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Repositioning policies to reflect agriculture as the new engine for growth

 

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Flickr/IITA

Could systems research transform Africa’s agriculture?

by Alex ABUTU

I know across Africa, presidents are repositioning their policies to reflect agriculture as the new engine for growth, and are also changing strategies that considered agriculture as a social obligation to a business enterprise.

In Nigeria, for instance, the president launched the green alternative with an agricultural transformation agenda to show how important the administration prioritises agriculture.

But scientists and researchers at a three-day workshop at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Nigeria this week (15-17 November) are discussing the role of systems research in the continent’s quest for food self-sufficiency and security.

Systems research could transform the continent’s agriculture because it creates the necessary platform for scientists and researchers to think and work with policymakers and farmers.

Alex Abutu

Nteranya Sanginga, director-general of IITA, told the audience at the meeting that the biggest challenge the institute faces on the continent is providing answers to leaders who seek their knowledge on how to transform their agriculture.

“I received senators from Nigeria last week who came asking for how to transform the nation’s agriculture. I was also with the president of Benin who asked the same question. So how can this happen? Are there things we are doing that aren’t working or what lessons are we failing to put to use?” he posed.

Scientists and researchers at the meeting, to me, are of the view that systems research could transform the continent’s agriculture because it creates the necessary platform for scientists and researchers to think and work with policymakers and farmers to solve the challenges they face.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.