Center for Rural Development (CERUD)
Africa in a nutshell can be described as a rural continent though rapidly urbanizing the majority of the continent’s inhabits live and derive their livelihoods in rural areas with agriculture being the being the largest sector employer accounting for at least 65% of the jobs in sub-Saharan Africa. Even by 2050; only 20.2% of the continent will be urbanized revealing that rural development will remain a major focus and a development challenge to be addressed in particular reducing addressing the poverty levels associated with a low productive agriculture sector. Accordingly, boosting agriculture and building around it a strong rural economy is crucial for Africa. His calls for tackling agricultural transformation as a process that leads to higher productivity on farms, commercially orients farming, and strengthens the link between farming and other sectors of the economy. If done right, it would create millions of much needed jobs, as well as wealth, inclusion, food security, crisis resilience, and social and political peace.
The Centre coordinates AfriFood’s efforts aimed at rural transformation through sustainable community development. The Centre among others facilitates the promotion of rural agripreneurship and small-scale industries development, access to agricultural inputs including quality seed, strengthen rural farmer institutions such as cooperatives, coordinate training and technical assistance, conduct periodic leadership capacities and support green economy development including advancing the adoption of climate smart agriculture practices. Some of the focus actions include:
- Expand the delivery of agricultural extension services through implementation of the SCOM in more agricultural universities with adaptations of relevance to respective African countries.
- Strengthen the institutional capacities of African agricultural universities to better respond to farmer agricultural extension services demands within an efficient and effective institutional framework.
- Increase the training and professionalization of agricultural extensionists in Africa to increase the pool of professional agents.
- Continue to explore and further develop innovations and processes relevant in last mile delivery of agricultural extension services in Africa.
- Strengthen development of community-seed systems value chains as vehicles for efficient research and delivery of high-yielding crop varieties and germplasms essential for rural smallholder farmer’s transformation.
- Move smallholder farmers from a rain-fed based agricultural production system to climate smart agriculture as mechanism to increase internal rates of returns, adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change.
- Increase smallholder farmer market access through improving regulations and addressing governance related bottle necks along the agricultural value chains e.g. eliminating distortions in agriculture.
- Harness the power of ICTs for increased agricultural productivity in the agricultural value chains; from farm to market, post-harvest management, enhancing market efficiency through information access, and increasing traceability of agricultural products.
- Harness the complementarity between smallholder farmers and large-scale farming systems through increasing interaction between smallholders and large scale farmers within well-functioning institutional frameworks that support vertical integration and economies of scale in processing and marketing.
- Strengthen greater agricultural value chains integration to boost direct benefits to smallholder farmers and trigger increased development of agribusinesses at community level.
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