Master Class in #Agribusiness Management Southern Africa Edition : November 10-12, 2014

As part of the learning and networking experience in the Master Class in #Agribusiness Management Southern Africa Edition, November 10-12, 2014, participants toured Greenway Farms (Pty) Ltd, South Africa owned by Mr. Vito Rugani and Mr. Vincent as business partners. As part of our welcome at the carrot farm and industry, Mr. Vito Rugani spoke intensely on efficiency as a key to a successful #Agribusiness in Africa. He further challenged participants not to be “professional dreamers”. Enjoy the video below!

Why we need a secular sabbath

As technology accelerates our lives, many of us feel an urgent need to slow down. One seductive solution: A secular sabbath. Pico Iyer makes the case, in this meditative excerpt from his new TED Book, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere

The idea of going nowhere is as universal as the law of gravity; that’s why wise souls from every tradition have spoken of it. “All the unhappiness of men,” the seventeenth-century French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal famously noted, “arises from one simple fact: that they cannot sit quietly in their chamber.” After Admiral Richard E. Byrd spent nearly five months alone in a shack in the Antarctic, in temperatures that sank to 70 degrees below zero, he emerged convinced that “Half the confusion in the world comes from not knowing how little we need.” Or, as they sometimes say around Kyoto, “Don’t just do something. Sit…

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The Art of Stillness in an age of distraction

TED Blog


The “T” in TED stands for technology. So it might sound counterintuitive that we would release a book about the need to unplug. 

But we live in a madly accelerating world, where new technologies — for all their benefits — are making our lives more crowded, more chaotic and noisier than ever. There’s never been a greater need to slow down, tune out and give ourselves permission to be still. Thus, our new TED Book: The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer.

A veteran travel writer who has journeyed from Easter Island to Ethiopia, Cuba to Kathmandu, Iyer may also seem a counterintuitive choice to pen this book on the importance of staying still. After all, his first TED talk explained why he thinks of India, Japan, the UK and the US as different facets of his “home.” But Iyer is an unexpected sage on the topic, and…

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African animal agriculture: Grasping opportunities as a great livestock transition gets under way

ILRI news

Presentation (above) and abstract (below) by Jimmy Smith 

ILRI director general Jimmy Smith made a keynote presentation at the 6th All African Conference on Animal Agriculture (AACAA), held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, in Nairobi, Kenya, 27–29 Oct 2014.

The slide presentation is above and a summary below.

Over the coming decades, global demand for animal-source foods is predicted to rise a great deal faster than that for crops, driven primarily by and in developing countries, where human populations are increasing and rising incomes and urbanization are driving changes in diets traditionally based on grains and tubers and now switching to include more milk, meat and eggs.

ILRI keynote at AACAA: Slide 3

Africa is outstanding in this regard, with recent estimates predicting milk demand to triple and consumption of monogastric products (pork, chicken meat and eggs) to increase by up to six-fold by 2050. Such unprecedented growth presents both opportunities and challenges for…

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The big thaw: Zimbabwe comes in from the cold


The last few weeks have seen a flurry of diplomatic activity, culminating in the announcement that the European Union is to remove restrictions on financial aid to the government, and a new $300m programme would start in the new year focused on governance, health and agriculture.

This is long overdue. The sanctions imposed by western countries have done far more harm than good, and have provided an unnecessary political block to progress. The announcement was made by the new EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Phillipe van Damme, and he was flanked by ambassadors from ten other EU countries, including Britain.

The thaw with Britain continues too. The new UK ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing, presented her credentials to the President recently (there’s even a youtube video of the event!), and she tweeted enthusiastically about the opportunity to discuss UK-Zimbabwe relations, describing her new posting as her ‘dream job’. An interesting interview…

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Using Gamification to improve knowledge of Agriculture in Africa – Farm Defenders #ICT4Ag

Kalu Samuel's Blog

In recent times gamification has been used to learn new skills, however I always thought improving knowledge of Agriculture in Africa using gamification is not possible until I played the Farm Defenders game. The Farm Defender is a 3D farm simulation game spanning the entire continent of Africa that lets you create farms in every environment, from the lush tropics to the barren deserts. Grow your crops and become wealthy all while preventing disease, pests, and maximizing yield using real-life African farming techniques sustainably.

The Farm Defenders is an initiative to “gamify” economic development in Africa by realistically simulating local conditions. The simulation is realistic to the details of the local soil type, weather, and natural challenges and is not your typical farming simulation video game.

IMG00394-20131105-1010 Playing the Farm Defenders Game at the #ICT4Ag13 conference in Kigali, Rwanda.

Here’s a synopsis from the Farm Defenders website:

“This game…

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