Agriculture Scientists Seek New Ways To Communicate Findings

A stakeholder engagement for research uptake, has been organised to discuss new and most effective ways of communicating agricultural research knowledge to different audience other than publishing it in peer review academic journals.

The meeting was also used to launch the Agriculture Research for Adoption Network (ARAN), an initiative advocating the adoption of agriculture research outcomes for value-added and increased farm output.

The network is intended to discover novel means to bridge the gap between researchers and end-users of research information as well as build skills of scientists to carry out relevant and timely studies to help boost agribusinesses in the country.

A number of young researchers, students, extension service personnel, farmers including fisher folks, representatives from the Ministry Food and Agriculture, media, policy makers and donor partners attended the stakeholders’ engagement for research uptake.

A United States Agency for International Development initiative, Africa Lead, aided formation of the network to help researchers communicate new ideas in a more simple way to users understanding and quicken agricultural growth pursuit.

In April, the organisation, assisted in the creation of similar network - Women in Agribusiness Network Ghana – encouraging women to go into agri-business, raise income and combat poverty.

Research Scientist at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – Food Research Institute, Dr Charles Tortoe urged robust synergies among institutions in disseminating new findings in simple language to non-technical persons.

Donors, policy makers, governments, user organisations and individuals are potential users of research discoveries, he said, whose information needs have to be addressed in different ways and differing contexts.

“Agricultural research ultimately produces knowledge, “but will only have an impact if it is understood and accessed by target beneficiaries.”

“We need all people on board [the ARAN], especially our focus is on the young so we can move agriculture in this country forward.

“We will need all around in the agricultural sector to support and grow this network, we are envisaging all 13 CSIR institutions to be part of the network,” Dr Tortoe said.

The continued lack of progress in Ghana’s agricultural productivity has been blamed largely on the disconnect between research and private sector players, holding back the country’s economic growth.

There have been a lot of investments from government and donor agencies to back agriculture research in the country in order to produce new products and technologies to improve lives of poor people.

Dr Wilhelmina Quaye, Director of CSIR -Technology Development and Transfer Centre noted that research outcome appeared to be out of reach of those who want to use it, making it imperative to facilitate uptake of research and share knowledge with users.

She called for stronger alliances with institutions to close the gap between researchers and private sector to raise food production, create job opportunities and guarantee food security.

She expressed optimism that encouraging close alliances with other sectors would boost output for economic growth and cut down poverty.

Researchers say a wide range of initiatives to support agricultural research communications exist but are largely targeted at their fellow researchers through journals.

Effective research communication, they say, meant transmitting messages clearly and concisely so that it is understood by different patrons.

The workshop provided beneficiaries opportunity to engage openly with researchers on best ways to present research knowledge to them.