NEWS: Kenya to host the inaugural African Conference on Agricultural Technology

Kello Harsama, the Principal Secretary of State Department for Crop Development, and Dr. Canisius Kanangire, Executive Director AATF during the media briefing on the launch of the African Conference on Agricultural Technology (ACAT) on 25th July 2023, in Nairobi.

The inaugural African Conference on Agricultural Technology (ACAT) will take place in Nairobi, from 30 October 2023 to 3 November 2023. Kenya will be the first country to host ACAT.

The Conference is being organized by the Kenyan government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, and the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF)

“As a country, we are pleased to co-host the inaugural ACAT 2023 and are honoured to welcome to Nairobi the global, regional and local community to this important forum and look forward to discussing actionable solutions to the challenges facing the sector that will also drive change and foster growth,” said Kello Harsama, Kenya’s Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development.

“As a Ministry, we share the vision of ACAT, of ensuring that our people do not go to bed hungry by ensuring that we adapt and scale up appropriate technologies geared towards enhancing sustainable food and nutrition security.ACAT 2023 will serve as the premier platform for advancing African agriculture technology transfer and advocating for the uptake of innovations. The conference will put a spotlight on emerging technology and innovations within the agriculture sector. We believe that ACAT will promote structured discussions towards finding solutions to issues regarding the progression of agricultural technology uptake and use. I further hope that the gathering will appraise the progress that Africa has made towards utilization of innovative technologies and explore opportunities to address challenges affecting technological development, uptake, and use,” he added.

Kello Harsama, the Principal Secretary, State Department for Crop Development in Kenya Photo by Kilimo News

ACAT will serve as the premier platform for advancing African agricultural technology transfer and advocating for the uptake of innovations. The 2023 Conference will put a spotlight on emerging innovations within the agriculture technology sector. It will bring together government representatives, industry thought leaders, policymakers, technical experts, private institutions, farmers, women and youth across the globe to discuss and define practical actions and solutions to the challenges of technology access and use faced in the agriculture sector.

H.E. Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, former President Federal Republic of Nigeria and AATF Ambassador for Agriculture Technology in Africa expressed support for the conference, noting that agriculture plays a pivotal role in Africa’s economic agenda, contributing significantly to employment, food security, and economic growth.

“ACAT will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to “walk the talk” and move beyond discussions about new technologies to embracing and adopting them,” said the former President.

The AATF Executive Director, Dr. Canisius Kanangire, noted that ACAT will highlight the centrality of Science, technology and innovation (STI) in fostering agricultural transformation, especially in addressing key challenges facing African farmers.

“Often the role of STI in agriculture and especially innovative technologies has not been emphasized. ACAT is the opportunity to fully showcase and celebrate STI’s contribution towards enhancing food security and livelihoods to encourage dialogue and innovation,” said Dr. Kanangire, adding that ACAT will intensify efforts to forge partnerships with like-minded organizations working in the agriculture technology sector and provide an opportunity for stakeholders to share information on new and emerging agricultural technologies.

”AATF has been at the forefront of facilitating access, development and commercialization of agricultural technologies and this conference will help to put a spotlight on the numerous game-changing innovations that have been developed and highlight opportunities to address the multiple stressors facing the sector due to population growth, climate change and other factors,” He pointed out.

Dr. Canisius Kanangire, the Executive Director, AATF Photo by Kilimo News

Dr. Kanangire further stated that ACAT will provide a unique platform to discuss barriers to technology transfer and propose strategies for transforming existing technologies into super Next Generation technologies capable of enhancing productivity and effectively addressing the challenges faced by African farmers.

“As you may know, whereas steady growth has been observed in technology development, with new technological advancements being introduced through research systems and partnerships, there has been little diffusion of actual products to their intended beneficiaries, especially farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers. This is largely due to persistent bottlenecks that lead to low returns on the large investment in agricultural technology research and development. Without getting these products and technologies to market, the intended results, impact and reason for introducing them are affected and missed,” opined Kanangire

He added that these challenges need to be addressed by action from high-level decision-makers and relevant government institutions across the continent, to facilitate both in-country and cross-boundary value chain optimization and trade.

The ACAT series of conferences will provide the platform needed by stakeholders who are keen on progressing the continent’s socio-economic development, food and nutrition security through a wide array of innovative agricultural technologies, as well as serve as a platform for generating the required information necessary to resolve the barriers to access, delivery and uptake of these innovative technologies.

Documents and knowledge gathered and generated during ACAT will be archived and availed through a Knowledge Hub on Agricultural Technology to inform decision making on matters of innovative technologies at regional and continental levels

This article was originally published in KILIMO NEWS

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