The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) has called on African Governments to increase support for research in Agriculture to enhance agriculture production on the continent. Support for research in agriculture has become critical to ensure the integration of science, technology and innovation in the continent’s agro practices to achievement the sector’s goals, namely zero hunger, creation of wealth and jobs, increasing the resilience of agri-food systems and improvement in the management of the natural resource base.
The Executive Director of FARA, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo made the call at a press conference held in Accra recently ahead of the forthcoming 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW) and the General Assembly of FARA to be held in the Rwandan capital, Kigali from June 13 to 16 this year.
The four-day conference and exhibition which has the theme: “Apply Science, Impact Livelihoods, would focus on the operationalisation of the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa at country level.
Dr Akinbamijo told journalists that, “research is critical in agricultural activities because it will inform how science, technology and innovation can be employed to improve agriculture on the continent
“Agricultural production in Africa is low because majority of our farmers depend on the old traditional systems instead of mechanized farming and use of irrigation systems. Africa needs to embrace new form of technology to advance the sector” he emphasized.
He noted that, Africa is the lowest on the list of continents that have integrated science and technology in agriculture and it is incumbent on African governments to support efforts to develop holistic agricultural policies that encompasses science and technology.
Dr Akinbamijo said It is for this reason that the conference will focus on five sub-themes namely institutional systems and policies for making science work for African agriculture, sustainable productivity growth, value chains and profitable agri-businesses, sustainable financing of Science, Technology and Innovation for African agriculture, megatrends in African Agriculture and human capital development and the Youth”.
He said FARA had established the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa to articulate the science, technology, extension, innovations, policy and social learning that Africa needs to apply to meet its agricultural and overall development goals.
Dr Akinbamijo said the objectives of the conference are; to facilitate partnership and networking among actors engaged in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for African agriculture, discuss African positions and build consensus on key issues concerning STI for African agriculture. The rest are, discuss contemporary evolutions in STI for agriculture and map out a broad agenda for repositioning STI for African agriculture over the next three years and beyond.
Dr Jonas Mugabe, Project Manager for Platform for Africa-Europe Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development, a flagship project for FARA, said the platform aims at building joint Africa-European multi-stakeholder partnerships in agriculture research for development. “The platform has strengthened the capacity of stakeholders and advocated funding mechanisms which are adapted to the needs of research”, he said.
FARA, is co-organizing the programme jointly with sub-regional Agricultural Research Organizations, African Union Commission and NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, Education Networks, The Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation and the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture.