Commissioners visit Africa
Members of the Commission for International Agricultural Research had a successful visit to Tanzania and Kenya in March 2012. They gained a first-hand understanding of agricultural research and development priorities and policy directions in Africa.
Commission Chair, Ms Joanna Hewitt, and fellow members Professor Kym Anderson, Dr Joanne Daly and Dr Nick Austin, were joined by Mr James Batley (AusAID), Ms Mellissa Wood (Australian International Food Security Centre), Professor Ruth Oniang’o (ACIAR Policy Advisory Council) and Dr Gabrielle Persley.
"The visit really helped us strengthen growing ties between Australia and Africa," said Ms Hewitt. "We were able to outline our strong focus on boosting food security and agricultural productivity through research partnerships."
In Arusha, Tanzania, the Commissioners attended the annual review of the ACIAR-funded SIMLESA program which is helping farmers in eastern and southern Africa boost maize and legume production and returns. They saw first-hand the experience of farmers involved in the program during a field trip to Karatu, and also met with the African Agricultural Technology Foundation.
In Nairobi meetings were held with key national, regional and international agricultural research agencies, including a reception with members of the Kenyan parliament and Australian Government representatives that was hosted by the Australian High Commissioner.
“The visits to both Tanzania and Kenya gave us excellent scope for direct contact with farmers and experts in national and international institutions at a time when we are developing themes and operational arrangements for the new Australian International Food Security Centre," Ms Hewitt said. "We found good scope for areas where the AIFSC could complement or add value to give existing efforts greater impact."