Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

More effective international aid for African agriculture

16.03.2007
What is the aim of the AIDA project?

In Africa today, 75-80% of the population live in rural areas. For 30 years, very little international aid has been given to those who live primarily from farming. Yet, Africans have continued to struggle to cultivate. They have taken the initiative on many occasions and have sometimes been successful. With the AIDA project, we want to survey and analyse the success stories. We are interested in both the successes and the failures, because it is important to know why some initiatives have not worked.

How will you proceed?

We are going to draw up a list of successes and failures and compile case studies. It is important for us to listen to rural communities and to be active and flexible. We will also identify primarily national scientists and students—agronomists, socio-economists and climate change specialists—in order to put together teams. The project should only last for two years. However, it will provide the basis for others. During the two years, a database of the various initiatives will be created so that applied research and development needs can be identified. We also need to ensure that the results are disseminated and used. In this way, we should be able to indicate how to make the initiatives more effective.

Why and how can the project achieve more today than previous ones? What makes it different?

It is a question of circumstance. Recently, there was tremendous media coverage of two famines in Niger (2005) and Kenya (2006), which had a real impact on people. Political leaders were challenged. We have been providing aid to Africa for 30 years. Yet today, the situation is perhaps even worse than it was in the 70s for Africans in dry zones. Parallel to that, the information available on climate change shows that the latter exacerbates the situation in fragile zones. Moreover, it is important to add the Millennium Development Goals, particularly that of halving poverty between now and 2015, the "alter" movements and the global social forums. Ideas are circulating, people are asking questions and politicians are reacting¡­ at last. As a result, we have been able to develop a new partnership with East Africa in the form of a European project and an international conference. This was achieved in 10 months with a small, highly motivated team. I think it is a record for an initiative of this kind.

Have you started assessing the initiatives?

Yes, the conference meant that we have already been able to survey over 70 cases. We can now start to draw up an initial database. The initiatives are very varied, even within a relatively limited geographical area. They involve traditional techniques (which are sometimes ancestral), that have been improved by farmers who have received no aid.

Can you give us some examples?

Zai is a technique used for the retention of water runoff which was long considered to be trivial. It consists of digging holes in the ground which are then filled with manure or compost. The process is very labour intensive when done by hand. However, when it is mechanized, as in the case of a province in Burkina Faso, the operation is seven times faster.

The development of cactus in Ethiopia is another example. Cactus is resistant to water shortages, high temperatures and low soil fertility. Cactus fruit was previously consumed by only the poorest people during periods of famine and drought. Today, it is grown as a crop and is available on the market.

How has the project been received?

People are very enthusiastic. The initial conference, which took place in Ghana from 22-24 January, brought together over 50 African scientists, political representatives and sponsors, namely, the European Union and the FAO. The national scientists were delighted. They have supported these "ancestral initiatives" for a long time. However, their value has only been demonstrated on rare occasions. The summaries from 80 participants were received in less than two months, an excellent achievement for this type of event, which is usually prepared about a year in advance. The success was truly apparent when we realised that all the participants, without exception, had expressed themselves on the subject.

How about the financial aspects of the project?

The project is financed by the European Union to a value of 300 000 euros. Here again, we need to be active and find complementary funding. However, we are optimistic!

Danièle Clavel is a geneticist and a drought specialist who began her career at CIRAD in 1986, as part of the maize breeding projects in Ivory Coast, then in Madagascar. She subsequently lived in Senegal for ten years, where she worked on groundnut. She is involved in numerous European projects. AIDA is the third European project that she has coordinated.

Helen Burford | alfa
Further information:
http://www.cirad.fr/en/actualite/communique.php?id=657

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht New insight into why Pierce's disease is so deadly to grapevines
11.06.2018 | University of California - Davis

nachricht Where are Europe’s last primary forests?
29.05.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Creating a new composite fuel for new-generation fast reactors

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Game-changing finding pushes 3D-printing to the molecular limit

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Could this material enable autonomous vehicles to come to market sooner?

20.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>