ASARECA comprises 15 member countries: Burundi, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Federal Republic of Somalia, Kenya, Madagascar, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

It is in these member countries that ASARECA work is implemented. Ideally, this is premised on prior identified priorities agreed on by ASARECA and the member National Agricultural Research System (NARS). This is achieved through deliberations organised by ASARECA Secretariat, the ASARECA Council of Patron Ministers and the Committee of Director General of the National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) supported by their various subject matter specialists and other national AR4D experts, stakeholders and clients.

ASARECA Stakeholders and clients:

The key ASARECA Stakeholders are:

  • National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs)
  • Ministries of Agriculture
  • Universities
  • National Agricultural Extension Service agencies and umbrella bodies
  • The Private Sector
  • Associated NGOs
  • Farmer’s associations
  • Associations of processors of agricultural products and service providers
  • Associations of agricultural businesses and related marketing agents
  • Consumer associations
  • Organized women and youth groups working in agriculture
  • International agricultural research centres;
  • Investors and development partners

Context and background to ASARECA work

Smallholder farmers in Eastern and Central Africa face similar challenges. Many use poor quality inputs such as seeds and farm implements. Their farms are often under the threat of attack by menacing pests, diseases and weeds. This situation is aggravated by variable weather and declining natural resource base; lack of access to input and output markets, and limiting trade policies. As a result, farmers get poor yields from their crops and animals leading to high levels of poverty.

Although all these can be tackled at national level, the national systems have inadequate capacities to manage these challenges comprehensively. ASARECA is addressing these challenges in a regionally coordinated manner by working with critical partners that include farmers; national, regional and international research institutions, extension and training organizations; public and private sector actors, NGOs, Regional Economic Communities and development agencies.

Key achievements

Over the last two and a half decades, projects supported by ASARECA have developed and promoted innovations and management practices such as improved varieties and seeds, water management, integrated soil fertility, agronomic packages, storage, value addition and marketing; and improved animal husbandry practices and fisheries management.

Benefits to households and individual farmers:  A total of 228,349 rural households benefited directly from ASARECA-related support initiatives, and over 1.37 million individuals directly benefited from an assortment of ASARECA supported initiatives. Furthermore, 56,228 farmers and other stakeholders accessed and used new technologies, innovations and management practices (TIMPs) generated and availed for uptake from ASARECA supported project interventions.

Generated or improved technologies, innovations and management practices:  A total of 364 different TIMPs were either generated or improved to suit farmers’ demands. A total of 435 demand-driven gender-responsive TIMPs were availed for uptake by targeted stakeholders.

Quality pre-basic, basic and certified seeds:  Over 1,000 ha of land was dedicated to improved TIMPs, especially for production and multiplication of quality pre-basic, basic and certified seeds. Over 800 metric tons of quality seed of selected crops were produced and either sold or distributed to farmers for further multiplication.

Reclamation of degraded lands and watersheds:  Over 5,000 ha of highly degraded lands and watersheds were reclaimed through ASARECA supported initiatives. This enabled the targeted households to have steady water supply for domestic and farm use.

Establishment of enabling policy environment:  ASARECA has contributed to the establishment of enabling policy environments through participation in the review of existing policies, laws, regulations and management practices. A total of 89 policies, laws, regulations and procedures were analysed, 39 presented for legislation and dialogue, while 37 were approved by national legislative bodies, the East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Infrastructure capacity strengthening and partnership:  As part of enhancing capacity strengthening of the NARS, over 400 assorted infrastructure and facilities were provided to targeted partner institutions particularly the weaker NARIs.


The Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) is a not-for-profit inter-governmental sub-regional organization. ASARECA comprises 14 member countries: Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.


ASARECA was established in 1994 by ten member States represented by their National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs) following the approval of the Framework For Action (FFA) for agricultural research in Eastern and Central Africa by the Special Programme for Africa Agricultural Research (SPAAR). The original ten member States included: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. The membership has since grown to 14 following the admission of South Sudan (2011), Republic of the Congo (2019), and the enjoinment of Cameroon and Central African Republic (2020).

Diplomatic Mission

To date, ASARECA has been designated as an Intergovernmental AR4D umbrella Body of 14 Member Countries in Eastern and Central Africa. Upon this designation, the Government of Uganda bestowed upon ASARECA a diplomatic status in 2019.

Evolution of ASARECA

ASARECA has evolved through three major phases:

  • The period of birth and development of the ASARECA Long Term Strategic Plan (1997)

This period characterized the creation of Research Networks which drove ASARECA AR4D agenda at the time.

  • The period of change  and development of the 2nd ASARECA Strategic Plan (2007-2016)

This period, saw ASARECA negate the Research Networks approach and adopt the Programmatic approach. This was implemented through ASARECA Operational Plan One (2008-2013) and Operational Plan Two – (2014-2018).

  • ASARECA Going forward

The Third phase is the current period, which ASARECA embarked on starting 2018 after revisiting and refreshing its approach to AR4D through the development of the new ASARECA Strategy and Results Framework 2019-2028; the Medium Term Operational Plan I (2019-2023); and revisiting its niche to focus on where stakeholders demand it to concentrate. ASARECA is due to review its performance in the Medium Term Operation Plan I and transit to the Operational Plan II.

Why ASARECA was Established by the NARS

The founders established ASARECA to complement national efforts through sub-regional level collective action and cost-effective utilization of resources to improve the delivery and impact of scientific knowledge, policy options and technologies to drive the sub-region towards meeting the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP).

Core functions of ASARECA

  • Promote and facilitate regional collaboration for cost-effective utilization of available resources to produce technologies, knowledge and innovations (regional public goods) to be shared by member countries.
  • Mobilize resources globally for implementing collective action on agricultural research, training, extension and education services.
  • Develop policies and programs aimed at deepening co-operation in agricultural research among member countries and facilitate the adoption of such policies including agricultural commodity arrangements.
  • Complement the activities of the national, PanAfrican and international research institutions guided by the Principle of subsidiary, by focusing on activities for which the sub-region has a comparative advantage over national or international actions in delivering more responsive services to stakeholders.
  • Empower end-users to meaningfully participate in developing priorities for AR4D.
  • Contribute to the development and transfer of appropriate knowledge, methodologies, information and technologies and benefits among the NARS.
  • Strengthen the capacity of national AR4D institutions to fulfill their national mandates.
  • Promote the conservation of natural resources and the adoption of improved methods of agricultural production.

In 2029, ASARECA launched a ten-year ASARECA Strategy and Results Framework (A-SRF) for the period 2019-2028. The 10-year Strategy is operationalized through two Medium Term Operational Plans (MTOPs) each covering a period of five years. The MTOP I covering the period 2019- 2023 is under implementation. 

ASARECA’s refreshed Mandate

ASARECA has strategically repositioned to perform a higher level convening, coordination, facilitative, advocacy, partnership brokerage, communicative and catalytic role to maximize economies of scale, reduce duplication and misalignment of resources in the sub-region’s Agriculture Research for Development (AR4D). This is aimed at improving effectiveness and efficiency, leading to significant improvement in the delivery of inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation and development.

To deliver on this role, ASARECA is now repositioned as the regional “Go to Service Provider of Choice for AR4D coordination, convening, partnership brokerage, process facilitation, and communication products and services.”

These services are designed to deliver specific priority inclusive development outcomes and impact in the ECA sub region. ASARECA will achieve this by supporting the attainment of economies of scale in the conduct of priority regional research and by significantly reducing duplication and misalignment of efforts and resources.

This driving Value Proposition has been designed to enable ASARECA add value and contribute significantly to accelerated sustainable agricultural transformation and growth for shared prosperity and improved food and nutrition security of the ECA people.

In this regard, therefore, the mandate of the repositioned ASARECA is:

  • Identifying regional research priorities and opportunities through credible, authentic and participatory on-going strategic visioning processes.
  • Commissioning, brokering and managing strategic research partnerships to address identified regional priorities in the most effective, efficient and synergetic ways.
  • Nurturing pathways for on-time delivery, spill-over and scaling-up of regional agricultural research results to deliver agricultural outcomes and impact.
  • Mobilizing, allocating and managing regional AR4D investments to support generation of regional agricultural research public goods and services.
  • Monitoring and evaluating returns on AR4D investment and packaging lessons and best practices to inform decision making processes and action.
  • Supporting the formulation and harmonization of policies and regulatory frameworks to create enabling environment for agricultural transformation.
  • Enhancing effective management and exchange of agricultural knowledge, information and learning to NARS and other stakeholders to inform AR4D processes and enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

Thematic Interventions

ASARECA has committed to focus on four thematic areas that are well aligned to the major ongoing regional and continental initiatives. The four thematic areas are: 

  • Transformative Capacity Strengthening and Integration
  • Agricultural Transformation Technologies and Innovations
  • Enabling Policy Environment, Functional Markets and Transformative Institutions
  • Knowledge and Information Management.

Strategic Alignment to continental and regional discourse

In implementing its new mandate, ASARECA is well aligned to the major national, regional, continental and global frameworks that include the:

National Agricultural and Food Security Investment Plans by supporting implementation of the National Agricultural and Food Security Investment Plans (NAFSIPs) to achieve sustainable agricultural transformation and inclusive growth.

CAADP 10-year Results Framework by supporting implementation of the CAADP 10-year Results Framework and the complementary African Union Malabo Declaration on accelerated African agricultural growth and transformation (A3GT).

Continental frameworks and programmes by working closely with FARA and other regional and continental initiatives to support the implementation of the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA); the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa (S3A); the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) programme; the African Agricultural Research Programme (AARP); and the framework for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization in Africa (SAMA).

Global frameworks and initiatives by working with other relevant regional, continental and global initiatives such as: the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the SDG 2 that seeks to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture by 2030; the Feed the Future Strategy; the CGAIR Centres; and programmes and projects implemented by the International Agricultural Research Centres and Advanced Research Institutes.

Regional Economic Communities (RECs) by providing technical support to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); the East African Community (EAC); and the Inter- Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD); the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and in the implementation of the relevant agricultural sector strategies and policies.