Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

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
  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.

Update on the selection Africa Climate Change Fund (ACCF)'s second call for proposals

5 April 2018. The Africa Climate Change Fund (ACCF)'s second call for proposals, which closed in August 2017, received unprecedented numbers of proposals from diverse government and non-governmental entities. Proponents of shortlisted concept notes were invited to submit full proposals, which were received in late January.

The objective of this call was to solicit innovative and impactful projects that will support direct access to climate finance and small-scale or pilot adaptation initiatives in sectors aligned with the Bank's High 5 priorities to build resilience of vulnerable communities in Africa.

The ACCF Secretariat's team of independent experts convened in Abidjan from February 6-9 to assess and score the proposals against the pre-determined assessment criteria. The team met with various Bank departments, funds and initiatives, including gender and civil society, agriculture, renewable energy and the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa, Africa Water Facility, Jobs for Youth in Africa, Climate for Development Special Fund, and the Africa NDC Hub with the aim of ensuring that the that projects supported by the ACCF are relevant and synergistic with broader Bank initiatives.

The next stage will consist of the approval of a shortlist by the ACCF's Technical Committee followed by project appraisal and approval of the best proposals. The ACCF has approximately US $5 million available to allocate to approved projects, but is actively engaging with potential donors to mobilize new resources to respond to the significant demand.

African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

17-21 March 2018. African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The Republic of Rwanda, which holds the African Union Presidency, hosted this 10th Extraordinary Session of the AU Assembly focused on the AfCFTA in the presence of the AU Heads of State, AU Commissioners, Representatives of the AU Organs, African Regional Economic Communities, UN Agencies and key partner organisations such as the EU.

The AfCFTA aims at providing a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of people and investments. Its goal is to accelerate Intra-Africa trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization. Through these measures, the establishment of the AfCFTA is expected to gather impetus to boost economic growth and attract investments from both within Africa and the world.

The Continental Free Trade Area is one of the central projects of the First Ten-Year Implementation
Plan of Agenda 2063 and is being driven forward along with other related initiatives such as the Single African Air Transport Market and the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and the African Passport.
"The adoption and signing of the AfCFTA legal instruments and the signing of the Protocol on free movement of persons are concrete commitments to liberalisation and to building on what has already been achieved at the regional level. The EU is ready to support the implementation of this impressive achievement in the spirit of the African Union-European Union partnership and our joint political declaration of the Summit in Abidjan in November 2017. Joint Statement HR/VP Federica Mogherini, EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström and EU Commissioner for Development and International Cooperation Neven Mimica
In a recent article (26 March 2018) of the London School of Economics about the Economic Partnership Agreements, the author Dr. Olu Fasan argues in his analysis that
“EPAs could be the key in helping African countries achieve their goal of industrialisation”. 
How so? By supporting Africa in the addressing what the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) calls “the 3Cs”, namely, competitiveness of supply capacity; conformity with international standards; and connectivity to markets. “If fully implemented, the EPAs can help Africa tackle, to a great extent, these challenges”, Dr Fasan argues.
One of the main challenges African countries face in gaining access to the EU market is the EU’s tough quality and packaging requirements. For instance, in 2016, the EU banned 26 Nigerian food products on health and safety grounds. However, under the EPA, the EU undertakes to provide financial and technical support to help West African exporters meet its Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) standards, potentially removing a major non-tariff barrier.
Africa complains that the EPAs would lead to the continent being flooded with “cheap EU exports”, but China is flooding Africa with cheap exports without guaranteeing access to its market for Africa’s current and future manufactured exports. The EPAs give Africa a legally guaranteed access to EU markets. 
If the EPAs fail, Europe would lose influence in Africa but Africa risks losing access to its traditional European markets, as well as the impetus and support to tackle its supply-side and trade constraints. So, Africa should ratify the EPAs, make use of their flexibilities, if necessary, and hold the EU’s feet to the fire on the implementation of the EPA’s development component.
Extract of the programme:

20 March 2018. Kigali. AfCFTA Business Forum: "Leveraging the Power of Business to Drive Africa’s Integration"

DOWNLOAD AfCFTA Business Forum: Programme

Plenary I - Leveraging the Power of Business to Drive Africa’s Integration.
  • H.E. Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe 
  • Donald Kaberuka, African Union High Representative for the Peace Fund 
  • Ali Mufuruki, Chairman and CEO, Infotech Investment Group, Tanzania 
  • Tonye Cole, Co-founder and Group Executive Director, Sahara Group, Nigeria 
  • Miriem Bensalah, Présidente de La Confédération des Entreprises du Maroc, Morocco

Plenary II - Jobs, Youth and Women: What AfCFTA means for Africa’s citizens
  • H.E. João Lourenço, President of Angola 
  • Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director, International Trade Centre (ITC) Switzerland 
  • Aliaune Badara Akon Thiam, Co-founder, Akon lighting Africa, Senegal 
  • Tiguidanke Camara, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tigui Mining Group (TMG) and Camara Diamond and Gold Trading Network (CDGTN), Guinea 
  • H.E. Albert Muchanga, Commissioner for Trade and Industry, African Union Commission (AUC)

Plenary III: Technology, Innovation and Intra-Africa Trade
  • H.E. Daniel Kablan Duncan, Vice President of Ivory Coast 
  • Ashish Thakkar, Founder, Mara Group and Mara Foundation, Uganda 
  • Kabirou Mbodji, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Wari, Senegal 
  • Jean Philibert Nsengimana, Special Advisor to Smart Rwanda/Former Minister of ICT, Rwanda 
  • Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary General, UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
*** The panelists address the question on the role of research, innovation and education @ 49:10
On the commercialisation of research findings and Africa to benefit more from its scholars abroad [the scientific diaspora]- an audience intervention from Egypt @ 1:02:20

Plenary IV: Financing intra-Africa trade

  • H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya 
  • Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board, African ExportImport Bank (Afreximbank
  • Akinwumi Adesina, President of Africa Development Bank (AfDB
  • Diane Karusisi, CEO, Bank of Kigali, Rwanda 
  • Mr. Erik Solheim, Executive Director, United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) Special
  • Intervention: Ade Adeyemi; CEO, Ecobank, Togo

Agroecology and Livestock

Livestock and agroecology. How they can support the transition towards sustainablefood and agriculture. FAO, 2018, 16 pages

This brief reviews opportunities and challenges related to livestock’s potential to contribute to agroecological transition, focusing on four main themes, which rely on different elements of agroecology: supporting better livelihoods and creating added value; conserving and using diversity; recycling for better efficiency and finally climate change mitigation and adaptation.

It presents recommendations for a better inclusion of livestock in international efforts to transition to sustainable food and agriculture through upscaling and wider adoption of agroecology.

Livestock are found in all regions of the world and supply a wide range of products and services such as meat, milk, eggs, fibre, hides and skins, natural fertilizers, fuel, transport and drought power. They are kept by more than half of rural households and are essential to livelihoods, nutrition and food security. If managed sustainably, they can contribute to important ecosystem functions such as nutrient cycling, soil carbon sequestration and the conservation of agricultural landscapes. They can also improve livelihoods and incomes.

However, the rapid development of the livestock sector in response to growing demand has given rise to a number of risks. Most of this development has taken place in large-scale and intensive systems, with relatively little contribution from small-scale producers or pastoralists. Intensive systems account for about 60 percent of global pork or chicken meat, although they still provide less than 15 percent of beef or milk production. Concerns are also growing over the impact of the livestock sector on the climate and the environment, the role of livestock in global food security and nutrition, as well as in sustainable and healthy diets, animal health and particularly the impact of zoonotic diseases on public health, and animal welfare.

Many means of addressing these risks involve optimizing interactions between animals, plants, humans and the environment and hence are relevant to agroecology, an approach based on applying ecological concepts and principles to agriculture while taking into consideration the social aspects that need to be addressed for sustainable and fair food systems. From pastoralists to small-scale crop-livestock farmers, many livestock keepers already practice agroecology. But the transition will be more challenging for some production systems than others.

Friday, April 6, 2018

E-agriculture in action: Drones for agriculture

6 March 2018. E-agriculture in action: Drones for agriculture.
(FAO, 2018, 112 pages)

The FAO-ITU E-agriculture strategy guide is actively being used to assist countries in the successful identification, development and implementation of sustainable ICT solutions for agriculture.

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, and connected analytics has great potential to support and address some of the most pressing problems faced by agriculture in terms of access to actionable real-time quality data. Goldman Sachs predicts that the agriculture sector will be the second largest user of drones in the world in the next five years. Sensor networks based on the Internet of things (IoT) are increasingly being used in the agriculture sector to meet the challenge of harvesting meaningful and actionable information from the big data generated by these systems.

This publication is the second in the series titled E-agriculture in action (2016), launched by FAO and ITU, and builds on the previous FAO publications that highlight the use "

GFAR / CTA / GODAN webinar in the series on Farmers' access to data

5 April 2018. Webinar. As part of its work on farmers’ rights to data and following up on the face-to-face course on Farmers’ Access to Data organized in Centurion in November 2017, GFAR continued its collaboration with the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition initiative (GODAN) and the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperarion (CTA) on a series of webinars on data-driven agriculture, its opportunities and its challenges.

About this webinar 
Data-driven services and products are coming to be seen as promising mechanisms that farmer organizations – cooperatives, associations, enterprises, etc. – can use to better serve the interests of their members. Data-driven services can be used for improved production, trade and market access or finance, among other uses on the value chain. This data can be in numerous forms – collected from the farmer, for the farmer, open or closed. Farmer-representing organizations offer great opportunity to safeguard smallholder data, maximize returns in value chains, and best exploit the potential of third-party services and data offerings. This all relies heavily on efficient farmer profiling activities which will allow the farmer organizations to connect better with their members and deal with third party service provide. 

About the presenters 
  • Chris Addison is Senior Programme Coordinator for Data4Ag at CTA. The Data for Agriculture (Data4Ag) project focuses on data use to benefit smallholder farmers. Chris has worked in the ICT and knowledge management (KM) for development sector for the last 18 years and as director of the nonprofit One World Europe. He contributed to the OpenAire Open Data report as joint author of the Agriculture chapter. Whilst at IFPRI, he commissioned the conversion of the Global Hunger Index data to linked open data and is currently working on a project to publish the CTA archive as a linked open dataset.
  • Chipo Msengezi is Project Coordinator at CTA. She is responsible for the coordination of capacity development activities within the GODAN Action Project, which aims to strengthen data users, producers and intermediaries to engage effectively with open data and maximise its potential for impact in the agriculture. Chipo has worked in the ICT and knowledge management (KM) for development sector for over nine years conducting programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa to enhance capacity amongst the research and education communities in the latest information tools and advocate for the adoption of new technologies that drive development in Africa.

Related PAEPARD blog post:

Programming Research and Innovation for Improved Impact

6 April 2018. Rome. The SCAR Strategic Working Groups ARCH, AKIS and Food Systems organised jointly the Workshop: Programming Research and Innovation for Improved Impact 

The workshop consisted of Key Note Speakers showing how to ex ante programme research and innovation for improved impact, at the international, national and regional scales. This was followed by Panel Discussions with experts drawn from the EC, IFAD, FAO, OECD, CREA and open discussions with participants.
The aim of the workshop was to provide, to funders and researchers, concrete recommendations on how to strengthen programming of research and innovation to reach tangible impacts
  • Lessons learned during the workshop will be used as the basis of a Policy Brief with specific recommendations and guidelines on how to better programme research and innovation activities to achieve improved impact. 
  • Participants were funders, policy makers and researchers from international organisations, European Commission Directorate Generals, SCAR Members, National Research and Innovation institutions and sub-national managing authorities.
  • Welcome - by Roberto Henke, Director Policy and Bioeconomy, CREA, Italy
  • Setting the scene – Trends in programming Research and Innovation for Impact - by Ben Davis, FAO
  • What does it take to boost the culture of impact in our research institutions? - by Etienne Hainzelin (Coordinator of the Impress project)
  • Programming Research and Innovation in an Integrated AKIS: The Irish Experience - by Kevin Heanue (Evaluation Officer at Teagasc, IE) representing an AKIS point of view
  • Reviewing S3 in Tuscany: experiences from regional integrated projects - by Emanuele Fabbri (Region Tuscany) and Professor Marco Vieri (Univ. of Florence)
  • The perspective of funders and policy makers
  • The perspective of researchers and research institutes
  • Presentation of main conclusions - by Stefano Bisoffi, Former Technical Director CREA
The ImpresS ex post method: a co construction process with partners
The ImpresS ex post method was developed within a strategic project at CIRAD, called "Innovation-Impact", which aimed at constructing an impact assessment framework that would be adapted to the partnership modus operandi of CIRAD, and to develop a "culture of impact” in the institution.

This method was built from different sources:
  1. Impact evaluation literature;
  2. Transdisciplinary collaboration with international organizations: notably experts (CGIAR, WUR, FIBL-IMPRESA) with a particular fruitful partnership with Asirpa project Team (INRA-ASIRPA);
  3. CIRAD's own work carried out since 2011 by impact assessment working groups;
  4. Two methodological workshops organized by CIRAD in October 2014 where CIRAD researchers and their partners from developing countries tested the methodology, and February 2015 when the results were analyzed and discussed, also with partners from other research institutions ;
  5. Lessons learned and feedback from researchers and their partners from the 13 case studies on which the method was applied between 2015 and 2016.
Principles and tools
A five-step method
Case studies

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Agroecology, the Bold Future of Farming in Africa

5 April 2018. Delegates of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) converged on the high-level UN meeting in Rome, Italy, to beat the drum for Agroecology in Africa.

The 88 page illustrated book (2016) raises 15 case studies, showing how agroecology benefits Africa in terms of food and nutrition, livelihoods, restoration of biodiversity, knowledge and innovation, and climate change resilience.

Publisher: Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) & Tanzania Organic Agriculture Movement (TOAM)
Year: 2016
Country/ies: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Togo, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe
Content language: English
Author: Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa , Miguel Altieri, Mariann Bassey, Nnimmo Bassey, Million Belay, Lim Li Ching, Steve Gliessman, Bernard Y. Guri, Elizabeth Mpofu, Doreen Stabinsky, Olivia Yambi

Leading experts in their fields explain how agroecology reforms food systems to promote better nutrition and health, especially among poor communities; how it diversifies livelihoods and defends the dignity of women farmers; how it enables and empowers us to revive our soils and lands, cultivate relevant crops, advance food sovereignty, and build resilient ecosystems and communities; and how such innovative production systems, based on indigenous knowledge, meet the nutritional, cultural and spiritual needs of Africa’s people.

In Agroecology, the Bold Future of Farming in Africa, Afsa et Toam introduce a broad collection of agroecological initiatives and put forward recommendations to achieve a sustainable transition in agriculture.

  • Shift public support and subsidies away from industrial agriculture and towards agroecology.
  • Create holistic food policies based on nutrition security, climate change resilience, sustainability and agricultural biodiversity.
  • Use public procurement policies to support the transition to agroecology; for example, schools, hospitals, and public institutions could offer healthy food grown using agroecological practices.
  • Use agroecology to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Food Systems
  • Enable farmers to understand the political economy of farming and food, and strengthen farmers’ associations that are advocating the transition towards agroecology.
  • Build farmers’ and women’s knowledge and skills in managing small enterprises and marketing.
  • Strengthen local markets and marketing channels for local produce and ensure farmers have full access to these.
  • Shorten the food chain to enable producers and consumers to gain maximum benefit from direct interaction.
  • Stimulate and help community-based enterprises to thrive in the transition towards the new system.
  • Support agroecological research in collaboration with farmers to identify and tap the full potential of agroecology, as well as how to overcome the challenges in making the transition.
  • Shift the focus of agricultural research away from mere yield/productivity towards holistic agroecological indicators such as nutritional value, ecosystem biodiversity and services, climate change resilience, and farmer innovation.
  • Develop farming technologies that support small-scale application and innovation, use local resources in a sustainable manner, respect local cultures, and are low carbon and labour-saving.
  • Build upon widespread indigenous and local knowledge systems.
  • Strengthen and develop farmer managed seed systems, the main source of seeds in Africa.
  • Save endangered seeds and improve farmers’ varieties through farmer-centred systems like participatory plant breeding.
  • Secure the legal rights of farmers to freely save, share, exchange and sell seeds, and safeguard them from being victimised by laws that protect corporate intellectual property rights and trade in seeds.
Indigenous Knowledge
  • Rebuild and strengthen the cultural heritage and indigenous knowledge systems of African peoples.
  • Record and recognize indigenous and local knowledge in all learning platforms.
  • Strengthen the practice of farmer-to-farmer sharing and learning.
  • Make agroecology the foundation of agricultural extension services.
  • Introduce agroecology and nutrition into the curriculum at all levels of education from primary to tertiary.
Consumer Awareness
  • Raise widespread awareness among consumers about the nutritional and other benefits of agroecology.
  • Strengthen consumer associations that advocate a transition towards food sovereignty and agroecology.
  • Promote collaboration among policy-makers, farmers, and consumers’ organizations to ensure mass adoption of agroecology. In a world threatened by anthropogenic climate change, environmental degradation, hunger and poverty; in a world committed to ambitious sustainable development goals and to the phasing out of fossil fuels; now is the time to call a halt to life destroying business-as-usual food systems and begin the journey towards life-giving agroecology and food sovereignty.

Second International Symposium on Agroecology

3-5 April 2018. Rome. Second International Symposium on Agroecology.
Agroecology brings together scientific disciplines, social concepts and practices. The scientific core of agroecology is based on applying ecological concepts and principles to optimize interactions between plants, trees, animals, humans and the environment.

In addition, agroecology places social issues at the centre of solutions for a sustainable and fair food system. As a set of practices, agroecology provides multiple benefits to society and the environment, by restoring ecosystem services and biodiversity. Thanks to its integrated approach, agroecology is key to boost food and nutrition security, while improving the resilience of agro-ecosystems.

In 2014, the 1st International Symposium on Agroecology for Food Security and Nutrition provided an opportunity to share experiences and build the evidence base on agroecology, as well as reaching a consensus on the priorities for achieving more sustainable food systems through agroecology. It also endorsed FAO’s role in supporting further implementation and promotion of agroecological approaches.

Following the international symposium, FAO facilitated a Global Dialogue that involved approximately 1,350 multi-stakeholder participants from 162 member countries, taking part in a series of regional meetings in 2015 and 2016. The Global dialogue showcased the important contribution of agroecology, especially in terms of:
  • enhancing smallholder and family farmers’ adaptation and resilience to the impacts of climate change; 
  • improving nutrition including through more diversified diets; 
  • protecting and enhancing agro-biodiversity in support of ecosystem services such as pollination and soil health; 
  • improving livelihoods in rural areas; 
  • achieving a transformative change in agricultural practices towards sustainable development. 
The 2nd International Symposium synthesized and built on the outcomes of the regional meetings, and provided an opportunity to share and discuss policies that can help scale-up and scale-out agroecology in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Symposium moved the topic of agroecology in FAO from dialogue to activities at the regional and country level by complementing on-going initiatives to integrate biodiversity and ecosystem services in agriculture, identifying opportunities for synergies with FAO’s Strategic Programmes and Regional Initiatives, and facilitating South-South cooperation.

Extracts of the programme: Presentations related to Africa

Successful experiences for scaling up (Watch the videostarting @ 1:00)
Session facilitated by Ms Brave Ndisale – Strategic Programme leader (FAO)
  • Co-creation of knowledge to promote agroecological transitions: the case of peasant ‘juriesMs Tabara Ndiaye. Program Manager – Joint Action for Farmers Organization in West Africa (JAFOWA). Senegal
  • Scaling-up Agroecology through a collaborative knowledge platform Ms Janet Maro. Executive Director – Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT). Tanzania 
  • Transitioning to agroecology in the Senegal River Valley Ms Arantxa García Brea. Technical consultant – Centro de Estudios Rurales y agricultura Internacional (CERAI). Mauritania
Session facilitated by Mr Benjamin Davis – Strategic Programme leader (FAO)
  • Small-scale farmers transitioning to agroecology: improving livelihoods together. Mr Paul Desmarais. Executive director – Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre (KATC). Zambia
Policy Issues and Instruments for Agroecology (Watch the videostarting @ 2:09:50)
Session facilitated by Ms Wei Zhang - Team Leader for Ecosystem Services, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
  • Mr Clayton Campanhola, Strategic Programme Leader - Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
  • Mr Ibrahima Coulibaly, President – Coordination Nationale des Organisations Paysannes (CNOP)
  • Mr Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit – Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (European Commission)
Biodiversity and climate change (Watch the videostarting @ 2:04:15)
Session facilitated by Amb. Ms Martha Elena Federica Bárcena Coqui – Mexico Permanent representative 
Co-Creation of Knowledge and Innovation (Watch the videostarting @ 0:40)
Session facilitated by Ms Jane Maland Cady – International Program Director, McKnight Foundation
  • Rachel Bezner Kerr Associate Professor – Cornell University (CU)
  • Mr Peter Rosset Professor - El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR)
  • Mr Jeffrey Campbell Manager – The Forest and Farm Facility (FFF)
  • Mr Peter Kenmore Senior Advisor – Farmer Field School (FFS)
  • Mr Raffaele Maiorano Vice-chair – Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR)
  • Ms Ashlesha Khadse Coordinator – Amrita Bhoomi Center (ABC)
Agroecology, Health and Nutrition (Watch the video, starting @ 1:31:40)
Session facilitated by Ms Anna Lartey – Director, Nutrition and Food Systems Division (FAO)
  • Mr Emile Frison Panel Member – International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES)
  • Ms Daphne Miller Medical Doctor – University of California San Francisco (UCSF)
  • Mr Rajdeep Kapoor Chef - Slow Food India Chef’s Alliance (SFCA)
  • Mr Hervé Petit Program officer - Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières (AVSF)
  • Ms Florence Tartanac Senior Officer – Nutrition and Food Systems Division (FAO) 
Multistakeholder Dialogue and Engagement (Watch the video starting @ 36:16)
Session facilitated by Mr Roberto Ridolfli – Special Adviser on Strategy and Financing Development (FAO)
  • Ms Ann Tutwiler Director General – Bioversity International (BI) 
  • Ms María Noel Salgado Coordinator South Cone Region – Movimiento Agroecológico de América Latina y el Caribe (MAELA)
  • Mr Dennis Garrity Distinguished Senior Fellow – World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) 
  • Mr Dino Scanavino President – Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori (CIA) (TBC)
  • Mr Emile Frison Panel Member – International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES) 
  • Ms Peggy Miars President – IFOAM – Organics International
  • Mr Mohamed Bakarr Senior Environmental Specialist - Global Environment Facility (GEF) 
  • Mr Philippe Mauguin President – Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
  • Mr Daniel Moss Executive Director – AgroEcology Fund 
  • Ms Bongiwe N. Njobe Chair - Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR)
  • Mr Leonard Mizzi Head of Unit – Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development 
  • Mr Gabriele Giulietti Commercial Director – Banca Etica (BE) 
  • Ms Beatrice Ayuru Founder – Lira Integrated School
  • Mr Andrea Baldoni Coordinator Agri-food Desk – Mediocredito Italiano (MCI) 
  • Mr Michele Pisante Deputy Institutional Relationships – Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria (CREA) (TBC)
  • Mr Gao Shangbin Vice Director – Rural Energy and Environment Agency, Ministry of Agriculture (MOA)

A new forward looking and action-oriented “Scaling-up Agroecology Initiative” was launched in cooperation with major partners, including IFAD and others.

Scaling up Agroecology Initiative
A proposal prepared for the Symposium. This document presents the Scaling up Agroecology Initiative, a vision to bring agroecologya to scale and transform food and agricultural systems to achieve the SDGs.

Video coverage: See live video stream

Video interviews:
José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director General video message - Agroecology: a path to sustainable development

Million Belay of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa cites some examples from a study that show how agroecology is helping countries in Africa work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Read more:

Dennis Garrity on the potential of agroecology to help mitigate climate change

Clayton Campanhola, Leader of FAO’s Strategic Programme on Sustainable Agriculture, describes the ways that governments, consumers, researchers, academics, practitioners, producers and donor organizations and institutions can enhance the implementation of agroecological approaches. Read more:

Professor Luo Shiming of the Institute of Tropical and Subtropical Ecology suggests that agroecology will be important to the future of agriculture in China. Read more

Hanny Van Geel of La Via Campesina Europe outlines some of the social and economic benefits of agroecology in Europe.