19th July, 2013: The 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW), has officially been opened by His Excellency PaaKwesiAmissah Arthur, Vice President of the Republic of Ghana. AASW, hosted by The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, has brought together over 1,300 scientific researchers, extensionists, farmers, policy makers, development partners, civil society and NGO groupsfrom across the world to discuss the theme “Africa Feeding Africa through Agricultural Science and Innovation”.
Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, H.E PaaKwesiAmissah Arthur said: “The need for action on agricultural research is urgent. African Governments must increase funding for agricultural research and extension; farmers’ innovations must find their way into the research agenda to enable Africa achieve its goal of food sufficiency”. The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the Africa Award for Excellence in Food Security and Poverty Reduction to H.E John DramaniMahama and the People of the Republic of Ghana by the Chairman of FARA, Dr. TiemokoYo. The Award which was received on behalf of the President by the Honorable Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Clement Kofi Humado is the highest award by FARA to honor Ghana for its significant progress in meeting the MDG 1 target of halving poverty and hunger ahead of 2015. According to Dr. KanayoNwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) who delivered the keynote address: “Over the past three decades, agricultural productivity in Africa has been stagnant or in decline…Funding to agriculture, to universities and to research centres fell steadily and steeply…To make matters worse, average global spending on agricultural research also fell.We know what needs to be done. And we know what can be done. The development of a Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa, under the auspices of FARA, is an important step on the road to a strong agricultural sector. It is all the more important because it is Africa-owned and Africa-led. It holds the promise of African farmers and citizens reaping the benefits of African research.” The timing of the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week is thus particularly pertinent, with the recommendations emanating having a critical role to play in shaping Africa’s agricultural science agenda over the next three years. Highlights of the AASW, which began on Monday 15th July, have included Ghana Agricultural Science Day, which took place on Wednesday 17th July and involved displays from Ghana on agricultural innovations. Wednesday was also CAADP Day, which brought together African political leaders, CAADP institutions and stakeholders in a Ministerial Dialogue on investments to enable Africa feed Africa. It also entailed the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between FARA and the African Union Commission (AUC). This is the third MoU between FARA and the AUC since its inception. In addition, over 50 events have taken place since the start of the Week, organized by over 40 national, regional and international organizations. These have been focused on examining and discussing the Week’s sub-themes of education and human resource development, innovations to improve productivity and resilience, moving from competition to collaboration and innovative financing and investment in agriculture. Key recommendations that arose from these events were presented at the plenary session held on Thursday, 18th July; some more recommendations will be presented on the 19th of July. Running until Saturday 20th July, AASW has also features a week-long exhibition of agricultural innovations by institutions from across the world.
See the full text of Dr. KanayoNwanze’s Speech here

published: 2013-07-19 | tagged: homepage