The Fruits and Legumes Regional Center of Specialization
There are nine national centers of specialization across West Africa. Each is assigned a priority crop. Mali hosts the Fruits and Legumes Regional Center of Specialization. This center has a critical mandate to contribute in solving the nutrition challenges facing the Sahel and West Africa in general.
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According to the United Nations Development Program, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to some of the most nutritionally insecure people in the world.
Poor infrastructure and limited resources compounded with conflict, HIV, and poor access to health services are factors that contribute to the staggering levels of malnutrition and food insecurity on the continent, according to the UNDP.
But since the establishment of this center, we have seen some reversal in this trend in West Africa. Not only has the center generated and disseminated innovative technologies in the mango, onion and tomato sectors, but they have also helped rebuild some of the old infrastructure hosting research and development institutions.
The Fruits and Legumes Regional Center of Specialization has distinguished itself in research on mangos, tomato, and onions. Farmers, producers and those involved in this value chain in Burkina Faso and across the region now master improved conservation techniques thanks to this center.
The West African specialized research centers were established under the West Africa Productivity Program (WAAPP), a flagship of ECOWAS and implemented by CORAF.
Each center had between 5-10 years from its creation to mutate to a regional center of excellence based on a set of pre-defined conditions. Some of these criteria include having an agriculture research framework, infrastructure, and logistics to conduct quality research, a work program that addresses national and regional demands, qualified expertise to do research, contribution to strengthening national research systems, a governance system, etc.
Regional centers of excellence are designed to conduct commissioned research on issues of regional interest. They can participate in calls for competitive funds and can mobilize from across the region required talents and skills to implement their research agenda,”
Dr. Lamien Niéyidouba,
Regional WAAPP Program Coordinator