A delegation comprising representatives from the FARA Secretariat, CORAF/WECARD, KARLO, CNRA and IITA visited the African Development Bank (Afdb) head office in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire on the 14th November, 2016 to present the concept note for African Agricultural Research Programme (AARP).
Speaking at the opening of this meeting, Dr. Chiji Ojukwu, Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry Department at the Afdb noted the need for research to be in line with the new thinking about Agriculture in Africa. Such new thinking is seen as- demand-driven, private-sector led, business-like and attractive.
He said that the transformation of African Agriculture is going to be heavily dependent on dynamic agribusinesses and as such, research should be appropriately positioned to respond to this shift.
Dr. Ojukwu noted the need to widen the search for partners and the private sector to support the AARP initiative. He stressed that the AARP should not duplicate the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), but should be aimed at strengthening the capacity of the national and sub-regional systems (NARS & SROs) to lead the African research Agenda.
The concept note was presented by Dr. Tizikara Clensensio, Lead Specialist Monitoring and Evaluation at FARA. It outlined the overall goal of AARP to which is to strengthen and support multi-sectoral AR4D to generate and promote the adoption of innovative scientific knowledge, technologies and solutions for improving the efficiency, resilience and sustainability of the food system in Africa.
Dr. Clensensio said the AARP will target, within the framework of the eight TAAT priority intervention areas, four thematic areas where as elaborated in the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A) where science and technology is expected to make significant impact.
The four thematic areas include:
The AARP is predicated on modern science playing a major role in the areas of: i) sustainable intensification, as an organising framework for enhancing productivity, at all scales of production; ii) modern genetics and genomics to deliver targeted genetic improvement in agriculturally important species of crops, livestock, fish and trees; and, iii) foresight capabilities, including strategic planning, modelling, and analysis of ‘critical technologies’, as a means of systematic analysis and interpretation of data and perspectives to better understand trends and future challenges.
In the presentation of AARP implementation strategies, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, the Executive Director of FARA said the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) in Africa shall be the main implementation actors working in partnership with CGIAR centres, international agricultural research institutions, advanced research institutions (public and private), the SROs and FARA.
He highlighted that the implementation shall draw on collective actions, which includes the sharing of science capacities across countries through centres of excellence (African institutions), sharing of knowledge and information and mobility of expertise across countries. This move to build critical mass is intended to overcome the fragmentation in Africa’s agricultural research landscape.
FARA shall be responsible for overall coordination of AARP and a coordination unit responsible for technical and fiduciary management of the AARP shall be established within the FARA Secretariat.
About 24 high level technical staff from Afdb, FARA, the Sub Regional Organisations and AFAAS attended the meeting. The next AARP Preparation Mission is planned for the first quarter of 2017.