The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Purdue University in the United States have agreed to work together to make technologies available to millions of farmers in Africa.

One of the projects in the partnership is a two-day conference to scale up agricultural technologies in developing countries, to be held at the Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, from September 25-27, 2018.

“A number of technologies are available that we could scale up to farmers in Africa. We will be interested in supporting and participating in the conference,” AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said at a meeting with researchers and faculty at Purdue University on Monday, October 23.

Adesina stressed the need to get technologies to work for farmers. He also spoke on why Africa should change how it provides agriculture extension services.

AfDB’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), a knowledge and innovation-based response to scale up proven technologies across Africa, being finalized by the Bank, will execute bold plans to contribute to a rapid agricultural transformation across Africa, he said.

“We are looking at taking research and technologies off the shelves and make them available for the use of farmers,” he added.

The conference will focus on “Innovations in Agriculture: Scaling Up to Reach Millions” and will feature discussions on the challenges and best practices in scaling up agricultural technologies in the developing world.

Participants will be drawn from the research community, implementing organizations, the private sector, entrepreneurs and start-up companies, user country governments and policy-makers, the donor community and private investors, and end users, including farmers and “agripreneurs”.

Suzanne Nielsen, Professor and Faculty Fellow in the Office of Corporate and Global Partnerships at Purdue University, explained how the university aims to have an impact the world by working with partners to change systems and processes to secure food.

“For instance, Purdue has led the way in grain storage for smallholder farmers with the Purdue Improved Crop Storage (PICS) project. Across 23 countries in Africa and Asia, in more than 47,000 villages, we have trained over 3 million farmers on the use of PICs bags” to avoid food waste, she said.

She stressed how the conference would help all audience categories to obtain a better overall understanding of scaling up technologies, and how to make it successful.

The AfDB President used the opportunity to call for twinning programmes between American and African universities to enhance agriculture business on the continent. Linking education to entrepreneurship is essential for Africa, he said.

“The problem in Africa is not lack of technology. It is that these technologies need to be taken to scale for millions of farmers,” he said.

The Director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security and 2009 World Food Prize Laureate, Gebisa Ejeta, emphasized the need to create at least one world-class university in each African country.

“This way we can facilitate technology adoption and transfer in Africa,” he said. 

Source: The African Development Bank

Illustration Photo: Nerica's laboratory rice whitener and polisher (credit: The African Development Bank)

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