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Togo: ASTI–ITRA Country Factsheet

Togo: ASTI–ITRA Country Factsheet

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Léa Vicky Magne Domgho, Antoine Kpodo, and Gert-Jan Stads


International Food Policy Research Institute and Togolese Agricultural Research Institute

Publication category

Africa south of the Sahara

Related country page(s)

Severe underinvestment

Agricultural research spending in Togo fell by 65 percent during 2000–2014 with the result that the country invested just 0.17 percent of its AgGDP in agricultural research by 2014—well below the minimum 1 percent target recommended by the United Nations and the African Union. The bulk of funding that ITRA receives from the government is allocated to salary costs. The institute’s research programs are largely dependent on (short-term and ad hoc) donor funding, which puts the long-term continuity and effectiveness of ITRA’s research programs at risk.

Recent capacity increases

After a 17-year recruitment ban, large-scale public-sector recruitment prompted the influx of a large number of agricultural researchers in 2009. However, the fact that ITRA researchers lack official status and hence are paid significantly less than their university-based counterparts means that ITRA will continue to struggle to recruit, retain, and motivate well-qualified researchers. In addition, secondment of highly qualified ITRA personnel to other departments under the Ministry of Agriculture further exacerbates the lack of expertise within the institute.

Upgrading qualifications Unlike Togo’s universities, ITRA lacks a critical mass of PhD-qualified researchers. The country’s long-term embargo has precluded it from taking advantage of donor-funded postgraduate training programs, which have benefitted many of its neighbors over the years. Under WAAPP—a US$12 million World Bank grant in support of agricultural research during 2012–2017—an important capacity building component was launched. Based on a thorough analysis of skills gaps, 30 ITRA researchers were selected to receive MSc and PhD training, both in Togo and in other West African countries.

Infrastructure challenges

ITRA’s livestock and poultry stations are being upgraded as part of WAAPP. However, the overall rundown state of the institute’s remaining stations, in addition to office space shortages, frequent power outages, and unreliable Internet access, make it extremely challenging for researchers to work effectively. Large-scale capital investments are needed for ITRA and the other research agencies to address the many challenges that Togo’s agricultural sector is facing.