Forum to Hear How Businesses Can Take Innovations to Scale

  • A gathering of public and private sector actors takes place on Thursday, June 24, 2021. Organized by CORAF, this half-day online forum would discuss ways of further engaging the private sector to scale up food system innovations in West and Central Africa.
  • The event organized by CORAF as part of a series of ongoing dialogue around critical research and development themes would bring together Director Generals of the 23 National Agriculture Research Systems (NARS) and some key businesses in the food system.
  • Thusrday’s event would be the fourth iteration of the NARS Leaders Forum.

A major gathering of food system research actors takes place virtually on Thursday, June 24, 2021, to discuss how the private sector can take innovations to scale. The 4th edition of the NARS leaders Forum, a series of ongoing dialogues organized by CORAF to address critical issues around research and development, would bring together director generals of NARS from across West and Central Africa and some leading businesses in the food system in both regions.

“Researchers develop technologies and innovations to meet the needs of the farmers, producers, and the populations. However, while the state has the primary responsibility of creating the enabling environment for the uptake of science, it is up to the private sector to take the ownership of these technologies and ensure their multiplication and their access to populations,” says Dr. Abdou Tenkouano, Executive Director of CORAF.

Scaling up of technologies remains a major challenge in the research and development sector. While many technologies are available, they are not always known to end-users. As a result, experts argue, the private sector with the financial wherewithal must be enlisted to support the massive upscaling to the proportion that would lead to the transformation of agriculture.

“The private sector is essential to achieve and guarantee food and nutritional security in a sustainable manner. It is by doing so that we stand a chance to achieve the African Heads blueprint in Agriculture and the global target of achieving zero hunger by 2030,” argues Dr. Tenkouano.

This high-level meeting will offer the stakeholders the window to take stock of the involvement of the private sector in agricultural R&D, to highlight the existing and potential opportunities for better integration of the private sector in agricultural R&D in WCA, and propose solutions to improve dialogue and engagement with the private sector in order to increase the efficiency of agricultural R&D in the sub-region. 

What are the Expected Outcomes?

Following are the expected outcomes of the online webinar: 

  • The extent of private sector involvement in AR4D determined;
  • Quality exchanges on NARS’ expectations of private sector involvement in research are identified and recommendations made;
  • Strategies to increase private sector engagement in agriculture research are documented;
  • Opportunities for joint action between the private sector and public research system are listed.

This edition of the NARS Leaders Forum is expected to draw participants from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), farmers’ organizations, and non-governmental organizations.

The one-day online event is the fourth iteration. The NARS Leaders Forum gathers leaders to reflect on critical agricultural research and identify potential solutions. Its outcome is usually shared with the decision-makers to inform them to make better policies for the up take of science. Previous editions have focused on the impact of COVID-19 on agricultural researchbio risks management and the capacity building of agricultural research and technology system.