The Sub Saharan Africa Challenge Program (SSA CP) team delivered the debut proof of the Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) concept in its side event at the 6th Africa Agriculture Science Week.
The proof of the IAR4D concept has been the focus of the SSA CP research activities since the year 2007. This proof that followed a rigorous research methodology emanated from the program’s activities on 36 innovation platforms that set up in eight countries of the Sub Saharan Africa. These countries include Nigeria and the Niger Republic which represents West and Central Africa; Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique representing the Southern Africa sub-region; and Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo representing the East and Central Africa sub-region.
The IAR4D concept represents a paradigm shift in the way agricultural research and development activities are carried out; it projects a mode that uses a multi-institutional and multi-sectorial approach to problem diagnosis and uses soft and hard sciences to provide solutions to the problems identified.
The IAR4D concept uses the Innovation Platform (IP) as its operational mode. The concept relies on the innovation systems approach and it draws on the strength of all stakeholders involved in a commodity innovation sphere by encouraging meaningful interactions. Such interaction leads to joint identification and prioritization of problems, sourcing of solutions, implementation of solutions and lesson learning until the solution generates socio-economic benefits for all the stakeholders on the platform.
The conduct of agricultural research and development activities using the framework of IAR4D innovation platform has generated a myriad of success stories revolving around increased technological, institutional and marketing innovations across its 36 innovation platforms. This success has led to increasing spread of the concept and its use across the continent and beyond.
The completion of the proof of the IAR4D concept is expected to further strengthen the spread the utilization of the concept for agricultural research and development activities in Africa.