1 June 2012

Africa: Skills Gap Slows Food Security in Continent

Lack of enough skills in the agriculture sector is one of the major factors still slowing food security in Africa.

This was raised by participants on Wednesday during a meeting on capacity building and food security which was organised by Public Sector Capacity Building Secretariat (PSCBS) in Kigali.

Addressing participants, Prof. Silas Lwakabamba, the Rector of the National University of Rwanda (NUR), said that like the majority of African countries, Rwanda doesn't have enough researchers, especially PhD holders, capable of undertaking relevant research on how best to increase agriculture production and fighting food insecurity.

"There is no better way to integrate capacity building with agricultural development than bringing African higher education institutions to the forefront. We as educationists need to transform our universities to be able to produce the human capacity needed to directly confront the issues of food security in the region," Lwakabamba said.

He added that improving the capacity of food security calls for an increase in the number of graduates and that dealing with markets and post-harvest challenges requires collective interventions in the whole delivery chain.

The Deputy Director General of Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB), Dr Daphrose Gahakwa, stressed that agriculture is the backbone of the rural economy and food security is a fundamental human right.

"Therefore, investment in this sector will allow us to maximise this potential and contribute to job creation and food security," she said.

In an interview with The New Times, Peter Malinga, the coordinator of, technical services at PSCBS, said the meeting targeted both private and public institutions to collectively seek a way forward for capacity building in agriculture.

According to Malinga, the Dutch government will inject Euros 5 million in the higher education institutions to boost their efforts towards promoting research in agriculture-related disciplines.

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