A policy roundtable recently organized by the Program of Accompanying Research for Agricultural Innovation (PARI) , has been recognized as an important milestone in the development of Africa’s agriculture. This statement was made by Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, the Executive Director of FARA during the roundtable which took place from the 31st July-1st August, 2017 in Accra, Ghana. The meeting was co-organized by CSIR-STEPRI, FARA, AGRODEP and ZEF.
The roundtable was organized to present preliminary PARI research findings of relevance to key stakeholders engaged in national innovation processes; ground-truthing the findings with local expertise and receiving guidance on further research; and joint identification of policy implications of the research, especially scope for promising innovations that would serve agricultural development, jobs and food security.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Director (ED) of FARA, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo stated that the dialogue is coming up at an opportune time when concerted efforts are geared towards the use of agriculture to solve the various social and economic problems that are ravaging the continent. He said that the logic behind the choice of agriculture as source of solution to most social problems is not fetched; as agriculture is the most prominent livelihood in Africa that is engaging an average of 65% of the population.
Further, Dr. Akinbamijo opined that getting agriculture to become a prosperous livelihood will automatically mean turning 65% of Africa’s inhabitants into comfortable and prosperous individuals, which is the most desired change on the continent, and this is do-able by all and sundry.
“The lever for achieving the desired change in Africa agriculture revolves around its science. I mean the use of Science for Agriculture and not Agricultural Science. We need to leverage the power of science to actively move our agriculture to the next level. In history, all Revolution, be it Green (fertilizer and Hybrid seeds), Blue (water & Fish); White (Milk); yellow (Flowers and vegetables); Biotechnology and ICT in the West and Asia, and all revolves around effective leveraging of the power of science” .- Yemi Akinbamijo.
The ED demonstrated conviction that the next revolution will be in Africa but that must be propelled by coherent and strategic actions driven by science moves. Citing an active propellant in this case as the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa(S3A), he said FARA secretariat and all its forum members are driving this agenda with its implementation about to take off in the first set of countries.; Results from this are expected to usher in the ear of new green revolution at each country level.
Dr. Akinbamijo further stated that the implementation of the S3A in African countries will not succeed without strong and effective policy arrangement. He appreciated the good efforts of the IFPRI, ZEF and CSIR/STEPRI Ghana towards the implementation of the PARI project for broad based and sustainable generation of innovation in Africa; and specially appreciated the support of the Government and people of the Republic of Germany, for the good support to agricultural research in Africa and the global effort to eradicate hunger in the world.
Participants at the event included leading experts from the Ghanaian Ministries of Agriculture, Science & Technology and Finance (Chief Director level), research organizations, academia, private sector, farmers’ organizations and non-governmental organizations, and a team of the Germany supported Green Innovation Center in the country.
The primary research inputs into the roundtables included: the PARI studies conducted by the national partner in collaboration with FARA and ZEF, the eAtlas and Rural Typology map of Ghana and results of the crop and economic modelling. Research findings from other national or cross-cutting studies where they are particularly relevant for the national context were also presented.
The outcomes of the roundtables included: a set of policy and investment implications arising from the research jointly identified by the participants; a meeting report summarizing the main points of discussion; guidance for revisions of the draft research products taking into account feedback received at the workshop ; guidance on possible future research of interest to the country in the context of PARI and a strengthened network of key stakeholders engaged in agricultural innovation in the country.