CISANET 2015 Malawi conference focuses on science, technology for agriculture : Prof Thandika Mkandawire key speaker

The Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET), a policy advocacy organisation working on agriculture and food security policy issues, has announced that its 2015 National Conference will focus on science and technology for agriculture development.

Tamani Nkhono Mvula

Tamani Nkhono Mvula

Prof Thandika Mkandawire to be key speaker

Prof Thandika Mkandawire to be key speaker

CISANET National Director Tamani Nkhono-Mvula in a statement said the National Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) will be held on 29th and 30thJuly 2015 at the Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe.

“The theme for this year’s conference will be ‘Science and Technology for Agriculture Development’. This year’s theme builds on last year’s conference, where we took stock of our achievements and challenges in the past 50 years of independence and also challenging ourselves on the vision from the next 50 years.

“One of the issues that came out of the last year’s conference was on our ability to embrace science and technology as the driver of modernization and increasing the productivity of our agriculture.

“CISANET believes that if we are to have a vision and roadmap for developing agriculture in Malawi, that vision should be built around advancements in science and technology as this will be at the core of agriculture development,” said Nkhono in a statement released on Wednesday.

CISANET has lined up a number of exciting presentations from renowned speakers who will share their thoughts and policy recommendations on how Malawi can mainstream science and technology in the current policy processes but also on the vision for the agriculture sector in Malawi.

The keynote speaker during the National Conference is Professor Thandika Mkandawire, a former Director of the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development and the first person to take on the new position of Chair in African Development at the London School of Economics (LSE).

Prof. Mkandawire was formerly Director of the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Development Research in Copenhagen and has taught at the Universities of Stockholm and Zimbabwe.

He currently holds the Olof Palme Professor for Peace with the Institute for Future Studies in Stockholm.

Other speakers are Professor Richard Mkandawire, Dr Blessings Chinsinga, Professor Mustafa Hussein, Dr.WeziMkwaila, Dr. Stanley Khaila, ProfessorKanyama-Phiri, Dr. SloansChimatiro, Professor Emmanuel Kaunda and Dr Thomas Munthali.

This National Conference will be done with support from European Union (EU), Oxfam, GIZ, National Association of Smallholder Farmers (NASFAM), Irish Aid, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) and Total Land Care (TLC).

In a related development, CISANET has also organised a public lecture that will be delivered by Professor Thandika Mkandawire on the 30th July starting from 6pm and it is expected that the Vice President, Saulosi Chilima will be the guest of honour.

The public lecture will be on Re-thinking a Developmental State in Malawi.

The CISANET 2015 annual conference will therefore look substantively at how innovation systems can be developed and agricultural transformation happens in Malawi.

Nkhono explained that one other major milestone of this conference will be the conceptualization of a Malawi agriculture sector vision that CISANET would like to pursue in its policy advocacy work and will ensure that this vision finds its ways into national policies, political party manifestos in the subsequent general elections and sub-sectoral policies dealing with food security and agriculture development in Malawi.

“CISANET believes that a clear vision and its developmental roadmap for the agriculture sector in Malawi will be crucial moving forward as we review our national and agricultural policies, implementation frameworks and investment plans.

“We believe that a clear sectoral vision will foster strategic investments for agriculture development. CISANET therefore believes that science and technology must be at the center of our programming and investments if any meaningful changes are to be made in our pursuit of value chains development and agricultural industrialization,” said Nkhono.

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