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General News Fri, 29 May 2009

FARA to improve agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa

Accra, May 29, GNA- The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), and the Swiss-based Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), have signed an agreement to strengthen the capacity for safe biotechnology management in sub-Saharan Africa. The three-year project (2009-2011), which will attract a total investment of about 1.265 million dollars, is to be managed by FARA and implemented by Sub-Regional Organisations (SROs) and the National Agricultural Research System (NARS).

The six beneficiary countries are Ghana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Malawi.

A press release issued and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday, said the purpose of the project was to strengthen Africa's apacity in sound biotechnology management for enhanced food security. Mrs Lucy Muchoki, a Board Member of FARA, who signed the agreement on behalf of Dr Monty Jones, Executive Director of the organisation, said the project stewardship capacity to be developed, would underpin future initiatives for the proper deployment of proprietary biotechnology in the selected countries.

She noted that the beneficiary countries would serve as mentors for sister countries in their respective sub-regions, for the safe deployment of modern biotechnology.

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Dr Marco Feroni, Executive Director of SFSA, noted that his organisation was pleased to be associated with FARA's biotechnology and biosafety policy platform goals, that seeks to enhance the capacity of African countries to deploy modern biotechnology safely for the enhancement of agricultural production and poverty reduction. The specific objectives are to update information on the current status of agricultural biotechnology and biosafety. This will include a database of human resources; laboratory infrastructure and research; development and technology transfer activities as well as biosafety legislation and stage of implementation. The project would also identify the capacity building gaps in these countries and the modalities for intervention; provide training in stewardship and advocate and promote national buy-in biotechnology access and use.

FARA is a public organisation with head office in Accra, Ghana, that is committed to the increase in agricultural production and poverty reduction through the implementation of the AU-NEPAD Comprehensive Africa's Agricultural Productivity (CAADP) Pillar IV, which addresses research, technology dissemination and adoption.

FARA's Mission is to create broad-based improvements in agricultural productivity, competitiveness and markets by supporting the SROs in strengthening Africa's capacity for agricultural innovation. FARA is implementing the project as a component of its African Biotechnology Biosafety Policy Platform. SFSA is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to create value for resource-poor small farmers in developing countries through innovation in sustainable agriculture and the activation of value chains. 29 May 09

Source: GNA
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