Friday, 21 March 2014

Breakthrough in Agricultural Research and Development: Integrated Agricultural Research for Development

On 18th March, 2014, a big crowd witnessed the launch of the book titledMaximizing Impact from Agricultural Research: Potential of the IAR4D Concept, at the International Convention Centre in Durban, South Africa. This was at the opening of the meeting marking the 10th anniversary of CAADP.

The book contains the report of the proof that IAR4D using Innovation Platforms works better than conventional approaches in the generation, dissemination and adoption of technologies for increased food security, poverty reduction and the protection of the integrity of the environment.

The launching ceremony was chaired by Dr Jean ping, Chairperson of the FARA High Level Advocacy Panel (HiLAP), assisted by Dr Mark Holderness, the Executive Director of GFAR, Dr. Benard Rey, representative of the European Commission, and Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director of FARA.

‘As you take this book, you should not just keep it on your shelf, but you should read it and spread it’’ said Dr. Ping in his address.

‘We are happy to associate ourselves with FARA in the work’, said Dr Holdernes in his address at the launch, adding ‘we should work together to get the IAR4D approach disseminated to other parts of the world by working with other regional organizations’.

After the book was officially launched the crowd rushed to the table each onegrabbing his copy. Dr Ping autographed the book for tens of participants.

About the book

The acknowledged poor performance of traditional ARD approaches led the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) to suggest the Integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D) as an approach to enable agricultural research play more effective roles in catalysing development, by embracing a broader system of agricultural innovation that will facilitate interaction and enhance the flow of knowledge among all key actors in agricultural systems and value chains. FARA developed a programme around the concept of IAR4D and this was accepted by the CGIAR as the Sub-Saharan Africa Challenge Programme (SSA CP).

The focus of SSA CP is to facilitate substantially greater impact from agricultural research for development (ARD), leading to improved rural livelihoods, increasedfood security, and sustainable natural resource management throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Through the SSA CP, IAR4D is being implemented in three Pilot Learning Sites (PLS) across the continent with the central aim of reversing the underperformance of agricultural research in Africa. Specifically, this is being done by developing, testing (proving whether it works) and scaling out/up an approach for conducting agricultural research for development in Africa, which overcomes the shortcomings of conventional approaches. Each PLS defines the domain within which the project’s research sites are sampled. This study is focused on the three PLSs that made up the SSA CP.

With clearly defined outputs in mind, the SSA CP was mandated by the Science Council (SC) of the CGIAR to commence a proof of the concept research phase, with the aim of answering three vital questions as to the relevance and effectiveness of IAR4D in delivering developmental benefits and its relative performance when compared with conventional approaches in promoting impact.

These questions were as follows:

• Does the IAR4D work?

• Does the IAR4D deliver more benefits than the conventional R&D if given the same environment and resources? And

• Can the IAR4D be scaled up and out?

These questions were the motivation for this book which documents a study on the concept of integrated Agricultural Research for Development (IAR4D).

Reports from the study show that with IAR4D using Innovation Platforms the time has come for a real transformation of the agricultural sector.