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Consultative discourse on Accelerating Agricultural Productivity in East Africa

A section of the GAP in East Africa participants pose for a group photo

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Global Programs successfully organized and held an event on accelerating agricultural productivity growth in East Africa. The multi-stakeholder event, held on June 23, 2022 in Nairobi, discussed the regional food and nutrition status and proposed recommendations to help address declining agricultural productivity in the East African Region. While advocating for increased agricultural productivity, Dr. Tom Thompson (Associate Dean and CALS Global Director) highlighted the VT Global Agricultural Productivity (GAP) Initiative’s targeted global research and collaboration agenda.

He said, “Increasing agricultural productivity, particularly for small-scale and emerging farmers is imperative for East Africa to recover from the current crises and build resilience in the face of food and nutrition needs.”

Emphasizing the need for partnerships, Dr. Thomson said, “We invite , leaders and experts from the public sector, industry, academia, research organizations, NGOs, and farmer organizations to join our research efforts and together find a way forward.”

These sentiments were shared by Dr. Canisius Kanangire, Executive Director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF), who emphasized Africa’s potential to meet its food and nutrition needs.

Dr. Kanangire said, “We have the potential. We have the people. We have the land. Africa can become a supplier of global food needs, which will contribute to resilient food and nutrition security on a global scale.”

Tanager International’s Benson Mutuku speaks on innovative lessons for integrating emerging social constructs on accelerating agricultural productivity

The event was successful and brought together representatives from: (1) academia, such as Egerton University, Kabianga University, and Lukenya University; (2) private sector, such as Hello Tractor, Bayer Crop Science, and Corteva Agriscience’; (3) policy think-tanks, such as Egerton University’s Tegemeo Institute and Virginia Tech’s Center for Agricultural Trade; (4) civic, advocacy, and non-governmental organizations, such as Farm Input Promotions Ltd Africa (FIPS-Africa) and African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF); (5) regional research organizations, such as Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI); and (6) government representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Fisheries and Cooperatives in the Government of Kenya and others from the USDA and USAID (local mission).

Additional highlights and recommendations are in the 2022 GAP Report which you can download for free.