Opportunity for Pacific Agro-SMEs to Grow their Business: Innovation Grant Facility (IGF) 2018

Application Deadline:  25 April 2018 at 16:00 (Fiji Time).

The Innovation Grant Facility (IGF) provides funding to agro-based small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in seven Pacific Island States; Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu to access knowledge, technologies or expertise and build staff capacity to improve product quality, expand product offerings, enhance process efficiency, increase market share or competitiveness.

In 2016, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) launched a four-year project on “Leveraging the Development of Local Food Crops and Fisheries Value Chains for Improved Nutrition and Sustainable Food Systems in the Pacific Islands” which is being implemented in partnership with the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO). The project targets seven Pacific Island States: Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

The overall project goal is to; “strengthen the capacity of the Pacific Island Governments, Farmer and Private Sector Organizations, and Sub-Regional institutions to develop strategies and programmes, as well as mobilize financing, that can increase poor rural people’s access to nutritious and healthy food”. The IGF is to be used by Pacific agro-SMEs to “take the next steps” to grow their business and contribute, directly or indirectly, to the sustainable development of the agriculture and fishery sectors.


  • SMEs contributing, directly or indirectly, to the sustainable development of the agriculture & fishery sectors with a focus on the development and/or upgrading of nutritionally, culturally & environmentally sensitive local food crops & fisheries value chains in the seven target countries.

Criteria for Eligible SMEs

  • Registered in and fully or majority owned by citizens of Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
  • Be a legal entity (e.g. sole proprietorship, or limited liability or public company with maximum 20% government share).
  • Employ a minimum of three full time equivalent staff members and/or has a minimum annual sales turnover of EUR 17,000 (USD ≈ 20,000).
  • Can contribute at least 20% of the total project budget (cash and/or in-kind).

Examples of IGF funded activities

  • Facility design
  • Feasibility/market studies
  • Marketing plan or business plan development
  • Research and product development
  • Employee or business to business training
  • Laboratory testing & technical support
  • Small equipment purchase (< Euro 2,500 ≈ USD 2,940)

Application Procedure

Interested parties are invited to read the guidelines with great attention and submit the requested documents before the deadline of 25 April 2018 at 16:00 (Fiji Time).

Note to Applicants

  1. All applicants are required to complete and submit the official IGF Application Form using the templates available for download within the stated deadline.
  2. The service provider(s) selected by the SMEs should have the necessary expertise and be registered in the IGF database
  3. All IGF funded activities are to be completed within 12 months.

The completed application, originals and copies, must be received in hard-copy at PIPSO, Level 1 Korobasaga House, 31 Gorrie Street, Suva, Fiji and an electronic copy of all documents (PDF, Word and Excel format) must be scanned and sent to the following email address – igfpacific@cta.int on /or before the deadline.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Innovation Grant Facility (IGF)

New funding supports cassava development in africa

Cassava is vital to the food security of millions of Africans who eat some form of the root crop daily. Although cassava breeders are making progress, they face significant challenges in developing disease-resistant varieties that also increase yield and respond to the needs of smallholder farmers and processors.

Cornell University will expand international efforts to deliver improved varieties of cassava to smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa with $35 million in new funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UK aid in the United Kingdom.

“This grant funds a second five-year phase that will allow us to build on previous work and focus on getting improved varieties into farmers’ fields,” said Ronnie Coffman, international plant breeder and director of International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, who leads the project.

During Phase 1 of the Next Generation Cassava Breeding project – also funded by the Gates Foundation and UK aid from 2012 to 2017 – researchers shortened the breeding cycle for new cassava varieties by improving flowering and using genomic selection. Through analyzing plant genotypes and identifying cassava lines with desirable traits, such as resistance to cassava brown streak disease, or high dry matter content, breeders also improved their ability to make selections based on genetics and probability without having to wait for seedlings to reach adulthood. These methods save breeding time for a crop where flowering and sexual propagation are issues.

Another goal of Phase 1 was to make cassava genomic information publicly accessible on an open database. Cassava researchers all over the world are now comparing results and improving breeding programs without duplicating efforts by using Cassavabase. To reduce cost per progeny and improve the quality of data uploaded to Cassavabase in Phase 2, NextGen researchers will use additional methods of whole genome sequencing.

“Our focus for the next five years will be to translate this research into breeding practices to increase impact,” said Chiedozie Egesi, NextGen project director and adjunct professor of plant breeding and genetics at Cornell, who is based at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria. A key goal in Phase 2 will be to identify traits preferred by farmers and end-users and incorporate them into new cassava lines.

“Among the 30 new clones developed at IITA using our methods, 10 had higher dry matter yield than any clone currently available for smallholder farmers in Nigeria,” said Jean-Luc Jannink, a research plant geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and Cornell adjunct associate professor in the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics. “Dry matter yield is a close proxy to food yield. Among these new clones are ones with over 20 percent higher food yield than currently available clones. Conservatively, we believe that we will increase the rate of genetic gain in cassava by 30 to 50 percent.”

Compared with other major staples like maize, rice and wheat, cassava has undergone few advances in productivity and yield over the last 50 years, making it an ideal candidate for breeding improvement. Because cassava is clonally propagated and has a low multiplication rate, it can take almost six to eight years before a new cassava variety makes it from breeders’ nurseries through field trials to farmers’ fields. Most breeding efforts focus on product development – goals set by scientists and researchers without accounting for the preferences of farmers. In practice, this can result in poor adoption of new varieties and unrealized potential.

“Breeders must be able to more quickly develop cassava varieties that resist diseases, are climate resilient, and meet the needs of end-users and consumers,” said Egesi.

In Africa, NextGen collaborators include the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, the National Root Crops Resea

source: Newswise

Federal Government of Nigeria’s agric insurance covers for 3.8m farmers

The Federal Government recently announced its introduction of a new insurance policy for farmers to encourage more investment in agriculture in the country. The agricultural insurance, worth $500 million, is expected to mitigate farmers against risks like drought, herders’ attack and price shock, and similar shocks experienced by farmers in the country.

The insurance cover initiative is a collaborative effort of the National Insurance Commission of Nigeria (NAICOM), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) funded Nigeria Incentive- Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and the operators of the insurance industry within and outside the country.

Managing Director of NIRSAL, Mr. Aliyu A. Abdulhameed, who spoke at a training programme to sensitise operators of insurance firms on the new index-based agricultural insurance, said the Federal Government had decided to increase insurance coverage for agricultural primary producers from 500,000 to 3.8 million in the coming years and that the training was part of efforts to nurture local and international partnerships to train insurance experts in Nigeria that would midwife the farmers insurance policy. Under it farmers in the country will be provided with cover to de-risk them against possible natural and man-made unforeseen incidences that would ordinarily deter many from venturing into investment in agriculture. Against the bad experiences of farmers in the country as a result of loss resulting from bad weather, natural disasters and other unforeseen circumstances experienced in agriculture, the new agricultural insurance is a step in the right direction and therefore a welcomed development.

Apart from the difficult and tediousness of agriculture and the high financial outlay involved in it, a major reason why young people and even the rich stay away from agriculture, particularly large scale agriculture, is the lack of insurance to de-risk them against possible losses sustained as a result of bad weather, pest invasion, fire and burglary, attacks by herders and their cattle as well as insurgents.

Source: independent

Haitian agriculture:The cotton sector is proposed to create 17,000 jobs in 5years

Following a joint feasibility study between Timberland “Impact Farming” and the Haitian cooperative (Gonaïves) “Smallholder Farmers Alliance” (SFA / / Alyans ti Plantè) aiming to reintroduce cotton as an export crop for Haitian small farmer,the SFA after field trials of various varieties of cotton that have been organically grown and harvested successfully, intends to reintroduce the culture of cotton that has disappeared from Haiti since the late 1980s.

Hugh Locke, co-founder of the SFA explains that he already collaborates with “Timberland Company”, a company that manufactures and sells its own textile products, specializes in outdoor clothing, including footwear and is ready to perform up to one-third of its annual cotton purchases from SFA farmers once volume and quality are achieved. In addition, “Patagonia”, a Californian company in technical clothing for mountain sports and surfing, and “Vans”, a Californian brand of sports shoes, including skateboard, BMX and snowboard, a subsidiary of the American group VF Corporation, have also expressed their interest in become potential future buyers of Haitian cotton. Looke sees in particular in its collaboration with Timberland a sustainable opportunity for thousands of small Haitian farmers.

If for the moment in the first phase of the project, the cotton crop has only affected a few farmers Hugh Locke, announces that farmers will start large-scale cultivation as early as next summer. He is convinced that the development of the cotton sector, together with marketing could create in the next 5 years nearly 17,000 jobs.

He believes that in a few years, cotton could become Haiti’s white gold and provide millions of pounds of organic cotton for shoes, shirts and other clothing sold in US stores, recalling that before the disappearance of this sector in Haiti, cotton ranked 4th in Haitian agricultural exports.



Source :HiatiLibre

Agrinatura Travel Grants to Tropentag Conference 2018

AGRINATURA are offering 8 travel grants for MSc and PhD students participating at Tropentag Conference this year again.

AGRINATURA will support the annual Conference on Tropical and Subtropical Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (Tropentag) with the general theme for 2018: ‘Global food security and food safety: The role of universities’

The conference will be held at the Ghent University (Ghent, Belgium), September 17-19, 2018.

AGRINATURA will grant max. 8 students from AGRINATURA network by travel grant of amount 300 EUR.

Students are challenged to submit their abstract to the Tropentag Conference till April 15 and in the same time to send the abstract and request for travel grant to AGRINATURA Secretariat (email: secretariat@agrinatura-eu.eu) till May 15. As soon as the abstract will be accepted by Tropentag conference committee, AGRINATURA selection committee will select 8 students who will receive the travel grant.

Eligible student will have to:

  • be a student of AGRINATURA member institution (here) except Belgian universities this year.
  • be first author of the contribution
  • be personally present at the venue
  • place the logo of AGRINATURA on the contribution (poster or presentation) and agree with publication on the website.
  • write a short profile (CV)
  • confirm not to be subsidised by another grant

Deadline for submitting abstract to Tropentag is April 15, and the deadline for Agrinatura travel grant requests is May 15!

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Agrinatura Travel Grants to Tropentag Conference 2018

Cassava coalition calls for transformation of cassava in africa

The Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century (GCP21) has called on policy makers and donors to support the transformation of the Cassava crop in Africa.

The call made ahead of the international conference on cassava comes amidst concern over the decline in harvests per acre of cassava in Africa compared to Asia.

Dr. Claude Fauquet, the Director of Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century, says cassava productivity per acre has remained at nine tons or less yet the crop plays a key role in Africa’s food security. Its productivity has remained low (about 9 tons per hectare).

Dr. Fauquet notes that, cassava productivity in Asia is more than 21 tons per hectare- a situation that gives Asia competitive advantage in global cassava trade.

His call comes at a time when cassava is becoming central to food security of over 600 million people in the developing world, and has become the fourth most important crop after maize, wheat and rice.

Dr. Fauquet explains that addressing the yield gap demands more funding for cassava research and development (R&D) from all stakeholders if the world wants to help farmers towards ending hunger and poverty in Africa.

A number of Scientists from Africa are expected to meet in Cotonou Benin in mid-June to deliberate on how to improve Cassava productivity and yield. Like in Uganda, the Cassava crop has in the last two decades been affected by several viruses affecting yield and productivity.

Dr. Titus Alicai, the head of Root Crops Department at the National Crop Resources Research Institute (NaCRRI), Namulonge, says cassava productivity in Uganda is affected by pests and diseases, which can’t be easily fought by farmers without guidance of experts.

He cites pests like the Cassava mealy bug and Brown Streak Virus, which can lead to 100 percent yield loss as some of the problems that researchers are trying to resolve. The conference under the theme: Cassava Transformation in Africa is one of the ways the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century is contributing towards the transformation of the root crop.

This year’s conference is being organised by GCP21, in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), National Institute of Agricultural Research of Benin (INRAB).

CoELIB INCUBAR Call for Livestock Sector Startups


The desired end-state from the perspective of CoELIB Incubar is a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem that empowers, provides economic opportunities and develops skills.

The reason for the existence of CoELIB Incubar is to rigorously facilitate the growth of ventures into profitable entities through provision of a business enabling environment.

This call targets the livestock sector. If you are a startup or an existing business interested in innovations in the livestock sector and would like to follow your passion in a business enabling environment, apply for a spot at CoELIB Incubar.

Call for Applications:

Livestock Innovation and Business call ( CALL CoELIB/17/0A1)

This call targets the livestock sector. If you are a startup or an existing business interested in innovations in the livestock sector and would like to follow your passion in a business enabling environment, apply for a spot at CoELIB Incubar.


  1. Fast Moving Consumer Goods – (livestock value chain inspired)
  2. Livestock products
  3. Agribusiness innovations
  4. ICT innovations in livestock
  5. Innovations in food security


Entrepreneurs interested in participating in the CoELIB Program must:

  1. Have a business idea that will disrupt or have an impact along the Livestock Value Chain
  2. Have a business that has been operational for a period of less than 2 years that has disrupted or has an impact along the Livestock Value Chain.
  3. Be 35 years of age and below.

What will CoELIB Offer?

Advisory & Skills development Markets Infrastructure
IP management and legal advisory Market and industry reports Office space
Business and technical advisory and mentorship Soft-landing opportunities through introductions to public and private sectors Manufacturing and laboratory set-up space
Business case development Assistance with market analysis Hot-desking space
Business and technical training Industry/sector specific networking events Free high speed internet
  Networking opportunities  

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Livestock Innovation and Business call

Latia Agriculture Apprenticeship Program 2018

An agriculture apprenticeship is the ideal way to earn money whilst gaining a nationally recognized qualification. The provision is open to anyone aged 18+ years provided that you meet the current eligibility. The course is delivered in a modular system.

Ideal if:

  • You are or would like to be employed in the agriculture industry.

You’ll need:

  • Your national ID, leaving certificate and result slip.

You’ll learn:

  • Horticulture nursery management & horticulture production management and other areas.

Expect: To work in a real farm for most of the time to cover 70% of practical and 30% theory work.

You’ll love: The chance to earn money while gaining a nationally recognised qualification.

You’ll go into : Improve your promotion prospects, progress to an advanced apprenticeship.

Entry Requirements:

  • Should have secondary education, however applicants with relevant prior experience will be considered.

What will i do on the course:

  • The course is designed to equip individuals with competencies required to select site, grow horticulture crops, evaluate productivity, post-harvest handling and farm management.
  • The activities involved include land preparation, crop establishment & maintenance, harvesting, evaluation of productivity, post-harvesting handling, marketing & management.
  • The crops include tropical and subtropical fruits, temperate fruits, horticultural nuts, vine fruits, herbs and spices, vegetables, mushroom, cut flowers and ornamental plants. The course further aims at equipping the individual with competencies required to manage a horticultural farm.

What Certification do I get after the course:

  • A candidate will be issued with a record of achievement on demonstration of competence in any unit of competency in the course. Certificates will be issued by TVET, CDACC in conjunction with Latia.

For more information:
visit the official website of Latia Agriculture Apprenticeship Program

kogi state agricultural development programme innagurates online agricultural market place.

The Kogi Agricultural Development Project ( ADP ) on Tuesday inaugurated an internet marketing platform to connect farmers in the state to the outside world to enable them to sell their produce.

The Managing Director of the ADP, Mr Oyisi Okatahi, said at the inauguration in Lokoja that the aim was to enable the farmers to sell their produce at good prices without the interference of the middle men.

Okatahi said the platform named: “Kogi Online Agricultural Market Place,” would also help the farmers to preserve their goods as the buyers could off-take the produce even before the harvest.

He said that the agricultural market place could be accessed on “kogiadp.org” pointing out that the platform was open to other farmers in the country.

According to him, the strategy is for the extension agents to help farmers list their farm produce online and get the best prices for them.

Okatahi said that the Gov. Yahaya Bello had given the ADP a marching order to implement a project that would benefit the people every month.

According to him, Bello’s administration is very committed to making Kogi the foremost agricultural state in Nigeria.

“We started in November 2017 with a programme, “Kogi Agricultural Summit” and in December followed with “Rice Processing at ADP Office.”

“In January 2018 we had “Cassava City” and now in February we are having “Online Agricultural Market Place,” Okatahi said.

The managing director advised youths in the state to key into the agricultural revolutionary programmes of the State and Federal Governments.

He said the programmes were sure ways of gaining employment rather than waiting for white collar jobs.

Source: NAN