The transformation of food systems is a burning topic across the globe, in response to concerns about the nutritional, environmental and equity impacts of our current system. Food system transformation is inextricably linked with efforts to eradicate hunger and poverty, since the livelihoods of a large share of the world’s rural poor people are based upon such systems and we cannot afford to leave rural people behind (IFAD, 2021). Similarly, the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), one of the AUC- Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) institutions, aspires to ensure enhanced competence of AEAS providers to enable them better address the increasing needs and demands of various value chain actors, encapsulated in its goal of: Enhanced utilization of improved knowledge and innovations by agricultural value chain actors for improving productivity oriented towards their individual and national development objectives.
The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme EX Pillar 4 (CAADP-XP4) Project under the DeSIRA program is financed by the European Union and managed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The project is implemented by a consortium of five organizations in the agricultural research and innovation landscape, namely: the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS), Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA). the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (ASARECA), the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA), and the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF).
The project supports a science and innovation-led and climate-relevant agricultural transformation in Africa, by strengthening the capacities of the five organizations (AFAAS, ASARECA, CCARDESA, CORAF, and FARA) to deliver on their Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D) mandate and to collectively support African countries implement relevant CAADP. Relatedly, through this project, AFAAS aims to contribute to the AUC- CAADP Biennial review indicators including; increased access and investments to Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services by value chain actors, cross-border trade and markets for agricultural inputs and commodities, climate Resilience and other shocks, with these interventions, countries are expected to be on track to achieving the fore stated indicators. The project espouses the tenets of joint implementation as a means of enhancing the collaborative capacities of the five sister organizations.
AFAAS is implementing the CAADP XP4 project in 2019 in eleven target African countries (Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Malawi, Liberia, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda). In 2021, AFAAS conducted a rapid assessment on capacity gaps on AEAS policy analysis, formulation and advocacy. The assessment was done by collecting information from primary and secondary sources through reviewing various literatures. The literature review focused on agricultural extension and advisory services (AEAS) policies, strategies and priorities at country, regional and global level. The broad questions of the assessment were on whether the national AEAS policies integrated AFAAS priority areas such as climate smart agriculture and resilience to shocks, investment and access to AEAS, cross-border trade and markets, professionalization of AEAS, knowledge management, use of ICT towards e-extension, pluralistic delivery of AEAS and cross cutting issues such as gender, youth, and entrepreneurship.