Thursday, 24 July 2008
The current postings are about the following literature types: Journals (including The Cocoa Growers’ Bulletin), Theses, Project Reports, Conference Proceedings, Workshop Proceedings, Presentations, Posters, Photographs (Specific to Cocoa), Research Newspapers and Flyers specifically related to cocoa research.
The new money would come on top of existing development funds, coming from unused money left over from the European Union's agricultural budget.
The aim is not to provide money so that poor people can afford to buy what they need to eat, but instead to give credit and other monies to farmers to help them produce more food and in so doing, bring prices down.
Countries most in need would be able to access the fund - to be administered via international and regional organisations, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Bank and Unicef - which would allow for the purchase of farming inputs such as fertilisers and seeds, although this could be done via credit mechanisms, rather than grants, as well as "safety net measures" for boost productive farming capacity.
This common framework provides policy guidelines on how best to support development of demand driven agricultural advisory services and also on the appropriate roles of the different actors.
Agricultural advisory services are defined as services that make new knowledgeavailable to farmers and assist the farmers to develop their farming and management skills.
The services may include:
- Dissemination of information
- Training and advice of groups of farmers or individual farmers
- Testing new technologies on-farm
- Development and dissemination of farm management tools
- they may not be the best option; for example, subsidies targeted to particular crops such as maize may reduce output of other food crops such as cassava, therefore reducing the net food supply response
- fertiliser subsidies have a questionable recordas a tool for increasing overall agricultural productivity, especially for small, poor farmers
- low or no fertiliser use by many smallholders is explained not just by credit constraints that limit acquisition, but also by the risk of crop failure, with resulting financial losses and consumption shortfalls. The lack of insurance causes inefficiency in production choices, therefore, recent trials of weather-indexed insurance are a promising potential solution for the risk problem
June 30, 2008 Fertilizer Subsidies and Sustainable Agricultural Growth in Africa: Current Issues and Empirical Evidence from Malawi, Zambia, and Kenya Isaac Minde, T.S. Jayne, Joshua Ariga, Jones Govereh, and Eric Crawford - 26 pages
What are the advantages of this approach? What are the risks? SOS Faim Zoom Microfinance attempt to answer these questions using four different cases: two in Senegal, one in Mali and one in Latin America.
SOS Faim Zoom Microfinance Jul 17 Alliance farmer organisations - financial institutions ; 8 pages.
WFP cooperated with the committee inquiry, hosting committee members in Ghana, where they visited one of WFP's Humanitarian Response Depots, facilitating a trip to London by the ED who gave public testimony on WFP's behalf, and hosting a committee visit to Rome to meet a number of people at headquarters.
The results were published in the UK on 23/07 and have given a very positive assessment of WFP's work -- particularly in the context of the challenges presented by high food prices. Alongside the general global issues that are addressed, there are sections that address the particular issues that WFP faces in places like Darfur, Zimbabwe, and Somalia - where the committee raises the issue of the lack of naval escorts.
Tuesday, 22 July 2008
A discussion organised by the the Africa All Party Parliamentary Group, the Royal African Society and the International Institute for Environment and Development looked at the implications of the food crisis for Africa – both the opportunities and the threats – as well as possible interventions and the possibility of a Green Revolution for Africa. It also critically assessed the role of bioenergy in the current crisis and in the future of sustainable agricultural production in Africa.
- Dr Monty JonesExecutive Director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa
- Dr Camilla ToulminDirector, International Institute for Environment and Development
- Professor Lawrence Haddad Director, Institute of Development Studies
- ChairHugh Bayley MPChair, Africa All Party Parliamentary Group
Reference: Events Royal African Society
The expiration of the U.S. president's trade negotiating authority on June 30, 2007, raised the prospect of longer delay. More recently, however, the unprecedented food crisis may have created an environment for reducing the divergences in countries' negotiating positions, and efforts for agreement have intensified at Geneva.
To aid developing-country negotiators, the book WTO Negotiations on Agriculture and Developing Countries (published for IFPRI by the Johns Hopkins University Press and Oxford University Press-India) offers the first authoritative analysis of the rules and modalities on which governments of developing countries can rely and suggests a negotiating strategy for developing countries.
Anwarul Hoda and Ashok Gulati WTO Negotiations on Agriculture and Developing Countries 320 pages / 2007 Published by Johns Hopkins University Press
IFPRI Issue Brief, June 2008. (PDF 290K)
Reuters 20/07 Trade powers tackle agric issue ahead of WTO talks
A recent IFPRI research paper (July 2008) presents such an approach using spatial analysis and the Dynamic Research Evaluation for Management (Dream) modeling software, which was developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute to assess potential economic returns to agricultural R&D and guide resource allocation decisions. Dream is applied to the East and Central African region to estimate potential economic and technological spillovers from country- and regional-level R&D investments for select commodities based on future projections of supply and demand, trade flows between countries and world markets, and shared agroecologies and farming systems.
"Our main focus is on the policy implications of climate change, that is to say, what policy support will be needed to enable Southern African food systems to adapt to climate change in terms of rainfall and temperature," said Dr. Merrey.
Friday, 18 July 2008
- a web-based technical platform which supports and provides for the creation and use of discrete e-mail based discussion lists and web workspaces that are used to support knowledge networking by people and institutions working in development
- the plural name for these online networks, individually known as a dgroup
- partnership of development organizations who share a commitment to collaboration in development and who are developing a common vision of the need for such a platform and such online groups
- the spread of information and knowledge among the actors (individual and institutional) working in the thematic areas of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
- learning processes (individual, social, and organizational learning) in the diverse institutions working in areas related to the MDGs
- the bridging of the multitude of ‘knowledge divides’ in development between the North and South, and South-South; between different sorts of institutions (multilateral, bilateral, NGOs, universities, ministries) and professional groups (practitioners, researchers and policymakers); and in terms of language
It is an emerging initiative that could pave the way for fundamental change in the way forests are managed, boosting efforts to fight both poverty and climate change. The World Bank-nurtured idea is of a global forest partnership that links local and global processes and promotes decision-making on the international stage that reflects the view and needs of local stakeholders such as forest dwellers.
IIED consulted widely on the bank’s idea. More than 600 forest experts responded to IIED’s survey or participated in focus groups in Brazil, China, Ghana, Guyana, India, Russia and Mozambique, as well as at international meetings.
The Gfp final report warns that the bank will have to heed the advice of hundreds of experts IIED consulted if it is to make a real breakthrough in tackling the problems of past decades and the weaknesses of typical international forest programmes.
The report identifies key features of the consultation that would make it a truly progressive global partnership and a new way for international forestry to work by:
- Focusing on empowering primary ‘stakeholders’ such as forest dwellers so that their rights, knowledge and needs are centre-stage.
- Greatly improving flows of finance to activities that support local needs alongside global public goods such as carbon storage.
- Interacting effectively with other sectors such as water and agriculture, where the underlying causes of forest problems – and the seeds of sustainable solutions – are often lodged.
On 15 May 2008, the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) organized a meeting on “Scenario Planning for Biodiversity Conservation in Africa: Mapping Future Trends and Interventions in the Next Ten Years”. The day-long meeting in Washington, DC, was supported through the Biodiversity Analysis and Technical Support (BATS)1 for USAID/Africa program. More than 45 people participated.
The basic question to be answered by the scenario planning process was: “What are the priority interventions for biodiversity conservation in Africa over the next ten years?”
The meeting sought to:
- review the USAID BATS report by Chemonics International that looked at 30 years of USAID support for biodiversity in Africa;
- identify the drivers of past, present, and future change; and
- map trends.
This DC Meeting will be followed by an African Validation Workshop (summer 2008) where African conservation leaders with review the USAID BATS report and products of this mapping meeting, validate them, and on the basis of these discussions articulate scenarios. Participants will apply their expertise to narrate alternative futures for biodiversity in Africa, including interventions for biodiversity conservation appropriate for USAID and other stakeholders over the next ten years.
- Scenario Planning for Biodiversity Conservation in Africa: Mapping Future Trends & Interventions in the Next Ten Years
- Bushmeat in Eastern Africa;
- HIV/AIDS and Natural Resource Management Linkages;
- Wildlife Management Issues in Africa and the Mweka Response: The Case of Tanzania;
- Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM): Impacts and Lessons Learned;
- Parks and Poverty;
- Payments for Environmental Services (PES) and Poverty Reduction;
- Environmental Impacts of Avian Flu in Africa.
Thursday, 17 July 2008
International Policy Dialogue, "Agriculture, Development, and the Poor: Challenges, Stakes, Opportunities
Statement of Joachim von Braun IFPRI
Statement of Mark Rosegrant, IFPRI
Statement of Klaus Rudischhauser, European Commission
Statement of Michel Griffon, CIRAD
Statement of Matthias Giegerich, GTZ
Statement of Jerzy Bogdan Plewa, European Commission
The meeting addressed policies in four critical areas: seed and fertilizer markets; finance and risk management; product markets, strategic grain reserves and regional trade; and land tenure and other social issues. It also discussed how to build the capacity of African policy analysts and institutions that will support evidence-based policy development.
Dr Praghu Pingali, head of agricultural policy and statistics at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said African governments do not have adequate data and statistics that can inform policy making on small-scale agriculture. Africa lacks the capacity to assess the impact of policies on agricultural productivity, food security, rural employment and rural income.
Participants recommended a range of possible policy responses, noting that one-size-fits-all policies will not work, and emphasising the need to recognise the diversity of African countries and agricultural systems. Among the recommendations were policies that:
- Specifically and intentionally benefit small-scale farmers;
- Support market development, including the rapid scaling-up of networks of rural input shops known as "agro-dealers," who are able to get seeds, fertilizers and other farm inputs to remote rural areas;
- Increase farmers' and agro-dealers' access to affordable credit and loans;
- Promote "smart" subsidies that enable poor smallholder farmers to access high quality seeds and fertilizers and other farm inputs;
- Ensure that governments invest in public goods such as rural roads, irrigation, electricity, agricultural research and improved extension services;
- Secure the land-tenure rights of small-holder farmers, especially women who generally have more limited rights to land ownership;
- Stabilise food prices for farmers and consumers;
- And risk-mitigation policies, such as weather-indexed crop insurance -- particularly important given projected negative impacts of climate change on African agriculture.
Participants also recommended that African countries and regions establish policy centres of excellence that would develop increased capacity in data collection, statistics and analysis, in close collaboration with African governments. Such centres would provide African countries with sound policy frameworks and build trust in policy formulation.
- The Entrepreneur 05/07 International meeting looks for “uniquely African” Green Revolution
- Ghana View 28/06 Africa working on key policies to boost food security
- East Africa 21/07 Africa told to build databases for agriculture
The secret of success in the ALIN approach is to gain the trust of grassroots communities with whom ALIN works.
The Workshop on Strengthening Trade in Agricultural Inputs at the Regional Level in Africa addressed the agricultural productivity and food insecurity challenges facing the region. The optimum and sustainable use of fertilizer and improved seed are some of the best strategies for addressing these challenges. COMESA agricultural programs are framed within the "AU-NEPAD" framework for the comprehensive Africa agriculture development program (CAADP).
To date COMESA has made major inroads in the implementation of both the Abuja Declaration and CAADP pillar . The sustainable adoption of improved seed and fertilizer by farmers is underpinned by viable national and regional agricultural systems.
Chana View 05/07 African agriculture experts discuss agriculture trade
e-COMESA Strengthening Trade in Agricultural Inputs in Africa: Issues and Options
IFDC's Training Calendar for 2008
Sequencing the cocoa genome is a significant scientific step that will allow more directed breeding of cocoa plants and perhaps even enhance the quality of cocoa, the key ingredient in chocolate.
The collaboration will enable farmers to plant better quality cocoa and, more importantly, help create healthier, stronger cocoa crops with higher yields, pest and disease resistance, and increased water and nutrient use efficiency. These crops will help protect an important social, economic and environmental driver in Africa, where 70 percent of the world's cocoa is produced. Additionally, the research results will be freely available to anyone through the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA), which supports agricultural innovation for both humanitarian and small-scale commercial purposes.
A finalist in the Rural Innovation category has developed a novel way to help farmers in India determine the nutrients in their soil and figure out which crops would be best planted there. The conventional approach to farming is to assume all the fields in an area are the same, so one-size-fits all crop management systems are used. But the reality is that fields can vary considerably, and without the right data, a lot of resources can be wasted, said team Novices@Work.
They invented a system they call Kalpvriksha, which uses wireless sensor networks to collect data on soil characteristics such as moisture, pH, ambient light and temperature. The system then takes this and other information into account to help farmers make decisions on how best to water crops, what kinds of fertilizer to use, and more. The result is more, healthier crops.
"Our technology is specifically aimed at bettering the standards of living of grass-root workers," said Krunal Dedhia, a member of Novices@Work. "It addresses the problem of low productivity and salination of land due to excessive use of fertilizers. These problems are all a culmination of lack of awareness amongst people."
Novices@Work, a team of finalists for the Imagine Cup Rural Innovation Award from India. They developed a site-specific crop-management system for farmers called Kalpvriksha.
Novices@Work has deployed the system in a small field in India, but it will take time to obtain results. They hope to expand the system throughout India and beyond with the help of grassroots organizations.
Video: Kalpvriksha Demo
Networld 08/07/2008 Microsoft Imagine Cup attracts projects aimed at poor
Unlimited Potential World Updates 30/06 Adressing food shortages in India
Wednesday, 16 July 2008
Record high food prices calls attention to the role of the private sector in improving food security around the world. An increased emphasis on agricultural inputs and farming technology can contribute greatly to increased production capacity across Africa.
The Forum brought together the U.S. and African public and private sectors to discuss the minimization of investment risk and identify projects and mechanisms to expand their investment portfolio through agribusiness.
Highlights of the Forum included industry-specific sessions, panels to address cross-cutting issues, such as finance product innovation, pharmaceutical and biofuel industry growth, carbon trading, production technology, and certification; as well as networking opportunities. Industry experts shared best practices and the latest trends in the field.
- DON CRANE, senior development advisor at IFDC (an international center for soil fertility and agricultural development), and MONTY JONES, executive director at the FORUM FOR AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN AFRICA (FARA) were panelists on the ―Food Security Driven by Agricultural Inputs and Farming Technology‖ workshop.
- IFDC and FARA were joined by other industry experts to the best practices of the private and public sector in addressing the issue of food security through increased investment in Africa’s agricultural security sector. IFDC projects cover specialties from agribusiness to engineering and technology development, from management information systems to plant nutrient management, policy reform, and market development.
- PDF Plenary sessions + PDF Workshops
- 2008 U.S. Africa Agribusiness Forum - a pictures set on Flickr
- AllAfrica 01/07 Africa: Global Food Crisis Demands New Approach to Agriculture
- AllAfrica 01/07 Africa: Business Changing to Confront Food Crisis
- NewsBlaze 02/07 Strong Forces Now Reshaping World Food Markets
- AllAfrica 03/07 Africa: Continent Needs Transportation Capacity Now, Experts Say
- East African 13/07 Flower producer Sher to go into food production
Tuesday, 15 July 2008
FAO used ESRI's GIS technology to create GISFish, a one-stop Internet site for GIS-based resources for aquaculture and inland fisheries in developing countries.
• Prof Lou Marinoff, Founding President, American Philosophical Practitioners Association
• Dr Michael Nobel, Chairman, Nobel Charitable Trusts
• Dr Monty Jones, World Food Prize Laureate and inventor of new rice for Africa
• Dr Poul Engberg-Pedersen, Director-General, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
13 to 17 July London, United Kingdom. The University of London and the Commonwealth of Learning hosted the fifth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF5). The conference brought together practitioners, researchers and policymakers, allowing them to share their experiences and expertise. No fewer than 700 delegates, including heads of key parastatals of the Federal Ministry of Education, attended the biennial meeting, organised by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL).
The conference theme is "Access to Learning for Development" with a focus on children and young people, health, livelihoods, governance, conflict and social justice. The Forum is bringing together more than 700 delegates from over 70 different countries.
PCF5 aims to facilitate a dialogue that goes beyond coming together for five days in London. To help with this task, an online discussion forum on Googlegroups has been launched. You can read past contributions and subscribe to the mailing list by accessing the PCF5 Googlegroups site.
WikEducator offers PDFs of most Forum papers and will also host session reports. Furthermore, around 50 contributors have posted ideas, abstracts or paper drafts as Wiki content. You can visit the PCF5 Wiki site by going to www.wikiEducator.org/pcf5.
Overview of the (African) Papers on PCF5 Theme "Livelihoods" related to agriculture:
- Climate change and water issues: Tech‐MODE tools for strengthening community responses in Kenya - N. Kahiu, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya S. Lim, Environmental consultant, United Kingdom S. Makhanu, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kenya E. Nyukuri, African Centre for Technology and Science, Kenya J. van Mossel, Environmental consultant, Canada
- Blended learning approaches in agriculture and natural resources management - Jan Beniest World Agroforestry Centre
- Enhancing the common information space for Open and Distance Learning and animal and fisheries production - Dr Ajit Maru, National Agriculture Research Systems (NARS) Programmer, Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR) Secretariat, F.A.O., Rome, Italy
- New approaches to strengthening human and institutional capacity for improving rural livelihoods in Africa - Ralph Von Kaufmann - Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)
- Radio and the pedagogy of intellectual engagement among cattle farmers -
Haaveshe Nekongo‐Nielsen University of Namibia
- South‐South‐South collaboration: using Dgroups to develop ICT policy for Open and Distance Learning - Nancy George
- Instructional media development for non‐formal distance learning: factors affecting the adoption of farming messages by poor rural men and women farmers - Mary Wamuyu Ngechu University of Nairobi
- A radio scriptwriting competition: training African radio broadcasters to create and exchange programmes on climate change adaptation for farmers - Kevin Perkins Developing Countries Farm Radio Network
- Using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Uganda international agricultural systems - Moses Tenywa Makerere University
- Experiences in implementing the Strengthening Agricultural and Environmental Capacities through Distance Education (SAEC‐DE) project - Moses Tenywa Makerere University
- Promoting access to agricultural information by women farmers: using information and communication technology in a livelihood project - Collins Kwabena
Osei Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
- Entrepreneural fingerling production for Lake Victoria fisheries - Jennipher
Kere, Women in Fishing Industry Programme (WIFIP), Education and Development
Brussels, le 2 juillet 2008. Amadou Allahouri Diallo, NEPAD, a pris la parole lors du Briefing « Nouveaux moteurs, nouveaux acteurs dans le développement rural ACP » pour présenter le programme CAADP visant le renforcement de la qualité de l'aide et de l'efficacité dans l'agriculture africaine. Ses principes de base sont, parmi d'autres : le dialogue, la reddition de comptes, le partenariat et l'appropriation. Il est essentiel que tous les bailleurs de fonds reconnaissent la valeur du CAADP en tant que cadre d'harmonisation de leur action et de contribution à la révolution verte de l'Afrique.
TradeNet has 3 Core Characteristics:
- Market Intelligence
- Business Monitoring
- Profiles & Advertising
TradeNet has a unique network of enumerators who collect data from the field and make it instantly available... And because businesses use TradeNet as a tool, there is plenty of content submitted by the ‘users’ themselves.
Country Operators run TradeNet as a franchisebusiness. They get business models, deployment strategies, marketing documents, contracts, annual workshops etc. (In return for a 10% payment to TradeNet intl.). In Africa the targetted countries are: Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar. Projected countries in the near future are Kenya and Sudan.
Business Model: Countries can customize TradeNet to deploy how they want. A budget of $3m is anticipated per country. With 50% in grant funding, a country can be profitable in year 4, and make a return of 53%, attracting the private sector to run and operate the business, and remain profitable.
Roll-out strategy: 200.000 subscribers per country after 5 or 6 years
Video clip about Tradenet on CNN’s Inside Africa (broadcasted a few months ago).
TradeNet began development in 2005, but officially launched in 2007. TradeNet’s BusyLab has spent three years building an openAPIstructure which allows any entrepreneur to leverage their network of users and mobile operators and get a service launched quickly. To date, most licensees have been donor projects. TradeNet projects 25 countries by 2011.
- http://www.tradenet.biz/ Homepage for tradenetthat lists the countries and sections that you can find online
- www.tradenet.biz/press Press releases, stories, videos, and blogs, all covering the latest developments on TradeNet
- http://tradenetvoices.blogspot.com/ Tradenetblog featuring profiles of brokers, traders, farmers and developers
- www.tradenet.biz/codes The various codes you need for your country to send in a text and get the right response
- www.tradenet.biz/help Help section on tradenetwhich has various online tutorials and can show you how to quicklyand easily get started
- www.tradenet.biz/help Download these PDF tipsheetswhich go through various tutorials to get you used to using the platform
Monday, 14 July 2008
Participants debated key challenges for Higher Education in achieving Millennium Development Goals, particularly the role of cooperation, lifelong learning and teacher education in promoting sustainable development.
The conference brought together representatives from Higher Education Institutions that are funded under EDULINK’s 1st Call for Proposals. In addition, several recognised Higher Education experts were invited. Representatives of Higher Education Institutions in ACP States and in Europe, as well as higher education/development associations and NGO’s were also welcome to participate.
EDULINK Stakeholder Conference in Ethiopia: higher education in sustainable development.
AllAfrica 10/07 Ethiopia: Workshop Highlights Role of Higher Institutions As Centers for New Scientific Ideas
Venue for Group of eight Hokkaido Toyako summit meeting at Windsor Hotel Toya in Toyako, northern Japan
Hereunder are some extracts:
- reverse the overall decline of aid and investment in the agricultural sector, and to achieve significant increases in support of developing country initiatives, including – in Africa – through full and effective implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP);
- support CAADP’s goal of 6.2% annual growth in agricultural productivity, and work toward the goal of doubling production of key food staples in African countries meeting CAADP criteria in five to ten years in a sustainable manner, with particular emphases on fostering smallholder agriculture and inclusive rural growth;
- promote agricultural research and development, and the training of a new generation of developing country scientists and experts focusing on the dissemination of improved, locally adapted and sustainable farming technologies, in particular via the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), and through partnerships such as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA);
- accelerate research and development and increase access to new agricultural technologies to boost agricultural production; we will promote science-based risk analysis including on the contribution of seed varieties developed through biotechnology;
- support country-led development strategies in adapting to the impact of climate change, combating desertification, and promoting conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, while intensifying our efforts to address climate change;
- ensure the compatibility of policies for the sustainable production and use of biofuels with food security and accelerate development and commercialization of sustainable second-generation biofuels from non-food plant materials and inedible biomass; in this regard, we will work together with other relevant stakeholders to develop science-based benchmarks and indicators for biofuel production and use.
Reference: G8 Leaders Statement on Global Food Security
- To share findings of the Gender Assessment exercise at the FARA secretariat.
- To validate findings and recommendations related to priorities for action in gender mainstreaming in FARA.
Within the context of the Gender Equality and African Regional Institution Project (GEARI) an inception mission was carried out from August 31th to September 12th 2007. The purpose of the inception mission was to initiate GEARI Project activities and also to establish the most appropriate participatory approaches and mechanisms for ensuring that benefits from the project’s activities are institutionalized and sustained in FARA.
The International Gender Team worked with FARA in setting up a Gender Working Group (GWG) and gathered - with the GWG - initial information about FARA’s structure, style, system, staff, policies, programs and internal and external communication to gain a clear understanding of its nature and scope in order to select the most appropriate approaches for gender mainstreaming in the institution according to the context and the reality of the organization.
What does Gender Mainstreaming really mean?
The DFID-funded Siyanda website highlights resources on gender mainstreaming in research
- FAO’s Virtual Extension and Research Communication Network (VERCON) initiative, Justin CHISENGA, Information Management Specialist, FAO, Accra
- Applications of ICTs in Managing, Sharing and Delivery of Agriculture Information – Case of ZARI Davy Simumba, Senior Analyst, Zambia Agriculture Research Institute, Chilanga, Zambia
- Improving Access to published scholarly literature in Africa: AGORA, HINARI, OARE and TEEAL programs – Gracian CHIMWAZA, Director, ITOCA, Centurion, South Africa
- Using ICTs for Managing Network Genebanks: The Case of SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre -Barnabas W. KAPANGE, SADC-PGRC, Lusaka, Zambia
- Benefiting from convergence: Increasing Importance of ICT in the Delivery of Information to Farmers - Clemence R. NAMPONYA, Director, Library and Information Services, University of the Free State, South Africa
- Telecommunications Evolution, ICT Sector Policies and Regulatory Governance - Role in
Agriculture, Chabuka Jerome KAWESHA, Regulatory Affairs Manager, Celtel Zambia Plc, Lusaka, Zambia
- FarmPrices Initiative, Coillard HAMUSIMBI, Zambia National Farmers Union, Lusaka, Zambia
- Meeting the Challenges of Rural Development through ICTs, Joseph SEKIKU, FADECO, Tanzania
- The e-Agriculture Initiative: Sharing of Innovative Experiences - Justin CHISENGA, Information
Management Specialist, FAO, Accra, Ghana
Friday, 11 July 2008
The Core Group (CG) of organisations, charged with developing a knowledge sharing network on climate change adaptation in Africa, met in Tunis between the 1st – 4th July 2008.
The meeting was hosted by the Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel (OSS), whose representatives joined the CG members (ICPAC, FARA, ENDA and IDS) in deciding on the governance of the CG, a series of strategies for developing the Network, a communications protocol and a work plan.
The meeting was also attended by Dr. Innocent Butare on behalf of IDRC, the donor to this project. The project is governed by a Core Group (CG) of organisations. In July 2008, this includes FARA, ENDA-TM, ICPAC and IDS, with IDS assuming project management responsibilities. See meeting agenda
Wageningen International is also involved in some activities about climate change adaptation in Africa. In partnership with ASARECA and IUCN a scoping workshop was held in Nairobi in mid June. See: scoping workshop
World Bank's Climate Change Consultation. The global consultations website is featured on the homepage of the World Bank's website, and is also directly accessible. The deadline for submitting comments was July 7, 2008.
World Bank 05/06 Climate Change: Likely Impacts on African Crops, Livestock & Farm Types
The SADC Secretariat’ Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR) Directorate was directed by the SADC Council of Ministers to rationalize in-house the information systems in order to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of services to the SADC community. These information systems comprise a Geographic Information System (GIS), Numerical data, and Directories, all these being accessed through a Graphical User Interface Managed by a Content Management System.
The overall discussion was on how to incorporate and link the various existing information systems and network into one integrated SADC FANR system called the SADC Agricultural Information Management System (AIMS), and how to get the member States involved in this system.
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
FARA is helping Technobyte Kenya to secure funding with the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF)
- The project under AECF funding will develop comprehensive language technology tools and resources to improve the versatility and user-friendliness of the National Farmers Information Service (NAFIS).
- These tools are text-to-speech systems (TTS) for Kiswahili, Kenyan English and one other local language.
- Technobyte will also develop Automatic Speech Recognition systems (ASR) for Kiswahili and Kenyan English. The language resources to be developed are a multilingual agricultural terminology bank and easily-navigable agricultural content.
- In addition, Technobyte will develop an expert system to enhance NAFIS with an intelligent interface with the aim of making NAFIS user-driven and hence more responsive to farmers' queries.
They discussed the enhancement of donor harmonization particularly the issue of division of labour among donors in support of the agriculture sector in Africa.
"As we come up with recommendations on how to address the food crisis in Africa, we take cognisance of the fact that besides ineffectual policies that I alluded to earlier; there are other impediments that affect not only agricultural development, but overall economic development. These include factors like climate change with its accompanying drought, floods, pests and diseases; the rising fuel prices; poor governance as well as political and civil strife in some parts of the continent. All these are related to the current food crisis and will continue affecting our decision-making process in the foreseeable future"