Building Competencies for Innovation in Agricultural Research: A Synthesis of Experiences and Lessons from Uganda
Since the 1990s, public agricultural research organizations in Uganda have been increasingly challenged by the national government and international donors to be more oriented towards markets and clients. The National Agricultural Research Policy (MAAIF, 2003) required change in practices and procedures from research and development (R&D) to research for development (R4D). Before the new policy, agricultural R&D focused mainly on farm-level productivity by introducing new technologies developed by scientists. The applied methodology followed the farming systems research (FSR) format, where primarily scientists set the research priorities, although much of the actual research took place on farms (Collinson, 2000). The major weakness of the FSR approach was that it was based on quantitative models biased towards preset problem deﬁnitions and solutions. Most interventions were limited to biophysical characteristics and were implemented in a linear way. Moreover, a problem for Uganda could be traced to university curricula and capacity-building within the research system, which was mainly through projects and oneoﬀ training programmes, rarely conceived with the aim of inﬂuencing researchers’ a�itudes (Stroud, 2003). Consequently, li�le had been gained because of limited sharing of the useful but isolated information.