The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), established in 2002, is a strategic platform that fosters continental and global networking to strengthen the innovation capacities of Africa’s agricultural research system. FARA comprises the Secretariat as its functional arm and the “Forum”. The “Forum” encompasses all African and non-African stakeholders committed to enhancing Africa’s agricultural productivity, competitiveness, and markets as a contribution to the achievement of the national, regional, continental and global Sustainable development goals (SDGs) for poverty and hunger reduction, and environmental sustainability. FARA is mandated by the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) to serve as their lead institution on Agricultural Research and Development (AR&D). In this regard, FARA coordinated the framing and implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) workstream responsible for agricultural research, technology dissemination and adoption, i.e., Pillar IV. FARA performed this role in collaboration with ASARECA, CCARDESA, CORAF and AFAAS. The five entities are collectively referred to as the CAADP ex-Pillar IV (CAADP XP4) organisations.
The CAADP XP4 organizations secured resources from the European Union (EU) under the Development Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture (DeSIRA) initiative to implement a 4-year project (2019-2023) in Africa titled “Supporting implementation of a Science-Led and Climate Relevant Agricultural Transformation in Africa (SISTA)”. This funding is administered by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The overall objective of this programme is to enable agricultural research and innovation, including extension services, to contribute effectively to food and nutrition security, economic development, and climate mitigation in Africa.
The specific objective is to improve the individual and collective capacities of the critical supra-national agricultural research and innovation institutions in their support to countries to achieve the programme’s overall objective, through (i) strengthening the technical and organizational capacities of individual CAADP XP4 organizations in multi-stakeholder programme management, resource mobilization and fiduciary processes; (ii) establishing and strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships (including with European institutions) for climate-relevant innovation; (iii) strengthening policies, investments, market linkages, and foresight capacities plus application; (iv) enhancing knowledge management and communication for advocacy, decision support and sharing innovation related to climate-relevant agricultural transformation; and (v) strengthening coordination (including planning, M&E and learning), reporting and governance.
As part of its implementation of component four on Knowledge Management and Communication and within the overall Knowledge Management Strategy of FARA, the CAADP-XP4 Partners jointly designed and rolled out the annual Knowledge Management for Agricultural Development (KM4AgD) agenda (Challenge & Conference) in 2021. The annual Challenge seeks to build appropriate capacities, establish communities of practice for Knowledge Management (Artificial Intelligence) and strengthen the knowledge ecosystem to accelerate the achievement of the CAADP Malabo goals by 2025 and the SDGs by 2030. The Challenge is implemented through an integrated, strategic, educational, and transformational approach. The KM4AgD Challenge is the lighthouse project for a knowledge-based development in AR4D in Africa. It will take place annually in a growing number of countries. In 2021, twenty-eight (28) participants from twenty-two (22) countries joined the Challenge.