New Brazil-Africa Partnership in Agriculture Research and Innovation Conceived as EMBRAPA Celebrates its 50th Anniversary
The last five decades of the Brazilian socioeconomic landscape are replete with commendable accolades that have led to the transformation of a net importing, food insecure economy to the third largest agricultural producer in the world that is not only self-sufficient.
This story echoes through the length and breadth of Brazil as EMBRAPA —the country’s agricultural research corporation—commemorated its golden jubilee anniversary last week in Brasilia. Consistent hard work on all fronts was the hallmark of the occasion that celebrated visionary leadership and committed followership that tamed the hunger and food insecurity rampant in the Brazilian federation up to the 1970s.
This is good history being made as Celso Moretti, the President of EMBRAPA, read his emotion-laden valedictory statement in Brasilia last Wednesday (27th April 2023).
That Brazil is food self-sufficient is no longer news. The news is about the emerging frontiers hitherto untouched by science and Innovation. The star-studded crowd in the agriculture world rendered unending encomiums as the President relayed the journey of a state parastatal that has become a much-vaunted success story and the pride of Brazil.
This spirit of excellence was one of FARA’s rationales for choosing Brazil as a partner. The objective is to learn from the defining interventions that birthed the highlights that were being celebrated around the globe. In addition, Brazil is a natural choice of partner for Africa because the two regions share ecological attributes and cultural-historical ties.
On the margins of the auspicious occasion, the principals of FARA and EMBRAPA expressed their willingness to enter into a new partnership phase in agricultural research and innovation with Africa. The partnership aims to mobilize other stakeholders on the continent, including the African Development Bank (AfDB) among others, to build on the gains of previous collaborations between the two institutions, notably the Africa-Brazil Agricultural Innovation Marketplace and M-BOS (Building on the Success of the Marketplace).
To underscore the value of the new partnership, FARA’s Executive Director, Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, acknowledged that there appears to be a Brazilian solution to every African problem. He noted that the recalibration of the FARA-EMBRAPA partnership is coming when Brazil is retaking its leadership position in the comity of nations with strong solidarity extended to African countries. During the meeting, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Brazil, Professor Ahmed Makarfi, expressed gratitude and continued support of the Nigerian government for the partnership.
Dr Celso Moretti reiterated EMBRAPA’s willingness to work with FARA to design a new Brazil-Africa initiative on food and fibre for economic transformation and food security in the two regions. This initiative will leverage the strengths of the two regions to develop and scale innovative solutions that will help address challenges of food security and economic growth. The proposed initiative will further create opportunities for African and Brazilian researchers and entrepreneurs to collaborate and exchange knowledge and expertise while developing demanded solutions. The partnership between FARA and EMBRAPA is an excellent example of how South-South cooperation can be harnessed to promote sustainable development in the global South. The partnership is expected to inspire other countries and regions to collaborate and work together towards promoting sustainable agricultural development for all benefits.
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