Support for agricultural policy-making in sub-Saharan Africa
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CTA. 1997. Support for agricultural policy-making in sub-Saharan Africa. Spore 70. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48820
Improving agricultural policy-making at the national level constitutes a major challenge for all those concerned with agricultural development in Africa. It is common knowledge that a strong information base is a prerequisite for sound policy making...
Improving agricultural policy-making at the national level constitutes a major challenge for all those concerned with agricultural development in Africa. It is common knowledge that a strong information base is a prerequisite for sound policy making and rational decision-making. However, many African countries are lagging far behind in the generation, communication and use of knowledge for public policy-making. Agricultural research in Africa seldom plays a part in supporting policy formulation. Policy-related research is scarce and the linkages between policy research and other forms of research are largely absent. Agricultural knowledge and information systems, as with public communication in general, are insufficiently developed in most ACP countries. It was with this in mind that an international workshop jointly funded by BMZ, ATSAF, GTZ and CTA was organized from 7 - 11 April 1997 in Feldafing, Germany. The workshops main objective was to come up with recommendations for an improved mobilization of agricultural research knowledge and services for policy-making and use of the available information in public decision-making and management. The workshop brought together about 40 participants working in NGOs, universities, research institutes, extension services, policy advice centres, ministries and inter-governmental organizations and were drawn from Benin, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and the European Union. The workshop addressed two major constraints with regard to, agricultural development in ACP countries, namely inappropriate national and rural development policies and ineffective frameworks for information, advice and support covering technical, market, socio-economic and policy issues from national, regional and international sources. Topics covered at the workshop included: the conceptual framework for agricultural research policy and its relevance for Africa; the demand for information in public sector and political decision-making; and policy research in agriculture. The workshop discussions also drew upon two groups of case studies on the sources, use, generation and supply of agricultural information for policy making in Benin and Zimbabwe. The second group of case studies focused on the roles of international organizations and NGOs in supporting policy making in Africa, with examples from Ghana and Kenya. The main recommendations of the workshop concerned: the need to develop and share national, regional and international information and communication policies; the need to develop methodologies for analysing the economics of information, including the capacities to gather and analyse economic data to promote the culture of informed decision-making; the need to strengthen international linkages and coordination between donors and to support the development and use of electronic information technology in Africa. The workshop participants resolved that the implementation of these recommendations must involve the key players in both the private and public sectors in the national agricultural systems in Africa.