Video – Keynote: Yusuf Abubakar

Strengthening capacity for agricultural science and technology in Africa
Keynote Speech by Yusuf Abubakar, ARCN

Posted in Videos | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Video – Keynote: Yusuf Abubakar

Day 2 in pictures

Posted in Images | Tagged , | Leave a comment

InfoBrief Issue 2

Download InfoBrief Issue 2 (PDF 805K)

This second brief gives a snapshot of the sessions, discussions and other activities happening in the Africa Hall from Day 1.

Posted in InfoBrief | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Opening with style

Opening Day from conference on "Increasing Agricultural Productivity and Enhancing Food Security in Africa"

Yesterday, AUC Commisisoner Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, opened the conference in the presence of more than 300 participants.
IFPRI’s Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere welcomed participants on behalf of the organizers; his Director General Shenggen Fan stressed the importance of country-led development strategies. On increasing investment, he particularly emphasized the roles and contributions of new actors – the private sector, philanthropic organizations and emerging economies such as China.

Calling livestock the ‘Cinderella of the agricultural sector,’ ILRI’s Jimmy Smith boosted its contributions to Africa’s food security. On the theme of the conference, he declared that “while improving agricultural production and activity is our first goal ... we need to achieve this in environmentally sustainable ways with regard to the effects of climate and agriculture”

The keynote address - ‘harnessing the potential of science and the numbers’ was given by FARA’s Monty Jones.

He emphasized the need for ‘radical approaches’ and ‘radical actions.’ Africa should come up with its own unique interventions, he said, and listen to the voices of the 600 million African farmers.

Representing the WFP, Lynne Miller emphasized the agency’s focus on food security at household and community levels. “We look more on the challenges of people becoming food secure, a lot of it is them being able to produce enough to feed themselves.”

In his opening remarks, Ethiopian State Minister of Agriculture Wondirad Mandefro reflected on the wider continental food security situation.

He explained how the Ethiopian government has taken strong policy measures to support agriculture as an engine of the economy. The Federal Government now spends more than 14% of its GDP on agriculture, exceeding the CAADP target set in Maputo.

The Agricultural Transformation Agency is a concrete sign of our commitment to improve the policy environment.

Posted in Conference Highlights | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Overcoming challenges to agricultural productivity

Panel discussion from the conference's opening day

Plenary session 3 focused on the challenges to increase agricultural productivity in Africa.
Moderator Alemayehu Taffesse asked a ‘simple’ question of the 4 panelists - Thomas Jayne from MSU, John Dixon from ACIAR, Stephen Muchiri from EAFF and Sylvester Oikeh from AATF:

If a Minister of Agriculture says she/he can only adopt one change to overcome challenges to agricultural productivity, what would you suggest?

Sylvester Oikeh: Implement the 2003 Maputo pledge in every African country.

Stephen Muchiri: I believe in markets that are well organized. They are proper channels, which pull production.

Thomas Jayne: I would ask the Minister to invest in your own local capacity, your own policies.

John Dixon: Bring appropriate incentives for institutes and different organizations to work together in scaling out mechanisms.

Dorothy Mukhebi of the AWARD Program:
“Women have to be brought into the agenda. Women are the main producers, the main users and the main labour force and yet the policies do not suit them; also in regards to research, the type of products are not gender sensitive in terms of technologies. So we want policies and research to be more responsive to women.”

Sylvester Oikeh of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation:
“The major challenge is not having enough investment in agriculture, particularly by the governments in Africa.”

“Most African countries pledged to contribute 10% of their national investment to agriculture during the Maputo declaration, but how many countries have commenced that? I can say about three countries, Mali, Ethiopia and Malawi are implementing and they are doing good progress.

For those that are not complying, what effort has been made to make them comply? We need to build a system to be able revisit that pledge and make sure the governments comply.”

“Africa should be open to receive any technology that would make a difference to increase agricultural productivity, be it genetically enhanced technology or conventionally developed technologies. To adopt these technologies we should use the value chain approach and we should be able to build public private partnerships.”

Stephen Muchiri of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation:
“The major challenge in increasing agriculture productivity in Africa is low agro investment, markets are not well developed, there are market restrictions, farmers can’t easily access the market, and they don’t have power to have their own markets.”

“If there is no access to markets, the entire value chain will be affected. Markets are the way to boost research, input, credit facilities and risk mitigation. When farmers are involved in value chains they are going to be able to access market information that helps them prepare their production in ways that suit market demand.”

Posted in Conference Highlights | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Business unusual

Eleni Gabre-Medhin, CEO of the Ethiopian Commodities Exchange

Eleni Gabre-Medhin was a discussant in plenary session 2, advocating ‘business as unusual’.

“As we think about the transformation we want to achieve ... we narrowly focus on the small farmer agenda. Are we ready to consider large scale, commercial, possibly foreign investors when we talk about agricultural transformation? How do we leverage this dual world?”

“The new agricultural agenda is agriculture ‘plus’ ... if we rise to the occasion, this is Africa’s time, we can achieve those promises of an African green revolution if we get organized differently.”

Posted in Conference Highlights | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Interview: John Dixon on new International Centre for Food Security

John Dixon, ACIAR

“The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has worked with Africa since the early 90s. The mode of operation of ACIAR is always to put together as partners scientists in Australia with scientists in Africa to work together on a common problem. Out of that emerges long- term relationships, long-term work that extends way beyond the life of any particular project. Continue reading

Posted in Interviews | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Video – First Plenary: Rhoda Peace Tumusiime

Opening remarks at the first plenary by Chair, H.E. Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner, Rural Economy and Agriculture, Africa Union Commission

Posted in Videos | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Video – First Plenary: Rhoda Peace Tumusiime

Video – First Plenary: Shenggen Fan

Innovations, policies, and investments to promote smallholder productivity
Opening remarks at the first plenary by Shenggen Fan, Director General, IFPRI

Posted in Videos | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Video – First Plenary: Shenggen Fan

Day 1 in pictures

Posted in Images | Tagged , | Leave a comment