Tuesday, 19 May 2009

World Bank Institute workshop on climate change adaptation in agriculture

The World Bank Institute organised a workshop on climate change adaptation in agriculture that took place from May 19 until May 21 at the Alisa North Ridge Hotel in Accra.

The recently completed World Bank Group’s Strategic Framework on Development and Climate Change emphasizes the need for financial support, knowledge sharing and capacity building as an urgent requirement to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change on development, in particular agriculture.

Given the importance of agriculture for West African economies, the World Bank Institute and its local partners have been discussing a capacity building program that will examine the best way to strengthen knowledge exchange on agricultural approaches of relevance for climate change adaptation.

After a series of videoconferences, e-mail exchanges, it was decided that a face-to-face meeting and further dialogue is needed amongst major stakeholders. The meeting participants included representatives from:
  • Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF)
  • Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)
  • Centre for Arid Zone Studies – Natural Resources (CAZS-NR)
  • Centre de coopération international pour la recherche agronomique et le développement
  • Comité permanent Inter-état de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS)
  • Conférence Internationale des Directeurs et Doyens des Sciences de l’Agriculture et de l’Alimentation (CIDEFA)
  • Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)
  • Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)
  • Hub Rural
  • Institut National de l'Environnement et de la Recherche Agricole, Burkina Faso (INERA)
  • Inter-Réseaux
  • Jade Production (a media organization based in Burkina Faso)
  • National Adaptation Program of Action, Benin
  • Programme National de Gestion des Terroirs / SILEM, Burkina Faso
  • Réseau des Organisations Paysannes et des Producteurs Agricoles d’Afrique de l’Ouest (ROPPA)
  • Réseau International de Formation Agricole et Rural (FAR)
  • Staff from The World Bank Group
  • Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Environment from various countries in the sub-region.
  • Union des Groupements Paysan de Mekhe (UGPM).(CIRAD)
FARA presented the AfricaAdapt activities and the AfricaAdapt video on 20/05: Overcoming barriers to sharing African knowledge for climate change adaptation

Related FARA blogpost:

Launch of the Kenya Agricultural Information Network

14th of May at the KICC, Nairobi, Kenya. The Kenya Agricultural Information Network (KAINet) was officially launched on 14th of May 2009. It was initiated in April 2006 in response to demand from the national and international community to promote information exchange and access among stakeholders in the agricultural sector. KAINet has evolved from the on-going Kenya Pilot AGRIS Project, which aims at building capacities in information management, dissemination and exchange in network members in Kenya.

For the National Agricultural Portal with a repository of agricultural research work under the unmbrella of KAINET, please visit http://www.kainet.or.ke/

In an effort to reach its partners and beneficiaries, KAINet has embarked on a mission to bring the latest information on the ongoing activities both in the field and at the KAINet offices highlighting important issues on agricultural information management in Kenya. The currently published publications can be downloaded through the links below : -

KAINet's ICM Strategies
Institional and National Setup Manual
KAINet's Poster
KAINet's Flyer
KAINet Policy Brief

Related FARA blogpost
13/02/2009 Institution-Based Information Systems Kenya Agricultural Information Network (KAINet) Planning and Strategy Building.

The network was established with financial support from the Department of International Development (DFID) through Food and Agriculture organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and has been implemented through collaboration between the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), Association for Strengthening Research in Agriculture in East and Central Africa (ASARECA, CAB International and KARI.

The KAINet is currently hosted by KARI. Its initial participating institutions are universities, research institutions, and Government ministries represented by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and Ministry of Agriculture (MoA). More institutions are expected join the network when KAINet is rolled out.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Agriculture for Africa's shift to a Green Economy

Daniele Govannucci, Expert, Asad Naqvi, UNEP, Ibrahim Thiaw, UNEP, Josue Dione, UNECA, Timothy Lasalle, Rodale Institute, and John Shilling, Millennium Institute.

8th of May 2009. Side Event: Agriculture for Africa's Shift to a Green Economy, organized by UNEP at the Seventeenth Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 17) 4 - 15 May 2009 UN Headquarters, New York, US.
The Commission’s seventeenth session attempts to chart a sustainable course of action to strengthen long-neglected agricultural sectors and ensure that more food could be grown in a smarter and greener way, especially in Africa. Building on the outcomes of its sixteenth session, the Commission will discuss and ultimately adopt a series of policy recommendations to guide agricultural development, along with measures to address drought, desertification, land use, rural development, and sustainable development in Africa.
The Secretary-General’s report on policy options and actions for expediting progress in implementation: agriculture (document E/CN.17/2009/3) stresses that targeted investments will also be needed to bridge the gaps in agricultural research and technology transfer, and both public and private investments in the agriculture sector will have to increase significantly.
The report on Africa (document E/CN.17/2009/8) examines policy options and practical measures to expedite implementation of those actions identified in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation for the promotion of sustainable development on that continent.

NSF 2 Stakeholder consultation

Knowing the importance of access to knowledge and technologies, the challenges of measuring impact of its interventions are also enormous.

The aim of the NSF 2 Stakeholder consultation taking place at the FARA Secretariat in Accra from 11th till 14th of May is to refine the present NSF2 outcome mapping tables and to enhance understanding and use of the Outcome Mapping approach to planning, monitoring and evaluation, which will shape the overall NSF2 strategy and hence ensure the effective implementation of RAILS and DONATA.

Key objectives are to:

  1. To consolidate the RAILS and DONATA activities into a cohesive program based on available resoues and progress made
  2. Enable the participants to use Outcome Mapping as a planning, monitoring and evaluation tool especially in implementing and measuring impact of the two projectsComplete/modify/improve/complement NSF2’s planning, monitoring and evaluation framework that feeds into the overall NSF2 strategy.

Zubeda Mduruma

Stephen Muchiri

Roger Gomkoudougou Zangré
DONATA Resource Person
Burkina faso

Mohamed A. Sanoh

National Agricultural Research Coordinating Council
Sierra Leone
Patrick Maina
KARI - Kenya

Nodumo Dhlamini
Program Manager (ICT)
Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM)

Emmanuel Mbemba
CNDIST - Congo Brazza

Margaret MacEwan

Marc Bernard
ISICAD - Germany

Lydia Kimenye

Kedro Diomande
Cote d'Ivoire
Africa Rice Centre-WARDA

Joel Sam

Jocelin Makoko

Jacqueline Nnam
Knowledge Sharing Officer
AfricaAdapt Kenya

George Muluh
CORAF Senegal

Francois Stepman

Francine Rasolofonirina
Ministry of Agriculture-Livestock and fisheries

Sierra Leone
Stev Mapangou Divassa
Congo Braza
Dady Demby
FARA - Ghana
Extension Methodologies and Systems, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Department of Agricultural Extension Services Malawi
CNRA - Cote d'Ivoire
Sylvester Baguma
National Agricultural Research Organization Council (NARO)

Anabela Manhica
Alioune Mbow Gorgui
Sidi Sanyang

Burkina Faso

Daniel Mwesige

Susan Mathai
Measure Africa
Edward Ontita
Measure Africa

IST-Africa 2009 Conference & Exhibition

Hosted by Government of Uganda through the Ministry of ICT, IST-Africa 2009 Conference & Exhibition took place 06 - 08 May 2009 in Kampala, Uganda.

Part of the IST-Africa Initiative, which is supported by the European Commission under the ICT Theme of Framework Programme 7 (FP7), IST-Africa 2009 is the fourth in an Annual Conference Series which brings together senior representatives from leading commercial, government & research organisations across Africa and from Europe, to bridge the Digital Divide by sharing knowledge, experience, lessons learnt and good practice and discussing policy related issues.

FARA presented a paper on Innovative farmer advisory services during the session on AFRIFITA - The Global Strategy for Africa in IT Deployment in Rural Areas.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Overcoming barriers to sharing African knowledge for climate change adaptation

4 May 2009. African experiences, research and innovations that could help vulnerable communities to adapt to climate change are rarely well disseminated across the continent.

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) has teamed up with Environment and Development in the Third World (ENDA-TM); IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) to launch on 4th May the internet platform AfricaAdapt, a network that will ensure African knowledge on climate change adaptation is effectively gathered and shared.

AfricaAdapt is the first network focused on sharing African knowledge on climate change adaptation. It will offer African researchers, practitioners, local communities and policymakers an innovative combination of services and activities to overcome linguistic and geographical barriers to sharing their adaptation knowledge across the continent.

The network is funded through the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Climate Change Adaptation in Africa programme.

What does AfricaAdapt offer?
AfricaAdapt’s interactive website, face-to-face events, specialised radio broadcasts and support for innovation will facilitate the sharing of new and traditional African knowledge on adaptation. The website will connect users according to their areas of interest and their activities bringing communities of practice together whilst meeting their information needs with tailored products. Members can sign up to updates on projects, themes, and events and receive them through email, newsletters or automatic newsfeeds.

Face-to-face fora, and local radio programmes will be used to reach out to local communities and ensure that their own knowledge and experiences are shared with others working to address climate change impacts in Africa. Media have a key role to play in facilitating the sharing of knowledge on climate change and AfricaAdapt will work with community-based radios and seek opportunities to collaborate with journalists across the region.

Related Video

AfricaAdapt Intro Video (English Version) from HabitatSeven on Vimeo.

Vidéo d'introduction pour AfricaAdapt from HabitatSeven on Vimeo.

Also the UN has plans to launch a similar information platform: Global Climate Change Adaptation network for Africa. See Network to combat climate change impacts on Africa set to be launched

Related video from IFPRI:
Gerald Nelson, Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, discusses agriculture and climate change. Recorded March 30, 2009.

Monday, 4 May 2009

The AU Agriculture Conference

Ministers of agriculture articulated the major agricultural issues at AU Ministerial Conference which took place 22-24 April, 2009 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The host Minister, Honourable Tafera, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development for the Federal Republic of Ethiopia opened the meeting calling on all cooperating partners to support Africa's development efforts under the CAADP agenda.

Africa's lead donors attending the meeting include JICA, The World Bank, EU, DfiD, FAO, WFP, IFAD and AGRA. Others present are AfDB, Global Donor Platform, the UN High Level Task Force on Food Security and UNECA.

Sierra Leone's Minister of Agriculture, Honourable Sessay, gave a moving outline of Africa's vast water and land resources and stressed that if the continent focused strongly on the disciplined planning process under CAADP, there is no doubt, the continent will overcome its developmental obstacles.

Libyan Minister of Agriculture is chairing the AU Ministerial Session on Agriculture which is on the theme "investing in agriculture for economic growth and food security" and tackling the key issues of climate change, livestock development, land policies, food security, agricultural finance and the overall status of CAADP implementation.

The decisions of the Ministers in Addis will form the main materials for the consideration of the AU Heads of State Summit in June/July, 2009.

During the meeting, COMESA Senior Agricultural Advisor Dr Cris Muyunda held sessions with several COMESA Ministers among them Honourable Joseph Made Minister of Agriculture from Zimbabwe who reconfirmed that country’s readiness to host the COMESA Agriculture Meetings from May 11-15, 2009 in Harare.

Dr. Muyunda also met Honourable Amin Abaza Minister of Agriculture from Egypt who reiterated his readiness to host the 2nd Joint COMESA Agricultural/Environment Ministers Meeting in Cairo from 15-16 August, 2009.

Meanwhile, the Head of Malawi Delegation Dr. Daudi Yamba has confirmed that the Malawi CAADP Compact has been approved by the Malawian Cabinet. This brings to two, after Rwanda the number of CAADP Compacts concluded in the COMESA bloc. COMESA is now way ahead of all Regional Economic Communities on the continent in concluding CAADP compacts.

All going according to plan, COMESA should have three compacts by the time of the COMESA Summit in June this year.

04/05 COMESA Ministers Articulate Agricultural Issues at the AU Agriculture Conference

Strengthening capacity for safe biotechnology management is sub-Sahara Africa

29th April 2009. Nairobi, ILRI. The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) andThe Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) have signed an agreement to strengthen the capacity for safe biotechnology management in Sub‐Saharan Africa. 

This is a 3‐year project (2009‐2011) for a total investment of $1,265,565 to be managed by FARA and implemented by the Sub‐Regional Organisations (SROs) and the National Agricultural Research System (NARS) in six countries in Sub‐Saharan Africa: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by Dr. Wilson Songa, Agriculture Secretary to the Kenya Ministry of Agric., Dr. Carlos Sere, ED ILRI, Dr. Segenet Kelemu, Director of BecA-ILRI Hub in the presence of all the participants of the BecA-SFSA conference. There was a lot of interest in the project as it was considered timely for countries about to start handling of GM products.

Press Release Syngenta
Kenya: BecA-ILRI Hub - Syngenta Foundation Conference
“From technology to product development for the African farmer”. April 29, 2009, ILRI Campus, Nairobi Read Conference Program

Saturday, 2 May 2009

SCARDA as an action research project

Adipala Ekwamu of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) compares the SCARDA project to an action research project. Several ways of dealing with change inside the agricultural research departments all over the continent need to me explored, documented and compared. He commends the evaluation of DfID but an evaluator can not be an expert in everything. The importance of documenting change processes can not be underestimated. It is not a once in a while activity but needs to be tracked on a day to day basis.

Going beyound the assessment of agricultural research institutes

Interviewed during the SCARDA (Strenghtening Capacity for Agricultural Research for Development in Africa) Regional Programme-wide Strategies and Learning Workshop (Accra, FARA Secretariat 27th-30th April), Mick Mwala recognizes the value of the initial institutional analysis. But the DfID evaluator was right to question the quality of those initial assessments because it did not capture well the relations with the other departments inside the University of Zambia nor the relations with other research and capacity building institutes at the national level. He trusts the continent wide network of African agricultural research institutes will survive well after the DfID support to SCARDA.

The failure to network accross the African continent

Interviewed during the SCARDA (Strenghtening Capacity for Agricultural Research for Development in Africa) Regional Programme-wide Strategies and Learning Workshop (Accra, FARA Secretariat 27th-30th April), Rory Hillocks explains how the SCARDA prgram has managed to overcome the failure to network accross the African continent for increased capacity building in agricultural research for development. But institutional change is a long term process which requires a commitment for 10 years. a) SCARDA started with scoping studies which were a kind of needs assessment. b) It was followed by a more in depth institutional analysis: how does research meets clients' demand? c)The next phase will have to deeped the institutional change and have it absorbed inside the focal agricultural research institutions and broaden the links with the research partners: the capacity building, the research, the extension and all the stakeholders through-out the agricultural commodity chain.

Friday, 1 May 2009

What are the major benefits of the SCARDA project?

Dr. Stella Ennin (Deputy Director of the Crop Research Institute in Kumasi) sees a lot of - albeit not always intended - benefits related to the many activities of the project on Strenghtening Capacity in Agricultural Research for Development in Africa (SCARDA). The institutional analysis has forced CRI to think critically on a number of problems and CRI did not wait for SCARDA to start to come up with solutions. The possibility of continental networking is one of the major benefits: information exchange can now be more personal with other ARD actors on the continent which were previously not known. Project reporting should be able to capture unintended benefits like email exchange between the SCARDA partners on other funding opportunities. Dr. Stella Ennin heard of the African Women in Agricultural Research for Development (AWARD) program thanks to SCARDA information exchange and finally 3 CRI students benefited from this program. The SCARDA network has also given Dr. Ennin the opportunity to write and submit a research paper.

Should FARA respond to the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development report?

The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development (IAASTD) looks realistically at how we could effectively use agriculture/AKST to help us meet development and sustainability goals.

An unprecedented three-year collaborative effort, the IAASTD involved more than 400 authors in 110 countries and cost more than $11 million. It reports on the advances and setbacks of the past fifty years and offers options for the next fifty years.

The results of the project are contained in seven reports: a Global Report, five regional Sub-Global Assessments, and a Synthesis Report. The Global Report gives the key findings of the Assessment, and the five Sub-Global Assessments address regional challenges. The volumes present options for action. All of the reports have been extensively peer-reviewed by governments and experts and all have been approved by a panel of participating governments. The Sub-Global Assessments all utilize a similar and consistent framework: examining and reporting on the impacts of AKST on hunger, poverty, nutrition, human health, and environmental/social sustainability.

The five Sub-Global Assessments cover the following regions:
Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA)
East and South Asia and the Pacific (ESAP)
Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)
North America and Europe (NAE)
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)

The IAASTD was initiated by the World Bank and the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, with support from the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and other sponsors. Its goal is to analyze the potential of agricultural knowledge, science, and technology (AKST) for reducing hunger and poverty, improving rural livelihoods, and working toward environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable development.

Paperback: 153 pages
Publisher: Island Press; 1 edition (January 31, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1597265411
ISBN-13: 978-1597265416

Interviewed during the SCARDA (Strenghtening Capacity for Agricultural Research for Development in Africa) Regional Programme-wide Strategies and Learning Workshop (Accra, FARA Secretariat 27th-30th April), Joe Taabazuing - Management Consultant of the Ghana Institute of Management & Public Administration GIMPA - thinks FARA should give a reply to the latest report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge and Technology for Development (IAASTD). The IAASTD Volume V - Sub Saharan Africa is called: Agriculture at a crossroads. Joe Taabazuing was one of the many contributors. The report was launched during a debate at UNEP in Nairobi on 20/04 and will be launched in Accra/Ghana on 29th of May. He says that for traditional agricultural research scientists in Africa some of the statements might appear controversial.