NAIROBI, KENYA: As the world reputes Africa as the next frontier for development; the Agriculture sector is positioning itself as a cash cow for the projected growth and development.
As part of the efforts to actualize this goal, thought shapers, policy makers, and technocrats from twelve countries in Africa and development partners from Germany congregated in Nairobi for a two day high level meeting to discuss ways of scaling agricultural innovations in Africa within the framework of the One World No Hunger initiative spearheaded by the government of Germany in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa.
One of the key aims of the meeting was to discuss ways of addressing issues that affects food security, agrarian livelihood as well as sustainable value chain development through scaling of agricultural innovations.
The executive director of FARA, Dr Yemi Akinbanijo, in his keynote address emphasised the place of science in the development of Africa agriculture. He heralds the leadership role of FARA in developing the Science Agenda for Africa agriculture and how the agenda will spur technological innovation. He further commented on the observed disparity in the recent reports about African development, on one hand, and the well-being of the majority. He challenged the participants to put all hands on deck to ensure that research outcomes truly lead to socio-economic benefits. During the interactive session, Dr. Akinbamijo also gave his view on the multidimensional nature of economic development, he cited the example of Brazil, a country that turn its food sufficiency profile from 60% to 200% in a span of three decades and become a net exporter of agricultural commodity to other continent. To put this into perspective, he stated that the 200% sufficiency comes from 6% of the population. He highlighted the stark contrast of this with the situation in Africa where about 70% of the population is involved in Agriculture, while over 300 million people still face an uncertain future as far as food security is concerned.
The workshop zeroes in on Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) concept that seeks to address the inadequacies inherent in traditional approaches to agricultural research system. It also seeks to approach Agriculture through a multi-sectorial and multi-stakeholder engagement using hard and soft sciences to provide solutions to the menace of food security, poverty, and unemployment in Africa.
The 2-day workshop (23-24 February 2015) is expected to generate the framework for the implementation of the Program of Accompanying Research with Innovation (PARI), that is proposed to be implemented in 12 African countries and supported by the Government of the republic of Germany.
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