The Science Fund grants US $ 3.3 million for agricultural innovations in West Africa
One of the largest science funds in Africa, the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) deployed US $ 3.3 million in agricultural innovation grants to universities and research institutes in West Africa.
As part of the acceleration of inclusive green growth through digital agricultural innovation in West Africa (AGriDI initiative), the Nairobi-based PASET will fund proposals in 15 West African countries which constitute largely the Economic Community of West African States. Innovators from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, from Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo are eligible.
Target groups include; universities, research institutes, legally registered small and medium-sized enterprises, farmers’ cooperatives, private sector companies, technology hubs, innovation laboratories, start-ups, community organizations, civil society organizations, government ministries, departments and agencies . Scientists and innovators have been tasked with coming up with innovative ideas that can help increase agricultural productivity in the region.
Applications have been received until June 30, with winners likely to be announced in the last quarter of 2021. At least 12 proposals will be funded for a minimum amount of $ 184,000. While the grants are focused on the West African region, scientists, researchers and innovators from other parts of Africa can participate as collaborators. However, they can only do this by bringing in some critical skill or expertise.
“Agriculture in Africa is changing rapidly from subsistence farming to commercial farming. Digital innovation accelerates this transformation and becomes an important factor of agricultural productivity and access to markets ”, Ecuru, head of the AGriDI project.
The AGriDI initiative is funded by the ACP Innovation Fund of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States, and is funded by the European Union. It is implemented by the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology, in partnership with the Benin University of Abomey-Calavi, the Agropolis Foundation and the Pan-African Gearbox network in Kenya. The insect center also houses the PASET-RSIF Regional Coordination Unit.
“Innovations also offer an opportunity to improve the efficiency and profitability of agricultural production in Africa. These grants will provide a means to facilitate the development and use of digital technologies, such as the use of artificial intelligence and robotics, to improve production, advisory services, marketing and policy in food systems. in West Africa, ”added Dr Moses Osiru, PASET chief.