Workshop on the effective utilization of research results
MetadataShow full item record
CTA. 1997. Workshop on the effective utilization of research results. Spore 67. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48645
Making better use of the results of agricultural research in West and Central Africa was the objective of a group of scientists, extensionists, producers and traders who were brought together by CTA for a four-day workshop at the beginning of November 1
It is a well-known fact that of the many results which come from agricultural research few are, in practice, taken up by producers or by small-scale processing enterprises. Making better use of the results of agricultural research in West and Central Africa was the objective of a group of scientists, extensionists, producers and traders who were brought together by CTA for a four-day workshop at the beginning of November 1996 in Dakar, Senegal. The workshop was organized in collaboration with the Institut Sénégalais de recherches agricoles (ISRA) and the Conference des responsables de recherche agronomique en Afrique de l'Ouest et du Centre (CORAF). After identifying the constraints which limit the economic exploitation of agricultural research results, participants proposed strategies for improving the relevance of the results and their dissemination to potential users. Studies undertaken prior to the workshop had indicated that poor understanding of social needs was one of the causes of the low take-up of results. Communication and collaboration between researchers and potential users are far short of what is required. Participants therefore recommended that research institutions should consider undertaking socioeconomic studies to better understand the needs of producers and consumers of agricultural products. Effective participation by producers in the planning and evaluation of projects would appear to be a pre-condition for obtaining relevant research results. Participants recommended putting in place a system of evaluation that is not solely based upon the scientific value of research findings, but also upon their relevance to the economic and social development of the agriculture sector. It is the whole system of evaluation that should be reviewed. One afternoon of the workshop was devoted to looking at information transfer by means of posters and videos and this confirmed the lack of economic and social impact of agricultural research. In general, only the research institution and its programmes were presented, and users were rarely featured. Major constraints are the lack of appropriate mechanisms for circulating results and poorly adapted extension materials. Participants recommended strengthening these services to assist researchers who are themselves neither qualified nor in a position to guarantee distribution of results. National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) should have a communications policy which integrates the distribution of results into research activities. The debate continues on the relevance on performance indicators and the degree to which results are adopted. It would be helpful to harmonize the existing methodologies at a regional level. This would make them easier to compare and would also help the exchange of validated results. Working groups used the logical framework method to identify potential solutions to constraints. It is now up to institutions and to individual countries to draw up plans of action according to their own needs.