Tuesday, 27 December 2011

China's food security challenge: what role for Africa?

Africa will in the next decade increasingly play an important role in China’s long-term food security agenda as demand for food in the world’s most populous nation threatens to outstrip its supply, according to Standard Bank research analysts Simon Freemantle and Jeremy Stevens.

In their latest paper “China’s Food security challenge: What role for Africa?” published in November 2011 (13 pages), Mr Freemantle and Mr Stevens write that China is facing serious strains on both the demand and supply side of its agricultural sector and will in the next few years have to look externally to supplement its sources of food supply.

  • Who will feed China? Malthusian concerns around the world’s ability to provide sustenance for a rising population have often, as now, centered on China. With unrivalled agricultural potential, Africa too has been thrust to centre stage. Emotionally-fuelled estimations of China’s agricultural ambitions in Africa too often miss the mark. This paper assesses where (if at all) Africa fits into Beijing’s long-term food security agenda.
  • Food demand is rising rapidly in China. Rising incomes and urbanisation are leading to dramatic increases in food consumption in China. China now consumes the second most food in the world, behind the United States. It is expected that, by 2015, China’s total food expenditure will double to over USD1 trillion (tr).
  • Meanwhile, China is facing increasing strains on agricultural supply.  Urbanisation and industrialisation are swallowing up farmland, and diminishing water tables. Between 1996 and 2006, China lost 9 million (mn) hectares (ha) of farmland.
  • Boosting domestic sources of supply will be Beijing’s core response to these challenges. Agriculture’s broader role in maintaining social harmony in China is profound. Fortunately, China has the propensity and ability to boost domestic production. China is a net exporter of food and has enormous stockpiles of most soft commodities. Given pointed state support, China’s agricultural output is expected to swell by 26% to 2019. 
  • However, clear demand overhangs exist, meaning that China will have to seek external sources of nutrition. Two principle channels exist:
  • First, China will look to enhance trade ties with food exporting nations. Between 2001 and 2010 China’s imports of soybeans rose ten-fold, from USD2.8 billion (bn) to over USD25 bn, and rubber imports from USD2 bn to USD17 bn.
  • Africa is a bit player in China’s agricultural trade prospectus. 99% of China’s soybean imports come from the Americas, and three-quarters of rubber imports from the rest of Asia. In 2009, China-Africa agricultural trade was just USD4 bn, less than 4% of total trade. A disconnect exists between African agricultural export and Chinese agricultural import dynamics. That said, recent trade growth in certain commodities, such as cotton, has been impressive.
  • Second, China will align aid and outward investment in agriculture to access new opportunities. Here, Africa’s role is pronounced.  While cooperation remains developmental, signs of commercialism and strategic intent are clear. In general, state-owned farming groups carry out Beijing’s agricultural investments in Africa. As of 2009, China had carried out over 200 agricultural projects in Africa. Increasingly, these projects are run on a for-profit basis.
  • Estimations of Chinese “land grabs” in Africa are overstated. Gulf States, as well as private investors from throughout the developing and advanced world have led the thrust of recent land acquisitions in Africa. Beijing, alarmed by local sensitivities, has remained cautious.
  • Africa desperately requires capital and skills to elevate food security. Managed well, partnerships with China can be meaningful. However, domestic food security must be placed first. Then, and leveraging Chinese aid, crops suited for China’s demand dynamics can and should be emphasised. Increasingly, green technology will provide cogent opportunities.

AFR-Brazil Ag Innovation Marketplace - third call for proposals

The Marketplace aims to benefit primarily smallholder producers. The objective of this initiative is to enhance agricultural innovation for development on the African continent through the establishment and strengthening of partnerships between African and Brazilian organizations.

The Marketplace focus on agricultural innovation thus potentially engaging the full range of actors involved in the generation of agricultural knowledge (research, academia, extension, private sector, NGOs, producers, policy makers.

This initiative lead to the generation of concrete and productive partnerships between agricultural research and development organizations in Africa and Brazil, initially through Embrapa, supporting smallholders. Ultimately, it will support the development of a mutually agreed framework for sustainable Africa-Brazil collaborations. The Marketplace will open a new source of expertise to Africa to identify and target pro-poor, smallholder-based projects utilizing Brazilian innovation research.

Key dates
Dec 12th 2011 - Feb 29th 2012 - Call for pre-proposals
Mar 01st 2012 - Mar 12th 2012 - Pre-proposal evaluation and selection
Mar 12th 2012 - Mar 15th 2012 - Announcement and invitation of selected pre-proposals for submission of full proposals
Mar 15th 2012 - Apr 09th 2012 - Submission of full proposals
Apr 09th 2012 - Apr 16th 2012 - Full proposal evaluation and selection

Technology and Innovation Report 2011: Powering Development with Renewable Energy Technologies

The Technology and Innovation Report (TIR) 2011 [PDF, 179 Pages, 2360Kb] analyses the important role of technology and innovation policies in expanding the application and wider acceptance of renewable energy technologies (RETs), particularly in the context of developing countries. Technology and innovation policies can promote and facilitate the development, acquisition, adaptation and deployment of RETs to support sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing countries and LDCs.

Four current trends lend a new urgency to the need to explore how far and how easily RETs could serve energy needs worldwide.
  1. First, ensuring universal access to conventional energy sources using grids entails high costs, which means that developing countries are unlikely to be able to afford the costs of linking additional households, especially those in rural areas, to existing grids. 
  2. Second, the climate change debate has injected a greater sense of urgency into searching for newer energy options, as a result of both ongoing policy negotiations and the greater incidence of environmental catastrophes worldwide. 
  3. Third, from a development perspective, the recent inancial and environmental crises have caused major setbacks in a large number of developing countries and LDCs, resulting in their further marginalization from the global economy. The LDCs and many developing countries suffer from severe structural vulnerabilities that are a result of their patterns of integration into the global economy. The international community needs to promote low-carbon, climate-friendly development while fostering inclusive economic growth in these economies as a matter of urgency. 
  4. Lastly, there are extreme inequalities within developing countries themselves, and lack of access to energy affects the poorest of the poor worldwide, impeding their ability to enjoy the basic amenities of modern life that are available to others at the same level of development.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Inventory of African and European CSOs involved in agricultural research for development (ARD) in sub-Saharan Africa.

19 November 2011. Nairobi. An international consultation meeting was held to discuss the findings of the inventory of African and European CSOs involved in agricultural research for development (ARD) in sub-Saharan Africa. The meeting was attended by about 30 people from research institutions, NGOs and FOs.

The study identified the formal and informal linkages between CSOs and other stakeholders involved in ARD, as well as potentials and blockages in the ARD system to realising a greater participation of CSOs in prioritising, formulating and carrying out ARD. The study also looked into resource allocation for ARD in sub-Saharan Africa, and how and where and by whom the decisions for such allocation are made.

This study was planned to contribute to:
  • Designing and implementing a consultative mechanism that allows various CSO representatives to participate meaningfully in African, European and international deliberations on ARD;
  • Triggering the necessary change in direction of the ARD system toward a more demand-led, grounded and smallholder-focused research and innovation system; and
  •  Stimulating greater resource flows to research involving small-scale farmers.
Next steps: 
  • INSARD will finalise the “CSO-in-ARD” mapping study report and make it widely available. INSARD will develop a short strategy paper on possible CSO consultation and coordination mechanisms. 
  • INSARD will develop a policy paper to provide a basis for engaging with the GCARD (Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development) roadmap, including issues of governance reforms and alternative approaches to ARD.
  • INSARD will contribute to the regional consultations for GCARD in Africa and Europe in early 2012 by informing NGOs and FOs in these regions about the international ARD process, so that they understand how they can engage in ARD decision-making, in a similar way as was done during the time of the NGO Committee (NGOC) of the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research).
Mapping EU-SSA Agricultural Research for Development, CSO Engagement and Resource-Allocation Processes, Mutizwa Mukute and Tafadzwa Marange, 7 December 2011, 77 pages.

Boosting Agricultural Higher education into CAADP

28th to 30th November 2011. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resource Education (ANAFE), ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development Cooperation (CTA), Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), the NEPAD Coordinating Agency, CORAF-WECARD and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) held a Sensitization workshop for Engaging French Speaking African Higher Agricultural Education Institutions into CAADP.

Other key partners of the organization are the University of Ouagadougou, University of Abomey Calavi (Benin), the Association of African Universities (AAU), the African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education (CAMES), the Conference of rectors of Universities of Francophone West Africa, Central and Indian Ocean (CRUFAOCI), the Network of Institutions of higher Education in
Fishing (Afri-FishNet), the European Alliance on Agricultural Knowledge for development (Agrinatura) and the French consortium Agreenium.

During the three days conference, a number of papers were presented, followed by debates and discussions, and propositions made. This led to the following results:
  • An increased awareness about the objectives, the constants and the expected outputs of the CAADP;
  • A better understanding of the role to be played by Universities and other agricultural higher education institutions in cooperation with their supervisory ministries and those in charge of agriculture;
  • The massive presence at the meeting of Universities, other higher education institutions and technical and financial partners, is a testimony of their willingness to be involved in actions undertaken for the attainment of the CAADP objectives;
  • Important activities were formulated which will lead to a stronger involvement of agricultural training institutions;
  • Concertation frameworks were proposed with CAADP, ANAFE, RUFORUM and FARA which will be able to serve for interaction between Universities and Agricultural training institutions.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Agriculture innovation systems: An investment sourcebook

Forthcoming on February 17, 2012.
Agriculture and Rural Development Series
English; Paperback; 696 pages; 8.5x11
Published February 17, 2012 by World Bank
ISBN: 978-0-8213-8684-2; SKU: 18684
Price: $49.95
Book ordering information

The long-awaited agriculture innovation systems sourcebook is going to be published by the World Bank early in 2012.

According to some pre-materials, “the agricultural innovation system (AIS) approach has evolved from a concept into an entire subdiscipline, with principles of analysis and action, yet no detailed blueprint exists for making agricultural innovation happen at a given time, in a given place, for a given result. This sourcebook draws on the emerging principles of AIS analysis and action to help identify, design, and implement the investments, approaches, and complementary interventions that appear most likely to strengthen innovation system and promote agricultural innovation and equitable growth.”

It is “targeted to the key operational staff in international and regional development agencies and national governments who design and implement lending projects and to the practitioners who design thematic programs and technical assistance packages. The sourcebook is also an important resource for the research community and NGOs and may be a useful reference for the private sector, farmer organizations, and individuals with an interest in agricultural innovation.”

Key messages of the sourcebook are:
  • Agricultural development depends on innovation. Innovation is a major source of improvedproductivity, competitiveness, and economic growth throughout advanced and emerging economies, and plays an important role in creating jobs, generating income, alleviating poverty, and driving social development.
  • If farmers, agribusinesses, and even nations are to cope, compete, and thrive in the midstof changes in agriculture and economy, they must innovate continuously.
  • Investments in science and technology are a key component of most strategies to improve and maintain agricultural productivity and innovate.
  • Research, education, and extension investments are necessary components but have not been sufficient for agricultural innovation to occur. Other conditions and complementary interventions are needed.
  • In addition to a strong capacity in RD, components of effective agricultural innovation are collective action and coordination, the exchange of knowledge among diverse actors, the skills, incentives and resources available to form partnerships and develop businesses, and enabling conditions that make it possible for actors to innovate. These conditions and complementary interventions have not been consistently addressed to date.
  • Innovation and business development by different stakeholders does not occur without complementary investments to create a supportive environment. Enabling conditions in a given context depend on a (innovation) policy mix, innovation governance, a diverse set of regulatory matters and other investments with synergistic effects.
  • The agricultural innovation system (AIS) investments must be context specific and respond to the stage of and vision for development in a particular country and agricultural sector. Given the resource limitations, investments need to be assessed, prioritized, sequenced, and tailored to the needs, challenges, and resources that are present.


This paper (40 pages) traces the evolution of the innovation systems framework within the agricultural sector in Sub-Saharan Africa, and presents a conceptual framework for agricultural innovation systems. The difference between innovation ecology/ecosystems and intervention-based innovations systems is highlighted, given that these two concepts are used at different levels in promoting and sustaining agricultural innovations. The role of open innovation, innovation platforms, and innovation intermediaries in catalyzing, enhancing, and facilitating the innovation process are discussed, as is the role of R&D in the innovation process.

The paper goes on to consider the interconnectedness of the innovation systems perspective and value-chain analysis in agricultural R&D processes, before summarizing the current status of agricultural R&D in Sub-Saharan Africa, lessons from past experience, and implications and key challenges confronting development practitioners in institutionalizing the agricultural innovation systems concept within the agricultural R&D in the region. Finally, some key conclusions and areas for investment are presented.

Related blog post:

Friday, 16 December 2011

Land Rights and the Land Rush: Findings of the Global Commercial Pressures on Land Research Project

Land Rights and the Rush for Land
Findings of the Global Commercial Pressures on Land Research Project
Land Rights and the Rush for Land
Ward Anseeuw, Liz Alden Wily, Lorenzo Cotula, and Michael Taylor
This report, authored by leading land experts, is the culmination of a three-year research project that brought together forty members and partners of ILC, CIRAD and IIED to examine the characteristics, drivers and impacts and trends of rapidly increasing commercial pressures on land.
The report strongly urges models of investment that do not involve large-scale land acquisitions, but rather work together with local land users, respecting their land rights and the ability of small-scale farmers themselves to play a key role in investing to meet the food and resource demands of the future.
The conclusions of the report are based on case studies that provide indicative evidence of local and national realities, and on the ongoing global monitoring of large-scale land deals for which data are subject to a continuous process of verification.
But while research and monitoring will continue, this report draws some conclusions and policy implications from the evidence there is already.

Online forums to further develop the “ICT in Agriculture” Sourcebook

The World Bank and the e-Agriculture Community are collaborating in a series of online forums to further develop resources for the recently launched “ICT in Agriculture” Sourcebook (www.ictinagriculture.org).

These discussion forums, available to all e-Agriculture community members, will be vehicles to inform the World Bank of other projects/programmes that e-Agriculture members are carrying out and that could complement the research of the World Bank.
The ICT in Agriculture Sourcebook offers practical examples and case studies from around the world. A compilation of modules related to 14 agricultural subsectors, each module covers the challenges, lessons learned, and enabling factors associated with using ICT to improve smallholder livelihoods. Its aim is to support development practitioners in exploring the use of or designing, implementing, and investing in ICT enabled agriculture interventions.

Resources and the forum archives for these discussions are brought together in one convenient location.

A first discussion is ending today about Strengthening Agricultural Marketing with ICT
5-16 December 2011
This forum followed module 9, beginning with the need for and impact of ICT in agricultural marketing from the perspectives of producers, consumers, and traders. It continues to look at mobile phones as a marketing tool; evidence that ICT is changing logistics and transaction costs; the use of ICTs for market research (both for acquiring immediate market information and acquiring market intelligence over time); and the use of ICT to make input supply and use more effective. 

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


05-Dec-2011 to 07-Dec-2011. ASTI, together with the International Food Policy Report Institute (IFPRI), where ASTI is based, and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), convened a conference on agricultural R&D in Africa.

The conference focused on the following themes:

ICT in Agriculture e-Sourcebook

ARD and infoDev kindly announce the release of the:
ICT in Agriculture e-Sourcebook
Connecting Smallholders to Knowledge, Networks and Institutions
Click Here to Access the PDF 

The ICT in Agriculture e-Sourcebook is designed to support development practitioners exploring, designing, implementing, and investing in information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled agriculture interventions.  The book is a compilation of resources related to 14 agricultural subsectors.  Each module covers the challenges, lessons learned, and enabling factors associated with using ICT to improve smallholder livelihoods in these subsectors.  Over 200 examples and case studies from five regions are presented in the text. The e-Sourcebook and website was made possible through the Creating Sustainable Businesses in the Knowledge Economy program and generous funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Also announcing the ICT in Agriculture Website: http://www.ictinagriculture.org 

A central goal of the sourcebook is to expand knowledge on the nexus between ICT and agriculture, and to generate discussion on how to use ICT effectively to improve the sector and reduce poverty.  The Agriculture and Rural Development Department (ARD) and infoDev of the World Bank invites you to participate in this discussion.  See the website above to access to sourcebook and for additional information and resources on ICT in agriculture.

We are also hosting a series of forums on ICT in agriculture with FAO's e-agriculture community. The first forum, on ICT and Strengthening Markets, will be held from December 5th-16th. Please visit the website to learn how to participate.

If you would like to receive occasional newsletters on ICT in agriculture from the World Bank, please click here to send an email (ictinag@worldbank.org).

Work Programme for agriculture at the climate talks in Durban

A group of 15 leading agricultural organisations (including three United Nations agencies, the World Bank, the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), the World Farmers' Organisation, CTA, FANRPAN and the International Food Policy Research Institute) have jointly endorsed a letter to the COP17 climate negotiators with a specific call-to-action, namely to approve a Work Programme for agriculture at the climate talks in Durban [under the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA)] .

Agriculture is the low-hanging fruit for a deal at the climate talks this year, and this letter represents a strong consensus from key actors in agriculture on how negotiators can make progress this year -- both to mitigate agriculture's current level of emissions but also to help farmers adapt to changing growing conditions. The letter calls on negotiators to "take early action to determine the long-term investments needed to transform agriculture to meet future challenges."

The letter comes ahead of Agriculture and Rural Development Day, which takes place in parallel to the COP17 climate talks this Saturday, 3 Dec in Durban.

You can also read a Wall Street Journal article about the letter just published today:

PAEPARD Agricultural Innovation Facilitators' Workshop

28 November - 2 December 2011. Entebbe. PAEPARD Agricultural Innovation Facilitators' Workshop.

The Platform for African-European partnership for Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) in collaboration with The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) has organised a five-day facilitators' Inception Workshop of the PAEPARD Project. The main objective of this workshop is to familiarise participants with their potential role as facilitators of "agricultural innovation partnerships" established with the support of the PAEPARD project.

The workshop is daily documented by one of the participants (Nawsheen Hosenally from Mauritius)

Day 1 – Monday 28th November 2011: Introduction to PAEPARDThe theme for the first day of the workshop was “Introduction to PAEPARD”.

The question of the open space was "You have been selected as a 'facilitator of multi-stakeholder innovation processes: Which theme do you think is essential to discuss - from your experience with ARD multi-stakeholder innovation processes in - in a sub-workshop?"

The 8 sub-workshops were on the following topics:
1. How to identify relevant partners within a multi-stakeholder partnership?
2. How to balance/manage power imbalances within a consortium?
3. How can we reinforce capacities to work in partnership?
4. How can we manage stakeholders in a team? Divide roles and overcome mistrust
5. How can we keep ourselves relevant and in demand by the partnership?
6. How do we harmonise our work methods when we are driven by different ideologies?
7. How can we maintain neutrality in our facilitation?
8. How can we share financial and information resources in a sustainable partnership?

Day 2: Tuesday 29th November 2011: Facilitation of ARD Partnerships
The theme for Day 2 was "Facilitation of ARD Partnerships" and the aim was that all participants know about the role of a facilitator in a multi-stakeholder partnership.

Day 3 - Wednesday 30th November 2011: Facilitation Tools
Role Play
The first session of Day 3 was a role-play by Janet Achora and Monica Kapiriri Namumbya (both from Uganda), whereby Monica had to approach Janet (consortium) as the Agricultural Innovation Facilitator by PAEPARD.
Moderation, Coordination, Facilitation and Leadership
This session discussed the differences between Moderation, Coordination, Facilitation and Leadership.There were 3 boards in front, on each one there was a question, written on a card of different colours:
Green Card: Achieve the task (Common objectives)
Blue Card: Manage the team and avoid conflict
Pink Card: Promote learning by partners
Research Questions
The last exercise for the day was about Research Questions. Each country pair had to work together on their respective concept notes and had to generate 5 research questions and 3 sub-questions for each of the selected concept notes of the Second round of the PAEPARD call ARD proposals

Day 4 - Thursday 1st December 2011: Designing a partnership facilitation process

Presentation on PAEPARD Inception Workshop - June 2011
The objective was for participants to have an idea about how an inception workshop was organised by PAEPARD in the past and the points to keep in mind while planning and implementing the workshop. There are 4 steps which are involved for a concept note to become a formal proposal and the example given was from the PAEPARD First Call:

  1. Original proposal to PAEPARD
  2. Concept Note (Draft) drafted as a result of the PAEPARD Inception Workshop
  3. Complete Concept Note
  4. Draft Proposal Write-shop to generate formal proposal (submission)

Individual plans
Each country pair was asked to design a timeline of 3 months on the type of activities they will organise with respect to their respective consortium and also the specific output/milestone achieved for each proposed activity.

Video Projection
Mrs. Habiba Hassan Wassef of Egypt, talks about how Africans should be aware of their Intellectual Property Rights before sharing their views with Europeans.

Financing ARD
To understand about how ARD can be financed, a document from ICRA, which contained key concepts on how to finance ARD were given to the participants, who were asked to read the document. Then there was a brainstorming session to find the possible finance sources at National Level, Sub-Regional Level (Africa) and International Level.

Presentation by ASARECA
To get a better idea of how ARD are financed in Africa, there was a presentation by Mr. Joseph Methu from ASARECA. He explained about how ASARECA does the coordination work regarding financing of ARD in the East Africa Region.

Statements from World Bank
This session was a presentation on a report from the World Bank: IMPLEMENTING AGRICULTURAL INNOVATION FUNDS: Lessons from Competitive Research and Matching Grant Projects.. From that Report, different statements were taken and presented to the participants.

  1. Statement 1: The more a call is competitive – and selective, the less facilitators will be asked to play an intermediation role, as the investment will have less chances to lead to a return.
  2. Statement 2: Competitive grants strengthen the strongest actors and do not reduce the disparities between the strong and the weak.
  3. Statement 3: Mainly 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 and new funding schemes
  4. Statement 4: Only organizations which have a minimum budget , a critical mass of staff and a research and innovation management capacity can compete in competitive grants

Proposal formulation
The last session for Day 4 was about the proposal formulation. Participants were given a document on points to be taken into consideration while doing a proposal formulation.