THE Programme Coordinator of the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT), Dr Chrysantus Akem has said that the programme is exploring technologies in Africa to boost agricultural productivity on the continent.
Dr Akem disclosed this at the 6th African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE) Conference held in Abuja.
Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) is a programme initiated by the African Development Bank (AfDB) as part of its Feed Africa Initiative.
The main objective of the programme is to improve the business of agriculture across Africa by raising agricultural productivity, mitigating risks and promoting diversification and processing in 18 agricultural value chains within eight Priority Intervention Areas (PIA).
He said after evaluation, it was discovered that the program which started about a year and half has recorded huge progress.
“The very first challenge we had was to create the awareness that we needed to get all the technologies that we have in agriculture and put them into use so that we can transform agriculture in Africa.
All the technologies were all on book shelves, some in publications and we keep lagging behind, we are not going very far in terms of productivity in the various commodities within Africa, so the challenge was basically how can we take those technologies to put them to effective use, and our assessment after a year shows that we are making a lot of effective progress, yields have increased already for a number of commodities.
He noted that the programme was designed to intervene on 18 agricultural value chains, 9 of the commodities were selected for the first phase, while the remaining 9 commodities would be targeted at the second phase.
“The programme is targeted at 18 value chains or commodities, and it was very clear that we cannot start with all of them at the same time, so we selected 9 to begin with among which is cassava, Maize, beans and we have aquaculture, we have livestock, basically in the first phase, we focused on this 9 commodities.
“Then the second phase is coming up, we are right now formulating it and we brought in the other 9 commodities that is still pending, and that include soybean, vegetables, we are trying to see how we can make an impact by looking at all these commodities across the given institutions and given countries”, Dr Akem said.