Beyond Europe: Priorities for Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Capacity in Africa Andy Hall LINK Coordinator, UNU-MER...
Home Lessons for Abroad:  A Cautionary Tale <ul><li>It’s easy to forget how much our own national identities shape our vie...
Anglo-Dutch Innovation Preoccupations   <ul><li>THE BRITISH </li></ul><ul><li>Class-conscious and segregated  </li></ul><u...
Anglo-Dutch Innovation Preoccupations <ul><li>THE DUTCH </li></ul><ul><li>Small country that likes to make the most of wha...
Anglo-Dutch Innovation Wisdom <ul><li>Inventions are for idiots, make ideas count  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good ideas are no...
How does this translate into a plan for supporting agricultural innovation in Africa? <ul><li>GROUND RULES </li></ul><ul><...
1.  Learning to Innovate for African Agriculture Fund —  25 % <ul><li>Diagnosis :   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Declining soil f...
2. Rapid Innovation Response and Resilience Fund  —  10 %   <ul><li>Diagnosis : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>African farmers and ...
3. An Innovation Architecture Fund — 10 % <ul><li>Diagnosis: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many African countries have developed e...
4. Agricultural Innovation Education Fund —  10 % <ul><li>Diagnosis:   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>African universities are very...
5. Innovation Coordination Services  Fund —  20 % <ul><li>Diagnosis :   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agricultural extension as a ...
6. Agro-Industrial Enterprise Fund —  10 % (co-funded by a development bank ) <ul><li>Diagnosis :  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A...
7. Agricultural Innovation Policy Support Fund —  5 %  <ul><li>Diagnosis : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovation capacity (as d...
8. Agricultural Convergence Fund —  5 % <ul><li>Diagnosis:   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The boundaries of agriculture are expan...
Concluding comments <ul><li>We have a very rich understanding of how innovation, including agricultural innovation, takes ...
Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation LINK is a specialist network of regional inno...
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Beyond Europe: Priorities for Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Capacity in Africa

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We are now entering the age of the "New Philanthropists', soon to become the biggest source of agricultural R&D grant-giving. Against this backdrop, and taking into aacount how national identities shape views on how science, technology and innovation should be “done”, an Englishman and a Dutchman share their personal fantasies about how they would spend their hypothetical millions in grants.

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Beyond Europe: Priorities for Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Capacity in Africa

  1. 1. Beyond Europe: Priorities for Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Capacity in Africa Andy Hall LINK Coordinator, UNU-MERIT Jeroen Dijkman LINK coordinators, FAO-PPLPI Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  2. 2. Home Lessons for Abroad: A Cautionary Tale <ul><li>It’s easy to forget how much our own national identities shape our views on how science, technology and innovation should be “done” </li></ul><ul><li>For us academics (since nobody listens to us) this last point is not too important </li></ul><ul><li>But we are now entering the age of the ‘New Philanthropists’ </li></ul><ul><li>Soon to be biggest source of agricultural R&D grant-giving </li></ul><ul><li>Vision of philanthropic organisations is personalised, and often, North American </li></ul><ul><li>A Green Revolution for Africa… But what would we do? </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  3. 3. Anglo-Dutch Innovation Preoccupations <ul><li>THE BRITISH </li></ul><ul><li>Class-conscious and segregated </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Scientists are ‘weird-beard boffins’ and entrepreneurs who have the distasteful task of making money close to the bottom of the pecking order </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The class system was only officially “abolished” by Maggie Thatcher in the 1980s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Still feel uncomfortable with education and collaborative relationships </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Brits have always had great scientists. But they excel as a nation of gifted amateur-inventors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Having come up with world-beating ideas, the Brits gave them away… for nothing! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The whole of British industrial policy in the last 30 or so years has been obsessed with trying to put this right </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Making better use of ideas from scientists and others and bridging the gaps between enterprise and other elements of the economy </li></ul></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  4. 4. Anglo-Dutch Innovation Preoccupations <ul><li>THE DUTCH </li></ul><ul><li>Small country that likes to make the most of what it has </li></ul><ul><li>A more equal society and feels comfortable with the idea of linking and collaborating with each other </li></ul><ul><li>The Dutch have many good ideas! </li></ul><ul><li>Since well-linked together, they have been very successful in using these ideas and innovating </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the long-term this ability to use ideas creatively has led to a hugely-successful economy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Eg., The horticultural industry </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Although the sun never shines, the ability to use ideas effectively has allowed them to develop very successful greenhouse businesses — helped by lightbulbs from Phillips </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A recurrent Dutch innovation theme is strengthening innovation response capacity for social relevance and economic resilience </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  5. 5. Anglo-Dutch Innovation Wisdom <ul><li>Inventions are for idiots, make ideas count </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good ideas are not worth the paper their patent application is written on, unless you can use or combine them with other ideas to make money or make people happy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Learn to love linking, and link to learn loving </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Linking, collaboration and learning are important for innovation and can help you learn how to collaborate and innovate better in the future </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Innovate for society or die </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Succeeding today doesn’t mean you won’t fail tomorrow. Use ideas to respond to what society wants. It might be productivity today, but environment or the desire to reduce poverty or support enterprise tomorrow. Or all of the above. But respond for society you must </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Educate to innovate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New thinking on how to use ideas and science will remain part of the psychobabble of innovation theorists unless you are able to get this thinking into higher education and inspire a new generation of scientists, planners and development professionals </li></ul></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  6. 6. How does this translate into a plan for supporting agricultural innovation in Africa? <ul><li>GROUND RULES </li></ul><ul><li>Supporting innovation is not just about fixing today’s problems, so our mission is to strengthen innovation capacity for the long-term </li></ul><ul><li>In line with our desire to support all of society’s needs, this capacity must be responsive, people-centric and enterprise and environment-friendly </li></ul><ul><li>Ten years to build a sustainable capacity and a development fund of 1 billion Euros </li></ul><ul><li>Leads to an 8-point plan organised as different development funds </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  7. 7. 1. Learning to Innovate for African Agriculture Fund — 25 % <ul><li>Diagnosis : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Declining soil fertility, pest and disease problems, low and unreliable rainfall and low food production are key concerns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Major focus of national and international agricultural research for many years but with limited progress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Variety-based technology packages have not worked as well as they did in Asia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>While many constraint are amenable to research, the bigger problem is the limited impact of the already very large public investments in agricultural research over the 40 years </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solution : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Based on a review of accumulated innovation experience in Africa on these topics, establish 10 pilot research programmes that combine all that is currently known about enabling innovation — participatory methods, systems thinking and technology transfer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The pilot programmes should be risky — we expect at least half to fail -- and should be orientated towards learning what approaches to agricultural innovation work in practice </li></ul></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  8. 8. 2. Rapid Innovation Response and Resilience Fund — 10 % <ul><li>Diagnosis : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>African farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs face an unpredictable series of shocks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>product standards and competitiveness in international markets, animal and crop disease outbreaks, climate change and recovery from civil disturbances </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>These require a continuous process of innovation and foresight information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solution : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Time-bound taskforces, combining research and innovation services and an innovation clearing house to search for ideas globally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This will be complemented by lesson learning exercises to develop a repertoire of responses to major agricultural shocks and opportunities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This learning dimension will help build the responsiveness and resilience of rural economies. Foresight exercises will be established to scan for emerging shocks and opportunities </li></ul></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  9. 9. 3. An Innovation Architecture Fund — 10 % <ul><li>Diagnosis: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many African countries have developed excellent agricultural science infrastructure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>However, as research has not been orientated to society’ needs, political support has evaporated and funding declined </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solution : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve the relevance of research and the articulation of demand for research products by strengthening linkages with farmers, industry, civil society, banks, development agencies and decisionmakers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This will be achieved by competitive, people-centred grant schemes and/ or enterprise-friendly, governance mechanisms and public-private joint investment in scientific infrastructure </li></ul></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  10. 10. 4. Agricultural Innovation Education Fund — 10 % <ul><li>Diagnosis: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>African universities are very good at training agriculturalists in classical botany and agronomy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>But this does not prepare them for the real world where agriculture is part of a complex system of commerce, trade and uncertainty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Scientists trained overseas often return with excellent scientific knowledge but have difficulty translating these to meet local circumstances </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solution: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Establish degree courses on innovation and entrepreneurship with a strong systems orientation and problem-solving pedagogy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Add modules to science courses and use short courses to reorient scientists returning from foreign training </li></ul></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  11. 11. 5. Innovation Coordination Services Fund — 20 % <ul><li>Diagnosis : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agricultural extension as a service to promote innovation through technology transfer does not work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Farmers need assistance in acquiring and applying a range of different sorts of information so that they can access markets and deal with other shocks and opportunities. They also need help linking to agencies and companies that they work with or get help from </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Often innovation coordination services are required at a sector level, particularly in niche sectors such as aquaculture, spices and high value horticulture </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solution : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Support the training and retraining of public and private agents as innovation coordinators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strengthen the capacity of existing organisations to perform sector coordination roles. Where these are absent create new ones </li></ul></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  12. 12. 6. Agro-Industrial Enterprise Fund — 10 % (co-funded by a development bank ) <ul><li>Diagnosis : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agro-industrial development in Africa could add value and create much-needed rural employment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Currently, lack of finance and links to knowledge and innovation services prevent the emergence of companies that are innovative enough to be regionally and globally competitive and compliant to trade standards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If companies can’t prosper, they can’t employ poor people </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solution: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An agro-industrial development venture capital facility and the creation of specialist intermediary organisations/ knowledge services to link entrepreneurs to science and other sources of knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This will help build the responsiveness and resilience of emergent private agro-enterprises </li></ul></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  13. 13. 7. Agricultural Innovation Policy Support Fund — 5 % <ul><li>Diagnosis : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovation capacity (as distinct form science and technology capacity) is a new idea for many agricultural planners in Africa and the extent of this capacity is unknown </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benchmarking can help identify gaps, select intervention points and track progress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Participatory benchmarking and cross-country exchange exercises can help share ideas and promote institutional and policy change </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solution : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Commission the development of national agricultural innovation plans based on innovation surveys, participatory benchmarking and foresight process to strengthen national and regional networking and learning </li></ul></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  14. 14. 8. Agricultural Convergence Fund — 5 % <ul><li>Diagnosis: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The boundaries of agriculture are expanding to include issues such as energy and health </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>New platform technologies are one of the drivers of this expansion, but there are also market, political and ecological reasons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This requires research and capacity building that falls between conventional funding and ministerial mandates </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Solution : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A special co-funding challenge programme to address issues at the agriculture interface </li></ul></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  15. 15. Concluding comments <ul><li>We have a very rich understanding of how innovation, including agricultural innovation, takes place and how it can be nurtured </li></ul><ul><li>This understanding is derived from experiences in both the North and in the South </li></ul><ul><li>An emerging challenge is that major new initiatives in agricultural R&D and innovation are not well informed of the accumulated learning on innovation and are likely to make many of the mistakes of the past </li></ul><ul><li>While we should not try and copy-paste transfer the innovation arrangements that work for us in Europe or in individual African or Asian countries, it is our responsibility to make sure that principles of global innovation wisdom are shared and put into practice as widely as possible </li></ul>Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation
  16. 16. Learning INnovation Knowledge Policy-relevant Resources for Rural Innovation LINK is a specialist network of regional innovation policy studies hubs established by the United Nations University-MERIT (UNU-MERIT) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to strengthen the interface between rural innovation studies, policy and practice and to promote North-South and South-South learning on rural innovation.

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