A Regional conference on Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A) for countries in Central, West and Northern Africa has opened in Accra.
The three-day conference, being attended by directors of National Agriculture Research Systems from 36 countries, is aimed at coming out with the best science technological innovations to boost agricultural practices in Africa.
At the opening ceremony last Tuesday, the Executive Director of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), coordinators of the event, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, said the conference would also sensitise participating countries to the status and strategy of the S3A.
The science agenda is a framework for deepening the application of science to accelerate the transformation of agriculture in Africa with the ultimate goal of achieving sustainable inclusive growth, shared prosperity and poverty reduction.
It was endorsed by the African Union (AU) Joint Conference of Ministers of Agriculture, Rural Development, Fisheries and Aquaculture in April 2014 and subsequently by the AU Heads of State and Governments.
The vision of S3A is that “by 2030, Africa is food secure, a global scientific player and the world’s breadbasket.”
Dr Akinbamijo said S3A would also advocate a doubling of public and private sector investment into agricultural research for development (AR4D) by 2020.
To ensure that the S3A is owned and driven by countries, he said a series of engagements at sub-regional and national levels had been organised to launch a controlled process for deepening national engagements.
“So far, two regional consultations have been held for Southern and Eastern African countries,” the director further stated.
According to him, consultations with Central, West and North African countries would pave the way for more in-depth deliberations.
The Deputy Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Mrs Patricia Appiagyei, said the government was committed to boosting the agriculture sector through the use of science and technology.
According to her, the use of science and technology would play a major role in the delivery of the government’s ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme.
“We look to the rolling out of the science agenda as an important initiative that will add impetus to the implementation of these policies to completely transform our agriculture and make our country food secure,” Mrs Appiagyei added.
For his part, the Chair of the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF), Dr Alioune Fall, said Africa had the resources to become the world’s leading food supplier if the continent would commit to the S3A.