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Agriculture Conference Focuses on Africa-Owned Science

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Watering crops in Africa
Watering crops in Africa

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Kim Lewis
Agriculture experts are gathered in Accra, Ghana for the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week.  The event is sponsored by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, FARA.

The theme of the conference is “Africa Feeding Africa through Agricultural Science and Innovation.” 

Members of FARA said the focus is on home-grown solutions to ensure food security on the continent, while making agricultural research and development a priority.

“The purpose of Africa Agriculture Science Week was to bring all entities, partners, collaborators, constituents, all that are involved in agricultural research for development in Africa, and this includes constituents and partners from outside Africa, convened to Accra, Ghana, so that we can discuss issues relating to agricultural research for development in Africa, particularly the role of science and technology,” explained Professor Monty Patrick Jones, executive director of FARA.

In addition, participants will analyze the present status of their efforts, identify gaps, come up with recommendations, and determine what needs to be done within the next three years.

Jones named two gaps in the process of ensuring food security for Africa.  One he said was a lack of what he called foresight thinking.

“In the current light of climate change, we are having severe drought, where we are having floods in some areas, and aggravated levels of diseases and insect pests.  We want to know what will happen in the foreseeable future, and we want to be able to put in place programs that will address those problems,” said Jones.

He said another major gap to Africa’s food security is capacity building.  Jones explained that this centers on lack of resources in many countries which directly leads to a lack of skilled workers.

Jones said with the large turnout of senior ministers at the event this week, the goal is to drive a message of support for Africa to claim ownership of its own programs.

“We are not saying that we don’t need the support of our donor partners from the west and other places.  We do,” related Jones. 

He added to show that Africa is serious about solving its own food security problems, stakeholders are putting together a science agenda for Africa. Jones said it will be a key document that spells out the type of science needed to take the continent to where it wants to be and where it needs to be in the near future.

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