Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Farmer community content for local radios

Peter and his team have been engaging directly with the farming community around Nakaseke (Uganda). Local Content is central to the work of the radio team. In this video Peter and his colleague, Jimmy Ssenabulya describe how they work with local farmers to gather relevant content and share it through the radio. They also confirm how difficult it is to use some external content and how information from trusted sources has greater impact.


A Local Content workshop in Brussels is planned for 8th and 9th October 2009. The overall aim is identify and publicise Local Content work that is going on, to raise awareness about its importance and to try and re-energise the interest of the mainstream development community, including the larger international NGOs and donors. Objective of the workshop:

  • to gather and record information, stories and learning about Local Content work that is happening in Africa
  • to talk about how we can promote that work and how it can link into the Knowledge Sharing work of organisations working across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • looking at the traffic of ideas from Local to Global, what happens to the ideas and relationships that sustain learning knowledge sharing at local levels when they connect to Global organisations and networks

This Local Content workshop is linked to a larger workshop happening also in Brussels from the 6th – 8th October organised by the Knowledge Management for Development (KM4Dev) community. KM4Dev is a community of international development practitioners who are interested in knowledge management and knowledge sharing issues and approaches. The main communication channel is the KM4dev email Dgroup, which has over 850 registered members. The community began in 2000 and since then has developed together a wealth of good practice and experience, a lot of which is stored in the KM4Dev wiki. Its richest resource, though, is the people in the community, many of whom have worked together and built relationships in that time. The quality of the discussion in the group is always high, people offer advice and discuss new ideas and there is an enormous store of experience and connections to draw on for people working in the field.

Knowledge Sharing local and global: workshops in October

Opportunities and challenges for SMEs in agriculture in Africa

23rd September 2009. The 13th Brussels Development Briefing took place in Brussels (European Commission, Centre Borschette) on “Upgrading to compete in a globalised world: What opportunities and challenges for SMEs in agriculture in ACP countries?”.

This Briefing examined the effects of the financial and food crisis on enterprises in developing countries and also the opportunities this can provide to link local SMEs to global economies. Experts also discussed investment programmes needed to support SMEs in order to promote growth and investments, upgrade and upscale SMEs to reach regional and exports markets. Moreover this session shared concrete examples of SMEs being successful by boosting innovation and technology, processing, value-addition, infrastructure upgrading.

  • Provide equity capital and matching grants in agricultural investments to support agro-industries: the case of the African Agricultural Fund (AAF), Vincenzo Galastro, IFAD [Executive Summary] [Presentation]
  • Private sector investments in Africa’s rural areas: the case of the AECF, André Dellevoet, Executive Manager, Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, Kenya [Executive Summary] [Presentation]
  • Experiences from the private sector: scope and need for upgrading, Hasit Shah (SUNRIPE, Kenya) [Executive Summary] [Presentation] , Juliette M. Newell (Tijule Company Ltd, Jamaica) [Presentation] , Denis Noel (Noelville Ltd, Grenada) [Executive Summary] [Presentation]

First global scientific conference supporting UN efforts to curb desertification

21 September - 2 October 2009 Buenos Aires, Argentina. Scientists gather in Buenos Aires to find a way forward for agriculture in vast dry areas, where the poor are most vulnerable to land degradation and climate change.

The desertification-climate change nexus are a key topic of discussion at this global scientific conference, the first such event to be held in support of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Organized by the Dryland Science for Development (DSD) Consortium, the event (titled "Understanding Desertification and Land Degradation Trends") is being held in connection with the Ninth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP9) to the UNCCD.

The Conference highlights the importance of developing and implementing science-based methods for monitoring and assessing land degradation and underlines the need for a holistic approach to understanding and overcoming the devastating impact of desertification.

Drylands comprise more than 40 percent of global land area and are home to nearly 35 percent of its people, according to a white paper prepared for the UNCCD conference. As much as 20 percent of this land has already been affected by desertification, defined as land degradation (that is, loss of the land's productive capacity), caused by a combination of human activity and climate conditions.

"The fragile ecosystems of the dry areas are highly vulnerable to land degradation and desertification. Farmers in these areas already face harsh and variable weather and limited resources," added Mahmoud Solh, Director General of the CGIAR-supported International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and Chair of the DSD Consortium. "We must clearly demonstrate progress in helping them deal with those limitations of today, if they are to have any hope of adapting to climate change tomorrow."

Martin Bwalya, NEPAD Secretariat, introduced the session of WGIII “Knowledge, management, institutions and economics.”

For more information, please visit:

ClimateVoice bloggers

International aid agency Oxfam launched ClimateVoice last week, bringing bloggers from around the world to New York for the high level climate summit at the United Nations, Clinton Global Iniative, Climate Week NYC events.

The Climate Voice project, - which part of the VoiceProject, was run in partnership with the UN Foundation, has attracted bloggers from highly trafficked environmental blogs like and to rising voices like Stephane Ramananiviro from Madagascar and New Yorker and Internet darling Julia Allison. They will be accredited to the climate summit as journalists, and will have the same access to presidents, prime ministers and business leaders as the rest of the press corps.

“As 100 heads of state head to the UN, bloggers will be there,” said Karina Brisby, Oxfam’s head of digital media. “Oxfam believes that empowering people to engage and take action is a vital part of making change happen. Blogging and social media tools are right at the heart of getting people involved in holding their leaders to account.”
The Voice project was founded by Oxfam to help new media voices gain access to international meetings and decision makers and to bring attention to climate change in the United States and beyond. The project will act as a hub for online reporting, from on-the-ground dispatches to digital media centers, from live video and twitter streams to aggregated blog feeds. The first VoiceProject event was the G20Voice at the London summit where 50 bloggers around the world gained access.

Support for the project came from and who are providing the tools to spread the coverage of the Voice project bloggers even further. Visit to see the coverage


For two years now Foko has been training journalists, activists, environmentalists, and everyday citizens in Madagascar how to use new media tools to spread greater awareness and provoke discussion about various social campaigns and causes.

As Foko co-founder Joan Razafimaharo recounts on the Foko project blog, their efforts have led to international recognition - both in some of the largest media outlets and also in the form of invitations to major international conferences on development, poverty, and the environment.

DatAgro: Increase the quantity and quality of data available for agriculture in Africa, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization has extensive relevant experience in mobile phone based applications like DatAagro. Since 2003, has been dedicated to creating sustainable open source mobile data products to benefit the world’s most needy populations. Driven by the desire to increase the quantity and quality of data available for public benefit use worldwide, and thereby to positively impact development countries, develops sustainable mobile information technologies, using handheld computers, mobile phones, the internet, and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to ensure that information can be easily captured and then analyzed for use in developing countries where sustained data collection is normally difficult and, therefore, rarely practiced.'s premier product is the award-winning EpiSurveyor, a free, open-source software suite which makes it "ridiculously simple" to collect data using handheld computers and cellphones. A winner of the World Bank's Development Marketplace Competition, and funded by the UN Foundation, and the Vodafone Group Foundation, EpiSurveyor was developed in Kenya and the USA and has now been adopted by World Health Organization as a standard for data collection in sub-Saharan Africa. Though EpiSurveyor was originally developed for use with handheld computers, it has been adapted for use by cellphones to further streamline the data collection process. believes that programs like EpiSurveyor, and now DatAgro, which leverage innovative, open-source software to communicate via geometrically-expanding mobile computing networks, have the ability to radically improve the way in which information technologies contribute to developing countries by putting the tools for efficient communication, data collection and analysis into the hands of developing country practitioners themselves, and by eliminating the dependence on expensive international consultants.

Africa’s Development in a Changing Climate

15 September 2009. In step with the Nairobi launch of the World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change, the World Bank issued a news release focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa , as well as a policy booklet containing the main messages of the report for Africa and elements from the World Bank’s climate change strategy in this region.

The booklet draws attention to the urgent need to tackle the varied impacts of climate change on Africa’s agriculture, forests, food security, energy, water, infrastructure, health, and education. The continent’s natural fragility means that changes in rainfall patterns, increased droughts and floods, and sea level rise are already causing damage and affecting people’s lives.
The report - World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change - which is the latest in the World Bank’s long-running series on development, emphasizes that developing countries are the most vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change.
  • In fact, they face 75 to 80 percent of the potential damage from climate change.
  • The latest and best scientific evidence tells us that at global warming of more than 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures—an increase that will be extremely difficult to avoid—more than a billion people could face water scarcity, 15 to 30 percent of species worldwide could be doomed to extinction, and hunger will rise, particularly in tropical countries.
  • So it’s overwhelmingly clear that developing countries need help to cope with these potential impacts, even as they strive to reduce poverty faster and deliver access to energy and water for all.
After more than a year of research, consultation, and writing, the “pre-press” version of the report: World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change is now available on the World Bank website. While the printed books won’t be ready until the end of October, the advance files (subject to correction and change) are (in different languages)

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

FARA GA 2010 Preparations

24-25 Sept 09, Ougadougou, Burkina Faso. In preparations for the African Agriculture Science Week and FARA General Assembly, an international organization committee appointed by the FARA Board visited Burkina Faso together with the FARA Secretariat Taskforce. Preparations are progressing together with the national organizing committee. The Government of Burkina Faso, is highly involved.

National Organizing Committee (NOC) and International Organizing Committee (IOC) members consultation on the program of preparations. they endorsed the theme, subtheme, speakers, program of the week and communication strategy.

IOC with the Minister of Agriculture, Hydraulics and water resources (Laurent Sedogo) and Deputy Minister of Education, Science and Technology (Maxime Some). IOC is chaired by the FARA Chair, Dennis Kyetere, members are Paco Sereme, Sylvie Mbog (representing Tiemoko Yo), Desire Porquet, Chermiti Amor (absent) and Monty Jones. FARA Secretariat Taskforce is led by Monty Jones, members: Myra Wopereis, Adewale Adekunle, Aggrey Agumya and Emily Nwankwo.

Friday, 25 September 2009

'Farming First' in Mozambique: Lessons for African Agriculture and Food Security

Two experts on African agricultural development visited farms in Mozambique ahead of the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh.

In this video, Dr. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda, CEO of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), and Dr. Julie Howard, Executive Director of the Partnership to End Hunger and Poverty in Africa, listen to farmers and translate their concerns to the rest of the world.

Policymakers must target development aid in such a way that it captures agriculture's true contribution to the economy. Aid should also aim to build long-term, sustainable growth and improved rural livelihoods.

The Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa will organise a special symposium at the World Food Prize to mark the launch of the Partnership's flagship publication on US assistance to African agriculture. "Supporting Africa's Strategy for Reducing Rural Poverty" is the second report in our series, updating the Partnership's 2005 report, "Investing in Africa's Future: U.S. Agricultural Development Assistance for Sub-Saharan Africa."

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

15th Annual Meeting of the Neuchâtel Initiative

18 - 22 September 2009. The 15th Annual meeting of the Neuchâtel Initiative (NI) was held near Assisi, Italy.

The meeting was organized by the Research and Extension Division of the FAO. The Objectives of the NI meeting were:
  • Review the process of the MOAAS proposal
  • Review the role and coordination needs in extension to deliver development impacts at scale in the new framework of Agricultural Research and Development (input to GCARD, March 2010
  • Evolution of NI: Towards a Global Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (GFAAS)
  • Elaborate a joint program for 2010
  • Exchange, learn and network A preparatory meeting took place in Steinfurth/Germany on 23 and 24 July 2009 to discuss a renewed international effort to promote a global think tank for agricultural advisory services (AAS).

Following organizations were involved: African Forum of Agricultural advisory Services (AFAAS), Swiss Association for the Development of Agriculture and Rural Areas Agridea, Danish Agricultural Advisory Services (DAAS), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR), German Development Cooperation GTZ, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and the World Bank.


Paul Van Mele works for CGIAR as a program leader on learning and innovation systems. His great passion (apart from rice, the value chain he directly works in all throughout west africa) is new media for extension services. He has been studying the possibility to offer effective radio and video extension, based on farmer to farmer exchanges. The videos are being translatetd into local languages and showed on market days after a radio broadcast has advertized for them.His main challenges: media people don't really have incentive to cover farmer innovation stories. They're not hot and juicy news like a car accident would be. So they ask for money to record things, and that slows down the diffusion process...

Max Olupot works for AFAAS, the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services. It's basically a network of African practitionners of extension services to farmers. It's really exciting, because to my knowledge, all those networks so far have been western driven and donor "stirred". This one isn't! The guy is amazing, a great listener, and has shown tremendous tenacity. It's been 3 years that the funding they have been promised by the european union should have come through and every month it's going to be next month. They are setting up country chapters where information and best practices on AAS will be shared. It's an initiative that ties nicely into what Sarah and I are doing in our respective strategies. So we've made contact with him and said we'd do our part to make it happen in Ghana and Burkina!

FP7 Info Days

18 September. The DG RTD of the European Commission has published end of July 2009 the Call FP7-AFRICA-2010 which is implemented jointly by the Themes: ‘Health’, ‘Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology’ and ‘Environment'. This call will fund projects aimed at enhancing African socio-economic development and capacity building.

In order to promote FP7-AFRICA-2010, sub-regional Info Days were organized in Accra, Dakar and Lusaka, simultaneously with the info day in Brussels on 18/09.

The meeting at FARA Accra gathered some 17 participants from Ghana (mainly research scientists and the meeting at CORAF Dakar gathered

The participants of both meetings watched the video of EU Commissioner Dr. Potočnik on YouTube.

Wisdom Amoa-Awua of the Food Research Institute/Ghana shared his experience about collaborating in a FP7 proposal. The Food Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is part of the consortium of a promising FP7 project called: African Food Tradition Revisited by Research (KBBE-2009-2-3-02).

FP7 Africa Call.

Related FARA blog postings:
Recent visit of EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik to Ethiopia and Kenya AU honours first African women scientific research...
EU Commissioner Potočnik gives a boost to the EU-Africa...
Announcement: FP7 Africa Call Information days

Policy Coherence in the application of ICT4Dev

10-Sep-2009 to 11-Sep-2009. Paris. Information communication technologies (ICTs) are crucial to reducing poverty, improving access to health and education services and creating new sources of income and employment for the poor. But there are substantial discrepancies in access to ICTs between, but also within, countries, depending on key factors such as gender, rural coverage, skills and educational levels.

This workshop, organised jointly by the World Bank/infoDev and the OECD, aimed to share best practices in coherent approaches to meeting development objectives laid out by Ministers.

ICT4D – the application of information and communication technologies for international development – is moving to a new phase. This will require new technologies, new approaches to innovation and implementation, new intellectual perspectives and, above all, a new view of the world's poor. All these must be understood if we are to harness digital technologies in the service of some of our world's most pressing problems.


Monday, 14 September 2009

Seed variety loss seen hampering climate response

8-10 Sept 2009, Rome. Farmers in developing countries are losing traditional varieties because of growing corporate control of the seeds they plant, hampering their ability to cope with climate change, a London-based think tank said.

The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) said in a report that the diversity of traditional seed varieties is falling fast and this means valuable traits such as drought and pest resistance could be lost forever. The report was issued ahead of the World Seed Conference at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome. The World Seed Conference was intended to raise awareness of the importance of new plant varieties and high quality seed in this context and considers how governments can develop an enabling environment to encourage plant breeding and the production and distribution of high quality seed.

IIED partner organisations in China, India, Kenya and Peru participated in the research behind the report.The report said an international tready on the protection of new varieties of plants -- known as UPOV -- protects the profits of private corporations but fails to recognise and protect the rights and knowledge of poor farmers.

"Western governments and the seed industry want to upgrade the UPOV convention to provide stricter exclusive rights to commercial plant breeders. This will further undermine the rights of farmers and promote the loss of seed diversity that poor communities depend on for their resilience to changing climatic conditions." said project leader Krystyna Swiderska of IIED

Contributions from African researhers:



Radio programme on African Indigenous vegetables

Africa has hundreds of indigenous vegetables, which have been grown, gathered and eaten for centuries. But in the past half century 'exotic' imports have started to displace them; the likes of cabbage, kale and carrots were associated with being more developed, and cosmopolitan, while the traditional foods became food for the poor.
(Photo courtesy of Enoch Achigan Dako, Institut National des Recherches Agricoles du Benin)
So does it matter? Aren't all vegetables healthy? Sheila Dillon of the BBC looks at a project run by Bioversity International in Kenya to increase the availability and consumption of Africa's indigenous green leafy vegetables. She finds out what role many people believe they can play in solving some of the continent's most pressing problems, including malnutrition and crop failures due to global warming.

Sheila is joined in discussion by Pablo Eyzaguirre, senior scientist at Bioversity International, which is carrying out work in Kenya and around the world promoting biodiversity of agriculture and diet, and Dr Einir M Young, head of sustainable development at the the Welsh Institute for Natural Resources at Bangor University, which is involved in the production of the recently-published African Indigenous Vegetables in Urban Agriculture.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

OBITUARY: Norman Borlaug dies at 95

13 September 2009. Norman Borlaug, the father of the "Green Revolution" who is widely credited with saving more than a billion lives by breeding wheat, rice and other crops that brought agricultural self-sufficiency to developing countries around the world, died Saturday 12th September in Texas. He was 95.

FARA and Dr. Monty Jones wishes to express their deepest gratitude.

All of us who are left on this crowded planet, and generations yet to come, have reason to be grateful to Norman Borlaug. By his own work, and by the inspiration he gave to so many others, he improved the lives of everyone. Agriculturalists will forever be aware that we could and should achieve so much more and that our determination to do what needs to be done must not be overcome by fear of controversy.

Norman Borlaug in his Nobel acceptance speech taught us that honours should be accepted with humility and in the understanding that they carry with them even greater responsibility to lead by example. Those of us who were privileged to meet him in his later years can testify that he never wavered from meeting that responsibility and to the effectiveness of his unfaltering advocacy for the causes he believed in.

On behalf of all African and non-African stakeholders in African agricultural research and development, and on my personal behalf, I ask his family and friends and the people of the United States of America to accept our condolences and thanks for a life well lived. We will be forever grateful.

Monty Jones
Monty Jones, PhD, DSc; 2004 World Food Prize Laureate

Norman Borlaug, the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, looks over some sorghum tests in this 1996 file photo taken in a Texas A&M University greenhouse in College Station, Texas. (Bill Meeks, Associated Press / October 30, 1996)

BBC news 13 Sept 2009 Agriculture pioneer Borlaug dies
Los Angelas times 13 Sept 2009 Norman Borlaug dies at 95; started 'Green Revolution' and won Nobel Peace Prize

Dr. Norman Borlaug talks about world hunger

Green Revolution Leader Still Wages War on World Hunger

Related FARA blog posts:
03 Nov 2007 the world food prize youth program
03 Nov 2007 biofuels and biofoods: the global implications of emerging ...
23 Nov 2007 the man who fed the world: more on norman borlaug
03 Dec 2007 highlight: the global rust initiative
10 Jun 2009 Monsanto Company Commits $10 Million to Rice and Wheat Research ...

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Join the Sub-Saharan Africa e-consultation from 7-23 September

7-23 September. Spirit and objectives of the Africa e-consultation

A message from Monty Jones

We are proud to host this e-consultation and we hope that you can take few minutes of your busy schedule to share with us your own knowledge and resources relevant to African agriculture development.

We all know that we have been through various process of priority setting in each of our regions. We’ve identified our own priorities through various studies and consultations. This time, we want to consolidate such priorities and have a more action-oriented discussions. We would like to see highlighted major initiatives that have achieved impact and how we can scale them out and up across the region. During the last African Caucus meeting in December 2008, we talked about ‘collective action for change’. We would like to followup this discussion to more concrete recommendations on how we could each contribute to the changes within the ARD community but most of all be able to influence the shaping of the new CGIAR to be more inclusive and to develop stronger partnerships with other research partners.

Join the Sub-Saharan Africa e-consultation from 7-23 September at:

What are these E-consultations all about?
Simone Staiger-Rivas is coordinating the regional e-consultations. In a short video she explains why it is so important to join those virtual discussions. You can see the video here with subtitles in different langauges, like Russian, French, Spanish and more.

The Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD) 2010 being held in Montpellier, France from 28-31 March 2010 will provide a global action plan and strategy for improving agricultural research in order to make maximum impact on development, especially of the poor. This plan and strategy will be developed on the basis of a global framework of agricultural research needs and priorities, which will be established through consultations with representatives from a wide range of agricultural research stakeholders around the world. The Conference is expected to usher in change that will reshape agricultural research and innovation and improve resources for research.

CAADP Donors and Partners Meeting

6-9 September 2009. Addis Ababa. Organised by the the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Donor Platform. Discussions were held on four consecutive days, gathering a range of stakeholders for both joint and separate sessions:

  • Day 1 (6 September) focussed on reviewing CAADP. This session was open only to representatives from African governments and regional institutions engaged with CAADP.
  • Days 2 and 3 (7-8 September) were open to donors as well as the above representatives, and concentrated on reviewing the CAADP's progress and agreeing a donor approach for supporting CAADP.
  • Day 4 (9 September) open only to donor representatives from agricultural donor working groups and headquarters and focussed on donor planning.
DFID's John Barett and AUC Department for Rural Economy and
Agriculture (DREA) Commissioner Rhoda Peace Tumusiime at the opening
Details on all the sessions are available in the complete Agenda. Meeting objectives:
  • To deepen awareness on CAADP principles and processes among key donor and government actors, and review recent progress on CAADP at international and country levels;
  • To discuss and agree on the modalities, including principles and processes, through which donor support for CAADP-type country plans can be mobilised and harmonised with on-going country led initiatives, including defining country processes for joint work on programme design;
  • To consider the opportunities in the coming months for further significant progress, particularly at country level in terms of donor backing for CAADP compacts;
  • To consider the practicality of a high level event (for example in the margins of UNGA) at which political backing for a serious and ambitious increase in attention to food security and agricultural development can be cemented.

Based on a set of agreed principles, the Donor Approach aims to bring donors together to transform declarations of support for CAADP into action. Comments from participants at the meeting will be integrated into the Approach document for circulated to ARD stakeholders in time for the Road from L'Aquila meeting on 14-15 September in Washington DC.

Reference: Donor Platform 11/09/2009 CAADP Donors and Partners Meeting

FARA Multi Donor Trust Fund

The FARA Executive Board is pleased to confirm that an agreement was signed on 7th September 2009 between the World Bank and the FARA Secretariat establishing the CAADP Pillar IV Multi Donor Trust Fund for the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa.

The objective of this Trust Fund is to align African agricultural institutions at the national, regional and continental levels with CAADP Pillar IV FAAP Principles for effective research, extension, and training and education.

The World Bank and FARA’s group of development partners have established the Fund at the World Bank to facilitate joint-financing and to assist the further institutional development of FARA. FARA is particularly obliged to Canada, the European Commission and the United Kingdom for making the initial enabling contributions to the fund.

FARA’s 2007 – 2016 Strategic Plan, the 2008-2012 Medium Term Operational Plan (MTOP) and annual plans will be the basis for which coordinated support will be provided by all donors.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Africa Rice Center is no longer WARDA

10 September 2009. COTONOU, BENIN. Recognizing the strategic importance of rice for Africa and the effective geographic expansion of the Africa Rice Center – which was constituted as the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) in 1971 – its Council of Ministers took a historic decision at its just-concluded 27th Ordinary Session in Lomé, Togo, to officially change the Center’s name to “Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice)” and to no longer refer to it as WARDA.

Mr. Kossi Messan Ewovor, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Republic of Togo, chaired the Session.

The pan-African ownership of the Center has increased particularly in the period since 2007 during which six countries from Central, Eastern and Northern Africa joined the Center. As a result, the number of Africa Rice Center member countries went up from 17 in 2006 to 23 in 2009.

The Council urged that the unique model of the Africa Rice Center as a pan-African intergovernmental institution be taken into consideration in the context of the ongoing CGIAR reform process, because it is an important asset for the CGIAR. The Council also called for a “Mega-Program on Rice” in the new CGIAR as rice is the fastest growing food staple in Africa and is an engine of economic growth and political stability that can impact on poverty and hunger.

AU honours first African women scientific researchers

9 September. The African Union Commission rewarded five African women researchers for their excellent research works.The award programme targets young researchers at African Union member state level, women at regional level and outstanding scientists at continental level.The awards acknowledged the contribution of the researchers to progress in science and are expected to raise the profile of women and young researchers.

The five women researchers, each of whom won a prize of US$ 20,000, are two from Mauritius, two from South Africa and one from Egypt.
  • Professor Romeela Mohee, the first female professor in engineering and first female dean of Faculty of Engineering at the University of Mauritius , who is now Chair in Chemical and Environmental Engineering, won her prize in the Basic Science, Technology and Innovation Sector for her research on waste management practices.
  • Professor Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Chair in Organic Chemistry at the same university, won the prize in the Earth and Life Sciences Sector. Ameenah created the first ever database on medical and aromatic plants for Mauritius and for the South West Indian Ocean.
  • The only researcher from North Africa to win the prize, the Egyptian Sanaa S. Botros, Professor of Pharmacology at the Theodor Bilharz Research Institute, was selected for the Earth and Life Science Sector for her research on tropical diseases medication.
  • Dr. Lee-Anne McKinnell and Dr. Brenda Diana Wingfield, both South Africans, won the same prize in the two respective sectors for contributions in areas of space science and research on the molecular phylogeny and taxonomy of tree photogenic fungi, respectively.
'They [the five women] are the real hope (who) can stimulate not only their work in the future but also future generations to go in this direction,' said Janez Potocnik, European Union Commissioner for Science and Research, during a press conference. Potocnik and Professor Jean-Pielle Ezin, African Union Commissioner for Human Resource, Science and Technology, presented the awards to the researchers.

Daily Nation - ‎Sep 9, EU donates $63 billion for research in Africa
Cordis News - ‎Sep 10, African Union awards women scientists, welcomes new EU funding ...
Le Mali en ligne - ‎Sep 10, AU honours first African women scientific researchers - ‎Sep 10, Uganda Education News: Pan African University for high science ...
Organisation de la Presse Africaine - ‎Sep 9, Ethiopia / Commissioner Potocnick briefed on African Union activities

EU Commissioner Potočnik gives a boost to the EU-AU cooperation S&T partnership

7 to 9 September. For the first time, EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik paid an official visit to the African Union and Kenya. He held high-level political meetings visited EU-supported research centres in Nairobi (Kenya) and in Addis-Ababa (Ethiopia).

This visit took place in the framework of the Science & Technology Partnership established between the African Union (AU) and the European Union (EU) in December 2007. This unique partnership between two continents aims to strengthen African research capacity in the area of science and technology, enabling Africa to produce and to use its own scientific knowledge to address its development challenges and emerge on the global scientific scene.
  • On 7 th September, Janez Potočnik was in Nairobi where he met AMCOST (African Ministerial Conference on Science Technology) representatives, including Hon. O. Kamama, Assistant Minister, and Prof. C. Kiamba Permanent Secretary, of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology.
  • He visited research infrastructures such as the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development in Nairobi, which promotes the development and use of geo-satellite images in the sustainable development of Africa , the National Agricultural Laboratory and the Kenya AIDS Vaccine Initiative.
  • On the 8 th September he met with J. Ping, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, and AU Commissioner for Human Resource Science and Technology, J-.P. Ezin, and visited the African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD) centre.
  • On the 9 th September, he presented the African Union Women Scientists Regional Awards to some African women researchers.
CORDIS 10/09 African Union awards women scientists, welcomes new EU funding opportunities
Afrique en ligne 10/09 AU honours first African women scientific researchers

Find out more about:
The EU-Africa Partnership ; on the call for proposals ; the Scientific and technological Cooperation between Africa and the European Union

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Announcement: FP7 Africa Call Information days

18 September. Brussels, Accra. Simultaneous information Days on the EC DG Research Africa call.

The publication of the Africa call from the 7th Research Framework Programme which was released on 31st of July represents a great opportunity for strengthening Africa’s base in research areas addressing the complex issues of Water and Food Security and Better Health for Africa. The DG Research Biotechnologies, Agriculture and Food will hold in Brussels on September 18, 2009 the Africa Call Information Day. FARA will simultaneously organize a Africa Call Information Day in Accra for agricultural research scientists.

Venue: European Commission (Opposite Aquinas Secondary School‐ Cantonments)
Date: 18th September 2009
Hour: 09 ‐ 12 h
Number of participants: 20 (on a first registered basis)
• Opening by Dr. Monty Jones
• Simultaneous video conferencing of pre‐recorded video interview of the opening speech of
Janez Potočnik, EU Commissioner for Science and Research
• Power Point on FP7

The BIO CIRCLE NET is a two year project that aims to reinforce the network of National Contact Points (NCP) for the Seventh Framework programme (FP 7) under Theme 2 “Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology” (FAFB) and extend the network to include National Information Points (NIP) for major Third Country partners in two years.
BIO CIRCLE NET is to increase African participation in FP 7 call for proposals. FP7 is the short name for the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. This is the EU's main instrument for funding research in Europe, which runs from 2007 to 2013. The 4th Call of the FP7 Theme - Food Agriculture, Fisheries and Biotechnology was launched in July 2009 and the deadline for submission of proposals will be January 2010.

CAAST-net is aimed to foster both the sharing and discussion of general information about FP7, opportunities under FP7, and the best conditions for successful participation by African entities in FP7.

PAEPARD is one component of a series of global, European and African programmes focusing on:

  • increased coordination of European and global financial and technical support to ARD in Africa, and
  • the fourth pillar on Agricultural research and technology dissemination and adoption of the NEPAD Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), supported by the EU and other development partners.
PAEPARD II will nurture partnerships to increase the quantity and quality of joint proposals (leading to more funded initiatives). It will not only focus on FP7, but will include other EC (EDF, EC Budget through the FSTP) and bilateral funding instruments supporting ARD that might be mobilized for emerging ARD partnerships. The Forum for Agricultural Research for Africa (FARA) has been selected as the leader of the implementing consortium, which is composed of partners from Europe and Africa, representative of the key PAEPARD stakeholders.

Agricultural Trade advisory group

8-11 September. Brussels. CTA co-organised with the ACP Secretariat the Trade advisory group. It aims at providing formal guidance to the CTA Trade programme in terms of content/issues to be covered/prioritised, type of products/activities to be supported and modes of operations.

In order to provide formal guidance to its programme in terms of content/issues to be covered/prioritised, type of products/activities to be supported and possible synergies with other ACP and EU organisations, CTA set up a Trade Advisory Group.
The workshop provided an opportunity for:
  • creating or strengthening partnerships
  • discussing and sharing experiences on specific and topical issues in trade
  • making a significant and long-term contribution to CTA’s agricultural trade programme.


Agritrade-CTA's web portal on international agricultural trade issues in the context of ACP-EU relations. Agritrade provides update information and analysis on key topics for ACP including EPA, WTO, CAP reform, food safety as well as major commodities such as sugar, banana, cotton and fisheries issues.

The next Brussels Development Briefing will be held in Brussels on 23rd September 2009 from 8h30 to 13h00 on “Upgrading to compete in a globalised world: What opportunities and challenges for SMEs in agriculture in ACP countries?”.

Broadcast Media & Climate Change

4-5 September 2009. Paris, UNESCO. This high-level international event was organised by UNESCO in partnership with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), regional broadcasting unions and other international broadcasting organizations to consider a global consensus to raise public awareness on the challenges of climate change.

Organized in partnership with UNEP, the Conference provided a platform for regional and international collaboration to offer solutions to existing challenges faced by broadcasters, particularly those in developing countries. Such collaboration will to empower national broadcasters to fulfil their role in making climate change processes and related mitigation and adaptation options better understood by their audiences.

"This is a watershed moment for the broadcasting industry," said Satinder Bindra, United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) director of communications. "The more allies, talent and creativity that we can garner in the fight against climate change and its dire consequences, the greater the chance of succeeding in tackling the greatest challenge of our generation."

The UK based Institute of Development Studies (IDS) participated to this meeting in behalf of the AfricaAdapt Core Group of which FARA is part of.

Claudie Likela, Manager of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, speaks to AfricaAdapt about the struggle of African journalists to translate climate change information into local languages.

Grace Akumu, Head of the Climate Network Africa, tells AfricaAdapt about the importance of having African perspectives on climate change. Grace Akumu was one of the lead authors of the Third and Fourth Assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and calls on African researchers to work closer with journalists.

Patrik Luganda, Chairman of the Network of Climate Journalists in the Greater horn of Africa, speaks to AfricaAdapt about promoting better climate change media reporting. He highlights what journalists and researchers need from each other to be able to contribute to better quality coverage of climate change issues.

Media coverage of climate change in SAf: Lessons from Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia Frank M Kayula Download presentation (384Kb ~ 2 min) presented at the FANRPAN 2009 Regional Policy Dialogue and Annual General Meeting Maputo, Mozambique 31 August 2009 - 4 September 2009

FANRPAN High Level Regional Policy Dialogue

31 August to 4 September. The 2009 FANRPAN High Level Regional Policy Dialogue was held in Maputo Mozambique. The theme for the 2009 annual dialogue was “True Contribution of Agriculture to Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Southern African countries.”

The Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) is spearheading the coordination of the implementation of CAADP within Southern Africa at the national and regional level.

Dr David Kamchacha, the FANRPAN CAADP programme manager, said that the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)contacted the network to help with speeding up the process of agricultural reforms.
"They wanted FANRPAN to bring together governments, civil society, farmers themselves and researchers at a national level to work together. "With this facilitation, some countries are already budgeting above the 10 percent benchmark set in Maputo. Since its launch in 2003, there are only four countries that have reached full implementation stage, and we are talking about 19 countries that signed up to CAADP. But it has been a challenge for FANRPAN to bring all the stakeholders in to work together in implementing agricultural reforms".

AfricaAdapt at the World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3),

3 September 2009. Geneva. The World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3), which has brought together from 31 August to 4 September 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, more than 2 000 climate scientists, sectoral experts and decision-makers established a Global Framework for Climate Services “to strengthen production, availability, delivery and application of science-based climate prediction and services.”

The Declaration establishing the Global Framework was adopted today at WCC-3 by high-level policy-makers from more than 150 countries, including Heads of State/Government of Ethiopia, Monaco, Mozambique, Slovenia, Tajikistan, the Vice-Presidents of Comores and the United Republic of Tanzania, the Premier of Niue, the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh, Cook Islands, the Vice-Premier of China, more than 80 Ministers and other Senior Government Officials.

The adoption stood under the chairmanship of H.E. Mr Armando Emílio Guebuza, President of Mozambique, and H.E. Mr Moritz Leuenberger, Federal Councillor of the Swiss Confederation, host country of the Conference.

Laban Ogallo, Director of the IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) in Nairobi presented during the session on Mainstreaming climate information the platform of AfricaAdapt of which FARA is one of the initiators.

Reference: Conference website + Brochure Focus on Africa (1.5 MB)

Africa Partnership Forum special session on climate change

3 September 2009. Addis Ababa. The APF held a Special Session dedicated to climate change, focusing on Africa's concerns and expectations in the current UN negotiations on this matter. The meeting was addressed by H.E. Ato Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and by distinguished ministers from APF member countries.
Opening of the Meeting
Ministers in charge of the environment from Sierra Leone, Republic of Congo, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Cameroon, Sudan, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and Algeria as well as high level representives from Africa's development partners from Portugal, UK, France, Canada, Italy, USA, Denmark, Germany, Russian Federation and Norway, were among over 100 stakeholders and experts attending the one-day meeting.

Participants to this Special Session recognized that climate change is a critical issue globally and for Africa, and see this as a crucial year for taking effective international action. They are committed to reaching an effective and ambitious agreement at Copenhagen.


The full set of presentations can be accessed off the UNECA website.

All Africa Horticulture Congress

31 August - 3 September. Nairobi, Kenya. Organized by the International Society of Horticultural Science, the theme was "Grown Under the Sun."

The draft AAHC Resolution – Day 4 (03 Sept 2009) about an African Horticulture Forum is that:
  • Some regional forums already exist, such as the Horticulture Council of Africa (HCA) which gathers 12 countries together, Cop Horti and RadHort
  • GlobalHort agreed to facilitate the networking of these forums and strengthen them
  • Invitation to join GlobalHort to formulate a proposal for a Co-ordinated Regional Innovation Platforms on Horticulture for Africa
  • The constituencies to be involved should cover the following (but not limited to) research and development, policy, private sector, education, civil society and consumer organizations
  • NEPAD agreed to give more legitimacy to a forum on horticulture, with regional entities
The candidature of The Republic of South Africa was unanimously agreed upon to organize the next AAHC in 2012 on behalf of the Southern African Region.

AAHC Communiqué: Draft Congress Resolutions.
The Global Crop Diversity Trust was invited to this year’s TED Global – ‘where the world’s leading thinkers and doers gather to find inspiration’. The Trust’s Director, Cary Fowler, gave an excellent talk which can be viewed hereunder:

The varieties of wheat, corn and rice we grow today may not thrive in a future threatened by climate change. Cary Fowler takes us inside a vast global seed bank, buried within a frozen mountain in Norway, that stores a diverse group of food-crop for whatever tomorrow may bring.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Announcement: New Deputy Executive Director at FARA

Dr. Ramadjita Tabo joined the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) at its Headquarters in Accra, Ghana, as its Deputy Executive Director on 1 September.

Dr. Ramadjita Tabo joined ICRISAT as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in July 1986 and was appointed as Principal Sorghum Agronomist in July 1987 at Patancheru. He was transferred to ICRISAT’s West African Sorghum Program, Kano, Nigeria as Principal Agronomist in May 1988, to establish our research station in Bagauda. Tabo moved to Bamako, Mali in December 1998 to provide his support to the Natural Resource Management Program. He shifted to Niamey in September 2002, and was later designated as Assistant Director, West and Central Africa (WCA) in June 2005.
Dr. Ramadjita Tabo participated in the United Nations Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change that was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 with US Vice-President Al Gore.