Leading Agricultural Innovation in West and Central Africa

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It all began in March 1987 with a meeting between the directors of fifteen francophone agricultural research institutions of West and Central Africa and Madagascar and their colleagues from French agricultural research institutions namely, the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and the Office de recherche scientifique et technique d’Outre-Mer (ORSTOM) now Development Research Institute (IRD). Together they formed the Conference of African and French leaders of agricultural research institutes (CORAF). The first Executive Secretary of CORAF was Bernard Bachelier and the headquarters of the conference based in Paris.


To complement its institutional mechanism, CORAF made an innovative strategic choice ensuring a more general and global approach to its activities, rather than the development of technological instruments. The programme approach, on which its strategy is based, is complemented by the networking tool, mainly comprising the Research Networks, regional centres of excellence and research poles. The Regional Competitive Fund is used to fund research projects selected on a competitive basis. To produce results that meet social needs, it contributes to improving quality and ensures the promotion of excellence. The eight research programmes developed and which are being implemented are:

– Livestock, Fisheries and Aquaculture Programme;

– Staple Crops Programme;

– Non-Staple Crops Programme;

– Natural Resource Management Programme;

– Biotechnology and Biosafety Programme;

– Policies, Markets and Trade Programme;

– Agricultural Knowledge Management Programme;

– Capacity building and Coordination Programme.

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