InnovAfrica’s project partners met in Pretoria from 6-9th August to review the project’s progress. During the last six months the consortium focused on analyzing large data set collected from 3800 farmers and Focus Group Discussions in six case countries (Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa). The results from analyses provided inputs to eight deliverables that included socio-economic review, gender mainstreaming, mapping agri-value chains.

According to the Project Coordinator, Dr. Sekhar Nagothu, InnovAfrica’s main goal is to address food and nutritional security through improving smallholder adaptive capacity. Introducing innovative sustainable agriculture technologies in six African countries, the project works closely with smallholders including women and youth at the local level and stakeholders at the national and Pan African level.

Third project consortium meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, 7th August, 2018. Photo: Stephan Kunj.

The meeting was jointly hosted by the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), NIBIO, the main project coordinator and ILRI the Co-cordinator of the project. About 50 + participants representing 22 organizations from several from Africa and Europe countries took part in the meeting.

InnovAfrica is the first Research and Innovation Action project under H2020 (EU-Africa) FNSSA program.

Speaking at the meeting, Ms. Dessy Choumelova, Counsellor, EU Delegation to South Africa acknowledged the InnovAfrica consortium for the good management and results achieved so far in the project. She highlighted the importance of InnovAfrica, and the lessons it can offer to the policy and EU-Africa cooperation.

Jacob Mignouna, Director, BecA-ILRI, and Co-cordinator emphasized that InnovAfrica has the potential to contribute to global agenda on food security. He also pointed out that as a project the team needs to understand that impacts from the project should target the farmers that are the main target group of InnovAfrica.

The main message from the CEO of Agricultural Research Council, South Africa delivering the keynote address on the occasion was that future food demand and supply should be on a sustainable basis. And that projects such as InnovAfrica are very important for contributing to food system in Africa and ending hunger. At the same time, future food systems should contribute to mitigation of climate change and biodiversity conservation.

InnovAfrica can address the African Challenges on Food Security

Dr. Ehpraim Mukisira, FARA, Board of Directors, – appreciated the work done so far and keeping planned activities on course. He suggested the team to review the work, identify gaps, and make changes as needed. He also recommended InnovAfrica team to take part in the FARA conference that will be organized in Cairo in July, 2019 and share results to larger audience.

Dr. Denis Kyetere, Executive Director, African Agricultural Technology Foundation   commended the progress made in the project so far, and touched upon the importance of soil fertility, better use of crop residues and through promoting crop-livestock systems.

Professor Agnes Mwang’ombe from the University of Nairobi thanked all the partners for the good work done so far in the project and expressed the need for clear dissemination of results and capacity building. She also emphasized on the exploitation of results the use of mobiles, radio, social media etc to reach farmers, engaging youth and targeting youth. She commented that the project will serve as a good example, given its multidisciplinarity and complexity and the way it is managed.

Farmers are InnovAfrica’s primary target group

At the meeting, all the work package leaders, case country managers and other partners shared the progress of work and experiences from the field visits as well as future plans. Another highlight of the meeting was a whole day field visit to Qwaqwa county, Freestate province, InnovAfrica project site in South Africa and the discussions with the farmers and MAP members. During the visit, the team was exposed to problems that small farmers, especially young farmers face in the project areas.

Maize-legume cropping systems practiced by InnovAfrica farmers