverages Recorded
  • HFSS: high in fat, sugar, and salt, by ATNI
  • With Jessica Fanzo, Professor of Global Food & Agricultural Policy and Ethics, John Hopkins. University
27 + 28 + 29 February 2024 CIRAD Webinars Recorded
  • CIRAD at the 2024 Paris International Agricultural Show
  • 28/02 La Grande Muraille verte face aux défis de la diversité des terroirs sahéliens
28 February 2024 Drivers of Agrifood System Transformation: Lessons from Feed-the-Future Country Studies Recorded
  • In a series of case studies, IFPRI and its research partners have studied the pace and pattern of agricultural transformation within USAID’s Feed-the-Future (FTF) countries
  • The studies use a novel indicator of agrifood system incomes and employment and further decompose these across major agricultural value chains. Learn about the top lessons that emerged from their analysis.
28 February 2024 Kosmos Innovation Center programs 5 Videos
  • The centers allow young entrepreneurs to create opportunities for themselves, by fine-tuning their ideas into a business focused on solving key problems in the agricultural sector.
  • Through a mix of training, mentoring, and seed-funding, young graduates in Ghana, Senegal, and Mauritania have the opportunity to bring their business ideas to life through the Senegal Startup Accelerator, AgriTech Challenge and Mauritania Innovation Challenge.
  • 18 teams of Entrepreneurs for Rural Access (ERAs) in Egypt serving as digital extension service providers were able to reach more than 60,000 people in rural communities.
  • Three farmer-to-farmer videos were produced that focus on the core technology and innovative
    solutions, including the raised bed technology, crop rotation, and land consolidation. 
29 February 2024 @9:00am EST) CGIAR Seminar Series, Reforming Agricultural Policies and Farm Support to Advance Sustainable Food System Transformation Recorded
  • with Patrick Ofori, Deputy Director, Head of M&E Division at Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Policy Planning Monitoring & Evaluation Directorate (PPMED) Ghana
29 February 2024. Webinar on Investing in Apple Farming in East Africa & Agro B2B Networking Recorded
  • This webinar organised by the East African Business Council (EABC), in partnership with Tamu Tamu Tanzania (TTT), aimed to empower agri-actors with the necessary knowledge to capitalize on the significant market demand for apples in the region and engage in B2B networking with agri-value chain actors.
  • See also EACB Website Profiling Investment Opportunities in Selected Agricultural Value Chains

Innovative Agriculture for Smallholder Resilience (iNASHR)

The Innovative Agriculture for Smallholder Resilience (iNASHR) project (Egypt) was implemented over 3 years during which there was the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to instability in farm prices and uncertainties in water availability.

Despite this, 18 teams of Entrepreneurs for Rural Access (ERAs) serving as digital extension service providers were able to reach more than 60,000 people in rural communities between 2021 and 2023.
  • Three specially commissioned “farmer-to-farmer” style training videos were produced (see at the bottom of this blog post)
  • and 60 other relevant Access Agriculture videos were translated into Arabic and shown to farmers. 
  • These active service providers, half of whom are women, used a solar-powered smart projector to reach communities where access to power supply, internet connection and mobile phone signal can be challenging.

Please find hereunder three related videos – Video learning for rural women & youth in Egypt; Youth-led knowledge exchange in rural Egypt; and Closing iNASHR Workshop with Josephine Rodgers, Executive Director of Access Agriculture – which are now on EcoAgtube to learn more about the exciting achievements of this project. The videos are in Arabic with subtitles in English.

 

“We were twenty people attending the video screening on raised beds. This was a new practice to us as we traditionally use furrow irrigation. Only five of us decided to try the new dimensions required from the video. With our improved harvests, the 15 other video show attendees all decided to follow in our footsteps the next year. Now I can proudly say that two years later, half my village irrigates this way now without question.” Mohamed,farmer from Beni Suef, Egypt


“Feed prices are continually increasing and many women in my community stopped raising poultry altogether. The price of chicken is so high now that many families can no longer afford to make their kids egg sandwiches anymore. Then I attended a village video show organized by a local charity where I learned the benefits of Azolla from Indian farmers. We’ve created over 200 ponds in our community and sell our eggs at a lower price than those in the market — so that we can afford to feed our children in our village again. The eggs taste really good too.” Mariam,rural woman from Sharkia, Egypt


Related article


Innovating Digital Extension Delivery Services in Rural Egypt
Supporting the co-construction of knowledge and inclusive growth for marginalized farmers through farmer-to-farmer videos and last-mile delivery

In 2020, Access Agriculture partnered with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) to facilitate technology dissemination with the Innovative Agriculture for Smallholder Resilience project, which is funded by BMZ and administered by GIZ-FIA, the Fund for International Agricultural Research. SNRD Africa is a network of local and international GIZ professionals working in the rural development sector in Africa.

The project under the leadership of Bezaiet Dessalegn ran in Egypt until the end of 2023 (see Water innovations that work | ICARDA).

Three farmer-to-farmer videos were produced that focus on the core technology and innovative solutions, including the raised bed technology, crop rotation, and land consolidation. 
  • The video production relied on the farmer-to-farmer approach which allows farmers to share important knowledge based on their own experience and in their own words. 
  • The farmers not only explain the solutions but also describe the challenges well so that fellow farmers watching the video can adapt the technology to meet their own needs
  • The video production also involved desk reviews and research, key interviews with experts, and running small group discussions among extension workers and lead farmers on selected video topics.

Videos developed by the Innovative Agriculture for Smallholder Resilience project: (note the number of views)


Launch of the African Academy of Science’s Strategic Plan 2023 – 2027

29 February 2023.  Launch of the African Academy of Science’s Strategic Plan 2023 – 2027

With lessons learned and opportunities in science for transforming lives, the AAS Strategic Plan (2023–2027) is anchored on the vision, renewed mission, and core values of AAS. The vision is Transformed lives through science while the renewed mission is to Leverage on Science, Technology, and Innovation for sustainable development. AAS’s values that will guide the Secretariat, the Governing Council, Fellows, and Partners in implementing the mission to attain the vision are integrity, diversity, excellence, empathy, and collaboration through fairness.

The roadmap adopted by AAS in this strategic plan will be based on five focus areas, which are summarised as follows: 1. Policy and governance 2. Natural sciences 3. Environmental and climate change 4. Health and wellbeing 5. Social sciences and humanities.

The launch was preceded by a round table on: AAS and the Advancement of Science in Africa: Policy, Practice and Prospects 
  • Moderator, Prof. Lise Korsten, President, AAS 
  • Prof. Mohamed Belhocine, Commissioner for ESTI, AU – Talk on AE
  • Dr. Lidia Brito, Assistant General Director, UNESCO – Give an overview of UNESCO work in science, and the collaboration opportunities for UNESCO and AAS on advancing Agenda 2063 within the context of the Africa we want. 
  • Dr. Peter Gluckman, President, International Science Council –ISC and AAS partnership towards accelerating science for sustainability in Africa. 
  • Dr. Phil Mphati Mjwara, Director General, Department of Science and Technology, South Africa – Expound on how AAS strategy links with the implementation and operationalisation of WSF 2022 and beyond.

Further Resources 

UNESCO (2023) REVIEW OF THE SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION STRATEGY FOR AFRICA (STISA-2024). FINAL REPORT (Shorter Version) #31 p.

A decade ago, the AU and the African Development Bank, based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, began work on establishing a research and innovation fund. Its scope has since been expanded to include education, and it is now called the African Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Fund. Countries were asked to contribute US$2 million each, which would be matched by the bank from its own sources. Progress has been slow. So far, only Botswana and Ghana have committed funding.


The fund’s overall size has been set at $300 million, but who else will contribute and eligibility criteria for funding applications are yet to be worked out. The fund needs to become a priority, say the authors of a review of AU science policies over the past decade, commissioned by the AU and the UN science agency UNESCO, and published at the end of 2023 (see go.nature.com/3sixqis). Ultimately, that means more heads of government will need to authorize the required finance.

Policy Innovations to Create Opportunities for Young People in Africa’s Agrifood Systems

Montpellier Panel (2024)  YOUTH AHEAD: Policy Innovations to Create Opportunities for Young People in Africa’s Agrifood Systems #158 p.


This report reviews the challenges limiting young people’s engagement in agrifood systems and demonstrates opportunities to empower Africa’s youth in agrifood systems.

The report highlights the successful strategies implemented by various countries in Africa and summarizes the key findings of four systematically selected countries: Ghana, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. These countries are at the forefront of empowering youth in their agrifood systems. The report reviews these countries’ policy and institutional innovations as well as their programmatic interventions targeting youth in the transformation of food systems. Their experiences are noteworthy for other African countries.
  • Diversifying education and training programs including skill up for entrepreneurship and employment for young Africans in agriculture and agribusiness; 
  • Addressing trade barriers coupled with technology infrastructure for jobs in a thriving agro-processing sector
  • Implementing dedicated processes to include youth in policy- and decision-making empowering youth; and 
  • Simultaneously addressing green growth and employment agendas with youth as investors.

In Ghana, initiatives such as the Youth Employment Agency Bill and the National Youth Policy were
cited as examples of efforts to upskill and support youth to enter the agri-food sector. As part of its plan to industrialize agriculture, increase food security and employment opportunities, and lower poverty rates, the country launched the Youth in Agriculture Programme (YIAP), which deployed youth-focused initiatives to change the negative perception of farmers as uneducated, unskilled laborers with low economic returns. Youth-focused institutions and programs in Uganda, such as the Presidential Zonal Industrial Hubs, the Uganda Industrial Research Institute Innovation Centre, and the Youth Livelihood Programme are providing young people with marketable skills in agri-food processing and product development, ICT, agricultural mechanization, and entrepreneurship. To further support digital transformation, the government launched the Digital Skills Acceleration Program and the Digital Transformation Program, which aim to increase access and usage of ICT by vulnerable groups, including small-scale farmers.

In Zambia, the government set up the Skills Development Levy to mobilize resources that can be invested in youth empowerment, notably in strengthening the infrastructure of technical and vocational training institutions. Through the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA), the TEVET bursary enables vulnerable youth to benefit from skills training, including courses in general agriculture, food and beverage production, automotive mechanics engineering, electrical engineering, and computer studies.

In Zimbabwe, innovation hubs in higher education institutions provide technical and research-based solutions for skills enhancement in the country’s labor force. Introduced under the framework of the country’s Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Policy, these hubs equip students with specific industrial skills to enable them to operate entrepreneurially with the capacity to incubate any businesses they create. Beneficiary sectors include agriculture, energy, and mining.

Extracts


Between 10 and 12 million young people entering the labor market each year (page 5)

Africa’s growing urban population and middle-class demand more varied, nutritious, processed, ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat foods. This increased demand can generate new jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people along African agribusiness value chains. (page 1)

A thriving agro-processing sector, in particular, offers a multitude of benefits. Transforming, preserving, and preparing food for intermediate or final consumption brings together the best of the agricultural, manufacturing, and services sectors. (page 2)

Although Africa’s agricultural exports have increased in recent years, the continent is still a net importer with a food import bill of approximately USD 80 billion annually as compared to USD 61 billion in exports. (page 4) Africa could gain up to USD 1.0 billion annually from higher exports of processed foods, livestock products, coffee, nuts, dried fruits, and other agricultural commodities through meeting international food product safety standards (page 44)


Africa’s combined food and beverage markets will triple in value from USD 313 billion in 2013 
to USD 1.0 trillion by 2030, with consumption in cities driving the demand for more products. Moreover, the share of processed foods is projected to increase five to tenfold between 2010 and 2040, translating to nearly 80 percent of staple food demand. (page 5)

A rise in the numbers of local small and medium-scale enterprises processing staples and other crops has been observed across the continent in recent years. (...). Over the next four years, off-farm agrifood jobs are expected to account for between 18 and 22 percent of new jobs in Tanzania, 18 percent in Nigeria, and 11 percent in Rwanda. The number of food manufacturing jobs in these three countries is expected to grow between 12 and 20 percent. (page 6)

TVET opportunities remain low across the continent. Although African countries are increasingly 
investing in technology and knowledge-intensive technologies, including irrigation technologies, 
farm machinery for processing, and horticulture, there are few targeted strategies or policies in place 
for accompanying skills development. (page 20)
  • In 2015, only 2 percent of African university students studied science, technology, engineering, and math subjects related to agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and veterinary studies, all of which are important for future job opportunities. (page 19)
  • In 2019, about 10 million young people were enrolled in technical and vocational secondary education—on average,  the percentage of youth aged between 15 and 24 years that are enrolled in vocational education is a meager 3 percent.  (page 17)
  • A recent study on skills in mechanization and automation in agro-processing in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa found that only 28 percent of staff in the firms sampled were qualified to work with machinery or with automated systems (page 21)
  • Africa’s universities need to expand their curricula to include programming and algorithm design so that they can become hubs of digital innovation for Africa’s agrifood systems. (page 22)
  • The Teacher Training Program (TTP) is a five-year program that was established by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in South Africa in 2003, Cameroun and Rwanda in 2018, and Ghana in 2020 in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation (page 24)

Pre-production


The pre-production segment of agrifood value chains offers numerous opportunities for young people to unleash their creative potential, ranging from the design and development of new technologies and innovative tools, including crop breeding and biotechnology, to information-sharing using digital platforms to provide weather forecasts or crop management or animal husbandry advice to farmers. (...) The applicability of what is taught to solve societal problems will increase the interest of youth in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)  subjects. (page 20)

Crop breeding and biotechnology

Skills in this field can be used to develop crop varieties that better meet societal needs—for example, varieties that reduce drudgery in the preparation of foods, provide increased yields, have improved taste or nutritional content, or take less time to mature and require less water. 
  • For example, Prince Matova, a young breeder from the Crop Breeding Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture in Zimbabwe, received an award from the International Atomic Energy Agency and FAO for developing Zimbabwe’s first cowpea variety developed with a nuclear technique. This cowpea variety can be grown in arid and semi-arid regions of Zimbabwe.
  • New cassava varieties that peel and cook easily were reported to reduce drudgery from household chores and crop production in Nigeria.  
  • The CGIAR, in partnership with National Agricultural Research Systems, helps to integrate more youth and women into seed production enterprises through various projects in African countries: ICRISAT supported a seed company called Mbozi Highlands (MHEG) and sustains seed business hubs for groundnut and sorghum in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania (page 28) 
Genetic engineering might include:
  • developing crops that can express toxins similar to organic pesticides in order to control pests, leading to a reduction in costs on labor, pesticides, equipment, and fuel. 
  • developing innovative fertilizer technology to reduce the usage of inorganic fertilizers and improve soil quality. These include cost-effective phytoremediation technologies, which is a plant-based approach to extract and remove elemental pollutants or lower their bioavailability in soil. 
  • enhance nutrient utilization by plants, reduce nutrient runoff, and increase soil organic carbon sequestration, while at the same time increasing agricultural productivity by producing hardier crops that thrive in harsh environments with lower levels of fuel, labor, fertilizer, and water (page 29) 

Production


Efforts have been made by some African governments to promote mechanization by providing machinery at subsidized rates to farmers, establishing state-led mechanization hire schemes or tractor assembly plants, and facilitating private service providers through the provision of state-subsidized tractors
. (page 30) 

DigiFarm is an integrated mobile-based platform for digital services tailored for smallholder farmers that was launched in 2017 by Safaricom, Kenya’s largest telecommunications provider, with support from  the AgriFin Accelerate program of Mercy Corps. DigiFarm is a free mobile platform that provides  farmers with convenient, one-stop access to quality farm inputs at discounted prices. (page 32) 

Advances in robotics and its application to agriculture are happening fast around the world, and the share of farmers that can already benefit from digital technologies in African agriculture is also growing fast, taking into account that farms ranging from 10 to 20 hectares represent the fastest growing farm segment in some countries in Africa and already account for more than 5 percent of the farm area in several countries. (page 33) 

FarmDrive in Kenya collects and aggregates data from multiple sources to build credit scores for 
farmers so that they can access loans and other financial services. Between 2014 and 2018, FarmDrive distributed over USD 300,000 in loans to Kenyan farmers, 37 percent of whom were youth (page 34) 

Digital agriculture—the application of digital tools along agricultural value chains—empowers young farmers with knowledge, enables the optimization of agricultural productivity, and enhances their access to upstream and downstream markets (page 35) 

Harvest


Food lost immediately after harvest in Africa has been estimated to be between 30 and 40 percent of what African farmers produce (...)  Most small-scale farmers tend to use traditional methods to increase the shelf-life of the crops before storing or transporting them. (...) Most harvest work is manual. Adoption of improved automated harvest technologies would not only reduce losses at harvest, but also increase youth interest in agriculture for income generation, given the reduction in drudgery. (page 37) 
  • For instance, Agroways in Uganda has partnered with 25,000 smallholder farmers and producers to provide storage space in their warehouses that are certified for grain handling and storage 
  • Sesi Technologies (Ghana) offers small-scale farmers a FarmerPack consisting of the GrainMate moisture meter, ZeroFly hermetic bag, grain drying services, grain threshing services, warehousing services, market access via the AgroMarket app, and post-harvest management training.  (page 38) 

Agro processing


The agro-processing sector is labor-intensive and presents high employment generation potential, both in absolute terms and compared to other sectors of manufacturing. Additionally, the different stages 
food undergoes during processing to add value require different expertise and skill sets to manage, 
thus creating new and additional employment opportunities that youth can tap into.  (page 39) 

A major impediment to the growth and productivity of agro-processing enterprises operated by youth is a lack of the necessary skills to profitably manage them. (page 41) With an average of 11 million young people joining the African labor market and only 3.7 million jobs being created annually, the transition to a bioeconomy can play an important role in addressing Africa’s employment gap. (page 42)

Marketing


Examples of digital solutions that enable direct food marketing and trade include:
  • AgroTrade, which links Ghana’s farmers with large buyers and ensures direct trading. 
  • AgroMart, on the other hand, enables young people in Ghana to work as distributors, helping smallholder farmers sell their produce at fair market prices 
  • In Kenya, Farmster is a digital matchmaking platform between smallholder farmers and buyers that works over an SMS chatbot to create market linkages for farmers without internet access
  • In Uganda, TruTrade Africa is a social enterprise that offers smallholder farmers a reliable route to market and fair prices for their produce 
  • Other digital solutions that have provided market access to farmers include Farm Kiosk and Club Tiossane. The latter is an online delivery service in Senegal that provides a market for local food producers by connecting them to hundreds of local businesses. (page 45)
Despite the numerous digital agricultural marketing tools in Africa, the majority offer only a limited range of solutions and lack novelty. (...) ICT capacity can be built through public-private partnership investments targeting youth, such as the establishment of innovation hubs and ICT business incubators and funding competitive grants, innovation prizes, and other incentive programs. (page 46)
  • Agriculture Innovations Hub, founded in 2019 in Ghana, helps to identify challenges in the agriculture industry and develop innovative solutions.
  • Edo Agric Digital Innovation Hub, launched in 2022 in Edo state, Nigeria, is a virtual hub grouping organizations with complementary expertise in agriculture.
  • FAO has supported the establishment of in-country innovation hubs to support farmers and value chain actors that are linked through the Global Network of Digital Agriculture Innovation Hubs(page 49)

Further Resources 


UNESCO (2023) REVIEW OF THE SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION STRATEGY FOR AFRICA (STISA-2024). FINAL REPORT (Shorter Version) #31 p.

A decade ago, the AU and the African Development Bank, based in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, began work on establishing a research and innovation fund. Its scope has since been expanded to include education, and it is now called the African Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Fund. Countries were asked to contribute US$2 million each, which would be matched by the bank from its own sources. Progress has been slow. So far, only Botswana and Ghana have committed funding. 

The fund’s overall size has been set at $300 million, but who else will contribute and eligibility criteria for funding applications are yet to be worked out. The fund needs to become a priority, say the authors of a review of AU science policies over the past decade, commissioned by the AU and the UN science agency UNESCO, and published at the end of 2023 (see go.nature.com/3sixqis). Ultimately, that means more heads of government will need to authorize the required finance.

AU (2019) African Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (2019-2023)

Developed in 2019, the African Plan of Action for Youth Empowerment (APAYE) is a five-year framework for implementing the AU African Youth  Charter. APAYE provides an overarching guide for implementing youth empowerment programs and policies in Africa. It offers guidance for AU member states to incorporate youth agribusiness considerations and programming into their National Agriculture Investment Plans and youth employment and entrepreneurship development 
strategies.


This initiative aims to harness Africa’s youth as key contributors to the continent’s development and create economic opportunities for young people in strategic sectors, including agrifood industries. Energize Africa consists of public sector, private sector, and blended finance components designed to catalyze innovation and investment. These are to empower youth to play an active role in shaping the continent’s future. 


AU (2019) Plan of Action for the African Decade for Technical, Professional, Entrepreneurial Training and Youth Employment (2019-2028) # 68p.

This TVET Blueprint, the “Plan of Action for 2019-2028 African Decade for Technical, Professional and Entrepreneurial Training and Youth Employment” articulates strategic actions under nine focus areas that will guide and influence reforms and development of TVET in Africa, as well as addressing the inherent sector challenges and meeting existing and future labour market demands over the next 10 years (2019 to 2028). 

AU (2019) Continental Strategy for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET): To Foster Youth Employment # 40 p.

The strategy argues that the development of higher level skills is necessary for the adaptation of technology and innovation, transformation of national production systems, and industrialization of the economy. Accordingly, TVET policies and strategies should focus on the development of skills from the basic level to the higher education level.