The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) through the Capacity Development & Technology Outreach Enabler Compact of the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation Programme (TAAT_CDTO) and AfricaSeeds organised an inception meeting for the conceptualization and development of its Seed Knowledge Gateway (SKG). The SKG is expected to provide a one-stop computerized source of unbiased multi-purpose, accessible data and information system which addresses needs of seed sector planning, implementation, monitoring and performance evaluation. The Seed Knowledge Gateway also falls in line with FARA’s Data and Information Systems (FARADataInformS) drive. The event took place over the week of February 11 and 14, 2019 at the Volta Hotel in Akosombo, Ghana
The event was attended by several stakeholders in the seed system, including a representative from the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) represented by Dr Jonas Chianu, who is also the Coordinator of the TAAT Programme, as well as representatives from FARA, CORAF, Africa Union Commission (AUC), AfricaSeeds and national leaders of seed councils from Ghana, Ivory Coast, the Gambia, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Honourable Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto was the special guest of honour. He was also awarded as the “Africa Seed Champion” for his passion and innovation in this area which has resulted in the rapid results in Ghana through the Planting for Food and Jobs initiative of the government of Ghana.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Miezah, Executive Director of AfricaSeeds, expressed satisfaction to collaborate with FARA at this stage, stating that “Africaseed ise excited about the looming possibility of FARA emerging as a strong technical partner in the SKG, with benefits from linkages to FARA’s existing agricultural databank and its hosting prospects for SKG. FARA has also demonstrated this week that it can bring on board the TAAT platform family members who can bring benefits to the SKG development and also eventually emerge as effective beneficiaries of the outputs of SKG”.
The Seeds Knowledge Gateway is an important instrument for improving access to farmer-preferred quality seeds to stakeholders of FARA. This is against the background of the dearth of the needed planting materials required for scaling of agricultural technologies aimed at increasing production and productivity. Key lessons from 2018 TAAT activities have demonstrated how the process of scaling of technologies is dependent on speed of multiplication and availability of seeds. In response to this initially identified capacity gap, FARA is unearthing some of the key elements from previous effort of strengthening seed system and deploying the same to foster seed delivery in compacts. In particular, the EcoSIB approach is being unbundled to reach TAAT stakeholders. Therefore, the opportunity to be involved in the discussion with AfricaSeeds stakeholders represents an opportunity to consolidate the enabler function of FARA’s CDTO while aligning to CAADP-Malabo framework.
Furthermore, the meeting provided FARA (and for that matter the TAAT_CDTO) with an opportunity to gather information about the organization of the Seed Value Chain, validated by the stakeholders’ present, such that learning resources can be developed for Capacity Development within the TAAT value chains. This is even more important given that many of the indicators of TAAT are predicated on the availability of seeds. The TAAT Project Coordination Unit has endorsed FARA’s initiative to collaborate with AfricaSeeds.
At the end of the workshop, participants, considering all the processes and deliberations of the four-day event, unanimously adopted the following communique.
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