Thursday, 24 May 2012

e-Agriculture for Improved Livelihoods and Food Security in Africa.

21st - 23rd May 2012. Johannesburg, South Africa. International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists. 3rd IAALD Africa Chapter Conference: e-Agriculture for Improved Livelihoods and Food Security in Africa.

The conference drew attendance from 90 professionals and experts involved in the application of information and communication technology (ICT) in the rural domain, with a primary focus on agriculture (e-Agriculture), from both inside and outside Africa.

Speakers included government policy makers, industry, international development community, rural development practitioners, as well as researchers and graduate students from the agricultural and rural development field, including ICT. They presented and discussed the latest topics in e-agriculture and shared their experiences and lessons learned in the implementation of e-agriculture initiatives.

The conference activities comprised an exhibition showcasing e-agriculture initiatives and activities; pre-conference workshops, seminars and training. Prior to the conference, an online global discussion was held on e-Agriculture in Africa.

The Role of South-South Cooperation in Agricultural Development in Africa

17 May 2012. Brasília. The Role of South-South Cooperation in Agricultural Development in Africa: Opportunities and Challenges 2012

Both China and Brazil are becoming increasingly important players in agricultural development in Africa, whether through technical assistance or trade and commercial investments in land and agriculture. In the longer term, these new players may reshape the way agricultural development is thought about, financed and implemented across Africa. 

The implications of these new patterns of South-South cooperation have been discussed at a meeting in Brasilia on 17/05 organised by the Future Agricultures Consortium in collaboration with the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), with support from Articulação Sul, the International Cooperation Centre in Agronomic Research for Development (CIRAD), and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

Professor Li Xiaoyun and Professor Qi Gubo of the Chinese Agricultural University in Beijing offered their perspectives based on the findings of their recently-published book, Agricultural Development in China: A Comparative Analysis
Focusing on China's experience of supporting agricultural development in Africa, they argued that China has made massive strides in achieving food security and poverty reduction, feeding 20 per cent of the world's population with only 8 per cent of the world's arable land. Lessons from this experience are potentially important for Africa, they said. China has experience of labour intensive agriculture supported by locally developed appropriate technologies. China's 'green revolution', they pointed out, was home-grown and based on long-term public investment in research, agricultural education and infrastructure, and was not reliant on market led development.
Panel 1: Brazilian cooperation for development: new paradigm for agricultural development in Africa? 

Setting Brazilian agricultural development cooperation in its geopolitical and policy context – what are the attributes of the Brazilian model and what challenges is it facing? Reflecting on lessons from different agricultural development models in Brazil and their implications for cooperation with Africa – how to get the blend right?

Panel 2: Agriculture, climate change and a green economy in Africa: what role for South-South?

Focusing on the opportunities and challenges for African agriculture [in the context of the Rio+20 and post-Durban agendas on sustainability], inclusive green growth and climate change mitigation – climate smart agriculture and the socioenvironmental lesson-learning process from Brazilian agricultural development. What lessons exist from including rural women for example? How can we do better rather than simply produce more?

Panel 3: Brazil and China in Africa: similarities and differences in South-South exchange 

Identifying contrasts and commonalities in Brazilian and Chinese approaches for agricultural development cooperation with Africa, and potential for future exchange – what might Brazil and China do together?

Rwanda's remarkable progress in almost all FARA’s priority areas of intervention

21-23 May. Kigali, Rwanda. The Executive Board of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) was to review the programs and plans of FARA over the 18-month period from July 2012 to December 2013. The main reason for choosing Rwanda as venue for the Board meeting is the country’s remarkable progress in almost all FARA’s priority areas of intervention such as advocacy and policy, improved access to knowledge and technologies, strengthened capacities, and partnerships and strategic alliances. The total investment is USD 700,000 per annum for the past 3 years. FARA has also trained seven postgraduate students who have already complemented their courses of study and returned to their assignments with RAB.

In order to find out first-hand how Rwandan farmers are benefiting through the interventions introduced by FARA and supported by various donors, the Board members visited two key field locations of the Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB) in Rulindo and Musanze districts.

In Rulindo, the Board visited the Kotemu Cooperative, where farmers have achieved new prosperity through cultivation of Orange-flesh Sweet Potato (OFSP), which was introduced by the FARA project Dissemination of New Agricultural Technologies in Africa (DONATA).
The members of the cooperative, most of whom are women, were dressed in bright orange shirts bearing the slogan Turye ibijumba bikungahaye kuri Vitamine A! (Let’s eat sweet potatoes rich in Vitamin A!). The women prepared an array of baked OFSP products. One, which they called ‘DONATA Doughnuts’, so impressed Dr Tiemoko Yo, Chairman of the FARA Board, that he exclaimed ‘This is the best cake I have ever eaten!’

At the Musanze site in the village of Gataraga, Irish potato farmers were similarly expressive about FARA’s work through the Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Program (SSA CP). When Professor Monty Jones, Executive Director of FARA, asked the farmers what specific improvements in their lives had come about as a result of the FARA initiatives, he was overwhelmed by the immediate and varied responses of the farmers. One had been able to build a new house that he rents to a tenant. Another had been able to place her children in school, including one in university. Yet another had purchased a motor vehicle for transporting her crop to market. One after another, the farmers demonstrated their enthusiasm and satisfaction with the SSA CP project.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Announcement: POSTHARVEST AFRICA 2012: 25 - 28 November, 2012

7th International CIGR Technical Symposium
"Innovating the food value chain"
2nd International Conference on Postharvest Technology &
Quality Management


Conference Flyers:First


Following the success and scientific reputation of the previous CIGR Section VI Postharvest Symposia held in Beijing (China), Warsaw (Poland), Napoli (Italy), Iguascu (Brazil), Potsdam (Germany) and Nantes (France), and the 1st International Conference on Postharvest Technology held in Muscat (Oman), we are pleased to invite you and your colleagues to the next event to be held in the beautiful and historical 'Oak City' of Stellenbosch, South Africa.
The Conference will highlight recent scientific advances and technological tools to handle, preserve, process, maintain and control quality and reduce losses in fresh and processed foods and agro-industrial raw materials, including fruit and vegetables, grains, roots and tuber, meat, seafood, herbs, spices, and cut flowers.
Convenor - Prof OparaProf Linus Opara
South African Research Chair in Postharvest Technology
Faculty of AgriSciences, University of Stellenbosch
Private Bag X1, Stellenbosch 7602, South Africa.
Phone: +27 218084064 Fax: +27 218083743

Programme DONATA : diffusion des nouvelles technologies agricoles en Afrique

La technique de multiplication rapide des boutures de manioc par recépage à Dabou en Côte d’Ivoire fait école en Afrique. Conçu par le FARA, le Forum pour la Recherche Agricole en Afrique, le CORAF-WICARD et financé par la BAD, la Banque Africaine de Développement, le programme DONATA est un projet dont le but est d’améliorer la productivité agricole en Afrique.

Dans le cadre d’un atelier chercheurs-médias organisé par le FARA/CTA, du 19 au 23 mars à Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), une trentaine de chercheurs et journaliste francophones de l’Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre étaient sur les traces de ce projet exécuté à Dabou. Sur le site du village de petit Badien, la recherche agricole ivoirienne, les services de vulgarisation expérimentent la production de deux nouvelles variétés de manioc à haut rendement : Boucou I et Boucou II à partir de la nouvelle technique de multiplication rapide des boutures de manioc par recépage. Une technique de production de manioc qui suscite beaucoup de convoitises et fait de DONATA un projet de recherche agricole à succès en Côte d’Ivoire.

Le reportage de Ernest KAMBIRE RTB/Télévision

Second African Organic Conference

UNCTAD's Deputy Secretary-General, Mr. Petko Draganov,
together with the 
H.E. Mr. Emmanuel Chenda,
Zambian Minister of Agriculture and Livestock,
and representatives of IFOAM, the African Union and the FAO,
the first President of Zambia, 
Dr. Kenneth Kaunda,
a fervent supporter of organic agriculture, 
in the opening session of the conference.
2-4 May 2012. Lusaka, Zambia. The Second African Organic Conference concluded with the adoption of The Lusaka Declaration on Mainstreaming Organic Agriculture into the African Development Agenda, which urges the African Union (AU), including the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), to implement the African Organic Action Plan.

The Conference aimed to showcase the role of organic agriculture in ensuring food security and poverty alleviation. More than 300 participants from 40 countries are in attendance. The Conference was held under the theme "Mainstreaming organic agriculture into the African development agenda," with support from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The conference stressed that shifting agriculture towards organic practices leads to farming methodologies that rely on local resources, thus shielding farmers from external price shocks as well as encouraging local job creation and preserving arable farm land.

 [The Lusaka Declaration on Mainstreaming Organic Agriculture into the African Development Agenda] [UN Press Release] [2nd African Organic Conference Website]

8th CAADP Partnership Platform (PP) Meeting

3rd and 4th of May 2012. Nairobi Kenya. The African Union Commission (AUC) and NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA) organised the 8th CAADP Partnership Platform (PP) Meeting around the theme of the meeting “Accelerating CAADP Implementation for results and impact.”

Over 200 participants, including agriculture experts, researchers, policy makers, civil society, development partners, farmers' groups and media from within Africa and beyond attended the two-day event.

The President of Pan African Farmers Organization (PAFO), Ms. Elizabeth Atangana, urged CAADP to put in place the mechanism for marketing Africa agriculture produce. She said the programme should also encourage agricultural research, promote inter-countries trade, strengthen cooperative societies, and empower women and youths in African rural areas. 

“CAADP is an opportunity but the slow implementation of its agenda is of concern to farmers. In Central Africa, the launch of CAADP is still facing a lot of challenges. I hope that this meeting will give us space and lead to conclusion, implementation and joining of countries that have not joined,” she said.

Background: CAADP was established in 2003 as part of the AU's NEPAD programme and as Africa's response to the various challenges facing agriculture in the continent. Some of its main goals are to influence countries to increase their budgetary allocation to agriculture by 10%, achieve 6% growth, promote land and water management, agricultural research, marketing and food security. Some 30 countries have signed the CAADP compact, which is a blueprint for accelerating agricultural growth, while over 24 countries have established agriculture and food security investment plans.