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SYNTHESIS REPORT 2010

Building paths

to the future http://annualreport.cta.int


Message from the

Director D

uring my first year as CTA’s Director, I have appreciated the enormous opportunities to enhance networking and strengthen partnerships among the institutions tackling food security and sustainable development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. I have learned a lot from senior policy-makers, scientists, farmers’ representatives and agricultural professionals. Above all, I have been encouraged by letters from front-line extension workers and development agents, who appreciate CTA’s support for their work in ACP countries. 2010 was particularly important for CTA. We developed a Strategic Plan for the next 5 years, ‘Empowering Rural ACP Communities through Knowledge’. This will ensure that we focus on the critical issues facing agriculture and marshall our efforts through knowledge sharing, networking and capacity building. Agriculture can – indeed must – play a pivotal role in helping nations and communities to increase their income, reduce poverty and tackle malnutrition. Three-quarters of the world’s poor people live in rural areas and most depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and survival. The world must increase food production by at least 70% to feed the projected population of 9 billion people by 2050, without damaging further the natural resource base on which agriculture depends. Climate change and the depletion of natural resources pose additional challenges. ACP countries contribute little in the way of greenhouse gas emissions, yet are among the first to suffer the negative impacts of climate change. This is especially tough on smallholder farmers, with many already constrained by low access to capital, limited ability to influence policy and inadequate training.

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But there is good news. Never before has there been such widespread agreement about agriculture’s importance for poverty alleviation and economic growth. Never has there been a better time to work in agricultural development.

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CTA has a crucial role to play in improving the welfare and productivity of farming communities in ACP countries. As these highlights show, we are already helping to enrich knowledge, enhance communications and improve networking between those who have a stake in rural development.


© Karin Duthie / Africa Media Online

Agriculture plays a key role in eradicating poverty and fostering economic growth in ACP countries.

Take our role at the 9th Caribbean Week of Agriculture (page 5). Among the four major events CTA organised was a regional policy briefing on the roles small and medium enterprises can play in improving Caribbean agriculture. Many attendees who came from the private sector had never attended such a forum before, where they could exchange ideas with policy-makers, farmers’ organisations, the media and scientists. During 2010 we sought to raise the profile of young professionals and women in science. For example, CTA organised a competition with five African partners with the results announced during the 5th African Science Week in July, held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Partnerships lie at the heart of our work. We collaborated successfully with the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency to hold a week-long series of events in Johannesburg, South Africa, including the CTA Annual Seminar on water and an Observatory on information and communication technologies (ICTs).

“Never has there been a better time to work in agricultural development.”

With agriculture firmly back on top of the global development agenda, CTA is well positioned to support ACP nations to achieve their food and nutritional security goals.

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Highlights of 2010

We can’t list everything, but we were busy in 2010…

Supporting telecentres The Rwanda Development Board (RDB), in partnership with the Rwanda Telecentre Network (RTN), organised a 1-day consultative workshop, supported by CTA. The aims were to refine the road map for deploying 1,000 telecentres in Rwanda, share the work done so far by RTN with stakeholders, and collect inputs.

Empowering media Over 150 professionals, mostly from the media and all based in ACP regions, discussed their needs with CTA to see how best to reorient CTA’s media efforts in their regions.

Forecasting agriculture Thirty experts met to identify the future for agriculture and determine where research priorities should be placed during the Second Workshop of the Assessments, Projections and Foresights Seminar in Wageningen, the Netherlands, in February.

Evaluating outreach Angola and Mozambique had their say in the third round of the Information Outreach and Impact Review in June.

Participating in international fora CTA took part in the 5th edition of the European Development Days in Brussels, Belgium, on 6 and 7 December, and supported the participation of several ACP beneficiaries.

Strengthening policy In collaboration with the Implementation and Coordination of Agricultural Research and Training (ICART) project of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Ministry of Agriculture of Swaziland, CTA co-financed a national Information and Communication Management (ICM) sensitisation and strategy development workshop to increase awareness of the value and role of ICM.

Renewing Market Information Systems CTA, the French Agricultural Research for Development Centre (CIRAD) and the French Agency for Development (AFD) co-organised the ‘MIS in Africa, Renewal and Impact’ workshop in Montpellier, France, in March. Among other matters, the workshop established a first typology of Market Information Systems (MIS) and their impact.

Building capacity CTA trained over 300 individuals during the ‘Web 2.0 Learning Opportunities’ events in Benin, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, using an innovative approach in which CTA sponsored the delivery of courses and supported the host institutions.

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Promoting dialogue The new 28-page Spore / Esporo was launched in June, with an improved layout, new thematic sections, more photo reports and pages on CTA activities, and dialogue with readers.


Raising policy awareness

Making waves in the Caribbean “If you don’t have specific technologies to deal with climate change, you won’t solve the problems.”

At the 2010 Caribbean Week of Agriculture (CWA), CTA coorganised a series of events which examined the challenges and opportunities facing the farming sector. Scientists, policy-makers, journalists and farmers began to map out a healthier, more sustainable future for the region.

Our approach in Grenada was to pull together four events that we had been planning for the Caribbean, so that they could run in parallel and enable us to bring as many participants as possible to the same place,” explains CTA Director Michael Hailu. The 9th Caribbean Week of Agriculture, held in October in St George’s, the Grenadian capital, attracted over 300 people from ACP countries and beyond. It was organised by the Alliance for Sustainable Development of Agriculture and the Rural Milieu, of which CTA is a major partner. In his opening address, Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s minister of agriculture and fisheries, didn’t mince his words. He pointed out that the agricultural sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the Caribbean had

© Karen Robinson / panos pictures

A worker on a banana farm in Dominica harvests bananas.

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Raising policy awareness

Beyond Brussels In July 2007, CTA organised the first of its Brussels Development Briefings. Since then, the bimonthly briefings have become a regular event in policy-makers’ calendars. “From the feedback we’ve had, it’s clear that the meetings are seen as an excellent way of getting concise information about topical issues related to agriculture in ACP countries,” explains Isolina Boto, manager of CTA’s Brussels office. Such was the popularity of the briefings that ACP ambassadors and farmers’ organisations from the ACP regions asked CTA to set up similar briefings in their regions. In late 2010, I. Boto and her colleagues organised briefings and the Caribbean. When possible, CTA and its regional partners linked the meetings to other major events, such as the CWA in Grenada.

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for Central, Eastern, Southern and West Africa

Discussions between the CTA Director M. Hailu and participants at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture.

Discussion topics varied according to need. For example, the Eastern Africa meeting in Entebbe, Uganda, explored ways to improve investment and stimulate growth by linking small farmers to the markets; at the West Africa meeting in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the focus was climate change, land acquisition and food security.

© CTA / brusselsbriefing.net

The events held during the week examined the problems facing farmers and consumers and explored the solutions required for a better, more sustainable future. The Regional Briefing on Strengthening the Caribbean Agri-Food Private Sector was one of five policy briefings that CTA organised in ACP regions in 2010 (see ‘Beyond Brussels’). The 2-day event, also held in Grenada, attracted over 150 people and explored a broad range of challenges facing Caribbean agriculture, from climate change to crop theft and the need to reduce imports. CTA and its partners organise regular development briefing sessions in Brussels and in ACP regions on key issues and challenges for rural development.

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declined from 4.8% in 2000 to 3.1% in 2006, despite the fact that almost a fifth of the region’s labour force is involved in farming. Caribbean nations now import about 90% of their food needs and the import bill has been rising. “Obviously the region has been moving in the wrong direction.” On the positive side, significant measures are now being taken to support local farmers and reduce food imports.

Agricultural activities in the Caribbean are responsible for a tiny share of greenhouse gas emissions, yet climate change poses a considerable threat to the region. The ‘Climate Change and Agriculture in the Caribbean’ workshop, co-hosted by CTA and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI), looked at the links between climate change and agriculture, and regional mitigation and adaptation strategies.


An Agricultural Round Table, co-organised by CTA, brought together agricultural experts, policy-makers and the media to explore how the sector might develop between now and 2015. In the past, these groups tended to treat each other with suspicion. “The idea was to get the media people to become part of the agricultural community, so that they understand what the key issues are and where to get accurate information,” says J. Fonseca. He believes the roundtable helped to foster a new understanding between agricultural experts and the media, with both gaining a better understanding of the other’s views and needs. During the media workshop, one of the four meetings during CWA, participants from 14 Caribbean nations developed a Regional Framework for Action. CTA hopes this will improve the articulation of agricultural policies in the media.

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In particular, the workshop focused on the role protected agriculture – growing crops in greenhouses – could play in the future. Protected agriculture, whether high-tech and expensive or low-tech and cheap, is playing an increasingly important role in shielding crops in the Caribbean from hurricanes, pests and diseases. “If you don’t have specific technologies to deal with climate change, you won’t solve the problems, and that’s why this workshop had a practical focus,” explains José Fonseca, CTA’s senior programme coordinator, regional partnerships.

The power of partnership

Jethro Greene.

The Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN) brings together over 25 organisations in 13 countries. Since it was established in 2002, CaFAN has played a significant role in highlighting the challenges and opportunities facing small farmers. “Now, farmers are much more prepared to work together and through us they can speak with one voice,” says Jethro Greene, chief coordinator of CaFAN. The network’s success, he says, owes much to CTA, which has supported a range of activities from the production of pamphlets and newsletters to organising meetings and farmer trainings. Greene tells a story about dasheen (Colocasia esculenta) farmers in St Vincent. Several years

© Philip Wolmuth / Panos Pictures

ago, they were getting just US$0.25 (€0.18) per pound for the root crop. “At that price, they could barely cover their costs of production,” explains Greene. CTA provided support for training in post-harvest handling and packaging, and before long farmers were getting US$0.70 (€0.50) per pound. During the past 3 years, farmers who received training have made regular shipments Packing bananas destined for British supermarkets at a smallholding in Dominica.

of dasheen to the UK. At times, prices have gone as high as US$1.50 (€1.09), making a huge difference to their incomes.

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Encouraging knowledge and innovation

Shaping science for the future “Through the competition, women and young professionals were given the opportunity to be more open and part of a wider community.”

Women play a major role in food production and agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa, providing 60-80% of the labour involved in growing and harvesting food crops. Yet they play a minor role when it comes to agricultural decision-making and scientific research. Competitions managed by CTA and its partners promote the research of women and young professionals.

I am convinced that many of Africa’s problems could be solved if women were more involved in research, and had a greater influence over policy,” says Prof. Mary Abukutsa, professor of horticulture at Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya. Prof. Abukutsa’s paper on agro-biodiversity and the importance of indigenous vegetables won first prize in the 2009 Women in Science competition, organised by CTA and five of its African partners.1

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A technician preserving plant species.


In July 2010, she gave the keynote speech at the second Young Professionals and Women in Science competition, held during the 5th African Science Week and Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) General Assembly in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

A little woman power goes a long way In 2002, a meeting at CTA’s headquarters explored how women in rural communities

“When we first set up the competitions in 2008, our aim was to promote the work of women and young professionals in science and to reward excellence,” explains Judith Francis, CTA’s senior programme coordinator, science and technology. “We hope this will encourage more women and young people to pursue scientific careers.”

could gain better access to ICTs. The participants

The 2010 competition produced an outstanding set of entries. Following a call for abstracts, the 40 best entrants were asked to prepare papers to be published by FARA and CTA. “The papers go through a rigorous review process and the scientists are given advice on how to improve them,” explains J. Francis. In Ouagadougou, 17 young professionals and eight women defended their papers in front of a jury of African scientists.

Since then, GenARDIS has supported 34

The winner in the women’s section was Sarah Lubanga Mubira for her work on a decision-support tool for improved feeding of dairy cattle in Uganda. Sandrine Nguiakam of Cameroon won the young professionals’ competition for her paper on the impact of the fluctuation of international prices for raw materials on the GDP of Côte d’Ivoire. They both received a laptop, cash prizes, a trophy and CTA publications. There were also prizes for the four runners-up in each category.

amounts of seed money,” says Oumy Ndiaye,

drafted a plan that led to the creation of a smallgrants scheme, GenARDIS (Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development in the Information Society).

organisations in 21 countries. The results are described in ‘GenARDIS 2002–2010: Small Grants That Make Big Changes to Women in Agriculture’. “GenARDIS has shown that it���s possible to create initiatives of real value with relatively small manager of CTA’s communication services department. She reels off examples from a workshop held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in March 2010, attended by grantees from the third round of GenARDIS. One of these is about women in rural Benin. Following training in the use of video, television and mobile phones, they

“Winning the prize the year before helped to raise my profile as a scientist, both within my university and beyond,” says Prof. Abukutsa. “It also helped me to win another prize awarded by the African Union, and I think it has encouraged other women.” She used some of her cash prize to produce leaflets about her research on indigenous vegetables for local farmers.

learned new fish conservation techniques and improved their access to markets. “We are currently considering several options to keep the activities supported by GenARDIS going,” says O. Ndiaye. “These could include training for the grantees of the first three rounds of GenARDIS and support for the dissemination of their achievements, using community radio or other appropriate communication channels.”

© Mwanzo Millinga / IFAD

“The competitions have helped raise awareness among scientists that science has more value if it is shared and used, not just with fellow scientists but with policy-makers, advisory service providers and farmers,” says Myra WopereisPura, a director at FARA. “Through the competition, women and young professionals were given the opportunity to be more open and part of a wider community.”

1 FARA, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building and Agriculture (RUFORUM), the African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Planning and Coordinating Agency.

Mobile telephony leads to new possibilities for women.

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© Guy Stubbs / Africa Media Online

Promoting environmental consciousness

Better water management is needed to increase agricultural productivity in a sustainable way.

Tackling the water crisis “If we’re going to double crop yields, we need to manage our water much better than we do now.”

CTA’s Annual Seminar, on ‘Integrated Water Management and Sustainable Agriculture’, concluded that greater investment should go to small-scale schemes that benefit poor farmers. There should also be a strong focus on improving rain-fed systems in sub-Saharan Africa.

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any farmers in ACP countries lack access to reliable water supplies and the skills and technologies needed to efficiently manage the water they have. Combined with the threats posed by climate change, with some areas becoming drier and others wetter, the future looks bleak. “Something has to change,” said David Molden, deputy director general for research at the International Water Management Institute, in the seminar’s keynote speech. “If we’re going to double crop yields, we need to manage our water much better than we do now.” The 4-day seminar was held in November in Johannesburg, South Africa, during a meeting devoted to exploring innovations for sustainable futures in

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agriculture. The seminar was co-organised by CTA and the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency and attracted 150 participants. The seminar had three main aims. “We wanted to establish the current state of knowledge about water scarcity and the measures being taken to improve the management of water for agriculture in ACP countries,” explains André Vugayabagabo, CTA’s senior programme coordinator, promotion of information exchange. “We also wanted to establish where this knowledge is held and how it can be shared, and examine the technical and policy gaps we need to address to improve water management.”

Contributing to food standards and certification in Sierra Leone Since Sierra Leone’s civil war ended in 2002, the country has made significant efforts to increase agricultural production. Agricultural research and development now account for 10% of the national budget. The government is keen to increase exports

Four working groups explored different topics: adaptation strategies for vulnerable rural communities suffering from water scarcity; water storage for climate change adaptation; water governance and water sector reform; and the equitable distribution of water rights and access. Despite the considerable challenges, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic. For example, it is now widely recognised that better water management must underpin future increases in agricultural production and therefore deserves serious investment. At present, much of the investment in water storage goes to big schemes; the seminar concluded that more should go to small-scale schemes which benefit poor rural people. One of the seminar’s key messages was that the highest potential in sub-Saharan Africa lies in rain-fed systems. Rainwater harvesting can be combined with various methods of preserving soil moisture to improve agricultural productivity. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned that crop yields in sub-Saharan Africa could decline by 50% as a result of climate change. However, D. Molden argued that yields could double with better water management. “The seminar provided a tremendous platform for showing what we are doing,” said Clement Ouedraogo, coordinator of the water management programme of the Comité permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel (CILSS). “I have also been able to gain insights into other people’s perceptions about the issues of water management.”

of agricultural goods and views the European Union (EU) as a potential market. But there is a problem: strict regulations governing food safety and animal and plant health – sanitary and phytosanitary measures – represent a major barrier to export for Sierra Leone and other ACP countries. In 2009, Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security (MAFFS) contacted Vincent Fautrel, CTA’s trade programme coordinator. “The Ministry asked us to support training that would help government officials and the private sector gain a better understanding of non-tariff barriers, and the sort of measures that need to be put in place to export food to the EU,” he says. The 2-week training sessions, held in Freetown and Kenema (both in Sierra Leone) in October 2009 in collaboration with the University of Wageningen, focused on EU food laws and public standards. These proved such a success that MAFFS requested a second round of training on private standards. Cofunded by CTA and the EU TradeCom Facility, training sessions were held in Freetown and Kenema in April 2010. Attended by 44 people from the public and

For more information on the seminar visit: http://annualseminar2010.cta.int

private sectors, the focus was on the GLOBALGAP standards established by EU retailers, and on organic standards and fair-trade certification schemes. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Four-fifths of the trainees described the trainers’ performance and the methodology as “excellent”. Trainees were asked to rate their own understanding of private

© CTA

standards and the way they worked, before and after

Mr. Maimbo Malesu (ICRAF) making a presentation at the CTA annual seminar.

the trainings, on a scale of zero to ten; 90% scored themselves at seven or over after the training, way above their pre-training evaluations.

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© CTA

Giving a voice to rural communities

Working together to build the 3-D model.

Modelling a better future “We are happy because we have demonstrated our knowledge, and shown that we are human beings, that we are not animals.”

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CTA and its partners encouraged Babongo and Mitsogho peoples in Gabon to record their knowledge on locally made 3-D models. Much empowered as a result, they are now set to play a greater role in managing the natural resources in their territory.

We are happy that we came here,” said Dominique Monanga, a Babongo man at a ceremony, during which he and a group of his people presented a 3-D model of their territory to local government officials in Ngounié Province, Gabon. “We are happy because we have demonstrated our knowledge, and shown that we are human beings, that we are not animals.” The Babongo and the Mitsogho – two groups often referred to as ‘pygmies’ – have long been treated as second-class citizens by their Bantu neighbours, and their needs and aspirations have been largely ignored by the local authorities. For example, when the Waka National Park was created in 2002, the Babongo and Mitsogho who lived in and around the area were hardly consulted.


“The creation of the national park had a significant impact on their lives,” explains Giacomo Rambaldi, CTA’s senior programme coordinator, ICT and innovation. “They were forced to abandon some of their hunting grounds and they can no longer harvest wild fruits like African plum within the park. Nor can they hunt freely, as they did in the past.”

Providing answers to farmers Millions of farmers in the developing world have little or no access to the ICTs that could help them improve productivity and increase their

However, all this could change thanks to a project that enables the Babongo and Mitsogho to record and share their knowledge. The Rainforest Foundation UK, CTA, the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC) and several other organisations have supported a series of initiatives, one of which involves participatory 3-D modelling. This is part of a region-wide effort to involve local communities in the sustainable management of natural resources in the Congo Basin.

incomes. “These farmers are living in areas which

The early stages of the project involved the construction of a blank model representing an area of 625 km² at a 1:10,000 scale. Members of the Babongo and Mitsogho communities then ‘populated’ the model with information on land cover and resource use, including watercourses, hunting and fishing grounds, villages, trails and culturally important sites.

which entitles farmers to receive an answer to

tend to be poorly served by rural information services,” says Vivienne Oguya, CTA’s programme coordinator, decentralised information. “That’s one of the reasons why we set up the Questionand-Answer Service in 1985.” One recent innovation is a voucher system questions of their choice. In Uganda, field agents solicit questions from farmers and transmit these to rural information brokers, who post the questions on a dedicated website and alert the Rural Empowerment Network (REN). REN

“It was amazing how quickly the process helped to change their perceptions about both themselves and their landscape,” says G. Rambaldi. “Processes such as this help indigenous people to manage their knowledge more effectively. By recording what they know, they become empowered, as they learn that the knowledge they possess is useful not only to themselves, but to outsiders as well.”

manages the online database of questions and answers and collaborates with extension agents and researchers at the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO). The project aims to get answers back to farmers within a week. Only when they are satisfied

This was immediately apparent when the community presented the findings at the closing ceremony, attended by local government staff, the chief of police, the headmaster of the local school and the mayor. “Many of them were astonished by what the local people had done, and by the depth of their knowledge,” recalls G. Rambaldi. The mayor called for a process that would lead to the more active participation of local people in the management of Waka National Park. The very existence of the 3-D models puts the Babongo and Mitsogho in a much better position to negotiate management rights and access to resources within the park and its buffer zones.

are payments made – this is where the virtual vouchers come in – to those involved in soliciting, processing and answering the questions. By late 2010, over 550 questions had been answered in Uganda. The most frequently asked questions and answers were used to compile a series of 15-minute radio programmes, listened to by approximately 700,000 people. For more information visit: www.isicad.org/cta

© Rindra Ramasomanana / IFAD

G. Rambaldi and his colleagues have sought to add value to local knowledge, which becomes much more powerful when it is visible, linked to a specific location and shared. A 25-minute film, Localisation, Participation and Communication: an Introduction to Good PGIS Practice, highlights the potential and the risks of making spatial knowledge public.2 A second film which looks at how participatory map-making has changed the status and given a voice to the pygmies’ communities in Gabon was launched in 2011.3

Using radio to disseminate knowledge. 2 English: http://vimeo.com/channels/pgis#16278246; French: http://vimeo.com/channels/pgis#17290509 3 http://vimeo.com/20981075

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Connecting farmers

Devices and desires the mobile revolution

Mobile phones have become a major catalyst for social inclusion.

A communications revolution is sweeping through the developing world. Increasing numbers of farmers are using mobile phones to gather information and share knowledge. CTA’s 2010 Observatory explored the implications for policymakers and stimulated new partnerships.

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TA’s 2010 Observatory meeting on ICTs, held during the Annual Seminar in Johannesburg, South Africa, was part of a process that stretches back several years. “Following the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2005, there were high expectations of the ‘one laptop per child’ (OLPC) initiative” recalls Kevin Painting, CTA’s senior programme coordinator ICT. “What we didn’t see were mobile phones coming up in the fast lane. Mobiles, rather than cheap laptops, have become the great communications success story, and a major catalyst for social inclusion.”

A woman takes a photograph on her new mobile phone.

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© Mwanzo Millinga / IFAD

Following the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2005, there were high expectations of the ‘one laptop per child’ (OLPC) initiative.


Better broadband connectivity and lower prices have led to a communications revolution. Five years ago, just 53% of mobile subscriptions were in the developing world; this figure is now 73%. During this period, the number of handsets in Africa has increased fivefold. The growth of mobile telephony means there is huge scope for a wide range of mobile applications, or ‘m-apps’. These were the focus of the 2010 Observatory. During the 3-day meeting, 25 experts explored the current use of m-apps and their potential for agricultural and rural development. Some are already having a significant impact.

Giving youth a voice through ICTs “In developing countries, the loss of young people from the agricultural sector is a major problem,” says Ken Lohento, CTA’s programme coordinator, ICT4Dev, and leader of the Agriculture, Rural Development and Youth in the Information Society (ARDYIS) project. “We believe that ICTs can play a significant role in tackling rural unemployment, stemming the rural exodus and

• EpiSurveyor is being used in Kenya to collect information about diseases and health issues. • Google Trader is matching buyers and sellers of agricultural produce in Uganda. • The Livestock Information Network and Knowledge System (LINKS) provides market data for farmers in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania.

boosting agricultural production.” The ARDYIS project, launched in 2010, seeks to raise young people’s awareness about the challenges facing agriculture and the potential use of ICTs. The first activity was an essaywriting contest with the subject ‘Youth finding

M-apps such as these are destined to play an increasingly important role in the coming years. The participants at the Observatory came up with several recommendations for policy-makers, such as the need to support national and regional ‘watchtowers’ to undertake research, raise awareness and recommend standards and guidelines. But K. Painting stresses that there can be no ‘onesize-fits-all’ approaches; policies must suit local needs. “Context, rather than content, is king when it comes to the design and use of mobile applications,” he says.

solutions to challenges in agricultural and rural development using ICTs’. The authors of the 12 best essays were invited to give an oral presentation at CTA’s Annual Seminar in Johannesburg. One winner was chosen for each of the six ACP regions. Tyrone Christopher Hall, a Jamaican student, was the overall winner for his essay on the role ICTs could play in reducing

What excited him most at the meeting was the eagerness of participants to collaborate on future projects. For example, the ICT Observatory in Johannesburg and an earlier CTA Briefing in Malawi stimulated discussions between Connect Africa, the Agricultural Commodities Exchange in Malawi and NEPAD. These led to a proposal to introduce ICT infrastructure as part of a bigger bulk storage facility proposal for Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.

praedial larceny – crop and livestock theft – in his home country. The winners received a trophy, cash prizes and CTA publications. In 2011, the 30 best entrants from the essay contest will have the opportunity to attend a meeting on ‘ICTs for agriculture and rural development’ in Accra, Ghana.

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“ICTs are a key contributor in today’s agricultural value chain, and had it not been for CTA’s Malawi Briefing and the ICT Observatory in Johannesburg we wouldn’t have been able to participate in this showcase project,” says Dion Jerling, Connect Africa’s special projects director. “Enabling smallholder farmers to participate in the commercial agriculture market will be a giant leap forward in addressing the global challenges of food security.”

Winners of the ARDYIS Essay Contest.

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About CTA The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) was established in 1983 under the Lomé Convention between the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) Group of States and the European Union Member States. Since 2000, it has operated within the framework of the ACP–EU Cotonou Agreement. CTA’s tasks are to develop and provide products and services that improve access to information for agricultural and rural development, and to strengthen the capacity of ACP countries to acquire, process, produce and disseminate information in this area. CTA is financed by the European Union. CTA Postbus 380 6700 AJ Wageningen The Netherlands www.cta.int

Read the full 2010 Annual Report at http://annualreport.cta.int

Editing, design and layout: Green Ink (www.greenink.co.uk) Printing: Information Press Ltd, UK Cover photograph: Schoolchildren learn to grow vegetables at the Community Innovation Centre in Kigoma village, Rwanda. © Susan Beccio / IFAD © CTA 2011


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