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Boosting agricultural production in eastern and southern Africa

Leading organisations in agricultural policy, trade and technology transfer met in Nairobi from 13 -14 December 2018 to identify the implementation of harmonised seed regulations within the eastern and southern Africa region and develop an action plan towards eliminating challenges

The action plan developed after two days of deliberations is set to accelerate seed variety release and deployment, making it easier for seed varieties to be deployed in areas with similar agro-ecological conditions without necessarily going through lengthy procedures. This will also boost regional trade in seed and agricultural produce.

The consultation workshop was organised by African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) in collaboration with African Development Bank (AfDB) and Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA). It brought together delegates from 21 member countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

“There is urgent need to push for harmonisation of existing policies, regulations and protocols through regional policy dialogue and consultation workshops to assess what exists, identify gaps and support required reforms on the part of Bank’s regional member countries to accelerate policy harmonisation,” said Nnenna Nwabufo, AfDB’s deputy director general, East African Regional Hub.

“The injection and utilisation of new innovative technologies – especially technologies that address the dual goal of increasing production and productivity while ensuring responsible management of the environment and responding effectively to climatic change and other variables – are crucial to Africa’s food security,” said Denis Kyetere, executive director at AATF. “Getting these technologies into farmers’ hands in good time will not only ensure returns on the heavy investment already made but will also ensure Africa has the ability and means to reap from its agricultural potential,” he added.

“The need for partnerships, collaboration and networking and particularly public-private partnerships that will not only ensure that technologies reach farmers and stimulate innovation but also encourage growth of agriculture as a business, nurture private sector growth, which will, in turn, growing interest and employment opportunities for youth and support women’s participation,” Kyetere added.

The AfDB launched the Feed Africa Strategy to support regional member countries produce own food. Subsequently, the Bank commissioned the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) as a flagship programme of Feed Africa and a major global initiative designed to boost agricultural productivity in Africa by rapidly delivering proven technologies to tens of millions of farmers to enhance their productivity that has been on the declining trend in recent years.