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Rwanda embraces Science Agenda

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Participants at the S3A meeting in Kigali, Rwanda recently

Rwanda has embraced the Science Agenda in Agriculture for Africa (S3A), noting that the Agenda will serve as a catalyst to Rwanda’s home-grown solutions for Agricultural transformation.

 “The philosophy mooted by the S3A that countries must own and lead the implementation of initiatives to trigger agricultural transformation, echoes the Rwandan conviction that there is no hand-out science,” said, Dr. Mark Cyubahiro, the Director General Rwanda Agricultural Board. Dr. Cyubahiro, was addressing participants at the national consultations for developing the S3A rollout plan for Rwanda in the capital, Kigali.

Rwanda pioneers

Rwanda was identified as the first S3A roll out country for the Southern Africa sub-region based on the country’s current investments in Science, Technology and Innovation and its clear priority for deepening science to transform Agriculture. The S3A promoters hope to learn from pioneering with Rwanda.

Stakeholders

The participants were drawn from FARA, ASARECA, AFAAS and a cross-section of Rwandan stakeholders deemed to be most critical in implementing and influencing policies that affect agricultural research for development. They included representatives of Rwanda’s Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources; Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning; Ministry of Education; University of Rwanda colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine; and the National Commission of Science and Technology.

Others were: Capacity Development and Employment Services Board; University of Kibungo; Ministry of Natural Resources; Rwanda Agriculture Board; Development Partners including IFAD, European Commission, ACIAR, USAID, DFID, Embassy of the Netherlands, JICA, KOICA, CGIAR CIAT, IITA, CIP and ICRAF; Private Sector Federation; farmer organizations; and the civil society.

Clarifying roles

Among other things, the meeting was meant to clarify what each actor contributes to the overall results (Planning and Reporting arrangements) in the S3A framework. Rwanda’s research systems recognize the need to create enabling environment for Science, Technology and Innovations that support smallholder farmers, producers and entrepreneurs to increase their productivity, profitability and social welfare. They welcome practical and low cost interventions  that can yield immediate insights and solutions; and utilization of existing administrative data within government agencies to inform policy formulation and implementation.

Rwanda has demonstrated pro-activeness to reform governments’ institutional architecture to improve coordination on STI; and government’s decisive leadership role mobilising STI actors, including organised farmer groups, business associations and civil society in implementing policies.  These are some of the tenets that S3A espouses.

Tool for STI

Precisely, the Science Agenda is a framework for deepening the application of Science for the transformation of Agriculture in Africa as a means for sustainable inclusive growth, shared prosperity and poverty reduction. It refers to the science, technology, extension, innovations, policy and social learning that Africa needs to apply to meet its evolving agricultural development goals.

African Union mandate

The S3A emanated from African countries through the Heads of State as a framework for sustaining CAADP momentum and realising the Malabo targets. For the first time, AU Heads of State adopted the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods with clear concrete targets on eliminating hunger, poverty and food insecurity by 2025.

Food security key

The critical practical building block for the realisation of these targets was a need to apply Science to Agriculture for improvement in productivity, competitiveness and inclusiveness of agricultural systems. The S3A therefore responds to targets of achieving food security, zero hunger and poverty by providing a framework for the prioritisation and application of Science to Agriculture in Africa.

Rwanda is first country in Eastern and Central Africa that FARA and ASARECA are engaging to pilot the roll-out. Like it did to CAADP, the country has embraced the framework and is engaging continentally and locally to move the initiative forward.

Date Published: 
Wednesday, 05 July 2017