Conference on Agricultural Development and Food Security Ends with Call to Action to African Governments

Event delegates

NAIROBI — The first East Africa Evidence to Action Conference brought together over 200 delegates to discuss challenges and opportunities in the uptake of evidence-based research and evaluation by policy makers.

The event, “Evidence to Action: Towards an Evidence Based and Data- Informed Policy, Action and Practice in Africa,” on May 23-24, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya provided delegates with an opportunity to share information about projects, reviewed cutting edge research and evaluation projects and identify a range policy gaps that can be resolved using research and evaluation.

Delegates noted that though Africa has seen a significant increase in the generation of research data and evaluation, uptake of recommendations from these studies by government was still very low.

“Many of the challenges faced in the African continent today can be resolved by implementing the findings coming out of existing research and evaluation reports. Sadly most government chose to ignore this valuable data and knowledge,” said ICED president and AMA Innovation Lab board member David Ameyaw.

The event, which brought together researchers, government executives from the agriculture sector, local and international agribusiness firms, farmers, financial institutions, insurance firms, potential investors, society organizations and thought leaders called on governments to work in partnership with researchers and evaluators.

Delegates discussed actionable strategies to reverse the current trend which included among others:

  • Need to scale-up sharing of results and evidence coming out of evaluation and research projects to spur growth in African agriculture and contribute to a transformation agenda.
  • Need to promote evidence-based research and results to drive the development agenda
  • Need to scale up documentation of best-practices and identification of what works, for whom, Where, how, and at what cost. Africa is depending on us to catalyze its agricultural transformation agenda.
  • Need to enhance integration of gender dimensions in all evidence based decision making.
  • Working in Partnership remains imperative. No single organization can do this alone.

“Global agencies such as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have very valuable research data on Africa that should be utilized by government," said Ameyaw. "For example, last year FAO shared satellite images of predicted drought in some parts of the country, which the government could have used to make relevant policy decisions.”

ICED chairman Namanga Ngongi said, “African governments should pay special attention to agriculture now that it has emerged as a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product growth of many African countries. Policy in agriculture therefore requires that governments consider the whole food value chain.”

The Conference was hosted by the International Centre for Evaluation and Development (ICED) in collaboration with Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI), the AMA Innovation Lab and the Tegemeo Institute for Agricultural Policy and Development.