General Publications

Modern agricultural technology and, by extension, genetic engineering – the technique of removing, modifying or adding genes from one unrelated organism to a plant variety for the purposes of conferring desired traits in the genetically modified organism (GMO) – has delivered substantial agronomic, environmental, economic, health and social benefits to both large- and small-scale farmers in developing and industrial countries since the first GM crop was commercialised in 1996.

Despite the demonstrated benefits, modern agricultural biotechnology is still a recurring and contentious public issue, particularly in Africa where the highly divergent scientific, political, economic, ethical, cultural, and even religious viewpoints appear to be deeply rooted.

It is widely acknowledged that this debate continues to fire up mainly because of low awareness and understanding of genetic engineering among those opposed to it. It is science against moral ethics. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding that has generated apprehension, fear, and moral indignation is seriously undermining our ability to develop and put to practical use the products of modern agricultural biotechnology.

The media has a key role in creating this awareness, education and understanding of modern agricultural biotechnology. There is a general consensus that although the mass media cannot unilaterally bring about change in knowledge and opinion, they are important agents in the process of reinforcing public perceptions and, ultimately, influencing and shaping public attitudes.

However, media coverage of modern agricultural biotechnology in Africa has been an issue of concern. There is a general feeling that the reporting on modern agricultural biotechnology is inadequate, wrought with sensationalism, trivialisation, inaccurate reporting; misuse of terminologies; incomplete coverage of issues, episodic, and often related to specific events, such as scientific breakthroughs or current controversies.

What comes through clearly from discussions with journalists across Africa is that most African media are yet to embrace and promote science journalism.

But it is not just enough to paint a grim picture of the media in Africa. What is more important is to understand why the media in Africa has not lived up to its societal expectations. And this is what this booklet is all about: understanding why modern agricultural biotechnology is poorly reported; understanding the challenges that journalists face in reporting on modern agricultural biotechnology; exploring the opportunities that journalists can exploit in reporting on modern agricultural biotechnology; and exploring strategies that can improve reporting on modern agricultural biotechnology in Africa.

Despite Kenya posting one of the highest levels of food and nutritional insecurity, the Government of Kenya banned importation and consumption of foods derived from genetic engineering (GM foods) in October 2012, on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to show that GM foods were safe. The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) commissioned the Kenya University Biotechnology Consortium (KUBICO) to conduct a study to determine the impact of the four-year-old ban on food security, research and training, and to identify opportunities for investment in biotechnology and agribusiness in Kenya. The study sought to determine whether the ban had any role in the escalating food prices and reduced enthusiasm among students training in biotechnology, and development partners funding such projects. The study, combining desk review with interviews and a survey, focused on 13 large scale millers that command 90% of Kenya’s milling volume, 10 small scale millers, five major manufacturers likely to use GM grain, two regulators, and six public biotechnology training and research institutions. Analyses of desk review, secondary data, and questionnaires/interviews indicated that the ban on GM foods imposed in 2012 has heightened food prices, affected food distribution mechanisms and threatened the country’s current and future food security. Results showed that the ban, initially intended for importation and consumption, has now terminated progress in agriculture and food security research, causing many biotech research and development projects to stall.

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Genetically modified (GM) crops were first approved for cultivation and human consumption in 1996. Over the next 10 years, large and smallholder farmers in developing and developed countries increased the acreage of these crops – mainly maize, soybean, cotton, canola, tomato and potato – from 1.7 to 102 million hectares. This rapid and unprecedented rate of adoption of any new agricultural technology was attributed to the substantial multiple benefits realised by farmers in these countries. However, over the 10 years, South Africa is the only country in Africa that grew biotech crops. By 2006, South Africa grew genetically modified maize, cotton and soybean on 1.4 million hectares.

Realising that adoption of modern biotechnology is being hampered by lack of accurate and reliable information, knowledge and awareness at all levels of society, AATF mooted an idea to create a platform for information and knowledge sharing. The aim of the initiative was to allow policy makers and key stakeholders to make informed decisions on use of modern biotechnology.

And in September 2006, AATF founded the Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB) in Nairobi, Kenya. The objective was to ensure that the vast and critical wealth of information and knowledge on agricultural biotechnology possessed by scientists is made available to policy and decision makers and the general public. OFAB brings together stakeholders in agricultural biotechnology – scientists, policy makers, regulators, farmers, consumers, journalists, the civil society, industrialists, legislatures, religious groups, academia and the general public – to share knowledge and experiences, and explore ways of bringing the benefits of agricultural biotechnology to smallholder farmers and consumers.

A decade later, there is a general appreciation among the policy makers and the general public of the benefits of agricultural biotechnology – courtesy of OFAB’s awareness creation, sensitisation, education, and information and knowledge sharing initiatives. More governments now appreciate that modern agricultural biotechnology has a major role in helping their countries attain the elusive food insecurity. Indeed, the regulatory environment has changed in the seven countries with OFAB Chapters either through the enactment of new supportive regulatory frameworks or amendment of the previously restrictive regulatory frameworks. They are all at various stages of research, development and commercialisation of GM crops.

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The purpose of this document is to guide the Seeds2B partnership in the development and implementation of strategies to prevent undue delays to market access during the release and registration of new high-performing crop varieties in Malawi and Zimbabwe. It specifically provides information towards ensuring regulatory compliance of legal, scientific and professional applications. It will inform initiatives by AATF’s regulatory affairs unit in support of the Seeds2B Project.

CONTENT

  • Release and Registration of New Crop Varieties in Zimbabwe
  • Zimbabwe’s Varietal Release Process
  • Release and Registration of New Crop Varieties in Malawi
  • Proposed revisions to Malawi’s National Variety Release System
  • Experience of Seeds2B in compliance with regulatory requirements and procedures in Malawi and Zimbabwe

The Art of the Deal

What do the following have in common?   DOWNLOAD PUBLICATION I PDF

  • A staple consumed by millions of people − strangled by a weed that could not be vanquished.
  • A bean prized by millions for its high protein content − that all too often gets devoured by a caterpillar before harvest.
  • The fastest growing staple in Africa − but which most African countries import, since the local varieties are low-yielding and difficult to produce.
  • A popular food crop that increasingly fails as climate change brings hotter, drier weather to many areas.

All these are major African crops with major problems that require urgent attention in order to meet food security and economic development needs and that AATF is involved in addressing through focused partnerships with technology owners, researchers, agribusiness, and governments. You learn about the crops referred to in the pages in this book.

AATF itself owns no research fields, laboratories or patents. Instead, AATF staff work with more than 80 research, technology, policy, government, and NGO partners to connect ideas and agreements, people and technologies to ensure that what comes out of laboratories can be developed into excellent tools for smallholder farmers in Africa. AATF and partners also ensure that these technologies get approved by policymakers and regulators, get produced by local agribusinesses and are made available to smallholder farmers. This in turn enables farmers to produce high-yielding, high quality staples and other crops and enjoy higher income and food security.

The solutions may be a disease-resistant banana, drought-tolerant maize seed, insect pest-resistant cowpea, special machines for planting and harvesting cassava, a deal with commercial seed companies or a study tour for policy makers to better understand biotechnology. In each case, AATF is contributing to solving tough problems to help African farmers improve yield, income, and lives.

We focus on more than the value chain. We work on a value “web” linking not only farmers, input dealers and markets – but also research institutes, private companies, technology developers, royalty-holders, machinery assemblers, policy makers, and the media.

We are the “honest brokers”: persuading, negotiating, advocating, getting permissions, licensing, sub-licensing, arranging for royalties or royalty-free arrangements.

The following pages introduce ten projects in ten countries, and includes reminiscences on the organisation’s founding and thoughts on where it’s going.

We hope you enjoy the tour.

 

This report presents results of a baseline study on the constraints and opportunities of maize production in the Western Region of Kenya. The aim of the study was to provide baseline information that would set the basis for measuring progress and impact of the project on the livelihoods of the target population. Its objective was to determine the current status of livelihoods within the project areas by looking at various indicators of livelihoods such as household demographics; access to land, input use, and crop production; decision-making process in farming; Striga and Striga control technologies; vulnerability; capital assets; and livelihood strategies and outcomes, and explore opportunities and constraints affecting maize production in the project areas. One thousand two hundred (1200) households randomly selected from 12 districts were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Data from the study was analyzed using descriptive statistics and multiple regression.

The study found out that high proportions of households are male-headed households with the proportion of female-headed households in Nyanza being higher than in the Western region. The average age of household head was 49 years with average formal schooling of eight years and household size of six. About 60% of household heads work full-time on the farm. Household land holdings are small and mostly used for the production of annual crops especially maize. Household members over 60 years of age are the ones working mostly full time on the farm. More women than men belong to and participate in the leadership of social groups. In addition most household members belong to women groups, development committees, and credit and savings groups.

The main source of funding for farming aspects among the households is proceeds from sale of farm produce which include maize. All key farming related decisions in the households are made by both the household head and the spouse except the decision on the acreage of land to plant. Input use levels are low and vary inter-province.

Striga is ranked as the number one production constraint in maize production and is severe among 50% of households sampled. In terms of severity, Striga currently claims over 40% of the households’ maize crop. Over 80% of the households use the uprooting method to control Striga in their farms. About 50% of the households use organic and inorganic fertilizers. The use of control technologies like Imazapyr-resistant (IR) maize is less than 5% among farmers. The main reasons for non-adoption of Striga control measures among the households is inadequate information on the technologies and their high costs. The model on determinants of maize production showed that the level of usage of organic fertilizer influences maize production level.
 

Activities to scale up the Nitrogen-Use Efficient (NUE), Water-Use Efficient (WUE and Salt Tolerant (ST) Rice project to Nigeria kicked off early this year with the signing of a collaboration agreement between the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and the Nigeria’s National Cereal Research Institute (NCRI). Nigeria becomes the third project country after Ghana and Uganda. During the period, partners in Nigeria identified a confined field trial (CFT) site at NCRI in Badeggi. The site was inspected by the country’s National Biosafety Committee (NBC) in June 2014 who recommended its approval by the Ministry of Environment. To enable NCRI to carry out the CFT, approval was granted for it to carry out biotechnology work and its Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) inaugurated by the NBC. The team also initiated the CFT application process to seek approval from the country’s NBC to conduct trials during 2014.

The Maruca resistant cowpea project made significant progress during 2012 towards its goal of developing Maruca resistant cowpeas for use by our smallholder farmers. For the second year running, the confined field trials in Nigeria and Burkina Faso were successful with strong indication that the project may have identified promising varieties that are resistant to the Maruca pod borer.

Identifying resistant plants is a significant milestone in product development of agricultural biotechnology because these plants will be used to incorporate the traits into farmer-preferred varieties through breeding.

Evaluation of the Maruca-resistant cowpea varieties progressed well in Nigeria and Burkina Faso as Ghana was granted approval by the country's National Biosafety Committee (NBC), the regulatory authority for development of biotechnology in Ghana, to conduct confined field trials in the country.

This document presents a distillation of best practice in a form appropriate to the registration of this type of pesticide in sub-Saharan Africa. It was reviewed and approved by the Technical Working Group and also peer reviewed independently. However, the author recognises that the regulatory processes recommended herein and the data requirements and other technical aspects of biopesticide registration needed to be ‘road tested’. This should be done in real or simulated registration activities using worked examples or relevant case studies. There was an opportunity for such ‘road testing’ during the trilateral meeting on atoxigenic Aspergillus flavus products between Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia in August 2013. The final version of the document includes an addendum on models for harmonised registration of microbial biopesticides based on the lessons learned from this event.

Sorghum remains an important food security crop in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and especially in the marginal areas where other crops do not do well. Sorghum production in SSA is estimated at 26 million MT with Nigeria being the leading sorghum producer in Africa and the second in the world after USA. Mali ranks second in Africa and sixth in the world with Ethiopia ranking third in Africa and eighth in the world. Sorghum is primarily a smallholder crop grown primarily for household food security. Commercialisation of the crop is rather limited and its value chain is under developed. Striga remains a major constraint not only to sorghum production but also to other cereals and other crops (including sugarcane). In Ethiopia, for instance, Striga affects all cereal crops and unlike other countries like Kenya it is also found in the highlands where the soils are fertile. Annual sorghum losses attributed to Striga in SSA are estimated at 22–27% and specifically at 25% in Ethiopia, 35% in Nigeria and 40% in Mali. In terms of monetary value, the annual cereal losses due to Striga are estimated at US$ 7 billion in SSA. In Ethiopia, Mali and Nigeria, the annual losses are estimated at, US$ 75 million, US$ 87 million and US$ 1.2 billion, respectively. This study demonstrates that there are potential benefits in terms of yield gains and farmer incomes from use of HR sorghum varieties. The anticipated yield increases are between a minimum of 17.5% in Ethiopia and a maximum of 36% in Mali, depending on the level of protection achieved.

Maruca-Resistant Cowpea Project Progress Report - January-December 2011
  • Message from the Project Manager
  • Successful CFT’S carried out in Nigeria and Burkina Faso
  • Maruca rearing capacity enhanced for Nigeria and Burkina Faso
  • Project review and planning meeting held
  • Stakeholders visit Burkina Faso trial site.
  • Nigeria trial assessed for compliance
  • Inera holds community awareness and outreach meeting
  • MR-cowpea project briefs stakeholders on progress in Nigeria

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Feasibility Study on Striga Control in Sorghum

Feasibility Study on Striga Control in Sorghum Sorghum remains an important food security crop in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and especially in the marginal areas where other crops do not do well. Sorghum production in SSA is estimated at 26 million MT with Nigeria being the leading sorghum producer in Africa and the second in the world after USA. Mali ranks second in Africa and sixth in the world with Ethiopia ranking third in Africa and eighth in the world. Sorghum is primarily a smallholder crop grown primarily for household food security. Commercialisation of the crop is rather limited and its value chain is under developed. Striga remains a major constraint not only to sorghum production but also to other cereals and other crops (including sugarcane). In Ethiopia, for instance, Striga affects all cereal crops and unlike other countries like Kenya it is also found in the highlands where the soils are fertile. Annual sorghum losses attributed to Striga in SSA are estimated at 22–27% and specifically at 25% in Ethiopia, 35% in Nigeria and 40% in Mali. In terms of monetary value, the annual cereal losses due to Striga are estimated at US$ 7 billion in SSA. In Ethiopia, Mali and Nigeria, the annual losses are estimated at, US$ 75 million, US$ 87 million and US$ 1.2 billion, respectively. This study demonstrates that there are potential benefits in terms of yield gains and farmer incomes from use of HR sorghum varieties. The anticipated yield increases are between a minimum of 17.5% in Ethiopia and a maximum of 36% in Mali, depending on the level of protection achieved.

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WEMA Progress Report - March 2008–March 2011

WEMA Progress Report In Report:
  • The project
  • The partnership
  • Key activities: March 2008 – March 2011
  • Drought-tolerant gene for WEMA
  • WEMA breeding and testing programme
  • Awareness campaign
  • Strengthening capacity to deliver droughttolerant maize
  • 'Seeing is believing' study tours
  • Stakeholders rate WEMA

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A Study on the Relevance of Chinese Agricultural Technologies to Smallholder Farmers in Africa

FOCAC The study identified key Chinese agricultural technologies that may be used to improve productivity in SSA. These include improved crop varieties; multiple-disease resistant high-yielding wheat; multiple disease resistant high yielding maize; slow release fertilisers; dryland technologies, water conservation and harvesting techniques, supplementary irrigation, micro-irrigation and plastic mulch; land management practices and policies; re-organisation of a moribund agricultural extension system; technologies for reducing post-harvest losses; mechanisation with appropriate technology to increase labour productivity; and integrated aquaculture farming that focuses on joint production of fish, livestock and crops. This study proposes that to facilitate technology access and delivery, FOCAC could be used as a conduit for disseminating agricultural technologies. Click here to download publication

GMOs for African agriculture: challenges and opportunities - published by Academy of Science of South Africa

GMOs for African agriculture The Workshop proceedings report is the product of a two-day workshop hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) from 17-18 September 2009 with an introduction by Dr Gospel Omanya, African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF).

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Science and Innovation for Development - Gordon Conway & Jeff Waage with Sara Delaney

Science & Innovation for Development Science and Innovation for Development is a path-breaking book that reconnects development practice with the fundamental, technical processes of development outlined more than 50 years ago. It is a refreshing reminder that development is a knowledge intensive activity that cannot be imposed from the outside.

The Imperial College, London, in conjunction with AATF, gave the book an African launch in Nairobi on 7 April 2010

Sir Gordon Conway is a member of the AATF Board of Trustees

 Baseline Study of Smallholder Farmers in Striga Infested Maize Growing Areas of Central Malawi
baseline malawi This report presents the results from a livelihood study of smallholder farmers carried out in Striga stricken maize growing areas in four districts of central Malawi namely Dedza, Kasungu, Mchinji and Lilongwe. Maize is the major staple in Malawi and the Central Region as the major maize growing area. Given its pivotal position in the national food basket, maize is marketed in both rural and urban centres. The maize sub-sector has been constrained by many factors of which Striga is among the more significant production constraints. A selective sampling strategy was used to select the four districts from which 40 villages mostly hit by Striga were randomly selected. Seventy-five (75) households in each district were randomly selected for interviews. Click here to download publication [pdf 1,550 k]

Baseline Study of Smallholder Farmers in Striga Infested Maize Growing Areas of Eastern Uganda

baseline study This report presents the results of a livelihood study of smallholder farmers undertaken in Striga-infested maize growing areas in four districts of eastern Uganda, namely Tororo, Busia, Budaka and Namutumba. Maize is an important crop in this region but its production has been constrained by a number of constraints of which Striga is ranked first. A structured sampling strategy was used to select the four districts from which 40 villages mostly affected by Striga were randomly selected. Seventy-five (75) households in each district chosen were randomly selected for interviews. Click here to download publication [pdf 1,230 k]

Baseline Study of Smallholder Farmers in Striga infested Maize Growing Areas of Eastern Tanzania

baseline tanzania The report presents findings from a livelihood study of smallholder farmers in Striga-infested, maize growing areas of eastern Tanzania using the Sustainable Livelihood Framework (SLF). The report provides baseline indicators against which the progress of future interventions to control Striga can be objectively measured. The study was conducted in five districts, namely Morogoro, Mvomero, Muheza, Mkinga and Handeni. The selection of districts was based on two criteria; maize being among the major crops and Striga being a major constraint to maize production. The study was conducted in five districts involving a total of 20 villages covering a sample size of 301 households. Click here to download publication [pdf 1,400 k]

Feasibility Study on Technologies for Improving Banana for Resistance against Bacterial Wilt in Sub-Saharan Africa

banana feasibility

Banana Bacteria Wilt (BBW), a bacterial disease with a potential to wipe out a thriving banana industry, was first reported in Uganda in 2001. It has since spread to almost all the main banana growing regions in the country and crossed into Kenya and Tanzania. In Rwanda the disease was officially reported first in July 2006. It is believed to have crossed from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Rwanda through trade and importation of bananas. In Kenya the disease has been identified in Teso and Bungoma districts which border Uganda. In Tanzania, the disease is concentrated in the Kagera region and is said to have originated from Uganda. While the disease affects all types of bananas, in Uganda it has been reported to affect the sweet type bananas, which are used for beer making more than the other types.

– Click here for publication [pdf 794 k]

Development, testing, regulation and deployment of transgenic cowpea in Africa: Proceedings of a Cowpea Project Review and Planning Meeting
 Accra

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) brought together partners and stakeholders from west Africa to examine progress made regarding cowpea improvement via genetic transformation and plan for additional work. The overall objective of the meeting was to review the progress made in research, synthesise the results and focus on what needs to be done in the coming years. The meeting focussed on aspects of product development (transformation and introgression), regulatory and biosafety issues, and how to deal with the general area of Bt cowpea technology acceptance to ensure full scale utilisation of GM technology in Africa. The requisite governance structure for the project was discussed to shed light on the roles and responsibilities of partners engaged in this initiative.

– Click here for publication [pdf 499 k]

Baseline Study for Impact Assessment of High Quality Insect Resistant Cowpea in West Africa

cowpea baseline study

The study, initiated by AATF and executed by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), and Purdue University aims to:

  1. elicit consumer preferences, acceptability, willingness to pay and adaptability of Bt cowpea to local conditions in west Africa
  2. assess the competitiveness and potential market niches for Bt cowpea
  3. identify strategies for capacity building of west African seed organisations for Bt cowpea
  4. assess the ex-ante economic impact of Bt cowpea at farm, country and region levels.

– Click here for publication [pdf 2133 k]

Farmer Perceptions of Imazapyr-Resistant (IR) Maize Technology on the Control of Striga in Western Kenya

ir perceptionA perception study aimed at documenting the perceptions of early adopters regarding the IR maize technology and its effectiveness in controlling Striga was done. The perception study involved monitoring the sub-sample (400 households) of 802 households included in the AATF/IITA 2005/06 baseline survey. The baseline farmers had less than one year exposure in using the technology. It also included 434 households experimenting with IR maize technology served by the WeRATE consortium. Their experience with using IR maize was more than one year. The objective of the perception study was to document the level of initial adoption and the perceptions of users at the early stage of their exposure to IR maize. Specifically, the study aimed at: (1) examining the characteristics of IR maize in relation to farmer preferences; (2) assessing the performance of IR maize in terms of productivity changes, advantages and disadvantages; (3) documenting the changes in farm management practices induced by IR maize technology; and (4) assessing the adoption pathways. This was done based on the assumption that a better understanding of the farmer perceptions on the technology will identify preliminary factors that facilitate or impede adoption of IR maize at this early stage of the technology dissemination process and will help address these constraints with a view to enhancing its adoption/adaptation for greater impact on the poor rural farmers. – Click here for publication [pdf 985 k]

Improving rice productivity in nitrogen-deficient and saline environments of Sub-Saharan Africa Proceedings of a Consultative Meeting

riceThese proceedings summarise the tripartite consultative meeting of The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), Africa Rice Center (WARDA) and Arcadia Biosciences Inc, held at the WARDA headquarters in Cotonou, Benin on 27 March 2006.

 

The partners:

  • Recognising the importance of rice as a food crop in Sub-Saharan Africa whose demand outstrips current local production and supply
  • Signifying the declining soil fertility trends as a major rice production constraint in the major rice producing areas of Africa in general and west Africa in particular
  • Aware that nitrogen deficiency is a leading constraint to rice productivity in over 80% of west Africa’s rice lands
  • Understanding the challenge posed by soil salinity to rice production in lowland flooded and mangrove environments of Africa, and
  • Recognising previous and current R&D efforts targeting rice productivity in Africa by various national and international institutions,

jointly committed themselves to this initiative for adding value to rice productivity in Africa by undertaking to work towards improving rice varieties with traits for nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and salinity tolerance (ST).. – Click here for publication [pdf 759k]

Intellectual Property/Innovation Management Handbook now Online

ip handbookA new and unique resource in intellectual property and innovation management has been launched: the Online version of the Handbook of Best Practices. Speaking at the Global Forum for Health Research in Beijing, Anatole Krat-tiger who led the effort said: “Thanks to the foresight of and support from the Rockefeller Foundation, MIHR and PIPRA [the publishers] were able to capitalize on the Web 2.0. The Online version of the resource gives us the ability to weave new connections and pursue new directions. The global IP revolution, increasingly led by the public sector, is just beginning. It amplifies the important contribution of sound IP management and how the public sector can put intellectual property to work for a better, healthier, and more equitable world.” – Click here for press release

Baseline Study of Striga Control using IR Maize in Western Kenya

striga baselinThe report presents the results of a baseline study undertaken to assess the status of Striga damage, the general livelihoods and livelihood strategies of the rural poor in western Kenya. A stratified random sampling method led to the selection of 8 districts, 16 sub-locations, 32 villages and 800 households. A combination of techniques for data collection was used, including literature review, GPS recordings, focus group discussions and interview of individual households. The study revealed that households are small in size and dependency ratio is high. There were about 26% of households headed by females. The level of education is low for the heads of households and all members of farm families. Households are endowed with a multitude of assets for their livelihoods. Maize is the major food crop and a source of cash income. Farmers grow both local and improved (hybrid) maize varieties, but the productivity is low. – Click here for report [pdf 1,454 kb]

The African Agricultural Technology Foundation approach to IP management – chapter in Handbook of Best Practices
ip handbookFor smallholder farmers in Africa, yields of major staple crops (maize, sorghum, millet, cassava, cowpea, bananas/plantains) have remained stagnant or even declined in the past 40 years. Numerous biotic and abiotic stresses have contributed to this dire trend. Local research efforts to overcome these stresses have been hampered by declining support for agricultural research, limited access to elite genetic material and other technologies protected by IP rights, and the absence of commercial interest in these crops from private owners of agricultural technologies. – Click here for book chapter [pdf 290 kb]

Managing Liability Associated with Genetically Modified Crops

Ip HandbookRecent years have seen intense global debate about whether or not agricultural biotechnology—particularly genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically modified crops (GM crops)—should be covered by a specially designed liability regime. This chapter examines common and statutory law theories of liability, various attempts at the national and international levels to design liability regimes for GMOs, and liability risk-mitigation measures.

Empowering African Farmers to Eradicate Striga from Maize Croplands

strigaThis booklet calls for a comprehensive campaign to eradicate Striga from Africa's maize croplands. Striga is a parasitic weed preying upon cereal crops that has infested 2.5 million hectares of maize. This biological invasion results in economic losses of over US $1 billion per year and is a leading cause of food insecurity and rural stagnation. For decades, Africa's small-scale farmers were powerless to control this menacing plant parasite but recent technological breakthroughs are now available to reverse this situation.
Click here for booklet [pdf 920 kb]

A strategy for industrialisation of cassava in Africa: Proceedings of a small group meeting, 14–18 November 2005, Ibadan, Nigeria
Cassava proceedingsThe current high cost of cassava production and low quality of cassava products in Africa stems from inefï¬ï¿½cient traditional production and processing methods, which severely limit the ability of the continent to enter local and export industrial markets and effectively compete with corn starch in global markets. For cassava to play a role in the economic growth of cassava producing countries in Africa, an integrated ap-proach combining large investments in industries using cassava as a raw material (for example food, feed, ethanol and starch) and small and medium scale investments by entrepreneurs in production, processing and delivery of high quality cassava products to the larger industries as well as adoption of labour saving devices in cassava produc-tion is considered essential. Indeed, a survey conducted by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation during the 2004 Triennial Symposium of the International So-ciety for Tropical Root Crops-Africa Branch (ISTRC-AB) revealed a consensus among African cassava experts that the single most important intervention to increase the competitiveness of the cassava industry was the adoption of mechanisation in cassava production.
Click here for booklet [pdf 1,000 kb]
 

Ua Kayongo Hybrid Maize: The Striga Killer

ua kayongoContents: Mobilising Kenyan farmers; Striga threatens farmers in Kenya;
Know your enemy!; The first line of defense; Conventional Striga management; Introducing Ua Kayongo: the Striga killer; Five easy steps to establish Ua Kayongo; Other benefits from planting Ua Kayongo; Questions and answers on Ua Kayongo

Click here for booklet [pdf 1,073 kb]

 

Launch of STRIGAWAY® (IR-maize) technology for Striga control in Africa

strigawayContents: Background,Striga in Africa, Issues discussed by the participants, Institutional roles, Prioritising the countries, Country specific work plans, Variety recommendation, Available varieties, List of participants

- Click here for proceedings [pdf]

 

 

Mycotoxin Control in food grains: Proceedings of a Small Group Meeting. 22-24 June 2004, Nairobi, Kenya

mycotoxinContents:
Executive summary; Opening; Introduction and welcome;
General objectives and procedures of the workshop; Presentations
Possible interventions; Task Force work; Closing remarks;
Way forward; Annexes

Click here for proceedings

A plan to apply technology in the improvement of cowpea productivity and utilisation for the benefit of farmers and consumers in Africa: Proceedings of a Cowpea Stakeholders Workshop. 10–12 February, Accra, Ghana
 
controlling striga infestationContents: Executive summary; Notes to the workshop; Summary of plenary presentations; Report of task force deliberations; Reports of Task Forces; Annexes



Click here for proceedings
 
New Approaches to Controlling Striga Infestation

new approaches to controllin strigaReprint from the November-December 2004 issue of Farmer's Journal describing approaches to Striga control.

- Click here for reprint [pdf]

Intellectual Property Resources for International Development in Agriculture

ipA December 2003 publication in Plant Physiology describes a number of organizations that have begun to address new approaches to inform researchers about the intellectual property landscape impacting agricultural biotechnology and to design strategies that will improve access to intellectual property, particularly for humanitarian purposes.
- Click here for reprint [pdf]

sgm cowpea

Report of Small Group Meeting (SGM) on "Constraints to Cowpea Production and Utilization in Sub-Saharan Africa", held at AATF headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya, 10–11 July 2003.

- Click here for booklet [pdf]

sgm banana

Report of Small Group Meeting (SGM) on "Improved Production of Bananas and Plantains in sub-Saharan Africa". THEME: Agricultural Technology Interventions for Increasing the Production of Bananas and Plantains in sub-Saharan Africa

- Click here for booklet [pdf]

 

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