Addressing the generation gap in Agriculture for socio economic development of Africa

  The larger part of sub-Saharan Africa’s population lives in rural areas where poverty and low human development indices are most severe. Since most rural households are agrarian in nature, and given the sector’s large contribution to the overall economy, boosting agriculture provides the double advantage of eradicating poverty in those regions as well as... Continue Reading →

AFRICA ON THE MOVE: The role of universities in transforming Africa’s agricultural sector

By Charles Owuor, RUFORUM According to Brookings foresight for Africa’s agriculture, food production in Sub-Saharan Africa needs to increase by 60% in the next 15 years to adequately meet the future demands of the continent’s skyrocketing population. To achieve this feat, there is growing consensus that investments should be made in strategic sectoral areas to... Continue Reading →

Learning how agricultural research can be more relevant to the poor


Can agricultural research be more relevant and useful to women, the poor and marginalized? Researchers in the CGIAR have long been grappling with this question and have developed a number of methodologies in response, the best known of which are farming systems research in 1970s and integrated natural resource management in the 1990s.  The methodologies have all tried to do the same thing: make agricultural research more grounded in the context of its application and more driven by a problem solving approach. Gibbons et al., (1994) has described this as  Mode 2 research contrasting it with  Mode 1 academic, investigator-initiated and discipline-based knowledge production.  

Despite the protracted effort to develop and embed  Mode 2 research approaches in the CGIAR none have become mainstream. In 2011 the CGIAR funded the CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) to change this as the authors of the programme proposal made clear:

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