Hyderabad, India (6 February 2014) – The first ever full-fledged agribusiness incubator in West Africa was inaugurated recently, recognizing the crucial role of agribusiness and entrepreneurship to build the economy through sustainable and market-oriented agriculture.
The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) teamed up with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) based here in Hyderabad, India to establish the West African Agri-Business Resource Incubator (WAARI).
WAARI was officially inaugurated in the Selingue province of Mali by Professor Moustapha Dicko, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Government of Mali, in the presence of Dr William Dar, ICRISAT Director General.
WAARI is one of the six agribusiness incubators being established under the Universities, Business and Research in Agricultural Innovation (UniBRAIN) project of FARA, with the Agri-Business Incubation (ABI) program of ICRISAT’s Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) as the handholding and mentoring partner. The Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) is financially supporting this initiative in Africa.
“Public-Private Partnerships hold the key for activating the Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) strategy in order to replicate and scale-up the benefits of technology interventions and science-based solutions for millions of smallholder farmers. One of the best ways of achieving this is to promote entrepreneurship in the agricultural sector. Agribusiness incubation creates agro-enterprises and jobs which ultimately benefit the smallholder farmers,” said Dr Dar during the launch of WAARI.
ICRISAT, under its south-south initiative, has been actively engaging national organizations and private sectors in India and Africa in a partnership platform to drive prosperity and economic opportunities in the dryland tropics.
Under this south-south initiative, ICRISAT’s ABI and FARA’s UniBRAIN has been helping set up agribusiness incubators for agri-entrepreneurs across Africa, along the lines of its networks of incubators in India, to find solutions to the food and agriculture development challenges in the continent.
“Agribusiness incubators have now become vital to agribusiness sectors worldwide, where technology serves as a precursor for improving the economic, social and environmental conditions especially of rural communities,” Dr Dar added.
Dr Kiran Sharma, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), AIP-ICRISAT congratulated Dr Ibrahim Togola, CEO, WAARI and his team for their contributions in establishing the incubator. He assured the team and UniBRAIN that AIP and its component programs were committed towards providing full support and services in facilitating the establishment and successful operation of all incubators in the project.
ICRISAT is a member of the CGIAR Consortium.