A partnership has been forged between AATF and ECOWAS to address the pressing issues of low agricultural productivity, food and nutritional insecurity, and the accessibility of life-changing technologies for smallholder farmers in the West African sub-region.
The leaders of both organisations convened in Abuja on May 15, 2023, to discuss strategies for ensuring food and nutrition security in the sub-region.
In response to ECOWAS’ recent alarming statement that over 107 million people in the region are suffering from food and nutrition insecurity, necessitating urgent intervention, the executive director of AATF, Dr. Canisius Kanangire emphasised that Africa can overturn its reputation as a hungry and impoverished continent by harnessing the power of technology.
He expressed AATF’s commitment to empowering smallholder farmers across sub-Saharan Africa with agricultural innovations that generate wealth and improve the well-being of their families, while benefiting communities and countries as a whole.
Kanangire also highlighted AATF’s desire for a sustainable partnership with ECOWAS to enhance the global competitiveness of farmers in the region through the adoption of technology.
During the meeting, Kanangire seized the opportunity to update the ECOWAS Commission leadership on the remarkable progress made by AATF over the past decade. This includes an extensive presence in 24 African countries, reaching 4.8 million farmers with technological access, and engaging 47.3 million stakeholders through advocacy, outreach, and regulatory support. In addition, AATF’s commercialisation programs have facilitated the production of over 30,000 metric tons of seeds for farmers, with 178,000 farmers benefiting from seed markets and 150 seed companies benefiting from capacity enhancement programmes led by AATF.
In a statement issued by AATF’s communication officer, Alex Abutu, Kanangire urged ECOWAS to expedite the harmonisation of key policies and laws to facilitate the unrestricted movement of acceptable technologies across the sub-region. This would enable farmers to maximise the benefits of technology and enhance productivity.
Welcoming the AATF team, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr. Omar Touray affirmed the commission’s commitment to collaborating with various organisations to enhance agricultural productivity in the sub-region.
Touray emphasised the importance of involving politicians, NGOs, farmers’ organisations, and other entities in conveying the possibilities offered by agricultural technologies. He called for proactive efforts from both organisations to swiftly address the challenges faced by the agricultural sector, farmers, and citizens in the region. By seizing readily available opportunities, tangible solutions can be found.