Top agricultural scientists, researchers, farmers and policy makers from ten countries in East and Central Africa will converge in Entebbe mid December to deliberate on critical issues affecting the sector, and come up with science-based, social and policy solutions to address these concerns.
Organized by the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), the meeting will also be the first general assembly, of the association and will be to be opened by Uganda President Yoweri Museveni. It kicks off in Entebbe on December 14, and bring together about 350 top delegates, which include over 10 ministers in charge of agriculture and an equal number of director generals of agricultural research institutes.
Although agriculture constitutes over 43 per cent of the GDP of the two regions, the sector is facing scientific, social, economic and environmental challenges, which can be addressed through enhanced sustainable use of resources and regional collaboration.
“The objective of this high level meeting is to create a forum for developing a shared vision and shared goals to enhance sustainable agriculture, to bring about economic growth and improved livelihoods in our region,” ASARECA’s executive director, Dr Seyfu Ketema, said in Kampala when he launched the activities that precede the assembly whose theme is “Feeding our region in the 21st century”.
Dr. Ketema observed that with a growing population, the region needs to come together and formulate “strategic guidelines in agricultural research for development, extension, and agricultural training and education; which will contribute to feeding the region in the 21st Century.
“We will also look for strategies that will enable us deal with volatile food prices: drivers and impacts on food security in eastern and central Africa, and evaluate the progress made towards the implementing of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), which is spearheaded by the African Union Commission,” he noted.
ASARECA is an organization of the National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) of ten countries: Burundi, D R Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. It aims at increasing the efficiency of agricultural research in the region so as to facilitate economic growth, food security and export competitiveness through productive and sustainable agriculture.