Ministerial conference on agriculture promotes digital innovations for climate services in Central and Eastern Africa

The latest ASARECA Agriculture Ministerial Conference provided an opportunity to showcase innovations developed by CGIAR and partners, which are being scaled by AICCRA in East Africa.

By sharing CGIAR science and evidence-based insights on how to scale innovation, AICCRA hopes to bring climate-smart innovation to countries across Central and Eastern Africa.

The Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) is an intergovernmental organization with 15 member countries across Central and East Africa.

It develops policies and programs aimed at deepening co-operation in agricultural research among member countries, facilitating the adoption of improved policies and practices, while promoting cooperation to mobilize and cost effectively use resources.

Over the last two and a half decades, ASARECA projects have reached over a million people with improved seed varieties and improved practices in water management, soil fertility, agronomy, storage, marketing as well as animal husbandry and fisheries management.

Policy dialogues have been held in each of the member countries over the past three years, culminating in a regional science-policy dialogue in 2022 on gender-responsive climate-smart agriculture science-policy dialogue.

These dialogues have provided a platform for actors in ASARECA member countries to discuss critical challenges facing the agriculture sector and opportunities for scaling up the CSA innovations toward achieving food and nutrition security.

For example, the Kenya CSA Multistakeholder Platform has been cascaded to the subnational county level for scaling CSA innovations. While in Uganda, the national CSA Multistakeholder Platform has been initiated.

The key messages emerging from these discussions is the need for more collaboration, investment in infrastructure, the development of user-friendly applications, the provision of tailored information, capacity-building programs, and the fostering of public-private partnerships. 

John Recha (Scientist, Climate-Smart Agriculture and Policy at ILRI) speaks at AAMC 2023

AICCRA at the ASARECA agriculture ministerial conference

In East and Southern Africa, AICCRA has been working in three core countries — Ethiopia, Kenya, and Zambia — as well as with neighbouring countries through strategic partnerships with regional organizations in what we call ‘spillover’ impact.

So, we participated in the three-day ASARECA Agriculture Ministerial Conference (AAMC 2023) on the theme of ‘Building Resilient Food Systems to Feed Africa for Generations’, that was held in Uganda on 17-19 May 2023.

AICCRA organised a side event on Policy Dialogue on Engagement of Regional Economic Communities in Enhancing Regional Agricultural Trade and Early Action for Climate Change in Eastern and Central Africa.

The objective of this session was to engage regional economic commissions (RECs) and the 15 ASARECA member state policymakers in enhancing regional agricultural trade, and promoting cross-border and cross-regional spillover, uptake, and use of climate information services (CIS) developed for Ethiopia and Kenya.

Specifically, presentations were given on:

  • Improving the relevance and accuracy climate forecasts/services at national level
  • Scaling digital climate advisory services for enhancing climate-smart agriculture in the ASARECA region
  • Delivery of digital climate advisory services to smallholders through partnerships with the private sector
John Recha (Scientist, Climate-Smart Agriculture and Policy at ILRI) speaks to media at AAMC 2023

During the conference, AICCRA partner CIMMYT also shared its experience of scaling digital climate advisory services for enhancing climate-smart agriculture in the ASARECA region, including the scaling of climate advisory services which enabled the control of fusarium incidences in wheat production in Ethiopia through digital platform Lersha.

Lersha provides a one-stop digital service to Ethiopian smallscale farmers and enables them to access farm inputs, hire mechanization services, and request dynamic agro-climate advice using a phone application.

As a result of this, the nation has now started exporting to neighbouring countries in the region. These services were developed by CIMMYT, the Ethiopia Institute of Agricultural Research, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture and a private sector leaders Green Agro Solutions PLC.

AICCRA experts speak to Uganda Broadcasting Corporation

Watch John Recha on Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (from 01 min 00 sec)


John Recha, AICCRA and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

Julian Barungi, ASARECA

Maren Radeny, AICCRA and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)


For more information about AICCRA's contribution to the AAMC 2023, please contact John Recha at Follow John on Twitter @RechaJohnWalker