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FARA

Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa

FARA is the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, an umbrella organization bringing together and forming coalitions of major stakeholders in agricultural research and development in Africa. FARA complements the innovative activities of national, international and sub-regional research institutions to deliver more responsive and effective services to its stakeholders.

FARA plays advocacy and coordination roles for agricultural research for development, while the national agricultural research systems (NARS), advanced research institutions (ARIs) and international agricultural research centres (IARCs) develop improved technologies along the research-to-development continuum in their respective countries and coverage areas.

FARA in itsVisionandMissionstatements emphasizes its commitments to the Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, and CAADPs goal of agriculture-led development. It confirms in itsValue Propositionthat it will do this by bringing continental and global perspectives to the networking support of the SROs and NARS. FARAsSuper Objectiveis to sustainably reduceAfrican food insecurity and povertyand enhanceenvironmental conditions. This is to be done by sustainably establishinghigh broad-based agricultural growth in Africa(General Objective). FARA will make this contribution by achieving itsSpecific Objectiveofsustainable improvements to broad-based agricultural productivity, competitiveness and markets.

These objectives are congruent with the strategic objectives of ASARECA, CORAF/WECARD, CCARDESA, and the North African members of AARINENA. Thebroad-basednature of the plan indicates inclusiveness of issues relating to smallholders, pastoralists and fisheries, as well as female-headed and HIV/AIDS affected households; it also includes large scale and commercial enterprises. The fact that the rate of growth is to be sustainably established, indicates the intention to safeguard environmental issues, andnotproduce the increased growth through resource mining or other environmentally damaging approaches.

  1. TheSpecific ObjectiveFARA is to achieve through the delivery of its Results is:Broad-based agricultural productivity, competitiveness and markets sustainably improved in Africa. FARA acknowledges that thisSpecific Objectiveis ambitious, but firmly believes that it is achievable given the high levels of commitment and enthusiasm for the Strategic Plan by stakeholders, and the support of national governments and developmentFARA is determined to meet this challenge. Although several important assumptions need to hold, these are largely under FARAs control. The monitoring of these assumptions is integrated into operational planning.

Key to this is the delivery of fiveResults, which respond to the priorities expressed by FARAs clients, and which reflect FARAs comparative advantage; the results will be delivered through networking support to the SROs. The Results are:

  1. Appropriate institutional and organisational arrangements for regional agricultural research and development established
  2. Broad-based stakeholders have access to the knowledge and technology necessary for innovation
  3. Strategic decision making options for policy, institutions and markets developed
  4. Human and institutional capacity for innovation developed
  5. Platforms for agricultural innovation supported

The fiveResultsare to be delivered through the activities of five correspondingNetworking Support Functions. These functions inter-relate in the same way as the Results, to satisfy FARAsMissionto support the SROs in strengthening Africas capacity for agricultural innovation. Each of theNetworking Support Functionshas appropriate outcome-based indicators in their plans.

Each function will have its own operational plan that reflects its role within FARAs overall Strategic Plan. These promote the achievement of CAADPs goals and objectives in a ways that are consistent with FAAP. The activities undertaken within these functions will comply with the principles of subsidiarity with decisions and actions being taken at the lowest appropriate level. Each functions results complement and add value to the results of the other functions to promote agricultural innovation systems that are efficient and effective.

The fivenetworking support functionsdeemed necessary and sufficient for FARA to be able to deliver the Results of this Strategic Plan, are:

  1. Advocacy and resource mobilisation to support the SROs and their NARSs in establishing appropriate institutional and organizational arrangements for regional agricultural research and development.
  2. Access to knowledge and technologies to empower researchers and end users through access to information, learning opportunities, and new technologies. This will be achieved through mechanisms for information exchange, decision making tools for transformation of information into knowledge for innovation, and mechanisms for exchange of technology-based innovations between sub-regions.
  3. Regional policies and markets to promote and facilitate policy analyses and market research. This provides policy makers, particularly at the continental ministerial level, with research based options. It also provides information that will empower Africas delegates in international trade and environmental treaty negotiations, and improve broad-based inter and intra-regional markets.
  4. Capacity strengthening to ensure that Africa has the human and institutional capacity, public and private, to achieve improved broad-based agricultural productivity, competitiveness and markets which will contribute to achieving the African Vision of 6% percent annual growth in agricultural production.
  5. Partnerships and strategic alliances to catalyse and facilitate the establishment of partnerships that bring together the range of expertise and sufficient capacities to achieve FARAs Specific Objective. These partnerships will be able to draw on all FARA stakeholders, African and non-African, depending on the task at hand. They will create the capacity for agricultural innovation that, linked with the other supporting functions, will bring about the improvements in the efficacy and impact of African agricultural research and development.

FARA is committed toexcellencein everything that it does, andpromoting excellencewill feature prominently in its advocacy, partnership and capacity strengthening functions. Other FARA principles involve commitments to theprinciple of subsidiarity, delivery and accountabilityandparticipatory approaches. These principles are reflected in all FARAs functions and the related activities.

Adherence to the principle of subsidiarity enables FARA to devolve appropriate authority to those best placed to exercise it and allows FARA, with its comparative advantage, to focus on functions that spill-over sub-regional decision domains so that SROs and NARS benefit from decisions and actions at the continental level. Checks and balances ensure that the actions are implemented at the most appropriate levels.

This Strategic Plan concerns FARA theForum, which is a coalition of the constituent member SROs, the NARS and other stakeholders in African agricultural research and development. TheForumis governed by the FARA General Assembly which approves its main governance and management instruments including the FARA Constitution, FARAs ten year Strategic Plan, five-year Medium Term and Operational Plan (MTOP).

The functioning of theForumbetween General Assemblies is entrusted to an elected Executive Committee, which oversees the programme and the work of FARAs Secretariat, which manages FARAs Strategic Plan.

FARAs Networking Support will include planning and implementation of initiatives and projects in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity and in compliance with FAAP principles and guidelines. The Secretariats functions are to ensure that FARAs Strategic Objective is achieved with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.