Ndidi Nwuneli Writes On Rethinking Agricultural Research and Innovation in West Africa

It is rainy season in West Africa. Adamu, a maize farmer in Katsina State in Northern Nigeria, has waited anxiously for the rains to plant his recycled seeds in depleted soil, using archaic production and crop protection methods. If the rains are delayed, his family suffers from food shortages. Sadly, Adamu shares this experience with farmers across the region, in a sector that continues to struggle, resulting in persistent food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty.

At the root of this under performance is an agricultural research system that is divorced from the needs of the market. The priorities of the region’s more than 60 dedicated agricultural research institutions are largely driven by the personal interests of researchers and by donors—and not by the farmers, processors and consumers who ultimately determine the relevance and impact of that research.

Read more: BusinessDay

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