Innovation and enterprise
A side event organized by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation highlighted the importance of linkages between public and private sectors. Dr Denis Kyetere, Executive Director of AATF, Her Excellency Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture and Dr Mark Holderness, GFAR Executive Secretary, spoke on the challenges and prospects for public-private partnerships in African Agriculture. Among other aspects, Mark highlighted the importance of recognizing farmers as entrepreneurs in their own right, the challenges of and opportunities for consolidation in the input industry and the need to provide a viable future for young people in agriculture and to specifically address policies and practices enabling women farmers to become entrepreneurs. He also highlighted the need for access and equity in innovations and the new opportunities offered by integration of ICTs, by curriculum reform and by the value of innovation platforms. News coverage:
GFAR was a co-sponsor of the Conference, enabling participation of representatives from other regions of the world and farmer representatives from Africa to take part in events. In an open panel discussion during the plenary - moderated by Mark Holderness - Martin Kropff (EFARD), John Dixon (APAARI), Alisher Tashmatov (CACAARI), Mohammed Ajlouni (AARINENA) and Monty Jones (FARA), shared their experiences and future challenges and highlighted a range of opportunities for inter-regional collaboration.
Dealing with Protracted Crises
A side meeting, moderated by Thomas Price of the GFAR Secretariat, addressed the particular challenges of protracted crises. This session covered the outcome of the Kigali meeting on the subject organized by GFAR, FARA and the Rwandan Government in 2012 (The Kigali Movement
) together with a new Agenda for Action on protracted crisis situations
being led through the Committee on World Food Security. This integrated approach seeks to provide practical support to countries as they work to grow out of crises and dependency, towards self-sufficiency. The event highlighted experiences from national actors and international support systems across Africa and the work of the CGIAR in Afghanistan. Brought together, these processes are addressing both the policy and practice involved in rebuilding communities shattered by conflict and prolonged environmental stress, using agricultural growth as a means of creating trust and hope.
Farmers’ Rights in Africa
A further side event examined the practical application of farmers’ rights policies in relation to African crops and varieties. A study of ways in which Farmers’ Rights can be put into practice in national systems was presented by Juanita Chaves of the GFAR Secretariat. This study, building on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, work to shape new policies of the CGIAR and national policy reforms in Latin America and Asia, set out a range of ways by which Farmers’ Rights could be respected and recognized alongside those of plant breeders’ variety rights. The study was very well received by the East African sub-regional research forum ASARECA and by farmer groups from a number of countries of East Africa and their East African Farmers Federation, who shared their own experiences from the region. The practical measures discussed will form the basis for subsequent work taking forward these issues into new policies and their use in the region.
A 2-day side event organized by FARA, CTA, and FAO under the CIARD partnership examined information and knowledge for food security in Africa. The recommendations taken forward to the plenary centered on promoting institutional policies and capacities that support opening access to knowledge for more effective agricultural innovation. This event built on the recent Global Consultation in May 2013 in Ethiopia
, which had agreed a new way forward for the CIARD Movement to connect national, regional and international processes on “Open Agricultural Knowledge for Development”, to include its adaptation and use by smallholder producers.
Examining possible future scenarios for African agriculture
FARA, with the support of Dr Robin Bourgeois of the GFAR Secretariat, organized an exercise reflecting on potential future scenarios to enable sustainable rural areas in Africa. This foresight side event also provided a training process to enable African participants to take a different look at the perspectives for agriculture and rural development in Africa and open a space for new thinking on “Africa feeding Africa”. The outcomes of the workshop contributed to reflections of the FARA General Assembly on the future role of FARA. The Africa Science Week also provided opportunity to launch the African Chapter of the Foresight Academy, as initially outlined during the second Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GCARD2) in Punta del Este. The workshop outcomes are detailed here
Robin Bourgeois also took part in the pre-event Sustainable Intensification Systems Workshop organized by FARA, ACIAR, BMGF and USAID.