Agricultural research: strengthening the contribution of universities
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CTA. 1998. Agricultural research: strengthening the contribution of universities. Spore 74. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49056
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore74.pdf
international workshop held in November 1997 at the IITA (International Institute for Tropical Agriculture) station at Calavi in Benin
Universities have a significant contribution to make to agricultural development in sub-Saharan African countries. That is the conclusion of an international workshop held in November 1997 at the IITA (International Institute for Tropical Agriculture) station at Calavi in Benin. The workshop was co-organised by ISNAR (International Service for National Agricultural Research), CTA, the German Federal Ministry for development cooperation (BMZ), and the German development agencies GTZ and DSE. It brought together more than 50 professionals, including 18 managers from universities and research institutions who had undertaken preparatory studies in six African countries on the topic. Other participants were representatives of regional organisations (ASARECA, SACCAR and CORAF), of IITA (Ibadan, Nigeria and Calavi, Benin) and of European universities. Workshop participants examined the factors which reduce the impact of agricultural research on development, and discussed the recommendations and action plans drawn up for the universities of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe. They concluded that universities could and should conduct research which is more relevant to the country's agriculture. They felt that the universities should become part of national agricultural research systems (NARS), which encompass the private sector and non-governmental organisations as well as research institutions. The importance of strengthening links with extension services was stressed as a way to heighten the relevance and impact of university research. The main obstacle to implementation of the workshop recommendations was perceived to be the low level of funding for university research. Other equally important constraints were short-comings in research planning and management, lack of clarity in institutional mandates and policies, and lack of incentives for researchers. The workshop concluded with representatives identifying specific activities which could strengthen the contribution of universities to agricultural research in Africa. ISNAR, the institution behind this initiative, will use the conclusions from the workshop and the six case studies as the basis for developing broad guidelines and study methodologies applicable to other countries.