IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Evolution of Agricultural Education and Training: Global Insights of Relevance for Africa

  • Eicher, Carl K.
Registered author(s):

    Today, it is conventional wisdom to speak of knowledge resources as being central to a nation's competitiveness and its economic destiny. Such wisdom gains urgency when one is discussing biotechnology and the African farmer. Two statistics highlight the dilemma of the African farmer. First, the average yield of food staples has been flat since independence in 1960. Second, there are 48 countries in Africa and only one (South Africa) of these is producing genetically modified (GM) crops commercially. Why? The answer is that most government and university research systems in Africa are producing only a trickle of new technology and improved farm practices. Consequently, African nations are severely challenged to invest in generating new knowledge for increasing agricultural productivity. This paper is part of a larger World Bank study of agricultural education and training (AET) in Sub-Saharan Africa. It focuses on the institution-building experience of countries outside Africa. Eight countries were selected for an analysis of the evolution of financially sustainable faculties of agriculture and national agricultural research systems. Four are industrial countries and four are classified as lower/ middle income countries. One of the major conclusions is that the political systems in many African countries have neglected agriculture. Africans have committed only about one-third to one-half of the public investment in agriculture as did their Asian counterparts during Asia's Green Revolution during the sixties and seventies. . Another major finding is that building an interactive system of three core institutions-research, education and extension-has been, and will remain, a multi-generational challenge. In the case studies of the United States, Japan and Brazil, the average duration for developing a financially sustainable system of these three core institutions ranged from 40 to 60 years. Many African governments and donors are currently myopic about investing in higher agricultural education. But with dwindling opportunities for overseas study, African universities will ultimately be responsible for training and replenishing the stock of human capital in their respective nations' research and extension services. Many recent studies of human capital, including training, education and health, have shown that human capital can contribute to worker productivity and agricultural growth. Yet in spite of the donor cutback of support for human capital improvement programs in Africa, the linkages between overseas and African universities have continued to evolve. Expanding information technology capacities are opening the electronic door for novel institutional partnerships to improve AET in Africa. Based on a global literature review and the experience of a number of donors and African countries, it is proposed that the World Bank prepare an Africa AET Plan with a 30-year time frame for strengthening AET in Africa. Phase I covering the first 15 years of the Plan can be prepared by drawing on the global and African experience, a few additional studies commissioned by the Bank, and discussions with stakeholders in Africa and with other donors. Nevertheless, it should be pointed out that building a science-based AET system to manage the transition from overseas training to M.Sc. and Ph.D. training within Africa is a time consuming, complex and costly process. The tentative budget for Phase I of the Plan is USD 1 billion to train 1,000 African PhDs in all fields of agriculture while strengthening the teaching and research capacity of African universities and faculties of agriculture. In the process, some difficult choices will have to be made regarding the most cost-effective strategies to boost the capacity of African universities and national research systems to increase agricultural productivity.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/11816
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics in its series Staff Papers with number 11816.

    as
    in new window

    Length:
    Date of creation: 2006
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ags:midasp:11816
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture, 446 West Circle Dr., Rm 202, East Lansing, MI 48824-1039
    Phone: (517) 355-4563
    Fax: (517) 432-1800
    Web page: http://www.aec.msu.edu/agecon/
    Email:


    More information through EDIRC

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as in new window
    1. Saint, W.S., 1992. "Universities in Africa; Strategies for Stabilization and Revitalization," Papers 194, World Bank - Technical Papers.
    2. Eicher, Carl K., 1999. "Institutions and the African Farmer," Distinguished Economist Lectures 7660, CIMMYT: International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center.
    3. Anderson, Jock R. & Feder, Gershon, 2007. "Agricultural Extension," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Elsevier.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ags:midasp:11816. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.