ASARECA new strategy approved
Integrated capacity strengthening, Development and scaling up technologies and innovations; Policy advocacy, market analysis and institutional arrangements; Knowledge and information management: These are the areas ASARECA will invest in the next 10 years following the approval of a new Strategy and Results Framework (A-SRF) by the BOD in December.
The four thematic areas are well aligned to the major ongoing regional and continental initiatives as ASARECA takes advantage of current and emerging opportunities to perform high level supportive, facilitative, coordination and advocacy roles.
Informed by stakeholders
The new strategy is the outcome of several months of consultations, continuous learning, discussion, communication and negotiations by ASARECA stakeholders with the primary objective of building consensus around critical strategic issues. During consultations, it emerged that stakeholders want ASARECA to contribute to increased productivity, commercialization and competitiveness of the Eastern and Central Africa agricultural sector through strengthened and coordinated regional agricultural research. This, stakeholders agreed, would lead to transformed agricultural sector for improved livelihoods, sustained economic growth and inclusive development.
According to Dr. Ambrose Agona, ASARECA Board of Directors Chairman, the new direction is a synthesis of ideas and negotiations from ASARECA Board of Directors; National Agricultural Research Systems; past and current development partners; ASARECA staff; and a wide range of collaborators in Eastern and central Africa and at continental level. “The strategy is enriched by the achievements, lessons learnt and challenges during the implementation of the previous Strategic Plans,” Agona said.
Alligned to continental discourse
The four thematic areas are considered critical at sub-regional level in the implementation of the major regional and continental frameworks such as CAADP 10-year Results Framework; the complementary African Union Malabo Declaration on accelerated African agricultural growth and transformation (A3GT); the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA); the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A); and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially on ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture by 2030.
Commenting on the new strategy, ASAREC outgoing Interim Executive Secretary, Prof. Francis Wachira, noted that the new strategy places ASARECA in an ideal position to provide technical support to the agriculture and related strategies of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); the East African Community (EAC); and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
To kick-start the process of implementation, the BOD sitting in December 2016 appointed Dr. Cyprian Ebong as the Interim Executive Secretary following the departure of Prof. Francis Wachira. According to Dr Ebong, work is underway to fast track the development of an Operational Plan 3 to roll out the Strategy.
Why a new strategy?
The agricultural research for development (AR4D) environment in which ASARECA was formed has changed dramatically over its 20-year history. Various developments have also taken place in the national, regional and global arena including major changes in the ASARECA’s operating and policy environments as well as advances in science and technology. Furthermore, new regional and continental frameworks and development programmes have emerged over the last few years. These changes coinciding with end of current ASARECA Strategic Plan in 2016 occasioned ASARECA to reposition to provide leadership for Agricultural Research and Development in the sub-region.