Virtual Roundtable Series

Kenya: Transforming agricultural research funding towards sustainability 

The issue
Agricultural research has a major role to play to develop sustainable agricultural practices and policies toward achieving greater sustainability, equity, and resilience. The importance of agricultural research has been emphasized in Kenya’s 10-year Agricultural Sector Growth and Transformation Strategy (ASTGS) as one of the core flagships for the sector. However, agricultural research still suffers from underinvestment.

Additionally, agricultural research in sub-Saharan Africa is currently dominated by highly specialized research, which produces isolated solutions. Inversely, holistic and transdisciplinary approaches that systematically approach multiples challenges of today’s food systems – such as climate change, rural poverty, demographic pressure or natural resource degradation – are not receiving a commensurate share of research funding. In order to contribute to Kenya’s Vision 2030 and realize progress towards the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development, more integrated research approaches are needed. For instance, agroecological approaches are now gaining momentum and support by an increasingly wide range of experts within the scientific community, international organizations and governments as a means to reach the SDGs.

Objective of the virtual roundtable series

The virtual roundtable series aims to provide a platform to discuss pathways for transforming agricultural research funding towards more sustainability, in line with agroecological principles.

Specific objectives:

              – Present the findings of a special report on funding flows to agricultural research in sub-Saharan Africa

               Develop action plans for Kenya and the region to strengthen integrated agricultural research for development.

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Approach

The virtual roundtable is organized as a series of interactive sessions, and aims to provide substantial inputs on the status of funding flows to agricultural research in sub-Saharan Africa and how they shape food and farming pathways. The factors driving research agenda setting and funding allocation will also be discussed. It will be based on the main findings of a recent study (Money Flows report), which builds on a set of case studies analyzing the funding flows of major institutions. The study analyzes investments into agriculture research in quantitative terms, and also sheds light on the political economy behind these investments in order to identify openings – or opportunity for change – for the emergence of new agendas in line with the SDGs. Participants will be able to further contribute their own experience and perspectives. Interactive discussions between participants will focus on the steps to follow to overcome the current deadlocks that prevent the transformation of food systems to sustainability and to promote greater investments in research on agroecological and similar sustainable practices.

Roundtable structure

The virtual roundtables will take place virtually in a series of three short (2 hour) sessions, which take place between April 2021 and June 2021.

Session 1: Definition: Discussing the status of funding flows to agricultural research in sub-Saharan Africa and factors driving research agenda setting and funding allocation (Output: Summary of deadlocks/windows of opportunity)

Session 2: Ideation: Developing ideas to overcome the current deadlocks and to use windows of opportunity for greater investments in research on agroecological and similar sustainable practices (Output: Draft recommendations specific for East Africa)

Session 3: Reecommendation: Discussing draft recommendations and identifying concrete actions to further their application in policy and practice (Output: Final recommendations and action plan specific for East Africa)

Date and time:

  • Opening Session: 14th April 2021 (14.00-16.00 EAT)
  • 2nd session: TBD
  • 3rd session: TBD

Platform:

Facilitated Zoom meeting

Participants:

up to 50 participants from Kenya and East African region

  • official authorities
  • agricultural research for development community: leaders of research institutions, civil society organizations
  • public and private donor community

Registration

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Programme

Session 1: Definition: Discussing the status of funding flows to agricultural research in sub-Saharan Africa and factors driving research agenda setting and funding allocation

Output: Summary of deadlocks/windows of opportunity

 

Time (min) Speaker Topic Format

Welcome and Introduction

Panel presentations

5'
Prof. Mary Abukutsa, DVC JKUAT
  • Welcome remarks
5'
Dr. Frank Eyhorn, CEO Biovision Foundation
  • Welcome on behalf of Biovision Foundation and introduction to the topic
5'
Prof. Daniel Sila, JKUAT
  • Introduction of Panelist

Setting the scene - Status and role of agricultural research funding

10'

Ministry of Agriculture, Deputy Director Agriculture: Ms. Jane Wambugu

  • Priority areas for funding in Agricultural Research in Kenya
10'

DVC RPE JKUAT: Prof. Mary Abukutsa

  • The role and relevance of agricultural research funding in universities
10'
Director NACOSTI: Prof. Walter Oyawa
  • Role of National Commision for Science, Technology and Innovation (NACOSTI) in research for development
10'
CEO National Research Fund: Dr. Jemimah Onsare
  • Funding of research and innovation in Kenya: challenges and opportunities
10'
Director of Crop Systems KALRO: Dr. Lusike Wasilwa
  • Opportunities and challenges in accessing agricultural research funding to National Agricultural Research System

10'

Biovision Foundation: Dr. Charlotte Pavageau

  • Status of funding flows to agricultural research in sub-Saharan Africa ("Money Flows" report)

10' Break

Challenges and opportunities - what needs to change in agricultural research funding to enhance sustainability?

Plenary discussion

40'
Q/A Panel Discussion
  • What factors in current research funding inhibit sustainable and integrated agricultural research? (deadlocks)
  • What opportunities exist to transform agricultural research funding towards sustainability? (windows of opportunity)
10'
Key messages from Panelists
  • Parting shot from each Panelist

5' Break

Summary and way forward

Chief Rapporteur

10'
Summary of discussions and way forward
  • Reporting of main deadlocks/windows of opportunity identified in the discussions
5'
Vote of thanks
  • Closing remarks

Speakers

  • Prof. Mary Abukutsa – DVC, RPE JKUAT
  • Dr. Frank Eyhorn – CEO Biovision Foundation
  • Prof. Daniel Sila – JKUAT
  • Ms. Jane Wambugu – Ministry of Agriculture, Deputy Director Agriculture
  • Prof. Walter Oyawa – Director NACOSTI
  • Dr. Jemimah Onsare – CEO National Research Fund
  • Dr. Lusike Wasilwa – Director of Crop Systems, KALRO
  • Dr. Charlotte Pavageau – Biovision Foundation

 

Contact

Biovision

JKUAT

Prof. Daniel Sila     
dsila@jkuat.ac.ke     

 

 

Dr. Robert Mbeche

rmbeche@jkuat.ac.ke

 

Biovision

Dr. Michael Brander

m.brander@biovision.ch

Social Media

#agroecology #foodsystems #agresearch
@FutureForAll @DiscoverJKUAT