What is PAIRED?
PAIRED stands for the Partnership for Agricultural Research, Education, and Development in West Africa.
What development problem does PAIRED seek to solve?
PAIRED seeks to strengthen CORAF, Africa’s largest sub-regional research organization, facilitate technology upscaling; and increase the production and availability of quality agri-inputs to those in need in West Africa.
How long will PAIRED last?
CORAF is an African-designed solution to coordinate agricultural research and development in West and Central Africa. Covering 23 countries and over half of the population of Africa, CORAF’s ability to efficiently function could have an immense bearing on whether or not the region achieves the desired food and nutrition security. In the past few years, CORAF and its constituents have demonstrated considerable commitment to reform itself to deliver the needed results by the people of West Africa. USAID does not only support CORAF. USAID mission of partnering with indigenous organizations to build resilient communities means, we work with other public and private organizations in West Africa.
What progress has been made?
USAID has a track record of collaborating with CORAF to address many agricultural research and development challenges. Under the West Africa Seed Program (WASP) which was funded by USAID between 2011-2016, CORAF supported participating countries to adopt harmonized seed regulations in view of facilitating the access of quality seeds by farmers. About 17 countries in the region have common regulations making it easier to trade in seeds. Also, business models for agribusinesses are now available while actors in the private and public sector are now working together to ensure up-scaling of seed production and distribution needed for the transformation of agriculture in West Africa.
What is left?
Despite the progress, we have made in the seed sector, the production, distribution, and widespread use of basic agricultural inputs, including certified seed, fertilizer, and pesticide remains a challenge in West Africa. There are many different reasons for this among which is the fact that we haven’t often tackled these challenges from a holistic perspective.
What is different this time around?
To improve agricultural productivity, the agri-input delivery system will require a holistic approach that considers access, affordability, availability and incentives to adopt technological packages. The package will comprise approaches to holistically deliver agri-inputs, climate-resilient and nutritionally enhanced crop varieties, Integrated Soil Fertility and Water Management (ISFWM) and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices which are essential to achieving food security. PAIRED will work in close collaboration with the West Africa Agricultural Transformation Program on strategic issues that will create an enabling environment for change to occur at scale. The private sector would be allowed to take on greater responsibilities while promoting the business models it has established.
With this approach, the private sector will directly agree with the public-sector institutions for services (acquisition of breeder seeds, fertilizer quality analyses, fertilizer site-specific recommendations, quality control, and certification, etc.). In strengthening the capacity of the private sector, agri-input companies, enterprises and producer cooperatives, CORAF will provide training modules, tools and back-stopping support.
Why Does USAID work with CORAF?
USAID has a long-standing working relationship with CORAF. By supporting CORAF, USAID hopes to empower the institution to tackle better the complex challenges facing West and Central Africa.
“Our collective responsibility as development actors is to support CORAF to renew and reorganize itself to execute better its mandate in the West Africa region where needs have become more complex and pressing,” says Alex Deprez, the Mission Director for USAID for West Africa.
In the past two years, USAID has put at the disposal of CORAF senior experts to support the design of these tools including the integrated knowledge management, communication and marketing and resource mobilization plans.
“We have to support CORAF to equip itself with human and financial resources to implement plans once they are approved and adopted,” says the USAID Regional Mission Head.
Who Funds PAIRED?
The American people through the US Mission for International Development, West Africa Mission.
Why is USAID interested in funding agricultural research and development through CORAF?
African governments, national and regional organizations, the civil society, and communities acknowledge the critical role of the agriculture in the improvement of their livelihoods as well as food and nutrition security.
What is CORAF?
CORAF is an international non-profit association of national agricultural research systems (NARS) of 23 countries, covering over forty percent of Africa’s population, thus making it the largest sub-regional research organization on the African continent. It was created in 1987. Before that, most NARS were weak and had limited research capacities and mostly worked in isolation. The main mandate assigned to CORAF then and now is to coordinate research and development activities in West and Central Africa. By working together, there are higher chances of developing groundbreaking and cutting-edge research outputs needed to unlock the agricultural potential of both regions.
What does CORAF do?
Leading agricultural innovation through research is central to what CORAF does. The Dakar-based research organization works collaboratively with national agricultural research systems and through regional centers of excellence to effectively tackle transversal, cross-border, and regional challenges.
What are some of its Achievements in the Region?
Under the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Program (WAAPP) which was funded by the World Bank, CORAF facilitated the generation and dissemination of over 400 technologies since 2008. The WAAPP, ranked second best-performing project by the World Bank in 2016, benefitted about 9 million people directly and 49 million people indirectly.
With many African agricultural researchers nearing retirement, the WAAPP has been able to train more than 1000 young researchers to continue to advance the agricultural research agenda in their countries.
Under the West Africa Seed Program (WASP) which was funded by USAID between 2011-2016, CORAF supported participating countries to adopt harmonized seed regulations in view of facilitating the access of quality seeds by farmers. Business models for agribusinesses are now available while actors in the private and public sector are now working together to ensure up-scaling of seed production and distribution needed for the transformation of agriculture in West Africa.
Overall, in the 30 years of the existence of CORAF, it has provided leadership and facilitation support to develop shared research goals in West and Central Africa.
“We don’t say it often, but one of CORAF’s main successes during the past 30 years has been to pull researchers from English, French, and Portuguese-speaking countries to work together to solve common regional challenges,” says CORAF’s Executive Director.