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Opening access to information and knowledge in African agricultural S&T


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Presentation made at the Second Conference of the IAALD Africa Chapter on the theme "Towards Opening Access to Information & Knowledge in the Agricultural Sciences and Technology in Africa" held at M Plaza Hotel, Accra, Ghana, 15th - 17th July 2009.

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Opening access to information and knowledge in African agricultural S&T

  1. 1. Monty Jones Executive Director Opening access to information and knowledge in African agricultural S&T
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Background </li></ul><ul><li>Political declarations </li></ul><ul><li>Key Actors contributing to agricultural development </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities and role of information and knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Key elements in opening access </li></ul><ul><li>What FARA can offer </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul>
  3. 3. How does agriculture contribute? <ul><li>40% export </li></ul><ul><li>30% GDP </li></ul><ul><li>30% foreign exchange earning </li></ul><ul><li>70-80% employment </li></ul>
  4. 4. Agriculture is important to transform an agriculture-based economy Source, WDR, 2008 <ul><li>In the 1980’s the emerging economies, e.g . India and Brazil , </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agriculture share in GDP was 25% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public spending in agriculture was 14% of the total public spending </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Resulting to increased livelihood, food security and expanded economy </li></ul><ul><li>In Africa, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agriculture share in GDP is 30% </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Public spending in agriculture is only 4% of total public spending </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Political declarations <ul><li>AU support for CAADP </li></ul>“ Local ownership must begin with the national political will to develop and implement comprehensive food security strategies, based on sound scientific evidence , inclusive consultation, domestic investment and clear directions.” <ul><li>G8 ‘ l'Aquila' Joint Statement on Global Food Security, July 2009 </li></ul>African vision: 6% annual growth in agricultural production
  6. 6. Key actors contributing to agricultural development <ul><li>Policy makers </li></ul><ul><li>Farmer agricultural advisory services </li></ul><ul><li>Farmers and their associations </li></ul><ul><li>Market intermediaries </li></ul><ul><li>Processors </li></ul><ul><li>Consumers and associations </li></ul>
  7. 7. Opportunities and role of information and knowledge <ul><li>Establishment of info systems for monitoring market performance and measuring market failures </li></ul><ul><li>Development of info systems to address food security issues </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agricultural production </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government subsidies for food security </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Monitoring of water and land resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disease problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Food transportation and storage </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Efficient marketing of agricultural products through info and telecom networks </li></ul><ul><li>Provision of equitable access to new techniques for improving agricultural production </li></ul><ul><li>Reduced food storage losses through more efficient distribution using ICT </li></ul>Source: African Information Society Initiative (AISI)
  8. 8. <ul><li>Conclusions from 2009 Science Forum discussion on ICT transformation of agricultural science, research and technology generation; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>To promote more participatory, collaborative, creative and impact oriented agricultural science and innovation by investing in ICTs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ICT is not just for the scientists but also for actors along the value chain eg. producers, traders and consumers </li></ul></ul>Opportunities and role of information and knowledge
  9. 9. Key questions in attaining opening access <ul><li>Are we advocating for its use to the right institutions? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we have the right systems that can be easily accessed by intended users? </li></ul><ul><li>Do the users have the skills and infrastructure to access? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we have institutional policies in place to implement? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we have available platforms for practitioners to share their challenges and lessons learnt? </li></ul>
  10. 10. What FARA can offer
  11. 11. What can FARA offer Cohesive and complementary strategies on agricultural productivity To achieve; <ul><li>Evolution & reform of agricultural institutions & services </li></ul><ul><li>Increasing the scale of Africa’s investment </li></ul><ul><li>Aligned and coordinated support </li></ul>While working with; Extension, research, training & education African governments, private sector Development agencies, int’l financing institutions The Framework for African Agricultural Productivity (FAAP)
  12. 12. Evolution and reform of agricultural institutions and services innovation systems approach Civil society Research and education Private Sector Human Capital Development Agencies Public Sector Innovation Systems Approach
  13. 13. Evolution and reform of agricultural institutions and services information and learning systems Market vendors communicate required products to farmers Policy makers access policy briefs and data to facilitate policy formulation Creating a market place for information and learning Farmers’ organizations empowered to share opinions and needs Scientists share information with potential partners or users
  14. 14. Evolution and reform of agricultural institutions and services innovation platform for technology adoption agricultural value chains in communities Mutual learning & experience sharing Building trust & confidence
  15. 15. Evolution and reform of agricultural institutions and services integrated capacity strengthening University agenda has to be more development oriented <ul><li>Students are taught </li></ul><ul><li>in systemic thinking i.e. integration of disciplines and knowledge system </li></ul><ul><li>to build skills for facilitating interactive learning </li></ul><ul><li>Professors are encouraged; </li></ul><ul><li>to change mindsets and build values that support the new ways of thinking and learning </li></ul>
  16. 16. Conclusions <ul><li>Open access contributes to the transformation of African agricultural development, if it can; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Catalyze agricultural innovations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve African knowledge management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strengthen Africa’s capacity to build capacity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote enabling policies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitate access to market </li></ul></ul>
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