In his maiden address to AATF staff following his appointment as the new Executive Director, Dr. Canisius Kanangire observed that whereas a lot of great work had been done by AATF and its partners including major milestones, there are still more challenges ahead that need attention. Canisius recalled the late Nelson Mandela’s words – “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb,” – to illustrate the need to be prepared to do more after success.
Noting the urgency with which agriculture productivity needs to be attended to if the continent is to achieve its food security goals by 2030, Dr. Kanangire called on staff to exert more effort to deliver technologies and innovations to farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), grow adoption of mechanisation services, digital agricultural tools, improved seeds while ensuring conducive policies and strategies are in place to move agriculture forward in Africa.
He noted that even though Africa is making some progress towards enhancing agricultural productivity, elimination of hunger by 2030 may not be realised unless Africa adopts and uses agricultural technologies to increase productivity and production of food by smallholder farmers.
Dr. Kanangire noted that around 25 per cent of SSA are undernourished with over 256 million Africans hungry. To compound that, Africa’s population estimated to be 1.3 billion in 2020 is expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2035. “This means food demand will increase, and the pressure on land and other productive resources will be high,” he said.
“Since land cannot be expanded, it means if Africa was to feed its people, then we will have to explore other factors such as use of agricultural technologies and innovations that can increase farm productivity for Africa’s growing population. This is one of the challenges that AATF is helping address,” he explained.
He added that the relevance of the AATF mission is to improve food security and reduce poverty by providing smallholder farmers with great access to improved technologies and knowhow.
“This simply means that we have no time to relax and celebrate our successes. We only have time to work harder, faster and more strategically as a team with one goal if we are to contribute significantly to end hunger in Africa by 2030,” he urged colleagues.
Dr. Kanangire pointed out the need to work as a team in which everyone brings his or her contribution on board regardless of positions.
He expressed his excitement in joining the team to contribute to the AATF mission in helping farmers increase productivity of their land to feed themselves and raise income to better their lives.
“I am glad to join you and bring my undivided commitment, experience, knowledge, and skills to pursuing the AATF mission,” he said.
“The AATF achievements for the last 18 years speak for themselves and provide a great foundation on which we can build a more prosperous institution and of course a more prosperous Africa,” he observed, adding that AATF has managed to build its reputation as a key technology transfer in Africa with its human resource as the biggest asset.
“I know that we work in a complex environment with many challenges, but I also know if we work effectively together, we will contribute to the development agenda of the continent. I want to encourage you to continue working hard for activities already set for the year,” he concluded.