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SAFGRAD Phase 2

SAFGRAD Phase 2 (1986-1994)

 

In 1987 SAFGRAD embarked on the second phase of operation. The organization was restructured as a regional collaborative crop network management centre . The overall goal of SAFGRAD phase 2 was to increase

the efficiency and capacity of NARS in sub-Saharan Africa to generate and transfer appropriate food grain technologies, specifically maize, sorghum, millet and cowpea.

(a) Networking

  The four crop networks operating under SAFGRAD Phase 2 were:

•  The West and Central Africa Maize Network (WECAMAN);

•  The East and Central Africa Cowpea Research Network (RENACO);

•  The West and Central Africa Sorghum Research Network. (WCASRN);

•  The East Africa Regional Sorghum and Millet Network (EARSAM).

While maintaining its original objectives and goals, SAFGRAD Phase 2 was optimizing the utilization of resources, technologies and scientific expertise which is available within national programmes to substantially improve the research capabilities of NARS through a strategy of core collaborative crop networks. SAFGRAD had by that time developed efficient and functional links within and between NARS to promote the generation and dissemination of proven technologies for high and sustained food grain production in the semi-arid regions of sub-Saharan Africa .

The SAFGRAD network model was based on strong collaboration between three principal partners, namely:

•  NARS in SAFGRAD member states, which were the networks' target group;

•  The IARCs, which provide technical research to backstop the networks; and

•  The SAFGRAD coordination office, which coordinates the networks and provides organizational and managerial support.

Sound management of the networks is achieved through the Council of Agricultural Research Directors from member countries of SAFGRAD. This council met to define broad policies and elect an Oversight Committee to provide technical guida nce in policy and management matters. With political support from the OAU, the committee strove to pool the infrastructural, human, material and financial resources of SAFGRAD member countries to address common food production problems.

Each network was technically supervised by a Network Coordinator and a Steering Committee which set out objectives and priorities for work programmes and implement and monitor network activities. Joint meetings between the Steering Committees strengthened the coordination of network activities, especially by helping to establish collaborative research projects on five major constraints to increased food grain production in different agro-ecological zones. Visits by Network Coordinators and members of the Steering Committees helped national programmes to strengthen their research capabilities and foster information exchange.

In addition to coordinating the activities of these USAID-funded regional networks through the provision of organizational and logistical support, between 1984 and 1989 SAFGRAD also managed a farming systems research project which was being conducted in Burkina Faso , Benin and Cameroon . Funding for this project was provided by IFAD.

(b) Training and Information exchange

The training of' research scientists and technicians continued to be one of SAFGRAD primary activities. By 1989, SAFGRAD had provided short-term intensive technical group training for over 200 specialists in various aspects of food grain production technology, including trial management, seed production, plant protection and research data analysis.

Workshops, seminars, conferences, symposia and other technical meetings organized through the SAFGRAD networks provided an excellent opportunity for research scientists to exchange information and share experiences.

SAFGRAD organized frequent technical meetings to create a conducive atmosphere for increased interaction between research scientists. This had been an important contributing factor to the adoption and widespread distribution of improved food grain technologies throughout SAFGRAD participating countries.

 

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