Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Monday, September 30, 2013

First Global Conference On Food Security

29 September – 2 October 2013. Wageningen.Wageningen University and scientific publisher Elsevier have taken the initiative to invite six hundred scientists from 65 countries to attend the first global conference on food security in search of solutions within their own field. The Global Food Security conference.

The conference is a mix of plenary and parallel sessions, including opportunities for discussion and interaction (during so-called workshop cafés, for example). It will be chaired by Prof. Martin van Ittersum and Prof. Ken Giller from Wageningen University. 

Keynote speakers will focus on themes such as: 
  • ‘Where we stand in understanding global food security’ (Louise Fresco, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands) or 
  • ‘Achieving global food security and environmental sustainability’ (David Tilman, University of Minnesota – ‘the world’s number one ecologist’). 
  • Other renowned keynote speakers include Chris Barrett from Cornell University and Meine van Noordwijk, World Agroforestry Centre, Indonesia. 
In parallel sessions, researchers will discuss themes such as local and national policy, the role of international investors in land and agriculture, urban agriculture, growing food in and on the water, insect farming, food wastage, quality marks, irrigation, agro-biodiversity, food crises and the atlas that is being compiled to show the geographical differences between the current and maximum feasible yields from agricultural land throughout the world. The workshops will focus on questions such as: Should we choose to preserve biodiversity or tackle world hunger? Why does Africa’s agriculture lag behind that of Asia? Land scarcity or land grabbing?

Conference of the Parties (COP-11)

16-27 September 2013. Windhoek, Namibia. Conference of the Parties (COP-11) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Over 3 000 international delegates, including 45 ministerial participants were in attendance during the two-week conference.

Developed as a result of the Rio Summit, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is a unique instrument that has brought attention to land degradation to some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and people in the world. Fifteen years after coming into force, the UNCCD is increasingly recognized as an instrument which can make an important contribution to the achievement of sustainable development and poverty reduction.

Civil Society Organisations (CSO's) held a peaceful demonstration on the premises and protested against the presence of agribusiness at the COP11. Agribusinesses are accused of promoting pesticides that destroy crucial micro-organisms that affect the nutrient cycle in the soil, prevent natural re-generation of the soil, resulting in continuous land degradation.

The CSO's also want to be given a much bigger role in the decision making of the UNCCD as they feel they are more connected with the farmers on grass-roots level.

Another de-facto is the level of communication between the media and the affected farmers. Lets face it, the COP11 does not necessarily concern the average citizen except that the country will benefit immensely from such a conference in terms of exposure and monetary benefit. Also, the terms land degradation and desertification are new concepts to many Namibians. Mention drought and the average farmer will be able to tell you what it is. The average person is really not interested in this conference so covering the COP11 in local newspapers and on television is not as major as it would have been broadcasted on indigenous radio stations. It is a fact that people who are more keen on finding out about the decisions taken at this conference are the very same farmers who in most cases do not own a television set, let alone read the newspapers. The media should have conducted regular radio shows to inform the affected people, who are kilometres away, of what is happening at the conference.

2013 Agricultural Research for Development Conference

25-26th of September at SLU in Uppsala. 2013 Agricultural Research for Development Conference. This year the theme was Agricultural Research Towards Sustainable Development Goals.

The sub-themes were: 
  • Capacity Development 
  • Sustainable Intensification 
  • Climate Change 
  • Multi-disciplinarity
Prof. Hannah Akuffo (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology (MTC) of the Karolinska Institutet) presented - Research Capacity Strengthening efforts toward Sustainable Development Goals – a perspective from Sida.

Prof. Hamidou Boly, coordinator TEAM-Africa (Tertiary Education for Agriculture Mechanism in Africa) presented TEAM-Africa which has the mandate from the African Union to support institutional reform and curriculum development in African universities. The aim is to improve food security and work for poverty alleviation in Africa

Frequent over grazing and increased population has led to a need for intensified and more productive land-use, including growing crops and trees. Cattle owners in Chepareria are nowadays less migratory, whilst in Kongelai migratory pastoralism is still dominating. There has also been migration into centres, e.g. the cattle based market in Chepareria has grown rapidly over the last decades.

An increasing understanding on how external and internal driving forces creates new pressures on
pastoralist land, which in turn prompts responses in terms of local land-use change and subsequently,
changes in the existing land management and property rights regime.Imperative research tasks in
this regard is to understand:
  1. under what conditions (driving forces and pressures) a traditional property rights regime is replaced by an alternative regime;
  2. what the individual and collective incentives (at different levels)for such a regime shift are;
  3. how a shift in management and property rights regimes is carried through in practice; 
  4. what the biophysical and socio-economic impacts of a regime shift are; and finally 
  5. whether new management- and property rights regimes, as a response to dynamic processes of change, can be easily classified as either open, individual, group, communal, or government property rights systems, or if it is better understood as the continuous negotiation of property rights as different actors at different levels respond to changing external and internal conditions.

The valorization of research results

25 - 27 September 2013. Ouagadougou. Burkina Faso. The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) organized a workshop around the valorization of research results.

This was based on a prio selection of research papers on following themes:
  1. Constraints and opportunities specific to African countries in the intensive use of research results and innovations for economic and social development;
  2. Creation of an enabling environment for the use of research results and innovations for economic and social development;
  3. Successful experiences of exploiting research results and innovations in developing countries: constraints and factors for success;
  4. Strategic approaches to promote the exploitation of research results and innovation in developing countries in one or more of the following areas; organizational and institutional capacity building, communication, protection of intellectual property, taking gender into account, development of public-private sector partnership, etc.

PAEPARD Agricultural Innovators Exchange workshop

24 - 26 September 2013. Entebbe. PAEPARD organised a Agricultural Innovators Exchange

The purpose of IAF exchange workshop was to:
  • To review experiences of AIF’s, what did we learn? (AIF’s and PP partners)
  • To review AIF’s action plans for MSHRQD workshops, the implementation: what could they do? how did it go? Lessons learned?
  • To explore the way forward: what will be the way forward for PAEPARD? And what does it mean for the AIF’s? E.g. will they have a role in  innovation facilitation for Farmers’ Organizations, building platforms for researchers and research users? And following up on this discussion:
  • To explore what ideas for PP III mean in terms of capacity building and support for AIF’s.
The AIFs Reflection and Exchange Workshop was organized for those AIF who were actively involved in call 2 and in the 5 Users Led Process. In addition, PAEPARD several Partners also attended the meeting which attracted 37 participants from 18 countries. The three day meeting was structured as a highly participatory engagement with each day covering a given theme focused on the objectives of the workshop.
  • The theme for Day 1 was “Harvesting” and featured sharing of experiences and best practices in building and facilitating partnerships. 
  • Day 2 was dedicated to ‘brokerage in multi-stakeholder processes” 
  • while Day 3 focused on discussing and presenting suggestion for the “Way Forward”. 
It was anticipated that the output from this meeting will feed into planning processes for the next phase of PAEPARD and Participants were promised that the issues discussed will be presented at the Capitalization Workshop scheduled for end of October, 2013.

4th GFRAS Annual Meeting 2013

24 - 26 September 2013. 4th GFRAS Annual Meeting 2013 Germany. The Role of Private Sector and Producer Organisations in Rural Advisory Services. The objectives of the 4th GFRAS Annual Meeting were:
  • Understand and agree on the role of private sector and producer organisations in RAS
  • Strengthen RAS networks in mobilising human and financial resources and planning and implementing networking
  • Update participants on progress in GFRAS
Thematic component: The Role of Private Sector and Producer Organisations in Rural Advisory Services
Producer organisations and the private sector are crucial both as RAS providers and as clients of advisory services. However, their role is not sufficiently analysed, and there is a lack of good practices on their involvement in extension. The 4th GFRAS Annual Meeting contributed to fill this gap by discussing:
  • Types of private sector and producer organisations RAS, their roles and limits, and areas to strengthen their contribution to sustainable rural development
  • Mechanisms to strengthen producer organisations’ roles and capacities in RAS, approaches to better integrate small-scale farmers, and tasks for RAS to support producer organisations’ contribution to RAS provision
  • Sustainability and cost-effectiveness in private sector and producer organisations RAS, approaches and transferability to other RAS sectors, and lessons from public-private partnerships

Functional Component: Network Strengthening
GFRAS and regional RAS networks are engaged in awareness raising on RAS, facilitating exchange, capacity strengthening, and translating, developing, and making use of knowledge products. Cross-regional sharing of experience and lessons learnt in three areas will support RAS fora in their future activities:
  • Mobilising human resources: approaches to attract interest, create ownership, strengthen capacities, activate country fora, and mobilise members for the long term
  • Mobilising financial resources: structures and mechanisms for mobilising internal and external resources, sustainability in funding, funding organisational development and networking, and the role of partnerships and visibility in fundraising
  • Planning and implementing networking: experience exchange on strategic planning, formal structures and tools that support implementation of activities

Share Fair: New approaches and issues of interest in RAS, progress reporting on GFRAS activities
Participants had the opportunity to share and discuss their own experience with peers during a share fair. This session will contribute to the creation of links and partnerships between participants and to sharing of information. It will help to identify new areas of interest and interaction in RAS.

icon pdf Programme (pdf 170KB)
icon pdf Participants list (pdf 561KB)
Opening and Keynote Address 24/09 Regina Birner, University of Hohenheim, Germany

Panel Discussion 24/09

Mechanisms to strengthen producer organisations’ roles and capacities in RAS. Their role in demand led extension and advisory service provision


Extension networks support video

Participants frequently debated about how service providers could improve their performance by including farmer training videos in their extension activities. Access Agriculture ̶ with its devoted web-sharing platform to enhance South-South exchange of quality training videos ̶ attracted a lot of attention during the event. Recognising the importance of regional and national networks in extension, Access Agriculture formalised its partnerships with the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS) and explored expansion through the regional extension network in South Asia (AESA).

To more actively engage the multi-stakeholder extension country fora that are members of these regional networks, Access Agriculture is developing concrete activities around video-mediated rural learning. The country fora will play a lead role in assessing the need for local language translations of farmer training videos; in collating demand for mass multiplying DVDs; in supporting the development of national DVD distribution plans; and in channelling demand for new video programs. The regional and national multi-stakeholder extension networks are supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

Thursday, September 26, 2013


23-25 September 2013. Bonn, Germany. More than 300 participants, including scientists, practitioners, policymakers and donor representatives, explored the critical nexus of agriculture nutrition and health. The objective of the 2013 Science Forum was to use recent evidence across a range of disciplines, to identify priority research needs and new scientific approaches, and facilitate new and stronger partnerships, through which the agricultural community can add most value to the delivery of nutrition and health outcomes.

The program for the Science Forum 2013 reflected the goal of working between disciplines and sectors, and to stimulate provocative and productive dialogue. The Forum provided an opportunity for early career scientists to participate in the discussion on innovative and forward-looking approaches. It  supported 21 early career scientists to participate in the event, meet with experts and discuss areas of research. The Forum opened with a Knowledge Share Fair, where participants could watch digital displays or meet informally with researchers to share knowledge, ideas and experiences.

The plenary sessions, covering overarching issues such as gender, evaluation and the need for regional approaches were coordinated by ten specialists aimed at giving all participants a chance to contribute to discussions, on topics ranging from diet diversification to facilitating research uptake.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Valorisation de la filière maraîchère en RDC, Cameroun et Congo

25 - 28 Septembre 2013. DOUALA. Atelier de rédaction de la note conceptuelle sur la valorisation de la filière maraichère en réponse au changement climatique, a la croissance urbaine et a la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle.

L'objectif général du projet est de développer et pérenniser l’emploi agricole dans la filière maraîchère en Afrique Centrale en démontrant les services associés.

Les objectifs spécifiques sont de démontrer la valeur des divers services associés à la filière maraîchère en matière de :
  1. Sécurisation alimentaire : améliorer les systèmes d’approvisionnement en légumes des villes 
  2. Sécurisation nutritionnelle : améliorer la qualité nutritionnelle et sanitaire des légumes 
  3. Sécurisation environnementale : améliorer la gestion des ressources naturelles (eau, matières organiques) et l’adaptation au changement climatique 
  4. Sécurisation socio-économique des familles : stimuler les organisations locales et régionales multi-sectorielles
Participants a l'atelier de rédaction de la note conceptuelle:

CIRAD – France
Eugénie OLOMBA
NDZANA ABANDA François Xavier
MEZEME ENAMA Marie Joseph Ninon
Serge Dieudonné FEGUE
NGA Celestin
NOAH EWOLO Bertrand Gustave

PAEPARD ARD funding opportunities


Agricultural Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The SEED Foundation supports French organizations in partnership with non-profit local organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa for innovative solutions that address food security. Grants range from €10 thousand to €20 thousand for projects of up to three years. Grants do not exceed 50% of total project costs. The Foundation lists the eligible African countries. The deadline for applications is 30 September 2013.

This Call for proposals invites consortia composed of private and public practitioners organisations and research organisations, from the 15 Dutch development partner countries and from the Netherlands, to submit project proposals for applied research for innovation.
Of the 15 partner countries for Dutch international cooperation, following countries are from Africa: Benin, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, South Sudan, Uganda. A grant amounts to a minimum of 50,000 euro (for six months) to a maximum of 300,000 euro (for 36 months). Proposals can be submitted continuously during the course of this first Call for proposals. This Call closes at 15 April 2014.

C L I M A T E  C H A N G E

Business-to-Business Partnerships.
Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) will support business-to-business partnerships that have potential to deliver sustained benefits for climate, poverty reduction, and economic growth. Funding for pilot projects will range from £60 thousand to £125 thousand per project in the following focus countries and regions: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Caribbean, Colombia, El Salvador, and Peru. The deadline for submissions is 07 October 2013.

The European Commission (EC) announceD funding to support Sierra Leone in environmental awareness and education, and pilot projects concerning climate change. The program is open to nonprofit organizations established in Sierra Leone and to international organizations. Grants are a maximum of €600 thousand for environmental awareness, and €800 thousand for climate change, subject to cost shares. Reference EuropeAid/135003/M/ACT/SL. The deadline for concept notes is 07 October 2013.

DFID announceD BRACED ("Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Extremes and Disasters") to build the resilience of people to extreme climate events in selected countries of the Sahel, Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia. Grants will be made to nonprofit NGOs that lead consortia with project partners (e.g., other NGOs, local governments, research organizations, UN agencies, and the private sector). The current call is for concept notes. The proponents of the best concept notes will be asked to develop full proposals for a three-year period. The deadline for concept notes is 10 November 2013.


International Awards for Sustainable Energy 2014
Ashden supports projects in sustainable energy in the UK and the developing world. The awards are made to pioneers in sustainable energy, saving energy, generating renewable energy, or promoting behavior change. The competition for the International Awards is open to businesses, nonprofit organizations, NGOs, and social enterprises whose activities take place in Africa; Central or South America; South, East, or Southeast Asia; or a small island developing state. Winners are supported with prize money up to £40 thousand, plus assistance with mentoring and networking. The closing date for applications is 05 November 2013.

The French Global Environment Facility (FFEM) announces a fourth phase of the Small-Scale Initiatives for years 2013-2016. This program funds civil society organizations in Central and West Africa, Madagascar, and Mozambique for biodiversity conservation, the fight against climate change, and improvements of local livelihoods. Grants are to NGOs based in the eligible African countries, and to international NGOs in partnership with local NGOs that do not yet have legal status. FFEM will provide an average of €35 thousand per project, up to 50% of project costs (75% if there is only local participation). The deadline for applications (English, French, Portuguese, Spanish) is 15 November 2013.

O T H E R  

Exploratory Grants on Enterprise for Development.
The UK Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) and the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) jointly sponsor research on Private Enterprise Development in Low-Income Countries (PEDL). PEDL encourages proposals which address cross-cutting issues such as climate, environment, and social compliance -- among others. Exploratory Grants range from £10 thousand to £35 thousand. The next application deadline for Exploratory Grants is 30 September 2013

With funding by the government of India, the RTF-DCS program [Center for Science and Technology of the Non-Aligned and Other Developing Countries] will select twenty young scientists from developing countries to work at Indian R&D institutions for a period of six months. Fellowships are available in several areas, including agricultural sciences. Applicants should possess at least a master’s degree, and should be working in a national R&D or academic institution in his/her home country. The fellowships aim to provide full financial assistance. The closing date for applications is 14 October 2013. 

Initiatives in Sustainable Living
The Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs invites project ideas from young entrepreneurs, 30 years and under, that promote sustainable living. The competition is open worldwide. Categories include water, sanitation, and hygiene; water scarcity; sustainable agriculture; smallholder farming; greenhouses gases; waste management; and others. Finalists in the competition will share more than €200 thousand in financial support and tailored mentoring. The closing date is 01 November 2013.

IDRC offers doctoral research awards twice a year (April and November) in priority themes that include agriculture and environment (among others). The program is open to Canadians, permanent residents of Canada, and nationals of developing countries who are pursuing doctoral studies at Canadian universities. IDRC funds research in all developing countries, with a few exceptions. The award covers expenses for field research up to CA$20 thousand a year. The next deadline is 01 November 2013. 

Borlaug Leadership Enhancement in Agriculture (LEAP)
Borlaug LEAP offers fellowships for graduate students from developing countries who are engaged in agricultural research at universities in the USA. Borlaug LEAP invites applications from students in Sub-Saharan Africa whose research addresses topics that support "Feed the Future," a program of the U.S. government to address global hunger and food insecurity. Each research project is coordinated by a university in the student's home country, a university in the USA, and a mentor in the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The next application deadline is 01 December 2013. 

Grants to Strengthen Farming Communities.
The Monsanto Fund makes grants in support of agricultural communities around the world. Grants of US$25 thousand and more are available to tax-exempt charitable organizations for activities and projects that address farmers' education and training; food security; community water and sanitation; and other local needs. Monsanto's international grants are administered at the country level; interested persons should contact the Fund's national liaison. The next application period is 01 January 2014 through 28 February 2014. Link Locations

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

9th Annual General meeting of RUFORUM

Participants in the Annual General meeting of RUFORUM
Prime Minister Pierre Damien Habumuremyi (Rwanda) 
listens to a participant from Nairobi University. 
The New Times, John Mbanda
18-20 September, 2013. Kigali, Rwanda. The RUFORUM 9th Annual General Meeting was hosted this year by the Government of Rwanda and the University of Rwanda. The theme of this year was “Sustaining and Mobilizing RUFORUM Universities for Effective Engagement in Agricultural Development and Transformation in Africa”.

During the 3 day event, RUFORUM organized a number of events which included the Market Place- showcasing the RUFORUM network innovations; Cultural dinners with invited guests (10 Permanent Secretaries from five African countries, 32 Vice Chancellors and 32 Deans of the RUFORUM member universities, International Advisory Panel and our Alumni) and the Visit to the Rwanda Memorial Site.

During the meeting, Ruforum also launched a book, Dirty hands, Fine Minds: The story of an Agricultural Research and Training Network in African Universities.

The goal of Ruforum is to see a vibrant agricultural sector linked to African universities which can produce high performing graduates and high-quality research responsive to the demands of Africa’s farmers for innovations and able to generate sustainable livelihoods and national economic development.

It also strives to strengthen the capacities of Universities to foster innovations responsive to demands of small holder farmers through the training of high quality researchers, the output of impact oriented research, and the maintenance of collaborative working relations among researchers, farmers, national agricultural research institutions and governments.

Launch of a book portraying RUFORUM achievements,
with the authors: Mary Anne Fitzgerald and Megan Lindow


Report: Solutions for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems

18th September 2013. The SDSN Thematic Group on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems released their report Solutions for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. TECHNICAL REPORT FOR THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA (108 pages)

The new, agriculture, report was released together with six other reports by the network's thematic groups on issues including health, natural resource management, and ecosystem services and biodiversity.

The reports represent a major input by scientists towards a new set of global development goals to replace the Millennium Development Goalsin 2015.

SciDev 19/09
: Research funding and skills key to food for post-2015. The report notes that only well-trained scientists and agricultural practitioners can provide the innovation and drive to bring about the necessary change.

Many national agricultural research systems in developing nations are not up to the task and rely heavily on foreign donors, it says. Increasing national research spending to one per cent of GDP (gross domestic product) is essential to rectify weaknesses in human capacity, in terms of both skills and numbers, infrastructure and governance, the report adds. Furthermore, to avoid a generation-long gap in agricultural expertise, developing nations must focus on encouraging young people to pursue careers in relevant fields, it says. The low number of students studying in fields such as agronomy, soil science and pest management, particularly in Africa, is a real worry.

Aggrey Agumya, senior technical advisor at the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, based in Ghana, believes that the capacity gap is so acute in many countries that even a doubling of public research spending might be insufficient. He says that:
"The seriousness of the problem is masked by the fact that any spending increases often go on better salaries rather than improvements to infrastructure and research networks. But the greatest problem is not the lack of researchers but the inability of institutions to apply findings in ways that bring practical benefits. To improve this, great efforts must be made to strengthen agricultural institutions' planning and governance capacities to maximise research benefits".

Enhancing Intra-Comesa Agricultural Trade through SME Development

15 - 16 September 2013. 5th Joint COMESA Ministerial meeting of agriculture, environment and natural resources. The economic significance of agriculture in COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) region is overshadowed by its low productivity due to less mechanized production, infrastructure challenges and dependency on rain-fed agriculture, COMESA said.

COMESA Assistant Secretary General, Ambassador Dr. Kipyego Cheluget said this has brought about food insecurity and slow development of agricultural industry in the region. Currently, the region is showing mixed food security developments with some countries registering increased crop and livestock production while others are showing deficits, he said. COMESA is working with partners to address food security and improvement of livestock production.

Intra-COMESA trade through micro, small and medium enterprises development will add value to development and promote regional integration. Agriculture represents more than 30 percent of the COMESA region’s GDP and provides livelihoods to about 80 percent of the total population. It accounts for 65 percent of foreign exchange earnings too. The two-day meeting was undertaken under the theme: “Enhancing Intra-COMESA Trade through Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development”. The meeting reviewed the implementation of agricultural, environmental and natural resources development in the region. 

STUDY: The Place of Crop Agriculture in the Drylands of the Horn of Africa: a threat or opportunity?

11 September 2013. The Place of Crop Agriculture in the Drylands of the Horn of Africa: a threat or opportunity?
This report (Michael Mortimore, June 2013, 53 pages) reviews available evidence concerning the potential for expansion of crop agriculture, as an alternative or complementary strategy to pastoralism, in arid and semi arid areas of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda (large and small scale irrigated and rain fed), in order to promote sustainable and resilient livelihoods. 

These are weighed against other livelihoods support options in order to inform REGLAP’s own advocacy position as well as those of Oxfam and other NGOs, especially around the IGAD-led Ending Drought Emergency (EDE) plans.Research gaps are also explored and means of filling them are suggested.

The study aims to inform government, NGOs, private sector partners and REGLAP (Regional Learning and Advocacy Programme for Vulnerable Dryland Communities) on the evidence base for policy and practice on development in pastoral regions of the Horn of Africa, with particular reference to small-scale irrigation. It argues that policies for dryland livelihoods should seek to integrate mobile and agro-pastoralism with small-scale irrigation and livelihood diversification. It foresees a significant transition to growth in the small-scale irrigated sector in dryland areas. 

Recommendations for good practice in small-scale irrigation in this context include: 
  • planning that recognises system interactions and reconciles contested claims to resources; 
  • freedom of choice regarding household livelihood strategies; 
  • recognising and realising the complementary benefits of livestock; 
  • fully participatory irrigation development and regulation; 
  • allowing for multi-sectoral livelihood strategies; 
  • action research and innovation relevant to small-scale production units; and vii) provision of economic incentives for micro-investments. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

EU-Africa cooperation on Science, Technology and Innovation

18 - 19 September 2013. Brussels, Belgium. During two days, several technical as well as policy-oriented meetings took place in Brussels in preparation of the next EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue at the end of November. These meetings brought together participants from the European Commission, African Union Commission as well as several Member States from both sides.

On 18 September experts deliberated on the outcomes of a study 'Identifying successful cooperation models, gaps and effective financial mechanisms' in EU-Africa cooperation on STI. During a stakeholder workshop on the following day at the Embassy of South Africa, the participants considered options for enhancing knowledge and innovation partnerships under the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES). In the afternoon, the Bureau of the EU-Africa HLPD took place .

The Bureau is co-chaired by DG Research and Innovation and the current chair of AMCOST, Congo Brazzaville. It made great progress in discussing the EU-Africa HLPD’s agenda, which will have a special focus on the role of science, technology and innovation in promoting 'food security, nutrition and sustainable agriculture'.

The Bureau of the Africa-EU High Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation (HLPD) is currently preparing the second meeting of senior officials of Africa and EU (November 2013).

Agri Mega Week

18 – 21 September 2013. Bredasdorp. South Africa. The Agri Mega Week 2013, with the theme ‘Agriculture for Job Creation’ will again brought together input suppliers, service providers, agricultural businesses, commodity organisations, government, producers, farm workers, upcoming farmers, and consumers for progressive and pertinent discussions about this industry that not only creates employment, but also provides nourishment for the nation.

The 21st Agri Mega Week, boasted more than 350 exhibitors bringing the latest trends, technology, products and events surrounding the theme “Agriculture for Job creation”. Visitors attended exhibitions, demonstrations, workshops, conferences, farm fresh products, competitions and lots of fun for the whole family.

Sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity

20 - 22 September 2013. Basel, Switzerland. This forum was organized by the European Coordination: Let's Liberate Diversity (EC-LLD) with ProSpecieRara in cooperation with partner organizations in Switzerland, including SwissAid, Bern Declaration, Vogelwarte Sempach, Kleinbauern-Vereinigung Schweiz, Sativa Rhienau AG, IP-Suisse and SAG.

This year the forum devoted special attention to practices - 'from planting to plate' -which contribute to the sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity as outlined in the International Treaty for Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA).

Issues addressed in the workshops included:
  • participatory breeding in support of food sovereignty, 
  • internal rules of functioning for community-based seed systems
  • and tools for the on-farm management of agricultural biodiversity.  
  • The long neglected issue of livestock diversity was addressed as well.
European seed legislation

The West Africa Fertilizer Stakeholders' Forum

18-19 September 2013, Accra, Ghana. WEST AFRICA FERTILIZER STAKEHOLDERS' FORUM 2013 "WAFSF" "Ensuring a Favorable Policy and Regulatory Environment for Fertilizer Trade and Use in West Africa".

The WAFSF is the main activity within the West Africa Fertilizer Program (WAFP) managed by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) and the African Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) in partnership with the ECOWAS. The WAFSF seeks the participation of Government, Private Sector (Traders, Manufacturers, Importers, Distributors, and Agrodealers), Civil Society, Development Partners, and Farmer-based organizations (FBOs) especially from West Africa.

According to forum organizers, about 30% of the recent global increases in cereal production have been accounted for by fertilizers and the need to enhance fertilizer use has been highlighted since the Abuja Summit in 2006.

Increased fertilizer use has become a cornerstone of Africa's agricultural productivity agenda. Fertilizer consumption levels in West Africa are generally below 10 kg/ha compared with a world average of 107 kg/ha and far below the target of 50 kg/ha set by African governments to be met by 2015.

Obstacles to achieving the target of 50 kg/ha include limited access to credit and finance, inefficient and high-cost port operations, sub-optimal lot sizes, and weak distributor and agro-dealer networks. Other barriers are inadequate fertilizer recommendations, limited access to finance and credit and output markets, the high cost of capital, and inadequate packaging for smallholder farmers.

Policy-side barriers include non-supportive fertilizer policies (such as subsidies and taxes) and a lack of harmonization of trade and quality control procedures, resulting in low levels of intrastate trade.

The passage of ECOWAS Fertilizer Regulation C/REG.13/12/12 paves the way for a favorable policy and regulatory environment for investments that improve the supply and use of fertilizers in the region.

Innovation platforms - the right path to technology adoption?

IPTAs promote problem solving
© FAO/Riccardo Gangale
September 2013. Innovation platforms for technology adoption (IPTA) aim to promote problem solving by a wide range of stakeholders, including researchers, farmers, extension workers and NGOs, policymakers, equipment manufacturers, traders and processers. The intention is for the platform to agree on and work towards a common goal that, typically, will lead to greater productivity and income for smallholder farmers. In recent years, the formation of IPTAs, in order to extend new technologies to large numbers of farmers has been widely adopted in agricultural development.

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), which hosted the recent Africa Agriculture Science Week in Accra, Ghana, has strongly backed the IPTA model. However, concerns have been raised about whether IPTAs are in danger of becoming a formulaic development response that ignores the realities of competition between different stakeholders in a platform, or the varying characteristics of commodities and value chains. 

New Agriculturist gave participants at Africa Agriculture Science Week an opportunity to share their views:

What is the key strength of the IPTA model?
Achieving success
Things to avoid
What role for researchers?
Government input

Agricultural development within the rural-urban continuum.

17 - 19 September, 2013. Stuttgart-Hohenheim. Tropentag 2013. International Research on Food Security, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development. Agricultural development within the rural-urban continuum.

The annual Conference on Tropical and Subtropical Agricultural and Natural Resource Management (TROPENTAG) was jointly organised by the universities of Bonn, Göttingen, Hohenheim, Kassel-Witzenhausen, Hamburg, ETH Zurich (Switzerland), Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (Czech Republic), as well as by the Council for Tropical and Subtropical Research (ATSAF e.V) in co-operation with the GIZ Advisory Service on Agricultural Research for Development (BEAF).
The conference brought together agricultural scientists from around the world, who engage in tropical

Megacities in developing countries are growing rapidly. To satisfy their needs for food and energy in a sustainable way, also the rural areas must change radically in the coming decades. Experts and media representatives with the Federal Minister Dirk Niebel discussed:
  • How can developing countries take the challenge of urbanization as an opportunity
  • And how can the German development policy give more focused support than in the past? 
Relevant thematic groups for PAEPARD:
Farmers challenges: Adoption and innovation in the process of empowerment

Value chains
Value chains and market integration within the rural-urban continuum
Value chains and market integration within the rural-urban continuum II
Institutional arrangements for value chain development and rural change
Extensive livestock systems
Extensive livestock systems II
Intensive livestock systems and services

Interview with Mr. Rene van Veenhuizen, RUAF Foundation. The RUAF Foundation is an international network of seven regional resource centres and one global resource centre on Urban Agriculture and Food Security. RUAF is providing training, technical support and policy advice to local and national governments, producer organizations, NGO's and other local stakeholders. See also related PAEPARD blog post

Published on 18 Sep 2013
Mr. Rene van Veenhuizen, Senior Program Officer at the International Network of Resource Centers on Urban Agriculture and Food Security gives examples of outstanding projects of urban agriculture

Tropentag 2013: Wachsende Städte nachhaltig versorgen

5eme Conference internationale de la PAFFA

16 au 20 Septembre 2013. Bujumbura. La 5ème Conférence internationale de la PAFFA. Au cours de cette conférence, quatre thèmes fondamentaux ont été développés à savoir

  1. la systématique, 
  2. la biodiversité et la gestion des bases de donnée; 
  3. la biologie, l'écologie et l'éthologie ; 
  4. la conservation et la gestion des écosystèmes aquatiques et enfin, 
  5. les poissons et la sécurité alimentaire en Afrique au 21ème siècle.
Des scientifiques en provenance de 25 pays du monde entier ont participé à cette conférence avec une prépondérance des Nigérians avec plus de 25 participants.

Organized by: The Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Burundi.

With the financial participation of the:
  • Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA, Tervuren, Belgium)
  • Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD, France)
  • Museu de Zoologia, Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil)
  • NUPEM, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  • American Museum of Natural History (AMNH, New York, U.S.A.)

Africhthy is a web portal and information management system for African ichthyology created to allow efficient networking and collaboration among taxonomists, conservationists, fisheries managers, aquaculturists, aquarists, and students and faculty at African universities. Africhthy makes available an up-to-date taxonomy of African fishes, expert identification keys, species descriptions and images, an archive for the voluminous “gray literature” on African ichthyology, forums, newsletters for societies and projects, and a multi-authored blog highlighting new publications.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The assessment of West Africa's public spending on agriculture

11-14 September , 2013.
Monrovia, Liberia.Two hundred delegates including the Nigerian agriculture Minister and Liberian President met to discuss West Africa's record of implementing the 2003 'Maputo Declaration' which recognised the critical role of agriculture in equitable development and committed to allocating at least ten per cent of Government budgets to the sector.

The meeting was organised by ROPPA - West Africa's largest farmer advocacy organization and is attended by representatives from governments, civil society and donors.

15-17 September , 2013. Monrovia, Liberia.The regional consultation CSM in Africa.

  • Discussion, analysis and evaluation, including continental and regional organizations of small producers and NGO networks in Africa, results and challenges of the Civil Society Mechanism in the Committee of World Food Security. 
  • A better understanding of civil society and social movements about the issues the region faces in agricultural investments in order to better be prepared for the consultation on the IAR principles in 2013; 
  • Analysis of the draft principles for responsible agricultural investment; 
  • A document, drawn from the participating organizations, containing their contributions to the draft principles for responsible agricultural investment, distributed