Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, April 23, 2018

AMEA - Advancing professional farmer organizations

20 March 2018. Washington D.C. AMEA - Advancing professional farmer organizations embarked on its journey to facilitate the development of the global definition for professional farmer organizations, AMEA has organized a workshop on to actively engage stakeholders in the process. The workshop was hosted by one of AMEA’s Founding Partners, the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

This event was part of a series of regional engagements with the aim to introduce the International Workshop Agreement (IWA) process led by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to stakeholders in the regions and present the current thinking on the core capacities and characteristics that define a professional farmer organization.

The Washington workshop brought together a diverse group of stakeholders working in the field of agriculture and actively engaged in the commercialization of smallholders’ produce, capacity-building, and the development of farmer organizations around the globe.

One of the key take-aways of the workshop was that the collective effort put into uplifting smallholder farmers is costly but crucial and it is better to bring a solution then excluding these farmers from supply chains.

The next regional workshops that will provide a forum for engagement will take place in May 2018 in Kampala, Addis Ababa and Bangkok.

The IWA global definition for professional farmer organizations will be available in January 2019.

On November 21st, 2017, AMEA certified a first group of high quality trainers for farmer organizations, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

​The purpose of the trainer certification is to implement AMEA's Standardized Approach, which is a global standard that helps professionalize farmers and their organizations. AMEA aims to build a roster of highly qualified trainers in Ethiopia and other parts of the world, who are capable of transferring knowledge and delivering training services under the Agribusiness Leadership Program (ALP) curriculum to farmer organizations in different sectors.

AMEA is aiming to expand the trainer certification to other training curricula delivering on the core capacities of professional farmer organizations, and to the business coaching function in the next few years. A common pool of AMEA certified trainers is created for the members of the AMEA Alliance.

Creating jobs in value-added agribusinesses

AKTZ Industries Ltd was registered in March 2011 in Tanzania and started its business operations in AKTZ is a value-added business whose supplier-members consist of an expanding network of women and youth local farmers in rural areas.
November 2012.

  • The company adds value to locally produced products and links its supplier-members to the supply-value chain. Main products in the market at the moment are rice, eggs and sunflower oil packed Brown Rice and Maize Flour distributed under the Alaska Tanzania brand. 
  • Alaska Tanzania products are sold in Thirty (30) Supermarket Branches in Tanzania.
  • AKTZ has played a significant role in creating employment to women and youth in Tanzania. The company has fifteen (15) employees. Ten (10) are women and five (5) are men. As the company grows, more women and youth will find employment through AKTZ Industries Ltd.
The company has the potential to create sustainable growth in incomes of local farmers that are now our supplier-members. The company pays the supplier-members a fair market price for their products compared to now where most local farmers lack effective marketing and distribution capacities, preventing favorable prices and returns.
“For intra-trade to develop within the African region, we have to focus on value addition. When we started, most of the products that could easily be sold in Tanzania were imported. We had eggs coming from the UAE and the UK and it is not because we did not have eggs in Tanzania, it is because the eggs we had were sold locally without being packaged and branded. Producing is not a challenge because we have a lot of organic food and a lot of well-processed foods, but when it comes to packaging and branding, that is where most fail.”
Entrepreneurship looks easy from the outside. People will think, ‘If she can do it, I can do it’ – not knowing that there are lots of sacrifices that have to be put in. I never had the misconception that it was going to be easy. I knew it was going to be tough but not this tough. Sometimes, I ask myself, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ But I knew what I wanted, and I knew I have to work hard and make sacrifices to grow bigger.”
Jennifer Bash is the Co-Founder and CEO of AKTZ Industries Ltd. a value-added business that sources, packs, brands and supplies locally produced agricultural products to High-end hotels, supermarkets and oil and gas companies. Ms. Bash holds a Bachelor Degree in International Marketing from Baruch College, in the City of New York, USA. Ms. Bash comes from a business background. This background and academic training has given her experience in product supply-chain management.

Bash was recently named the East Africa Young Business Leader of the Year at the 2017 All Africa Business Leaders Awards. She is also a recipient of the 2016 Women’s Award of Excellence in the Agribusiness Sector and a member of The Africa List, a select community of next-generation CEOs.
Before Bash and her husband left Tanzania to study in the US in 2008, the couple launched a poultry business – supplying the meat to hotels and supermarkets.
“At first, we were raising chickens for meat purposes and adding value by cutting the chickens into pieces. But we experienced a lot of challenges. The market demanded frozen chicken. We battled with unreliable electricity and we didn’t have investment like cold rooms. We later switched from rearing chickens for meat, to producing eggs.”
When the couple relocated to the US, they left the business in the hands of a manager. But by the time Bash returned in 2012, she discovered the company was running at a loss. So she fired the manager and re-launched the business at the end of that year. This was the foundations of Alaska Tanzania.
“When I came back, I saw things differently. I came with that… knowledge and exposure you get from other countries. I visited supermarkets across Tanzania and I realised packaging and branding is one of the biggest challenges facing locally-produced products.
To source its products, the company works closely with small-scale farmers. 
“Our partnership with farmers is a win-win situation. We provide farmers with market access, which they could not access before. That way they are able to increase their productivity and earn an income. On the other hand, we add value by processing, packaging, branding and distributing the produce to our market networks. “We are going to work more with farmers and provide them with linkages to tools, inputs and finance. We will create a cycle so that we will have control over the whole value chain, and this is specifically so that traceability is easy wherever Alaska products are sold.”


Policy PaperStrengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research for Development

11 April 2018. Release of the PAEPARD policy brief at the PAEPARD Steering Committee (Malawi, on Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research for Development (Richard Hawkins, Julia Ekong, Paul Nampala and Francois Stepman, March 2018, 24 pages) and a Note on Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research for Development : Collaboration for Results (8 pages)

PAEPARD experience clearly demonstrates that capacity strengthening needs change over time as partnerships face emerging challenges or acquire new insights. Early capacity strengthening efforts may be concentrated around identifying and accessing funding opportunities. Whilst consortia that have accessed funding, need to focus on strengthening their capacity in the chosen research area and scientific discovery. When a partnership moves to addressing market linkages for research outputs and widening the scope of the stakeholders involved, new challenges related to project management, value chain analysis and trust building begin to become more central to its effective functioning.

The policy paper paper takes a critical look at two key interventions identified to deliver the PAEPARD capacity strengthening strategy. 
  1. Firstly, the training of a pool  of agricultural innovation facilitators (AIF) to broker relations between relevant stakeholders for the consolidation of effective consortia. PAEPARD envisaged the role of AIF  as to support both the face-to-face and
    1. virtual (via skype, email or social media) engagement of partners in capacity strengthening processes.  
  2. The second key capacity strengthening intervention examined in this paper,  is the instrument of “writeshop”  to support consortia to produce “bankable” proposals in response  to identified funding opportunities.
In assessing the merits and limitations  of these interventions, among other capacity strengthening activities promoted by PAEPARD, the paper highlights that capacity strengthening should be understood as an iterative process, which must be able to adapt  to the changing needs of partnerships  as they develop. To conclude, the paper presents the primary lessons learned from the challenges and successes of PAEPARD capacity strengthening interventions, which will inform future ARD initiatives and funding mechanisms.
Recommendations on Multi-stakeholder collaboration to achieve impact (see Note page 1)
  1. The establishment of effective multi-stakeholder partnerships for agricultural research for development (ARD) requires a coherent and flexible capacity strengthening strategy to support the co-creation of knowledge, learning and innovation. In this way, partnerships can achieve positive impacts for the intended beneficiaries of research outputs, as long as: 
  2. An iterative and responsive capacity strengthening strategy is developed to support multistakeholder partnerships for ARD. It is important to recognize that the capacity strengthening needs of partnerships change as the partnership progresses and new challenges emerge. Capacity strengthening should therefore be understood as a continual process that needs to be regularly reviewed and adapted. 
  3. Time is invested in consolidating multi-stakeholder partnerships and establishing the different roles and capacities of the partners involved. It is necessary to bring stakeholders together in facilitated workshops to 
  4. establish a solid understanding of ARD, mobilize interaction between partners and allocate defined roles depending on the capacities of different partners.
  5. The multi-stakeholder partnership is supported to develop a strategic but flexible action plan for ARD to achieve maximum impact. Stakeholders need support to think strategically about the different pathways to innovation to ensure that the capacities of each partner are effectively utilised and the partnership is able to adapt to new challenges as they arise.
  6. The proposal writing capacities of stakeholders are strengthened to help ARD partnerships source funding. Workshops, or ‘writeshops’, to facilitate multi-stakeholder partnerships to develop strong proposals are important to help consortia compete for relevant funding opportunities.
  7. More funding opportunities for multi-stakeholder ARD partnerships are created. There are very few funding opportunities for AfricanEuropean ARD partnerships involving both research and ‘non-research’ organizations.
  8. Partners are facilitated to acquire new skills and capacities in areas that they are less familiar with to improve the functioning of the partnership. This includes analytical, project planning and management, and collaborative skills.
  9. External facilitation is acknowledged as necessary for effective reflection and learning as partnerships implement ARD projects. A feasible mechanism to fund external facilitators needs to be established so that partnerships can be supported to document the change process and capture the lessons learnt.
  10. The capacity of external or internal facilitators is built so that they can effectively respond to partnership needs. It is also important that the role of facilitators is clearly defined and understood by all partners.
  11. African partners are facilitated to recruit European organizations and incentivize them to participate in partnership activities. One solution is to develop and manage a database of potential European partners. 

Friday, April 20, 2018

PAEPARD field visit to groundnut producers in Mchinji district (Malawi)

Members of the Steering Committee
visit a farmer testing single and double row
planting in Mchinji District 
10 April 2018. Before holding a steering committee meeting (11-12 April 2018), PAEPARD members organized a field visit to groundnut farmers in the District of Mchinji (109 Km of Lilongwe) to witness pre- and post-harvest management of the aflatoxin.

The CRF project “Stemming Aflatoxin pre- and post-harvest waste in the groundnut value chain (GnVC) to improve food and nutrition security in the smallholder farming families” is coordinated by the National Small Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) and is implemented in the partnerships with FANRPAN (Pretoria), NRI (University of Greenwich in the UK), DARS (Malawi) and ZARI (Zambia).
“This project has demonstrated the strength of collaboration and reinforces information flow between researchers, extensionists and policy advocates. This combination is a power house. From NASFAM point of view, this project has strengthened the extension advisory content and the evidence in influencing policy formulation/implementation. Numerous lessons were learnt from that partnership of which two are to be highlighted: (i) the undisputed role of farmers in research for development; (ii) the need for a holistic approach to challenges facing farmers: Addressing aflatoxin by promoting adoption of pre and postharvest interventions whilst at the same time enhancing access to better and rewarding markets for farmer produce.  
PAEPARD has contributed beyond a product. It is about methodology for achieving agricultural development; it is about approaches to farmer engagement and the need to strengthen platforms of engagement that will form the basis for farmer engagement, policy dialogue and creation of community of practice. Dr Betty Chinyamunyamu Chief Executive Officer of NASFAM.
Double row versus single row planting
trial in a farmer field in Mchinji 
The project has tested many technologies including the double versus single row planting from which Maria Banda a farmer in Mchinji gave a short lecture to visitors. She said the production from the two practices is not as much different. However, she added that “in climate change conditions with no rains, the double row is indicated to conserve the moisture while in normal rain conditions, the single row planting is recommended”. As per post-harvest technologies the Inverted windrow seems to show a breakthrough with less burden to famers and good rate of dried pods.

A new video on groundnuts has been posted on the platform This video is currently available in English, French and Chichewa. It is freely downloadable, also in 3gp format for mobile phone viewing. Produced for NASFAM.

Drying groundnuts in ventilated stacks
The ventilated stack method allows groundnuts to dry slowly and properly in the field after harvest.

Many farmers lose most of their crop due to poor drying techniques, shelling methods and poor storage. The ventilated stack method lets the sun hit the leaves allowing the groundnuts to dry slowly and properly. The hole in the middle lets in air and a bit of sunlight for the pods to dry slowly.

Please find here the Chichewa version

Agriculture, Food and Jobs in West Africa

OECD, April 2018. 32 pages

The food economy is the biggest employer in West Africa accounting for 66% of total employment. While the majority of food economy jobs are in agriculture, off-farm employment in food-related manufacturing and service activities is increasing as the food economy adapts to rapid population growth, urbanisation and rising incomes.

This paper quantifies and describes the structure of employment in the food economy across four broad segments of activities:
  • agriculture, 
  • processing, 
  • marketing and 
  • food-away-from home. 
It examines some of the emerging spatial implications, including rural-urban linkages and rural employment diversification, which are related to the transformations that are reshaping this sector. It then puts forward policy considerations for designing targeted employment strategies that leverage the links between agricultural productivity, off-farm employment and rural-urban areas and that ensure inclusiveness, particularly for youth and women.

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Also available in: French

The food economy is the biggest employer in West Africa. The various activities involved in producing food, from the farm to processing, packaging, transporting, storing, distributing and retailing, account for 66% of total employment, or 82 million jobs. While the majority of these jobs (78%) are in agriculture, off-farm employment in food-related manufacturing and service activities is growing in number and share. (page 5)

Food-away-from-home activities which include street food, restaurants and other catering services, generate 10% of overall off-farm food economy employment, with much higher shares in some urban areas. This shift in labour demand will increase as the food system, including agriculture, continues to specialise and diversify, providing employment opportunities in local food economies. (page 5)

Employment patterns in the food economy are primarily driven by local food demand. At the regional level, the vast majority of food consumption comes from local food production, with food imports representing only 8% of total food expenditure. Food imports and exports also generate employment in the food system. Imports of unprocessed or lightly processed foods such as cereals generate employment in processing and marketing segments, while food exports generate agricultural employment and, to a lesser extent, food processing and food marketing (transport, storage and logistics) employment. (page 8)

The three off-farm food economy segments – food marketing, food processing and food away from home – account for 22% of total food economy employment at the regional level. Although the distribution of employment in the off-farm segments varies by country, there is a clear pattern which shows that food marketing is the largest off-farm segment. (page 10)

The food processing sector is the largest manufacturing sub-sector in terms of employment in the region. Although it accounts for just 5% of food economy employment, it represents 30% of total secondary sector employment. (page 11)

Overall, food economy jobs represent 35% of total urban employment. Food marketing and food-away-from-home account for 57% of all urban food economy jobs. These jobs are closely linked to the size of food markets and vary strongly across countries. (page 15)

Youth can play an important role in the development of food economy activities, including agriculture. The transformations in the food economy mean that greater skills and education are necessary to access employment opportunities and develop activities. (page 17)

An important aspect to acknowledge is that the links between food economy activities (food value chains), which provide the connection between production and final consumption, also reflect the links between rural and urban areas. These spatial linkages across the rural-urban space, between rural areas and small towns and secondary cities, are important elements in food economy development and rural transformation and need to be better understood in order to develop employment opportunities. (page 20)

The employment opportunities in food value chains, including in farming, require skill sets that are rapidly evolving. These include knowing how to use improved technologies (seeds, fertilisers, conservation practices) and information and communications technologies (ICTs) for accessing market information, as well as how to navigate public and private service institutions such as finance, extension support and marketing services. Anticipating and supporting these educational requirements are of major importance to the jobs agenda. (page 22)

The absence of data hinders the study of labour market dynamics in the region and limits the capacity of governments and policy makers to anticipate future transformations and to inform employment policies at local and national levels.  (page 24)

Atelier de pilotage du projet ProSeSS: semences du soja au Benin

30 March 2018. Cotonou, Benin. Dans le cadre la mise en œuvre du projet ProSeSS (Alignement des attributs de qualité des semences du soja aux différents produits dérivés au Benin) il a été organisé au siège de l’ONG Sojagnon la réunion du comité de pilotage et technique du dit projet.

Cette réunion a connu la présence de tous les partenaires du consortium à savoir : Sojagnon, l’IITA, la FSA, et le REDAD.

See: report of the meeting (13 pages)

Les différentes activités exécutées par la coordination au titre de l’année 2017 sont les suivantes :
  • La formation des semenciers du Benin ; 
  • La participation de la coordination à l’atelier national de l’élaboration du Programme National de Développement de la Filière (PNDF) soja organisé par la Giz ; Ce qui a participé à rendre plus visible le projet; 
  • La participation de la coordination à l’atelier de validation de l’état des lieux de la filière soja et l’identification des CVA porteuse au Benin, organisé par la Giz ; à l’issu duquel les CVA soja grain (semence y compris), fromage de soja, farine infantile et lait de soja ont été retenues ; 
  • L’élaboration d’un document de politique (Policy brief) ; 
  • L’enclenchement du processus d’enregistrement à la bibliothèque nationale; 
  • L’élaboration du guide d’identification des producteurs semenciers ; 
  • L’identification des producteurs semenciers 
Policy Brief Approvisionnement en semences de soja au Bénin : Quelle stratégie faut-il mettre en place ? Mathieu A.T. Ayenan ; Patrice L. Sèwadé; Martin S. Agboton
L’accès aux semences de soja de qualité reste un défi majeur pour les producteurs ; ce qui ne leur permet pas d’obtenir des rendements optimaux. Les solutions durables à cet état de choses reposent sur (i) l’investissement dans la recherche et la production des semences, (ii) le renforcement de capacités technique, managériale et commerciale des producteurs désireux de se spécialiser en production de semence de soja et (iii) l’instauration d’un système de certification flexible mais qui garantit la qualité des semences. La mise en œuvre de ces mesures devrait permettre la production et la distribution de semences de soja de qualité pour l’amélioration de la productivité du soja au Bénin.

  1. Créer les conditions favorables pour que le secteur privé investisse dans le secteur semencier ;
  2. Renforcer les institutions de recherche en sélectionneurs et spécialistes en production de semences et en moyens financiers pour la création variétale et la production des semences de base ; 
  3. Renforcer les entreprises semencières en technique de production et traitement des semences en stratégies de commercialisation des semences ; 
  4. Adopter le principe de semences de qualité déclarée. 
La mise en œuvre de l’ensemble de ces recommandations adressées au Ministère de l’agriculture, de l’élevage et de la pêche et aux différents acteurs de la filière soja doit permettre d’améliorer la productivité du soja au Bénin.

Working visit to Portugal: Tropical Research Institute [Instituto de Investigação Científica Tropical].
  • IICT has managed many projects, both with national or national plus European funding (e.g. from Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), or from the Ministry of Agriculture (ProDeR programme)), and with funding from international institutes, such as CGIAR centers. Highlighted is the fact that IICT leads the BRAGMA project under the GMES & Africa initiative.
  •  IICT has a history of collaborative research and knowledge transfer with mainly with African Portuguese Speaking Countries (Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Angola and Mozambique), with emphasis on i) food transformation and processing using culturally adapted and low input technologies, ii) food quality lab analyses, including for local products and iii) population surveys on food security and gender issues. 
  • Although some research has been done on several food products in Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, jointly with local NGOs and research institutions, soybean is a novel crop to explore. This collaboration with Benin stands for a challenge and an opportunity to for networking in new partnerships, framed by PAEPARD
IICT contributes in the Soy/Benin consortium to:
  • Design and data analysis of the questionnaire for participative survey,; 
  • Nutritional and quality analyses of the processed products in IICT’s labs. Emphasis will ge given to vitamins, sugars/carbohydrates, antioxidant capacity and nutraceutic compounds. Training of researchers, students or technitians in specific lab analyses in IICTs labs will be offered to the consortium 
  • Linking the developed products with respect of the market needs, 
  • Participation in data analyses and divulgation activities. 
A team of 2 PhD researchers with complementary expertise relevant to the project objectives were allocated to the project tasks. 
  • The team has expertise in leading surveys, including those concerning agricultural practices and their impact on food security in African countries. 
  • It is also skilled in food technology using culturally and locally adapted methodologies/appropriate technologies, and offers with well-equipped labs for sample analyses.  
  • Expanding the capacity for lab determinations allowed expanding the type of analyses foreseen and evaluating the nutritional value of the products resulting also from the improved technologies. 
  • It involved in critical discussion in all tasks of the project, contibuting to remove bottlenecks and improve procedures. 
  • In kind contribution was given to the project, by means of supporting part of the researchers ‘ salaries and making avaliable lab materials, reagents and equipment use. 

USAID Webinar: The Business Case for Land Rights

5 April 2018. USAID LandLinks shared findings from the first voluntary Investor Survey on Land Rights and heard from the private sector about live investment projects seeking to create benefits for both shareholders and communities. This webinar was hosted jointly with Agrilinks and Marketlinks.

The webinar featured following speakers:
  • Sarah Lowery, Economist and Public-Private Finance Specialist, USAID E3/Land
  • Jeffrey Hatcher, Managing Director, Indufor North America
  • Finn Jacobsen, CEO, African Plantations for Sustainable Development (APSD)
    We need to create more employment in Africa for the youth
  • Oriane Plédran, Impact Officer, The Moringa Partnership
Great questions from the audience have continued to pour in, and we have answers to some the most interesting ones.

Related previous webinars
The Business Case for Land Rights: Results from the 2018 Investor Survey

Webinar Agricultural Information Data Providers

17 April 2018This webinar introduced AGRIS (the International System for Agricultural Science and Technology), a global public domain database with more than 9 million structured bibliographical records on agricultural science and technology.

AGRIS covers the wide range of subjects related to agriculture science and technology, including forestry, animal husbandry, aquatic sciences and fisheries, human nutrition, and extension.

Its content includes theses, conference papers, government publications, unique grey literature such as unpublished scientific and technical reports, etc. Since 1975, AGRIS is maintained by the FAO to serve users from developed and developing countries through facilitating access to available knowledge in agriculture, science and technology. Following toics were covered
  • What is AGRIS?
  • What type of content is acceptable in AGRIS?
  • What are the benefits of contributing content to AGRIS?
  • What type of files and fields should be included when submitting content to AGRIS?
  • Copyright of documents donated to AGRIS (who owns the copyright)
  • Visibility, linkages (such as Google Scholar)
  • Statistics and impact of AGRIS

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Research proposal write shop for the African Union Research Call

16-20 April 2018.  Entebbe, Uganda. The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) has organized a proposal write-shop as part of its effort to mobilise and strengthen research capacity in African agricultural universities and research institutions. 

The write-shop targets developing proposals for submission to African Union Research Grants 2018 Call for proposals with a deadline of 22nd May 2018. The Write-shop focused on building capacity of African researchers to design research projects that integrate diverse stakeholders including private sector, industry, farmers and policy makers to strengthen the relevance of research in addressing rural development, national and economic challenges. 

It is also be a platform for African researchers to network and link up with each other and collaboratively develop and implement projects beyond the current African Union Research Grants 2018 Call for proposals.

The Write-shop has three main objectives
  1. researchers skilled to develop and implement demand driven research for development projects, partnerships established among African and European researchers and proposals for submission to the African Union Research Grants. If funded, the projects will develop technologies that lead to improved food value chains to deliver and make accessible more nutritionally rich food to consumers with minimal loss of nutritional value, little wastage and a high level of safety. 
  2. Other projects will improve the nutritional value of crops and animal products, through advances in breeding and biotechnological innovation, such as bio-fortification (improved mineral and vitamin levels in various highly productive crop lines) while others will provide sustainable and innovative technologies used for food processing, packaging and storage, post-harvest handling, and technologies that add values to agricultural produce and their accessibility. These will directly increase the quality, quality and consequently price of agricultural produce, hence farmer income. Through bio-fortification projects, climate resilient and nutritionally enhanced foods will be developed hence sustainably providing food for the poor across the continent. The innovations developed will also provide employment for both women, men and youth. 
  3. In the design of all projects, special emphasis will be pro-women post-harvest handling and food processing technologies. To take care of these needs, youth and women will be engaged in project design. The skills to develop and implement projects of this nature will live beyond the current African Union Research Grants Call for proposals which will be used as a training case. The partnerships establish will continue to develop and submit proposals to different funding sources to develop innovations that address food security and increase farmer incomes. 
The following consortia are attending the Write-shop.
  1. University of Abomey Calavi/Sojagnanon, Benin. SOJAGNON-NGO has a vast experience in innovation partnerships. It received a Euro 250,000 grant from FARA under the PAEPARD to implement a 3-year project. It has also received funding twice from ARF/NWO- Wotro/ The Netherlands to implement projects; Matching grain quality attributes to the requirements of soybean processors in Benin (ProSeSS), 2015-2018 and Enhancing kersting’s groundnut (Macrotiloma geocarpum) production and marketability to improve food security in Benin (Projet Doyiwé), 2017-2020
  2. WOUGNET, UgandaWOUGNET is a member of the PAEPARD Consortia and has implemented several innovation partnerships with support from development partners such as Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), The Food and Business Applied Research Fund (ARF) of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs among others.
  3. Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Nigeria. Extensive experience in farmer capacity building, knowledge extension (farmer town hall discussions), research-industry linkages, consultancies, volunteerism in animal health campaigns (UNV), multidisciplinary research, coordinatorship of NIPOFERD consortium etc. Professor Okoli is the coordinator of NIPOFERD. He also participated in the PAEPARD organised workshop at Cotonou, Benin in 2012 that led to the submission of a proposal to the AU call of 2012 (Improvement of Cost-effective Quality Poultry Feed Production Systems for Small Scale Farmers in West Africa). Prof. Okoli was invited to participate in the PAEPARD Reflection Workshop about the Brokerage Role of Agricultural Innovation Facilitators (AIF) from 24th to 27th September 2013 at Entebbe, Uganda and the PAEPARD "capitalization workshop" to conclude the present phase and prepare the extension, from 30 October – 1 November 2013 at Nairobi, Kenya. The consortium also successfully submitted proposals to the CORAF grants call of 2011 (Evaluation and transfer of researched solutions to small-scale poultry production constraints in West Africa) and the ACP-EU Co-operation Programme in Science and Technology (S&T II) call of 2012 (Increasing technological capacities in the use of agro-residues for bioenergy through specific training activities) in collaboration with CARTIF, Spain. The consortium also collaborated with Poultry Association of Nigeria to organize a two day exhibition and workshop for farmers in eastern Nigeria in November 2013 (Enagric 2013). In 2014 two PAN members of NIPOFERD were helped to win the YouWin business incubation grant of the Federal Government of Nigeria, while in 2016 one youth member won the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program (TEEP). In 2016 Prof. Okoli convened and participated in the 1st NIPOFERD workshop held at Asaba, Nigeria and the 3rd Annual PAN/NIPOFERD Imo Conference and Celebration of World Egg Day. In December 2017, the consortium successfully organised a symposium in Owerri, Nigeria, on the Science and Technology of Palm Kernel Cake (PKC) Utilization in Animal Production. 
  4. Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR).  LUANAR has a vast experience in innovation partnerships. LUANAR is designated research centre (Fish Node) of inter Government network of South African Network Biosciences Initiatives for Bioscience (SANBio) which falls under the NEPAD Science and Technology programme. The centre develops innovations and supports other researchers in the Southern Africa region. It currently implements a US$ 6Million Centre of Excellence for Aquaculture and Fisheries (AQUAFISH) with funding from the World Bank which engages non-profit organizations, and the private sector in Malawi, and international research for develop partners to generate innovations that address challenges in Malawi’s fisheries sector. LUANAR has previously implemented research for development projects including European Commission’s funded US$527,000 Concerted Fit-for-purpose PhD training in aquaculture and fisheries to improve food security and livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa, RUFORUM-funded US$ 300,000 Community Action Research Programme on Fisheries and Aquaculture among other research for development projects. All these projects have been managed by the leader of the innovation partnership – Prof. Emmanuel Kaunda.
  5. Uganda Christian University. The Uganda Christian University has experience in agricultural research and development involving innovation partnerships. Some of the on-going projects include; US$ 250,000 PAEPARD supported African Indigenous Vegetable Research Project implemented with FarmGain Africa, Chain Uganda, and University of Greenwich-Natural Resources. UCU has also received support from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Netherlands to implement the project “Development of a Gender Responsive Commercial Seed System for African Indigenous Vegetables in Uganda” in partnership with CHAIN Uganda, Hanze University of Applied Science and Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (2017-2020). It also received support from to implement the Venture Hub Project (V-Hub project) for two years (2018-2020).
  6. Bio Protect, Burkina FasoBioProtect has vast experience in plant protection and has received support from PAEPARD, the Association for Research and Training in Agroecology (ARFA) based in Burkina Faso and the plant protection research and development company BIOPHYTECH based in France to implement innovation partnerships.
  7. University of Ghana, LegonUniversity of Ghana has been involved in multi-stakeholder partnerships with FAO, IMF, World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Leventis Foundation, Centre for Development Innovation (CDI), UNIDO, University of Cambridge, and others and playing a PI role.
  8. University of Zimbabwe
Participants are from the following countries: Belgium, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The following are thematic areas covered by proposals: Agroforestry, Animal Breeding, Aquaculture, Aquaponics, Bio-fortification, Food processing, plant breeding, and post-harvest handling and storage.

Past Proposal write shop organised by PAEPARD 2012-2016 related to AURG
Write-shop in Entebbe, Uganda (19-24 March 2012) - African Union Research Grants
Write-shop in Cotonou, Benin (26-31 March 2012) - African Union Research Grants
Write-shop in Entebbe, Uganda (11-15 July 2016) - African Union Research Grants
Write-shop in Accra, Ghana (18-22 July 2016) - African Union Research Grants

Under the 2012 African Union Research Grant calls, there was a problem of high wastage and unmet demand with only 20 grants being made (with a further 11 reserves) against the 450 bids received (i.e., a success rate of about 5%). Funding available for the African Union Research Grants was very limited. As a consequence, the success rate for applying was low, and many potentially interesting projects did not receive funding. The available funding was thus not adequate to meet the strong demand for Africa-focused research grants.

The two ARG calls (2001+2012) resulted in 20 grants up of to 750,000 (total value: EUR 13.8 million). 
  • The contracts all end between December 2015 and December 2016. 
  • Of the 20 projects funded, five were led by European and 15 by African organisations, (in contrast with FP7 consortia which are usually European led) although activities always take place in Africa. 
  • This funding was seen as a good preparation to be successful in FP7 calls, although it is too early to say whether AURGs will contribute to more success under H2020. 
  • The EU is pushing the AUC strongly to find other funding sources, including AU Member States, but this continues to be a struggle. 

Women entrepreneurs innovate for agricultural transformation in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific

6 April 2018. The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), with the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB), in collaboration with the African Green Revolution Forum(AGRA), Women in Tech Africa, Wennovation Hub (Nigeria) and Suguba (regional), is launching Pitch AgriHack 2018. The theme for this year’s edition is “Women entrepreneurs innovate for agricultural transformation in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific”.

The competition is open to both male and female founders and co-founders of e-agri start-ups, and, more specifically, to companies owners of platforms (websites, apps, devices using software, etc.) offering digital services to the agricultural sector. 

Applicants need to be nationals and residents of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries signatories of the Cotonou Agreement (see list in the rules). 50% of finalists will be women founders or co-founders of start-ups; discussions at the final will include issues around strengthening engagement of young women in agricultural technology innovations. Applicants must be aged between 18 to 35 years old. The finale will be held during the 2018 edition of the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF 2018), organised by AGRA and other partners, in Rwanda in September 2018.

Pitch AgriHack will:
  • provide a business training boot camp to selected start-ups
  • conduct a pitching competition
  • offer grants and facilitate access to investments, capacity building and promotional opportunities.
Key Dates
  • Deadline for registration: 21 May 2018
  • Announcement of finalist start-ups: by 15 July 2018
  • Boot camp and pitching events (final): 03 to 07 September 2018 at AGRF 2018.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Diversifood: Cultivating diversity and food quality

11 April 2019. Brussels. DIVERSIFOOD is a European project aiming at enriching cultivated biodiversity by testing, renewing and promoting underutilized or forgotten crop species. Through multi-actor approaches, it supports the spread of a new food culture, based on diverse, tasty and healthy food.

To deal with this issue, the DIVERSIFOOD team organised a forum with policy makers and stakeholders. Diversifood results and key lessons were shared, such as:
  • new approaches for cultivated biodiversity management, for plant breeding for sustainable farming systems, 
  • and new relationships among actors of the food systems. 
In the afternoon there was time  for discussions, to share knowledge, collect feedbacks and to further develop current policies for cultivating diversity and food quality  (for FP9, CAP 2020,…). The outputs of this workshop will feed the final recommendations of Diversifood.

Annette Schneegans of #DGAGRI talked 
about the challenges of food 
diversity in agriculture and research funding
  • Underutilized/forgotten crops: definitions and concepts (A. Costanzo, ORC) 
  • New approaches for plant breeding for for sustainable farming systems (I. Goldringer, INRA)
  • First results regarding the EU experimentation of Heterogeneous Material marketing: presentation of cases studies (A. Costanzo, ORC) 
  • Value chain for produces coming from participatory plant breeding/underutilized crops (B. Oehen, FiBL) 
  • From on farm conservation to Community biodiversity management (R. Bocci, RSR)

1 November 2017. Kigali, Rwanda. FNI and DIVERSIFOOD, in collaboration with Biodiversity International and LI-BIRD, Nepal hosted a side event on the development of community seed banks during the Seventh Session of the Governing Body of the Plant Treaty.

The fast development of community seed banks in different parts of the world is increasingly contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of crop genetic diversity, and thus to the implementation of the Plant Treaty. At the side event two major studies that shed light on this current development were presented:
  • Community Seed Banks – Origin, evolution and prospects from Biodiversity International and 
  • Survey of community seed banks in Europe by the EU Horizon 2020 project DIVERSIFOOD.
The report “Community Seed Banks: Sharing Experiences from North and South“presents the contents of the event, as well as key decisions from the Governing Body Session of relevance for communityseed banks. What are the key messages of these resolutions? And how will they be followed up in practice among the Contracting Parties? The report provides some answers, at the same time highlighting how DIVERSIFOOD project follows up on this question.
Download the report

Agroecological practices for sustainable agriculture in Benin

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Growing food in the cities: Successes and new opportunities

10 April 2018. CTA Brussels Development Briefing no. 50 on “Growing food in the cities: Successes and new opportunities”. This Briefing was organised by the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with the European Commission / DEVCO, the ACP Secretariat, and CONCORD.

Background Note and Programme

Panel 1: Trends and opportunities in urban agricultureThis panel will gave an overview of the main trends in urban and peri-urban agriculture and the various ways of growing food in the cities across the ACP and in Europe.
  • What do we know about urban agriculture? Henk de Zeeuw, Senior Adviser, RUAF Foundation, The Netherlands
  • Successes of Urban agriculture in Europe Axel Timpe, COST-Action Urban Agriculture Europe
  • Innovation on vertical farming technology: the case of Growing Underground Richard Ballard, Co-Founder, Growing Underground, United Kingdom
Panel 2: Successes in urban agriculture across ACP regions
This panel shared some successes from the field, which show that growing food in the cities can offer opportunities for young entrepreneurs. It focused on innovative businesses and serving urban market needs.
  • Urban agriculture: business for young entrepreneurs? Angel Adelaja, CEO, Fresh Direct, Nigeria
  • The experience of micro-gardening in West Africa Coumbaly Diaw, FAO subregional coordinator, Senegal
  • New opportunities in hydroponics in Kenya and lessons learnt Peter Chege, CEO, Hydroponics Kenya

Developing new wheat varieties under SARD-SC

26 March 2018. SciDev. Project using Research and Development is changing wheat farming in Africa

Wheat production in the continent is still low and facing challenges that include poor seed varieties, climate change related impact such as prolonged droughts and pests and diseases.

The continent heavily depends on imported wheat, a burden on the scarce foreign exchange reserves. For instance, 80 per cent of the wheat hectarage in Kenya is cultivated by small scale farmers who produce only about 20 per cent of the country’s total productivity demand.

But with the help of Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops in Africa (SARD-SC) project introduced in 2013 and funded by African Development Bank (AFDB), scientists from the 12 African countries are now sharing knowledge and experiences on how to cut down wheat production challenges using new technologies such as developing new wheat varieties, and progresses are being made.

Scientists, since the introduction of the programme, have released 21 varieties for use as well as researched on 25 candidates along with their crop management practices to find varieties suitable for various agro-ecologies of Africa.

Wheat farmers in 12 African Countries - Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe - are benefiting from a project aimed at increasing production and reducing demand gap of the crop’s products.

Wheat is an important source for vitamins and minerals as well as carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, vitamin B, folic acid, antioxidants and phytochemicals. These nutrients can help prevent many of the chronic diseases plaguing Africa.

The Scientific African: a new peer-reviewed scientific research journal

3 April 2018A new peer-reviewed scientific research journal showcasing cutting-edge African research was launched in Kigali,

The NEF launched this Pan African Scientific Journal during the NEF Global Gathering 2018 in collaboration with Elsevier, by the NEF Chair Mr.Thierry Zomahoun and Mr. Ron Mobed, Chief Executive Officer, Elsevier. The journal will provide a multidisciplinary review and will give an open access to stimulate all scientists in order to give global reach to research in Africa.
The new multidisciplinary journal will provide a platform for African leaders in various fields of scientific research to present their findings in an Africa-specific context.
“This journal will front research on Africa by Africans that finds local solutions to local problems.” Ron Mobed at Elsevier, a Netherlands-headquartered global information analytics company specializing in science and health, 

The publication will primarily be targeted at academics and cover a variety of issues in fields such as health sciences, agriculture, biology, physics, and astronomy. However, those at Scientific African hope that the journal will not cater exclusively to this category of researchers. Given their belief in the global nature of scientific methods, the publication is encouraging submissions from any individual undertaking significant scientific research.

The journal’s first edition particularly highlights developments from the region’s commitment to develop agricultural technology.

This forum brought together editors from a number of leading regional media titles to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing science journalism in Africa. The discussion will consider the media industry in Africa’s relationship with the scientific community, and explore the collective challenges faced by those seeking to communicate science to their readers.

Script is a training and networking programme that aims to improve the flow of communication between scientists and journalists, and address the lack of high quality science reporting in Africa. It is funded by the Robert Bosch-Stiftung and implemented by SciDev.Net.
The forum took the structure of an informal round table discussion, together with a small audience of twenty interested observers. Steered by Nick Perkins, a professional with more than twenty years’ experience working with media across the globe, participants were encouraged to share experiences, discuss common barriers to scientific journalism, and identify opportunities to facilitate better media-science collaboration. Editors who attended:
  • David Aduda, Head of Business Development and Partnerships, Nation Media Group (South Africa)
  • Haruna Idris, Deputy Director Current Affairs and Special Assistant to the Director General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (Radio Nigeria)
  • Juliet Masiga, Peace and Security Editor, The Conversation Africa (Kenya)
  • Andrew Meldrum, Acting Africa Editor, The Associated Press
  • Fulgence Sene, Editor and Head of Translation Desk, African Press Agency (Senegal)
  • Bothina Osama, MENA Regional Coordinator, SciDev.Net

Monday, April 9, 2018

Opportunities for Blockchain Technologies in Farm to fork food traceability

26-28 March 2018. Kigali. Launched in 2013, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with Robert Bosch Stift

The NEF is a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally.

See all videos

Extract of the programme:
Opportunities for Blockchain Technologies in Addressing Africa’s Challenges 
This session focused on Blockchain technologies in particular their applications beyond cryptocurrencies, as well as policy implications.

Panelists provided insights on Blockchain applications in several sectors that include logistics, finance, healthcare, agriculture as well as the policy implications for the adoption of such a cutting-edge technology in the current environment in Africa.
  • Moderator: Jake Bright, Contributor on Africa at TechCrunch and Crunchbase. Award Winning Author of The Next Africa
  • Komminist Weldermariam, IBM-Research Africa, Kenya
    @ 11:11 blockchain technology and number of actors involved in the advocado export and trade@ 13:05 Farm to fork food traceability
    @ 38:08
    Answers the question: "What device does the farmer need?"
    Related: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)This website is a resource to educate the public about the main elements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Enforcement date: 25 May 2018
  • Sam Yala, International Account Manager of Security Products in Worldline, Belgium

Feeding the World, Preserving the World
The panel addressed factors influencing Climate Change Agriculture, adoption in Africa including the technical, social, political and institutional environment. 
  • Ousmane Badiane - Africa Director for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI),
    Researchers in Mali have developed manual machines to presh oil out of groundnuts and reducing aflatoxin.
    Millet Varieties from Senegal are now used in Ivory Coast and added to wheat flour for baking bread
    The better processed and packaged millet sells among the middle class in Senegal
  • Sanushka Naidoo - NEF Fellow, 
  • Pierre Thiam - Co-founder of Yolele Foods, (based in New York)
    Fonio is a gluten-free ancient African supergrain with 3 times the protein, fiber and iron of rice.
    Situated on the western coast of Africa, Senegal is a multicultural country with culinary influences from all over the world. Author Pierre Thiam grew up in its capital, Dakar, surrounded by bright, flavorful ingredients and passionate home cooks.
    His debut cookbook celebrates the art of creating family meals using organic, local produce and farm-fresh meats and seafood.
    An accessible and delicious introduction to the next big thing: African cuisine.
  • Agnes Kalibata - President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)
    One girl came up with a bean variety that only requires 40 minutes of cooking instead of 4 hours
    Uber for Tractors is really promising
  • Simeon Ehui - Director, Food and Agriculture Global Practice, The World Bank 
  • Adam Sneyd, University of Guelph (Canada) moderating the panel.

Africa’s Low Carbon Circular Economy
Panelists on Africa’s Low Carbon Circular Economy session discussed recommendations on how to unlock the full potential of this new emerging concept for Africa. The transition of African nations to industrial economies that do not produce waste and pollution will help accelerate its growth. 
  • Vincent Biruta, Minister of Environment, Republic of Rwanda
  • Flavia Schlegel, Assistant Director General for Natural Sciences, the United Nations Cultural, Scientific and Educational Organization (UNESCO), 
  • Rocio A Diaz-Chavez, Deputy Director for Research and Energy and Climate Change Programme Leader at the Stockholm Environment Institute Africa Centre, 
  • Hans Bolscher, Senior Consultant Climate and Renewable Energy, 
  • Justus Masa, Dr. Justus Masa is a Senior Research Scientist and Leader of the Electrocatalysis and Energy Conversion Group at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany. He holds a PhD in Natural Sciences from Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany, with masters and undergraduate degrees from Makerere University. He has been a Visiting Scholar in the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory at the University of Oxford. He is a co-inventor of four patents, one of which was sold to Bayer – materials division (Germany). His core research is in the field of electrocatalysis and energy conversion.
  • Kathryn Toure, International Development Research Centre Regional (IDRC) Director, Sub-Saharan Africa who was the session Moderator.

The loss of knowledge of Africa´s plant diversity
  • Presentation by Sayed Azam-Ali - Chief Executive Officer of Crops For the Future (CFF) about the FORGOTTEN FOOD NETWORK
  • Crops For the Future (CFF) is leading the Forgotten Foods Network – a global initiative to collect and share information on foods, recipes and traditions that are part of our common heritage.
  • The  Forgotten Foods Network  was launchedon 3 November 2017, by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales at the CFF Headquarters
  • Presentation Starting @3:00 The African agricultural diaspora can be re-connected with the knowledge of its crops. We can connect African Agricultural Scientists from the Diaspora and their knowledge.
  • Response @49:38 We need an urgent initiative to capture the knowledge of the farmers which will otherwise get lost. This knowledge has to be made available for the next generation and we give this knowledge back to the farmers so that they can improve their agricultural systems. The big question is, how to we get this information from the farmers´s head and share it with scientific data. Most of the farmers are willing but they may not have the writing skills, the language needs to be translated. But we must do this urgently because if we don´t we loose 10,000 years of history of farming in one generation and we will have to rediscover all that knowledge from the beginning.
  • @52:00 Often Science is being accused of be supply driven. We have a technology and we look for a commercial use. We are now looking at a demand led knowledge system. This would drive science which can be the climate resilient crops of the future that are the source of nutritious food. And not just promote these crops for markets.