Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Innovation systems approaches: the way forward for agricultural R4D



Emphasizing that inclusive and participatory value chain approaches and innovation platforms are the way forward for agricultural R4D, Dr Adama Traoré, Chair of the just-concluded 4th Agriculture Science Week for West and Central Africa, stated, “We are more interdependent today than in the past for achieving research impact.” Dr Traoré is the Interim Director General of AfricaRice.

Themed ‘Innovations in agro-sylvo-pastoral systems to feed West and Central Africa,’ the 4th Agriculture Science Week for West and Central Africa was organized by the West and Central African council for agricultural research and development (CORAF/WECARD) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture of Niger, 16-19 June 2014, in Niamey under the aegis of the Head of State of the Republic of Niger His Excellency Mahamadou Issoufou.

The main objective of the Agriculture Science Week was to identify mechanisms that will enhance productivity and resilience of agro-sylvo-pastoral producers to unprecedented shocks and climate change in West and Central Africa.

Participants included government authorities, CORAF/WECARD Governing Board and the Scientific and Technical committee members, representatives of farmer organizations, national agricultural research organizations, universities, regional economic communities, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, the donor community and development partners as well as scientific and technical partners from regional and international organizations.

The Science Week was inaugurated by the Minister of State, Minister of Agriculture of Niger Mr Abdou Labo in his capacity as Acting Prime Minister, who highlighted that the theme fits well with the Niger Government’s important initiative ‘Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens’ known as the 3N initiative.

Delivering the keynote address at the Science Week, Senegalese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Equipment and former AfricaRice Director General, Dr Papa Abdoulaye Seck advocated for increased support to agricultural research in Africa as scientists should be considered as the architects of agricultural civilization. Underlining the need for Africa to give equal importance to smallholder farming and agri-business, Dr Seck said, “Smallholder farming in our continent needs to be modernized; at the same time we should ensure that its rights are safeguarded.”

On behalf of the scientific community of West and Central Africa, a plaque of appreciation was presented for the President of the Republic of Niger for his strong support to agricultural research for development in Niger and the sub-region.  Distinguished awards were presented to Dr Papa Abdoulaye Seck, Dr Ibet Outhman Issa, Dr Djimé Adoum and Dr Adama Traoré for their support and contribution.

As part of the Science Week, AfricaRice organized a side event to highlight the contribution of research to the success of the Regional Rice Offensive initiated by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The concept has been developed in collaboration with UEMOA, the African Union, Hub Rural, ROPPA, CILSS, the national programs and AfricaRice.

The objectives of the Offensive are to sustainably increase rice production; promote the regional rice value chain; and improve the institutional environment so that it supports the development of the regional rice sector. The goal is to reach regional self-sufficiency in rice in 2018.

The Science Week provided opportunities to participants to share results and achievements of R&D activities relating to the main theme through formal presentations, exhibitions and field visits.

AfricaRice showcased seeds of improved rice varieties developed for the region as well as new innovations, including a small machine designed for the farming community for making briquettes from rice husk, which drew a lot of attention from the participants. Publications and posters were also displayed and distributed.

Immediately after the closure of the 4th Agriculture Science Week for West and Central Africa, the Eleventh General Assembly of CORAF/WECARD was held. 

Photo album : https://www.flickr.com/photos/africarice/sets/72157644796390977


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