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Saturday, February 4, 2012

UK leads stakeholders’ dialogue to reshape agro-research

Some stakeholders comprising the United Kingdom (UK) Parliamentarians and Civil Servants joined the African farmers, international donors and scientists for a policy dialogue targeted at reshaping agricultural research.
The reshaping of agricultural research as revealed in a press statement made available to NaijaAgroNet is to serve development goals and the public good.
The agenda of the dialogue is to include prioritising for plant breeding and seed selection, options for managing soil fertility, options for developing accessible markets, ways of governing, organising, funding and practising research, and the types of policies needed to transform Africa’s agriculture, comprising changes to tenure, subsidies and investment.
The event organized by International Institute for Environmental and Development (IIED), was held between February 1 and 3, 2012 in Accra, Ghana.
The Executive Director of Oxfan-Novib, Farah Karimi reportedly co-chaired the event with Olivier de Schutter, who is the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
Emphasizing the importance of the dialogue the Director of IIED, Dr. Michel Pimbert said it is a valuable platform for smallholder farmers to get their voices heard. 
 "We’d like to see this constructive dialogue setting an agenda for future research priorities across the region,” he said.
A major funder of agricultural research in African with a total budget of nearly US$400million about N64.396billion, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), NaijaAgroNet gathered also participated in the dialogue.
The AGRA team at the dialogue followed-up on what the small-scale farmers and food producers from West Africa think agricultural research should be about. 
“Publically funded research can make a huge contribution to eradicating hunger and poverty.  But the way it is designed, managed and implemented rarely involves the people who produce, process and consume agricultural produce,” Dr Michel Pimbert, an expert in agricultural ecology and the governance of food systems and natural resources.
Yinka Awosanya/LS
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