Press Release: Agroecology remains central focus during Leadership Forum by AGRA’s Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA)

Nairobi, Kenya, April 11, 2023: The Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA)  delegates and agriculture sector leaders converged for a two-day invite-only virtual forum on March 28-29, 2023. The Forum was convened by the Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA), an AGRA-led initiative. It was part of the ongoing Leadership Forum series, a core component of the programme and one of CALA’s unique offerings for its delegates and community.

Participants and speakers from the government, private sector, and civil society engaged under the theme: “The role of Agroecology and ESMS in advancing African Food Systems.”  This second leadership forum follows the CALA Leadership Forum held on September 4 – 6, 2022, around the theme: Collaborative Leadership for Advancing African Food Systems.

The overarching goal of the forum was centered on environmental sustainability and agroecology in the implementation of agriculture priority programs in Africa, improved collaboration, and political, social, and economic perspectives for the implementation of agroecological practices.

The forum successfully aimed to achieve two main objectives: promoting environmental sustainability and agroecology in implementing agriculture priority programs in Africa as well as enhancing collaboration across political, social, and economic perspectives to integrate agroecological practices and advance African food systems.

Speaking during the forum’s opening session, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, President of AGRA, encouraged the delegates and sector leaders to continue working together for accelerated food systems transformation.

“We have a lot of leaders on the continent, both in the public and private sector, who must find new ways to collaborate and work together for one of the most complex sectors- agriculture. The agricultural sector needs knowledge and leadership; CALA provides an opportunity to explore the nexus between partnerships and policy. We need to recognise that none of us can do things without each other.”- she added.

“When the CALA programme started, the objective was really clear- to drive transformation in food systems through improved leadership. It’s been great to witness transformation happen through the learning journey with both cohorts.”- Rebecca Harrison, CEO and Co-founder of the African Management Institute, reiterated as she spoke about the impact of the Advanced Leadership Programme so far.

AMI is CALA’s lead implementation and learning partner, guiding cohorts of 80 leaders from 8 focus countries through the Centre’s second cohort of the  16-month Advanced Leadership Programme,

The forum also discussed integrated innovative approaches to funding and de-risking agricultural businesses, addressing barriers to agriculture transformation, and tapping into the youth as change agents to enable agroecology practices in the community.

“Developing holistic approaches needs us to break down silos and address the challenges instead of treating the symptoms. Africa has invested in this sector for decades, but we’re still dealing with many challenges.” – Winnie Yegon, Food Systems Specialist, FAO.

“A government regulated, private sector driven and community/people owned system is the most sustainable and admirable for sub-Saharan Africa.” – Gratian Nareeba, forum participant, aptly added.

– ENDS –

About CALA

CALA was launched in August 2021, as an AGRA-led initiative, to provide practical training for African leaders in the agriculture sector. The initiative seeks to catalyse collective action on food systems as an avenue for transformation of national and regional agriculture priorities. The Centre’s programmes are delivered in collaboration with implementing partners, including the African Management Institute (AMI), CALA’s lead implementing partner, and USAID’s Policy LINK. Policy LINK has led the design and rollout of the leadership programme’s coaching component. CALA is also supported with funding from the German Development Cooperation, through KfW Development Bank.

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About AGRA

Established in 2006, AGRA is an African-led and Africa-based institution that puts smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. Together with our partners, we are working to sustainably grow Africa’s food systems.

AGRA strengthens seed systems, develops, and promotes sustainable farming practices, helps unlock trade and markets, and supports governments who lead their countries’ development. We work with farmers to adapt to climate change, increase soil health, and protect the environment.  AGRA believes deeply in the urgency of reducing the inequality that women face in agriculture, and to unlocking the power and innovation of youth.

About the African Management Institute (AMI)

AMI enables ambitious businesses and leaders across Africa to thrive, through practical tools and training. We equip leaders with tools to build their business, help companies train their teams and run work readiness programmes for young people starting their careers. AMI’s programmes combine online and mobile tools with in-person workshops and on-the-job practice and support. AMI has trained over 42,000 people in over 39 countries and has offices in Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, and South Africa, with additional presence in Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, and Cote’ d’Ivoire.

About Policy LINK

Policy LINK is a global Feed the Future program that strengthens the leadership capacity of public, private, and civil society actors and fosters collective action among them for better policy systems. Feed the Future is America’s global hunger and food security initiative, led by USAID.

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The Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA) is made possible with the friendly support of:

German Cooperation