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Cote d’Ivoire hosts the Banana and Plantain Regional Center of Specialization. Its main mandate is to strengthen regional cooperation in the generation of technologies directed at improving banana and plantain production and productivity with a focus on high yielding, tolerance to pest and diseases, and high-quality traits acceptable to consumers.
Banana and plantains constitute a major source of carbohydrates for millions of people in Cote d’Ivoire and across West and Central Africa. According to the National Agriculture Investment PLan of Cote d’Ivoire, the banana and plantain sector is considered as key to increasing productivity and ensuring food security.
In the past ten years, many well-known young and female agripreneurs in Cote d’Ivoire have seen their business fortunes change considerably as a result of adopting some of the innovative technologies and high yielding varieties introduced by the Banana and Plantain Regional Center of Specialization.
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