Global planning and review meeting held in Addis Ababa
The first global planning and review meeting of the ICRISAT-HOPE project was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 12 -16 October.
The meeting, attended by collaborating scientists from participating countries in Africa and Asia, was organized by ICRISAT in collaboration with the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), the HOPE Project’s lead partner in the country, and was officially opened byEthiopia’s State Minister of Agriculture, His Excellency Ato Wondirad Mandefro.
Addressing the meeting participants, the State Minister emphasized the importance of agricultural research in accelerating the pace of agricultural transformation and realizing food security amidst the looming threat of climate change. He appreciated the Foundation for its funding support to the project, and thanked ICRISAT for its continued commitment in strengthening the capacity of the Ethiopian NARS.
In his welcome remarks, EIAR Director General Solomon Assefa thanked ICRISAT for choosing Ethiopia to be the host country for the meeting, and spoke of the fruitful collaboration between ICRISAT and EIAR particularly in the HOPE project which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation.
ICRISAT Deputy Director General Dave Hoisington, on the other hand, acknowledged the EIAR team’s strong support to the HOPE project. Recognizing the attendance of Yilma Kebede, Senior Program Manager of the foundation, he expressed appreciation for its active role in project implementation. He also urged the meeting participants to be open, honest, and critical during the deliberations and to continue working together towards the greater achievement of the project.
Meanwhile, Yilma Kebede highlighted that the HOPE project crops – sorghum and millets – have been identified as high priority crops in the foundation’s refreshed agricultural development strategy. “Excellence in research should be complemented by excellence in product extension and delivery through use of information to improve policy and extend technologies to benefit smallholder farmers,” he added.
HOPE Project Coordinator George Okwach’s presentation on the overview and objectives of the meeting and highlights of project achievements kick-started the project deliberations. Also attending the meeting were ICRISAT’s Director for Eastern & Southern Africa (ESA) Said Silim; Program Director for Dryland Cereals, Oscar Riera-Lizarazu; and Resource Planning and Marketing Director Peter Ninnes.