Agricultural Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Experiences from Multiple-Stakeholder Approaches

Adekunle, A A (2012) Agricultural Innovation in Sub-Saharan Africa: Experiences from Multiple-Stakeholder Approaches. Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa, Ghana. ISBN 978-9988-8373-2- 4

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Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) faces critical challenges with more than 40 percent of its population living on less than US$1 per day and one in three people being undernourished. Yet, agriculture being the largest employer of labour in Africa, responsible for over half of export earnings has the potential to play the major role in the continent’s development. Agriculture underpins the livelihoods of over two thirds of Africa’s poor and assumes even greater importance in the continent’s poorer countries. Unfortunately agricultural productivity especially in SSA has been stagnating for many years. Low levels of land and labour productivity have meant that per capita agricultural production has fallen over the last four decades. Although agricultural research has generated many technologies with the potential to address this situation, their impact on productivity, livelihoods and quality of life has been disappointing. Among the many reasons for poor agricultural performance the way in which research has been undertaken is a key. To redress this, the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) has promoted the integrated agriculture research for development (IAR4D) approach based on an innovation systems framework. This brings together multiple actors along a commodity value chain to address challenges and identify opportunities to generate innovation. The approach creates a network of stakeholders or partners who are able to consider the technical, economic, social, institutional, and policy constraints in an environment. The network facilitates research and learning that not only generates new knowledge, products or technologies, but also ensures the use of research products. The IAR4D approach is being tested at three pilot research sites across SSA: in Eastern and Central Africa around Lake Kivu (Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda); Southern Africa (Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe); and West Africa (Niger and Nigeria). This has involved the establishment of 36 stakeholder innovation platforms thus: creating functional linkages between farmers, the private sector, and service organizations; integrating productivity, natural resource management, markets and policy; establishing effective mechanisms for organizing and learning processes for farmers; and ensuring action research oriented toward problem-solving and impact. There are strong indications that IAR4D is an effective concept, applicable across a broad spectrum of agricultural systems. FARA is, however, aware that there have been a few success stories in the agricultural sector across SSA, where multiple stakeholders have worked closely together to foster agricultural innovation. Documenting and identifying the reasons for these successes can further enhance the usefulness of innovation systems approaches. This is why FARA undertook this study to further stimulate discussion and understanding of how IAR4D and innovations systems approaches can be used to address the need to increase agricultural productivity in SSA, in ways that will improve the livelihoods and quality of life for Africa’s smallholder farmers.

Item Type: Book
Additional Information: This review examines the experiences of 21 case studies covering a wide range of African farming systems over broad geographic and historical landscapes. Each case study was reviewed by accessing and analysing existing data sources, published material and grey literature. It also involved important consultation with stakeholders in each country. We would therefore like to acknowledge the input of the numerous individuals including policy makers, researchers, operational project personnel, civil society organisations, farmers, and private agri-business groups who provided their valuable time both in sharing their experiences, reviewing preliminary case-study findings and helping us to distil the key lessons emerging from the review. For each region we would like to acknowledge the input provided for each case study.
Subjects: Plant Production
Agricultural Engineering
Divisions: Groundnut
Depositing User: Mr. SanatKumar Behera
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2012 05:05
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2012 05:05

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