Dr Alfred Dixon, Director, Development and Delivery Office, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, has called for multiple linkages and collaborations among stakeholders for dissemination of agricultural research outcomes to farmers.
Dixon made the call in a statement made available to the Nigeria News Agency in Ibadan on Monday.
The statement quoted Dixon as making the call while presenting his contract review seminar entitled “Scaling Up and Scaling Out of Agricultural Innovations – Duo for Systemic Change” at the institute.
The director, popularly known as the “Father of Cassava”, stressed that the churning out of innovations to boost agricultural productivity must be supported by strategic partnerships and collaborations that would impact on the farmers and the target population.
He said that while “scaling out” entailed linking up with the private sector, the farmers and the markets, “scaling up” involved working with governments and policy makers.
Dixon urged the government to help create the right policy framework for the adoption of new technologies by farmers and other stakeholders.
According to him, the IITA cassava projects have been able to reach millions of farmers owing to the linkages made with several stakeholders, including government agencies.
He cited the role being played by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the cassava advocacy as well as how ACAI had been disseminating its research outcomes, using strategic partnerships in addition to technologies developed by IITA and its partners.
“Just having agricultural productivity or increase in agricultural production will not necessarily lead to increase in income for farmers, unless it is linked to the markets.
“When you have all, you still need the policy environment; you need the private sector, that is, the processors, the agro-dealers, the famers and the government to give you the right policies and the backing,” he said.
Dixon noted that Africa’s increasing population growth rate had posed a huge challenge as agricultural productivity remained far behind.
He stressed that with Nigeria’s population expected to hit 400 million by 2050, there was the need to double up on agricultural productivity figures.
“We are making progress but our productivity is still low; our population growth keeps increasing; therefore, no matter what, food and nutrition security is a gap.
“So there must be an agricultural transformation; we must increase productivity far more than the rate we are doing now,” he said.
He called on Research for Development (R4D) and Partnerships for Development (P4D) to increase their working relationships, as both had contributed to sustaining agricultural transformation for scaling up and scaling out of agricultural innovations.
“We need R4D to do the science and P4D to do the scaling. We have the multidisciplinary teams, but all of them have to work together to link to the policy makers, that is, the government for the scaling up.
“We have to link to the NARS also for the scaling up; we also need to link to the private sector for the scaling out and also to the development investors for scaling up, because we need the resources to work.
“Future projects must consider sustainability and exit strategies before project design and implementation activities,” he said.
Edited by: Chioma Ugboma and ‘Wale Sadeeq