airca meetingFrom left to right: Shekhar Ghimire (Director of Finance and Administration ICIMOD), Dennis Rangi (Executive Director for International Development CABI), Millie Gadbois (Regional Director Eastern and Southern Africa IFDC), Sayed Azam Ali (CEO CFF), Segenet Kelemu (Director General icipe), Trevor Nicholls (CEO CABI), Ismahane Elouafi (Director General ICBA and Outgoing Chair AIRCA), Dyno Keatinge (Director General AVRDC and AIRCA Chair), Jose Joaquin Campos (Director General CATIE), Michael Devlin (Director of Communication and Outreach INBAR), Andrea Powell (Director of Publishing, CABI), Thomas Dubois (Regional Director East Africa AVRDC), Setta Tutundjian (Director Partnerships and Knowledge Management ICBA)

20 February 2015 - On 19-20 February, the Association of International Research and Development Centers for Agriculture (AIRCA), held its annual steering committee meeting. The International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology, icipe, hosted the meeting at their impressive new Bee Health Laboratory building, in Nairobi, Kenya, which was opened at the end of 2014 by His Excellency William Ruto, Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya.

Representatives of all nine AIRCA members attended the meeting, where AIRCA's achievements and progress in 2014, as well as plans for 2015, were discussed.

Participants held a friendly and open exchange on the sharing of best practice in operations, financial management and IT. Looking back at 2014, participants expressed appreciation for the advice, information exchanges and close cooperation that the association has brought them. A milestone in AIRCA's work was the approval of two legal documents: the Memorandum of Understanding and the Hosting Agreement.

Discussions to refine AIRCA's draft Lake Victoria concept note were productive. This paper focuses on making agricultural markets work for women and youth farmers in the Lake Victoria Basin. Talking about the concept note, Dr Nicholls said: "Women and young people are the future of agriculture in this region. We believe that knowledge sharing through, for example, agri-business clusters, can bring about substantial improvements to smallholder farmers' livelihoods and health. By combining our skill sets, AIRCA aims to bring about real impact in agricultural production and improved access to nutrition in the area."

AIRCA also gave a presentation to the local representative of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Looking ahead to 2015, members will hold a major presence at the Global Landscapes Forum at the Paris Climate Change Summit in December.

The Concept Note can be downloaded here

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