Knowledge for Development


News items relevant to the policy dialogue on S&T for Development.

Programme: International Forum 'Unleashing Science, Technology and Innovation for Food and nutrition security'

The CTA International Forum on Unleashing Science, Technology and Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security, to be held in Arnhem, the Netherlands, 15-17 October  2014, will bring together leading scholars, senior scientists/ researchers/ academics, policy makers, development practitioners, innovators and private sector representatives, including farmers. Download the programme below. Find the event's detail and concept note here. A partial list of participants is available here.


Bridging the gap between increasing knowledge and decreasing resources (Tropentag 2014, Proceedings)

The proceedings of the international conference Tropentag 2014 that took place in September 2014, are now available. The theme of this year's event was 'bridging the gap between increasing knowledge and decreasing resources'. This year ATSAF, Stuttgart, Germany (Association for Research in Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture) convened this annual  international conference on research on food security, natural resource management and rural development in Prague, Czech Republic.


International Forum: ‘Unleashing Science, Technology and Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security’

The CTA International Forum on 'Unleashing Science, Technology and Innovation for Food and Nutrition Security', to be held in Arnhem, the Netherlands, 15-17 October 2014, will bring together leading scholars, senior scientists / researchers / academics, policy makers, development practitioners, innovators and private sector representatives, including farmers, to:  • Assess the relevance and effectiveness of current agricultural research and innovation policies and programmes for addressing the challenges of food and nutrition security;  • Analyze and generate evidence on innovations occurring in ACP agriculture for shaping future STI policy formulation and implementation for achieving food and nutrition security;  • Agree on how best to move forward in sharpening the STI focus, strengthening national innovation systems, and increasing public and private investments to effectively address food and nutrition insecurity in the future.  It is expected that this forum will influence CTA partners’ future programmes for agricultural research, higher education and innovation for addressing food and nutrition security.  Find the Forum's programme here.

Wednesday 15 October 2014 - Friday 17 October 2014

Winners of the 2nd Caribbean Science and Agriculture Film and Video Competition 'Adding Value to Local Foods'

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation – ACP/EU (CTA) and partners; the Caribbean Council for Science and Technology (CCST), The Caribbean Agricultural Research and  Development  Institute  (CARDI),  The  University  of  the  West  Indies  (UWI),  Columbus Communications Trinidad Limited (FLOW Trinidad) and the Trinidad & Tobago Film Company, are pleased to announce the winners of the second Caribbean Science and Agriculture Film and Video Competition “Adding Value to Local Foods”. The Finals and AWARD ceremony were successfully staged at the Carlton Savannah Hotel, Trinidad and Tobago from 27th – 29th August 2014. 


EARI Newsletter July-August 2014

EARI (Europe-Africa Research & Innovation) has recently publisged the 11st edition of EADI news. In this edition, there are articles about Mozambique's research needs, the research and innovation components in the new EU programme for Africa, and EU-funded research on Ebola and other epidemics.


Pacific Islands Universities Research Network (PIURN)

A Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) was signed on 29 August 2014 in Apia, Samoa, for the Pacific Islands Universities Research Network (PIURN). The document spells out how Pacific Universities can work together while maintaining their unique identity, independence and intellectual property. The first major network activity will be the 1st PIURN Conference to be held 5-7 November in Noumea. PIURN is working with the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA) to enhance the skills of Pacific researchers.Under the PIURN umbrella, four Pacific Islanders have attended a specially designed postharvest pre-congress training workshop and the international horticultural congress in Australia. In November 2014 PIURN and CTA will hold a workshop on food and nutrition security for all member universities. PIURN members have agreed to collaborate in three priority areas in the region: environment & climate change, biology & medicine, and food & agriculture.


GM agricultural technologies for Africa: A state of affairs

This IFPRI report is a comprehensive, evidenced-based review of agricultural biotechnology – its current status, issues, constraints and opportunities for Africa. Agricultural biotechnology comprises several scientific techniques (genetic engineering, molecular marker-assisted breeding, the use of molecular diagnostics and vaccines, and tissue culture) that are used to improve plants, animals and microorganisms. However, in preparing this desktop analysis of peer-reviewed evidence and documented examples, IFPRI has focused on genetic modification (GM) technologies and on the agricultural contexts in which they are applied. The focus was chosen because GM technologies are at the centre of controversies about biotechnology’s role in Africa.   (IFPRI/African Development Bank, 16/07/2014)


Tissue culture, conservation biotechnology, virus indexing and seed systems of vegetative crops: A training manual

ASARECA has recently compiled a training manual with information on tissue culture, conservation biotechnology, virus indexing and seed systems for vegetative crops such as case cassava and sweet potato and associated techniques. This manual brings together knowledge in these fields that is currently scattered over a large numbers of research institutes and is not readily available for use by practitioners. The manual is meant for research scientists and technicians and students, who are encouraged to adapt the references to their own working conditions and to add more materials as they deem fit.   (ASARECA, 17/07/2014) 


Strategies for sustainable maize seed production in West and Central Africa

At present, the seed industry in West and Central Africa meets less than 10% of the region’s requirements. Therefore the seed industry is urgently expected to at least double its present volume of production. This book, published by IIATA, provides information on many issues crucial to the seed sector development in West and Central Africa. The first five sections review (i) national seed regulations that facilitate the establishment of seed companies, (ii) methods for producing good quality seeds in adequate quantities, harvesting and seed processing, (iii) variety release and registration, (iv) strategies for promoting seed marketing and (v) the adoption of good quality seeds of improved varieties and hybrids. Another section discusses how the seed business could be managed and how outputs could be assessed in order to improve performance.   (IIATA, July 2014)


Monitoring the status of fisheries stocks at the ecosystem level

In this two-part study, FAO focused on determining the status of fish stocks at the ecosystem level taking into consideration the variety of species, their interactions and other factors that cannot be understood by looking at each stock in isolation. Part 1 of the report focuses on determining single-stock status and summarizes the results of simulation testing with four methods that can be applied to data-poor fisheries. Part 2 reports the results of an assessment of ecosystem-level production potentials using satellite-based estimates of primary productivity. This reports complements FAO’s The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, and is important not just for policy formulation, but also for guiding the fishing industry and its managers to develop effective harvest strategies.   (Rural 21, 22/06/2014)


Review of the Benefits of No-Take Zones

This recent study on the benefits of no-take zones for marine ecosystems and fisheries, by the Wildlife Conservation Society, shows that no-take zones in Belize have not only helped economically valuable species such as lobster, conch and fish to recover from overfishing, but may also help recolonize nearby reef areas. The report, written by Craig Dahlgren of the Caribbean Marine Research Center (CMRC), comprises a systematic review of research literature from no-take areas around the world. The report has been published just before the signatory countries of the Convention on Biological Diversity are required to protect at least 10% of their marine territory.   (Wildlife Conservation Society, 11 July 2014)


International Food Security Assessment, 2014-24

This report of the US Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service (ERS) assesses and projects food security of 76 low- and middle-income countries based on two key determinants: food production and import capacity. Between 2013 and 2014, it is expected that the food security for these 76 countries will improve and the number of food-insecure people will fall by 9%, from 539 million in 2013 to 490 million in 2014. The share of the population that is food insecure in these countries is expected to decrease from 15.5% in 2013 to 13.9% in 2014. In Africa, the biggest changes are projected for Tanzania, Chad, and Madagascar.   (USDA, June 2014)


Frontiers in Food Policy: Perspectives on sub-Saharan Africa

This book is a compilation of research stemming from the Global Food Policy and Food Security Symposium Series, hosted by Stanford University from 2010-2013 by the Center on Food Security and the Environment (FSE). This book brings together contributions policy experts from around the world in the fields of food and agricultural development. They examine the major themes of hunger and rural poverty, agricultural productivity, resource and climate constraints on agriculture, and food and agriculture policy. With a focus on sub-Saharan Africa, the volume also draws on lessons from other parts of the world, notably Asia.   (Stanford Center on Food Security and the Environment, 7/07/2014)


Climate Change, Water and Agriculture

Water withdrawals from rivers and lakes for irrigation, household and industrial use has doubled in the last 40 years. At a global level, some 1.2 billion people live in basins where the physical scarcity of water is absolute. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under stress conditions. This OECD report looks at what can be done to stop this worsening trend, starting now. The report argues that strategies for adapting agricultural water management to climate change need to target five levels of intervention, and the linkages among them: (i) on-farm: adaptation of water management practices and cropping and livestock systems; (ii) watershed: adaptation of water supply and demand policies in agriculture and with the other water users (urban and industrial) and uses (ecosystems); (iii) risk management: adaptation of risk management systems against droughts and floods; (iv) agricultural policies and markets: adaptation of existing agricultural policies and markets to the changing climate and (v) interactions between mitigation and adaptation of agricultural water management.   (OECD, 19/06/2014)


Food Losses and waste in the context of sustainable food systems

This report from the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition (HLPE) presents a synthesis of existing evidence about the causes of food losses and waste at micro-, meso – and macro levels, and suggests action to reduce them in order to improve food and nutrition security and the sustainability of food systems. The solutions can be implemented, alone or in a coordinated way, by the public and private sectors, civil society, individual producers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers.   (FAO/CFS High Level Panel of Experts, released in July 2014)


Fundamentals of agricultural sustainability or the quest for the Golden Fleece

This paper highlights different aspects of development sustainability and identifies its drivers in the fields of agriculture, nature and the environment, including those of a human, cultural, social and political nature, together with components of metabolism, genetics, energy, environment and farm management.  Marc Janssens, University of Bonn, Germany, and colleagues argue that sustainability approaches should be precisely documented using exact parameters and avoiding unproven social or emotional elements. Quantitative cost–benefit ratios are proposed as sustainability indicators. The article concludes that sustainability is an ideal state in an area of conflict between environmental change, evolution of life and thermodynamic laws. It cannot be defined as a stable state, but as a state of relative stability during a certain but limited period of time. Sustainability strongly depends on a reliable energy resource that, in thermodynamic terms, enables the preservation of order in an open (eco-) system at the expense of the order of the environment.    (Journal of Natural Resources and Development, 5-06/2014)


Research on camel milk’s potential neglected

More research on camel milk is needed to develop potentially valuable dairy products for marginalized communities in desert regions. This was one of the conclusions of the first international meeting on ‘Milk, factor of development’ (Rennes, France, in May 2014). Of the 10,000 studies of milk published each year, only about ten are devoted to camel milk.  Bernard Faye, a camel milk expert with CIRAD, France, argues that as a result little is known about the proteins in camel milk, which differ structurally from those in other milks, and consequently about methods to preserve it. Unlike cow milk, whose shelf life can be extended from weeks to months by sterilizing it using ultra-high temperature (UHT) treatment, a similar process has yet to be found for camel milk.   (Rural 21, 21/06/2014)


Researchers set sight on free range chickens as demand soars

Recent research in Kenya revealed that 40% of those who buy chicken products prefer free-range varieties because of their nutritional value. Whereas indigenous brands of chicken were traditionally kept as a side activity, farmers are increasingly growing them on a commercial scale. Recently, the Kenya Agricultural Research institute (KARI) has stepped up its research to increase the productivity of indigenous chickens. Its research is focusing on making improvements in feeding and nutrition, the selection and breeding of genotypes for eggs and meat lines, and the development of management packages for disease control. To boost the dissemination of the results of its research on indigenous chickens, KARI has trained over 60 indigenous chicken service providers at the Kenya Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (KASAL) indigenous chicken project.  In turn, the service providers are reaching over 200,000 farmers with improved technologies.   (Farm Biz Africa, August 2014)


Results of the 2013 Harvesting Nutrition contest

Three projects have been selected as winners of the Secure Nutrition Knowledge Platform’s 2013 Harvesting Nutrition contest for bridging the gaps between nutrition and agriculture and food security. The contest attracted 50 submissions for projects around the world seeking to showcase their efforts to improve the impact of agriculture and/or food security interventions on nutrition outcomes.  The winners are: –          Realigning Agriculture to Improve Nutrition (RAIN) in Zambia (,–        Shamba Shape-Up, in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda ( and–        N2Africa, in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe (   (Secure Nutrition, 2014)


Sweet potatoes in Cameroon: Nutritional profile of leaves and their potential new use in local foods

The leaves of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), especially the beta-carotene fortified varieties, are rich in functional macro- and micronutrients such as dietary fibres, antioxidants and other micronutrients deficient in the predominantly starchy staples of most nutritionally vulnerable Africans. Geneva O. Nkongho, University of Buea, Cameroon, and an internal group of colleagues, evaluated the nutrient content of young leaves and succulent green stems of local and exotic varieties using standard analytical procedures. They found that the leaves soften Gnetum africanum vegetable sauce giving it an acceptable appearance, texture, flavour and taste, and can be readily used to substitute for Talinum triangulare (waterleaf) in the preparation of G. africanum sauce during periods of waterleaf scarcity. These leaves can therefore improve the nutritional base in African (especially Cameroonian) diets for the nutritionally vulnerable in rural and urban communities.   (African Journal of Agricultural Research, Vol 9(18), pp 1371-1377, May 2014)