Thursday, 6 December 2012

FARA Lauds New Australian Food Security Research Center
Dec 6, 2012 by Idowu Ejere 

The launch of the Australian International Food Security Centre (AIFSC) last month ushered in a new momentum in north-south partnership for development. The aim of the AIFSC is to work though collaborative partnerships to help understand and overcome barriers to innovation uptake in order to increase agricultural productivity, income generation and food security. The forum is the first time that such a high level delegation of African Agriculture Ministers, bureaucrats, researchers, policy makers and extensionists will come together with Australian counterparts to focus on issues related to food security in Africa and the important role that Australia can play.
Source: Eric McGaw, FARA
Executive Director of FARA , Monty Jones and Chairman of the FARA Board Tiemoko Yo inspecting a FARA-AfDB (DONATA) project potato field in Rwanda 
The in Africa: Bridging Research and Practice" was opened by Senator Bob Carr, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs who announced  a $15 million partnership with Canada for agricultural research into improving food security for expectant mothers and children under five in sub-Saharan Africa to address Africa's high rates of stunted growth in children under five.

According to Senator Carr, "More than a quarter of sub-Saharan Africans – around 234 million people – will suffer from a lack of nutrition this year, under-nourishment is particularly acute among expectant mothers and young children in east and southern Africa. This research will focus on the needs of these women and children by examining ways to improve water use and reduce the post-harvest loss of crops from drought."
Also speaking at the high level international form ushering in the new Centre, the Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural research in Africa (FARA), Professor Monty Jones lauded the efforts of the Australian Government in supporting agricultural development in Africa while maintaining that the main cause of food insecurity in Africa is low productivity levels which has caused food shortages and hindered production from keeping pace with population growth. 

According to Jones “to put the African food security problem in the context of developments elsewhere in the world, from 1963 -2010, food production per capital fell by 13% in sub-Saharan Africa but rose 44% in Asia and 48% in South America, even where food is available, million cannot access or afford it because of underdeveloped markets and weak infrastructure.”

Speaking on behalf of the CGIAR, Karen Brooks Director of the CGIAR research programme on policies, institutions and markets spoke on how pro-poor policies, inclusive institutions and markets can improve food security, create jobs, raise incomes and generally improve livelihoods for smallholders and women.

Mellissa Wood, Director of the CHOGM Australia noted that “African farmers manage complex systems, often in drought prone areas with risky market access; many Australian farmers operate under similar conditions and are some of the most innovative and successful in the world. She noted that a blueprint for improving African agriculture has been developed (Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme, CAADP) existed and iterated the AIFSC's  support to this initiative. 

Policy makers present at the event included the Ministers of agriculture from Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Rwanda. Also present was the African Union Commissioner for rural economy and agriculture.

The new Centre will build on Australian farmers’ and researchers’ ingenuity and success, as well as strong partnerships in Africa to identify innovative strategies to improve food security. The Centre’s partnership with Canada is part of more than $500 million in long-term Australian commitments to African development. Recent outcomes include new livestock vaccines for East Africa; tools, fertilizer and seeds to support 376 000 Zimbabwe farmers and improved harvest conditions for 500,000 African maize farmers.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

3rd RUFORUM Biennial Regional Conference

24 – 28 September 2012. Entebbe, Uganda. Once every two years, RUFORUM organizes a regional week-long conference with the aim of fostering networking among its member universities and linking the universities to the other actors in the agricultural sector and tertiary agricultural education to lesson learn. 

The conference was organized around five broad themes:

Day One: Collective / Coordinated Action for Agricultural Innovation
The Programme for this day includes official opening by the Ugandan Minister of Education and Sports, two lead papers that will touch on various issues related to building Innovation Capacity of Farmers, facilitating smallholder access to modern technology, strengthening value chains and key policy issues for Agricultural development and African Tertiary Agricultural Education (TAE).

Day Two: Enabling Environment for Agricultural Development
We are arranging for a key note plenary paper on “overview of agricultural development landscape in Africa”. This will help set the stage for a panel discussion and later two lead papers, one on China Experience and the second on Brazil experience. We have arranged for a follow-up round table discussion on fostering African-Brazil-China partnership on Higher Education.

Day Three: Assessing Impact
A lead paper on Assessment of Agricultural Programmes focused on whether or not the agricultural programmes are really working? This was followed by a panel discussion and field / Alumni experiences on impact of University Higher Education and Research.

A side event drew lessons from especially RUFORUM Alumni and Market actors on strengthening engagement of African Youth in rural transformation and Agri-business. The RUFORUM Board had its Annual Meeting in the afternoon of this day.

Day Four: The Future of African Agriculture
Two lead papers were presented:
  1. the first on “Emerging and Future Trends and their Impact on African Development and Agriculture in particular - Foresight predictions”; and 
  2. a second on “Climate Change and implications on Food and Agriculture in Africa”. We have in addition, included a follow-up programme, to show case what RUFORUM is doing using a Market Place approach. 
The afternoon involved two events, a meeting of the youth and the RUFORUM Annual General Meeting of Vice Chancellors and key stakeholders.

Day Five: Agricultural Tertiary Education and Training. Two lead papers were presented:
  1. one on “Assessment of African Capacity Development in Agriculture” to be lead by African Capacity Building Foundation and 
  2. a second on “An overview of Investments in Agricultural Research and Higher Education in Africa” led by IFPRI. 
A follow-up side event promoted partnership for TAE in Africa. This was followed in the afternoon with the formal launch of the TEAM Africa initiative, and prize awards for conference best presenters and for the RUFORUM IMPRESSA competition.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A Pilot Study on Institutional and Organisational Changes in Selected National Agricultural Research and Education Institutes in Sub-Saharan Africa

This report (September 2012, 80 pages) summarises the results of a pilot study commissioned by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) to test a methodology for monitoring institutional and organisational change in selected agricultural research and education institutes across sub-Saharan Africa currently implementing the Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research and Development in Africa (SCARDA) programme.

The following Focal Institutes were included in the present analysis:

  1. Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA), Botswana
  2. Department of Agricultural Research (DAR), Botswana
  3. Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU), Burundi
  4. Crops Research Institute – Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CRI-CSIR), Ghana
  5. Faculty of Agriculture, National University of Lesotho (FA-NUL), Lesotho
  6. Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER), Mali
  7. Natural Resources Development College (NRDC), Zambia
  8. School of Agricultural Sciences, University of Zambia (SoAS-UNZA), Zambia

An important lesson learned from using the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) methodology is that the change captured by this survey instrument for the different SWOT factors requires careful interpretation. It is less straightforward than may be originally perceived.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Supporting Policy Research to Inform Agricultural Policy in Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia

6-7 September, 2012. Nairobi, Kenya. Global Development Network. The Global Research Capacity Building Program. One of GDN’s projects is the one on “Supporting Policy Research to Inform Agricultural Policy in Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia” that is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Some 35 participants attended this workshop that included politicians, researchers, donors, media, and policy analysis institutions, universities, NEPAD and a multinational seed company. Following the presentation and discussion of Case Studies two sets of round table discussions were held on the Case Sties presented.

On the second day of the workshop, the Policy Briefs were presented and a press conference held on the Briefs with media representatives from various African countries.
  • Gates Foundation announced that most of their grants in agriculture would now support smallholder agriculture. Other areas of support would be breed improvement in livestock and poultry (a new area), issues of market failure, data collection and policy analysis, supports a Masters degree in Agric Economics and Policy on-going in Kenya and another planned for francophone countries to be based in Burkina Faso. Gates Foundation is interested in issues of policy research for policy formulation and decision making.
  • Syngenta Company is investing US$ 500 m into Africa and will be concentration on South Africa, Kenya, Egypt and Morocco for now. They will support smallhoder farmers. The criteria for country selection are competitiveness in agriculture informed by: infrastructure support, government support in general, macro-economic stability and openness to trade.
1. Agricultural Pricing and Public Procurement.

Published on : August 31, 2012
Agriculture plays a major role in the economies of most Sub-Saharan African countries – creating employment, boosting GDP and supporting the livelihoods of many of the region’s poorest households. Yet the region has gone from being a net food exporter to a net food importer over the last four decades. Ensuring an adequate supply offood is a major challenge and governments have employed a range of pricing and procurement measures in an effort to achieve this, with varying degrees of success
2. Irrigation and Water Use Efficiency.


Irrigation and water use efficiency in Sub-Saharan Africa
Published on : August 31, 2012

3. Improving the Effectiveness, Efficiency and Sustainability of Fertilizer Use.


Improving the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of fertilizer use in Sub-Saharan Africa
Published on : August 31, 2012

4. Addressing Long Term Challenges to Food Security and Rural Livelihood.

Long term challenges to food security and rural livelihood in Sub-Saharan Africa
Published on : September 3, 2012

5. Managing Agricultural Commercialization for Inclusive Growth.


Published on : September 3, 2012

Thursday, 6 September 2012

FANRPAN Annual High Level Regional Food Security Dialogue 2012

03 – 07 September 2012 . Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. FANRPAN in collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), the FANRPAN Tanzania Node Hosting Institution convened the FANRPAN Annual High Level Regional Food Security Policy Dialogue in   2012 at the White Sands Resort and Conference Centre. The theme for the policy dialogue is "From Policy to Practice: Advocating for the Active Engagement of Youth in Agriculture Value Chains."

The policy dialogue, with an attendance of over 200 participants provided an opportunity for FANR stakeholders such as, governments; policy research institutions; universities; farmers organisations; private sector and civil society to review the current status of youth engagement in agriculture value chains; share lessons and experiences; identify challenges and opportunities and come up with tangible resolutions. The policy dialogue also showcase dbest practices from Africa and beyond in line with FANRPAN’s five thematic thrusts:
  • Food Systems
  • Agriculture Productivity and Markets
  • Natural Resources and Environment
  • Social Protection and Livelihoods
  • Institutional Strengthening
On Day 2 and there were 4 learning events which were held in parallel:
  • SADC Seed Policy Harmonization
  • Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)
  • Research for Impact for Climate Smart Agriculture
  • PAEPARD one-on-one meetings
Day 2 Slide-Show:

Posted by Nawsheen Hosenally (PAEPARD-Mauritius/Breadfruit consortium)

Friday, 31 August 2012

African cooperation 'dropped from EU research calls'

European researchers may
now have less incentive to
seek collaborators in Africa
31 August 2012. Paula Park for SciDev.Net. From 2013, African scientists may be more likely to be left out of lucrative collaborations with European Union (EU) researchers, according to some policy experts.

A mandate for EU research groups to include African partners in projects was dropped from the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) 2013 calls for proposals for EU competitive research grant issued last month (9 July).

The calls cover 11 themes, including agriculture, water and energy, and are worth 8.1 billion Euros (US$10.2 billion).

In the FP7 grants for the period 2010–2012, researchers engaged in investigating a number of themes, including fisheries and biotechnology, were required to collaborate with at least one international group from Africa.

Some fear that in the absence of a specific mandate, EU researchers will be unwilling to collaborate with African peers. There are also concerns that the decision may affect calls for grants for Horizon 2020, the EU's 2014–2020 framework programme for research and innovation to replace the FP7, worth around US$100 billion.

François Stepman, European co-manager of the Platform for African-European Partnerships for Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD), told SciDev.Net that without requirements for African collaborations, many EU researchers will be reluctant to work with African scientists, believing it will not help their careers to do so.

"There's a decline [among EU researchers] in trying to include African researchers," Stepman said.

Young scientists keen on building careers are more likely to collaborate with US researchers, because this is more likely to lead to publications in international journals, he explained.

Stepman told SciDev.Net that EU scientists also worry African researchers can lack the administrative support available in developed countries, leading to challenges in "getting the reports in on time and in getting the finance".

"You have to do too much work to get them on board," he said.

The decline in partnerships will affect the ability of scientists to research subjects of mutual interest, including food security and price hikes, climate change, biofuels and genetically modified organisms, he added.

For African scientists, the fallout could be severe.

"Many African experts don't have access to research funding from their [own] countries," Kevin Chika Urama, executive director of the Africa Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) in Nairobi, Kenya, told SciDev.Net. "The EU research funding has been a pivotal avenue to partnership with EU researchers."

"A lot of African issues, such as the needs of the poor in rural areas, are under-researched," Urama added. "Some of these issues are not of interest [to European researchers]," he said, adding that a solution may be for the EU to set up a specific grant programme aimed at African researchers.

The move to drop the mandatory collaboration with Africa from 2013 calls for proposals reflects European political leaders' disquiet about the use of funds outside the EU generally, said Andrew Cherry, coordinator for the Network for the Coordination and Advancement of Sub-Saharan Africa-EU Science & Technology Cooperation (CAAST-Net).

However, Daan du Toit, minister counsellor for science and technology at the South African Mission to the EU said the move does not mean fruitful cooperation is not possible.

"All topics of this year's FP7 calls for proposals are open for African participation. African researchers have to identify, which ones are relevant for them, and ones where they can add value to the work of the European or international consortia — then participation will follow. In many of the topics in this year's calls African researchers are well placed to play an important part."

Michael Jennings, a European Commission spokesperson for research, innovation and science, told SciDev.Net there was a need "to better articulate science and technology capacity-building initiatives" to be supported with "collaborative research activities that can be selected and funded through FP7 and the upcoming Horizon 2020 programme".

Cherry told SciDev.Net that it remains to be seen how African researchers can participate in Horizon 2020.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

PAFO’s second General Assembly elects new president

23rd to 25th of August 2012. PAFO’s second General Assembly was held in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

The elections The new President is Mr. Bagna Djibo of Niger was elected to the position of Vice President of the Pan-African Farmers’ Organization (PAFO). He represents the Network of Farmers’ and Agricultural Producers’ Organisations of West Africa (ROPPA) and took over from Mrs Elizabeth Atangana of Cameroon representing Central African Regional Farmers’ Organization (PROPAC).

The following is the full PAFO executive board for the next two years:
  1. President: Mr. Bagna Djibo (ROPPA)
  2. Vice President: Mr. Felix E. Jumbe (President of SACAU)
  3. Treasurer: Mr. Phillip Kiriro (EAFF)
  4. Women Representative: Mrs. Elizabeth Atangana (PROPAC)
  5. Youth Representative: Mr. Ahmed Jarallah (UMAGRI)
Among other items, the assembly discussed the PAFO Constitution and Strategic Plan.


More and Better at the PAFO congress

PAFO had invited the closest cooperating partners to attend the congress as guests. Because of the short notice – and vacation time in many European countries, only the More and Better Network was present. The good and important cooperation between PAFO and More and Better was also underlined in the report of PAFO’s work since the founding congress. Here is their story.

The congress was called on a very short notice, less than three weeks. The reason was that the PAFO board had not been aware of one condition on the main funding: the money had to be spent before the end of August – or be returned to the donor. The small staff of PROPAC and the national farmers organization in Cameroun, CNOP-Cameroun, had done an amazing job to organize the congress. They got the government to make exceptions for visa rules so visa could be issued on the border for all delegates, background paper were prepared, banners, bags, pens etc. for the congress had been made, translation and technical equipment functioned perfectly, and all delegates stayed in a nice hotel where the meeting also took place.

The last evening, after the congress had finished, became a wonderful and memorable evening at a training center where the outgoing president, Elisabeth Atangana, started for farmers more than 15 years ago. The center, located in the Mfou village in the outskirt of Yaounde, runs an agricultural school of two years for 70 student, runs other short time courses, organizes conferences. The center has also farming activities with plant nursery, raising chicken and pigs. When the delegates and guests arrived at the center, we were met by African music and dance , and the entrance and outdoor area had been turned into a beautifully decorated restaurant where we were served wonderful locally produced food.

The day after the congress a national seminar for leaders of cooperatives and initiatives for new cooperatives took place at the center – with Elisabeth Atangana as the facilitator! She had been working day and night the last three weeks to organize the congress, and the first morning and the full day she headed the work of about 40 farmers from Cameroun. “We had planned this meeting before we planned the congress,” told Elisabeth, “I could not turn these people down and cancel the meeting because I had worked hard for the congress.”

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Transfer Innovations From Research Labs to Farmers Fields

From left: minister of agriculture and 
rural development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina; 
Permanent Secretary, Mrs Fatima Bamidele, 
and president IFAD, Dr Kanayo Nwanze at a dinner 
in honour of IFAD president in Abuja
21 August. Ibadan, Nigeria. Kanayo F. Nwanze, the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) delivered a keynote speech at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) about the critical role of research in obtaining food security for the country and beyond.
"No one is better placed to know conditions on the ground in Nigeria, and to discover solutions to the country's challenges, than Nigerian scientists themselves. We cannot and should not rely exclusively on research done in developed countries to address the needs of developing countries." 
Nwanze, a scientist by training, was previously Director-General of the Africa Rice Center for a decade.

As the largest producer of cassava, Nwanze said the country's agricultural sector has immense potential, and that research and development of rural areas are vital to its development. He said that scientists must understand the environment where their innovations and breakthroughs will be used, and the needs of the people who live there. If they don't, their research will never get beyond the lab.
"For research to move from the lab to the field, it needs to be supported by a strong extension system and enabling policies that link research to products and markets so that the applications benefit both the public and private sectors."

From left: vice chancellor, university of Ibadan, 
prof Isaac Adewole; president IFAD, Dr Kanayo Nwanze and 
the director general, IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga, 
at a lecture on investing in agriculture for 
the future of Nigeria in Ibadan on Tuesday (21/8/12)
IFAD has worked in Nigeria since 1985, and today is partnering with the government on three programmes to strengthen the country's rural sector, with a special focus on women and young people. The new Value Chain Development Programme, which was approved by IFAD's Executive Board in April 2012, will help strengthen the existing extension system in Nigeria.

A strong extension system ensures the link between research and farmers, taking new technology from the lab to the farm. Through its interaction with small farmers, extension feeds back information to the scientists to adapt research results to the farmers' needs. The programme will take a holistic approach, driven by demand, to address constraints along cassava and rice value chains. Through an inclusive strategy, it will strengthen the capacity of producers and processors as well as public and private institutions, service providers, policy-makers and regulators.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Workshops on linking farmers to markets

Accra workshop participants
9 July 2012. Johannesburg. 11 July 2012 Nairobi. 13 July 2012, Accra. A4I, ODI and FANRPAN hosted three regional African workshops as part of their 'Leaping and Learning: Taking Agricultural Successes to Scale' project.

In partnership with the Food Agriculture Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network [FANRPAN], the one-day workshops compared experiences of linking farmers to markets. Provisional results of a comparative analysis of cases of linking small farmers to markets were presented, drawing on the wealth of practical experience seen in the field.
Nairobi workshop participants

The aim was to compare these to the insights of participants, most of whom worked actively in the region on linking small farmers to markets.

How best can small-scale family farms in Africa be linked to markets, get access to inputs, finance and know-how to stimulate agricultural growth and reduce poverty? How can this be done both effectively and equitably? How can successes be scaled up and replicated?
Johannesburg workshop participants

form the focus of ‘Leaping and Learning: Strategies for Taking Agricultural Successes to Scale’ being carried out by the Agriculture for Impact team based at Imperial College London working together with the Overseas Development Institute

Check out the blog at for further details on all three workshops.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Infoday FP7 Cooperation Theme 2: Food, Agriculture and Fisheries and Biotechnologies

16th July 2012. Info Day and Brokerage Event on Call FP7-KBBE-2013-7. This information day was for everyone interested in taking part in call 2013 of FP7 Cooperation Theme 2: Food, griculture and Fisheries and Biotechnologies.

The objective of the event was to bring together research stakeholders, from both the public and private sectors from the EU and Third Countries, together with Commission officers and provide information and ground for discussion and networking.

FARA under the Biocircle project gave the opportunity to two members of PAEPARD supported consortia to participate in this event:
  1. Dr I.Charles Okoli (Tropical Animal Health and Production Research Lab. Department of Animal Science and Technology, Federal University of Technology, Nigeria to discuss the collaboration on the research proposal Nigeria - Low cost and high quality livestock feed production knowledge delivery to Nigerian poultry industry (NIPOFERD)
  2. Dr. Samuel Adjei Nsiah Ghana - Improving food security and income for smallholder farmers through improved post harvest technology
The event included in the morning a general introduction with presentations of the main features and areas addressed by the 2013 call. (see programme)

During the afternoon session: parallel sessions were organised with group discussions by thematic areas:
  1. Parallel Session 1: Sustainable production and management of biological resources from land, forest and aquatic environment
  2. Parallel Session 2: Fork to farm: Food (including seafood), health and well being Consumers, nutrition, food processing, food quality and safety, environmental impact and total food chain, European research area 
  3. Parallel Session 3: Life sciences, biotechnology and bio-chemistry for sustainable non-food products and processes
The official Call was published on the 9th of July 2012.

Contrary to previous years none of the themes of the Work Programme 2013 - Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology  is mentioning as mandatory the participation of an ICPC (International Cooperation Partner Country) from Africa. But African countries are free to join any consortium.

The video recordings of the Infoday will be accessible a few days after the event.

On Tuesday 17th of July, a meeting was organised for the national contact points: 7th Bio-NCP meeting for theme 2.

On Wednesday 18th of July, Biocircle organised its Third Country BIO-NCPs of the BIOCIRCLE 2 project. The objective of this training was to show options, ways and means to enhance the visibility of Third Country researchers within the European research areas.

A keynote presentation was made by Daan du Toit, Senior S&T Rep. of South Africa to EU on South Africa’s S&T partnership with the European Union: Visibility and Networking – key for success.

Two principles: 
  1. Answer calls & Find partners 
  2. Create enabling national environment for researchers to participate: 
Early identification of : 
  • FP7 topics relevant to SA priorities and strengths SA researchers best placed to respond 
  • Support SA links to leading European groups with best chances of success, bearing in mind: Lead in proposal preparation coming for Europe 
  • Highly competitive – excellence key criteria Networking and visibility essential

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The participation of African researchers to FP7 comes under stress

Participation of two African researchers to the Biocircle Info Day of 16th of July (second row):
Dr I.Charles Okoli (Tropical Animal Health and Production Research Lab. Department of Animal Science and Technology, Federal University of Technology, Nigeria. PAEPARD supported consortium: Low cost and high quality livestock feed production knowledge delivery to Nigerian poultry industry (NIPOFERD)
Dr. Samuel Adjei Nsiah from Ghana. PAEPARD supported consortium: Improving food security and income for smallholder farmers through improved post harvest technology
16th July 2012. Brussels. Contrary to previous years none of the themes of the Work Programme 2013 - Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology (FAFB)  is mentioning as mandatory the participation of an ICPC (International Cooperation Partner Country) from Africa.

But African countries are free to join any consortium.

In the previous years (2010, 2011, 2012) a number of themes related to the FP7-FAFB call had as requirement: mandatory ICPC  (International Cooperation Partner Country)/ with at least 1 African country or  SICA (Specific International Cooperation Actions) with at least 1 African country .  SICA means that non EU members are mandatory.

Pas experience with the mobilisation of African researchers to participate in FP7, has demonstrated that when themes do not mention specifically the participation of an African ICPC (International Cooperation Partner Country) European consortia are less inclined to involve African research groups. For the FP7-FAFB call of 2013, not a single theme mentions ICPC or SICA Africa. 

This concern was already raised in the response of PAPEARD to the Public consultation of the EC on the Green Paper: From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic, Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding [COM (2011) 48 ]. This response was submitted on behalf of the partner organizations in the EC-funded ‘PAEPARD’ initiative. PAEPARD was supported in the first phase through the 7th Framework Programme, and is currently supported by the Food Security Programme (FSTP) of DevCo. The project is led by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa with support from the European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for Development (Agrinatura) and several other research and development organizations in Africa and Europe.
We recommend that international cooperation, including partnership with developing countries, is systematically integrated into all funding instruments in the Common Strategic Framework. (page 3) 
The green paper on development convincingly shows that inclusive, demand-led approaches are essential if agricultural research is to deliver benefits for rural households. Therefore, it is crucial that EU research and development policy are suitably aligned. During the early stages of the project, PAEPARD partners made a significant input to a workshop that was organized jointly by the EU Research and Development Directorates. The results of the workshop helped to shape a special ‘Africa’ Call for Proposals under the 7th Framework programme by identifying and describing a set of priority research topics. We recommend that mechanisms to facilitate the convergence between the development and research strands of EU policy are built into the Common Strategic Framework. (page 4) 
The ‘Africa’ Call for proposals under the 7th Framework programme generated considerable interest and over one hundred proposals were submitted. However, only a small number of proposals were funded and the role of African organizations in the partnership teams tended to be quite limited. This reflects the findings from the early stages of PAEPARD which showed that there are serious barriers to the participation of African organizations in the framework programmes. (page 4)
On the other hand it has to be noted that the last two years has seen a remarkable increase of interest for collaborative research projects with Africa in the field of agriculture, namely with countries like (in alphabetic order) Australia; BRICS countries; China; Canada, Japan, and the United Sates;


14-16 April 2008.  DGDEV Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium. FARA & EFARD Consultation on Agricultural Research Programming for FP7-FAB and FSTP.

Organised by European Commission in collaboration with CTA, forty experts from African and European institutions including the European Commission met during 3 days, to decide on and define ARD priority research topics and activities for enhancing S&T cooperation between Africa and Europe within the framework of 10 broad priority areas under two EU instruments; FP7-FAB and FSTP.

The objective was to increase the impact of agricultural research and knowledge systems on rural productivity, poverty reduction, food security and sustainable management of natural resources through the delivery of global public goods. The face to face meeting was preceded by an e-consultation which provided a wealth of information on targeted research areas and identified modalities and policies for ensuring synergy, coherence between FP7-FAB and FSTP.

The experts produced a 26 page document which provides a brief description of 2-3 research priorities and related activities for each of the 10 broad priority areas including climate change, bioenergy and traditional knowledge.

10th July 2009. The FP7-KBBE-2010 CALL [AFRICA CALL] launched in July 2009 was a targeted research effort of the European Commission to meet the challenges for Water, Food Security and Better Health for Africa. A cross-thematic call brought together three funding Themes under FP7: (a) Health; (b) Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology; (c) Environment (including climate change).

The topics of the call under Theme 2: Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology were:
  • KBBE.-2010.1.-2-03: Sustainable water resources management (WRM) and Soil fertility conservation for food production in Africa - SICA  (Specific International Cooperation Actions) Africa
  • KBBE.2010.2.2-03: Identifying research needs on malnutrition in Africa – Mandatory Africa 
  • KBBE.2010.3.5-02: Coping with water scarcity in developing countries: Role of biotechnology in water treatment – Mandatory ICPC Africa
  • KBBE.2010.4-02: Networking of non-governmental organisations involved in agricultural research for development
10th July 2010.  The FP7-KBBE-2011 CALL launched in July 2010. Following themes targeted more explicitely the African continent:

  • KBBE.2011.2.5-02 Reducing post-harvest losses for increased food security — SICA, Mandatory 3 different ICPC
  • KBBE.2011.1.3-01 New/next generation of researchers for Neglected Zoonoses at the animal-human interface – Mandatory 3 different ICPC (of which at least 2 from Africa
  • KBBE.2011.1.4-08 Role of aquaculture in improving food security and eradicating poverty worldwide - Mandatory 3 different ICPC
10th July 2011.  The FP7-KBBE-2012 CALL  launched in July 2011. 
Topics of particular interest for Africa were:
  • KBBE.2012.1.4-03 Advocacy and informational material for different media targeting decision makers at different levels and end-users in Africa in the fight against neglected zoonotic diseases 
  • KBBE.2012.3.4-01 Conversion of bio-waste in developing countries - SICA, 3 different ICPC from African, ACP and Mediterranean Partner Countries
Other topics in areas of mutual interest between Africa and Europe included: 
  • KBBE.2012.1.4-05 Volatility of agricultural commodity markets 
  • KBBE.2012.2.3-05 Insects as a novel source of proteins - SICA, 3 different ICPC.
  • KBBE.2012.1.3-0 Development and evaluation of scientific methodologies for costeffective risk-based animal health surveillance
  • KBBE.2012.3.3-02 Support to standardisation for bio-based products
10th July 2012.  The FP7-KBBE-2013 CALL  launched in July 2012. 

Only 1 theme mentions as mandatory the inclusion of ICPC countries.
  • KBBE.2013.3.1-02: EU-Latin America Partnering Initiative on sustainable biodiversity in agriculture. 3 different ICPC countries from Latin America.
The FP7-KBBE-2013 CALL has no SICA  (Specific International Cooperation Actions) nor a Mandatory ICPC from Africa.

Topics in areas of mutual interest between Africa and Europe may be: 
  • KBBE.2013.2.3-02: Network for the transfer of knowledge on traditional foods to SMEs
  • KBBE.2013.1.2-02: Legume breeding and management for sustainable agriculture as well as protein supply for food and feed 
  • KBBE.2013.1.2-04: Control of pests and pathogens affecting fruit crops 
  • KBBE.2013.1.2-05: Biological control agents in agriculture and forestry for effective pest and pathogen control 
  • KBBE.2013.1.3-02: Sustainable apiculture and conservation of honey bee genetic diversity 


The FP7-KBBE-2010 CALL [AFRICA CALL] launched in July 2009 resulted in following consortia which have been highlighted in the past on the PAEPARD and FARA blog:

EAU4Food    European Union and African Union cooperative research to increase Food production in irrigated farming systems in Africa
Start date:2011-07-01 
End date:2015-06-30 
Duration:48 months 
Total cost:4,943,245 EURO 
EU contribution3,994,856 EURO 
Subprogramme Area:Sustainable water resources management (WRM) and Soil fertility conservation for food production in Africa - SICA (Africa) 
EAU4Food seeks to address the need for new approaches to increase food production in irrigated areas in Africa, while ensuring healthy and resilient environments. Potential pitfalls of introducing innovations in local farming systems, like limited adoption by farmers and trade-off effects to other (environmental) systems are overcome by, respectively, i) utilizing a true trans-disciplinary approach, which involves the active participation of all stakeholders in all relevant disciplines, and ii) by determining and respecting so called sustainable production thresholds. EAU4Food is executed in four irrigated areas in Africa, viz. Southern Africa (Mozambique and South-Africa), Tunisia, Mali and Ethiopia to fully benefit from the potential of cross distributing promising strategies and innovations.

SUNRAY  Sustainable Nutrition Research for Africa in the Years to come 
Start date: 2011-01-01 
End date: 2012-12-31 
Duration: 24 months 
Total cost: 1,088,201 EURO 
EU contribution: 968,463 EURO 
Subprogramme Area:Identifying research needs on malnutrition in Africa - Mandatory Africa 
SUNRAY has seven work packages: WP1 optimises communication and coordination within the Consortium. WP2 maps current nutrition research activities in sub-Saharan Africa, and examines the operating environment. WP3 analyses the views of stakeholders. WP4 examines the impact of environmental changes on nutrition. WP5 builds consensus on research priorities through workshops in three African regions. WP6 develops a strategic framework for future research in the form of a roadmap. WP7 disseminates project outputs. The SUNRAY Consortium has four African and five European institutions and an Advisory Group of six external experts with complementary expertise. 

Waterbiotech Biotechnology for Africa's sustainable water supply   
Start date: 2011-08-01 
End date: 2014-01-31 
Duration: 30 months 
Project cost: 1,264,465 EURO 
EU contribution 999,528 EURO 
Subprogramme Area: Coping with water scarcity in developing countries: Role of biotechnology in water treatment - Mandatory ICPC (Africa) 
Natural biological treatment systems include lagooning, land treatment, phytodepuration, or constructed wetlands systems. They can be applied as secondary or tertiary purification treatment, allowing the removal of pathogenic microorganisms and the degradation of the organic pollutants, so that waste water can be recycled for irrigation and domestic use and hence reduce the pressure on the hydric resources. Other biotechnological techniques to be taken into account within this proposal are bio-filtration, membrane bioreactors and algae and other aquatic crops application for wastewater purification.

INSARD  Including Smallholders in Agricultural Research for Development
Start date: 2011-01-01 
End date: 2013-12-31 
Total cost: EUR 536,940
EU contribution: EUR 498,330 

Subprogramme area: 
KBBE.2010.4-02 Networking of non-governmental organisations involved in agricultural research for development 

The main aim of this project is to facilitate the participation of a broader range of European and African civil society organizations in the formulation and implementation of ARD. It will do so by:
1. Designing a structure for coordination and communication between European and African CSO’s involved in influencing policies and practices around ARD.
2. Define policy influencing strategies, including thematic priorities, target groups/individuals and tools.
3. Lobby key African and European research organizations and donors.
4. Working towards defining research priorities which draw on interaction between researchers and CSOs.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Kenya’s innovative agricultural micro-insurance program for smallholder farmers in Kenya wins award

14 June 2012. London. Kilimo Salama, a partnership between the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and UAP Insurance, won the Financial Times’ award for Technology in Sustainable Finance, recognizing their groundbreaking work to provide smallholder farmers with access to insurance cover using innovative technology and approaches.

The FT’s Award for Technology in Sustainable Finance recognizes organizations and initiatives that are addressing the scarcity of essential goods and services across society and those that demonstrate leadership and innovation in addressing environmental, social and corporate governance considerations in business.

Kilimo Salama (Kiswahili for ‘safe farming’) is an innovative, pay-as-you-plant, index-based, micro-insurance program for smallholder farmers in Kenya and the first in the world to use a mobile network-based platform and on-the-ground solar weather stations to provide smallholder farmers with low-cost insurance policies.“When it comes to drought, most farmers have no choice but to simply pray for rain. And if the rains don't come, the crops don't grow. At a time of global change, Kilimo Salama is giving farmers more options so they can meet these challenges and prosper,” said Marco Ferroni, Executive Director of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture

Kilimo Salama has seen an eventful second year marked by severe weather and explosive farmer demand for insurance to mitigate current and future weather risk. Kilimo Salama has just completed one of the largest index insurance payouts ever experienced on the continent has insured nearly 64,000 farmers for the next season. 

They are currently making plans to expand to other countries in the region beginning with Rwanda. 


In Kenya, small-scale farmers are particularly vulnerable to the vagaries of weather, often losing their entire investment when droughts or floods destroy their crops. Crop insurance is usually too costly for such operations. But a Swiss-based foundation is now offering low cost insurance through a program called "Kilimo Salama," or "safe farming." Cathy Majtenyi reports for VOA from the western Kenyan town of Eldoret.

Rose Goslinga, Technical Coordinator of the Agricultural Insurance Initiative, Kilimo Salama, speaks at the Power of Information: New Technologies for Philanthropy and Development conference. This conference was co-hosted by the Indigo Trust, Omidyar Network and Institute for Philanthropy. In this video, Rose talks about her work in the field of crop insurance via mobile phone.

Preliminary List of Innovative Financing Mechanisms (IFMs) for Agriculture, Food and nutrition

Agricultural Biotechnology Regulation: The opposing world views of slow food versus fast food

April 18, 2012, Iowa, US. Over 110 ag industry leaders, scientists, and experts from around the world attended the Ninth BIGMAP Symposium. The 1 day event, titled "Agricultural Biotechnology Regulation, Trade, and Co-existence" focused on current research and perspectives on the role of regulation in biotechnology and genetically modified agricultural production.

Grant Improving Quality Seed Access in Sub-Saharan Africa

Iowa State University seed scientists are partnering with regional and national organizations in Malawi, Zambia and Nigeria to conduct a pilot study in Africa on enabling better access to improved seed varieties with the help of a new grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The Seed Policy Enhancement in African Regions (SPEAR) project is funded by a $1.45 million three-year grant. As part of the grant, Iowa State University scientists will work to advance harmonization policies into actionable reality in western and southern Africa. They will improve varietal evaluations and timely releases of candidate seed varieties.Read More

Seed Enterprise Management Instittute

Seed Science Center Director Manjit Misra, AGRA President Namanga Ngongi and Distinguished Fellow David Lambert collaborate on the creation of a seed institute during a visit to AGRA.

ISU Seed Science Center, University of Nairobi Establishing African Seed Institute

Iowa State University seed scientists are working with the University of Nairobi and other groups to increase food security and reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa with help from a new $4.49 million grant from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Read more.

Audios and Powerpoints from the 2012 BIGMAP Symposium "Agricultural Biotechnology Regulation, Trade & Co-existence" are now available

Jack Bobo, Senior Advisor on Biotechnology, Department of State

Import/Export Opportunities and Challenges. The opposing world views of slow food versus fast food\