Farmers in twenty African countries get new window of opportunity to significantly increase yield

Efforts to transform agriculture in Africa have received a boost as researchers met under the Support for Agricultural Research and Development of Strategic Crops (SARD-SC)’s event, “Partners, Possibilities and Prospects,” on 15 July 2013 at the 6th African Agricultural Science Week in Accra to draw more support from partners into project.

The SARD-SC project will raise the productivity of maize, cassava, wheat, and rice by 20% in twenty selected countries in Africa.

The plan is to reduce food importation from other continents and offer farmers better access to markets, improve livelihoods, and tackle poverty through enhanced capacities of beneficiaries to sustainable development in the region.

About a million farmers will directly benefit from the project through its innovations basket, while another million and half will be reached by project spin off effects. “Narrowing the yield gap is key for African farmers, and it will help them to compete globally and to feed themselves,” says Project Coordinator of SARD-SC, Dr Chrysantus Akem, from the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA).

Funded by the African Development Bank with US$ 63.24 million, SARD-SC also aims to create knowledge on the tested innovations with farmers in Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Drs Thomas Dubois, SARD SC Rice Commodity Specialist; and Solomon Assefa, SARD SC Wheat Commodity Specialist made presentations on rice and wheat strategies of the project.

The 5-year, multi-CGIAR center initiative will run until 2016, and will be co-implemented by three Africa-based CGIAR centers: IITA, Africa Rice Center, and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas. IITA is also the Executing Agency of the project. Another CGIAR center – the International Food Policy Research Institute – a specialized technical agency, will support the other three centers.

For more information, please contact: Godwin Atser, g.atser@cgiar.org; Chrysantus Akem, c.akem@iita.org or Andrea Gros, a.gros@cgiar.org