The ASARECA Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance (ACSAA) is a sub-regionally coordinated umbrella body designated by ASARECA member states to coordinate and convene joint action by 14 member states on Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) best practices. The 14 ASARECA member states are Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. The ACSAA was established in August 2021 during a regional CSA workshop that was attended by over 78 participants from 55 organizations in the Eastern and Central Africa.
This CSA alliance was formed to harness complementariness and cut off duplication of efforts through coordination to enhance the adoption of CSA initiatives in the region.
The meeting targeted CSA experts based at NARIs and Ministry of agriculture of the 14 ASARECA member states with the objective of discussing the best way to effectively coordinate the CSA platform. Presentations were made on the progress, challenges, and mechanisms of improving the management of CSA platforms within each country.
During his welcome remarks, Dr. Enock Warinda, the Executive Director of ASARECA said that the steering committee is going to bring together several stakeholders including climate change scientists, policymakers, private sector players, and farmers, to address emerging regional cross-border AR4Dissues.
“TheACSAA will serve as a voice of 14 countries on climate change and this gives the ACSAA a strong bargaining power when mobilizing resources to address the negative effects brought about climatic change. It also makes it easier to see the impact of ASARECA interventions on farmer’s livelihoods in the region and continent.”
Dr. Patrick Karangwa, Director-General of RAB while giving the opening remarks at the meeting, he said that RAB is one of the 10 NARIs that founded ASARECA in 1994 and is proud that the membership has recently grown to 14 NARIs. He further added that ASARECA in partnership with RAB has jointly implemented several AR4D Projects in Rwanda that have resulted into several outputs.
“I would like to thank and commend ASARECA for championing CSA initiatives in the region, by doing this ASARECA is fulfilling the mandate we the NARIs gave them of convening, coordinating, and catalyzing institutionalization of climate-relevant AR4D work in ECA region”. He said.
The DG also confirmed that RAB considers this CSA Alliance as an asset that will make existing CSA initiatives work for the greater benefit of smallholder farmers that are currently being negatively impacted by the climate change. There is a lot of potential to build synergies and learning from other countries to avoid duplication. This leap frogging can not only improve efficiency but also shorten the time of delivering solutions to the smallholder farmers.
“Climate change is real and evident in Rwanda where foreinstance February which is usually the hottest with no rains has this year had rains”. The rain season has become very unpredictable and this impacts on food security of the over 3.6 million people (66 to 67%) of the people who are employed in the agricultural sector.
The DG went on to challenge the CSA experts to generate knowledge & innovations that will support farmers to adapt to climatic change but also transform the food systems. He advised the scientists to always begin their research with the end in mind (output driven) by asking themselves how their research is going to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers. participants that Rwanda
All 14 countries made presentations on the progress, challenges, and mechanisms for improving the CSA platforms in their countries.
By Genevieve Apio