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Widening the definition of capacity to respond to the innovations systems approach

Widening the definition of capacity to respond to the innovations systems approach

Pound, Barry (2007) Widening the definition of capacity to respond to the innovations systems approach. In: RUFORUM Biennial Conference on Building Scientific and Technical Capacity through Graduate Training and Agricultural Research in African Universities, 23-27 April 2007, Sun ‘N’ Sand Hotel, Malawi. (Unpublished)

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It is increasingly recognised that the capacities of National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems (NARES) in sub-Saharan Africa have to be enhanced to identify, stimulate and meet the needs of an agricultural sector that can contribute to economic development, food security, enhanced rural livelihoods and sustainable natural resource management. Many country strategies see R&D as a pillar in assisting the transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture, and yet the NARES (including the Universities) are often not well equipped or configured to provide this assistance. Even in those countries where there has been a vigorous national effort to adopt an IR4D approach, and introduce decentralised, farmer-led advisory services, there remain human, institutional, financial, infrastructural and political bottlenecks to the operationalisation of these approaches.

SCARDA (Strengthening Capacity for Agricultural Research and Development in Africa) is a project that has recently started under FARA to: (1) strengthen competencies and capacity in agricultural research management, and (2) strengthen the capacity for professional development (of agricultural scientists and extension workers) in research and development. These objectives are based on a needs assessment of research capacity in SSA, carried out in 2005, that identified weaknesses in human and institutional capacity for initiating, designing, implementing and managing scientific research. These capacity needs will be confirmed (or challenged) by a series of sub-regional scoping studies in sub-Saharan Africa that are about to start.

A stated output of SCARDA is the “adoption of Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) as a paradigm that underpins research and development by African NARS”.

This paper outlines some of the characteristics of the Agricultural Innovation Systems approach, and then describes the components of capacity (human, institutional, financial, infrastructural and political) required to meet this challenge. The paper describes a range of tools beyond training that can be used to enhance human capacity. It emphasises the need to look beyond the national agricultural research institutes and Universities, as the innovation systems approach sees innovation arising anywhere (farmers, private sector, NGOs…) and being disseminated by any of these actors, as well as by the formal R&D sector.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: agricultural innovation systems
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Livelihoods & Institutions Department
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Last Modified: 29 Jan 2020 12:42

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