The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), has launched the Brazilian version of the Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship for Africa (ARIFA), which will see young Africans equipped with 21st century skills and capacity to innovate. The launch of ARIFA on the margins of the Brazil Africa Forum 2019, currently underway in Sao Paulo, was chaired by Nigeria’s Minister of State for Education, Barrister Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, and was also attended by other dignitaries including Ghana’s Ambassador to Brazil, Professor Abena Busia.
Speaking during the launch, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, the Executive Director of FARA, underscored the essence of the deployment of science to propel Africa’s agriculture, which is at the heart of the ARIFA initiative, indicating that it would be difficult for Africa to be food and nutrition secure without the deployment of science in Africa’s agriculture. He also explained the genesis of ARIFA which comes under another FARA flagship initiative, the Holistic Empowerment for Livelihoods Program (HELP).
Dr. Yemi explained that under HELP, FARA is implementing the Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship for Africa, which aims to produce a new generation of fit-for purpose workforce to re-engineer the African agri-food sector to provide the change factor for rapid agricultural transformation in the next 10 years. ARIFA will facilitate regular entry of cohorts of graduates and agri-preneurs into the innovation systems apparel of FARA through Innovation Platforms (IP) and rural learning routes located in and around African institutions, universities, technical colleges and rural communities.
Professor Vladimir Oliveira Di Iorio, Director of International Affairs at Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV), speaking to the South-South collaboration between FARA and the UVF, indicated the preparedness of the UVF to partner FARA on this journey.
“We have good reasons for high expectations for this partnership…we are glad to see that UFV has become one of the most important institutions to contribute to ARIFA”
In the first cohort in 2020, the UVF will host up to one hundred and twenty (120) ARIFA Fellows in short courses related to Brazilian agri-business and in Masters programmes in agriculture and food. The UFV/FARA Masters partnership will offer places for ARIFA Fellows in all agriculture related UFV graduate programmes.
Commenting on the objectives of the ARIFA, Director of Research and Innovation at FARA, Dr. Irene Annor-Frempong explained that ARIFA fits into the wider “Africa we want” agenda. She states that the Agenda 2063 encompasses a number of strategies including the strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation for Africa (STISA) and ARIFA will contribute to the Priority One of the STISA Framework.
“ARIFA is at the heart of training those practitioners that will formulate the DNA of advancing the Science Agenda on the continent”
Dr. Abdulrazak Ibrahim, Capacity Development Expert at FARA, who moderated the launch, indicated that ARIFA was designed with the innovation systems thinking to empower young Africans with 21st century skills needed for the continent to navigate through the current global challenges including climate change and the opportunities offered by the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement.
For more information on ARIFA, visit: https://faraafrica.org/arifa/