EThe xperts at the recently concluded Second Africa-wide Science, Technology, and Innovation High Level Conference in Rwanda called on African governments and regional economic blocs to increase funding for Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) and create a conducive environment for technology adoption in agriculture.
The move will enable the continent to benefit from modern agricultural innovations such as biotechnology including gene-editing and other new technologies for sustainable economic growth.
Organized by the AATF in partnership with the African Union Development Agency-NEPAD (AUDA-NEPAD) and the Government of Rwanda, experts say such an intervention could boost the livelihoods of millions of people across the continent.
The Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources of Rwanda, Ms. Geraldine Mukeshimana, said investing in STIs is critical for the development and construction of sustainable and robust food systems.
He said it was bad that Africa was not a food powerhouse, even though it had the most land in the world. He blamed it on the inadequate use of technological innovations to increase productivity, eliminate post -harvest losses, and increase the value of agricultural products.
He called for the effective implementation of the Science, Technology, and Innovation for Africa (STISA-2024) Strategy adopted by the African Union in 2014.
“This strategy requires constant investment in research and development (R&D) as well as getting new technologies and innovations into the hands of stakeholders in key sectors of our economies, including agriculture, “he said.
Si Hon. Mukeshimana said Rwanda will use STI to become a globally competitive knowledge-based economy and to meet socio-economic challenges.
Dr. Canisius Kanangire, Executive Director of AATF, said integrating STIs into the African development agenda could boost economic growth, improve agricultural productivity, and ensure food and nutrition security.
“Creating a conducive environment for technology and innovation is an essential requirement in enabling African countries to address the constraints that hinder agricultural, environmental and health development,” said Dr. . Kanangire.
He observed that investing in new agricultural technology for Africa – from better seeds to digital tools and machinery – would transform agriculture into an engine of economic growth with benefits for all. sector of society.
“Most Africans are small farmers, and agriculture is their best chance to ensure a better future. But millions remain poor because, unlike the farmers. farmers in other parts of the world, they lack consistent access to targeted, affordable agricultural innovations that will allow them to thrive, ”he added.
Mr. Martin Bwalya, acting Director of Knowledge Management and Program Evaluation at AUDA-NEPAD, called for the adoption of sustainable agricultural technologies in all agricultural systems.
“Farmers need to use appropriate technology and methods to manage the specific agro-ecological environment within the appropriate policy framework in order for it to be implemented,” he said.
He said agriculture has become more integrated into the global food chain and market, while the environment, food safety and quality, and animal welfare regulations are all having a growing impact on the industry.