The ISAAA AfriCenter was established in 1994 in Kenya. It coordinates three Biotechnology Information Centers in Kenya (for Eastern and Central Africa), in Mali and Burkina Faso (for West Africa) and in Egypt (for North Africa).
The Center focuses on two main activities:
- Communication and knowledge sharing, through collection, packaging, dissemination, networking, building partnerships and fostering joint initiatives to share resources, experiences and expertise.
- Crop biotechnology transfer which includes all aspects of agri-biotechnology transfer i.e. the technology per se, regulation, biosafety and food safety.
Why in Africa?
Agriculture is not only the primary source of food in Africa, it is also the principal means of income and livelihood for 70% of its people. African women produce 70 to 80% of the food compared with 65% in Asia and 45% in Latin America and the Caribbean. Currently, the prospects for agriculture are threatened in Africa, with approximately 80% of the land in Africa endangered by degradation and 2 million hectares of forest lost annually to shifting cultivation.
Agriculture African leaders and the international development community have set a goal to increase future agricultural production across Africa by at least 4% per annum. This growth rate is only feasible if agriculture is accorded higher priority by national governments and by bilateral and multilateral development agencies, and these increased investments must be supported by appropriate policies. Furthermore, achieving annual sustained growth of 4% will be impossible without significantly increasing crop productivity through higher yielding, more nutritious crops.