Advancing agricultural research in Africa

Under the theme of 'productivity and competitiveness of African agriculture in a global economy', the 4th Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) General Assembly identified key resolutions for stakeholders to action over the next three years.

‘The fourth FARA General Assembly, with its large, diverse and vigorous participation, provided a fertile source of information and knowledge on the opportunities and problems currently facing African Agriculture’ said the South African Minister for Agriculture and Land Affairs, Ms Lulama Xingwana.

The General Assembly took place in Johannesburg, South Africa on 10–16 June 2007 and drew together over 670 delegates including ministers and deputy ministers of agriculture and development partners from all over Africa, together with international collaborating institutions.
 
The General Assembly, which coincided with the Africa Agriculture Science Week and South Africa Day, closed with a number of key resolutions for advancing agricultural research in Africa.

FARA General Assembly key resolutions included:

  • Developing adequate veterinary capacity and livestock disease surveillance, epidemiological and response systems and interlinking them with human disease counterparts to enable nations to cope with disease outbreaks, especially zoonotic diseases, and to comply with international health and safety standards
  • Promotion of intra-African trade in food staples and international trade in high-value products by creating commercial environments that will engage both the private and public sectors, to produce tools to help smallholders invest in change and manage risks
  • Development of endogenous innovation capacity, including the ability to identify and adapt potential foreign innovations to maximize the impact of agricultural research and development, by providing policy makers with evidence-based pragmatic options, preferably developed jointly by researchers and policy makers
  • Mainstreaming indigenous science into agricultural research and development and making the necessary personal and institutional adjustments that are required to enable communication and joint learning between practitioners of the different sciences
  • Recognizing sub-Saharan and North African civil society organizations, support and strengthen them to fulfill their missions
  • Advocating and facilitating the strengthening of research and management, as well as strengthening agricultural sciences 
  •  Recognizing research on peri-urban agriculture as a mainstream activity, but one that requires new approaches to research

 According to the FARA executive secretary Monty Jones, ‘this year’s general assembly was undoubtedly the most successful to date and stakeholders were thrilled with the resolutions that were presented.’

An article in this month’s New Agriculturist (UK) provides a selection of participants’ viewpoints on ways forward including strengthening support systems, the role of institutions and partnerships and ensuring market orientation and access.

Points of view: Transforming agriculture in Africa. New Agriculturist (UK). July 2007

Further information about the FARA General Assembly resolutions is available on the FARA Africa website at http://www.fara-africa.org

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