Recent developments in agricultural research

After a period of stagnation in the late-1980s and early 1990s, investments in Nigeria’s public agricultural R&D increased substantially around the turn of the millennium. Adjusted for inflation, investments doubled from 12 million naira in 2000 to 24 million in 2008 (in 2005 prices). This growth included increased researcher salaries and substantial investments for the rehabilitation of research infrastructure and equipment. Despite these increased investments, research-related infrastructure needs remain significant, and the lack of research equipment and facilities are still cited as serious constraints to agricultural research in Nigeria. Furthermore, the country’s agricultural research spending intensity—measured as public agricultural R&D investment as a share of agricultural output—remains low compared with a number of key African countries (around 0.4 percent). In addition, commercialization of research outputs remains limited.

Along with the growing investment, Nigeria’s public agricultural research capacity also increased between 2000 and 2008, resulting in growth in FTE researcher numbers from about 1,300 to more than 2,000. Notably, the role of the higher education sector in agricultural research increased during this period. In contrast, the role of the non-proit and private for-profit sector in agricultural research remains very small.

The increases in research capacity and investment are positive signs of growing support for agricultural R&D. In addition, the establishment of ARCN should have a constructive influence on research by strengthening collaboration, lessening duplication, and hopefully encouraging even greater support, in particular from non-governmental sectors like the private sector.
However, one disconcerting capacity trend (stemming from the long-term recruitment freeze) is the shift away from senior, well-qualified researchers toward more junior researchers qualified to the BSc level only. In addition, structural challenges caused by the many years of underinvestment remain. Consequently, addressing infrastructure and training needs will be especially critical in the years to come.

Flaherty, Kathleen
Ayoola, Gbolagade
Ogbodo, John
Beintema, Nienke M.
Published date: 
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN); and Farm and Infrastructure Foundation (FIF)
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