Conference reflects on new agro technologies

Mwanza. Representatives from 24 African countries met here yesterday to reflect on achievements and challenges of implementing the dissemination of new agricultural technologies in Africa (Donata) project.

According to Dr Lydia Kimenya, the up-scaling programme manager from the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (Asareca), the conference aims at looking at achievements and draw lessons from current efforts to spread quality protein maize and orange fleshed sweet potatoes (Ofsps) in Africa.

“The conference, it is hoped, will further boost dissemination and adoption of improved agricultural technologies and innovations through innovation platforms,” she said.

According to her, the project on dissemination of new agricultural technologies in Africa is part of the promoting science and technology for agricultural development initiative funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) through the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (Fara).

Through Asareca, the project manages and coordinates the implementation of Donata in Eastern and Central Africa.
“It works together with the national agricultural research institutes of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and while, Ethiopia, which joined later started implementing the project in 2008,” she explained.

Dr Kimenye explained that through the knowledge management and the up-scaling programme, Asareca had been working with the five East African counties to promote the transfer and dissemination of technologies in sweet potatoes and transfer and dissemination of technologies in quality protein maize.

“The technologies include improved varieties, crop management practices and post-harvest management and processing to produce value added products for human consumption and for livestock feeds,” she added. According to her, the two crops’ technologies are being promoted through an approach known as Innovation Platforms for Technology Adoption (Iptas).

“This approach engages and brings

together researchers, field extension workers, farmers, policy makers, non-governmental organisations, Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), seed companies, input suppliers and processors to share information, knowledge and skills on proven technologies in order to widely disseminate them,” she added.

Source:  By Miguel Suleyman, The Citizen Bureau Chief