October 31, 2023

TAAT in the DRC: Towards an efficient seed system and Technology Scale-up for Agricultural Transformation

Group Photo at TAAT-AALI Workshop in DRC

Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) and the African Agricultural Leadership Institute (AALI) hosted a high-level workshop on high-performance agricultural technologies for the transformation of agriculture in the DRC from October 19 to 20, 2023, at the Beatrice hotel in Kinshasa, under the leadership of H.E. José MPANDA, the Congolese Minister of Agriculture, .

This workshop held as part of the TAAT -AALI partnership which promotes new technologies aimed at modernising the agricultural sector by mobilising key decision-makers at the highest level to support the scale up of high-performance technologies. The latter receives little attention.

In addition to strengthening ties between TAAT agricultural transformation initiatives in the DRC, the workshop identified innovative interventions that TAAT could add to current and future agricultural transformation initiatives that require high-performance technologies and best practices capable of increasing the productivity of smallholder farmers and the establishment of an efficient seed system in the country.

Head of the TAAT Clearinghouse, Dr Solomon Gizaw, in his opening remarks hailed the commendable presence of political will for agricultural transformation at the highest level of government. “Today, the DRC is considered one of Africa’s model countries in the challenge of agricultural transformation, thanks to the involvement of its President, H.E. Félix Antoine Tshisekedi,” Dr. GIZAW, added.

During the panel session, the panelists, which were drawn from both public and private sectors, identified several constraints to the agricultural transformation programme in the country includingaccess to innovative technologies, capacity building and technology transfer, and seed regulations, which constitute the foundation for the development of a country’s agricultural sector.

Mr. José Ilanga, the Secretary General at the Ministry of Agriculture who represented the Honourable Minister, in his keynote remarks stressed the need to facilitate nationwide access to good quality seed as it is a major determinant for achieving increased food production .

“This is why the Ministry is supporting this workshop as it is hoped that it will catalyse recommendations for improving the Congolese seed system.  The seed act has been integrated into the law revising the agricultural code. Although this has taken some time, we dare to hope that as soon as the agricultural law is passed, the seed act will follow at the same time,” Mr Ilanga said.

At the end of the workshop, a roadmap was adopted and recommendations were made to speed up the process of promulgating the Congolese seed law currently undergoing ratification at the National Assembly. This was achieved with the support and active participation of all the stakeholders, including the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee of the Senate and the National Assembly, the Coordinator of SENASEM and many other representatives of the private sector.

AALI’s Managing Director, Dr. Chris Okafor, expressed his conviction that if African countries improve their seed systems and adopt the technologies promoted by TAAT and AALI, Africa will be able to offer a healthy and balanced diet to thousands of African children who remain malnourished.