Category Archives: Agriculture News

#GCARD3: Global Event to be held in South Africa

The GFAR Secretariat is pleased to announce that the Global Event for the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research and Development (GCARD3) will be hosted by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) of South Africa, in Ekurhuleni near Johannesburg, from 5 to 8 April 2016.

Enthusiastic about the opportunity, the South African Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Honourable Mr. Senzeni Zokwana remarked that, “it is a fitting tribute to the ARC’s global stature to be awarded the right to host the GCARD3 Global Event. This event is expected to be an inclusive, participatory process and will be an opportunity to shape the future of global agricultural research.”

The Global Event, organized by GFAR and the CGIAR, will follow directly on a series of national and regional consultations carried out through 2015-2016, and will be the third such global conference bringing together hundreds of representatives from across all agriculture sectors with a stake in the future of agri-food research and innovation.

This third GCARD Conference comes at a pivotal time for global agenda-setting on development action, as the Sustainable Development Goals demand a concerted effort to eradicate poverty and hunger by 2030–challenges that can be best met by ensuring sustainable food systems and by increasing investment in agriculture. The Conference will provide a forum for those involved in the GCARD process to further engage and make commitments on working together to make agri-food research and innovation systems stronger, more effective, and more sustainable.

Read the official media release on the GCARD3 Global Event.


Raising Your Career Potentials- EduMala Mentoring Program

EduMala Mentoring ProgramHow do you feel when someone gives you a ride when you are walking on a lonely road?

You answer might be “it’s awesome!!!” Like that, EduMala is what YPARD Nepal has been developing to help you!

EduMala Mentoring Program, which is specially targeted to the undergraduate/ graduate level students from Nepal, who have no or less idea about online/offline platform and its benefits, but they are really interested to be a part of it. They have academic knowledge, but might be lacking of soft skills, including coordination, negotiation, management, and/or interpersonal communications etc.

Through this program, we are trying to provide those kind of skills using interactive videos, presentations, online forums to achieve our mentees expectations. Currently, we are offering 5 courses with 5 mentors for 5 weeks. Every day mentor will spend at least 30 minutes with mentees during his/her session. Mentors and their course title are given below:

Dinesh Panday- Written communications skills, youth opportunities and networks in agriculture and social media

Lok Raj Joshi- Scientific writing, tips on scientific article publishing, Proposal writing

Santosh Adhikari- Government youth promoting policies and facilities with focal person information and successful stories of young entrepreneurs

Abhishek Khadka- Food entrepreneur and food quality control

Ishwora Dhungana- Social event management and coordination with local and national agencies

We received 114 applications to join this program as mentee and finally, we divided this number in to 3 groups; first group with 34, and rest two groups with 40/40. The first session will be starting from 3rd January 2016. We are also trying to make our sessions more participatory and supportive by developing problem solving skills.

Video- EduMala Mentoring Program


The latest report from the IPCC: what does it mean for young people?


On 31 March, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched the report from Working Group II (focusing on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability), the second part of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) on climate change.

What is this report all about?

This report is the second in the latest series published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The first report from Working Group I, published in September 2013 focused on the climate science (read all about that report and what it means for young people here), and this report from Working Group II (WG2)

“… evaluates how patterns of risks and potential benefits are shifting due to climate change. It considers how impacts and risks related to climate change can be reduced and managed through adaptation and mitigation. The report assesses needs, options, opportunities, contraints, resilience, limits, and other aspects associated with adaptation.”

—————-– IPCC Summary for Policy Makers

The report, based on more than 12,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers (double the number that the 2007 report was based on) emphasises that we don’t have a choice between adaptation or mitigation, the world has to do both, because current projections will create scenarios and impacts we are unable to adapt to.



What does it mean for young people?

It was never going to be good news for young people, and with warnings of food and water shortages, ocean acidification and rising sea levels, impacts on human health, increasingconflict and a huge cost to the global economy, the WG2 report predicts a grim future if we do nothing to curb climate change. But it’s not just about the future. The report highlights that the impacts of climate change are already being felt right across the world, and that vulnerable communities, and particularly women, children and the elderly within those communities bear the brunt of these impacts. WG2 also points to the inadequacy of the funding for adaptation projects, and points to the potential burden of climate change on the global economy in the future.

What does it mean for policy?

Realistically, just like the report from Working Group I, this report probably means little in terms of changes to policy. As I said then

Negotiations in forums such as the UNFCCC aren’t around whether climate change is happening or if humans are responsible, they’re about who is going to do what about it, by when, and who will pay.

At the national level, some governments may be spurred on to speed up the implementation of adaptation and preparedness measures given the faster than predicted rate of climate change. But for the most part, governments have already heard the warnings, and have made their decisions about whether or not to react and if so, to what extent.

—————– Read the full article on the Working Group I report here.

This still holds true; despite the stark predictions and renewed warnings, this report is unlikely to have a significant impact on policy. But, as with September’s report, the findings of Working Group II are still a call to action to governments, business and civil society to get serious about tackling the causes and impacts of climate change.

More reading and resources.

REPORT: Read the full report from the IPCC’s Working Group II on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. [Link]

SUMMARY: The IPCC’s own Summary for Policy Makers is a useful and accessible summary of the full-length report. [Link]

INFOGRAPHICS: A series of infographics on women and children, food, health, ecosystems and extreme from the UN Foundation and Climasphere. [Link]. [Click on the image to view].

BRIEFING: IPCC AR5 Working Group 2: A Regional Breakdown. By GCCA & CAN. [Link]

ARTICLE: More global warming will be worse for the economy, says the Copenhagen Consensus Center. Guardian. [Link]

RESOURCE PAGE: What does the latest IPCC report mean for human health? By the Global Climate & Health Alliance. [Link]

ARTICLE: Climate Change is World’s ‘Gravest Security Threat’. RTCC. [Link]

PODCAST: Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change at the Tyndall Centre at the University of Manchester sets the scene for the report release, giving an overview of the IPCC and what the AR5 says for Friends of the Earth. [Link]

ARTICLE: “What is the IPCC and why does it matter?” by Tierney Smith of TckTckTck. [Link]

FACTSHEETS: from the IPCC itself, covering topics including:

  • “How does the IPCC select its authors?”
  • “How does the IPCC review process work?”
  • “How does the IPCC deal with alleged errors?”


INFOGRAPHIC: “25 years of the IPCC” by Nature [Link] [Click on the image to view].




YPARD changes its Logo!

Rolling out YPARD new logo

2014 is the launch of YPARD’s 2014-2018 vision, set to strengthen YPARD’s ability to foster youth’s role for a sustainable agricultural development.

We kicked off the year with a key strategic planning meeting which marks a turn for YPARD. A series of changes were made to reflect the dynamism and wide-scale performance of YPARD. YPARD’s full name, its vision and mission, have been revisited in order to better encompass our focus on Youth’s key role for Agricultural Development ( – beyond research ). Learn more on the report of the Strategic Planning meeting.

Also, a 2013 External Review emphasized the great progress made by YPARD since 2009, date of the last ER. For instance, YPARD membership showed a 400% increase and our community gained more recognition among global agricultural development’s stakeholders.

YPARD new brand Logo reflects the significant growth of YPARD, and its key 2014strategic shifts and planning.

By bringing a new fresh and revitalized look to the logo, we emphasize the innovative character of youth’s activities. YPARD stands more than ever as a dynamic community, symbolized by the 3D-effect open circle of the Logo which brings together nature and people. This new representation is also a way to better place YPARD among agricultural development stakeholders.

A new Logo is the symbol of the organisational changes bringing new directions for YPARD activities. This includes focusing on more thematic and in-depth content, mentoring perspectives for young people and strengthening the YPARD team.

This visual representation unveils who we are and what we do. It is also a way topromote agriculture among the youth by giving a modern image of our community of young professionals in agriculture.

Aesthetic is very subjective and Change is often something hard to get through – even for the best. We hope that most of you will enjoy this “wind of change”!

To the graphic design lovers: have you ever noticed the astonishing Apple’s logo evolution?Have a look at it!


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What are Climate-Smart Villages?

by Cecilia Schubert and Dharini Parthasarathy

Climate-Smart Villages are taking shape in Bihar, India, helping farmers adapt and build resilience to climate change. In the photo: Babul Rai of Mukundpur village, participant in the project. Photo : V.Reddy (ViDocs).It is not unusual for farmers to give up on agriculture when repeatedly having to deal with erratic and extreme weather events. For Horil Singh, a farmer from Rajapakar in India, changes in the summer temperatures and delayed rainfall severely affected his crop planning.

“We have seen the weather change to a great extent” he said in a sit-down interview, “now low or delayed rainfall have become the norm.”

The question is, how can a farmer plan for the unexpected? And where does he turn when the rains have failed him yet again?

At the moment, our South Asia Regional Program is working hard to implement and scale-up something called the ‘Climate-Smart Village’ model project. The project has reached the furthest in the area of Bihar in India, where a number of videos have been shot, showcasing the activities.

“These villages will serve as benchmark villages,“ said Devender Singh from Rajapakar in the making of the videos. ”In the changing climate, farmers will be shown how to continue farming with new technologies.”


The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) envisions these Climate-Smart projects to not only be long-term, but also as participatory as possible. Farmers, especially women, are encouraged to weigh in on the activities and take the lead in prioritizing what activities should be implemented in their villages. This is to make sure the climate-smart farming practices learned are kept alive long after the project has been phased out.

Learn more: Climate-Smart Villages

The project aims to raise awareness among farmers about how they can continue farming, and increase their crop yields and income, despite climatic changes. Some interventions also have low emissions co-benefits, making sure that the activities have a ‘climate-smart’ edge to them.

One successful activity that has been rolled out is the index-based insurance scheme. Several farmers have aleady received payments for failed crops that they have been able to invest in new seeds and tools.

Read their story: Farmers reap the benefits from climate insurance scheme

The scheme relies on little financial investment but is a good example of collaboration, linking research with practice.

Working with partners: Climate smart villages in India show early signs of great reform achievements

On 15 July, we will be convening a side event at the Africa Agriculture Science Week, in Ghana, on the Climate-Smart Village model: Climate-Smart Villages in Africa – Opportunities for farmers and communities. If you are at AASW join us!


Cecilia Schubert is a Communications Assistant at CCAFS Coordinating Unit. Dharini Parthasarathy is a Communications Specialist for CCAFS South AsiaFollow us on Twitter for the latest climate change and agriculture stories: @Cgiarclimate


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Bio-fertilizers: the Innovative Tool for Agriculture

A recent study reveals bio-fertilizers effects on soil fertility and crop yield.

Which are the tools to face the increasing food demand?

Is the chemical fertilizers use the only possible solution to enhance crop yield?

Which are the mineral fertilization effects on soil in the long run?

The overuse of these products is already causing soil impoverishment. According to a study published on International Journal of Microbiology Research (Biofertilizers: A novel tool for agriculture – Volume 1, Issue 2, 2009, pp-23-31), to overcome this problem it is extremely important to use bio-fertilizersfor two main reasons: on the first hand, they restore soil fertility by providing soil with soil organic matter and living micro-organisms; on the second hand, they increase mineral fertilizers efficiency because they enhance nutrients availability for plants (for example, by fixing atmosphere Nitrogen or dissolving Potassium present in soil).

In this way, bio-fertilizers improve plant health and, then, they increase crop yield.

They represent a benefit for any kind of soil.

A clay soil, for example, has tiny and tightly particles which hamper the flow of water, nutrients and oxygen. Bio-fertilizers reconfigure the clay into a larger, more loosely packed particles. The larger spaces between the particles improve the flow of water, oxygen and nutrients to roots.

Moreover, roots are able to penetrate deeper into soil, reaching more nutrients.

Bio-fertilizersalso improve crop yield and soil fertility in sandy soil, where the large spaces between particles enable water and its dissolved nutrients to draw too quickly for optimal root absorption. They soak up and hold these substances so that roots have more time to absorb them.

Furthermore, besides improving soil features and supplying soil organic matter, they also supply soil with Zinc, Copper, Boron and other vital nutrients.

To sum up, bio-fertilizers can be considered the innovative tool for agriculture: the meeting point between a sustainable soil management and the continuous increase of food demand.

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No excuses, no regrets: we can adapt agriculture to climate change now

Farmers and countries will need to make big transitions as climate change. Science can help them make decisions. Photo: K. Trautmann

Farmers and countries will need to make big transitions as climate change. Science can help them make decisions. Photo: K. Trautmann

by Vanessa Meadu

Imagine you’re working for your country’s government and you’ve been given the formidable task of developing a strategy to help the agriculture sector adapt to climate change. Working out how climate models will play out on the ground for farmers, and conceiving options for farmers to adapt is sophisticated stuff, and the challenge is only compounded when the best information remains somewhat uncertain.

You might easily be discouraged, when faced with data and projections that are not sufficiently specific, only applicable for certain crops, or simply missing altogether. Often this uncertainty becomes a political weapon, wielded as an excuse for inaction. But a new analysis published in the journal PNAS debunks such excuses by showing how scientists and governments can cut through uncertainty and make the most of existing knowledge, however conflicting or weak. In fact some countries have done exactly that, and “embraced “no-regrets” adaptation: actions that will benefit farmers and society regardless of specifically how and when climate change plays out on the ground.”

The paper Addressing uncertainty in adaptation planning for agriculture is co-authored by researchers from the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), the International Livestock Research Institute, and leading universities (OxfordLeedsReading). The researchers point to examples around the world where governments have taken crucial first steps to safeguard food and farming, even when information was weak.

In Nicaragua, scientists have managed to predict a “narrow niche” where Arabica coffee production will still be viable as temperatures rise, which allows farmers to prepare to relocate to cooler areas, or else switch to similarly profitable crops.

In Sri Lanka, faced with conflicting projections about future rainfall, the government focused on regions that have historically been more vulnerable to water problems. Their approach was to invest in tried and tested methods for farmers to collect and use rainwater, which would benefit farmers in the short and long term.

But the crucial ingredient is political will:

“Getting farmers, communities, governments, donors and other stakeholders to embrace various adaptation strategies can end up being equally or more important than seeking higher levels of scientific certainty from a climate model,” said Andy Challinor, a professor at the Institute for Climate and Atmosphere Science, School of Earth and Environment at the University of Leeds, who co-leads research on climate adaptation at CCAFS and was also an author of the study.

Luckily, the science is improving by leaps and bounds:

“Science is now reaching a point where it will be able to provide advice on when—not just whether—major climatic shifts relevant to agriculture will happen,” said Sonja Vermeulen, head of research at CCAFS and the lead author of the study. “Helping governments and farmers plan ahead will make all the difference in avoiding the food insecurity and suffering that climate change threatens.”

Read more

Addressing uncertainty in adaptation planning for agriculture by Sonja J. Vermeulen, Andrew J. Challinor, Philip K. Thornton, Bruce M. Campbell, Nishadi Eriyagama, Joost M. Vervoort, James Kinyangi, Andy Jarvis, Peter Läderach, Julian Ramirez-Villegas, Kathryn J. Nicklin, Ed Hawkins, and Daniel R. Smith. 2013. PNAS vol. 110 no. 21. doi:10.1073/pnas.1219441110.


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Facts & Figures: Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific

Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific

Asia and the Pacific has been the world’s largest resource user since the mid-1990s and if current trends continue, its CO2 emissions are likely to more than triple by 2050, putting an unbearable strain on the earth’s ecosystems.
Energy: According to IEA projections, global energy demand is set to increase by one-third from 2010 to 2035, with the People’s Republic of China, India, and other developing Asian countries accounting for over 60% of the global total. Without greater use of renewable energy and improved energy efficiency, developing Asia’s share in global energy-related CO2 emissions could increase from the current 35% to about 45% by 2030.
Transport: Emissions from transport are the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions, with the vast majority of projected increases expected to come from developing Asia. By 2030, Asia will account for 31% of total worldwide transport-sector related CO2 emissions. Private vehicle ownership is doubling every 5 years in many Asian countries, with growth in urban areas often doubling every 2 to 3 years.
Land Use Change and Forests: Around 17% of total annual global greenhouse gas emissions come from land use change and forests, with about one-third from Asia and the Pacific. In Indonesia and some South East Asian countries, the land use and forest sector is responsible for up to 75% of greenhouse gas emissions.
Vulnerability: According to UNU, 7 of the world’s 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change and disasters caused by natural hazards are in Asia and the Pacific. Vanuatu tops this list, followed by Tonga (2nd), Philippines (3rd), Solomon Islands (4th), Bangladesh (6th), Timor-Leste (7th) and Cambodia (9th). More than 60% of the region’s population works in agriculture, fisheries, and forestry—the sectors most at risk from climate change. Climate change will cut agricultural crop yields and hike food prices – every 10% rise will push another 64 million Asians into poverty.
Disasters: Natural disasters affected an annual average of more than 200 million people in the Asia and Pacific region between 2001 and 2010 (90% of world total), with more than 70,000 fatalities (65% of world total). Extreme weather events displaced more than 42 million people in the Asia and the Pacific during 2010 and 2011.
Sea level rise: ADB estimates that Asian urban dwellers at risk of coastal flooding will increase from more than 300 million to 410 million by 2025. In inland areas, the number of people at risk will rise from 245 million to 341 million by 2025. Twenty million Bangladeshis would be displaced by a 1 meter rise in sea level by 2050.
The annual economic cost of disasters averages $53.8 billion in Asia and the Pacific. Yet less than 5% of disaster losses in developing Asia are insured, compared to 40% in developed countries.
Investing in disaster risk reduction pays – it has been estimated that the economic impact of disaster will be reduced by $7 for every $1 spent.
An estimated $600 billion to 1.5 trillion dollars will be needed annually to help developing countries transition to low-carbon and climate-resilient economies, with $40 billion annually needed for adaptation in Asia and the Pacific alone.
ADB invested about $7 billion in clean energy-related projects since 2008, with $2.1 billion in 2011 alone. Since 1987, ADB has carried out disaster-related projects worth more than $12 billion and its aggregate urban lending is more than $11 billion.
Through mechanisms such as the Climate Investment Funds, multilateral development banks have mobilized $6.5 billion for climate action in developing countries, with $2.5 billion earmarked for Asia and the Pacific. The Green Climate Fund, currently under development, aims to mobilize an additional $100 billion per year for climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries.
The People’s Republic of China leads the world in renewable energy investment, accounting for half of all global output of solar modules and wind turbines.
Among other measures, Asian governments should consider creating a regional carbon market, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, and establishing a free-trade zone within Asia for high-impact, low-carbon technologies and services.

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AgriVision 2013: Time to resourcify

The seventh AgriVision animal nutrition conference will take place from Tuesday 18th to Thursday 20th June in Noordwijk aan Zee in the Netherlands. The conference will examine the options for feeding nine billion people in 2050; through improved productivity, new technologies and, most importantly, by addressing the ever-increasing demand for resources. It is encapsulated in the theme ‘Time to Resourcify’.

AgriVision 2013 will focus on challenges and opportunities both in and for Africa.
In a broader, global context, the contribution of science and technology in crop and animal protein production to solving the resource challenge will also be explored.

AgriVision offers key players in the animal nutrition business and various other stakeholders such as scientists, governments and NGOs, a unique opportunity to network and become inspired. In 2011, close to 400 delegates from almost 40 different countries mingled and made new connections. This conference is a platform for intellectual stimulation that provides input for strategy development.


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News: Bactocell gets EU approval for pigs and poultry

Lallemand Animal Nutrition has received European Commission authorisation for its lactic acid bacteria Pediococcus acidilactici MA 18/5M to be use in drinking water for weaned piglets, pigs for fattening, laying hens and chickens for fattening.

The water soluble formulation of this key probiotic is now available under the trade name Bactocell Drink.  This innovative formulation is the result of research and development in probiotic formulation aimed at addressing specific situations in addition to the probiotic’s incorporation in feed. It offers generally flexibility and rapidity in farmers and technicians intervention, thus allowing to extend the use of this safe and effective zootechnical feed additive.

It can be incorporated directly into water lines at farm level at the precise dosage and required time of intervention such as during certain changes, for example after  vaccination etc. A recent trial conducted in Egypt (Prof. Awaad, University of Cairo, 2012, unpublished) after a pathogen challenge episode in laying hens indicates that Bactocell Drink could help reinforce animals’ natural defences.

In the case of very young animals, for which solid feed intake can be very low and irregular, its addition in the water ensures that they receive an adequate dose of probiotic from the very first days to support the stabilisation of their gut microflora.

Finally, its use in drinking water can also help overcome some technological issues of probiotic incorporation into pelleted feed (broiler feed for example).

Bactocell is also already authorised for use in complete feed for weaned piglets, pigs for fattening, chickens for fattening, laying hens, shrimps and fish. It is a homo-fermentative bacteria. These types of bacteria convert complex nutrients into lactic acid L+, which aids better digestion.
EU Authorisation
For more information see


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