By Daniel Otunge
November 4, 2017
In his closing remarks, during the High-Level Conference on Application of Science, Technology and Innovation in Harnessing African Agricultural Transformation held at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Uganda, from 27 to 29 September 2017, the Executive Director of AATF, Dr Denis Kyetere, welcomed the conference’s key recommendation to establish an annual high-level platform to discuss issues of science, technology and innovation.
He promised to ensure implementation of recommendation by establishing the platform that would be used by African leaders and experts to deliberate on utilization of STI to transform agriculture. The platform would mainly focus on policy options support technology adoption and utilization by smallholder farmers who dominate farming in Africa.
Science-based biosafety laws and STI policies, laws and regulations are needed in Africa to ensure that Africa is not left behind by the on-going economic revolution led by advances in biosciences, such as modern biotechnology and gene editing, Dr Kyetere said.
The adoption and applications cutting-edge technologies and innovations could leapfrog Africa economies to middle-income economies in shorter time than it would take if they were not adopted, the Executive Director noted.
Needleless to say agriculture is the backbone upon which the success of Sub-Saharan Africa’s ambition for industrialization and eradication of poverty rests. It is therefore ironical that compared to global averages, crops and livestock yields remain critically low due to many challenges that requires harnessing the power of STIs to mitigate.
The beginning point must be to increase investments in breakthrough technologies, such as climate resilient and disease resistant crops and livestock,” Dr Kyetere added.