AI: Agricultural Intelligence

Participants in a Young Professionals in Agricultural Research for Development (YPARD) side event. The spirit of AASW6 was an inspiring one of openness and discussion.

Participants in a Young Professionals in Agricultural Research for Development (YPARD) side event. The spirit of AASW6 was an inspiring one of openness and discussion.

As the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week (AASW6) prepares to take its place in the agribusiness narrative of Africa, I offer some personal reflections on the significance of the event.

Firstly, the implementation and evaluation plan laid out by FARA and its partners for the fourth pillar of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is perhaps one of the event’s most important outcomes and should occupy a prestigious place in the discourse of agricultural development work. The plan may be metaphorically referred to as “Africa’s Zero Hunger Framework,” taking after the successful feeding programmes in Brazil.

Secondly, the Africa-wide science competition, the game changing discussions, the cultural exchanges, and the technological revolutions (as evidenced by the number of opinion pieces from the AASW6 social media team both on-site and off-site) point to the intellectual treasures our continent has. Even emerging areas of focus such as the biosciences and collaborative work offer new directions especially with partners like CGIAR on the team of the African people.

Thirdly, the statement from IFAD president Dr. Kanayo Nwanze gears African nations and its partners for collaboration on efforts to feed and nourish the continent. His insights highlighted the landscape through which individuals and institutions must walk through if ever meaningful work is to be realised.

The statement was not only rich in invaluable advice to Africa and its development partners, but convincingly reaffirmed Africa’s heterogeneity from which springs the ingenuity to tackle problems of poverty, hunger and malnutrition. Africa’s agenda is transforming, but the target remains fixed. And the goal for simplicity and uniformity in agricultural practices is achievable.

The enterprising nature of AASW6 participants is evidence to the existence and use of “agricultural intelligence” in Africa.

Intelligence, so to speak, is a general mental capability that  involves the ability to reason, plan, and solve problems. Using the key messages from AASW6 as a starting point, in this twenty-first century intelligence is a must-have for African practitioners as they seek business partnerships and coalitions.

AASW6’s spirit of openness, interrogation and creativity in discussions on aspects of agricultural and science gives the next generation of young scientists and professionals a head-start on the path to champion Africa’s cause. Now more than ever it’s time for Africa to put its work and expertise on the world map.

AASW6 made an outstanding contribution to the ability of Africa to congregate its expertise on issues of strategic importance, including appropriate technologies for the continent. Indeed, this is an opportunity to feed and perhaps nourish Africa in good faith. Be that as it may, AASW6 is a means to an end and not an end itself!

Blogpost by Raymond Erick Zvavanyange, a social reporter for AASW6.

 

[1] Simon Maxwell. (1998).Agricultural development and poverty in Africa.  CTA Annual Report 1998 Special Paper. Wageningen, The Netherlands.

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