Western Africa

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Western Africa
 

Articles

Impact Stories

Marthe Montcho: Blogging for social change

Marthe Montcho started her blog, L’Agriculture au féminin or Women in Farming, in October 2013. Despite initially knowing very little about blogging, she quickly became a success as the blog grew in popularity. Montcho’s desire to fill what she saw as an information gap and empower female farmers, particularly in her home country of Benin, led to her winning the Youth in Agriculture Blog Competition (YoBloCo), organised by CTA in 2014.

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Better seed to fight climate change in West Africa

Farmers need all the support they can get to fight the adverse impacts of climate change and extreme weather conditions that are becoming more frequent. Outputs of maize and groundnut – two key crops for West African food security – could be greatly increased by better farmer access to improved seed, supported by good agricultural practices. Varieties developed by research institutes offer higher yields and stronger resistance to challenges related to climate change, such as drought.

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Rural finance key to agricultural development

Rural and agricultural finance are key drivers to developing agriculture in West Africa, to feed a growing population and curb rising food import bills. The International Conference on Improving Agricultural Finance, a two-day event held in Abuja, Nigeria, explored effective strategies for developing financial instruments and policies to boost agricultural production and value chains.

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Agri-Food Forum looks to the future

The 2015 Caribbean Pacific Agri-Food Forum, held in Barbados, focused on many of CTA’s priority interventions for the regions. There was a strong emphasis on impact. In Africa, CTA has been encouraging greater intra-regional trade, and we played a prominent role in two important conferences in Equatorial Guinea and Rwanda.

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Strengthening resilience, greening the desert

An African alliance to combat desertification is improving food security, through tree planting and farmer-managed natural regeneration. Across Africa, the threats of desertification and land degradation are always present, especially in the Sahel and the southern edge of the Sahara. Poverty and hunger are a constant prospect. In response, farmers and communities in dryland areas are developing ways to sustainably manage.

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Blog articles

New experience capitalisation publications: We’re half-way there

Three experience capitalisation booklets have just been launched and are now available – each one of them with 12 stories describing and analysing the work of different projects and organisations in East and West Africa.

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Ghana hosts a week of Open Data for Africa

Chipo Msengezi of CTA is at the Africa Open Data Conference this week. She will be running a training session and chairing the Capacity development panel. The 2017 Africa Open Data Conference in Accra, Ghana, is set to attract over 800 delegates drawn from all over Africa. The aim is to push the leadership role of the private sector in supplying, using, and demanding open data.

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AFDB approves $280m to support Nigerian youths in agriculture

The President of the African Development Bank (AFDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, says the $280 million approved by the bank would be used to encourage Nigerian youths to go into agro-business. Adesina, represented by Dr Chiji Ojukwu, a Director in AFDB, stated this on Tuesday in Ibadan at the African Youth Agripreneurs (AYA) Forum organised by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.

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News

Of financiers, farm-ternships and a failed catfish farmer

After losing 700 of 1,000 catfish fingerlings in her debut fish farming enterprise, Divine-Love Akam switched to working in agriculture, a sector many investors and banks think twice about supporting.

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CTA at the 2018 AYA forum

Under the theme “Technologies and Innovations for Youth in Agribusiness”, the 2018 African Youth Agripreneur Forum (AYAF) and AgriPitch Competition will be held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on 9–13 April 2018. The events, organised by the African Development (AfDB), the Government of Côte d’Ivoire and with CTA’s collaboration, are expected to attract over 400 participants from across the continent, including young agripreneurs, agribusiness leaders, investors and development partners.

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Bayseddo: a digital platform to boost agriculture in Senegal

In 2016, Mamadou Sall, working with Thierno Souleymane and other young Senegalese entrepreneurs, launched Bayseddo, a networking platform for farmers and investors in Senegal, aiming to optimise agriculture through digital technology. The start-up won the CTA’s Pitch Agrihack 2017 competition, and its first results are already beginning to show.

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Growing African agribusiness through peer learning

At the 2018 African Agribusiness Incubator Network (AAIN) Conference and Expo, held from 7–9 March in Dakar, Senegal, CTA held an interactive session on how the incubation of women and youth entrepreneurs in agribusiness could be supported through ICT knowledge sharing and peer learning. As one of the co-organisers, CTA also sponsored 30 participants, comprising women and youth agripreneurs, ICT entrepreneurs, and a knowledge management team.

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New opportunities for Pitch AgriHack 2017

Six youth start-ups, who were each awarded with investment, promotional support, capacity building and network opportunities after winning CTA's 2017 Pitch AgriHack! initiative are looking forward to the new opportunities that 2018, and continuing support from CTA and partners, will bring.

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Communiqués

New index to tackle food safety scourge and threat to African health and trade

Dakar, Senegal, October 2. The African Food Safety Index (AFSI) launched today will help to tackle the burden of foodborne diseases that a recent global assessment found to be comparable to that of malaria, HIV/AIDs or tuberculosis.

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Boosting West Africa's regional grain trade through stronger market institutions and enabling policies

The level of intra-regional trade of cereals such as maize, millet, sorghum and rice is lagging way below its potential in West Africa, despite opportunities from flourishing local production and strong demand from growing urban populations. A conference on How to structure the grain trade in West Africa: which market instruments and public policy measures? will examine some of the current constraints to increased intra-regional trade in the cereals sector.

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Opening Statement by Michael Hailu, Director of CTA

Opening statement delivered by Michael Hailu, Director of CTA, at the Blending4Ag conference, on Monday 7 November. The Blending4Ag conference is taking place in Brussels and is focusing on the strategic use of international and national development finance and philanthropic funds to mobilise private capital flows into agricultural value chains in developing countries.

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Opinion articles

Parminder Vir OBE: “Agriculture presents extraordinary opportunities for young African entrepreneurs”

After a distinguished 30-year career as an award winning film and television producer and private equity investor in the industry, Parminder Vir accepted Tony Elumelu’s invitation to join the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF). As CEO, among other projects, she has worked to launch the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme.

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Improving access to finance by farmers: what can central banks do?

The common feature of African farmers is that most of them practise small-scale subsistence farming. In the last few years, however, various interest groups started focusing on agriculture as one of the key drivers of rural development and the number of commercial farmers increased. Yet, most of them are still smallholders.

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Interviews

Online platform improves the livelihood of small farmers in Ghana

Michael Ocansey, a computer science specialist, and Francis Obirikorang, a chemical engineer, developed the online platform, AgroCenta, won CTA’s 2017 Pitch AgriHack initiative, which gives youth entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop their business services and accelerate the adoption of their services. In an interview with CTA, Ocansey talks about AgroCenta – which links small-scale farmers and farmer organisations in Ghana with a big online market to improve the prices they receive for their commodities.

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e-Agribusiness: A vital resource for Togo’s agriculture sector

Back in March 2015, Togolese entrepreneur Edeh Dona Etchri launched the e-Agribusiness platform to connect people and organisations across the country’s agriculture sector. It has proved a vital source of information for otherwise isolated farmers and is helping to grow the sector nationwide. The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) worked with the founder to help him expand and market his business. Today, there are around 6,000 farmers across Togo using the platform.

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in Spore

Agribusiness: An opportunity for Africa

Jean-Michel Severino, President of Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) impact fund, and former executive director of the French development agency, AFD, explains the emergence of a new category of agricultural players in Africa: agribusiness entrepreneurs, along with their successes and challenges.

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Reviews

CTA Handbook: An ICT Agripreneurship Guide

This Handbook provides a step-by-step roadmap designed to equip aspiring ICT entrepreneurs, with the information and knowledge they need to start an ICT-based business in the agricultural sector, outlining key opportunities and challenges that will be encountered along the way. Using real-life examples, it provides strategies and pathways for averting common mistakes faced by early-stage entrepreneurs.

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New directions for targeted outcomes

While reflecting on its 30-year history during its anniversary year in 2014, CTA was also busy making plans for the future. CTA's goal is to contribute to enhanced agricultural and rural development policies and inclusive value chains that promote food and nutrition security, prosperity and sustainable management of natural resources across Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP).

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Technical and scientific articles

Transforming satellite data for smallholders

ICT Update spoke to Remco Dost, senior project manager at eLEAF, about the company's work, what it does with the raw data it sources from satellites and what role it is playing in the Market-led, User-owned ICT4Ag-enabled Information Service (MUIIS).

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in ICTUpdate

Four building stones for a vibrant ICT environment

A vibrant enabling environment is vital for creativity, stimulus and optimism on which ICT4Ag initiatives can generate impact. Developers and innovators have to learn from cases, either successful or not, when it comes to the environments or contexts where they have been deployed. There are four areas on which an enabling environment depends.

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in Spore

A smart farming approach to agriculture

Precision agriculture promises better returns to investment and improved livelihoods for farmers around the world. One of the biggest changes in agriculture in our lifetimes, it is spreading to developing countries, where smart farming technologies, including data collected from satellites and drones, are set to fine tune the way farmers grow their crops.

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in Spore

Smart tools to streamline farm operations

By any standards, Joshua Ayinbora works an exceptionally long day. As well as doing a full-time job as an engineering geologist, this 30-year-old graduate from Ghana runs a small but flourishing pineapple agribusiness. With the help of ICTs, he is able to monitor his farm from a distance, ensuring his enterprise is always under control.

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in ICTUpdate

Gender and open data: Is there an app for that?

Wouldn’t it be handy if you could just switch on that app and see the agricultural (or any other) sector through a gender lens? And what if everyone else also working in the agricultural sector just magically started to use it? Would it make us do things differently, collect different data, push for the release and visualisation of other types of datasets, or would we make sure the data were more equally accessed and used?

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Background articles

Linking farmers to markets with just a click

A winner of CTA’s Pitch AgriHack competition, Farmart – an online farmers market – enables farmers to sell their produce for more money and reduce post-harvest losses.

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Aywajieune, developing online fish trading in Senegal

Aywajieune, winner of the Suguba Award for the best Senegalese start-up at Pitch AgriHack West Africa 2017, is the first platform in Senegal to connect fish sellers and buyers. Thanks to the CTA, the startup will receive support from Ernst & Young to help it develop plans for growth.

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Boosting legume farming in Ghana

Despite increasing demand for soybean in Ghana, farmers are not able to make the most of increasing opportunities in the value chain as a result of poor yields. In northern Ghana, the N2Africa is helping smallholder farmers boost their yields by inoculating their seeds with rhizobium strains to increase biological nitrogen fixation. These inoculants have already boosted the yields of 1,500 farmers by 1.2 t/ha.

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Projects