APRA researcher at Agri4D

APRA was recently represented by Dr Fred Dzanku, research fellow at the University of Ghana’s Institute of Statistical, Social & Economic Research, as one of eight keynote speakers at the biennial Agricultural Research for Development Conference, Agri4D 2019 held on 25-26 September in Uppsala, Sweden.

 “The overall goal of my presentation was to stimulate thinking about how rural development policy and practice can help accelerate poverty reduction in rural sub-Saharan Africa, and what role a reduction in village-specific agricultural productivity gaps could play. Today, sub-Saharan Africa imports approximately US$35 billion worth of food annually (or about 2.3% of the continent’s agricultural GDP in 2018). While this is worrying and calls for increased agricultural productivity, I emphasised the need to go beyond thinking about just on-farm productively increases to thinking that encompasses profitability and sustainability,” Fred explains.

Fred continues “This means we need to think critically about how to remove barriers to increased productivity, profitability, and sustainability concurrently. After all, African agriculture faces multiple constraints and an approach that does not address all these constraints together is likely to fail. For example, Ghana’s current flagship program for the agriculture sector dubbed ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ is laudable but will fail if it focuses disproportionately on the supply of seeds and fertilisers, as it currently does, without addressing the challenges of agricultural water supply (irrigation) and marketing. Thus, so long as the constraints of liquidity, risk, information, and access to markets remain, farmers will have little incentive for increasing yields.”

While at the conference, Fred also took the opportunity to highlight APRA’s work, displaying a poster showing APRA’s scope of work and how it related to the broad conference objective. He also answered questions from participants on APRA’s current work. “I hope that findings from APRA research can be presented at the Agri4D conference in 2021”, he says.

More information about the conference can be found here