The Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) and CABI have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will enable both organizations to jointly work towards promoting agricultural research and development in Eastern and Central Africa.
The MoU signed August 13th formalizes and strengthens a long-standing partnership that has existed for over a decade, with each of the organizations individually or collectively contributing to numerous agricultural research for development initiatives in the region.
“The partnership builds on and strengthens existing regional agricultural research for development and expands it by linking to CABI’s international network of partners and global agricultural and environmental expertise,” says Dr. Morris Akiri, CABI Regional Director.
This MoU and its operationalization add to ongoing efforts aimed at improving integration, coordination and investments by governments, private sector, implementing and development partners in agricultural research for development across the region,” says Prof. Jean Jacques Mbonigaba Muhinda, Executive Director for ASARECA.
In the immediate future, both organizations will jointly assess the effects of COVID-19 and emerging food security issues with a purpose to leverage successes from past initiatives. Achievements of the African Indigenous vegetable project may be repackaged and upscaled to support COVID-19 nutrition interventions that recommend healthier foods full of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals that E strengthen the human immune system.
Invasive species and the desert locust are also of great concern to ASARECA member countries, who can leverage CABI’s expertise in this area.
In the long term, the MoU will facilitate and support transformative and sustainable agricultural practices aimed at improving people’s livelihoods, knowledge sharing, improved access to agricultural information across the region for increased competitiveness, value-added production, and trade while protecting the environment.
CABI and ASARECA collaborated under the Good Seed Initiative Project in 4 Eastern African countries that improved access to quality seed for indigenous vegetables. Spillover from this initiative empowered over 20,000 seed and vegetable farmers who were linked to markets resulting in increased income and nutritional security in Arusha and Dodoma, Tanzania.
In 2014, ASARECA working with CABI and other partners successfully implemented an initiative that empowered farmers with actionable plant health knowledge on Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease (MLND). This enabled them to minimize its spread and reduce crop losses across 7 Eastern countries, resulting in increased productivity and efficiency of the maize value chain.
Between 2016 to date, both organizations have catalysed research and knowledge exchange programs in over 10 National Agricultural Research Institutes (NARIs). The CABI led Plantwise, Action on Invasives and Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE) being implemented in-country by NARIs continue to demonstrate how collaboration between key plant health system stakeholders can effectively establish prevention, early warning, extension, and management systems for invasive and migratory pests such as the fall armyworm and tomato leaf miner.
Out of the 14member States in the ASARECA sub-region, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda are also CABI member countries in Africa. In addition, CABI also undertakes work in other ASARECA member countries such as Cameroon,the Democratic Republic of S Congo and South Sudan.
Leveraging on this foundation, CABI and ASARECA recognise that present challenges for agricultural transformation in Africa require concerted, inclusive, climate-sensitive, and gender-responsive efforts to harness opportunities for sustainable agricultural research and development on the continent.
The two intergovernmental organisations undertake to draw directly upon their institutional mandates, competences, and areas of technical expertise to support the effective implementation of strategies and medium-term operational plans.