In July, CGIAR organized a conference on assessing the impact of international agricultural research, in Nairobi. FoodAfrica held its own annual meeting in connection to the event, which gave the FoodAfrica researchers an opportunity to engage with other relevant partners and share the FoodAfrica results.

The conference was a three day event held at ICRAF in Nairobi, including engaging plenary sessions with invited papers and discussions, and a number of parallel sessions to present concrete experiences and project results. The themes ranged from technology adoption (Day 1), to innovations to reduce poverty, improve food and nutrition security and natural resources (Day 2). Challenges relating to methodological issues as well as evaluation of impacts were discussed from many angles.

– The conference was a good opportunity for the FoodAfrica team to convene for an annual meeting, while also engaging with other relevant partners and sharing our results and learning more about impact evaluation, says Senior Specialist and FoodAfrica Coordinator Mila Sell from Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

Adoption and uptake of technologies is a challenge to be solved

It was generally agreed that adoption and uptake of technologies, which would be central for advances in agriculture, food security and development, is a challenge and in many cases it is difficult to capture the reasons behind this. They may be linked to problems of the extension system, innovations not being appropriate for the context, or that profitability is not obvious to the farmers.

FoodAfrica had a parallel session where the Programme and its key results were presented to an interested and active audience. Most of the results from the FoodAfrica programme are currently being compiled into different formats, for different end-user groups.

– Presenting the FoodAfrica results to a peer-group was very useful, in teasing out the key issues to focus on in the final year of the programme. All of the challenges identified in the different sessions will be relevant also when FoodAfrica participants finalize their messages to end-users. How can the results better target the extension system or be made more appropriate for a given context? Mila Sell says.

The FoodAfrica Programme partners have since continued their work and will have a chance to share results in an innovative way again in March, when the FoodAfrica final event will take place in connection to and part of Nairobi Innovation Week 2018. More information about the FoodAfrica activities at Nairobi Innovation Week is soon to come.

The conference was organized by CGIAR’s Independent Science and Partnership Council’s Standing Panel on Impact Assessment (SPIA) together with the CGIAR research program on Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM). More information on the conference, including all presentations, can be found on the event web page