Saly- Senegal (PANA) -- The West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (WECARD) will by March 2007 launch a program aimed at improving agricultural productivity in West and Central Africa spanning 2006-2016.
WECARD executive secretary Paco Seremé made the disclosure Tuesday during the opening session of an international workshop on agricultural research in Africa convening at the seaside resort of Saly, 80-km south east of Dakar.
Seremé said theses two programs are particularly aimed at boosting the development of produce of high potential like cocoa, cotton, coffee, rice, tubers, fruits and vegetables and oleaginous for West and Central Africa.
"It is an integrated policy of the west and central Africa sub-region which defines future strategies to make up for productivity loss in order to reach a 6% agricultural growth rate enough to contribute to the development and poverty reduction by the next 10 years," Seremé said.
The agricultural development programs to be implemented are also aimed at diversifying agricultural crops and adopting new technologies, creating a conducive commercial climate to make African exports profitable and boosting investments in agricultural sector through partnership with economic partners of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC).
They were worked out within the framework of the strategic plan revision adopted in 2000 by WECARD and would be carried out simultaneously through national systems, ECOWAS, CEMAC and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
The west and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (WECARD) is one of the four sub-regional bodies of scientific cooperation in the agricultural sector in Africa that subscribes to the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).
It brings together the national systems of agricultural research of 22 countries in West and Central Africa.