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Africa’s population has just passed 1 billion and is due to double by 2050. FAO has estimated that sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the highest proportion of undernourished people on the continent (30% in 2010), compared with a 16% average for developing countries. FAO has also estimated that Africa will need to provide adequate food supplies for over 20 million additional people each year and improve the nutritional status of the more than 239 million people currently undernourished. This is equivalent to achieving a 4.6 percent growth in food supplies. Therefore, increasing food production is an important part of addressing food insecurity in the 21st century in Africa.

Agriculture constitutes the mainstay of most African economies. It is frequently the largest contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP) and about two thirds of manufacturing value-added is based on agricultural raw materials. Agriculture is also a main source of employment, remaining essential for pro-poor economic growth in most African countries, as rural areas support around 70-80% of the total population of Africa. However, meeting food demand for a growing population, the agriculture sector faces a three-pronged challenge in the context of climate change. Firstly, it must produce more food to feed a growing world population. Secondly, in order to do this, it must overcome negative impacts of climate change on crops, livestock and fisheries. And thirdly, as a significant contributor to greenhouse gases (19-29% of global anthropogenic emissions), it must reduce emissions by 2030 to achieve the global goal of limiting warming to 2oC. To meet these challenges, agricultural development must go beyond business-as-usual. Thus, to ensure food security, adapt to climate change impacts, and achieve the 2ºC target, a transformation in the agricultural sector is imperative.

University and non university researchers play a significant role in developing innovative solutions for the agricultural sector around the world. In contributing to agricultural transformation, researchers from universities, research institutions and national science and technology councils play a crucial role in developing impact-oriented research responsive to the needs of the farmers and other development actors. To enhance impact and reach of research, there is a need to profile and disseminate innovative research that is contributing to the wellbeing of smallholder farmers. Building strong networks among various researchers whose research work is making a significant impact in addressing challenges faced by smallholder farmers for peer capacity development and learning from each other is useful. The networks also support scaling out to wider regions as well providing protocols for improvement of research methodologies. This will address the growing demand for relevant and impact oriented research for Africa’s development in the era of a knowledge based economy. Bringing together three key research actors at national, regional and continental level and providing a platform for them to critique and learn from each other will strengthen the Continent’s research capacity to deliver quality research and provide an environment for successful innovation. Providing a platform for networking will enhance collaboration among researchers and ensure continuous development of innovative research ideas for national and continental science, technology and innovation systems. In order to share experiences, providing a platform for scientific discussion, connecting research to operational communities, discuss approaches and promote development of innovative research to realize food security in Africa through smart agriculture, Haramaya University will host the 13th African Crop Science Society (ACSS) Annual Conference. The ACSS Conference provides an opportunity to disseminate scientific outputs and a platform for the scientists to develop research networks in agriculture to enhance the continent’s agricultural productivity. Moreover, African policymakers are thus challenged to ensure that agriculture contributes to addressing food security, development and climate change (adaptation and mitigation). The conference will develop policy brief, generate new ideas and directions that will assist for the realization of food security in Africa through smart agriculture.

The overall goal of the conference to promote development of innovative research for enhancing agricultural transformation in Africa by providing a platform for knowledge sharing, learning, and networking among university and non-university researchers. Usually, it is attended by experts and distinguished keynote speakers and eminent scientists from Africa and of the entire globe.

Established in 1993, the African Crop Science Society is a gathering of promoters of agricultural development who have an overall goal of ‘promoting crop production and food security in the Continent of Africa’. Members include representation from various disciplines and vocations including scientific investigators, producers, business people and technicians around the world. Every ‘other’ year, the Society holds a biennial conference within Africa bringing together scientists and other stakeholders to share important developments and research findings in the agricultural arena.  The general objectives embedded in the Society’s constitution are to ‘foster and promote the study of crops in all its facets, by creating opportunities for the free exchange of ideas on crop science and related fields in Africa; obtaining and disseminating knowledge, information and ideas pertaining to crops by means of deliberations and publications; encouraging scientific training in crop science (in its wider definition and context, including integrated genetic and natural resource management) and; promoting a general awareness of the environment and utilizing, protecting and conserving the environment; and fulfilling any other function that may be in the interests of crop science.

The 13th ACSS conference theme is “Realizing Food Security in Africa through Smart Agriculture”. Aspects such as agronomy, horticulture, crop improvement and physiology, post harvest handling and food sciences, rural socio-economics and agricultural extension and education, agricultural economics, agricultural microbiology, crop genetics and biotechnology, agricultural chemistry, integration of livestock in crop production, soils and agricultural engineering sciences, water sciences, environmental sciences, biodiversity and natural resources management will, therefore, be covered.

The principal output of this proposal will be to profile high impact research and increase interaction among university and non-university researchers. We therefore hope that strong networks will be developed among university and non-university researchers in order to contribute to agricultural transformation in Africa. Furthermore, papers presented will be published on the proceeding and this will provide more exposure and benefits to the careers of these researchers to become leaders for todays and tomorrows agricultural research. Moreover, a short summary of policy brief will be produced at continental level. 

Hosted By:

Haramaya University (www.haramaya.edu.et) is one of the oldest Higher Education Institution (HEI) under the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, which has the triple mandates of teaching, research, and community engagement. The university particularly remained the epi-centre of agricultural education and research in the country and produced thousands of agricultural and environmental science professionals since its establishment in 1954. During the last six decades, the university has made outstanding contributions to technology generation, popularization and disseminations, and conservation of biodiversity. It has profound experiences in implementing large national and international projects and conferences. For example, the Agricultural Research and Training Project (ARTP) of the World Bank, Development Innovation Fund (DIF), CASCAPE-Wageningen University, ISSD-Wageningen University, CAGED-feed the future, ValueSeC, BERCEA, Pastoralists’ Areas Resiliency Improvement through Market Expansion (PRIME)-USAID funded project, Peace Centers for Climate and Social Resilience (PCCSR) Project-USAID funded project, SIDA-SAREC capacity building project, different projects with FAO, CARE-Ethiopia, Haramaya Camel Dairy Project (DANIDA funded), Africa Centre of Excellence for Climate Smart Agriculture and Biodiversity Conservation (ACE-ClmateSABC) of the World Bank, InnovAfrica of the EU, International conference on the Impact of El Niño on Biodiversity, Agriculture, and Food Security, International conference on Dairy Camel technology, International Conference on Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystems Services for Climate Change Mitigation and Sustainable Development, the 25th Silver Jubilee Ethiopian Society of Animal Production, The 24th Silver Jubilee of the Plant Protection Society of Ethiopia, International conference on Enhancing pastoralists livelihood through resilience and market expansion, and others. The execution of all the aforementioned undertakings is testament to the university’s capacity and experience in successfully implementing such multi-disciplinary and multi-consortium projects. The university has a strong and well established administration system for recruitment, procurement, finance and property management as well as effective project monitoring and evaluation.

Co-Hosted By:

  • National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) of Eritrea
    • Dr. Tsegaye, Director General of NARI
    • Tel: +291-07115630
    • Email: yonam938@gmail.com