News & Updates AGRF 2017, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, 4th -8th September 2017


AGRF 2016: The Conversation Begins


By Matthew Davis, Burness, August 5, 2016

While the official start of the AGRF 2016 is still a couple of days away, influential agriculture experts from Africa and around the world were in downtown Nairobi Monday for an intensive day-long discussion on science and innovation in African agriculture sponsored by Canada’s International Development Research Center and the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research. Key participants took time out to hold a press conference where they discussed their hopes for AGRF 2016 and offered insights on a variety of topics around the AGRF Seize the Moment campaign. The following is a short selection of comments from that press conference:

“I think all of us at AGRF are going to seize the moment and build on the momentum that has already been established so that we can move agriculture to the next level…. I think we all agree that we have no option but to come together and make agriculture central to our development.”

Hon. Willy Bett, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Kenya

“African countries spend $35 billion every year on food imports of which $500 million is spent in the East African Community alone importing rice. That $35 billion is the amount we send out in jobs and opportunities for our farmers. In just about ten years we could be spending $110 billion on food imports….Please start turning that around and connect our farmers to markets so that the rice and other crops they produce can find their way to our tables.”

Agnes Kalibata, President, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

“We want to see the private sector come in as a source of financing, technology, manufacturing, and distribution. But it should be a win-win situation, because we are not going to bring the private sector into African agriculture just to provide social benefits. Agriculture has to be a viable business for the private sector and it has to be a viable business for our smallholder farmers.”

Mamadou Biteye, Managing Director for Africa, The Rockefeller Foundation

“We are looking for a Green Revolution for Africa and for that revolution to occur, we need innovation, we need leadership, and we need partnerships on many levels. And that theme—innovation, leadership and partnerships—is resonating across this forum.”


Dominique Charron
, Director for Agriculture and Environment, International Development Research Center (IDRC), Canada

“In Australia, we live on an old and ancient continent with dry, depleted soils and we are at the very pointed end of climate change. And that is the situation that a lot of African farmers find themselves in as well. So we are very excited to be able to partner with African agriculture research institutions, international organizations like the IDRC, and smallholder farmers to work on innovative solutions that can help bring about systemic change in African agriculture.”


Mellissa Wood, Director
, Australian International Food Security Research Center (AIFSRC)

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