New regional office and new regional director
To address food and nutrition security over a broader area in West Africa, the World Vegetable Center has established a new regional office for West and Central Africa – Coastal and Humid Regions in Cotonou, Benin. Dr. Victor Afari-Sefa, WorldVeg socioeconomist, was appointed as regional director.
The announcement was made during the 51st meeting of the World Vegetable Center’s Board of Directors, held from 25-27 April 2017 in Seoul, Korea. The Board asked WorldVeg to develop a 3-year plan for the new regional office.
“This new office will complement our current base of West Africa operations in Bamako, Mali,” said WorldVeg Director General Marco Wopereis. “The Mali office will focus on dry regions of West Africa, with current activities in Mali and Liberia. The Cotonou office will work in coastal and humid regions of Benin, Cameroon, Ghana and other countries where there are good opportunities to develop the horticultural sector.”
Dr. Afari-Sefa has extensive experience in performance monitoring and impact assessment of horticultural value chains on smallholder livelihoods. His research focuses on assessing opportunities and challenges in vegetable production systems, analyzing constraints in the value chain, and policy in interdisciplinary context.
“This is a region that has huge potential for vegetable-related R&D to address the triple burden of malnutrition, given increasing urbanization, particularly in the coastal areas,” Dr. Afari-Sefa said. “A good starting point would be the development of viable seed systems. Production and delivery of seed has been a critical bottleneck in the region for decades.”
In the past the Center worked with selected partners in the region on specific isolated interventions. “The time is now ripe for the Center to focus on addressing the region’s R&D needs through strategic partnerships to benefit millions of inhabitants,” said Dr. Afari-Sefa.
Prior to joining the Center in 2010, he worked as the Monitoring, Evaluation (M&E) and Impact Specialist for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture in Ghana, where he implemented the M&E framework of the Sustainable Tree Crops Program. He has international experience in integrated economic-biophysical optimization modeling of agricultural water use.
Dr. Afari-Sefa is also leading the Center’s involvement in the new Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) Project, a US $850 million, ten-year initiative of the African Development Bank. TAAT aims to set Africa in step with global commodity and agricultural export chains by scaling up agriculture as a business through value addition, which will transform the livelihoods of the rural poor, help eliminate extreme poverty, and achieve food and nutrition security.
Dr. Afari-Sefa holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Germany.