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IFPRI: African countries should tap private sector for agricultural R&D funding

Over half the countries surveyed do not meet the minimum target investment into agricultural R&D of 1 percent of agricultural GDP.

Investment into agricultural research and development (R&D) in sub-Saharan Africa needs to increase dramatically, to continue improvements in agricultural output and growth in the region, according to a recent report  by the Agricultural Science and Technology Indicators (ASTI), led by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

The report notes that sub-Saharan African countries rarely tap the private sector to fund their agricultural R&D programmes but should do so.

Current methods, chiefly reliant on aid donors, mean R&D programmes are not sustainably funded because they are at the whim of donors that could change their aid strategies at any time.

Private sector investment would increase funding diversification and overall improve agricultural R&D activity in the region, reads the report.

Currently, over half the countries surveyed do not meet the minimum target investment into agricultural R&D of 1 percent of agricultural GDP.

Policy reforms in the 1990s, which implemented more efficient use of agricultural resources, have ceased to have an effect on agricultural output in the region, the report continues. Agricultural output in sub-Saharan Africa will now heavily depend on access to advanced technology, and R&D funding is required to connect farmers with effective equipment to bolster their yields.

ASTI is a source of information on agricultural R&D systems across the developing world. IFPRI is a member of the CGIAR Consortium, a global research partnership for a food secure future, that looks for sustainable solutions to ending hunger and poverty.

R&D