The Forum on Agricultural Research in Africa just published a new report on agricultural innovation in sub-Saharan Africa: experiences from multiple-stakeholder approaches.
The report draws together case experiences across Africa with an ‘integrated agriculture research for development (IAR4D) approach’ that brings together multiple actors along a commodity value chain to address challenges and identify opportunities to generate innovation.
Included in the cases are assessments of dairy development in Kenya and Uganda as well as the beef sector in Botswana.
On Kenya, the report observes: ‘The development of a successful smallholder industry requires two complimentary elements. Firstly, increased productivity requires improved livestock breeds, strong disease control and veterinary services and improved quality and quantity of feeds. Given the need to encourage many smallholder dairy producers, delivery of support services remains dependent on local institutions and their development. Secondly, expanding market institutions with facilities for milk bulking and collection, and group organisational structures are essential and can be most effectively supplied by the private sector. Although formal licensed markets based on processed milk products are important, informal markets selling raw milk, informal dairy products with low-cost processing remain an essential component of a successful dairy industry.’
On Uganda, the report observes: ‘A key lesson is the need for ongoing discussions and coordination efforts by stakeholders along the value chain. This includes smallholder farmers and traders, development agencies, and policymakers. Although the dairy industry and its supporting services were liberalised, there is a need to coordinate business development services, involving farmer organisations, while avoiding direct subsidies that are known to stifle markets.’
On Botswana, the report observes: ‘Understanding the role the private sector plays in facilitating change at local, regional, and national government levels is important when considering changes to the enabling environment for value chains. It is essential that the private sector is able to speak with an informed and unified voice and is able to engage with Government.’
The case studies demonstrated that successful innovation is dependent on a wide range of factors and interventions, the most important being the existence or creation of a network of research, training and development stakeholder groups drawn from public, private and NGO sectors.