FARA hosts the Orientation, Planning, and Advocacy Strategy Validation Workshop for Regional Advocacy Champions of the Building Nutritious Food Basket Project.

As part of FARA’s efforts in coordinating policy engagement and regional advocacy for increased investment and policy change to support the scaling up biofortified crops at the regional and sub-regional levels in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), a two-day Orientation, Planning, and Advocacy Strategy Validation Workshop was held for Regional Advocacy Champions of the Building Nutritious Food Basket (BNFB) Project from 21st-22nd March, 2017 at the FARA Secretariat in Accra, Ghana.

Dr. Aggey Agumya Chairing the Validation Workshop for Regional Advocacy Champions.

The BNFB Project co-implemented by CIP, CIAT, CIMMYT, IITA, HarvestPlus, and FARA is testing a model to scale up biofortified crops for nutrition security initially in Nigeria and Tanzania. The three-year project builds on the achievements, successes, and scaling up approaches of the Reaching Agents of Change (RAC) project and broadens its focus from orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP), promoted under RAC, to a multi-crop or “food basket” approach consisting of biofortified high iron beans, pro-vitamin A (orange) maize, cassava and sweet potato.

The goal of the BNFB project is to help reduce hidden hunger by catalysing sustainable investments in the utilization of biofortified staple crops at scale, and to demonstrate how this can be achieved through structured partnerships involving a range of CGIAR centres and programs as well as national, regional, and international stakeholders.

Its objectives are to generate new investments by governments, donors, NGOs and the private sector to scale up the adoption of biofortified crops in Nigeria and Tanzania and build the capacity of implementation agencies to design and implement technically strong and cost-effective interventions that drive uptake of biofortified crops in SSA.

Speaking of behalf of FARA’s Executive Director at the workshop, the Director of Corporate Partnerships and Communication, Dr. Aggrey Agumya affirmed that FARA is happy to play its role to promote biofortification agenda. He stated FARA’s strategic plan 2014-2018 which recognises nutrition as a key cross-cutting issue; and also recommends measures on policies and its advancement towards agricultural interventions that strengthen food and nutrition security.

The regional advocacy also aims to incorporate biofortification and food-based approaches to combating micronutrient deficiency in the policies of regional and sub-regional organizations.

Biofortification is an emerging technique that has been proven to be one of the most cost- effective, sustainable, culturally acceptable approaches with the potential to reduce micronutrient deficiencies in Africa”- he said.

Consequently, Dr. Agumya described the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa as a broader guiding framework for other agricultural research institutions in Africa. Further, he spoke of the upcoming event in April 2017 which entails engagement of 55 countries in Sub-Regional Workshops to sensitize and plan for the mainstreaming of the Science Agenda in countries’ Agricultural and Science policies. He sees this as an important opportunity for mainstreaming biofortification in the countries programmes, processes, and policies.

He encouraged the promotion of biofortification and stated that in line with FARA’s mandate, the key target of the regional advocacy on biofortification is “influencing inclusion of biofortified crops as prioritised value chains in the national and regional agricultural investment plans and its mainstreaming in the country level”. The attendees include the 12 regional advocacy champions who are experienced people in strategic positions of agricultural and nutrition institutions in Africa.

Dr. Aggrey Agumya in a group photograph with the Regional Advocacy Champions.

The objectives of the two-day workshop, which brought together the Regional Advocacy Champions, BNFB regional and country advocacy team, and other stakeholders are to:

  • Orient regional champions to issues of micronutrient deficiency in sub-Saharan Africa, biofortification agenda and BNFB project
  • Review and validate the report on situation analysis of policies, strategies, initiatives and institutions relevant to the biofortification agenda (the SITAN report)
  • Review and validate the draft BNFB regional advocacy strategy
  • Define strategic role of the Regional champions in BNFB activities in 2017-2018
  • Develop work-plans for the regional champions

Expected outputs include:

  • Commitment to BNFB objectives
  • Commitment to BNFB regional advocacy strategy
  • Agreement on the division of labour among regional champions
  • Work plans for respective champions developed

For pictures of the #bnfbproject workshop click here.

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