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.

Kenya is considered food-insecure, with a general deficit in production, particularly of staple foods; maize, wheat, beans, rice and sugar, and this is supplemented by imported food commodities. Postharvest losses, especially of perishable produce are high, while poor postharvest handling of cereal maize and related products compromises food safety because of aflatoxin contamination putting farm families, livestock and consumers at risk, further exacerbating the food insecurity situation.Kenya’s Agriculture Sector Development Strategy (ASDS) contributed to a restructuring of the agricultural sector and encompasses cross-cutting issues of climate change, youth and gender engagement as well as industrialisation and finance. However, the sector continues to be negatively impacted by several binding constraints. 26/04/2016
The population of Sub-Saharan Africa has been growing at an average annual rate of 2.7% in 2013, compared to 0.7% in 2013 for the USA. In 2014, the populations of Nigeria and Niger grew at annual rates of 2.8% and 3.9%, respectively. At the same time, the economies of many African nations have been growing at an annualized rate approaching 4% and urbanization and life expectancy have also been increasing. These trends have created new pressures, especially for achieving food security, fuelling the need for a more productive, diversified and competitive agri-food sector. 26/04/2016

Transitioning from public to private sector agricultural extension: drivers, challenges and implications for policy, practice and research

by Margaret Najjingo Mangheni, Associate Professor Department of Extension and Innovation Studies, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University, Uganda.
Agricultural extension systems everywhere are experiencing unprecedented changes and transformations, accompanied with tremendous challenges for all involved. Historically conceived as a public service targeting farming populations with agricultural information and technologies, the private sector and civil society are increasingly playing a role. There are new clients (including the diverse actors in entire agricultural value chains located in urban areas versus the traditional focus on rural farmers; large-scale commercial farmers as opposed to subsistence small-scale farmers, youth, women); and new messages. Despite the problems with public-sector extension systems, private-sector provision will not resolve all of them. Evidence supports pluralistic systems with both public and private actors performing different roles and targeting different extension needs in a coordinated manner. The transition to private sector provision needs careful planning. 26/04/2016

The ethics of innovation in agriculture: Inclusivity and Reflexivity

by Kristal Jones, Research Associate, National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, University of Maryland, USA
Innovation has become a buzzword in the realm of international development over the past decade. Major funders such as the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) support ‘innovation labs’, where resources and expertise are focused on asking new research questions that build on past successes and failures. Non-governmental organisations around the world facilitate and emphasise local innovations to meet local needs, in an effort to generate new ideas that are appropriate and relevant to specific places. These and other approaches to innovation in international development are influenced by the private enterprise model of start-up firms in the information technology sector, where innovation is seen to be a collaborative process that is constantly working to adapt and improve existing things, systems and ideas. As Fabian and Fabricant highlight, however, the orientation toward creative destruction in technology innovation, where change is constant and “failing quickly” yields further innovation, does not reflect the ethical and practical realities of research and programming in international development, where human well-being is at stake. 25/04/2016
Pouring millions of dollars in a research system does not necessarily guarantee good research and useful outputs and development. First and foremost, we need qualified, competent and motivated researchers, with necessary incentives to ensure focus on the research instead of other things. In Tanzania, for example, the number of PhD holders was lower in 2011 compared with 2008. This decline, gives cause for concern, especially given the importance of the agricultural sector and the value of research in addressing present and future challenges. 26/04/2016

An Innovation Platform Approach for Up-scaling Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (Xanthomonas campestris p.v. musacearum) Control Technologies in Western Kenya

by M. Makelo, M. Onyango, J. Kwach, F. Makini and M. Odongo, Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), Nairobi, Kenya.
The Innovation Platform (InP) has become an attractive approach for supporting agricultural development. An InP is generally established to foster interaction amongst a wide range of stakeholders including producers, researchers, development practitioners and policy-makers, around a shared interest. This article describes how an InP in western Kenya contributed to increased control of banana Xanthomonas wilt (BXW). The InP approach, as an extension tool, is effective especially when the technologies are well packaged and they are considered relevant by the community involved. 25/04/2016