The Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA) will enhance the capacity of its member states for climate responsiveness in policy formulation and implementation.
Enock Warinda, ASARECA executive director says farmers, especially the women and youth are not accessing climate-smart agriculture technologies to the same extent as men for lack of proper policies.
Dr Warinda said climate change remains a major challenge to agricultural production in Eastern and Central Africa as occasioned by prolonged droughts, delayed rains, floods and emergence of new pests and diseases
Hence, the adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture technologies and innovations is critical in adapting to climate change.
“ASARECA is supporting member countries to improve implementation of agricultural policies by looking at regional policy gaps and weaknesses in the climate-resilient transformation of maize-mixed agri-food systems, value chain development, and trade in Eastern Africa”, Dr Warinda said.

Dr Enoch Warinda, the chief executive officer of ASARECA during the interview on the sidelines of the workshop in Nairobi. (Photo:BDA).
Dr Enoch Warinda, the chief executive officer of ASARECA during the interview on the sidelines of the workshop in Nairobi. (Photo:BDA).

Dr Warinda pointed out that most national policies in the region have emphasised the significance of sustainable maize-mixed systems, intensification and diversification for climate adaptation and improved rural prosperity, however, the challenge remains on harmonisation and implementation.
“The policymakers from all these 15 countries in these meeting want to look at how we can make our farmers resilient to climatic change and how we can make them access climate-smart agriculture technologies “, he said
He said the research organisations in the 15 member countries have developed some of the best technologies that can allow farmers to plant during drought and still get good harvest but this is sometimes hindered by policies.
“If national development plans are prioritised, farmers can adopt the climate-relevant technologies along the various food systems which we have already identified, to increase their productivity”, he added
Julian Barungi, Program Officer in charge of policy at ASARECA said one of the major areas that they are addressing in the policy dialogue is the validation of a policy index tool which they are developing to support policy analysis within the member countries.
The index tool, she added, will track the formulation and implementation of the different policies that affect agricultural research for development by periodically collecting data, analysing diverse policies and taking stock of changes.
“These are policies that really affect the smallholder farmers at the last mile and we are all working towards improving their livelihoods,” she said.
Ms Barungi said the ASARECA Agricultural Policy Index tool is to help in assessing the extent to which the agricultural research for development policies is impacting smallholder farmers and whether they are translating into improved productivity at the farmer level.