One month after organizing a successful World Economic Forum, Rwanda is hosting the 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week, which has brought together at least 1,500 ministers, policymakers, agricultural experts and other stakeholders from a number of fields related to African agriculture, science and technology.
The assembly kicked off on Monday and is expected to continue until Thursday. This year’s theme is “Apply Science, Impact Livelihoods.”
“The event will focus on the operationalization of the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa at country level,” FARA’s website indicates.
The assembly also hopes to take stock of the achievements it has made over the last three years and formulate a common agenda and modalities to help it achieve collective targets over the coming three years.
The conference is organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) in conjunction with relevant partners including sub-regional agricultural research organizations, African Union Commission, NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, and the Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Cooperation, among others.
Top on the Agenda
With the nightmare of food shortage and drought that has troubled Africa for many years, attendees are set to deliberate on a number of issues in hopes of addressing these problems in the long term.
The assembly is expected to discuss institutional systems and policies for making science more beneficial to African agriculture. One of the main reasons Africa continues to experience food shortages is that African farmers have yet to adopt sustainable farming methods. FARA therefore seeks to find ways science can improve sustainable productivity, growth and profitable agribusinesses.
Also on the agenda are the inclusion of African youth in profitable agriculture and sustainable financing of science, technology and innovation for African agriculture.
The assembly will also look at the latest mega-trends in agriculture and discuss ways they can be incorporated in African agriculture. Speaking at the event on Monday, the president of African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina said:
“The focus has always been on how to use agriculture to manage rural poverty, not for creating wealth. It is incomprehensible that a sector that accounts for up to 60% of the labor force in many African countries barely generates much in terms of revenue for governments.”
Opportunity for Rwanda to Shine
According to FARA, the assembly will dedicate a day to allow Rwandan farmers and technology innovators showcase its achievements in agricultural research and innovation.
Other key economic pillars for Rwanda such as tourism, hospitality and education are expected to reap big rewards from the conference. The event will feature distinguished speakers, a trade fair, parallel side meetings and a business session of the FARA General Assembly, which meets every three years. The previous session was held in Accra, Ghana, in 2013.
Watch the video below to see a few highlights from the first day of this year’s Africa Agriculture Science Week: