The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) is the apex continental organization responsible for coordinating and advocating for agricultural research for development (AR4D). FARA serves as the technical arm of the Africa Union Commission on matters concerning agriculture science, technology and innovation.
FARA was conceived in the late 1990s by a core group of committed champions, including both African scientists and enlightened donor aid officials, who believed in agriculture’s potential to lift the continent from poverty, yet realized that this would only be achieved if the continent’s weak and fragmented agricultural research systems could somehow be brought together and strengthened under a common banner. FARA was then voted into existence in 1997 by the Sub-Regional Organizations, including CORAF/WECARD, ASARECA and SADC-FANR, at the 17th Plenary of the Special Programme for African Agricultural Research (SPAAR), a precursor organization to FARA, situated within the World Bank.
FARA serves as the entry point for agricultural research initiatives designed to have a continental reach or a sub-continental reach spanning more than one sub-region. Headquartered in Accra, Ghana, FARA has been in existence for 12 years. Over this period, FARA has provided a continental forum for stakeholders in AR4D to shape the vision and agenda for this sub-sector, and to mobilize themselves to respond to key continent-wide development frameworks, notably the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) FARA also plays a key role in galvanizing the agricultural research for development sector, and brings a strong African voice to global forums such as the G-8 and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR).
As a coordinating body, FARA works through collaboration with its partners, an approach driven by the principle of Subsidiarity, which devolves the implementation of programmes to the Sub-regional organizations and the National Agricultural Research Institutes NARIs. In implementing its strategy, FARA mobilizes stakeholders around a portfolio of continent-wide programmes and projects jointly developed with the stakeholders, to address specific challenges or opportunities. Currently, FARA is coordinating the following such initiatives
Going forward with the new strategic orientation, FARA is embarking on the following new continent-wide programmes in the context of the Science Agenda for Agriculture in Africa: