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Building the indigenous human capacity required to support smallholders investing in horticultural enterprises

  • Establishing linkages and partnerships with higher educational institutions for promoting training and capacity building
  • Organizing in situ training sessions with the skilled and experienced partners in developing countries
  • Organizing e-learning programs with specific partners (CTA, FAO)
  • Organizing workshops and seminars open to policy makers and private sector actors (retailers and distributors in particular), to better implicate these partners in the horticultural sector


Acknowledging gender in providing knowledge resources and capacity building for men and women to support smallholder horticulture in the developing world over the last 40 years by AVRDC

Published on 14th Dec 2013

Dyno Keatinge, Director General, AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, Shanhua, Taiwan and other AVRDC staff


Article contributed by Dyno Keatinge, former Director General, AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center, Shanhua, Taiwan and other AVRDC staff (J.D.H. Keatinge, G.C. Luther, R.J. Holmer, W.J. Easdown, A. Tenkouano, R. Mavlyanova and M. Mecozzi (2013). Acknowledging gender in providing knowledge resources and capacity building for men and women to support smallholder horticulture in the developing world over the last 40 years by AVRDC. Proceedings of the August 7th Summerland, British Columbia Workshop “Partnering to Provide Knowledge Resources and Build Professional Capacity to Support Smallholder Horticulture in the Developing World”. Eds. N. Looney, D. Virchow and J.D.H. Keatinge. Global Horticultural Initiative, Bonn 11pp).

Note: This contribution was the result of a GlobalHort Workshop held in Summerland, BC in August, 2013


"Since its inception in 1971, AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center has been active in capacity building and knowledge and technology transfer among scientists and farmers worldwide. AVRDC had recognized the importance of gender-related factors in its research and capacity building efforts from its inception yet nevertheless has recently tried to give this approach substantively more prominence at an institutional level. AVRDC is aware that small-holder horticulture is principally the responsibility of women in most of Africa, Latin America and Asia and it is a means of overcoming cultural and social restrictions to undertaking activities outside the home." 

>>Full Article 


Taking advantage of the new nomadism: Mobility and large scale training in the context of horticulture for development

 Balaji Venkataraman, Director for Technology and Knowledge Management, Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Vancouver BC, Canada.

Article contributed by Balaji Venkataraman, Director for Technology and Knowledge Management, Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Vancouver BC, Canada.

Note: This contribution was the result of a GlobalHort Workshop held in Summerland, BC in August, 2013.

"There are unprecedented opportunities available to advance horticultural skills and training on a very large scale. Personal trainer-trainee contacts in this context should be viewed as optional and not an essential requirement. It would be most optimal to understand and ally with ongoing efforts to offer or gain academic credit for competence development through online courses." 

>>Full Article



I International Symposium on Poverty, Hidden Hunger and Horticulture & VI International Symposium on Improving the Performance of Supply Chains in the Transitional Economies

The I International Symposium on Poverty, Hidden Hunger and Horticulture & VI International Symposium on Improving the Performance of Supply Chains in the Transitional Economies took place 22 – 24 November 2016 in Cairns, Australia. The event, which was part of the 5-day International Symposia on Tropical and Temperate Horticulture, attracted a steady audience of around 40 participants, despite the strong competition from parallel symposia. The programme featured 3 keynote presentations, 24 oral and 3 short oral (poster) presentations. The quality of the presentations and the depth of the discussions were very impressive. On the Wednesday, a panel featuring Prof. Dyno Keatinge (Tropical Agriculture Development Advisory Services Ltd.), Dr. Stefano Padulosi (Bioversity International), Prof. Peter Batt (Peter J Batt & Associates) and Dr. Astha Thuladar (Meijo University), moderated by Dr. Hannah Jaenicke (GlobalHort) discussed with the audience “Horticulture for Sustainable Development – What does it take for lasting success?”. Key questions discussed were: why is horticulture not recognized for its important contributions to sustainable development, what needs to be done to unfold the potential of horticulture and who needs to take responsibility? The messages emanating from the discussion include making horticulture more attractive to young people, sending clear messages about the benefit of fruits and vegetables to better nutrition, improving on capacity strengthening and that there is need for innovative fundraising with new investors. While everyone has a role to play as individual ambassador, there is need for better links amongst the players in horticultural research and practice and across to local, regional and global decision takers. An interview with the panellists is available through this link.

Partnering to Provide Knowledge Resources and Build Professional Capacity to Support Smallholder Horticulture in Africa

A workshop, "Partnering to Provide Knowledge Resources and Build Professional Capacity to Support Smallholder Horticulture in Africa," was held August 7, 2013 at the Pacific Agro-Food Research Centre in Summerland, British Columbia, Canada following the GlobalHort Board Meeting. The workshop participants came from GlobalHort, CTA, Commonwealth of Learning, Association of African Agriculture Professionals in the Diaspora (AAAPD) and Hort CRSP.

Summerland Workshop (Back row left to right: Detlef Virchow, Justin Rakotoarisaona, Antonio Monteiro, Dyno Keatinge, Andrew Manu, Chris Addison. Front row left to right: Venkataraman Balaji, Elizabeth Mitcham, Norman Looney, Nora Keating, Didier Pilot)Didier Pillot, President of AgriNatura, provided the rationale for the discussion and its objectives. By sharing information about these organizations it was hoped that there could be more collaboration to better support knowledge and capacity building for African smallholders.

Dr. Pillot in his presentation explained that it is Agreenium’s plan (as member of AgriNatura) to conduct a survey on the educational (academic and professional) needs and requirements of the horticultural sector for the next 10 years and the educational format the experts imagine to be relevant in future. The targeted professionals are OPs, NGOs, industries, public and semi-public agencies, all actors that will employ young people and should find the profiles and competences they need. The questionnaire will be submitted to most of the actors in the developing world, starting with Africa and the results will be presented at IHC2014. The vision behind the survey is that universities in Europe (and North America) will develop and offer jointly post-graduate courses in H4D (mainly Master and PhD). After establishing these courses, it is envisioned that universities of the South will be included in this program (for instance Stellenbosch University in South Africa or Kasetsart University in Thailand). He feels that GlobalHort could play several roles in this project: functioning as a platform of cooperation; facilitating and promoting the program(s); insuring the quality of the program(s); and organizing the exchange of students and staff.

Dr. Detlef Virchow gave a review of the relevant outcomes from the FARA 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week event that was held in Accra, Ghana, in July 2013. This meets every 3 years. There were a thousand participants including Ministers and NGOs.  It provided a venue for sharing the lessons learned and will set the agenda for FARA. CAADP and NEPAD, which are driving forces. Africa’s GDP is increasing 6% a year but it is not trickling down to the poor.  Yields are now increasing like in in Asia.  The African Lion could become like the Asian Tiger. Dr. Monty Jones has had a major impact on agriculture in Africa. Horticulture is a business and must make money.  There was a side-event devoted to education and human resource development. FARA placed vocational training at the same level as post grad education.  The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) is leading the pace of change in knowledge and education in Africa.

Very informative presentations were given:

·   Knowledge for Development - Tools and Initiatives of the CTA Dr. Chris Addison – Senior Program Coordinator Knowledge Management – CTA

·   Knowledge Management Tools and Programs for Smallholder Farmers Dr.Venkataraman Balaji – Director, Technology & Knowledge Management, Commonwealth of Learning

·   Professional Capacity Building Objectives of the AAAPD Dr. Andrew Manu – President of the Association of African Agriculture Professionals in the Diaspora

·   Professional Capacity Building Objectives of the Hort CRSP Dr. Beth Mitcham – Director - Hort CRSP

Workshop Outcome: While there appears to be widespread acknowledgement of Africa’s need to strengthen its capacity to support smallholder horticulturists with information and professional services, there is too little cooperation and collaboration amongst the development community actors, and still too great an emphasis on staple crops. While this workshop did not result in identifying collective actions it did provide the participants with much food for thought and the chance to collaborate further.

3rd Partnership Workshop on Tertiary Agricultural Education in Africa, Stellenbosch, South Africa, November 14-16, 2012

GlobalHort was invited to participate as a result of its first participation in the 2nd Participatory TAE workshop in Wageningen in March this year and due to its facilitation activities in Tertiary Horticultural Education (THE) in 2012.

The first THE assessment in Africa published in Chronica Horticulturae (52(2), June 2012) was acknowledged by several participants (ANAFE and SLU in particular) and confirmed the deep commitment of GlobalHort in the spirit of TEAM-Africa. The GlobalHort facilitation in the EDULINK II proposal (‘EduHort’) and its stimulation of the THE network in Africa were appreciated by many African participants.

This participation was also an opportunity to refresh relationships with African networks and initiatives like ANAFE, FARA and RUFORUM, and also to strengthen already established linkages with national or regional partners.  Meeting with ANAFE, ASARECA and CORAF/WECARD offered the opportunity to invite them to support the proposal “CORIPHA II” to the call of the ACP-EU Science & Technology Programme.

A Recent seminar aids in the preparation for an EDULINK II submission

 Higher Education for Development Group Photo Angers

Higher Education for Development in Horticulture: An International Seminar” was held at the AgroCampus Ouest, centre d’Angers, France, 29-30 June 2012 in synergy with the 2nd Symposium on Horticulture in Europe (SHE2012).  In attendance were 30 participants from 23 countries and 5 continents.  This network agreed to cooperate in helping to draft a joint proposal, to improve capacity building in horticulture.  The proposal is called Hortlink2.  A number of priority recommendations and joint actions were also established: 1. Communication, visibility, awareness raising, and linkage with industry; 2. Exchanges between universities; 3 Distance learning, and pedagogic methodologies/training materials; and 4. Better exploration of data surveys on horticultural education.

The Seminar has successfully built on earlier outcomes to revitalize Tertiary Agricultural education in Africa and in the ACP more generally, from the CTA S&TAdvisory Committee since 2006, the CIPCAD workshop organized on higher education prior to the GCARD 2010, followed by the Kampala Ministerial Conference I Nov. 2010, the 2nd All Africa Horticultural Congress in Skukuze (South Africa) in January 2012, the first two TEAM Africa Partnership workshops in Ås, Norway (Oct. 2011) and Wageningen (March 2012). It has also capitalized on the former concept of regional innovation platforms on horticulture in Africa (CORIPHA) developed by GlobalHort since 2008 and never put in practice. One of the leaders in such a consolidated network is Dr Enoch Achigan-Dako, ex-PROTA, who attended most of the CORIPHA meetings.

Enoch Achigan-Dako has since joint the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin, and naturally taken on the challenge to prepare a submission for the ACP-European call EDULINK II on behalf of 6 other African Universities (and 3 European ones).
EDULINK represents a harmonized approach for the implementation of European Commission funded programs in the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) with a view to improving the effectiveness, management, visibility and hence the impact of ACP-EU co-operation in the field of higher education. The overall objective of the EDULINK Program is to foster capacity building and regional integration in the field of higher education through institutional networking, and to support a higher education system of quality, which is efficient and relevant to the needs of the labor market, and consistent with ACP socio-economic development priorities.
EDULINK II was starting in 2012 with the launch of a new Call for Proposals. This call is financed under the 10th EDF and the EU-South Africa Cooperation Instrument. The submission deadline was July 30, 2012. The opening session is scheduled for early September after which the evaluation process will begin.

Since 2008 GlobalHort has invested much effort on networking African horticultural organizations to improve capacity building. Cooperation not competition is the answer and we are very hopeful that this proposal will go through.

Tertiary Agricultural Education Capacities in Africa - A Case Study on Horticulture

Remi Kahane , Executive Secretary of GlobalHort and Didier Pillot, President of Agrinatura, have published this article in the latest issue of Chronica Horticulturae (Volume 52 Issue 2, 2012).

The paper is based on a preliminary assessment of the horticultural education capacities in Africa. The results gathered after 2 months were presented during the international workshop on Tertiary Agricultural Education in Africa March 26-28, 2012 in Wageningen co-organized by the World Bank and Wageningen International.

The paper concludes that "the future picture of THEA within the next 20 years might be 4 to 6 strong regional scientific poles articulated into a network of national training partners (universities, research and professional training centers) who would be themselves strongly connected to the socioeconomic and environmental world through the stakeholders of the horticultural value chain".

Higher Education for Development in Horticulture International workshop

Higher Education for Development in Horticulture


Higher Education for Development in Horticulture

International seminar

AgroCampus Ouest, centre d’Angers, France, 29-30 June 2012
in synergy with the 2nd Symposium on Horticulture in Europe, 1-5 July 2012


Horticulture is recognized as the essential engine for economic development. However, all major studies have highlighted the urgent need to strengthen Developing Countries’ human and institutional capacity for horticultural innovation.

Knowledge and potential technologies are evolving fast; horticulture is perhaps the most knowledge intensive and dynamic agricultural system; closer linkages between capacity building and horticultural research are needed to maintain a high level of training delivery. In the meantime, challenges are raised to better link the training of human capacities to the professional needs in the economic sector.

With regard to Africa, a recent World Bank study concluded “African universities and other institutions of higher learning ultimately will be responsible for replenishing the stock of human capital in national research and extension services, and for providing them with the broader set of skills necessary to grow agriculture in the 21st century. However, they are ill prepared at present to train the continent’s next generation of agricultural scientists, professionals, and technicians.  The report concluded “…urgent action must be taken to restore the quality of graduate and postgraduate agricultural education in Africa.”

Universities offering horticultural programmes must therefore urgently respond to the human resource crisis by strengthening and coordinating investments for the renewal of their supply:

-   Covering a wide range of complementary scientific disciplines (e.g. molecular biology, genetics, plant physiology, biochemistry, agronomy, phytopathology, biotechnology, ecophysiology/engineering , economics and policy issues);

-   Training and research safeguarding disciplinary excellence and interdisciplinary approach;

-   Incorporating transversal skills (reading, writing, group work and communication).

-   Involving non research stakeholders in defining and monitoring horticultural research questions.

Building a worldwide network of high level Tertiary Horticultural Education programmes in horticulture and linking this network with European Centers of Excellence is a major challenge.

Purpose of the Workshop

The Workshop builds on earlier outcomes to revitalize Tertiary Agricultural education in Africa and in the ACP more generally, from the CTA S&T Advisory Committee since 2006, the CIPCAD workshop organized on higher education prior to the GCARD 2010, followed by the Kampala Ministerial Conference I Nov. 2010, the 2nd All Africa Horticultural Congress in Skukuze (South Africa) in January 2012, the first two TEAM Africa Partnership workshops in Ås, Norway (Oct. 2011) and Wageningen (March 2012).

Particularly in the last of these meetings in Wageningen, TAE in horticulture was presented as one example on which it would be possible to look for establishing a general action plan at the African continental level. Such a vision would complement the current efforts at the national levels to anchor TAE reforms efforts into the CAADP processes.

Given the level of renewed interest in horticultural TAE, several ACP Universities have initiated a series of discussions to explore how they might better coordinate their efforts in horticultural education, with the objective of mutualising some services and exchanging more easily staff, students and curricula in this domain. Prior to the European Society of Horticulture congress in Angers, France, 1-5 July 2012, this workshop is intended to be the next step in that effort and to further strengthen this TAE-Partnership.


Intended outputs from the session:

1.  Identify challenges in capacity building in horticulture for the future;

2.  Draw lessons from innovative experiences of higher education and training in ARD and/or innovation in horticulture;

3.  Exchange on programmes and curricula, and recommend methodological progresses for a higher efficiency of the whole innovation chain (from the field to the lab and from the lab to the field);

4.  Discuss key strategic changes required in the functions and roles of capacity building systems at national and international levels, for these to contribute more effectively towards horticultural research & development impact;

5.  Review the capacity of Universities or research institutes to define joint programmes on priority issues defined in partnership.

6.  Discuss innovative alliances (i) between individual institutions (such as university to university agreements of co-tutoring) or (ii) between regional networks, or (iii) the design and management of multi-stakeholder capacity building platforms;

7.  Next Steps towards achieving better coordination of development partners, and further alignment with the International agenda for horticulture.


Target Audience

>     Rectors, Deans, Directors of horticultural research and innovation services, Directors of university horticultural services, Directors of research teams, Degree programme Coordinators;

>     Business and NGO leaders, Human resource department staff, horticultural research team managers, horticultural commercial managers.


Organisation (Program Agenda)

-       Duration : 1.5 days (Friday 29th and Saturday 30th in the morning) + 0.5 day (Saturday 30th in the afternoon for Hortilink2 discussion) (Program in a separate file)

-       Participation upon invitation

-       One core keynote address + a number of parallel sessions on specific issues (see below); provisional program below

-       In each session, leave as much time as possible for discussions: one case study as an introduction to basic questions to be discussed in small groups / panels; or one case study presented from different points of views (e.g. panel trainers/trainees/external beneficiaries…);

-       At least one poster to be prepared about each case study presented in the sessions (these posters will be presented at the SHE as well).



The workshop will gather 20 to 25 participants from the following partners or institutions, chosen from their role in Master degree in horticulture (running or in construction):

  • GlobalHort: Norman Looney (Board Chair), Remi Kahane (Executive Secretary)
  • DocHort Consortium: TU Munich and Humbolt Berlin (Germany), Boku Vienna (Austria), Alma Alter Bologna (Italy), Corvinius Budapest (Hungary), Agreenium (France)
  • HortCRSPs (USAID and APLU): Amanda Crump (Deputy Director of the HortCRSP, UC Davis, USA)
  • European associate partners attending SHE and extending their stay from June 29 : University of Hohenheim and Bonn, Germany, WUR Wageningen, The Netherlands, Roma3, Florence and Catania, Italy, SLU, Upssala, Sweden, USTL and UTAD, Lisbon, Portugal, Science Copenhagen and Aarus, Denmark, UP Valencia, Spain, University of Gembloux, Belgium, Gödöllö, Hungary.
  • HortAlliance partners


ECOHORT: Designing ecologically innovative horticultural systems

ECOHORT was officially launched at the Agropolis Auditorium, Montpellier, France November 8-9, 2011. At the launching workshop Remi Kahane and Didier Pillot (President of AgriNatura and a member of the GlobalHort Board) gave a presentation on international projects.


The ECOHORT project reflects the thinking that sustainable horticulture needs to be promoted and, more generally, plant agrobiodiversity managed in ways that will provide food in sufficient quantity and of sufficient quality for the steadily increasing populations in both the northern and southern hemispheres.


Numerous European initiatives for ACP countries have been created, such as the PIP-COLEACP (Pesticides Initiative Programme of the Europe-Africa-Caribbean-Pacific Liaison Committee). These initiatives must encourage stakeholders to adopt better practices in terms of food safety, human health and protection of the environment.


The ultimate goal of ECOHORT is to devise ecological horticultural systems, based on biological, socio-economic and methodological knowledge. It will provide the opportunity for exchanges between nations in the northern and southern hemispheres. The systems to be studied will be representative of the current situation and will include major production sectors, such as market gardening and fruit crops, which are particularly subject to pest and disease problems.


This project is being led by colleagues at INRA (Michel Génard and Françoise Lescourret), CIRAD (Eric Malézieux), Agrocampus Ouest (Emmanuel Geoffriau) and Montpellier SupAgro (Jean Luc Regnard). The project is being financed by Agreenium, with up to €100,000 being provided over two years (2011-2012).

Video-mediated farmer-to-farmer learning for sustainable agriculture

From June to September 2011, Agro-Insight conducted a scoping study for SDC, GFRAS and SAI Platform on the production, dissemination and use of farmer training videos in developing countries, with a focus on sustainable agriculture. Literature was consulted, the internet screened, experts and users consulted and a global on-line survey launched in English, French and Spanish.

The survey was announced via various listservs, websites and blogs (Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education; CTA;eRAILS; PAEPARD; FARA-net; FFSNet; KIT; LinkedIn Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development; Prolinnova E-group; Swiss Forum for Rural Advisory Services; and various regional farmer platforms such as ROPPA, PROPAC, EAFF).

The on-line survey, with more than 500 respondents, indicated that research institutes, universities and NGOs are better linked to professional networks and hence more easily reached through the internet than extension services, radio stations and farmer organizations. Although feedback from the food industry was relatively low, most SAI Platform members were represented.

There is a general consensus that farmers need good agricultural training videos, but they do not browse the web in search of them. For watching videos they rely mainly on outside agencies.

Farmers would watch videos on their own with their family or neighbours if video disc distribution mechanisms were in place. And they are willing to pay for video discs and video shows.

Only about 20% of all respondents have never used video to train farmers and have never searched the web for agricultural videos. Many of those didn’t know where to look for videos, hadn’t found videos on the right subject or hadn’t found videos in their local language.

About 85% of the respondents found local languages very important for farmer training videos. To ensure that videos are sharable and of use to the global community of extension service providers and farmers, producing many poor quality local language videos is not cost-effective. The zoomingin, zooming-out (ZIZO) approach shows how to make regionally relevant and locally appropriate videos. Organizations are willing to translate and use videos made in other countries if they are relevant and of good quality, and if video scripts are available. Lower quality videos serve intermediaries only and are rarely used to actually train farmers. The five priority areas for new video productions are: crops and trees, water management, plant health, soil health and farmer organizations.

The report compares the pros and cons of key models of farmer-to-farmer video production and dissemination, and discusses the implications for future capacity building and how each model could contribute content to a global web-based platform.

Most (82%) public and private service providers are keen on the idea of a new web-based platform devoted to agricultural training videos only. Many people opposed including advocacy and opinion sharing, but suggested a type of a discussion forum for users of the platform to exchange experiences on video production and use.

To reach farmers with agricultural videos, a new web-based platform is required, but not sufficient. Efforts to link people with different professional backgrounds and to establish regional and national communication, translation and video disc distribution mechanisms have to be established.

A new not-for-profit organization, called Access Agriculture, is proposed to facilitate content creation and sharing of agricultural training videos through its web-based platform and an evolving network of linkages and experts. Institutional set up and operational models for Access Agriculture have been discussed with SDC, GFRAS and SAI Platform, but are not included in this report.


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