The Global Development Network that brings agricultural policy researchers and policymakers from the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) convened in Nairobi to articulate the need of bringing forth policy issues relevant to the region that have always in question over the food security. The Sub- Sahara Africa Country Research Teams presented their findings and reviews of the agricultural research on Sub-Saharan region. The presentations were made at a point of ‘supporting policy research to inform agricultural policy in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia project regional workshop to help shape North-South and South-South debates on agricultural policies.
The five official launch of the Global Development Network (GDN) on agricultural policy making process, covers: Irrigation and water use effectively, agricultural pricing and public procurement, managing agricultural commercialization, long-term challenges to food security and rural livelihoods, improving effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of fertilizer use. The same five agricultural policies will be launched on the same themes from South Asia perspective on 22nd -23rd November 2012. “This lack of access to information is one of the reasons why GDN and the agricultural policy researchers from Sub-Saharan Africa have been working on this project across the region” says George Mavrotas, project Director and Chief Economist at GDN.
Representatives who attended the event raised the concern on private sector initiative to be optimum and be recognized for the intervention of food security. “The price of fertilizer and that of output are among the factors constraining food security in Africa” Ackello Ogutu Team leader for challenges to food security in SSA said. Tax policy, agricultural policy need to be balanced in long-term with political support in subsidizing the inputs in solving the problem, adds Ogutu.
Over the last one year five country research teams from leading African universities and organizations in SSA along with the project steering committee and research assistants have reviewed extensive published and unpublished research in areas that affect agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa. Among the emerging issues and trend in SSA that challenges the GDP includes global food crisis of 2007, market failure and food security.
The workshop is as a result of a distinctive process in Africa where food security investment has not been fully implemented. While opening the event, Rodgers Mwewa Zambia’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture stated that much work needs to be done to improve the understanding of contemporary agricultural policy making process in the region. Some of the challenges that have dragged down Africa States in agricultural research and policy making and implementation, include inadequate funding, weak research-extension farmer input supplier linkages, lack of inadequate logistical support, low staff motivation and poor management and coordination, the Minister said.
Participants and Africa in general were urged to use such forums such as the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP) process to engage policy makers on the need to incorporate increase investment in research. The event was attended by delegates from the Government of Ghana, Government of Zambia, regional research institutes, and international organizations, private sector companies and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which has supported this project.
GDN collaborates with 11 Regional Network Partners, international donor organizations and governments, research institutes, academic institutions, think tanks and 12,000 individual researchers worldwide in developing skills and knowledge I relation to agricultural issues. It was founded in 1999 and its headquarters in New Delhi, and offices in Cairo and Washington DC.
The author of this post is David Choge, a journalist based in Nairobi, Keneya. The findings, interpretations and conclusions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of Global Development Network or its Board of Directors.