New collaboration with AGRA to enhance improved technology uptake in Africa’s agriculture

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ICRISAT-led AVISA (Accelerated Varietal Improvement and Seed Delivery of Legumes and Cereals in Africa) project has reportedly partnered with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to enhance uptake of advanced technologies, including better crop varieties.

The new collaboration will utilize AGRA’s extensive networks to bridge gaps in market access.

It is also expected to reduce the effect of the COVID-19 outbreak on agriculture.

The partnership would focus on popularizing available improved varieties through demos, working with seed companies and Village Based Advisors, according to Dr George Bigirwa, AGRA’s Head of Seed Systems.

Improved agricultural technologies address most causes of low productivity such as pests, soil infertility and climate variability.

At the e-workshop held in April, participants from ICRISAT, IITA and CIAT proposed varieties that AVISA targets for dissemination, and highlighted areas they would like the partnership to focus on.

Areas like adoption rates, awareness creation, link to markets and seed availability were tabled by the participants.

“The partnership would seal existing gaps due to barriers of accessibility and market in areas where AGRA and CGIAR institutions are working separately,” said Dr Chris Ojiewo, AVISA coordinator.

“Leveraging comparative advantages across institutions and pooling resources will lead to a bigger impact rather than going alone. The partnership will also focus on high nutrition and early maturing varieties to overcome drought and can help agriculture in quickly recovering from the effects of COVID-19,” Dr Ojiewo pointed out.

Dr Rebbie Harawa, ICRISAT’s Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Regional Program Director, also applauded the initiative.

“There is no better time than now to deliver improved agricultural technologies to the value chain stakeholders than now when sub-Saharan Africa is going through a shockwave due to COVID-19 pandemic, locust infestation and drought,” Dr Harawa further said while talking about the partnership’s significance.

It is worth noting that the AVISA project works for farmers cultivating major dryland cereals and legume crops in seven African countries.