October 30, 2023

TAAT highlights food system resilience through innovations at ACAT 2023

Dr Kenton Dashiell and co-Panellists during the session

Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) has reiterated the imperatives achieving resilience in African food systems through the conscious deployment of science and innovations.

This was underlined today in Nairobi, Kenya at the ongoing African Conference on Agricultural Technology (ACAT), organised by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF). TAAT, alongside other partners, are participating in #ACAT to engage in in-depth discussions and consensus building on the barriers to technology development and transfer and generate higher policy-level interest at the continental level to resolve the identified challenges.

Dr Kenton Dashiell, Deputy Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) said Africa’s food systems must transform in order to achieve food system resilience while addressing environmental challenges.

Speaking during ACAT’s first morning session on enabling farm-scale resilience through science, technologies and innovations (STI), Dr Dashiell affirmed that scaling is possible through investments in proven processes and materials.  “In Africa, scaling for food and agricultural transformation is hampered by underinvestment in the sector largely due to a lack of conviction by policymakers about the returns (economic, strategic and political) accruing from investment in food and agriculture versus other sectors,” he said.

Sights and visions of TAAT at the African Conference on Agricultural Technologies (ACAT 2023)

However, the picture is not all gloomy, Dr Dashiell said, as numerous successes that demonstrate successful movement toward agricultural and food system transformation have been recorded.

“These successes, according to him, result from complementary convergence of science and technology, favourable policies, strong support institutions and services, and access to finance and markets. When scaled upward, these achievements promise to form the nucleus of the heralded transformation of Africa’s food systems,” he said.

Dr Dashiell cited the TAAT Programme as an example of successful efforts at pioneering new approaches to deploying proven technologies to African farmers.

“Through its commitment to delivering high-quality seeds, breeds, and fingerlings to beneficiaries, TAAT has facilitated the dissemination of seeds to 19 million smallholder farmers. The programme has provided 11M farmers in 28 countries with climate-smart seeds, fertilisers, and technical support–helping African food production increase by more than 12M metric tonnes,” he said.

ACAT brings together a dynamic community of agricultural researchers, policymakers, industry leaders, and innovators to exchange ideas, share best practices, and explore innovative solutions that can enhance agricultural productivity in Africa. With the theme “Agricultural Resilience through Innovation,” the conference which ends on the 3rd of November 2023, focuses on the centrality of science, technology, and innovation (STI) in fostering agricultural transformation on the continent.