Kaduna, 3rd August 2018:
Between 31st of July and 3rd of August 2018, FARA held a workshopon validation of capacity gaps for scaling technologies and markets around cassava, cotton, maize, rice and cattle value chains. The activity was part of a new FARA initiative known as Holistic Empowerment for Livelihood Program (HELP), . The workshop was jointly convened by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), a development platform with the mandate of the Forum of the Governors of the North-western Nigeria and Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) and supported by Jigawa State Government of Nigeria. Speaking at the opening of the workshop, the Executive Director of FARA, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, declared that the march towards a food secure Africa and meeting the overarching developmental targets requires holistic capacity development approach to strengthen individual, organizational and systemic capacities. In this vein, FARA recognizes the South-South collaboration framework as an important vehicle. He further stated that the philosophy behind HELP is the promotion of triangular collaboration involving the private sector, universities/research centres and policy makers among African countries and their counter parts in the so-called South, based on solidarity that breaks the traditional donor-recipient relationship, under a win-win situation.
In his comment, the Executive Governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Mohammed Badaru Abubakar thanked FARA and partners for bringing the workshop to the doorsteps of Jigawa State. Having participated in the development of HELP through FARA-mediated engagement with the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Abubakar reiterated Jigawa State’s commitment to the program. He encouraged participants to commit to the development of the workplan that would lead to the realization of the vision of HELP and to take advantage of the opportunities the program offers for postgraduate trainings, modular trainings and mentorship of young Agripreneurs from different African countries using the innovation platforms (IPs) and incubation centres developed by FARA. The Governors of Kaduna, Katsina and Sokoto state were represented at the event.
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Professor Ibrahim Garba, congratulated FARA for developing the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A) and expressed ABU’s commitment to work with the Forum in the development of HELP in line with its triangular partnership.
Commenting during the opening ceremony, Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, the Managing Director, NIRSAL expressed commitment towards the actualization of the Brazil-Africa Agribusiness and Innovation Forum (BRAIN-Forum) a key component of HELP.
Recognizing rural credit as key in strengthening the capacity of rural farmers to take full advantage of the value chain approach, the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA) lent its weight to the development of HELP. Commenting during the workshop, Mr. Saleh U. Gashua, the Secretary General of AFRACA, thanked the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), for conducting the initial capacity audit and developing the analytical matrix and competency gaps within the different value chains addressed by the workshop.
The three-day event was also attended by the ECOWAS Brazil Chamber of Commerce, from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Speaking during the meeting, Mrs Silvana Saraiva, the President of the chamber shared opportunities that may be harnessed from Brazil within HELP.
The outomes of the workshop, which are: i) a matrix of validated capacity gaps on cassava, cotton, maize, rice and cattle ii) partnership map of HELP iii) opportunity matrix on available partnerships and training opportunities in Brazil, Cuba, Egypt & India, will be used to develop HELP country-based approach capacity building and innovation network that feed into the larger initiatives such as the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) programme supported by the African Development Bank and the Regional Agricultural Transformation Programmes supported by the World Bank.
Credit: Story & Pictures by Abdulrazak Ibrahim (FARA)