As an official side event of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7), a symposium on “The Power of Boosting Africa for the Future of Food and Agriculture” organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) was held on August 28, 2019 at the PACIFICO Yokohama. The symposium served as a venue for discussions of various initiatives in areas of agriculture, forestry and fisheries by research organizations and private companies active in Africa.
The symposium consisted of 3 sessions with the following themes: (1) Building a food value chain to enhance the rural areas in Africa, (2) Challenges of Agriculture in Africa — Irrigation and Beyond, and (3) Agricultural research collaborations for nutrition improvement in Africa.
In session 2, the presentations focused on efficient irrigation system urgently needed as a key to increasing food production in Africa. Dr. Shinji Hirouchi, Senior Researcher of the Rural Development Division participated as a panelist. He also introduced a research of JIRCAS in Ghana on the development of rice cultivation system (pair pond system) suitable for the African environment, measures to increase water use efficiency, and demonstrated the effectiveness of supplementary irrigation for rice production using small reservoirs.
In session 3, agricultural research collaborations for nutrition improvement in Africa conducted by MAFF, international research organizations, universities and the private sector were introduced. Dr. Marco Wopereis, Director General of the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg), a collaborator of JIRCAS, talked about the importance of vegetable research for improvement of nutrition and food security in Africa. Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, Director General of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) gave an overview of the Business Incubation Platform for providing better access to improved agricultural technologies, products and services in Africa. From the JIRCAS side, Dr. Yasuhiro Tsujimoto gave a presentation on enhancing rice production for improved income and nutrition in Madagascar, and Dr. Sakiko Shiratori introduced approaches for nutritional improvement based on food and nutritional supply in Madagascar. In the panel discussion, JIRCAS Vice President, Dr. Osamu Koyama acted as moderator and discussed the importance of collaboration between the research organizations and the private sector, the role of public and private research, and the importance of developing a research design from the user’s perspective.