FAO Regional Office for Africa

FAO and RUFORUM announce new partnership

Strengthening the capacities of African universities to shape the future of food security and agriculture

Dan Gustafson (left) and Prof Kanyama Phiri of LUANAR (right) show off the signed agreement (Photos: ©FAO/Lemani Majala)

26 October 2017, Lilongwe (Malawi) – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacities Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding and committed to work together to strengthen  the capacities of RUFORUM member universities to better contribute to food security and nutrition, increase sustainability of agricultural and food systems, reduce rural poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa.

In partnership, FAO and RUFORUM will carry out joint activities to increase African students’  and researchers’ access to FAO’s e-learning resources and scientific publications on food and agriculture; increase African youth skills through involvement in community-based field projects and FAO’s regional and national initiatives; develop joint initiatives to strengthen institutional and technical capacities of RUFORUM member universities in the areas critical to SDGs implementation; strengthen outreach and multi-stakeholder regional dialogues to advocate best policies and practices to achieve food security and take joint actions for the implementation of the SDGs in Africa.

The partnership agreement was signed by Dan Gustafson, Deputy Director - General for Programmes at FAO, and Professor George Kanyama-Phiri, Vice Board Chair of RUFORUM, who is also Vice Chancellor of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) in Malawi.

“As highlighted on World Food Day, migration from poor rural areas is a huge challenge. Youth have the potential to revolutionize the agriculture sector and change the future of migration. We must increase the quality of agricultural education to strengthen the food and agriculture sectors in Africa and ensure employment opportunities to build healthy, bright and safe futures, making migration a choice rather than a necessity”, said FAO Deputy Director-General D. Gustafson.

“Today agriculture is increasingly becoming knowledge based and innovations are needed to bring transformative changes and novel approaches to increase the sustainability of this sector and attract the youth to work in agriculture.  Together with FAO, RUFORUM can provide the students from its member universities with the most up to date knowledge resources and skills to produce high quality agricultural research and enable them to work with rural communities to generate innovative development solutions”, said Prof M.O. Imbuga.



The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), is a consortium of 66 African universities operating within 26 countries in the continent. RUFORUM is coordinated by a Secretariat hosted by Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. RUFORUM’s mission is to strengthen the capacities of its member universities to train high-performing graduates, produce impact-oriented research responsive to the demands of Africa’s farmers for sustainable agricultural innovations and maintain collaborative working relations among researchers, farmers, national agricultural research institutions and the governments.