Monday, 25 October 2010

Democratising agricultural research for food sovereignty in West Africa

Democratising agricultural research for food sovereignty in West Africa
Michel Pimbert, Boukary Barry, Anne Berson, Khanh Tran-Thanh
Published: Oct 2010 - IIED, CNOP, IRPAD, Kene Conseils, Centre Djoliba, URTEL
Language: English

This multimedia publication is available online only. A hardcopy version will be printed in early 2011.
This multimedia book reports on an initiative in West Africa that seeks to create safe spaces in which food providers and consumers can discuss how to build an agri-food research system that is democratic and accountable to wider society. An explicit aim of the entire process is to strengthen the voices and effectiveness of small-scale producers and other citizens in the governance of agricultural research as well as in setting strategic research priorities and validating knowledge. 

The book combines text, photos, video and audio recordings to describe the methodologies used in processes of deliberation and inclusion that involved small scale producers (farmers, pastoralists, fishermen and food processors) and holders of specialist knowledge on agricultural research. The policy recommendations that emerged out of two citizens’ juries and farmer led assessments of agricultural research are presented here along with some critical reflections on the process so far. The outcomes of these citizen deliberations have significant implications for current debates on the future of food and farming in West Africa.

Democratising agricultural research: 
An initiative that questions the often narrow interests of agricultural research. Focussing on four regions aiming to make the voices of small scale producers and other excluded citizens heard — and count — in the governance and process of agricultural research.

Making excluded voices count in food 
and agricultural policy making

THE JURY Farmers' reflections on the process and on their role as jury members

Origins and design of the citizens' jury process - a brief history

The work of the facilitators during the citizens' juries

A member of the independent oversight panel assesses the process - Blandine Sankara, Burkina Faso

The role of the press and other media in West Africa - before, during and after the citizens' juries

See a number of videos :

01. Dr Samba Traoré, Director, Cinzana Research Station, Mali

African-Brazil Innovation Market Place

Dr. Ramadjita TABO of FARA at the
African-Brazil Innovation Market Place
6 - 7 October 2010. African-Brazil Innovation Market Place

The Africa-Brazil Agricultural Innovation Marketplace is an international initiative supported by different donnors aiming to link brazilian and african experts and institutions to develop cooperative projects.

The Innovation Marketplace was composed of three basic pillars:

  1. A policy dialogue between the main authorities from Africa and Brazil supporting institutions focused on the development of a mutually agreed framework for collaboration
  2. A forum for presentation and discussion of research for development ideas, including proposal selection, that would be competitively supported.
  3. Support and implementation of Africa-Brazil agricultural projects.

Proposal: what happened?

250+ pre-proposals were submitted.
61 were eligible and could continue further. They had the previlege to meet their partners in Brazil during the IM Forum.
20 were selected to submit full proposal. 
6 were selected and received their cheque on the 6th of October.

E-survey system

The Innovative Marketplace was an amazing experience for some of the participants (See blog of Andrianjafy Rasoanindrainy)
The use of interactive e-survey system during the last sessions was one of the most interesting experiences that african participants had.
Andrianjafy Rasoanindrainy: "Such kind of equipment should be used more frequently in Africa to improve reliability, transparence and accountability in voting and all democratic processes."

The Fifth International Conference on Agricultural Statistics (ICAS-V)

12-15 October 2010 in Kampala, Uganda. Hosted by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics and sponsored by the African Development Bank, Eurostat, FAO, ISI, the Islamic Development Bank, UNSD, United States Department of Agriculture and the World Bank, the Fifth International Conference on Agricultural Statistics (ICAS-V) was the fifth in the series of ICAS conferences conducted under the auspices of the ISI Committee on Agricultural Statistics. 

Theme of this year’s conference was “Integrating Agriculture into the National Statistical System”. The theme is the primary pillar of a recent initiative by the international community to assess and improve the quality of agricultural statistics.

The Conference focused on the report by the United Nations Statistical Commission “Global Strategy for Improving Agricultural and Rural Statistics” which was developed during the previous International Conference on Agricultural Statistics in 2007.

ICAS-V brought together statisticians from national statistical offices, ministries of agriculture, academia and researchers, and international organizations. The focus was on:
  • Agriculture Conceptual Framework; 
  • Scope and coverage of agriculture; 
  • Economic and social statistics; Environment statistics; 
  • Use of new technologies and tools in Agriculture Statistics; 
  • Remote sensing and early warning; 
  • Data collection and dissemination; 
  • Global Strategy Components; 
  • Agricultural statistics at country level; 
  • Training; Research; 
  • Technical assistance; 
  • National and International Governance; 
  • Rural and social statistics; 
  • Population and agriculture censuses; 
  • Household and agricultural surveys.

Links to Documents 
Conference Brochure : EN FR - SP
Conference Programme : EN - FR
Detailed Conference Programme : EN


The East African Community and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations are conducting a five-day regional training on agricultural statistics in Arusha, Tanzania. The training runs from 8-12 November. The Regional CountrySTAT Training workshop is designed to help countries better understand international standards and to meet the comparability requirements of consistent, updated and high quality data. Reliable food and agricultural statistics are crucial for designing policies to ensure food security. Participants from nine countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including representatives from four of the five EAC Partner States, will discuss ways of improving the quality of data of the CountrySTAT system, become familiar with new tools developed by the CountrySTAT team at FAO headquarters, and understand processes and share best practices.

AGRISAT WORKSHOP: Earth observation for worldwide agricultural monitoring

13-15 October 2010 AGRISAT WORKSHOP, Brussels. The objective of this workshop was to review the state-of-the-art, the current issues and the way forward in agricultural monitoring systems for the different regions of the world. Key recommendations were formulated in order to improve food security and agricultural production monitoring on a global scale, taking into account policy evolutions, agro-ecosystems diversity and satellite system developments.

It was admitted that agriculture has not been the priority of remote sensing so far.
  • The focus has been on land cover areas for environmental purposes.
  • Also the climate change community is mainly concerned by land cover and not land use.
  • Crop monitoring is mainly focusing on high production countries, not subsistence farming
  • Participants urged for more funding for  subsistence farming’ crop monitoring
  • Remote sensing specialist cannot be expected to responsible for the use of their information up to the level of farmers. They need information intermediaries for this but experience a lack of follow up
  • A separate forum/venue is needed to discuss the recipients’ perspective (dixit Christopher Justice, University of Maryland, USA)
  •  The users’ perspective was not so well represented because a number of persons participate at the Fifth International Conference on Agricultural Statistics (ICAS-V) ( 12-15 October 2010, Kampala, FAO).
  • Only one NGO attended: Action Contre la Faim ACF Espagne-Mali: Erwann FILOL & Frederic HAM
  • The African participants came from Senegal, Sudan, Ethiopia, Niger, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique (BEYE Gora Centre de Suvi Ecologique Senegal;  AZAHRI FARH MAHGOUP Mohamed Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forests Sudan; EL SHEIKH Hassan GMFS Sudan; TULU Mathewos Hunde Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ethiopia; ALFARI Issifou AGHRYMET Niger; AGATSIVA Jaspat Regional Center for Mapping of Resources Development (RCMRD) Kenya; GALU Gideon USGS/FEWS NET Kenya; KORME Tesfaye RCMRD Kenya; SITUMA Charles Department of resource survey and remote sensing Kenya; MBUKWA Christopher Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Malawi; PATRICIO Domingos Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia, Mozambique; DAMELIO Jacopo FAO Zimbabwe

Satellite images with a high and moderate spatial resolution are expected to have a strong development in the coming years. It will become easier to integrate remote sensing data in the policy making and foresight capacity of African Ministries of Agriculture. Remote sensing data are to lead to improved statistical analysis and the creation of information products which allow for easier interpretation. Having reliable figures before harvest is a major challenge. In well organized African countries crop area estimates are generally available a few months after harvest. The management of agricultural policy and food security requires timely and possibly objective agricultural statistics.

Following the presentation of David Radcliffe on “EU Policy framework and (future) challenges: Agriculture and food security for development” there was a discussion on how to stimulate the uptake of Earth Observation (EO) data by other users (non governmental and non research actors). Pathways are to be designed for transitioning from research to operations, targeting information providers and users. Local organizations (ngo, farmer organizations, etc) have not the capacity to generate sophisticated data. It is thus difficult to expect from local stakeholders to generate ground truthing data (verification, calibration and validation of remote sensing data). Universities should partner with non-research stakeholders to clarify the local need for natural resources data.

In the plenary David Radcliffe said that he saw a role for PAEPARD to articulate the demand of non-research stakeholders for EO data. Proposals (ENV.2011.4.1.4-1) should include a strong communication strategy “to get the message down to the farmer organizations”.

The workshop frames under the GMES initiative and is a contribution to the GEO Agricultural Monitoring Task (Ag 0703) which has the goal of improving international coordination on earth observation for enhanced agricultural monitoring. Related blog post: Developing increased EO capacity for better agriculture and forestry management in Africa

AgriBusiness Forum 2010 - Food Security: a Business Opportunity

3 – 6 Oct 2010. Kampala. The AgriBusiness Forum 2010. For four days, over 400 industry leaders, cooperatives, SMEs, financiers, government officials, NGOs, researchers, international organisations, multinationals and donors from 42 countries around the world gathered in Kampala and discussed the urgent matter of food security and its potential to generate business opportunities.

Ralph von Kaufmann from FARA
In particular, the AgriBusiness Forum assembly agreed that Africa plays an important role in the increase of food production and thus, in the long run, can contribute significantly to solving the projected 70% increase for food demand by 2050.

The AgriBusiness Forum 2010 looked at food security as an opportunity to:

  1. Boost the African agro-food sector through the design, planning, and implementation of diverse agricultural policies and projects.
  2. Debate on the role of the private sector in improving food access and increasing sustainable agricultural productivity.
  3. Improve production as well as pre and post-harvest intervention, commodities, and inputs.
  4. Attract new & strengthen existing partnerships and investments in the agri-food sector in Africa.
They resolved that the private sector plays a crucial role in up-scaling agricultural productivity; putting in mind that capacity building will create a more efficient agribusiness.

For her Bee Natural Project, Maria Odido won the amount of US$ 15,000. The project aims at processing carrot relish, carrot and pineapple jam. Maria Odido was delighted with her award and summed up the motivation of many of the AgriBusiness Forum participants, ‘It’s not my job, it’s my life’.
Click here to find out more aboutMaria Odido's Project

Including small-scale producers in the value-chain, the experts said, is vital for agribusiness innovation.

"Indigenous knowledge should be improved on - farmers require training, technology, information technology and mobile applications to improve their smallholder agribusiness operations," the forum agreed.

AgriBusiness Forum, an annual business Forum that aims to contribute to the sustainable economic growth of Africa by further developing its agriculture and agro-food industry, was organised by teh Brusels-based non-profit organisation EMRC, in partnership with the Uganda Government.

Established in 1992 in Brussels, EMRC is a non-profit International Association composed of a network of entrepreneurs, financiers, consultants and officials based throughout the world. EMRC's mission is to lead the private sector in Africa to sustainable economic development and to drive regional change via partnerships.

This AgriBusiness 2010 was sponsored by FAO and Rabobank, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), USAID, Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture, Novus International, Heineken, FARA, Stanbic Bank, Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, KPMG, ProInvest and IFDC.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Announcement: Festival de films documentaires ALIMENTERRE / Documentary Festival Fight against Hunger

du 16 octobre au 30 novembre 2010
Manger est un plaisir mais surtout une nécessité vitale. Quelle alimentation souhaitons-nous et comment est-elle produite ? Comment ceux qui produisent peuvent-ils en vivre dignement ? Ici ou ailleurs, on oublie trop souvent que derrière chaque assiette, il y a un agriculteur.
Depuis sa création, le Festival de films ALIMENTERRE projette et met en débat les questions cruciales liées à l’alimentation et à l’agriculture, en France comme dans les pays pauvres. 
5 documentaires pour réfléchir et échangerAu menu cette année, le décryptage d’un système agricole dévastateur aux Etats-Unis, un témoignage saisissant sur le travail esclave de paysans sans terre au Brésil, la dénonciation d’une concurrence déloyale entre les agricultures du monde mais aussi une immersion dépaysante au sein d’une communauté de femmes équatoriennes et l’expérience suisse d’une agriculture de proximité.
Réalisateurs, agronomes, chercheurs, agriculteurs, représentants d’organisations paysannes ou d’unions de consommateurs au Sud proposeront leurs témoignages et leurs analyses, en lien avec leurs expériences de terrain.

Food, Inc. > en savoir plusLa légende de la terre dorée > en savoir plusMadre(s) tierra > en savoir plusAu coeur de la proximité > en savoir plusJe mange donc je suis > en savoir plus

plus de 300 projections-débatsConsultez l'agenda des manifestations

le festival passe les frontièresAu TOGO, après le succès de l’an dernier, l’OADEL décentralise son Festival à Kpalimé avec 3 séances à l’Hôtel de Ville, mais aussi 5 projections dans des villages autour de Kpalimé et 4 projections spéciales (Université de Lomé, Centre Culturel Français, etc.).
Au BENINCREDI-ONG se lance pour la première fois dans l’aventure avec plusieurs séances à Cotonou.
En BELGIQUESOS Faim reconduit le Festival de films ALIMENTERRE du 14 au 16 octobre au Botanic à Bruxelles.
En POLOGNEPZS, partenaire du CFSI, organise un Festival multi-activités itinérant : 1er et 2 octobre à Wroclaw, 15 et 16 octobre à Cracovie, 23 et 24 octobre à Gliwice.


Bruxelles : Botanique (salle cinéma), à 1210 Bruxelles

Le 14 octobre
  • 22h00 : Débat "Nourrir le monde versus préserver l'environnement" en présence de Jérôme Lambert, réalisateur, Gérard Choplin, spécialiste en politiques agricoles pour la Coordination européenne Via Campesina et de Mohamadoun Coulibaly, partenaire malien de SOS Faim
  • 22h30 : Drink solidaire
Le 15 octobre

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Developing increased EO capacity for better agriculture and forestry management in Africa

28/09/2010, Brussels. Interview with Alan Edwards (EC/DG Research, Earth Observation Sector) @ the South Africa's biodiversity research partnership.

Alan Edwards answers what the genesis is of the FP7 call ENV.2011.4.1.4-1 "Developing increased EO capacity for better agriculture and forestry management in Africa". About non-research actors, he answers that the main non-research actors are [African] policy makers.

AGRISAT WORKSHOP, Brussels - 13-15 October 2010
The objective of this workshop is to review the state-of-the-art, the current issues and the way forward in agricultural monitoring systems for the different regions of the world. Key recommendations will be formulated in order to improve food security and agricultural production monitoring on a global scale, taking into account policy evolutions, agro-ecosystems diversity and satellite system developments.

The workshop frames under the GMES initiative and is a contribution to the GEO Agricultural Monitoring Task (Ag 0703) which has the goal of improving international coordination on earth observation for enhanced agricultural monitoring.

Back ground FP7 ENV Call

Area Developing capacity building activities in the domain of Earth Observation in the new EU countries and in the developing countries. ENV.2011.4.1.4-1 Developing increased EO capacity for better agriculture and forestry management in Africa.

The main objective of this action is to contribute to food security in Africa by enhancing the
current global capabilities in the areas of agriculture monitoring, famine early warning, foodsupply and crop prediction and agriculture risk assessment, through increased use of Earth observation data.

Emphasis is placed on the creation and sustained provision of the required Earth observation data, enhancements of the observations (data products and predictive models) and the development of the necessary capacity and infrastructure to make the data and products available to improve agricultural and forestry management, including irrigation issues, using the full interoperable capability of the GEOSS.

The activity shall integrate and build upon GEO tasks, in particular AG-07-03: Global Agricultural Monitoring and GMES initiatives, including the ESA GMES Global Monitoring for Food Security Project, establishing the appropriate connections.

Funding scheme:

Collaborative Project (small or medium-scale focused research project) for specific cooperation actions (SICA) dedicated to international cooperation partner countries Expected Impact: Assembly, integration and provision of existing and newly generated geoinformation relevant for Agriculture, Forestry and Ecosystem management by building the necessary capacity, especially within developing countries. The substantial uptake of Earth Observation techniques, information and products by an increasingly large community of managers and decision makers.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Innovative funding for innovative partnerships

22nd September 2010. Brussels. Promotion of Sustainable Development in Agricultural Research Systems in the South (DURAS). Interview with Oliver Oliveros, former coordinator of the DURAS programme, at the European NGO meeting: "Reorient research towards more demand-driven approach for African family farmers?". 

After four years of implementation, the DURAS Project wrapped up its activities in June 2008.

The DURAS Project was conceived in order to support the opening up process being promoted by GFAR and to contribute to strengthening the involvement of southern stakeholders in the agricultural research process and ensuring that their voices are heard at the international level. It also aimed to enhance the scientific potential of these stakeholders through the implementation and management of research programmes which they believe to be strategically important for their regions.

The project’s three components included:
• Support to the strengthening of regional fora in agricultural research, particularly in enabling relevant stakeholders such as NGOs, farmer groups and small and medium agri-enterprises to actively participate in the R&D process
• Reinforce functional information communication management (ICM) system and development of Regional Agricultural Information Systems (RAIS)
• Launch a Competitive Grants Systems to encourage and promote innovation; to scale up innovative practices developed in the south; and to enhance scientific capacity southern partners

Three hundred bright minds from business and industry, science, governments, NGOs and farmers’ organisations, recently met in Brussels from 11-12 May 2010 at an international conference called “The Art of Farming”. They explored the potential of sustainable business models that include small-scale farmers. 

Money for farming
Complete issue as a PDF file, 48 pages, 4.1 MB
Farming matter June 2010

Farming Matters is published by ileia, the Centre for learning on sustainable agriculture. ileia is a member of the AgriCultures Network; eight organisations that provide information on smallscale, sustainable agriculture worldwide.