ASARECA to unleash ambitious new direction to spur Agricultural research
ASARECA is in advanced stages of developing a new strategic direction that will drive agricultural research in Eastern and Central Africa.
A new ASARECA repositioning Strategy and Results Framework (A-SRF) has been developed to stay ahead of times and conform to the new and evolving institutional and policy reforms in the sub-region. The strategy takes advantage of current and emerging opportunities to reposition ASARECA to perform high level supportive, facilitative, coordination and advocacy roles to contribute significantly to sustainable agricultural transformation, economic growth and inclusive development in the ECA sub region.
Big achievements and big lessons
The new strategy takes into account the achievements and lessons learnt during the implementation of the previous Strategic Plans as well as the challenges experienced in their implementation.
The new strategy is the outcome of several months of 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 a transformed ECA agricultural sector which supports 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 repositioned ASARECA will focus on four thematic areas that are well aligned to the major ongoing regional and continental initiatives. These include:
- Integrated capacity strengthening
- Development and scaling up of technologies and innovations
- Policy advocacy, market analysis and institutional arrangement
- Knowledge and information management.
The four areas are considered cornerstone at sub-regional level in contributing significantly to 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 Interim Executive Secretary, Prof. Francis Wachira, noted that as a sub regional organization, 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)
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 herself to provide leadership for Agricultural Research and Development in the sub-region.