Agriculture is recognised as key to the economic recovery of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), but is currently characterised by low productivity, as elsewhere on the continent.
Governments and development agencies are working to revitalise the agricultural sector, and thus boost overall economic performance, through the African Union’s (AU) Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). The CAADP outlines an African-led agricultural strategy for economic growth, for instance by enhancing agricultural research and technology dissemination and adoption. To support implementation of the strategy, efforts are underway to develop capacity within the National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems (NARES). Unfortunately, the human capital equipped with the skills to guide innovative approaches to agricultural development is lacking in most SSA countries. This is also the case at universities, which should be leading in innovation on agricultural productivity. But university research and training curricula are still too subject-based and do not respond to the multi-faceted challenges of poverty and other development needs.