WHO WE ARE
The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) is the apex continental organization responsible for coordinating and advocating for agricultural research for development (AR4D). FARA serves as the technical arm of the Africa Union Commission on matters concerning agriculture science, technology and innovation.
FARA was conceived in the late 1990s by a core group of committed champions, including both African scientists and enlightened donor aid officials, who believed in agriculture’s potential to lift the continent from poverty, yet realized that this would only be achieved if the continent’s weak and fragmented agricultural research systems could somehow be brought together and strengthened under a common banner. FARA was then voted into existence in 1997 by the Sub-Regional Organizations, including CORAF/WECARD, ASARECA and SADC-FANR, at the 17th Plenary of the Special Programme for African Agricultural Research (SPAAR), a precursor organization to FARA, situated within the World Bank.
FARA serves as the entry point for agricultural research initiatives in Africa designed to have a continental reach or a sub-continental reach spanning more than one sub-region. Headquartered in Accra, Ghana, FARA has been in existence for 12 years. Over this period, FARA has provided a continental forum for stakeholders in AR4D to shape the vision and agenda for this sub-sector, and to mobilize themselves to respond to key continent-wide development frameworks, notably the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP)
FARA also plays a key role in galvanizing the agricultural research for development sector, and brings a strong African voice to global forums such as the G-8 and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR).
WHAT WE DO
As a coordinating body, FARA works through collaboration with its partners, an approach driven by the principle of Subsidiarity, which devolves the implementation of programmes to the Sub-regional organizations and the National Agricultural Research Institutes NARIs.
In implementing its strategy, FARA mobilizes stakeholders around a portfolio of continent-wide programmes and projects jointly developed with the stakeholders, to address specific challenges or opportunities. Currently, FARA is coordinating the following such initiatives
- DONATA Dissemination of New Agricultural Technologies in Africa
- PAEPARD 1 & 2: Platform for African – European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development (link to description)
- RAILS: Regional Agricultural Information and Learning Systems
- SSA CP: Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Programme
- UniBRAIN: Universities, Business and Research in Agricultural Innovation
- BiomassWeb & BiomassNet: The first Pan-African expert network on food and non-food biomass
- Adaptation for Future Demands in Agriculture (AFDA)
- Regional Mobility for Capacity Strengthening (ReMoCaSt)
- Africa Human Capital, Science Technology and Agri-preneurship for Food Security Framework (AHC-STAFF)
- Programme for Agricultural Intensification in Africa (PAINT)
- African Special Progamme on the Environment and Agricultural Research (African SPEAR)
- The African Food and Agriculture Policy platform (AFAPP) (link to description)
Going forward with the new strategic (2019-2028) orientation, FARA is embarking on the following new continent-wide roles and programmes in the context of the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa:
- Mandated roles solicited by FARA’s authorizing bodies for leveraging new core funds: FARA’s positioning in this domain is enhanced by its role in the High-Level Policy Dialogue (HLPD) Working Group of the EU-AU Bureau for the FNSSA. It is further strengthened by FARA’s role in advocacy through the Building Nutritious Food Basket (BNFB) campaign on biofortification and the AfDB’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT).
- Roles solicited by partners and stakeholders; These include roles demanded by partners in bilaterally-funded interventions or as requested by development partners with an interest in addressing multi-regional and multi-country interventions in Africa. These also include country-focused solicited roles to leverage on domestic resources as exemplified by the backstopping activities undertaken by FARA arising from the implementation of S3A through facilitating the Innovation Platforms or the Policy Practice Index and other instruments. These include:
- The African Agricultural Research Program (AARP)
- Supporting Implementation of a Science-Led and Climate-Relevant Agricultural Transformation in Africa (SISTA)
FARA’s new Strategy (2019-2028) is designed to respond to its Value Proposition, “Africans’ unique partnerships connecting science to agriculture for livelihood impact at scale”, following a broader stakeholder assessment.
Based on this assessment , FARA is acknowledged to deliver on this value proposition by;
- Providing access to global and regional knowledge and data systems to identify expert solutions and funding opportunities for priority issues such as food security, nutrition, poverty and climate change
- Facilitating networking far beyond organizations’ own access, reaching vertically and horizontally over the continent and allowing for partnerships and collective actions to address shared challenges of food and climate change
- Providing equitable multi-stakeholder representation, wider visibility of partners in the region and their solid collective voices to increase Advocacy and impact on policy
- Strengthening individual and institutional capacities of partners for climate-relevant transformation of agriculture and food systems, and agricultural youth, women and small holder farmers empowered to progress along the value chain, reduce poverty and improve their livelihoods
- Providing technical advice, administrative expertise, monitoring and evaluation and accountability systems to ensure the success of their food and nutrition programs .
- Facilitating research agenda setting for increased and effective application of Science and innovation to effect climate-relevant transformation of national agricultural and food systems and to contribute to CAADP and the SDGs
Vision: Africa becomes a food secure continent through partnerships that connect science to agricultural livelihoods.
Mission: Offering innovative partnerships and solutions that enhance the application of science to create sustainable and decent livelihoods in Agriculture.
Goal: To contribute to progressive achievement of Malabo-CAADP commitments on ending hunger, poverty reduction and building resilience of agricultural systems through the application of science, technology and innovation.
- To optimize multi-stakeholder engagements and increase access to wider partnership opportunities in the development and delivery of collective actions to address shared
- To improve access to pristine management of STI data and information and for funding opportunities in Africa
- To strengthen the science-policy interface and impact on policy, shared visioning and collection action through evidence-based advocacy
- To strengthen individual and institutional capacities for climate-relevant agricultural transformation targeting women, youth, agribusiness and smallholder farmers
- To improved technical and fiduciary capacities of partners for outreach, coordination, programme implementation.
- To build a network of critical masses of actors in Africa working in major programme areas; including climate change, bio-economy, nutrition, agribusiness and natural resources management while enhancing responsiveness to youth, women and the private sector.
Programme Cluster 1: Innovation to Impact Partnerships & Systems (2IPS): Agricultural innovation systems (AIS) Approach is fast gaining good acceptance as an operational instrument for facilitating change, through demand led research and effective outreach for agricultural development. Its use finds a convergence around many issues that drives change and development in a coherent manner. The development of the innovation systems in agriculture entailed the trial of various theoretical model and learning lessons to come up with essential element that makes a functional system. This cluster therefore seeks to enhance partnership across geographies, sectors, and agricultural value chains for the deployment of science, technologies and innovation to achieve CAADP results.
Programme Cluster 2: Knowledge Management and Decision Support (KDS): Knowledge Management and Decision Support (KDS) initiatives are crucial for catalyzing agricultural innovation and climate relevant interventions. This cluster seeks to promote access to knowledge products and technological options through knowledge management, advocacy, and policy to support evidence-based decision making..
Programme Cluster 3: Capacity Development and Agri-preneurship (CDA): The essence of the Capacity Development & Agri-preneurship (CDA) cluster is to support the strengthening of country capacities to address previous under achievements in AR4D and confront emerging challenges to deliver science- and innovation-based solutions on the ground that deal with the existing institutional, market and policy failures. The main objective is Strengthen human and institutional capacities for agricultural research and innovation targeting women, youth, agribusiness and smallholder farmers.
Programme Cluster 4: Research Management and Leadership (RML): Through collaboration with partners for over a decade, FARA has learned some lessons in research for development partnership and management. The most important lesson is the need to strengthen African partner institutions in governance, fiduciary responsibilities, quality assurance, monitoring, evaluation and learning to achieve innovation and impact. This cluster therefore seeks to Strengthen research management and leadership and promote the development and coordination of continental agricultural transformation programmes.