Promoting food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture in Africa: the role of innovation
Scientific cooperation with Africa on agriculture is critical to achieving sustainable food and nutrition security. To prepare of the EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on Food and Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA), it is considered necessary to investigate how to support innovation processes allowing acquired knowledge to be more widely disseminated and mobilised and have greater impact. Moreover, extension and advisory services (EASs), which are a critical part of innovation systems, have seen profound changes in recent decades in Africa: they have been privatised and decentralised and the thematic content and the objectives of their missions have also evolved. Various EASs coexist, with uneven coverage and delivery.
Proposals will review the various approaches towards innovation promoted and implemented in past and present activities in Africa or other regions in the world as a basis for developing a strategy for fostering innovation and enhancing the impact of the EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on FNSSA. This strategy will look at the involvement of various categories of stakeholders in all stages of the research process and include elements related to the linkages with farmers' organisations and ways of empowering farmers, the role of civil society organisations, the role of advisory services, private sector and other intermediaries both at the value chain and territorial scale. It will develop and test relevant approaches scaling out of results achieved through EU-Africa cooperation on research and innovation. Proposals will also include mappings of national EASs in African countries, elaborating EAS typologies. The capacity of the EASs to facilitate appropriate links between researchers and other (private and public) actors in innovation systems will be assessed. Various farming approaches will be covered, including the organic sector. Particular attention will be paid to orientations given through governance mechanisms (particularly in terms of farmers' involvement in orientation and programming) and funding.
Proposals should secure the commitment and participation of a variety of concerned partners established in the EU and in Africa and should develop and implement pilot innovation actions. Proposals will be expected to establish relevant links with other projects involved in the preparation of the EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on FNSSA. Proposals should fall under the concept of the 'multi-actor approach'.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude the submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Activities will contribute to:
In the short term:
- delivery of relevant activities, schemes, approaches and strategies through pilot actions to foster innovation in FNSSA in Africa and to achieve widespread local impact;
- support for the development of an EU-Africa Research and Innovation Partnership on FNSSA; and
- recommendations for relevant policies in support of innovation processes (agricultural and agricultural knowledge and innovation systems (AKIS) and cooperation policies), in particular as regards linking local innovation needs to a research agenda and the role of knowledge brokers such as EAS.
In the long term:
- increased capacity of multi-actor groups to innovate; and
- improved implementation of research and innovation results in the farming sector in Africa.