Boubacar Balde visited Guinea and Burkina Faso between 4 February and 24 March for project FICESSA. He conducted numerous interviews in Conakry with stakeholders involved in industrial crops in Guinea. This was followed by fieldwork in areas of oil palm and rubber production in the forest region of Guinea (N’Zerekore and Yomou prefecture). Boubacar surveyed about 180 households involved in rubber, oil palm and food crop cultivation to understand the local dynamics between industrial crops and food crops.
In Burkina Faso he visited Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso and Hounde to understand the institutional landscape of cotton production. He met representatives of cotton companies (SOFITEX, FASO COTON, SOCOMA), farmers’ organizations (UNPCB), government agencies and research institutes (INERA) among others.
Alexandros Gasparatos and Marcin Jarzebski visited Swaziland between 4 and 21 March. They trained a team that will collect in excess of 600 household surveys for project Food Security outcomes of Industrial Crop expansion in Sub-Sahara Africa, FICESSA in sugarcane and cotton growing areas at the Northeast of the country. They also organized a workshop to identify potential causal links between sugarcane production and food security in the region. This event brought together some of the key players in the region such as the Royal Swaziland Sugarcane Company (RSSC), the Swaziland Water and Agricultural Development Enterprise SWADE), sugarcane growers’ associations and traditional authorities
Alexandros Gasparatos was one of the co-organisers of the 6th International Conference on Sustainability Science (ICSS2016) in Stellenbosch, South Africa (2-3 March 2016). The event explored how Sustainability Science can help solve the challenges that Africa is currently facing. Alex co-organised with Frans Swanepoel (University of the Western Cape) a special session on “Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security”. Speakers discussed key challenges related to food security in Africa, how agriculture has been driving economic development across the continent and the role of gender in ensuring a competitive agricultural sector in Africa.