International experts are brainstorming in Yaounde on ways and means of pushing forward agricultural transformation in Africa. They are gathered in a two-day steering committee meeting of the African Development Bank-funded project, Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation (TAAT) opened in Yaounde, September 13 by Cameroon’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Henri Eyebe Ayissi.
The TAAT project is a knowledge-and-innovation based response to the need for scaling up proven technologies across Africa in order to boost productivity, and to make Africa self-sufficient in 18 key commodities.
It was initiated by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support the institution’s agricultural transformation agenda, Feed Africa. The President of the steering committee, Gaston Dossouhoui, who doubles as Benin’s Minister of Agriculture, said TAAT is divided into sets of technologies.
Nine of them have been validated and funded by the AfDB so far while six others are on track to being validated. Minister Dossouhoui also noted that Africa has technologies and skills that are not being utilized and that it is the job of TAAT to harness them in order to boost the agricultural output of the continent and make it food secure.
Minister Eyebe Ayissi on his part lamented that statistics published this week by the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) show the number of Africans faced with hunger on the rise, despite the fact that the continent has a huge agricultural potential.
He harped on the importance of the TAAT project, disclosing that Cameroon loses 30 per cent of its maize production and 40 per cent of its cassava annually, due to inadequate processing facilities and techniques. In Cameroon, the project targets products like maize, rice, cassava, poultry and small ruminants, among others.