Knowledge for Development

Knowledge for development

This website supports the policy dialogue on S&T for agricultural and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It enables the ACP scientific community - primarily agricultural research and development scientists and technologists, policy makers, farmers and other stakeholders and actors - to share and review results of national and regional efforts and collaborate to harness science and technology for the development of agriculture in their countries.

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. 06/10/2014
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A list of some of the keynote speakers at CTA's international forum has been prepared. The programme is available here and the event details here. The list can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this page. 14/10/2014
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In December 2013, CTA launched the call for the CTA Top 20 innovations that are benefitting smallholder farmers and received 251 submissions. An initial screening of the submissions resulted in a shortlist of 70 which were evaluated using an established scorecard. An expert meeting selected the top 40 innovations which were synthesised into succinct abstracts and translated into French. The shortlist was further evaluated by ACP farmers’ organisations and the CTA Top 20 innovations were identified. Find more information on the CTA Top 20 innovations here. The write-shop's programme can be downloaded below. 06/10/2014
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The Global Water Initiative (GWI) in West Africa has compiled this report with recommendations to improve the performance of rice production systems in irrigated areas. The report is based on lessons learned from three case studies analyzing the strategies, aspirations and constraints of different categories of farmers living around the dams at Bagré (Burkina Faso), at Sélingué (Mali) and at Niandouba (Senegal). The report is available only in French.   (B. Guèye, IIED, June 2014) 02/09/2014
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In June 2014, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), USA, published this report for policy makers, analysts and researchers, who often use sets of indicators to assess whether a farming system, or new technology, is succeeding. These indicators focus almost exclusively on production. But just as weight alone is not a good measure of human health, a single-minded focus on production is an inadequate measure of the health of a farming system. Indicators of other aspects of agriculture such as the nutrition, health, environmental sustainability, rural development and other needs of the population also need to be taken into account. In partnership with the Main Street Project (http://www.mainstreetproject.org), IATP has developed a new set of indicators that better represent the diverse benefits of local, agro-ecological food systems that could be tracked over time.   (IATP, 3/06/2014). 02/09/2014
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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) 02/09/2014
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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) 02/09/2014
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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) 02/09/2014
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We are pleased to forward the August/September 2014 issue of the CTA and S&T Knowledge for Development (K4D) e-newsletter. In this issue, we place emphasis on; (i) the rice value chain with a focus on indigenous varieties and low carbon production systems, (ii) capturing economies of scale through university networking, and (iii) science and innovation for food and nutrition security among others. We hope that you appreciate the transition to the new K4D e-newsletter format and email delivery system. Please remember that you can download the full pdf e-newsletter by clicking here or on the image to the right (some email clients block pictures automatically, make sure to download them). 22/09/2014
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Harnessing the potential of indigenous rice lines: an issue of food sovereignty

by Narottam Dey, Department of Biotechnology, Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, India
In this feature article, Narottam Dey calls for renewed interest in indigenous rice lines to counter the erosion of the crop's genetic diversity. Given the high degree of genetic heterogeneity and a long evolutionary history, rice landraces have proven to be highly adaptive to diverse environmental conditions and are believed to harbour a number of valuable genetic resources for crop improvement.  He argues that the Green Revolution led to the development of a number of high-yielding rice varieties (HYVs) that require both irrigation and fertilizer management and specific cultivation practices to achieve their full yield potential. The widespread use of these high-yielding rice lines has led to the premature abandonment of many indigenous lines. Dey believes the only way to popularise and utilize indigenous lines in future breeding programmes is through the development of a databank with detailed agro-morphology, physio-biochemical and molecular screening with trait-linked markers and specific genes. Many research laboratories are working on improving the knowledge base and a number of promising lines are being utilized in breeding through marker-assisted selection. 15/09/2014
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How realistic is the prospect of low-carbon rice production? Lessons from China

by Sheng Zhou and Xiangfu Song, Eco-environmental Protection Research Institute, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences (SAAS), Shanghai, China.
In this feature article, Sheng Zhou and Xiangfu summarize some realistic methods for reducing methane emissions in rice production. They present some case studies of efforts to mitigate methane emissions, such as irrigation management, the use of suitable rice cultivars (e.g. water-saving and drought-resistant rice, WDR) and combinations of different fertilizers. The production, oxidation and transport of methane in rice fields are influenced by many factors, including the rice cultivars, the cultivation system, water regimes practiced, and types of fertilizer. Simultaneously, soil carbon sequestration in rice fields is a key potential approach for turning rice fields from being a source of greenhouse gas emissions to being a carbon sink. 15/09/2014
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Building a new generation of agricultural scientists in Africa: networking universities – capturing economies of scale

by Adipala Ekwamu, Executive Secretary, RUFORUM Secretariat, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda., Malcolm Blackie, Senior Research Fellow, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK., Joyce Lewinger Moock, Consultant to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other philanthropic organisations.
In this feature article, Adipala Ekwamu, Malcolm Blackie and Joyce Lewinger Moock focus on the experiences of an African-led and -managed organization, the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Africa (RUFORUM), which aims to capture regional economies of scope and scale, to support innovative curriculum design, fill crucial gaps in the availability of postgraduate degrees, and ensure a quality standard for courses. RUFORUM, through its innovative programmes in its member university system and its established regional convening power is an effective advocate for transformation of tertiary agricultural science training and research.  15/09/2014
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The farmers have voted for the CTA Top 20 based on the forty (40) innovations that had been shortlisted by a team of ACP experts earlier this year. We have compiled annotations of all innovations: the first 20 annotation (1-20) can be find in the document attached below. For annotations  21-40, please click here. 28/08/2014
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