Monday, 31 January 2011

African activists awarded for climate change innovation

Africa’s poor and vulnerable communities have first hand experience of climate change and are eager to learn more about what they should do to become climate resilient. However, these communities can be isolated from formal exchanges of knowledge on how to build resilience. AfricaAdapt’s  Knowledge Sharing Innovation Fund has been set to reverse this and has just announced the winners of its 2010 call.

Nine local projects helping different communities adapt to the changing climate have won grants from the AfricaAdapt Innovation Fund. The money will help the community-based groups carry out ground-breaking research and put their life-changing ideas into practice in 2011.

Inspiring winners
“Winners were selected from hundreds of great submissions from across the continent. The finalists were judged to be the most innovative, effective and inspiring,” says Moussa Na Abou Mamouda, network coordinator of AfricaAdapt.

‘In Madagascar, local folk songs – Hira Gasy – will be used by Antananarivo University to spread the message to farmers about the need to improve risk-control,’ explains Binetou Diagne, Knowledge Sharing Officer from AfricaAdapt.

She adds: ‘Children and adults in the central highlands of Kenya will use cheap and free local materials to create colourful murals about climate change, performing arts, environmental games and demonstration gardens, all supported by the Tree Is Life Trust. It’s a great way to get people involved at the grassroots level in thinking about how climate change will affect them on a day-to-day basis. That’s what the AfricaAdapt Innovation Fund is all about.’

In Ethiopia, three small villages will be involved with Haramaya University in creating and showcasing short films about climate change. Then there’ll be discussions about what practical action they can take, as well as how they can input into local government adaptation plans.

Other winners were the Women’s Action Network in Burkina Faso, the Lipangwe Organic Manure Demonstration Farm in Malawi; and the ONG Young Volunteers for the Environment in Benin.

About AfricaAdapt
AfricaAdapt is a network committed to ensure that Africa’s most vulnerable communities access and contribute to research and information to help them strengthen their resilience to climate change. For more information on AfricaAdapt please visit or email

FARA weekly update

1.       News and Events
e.      AIAEE-IAALD Namibia Conference Registration – deadline: March 1, 2011

  1. Opportunities
a.       Call for Applications for 2011 Fellowships: African Women in Agricultural Research and Development(AWARD)
d.      Brown Summer Institute in Climate Change 2011: June 4-11, 2011
e.      WBI COURSE ANNOUNCEMENT: Innovation Policy for Inclusive Growth, March 28 - April 1, 2011. Application deadline - February 1, 2011

3.       New Resources

Friday, 14 January 2011

Agrimonde. Scenarios and Challenges for Feeding the World in 2050

A book summarizing the report on the Agrimonde foresight study initiated by CIRAD and INRA on global agriculture and food between now and 2050.

The world will be able to feed the predicted 2050 population of nine billion people, according to two French agricultural research organizations. In a joint report published today, they lay out findings gleaned from 2006 to 2008 that could overturn some current assumptions about the state of global farming.

The report, titled Agrimonde, is published by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and the Centre for International Cooperation in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD), both headquartered in Paris. It contains some surprise findings on Africa and other regions — the latest results from an ongoing study by the two research agencies.

Agricultural productivity in Africa doubled between 1961 and 2003 — a finding that overturns most assumptions "and is one of the most surprising results of our work", Patrick Caron, CIRAD's director-general for research and strategy.
Reference: Nature News 12/11. Future of food could be bright

Agrimonde : Agricultures et alimentations du monde en 2050

Résultats de la prospective Agrimonde. Colloque organisé par l'Inra et le Cirad à Montpellier le 9 octobre 2009. La prospective Agrimonde, initiative conjointe de l’Inra et du Cirad, est un outil de réflexion collective sur les enjeux alimentaires et agricoles mondiaux.

Introduction et Présentation des resultats d'Agrimonde (débat avec la salle)
Gérard Matheron, directeur général du Cirad
Sandrine Paillard (Inra), Bruno Dorin (Cirad), Sébastien Treyer(AgroParisTech
Tables rondes et échanges avec la salle

Les systèmes alimentaires mondiaux et les comportements alimentaires

Présidée par Patrick Caron (Cirad)
Voir la vidéo

Les options pour l'intensification écologique

Présidée par Bernard Hubert (GIP Ifrai)
Voir la vidéo

La régulation des échanges commerciaux internationaux

Présidée par Hervé Guyomard (Inra)
Voir la vidéo
Conclusion et perspectives
Par Marion Guillou, Présidente directrice générale de l'Inra
Voir la vidéo

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Announcement: Joint call for collaborative projects under the Sustainable Crop Production Research for International Development (SCPRID) Initiative

11 January. Research funders from the UK and USA, and government departments in the UK and India have yesterday (11 January) announced a new £20M/$32M joint research initiative.

The focus of the programme is on research to understand and counter the effects of abiotic (drought, temperature, salinity, nutrient deficiency etc) and biotic stresses (pathogens, pests, weeds) - including combinations of stresses - that constrain food crop production in developing countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Funding will be awarded to teams that can show that their research can improve food security and increase sustainable crop yields within the next 5-10 years.

The emphasis will be on the following staple crops: cassava, maize, rice, sorghum and wheat. A proportion (~15%) of the available funding will be allocated for work on other important crops but support is unlikely to be provided for research on 'niche' crops with the potential to enhance the livelihoods of only small groups of people.
For more details about the call and to view the call documents, please click click here. The deadline for submission of outline proposals is 31 March 2011.

Members of the BBSRC and Global Food Security research communities were in attendance at CropWorld 2010. Staff from BBSRC's Swindon office captured some of them on camera at the Global Food Security exhibit in the Science Zone. Watch the video for a taste of what was discussed.

BBSRC Chief Executive Professor Douglas Kell, Professor Maggie Gill, Chief Scientific Adviser - Rural Affairs and Environment, Rural and Environment Research and Analysis Directorate, Scottish Government and Professor Maurice Moloney, Director of Rothamsted Research feature alongside researchers from UK universities and research institutes.

BBSRC coordinated the Global Food Security exhibit and speakers from the BBSRC and Global Food Security research community gave talks in both the congress and exhibition throughout the three days of CropWorld 2010. Global Food Security is a multi-agency programme bringing together the food-related research interests of Research Councils, Executive Agencies and Government Departments. The exhibit was the focal point for discussion about how the programme partners are working together to maximise their effectiveness and impact in meeting the food security challenge.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Mobilizing the potential of rural and agricultural extension

This paper presents an overview of current opportunities and challenges facing efforts to increase the impact of rural and agricultural extension. The starting point for this analysis is in recognition that the days when agricultural extension was synonymous with the work of public sector agencies are over.

The ‘extension services’ described here may just as likely consist of an input vendor advising a farmer about what seed to plant, a television station broadcasting a weather forecast, a supermarket advising traders about what standards are required for the vegetables they purchase or a farmer organization lobbying for research that reflects the demands of its members for new technologies.

Mobilizing the potential of extension is about enhancing this broad and complex flow of information and advice in the agrifood sector.

The paper presents the position of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) on where agricultural extension stands today and where it needs to go in the future.

Source: IAALD 10/01/2011

Monday, 10 January 2011

Successes in African agriculture: Lessons for the future

Edited by Steven Haggblade and Peter B.R.Hazell 
Published for IFPRI by The John Hopkins University Press 
2010, 436pp, ISBN 978 0 80189 503 6(Pb), US$45
To read of widespread and sustained successes in African agriculture is rare indeed yet, as the contributors to this book convincingly describe, not only is success possible but the means of achieving success may be readily identified.
The aim of the book, commissioned by IFPRI, is to demonstrate that the sustained decline in Africa's agricultural productivity over past decades can be arrested; with the current concerns about global food security, the replicable successes analysed deserve to be widely disseminated, boosting morale as well as productivity. As Joachim von Braun, concludes in his foreword, "We believe that the time is ripe to review, reflect, and build upon what has worked well in the past."
Following an editorial overview of the challenges facing African agriculture, six 'success stories' are detailed; cassava transformation in West and Southern Africa; hybrid maize in East and Southern Africa; Mali's cotton revolution; horticultural exports in Kenya and Côte d'Ivoire; smallholder dairying in East Africa; and soil fertility management systems. The book concludes with a summary of lessons and draws out implications for future planning and action.

FARA weekly update

1.       News and Events
b.      Appel à articles
h.      Montpellier and Paris Launch Summaries:
                                             i.            Ambassador Haslach speech
                                           ii.            Montpellier summary
                                          iii.            Panel report
                                         iv.            Paris summary
  1. Opportunities