AFRE/FSG’s Thomas Jayne Unveiling Key Research Findings on Advancing Agricultural Research and Extension in Africa

Long-time AFRE and FSG member Thomas Jayne, presented a keynote to address the pressing need to revamp Africa's agricultural research systems at the European Association of Agricultural Economists EAAE Congress in Rennes, France.

Rennes, France - August 29, 2023 – Longtime AFRE/FSG member Thomas Jayne, now Professor Emeritus, took center stage at the European Association of Agricultural Economists (EAAE) Congress in Rennes, France, where he make a keynote presentation on reshaping Africa's agricultural research and extension landscape for the twenty-first century. Based on his recent article in European Review of Agricultural Economics togerh with Shamie Zingmore, Amadou Ibra Niang, Cheryl Palm, and Pedro Sanchez, Jayne’s talk explored the effectiveness of international efforts to bolster the capacities of national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) in Africa and put forth a strategic roadmap for enhancing these systems.

Using secondary data on agricultural research expenditure in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, complemented by insights from extensive interviews with 26 high-ranking representatives of African and international research organizations, Jayne and team put forward a series of conclusions to redefine the way the international community supports Africa in building its capacity for agricultural research and extension.

Chief among the study's findings is the recognition that while donors and international partners have helped to substantially increase the number of African agricultural scientists, their contributions to the institutional capacities of African NARES have been comparatively modest. The research advocates for a transformative shift, termed the "twenty-first century African-led agricultural research and extension system," which aims to put African nations in the driver's seat and drive innovation from within the continent.

Historically, the study explains, quantitative data on the behaviors and interactions among organizations in the agricultural research and development sector in developing countries has been scarce, limiting the ability to shape effective policies and strategies. Systematizing this data and making it easily accessible is central to addressing this sector’s capacity strengthening needs on the continent.

Above all, a "twenty-first century NARES" would grant NARES the authority to define, prioritize, and implement research, with international agricultural research and development organizations acting in service to the NARES.

To realize this vision, international donors and research organizations are urged to relinquish some degree of control over funding allocation and embrace a genuinely African-led system. The study concludes with a set of recommendations for consideration by African governments, African research and development organizations, international research bodies, donors, and the private sector.

At a time when development organizations increasingly recognize the absolute necessity of local ownership of development processes, Jayne's presentation at the EAAE Congress lays out a clear pathway for how to do this in this crucial sector of agricultural research and extension.

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