2013 saw a number of firsts for the Centre. Among these was a hackathon organised alongside the international conference, ICT4Ag. Young programmers developed a range of solutions to address challenges facing smallholder farmers. The impact for those taking part has been enormous, not just in terms of experience, but also generating interest from potential investors around the world.
The very popular Brussels Briefings also had a new first with the launch of the national Briefing. Haiti want to look at some of the topics addressed in the Brussels Briefings but through a national lens. Another first was the inaugural African Continental Briefing held in Cameroon in December. CTA plans to look at how to best decentralise the Briefings in the future, while maintaining a high level of quality in terms of the information provided.
As always, the Centre was very active at key events such as the Caribbean Week of Agriculture, where it supported a wide range of activities with partners. One of these was a workshop on reviving the Caribbean coconut industry and a project to mainstream tertiary education into agricultural R&D processes in Africa.
Other activities of note included the launch of a new series of publications on agricultural value chains and a pioneering Business Forum for farmers and buyers.
The Executive Board completed its mandate in August and the new Board met for the first time in December.
In all, 2013 showed that halfway through the implementation of its Strategic Plan 2011-2015, CTA has further increased its expertise in order to reach its strategic goals on schedule.
2014 will bring new and exciting projects and it is of course the International Year of Family Farming, the Africa Union’s Year of Agriculture and Food Security, as well as being CTA’s 30th Anniversary. Through all of the initiatives CTA will continue to put the spotlight on the important role smallholder agriculture can play in achieving sustainable growth.