IBADAN, Nigeria: The Executive Director of FARA, Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo presented the opening address at the opening of the International Conference on Integrated Systems held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) campus, Ibadan, Nigeria between 3rd- 6th March 2015. His address emphasizes the importance of the systems research in the development of Africa agriculture; he congratulated the CGIAR for dedicating three of its 16 CRP research programs to systems research and development viz., Humidtropics, the Drylands and the Aquatic environments. The system research mode ensures that good attention is given to the complexities of issues around agricultural development which has not received sufficient attention in the past. Possibly, this has contributed to the lack of impact which has bedeviled the agricultural research systems in a long while.
In his words, Dr Yemi, stated that “FARA welcomes the move by the systems research CRPs to adopt IAR4D concept in the implementation of its systems program, albeit with adaptations to fit the uniqueness of their contexts, as a key element of their operational framework. We are satisfied with our collaboration on the up-scaling of IAR4D”
The attention of the System CRPs implementing partners were called to the obvious lack of livestock components in the implementation of the programs, this is obvious from the abstract of the papers that will be presented in the conference. He advocated that this needs to be adjusted to achieve a balance in the systems.
The need for research and development efforts in Africa to go beyond the pilot mentality was also laid to the table, Dr. Yemi stated that “… we have had too many test runs in Africa; we have simply had too many pilot studies. The frustration here is not with the strategy of piloting by itself, rather it is with piloting that does not go beyond the testing stage resulting in islands of success in a sea of declining productivity and degradation” He expressed hope that the systems research can help to address the need to scale innovations up to reach a wider populace.
The conference was attended by over 120 stakeholders of the three CGIAR systems CRPs from across the globe. The objectives of the conference include the sharing of experience and evidence on the effects of systems approach in agriculture research and how such contributes to improved livelihoods and natural resource management. The conference also explores opportunities for new partnerships and opportunities for cross learning and methods to do it effectively.