Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

WEBINAR: The Contribution of research and innovation in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 in Africa’s agriculture and food system

20 May 2020. WEBINAR: The Contribution of research and innovation in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 in Africa’s agriculture and food system. 3 pm CEST/CAT.

Organized by CAADP ex Pillar IV Institutions* and hosted by FARA, this webinar is the first in a series of e-forums the CAADP ex Pillar IV institutions to consult and sensitize stakeholders about the contribution of research and innovation in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 in Africa’s agriculture and food system.

The regional institutions mandated to champion the application of STI in Africa’s agriculture and food systems, namely FARA and AFAAS at continental level and ASARECA, CCARDESA, CORAF and NAASRO, at sub-regional level are leading the development of an inclusive strategy on deployment of STI to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the continent’s agriculture and food system. This strategy is conceived to be integral to sector-wide strategies and interventions formulated by the African Union Commission (including the 16 April 2020 resolution of AU ministers of Agriculture), African Union Development Agency, Regional Economic Communities, national Governments and Development Partners.
  1. COVID-19 impacts (short. medium and long-term) whose solutions are principally rooted in research and innovation; 
  2. Identification of the priority interventions to be undertaken by Africa’s research and innovation system; and 
  3. Next steps in advancing from concept to action.

The African Union Commission Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture has urged African countries to utilize the COVID-19 phase for boosting food security with agricultural research and innovations.
"COVID-19 has created an opportunity for Africa to explore contextualized solutions relevant to the continent. This is the best time to boost Africa’s food security. It presents us with a crisis within a crisis. The science and technology and innovation are a critical agenda now than ever before” AU Commissioner Josepha Leonel Correta Sacko 

"The COVID-19 is a local problem which requires hypothesized native solutions. We should not shelve local research findings and opting for external results which did not solve the problem. We should not push forward other people’s agenda but instead push the African agenda so that the continent becomes self-reliant,” Dr Idrahim Mayaki, the Chief Executive Officer at Africa Union Development Agency (AUDA)-NEPAD
"The COVID-19 pandemic crisis comes at a time where Africa has been deprived of normal agricultural yields due to the effects of climate change; on the other hand, floods and drought are adversely affecting food production in the southern African region. Among the challenges are: lack of farming inputs as stocks could not be delivered at the onset of the farming season due to travel restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. There is a need for improved synergies between the extension of research and farming in Africa. There is a need for African government to ensure that farmers access post-loss harvest funds so that they can recover from unforeseen disruptions. This pandemic should also be a wake-up call for us to think around how best we can move research from the lab to the farm in order to attain food security for the continent,”  Elizabeth Nsimadala, president for the Pan African Farmers Organization (PAFO)
Background document:
Contribution of Agricultural Research and Innovation in Mitigating the Effects of COVID-19 in Africa. A CAADP XP4 Issues Paper for regional and continental eFORUM (May 2020, 11 pages)

"An obvious impact of the pandemic is that it has the potential to distract stakeholders from addressing pre-existing threats, such as climate change and change in ecological dynamics. With countries manage focusing all the attention the crisis, they are bound to be diverted from long-term strategic goals such as CAADP and the SDGs. This may cascade into unintended negligence of clear and existing threats to food and nutrition security." (page 8)

"While COVID19 is not an agricultural pandemic, it involves the humans within the agricultural system, which is not a traditional scenario of disaster preparedness in the agricultural sector.(page 9)

"Multi-disciplinary teams that link analysis of climate change impacts on agriculture should enable early warning and foresight towards appropriate policy interventions." (page 9)

22 May 2020. Webinar of the Africa Foresight Academy. Organised by FARA.

This virtual version of the Academy was hosted by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) as a continental infrastructure for strengthening the institutional arrangements and the promotion of foresight activities on the continent in partnership with the Global Forum for Agricultural Research (GFAR). FARA’s approach to foresight seeks to foster a proactive attitude for communities faced with changes by unveiling uncertainties and using them as a means for action. 

 The basis of foresight in agriculture in Africa is to facilitate forward thinking capacity on how innovation and knowledge can best help surmount the diverse challenges facing agriculture, to ensure that agricultural research and innovation are more responsive to future agri-food system and related development need.

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