CTA Youth Call for Proposals: Advancing youth agricultural entrepreneurship and ICT innovations to boost climate-resilient food value chains

Objective

The objective of this grant is to advance agricultural entrepreneurship and ICT innovations by young people. It responds to the strategic need to strengthen the involvement of youth in agriculture. It will support youth capacity building and entrepreneurship in ICT for agriculture (ICT4Ag) and promote youth employment opportunities. The call for proposals builds on various activities that CTA has been implementing in the area of agribusiness, value chain development, ICT for agriculture, and youth in agriculture (notably within the framework of the Agriculture, Rural Development and Youth in the Information Society (ARDYIS) project).

Proposals can be submitted in the following two categories:

Category 1

Proposals aimed at strengthening youth engagement and entrepreneurship in strategic food commodity value chains.
They will favour the consolidation of agro-food cooperatives or companies led by young people, or the creation of innovative agro-entrepreneurial mechanisms for the benefit of youths.

Category 2

Proposals aimed at implementing the “AgriHack Talent” programme at national or regional level, with a focus on value chain development, regional trade or climate change adaptation for strategic food commodities.
The objective of the AgriHack Talent programme initiated by CTA is to support ICT innovations and entrepreneurship in agriculture by youth. It encompasses a series of activities at the heart of which a hackathon or coding competition is organised, followed by capacity building, entrepreneurship support in ICT and agriculture business, as well as promotion of the products developed. Proposals may include other activities, or may not include all activities of the model.

For both categories, successful applicants will receive grants ranging from EUR 30 000 to 100 000.

Who can apply: Only youth organisations or organisations working on youth issues can submit proposals.

Language: Proposals may be submitted in either French or English

Submission method: By email to youthgrant@cta.int

Deadline: Applications must be submitted on or before 15 February 2015 at 23:59 hours, Netherlands time.

CTA Youth Call-Competition Guidelines-pdf

Source: http://www.cta.int/en/article/2014-12-06/cta-youth-call-for-proposals.html

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December 5: World Soil Day 2014

B4FDiflIgAA41J9Soils have been neglected for too long. We fail to connect soil with our food, water, climate, biodiversity and life. We must invert this tendency and take up some preserving and restoring actions. The World Soil Day campaign aims to connect people with soils and raise awareness on their critical importance in our lives.

Did You Know:
Soil is the basis for food, feed, fuel and fibre production and for services to ecosystems and human well-being. It is the reservoir for at least a quarter of global biodiversity, and therefore requires the same attention as above-ground biodiversity. Soils play a key role in the supply of clean water and resilience to floods and droughts. The largest store of terrestrial carbon is in the soil so that its preservation may contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The maintenance or enhancement of global soil resources is essential if humanity’s need for food, water, and energy security is to be met.

Source: FAO.org

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Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) in Ghana

It is important for farmers in Ghana to adopt Good Agricultural Practices to increase their productivity, in this way enhancing their competitiveness in the value chain. Implementing GAP in agriculture should not be an end in itself but should be followed up with Farmer Business School in which the producers are trained to understand the economics behind efforts Good Agricultural Practices.

Subsequent blog posts here will explore the following Good Agricultural Practices with focus on the orange value chain:

  • Selecting a Good Site Production
  • Selecting Good Planting Materials
  • Planting and Intercropping
  • Controlling Weed
  • Controlling Major Pests and Diseases
  • Pruning
  • Managing Soil Fertility
  • Water Management
  • Reducing Post-Harvest Losses
  • End of Season Evaluation
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Happy Birthday Mr President-John Dramani Mahama

Happy Birthday HE John Dramani Mahama, President of the Republic of Ghana #233Agric

President of Ghana-John Mahama

President of Ghana-John Mahama

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Hilarious Viral Video of Ghana’s #Kpakpakpa Movement

Watch the video making the waves describing the State of the Economy. A gentleman was interviewed by JoyNews to share his views on the Ghanaian economy, and his response in the video below is all you need to see. Enjoy and follow the #kpakpakpa discussions on the streets of Ghana and on twitter.

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Learning Note 1: Assumptions for Targeted Constituents

It is a truism that most agricultural development projects in Ghana seem to undertake their projects with less inclusion of their targets. Nothwithstanding their well drafted project foci which aim at bottom-up participatory approaches, most do otherwise during implementation.
At Syecomp Ltd, we are striving not to go in same fashion. Our unique position as a private sector agricultural service provider in Geospatial Survey and Mapping thus puts us in a good  stead to focus on long term viable approaches in order to sustain the business.
With generous financial support from CTA through the Building Viable Delivery Model (BVDM) for ICT4Ag project, we organized a stakeholder consultative meeting in collaboration with the Volta Value Chain Cooperative Union (VVCCU) and Apex Farmer Associations for session of farmer leaders, institutional partners, agri-input dealers and other stakeholders. The workshop held in Ho, the Volta Regional Capital enabled us obtain salient feedback on relevant agro-climatic messages they (farmer clients) are interested in and the channels they would prefer for the information to be disseminated to them.
Such fruitful discourse is giving us an opportunity to garner interest and farmer buy-in to our service, and expand our reach to more farmers in Ghana.
Getting stakeholders on board with regards service provision is a good strategy to business success for Agribusiness Service Providers.
This is the first part of a 9-series Learning Note being made public with regards to the Geospatial Technology and Agroclimatic Information Service for Farmers in Ghana.
Solomon Elorm Allavi
Project Lead
Email: sallavi@syecomp.com
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CTA Awards Grant to Ghanaian Geospatial Mapping Company

SBS-satellite info service-Ghana

SBS-satellite info service-Ghana

Syecomp Business Services Ltd, a private-sector provider of Agricultural Research and Geospatial Survey and Mapping company in Ghana has been awarded a grant by The Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation (CTA) to develop a proof of concept and explore viable business models for the adoption of Geospatial Technology (GIS/Global Positioning Systems), dissemination of agro-climatic information and mFarm actor-chain interactions in Ghana.

This is a unique service of its kind in Ghana exploring twin approaches of learning and scaling-up where smallholder (and commercial) farmers will receive and also request for scientific information on weather, soil and crop-related conditions of their farms.

“The use of quantitative, geospatial data obtained from farmlands and its effective transformation into qualitative information understandable by farmers is a unique game-changer to challenges faced by farmers in Ghana with regards to plant growth, field moisture, yield determination and mineral deposits”, said Solomon Elorm Allavi, the company’s Chief Operations Manager.

The negative impact of climate change, water scarcity and food security on the productivity of smallholder and commercial farmers in Ghana need to be addressed through innovative scientific approaches. Even in seasons of abundant water, knowledge on appropriate use is very limited. The use of satellite and remote sensing data to assist farmers in their decision-making is thus essential for improved productivity, high yields and improvement in their economic livelihoods.

Robust delivery channels will be deployed to provide  agro-climatic knowledge and link  multiple actors along and across the agricultural value chain for an improved and sustainable market access and food security.

Further  information on the Building Viable Delivery Models for ICT4Ag by CTA can be found here.

For discussions with Syecomp Ltd, contact:

Edem Patience Pomary-Alifo (HR/Communications Manager)

Email: epomary@syecomp.com / sallavi@syecomp.com

Phone: +233 20 1442191

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CTA announces grants to five institutions to facilitate the scaling up of ICT solutions in ACP countries

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) this week announced five grants totalling 400,000 EUR (536,040 USD) to five institutions in Africa and the European Union to support the adoption, uptake and scaling of information and communication technologies (ICTs) support for agriculture.

This comes as a follow-up to the ICT4Ag International Conference organised by CTA and its partners in Kigali, Rwanda, in November 2013. Even though the conference confirmed the huge potential of the new technologies to support agriculture, it also revealed a number of issues hampering their use, including the incoherence in the development process for ICT4Ag applications and the challenge for service providers to go beyond the pilot stage without donor support.

The five winning initiatives will be deployed in Antigua, Belize, Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean); Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali (West Africa); and South Sudan (East Africa) to support agricultural policy processes, agricultural extension and advisory services, fisheries value chain, and market information services.

The winning organizations are:
eLEAF Competence Centre, a Netherlands-based high-tech company that uses reliable, quantitative data on water and vegetation coverage to support sustainable water use, increase food production and provide environmental protection systems, will be scaling up its satellite-based information services at the Gezira Irrigation Dam in South Sudan to provide targeted delivery of extension services to farmers.

RONGEAD, a France-based international network system made up of NGOs, technical specialists, international institutions and businesses that provides market information services, will use the grant to improve its current initiative and scale it up through market analysis, training and capacity building, provision of information and advice and delivery of a business intelligence service to improve the competitiveness, profitability and ability of smallholder farmers to manage business risks in food chains in West Africa.

Syecomp Business Services, a private-sector provider of geographic information system (GIS) services based in Ghana, will use its grant to develop a proof of concept and explore business models for the adoption of geospatial technology (GIS/global positioning system applications), dissemination of agro climatic information and mFarm actor-chain interactions in Ghana.

The University of West Indies, a public-sector research institute located in Trinidad and Tobago, will use its grant to extend and scale up an existing suite of web and mobile applications (mFisheries) for small-scale fisheries. It will also explore a novel co-management delivery model for ICTs amongst various agents in the small scale fisheries ecosystem in the Caribbean.

Yam Pukri, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Burkina Faso, will use the grant to improve the monitoring and implementation of agricultural policies using ICTs, thereby empowering smallholder farmers to contribute to the agricultural and rural development policy processes.

The five grants were awarded following a rigorous competitive process that involved more than 30 high-quality proposals addressing various informational issues along agricultural value chains.

Announcing the grants this week, the manager of CTA’s programme on Policies, Markets and ICTs, Mr Lamon Rutten, stated that this is the beginning of a new journey to ensure ICT solutions benefit smallholder farmers across African, Caribbean and Pacific nations. He noted that these five grants are a pilot to explore the various models of information exchange with the users, learn from them and support good practices for sustainability.

CTA awards these grants as part of its new initiative, ‘Building viable delivery models of ICT4Ag,’ that aims to ensure that smallholder farmers benefit from the digital revolution. A series of activities has been lined up as part of this initiative, including: identifying and collating information on existing ICT solutions through an Apps4Ag database; mapping solutions along an agricultural value chain model to facilitate their retrieval and inform strategies for developing new apps; developing a framework for assessing the usability and functionality of the apps; pilot-testing the framework on selected apps in selected geographic regions and building a Community of Practice (CoP) around the Apps4Ag; and using the results and lessons learned through these pilots to support the roll-out of viable delivery models that ensure up-scaling of ICT4Ag initiatives.

Click here for details on the CTA grants

News Source-CTA: http://cta.int/en/article/2014-08-27/cta-announces-grants-to-five-institutions-to-facilitate-the-scaling-up-of-ict-solutions-in-acp-count.html

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Innovations for Poverty Action ( IPA) Launched Agricultural Development Project in Northern Ghana

A research and non-profit making organisation, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA), has launched its two agricultural projects in northern Ghana. The projects dubbed: Examining Underinvestment in Agriculture (EUI) and Disseminating Innovative Resources and Technologies to Smallholders (DIRTS) are aimed at conducting research and supporting farmers to secure insurance for their farming activities.
According to IPA’s report on the research conducted on the first project, Examining Underinvestment in Agriculture (EUI) from 2009 to 2012, based on a 1, 406 households in 84 communities of the Northern Region of Ghana, to evaluate agricultural productivity; technology adoption, the result shows that risk more than capital and other constraint creates barriers to agricultural investment by small holding farmers, hence, the poor agricultural productivity.The study hypothesis, evaluated by IPA; increased access to capital and increased access to risk mitigation strategies (uptake of rainfall insurance), showed that farmers insurance uptake increases investment, but not necessarily profits, the demand for agricultural insurance is highly sensitive to price and that other factors including trust and social networks influence the demand for insurance.

The Disseminating Innovative Resources and Technologies to Smallholders (DIRTS), which started in 2013, is expected to end in 2016. DIRT will cover 162 Communities, 3,240 households and 12 districts in the Northern Region. The districts included; Central Gonja, Sagnarigu, Karaga, Mion, Saboba and Savelugu. The rest are Gushegu, Tolon, Kumbungu, Yendi, Zabzugu and Tatale.
The study is also to address under-investment in agriculture and low productivity through technology and risk-mitigation. According to the Deputy Country Director of the IPA, Madeleen Husselman, the projects are to boost farmers’ production in their catchment areas.
She noted that, farmers have always been producing on the low, due to lack of insurance and courage to take up risk for their farms. She also pointed out that, Community Extensions Agents (CEA) are being trained to use smart phones to receive messages in rural communities which aid farmers in their year round farming activities.
Madeleen Husselman stated that insurance allows smallholder farmers to increase farm investment when matched with complementary extension services and input technology access. Highlighting that such investment will improve per-acre production and profitability of their farming.

IPA had partnered with State institutions like Ghana Agricultural Insurers Pool (GAIP), Ghana’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Savannah Agricultural Research Institute (SARI), in the course of these research.

Credit: Developmentnewsafrica.com

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African Economic Conference 2014

Knowledge and Innovation for Africa’s Transformation

01 NOVEMBER 2014 TO 03 NOVEMBER 2014
Abidjan

The ninth edition of the African Economic Conference (AEC 2014) will be held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from 1-3 November on the theme, “Knowledge and Innovation for Africa’s Transformation”.

This year’s conference will offer a unique avenue for researchers, policymakers and development practitioners from Africa, and elsewhere, to debate Africa’s soft infrastructure needs and their catalytic impact on speed and scope of economic transformation and inclusive growth. In the light of Africa’s search for economic transformation and its current skills and technology deficit in the face of knowledge-intensive and innovation-driven global competition, Africa needs to urgently devise strategies to capitalize on its youth bulge to drive technological innovation, skills development and the search for new sources of comparative advantage.

The conference will reflect on the critical barriers to be overcome and seek to capture the lessons to be learnt from various experiences on the continent to guide the development of appropriate policy responses and investment frameworks (public and private). In addition, critical regional dimensions will be examined.

AEC is an annual conference targeted at researchers. It is organized jointly by the African Development Bank, the Economic Commission for Africa and the United Nations Development Program.

Objectives:

The key objectives of the African Economic Conference series are to:

- promote knowledge management as an important driver of policy dialogue, good policy planning and implementation;

- foster dialogue that promotes the exchange of ideas and innovative thinking among researchers, development practitioners and African policymakers;

- encourage and enhance research on economic and policy issues related to the development of African economies;

- provide an opportunity for young African researchers, Africans in the Diaspora, regional and sub-regional organizations to disseminate their research findings as well as share information with African policymakers on the work they do in the region

- AEC 2014 will explore Africa’s existing skills, technology and innovation capacities against the needs required to realise Africa’s transformation agenda and debate practical policies and strategies that can rapidly eliminate existing deficits and grow capacities across all sectors of the economy. The Conference will comprise a number of plenary and break-out sessions that will feature presentations and discussions by prominent academics, policy makers, business actors and opinion leaders, as well as representatives from development partner organisations.

Call for Papers: Click here for the Call for Papers

Past African Economic Conference: http://www.uneca.org/

Credit: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa ( UNECA)

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