Friday, 17 May 2013


17 May 2013 by Idowu Ejere

As the target date draws nearer for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), food and nutrition insecurity remain cardinal problems especially in Africa.  Africa has a great potential to feed itself given that 60% of its arable land remains un-utilized and the remaining 40% bear crops with low yields.  Of all possible topics that could have been considered at this time, the issue of home grown food security is at the top of the list. Hence in reflecting on a theme for the sixth edition of the Africa Agriculture Science Week , enhancing Africa’s capacity for agricultural innovation was at the front burner of discussions.

Launch of the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week in Accra
The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) is collaborating with the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) to organize the 6thAfrica Agriculture Science Week, a continental gathering of all stakeholders in Africa Agriculture to create an open space for networking and exchanging information and knowledge on agricultural innovations and on topical issues with a bearing on agriculture research and development under the theme Africa feeding Africa through Science and Innovations

Speaking at the Official Launch of the Africa Agriculture Science Week on the 17th of May 2013, in Accra Ghana, the Executive Director of FARA stated that “there is no better country to host this kind of meeting than Ghana, one of the few African countries that have succeeded in turning around its economy, cutting down hunger thereby remaining on track to achieving MDG Goal 1 of halving hunger and poverty by 2015”. 

Ambassador (Prof.) Monty Jones, Executive Director of
FARA speaking to Journalists at the Launch
The Africa Agriculture Science Week which has been internationally recognized as the apex gathering of all stakeholders in African agricultural research and development will be attracting key decision makers in governments within and outside Africa such as Ministers, Parliamentarians, key players in the private sector, leaders of civil society and farmers’ organizations, women groups and leaders in agricultural research and development. This milestone event will take place at the International Conference Center in Accra, Ghana from 15-20 July 2013 and will be officially opened by H.E President John Dramani Mahama.

Twitter: - Follow tag #AASW6

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Opinions from FARA: Engaging the Youth in the CAADP - KIS Agenda

Engaging the Youth in the CAADP - KIS Agenda

9 May, 2013 by Idowu Ejere

2013 marks a decade since African Heads of State and Government (AHSG) endorsed the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) as a strategic framework for the revitalization of the continent's agricultural sector as an engine for economic growth, poverty reduction and the elimination of hunger. To do this, African governments agreed in Maputo Mozambique, during the AU AHSG Summit in 2003, to increase public investment in agriculture by a minimum of 10 per cent of their national budgets and to raise agricultural productivity by at least 6 per cent in what is now known as the Maputo Declaration. 

However, ten years down the road, Africa still faces the challenges of poverty and food security which is further exacerbated by the growing impacts of climate change, declining agricultural sector and lack of government understanding of the economic potential inherent in agriculture. Rising food prices, the recent drought in the Horn of Africa, the impacts of climate change and the global economic crises have reinforced the urgent need for sustainable solution to Africa’s poverty and food security challenge. Low levels of investment in agriculture, un-enabling government policies, out-dated land regimes, weak rural infrastructure and financial services, inadequate production and deteriorating natural resource base, have also contributed to the rise in rural poverty. In addition, low incomes, food-deficit countries of Africa were the worst hit by the rise in global food prices between 2006 and 2008. Yet, the response in increasing productivity to combat higher prices has come mainly from the developed countries of Europe and America.

The over-arching vision of CAADP is to position national agricultural sectors to be productive and resilient to achieve at least 6 percent annual growth rate by 2015. It is expected that growth in the agricultural sector will stimulate growth in other non-farm sector and lead to poverty reduction. The CAADP vision pays special attention to the needs of smallholder farmers; developing dynamic markets that integrate farmers into the market economy; ensuring equitable distribution of wealth; positioning Africa as a strategic player in agricultural science and technology development and; ensuring sustainable environment and natural resource management. 

The CAADP vision translates into an operational framework  that guides agricultural led development through four continent wide priorities for investment and action in agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and livestock management called ‘pillars’.
  • Pillar I: Extending the area under sustainable land management and reliable water control systems – for example by increasing access to water and irrigation.
  • Pillar II: Improving rural infrastructure and trade-related capacities for improved market access. 
  • Pillar III: Increasing food supply and reducing hunger across Africa by increasing smallholder productivity and improving responses to food emergencies such as the drought and subsequent starvation witnessed in the horn of Africa in 2011. 
  • Pillar IV: Improving agricultural research and systems to disseminate appropriate new technologies, and increasing the support to enable farmers adopt them.
Adapted from  
CAADP is Africa’s way of championing reform in the agricultural sector, enabling governments to develop National Agriculture and Food Security Investment Plans (IPs) that will take into account the current state of their agricultural sectors whilst addressing immediate welfare needs (food insecurity and poverty) and providing basis for economic growth and industrial revolution.  CAADP promotes government ownership, inclusiveness, multi-stakeholder partnership for development, evidence-based policy making, peer review, alignment of country plans to regional agenda and mutual learning. 

These principles are aimed at improving the quality of governance while ensuring collaborative solutions in programme design and implementation in the agricultural sector.
CAADP involves two stages, the pre compact and the post compact stages, each with a set of processes leading up to the implementation of agricultural productivity programmes. At the pre compact stage, countries launch their CAADP processes, conduct stocktaking analysis of existing initiatives, national priorities, growth options modeling and the constitution of a CAADP Country Team comprising all national or sub-regional stakeholders. Till date 29 countries have developed their IPs. While the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region has developed a multi-country sub-regional agricultural productivity programme. Yet CAADP remains relatively unknown at the sub-national and local levels in most countries. Why?

In organizing the Regional Workshop on Engaging Youth in the Implementation Phase of the CAADP Transformation Agenda – KIS on 9-10 May 2013, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) will be leading the process for youth groups engaged in African agricultural research and development (ARD) to identify areas in the CAADP-Knowledge and Information Support System (KIS) where the youth can make active contributions.  The Workshop will bring together youth, youth leaders, and policymakers including CAADP Country Team Leaders to articulate a workable strategy for effectively engaging youth along the implementation phase of the CAADP. 

With an ICT savvy youth generation, the instrument required to generate public awareness on CAADP and ensure national level implementation may rest with the African youth. the outcomes of the meeting will determine if their role in these uncharted waters will be sustainable.  

To keep you updated on the discussions taking place at the workshop, some youths will be tweeting live from Accra! Follow the discussions on Twitter with Hashtag: #FARAYouth on 9-10 May 2013.