By Bob Aston
Agricultural stakeholders from all around Africa and other stakeholders with interest in African Agriculture science, technology, and innovation (STI) are converging in Kigali, Rwanda from today to June 16, 2016 to attend the 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW7) and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) General Assembly. The theme of the event is “Apply Science, Impact Livelihoods.”
The conference provides the African Agriculture STI stakeholders with an opportunity to reflect on their achievements over the past three years and come up with strategies and actions directed at enhancing the contribution of Agriculture STI towards facilitating the continent’s economic and social transformation during the next three years.The conference is organized around five key sub-themes that include Institutional systems and policies for making science work for African agriculture; sustainable productivity growth, value chains and profitable agribusinesses; human capital development and the Youth; sustainable financing of Science, Technology and Innovation for African agriculture; and megatrends in African Agriculture.
The four-day conference and exhibition focuses on the operationalization of the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa at country level. This is through discussing African Positions and building consensus on key issues concerning African Agriculture STI. Others include discussing contemporary evolutions in STI for agriculture and mapping out a broad agenda for repositioning STI for African agriculture over the next three years.
The event will feature distinguished keynote speakers, plenary sessions, an exhibition / trade fair, parallel side meetings, the Rwanda day (when the host country will showcase its achievements in agricultural research and innovation) and a business session of the FARA General Assembly.
According to Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, FARA Executive Director, integration of science and technology in agriculture is the lowest in the world thus it is incumbent on African governments to support efforts to develop holistic agricultural policies that encompass science and technology.
Dr. Akinbamijo notes that support for research in agriculture has become critical to ensure the integration of science, technology, and innovation in the continent’s agro practices to achieve the sector’s goals.
The conference precedes an e-discussion on June 6-11, 2016 themed: “Youth and agriculture sciences in Africa.” The CTA, YPARD, FARA, and GFAR organized the discussion around the first three themes of the conference in order to build the capacity of 200 youths who will be reporting on the proceedings of AASW7.