Saturday, 28 April 2012

Farmer training videos have been produced in two more languages, Hausa and Zarma (Niger)

During a workshop in Niamey from 11 till 17 March 2012, ICRISAT has supported the translation of ten videos on Integrated Striga and Soil Fertility Management for sorghum and millet into two more languages, namely Hausa and Zarma. 

The workshop involved local radio broadcasters, researchers and representatives of farmer organizations. The video and audio files are downloadable from the Access Agriculture website. In the coming months, guidelines to support local language translations will be made available on the site.

Friday, 27 April 2012

IFPRI 2011 Global Food Policy Report

23 April 2012. The 2011 Global Food Policy Report, a new flagship publication recently launched by the International Food Policy Research Institute, presents a broad picture of the year’s food policy issues as well as areas that require future attention.

Based on rigorous research, the Global Food Policy Report is designed specifically to provide an overview of 2011 and an outlook for 2012 for non-technical audiences. For the international community, the 2011 Global Food Policy Report makes a number of specific recommendations:

  • The G20 should do more to reduce competition between biofuel and food production and discourage trade restrictions that exacerbate price swings. 
  • The international community should consolidate global and regional agricultural growth strategies and create or strengthen the institutions needed to make these strategies work. 
  • Rio+20 conference participants should integrate economic, social, and environmental sustainability in their discussions and commit to concrete action on long-term development challenges, including poor nutrition, degraded soils, and scarce water. 
  • A broad intersectoral coalition should work together to address nutrition, food, and health issues.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Second Annual Ministerial Dialogue on Integrating Research, Extension and Education in the CAADP Country Process for Increased Agricultural Productivity in Africa

18-19 April 2012. FARA Secretariat, Accra, Ghana.

The purpose of the dialogue was to provide a platform for Ministers of Agriculture; Science &; Technology; Education; and other agriculture-related Ministries to examine the topical issues relating to integrating research, extension and education into the CAADP country process for increased agricultural productivity in Africa.

Participants at the 2nd Annual Dialogue included: representatives of the Governments of Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Also in attendance were the African Union/NEPAD, the ECOWAS Parliament, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), ECOBank, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP/EU (CTA), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Kuffuor Foundation, the First Bank International, the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), Tertiary Education for Agriculture Mechanism (TEAM Africa) and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).

The specific objectives were to:
  • Identify issues of strategic importance to integrating research, extension and education in the CAADP country process, stimulate dialogue on them. 
  • Identify how to develop strategies for integrating research, extension and education in the CAADP country process. 
  • Raise awareness among Ministers and parliamentarians of the need for increased investments in research, extension and education. 
See: ommuniqué

  1. Enhancing agricultural development in Africa. Key note address by Pro. Monty P. Jones (FARA) 
  2. Integrating research, extension and education in the CAADP country process for increased agricultural productivity. (Ms. Idowu Ejere- FARA)
  3. Contribution of pillar IV to the CAADP country process. (Dr. Emmanuel Tambi- FARA)
  4. CAADP country process. (Dr. Marcel Nwalozie- AU-NPCA) 
  5. Innovation systems for enhancing the value of research, extension and education. (Dr. Adewale Adekunle- FARA) 
  6. Funding of agricultural research, extension and education: private sector perspectives. (Mr. Dauda Lawal- First Bank International) 
  7. Developing capacities for improving agricultural productivity. (Dr. Irene Annor-Frempong- FARA) Improving agricultural productivity through direct access to knowledge resources. (Dr. Stephen Rudgard- FAO)
  8. CAADP Pillar IV strategy and operational plan. (Dr. Emmanuel Tambi - FARA) 
  9. Agricultural Advisory Services (AAS) strategy and operational plan. (Dr. Silim Nahdy - AFAAS) Tertiary Agricultural Education (TAE) mechanism. (Prof. Hamidou Boly - TEAM Africa) 
  10. Systems for knowledge management. (Mrs. Myra Wopereis - FARA) 
  11. Emerging and cross-cutting issues affecting agriculture in Africa. (Dr. Ramadjita Tabo - FARA)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Pilot for protecting against counterfeit crop protection products

Anecdotal evidence collected across all agribusiness sectors in 12 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa indicates that counterfeit agricultural inputs account for more than 30 percent of all retail agro-input purchases. 
Unscrupulous entrepreneurs produce counterfeit pesticide packaging and fill it with inert product, sell inferior grain as quality seed and palm gravel off as fertilizer.  Neither law enforcement agencies nor Ministries of Agriculture nor the private sector have been able to make any real headway in reducing this illegal trading which, according to Felix Jumbe, Executive Director of the Seed Trade Association of Malawi, “makes the poor poorer.”
Felix Jumbe
With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) through theCommon Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), IFDC is helping eliminate counterfeit crop protection products (CPPs). IFDC staff members have designed a simple counter-measure and, in partnership with CropLife Africa Middle East (CLAME) and CropLife Uganda, IFDC is launching a pilot program to scientifically test the effectiveness of the methodology. CLAME, a member of CropLife International, is a regional federation representing the plant science industry and a network of national associations in 30 countries in Africa and the Middle East. Read more

Monday, 16 April 2012

Farmers in Africa should switch to biopesticides

12 April 2012. SciDev. Manuele Tamò. Farmers in Africa should switch to biopesticides
Diamondback moth
The fungus Beauveria bassiana can protect cabbage against the diamondback moth
Biopesticides are better and safer than chemical pesticides — policymakers must do more to promote them, says insect ecologist Manuele Tamò.

Local production. Bio-pesticides can be produced locally with cheap materials and simple equipment, and can generate additional household income by engaging womengroups or unemployed youth.

Recent examples of the production of a baculovirus to attack the cotton bollworm in India clearly demonstrate the feasibility of this approach. Community-based production of this virus was initially funded by a grant from the UK's Department for International Development. But it has continued beyond the end of the project, prompting nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), the private sector and even the government to set up production units.
Manuele Tamò is the Country
Representative IITA
 in Benin.

In another example from Benin in West Africa, the international NGO SENS is encouraging community-owned enterprises to help farmers co-invest in producing biopesticides. One of these start-up enterprises, Phileol-HVC is already marketing a mixture of neem oil and essential oils branded BioPhyto. Designed for spraying horticultural crops, it costs a fraction of the price of synthetic pesticide, yet still provides the desired pest control and environmental benefits.

Scaling up. So why aren't more farmers using bio-pesticides in Africa? In West Africa, the main reason is the lack of 'off the shelf' availability. Some farmers may know the advantages of using botanical extracts, such as the absence of hazardous side-effects, but are reluctant to invest extra time and labour to produce them by themselves during the peak cropping season.

This is particularly true for male farmers. So engaging women groups or unemployed youth in producing biopesticides, as well as making them affordable and of good quality, helps promote their use. Research institutions and NGOs need to develop appropriate training materials to support the use, production, and quality control of biopesticides. Because there is no lab accreditation for quality control of biopesticides in Africa, it is currently done by producers in Africa — and they need appropriate training materials.

Similarly, vendors, consumers and policymakers need to be made aware of the higher quality and safety of products treated with bio-pesticides.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Deepening IFAD’s engagement with the private sector


This strategy was prepared in response to the recommendations made in the Report of the Consultation on the Eighth Replenishment of IFAD’s Resources. It builds upon IFAD’s 2005 Private-Sector Development and Partnership Strategy and the corporate-level evaluation of that strategy completed by the Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD in May 2011. It also incorporates feedback received from Executive Board members at the informal seminar held on 13 September 2011.

More specifically, the strategy proposes the following three
broad themes to deepen engagement with the private sector:
  1. Strengthen IFAD’s existing instruments, such as country strategic opportunities programmes (COSOPs), project loans and grants, partnerships, and policy dialogue as related to rural pro-poor private-sector development;
  2. Further build the capacity and knowledge of IFAD and its staff in engaging with the private sector and establishing partnerships;
  3. Explore further and in a gradual manner the options for IFAD to better support the growth of rural small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries, in line with its mandate.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Increasing Agricultural Productivity & Enhancing Food Security in Africa

2nd April 2012. IFPRI. (34 pages) The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), in conjunction with the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the Forum for Agricultural Research for Africa (FARA), organized an international conference on November 1–3, 2011, titled “Increasing Agricultural Productivity and Enhancing Food Security in Africa: New Challenges and Opportunities” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

This conference provided a forum for the exchange of ideas, experiences, and innovations on improving agricultural productivity for achieving food security in Africa by: (i) showcasing research results on the trends, determinants, constraints, and opportunities for improving agricultural productivity in Africa within the framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), national agricultural and rural development strategies, and investment plans; (ii) identifying areas for policy actions, further research, and innovations toward enhancing food security and reducing poverty in the continent; and (iii) encouraging appropriate communication strategies for conveying and implementing research results that improve agricultural productivity, enhance food security, and reduce rural poverty in Africa.

See PAEPARD blog post: Increasing Agricultural Productivity and Enhancing Food Security in Africa: New Challenges and Opportunities