“Let’s change the way we do business, Agriculture is beyond the farm gate and selling the raw produce which constitute only 10 % of business in agriculture. The profit is in the value chain,” says Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, the Executive Director of FARA. He made these remarks at the recently held 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW) and the FARA General Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda from 13-16 June 2016. The event was organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research and the Government of Rwanda. It attracted eminent scholars and scientists from Agricultural research institutes all over the world. The Rwanda Prime Minister, Hon Anastase Murekezi declared open the 7th Africa Agriculture Science Week(AASW) and General Assembly of FARA.
The FARA Science Week is greatly valued by stakeholders in Africa ‘s agricultural research and innovation who converge at these events every three years to network and strike partnerships to share knowledge and experiences , to identify the key collective actions they should pursue jointly to achieve their common goals. Therefore, the 7th AASW provided an opportunity for an occasion and space for stakeholders to work out how they could align their work with the various strategic frameworks signed and adopted by African Heads of State and Governments on accelerating African Agricultural growth and transformations. And it provided an opportunity on how to operationalize these frameworks at national levels of participating countries where most of the interventions take place. The four-day forum and exhibition attracted over 2000 participants , including ministers of states and policy –makers, experts in Agriculture and stakeholders engaged in African agricultural research and development to discuss how research can be used to to improve agriculture on the continent.
The theme of this year’s event is; Apply Science, impact livelihoods. It focused on the operationalization of science agenda for agriculture in Africa at country levels. The triennial event took stock of achievements in Africa’s agricultural research and also reflected on how to improve its contribution to the continental agenda for accelerated economic and social transformations. Plenary sessions were held to highlight the science agenda and evolving policy and institutional changes in the African agricultural landscape and their implications for the implementation of the science Agenda.
There were side events which deliberated on the five sub themes of the conference namely; Institutional systems and policies for making science work for African agriculture, Sustainable productivity growth, Value chains and profitable agribusiness, Human capital financing of STI for African agriculture and Mega trend in African Agriculture.
The General assembly was held on the fourth and last day of the event. All through the four days, exhibition of innovations ( products and services ) were open to interested participants at the event. The chairperson of FARA, Dr.Charity Kruger called upon the AFDB, World Bank and development partners to ensure increased financing for agricultural research and development along the value chains to promote sustainability of the sector. One of the high points of the opening ceremony was the conferment of the 1st FARA honours laureate on Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank in recognition of his visionary leadership in driving exemplary success in African agricultures and unlocking its potential.