Innovative approaches of food processing in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia

14-15 April 2016. Bonn, Germany. The German Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and The Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) are planning to launch a call (June 2016) on:

“Innovative approaches of food processing in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia to improve nutrition and to reduce food losses in quality and quantity”

For this reason the BLE organised an international expert workshop to identify the actual research needs and to evaluate the state of the art in this field.

Aims of the workshop
The German Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL) promotes the development of “Research Cooperation for Food Security and Nutrition” with agricultural and nutritional research institutions in partner countries and in Germany. Programme administrator is the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE). The objective of this funding programme is to build long lasting international research partnerships between German and respective partner countries’ research organizations. The funded research seeks to contribute to innovative and reasonable approaches, adapted to the requirements of the partner
countries, to improve food security and nutrition.

In preparation for the upcoming call under this programme, the BLE organized a workshop to clarify the research needs in the areas of food processing, preservation, packaging, and distribution (marketing, transport). The overall goal is to improve nutrition, reduce seasonal food insecurity as well as food and nutrient losses and further develop supply chains in the partner countries.

Key issues that required clarification were:

  • Who are the actors working in the field of food processing, preservation, packaging and distribution? What is the state of the art regarding research in this area?
  • What are the restrictions and limiting factors and bottle necks for developing countries?
  • What are the research priorities?

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Drones assist Philippine farmers prepare for climate disasters

The government of the Philippines in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has started using unmanned aerial drones to assess where farmlands are most at risk from natural disasters and quickly assess damages after they strike, NaijaAgroNetreports.

This, NaijaAgroNet also reports is in a bid to stay ahead of the negative impacts of climate change, floods and typhoons on food security, especially in the Philippines.

In addition, under a pilot phase of the still-fledgling project funded by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Philippines and the FAO, two drones have already been sent soaring over the Philippines provinces that have been affected by the current El Niño.

NaijaAgroNet equally reports that some 25 FAO and government technical experts are ready to be deployed across the archipelago to support drone missions. They were recently trained over three weeks on how to fly the drones and learned a range of remote aerial assessment methods.

The drones, NaijaAgroNet reports, are equipped with navigation and photogrammetric equipment that could generate detailed and data rich maps from aerial photographs including Normalized Difference Vegetation Index or NDVIa formula used for assessing vegetation and plant health.

Data gathered, NaijaAgroNet gathered, could be used to see where agricultural systems are at particular risk from natural disasters and identify ways through which such risks can be countered, for example, through ground contouring, building retaining walls, or planting protective vegetation.

Capable of covering up to 600 hectares a day, the drones should significantly accelerate the process of risk analysis, according to Christopher Morales, Director of Field Operations for the Philippines Department of Agriculture.

“It is efficient, it saves time and we will be using a reliable source of data so that we can plan and provide appropriate interventions and responses for our farmers in times of disasters and calamities,” he said.

“Additionally, imagery generated from drone flights can reveal where agricultural infrastructure projects and service facilities like irrigation or storage facilities could be sited to best serve local farmers. The technology can also potentially support in the assessment of coastal and forest areas.” said Jose Luiz Fernandez, FAO Representative in the Philippines.

… Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

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Coming to Nigeria Soon: The Malanville Innovation Platform (IP) and Rice Parboiling Technologies

9 February 2016. The SARD-SC project rice component in collaboration with AfricaRice and INRAB have installed energy efficient GEM rice parboiling technologies and innovations in the Malanville Innovation Platform (IP) in the irrigated rice ecology of northern Benin Republic.

The formal launch of the Malanvile IP, which attracted almost 1000 women from the nooks and cranny of the country, witnessed the presence of policy makers such as the mayors of Malanville and Gaya, Niger. It also provided additional policy incentive to the operationalization of the IP.

To efficiently use and manage the Grain quality Enhancer, Energy, efficient and durable material rice technologies(GEM) facility, 538 women rice parboilers including 10 from Gaya in Niger, were trained on processing and adding value to locally produced rice. Over a period of two months, these women households learned skills on rice parboiling and value addition as well as the management of the GEM parboiling facility.

The training alone resulted in 8 tonnes of quality parboiled rice which is already attracting consumers within and outside the Malanville community. As part of the IP process, 12 youths (10 male and 2 female) are being facilitated to learn various skills on rice processing and adding value and operation of equipment and farming tools.

The formal opening was attended by the IITA/SARD-SC Coordinator, Dr Chrys Akem. He remarked that in general, the SARD-SC project has challenges in effectively addressing gender equity – active involvement of women in project activities. The deployment of the GEM rice parboiler in the Malanville IP has fully demonstrated that pairing gender sensitive technological innovation with institutional change, can significantly bring about gender mainstreaming in agricultural productivity programs and projects.

The Malanville IP also received milling machine and other farming equipment from AfricaRice through the Japan Emergency. One of the youths of the Malanville IP who was trained on the use of farming equipment indicated that with appropriate machinery, he realized that rice farming can be enjoyable and not a burden. He is motivated to start his own rice farm in addition to the help given to the household farms. The Mayor of Malanville, Dandakoe Inoussa said that “The GEM parboiler and other technologies and innovations should be rolled out in northern parts of Nigeria close to Malanville, as well as Gaya in Niger, because we are the same people. We share the same values and culture, and can easily share and learn productivity enhancing technologies and innovations to improve livelihoods.”

To date, over 1000 women households have been reached through the GEM technology and innovations in two IPs in Benin. The GEM is being rolled out in combination with enhanced packaging and branding of locally produced rice to attract urban rice consuming households and contribute to raising incomes of women and employment opportunities for youth in the rural economy. Already, Nasarawa in Nigeria and Gaya in Niger in consultation with their respective research institutes, have requested for the GEM technology and innovation and these will be deployed in Nigeria and later in Niger.


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AgriHack West Africa now receiving entries: Apply!

The Youth-Enabled Fish Farming ‪#‎AgriHack‬ (YEFFA) also known as AgriHack West Africa is now receiving applications from ICT innovators and developers who are based in one of the 3 focus countries: Nigeria, Benin and Togo, and are interested in working towards solving any of the persistent problems of the fish value chain in these countries.

For more details and to apply, go to

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Launch of the Fish Farming AgriHack in West Africa

New innovations continue to revolutionise the way we carry out fish farming. In an increasingly digital world, mobile solutions are also being called upon to tackle some of the challenges that the sector faces.

In line with this, the Youth-Enabled Fish Farming AgriHack (YEFFA) project was selected last year by CTA following the launch of its Youth call for proposals. The objective of the project is to use information technology to help solve challenges in the fish farming value chains in Nigeria, Benin and Togo. The initiative is led by Wennovation Hub (an ICT innovation centre in Nigeria) in collaboration with e-triLabs and Woelab (ICT innovation centres in Benin and Togo respectively) and the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND).

YEFFA is an adaptation of the AgriHack Talent Initiative that CTA has been championing, which aims to support ICT innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture by youth up to 35 years old.

For more information please here

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