Africa south of the Sahara
ASTI ARC-LNR Country Factsheet 2017
Nienke Beintema, Lang Gao, and Petronella Chaminuka
International Food Policy Research Institute
In terms of agricultural research investment and capacity levels, as of 2014 South Africa ranked second from a regional perspective, after Nigeria. Investment in agricultural research rebounded between 2008 and 2013 in inflation adjusted terms, after a period of decline. In 2014, South Africa’s agricultural research spending as a share of AgGDP was unusually high by African standards (2.78 percent), but levels appear to have contracted since then.
Compared with agricultural research agencies elsewhere in Africa, human resource capacities within ARC’s institutes tend to be more balanced in terms of degree levels, gender balance, and age distribution. The number of PhD-qualified researchers increased over time, but an issue remains with replacing an aging pool of senior scientists. An effective succession plan is needed, including strategies for recruitment, training, and mentoring.
The 2009 governmental restructuring that led to the transfer of some functions from the Department of Agriculture to a newly formed Department of Rural Development and Land Reform benefited ARC through funding for a number of new projects. During this time, however, funding from the country’s commodity boards decreased significantly.
ARC’s Biotechnology Platform was established in 2010 as a research and service-driven mechanism targeting the development of agricultural biotechnology. Through the platform, resources are developed for the application of advanced genomics, molecular breeding, and bioinformatics for dissemination within ARC, to the Council’s collaborators, and to the private sector and other research agencies throughout Africa. The platform also provides an environment in which the next generation of highly skilled young researchers can be developed.
Sierra Leone: ASTI–SLARI Country Factsheet
Lang Gao, Nienke Beintema, and John Momoh
International Food Policy Research Institute and Sierra Leone Agricultural Research Institute
Strong investment growth
Agricultural research spending grew by 70 percent during 2011–2014, sharply contrasting the modest growth during 2008–2011. This shift almost entirely resulted from a substantial increase in the number of researchers employed at SLARI, the country’s main agricultural research agency. Despite this overall upward trend, however, the country still invests a very low share of its AgGDP in agricultural research—0.24 percent in 2014, which is well below the recommended 1 percent target set by the African Union and the United Nations.
Diversification of funding
SLARI relies heavily on government funding as a share of its operating costs. Government contributions cover salaries, including benefits, but not the costs of operating research programs or maintaining infrastructure. Notably, only about 80 percent of the institute’s budgeted funding is actually disbursed, and the schedule of disbursement is often unpredictable, hindering planning and diminishing effectiveness. Donors such as CORAF/WECARD and several CGIAR centers, as well as WAAPP, fund research activities and any postgraduate training for researchers.
Researcher capacity constraints
SLARI has insufficient researchers across disciplines, including emerging areas such as irrigation, biotechnology, and climate change. Insufficient national agricultural programs exist, particularly at the MSc- and PhD-degree levels, largely because of a lack of qualified faculty to supervise students’ work. The majority of the institute’s researchers obtained their higher degrees abroad through donor-funded programs such as WAAPP, which in recent years has allowed 38 researchers to obtain MSc and PhD degrees in priority disciplines.
Stronger collaboration needed
SLARI collaborates with Njala University, which is the only national university currently offering agricultural degree programs. Some lecturers serve as research fellows at SLARI, but this form of collaboration is limited by a lack of capacity in certain disciplines. In addition, the university has inadequate capacity to meet the country’s need for agricultural scientists in advanced degrees. More extensive collaboration between SLARI and the higher education sector is needed in order to anticipate and meet future capacity needs.
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.
Cabo-Verde: ASTI–INIDA Country Factsheet - Portuguese version
Léa Vicky Magne Domgho, Antonio Fortes e Kathleen Flaherty
International Food Policy Research Institute e Instituto Nacional e Investigação e Desenvolvimento Agrário
Diminuição das despesas
A despesa com a investigação agrária em Cabo Verde diminuiu entre 2012 e 2014 devido a cortes no orçamento do governo e à conclusão de um grande projeto de investigação cofi-nanciado pela União Europeia. Embora a despesa do país com a investigação agrária como proporção do PIBAg (de 0,95 por cento em 2014) seja bastante superior à média dos países africanos, é necessário um investimento considerável para desenvolver a capacidade e o equipamento laboratorial.
Até 2012, o INIDA era a única instituição de investigação agrária em Cabo Verde. Desde 2014, o instituto ainda representa 94 por cento de todos os investigadores agrários do país (em equivalentes a tempo inteiro, ETI). Contudo, o INIDA emprega somente 21 investigadores equivalentes a tempo inteiro, dos quais apenas 2 são Doutorados. Portanto, o instituto tem falta de massa crítica de investigadores agrários qualificados para poder realizar efetivamente o seu mandato de investigação. Limitações de financiamento impedem o recrutamento de novos cientistas. Além disto, o mais preocupante é o facto de a maior parte dos investigadores ter uma idade da ordem dos 50 e 60 anos.
Nova instituição de educação
No final de 2011, e através de uma transferência do Centro de Formação Agrária do INIDA, foi criada na Universidade de Cabo Verde a Escola de Ciências Agrárias e Ambientais. Desde 2014, contudo, a Escola empregou menos de dois investigadores agrários (em ETI). No entanto, criou-se uma forte colaboração entre o INIDA e a Escola, tanto em termos de investigação, como de formação. O trabalho dos investigadores Doutorados da Escola incide sobre sociologia e desenvolvimento rural.
Financiamento da investigação
O financiamento por doadores aumentou significativamente em 2012, com o lançamento do projeto de recuperação da cultura da banana na ilha de Santiago, cofinanciado pela União Europeia. O projeto de investigação de dois anos, no valor de 600.000 euros, financiou a investigação de novas variedades de banana e de ananás. Em geral, o financiamento de doadores é atribuído aos custos operacionais e do programa e a investimentos de capital. As despesas relativas a salários são suportadas pelo Governo e, por isso, não são afetadas por flutuações no financiamento de doadores.
An assessment of the gender gap in African agricultural research capacities
Journal of Gender, Agriculture and Food Security
Female researchers offer different insights from their male counterparts, and their input provides an important perspective in addressing the unique and pressing challenges of female farmers. Consequently, it is important that agricultural research agencies employ a balance of male and female researchers. Statistics on sex-disaggregated capacity trends are needed to enable decision-makers to set priorities and benchmarks and to monitor progress. New evidence collected through Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI) shows that the gender gap in African agricultural research, although still substantial, continued to decline. In some countries, however, the participation of women in agricultural research continues to be extremely low. Furthermore, female researchers are often young and less qualified than their male colleagues. Although the ASTI evidence provides some useful insights, this article argues that more detailed information is needed to ensure that gender issues are better and more effectively taken into consideration in policy formulation for and implementation of agricultural research issues.
Madagascar ASTI–FOFIFA Country Factsheet
Léa Vicky Magne Domgho, Rivonjaka Randriamanamisa, and Gert-Jan Stads
International Food Policy Research Institute and National Center for Applied Research and Rural Development
Madagascar’s political and economic instability have had a severe adverse impact on the country’s agricultural research spending in recent years. Expenditure levels dropped by 40 percent between 2008 and 2010, and have only slowly increased since. Spending just 0.13 percent of AgGDP on agricultural research in 2014, Madagascar’s agricultural research intensity ratio is one of the lowest in Africa.
Aging research capacity
Madagascar’s number of agricultural researchers has remained relatively stable over time. However, maintaining high-quality research and avoiding capacity erosion will be crucial challenges in the coming years as large numbers of senior researchers are set to retire. FOFIFA’s recent recruitment of 10 MSc researchers is a positive first step, but more recruitment and training are urgently needed. Sustainable long-term funding must be made available to ensure that these short-term gains can be maintained, built upon, and translated in tangible research results over time.
High donor dependency
Compared to most national agricultural research institutes across Africa, FOFIFA is highly dependent on donor and development funding. By nature, this type of funding tends to be short-term and ad hoc, potentially skewing research agendas toward short-term goals that may not necessarily be aligned with national priorities. The government will need to clearly identify its long-term research priorities and allocate sustained funding, not just for salaries but also to sustain research programs. Creative mechanisms to stimulate private funding should also be explored.
Challenges to food security
Madagascar faces frequent food production shortages. Research has the potential to provide the necessary technological solutions to enable the country to reverse declining agricultural productivity and achieve food security. Increased investments in human resources, infrastructure, and research programs are needed, as is the creation of incentives and mechanisms to strengthen the provision of extension and advisory services and to incentivize the private sector to conduct agricultural research.
Guinea: ASTI–IRAG Country Factsheet
Léa Vicky Magne Domgho, Famoï Béavogui, Sékou Diawara, and Gert-Jan Stads
International Food Policy Research Institute and Guinean Agricultural Research Institute
Rebound in spending
Agricultural research expenditures fell by 80 percent during 2000–2010, but a considerable boost in government funding in 2011 reversed this negative, long-term trend. The additional financial resources enabled staff training and much-needed rehabilitation of research infrastructure after years of neglect. Notwithstanding these recent increases, Guinea still underinvests in agricultural research. In 2014, the country spent just 0.30 percent of its AgGDP in agricultural research, well below the 1 percent target recommended by the African Union and the United Nations.
Greater government support
During 2000–2010, more than 70 percent of IRAG’s funding was derived from development banks and donors (mostly France). Guinea’s unstable political situation led to a widespread suspension of donor aid in 2009, at which time the government had no choice but to increase its funding to IRAG in order to keep it operating. Government funding remained the principal funding source during 2011–2014, giving the country increased autonomy over its research agenda. Since 2012, WAAPP has strengthened Guinea’s rice research capacity through a five-year, US$9 million grant from Japan.
Aging researcher pool
Guinea has the oldest pool of agricultural researchers of any African country: 94 percent of its PhD-qualified researchers are in their 50s or 60s, and large-scale capacity losses due to retirement are imminent. With substantial support from the governments of Guinea and France, IRAG was able to provide MSc-level training in a variety of fields to a large number of BSc-qualified researchers and technicians between 2011 and 2015. Many of these recent MSc graduates will be enrolled in PhD programs in the near future, as is stipulated in IRAG’s new strategic plan.
Limited innovative capacity
IRAG released no new crop varieties during 2011–2014, and its scientists rarely publish in international journals. The institute’s low innovative capacity is a cause for concern, raising questions as to the effectiveness of national agricultural research. Weak domestic intellectual property rights legislation is a further impediment to innovation. Guinea and many countries across West Africa struggle with how to reconcile intellectual property rights with farmers’ rights and other local interests.
Democratic Republic of Congo: ASTI–INERA Country Factsheet
Léa Vicky Magne Domgho, Lunze Lubanga, and Gert-Jan Stads
International Food Policy Research Institute and National Agricultural Study and Research Institute
Rapid rise in spending
Between 2009 and 2014, DR Congo’s agricultural research spending doubled (in inflationadjusted terms) following government efforts to revitalize the agricultural sector and the launch of a number of donorfunded projects, including PDPC, PARRSA, and PAPAKIN. Spending as a share of AgGDP rose from 0.20 to 0.34 percent during this period. Despite this rapid growth, agricultural research investment still falls short of the minimum 1 percent target recommended by the African Union and the United Nations, and remains too low to sustain DR Congo’s needs.
Agricultural researcher numbers grew by nearly 40 percent during 2009–2014, although most of these newly recruited researchers held only BSc or MSc degrees. INERA and the other government agencies continue to lack a critical mass of scientists qualified to the PhD level (and many of those with PhD degrees are approaching retirement age). Low public-sector salaries act as a disincentive for younger PhD-qualified scientists to pursue careers in research; many choose careers in the private sector instead.
Numerous factors present acute challenges to the effective conduct of agricultural research in DR Congo, including derelict buildings, equipment that has fallen in disrepair, insufficient access to vehicles to conduct field research, frequent power outages that disrupt trials, unreliable Internet access, lack of up-to-date computer technology and software, and poor communication channels between headquarters and remote stations across this vast country. Large-scale capital investments are urgently needed to address these myriad issues.
Pooling scarce resources
Given the many constraints that agricultural research agencies in DR Congo are facing, the scarce resources of universities and government agencies need to be pooled more effectively. By collectively identifying research priorities and sharing staff and infrastructure, these agencies could create synergies in conducting research and ultimately in generating outputs that would enhance the quantity and quality of agricultural production. The government has an important role to play in this regard in terms of providing the necessary policy environment to stimulate cooperation.
Cabo-Verde: ASTI–INIDA Country Factsheet
Léa Vicky Magne Domgho, Antonio Fortes, and Kathleen Flaherty
International Food Policy Research Institute and National Agricultural Research and Development Institute
Agricultural research spending in Cabo Verde declined between 2012 and 2014 due to government budget cuts and the completion of a large research project cofinanced by the European Union. Although the country’s agricultural research spending as a share of AgGDP (at 0.95 percent in 2014) is well above the African average, considerable investment is needed for capacity building and laboratory equipment.
Until 2012, INIDA was the only agency in Cabo Verde conducting agricultural research. As of 2014, the institute still accounted for 94 percent of the country’s total agricultural researchers (in FTEs). Nevertheless, INIDA only employs 21 FTE researchers of which only 2 are PhD-qualified. Hence, the institute lacks a critical mass of qualified agricultural researchers to effectively carry out its research mandate. Funding constraints impede the recruitment of new scientists. In addition, and of most concern, the institute’s pool of researchers are mostly in their 50s and 60s.
New education agency
Through a transfer of the Agricultural Formation Center from INIDA, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences was established at the University of Cabo Verde at the end of 2011. As of 2014, however, the college employed less than 2 agricultural researchers (in FTEs). Nevertheless, a strong collaborative relationship has been established between INIDA and the College, both in terms of research and training. PhD-qualified faculty at the College focus on rural sociology and development.
Donor funding to INIDA increased significantly in 2012 with the launch of the banana crop recovery project on Santiago island, cofinanced by the European Union. The two-year, 600,000 euro project funded research on new banana and pineapple varieties. Generally, donor funding is allocated to operating and program costs, and to capital investments. Salary-related expenses are supported by the government and hence are not affected by fluctuations in donor funding.
Burundi: ASTI–ISABU Country Factsheet
Léa Vicky Magne Domgho, Ferdinand Nganyirinda, Marie-Chantal Niyuhire, and Gert-Jan Stads
International Food Policy Research Institute and Institute of Agricultural Science of Burundi
During the years immediately following the country’s 2003 peace agreement, donor funding to agricultural research flowed rapidly, prompting increased spending. Growing violence and deepening political corruption in more recent years caused many donors to suspend or cut aid, with negative effects on the country’s agricultural research expenditures. As of 2014, Burundi invested 0.46 percent of its AgGDP in agricultural research, well below the minimum investment target recommended by the African Union and the United Nations.
The total number of agricultural researchers has risen over time in response to the recruitment of young scientists at ISABU and the return to Burundi of a large number of Burundian professors from universities abroad, prompted by improved salary levels in the higher education sector. Nevertheless, the country’s agricultural R&D capacity remains very weak in terms of the number of researchers qualified to the PhD-degree level, especially at ISABU and the other government agencies.
Unlike their university-based counterparts, ISABU’s scientists are classified as public servants, not researchers. As a result, their salaries are much lower, creating a challenge for ISABU to attract and retain well-qualified researchers. In addition, the benefits of CAMES membership (francophone Africa’s higher education council) further attract researchers away from ISABU to universities. However, based on their academic focus, universities have much weaker linkages with farmers compared with ISABU, which focuses on applied research of relevance to the needs of producers.
Strategic resource use
Given the tremendous constraints to agricultural research agencies in Burundi, government and higher educaton agencies need to pool their scarce resources more efficiently. By collectively identifying research priorities and sharing staff and infrastructure, these agencies could create synergies in the conduct of research, ultimately generating outputs to enhance agricultural production. The government has an important role to play in this regard in terms of providing the necessary policy environment to stimulate cooperation.