Wednesday, 26 September 2012

3rd RUFORUM Biennial Regional Conference

24 – 28 September 2012. Entebbe, Uganda. Once every two years, RUFORUM organizes a regional week-long conference with the aim of fostering networking among its member universities and linking the universities to the other actors in the agricultural sector and tertiary agricultural education to lesson learn. 

The conference was organized around five broad themes:

Day One: Collective / Coordinated Action for Agricultural Innovation
The Programme for this day includes official opening by the Ugandan Minister of Education and Sports, two lead papers that will touch on various issues related to building Innovation Capacity of Farmers, facilitating smallholder access to modern technology, strengthening value chains and key policy issues for Agricultural development and African Tertiary Agricultural Education (TAE).

Day Two: Enabling Environment for Agricultural Development
We are arranging for a key note plenary paper on “overview of agricultural development landscape in Africa”. This will help set the stage for a panel discussion and later two lead papers, one on China Experience and the second on Brazil experience. We have arranged for a follow-up round table discussion on fostering African-Brazil-China partnership on Higher Education.

Day Three: Assessing Impact
A lead paper on Assessment of Agricultural Programmes focused on whether or not the agricultural programmes are really working? This was followed by a panel discussion and field / Alumni experiences on impact of University Higher Education and Research.

A side event drew lessons from especially RUFORUM Alumni and Market actors on strengthening engagement of African Youth in rural transformation and Agri-business. The RUFORUM Board had its Annual Meeting in the afternoon of this day.

Day Four: The Future of African Agriculture
Two lead papers were presented:
  1. the first on “Emerging and Future Trends and their Impact on African Development and Agriculture in particular - Foresight predictions”; and 
  2. a second on “Climate Change and implications on Food and Agriculture in Africa”. We have in addition, included a follow-up programme, to show case what RUFORUM is doing using a Market Place approach. 
The afternoon involved two events, a meeting of the youth and the RUFORUM Annual General Meeting of Vice Chancellors and key stakeholders.

Day Five: Agricultural Tertiary Education and Training. Two lead papers were presented:
  1. one on “Assessment of African Capacity Development in Agriculture” to be lead by African Capacity Building Foundation and 
  2. a second on “An overview of Investments in Agricultural Research and Higher Education in Africa” led by IFPRI. 
A follow-up side event promoted partnership for TAE in Africa. This was followed in the afternoon with the formal launch of the TEAM Africa initiative, and prize awards for conference best presenters and for the RUFORUM IMPRESSA competition.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

A Pilot Study on Institutional and Organisational Changes in Selected National Agricultural Research and Education Institutes in Sub-Saharan Africa

This report (September 2012, 80 pages) summarises the results of a pilot study commissioned by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) to test a methodology for monitoring institutional and organisational change in selected agricultural research and education institutes across sub-Saharan Africa currently implementing the Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research and Development in Africa (SCARDA) programme.

The following Focal Institutes were included in the present analysis:

  1. Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA), Botswana
  2. Department of Agricultural Research (DAR), Botswana
  3. Institut des Sciences Agronomiques du Burundi (ISABU), Burundi
  4. Crops Research Institute – Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CRI-CSIR), Ghana
  5. Faculty of Agriculture, National University of Lesotho (FA-NUL), Lesotho
  6. Institut d’Economie Rurale (IER), Mali
  7. Natural Resources Development College (NRDC), Zambia
  8. School of Agricultural Sciences, University of Zambia (SoAS-UNZA), Zambia

An important lesson learned from using the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) methodology is that the change captured by this survey instrument for the different SWOT factors requires careful interpretation. It is less straightforward than may be originally perceived.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Supporting Policy Research to Inform Agricultural Policy in Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia

6-7 September, 2012. Nairobi, Kenya. Global Development Network. The Global Research Capacity Building Program. One of GDN’s projects is the one on “Supporting Policy Research to Inform Agricultural Policy in Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia” that is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Some 35 participants attended this workshop that included politicians, researchers, donors, media, and policy analysis institutions, universities, NEPAD and a multinational seed company. Following the presentation and discussion of Case Studies two sets of round table discussions were held on the Case Sties presented.

On the second day of the workshop, the Policy Briefs were presented and a press conference held on the Briefs with media representatives from various African countries.
  • Gates Foundation announced that most of their grants in agriculture would now support smallholder agriculture. Other areas of support would be breed improvement in livestock and poultry (a new area), issues of market failure, data collection and policy analysis, supports a Masters degree in Agric Economics and Policy on-going in Kenya and another planned for francophone countries to be based in Burkina Faso. Gates Foundation is interested in issues of policy research for policy formulation and decision making.
  • Syngenta Company is investing US$ 500 m into Africa and will be concentration on South Africa, Kenya, Egypt and Morocco for now. They will support smallhoder farmers. The criteria for country selection are competitiveness in agriculture informed by: infrastructure support, government support in general, macro-economic stability and openness to trade.
1. Agricultural Pricing and Public Procurement.

Published on : August 31, 2012
Agriculture plays a major role in the economies of most Sub-Saharan African countries – creating employment, boosting GDP and supporting the livelihoods of many of the region’s poorest households. Yet the region has gone from being a net food exporter to a net food importer over the last four decades. Ensuring an adequate supply offood is a major challenge and governments have employed a range of pricing and procurement measures in an effort to achieve this, with varying degrees of success
2. Irrigation and Water Use Efficiency.


Irrigation and water use efficiency in Sub-Saharan Africa
Published on : August 31, 2012

3. Improving the Effectiveness, Efficiency and Sustainability of Fertilizer Use.


Improving the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of fertilizer use in Sub-Saharan Africa
Published on : August 31, 2012

4. Addressing Long Term Challenges to Food Security and Rural Livelihood.

Long term challenges to food security and rural livelihood in Sub-Saharan Africa
Published on : September 3, 2012

5. Managing Agricultural Commercialization for Inclusive Growth.


Published on : September 3, 2012

Thursday, 6 September 2012

FANRPAN Annual High Level Regional Food Security Dialogue 2012

03 – 07 September 2012 . Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. FANRPAN in collaboration with the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), the FANRPAN Tanzania Node Hosting Institution convened the FANRPAN Annual High Level Regional Food Security Policy Dialogue in   2012 at the White Sands Resort and Conference Centre. The theme for the policy dialogue is "From Policy to Practice: Advocating for the Active Engagement of Youth in Agriculture Value Chains."

The policy dialogue, with an attendance of over 200 participants provided an opportunity for FANR stakeholders such as, governments; policy research institutions; universities; farmers organisations; private sector and civil society to review the current status of youth engagement in agriculture value chains; share lessons and experiences; identify challenges and opportunities and come up with tangible resolutions. The policy dialogue also showcase dbest practices from Africa and beyond in line with FANRPAN’s five thematic thrusts:
  • Food Systems
  • Agriculture Productivity and Markets
  • Natural Resources and Environment
  • Social Protection and Livelihoods
  • Institutional Strengthening
On Day 2 and there were 4 learning events which were held in parallel:
  • SADC Seed Policy Harmonization
  • Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)
  • Research for Impact for Climate Smart Agriculture
  • PAEPARD one-on-one meetings
Day 2 Slide-Show:

Posted by Nawsheen Hosenally (PAEPARD-Mauritius/Breadfruit consortium)