Nigeria: ASTI–ARCN Country Factsheet
Nienke Beintema, Abdullahi Mohammed Nasir, and Lang Gao
International Food Policy Research Institute and Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria
Lack of funding diversity
By virtue of size, Nigeria continues to lead Africa south of the Sahara in terms of agricultural research capacity and investment; nevertheless, spending levels declined in recent years (in inflation-adjusted terms). The country’s investment in agricultural research as a share of AgGDP fell from an already low 0.39 percent in 2008 to 0.22 percent in 2014. The country’s agricultural research funding is mainly provided by the government, with donors and other sources constituting a very small share of the total amount (only 1.2 percent per year on average during 2009–2014).
Human capacity constraints
After a period of steady growth, agricultural researcher numbers in the government sector stagnated during 2011–2014. As of 2014, close to two-thirds of the sector’s senior researchers were approaching retirement age, making recruitment and training of young scientists to the PhD level an urgent priority. The first phase of WAAPP (2012–2016) funded PhD- and MSc-level training for 14 and 17 scientists, respectively. Nonetheless, much more training and recruitment is needed to tackle the imminent agricultural research capacity losses that Nigeria’s government sector is facing.
With low levels of capital investment, Nigeria’s agricultural research infrastructure remains underequipped, understandably having negative impacts on the quality and quantitity of research outputs. Investment in the rehabilitation of research centers—other than those being rehabilitated under WAAPP—is crucial to the performance of effective research, to retaining and motivating researchers, and to the development of high-quality outputs. Therefore, funding for investments in research infrastructure and equipment needs to be sought urgently from the government and other sources.
ARCN’s ongoing reform process
Although ARCN is formally mandated to coordinate agricultural research in Nigeria, it does not have the power to allocate financial resources to institutes under its umbrella. To address this, the government is in the process of reforming ARCN along the lines of India’s ICAR and Brazil’s Embrapa. This is an important step in overcoming the financial and human resource constraints ARCN currently faces. It is intended that the legislation creating the new entity will encompass improved goverance structures, more effective budgeting processes, and a broader funding base.
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Nigeria: ASTI–ARCN Country Factsheet
Kathleen Flaherty and Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi
International Food Policy Research Institute and Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria.
By virtue of size, Nigeria leads SSA in terms of agricultural research capacity and spending levels. Nevertheless, its investment in agricultural research as a share of agricultural GDP has always been quite low (0.33 percent in 2011).
Yearly growth in agricultural R&D spending slowed during 2009–2011 and fluctuated significantly from year to year. The country still needs substantial research-related infrastructure, equipment, and facilities.
Researcher capacity at Nigeria’s ARCN institutes increased across all qualification levels during 2009–2011, but most strongly among those qualified to the MSc-degree level. The slow growth of researchers with PhD degrees is of concern because half of the institutes’ senior researchers are approaching retirement age. International Food Policy Research Institute and Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria.
Nigeria: ASTI Country Brief
Beintema , Nienke M.; Ayoola, Gbolagade B.
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); and International Service for National Agricultural Research (ISNAR)
In the three decades to 2000, agricultural research in Nigeria was characterized by institutional instability, declining funding availability, and general uncertainty. After a few years of growth in the early 1970s, total spending fell by two-thirds between the mid -1970s and mid -1990s but has increased in recent years largely due to a World Bank loan and increases in civil salaries. Nevertheless, the institutes continue to lack appropriate levels of funding for their research activities. Over the years, the quality of staff at the government research agencies has deteriorated, with many senior scientists, particularly those with PhD degrees, moving into the university sector or abroad. These well-qualified scientists could not be replaced because of a freeze on government recruitment and lack of funding for training. NARP was an attempt to address management, financial, and human resource problems within the Nigerian agricultural research system, but the project achieved only limited success (mainly in the area of national and international collaboration), largely because of the absence of intended counterpart funding from the Nigerian government and unsatisfactory management of the project’s finances. Since NARP's completion in 1999, additional funding has not been forthcoming to enable its original programs to be maintained.
Nevertheless, overall funding for agricultural research has increased in recent years, but only as a result of a substantial increase in civil service salaries in 2000.
Nigeria: ASTI–ARCN–FIF Country Note
Flaherty, Kathleen; Ayoola, Gbolagade; Ogbodo, John; Beintema, Nienke M.
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN); and Farm and Infrastructure Foundation (FIF)
After a period of stagnation in the late-1980s and early 1990s, investments in Nigeria’s public agricultural R&D increased substantially around the turn of the millennium. Adjusted for inflation, investments doubled from 12 million naira in 2000 to 24 million in 2008 (in 2005 prices). This growth included increased researcher salaries and substantial investments for the rehabilitation of research infrastructure and equipment. Despite these increased investments, research-related infrastructure needs remain significant, and the lack of research equipment and facilities are still cited as serious constraints to agricultural research in Nigeria. Furthermore, the country’s agricultural research spending intensity—measured as public agricultural R&D investment as a share of agricultural output—remains low compared with a number of key African countries (around 0.4 percent). In addition, commercialization of research outputs remains limited.
Along with the growing investment, Nigeria’s public agricultural research capacity also increased between 2000 and 2008, resulting in growth in FTE researcher numbers from about 1,300 to more than 2,000. Notably, the role of the higher education sector in agricultural research increased during this period. In contrast, the role of the non-proit and private for-profit sector in agricultural research remains very small.
The increases in research capacity and investment are positive signs of growing support for agricultural R&D. In addition, the establishment of ARCN should have a constructive influence on research by strengthening collaboration, lessening duplication, and hopefully encouraging even greater support, in particular from non-governmental sectors like the private sector.
However, one disconcerting capacity trend (stemming from the long-term recruitment freeze) is the shift away from senior, well-qualified researchers toward more junior researchers qualified to the BSc level only. In addition, structural challenges caused by the many years of underinvestment remain. Consequently, addressing infrastructure and training needs will be especially critical in the years to come.