Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development

Thursday, June 3, 2021

WEBINAR: How research can better support innovation for the transformation of the agrifood systems in Africa?

31 May to 4 June 2021. FNSSA Stakeholder Engagement Week Stakeholder Engagement on the Africa-EU Research and Innovation Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture at the EU-Africa Summit 

04/06 09:00 - 11:00 AM CEST. How research can better support innovation for the transformation of the agrifood systems in Africa? Organised by EC/INTPA Passcode: 668041

The EU supports the DeSIRA initiative ( with the objective to contribute to climate-relevant, productive and sustainable transformation of agriculture and food systems in low and middle-incomes countries. DeSIRA initiative aims to put more science into development considering that the solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals are knowledge-intensive but context-specific. It put special emphasis on multi-stakeholder approach and capacity strengthening to support innovation.

The objective of the session is to discuss the different innovation models which are under debate to support innovation in food systems in Africa and how research can make a contribution. This reflection is useful for improving innovation policies building on efficient partnerships and for improving research and innovation interventions to contribute to impacts.

Moderator Francois Stepman (ASRAFS)

Interpreters: Cécile LE BOURDON + Barbara Reynolds-Debruyne
Technical back stopping: Airah Cadiogan


  • Christophe Larose (DG INTPA): The DeSIRA initiative, objective of the session 
  • Guy Faure (DG INTPA): The different innovation models for the transformation of the agri-food systems, the different contributions of research to innovation, the different methods to assess the contribution of research to impacts 

  • Aggrey Agumya (FARA): The contribution of research to innovation, the role of technologies, the participation of farmers and private sector, how to strengthen capacities to innovate.

Questions to participants (poll)

  1. Innovation in agriculture in Africa is rather initiated by: a. the research ; b. the farmers ; c. the local private sector ; d. the foreign private sector ; e. the Civil society and/or (I)NGOs
  2. What are the most important role for research to support innovation in Africa (two answers max): a. Produce useful scientific knowledge for the actors ; b. Develop new technologies then to be validated with the actors ; c. Participate in innovation platforms to produce new knowledge with stakeholders and jointly develop new technologies and new practices ; d. Support actors to help them innovate by providing research expertise and addressing their needs
  3. Main drivers of change to improve food systems (two possible answers): a. We must push the new technologies that are at the heart of innovation ; b. We must support the initiatives promoted by the actors in the field ; c. The private sector must be developed to improve production systems and value chains ; d. Policies need to be improved to create a truly incentive framework for actor.s
  4. Major constraints for scaling of innovation in Africa are : (two answers): a. The lack of match between innovation and the needs of stakeholders ; b. Difficult access to information regarding innovations ; c. The weak capacities of actors to innovate ; d. The lack of adequate services to develop innovation

Panel Discussion

  • Helena Posthumus (KIT/Amsterdam, director of DeSIRA LIFT) - facilitator
  • Selvaraju Ramasamy (FAO/head of Unit “Research and Extension”. Leading FAO’s efforts in Agricultural Research and Extension) - Strengthening capacity to innovate in national Agricultural Innovation Systems, the case of Malawi (TAP/FAO)

  • Olatunbosun Tijani (Nigerian-British entrepreneur and co-founder and CEO of Co-Creation Hub) - Ecosystem approach for digital solutions in agriculture

  • Elisabetta Gotor (CGIAR/CIAT, Program on Performance, Innovation and Strategic Analysis for Impact at the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT) - How CGIAR support innovation : which theories of change and impact pathway (one experience)

  • Annick Sezibera (CAPAD/Confederation of farmer’s associations for development in Burundi) - Empowerment of farmers group on farmer research for agro-ecology : experience of CAPAD in Burundi

Q&A session

Synthesis of the panel: Guy Faure (DG INTPA)

  • Multistakeholder approach is key for innovation to be designed and operating at different level (local, medium, national). With “traditional actor” such as farmers, NGO, research, but also new oned (see digital economy, new investors). However farmers remains the key source of innovation (participants point of view)
  • Support to innovation generate new services such as facilitators, digital service providers beyond already existing ones such as advisors, credit). Strengthening capacities to innovate is key
  • Strong recognition of speakers and participants regarding the diversity of role of research to support innovation (knowledge production, facilitation, capacity building, etc.) and many participants consider the last roles are the most important.
  • To act strategically, there is a need to design with actors credible impact pathways and implement monitoring and evaluation systems for learning.

Concluding remarks : next steps regarding DeSIRA: Christophe Larose (DG INTPA)

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