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 Chicago Council is accepting applications for its 'Next Generation Delegation” to attend the Global Food Security Symposium in April in Washington DC. Applications are due 15 January 2015 15/12/2014
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CTA has issued a call for proposal to advance agricultural entrepreneurship and ICT innovations by young people in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Successful applicants will receive grants ranging from EUR 30 000 to 100 000. Closing date  15 February 2015. 08/12/2014
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The Caribbean Food Crops Society has issued a call for abstracts for papers to be presented at its 51th Annual Meeting in Suriname, 19-24  July 2015. Theme is 'Food Safety, Innovation and Quality in Green Agriculture: the way forward to food security for the Caribbean.  Form can be downloaded from here, closing date is 15 February 2015. 08/12/2014
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We are pleased to forward the November/December 2014 issue of the CTA and S&T Knowledge for Development (K4D) e-newsletter. In this issue, we place emphasis on: (i) Agro-food processing capacity, (ii) food safety issues, specifically aflatoxin and (iii) seed systems, science and policy, among others. We also wish to highlight the growing consensus on the need for strengthening the agriculture-nutrition nexus and encourage you to visit the website of the ICN 2 conference “Better nutrition better lives” which was held in Rome from 19-21 November. Please remember that you can download the full pdf e-newsletter by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.  01/12/2014
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Food Safety Challenges: The Case of Aflatoxin

by Rose W. Njeru, Agro-Innovations International, Nairobi, Kenya
Rose W. Njeru, Agro-Innovations International, Nairobi, Kenya, provides a comprehensive overview of current research and risk management measures for minimizing aflatoxin contamination. Aflatoxins are naturally occurring toxins and pose major challenges to food safety, health and nutrition systems. Contamination can occur at any stage of the value chain; during production, harvesting, processing, storage and transportation. The goal is to minimize contamination in foods and feed by applying and enforcing standards and legislation. Exposure to high levels of aflatoxin has been known to lead to death from liver failure; the most devastating case occurred in Kenya in 2004. A promising long-term strategies is the development of resistant varieties and biological control measures but there are challenges. For example, two aflatoxin resistant maize lines have been identified and biological control measure are being used to reduce contamination in peanuts and maize in the USA and similar trials using local strains are on-going in Kenya and Nigeria. However few, if any, commercial cultivars are readily available and biological control measures are context specific.  26/11/2014
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John Muyonga, shares insights on how the Food Technology & Business Incubation Centre (FTBIC), Makerere University is building a new breed of graduate agro-entrepreneurs in Uganda. The purpose of FTBIC is to develop new value-addition food businesses based on research conducted at the University and to support students to gain practical and entrepreneurial skills as well as contribute to the further development of the agro-food processing industry.  26/11/2014
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Building Capacity for Value Addition: The case of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago

by Neela Badrie, Faculty of Food and Agriculture, the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago
Neela Badrie, professor at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St Augustine Campus, provides an exposé of the recent efforts aimed at remodelling the institution to serve as a state of the art agricultural and food research hub for the 15 country member states of the Caribbean region.  26/11/2014
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The draft CTA/ASARECA policy brief on 'Seed Systems, Science and Policy' was developed in collaboration with several African scientists and regulators through CTA support for selected universities in sub-Saharan Africa to undertake a SWOT analysis of their contribution to integrated seed sector development starting in 2013. They have also documented their findings and these papers will be published. The findings were presented at a CTA sponsored side event during the ASARECA General Assembly in Burundi in December 2013 and the draft policy brief was elaborated in earlier this year and presented to private sector actors attending an ASARECA/EAGC workshop in Kenya in October 2014 which aimed at mobilizing private sector interest, involvement and support including financing for agricultural research and technology development in East and Central Africa. The draft policy brief is open for comments (knowledge[at]cta.int).  26/11/2014
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CTA is a member of the consortium for the EU 7th Framework Programme project 'Advancing Sub-Saharan Africa-European Union Cooperation in Research and Innovation for Global Challenges' or CAAST-Net Plus. This project serves the Africa-Europe partnership in science, technology and innovation, as framed by the Joint Africa-EU Strategy to encourage more and better bi-regional ST&I cooperation for enhanced outcomes around topics of mutual interest, particularly in relation to the global societal challenges – climate change, food security and health. Last year, the online survey for analysing the impact of joint Africa-EU ST&I cooperation on food and nutrition security was shared with the K4D community. The summaries of the major findings and recommendations of the FNS impact analysis as well as those on climate change and health are now available on the project website (PDF) and formed part of the Entebbe deliberations, on 24-25 November 2014. The full reports when approved will also be shared with you. 26/11/2014
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Around a quarter of total food wastage in developing countries could be eliminated if these countries adopted the same level of refrigeration equipment as that in developed economies according to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IME), London, UK. Establishing a continuous chain of temperature-controlled cold environments from the point of harvest to the marketplace and on into the home – a ‘cold chain’ – is required. The challenge for the engineering profession is to do this in a way which minimises food wastage, is sustainable and avoids harmful emissions and air pollutants. In summary, engineers need to help establish sustainable and resilient infrastructure, fit for purpose in the local context. Two elements are important; firstly, projects need to be affordable; secondly they must be safe, reliable, easy to build, operate and maintain.   (FoodProduction daily.com, 30/06/2014) 27/11/2014
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Cassava leaves are available throughout the year and should be given as much attention as the roots. They are one of the most valuable parts of the cassava plant containing high amounts of protein, and are also a rich source of vitamins, B1, B2 and C, as well as carotenoids and minerals. In fact, the total amount of essential amino acids in cassava leaf protein is said to be similar to that of a hen’s egg and greater than that of spinach leaf, soybean, oat or rice. Toxicity and antinutrients limit the consumption of cassava leaves as food. These toxic and antinutritional aspects must be addressed properly during processing and before consumption. Research at Hohenheim University is examining the optimal way to treat the cassava leaves in order to transform them into an economical and sustainable source of protein and micro-nutrients. Various cassava leaf processing methods have been developed.   (Rural21, 08/09/2014) 27/11/2014
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Teff is widely cultivated and used in Ethiopia and accounts for about a quarter of the country’s cereal production. However, its use for human consumption in other countries is limited due to a lack of knowledge about its nutrient composition and processing. In this study, Kaleab Baye, at the Center for Food Science and Nutrition, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia describes the physical and chemical characteristics of Teff and its nutrient composition. He documents the use of Teff and Teff-based products for human nutrition in Ethiopia, along with the food processing challenges impeding Teff’s worldwide consumption. Baye discusses how recent research advances could solve the challenges in the production of the little-known cereal and what the potential health benefits could be associated with wider consumption of Teff.    (IFPRI and EDRI, 09/2014) 27/11/2014
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A quality management system for analytical or testing laboratories including microbiological and radiological laboratories that carry out tests to establish the essential characteristics, the safety and the wholesomeness of food and the essential is presented. The handbook discusses a framework of processes and procedures to ensure that a laboratory will always be capable of producing quality test results. The handbook is based on EU legislation for laboratories and meant for organisations in developing country wishing to export to the EU. It was produced by EDES, a COLEACP programme.   (EDES, 02/10/2014) 27/11/2014
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Although certain leafy vegetables were popular in countries such as Solomon Islands and Tonga, there was a lack of widespread knowledge of their considerable health benefits. This publication reports on a project for increasing the consumption of nutritionally rich leafy vegetables in Samoa, Solomon Islands and northern Australia Surveys. The project, led by Graham Lyons, University of Adelaide, South Australia and Mary Taylor, Pacific Germplasm and Agricultural Development Consultant, UK, and their colleagues, was successful in: (i) documenting knowledge and opinions of local people on the growing and consumption of leafy vegetables; (ii) producing and distributing information factsheets; (iii) promoting local leafy vegetables via the media in the participating countries; (iv) building local capacity and (v) providing information on optimal propagation methods for the popular vegetable, aibika, from a field trial conducted in Samoa.   (ACIAR, 09/2014) 27/11/2014
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Higher temperatures have an adverse effect on food consumption. In contrast, food consumption is not substantially affected by rainfall variations. This working paper, authored by Sara Lazzaroni and Arjun S. Bedi, and published by the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS, The Netherlands), relies on two-period panel data combined with data on rainfall, number of rainy days and maximum and minimum temperatures which were used to examine the impact of weather variations on food consumption in rural Uganda. While evidence from qualitative interviews and trends in agricultural production suggest that households are adopting mitigation measures, the conclusion from the evidence assembled is that higher temperatures are associated with a decline in crop yields and food consumption.   (ISS, 04/2014) 27/11/2014
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The report Status and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs: 1970-2012 is the most detailed and comprehensive study of its kind published to date and represents the work of 90 experts over the course of three years. It contains an analysis of more than 35,000 surveys conducted at 90 Caribbean locations since 1970, including studies of corals, seaweeds, grazing sea urchins and fish. The results show that the Caribbean corals have declined by more than 50% since the 1970s. But according to the authors, restoring parrotfish populations and improving other management strategies, such as protection from overfishing and excessive coastal pollution, could help the reefs recover and make them more resilient to future climate change impacts. This latest report was produced by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).  http://caribbeanclimateblog.com/2014/07/02/coral-reefs-report-and-climate-change-news/   http://www.iucn.org/?uNewsID=16056  Report: http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/caribbean_coral_reefs___status_report_1970_2012.pdf   (Caribbean Climate Blog, 07/2014) 27/11/2014
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The detailed knowledge of the variation in the cattle genome has been increased by several orders of magnitude by the creation of a global database containing data from the breeds Angus, Holstein, Jersey and Fleckvieh and the genomes of more than 1,200 animals. The first generation of the new data resource, which will be open access, consists of sequenced genomes for a number of bulls and are based on new sequencing techniques. The research was published in Nature Genetics and led by Hans D Daetwyler of the Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Australia. Scientists from other countries are encouraged to join the project, to ensure a continual inflow of data. Key ancestor bulls have daughters all around the world, so it is a considerable strength of the project that such data are connected into one database.   (ScienceDaily, 03/10/2014) 27/11/2014
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This report comprises the first systematic analysis of sustainable intensification (SI) of the European agricultural sector and argues it must be the paradigm within which future agricultural policy is made in the EU. Three key points are made. First, the agricultural input which needs to be intensified across all of Europe is knowledge per hectare. This means knowledge in managing delicate ecosystems, knowledge to ensure that pollinator populations thrive, knowledge to make water management minimise flooding, as well as knowledge to achieve more food output per hectare. Second, the EU needs to devise a measurement tool for environmental farming performance. It would be strongly preferable to build on an EU-wide set of indicators already developed, for example the Joint Research Centre’s IRENA indicators. And third, in addition to better enforcement of existing environmental regulations, and using policy measures under the CAP, changes in farming practices must also come from farmers and private actors themselves. This report was the initiative of the Public Utility Foundation for Rural Investment Support for Europe (RISE) and launched at the Center for European Policy Studies (CEPS).   (PAEPARD, 24/06/2014) 27/11/2014
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