Tag Archives: CGIAR

Announcing key workshops to mainstream youth in agriculture and private sector engagement in future CGIAR work

youth-in-agricultureThe areas of youth in agriculture and private sector engagement were highlighted in CGIAR’s new Strategy and Results Framework (SRF) as topics that require further development and coordination.

However, the Consortium Board decided not to call for expressions of interest for Youth or Private sector platforms as part of the CRP 2nd call for Pre-Proposals, but instead to organize workshops to work out in more detail how best to approach ‘mobilizing youth in agriculture’ and ‘scaling up Public Private Partnerships’ in the new CRPII portfolio.

We are happy therefore to announce workshops on each of these topics will take place in September 2015, bringing together experts to identify the most effective way to achieve impact through youth in agriculture and private sector engagement in line with the SRF targets. They are being organized by CGIAR Centers experienced in these areas along with key partners, and supported by the Strategic Partnerships team of the Consortium Office.

For ‘youth in agriculture’ IITA has developed a number of interesting activities, including its Youth Agri-Preneur Program, so IITA in partnership with the African Development Bank and the CGIAR Consortium will lead this activity, which will have a first meeting 8-9th September 2015 in Montpellier and a planned follow-up meeting in April 2016 at the African Development Bank. See more details below.

For ‘private sector’ the Netherlands Ministries of Foreign and Economic Affairs kindly offered to convene a meeting on 21st September 2015 in the Hague. The World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), which has a wide variety of private sector initiatives, will co-organize the meeting with the Netherlands and the Consortium. See the more details below.

Why a focus on youth and private sector engagement?

The rising demand for food (including more nutritious and varied foods), feed, fiber and fuel by a growing and more prosperous global population brings the opportunity to undertake research to support the optimal configuration of agribusiness value chains that deliver greater value and opportunities for young people.

There is also the critical importance of forging dynamic partnerships at each stage of the R&D or policymaking process, including stronger links with business partners to reflect the increasing role of private sector research and innovation in global agriculture. Working in partnership with the private sector can unlock new investment, technology and “know how” to accelerate the translation of science along the R&D pipeline for delivery and impact at scale. New opportunities exist for co-investment and the establishment of Public-Private Partnerships, but more importantly the formation of new networks that can stimulate innovation to tackle global challenges more urgently.

To maximize CGIAR’s contributions in these areas, we recognize the importance of coming together to identify the most effective way to achieve impact in line with the SRF targets. It was decided that workshops on youth and private sector engagement would be convened in the third quarter of 2015 to identify the opportunities and approaches, and to support the integration these essential thematic areas into the full proposal phase.

Details on workshop on youth in agriculture

The details of the workshop are as follows:

Why: With growing numbers of disenfranchised youth around the world and a strong focus on finding opportunities for their engagement and employment, CGIAR is committed to finding ways to approach the topic and planning appropriate activities, especially through its second generation of research programs.

What: This workshop intends to define the key issues to be addressed and to explore and identify good approaches to promoting youth engagement, employment and enterprise that can be integrated into the work of CGIAR. Through learning from internal and external experiences and ideas, the workshop will define realistic outcomes, priorities and activities as well as identifying necessary partnerships.

When: 8-9th September 2015

Where: CGIAR Consortium Office, Montpellier, France

Who: IITA, AFDB and the CGIAR Consortium are hosting the meeting and will be bringing together organizations and individuals with expertise and experience in working with youth engagement, enterprise and employment, particularly (but not exclusively) in agriculture.

We look forward to supporting these important workshops.

If there are any questions or suggestions please contact us at partnerships@cgiar.org

Originally published at CGIAR

IYA’s 9th Edition Newsletter

IITA launches Makueni Youth Agripreneurs

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DG-IITA, Dr Nteranya Sanginga with some staff of the Management team and IITA Youth Agripreneurs at the launch of Makueni Youth Agripreneurs in Kenya

As part of its vision to engage youths in agriculture with clear indications of ending youth unemployment in Africa, the IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA) on 10th of March 2015, launched the Makueni Youth Agripreneurs (MYA).

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CGIAR Consortium CEO visits IITA Youth Agripreneurs

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CGIAR Consortium CEO, Dr Frank Rijsberman with the IITA Youth Agripreneurs at the new Agriserve building

The Chief Executive Officer of CGIAR Consortium, Dr Frank Rijsberman said the IITA Youth Agripreneurs program was a good example of what the Consortium could adopt when focusing on youth.

Dr Rijsberman who visited IYA office during the Humidtropics conference at the IITA headquarters in Ibadan said he was impressed by the activities of the youths which also had strategies built around the Consortium’s new strategy.

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Nigeria launches program to support youths in agriculture across the country

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria, Dr Akinwumi Adesina with the IITA Youth Agripreneurs in Abuja during the ATASP-Phase 1 launch
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria, Dr Akinwumi Adesina with the IITA Youth Agripreneurs in Abuja during the ATASP-Phase 1 launch

The Federal Government on Friday, 6 March 2015 launched the Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Program (ATASP-Phase1) towards attracting private sector investment, reducing post harvest losses while adding value to local agricultural produce.

Addressing stakeholders at the launch of the initiative in Abuja, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina said the project would cushion the costs of infrastructure while promoting agric value chain development of four Staple Crop Processing Zones to be implemented in Enugu, Anambra, Niger, Kebbi, Sokoto, Kano and Jigawa States. He said the program would add an additional 20,000 metric tons of key commodity crops per year while creating 200,000 new jobs for young people.

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IYA diversifies to pig farming

Olaniyi Ajibola at the pig pen of the IITA Youth Agripreneurs
Olaniyi Ajibola at the pig pen of the IITA Youth Agripreneurs

The IITA Youth Agripreneurs have diversified into piggery production. IYA will be producing “low fat” pork meat for its consumers.

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IITA Kalambo Youth Agripreneurs to replicate model among Catholic parishes

Catholic Archbishop of Bukavu, DR Congo, Msgr Francois Xavier Maroy during his visit to IITA Kalambo Youth Agripreneurs’ office
Catholic Archbishop of Bukavu, DR Congo, Msgr Francois Xavier Maroy during his visit to IITA Kalambo Youth Agripreneurs’ office

The Catholic Archbishop of Bukavu, Msgr. Francois Xavier Maroy has called for the replication of IITA Kalambo Youth Agripreneur (IKYA) project in all the Catholic parishes of Bukavu. Msgr Maroy who stated this during a courtesy visit to the IKYA processing centre in Bukavu said the replication would help in engaging other unemployed youths in the area.

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IITA Tanzania Youth Agripreneurs adopt the use of new technology

IITA Tanzania Youth Agripreneurs setting up the screen-house for vegetable production
IITA Tanzania Youth Agripreneurs setting up the screen-house for vegetable production

The IITA Tanzania Youth Agripreneurs (ITYA) have adopted the use of screen house technology in their vegetable production.This development which is part of ITYA’s recent activity will be used to protect tomatoes against pests, diseases, and unfriendly climatic conditions that affect yields.

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IITA Youth model excites Ghana high Commission

The Ghana High Commission team and the IITA Youth Agripreneurs
The Ghana High Commission team and the IITA Youth Agripreneurs

Ghana High Commission has described the IITA Youth Agripreneurs initiative as one worthy of emulation.

Ghana High Commissioner to Nigeria, H.E. William Azumah Awinador Kanyirige stated this when he recently paid a courtesy visit to IITA Youth Agripreneurs office in Ibadan.

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Some members of the newly launched Makueni Youth Agripreneurs working on the Kibuezi farm
Some members of the newly launched Makueni Youth Agripreneurs working on the Kibuezi farm

Activities have commenced at the Kibwezi farm of the Makueni Youth Agripreneurs.

The land which is a property of the University of Nairobi was acquired after a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between IITA and the University.

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IITA Agripreneur to participate in 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship

Eric Sika, a youth agripreneur from IITA Kalambo Station, has been selected to participate in the 2015 Mandela Washington Fellowship for young African Leaders from 19 June 2015 to 6 August 2015. Prior to this fellowship, Eric graduated from the Catholic University of Bukavu with a bachelors degree in agronomy. The fellowship is a flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The selection was keenly contested by a large number of youths across Africa. Eric, having been selected, will study business and entrepreneurship for six (6) weeks at the University of Winconsin-Stout.

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IITA Youth Agripreneurs move to new building

The new Agriserve building
The new Agriserve building

The IITA Youth Agripreneurs have relocated from their former office at the FAO Yard to occupy one of the wings at the newly constructed Agriserve Building. The state-of-the-art building, which is set for commissioning soon, is the first of its kind in the history of IITA.

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Transforming IITA to nourish Africa

Group Picture of CGIAR Consortium and IITA Youth Agripreneurs
Dr Frank Rijsberman, CEO CGIAR Consortium with the IITA Youth Agripreneurs

My first visit to IITA was in 1982. As a young scientist with the Delft Hydraulics Lab in the Netherlands I worked on my first soil science project that also happened to become my last. I had obtained funding for a project on the impact of soil erosion on soil productivity and I was looking for good data. My research led me to IITA soil scientist Rattan Lal who was among the five scientists I had identified across the globe that had the time series data I needed and he agreed to work with me. My funding enabled me to visit all 5 research groups to see their experiments and go over their data. This was my first visit to Nigeria.

And then we arrived at IITA. Once cleared by security the car started up the long driveway, flanked by rolling hills with bright green grass, cut smooth like a golf course, dotted with picturesque palm trees, painted bright white. The contrast of this oasis of quiet prettiness with the chaotic world outside the barbed wire fence could not be greater. A well-oiled, well-maintained, well-equipped island of advanced research. A small army of well-trained Nigerian staff to support a team of senior researchers that were almost without exception white, male and Anglophone — or indeed, Dutch. Rattan Lal was a fine host, had many years of excellent data, and was a great collaborator for my project (Rijsberman and Wolman, 1985).

Since then, I have visited and worked in Nigeria quite a bit, including a two-year stint as Chief Technical Advisor of a UNDP project to strengthen the Ministry of Water Resources in Abuja in the late 80s. But fast forward to 2012: I rejoined the CGIAR as the CEO of the CGIAR Consortium in May 2012 and started an effort to visit all 15 Centers. In July-August the Consortium Board Chair, Carlos Perez del Castillo, and I visited AfricaRice in Cotonou, Benin and then traveled overland to Ibadan. We were received by the new DG, Nteranya Sanginga, and the new Board Chair, Bruce Coulman and given the grand tour. We met with scientists, discussed the newly reformed CGIAR, enjoyed presentations of the key science groups, saw the laboratories, and hiked the forest.

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Dr Frank Rijsberman, CEO CGIAR Consortium at the Agripreneurs’ office

I was also very impressed by the dynamic presentations and self-confidence of the young graduates in IITA’s Youth Agripreneur program. With unemployment of young Nigerian graduates as high as 60-70%, this program aims to show that there is a future for young Africans in agriculture, that there is viable employment and an attractive career in catfish aquaculture, in soymilk production, yam sucker farms and cassava bread production.

Dr Sanginga, who is the father of this program and naturally very proud of its success, predicts that it can scale up and out, in Nigeria and other African countries —his vision is about a movement to give a future back to millions of African youth through agriculture and the value chains in the agri-food business. The program is just a start and has already attracted attention from IFAD, AfDB, and the Nigerian government. It is a good example of what the CGIAR can do when it focuses on youth—very timely with “gender and youth” identified as a key cross-cutting issue in the new CGIAR strategy.

Written by Frank Rijsberman, CEO CGIAR Consortium

Get the original article on CGIAR Consortium website



Soil infertility is one of the major challenges facing Farmers across the world especially in Africa, but over the years, several methods have been developed to solve this problem.

African farmers for some time have suffered reduced income due to poor yield and most of the causes are due to soil depletion which occurs as a result of the removal and simultaneously non-replacement of components which contribute to soil fertility.

Although this problem poses threats to all levels of on-field agricultural production but it is more expressed at small scale production largely due to difficulty in monitoring the soil fertility trends. According to researches, a soil is said to be infertile when

  1. it is poor in or lacking nutrients (majorly, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; N:P:K),
  2. its organic matter necessary to improve the soil’s structure and moisture holding capacity is lost or insufficient,
  3. it is insufficient of a range of microorganisms that support plant growth and
  4. its topsoil has been removed.

There are several factors contributing to the decline in soil fertility, among which improper or insufficient soil management stands out. Others may include mono-cropping, Erosion and Soil pollution.

Fortunately, several technologies and methods have been developed to solve this problem but most of these are not quite affordable to all farmers especially in the rural communities. But recently, a naturally effective and cost-effective technique was discovered, the use of fertilizer trees.

Fertilizer trees are trees used to replenish some of the nutrients in the soil that may have been lost due to one or many of the mentioned causes, thereby contributing to the quality of the soil for farming. Fertilizer trees are leguminous plants that help to fix the atmospheric nitrogen in the soil through their roots and falling leaves. Additionally, the roots of these trees grow deep into the soil to bring to the surface, nutrients for crops unable to reach that depth.

According to Dr. Jerry Glover, International Research Advisor, Bureau for Food of the USAID in 2012, it can be used to build the organic matter of the soil without taking too much water and resources from the crops, consequently having the ultimate impact of increasing yield, improving farmers’ income and securing food. These trees can also serve the purpose of preventing fertilizer erosion and protect the crops from winds.

Dr. Jerry Glover said, “It is one of the many opportunities for farmers to integrate perennials into their farming cropping systems not at a cost of their food production but to actually increase it”.

SesbaniaGliricidia, Tephrosia, and Faidherbia albida have been identified as the common fertilizer trees that have been adding more values to to farmers, enabling optimum productivity.


Additionally, in an article “Putting trees on farms fundamental to future agricultural development“, published by the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), a CGIAR Consortium Research Centre in 2011, “combining fertilizer trees with conservation farming techniques is doubling and tripling cereal crop yields in many parts of the African continent. The nitrogen-fixing tree Faidherbia  or Acacia albida, is increasing unfertilized maize yields in Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and in numerous other countries. They are now being grown on millions of hectares of crop land throughout Niger, at densities of up to 200 trees per hectare, and show a tripling of yield in the crops growing beneath them. Producing food crops like maize, sorghum, and millets under these agroforests dramatically increases their drought resilience in dry years, because of positive soil moisture regimes, and a better microclimate”.

Noted for its natural potential to increase productivity and income  coupled with its cost-effectiveness, African farmers have embraced this method for enriching their soils and many more are encouraged to do so.