Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Taking stock of national agricultural R&D capacity in Africa South of the Sahara

ASTI africa report Nov 2014 2Taking stock of national agricultural R and D capacity in Africa South of the Sahara
ASTI Synthesis Report

Nienke Beintema is the program head of Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI), which is led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington, DC.
Gert-Jan Stads is ASTI's senior program manager.

This report, which summarizes SSA’s recent progress in developing its national agricultural R and D systems, is intended to serve as an important input into, and potential benchmark for, the implementation of the science agenda in SSA and the broader development agenda for the region. The analysis is based on comprehensive primary datasets by Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI), the most recent of which was compiled during 2012–2013.

New quantitative evidence presented in this report demonstrates that, although agricultural R&D spending and human resource capacity has grown considerably in the region since 2000, it was concentrated in only a few African countries. In 2012, just three countries—Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya—accounted for half the region’s agricultural R&D nvestments.

Other key findings of the report include:
  • Low salary levels and poor conditions of service have led to high researcher turnover across Africa. In addition, a very large share of senior researchers are approaching retirement.
  • Female scientists remain grossly underrepresented in agricultural R&D, despite the fact that they are in a unique position to effectively address the pressing challenges facing African farmers, the majority of whom are female.
  • Donor dependency and funding volatility remain critical in many countries. The research agendas of countries with very high shares of donor funding can be skewed toward short-term goals that are not necessarily aligned with national or regional priorities.
African governments and research agencies are limited in their choice of options to address the many challenges they face in developing their agricultural research systems because of funding constraints. The report lists various successful policy changes already adopted in certain countries, which can offer valuable lessons for others.

The findings were released at the Forum for Agricultural Research conference in Johannesburg (11/26-28).
Listen to De Capua report (Voice of America) on Africa agriculture R and D.

Related: Washington Post Live: Feeding the Future
3 December 2014. This Washington Post forum convened agriculture experts, policymakers and business leaders working on innovative methods and cutting-edge technologies that will define the farms of the future. They looked at what’s working and how agricultural growth here in the U.S. can support the global need for food. Follow below 2 video excerpts (more can be found on above link).
Robert van Otterdijk from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Steven Waldmann of the Society of St. Andrew and Caroline Kronley of The Rockefeller Foundation

Mark Cackler of The World Bank, Ephraim Nkonya of the International Food Research Policy Institute and Peter Rosset of the ECOSUR Advanced Studies Institute

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