Funding agricultural research for development: Lessons from PAEPARD

Most agencies supporting agricultural research in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) provide funds for discrete projects over specific periods of time, usually a maximum of three years. Research topics identified for calls for proposals are not always well aligned with users’ needs. In particular, research topics may not reflect the priorities of organizations - such as farmer organizations and private agribusinesses, with interests in the research outcomes; they are not generally supported to play a significant role as project partners. The failure to include relevant stakeholders inproject decision making, among other factors, impacts the quality of research and severely limits the uptake of research outputs, thereby reducing the potential development impact. The Platform for an Africa-Europe Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD) has sought to overcome these shortcomings by mobilizing and supporting multi-stakeholder research consortia to address priority research issues that respond to users’ needs. In implementing this user-led approach, some key lessons have been learned about funding agricultural research for development (ARD).

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