by Edna Okoth
The conference whose theme is dubbed ‘ Enabling resilient, equitable and sustainable food systems brings together policy makers, research teams, private sectors, farmer representatives, donors, non- governmental organisations, policy makers and eminent persons engaged in research, innovations, agriculture and food security in Africa.
The two phased five- year food security project named Cultivate Africa’s Future ( CultiAF) was founded ten years ago by International Development Research Centre (IDRC) that is based in Canada and Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) which is based in Australia.
The main aim of the partnership is to fund applied research to develop and scale up sustainable climate resilience and gender responsive innovations for smallholder producers.
Through the program,nine projects have tested 19 innovations in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe and have been provided with grants and some notable success of the project include increased food and nutrition security in Eastern and Southern Africa through research and developing sustainable climate resilient and gender responsive innovations for smallholder farmers.
Speaking during the conference, African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD) program Director, Susan Kaaria noted that the persisting rural gender inequalities are brought by some factors including employment, explaining that women’ working conditions are likely to be worse than men’s, land rights, food insecurity, financial services, excessive work burden and social-cultural norms.
She also highlighted that some ways to fostering inclusive value chains include gender analysis at community level and of value chains, increasing women’s and youth’s access to resources, services and opportunities, enhance women’s and youth’s participation and leadership in value chains and generating better data at the individual level.
Some resolutions from the conference included shared understanding of the results and outcomes of the projects and the program as a whole, networking and learning from the stakeholders, celebrating the achievements of the program, funding matters as well as conversations around what the future systems will look like in the Eastern and Southern Africa.