Research and data key to agric development – Agric Minister
The Minister of Food and Agriculture, Dr Owusu Afriyie Akoto, has described research as a key component for the realisation of the country’s agricultural development agenda.
“The need for strong evidence to better-inform development professionals, policy makers, donor community and private sector investors is greatly needed at this time more than ever. We must use research and data to ensure that images of forlorn looking, desperate hungry citizens are no longer part of our evening news,” he said.
Dr. Afriyie Akoto was speaking in Accra at the first ever West Africa Evidence to Action Conference on agriculture and food security, organised by the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED) and the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, Legon, Feed the Future Innovation Lab and Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative.
Sadly, Dr. Afriyie Akoto lamented, Africa continues to bear the burden of hunger which is aggravated by shocking levels of food loss and waste, adding that there is the need for urgent and radical action to be taken as well as a shift in focus and practice.
“In order to turn the continent's food security options around, we need to move beyond focusing on increasing productivity at farm levels and scale up efforts to proactively implement policy and practice recommendations coming out of research and evaluation projects being undertaken by various value chain actors,” Dr. Afriyie Akoto urged.
He further bemoaned that data gathering activities by the Ghana Statistical Service and the Statistics, Research and Information Directorate (SRID) of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, among others, have not been fully utilized to inform policy in the country.
The two-day conference which was under the theme: “Towards an evidence based and data -informed policy, action and practice in Africa” is aimed at promoting evidence from rigorous impact evaluations and research to encourage increased uptake and utilisation of research and innovation in evaluation to influence policy and drive change at the national, regional and global levels.
The event brought together several delegates from different parts of Africa to discuss strategies for enhancing the dissemination of research findings and ensuring that the process achieves the desired impact.
Dr. David Ameyaw, Chief Executive Officer of ICED, noted that it was high time the continent took monitoring and evaluation serious since its development partners are increasingly focused on getting good returns on investments made in the development sector.
The International Center for Evaluation and Development is an international and independent non-profit organisation that combines research and innovation with extensive practical experience in evaluation for development in Africa.