AgResults addresses global challenges in food security and agriculture by generating market-oriented solutions. The initiative aims to achieve significant improvements in the wellbeing of the poor and vulnerable in developing countries with a fund of up to $100 million, to be administered by the World Bank. The governments of Australia, Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are supporting this effort.
In the coming years, AgResults will launch a series of pilots that address some of the biggest problems in global food security and agricultural development. The initiative’s portfolio of pilots will represent a diverse mix of agriculture and food security issues, testing different types of pull mechanisms in different regions globally.
Through October 2011, the World Bank has solicited 38 pull mechanism ideas from 24 experts in four Thematic Groups focused on in the areas of (1) Inputs/Increasing Yields, (2) Outputs/Post-harvest Management, (3) Livestock, and (4) Nutrition. An Expert Advisory Group has recommended a number of those ideas for donor funding.
The initial set of pilots, focusing on maize production in Sub-Saharan Africa, include:
- Incentivizing the adoption of on-farm storage technology for smallholder farmers. The on-farm crop storage pilot will focus on Kenya. The pilot will offer prizes for storage capacity sold and technology innovation in two target regions: the Rift Valley and Eastern provinces of Kenya. The pilot is designed to encourage private sector participants to develop innovations in on-farm crop storage technology, while addressing a range of issues faced by smallholders in accessing appropriate storage solutions.In Eastern Province, the pilot will be designed to catalyse innovation specifically for on-farm crop storage solutions that are resistant to the Larger Grain Borer (LGB) pest, as this region was identified as experiencing the greatest incidence of LGB outbreaks owing to its arid climate.
- Encouraging innovative distribution of a breakthrough technology to reduce aflatoxin contamination. The aflatoxin control pilot will provide incentives for smallholder farmer adoption of a particularly promising aflatoxin control technology called AflasafeTM. This technology has been shown to reduce aflatoxin contamination. of maize grain by between 80 and 99 per cent in field tests in Nigeria, and the pilot will focus on demonstrating a successful model for increasing smallholder adoption of an aflatoxin biocontrol. The pilot will focus on maize in Nigeria, as the country is the largest producer and consumer of maize on the African continent, and is furthest along in registering AflasafeTM as a biocontrol product. The pilot aims to address persistent barriers to the widespread adoption of biocontrol technology by Nigerian smallholders through a premium per-unit payment for maize that is verified to contain a high prevalence of AflasafeTM (a strong predictor of low aflatoxin levels) at designated maize collection points.
- Building a market for new vitamin A-enhanced varieties of maize. The biofortification pilot aims to support the rollout of ProVitamin A (PVA) maize in Zambia by stimulating the grain market for the new hybrid varieties of maize through incentives aimed at industrial millers. While the developer of PVA maize, the non-profit organisation HarvestPlus, already has push-financed programs aimed at introducing new seed varieties into the market and supporting smallholder adoption, the AgResults pilot will aim to stimulate longterm demand for new PVA maize products in mainstream secondary markets.
Additional pilots will be explored in the coming years, potentially including livestock vaccines and fertilizer innovation as well as new ideas related to increasing crop yields, decreasing post-harvest losses, increasing livestock productivity and improving nutrition.
The Expert Advisory Group consisted of
- Craig Courtney Independent Consultant
- John Hamilton Dodds Founder, Dodds and Associates
- Michele Veeman Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the Department of Rural Economy at the University of Alberta
- Peter B. R. Hazell Professor, Center for Environment, Development & Policy, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
- Susan Horton Associate Provost, Graduate Studies, and CIGI Chair in Global Health Economics, Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo
- Monty Jones Executive Secretary, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)
- Marília Regini Nutti General Manager, EMBRAPA (The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation)
- Lindiwe Majele Sibanda CEO, Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network
- Giancarlo Spagnolo Professor of Economics, University of Rome ‘Tor Vergata’
- David Spielman Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
- Elizabeth Jean Woods Chief Scientific Officer, Department of Employment, Economic Development & Innovation, Queensland
Under Mexico’s G20 Presidency, Vice Ministers/Deputies of Agriculture from the countries of the G20, and invited countries (the “G20 Agriculture Group”) met in Mexico City with the aim of articulating goals, focusing efforts and establishing sound commitments to address food security challenges under a global perspective.
Given the importance of Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) and especially R&D activities in each country’s respective production systems, we commit to explore additional ways of enhancing international cooperation for the effective management of R&D activities and agree to:
Facilitate the exchange of experiences and policy dialogue on AIS at a high level, and as a follow up of the G20 Conference on Agricultural Research for Development, we support :
- The Meeting of the GCARD to take place in Uruguay in October 2012.
- Meetings of G20 Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) or highlevel agricultural research officials from G20 member countries, other interested countries, and International Research Organizations such as CGIAR, with the goal of identifying global research priorities and targets, facilitating collaboration between public and private sector organizations in the key areas, most likely to drive sustainable productivity gains, and tracking progress on established goals over time. The first MACS meeting will take place in Mexico in September 2012.9/16
- Invite existing mechanisms and platforms to consider ways to facilitate international collaboration and information exchange on sustainable agricultural innovation and growth.
- Focusing agricultural R&D cooperation on helping developing countries, particularly those least developed to enhance capacitybuilding and promote agricultural knowledge sharing and transfer.
- In addition, we emphasize the need to strengthen efforts at the national, regional and global levels to assess, identify, prioritize, monitor and evaluate investments in AIS in order to a) collect and maintain a comprehensive database on expenditures on agricultural innovation; and b) develop tools and methods to assess the performance and impact of innovation systems.
8 – 10 June 2012. LIBREVILLE, Gabon. During the build-up to the G20 Summit in Mexico and the Rio+20 Summit in Brazil, over 600 economic, financial and political policymakers met for the first New York Forum AFRICA.
Throughout 30 hours of debates and taskforce meetings, the participants of the New York Forum AFRICA discussed the key issues facing the African continent: the facts behind the African take-off, the different economic models that can thrive there, regional integration, natural resources, agriculture, innovation and entrepreneurship, human capital, the relations between Africa and the United States and China, the energy equation, foreign investment, safety and governance requirements and the role of the next generation of political and economic policymakers on this continent and the African diaspora.
DEBATE 4 AGRICULTURE: HOW CAN WE TURN AFRICA’S COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE INTO A GLOBAL FORCE?
• Can agriculture be both a force for economic development and an entrée into global markets for Africa?
• Where are the most interesting innovations occurring? What’s needed to ensure food security?