Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Rural transformation, cereals and youth in Africa: What role for international agricultural research?

Published August 18, 2017
Rural transformation, cereals and youth in Africa: What role for international agricultural research?
10 pages

Young people are increasingly linked to targeted agriculture and food security interventions. In Africa, the argument is that the combination of agricultural value chains, technology and entrepreneurship will unlock a sweet spot for youth employment. This article examines this argument from a rural transformations perspective. 
Agricultural research organizations have been prompted to take steps to engage with youth. For instance, the CGIAR (, a global agricultural research partnership, includes reference to youth in its latest Strategic Research Framework (CGIAR Consortium Office, 2015), and in 2015, it required all proposals for the new round of CGIAR Research Programmes (CRPs) to articulate how they propose to engage youth.
A framework is proposed with which to analyse young people’s economic room to manoeuvre in different rural contexts and the differential abilities of young people to exploit associated opportunities. Using cereal agri-food systems as an example, the article identifies two new research areas that address important knowledge gaps: how young rural people in Africa engage with these systems and what pathways they use to become engaged. To address these questions, we propose an analytical framework built around key contextual factors that constrain or enable young people’s economic activity. By pursuing the proposed research agenda, international agricultural research could make important contributions to both agricultural policy debates and development-oriented interventions.

The existing policy narratives and programme approaches linking youth, agricultural development and food security are problematic
  1. First, they frame issues such as limited access to land and credit as youth-specific, ignoring the structural nature of these constraints; that is, in most situations, these issues affect other social groups as well as youth. They also conflate situations where young people may be systematically discriminated against in their access to productive resources, with circumstances in which young people, by virtue of being young, are more likely to have fewer assets, less status and less access to resources than older people. 
  2. Second, they assume that the opportunity to engage with value chains is open to all young people independent of the rural environment in which they live and their individual circumstances. 
  3. Third, they accept a broad conception of entrepreneurship, to the point where any income generating activity is seen as reflecting entrepreneurial behaviour. 
  4. Fourth, they rely on essentialist thinking, suggesting that all young people share particular characteristics, such as being ‘innovative’ of having a particular mindset. 
  5. Finally, they tend to conceive of young people as isolated economic agents, ignoring the fact that their economic activity is deeply embedded in and dependent on networks of family and social relations.

Internet of Things (IoT) for Agriculture Webinar Series

22 August 2017. Internet of Things (IoT) - networks of objects that communicate with other objects through Internet - holds potential to transform today's agriculture by enabling more precise resources management through low-cost sensors and generating large amount of data for effective decision-making. While the IoT for agriculture has so far been visible mostly in developed countries, it holds prospects of benefiting the farmers in developing regions due to the combination of three contributing factors:
  1. rapid decline in sensor costs, 
  2. increasing penetration of smart phones, 
  3. and expansion of global mobile broadband coverage. 
Once the appropriate enabling conditions are in place, IoT solutions can be realized through various technology applications such as satellite-based remote sensing, on-ground wireless sensors network, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) like drones.

Against this backdrop, the World Bank's Agriculture Global Practice, with financial support by the Korea-World Bank Partnership Facility (KWPF), and in collaboration with USAID and Feed the Future, the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative, organizes a webinar series on Internet of Things (IoT) for Agriculture to highlight the innovation, business models, and demonstration of results on the ground for applying IoT in Agriculture.

Each webinar is a live event, held every other Tuesday starting in June 20th, and lasts approximately 45 minutes (30 minute presentation, 15 minute Q&A session). All webinars are recorded and uploaded online.

8 August 2017. "ThirdEye: Flying Sensors to Support Farmers' Decision Making"

Watch the webinar recording here

The Third Eye project supports farmers in Mozambique with their decision making in farm and crop management by setting up a network of Flying Sensors operators. These operators are equipped with Flying Sensors and tools to analyse the obtained imagery. This project is unique as it is a first trial in a developing country to supply information on a regular base using Flying Sensors. At the end of the project (2017) it is foreseen that 8000 farmers will use our services, farmers’ yield will be increased by at least 10%, and farmers have improved their irrigation practices.
Published on 6 Jun 2017
Mapping smallholder farmers’ fields with a unique network of Flying Sensor operators in Mozambique. Part of the Securing Water for Food program, funded by USAID, Sida and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

22 August 2017Webinar HelloTractor

Rapid urbanization, aging farm populations, and depleting rural labor resources pose serious threats to our global food security. As rural labor resources come under continued pressure, tractors are the answer. When available, tractors can work 40x faster and be significantly less expensive than off-farm labor. Most farmers, however, can't afford to own their own tractors and most tractor service providers operate well below their potential. Hello Tractor has developed a solution to address these problems. The company has developed a low-cost monitoring device that when placed on a tractor provides the owner with powerful software and analytics tools to ensure tractors are both profitable and properly cared for. The software connects tractor owners to farmers in need of tractor services - just like Uber for tractors. Hello Tractor also works with financial institutions and technicians to ensure tractor owners have the financing and spare parts needed to grow and protect their fleet. All of this work is being done to ensure that smallholder farmers have the resources they need to adapt and thrive in a rapidly changing global agricultural market.

Upcoming Webinars:
September 5th
Eruvaka Technologies develops connected devices and mobile-based decision tools for affordable monitoring and automation of aquaculture farms. It has developed a solar-powered product that integrates sensors, mobile connectivity and decision-making tools to monitor aquatic farms. The product allows shrimp and fish farmers to monitor their ponds and remotely control automated equipment such as aerators and feeders.

September 19th
Stellapps leverages IoT, big data, cloud, mobility and data analytics to India's dairy sector by improving agri-supply chain parameters, including milk production, milk procurement, cold chain, animal insurance and farmer payments. The SmartMoo IoT router and in-premise IoT Controller acquire data via sensors that are embedded in Milking Systems, Animal Wearables, Milk Chilling Equipment & Milk Procurement Peripherals, and transmit the same to the SmartMoo Big Data Cloud Service Delivery Platform where the SmartMoo™ suite of applications analyze and crunch the received data before disseminating the Analytics & Data Science outcome to various stakeholders over low-end and smart mobile devices.

October 3rd
Flybird Farm Innovations is India-based social impact agriculture start-up focused on improvising the farmer livelihood, improving crop yield and production, saving water and electric power, and integrating affordable technologies for farmers through innovative solutions. Satish KS, Founder and CEO of Flybird, will introduce Flybird's work in precision farming using sensors and wireless/3G phone for smart irrigation and fertigation applications.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Private equity investors can help Africa to feed itself

16 August 2017. Funds that target agricultural small and medium enterprises can quickly lift processing and production numbers, as well as help develop them into major players in terms of food supply, job creation and poverty alleviation.

There are several opportunities for private equity investors, specifically in countries that are already experiencing fast growth in the agricultural sector, particularly Angola, Malawi and Nigeria. 
  • In Angola, there are enormous opportunities to invest in medium-to large-scale farms in maize, rice, beans, soya and assorted vegetables.
  • In Nigeria, private equity investors can support growing medium-and large-scale farmers in cassava production — money that will be invested in new processing facilities to produce industrial starch that will serve the market, reducing the reliance on imports.
  • Malawi’s poultry and animal feed enterprises, thriving fertiliser industry, production of animal health products, fishery industries combined with adequate food storage facilities make the country a suitable destination for investors. 
At the very heart of Africa’s agricultural challenge is technology, processing, production capacity, inadequate food storage facilities, logistics and efficient agriculture co-operatives. These challenges can only be overcome with robust and enabling policies that encourage the production of raw materials, as well as the efficient distribution of production. Many agricultural businesses in Africa could use help — no matter how large or small — to contribute towards meeting the demand.

Together, governments, investors and other stakeholders must pursue new and alternative sources to funding — such as sovereign wealth funds and domestic resources — and to creating incentives for the private sector to make investments.

Agribusiness training to boost fertiliser use in West Africa

8 August 2017. The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) has contracted the South African-based African Fertilizer Agribusiness Partnership (AFAP) to train agro-dealers in order to boost fertiliser access by smallholder farmers in Ghana and Cameroon, two of the top cocoa producing countries in the world.

Through its African Cocoa Initiative (ACI) and Cocoa Livelihoods Program (CLP), the World Cocoa Foundation’s 18 month project, “Improving fertilizer delivery to cocoa famers: from supply to last mile,” was set to ease current bottlenecks in the sourcing and distribution of, as well as access to, fertilisers.

The project also aimed to understand the dynamics of the fertiliser value chain from the supply side, assess the last mile fertiliser delivery, identify and train hub-agro dealers and identify and train retailers. It was expected that AFAP would be responsible for training 350 hub-agro dealers and retailers, and mentoring 120 retailers/last mile delivery stakeholders.
“The outcome of trained agro dealers will not only impact cocoa farmers, but also trigger a potential increase in income and job creation in the distribution of appropriate fertilisers and agro-chemicals,” Pierre Brunache Jr, chief agribusiness officer at AFAP.
By the end of the project, AFAP would have mapped over 4 000 sales points across the two countries, and given smallholders access to information on wholesale and retail stores by publishing an agro input dealer directory. The directory would be distributed to about 7 000 smallholders.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Atelier régional de renforcement de la collaboration et la concertation entre les organisations paysannes et la recherche agricole en Afrique centrale

26 au 28 juillet 2017 à Douala, Cameroun.. La PROPAC a organise un atelier régional. Cet atelier vise à renforcer la collaboration entre organisations paysannes et acteurs de la recherche à travers une réflexion concertée sur les défis et enjeux relatifs à la mise en œuvre du Programme de Productivité de l’Agriculture en Afrique Centrale (PPAAC) d’une part, et à redéfinir les missions stratégiques de la Plateforme de concertation OP-Recherche en tant qu’outil de dialogue, de plaidoyer et de mobilisation des ressources pour les cinq prochainesannées d’autre part. De manière spécifique, il s’agit de :
  • Evaluer l’état de mise en œuvre des recommandations adoptées à la rencontre de 2015 ainsi que la feuille de route de la task force;
  • Harmoniser la compréhension du processus PPAAC pour une vision concertée de sa mise en œuvre ;
  • Définir une stratégie commune de plaidoyer pour engager nos différents Etats dans ce programme ;
  • Elaborer un plan d’action quinquennal pour le cadre de concertation OP-Recherche.
L’Atelier de renforcement de la collaboration et de la concertation entre les OP et la recherche en Afrique Centrale va réunir une trentaine de participants provenant des dix (10)Etats del’AfriqueCentrale zoneCEEAC. l’accent sera mis sur la méthode participative qui fait appel aux expériences des participants. Une série d’outils sera utilisée pour assurer une interaction effective entre les acteurs : exposés, brainstorming, analyses, étude de cas, échanges d’expériences, croisement d’informations et travaux de groupe. 

Les résultats des travaux en groupes seront visualisés, présentés, débattus et harmonisés en séances plénières. Une feuille de route sera élaborée afin d’assurer la mise en œuvre et le suivi effectif et efficient des décisions prises par les acteurs au cours de l’atelier. A la fin de l’atelier, les recommandations seront résumées en séance plénière. Cliquez ici pour telecharger le document

Training of soy seeds producers in Benin

17-18 August 2017. Cotonou. Training of soy seeds producers in Benin through the ProSeSS project,funded by NWO/Wotro

Atelier de renforcement de capacités des producteurs de semences du soja: Une innovation du projet ProSeSS et de ses partenaires!

Donnez de la capacité aux producteurs des semences du soja dans une approche de co-création, c'est le rôle fondamental de l'ONG-Sojagnon du Benin et du Consortium Soja du Bénin à travers son projet ProSeSS sous financement du Royaume des Pays-Bas NWO/WOTRO-ARF

The soybean Consortium of Benin (CSB) is a multi-actor platform created in 2011 by a group of actors involved in promoting soybean sector with the technical and financial support from the Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD II) (www. 

PAEPARD supported CSB and its partners RUFORUM (www. and ICRA (http://www. by organizing a writing workshop in Entebbe/Uganda in order to respond to the call for proposals, Food& Business Applied Research Fund (ARF), of NWO/ WOTRO (The Netherlands) ( This writing workshop equipped CSB members with skills to write and submit the project entitled Matching grain quality attributes to the requirements of soybean processors in Benin (ProSeSS), which was selected by the selection committee because of its quality, but also the significant impact it will have on the actors of the soybean sector in Benin. 

ProSeSS aims to promote the production and use of seeds of good quality through the elaboration of a strategic plan for the soybean seed subsector and provide actors of the sector with a range of soybean varieties adapted to different end-products (cheese, afitin, milk, oil, cake, cookie, etc.). Added to ongoing projects such as Project Soybean, Afitin, Milk (ProSAM) of CRF/ PAEPARD, Soybean Seeds Project (ProSeSS) will contribute to the development of soybean value chains in Benin.

L’objectif principal de cet atelier de formation était de renforcer la capacité des producteurs de semences de soja sur les techniques de multiplication de semences certifiées de soja. Cette première formation fait partie d’une série de formation qui sera organisée dans le cadre du renforcement de capacités des semenciers et de la mise en place de modèle de production et de distribution viable des semences de soja au Bénin. De façon spécifique, il s’agissait de :

  • Identifier les producteurs de semences de soja dans les localités indiquées ; 
  • Recenser les contraintes qui entravent la production de semences de soja de bonne qualité ; 
  • Recenser les pratiques endogènes pour lever ces contraintes ; 
  • Présenter et discuter le modèle de production et de distribution élaboré lors de l’étude diagnostique ; 
  • Identifier les besoins en formation et en informations des producteurs semences ; 
  • Elaborer de façon participative avec les semenciers un plan de formation ; 
  • Former les producteurs sur les techniques de production et de multiplicateurs de semences de soja. 

From 18':45 onward (in English!) of below soundcloud recording you will hear an overview of the partners and objectives of ProSeSS (selecting high yielding varieties of soy seeds for producers) and the creation of a model between the community seeds systems (dominated by NGOs) and the formal market seeds system:  the producer as entrepreneur that can set up a seed production unit and produce ans distribute soy seeds in a sustainable way. 

@26:30' Patrice Sewade closes the training at the experimental site (in French) and reviews the involved partners in the ProSeSS project (Dutch ARF/WOTRO funding).

Promoting Investment in Kenya Agribusiness

Establishment and management of a grant scheme for improved value chain integration of smallholder farmers/pastoralists by providing incentives to investments in the agribusiness sector in Kenya

The EC calls for proposals to identify an institution that will manage a fund to integrate smallholder farmers and pastoralists within their value chains by blending grants and commercial loans to promote agribusiness in Kenya. Eligibility for funding extends to NGOs, public sector operators, local authorities, and international (inter-governmental) organisations based in the EU and ACP countries (including Kenya).
  • Reference EuropeAid/154913/DD/ACT/KE. 
  • Published :14/07/2017
  • The deadline for concept notes is 05 September 2017
The European Commission and the Government of Kenya will sign a Financing Agreement called AGRIFI Kenya: Support to productive, adapted and market integrated smallholder agriculture, including a contribution to the Africa Investment Facility (hereafter AGRIFI Kenya). 
  • This programme responds to the 11th EDF National Indicative Programme Focal Sector 1: Food Security and Resilience to climate shocks in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands. The said programme contributes to Result 2 for this focal sector, namely for Productive climate resilient agriculture and community investments to safeguard productivity against climatic shocks supported. 
  • It builds on the ongoing 10th EDF Kenya Rural Development Programme and the Standards and Market Access Programme which have shown that limited access to finance, training and market integration of the smallholder farmers are the main obstacles to move out of subsistence farming. 
The rationale of AgriFI Kenya is based on the need to ensure sustainable food security and growth of agriculture, livestock and fisheries sector with more intensive farming systems as indicated in the Kenyan Agriculture Sector Development Strategy 2010 – 2020 (ASDS), the Medium Term Plan 2 and the Medium Term Economic Framework for Agriculture to 2017. 
Smallholders can greatly benefit from stronger integration in their value chain, by partnering with agribusinesses who can facilitate input and output market access: however, for the partnership to be fruitful for all parties, smallholders need to be offered fair deals, and understand their rights and duties. On the other side, many contract farming schemes fail because of the inability/unwillingness of smallholder farmers to stick to contractual terms, particularly through side selling and failure to comply with quality and food safety requirements.
  • Actions under this Call for Proposals will be part of Result 1 of AgriFI Kenya: Capacity of smallholder farmers/pastoralists to practice environmentally sustainable and climate smart agriculture as a business in market-integrated value chain on functional and equitable terms. This component includes also the complementary EIB Kenya Agriculture Value Chain Facility to Financial Institutions in Kenya, which will be funded through the Africa Investment Facility and implemented by the European Investment Bank (EIB)5 . 
  • Results 2, 3, 4, 5 of AgriFI Kenya will target, respectively: strengthening of value chain based ATVET institutions, capacity building of private sector actors on sanitary and phytosanitary

Latest podcasts from IFPRI´s Nourishing Millions

Podcast Episode 10: “Does Money Really Talk?” with Akhter Ahmed
August 16, 2017
Dr. Akhter Ahmed, Senior Research Fellow in the Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division of IFPRI, discusses the importance of social protection programs, which often provide cash or food assistance for one-third of Bangladesh’s population living below the poverty line, and their ability to decrease the prevalence of stunting and underweight among children. Dr. Ahmed and his colleagues created a program called the Transfer Modality Research Initiative (TMRI) to test the efficacy of different combinations of transfers. He discusses the surprising results, which shed light on which combination of transfers produces the best results for child nutrition, and how these findings can be used to inform new policies.

Podcast Episode 9: “Where Things Won’t Grow” with Corey Ellis
August 9, 2017
What are some of the most unique solutions to food insecurity problems around the world? How about a system that allows individuals to grow plants without any soil? We talk to Corey Ellis, co-founder and CEO of The Growcer, a hydroponics company that seeks to mitigate food insecurity in Canada’s remote north. Hydroponics is the process of growing plants in various mediums such as water or sand, with added nutrients, but no soil, proving that food production is not just one dimensional.

Podcast Episode 8: “Supersizing Big Agriculture” with Danielle Nierenberg
August 2, 2017
Co-founder of Food Tank, Danielle Nierenberg, sheds light on her work in building a global community of aware, safe, healthy, and nourished producers and eaters, and communicating their stories. Ms. Nierenberg shares the lessons she learned about sustainable agriculture and food systems when she traveled around the world talking to farmers, researchers, policymakers, and government leaders. She also reflects on who big agriculture actually is, and highlights various grassroots efforts around the world to ensure local crop diversity and nutrition for poor communities. Join us as we find out more about the three sustainabilities advocated for by Food Tank, and what we can do as individuals to help build sustainable food systems whilst ensuring the livelihoods of farming communities, big and small.

Podcast Episode 7: “On to the Road to 1 Billion” with Howdy Bouis
July 26, 2017
Howarth ‘Howdy’ Bouis, recent World Food Prize Laureate, gives us a glimpse of the impressive successes--and some challenges too-- associated with biofortification, the process of breeding high yield staple crops with specific vitamins and minerals to address micronutrient deficiencies. Dr. Bouis reflects on the past, present, and future of biofortification, and how scientists are working to overcome known obstacles, like people’s attachment to foods they are already familiar with, and still-unknown ones, like climate change. He details the long-term vision of HarvestPlus, which is using investment, innovation, and plain old information to get biofortified crops into 30 countries and feed 1 billion people by the year 2030.

Podcast Episode 6: “Rise of the Dragon” with Shenggen Fan
July 19, 2017
Shenggen Fan, IFPRI’s director general, about all things China. Dr. Fan details China’s stunning economic growth during the past few decades, which has managed to not only pull half of the country’s undernourished citizens out of poverty and hunger, but also helped the world achieve MDG#1, to reduce world poverty by half from 1990 to 2015. At the same time, these massive economic changes, along with rapid urbanization, have also highlighted the emergence and power of the triple burden of malnutrition. Join us as we talk with Dr. Fan about the changing faces of hunger across the country and what China can do to ensure a nutritious, healthy, and sustainable food future for all of its citizens in the next millennium.
Podcast Episode 5: “A Million House Calls” with Regine Kopplow and Meghan Anson
July 12, 2017
Regine Kopplow and Meghan Anson of Concern Worldwide, who tell the story of how Malawi responded to crisis-levels of malnutrition among young children in 2002 by piloting a new approach: Community-Based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM). Instead of treating malnourished children within traditional hospital settings, CMAM empowered local communities and health volunteers to proactively treat- and prevent- the most severe forms of malnutrition. In Malawi, this innovative approach was able to increase the percentage of children reached and treated from 10 percent to 70 percent. Ms. Kopplow and Ms. Anson discuss the current challenges and successes associated with CMAM, which has now been endorsed by partners such as WHO, UNSCN and UNICEF and rolled out to more than 60 countries around the world.

Podcast Episode 4: “Can Nutrition Beat the Heat?” with Sam Myers
July 5, 2017
Dr. Sam Myers, Senior Research Scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health and Director of the Planetary Health Alliance, an initiative exploring how changes in Earth’s natural systems impact human health. Dr. Myers discusses his groundbreaking research examining how rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may reduce important nutrients in staple crops, such as corn, wheat, and soy, and how this and other climate-related changes, such as earlier growing seasons, may impact human nutrition. Tune in to learn more about the broader social justice implications of these changes and what individuals and communities can do to mitigate the looming effects of climate change on human nutrition.

Podcast Episode 3: “The Private Sector Puzzle” with Lawrence Haddad
June 28, 2017 
Lawrence Haddad, the executive director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), discusses the role of public-private partnerships in ending malnutrition. Dr. Haddad emphasizes the unique position of businesses, who can help ensure the sustainability and scalability of an intervention, to help address global hunger and malnutrition. At the same time, he addresses the elephant in the room, mainly transparency and accountability. What is GAIN’s strategy for companies that “do good” and companies that “do bad” in the area of nutrition? How does it undertake due diligence to ensure that its partnering businesses are invested and committed to improving nutrition? How does GAIN build trust within communities? Tune in to hear these insights and more on the largely-untapped role of the private sector in improving nutrition around the world.

Podcast Episode 2: “From the Farm to the Schoolhouse” with Catherine Bertini
June 21, 2017 
Catherine Bertini, professor at the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and 2003 World Food Prize Laureate, about the many challenges that face women living in low- and middle-income countries today. Professor Bertini details the role of women as the cooks and caregivers of the household, and laborers within agriculture, dual roles that make them critical to ending hunger and malnutrition. She proposes that girls’ and women’s education is the foremost step to creating not only opportunities for women, but also increasing the agricultural productivity and economic opportunities within their countries. The episode relates some innovative solutions to ensuring that families keep their daughters in school, and Professor Bertini’s vision of a world in which all women can lead fulfilling lives.

Podcast Episode 1: Grasshopper a la Mode: Nourishing Millions Podcast Series Launches
June 15, 2017
In this first episode, IFPRI interviewed Dr. Jacob Anankware, an entomologist from Ghana. Entomology is the scientific study of insects, and entomophagy is the practice of eating them. According to Dr. Anankware, insects have the potential to solve malnutrition, especially in developing countries. They are extremely abundant, highly nutritious, and environmentally sustainable, and may prove to be a formidable opponent to conventional meat.

Good Practices in Extension Research and Evaluation

Agricultural Extension in South Asia Network (AESA)
278 pages

This manual was developed as a hands-on reference tool to help young researchers, research students, and field extension workers in choosing the right research methods for conducting quality research and evaluation in extension.

Extension research is a unique social science inquiry where research ideas are gathered from the field problems and put through a systematic cycle of objective investigations that result in significant solutions. Apart from developing theories and models that advance scientific knowledge, extension research should also provide new insights for improving extension policy and practice.

A Workshop was organised on ‘Good Practices in Extension Research and Evaluation’ at the ICARNational Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM), during 29 November-2 December 2016, for young extension researchers and PhD students in extension and this Manual is the outcome of this workshop. 

Re-orienting extension research is urgent, and calls for a coordinated approach by integrating state-of-the-art methods from other sciences in order to improve the utility and visibility of the extension research outcomes. Adopting several good practices, such as the following, can enhance the quality of extension research: 
  • Creative generation of relevant research ideas using an intuitive/common sense approach; • Selection of a rigorous and robust research design; 
  • Choice of right variables following alternate criterion-referenced validity assessment procedures; • Selection of appropriate sample sizes to maximise generalisability; 
  • Estimation of reliability and validity through robust modelling procedures, such as Structural Equation Modelling; 
  • Deployment of resource and time saving but accurate tools, such as shortened paper surveys and e-surveys; 
  • Compensation of respondents so as to maximise the accuracy of responses; 
  • Data cleaning by employing missing value estimation and assumption testing tools, and multivariate data modelling  

Economic Transformation and Jobs Creation: A Focus on Agriculture

2-4 August 2017. Gabarone, Botwana. How to make farming attractive to young people is fast becoming a major talking point in development circles.

In a context where farming populations are ageing and young people, especially young graduates, seem repelled by the drudgery and low technology associated with African farming, there is a sense that work must be done to make farming appear cool.

World Bank Group executive director, Mr Andrew Bvumbe (left)
addressing the media after the African Caucus meeting
of Governor of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund
 in Gaborone on August 4.
It was agreed to commit on enhancing the volume of
investments and efficiency
of the expenditure in support of
 transforming agriculture and agro-processing.
This point was made by African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) President, Dr. K.Y. Amoako, when he previewed an ACET flagship report on agriculture at the African Caucus meeting in Gaborone, Botswana in the presence of African governors of the World Bank and IMF.

Extracts of the programme

Session 1: Agricultural Policy Foundations: Financing, Land Tenure and Markets
Session 2: Technologies for Agricultural Development and Climate Smart Agriculture: Role of Private Sector
Session 3: Fiscal Policy to Support Agriculture Transformation in Africa
Session 4: Agricultural Value Chains and Sustainable Jobs Creation for Youth and Women
4.1. Agri-Value Chains and Sustainable Jobs for Youth and Women; 
4.2. Investments in Inputs Supply, Agro-Processing and PostHarvest Management; and 
4.3. The Coffee Value Chain
Session 5: Financial Deepening and Inclusion to Support Agriculture Development

The report, titled “Agriculture Powering Africa’s Economic Transformation,” looksat how to make farming attractive to young people. It is to be launched soon.

“Making Farming Cool” is also the name of a communications project on which ACET is collaborating with the Washington-based think-tank, Initiative for Global Development.
"Making farming cool is not just about slogans and exhortations. Demonstration projects are necessary to provide models and show the possibilities from farming.”,ACET’s Chief Economist, Yaw Ansu,
Dr. Ansu, the principal author of the report, was speaking during a panel discussion on agricultural value chains. The panel was made up of high-level agricultural experts including :
  • the Minister of Finance of Burkina Faso, Rosine Coulibaly
  • the new President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, Gilbert Houngbo 
  • and the Africa Director of the International Food Policy Research Institute, Dr. Ousmane Badiane.
Extracts of the report:
  • The agenda to attract educated young people into farming has to focus on the challenges that discourage them from farming,
  • These challenges are the same as those of farming generally, including access to land, inputs, finance and markets, but the barriers are even higher for youth, who lack the necessary resources and social connections.
  • “Making farming cool” is often understood to revolve around the use of ICTs, especially mobile phone applications, to bring African agriculture into the 21st century, for example by giving farmers (and hopefully young graduate farmers) access to critical information on climate conditions, markets and pricing. It is thought that presenting farming in this way can entice young graduates to see farming as a business and help reverse the exodus of young people from the agricultural sector.
Resources of the African Caucus meeting in Gaborone

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Announcement: 3 upcoming conferences on aflatoxin

11-14 September 2017. Ghent, Belgium. MycoKey2017. Global Mycotoxin Reduction in the Food and Feed Chain.

The congress is open for all contributions related to the following general topics in mycotoxin research:
  • Global impact of mycotoxins
  • Biodiversity and toxigenic fungi monitoring
  • Mycotoxin analytical challenges
  • Prevention
  • Animal health and toxicology
  • Impact of climate change
  • Challenges for developing countries
  • Remediation and intervention
  • Human health and toxicology
  • Modelling and ICT solutions
  • KEYNOTE: The socio-economic impact of mycotoxin contamination in Africa P. Njobeh (University of Johannesburg, South-Africa) 
  • Multi-mycotoxin contamination in fermented locust beans (Parkia Biglobosa) and the perception of mycotoxin contamination in Nigerian and South African markets I. Adekoya (University of Johannesburg, South-Africa) 
  • Risk assessment of mycotoxins associated with consumption of stored maize grains by infants and children in Nigeria A. Olusegun (DBS, Nigeria) 
  • Awareness and perception about the occurrence, causes and consequences of aflatoxin contamination in Burundi and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo N. Wiredu (IITA, Mozambique) 
  • Current trends in sample size in mycotoxin analysis in grains: are we measuring accurately? L. Matumba (Luanar, Malawi)
9 October 2017. Nairobi, Kenya. The AflaNet project is organising a one day conference: Networking on aflatoxin reduction in the food value chain

The aim of the conference is to bring together scientists, stakeholders, institutes, farmers and governmental institutions seeking for long-lasting, innovative and practicable ideas to combat Aflatoxin from the food value chain. The programme is based on the selection of some 58 abstract submissions (the deadline was 03/07/2017).

The project funded by the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture in 2016 is designed as an initial study that is planned to be followed by a more intensive, overall collaborative project with African partners. The goal of the AflaNet project is to establish a long-term network between scientific and development partners in Kenya/East Africa and Germany to address the reduction of aflatoxins in the food value chain. Scientific results have been gathered by conducting a carry-over study of aflatoxin into milk, about verifying aflatoxin rapid tests and molecular methods to minimise contamination.

Registration needs to be send to email:

24 - 27 June 2018. Mombassa, Kenya. 2nd AFRICAN SYMPOSIUM on MYCOTOXICOLOGY “Mitigating mycotoxin contamination in the African food and feed chain ” 

Following a successful 1st ASM held in 2015 in Zambia, a second symposium will be held under the auspices of the International Society on Mycotoxicology (ISM).
  • Occurrence and importance of mycotoxins in African crops 
  • Mycotoxin testing methods for Africa 
  • Continental and international collaboration on mycotoxin research 
  • Mycotoxin management in an African context 
  • Monitoring and evaluation of technology uptake in Africa
To support farmers in East Africa, West Africa and Latin America, the video on managing aflatoxins in groundnuts has been translated in 10 local languages, specifically in Aymara, Bambara, Bemba, Chichewa, Gourmantche, Hausa, Mooré, Peulh Fulfuldé, Quechua and Zarma languages. This will not be possible without McKnight Foundation who funded the video and its translations.

These videos are freely downloadable, also in 3gp format for mobile phone viewing. Kindly share them with as many people as possible, using the Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, LinkedIn and email options provided at the left side of the video screen on the website.
There is, from now on, a page on the website which shows all the latest uploads each month. You can find the page under ‘forum’, but the direct link is: Recent uploads.
Managing aflatoxins in groundnuts during drying and storage
Let us learn how to dry and store groundnuts to have clean, healthy groundnuts, free of aflatoxins.

Anyone interested in having this video translated into other local languages, please contact

FANRPAN High Level Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy Dialogue

15 -17 August 2017. Durban, South Africa. FANRPAN in partnership with the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), the FANRPAN Node Hosting Institution in South Africa hosted the 2017 FANRPAN High-level Food and Nutrition Security Regional Policy Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue under the theme “Resilient African Agriculture and Food Systems: Securing Prosperity and Health for all".

The specific objectives of this regional policy dialogue were:
  1. Evaluate emerging developments that pose significant threats to food and nutrition security; 
  2. Assess experiences and draw lessons for using programs, policies, institutions, and investments to build resilience of agriculture and food systems; 
  3. Determine key approaches and tools for building resilience of agriculture and food systems at varying levels; 
  4. Identify knowledge and action gaps in research, policy, and programming; 
  5. FANRPAN Awarded NASFAM CEO Dyborn Chibonga
    for recognition of services rendered to the Regional Network
  6. Set priorities for action by different actors at regional and nation levels.
The Regional Policy Dialogue participants included representatives from: 17 FANRPAN Country Node Coordinators; Relevant governments ministries and departments, civil society member/non-government organization; farmers organizations; intergovernmental organization (including UN entities); research/extension/education organization; financing institution; private sector; youth organisations.

Download Concept Note (english)
  Download Concept Note (french version)

15th of Aug. 2017.  PAEPARD was allocated Session 1: Transformative Change Through Partnerships for Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D)

Facilitator: Ms Sharon Alfred
Rapporteur: Lesotho, Malawi and Zambia FANRPAN Nodes

Benin soybeans;
Uganda veg &
Burkina Faso trichodema consortium,
Malawi-Zambia GnvC consortium
  • Dr Remi Kahane, CIRAD (French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development): Topic: Demand driven and user-led research partnerships: PAEPARD context and lessons from mid-term review
  • Ms Elizabeth Mnyandu, Department of Biotechnology and Food Technology at Durban University of Technology: Topic: The role of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in AR4D within the PAEPARD
  • Dr Aldo Stroebel, National Research Foundation (NRF): Topic: Best practice in building local and international links and collaborations for multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary AR4D.
Reflections: Ms Beatrice Makwenda, National Smallholder Farmers' Association of Malawi (NASFAM)

Session 2: Integrating Postharvest Management in Development Plans
  • Dr Limbikani Mutuma, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) Topic:Approaches for stemming aflatoxin contamination in the groundnut value chain: Experiences from Malawi and Zambia.
  • Reflections: Ms Wezi Chunga- Simbo, Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA -AUC)

The big goodbye to former CEO of FANRPAN
dr Lindiwe Sibanda.
24th of August 2017 at 4:00 - 5:00 pm SAST (GMT+2). The Food Agriculture Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) will host a WEBINAR to share the baseline findings of its flagship project, ATONU.

The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and partners are implementing the Agriculture to Nutrition (ATONU: Improving Nutrition Outcomes through Optimized Agricultural Investments Project (ATONU) that will answer the question of what agriculture projects and programs can do to deliver positive nutrition outcomes. The ATONU project aims to gather evidence on how agriculture can enhance the health and nutrition status of women and children under the age of 5. In Tanzania and Ethiopia, ATONU identified the African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) project that is being implemented by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) as one of the pilots on which it embedded and now is assessing the impact of selected nutrition-sensitive interventions (NSIs).

FANRPAN would like to share and discuss the baseline findings of the project in the two countries in a webinar. The webex event requires registration. Below are there registration details:
To register for the online event
1. Go to
2. Click "Register".
3. On the registration form, enter your information and then click "Submit".

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Food and agriculture: Driving action across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

FAO, 40 pages

Our planet faces multiple and complex challenges in the 21st century. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits the international community to act together to overcome them and transform our world for present and future generations. Focusing on food and agriculture, investing in rural people and transforming the rural sector - actions associated with the holistic vision of SDG2 - can speed progress towards all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

This publication presents FAO’s work to support countries reach SDG targets, highlighting the crucial interlinkages between food, livelihoods and management of natural resources. Featuring examples of country projects across the globe, it describes how FAO’s long experience in shaping projects and policies founded on sustainability, expertise in monitoring and custodianship of SDG indicators, focus on tackling the root causes of poverty and hunger, and capacity to build partnerships with development actors can aid governments construct the necessary enabling environment to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

Guidelines on Innovation Platforms in R4D

Guidelines for Innovation Platforms in Agricultural Research for Development. Decision support for research, development and funding agencies on how to design, budget and implement impactful Innovation Platforms.
Schut, M., Andersson, J.A., Dror, I., Kamanda, J., Sartas, M., Mur, R., Kassam, S., Brouwer, H., Stoian, D., Devaux, A., Velasco, C., Gramzow, A., Dubois, T., Flor, R.J., Gummert, M., Buizer, D., McDougall, C., Davis, K., Homann-Kee Tui, S., Lundy, M., 2017. International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and Wageningen University (WUR) under the CGIAR Research Program on Roots Tubers and Bananas (RTB), Kigali, Rwanda.
46 pages

The guidelines support funders and project developers in thinking about when and in what form innovation platforms can contribute effectively to achieving research and development objectives.

It provides information on key design and implementation principles, the financial and human resources that need to be made available, and makes suggestions for more effective monitoring, evaluation and learning.

The guidelines also contain reference materials, Frequently Asked Questions and a decision support tool for research, development and funding agencies.
“We need to think more critically about when, how and in what form innovation platforms can meaningfully contribute to agricultural development impacts. Some time ago, I noticed that I was becoming increasingly annoyed with the innovation platform approach being opted as a silver bullet solution in agricultural research for development programs – especially for the sole purpose of disseminating (technological) agricultural innovations,” Dr Marc Schut, the lead author of a new booklet
This publication was developed with support from the CGIAR Research Program on Roots, Tubers, and Bananas (RTB).

Webinar 23/08 Changing sorghum breeding in Mali through gender insights
This webinar will discuss the gender-related findings of the sorghum breeding program at ICRISAT, which ensured that end-users’ preferences and needs are addressed through specific activities at multiple stages designed to include women and men. The session will feature presentations from two experts involved in the program (below) and a moderated discussion with the audience.

Entrepreneurs sociaux : développer une agriculture biologique au Burkina Faso

10 August 2017. En Afrique de l’Ouest, l’utilisation de pesticides et fertilisants chimiques est très répandue chez les producteurs agricoles. Avec l’arrivée de ces produits chimiques venus d’occident après la période coloniale, les agriculteurs ont délaissé la pratique traditionnelle de l’agriculture biologique. Beaucoup ont été attirés par les faibles coûts des engrais et l’obtention de meilleurs rendements à très court terme. Leur utilisation est devenue la norme, détériorant les sols et la santé des hommes.

L’entreprise BioProtect œuvre depuis plusieurs années à la démocratisation de la production de légumes biologiques au Burkina Faso. Elle s’est attaquée à la racine du problème : les mentalités des communautés de petits producteurs. Aujourd’hui, plus de 2000 d’entre eux ont adhéré à l’utilisation de fertilisants biologiques. Pour toucher davantage de personnes, des visites de fermes sont organisées gratuitement afin de faire découvrir la pratique du maraîchage biologique.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Choosing low cost and effective irrigation delivery systems

Choosing low cost and effective irrigation delivery systems and irrigation application technologies are the ways to improve agricultural productivity and farm incomes.

The purpose of this project (August, 2016 to July, 2020) of the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture is to expand low cost and water efficient irrigation technologies and addressing related constraints and limitations for large scale adoption by smallholder farmers in the Sub-Saharan Africa covering mainly four countries; Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and Senegal. The partners of the project are ICBA, NARIs, Universities, Farmer Associations, Media agencies, Private Sector

Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and Senegal.  have the largest potential for small scale irrigation investments. The major objective of this project is to scale up appropriate and tested small-scale irrigation technologies and introduce on-farm water management practices to smallholder farmers in SSA to increase agricultural productivity and food security. The project also focuses on employing solar systems as a sustainable source of energy for operating irrigation pumps. 

ICBA is an international, non-profit agricultural research center established in 1999 through the visionary leadership of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development (AFESD), and the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Gender Responsive Cereal Grains Breeding in Uganda

GREAT support course
From left, Maria Nassuna-Musoke, Peace Musiimenta and
Margaret Mangheni, all from Makerere University, look at
wheat growing in the Ithaca Community Gardens
with Devon Jenkins, GREAT project support
specialist in IP-CALS, during a recent visit to Cornell.

7-16 August 2017.  In the joint Cornell and Makerere University project Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT), researchers learn how to identify the needs of women and men when setting priorities, implementing projects, and measuring and communicating project outcomes. They also broaden their understanding of the integral role of gender in their work as scientists and agricultural development professionals.

This is the second of five trainings on the theory and practice of gender-responsive agricultural research offered over the course of the five-year project, which started in 2016. The first course, Gender-Responsive Root, Tuber and Banana Breeding, concluded in February 2017.

Participating research teams in the grains course come from Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Zambia and Madagascar.

The teams will focus on pressing challenges in Africa, including:
  • cereal grains production within the Internally Displaced Persons Camp in Maiduguri, Nigeria
  • building cereal grain resiliency in changing climates in Niger and Tanzania
  • and sustaining maize, cowpea, rice and sorghum productivity in Ghana, Zambia, Tanzania and Madagascar. 
  • They address grain-breeding issues ranging from improving productivity and preserving genetic diversity to protecting against plant disease.
  • Subsequent trainings will be offered in small ruminant breeding, and dairy and legume value chains. 
All projects incorporate a gender lens to better address the role women play in these crop production systems. 
  • They receive support from an e-learning module of resources on the GREAT course website
  • A second week of training on data analysis, interpretation and advocacy is scheduled for Jan. 15-19, 2018, at Makerere. 
  • For sustainability, GREAT will create a center of excellence for gender-responsive agricultural training at Makerere, and the GREAT curriculum will be integrated into short courses and agriculture degree programs there.
GREAT is funded by a $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Among other partners, GREAT collaborates with African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) and the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA).

Pan-African food and non-food biomass expert network unveiled

12 July 2017. Bonn, Germany. The “first” pan-African expert network on food and non-food biomass has been launched by African and German researchers. There were about 80 participants from Europe and Africa.

BiomassNet aims to ensure that food security and environmental sustainability are not compromised in the development of new biomass uses. The scheme’s developers claim this will help to strengthen the emerging African bioeconomies.

The scheme was launched by Germany’s Center for Development Research ( ZEF) and the Ghana-based Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). The project was also developed within the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funded project BiomassWeb.

Under the umbrella of the BiomassWeb project, German and African scientists have addressed the question of how biomass can be used more effectively and efficiently in Africa.
BiomassWeb coordinator Raymond Jatta introduced FARA’s new data infrastructure DataInformS and explained how BiomassNet will be integrated in FARA's outreach platforms
BiomassWeb coordinator Raymond Jatta introduced
FARA’s new data infrastructure DataInformS and
explained how BiomassNet will be integrated in
FARA's outreach platforms
“Africa, especially south of the Sahara, needs biomass both as a source of food and as a source of energy and industrial raw materials. In view of the scarcity of agricultural land, this is hardly possible at the same time. “In order to provide solutions to this problem, we need an improved exchange of knowledge and experience, as well as discussions with local partners. Scientists, politicians, businesses and civil society must work together.” Manfred Denich, director of the BiomassWeb project at the Center for Development Research at the University of Bonn (ZEF).
Dr. Christine Schmitt, who leads the BiomassNet
project at ZEF, introducing the features of the
online platform
Researchers in the BiomassWeb project are developing methods to improve food production and minimise post-harvest losses, such as spoilage. They also explore ways in which innovative processing techniques that can increase the income of small-scale farmers which makes them less prone to crises. Therefore, inedible manioc peels can serve as a substrate for mushroom cultivation which achieve good prices on local markets. The same applies to the further processing of plantains to flour, and maize residue to bio-oil or syngas, according to the developers of the scheme.

Keynote speech by Prof. von Braun (Chair of the German Bioeconomy Council): “Toward a sustainable Bioeconomy in Africa”

4-6 July 2017. Berlin. The Ethical Fashion Show Berlin presented progressive streetwear and casual wear labels during the Berlin Fashion Week.

Bamboo Belgium, presented and is producing socially responsible and sustainable bamboo home- and nightwear, yoga wear and basics.

IoT can play a vital role in the future of Africa’s agricultural sector

2 August 2017. The report titled African IoT 2017 and sponsored by Liquid Telecom stated that IoT can be used to help deliver clean water to thousands of people, or it can be used to better protect endangered species. It can also be used to make roads and streets safer for citizens, or it can be used to better inform farmers and increase crop production.

The report stated that wireless sensors can track crop growth, soil moisture and water tank levels. The potential for these and more advanced solutions to revolutionise the farming sector is immense – namely because the valuable data sets they produce can help farmers make more informed farming decisions.

It cited Zimbabwean startup Hurukuro, which is working on projects that deploy IoT in various parts of the agricultural value chain, from livestock tracking and logistics, through to cutting edge solutions such as agricultural drones.

Hurukuro has built a B2B2C cloud-powered mobile platform focused on enhancing farmer productivity and creating agro-industry linkages. The platform includes production content for various crops, as well as a specially designed wallet to facilitate mobile payments.
  • Read page 6 of the Liquid Telecom report on IoT in Africa!
  • Watch the Climate change video by Empowerment works featuring Hurukuro!

Climate Funds announced for Africa

3 August 2017. During the month of July, major multilateral meetings drew attention to the need for adequate and predictable climate finance for developing countries, with only the US abstaining from the calls. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board met amidst calls from civil society to broaden the scope of qualifying adaptation activities. Two new climate financing platforms were launched for Africa, in support of climate-resilient urban development, and investments in emission reduction measures and climate resilience.
  1. A €4 million grant from the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) will support the establishment of the ‘Urban & Municipal Development Fund for Africa’ of the African Development Bank (AfDB), which will target urban growth management and climate-resilient development in African cities and municipalities through improving governance and the quality of basic services, including infrastructure. 
  2. Also, participants at an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) roundtable on catalyzing investments, held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, agreed to establish, at the November 2017 UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, a sub-regional platform for climate action. The platform will catalyze investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, other emission reduction measures and climate resilience. [NDF Press Release] [UNFCCC Press Release
The Adaptation Fund launched calls for its 2017 Readiness Grants, including in the areas of South-South Cooperation, project formulation and assessing and the management of environmental and social risks and gender-related issues. [Adaptation Fund Calls]