ECOWAS Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Economy and Environment Pledges Support for ARIFA

17th January 2020, Cape Verde.

Hon. Sekou SANGARE, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Economy and Environment of the Economic Community of West African States, has pledged his commitment to FARA’s Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship for Africa (ARIFA), ahead of its announcement later this year.

On the margins of the governing council meeting of CORAF, the Executive Director of FARA, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo discussed with Commissioner Sangare, 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).

Commissioner Sangare has been extremely receptive of the initiative and has indicated that FARA could count on him and his support for the capacity development of ECOWAS citizens in the area of agricultural research and innovation.

Dr Yemi Akinbamijo 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.

The meeting was preceded by a field trip that allowed the participants to have a first-hand appreciation of the physical environmental challenges confronting the agricultural sector of the Republic of Cape Verde. The field trip was at the instance of the Director for Agricultural Research Institute of Cape Verde (INIDA) with a first visit to the Sao Felippe Research station. The work at the research station is principally focused on hydroponics as a major production system for horticulture since the country experiences long spans of drought. The mission was also able to appreciate firsthand the diverse coping mechanisms with drought, FAW and rocky terrain that hamper the use of farm machines.

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