Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Relationship between HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa and general consumption of foods prone to contamination with fumonisins or other fungus-produced toxins?

A new study raises the question of whether corn contaminated with a fungus-derived toxin is helping to facilitate the transmission of HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. (reported by Reuters Health on 9 June 2010).

The toxins, called fumonisins, are produced by a particular type of fungus that can grow in corn after the plant is damaged by pests such as the cornstalk borer.

Fumonisins may be harmful to human health, with some studies linking consumption of the toxins to an increased rate of cancer of the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat to the stomach.

In the new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition researchers looked at whether there may be a relationship between HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa and general consumption of foods prone to contamination with fumonisins or other fungus- produced toxins (known as mycotoxins).

Using data from the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization, the researchers found that as sub-Saharan countries' per-person corn consumption rose, so did HIV transmission rates.

The researchers also found that higher per-capita corn consumption correlated with a higher rate of esophageal cancer. Since fumonisin toxins have been linked to that cancer, the finding serves as an indicator that populations with high corn consumption were exposed to higher levels of the toxin.

Study predicts massive impact of drought tolerant maize in Africa

NAIROBI, KENYA (26 AUGUST 2010)—As climate change intensifies drought conditions in Africa and sparks fears of a new cycle of crippling food shortages, a study released today finds widespread adoption of recently developed drought-tolerant varieties of maize could boost harvests in 13 African countries by 10 to 34 percent and generate up to US$1.5 billion in benefits for producers and consumers.

We need to move deliberately, but with urgency, to get these new varieties from the breeders to the farmers, because their potential to avert crises is considerable, said Roberto La Rovere, a socio-economist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (known by its Spanish acronym CIMMYT) and lead author of the study, which was produced in partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

Our analysis shows that with high rates of adoption, more than four million producers and consumers would see their poverty level drop significantly by 2016, he added.

The study was conducted as part of the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa Initiative (DTMA) implemented by CIMMYT and IITA with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. CIMMYT and IITA have worked with national agriculture research centers in Africa to develop over 50 new maize varieties that in drought conditions can produce yields that are 20 to 50 percent higher than existing varieties.

The CIMMYT-IITA analysis of the benefits of conventional drought-tolerant maize for Africa, or DTMA, examined the potential impact in Angola, Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The researchers found that under conservative yield improvements, the new varieties would provide farmers and consumers with food and income worth US$537 million, while under more optimistic yield improvements, their value would increase to US$876 million. Moreover, the researchers estimate that if drought-tolerant maize completely replaced existing varieties in the countries studied, the benefits could reach US$1.5 billion.

Reference: News.pluggd.in

PAEPARD @ the FANRPAN meeting

31st August 2010. The PAEPARD project was presented during the second day of the FANRPAN Annual High Level Regional Food Security Policy Dialogue 2010.

Objective: To build joint African-European multi-stakeholder partnerships in agricultural research for development.
Expected results:
Durable and equitable African – European Partnerships
The European ARD agenda better reflects African needs and priorities;
Greater and more equitable participation of African research stakeholders in ARD projects
Increased capacity of all African – European ARD stakeholders

Innovation funds aim to support innovators and their links to public institutions, private entrepreneurs, and other actors (such as groups of rural producers). They are tools that create platforms for innovative activity by providing incentives for collaboration.

“Partnerships are vital in the current era of development to align different institutions to achieve synergy”.

The growing rhetoric’s among the agricultural research and development partners to become more accountable to the beneficiary and other stakeholders has necessitated the need for partnerships.

 “Getting a network of actors isn't an easy process; it takes time”.

Different organizations with different interests and motives have to be brought around the table to contribute and benefit. It needs great facilitation skills and negotiating skills which are not very often core competences of researchers. Partner organizations need much support and mentoring.

”Linkages don't happen automatically: they need a facilitating or broker organization to create them”. 
Partners frequently discount the need for brokers and third party actors, but often they are needed, not only to manage collaboration but to reduce competition between sectors. Brokers and third-party actors can limit the failures that occur when different interests and conflicting agendas frustrate initiatives designed to foster partnership

Monday, 30 August 2010

2010 FANRPAN Regional Food Security Policy Dialogue

FANRPAN Annual High Level Regional Food Security Policy Dialogue 2010

Theme: Livestock & Fisheries Policies for Food Security and Trade in a Changing Climate
30 August - 3 September 2010
Windhoek, Namibia

30th August - 4 September 2010. Namibia is playing host to the annual Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) Regional Food Security Policy Dialogue, where over 200 policymakers, farmers, agricultural product dealers, scientists and non-governmental organisations from across Africa and the world have gathered to address African priorities on climate change and its impacts on food security, agricultural development and natural resource management.

recent report by consulting firm McKinsey and Company estimated that Africa produced only 10 percent of the world's crops despite representing a quarter of land under cultivation. In another report, they noted that 60 percent of the world's uncultivated arable land lies in Africa with the potential for African yields to grow in value more than three-fold by the year 2030, from $280 billion today to $880 billion.

African agricultural research programmes are beginning to blossom, as illustrated ina new map of 300 such programmes launched at last month's Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa science week in Burkina Faso.

Increasing the collaboration between public and private sector organisations can also help build infrastructure, secure better access to natural resources, improve the distribution of agricultural inputs and services, and share best practices. The Farming First coalition is a successful example of farmers, scientists, engineers, industry and agricultural development organisations coming together to push for improved agricultural policies which benefit farmers while safeguarding natural resources over the long term.

For instance, FANRPAN is currently working in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation to improve food security throughout sub-Saharan Africa by promoting the understanding of climate change science and its integration into policy development and research agendas. 

FANRPAN is also working with the International Food Policy Research Institute to help inform agricultural policymakers on the most effective policies for helping Africa's rural poor adapt to global climate change.

This project, called 'Strategies for Adapting to Climate Change in Rural sub-Saharan Africa: Targeting the Most Vulnerable', recognises the interrelated impact of climate change on household poverty, hunger and food security and takes into account different climate change scenarios to project the impact on crop and livestock production systems, also considering constraints to adaptation, including household well-being and related costs.


Lindiwe Majele Sibanda is the CEO of the Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network(FANRPAN) and is a spokesperson for the Farming First coalition. FANRPAN conducts research and advocacy across 14 sub-Saharan countries. 

15th World Congress of food Science and Technolgy

August 22-26 2010. Cape Town, South Africa . 15th IUFoST Congress. Over 1700 delegates participated at this Congress and a total of 220 oral presentations and over 800 posters contributed to making it a world class event.

The five-day conference, arranged by the International Union of Food Science & Technology (IUFoST), is the world's leading food science conference, and has attracted top researchers, policy makers, and food companies from 79 countries to discuss the latest developments in producing and storing food.

"This international body (the IUFoST) needs to be acting in the way the International Panel on Climate Change did and go to the UN and say we need action to conserve the ecosystem services that the world produces," said Sir David, who is now director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford.

Ecosystem services is a term used to describe the benefits we get from ecosystems such as grazing land and fresh water.
Global demand for food is expected to increase 50% by 2050, driven by population growth and a better standard of living for more people in emerging economies such as SA, Brazil, China and Mexico, said Sir David. "We can manage it, provided society understands how," he said, warning that the ecosystem challenges facing the world could not be dealt with in isolation.

The challenge of increasing food production would take place amidst global warming and greater water scarcity, particularly in Africa, he said. "Food production per litre of water is going to have to increase. "

Professor Linus Opara of the South African Chair in Postharvest Technology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa gave a presentation on "Mapping and reducing postharvest food losses: the overlooked strategy in addressing food and nutritional security."

Friday, 20 August 2010

Course on standards and agricultural trade in Africa

August 2 – 6, 2010. Arusha, Tanzania. World Bank Institute (WBI) – TRAPCA course on standards and agricultural trade in Africa. The 5-day course, jointly organized by the WBI and TRAPCA discussed the key issues related to agri-food trade that are of particular interests to decision-makers in SSA. Further, it analyzed the strategic agricultural trade issues associated with food security and poverty reduction which are increasingly gaining global interest in the light of the 3Fs – food, fuel and financial crisis. The course put an emphasis on the issue of standards, which has gained prominence in global food and agricultural trade for the past decades, especially in issues related to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) standards.

Over 40 people including policy makers, resource persons, researchers, CSOs, farmers organizations, donors and development partners participated in the course.

The main purpose of this course was to strengthen the capacities of African analysts:

  • To further understand the implications of recent trends and developments in agricultural trade flows, recent global market developments and how they can contribute to economic growth, food security, and poverty reduction; and,
  • To create greater awareness on the challenges and opportunities associated with technical regulations and standards in international markets and to develop an appreciation of appropriate policy responses, with a particular focus on agri-food products.

The 5-day course commenced with welcome remarks from (i) Dr. Peter Kiuluku, TRAPCA’s Executive Director; and (ii) Dr. Soamiely Andriamananjara, Senior Economist (Trade), Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, World Bank Institute, USA. The presentations, discussions and training followed the following modules:

• Module 1. Stylized facts in agricultural trade flows
• Module 2. Stylized facts in agricultural trade policies
• Module 3. Drivers of agricultural trade and trade policy
• Module 4. Agricultural Commodity Markets
• Module 5. Structural transformations in private sector agricultural markets
• Module 6. Standards, GMO, and IPR in Agricultural Trade
• Module 7. Recent developments in multilateral trading system
• Module 8. Agriculture in regional and preferential agreements
• Module 9. Trade policy reforms and strategic export development
• Module 10. Lessons from regional case studies

List of participants:
  1. Dr. Peter Kiuluku, the ED, TRAPCA, Arusha, Tanzania.
  2. *Dr. Caiphas Chekwoti, Programe Director, TRAPCA, Arusha, Tanzania.
  3. Dr. Soamiely Andriamananjara, Senior Economist (Trade), Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, World Bank Institute, USA.
  4. Dr. Luz Berania Diaz Rios, Agricultural & Rural Development Department (ARD), the World Bank, USA.
  5. Dr. Vinaye Ancharaz, Department of Economics, University of Mauritius, Mauritius.
  6. Dr. Joy Kiiru, School of Economics, University of Nairobi, Kenya.
  7. Dr. Terry Kahuma, Executive Director, Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS), Uganda.
  8. *Ms. Jacqueline Mkindi, CEO of the Tanzania Horticultural Organization (TAHA), Tanzania.
  9. Dr. David Laborde Debucquet, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), USA.
  10. Tekanyo Machailo Tshetlhane, Market Intelligence Executive, Bostwana Export Development and Investment Authority, Gaborone, Botswana.
  11. Kebotsemang Ofaletse, Principal Agricultural Economist, Ministry of Agriculture, Gaborone, Botswana.
  12. Yapo Francis Ahoti, Driector of Standardization and Certification, Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
  13. Myriam Fernando, Special Projects Manager, German Development Cooperation (GTZ), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  14. Eric Zunouh Banye, Value Chain Advisor, Netherlands Development Organization (SNV), Accra, Ghana.
  15. Abena Safoa Osei, Senior Standards Officer, Ghana Standards Board, Accra, Ghana.
  16. Arshfod Njenga Ngugi, Manager, Promotion of Private Sector Development in Agriculture(PSDA), GTZ, Nairobi, Kenya.
  17. Margaret N. Orina, Manager, Promotion of Private Sector Development in Agriculture(PSDA), GTZ, Nairobi, Kenya.
  18. Timothy Irungu Mwangi, SPS & Standards Manager, Fintrac INC – USAID-Kenya Horitculture Competitiveness Programme, Nairobi, Kenya.
  19. Fred V. Johnson, Director for Industrial Development, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Monrovia, Liberia.
  20. Richard Rakotoniaina, Executive Director, Investment Promotion, Ministry of Economy and Industry, Madagascar.
  21. Joseph P. B. Maruwo, Quality Control Manager, National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM), Lilongwe, Malawi.
  22. Mootoosamy Poovathal, Senior Agricultural Analyst, Ministry of Agro-Industry, Food Production and Security, Mauritius.
  23. Benedit I Ezema, Department of Economics, Nnamdi Azikwe University, Anambra State, Nigeria.
  24. Evans Stephen Osabuohien, Department of Economics, Covenant University, Ogun State, Nigeria.
  25. Serigne Diene, Trade Negotiations Advisor, Ministere de l’Economie du Commerce’ Industrie et du Tourisme (MECIT), Gabon.
  26. Guguletu Mqambalala, Agricultural Economist, Department of Agricultural, Forests & Fisheries, South Africa.
  27. Manal Alzain Mohammed Musaad, Counternant to Advisor on Agricultural and EIF Officer, National Secretariat for WTO Affairs, Khartoum, Sudan.
  28. Nasir Mahmoud Talab, Assistant to the Head of COMESA Unit, Ministry of Foreign Trade, Khartoum, Sudan.
  29. Gilbert Msuta, Livestock Research Officer, Ministry of Livestock Development & Fisheries, Livestock Research Centre, Tanzania.
  30. Prisca Mbaga, Trade Officer, Ministry of Industry Trade & Marketing, Dar es salaam, Tanzania.
  31. Josephine Akia, Policy and Advocacy Officer, National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU), Kampala, Uganda.
  32. Simon Banda, Liaison Officer, Fairtrade Labelling Organization International, Lusaka, Zambia.
  33. Chiluba Mwape, Senior Agriculture Research / Phytosanitary Officer, Zambia Agriculture Research Institute, Plant Quarantine and Phytosanitary Service, Zambia.
  34. Admire Jongwe, Principal Agricultural Economist, Ministry of Agriculture, Harare, Zimbabwe. 

*Paper presenters at the FARA/ASARECA/SADC/ECDPM/CTA/ FDA regional policy dialogue workshop on promoting access to regional and international markets for agricultural commodities in East and Southern Africa (ESA), held in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa (trapca) was inaugurated in December 2006 with the mandate of providing training and technical expertise on trade issues to professionals in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Situated in Arusha, Tanzania, the centre operates under the auspices of the Eastern and Southern Africa Management Institute (ESAMI) and the Lund University in Sweden.

Further reference:
TRAPCA 2010 prospectus

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Project launched to tap rice potential of Africa’s lowlands

A project to help African rice farmers maximize the vast potential of inland valleys, through ecological management has just been launched by the Benin-based Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) with technical and financial support from Japan.

The new project will focus on the testing and adaptation of a proven rice production technology used in Asia – known as Sawah – which helps to boost rice production through improved water and soil management. The Sawah system includes the use of small machinery for land preparation and good crop management practices.

The project partners include the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the national programs of the IVC member countries, Hitotsubashi, Tsukuba and Kinki Universities in Japan and the Universities of Hohenheim and Munich in Germany.

Japan has prioritized agriculture in its support to African development at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development-IV in 2008. As Japan has a long tradition and expertise in rice production, it has forged strong collaboration with AfricaRice since more than three decades. Currently seven Japanese scientists are working in several joint projects at AfricaRice.

Healthy soils make healthy farms

Soil is the foundation of farming. When farmers take care of the soil and ensure that it’s healthy, the farm will be more likely to provide the food and income that is needed. If the soil is not healthy, farmers cannot produce what they need.
Soil is more than just a thing in which farmers grow plants. It is a living, dynamic environment, which is like a human body in several ways. Like a human body, it needs good nutrition, good things to eat and drink. Like a human body, it needs to be healthy in order to support growth. And like a human body, its sub-systems need to work well individually and cooperatively to support maximum health and growth.
Two central ways to support soil health are to ensure that soil is fertile, and to ensure that soil is protected from erosion (this is called soil conservation). This script package explores these two critical aspects of soil health.
Click here to read the scripts.

Funding opportunities and scholarships


Agropolis Foundation (France) and CAPES (Brazil)
Agropolis and CAPES invite French/Brazilian research related to agricultural crops and food systems. Themes include plant genetics, pests and diseases, agri-environmental innovations, and others. Proposals that involve African participation will be considered. Proposals should be submitted in English before 17 September 2010.

U.S. National Science Foundation and Gates Foundation -- BREAD
The National Science Foundation, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, invites proposals under BREAD (Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development). Proposals should address major constraints that limit the productivity of crops important to smallholder farmers in developing countries. International collaboration with the developing countries is encouraged, but the principal investigator must hold an appointment in the USA. Letters of intent are due 16 September 2010.

InnoCentive -- Access and Affordability of Fertilizers in Africa
InnoCentive offers cash prizes for solutions to worldwide challenges, including how to make NPK fertilizer more affordable for small-hold farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The award is US$20 thousand, and the closing date is 26 September 2010.

Rothamsted International -- October 2010
Rothamsted International offers one-year grants for senior researchers in developing countries to work with British researchers at Rothamsted in agricultural sciences. Next deadline for applications is 22 October 2010.

Orskov Foundation -- Small Grants for Agriculture
Orskov makes grants of up to £2,500 to support agriculture in developing countries. One category of grants supports university students in agricultural studies related to poverty alleviation and environmental sustainabilty. The second category of grants is for community-based agriculture on a revolving-fund basis. Application deadline is 31 January of each year.

Scholarship for plant breeders
The African Centre for Crop Improvement (ACCI) in Durban, South Africa, is inviting applications for its PhD scholarship in plant breeding. The programme is reserved for students from Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia, Malawi and South Africa, whose research interests include cereals, roots and tubers, and legumes. Applicants must have a master's in plant breeding, plant genetics, plant pathology, crop science or horticultural science, be below the age of 40 and be employed as an agricultural research scientist in a national agricultural research institution or a non-governmental organisation, or as a university lecturer.

The future of agriculture in the Nile Basin
Scientists have until 31 October 2010 to submit their abstracts for a conference on agriculture in the Nile Basin, which will be held in Egypt next year.


French Foundation for Research on Biodiversity (FRB) -- Global Change and Biodiversity
FRB invites proposals to model scenarios of global change, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and public policy. Provided that some French territories are included, proposals may cover large regional and continental scales. Projects that focus on developing and emerging countries are particularly encouraged. Proposals (full projects, pre-projects, and expressions of interest) are due 13 October 2010.

Bioversity International -- Agricultural Genetic Resources 2011
Bioversity International announces the Vavilov-Frankel fellowships for 2011. Up to two grants of US$20 thousand each will support young researchers in themes of conserving and using genetic resources in agriculture. Proposals are invited from researchers in low and middle-income countries who are under age 35. Closing date is 07 November 2010.

World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) -- Prince Bernhard Study Grants 2011
WWF announces the 2011 Prince Bernhard Scholarships to fund mid-career training of individuals working in conservation or disciplines directly relevant to conservation. Eligibility extends to nationals from Africa (including Madagascar); Asia and Pacific; Latin America and Caribbean; Eastern Europe; and the Middle East. WWF gives preference to applicants seeking support for studies in their own country or region. Maximum grant amount is CHF 10 thousand. Applications (English, French, Spanish) are due be 11 January 2011.

Global Biodiversity Information Network (GBIF) -- Young Researchers Award 2010
The GBIF invites university graduate students to apply for its Young Researcher awards in biodiversity informatics. GBIF comprises 54 countries and 44 international organizations. Two awards of €4 thousand each are available in 2010, the first year of the awards. Application deadline is 15 September 2010.

Fellowships for researchers who want to protect the environment
Germany's state-run Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has announced the start of its 2010 international climate protection fellowships. The programme, which targets future leaders from developing countries, allows applicants to conduct a research-related project of their own choice during a one-year stay in Germany. Applicants must have completed their first university degree (a bachelor's degree or its equivalent) less than 12 years ago. They must also hold further academic or professional qualifications (such as a master's degree, PhD, LLM or MBA) or have extensive professional experience in a leadership role.

First Peoples Worldwide -- Keepers of the Earth Fund
First Peoples offers grants for the support of indigenous organizations worldwide. Grants frequently include aspects of protecting and managing natural resources and environment (including climate change). Grants through the Keepers of the Earth Fund range from US$250 to US$20 thousand. Application information is in English, French, and Spanish. Annual application deadline is 30 September.

Whitley Fund for Nature -- 2011 Awards are Open
The Whitley Fund makes grants for grass-roots conservation projects in developing countries. The grants are to nationals in eligible countries who lead pragmatic projects that combine conservation and long-term sustainability. Whitley Awards are £30,000 each; the Whitley Gold Award is £60,000. Application deadline is 31 October 2010.

Royal Geographical Society -- Application Deadlines January 2011
The RGS funds British students and researchers for international studies and projects, including many in ecology and environment in the developing world. The RGS-IBG fieldwork grants, and several categories of research grants, have deadlines on 21 January and 28 January 2011.

Birdfair/RSPB Research on Endangered Birds
The British Birdwatching Fair (Birdfair) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) jointly provide grants of up to US$2 thousand for research on endangered birds (IUCN's red list). Priority is for researchers working in their own countries, particularly in collaboration with BirdLife partners. Closing date is 30 November 2010.

World Conservation Union (IUCN) -- Central African Regional Program for the Environment
IUCN-CARPE makes small grants to civil society for sustainable forest conservation in Central Africa. Application deadlines are 31 January and 30 June 2011.

International Osprey Foundation -- Small Grants for Research
The International Osprey Foundation makes grants of US$1,000 to individuals engaged in research of ospreys, other raptors, or environmental research on wildlife and birds in general. Many past grants have been awarded for projects in the developing countries. Closing date for applications is 31 January each year.

Garden Club of America -- Grants for Students
The GCA offers grants, prizes, and fellowships for students enrolled at U.S. universities, including some awards that have a tropical focus. Most grants do not have nationality restrictions. The Awards in Tropical Botany are offered in partnership with WWF (application deadline is 15 January). The Chatham Fellowship in Medicinal Botany is in partnership with the Missouri Botanical Garden (deadline is 15 January). GCA also offers the Lou McCandless Marks Scholarship in Tropical Horticulture (deadline is 01 February 2011).

African Bird Club -- Small Grants
The ABC Conservation Awards (up to £1,000) support small and medium-sized bird conservation projects in Africa. Applicants should be resident in Africa. The ABC Expedition Awards (up to £1,500) take place within continental Africa or adjacent islands, with a strong base in conservation and birds. Applications for both programs are due before the end of February 2011, June 2011, and October 2011.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) -- Energy
USAID will make two grants of up to US$2.5 million each in support of its Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program (EEREP). Themes are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing renewable energies, in developing countries. Unrestricted eligibility. Funding Opportunity RFA-OAA-10-000009. Application deadline is 10 September 2010.


German Education Ministry -- Climate Change and Developing Countries
The German Education Ministry (BMBF) funds CLIENT -- “International Partnerships for Sustainable Technologies and Services for Climate Protection and the Environment." CLIENT makes grants for German research in collaboration with partners in Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, and Vietnam. Priorities in CLIENT are climate protection, resource efficiency, land management, and water management. In the first phase of applications, the German partner sends a detailed project outline to BMBF before 31 August 2010.

International Development Research Center -- Graduate Research on Climate Change and Water
Canada's IDRC invites applications for research grants on climate change and water in 2010-2011. Applicants must be citizens of developing countries enrolled for masters or PhD studies at universities in Canada or developing countries. Applications are accepted in English or French before 15 October 2010.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- African Wildlife Conservation
Grants for wildlife conservation and management in Africa. Open to government agencies, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, private-sector entities, and individuals. Proposal deadline is 01 March each year.

PADI Foundation -- Grants for Marine Conservation

The PADI Foundation invites applications for its worldwide grants in underwater science, environmental projects, and education. Most grants are US$5 thousand to US$10 thousand. Applicants include many for projects in tropical regions. Applications will be accepted from 11 December 2010 through 31 January 2011.

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) -- Support for African Marine Science
The IOC (of UNESCO) will support 12 young African marine scientists to address ocean and coastal adaptation to climate change. Information about the opportunity is available in English, French, and Portuguese. Closing date is 14 September 2010.

Scholarships available for hydrological and energy scientists
The African Union (AU) is inviting postgraduate students to apply for a variety of water and energy scholarships. The Mwalimu Nyerere African Union scholarship scheme is reserved for students wishing to pursue a master's or PhD in water or energy sciences, climate change and education planning. The application deadline is 30 September 2010.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Sub-Saharan strategies for climate change adaptation

IFPRI has just published a review of the strategies that the 10 countries that make up ASARECA, the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa, plan to use to adapt to climate change. Only two strategies are common to all 10 countries: “the development and promotion of drought-tolerant and early-maturing crop species and exploitation of new and renewable energy sources”. Leave aside that the second strategy encompasses biofuels, and there’s still something else striking about the strategies. Burundi recognizes the conservation of genetic resources as an important strategy although this is also potentially important for dealing with drought. 

Japan Sponsors Rice Research Hub in East Africa

6 August 2010 | EN SciDev Net 
Japan's initiative aims to develop superior strains of rice in Uganda
Flickr/IRRI Images
Uganda hopes to become the region's leader in rice research with the opening later this year of a US$6 million centre at its crop research institute.
The National Crop Resources Research Institute (NACRRI) received the money from Japan in September last year for the construction of a training and research centre for rice farmers and scientists, which is now nearing completion. 
The centre will promote North-South collaboration in research and technology transfer, said Geoffrey Asea, head of the cereal department at NACRRI, and "will be fully operational by December".
The investment is part of Japan's attempt to position itself as a strategic business partner to East African countries by investing in a range of infrastructure, food production and trade projects under the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) initiative.
On the TICAD IV platform Japan launched the Coalition for African Rice Development initiative whose goal was to double rice production between 2008 and 2018.

Funding Aquaculture Research for Africa

Recent publications available on SARNISSA (July 2010):
Funding Aquaculture Research for Africa
Sustainable Aquaculture Research Networks for Sub Saharan Africa - A new era for strengthening African aquaculture development.

This FP7/EC funded SARNISSA project aims to link like minded individuals throughout Sub Saharan Africa and beyond for their mutual benefit. Language differences present a particular challenge. English speakers may be unaware of key contacts or unable to access the wealth of information from French-speaking countries and vice versa for French speakers

The three-year project will strengthen alliances between languages and across borders among experienced and emergent players in the African and wider aquaculture scene that will build on an existing knowledge resource base and exchange platform – The Aquaculture Compendium – which is available throughout the project period to all key project stakeholders who will help provide new materials related to sub Saharan African development.

The project team has a balance of considerable experience and expertise in the aquaculture research and commercial sectors, development and policy, and information technology, as well as an ability to work in different linguistic areas, and a track record in the implementation of activities at local to international level.

The consortium consists of 8 partners from Africa and Europe and beyond:

  1. University of Stirling  (co-ordinator UK)
  2. CIRAD
  3. WorldFish Center
  4. CABI
  5. Asian Institute of Technology
  6. Bunda College Univ of Malawi
  7. IRAD Cameroon
  8. ETC Netherlands
  9. Moi University Kenya
The project focus is very much on initiating regular communication among stakeholders (researchers, commercial and market sectors, government agencies, NGOs, and others) in order that collaborations can be initiated and nurtured. Identifying and developing such new initiatives for sub Saharan African aquaculture research will be critical to this process. These may be between researchers and commercial users, between anglophone and francophone regions, between Africa and Asia; and between Europe and Africa.

Through the further development of the Aquaculture Compendium the project aims to deliver a comprehensive interdisciplinary knowledge base required for Sub Saharan African aquaculture to develop in a sustainable way and so fulfil its potential to help increase farmers’ incomes and increase food security.

Related blog post: FARA blog 19August 2008

Sarnissa is also on Facebook: Get regularly updated about SARNISSA through the Facebook site which you can join by just clicking on the "Like this site" link - once registered in Facebook you can then post messages or share information to the site yourself

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Early findings for funders and policy makers on getting research into use

20th July 2010. RIUs Central Research Team has produced an initial synthesis of some of the findings from the RIU Africa Country Programmes. These findings make a case for appropriately-funded rural development brokering agencies that can bring together a wide range of partners and find the best ways to remove bottlenecks that stop research getting into use. 

Jeroen Dijkman writes: "The policy implications from the preliminary findings by the RIU Africa Country Programmes are:

  • that agricultural innovation, rather than simple investment in research and technology initiatives, may also require the establishment of appropriately-funded rural development brokering agencies
  • that whilst the private sector may be ideally placed in some sectors, local circumstances may currently limit their role in many areas. In light of this, coalitions of private, public and civil society sector actors are important for developing, accessing and using knowledge and technology for agricultural and rural system innovation
  • that rural development interventions and investment should not be solely about solving problems but also about pursuing exciting new options
  • that investment in research capacity alone will do little to enhance innovation and rural development, unless that capacity is relevant to rural sector innovation and growth.

These findings raise important questions about how global public research and development efforts could or should reorient themselves to be able to respond."

RIU will be doing more work and analysis to test these early findings including reviewing the skills, competencies and other factors that need to be in place for the brokering agencies to be successful.

Africa matters: some policy relevant lessons emerging from the RIU country programmes 
Author: Jeroen Dijkman
June 2010 (PDF 80KB)