The West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) and the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aims to identify opportunities to improve agricultural productivity thereby contributing to improving food security and reduce poverty in West and Central Africa. The MoU was signed on 14 September 2016 during the Regional Forum on Cotton and Food security in West and Central Africa held in Lomé-Togo. Speaking to media after the signing ceremony Dr Abdou TENKOUANO, Executive Director (ED) of CORAF/WECARD pointed out the opportunity for a long-term relationship aiming at promoting and facilitating collaboration and synergies to support small holder farmers and jointly develop appropriate responses to environmental challenges. “The MoU is an important step forward in disseminating research-based production technologies towards enhancing crop productivity and facilitate public-private partnerships (PPPs) in order to improve small holder farmers’ access to markets including women and the youth to stimulate a rapid economic growth, food insecurity and poverty reduction in West and Central Africa” said the ED of CORAF/WECARD before concluding that “the meaning of the signature is the formalization of the welcoming of IFDC in the CORAF family which acts as the technical arm of the RECs. Fertilizers for soil are the same thing that the food is for the Human Being because to work well you need to eat“.
For Dr Michael SMISIK, Chief of Party, USAID C4CP Project, “IFDC will leverage the mandate of CORAF/WECARD on research and development (R&D) in agriculture in West and Central Africa for the dissemination of the body of knowledge and experience generated through the projects’ interventions in the sub-region and beyond”.
IFDC will provide a regional consultation mechanism and collaboration between stakeholders in the cotton sector by sharing the experience of CORAF/WECARD in using the innovation platform approach as “a tool for managing the multi-stakeholder process in value chains. IP uses a combination of joint learning systems and approaches to catalyze the robust engagement of relevant stakeholders at each stage of the process” stressed Dr Abdou TENKOUANO during the panel on Partnerships for scaling up experiences and lessons learned.
Attended by over one hundred delegates from September 14 to 16, 2016, in Lomé-Togo, the Regional Forum on Cotton and Food security in West and Central Africa was organized by IFDC and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) Commission to provide an appropriate platform for strategic thinking and exchange between stakeholders on critical issues related to the cotton sector and food security.
Dr Youssouf CAMARA, the Director of Research and Innovation of CORAF/WECARD also attended this Forum. During a presentation, he shared the valuable experience of his Institution on the use of Innovation Platforms to upscale technologies and innovations (T&Is) in West and Central Africa.