About FARA

About FARA

FARA is the continental apex body for agricultural research and innovation (R&I). It is the body mandated by the African Union Commission (AUC) to facilitate pan-African actions aimed at effectively deploying R&I to increase the continent’s agricultural productivity and competitiveness to feed its fast-growing population.

FARA is an international organisation with full diplomatic status in Ghana where it is headquartered. It was established in 2002 and has, over the past 15 years made numerous important contributions to the evolution and strengthening of African agricultural R&I.

FARA was first conceived in the late 1990s by a core group of committed champions, including both African scientists and enlightened donor aid officials, who believed in agriculture’s potential to lift the continent from poverty, yet realized that this would only be achieved if the continent’s weak and fragmented agricultural research systems could somehow be brought together and strengthened under a common banner. FARA was then voted into existence in 1997 at 17th Plenary session of the Special Programme for African Agricultural Research (SPAAR), which was a precursor organization to FARA, situated within the World Bank.

FARA has since evolved to work in synergy with Sub-Regional Organizations (SROs), which are the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD), Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) and North African Sub-Regional Organization (NASRO). FARA also works with the African Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (AFAAS).    FARA serves as the entry point for agricultural research initiatives designed to have a continental reach or a sub-continental reach spanning more than one sub-region. Since its coming into life, FARA has provided a continental forum for stakeholders in Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D) to shape the vision and agenda for this sub-sector, and to mobilize themselves to respond to key continent-wide development frameworks, notably the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

FARA also plays a key role in galvanizing the agricultural research for development sector and brings a strong African voice to global forums such as the G-8 and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR).

FARA’s Objective

FARA’s objective is to facilitate strategic (continent-wide) collective actions in agricultural research and innovation to increase agricultural productivity and competitiveness. The collective actions are focused on strengthening the capacity for agricultural innovation on country specific basis     

How we work

The Organs of FARA include the General Assembly, which is the highest decision-making body and members consists of registered and paid-up members. FARA Board of Directors operate through Board committees. Board members are drawn from each of the Sub-regional Organization, representatives from donor and development, scientific partners (CGIAR) representative of the private, NGOs, Non-African Partner institutions farmers’ organizations, the African Union Commission, Financial and Governance Expert/s, ex-officio members and Honorary Members

The FARA Secretariat, headed by the Executive Director operates through various programs coordinated by Secretariat Management Committee and Directorates. FARA’s programs are peer reviewed by both internal and external Program Committee Panels.


Box 2 FARA’s achievements include:

1. A new and more effective way of conducting agricultural research where all actors in the value chain are engaged right from problem and opportunity diagnosis to adoption of innovations.  The centre-piece of this approach is the innovation platform (IP).  This approach cuts the time it takes to generate innovations and the adoption rate of these innovations.  FARA led the formulation and continent-wide testing of this approach and is currently spearheading its scaling up. 

2. Established proof of concept and currently scaling out an approach for increasing the success of agribusiness start-ups through incubation (providing skills, essential services, mentoring, etc)

3. Functional partnerships between R&I actors in Africa, Europe, China, India & other South-South countries.  These partnerships have facilitated the transfer of appropriate knowledge, skills and innovations including new cultivars from these external entities to Africa.

FARA achieves its objectives and results by working with partners that have a strong presence on the ground.  Partnerships that FARA engages in are mutually beneficial to FARA and the partners


4. Hosted 7 continent-wide conventions of stakeholders (1000+) in African R&I from within and outside the continent (African agriculture science weeks). At these triennial events, partnerships are struck, networking and information sharing are facilitated, prizes awarded, and stakeholders map out the agenda for the next three years. The last science week was held in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2016.