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International Symposium on Agriculture

Background and JustificationThe East African Community (EAC) is organising an International Symposium on Agriculture in commemoration of the 50 Years of Independence of the EAC Partner States from 5-7 November, 2013.. During the period of three years (2011 – 2013), all the five East African Community (EAC) Partner States will have celebrated 50 years of independence. During this post-independence period, agriculture remained the most dominant sector in the economies of all the five countries.Over the past 50 years, the region, especially Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya has built a cadre of high caliber agricultural specialists especially in crop breeding, agronomy and livestock husbandry. The National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) in the EAC Region also gained a reputation for crop breeding and agronomy in the years following independence. The result was the development of world class varieties of crops and animal breeds. Yet, in practice, the sector has delivered mixed results, with very few sub-sectors such as tea and dairy registering significant progress, while performance of other sub-sectors especially at the farm level, has remained much as it was before independence and in some cases it has deteriorated. The excellent research combined with the huge effort and investments by farmers (who make up the majority of the people of the region) seem to have not paid off. The current and increasingly upward trend in the global demand for agricultural commodities presents an opportunity for the EAC as a block to contribute in meeting such demand. Discovery of oil and gas in the EAC region is also a complementary opportunity, but if not well managed can lead to neglect of the agricultural sector.Therefore, there is need to interrogate the agricultural processes in place in the EAC, what worked since independence and how, what did not work and why? All the lessons learned from the region's experience should then be documented and used to plan for the next 50 years to ensure that agriculture contributes significantly towards regional development. AimTo articulate an EAC Regional Vision for Agriculture in the next 50 years – as a modern and vibrant sector that fully takes advantage of the combined endowment with a youthful population, abundance of fertile land and water resources, energy resources, and the global demand for food and agricultural commodities/products. The theme of the symposium will be: Agricultural Development: lessons from the past and prospects for the next 50 years. Organization of the SymposiumThe Symposium will be organized into the two sessions:a) Technical Session (05 – 07 November 2013) – to discuss the Commissioned Papers and Case Studies and draw evidence-based recommendations on agreed-upon themes. This session will be open to all interested parties and attendance will be by registration. (YPARD members in this region are encouraged to participate in this technical session to give a youth voice to the discussion and ensure the future of young professionals involvement in agriculture in the region).b) High Level Round Table Meeting of Policy and Decision Makers from the Public and Private Sectors (08 November, 2013) – to scrutinize the recommendations and formulate necessary actions for adoption. Attendance to this session will be by invitation. Click here to download the brochure and here to register for the symposium. 
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Kilimo Trust