RUFORUM gets US$16 million for agricultural development

RUFORUM gets US$16 million for agricultural development

18 April 2014. The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, or RUFORUM – a research and training network on agriculture based in Uganda – has received US$16.2 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to strengthen agriculture in Africa. 

The grant, the second from the foundation, will run until 2018. The first grant of US$12.7 million in 2008 supported the growth of a regional, crop-based network of 10 agricultural faculties into a broad-based consortium of 32 universities in East, Central and Southern Africa.

Since RUFORUM started it has supported training of 1,197 masters and 197 PhD graduates in the agricultural sector. This year the forum marks 10 years as a network of universities and 22 years of tacking tertiary agricultural education issues in East, Central and Southern Africa.

Professor Adipala Ekwamu, RUFORUM’s executive secretary, told University World News that the new grant would be used to strengthen agricultural research and development activities in African universities in support of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, CAADP.

Ekwamu said three programmes would be piloted during this phase.

There would be community-action research linked to strengthening crop-livestock value chains in Ethiopia and Tanzania. In Uganda there would be support for the cassava value chain. Another initiative would start the use of MOOCs to support access to quality education resources, especially in research methods.

21st to 25th July 2014. The RUFORUM Biennial Conference in Mozambique’s capital Maputo in July will celebrate a decade of the organisation’s existence and will be part of wider celebrations of 10 years of CAADP and the African Union-declared African Year of Agriculture and Food Security.

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