The Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A): ‘Walking-the-talk of a science-led agricultural transformation’

The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) organized a workshop themed ‘Walking-the-talk of a science-led agricultural transformation’ on the implementation of the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A) in support of the Sustaining CAADP Momentum and the 2014 AU Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Africa Agricultural Growth and Transformation (A3GT). The workshop was held from 13-15 May 2015 at the FARA Secretariat in Accra, Ghana. Africa’s AR4D institutions came together to explore the modalities of working together and the institutionalisation processes that will lead to a functional platform for critical joint actions at continental, regional and national levels. The workshop was attended by representatives of FARA management and board, the sub-regional research organizations (ASARECA, CCARDESA and CORAF), AFAAS, ANAFE, NPCA, CGIAR centres, GFAR, national agricultural research institutes, universities and a farmer organization (PAFO).

The workshop was officially opened by Hon Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana. He confirmed the key pathways for transforming agriculture as captured in the CAADP. In welcoming participants, Dr Charity Kruger expressed appreciation that the development of S3A is being translated from the planning to operationalization. S3A has potential to change Africa’s agriculture and should be operationalized to drive implementation of CAADP.

Opening speech by Hon Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Environment,  Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana (2nd right), assisted by  Dr Charity Kruger, Chair of the Board of FARA (1st right);  Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director, FARA (2nd left), and  Dr Irene Annor-Frempong, Divisional Manager & Strategic Priority Leader,  Integrated Capacity Development (1st left)

Opening speech by Hon Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana (2nd right), assisted by Dr Charity Kruger, Chair of the Board of FARA (1st right); Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director, FARA (2nd left), and Dr Irene Annor-Frempong, Divisional Manager & Strategic Priority Leader, Integrated Capacity Development (1st left)

The workshop agreed that there was a prima facie case for repositioning FARA and the other AR4D institutions into a renewed Forum (“a Repositioned FARA”), with FARA providing secretariat and convening functions. The focus of the workshop is on implementation of the S3A to ensure that science influences the transformation agenda at the country level. However, with the imminent cessation of the Multi-Donor Trust Funds supporting majority of the AR4D institutions at the end of 2015, the financial sustainability of the AR4D institutions offered the most compelling reason for the ‘renewed forum’ discussion and the emerging recommendations for the institutional re-engineering of the AR4D institutions, previously CAADP Pillar 4 institutions.

Short-term priorities, strategies and action plans for implementation of the S3A were identified, with focus on four action areas:

(i)  A Repositioned Forum for effective delivery of the Science Agenda;
(ii) Mainstreaming the Science Agenda into NAFSIPs;
(iii) Advocacy, communication and social marketing; and
(iv) Resource mobilization and management.

The workshop agreed on the following as a way forward towards implementation of the S3A in the short-term:

(i) Architecture of the renewed Forum (Repositioned FARA)

  • Need for a Forum to help implement the S3A and mobilize resources for common interest;
  • Ensure solidarity and coherence as well as thorough, rigorous and focused planning and reporting;
  • Identify champions to advocate for the agenda of the Forum;
  • Feasibility of organizational restructuring of FARA Secretariat to have a Board and a Council of Ministers;

(ii) The S3A process, started at the instance of the Dublin Process, but gave way to the Accra Consensus that defined the process for the development of the Science Agenda to ensure African leadership and ownership. The importance of situating the implementation of theS3A in this context is;

  • Africa should take ownership at the regional and continental levels but trade offs will be necessary;

(iii) The subsidiarity principle should be underpinned by efficiency;Joint planning to be operationalized and underpinned by a joint reporting system;

(iv) The Forum to facilitate the development of guidelines for mainstreaming S3A into national programmes and processes;

(v) In the short-term and transitional period, the Forum will engage in joint funding proposal development;

(vi) Management of joint funds will depend on the instrument;

(vii) Cost containment measures will be used wherever possible, e.g. Regional mobility for Capacity Strengthening (ReMoCaSt) effort will take on-board sharing of human and technical resources;

(viii) Flagships will focus on commodity value chains and key thematic areas; Agreed priority areas and actions for short-term delivery, with specific outputs, activities, timeframes and responsibilities.

Participants at the Science Agenda wokshop

Participants at the Science Agenda workshop

The focus of this Science Agenda workshop was on Sustaining the CAADP Momentum priorities in the next decade as enunciated in the 2014 AU Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Africa Agricultural Growth and Transformation.

 

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