Accelerating Agricultural Research and Development in Africa.
Dr Siimon Mwale making a presentation during the just ended ASARECA meeting in Kampala, Uganda.
The Acting Executive Director of the Centre for Coordination Agricultural Research and Development in Southern Africa (CCARDESA) attended a 3-day High-Level Meeting in Kampala, Uganda. The Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) convened the meeting. ASARECA is a non-profit Intergovernmental organisation of the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) of twelve countries2 (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda). The core functions of the organisation are to mobilise and coordinate human, physical, financial and institutional capital to implement research, extension, and training for agricultural transformation in the Eastern and Central Africa sub-region. Its mission is “to contribute to increased productivity, commercialisation and competitiveness of the agricultural sector through strengthening, catalysing and coordinating agricultural research development in the ECA sub-region”.
The primary purpose of the meeting was to inaugurate the new governance system for regional AR4D and showcase the results of SIMLESA to demonstrate the value proposition for regional AR4D but also to raise awareness on the impacts of CASI and support for its mainstreaming in the African agricultural policy agenda at the highest level in the sector.
Some of the critical meetings, objectives were to institute ASARECA’s new governance organs and instruments and share ASARECA’s AR4D strategy with stakeholders.
Among other participants who attended the meeting were Ministers responsible for agriculture from ASARECA member countries and the two additional SIMLESA countries; Malawi and Mozambique, Head of Sub-Regional Organisations, the Heads of RECs, the outgoing and incoming Board of ASARECA , members of ASARECA’s high level advisory panel on governance reforms, development partners and the national CAADP focal points.
CCARDESA ‘s Executive Director, Dr Simon Mwale, presented on the effects of climate change and how regional bodies need design cushioning strategies to minimise the looming food insecurity in the region that is caused by climate change. He also urged participants to strengthen agricultural research and development by creating a bridge to research extensions which are in regular touch with the farmers on the ground. Dr Mwale also emphasised the need for farmers to embrace seeds that are drought resistant to increase productivity as well as the use of climate-proof agricultural technologies to combat the effects of climate change. He urged participants on the need to capacitate farmers on value addition to farm produce to attract good market and higher prices.