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  • Page 1 of 19

    Cultivate Africas Future (CultiAF)

    Call for Concept Notes

    July 2013

    Canadas International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

    Australian Centre for International Agriculture Research (ACIAR)

  • Page 2 of 19

    Table of contents

    Background ................................................................................................................................................... 3

    1. Objectives and Focus of the Fund ......................................................................................................... 7

    2. Eligibility for the Fund ........................................................................................................................... 8

    A. Applicant Organisations and Research Location ............................................................................... 8

    B. Management ..................................................................................................................................... 9

    C. Type of Research ............................................................................................................................. 10

    3. Budget and Duration ............................................................................................................................... 12

    4. Selection Process .................................................................................................................................... 12

    5. Selection Criteria .................................................................................................................................... 13

    6. Target Timelines ...................................................................................................................................... 15

    7. Concept Note Format and Requirements ............................................................................................... 16

    8. Submission Deadline .............................................................................................................................. 16

    9. Permission to Share Information ............................................................................................................ 17

    10. IDRC Standard Grant Conditions ........................................................................................................... 17

    11. Country Clearance Requirements ......................................................................................................... 18

    Appendix A: CultiAF eligible countries .................................................................................................... 19

  • Page 3 of 19

    Background In 2012, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the

    International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada announced a four year CAD 15

    million Cultivate Africas Future (CultiAF) partnership. The main objective of this competitive

    research fund (the Fund) is to support applied research in areas vital to achieving long-term food

    security with a focus on post-harvest losses, nutrition and water use in Eastern and Southern

    Africa.

    The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) is part of the Australian

    Governments Official Development Assistance Program. ACIAR was established in 1982 to

    commission expert Australian and international agricultural research centres to carry out research

    projects in partnership with their counterparts in developing countries. ACIAR shares knowledge

    and technology with developing countries, to help poor farmers grow more food for their

    families on their small land holdings.

    The Australian International Food Security Centre (AIFSC) was established within ACIAR to

    accelerate the delivery of research innovations for food security. AIFSC will lead and fund

    ACIARs involvement in the CultiAF partnership. The AIFSC works through partnerships to

    achieve its goal of helping smallholder farmers and other poor households access sufficient,

    accessible and nutritious food, by providing a bridge between agricultural research innovations

    (technologies, policies and practices) and implementation.

    The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is a Crown corporation created in 1970

    by the Parliament of Canada. IDRC builds the capacity of people and institutions in developing

    countries to undertake the research they identify as most urgent. It works with researchers as they

    confront contemporary challenges within their own countries and contribute to global advances

    in their field.

  • Page 4 of 19

    The Agriculture and Food Security program of IDRC supports research that generates new

    options for more equitable and productive agriculture, to improve food and income security

    among poor women and men in developing countries. It works with other organisations to

    develop and test innovations technological improvements, and better agri-food policies that

    promote sustainability so as to be truly effective, for current and future generations.

    IDRC will be responsible for the management and administration of the Fund, and establishing

    funding agreements with recipients according to IDRC rules, policies and procedures. IDRC

    will also monitor and liaise with the recipients receiving funding. Strategic decisions and

    governance of the partnership will be a collaborative effort between senior managers at ACIAR

    and IDRC.

    Rationale of the Fund

    Estimates of food insecurity and malnutrition indicate that Africa still has the highest proportion

    of undernourished people in the world. Research has considerable potential to improve the food

    security situation by identifying ways in which effective interventions can be undertaken.

    Investing in small-scale agriculture is one of the most effective ways to meet the food security

    needs of vulnerable populations especially women and children while building economic

    livelihoods. Three key factors to ensuring food security in Africa are: the need to improve post-

    harvest systems, deepening understanding of linkages between agricultural production and

    human nutrition, and improving water usage and management practices.

    Farmers throughout Sub-Saharan Africa have long suffered serious losses of their harvested

    crops and livestock. Recent estimates by the World Bank put the annual value of post-harvest

    losses in Sub-Saharan Africa at US$ 4 billion per year for grains alone. Research recently

    supported by IDRC demonstrates that: the magnitude of post-harvest losses varies considerably

  • Page 5 of 19

    across commodities and throughout the value chain; rigorous documentation of losses is

    extremely limited and most studies use ad hoc methods; post-harvest losses are almost

    completely unstudied in some countries; and there is some confusion between physical and

    economic losses and the implications for food security. There is, therefore, considerable scope

    for additional research to find effective ways of reducing post-harvest losses while increasing

    returns through product quality control, market segmentation, processing, and other forms of

    value addition.

    Systematic approaches linking food production and the nutritional and health needs of farmers

    and consumers are also under-researched. Most of the current interventions are focused on the

    quantitative and calorific dimensions of food security. Multi-dimensional nutritional approaches

    are largely under-addressed. The links between agriculture, nutrition and health, and the socio-

    economic dimensions that affect food supply and demand, require rigorous primary research

    along with system-wide approaches, as they hold the potential to accelerate positive health

    outcomes.

    Sub-Saharan Africas agricultural productivity is the lowest in the world, with poor water

    availability, access, and management being key factors that constrain output. Irrigation is under-

    developed in this region, but could, if well harnessed, potentially make a significant impact on

    food security. Agricultural production is high on the agenda of national governments, yet the

    existing irrigation schemes in the region have performed below expectations due to technical and

    governance problems, and water scarcity in key river basins. A recent study commissioned by

    the AIFSC indicated that irrigation development is thought to have reached just 20 per cent of its

    potential across the region and is considered a major strategy for adapting to climate change.

    Research to find more effective ways to utilize and sustainably manage rainwater and small scale

    irrigation programmes could dramatically raise agricultural productivity.

  • Page 6 of 19

    National and regional agricultural research organisations in Africa are conducting research aimed

    at the generation and uptake of demand-driven innovations. Some large national research

    systems (e.g. in Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa, Tanzania) and sub-regional research

    organisations are demonstrating considerable capacity to lead collaborative research. The recent

    development of an African Agriculture Science Agenda should facilitate coordinated priority

    setting. New initiatives (i.e. Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa; the East African

    Agriculture Productivity Programme, Feed the Future, Grow Afri