East Region: Man attacks school director with machete following son’s drowningTechnologies for African Agricultural Transformation Phase II launched in Accra

By Charity Nginyu

Mazebouag Public School in the East Region of Cameroon has been rocked by tragedy and violence following the death of a child and a vicious attack on the school director.

The incident unfolded when a parent, identified as Yekini, son of the village chief, allegedly assaulted Mr. Bruce Mengom, the school’s director, with a machete, before setting fire to the school buildings and fleeing the scene.

The parent’s actions were reportedly fueled by a desire for revenge following the drowning of his child, a student at the school.

However, sources have revealed that the tragic drowning occurred when the child ventured alone into a nearby marsh, unbeknown to the school director.

Mr. Mengom, who sustained head injuries in the assault, is currently receiving medical treatment.

Source: Cameroon News Agency

Phase II of the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) programme aimed at increasing agricultural productivity and ensuring food security has been launched in Accra.

The TAAT is a flagship programme initiated by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote agricultural technology diffusion in concert with a range of national and international partners to support the Feed Africa strategy.

It is also designed to support countries in the sub-region to improve crop, livestock, and fish productivity by expanding access to adaptive and proven technologies to more than 40 million smallholder farmers across Africa by 2025 and to generate an additional 120 million tonnes of food by the end of the three-year project.

The Phase II of the TAAT project is on the theme: ‘Towards an enabling environment for the adoption and scaling of technologies to transform Agriculture in Ghana’.

Dr Chrysantus Akem, TAAT Coordinator, said the programme
was initiated because of challenges affecting the sub-region due to low productivity, lack of technology, large regional food gaps, post-harvest losses, the negative impact of climate change, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the Russian Ukraine.

Dr Akem said African agriculture was under pressure, causing a rise in population, huge food importation and changing diets which had increased rural-urban migration.

‘The first phase of the programme was launched in 2018 and brought together a lot of partners, we thought the message had gone through, but it became clear that we need to do it again for the second time in a large format to create awareness that the programme is there, and we need more partners to transform African agriculture,’ he said.

The Coordinator said a few commodities including rice, maize, soybeans, fish, and vegetables had been targeted to focus on which were important to the Ghanaian economy.

‘We believe that at the end of the day Ghanaians themselves will actually make sure
that they reach millions of farmers to make that transformation that we need,’ he added Professor Paul Bosu, Director General, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Ghana, expressed worry as increasing food production in Africa had not been easy, adding that despite the policies, strategies and programmes, the region was behind in meeting its food security targets.

He attributed the situation to lack or inadequate inputs, disease and pest problems and limited credit among others.

He said the CSIR would work hand in hand with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, farmers, the private sector, and donor projects to make the project possible, taking advantage of opportunities.

He commended individuals, institutions, and partners, who worked to ensure successful execution of Phase I, implemented across 34 countries in the region from 2018 to 2021.

Mr Eyerusalem Fasika, Country Director, AfDB said the TAAT programme had been well coordinated and a few technologies had been introduced, hence, th
e need to scale up these technologies in the second phase to further improve technologies in African value chain actors, particularly, smallholder farmers to increase their productivity in some selected compacts.

‘We believe that by providing the needed technologies, TAAT will catalyse investments and unlock the continent’s potential for agricultural transformation, where we have the resources, land manpower to achieve food sovereignty and developed innovative flagships to make sure that no stakeholder is left behind,’ she added.

She said in developing the agriculture sector, it was imperative to address youth unemployment and positively contribute to the current economic challenges across the continent.

Mr Yaw Frimpong Addo, Deputy Minister, MoFA, said the programme was in line with the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs initiative, in its second Phase.

He said the government was transitioning from the input subsidy programme under the PFJ Phase l into a smart input credit model under the PFJ Phase
II, which was committed to strengthening food security, promoting sustainable practices, and leveraging modern technologies for the benefit of farmers.

He commended the AfDB for its unwavering support and commitment to agricultural transformation in Africa.

Mr Addo urged all stakeholders and partners to actively participate and collaborate in the implementation of the TAAT Phase II.

Source: Ghana News Agency