The Innovation, Research, Extension, and Advisory Coordination Hub (iREACH) Advisory Committee held its second meeting on August 18, 2022.
The two-hour virtual meeting brought together more than 20 participants, including members of the Advisory Committee, to review progress in the setting up of Agricultural Technology Parks (ATPs) in the initiative’s implementing countries, and to discuss future orientations.
ATPs are a strategic lever for iREACH to demonstrate in life-size agricultural technologies and innovations.
By analogy, CORAF Executive Director, Dr. Abdou Tenkounao, said that “Agricultural technology parks can be considered as supermarkets and the technologies exposed as products on the shelves, where customers will be able to go to buy what they need, as well as the instructions for use.”
Based on the presentations made by the respective managers, the Committee was able to observe that ATPs were established in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Senegal, with a fairly advanced state of progress and several technologies already available and others, to be acquired or in the process of being acquired.
“When we compare where we are today versus when we started, it’s phenomenal and very exciting. We have five agricultural technology parks when we only expected two,” commented Dr. Jan Middendorf, Deputy Chair of iREACH Advisory Committee.
Some challenges were however noted by ATP managers, along the way. These include delays or irregularity of the rainy seasons, delays and difficulties in acquiring certain technologies.
A delegation made up of representatives from the Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (SIIL) at Kansas State University (KSU) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is expected to visit West Africa PTAs in the coming months, during scheduled open days.
iREACH is a USAID-funded initiative to address the lack of coordination of USAID-funded research activities in West Africa, specifically in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Senegal.
CORFA is the custodian of the initiative.
“iREACH aims mainly at avoiding duplication of research activities in the target countries and at promoting synergies, for a better contribution to food and nutrition security,” underlined Prof. Nieyidouba Lamien, iREACH Manager at CORAF.