The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) a South Africa-based premier science institution that fosters innovation in the agricultural sector, has been commissioned by German development agency, GIZ, to help grow the country’s lucrative farming sector.
The partnership is also in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of South Africa (DAFF) and the country’s Department of Environmental Affairs.
The four organizations plan to audit climate-smart agriculture skills among Extension Practitioners who are registered with the South African Council for Natural Science Professionals (SACNASP), the legislated regulatory body for natural science practitioners in South Africa.
In line with these developments, the organizations held their first workshop dubbed the ‘Bio Africa Convention’ this week in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
The ARC said that talks have been fruitful thus far.
As part of the partnership, GIZ, also known as the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH plans to provide its services in the field of international development cooperation.
“We need to showcase our biotech and bio-economy success stories as a continent and country,” said Mrs Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology.
Also at the event, Dr Shadrack Moephuli, ARC President and CEO, served as part of a panel, discussing “Public Sector Efforts in Developing Plant Biotech for Africa”.
The panel discussed technologies employed to tackle production challenges in Africa under the theme “Africa: Open for Business”.
At the event, the ARC highlighted the role of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in growing Africa’s agriculture economy.
Asked if the ARC’s research is doing anything to eradicate poverty, Dr Moephuli said that the Council was making efforts to alleviate the crisis.
“We are looking through a spectrum not only limited to GMOs. As a policy decision, the ARC doesn’t have its own GM cultivars because we are not in competition with the private sector,” the organization stated.
The ARC hopes that its investments will gather steam and help develop agriculture value chains across the continent. The Council has since implied that this week’s workshop will be the first of many.