As Nigeria works towards reforming its agricultural research system, more effective collaboration between its national research institutions and international research centres such as the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is an important ingredient to strengthening further the system. This was the key message delivered by Dr George Mavrotas, Senior Research Fellow and Head of IFPRI Office in Abuja, at the National Workshop for the reform of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN) held on Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 December 2015 in Abuja. Dr Mavrotas also stressed that IFPRI is a natural partner in this important exercise in view of its dynamic presence with an IFPRI Office and country program in Nigeria since 2007.
The Workshop was the final stakeholder National Workshop on the ARCN Reform that had participants within the spectrum of top management of various relevant ministries, agencies, research & allied institutions, parliament, development partners, farmers’ organizations & other relevant stakeholders. This was a culmination of the various earlier zonal retreats and change management workshops that held in Ibadan, Enugu and Kaduna in October and November 2015. The key objective of the ARCN transformation work is to study in depth the organization of the agricultural research system in Nigeria with a view to develop a strategy for transforming the ARCN (and its component research institutes) into a more efficient and functional body capable of driving agricultural development and change in Nigeria.
Drawing on best practices in agricultural research management from countries like Brazil, China and India, Dr Suresh Babu (Senior Research Fellow & IFPRI’s Head of Capacity Strengthening), who is leading the ARCN transformation study on behalf of IFPRI, highlighted in his presentation the need for Nigeria to ensure a strong link between its national research agenda and its collaborative partnerships by strengthening the ARCN. Dr Babu advised that having a strong and more efficient Agricultural Research Council in the country would contribute to better coordination of the system by ensuring that knowledge sharing is better managed and that any partnerships with international research centres were in line with the national agenda for the agricultural sector. In his concluding remarks, Prof. B. Y. Abubakar, Executive Secretary of ARCN, also mentioned that an additional workshop will be held in the first quarter of 2016 for the validation of the reform strategy.