FANRPAN sets firm basis for AFRICAP dissemination in East Africa

The planned and structured dissemination of the outputs and lessons from FANRPAN’s AFRICAP project was recently boosted by the outcome of a meeting between the network and the East Africa Community (EAC) on the 14th of March 2022. The East Africa Community was represented by the Deputy Secretary General, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo; the Director for Productive Sectors, Mr. Jean Baptiste Havugimana; and the Principal Agricultural Economist, Dr. Fahari Marwa; whilst the FANRPAN CEO and Head of Mission, Dr. Tshilidzi Madzivhandila was accompanied by the Director for Policy Advocacy and Communications, Mr. Francis Hale.

After a round of introductions, Hon. Bazivamo shared a brief about the East African Community and its programmes. He pointed out that the visit by FANRPAN would enable the regional economic community (REC) to strengthen relations with the policy network, and to appreciate the AFRICAP project, as well as exploring ways of applying lessons from it in their programmes.

After the presentation on EAC, Dr. Madzivhandila presented FANRPAN’s agenda. The FANRPAN Head of Mission explained the origins of network, highlighting the role and presence of east Africa’s Ministers of Agriculture at a COMESA regional meeting. Whilst explaining the concentration of the network in southern Africa, with policy nodes in three of EAC’s member states, Dr. Madzivhandila informed the EAC team that it was FANRPAN’s desire and medium-term objective to expand to the remaining three countries. He invited the FANRPAN Director for Policy Advocacy to share on the network’s structure, processes for establishment of national policy nodes, the role of the node hosting institution, and the ongoing policy dialogues.

To reinforce the EAC’s understanding of the network, as well as demonstrating its work and outputs, Dr. Madzivhandila proceeded to share the Agricultural and Food System Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy (AFRICAP) programme, and its outputs. He highlighted the evidence base for climate-smart food systems, developed through three related strands, namely; scenario planning workshops, cross-disciplinary research, and the proprietary ‘integrated Future Estimator for Emissions and Diets’ (iFEED). These were well received by the EAC team.

In response, Hon. Bazivamo indicated that the AFRICAP outputs were coming at an opportune moment when the region was undergoing second generation National Agriculture Investment Plans (NAIPs), and that there was opportunity to coopt some elements of the AFRICAP to improve the regional strategy. He also expressed interest in utilizing FANRPAN expertise in convening and conduction policy platforms, especially given the RECs initiatives towards the youth and women. The Director for Productive Sectors, Mr. Havugimana also chipped in, highlighting the need to find from FANRPAN in general, and AFRICAP in particular, innovations that the EAC could adopt to promote youth participation in agriculture. EAC’s Principal Agricultural Economist, Dr Marwa also welcomed FANRPAN, and looked forward to tapping into the AFRICAP project, and adapting tools for application in the other member states.

To facilitate for further dissemination of AFRICAP outputs and FANRPAN node development, the Deputy Secretary General invited FANRPAN to attend the EAC Ministerial Conference in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 21st to 25th March 2022. This attendance would enable FANRPAN to meet representatives from EAC member states, especially those from Burundi, Rwanda, and South Sudan where FANRPAN national policy nodes have not been established.

In closing the meeting, Hon Bazivamo further invited FANRPAN to engage with the Director for Productive Sectors and the Principal Agricultural Economist to ensure alignment of programmes and activities.