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But this centers work has gone beyond livestock. Through the innovation platforms established and animated by actors of specific value chains, there has been a considerable uptake of innovative technologies in critical areas for the population of Niger such as milk, vegetable seed, onion, composite bread making, poultry and fish farming, seeds and product transformation.
Basic infrastructure of research institutions have also been upgraded to allow these centers to continue the critical work of researching livestock for the West and Central Africa region. In view of a seamless transition, a fresh and younger set of researchers have also been trained to continue research in this sector.
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