Knowledge for Development

Knowledge for development

This website supports the policy dialogue on S&T for agricultural and rural development in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It enables the ACP scientific community - primarily agricultural research and development scientists and technologists, policy makers, farmers and other stakeholders and actors - to share and review results of national and regional efforts and collaborate to harness science and technology for the development of agriculture in their countries.

We are pleased to forward the March 2014 issue of the CTA and S&T Knowledge for Development (K4D) e-newsletter. We draw attention to; the changing landscape for science and innovation, building innovation capability of farmers, African women and young scientists and strengthening the research and analytical capacity of technical staff responsible for science, technology and innovation (STI) policy. 14/04/2014
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Global challenges requiring urgent policy attention are increasingly defined in the context of climate change, food and nutrition security, health, the environment, the economy and poverty alleviation.   28/03/2014
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In the beginning of the 21st century, after many years of limited interest in research for development, many African countries initiated projects to design national policies for science, technology and innovation (STI). Now, a decade later, at least 37 African countries have adopted new STI policy regimes, or will do so soon.   28/03/2014
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Increased competition, discerning consumer tastes, stringent regulations and technological changes continue to put pressure on farmers to innovate and compete to access new markets.   28/03/2014
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Women in Science, a new interactive tool produced by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), presents the latest available data for countries at all stages of development. By highlighting trends in different regions and countries, this tool provided a unique view on International Women’s Day (8 March 2014). The tool allows for exploring and visualising gender gaps in the process that leads to a research career, from the decision to get a doctorate degree to the fields of research women pursue and the sectors in which they work. It presents internationally comparable data produced by the UIS. This means that the indicators can be accurately compared across countries with very different contexts for women in science.   It is particularly useful for those interested in a global perspective on the gender gap in research, especially in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The data tool shows just how important it is to encourage girls to pursue mathematics and science at a young age.   Available in English, French and Spanish, it can be easily embedded on your website, blog or social media sites.   http://www.uis.unesco.org/ScienceTechnology/Pages/women-in-science-leaky-pipeline-data-viz.aspx   (UIS, 2014) 10/04/2014
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In Nature Peter Gluckman, New Zealand's chief science adviser, offers his ten principles for building trust, influence, engagement and independence (Issue 507, March 2014). His own experience is of a Westminster-style parliamentary democracy in a small advanced economy. Other countries have different forms of government and different cultural histories of public reason; high-level scientific advice may be provided by individuals, councils or academies, or a combination. Nevertheless, these guidelines are relevant to all those providing advice to senior levels of government.   Gluckman’s ten principles are: Maintain the trust of many; Protect the independence of advice; Report to the top; Distinguish science for policy from policy for science; Expect to inform policy, not make it; Give science privilege as an input into policy; Recognize the limits of science; Act as a broker not an advocate; Engage the scientific community; and Engage the policy community.   http://www.nature.com/news/policy-the-art-of-science-advice-to-government-1.14838   (Nature, 13/03/2014) 10/04/2014
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A new publication by PhD students from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS, Sussex, UK) shares previously undocumented insights into the realities and challenges of fieldwork. The IDS Bulletin 'New Perspectives from PhD Field Research', goes beyond typical textbook subjects such as research design, data collection and results analysis and discusses the actual lived experiences and challenges that students face when conducting fieldwork. It comprises seven articles covering locations from Ecuador to Bolivia, Mexico, Kenya, Swaziland, Germany, Nepal, China and India. The nature of the authors’ experiences and the topics they reflect on are equally wide ranging, covering, for example: performance and rituals in ethnographic research on peace building; the necessity of engaging with politics in water management, and; the disjuncture between gendered legislation and urban planning. By providing new insights into a variety or research topics, innovations for fieldwork practices, and important reflections on the human experience of PhD research, the authors hope that the Bulletin will benefit both students and the wider community of development practitioners working on the ground.   http://www.ids.ac.uk/news/revealing-the-unwritten-realities-of-doing-phd-field-research   (IDS, 13/03/2013) 10/04/2014
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This report by the Royal Society, UK, is a review, based on available data, of the changing patterns of science, and scientific collaboration, in order to provide a basis for understanding such ongoing changes. It aims to identify the opportunities and benefits of international collaboration, to consider how they can best be realised, and to initiate a debate on how international scientific collaboration can be harnessed to tackle global problems more effectively. It explores this changing geography of science and innovation and investigates where and how science is being carried out around the world and the ways in which this picture is changing. The report makes 5 major recommendations: (i) Support for international science should be maintained and strengthened; (ii) Internationally collaborative science should be encouraged, supported and facilitated; (iii) National and international strategies for science are required to address global challenges; (iv) International capacity building is crucial to ensure that the impacts of scientific research are shared globally; (v) Better indicators are required in order to properly evaluate global science.  http://royalsociety.org/uploadedFiles/Royal_Society_Content/Influencing_Policy/Reports/2011-03-28-Knowledge-networks-nations.pdf   (The Royal Society, 2011) 10/04/2014
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OECD’s MSTI database provides a set of indicators that reflect the level and structure of the efforts undertaken by OECD member countries and seven non-member economies (Argentina, China, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Chinese Taipei) in the field of science and technology from 1981 onwards. These data include final or provisional results as well as forecasts established by government authorities. The indicators cover the resources devoted to research and development, patent families, technology balance of payments and international trade in R&D-intensive industries.   The latest OECD estimates confirm the recovery of gross domestic expenditures on R&D (GERD) in 2012. In the OECD area, the level of R&D spending rose by 2.7% in real terms from 2011 to stand above pre-crisis levels for a second straight year. This growth has been driven by a strong recovery in R&D performed by business (+3.5%), which has offset subdued growth of R&D expenditures in higher education institutions (+1.4%) and in the government sector (+0.9). Government R&D budgets remained stable or declined in a majority of countries, reflecting the impact of widespread fiscal consolidation.   http://www.oecd.org/science/msti.htm    (OECD, 17/01/2014) 10/04/2014
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The great success of the 3rd Africa-wide Science Competitions ‘Feeding 1 billion in Africa in a changing World’ which extended over the period 2012-2013 clearly demonstrates how much CTA, FARA, IFS and partners* value the scientific contributions of Africa’s women scientists and young professionals in addressing the challenges that Africa faces.    28/03/2014
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Identification of QTL conferring resistance to Ethiopian stem rust in durum wheat

by Jemanesh Kifetew Haile, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Dr Haile, who was awarded the first prize in the Young Professionals in Science competition, told Knowledge for Development that the findings of her research could contribute useful information for developing wheat varieties that are resistant against stem rust. ‘Developing resistant varieties with high yields will increase the productivity of wheat farming in Africa and secure more food for the continent. Having won the first prize is an immense honour for me. I feel strongly motivated to continue working hard and contribute to more research on wheat production for the benefit of African farmers.’ Dr Haile described herself as being on the road to becoming a full-fledged enthusiastic scientist.    28/03/2014
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Valorisation of poultry litter to compost: an assessment of the pathogen reduction potential

by Nafiisa Sobratee, University of Kwazulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
Dr Sobrateewon the first prize in the Women in Science competition. She considers the identification of the weak points, in terms of sanitisation status, that allow bacterial pathogens to proliferate during composting the most relevant result of her project. ‘Optimised practices of composting, as a component of both conservation agriculture and conventional farming, is one of the solutions to Africa’s soil fertility crisis.’ She continued; ‘being at the first place in the competition gives me a legitimate sense of fulfilment with respect to the relevance of my research. It has also instilled in me the confidence that I can make a difference in the field of bio-resource management.’ Dr Sobratee sees herself in five years’ time working in academia in Mauritius, being engaged in both teaching and learning and in research, whereby teaching and learning activities will be driven and informed by her research and development work.     28/03/2014
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Landscape-scale management of invasive Cymbopogon afronardus (Stapf) in the rangelands of Uganda

by Stella Kabiri-Marial, Department of Crop Systems Analysis, Wageningen University and Research centre, the Netherlands
Mrs Kabiri, who won the second prize of the Young Professionals in Science competition, said to Knowledge for Development that mapping Cymbopogon afronardus in Uganda had shown the unprecedented scale of the weed’s invasion. ‘I observed that an essential oil from C. afronardus controls Cyperus rotundus, another weed severely affecting crop production in Africa. C. afronardus is a cheap and environmentally friendly alternative for selective biological weed and pest control in high value crops. Moreover, its harvesting will improve the quality of rangeland pastures.’ She continued: ‘The award gave me confidence as a scientist. It made me realise that my research is important for society and that, in its own small way, it contributes to improving food security. I hope that in five years I am a reputable scientist who contributes towards the consolidation of food security and poverty alleviation in sub-Saharan Africa.’     28/03/2014
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Labour saving tools for women: the forage chopper for smallholder dairy farmers in Uganda

by Florence Beatrice Lubwama Kiyimba, National Agricultural Research Organisation, Kampala, Uganda
Dr Kiyimbawon the second prize in the Women in Science competition. She told Knowledge for Development that she considers the most relevant result of her research her finding that the effectiveness of using forage choppers depends on the social structures of households, community and support facilities. She explains: ‘To be effectively achieved, mechanised agriculture must be embedded into existing production strategies, recognise what community resources are available and how these can be mobilised to facilitate the use of the machines.’  She considers the award a big milestone in her career, one that makes her believe that although as one person she may not change the world, she can change the world for one person, the smallholder farmer. In the next five years she plans to build a network of researchers working on labour saving technologies, especially for women.    28/03/2014
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Introduction of heat tolerance genes into Lohmann Brown for improved egg production under hot and humid environments in Ghana

by Julius Kofi Hagan, Department of Animal Science, School of Agriculture, University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Dr Haganwas awarded the third prize in the Young Professionals in Science competition. He commented that the most relevant result of his research was the development of chicken breeds that can be highly productive under the hot and humid environments of the tropics. ‘The breeds I have developed are able to produce optimally under heat stress conditions and thereby increase productivity of egg production and hence improve Africa’s food security.’ He told Knowledge for Development that the award is a confirmation that his research has an actual practical impact. ‘It opened doors to international collaboration, helped me to build a research network in my field and to get a promotion as a lecturer in my university. I hope that in five years time I will be an internationally recognised expert in local chicken production and that my work will have  a positive impact on food security.’   28/03/2014
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Agronomic performance of extra-early maize hybrids under stress and non-stress environments in Nigeria

by Ijeoma Chinyere Akaogu, National Biotechnology Development Agency, Abuja, Nigeria
Ms Akaogureceived the third prize in the Women in Science competition. She clarified to Knowledge for Development that she was the first to research extra-early maize hybrids with a resistance to Striga and a tolerance for periods of drought during the flowering and grain- filling periods. She considers her research important because the adoption and commercialisation of extra-early maize hybrids with these qualities could contribute significantly to food security goals and improved incomes and livelihoods of farmers. She explained that ’the award is a great motivation and encouragement for me. It also inspires me to work harder in order to be one of the winners of the world food prize in the next few years to come. In the next 5 years, I hope to become the head of the maize breeding programme in Nigeria or be working in one of the CGIAR centres developing improved maize varieties that will bring about a maize revolution in West Africa.’    28/03/2014
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Dr Koledzi, who was awarded the fourth prize in the Young Professionals in Science competition considers the most relevant result of his project the sorting-composting platform that was developed through the research and that is now processing 20 tonnes of waste every day, with a staff of 35. He told Knowledge for Development that ‘compost producers and farmers both benefit: the compost is being sold to farmers who use it instead of chemical fertilizers to maintain and even regenerate soil fertility in their fields.’ The award for his research is a recognition that even a simple adaptation of existing technologies can help Africa feed itself and the prize will boost the importance of the sorting-composting platform and help me become a full-fledged research professor in this field.’ In five years’ time Dr Koledzi hopes to still be working as a researcher, with engagements both in Togo and Canada.   28/03/2014
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Food security in Africa: an innovative technique for cowpea storage

by Clementine Loule Dabire Binso, (FRSIT), INERA, CNRST, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Dr Binso won the fourth prize in the Women in Science competition. In her interview with Knowledge for Development she explained that her research had shown that hermetic triple bagging is effective in reducing post-harvest losses of cereal and legume grains without the use of insecticide. ‘Hermetic triple bagging technology is a viable alternative because it is effective in reducing grain storage losses and it provides farmers the flexibility to store and sell when prices are high’. She expects that effective extension approaches will lead to quick adoption and commercialisation of the bagging method among smallholder farmers and thus will improve food security through steady supply of quality grain. ‘This recognition means a lot to my career and should serve as an encouragement to women scientists whose research contributes to food security. It gives me confidence to commit myself more to research that supports smallholder farmers, especially rural women to improve their livelihood.’ In five years time Dr Binso sees herself as a specialist in crop storage and an advocate of triple bagging technology.   28/03/2014
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Dr Rugira, who won the fifth prize in the Young Professionals in Science competition, told Knowledge for Development that the most relevant result of his research was developing a much cheaper feed for rearing pigs and getting farmers to adopt a new pig breed that provides better quality pork. ‘More meat of better quality will now become available to Africans, improving their protein intake. The livelihoods of pig farmers will also improve through the generation of extra income and savings made on feed.’ He continued that ‘the recognition means we can build on our research for further action-research to address livestock related issues. This award energized me and makes me feel that good science is appreciated irrespective of the subject matter.’ In five years Dr Rugira expects to be at the peak of his scientific career and hopes that he will be ‘mentoring other Africans researchers, publishing at free will, winning bigger research grants and possibly leading a research organisation.’   28/03/2014
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Improvement of papaya productivity for commercial application

by Fredah Karambu Rimberia, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
Dr Rimberiawas rewarded the fifth prize in the Women in Science competition. She explains to Knowledge for development that the most relevant result of her project is the finding that the production of clean and healthy papaya plantlets of known sex can solve the farmers’ inability to differentiate among the papaya’s 3 sex types at seedling stage. She found that healthy orchards with the correct mix of one male to nine female plants will increase fruit yield greatly compared to the current situation where farmers use guess work. Farmers will be able to grow more fruits and the papaya industry will be able to produce more yoghurt and beauty products. ‘This award will increase my visibility in the research community and that of my university. Hopefully, it will help me get a promotion at my university and more funding for research projects. In five years time ‘I will be an associate professor with four patents to my name and many scientific publications.’   28/03/2014
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