A national consultative workshop on developing a roll-out plan for the implementation of the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A) to help transform the agricultural sector, through science has been held in Accra.
The S3A, an initiative designed under the auspices of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), and sanctioned by the African Union Commission and NEPAD Agency in 2012 has the vision for science-driven transformation of Africa’s agriculture.
S3A is also regarded as the “game–changer for the Continent’s agricultural transformation agenda, and its implementation within the countries would create favourable policy environment for science, enhance capacity strengthening mechanisms, promote financing arrangements, and support innovation platforms in advancing agricultural transformation.
Ghana is among the first five model countries including, Rwanda, Senegal, Egypt and Malawi, that have been selected to pilot the S3A initiative to ensure the application of science in transforming agriculture to help achieve the vision that states that “By 2030, Africa is food secured, a global scientific player, and the world’s breadbasket”.
Therefore, the consultative workshop, attended by professionals and experts in science and applied sciences, at the four-day workshop which ended on Friday, was to discuss and roll-out an implementation that would allow science drive agriculture in Ghana.
Mr George Oduro, Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture who read the speech on behalf of Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, the sector Minister, said the S3A was a long-term strategic framework that consisted mainly of the range of science and technology opportunities available to bring about agricultural transformation in Africa.
He said the Agenda also aimed at enhancing the wealth creation potential of agriculture on the continent and strengthening Africa’s capacity to feed itself and the rest of the world through world-class research and technology generation.
He explained that the consultative meeting would therefore help come out with modalities for the mainstreaming of the science agenda by institutions that implemented agricultural development programmes in the country.
Mr Oduro said the realisation of the Agenda depended of effective domestication of the frameworks agenda into national strategies, investment plans and action plans giving the uniqueness of the contexts, challenges, opportunities and priorities of African countries, including Ghana.
He said countries needed to be supported to drive the process of adapting the agenda to their context, especially in the development and implementation processes and working modalities in order to make the domestication of the S3A effective.
“This consultation will build into the social marketing of the S3A so that farmers, agro processors, and rural entrepreneurs come closer to science, as the processes of science become more appealing as the key strategy to inclusive leap-frogging of economies at the grass-root”, he added.
Dr Victor Agyeman, Director General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which hosted the consultative workshop said the UN had indicated that Africa’s Agribusiness industry would be worth $ 1 trillion by 2030 and so by all standards, agribusiness was on the path of becoming the new oil on the continent.
He said it was therefore appropriate that African countries prepared themselves to embrace the opportunity to grow their agricultural sector.
Dr Irene Annor Frimpong, Director, Research and innovations for FARA said the initiative was also aiming at doubling agricultural productivity in Africa by 2025.
She said the science agenda had been developed to stimulate Africa’s agricultural transformation through deepening the application of science at a fast rate in such a way that Africa was able to transform quickly.
“Now the world is growing so fast that we need to speed up Africa’s development and the pace at which we need to speed it up is such that we cannot do it in any other way but to apply science.”