Financing Agricultural Research in Africa
The global financial and food crises have brought agriculture into sharp focus, demonstrating that poverty and food insecurity go hand in hand.
These were among key issues raised at the beginning of a three-day program identification workshop on financing agricultural research in the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) regional member countries, which opened on Wednesday, 20 October 2010 in Tunis.
“Agriculture growth will have a powerful impact on poverty reduction in RMCs,” AfDB Agriculture and Agro-Industries Director, Ali Abou-Sabaa, said in a keynote opening address at the conference.
He pointed out that “the sector supports livelihoods of 80% of the African population, provides employment for about 60% of the economically active population, and for about 70% of the poorest people on the continent”.
Mr. Abou-Sabaa underscored the strategic importance of the workshop and the AfDB’s objective to finance agricultural research through partnership with selected centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
He stressed the need for strong collaboration among researchers and actors in the sector for increased impact on the livelihoods of African farmers.
The meeting has brought together experts from the National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems (NARES) and other key players in agricultural research, including the International Agricultural Research Centers (IARCs). Experts from the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as well as the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) are also participating in the discussions.
The workshop will prepare a program brief and matrix describing objectives, strategies and costs; develop terms of reference for program preparation and establish processing schedules for the program preparation in agreement with AfDB, NARES and CGIAR centers. The gathering is in line with the objectives outlined in the Bank’s 2010-2014 Agriculture Sector Strategy.
The participants will undertake a strategic analysis of the rice, cassava, maize and wheat-based systems in Africa. They will make recommendations on improving productivity and defining the collaborative program’s scope.