As part of efforts towards promoting agricultural policy research and communication in Nigeria, on 10 August 2016, Nigeria’s Agricultural Policy research Network (APRNet), with support from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), has launched a new agricultural policy research journal in Abuja. The launch of the Nigerian Agricultural Policy Research Journal (NAPReJ) coincided with this year’s APRNet National Stakeholder’s Forum under the theme “Making Agricultural Research Work for End Users.” The Forum brought together members of Nigeria’s agricultural research community.
According to Dr. Anthony Onoja, President of APRNet, “there could be no better time to do [this] than now when [the] Federal Government is shifting emphasis [to] growing an agrarian-led economy to diversify the economy and shift it from heavy dependence on crude oil.” Dr. Onoja also noted that although there were national mechanisms and frameworks for linking agricultural research and its various end users, research communication and user uptake of research was short of its potential. He highlighted the need for a reassessment of the current system in order to “identify missing elements and gap-filling interventions” that would ensure that agricultural research would make more impact on the policy decision-making process and agricultural enterprise.
In addressing the role of various stakeholders in the agricultural research system in Nigeria, the Chair of this year’s APRNet National Stakeholder Forum, Prof. Yusuf Abubakar, and the Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), pointed out that in Nigeria, the government and donor partners featured as the most dominant players and end users of agricultural research. He stressed that more needs to be done to convince the private sector of the economic benefits of agricultural research.
Dr. George Mavrotas, Head of IFPRI’s Abuja Office, stated that the IFPRI Abuja Office has been supporting APRNet since its inception in 2009, and the partnership is currently moving further forward since issues related to capacity strengthening are in the heart of IFPRI’s and APRNet’s agenda and key objectives. He took also the opportunity to thank APRNet for a great partnership so far and in particular, to congratulate APRNet President, Dr. Anthony Onoja and APRNet’s Executive Committee, for managing to deliver some key milestones for APRNet in a relatively short time, including of course the launch of the new APRNet Journal, which hopefully will be one of the key platforms in the coming years for many Nigerian researchers to publish and disseminate their research work and stimulate feedback and debate about Nigerian agricultural research. Having said this, he stressed, there are still a number of challenges that APRNet needs to deal with in the coming years, including the need to broaden substantially its membership within Nigeria, actively seek for more partnerships and demonstrate concrete impact on the policy front in the area of the Nigerian agricultural sector. He concluded by saying that APRNet is now well positioned to rise to the challenge and move even to a higher plateau in the years to come as a dynamic, vibrant and influential network of researchers in Nigeria.