Wednesday, 24 February 2010

4th International Conference on Community Based Adaptation (CBA) to Climate Change

21-27 February 2010. Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. 4th International Conference on Community Based Adaptation (CBA) to Climate Change. Two days of field visits to community based adaptation projects in different ecosystems. Three days of interactive discussions on different thematic areas.

The specific objectives are:
  • Bring different stakeholders and practitioners to share and discuss knowledge of Community Based Adaptation (CBA) planning and practices from different parts of the developing world, particularly Africa
  • Capture the latest learning from CBA planning and practices around the developing world
  • Enhance capacity of the practitioners to help the most vulnerable groups and people in improving livelihoods in developing countries
  • Share lessons learnt to facilitate integration of climate change into national and international development programmes
  • Disseminate lessons learnt at the conference through proceedings and immediate conference summary.
25/02: Plenary opening session: Agriculture
  • Agricultural Services Support Programme and Agricultural Sector Development Programme - Livestock, Zanzibar - Seif A. Seif and Khalfan M. Saleh, IFAD 
  • Climate change and food security in Maradi District, Niger – Moussa na Abou Mamouda, ENDA 
  • Sharing lessons from the use of different type of organic manures: Malawi - Dalitso Kafuwa, FAIR, Malawi 
  • Changing seasonality and ways in which farmers can adapt at a community level – Steve Jennings, Oxfam Vulnerability of rain-fed agriculture to climate change and variability - Hector John Mongi, Tumbi Agricultural Research Institute, Tanzania

Mr. Muyungi, a prominent negotiator for Least Developed Countries discusses the importance of community based adaptation in Africa and the role that it should play in post-Copenhagen climate change negotiations.

Dr. Saleemul Huq. Senior Fellow, Climate Change, provides updates on the conference via his video blog.

10ème FORUM de Bamako

15 - 20 February 2010. Bamako. Après quatre jours de débats, les participants du 10e Forum de Bamako ont estimé que les État africains devaient être les moteurs de l’agriculture. 

La première des recommandations que les organisateurs du Forum ont remis au président du Mali, Amadou Toumani Touré, découle de ce constat : il conviendra d’assigner à l’agriculture une mission de service public en vue d’une dotation budgétaire conséquente. Il faudra aussi financer l’agriculture, élaborer une loi foncière sécurisante afin d’amener les Africains à investir davantage dans le secteur agricole, promouvoir l’emploi non agricole dans les zones rurales, développer la recherche et la formation des cadres…

Depuis son lancement, le Forum de Bamako s’emploie au fil des années, et à travers ses propositions et recommandations, à devenir une source d’inspiration pour les dirigeants africains et un levier d’actions pour les acteurs économiques et politiques du continent. 

A noter que la présente édition du Forum de Bamako a réuni des spécialistes de l’agriculture, des scientifiques, des hommes politiques, des acteurs économiques et des hommes de médias.

Intervention de Dr Sérémé Paco, Directeur Exécutif du CORAF/WECARD Quelle politique de recherche agricole en Afrique?

Intervention du Dr Ramadjita Tabo, Directeur Exécutif Adjoint du FARA: The impacts of climate change on agriculture in Africa and adaptation strategies.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Building capacity of African University Graduates to foster change through Agricultural Innovations

An ACP-S&T supported regional project aimed at building capacity of African University Graduates to foster change through Agricultural Innovations. It is coordinated by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). The partners are Egerton University - Kenya, Makerere University - Uganda, Bunda College of the University of Malawi and the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) – Netherlands while the Associate Partners are CTA, FARA, ASARECA and SADC/FARN. 
To kick-start the project implementation, an inception planning meeting was held in Entebbe Uganda between 10 - 12 February 2010. The meeting which was attended by representatives of all partner institutions was meant to chart the detailed implementation plan for the meeting. 

The meeting was held parallel to those of two other ACP-S&T project that RUFORUM currently coordinates, namely:
  1. Shifting from Outreach to Engagement: transforming Universities response to current development trends in agricultural research and training in Eastern, Central and Southern AfricaOUTREACH)
  2. Poverty reduction and greater food and nutritional security in West Africa, and Eastern and Southern Africa through enhanced conservation and use of neglected and underutilized species (NUS). (BIODIVERSITY)

Announcement: the CCAFS Launch Conference: Building food security in the face of climate change

The CCAFS Launch Conference: Building food security in the face of climate change
To facilitate new research on the interactions between climate change, agriculture, natural resource management and food security, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) have initiated a Challenge Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). CCAFS will create unique possibilities in the search for solutions to climate change and food security problems.
A Launch Conference is planned to engage with the research and development community on the R&D challenges to be tackled in relation to the linkages between climate change, agriculture, natural resource management and food security.
About the Event
CCAFS Launch Conference
The CCAFS Launch Conference is a one day event that will bring together the research and development community, policy makers, public and private research organizations, donors, and development agencies, both governmental and non-governmental. Approx. 300 people are expected to participate in the Launch Conference.
Date and Time
Tuesday, 4th May 2010, 09.00 - 17.30.
World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
United Nations Avenue, Gigiri
PO Box 30677
Nairobi, 00100, Kenya

Friday, 19 February 2010

The 2010 African Women in Agricultural Research Fellowships

The 2010 AWARD Fellowships wants to fast track the careers of African women scientists in the NARS, higher education research and education institutions, the NGO community and private sector institutions who are in professions that serve agricultural research and development, especially for pro-poor innovation. 

African women working in agricultural research and development from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia who have completed a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in selected disciplines are invited to apply. Applicants must be nationals of the above listed countries and be available in Africa throughout the fellowship period.

The deadline for all applications is March 22, 2010. Details and application forms can be downloaded here, plus answers to frequently asked questions

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Interview with Dr. Tabo on the possibilities to increase productivity

9 February 2010Frankfurter Rundschau, 66. Jahrgang Nr. 33 R/S. Ramadjita Tabo is Assistant Director of "Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa. (FARA) 

Mr Tabo, why is it that the existing know-how hardly reaches the farmers?

Most African farmers can not read or write. Few have access to computers or to Internet. And since they are often not English nor French speakers they may need information in local languages. We might use local radio programs. Increasingly mobile phones also help to spread information quickly. 

What are the results of the agronomic Research in Africa which is already available or will be available in the near future? 

The NERICA rice has at least in West Africa already to good harvests. In West and East Africa we also have newly developed varieties of corn. They deliver in a short time high yields. I see great potential in Sorghum and millet. They are already well adapted to drought and high temperatures. But we still need much shorter growing seasons without much loss in production and yields. 

The next among the list of crops with great potential are the pulses like peanut and cow pea. They are fundamental components of African agricultural production. Biotechnology plays here an important role. I do not mean the genetic modification of organisms, but cell culture methods which can help us to have relatively quickly the desired properties to produce higher yields. Conventional Breeding takes often too long. 

Where have most of the African agricultural research scientists who work in African institutions been trained? 

Most have studied in Africa, but they can often only get higher degrees like Masters or Ph.D. in Europe or in in America. 

How can studies abroad integrate the transmission of African knowledge and practices in the African scientific and educational system?

The so-called sandwich scholarships programmes are helpful because the students study abroad but for the practical component they work in research stations in Africa, to collect data and perform measurements. 

What about the financing of research institutes?

This is really a problem. You can not work for the long term, as long as you depend on external donors. Projects may run three years, then end. But the farmers want to know how it continues. The states should see its scientific institutions as assets and invest in them. If you are not investing in agricultural sciences you will not solve Africa's problems.  I don't want to be controversial  but I think that often the political will lacks.

Reference: Interview: Sabine Suetterlin Frankfurter Rundschau, 66. Jahrgang Nr. 33 R/S.

First PAEPARD II consortium meeting: launching and project management meeting

10-11/02/2010. Brussels. To initiate the implementation of the Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development, the consortium partners agreed to have a launching meeting in to sort out all gaps and clarify roles and responsibilities to ensure effective and efficient implementation of PAEPARD II.

The main output of the meeting is a roadmap on how to initiate the activities of PAEPARD II. The discussions were held on three major issues:

  1. Project concepts and proposal. To review the basic concepts conceived by the consortium partners and the proposal approved by the European consortium. Changes and adjustments to the work package activities and resources were clarified and highlighted. A tentative work plan for 2010 will developed for each work package following the Brussels’ face to face meeting, based on the action plan submitted to the EC and the logical framework. Linkages amongst the work package and synergies in certain activities were identified.
  2. Budgets and Financial management. To review the actual resources, based on the approved budget by the EC and expected consortium partner’s contributions. Each of the work package budgets required slight adjustments. Clear disbursements and reporting to the Coordinator are to guide the cash flows to various institutions. Required agreements between partners or amongst the consortium partners were also discussed.
  3. Governance, management and facilitation. The proposal gave background information on the project’s various governing bodies such as the steering committee, consortium partners, associate partners and facilitation unit.Relationships and reporting mechanisms amongst these various groups were discussed and clarified for all concerned parties.
Reference: See PAEPARD BLOG

Monday, 15 February 2010

ICT: Opportunities to Mobilize Agricultural Science for Development

Four recent articles refer to FARA's inventory of innovative farmer advisory services

1) Opportunities to Mobilize Agricultural Science for Development P. Ballantyne, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); A. Maru, Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), E. Porcari, CGIAR ICT-KM Program, Published online 22 January 2010. © Crop Science Society of America 
Knowledge, information, and data—and the social and physical infrastructures that carry them—are widely recognized as key building blocks for more sustainable agriculture, effective agricultural science, and productive partnerships among the global research community.

Through investments in e-Science infrastructure and collaboration on one hand, and rapid developments in digital devices and connectivity in rural areas, the ways that scientists, academics, and development workers create, share, and apply agricultural knowledge is being transformed through the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). This paper examines some trends and opportunities associated with the use of these ICTs in agricultural science for development.
2) A field Study of an Interactive Voice Forum for Small Farmers in Rural India. Neil Patel, Deepti Chittamuru, Anupam Jain, Paresh Dave, Tapan S. Parikh. IBM India Research laboratory, February 2010
In this paper the authors present the results of a field study of Avaaj Otalo (literally, “voice stoop”), an interactive voice application for small-scale farmers in Gujarat, India. Through usage data and interviews, they describe how 51 farmers used the system over a seven month pilot deployment. The most popular feature of Avaaj Otalo was a forum for asking questions and browsing others’ questions and responses on a range of agricultural topics.
3) Impact of ICT on Community development in the ESCWA member countries. 26 November 2009. United Nations. ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR WESTERN ASIA
This study describes the efforts and progress made by the international community, in particular the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development. Particular attention is drawn to the endeavour to develop a unified model able to address the many aspects of the information society, including the impact of information and communication technology (ICT) on society and community development.
4) Mobile-Based Livelihood Services In Africa: Pilots And Early Deployments; Technology for Emerging Markets Group /  Jonathan Donner, Microsoft Research India, December 2009.
The paper describes a collection of initiatives delivering support via mobile phones to small enterprises, small farms, and the self-employed. Using a review of 26 examples of such services currently operational in Africa, the analysis identifies five functions of mobile livelihood services: Mediated Agricultural Extension, Market Information, Virtual Marketplaces, Financial Services, and Direct Livelihood Support. It discusses the current reliance of such systems on the SMS channel, and considers their role in supporting vs. transforming existing market structures. 
The inventory of FARA is quoted as an excellent review.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

CGIAR Research Map for Africa

9 February 2010. Fruit of a collaboration between Collective Action, the ICT-KM Program, CGIAR centres and over 250 scientists who have contributed their research information, the newly released map gives users the unique opportunity to carry out a more specific and targeted query based on different key fields, link the data to project outputs and other relevant documents while keeping the ownership over the information in the hands of the project managers themselves.

The result is an interactive and easy to navigate map, which provides a geographical overview of where research projects are carried out. To facilitate collaboration, the information provided also includes the contact address of the scientist concerned; projects are also linked to the Medium Term Plans of the relevant CGIAR Centres. In addition the map allows participating scientists to update their project information directly online and in real time. The CG Research Map is designed to encourage complementary research, and help build collective responses to complex challenges, while directing investments to areas that seem to hold greater promise or that have been ignored. And it is fun to navigate too!

ICT-KM 09/02/2010 Show me the goods! The Research map is out!
Related: 02/02/2010 ICRAF Seminar – The new CGIAR Research Map

Monday, 8 February 2010

Global Donor Platform for Rural Development Annual General Assembly

26-27 January 2010, in Rome, Italy. Co-hosted by IFAD and the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD
Drawing over 100 participants from the donor community, international financial institutions, foundations, farmers’ organisations and CSOs, the Assembly sought to advance the Platform’s strategic agenda through four thematic working sessions.
26 January
1. Agriculture and Climate Change. This session took stock of agriculture in the post-Copenhagen climate architecture and assessed what this means for agriculture and rural development (ARD) and the Platform. 
  • How do we ensure poverty, food security and climate change are better linked? Rodney D. Cooke, IFAD
2. Land and Development. Building on Platform Land Day on 24 January, this session updated participants on the large scale land investment debate and how the Platform and others should engage pertinent processes.

27 January
1. CAADP: Delivering on Country-led H&A. Shared experiences on CAADP, its progress in 2009 and discussed donor engagement. 
  • Overview of CAADP processes Ousmane Badiane, IFPRI
  • The CAADP Mutual Accountability Framework Working Group 2
2. Aid for Trade and Rural Development. Built awareness about the AfT process, explored cross sectoral linkages and identified possibilities to close gaps between trade and ARD donors’ agendas.
Several institutions presented their work in luncheon seminars and an “informal marketplace” around the meeting rooms.
In a statement titled “Beyond Paris and Accra: Achieving harmonization and alignment from the multilateral and bilateral perspectives,” Luc Gnacadja, UNCCD Executive Secretary, underlined the important role the Platform plays in agriculture and rural development, and urged it to assess and advise on how official development assistance could also serve as a tool to orient private investments towards country-based priority-setting for the sector.

The Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, established in 2003, is a network of bilateral and multilateral donors and international financial institutions with a vision of Agriculture and Rural Development aid that reduces poverty and strengthens the sector. Ownership, alignment, harmonization, managing for results and mutual accountability are its guiding principles.

January 28th-29th, 2010. Rome Following the Global Platform a meeting was held discussing FARA´s role within the CAADP

Global donor Platform for rural Devlopment Key Development Challenges and Opportunities

Food Security Portal: An Innovative Approach to Food Security at Country Level

This open access policy information portal has been established to provide comprehensive and detailed information country-by-country on food policy developments. 

Currently a lot of information is being collected in an un-coordinated fashion by different international and regional organizations. This portal is designed to pool such information in structured ways and check for data quality and relevance. 

The portal will contain relevant food crisis response information initially on its 20 partner countries (mostly in Sub-Sahara Africa, but also in Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean) and shall be expanded beyond these pre-selected countries in the context of the project. The portal also includes a research-based capacity-strengthening “tool box” that will be developed to guide country responses. Where needed, advice on urgently needed policy actions will also be facilitated.

African partner countries:
  • Chad: Ministère du Développement Rural
  • DR Congo: Institut National pour l'Étude et la Recherche Agronomiques
  • Kenya: Kenya Agricultural Research Institute
  • Liberia: University of Liberia, College of Agriculture and Forestry (CAF)
  • Madagascar: Centre National de la Recherche Appliquee au Developpement Rural (FOFIFA )
  • Malawi: Bunda College of Agriculture, University of Malawi
  • Mozambique : Institute of Agrarian Research in Mozambique (IIAM)
  • Nigeria: Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources
  • Tanzania: Economic and Social Research Foundation

Friday, 5 February 2010

2010 Euro-Africa Cooperation Forum on ICT Research

February 4, 2010 - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The 2nd Euro-Africa Cooperation Forum on ICT Research” was organised by the FP7 EuroAfrica-ICT EU-funded project and was supported by the African Union Commission (AUC - HRST) and the European Commission (EC - DG INFSO - International Relations Unit) under the Information Communication Technology (ICT) theme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). 

This 2nd Forum edition was organised as a post-event to the “AU 2010 Summit” and the “AU-ECA 2010 Summit Exhibition”.

This Forum was a practical, learning and interactive conference organised as a follow-up event of the 1st edition held in Brussels, Belgium in March 2009. The Forum brought together sub-Saharan African and European organisations for an interactive and a participative event with the following objectives:

  • Reflect on progress made and lessons learnt on ICT research and development in Africa and its contribution through partnerships to economic growth, improved quality of life and efficient service delivery
  • Gain insight on the status and perspectives of the 8th Partnership (“African-EU Partnership for Science, Information Society and Space”) and support its action plan
  • Learn more about the status and perspectives of the EC/AUC/ACP Programmes
  • Enhance the development of Euro-Africa collaborative ICT research projects and identify potential partners
  • Highlight the range and excellence of ICT research in Africa and in Europe
  • Allow participative and interactive working sessions on ICT research and development through panel debates and interactive thematic sessions
  • Network with key stakeholders in the field (private/public bodies)
  • Hear about opportunities to enhance African participation in FP7
  • Get detailed information on successful EU-African FP7 cooperation projects and EU-African PPP (Public-Private Partnerships)

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Faidherbia - Africa's fertiliser factory

The nitrogen-fixing acacia tree, Faidherbia albida, boosts soil fertility (Georgina Smith)
The nitrogen-fixing acacia tree, Faidherbia albida, boosts soil fertility

Lying in the heart of Africa, Malawi is well known for its export of tea, sugar and tobacco, which take up much of its arable land. But the country's biggest agricultural export originates not from these commercial plantations; nor is it an intended one. It is soil, eroded from the fields of smallholder farms that support 80 per cent of Malawi's population.

Loss of Malawi's valuable soil can be seen by the extensive gully erosion visible on hillside plots, where heavy rains have breached planting ridges, and the rivers flow muddy brown with silt. As a result of declining fertility and degraded soil, crops often fail or yields are low and farmers struggle to feed their families. With the impact of global warming, farmers have "never been less prepared," asserts Peter Aagaard, director of the Conservation Farming Unit (CFU), which is based in Zambia but has an increasing following in Malawi.

The solution, according to the CFU, lies in minimising soil disturbance, while boosting fertility through planting of the nitrogen-fixing acacia tree, Faidherbia albida. This is in marked contrast to the traditional practice of land preparation in Malawi, where splitting and reforming ridges moves an estimated 700 million tons of soil every year, and results in high labour costs as well as water logging and soil degradation. Instead, farmers are being encouraged to dig small planting pits, a minimum tillage technique which disturbs only ten per cent of the soil. With funding from the Norwegian Government, the CFU is also training farmers to practice crop rotation, and to protect their soils by leaving crop residues on the ground instead of burning them.

New Agriculturist Audio link:
New Agriculturist Article: Faidherbia - Africa's fertiliser factory

Farmers and markets

Globalisation of the agricultural economy has led to rapid changes in the way that agricultural products are produced, transported and sold. As commodity prices decline and value chains become more complex, smallholder farmers are encouraged to produce high value crops and engage in value-adding activities, such as agro-processing, to increase their incomes. But whilst new market opportunities offer a chance for increased prosperity, many still face a multitude of barriers in effectively accessing markets, even at local level.

Farmer organisation is a critical factor in improving farmers' access to markets. The January Edition of the New Agriculturist features initiatives being promoted to enhance market access at local, regional and global level. From pigs and potatoes in Vietnam and Inner Mongolia, to coffee, rice, onions and high-value vegetables in Africa and cocoa in the rainforests of Ecuador, we highlight how farmers are coming together to improve their access to established markets and take advantage of emerging market opportunities.

Ethiopia's high-tech commodity exchangeLaunched in April 2008, the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) has revolutionised coffee sales. Initially focussed on immediate sale and delivery of beans, the Exchange is now moving towards trade in coffee futures and speciality coffees.
Commercial villages: improving market accessWith help from Farm Concern International, onion farmers in Nyeri, Kenya, have grouped together to form 'commercial villages'. By improving their marketing and farming practices, these farmer groups have successfully increased their yields and incomes.
Trading up in the rice sector in NigeriaWith the backing of a local bank and the support of a marketing development project, women rice parboilers in Kano State have become traders of rice and, with the introduction of new technology, improved the quality of the rice they sell.

Zambia: meeting a tall orderIn a drought-prone province of southern Zambia, community groups have invested in drip irrigation to grow high value vegetables, year-round, and are now supplying some of the country's most luxurious hotels.

Related: FARA is holding between 01/02 and 16/03 an online discussion on ‘Promoting Access to Regional and International Markets for Agricultural Commodities in Eastern and Southern Africa. The electronic group discussion provides an open space to stimulate discussion and elicit ideas on crucial agricultural trade policy issues in Eastern and Southern Africa. It involves policymakers, academics, researchers, representatives of SROs and RECs, farmers’ organizations, representatives from business community, NGOs and other civil society groups. The outcomes of the electronic group discussion will be collated. Thereafter, a detailed summary paper of the discussion will be presented during a face to face Eastern and Southern Africa regional policy dialogue workshop – 17th – 18th, March, 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya

Sénégal : quinze institutions réunies pour un partenariat durable en recherche agronomique

14 et 15 Décembre 2009. Dakar, Senegal. Partenaires de longue date, le Cirad et l’Isra ont organisé pour la première fois,  une réunion de concertation regroupant tous leurs partenaires sénégalais œuvrant dans le domaine de la recherche, de l’enseignement supérieur ou du développement : CNRA, universités, organismes de développement, OP, organisations régionales, secteur privé, etc.

L’heure n’est plus au cloisonnement institutionnel mais bien à l’ouverture et à l’intégration. Ce mode de concertation nouvellement expérimenté a pour finalité de contribuer à la construction de partenariats durables autour de questions de recherche globales. Il doit permettre de faire le point sur les coopérations entre les différentes institutions, de présenter les stratégies scientifiques de chacun des partenaires et d’identifier les thématiques d’intérêt commun. 

Les travaux qui durant deux jours se sont déroulés au sein de groupes, ont porté d’une part, sur la recherche, les systèmes d’innovation et la vulgarisation, et d’autre part sur l’enseignement et la formation. Ils ont permis d’identifier des idées de programmes et/ou projets qui devront ultérieurement faire l’objet de développement par les différentes parties prenantes. Ces idées de programmes et/ou de projets s’inscrivent à la fois dans les orientations stratégiques du Cirad mais également dans celles du Système national de recherches agro-sylvo-pastorales. Elles vont constituer un premier test de la nouvelle approche de partenariat du Cirad avec ses partenaires du Sénégal. 



Workshop on inclusive partnerships for agricultural research for development

3 February 2010 - 4 February 2010. Nairobi, Kenya. A two-day workshop was held to bring together key stakeholders to discuss how agricultural research for development partnerships can be made more effective and thus contribute more to development impact for the poor. 

The Partnership Workshop aimed to increase understanding of how to connect research with development through partnerships including issues, best practices and ways forward. The Partnership Workshop had the following objectives:

  1. Increase understanding about what works in terms of organizing partnerships for impact for the poor from agricultural research for development stakeholders, including success factors, weaknesses and challenges
  2. Identify the factors that lead to success and develop an agenda for future action research to improve the effectiveness and impact of agricultural research for development partnerships
  3. Influence donors to apply their funding to support the changes necessary for effective partnerships that meet the needs of the poor, including mutual accountability and trust, indicators of effectiveness, and management guidelines
The Partnership Workshop was organized by the CGIAR Institutional Learning and Change Initiative (ILAC) and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research for Development (GFAR). It was made possible by a generous grant from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Workshop was be hosted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Reference: Workshop leaflet

Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D)

This concept paper was prepared for the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Programme (SSA CP).

The paper is intended to promote discussion around the concept of ‘Integrated Agricultural Research for Development’ (IAR4D) and contribute to the understanding of the concept by all actors involved in agricultural research and development. That said, the concepts and experiences discussed - and the ‘vision’ of IAR4D given here—are inevitably based on our own viewpoints, knowledge and experience. Given the evolving nature of research and development approaches, the  intention of the authors is to stimulate further discussion and experimentation with processes, rather than offer a definitive account of an IAR4D process or method. 

Download: Download the IAR4D concept paper (1 Mb)
R. Hawkins | W. Heemskerk | R. Booth | J. Daane | A. Maatman | A. A. Adekunle | 87 p. | 2009 | English

Announcement: Agricultural development and support: Experience from the past, prospects for the future?


The Evaluation Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Denmark in cooperation with the Technical Advisory Services in the MFA and the Danish Development Research Network (DDRN) are jointly organizing a meeting on experiences and lessons learned with support to agriculture in developing countries with particular focus on Africa.
The meeting will bring together researchers, evaluators and experts in the field of agriculture, including participants from partner countries.
Date: March 18, 2010
Venue: Eigtveds Pakhus, Copenhagen
The programme for the event will be posted at shortly. 

Copenhagen and Beyond: Three Perspectives on Agriculture and Climate Change

Jan 19, 2010.  Washington DC. IFPRI Policy Seminar, "Copenhagen and Beyond: Three Perspectives on Agriculture and Climate Change," held Jan 19, 2010.

The climate change negotiations in Copenhagen:
A. failed miserably,
B. were rescued at the last minute, or
C. resulted in a promising set of new initiatives that will ultimately lead to a binding international treaty.

William Hohenstein (USDA), David Waskow (Oxfam), and Gerald Nelson (IFPRI) provided perspectives on which of these three outcomes ultimately prevailed, how to remove the brackets in the negotiating text, and what the future might hold for policies and programs for agricultural climate change adaptation and mitigation.

William Hohenstein serves as the Director of the Climate Change Program Office (CCPO) at the USDA. The CCPO serves as a focal point for support to the Secretary of Agriculture on the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as for strategies for addressing climate change.

David Waskow is the Climate Change Program Director in the Washington office of Oxfam America. He was previously the international program director at Friends of the Earth - US.

Gerald Nelson is a Senior Research Fellow in IFPRI’s Environment and Production Technology Division.

Question and Answer Session at the IFPRI Policy Seminar, "Copenhagen and Beyond: Three Perspectives on Agriculture and Climate Change,"

African Food Tradition Revisited by Research

This FP7 research project intends to share knowledge on food technology and implementation in new markets for a range of traditional products both within Africa but also between Africa and the EU.
The research involves six African countries (Benin, Cameroon, Egypt, Madagascar, Senegal and South Africa) and three EU countries (France, Portugal and UK)

The project focuses on three main categories of traditional products:
  1. Fermented cereals-based product: Akpan, Kenkey, Gowé, Kishk
  2. Fermented - salted fish and meat: Lanhouin, Kitoza, Kong
  3. Vegetal extract for functional food: Adansonia digitata, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Ziziphus mauritiana
The research will directly contribute to improve the competitiveness of nine traditional products and facilitate their implementation by food companies and their marketing on the diverse types of markets reserved for these products. Beyond these direct results, the lessons learnt and the methodologies for traditional products and processes assessment will be shared with other group of countries (Asia, India, South America) in order to spread the results among the research community involved in food research in developing countries.

These products are described as follow:

Akpan is a yoghurt-like product prepared from a partially fermented cooked maize gruel, named ogi. It is usually mixed with condensed milk, ice and sugar by street vendors just before consumption. It is the most commonly consumed beverage in Benin. A similar product called Mahewu is produced in Southern Africa and is available on the supermarket shelves, but not consumed with condensed milk.
Kenkey is a popular traditional fermented food made from maize and is a staple for most of the peoples in the coastal regions of Ghana. It is a sour tasting cooked stiff porridge of elastic consistency made from fermented whole meal maize dough shaped into balls or cylindrical forms and wrapped in maize husks or plantain leaves. It has a moisture content of between 62--68 %, a pH of 3.7 and a shelf life of about 3 to 4 days. There are two main types of kenkey, the Ga kenkey originally made by the Ga ethnic group in the Greater Accra Region and Fanti kenkey 0riginally made by the Fanti ethnic group in the Central and Western Regions of Ghana. Their main differences are in the materials used for packaging the balls of kenkey and the addition of salt to Ga kenkey. Fanti kenkey is wrapped in several layers of plantain leaves, which gives it a longer shelf life than the Ga kenkey which is packaged in maize husks. There are also many other similar products such as Akporhe, Ntsewhu and Fomfom, which are made from dehulled fermented maize dough.

Gowé is a homogenous gelatinized, malted, fermented and cooked paste prepared from sorghum, millet or maize. It is consumed as a beverage after dilution in water and addition of ice, sugar and sometimes milk. It is the preferred beverage of children, pregnant women, sick and old people in Benin. All types of sorghum, millet and white maize can be used to make acceptable gowé but coloured sweet gowé is preferred.

kishkKishk Sa’eedi. The name "Kishk" refers to a group of popular fermented dairy cereal mix products common to Egypt and the Middle East. The product is made from a combination of wheat with natural local fermented buttermilk in the form of yoghourt or sour milk. On completion of fermentation, the mixture is shaped and sun dried. Kishk Sa'eedi production in Upper Egypt preserves the lengthy traditional process of initial buttermilk fermentation and uses parboiled and coarsely ground whole grain wheat. It is a low fat high fiber and nutrient rich product, that is a possible source of vitamins and micronutrients associated with the microbial fermentation processes. 

File:Biltong for sale.jpgLanhouin (Cassava Fish) is a salted/dried fish spontaneously fermented. It is widely used as condiment in Benin, Togo, and Ghana.

Kitoza (a traditional product of Madagascar) is a salted/dried meat, sometimes known as biltong. Depending on the process conditions the fermentation can be spontaneous. Sometimes, it is smoked in order to improve organoleptic and shelf-stability properties. Biltong is also a well known traditional product in South Africa, where the traditional processing methods do not include a fermentation step. It is sold in supermarkets in South Africa.

The « Kong », (catfish Arius heudelotii), is traditionally smoked in Senegal by Guineans for local and export markets. The smoking process is similar to the one used in several coastal African countries (« brochets », « machoirons », from Guinea, Ivory Coast, Togo, Ghana, Gabon, Benin, etc…). In some cases (like sardinella in Gabon) the end product is much dryer in order to get an extended shelf life (weeks or months) at room temperature. Such smoked fishes are not voluntarily fermented; however, a spontaneous fermentation step often takes place in the process of traditional dried fishes in Africa10 or Asia.

The baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) is a tree that grows wild in Senegal. It is also found in all semiarid and dry sub-humid areas throughout Africa and Madagascar. The fruit of the baobab or monkey bread, called "buy" in Senegal, is widely consumed in various forms. Biochemical characterization of the fruit is incomplete and the results are disparate. Only one reference, to our knowledge, covers the processing of the fruit or the impact of processing treatments on the quality of finished products.

Dry calyx of Hibiscus sabdariffa, known as bissap, is used in Senegal and other Western African countries for the preparation of beverages and other products. The anthocyanins of bissap (sambubioside of delphinidin and sambubioside of cyanidine) are quite unstable and discoloration phenomena are sometimes noted. Few studies have been conducted to solve this degradation that can occur through enzymatic or thermo-oxidative pathways.
Ziziphus mauritiana is the fruit of the jujube tree, widely spread in the Soudano-Sahelian savannas of Africa, particularly in Cameroon. The fruit is locally used fresh or dried for food purpose. Consumption in the dry state is most common. It is consumed as snack food or processed into flour for the preparation of pancakes, or also associated with pastry or drinks. The dried and processed fruit has a pleasant biscuit taste and a plain aromatic flavor. Different therapeutic properties are locally attributed to Ziziphus, which is particularly used for its anti-inflammatory effect.