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AU SAFGRAD organised a Workshop in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) on : “Strengthening the links between farmers’ organizations and the agricultural research and extension community” , 08-09 November 2017.

The meeting was atended by experts and leaders coming from various national, regional and international organisations among which representives of Farners Organisations Including PAFO (Pan-African Farmers Organisations).

After two-day discussions, combining plenary as well group sessions, strong recommendations have been made to enhance the links between farmers’ organizations and the agricultural research and extension community. 





A Road map for promoting regional agricultural commodities value chains development in Africa charted by RECs in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, with the facilitation of AU SAFGRAD.

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – 19 October 2017. A 3-day workshop on how to improve the competiveness of Agricultural commodities through regional value chains development for boosting intra-Africa trade was closed today in Ouagadougou, the capital city of the “Country of upright people” (Burkina Faso).

Attended by representatives from RECs, stakeholders and experts in agriculture, agribusiness, agro-industrial development, trade and investments as well as Continental and regional organizations, development partners, the meeting started on October 17th. The aim of the workshop was to share the informations on the strategic agricultural commodities at regional level, the current situation of the implementation of regional value chains, challenges and opportunities as well as to chart a road map for further actions. This is in response to actualizing the Malabo 2014 blue print for agricultural transformation for improved livelihood and share prosperity in the continent. The meeting provided the fora to strengthen regional interests and ties while fostering greater engagement between RECs, development partners and regional and international institutions. The gathering was a follow-up to the AUC/NPCA facilitated CAADP Partnership Platform side event meeting held in Kampala in May 2017.

AU SAFGRAD, African Union specialized technical office for research and development in semi-arid zones of Africa, was hosting this experts’ meeting as part of its Programme to support the development of strategic agricultural commodities value chains.

The Opening session was chaired by Mr. TINGA Ramde, the representative of the Minister of Agriculture and water resource management of Burkina Faso, the host country. In his welcome address, he welcomed participants to Burkina Faso and emphasized the importance of regional integration and cooperation in promoting peace and facilitating industrialization for sustainable livelihood for shared prosperity. He concluded by congratulating AU-SAFGRAD for organizing the workshop as a prompt follow-up towards implementing one of the recommendations of the recently concluded 2nd Specialized Technical Committee (STC) on Agriculture, rural development, water and environment (ARDWE).

In her speech, the representative of ECOWAS Commission, Dr Vivian IWAR, welcome participants to the ECOWAS region and highlighted some of the support activities of the ECOWAS Commission to Member States in the region.

The Coordinator of AU-SAFGRAD, Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, in his opening remarks welcome participants and pointed out the commitment of Africa Union Commission to implementing the Heads of States and Government road map for achieving accelerated growth in African agriculture for improved livelihood and shared prosperity as contained in the Malabo 2014 declarations. “Africa has plenty of opportunities and resources for agricultural transformation”. Stated Dr. Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Head of mission. Further he added: “In June 2014, Member States committed to achieve seven Malabo commitments by 2025 including: ending hunger, tripling intra Africa Trade, promoting climate resilient agricultural Systems, and investing at least 10 percent of public expenditure in agriculture to unlock private sector investments among others. These targets are meant to contribute to inclusive growth and shared prosperity for Africans.” While concluding, he highlighted the invaluable contribution of AU SAFGRAD in the area of agricultural research and development in the Semi-Arid zone of Africa. Among these achievements the recent training of Young researchers from 35 African Member States in the area of the impact of Climate change on African Agriculture.

After three days of intensive work, experts have discussed important issues such as “Visioning, identifying challenges/opportunities and partnering for regional value chains development” and “criteria to be used in prioritizing regional strategic commodities”.

Finally, the workshop proposed a concrete Road map for promoting regional Value chains development. Harmonizing market information system among REC’s, effective coordination among REC’s, organizing strong linkage between VC’s actors and utilizing research tools are among the main objectives of the Road map charted in Ouagadougou by Experts from RECs with the assistance of regional and international institutions.


For more information, please contact: - Mr Youssoupha MBENGUE, Senior Communications Officer, AU SAFGRAD. Email: Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser. .Tel. +22678234178 .

Download here the Press Release (PDF)





AU-SAFGRAD is hosting this workshop as part of its programme to support the development of strategic agricultural commodities value chains.

The 3-day workshop is expected to provide the fora to strengthen regional interests and ties while fostering greater engagement with RECs technical experts, development partners involved with commodity value chains development and agricultural trade experts.

The workshop builds on an earlier one organized by AUC and the NEPAD Agency on the margins of the CAADP Partnership Platform in Kampala, Uganda in June 2017.


The workshop is to be attended by RECs focal persons who are experts in agriculture, agribusiness, agro-industrial development, trade and investments. Also, Continental and regional organizations, development partners, experts and stakeholders in agricultural commodity value chains development as well as agricultural trade experts in Africa are expected to attend the workshop slated for 17-19th October, 2017 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.


The aim of the workshop is to share available knowledge of what has been done on regional value chain development, and chart a road map for further development of same, including fostering stronger partnerships.

 Specifically, during the workshop we will:

1. Receive information on RECs progress from agricultural and trade perspective on value chains development

2. Review criteria for prioritizing regional value chains

3. Agree on strategic interventions for development of regional value chains

4. Chart a common road map to implement supports to RECs in developing regional value chains

5. Harmonize and advance collaboration and networking among commodity value chains development stakeholders

6. Validate the Africa Union draft Framework on Boosting intra-African Trade in agricultural commodities and services



The following outcomes are expected at the end of the workshop:

1. Information on status of regional value chain development at RECs level, including partner support programmes

2. Agreed criteria for prioritizing Regional value chains

3. strategic interventions including  areas for partner support  

4. Action plan (road map) including outline of activities, responsibilities and timeline.

5. Functional support network of partners and stakeholders on regional value chains development towards boosting intra-Africa trade

6. Validated Framework on Boosting intra-African Trade on agricultural commodities and services

IMG 20171017 113724 855


Opening Ceremony of the Workshop chaired by M. TINGA Ramde, representative of M. Jacob OUEDRAOGO, Minister of Agriculture of Burkina Faso. On his right, Dr Vivian IWAR from ECOWAS and on his left Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator




Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, AU SAFGRAD Coordinator leads the delegation of the Bureau that comprises also senior officers

.The African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government adopted the configuration of the Specialised Technical Committees and the modalities of their operationalization through Decisions: Assembly/AU/Dec.227 (XII) and Assembly/AU/Dec.365 (XVII) in January 2009 and July 2011, respectively as Organs of the Union in accordance with Article 5 (1) (g) of the Constitutive Act.

Among the Specialized Technical Committees recommended for establishment is the Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment (ARDWE). It includes Ministers and/or Senior Officials who cover the following sectors:- Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock, Rural Development, Water, Environment, Climate Change and Meteorology, Disaster Risk Reduction, Forestry and Wildlife. They are responsible for preparing projects and programmes of the Union and submitting them to the Executive Council. They also have the duty to ensure the supervision, follow-up and evaluation of the implementation of decisions taken by the organs of the Union and the coordination and harmonization of projects and programmes of the Union. The STC is also expected to carry out any other functions assigned to it for the purpose of ensuring the implementation of the provisions of relevant AU Acts.

The STCs are expected to meet at least once every two years in order to discharge the responsibilities entrusted with them by the AU Assembly.


Following the inaugural meeting of the Specialized Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment held from 5-9 October 2015, the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture has scheduled to convene the second meeting of the Committee from 2-6 October 2017 at the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The meeting will bring together ministers, senior officials and experts from the Agriculture, Rural Development, Water and Environment ministries. They will use the opportunity to deliberate on key documents and issues emerging in Africa pertaining to environmental sustainability and sustainable transformation of agriculture in order to achieve food security, improved nutrition, and rural development.

During the meeting AU SAFGRAD will make two presentations. The first one will be  on Agricultural Value Chains and the second one on Envrionmental issues.



AU SAFGRAD actively contributed to STCs Meeting, 24 July 2017, Nairobi, Kenya

On 24 July 2017 was held in Nairobi, Kenya a meeting of STCs back to back with the preparatory meeting of COP13. The session was opened by AU SAFGRAD with UNCCD Secretariat and the Republic of Kenya as the host country. Dr Ahmed ELMEKASS, Coordinator, and Mamadou KOUTOU, Programme Officer represented the Office. 

The gathering was chaired by Prof. Klaus Kellener from South Africa. Attended the meeting African STCs, NFPs, AUC, NPCA, UNCCD Secretariat, UNDP, FAO, Africa Forest Forum in addition to the national institutions from the the hosting country (Kenya).

During the session, it has been notably hightlighted a poor/weak participation and contribution of African STCs to the CST of the UNCCD unlike representatives from other regions.

Both UNCCD and the host country (Kenya) appreciated the AU SAFGRAD initiative to bring the African STCs together as well as giving them the opportunity to participate in the preparatory meeting of COP13.

The UNCCD Secretariat presentation highlighted the outputs of the SPI work programme 2016/2017 while AU SAFGRAD focused notably on the proposed criteria for the Centers of Excellency, various studies carried out by the office related to combating desertification, etc.

Several recommendations were made during the session. The recommendations concerned both regular STC meetings, LDN and Centres of Excellence.

Group photo STCs





AU SAFGRAD attended the  4th KAFACI General Assembly in Dakar, Senegal

At the invitation of the Korean Embassy in Addis Ababa, through the Partnership Management Division, AU-SAFGRAD represented AUC at the 4th Korea-Africa Food and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KAFACI) which was held at the King Fadh Hotel, Dakar, Senegal July 10-13, 2017.  Dr Mure AGBONLAHOR, Production and Marketing Officer &  Mr Mamoudou KOUTOU, Programme Officer represented AU SAFGRAD at this important gathering.


KAFACI is an African-focused food and agriculture development platform under the Rural Development Administration (RDA) of the republic of South Korea. It was officially inaugurated in Seoul, South Korea, in 2010 with government representatives from 17 Africa Member States. As at 2017, the membership has grown to 21 countries with Tanzania as the most recent member. The objective of KAFACI is to promote sustainable agricultural development through technology cooperation in the agro-food sector. KAFACI projects are national projects that cut across the entire commodity (arable and horticultural crops as well as poultry) value chains including breeding, training, mechanization and input support, on-farm technology applications, value addition and post-harvest loss reduction. KAFACI project uses country-level focal persons from the public agricultural sector with national consultants.


The 4th KAFACI Assembly was organized to:

1. Present KAFACI country outstanding projects and relate implementation constraints to success factors in other to promote knowledge sharing.

2. Share agricultural R&D structure and strategies in MS and relate to the Korean structure

3. Report of KAFACI 2016-2025 strategy and presentation of the work plan

4. Interact with Partners’ organizations and suggestions on possible areas of cooperation  


The 4-day meeting was marked with presentations of projects and success stories from the 20 MS, the General Assembly meeting and a ceremony to commemorate the official handing-over of a Rice breeding Laboratory donated by RDA of Korea to AfricaRice Center in St Louis, Senegal.


During the Partners meeting, day-one, AU-SAFGARD made a brief presentation on AU’ continental flagship programmes for agricultural transformation for promoting shared prosperity in the Continent. 





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