Scale Agricultural Research to respond to Domestic Needs -(AUDA)-NEPAD CEO

The Chief Executive Officer of the African Union Development Agency, (AUDA)-NEPAD, Dr. Ibrahim Assane Mayaki has reiterated the call for African solutions to be applied to resolving African challenges.

As all major global supply chains continue to come under stress as a result of the somehow uncoordinated steps taken by various countries in an attempt to get ahead of the COVID-19 crisis, the continent of Africa is more pressured than before, to look at inward solutions to address the challenges posed to its food system, in particular, by the pandemic.

Dr Mayaki underscoring the need for local solutions to receive the appropriate level of attention and the resource they deserve intimated that,

“…paradoxically, and for far too long, the continent has been notorious for shelving its research findings and importing solutions from far away…African solutions as agriculture research do exist and they must be taken to scale to respond to domestic needs”.

While commending the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), on its instrumental role in driving the CAADP agenda in its early days, Dr. Mayaki lamented the apparent erosion of the gains made over the years, due to neglect primarily because of lack of public funding for agricultural research, indicating that the 1% allocation by states to agricultural research is not only inadequate, but it is also not forthcoming in some cases;

“Let us remind ourselves that our funding model is still heavily reliant on limited public sector resources…we need to innovate and intensify our advocacy for more public investment to flow into agriculture; we should be doing this by regularly reviewing the evidence of the returns to public investment  to agriculture research and development compared to other types of public agricultural investments; and by showing these statistics, we put pressure on them to make sound choices…”

Dr Mayaki identifies the Science Agenda for Africa’s Agriculture as an African instrument for achieving the CAADP target of doubling agricultural productivity on the continent by 2025.

Concluding his remarks, the CEO of AUDA-NEPAD, Dr Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, stresses that fixing the food security challenges in Africa must be the duty of mainly African stakeholders and that the research which is being promoted on the continent, must be fit for purpose. Dr Mayaki also says that approaches to solving the challenges facing Africa’s food system, must be multi-faceted and allow for the exchange of knowledge and ideas, hence the need for a stronger FARA.

The AUDA-NEPAD Chief Executive has been speaking in the first regional and continental e-forum for hosted by FARA and partner implementing agencies of the CAADP ex-pillar IV, namely AFAAS, ASARECA, CORAF and CCARDESA. The e-forum which was the first in the series of the CAADP XP4’s response to the COVID-19, takes a comprehensive look at the contribution of agricultural research and innovation in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 in Africa.

He CAADP XP4 programme is funded by the European Union and administered by the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD.

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