AGRA PARTNERSHIPS YIELD SUSTAINABLE FOOD SOLUTIONS
Mr. Koﬁ Annan, former United Nations Secretary-General and the current Chair of the Alliance for a Green Revolutionin Africa (AGRA), spent time in Ghana in August highlighting the successful partnerships created with the assistance of AGRA to ﬁnd sustainable solutions to the global food shortage.
held meetings with farmers and crop scientists and visited threesites in Ghana where smallholder farmers, the private sector and NGOs haveformed innovative partnerships that, he said, could hold the key to unlockingthe potential of African agriculture by linking farmers to local and regionalmarkets and training African crop scientists in crop breeding. Ghana is oneof the ﬁrst sub-Saharan African countries to meet the ﬁrst Millennium De- velopment Goal of halving hunger, measured in terms of undernourishment,by 2015.In Accra, the former Secretary-General visited a group of PhD candidateswho are part of the AGRA-funded program that aims to train 40 crop scien-tists at the University of Ghana-Legon over the next ﬁve years. Students at theuniversity’s West African Center for Crop Improvement (WACCI), launchedin March of this year, are working to improve indigenous crops like cowpeas,rice, millet and sorghum as well as non-indigenous crops like maize and cassava.e WACCI is the ﬁrst training facility in Africa for crop science. “We’re building the crucible for agricultural developmentin West Africa,” Dr. Joe DeVries, Director of AGRA’s Program for Africa’s Seed Systems, told the
“is program,which started in a building that was all but abandoned a year ago, is an anchor investment for AGRA. e focus is on buildinghuman capacity in African science that will result in long term results for the region’s farmers.”AGRA’s goal is for scientists trained at WACCI and at its sister program in South Africa to develop and release more than1,000 improved crop varieties of African food staples over the next decade.While in Accra, Mr. Annan also met with the country representatives for the US Millennium Challenge Corporation(MCC) and the Government of Ghana’s Millennium Development Authority (MiDA). In June, AGRA partnered with theMCC and the MiDA to promote a dialogue that would lead to greater distribution and use of improved technologies andseeds for use by farmers. In 2006, Ghana signed a $547-million compact with the MCC to develop its agricultural communi-ties and sector.Mr. Annan also visited the Crop Research Institute in Kumasi where AGRA is funding three crop breeders who are de- veloping higher-yield, locally-adapted varieties of maize, cowpeas and cassava. In addition, AGRA recently launched a newagro-dealer development program, which aims to increase the number of trained agricultural seed and equipment merchantsin Ghana.At Nsawam, Mr. Annan met with members of the Afumkrom Vegetable Growers Association, a farmers’ cooperative thatwas started in 2005. Its members grow onions, peppers, okra, garden eggs, maize and cassava on one- and two-acre plots. efarmers discussed the need for more credit and regular irrigation to boost the cooperative farmers’ productivity.e African-led AGRA was established in 2006 in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and MelindaGates Foundation. It works with African governments, other donors, NGOs, the private sector and African farmers to im-prove agricultural productivity and incomes while safeguarding the environment and biodiversity.
Training African crop scientists is a goal of AGRA
Ghana, the ﬁrst African country to voluntarily submit itself to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), is expectedto set up a regional Center for Excellence within a year to generate knowledge about the process and safeguard the rigor-ous standards adhered to by the seven countries that have so far undergone the review.
“We want to strengthen the capacities of the various national councils running the APRM,” said Dr. Francis Appiah, Ex-ecutive Secretary of Ghana’s APRM Governing Council. “Currently, we do not have any blueprint to guide us because [theAPRM] is an innovation and if we are to sustain its integrity, we need to sustain the knowledge around it.”e APRM was established under the framework of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and adoptedby the African Union as a self-monitoring tool to maintain a high standard of political and economic governance in Africancountries. us far, Ghana, Rwanda, Kenya, Nigeria, Algeria, South Africa, Burkino Faso and Uganda have undergone theprocess.Dr. Appiah said the center, which would be modeled aer the Koﬁ Annan International Peacekeeping and Training Cen-ter, would foster regional cooperation and link the APRM process to African universities as well as to the World Bank andinstitutions in Canada and Germany, which have agreed to help establish the center.e APRM was adopted in March 2003 in Abuja, Nigeria, by a committee of Heads of State and Government.
GHANA TO HOST APRM CENTER OF EXCELLENCE