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Friday, 29 April 2011

Africa: Agricultural research and development inflows still low

Investment in agricultural research and development (R&D) in Sub-Saharan Africa increased by more than 20 per cent from 2001-2008, but most of this growth occurred in only a handful of countries. Nigeria alone accounts for one-third of the increase. Spending in most of the region has stagnated or fallen, according to a new report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). In a survey of 32 African nations, the study found that investment in agricultural R&D had rebounded in many of the larger countries, primarily Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. However, in 13 countries, spending actually declined. Even where funding did increase, much of the money went to boost low salaries and rehabilitate infrastructure and equipment after years of neglect. The state of agricultural R&D is particularly grave in francophone West Africa, where insufficient national investment has left programs debilitated and dangerously dependent on volatile external funding. Many of these countries are also struggling with a rapidly aging pool of scientists, many of whom will approach retirement within the next decade.

Source: AllAfrica/The Citizen