WATER-WISE: Smart Irrigation Strategies for Africa

The report by Malabo Montpellier Panel gives an overview of the challenges on agricultural systems to make more food available and accessible and lays out the potential of irrigation to make agriculture more productive, efficient and profitable for smallholder farmers. A discussion on the potential to expand irrigation across Africa and barriers to uptake including an analysis of the inherent risks and desired outcomes of irrigation forms the next section. The report reviews the traditional and new, innovative small-scale and large-scale irrigation approaches and technologies that have been implemented in Africa, followed by an analysis of the experiences of six African countries that have been particularly innovative and successful in terms of their institutional and policy design for irrigation. The report closes by drawing some key lessons and offering nine recommendations for actions by African governments and the private sector. Get the full publication here

National Agricultural Research Systems, the Biotechnology Revolution and Agricultural Development

This chapter of the ‘Globalization and the Human Factor: Critical Insights’ by Joseph Mensah examines the relationship between agricultural development and biotechnology in Africa by focusing on two related issues. First, the institutional capability of national agricultural research systems (NARS) in Africa to harness, exploit or utilize or engage the technology, and second, the ownership and transfer of biotechnology. The NARS in Africa, like many aspects of the region’s institutional framework, has to be examined with reference to its colonial past. That examination will reveal four major features. First, the research activities were largely in response to the commercial interests of the settlers, hence an external orientation of agricultural research. Second, colonial botanical gardens, as early incubators of NARS, were more interested in the ‘de facto transfer of plant resources’ to metropolitan research centres. Third, there is a heavy reliance on expatriate staff; and finally, research activities focused more on technical considerations than on political and socio-cultural considerations. The NARS in many African countries depends on donor assistance. The chapter was written by Korbla P. Puplampu. Get the full publication here