By Mekonnen Teshome
(Nairobi, Kenya) : A sideline panel participating scientists of the inaugural edition of the African Conference on Agricultural Technology (ACAT) of the Africa Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) , from 30th October- 4th November 2023, in Nairobi , Kenya, with a theme “Researchers Dialogue: Accelerating Science, Technology and Innovation”, warn that Africa may fail to meet SDGs targets, if it fails to invest in research and development.
The scholars said that Africa has failed to attach the proper attention to research and development and it is paying the price of sluggish improvements of crop productivity and rampant food insecurity across the continent.
One of the discussants in the panel, Dr. Tshilidzi Madzivhandila, Head of Missions & Chief Executive Officer, FANPRAN, underlined “Africa’s agriculture and food s systems are not working well and we need to decolonized science as well as make adequate investment for research and development.”
Dr. Tshilidzi noted that there is a disconnection between science and policy making and the continent is going to miss the SDGs targets unless research and innovation is given the proper place it needs and Africa has to strengthen research practices along with strong monitoring and evaluation of the process to bridging the gaps and meeting the the international development goals.
He also indicated that it is ideal to see and focus in all the processes and procedures of research efforts as well as its final impacts rather than focusing on the research activity itself.
Prof. Richard Oduor, Registrar, Research, Kenyatta University/ Chair, KUBICO, also on his part underscores that as technologies are dynamic, Africa need to adapt new technologies and research methods in good times before the technologies are becoming chestnut due to other emerging new ones.
Dr. Cliff Sibusiso Dlamini, Executive Director, CCARDESA, another panelist of the session, indicated that researchers in the Africa also need to follow a comprehensive approach that can cover all challenges of agriculture including climate change , soil fertility , crop productivity, food security, ecosystem health and emerging technologies including precision agricultural and digitization/robotics to assist in the enhancement of agricultural productivity in Africa.
The panel was organized with an aim of creating an engaging platform and to accelerate agricultural innovation and foster collaboration among researchers as well as facilitating dialogue related to innovation with a key emphasis on trust and optimal, on-time innovation and uptake to ensure timely market entry.