AGRICULTURAL experts from the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), convene in Dar es Salaam next week for the group's biannual board meeting that the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) will host.
The meeting, scheduled for March 17-22, brings together the Consortium Board and Director Generals of all 15 international centres that make up the CGIAR Consortium.
These international agricultural research centres work in collaboration with hundreds of partner organisations worldwide, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organisations, academia and the private sector to ensure food and nutrition security, reduce rural poverty, improve human health and achieve sustainable management of natural resources.
Most of CGIAR's research-for-development activities take place in the tropical developing world, including sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of countries are not self-sufficient in food and where agriculture is the backbone of the economy.
The region is rich in natural and human resources that, if well managed, could have the potential to make it the world's leading food basket.
After structural and governance reforms initiated in 2010 were implemented, CGIAR works more collaboratively with partners in 16 cross-cutting research themes through the CGIAR Research Programmes.
A statement by IITA in Dar es Salaam yesterday quoted CGIAR Chief Executive Officer, Frank Rijsberman, as saying: "The agricultural sector is crucial today, more than ever before, particularly in the face of climate change and the increasing global population.
The CGIAR Research Programmes are large-scale strategic programmes put in place to deal with the cross-cutting nature of these challenges."
"Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the most vulnerable regions, where a majority of the population is small-holder farmers who frequently face food insecurity and poverty.