In the lead up to the 2016 Science Forum, we have asked Steering Committee (SC) members and speakers to answer a few questions related to the Forum’s focus on agricultural research pathways to inclusive rural development. These topics were chosen not accidentally, because despite technological developments, agriculture continues to change and exist. However, if you want to visit the forum with accurate theses to be ready to ask questions, or understand the special points, you can contact the top writing service for help.

Below are the responses from Baba Yusuf Abubakar, speaker on day 2 of the Forum. Yusuf is the Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria.

Q. Can you tell us briefly about yourself and your involvement in agricultural research?

For the past nine years, I have served as the pioneer Chief Executive of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, an umbrella organization of 15 research institutes and 11 colleges of agriculture with a total work force of about 12,000 staff. Prior to that, I worked with the National Animal Production Research Institute, Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria and reached the peak of my research/teaching career as Professor of Animal Science in 1995. I was also Director in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in charge of monitoring and evaluation of government policies. My masters and doctoral degrees were obtained from Cornell University in animal breeding & quantitative genetics. I was at one time chairman of the Governing Board of CORAF/WECARD and also member of the Governing Board of FARA. My involvement with the CGIAR started in 2008 as a member of the then ExCo. Currently I am a member of the CGIAR Fund Council as well as member of the Executive Board of CTA. So briefly then, in the span of my 38 years of service, I transited from a research scientist to a research manager.

The objective of the 2016 Science Forum is to rethink the pathways for agricultural research to stimulate inclusive development of rural economies in an era of climate change. The Forum will marshal evidence and build on lessons learned to date, to suggest an updated list of priority research areas and approaches which involve more strategic and inclusive engagement with partners.

Q. What are the most significant ways that developing countries can achieve greater rural prosperity? What does this prosperity look like?

One of the essential elements for delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is prosperity; that is to grow a strong inclusive & transformative economy. In this context, SDG2 is particularly relevant as it deals with ending hunger, achieving food security & improved nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. We know that achieving this goal is very complex as it involves the interplay of natural biophysical processes with social & economic processes. In developing countries, we must therefore renew efforts at improving agricultural systems for inclusive growth through increase in productivity of agriculture, livestock & fisheries, better rural infrastructure, innovative farming practices and more effective natural resource management. I believe that such an approach will lead to increase in smallholder incomes and thereby promoting rural prosperity while ensuring resilience to climate change.

Q. What are some agricultural research pathways that have really contributed to greater rural prosperity? How did they achieve this?

Certainly improvements in agricultural productivity are important for poverty reduction and enhanced rural prosperity. Inclusive productivity growth can catalyze a wide range of direct and indirect effects that mediate the pathways to poverty alleviation. However, barriers to technology adoption, constraints to market access may limit the ability of the poorest to actually benefit from such growth. Hence the need to pay attention to markets, agricultural innovations and appropriate policies that would drive agricultural transformation in developing countries.

Q. What does agricultural research need to do differently so it will contribute to rural prosperity in an era of climate change? What does climate change mean for the research pathways we follow?

First of all, public investment in agricultural research for development is especially important for research focused on the needs of poor farmers. We therefore need, as a game changer, increased investment in R4D. Importantly too, a cross-sectoral approach is key through the involvement of farmers and all stakeholders along the value chain of actors. The challenge is to produce more and better food with fewer resources through technological innovation. The thematic priorities for research on climate resilience could include: vulnerability, targeting and social institutions, agricultural management systems, breeding for future climates, post-harvest management, landscapes, ecosystems & carbon and climate data & knowledge systems.

Q. What is your expectation for the Forum? What do you want to take home from Addis Ababa and the people you meet there?

I look forward to meeting and interacting with colleagues from various institutions and different regions of the world. I sincerely hope that the Forum will come up with well-articulated outcomes that could help shape the pathways for agricultural research in relation to some of the emerging challenges of inclusive agricultural growth & climate change.

  1. April 5, 2016

    Comment

    I strongly agree with Prof. B. Y. Abubakar’s views, especially on the need to remove barriers to technology adoption and constraints to market access if the targeted rural poor are to benefit maximally from improved technologies.

    Given the statistics of malnutrition and stunting in Africa, the need for nutrition sensitive agriculture is also critical. There is need to develop programmes targeted at helping communities in uptake of improved technologies.

    National governments need to place more emphasis on and support R4D through enhanced budgetary provisions if the desired results are to be realized.

  2. April 7, 2016

    I am Prince Umeh, a postgraduate (Plant breeding) student at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Dept of Plant science, Faculty of agriculture.
    What a privilege to be among the selected Earlier career Scientist coming all the way from Nigeria to Addis Ababa, (Dejemach Beyene Merid Street) for the Workshop. Anticipating to gain more knowledge toward RETHINKING Pathways to Agriculture for rural Prosperity.


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