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Agricultural association to launch sh89m knowledge hub for East, Central Africa

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It is expected to be launched in April 2022 during the general assembly which will bring together 14 ministers of agriculture from the 14 ASARECA member states

The Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA), is scheduled to launch an sh89m knowledge hub which will bring all sorts of data with regards to agricultural research for development in Eastern and Central Africa.

The hub is also expected to have what was termed as an e-library with documents, journals, and data that the farmers shall use.

This was revealed by Dr. Enock Warinda, the ASARECA executive director while opening a one-week capacity strengthening workshop for knowledge management and monitoring evaluation which was held on Thursday at Lake Victoria Hotel in Entebbe.

It is expected to be launched in April 2022 during the general assembly which will bring together 14 ministers of agriculture from the 14 ASARECA member states. It is expected to be held in Uganda.

The workshop which brought together 14 ASARECA member countries also discussed how data can be gathered, processed, and disseminated back to the farmers in order for them to improve on their productivity, access to the market, and trade. "These stakeholders will be tasked to know the data source and to share it with their respective countries' knowledge management specialists plus the monitoring and evaluation specialists," explained Dr. Warinda.

He further noted that in return, such data will be shared with ASARECA e-portal from where the leadership will process and take it back to the farmers in order to guide them on when to plant, how to plant, and what could be the good among other agronomic practices and how to access the markets. They will also be able to connect with scientists in and outside their respective countries.

Christopher Suh, the director for internal audit monitoring and evaluation from the institute of agriculture development in Cameroon, welcomed the idea to bring together experts from the whole region saying monitoring and evaluation have been left behind in most of the countries in the sub-region. "We have not been collecting data adequately enough," he noted.

"Within the sub-region, we see there are limited international projects and partnerships with those advanced countries because we do not have enough quality data nor did we share our data adequately within the member countries," he expressed, adding that benchmarking is also very useful because it helps to share ideas and expertise.

Although ASARECA is expected to use the available resources for the intended programme, the association is looking out to some possible donors in order to sustain the US$250,000 (sh89m) budget which is estimated to be used in the implementation process. "But we project that if we can get $500,000, we can roll out this programme and make it a global knowledge and information hub with real data accessible by any member in any part of the continent," Dr. Warinda said.

Dickson Baguma from the National Agriculture Research Organisation (NARO) described knowledge management as a deliberate and systematic coordination of an organisation's people, technology, process, and structure in order to add value through reuse and innovation. "Therefore, the basic activities of knowledge management as a process are, creating, storing, retrieving, sharing, and applying that knowledge," he explained.

During a regional policy dialogue which was held last month, Josephine Birungi, the ASARECA programme officer in charge of policy said, the association was working out a plan to develop and operationalise knowledge management and strategies including guidelines for data capture at national, regional, and continental level. "We are working to develop, operationalise and maintain an interoperable knowledge management platform in order to standardise agriculture in East and Central Africa," noted Birungi. The same data will be used by the policy makers while planning for farmers and the agricultural sector as a whole.

The capacity strengthening workshop for knowledge management and monitoring evaluation which started on December 14, will run-up in December 2022 at Lake Victoria Hotel in Entebbe.

Agricultural association to launch sh89m knowledge hub for East, Central Africa

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