The Supervisory Board (SB) of the FoodAfrica Programme, comprising representatives from each of the signatory parties to the Programme, had its second meeting in early March in Senegal. This was the first annual meeting of the Supervisory Board, since the launch of the Programme and the tasks of the board included discussing the achievements of the different Work Packages so far, producing recommendations and finally approving both the annual reports and the Work Plans for 2013 of all the Work Packages. The members of the board, chaired by MTT’s Director General Erkki Kemppainen, took on the mission earnestly, and long discussions were held. Among the issues the Supervisory Board emphasized was the importance of good internal and external communication and information sharing, both on Programme development in general and research results in particular. The importance of also reaching and communicating with local stakeholders and beneficiaries was stressed by the Supervisory Board. The Board also took note of the recommendations presented in the first report of Dr. Kaisa Karttunen who was recently appointed as an External Reviewer to the Programme.
In addition to the one-day meeting held in Dakar, the Supervisory Board members made a field visit to some of the project sites where Work Package 2 on dairy breeding, is starting its activities. One of the farmers who welcomed the group gave a short presentation of his farm and the challenges he faces. The main problems for dairy producers in the area, according to this farmer, are access to feed and animal theft. However, Senegal is a large consumer of dairy products and the consumer price is high, so there is a lot of potential for development of the sector if some of the main obstacles are mitigated.