Story by: Fred Yaw Sarpong
The 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW), hosted by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), in collaboration with the Government of Ghana, ended last Friday 20th July, 2013 amid fanfare and celebrations.
This was the most well attended AASW ever, with 1,334 participants attending including Ministers, Parliamentarians, Scientific Researchers, Farmers, extensionists, civil society and development partners.
The weeklong event witness exhibitions of several agriculture products and plenary sessions, which focused on the theme of “Africa Feeding Africa through Agricultural Science and Innovation.”
Also, the event examined the 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.
With the target date for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) drawing nearer, the discussions on innovations to improve productivity, resilience, collaborations, capacity building and investments in African agriculture were particularly pertinent. The implementation of the recommendations that emanated from these discussions will prove critical in the coming years.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Dr. Tiemoko Yo, Chairperson of FARA said “to enable a food secure Africa, it is imperative to increase productivity and intensification through science and innovations”.
Dr. Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), who delivered the keynote address on Thursday 18th July, 2013 said “to address the world’s challenges, we must continue to push the frontiers of science, knowledge and experimentation, while ensuring our natural resources are not depleted. But most importantly, we must be looking at new and creative ways to make these technologies and developments affordable and accessible to respond to the reality of the small farmer, fisher and pastoralist, who are feeding more than 2 billion people.”
The 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week ended with a Business Meeting. It featured a handing over ceremony of Prof. Monty Jones of FARA as well as ushered into office a new Chairperson of the FARA Board, Dr. Charity Kruger and a new Executive Director, Dr. Oseyemi Akinbamijo who comes from the Africa Union.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Prof. Monty Jones who is stepping down after 11 years of dedicated service stated that “FARA has made significant achievements in a short period of eleven years through the contribution of all staff and stakeholders and I would encourage everyone to remain dedicated to building a better FARA and a stronger agricultural sector in Africa”.