Thursday, 29 March 2012

Attract and promote private investment in agriculture

19 - 20 March 2012. Kigali. Second meeting of the Grow Africa “First Wave” Initiative. The meeting brought together high ranking officials from the Agriculture Ministries of the seven participating countries. Included in this group were three Agriculture Ministers from Burkina Faso, Tanzania and Kenya. Diplomatic representatives from the G8 Countries in Kigali, Development Partners and representatives from the AU, NEPAD and World Economic Forum were also in attendance.

The purpose of the meeting was to encourage the World Economic Forum and G8 Summit to support “First Wave” countries as they prepare their investment blueprints. The meeting also served as preparation for the upcoming Grow Africa Forum meeting in Addis Ababa on 8-9 May 2012 and for an initiative at the G8 Summit on 18-19 May which will focus on food security and agricultural investment.

Initiated at the 2011 World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, and convened jointly by WEF, the African Union Commission and the NEPAD Agency, the Grow Africa Forum has included seven countries as part of its ‘first wave’. Rwanda was invited by the WEF and the AU to participate in the Grow Africa Forum, a multi-country platform to attract and promote private investment in agriculture. The first meeting of the Grow Africa Forum was held in Dar Es Salaam from 7-8 November 2011 and included representatives from “First Wave” countries, alongside private investors and major donors. The “First Wave” countries include Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda.

22 March 2012. Ireland's Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore (left) said that the Irish agri-food industry has a key role to play in developing the farming sector in African countries. Speaking at the launch of the €2 million “Africa Agri-food development fund”, Mr Gilmore said the partnership between the department of foreign affairs and the department of agriculture is a new way of working on aid. “Irish companies are well placed to play a role in meeting Africa’s increasing food needs. Our agri-food industries have the skills and the vision to both trade and invest in Africa,” he said. Mr Gilmore said the collaboration builds on work begun by the government’s Africa Strategy, and would expand on the role already being played by Ireland in countries like Mozambique. “It is in the context of the Africa Strategy, and it is the start of an initiative which will advance our aid programme and open up opportunities for trade and investment in Africa by the agri-food sector,” he said. Also at the launch, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney (right) said the partnership will allow Irish firms to use experience gained in the shift from subsistence farming to an export industry in collaboration with African partners.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

African Ministers of finance discuss the implementation of CAADP

22–25 March 2012. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Meeting of the Committee of Experts of the 5th Joint
Annual Meetings of the AU Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance and ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. About 50 African ministers of Finance met for a two-day conference whose theme is “Unleashing Africa’s potential as a pole of global growth.”

A report on the implementation of the comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), being reviewed by a committee of African economic, finance and planning experts who met ahead of the ministers, said ministers of finance have a key role in facilitating faster and better implementation of national agriculture and food security investment plans.

Key messages to Ministers of Finance
The report calls on ministers of finance to initiate and facilitate effective spending instruments like public expenditure reviews, effective monitoring and evaluation systems and regular sectoral reviews and dialogue mechanisms for agriculture and related sectors for better results. During budget discussions, emphasis needs to be placed on complementarities of different sectors as the only instrument to determine and allocate sector budgets, says the report. The report says “budget process in countries should be used as instruments for better inter-and-intra sectoral coordination and that during budget discussions, emphasis needs to be placed on complementarities of different sectors as the only instrument to determine and allocate sector budgets.'

In 2013, it will be ten years since the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) was endorsed in Maputo in 2003. Beyond the 29 countries that have signed CAADP Compacts, and more than 20 countries developed CAADP-based Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plans (AFSIPs), CAADP has since created space for inclusive participation of all relevant sector players – from within and outside the state and to the grassroots level. CAADP has raised the profile of the agricultural sector in national domestic politics and the attention to agriculture has significantly increased.

• 29 countries have signed CAADP Compacts
• 21 countries have CAADP Investment Plans Developed
• 15 countries have CAADP Business Meetings and defined financing modalities
• 6 received GAFSP money
• 7 have developed blueprints for private sector investment

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Growth with Resilience: Opportunities in African Agriculture

22 March 2012. Brussels, European Commission Directorate General for Development and Cooperation - DG DEVCO. The Informal stakeholder consultation about Improving the quality and effectiveness of development cooperation with African agricultural knowledge organisation, provided the opportunity to launch the new report of the Montpellier Panel: Growth with resilience – opportunities for African Agriculture in 2012.

The Montpellier Panel is a panel of ten experts from the fields of agriculture, sustainable development, trade, policy, and global development chaired by Sir Gordon Conway of Imperial College London. The Panel is working together to make recommendations to enable better European government support of national and regional agricultural development and food security priorities in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Growth with Resilience: Opportunities in African Agriculture

Download the report here 

Informal stakeholder consultation on agriculture research in Africa

Prof. Monty JONES (FARA)
20-22 March 2012. Brussels, organized by the European Commission Directorate General for Development and Cooperation - DG DEVCO. Improving the quality and effectiveness of development cooperation with African agricultural knowledge organisations: Informal stakeholder consultation.

In order to improve the quality and effectiveness of development cooperation with African continental and sub-regional agricultural knowledge organisations, the European Commission organized an informal stakeholders consultation which brought together representatives of African agricultural knowledge organisations, of the Development Partners, and EC/EU experts.
Dan KISAUZI & Silim Mohamed NAHDY
(AFAAS) ; Paco SEREME & Harold
David NIELSON (World Bank)

David NIELSON, Melissa BROWN, Bremala
The objectives of this meeting were to:
  • share experiences of African continental and sub-regional leading organizations linked to agricultural research, advisory services, and tertiary agricultural education on how these organisations have contributed to the objectives of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) under the Framework for African Agricultural Productivity (FAAP);
  • Carolyn GLYNN & Philip CHIVERTON
    (Swedish University of Agricultural 

    Nicoliene OUDWATER 

    (AgriCulture ETC Foundation)
  • dialogue with representatives of African continental and sub-regional organisations, Development Partners organisations, and EC/EU experts on the key lessons learnt through such processes – what worked well and less well and why;
  • looking to the future, discuss how such processes might continue to be strengthened into the future and scaled up where appropriate, share views of African organisations on their future role in their mandate areas and discuss this with representatives of the Development Partners organisations and EC/EU experts.
The outcomes were:
Aissetou Drame YAYE (ANAFE), Adipala
  • raised awareness of the value of African continental and sub-regional leading organizations linked to agricultural research, advisory services, and tertiary agricultural education in support to the objectives of CAADP;
  • shared experience on key initiatives of African continental and sub-regional leading organizations linked to agricultural research, advisory services, and tertiary agricultural education to advance African agriculture;
  • Patrick TAWONEZVI & Mwape
  • deepen understanding of the challenges and opportunities of African continental and sub-regional leading organizations linked to agricultural research, advisory services, and tertiary agricultural education to support the objectives of CAADP;
  • recommendations made to donors and Development Partners organisations on how to increase effectiveness of their support to agricultural research, advisory services, and tertiary agricultural education in support to the objectives of CAADP.

Monday, 19 March 2012

First Global Conference on Women in Agriculture

Dr. R.S. Paroda (at the right), Executive Secretary, APAARI and Co-Chair, 
International Organizing Committee presented the glimpse 
of synthesis report based on the deliberations held during 
the conference. Dr. Paroda informed the audience that 
second GCWA will be held in 2015 in Africa.
13 - 15 March. New Delhi. India. a dream team of World Food Prize laureates, government ministers, farmers, agriculture researchers, gender experts and community development organizations were in New Delhi, India for the first ever Global Conference on Women in Agriculture. It is sponsored by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), along with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the Asian-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI). A Global Conference on Women in Agriculture (GCWA) was organized with participation of researchers, policy makers, women farmers and other stakeholders from different regions of the world.

  • To discuss and deliberate the prevailing and emerging gender issues in agriculture and food systems and the lessons learned for future sustainable development,
  • To take stock of evidence on experiences in enhancing role of women in agriculture,
  • To understand the mechanisms and approaches adopted by the international organizations, regional fora, countries and civil society for empowering women and addressing gender issues in agriculture, and
  • To collate lessons on strategies for strengthening gender research in agriculture to make technology generation and dissemination, agricultural planning and policy making gender sensitive and disseminate them through an edited book and develop a Framework for Action.

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI), a new tool developed by IFPRI, the US Government’s Feed the Future initiative, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, measures the empowerment, agency, and inclusion of women in the agriculture sector. The WEAI is a composite measurement tool that allows researchers to identify women who are disempowered and understand how to increase autonomy and decisionmaking in key domains. For additional information on IFPRI’s gender research please visit the thematic page on gender and the Gender and Food Policy News blog.

IFPRI senior researcher, Ruth Meinzen Dick on the book, "Engendering agricultural research, development, and extension."

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Making things happen: Stories of how DONATA’s innovation platforms are strengthening farming communities across Africa

Making things happen: Stories of how DONATA’s innovation platforms are strengthening farming communities across Africa
Series 1:
Burkina Faso – Building better lives
DRC – Working wonders with miracle maize
Kenya – Sweet success with sweet potato in Busia
Mali – Food security is our motto
Mozambique – Maize magic
Tanzania – Improving access to promising technologies
Uganda – Transforming lives with technology in Gulu
Zambia – Back to basics with sorghum

DONATA [Dissemination of New Agricultural Technologies for Africa]is a continental platform for technology dissemination co-created and co-managed by FARA Secretariat together with the SROs and NARS. Most of its work in the field is conducted through innovation platforms for technology adoption (IPTAs). IPTAs operate at sub-national level and are composed of agricultural research-for-development (ARD) partners, including extension agencies and farming communities. They work on a common commodity and analyse gaps in the commodity value chain to define the IPTA’s specific interventions. They follow the concept that effective agricultural technology dissemination – the adoption, use, uptake or commercialisation of existing knowledge – calls for understanding of farming systems through strong linkages and active participation among a range of actors.

IPTAs include researchers, primary producers, extension workers and NGOs, government policy makers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, traders, processors and others. All of these stakeholders are organised into a coherent platform, with each participant (individual or corporate) contributing to the attainment of its goals.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Vidéos “Lutter contre le Striga” développées par l’ICRISAT

Farmers on film in the fight against striga

Juliana Toboyee from Ghana, gives the go ahead sign for action (© Marcella Vrolijks)
Juliana Toboyee from Ghana, gives the go ahead sign for action
© Marcella Vrolijks
With the widespread scaling back of agricultural extension services in Africa, those with a responsibility to deliver information to rural communities are learning to follow new channels. In West Africa, the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has built on experiences gained by the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) in developing a series of ten farmer-to-farmer videos. The ten films are now being widely shown to support rural learning on practical and affordable ways to control one of Africa's most serious weeds - striga.

You can watch either with live streaming, downloads onto your computer, or mobile device, or order for local delivery by VCD or DVD. AccessAgriculture are also developing a facility for audio files to be downloaded by radio stations.

Les vidéos “Lutter contre le Striga” ont été développées par l’ICRISAT et ses partenaires, avec le support de Agro-Insight et Countrywise Communication. Il y a 10 vidéos sur des sujets différents concernant la gestion intégrée du striga et de la fertilité du sol pour les producteurs de mil et de sorgho. Pour avoir une idée du contenu, vous pouvez les visualiser ou télécharger du site

Comme les producteurs n’ont pas access à l’internet, actuellement nous avons prévus de multiplier et distribuer 25,000 DVDs (qui sont déjà attribués aux différentes structures) aux Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger et Nigéria. Chaque DVD a toutes les 10 vidéos en 8 langues: Anglais, Français, Bambara, Bomu, Mooré, Haoussa, Fulfulde et Zarma.

Pourquoi s’investir à multiplier un grand nombre de DVD? Et bien, l’objective principale d'Acces Agriculture est de mettre la plupart des DVDs  à la disposition des communautés, des OPs, des paysans, des radio rurales, etc. Bref, partout ou le mil et le sorgho sont cultivés et ou les producteurs ont des problèmes avec le striga, la pauvre fertilité du sol (ou les deux).

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Measuring aid to agriculture and food security

Measuring aid to agriculture and food securityMeasuring aid to agriculture and food security ODI Briefing Papers 72, 29th February 2012.

This Briefing Paper discusses flaws in the system for identifying and classifying aid to agriculture and calls for a purposeful (policy-relevant) measure that addresses global commitments on transparency, accountability and results-based aid.

There is a prevailing view that aid to agriculture has suffered a steep decline since the 1980s and is only now beginning to recover its share of total aid, following concerns over food price rises and volatility. While this is broadly true, the extent of the decline has been exaggerated by the limitations of the method used to classify aid to agriculture, and the recent recovery has been exaggerated by the merging of this type of aid with broader efforts to address food insecurity. There are two main causes of such statistical inaccuraciesFirst, the difficulty of capturing policy changes in the way in which donors support agriculture. Second, the difficulty of isolating the agricultural component in aid programmes.

This Briefing Paper explores the flow of aid to agriculture and reviews how it is measured and counted in terms of overall Overseas Development Assistance. Based on this analysis, the researchers argue:
  • Recent aid pledges to agriculture reveal flaws in the system for identifying and classifying such aid;
  • A purposeful measure of aid to agriculture is required to improve transparency and accountability;
  • The different policy objectives behind aid to agriculture need to be separated to help establish results-based aid.

ECOWAS, COMESA, EAC, SADC and the regional implementation of CAADP

March 5th, 2012. Brussels, ECDPM Office. Organizers: Dutch MFA and ECDPM.
In preparation of the 8th Partnership Platform at the end of March, this meeting was organized by the Dutch MFA and ECDPM and aimed at discussing and exploring how to facilitate and support greater involvement of all CAADP partners at the regional level and more effective harmonization of their interventions.

A mapping exercise, commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on regional issues relating to CAADP, was recently completed by the ECDPM. The research focused on ECOWAS, COMESA, EAC, and SADC. Key findings and messages are compiled in a specific document for each REC, plus a condensed summary of cross-cutting messages relevant to donors supporting regional integration. The research findings include regional linkages horizontally with other RECs, and vertically with countries.

Meeting documents:

ECDPM Executive summaries of regional mapping papers:


Monday, 5 March 2012

How rural communities can benefit from bioenergy development

5 March 2012, Rome - FAO has released a suite of guidance documents and policymaking tools that governments can use to help rural communities benefit from bioenergy development and ensure that biofuel crop production does not come at the expense of food security.

Materials released by FAO's Bioenergy and Food Security Criteria and Indicators (BEFSCI) Project include: methodologies for assessing the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of bioenergy production, indicators that can be measured when doing so, recommended good practices, and policy measures for promoting sustainable bionenergy development.

"In a few months the international community will gather for the Rio+20 conference to explore new ways to combat rural poverty and promote sustainable development. Undertaken responsibly and where appropriate, bioenergy production can offer farmers and rural people the opportunity to take part in building a new green economy, and can help counter the effects of decades of underinvestment in developing world agriculture and rural areas," said Alexander Mueller, FAO Assistant Director-General for Natural Resources Management and Environment.

Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection, the BEFSCI project was initiated to study the complex relationship between bioenergy and food security and help policymakers make informed decisions regarding bioenergy development.

The project has generated a number of products, including: a web-based tool for assessing potential food security impacts of bioenergy projects; a comprehensive list of methodologies and indicators to assess the impacts of bioenergy on food security at the national level; a set of good environmental practices to minimize negative environmental impacts; and a compilation of socio-economic practices currently being implemented by producers that provide examples of how bioenergy development can foster rural development and enhance food security.

The project also assembled an inventory of management and policy measures that can be used to address negative social, food security or environmental impacts of bioenergy production. And it has explored how to better include smallholders in global bioenergy value chains.

Additionally, a BEFSCI briefing paper identifies and analyzes various policy instruments that governments and planners can use to require or promote good practices in bioenergy. "The paper looks at the pros, cons and appropriateness of these various instruments, so that governments who are just beginning to wrestle with these issues can learn from the experiences of others," explained Heiner Thofern, who heads up the BEFSCI project at FAO.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

FARA Weekly Update

Please find below a summary of announcements received in the week of 27 Feb. -3 March  2012. Thank you

News and Events

  1.       Press release: New genomic resources for maize breeding
  2.       Empowering Women in Agriculture
  3.     Biennial Updates: Second Announcement and sample abstract

Opportunities for training, scholarships and fellowships

  1.   International Journal of  Mechanical Engineering and Research, submissions open for Volume 1,Issue 1,Feb. - April, 2012
  2.   ITOCA CEPD 2012 Short Course: Marketing for the Information Professional
  3.  West African Network on Organic Agriculture Research Training
  4.  Online Course March 2012 Adaptation.  CSDi Solution-Oriented Program Examples for Community Challenges in DRR, CBA and Rural Development.
  5.    Formation Internationale " Comment Relier les Agriculteurs aux Marchés en Afrique" Bamako, Mali, Avril 9-13, 2012

Job Vacancies

1.       Avis de recrutement charge de suivi de projets pilote redd & adaptation

2.       Postdoc Position in Geography - Namibia - Switzerland

3.       Call for applications:

a.       Graduate Research Program on Climate Change and Agriculture.  Download application form.

b.      Graduate Research Program on Climate Change and Biodiversity.  Download application form

New Resources

1.       New EIARD policy briefs: