International Workshop on "Increasing Agricultural Input and Output Trade Through Innovative Market Information Systems in Africa" by IFDC

Background Market information enables farmers, traders, processors, consumers, investors, policy-makers, researchers and other interested parties to act and make decisions from a well-informed position. For farmers, market information is crucial. It allows them to make informed decisions about crops and planting dates, when to harvest, store and exploit profitable market opportunities, as well as understanding market requirements. Access to reliable market information also assists farmers in planning production to meet market demand and negotiate prices on a more ‘even footing’ with wholesalers and retailers. Wholesalers and retailers also derive benefits from improved market information with regard to procurement, marketing and distribution. Improved information allows traders to move agricultural inputs and produce from surplus to deficit areas and make financial decisions about maintaining stock. Market information tends to reduce the risks and lower the transaction costs of farmers participating in the market. These efficiency gains can lead to increased participation in markets and greater stability of prices and supply/demand. More efficient and transparent agricultural markets benefit all of the participants (growers, traders, investors, policy-makers, processors and consumers) and can favorably improve food security. For more than 35 years, IFDC has been actively engaged in implementing projects in South and Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa that have contributed to the development of competitive input and output markets in particular and agribusiness in general. A key component of these development projects is Market Information Systems (MIS) that provide reliable and timely information to involved stakeholders. In addition to promoting competition, these initiatives promote market transparency for the benefit of consumers. This workshop program will draw on lessons learned and best practices from IFDC and partner organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe and Asia. Workshop Program Objective The five-day workshop is designed to provide:
  • A better understanding of how to design, operate and finance Market Information Systems that generate effective and timely market information for key stakeholders.
  • A review of best practices and lessons learned from existing Market Information Systems that fit in their country context.
  • An international forum for an objective analysis and open discussion of new initiatives to improve the collection, processing and dissemination of market data for agricultural trade and food security.
Who Should Attend? This program is designed to meet expectations of all stakeholders interested in Market Information Systems, notably public and private MIS managers, policy-makers, agro-processors, extension workers, agribusiness specialists, bankers, transporters, exporters, leaders of trade and producer organizations, researchers and all others who work on data management and agricultural trade-related programs. Representatives of African Governments and Ministries involved in agriculture, trade, economic planning and policies and procurement, as well as international development agencies and NGOs supporting those sectors will find the program extremely useful. Workshop Program Content The program will cover various topics including, but not limited to: MIS theory:
  • MIS use at the global, regional and national levels.
  • The role of a Market Information System and the importance of market transparency.
  • Major components of a Marketing Information System.
  • Market Information Systems and value chain development.
  • Trends in Market Information Systems: innovations and limitations.
MIS best practices:
  • Developing and implementing a well-designed Market Information System: lessons learned from existing and successful Market Information Systems.
  • Country-specific case studies focusing on developing viable market information strategies and systems.
  • Developing agricultural markets through a Regional Market Information System.
  • Commodity clusters and Market Information Systems.
  • MIS impact on trade in agricultural inputs and outputs at national and regional markets.
MIS operations:
  • Strategies in data collection, processing and dissemination of market information.
  • Issues in market intelligence and market research operations.
  • Strategies to ensure the sustainability of MIS that meets the commercial needs of traders, agribusiness and farmers.
  • Building partnerships and alliances around Market Information Systems (e.g. public and private partnerships, etc.).
Workshop Program Methodology Ensuring that specific interests of the participants are covered, the workshop will include formal sessions and breakout groups. Field trips and interactive discussions involving the participants and lecturers will be integral parts of the program. Key workshop topics will be developed in detail through the presentation of a number of invited speakers. Time will be allotted for discussion and debate among invited speakers and the workshop participants. The speakers will be invited from a broad spectrum of private sector and national and international organizations that are actively engaged in the development of market information tools, strategies and systems. Discussion sessions during the workshop will be organized in a panel format to ensure that all data, viewpoints and issues are equitably addressed. The invited papers will be designed to set forth data and stimulate discussion. The workshop participants are expected to actively participate in all discussions and make a major contribution to the deliberations. Faculty The program faculty will include subject matter experts from IFDC and partner organizations involved in the subject. Venue The training will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, at IFDC’s East and Southern Africa Division office, based on the ICIPE Compound – an excellent facility offering a fully equipped training center, a 34-room guesthouse and free WIFI Internet access. ICIPE has recently made significant upgrades to its guesthouse based on recommendations received from their guests. The IFDC divisional office is next door to the ICIPE training center. Participants will be extended IFDC’s negotiated special rate of US $65.00 per person/per night for bed and breakfast (inclusive of taxes). This rate is valid for reservations made NO LATER THAN July 26, 2012. After this date, reservations will be subject to room availability and at the best available rate. Participants should plan to arrive in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday, August 26, 2012. Although transportation (with the exception of field trips) falls under the participants’ responsibility, IFDC can arrange transportation to/from the airport for participants upon request at a cost of KES 1,800 (approximately US $20) one way and KES 3,600 (approximately US $40) round trip. IFDC East and Southern Africa Division ICIPE Compound Duduville-Kasarani, Thika Road P.O. Box 30772-00100 Nairobi, KENYA Direct Telephone: + 254 (20) 863 2720 Switchboard Telephone: +254 (20) 863 2000 Telefax: +254 (20) 863 2001 Visa and Medical Insurance APPLICATIONS FOR VISAS SHOULD BE MADE AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. Participants who are not eligible to enter Kenya without a visa should apply at the nearest embassy of Kenya for a visa. All required immunizations and health formalities should be completed. Medical insurance should be obtained by participants. The training program fee does not cover any medical insurance or expenses. Cost and Enrollment The program fee for this training course is US $1,300 per participant. This fee is due with enrollment but no later than July 27, 2012. A non-refundable deposit of US $200 is required with each registration. The deposit will be credited toward the program fee which is due four (4) weeks before the program is scheduled. Thereafter, a Late Fee will apply. The program fee, less the deposit, will be refunded for cancellations made two (2) weeks before the commencement of the program. Ninety percent of the paid fee will be returned and 10 percent, in addition to the deposit, will be charged to cover administrative costs for cancellations made between two (2) weeks and one (1) week before the commencement of the program. Cancellations made less than one (1) week before the commencement of the program will receive no refund. Registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Paid participants will receive priority. Registration and program fee payments should reach IFDC by July 27, 2012. Those received thereafter will be accepted at IFDC’s discretion and incur an additional US $200 late fee. An organization wishing to enroll more than one participant should supply information and payment for each participant. Payment of the program fee can be made by: (1) check or draft payable to IFDC; (2) wire transfer to IFDC’s account in the U.S.A. through First Metro Bank, 406 West Avalon Avenue, Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., ABA number 062203955 for credit to IFDC Account number 55281; or (3) major credit card – MasterCard, Visa or American Express. The program fee covers registration, training and reference material, coffee/tea breaks, all lunches and surface transportation on field trips. The fee does not include air travel, lodging and dinner expenses, or medical and communication expenses. Participants should plan to arrive in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday, August 26, 2012. About IFDC IFDC is a nonprofit, public international organization (PIO) dedicated to increasing agricultural productivity and food production through the development and use of plant nutrients in sustainable crop production systems. Headquartered in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, U.S.A., IFDC is involved in human resource development, research and technical assistance in collaboration with public, private, national and international organizations throughout the world. IFDC has conducted about 700 formal workshops, study tours and training programs for more than 10,000 participants from 150 countries since 1974. The programs have covered a wide range of subjects including integrated soil fertility management and fertilizer use efficiency, fertilizer production technology, agro-input dealerships, competitive marketing, supply chain management, investment analysis, policy reforms and numerous specialized topics. For Registration and for more information, visit the official Website.