Cotonou 10th February, 2018:
On February 8 to 9, 2018, about sixty participants from thirteen African countries, Peru, Poland, and Germany gathered together to discuss the research results reached during the first phase (2015 – 2017) of the programme of Accompanying Research for Agricultural Innovation (PARI), and to plan for the second phase (2018 – 2019) of this programme. African countries represented in this meeting were Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Togo, Tunisia, and Zambia. African Development Bank (AfDB), and the World Bank were also represented.
This PARI meeting started with an opening ceremony led by: the Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery (MAEP), Dr. Françoise Assogba-Komlan, representing the Minister; the Director of the Centre for Development Research (ZEF, University of Bonn), Professor Joachim von Braun; the Africa Director of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI/AGRODEP), Dr. Ousmane Badiane; the Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo; and the Director General of the Institut National des Recherches Agricoles du Bénin (INRAB), Dr Patrice Ygué Adegbola. In their opening speeches, these personalities highlighted how much the African PARI countries as well as the other African countries still have to work hard to bring investors, private sector, and all other stakeholders together to face growing challenges and to transform African agriculture as per planned by the African Union. More specifically, the Executive Director of FARA, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, stressed on how much Africans need to consistently and continuously rely on quality science to trigger African green revolution by finding African quality solutions to African problems.
This opening ceremony was followed by plenary presentation and discussion of thirteen research results, and about twenty posters.
On February 9, 2018, the 2017 PARI annual and planning meeting participants split into four thematic groups; reflected and deliberated on research focus and questions, deliverables, roles of research cluster partners, and ways to engage policy makers in policy related issues, for PARI phase 2 (PARI 2.0). The research clusters (RC) and themes for PARI 2.0 related to: (RC1) Targeting investments in innovations and framework conditions across Africa; (RC2) Mechanization and skill development for productivity growth, employment and value addition; (RC3) Digitalization in agriculture, food and nutrition; (RC4) Enhancing opportunities for the youth in the rural economy; and, (RC5) Opportunities for policymakers’ engagement in policy related issues.
The PARI meeting ended up with two panel discussions on “Leverage Points for Transforming African Agriculture: Investment opportunities for food security, employment and rural development”. The first panel was composed of the Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery of Benin Republic, Mr. Gaston Cossi Dossouhoui; the Director of ZEF, Prof. Joachim von Braun; the Africa Director of IFPRI/AGRODEP, Dr. Ousmane Badiane; and the Executive Director of FARA, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo.
The second panel was composed of a representative from the World Bank, Dr. Simeon Ehui; and the Coordinator of Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation (TAAT) programme at African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Jonas N. Chianu; and facilitated by Dr. Ousmane Badiane, Prof. Joachim von Braun, and Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo. In all, the panelists emphasized the necessity for engaging stakeholders from both public and private sectors to consistently and holistically design and implement relevant policies, and to adequately invest, to support professional and passionate agricultural stakeholders, to fulfill the African agricultural transformation goal.
PARI originates from the special initiative of the German Federal Government “One World without Hunger” (SEWOH) funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). It aims at contributing to sustainable agricultural growth and food and nutrition security in Africa and India.