Africa looks forward to scaling agricultural innovations

March 3, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

FAO PIC

 

By

Alpha Jallow

Experts believe that well conceptualised technologies can yield immense social economic benefits and impacts.

A two day meeting, organised by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and partners, aimed at gaining support at the policy and technical level, as well as national and regional levels for the implementation of the Program for Accompanying Research for Innovation (PARI), a component of the German Government led “One World – No Hunger” initiative, took place in Nairobi, Kenya recently.

The high level planning meeting of agricultural policy makers and heads of agricultural institutions discussed scaling agricultural technologies and innovations in Africa aimed at boosting agricultural growth and productivity.

“Africa is home to more than 800 million hungry people who require constant food support’, said Cabinet Secretary of the Kenya Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Africa, Mr. Felix K. Koskei, in his opening remarks.

“This underscores the need to continue harnessing and exploring sustainable production technologies and innovative mechanisms to produce more food and fibre to feed the ever growing population and supply raw materials to agricultural industries that form the bedrock for development of our economies”, he added.

 

Malabo declaration

In June 2014, in Equatorial Guinea, the Heads of State and Government of the African Union put agriculture at the top of Africa’s agenda when they adopted the Malabo declaration.

In the Declaration, African leaders made several commitments, among them to End Hunger in Africa by 2025.

This year in January, in Addis Ababa, African Heads of State and Government identified strategic action areas for implementation of the Malabo Declaration and Commitments such as to support agriculture for the development, dissemination and adoption of technologies and innovations.

The FAO supported the formulation of the post Malabo Implementation Strategy and Roadmap, through an inclusive process bringing together representatives from the public, private and civil society sectors to identify actions aimed at reducing post harvest loss and food waste.

In Nairobi, African Union (AU) Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, told the high level planning meeting that the role of science and technology in sustainable agricultural development in Africa cannot be over emphasised.

“All known advances in humanity are based on appropriate investment in science and technology. It is therefore imperative for Africa to use science to transform its agriculture, in order to deliver the needed development outcomes”, she said.

 

Agriculture innovation centres

The agricultural innovation component of the Germany One World – No Hunger initiative in Africa will focus on scaling up and scaling out agricultural innovation systems, through Innovation Centres for the agriculture and food sector to be set up in twelve countries, in order to improve food security and ensure sustainable value chain development.

In Africa the countries to benefit from Innovation Centres are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Togo, Tunisia, and Zambia.

FARA will support the Innovation Centres for the agriculture initiative using its Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) Innovation Platform (IP) approach through which it engages all actors, organisations and institutions that are involved in the agricultural sector to interact and jointly foster the development of the sector.

The FARA Executive Director, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, said that his organisation is now associated with more than 250 innovation platforms in different countries in Africa developed under the IAR4D approach.

“IAR4D as a model for generating innovations and the accompanying socio-economic benefits from agricultural research activities is readily available for scaling up and scaling out in Africa”, said Akinbamijo.

 

 

 

 

 

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Alpha Jallow

Alpha is a freelance journalist from Dakar, Senegal, having worked for the BBC African Radio service, West Africa Democracy Radio (WADR) and Radio France Internationale (RFI).

 

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