The new Chairman of FARA Board Dr. Ephraim Mukisira has assumed his role at the Secretariat after a successful handover by the immediate past Chairperson, Dr. Charity Kruger at the just concluded 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW7) and FARA General Assembly held at Kigali, Rwanda in June. Dr. Mukisira paid courtesy calls on Ambassador Kwesi Quartey, the Secretary to the President of Ghana, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Creating Competitive Livestock Entrepreneurs in Agribusiness (CCLeaR) and the Association of African Universities (AAU) to deliberate on ways to move Africa Agriculture Development and Innovation forward and also ensure practical ways to achieve the call to action raised at the science week.
Dr. Mukisira was led by the Executive Director of FARA, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, and accompanied by a representative of FARA Board who is a Ghanaian, Mr. Samuel Adam and the Director for Research and Innovation FARA, Dr. Irene Annor-Frempong to the government of Ghana. The main aim for the visit was to interact with the host community and appreciate the government for its continuous support in the last 17years.
Ambassador Kwesi Quartey in his response was pleased with FARA and the delegation as well as their role in ensuring the sustainability of agricultural research for development (especially in the area of agribusiness) and identified Ghana as the hub for such being a host to FARA. He said the government of Ghana will not relent in its effort to continually host and give necessary support to FARA through Ghana’s Ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI).
Speaking at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), one of the leading government owned Agricultural Institutions in Accra, Ghana, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo introduced the Board Chair and explained FARA’s role of “walking the talk” for Africa’s Agriculture Development thereby recognizing Ghana as the first point of call for such in Africa through its hosting of FARA.
The new Board Chair of FARA said Africa must have a leader in African Agriculture and CSIR should be the institution to host such. Among others met at CSIR were the Director General, Deputy Director General and Directors of its centres relating to Animal, Crop, Soil, Plant Genetic, Food and Industrial Research Institutes.
In his response, the Director-General of CSIR Dr. Victor Kwame showed appreciation for the visit and promised more of CSIR’s support to FARA. He also commended the efforts of FARA especially in its response to CAADP and its priorities as well as its successful completion of the AASW7 with the theme “Apply Science, Impact Livelihoods”. In addition, he stated that CSIR is the foremost national science and technology institution in Ghana which is mandated to carry out scientific and technological research for national development hence, FARA’s support will continually be needed as the continental organization for agriculture research and development.
According to Dr. Kwame, CSIR has 14 offices across Ghana with a staff strength of 3,614 out of which 550 are Research Staff and 617 are Senior Members. 65% of its funding comes from the government of Ghana, 27% from donor grants and 8% from internally generated funds. More so, CSIR has a higher institution of learning affiliated to the University of Cape Coast where Agribusiness and Bio-Technology are taken at Masters and Doctorate levels. FARA has been of immense support to CSIR through various innovation technologies, the e-Capacities systems and agribusiness incubation support to CCleaR through its UNIBRAIN project.
Dr. E.K Adu, the Director at CCLeaR also commended the efforts of FARA and hopes for more cordial relationship and support from the new Board Chair and Management of FARA in devising more avenues to create job and wealth (agribusiness) for the youth in agriculture.
Further, Dr. Mukisira visited the AAU which is among FARA’s partners based in Ghana and the Secretary General, Professor Etienne Ehile recognized the overlapping mandate of both institutions which focuses more on AAU’s education and capacity building, and FARA’s research, development and innovation. He praised the new Board Chair on his caliber of person and wealth of experience in the agricultural sector and encouraged more collaboration, co-habitation, working, staying and pulling together to ensure the desired aim for agricultural development in Africa is achieved.
Dr. Mukisira encouraged researchers and professionals to learn at the highest level in diverse recognized institutions especially to doctorate levels. In his words, “African Scholars should test schools abroad to encourage diversity in knowledge thereby applying such for development in Africa”.
He further reiterated that “we should be rating our own universities in Africa”.
In closing the meeting, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo appreciates the leadership of the AAU and hopes a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further strengthen the relationship between the two institutions will be signed soon.
Finally, Dr. Mukisira met with FARA Staff comprising of over 40 dedicated members. He encouraged them to seize every opportunity to grow and work together as a team that has a common aim of solving problems for Africa’s Agriculture. More importantly, he said: “…understanding who we are and our challenges as FARA brings out the uniqueness in us”.
Dr. Mukisira who is an animal scientist concluded his statement as follows: “FARA should be like an eagle renewing its strength. Welcome to a new dawn”.