SARD-SC PMU retreat held amidst applause for laudable achievements with a focus on phase 11


The SARD-SC   Project Management unit held the 2016 annual retreat recently in Abuja , with staff of all the implementing  centres-ICARDA, AfricaRice and IFPRI – in attendance. The   retreat   assessed what was done in the previous year and   planned ahead for the new year. Dr.Chrys Akem,Project Coordinator  said   the meeting was a critical one   because   the project was at its winding down phase with   the hope to earn a second phase of the project from the African Development Bank, the project’s sponsor. So discussions at the meeting were open and forthright on project issues while   solutions were sought to seemingly knotty issues.

In his preamble before the meeting started in earnest, the project coordinator urged the Commodity Specialists to ensure   the Project Completion Report was completed   by the end of the year. He commented on the Bank’s commendation of the project as “ one of the best managed projects with over 80% disbursement rate . AFDB is happy the project is on track.”

The tone of the meeting was set with the review and adoption of the Minutes of the last retreat held October, in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire in 2015. Thereafter, the review   on status of action points from the Abidjan   retreat was conducted one by one   by Dr. Akem and was deliberated upon and checked for implementation by the house. The status of the implementation of the Mid –Term Review recommendations were   critically examined point by point especially relating to out –scaling /disseminating technologies and   youth engagement by all the commodities; cassava, maize, wheat and rice.

Several presentations were made by all representatives of the participating centers . Reports from the Monitoring and Evaluation and Socio –economic meeting were presented by Drs Issaka Amadou and Paul Dontsop on cassava   and maize value chain impact plans. Messrs Somado Attiogbevi –Kafu and Yameogo Ouambi ,both M & E Specialists for Rice and wheat commodities , respectively presented Impact plans for the two commodities, while Tanguy Bernard presented IFPRI plans on farmers groups and impact. Mr. Steve Kiingi, Project Agric Business Specialist   gave an update on market linkages. Mrs. Zulfawu Yahaya,   Procurement Specialist   presented status of commodity procurement plans    for cassava and maize commodities while those of rice and wheat were presented by Abdou Mohammed and Anis  Boukadida, respectively. Mr. Seyi Fashokun, Project Accountant   gave financial updates on commodity budgets for cassava and maize value chains   while Cheikh Abdella   and Wahid Zakhama gave presentations on rice and wheat respectively.

Dr. Akem advised the PMU and the Commodity Specialists on the need to prepare for the   upcoming Project Steering Committee(PSC) meeting taking place at the end of March, 2016,taking into consideration  uniformity and content of presentations and addressing the   recommendations from the last meeting in Dakar. Another   important area of   focus at the retreat was how the project could earn a second phase ( the SARD-SC project phase 2), hence working groups sessions   discussions were held on commodity focus areas by the Commodity Specialists and other members of the team. To foster intra – institutional collaboration, networking and team building, group discussions were held on various topics  across   implementing centres of the project.

Among the attendees were   the four Commodity Specialists; Dr. Sam Ajala, Maize commodity Specialist, Dr. Marie Yomeni, Cassava Commodity Specialist, Dr. Solomon Assefa, wheat Commodity Specialist and Dr.Sidi Sanyang, Rice Commodity Specialist.


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