Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Blog posts related to ARD activities in November 2017

Please find hereunder the blog posts related to ARD activities in November 2017. To view the whole blog instead of separate postings click on 

Veuillez trouver ci-dessous les ressources du blog se relatant à la RAD pour le mois de novembre 2017. Pour consulter le blog dans son entièreté au lieu de nouvelles distinctes cliquez sur la traduction en français cliquez dans la colonne de droite du blog sur « automatic translation » et choisissez votre langue !

Por favor, encontre aqui os posts do blog relacionados à ARD atividades. Para visualizar todo o blog, em vez de postagens em separado clique em Para a versão em Português, clique na coluna da direita do blog "tradução automática" e escolha o seu idioma!

1.       5th EU-Africa Summit + video
29-30 November 2017. Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The central theme for the Summit is 'Youth', which has become a key priority for Europe as well as Africa, in a context of African demographic trends creating major challenges for young people in terms of migration, security and employment.
29 November 2017. Sofia, Bulgaria.
28 November 2017. As part of the dissemination of principles, practices and methods for postharvest management through online channels, AFAAS together with its partners AGRIDEA, Helvetas and FANRPAN are conducting a series of webinars on postharvest management.
27 November-5 December 2017.  Since 2009, the BioFISA partnership, established between the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in South Africa and the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA), has supported the Southern African Partnership programme to strengthen the NEPAD/SANBio Network.
April 2017. 25 pages. The Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the German International Development Agency (GIZ) commissioned this common reference document
24-25 November 2017. Ibadan. This IITA conference was part of the IITA R4D (Research for Development) Week, during which IITA scientists from all over Africa congregated
The report presents insights for conservation funders, but is also highly relevant for conservation practitioners.
Myxomycetes were collected in Austria from maize plants in 2015 and 2016 at the end of the growth season.

23-25 November 2017. Brussels. Meise Botanical Gardens. Stakeholder meeting of the BigPicNic consortium. The Face behind the Food shows portraits of Belgians of African origin.
24 November 2017. The Trust Fund for Africa is worth over €3.2 billion – with over €2.9 billion from the European Development Fund and other EU financial instruments, and €260.5 million from EU Member States and other partners.
22 – 24 November 2017. ABIDJAN (COTE D’IVOIRE). The USAID/West Africa Regional Mission supports the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to advance their vision to create an economic union and common market.
23 November 2017. DevCo Infopoint.
22 November 2017. AGRA Webinar
21 November 2017. This webinar was co-organized by the GFAR (Global Forum for Agricultural Research and Innovation) and GLF (Global Landscapes Forum). It is part of the GLF Digital Summits series.
22-24 November 2017. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. AU Conference Centre.
20-24 November 2017. Dakar. The colloquium explored jointly the alternatives around which breeders, research, public organizations and policy makers could guide their future actions.
18.   Afri-Veg Forum 2017 PAEPARD participation
20 - 22 November 2017. Cotonou, Benin. The main objective of the conference was to bring together a global community of stakeholders (the academia, NGO, donor agencies, and industry) working on issues related to African indigenous vegetable to drive the process of promoting entrepreneurial development in the vegetable sector.
20 - 22 November 2017. Cape Town. Over 100 meetings have been scheduled by the matchmaking team, ensuing attendees make the most of their time at the event and get dedicated time with potential clients and partners.
20.   GID-FastDev pour l’agriculture 2017 PAEPARD participation
20-21 Novembre 2017. Abidjan. Les métiers de l’agriculture ouvrent des perspectives d’avenir ; il est impératif de donner envie et espoir aux jeunes africains de s’y installer.
20 November 2017. Brussels. The European Parliamentary Alliance on the Fight Against Hunger brought together Members of the European Parliament as well as high-level representatives of the UN and leading international organisations to discuss long-term solutions geared towards achieving Zero Hunger.
16 November 2017. Bonn. This side event at the COP explored the findings from Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL),
15-17 November 2017. Brussels. This year’s edition was also enriched with the OK-Net Arable Final Conference where the best practices to improve yields in organic farming were presented and followed by a discussion on knowledge exchange and innovation support in organic farming.
15-17 November 2017. Johannesburg. This three-day conference had six topical sessions from strategic information on the world and continental dairy industry outlook, trends, future projections, practices, opportunities and challenges to policy issues impacting on dairy industry development, trade and competitiveness and sustainability, and technical issues of interest to players along the value chain.
13 - 24 November 2017. Ibadan, Nigeria. ICRA course
16-17 November 2017. Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The Africa regional symposium was an opportunity to present the third edition of FAO Regional Overview on Food Security and Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa.
14 November 2017. The Guardian. Converting land from conventional agriculture to organic production could reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the run-off of excess nitrogen from fertilizers, and cut pesticide use.
16 November 2017. RIC4REC has innovated to benefit Malian producers regarding increasing mobile phone adoption to provide weather and climate information to farmers.
14-17 November 2017. Addis Ababa. This second Conference on Land Policy in Africa was hosted by the Land Policy Initiative (LPI), which is a joint initiative of the African Union Commission, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, and the African Development Bank.
14-17 November 2017. Brussels.
14 November 2017. Kampala. The Ugandan Government in partnership with SNV Netherlands Development Organization, have decided to rollout a new approach called the Public-Private Producer Partnership (4Ps) programme.
14 November 2017. This paper assesses the climate smart agricultural practices triggered by learning videos on integrated striga management, soil fertility and cost-benefit evaluation practices.
10 November 2017, Rome.  online Climate-Smart Agriculture Sourcebook - Second Edition 2017
10 November 2017. Pig value chain development project in UgandaPig production is a major and increasing source of livelihoods for more than 1.1 million households in Uganda,
9 November 2017. Brussels. This Infopoint Lunch conference was organised at DG DevCo Pastoralism and conflict resolution in Eastern Africa
8–9 November 2017. Brussels, Belgium. The 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Coalition of European Lobbies for Eastern African Pastoralism (CELEP). One of the partners of the AGM is up4change, an NGO with the mission to bring new educational opportunities with multimedia e-learning programs to illiterate communities around the world.
8–9 November 2017. Brussels, Belgium. The 2017 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Coalition of European Lobbies for Eastern African Pastoralism (CELEP) was organised by VSF-Belgium.
7 November 2017. Brussels, European Parliament. Smallholder dairy development in Africa with a particular focus on pastoralist systems.
7 November 2017. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) led by the University of Georgia, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and University for Development Studies in Ghana, found that providing farmers with training on recommended practices led many to adopt them
7 November 2017. Utrecht. 2SCALE shared five years of experience in agribusiness.
6 November 2017. Brussels. How smallholder farmers feed the world. Which financial challenges to overcome?
3 November 2017. This video shows how one farmer in Mwanza district Malawi named Lester Mpinda Chizumeni managed to organise his fellow farmers and started growing chili for the first time as a commercial crop after watching Access Agriculture farmer to farmer video.
On October 31, 2017, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) hosted the Compact2025 Forum in Lilongwe
2 November 2017. USAID LandLinks, along with Agrilinks, Microlinks, and a panel of experts, hosted an interactive online discussion on the Business Case for Land Rights
2 November 2017. Rome. A first atlas to offer a better understanding of complex rural migration patterns in sub-Saharan Africa has been published.
24 October 2017. TAPipedia is a global information system to enhance knowledge sharing in support of developing capacities for agricultural innovation, established with support of the EU-funded project Capacity Development for Agricultural Innovation System (CDAIS).
October 2017. Number of Pages: 56
47.   ARD funding opportunities PAEPARD activity

17 October 2017. Researchers from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and partners successfully developed aflatoxin-free peanuts

The government of Malawi, through the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, has produced a video documentary to sensitize the public on the causes, risks, prevention and control of aflatoxins.

Total number of page views in the month of November 2017: 18,812
Most viewed pages on PAEPARD blog over the past month:

Page views

More:  forthcoming ARD conferencesat the bottom of the PAEPARD wiki and PAEPARD blog

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


29 November 2017. Sofia, Bulgaria. REGIONAL FORUM FOR THE FUTURE OF AGRICULTURE. The European Landowners' Organization (ELO), Syngenta, BAALO (Bulgarian Association of Agricultural Landowners) and NAABS (National Association Bulgarian Black Sea) organised a Regional Forum for the Future of Agriculture.

The conference addressed three key questions:
  1. Panel 1: How the Sustainable Development Goals can help address global agriculture issues?
  2. Panel 2: Where is the Common Agricultural Policy reform going?
  3. Panel 3: How can competitiveness and environmental protection coexist within the Bulgarian agriculture landscape?
Panel 1: How the Sustainable Development Goals can help address global agriculture issues? 
  • Keynote speaker: Robert Flies, Former Advisor to the Director in the DG Environment, European Commission - 
  • Respondent: Prof. Dr. Hristina Yancheva, Rector, Agricultural University Plovdiv - 
  • Respondent: Juan Gonzalez- Valero, Head public policy and sustainability, Syngenta - 
  • Respondent: Michael Salm zu Salm, FCS President
'CAP: thinking out of the box' report
Released on March 27th 2017, this report, directed by Allan Buckwell, shows how the current CAP does not make best use of the considerable resources deployed to support land managers through the necessary transition and suggests some procedural changes to kick-start a more effective reform process which brings together more constructively the conflicting interests in agricultural policy.

CAP Executive Summary (26 pages)
CAP Full report: executive summary + appendixes (82 pages)

5th EU-Africa Summit

29-30 November 2017. Abidjan, Ivory Coast. The central theme for the Summit was 'Youth', which has become a key priority for Europe as well as Africa, in a context of African demographic trends creating major challenges for young people in terms of migration, security and employment.

EU-Africa Summits of Heads of States and Governments take place every three years alternatively in Africa and Europe. These Summits take stock of the progress made in the implementation of commitments made and provide political guidance for further work.

Approximately 5302 participants attended this meeting, 83 of which are Heads of States representing 55 African countries and 28 European countries, delegations from various partner countries, the African Union Commission, the European Union Commission, international organizations, and regional and sub regional organizations.

This Summit built on a series of preparatory events, aiming to bring the views of the key stakeholders of the Partnership. It includes the following:
At the summit, African and European leaders discussed the future of AU-EU relations, and focus on investing in youth. This is a key priority for the AU and the EU as 60% of the African population is under the age of 25.

Other priorities of the AU-EU partnership were equally discussed during the summit. These included:
  • Peace and security
  • Governance including democracy, human rights, migration and mobility
  • Investment and trade
  • Skills development
  • Job creation
Live: UA-UE Summit 2017 – Day 1

Macron répond aux questions des étudiants burkinabés à Ouagadougou


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

NEPAD SANBio / BioFISA II Study Tour to Finland

27 November-5 December 2017.  Since 2009, the BioFISA partnership, established between the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in South Africa and the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA), has supported the Southern African Partnership programme to strengthen the NEPAD/SANBio Network. The first Phase of the programme was launched in the beginning of 2009 and lasted until the end of September 2012. The second phase, BioFISA II, is a four year programme from 2015 to 2019 with a total budget of EUR 7.82 million, contributed from Finland, South Africa and participating member states.

BioFISA II aims to support the mission of SANBio which includes the facilitation of innovation in support of the development of the regional economy in Southern Africa by:
  • supporting an effective and dynamic regional research network, including the establishment of sustainable funding structures for collaboration;
  • enhancing human and infrastructure capacity in the region; and
  • supporting the development of innovative products within the priority focus areas of health and nutrition, including the development of entrepreneurial skills.
NEPAD SANBio / BioFISA II Study Tour was organised to Finland in which following companies are participating:

  • Elvema Nutrition (Pty) Ltd ( is the manufacturer and distributor of Elvema Instant Nutritional products. Elvema manufactures a variety of teas, nutritious bars, Nutri-Veg shakes and instant porridges in various flavours. Elvema’s nutritional food products contain Moringa Oleifera and the products are at the cutting edge of cellular dysfunction repair, providing a wealth of natural ingredients to help nourish bodies. Elvema was established in 2011 and manufactures its products through Nutritional Food, a facility that is ISO 22000 and HACCP accredited. Some Elvema products are licensed under CSIR Biosciences.
  • University of Pretoria, South Africa: Biscuits from sorghum flour • Fermented or acidified drinks from sorghum flour • Bogobe jwa lerotse – extruded, instant sorghum-melon porridge To develop, manufacture and market healthy SMA 2RT food products with traditional values that meet the needs and aspirations of urban-living African Millennials with the aim of creating viable business enterprises
  • NEPAD Fish Node - LUANAR, Malawi: Insects for Feed and Food in collaboration with Scaled Impact NPO (South Africa) and Department of Research and Specialist Services (Zimbabwe)
  • Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe: Ash-based Vitamin Mineral Block Lick for Beef Cattle Ash-based Vitamin Mineral Block Lick for Goats In collaboration with RAEIN Africa (South Africa). Commercial partner: Capital Foods (Zimbabwe)
  • The University of Swaziland (UNISWA), Swaziland: 1) Nutritious and medicinal pellets for livestock 2) Goat yoghurt In collaboration with Chinhoyi University of Technology (Zimbabwe) and Arrowfeeds (Pty) Ltd and Parmalat (Swaziland)
  • Sleek Foods (Pty) Ltd was borne out of the founder’s passion for cooking and fine foods. In 2014, Mrs Nkata Seleka, founder and owner who is a seasoned ICT Specialist, took a giant leap of faith to pursue her interest in the food industry. The result is a range of original and unique sauces, pastes and condiments made with recipes which have been tested and refined over time until perfection. Sleek Foods original line of Ready-to-Eat and versatile pastes are made using Olive Oil and no preservatives (and a shelf life of over 2 years), which come in Onion and Tomato flavour (Hot, Mild and Lemon & Herb). These are sold in major Supermarkets around Botswana. This product line has, amongst other accolades, won the First prize at the prestigious Botswana Beef Festival in Botswana in 2014. Sleek Foods is also the 2017 Botswana winner of the FemBioBiz competition and came 3rd at the final round of the same competition in Cape Town at the South African Innovation Summit which was held from the 6th to the 8th September 2017. 
  • Kiyomisandz Beauty Products is a two-time INNOVATION AWARD winning cosmetic manufacturing company based in Windhoek, Namibia. It was started up by owner and cosmetic chemist, Sandra Mwiihangele, whose passion and expertise lies in cosmetic development. She was also listed on Forbes Africa 30 under 30 Class of 2017. Kiyomisandz offers 3rd party cosmetic manufacturing services to clients, hotels, etc. such as R&D, Stability Testing & Manufacturing.

Opportunities and challenges for aquaculture in developing countries

Opportunities and challenges for aquaculture in developing countries
April 2017. 25 pages

The interest in aquaculture projects is growing. Considering the specificities of aquaculture and the potential challenges linked to the development of this sector, the Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO), Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the German International Development Agency (GIZ) commissioned this common reference document for use by colleagues in European Union Delegations (EUDs) and in GIZ/AFD country offices. 

The purpose of the document is to highlight the opportunities and the challenges of sustainable aquaculture development in developing countries. This reference document should not be considered as a set of guidelines, but rather as a compendium of established concepts and past experiences useful for those interested in developing, funding or managing aquaculture projects. As will become apparent, there are no simple, universal solutions to developing sustainable aquaculture in all its different forms; this document is intended to outline the fundamentals required when considering possible interventions.

A key process in this document’s preparation was a two-day meeting of aquaculture experts in Brussels over 12–13 September 2016, where the concepts in this reference documents were framed and discussed. 

IITA Research for Development conference

24-25 November 2017. Ibadan. This IITA conference was part of the IITA R4D (Research for Development) Week, during which IITA scientists from all over Africa congregated at the Headquarters in Ibadan, to deliberate on the research orientation for the future. A number of world-class scientists were invited to this conference, to come share ideas with the team of IITA researchers. There was also a field visits to research and delivery facilities of the institute.

The second day of the Conference included an “Open Day” event, with opportunities for visiting various booths exhibiting research and delivery products, methods and tools.
Extracts of the program
Technical Session 1:
  • The Renaissance of Farming Systems Research in AfricaProf Ken Giller, Wageningen Centre for Agroecology and Systems Analysis, Wageningen University 
  • Transforming African Agriculture in the face of climate changeDr Bruce Campbell, Director, CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), CIAT 
  • The rise of the processing sector in African agriculture: Economic Recovery, urbanization, and transformation of traditional staple value chains – Dr. Ousmane Badiane, Director for Africa, IFPRI
Technical Session 2:
  • New opportunities from molecular science for removing constraints to sustainable farming – Prof John A Pickett, Michael Elliott Distinguished Research Fellow, Rothamsted Research Institute, UK
  • The Future Prospects for NERICA rice in Food Security over the next 50 yearsProf. Monty Jones, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Sierra Leone. Formerly: Executive Director of FARA; World Food Prize laureate (2004) 
  • Building sustainable food systems for the 21st Century: the potential of diversified agroecological farmingDr Emile Frison, Member of IPES-Food and former Director-General of Bioversity International, Rome, Italy
Technical Session 3:
  • Transforming African Agriculture: IITA’s research and delivery orientation into the future Dr May-Guri Saethre, Deputy Director-General (R4D), IITA 
  • Young people and rural transformation in Africa: Looking back to look forward – Dr. James Sumberg, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK 
  • Developing world-class genebanks to keep pace with users – Ms Charlotte Lusty, Coordinator, CGIAR Genebank Platform, Global Crop Diversity Trust

Sustainable financing for biodiversity conservation – a review of experiences in German development cooperation

Sustainable financing for biodiversity conservation – a review of experiences in German development cooperation
by: Augustin Berghöfer, Lucy Emerton, Alonso Moreno Diaz, Julian Rode, Christoph Schröter-Schlaack, Heidi Wittmer, Hugo van Zyl 

The degradation of protected areas and the loss of biodiverse landscapes with its multiple benefits are key topics on the sustainability agenda in many African countries.

Harnessing conservation and sustainability finance is one of the principal response strategies. However, there is much more to it than searching for 'innovative' mechanisms that could fill the funding gap.

The report presents insights for conservation funders, but is also highly relevant for conservation practitioners. Based on expert interviews and document analysis in eight countries (incl. five from Africa) the report explores the following questions:
  1. What is the current mix of funding flows and financing mechanisms?
  2. What are the principal challenges to sustainable biodiversity financing?
  3. What can be learned from the ‘interplay’ between different financing mechanisms?
  4. What are the experiences with private sector involvement?
  5. What are the overall impacts of different forms of biodiversity finance on the ground?
  6. What is the potential of innovative financing approaches for German development cooperation?

AFAAS Webinar and post-harvest management

28 November 2017. As part of the dissemination of principles, practices and methods for postharvest management through online channels, AFAAS together with its partners AGRIDEA, Helvetas and FANRPAN are conducting a series of webinars on postharvest management.
Go to the webinar.

The main objective is that principles, practices and methods for postharvest management are known, shared and used by stakeholders in agriculture and related fields. 

The presenters were:
  1. James Murangira shared the experience of Sasakawa Global 2000 in Uganda.
  2. Rakesh Munankami shared the experience of the Grain Postharvest Loss Prevention Project (GPLP) in Tanzania;

The first webinar took place on the 24th October 2017. The theme was "Effectiveness, profitability, business opportunities, accessibility, acceptability and adoption of technologies and good practices for postharvest loss reduction. The main presenters were: 
  • Prof. Brighton. Mvumi, from the University of Zimbabwe, 
  • Mr. Munhamo Chisvo, a consultant on Cost-Benefit Analysis of postharvest technologies.

Discovering Myxomycetes: towards applications for bio-control

Discovering Myxomycetes: towards applications for bio-control
Myxomycetes are a class of Amoebozoa of which only few practical applications are published in literature. This article reports the first results towards the use of selected slime mould species as antagonist in agricultural applications.

Antagonists in this context are organisms used to control plant pathogens, protecting the plant host against invasion by e.g. bacteria and fungi. Mycotoxigenic fungi from the Genera Fusarium, Aspergillus, Penicillium and Alternaria as well as selected plant pathogenic bacteria were used in the tests.

Myxomycetes were collected from maize plants in 2015 and 2016 at the end of the growth season. Five different species including soil-borne Physarum and Didymium spp. were identified. It was demonstrated that slime moulds can have at least 3 different known types of antagonism:
  1. direct antagonism due to feeding (phagocytosis) on fungal spores and plant pathogenic bacteria, 
  2. indirect antagonism due to antibiotic and antimycotic activity in the glycocalyx and solubilisation of fungal mycelium using extracellular lytic enzymes, and 
  3. competition for feed such as plant pollen and anthers which are required nutrient sources for specific plant pathogens (e.g. Fusarium species) during plant infection.
Further references:

Upcoming events in Agriculture for Development (ARD) - Africa

28 November. London. Future of Renewable Energy in Africa
29 – 30 November. Kigali. Regional sharing on farmer/pastoralist field schools in Eastern Africa
28 – 30 November. Johannesburg. 4th Global Science Conference On Climate Smart Agriculture
28-29 November. Abidjan. Africa-EU Youth Summit 2017
28-29 November. Abidjan. Summit of Head of States from EU and Africa
The conference will look into the possible ways to use the SDGs to help address global agriculture issues. Additionally, different panels will focus on the European common agricultural policy reform and the specific issues within the Bulgarian agriculture landscape.
29-30 November. Kampala. Agribusiness Congress East Africa
29 November - 1 December. Luxembourg. European Microfinance Week (EMW)
30 November. The Hague.. PPPLab Day: Achieving the Catalytic Potential of PPPs for Transformational Change
1 December. The Hague. Research and Policy: two peas in a pod? A dialogue for food security impact
3-6 December. Cape Town, South Africa. 3rd International Conference on Global Food Security
4-5 December, Madrid, Spain. International Summit on Organic Farming 2017
4-5 December. Milano, Italy. 8th International Forum on Food and Nutrition
6 December. Webinar E-agriculture. ZFU Ecofarmer Combo. The ZFU Ecofarmer Combo is a bundle of services developed by Econet, the largest Mobile Network Provider in Zimbabwe,
6 DecemberWebinar Innovative Annual Reports (co-organized by GFAR and GLF)
6-7 December. Amsterdam. The European Mineral Fertilizer Summit. This two day event will provide an exclusive platform for collaboration and discussion between a variety of industry perspectives including manufacturers, suppliers, distribution/logistics, academia but some other involved areas as policymakers, NGO’s, nutrition and environment preservers.
7 December. Accra, Ghana. Network meeting and launch of BiomassNet
7-8 December. Nigeria. Nigerian Poultry Feeds Research and Development
7-8 December. Utrecht. The Netherlands. Climate change adaptation: community-based adaption in multistakeholder landscapes
8-11 December. Cape Town, South Africa. 3rd International Conference on Global Food Security
12 - 13 December. Queen Mary University of London. Universities and Climate Change: The Role of Climate Change Research and Projects in Fostering Climate Action 
11-12 December Brussels, Annual Meeting European Forum for Agricultural Research (EFARD)
12-14 December 2017 in Rome, Italy. GACSA ANNUAL FORUM 2017. Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture.
13-14 December. 's-Hertogenbosch the Netherlands. AgriFoodTech 2017. Sensors, drones, autonomous robots, smart farming, big data, vision technology, smart LEDs …innovations within the Agri and Food sector are developing rapidly.
14 December 2017 in Buenos Aires. FORUM ON MIGRATION, TRADE AND THE GLOBAL ECONOMY. ICTSD’s upcoming Forum on Migration, Trade and the Global Economy will be held on , in partnership with the International Organisation for Migration and Fundación Foro del Sur.19-20 December. Bonn. Global Landscapes Forum
10 January 2018. Webinar. How are the pathways to resilience in pastoralist areas of Eastern Africa evolving?
15-18 January 2018 (TBC). Nairobi. GIZ. Innovators conference
15-19 January 2018. Stellenbosch, Soouth Africa. African Crop Science Society meeting
18 January 2018. Berlin, Germany. GLOBAL FORUM FOR FOOD AND AGRICULTURE 2018 The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) is an international conference that focuses on central questions concerning the future of the global agri-food industry.
22 January 2018. MONTPELLIER, FRANCE. LIVING TERRITORIES 2018. The conference will look into the benefits of territorial approaches to agricultural production, agri-chain regulation and services provision. Furthermore, specialists will explore ways for territorial strategies to contribute to renovating the framework for development.
23-26 January 2018. Switzerland. 48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
15 February 2018. Sharm el-Sheikh. First International Conference of the Egyptian Society of Food Safety
6-8 March 2018. Nanyuki. Kenya. 3rd ECHO East Africa Pastoralist Symposium
7-9 March. Dakar, Senegal. AAIN Agribusiness Incubation Conference
19-20 March 2018. Nairobi, Kenya. 1st Biocontrol Africa Conference
21-23 March 2018. Nairobi, Kenya. 16th New Ag International Conference
27 March 2018. Brussels. The annual Forum for the Future of Agriculture (FFA) Debate on the future of European and world agriculture. 
25-26 April 2018. Hohenheim, Germany. Agrinatura General Assembly.
9-12 April 2018. Cape Town South Africa. Sorghum in the 21st Century Conference
18 - 19 April 2018. Berlin Germany. Global Bioeconomy Summit 2018.
31 May -1 June 2018. Pretoria. IAALD – AFRICA CONFERENCE
24-27 June 2018. Mombassa, Kenya. 2nd African Symposium on Mycotoxicology
3 - 5 July 2018. Stuttgart, Germany. 5th International ISEKI Food Conference
17-19 September 2018. Gent, Belgium. Tropen Tag. Annual interdisciplinary conference on Research in tropical and subtropical agriculture, Natural Resource Management and Rural Development. Conference theme:Global food security and food safety: The role of universities
7-11 October 2018 in Berlin. IWCSPP 2018 - 12th International Working Conference for Stored Product Protection. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Rural Africa in motion

2 November 2017. Rome. A first atlas to offer a better understanding of complex rural migration patterns in sub-Saharan Africa has been published. The atlas – Rural Africa in motion. Dynamics and drivers of migration south of the Sahara – also highlights the important role rural areas will continue to play in shaping the continent’s migration for decades to come.
“Population growth translates into a massive expansion of the labour force. Some 380 million new working age people are expected to enter the job market by 2030. Of those about 220 million are likely to be in rural areas. The challenge is to generate enough employment to absorb this booming labour force. This is why agriculture and rural development must be an integral part of any response to large migratory movements to harness the potential of migration for development,” Kostas Stamoulis, FAO Assistant Director-General, Economic and Social Development Department.
Through a series of maps and in depth case studies, the 20 authors of the atlas, representing different research institutions, think tanks and international organizations from and outside Africa, explore the complexity of the interrelated causes that drive people in Africa to leave their homes. They shed light on regional migration dynamics and perspectives, and foster understanding of rural migration.

The atlas is the result of a partnership between the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO), with technical support from the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn) in South Africa.
“This atlas is an innovative contribution which will support the policy debate not only between governments and the international community, but also between and with local stakeholders,” Jean-Luc Khalfaoui, CIRAD’s Director General for Research and Strategy.

Bringing together the public, scientists, policy-makers and industry to help address the global challenge of food security

Right: Maureen Duru Director, The Food Bridge vzw
23-25 November 2017. Brussels. Meise Botanical Gardens. Stakeholder meeting of the BigPicNic consortium.

How do we ensure our growing population has access to sufficient safe and nutritious food? Will we have fertile enough land to grow food in the future? Is it possible to adapt food production to climate change?

BigPicnic aims to generate debate on all these topics and more, by bringing together the public, scientists, policy-makers and industry to help address the global challenge of food security. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020. (2016-2019)

The BigPicnic team involves nineteen Partner organisations, including botanic gardens, universities, a science shop, an institute for art, science and technology, and an international NGO. Co-ordinated by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), BigPicnic Partners span twelve countries across Europe and one in Uganda. These Partners use a range of travelling exhibitions, activities, science cafés and participatory events, co-created with local people, to generate dialogue and build greater understanding of food security issues.

The director of the Botanical Garden addressing the
participants of the Stakeholder meeting
of the
 BigPicNic consortium
This collaborative approach aims to give a voice to adults and young people on Responsible Research
and Innovation (RRI), communicating their views to policy-makers, sharing ideas, and encouraging debate on the future of our food.

BigPicnic has seven objectives:
  1. Increase engagement with local and global food security issues through outreach exhibitions and science cafés among diverse audiences.
  2. Co-create, with diverse audiences, accessible and novel mechanisms to facilitate interaction and bridge the gap between the public, policy makers and researcher.
  3. Develop botanic gardens as centres that promote dialogue between public, researchers and policy makers
  4. Improve the understanding and realization of Responsible Research and Innovation through the provision of best practice case studies for an RRI toolkit
  5. Utilize the findings of other EU funded projects: INQUIRE, PLACES and VOICES.
  6. Build the capacity of botanic gardens across Europe to develop and deliver co-creation approaches with their local and regional audiences
  7. Co-develop tools for measuring the engagement of partners and co-creation teams with RRI and the benefits of the co-creation participatory approach adopted in the project.
Sylvia Kyempapu second from left
Dr Nvenakeng Suzanne Awung: middle
Godfrey Ruyonga represented the Tooro Botanical Gardens of Uganda
Tooro Botanical Gardens (TBG) is a community owned organisation founded in 2001 as a centre of excellence in growing and maintaining living plant collections from the Albertine Rift, for conservation, scientific research, education, horticultural and aesthetic purposes. 
  • TBG has an edible plant garden and a practical training centre for food plants for different purposes including the "food security/hunger crops" section which demonstrates a range of food security solutions that people can use at home. 
  • Participating in BigPicnic has helped TBG to reach out to a wider range of people through mobile food security campaigns under their slogan "kick food insecurity out of Uganda". 
  • Through BigPicnic activities, they aim to connect with farmers, food vendors, students and local communities as they endeavour to increase food availability and accessibility, and reduce food wastage at all levels of the food chain.

Mr. Sylvia  Kyempapu represented Kyempapu. This  is a grassroots non-profit organization that is committed to community development, environmental management, and poverty alleviation in Kirinda, Uganda and its surrounding communities. Kyempapu was founded in 2009 and works out of Kirinda, Kitanda sub-county, about 140 kilometers from Kampala.

BigPicnic draws upon the findings and practises of several EU funded projects, including INQUIRE,
PLACES, and VOICES and aims to contribute to others like RRI Tools.

From the success of these projects BigPicnic employs tried and tested techniques such as Inquiry Based Science Education (IBSE), as well as making use of established networks between the public, scientists and policy-makers, and following best practice in compiling and analysing citizens’ views to advise on future policies and research.
  • INQUIRE was a European Union funded project which aimed reinvigorate inquiry-based science education (IBSE) throughout Europe. It offered training for educators in inquiry-based learning methods, demonstrating how IBSE can inspire students in science and help address biodiversity and climate change.
  • PLACES aimed to generate dialogue and build connections between scientists, policy-makers and society in Europe. The project established hundreds of interconnected local networks, working collaboratively to develop a vision for science policy at city level.
  • VOICES (Views, Opinions and Ideas of Citizens in Europe on Science) was a Europe-wide public consultation process, gathering 1000 citizens' hopes, fears, concerns and ideas on the theme of urban waste. The results were used to directly inform policy, feeding into several research calls for the EU Horizon 2020 framework.
  • Front, from left to right: Jutta Kleber (Botanical Gardens)
    Dr. Helene Mavar (AKSANTIMED)
    Zilipa Nyirabyago (SOLIDEV)
  • RRI Tools was a EU 7th Framework funded project that sought to provide a toolkit to allow various stakeholder groups across Europe to put Responsible Research and Innovation into practice. Although it is now after the official end of the funding period, being a participatory Toolkit, the resources are now open to the community, so every actor can showcase their own practices and resources, and get inspired by those of others.
Highlight: Diaspora initiatives
The Face behind the Food shows portraits of Belgians of African origin. 
  • In front of the camera, they tell their stories about food and moving to Belgium. From Abidjan to Aalst, via Matonge and Rue de Brabant. 
  • Traditions and memories, foods lost and found. Seemingly simple anecdotes revealing more than one layer.
  • The film (forthcoming online) was created as part of the European Big Picnic project and in collaboration with The Food Bridge association.
Talina, « Made in Belgium » « Talina, jus de fleur d’hibiscus ».
Pour la production du jus d’hibiscus Talina, Talina achete les feuilles séchées d’hibiscus directement chez le cultiveur au Sénégal. La co-fondatrice de Talina est Eva Ba (see picture).
  • La production du jus de fleurs d’hibiscus (et boisson nationale du Sénégal) a une place très importante dans l’économie et projets d’agricultures au Sénégal.
  • Le jus Talina est produit et embouteillé dans son atelier en Belgique. L'"Hibiscus sabdariffa" est connu pour ses vertus thérapeutiques. 
  • Elle est riche en vitamine C et en antioxydants, elle fait donc baisser la pression artérielle. 
  • Elle empêche la croissance de bactéries nocives. Cette plante est un réel trésor.
Solidev is an association that works to improve the living and working conditions of employees in the South. It is led by Zilipa Nyirabyago. Solidev has developed an agro-business model for the recycling of coffee waste through the commercial cultivation of mushrooms at the Kivu highlands in Rwanda. 
  • The target group of the project consists of small farmers. They now use 40% of their land for coffee cultivation. This involves several disadvantages. This keeps the family income extremely low: less than 1 euro per day. 
  • It is an irregular income, because it depends on the weather, the harvest and the fluctuating coffee price. Because the work on the coffee plantations is seasonal, the growers have been unemployed for almost 7 months a year. 
  • Because of the high population density on the Kivu highlands (more than 500 inhabitants per km2) the average farmer has very little agricultural land: less than 1 ha. This while the entire population is dependent on agriculture. 
  • In addition, there are serious health risks associated with working in this region, especially for mother and child (pneumonia), while contributions to health insurance are among the lowest in the country. Traditional agriculture brings little food security: agricultural yield is small and one-sided. 
  • Traditional coffee production also contaminates the environment with thousands of tons of waste. Over the entire production process, only 1% of the coffee ends up in your coffee bag.

From 13 April until 4 May 2015 , the Botanic Garden Meise (Belgium) undertook a scientific expedition to Rwanda to make an inventory of edible mushrooms from the mountain forests and national parks: Volcanoes National Park, Gishwati Forest Reserve, Nyungwe Forest. Within the group of edible mushrooms are a number of species that have a definite economic value for local communities. These species will be collected and then propagated by Kigali Farms, a for enterprise with a social purpose. This unique project combines fundamental and applied research.

Discover the production process of oyster mushroom substrate at our Gicumbi plant, and how farmers throughout the North of Rwanda grow oyster mushrooms for better nutrition.

The Forgotten Green Heroes
Le Dr Nvenakeng Suzanne Awung, activiste écologique, a lancé en 2014 l’ONG un projet inclusif d’agri-aquaculture à Molyko-Buea, dans le sud-est du Cameroun. 
  • Elle s’est appuyée sur les résultats d’une enquête menée un an plus tôt sur les conditions de vie des 41 communautés établies à l’intérieur et autour du Mount Cameroon National Park, laquelle avait montré qu’une agriculture mixte pouvait augmenter sensiblement les revenus de la population. 
  • Sous la houlette de l’ONG, les paysans vont cultiver toutes sortes de fruits en coopérative, améliorer les récoltes, pratiquer l’aquaculture, élever différentes espèces de poissons ainsi que des poules pondeuses et des porcs. 
  • L’ONG les aide aussi à commercialiser leurs produits. Ils souhaitent à présent augmenter leur production afin de conquérir de nouveaux marchés.
AKSANTIMED is a collaboration between the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), the University of Liège, the University of Kinshasa and SOS Médecins de Nuit, has engaged in a battle against counterfeit medicines. Yearly almost 120 000 Africans die because of the use of counterfeit medicines. AksantiMed is a mobile application that allows patients to check the pharmaceutical product. AKSANTIMED is led by Dr. Helene Mavar from DRCongo (maître d'enseignement à la Faculté de Pharmacie de l'ULB). You will find more background here)

To mitigate climate change, DRCC encourages Agroforestery
in all its programs and policies
DRCC foundation is a nonprofit Dutch organization established at The Hague in the Netherlands since 2014. The mission of the DRCC is brain gain for the reconstruction of the DR Congo from a gender perspective.  DRCC foundation likes to encourage the Congolese diaspora from a gender perspective to contribute to the reconstruction in the DRC, in particular in the post conflict zones. DRCC foundation therefore organizes and participates in international discussions, meetings,
conferences, symposia and trainings. DRCC in cooperation with the Rotterdam Zoo was a guest at the 6th Global Botanic Garden Congress in Geveva (26-30 June 2017), for further lobbying and networking for projets at the Université du Cinquantenaire de Lwiro.

Related: Mass Digitization of  the Herbarium collection BR at the Botanic Garden Meise.
  • The Herbarium BR of the Botanic Garden Meise received in December 2014 a grant from the Flemish Government to optimize its current scanning infrastructure and to outsource the digitization of the entire Belgian and African Collection (ca. 1,2 million specimens) by the end of 2017. 
  • In 2015, the Botanical Gardens optimized its digitization equipment by replacing it with five new imaging machines. This new infrastructure has improved their workflow drastically, enabling them to digitize specimens five to ten times faster, resulting in high resolution and high quality images.
  • For the outsourcing of the digitisation different steps were already taken: preparation of the collection by adding a barcode to each specimen and restoration of the specimens if necessary. Picturae (an external company) started imaging in May 2016 with the use of a conveyor belt installation. The images are saved in Tiff format and stored in triplicate at The Flemish Institute for Archiving (VIAA). A Jpeg2000 and Jpeg file is stored on the servers of the Botanical
  • Since June 2015, the herbarium technicians started entering minimal required data into the institutional database (i.e. barcode, filing name, collector, collector number and country of origin). Up to now, more than 260.000 records have been created. Supplementary data will be added with the help of an external company and through crowdsourcing.
  • The final goal is to make all images and data available to the public begin of 2018 on a brand-new virtual herbarium.
26 November 2017. Brussels. Meise Botanical Gardens. Science Days at the Botanical Gardens