Friday, December 28, 2012

Southern Africa Trip

Southern African Report
September-October, 2009

One of AAAPD’s key objectives is to initiate and lay foundation for the development of strong and effective linkages between African agricultural professionals in the Diaspora and African institutions such as the AU/NEPAD, FARA, RECs, governments, African universities, NARS, AGRA, SADC, COMESA, FAO, CGIAR, smallholder farmers associations and agribusinesses. This foundation is necessary in the building very strong partnerships and linkages with these African institutions.  For this reason, AAAPD organized a regional trip to the SADC region in September – October, 2009. This trip accorded delegates an opportunity to familiarize themselves with what is going on and discuss ways to partner with key institutions on the ground.

In order to ensure maximize the level of contact with African colleagues and institutions on the ground, AAAPD delegates were sponsored to participate in a joint plenary/symposium with the African Crop Science Society Conference that took place  September 27 – October, 1, 2009 in Cape Town. The theme of the conference was Science and Technology: Supporting food security in Africa. Subsequently, the delegates also scheduled a series of meetings in the region in Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Prior to the trip, significant pre-conference planning and appointment scheduling was undertaken.

This report has four sections and a summary statement based on the countries that were visited as follows:

Section 1: South Africa
Section 2: Zambia
Section 3: Zimbabwe
Section 4: Malawi
Section 5: Summary

Section 1 South Africa (Cape Town)

African Crop Science Society Conference (ACSS)

Dr.  Edmund Mupondwa and Dr. Stephen Machado

The Cape Town trip was highly successful as AAAPD delegates participated in a joint plenary/symposium with the ACSS. The ACSS conference was chaired by Dr GD Jourbert, Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, with welcoming address by Professor Kasem Zaki Ahmed, President of ACSS. This was followed by the official opening address by Ms. Helen Zille, Premier of Western Cape Province, who gave an excellent speech focusing on governance and leadership. She also stated the need to empower small-scale farmers to lobby their politicians; the need for scientists to be more involved in policy formulation; the need for African institutions at all levels to create the right social political environment to foster agricultural development; the need for greater investment in agriculture. It was interesting to note that the Premier made specific reference to the role of Africans in the Diaspora in reversing the brain drain through active engagement with the continent.

Three key note addresses followed: i) Professor Mohammad Karaan (Perspectives on science and technology supporting food security in Africa); ii) Professor Stephen Baenzinger (The future of plant breeding); iii) Professor Agnes Mwang’ombe (Food and nutrition security and poverty issues in Eastern and Central Africa: Still a challenge to the realization of millennium development goals and gender diversity). One unifying theme from these speeches related to developing multi-disciplinary capacities and approaches in resolving Africa’s complex problems.

After the opening ceremonies, AAAPD had the privilege of meeting with Professor Agnes Mwang’ombe to congratulate her on the keynote speech as well as brief her on the AAAPD initiative. She was extremely impressed that such an initiative was coming to fruition. Prof Mwang’ombe would like to be updated as we progress with AAAPD next steps. In particular, she pointed out many areas in which AAAPD could help. For instance, she noted that the African educational curriculum is very obsolete; this is an area in which capacity building is highly needed. Prof Mwang’ombe talked about formal and informal capacity building especially in relation to working with small-scale farmers. She also suggested that the millennium development goals set for 2015 will be far from being achieved without the necessary conditions for developing multi-disciplinary capacities for meeting the many challenges that lie ahead.

In the afternoon, AAAPD members spent time attending a number of concurrent sessions and meeting with African scholars from various universities and institutions. There were a few concurrent sessions focused on improving livelihoods of small scale farmers. Of interest, the issue of capacity building had a new dimension in one presentation on biosafety capacity building project for sub-Saharan Africa.  AAAPD also met with presenters for this session and learned with interest that this project in fact received funding from BMGF and is currently implementing a 3-year biosafety capacity building project in sub-Saharan Africa in the field of modern biotechnology. There was a presentation that focused on capacity building in the development of indigenous technologies in the processing of agricultural produce and its implications for food security and increased income among rural households. This area was identified as significantly lacking. For instance, in Nigeria, 85% of processors and marketers of cocoyam were women. However, this value-chain does not exist. Within the area of value-added production, there was also an interesting paper on bio-fuels from indigenous energy crops. The question of how small scale farmers would be integrated into this value-chain was raised.  A session by Dr. GYK Kanyama-Phiri discussed strengthening university contribution to national development: The role of RUFORUM (Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture) which is an umbrella body for  25 universities in Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa formed in 2004 (more will be said about RUFORUM below). This is a subset of sessions attended throughout the conference by AAAPD members.

The following day involved more concurrent session plus the AAAPD symposium which was well organized and attracted a large audience that was highly representative of African professionals from the continent. The symposium, Chaired by Dr. Stephen Machado, included a keynote speech delivered by Professor Mandivamba Rukuni and a session presentation by Dr. Edmund Mupondwa. The keynote speech provided an excellent context for African development issues, with a focus on rebuilding African leadership. Professor Rukuni provided a great introduction to his recent book 'Being Afrikan - Rediscovering the Traditional Unhu-Ubuntu-Botho Pathways of Being Human" in which he challenged African scholars at the symposium to take up the call to transformational leadership. Edmund gave a 30 minute PowerPoint presentation on the vision and mission of AAAPD and the role of the Diaspora in economic development, including objectives of AAAPD within the 12 months of the planning grant and where AAAPD next steps would be past the initial planning phase. The principle of partnership with African colleagues was emphasized and was well received.

A very lively discussion followed, with all the speakers stating that the AAAPD concept was very long-overdue and highly welcome. Many saw AAAPD’s the relevance in many areas of agricultural development. It was very interesting to note the complete unanimity with which all the speakers articulated capacity building as a key area in which AAAPD could have a major positive impact. Subsequent to the AAAPD symposium, African scholars presented themselves and signed up for AAAPD membership. Up to 100 scientists signed up.

After the AAAPD symposium, Edmund and Stephen attended a symposium organized by RUFORUM. This interaction with RUFORUM’s Dr. Moses Osiru (Program Manager) and his associates was most informative and constructive.  Dr. Osiru and his associates highly embraced the AAAPD concept and viewed AAAPD as a very useful resource that can truly enable RUFORUM to achieve its objectives. For instance, Dr. Osiru stated that although the University of Malawi Bunda College has been selected as the lead centre for Ph.D. training in Agricultural Resource Economics and Agriculture (with the first 25 PhD students set to start in September 2009), there were significant implications for the capacity to offer this program. Dr. Osiru saw AAAPD as a stronger resource that support strengthening of capacity in this area. Issues that were raised by attendees included: 1) what is the vision beyond the project? 2) research funding is very short term; 3) faced with a lot of needs but with very scarce resources; 4) can only do a fraction of “wish-list” and hence need to set priorities and move forward.

Side Meetings

During the ACSS, Edmund and Stephen also organized in-person meetings with a number of African delegates in order to gain further understanding of issues. These include

Professor Pangirai Tongoona (African Centre for Crop Improvement, University of Kwazulu-Natal),
Professor Kwaramba Mariga (University of Limpopo),
Dr. Jane Alumira (SADC-ICART – Implementation and Coordination of Agricultural Research and Training in the SADC Region),
Dr. Francis Nang’ayo (African Agricultural Technology Foundation),
Dr. Obi Udengwu (University of Nigeria Genetic Resources and Conservation),
Dr (Mrs) N.I. Odiaka (University of Agriculture Makurdi Nigeria),
Dr. Ignacio Casper Madakadze (University of Pretoria Dept of Plant Production and Soil Science),
Dr. Constance Chiremba (Agricultural Research Council South Africa),
Dr. Lerotholi L. Qhobela (SADC Plant Genetic Resources Centre – Lusaka Zambia),
Dr. Olawale Taiwo Adeniji (The World Vegetable Centre – Arusha Tanzania),
Dr. Norn Looney (President Global Horticulture Initiative – Arusha Tanzania),
Dr. Regina Ntumngia Chiang (MINADER- Cameroon),
Dr. F.R Kutu Soil Fertility and Chemistry University of Limpopo),
Dr. Olusola A. Ladokun (Lead City University of Ibadan –Biochemistry),
Dr. Lawrence G. Owoeye (Agricultural Research Council),
Dr. Kalaluka Munyinda (Department of Agricultural Research and University of Zambia),
Dr. Mick Mwala (Professor and Head Crop Science University of Zambia),
Dr. Judith Lungu (Dean, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Zambia)
Professor Mandivamba Rukuni (formerly with The W.K. Kellogg Foundation),
Dr. Gospel Omanya (African Technology Foundation, Nairobi, Kenya),
Dr. Moses Maliro (Banda College of Agriculture, University of Malawi)
Dr. Godfrey Khumalo (University of Swaziland, Swaziland)
Dr. Pamela Paparu (National Crops Resources Research Institute, Kampala, Uganda)
Dr. Daniel Mugendi (Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya)
Dr. E Aigbekaen (Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria, Ibadan, Nigeria)
Dr. J.S. Tenywa (African Crop Science Journal Secretariat, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda)
Dr. Rafael Masinga (Instituto Superior Politenico De Manica, Manica, Mozambique)
Dr. Paul Mapfumo (SOFECSA-Soil fertility Conservation For Southern Africa, CIMMYT)
Dr. Jedidah Danson (ISAAA-International Service for the Acquisition of Agricultural Biotech Application, South Africa)
Dr. W.I.H Makumba (Chitedze Research Station, Malawi)

Issues Identified

·         Need for capacity building
·         Relevant curricula; most universities using colonial curricula that has no relevance to current problems and technological needs
·          Lack of experienced scientists; most in the Diaspora
·          Lack of adequate resources for education, research, and extension (computers, books, internet, personnel)
·         Lack of capacity to deliver agricultural research and development (“broken pipes”)
·         Need to translate research results into tangible technology that could be used by farmers
·         Lack of investment in rural infrastructure (roads, grain storage depots)
·         Lack of inputs and markets
·         Poor and declining fertility
·         Too many networks or organizations working on similar missions; need to consolidate to be more effective in sourcing funds and execution of work.
·         Need to support, educate, and empower women
·         Establishment of regional centers to facilitate AAAPD work
·         All approve of the AAAPD mission and want to be part of the project

One outcome from the meetings in Cape Town was the fact that AAAPD was able to link RUFORUM recently with an academic institution in Canada to help them develop a joint proposal on a Climate Change Research Initiative recently announced by IDRC. The request was sent to Dr. Edmund Mupondwa in Canada who facilitated the linkage. RUFORUM had earlier sent an email to request to AAAPD through Edmund help in linking them with a Canadian university or research institution.

Section 2. Zambia

Dr. Edmund Mupondwa and Dr. Peter Jeranyama

The meetings in Zambia were arranged ahead of time through both official channels and personal contacts.  Dr. Edmund Mupondwa met with the University of Zambia Faculty Council and gave a PowerPoint presentation. The meeting was chaired by the Dean of the School of Agricultural Sciences.

Dr. Judith Lungu – Dean
Dr. Mick Mwala
Dr. Egbert Yambayamba
Dr. Davies Lungu
Dr. Moses Daura
Dr. Himoomga Bernard Moonga
Dr. Elijah Phiri
Dr. Mwikisa Likulunga
Dr. Victor Shitumbanuma
Dr. Raphael Jere
Dr. Kalaluka Munyinda

The meeting started with an introduction by the Dean who gave an overview of the history of the School and the significance of capacity building. The School of Agricultural Sciences was established in 1971 and offers five undergraduate programs (five-year duration) leading a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree in the following: Agricultural Economics and Extension, Animal Science, Crop Science, Land management and Food Science and Technology.  The School also offers two Master of Science programs (two-year duration) in Agronomy (with the option to specialize in either Crop Science of Soil Science) and in Animal Science. The Crop Science option has been developed into a SADC regional MS program, training students from the SADC region.

The introduction was followed by a PowerPoint presentation by Edmund on AAAPD. This AAAPD concept and initiative was very well received by the entire Faculty Council, with all the members feeling that it is a long overdue concept whose time has come. A very lively discussion followed; it focused on a range of issues constraining African educational and research institutions from excelling in many areas of science, technology, and innovation. A number of key points raised included the following:
Institutional physical infrastructure is an impediment to science and innovation. For instance, scientific advances in Food Science/Processing have been frustrated by the lack of pilot plant capacity to scale up technologies.  Does capacity building include the ability to have access to pilot plant facility? There is no capacity to even assess research and development (R&D) in this value-added area in terms of its impact on small scale farmers.

Issues Indentified

·         What models do we need to transfer knowledge to small scale farmers and rural entrepreneurs? Do we need a model village as part of initiatives that AAAPD can support?
·         Lack of business models for the transfer of technology from university laboratories to small scale farmers.
·         How do we tailor technology to rural women to enhance farm productivity and value chain integration?  Can AAAPD provide capacities in this area by working in partnership with African institutions?
·         It is important to overcome the misconception that everyone in the village is a farmer (or that everyone in the rural area is a farmer.
·         It is important to integrate the rural economy to the mainstream economy.
·         Women in higher education: The University has a good gender balance in its student enrolment. However, it was also observed that the faculty will continue to enhance the enrolment of women proportionate with their prominent role in agriculture.
·         Technological obsolescence:  There was lively debate around technological obsolescence as it affects teaching including: lack of laboratory equipment and supplies (e.g., the lab at the school still uses microscopes that were purchased when the school opened in 1971); lack of computers and internet access compounded by poor connection/download time (it takes the Dean one hour for her web page to open  - if it opens at all);
·         Information systems: Lack of online scientific journal access. What role can AAAPD play in strengthening capacity to access and use different sources of information? This lack of access has been particularly felt at graduate student research level?
·         Inability to offer course segments in the semester because there is no one to teach them; inability to complete degree offering for students who have to postpone taking the course until a professor is available to teach the course;
·         Lack of career development programs for faculty (conferences, collaborative research, mentorship programs for both women and men; sabbaticals; etc) that enable researchers and educators to systematically upgrade knowledge and skills.
·         The issue of collaboration was quite prominent during the discussion. The Council felt that human resource constraints could be addressed by greater multi-institutional partnerships between universities, NARS, extension agencies, farmers' organizations, private sector, other relevant stakeholder that are essential to institutional change.  However, again this is constrained by insufficient capacity to develop viable and sustainable multi-institutional partnerships.  What role can AAAPD play in building synergies among institutions and programmes in agricultural education, research and extension?
·         Integrated approaches: The Council pointed out that increased collaborations will provide human resources that would make it possible to upgrade the faculty’s curriculum for teaching and learning in a way that recognizes the need for integrated approaches in view of growing interdependence between science disciplines.
·         The Council also emphasized the need for long-term view. The School is constantly bombarded by short-term offers of support in the form of capacity building that are fragmented and uncoordinated from all sorts of donors. To a large extent, most of these capacity development initiatives did not yield expected outcomes precisely because they were both fragmented and only targeted at single and non-integrated issues.
·         There was also a suggestion to have model universities. In other words, is it possible for AAAPD to adopt model universities or institutions to demonstrate the importance of sustainable capacity building initiatives?
·         The Council also felt that a lot needs to be done in order prepare students better for their careers. There are currently no mentorship programs for young scientists. AAAPD provided an example of Canada’s FSWEP (Federal Government Student Work Experience Program) which provides summer experience for students in federal government laboratories and other institutions across the country.  One of the most beneficial aspect of a program such as FSWEP is the fact that it helps to create and integrate vertical links in the entire education system from formal schooling to professional training
·         Information needs were identified. The irony is that even where locally relevant educational materials based on agricultural research experiences in Africa exist, there are not knowledge-based innovation systems that enable efficient access to this information.
·         In a nutshell, the meeting at the University of Zambia echoed issues that we came across in South Africa: lack of institutional capacity to offer training due to financial, physical, technological, and human resource constraints. The Faculty Council felt the AAAPD could play a very pivotal and supportive role in mobilizing resources; even technologies considered to be obsolete in North America would be significantly more functional compared to what is currently used in some African institutions. This discussion also extended to the Ministry of Agriculture where it was noted that similar institutional constraints cited above have virtually made many forms of collaborative research, training, and extension impossible. Government research was still characterized by very weak human and institutional capacity for designing, implementing, and managing scientific research. It was also noted that there were deficiencies in agricultural research management and scientific quality, a point that was also echoed during the ACSS meetings and common to most sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, the current institutional and programmatic separation of universities and national agricultural research institutes was seen as a major stumbling block to science, technology, and innovation. The Council asked: “Can AAAPD play a role in breaking down these institutional and programmatic barriers?”

Side Meetings

The Zambia meetings were quite hectic because of limited time allocation to this activity. Nevertheless, additional meetings were held, including the following:

Dr. Perpetua Kalala (Senior Policy Director – FAO Regional Office for Southern Africa). Dr, Perpetua Kalala is a highly knowledgeable FAO professional who endorsed the AAAPD concept and was very instrumental in linking us up with gender experts on the continent. She felt that AAAPD is highly relevant and can play a catalytic role in creating conditions and capacities for moving the continent into the 21st century. There was complete unanimity in her view regarding challenges of capacity building and the marginalization of the rural sector. Dr. Kalala also noted that AAAPD needed to guard against perpetuating the “dependence syndrome” in which communities in certain rural areas have tended to resort to expecting donors to “provide solutions”. AAAPD needs to differentiate itself by offering a very long-term strategic view and solution; working directly with the beneficiary constituencies while giving the beneficiary a capacity to be independent and self-sustaining.

Dr. Mary Bwalya (Clinical Paediatrician - World Health Organization, Southern Africa Region): A very productive discussion with Dr. Bwalya focussed on the impact of malaria, HIV/AIDS, and other health issues on women in rural areas and how this erodes the capacity of women to engage in sustainable rural livelihoods. Dr. Bwalya stated that health issues must be an integral part of any strategy aimed at building capacities for rural women in agriculture because of the direct impact of health on labour supply and labour productivity.

Dr. Jones Govereh (Senior Policy Coordinator – Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa – COMESA): The meeting with Dr. Govereh was attended by Dr. Jeranyama who had finally managed to fly to Lusaka from Boston after initial UK Visa difficulties that prevented him from flying to Southern Africa in the first place. Dr. Govereh was highly supportive of the AAAPD concept and strongly felt AAAPD had a pivotal role to play. He identified the following issues: i) connect with networks already operating in Africa on agricultural issues; ii) join professional associations in Africa; iii) adopt a few African institutions and make a success story out of them – others will see this and be won over; iv) must identify liaisons on the continent; v) learn from other successful Diaspora organizations like the Indian Diaspora that was responsible for the highly successful IT industry in India; vi) negotiate with publishers to provide reduced rate access to online journals for African institutions; in turn give publishers “free” access to AAAPD portal to advertize their products.

Hon. Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane (Minister of Finance). The meeting with Hon. Dr. Musokotwane did not take place because he had to accompany the President on a foreign mission. However, Dr. Musokotwane sent Edmund a personal email reply that was highly supportive of the concept of AAAPD and its mission, noting that Zambia already had a Diaspora Desk at the Office of the President (State House). Dr Musokotwane conveyed our AAAPD concept note to his other colleagues in the cabinet. Dr. Musokotwane was Edmund’s classmate during undergraduate studies.

Section 3: Zimbabwe

Dr. Peter Jeranyama and Dr. Stephen Machado

Dr. Jeranyama and Dr. Machado had personal interviews with several community leaders in Zimbabwe including;

Professor E.O. Enwerem, Division Chairman of Clinical Practice and Patient Care at the National University of Science & Technology, Faculty of Medicine, Bulawayo. This conversation centered on malnutrition and poverty and how the faculty is dealing with severe cases of malnutrition and food poisoning as people would eat anything they found. The collapse of the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe has caused resurgence in diseases that the country had not dealt with in more than 30 years, and ones which had been contained. All these can be traced to unavailability of food.

Mr. Abraham Kamanga, Manager at Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe (AgriBank), Bulawayo.  Peter discussed the issue of access to credit with Mr. Kamanga for the agricultural community.  Mr. Kamanga stated that due to the collapse of commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe, AgriBank now rarely gives credit/loans for agricultural related activities. Peter thought this contradicted the very rationale for AgriBank’s existence which requires the Bank to provide credit to the farming community. Instead AgriBank is involved in normal banking functions such as savings and current accounts for customers from all socio-economic backgrounds. There is no confidence in the security of tenure of current farmers; as well, the lack of collateral security was the reason why AgriBank’s portfolios of activities were shifted from agriculture to the general economy.

Rev. A. B. MacLean of Ingwenya Mission, Umguza, near Bulawayo. This was a very interesting conversation with the man of the clothes.  Rev. MacLean finds himself having to help with agricultural recommendations of his parishioners because the extension service has either collapsed or they simply do not know what they are doing. He wanted to know in what ways AAAPD could help his church members and people around his mission to grow better crops for their own food consumption and to market the excess on the market. He had a lot of questions on fertilizer recommendations and crop rotations. He stumbled upon Peter’s name through Peter’s 2000 publication on smallholder cropping systems of Zimbabwe. Peter has since connected Rev, MacLean with the Zimbabwe’s Agricultural Research Department.

Mr. Jaymore Gotora, newly settled farmer in Goromonzi. Mr. Gotora invited Peter to the farm in Goromonzi where Mr Gotora raises chicken, cattle and grows maize. His major concern was the poor quality of seed maize. Mr Gotora feels the old seed they used to get from Seed-Coop is no longer the same and has observed a lot more variability in his crop although the crop is treated with the same amount of fertilizer. Unfortunately, he could not get help from the extension workers as they were mostly unavailable perhaps looking for money in other enterprises to feed their families. The issue of mechanized agriculture featured a lot in the conversation, access to capital and agriculture loans. In the past he had been forced to sale all his maize to the government run Grain Marketing Board and he is still owed payments arrears for two years. Mr. Gotora bemoaned the absence of private buyers of agricultural commodities.

Ms. Tineyi Chakanyuka, Seed Services, DR&SS Harare Research Station. Ms. Chakanyuka is a Research Officer at the Harare Agricultural Research Station and wondered if AAAPD would entertain a proposal to (i) establish a seed health laboratory at the station and (ii) provide support to train farmers on seed production principles. According to Ms. Chakanyuka, the seed certifying agency has been rejecting a lot of seed due to poor seed production practices since the land reform. New farmers are not trained in seed production and the rejection of some hectares of seed would have caused a severe shortage of good quality seed; the country is now relying on imports. On the other hand, the quality of imports is not assured since neighboring countries would keep the best seed to themselves and sale the worst.  She cited an example where they imported a sorghum variety from a neighboring country and only to find out that the seed had been infected with kernel smut—a seed borne disease in post control trials. However, the damage had already been done as this seed had been distributed in the growing area and now they have a problem at hand of trying to eradicate that seed borne disease.

Dr. Christopher Nyakanda, Private Fruit Tree Breeder & formerly Senior Lecturer University of Zimbabwe.  Dr. Nyakanda is a renowned crop scientist and had risen to the position of senior lecturer in the Crop Science department at the University of Zimbabwe.  He left formal employment to become a private fruit tree breeder. He was concerned about how major agricultural development agendas put emphasis on agronomic crops at the expense of fruits and vegetables which are equally important in food security.  He suggested that for sustained agricultural production the focus should be on commercialization of small growers so they can effectively participate in the economy. He raised the issue of access to credit as a major hindrance to expansion.

Ms. Faith Ndlovu, Bulawayo.  While on the trip Dr. Peter Jeranyama interviewed and recruited Faith Ndlovu, a recent graduate from University of Zimbabwe’s Faculty of Agriculture for a Masters degree at UMASS Amherst under his tutelage. Faith will be attending UMASS beginning the spring 2010 semester.

Mr. Philip Taylor, of Capstone Seeds, Howick, South Africa. I met Mr. Taylor in Johannesburg and he had just returned from a seed market assessment in Zimbabwe and Malawi.  He had been encouraged by the use of multiple currencies in Zimbabwe and he felt that was good for his business as well as others. To date, he has set up a seed warehouse in Harare and they have started to market seed for this season. He felt like competition was very high on common commodity crops such as maize but very low on pasture and fodder seed. They as a company had made more profits marketing fodder and pasture seed. I asked him how he raised and where he raised his pasture seed. I was surprised to hear him say that all his seed was imported from New Zealand. They breed and multiply in New Zealand. He figured out that the cost of separation, cleaning and maintaining purity either in Zimbabwe or South Africa was too high compared to transportation charges he pays to transport seed into Africa from New Zealand.

Mrs. Danisile Hikwa, Director of the Department of Agricultural Research and Specialist Services with its headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe. Dr. Machado had a one and half hour long meeting to introduce AAAPD concept and its objectives. She was very excited about the prospect of partnering with AAAPD in the development of African agriculture. She pledged the full support of her institutions and associated scientists. She stressed the need to work with the Zimbabwe Farmers Union and the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union for this project to be successful. This entails going out there and meeting the farmers and rural development administrators to get a grasp of the problems in the rural areas before formulating research or project strategies.  However, she indicated that there were obstacles to their full participation. The first was connectivity. They have poor internet service and very few computers that are also antiquated. They also lack transportation and financial resources to do the fact finding mission needed to launch AAAPD projects. Retaining staff was also a big problem as many leave for better working conditions and remuneration. Our discussion led to a bigger meeting where we made a presentation about AAAPD and its goals. This meeting is described below.

Dr. Gibson Guvheya, The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF): The establishment of ACBF was created to solve the severe Africa's capacity problem and to invest in indigenous human capital and institutions in sub-Saharan Africa. The ACBF was established in 1991 by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)), African governments and bilateral donors and is based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Membership comprises the AfDB, UNDP, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and 41 African and non-African countries and institutions (Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Congo (Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Finland, France, Gabon, Ghana, Greece, India, Ireland, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, The Netherlands, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sudan, Swaziland, Sweden, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Japan has in the past contributed resources to ACBF.

Dr. Guvheya indicated that although ACBF was initially geared toward institutional capacity building in the field of administration and economics, ACBF has now realized the importance of agriculture and is initiating programs in this field. Therefore the timing of the formation of AAAPD was perfect and ACBF is willing to join AAAPD as an institution and collaborate in human capacity building in agricultural and related fields. Issues that arose are reported below. 
Institutional Contacts
University of Zimbabwe, Mt Pleasant, Harare. At the University of Zimbabwe we had a group meeting comprising faculty, graduate students and the Faculty of Agriculture Executives (Professor Charles Mutisi, the Dean and Associate Professor Justice Nyamangara, the Associate Dean) and heads of departments. This was a well attended meeting with at least 50 people in the room.  Stephen Machado and Peter Jeranyama represented AAAPD at this meeting. We gave a power point presentation of the vision, mission and objectives of AAAPD.  We opened the floor for question and answers.  The dean and faculty were excited about the opportunity to partner with AAAPD and they wanted to know how they can become members since the organization is for those operating from outside the continent. We explained this as a partnership with our African counterparts while those in the Diaspora become members on an equal footing with partners. Graduate students though AAAPD was a granting organization where they could apply for scholarships to go study abroad and we tried by all means to manage their expectations and to let everyone know we were on a fact-finding mission and to assess potential partnerships in the future. Issues that arose are reported below.

Department of Agricultural Research and Specialist Services (DR&SS), Harare. This meeting was attended by more than 20 Research Officers including three divisional directors of Crops Research, Animal & Pastures and Services. We were well received at this meeting. Stephen and Peter did not know the reaction we would get at this meeting because both Stephen and Peter had worked at this research station 17 years ago. We were so pleasantly surprised to be received like the prodigal son who had come back home.  Issues that arose are reported below.

Issues Indentified
·         Human capacity development: All the individuals and institutions we talked with brought up this issue as their most important priority. Attrition due to poor or total collapse on the economy had rendered mostly public institutions ineffective at providing services.  Most of the human resources remaining are not adequately trained to handle the pressure of the job and most of them hold first degrees and in some instances are trained only up to a diploma level. The directors at DR&SS felt that for one to become a proficient researcher, they must have graduate degree training. Currently, they have less than 8% of their staff with such qualification. They also felt that current issues of biotechnology, biosafety and intellectual property rights are not well understood and they do not have the know-how to deal with these issues and yet they are expected to have scientific and policy positions on the issues. At the University of Zimbabwe also the issue of staff development came up. In the past they had programs of staff development but the bonding system did not work as expected to retain that capacity. The recent economic crises exacerbated the loss of experienced lecturers to neighboring countries. Certain courses in the program have not been taught in years due to the lack of expertise in those areas.
·         Institutional development: Most agricultural institutions in Zimbabwe have nearly collapsed from a cascade effect of the ill conceived and implemented land reform.  Capital flight has not made things any easier.  The need to develop markets for inputs and for produce and regulatory mechanism that govern such institutions; develop policy networks that help to lobby and inform policy makers. There is very little public investment in agricultural institutions in both human and capital goods.
·         Resource mobilization: Access to modern equipment and instruments. Fundamental tools like computers are absent. They wondered if those in the Diaspora could mobilize such resources even if they are second hand that would help immensely. Operational budgets to be able to visit research sites, to actually buy research inputs, extension activities and teaching resources.
·         Internet access: Harare Station has only three computers with access to internet on an intermittent basis and only the research directors had access to those. The same thing at the University of Zimbabwe that access to internet was difficult and as faculty you would have one day a week access for one hour. In addition to access, the issue of electronic journals came up and they wanted to find out if AAAPD could enable them to have access to these resources through its web portal to facilitate literature searches and to keep up with the state of the science.
·         Mentorship programs:  This came up mostly from female professionals who wondered if AAAPD could facilitate mentorship of young women into agricultural sciences by pairing them with successful female scientists in North America.
·         Research and  Contact Leave: To facilitate information exchange and in building bridges
·         Establishment of regional offices with regional representatives to facilitate AAAPD projects. These regions could follow the current political or economic boundaries e.g.  SADC, ECOWAS.
·         Need to develop value chain for small holder agriculture to enable them to engage in international trade. Marketing of raw and unprocessed produce will not greatly improve the current small holder farmers’ situation.

Section 4: Malawi
Dr. Edmund Mupondwa, Dr.  Stephen Machado, Dr.  Peter Jeranyama
Dr. Joseph Rusike, IITA Chitedze, We met Joseph Rusike almost by accident. Peter was well acquainted with Dr. Rusike from their graduate student years at Michigan State University.  Joseph is an agricultural economist working on impact assessment with IITA in Malawi. We talked to Joseph about the role of AAAPD and we asked him for his opinion on how he sees AAAPD. He was very blunt to us and told us that he thought we would have limited impact since we had left the continent and had become irrelevant to the African struggles. We provided a counter argument to his thesis and he suggested that we should in calculate an impact assessment in our programs to be able to measure actual impact. He had been discouraged through his research because their impact had been minimal. Joseph provided us a driver and a vehicle from his program for our use for half a day.

Dr. Kishombe, Assistant Director of Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS), Malawi.  Dr. Kishombe was our host at Chitedze Research Station.  We discussed issues of capacity building and resource mobilization. He was excited to be associated with AAAPD and wanted to hear from us what role his institution could play to make our program a success. Input subsidy program was discussed with Dr. Kishombe and he felt that it has helped Malawi to become food self reliant.

Dr. Banda, Director of Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS), Malawi. He was happy that we included Malawi as one of the stops during our whistle tour. He also indicated the seriousness the current government of Dr. Bingu wa Muthariki is emphasizing on agricultural production and food security. He said things could not have been better because the President is also the minister of agriculture and has a formal doctorate in agricultural economics. We felt we had support from the very top and they made it clear to us that we would get all the support we needed to execute AAAPD programs in Malawi.

Institutional Contacts

Chitedze Research Station, DARS, Malawi. After initial institutional report of Chitedze Research Station and the rest of DARS by Dr. Kishombe, Stephen Machado introduced the AAAPD team and our purpose for coming to Malawi. Edmund Mupondwa gave a 30 minute power point presentation on the vision, mission of AAAPD and the role of the Diaspora in economic development, giving examples outside agriculture. Edmund also noted how African leaders had started Diaspora desks at key institutions to catalyze economic development. Peter Jeranyama gave a presentation after Edmund on the objectives of AAAPD within the 12 months of our planning grant and where we see ourselves going past the initial planning phase. Question and answer section took most of the time and several issues were raised which are summarized below. We had a rude awakening in Malawi because of a miscommunication, our meeting that was supposed to take place on Thursday ended up happening on Friday and this meant us changing flights out of Lilongwe as well as extending our hotel stay. We joked among ourselves as a team on how inconvenient this could have been to people from a different culture. As for us we brushed aside the inconvenience, although it came in form of a cost to see the bigger picture on why we were in Malawi in the first place. We can safely say we accomplished our objectives on this trip.

Issues Indentified

·         Human capacity development:  Attrition due to poor remuneration. They also felt that current issues of biotechnology, biosafety, and intellectual property rights were not well understood and they did not have the knowledge to deal with these issues and yet they were expected to have scientific and policy positions on the issues.
·         Institutional development:  The need to develop markets for inputs and for produce and regulatory mechanism that govern such institutions; develop policy networks that help to lobby and inform policy makers. There are very little public investments into agricultural institutions in both human and capital goods.
·         Resource mobilization: Access to modern equipment and instruments. Fundamental tools like computers are absent. They wondered if those in the Diaspora could mobilize such resources even if they are second hand that would help immensely. Operational budgets to be able to visit research sites, to actually buy research inputs, extension activities and teaching resources.
·         Internet access: Poor access to internet electronic journals came up and wanted to find out if AAAPD could enable them to have access to these resources through its web portal to facilitate literature searches and to keep up with the state of the science.
·         Research & Contact Leave: To facilitate information exchange and in building bridges as well as formal training at graduate level.
·         Gender issues to be looked at in an African context
·         Engage the politicians and lobby for increased investment in rural infrastructure development. The face of many African parliamentarians is changing. They are getting more and more educated and much easier to engage with and they understand the urgent need to invest in Africa

Section 5 Summary
In summary, AAAPD was very encouraged by the overwhelming endorsement and support that it received throughout this mission. The issues that were identified were identical across the region, reflections of the dire development situation. Capacity building was a recurring theme in many discussions that we had. As a matter of fact, it seems to capture many facades of the development problem facing the region. A key output under this objective was to reach out to 3,000 Africans on the continent through e-discussions and meetings to promote AAAPD and the cause of African smallholder farmers and agribusiness. The SADC was one of the three teams visiting Africa and we reached out on a face to face including meetings and one-on-one meetings with 512 Agricultural professionals in four countries (number does not include e-mail contacts). A second team went to West Africa at the same time with the SADC team and they will be reporting on their outreach efforts, and a team is yet to go to East Africa. The East Africa is planning to travel between January and February 2010. 



  1. Adventure is a great thing to do you know every thing about world when you in adventure.......Every adventure has many learning subject.
    African Trips

  2. we offer online financial help to those in need of funds for the following reasons,pay bills,starting of various business,personal funding uilding of home, and other financial needs apply here very easy just email us and your financial problem is solve withing a short period of time with affordable interest rate of 3% contact us now fast and durable funds raising for all email us now