Harnessing Synergies to Address AR4D Challenges in West and Central Africa

On 19 July 2022, the symposium on the state of agricultural research for development (AR4D) in West and Central Africa, organized by CORAF, opened in Cotonou, Benin.

Chaired by the Secretary General of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries of Benin (MAEP), representing her Minister, the opening ceremony was the place for CORAF and its partners, to emphasize the relevance of the topic of the symposium: ‘Agricultural Technologies & Innovations: Climate-Smart Solutions for the Transformation of Emergence and Post Emergence’.

“Agricultural research is one of the main factors contributing to the change in agricultural production systems and the evolution of the rural world. In particular, it contributes to the improvement of agricultural productivity and incomes and to the evolution of agricultural practices,” notes CORAF Executive Director Dr. Abdou Tenkouano.

In West and Central Africa, agricultural research is faced with many challenges that prevent it from playing its full role as a socio-economic development catalyzer.

However, Dr. Tenkouano recalls that the challenges facing agricultural research are well known and summarized in what is called sustainable or ecological intensification.

The keynote speakers present at the symposium launch ceremony, unanimously agree that it is necessary to pool efforts and especially leverage synergies, to meet these challenges.

In Benin, “the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries will spare no effort to support all good initiatives that can lead to the strengthening of sub-regional collaboration and the pooling of synergies and resources, to ensure the development of the agricultural sector and, more generally, the development of West and Central Africa nations,” said Dr. Françoise Komlan Assogba, Secretary General of the MAEP in Benin.

“This symposium highlights the need for research centers and National Agricultural Research Systems to act together to address the adaptation needs of producers through proven inputs on the ground. This synergy of action is essential today for Africa’s agricultural development,” said Ms. Alansar Elisabeth Pitteloud, Representative of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), at the opening ceremony.

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CORAF is organizing the symposium within the framework of the Agricultural Technologies and Innovations Scaling Project for Increasing the Resilience of Production Systems and Family Farms in West and Central Africa (TARSPro) project that it’s implementing. Funded by the SDC, TARPRo is an initiative which supports CORAF Operational Plan. 

The scientific gathering will bring together for three days -some of whom will be joining online, more than a hundred participants, including researchers and academics, the private sector, representatives of technical and financial partners and representatives of regional economic communities.