Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The State of Food and Agriculture Report 2017

FAO 201710 October 2017. The 2017 edition of the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) report. Leveraging food systems for inclusive rural transformation has been released.

The new report looks at how population growth, increasing urbanization, technologies, and climate change are transforming rural and urban areas, and how the world’s food systems are evolving.

The report shows that fulfilling the 2030 Agenda depends crucially on progress in rural areas where most of the poor and hungry live today; a strategy for how agriculture and rural economies in the developing world can provide prosperity is also outlined.

Note that the report is available in different formats, and in all UN languages, and are downloadable

Make food value chains more environmentally sustainable and resilient in Sub-Saharan Africa

Options and opportunities to make food value chains more environmentally sustainable and resilient in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Knaepen, H. Rampa, F., Torres, C., Bizzotto Molina, P. 2017.
New York: UNDP.

Agricultural food value chains (VCs) are gaining importance as part of broader efforts to achieve food security and improve nutrition, as well as transforming African agriculture and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With an increased focus on inputs, markets, financing, agribusiness, and agro-industry, the prospects of commercialization for smallholder farmers will likely expand and involve all major food staples. While much has been done to understand and document good practices that generate global environmental benefits in production landscapes, such knowledge is limited or lacking for food VCs in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

This study provides an overview of the key continental, regional and national frameworks and policies to promote sustainable and resilient food VCs in SSA, as well as examining their effectiveness. It identifies good practices required for the transition towards sustainable and resilient food VCs in SSA, based on the assessment of negative environmental impacts and externalities, with a focus on six VCs: livestock (meat and dairy), rice, cassava, maize, pulses and mango VCs in several dryland countries, including Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, Swaziland, Tanzania and Uganda. Furthermore, the study identifies incentives and enforcement mechanisms for various stakeholders to make food VCs environmentally sustainable and resilient in SSA, with a special focus on supporting smallholder farmers and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Drawing on all these lessons learned, it concludes with a ‘Four-Pillar Framework for Action’ towards holistic and systemic change.

The study was conceptualised, technically implemented and commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), Regional Service Centre for Africa (RSCA), Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development Cluster (IGSD) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

Challenges for Europe to shift to a sustainable food system

16 October 2017. The EEA report 'Food in a green light,' analyses the challenges Europe faces in shifting to a sustainable food system and looks at current opportunities for change. The European Union must transform its food system to achieve the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal of ensuring sustainable food production systems by 2030 and the European Union's long term sustainability goal of 'living well, within the limits of the planet' by 2050.

The report, released on World Food Day, is a first EEA assessment of what a greening of Europe's food system might involve. It looks at the current state of play of Europe's food system against the goals of food and nutrition security, ecosystem health, and social and economic well-being.

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS)

9-13 October 2017. Rome. The Committee on World Food Security (CFS). The week-long, 44th Session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) - Making a Difference in Food Security and Nutrition - endorsed new recommendations on the role of sustainable forestry in achieving food security and nutrition for all.

The recommendations centred on the need for an integrated policy approach to forestry, agriculture, water and food security and nutrition by reinforcing cross-sectoral coordination.
Patrick Caron, HLPE Chair
Tenure of land and other resources were also highlighted as key in the recommended approach, with the Committee acknowledging the greater role that the CFS Voluntary Guidelines on Tenure could play.

CFS also discussed urbanization and rural development, and offered a platform for stakeholders to work together and steer away from approaching urbanization and rural development as separate sectors as has been the case in the recent past. This is especially pertinent in a context of an increasingly urbanized world and changing food systems. The number of people living in cities is to rise from 50 percent to 66 percent by 2050.

Over the next two years, the Committee will explore the impact of urbanization on people with lower income and on furthering youth's and women's engagement and employment in food systems, including linking producers to markets.

Extracts from the side events
Over 50 side events enabled participants to explore topics ranging from rural youth employment and entrepreneurship for food and nutrition security, school meals and social protection initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa to climate smart agriculture, and agribusiness mega-mergers' threat to world food security.

Rural Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship for Food and Nutrition Security. From the G20-Summit to the EU-Africa Summit
Organisers: EU Commission - DEVCO + German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) - Germany
Attractive employment opportunities for young people are often limited in rural areas. The event considered the momentum for rural youth employment related to the G20 Summit (July 2017 in Hamburg) and EU-Africa Summit (November 2017 in Abijan). The theme of employment creation in food systems will run throughout the event.

Unravelling the Food-Health Nexus. Addressing practices, political economy and power relations to build healthier food systems
Organisers: International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), Global Alliance for the Future of Food (GA)
This side event explored challenges and identified leverage points for building the knowledge base, the science-policy interface and the food systems governance that is needed to guide the transition towards healthy and sustainable food systems. The key findings of IPES-Food’s report on ‘Unravelling the Food-Health Nexus’, commissioned by the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, were be shared at the side event.

Multi-stakeholder action to promote food diversity from farm to plate
Organisers: International Institute for Environment & Development, Hivos, UN Environment and Zambian Embassy in Rome
The event presented a report that outlines challenges and solutions to diversifying production and consumption internationally. In addition to the international and academic view provided, through a short film the event highlighted the absence of agricultural and dietary diversity from a local community perspective in Zambia. The panel discussed the research and video presented and explored how multi-stakeholder platforms that promote a variety of voices can deliver collective solutions for national change. Diets all over the world are becoming more homogenous and this event discussed how international, national and local actors can reflect on dietary diversity together to ensure appropriate voice is given to a variety of stakeholders all committed to transforming food systems.

Forests, trees and agroforestry for food security and nutrition and the SDGs: research and partners, towards a joint action agenda.
Organisers: CGIAR program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry (FTA), FAO, The Netherlands, Tropenbos Intl. and SIANI
The side event discussed expectations of stakeholders, from generating technical, policy and governance solutions, to scaling-up according to contexts. This will help defining priorities of research for development and of national and international partners, in support of stakeholders needs to implement the CFS action agenda.

Applying the VGGT in agribusiness investment projects: learning from LEGEND and other responsible investment pilots
Organisers: LEGEND - DFID Land Governance Support Programme 
Presenters shared and reflected on the implications of early findings and emerging lessons from pilot initiatives for responsible land investment, from a DFID challenge fund and other initiatives, including projects in Belize, Ghana, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Zambia plus two multi-country projects in the sugar sector.

Mainstreaming Agrobiodiversity in Sustainable Food Systems: Scientific foundations for an Agrobiodiversity IndexOrganisers: Bioversity International, EC DEVCO, Italy, Syngenta, UN Standing Committee on Nutrition
An Agrobiodiversity Index, developed by Bioversity International with partners, based on the scientific evidence outlined in this book, will help policymakers and the private sector assess dimensions of agrobiodiversity to guide investments for sustainable food systems.

The potential of migration for Food Security and Nutrition
Organisers: Permanent Representation of Italy to the RBAs. FAO. ECDPM. Action Aid Italy
The side event promoted dialogue on ways to advance sustainable food systems with strong rural-urban linkages and well managed human mobility, as a lever for future growth, prosperity and food security to mitigate migration challenges and maximize its benefits.

Climate Smart Agriculture - Building Resilience to Climate Change
Organisers: Climate-Smart Agriculture, FAO 
A new book publication, entitled ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture – Building Resilience to Climate change’, which is co-published by the Springer and FAO, was launched at the event. 
  • The book expand and formalize the conceptual foundations of CSA drawing upon theory and concepts from agricultural development, institutional and resource economics. 
  • The book is also devoted to a set of country level case studies illustrating the economic basis of CSA in terms of reducing vulnerability, increasing adaptive capacity and ex-post risk coping. 
  • It also addresses policy issues related to climate change focusing on the implications of the empirical findings for devising effective strategies and policies to support resilience and the implications for agriculture and climate change policy at national, regional and international levels. 
  • The publication provides development agencies and practitioners, policymakers, civil society, research and academia as well as private sector with tested good practices and innovative approaches of promoting CSA system at country level.
Strengthening Smallholder Seed Enterprises for Food, Nutrition and Income Security
Organisers: Gorta-Self Help Africa. Irish Aid. Bioversity International. FAO
Promoting the growth and development of smallholder seed enterprises in Africa: what are the key factors.

Agribusiness Mega-Mergers’ Threat to World Food Security
Organisers: Civil Society Mechanism for relations with CFS
The impact of the mega-mergers on developing countries – and smallholder producers – are not likely to be considered in either the home countries or major markets of the companies involved. The only opportunity that most countries and farmers will have to examine and express their views of the mergers and the potential threat to food security is through the Committee on World Food Security.

The Youth Ag- Summit

8-12 October. Brussels. The Youth Ag- Summit. During the Summit, delegates shared their diverse experiences and work together to generate innovative, sustainable and actionable solutions to global food security challenges.

Across five days, they undertook group projects and participate in industry tours, as well as learning from expert guest speakers. Their mission was to come up with concrete new ideas which can drive agricultural progress across the globe and be put into practice back home.

Delegates included 100 young leaders from 49 countries, aged 18-25 who are personally, professionally and academically interested in agriculture, international development, environmental stewardship, food security, biotechnology and farming. They have a social conscience and care about the welfare of others locally and around the globe, as well as the motivation to discuss and develop solutions to one of the greatest challenges of our time: how do we feed a hungry planet?

The Youth Ag-Summit is an initiative of Bayer’ Crop Science division in conjunction with local two Belgian agricultural youth organizations, namely Groene Kring (GK) and Fédération des Jeunes
Agriculteurs (FJA). 

Social Media Channels: 
hashtag #youthagsummit and #agvocate. 

Youth Ag-Summit Backgrounder » PDF 239 KB
Youth Ag-Summit Brochure » PDF 1.9 MB
Youth Ag-Summit Q&A » PDF 430 KB
Agricultural Education Backgrounder » PDF 124 KB
Agricultural Education Brochure » PDF 1.5 MB
Groene Kring Backgrounder » PDF 197 KB
Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs Backgrounder » PDF 204 KB
Flyer Consumers » PDF 942 KB

Profiles of some African participants:

Matthew Danjuma Oguche (23) is from Nigeria. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from Landmark University, and a postgraduate diploma in Public Administration and Policy from the University of Maiduguri. Since graduating, he has worked as an agricultural science teacher, volunteered with the UK Government’s International Citizen Service programme in southern Nigeria, and set up his own social enterprise called Sesame Africa.

Risper Wanja Njagi is a law student from Kenya


Tinka George William is a medical student who will be representing Uganda at the Youth Ag-Summit 2017 in Brussels.

Global Diaspora Week 2017

9 October 2017. European Parliament, Brussels, Brussels, Belgium. The Global Diaspora Week (GDW) was a week dedicated to diaspora communities and their contributions to global development.

GDW created awareness, enable collaboration and enhance learning among those working with diaspora communities in different locations around the world.

This year edition organized in partnership with African Perspective Magazine (TAP), Global Africa and Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform (ADEPT) was graced by eminent personalities and officials from different African and European institutions and African embassies accredited to the European Union. See also twitter: #GDW2017.

Among the personalities were:
  • H.E Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta, Patron of Global Africa, 
  • Dr. Denis Mukwege, Laureate of the Sakharov Prize and Founder of Panzi Hospital, 
  • H.E Louis Michel, Minister of State, Member of the European Parliament, Co-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, 
  • H.E Amadou Diop, Ambassador of Senegal to Belgium and the EU and Chairman of the ACP Committee of Ambassadors , 
  • H.E. Mr Lembit Uibo, Ambassador, Estonian Permanent Representative to the PSC; Ambassador to Belgium, 
  • Madam Cécile Kyenge Kashetu, Member of the European Parliament and 
  • Mr. Luc Tanoh, COO of the Akon Lighting Africa.
Created by Aliou Badara Thiam (AKON), Thione Niang and Samba Bathily, Diaspora members from Senegal and Mali, Akon Lighting Africa aims at widening the access to electricity in Africa by using by solar energy. With a starting budget of $ 1 billion, Akon Lighting Africa is already present in 15 countries and 480 localities. The project tackles a key challenge at the root of the underdevelopment in Africa. almost 600 million inhabitants live without electricity, particularly in rural areas.

The Opening Ceremony was preceded by a workshop under the Topic of “Innovation & Entrepreneurship: the Role of Diaspora in transforming Africa.”

During the debate Panellists exchanged about different challenges and opportunities for innovative projects from diaspora that can take for meaningful impact in shaping the future of Africa. The panel showcased the work of different institutions and organization including ADNE, UNIDO, ADEPT, Netherlands-African Business Council, European Commission... and highlighted successful diaspora projects such as Akon Lighting Africa and Ewala.

H.E Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta, Patron of Global Africa contributrd in a video message to the Official Opening of the Global Diaspora Week 2017


AksantiMed, a collaboration between the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), the University of Liège, the University of Kinshasa and SOS Médecins de Nuit, has engaged in a battle against counterfeit medicines. Yearly almost 120 000 Africans die because of the use of counterfeit medicines. AksantiMed is a mobile application that allows patients to check the pharmaceutical product. 

Patients can verify the unique 12-digit code printed on the medication via text message or through the AksantiMed application. When validating the code, the patient also immediately receives the information linked to the product (type, commercial name, expiration date, product recall or health warnings). Both patients, pharmacists and telecom providers are enthused with the first test results of AksantiMed.
Le Dr Hélène Mavar, maître d'enseignement à la Faculté de Pharmacie de l'ULB a reçu, avec l'équipe AksantiMed, un projet qui vise à lutter contre la contrefaçon de médicaments, le prix "Digital for Development" (D4D) dans la catégorie iStartUp. Ce prix récompense des projets qui utilisent la digitalisation comme levier pour le développement.
Le projet AksantiMed consiste, en l'authentification des médicaments par l'envoi d'un code à 12 chiffres, via un gsm, un SmartPhone, une tablette ou un ordinateur et la réception d'une réponse contenant entre autres le nom du médicament concerné. Ce projet intervient dans le cadre de la lutte contre les faux médicaments. 
Ce prix organisé par le Secretariat général à la Coopération au développement et le Musée de Tervuren a été remis au Palais des Colonies le 30 novembre 2016 par le Secrétaire d'État Alexander De Croo.

Saturday 21 October 2017  at 02:00 pm
Damstraat 10, Elsene Brussel- Wijkhuis Malibran Malibran, Ixelles, Belgium

The Food Bridge vzw organises the 4th edition of Africana Flavours, with the theme 'African street food'. African streets are lively, colourful, diverse and boisterous and street food is a very important part of the African cuisine.

This wonderful event celebrating Africa's food culture, will have much more to offer, as we showcase Africa's great culinary heritage. Many Africans now call Europe home and have brought along their cuisine to further enrich the foodscape in Belgium. Many in the African Diaspora are also working hard to contribute to the development of their communities in Europe and Africa. Despite their positive impacts many still struggle to find funds for their projects.

Thus this year, The Food Bridge vzw is giving stands to African organizations to enable them raise funds for their projects. 

  • Visitors to this years event will have information about all the organizations, what they do and the food they will sell. So people can buy food at affordable prices, from the stands of the organizations to support their projects 
  • This event will use food as a tool for not just promoting more cultural awareness, which can help break down some of the barriers between Africans and other communities in Belgium , but also as a means of supporting worthy causes. 
  • The Food Bridge vzw invites the world to come have an authentic taste of Africa. African cuisine draws from old traditions and centuries old influences from Arab traders, European colonizers and Asians migrants. This has led to the emergence of a colourful and delicious cuisine.Visitors will sample the diverse tastes of Africa – spicy, savoury or sweet. 
  • Entrance is 2.50 euros for adults, 1 euro for children

Monday, October 16, 2017

Capitalization of PAEPARD activities

2-6 October 2017. Cotonou, Benin.  PAEPARD Capitalization Workshop with partners. The
workshop was key to the overall evaluation of PAEPARD II, as it encouraged participants to analyse and reflect on their experiences of the AfricanEuropean MSP for ARD processes facilitated by PAEPARD over the last 7 years.

During discussions, the partners reflected on the way forward for PAEPARD activities and the
sustainability of its achievements, with recommendations for a potential ‘new era’ and promoting the MSP structure at both policy and ground levels. The main objective of the workshop was to draw specific lessons (both successes and failures) from the ULP, CRF-IF and consortia, which are outlined below.

Regional ULP:
  • The extensive livestock value chain consortium in Kenya and Uganda, led by EAFF, promotes innovative aflatoxin control strategies to make grain and animal feed safer; 
  • The urban horticulture value chain consortium in Central Africa (Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville and the Democratic Republic of Congo) led by PROPAC; 
  • The rice value chain consortium in Benin, Burkina 
Faso and Mali led by ROPPA; The value addition for mango waste consortium in West Africa (Burkina-Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal) led by COLEACP; The stemming aflatoxin contamination in the groundnut value chain (GnVC) consortium in Southern Africa (Malawi, South Africa and Zambia) led by FANRPAN.

Competitive Research Funding: 
  • The Trichoderma sp. biofertilizer consortium in Burkina Faso, involving private sector companies BIOPROTECT and BIOPHYTECH, as well as the NGO Association pour la Recherche et la Formation en Agroécologie (ARFA); 
  • The soybean consortium in Benin, led by the NGO SOJAGNON which has been supporting the processing of soybean-derived products such as milk and Dadonu (a local taste enhancer); 
  • The African indigenous fruit and vegetables (AIFV) consortium in Uganda, which focuses on innovative processes for extending the shelf life of AIFV without degrading their nutritive qualities; 
  • The GnVC consortium also received CRF for a project in Malawi-Zambia led by the National Association of Smallholder Farmers (NASFAM). 
  • The hot pepper consortium in Togo, which supports the exchange of improved seed varieties of hot pepper from Brazil; 
  • The citrus consortium in Ghana, which aims to overcome the fungal Angular Leaf Spot disease and improve postharvest management of citrus fruit; 
  • The poultry feed consortium in Nigeria, addresses the issue of high cost, poor quality poultry feeds in Nigeria with alternative feed ingredients;
  • The potato seed consortium in Burundi, which aims to strengthen the informal potato seed system to improve seed quality. 

The policy paper (12 pages) Capitalizing on PAEPARD experience of multi-stakeholder partnerships in agricultural research for development, aims to synthesize the lessons learned from these consortia, as well as PAEPARD working packages (partnerships, communication and advocacy, capacities, and management and coordination), and provide evidence that the MSP approach is appropriate to address ARD challenges in Africa by mobilizing and sharing knowledge, expertise, technologies and financial resources.

The (internal) meeting report provides recommendations for a future program based on the lessons and experiences of the partnerships.

Lessons learned
  • Through the use of ARD frameworks and brokerage and facilitation processes, PAEPARD II has achieved its goal to create African-European MSP for mutual learning and knowledge sharing. 
  • Benefits of the MSP approach within ARD can be seen at all consortia levels, particularly in relation to capacity building and the ability to respond to endusers’ demands. 
  • The MSP have captured a wealth of research knowledge, and in a new phase of PAEPARD, there is potential to harness the network of consortia to share experiences and increase collaboration between them to extend the reach of ARD innovations and technologies. 
  • PAEPARD unique ULP mechanism has shifted the agricultural innovation approach from linear and ‘top down’, to a broad and inclusive framework, where end-users have a central position in the design of the research agenda. The dialogue built between researchers and other actors using the ULP is a legacy that will endure. 
Participants at the Capitalization Workshop agreed that:
  • PAEPARD has played an active role in brokering ULP partnerships, but in future, more emphasis needs to be placed on mobilizing European partners. Looking forward, particular attention should also be paid to the training of internal facilitators to support MSP in the ULP steps, and to integrate capacity building within consortia. 
  • The CRF-IF mechanism has been positively received by partners and has unlocked the potential of some consortia to generate impactful results, such as improving the socio-economic conditions of the end-users involved. 
  • PAEPARD has carried out extensive facilitation to bring partners together based upon shared objectives, but has experienced both successes and failures in securing European partners. 
  • The CRF and IF mechanism should be carried through to a next phase, but strengthened and adapted to factor in the costs associated with acquiring a European partner in order for projects to take their activities to an international scale and increase project longevity. 
  • In the absence of PAEPARD, the ARD arena would be missing a coordinated approach to African-European partnership brokerage, which is so valuable for the capacity strengthening of agricultural value chain actors, and the growth of promising agricultural innovation projects.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Poultry Africa 2017

3-4 October 2017. Global actors in poultry industry are meeting in Kigali to discuss on the industry development on the African continent. Themed "Poultry Africa 2017," the 2-day event has brought together over 1000 key players in poultry industry mainly from Europe, North -America, Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, to discuss the development of the poultry industry in Africa.

'Poultry Africa 2017' comprises of leadership conference focusing on animal health issues and trade opportunities for Africa; Expo showcasing 70 international companies throughout the poultry production supply chain; and technical seminars offering solutions to everyday challenges on the poultry farmers.

In Africa, due to a fast growing middle class, a rapid urbanization is driving change. The
consumption patterns are changing from a vegetable-, to a protein-rich diet. This large-scaled shift urgently requires developments in professional farming and availability of up to date technologies and innovations.

Extract of the programme:
  • Specific challenges for broiler breeders under tropical conditions, Prof Onagbesan Okanlawon, Nigeria
  • Chick quality as a result of the incubation process and interfering variables, Prof KokouTona,
  • Adoption of Value chain approach in poultry industry in Africa, marketing opportunities with the neighbouring countries, T. Kaudia, Kenya
  • Analysis of value chain of poultry products in Africa, Prof A. Missohou, Senegal
  • Time for Africa. Capturing the African investment opportunities from an international perspective, Nan-Dirk Mulder, Rabobank
  • Potential of trade in between Africa and China, Ma Chuang, China
  • Regionalization of the poultry value chain in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, Adriaan Vernooij, Wageningen University & Mackanzie Makasi, Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC), FBKP
  • The ups and downs of growing Soya in Rwanda, Jean Paul Ndagijimana, Country director, Clinton Foundation
  • Regionalization of the poultry value chain in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, Mr. MUSABYIMANA Jean Baptiste, Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD)
  • Poultry in Africa: Management in start-up mode for an expected profitability, Jean Baptiste Musabyimana, Abusol Ltd
  • African key factor succes in poultry breeding to make the farms sustainable with quality products for their markets
See also technical seminars day 
  • Mycotoxins: issues and solutions for African Poultry production Radek Nigrin, Regional Director Africa & Middle East, EW Nutrition GmbH
  • The influence of mycotoxins on animal production and how to anticipate Stefan Van Meirhaeghe, Technical Sales Manager Impextraco

New skills to enhance agricultural innovation

17-22 September 2017Laos. Participants from eight countries in Africa, Asia and Central America, along with many global partners, held a reflection week to build new skills to enhance agricultural innovation. 

The first ‘pre’ meeting was of the Agrinatura Taskforce, to unravel logistical issues surrounding the management of this very complex project with so many different components. The 3rd CDAIS Global Consultation on the next two days was held at the National Agricultural and Forestry Research Institute (NAFRI), lead partners
for activities in Laos, to evaluate developments over the past year. This was followed by the Partner Meeting of the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) to discuss progress made on applying the common framework and new action plan for 2018-2021. CDAIS project team members played an active role, presenting country case studies, and there was much lively debate. 

After this, the 5th TAP General Assembly agreed on the next steps for finalizing their new action plan and selected a new Steering Committee with Judith Francis from CTA/EFARD as Chair. The
week ended with visits to two of the ‘innovation niche partnerships’ the CDAIS project is working with in Laos, with lots of opportunities for interaction between participants and members of farmer groups producing organic vegetables and beef cattle.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Supermarkets are creating an obesity crisis in African countries

4 October 2017. Middle-class no longer eating what they grow, contributing to rising numbers of overweight people and creating a ‘double burden of malnutrition’, say researchers.

Changing dietary habits are creating an obesity crisis in African countries as middle-class people buy their food from supermarkets rather than eating food they grow, a group of international food security experts has warned.

A report by the Malabo Montpellier Panel, a group of agriculture and food experts, claims obesity is becoming a significant challenge for governments, agencies and the private sector in African countries, many of which are already dealing with malnutrition and stunting. Diabetes is also on the rise, said the panel.

A major study by Imperial College London, published in June, found the average body mass index in all African countries increased from an average of 21 in 1980 to 23 in 2014 among men. The figure for women over the same period rose from 21.9 to 24.9. A BMI of 25 or above is considered overweight.

The study also noted an increase in the prevalence of diabetes in Africa over the same timeframe, from an average of 3.4% to 8.5% among men, and 4.1% to 8.9% among women.

Von Braun said a key factor was the “supermarketisation” of African countries, as their middle-classes grow. Recent supermarket studies in Kenya have shown that middle-class shoppers tend to buy processed foods, high in sugars and fats, rather than fresh food.

A recent article in the New York Times points toward the exportation of obesity into developing countries by big food businesses 

InfoPoint Lunchtime conference: Where are the farmers, when investing for the SDGs?

5 October 2017. Where are the farmers, when investing for the SDGs?
Farmers’ organisations are essential actors with major impact on achieving global SDG goals. The Farmers Fighting Poverty programme of AgriCord alliance works annually with over 200 smallholder farmers’ organisations in over 60 countries. The programme strengthens farmers’ organisations’ capacity to provide technical and economical services for their farmer members, improve access to land, credits and markets and represent members’ interests in policy making. AgriCord brings experiences from these partnerships into the debate on investing in agriculture.

  • Lode Delbare, General Director, Trias, Vice President of AgriCord
  • Anthony Chamanga, Chief Manager, TAHA Tanzanian Horticultural Association
  • Andreas Quiring, Managing Director, Andreas Hermes Akademie, Member of the Board of Directors of AgriCord

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

InfoPoint Lunchtime conference: Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme.

4 October 2017InfoPoint Lunchtime conference: Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme.

The presentation provided an overview of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a funding mechanism that supports underfunded country-led efforts to end hunger and poverty, and has provided over $1.2 billion in grant funding to public sector investments, $250 million in innovative financing for complementary private sector investments, and $13 million to pilot projects reaching smallholder farmers more directly.

  • Nichola Dyer: Program Manager, Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP)

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Importance of Functional Capacity Strengthening in Agribusiness Partnerships

2SCALE Thematic Papers. Not By Technology and Money Alone, The Importance of Functional Capacity Strengthening in Agribusiness Partnerships - Insights from the 2SCALE project.
Published on 10 August 2017 in “Science”, language — English. 39 pages.

2SCALE is implemented by a consortium of partners comprised of IFDC, ICRA, and BOPinc. For more information, visit

This collection of case studies (PDF) by ICRA and gives insight into the 2SCALE project, through 15 stories in four countries (Benin, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria). The main themes that emerge are: 
  • how building relationships and strengthening functional capacities (or soft skills) are necessary pre-requisites to technical improvements; 
  • the importance of organisations becoming more empowered; how to sustain support services beyond the project life; 
  • and a focus on gender and youth issues. 
One case focuses on Nigerian cereal farmers’ organisations. Getting better organized and linking up with aggregators from Nestlé, the farmers now get a better deal in supplying sorghum for the company’s products. Soft skills coaching also helped women farmers to add their voice to ongoing negotiations.

Another story relates how strengthening business linkages at the cluster level constitutes an alternative to “hard” guarantees for young female vegetable growers to get credit. Strengthening organisational skills and business relationships led to farmers being able to repay their loans on time. This in turn built the confidence of the credit service to further expand their credit scheme, giving farmers more options. 

From these stories, it can be concluded that in addition to access to better technologies and money smallholder farmers and related business actors need a deeper understanding of how value chains and markets work, as well as strong networks and business relationships. For this, they need to develop functional capacities that give them the needed skills, confidence, mind-set and attitude to achieve lasting improvements.

Upcoming events agriculture in Africa

2-4 October. Cape Town / (TBC) and Pretoria. The Research Fairness Initiative (RFI)
2-5 October. Cotonou, Benin. PAEPARD capitalization workshop
4-5 October. Kigali, Rwanda. Poultry Africa 2017
4 October. Brussels. InfoPoint Lunchtime conference: Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme.
5 October. Brussels. InfoPoint Lunchtime conference: Where are the farmers, when investing for the SDGs?
5 October – 7 October. Dar es Salaam. 7th African Grain Trade Summit (AGTS)
9 October. Nairobi. Postponed Aflanet one day workshop
9 October. Brussels. Global Diaspora Week 2017
8-12 October. Brussels. The Youth Ag- Summit
9-13 October. Rome. The Committee on World Food Security (CFS)
9-11 October. Maputo, Mozambique. The East and Southern Africa Fertilizer Agribusiness Conference
10 – 11 October. Brussels. Senior Official Meeting of the EU AU R and I partnership (HLPD); a meeting of the FNSSA Roadmap
11-12 October. Lisbon. Agri-Innovation summit Lisbon 2017
16 October. Brussels. Harnessing Research and Innovation for FOOD 2030
17 October. Brussels. Humanitarian Crises: roles, responsibilities and risks for Europe. from 12:30 to 14:30 at the Representation of the State of Hessen to the EU Rue Montoyer 21
17 October. Brussels. Infopoint Lunchtime Conference: Putting the spotlight on small-scale women farmer from 12:30 to 14:00 @ External Cooperation InfoPoint, Rue de la Loi 43-45, 1049 Brussels16-18 October. Nairobi, Kenya. Symposium on Climate Change and Droughts Resilience in Africa
16-19 October. Accra, Ghana. Communication for Development Training. FAO) with the technical collaboration of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
17-18 October. Brussels. EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation
19 October. Brussels. Stakeholder event in the context of the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue on Science, Technology and Innovation17-20 October. Addis Ababa. Global Green Growth Week 2017
18-20 October. Des Moines. The World Food prize, 2017 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium
19-20 October. Leuven, Belgium ICA Rectors and Deans Forum23 - 25 October. Brussels, Belgium. International Conference 'Sustainable Energy for Africa'
30-31 October.  FAO/WHO Regional Symposium on Sustainable Food Systems for Healthy Diets and Improved Nutrition
23 October – 3 November. Johannesburg. Local economic development: towards agribusiness cluster dev
6 November Brussels. 11th session of the Microfinance Lunch Break. How smallholder farmers feed the world: microfinance for small holders
7 November. Utrecht. Incubating Agribusiness in Africa. 2SCALE will share five years of experience in agribusiness
8-9 November. Cali, Columbia. CIAT 50th Anniversary Celebration
8-10 November. Dakar, Senegal. AAIN Agribusiness Incubation Conference
9-10  November 2017. Denver, USA. Energy Africa Conference
13 November. Paris. Research for nutrition Conference. Action contre la Faim.
13 - 24 November. Ibadan, Nigeria. ICRA course: Building agribusiness relations for sustainable profit – Learning key skills for inclusive business brokerage
13-24 November. Wageningen. International course “Making Agriculture Work for Food and Nutrition Security”
14-17 November. Brussels. Info Week on Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge 2 (SC2)‘Food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, marine and maritime and inland water research and the bioeconomy’. Co-organised by the Research Executive Agency (REA), the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) and the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) of the European Commission.
14-17 November. Addis Ababa. Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA-2017)
15-17 November. Johannesburg. 13th African Dairy Conference
15-17 November. Brussels. Organic innovation days
18 November. Brussels. Information Day for National Contact Points H2020
20 - 22 November 2017. Cape Town. African Agri Investment Indaba
20 - 22 November 2017. Cotonou, Benin. Afri-Veg Forum 2017
20-24 November. Dakar. Pastoralism in the current global changes: stakes, challenges and prospects
22-24 November 2017. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. AU Conference Centre. Regional Meeting on Agricultural Biotechnologies in Sustainable Food Systems and Nutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa
28 – 30 November. Johannesburg. 4th Global Science Conference On Climate Smart Agriculture
28-29 November. Abidjan. Summit of Head of States from EU and Africa
29-30 November. Kampala. Agribusiness Congress East Africa
3-6 December. Cape Town, South Africa. 3rd International Conference on Global Food Security
4-5 December, Madrid, Spain. International Summit on Organic Farming 2017
4-5 December. Milano, Italy. 8th International Forum on Food and Nutrition
8-11 December (TBC). Cape Town, South Africa. 3rd International Conference on Global Food Security
11-12 December (TBC) Brussels, Annual Meeting European Forum for Agricultural Research (EFARD)
19-20 December. Bonn. Global Landscapes Forum
15-18 January 2018. Nairobi. GIZ. Innovators conference
15-19 January 2018. African Crop Science Society meeting
February 2018. Sharm el-Sheikh. First International Conference of the Egyptian Society of Food Safety 
April 2018. Hohenheim, Germany. Agrinatura General Assembly.
31 May -1 June 2018. Pretoria. IAALD – AFRICA CONFERENCE
7-11 October 2018 in Berlin. IWCSPP 2018 - 12th International Working Conference for Stored Product Protection. 
September 2018. Gent, Belgium. Tropen Tags

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Analytical Review of African Agribusiness Competitiveness

19 September 2017. Washington, D.C. Strategic investments can help unlock potential for agribusiness growth in African nations with low agribusiness competitiveness, food security and agricultural productivity, according to recent analysis on African agribusiness competitiveness by Dr. Suresh Babu, head, capacity strengthening, at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

“African countries have a very high potential to transform their agricultural sector by increasing the
competitiveness of their agribusiness,” said Babu, lead author of the study. “Competitiveness in agribusiness has a feedback effect that helps in sustaining food security and increasing agricultural productivity.”

High competitiveness can bring cost-effective goods to consumers while opening new pathways for value chain addition for farmers. “Agribusiness competitiveness hasn’t received adequate attention so far because countries have been struggling to improve agricultural productivity. But if you take your product outside Africa, you achieve both geographic and business competitiveness,” Babu added.

To enhance agribusiness competitiveness, countries should identify successful models of public-private partnerships (PPP) and business to business (B2B) alliances to raise value chain competitiveness and scale, in addition to encouraging entrepreneurship, access to capital and building stronger market linkages.

Rwanda and Kenya rank “high” on the agribusiness competitiveness and agricultural productivity scales, but “low” on food security, highlighting how policies in these countries have failed to utilize gains from trade to deliver food security to their populations. “Despite tremendous progress improving food security in Rwanda and Kenya, both countries need stronger policy interventions to improve the allocation of resources and improve general welfare,” said Babu.

Seven countries – Guinea, Niger, Burkina Faso, Burundi, DRC, Nigeria, Togo -- rank “low” on food security and agribusiness competitiveness, while South Africa ranks “high” on both parameters.

Countries such as Botswana, Tunisia, Ghana, Uganda and Algeria, which rank “medium” on food security and agribusiness competitiveness, hold immense potential to improve their competitiveness.

Read the full report here:

Knowledge Management in Food, Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture

26-27 September 2017. Lleida, Spain. Knowledge Management and Communication in Food Security and Agriculture discussed in Spain at the occasion of the Plant Inter Cluster meeting. Organised by Caast-net plus.

Representatives from research centres, farmer organisations, agricultural companies, universities, start ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) attended the fourth CAAST-Net Plus workshop on the Knowledge Management and Communication and Communication System (KMCS) Initiative.

The workshop brought together key stakeholders who are key in establishing a KMCS, The workshop is part of a series of consultations on the KMCS Initiative. It further aimed to:
  • Highlight cases of existing portals and actors in Africa and Europe in the field of FNSSA (Food, Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture);
  • Identify the methodological/technical needs for a joint Africa-EU KMCS;
  • Identify communication gaps between existing portals and amongst actors of the FNSSA value chains;
  • Identify best practice methods and principals for knowledge sharing and communication strategies for
  • research uptake; and,
  • Explore tangible long-term options for the implementation of a joint Africa-EU KMCS.
Previous consultations took place in South Africa, Namibia and Egypt between 2016 and 2017. Findings from the consultations will be encapsulated into a blueprint which will be presented in October 2017 to African and European policymakers, including the Bureau of the EU-Africa High Level Policy Dialogue, the European Commission and the African Union Commission.
Keynote presentation: 
Dr Joan Girona, Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA, Spain), "Food Security, Self-Sufficiency and Sustainable Agriculture in a Changing World"

28-29 September 2017Plant Inter Cluster meeting. The PIC Meeting is the most important event in the plant production industry organized annually in Europe. This event aimed to foster knowledge in the plant field, creating a common strategy to ease the international development of clusters and its members.

The Networking event targeted a wide spectrum of companies, clusters, universities, research centers and end users, from Europe and South America related to plant production.

ITU and FAO team up to promote ICT-driven innovation in agriculture

21 September 2017. New York. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the United Nations Food and Agriuclture Organization (FAO) signed a memorandum of understanding to promote ICT-driven innovation in agriculture. The two institutions will in this framework team up to facilitate the development of measures and regulations related to e-agriculture. The final objective of the partnership is to boost national and regional competitiveness of all countries, the poorest especially.
“ICT have a tremendous potential to support rural development, improve rural households’ resiliency, improve farmers’ access to markets and other services, make women and youth more autonomous. They will help insure that rural populations are not left out”. Director General of FAO, José Graziani da Silva
Truly, with ICT tools, mobile phones included, rural populations can abandon archaic farming methods which they inherited from their customs and traditions, and improve their production and subsequently their revenues. They will be able to identify the best agricultural inputs and sales outlets, access weather data to determine the best periods to plant and harvest, use the best agricultural practices to improve yields, etc.

According to FAO, improving agricultural output with ICT falls in line with the sustainable development goals of its 2030 agenda, to end poverty and hunger, among others.

Workshop 9-11 October 2017, Rhenen, Netherlands. Perspectives for ICT and Agribusiness in ACP countries: Start-up financing, 3D printing and blockchain. The workshop is organised by the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, as part of its ICT for agriculture (ICT4Ag) and youth in agriculture activities. The objective of the workshop is thus to examine strategies to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the blockchain and 3D Printing technologies in the agricultural sector, and for financing e-agriculture start-ups in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. The specific objectives are to:
  • Identify key issues and avenues relating to improving access to capital and profitability for ICT4Ag businesses owned by young entrepreneurs;
  • Develop a better understanding of the relevance and perspectives of 3D Printing and blockchain technologies for the ACP agricultural sector;
  • Develop recommendations which will favour the design of strategic actions to address issues discussed.
Download the concept note of the workshop