Saturday, 31 October 2009

Did food production in Sub-Saharan Africa grew in 2008 beause of increased research?

12–13 October. Rome. Food production in Sub-Saharan Africa grew in 2008 for the first time in decades, according to a new report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The 3.5 per cent increase — higher than the two per cent rise in population — was driven in part by increased use of technology, says the report, which was written for a forum of senior experts on food production meeting in ) ahead of November's World Summit on Food Security. Other factors behind the increase include positive changes in national policies for agriculture and higher food prices which have the effect of stimulating growth, the report says.

"Increased research in agriculture has led to improved crop varieties more suited to specific African regions, and this has had a direct impact on yields," says Hilary Clarke, spokesperson for the FAO.

Reference: SciDev 12/10 African food production on the rise

Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Capacity: Are Innovation Brokers the Answer?

A UNU-MERIT working paper "concludes that innovation brokerage roles are likely to become relevant in emerging economies and that public or donor investment in innovation brokerage may be needed to overcome inherent tensions regarding the neutrality and funding of such players in the innovation system.

In agricultural innovation systems, networks of different players are transient and emerge around specific challenges and tasks at particular points in time. Public agricultural research is one of these players, but its value is as a responsive element of a network or system, rather than in its own right.

Other players such as the private sector or civil society organisations have a prominent
role — not just as passive knowledge users or transmitters, but as pro-active agents who are
interdependent in working towards effective socio-technical innovations in agriculture. Much of the literature on such networks or ‘coalitions’ deals with more formalised public-private partnerships (PPPs), but it is not only ‘high profile’ PPPs that matter for pro-poor agricultural development. “Rather mundane and less high-profile cases are going to be of the type that planners and policymakers are going to have to deal with on a day-to-day basis”. A number of questions remain unanswered when it comes to how everyday innovation capacity may be improved.
  • How can a production base made up of many farmers organise its demand for
    knowledge, technology and organisational change?
  • What mechanism will facilitate the search for information?
  • Who will coordinate the networks of interaction needed for innovation?

As public policy comes to grips with these new ideas it is becoming increasingly apparent that intermediary organisations, which sit between and connect different agents involved in innovation trajectories in developing countries are important as they fulfil boundary work and play a role in ‘bridging’, ‘bonding’ and ‘linking’ social capital. Third-party catalysing agents are necessary to bring partners together, motivate them, provide information, and organise space for negotiations.” The type of intermediary that is becoming increasingly important is not the ‘traditional’ third party in a one-to-one relationship, such as conventional agricultural extension, but a ‘systemic’ intermediary as an in-between in a many-to-many relationship.

The Dutch experience suggests that innovation brokers need to be contextually embedded, and are unlikely to become effective through a centrally-imposed design."

Reference: UNU-MERIT Working Papers 2009

West African Seed Alliance to improve incomes of smallholder farmers

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) entered into partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to establish the West African Seed Alliance (WASA).

The Alliance aimed at raising yields and incomes of smallholder farmers in the sub-region by increasing their access to improved, locally adapted varieties of major food crops identified.

It includes the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA), to promote a sustainable commercial seed industry focused on ensuring that smallholder farmers in the sub-region had affordable, timely and reliable access to good quality seeds and planting materials.

October 05, 2009 West African Seed Alliance to improve incomes of smallholder farmers

Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement of Sorghum and Millets in Sub-Saharan Africa

October 15, 2009. The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has launched a new project that aims to increase food security for smallholder farmers in dryland areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The project, Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) of Sorghum and Millets in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, will be undertaken by 50 partners led by ICRISAT in ten countries of sub-Saharan Africa and four states in India. HOPE is supported by an $18 million, four-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.Through the development and delivery of improved crop varieties and training in crop management practices, HOPE will increase small-scale farmer yields by 35 to 40% during the first four years of the project.

These improved varieties of sorghum and millet will be disseminated to 110,000 households in sub-Saharan Africa and 90,000 in South Asia. Within ten years, the project should benefit more than 2 million households in these continents.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Announcement: Dialogue between Europe and its Southern partners

17th December 2009, Brussels . ERA-ARD, SCAR and EIARD, with a special support of CIRAD, the French agricultural research centre for international development, the ERA-ARD Coordinator, co-organise an international conference entitled: « Dialogue between Europe and its Southern partners on agricultural research and climate change »

This conference aims at facilitating the identification and initiating coordination of European agricultural research programmes for mitigation and adaptation actions to climate change for mutual benefit of Europe and its Southern partners. Conference objectives:

The conference will focus on three major themes:
  • What are the challenges and why a dialogue between Europe and its Southern partners is necessary?
  • Initial mapping of on-going and planned agricultural research programmes related to climate change in Europe and the Southern regions.
  • Priorities for the future: What are the research priorities and coordination mechanisms to be put in place for reducing the impact of climate change on the agricultural sector?
  • What could be the agenda of a European joint programme initiative in this field?

Reference: International Conference ERA-ARD

conference on Ghana's Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP),

27 - 28/1o/2009. The two-day conference Roundtable on Ghana’s Medium Term Agriculture Sector Investment Plan organised under the auspices of the ECOWAS Agriculture Policy Development Programme (CAADP) of the NEPAD, led to the signing by Ghana of the CAADP compact, which commits African governments to raising agricultural growth to at least six per cent a year.To achieve that target, African governments that have signed the compact have agreed to increase public investment in agriculture by a minimum of 10 per cent of their national budgets-substantially more than the four to five per cent average they committed previously.

The the signing of the Ghana CAADP highlights on the importance of the agriculture sector as a potential drive for economic growth, food and nutrition security across the continent. Ghana joins Rwanda, Togo, Burundi, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Benin and Liberia to be among the first member states of the African Union to have signed their national CAADP compacts.

The Agricultural Transformation Program is the keystone of the Ghana Compact, and will modernize and encourage business in agriculture and reduce poverty in rural communities. It is designed to trigger a private sector-led transformation of Ghana’s agriculture and rural life and attract investment to increase farmer incomes, generate employment, and markedly reduce rural poverty.

Peace FM Online 27/10 Ghana to Reduce Poverty by 50%
OIC International Given Lead Training Role in Ghana Agricultural Transformation Plan


Remarks made by Dr. Janet Edeme of the African Union’s Department for Rural Economy and Agriculture at Liberia’s CAADP Compact signing ceremony. 15-16 October 2009. Monrovia, Liberia.

ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture Salifou Ousseni.
This clip highlights some of the remarks made by key participants at the Liberia’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Roundtable and Compact signing ceremonies. Monrovia, Liberia, 15-16 October 2009.

This clip highlights remarks made by the Vice President of Liberia Joseph Boakai as he officially opens Liberia’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) Roundtable and Compact signing ceremony. Monrovia, Liberia, 15-16 October 2009.

Interview with the Minister Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fishing–Gregoire Akofodji. Interview is in French.

Announcement: Global Competition on Climate Adaptation: November event

November 10th -13th. 100 finalists have been selected to showcase their ideas in the 2009 Global Development Marketplace Competition on Climate Adaptation (DM2009) to be held at World Bank Headquarters this November. 20-25 of these finalists will receive grants of up to $200,000 to implement their projects over two years. Nearly 200 subject matter experts from both inside and outside the World Bank Group volunteered their time to help conduct a rigorous assessment process.

Proposals were selected based on their innovation, objective and measurable results, project design and organizational capacity, sustainability of impact, and growth potential. The DM2009 finalist cohort consists of social entrepreneurs and development practitioners from 47 countries and represents the most innovative and high-potential project ideas in the areas of:
  1. Resilience of Indigenous Peoples Communities to Climate Risks
  2. Climate Risk Management with Multiple Benefits
  3. Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management

The top 10 implementation countries are - Peru, Philippines, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Kenya, Ecuador, India, Nepal, Cambodia and Colombia


African list of finalists

  1. Burkina Faso, Affordable housing for rural families facing desertification in the Sahel
  2. Ethiopia, Clay pot micro-irrigation for climate risk management and food security in a dry highland village
  3. Ethiopia, Adaptation to climate change using innovative tools to match conserved seed to needs of women farmers
  4. The Gambia, Pro-Millet: Green Shoots for Sub-Saharan Sustainability
  5. Ghana, Small holder-led micro-insurance for Climate Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction
  6. Kenya, Sustainable Rainwater Harvesting Interventions for Climate Change Adaptation in Maasai Mara Ecosystem
  7. Kenya, Photovoltaic Chromatinet Shade Houses & Fog Collectors To Solve Food, Water & Energy Crisis In Arids
  8. Kenya, Establishment of a community cereal bank to mitigate food shortage caused by climate change
  9. Kenya, New partnerships for effective vigilance and response to climate induced risks in plant health
  10. Kenya, Predictive water management tools to help pastoralists access contingency funds and adapt resource usage
  11. Madagascar, Promoting Community Kits for Adapting to Climate Change and Monitoring Impacts
  12. Mozambique, Zero Emission Fridge for Rural Africa (ZEFRA): Low cost post-harvest technologies for rural communities
  13. Nigeria, Climate Change on Air
  14. Rwanda, Adoption of temperate fruit trees to mitigate the effects of climate change in the highland areas
  15. Tanzania, Fishers of the Future: Interactive Radio Drama for Climate Change Adaptation
  16. Uganda, Dissemination of best practices to enhance community adaptation to and mitigate climate change in Uganda
  17. Uganda, Climate neutral farming:Using carbon credits to improve income and sustainability of smallholder farming

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

The support of the FAO to CAADP

Rome, 15 October 2009 — The support and partnership of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations to our work on the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is crucial to our implementation of CAADP said the head of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki during a meeting between NEPAD and FAO.

Speaking at the start of the high-level NEPAD-FAO bilateral discussions, Dr. Mayaki the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NEPAD noted that FAO had a critical role to play in supporting regional and country level CAADP implementation, particularly with regard to the development of investment programmes of those countries that have signed up to the CAADP Compact. The discussions between the two development organizations were focused on defining real concrete avenues and action points for joint cooperation in supporting CAADP implementation.

Dr. Mayaki, led the NEPAD delegation which included Mr. Martin Bwalya, Lead Specialist – Sustainable Land and Water Management / Team Leader – CAADP Implementation Support and Ms. Bibi Giyose, Senior Adviser (Nutrition). The NEPAD delegation held meetings with FAO Director General, Dr. Jacques Diouf and several senior staff led by Mr. J. M. Sumpsi, ADG/TC.

During the meeting, the FAO Director General informed the NEPAD delegation that FAO had secured USD 2.8 Million from the Italian Government to fund its support to CAADP implementation. Under this programme, FAO will support:
  • strengthening of African Union Commission and NEPAD in providing policy guidance to CAADP implementation and
  • selected African countries who have signed the CAADP Compact in formulation of quality investment programmes and alignment of their policies for effective CAADP implementation.

Reference: CAADP Press release 18/10 ‘FAO support is crucial to CAADP implementation’, says Mayaki

African-led Initiative to Bolster Biosafety Regulatory Systems

15 October 2009. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and Michigan State University (MSU) announced a $10.4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to strengthen Africa’s biosafety expertise. This five-year grant follows on a year of collaboration between NEPAD and MSU that established the African Biosafety Network of Expertise (ABNE), a continent-wide, science-based biosafety resource for African regulators.

ABNE will provide regulators access to the most up-to-date training and science-based information to regulate biotechnology, ensuring countries can make informed decisions on how to use these advances while protecting farmers, consumers and the environment. The first ABNE center will be based in Burkina Faso and managed by an African staff that specializes in the environmental, health, legal, and socioeconomic impacts of biotechnology.

ABNE was established by the NEPAD Office of Science and Technology, and has been officially endorsed by the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology (AMCOST) to promote advancement of science and technology for agricultural development in Africa.

ABNE Press release 15/10/09

Improving the assistance for scientists in countries with poor scientific resources

20–23 October 2009. Durban, South Africa. TWAS — the developing world's academy of sciences — is looking to double its endowment fund to support more scientists and researchers in the developing world. The academy, which held its 11th general meeting, said it wants to improve its assistance for scientists in countries with poor scientific resources.

The event was hosted by the Academy of Science and Technology of South Africa and supported by South Africa's Department of Science and Technology. The three-day meeting was highlighted by a series of symposia, ranging from an in-depth look at the state of science and technology in South Africa to an examination of the impact that the global financial crisis is having on investments in science in the developing world.

Jacob Palis, president of TWAS, told some 400 delegates, mostly from the developing world, that the academy hopes to hit a target of US$25 million in the next four years. In his opening address, Palis also said that the academy must continue to participate in discussions about the relationship between science and society — partly through debates on the state of science and technology in Africa.

Palis said the academy would exploit rapidly increasing scientific and technological capacity in Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa by fostering South–South cooperation. He said that although there have been impressive increases in the number of developing world scientists (see Poor countries spending more on science) most success has been in China.
Presentations related to African agriculture:
  • Increasing threats to forest health in South Africa: B. Slippers
  • Exploring the nutritional and functional value of Nile perch processing waste J.H. Muyonga
  • Water challenges in sub-Saharan Africa: towards sustainable solutions: Akiça Bahri
  • The antibacterial bioactivity of some medicinal plans used in reproductive health care from Western Uganda: Kamatenesi-Mugisha
  • Development of nanofiltration membrane from rice husk ash and clay composite for water treatmentE.O. Dare
  • Biotechnology for the production of value-added products from agricultural produceJei-Fu Shaw, Agriculture
TWAS aims to boost its science fund" was first published by SciDev.Net on 21 October 2009. It is republished under a Creative Commons licence.
Science and change in South Africa On the eve of TWAS's 11th General Conference in Durban, Daniel Schaffer, the Academy's public information officer, explored the current state of science in South Africa.

CAADP at the UN General Assembly

20 October 2009. The UN General Assembly held a joint debate on development in Africa, including the progress of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the 2001-2010 Decade to Roll Back Malaria in Developing Countries, particularly Africa.

Before the Assembly was the Secretary-General's seventh consolidated report on the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD): implementation and international support (document A/64/204), which highlights policy measures taken by African countries and organizations to implement the Partnership, including in the areas of: infrastructure, agriculture and food security, health, education and training, environment, information and communications technology, science and technology, gender mainstreaming and the African Peer Review Mechanism.

The report recommends that development partners must align their efforts more specifically towards the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the country round table processes and the compact so that all pillars were funded and recognized as key entry points for genuine internal and external investment. The report states that donors should sustain investments in health and education. Further, aid disbursement had to increase significantly in 2009 and 2010 to maintain commitments to provide to Africa, by 2010, an additional $25 billion in official development assistance annually, at 2004 prices.

Also before the Assembly was the Secretary-General's report titled Africa 's development needs: state of implementation of various commitments, challenges and the way forward (document A/64/208). In it, he assesses how the three crises -- financial and economic, food, and climate change and energy -- now engulfing Africa are impacting the continent's development.

Relief Web 20/10/2009 Assembly President calls for creating environment conducive for United Nations General Assembly 20/10/09 Africa’s long-term socio-economic development, ‘with a sense of urgency backed by concrete actions’

Farmer Voice Radio to Improve Farming Practices in Africa

15 October 2009. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) has created Farmer Voice Radio, a network of radio broadcasters, agricultural experts, and farmers to provide millions of small farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa a broad variety of agriculture-related radio programming.

Supported by a $10 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Farmer Voice Radio will give small farmers access to current information, useful resources, and new farming techniques to help them improve their productivity, livelihoods and well-being over the long-term.
“We are honored to work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on this project, which will benefit so many in Africa by providing farmers with the help they need to improve the productivity of their farms so that those in their communities benefit,” said Sol H. Pelavin, president and CEO of AIR.
To accomplish this Farmer Voice Radio will implement multiple activities, including:
  • Deploy public extension officers in ministries of agriculture to radio stations to help develop programming and content
  • Appoint radio field representatives in communities to deliver onsite reporting and share feedback from farmers
  • Produce local and syndicated content designed to effectively share agricultural knowledge
  • Create a research desk at each station to serve as an information hub for farmer feedback, and station and programming development
  • Engage university radio interns to support Farmer Voice Radio at the station and community levels as an accredited part of their studies
  • Use its network of agricultural experts, including universities, research institutes, ministries of agriculture, and NGOs, to ensure relevant programming content
Through these activities, Farmer Voice Radio aims to build the capacity of radio stations across Africa to serve as an informational resource for small farmers. It also seeks to encourage the participation of farmers through the use of other technologies, such as mobile phones, SMS, and MP3 recorders, so they can obtain the information they need while sharing their concerns and experiences.

2010 FARA Program Planning Week & 5th Executive Board Meeting

25 -31st October 2009. FARA Secretariat. Accra, Ghana. The purpose of 2010 FARA Secretariat Annual Program Planning meetings is to reflect on the outputs and outcomes of the FARA Secretariat’s work in 2009 and to discuss and approve its work programmes and budgets for the year 2010. This Annual Program Planning Meeting has the traditional 3 separate consecutive subcommittee meetings followed by the Board meeting.
  1. The NSFs met in a retreat on 26th October to provide adequate time for in depth discussions on their progress, challenges and work programs of each NSF. There was a parallel session for each NSF in which the respective Resource Person critically reviewed the Functions’ progress, work programs and strategies. The outcome and recommendations from this retreat were presented to the Programme Sub-Committee.
  2. The Programme, Audit and Finance and the Nominations subcommittees will hold their meetings concurrently on the 27th and 28th October.
  3. The SRO-CSO-FARA retreat, scheduled for 29 October will review the Secretariat’s collaborations and working relationships with Sub-Regional Organizations (SROs) and civil society organizations (CSOs).
  4. The Board meeting on 30-31 October will receive the Secretariat’s report on its 2009 achievements and expenditure against planned activities and budgets. It will review and approve the Secretariat’s 2010 work plan and budget based on the recommendations of the Programme Subcommittee.

Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development

To examine past successes in agricultural development and draw out the lessons they offer, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) documented evidence on what works in agriculture—what sorts of policies, programs, and investments in agricultural development have actually reduced hunger and poverty.

The findings and lessons from this report will be shared broadly. The final publications include complete technical background papers, a booklet with summary narratives, and a book with detailed narratives called Millions Fed: Proven Successes in Agricultural Development. All materials will be available from the IFPRI web site on November 12, 2009.

The case studies of success for the Millions Fed project were chosen through a rigorous process that included an open call for nominations, a wide-ranging literature review, an expert opinion poll, and key informant interviews. More than 250 case studies were nominated or identified. Using a comprehensive set of criteria that took into account such issues as scale, time and duration, impact, and sustainability, the project identified 19 proven successes that have had a demonstrated and significant impact on food security and poverty in developing countries.

These successes in developing-country agriculture are rich and diverse in nature. The pathways to success spanned six different areas:
  1. intensifying staple food production;
  2. integrating people and the environment;
  3. expanding the role of markets;
  4. diversifying out of major cereals;
  5. reforming economy-wide policies;
  6. and improving food quality and human nutrition.
Millions Fed: Pathways to Prosperity. This video showcases two successful projects—one in India, another in Africa—that are helping small farmers increase their productivity and incomes, and ultimately providing a path out of hunger and poverty.

Investments in agriculture provide a path for small farmers to prosper; improved seeds, new tools and training, and access to markets can lead to better, healthier lives. Learn about two successful projects—one in Uganda, one in India—that are having a significant impact on farmer productivity and are helping millions lift themselves out of hunger and poverty.

India: Leaving the Plow BehindOver-working of the land in India has led to soil depleted of nutrients. Learn how small farmers are adopting a new method, known as "zero tillage" to help retain nutrients and water, making their farms sustainable for the future.

The Green Revolution changed farmers' lives in India in the 1970s, increasing their crop yield by nearly 70% and allowing farmers to become self-sufficient. Due to over-tilling, however, the soil became depleted of nutrients. Learn how zero-tillage farming methods being used today are helping to retain nutrients and water by decreasing disturbance in the soil.

Uganda: Combating Cassava Mosaic DiseaseCassava has long been a staple crop in Africa, used for both food and income by most poor farmers. Learn how farmers and scientists have worked together to bring it back from the brink of destruction.

When a disease threatened to wipe out a staple crop, researchers and farmers worked together to develop a new variety of cassava that would be able to resist the disease.

Gates Foundation announced nine new projects at World Food Prize event

October 15, 2009. The Gates Foundation used the appearance at the World Food Prize events to announce nine new projects totalling $120 million. The foundation’s new grants include funding for legumes that fix nitrogen in the soil, higher yielding varieties of sorghum and millet, and new varieties of sweet potatoes that resist pests and have a higher vitamin content. Other projects will help the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa support African governments in developing policies that serve small farmers; help get information to farmers by radio and cell phone; support school feeding programs; provide training and resources that African governments can draw on as they regulate biotechnologies; and help women farmers in India manage their land and water resources sustainably. To date, the foundation has committed $1.4 billion to agricultural development efforts.

Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, delivered his first major address on agriculture at the 2009 Borlaug Dialogue. Read the transcript of the speech here.

Following his address, Gates was joined on stage by 2009 World Food Prize Laureate Gebisa Ejeta for a question and answer session focused on agricultural development in Africa.

Washington Post 16/10 Gates's Fields of Dreams
The better breeds of the first green revolution are not as relevant to Africa. "In India and China," says Gates, "corn, wheat and rice are over 80 percent of output. In Africa, these are 40 to 50 percent. There are a ton of other things -- cassava, sorghum, millet." Improving the crops of the poor has not gotten much focus from scientists and agribusiness. In addition, Africa "has more variety of ecosystems -- you see huge variations," which demands more hearty seed varieties of every type. So Gates is attempting to fill a gap -- to encourage both the development of crops ignored by the market economy and the provision of those crops to Africans, royalty-free.

The Guardian 28/10 Climate change will devastate Africa, top UK scientist warns
Professor Sir Gordon Conway, the outgoing chief scientist at the UK's Department for International Development, and former head of the philanthropic Rockefeller Foundation, argued in a new scientific paper (pdf) that the continent is already warming faster than the global average and that people living there can expect more intense droughts, floods and storm surges.

The 2009 Borlaug Dialogue

12 - 17 October 2009. the 2009 Borlaug Dialogue symposium asked experts and decision-makers from around the world how their fields – in policy, industry, science and academia, and development – can ensure adequate access to food and nutrition for, and thus contribute to the security of, all people.

To address that question, several hundred participants representing more than 65 countries – including leading policymakers and diplomats, CEOs and senior private-sector executives, and experts from academia, research, and the development community – engaged in a range of conversations on compelling and critical topics including:

  • Food and agriculture in the context of national and international security
  • Poverty, hunger, and food security in global crisis areas
  • Continuing to address gender in agricultural development
  • Providing nutrition and enhancing health, especially among women and young children
  • New and cutting-edge technological approaches to farming and food
  • Harmonizing organic and sustainable agricultural practices with modern technology and genetics
  • The future of agriculture in an urban, global world
  • Preserving and renewing soil and water resources
  • Prospects for trade in agriculture and food
  • The institutions necessary for a food-secure world
  • Assessing progress in global agriculture and identifying areas for needed investment
On 13th October Seyfu Ketema - Executive Director, ASARECA participated in the Conversation: Trends and threats in global agricultural yields

View Symposium Brochure

2009 World Food Prize winner Gebisa Ejeta. The Ethiopian native's work to develop sorghum hybrids resistant to drought and the devastating Striga weed (witchweed) increased the production and availability of one of the world's five principal grains and enhanced the food supply of millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ejeta has worked to integrate his scientific breakthroughs with farmer education programs and soil and water conservation initiatives and to empower subsistence farmers and promote economic development in rural Africa. Ejeta earned his Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics at Purdue University, where he later became a faculty member and today holds a distinguished professorship. It was during his post-graduate work at the International Crop Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) office in Sudan that he developed his first hybrid sorghum. See: Iowa State University: Lecture: "Revitalizing Agricultural Research for Global Food Security"

Gebisa Ejeta 2009 World Food Prize Laureate

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD)

16th October, 2009. FARA Secretariat. Visit of Representatives of the Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD):
  • Mr. Andrew Manu, AAAPD Vice President from Iowa State University
  • Mr. Samuel Assah, AAAPD - USA Director from Colorado State University
The main objective of this meeting was to introduce the Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD) and to see how the association can partner with FARA to ensure Food Security.

AAAPD is a premier resource network of African agricultural professionals living in the United States and Canada with the mission of promoting sustainable livelihood for Africa’s smallholder farmers and rural sector by improving food security, economic growth and environmental quality and quality of life. AAAPD hopes to achieve this by;
  • Mobilizing and actively stimulating agricultural professionals in the Diaspora
  • Serving as catalysts for technology and information resource development and transfer
  • Providing high impact mentoring programs for young African scientists
  • Promoting and integrating gender perspective in agricultural transformation
  • Advocating for private-public investments in research, education, and training (RET’s)
  • Building bridges in human, technology and information resources to African institutions
Google group of AAAPD: The Association of African Agricultural Professionals in the Diaspora

Friday, 23 October 2009

Africa Talks Clinate Change

22 October Dakar. Les résultats d'un projet de recherche dénommé "Africa talks climate", publiés jeudi à Dakar, Sénégal, par le British Council et la BBC World Service Trust, montrent que la plupart des Africains ne comprennent pas les contours du discours sur le changement climatique dont le continent est pourtant l'une des plus grandes victimes.

Boubacar Fall (ENDA) in behalf of AfricaAdapt makes a presentation on climate change

Il s'agit d'un manque de sensibilisation des populations, de l'absence de connaissances et de compréhension sur le changement climatique, l'absence de clarté dans le discours des leaders d'opinions, des Organisations non-gouvernementales et des gouvernements, la faiblesse des moyens?, souligne le rapport.

L'étude a été menée en République démocratique du Congo (RDC), au Sénégal, en Ethiopie, en Afrique du Sud, au Kenya, au Ghana, au Soudan, en Tanzanie et en Ouganda et a permis des discussions avec plus de 1.000 citoyens et 200 responsables politiques, chefs religieux et membres de la société.

A l'occasion de sa publication, l'ambassadeur de Grande-Bretagne au Sénégal, Christopher Trott, a remis au ministère sénégalais de l'Environnement, une carte mettant en relief l'incidence d'un réchauffement climatique planétaire de 4 degrés Celsius. AfricaAdapt (ENDA et FARA) a participé a cette réunion.

Afrique en ligne 23/10/09 Changement climatique: Les Africains imperméables aux discours
BBC World Service Trust, Policy Briefing October 2009 Africa Talks Climate: exposing the information gap on climate change

Related blog posts:
Climate map shows world after 4C rise

Climate map shows world after 4C rise

Details from a map showing the impact of a global temperature rise of 4C. Photograph: Met Office

22 October. London. A map launched at the Science Museum in London linked to the Science Museum's new climate change exhibit has been developed using the latest peer-reviewed science from the Met Office Hadley Centre and other leading impact scientists. It shows that the land will heat up more quickly than the sea, and high latitudes, particularly the Arctic, will have larger temperature increases.

The map, produced by the Met Office Hadley Centre, is based on temperatures between 2060 and 2100 if current rates of climate change are not slowed. It shows that the rise will not evenly be spread across the globe, with temperature rises much larger than 4C in high latitudes such as the Arctic. Because the sea warms more slowly, average land temperature will increase by 5.5C, which scientists said would shrink agricultural yields for all major cereal crops on all major regions of production.

Watch the video of the launch

Announcement: Marketing of agricultural products through ICT

23-25 November in Ouagadougou. The forum ‘The marketing of agricultural products through ICT’ aims to increase the impact of the lessons learned and build the national network for ICT and development in Burkina Faso. The event is organised by Burkina NTIC, in particular its ICT cluster Agriculture.

The typical method of collecting market price information in Burkina Faso.

The organisers will collect best practice examples of marketing agricultural products through ICT, to understand where the opportunities are and to draw lessons for the future. Best practices will be gathered from Burkina Faso and neighbouring countries.

The forum will bring about 45 participants together from various agricultural institutions in Mali and Burkina Faso, and IICD project partners. Agriterra and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation SDC will also attend, as well as resource people from the SEND foundation in Ghana, IT company Manobi from Senegal, ANOPACI from Ivory Coast, and the regional trade platform ESOKO (TradeNet).

Press release IICD 20/10: Social Network Used to Prepare West African Forum on Agriculture and ICT

Farmers, Literacy and Media: using video for disseminating new technologies among farmers

Here is an example how small videos can be used to disseminate new technologies among farmers:


12 and 13 October. Frankfurt. International LitCam Conference „Literacy and Media“. This year the 4th International LitCam Conference talked about literacy and the importance of the Internet and other electronic means of communications.

During the first conference day, organisations from Nigeria, India, Ireland and Afghanistan presented their projects combining Literacy with media. And there was a panel discussion “Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood and the Telenovelas – their impact on literacy”. See: Programme (Download)


LitCam was launched by the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2006, in partnership with the Bundesverband Alphabetisierung und Grundbildung e.V. and the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. On a national and international level, LitCam provides a platform for organisations involved in literacy campaigns, in basic and media education.

For this, the search engine "Literacy Project" was set up together with Google. The "Literacy Project" supports all those worldwide with an interest in literacy in targeting their search for relevant information.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Comment les paysans du Sud peuvent-ils se nourrir et nourrir le monde

8 octobre, Paris. FARM est intervenue dans le cadre des conférences organisées par l’Entrepôt (Paris XIV). La conférence était consacrée au développement des pays du Sud, et en particulier à leur agriculture : "Comment les paysans du Sud peuvent-ils se nourrir et nourrir le monde ?"

Aider les paysans à produire davantage localement est la meilleure façon de lutter durablement contre la faim. En effet, les paysans sont les premiers à souffrir de ce fléau et ce sont eux qui peuvent nourrir leurs concitoyens. Comment les aider ? Et comment faire face à la crise alimentaire actuelle tout en répondant au défi de demain, nourrir 9 milliards de personnes avec des aliments de qualité en quantité suffisante ? En quoi le contexte actuel et les positions des organisations internationales sont un frein ou au contraire permettent d’accompagner la société civile ?

Ces questions ont été traitées à partir de l’actualité, d’études originales commandées par FARM et d’expériences de terrain.


CABI Global Summit: 'food security in a climate of change'

19-21 October, London. CABI Global Summit: 'food security in a climate of change' . Speaking at a global food summit, organised by the not-for-profit environmental research centre CABI, Professor Beddington - UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, said science will be the only way to feed the world in the future. He said that by 2030 the world will have to produce 50 per cent more food and energy, together with 30 per cent more available fresh water, whilst adapting the floods and drought caused by climate change.
DFID's Chief Scientist Chris Whitty spoke frankly about the challenges and opportunities for food security over the coming decades. The issues surrounding food security are underpinned by a complex interaction of economic volatility, growing populations, and of course the impact of climate change. Linked to the issue of food security are rising food prices driven by the increasing demand for food, rising fuel prices, and inappropriate agricultural policies among other factors.

Visit the website for the CABI Global Summit for more information, including speaker biographies and abstracts.

IFPRI Climate Change and Agriculture Seminar

October 5, 2009, Washington, DC. IFPRI Policy Seminar, "Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change in the Developing World: What will it Cost?"

Agriculture’s vulnerability to climate change will put millions of people in developing countries at greater risk of poverty, hunger, and malnutrition. A new report from the International Food Policy Research Institute, Climate change: Impact on agriculture and costs of adaptation, provides projections for decreased crop yields, higher food prices, and increased child malnutrition by 2050, as compared to a scenario without climate change.

It estimates that an additional US $7-8 billion per year must be invested to increase agricultural productivity to prevent these adverse effects and lays out a series of policy and program recommendations that will enable poor farmers to adapt to climate change.

Introduction to the IFPRI Policy Seminar, "Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change in the Developing World:

Presentation by Gerald Nelson Senior Research Fellow IFPRI

Comments by David Waskow, Director, Climate Change Program, Oxfam America

Question and answer session at the IFPRI Policy Seminar

The African Media Development Initiative

Africa's media has grown widely in the past 5 years.Fostering a stronger media in Africa is an indispensable part of tackling poverty, improving development and enabling Africa to attain its development goals.

The findings of the African Media Development Initiative (AMDI) provide a unique set of insights showing how donors, investors, media and media development organisations can collaborate in supporting and strengthening Africa's media sector.

The Initiative was the most extensive independent survey of the state of the media across 17 sub-Saharan African countries: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. View reports

The study aimed to: assess the key changes and developments in the media sector in Africa over the past five years; to show how training and capacity building activities have contributed to the development of the media; and to identify future actions with the greatest potential impact on the development of the media sector in Africa.

Partners Arising from the 2005 Commission for Africa, the project was delivered by Ahmadu Bello University (Nigeria), BBC World Service Trust, Rhodes University (South Africa) and a network of researchers from 17 African countries.

Who will coordinate the networks of interaction needed for agricultural innovation?

A number of questions remain unanswered when it comes to how everyday innovation capacity
may be improved.

  • How can a production base made up of many farmers organise its demand for
    knowledge, technology and organisational change?
  • What mechanism will facilitate the search for
  • Who will coordinate the networks of interaction needed for innovation?
A recent study by the World Bank (2006) found that even when there were strong market incentives for players to collaborate for innovation, linkage formation was still extremely limited. While this suggests that an important role of public policy should be to promote these linkages, how can this be achieved in practice? Is there a need for an organisation with a brokering role to help coordinate multiple players and facilitate partnerships and linkages? Should this be a private organisation or a public agency?

A UNU-MERIT working paper "concludes that innovation brokerage roles are likely to become relevant in emerging economies and that public or donor investment in innovation brokerage may be needed to overcome inherent tensions regarding the neutrality and funding of such players in the innovation system.

Call for a £2 billion "Grand Challenge" research programme on global food security

The raw statistics are alarming: by 2050 there will be 9 billion people to feed and climate change will make water and land more scarce. A report published on 21st October 2009 by the Royal Society: Reaping the Benefits: Science and the Sustainable Intensification of Global Agriculture highlights these statistics and goes on to recommend an investment of £2 billion publicly funded research on global food security over the next 10 years.

But who is setting the research agenda: farmers or scientists? developed countries or developing countries? rich or poor? public or corporate?

Earlier in 2009 two new books emphasised the importance of putting farmers at the centre of agricultural innovation and development: Farmer First Revisited: Innovation for Agricultural Research and Development and Innovaton Africa: Enriching Farmers’ Livelihoods.

According to a panel at the launch of these two books, farmer centred innovation needs to do four things:
  • Move from an exclusive focus on farmers, farms and technologies to broader innovation systems.
  • Revamp agricultural education systems for a new era.
  • Overhaul incentive and reward systems to put farmers first and promote ‘participatory innovation systems’.
  • Put ‘a politics of demand’ at the centre of a new set of accountability mechanisms for research and development.


European Development Days and the global response to the economic downturn and climate change

22-23 October 2009. Stockholm. Almost 6 000 people participate at the European Development Days, the huge annual event on development and development assistance at Stockholm International Fairs. Delegates from 125 countries are represented, including heads of state and leading world figures, Nobel prizewinners among them.

This year’s EDD, falls one month after the G-20 Leaders meeting in Pittsburgh, two weeks after the IMF-World Bank meeting in Istanbul and six weeks before the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Against this backdrop, the 2009 edition focuses on the global response to the economic downturn and climate change, as well as on the challenges of democracy and development.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberian participated in the high-level roundtables on three topics: Giving Rural Development a Voice; Women and Security; and Media and Development. She also addressed a plenary session on Democracy and Development, the overarching focus of which is Citizenship and Development. Other plenary sessions will deal with the response to the global economic downturn; and climate change: the road to Copenhagen.

CTA is organising a high-level round table on Global land acquisition on 22nd October

Video interview: Mr Stefano Manservisi has been the European Commission’s Director-General for Development since November 2004.

Mr Stefano Manservisi explains the European Development Days (EDD) which is a key European platform for discussion and exchange on global challenges in all key areas – governance, climate change, international finance, trade, food security, water, energy, the role of the media and human and social rights. This forum blend a great diversity of political leaders and parliamentarians, international institutions, local authorities, NGOs, business leaders, academics, researchers, media representatives and the young.


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Africa Alliance of sub-regional Farmer Organizations (AAFO)

8 – 9 October, 2009. Accra, Ghana. Promoting Inclusiveness of Farmers Organizations in
African Agricultural Research Agenda: a FARA –PAFFO (Pan African Farmers Forum) Collaborative Initiative.

In order to further consolidate the achievement recorded by FOs, FARA convened a 2-day multi-stakeholder consultation that aimed to catalyze the participation of FOs in African ARD. During the meeting, stakeholders identified some of the stumbling blocks to FOs’ participation in ARD. These include weak human and institutional capacity, poor governance, poor linkage and access to research outputs and outcomes, and poor market access and infrastructure.
List of participants (excluding FARA):
  1. Dr. Stephen Muchiri, Chief Executive Officer, East African Farmers Federation EAFF, Nairobi
  2. Mr. Ewole Gustave, Chargé de Programme, PROPAC, Cameroon
  3. Mr. Alangeh Romanus Che, Executive Bureau Member, PROPAC, Cameroon
  4. Dr. Ndiogou FALL, President, Réseau des Organisations Paysannes et des Producteurs Agricoles de l’Afrique de l Ouest, ROPPA, Senegal
  5. Dr. Mohamadou MAGHA, Coordinator , Réseau des Organisations Paysannes et des Producteurs Agricoles de l Afrique de l Ouest, ROPPA, Burkina-Faso
  6. Mr. Motsepe Ramotse Donald Matlala, Vice President, SACAU, South Africa
  7. Mr. Benito Odala Eliasi, Capacity Development Advisor, SACAU, South Africa
  8. Mr.Mahaman Bader M.Dioula, Regional Coordinator for Africa, IFAP, France
  9. Mr. Jacques Bonou, Vice President, IFAP, Benin
  10. Dr. Sidi SANYANG , Manager of the Capacity Strengthening and Knowledge Management Programs, CORAF/WECARD, Senegal
  11. Mr. Moses Oremo, Programme Assistant, ASARECA, Uganda
  12. Mrs. Lydia Sasu, National Women’s Leader , F.O.N.G, Ghana
  13. Mr. Max Olupot , Coordinator ASS/ Program Assistant, AFAAS, Uganda
  14. Dr. Clesensio Tizikara, ICART project coordinator, SADC-FANR/ICART, Botswana

Audio files on climate change and agricultural information for community radios in Africa'

Title: Audio files on climate change and agricultural information for community radios in Africa

Community Url:
Community Email:

FARA started an electronic group discussion of 10 days (20/10-30/10/2009). This discussion is to create a forum of interested parties in the topic “the creation of audio files on climate change and agricultural information for community radios in Africa" (CAFCCAICRA).

This platform (like You Tube) is to share radio programmes in Africa on agricultural issues. It follows the discussions held at the CTA 2009 annual meeting, on the Role of Media in Agriculture: 12 - 17th October

The FARA Inventory on Innovative Farmer Advisory Services (June 2009 : 66 pages) concluded that systems which use a voice-platform or audio files provide an innovative and promising entry point to farmer information. Other platforms (SMS and web-based platforms) remain essential to provide a back-end offering more detailed information. But there are two major elements that hinder the wider use of audio files among farmers and farmers’ organizations. These are local & scientific content and adoptable technology.

First beneficiaries: community radios can download pre-recorded audio files (initially in English and French) on a large number of themes related to agriculture and climate adaptation.
  • It is essential to involve with community-based FM Radio Stations and their agricultural programme producers to create question and answer service radio programmes in local languages.
  • Community radio stands out among information and communication technologies (ICTs) in reach and accessibility and is helpful in reducing barriers to price information, etc Secondary beneficiaries: rural actors and farmers need easy and timely information on a large number of themes related to agriculture and climate adaptation.

The discussion proper will be held from 25/10 onwards to allow interested participants to register. It will be followed by 2 face to face meetings (participation is self-sponsored):

  1. Consortium creation + Write shop in Accra 2-3/11 on a Food Security Thematic Programme (FSTP) proposal.
  2. Consortium creation + Write shop (continued) in Nairobi on 4-6/11 (TBC).

What has 1 billion YouTube watchers to do with African Agriculture

Mr. François Stepman is Communication Expert for the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa. He gives an idea of the popularity of ACP agriculture, by presenting some statistics on the number of videos existing on Youtube on this particular topic. Judging by the figures offered by Youtube, the conclusion of our interviewee is that there is a long ways to go towards making agriculture ’sexy’. (Briefing “ACP Rural Development: why Media matters?”: interviews of participants post of 05/11)

He was interviewed during the ACP/EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) international seminar on the "Role of the media in agricultural development in ACP countries” (Central, East, Southern and West Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific). The seminar was held in Brussels, Belgium from 12 to 16 October 2009.

A search on key tags reveals following figures:

  • Total YouTube videos: 2,9 billion
  • Total videos on American portals: 9,5 billion
  • 70 % of the watchers are American
  • 50 % is under 20 age
  • 70% of the online population watches 73 minutes online video/month

How well is African agriculture represented...?

  • 300.000 videos are about Africa
  • 1.560 are about Africa + agriculture
  • CGIAR has 49 videos
  • CTA 22 vides
  • FARA uses with presently some 50 video interviews on line.

Dorienne Rowan Campbell of the Networked Intelligence for Development in Jamaica explained at the CTA conference on Media and Agriculture that NID is using YouTube videos to show farmers innovative climate adaptation techniques!

Video website YouTube revealed on 9th October it had passed a new milestone by serving up over 1 billion video streams a day. The news comes three years to the day that Google bought the hugely popular site for £1bn, at a time when it was only serving 100 million streams a day. According to YouTube statistics the site now provides 42 million video streams every hour or 700,000 every minute. To celebrate the landmark figure the YouTube logo has been altered to reflect the number of videos being watched each day.

Hereunder follows an overview of some powerful YouTube videos which can be used for extension purposes. Click on the title on the video to watch it on You Tube.

Sustainable Agriculture (Part 1) - African film about farming for the environment
Film made of real farmer in the rift valley of Kenya, Africa who is doing small things on his farm to be environmentally friendly and to benefit his crops. Filmed in Swahili with English subtitles.

Sustainable Agriculture (Part 2) - African film about farming for the environment
Film made of real farmer in the rift valley of Kenya, Africa who is doing small things on his farm to be environmentally friendly and to benefit his crops. Filmed in Swahili with English subtitles.

Outsourcing Agriculture to Africa Part 1/2
What is farm outsourcing?
What is new about these investments?

Eritrea - Greening Eritrea (Part 1)
Eritrea's mangroves show way to fight hunger

Eritrea - Greening Eritrea (Part 2)
Eritrea's mangroves show way to fight hunger

How to Feed the Hungry in Africa (bill mollison)
Bill Mollison surveys some of the permaculture projects he helped to establish in Africa. Features include: (a) a grade school with a schoolyard garden that produces food for the children's lunches and provides a tool for teaching the techniques to the students, most of whom come from farming families. (b) an african plant guild (c) compost pile and beekeeping

Restore Africa Part 4a:Irrigation and Farming
Irrigation and Farming methods.

Hope is a precious thing
Take a look inside a Ugandan school where Caritas is helping to teach students sustainable farming practices.

Senegal Agriculture Project
In an effort to stave off malnutrition and help provide food security for villagers in Senegal, Africa, Operation Blessing has launched an agriculture project that is transforming 20 acres of land into a fertile farm. It will also become a training facility where Senegalese from all over the country will be instructed in efficient agricultural methods they can take back to their communities to start similar farms.

Agriculture Training
Agriculture team teaches local villagers how to produce nutritious crops

Farming for a Future.
Alex James, farmer and former Blur band member, travels to Burkina Faso, West Africa with Christian Aid to find out about radical farming techniques developed there to counter the harsh effects of climate change.

Promoting sustainable agriculture in Nigeria: The PROSAB story
This video-zine tells the success story of IITA's PROSAB project - Promoting Sustainable Agriculture in Borno State - a collaboration between IITA and the state government in Northern Nigeria.

Ifijenia Kamtaza - Soya Farmer, Malawi
Armed with the new agriculture techniques she learned from local staff of the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative, Ifijenia Kamtaza, a Malawian soya farmer, is not only improving her harvest and turning more profit - she's helping her whole family. With the money she has earned in the last year, Ifijenia will be able to send her daughter to boarding school and make improvements to her home.

Ghana Rainy Season 2
Agriculture is crucially important for most people in rural Africa. This video shows a number of the farming steps taken to grow yams, cassava and maize in northern Ghana. You can even watch EWB volunteer Nick Jiminez struggle to be a farmer.

Taking The Heat Part 1
Canadian Foodgrains Bank video: African agriculture and climate change

Taking The Heat - Part 2
Canadian Foodgrains Bank video on climate change and African agriculture

Transforming Africa from subsistence to commercial Agriculture

Why NERICA? - Pourquoi NERICA?
The New Rice for Africa (NERICA) is bringing hope to millions of poor people in Africa.
This music video explains it all !

Wala Village
5-day stay in Wala Village, Tolon district, northern Ghana.

The NFU visits Kenya as part of FARM-Africa charity work - voiceover by Countryfile's John Craven
Sarah Whitelock, visited Kenya and saw first-hand how FARM-Africa projects are making a real difference in helping small-scale farming communities produce more food.

Bee Keeping and Sunflower Production
FARM-Africa works with poor African farmers, helping them to produce more food for their families. We want to make sure future generations don't have to depend on handouts of aid.

Increasing Cassava Production
FARM-Africa works with poor African farmers, helping them to produce more food for their families. We want to make sure future generations don't have to depend on handouts of aid

Sweet Potato Project
FARM-Africa works with poor African farmers, helping them to produce more food for their families. We want to make sure future generations don't have to depend on handouts of aid

Programme hatching for improved indigenous chickens
FARM-Africa works with poor African farmers, helping them to produce more food for their families. We want to make sure future generations don't have to depend on handouts of aid.

Bean Rot Control and Management
Food Security agriculture MATF Farmers sustainability environment Africa grassroots outreach nonprofit food crisis

Grains and Legumes
Nestlé implemented a sustainable agriculture strategy to target specific priorities in Central and West Africa.

Miracles with fertilizer microdosing
Applying small amounts of fertilizer with the seed at planting time to improve yield.

Millions Fed: Combating Cassava Mosaic Disease
Cassava has long been a staple crop in Africa, used for both food and income by most poor farmers. Learn how farmers and scientists have worked together to bring it back from the brink of destruction.

Farming in the sand and going solar
Day four: When the desert swallows your farm how do you grow? And how can a light bulb change a family's life? Mary Griffin reports from West Africa.

Sunflower pressing
This video shows Fred Mweetwa explain on how to grow sunflowers and the conditions necessary to do so.

Drip Irrigation Improves Africa Food Production
Farmers across West Africa are improving food production with a low-cost, low-tech method of irrigation that uses gravity to deliver water right where plants need it.

Mobile phone vital for Cameroon farmers
African agriculture is said to have undergone many metamorphoses but the penetration of the mobile phone in that sector is certainly the most revolutionary step ever.

Money From Honey
Polish agriculturalist and beekeeper Stanislaw Gebala came to Africa seven years ago to teach beekeeping to rural farmers.

Interview with Louise Clark about video sharing between farmers in Nigeria
Louise Clark shares an fascinating example how farmers in Africa share videos about agriculture practices such as rice cultivation to gain higher income.

Self Help Africa - an introduction
A short video which shows how Self Help Africa is changing lives in rural Africa.

Cleaning Beans
Masotho woman cleaning beans by pouring them into the wind

South African Farmer on Biotech Corn
A South African small-holder grower, her life was changed when she adopted farming innovations never used before in her community.

Mozambique: Fighting climate change
19 year old Elisa attends an agricultural school in Mumemo, Mozambique; where young people are taught about sustainable agriculture and how to care for the environment

Ox-plough demonstration in Barlonyo, Northern Uganda
Example of bottom-up development project by Action Aid Uganda. Ox-ploughs and oxen are distributed to small-holder farmers, therefore increasing the speed and efficiency with which they can plough the land. The end result is an increase in food production

Maize Innovation in Rwanda: Increasing farmers' livelihoods
Maize innovation Platform celebrates its first birthday in Rwanda's Eastern province. Maize is an important staple crop in Rwanda with the potential for export if production can be significantly increased.

The World Bank - Climate Change - Niger
The desert has been creeping into West Africa's Sahel for the last 30 years. Declining rainfall and overuse has taxed the land and brought drought and famine.

Rapid multiplication of cassava: Part 1 of 2
A training video on rapid multiplication of cassava stem

Rapid multiplication of cassava: Part 2 of 2

A training video on the rapid multiplication of cassava stem

Pump Aid: The Elephant Pump
Pump Aid's Elephant Pump was developed and tested in Zimbabwe by Pump Aid and is based on a 2000 year old Chinese rope-and-washer design. It is cheap, simple and durable. It can be easily constructed from materials available locally and can be maintained by local communities. This clip shows footage of a pump being built and describes the process by which the pump is constructed.