West Africa’s smallholders are dynamic and innovative and, if given the opportunity, could easily and sustainably double or treble their productivity. This would have a huge impact on the region’s food security and economic growth.
The Convergence of Sciences programme has spent the past decade exploring new pathways for agricultural innovation that focus on enabling smallholders to capture opportunity. Its approach relies on bringing together different actors who can achieve major change in an agriculture sector and create new conditions at system levels higher than those of the field and the farm. The interaction of farmers, scientists, administrators, policymakers and other decision makers can remove constraints and create opportunities at these levels.
This publication documents some of the programme’s outcomes, approaches and methods so as to allow others to draw out lessons for future programme design and further research.
PAEPARD blog post 18/09/2013:
Facilitating innovation platforms to trigger institutional change in West Africa
KIT Publishers, Amsterdam, 2012, 142 p.
The research programme Convergence of Sciences – Strengthening Agricultural Innovation Systems in Ghana, Mali and Benin (CoS-SIS) explores and experiments with new pathways for agricultural innovation. It has put in place innovation platforms – referred to as “Concertation and Innovation Groups” (CIGs) – for a variety of sectors: water management and rice, oil palm and cotton in Benin; oil palm, cocoa and food security in Ghana; and crops and livestock, water management and shea in Mali. The programme aims to enhance institutional change through these CIGs.