DIVAGRI
Newsletter
February 2024

Dear Reader,

As we welcome the dawn of 2024, the DIVAGRI consortium extends warm greetings and a vision of hope. May this New Year 2024 mark the beginning of transformative journeys towards revenue diversification in Africa through bio-based and circular agricultural innovations.

The project DIVAGRI is a rural community-driven initiative which aims is to explore bio-based solutions for sustainable agroecosystems, such as mobile integrated biorefineries. In the present newsletter, we invite our fellow colleague readers to explore the recent developments on the project DIVAGRI.

DIVAGRI strategically futureproofs integrated business models and capacity development to ensure the practicability and marketability of Bio-Based Solutions (BBS) within existing agri-food systems, while fostering local production, inclusive market development, collaboration among stakeholders, stakeholder capacity building (with a focus on women and youth), and the replication of value-chain integration pathways through targeted farmer interaction and commercial demonstration.

The project DIVAGRI is a rural community-driven initiative which aim is to explore bio-based solutions for sustainable agroecosystems, such as single-stage solar-supported biogas digester system, which the present communication displays with practical information.

BBS, such as biogas are advanced via technical development combined with piloting in specific locations, in the present case by a team of researchers from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, and then extended to other demonstration sites.

In the pursuit of fostering a dynamic exchange of knowledge and expertise, the DIVAGRI Project is proud to introduce the concept of Knowledge Sharing Centres (KSC). These centres will play a pivotal role in connecting research partners with demonstration fields and communities of practice, serving as dynamic hubs for collaborative learning, technology improvement, and valuable training initiatives for stakeholders across the spectrum.

As we delve into the heart of collaborative excellence, this newsletter chapter explores the strategic underpinnings of the project DIVAGRI, where synergies are meticulously crafted through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This foundational document intricately weaves together collaborative mechanisms across six vital domains, including communication, training, research, farming practices, business models, and data space. Join us on this journey as we unravel the tapestry of synergistic partnerships that propel the DIVAGRI Project toward sustainable and impactful outcomes.

By combining clear communication, inclusive strategies, and compelling synergies, the project DIVAGRI effectively aims at engaging and enrolling stakeholders and pertinent audiences, fostering a strong and engaged community around the project objectives. Together, let's cultivate sustainable pathways that not only enrich livelihoods but also nurture our environment.

Wishing you a year filled with growth, prosperity, and the positive impact of our collective efforts.

Happy New Year 2024, and may DIVAGRI continue to be a beacon of innovation and prosperity for all!

With warm regards,
Seb
Sébastien Clerc-Renaud,
Project coordinator, on behalf of DIVAGRI Project Consortium

Project Development

DIVAGRI strategically futureproofs integrated business models and capacity development, serving as pivotal support mechanisms across various fronts. Firstly, it ensures that the developed Bio-Based Solutions (BBS) are not just theoretical concepts but practicable and marketable within the existing agri-food systems. By anchoring this approach, DIVAGRI fosters the viability and relevance of these solutions, aligning them with real-world demands and opportunities.

Secondly, DIVAGRI commits to nurturing local production and commercialisation of bio-based technologies-solutions (BBS). This entails empowering communities to leverage their resources effectively, fostering self-sufficiency, and reducing dependency on external sources. Through this endeavour, the initiative catalyses economic growth and resilience at the grassroots level. 

Moreover, DIVAGRI undertakes the critical task of identifying existing markets while also cultivating new, inclusive ones. By doing so, it not only expands the avenues for implementing BBS solutions but also ensures that these interventions contribute to broader socio-economic development objectives. This inclusivity ethos extends to promoting collaboration among diverse stakeholders, emphasising the symbiotic relationship between farmers and other actors within the agricultural ecosystem. 

Furthermore, DIVAGRI places a premium on capacity building, recognising it as fundamental to sustainable progress. It endeavours to train and empower stakeholders across the spectrum, including extension officers, researchers, industry personnel, and most importantly, farmers, with a deliberate emphasis on the involvement of women and youth. By democratising access to knowledge and resources, DIVAGRI fosters a more equitable and resilient agricultural landscape. 

Finally, DIVAGRI advocates for the replication of value-chain integration pathways through targeted farmer interaction and commercial demonstration. This hands-on approach not only facilitates knowledge transfer but also showcases the tangible benefits of adopting BBS solutions along the entire value chain. Through these concerted efforts, DIVAGRI paves the way for a more dynamic, inclusive, and sustainable agri-food ecosystem in the selected African countries and beyond.

Experiments and optimisations
Knowledge Sharing Centres

To enable continuous learning and facilitate regular feedback loops among stakeholders, the DIVAGRI Project will establish Knowledge Sharing Centres (KSC) to link the research partners with the demonstration fields and communities of practice. The KSC will serve as a platform for engagement between scientists and end users by facilitating collaboration for technology improvement and providing training for trainees, farmers and the general public. The Knowledge Centres will provide technological input and know-how on production, installation, operation and maintenance of DIVAGRI bio-based technologies.

By focusing on innovations that are low cost and that make use of waste materials on farms, DIVAGRI is making innovation affordable for small farmers. They are making it possible for small farmers to co-create technologies that meet real needs in their particularly resource scarce contexts. Moreover, by involving research institutions and trialling the technologies first at pilot sites, they are further reducing the risk small farmers need to take to adopt new technologies. Once the initial testing phase has been completed between the tech developers, researchers and the COPs and LPAs on the pilot site, the farmers decide which of the technologies they wish to take across to the demo-sites to further adapt. At the demo-sites, the small farmers engage with the technologies, assessing how that particular technology is able or not to assist them in improving their productivity.

This co-creation process between the tech developers, the researchers, the farmers and the other stakeholders is not designed to be a once off event at the demo-site in the DIVAGRI research project, but rather a continuous learning feedback loop that leads to the development of a Knowledge Sharing Centre. At the KSC the technology is further interrogated by other stakeholders and its contribution is once again evaluated and disseminated to a broader audience for further uptake elsewhere.  See the diagram below where the development of the bio-based technology is fostered in the DIVAGRI research process.

Mission of the KSC. They serve as dynamic hubs for collaboration, connecting scientists and end-users to advance DIVAGRI Bio-Based Technologies (BBT) in agriculture through the exchange of insights and experiences. The mission of KSC is to bridge the gap between knowledge and action, fostering the practical application of bio-based technologies to promote sustainable farming practices and contribute to a circular economy. Embodying a commitment to continuous learning and collaboration, KSC aims to empower individuals and groups through hands-on training, cultivating expertise, and serving as catalysts for innovation in the pursuit of sustainable agricultural practices.

KSC) are designed to facilitate continuous learning and serve as channels for regular feedback on the practical application of Bio-Based Technologies (BBT), bridging the gap between scientific innovation and end-user implementation. These centres establish a crucial link between scientists and end-users, ensuring that BBT align with real-world insights and needs, contributing to a robust knowledge base and becoming invaluable resources for capacity building and knowledge replication. KSC offer more than theoretical knowledge, providing tangible platforms for hands-on experience in BBT application through fully equipped production workshops, empowering participants with practical skills.

Recognising the evolving nature of agricultural practices, KSC serve as ongoing learning platforms, offering refresher courses to keep individuals, especially farmers, updated on the latest advancements and best practices in technology implementation. Beyond education, KSC act as vibrant hubs for innovation, fostering collaboration and showcasing cutting-edge research findings and entrepreneurial endeavours, playing a crucial role in advancing the practical application of BBT and driving positive change in sustainable farming practices.

Resources

The project DIVAGRI fosters synergies through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) designed to establish collaborative mechanisms in six essential areas. Communication and dissemination: facilitating effective sharing and distribution of project-related information to enhance awareness and understanding. Training and mutual learning: promoting a culture of mutual learning through structured training initiatives to build capacities and expertise among stakeholders. Research and innovation action: encouraging collaborative research endeavours and innovative actions to address challenges and discover sustainable solutions. Farming practices: developing and promoting improved agricultural practices that align with bio-based and circular agricultural innovations for enhanced productivity. Business models: structuring sustainable and effective business models that support the integration of bio-based and circular agricultural practices into the economic landscape. Data space: establishing a comprehensive and shared data space to facilitate the collection, analysis, and dissemination of relevant information for informed decision-making.

DIVAGRI anticipates a myriad of benefits at the local level through synergistic collaboration between the project consortium and external stakeholders, resulting in a positive and lasting impact on sustainable community development. The expected outcomes include those outlined next.

1)   Knowledge exchange: the project facilitates mutual knowledge sharing between the consortium and external stakeholders, enhancing understanding of local issues, community needs, and available resources. This exchange informs decision-making and enhances project outcomes, with training programs contributing to a skilled workforce, fostering economic growth, and improving regional competitiveness.

2)   Resource pooling: collaborative efforts lead to the pooling of financial and non-financial resources, maximising impact. This shared approach results in increased funding opportunities, access to specialised skills, shared infrastructure, and improved resource utilisation. The efficient allocation of resources at the local level stimulates overall investment, economic growth, and job creation.

3)   Enhanced stakeholder engagement: involving external stakeholders ensures their perspectives are considered, fostering a sense of ownership and empowerment within the community. Engaged stakeholders actively contribute insights, advocate for success, and promote sustainability. The project gains legitimacy and acceptance, fostering social cohesion, community development, and positive public perception.

4)   Capacity building: collaborative efforts facilitate capacity building within the local community. Training, mentorship, and technical assistance empower external stakeholders to contribute effectively, fostering skills that extend beyond the project's scope. This capacity building strengthens the community's ability to address future challenges independently.

5)   Local economic development: synergistic mechanisms stimulate local economic development by creating opportunities for entrepreneurship, job creation, and skills enhancement. Engaging local businesses and suppliers has a multiplier effect, contributing to a positive cycle of economic growth.

6)   Social cohesion and empowerment: collaborative projects contribute to social cohesion and community empowerment by involving external stakeholders in decision-making processes, promoting inclusivity, and addressing social issues. This leads to increased social capital, improved community resilience, and a more cohesive and empowered local society.

Contact us today via the mail address synergies@divagri.org and explore DIVAGRI’s benefits for your project or organisation, both at individual and institutional levels.

News and Events

DIVAGRI resumes the realisation of monthly webinars every last week of the month starting February 29th, 2024 on the thematic of Africa-EU partnership for climate-smart agroecosystems. 

Project DIVAGRI aims at contributing to fostering synergistic collaboration between its consortium and external stakeholders within the Africa-EU partnership, within the scope of climate-smart, ecosystem-enhancing and low-tech practices for sustainable agroecosystems. This collaboration, grounded in shared objectives and complementary expertise, serves as a catalyst for driving positive and lasting impacts on sustainable community development across the continent. 

At its core, DIVAGRI leverages the collective strengths of its consortium members and external stakeholders to pioneer innovative solutions tailored to the unique challenges and opportunities within African agroecosystems. Through strategic partnerships, knowledge exchange, and resource sharing, the project harnesses a wealth of interdisciplinary insights and best practices to inform its interventions, ensuring relevance, scalability, and sustainability. 

The Africa-EU partnership provides a fertile ground for DIVAGRI to amplify its impact and reach, tapping into a vast network of governmental, non-governmental, academic, and private sector entities committed to advancing climate-smart agriculture and sustainable development agendas. By aligning its efforts with the partnership's overarching goals, DIVAGRI not only enhances its credibility and visibility but also gains access to additional funding, technical assistance, and policy support crucial for scaling up its initiatives and driving systemic change. 

Through collaborative research and innovation initiatives, DIVAGRI fosters the co-creation of contextually relevant solutions that address pressing challenges such as climate change resilience, resource efficiency, and inclusive growth. By bringing together diverse perspectives and expertise, the project catalyses the emergence of novel technologies, practices, and business models that empower local communities, enhance agricultural productivity, and mitigate environmental risks. 

Furthermore, DIVAGRI's emphasis on capacity building and knowledge transfer serves as a linchpin for sustainable community development, empowering farmers, extension officers, policymakers, and other stakeholders with the skills, tools, and insights needed to navigate complex socio-economic and environmental dynamics. Through training programs, workshops, and participatory learning initiatives, the project not only builds human capital but also fosters a culture of collaboration, innovation, and adaptive management essential for thriving in a rapidly changing world. 

By nurturing an ecosystem of mutual trust, respect, and shared responsibility, DIVAGRI fosters enduring partnerships that extend beyond the duration of the project, laying the groundwork for continued collaboration and collective action in pursuit of shared aspirations for a more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable future for African communities. Through its collaborative endeavours within the Africa-EU partnership for climate-smart agroecosystems, DIVAGRI exemplifies the transformative potential of synergistic collaboration in driving positive change and shaping a more equitable and prosperous world for generations to come.

View all News & Events
Engage and participate

We invite you to engage and participate in the project DIVAGRI via subscribing to the project newsletter but also via contacting directly using the email address synergies@divagri.org

The DIVAGRI project has a core objective of enhancing the productivity, income, and economic prospects of subsistence and smallholder farmers in arid and semi-arid regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. To achieve this, DIVAGRI will implement innovative bio-based solutions that will transform agricultural practices. These solutions aim to optimise agricultural production, enable crop diversification, enhance added-value, foster environmental, social, and economic sustainability, and create new local economic opportunities.

In the context of the project DIVAGRI, our participation as stakeholder and actor of agricultural production and local economies refer to the cooperative and mutually beneficial interactions, collaborations, and interconnections established between you, your organisation and DIVAGRI, involving identified products and services value chains.

Your engagement and participation aim to leverage the collective strengths, resources, and expertise of both your organisation and DIVAGRI to achieve enhanced outcomes and maximise the impact on revenue diversification in the agricultural sector.

By actively seeking and promoting engagement and participation, DIVAGRI seeks to create a harmonised and integrated approach that goes beyond isolated efforts.

Engagement and participation within DIVAGRI involve fostering collaboration, knowledge sharing, and joint decision-making among the different involved value chains. This may include sharing best practices, exchanging research findings and innovations, coordinating activities, aligning strategies and objectives, and collectively addressing common challenges and opportunities within the said value chains.

By securing inclusive engagement and participation, DIVAGRI aims to create a more comprehensive and coordinated effort that not only facilitates revenue diversification but also generates greater efficiency, effectiveness, and sustainability in the implementation of bio-based and circular agricultural innovations.

Engagement and participation are projected to be implemented within all applicable and pertinent project’s activities, to generate an effective leverage and uptake of key findings and learning from a vast range of sources, and a solid multiplication effect regarding the projection of the project’s results to other organisations and localities, incorporating the same diversity of stakeholder and actor of agricultural production, local economies and targeted value chains.

Engage today via contacting our team using synergies@divagri.org to trigger a positive participation with and for you, your organisation and DIVAGRI!

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All rights reserved © DIVAGRI | Grant agreement ID: 101000348 | Funded under H2020-EU.3.2.2.