Interview: Monty Jones on walking together to increase productivity

Monty Jones, FARA

“In the 1990s, there was a decline in trade and food production in Africa. There was also a substantial decline in investments in agricultural research.

If we are able to increase investments in research, we will be able to increase production and eventually agricultural productivity.

Investments will allow us to produce better technologies; it will also ensure that we bring the required external inputs like fertilizers and chemicals to the farmers.

We also need to look at other issues that we believe will eventually boost production such as institution strengthening because the tendency for African institutions is to function isolated from one another.

We need to create comprehensive programs that bring all the key players along the value chain, whether researchers, extension agents, farmers, policy makers or the private sector. Bringing them all together to conceive the problem, to develop a protocol and implement it.”

Another issue is to include the farmers. “It sends a powerful message if we are able to mobilize the farmers so that they advocate for increasing funds in research.”

“We need to bring several issues together on the table, closing the gap on productivity by adopting appropriate technologies, by using inputs, putting the policy issues on the table to create a conducive atmosphere.

We also need to build institutions so that instead of walking in isolation, we walk together. Addressing key problems like climate change all at the same time and putting all the results in one basket will boost agricultural productivity in Africa. Farmers can serve as policy shapers, making sure that their voices ring very loud in the ears of the policy makers.”

In conclusion, the way to increase agricultural productivity is to develop partnerships that bring everybody together.”

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