Brussels, 4 April 2022, OACPS: Eleven grant beneficiary projects from Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya were officially launched at a workshop organized by the Forum for Agricultural Research inAfrica (FARA) and its consortium partners. This marked a new phase of theStrengthening Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation Ecosystem for Inclusive Rural Transformation and Livelihood in Eastern Africa (AIRTEA) projectfinanced by the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Innovation Fund.

Organised from 28 March to 1 April by FARA in partnership with the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) and the East Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF)in the presence of the 11 Multi-Stakeholder Partnership organisations (see the list) which have been awarded grants totaling about € 2.5 million to promote AIRTEA, the workshop aimed at ensuring synergies and a collective impact on the project outcomes.

Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director of FARA, which coordinates the four-year project, highlighted in his opening remarks the concept of “Agribusiness Learning Alliances”, one of the innovations introduced by AIRTEA to support the transition of farmers’ groups from subsistence to profitable and dynamic businesses.

Dr Enock Warinda, Executive Director of ASARECA also mentioned the importance of an integrated delivery approach: “Agricultural transformation requires an integrated delivery approach across an ecosystem with partners, government, and development partners to integrate and coordinate the execution of various initiatives that exist in the agricultural sector.”

Ms. Elizabeth Nsimadala, President of the Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF), emphasized the need for governments to subsidise farm inputs, zero-rate duties fee on agriculture mechanisation equipment and agriculture machinery and related technologies, and foster the development and implementation of an agriculture-imports substitution strategy streamlining the regulation of digital agriculture and giving more support for Youth-leaning projects/ programmes.

The four-year AIRTEA project (2021-2025) will contribute to achieving sustainable agrarian livelihoods and rural transformation by fostering an inclusive innovation environment in Kenya, Uganda and RwandaAIRTEA is financed under the ACP Innovation Fund, a pillar of the OACPS Research and Innovation Programme, implemented by the OACPS Secretariat and funded by the European Union.