Dr Yemi Akinbamijo the Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) visited Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Dévelopement CIRAD at Montpellier on 25th January, 2016 and expressed his extreme satisfaction over the French agricultural research and international cooperation organization working for the sustainable development of Tropical and Mediterranean regions. He showed his interest in activities carried out by the URs in Africa, with partnership modalities (in the North as well as in the South) and was able to assess the installed capacity and how African research could make better use of it. He sees FARA as manifestly a key partner in establishing CIRAD’s modalities of work in Africa and in considering ambitious and sustainable initiatives such as the IntensAfrica.
In his remarks, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo elaborated on Africa’s mechanism to enhance the deployment of science for agriculture to improve livelihoods. This he elaborated on three main points being Africa’s development context, Agenda 2063 and the CAADP results framework. On Africa’s development context, he emphasized the “Africa Rising” narrative such as rising incomes and rising inequality in which poverty is now deeper in Africa than elsewhere in the world as seen in the rate of youth unemployment.
Talking on the Agenda 2063, Dr Akinbamijo sees inclusive growth and sustainable development through Integration, accountability and peace as the main key to its achievement. He further stressed on inclusive growth that Agriculture employs about 2/3 of the labour which earns the lowest income. Hence, to deliver the expected impact on inclusive growth, agriculture should be science and innovation driven to increase productivity in a sustainable manner, it should lay greater emphasis on value addition and encourage markets / trade which should require complementary investments in terms of infrastructure, energy, integration and the likes.
Speaking further, he expatiates on the CAADP Results Framework which focusses more on the transformation and Sustained Inclusive Growth of Agriculture with outcomes of Wealth creation and poverty reduction; Improved Food and Nutrition Security, Resilience; and Environmental sustainability. FARA was created in response to demand for an African-owned continental platform to strengthen agricultural RESEARCH hence, FARA’s initial focus was on strengthening agricultural research institutions (national and sub-regional); enhancing coherence of NARS research across the continent; to be a mechanism for donors of agricultural research in Africa by coordinating their investments and to represent Africa in Global fora like the GFAR.
FARA derives Mandate from Constituents such as the Stakeholders in Africa’s research and innovation system (represented by SROs and apex bodies of stakeholders); the African Union Commission (AUC) with FARA being its technical arm on agricultural research issues from 2005 till date; the AU-NEPAD where FARA is mandated to serve as the Lead Institution of CAADP Pillar IV—Agricultural Research, Technology Dissemination and Adoption since 2003 of which Pillar IV mandate lapsed in 2012 upon phasing out of CAADP Pillars as foci for implementation of CAADP’s agenda and the AUC and NEPAD’s mandate to FARA to lead the development and implementation of the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa.
In discovering the opportunities for strengthening FARA-CIRAD collaboration, the current collaboration is centered on the PAEPARD – IntensAfrica and the potential to expand this to include:
On the next steps, the Executive Director of FARA showed interest in the participation of FARA in the European initiatives to create an Eranet Cofund initiated in January 2016, the formalization of a partnership between FARA and CIRAD and the participation of CIRAD in FARA’s 7th Science Week scheduled to hold from 13th to 16th June in Kigali, Rwanda.
Among people present at the meeting were Alain Billand-Director Department of ES, Cirad, Daniel Barthélemy-Director Department of BIOS, Cirad, Joël Sor- Director, DSI Cirad, Valérie Verdier-Director ECOBIO IRD, Nadia Mannin-Thomas-Partnerships Manager CGIAR Consortium Office, Florent Engelman-Deputy to the IRD France Sud Representative, deputy Directors and other staff.