Message for the JIRCAS International Symposium 2020

Video message from the SATREPS project leader on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of JIRCAS International symposium 2020 (November 10, 2020)

Dr. Traore Mamadou

Head of the Department of Natural Resources Management and Production Systems, on behalf of Director General,

Institute of Environment and Agricultural Researches (INERA), Burkina Faso

Dear participants of the symposium marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS). Please receive my respectful greetings.

I am Dr TRAORE Mamoudou, researcher at the Institute of Environment and Agricultural Researches of Burkina Faso and the head of the Department of Natural Resources Management and Production Systems. In this capacity, I am leading the project on the establishment of a model to promote use of phosphate rocks from Burkina Faso in agriculture. This project is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

First of all, I would like to sincerely thank JIRCAS for giving me the honor of speaking on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. On behalf of the General Delegate of the National Scientific Research Center (CNRST) and the Director of the Institute for Environment and Agricultural Researches (INERA) of Burkina Faso, I would like to express my gratitude to JIRCAS. I greet all the personalities present at this symposium and I wish them success in their work.

Burkina Faso and Japan have a long tradition of collaboration in several areas with emphasis on the agricultural sector as it occupies a prominent place in the economy of Burkina Faso. Indeed, in Burkina Faso, the agricultural sector employs about 86% of the total population, contributes to food and nutritional security, and provides about 45% of farm household income.

However, this sector is inefficient because facing numerous biophysical and socioeconomic constraints leading to low crop yields. Thanks to the support of Japanese cooperation, many projects have been implemented to increase the performance of this agriculture. The collaboration includes researches on soil and water conservation, in particular soil and water management at watershed scale, the development of technologies to improve agro-sylvo-pastoral systems, evaluation of the effectiveness of technologies.

I have the honor of being currently the leader of the project entitled "Establishment of a model for fertilizing cultivation promotion using Burkina Faso phosphate rock". This project was set up within the framework of the Scientific and Technological Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) with the objective of contributing to the improvement of agricultural productivity in order to ensure food and nutritional security while reducing poverty in Burkina Faso. This is an important project for Burkina Faso and it meets the country's expectations for the development of its large natural phosphate deposit estimated at 100,000,000 tons for agricultural purpose.

Since the beginning of this year 2020 the food system in West and Central Africa and Burkina Faso in particular is already facing the repercussions of this pandemic. Indeed, the 2020 agricultural season is experiencing significant disruptions. Restrictive measures induced mean that extension workers and researchers cannot make the necessary travel to collect data or interact with farmers. In addition, closed borders and restrictions on movement within countries have prevented many researchers from supporting agricultural production during this critical period. Beyond the short-term consequences on food supply, agricultural production could suffer if the situation persists and movement restrictions continue, which could have a more serious and lasting negative impact on food availability and prices and ultimately on food security. In this context of high risk of food insecurity, the exemplary cooperation between Burkina Faso and Japan in the field of agricultural research is more necessary than ever. I then express the wish to see this cooperation strengthened at this crucial time.  I hope that this cooperation will lead to the implementation of innovative projects adapted to this global pandemic situation, which will prevent our country's agricultural production from suffering further if the situation related to the corona virus disease continues.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope that the conclusions of the symposium will strengthen JIRCAS leadership in agricultural research, and that Burkina Faso's agriculture will benefit from this leadership through the implementation of a large-scale research for development projects for the agricultural sector.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your kind attention. Excellent symposium to all of you!

Traore Mamadou

Traore Mamadou