Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

After Brexit - Securing ACP Economic Interests

17 February 2017. King’s College London. African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are expected to be among those most affected by Brexit since their trading relations with the UK for the last 40 years have largely been within the EU’s regulatory and institutional framework.

A research team from the Ramphal Institute examined Brexit’s implications for that group of countries, providing information and guidance that can help avoid or minimise negative consequences as well as identifying and capitalising on opportunities that might arise or be created.

The report was launched on 17 February. Participants took part in a discussion on the multi-tiered approach ACP countries will need to take to make sure that their short, medium and longer-term trade needs are not lost in the Brexit process.

This conference starts after 9 minutes

Programme details:
  • Programme Chair: H.E. Roy Mickey Joy, Permanent Representative of Vanuatu to the European Union, and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
  • Call to order – Edwin Laurent, Director The Ramphal Institute
  • Welcome to King’s College London – Professor Funmi Olonisakin, Director, Africa Leadership Centre
  • His Excellency Dr Hailemichael Aberra Afework, Ambassador of Ethiopia, representing the President of the ACP Council of Ministers
  • Professor Kusha Haraksingh, Chairman, CARICOM Competition Commission
  • Dr Lorand Bartels, Specialist Advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee on International Trade
  • Feature Address: The Secretary General of the ACP, His Excellency Dr Patrick Gomes
  • Presentation to the ACP Secretary General of the After Brexit study by Patsy Robertson, Chair, The Ramphal Institute
  • Discussion
  • The Way Forward: Dr Paul Goodison, Senior Adviser The Ramphal Institute
Report details:
Authors: Edwin Laurent, SLC, CMG, OBE: Director of the Ramphal Institute
Lorand Bartels, PhD, Reader in International Law in the Faculty of Law and a Fellow of Trinity Hall at the University of Cambridge
Paul Goodison, PhD, GDC Partners, Belgium
Paula Hippolyte, Consultant, ITID Consulting
Sindra Sharma, PhD, Lead Researcher, Ramphal Institute
Copies of the report Securing ACP Economic Interests Post-Brexit are available from

Monday, February 20, 2017

EU Project aims to bring 'Internet of Things' to agriculture

16 February 2017. The Internet of Food and Farm 2020 (IoF2020) project investigates and fosters a large-scale implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) in the European farming and food sector. With a €30 million budget co-funded by the European Union, the project has the potential to bring a paradigm shift in this domain, by drastically improving productivity and sustainability.

It will demonstrate the added value of smart webs of connected objects, that are context-sensitive and can be identified, sensed and controlled remotely in the agri-food sector. 
  • The project has started on January 1st 2017 and will run for four years. 
  • It aims to include all the actors of the food chain, from farmers, food industry workers, technology providers and research institutes.
  • Internet of Things is the internet working of physical devices that have network connectivity enabling to collect and exchange data between them. 
  • Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT), farmers can check their crop yield and animal health on their smartphone, while consumers can have information about the origin of their crops.
Multistakeholder approach and partnersThe project is the first large-scale project of its kind and will run for four years. The coordination is led by Wageningen University comprising 73 partners and aims to strenghten EU's position in the Internet of Things sector. The decision-making will be done by an implementation board of representatives from key user organizations.

IoF2020 involves the actors from the overall food chain, from the farmers, cooperatives, equipment suppliers, food processing companies, logistics providers to consumer organizations and includes ICT solution providers. In the approach, the end-users are the heart of IoF2020’s.

They will participate in assessing and improving the technologies used in the trials, ensuring the solutions developed meet the requirements and the expectations of the sector for the challenge to come. -Schuttelaar & Partners:2017. Thus IoF2020 will pave the way for data-driven farming, autonomous operations, virtual food chains and personalized nutrition for European citizens.

Watching farmer training videos on smart phones

19th February 2017. One of the most common questions about farmer training videos is how farmers will watch them if they don’t have electricity to run a projector, or own a laptop. As mobile communications improve, however, new ways are emerging that are making it easier for farmers to download, view and share videos.

Farmers no longer need expensive hardware (such as a computer or TV and DVD player) to watch videos.

Last year, Gérard Zoundji (from the University of Abomey-Calavi) sent me photographs of a farmer in southern Benin who had watched farmer training videos about vegetables on his mobile phone. Someone had bought a DVD at the local agro-input shop and
converted the videos from the DVD into 3gp format to watch on his mobile. Farmers are now able to watch videos even without DVD players.

In India farmers go one step further, and download videos. Kannappan, one of the trainees from the local NGO MSSRF, was chatting with some of the village farmers when one of them, Ramesh Permal, mentioned he was rearing fish in a pond. ICT-savvy Kannappan took out his mobile phone, connected to the Access Agriculture website, and searched among all Tamil videos,
and found one on raising fingerlings. It took him less than 3 minutes to download the video to his mobile. 

Mr. Permal and another farmer then took out their smart phones, and swiftly connected to Kannappan’s mobile . The video file was nearly 50 Mb, but they transferred it to their mobile in just over 10 seconds using the SHAREit app. For ease of downloading to mobile phones when there is not a very good internet connection, Access Agriculture has also made all videos in its library available in 3gp format, which is about half the size.

Farmers may not have computers, but they are starting to get smart phones. Some smallholders rely on extensionists to get electronic information, but others are starting to use their phones to access information on their own, directly from the internet.

Related blog stories:

Friday, February 17, 2017

8th annual Africa Fertilizer conference

15-17 February 2017. Cape Town. Over 520 participants from 63 countries of which 23 are African attended the 8th annual Africa Fertilizer conference.

The conference agenda featured over 30 speakers who addressed ways to increase African farmers' access to fertilizer and consequently to boost agricultural yields across the continent.

On of the keynote speakers included: 
  • OCP AFRICA chief executive Karim Lofti Senhadji, (picture)
  • the African Development Bank's vice-president for agriculture, human and social development, Jennifer Blanke(picture)
  • and the chief executive of African development partnership NEPAD, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki.
Other speakers (extracts)
  • promoting an Enabling Environment for SMEs in the Fertilizer Supply Chain, Daniel Gad, Owner, Omega Farms
  • Why Micronutrients are Important in Fertilizers, Rob White, Regional Director, International Zinc Association
  • The Role of Public Private Partnerships in Improving Access to Fertilizers, Adam Mostert, Chairman, East and Southern Africa Fertilizer Trade Platform (ESAF)
  • Jason Scarpone
    President and CEO
  • African Fertilizer Financing Mechanism: Recent Developments and Opportunities, Benedict Kanu, Lead Agriculture Expert, Agriculture and Agro-Industry Dept. African Development Bank
The conference was supported by the International Fertilizer Association (IFA), the Africa Fertilizer and Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) and the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) as well as by a number of other organisations involved in promoting fertilizer use in Africa

The agenda focused on increasing consumption of fertilizers and building meaningful supply chain partnerships in Africa. Speakers from the private and public sectors discussed the importance of creating enabling environments for fertilizer supply and distribution, improving access to finance and developing infrastructure that in turn will broaden intra-Africa trade, increase fertilizer consumption across the continent and ultimately boost agricultural productivity.

The African Fertilizer Access Index: Towards the Establishment of Competitive Fertilizer
Value Chains for Smallholder Farmers
  • Maria Wanzala, Regional Director, East and Southern Africa, AFAP (picture)
  • A new AFAP initiative to support the establishment of an enabling environment for fertilizer in order to boost fertilizer use by smallholder farmers
  • Strengthening understanding of the key components of harmonized fertilizer policies and regulations for the region
  • Disseminating comprehensive knowledge of the status of fertilizer policies and regulations in the target countries
Panel Discussion: Farmer and Agridealer Perspectives on Fertilizer Distribution and Use
  • Fertilizer use in the context of broader farming considerations – seed quality, irrigation facilities and extension services
  • Improving accessibility, affordability of fertilizers for farmers
  • Delivering training to improve understanding of balanced fertilization
  • Optimizing knowledge of specific crop and soil requirements 
  • The evolving role of the hub agridealer as a key link in the supply chain
  • Daniel Gad, Owner, Omega Farms
  • Dinnah Kapiza, Owner and Managing Director, Tisaiwale Trading
  • Nike Tinubu, Managing Director, Eagleson Cassava
  • Mark Tindle, Managing Director (Zambia), Omnia Fertilizers
Panel Discussion: Boosting Fertilizer Consumption with Accessible Financial Platforms and Innovative Solutions
  • Leveraging private and public sector initiatives to unlock the potential of SMEs across the agricultural sector
  • Collaborative initiatives to offer access to credit for smallholder farmers
  • Kalim M. Shah, Chief Investment Officer, Downstream Oil abd Gas, Sub-Saharan Africa, IFC
  • Julia Franklin, Global Sourcing Director, One Acre Fund
  • Benedict Kanu, Lead Agriculture Expert, Agriculture and Agro-Industry Dept. African Development Bank
Developments in Trade Corridors, Regional Collaboration and Agricultural Clusters
  • Update on developments of key trade corridors and impact on the market
  • Assessing the costs and risks including border procedures and bottlenecks
  • Government initiatives and public and private sector collaboration
  • Linking investment and innovation to develop robust supply networks of fertilizers and seeds for smallholder farmers

  • Argent Chuula, CEO - ACTESA, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)
  • Emerson Zhou, CEO, Beira Agricultural Growth Corridor
  • Sean de Cleene, Chief of Strategy and Partnerships, AGRA (picture)

IFAD appoints Togo's former prime minister as new president

15 February 2017. Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, Togo's former prime minister, has been appointed as the new president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

Houngbo beat seven other candidates, including three women, to emerge as president and will lead the U.N. rural poverty agency in making investment decisions that address critical challenges affecting rural livelihoods and development issues in developing countries.

IFAD's role in ensuring adequate attention is given to agricultural and rural development programs is seen by many observers as key in helping achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of ending poverty and hunger in the world. Facilitating more investment in the world's rural areas is aimed at meeting a growing demand for food security, reducing migration and recurring conflicts.

Houngbo — who has over 30 years of experience in international development, diplomacy and financial management — will join IFAD from the International Labour Organization, where he has served as deputy director-general since 2013. He has also worked at the United Nations Development Programme, where he served as the assistant secretary general, Africa regional director, and chief of staff. Between 2008 and 2012, he served as the prime minister of the West African country of Togo.

As the sixth president of IFAD, Houngbo is expected to take over from Nigeria's Kanayo Nwanze in April.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Nutrition Economics: Principles and Policy Applications

Nutrition Economics: Principles and Policy Applications 
S.C. Babu, S.N. Gajanan, and J.A. Hallam; 
Elsevier/Academic Press

To address developing countries’ staggering lack of progress in addressing malnutrition, we need to train a new generation of policy and program managers who can traverse the disciplines engaged in nutrition schemes and policy making. But who will do this and how? 

The single discipline orientation of academic institutions in both developing and developed countries has made this a major challenge. Some university multidisciplinary programs have trained enough people to greatly improve the development of multidisciplinary capacity to solve malnutrition problems. But such programs continue to be limited in number. 

In general, multidisciplinary work is not supported or encouraged. 
For example, a faculty member moving out his or her core discipline to publish in multidisciplinary journals may not receive recognition equal to a peer who remains in her or his core discipline. Nutrition policy is an example of a development challenge where several disciplines need to come together, but academic institutions—particularly in developing countries—are simply not fully prepared to face malnutrition challenges.

The authors make a modest attempt to introduce basic economic concepts and their policy applications to scholars with a nutrition and some quantitative background. They also introduce several analytical methods that use real world data to explore nutrition-related policies.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

New African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture

2 February 2017. The African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture- Ms Correa Leonel Josefa of Angola replaces Uganda’s Rhoda Peace Tumusiime.

Madam Josefa Sacko, an Angolan National, is a leading African Agronomist. On the 23rd of December 2016, Madame Sacko was nominated as Executive Administrator on the Administrative Council of the Funds for Agriculture Development. 

She is Special Adviser to two Minister in Angola, her home country: 
  1. The Angolan Minister of Environment where she also serves as Ambassador responsive for climate change. 
  2. In the Department of the Minister of Agriculture, Madam Sacko oversees food security, Eradication of Hunger and Poverty Reduction. 
Madam Josefa ran the Inter-African coffee organization (IACO) for 13 years in Côte D' Ivoire where she represented coffee economy of 25 Africa Coffee producing countries. The Former Secretary General of the Inter-African Coffee Organization (IACO) is also special Adviser to the Vice-President of The Panafrican Woman Organization for Southern African Region. She also worked as a consultant in National Angolan Investment Agency (ANIP).

Enhancing U.S. Efforts to Develop Sustainable Agri-Food Systems in Africa

15 February 2017. Series of policy papers commissioned by the Farm Journal Foundation. While commissioned by the Farm Journal Foundation, these policy documents reflect the views of the authors, and are intended to stimulate interest and debate on these issues as Congress begins to consider the next Farm Bill and other relevant legislation.

Taken together, they kick off a much needed dialogue on how US agriculture can maintain its comparative strength, share its extraordinary knowledge, tools, and know-how, and drive economic growth and stability, while ensuring US competitiveness in tomorrow’s agricultural export markets.

Enhancing U.S. Efforts to Develop Sustainable Agri-Food Systems in Africa
Dr. Thomas Jayne, Hon. Chance Kabaghe, and Dr. Isaac Minde. Farm Journal Foundation, 16 pages

This policy brief describes the changed landscape and the opportunities being created for developing innovative and effective new partnerships between US and African institutions engaged in African agri-food systems. It outlines a strategic framework to maintain US engagement in this effort, which centers on sustained commitment to capacity strengthening and leadership of African agricultural institutions.
Why should US citizens care? Investing in Africa’s economic growth is in the United States’ national interest. US exports of agricultural products to sub-Saharan Africa totaled $2.6 billion in 2013 and will grow rapidly if Africa continues to develop. (...) US
farmers and agribusiness can help themselves by helping Africa to meet its rapidly growing food needs, by investing in the region’s agri-food systems, and by supporting a sustainable and efficient global food system. (page 4)
The time has arrived for the US to find effective ways to support capacity building. This should include African universities, agricultural training colleges, vocational schools, crop research organisations, extension systems and policy analysis institutes. International private companies, universities and NGOs have important but increasingly redefined roles that put African institutions in the lead.
Mr. Ammad Bahalim and Dr. Joseph Glauber, Farm Journal Foundation, 10 pages
  • This paper describes the obstacles that farmers in developing countries face in accessing international markets for their products, and how greater US investment in providing trade technical assistance to those countries can help instill confidence by potential participants in the international trading system. 
  • It notes that for developing country exporters of agricultural products, it is lack of capacity to deal with sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) standards, not hefty import tariffs, which presents the greatest problem in accessing markets in the United States and other developed countries. 
  • The paper recommends an increased US focus on providing experienced personnel and the appropriate equipment to address SPS issues in developing countries and improved coordination between USG agencies involved in these activities. Improved coordination with other donor countries on SPS matters is also encouraged.
A third paper on Agricultural Research will be released end of February.

6th World Sustainability Forum

27 - 28 January 2017. South Africa. University of the Western Cape and University of Cape Town. The 6th World Sustainability Forum took place for the first time in Africa. The conference briought together researchers, policymakers, practitioners, private sector and civil society actors

It contributes to international debates on sustainability and, more specifically, enables exchanges, which sensitise the international community to the urgency, specifics, and existent knowledge base of sustainability on the African continent, and the African research community about international perspectives on sustainability.

Parallel Sessions Related to agriculture

Sustainable Agriculture: Climate Change and Water-related Issues

Panel chair: Prof Linus Opara
  • Small-Scale Farmers' Adaptation to the Impacts of Climate Change: A Case Study of Sagole Women Farmers in Limpopo Province, South Africa by Agnes Rankoana *
  • Vulnerability of Maize Yields to Droughts in Uganda ; by Terence Epule Epule *
  • Patterns of Dekadal Rainfall Variation over a Selected Region in Lake Victoria Basin, Uganda ; by Isaac Mugume *
  • Developing Decision Support Tools for Improving Agricultural Sustainablity in Africa ; by Kevin Jan Duffy *, Tirivashe Phillip Masere ; 
  • The Redesign of Sustainable Agricultural Crop Ecosystems by Increasing Natural Ecosystem Services Provided by Insects; by Astrid Jankielsohn *

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

Submission not assigned to a panel

  • A Management Database for Sustainable Cattle Production by Emerging Cattle Farmers in South Africa; by Obvious Mapiye *

Webinar: Climate change and agricultural development

1 February 2017. This video is a recording from the webinar Climate change and agricultural development, organized by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

The webinar addressed the linkages on climate change research and agricultural development while also discovering the progress and gaps on various climate smart approaches.
  • Bruce Campbell, Director of CCAFS, gave a presentation on pushing the boundaries on research-development linkages.
  • Robert Zougmore, CCAFS West Africa leader (ICRISAT) talked about the progress and gaps in getting climate information to farmers.
  • Pramod Aggarwal, CCAFS South Asia leader (CIMMYT) discussed the progress and gaps in insuring smallholder farmers.
  • And finally, Sophia Huyer, CCAFS Gender and Social Inclusion leader gave insights into the gender and social inclusion dimension of understanding farmer uptake of climate-smart technologies.

MasterCard Foundation second annual Young Africa Works Summit

16 and 17 February 2017. Kigali. The MasterCard Foundation is hosting its second annual Young Africa Works Summit in Kigali, Rwanda. This invite-only event will bring together a community of 300 thought leaders from NGOs, government, funders and the private sector committed to developing sustainable youth employment strategies in Africa. It will also directly involve young people to help understand and explore their journeys, including the challenges they face, in securing meaningful economic opportunities.
Stories of youth speakers working in the agricultural sector:
  • Household Waste Fuels, a Climate Smart Solution: Jean Bosco Nzeyimana – Founder, Habona
  • Empowering Young Women in Agriculture: Pilirani Khoza – Founder and Coordinator, Bunda Female Students Organisation (BUFESO) (picture)
  • Technology + Data = Modern Farming: Brian Bosire – Founder, UjuziKilimo
The opening plenary explored contextual issues surrounding agricultural transformation and will delve into the Summit’s sub-themes – climate-smart agriculture, gender and technology – laying the foundation for two days of stimulating dialogue and debate. This session will be live streamed on CNBC Africa
  • Dr. Segenet Kelemu – Director General, International Centre for Insect Physiology and
    Ecology (icipe);
  • Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda – CEO, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN);
  • Dr. Wanjiru Kamau-Rutenberg – Director, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) (picture)
Barriers restricting youth access to agrifinance include a lack of collateral, savings, low or non-existent credit scores, and a perception that youth will default on their loans. During this plenary session, panelists will explore issues of risk, access and distribution in an effort to unlock agrifinance options for youth at scale.
  • Andrew Youn – Executive Director & Co-founder, One Acre Fund
  • Roy Parizat – Senior Economist, Agriculture Global Practice, World Bank (picture)
  • Frank Altman – President & CEO, Community Reinvestment Fund USA
Within agriculture, off-farm activities will yield the greatest opportunities for youth.
  • Dr. David Tschirley – Professor, Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics,
    Michigan State University; 
  • Clarisse Murekatate – Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer, CARL Group
  • Dr. Agnes Kalibata - President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA); 
  • Grace Wanene – Founder, Youth Agro-Environmental Initiative (picture)
Mechanization or ICT? Agricultural Transformation through Technology
  • Lucy Kioko – Agriculture Product Manager, Agrifin Accelerate, Mercy Corps
  • Jonny Casey – Lead Gender Equality and Technology Innovation, Practical Action;
  • Carol Kakooza – Chief of Party MUIIS, The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation (CTA); (picture)
  • Alloysius Attah – Founder, Farmerline
Additionally, the Summit will also act as a platform for the release of The MasterCard Foundation’s Invisible Lives: Understanding Youth Livelihoods in Africa report, detailing the results of a 12-month study of youth employment in Ghana and Uganda.

One of the main goals of the summit is engaging young people in agriculture to ensure their voices are heard in the policy arena. In line with that, The MasterCard Foundation has partnered with YPARD to bring together 49 youth delegates between the age of 18-24 to be part of the summit. Among this delegation is two YPARD members Jabulani Nyegere and Hanna Samuel who were proposed by the YPARD country chapters given their record experiences and accomplishments within the agricultural sector.

On 15 February 2017 YPARD will bring together all youth delegates for a full day workshop to build on their communication skills, networking and confidence in preparation for their participation at the summit. The whole day workshop will delve deeper on topics like networking, communication and how to live tweet in a conference among others.

The mentoring program: Prior to the Summit, YPARD is pairing young people who expressed the need to be mentored with senior delegates attending the summit based on their interests and experience These pairs will have a chance to meet face to face during the pre-Summit workshop and some of the youth members will be selected to join a longer-term mentoring program beyond the Summit.

Stay tuned to the Summit discussions via the hashtag #YAW2017

Read the youth pre-Summit blog series:
About the MasterCard Foundation’s Youth Livelihoods Program
The Youth Livelihoods Program seeks to improve the capacity of young men and women to transition to jobs or create businesses through a holistic approach which combines market-relevant skills training, mentorship, and appropriate financial services. Through our partnerships, our program is supporting innovative models that help young people transition out of poverty and into stable livelihoods. Since 2010, the Foundation has committed US$402 million to 37 multi-year projects across 19 countries in Africa. More than 1.8 million young people have been reached through the Youth Livelihoods program.


Go Far, GoTogether is the podcast from The MasterCard Foundation highlighting the issues they are trying to solve and the partners with whom we work.
Go Far, Go Together provides listeners with the perspectives of people advancing global development theory and practice… authors, business leaders, development professionals, entrepreneurs, students, staff of the Foundation and our partners, all of whom are active in education and learning, financial inclusion, and youth livelihoods.
The primary focus is Africa, but it explores best practices – and smart responses – to development challenges, wherever they may be found.
Go Far, Go Together is hosted by Roger Morier.


Digital Finance: What M-Pesa can teach the rest of the world
Chris Locke, Caribou Digital
Chris Locke, Founder of Caribou Digital, surveys digital financial inclusion in Africa. He looks back to the advent of M-PESA and what the revolution in digital financing that it has spawned. He also speculates about an Africa without cash.

Young Africa Works: Youth are leading an agricultural revolution
Meredith Lee, MasterCard Foundation
Meredith Lee, Deputy Director of Youth Livelihoods at The MasterCard Foundation, looks ahead to the Young Africa Works 2017 summit.

18/02/2017. Rwanda: Agri-Business Getting Youth Attention
The Rwanda Youth in Agribusiness Forum was formed in May 2016 to bring together young people engaged in commercial farming in the country.

Meet Young Professional in Agriculture Development
Young Farmers Today, is Rwandan blog which aims at encouraging Rwandan youth to engage and participate in Agriculture sector and Environment by Fighting Climate Change. Young Farmers Today is a blog created by Young Rwandan, Jean Claude HABIMANA who has passion in Agriculture, Food security and Environments. Today Jean Claude is interviewing by Journalist from GHANA Tidiane during The Young Africa Works Summit in Kigali-Rwanda supported by Master Card Foundation.

More about Young Farmers in Rwanda open the following link

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Financing Inclusive Rural Transformation

27 January 2017. The International Fund for Agricultural development (IFAD) and the Italian
Ministry of Economy and Finance announced the establishment of the Smallholder Agriculture Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN).

The network aims to bridge an estimated US$150 billion gap in financing and investments necessary to enable small agricultural producers and businesses in developing countries to expand their operations and stabilize the rural economy. To mobilize these investments, SAFIN will coordinate activities between private, public and philanthropic investors and rural farmers and enterprises to address finance and investment challenges.

The network targets small and medium-size producers and enterprises that are considered too big for microfinance, yet too small to access regular credit and investment markets, a group often referred to as the “missing middle.” The initiative’s specific objectives are to: create a space for sharing best practices and knowledge among a diverse multi-stakeholder membership; leverage the collective knowledge of the members, and identify research and investment gaps; support and encourage innovation; and promote policy alignment, dialogue and joint progress towards an enabling environment for smallholder agriculture finance.

The announcement for SAFIN was made during a conference titled, ‘Investing in Inclusive Rural transformation: Innovative Approaches to Financing,’ held 25-27 January 2017 and organized by IFAD and the Italian Ministry for Economy and Finance. 

The conference aimed to advance global efforts in achieving SDG 1 (end poverty in all its forms everywhere) and SDG 2. The meeting followed-up on IFAD’s 2016 Rural Development Report, which assessed processes of rural transformation. Among other conclusions, the report found that while most developing countries are undergoing rapid processes of rural transformation, such processes are not always beneficial for the rural population. Inclusive rural transformation requires distinct agricultural policies as well as policy reforms, institutional innovations and investments. 


Food Systems for Healthier Diets

9 February 2017, the first Food for All Talk (#FFATalks) under the WBG-Netherlands Partnership took place on the subject: Food Systems for Healthier Diets.

Chair was Juergen Voegele, Senior Director, Agriculture Global Practice at the World Bank Group. Panelists John McDermott (IFPRI) and Inge Brouwer (Wageningen University and Research) urged participants from WBG, Netherlands, and beyond to flip our thinking: from “Farm to Fork“, to “Fork to Farm”.

Consumer demand for healthy diets and nutrition outcomes have to drive the value chains, influencing what the private sector delivers and what farming systems produce. However….What is a healthy diet? Can the food system provide adequate, affordable and acceptable food? Where adequate is based on calories and micronutrients; and acceptable is determined by local food culture/preferences. Does the private sector produce what people need or what they want (which is not the same)? How can we change consumer behavior?

The event illustrated that partnership can move the agenda – WB’s economic expertise and high-level entry points together with CGIAR/ Wageningen University research could influence public spending in client countries, potentially leveraging consumer demand and private sector supply.

Take a look at the PowerPoint presentation used during the event, or CGIAR’s Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) program. Pilot countries are Bangladesh, Vietnam, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fruit Logistica Berlin

8-10 February 2017. Berlin. The German capital hosted a leading industry fair to attract people for the global fresh produce trade.

Fruit Logistica has so far attracted over 50,000 visitors from 120 countries. Visitors are able to sample the latest technology of fruits and vegetables from more than 3,000 international exhibitors.

The winner of the fair is chosen by visitors, who are invited to cast their vote for the innovation of the year, on the first two days of the exhibition. Fruit Logistica was launched in 1993 in response to an industry demand and has seen impressive development ever since. One of the innovations seen at the fair is a pioneering sales vending machine, which offers instant apple juice in a cup.

12 ACP countries were represented (South Africa, Bénin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Maurice, Rwanda, Sénégal, Sudan).

COLEACP presented its new programme: Fit For Market (FMM).
The FRUTIC Symposium, an international scientific symposium included over 50 scientific presentations and aims to provide a platform for sharing information between experts from the research community and the fresh produce sector.

Extract of the programme

  • Fungal development and associated rot and mycotoxins during ethylene supplemented controlled atmosphere storage of sweet potato Sulaiman Sowe, Cranfield University, United Kingdom
  • Electrolyzed sodium bicarbonate against citrus green mold: inhibition of penicillium digitatum and induction of fruit defences Antonio Ippolito, University of Bari, Italy 
Four additional events took place during the trade fair with a focus on current and future challenges in the industry: 
  1. the Logistics Hub, offered growers, exporters and retailers information on logistical decisions for transporting their products; 
  2. the Future Lab, presented concepts that in a matter of years will significantly optimise the value chain; 
  3. the Fresh Produce Forum focused on the latest industry questions with viable answers provided by experts 
  4. and finally the Tech Stage, which focused on technical solutions for the industry.

GFAR Steering Committee

8-9 February 2017. Rome. The Global Forum for Agricultural Research held its annual meeting. The main roles of the Steering Committee are programmatic governance and executive governance although it also has a strategic role. It oversees the work of the GFAR Secretariat, and is assisted by the GFAR Secretariat in carrying out its tasks.

Main objectives:
  • Approve annual Programmes of Work and budget, prepared by GFAR Secretariat and ensure that donor funding is used judiciously. 
  • Make decisions on the allocation of resources to GFAR programmes and Partners based on transparency and impartiality, recognizing and avoiding any conflicts of interest among Steering Committee members. 
  • Approve the GFAR Annual Report, prepared by the Secretariat.
  • A list of the representatives forming the new Steering Committee is available here.
  • Learn more about the whole process of governance reform undertaken in 2015-2016 by the Partners in GFAR here.
  • An extract from the GFAR Charter that sets out the background, composition and responsibilities of the Steering Committee is available by clicking here. (4 pages)

Feed the Future Innovation Labs Regional Partners Meeting

6-9 February 2017. Dakar, Senegal. With the passage of the Global Food Security Act (GFSA) and a number of the Innovation Labs nearing the end of their programs, the Bureau for Food Security, Office of Agricultural Research and Policy of USAID, is redesigning and developing new Innovation Labs.

The Senegal meeting provided an opportunity for strategic reflection about the future of the Innovation Lab programs and the role they will play in addressing key agricultural and nutrition constraints in West Africa.

It will provide a venue for Missions, regional programs, local and international collaborators to present a vision of the strategic directions for research and the development needs of each, to be taken into consideration as new Innovation Lab programs come on board and as BFS realigns the Feed the Future Research Strategy to meet the goals of the GFSA. 

At the same time, this visioning exercise has the potential to identify new modes for interdisciplinary
and inter-Innovation Lab collaboration responsive to the demand of local and regional programs.

The meeting generate a report synthesizing:
  • Key agricultural and nutrition research and development needs for West Africa and the role of the Innovation Labs and their partners in addressing these needs;
  • Key human and institutional capacity development needs in partner institutions;
  • Opportunities for inter-Innovation Lab and interdisciplinary collaboration to meet the above needs in addition to Innovation Lab-specific contributions;
  • Visioning on the role of the Innovation Labs in the realignment of the Feed the Future Research Strategy and how the Labs will contribute to the new strategy.
Browse the list below to learn more about our 24 Feed the Future Innovation Labs or download this fact sheet for more details and contact information for each.
Feed the Future Innovation Lab Name
Lead Institution

Kansas State University

Oregon State University

University of California, Davis

The Pennsylvania State University

University of California, Davis

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate-Resilient Cowpea

University of California, Riverside

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate-Resilient Millet  

University of California, Davis

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate-Resilient Sorghum

University of Georgia

Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Climate-Resilient Wheat

Washington State University

Purdue University

Michigan State University

University of California, Davis

Michigan State University

University of California, Davis

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

University of Florida

Tufts University

University of Georgia

Kansas State University

University of Texas, El Paso

Texas A&M University

Kansas State University

University of Illinois

Kansas State University