By Jeneba A.Conteh
Craving 4 Development, in collaboration with Sierra Leone Accelerator, has hosted the 3rd edition of the Pan African Symposium on agriculture.
The event took place on December 6,at the Bintumani Conference Center in Freetown.
According to the organizers, the vision of the symposium was to create a regional knowledge and partnership based platform that helps harness the power of youth involvement in agriculture and the potential of agricultural innovation, food sovereignty as well as investments and connected supply chains in Africa.
The symposium aims to set in motion an initiative that allows practical knowledge sharing, export readiness and exposure to systems, businesses, enablers, and innovations in order to build robust frameworks and agro-industrial companies, with enhanced human capital, interconnected networks of experts, well-structured and accessible markets, and opportunities for sustained collaborations.
Founder of Craving 4 Development, Aminata Kana Baldeh, said the third edition of the Pan African Symposium on Agriculture brought 23 African countries together from December 5th to 7th 2022 with a focus on Strengthening Agrifood Supply Chains in Africa.
She said the event recorded 11 million engagements on social media and trended in 8 African countries for its 2nd edition held in Dakar, Senegal in November 2021.
She said the overall objective of the symposium was to support African youth to take advantage of the great African opportunities in terms of sustainable production and value addition, access to markets, partnerships and investments.
Baldeh said the event established a regional platform for knowledge exchange and partnerships to harness the power of youth involvement in sustainable agriculture, provides information on the tools and technology packages to build soil resilience and adapt farming practices to the need of the connected markets.
“It is also aimed at building the foundation for the integration of fair and efficient markets, including digital trade and improves competitiveness among African agro-SMEs, create avenues for greater participation in regional and global value chains. It leverages the Local and regional private sector in value chain development and for export-oriented growth strategy. It makes high impact investment opportunities available to performing Agri-entrepreneurs,” she said.
She said the platform provides better opportunities to develop linkages between African markets, build capacities and transfer technologies.
She said through the platform, young Africans would be equipped to foster sustainable production and value addition in the sector.
“It is the foundation for the integration of fair and efficient markets, including digital trade is established and competitiveness among African agro-MSMEs is enhanced. It enhances engagement of Local and Regional Private sector in value chain development and for export-oriented growth strategy,” she said.
She said the symposium was structured in a manner to suit the varied needs and diverse stakeholder expectations and that the various themes are discussed in breakdown sessions to allow a more thorough understanding of the issues.
She said the main sessions and discussions will be held in an auditorium with 500 in-person participants and thousands of virtual participants via Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube Live.
Craving 4 Development is a capacity building and funding facilitation think-tank in Africa whose mandate is to inspire African youth and equip them with skills to efficiently face the developmental problems on the continent.
It was founded to address issues related to employability rate, capacity gap, lack of inspiration and enthusiasm towards work, inaccessibility of funds, inaccessibility of the African market and of like-minded entrepreneurs.
C4D has a wide range of services, projects and programs tailored to the needs, demands and ambitions of the African entrepreneurs.
Such projects include The Pan African Symposium on Agriculture, the Pan African Poetry Contest on Mental Health and The Ignition Hour Venture Building project.
Co-Founder, Craving 4 Development, Tafadzwa Chiganga Taphie, said the symposium was to discuss the inter-Africa trade as they were here to rebrand agriculture in Sierra Leone and in African, and to continue to win that legacy of agriculture by moving the agenda forward
She said the most important thing in all human life is food, but “we overlook agriculture.
She spoke on the extreme shortage of food because “our country imports a lot of food. Agriculture should be the bedrock of our nation Sierra Leone.
Haja Kade-Sheriff, a famer,said she has been in agriculture all her life and that she was happy that Sierra Leone was hosting the 3rd edition of the Pan African symposium on agriculture because they have given her the opportunity to showcase the crop she grew.
She called on organizations to invest in agriculture and the government of Sierra Leone to invest more.