BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT
The growing demand for food in Africa and the need to fight hidden hunger cannot be overemphasized. Appropriate financing of agricultural research and innovation is one way to accomplish this feat. Available statistics showed a good correlation between national agricultural development and investment in research, innovation, and development efforts. The poor growth in African agriculture, attributed to lack of productivity, is a function of the limited technologies in the sector, among others issues.
The bottom-line requirement to raising the bar of technology generation is the provision of adequate and sustainable funding. Currently, funding for agricultural research in Africa is donor-driven, resulting in incoherent technology targeting, duplication of efforts, and unsustainable creation of organizations, networks, and groups. The government research systems mainly cater to the researchers’ salaries with little or no funds allocated to actual research studies and infrastructures.
Developing a new and sustainable funding mechanism to support the ailing Africa research system is a major step to trigger the change needed in the sector. Such a funding mechanism should rely on internally generated resources drawn from the public and the private sectors.
More than 50% of the population in Africa are farmers, yet over 20% of the people are either undernourished or experiencing hunger. This is partly due to the inability to scale up proven technologies and improve the continent’s food system.
There is a need for Africa to strongly embrace research and innovation to improve the food system’s performance. This can be achieved through sustainable financing of agricultural Research and Innovation (ARI).
Following a keynote paper presented at the continental webinar on “Scale of investment gap in African agriculture research and innovation and potential sources of investments, “ The study identified sustainable funding mechanisms for ARI for Africa. It showed the need to improve the pace of technology generation from research and translate them to innovation to change the food system.
“A Science Days side event” towards the 2021 UN Food System Summit
© FARA Africa
The Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) is the apex continental organization responsible for coordinating and advocating for agricultural research for development (AR4D). FARA serves as the technical arm of the Africa Union Commission on matters concerning agriculture science, technology and innovation.