More than 200 research and development partners and experts will meet at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria, in a three-day workshop to discuss a new initiative known as “Africa Feeding Africa”, or the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) program. The TAAT program is a critical strategy for transforming agriculture on the continent that would ensure that Africa is able to feed itself through agriculture.
The goal of the TAAT Program includes eliminating extreme poverty, ending hunger and malnutrition, achieving food sufficiency, and turning Africa into a net food exporter as well as setting Africa in step with global commodity and agricultural value chains.
Adopting modernized, commercial agriculture is the key to transforming Africa and the livelihoods of its people, particularly the rural poor.
To carry out these objectives, the African Development Bank (AfDB), working with IITA and other partners, has identified eight priority agricultural value chains relating to rice sufficiency, cassava intensification, Sahelian food security, savannas as breadbaskets, restoring tree plantations, expanding horticulture, increasing wheat production, and expanded fish farming.
The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the CGIAR Consortium and 12 of its 15 international agricultural centers active in Africa support this initiative by the Bank and the co-sponsors to revitalize and transform agriculture through the TAAT program within the shortest possible time while restoring degraded land and maintaining or strengthening the ecosystems that underpin agriculture. The 12-14 April workshop is being organized by IITA in partnership with the Support to Agricultural Research for Development of Strategic Crops (SARD-SC) project for the African Development Bank, which is funding this mega initiative.
The identification and preparation workshop is a preliminary step to establishing and operationalizing the program. It will be attended by leading agricultural experts from Africa and beyond, development institutions, research agencies, the private sector, financial institutions, academia, and civil society. The workshop is a response to the Action Plan for Agricultural Transformation in Africa resulting from the AfDB-led high-level conference held in Dakar, Senegal, in October 2015. The major objective is to execute a bold plan to achieve rapid agricultural transformation across Africa and raise agricultural productivity.
This initiative will be led by IITA, FARA, CGIAR, national agricultural research systems, and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). This will involve close partnerships among AfDB, the World Bank, and major development partners to ensure increased funding for agricultural research and development along the value chains in Africa. CGIAR, FARA, AVRDC - The World Vegetable Center, Africa Harvest, and other partners will provide the technical and developmental support for the Bank’s quest of widespread agricultural transformation.
“IITA supports AfDB and partners in ensuring that TAAT is effectively set up,” said IITA Director General, Nteranya Sanginga. “The whole CGIAR system is backing this huge initiative with its research infrastructure in collaboration with FARA, AGRA, Africa Harvest, and the national partners. Everybody wants to ensure that this initiative succeeds.”
To date, about 22 African countries have been identified as potential partners with the CGIAR centers in the planning, content, and evaluation of investments in agricultural transformation. This workshop gives an opportunity for more Regional Membership Countries (RMCs) of AfDB to join in this effort.