In 2014, the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) celebrates 10 years as a network of universities and 22 years of addressing tertiary agricultural education issues in eastern, central and southern Africa. The Network was created to provide university support to the implementation of the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), an initiative by African Heads of States and Governments to revamp the agricultural sector and ensure food and nutrition security on the continent. During this period, RUFORUM has worked with universities, small farmers, policy organs and other partners to ensure high quality graduates and research that is relevant to sustainable agriculture and rural development in eastern, central and southern Africa. 2014 marks the tenth anniversary for both RUFORUM and CAADP.
RUFORUM has grown under the guidance of senior African professionals, from a crop-based Rockefeller Foundation programme (FORUM) into a regional broad-based consortium of 32 universities in 18 countries in eastern, central and southern Africa (see Box 1). Its strategic goals are based on two assumptions. First, development is more likely to occur where there is an active, well-informed critical mass of locally based agricultural professionals to conduct relevant problem-solving research. Second, the results of such research are more likely to be applied when based on strengthening a demand-driven research agenda – via linkages to smallholder farmers, community organizations, service agencies and policy makers to ensure research relevance and impact on the one hand and matching training and education to the potential job market on the other. Click here to read more on the RUFORUM Celebration@10