Journalists interviewing Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina
and Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo (photo credit: FARA)
2 November 2013. Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) – Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwunmi Adeshina, decried the low level of financial resources being channeled towards agricultural research across Africa.
The minister spoke at the opening ceremony of a one-day Dialogue Between Africa’s Agricultural Knowledge Institutions and Development Partners, organized by the Accra-based Forum For Agricultural Research In Africa (FARA).
He said “the continent must invest heavily in research, science and technology so as to transform the continent’s agriculture sector, noting that the US$ 250 million being put into research annually by FARA and other Sub-Regional Research Organisations are not enough. We must invest more in research and science. We are underfunding research, it is now time for African countries to mobilise domestic funding into the sector. We cannot continue to depend on donor agencies”.
A representative of the African Union Commission, Dr. Abebe Haile-Gabriel, noted that African leaders acknowledged the key role of agriculture, science and technology in transforming the continent. He said this explained the setting up of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) 10 years ago, which emphasised poverty reduction, increased food production, wealth and job creation.
Executive Director of FARA, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, said a new dawn for African agricultural research was emerging, stressing the need for stakeholders to work together to deliver the needed research that will transform Africa.
It is our hope that with the new institutional changes at the FARA and SRO levels, we can indeed be hopeful for new deliverables in the Agriculture Research For Development (AR4D) landscape in Africa. The emerging Science Agenda is a sure demonstration of the resolve of FARA to take the leadership role in both hands and to deliver the science behind the politics to attain a food secure Africa.
The Chairperson of FARA, Dr. Charity Kruger, said that the idea was to strategise ways to upscale
agricultural development through research.
“We are planning to scale up agricultural research for development and this requires significant investment and that is why we brought the development partners here to discuss the way forward. You need technology to enhance production.We do believe that the kind of agricultural research that we envisage will be able to transform food production not just food but food that targets development issues such as malnutrition. It is through research that we can fortify the food that we produce to target such development issues”
Addressing participants in a Partnership Business Platform of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), Dr. Irene Frempong said “African countries must come together to allocate more resources into research and science because it is important that the continent shares the benefits of science discovery.”
Dr. Bernard Rey of the EU, representing the development partners, said necessary supports will continue to be extended to scale up investment in science, technology and innovation in Africa. He commended the new spirit of partnership and collaboration among the knowledge institutions. He re-affirmed the EC’s continued support to agriculture research-for-development in Africa and noted that the EC is the highest contributor to MDTFs of the knowledge institutions. He reported that the EC has already committed $70 million to African agricultural knowledge institutions in 2014. However the EC is concerned about being the sole donor in knowledge institution funding arrangements that were designed to be multi-donor. He outlined the criteria for current support from EC. These include:
- A clear vision, mission and development objectives, and sustainability of the actions proposed
- Engagement of policy makers to effect the needed changes
- Engagement of a range of actors for comparative advantage
He called on all the actors to work towards developing a continental vision for research, higher education and extension; to demonstrate that there will be economies of scale by working at supra-national scales; to collectively strategize on how to fill gaps in funding, to convince African policy makers that investing in research is worthwhile, and to provide quick wins.
2/11/2013. Voice of Nigeria. Nigeria to invest in agricultural research institutes