FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FAO TO PARTNER WITH FARA AND CONTINENTAL INSTITUTIONS TO PUSH THE AFRICAN CSA AGENDA
04/12/2020. ACCRA– The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has pledged its commitment to providing support for Africa’s climate-smart agriculture agenda.
Speaking at the Biennial Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) stakeholders conference organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, Dr. Ade Freeman, Regional Program Leader, FAO Regional Office for Africa, called on FARA to lead the charge to drive the continental CSA agenda. Dr. Freeman also indicated FAO’s readiness to provide financial support to FARA and the continental institutions for the realization of the climate-smart agriculture agenda.
“We invite FARA to take the lead and FAO will be happy to work with you…and to put some money behind this and make sure that when we meet the next time we will be talking about concrete initiatives to influence investment… to drive the African CSA agenda”
Dr. Freeman also charged the stakeholders to fast-track what needs to happen to how we can get it done. This revolves around mechanisms, institutions and processes that are required, policies that need to be put in place, platforms that need to be established not only to share information but also to hold discussions around translating policies into actions. He called for focus on integrated approaches and synergy in objectives.
According to the FAO Regional Program Leader, the FAO and African Development Bank (AfDB) have been discussing ways to link the available knowledge and the technical assistance to the needed investment to drive climate-smart agriculture in Africa. He underscored the importance of synergy in the approach to addressing the resource needs for climate change issues.
“If FAO is talking about technical assistance and the AfDB is talking about investments, it’s not going to happen. We need to bring these two together. The goal is to link the knowledge, the policy, the technical assistance with investment, and this includes investment from the private sector. We have the capacity to do so…”
Dr. Freeman also called for collaborative efforts to identify and formulate concrete initiatives that can be presented as a good business case for CSA to attract private sector investment from development finance institutions.
Contributing to a panel discussion on the implication of policy, advocacy and resource mobilization for advancing CSA in Africa, Dr. Martins Fregene, Director of Agriculture and AgroIndustry at the African Development Bank said, there appears to be enough content in terms of policies and frameworks on CSA on the continent and what is required at the moment, is the synergy that connects governments and institutions.
“African countries need to put in processes that enhance synergies between institutions and governments to work at achieving the CSA agenda”.
Christophe Larose, Head of Sector, Sustainable Agriculture at the European Commission, on his part indicated that climate change is exerting pressure on the already stretched natural resource systems and called for policy alignment and support for institutions in addressing climate change.
Ms. Nora Berrahmouni, Senior Regional Forestry Officer, at the FAO Regional Office for Africa who shared her view, said there was the need to think of CSA as a concept which should be streamlined into policies at the regional and country levels.
In his closing remarks, the Executive Director of FARA, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo called on stakeholders to move the discussions beyond the conference and begin to take concrete actions towards the realization of the continent’s CSA aspirations.
“Let us identify and pool institutions on the continent…It is time to move to concrete actions…FARA should galvanize institutions to take the CSA discussions off the conference table and begin to walk the talk or else nothing will happen beyond the conference”
The Biennial Climate-Smart Agriculture stakeholders conference was funded by the European Commission and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). It was organized by FARA and partners including the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture (GACSA), the Food and Agriculture Organization, Agrinatura, the African Union Development AgencyNEPAD, the Climate Smart Agriculture Youth Network (CSAYN), the African Group of Negotiators Expert Support (AGNES), the Low Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership (LEDS GP), AFAAS and the sub-regional agriculture research organizations.
The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) is the continental apex organization for agricultural research and innovation in Africa. It is also the body mandated by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA)-NEPAD to serve as their technical arm on agricultural research and innovation. FARA also facilitates the deployment of science, technology and innovation to accelerate the achievement of the continent’s agriculture and food security targets as set out in the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) and the 2014 Malabo declaration on accelerated African agricultural growth and transformation. FARA works in close cooperation with the sub-regional agriculture research organizations (ASARECA, CCARDESA and CORAF) as well as the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS). Together, these organizations implement the CAADP XP4 program which is co-funded by the European Commission and IFAD. This program sets out to strengthen the collaborative capacities of these organizations in supporting countries to implement a science-led and climate-relevant transformation of their agricultural systems.