Tag Archives: Africa

Africa’s Food Markets Could Create One Trillion Dollar Opportunity by 2030 | World Bank

Satellite image of Africa, showing the ecologi...

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2013 - Africa’s farmers and agribusinesses could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 if they can expand their access to more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high-value nutritious foods, and if African governments can work more closely with agribusinesses to feed the region’s fast-growing urban population, according to a new World Bank report launched today.

According to the Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness report, Africa’s food systems, currently valued at US$313 billion a year from agriculture, could triple if governments and business leaders radically rethink their policies and support to agriculture, farmers, and agribusinesses, which together account for nearly 50 percent of Africa’s economic activity.

The time has come for making African agriculture and agribusiness a catalyst for ending poverty,” says Makhtar DiopWorld Bank Vice President for Africa Region. “We cannot overstate the importance of agriculture to Africa’s determination to maintain and boost its high growth rates, create more jobs, significantly reduce poverty, and grow enough cheap, nutritious food to feed its families, export its surplus crops, while safeguarding the continent’s environment.”

Agribusiness: strong growth opportunities

Due to a combination of population growth, rising incomes and urbanization, strong demand is driving global food and agricultural prices higher.  Supply issues – slowing yield growth of major food crops, slowdown in research spending, land degradation and water scarcity issues, and a changing climate all mean that prices will remain high.  In this new market climate, Africa has great potential for expanding its food and agricultural exports.

Africa holds almost 50 percent of the world’s uncultivated land which is suited for growing food crops, comprising as many as 450 million hectares that are not forested, protected, or densely populated. Africa uses less than 2 percent of its renewable water sources, compared to a world average of five percent. Its harvests routinely yield far less than their potential and, for mainstay food crops such as maize the yield gap is as wide as 60 to 80 percent. Post-harvest losses run 15 to 20 percent for cereals and are higher for perishable products due to poor storage and other farm infrastructure.

African countries can tap into booming markets in rice, maize, soybeans, sugar, palm oil, biofuel and feedstock and emerge as major exporters of these commodities on world markets similar to the successes scored by Latin America and Southeast Asia.  For Sub-Saharan Africa, the most dynamic sectors are likely to be rice, feed grains, poultry, dairy, vegetable oils, horticulture and processed foods to supply domestic markets.

The report cautions that even as land will be needed for some agribusiness investments, such acquisitions can threaten people’s livelihoods and create local opposition unless land purchases or leases are conducted according to ethical and socially responsible standards, including recognizing local users’ rights, thorough consultations with local communities, and fair market-rate compensation for land acquired.

Improving Africa’s agriculture and agribusiness sectors means higher incomes and more jobs. It also allows Africa to compete globally. Today, Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand each export more food products than all of sub-Saharan Africa combined.  This must change,” saysJamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development in the Africa Region.

Value Chains are essential  

Rice: Africa has become a major consumer and importer of rice, and Africans import half the rice they eat and pay top dollar for it, $3.5 billion per year and more.  Ghana and Senegal are significant importers.  Senegal is competitive among its neighbors, but it is held back by the difficulty farmers have in accessing land, capital, finance for irrigation expansion and appropriate crop varieties.  Ghana produces fewer varieties of rice than Senegal, but at significantly higher cost, and levies 40 percent tariffs and other charges on imports. Poor grain quality, cleanliness and packaging are major deterrents for consumers constraining the sector’s performance.

Maize: A food staple for many Africans, maize is grown on 25 million hectares or 14 percent of cropped land. In Zambia where people eat on average 133 kilograms of cereals a year, maize provides half the calories in their diets.  Zambia is competitive when importing maize but fails on exports.  High transport costs, higher labor costs and lower yields combine to increase costs by one-third compared to Thailand, a major international producer of rain-fed maize.  The report argues that Zambia’s future competitiveness depends on raising yields, reducing costs, and removing disincentives for the private sector in markets and trade.

In addition, the study reviewed value chains for cocoa in Ghana and dairy and green beans in Kenya.

African farmers and businesses must be empowered through good policies, increased public and private investments and strong public-private partnerships,” says Gaiv Tata, World Bank Director for Financial and Private Sector Development in Africa.  “A strong agribusiness sector is vital for Africa’s economic future.”


Agriculture and agribusiness should be at the top of the development and business agenda in Sub-Saharan Africa. The report calls for strong leadership and commitment for both public and private sectors.  As comparators, the report cites case studies from Uruguay, Indonesia and Malaysia. For success, engaging with strategic “good practice” investors is critical, as is the strengthening of safeguards, land administration systems, and screening investments for sustainable growth.

The report notes that Africa can also draw on many local successes to guide governments and investors toward positive economic, social and environmental outcomes.


© 2013 The World Bank Group, All Rights Reserved.

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Posted by on April 21, 2013 in General


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South Africa Affirms Partnership of DuPont Pioneer and Pannar Seed | Pannar

Pannar Seeds at Gondora AgroBusiness Center, M...

Pannar Seeds at Gondora AgroBusiness Center, Mozambique (Photo credit: IFDC Photography)

South Africa Affirms Partnership of DuPont Pioneer and Pannar Seed

Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Block Merger; Companies Set to Bring Farmers Better Seed Choices, Increase Innovation

DES MOINES, Iowa, and JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 14, 2012 – DuPont Pioneer, one of the world’s leading agricultural businesses, and Pannar Seed (Pty) Limited, a South African-based seed company with operations throughout Africa and other parts of the world, today received affirmation of South Africa’s approval to implement their agreement for Pioneer to purchase a majority share of Pannar. The Supreme Court of South Africa rejected an application by the Competition Commission seeking leave to appeal the 28 May 2012 Competition Appeal Court decision which approved the merger.

“We are pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision,” said Brian Corbishley, chairperson of Pannar. “This is good news for our stakeholders, including employees, customers, and consumers, who are set to benefit from the increased innovation in the seed industry that will result from this merger.”

“Pioneer is committed to long-term investment in South Africa to enhance productivity and food security for the country and the continent,” said Pioneer President Paul E. Schickler. “This partnership will accelerate the development of higher performing products for Africa’s farmers.”

In addition to its investment in Pannar, Pioneer has committed R62 million (South African Rand) by 2017 to establish a regional research centre in South Africa that would bring advanced R&D breeding technologies to Africa and apply these technologies to the companies’ complementary germplasm pools. The research centre will be similar to the innovative research hubs that DuPont has established in Brazil, India and China and will allow South Africa the opportunity to play a leading role in agricultural development for the African continent.

Pioneer and Pannar have further committed to working with communities, government and other groups to develop programmes addressing the challenges faced by small-scale and developing farmers to increase their overall farm productivity, profitability and food security. Pioneer has committed a further R20 million over six years toward programmes, in addition to its current endeavours, that will benefit developing famers in South Africa.

The merger will allow each business to access additional crop areas, reach more customers and deliver improved seed products quicker and more efficiently than either could have achieved on its own. Pannar receives access to Pioneer’s genetics library and its maize breeding and biotechnology capabilities which will benefit its Africa operations and its operations in the United States and Argentina. Pioneer will tap into Pannar’s expertise and reach across Africa and its maize genetics developed specifically for the region.

With nearly 32 million hectares (80 million acres) available for maize production, Africa represents a significant opportunity for improved productivity. Average grain yields are less than two tons per hectare, about one-third of what is achieved in other developing regions and only one-fifth of yields in developed countries. In addition, maize seed demand is strong and growing. In South Africa alone, annual hybrid maize seed sales total about U.S. $300 million .

Source: Pannar Press Release, 09/14/12

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Posted by on September 15, 2012 in COMESA


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Science breakthrough in African rice disease resistance | AfricaRice


Warda RYMV

Warda RYMV (Photo credit: IRRI Images)

Breakthrough in the resistance to the “AIDS” of rice

‘NIL 130’ was named “best rice variety” among seven being evaluated by a farmers’ cooperative in Gagnoa, Côte d’Ivoire. NIL 130 is a ‘near-isogenic line’ derived from ‘elite’ rice variety IR64 by the introduction of a gene for resistance to (RYMV) through a process known as ‘marker-assisted breeding’ (MAB).

Rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV) is probably the stress that benefits the most from molecular biology at the Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice),” says AfricaRice molecular biologist Dr Marie-NoëlleNdjiondjop. RYMV is colloquially known as the “AIDS of rice”!

The AfricaRice MAB work targeting RYMV is carried out in collaboration with the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), Montpellier, France, and various national (NARS) partners. AfricaRice has had fruitful collaboration on RYMV with IRD since 1994, shortly after the first devastating outbreaks of the disease occurred in various parts of West Africa.

RYMV is a disease of intensified irrigated rice production where high-yielding varieties have been introduced, and the vast majority of irrigated varieties are extremely susceptible to it. It only occurs in Africa. In 1995, AfricaRice discovered that a variety from Mozambique (Gigante) was virtually immune to the disease.

Gigante’s resistance was confirmed by Dr Ndjiondjop against a whole spectrum of RYMV isolates from diverse locations. Determining the genetic basis of Gigante’s resistance was given top priority. The resistance gene, rymv1-2, was identified and mapped in 1999 by Dr Ndjiondjop as part of her PhD studies at IRD.

“We are now using molecular breeding to improve the RYMV resistance of West African elite rice cultivars,” says Dr Ndjiondjop.

In 2005, a USAID-funded project enabled AfricaRice to carry out MAB to introgress (i.e. incorporate) rymv1-2 into elite rice cultivars of four West African countries (Burkina Faso, Gambia, Guinea and Mali) and to introduce molecular-marker work into the breeding programs of the NARS.

At least two elite varieties were proposed by each NARS and backcrossed three times to the donor Gigante. Resistant lines were identified by a combination of ‘foreground’ and ‘background’ markers.

Foreground markers occur in the DNA close to the RYMV-resistance gene in Gigante and therefore show that any particular plant has the gene, while background markers are from the elite variety and show how similar the plant is to the elite variety.

The resulting lines are near-isogenic lines, or NILs — that is, they are very similar to the elite variety, except that they carry the RYMV-resistance gene from Gigante.

The promising resistant NILs were then further screened under controlled conditions using a purified virus isolate. Trials were conducted at multiple locations in the target countries to confirm their resistance to diverse natural populations of RYMV.

Fixed (pure-breeding) RYMV-resistant NILs were then sent to the NARS for complete evaluation and incorporation into resistance breeding programs. The best NIL from each elite parent was selected for further trials in the four project countries plus six more countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone).

This activity was funded by USAID through the West and Central African Council for Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD). A number of these lines – like NIL 130 – are expected to be released in some of the countries in the near future.

In 2010, AfricaRice and IRD discovered a second resistance gene, rymv2, and a new allelic form of the first gene in African rice (Oryza glaberrima) varieties. As an insurance policy against RYMV overcoming single-gene resistance, the AfricaRice breeding strategy is to ‘pyramid’ two resistance genes in varieties for hot-spot areas

Source: AfricaRice.


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Posted by on September 9, 2012 in ECOWAS


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Enza Zaden expands on a large scale in South Africa | Enza Zaden

Enza Zaden is expanding on a large scale with two new branches in South Africa: one a joint venture in the field of Research & Development and the other a seed production branch.

Westcape Biotech Pty. Ltd.

On 18 July 2012, the vegetable breeding company Enza Zaden and the biotechnology company Expressive Research B.V. signed the contract for a joint venture named Westcape Biotech Pty. Ltd, based in Stellenbosch, South Africa. Enza Zaden is thus significantly expanding its capacity for cell and tissue cultivation activities in particular.

This joint venture will offer its cell and tissue cultivation expertise in the field of all major arable and ornamental crops to clients worldwide. In addition, this new branch will carry out biotechnological research for clients in the field of molecular diagnostics relating to pathogens and product quality in a broad range of crops.

More efficient breeding

The Director of Enza Zaden Research & Development B.V., drs. Joep Lambalk explains: “With the establishment of Westcape, Enza Zaden has considerably broadened its capacity for its activities in cell and tissue cultivation. Consequently, we are able to provide our breeders worldwide with even better support by means of products drawn from cell and tissue cultivation processes. The effectiveness and efficiency of the breeding process is hereby greatly expanded. We are now also able to exploit our expertise with regard to these processes beyond vegetable crops, benefiting various important arable and ornamental crops too.”

Expansion of expertise and activities

The Directors of Expressive Research, Dr Dianne van der Kop and Dr Douwe de Boer add: “We have built a good infrastructure at the site with state-of-the-art molecular and cell-biology laboratories, which together with our plant-growth facilities give a high-tech impulse to our ambition to play a leading role locally as a biotechnological service provider. The expertise and network of Enza Zaden allows us to support our expertise and activities in South Africa even better. As a result, we expect strong growth in our activities over the coming years.”

Enza Zaden South Africa

To support the seed production activities of Enza Zaden Seed Operations B.V. in South Africa, on 29 February 2012 Enza Zaden established in Oudtshoorn its own subsidiary Enza Zaden South Africa.
The Director of Enza Zaden Seed Operations B.V., ir. Vincent van Bentum, explains further: “Enza Zaden South Africa brings greater flexibility and independence. In order to be able to deal with the expected growth of our seed production activities in South Africa, we need to be on the spot ourselves with our own company activity”.

About Expressive Research

Expressive Research is an innovative company with shares in several biotechnological businesses. Besides cell and tissue cultivation, the company is active in the field of molecular diagnostics, for instance by means of a joint venture with the fruit cooperative Fruitmasters (Fruitmasters Expressive Research) and in genomic breeding and bio-informatics by means of a joint venture with a number of breeding companies in the vegetable and ornamentals sectors (Genetwister Technologies).

Source: Enza Zaden

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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in COMESA


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Planting Seeds of Prosperity | USDA:FAS

Posted by Erin Tindell, Foreign Agricultural Service Public Affairs Specialist

Forestry and Agricultural Investment Management (FAIM) workers in Rwanda check the condition of virus-free banana plant seedlings. FAIM uses the latest scientific research and techniques to produce healthy starter plants for Rwandan farmers to help boost their farm production, incomes and local food supply. The company hopes to expand its effort to other African countries.  Photo courtesy of FAIM.COForestry and Agricultural Investment Management (FAIM) workers in Rwanda check the condition of virus-free banana plant seedlings. FAIM uses the latest scientific research and techniques to produce healthy starter plants for Rwandan farmers to help boost their farm production, incomes and local food supply. The company hopes to expand its effort to other African countries. Photo courtesy of FAIM.CO

Entrepreneur and horticulturalist Steve Jones was on a Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) agricultural trade mission (ATM) to Madagascar in 2006 when he first began thinking about how modern plant propagation techniques might help struggling East African farmers boost their productivity and prosperity.

“What I saw during my visit made an impression,” said Jones. Considering he and his wife, Cheryl, have 30 years of experience operating their business, Greenwood Nursery, in Tennessee, he knew there had to be something he could do that might make a difference.

The Joneses spent the next year developing a sustainable business model to improve the East African region’s agriculture and then coordinated with FAS to present his idea to more than 10 different African countries during the next FAS trade mission to the region in 2007. The overwhelming response from African representatives, especially the Ministry of Agriculture in Rwanda, pushed the Joneses to begin Forestry and Agricultural Investment Management Ltd. (FAIM).

FAIM’s goal is to establish plant propagation laboratories throughout Africa using the latest scientific research and techniques to produce healthy starter plants (seedlings) for African farmers. After a few years of research, in 2011 Rwanda invited FAIM to set up labs to develop and distribute 15-17 million virus-free banana starter plants for farmers in four out of the country’s five regions.

“Each region has specific diseases that affect the quality and production of the crop,” Jones said. “Their crop yield is, on average, 25 percent of what it could be per hectare measured against world standards. The problem is self-perpetuating if farmers use root division as their form of propagation, which passes viruses forward year to year.”

Instead of root division, Jones and other FAIM plant experts use plant tissue culture, which is a propagation process that extracts DNA from healthy plants within a crop to create virus-free seedlings without genetic modification. This breaks the disease cycle and allows for a consistent, high-quality supply. Plus, the seedlings are fairly cheap to produce and sell at a lower cost. Rwandan farmers using the seedlings are already producing 200-400 percent more than before.

Forestry and Agricultural Investment Management (FAIM) workers in Rwanda prepare pots for virus-free banana plant seedlings. FAIM uses the latest scientific research and techniques to produce healthy starter plants for Rwandan farmers to help boost their farm production, incomes and local food supply. The company hopes to expand its effort to other African countries. Photo courtesy of FAIM.COForestry and Agricultural Investment Management (FAIM) workers in Rwanda prepare pots for virus-free banana plant seedlings. FAIM uses the latest scientific research and techniques to produce healthy starter plants for Rwandan farmers to help boost their farm production, incomes and local food supply. The company hopes to expand its effort to other African countries. Photo courtesy of FAIM.CO

“The farmers are able to provide a consistent supply to market and make more money, raising their standard of living and giving them enough income to purchase new plant stock when needed,” Jones said.

FAIM’s efforts will help create extensive benefits not only for the East African region, but also for U.S. exporters. The successful implementation of the project will generate an ongoing requirement for inputs from the U.S. such as supplies, packaging, product transformation equipment and farming equipment.

ATMs contribute significantly to the expansion of U.S. agricultural products and the creation of jobs for American workers. In the past three years, FAS led more than 100 U.S. agribusinesses on trade missions to various countries including China, Peru, Indonesia, Vietnam, Iraq, Georgia, Colombia, Panama and the Philippines.

Forestry and Agricultural Investment Management (FAIM) entrepreneur and horticulturalist Steve Jones stands in front of his Rwandan farm. After an eye-opening agricultural trade mission to East Africa, Jones started FAIM to produce healthy, virus-free starter plants for Rwandan farmers to help boost their farm production, incomes and local food supply.  Using plant propagation techniques, FAIM has already helped Rwandan farmers increase crop production by 200-400 percent. Photo credit Mary L. Robbins.Forestry and Agricultural Investment Management (FAIM) entrepreneur and horticulturalist Steve Jones stands in front of his Rwandan farm. After an eye-opening agricultural trade mission to East Africa, Jones started FAIM to produce healthy, virus-free starter plants for Rwandan farmers to help boost their farm production, incomes and local food supply. Using plant propagation techniques, FAIM has already helped Rwandan farmers increase crop production by 200-400 percent.Photo credit Mary L. Robbins
Source: USDA Blog
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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in COMESA


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Female entrepreneurs critical in emerging Africa seed value chain.


Female entrepreneurs are critical in the emerging African seed value chain, from farmer-growers, to dealers, distributors, agri-input providers, lenders, breeders and seed company staff, including executives.

This initiative is funded by Spain and supported by ECOWAS. African Seed Networks welcomes this initiative, and hopes that it will support the many new businesswomen in Africa.

Originally posted on Database of Press Releases related to Africa - APO-Source:





ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 16, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — ECOWAS and NEPAD have signed an agreement worth one million Euro for the empowerment of Africa’s rural women entrepreneurs.


The accord for the grant provided by the Kingdom of Spain through the NEPAD-Spain Fund was initialled on Thursday, 12th July 2012 at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Ambassador Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, and the Executive Secretary of the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency, Dr.Ibrahim Assane Mayaki.


The grant will provide funds for the Business Incubator for African Women Entrepreneurs (BIAWE) project, which nurtures the business ventures of rural African women operating primarily in the area of agriculture.


The project seeks to support initiatives in economic capacity building for women, promote rural entrepreneurship and develop…

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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in ECOWAS, General


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Seed security essential for emerging from drought and conflict



Aid agencies and the FAO work to consider seed security in the Horn of Africa. A reliable and sustainable supply of seed from budding entrepreneurs connected with consistent supplies of locally tested seeds is essential.


Originally posted on Database of Press Releases related to Africa - APO-Source:





KHARTOUM, Sudan, July 4, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ — A new study by FAO has found that the seed security situation at household level in Darfur is normal with a level of vulnerability particularly among internally displaced persons, returnees and woman-headed households.

Seed security is defined as ready access by rural households, particularly farmers and farming communities, to adequate quantities of quality seed and planting materials of crop varieties, adapted to their agro-ecological conditions and socioeconomic needs, at planting time, under normal and abnormal weather conditions.

FAO Sudan has launched the results of its Seed Systems Security Assessment (SSSA) for Darfur that was conducted in collaboration with the Government of Sudan and funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO). The assessment was conducted across Darfur in 2011, based on household surveys and information provided by seed vendors, agro-input dealers…

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Posted by on August 16, 2012 in General


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Great opinion piece by Märianne Banziger, DDG for Research and Partnerships at CIMMYT, a CGIAR Consortium center.

Many African countries have recently harvested maize – or are preparing to do so. They may avoid the full impact of high prices for months. Once their local production is consumed, these countries must rely on maize from international markets where there is no escape from high prices.”

Key Point:

  “There are many developing countries where productivity could be increased to reduce overreliance on imports and benefit rural poor and development in those countries at large. The potential for improvement is enormous”……a reliable supply of locally tested and produced high quality seed is essential to achieve this. We are working with many African seed companies and entrepreneurs to improve their production and access to genetics and skills. 

  “Individual countries must increase investment in agriculture. Agriculture remains one of the best uses of development money. Africa has invested in developing drought-tolerant maize and improving the productivity of maize-legume cropping systems”.

Holistic approaches must be used and all the tools at our disposal including both new and traditional approaches, new and older technologies, improved agronomy and extension, solving cash flows and markets to provide better access to inputs and knowledge. In terms of ‘bang for the buck’ we believe improved seed access ranks among the highest.

  “The goal is not simply to avoid another food crisis responsibly and efficiently grow enough food to feed the planet”

  “We have the means to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in spite of climate change and rising demand, but we need political will and investment”

African Seed Network agrees !

Related articles

Originally posted on Agricultura e Segurança alimentar:

How to avoid another food crisis – AlertNet.

Climate Conversations – How to avoid another food crisis

By Marianne Bänziger | Wednesday at 2:17 PM | Comments ( 3 )

A farmer harvests wheat on Miet Radie farm at El-Kalubia governorate, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Cairo, on May 8, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

A farmer harvests wheat on Miet Radie farm at El-Kalubia governorate, about 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Cairo, on May 8, 2012. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

By Marianne Bänziger

The United States is currently in the midst of a severe drought, its worst in 50 years. Half of all U.S. counties have been declared disaster areas. In response, the international prices of maize and soybeans have risen past 2007-08 peaks, when they fueled food riots in more than 30 countries.

There have not been food riots but the world remains in a tenuous position. Another shock to the global food system could spark another food crisis. Here are four things to watch:


The demand for maize has risen…

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Posted by on August 15, 2012 in General


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Building the Seed Industry and Fighting Food Insecurity in West Africa | CNFA

Shop in Burkina Faso.

Building the Seed Industry and Fighting Food Insecurity in West Africa | CNFA 

With much of West African agriculture at a subsistence level, the majority of the land is cultivated by smallholder farmers, who often rely on saved seed or seed sourced through informal networks, sources which tend to be inconsistent in terms of quality, vulnerable to new pests and diseases and, while cheap, take up valuable land due to extremely low productivity. In addition, fertilizer or chemical inputs tend to be wasted on this seed. Therefore, although the cost of inputs may currently be low, the cost per ton of output is exceedingly high, profitability is low and smallholder farmers are trapped in a cycle of low productivity, which prevents them from generating a marketable surplus. Access to inputs such as improved seed varieties, fertilizer and crop protection products are imperative to the transformation of the agricultural sector from subsistence farming to small-scale commercial agriculture.

CNFA’s Seeds Project, part of the West Africa Seed Alliance (WASA), was created to enable the transformation of West African agriculture from mostly subsistence farming to profitable, self-sustaining and competitive commercial agriculture. The five-year project, funded primarily by USAID and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and implemented with partners ICRISAT and Iowa State University, is designed to modernize seed distribution systems, facilitate smallholder farmer access to improved seed varieties and complementary inputs, improve seed production technologies and strengthen links to credit and markets.

Specifically, the Seeds Project is strengthening West Africa’s seed system through three core intervention areas in the six target countries of Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal:

Improvement of Seed Policy Enabling Environment

CNFA leads the seed policy component, actively shaping West African policies to promote the interests of private sector growth and of the rural smallholder farmer. For example, in Ghana, CNFA aided in the successful implementation of a new Seed Law, which was designed to make the seed industry more robust and increase the active participation of the private sector in the seed production and development process, by holding workshops to inform and train seed producers on vital aspects of the legislation that will directly impact their activities and responsibilities under the law.

Seed System Development

The Seeds project is also working toward the successful development of a new seed system in West Africa based on higher-quality seed varieties and increased demand for improved inputs among farmers by implementing several new activities: production of breeder and foundation seed, which will ensure that new seeds used in these countries are genetically pure and will continue to produce commercially viable, high quality seeds in the future; production of certified seed, which ensures that farmers have access to quality inputs and that new seed varieties meet standards set by the government and other regulatory groups; testing of new and improved seed varieties for commercial use; creation of demonstration plots and farmer field days in order to increase farmer demand for improved inputs; and seed production trainings to provide farmers with necessary technical skills.

Strengthening of Input Supply Chains

The Seeds project also aims to improve input supply chains in order to increase farmer productivity, incomes and access to vital tools such as microfinance. This aspect of the project includes activities such as mapping and surveying to identify where seed producers and agrodealers are located, development of adapted financial products that meet the needs of agrodealers and smallholder farmers and demand-generation activities like farmer field days and demonstration plots.

Project Goals:

  • Advance the development, modification and implementation of national seed laws and regulations in the six Project target countries
  • Conduct seed variety trials and release in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal for cereals and vegetables
  • Produce foundation and certified seed and make available for distribution
  • Create and strengthen private seed enterprises throughout the target countries
  • Provide business management and technical training to at least 2,000 agrodealers and seed producers throughout the Project countries

Related CNFA articles

With Training, Mali Agrodealer Becomes Local Livestock Expert

Program Overview: West Africa Seed Alliance

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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in ECOWAS


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Working together to better manage CGIAR intellectual assets


The CGIAR is the curator of much of the world’s crop genetic biodiversity. However access by small seed and medium seed companies has been difficult in the past, having to source foundation seed from unreliable public  breeding and foundation seed sources, which ultimately source it from the CGIAR. Much of the seed remained unused in seed-banks and research labs. However newly approved CGIAR Intellectual Asset principles give new opportunities for improved flow of genetics,  and partnerships, including with African seed companies to solve some of the most challenging crop problems, while at the same time maintaining the international public good and preserving biodiversity.

Originally posted on CLIPnet:

Participants of the CGIAR Consortium Legal/IP Network meeting held at ICRISAT-Patancheru, India. (Photo credit: ICRISAT/PS Rao)

Throughout CGIAR, the management of Intellectual Assets requires a careful balancing act of sometimes seemingly opposite objectives.  How does one find the correct balance between say maximizing global accessibility v. minimizing risk of misappropriation/misuse? Or, maintaining commitment to International Public Goods v. leveraging strengths of private sector partners?

These complex issues are the kinds of challenges tackled by the CGIAR Consortium Legal & Intellectual Property Network (or CLIPnet for short); a multi-disciplinary group from the members of the CGIAR Consortium comprising of lawyers, grant managers, and senior managers from genetic resources, communications and corporate services.  Last month the group met for their Annual Meeting, this year hosted by ICRISAT.  Over the 3-day meeting members of the group swapped ideas, experiences and practical advice on a range of issues such as; challenges of…

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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in General


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