In the face of daunting challenges confronting the agriculture sector, particularly in Africa, conducting robust research becomes imperative. The Pan African Farmers Organization (PAFO), a network of farmers' organizations across the continent, has been actively involved in this endeavor for the past 13 years. In an exclusive interview with The New Times, Kolyang Palebale, President of PAFO, underscored the organization's commitment to research. Their objective is to amplify the voices of African farmers and agricultural producers, advocating for their participation in formulating and implementing development policies that affect agriculture and rural development at the continental level. ALSO READ: Why agriculture still falls short of set targets We aim to transform Africa's agricultural sector into sustainable food systems, with a strong emphasis on food security and sovereignty, he stated. Babafemi Oyewole, CEO of PAFO, shed light on some of the challenges they have identified. According to him, despite agriculture serving as the backbone of Africa, governments often neglect to prioritize it. Even when attention is directed towards agriculture, obstacles such as climate change and limited access to markets impede progress. Oyewole highlighted that PAFO has provided recommendations to 70 countries participating in the Farmers' Organizations for Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific (FO4ACP) program, including Rwanda. These recommendations encompass various aspects, including enhancing the capacity of farmers' organizations to provide technical and economic services, facilitating access to financial services, improving the business environment and smallholder competitiveness, strengthening institutional capacities and professionalism of farmers' organizations, and promoting knowledge sharing for replication and scaling-up. ALSO READ: Africa needs $257bn annually for robust agriculture sector – report PAFO's previous research on topics such as youth and women in agriculture and agricultural trade has proven beneficial for African countries. Oyewole expressed optimism that countries would embrace the recommendations, focusing on modern agricultural trends to bolster production and enhance the well-being of their citizens. Chantal Ingabire, the Director General of Planning at the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, confirmed that Rwanda has already begun implementing the recommendations. The Strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation (PSTA4), covering the period from 2018 to 2023, has played a vital role in improving the sector's performance. ALSO READ: Agric sector secures $300 million for irrigation, insurance As an example of the government's efforts, she highlighted the improved access to agricultural loans, enabling personnel to benefit from low interest rates of up to 8 percent. To address the critical issue of climate change, Ingabire mentioned the establishment of irrigation sites throughout the country. By 2022, these sites covered an area of 68,000 hectares, with a target of expanding to 73,000 hectares by 2023. Additionally, the government has prioritized capacity building for farmers in utilizing weather information. Measures such as the construction of terraces on hills have also been implemented to support sustainable farming practices and mitigate environmental risks, she stated. Ingabire affirmed that these initiatives demonstrate Rwanda's commitment to enhancing the agricultural sector and ensuring the well-being of its farmers. Recently, PAFO hosted a three-day meeting, bringing together government officials, farmers, and other stakeholders. The objective was to present the research findings and engage in discussions to find solutions to the current challenges faced by the agriculture sector. Experts stress that addressing the pressing issues affecting agriculture in Africa is of paramount importance. Through research and collaboration, they believe it is possible to overcome these challenges and pave the way for a more sustainable and prosperous agricultural sector.