Brasilia, Brazil: The presentation of the debut Science Agenda for Africa Agriculture spiced up the visit of the FARA Delegation to Embrapa Headquarters during the weeklong working visit to Brasilia under the leadership of Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo the Executive Director of FARA.
The visit was organized to strengthen the existing collaboration between Embrapa and FARA on issues of agricultural research and development in Africa. The working relationship between FARA and Embrapa dates back to 2010 when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together towards the development of African agriculture was signed by the two institutions. In the spirit of a truly South-South collaboration, the MoU is being operationalized through the joint implementation of the flagship scientific program dubbed Africa-Brazil Agricultural Innovation Market place. The core elements of the Market place is Policy dialogues, forum for capacity strengthening and partnership in agricultural research for development. The institutional arrangement places FARA to actively facilitate the interaction of Africa agricultural researchers with Embrapa-based scientists with a view of exchanging knowledge, technologies and inventions.
So far, the Africa Brazil Innovation market place has supported about 66 research projects in Africa out of which 10 have completed their project cycle with impressive technological outputs; other 25 will be closing in the course of 2015, while the others will progress as planned. The impressive success of the partnership arrangement within the Africa-Brazil Agricultural Innovation Market place has attracted the extension of the project to stakeholders in Latin-America and the Caribbean. Furthermore, it has attracted the development of a new project that aims at scaling out the different knowledge and technologies from the market place to end users to achieve innovations with measurable socio-economic benefits.
The new project is named “Building on Successes of the Innovation Market Place” (MBoSs). The MBoSs project is foreseen to take off in 2015 with the key objective of supporting the scaling of a minimum of eight technologies with potential for broad based innovations mainly from the Africa-Brazil Innovation Market place and other prominent initiatives in Africa. We thankfully acknowledge the immense support of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. The DFID (UK) has also indicated interest in joining the platform with provision of similar support to MBoSs.
A third initiative rooted within the Embrapa Technical Reference Unit (TRU) aims to establish centers for Sustainable Agriculture in some African countries. The initiative has commenced its inception phase with funding support from DFID. The inception phase will last one year and will put in place the needed partnership, governance and management framework for the implementation of the main activity phase for five years. A similar partnership arrangement between FARA and Embrapa will be used for this initiative; the role of FARA will revolve around formation of the stakeholders coalition for the implementation of the project and management of the implementation frame in Africa.
A highpoint of the working visit is the signing of the contract extension documents for the implementation of the Africa-Brazil Agricultural Innovation Market place between FARA and the Embrapa. The initial contract was scheduled to end by July 2015; however, the extension will keep the partnership active till July 2020.
The presentation of the Science Agenda for Africa Agriculture generated huge excitement in the course of the visit. The leaders of Embrapa consider the development of the science agenda as the way to go to strengthen the contribution of science to the continued growth of the transformation agenda across Africa. While receiving the Portuguese version of the Science agenda document, from the Executive Director of FARA, Dr. Mauricio Lopes the president of Embrapa applauded the vital role that FARA is playing in the development of Africa agriculture and he affirmed the commitment of Embrapa as a reliable partner of FARA in the crave to make science deliver Africa agricultural development.