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Thursday, July 23, 2015

AUC wants African varsities to coordinate research on agriculture

The chairperson, African Union Commission (AUC), Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said universities across Africa must harmonize their agricultural research and teaching programmes to help modernize farming on the continent, NaijaAgroNet reports.

She stressed that this would encourage young people to study agriculture and then introduce better farming technologies. “The harmonization of agricultural science is the first step in streamlining university courses to attract young people to science and technology,” she told delegates.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Haile mariam Desalegn and Dlamini Zuma were among discussants on African farmers’ inability to adopt technologies and methods that could make agriculture more efficient, saying that young people in Africa have little interest in studying agriculture at university because they see farming as a laborious, low-income profession.

According to the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the continent imported 83 per cent of its food in 2013, despite more than half the population being smallholder farmers. Having a greater number of trained agricultural scientists would help increase yields for food grown in Africa.

“We import a ridiculous amount of food, and still many suffer from malnutrition. All those initiatives to improve food security will not come to anything if we do not invest more in science and research, and get more young people into agricultural sciences,” Dlamini Zuma said.

Speakers told the UN’s Third Financing for Development Conference in Ethiopia recently that universities should align their agricultural science efforts and collaborate with each other to compete internationally,
NaijaAgroNet learnt.

The African Union’s Agenda 2063, a 50-year development plan for the continent, says widening the use of modern agricultural technology would help secure a steady food supply and improve farmers’ contribution to economic growth.

Cyriacus Nnaji/GEE 

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