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African scientists and farmers to benefit from agric technology

28 February 2007, BuaNews

Pretoria: An agreement between the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) is set to help African scientists and farmers benefit from technological advancements in agriculture.

The organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding to this effect in Midrand last week.

"FARA and NEPAD will work together to enhance the capacity of African scientists, development agencies and farmers to take advantage of new technologies and methodologies to improve African agricultural productivity," NEPAD said in a statement.

NEPAD Chief Executive Professor Firmino Mucavele and Njabulo Nduli, chairperson on behalf of FARA, co-signed the agreement.

A FARA-NEPAD liaison position based at the NEPAD Secretariat in Midrand, South Africa, will coordinate all joint activities of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) and will also provide other resources to strengthen support for the NEPAD Secretariat.

In consultation with NEPAD and its members, FARA will identify priority projects and activities for collaboration and integration of African agricultural research for development.

Aware of the need to streamline or scale up various activities within the region, sub-regions and country levels, FARA will involve all its stakeholders to achieve this objective.

NEPAD will in turn engage the international community, development partners and multilateral institutions in support of FARA.

Welcoming the agreement Prof Mucavele, said the improvement in agricultural performance and productivity is a prerequisite for economic development in Africa.

"It is our hope that the important efforts being put in motion by FARA will yield tangible results that will lift the livelihoods of the vast majority of the rural population who are farmers".

Prof Mucavele said he would like to see NEPAD and FARA explore the following key areas for deepening collaboration:

* Develop a joint strategy in packaging the information and knowledge that has been generated on CAADP over the past five years.

* Develop a joint capacity-building initiative, including post-graduate training and short- term training of agricultural professionals at the REC and country level.

* The development and publication of joint policy briefs linked to agriculture research, information dissemination and adoption.

Prof Mucavele said NEPAD remained committed to supporting FARA in its "excellent efforts" in increasing African agricultural productivity.

FARA, based in Accra, Ghana, facilitates the coordination and exchange of information among the African Sub-Regional Agricultural Research Organisations (SROs), and their National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) stakeholders.

FARA's main activities in supporting the SROs range from strategic planning, strengthening and integrating NARS at the sub-regional level, and increasing collaboration between NARS, International Agricultural Research Centres, (IARCs) and Advanced Research Institutes, (ARIs), with special attention to networking. - BuaNews

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