African agriculture is at a crossroads. Persistent food shortage has led to mass protests and created panic among policymakers in some big cities. However, there seems to be some light in the tunnel, with three major opportunities that can help transform Africa’s agriculture to be the global engine of economic growth. First, advances in science, technology and engineering worldwide offer Africa new tools to promote sustainable agricultural development. Second, efforts to create regional markets are providing new incentives for agricultural production and trade. Third, a new generation of African leaders is helping the continent to focus on long-term economic development. These opportunities have led innovation in agricultural development to receive growing attention as a means of addressing the challenges of feeding an increasingly populous and resource-constrained Africa. The approach has made a major change in the way that the production of knowledge is viewed, and thus supported. It shifts attention away from research and the supply of science and technology, towards the whole process of innovation, of which research is only an element. Innovation entails essentially the result of an interactive process between many actors. For FARA and its partners, these involve farmers, extension workers, researchers, seed companies, government officials, and many others.
Individual organizations rarely possess all the knowledge necessary for the whole process of innovation. The need to create an innovation system is thus critical to creating a favourable network of organizations within an economic system that are directly involved in the creation, diffusion and use of scientific and technological knowledge, as well as the organizations responsible for the coordination and support of these processes. Such actors are focused on bringing new products, processes, policies, and forms of organization into economic use. In their attempts to bring about change in agriculture, these multiple stakeholders become part of what is seen as agricultural innovation systems (AIS).
The African Union Commission’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa 2024 (STI Strategy 2024) takes into consideration the social, economic, and technological progress that Africa has made over the last decade. Innovation for sustainable and high agricultural growth forms an important part of the AUC agenda for prosperity. This is combined with the increasing importance of international scientific and research collaboration as an imperative for achieving regional and national science, technology, and innovation policy goals.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The overall study concludes that cassava, plantain, maize and cocoa are very important crops, while poultry, cattle/cow and pig are important livestock for food and income generation for the Cameroonian agricultural sector. Also, there are many IVs in the country, although many of these IVs have been developed in isolation (not developed within IPs) and have not been scaled out. Most of the IVs were developed from crops as compared to livestock, with relatively few that focus on poultry, cattle/cow and pigs; soil fertility management (SFM), processing & packaging (PP), seeds production and marketing (SPM), and new varieties of crops and livestock (NCLV) are important areas for development of more IVs with highest potential IVs in the PP and NCLR areas. Furthermore, it is concluded that:
• The number of IPs and their preferred value chains vary with agro-ecological zones, with Zone III having more experience.
• Many members or stakeholders in established IPs still do not understand the concept of IVs and IPs, and how these two concepts are linked. However, in spite of this poor understanding, there has been an increase in awareness between 2011 and 2015…
Download the full document PDF here