My duty travel to Ghana, an eye opening experience.

IFAD’s mandate is a noble one, enabling  poor rural people to overcome poverty in developing countries and my passion for it dates back to when I was a student. I’ve been working with IFAD since the 90’s.  At IFAD, we, regardless of our functions - be it administrative or operational -  put  all our energy  and professional knowledge  to contribute to IFAD’s mandate. But  it’s when you are on the ground that you fully understand  “why” and” how” IFAD makes  a difference in transforming  the lives of millions of smallholder farmers.

28 June 2013: The opportunity

Business as usual until 10 a.m., then Roxy, my manager, asked me “Daniela, the President is travelling to Ghana to participate in the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week,  would you be available to join the delegation?" I thought “oh wow, first ever in my career at IFAD I was asked to join the President’s delegation” and guess what? My answer was “ YES”.

2 – 12 July: Getting ready

Hectic days! Little time to deal with all the logistic and administrative stuff you have to do before leaving on duty travel. Visa,  tickets, information kits you CANNOT forget at HQ, medical check, security clearances and hotel booking.

Have you ever tried to book an hotel a week before an event attended by more than 1000 people? If you did, you know  how hard it is! But if you have extraordinary colleagues like our team based in IFAD Ghana  Country Office  (thanks Sarah, Niels, Ulaç, Emmanuel and Daniel!) you can manage to have a  roof on your head  and we (Roxy and I) got a nice one, very close to the conference venue.  Kudos to the travel unit as well, the latest version of the integrated travel  module made my life much easier. Everything was well in place the  day before  “flying” to my destination, Accra, Ghana! 

16 – 18 July :– Our days in Ghana
The main event that the President had on his agenda was his participation in 6th African Agriculture Science Week , "a continental gathering of all stakeholders involved in Africa agricultural development” focused on the theme “Africa feeding Africa through agricultural science and innovation”.

In addition to 6th African Agriculture and Science Week  sessions,  Ulaç, our country director in Ghana, organized a number of high level meetings including a bilateral meeting with the Vice- President of the Republic of Ghana.

What a week!  I can’t even remember how many meetings the President had during those days but there is something I will never forget: the  standing ovation for  IFAD’s vision presented by our President to  the 1200 participants, experts with extensive knowledge of African agriculture  and  science for agricultural development,  attending  the opening of the 6th African Agriculture Science Week. Why a standing ovation for  IFAD’s vision ? Because  IFAD’s vision is what is needed to move from a stagnant agriculture to a productive and remunerative one.  Unfortunately, today we still have too many young people leaving Africa’s rural areas because there is no  future for them there. But rural areas can change.  African smallholder farmers can grow, and IFAD can help them grow by playing its role as development partner. But all this can happen only if governments, development partners and smallholder farmers change their mind-set and invest in agriculture, rural infrastructure, create vibrant markets and attract  the private sector. Strong public and private partnerships will enable poor rural people to become successful business farmers  and this is something that it’s already happening.

Meeting with Ministers of the Republic
of Ghana : an opportunity to be educated on the great job
IFAD does in Ghana where baobab  fruit production
can become a profitable business for Ghanaian
small holder farmer.

This is IFAD’s vision, this is what our President said at the opening of the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week,  this is why he received a standing ovation and inspired an engaging conversation on the social media channels.

That’s the difference we make!

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To  read more search the hash tag #AASW6