It is definitely important and beneficial when activities in the research sphere fit in and meet the needs and priorities of its target group. When looked at holistically, it is important that research institutions, whether international, regional or national, ensure their research and results meet the need of the countries where they find themselves. This was the core of discussions and a major component of the two-day CGIAR National Consultation on Site Integration held in Nigeria between the 16th and 17th of November 2015.
As part of preparations towards the Third Global Conference on Agricultural Research and Development (GCARD3), the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research(CGIAR) organised this consultation. The National consultation, which was hosted and coordinated by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), brought together stakeholders from the CGAIR Research Programs (CRPs), private sector, International Donors, farmer groups, commodity associations, Youth network and organisations, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), National Research Institutes and agencies, to mention but a few.
A key objective of the consultation was to understand the needs of Nigeria in terms of agriculture and agricultural research and to further see how the CGIAR CRPs can integrate their work to complement the programs, projects and activities of all players in the sector to achieve meaningful results. The consultation also developed a framework that encompasses factors like resources, monitoring and evaluation, governance structure, communication mechanisms and coordination. It was interesting to note that the young people were considered as important, hence their presence at these discussions. They were represented by the Young Professionals in Agricultural Development (YPARD) and the IITA Youth Agripreneurs (IYA).
The word “integration” was heard multiple times throughout discussion and about 45 minutes was spent on the first day to ensure everyone was on the same page. At the end everyone agreed that integration involves:
- Common goal and team work.
- Joint planning.
- Effective Communication
- Collective ownership of targeted goals.
What is Nigeria's Priority?
It was thus in the context of the above that a representative of FMARD shared his National strategy where integration and collective effort is needed.
- Food security: Increasing productivity, quality, accessibility, and profitability along Agricultural value chains (crops, Trees, livestock, fisheries).
- Job Creation: Jobs to be created from diversification from primary production, mechanization, Climate Smart Agricultural Practices, research and training.
- Diversification of Economy: strengthen value addition and development of product.
- Investment: Development of policy to stimulate investment, irrigation and other innovative platform for agricultural financing.
These strategies will thus be the basis for site integration between the CGIAR Centre and National Programs, ensuring that every stakeholder, while trying to achieve its goals, is also able to contribute to achieving what Nigeria considers a priority. It will also allow for their work to focus well enough to achieve food security and touch the lives of the millions of farmers in the country.
The consultation was a great way to ensure everyone is on board. The interaction did bring out lessons and learning to impress on minds and hearts that collaboration, synergies, proper communication, coordination and monitoring will serve as the framework to realise site integration.
Even though youth was not the focus of the consultation, it is good to note that youth will be critical to achieve the desired goals and will be part of the rest of the process. As preparations toward the GCARD3 are in progress, we look forward to see the Site Integration Plan finalised through the framework achieved from the consultation and implementation by all partners.