Monday, 29 October 2007

Presentation of the FARA Board members attending the 7 th FARA Board meeting

Jones, Dr. Monty
Executive Director
Accra, Ghana

Kyetere, Dr. Denis, FARA Chair
Director General, NARO
Entebbe, Uganda

FARA Vice Chair
Director General, CNRA
Abidjan Côte d'Ivoire

Mbog, Ms. Sylvie Christel
Presidente du Conseil d'Administration, ODECO (Organisme de Developpement d'Etudes de Formation et de Conseils)
Yaounde, Cameroon

Gibriel, Prof. Adnan
Head of Department of Agric. Development
General Secretariat of Agricultural, Animal and Marine Wealth
Tripoli, Libya
Muchoki, Ms. Lucy
Executive Director
African Natural Products
Nairobi, Kenya

Director General
Institut National de la Recherche Agricole de Tunisie (INRAT)
Ariana, Tunis

Porquet, Dr. Desire
Vice President
Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

Executive Secretary
Dakar, Senegal
Nyirenda, Ms. Margaret,
Director, SADC/FANR
Gaborone, Botswana

Executive Secretary
Entebbe, Uganda
Director General
Cotonou, Benin

Nielson, Dr. David,
Senior Economist,
World Bank

Mwangi, Ms. Josephine
Principal Agricultural Economist
African Development Bank

Observer who could not attend the 7th FARA Board meeting:

Haile-Gabriel, Abebe, Director, AU/SAFGRAD

Second Executive Board meeting

The FARA Secretariat is hosting the second Executive Board meeting for 2007 from 28th to 30th October 2007 at the FARA Conference Hall.

Reading Day: 28th October 2007 for all the Board members.
Sub-Committee Meetings – 29th October 2007.
Board Meeting – 30th October 2007.

Ralph Von Kaufmann does a presentation of the SCARDA programme during the discussions of the Programme Sub-committee.

Victor Keraro is making a presentation at the Finance and Audit sub-committee meeting assited by Mark Etsibah, Ama Amoah, Johnson Ukpong and Loy Nankya.

Friday, 26 October 2007

CGIAR Annual Report 2006 Focus on Partnerships for Effective Research

This report celebrates the partnerships through which demand-driven research is conducted to mold discoveries made in the laboratory and the field into international public goods. These public goods are the tools with which regional, national and local organizations — as well as individual farm families — help to foster economic growth and build more sustainable livelihoods for all.

Millions of people worldwide benefit directly from CGIAR innovations and interventions, while thousands have a hand in producing the international public goods from which these benefits derive. But the process begins with the contributions of the few, the 64 Members of the CGIAR.

International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD)

The Intergovernmental Plenary of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology will take Place 14-19 January 2008 in Nairobi, Kenya

The International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) is an intergovernmental process, with a multi-stakeholder Bureau, under the co-sponsorship of the FAO, GEF, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, the World Bank and WHO with the aim of evaluating the relevance, quality and effectiveness of agricultural knowledge, science, and technology (AKST); and effectiveness of public and private sector policies as well as institutional arrangements in relation to AKST.

The IAASTD is composed of one Global Assessment and five Sub-global Assessments, which will use the same basic framework as the Global Assessment, i.e., the impacts of AKST on hunger, poverty, nutrition, human health, and environmental and social sustainability in relation to both the past and the future. The Global and Sub-global assessments will be peer-reviewed by governments and experts, and approved by the Panel of participating governments.

The five Sub-global Assessments:
- Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) - Regional Institute: ICARDA (International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas)- East and South Asia and the Pacific (ESAP) - Regional Institute: World Fish Center- Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) - Regional Institute: IICA (Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture)- North America and Europe (NAE)- Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)- Regional Institute: ACTS (African Centre for Technology Studies)

will be undertaken at the regional, national or local scales and will complement the Global Assessment by examining its context-specific aspects.

Aligning the CAADP and the ‘triple A’

Speaking at the second Brussels Briefing on ‘Advancing African agriculture‘, Martin Bwalya of NEPAD stressed the role of agriculture in terms of the wider sustainable development agenda, poverty alleviation and reaching the MDGs.

In his view, what it is new at this stage in Africa is the political will and commitment to enhance the role of agriculture, with a real shift of mindset in terms of ownership of agricultural policies.

These new elements are clearly characterized by the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), which is far more than just a tool for resource mobilisation: CAADP is about partnership, collaboration, institutional reform, and internalization and local ownership at all level.

For additonal video interviews see CTA Brussels briefings

Angel Elias Daka of COMESA on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)

IFAD’s Ides de Willebois told participants that increasing the productivity of small holders remains the main challenge.

ODI’s Steve Wiggins argues that the statistics do not necessarily show African agriculture to be in crisis

Representing the European Food security group of Concord, Gerhard Schmalbruch brought the perspectives of European civil society organisations.

Infos sur les prix agricoles par SMS

Daniel Annerose et Emile Sène décrivent un système d’information sur les marchés agricoles « Xam Marsé » et expliquent comment un simple téléphone portable a changé la vie d’un agriculteur sénégalais.

« Xam Marsé », ou « Connaître et maîtriser le marché », est le nom wolof du système d’information sur les marchés agricoles développé et géré depuis 2001 par Manobi, en collaboration avec la société Sonatel. Grâce à Xam Marsé, les agriculteurs, les commerçants, les hôteliers ou les ménagères peuvent recevoir sur leur téléphone portable par messages SMS ou sur Internet, des informations en temps réel sur les prix et les niveaux de disponibilité des fruits, des légumes, des viandes et des volailles, sur les marchés du Sénégal.

En savoir plus...

Building an economic market in Ethiopia: Eleni Gabre-Madhin on

Economist Eleni Gabre-Madhin outlines her ambitious vision to found the first commodities market in Ethiopia. Her plan would create wealth, minimize risk for farmers and turn the world's largest recipient of food aid into a regional food basket. "There is no place in the world and no time in history that small farmers have had to bear the burden of risk that African farmers bear today," she says. "But I'm not here to lament or wring my hands. I'm here to tell you that change is in the air." (Recorded June 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania. Duration: 20:46.)

Thursday, 25 October 2007

BBC programme on Aqua farms

BBC World Service broadcasts today a major three-part series looking at the global fishing industry. Richard BLACK asks:

a) How bad the fisheries' crisis really is, and whether we could face a future without commercial fisheries.
b) What would the implications of this be for the ecosystem and communities who rely on fish for food and livelihoods?
c) Is fish farming a viable alternative to declining stocks, or are there more sustainable ways to turn the situation around?
Listen to One Planet

Topical issues: Agriculture

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in London-UK has posted a set of new resources to complement the release of the World Bank's World Development 2008, Agriculture for Development.
Much of ODI's current work on agriculture takes place in association with partners in the Future Agricultures Consortium. Research focuses on the political economy of policy reform, social protection and agriculture, and pathways of commercialisation for small farmers. Hereafter some references linked to agricultural issues in Africa.
Opinion papers
Funding agriculture: not 'how much?' but 'what for?' (PDF, 146kb)
'Before calling for an increase in the volume of funding to agriculture, we need a better understanding of how resources are being used'
ODI Opinions 86 - October 2007

The first Millennium Development Goal, agriculture and climate change (PDF, 70kb)
'Over 60% of people in sub-Saharan Africa are reliant on agriculture for their income. However, the potential impacts of climate change pose two key questions for current agriculture-led strategies to reduce poverty.'
ODI ODI Opinion 85 - 19 October 2007

Making contract farming work with co-operatives (PDF, 74kb)
A greater focus on strengthening market-orientated producer organisations and dispute-resolution mechanisms between farmers and firms may increase the chances of win-win outcomes from this form of institutional innovation'
ODI Opinion 87 - October 2007

Farm Subsidies: a problem for Africa too (PDF, 66kb)
'The level of farm subsidies in rich countries is now a well-recognised barrier to Africa's development. But are Africa's own farm subsidies also a barrier to development?'
ODI Opinions 47 - September 2005

Growth in African Agriculture (PDF, 56kb)
'Interest in African agriculture is being rekindled after two decades of relative neglect by both governments and donors - and corresponding slow growth of the sector. For most countries, agriculture has to grow if the economy is to develop, if rural poverty is be alleviated. It is now clear that getting the ‘Washington Consensus' conditions right for business may be necessary, but is certainly not sufficient to get agriculture moving. So what more needs to be done?' ODI Opinions 45 - July 2005

ODI Briefing Papers

Climate change, agricultural policy and poverty reduction – how much do we know? (PDF, 166kb) Projections suggest that, by the end of the 21st century, climate change could have had substantial impact on agricultural production and thence on the scope for reducing poverty.
Climate change, agricultural policy and poverty reduction – how much do we know?

The Millennium Villages Project – a new approach to ending rural poverty in Africa? (PDF, 149kb)
Proponents of the Millennium Villages Project argue that the complex problems facing rural development in Africa require a ‘big push’ if substantive progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is to be made – and propose the simultaneous introduction of improvements in agriculture, health, transport, energy, technology, telecommunications and internet connectivity, costing US$110 per person per year over 5 years, and funded mainly from aid flows. This paper examines the challenges this initiative faces, and the questions it raises, in its search for ‘quick wins’ to reach the MDGs.
Natural Resource Perspective 101 - August 2006

Narratives of Agricultural Policy in Africa: What Role for Ministries of Agriculture? (PDF, 55kb) Which of the different models for Ministries of Agriculture make sense today.
Future Agricultures Briefing Paper - 2006

The enabling environment for agricultural technology in Sub-Saharan Africa and the potential role of donors (PDF, 34kb)
To improve agricultural technology development in Africa requires strengthening of the enabling environment, including policies, public institutions and regulations. Various types of market failure imply that markets, by themselves, will not elicit the optimum amount of technology for Africa’s farmers. Priorities include more responsive regulations for input supply, support for emerging enterprises, strengthening input marketing, establishing adequate intellectual property protection, and addressing the challenges of biotechnology. Donors can play an important role, but short-term project interventions must give way to longer-term strategies for support to institutions including formal policies and regulations and informal rules and procedures that encourage indigenous organisational innovation.
Natural Resource Perspective 84 - April 2003

You can find more on the ODI agriculture thematic page

Monday, 22 October 2007

Agricultural Science, Technology and Innovation (ASTI) Systems Workshop (CTA and Abia State University, Nigeria)

Dr. Wale Adekunle participated in the Regional Training of Trainers workshop on Agricultural Science, Technology and Innovation (ASTI) systems: 8-12 October, Abia State University, Nigeria, 2007.

The workshop was attended by 18 participants from the West African sub-region. Countries that were represented include: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’ Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Nigeria, Niger Republic, Sierra Leone, and Togo. The team included key participants drawn from the KKM platform.

You can read an article about this event in Nigeria on : Innovations as Key to Agric Production

Thursday, 18 October 2007

NERICA (New Rice for Africa)

Two international reports which were recently or just released made some comments on the New Rice for Africa (NERICA):

The Least Developed Countries Report 2007:
Knowledge, Technology Learning and Innovation for Development
July 2007, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

The World Bank's World Development Report (WDR) 2008
Agriculture for Development
October 2007, World Bank


The New Rice for Africa (NERICA), a primarily upland rice, could be developed if rice research programmes were strengthened in West Africa and East and Southern Africa. These programmes could develop second-generation upland NERICA, which would be resistant to pests and diseases, as well as lowland NERICA. (UNCTAD : 102)

Recent experience in Sub-Saharan Africa offers more promise. After a late start, improved varieties are finally making an impact on some food staples:
Rice. The New Rice for Africa—combining the high-yielding potential of Asian rice with the resistance of African rice to weeds, pests, diseases, and water stress—was released to farmers in 1996. Increasing yields under low input conditions, it is cultivated on about 200,000 hectares in Africa. Yet adoption is still modest because of insufficient dissemination, training, and extension.
(World Bank : 224)

Harnessing the Agricultural Productivity of the Moist Savannas by dissemination proven technologies and agricultural practices: Going to Scale in Burk

Traditional housing in West Burkina
Boipelo Freude and Jean-Claude Legoupil have participated from 7 to 13 October in a mission to define a 5-year "Going to Scale in Burkina Faso” project with the main focus on capacity building and the empowerment of farmers and entrepreneurs to promote sustainable diversification and intensification of crop-livestock production systems in conservation agriculture.

Cotton field

The situation is now changing considerably in the moist savanna ecology of Burkina Faso as technologies and new agricultural practices have been developed and tested. New technologies are now ready to be disseminated. Based on similar technologies and practices, 20 millions hectares of land in the savanna ecology in Brazil have been sustainably intensified and diversified. New horizons are opening up for agricultural intensification in the moist savanna ecologies of Burkina Faso. There is no doubt that the introduction of these technologies and practices is of enormous potential to rebuild and enhance soil fertility and land productivity.
Crop rotation Mais - Cow Pea
The project will also promote on-farm farmer-participatory discovery and adaptation of
promising pipeline technologies which will feed into farmers. The proposed project will fully embrace the Framework African Agricultural Productivity principles and guidelines for improving institutional arrangements for implementing Pillar IV of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). It also responds to the call for agricultural adaptation to climate change, which will be increasingly essential for smallholder livelihoods in the savanna ecologies of Burkina Faso.
Farmers Field School

The spirits of FARA (continued)

"Decouvrir ce pour quoi nous sommes temporairement sur cette terre..."
"To discover why we are here on earth..."

"It is good to be rich, but even better to be wise"

"Don't let your environment get inside of you. You should influence it, not let it influence you"

Francois STEPMAN
"The older you get, the better you know what you don't need"

"Life without Jesus is meaningless"

"Where you are going is great that it is worth enduring some rough patches along the way"

Jean Claude LEGOUPIL
"Vision without action is only hallucination"

"Personne ne se suffit a soi-meme, on a toujours besoin des autres"
"One can not suffice to oneself, you always need others"

Francisca FORSON
"Never rush to conclude, because when you take time to dissect an ant you discover its entrails"

"Computer never lies"
"Things will never be again the same after"

Vesta Akosua Adutwumwaa NUNOO
"I believe love and care, are the most important things as a family"

Patience SACKEY
"Always strive towards perfection in whatever you do"

"La charitee bien ordonnee commence par soi-meme"
"Well-thought charity starts with onseself"

"Si tu veux savoir qui je suis, si tu veux que je t'enseigne ce que je sais, cesse momentanement d'etre ce que tu es, et oublie ce que tu sais"
"If you want to know who I'm, if you want me to teach you what I know, forget for a moment who you are and what you know"

Dorcas AMOAH
"Learn from other people's mistakes, you won't live long enough to make them all"

"As much depends on you, be at peace with all man"

"Africa is in need of change. Now is the time to act"

"Alone we go quickly, but together we go far"

"L'important ce n'est pas de tomber, mais de savoir se relever"
"Not falling is important, but how to stand up"

"Work as hard as it takes to achieve your goals, but don't forget to take time off to refresh"

"The way one manages his money, tells a lot about his personality"

Ama Pokuah AMOAH
"No one person can achieve more than could be achieved in a team"

"Life is ever dynamic and we need dynamic and strategic ideas to address the challenges that come along"