It is to train them on how to report on the progress of the Agriculture Transformational Agenda (ATA), in their respective countries.
Dubbed the Malabo Declaration, and signed in 2014, the ATA is an initiative of the African Union (AU) with firm commitment from member states to transform agriculture for shared growth and to improve livelihoods.
To ensure that the commitment was being adhered to, the AU, together with other regional bodies established the Biennial Review Mechanism.
It would help in measuring the progress of the declaration in member countries through regular reporting to the AU Assembly.
The workshop, which was organised by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and other partners, brought together participants from Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Gambia and Sierra Leone, to equip them with the knowledge and skills, to be able to generate proper reports.
Boaz Keizire, Head, Policy and Advocay for AGRA, said the lack of proper data and records keeping was primarily responsible for the deteriorating state of the agricultural sector on the African continent.
To mitigate this, he noted that it was important member states were kept abreast with proper data collection processes, to be able to gather information necessary to mitigate challenges in the agricultural sector.
Mr. Keizire said “policies have been ineffective over the years due to poor data. The Malabo declaration, if it is to be achieved, would hinge on the quality of data which reflects the true state of member countries’ progress. Data is so important to motivate increased performances of each member state to deliver on targets set”.
He said AGRA, as part of its grand agenda to promote agriculture, was committed to working with regional bodies and other development partners to be able to properly monitor and assess the progress of countries in the transformational programme.
In a speech read on his behalf, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto, Minister of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), underscored the need for a credible, timely and high quality information, to inform the reporting and review process and to guide planning of adequate interventions at all levels for agricultural transformation on the continent.
He noted that “progress would be hard to determine if there was no measure”, adding that the outcomes of the biennial report would serve and nourish the platforms for developing agriculture and rural growth.
Maurice Lorka, Senior Agricultural Advisor, African Union Commission, reiterated the Commission’s commitment to ensure member states work to improve economic conditions on the continent.
By Claude Adams