UFH hosts 13th Africa Farm Management Association (AFMA) Congress

Read time: 3 mins

Agricultural researchers, professionals, policymakers, and industry leaders from all corners of the African continent have converged in the Eastern Cape for the 13th Africa Farm Management Association AFMA Congress hosted by the University of Fort Hare (UFH).

This week, from the 20 to 23 November, crucial discourse under the theme “Pathways to Commercialization, Lessons and Insights for Climate Smart Agribusiness Development in Africa,” is expected to take place at this gathering that provides a platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange within the African agricultural sector.

Delivering a welcome address, Dr Nthabi Taole-Mjimba, UFH Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Partnership and Innovation said the University takes immense pride in hosting this gathering of brilliant minds and accomplished professionals from around the globe.

“In the spirit of intellectual exchange and collaborative learning, this conference serves as a platform to share innovative ideas, cutting-edge research, and diverse perspectives that transcend borders. As we convene here today, we are not merely participants; we are contributors to the advancement of knowledge, fostering connections that transcend geographical boundaries, especially in building agriculture in Africa.”

“The academic discourse that unfolds in the coming days holds the potential to not only deepen our understanding but also to catalyze positive change in our respective fields,” Dr Taole-Mjimba highlighted.

The conference was officially opened by the Eastern Cape MEC Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Ms Nonkqubela Pieters, who in her address emphasized the importance of this gathering being hosted in the Eastern Cape and Africans coming together to pave way for African solutions to African problems.

“Agriculture remains one of the critical sectors in the province given the wealth of natural resources that we as a province possess. This conference then continues to place Eastern Cape on the map about its potential to become the food basket of the country.”

“Such collaborations are encouraged, and we commit to working with the association to end the challenges facing our sector, in particular the triple challenges facing our people,” the MEC underscored.

Speaking on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor of Egerton University in Kenya, Prof Joshua Ogendo said addressing societal problems should be the core objective of the gathering. "Moving with time, we must think of what we need to do to be part of the solution in this digital age. Such gatherings create a platform for new partnerships and collaborations that will allow academics to remain relevant."

Dr Sibusiso Mdletshe, senior lecturer at the UFH Agricultural Extension department who is part of the organizing of this continental congress described the event as an exceptional gathering of brilliant minds and innovative ideas. “This marks the beginning of an inspiring journey into the world of Pathways to Commercialization, Lessons, and Insights for Climate Smart Agribusiness Development in Africa.”

AFMA President, Prof George Owuor said Africa faces unique challenges related to climate change, and that it is imperative that sustainable practices that enhance resilience and minimize environmental impact should be adopted.

“We will delve into lessons learned, best practices, and cutting-edge technologies that promote climate-smart solutions. This conference presents an unparalleled opportunity for networking, collaboration, and knowledge exchange. By fostering partnerships and engaging in fruitful discussions, we can collectively pave the way for a thriving agricultural sector in Africa. Our shared goal is to transform the agricultural landscape, empowering farmers and contributing to the economic development of our beloved continent.”

Dr Taole-Mjimba wished the delegates a productive and inspiring conference. “May the discussions be illuminating, the connections meaningful, and the outcomes transformative. Let us embark on this intellectual journey together, united in our commitment to shaping a brighter and more interconnected future for Africa.”